Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016

#January

2015 ended on a fearful note and 2016 begin on a hopeful one. I was to take my first Lexapro pill and hope it would combat my anxiety, but as it would turn out, it screwed with my already messed up sleep patterns even more. Going through menopause was not easy at all, though I was having fewer issues with my heart racing.

I began experimenting with different things to help calm my anxiety, and found that chicken had a calming effect on me, probably due to the tryptophan in it.

Returned to my counselor Stacey, and wow. No therapist had ever been so helpful! I got a dose of Chinese medicine that is known as emotional tapping. It can be used for anxiety as well as other things.

I was calm for several hours before my appointment with her, but a few hours before leaving I noticed the “butterflies,” as I call them, begin to kick up just under my rib cage. I tried to breathe them away and I tried to will them away, but they just wouldn’t dissipate. I was stuck in a horrible cycle where you get anxious and then you get depressed because you’re frustrated that you got anxious.

Stacey is a very easy-going woman who is very understanding, compassionate and knowledgeable. I honestly didn’t think she would be able to help me at first because what’s causing my anxiety is physiological. But then as Tom pointed out, being overweight is physiological yet exercise helps it.

The emotional tapping seemed silly to me at first and I really didn’t see the point in it, but it is surprisingly helpful.

We both ordered a Fitbit that monitors, sleep, heart rate and how active we are. He got a black one in extra large and I got a tangerine one in small, though I thought it looked more like red once it arrived.

We booked a room toward the back of Deck 6 on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas for the 30th – 4th!!! It was a superior ocean view stateroom with private balcony.

The plan was to fly from Sacramento to Fort Lauderdale on the 29th.
The ship embarked at 4:30 pm on the 30th and we would spend the 31st at sea.
We’d dock in Cozumel at 8am on the 1st and set sail again at 5pm.
We’d arrive at 7am in Costa Maya the next day and leave at 4pm.
We’d spend the 3rd cruising and return to Fort Lauderdale on the 4th at 7am.
On the 8th we’d return home.

We’d then rent a car and drive up to Tammy's where we’d check into a nearby hotel.

We were to fly first class and layover in Houston. As Tammy said, it was a shame that it’s taken so long to see each other, but we were both so incredibly excited!

Got lavender scented toilet paper for the first time and I kind of like it. It’s different and I like trying new things. We went treasure hunting at Goodwill where I found two cute dolls and a cute fake plant.

Decided to stop attending aerobics classes in the mornings. They kept it way too warm in the clubhouse and I hated the old music they’d play over and over again each time. I would stick to walking around the park or using my treadmill when the weather wasn’t nice. Also on my Bowflex.

Was delighted when Alexa was enabled for reading Kindle books, even if she didn’t always remember where she’d left off.

Did an adrenaline test that I ordered on Amazon, where you spit in 4 different tubes throughout the day. The doctors tested my blood, but not my saliva. This way I could rule out anything that might show up there.

Went to Payless. I got a pair of black women’s shoes in 5.5 that can be worn with both casual and dressy clothing. I liked how the strap crosses the top of the foot at an angle.

I also got a pair of girls’ sneakers in bright neon yellow with hot pink laces and accents. Now I had a little variety for running shoes and still loved my black ones with the Velcro ties and hot pink soles.

When I let Bob and Virginia know when we’d be leaving, Bob asked if we’d mind if he trimmed some of the bushes bordering the properties, always looking for something to do, and I told him that’d be no problem at all.

Saw Stacey again, and because I was doing so much better she asked if I’d prefer to see her on an as-needed basis, or if I’d feel more comfortable knowing I had an appointment down the road. I chose to just call if I needed her.

Later in the month, I won a cute 18” vinyl doll.

At the end of the month, the results of my cortisol lab tests came in and I was normal on two tests and on the low end of normal on the other two, which was good but at least did indicate something was up hormone-wise. As in the perimenopause I wish my original team of doctors had been smart enough to recognize.

Tammy began having surgeries to help lessen the pain her fibromyalgia has caused.

Upgraded my Mac to OS X El Capitan.

On the 29th we took off real early for the airport. Several hours later we were checked into our Fort Lauderdale hotel room at the Red Carpet Inn, even though there wasn’t a stitch of carpet in the room.

Before leaving the hotel in Fort Lauderdale, I updated on Facebook, Twitter, and texted A.

Then came the real nightmare. Something was wrong with the ship’s computers and there were some issues with immigration, so all four thousand of us had to wait in line in the sun for over four hours. I had a heatstroke, and a woman trained in CPR was kind enough to help since the crew didn’t give a shit.

Someone else handed me a bottle of water as well as a banana and that helped even more. I was thankful as hell. I was so damn dehydrated that when I overheated my body couldn’t even sweat to cool me down.

I wasn’t the only one to suffer a heatstroke. Paramedics came for someone else, too.

I was so weak and exhausted by the time we boarded the ship, but couldn’t get food and rest right away because we had to attend roll call and go through all the emergency drills they have you do. Even after that, getting food delivered was no easy task. The service was absolutely horrible. We were both so frustrated. It was such a horrible waste of money.

#February

The only thing good about our Royal Caribbean cruise was the food in the Windjammer. We enjoyed the spa as well, and of course, I did a little shopping in hot, humid Cozumel, Mexico. We shopped for ourselves as well as for family and our neighbors, Bob and Virginia. Bought some things from some of the Promenade’s seriously overpriced stores.

Choppy seas prevented us from docking in Costa Maya the following day just as it had prevented us from docking in the Grand Turk & Caicos after stopping in Puerto Rico and the Bahamas when we cruised the eastern Caribbean in 2007. So we not only got shitty service, but we didn’t get to go on any excursions either.

It took me about 3 days to fully recover from the heatstroke. I felt drained, disorientated and just overall shitty. I managed to sleep ok, though, and liked our stateroom better than the one we had on the Westerdam. We also had a private balcony and it was nice to enjoy despite the constant sea winds. We sailed so close to Cuba it almost felt like I could add another country to my travel list.

The banging from the neighboring rooms was maddening and we couldn’t even get the Internet we paid for. We forgot to take the laptop’s charger too, so its battery life didn’t last throughout the entire voyage.

On the last day, I had a Fire and Ice mani-pedi. Jill from Jamaica did a great job on my toes, which I chose to have polished in blue, but in buffing the ridges from my fingernails she made the nails, which I had done in pink, too thin and brittle.

We gambled a bit, but never played miniature golf or went rock climbing.

After nearly a quarter century, I got to run into my big sister’s arms for a long, emotional embrace AND see my lovely niece Sarah! That was on the 2nd. Met Becky the following night at a diner we all went to. They both looked lovely and I was thrilled to see them after so long.

It was wonderful meeting Mark too, who’s such a great guy. He had some interesting stories to share over dinner. He grilled us steaks one night while Tammy made a roast another night.

Tammy's home was beautiful, but Florida was surprisingly chilly. She took us to the beach and some really nice stores. We got so much stuff in both the US and MX that we had to get another suitcase. She and Mark gave us some cute knickknacks and a necklace, too.

Our hotel was spacious and had a great view of the marina from its private balcony. The only time I didn’t appreciate being there was when they had a live band playing downstairs.

I definitely liked her city better than ours. We knew it was risky to change states again till he retired, though. The cost of living may be higher in Cali, but so was the pay.

As much as I knew I’d miss my family and the warmer weather, it was nice to be back in the comfort of our own home. Was surprised to find I’d won a pressure cooker not long afterward.

Went next door and told Virginia about our trip and gave her and Bob the same small wind chime I gave Tammy and got for us. What was funny was how determined she told me Bob was to have fun shaping some of our trees. He was welcome to trim away since he had more time to do so than Tom had.

The house diagonally from us sold and our new neighbors, a couple of women, have been quiet so far.

Saw Doc L one last time and was bummed to learn she’d left because she was the first shrink I ever met who wasn’t crazier than her patients.

Got a $5 GC from Amazon for doing a survey, so I got a miniature Bernese Mountain puppy to add to my animal and fairy collection.

Jackie, across from our carport, had serious water damage from a leaky hot water tank. So I had to listen to them work on fixing that for weeks.

I splurged on a new purple Keurig coffee maker.
One of Tom’s coworkers gave him a small diary in which I wrote my dreams in. Once filled, I placed it in one of the bedroom’s built-in drawers to wait for some future owner to try to decipher.

Tammy’s fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis worsened and she had several procedures done to try to lessen the pain and gain a better quality of life.

Considered trying a cockatiel as a pet until I read that they were typically messy and noisy.

Went treasure hunting at Goodwill and got a gold figurine of a rat that’s fairly large, and a small parrot figurine that goes perfectly with the larger one I got in Florida.

I also got an 18” vinyl doll with a nice face and well-sculpted hands. I replaced her drab outfit.

Realized I hadn’t seen Hazel in ages. I figured that if she was still alive she’d been moved to a nursing home somewhere. She was pretty out of it last I knew.

#March

Started the month off by waking up with a pounding heart. I was also having some unpleasant mental reflections. Time kept jumping around in my mind as I compared my younger self to my current self and what was easier now vs. what was easier then. I compared my way of thinking and viewing the world, and wondered what that might be like years from now.

I still worried about us suffering in this life as well as in any possible afterlife, even though an afterlife seemed scientifically impossible. I tried to shut it out, but my mind went to every possibility out there.

We ordered Echo Dot from Amazon so we could have Alexa in both the living/kitchen/dining area as well as in the master bedroom. Sometimes I liked to listen to audiobooks while coloring in the living room and other times I liked to listen while relaxing in the bedroom.

A troll named Cindie (if that’s even her real name), was showing a dark side I didn’t know existed. She was just an online acquaintance who I knew wasn’t all there, but whose worst fault seemed to be being a pest. She went to Valleyhead, too. I didn’t know much else about her other than that she had Asperger’s.

Then one day I decided to unblock her. Dumb assumption to think that these 50-somethings would be much different after a handful of months, though! Cindie wasted no time messaging me like crazy, wanting a texting buddy. I politely explained to her that I had no interest in texting since I found it much more convenient to keep in touch with people online. Cindie took my declining to text with her the wrong way and said I was being “cold” to her and that she “wasn’t going to deal with my attitude” and to “watch out” and “later cunt.”

I reported the message and blocked her, not that I expected Facebook to take it seriously at all.

I sipped hot caramel apple cider and listened to the rain after getting a beautiful long rainbow pillow that I had absolutely no use for yet couldn’t resist anyway. I guess I was just a real sucker for colorful rainbows. ;)

H cleaned my teeth and the dentist confirmed a cavity in my back right upper molar. It was so big it needed to be crowned… ugh.
The dentist wondered if I snored or had sleep apnea. Something about the way my tongue flopped back, I guess, but nope. I only snore a little bit at times, according to Tom.

The new office assistant sold me on one of those ultrasonic essential oil diffusers. She had peppermint oil in the one she had running on her desk. The one I ordered had a color changing LED light in it.

Got my hair trimmed by an older lady I remembered from my first visit to this particular salon last May. Yes, it had been 10 months since my hair last saw a pair of scissors.

I also got this expensive, but awesome Paul Mitchell smoothing leave-in conditioner that smelled real nice. Great for the hair.

We made another Amazon order in the middle of the month. Tom got a new lunch bag for work that would allow him to take cold foods so he had more variety for lunch and breaks.

I treated myself to Linda’s Lollies, 24 different flavored lollipops that were only 90 calories and would last a long time.

I also got a Texan bull and a seal to add to my collection.

I grabbed a mocha latte lollipop at Michael’s yesterday, but it tasted like very weak chocolate. I also got a mini journal, a bracelet with clear stones that are super shiny, a mini coloring book that’d be great for traveling, and a couple more animal figures. A decked out fairy horse, as they call it, and a Jack Russell terrier. Lastly, I got some floral tissue paper that isn’t exactly for noses. The way it was packaged made me think it was, but it’s a bit thick and stiff for that so I used them as drink coasters.

Won a one-year pass to Pandora One, and also a pricey facial serum, some samples, some bath beads, and a really nice cosmetic bag.

I moved our little 2-seater round kitchen table into our very large master bedroom so I could work in there on noisy days.

Sometimes I found myself missing rural living, away from all the traffic and people. I missed seclusion and peace (when dogs weren’t barking like crazy), but didn’t miss the lack of utilities and mail services.

Our motion censored kitchen pail broke and I was kind of glad. I know Tom loved high-tech stuff, and I usually did too, but I never cared for the damn thing because it would go through batteries like crazy. I just wanted a regular, no-frills pail.

Added a gorgeous window mural for the bedroom of cherry trees in a park with bright lush green grass.

Did a ton of shopping at Wal-Mart and on Amazon at the end of the month. Tried another nail fungus killer on the 3 toes that were infected, got some more essential oils so I’d have a better variety, new bath gloves, a couple of coloring books, and Herbal Essence shampoo. I just couldn’t get into TRESemme. I also got a hot pink thong, two pairs of sweatpants (pink and black), and 3 pairs of shorts (pink, gray, black), my favorite popcorn and 5 more animal figures.

Decided to stop doing aerobics at the clubhouse. They continued to keep it way too warm in there and I was tired of having to do it to their shitty music.

#April

Found myself wishing, as I did many times, that they’d implement a rule forbidding projects other than in emergencies on weekends so I could at least know I could count on those days off from the racket. Having two days of peace I could count on would be nice, but weekends were hit or miss.

Had an asthma attack after a bike ride. First one in 6 months. I was glad for the emergency Ventolin inhaler I got from my PCP last December. Despite being run through the wringer a bit, emotionally I’d been doing great.

About a week into the month I got my permanent crown placed on my upper back molar, then we went treasure hunting at Goodwill. We could easily afford expensive stores that sold brand new stuff, which we did go to, but there was just something about being surprised with old treasures at Goodwill.

I got a heavy Dalmatian figurine very similar to the one I got from them not too long ago. Also got a miniature doll in hot pink (my fave) and a couple of porcelain dolls, only I wanted one of them for its wig.

We bombed the place before leaving.

Shortly before the middle of the month, we did another Amazon order. I got a pillow with shredded memory foam to ease my stiff neck. I added 6 animals to my collection of miniatures… a macaw, a swan with babies on her back, a horse and rider, a greyhound, a collie, and a donkey. I got a case for them and whatever others I could fit into it. I also got another oil diffuser like the color changing LED one I got not too long before it.

After researching a doll I got from Goodwill, I found it was an Ashton-Drake doll by Gail Ferretti. It didn’t surprise me given the appearance of its face and body size. This type of doll is usually a bit expensive.

Saw my ENT doc, which was quick and painless.

Finished all the episodes of Criminal Minds on Netflix that were available, and then I tried to get into CSI Miami.

Was excited to redo our floors after the totally AWESOME 3D floor designs I’d discovered.

Bought a $60 juicer and found it to be a pain in the ass that I didn’t use it for long.

My wins slowed down and I decided not to renew my sweeps subscription in May unless they started picking up again.

I was inspired to write the book Shane, based on a dream I had which gave me the idea for it.

Tom got a raise. Not as much as we would have liked but better than nothing.

We both had lab work done, and I was noticing that I felt dizzy lately, though pleased with how much better my hair was looking and feeling since getting a trim and Paul Mitchell’s Skinny serum.

Tom got over $150 worth of gift cards from work… Chili’s, an Amex card, and something else.

At the end of the month, Hoodie, our two-year-old rat died.

Had a bad dream and woke up with a racy heart. Sure enough, I later learned that my LDL cholesterol was very high. Plus my red and white blood cell count was elevated. I declined any cholesterol medication at the time, too afraid to take anything, thanks to my fear of medication.

On the last day of the month, our washer started smoking and died. Then we replaced it with a front loader. I like it a lot, though it does have a few negative points.

#May

Started off the month with great news. My Endo, Dr. O, released me now that we’d got my dose regulated.

Wasn’t impressed with the 3D flooring and the way they stretched the design a bit (pink roses against gray rocks). Decided they’d look great backing the bookcase, however.

Did some research and found a local “rattery” that bred rats for temperament and health by being sure to handle them as babies. We were considering contacting them.

Won a pair of LED work light bars in an instant sweep on Amazon. Nothing too exciting.

Cleaned my glasses and jewelry in our ultrasonic jewelry cleaner.

My anxiety was minimal at this time, but sometimes borderline. Although I was never a fan of jazz music, I found it to be as relaxing as I knew many believed it to be.

The park continues to turn the water off every week or two to repair old pipes.

A coworker gave Tom some candy apples that were leftover from some kind of fundraiser. The gourmet treats were great.

We went to Best Buy in the middle of the month where Tom got blue earbuds to listen to music with at work with the gift card he got from there.

At Target we got over $100 of stuff yet it only cost us $30, thanks to the GC’s they gave him. He got a really nice pair of pruning shears. I grabbed a pair of slippers, a pack of neon colored ankle socks in six different colors, and a gorgeous necklace where the chain is gathered with a small gold clasp at the chest and then two chains dangle down toward my bellybutton, each with a clear crystal hanging off the ends.

Finished the Dutch course and planned to review my Italian next.

Discovered PinDown, a great way to download my Pinterest boards.

During the third week of the month, my wireless Bluetooth speaker with the color changing LED lights arrived and it ended up in the bathroom. That way I could listen to music when showering if I wanted to.

Went to Denny’s and will definitely not be going back. It was busy even at 3:00 in the morning! Furthermore, the service sucked.

Stopped at Walgreens after Denny’s and got a cute, colorful tunic that was almost 70’s looking with its wide lace trimmed sleeves that are gathered above the elbow. I also got a pink floral scarf.

Began watching the series Slasher on Netflix, and really liked it. I couldn’t get into CSI: Miami, but CSI: New York was ok. Not as good as Criminal Minds and Law & Order, though.

At the end of the month, I was pretty annoyed by the labs, doctors and billing department’s lack of organization. I went to the lab and waited all for nothing, as it wasn’t time yet for thyroid testing.
Went to Goodwill again where I got a cute purple glittery squirrel figurine with “jewels,” and a dark purple skirt with a black stretchy waistband.

We worked on the master shower, but the stems and valves needed replacing.

Not sure why, but my bad ear was worse. Tom suggested I check into a pain management specialist, saying that maybe there’s a simple technique that could help it just like the emotional tapping helped with anxiety and other things. I figured I’d wait, though, as I had enough appointments to deal with.

#June

Visited my PCP on the first and while my lungs and heart sounded good, she talked me into taking half a 10-mcg tablet of Pravastatin every other day.

She also wanted to send me to a sleep specialist and do an arterial ultrasound of my carotid artery to make sure no blockage was causing my dizziness.

We had the car smog tested and went to Chili’s for beef quesadillas and French fries that weren’t very good. Went treasure hunting at the GW after that and got a couple of sun catchers and a pair of pink scissors.

Tom replaced the broken stem in the master shower, and we met a woman named Mona at the pool.

Had an anxiety attack after my second dose of Pravastatin and stopped taking it. My doctor then urged me to do a retrial, so I decided I would do that when Tom went on vacation the following month.

I reorganized some areas of the laundry room, hallway, and bedroom.

Began watching Bates Motel on Netflix and loved it.

Our dark purple flannel sheets and new pillow arrived, though the pillow was exactly like the last one only longer.

We got Cappy a wheel but he wouldn’t use it.

Went for my carotid artery ultrasound and the tech said he didn’t see anything worrisome.

There was a 20-minute power failure toward the middle of the month.

Found these really cool stick-on designer nails for girls. Because I have small fingers they were a perfect fit.

Had a bad dream about an old lady in Texas that follows my blog. Sure enough, she had another attack that messed up her vision even more.

Got a pair of black, melon and mint leggings that fit the best of all the leggings I’d tried in the last couple years, which had nice soft material.

The park turned our water off two days in a row, which really pissed us off, and Tom dyed my hair for me.

Bombed the house and saw Stacey 3 weeks into the month. It was agreed that she would do EMDR on me to help prevent future panic attacks.

Jackie moved and in came a couple named Jon and Carolyn. They're super nice.

Ordered some stuff on Amazon, including toothpaste like Restore that's supposed to help close up cavities. It was called Squigle Tooth Builder.

I also got some sculpting clay and tools, leggings, and light blue Egyptian cotton sheets.

Bob and Virginia disappeared during the last week of this month, and I quickly chatted with Geri who lives across from us.

After watching a movie that reminded me of a 5th-grade teacher in the elementary school I went to that I had a “crush” on, or whatever the proper word is for being just 10 years old at the time, I looked her up and was surprised to find she died just two months earlier.
I continued to struggle with intermittent fatigue and dizziness, and was surprised to learn they were closing the pool earlier due to vandalism.

#July

Camp NaNoWriMo began and so did my project, The Interviews.

After my first dose of the statin retrial, I was hit with the same sore throat as the first time and stopped it after 4 or 5 doses. The pharmacist I spoke to about it said it probably wouldn’t go away despite being a very effective drug. Not surprisingly, my PCP felt the sore throat was due to anxiety. I began to wonder if she’d say that about everything I ever felt, LOL.

Heard back from the woman I contacted at the rattery and even got a really cool new cage. It was huge and cost a little over $200.

Went to Mel’s super early on the morning of the 5th to escape the crowds, but you’d be surprised how many people are still out and about at 4am here.

Watched a few episodes of the series Bones, but wasn’t impressed.

At Target I finally found the ideal handbag. It was medium-size and a bold shade of pink.

We also got a new file box, which we seriously needed, and some folders to go with it.

Went treasure hunting at Goodwill. I grabbed a pink beaded necklace, a pair of really large barrettes that’s hard to find, and a cat toy for the rats since rats like to chase things, too.

We ate lunch at Carl’s and they charged us for bottled water, which we felt they shouldn’t have because we ordered combos that were supposed to include drinks. We would have preferred soda, but the soda machines were broken.

The evening of the 6th we were to meet a woman to pick up the three male rats we adopted! We met her mother instead in Taco Bell’s parking lot. Because one of the dark rats turned out to be a hermaphrodite, they substituted him-her with a Dumbo rat. This worked out better because I think having two dark rats would have made them hard to tell apart.

I named the Dumbo rat Dumbo, the other dark one Burke as he was a Berkshire rat, and the Siamese rat Simon.

They were a little shyer than I expected them to be, but I planned to work with them and give them lots of love and attention.

Tom printed some brackets with the 3-D printer to make it easier to attach the baseboards we got to the legs of the couch in order to keep them from nesting underneath it when out and about.

Saw Stacey on the 8th and as I told her, I almost wished I could see her every month for life since I always felt so much better afterward. I knew I would probably always have a fear of medication in general, but it was nice that I could finally take the painkillers once again that I’d always taken for cramps and whatnot without fearing something bad would happen.

She began EMDR sessions on me and helped me to see that I wasn’t so weak and helpless after all (the day I was traumatized two years ago by the horrible reaction to the levothyroxine). I did manage to dial 911, and I did get the back door open as well.

Our ultimate goal was to make it less likely for me to panic in the future if something scary happened. She waved two fingers in front of my face as I saw done on some YouTube vids I’d checked out, only she moved them faster than I expected. Keeping my head still, she had me follow her fingers with my eyes. I found it much harder than I thought it would be to move my eyes so fast from side to side, so she switched to up and down. During those times I was supposed to think of a negative trait I believed I had at the time, then later a positive one. In between these hand movements, which would only last about 10 seconds, I was to walk myself through the horrible and terrifying event…

My heart suddenly booming in my chest.

Running out of the bedroom.

Running down the hall.

Fumbling with the new phone I wasn’t yet familiar with and hoping I could call 911.

Finally getting through to 911 despite how shaky my hands were.

Next… getting the back door open in case I didn’t survive until the paramedics arrived.

Stepping out of the house and into the carport, phone in hand, trying to remember the space number for the dispatcher.

Seeing a curious worker across the street glance at me through the Cyprus trees at the sound of my frantic voice.

Hearing the sound of the paramedics approaching.

Moving toward the end of the driveway.

Relief running through me as a young redheaded guy exited the passenger side of the fire truck.

A gurney wheeled from the back of the ambulance that was parked behind the fire truck.

The paramedics hooking me to a cardiogram.

Them assuring me that I didn’t accidentally take a lethal dose of levothyroxine and that I didn’t have a heart attack…

Then we talked about how my fear ultimately ended up turning into confusion and then to anger, since it took me so long for my old team of doctors to give me any real information. In fact, they were so unhelpful that I got a new team of doctors. They explained what happened (pocket flares in the thyroid) and was given more helpful and effective solutions.

The left break light on the car went out as someone in the park told us, so we got it replaced.

A few days after the rats’ arrival they continued to be horribly and disappointingly shy. They let me handle them and they didn’t bite, so that much was good.

On the 10th we’d been in our house for 3 years.

They added S11 of Criminal Minds on Netflix toward the middle of the month, so I was sure to catch it.
On the 13th my sore throat was back and I began to wonder if the special toothpaste I had ordered was the cause of it. I still believed the statins started my sore throat since I got it both times I took it but wondered if it would have gone away had I not started using the toothpaste at the same time. Either way, I was fed up with the medication drama and determined to take a break. Especially since no plaque had been found present in my arteries.

I briefly chatted with Virginia and gave her our new cell numbers.

Saw Stacey in the middle of the month. I left her office that day determined to take back the park. My anxiety had stolen enough enjoyment from it, so I was determined to not let the thought of venturing out on my own scare me.

My periods continued to be highly erratic and I began to be harassed by the rattery chick and her mother because I expressed my concerns over the rats being skittish. Her mother proved to be batshit crazy with the long dramatic voice messages she left me threatening to take me to court for “slandering” them in my blog. She demanded my address so that they could serve a warrant for a cease and desist, etc. Oh, and as a disabled war vet I was triggering her PTSD and she needed to be medicated just like her disabled “child” that was really an adult with children of her own, as I would later learn. She tried to use her disability as a crutch and a weapon against me too, but that had nothing whatsoever to do with anything and I would never have even known she was disabled had they not chose to tell me.

I was also harassed and threatened via email by the daughter and on Facebook by Mommy Dearest. I was never worried, though. I knew I hadn’t broken any laws. All I’d done was piss them off by telling them things they didn’t want to hear.

On one of my evening walks, a guy on our street stopped me to ask if we’d seen his dog. This is the house that has a couple of young girls living in it that aren’t supposed to be there. He said it escaped out the doggy door, and I was thinking… a doggy door in a retirement community where dogs are supposed to be household pets only? When I said something about hoping the park didn’t catch him he looked horrified for a second.

For a while, my dizziness eased up, which was a great relief to me, but then it slowly returned along with the fatigue.

Toward the end of the month, I got some fun stuff from Amazon: A toe ring, a couple of swimsuits, a couple of necklaces, and a necklace holder.

Made a home video to share with Tammy. I also made a quick rat vid.

Two years ago I’d gotten 3 sets of scenic curtains. I hung a beach scene by the front door and a garden scene in the dining area. The forest scene never got hung anywhere until I decided to replace the sheer lace curtain in the laundry room for extra privacy. It looked awesome in there!

I’ve remained anxiety-free, but there’s no way to know how the EMDR is going to affect me unless something bad happens, but of course, I don’t want anything bad to happen in the first place in order to find out.

Ordered an exercise skier so that it would be easier on my hip joints. Also, it’s quiet compared to the treadmill so I could watch TV and listen to audiobooks easier. I started Scream, though only 1 season was available at the time.

On the last day of the month, we went to Goodwill. Got some incense and a cute squirrel figure to decorate the patio with.

Then we did something that felt sooo good! Yes, it felt so good to get it all out after 3 years of sitting back in silence. We finally voiced our opinion of life in our park in an anonymous survey.

As I learned the hard way from past experience… if you complain, people can’t handle it and they retaliate, no matter how legit and reasonable your complaint may be. This way I could let them know how sick I was of the constant landscaping sounds, especially in the winter. And finding kids in the pool after hours, along with the damn water outages as well. I left out the motorcycles and other loud traffic, wanting to address the most important issues.

#August

On the 2nd Pinterest changed their site around. I always hate it when sites change their appearance/layout. You get hooked on one way, you get used to the setup, and then it’s gone. I still enjoy and use the site very much. I just liked it the way it was.

Got a new exercise skier, or air walker, as it’s called. Love how it’s impact-free and whisper quiet so I can watch my shows while I’m on it.

We got new hubs for our Fitbit dongles so we could sync them straight into our computers since their app often had issues.

Met our new neighbors, Jon and Carolyn and I could say they’ve been quiet so far if it weren’t for their termite project that’s taken a couple weeks to complete. Lots of loud hammering and vehicle doors thumping up a storm, but necessary. Very nice people, though. So glad to know we've got good neighbors.

On the 5th, 25 people were laid off where Tom works.

The next day I was remembering Rosemarie, this good looking bigot I met in 1992 in Phoenix because it was her birthday. She was a year older than me. I wondered what the Italian Texas native’s life was like these days. Was she still under the influence of abusive, controlling men? Was she just as hateful as I remembered her to be?

I realized that I wanted to crawl out of the protective shell Aly had caused me to slip into but was afraid of getting burned again. Therefore I continued to keep most people at arm’s length.

On the 11th, I met with my counselor with mixed emotions. We had a great meeting, and as much as I hoped I wouldn’t need her again as a therapist, I hated to think it was goodbye forever. But she told me I could call her, and I gave her my contact info. Planning to contact her on Valentine’s Day if I didn't hear from her first or needed to schedule an appointment with her.

They turned our water off on two separate days for nearly 6 hours. I was so frustrated with that and the daytime noise that again I thought of moving but had no idea where we could go to escape it. Instead, I let them have it anonymously online, and this time I included how annoyed I was with motorcycles being allowed to roar in and out of the place.

We ordered rat supplies and another pair of nighties for me.

I continued to have intermittent dizziness on and off, as well as earaches. Took my BP for a week or so and I seemed to be all over the place with the upper number. Sometimes it was normal, other times it was too high.

The 17th – Was realizing just how fun Burke had become. Such a playful little guy!

The 21st – Tammy was hospitalized after having a congestive heart attack. They placed two stents in her arteries.

The 22nd - My new turquoise ankle bracelet fits perfectly. Sent Tammy purple flowers in a purple vase, knowing that purple has always been her favorite color.

The 24th – Had a brief chat with Barbara and her daughter Jenny from the NHA. They got a kick out of old journal excerpts I shared with them from those days back in 1992.

The 26th – Made my Tumblr blog a voice blog. Went to the lab, Carl's and Target.

The 28th – Cholesterol was still bad but better. Thyroid the same.

The 27th – Amazon order: A variety of incense, and a dozen color-changing solar lights to decorate the front with, a 12-pack of mood-changing lipsticks, a temperature-changing mug, and a necklace with real pressed flowers.

#September

The 4th – Moved my old desk out of the closet and into the bedroom. That’s where I will work during the daytime when it’s potentially noisy.

The 9th - Passed my EKG. Next up is the stress test (for my heart). I was surprised to be told I still have good estrogen. Then why do I have dizziness and fatigue???

The 10th - Congrats to my dear hubby for once again making Employee of the Month! Got a rat calendar for next year, a rat coloring book for adults, flavored lip gloss, purple wireless earbuds, and a Love Spell bath bomb. Grabbed some magnetic jewelry clasps because I’m tired of dealing with lobster claw clasps.

The 11th - I also ordered some fragrance oils, Choco Musk, Maple Syrup, Brown Sugar and Brown Sugar & Fig.

The 13th - Had my visit with the sleep doc to discuss my circadian rhythm disorder. Going to keep a log of my sleep and see him again in Nov.

The 15th - Had my teeth cleaned. Don't have cavities so much as I have gum inflammation. Didn't see the Doc. She's an Army reserve, so she was out.

The 17th - Had our eye exams. OH was up a bit but not too bad. Tom's cataract wasn't worse but he was given drops for his "crying" eye.

The 25th - Got some fun things at Walgreens & Walmart... scented wax cubes, smaller undies, White Diamonds perfume, and a lighted "fish aquarium."

The 27th – Love my new snake necklace! Also, love how they gave me an extra gold chain.

The 29th – Got my Sugar Babies K-cups yesterday. Caramel hot chocolate that is Devine!

The 30th – My book The Wrong Sister reached 40K words.

#October

The 1st - Ordered a long sleeved dress in wineberry for the winter and brown knee-high boots. Also ordered a bedding subscription for the rats, plus some other things they’d need now that Cappy occupied the upper half of the cage.

Got my new glasses but knew I might have to use a smaller screen.

The 2nd – We got our first rain of the season, and I got 2 lipsticks, candy and some horrible incense at the dollar store.

Ordered mid-range single vision glasses for me, and standard transition bifocals, so I could continue enjoying my large 32” monitor.

The 5th - Got an alert saying someone in Latvia logged into my Twitter account. Though nothing appeared to have been sent or changed, I changed PWs anyway.

The 8th - This month's Amazon order: A Y-shaped ring necklace, a pink cut-shoulder shirt, boot socks, and a figurine of a brunette in a red bikini. Also got a more powerful air cleaner to put by the rats. A 22” tower cleaner that targets bacteria and odors much more efficiently.

The 11th - Updated my Mac to Sierra from El Capitan.

The 20th – The park turned our water off for 4 hours.

The 22nd – Got bath bombs at Bed, Bath & Beyond, a rainbow headband, K-cups, junk food, and had my passport photo taken at Walgreens.

The 29th – Finished my book, The Wrong Sister, which was over 61K words.

The 31st - Started a 30-day trial of Amazon Music Unlimited.

#November

The 1st – Did a huge Amazon order. Got a pink sweatshirt, an ash gray sweatshirt with a cat face, a rat hideaway, a LUX light for my circadian rhythm disorder and a new hand vacuum. Also got shower bombs, black zebra patterned stockings, an aurora borealis sweatshirt, and black skirt.

The LUX light would prove to be worthless, and the cat shirt too big on me. Being a unisex sweatshirt, it fit Tom nicely.

I also got a black dress from a previous order with a jagged hem and found it to be more like a tunic. It was way too short, even at my height.

The 4th – Saw my ENT who told me I had arthritis in my jaw joint and that my ear looked fine.

The 5th – Sarah was hospitalized with stomach issues, but luckily she dodged having to have surgery.

The 8th – I was stunned out of my mind to see Trump get elected for president. Were we really more sexist than politically correct? I didn’t think so, and popular vote showed that. Still, I was shocked, saddened, angry enough to hope he and his sidekick were assassinated, and a little bit worried as well. I understood his stance on Muslims, but I didn’t agree with anything else he had in mind.

The 13th - Got blue leggings, a rose-gold barrette, and Hawaiian Lei bath bombs at Walgreens.

The 14th – We got a lot of rain and the African daisies in front were abloom with their bright yellow color.

The 19th – The master bath sink sprung a leak and we got a nice new, stylish faucet at Lowe’s, and also a duster made for ceiling fans.

The Supermoon was bright but not noticeably bigger.

The 20th – At Target I got a couple of necklaces, Birthday Cake bath bombs, and pink/purple furry slippers.

The 22nd – I canceled my appointment with the new shrink since I was no longer taking lorazepam.

The 23rd – Loved the glass rainbow wind chime Tom got me as an early birthday present.

Got a new glass dish for my wax fragrance warmer. A tiny hole had burned thru the other one as it got old and yucky, dripping wax onto the bulb.

My new tan strapless bra fits well, and the skirt I got was beautiful but way too long to wear as a skirt. I'd have to wear it as a tube dress.

The 12-pack of tank tops I got, each in a different color, fit perfectly. They were also much better quality than I expected.

Enjoyed a complimentary sampler Walmart gave us for being new online customers.

As expected, the park turned our water off for an hour.

The 24th – Loved our new carpet cleaner!

The 25th - Tom dyed my hair. This time we used L'Oreal's Colorsilk.

My gold chain fashion belt arrived and fit great. Same went for my new black shirt with the cutout 3/4 sleeves.

The 27th – We transferred our cactus plant into a large pot that was left here.

The 28th – A Muslim refugee terrorist tried to kill several people at the OSU where my cyber friend Christine works, but fortunately the animal was killed. As I still ask, how many more years are we going to allow these savage beasts into the US?

The 29th – Ordered a portable heater to place by my desk and a long-sleeved leopard dress that was just $6 on AP.

Went vegan for the sake of lowering my cholesterol in preparation for labs, and was surprised to lose 4.4 pounds. Then I had some spotting and my hunger levels went up, signaling that I might not have hit menopause just yet after all. I realized that if I ever really could lose weight, I would probably have to wait until I no longer had cycles. The PMS hunger would only cause me to eat back on whatever I’d lost, though by the end of the month I was only up 1 pound.

The 30th – Got sick of my voice blog and decided to make it a text blog, storing yearly life updates there instead.

#December

Dec 4 – Turned 51 and went on a shopping spree. At Walgreens, I got pomegranate bath bombs, a leopard print car for the rats, a sparkly headband, snacks and blue stick-on nails w/white snowflakes.

Dec 6 – More pointless changes on Pinterest.

Dec 7 – Received my 40-pack variety of K-cups and my new 54-cup K-cup holder.

Dec 9 - Got a burger and fries after the lab and felt yucky. Yes, going vegan was the right thing to do.

Dec 10 – RIP Cappy.

Anxiety begins to return.

Dec 13 – Saw my PCP and got a flu shot.

Dec 15 – Left a message for Stacey to call me. My PCP’s nurse said that after my stress test they may order a special heart rhythm monitor for me.

Dec 12 - Lost a total of 8 pounds and was genuinely worried I’d gone from hypo to hyper, especially since I had the runs and my TSH was just 7.75! Not much change with my cholesterol. It was still pretty bad.

Dec 18 – Got my first real period in 3.5 months. Went to Walgreens where I got a rainbow beanie baby, pink nail polish, candy, incense, and lavender bath bombs. At Walmart, I got hair dye, soda, scented wax cubes, and treats and a wooden borough for the rats.

Received my rainbow print sweatshirt.

Dec 22 – Went for my echo stress test, and then my session with Stacey. Got desperate enough to try Estroven as I was feeling like shit both physically and mentally. I was anxious, I was crying, I couldn’t sleep, I had no appetite, I had no energy, and I had the runs.

Dec 23 – Chatted with Tammy who really cheered me up, which I appreciated from the bottom of my heart.

Dec 26 – Ordered a 3" gel-infused memory foam topper, salty caramel cappuccino K-cups, new air filters, plus mouthwash and breath strips for Tom.

Dec 27 - Nasal allergies were acting up. It was time to go back on my spray.

Canceled the appointment I was supposed to have with Stacey on January 4, scheduled an appointment with the new shrink, though I wouldn’t be able to see her until May, and updated my PCP’s nurse since my PCP was on vacation. The nurse informed me that my stress test was normal.

Dec 29 - Stopped the Estroven due to a tingling feeling in my throat and mouth, which the lady at the number on the box said can happen.

Dec 31 - Began redoing our floors, starting with the laundry room and second bath.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

2015

January: I saw my new endocrinologist. I liked her way better than my old one. She was much more informative, caring and knowledgeable, though a bit stern at times. She doubled my levothyroxine dose from 25 mcgs to 50 mcgs and then eventually to 75 mcgs.

We got Amazon Echo’s Alexa.

February: Got a new MacBook Air, new smartphones, and sold our 1994 Ford Taurus after getting a 2003 Cadillac Seville.

Our Sugar ratty died and we got a new rat named Cappy to live with Hoodie. He’s been antisocial and a bit of a bully.

Exchanged voice messages on Facebook with Irene in Austria in both English and German.

Also got in touch with Raj, the Indian guy who owns one of the motels we stayed at up in Oregon. I learned he had a crush on me and I found him to be rather perverted.

March: Painted the laundry room light blue, and got an 8-foot strip of rainbow tape lighting.

English actress Jenny Seagrove started following me on Twitter.

I had an ingrown toenail removed.

April: Was disappointed that Jodi Arias didn’t receive the death penalty.

Was put on Prozac for anxiety, but had to stop due to it giving me suicidal thoughts. Met with my counselor S, and decided I liked her better than Dana.

Replaced our wall faceplates throughout the house with decorative plates.

May: Got my hair cut to my shoulders.

Was sad to learn my Italian foster dad died, but happy to get a new kitten named Simone.

June: Celebrated our 21st anniversary, and got dumped by Paula after suggesting that two weeks was too long to stay here after she decided on her own that that was how long she would stay. She took it wrong when I tried to explain why it would pose a hardship on everybody, not to mention quickly bore her, and she believed I really didn’t want to see her.

To be honest, I was glad when she dumped me because I was sick of dealing with her stupid, aggressive and selfish ways.

Painted the master bath buttercream.

Thrilled and surprised to see marriage equality become a reality.

July: Had to return Simone to the adoption agency because she triggered my asthma. Very sad day.

Completed my book Rainstorm.

Found a couple of cousins online and gave them a piece of my mind for the first time in 30 years, but don’t know if they actually got or read the messages.

August: Had an eye exam and got new designer transition progressive glasses. They looked good on me but I hate the “waviness” of progressives. Planned to return to regular bifocals next time.

Got a bunch of adult coloring books, colored pencils, gel pens, and markers.

September: Andy learns a fellow NA member is Ricky, Fran’s brother.

Saw my dentist. No cavities. Endo wants to raise me from 75 mcgs to 88 mcgs.

Began writing a book called Bringing Brynn Back.

October: Been cigarette-free for 18 years.

Installed a new ceiling fan and a dazzling “crystal” chandelier.

Had my worst asthma attack in 10 years.

Began watching Criminal Minds after finishing Law & Order SVU.

Joined Pinterest and loved it.

Labs were normal but anxiety was so bad that I had to go back to 75 mcgs. Tom’s blood pressure medication dosage was doubled.

Installed our new motion sensor toilets.

November: Realized that my parents didn’t lose custody of me when I was in my teens but that they willingly gave me up. Don’t know why it took so many years to hit me. Maybe a part of me just didn’t want it to.

My bike was stolen and we ordered Stowabikes for both of us.

Got a detangling brush and a straightening brush. Loved them both! Fell in love with Dollhouse Pink lipstick, too.

Got a new wireless solar keyboard in silver. Best keyboard ever.

December: Cholesterol was down. Met with my PCP and shrink.

Bummed to see the house diagonally from us up for sale.

Got lots of nice things for my 50th birthday, and we also got a PR1000 Bowflex home gym.

Began entering sweeps again and won a few small things, including an adult coloring book.

Ended my friendship with Andy (it was mutual) as I was tired of his arrogant, immature, selfish, stupid, hypocritical, judgmental ways.

Tom got an award of excellence at work.

I began doing aerobics at the clubhouse.

Received some lovely gifts from my top cyber buddy, Alison.

We both got kick-ass colds we suspected may’ve really been the flu, and reapplied a spell to help better our lives since my anxiety had been horrible. So much so that I would soon be starting Lexapro and hoping for the best. Ordered a home testing kit to see if I had an adrenal imbalance not detected in blood tests. One that uses saliva.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Sacramento, California


Between our savings and the few grand my parents left me, we began to look into retirement communities sometime in late 2012, eventually settling in a luxury park the summer of 2013. We have a beautiful 2-bed, 2-bath 1983 home, though I’m astonished by the amount of traffic and daytime noise here, which mostly comes from landscaping sounds.

In January of 2014, we took the $7000 worth of travel credit I won back in Oregon and went on a weeklong vacation in Maui. It was easily the best week of my life. I did things I never dreamed I’d ever do. We both loved every minute of it. We snorkeled, went down in a submarine, and went catamaran sailing. All the while we attended a luau, enjoyed the ocean and the pool at the fancy resort we stayed at, along with dining, shopping and whale watching. The island of Maui and Lanai were so alive with color I’d never seen anywhere else. I hated to leave in the end and return to cold, boring NorCal.

Everything changed on July 9 of 2014 when I had a traumatic experience with my thyroid medication a few months after being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (and high cholesterol). My heart was booming in my chest and I thought I was having a heart attack. I have struggled with the medication on and off for the last three years and dealt with a kind of anxiety I’d never experienced before 2014 during my worst of times in life. It was, and probably always will be, the most terrifying moments of my life. So traumatizing was it that I switched medical groups and doctors, and began therapy rather quickly. I felt like my old team of doctors weren’t willing to be very helpful or informative. My new team of doctors acknowledged and explained what happened and I learned a lot more about the drug itself.

Quite unexpectedly, my therapist and I developed more of a bond than usual, but then she “thought it through,” so to speak. This left me with mixed emotions. I was hoping for at least a friendship, but I also totally understood that she was bound to ethics. I just felt it would have been nice had she not led me onto begin with.

She performed EMDR therapy on me and taught me a few techniques to help alleviate my anxiety, which has been very helpful. I don’t expect to ever go back to the person I was before the trauma began, but I do my best. I have found that PTSD has a way of both strengthening and weakening the spirit.

I also went into perimenopause around the same time and this helped to fuel my anxiety, along with my ADD and rapid HR.

And early 2016 I reunited with my sister for the first time in 25 years. It was quite an emotional reunion. I also got to see two of my nieces. We first went on a cruise to Mexico, which was mostly a shitty experience because I had a heat stroke. The land part of that vacation was definitely more enjoyable than the sea part of it.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Auburn, California


We started off in a series of hotels in the Sacramento area, some nicer than others, finally coming to settle in Northgate’s Extended Stay America hotel.

In the fall of that year would be when we experienced what I currently consider to be not my scariest moment in life, but I would say it ranks number three on the list from scary to scariest. I ended up reuniting with my parents after nearly a decade when they came to our rescue as our finances worsened to the point that it looked like we weren’t going to make it. I thought it ironic how they wouldn’t rescue me from the places I was in as a teenager, but 25 years later they would rescue me from the other side of the country. So you could say I had mixed emotions about them. Still do and probably always will.  Even so, I was tremendously grateful to them, but this didn’t undo the past.

Fortunately, the economy had yet to collapse and he found work just two weeks after our arrival. This was especially good since we were denied unemployment. His then low paying job didn’t come close to matching our high cost of living. We had to pawn some things, and if it wasn’t for me eventually winning $9000, who knows how long we would have been stuck in the hotel since it was sucking up every last dime we had. As soon as we could make the money it had to be spent, leaving the task of saving anything up an impossible dream.

But things got a lot worse before they got better and that was when I decided to take a chance and reach out to my parents. Because they didn’t accept collect calls and we had no way to call them directly, we had to go through my SIL. Of course, she and the rest of the family never cared enough to call back and see how we were doing later on after they put the call through to my parents. But they got a hold of them nonetheless and we explained our situation to them. They overnighted us some money and faxed in a few nights at the hotel after we spent 36 hours homeless and just driving around in our old ratty truck.

Our stuff was in storage and for a little while we didn’t think we would be able to come up with a lousy $100 to pay the next month’s rent, but one of my wins took care of that at the last minute.

It wasn’t that we didn’t have money, it was that we couldn’t access it. The fucking debit card company screwed up and sent our new card to our old address, so we had to wait for a new card before we could access the money. It was horribly frustrating, depressing and scary. I won’t even get into how pissed off I was.

Things slowly got better and in April 2008, after 8-9 months in hotels, we found a trailer out in the country in the small town of Auburn, which we would rent for five years. The landlord also lived on the land. He was an efficient landlord, but he sure could be a pest at times, dropping in on us unannounced. He had a loud motorcycle and would let his dogs bark their asses off when he was home. It was sad because he stole what was otherwise a very peaceful setting. The trailer was only 500-square-feet and nearly as old as I was, but at least it was something and it sure beat living in hotels.

During our half a decade there, Tom was forced to spend 2.5 years on unemployment, thus leading to the second scariest thing I ever went through. Our lovely government terminated his checks before he could find work. Yeah, we were one of the Tier 4 nightmares, and my inability to work didn’t help. But if ever there was an example of miraculous timing it was in the fall of 2011 because right in the nick of time as we were about to run out of money and seriously considering ending it all in preference of a quicker, painless way to go as opposed to slowly starving in the streets, he was given a job.

Our trailer years were a time of learning and reuniting for me. Although I would come to regret some of them, I reunited with Andy, Maliheh and my sister. I also made a lot of interesting cyber friends all over the world, some of which let me down in big ways. Perhaps it was naïve of me to think we would always be friends, but even if it was, I was still hurt and angry. I kind of crawled into a shell for a while, knowing that things aren’t always as they seem and that people you can’t see face-to-face aren’t always as sincere as they may seem online. I still hesitate to make friends both on and offline, though I’m not completely opposed to it. I just don’t actively seek them out. Besides, the best of friendships and relationships are never planned or sought out.

I began to get into online journaling in 2008, though I had been writing privately since 1987. Sharing both journals and stories is how I “met” a lot of people.

The discovery of free language learning sites was a wonderful thing too, and I more than doubled my languages, though I’m not fluent in all of them. I’m fairly fluent in ASL and Spanish, and I know enough Italian and German to get by. I can also read some Portuguese, French, Esperanto and Dutch.

The year 2012 brought a lot of death my way. My parents and brother all died that year. Dad of a heart attack, mom of a stroke, and my brother of liver cancer. It was the first time I was glad I wasn’t close to my family.

The same economy that nearly killed us would be our big break as far as becoming homeowners for the first time in nine years. He began working in late 2011. We were finally able to get some things we’d needed for a while, including some dental work that I was way overdue for. It was amazing how fast our lives took a turn for the better.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Klamath Falls, Oregon


We only spent five years in Maricopa. In 2003, he was unfairly discriminated against at work for not being religious and he lost his job. Then we lost our house a year later with no way to prove his case. At that point we decided to leave Arizona altogether. On top of all this, we feared it was only a matter of time before those who legally screwed me in the name of hate and spite might use their connections to come after me again. One of the perps may’ve been booted from the police force, but they still had connections, and we didn’t want to be their sitting ducks, waiting for them to take the opportunity to screw us even worse, or maybe even harm us.

The town was going to hell anyway with more and more homes popping up, land being split, and of course, the good old Mexican drug cartel. Shootings were becoming a regular thing. Had we been in the wrong place at the wrong time to witness something we shouldn’t have witnessed, that would have been our asses.

So the next question was what state we wanted to move to? Did we want to stay in Arizona and just move to another part of the state? Did we want to head to Colorado? Oregon?

Yeah, how about Oregon, we decided. Land was awfully cheap there. We should have figured there was a reason for that, but being the young adventurers we were, we crammed our tiny little RV with our most important belongings one sweltering June day in 2004. Then we headed north to the 2.5-acre parcel of land in the Oregon wilderness we’d “won” on eBay along with the RV. The land was located on Bly Mountain at an elevation of over 5000 feet and was definitely the most remote place I ever lived. Or thought I was going to live. The plan, since we no longer had house payments and utility bills, was to build a dome house.

It was a very sad time because while we were both ready to leave Arizona, I knew I would miss the house and some aspects of desert living. But now we were about to delve into the scary unknown and to be reminded once again that life isn’t usually what we plan it to be.

The first night we spent in Quartzite at a truck stop in the damn near unbearable heat. Even the rats were feeling it.

“How’s it feel to be jobless and homeless?” Tom asked me when we stopped to eat.

“Weird,” I said. “How about you?”

“It’s exciting,” he answered.

Let’s just say that over the years our opinion has changed a bit, LOL. Being that way by choice and having a place to hole up in is one thing. But when you’re forced to be that way it’s anything but exciting.

So, after additional stops in Barstow, Merced and someplace near Redding, we officially entered the Pacific Northwest. The land was lovely and very serene with its wildflowers and butterflies flitting about the junipers and Ponderosa pines, but damn was it cold! Especially at night. I knew that if it could be that way in the summer that the winters would be virtually unbearable. On top of that was the risk of being attacked by bears and big cats, and not being able to get the police out for the better part of an hour in an emergency, not that I trusted them very much after the corruption I witnessed and was a victim of in Arizona.

We also found there was no way to dig a septic, for even with an ice pick we simply could not cut through the volcanic rock that lay below. The expense of hauling water for showers and gas for the generator was mounting faster than we could earn the money to pay for.

By August we knew we would have to abandon the land, the RV and all our grand plans, and head into the city. The tiny town of Klamath Falls was over 4000 feet in elevation. Unlike in Phoenix or even Maricopa, running into people you knew was common there. It was a very depressing time for me because we not only struggled horribly in the beginning financially, but I hated being forced to once again rent, and I feared we would never own our own place again.

We stayed in a couple of family-owned motels, one of them by a really nice Indian family. By Halloween we were able to rent a duplex. We were there for 10 months. Next to us during the first part of our time there was a disabled woman who was quiet except for when her grandkids visited. Then another disabled woman moved in that was never quiet unless she was asleep. She was a rude bitch all the way. She allowed her service dog to bark in the shared yard, blasted her TV, and had obnoxious company of all kinds.

Although it was a tiny tilted old dump at just $450 a month, we were thrilled to finally be unattached from others and to rent a house from the summer of 2005 to the summer of 2007. He’d gotten a huge promotion at work right after we moved in, and I began entering sweepstakes and winning things like crazy. Even big prizes like a Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas, Puerto Rico in the Grand Turks & Caicos.

While I still hated the cold and the snow, our luck had really turned around. We spent money like crazy and we know we should have saved some of it, but we had fun nonetheless. The only real annoyances were some barking dogs and loud car stereos. During this time we didn’t license and use the old truck. Everything we needed was within walking distance.

Like many little girls and boys that grow up in New England, I’d always dreamed of living in California. In July 2007, it was time to once again pull up stakes for what we hoped would be even more opportunities and make that California dream a reality… even if most of the first five years would be a living nightmare.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Maricopa, Arizona



We bought a large 4-bedroom manufactured home and had it placed on a 10-acre parcel of land we bought as well. While I loved not having neighbors a stone’s throw away, the land was a bit dumpy in some sections. It could get very windy outside the valley, and people's trash, which they usually burned since there was no trash collection in the area along with mail delivery, often blew onto our land. Also, someone had apparently gutted a trailer at some point.

The land had sage and mesquite trees for the most part with a few barrel cacti. There were no saguaros on our property, Joshua trees or ocotillos. There were a few washes running through it, but for the most part, the land was barren and boring and mostly consisted of dirt and sand. It was, after all, the desert. We tried to plant a few different things there, but the soaring temperatures, which often reached the 120s, fried anything we tried to plant.

The monsoon storms were pretty powerful and could sometimes get scary, knocking out the power from time to time. The thunder was like gunshots and the lightning flashed like a strobe light. Rain came down in heavy sheets, causing a run-off and occasional flash flooding.

The wildlife consisted of prairie dogs, tarantulas, Gila monsters, iguanas, roadrunners, vultures, quails, various snakes including rattlesnakes, cottontails and jackrabbits. The air stunk a lot because of all the dairy farms in the area.

Despite having a rough time making ends meet, I slowly expanded my doll collection. I started getting more serious about creative writing and improving my skills with that. We thought of various ways to add to our income, but as is usually the case, it just wasn't that simple. If it was, no one would struggle.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Phoenix, Arizona




Before leaving this apartment complex I started working as an exotic dancer for several months, then eventually moved to a 2-bedroom apartment at the Crystal Creek complex. The guy who lived a couple doors down was a customer of mine that told me about it. This "friendship" soon ended when he proved to be quite a liar and just not who he said he was.

Right next to me was my future husband, Tom. Shortly after I moved in, he helped me move to the back of the complex in an identical apartment, away from the busy main road. At this time, he bought his brother's house. His new wife had a nicer home to move into.

The more Tom and I fell for each other over the summer, and the sicker I got of living attached to others, I decided to take a chance and move in with him in September 1993. It was a corner 2-bedroom house just a few feet from the neighbors, and as I would be quite dismayed to learn, people in houses aren't always quieter. In a culture that often forbade dogs as household pets but more like something you stored outside and brought food and water to, the neighborhood was filled with tons of barking.

When I first moved in with him there was a family next door with a couple of dogs, but they moved a month or two later. Next came a large Mormon family, followed by black welfare bums, followed by Mexican welfare bums. Each drove me progressively crazier. The last two did some horrible things to me and my family, but I'll skip that... for now. Anyone who's that curious can still ask me about it.

While we lived in Phoenix, I had surgery done to create an ear canal on my left side. I was born with it fused shut. I got a little bit of hearing, but not much. The main purpose of this surgery was to make sure I didn't have any tumors or anything nasty growing on the inside since I was having more and more sensitivity. The problem turned out to be the frame and that was dismantled.

In the late 90s, I ceased all contact with my family. He lost his father to lung cancer around this time as well. We would then be horribly used without much compensation by others in his family until we finally put our foot down, needing to hang onto our money and live our lives for ourselves.

For pets, we switched from having guinea pigs, mice, hamsters and gerbils to rats once we learned how intelligent and sociable they are. They're the cutest of the rodents too, in my opinion.

After about 18 years of smoking, I quit the ciggies in 1997.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Norwich, Connecticut

I moved to the Norwich Housing Authority for low-income people in February 1992. I absolutely hated it. The apartment was small, old and dumpy, and the dividing walls were paper-thin. A large family lived next to me and the kids drove me crazy. There was always tons of kids and other commotion outside as well.

My financial struggles continued, I could barely get any sleep, and the stress took its toll on my asthma. While it was nice to be close to my sister and nieces, it was a move I would quickly come to regret. Just four months later I was in the hospital with a breakdown. My father, who had since moved to Florida, drove up and helped ship me out west with Andy.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

South Deerfield, Massachusetts

There isn't much to say about the tiny town of South Deerfield, Massachusetts because I didn't even live there for a year. One of my asthma attacks caused me to have to go to the ER one night where I met a friendly nurse named Kim. We hit it off right away and became friends, and found that we have several things in common. She told me about South Deerfield and how much cleaner and safer it was than Springfield. She lived in one of two apartments on the third floor of a business that supplied lumber for homes with her husband. He was a police officer in a neighboring town.

In the spring of 1991, I moved into the apartment next to her and her husband. She was busy a lot and Andy had moved to Arizona. Most of my time in South Deerfield was depressing and lonely. I even got in trouble for prank calling a woman named Maliheh that I met in a gay bar and that I felt led me on and was very rude to me in the end.

While the apartment I had was spacious, unique, modern and totally gorgeous, I definitely didn't have much of a life to go with it. I struggled financially and felt very alone much of the time.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Springfield, Massachusetts

A few days before my 19th birthday I moved out on my own in Springfield, Massachusetts. This was in the mid-80s. I started in a 1-bedroom apartment on the ground floor. I moved to another 1-bedroom apartment on the fourth floor in the same building but around the corner. After two years, I left the building and headed to another section of town where I had a 1-bedroom apartment on the second floor of a subsidized building for low-income people since I was then put on disability. After another two years in this building, I returned to my fourth-floor apartment, the building now under new management. This was in 1989.

During my time in Springfield, I would have a handful of boyfriends and girlfriends, most of which weren't very serious. The two that stand out in my mind the most are Brenda and Kacey.

I also had a handful of friends and acquaintances there. My friendship with Jenny ended (along with my relationship with my brother who basically abandoned the whole family), but another childhood friend, Jessie, was a friend while I was there.

I was also friends with an older woman for a while named Emily, a young troubled woman named Paula, and a couple of losers named Fran and Kevin (Nervous).

My most prominent friend was a gay guy named Andy. Our parents had been friends in the 70s.

My most memorable neighbors were an old couple named Eddy and Josephine (Jo), Nancy, Jai, Steve, Hank, Nelly, and two old sisters named Anna and Julia.

Being young, single, and more sociable back in those days, there are too many people to list.

Before I was put on disability I did a few menial jobs... worked at a concession stand, McDonald's, housekeeping in a hotel as well as houses, and waitressing.

My most memorable coworkers were Paula (the one I ended up being friends with for nearly 30 years), Michelle (who briefly lived with me and had an affair with my brother along with a million others), Linda and Norah. Norah was a bitch from England who was one of the hotel supervisors, but I still had a crush on her despite her snobbery.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Childhood & Family

Born in 1965, I grew up in the small town of Longmeadow, Massachusetts. I lived with my parents, brother and sister in a 4-bedroom house next to my maternal grandparents' 2-bedroom house. We had a summer cottage in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

I was born healthy with the exception of a deformed/deaf left ear which should have been left alone yet plastic surgery was done on it in a botched attempt to make it look "normal." I kind of get that my parents might have thought they were doing me a favor, but I think they were doing themselves more of a favor than they were me.

My only other health issues were asthma and allergies.

Dad was an easy-going guy with a good sense of humor. His only fault was letting his wife abuse their children as she did. She was a very negative, domineering woman.

My brother Larry was 12 years older than me, and my sister Tammy was 8 years older. Because they left home while I was still fairly young, it was almost as if I were an only child.

In 2012 my parents and brother all died for different reasons. My father had a heart attack, my mother had a stroke, and my brother had liver cancer. It was the first time in my life I was actually glad we weren't close.

I never knew my paternal grandfather. My paternal grandmother, who came to live with us about 5 years before her death, died at age 75 in 1985. Both my maternal grandparents also died in 1985 at the same age.

I had 2 uncles and 2 aunts, none of which I was ever very fond of or that I've heard from in years. Same goes for my 5 first cousins. I'm not in touch with any of my extended family except for a cousin who is now in her 80s.

My parents always had poodles for pets and sometimes birds as well. For us kids it was usually guinea pigs or gerbils.

I loved music, singing, playing with dolls, swinging on swings, playing pretend, coloring, and doing most of what children like to do. I was a creative child with a vivid and wild imagination. Too wild for my mother who was quick to critique and put me down every chance she got, greatly harming my self-esteem, my confidence, and sometimes my will to go on. When she finally gave up on me after a 5-month stint in the Brattleboro Retreat in Vermont for failing to "grow up" and be "normal," I ended up in two foster homes, one in which I had wonderful Italian foster parents, and another a neglectful black woman for a foster mother.

The last stop was to be placed in a residential school for girls called Valleyhead for two long years. It was a horrible place to be because it was so structured and some of the staff were abusive, and I even attempted suicide. Eventually the FBI shut the place down for its treatment of students.

My brother eventually went on to have 3 kids that I know of, and my sister had 3 daughters.

My wonderful husband of 23 years and I have no kids. He is a native of Arizona and not in touch with any of his family for reasons I'm not going to get into. Tom is 8 years older than me, has a good job, and is in good health. He is a very passive, intelligent man. I can't imagine life without him.