Posted in Cognitive problems, Depression, Emotions, Psych meds

Worry about everything……

I grew up in a suburb of Buffalo, NY. For 22 years, I lived in Lockport, a city on the Erie Barge Canal located about 30 miles east of Niagara Falls. From mid-November until Lake Erie freezes, the sky is dull gray. I wouldn’t see the sun for weeks at a time. In mid-January, there would be sunshine, but the high temperature was 10 degrees for days on end. I never had SAD. I never had cabin fever. Cold and gray were a part of life. Driving anywhere required extra time to shovel the driveway, chip the ice off the car, and navigating unplowed roads because nothing closed down. We went to work or to school no matter what the weather. Unless at least a foot of snow fell overnight, schools and places of employment stayed open. 

I moved to New Mexico, and my gloomy weather skills disappeared. If we have three cloudy days in a row – something that rarely happens in southern New Mexico – I get depressed and anxious. I haven’t been able to resuscitate gloomy weather skills, and I’m being held captive by a virus. New Mexico has been shut down since mid-March. My last day at school was March 13. A week later, the governor shut down the state. Gas is cheap, but there’s nowhere to go. Hotels are empty. Restaurants are empty. Some of the hiking trails on BLM lands are open, but the restrooms are locked. We have to wear masks when in public. I made masks with elastic to go around my ears. The mask was okay, but the elastic didn’t play nice with my hearing aids. The elastic kept flipping my over-the-ear hearing aids off my ears. I made hearing aid friendly masks with ties. I started wearing masks long before the governor ordered masks to be worn in public. My mask is hot, makes it harder to breathe, and my glasses get fogged up. I wear my mask anyway. 

I have severe depression, chronic insomnia, elevated anxiety, can’t concentrate, can’t think like I used to, and I’m overeating. I’m an artist. I should be making art. Instead, I’m making bias binding, reversible masks with ties, and playing computer solitaire.  I should do a deep clean in the sewing room. I did clean the bathroom last week, but I had to force myself to do so. I should work on the novel, but I don’t feel like it. I never had this problem when I lived in Lockport even when the high temperature was 10 degrees and we had a 50 mile an hour wind blowing in from over a frozen lake. 

I know Jim and I are significantly more fortunate than many others. We’ve had no loss of income, the bills are paid on time, and we have plenty of food, tissues and toilet paper.

I still have severe depression. Severe enough that I had to increase the dosage for my antidepressant. Yes, my doctor is aware of what I’m doing. I munch on a piece of medical marijuana infused white chocolate bar in an effort to relieve the anxiety and worry about becoming addicted to marijuana. My antianxiety med doesn’t work well enough to block the anxiety I feel and I worry about becoming addicted to my antianxiety med. 

If you listen carefully, you’ll hear Warren Zevon singing Worrier King. 

Posted in Emotions, Fiber, Photography

The Composed And The Uncomposed

I am not handling quarantine well. The anxiety is constant and is now starting to feel normal. The insomnia is killing me. I turned in a paper for a class today. In a page and a half, I blatantly told my teacher she was full of shit. It took a page and a half because I wasn’t quite that blunt. I sent another teacher a terse email about a major error intended as propaganda for the coal mine owners that I found in the textbook and backed up what I said with case law.  I’m not eating a healthy diet. I’d get on my elliptical machine, but I don’t have the energy because I’m not sleeping. I’m eating too much because I have no energy and my brain keeps thinking if I eat, I’ll be able to stay awake. Other than that, everything is dandy. 

I’ve been doing photography and working on composition. Some experiments are better than others. 

I may decide to crop this a bit, but I like how the light comes through the flower.
Cohen in a rare moment when she chose to pose.
Tinker guarding the TP – not a great composition.

I’ve been designing fabric, and I sent for the third set of proofs from Spoonflower. When I get the proofs, I’ll be putting new designs into my Spoonflower store, https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman  

I listened to the suggestions and comments made when I asked about fabric combinations for a quilt about suicide. I took one comment and ran with it. Here’s the semi-final, maybe final combination. The splotch print represents the emotional mess left after someone commits suicide. The other print represents how rational, logical and normal it felt when I was deciding how, when and where to kill myself. Except it’s not logical, rational or normal. I’ve got to let that combination sit for a bit to see if I still like it. Then, it’s time to trace the pattern, cut fabric, and figure out how I want to apply the appliques. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

My on-line shop, Deb Thuman Art is here: http://DebThumanArt.com

Posted in Emotions, Fiber, Quilts

I Need A Little Help From My Friends

My brain is having a difficult time picking out fabric. I auditioned a number of color combinations. A few I rejected. A few have possibilities. Most, I have no idea. And so I turn to my quilting friends around the globe for advice. 

This quilt will be about suicide because I still haven’t worked out all my feelings. I’ll just have to keep arting until everything inside of me is resolved. The quilt I saw in my head has a solid background, one amorphous fabric and one graphic fabric. I’ve pretty much settled on the amorphous fabric, but I’m having a hard time figuring out the graphic fabric. Would you please look at the photos of fabric combinations and tell me which you like best. Many thanks. PS….I had come color problems with the amorphous fabric. The fabric on the left, I want to keep. That fabric looks a bit different in some of the photos. The one that comes closest to the fabric in real life is Fabric 12.

Fabric 1
Fabric 2
Fabric 3
Fabric 4
Fabric 5
Fabric 6
Fabric 7
Fabric 8
Fabric 9
Fabric 10
Fabric 11
Fabric 12

My online store, Deb Thuman Art can be found here: http://www.DebThumanArt.com

My Spoonflower shop can be found here: https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman

Posted in Baking, Emotions, Fiber, Grief, Photography, Suicide

A Few Surprises

I waited too long to photograph fabric outside. We’re having WIND. I was stuck with either not photographing my latest fun stuff, or taking crappy photos. Herewith are some crappy photos. 

As many of you know, I have a Spoonflower shop. If you click on a fabric design, then click on “All Products,” you can see how the fabric looks as table linens, bedding, curtains and wallpaper. I am having so much fun playing around, manipulating photos and creating fabric designs. Before I can sell my designs, I have to order proofs of the designs. These are the proofs I’ve gotten back.

I’m taking a yoga class this semester and I needed yoga pants. I altered a yoga pants pattern, got out the binders, dye and bucket, and made yoga pants. I put patch pockets on the pants, but I’m not thrilled about where I put them. Next time, I want to try welt pockets. 

In case you’ve ever wondered, it’s not a good idea to try to do photography and bake simultaneously. The timer kept going off.

Sourdough cherry coffeecake with crumb topping.

I don’t run from my triggers because I don’t want painful memories to own me. I have been binging on ER. The other night, I watched a couple episodes that dealt with the suicide of one of the doctors. Having been suicidal and knowing someone who committed suicide, I respond to such stories on an emotional level. I had to spend quality time writing after watching the episodes. My first emotional art was ceramic. I didn’t understand what I was feeling until my feelings came out of my hands and into clay. I’m now having the same understanding by letting my feelings come out through my fingers and into my laptop. I was a writer long before my art meandered into clay, fiber and beads. Oddly, it has only been the last year that I’ve created emotional writing. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

You can find my Spoonflower shop here: http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

My online store, Deb Thuman Art, is here: http://www.DebThumanArt.com

Posted in Depression, Emotions, Fiber, Grief, Photography

Photos, Fabric & Tears

Jim and I went up to Aguirre Springs on Friday. I wanted to work with my macro lens, so that’s what I put on the camera. I wanted to experiment by using only one lens. My macro lens is a 90mm prime lens. It’s the only prime lens I own and I’m having a hard time adjusting to just one focal length. My other lenses are all zoom lens. 

I was surprised at how detailed the lichen shots were. I didn’t bring a hand lens with me, so I couldn’t see all the details on the tiny lichens until I downloaded the photos. 

I also got some shots of dead fronds that make for interesting fabric designs. 

I’ve been playing with the photos to make fabric designs. 

I wanted to do some portrait work while we were out hiking. I broke all the rules with this one, but I like how it turned out. Portraits are supposed to be done in portrait orientation, the person is supposed to be centered, and on and on and on. 

I’m still having grief fallout. Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the funeral for the person I knew who killed himself. I watched Law & Order SVU last night. The story line was about police committing suicide. The show was well done and realistic. And it sent me into a grief spiral. I never knew suicide was so hard on those left behind. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie here: http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

My store, Deb Thuman Art is here: http://www.debthumanart.com

My Spoonflower designs are here: https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman

Posted in bipolar disorder, Emotions, Fiber, Photography

It isn’t pretty. It’s art.

According to the National Institute of Health, 26% of the population of the US has a diagnosed mental illness. That doesn’t count the people who have a mental illness but haven’t been diagnosed. It took 35 years for me to have an accurate diagnosis. I am bipolar. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t bipolar. 

I have a fascination with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. This grand, old building is a monument to a time when mental illness was properly treated and a monument to the hell that mental institutions had become by the 1960’s. 

The original building had a main building in the center and a wing with five sections on each side. One side was for women, the other side for men. The sections farthest from the main building were the smallest sections and were for the most violent patients. The theory was that mental illness could be cured by treating mentally ill people humanely. Work was considered a part of treatment. Men worked the gardens and in the wood shop. Women worked at fiber art. The hallways were wide with high ceilings and huge windows. Benches were placed in the hallways because it was thought, correctly, that isolation was harmful and that interaction with the other patients would be healthy. There was a library. There were lovely grounds with both flower and vegetable gardens. Sunlight was considered healthy and the huge windows let in as much sunlight as possible. Patients would gradually, as they became healthier, work their way towards the main building. The idea was to heal patients and then release them. 

By the 1960s, the Psych Center had become the hell we think of when we think of mental institutions. Overcrowded to the point where patients were tied to beds in the hallways. Patients were over medicated and treated like something awful to be hidden away. When I lived a couple blocks from the Psych Center in the 1970’s, we had to go into the Psych Center to vote. Someone’s idea of a weird joke. God forgive me, I was reluctant and scared to enter the Psych Center. I had been taught, as had everyone else, that mental illness was evil, scary, and mentally ill people had to be locked away. I was taught that mental illness was a character flaw. My grandmother insisted that people could snap themselves out of depression and that seeing a psychiatrist was shameful and to be avoided no matter how ill a person was. She was horrified when I sought mental health treatment. She had been dead for 17 years by the time I was finally, accurately diagnosed. Probably a good thing. My diagnosis would have killed her if she had known I was mentally ill. 

I think about how, if I had parents who actually cared, I would have been a patient in the Psych Center. Then I think about how, if I had parents who actually cared, I wouldn’t need mental health treatment. 

In August 2018, I photographed the Psych Center. Attitudes, beliefs, and empathy flooded my thoughts. Part of the men’s wing had been demolished in the 1960s to make room for a “modern” hospital. It’s an ugly, square, lifeless brick building. There’s a high chain link fence surrounding the basketball court adjacent to the ugly building. A man, just one man, was on the court taking shots at the basket. I didn’t photograph him. He was entitled to privacy and to be treated like a human being rather than a freak in a zoo. 

Lately, I’ve been going through my photographs and picking out shots to be manipulated and turned into fabric designs. I played with some of the Psych Center shots this morning. 

Meandering Through Madness. The title reflects my personal journey through the mental health care system and my own mental illness.

I won’t be selling this design. It’s too personal. It’s too much of a gut punch. It’s too much my life. Eventually, I’ll have it printed on fabric and turn it into a quilted wall hanging which likely will never be hung. My emotional art isn’t pretty. It’s raw. It’s painful. It’s something no one in their right mind wants to look at. It’s also something that I have to make and something people should look at. Something people should feel. Something people should talk about. 

You want pretty? Go to Walmart and buy a bad reproduction of an insipid painting that nicely matches the sofa. 

You want art? Be prepared to be kicked in the stomach. That’s what art is supposed to do at least some of the time. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com Stop by and see what other artists are doing.

Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art http://www.DebThumanArt.com.

My Spoonflower store is here: https://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/deb_thuman.

Posted in Beads, Emotions, Jewelry, Judiasm, PTSD

The Many and The Few

It’s Hanukkah.

I took this shot the other night. The menorah is next to the window, as is traditional, and I liked the way the flames were reflected in the window.

Tonight is the final night. I’ll light candles and think about a tiny handful of fighters who banished an entire army. Just one of the many times someone tried to wipe out the Jews. We keep bouncing back. The title of this post is also the title of a Woody Guthrie song. His mother-in-law was a well-known Jewish poet. The song is one of her poems and Woody put the words to music.

I made latkes yesterday. I only make them once a year. After I made them, I remembered why I only make them once a year. The entire house smells like a latke. To remedy that, I made a batch of chai tea. Now the house smells like cinnamon and cloves. 

My great-great-grandparents left Dittersdorf, East Prussia in 1888. They were Jewish, but arrived in New York cleverly disguised as German Lutherans. By the time my grandmother came along, the family thought they really were German Lutherans. I grew up Catholic. When I discovered my grandmother’s really bad German was actually Yiddish, I returned to my Jewish roots. 

I grew up in an insane house run by a violent, drunken narcissist and her violent, drunken husband. It was not a good way to grow up. I’d go into a depression in mid-November and the depression would last until New Year’s Day. Holidays were hell. The fighting. The screaming. The drunken bigot spewing hate. That was just the first hour. The celebration went downhill from there. I no longer celebrate Christmas. The Jewish holidays, Hanukkah and Passover, hold no baggage for me. Except this year. The flashbacks started Christmas day and continue haunting me. I thought I was done with this kind of misery. Apparently PTSD is a forever condition. It gets easier to live with, but it never goes away. I’m convinced children should be able to sue their parents who should be made to pay the never ending therapy bills.

I’ve been working on making necklaces as an antidote to psychic, seasonal misery. It’s not called art therapy for nothing. Eventually, I’ll get the necklace, featuring Swarovski crystals, pearls, Adrian opal, agate, yellow opal, onyx, African jade and gold stone, into my store, Deb Thuman Art http://www.debthumanart.com

I’ve been working on taking macro shots and still getting used to a shallow depth of field. I’m playing with color, texture, and wild editing. Eventually, I’ll be turning the photos into fabric designs. This process is taking longer than I thought. Meanwhile, my laptop is filled with wildly edited shots. 

My cookie scoop died so I bought a new one. I haven’t tested it out yet, but I did use it to take a self portrait. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com Take a look at what other artists are doing.

Posted in bipolar disorder, Emotions, Photography, PTSD, Scarves

Scarves, Dogs, PTSD

Insomnia. It isn’t just for breakfast any more. This manic episode can leave now. Please leave. I am wide awake at 10:00 PM and don’t feel sleepy until after 1:00 AM. I drag myself through the next day, and wait for the insomnia to arrive about 10:00 PM. And on and on and on. I see my doctor on Wednesday morning and I’ll ask about sleeping pills.

Meanwhile, the anniversary of my mother’s funeral is on the ninth. To celebrate, I’m having flashbacks to the hell that woman put me through. She was a violent, drunken narcissist who had four children she didn’t want and made sure we knew she didn’t want us. I remember how I felt when she was complaining about her sister in law. “Why does she get all the boys and all I get are girls?” It was said in front of me. Inside, I asked what was wrong with girls? I knew better than to ask out loud. From the day she married the violent drunk until she died, I have no happy memory of her. Just misery and pain. 

This year, Yom Kippur falls on October 9. The very day I see my doctor. The anniversary of my mother’s funeral. Maybe God is trying to tell me something but I can’t decipher the message. 

We’ve had rain here in the desert. Photographers like to talk about shooting during the Golden Hours – two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset. That leaves 20 less than perfect hours in a day. I like to play with photography when it’s cloudy. Although I sorely lack energy today, I went outside to photograph and play. Here are some of the results. 

Sometimes, I just gotta play with editing.

I need to get more scarves into my store. The scarves were finished, they just needed to be photographed and listed. I’ve got some hand dyed pieces. I knit up a blank using white cotton. Then I dye the piece. Next, I unravel the yarn and knit up the final piece. The dye doesn’t take evenly on a knitted blank, so the result is a marled color. 

I worked with some new to me yarn. It generates heat when exposed to sunlight – even on a cloudy day. I couldn’t pass up this yarn and I had a coupon for 25% off. I also bought some bulky chenille yarn

The search for a service dog continues. It’s frustrating. So many of the dogs in this area are part pit bull. I had a case where the pit bull got loose and chewed a lady’s leg nearly down to the bone. I cannot have a dog I can’t trust. That there are so many mixed breed dogs that are partially pit bull tells me that the owners like to let their vicious dog run loose. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

Looking for a scarf or one of a kind jewelry? Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art http://debthumanart.com

Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Clay, Depression, Emotions, Jewelry, Quilts

Beads. Quilt. Clay. Bipolar disorder.

It’s been a rough few days. I wanted to decrease the Wellbutrin because I’m taking a prescription form of folate that is formulated to cross the blood brain barrier. The folate helps keep me above suicidal but doesn’t cause brain dropouts. I tried cutting the Wellbutrin pill in half. Nope. Bad idea. I felt myself sinking below center. The rate of suicide for people who are bipolar is 20 times that of the rest of the population. I find that terrifying. I’ve been suicidal 5 times in my life. How many times can I walk up to the edge of the cliff and not jump off?  I’m back to the dosages I was on and much closer to center. 

Bipolar disorder means having moods that have minds of their own. I’m in a foul mood, but there’s no reason why I should feel this way. Working on art helped, but I’m still not at center. I had ordered some impression jasper. It’s a stone that gives the impression of jasper. Except it’s not jasper. These two are dyed. I liked the color, so I’ve been playing around. 

I don’t usually just have a pendant on a silver chain, but this particular Swavorski crystal would be overwhelmed if I added any beads. 

I played a bit with making a book mark.

I can’t just sit and watch TV; I have to be doing something. I’ve been crocheting circles. Eventually, I’ll roll out a slab of clay, arrange the circles on the slab, press them in, and cut out little trays. 

I wanted to make a quilt to commemorate the murders at the temple in Pittsburgh last October. I’m not sure I’m all that happy with the chai, but I’m not about to wash this piece. I had to figure out how to make blood spatter for this piece and I can’t remember if I set the blood spatter. 

I’m trying to force myself to relax and have fun with my classes, immunology and cell biology. I spent college having to be the best in my classes. I spent law school having to be the best. I spent a career practicing law having to be the best. Now, I’m taking classes that interest me. I’m not going for another degree. The grade doesn’t matter…..except it does matter. I’m feeling burnt out because I’m putting emphasis on getting a good grade rather than putting emphasis on enjoying the class. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com Stop by and see what other artists are doing.

Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art http://www.debthumanart.com

Posted in Emotions, Fiber, Quilts

Shocked, but not surprised.

Yesterday, I was the oldest of four children. Last night, I became the youngest of two. 

On Monday, I got a notice from 23 & Me that I may have a half brother. I’ve been in emotional shock all of this week. I checked the 23 & Me DNA analysis – we share 23% of our DNA. We also share a father is is/was a selfish jerk. Both my brother and I were born in 1952. My brother is six months older than me. No, our father wasn’t married at the time. Apparently he stuck his dick in every vagina he found. Then he walked out of our lives. If our father is still alive, he’s 88. I did meet him once. I wanted a nice reason for why he abandoned me. He had no reason to give me. Eventually, I realized his reason for walking out is he’s a selfish jerk. My mother had two talents in her life: welfare fraud and attaching herself to horrible men. She eventually married a violent drunk. When I discovered I was adopted and searched for my father, my only fear was I’d find either a republican or a drunk. At least he’s not republican.

I have a brother I didn’t know about. And he’s older than me. That I have a brother is a shock, but not a surprise. It’s likely we have more siblings we don’t know about. Eventually, I’ll work my way through the emotional fallout of discovering a brother.

I have a new MacBook Pro. I bought the one with 512 gig storage, 16 gig memory and a 15” screen. It should last me a few years. I’ve been working on a quilted tote for the laptop. First, I played with squares….and managed to make one that looked like a swastika. Nope. Can’t go around looking like a neo nazi.

I put the three blocks together, and the swastika disappeared.

I like the finished result – mostly. I am not in love with the binding and I had problems with the handles. I wanted to sew the edges together then turn the handles right side out. Except I couldn’t manage to turn the handle. Next try: fold, press, and sew without turning. The handles aren’t too bad but certainly not great sewing. 

I like how putting together different versions of a block make wild patterns. I’m considering making a lap quilt using the basic pattern. I have a couple miles of fabric and I need to start using it up.

I’m linking with Nina Marie. Please stop by her blog and check out what other artists have been doing. http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

Looking for art to buy? Lots of goodies in my store Deb Thuman Art here: debthumanart.com

Posted in Baking, Emotions, Pain, Peripheral neuropathy, Photography

An Assortment Of Thoughts

Jim started baking. And baking. And baking. He found a sale on the Nordicware site and bought four fancy cake pans. Two will make loaves with fancy tops. One will make mini cakeletts. One will make regular cakelettes. I tried to convince Jim that we need the Kitchen Aid Pro 600 mixer with metal gears and a BIG bowl. Two bakers need two mixers. He didn’t accept that argument. Sigh. Someday. 

Today, I went to the gym for the first time in months. I only worked on my upper body because I’m not sure I should be using weights to work on my lower body yet. I want to have a couple more pain-free weeks before I ease into using weights on my lower body. My theory is if I am stronger I won’t be as prone to back and sciatic misery. If I’m wrong, at least I won’t have flappy arms. I’ve also been doing yoga designed to restore back strength and that seems to be working well. 

I’ve been seeing curtains of light in my right eye. That can be an indication of a torn or partially detached retina. Twice the retina in my right eye has been glued back down and I’ve been told that if my retina tears or detaches again, I will have to have repair work done in the hospital. I looked up the surgery. A sharp instrument is inserted in the eyeball….. and I need about a quart of valium to hold still for that. After seeing my eye doctor and a specialist, I learned my retina is fine and no one needs to poke me in the eye with a sharp instrument. The curtains of light could be an ocular migraine. Jim has those. They are a nuisance, but they don’t hurt. And so I’ll ignore the curtains.

I did a bit of work on the novel. I need to get the novel finished, and it’s taking a whole lot longer than I thought. I switched from first person to having a narrator. That solves the problem of how my female character knows things. 

I have not worked on the quilted pillow tops this week and I’m having small guilt attacks. Next week. I’ll work on them next week. 

I read an article in the New York Times about research that’s being done using virtual reality as a means of pain management. The theory is the brain is bombarded by so much stimuli the pain doesn’t register. So I bought a virtual reality headset. It works. I like how realistic and three dimensional the programs are. I started with the aquarium program and watched dolphins, sea turtles, clown fish, and sharks swim by. I detest rollercoasters in real life, but I decided to try a virtual rollercoaster anyway. It’s not a good idea to ride a virtual rollercoaster for a half hour.  Actually, it’s a really bad idea. My stomach didn’t like being on a virtual rollercoaster.

I hate Mothers’ Day. 

I grew up in a family run by a violent narcissist and a violent drunk. My mother not only hated and resented me, she made sure I knew she hated and resented me. Don’t ask me to honor someone like that. 

I have a uterus. I don’t have children. Don’t assume I am a mother. 

Tomorrow, I will stay home. I will avoid clerks and wait staff who insist on wishing me a happy mothers’ day. 

Too bad there aren’t greeting cards acknowledging women who don’t have children, or worse, lost a child, women who grew up in abusive environments and women who have lost their mothers. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com. Stop by and see what other artists are doing. 

Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art www.debthumanart.comand check out my art. 

Posted in Emotions, Grief, Judiasm, Suicide

Post Funeral Thoughts

A deputy I knew and worked with committed suicide. I don’t know why, but this has hit me incredibly hard. I spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday crying. I wasn’t sure I would attend the funeral because I didn’t think I could hold myself together. I’ve still got that memory in my head where my mother yells at me to stop crying. Didn’t take me long to learn I needed to keep my feelings to myself.

I ironed my funeral clothes and figured that was a sign I should go to the funeral. The visitation was before the funeral and I arrived at the start of the visitation. Fortunately, or probably as a practical matter, the casket was closed. A US flag covered the casket. I had planned on having a private chat with the late deputy. Most of the chat took place in the car while I was waiting for the viewing to start. I said things in my head that I couldn’t say aloud. Things from deep inside of me. So deep light rarely reaches them.

When I got up to the casket, I put my hand on the casket and gave a silent wish…. Shalom. It’s a Hebrew word that means peace. Not just the absence of war, but an all encompassing peace that reaches to the depths of your soul. I had tried a couple times the days before the funeral to say kaddish. I couldn’t get through the prayer.

A cruel cosmic joke would be that after suicide, we’re just as depressed and hurting as before we pulled the trigger.   

I patted the casket and heard a clank. Metal casket and I must have brought my hand down too hard. Per the obit, he’s going to be cremated. I hope that casket was a rental because buying a casket for someone who is to be cremated is silly.

I wonder if the casket is empty. Just for show and the body is about to be cremated.

As we waited for the funeral to begin, we could watch a montage of photographs of his life. One photo was of a younger version of him with his very young daughter. The love he had for her was obvious. 

You had the world by the ass. You obviously loved your daughter and granddaughter. You had friends. You had a life outside of work. You had work you loved. Why did you kill yourself?

So many smiles in the photos. Every time I saw him, he was smiling. He was always so nice to me.

Why didn’t you let one of us know you were hurting?  

Actually, I know why he didn’t let anyone know.

Or did you leave me a clue when you asked me, “Don’t you just love our fucking society?” I’m so sorry; I never understood it was a clue. Please come back and let me make it up to you.

Suicide, when you’re that depressed, seems rational. Why ask for help with a rational decision?

I could have helped you. I’ve danced on the same road. It hurts so much knowing I could have helped you and I never had the chance. 

I held myself together through the funeral. I fell apart during the last radio call.

Goddamn it! Why did you do this? 

The piper, who played the bagpipes particularly well, played Amazing Grace and I composed myself. Kind of like composing a song only different. I was fine until deputies started hugging me and I started crying again.

If you’re reading this and thinking suicide is a rational option, please do a favor for the people who know and love you: TELL SOMEONE. Thinking death is a good idea means something is very wrong. Go to the hospital. If no one offers to take you, go by yourself. Proper medication gave me back my life. Proper medication will do the same for you.

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

Posted in Emotions, Grief, Judiasm, Suicide

And so it goes…..

“One day Richard Cory went home and put a bullet through his head.” 

A deputy I knew, worked with and liked killed himself last Friday. Baruch dyan ha’emet. Blessed is the true judge. 

When I read the article in the paper this morning, my first though was had I known, I could have helped him. Except that’s not how suicide works. Jim and a close friend didn’t know I was suicidal until I told them I had a detailed plan to kill myself. 

The problem with suicide is it feels normal. It doesn’t feel like depression. It feels like a rational decision. Now, the decision to kill myself feels terrifying. Then, it felt normal. 

I don’t know any of the private parts of this man’s life. I know he loved the work he was doing. Doing work one loves is rare and wonderful. I know he was full of a high-power, fast oscillating energy. It’s hard to explain, but I could feel this energy when I worked with him. It didn’t feel like a negative energy. It felt more like it was a part of him – something that made him who he was. I’ve never met anyone else with that kind of energy. Now, that energy is gone. He’s gone. I feel like he threw his life away.  Except I know that’s not how suicide feels. Suicide feels right. Rational.

I want to hold on to the stupid generalities people have about suicide; except I can’t.

“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” No, suicide is larger than that. 

“He had his whole life ahead of him.” Someone who is 95 has her whole life ahead of her. 

“He threw his life away.” No, he made a rational, or what felt to him like a rational decision. 

Oddly, I don’t feel plagued by why. Why did he kill himself? I know when I was suicidal, I thought killing myself was a good decision. I put several weeks of thought into killing myself. I suspect he did, too. Why? Because life was too painful to be lived. Because suicide felt like a good decision. Because he couldn’t find the door. That’s what I mourn. That I never had a chance to help him find the door. 

Oseh shalom bim’romav hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu v’al kol Yis’ra’eil v’im’ru, Amein.
He Who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace, upon us and upon all Israel. Now say: Amen.

Shalom, John. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

Posted in Baking, Emotions, Fiber

Of Many Things…..

School started this past Wednesday. There’s a whole lot more in a single plant cell now than there was when I was in college. Thank the scanning electron microscope. I’m taking two botany courses, and all this new to me stuff in the cell is making these two classes reminiscent of my cell biology class in college. I very badly wanted to go to college, but wasn’t allowed to. College makes you stupid. That’s what my mother and her husband insisted. I started college shortly after my 25thbirthday. With no high school math and no high school science, I struggled. A lot. Now, I’m struggling. A lot. Fortunately, the grade doesn’t matter. I’m still studying, though.

Baking helps with my anxiety. Fortunately, college kids will eat anything so I have an audience for extra baked goods. I’ve been wanting to learn piping. The Food Network shows make piping look so easy. It’s not. I gave it a try this morning. I’ve discovered if I want to fill in the outline with royal icing, I need to dilute the royal icing so it will flow better. I discovered the clip I used to keep the top of the pastry bag closed didn’t do such a good job and I ended up with frosting bulging out the top of the bag. I discovered some tips are only for buttercream frosting. They don’t work well with royal icing – the shaping doesn’t hold up and everything looks like it came out of a round tip. I’ll keep trying and eventually will get better. I love the look of fancy frosted cookies and some day, my cookies will look like the photographs. I used a rum sugar cookie recipe and I put some lime juice powder in the icing to cut the sweetness of the icing. I think next time, I’ll use more lime juice powder. You can order lime juice powder here.

royal icing 1-20-19

My pastry chef book finally arrived on Friday. You can see the book here. I had ordered it on December 16. I love the book, but I dislike the vendor. I have my mail sent to a post office box. The vendor ships via UPS which wasn’t indicated when I ordered the book. There was no tracking number provided so I had no idea the book wasn’t shipped until I sent an email complaining that I never got the book. Per the vendor, they tried three times to get my physical address. Nope. Not even once. Ellenbooks was the vendor. Don’t buy anything from them. I didn’t bother to look at their ratings before I ordered the book. I’m not the only frustrated customer. In fact, less than 50% of the customers had anything good to say about them.

The book has recipes given in weight rather than volume. Fortunately, I already had a food scale. The recipes tend to be for huge portions but the author suggest the recipes can be cut in half or in quarters and they will still work. Jim looked though the book and picked out pies for me to make. On the baking agenda is sweet potato pie. I have my eye on pear upside down cake. I went online to find a recipe for a small batch of royal icing. The recipe in the book makes 6 cups of icing. I couldn’t bake enough cookies to use up 6 cups of icing if I baked all week.

Reading through the book, I discovered how all the contestants on Holiday Baking Championship are able to make all that good stuff without a recipe. Turns out there are basic recipes for pastry that can be tweaked and adapted a zillion ways.

I’m still working my way through the yarn I bought to keep the anxiety level sort of down. I’m nearly finished with one scarf and I have one ball of yarn to go. Oddly, while I had so much stress waiting for a biopsy then waiting for results, I made few mistakes in my knitting. This scarf has caused me to rip out rows at least twice each knitting session and usually 3-4 times.

We’re binge watching NYPD Blue. The law is a tad loose – in NY, once the right to counsel has been invoked, it cannot be waived except in the physical presence of an attorney. The script ignores that. One thing that may not be well known is that the antics and forced confessions on the show really were being done in the mid-90s when the show was first aired. Since then, the police have been steadily recording more and more encounters and confessions. This has led to better policing and fewer confessions tossed out by the judge.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here.

Looking for a special, one-of-a-kind gift? Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art, here.

Posted in Emotions, Fiber

Cosmic Joke That Isn’t Funny

I’ve long said that the ultimate cosmic joke would be for me to discover, after all the effort I put into not having children, to learn I couldn’t have had children anyway. My uterus has a birth defect called a septate uterus. There’s a piece of tissue connecting the back of my uterus to the front of my uterus. While it doesn’t effect conception, it significantly (20% – 40% and as high as  70%-90% depending on which article you read) increases the risk of miscarriage. For women who don’t wish to have children, the treatment is to do nothing. The only thing this septum effects is the ability to carry a pregnancy to term.  For women wishing to have children, there’s a minimally invasive procedure to remove the septum. The defect occurs in only 3%-7% of the general population so maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.   The only way a woman would know she has a septate uterus is if she has recurrent miscarriages. My congenitally defective uterus in not the cause of the bleeding. Said bleeding started the day before Thanksgiving and is continuing. I’ve got an appointment with a female gynecologist the end of this month. 

Oddly, the knowledge of my defective uterus is…..depressing. Why that should be is a mystery to me. This is the same feeling I had when I thought I would need a hysterectomy. I never wanted to use my uterus, but its potential absence is oddly depressing. 

I’ve been knitting to help keep down the anxiety. It kind of works. Here are the scarves I’ve made.

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Here is my current scarf project.

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And there are two more balls of yarn waiting to be made into scarves. Yes, they are all for sale. I haven’t gotten them into my store yet, but the price will be $30 which includes shipping within the US. If you’re outside the US, please email me at debthuman@zianet.com and I’ll research prices for you.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Check out what other artists have been doing.

If you’re looking for one of a kind gifts, please check out my store, Deb Thuman Art, here.