Apr 22, 2017


Membrane by Finijo

Tonight I am pondering a lifetime spent fighting to survive and always coming up just a little bit short. I will request some antidepressants and antianxiety medication from my doctor next week, to see if it can help lift the veil. Beyond tired, I am weary.The clarity of vision to create is now lost to a constant fog. No writing, no drawing - just work, home, chores, errands, and taking care of other people. Using Roku like crack, and binging one show after another, just to keep from having to sleep a dreamless sleep or think about all that feels like it is crushing me. Waiting to lay down until I am literally staggering to bed in exhaustion, prevents me from being kept awake by thoughts of what cannot be changed before I drift off.  Hope and joy now replaced by dread and regret. We all carry our own burdens, but some of us carry the burden of others, and eventually it y to lean on, and nobody to help. One by one, possibilites are ground away, leaving a layer of dust over what little is left.

Jan 2, 2017

New Year 2017

Trish and Darin Glass Half Empty

It is a new year and I am slogging through it already. Mom went into the hospital and had surgery on December 20th, and the illness I had been fighting off took me over for the next two weeks. The vacation days that I took well in advance of the end of the year, with the express though to spend them doing fun things and not thinking about the dread I am feeling from work and from the impending inauguration of president-elect Baby Tyrant never happened. I was too ill to attend the parties I was invited to and became a slave to Mucinex, steroids, antibiotics, Nyquil and a neti pot.  I did manage to get to the Degas exhibit at the MFAH and it was transcendent. More than 200 pieces of art including drawings, paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It was an incredible history lesson and journey through the life of an incredibly talented artist. I am going to strive this year to see as much art as I can, since I don't seem to be capable of creating it at the moment. I am also setting the bar very low for my goals this year. Survival is my watchword, emotionally, professionally, and physically. If I manage to survive, then goals met. If anything happens beyond survival, then there may be cause for celebration. 

I face the new year, not with a renewed sense of purpose or having replenished my reserves, but in a depressed and depleted state. I don't want to go back to work. I don't have the energy to help anyone, so I will go through the motions and hope that the law of averages will make everything appear to be running as it should, not good, not bad, but middling. Not sunshine or rain, nothing to inspire an emotional lift or fall, just more of the grey nothingness. 

Fuck 2016 and all the promise that was lost, and fuck 2017, too. I know what's coming and it is going to be a bitch of a year. 

Apr 24, 2016

I Understand Now

 Grandma and Linda 2000

Listening to Accuradio Decade: 1970's Hits, the floodgate opened and I cried for the first time in ages. I turn 50 this year and I am looking forward to hitting the milestone (it's a miracle that I made it this far). Still there is a pall of loss cast over my life. With each passing year, I feel it more acutely than the year before. While I would love to live to see 100, I am a realist and recognize that I did not win the genetic lottery. 

 Steve, Fini, and Grandma 2000

Mother dead at age 35, father dead at age 45. sister gone by 52, and brother gone by 58. I am staring down what is probably the last decade of my life and today, listening to the soundtrack of my childhood, with a gentle Spring rain steadily falling from the gray sky, I understand why my Grandma Kate drank. She lost her brother in the last months of WWII and then watched a large extended family pass, one by one until she was the last one standing of her generation. She lived till the ripe age of 92, surrounded by grandchildren and great-grandchildren who loved her and wanted her to live with them, but she lost her daughter (my mother) when she was 60 and her son while she was in her early 80's, and honestly, his living was probably worse than his dying, (the word wastrel was coined with him in mind). 

Linda's Wedding 2000

At age 60, she decided she would be dead soon and sold her home 5 years before it was paid off. She "loaned" the money to her son and my brother for a business venture that never really got started. Needless to say, she never got any of the money back. Grandma Kate had aunts and grandmothers she was close to, but a troubled relationship with her mother, who also drank to excess. Today I listen to the rain, cry, and feel the pain of her loss, both for me and for her. I will wake tomorrow and feel better, but today I wallow.
A Masked Life

Venice Through the Mask's Eyes 5 by Alex Levin Posted by Picasa

Lately I feel as though I am looking at the world through a mask. That old feeling of disconnection is back. It's how my mind/body handle stress. I am good under pressure, but after prolonged exposure, I function by floating above the fray. It feels like I am the pilot of an unmanned human. It's been some time since I had this feeling,and this time it crept up on me sneakily. I am in it now and wonder how long it will be before I rejoin the human race. When it has me, I guess it doesn't matter. 

Time to go through the motions... 

Nov 21, 2015

Media Diet

Between the election circus (mainly GOP) and the terrorist attacks all over the world (298 and counting so far this year), things seem bleak. We cut off our cable in January and watch only what we can on Roku, which is to say, everything except news. It is not that we can't watch news on Roku, but we have to make an effort to watch news, so it I feel a bit like an emotionally fragile ostrich sticking my head in the Roku, but it is the only way to tune out the cacophony of evil and stupid that we are all drowning in. I am drawn to British mystery and cop shows (this week it's New Tricks), fantasy shows (Gotham, Sleepy Hollow),  and gritty shows (Ray Donovan, Hannibal, and Quantico). Anything that takes my mind off of work and the world, is a boon to my ability to sleep, which has been profoundly affected by the chaos around me of late. Luckily, melatonin also has a positive impact on my drowsiness

While the world is still reeling from the attacks in Paris (because there seems to be relatively little coverage of the rest of the attacks in the world), I am in the middle of a media detox diet. Yes, I still have the occasional news relapse, but for the sake of my mental health, I am trying to partake in a balanced and healthy news diet. The verboten, fettuccine Alfredo of this diet is anything right wing and most certainly all things Fox. In my younger days, my system could handle the toxicity, but as I get older, I have learned to accept my limitations. My news staple is NPR during drive time and the rare treat I allow myself is a desert of Trevor Noah's Daily Show.

This is how I survive the media apocalypse.

Jun 27, 2015

SCOTUS - For The People!

Facebook Profile Pic by Finijo

This week the Supreme Court of the United States made the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) legitimate and legalized gay marriage by nullifying the state laws that barred marriage equality for people who are gay. There are a lot of weeks that I question my government and think that the government and many of our citizens are on a path of hatred and aggression. This week is not one of them. This week I am proud that the judicial branch of our government protected citizens who needed the protection and who could not receive it any other way. 

The dissenters are as follows:

Obamacare - Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Kennedy

Gay marriage: Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Roberts

I am troubled that both decisions were won with only a 5 to 4 vote, but I am not surprised that it all of the dissenters were men, and I am really not surprised that Scalia, Alito, and Thomas all voted like conservative old men afraid of change. 

Today I am focusing on the positive, so I am grateful and ecstatic that the SCOTUS vote went the way of love, rather than bigotry and fear. 

I know there will be protests and that there will likely be violence in the wake of these decisions, but change is happening, and today I am hopeful. 

Jun 15, 2015

New Profile

Station Museum Mandala by Finijo

I began my blog more than 10 years ago. It was a natural progression from paper journaling to a blog, but it was also rooted in my frustration with the election in 2004. Politics has turned my stomach a little more with each passing year, but I still blog about the minutiae of my life and at times the larger events in the world. Sometimes I still manage a book review or to blog about something that I just learned that seems pretty cool to me. My blog has changed in the past 11 years and I have changed some over that time, as well. 

When I started, I was a fledgling geek and the internet was just approaching it's adolescence and, as cynical as I can be, I had no way of predicting the revelations that would come to pass when Edward Snowden released thousands of NSA documents into the world. Reading my profile tonight, I realized that I can no longer say I would be first in line for the human modem. Of course, we are wireless now, but I would not trust that kind of tech in my body for any amount of money. I grew up during Watergate, graduated in 1984 (of course reading  and watching 1984) and on Logan's Run and West World, but it took government surveillance of our phone records to bring on a fairly mature case of The Conversation paranoia. This is my old profile quote.
When they perfect the human modem, I will be in line for the implant. Access to the internet makes me feel like I'm the smartest person alive - the internet being an extension of my own brain. There is nothing I can't access on the net. The key to the universe is Boolean. I enjoy words and art. Pictures painted with words are perfection, almost too beautiful to bear. When I can find time (and settle my mind), I draw, paint and make "stuff." I like to journal, tell stories, watch people, and laugh loud and hard.
I think I will just remove the first half until I can put some thought into what I want to say about myself and rewrite it.

Jun 13, 2015


Story Bones by Helen Redman

I woke today about noon. It's Saturday with nothing in particular scheduled, so I took advantage of a rare opportunity to sleep in and didn't set my alarm. I thought I would wake up about 9:30 AM, but my eyes didn't even flutter until just before noon, probably due to my recent insomnia. 

Feeling rested for the first time in weeks, I have spent a lazy morning catching up on my friend's and family member's Facebook posts and I have cried. I have cried like a hormonal teenager at everything from a post about two friends who are lesbians who have been in a committed relationship for 20 years and are eagerly waiting to hear that the Supreme Court has made same sex marriages legal across the U.S., to a video about a woman in Texas who has metastatic breast cancer, to a video from the perspective of a dog, Denali, who died of cancer. I feel like a weepy drunk who didn't get the benefit of the fun party before descending into the wallowing blues. 

It occurred  to me that this is due to a wonderful condition that my doctor told me I had in 2010, perimenopause. I was diagnosed with this gem of a malady after I came back from a trip to England in November and told the doctor how I had been burning up for the entire trip, and had to sleep with my hotel window open and didn't even wear my coat for most of the trip, because it was too warm. Everyone else was running around in heavy coats and scarves and gloves, but I was in a light sweater and still couldn't go into some of the shops and the Tube because the heat was repellent to me. 

So, five years later, the "peri" is still attached to my menopause and I continue to experience the not so wonderful changes that have been a part of my life since I was 13. The changes go on, only different. The promise to an end of what feels like a lifetime of bleeding is more elusive at the end than you are ever led to believe, because they never tell you how long "the curse" will impact your life. You cannot imagine my surprise upon hearing the doctor tell me, "It can last 10 years, or more." 

The impression I formed growing up of menopause, was only an impression, because nobody spoke of it except as a punchline on sitcoms. I was led to believe it was this terrible ordeal that happened to woman all at once, and it meant that you were old. Menopause was synonymous with drying up and being past your prime, but that is not how it really feels. I still feel vital and like I am still the same person I was at age 18, but with more insight and, of course, body aches. Perimenopause is like my daily craps shoot. Will I feel pretty good, or roll the snake-eyes of cramps, bleeding, and/or an emotional roller coaster ride? Today, I feel pretty good physically, but I am weepy and feel silly to be so affected by EVERYTHING. It is unlike when I was younger, in that there is no set schedule, the bleeding is mercifully lighter and some months non-existent, and the hot flashes are like nothing that can be described and truly understood without experiencing them. I now feel I know what someone who has spontaneously combusted feels just before they go up in flames, and it is only humorous after it passes and my body has cooled down enough to make laughter possible again.

I have read that men go through a similar experience as they age, but I cannot imagine how. I don't lament being born a woman, because I recognize the advantages of my own sex, but I do wish at times that women had not been shamed so much about their bodies and bleeding. The religious disdain for women, menstruation, and menopause has allowed me to reach this point in my life without having open and frank discussions with my mother and grandmother about what I had to expect. I am not ashamed anymore, as I admit I was as a teenager to have been "cursed" with monthly bleeding, but I am not as enlightened about my womanhood as I would like to be either. I have a grandniece who is 9 years old and I hope that she will feel comfortable enough to ask her mother and I whatever she would like to know about her body and what she can expect as she passes from childhood, to adulthood, to middle and old age.

May 15, 2015

A Little Me Time

 BAM Podium Pre-Sedaris by Finijo

I took a spontaneous trip to NYC last week and had a fantastic time. My friend, John, contacted me to say that David Sedaris would be playing near where he lived. I told him he must see him, if he got the chance and he responded by saying that he would buy the tickets for both of us if I would catch a flight to New York. It was an offer too good to pass up. I bought the ticket and then he found out the show as sold out already. I realized that I wanted to go anyway, so I went for a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, just for fun - and it was. We decided to keep trying to get tickets and to go see another show or two instead, if he couldn't. 

Kinky Boots Set by Finijo

On his way home from work he messaged me and said he got us box seats for David Sedaris and orchestra seats for Kinky Boots. Both shows were fantastic and my face hurt from laughing so hard. We had Chinese dumplings and watched movies. He made his traditional welcome banana bread and movie night brownies, and some great asparagus egg scrambles for breakfast. I brought Home for the Holidays and Saved and we watched Terrible Bosses 2 and Birdman. It was a wonderful way to spend the middle of the week. There is still a long list of things I want to do in NYC, so I will have to make it back up there again, soon...maybe in the Autumn. Central Park in October sounds beautiful to me. 

May 3, 2015

Patty Gay Toothman

I found out just now that while I was laying in bed last night composing a letter to you in my head, you died. I have missed your physical presence in my life for more than 20 years, but you were always a phone call or letter away. You were one of the best people I have known in my life and you gave me unconditional love when I needed it most. You were my second Mom. I am glad that your struggles are over, and all that is wicked and wretched in the world can no longer hurt you. You took care of me when I needed it, and I hope knowing that you had one more person in the world unconditionally loving you was a source of comfort for you at the end. You will always have a place in my heart and your voice will be in my head telling me that everything will be alright and I should do the thing that makes me happy. 

Dear Patty,

Thank you for loving me unconditionally and with your whole heart.  Thank you for looking after me, and holding me when I needed to cry or just needed a hug. Thank you for all of the laughter over all of these years. You were one of the funniest and most gracious people I have ever known. Thank you for all of those late night talks sitting on the balcony in our nightgowns, drinking iced tea, and eating your homemade chocolate chip cookies. Thank you for trusting me with your secrets and for holding on to mine. I would love to get a peek at the journals I gave you over the years, just to see what I missed by not seeing you everyday. You deserved better than you got in life. You deserved to not have to struggle and fight just to hang on to your family, but even in that struggle, you were an amazing, strong, wonderful woman. I cannot begin to express how much you are going to be missed. 

Rest in peace,  Mom.

I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. 

With an abundance of affection,


Apr 18, 2015

Late Onset ADD vs. Spring Cleaning

Most weekends I have many (oh so many) things I need to do, but when I start trying to tackle my list, I am easily distracted by everything from Facebook and this blog, to meeting up with friends to spend an afternoon catching up. 

I think I can remember a time when I could start a task and work it to completion without wandering around my house starting, but seemingly never finishing, most of what I set out to do. It feels as though the clutter in my house is cluttering my mind and I imagine this how it feels to have ADD.

My plan this year is to start with my bedroom and work my way through my possessions to simplify my existence. With some some persistence, I will work my way through each corner of my room. Getting all of the clutter off of my dressers, out of my closet, off of the window seat, etc... until I feel like I can breathe again. I hope that seeing the effect in my room will spur me on to take care of the rest of the house, one corner of one room at a time. 

I think that by trying to de-clutter a whole room, I have been defeating myself and exacerbating the problem. My plan/hope is to work through my bedroom by quadrants, so I can finish in 4 weeks. If I am successful, I will move on to the other rooms in my house and even my yard. It's time to let go of my possessions and walk a lighter path.

For all of my good intentions, I started this post a week ago and I have gotten up at least 4 times before finishing today to plant herbs, clean out my terrarium, plant seedlings from the terrarium outside, and finally to trim and water my amaryllis bulbs....sigh.

Apr 10, 2015

Aspiring Author

Drafter Architect Desk Junk Drawer Clean Out Lot

 I think most people who keep a blog probably have a not so secret desire to publish something that they have written at least once in their lives. 

It takes an aspiring  writer to recognize another aspiring writer, which I did, while shopping the Goodwill auction site tonight. 

Much to my delight, I feel like I stumbled upon a kindred spirit. A stifled author channeling their inner J. Peterman wrote the most wonderful descriptions of collections of mostly tat. 

The descriptions of these lots of random items beautifully spin the beginning of a biography about the people who might have owned them. 

It is like an improv challenge for writers using props, or possibly a teaser about a character in the author's own half-finished novel. 

Whatever it is, I like it enough to have read all of the vignettes and I hope that there will be more to come from the anonymous Hemingway. I am amazed at the amount of nostalgia the author's words can inspire for people who do not exist outside my imagination. 

I found this photograph to be particularly intriguing. Her shoulder bared as she looks directly into the lens, as though she posed for a boudoir photo in an era that would have deemed her sensuousness improper. 

The description: 

Drafter Architect Desk Junk 
Drawer Clean Out Lot

The hard working Architect married to his job. All of his loved tools each one he knew by touch. The short breaks to sit out on the porch and smoke his cigarettes or his well use pipe. The picture secreted away of a love once lost. In this lovely lot you can almost feel the pride that was taken in his work. Perhaps even a hint of him playing poker with some of the other "boys." 
A peak into this lot and you will see a whimsical ashtray, vintage to newer drafting tools, prints of Governor's Place & a few other buildings, vintage Oregon license plate, magnifying glass, playing cards, stationary and much more.

8.6 Lbs

Wood, paper, plastic, metal and fabric.

Things are used. Tarnish and discoloration that adds great character. 

Somethings are used and vintage although not all things will be vintage. 

Even the pattern on these cards and the foil on their box hearken back to another time. I can't remember the last time I saw a set of playing cards like this for sale in a shop.

There are several collections, Military, Farmer, Miner, Small Town Doctor, and no telling what the author will come up with next. To see more, check here, and search for "junk drawer" or possibly "collection,"  and hopefully, the adventure will continue.

Mar 31, 2015

GOP Tripping

It is no surprise to me that the GOP presidential candidates are tripping all over themselves to defend the right of their constituents to deny a group of people (specifically gays - this time) the same civil liberties that they enjoy. It may not be a "right" to purchase from whomever you choose, but it is a right to not be discriminated against, and it should apply to race, religion, gender (including trans), or sexual orientation. 

We live in America, and freedom of religion is supposed to be a freedom to pray (or not) to the god (or gods) of your choosing. It was never meant to be a tool to systematically discriminate against any group of people because you don't like the way they live, love, or who associate with. Quit picking out the parts of the Bible that suit your hateful agenda and perhaps peruse (and take to heart) the parts that pertain to loving your fellow man, whether you think they are sinners or not.

The world is changing, as it always does, and bigots are less tolerated with each passing decade. Gay marriage will be legalized nationally, hopefully in my lifetime. Marijuana will be legalized, as well. Things change and you can either rail against change and whine that the world is not as good as it used to be when you were young, or you can stop trying to control other people, learn to embrace change and let go of fear, and just try being a better person than you are right now. 

Mar 30, 2015

Google Autocomplete vs. Religion

I started off this day in a great mood. Even after I hit a big piece of concrete in the road and tore up the splash guard under my car, I just drove on into work and scheduled an appointment at the dealership to get it fixed this afternoon. While waiting for the car to be fixed, I had to endure a couple of hours of CNN posting non-stop doom and gloom. From the  German Wings pilot who flew into the Swiss Alps to the breaking news of two men dressed as women trying to breach the NSA and being shot to death. 

All the while I am thumbing my way through friends' Facebook posts and marveling at the state of the world through their eyes. That's when my mind started to wander and I began to wonder about Google and religion. A couple of years ago, I remember seeing a post that showed how typing into a Google search the phrase "I'm afraid of..." would be completed at that time by the autocomplete in Google with the phrase "Chinese people." I checked today and the top answer is "Americans." Thanks, David Bowie...and scary Americans. 

So I started typing in world religions and entertained myself with that until my car was ready. I stopped at 20, but obviously the list is not all-inclusive, nor is it static. The same list could turn up much different answers next week. The results found today are as follows:

1. Christians are..."annoying" (only answer)

2. Buddhists are.... (seriously, there was no suggestion, which may mean that Buddhists don't count. Weird.)

3. Jains are... "the richest" and "stupid"

4. Muslims are..."not terrorists" (only answer)

5. Hindus are... (no suggestions...just like the Buddhists)

6. Jews are... (no suggestions, but if you just type "Jews" the first suggestions is "for Jesus," which is a dirty rotten lie, leading one to ask, "WTF, Google?!?!")

7. Scientologists are... "insane," "idiots," "morons," and "crazy"

8. Jehovah Witnesses are..."a cult," "right," "wrong," and "weird"

9. Methodists are... "Baptists who can read," "weird," and "going to hell"

10. Mormons are...(no suggestions)

11. Quakers are... "awesome," "weird," and "a cult"

12. Atheists are... "wrong"

13. Agnostics are ..."cowards," "the smartest," "right," and "atheist"

14. Pagans are..."the reason for the season," "stupid," "evil," and "idiots"

15. Wiccans are..."evil," "retarded," idiots," and "satanists"

16. Baptists are..."not Presbyterian," "crazy," and "evil"

17. Presbyterians are..."wrong," "puritans and puritans are Calvinists," "the spirit of the Antichrist," and "baptists who can read"

18. Catholics are..."not Christians" (only answer, and I think they may disagree with this one, just sayin'.)

19. Shakers are..."celibate," "still around," and "Amish" 

20. Religion is..."the opiate of the masses," "bullshit," "fake," and "dying"

I had several thoughts (and laughs) while compiling this list. A few of my thoughts are as follows:

1. Who knew that Presbyterians were reviled enough (or in any way) that they would have such terrible results? Note to self: Look into Presbyterianism, this could be much more interesting than you might expect.

2. Pagans, who exist in infinitesimally lower numbers than Buddhists, are funny - "the reason for the season" and also, apparently thought about by Googlers a lot more than Buddhists.

3. The Church of Scientology is not as good at scrubbing the internet and all media of negative information about them. Perhaps laying off the lawsuits and easing up on the control issues might win you a few more converts, Scientology...probably not.

4. Wiccans rank right about even with Scientologists when comparing their Google autocomplete results. I don't think that is fair to Wiccans, but that is how the cookie crumbled today.  

5. Which is it, Methodists or Presbyterians who are "Baptists that can read?" 

Mar 8, 2015


3 PM on a Grey Day by Finijo

The sky has been grey all morning, as if the day has been in perpetual gloaming. Even though the weather has been temperate this weekend compared to the rest of the country, today's rainy grey offering has begun to creep into a colder, nastier version of itself.

This weekend was deliberately spent in the most lazy way I could manage. After months of working through lunch and late into the evening, I just unplugged. I have been in the same purple fleece pajamas for two days and as much as I keep telling myself I need to shower and go get groceries, I can't seem to make myself do it. Zero volition.

Yesterday, I binged on season two of Hannibal on Roku, then finished the season of Blacklist that I missed, when I walked away from Dish Network in favor of saving more than $1200 this year. I watched a few episodes of The Following to finish off my evening, then realized it was 4 AM and I should probably be getting to sleep.  

Of course I slept late and woke around 10:30 am thinking I needed to do something more with my time than yesterday. I did some basic (very basic) yoga with one of the yoga channels on Roku, which is not a bad way to force one's self awake. I changed one one purse for another and watched the movie, Dear White People. Luckily she went to New York Bagels up the street and got us breakfast burritos for brunch, or I might have skipped eating altogether. 

For the record, Hannibal is the most beautifully artistic show on television that I have ever seen. The visual style and the sound editing and music are superb. I enjoyed Dear White People and thought of how well it book ends School Daze, which came out when I was in college. So much has changed, and not much has changed, depending on how you look at it. 

I've given up on a shower today and will just wait till morning. I know, gross, but it has been really good to not force myself into action today.