frustrating thoughts on a tuesday morning

your author, dressed for 29°F weather at 7a, sitting in the parking lot to medicate (description below)

It is currently 29°F outside, actual feel of 22°F. I am outside for my morning medication: today is cannabis and coffee. I’ve already taken my fish oil, but there’s no one to say anything about that if I take that in my kitchen. So I come outside after having dressed for the weather. This includes: underwear, thick socks, two pairs of flannel pajama bottoms, a long sleeved shirt over a short sleeved shirt, a fleece hoodie, my purple fuzzy robe with white stars, a knitted neck warmer, a knitted hat. I have spiked my coffee with hot cocoa mix and butter to make the warmth seem thicker and more long-lasting.

I have a medical marijuana card. Up until *very* recently, whole flower was not allowed to be sold in medical dispensaries. Smoking whole flower is the method of delivery that works best for me. If vaping worked for me, I could probably get away with vaping inside my apartment, although I really wouldn’t want to try. But it doesn’t. Smoking whole flower is what works. I no longer engage in practices that are meant to be good for me but in actuality, aren’t. Imagine if instead of taking your anti-anxiety meds by pill, you had to have them by suppository and you had to do that outside because that’s what the law dictated. Just because.

When it is colder than this, or when the weather is shit, or after dark (I feel like a D!sney princess out here sometimes, skunks ((Flower!)), raccoons, possums, cats, ALL the squirrels), I sit in the car. Even with the engine off, this is illegal to do. When I have zoom therapy and I am home I do it in my car or outside so that I can smoke. So that I can medicate. When I have zoom therapy and I’m at a friend’s house, I can be inside and warm and still medicate.

No other medication is subjected to restrictions and procedures like this. This is inhumane. Could you imagine if I told you you had to go outside for your heart medication if you weren’t well off enough to own your own home with private property? If I told you you had to take your cholesterol meds every morning but go outside somewhere on the street, what would happen?

And if I told you that unless you had the wherewithal, you couldn’t have a get-together with friends and have a smoke sesh. Have all the wine and cheese parties you want, every book club has its Bordeaux, every rehearsal dinner its Riesling, but no ma’am, you’re not allowed to enjoy this totally legal thing where you live, where you love, where you entertain. What would you do? What would you say?


People are going to consume where they are able to consume. Where they are forced to consume. This has always, and will continue to be what happens. By welcoming dispensaries and consumption lounges into Peekskill, by allowing smoking in specific areas of our many public parks, we are making our residents and visitors feel more comfortable and welcomed.

the time traveling doctor. 7a 20th november, 2020

Every time I have seen JJ since my husband’s death it’s all I can be reminded of. How long it’s been. I know I mention it every time I see him and I have found myself unable to stop doing so. I realize (every single time) that this is not conducive to doing more business, or good for his comfort, or for mine, in fact. His profession means that he’s going to have to deal with surviving spouses, possibly more than he thought. I don’t want to keep doing this. I don’t want to keep focusing on only that anytime I see him and I fear that I may have risked ever seeing him again because I can’t stop talking about it.

Listening to The New York Times Daily podcast this morning and an interview with a woman who was a medical examiner in rural Wisconsin, who explains that she understands that as a last responder, her presence is triggering for some people forever.

Do I think that I can rewrite my own code for this relationship? Do I think that I can rewire my brain to be thankful that one of my husband’s cardiologists is such a lovely, sweet, kind person instead of having the first and only reaction to him being one of the last attendants to my husband?

Yes. Yes of course I do.
My brain is nothing but elasticity and electricity and muscle and if the past 1,164 days have shown me nothing else it is this.

Most recently, I have been learning how love can help to reframe old photographs, to view memories through a different lens. To not make excuses for, but to understand motivation. To take this current love into the past and care for the people who were hurt. To let that healing wend its way forward into the future, to meet up with the realization I have now.

I wish you could see me now. I wish you could know me, now.

think i had a psychotic episode today. (part 1)

think i had a psychotic episode today.
i don’t know for sure.
it was while i was driving.

what i do know is that the fear and terror that i felt was as bad as it has ever been
terror and fear so huge that it overtakes everything
but there was no pain
no physical pain to be afraid of
just the fear that always accompanies it
no looming precipice in front of me
nothing different about the day.
nothing.

what i do know is that approaching ten thirty this morning
while i was driving
while i was driving i was filled with overwhelming dread
i mean serious fucking dread like a tornado sky out of the clear blue.
arguing with myself over what to do
really, i mean come ON wtf
look at the complete lack of signal
how much further now? not much

i pulled over as soon as it was safe enough
hazards on, music on
into the deep we go
i had to tell someone what to do, it became clear.
i pulled over, made a short video.
said what i needed to say
that i am okay
(i do not believe that for a second FUCK no but i don’t understand what’s happening, either)
my phone pin.
my master password.
again that i am okay but i need to tell, i need to say.
in case.
so no one is sitting there with my dead hand in theirs trying to get into my phone
the way i did.
the way i had to.
i have no plans.
no ideation.
only the nearly ever-present need to fight to stay connected to the earth.

(more later, i promise. i’m fucking tired.)

634p 3rd july 2020

I want things.

There, I said it. I want things.

I am so tired of wanting and wanting and wanting.
I am so tired holding my own hands and hugging my ownself.
I am so tired of being exhausted at the thought of cooking a meal for one person.
I am so tired of all of the things that I am supposed to be doing filling my head to the exclusion of all else almost all the time.
I am so tired of the noise.
I am so tired of being woken up in the middle of the night by my own sadness.
I am so tired of being so tired.

I want things.
I want to not be so tired.
I want to not worry about all of the things all of the time.
I want to see a request for penpals in a nursing home in North Carolina and not burst into tears at the thought that that will be me someday,
alone in a nursing home,
begging for a penpal.
That everything about me will be written on a piece of poster board,
begging for a pen pal.
“Lysa loves cats,
existential conversation,
the color purple,
and monster trucks.
Won’t you please write to her?
Please?”
the hopeful smile on my face
plastered there for so long
(no one wants to be friends with a mean old lady so i smile)
no matter how hard it is
no matter how alone i am, have been.

I am so tired.
I am tired of knowing that as much as everything is already crashing down around me
that it will only get worse for the ignoring of it,
the putting off of everything possible
and many things that are not

i am so tired of faking pleasantry and ease
i am exhausted dodging “how are YOU???”
sidestepping directly into “what can i do for you today?”
avoiding, bobbing, weaving
slipping out from under the hammer of
HOW ARE YOU.
my extended silence and thrumming tears not enough of a delicacy for some
HOW
ARE
YOU
.
i’ve said this before,
my pain must be delicious.
michelin quality.
galaxy class.

8:18a 12th june, 2020

I don’t know, how I don’t know how it got to be a thousand days since you’ve died.

A thousand four days. How?

I don’t know, I don’t know how that happened.
But I know that I’ve missed you every fucking day. And I just… it’s only and already two years and nine months tomorrow and I just keep talking to you, I just keep talking to you. I keep talking to you because I don’t know how else to, not.

We always talked. About everything. We did that really well, talking. Sometimes not so nice. But we always talked.

So now what, do I just ask questions at the air? Do I just keep doing what I’ve been doing and uh, keep talking to you this way, writing, and…

I found pictures of you.
Well, Brian found them in the attic. I’ve never seen these pictures of you before. There’s a really hot one.

I miss you.
Every goddamn day.

Love you more.

Gary, age 20. 1990. Killer smile, wink, and dimple 😍😍😍

been waiting such a long time. 9th june, 2020

GenX forever

What I am about to say I don’t say lightly. I can only describe this as a completely surreal and supernatural experience. I don’t know what to do and I think I’m losing my mind. I mean I know I’m not I just don’t know how to explain it.

I posted this on my fb feed just before midnight, borrowing from a sister widow, knitter, friend.

I am not superstitious. I am the least woo-woo person you will ever meet. Yes indeed, I sure as shit am an absolutely fucking magical creature myself, but I am not superstitious. (These things can coexist. It’s pure energy.)
I don’t believe in shit like that. Spooks, ghosts, psychics. None of it. I have written here exactly how I don’t believe any of that shit.

And still…

Today, my best friend, my soul sister, Paula, and I were up in the attic at the house I’m losing, pulling out the last things that I want to take with me. Making sure there’s nothing left behind that I don’t want to one day accidentally see in a dumpster. The Governor was on (day 100? or is it 101?), his calming voice filling the blisteringly hot attic. I was feeling really good about the things that I was pulling out of boxes, things that I was setting aside to give away, things that I was setting aside to keep. I opened up the box and saw the familiar shape of a black CaseLogic CD holder. It was a big one, and there was a half size one underneath it, and a shiny purple one beneath that, with a sticker of a red corset with garters on the front. I opened up that one, it held a bunch of CDs that I used to play over the speakers in my shop. I hated listening to the radio, hated commercials. “Store Mix 11.12.2003” (some mixtape CD I’d put together, check that out later) and Soul Coughing and some Dick’s Picks and tons of others I squeed over when seeing. Knowing I would probably want to keep most of those, I picked up the big CaseLogic one to sort through. I was partway through the ancient printer drivers and font collections when I gasped. There was a CD I’ve never seen before. One that said, “Gary 🖤’s Lysa”. No case, no liner notes. Just his handwriting.

I knew then that I would have to sort through them all in order to take only the ones I wanted with me. I showed Paula the CD, her eyes lit up and she smiled hugely and said “That’s cool!” My plan was to play it on the way up to the pottery, it would be my soundtrack.

(the way that I know 100% for sure that I have never seen this CD before, that I’ve never listened to it, is because when we moved into this house, he read me a poem that he had written. He was hesitant to read it to me because, as he said, it “wasn’t a very nice love poem.” It began with the words, “I love you mostly much.”
And that’s all I remember of it.
I don’t remember any of the rest and I have been looking for it for as long as he has been dead.)

If I had had any idea, if I had had any wisp of a thought that there would be somewhere, in this house, physical proof of how he actually felt about me? I found the copy of Shakespeare’s sonnet 145 that he typed out for me and folded into an origami envelope. I showed you that, here. I showed you. Proof.

I loaded myself into the car, heading up to the pottery. I popped the CD in and waited.

(I am the type of person to always play everything on shuffle. My brain, everything in my life is on shuffle all of the time. I am chaotic neutral, chaotic good if you must but I am chaotic. Everything is always on shuffle.)

Not this time.

My husband was nothing if not methodical, determined, deliberate. Every single thing he ever did in his entire life was deliberate, The good, the bad, and most definitely the ugly. if he made a playlist for me it was with absolute and explicit intent for it to be listened to in the order in which he created it. So listen I did.

curvy guitar fills the cabin of the car, What’s Your Name.
Okay. So. They’re problematic for a host of reasons, but I did have a blacklight Skynyrd poster in my bedroom growing up, Confederate flag in the background of the poster. I didn’t even see it for what it was (I also watched The Dukes of Hazzard) I just liked the music. If I saw it now, I would torch it. I had somewhat of an urge to forward through to the next song, but I didn’t. I just listened.

More curvy guitar. Without checking, I would venture to bet that the guitar in question is a Rickenbacker. I Know A Little.
Again, controversial Skynyrd, but the lyrics are starting to poke at me.

I know a little about it
I know a little ’bout love
And baby I can guess the rest.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Okay, still not forwarding through to rush to the end, simply listening and playing and absorbing.

(this is where the screaming starts.)

I want you to want me
I need you to need me
I’d love you to love me.
Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying?
Feeling all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dying
Oh didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you crying?

Cheap Trick

I was driving, heading north to the pottery, heading north to see what my new pieces would look like, pieces that I had made with partners in mind. Pieces that I had mended and had crossed fingers, eyes, and tails hoping they would stay unbroken.

My fingers dug into the steering wheel as my mouth opened in a silent scream that quickly gave way to one that filled the cabin. Tears flooded my eyes, hot and salty, smearing my glasses.
I kept listening.

In this life I’ve seen everything I can see woman
I’ve seen lovers flying through the air
Hand in hand
and I’ve seen dreams that came from the heavenly skies above
I’ve seen old men crying at their own grave sides
And I’ve seen pigs all sitting watching picture slides
But I never seen nothin’ like you
Do you, do you want my love, woman
Do you, do you want my face, I need it!
Do you, do you want my mind, I’m saying it!
Well I think you know what I’m trying to say woman
I’ve seen enough of the world to know
That I’ve got to get it all to get it all to grow…

Electric Light Orchestra

The thoughts that filled my head were completely untenable. I was becoming unmoored and unable to do anything but keep driving. Unable to do anything but hold that steering wheel as tightly as I could for fear of letting go. Fear of letting go of the steering wheel and what would happen if I did. Unbelieving as to what I was hearing, what was happening. I knew exactly who I wanted to tell, needed to tell, possibly the only person who could understand exactly how I was feeling, knowing that I needed to remember everything exactly as it was happening so that I could write it all down here. because while I have no explanation, no rational, logical, useful explanation, I know that it was happening and that it was happening to me and that it was happening right now.

Something that sounds like chamber music now fills the air. More ELO.

I was searching on a one-way street
I was hoping for a chance to meet
I was waiting for the operator on the line
(She’s gone so long)
What can I do?
(Where could she be?)
Don’t know what I’m going to do
I got to get back to you
You got to slow down, sweet talkin’ woman
You got me runnin’, you got me searchin’
Hold on, sweet talkin’ lover
It’s so sad if that’s the way it’s over
I was walking, many days go by
I was thinking about the lonely nights
Communication breakdown all around…

At this point, there is no sound other than the music that fills the car and my own screaming. I am shaking and crying and screaming I’m driving as hard as I can to just get there. To get to safety and to the hug I desperately need.

(you all understand where I’m going with this, don’t you? The completely absurd and surreal and wholly supernatural ((and when I say supernatural I mean completely inexplicable as yet)) I don’t even know what to call it)

Still listening.

I do believe in you
And I know you believe in me
And now we realize
Love’s not all that it’s supposed to be.

Chicago

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

And knowing that you would have wanted it this way
I do believe I'm feelin' stronger everyday.
I know we really tried
Together we had love inside
So now the time has come
For both of us to live on the run.
After what you've meant to me
I can make it easily
(yeah, yeah, yeah) ((sarcasm mine))
I know that we both agree
Best thing to happen to you
The best thing that happened to me.
Feelin' stronger every day.

roaring in pain and sadness and rage and fury and WHY

Still listening.

Piano, then trumpet.

Saturday in the Park
I think it was the Fourth of July.
People dancing, people laughing
A man selling ice cream
Sing Italian songs
Eh cumpari, ci vo sunari
Can you dig it (yes I can)
And I’ve been waiting such a long time.

Chicago

Yes. Yes I have.
I have been waiting such a long time. I’ve been waiting such a long time for this proof.
(no, not proof of an afterlife, not proof of him talking to me from beyond the grave but honestly I have no idea what’s happening but this, this is proof.)

Proof of how much he felt about me. Proof of how much he loved me. Concrete physical proof. Not something bought; something made. Something he created just for me.
Continue listening.

dear gods.

What’s new, pussycat, whoa
Pussycat, pussycat, I’ve got flowers
And lots of hours to spend time with you
So go and powder your cute little pussycat nose
Pussycat, pussycat, I love you, yes I do
Pussycat, pussycat, you’re so thrilling
And I’m so willing to care for you
so go and make up your big little pussycat eyes
Pussycat, pussycat, I love you, yes I do.

Tom Jones

So now my face is not pulled into a rictus of fear and unknowing and instead has this silly, slightly stoned-looking grin on it.
Still listening.

Sexbomb.
Just going to leave that there.

More piano. Basic drums. Dirty guitar.

It’s not in the way that you hold me
It’s not in the way you say you care
It’s not in the way you’ve been treating my friends
It’s not in the way that you stayed till the end
It’s not in the way you look or the things that you say that you’ll do
Hold the line
Love isn’t always on time.

Toto

do I pull the car over? Do I pull the car over because I don’t know that I can hold on any
more.

It's not in the words that you told me
It's not in the way you say you're mine
It's not in the way that you came back to me
It's not in the way that your love set me free.
Hold the line.
Love isn't always on time.

My brain feels like it is on fire at this point. I am trying to compose this piece that I am now writing while I am driving 65, 75, 85 miles an hour. I am overwhelmed with everything and trying to ask questions to the air because that’s all there is in here. Air and sound.

Still listening.

And though I know about all those men
Still I don’t remember
‘Cause it was us baby, way before them
And we’re still together
And I meant every word I said
When I said that I love you I meant
That I love you forever
And I’m going to keep on loving you
‘Cause it’s the only thing I want to do
I don’t want to sleep
I just want to keep on loving you.

REO Speedwagon

I love you.
I love you so goddamn much and I miss you every goddamn day and WHERE ARE YOU

STILL LISTENING.
(there is a slowdown on 17; I have since rolled up the windows so that I can blast the music and scream as needed)

From my heart and from my hand
Why don’t people understand
My intentions.
Plastic tubes and pots and pans
Bits and pieces and
Magic from the hand
We’re makin’
Magic and technology
Voodoo dolls
Electricity we’re makin’
Fantasy and microchips
Shooting from the hip
Something different we’re makin’
Pictures from a magazine
Diagrams and charts
Mending broken hearts and makin’
Something like a recipe…

Oingo Boingo

Okay. I get it. You’re here. You’re telling me in no uncertain terms that you are here. Okay.
WHAT the FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THIS INFORMATION???

still listening.

Drumbeats.
Are you fucking kidding me.

Color me your color, baby
Color me your car
Color me your color, darling
I know who you are
Come up off your color chart
I know where you’re coming from
Call me, on the line
Call me, call me any, any time
Call me, I’ll arrive
You can call me any day or any night
Call me.

Blondie

I spot movement on the rolled up passenger window, I look in disbelief at what’s crawling up the glass.
A bee.
You know, like the one that’s tattooed on my arm. Like my nickname for my husband.
Bumblebee.

Call me. Okay. Not with a fucking bee in the car. I roll down the window, watch the bee hang on for dear life, pretty impressive if I’m being honest (which I am), and finally at some point, it disappears. I am unworried that it might have ended up inside the car as I don’t think it’s going to bother me.
Call me. Jesus.

Still listening.

One way or another, I'm going to find ya.

Even though the lyrics to this song are on the creepy side truth be told, this is comfort to me. I am just going wholesale into believing that whatever is happening is happening.

Still. Listening.

I know this is long. Trust me, the hour that I took to drive was one of the longest hours I’ve ever spent.

I’m lying here on the floor where you left me
I think I took too much
I’m crying here, what have you done?

P!nk

And it’s here, at this point in this truly bonkers narrative that a bizarre screeching noise begins to come out of my speakers. The song is making me really unhappy, not in the same way that the rest of the songs made me unhappy but in a truly unhappy way. The screeching is getting worse, and I hit the off button. Just like that, the cabin is silent except for my own ragged breathing. I look around briefly to try to make sure that the bee is no longer in the car, I turn up the air conditioner, I know my face is red and puffy but I don’t care. I wait a minute or so, until I have cooled down. I turn the stereo back on, and forward to the next song.

I’m a loser
And I’m not what I appear to be
Of all the love I have won and have lost
There is one love I should never have crossed
She was a girl in a million my friend…

The Beatles

Shaking.
Still listening.

At this point in my drive I am way up in the wilds of Ulster County where the cellular service is terrible and GPS isn’t much better. “St. Louis Blues Jam” by The Beatles comes on. It’s a soft little pleasant interlude type of thing. I tried several times to get SoundHound to figure out what it is, and I can’t. It had to wait until I was home. I am almost to the pottery at this point and I am wondering how many more songs are on this mix.

Soft acoustic guitar and the telltale sounds of a record popping in the background.
Our song.
Blackbird.

Tears are streaming freely down my face at this point and I am just smiling with the insanity of it all, grinning like an idiot. As I see the final landmark, a sign on the right side of the road that says “Welcome to Dwaarkill, God’s country” the song is ending. I hit my turn signal to pull up the drive and the last few notes of the song echo through the cabin, blackbirds singing the distance.

I am still listening.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night.

thoughtless. 1027p 9 march, 2020

how dare you.
how dare you ask me if it was wise, crinkling up your face to say no, I don’t think so
“was it wise? to spend so much money on a good mattress?”

HOW DARE YOU.

it isn’t the most expensive mattress, not by far.
it is a good mattress.
a king-size mattress
for my king-size bed
my king-size sheets
my king-size comforters
my king-size blankets.

how DARE you.

I sold my dead husband’s clothes
so that I might have a comfortable place to sleep.

HOW DARE YOU.

2020

facing the day, unfiltered

It doesn’t feel like it’s 35° out.

As I sit in my backyard, dressed in my dead husband’s jammy bottoms, flip-flops, a Sleepy Hollow Old Dutch Church Fest hoodie (the real Sleepy Hollow, not that bullshit place on TV), a fuzzy green jacket with ears, last night’s makeup on my face, my “t r a n s c e n d e n t” Spotify playlist filling the crisp air, a cup of coffee, and an as-yet unlit little bowl full of weedy goodness, I feel ready. Ready to go.

Ready for this next chapter in what has become This Widow’s Life. “You Are The Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne is on; I’ve hit shuffle as I always do. I was about to skip through it when I realized, I am the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I am. Me, in my infinite iterations.

Next up is “Dreams” as covered by LÉON. I’ve lit the bowl by now, the beauty of the music wending its way through my brain. “…when the rain washes you clean, you’ll know…” I am enjoying being swept away by the lyrics and emotion and don’t even bother to argue with it as I usually do, “thunder only happens when it’s raining” because THUNDERSNOW.

Tedeschi Trucks now, with “Keep On Growing”.
This is my soundtrack. This is my direction.
Forward, ever forward.
Yeah, yeah, yeah!

On living alone as a klutz.

“So, ah, I was walking through my front hallway to go sit on the couch where I’m sitting now, and uh, caught my toe in the bottom of my, um, pajama bottoms and tripped and if I had fallen I would have definitely hit my head on the flagstone and um, yeah that could have been the end I could have tripped and died and then I sang myself a little song and said ‘I could have died and no one would have found me because I live alone.’ Whoa, wow. Okay.”

1056a 3 december, 2019. Antarctica.

listening to talk of “bucket lists”
places they want to visit

long ago we shared our bucket list adventures
not
actually
going anywhere, no.
but talking about them.
seemed rational, if not feasible.
I’d sent away for this catalogue
this Antarctic adventures catalogue.
came once a year and lived in the downstairs bathroom.
I mean.
we were living in our stay put forever house.
why not think about forever plans?

I haven’t really thought about Antarctica in a long time.
sometimes it creeps in
I push it away.

far away as it seems.