The Beauty is eating away all the everything else inside…

I use photography to lose myself in moment of beauty and OMG I have just taken about 300 photos that are so lovely I can’t stop the slide show of them going over and over my computer screen.  I usually only post photos to my photo blog, but these ones I wanted to share with you guys.  I hope they bring you as much peace as they do me.  xx

I need to write a post on a specific kind of meditative photography Birdie told me about last week.  It’s AMAZING in concept and it echoes so much of what I already love about taking pictures.  Will try to catch you up soon.

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https://blueeyesbrown.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/memories-and-spring/

Had such a lovely day. Didn’t want to post it twice over lol. 🙂

The little things

This cutie sang his song all through the rain showers today.  I could hear him from inside the house (the windows are open because it’s lovely out, despite the rain, and we want to smell that turkey cooking outside on Dayne’s smoker.  The entire neighbourhood smells like my dinner and it’s such a kick to hear them walk by saying “Oh that smells sooooo good!”  🙂

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I feel a little weird, smelling a delicious turkey cooking while enjoying another of it’s species singing away in the trees, but….life right?

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I’m so glad I don’t have to go to work tomorrow.  Another day will be spent around the house, relaxing and maybe a run out somewhere pretty for more photos.  The camera is taking away the stress from work…..I become absolutely present in that moment before the shutter snaps; nothing matters but the beauty in front of me for a few seconds.  It’s important to me and was badly needed.  I spent one day in tears in my office last week but it was more a matter of one boss taking a swipe at the other one, where upon the weaker of the two sprinted to my office to take it out on me.  She had me sobbing by the end.  She’s the type who will say stupid things that she already knows the answer to so that you feel like you’ve done something wrong.  She told me she had NO IDEA what was keeping me so busy at work since she was not giving me much in the way of additional tasks while spoiled/snotty number two was on vacation for a couple of weeks.

“You can’t honestly stand here and look me in the eye and pretend you have no idea how much work comes through this office?”  I tried her a bit.  Pushed back.

Her arguments were crap and were easily dispelled by the dozens of meetings we’ve had on the topic of my job (just the running of the two departments, without the ‘additional tasks on top’) being far, far more than what can be accomplished in a 40 hour work week.  But, even though I stood my ground and allowed her to vent her frustrations all over my office, she eventually got to me and broke down, sobbing.  In the end, which didn’t take long to come after I easily showed her exactly what work I had accomplished in the previous 10 days (more than seems possible, I assure you) and then she apologized, told me that was not the way she had intended to handle the situation and started backing out of my office.

“If it’s any consolation, she comes at me like that at least once a week.”  I said, making damn sure she knew I knew what was going on.

“No, actually, that only makes me feel worse.”  was her reply as she closed my door.

I collected myself and returned to my endless list of tasks after completely covering the little window in my door that people peek through to see my face.  They could all see me from the floor to ceiling windows behind me, but it’s the door window that gets the most peek ins.  I locked my door and plastered pink paper requesting privacy as I was very busy.  She came by, knocked, then went to get her keys after I didn’t answer.  She came in to apologize again, several times; now in tears herself.  I barely looked at her aside to say “Okay, thank you.” and kept working.

I know the other boss is hell on wheels when she’s pissed about something, but the fact that boss number one can’t even stand up to her and had to come ruin my day over getting her ass whipped by the taskmaster just shows bad leadership, judgement and emotional intelligence.  Mind you, my bawling episode wasn’t exactly professional but the shit she was accusing me of!  It was ridiculous.

The worst part was what the entire thing was over:  a meeting I didn’t book.  A fucking meeting.  No word about the hundreds of things I DID get done….just one meeting that didn’t get booked.  The other boss ended up doing it (taking all of 60 seconds from her day) and was mad about it.  Enough so to attack the other one who MUST be who is keeping me so busy.   ???  We’ve been over this ground so many times.  I wish I could retire.  Only what?  15 years to go?  *Sigh*

Anyway.  Back to the present and the delicious smells of turkey, stuffing, gravy, baked potatoes, steamed brussle sprouts and roasted rosemary carrots.   It’s a heck of a lot nicer in here than rolling those thoughts around my brain.

Here’s another few lovely photos from one of my recent photo excursions:
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Funny how I was just talking about turkeys…

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I never quite got to that second story I wanted to tell.

On Friday morning I got up, grudgingly, and stumbled to the bathroom, already late.  I jumped into the shower and was showering away, scrubbing and washing as usual, when I happened to look through the glass of the shower door (it’s a stand up, full glass shower in that bathroom).  There was a weird reflection I couldn’t quite figure out because it looked as if there was water on the bathroom floor with ripples and drops raining down.  I looked up at the ceiling to make sure it wasn’t leaking and all looked well, so I dismissed it as an odd reflection off the glass and carried on with my shower.  I did glance at the floor suspiciously a few times before I was done but without my glasses I’m almost blind so it’s hard to tell when to believe the things my eyes are telling me in the best of conditions, never mind through a steamy, glass shower door where water is actually falling all around me.  I finished up my shower and turned off the water and, even before I swung the door open I knew.  The reflection was not actually a reflection at all….my entire bathroom was flooded with at least an inch of water.  I called for Dayne and heard him leap out of bed, assuming I’d hurt myself or needed help, and then heard “Splash! Splash! Splash!” as he came running down the hallway.  Apparently the water had reached the bedrooms.

Our hallway is wood and it’s old so the varnish has worn and there are cracks that allow water to seep in, which lifts the wood from the floor.  There was so much water it went from the bedrooms, all the way past both bathrooms and out into the living room.  Some got into the kitchen but there’s a big spacer/cap thingy there to make the transition from wood to laminate not so open.  Of course, the baseboard is big, thick pieces of wood and the house is old enough that there is a decent quarter inch gap between the floor and the baseboard in some places, particularly around the bathroom where the water has obviously flooded before.

In a panic, realizing the scope of what we were facing, Dayne whipped of all his clothes and threw them at the pond in the hallway.  He then reached for the closet where the linens are kept and started grabbing and tossing everything we had just washed onto the floor.  Towels, bedding, blankets….everything.  When all that wasn’t enough, he grabbed the dirty laundry basket and up-ended it, scattering Colton’s dirty socks and our gross, dirty clothes everywhere.  He was hollering for me to come help him so I dashed out of the shower only to find my own towel already in use, and, dripping wet myself, I went to one end of the hallway and Dayne took the other end and we pushed the surface water back towards the bathroom so we could get the wood floor dry and keep as much out of the cracks and baseboard as possible.

At some point, Colt woke up, took one step out of his room, looked at the two of us, butt-naked and trying to push a small lake of water across the hall with an assortment of dirty socks and clean, but sopping wet towels, and turned right back around into his room and closed the door quickly behind him.  I heard him say something like:

“I don’t even want to know….”

And we burst out laughing, breaking the urgency of the moment.  Dayne was very intensely into trying to get that water up. I suggested we use salt along the base to pull the water up (we did and it worked amazingly well) and then kind of stuffed paper towels along the baseboard and into the gaps at the bottom.  By this time I was late for work so I got dressed in whatever seemed to match and took off running only to catch Dayne, out of the corner of my eye, pouring something all over the kitchen floor.  It looked like salt….but it wasn’t salt.  Plus, I didn’t want to kill the cats with sodium scattered everywhere so I stopped to see what he was doing.  We had run out of salt, apparently, so he had switched to sugar.  SUGAR!

“What?  It’ll do the same thing the salt does won’t it?  He asked.

“NO!  No it won’t….it will turn into a sticky, syrupy mess and we will never get it up!”  I explained, not as calmly as I had intended.  Thankfully, he set the sugar down and started with the paper towel again.

When I got home, my kitchen floor felt like a movie theatre but the ominous *squish* sound that happened when you stepped on the first few tiles from the hallway had stopped.  The floors were a tiny bit lifted….you could just see the corners coming up, so we hope they’ll settle back down as they dry.  The salt worked wonders though.  I brushed it out when I got home and it came out in solid chunks, all water absorbed.  The baseboard seems fine and the walls are okay – bathroom floor has never been cleaner and there’s only a little damage to the hallway.   It could have turned out much worse.

I spent a few hours trying to unglue the sticky sugar from my floor this weekend, but then got out for an impulsive photo hunt….got some beauties.  There was a flock of wild turkeys attacking a hawk’s nest and the two hawks were fighting them off.  The ugly turkeys were easily three times their size and twice in number but the hawks won in the end.  I had my telephoto out so got some amazing shots of them in flight.  I had no idea turkeys could fly like that …. so high and riding the currents forever without flapping.  Maybe they were vultures…hard to say from the photos.  I’ve never seen a vulture around here but those turkeys must have pulled their entire neck inside their body because all you can see is an ugly red face peeking out a mass of brown feathers as they glide.  Still, stunningly beautiful in the air.  Such grace those clunky, ugly, carrion eating birds display when they get off the ground.

Some of the shots here for you to see:

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Free Meat

I have two stories to share and they both have helped me see the lighter side of a long few weeks.

First – Dayne’s a-hole of a mother, regardless of all he did for her and all the support he gave while George was on his way out of this world, has decided that Dayne gets nothing of his dad’s and has re-written her will to make sure anything left over when she dies, goes to her two daughters. His half-sisters, yes, but nothing will be there for him.  It was funny as we were just talking about her the day she called to announce her decision.  He had said that he was worried that the two girls would never take her in or take care of her when she needed it.  He was trying to suggest that WE take her in.  I recoiled in horror but stretched a smile on my face anyway.  I’d do it for him.  If I had to.  She’s getting old and is sick – had breast cancer that had metastasized to her lymph nodes and then onto her lungs.  She calls it ’emphysema’ and the doc called it ‘metastatic lung disease;   whatever it is, it’s not good and it’s going to take her out.  I was pretty sure she’d go before George, but…here we are.  So, all George’s stuff is gone, sold off or given to his daughters.  Dayne didn’t even get his coffee mug, as promised, let alone some of his father’s ashes.  (I cringed when I thought of exactly how we were going to take ‘some’ of them).  I’m pretty much willing to do a full on break and enter to get that for Dayne though.  I guess we will have to see where things go.  I guess I won’t have to watch her die in the spare bedroom now….small blessing there.  (Sorry George, but she’s a heartless bitch and you know it).

Anyway. Onto the funnier side of life

The other night I was at home, doing my thing (i.e. sitting on my couch, playing on my phone/laptop editing photos and generally fighting to stay awake until Colt goes to bed) when the security alarm went off, letting us know someone was coming up the driveway and to the front door. The knock still surprised me (the alarm gets set off by passing cars or small animals like the biggest skunk I’ve ever seen who refuses to stop eating my front gardens).  The door is right next to my head, pretty much, so it gives me a start whenever anyone knocks, but it’s only ever Dayne coming home and I still jump out of my skin.  So anyway, the knock came, I jumped and then starred, in horror, across the room at Dayne who was already home and definitely not the one knocking.

“OH MY GOD someone is at the door!” I whisper/shouted at Dayne, who looked back at me as if I was insane. Which I am, a little…and also a closet recluse.

He got up to answer the door and I freaking panicked. You have to understand my ‘couch’ to really get this story so I’ll give you the rundown of what I had to navigate over to get to my feet and run away down the hall before he made it to the door and a STRANGER was standing on my porch and able to look inside at me.

My couch is really a double reclining chair and it is where I love to be the most (second to my bed). I have both of the recliner bits up so I can use them to stretch my legs out, as they were intended, but, I’ve also managed to turn them into shelves for my things.  My drawing table (which is also a laptop table) sits on one of them and the camera stuff sits on the other.  My enormous blanket is jammed into the seat beside me and I have a pillow and a massager thingy that moves like a vice opening and closing that I use on my neck sometimes.  It hurts worse than my neck did before I started, but there are benefits after the self-torture sessions….sometimes.  That particular day, it was a weekend, and I had a glass of wine perched on my foot rest along with a bunch of art supplies in plastic baskets balanced atop a stack of books.  I had a bowl of cereal, my cell phone plugged in and on Youtube and, to top it all off, I had the company of a giant cat (Jack, my maine coon) and a tiny cat (Daisy, who is in love with Colt and would let him pick her up by the tail and swing her over his head….which he never does, mind you, but skitters away like I’m trying to set her on fire when I attempt to pick her up for a cuddle).

So. The alarm goes off.  I think nothing of it.  The knock at the door happens, I jump, scaring the cats and nearly spilling my wine (noooooooooooo!).  I drop what I’m doing, grab my phone that is attached to the charger, rip the entire thing from the wall, cable and all, have to half stand, half jump up to my knees so I can navigate the cats and the food along with the ‘stuff’ everywhere, crawl over the blanket while trying not to kick everything to the floor with my leg that always does what it wants no matter what I tell it to do, grab my wine, step on Daisy who already sprung off the couch in alarm, find my balance, turn and sprint for the hallway.  I managed this before Dayne made it the five steps to the door somehow, but just barely.

He opens the door a crack. (He’s as suspicious as I am, just way braver).

“Yes. What do you want?”  He asked in a rather hostile manner.  (He protects us from everything.  Even things we don’t need protecting from, like a knock at the door lol).

So here’s the part that killed me. The woman on the other side of the door said, clearly enough that I could hear:

“I just came by to see if you got your order of free meat.”

*A moment of silence in all directions*

“I’m sorry? I wasn’t expecting …..and don’t actually want any ‘free meat’.”  he responded.

“Oh, that’s too bad. We have some right here in the trunk”

(The TRUNK?! What the fuck kind of free meat do you keep in a car trunk??? I had a split second thought that maybe this chick was a serial killer and was trying to ditch a body or two on us.)

Just out of sheer curiosity, Dayne asked “Where uhhh, does this free meat come from? Is it locally caught or farmed….and, who exactly are you again?”

(Please don’t say it’s hunted here; please please please don’t say it’s wild turkeys or deer or the very frightening looking fish that weird ass people actually fish and EAT from our little river that runs through town. When I lived in the city where I work the river has a fork that they made a public park around.  Once year, they wanted to put up a fountain but the Health Board stopped them because they were afraid that people would inhale the mist from the fountain and get sick. …and no, I’m not joking.)

“Well, some of the birds are locally caught…..”

(ARGKKKKH…omg omg omg no. Those turkeys are NOT eating turkeys.  They eat dead road kill for days and days after its dead.  They are scavengers and they eat the fish from the river too.  They eat the farmers’ fields when they lay down sod and fertilize the crap out of it.  They are not for eating.  Not.  I don’t care that it’s legal to hunt them.  I don’t care that it’s not killed anyone who ate them ….well, as far as we know.

“…..but most of the meat is organically raised on a farm that is local. Did you want to try some free meat to see if you like it?”  She looked hopeful at this point.

The look on Dayne’s face reminded me of the time that our ex landlords offered us eggs from their chickens that were let loose to run about the property.   They fed them garbage and scraps from dinner including bones, actual meat, other chickens, fruit rinds…..  sigh.  They were the saddest looking chickens ever….one got pecked to death at one point by the others….I think they grew a taste for chicken and had figured out where it came from.  When they let the chickens roam, they would make a straight shot to the spot behind our house where our septic tank leaked….a lot….and the landlords wouldn’t be bothered fixing it.  So, every time we flushed too much or ran a load of laundry the ground back there would flood with….well…everything we flushed.

(Mmmmmm. I know.  I hope you’re not eating right now too)

Anyway.  The chickens LOVED that grass that grew so green and fresh from our ‘organic’ contribution.  They lived, basically, off things they don’t eat naturally, and our grass fertilized by our excrement.

“NO. No thank you.  We do not want any of your eggs.  No.  Absolutely nope. We don’t eat eggs.  Ever.”  Was Dayne’s reply when the ex-landlords offered to share.

It was the same sort of reaction with the ‘free meat’ lady. Who the hell takes that offer?  Who the hell takes free meat from a door to door sales person in a small town, after dark, from the truck of their car?  We didn’t, thankfully, and Dayne closed the door with a smile and wave of good luck to the weirdo on the porch.

See? This is why I don’t answer the door.

(Second story forthcoming)

I’ve been drowning myself in photos and the beauty so easily missed when you happen to blink or turn away for even a moment in time.

My photo blog is full of these images, should you care to see them. I’ll post a link later today.

This one just fills me up. The same place my music goes, this image lives inside me.

The Death I Missed

Before the call about Dayne’s grandmother, he and I were talking the other night about his dad and how hard it was for him to be there, watching him struggle and suffer; fight and give up for all those hours.  He told me he almost understood the flashbacks I used to have when the PTSD was in full flare up – where I’d hide in closets, whimpering, only to scream bloody murder if he so much as came within a foot of me, only able to see my dad and that neighbour who was welcome to take his fill of me whenever he wanted as a 13-year-old girl. He told me he was trying, so hard, to remember his dad alive and well but the only memory he could find in his head, day or night, was either the moment his father took his last breath or the time he watched my heart monitor flat-line before his eyes.

I was nodding, rubbing his back while tears slid down both our cheeks as we talked when I suddenly stopped for a moment, frozen.

“Oh!  You must mean when I was in labour with Colt and his heart beat stopped for those few, terrifying moments.”  Yes, that was a terrible moment for me too, even though I don’t fully remember it, I was so engrossed with labour and what was happening with my body and the little life within that was trying to get out.

Dayne looked at me, confused.  “No, babe, it wasn’t just Colt whose heart stopped…don’t joke about that.  It was really scary, watching you both die like that….slipping away from me.”

I had no idea what he was talking about.  What I remember is this: I was in labour all day. When Dayne finally got home around 7 that evening I was beyond pissed because the contractions were getting closer and stronger and he’d not answered his cell phone all day.  (I’d been frantically calling since about 2 that afternoon).  We went to the hospital and they checked me, declaring me almost 8 cm dilated so moved me right into a nice, private birthing room.  (Perk of working at the hospital – health care is covered in our federal taxes here in Canada, but that only allows for a semi-private room.  I got the royal treatment).  Labour was painful but I was calm throughout.  No drugs, no epidural…just a drifting, half dreaming state of consciousness that was somewhere between dreaming and dissociation from the pain. (haha!! Finally a good use for that shit!)  I remember a lot of moments but had no idea of the time passing.  I remember going into hard labour and kind of wishing I’d taken that epidural; I remember them putting my legs up on platforms that made my hips instantly cramp and I almost leapt from the bed in pain.  Dayne knew…he told then and they took the leg stirrups away.

It went on for a while…I don’t know how long.  I heard Dayne telling our nurse that he thought I’d fallen asleep and she told him it was okay, to let me rest.  Then the only constant in the room; that constant, comforting set of bleeps of the heart monitors they’d attached to Colt’s head and my pulse began to slow.  Then it really started to slow.  For a moment, I couldn’t hear a single sound and I pulled myself out of my meditation and locked eyes with my foster-mother, who had unwillingly come to witness the great event of the birth of her first grandchild. (she forced herself – I never would have wanted that…i thought it was a nice thing to do for her, not something she’d hate).

“Mom?  What’s wrong?  What’s going on?” I heard myself say but she didn’t answer.

I heard the nurse, Bev, telling me that I was okay and not to panic.  She said that when I opened my eyes I was going to see a lot of people in the room, but not to worry, they were just there to make sure the baby and I were both okay.  I did open my eyes for a second and, indeed, the room was packed with medical staff.  There was an adult crash team, a crash cart (Paddles out and turned on), a pediatric crash team, an obs doc dressed in scrubs with two nurses scrubbed by his side, a resident down between my legs holding a scalpel very close to my body and an attending doc, dictating her every move.  I felt a ripping, tearing pain suddenly and half sat up making the first noise I’d made in hours….something like ow-ow-ow-oww-oww!  and a whole bunch of strangers began to murmur comforting sounds.  The next moment I remember was Bev saying to me:

“Grainne!  Open your  eyes!  Look Grainne!  Look!” and I did.  And there he was, upside down, purple, drenched and heartily screaming his lungs out.  Colt had joined the world.

“Oh!  It’s a boy!”  I remember saying (my mother was absolutely convinced he was a girl) and I looked for her but she was huddled in the corner, teary eyed and trembling.  Dayne had left my side the moment they took Colt to the other side of the room for the peds and team to examine.  There was a lot of suction and fussing about, but, eventually he was laid in my arms as the resident stitched up my episiotomy after injecting a ton of freezing. All I could see was him.  I wanted him close to me….on my skin.  They brought my cleaned up and air-way suctioned Colt, all wrapped in blankets and lay him in my arms.  That moment was one of the most peaceful and happy of my life.  (The outright screaming began that night and didn’t cease until he was two, but, there was peace for those first moments as he tried to figure out what the hell just happened.)  We were moved to another ward and Colt and I watched the sun come up as he tried to breastfeed and I tried to help him between bouts of crying in frustration and terrifyingly scary moments when he started to choke and cough up some of the thick mucously muconium from the birth.

That is my memory.  But, apparently, I missed the entire part where I freaking died.

Dayne, haltingly, recounted the moments from when he thought I’d fallen asleep and alerted the nurse, to the moments the heart monitors went down steadily together in their decline, both mine and Colts.  He said that my monitor stopped first, completely, and then Colt followed.  They called a double code for us and my mother and Dayne were shoved to the side of the room as crash carts and teams came running in at 3 in the morning.  The adult team got me ready for defib and one of the nurses pumped breath into me while Bev gave me chest compression to keep my heart beating.  He said the paddles were charged and hovering in the air, inches from my chest, the obs/gyn resident ready to slice me open to get the baby out, when the Attending told her to wait.  Dayne said the heaviest silence ever hung in the air for what felt like hours but was, in reality about 20 seconds, when my heart kicked in again on its own and Colt’s followed.  The very moment that happened Bev told me not to worry about all the people in my room when I opened my eyes, saw the people, closed them again; the resident sliced into me, I reacted to that pain, half sitting up and making the only sound I think I made through the entire labour.  Colt was instantly released from my body after the cut and Bev was telling me to look….to open my eyes and look and my new little life who then became and yet always was, my son.

One of the docs came to my side, wiped the hair from my face, stuck there with sweat, and said “welcome back mom”.  I had no idea what he meant but I more or less dismissed it.  My mother remained huddled in the corner, terrified, and Dayne followed Colt wherever they took him until he was finally placed in my arms.

All in all, it was likely only a minute or two that all that chaos and heart function trouble happened but I can imagine the eternity it must have felt like from the outside.  Suddenly a whole lot of memories make sense now too….I just honestly never realized what had happened.  Everyone assumed I MUST have known.  I mean, how do you die and not know?  Well…..apparently it’s a thing.  My thing, at least.

Strangely, what bothered me most about knowing the whole story nearly 13 years later, is that there was nothing there.  No light, no relatives coming to welcome me to the afterlife.  If anything, I felt like I was tumbling in and out of consciousness, much like I do some days when the narcolepsy gets me good.  I was saying things that no one could hear but me, doing things no one but me noticed…..and I had no heart beat for a short while.  I was worried about the baby not having one but it never struck me that I was in trouble.  Just a big blank…dark, half sleepy, painless, unfeeling, uncaring black.  I so hope that’s not what my end will be when I do finally reach it.  If so, I’d so much rather stay here with the suffering and living of life.

I don’t know what else to say about all that except that it’s scary enough hearing about what I did and said in my sleep without knowing it.  Being close to dead and not knowing it for over a decade…..that’s a whole next level deal.