I took this photo of my mother and my sister during one of our many visits to a mental hospital in northern Virginia, many years ago now. It was a lucky capture of something increasingly fleeting – tenderness, trust, and a smile, between a mother and her daughter. I haven’t been secretive about my mom’s descent into severe mental illness. It is highly stigmatized, which is stupid, because that makes it far more difficult for all of us to bear. So I will always speak up.
Mom battles Delusional Disorder and Paranoid Personality Disorder, which have no cure and no trusted form of treatment, due to the patient’s inherent suspicion and lack of insight into her condition. We’ve seen her through psychotic breakdowns, hospital stays, suicide attempts, jail time, and homelessness. As hard as that is, the reason it’s most excruciating is because Mom was our best friend growing up. She was a loving and energetic person. But her delusions have transformed Bonni, my dad, and I into the enemy, causing her a great deal of fear, anger, sadness, and pain – which causes her to lash out. And now, it’s hard not to hate the manipulative and abusive person she has become. Continue reading
Over the past couple of weeks, I have explored some new nooks n’ crannies here in Southern California. Specifically, I saw Potato Chip Rock and San Juan Capistrano!
I experienced the former because I had friends visiting from Nebraska. You would think that visitors from the landlocked Midwest would want to see the beach in the dead of summer, but no! These athletic types wanted a hike..and a challenging hike, to boot. I had long wondered about Potato Chip Rock, but I will admit that I had no idea how strenuous it was actually going to be. Let’s just say that climbing 1100 feet into the air (and 2 miles of actual feet on the ground) was more than I bargained for, particularly under a full sun bearing down at 90 degrees. Continue reading
Chuck has deployed for the Marine Corps three times now. The first two deployments were to exotic Afghanistan, and no family leave was permitted. His third deployment is to Australia, and although his situation is vastly different (safer) than prior deployments, I still didn’t anticipate that he would have a leave block.
But he did indeed receive two weeks of leave halfway through the six-months assignment, and after much time/money/energy-based indecision, I booked a flight to go visit him. I’m so glad I did! Continue reading
This photo has re-energized me to write about the topic that makes me the most nervous: motherhood. I shared it on Facebook this week in a jocular context, knowing full well the truth it holds for me and a fair number of my peers, who struggle with the question of kids now or later… or… never?
I’ve started writing about the kids issue a million times by now. But I never finish, because I don’t know quite how to say what I want to say. I’m not sure I even know what to say in the first place, as I learn and evolve. Most of the material out there is either overly defensive, or too funny, or too angry. Nothing has authentically spoken to my own feelings on the matter. The conversation about women choosing not to have children is relatively new still, and it’s a tough balance to strike.
I have not made any solid decisions one way or the other. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But, as a married woman in her 30s, the pressure to decide weighs upon me all the time. Will I… or won’t I? And why? Of course, as a married woman in her 30s, I have to explain myself. I shouldn’t have to, of course… but we aren’t quite there yet, societally. And I know full well that people wonder. Continue reading
New Orleans had been on my bucket list for a while. Despite living (and not even working) in Georgia for nearly seven months, I never made it over there. I loved Savannah and Charleston, so given NOLA’s French influence and notorious pulsating energy – combined with the southern hospitality, architecture, and cuisine I had already grown to love – I knew I had to check it out someday. Continue reading
I have been so delinquent in writing, and boy have I missed it. I hate that my first post back after so many months was a sad one about the loss of my beloved rescue kitty, Tetsu. Beyond that tragedy, I have so much to say and to share. I only work part-time, so I truly have no good excuse to have deviated from my Gypsy Kitty Diaries. But you know, it is what it is.
Chuck deployed back in April, and won’t be back until October. While it’s true that deployments are never fun, this one is sure as heck less stressful in many ways than the last two. I mean, Australia beats Afghanistan any day of the week and twice on Sundays! (Where did that expression even come from, by the way?!) As far as I can tell, he’s been productive but also having a blast. I actually went to visit him a couple of weeks ago – more on that later. Continue reading
Tetsu didn’t merely wander into my life. He stormed into it like the impetuous Okinawan typhoon of steel for which he was named, full of spunk and tenacity. Although it seemed like he’d been in my life forever, my Boy Named Su was only with me a little under two years… And I still can’t believe that he’s gone.
I’m generally against letting cats outside. While I recognize the closer tie to their wild ancestry than dogs, there are simply too many dangers. Of course, I have mostly lived in urban apartments in high traffic, high risk areas. In Okinawa particularly, there were too many diseased strays, plus the chance of being picked up by Japanese animal control and sent to the gas chambers. There was also plenty of traffic…
But our little Pink House in Southern California has been something special. It has this magic to it. It tantalizes with its ephermal Ferngully distractions. It’s quiet. Nothing bad ever happens here. And I got comfy. Continue reading
Growing up, I was always the extrovert, while my sister was the shy one. I loved people, social events, and generally dominating the room. I was bossy, full of ideas, and determined to ensure that everyone was on my wavelength. I made friends easily, and despite my social dominance, people tended to like me.
After a confidence-blowing high school experience (and thus a foray into introversion), I resumed my outgoing ways in college and beyond. I was so busy. I kept up with school, jobs, extracurriculars, family responsibilities, and still had time to party like a rockstar. I was hardly ever alone, and enjoyed the company of anywhere between 1 and 3 roommates.
I found myself a happy, colorful little nook here in Oceanside. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been hankering to try the lavender honey latte at a nearby coffee shop called Revolution Roasters. I finally made it happen! While I was at it, I splurged on avocado toast and a sort of grapefruit pound cake. And when I say “splurged,” I am not kidding. That “light lunch” cost me about $18 (not including tip!)
Shop local they said… it will be fun, they said.
I am joking. I do love shopping local, and gosh darn it – I was hungry. I also made a new friend and sat next to an adorable golden retriever. Totally worth it!
Yum! And you can order just about anything gluten-free!
Darling little boutique next to Revolution Roasters
My kind of wall art!
Colorful array of shops and yoga studios, next to the decidedly hipster Revolution Roasters
Took a slight detour on my way home to my favorite perch overlooking the Pacific
I don’t typically believe in New Year resolutions. I think they tend to set us up for failure, and (as a risk-averse individual) I generally try to avoid such situations. I prefer smaller, bite-size endeavors, knowing that only some may stick – and that’s okay!
For instance, I wanted to take just the month of January to detox in a handful of ways: no drinking, more plant-based food, more exercise, a tighter budget, less time on social media, and a re-strategized job search (although I am working part-time now.)
This is fairly standard stuff after the holidays, which are saturated with rich party food, alcohol, excessive spending, and social, yet sedentary, activity. Given that the months leading up to December were also full of the eating out, drinking, and dismissal of routine exercise that comes with hosting guests and trips to Vegas, I’ve been needing that detox for a while now!
But, 2018 has had other plans so far. Continue reading