Monday, November 20, 2017

PTSD Fog?


I believe I stalled out last week. No, I didn't go upstairs, turn the electric blanket to nine and assume the prenatal position, but maybe I should have.

Oh, I got things done. Or tried to get things done. I spent the week battling with an often very dependable person to get two cords of firewood delivered. And ultimately negotiating with another person for the needed winter supply. But in truth there is still no firewood in the woodshed. I am down to a few days of this winter necessity.

I made yogurt, walked the dog, kept petsit appointments, paid bills. And on Monday last I dropped the pickup at the mechanic's for him to fix the brakes. I kept on keeping on after that Saturday before when the brakes failed. But I was in a fog. And in truth have missed a few things. I didn't flip the desk calendar over to the next week.

Most mechanical issues with a vehicle result in it not continuing to move further than pulling it over out of the lane of traffic if you are lucky. Brakes are different. Especially in the mountains. When I pressed on the always dependable before brake petal and it went straight to the floor my mind immediately ran through every single movie I have seen where the hero goes careening through impossible curves and ultimately launches into space over a cliff. That was followed by every piece of advice my father ever gave me on the "if this happens" list of survival skills.

I got the pickup home safely because I was not traveling very fast and it happened within a couple miles of my house and not the road to Taos. And it was a master cylinder and not a brake line (that is what is usually cut in those movies). I could pump the brake with both feet and slow and ultimately stop the 5216 pound truck. I checked the brake fluid and it was empty. I googled and found filling it with brake fluid would help but not address the issue of why it was empty. 

I just don't seem to be able to get past the flashes of all those scary movies. PTSD? Highly possible. Didn't get the pickup back until late Wednesday. Have made myself drive Big Blue but cancelled on my plans to take a photo trek on Sunday. I don't fully trust it. Or me.

As my sister advised me in one of those flashes of a barely avoided wreck I think I need to pull over and yell and scream. So this is me yelling. I was scared. Very scared.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

This is Your Life - DTJ


Don't separate your life from political resistance.
Nadia of Pussy Rant

Note: The Russian punk rock group Pussy Rant spent two years in a Russian prison for their resistance to Putin and his government. They are still resisting.

From the mouth of babes. 

Donald Trump was elected president and I joined the resistance again. I had experience with resistance to Richard Nixon. And to save the mini skirt. Sounds funny now in the same paragraph, but saving the mini skirt was serious. For decades men had told women how to dress. Hems up and down, no white after Labor Day or before Easter. No slacks at school or work.

Our protests against Nixon, Watergate, and Kent State were more serious. The peace marches against the illegal Vietnam war and the draft were deadly serious. And behind the marches to save the mini skirt were the fights for the Equal Rights Amendment. It was a very serious time even if Time Magazine made fun of the marchers in mini skirts. And I sometimes believed we did those as comic relief. If you are protesting in front of the White House in December Maxi's make more sense, but there we were in mini skirts with two layers of panty hose to stay warm. ID, taxi fare, and emergency numbers in case of arrest stuffed into the top of our knee high boots. Nobody carried a purse in DC in that mugger haven and mini skirts did not have pockets.

Then, like now, I had friends who thought I was crazy. They were not friends long. Then, like now, I thought we could be friends again after the resistance was over when I would be able to talk about something other than politics. That was wrong. That is wrong. My friends became those I marched with. My life became the weekend marches, the week night manning of help lines, the lunch planning sessions for what else we could do, pouring over the editorials in the Washington Post on Sundays at the coffee house, whispering about what Nixon was doing.

When you get older you regret more the friends you lose, so when this began I told myself that same lie - when this is over. Yesterday at a resistance group brunch it dawned on me I like these friends more. They are more tuned in and more alive and . . . well, just more.




Saturday, October 28, 2017

Revival of Deck Time



Fall gets really busy here in the high country. Things to do before winter closes in. And just enjoying fall. Trying to capture all the fall colors, enjoying the last of the flowers, and the snatches of deck time when the winds are mild and the sun is out.

Then there are the boards you belong to planning sessions, trying to find places for holiday parties. To that you add annual appointments, having the vehicles serviced, mounting the snow tires, at at long last going to the dentist for annual check up (oops, two years had passed), new doctor wants to see me more often, art group added a holiday fair back into the schedule.

And before you know it the only deck time is crossing it on the way to the truck.

Life gets away from you at times. You move along and adapt without knowing it. I remember my first fall in Washington, DC. I had looked forward to the eastern colors for months of hot summer days. But I worked for a US Senator involved in an election campaign, Nixon was bugging my telephone, I had to work in peace marches and Common Cause meetings. Then one day I was walking through soggy wet leaves on the sidewalk and noticed there was none left on the trees.

My long awaited eastern fall had fallen beneath my feet.

We are suppose to have several nice days before snow this approaching Friday. Time to move in the deck chairs eventually but I plan to enjoy them while I can this week.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Garden Withdrawal and Other Life Issues

Sunflower

I bought a large free-standing umbrella for deck sitting and the days got cold and the winds whipped up. I have not set under the shade of my new red umbrella even once. The deck goes unused. And the flowers I used to gaze upon and photograph have undergone a killing frost.

I think I am in mourning for the end of summer but I have been too busy to stop and think about it. My decade long physician retired, and the new doctor does not seem to be able to read my files. It might have been easier for me to have deliberately changed my medical provider, but I was too busy with my dentist to consider that. Genetics have finally caught up with me in the mouth department, which in my humble opinion, takes a toll on my one health issue. Dr. Cohen would have understood that. The new one doesn't except in that he can hold me hostage to more appointments.

More visits to doctor and more trips to Questa to see my dentist translates into less deck time. Less lap time for Thicke, my ticked tabby. Less sanity. 

I believe in a messy garden as winter approaches but I think I have exceeded all my previous expectations on this requirement to provide shelter for bugs and butterflies and food for birds. And the studio I swore to keep neat is in havoc. Chunks of time don't work well for large compositions so I have been working on little pieces for the approaching holiday market. But painting a dozen Christmas ornaments does not feed the soul like a large original composition. The oil sticks I ordered for just such a piece remain unopened. My drawing table is scattered with little 5 x 5 panels in one state of completion or another. My work space echos the messy state of my garden.

Both echo the chaos of my schedule filled with appointments I want to wish away. All reminders of the three years after my head injury filled with appoints with neurologist, cognitive therapist, orthopedist, and shrink for the depression. I am famous for telling one physician, "Enough. I will be better just by not having to see you."

Meanwhile my mama jade plant needs repotted. It stands there in its cracked pot, poised by the new, and accuses me of neglect. Just one of several projects in the chorus.

Damn. I seriously miss deck time.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Been There. Done That



The news is all about the sexual abuse culture of our leaders and "heroes." We sloughed last year reports of the man who would become president grabbing pussy because women let him because he was a star. Or because he had the power to fire them. That is part of the abuse: the power. The power to ruin the life of the abused.

I first ran into it while working as a store manager for So Fro fabrics. I was shocked. I quit. Toyed with bringing charges and was discouraged from doing so. Next job I applied for asked why I had quit the previous job. I lied. Something innocent like I wanted a change. I had been told the truth would blacklist me from all future jobs. And in those days companies called about references. 

I ultimately landed a great job working for an international construction firm. Their CEO had a reputation which would make Trump, Cosby, and Weinstein look like pussies. My immediate supervisor had somehow gotten the information that I had quit to avoid filing a sexual harassment suit. Yes, I had consulted a free legal service representing women at that time. But wasn't that suppose to be confidential. His solution was to give me paid days off any time the CEO was making a job site visit.

The CEO's reputation was so wide spread that the companies my firm worked for knew about him. They also sent their women employees to the movies when he visited. We all joked about it on our free lunches. There was always nervous laughter. To look non-discriminatory I was put on all bids for jobs we were seeking with government divisions like the Corps of Engineers. I was the girl engineer. I was proving we did not have a rapist as CEO.

I enjoyed my work but lived in fear that it was dependent upon my good behavior. I had found a position where I was one grope away from losing my job because I knew I would slug anyone that tried it. Ultimately I decided working for myself was the best solution.

So I have been there and done that. I know the pain the women coming forward have been going through and will continue to go through. I also know all the talent which has been lost because of hostile work places. I believe I know why women only climb so high. I know I limit my exposure to such situations. I know I freeze up when talking to men in power even after all these years. And in spite of the understanding I got from that last corporate job. 

I have been there and done that and my biggest aim is to avoid all situations where it could happen again. Does anyone who hasn't been there understand how limiting that can be?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Edges and Cuts


My sister photographing
 My sister and I share a passion for photography. I have missed her and our treks with cameras since she moved back to Texas. So naturally when she came to visit we planned a trip to Kash-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument which we both had not visited. I have posted two blogs on Creative Journey of black and white images of this amazing geology. But I realized today I had not posted beyond Facebook any of the color photographs. Or those with my sister in them.

The Trees reaching for the sun

The slot to the right through which we must pass


Debbie showing scale in the slots

For me it was all about the slots. But my more adventurous younger sister wanted to prove we could make it to the top. The trail rises about 1100 feet in the 1.6 miles from base to ridge and it is by no means an easy stroll. There are the many slots to be climbed through.

One of the wider slots to go through
I am claustrophobic and short. Some of the rocks deposited in the slots were a challenge to climb over especially with camera and camera bags. It would have been embarrassing to get stuck. 



 As you leave the slot canyon and begin the switch backs up the cliff face the views are spectacular. And hikers heading down provide encouragement and reasons to go the whole way. 


I am more afraid of heights than I am claustrophobic. So I could have stopped here. But it wasn't the top Even if it was a good view of the tent rocks.

Looking down on the tent rocks

Look out beyond the canyon

Cochiti Lake in the plain below

Yes, it was nice making it to the top but we spent a lot more time on the way down photographing the rocks and trees and slots.




It is a must trip even if you choose to not go to the top. Pick a day it does not look like rain and get an early start. I plan to go back to the slots.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

You Can Be Too Busy to Pause


Keep on keeping on. 

My last post was 20 days ago. A lot has happened in those days but there has been no time to stop and reflect upon it. I have been in to do list mode preparing for a a social event hosted at my studio, a visit from my sister, the first Angel Fire Studio Tour, and the approaching winter.

To that impressive list I had to add a trip to the dentist too long put off, and a nuisance lawsuit brought by an annoying gnat in my life. And, of course, you can never drop everything on your schedule to focus totally on the to do list. Life keeps on and continues to produce messes you must attend to.

And consciously or unconsciously we add to the list which should be getting smaller but seems to grow exponentially. In part because items on the list never stand alone. My visit from my sister produced fruit which made the list grow: More photographs to upload and post process, beads and findings to make more jewelry for the studio tour (five new necklace and earring sets). And the trip to the dentist has added another appointment or two which must be kept. The studio tour which is next weekend has its own list beyond just cleaning up the studio. There is promoting my participation
 in the tour.

I won the judgment on the lawsuit. Now to figure out how I might actually collect on that. Need the money for the dentist. And then there are the things I let slide to get what I needed to do done. Ordered firewood late. Now to schedule chimney sweep, prepare the garden for winter.

And on Friday I realized I had hit the wall on energy. But that sort of pause usually results in panic about what remains to be done. Not sure I had time to write this blog. Some times your only option is to just keep on keeping on.