BY ME114

09/01 Direct Link
Last day of the summer quarter - my first complete quarter -YAY! When I quit art college so many years ago, I firmly believed I'd return and finish at about 40. It's been, uh, don't make me tell you how many years since then. Had two classes of subjects I liked, but still a lot of work: more work per class than when I went to college before. I was out sick two days total which put me behind and I had to drop math. Some corrections of papers and I'm done, but today was the finals and the last classes.
09/02 Direct Link
I was expecting some kind of medication to prevent future kidney stones, but no - nothing. I'm supposed to avoid nuts, spinach, tea, strawberries, chocolate, wheat bran and a few other things because they have oxalic acid. It's not fair; most of those are healthy foods. The nurse practitioner said I just shouldn't "go overboard" on them. She also said I have a 50% chance of getting another kidney stone. Not AGAIN! When it happened, I was in extreme pain, yet I managed to drive myself to the emergency room. It was excruciating, frightening, humiliating, and another story for another time.
09/03 Direct Link
I don't know what to do with my life - as if that's something new. I thought I had it all figured out when I was young. Even if I had finished art college then, I don't think it would have helped me get into the art field. I never got very far in it, and there are less and less jobs for graphic artists.

My major for now is business; there's not much to choose from. Been fantasizing of someday moving to Toronto, though I've never been there. It might be too complicated even if I can ever afford it.
09/04 Direct Link
Went with Kim today to check on a cat, Zoe, whose owner - Kim's son's girlfriend - is away. Nice apartment in an old building that seems pretty well renovated. I love the almost-turquoise color Amanda chose for the living room. The high ceilings remind me of my last apartment in NY. I miss high ceilings. Kim scooped the litter box and I poured in more litter. There's already enough food and water. Zoe is affectionate and full of not-yet-full grown-kitten-energy. Tomorrow we're going to bring Miette over and see if they'll play together. Should be interesting.
09/05 Direct Link
Yeah, the cat play date idea was doubtful, but worth a try. When Miette came out of the carrier, they sniffed noses - a good sign. But it didn't take long for the cats to be afraid of each other. Of course, it was mostly Miette who was scared because it was Zoe's territory, and being in an unfamiliar apartment was disconcerting enough for Miette. Animals have such heightened senses compared to humans. There was a little growling from both, and Miette hissed and backed off when Zoe tried to get near. Zoe loved the toys and treats we brought, though.
09/06 Direct Link
Labor Day. Kim and I went to check on, take care of and play with Zoe for the last time. I should've taken pictures of her; she won't be a kitten forever. I suggested that we could get together with Amanda and see her and Zoe. Hard to say if there will be time in the future.

We ate at restaurants those three days, too. I probably shouldn't spend the money, but hey, it's cheaper than taking a trip somewhere. I considered going to NY again to see family and friends, but I'm overwhelmed and tired. I'd need more time.
09/07 Direct Link
This month is starting out cat-themed again. Today I brought my two female cats to the vet for checkups and shots. (I have two males, too). Miette is fine, as I expected. She's almost a year-and-a-half old now. Serena, who is now approximately 14 or 15 years old and has never been sick a day in her life, has serious dental problems. Why didn't the vet catch this whenever she was last looked at? It was so long ago, I don't remember.

Advice: Make sure your vet checks your pet's teeth at least once a year.
09/08 Direct Link
Happy New Year, it's Rosh Hashanah. I probably shouldn't be writing, but I am sick of falling behind. Here I am, up too late again, up all night. Why do I do this to myself? Then, I get caught up, one thing after another, playing simple computer games and/or looking at stuff on the Web. I hadn't looked at Facebook for awhile, so I did. Another somewhat long lost friend found me. I'd thought she was mad at me for reasons unknown. If she wants to be friends and isn't mad at me, I'm VERY relieved.

Entry written. Done.
09/09 Direct Link
My comments about two of the latest embarrassments in the news:

1. The lion attack in Las Vegas:
Before the attack, that trainer kept looking the lion in the eyes. He even bent his head to look at the lion's face. With cats and many other animals, you don't do that, or you limit it, depending on the level of trust in the pet-human relationship, and never with a wild animal.

2. The preacher who was going to burn the Quran:
Insensitive, ignorant, hate-mongering IDIOT!!!! I believe what he really wants is fame. How about reading it instead?
09/10 Direct Link
It’s almost the ninth anniversary of 9/11. According an email I received, today was “World Suicide Prevention Day.” If I’d known in time, I would have lit a candle for Danny at 8 p.m. That’s okay. It’s not like I’ll ever forget my husband for a second nor how he took himself away from me and everyone. When 9/11 happened, I felt like I’d never be happy again. This was my hometown. I slowly felt normal again. When I lost Danny, it was my own personal 9/11. My world came crashing down on a 2/7.
09/11 Direct Link
I may as well remember the September 11th. Danny said it best, "It's not a disaster, it's an atrocity."

I was at work, living here in GA. Found out more from my friend, Miriam (in NY) than from the news on the Internet, which I wasn't able to listen to until break. Unable to call my parents; lines to NY were all busy. They sent us home. The first I saw of the towers coming down, I screamed and cried. I felt compelled to help, but wasn't needed. I got to NY a month later. The fire was still burning.
09/12 Direct Link
I started rereading the first journal I kept when I was 15. It's amazing how many things I was reminded of that used to exist or just sounded so familiar - stores, restaurants, radio stations, etc. I tried to keep most of my writing upbeat, not wanting to remember bad times and episodes of depression. I went to an art high school, which was much better than an ordinary school would have been. I was very enthusiastic about art, rock music and just being with my friends from school and summer camp.

It was nice to have many years yet ahead.
09/13 Direct Link
Part of an entry in my journal when I was 15 (yeah, that's a lot of years ago):

The sunset was yellow, silhouetting the Twin Towers along with the other buildings as we came out of the tunnel along the bridge.

The bridge I meant was the 59th Street Bridge, and the train was the RR - then.

When the Twin Towers were first built, we thought they were ugly, like most of the boxy-looking buildings that were the modern trend. But after awhile, we came to like them. How can they be gone, and in such an immense tragedy?
09/14 Direct Link
Kim and I went to the Cole Bros. Circus. I hadn't been to a circus in many years, and to a traditional circus since I was a kid. I've heard the controversy about circuses being cruel to animals, but really, the animals looked to be healthy and well cared for. The acts - animals, acrobatics, trapeze, clowns, etc. - were fairly basic compared with the relatively sophisticated circus performances I've seen on TV. Regardless, there is something about live entertainment, even if not all the performers' routines are as elaborate or advanced, that makes it more exciting. Live entertainment is an experience.
09/15 Direct Link
If it's not one thing, it's another. No, it's many things at once. I haven't yet paid the hospital bills, and now I need root canal, and one of my cats, Serena, needs full dental work at the vet, and my car might need more work done, and my bathroom faucet drips, I need to get my grass cut, and on and on, it seems. My sleep pattern is worse than I thought; I have to deal with it. In less than 2 weeks, I start school again. Complain complain. Also, I miss Danny so much, it sometimes feels unbearable.
09/16 Direct Link
I've found that two of my cats like to drink water while in the (dry) bathtub. If you want your cats and/or dogs to drink more water, try putting a water dish in the bathtub.

I have to come up with another mindfulness exercise. I might get inexpensive modeling clay, like paper clay or plasticine, and have people write on a sticky note something that they feel is blocking them. Then, make a figure or a shape from the clay, put the note on it and smash the figure. I'm not yet sure if this is a good idea.
09/17 Direct Link
I have mixed feelings about not really keeping the High Holy Days, especially Yom Kippur. I appreciate them and take off when and if necessary out of respect for my parents, but I don't go to temple. I'm not very comfortable at the only synagogue here. Also, I have mixed feelings about organized religion in general, but I have good memories and feelings about the culture and identity of being Jewish. It's healthy to have a Day of Atonement, especially with a new year. With or without prayer, why not take stock and think about improving your life and yourself?
09/18 Direct Link
I purposely allowed myself to not write because of Yom Kippur. I feel a bit guilty that I did little more than sleep, but I've been trying lately to come up with better ways of getting my life in order. Sleep has been so difficult, especially lately. I know hormones have a lot to do with sleep, and I'm sure that's part of the problem. If I take something, I sleep too much; if I don't take anything, I can't get to sleep. No matter what I do, I end up sleeping in the daytime or being tired all day.
09/19 Direct Link
I'm glad Kim asked me if I wanted to come along for some shopping and dinner.

She mentioned a great guitarist she saw on PBS last night. I saw it and watched a little, but didn't stay with it. Sometimes the emotional pain is too much, especially when it's a good guitar player. Danny was a phenomenal guitar player. I, being a long-time rock music fan, just happened to be very lucky to have married a terrific man who was also a great musician. I still love music, but to watch musicians will never be the same for me.
09/20 Direct Link
Because I have cats:
There is always someone to come home to
I never have to be completely alone at home
There is always life in my house
Graceful, beautiful creatures are easy to find
There is always something to feel happy about
Love surrounds me
There are beings who depend on me
I’m awoken when I don’t want to be
There is always cat hair on clothes
My allergies bother me
There are reasons for me to laugh
I experience loyalty
There are reasons for me to live
I’ve gained knowledge
He loved them as much as I do
09/21 Direct Link
Part of a message to a friend who I ran into at the doctor on Monday:

So, this morning I had to drink a barium smoothie, go to Imaging at [the hospital], and they took "contrast" scans. I'd never been injected with dye before, and that part of it was the weirdest. It momentarily makes parts of your body feel like they're burning up. For me, it was especially in the palms of my hands - BURNING! I don't know how long until I find out anything…

I have a “mass” on my liver. What does that mean? Something? Nothing? Cancer??
09/22 Direct Link
Treasured food memory: my first taste of lobster. I was nine years old or so. It was a family vacation, one where Dad did lots of driving, and this was one of the best. In Maine, we stayed in a little rental cottage, "Half-Tide," in Cape Porpoise. It was raised above the water so boats could be kept beneath. Tiny rooms, but nice. During our stay, Dad bought a live lobster and boiled it in our small kitchen. We ate lobster dipped in butter sauce, a new experience. Amazing! I had never tasted anything so delicious in my life.
09/23 Direct Link
I just looked up my grades. For the first time in my life, I have a 4.00 GPA. Yeah, but I only took two classes. When I'm done with algebra (yes, I have to make up algebra), I won't count on keeping that average, but I'll try. I was never good in math. I found it boring and unlike reading, it seemed unrelated to real life. I remember as a young child, looking out the window and getting in trouble for it until I realized if I was going to daydream, I'd have to look like I was listening.
09/24 Direct Link
Tomorrow, I'm going with Kim up to the mountains. I don't know exactly where she means, but not terribly far away. It'll be mostly to visit antique stores and a place to eat she recommends. I love antique stores, though I intend to buy very little, not just because I shouldn't spend money, but I don't really have places to put much more stuff. I need to get rid of things as it is, and that's hard to do. I used to collect inexpensive glass, mostly vases. I still collect vintage jewelry, sometimes. At least jewelry takes up less space.
09/25 Direct Link
We didn't go to the mountains. Kim had a headache. It was all for the best; I as uneasy about traveling this weekend, even though it wouldn't have been an overnight. She felt better later and suggested a small crafts festival and then on to the Mall of Georgia. At the crafts fair, we bought African beads from two Senegalese men. They had so many, I told them they would do well to sell at bead shows. Of course, I'll take the strands apart to make jewelry. We shopped a bit at the mall, then ate at a good restaurant.
09/26 Direct Link
There are just too many things to look at on the Web. Just now, I looked at "ads that would be banned today" and sand sculptures and before that, PhotoShop mistakes in ads and other magazine photos and a few other odds and ends. I'm avoiding going to sleep again. I hate tossing and turning, making an effort to sleep. Just as I start to drift off, a hot flash wakes me up. This happens every time as I'm trying to sleep, usually more than once. I put off writing this, too. I run out ideas. Okay, now it's done.
09/27 Direct Link
Went to the doctor today so he could explain the results of my CT scan. The mass on my liver is a hemangioma. I'd never heard of that. Now that I look it up, it's fairly common, and never cancerous. The doctor said it's like a port-wine stain. I asked, "But a port-wine stain is a birthmark, so it's a birthmark on my liver?" Sort of. I read it's a mass of blood vessels. The scan found cysts on my kidneys and a granuloma, but nothing needing treatment, all other abdominal organs normal. No cancer; what a relief!!!
09/28 Direct Link
First night of class. So far, so good, starting all over yet again in algebra. I believe I'm going to like this teacher; she gives clear notes and goes slowly enough. Whether it will be sufficiently slow for me when the equations get much longer and more difficult remains to be seen, of course. I bought the book at the absolute last minute, but I made it on time. She prefers using a book over using My Math Lab on the Internet. Fine. If not, I'd have had to find out how to get back into it without paying again.
09/29 Direct Link
Started with a new grief group today. The last one I tried just didn't work out, and I wasn't comfortable in it. At this one, I was the only client, then one other person showed up. I hope this doesn't get cancelled because people who promised, won't actually commit to it. This is another that's supposed to be goal-oriented. We'll have "homework" assignments along with keeping and bringing in a journal. I guess that's good. I'm not sure what my goals are in my grief process. Getting rid of some of Danny's things that I haven't touched is one.
09/30 Direct Link
I won't do October. (I wish I could go to that Daily Show rally). Most of September was the break between quarters. I'm far from being the only "non-traditional" student, or actually - old, compared to those coming from high school. Okay, I'll summarize September:

I wrote much about school and cats. Also: health scares, uncertainty about my future, going places with my friend, Kim, including the circus; thoughts on the High Holy Days, embarrassments in the news, 9/11, missing Danny, my earliest teenage journal, memory of lobster, wasting time on the Internet, new grief group.

Happy forthcoming Halloween.