Tuesday, May 30, 2017

When does a cucumber become a pickle?

Sometimes in a man’s life,
Stuff happens that makes everyone go quiet,
So quiet that no one
Even dares to talk about it.
Not to anyone, not even to themselves.
Not in their head and not out loud.
Not a fucking word. Cause everything
has somehow gotten stuck.
There, deep in the fields,
Under the trees and leaves, year after year.

Then suddenly it all comes back,
Just like that, from one day to the next.
No matter how long ago it was
There will always be someone
To bring it all back.
Because no matter what you do or think
One thing is for sure -
You are always fucked.
Now, tomorrow, next week, or next year,
Until the end of time.


Opening lines from the movie Bullhead

Any of you who have followed my blog for a long time know that I when I started writing I was in a deep throes of PTSD. I was completely at the mercy of whatever triggers sprung up and they would render me a quaking, blubbering, terrified blob for days.  Sometimes weeks.

I spent a torturous couple of years going through exposure and other therapies which brought me through that dark forest of terror and anxiety.  I am so deeply grateful for my original therapist who led me through that process but who sadly and unexpectedly died before we saw the finish line.  

Is there a finish line for PTSD recovery?

I never wanted to forget what happened to me. To us.  That would seem disloyal to Daphne and somehow be lying to myself. But my therapist convinced me that I could still remember and honor what happened yet learn to process my responses to it differently.  And for the most part, if I am vigilant about working at it, I have been mostly successful at that. The memories are still there but they no longer control me. I am able to live a pretty calm and normal life.

Then suddenly someone/something happens.

No matter how long ago it was
There will always be someone
To bring it all back.

There is only one person in my life now who knew me from that time and that is my best friend. I moved away so I would never again have to see that look of pity in people’s faces who knew.  Then my former boss called me from out of the blue having tracked me down through professional organizations. And there it was.  An innocent phone call, and wham!


I occasionally attend group therapy for folks with PTSD - sexual assault, veterans, one 9/11 survivor. No matter what the original trauma was, there is a common thread of knowing/fearing that some trigger is always lurking, waiting to yank you back down the hole.

One thing is for sure -
You are always fucked.
Now, tomorrow, next week, or next year,
Until the end of time.

I once asked my therapist “when will I be whole again?”  

She answered, “When does a cucumber become a pickle?”

It is a riddle I am still trying to answer.

Saturday, May 20, 2017



  1. the action or fact of leaving one's job and ceasing to work . . .

. . . only to then be called upon to do everyone else’s work.

My daughter, who is moving into a new apartment, called to ask if I could paint it for her. She asked by saying “since I have to work 50 hours this week and you are home all day, would you mind ...”  

Jim, a casual acquaintance, recently had open heart surgery and cannot drive for a few weeks. A mutual friend called and asked “Jim needs a ride to a doctor’s appointment.  He asked me but since you are retired, and live closer, would you mind taking him?”  Which of course I did, but now Jim calls me every other day asking for a ride to the grocery store or could I pick up his meds.” Every time he says “Isn’t retirement great, to have all day to do whatever?”

A friend called to ask if I could come over and rototill her garden “in my spare time”  And then she laughed and said “I suppose you have nothing BUT spare time these days.”

Why is it that when you retire everyone thinks you have nothing to do?  They think my days are like this:

In all honestly I didn’t mind doing any of these favors for people.  But I do kind of resent the implication that now that I’ve retired I do nothing but sit around, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for someone to call and give me something to do. I already volunteered 2- 6 hours a week doing errands for the elderly.  I have a yard and gardens to tend, a house that always needs fixing, household projects, a never ending “honey-do” list, relationships to nourish, vacations to plan.  In fact, I still haven’t found the time to do the things I thought I would like practicing the piano, reading and writing more, taking an interesting college class or daily taking my dog on different hiking trails.

I retired to have the time to do the things I want to do, not to pick up everyone else’s chores.


Rant over.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Full of Grace

The last fruit tree is planted and my tiny orchard is complete - peaches, apples, cherries, and pears. Last year the squirrels took every piece of fruit borne but I am hopeful as the trees mature and supply a more bountiful harvest, that the squirrels might leave me a few pieces to enjoy.

I finally finished putting a skirt on the deck (in between wave after wave of cold rain) so hopefully no more skunks or possums living under there.  What a nightmare that was.

Getting out my summer clothes I noticed for the first time that I can wear some light colored T-shirts and not have my slowly fading mastectomy scars show through.  I still can’t wear white, but some improvement is encouraging. Of course Martha says that I could a always wear a bra to cover the scars but I have not worn one in 5 years and it is the one perk I refuse to give back.

And speaking of cancer healing, today I will be donating blood for the first time in 5 years. I am truly feeling that cancer is behind me.  

This is where I'll be spending Mother's Day with my family. The Yankees will be retiring Derek Jeter's number at a pregame ceremony so it should be a memorable day. And we will all be together which is the best part of all.