Work in Progress

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During the second week of August, 1891, relatives of Mr. Gilbert were turned away at the door when they attempted to visit Mrs. Gilbert and her infant daughter, three months of age. Mr. Gilbert’s mother attempted repeated visits, only to be told that Mrs. Gilbert was resting and the infant, who was colicky, was sleeping. Mrs. Gilbert became so concerned about her daughter-in-law’s condition that she went to the sheriff. The sheriff’s men had to restrain Gilbert in order to enter the house. There was no trace of Gilbert’s wife or child. Gilbert insisted that his wife was an unearthly creature whose skin took on a green hue at the full moon, that the child had the same condition, and that his wife had “gone home to be with her family under the hill.” No relatives of Gilbert’s wife could be located. Gilbert, clearly under the effect of lunacy induced by alcohol, has been committed to the state asylum for men. His mother expressed dismay, saying that her son had worked round the clock to enlarge and improve his home before the birth of the child. She has posted a reward of five hundred dollars for any confirmed information of the whereabouts of her daughter-in-law and granddaughter. (Local Newspaper, 1891)

The farmhouse remained in the Gilbert family until the mid-1960s, when the last Gilbert died. No one in the family ever lived in the house after the scandal of 1891. A buyer sued the Gilbert family in 1915, asserting that the house was beset by spirits and uninhabitable. Subsequent renters stayed less than a year. Eventually, the wisteria and infernal kudzu combined with the elements to drag down the abandoned house. I watched its slow decline from the time I was a child. The house had finally died in the last round of August thunderstorms. The roof had folded in on itself and the chimney collapsed.

I stood in the weedy, red clay yard with the man who had bought the abandoned property at auction. The house’s unique piled-stone foundation and stone stairs remained. I was determined to build a new house on the foundations of the old wreck.

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The Most Dreadful Part of Insomnia

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Insomnia isn’t “just” regular trouble getting to sleep or lying awake more nights than not because your mind won’t shut down the way that it should and let you get some rest. It doesn’t matter how much you do to make your bed and bedroom comfortable. It doesn’t matter how cool (temperature-wise) your bedroom is. It doesn’t matter how uncluttered your bedroom is. It doesn’t matter if you turn off all your electronics and read a paper book for an hour before bed, how you time your evening meal and exercise, or when you have your one glass of wine.

Some of us just have insomnia.

Insomnia covers the broad spectrum of sleep disorders, including:

Inability to sleep

Inability to fall asleep within 30 minutes

Inability to stay asleep

Racing thoughts that begin when you lie down (insomnia+possible OCD)

Regular, exhausting nightmares

Night terrors (waking and thinking that there are malicious beings in the room with you)

Sleep paralysis (waking but being unable to move or speak . . . your partner may report that your eyes were open and you were “gurgling” or otherwise attempting to speak)

Sleep dread

Sleep dread is self-explanatory. If you have any of the symptoms described above on a regular basis, you’re probably going to be afraid to go to bed! So you sit up. You stare at your phone. You drink. Drinking doesn’t help you go to sleep and stay asleep. It interferes with your sleep and you feel like crap when you finally have to get up.

Some people swear by chamomile tea. I’m allergic. Some people swear by melatonin. I’ve had less than impressive success with it. Antihistamines help me fall asleep but not stay asleep, and I’m groggy the next day. Sleep medications can help, but they don’t work for everyone. The very worst thing that you can do, and the most dangerous thing, is to mix alcohol and medications. The combination of antihistamines and alcohol–and prescription medications–has caused more than one celebrity overdose. Don’t do it. I know how hard it is to see a doctor these days, let alone find one who can help you if you don’t have the money for a sleep specialist and sleep study.

Therapy can help. People claim that meditation helps many disorders rooted in the mind. Others say that if you haven’t fallen asleep in 30 minutes, you should get up and do some boring task, like folding laundry. I find the essential oil lavender to be calming. I put a few drops on my pillows. Got back pain but can’t afford a new mattress? Find a solid board and put it on your box springs. It should reach from your mid-back to your upper thighs. Get a mattress pad, one of the “egg-carton” styles. If you snore, try to prop yourself up with pillows.

Turn on the TV, on low, on a boring channel if possible. Open a window and listen to tree frogs, crickets, and passing trains. Let the dog or cat sleep in the bedroom. I find a snoring cat or dog relaxing. Try relaxation sounds. Try prayer beads.

Replace uncomfortable pillows and sheets. Talk to your doctor if you’re waking with numb hands or numbness from the elbow down.

Finally, make your bedroom comfortable to you. Sleep with a light on or the TV. Make up your bed in a different way . . . with two top sheets instead of a blanket. Don’t tuck in your sheets. Load up your bed with pillows. Hang wind chimes in your window. Rearrange the furniture. Try sleeping with just your mattress and box springs on the floor. Don’t make your bed. Just crawl into it and relax.

I hope that some of these tips help you. Oh, don’t go to bed hungry. Have a yogurt, a glass of milk, a glass of soy milk. Just the right amount of food on a hungry stomach can help you fall asleep.

 

Celtic Triple Moon Goddesses

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There aren’t any.

Not in all of Western European, Greek, and Roman mythology. There are many triple Goddesses across almost all cultures: Brigid, the Morrigan (She’s a bit confusing and may be a triple triple Goddess,) Hecate, Demeter and Persephone and Hecate, the Matronae, and there’s where things really complex. So many of our British Goddesses and Gods come down to us via Roman and Gaulish names, for example, Nemetona. But there is not to my knowledge any true triple moon Goddess in mythology.

Where did She come from? It seems odd that the ancients named so many Goddesses (and Gods) as moon deities . . . but there are none (again, to my knowledge) combined as Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

So why do so many pagans, Wiccans, and witches worship a triple moon Goddess?

Because She was suggested, “proposed,” logically, I think, by Robert Graves in The White Goddess in the 1950s.

The fact that the concept of the Maiden, Mother, and Crone was put forth not even 100 years ago should not discourage anyone who is devoted to the triple Goddess of the Moon. It makes perfect sense. We know that the ancients planted, harvested, bred and harvested animals depending on the phase of the moon. These traditions have come down to us in the form of folklore. Cut your hair during the period of the new moon if you want it to grow back healthier. Plant during the new moon. Harvest close to the full moon. Don’t start new projects or enterprises during the waning moon.

It seems entirely natural to view the phases of the moon as the phases of a woman’s life. The concept is not negated because it was first officially proposed in the 20th century. It was first popularized in the 20th century. I have no doubt that the idea did occur to our ancestors, and perhaps the worship of a triple moon goddess did occur in times lost to us now. I have a moon goddess picture in a frame, prayer beads, and I go outside every night that the moon is visible after sunset, and I look at the moon, and honor Her, and asked Her for blessings. My intent in writing this post is not to discourage or dissuade anyone from venerating the Maiden, Mother, and Crone as personified by the moon.  My intent was simply to share information regarding Goddess worship, and if I’ve got anything wrong, please tell me.

“You Are Not Alone.”

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“Call this number. You are not alone.”

I’m sure that many, many people have been helped by calling those numbers. I’m sure a lot of people have gotten through a crisis and not taken their own lives by calling one of those numbers. But my problems can’t be solved by talking to a stranger on the phone.

You know what would at least mitigate some of my problems? If my father had paid one dime of child support. If my sister hadn’t become a drug addict. If my other sister had not convinced my mother to get a mortgage without personally going over her bills, as I did when I was 18 and my mother first mentioned a mortgage. I showed her on paper why it wouldn’t work. As soon as I moved to New York to get married, my sisters moved in on my mother like vultures. The drug addict wrecked my mom’s car. My mom bought a used car from the very little insurance money she received. It was a lemon. For a few weeks, she had no car. She got rides to work with a co-worker who lived nearby. I had no idea. She didn’t tell me during our nightly phone calls because she didn’t want to “upset me.” I could have helped. I could have sent her money. I could have come down to NC on the train and knocked my sisters’ heads together and helped her find a way to buy a used car that didn’t involve mortgaging HER HOME.

My brilliant sister who talked her into the mortgage has now fled from one end of the state to the other trying to hide from her own creditors. She can’t pay her own mortgage.

My addicted sister wrecked the car my mother bought when she mortgaged her house. She also destroyed her body with drugs and is now on disability. I can’t get disability for chronic depression/anxiety/OCD/PTSD/complications of a broken back sustained in a car accident when I was 16. I’d really rather go back to working at the library or as a paralegal, but those jobs where I could sit are about as rare here as talking blue unicorns who shit gold.

Another thing that would have kept me from ending up emotionally and financially destroyed at 45: a fucking amicable divorce. But you can’t have an amicable divorce when your spouse is practicing fake Buddhism and some bullshit martial arts system that convinced him that only Master So-And-So understood the true nature of reality. You can’t have an amicable divorce when your spouse denies cheating, yet comes home from work every day talking about his work wife. Alimony would have helped me. Being able to keep my own car would have helped me. But when someone hoards guns and tells you in graphic detail what will happen to you if you try to “go after” alimony, you just leave and sign the papers.

I had a temp job after I moved back home. And I was hired by a friend to help her open her own business, because she knew that I was a paralegal and could do all the paperwork necessary to open the business. It was a doll museum. She knew that I loved dolls. She promised to put me on the books as soon as the museum opened. We opened the museum on July 4th. I was working 30 hours a week. Not a living wage by any means, but a tremendous help to our household. I asked her multiple times to put me on the books as she had promised. She gave me various ridiculous excuses, like “I don’t know how.” She had a college degree and worked full-time remotely for a tech company. She had an account.

When she fired me six weeks later, it was a complete shock. She gave me multiple excuses for that too, and I called her on every one. She agreed to pay me severance pay. She never did. If she would pay me that money right now, it would be like winning the lottery. But what she did was give my old job to a retired doll collector who could volunteer for free!

She’s one of the reasons that I don’t trust anyone.

I’ve been freelancing since 2011, but the work has all but dried up, and I can’t get help because you have to have a job to get help now that we live in Upsy-Downsy Land.

I’ve applied for so many jobs. Office jobs, retail jobs, waitressing jobs. My ex-huband didn’t allow me to work, so I started off with a seven year gap in my employment history and pretty much no credit because he kept everything in his name. He trusted me to handle the household budget, but he set everything up the way that he did so that I would be financially destroyed if I left him.

When I left him, I was 37, healthy, and ready to start over. Ready to get on my feet. I knew that it would take a long time to find a job due to NC’s economy, but I never imagined that I would NEVER find a job. My ex used to tell me that if I ever left him, I’d have to become a prostitute. That’s why so many people stay in abusive relationships. The fear of being destitute is greater than the fear of being hit, or having your children or pets threatened, or being threatened, or being raped, or sitting home knowing that they’re out cheating.

I wrote this down to vent, and to give some explanation of why my life has taken this turn, and so people would know why I’m not the person I was a few years ago. I had potential once. I used to enjoy things.

And that’s all.

My Face is Wrong . . .

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. . . I thought as I looked at the selfies I took at the salon after I got my hair trimmed. I’m growing my hair out from a very short pixie into a short bob, because I was bored with the pixie and also because I wanted to save money by only going to the salon once a month. It’s a little, privately owned salon with two stylists and “dry” haircuts cost me $12. I get a discount because I’ve been going there for six years. . . . but I digress.

But I told my mom this afternoon that my faced is shaped weird. She said, “No, it’s not, it’s oval shaped.” Because I have one of those moms who always tells me everything looks/is fine/good/great, I spent way too much time obsessing over the shape of my face tonight. (That’s one of my OCD symptoms.) Then I realized that I live in a world where many women my age have some kind of cosmetic surgery or enhancement. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s also nothing wrong with not having cosmetic surgery or enhancement. I’d like to have some cosmetic dental work. Heck, I’d like to go to the dentist and have the filling I lost replaced . . . but I digress.

I see perfect or almost perfect people on TV and online every day. I see so much anti-aging work done on middle-aged faces that I started thinking there was something wrong with my face. What happened to my face is that I got older and gained weight. When I was underweight because I was sick, my face was “perfect.” Now it’s heavier, and I have dimples. And I’m okay with that. So if you find yourself thinking that your face looks odd, remember that cosmetic surgery is the norm now . . . or so they’d like us to think.

Some Twitter Poems

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All by me, of course, written over the last week.

Don’t Get Stuck Here (Fall)

Train passing in the night

Wheels on century-old tracks

Reminder to us

And the ghosts

We can just Leave.

 

Air and Water

Maple leaves

Ripple like green water

In the cooling breeze

Before the thunderstorm.

 

The Poodle Skirt

Sitting on the glider

Midnight, summer winding down

She goes wandering In her mind

Sixty years ago –

A Sunday morning and a poodle skirt.

 

Soul Mate

If I had been

In my right mind at the right time –

lost love.