Saturday, April 30, 2016

Rallying . . . Mood Management. . .

Today's a tough one. Or, at least, the last few weeks have had some tough stuff, and I've been hanging on pretty well until yesterday's dental crown prep, completely a surprise until Thursday afternoon. I'm glad we caught the problem and (cross fingers) have arrested it before it moved into root canal territory. But that tense hour in the chair put me over the top, stress-in-my-body-wise. Today's yoga class was a good idea, I'm sure, but uh-oh, the tears just started spilling halfway through, and I kept having to wipe them away. No one particular cause, and I'm fine, really. . . By the time you read this, I'll be even better.  So let me be clear that I'm not writing in a bid for sympathy (although you're all lovely and will offer it anyway, I know). I just think that it's only fair to register the occasional sadness as part of the spectrum and to speak out the realities of how stress affects me.

But feeling a bit sad and a bit harassed and a bit lonely, truth be told. Lonely, but I hurry to add that I've had three lovely lunches with friends this week, and one scheduled for next week. Part of the crash, I suspect, has to do with folding a bit too much social into a bit too much Stuff-that-has-to-get-done without quite enough of the quiet time I need to regroup.
 And there are surely folks I could reach out to if I felt really needy, but my own independence precludes that for a variety of reasons. In fact, there's a potluck surprise party I intended to get to this afternoon, but instead am just hunkering down, waiting out whatever this mood is. . .
 Husband's at the furthest reaches of the country, right now, hanging off the outer edge of the continent, and there are good reasons for that, but the timing could be better. . .
 
 Luckily, there is music I can move room to room on my little Jambox, following the packing boxes. . .
 And certainly, there are many, many tasks to keep me busy.
 I take breaks to read the weekend Globe and Mail, rewarding myself as I seal up another cardboard cube or twist-tie another garbage bag or fill another recycling bin. . .
 I'm starting to think about making myself a dinner (kimchi chahan again?! I have a frozen chicken breast that might go nicely with . . . Or shall I throw that leftover parsley into the blender with some olive oil, walnuts, and parmesan cheese to make a decent pesto for the pasta that needs to be used up?).  Feeling oddly lonely, I remind myself why I so often treasure solo time, and I start planning the shows I've been saving on Netflix for just such occasions: Hmmm, I might catch up on those midwives, and there's a police detective in a not-so-Happy Valley I should check up on.




And there's my garden, in its spring glory. . . It's going to be hard to leave behind, but for now, I'm soaking it up. . . And sharing. . . Happy Weekend!

37 comments:

  1. Oh Mater, I do sympathize with you re. dental crowns. I had two done in Germany about 30 years ago; had the same ones replaced in Budapest about 5 years ago and both times I was miserable, truly. I hope that the rest of the treatment goes well.

    I can also sympathize with your lonely status - my husband is away for 2 months. We speak on the phone every night but I do miss him (although he will try to come home every other weekend). At least you have all that packing to keep you busy, and it sounds like you can have company when needed. Hope you feel a bit better soon.

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    1. Thanks, Patricia. I've got four or five crowns now (I should know precisely, shouldn't I?!) and have endured a few root canals, even had an emergency extraction of an already root-canalled tooth that could no longer be held together and will one day have to be replaced by an implant. The first few times were bad enough, but now there's an added sense of decrepitude, truth be told, that I find sobering.
      However, not much value in sitting around licking wounds, right? And the weather here on the Coast today is absolutely splendid.
      I hope your husband does manage to get home every other weekend. We did a schedule like that for a few years, and it's far from ideal... Take care.

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    2. Many years ago a boyfriend helped me pack. Why oh why did he pack a pound of butter in a box with my books? Months later the rancid reek led me to the awful discovery. Not everyone is a natural packer.

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  2. I think you are entitled to be feeling a wee bit sad, packing, leaving your home, being alone, and a dental procedure out of the blue like that would be enough on its own.
    Hopefully, by the time you read this you will have eaten a tasty meal and be cozy watching Netflix...I just love the sound of Vanessa Redgrave's voice when Call The Midwife starts...

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    1. Thanks, L., I'm feeling better today -- isn't the weather fabulous?!

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  3. I'm so sorry for the pain and dentist and all (but in crisis situation it is usually the first thing to break),not the right time to be alone with so many things on your mind and to do (with so many memories included)
    Packing the boxes includes packing the memories,too,it is not the same as you work on packing the boxes in a factory,so you have to take your time. It is a kind of prolonged sorrow (we have the word for it but I did't find the right translation) and one of great stress factors.
    So,I would include some social time with friends,plan it good in advance so that the work will be done before for the day.
    And than Pater will be home,your new place will be beautiful and you're going to enjoy the unpacking and making the home again
    You have to be proud to leave such a beautiful garden to new people (I adore les muguets), it is something you've done so good!
    And you will cultivate your new garden
    Have a nice Sunday
    Dottoressa

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    1. You say all the right things, Dottoressa (what the Doctor ordered!)
      I was really fortunate that my tooth situation was caught before it got to crisis as I know I grind my teeth when I'm stressed and I would so have hated it to break -- better to have prophylactic work done by the dentist, even if it's expensive.

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  4. Teeth, drat them, are a sure mood barometer. I remember reading in Monty Don's "The Jewel Garden" that a slide into depression was always accompanied by his teeth aching. So tricky to find the right balance sometimes. When I struggle I need fewer people, not more, and sometimes none. But the living world is always there. John Muir had it right, and on the micro scale tulips work too. Sending thoughts across the ocean.

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    1. Interesting -- I don't know Monty Don, but teeth as a mood barometer? yes!
      I find when I'm struggling, I want an imaginary person who would just listen and perhaps hug occasionally, make a cup of tea, expect nothing. I can't spare the energy that real people seem to require ;-)
      I don't know John Muir (there are still so many wonderful books to read, minds to follow, wisdoms to discover!), but did some Googling and added to lists. Yes, the living world. . . solace if we look . . . thank you for those those skimming the ocean toward me...

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  5. I think the dentist would push me over the edge too and I'm not even moving! I often crave me time but having me time when you are packing up doesn't sound the best plan. I would go for the 'not so happy valley' it's a brilliant series. That will make you forget the 'wobbles'. Love the flowers, particularly the Lilly of the valley. One of my favourites. B X

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    1. I've watched the first season and really liked it. Now Season 2 is available on Netflix -- perfect!
      I love lily of the valley -- my birthday flower! Mom used to snip a small posy to arrange in a vase for my table setting that special day each year.

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  6. During this time, we touch absolutely everything we presently own, which evokes memories and emotion- not to mention the sheer physical work. If you continue to feel that reaching out to friends is "needy", perhaps you could hire a helper for the packing (once you have sorted). I used a babysitting-aged teen to help me wrap all the breakable dinnerware and bitsy kitchen stuff, and it helped both my mood and time management. But if I lived there I would happily roll up my sleeves and help you fill boxes, and listen to your music.

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    1. It's true, K. Pater would never pack the same way that I am, which is why he will be allowed only a small part of the task (packing books into boxes, for example). I thought at first that I would find it more trouble than it would be worth to hire someone to help (a limited workforce here on the island, as you can imagine, and not always the boundaries one might prefer). But I'm getting closer to accepting that possibility. 'twould be more fun to have you here, though . . . ;-) And I know you'd contribute some great tunes!

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  7. Sadness comes and goes but this packing process is a lengthy one. Dinner and Netflix will probably help. The hired helper idea is a good one to shorten the packing process. Your flowers are lovely but you will also enjoy the gardens of the city.
    Last week, I visited The rhodos at Van Dusen. They were magnificent. Take care.

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    1. It does, and it is, Mme!
      I thank you so much, though, for reminding me about other gardens that I will enjoy. I keep you in mind, your rich life in a city apartment, when I worry a bit about what I'm leaving behind. Now I'll also keep those magnificent rhodos in mind. . .

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  8. Thank you for your honesty about your feelings. All the work of packing alone, plus dental work and facing the reality of a big move would be enough to have me weeping too! Sounds like you've got a good plan for the evening, sending strong vibes your way.

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    1. Thanks, Northmoon. Strong vibes are very, very welcome!

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  9. I've been putting off having a crown replaced -- I know I need to do it, but I hate the fingers in the mouth and the expense and the time...
    Sadness comes on at odd times. We told ourselves that we would be ready to finish finding a home for the unsold art from my father's estate this summer (18 months after his death), but I dread it and found myself in tears in the midst of grading finals this week. Sometimes it feels that nothing will ever be finished. Have tea, enjoy your garden and appreciate the fact that we introverts need alone time even if we don't always enjoy it fully. Sending good thoughts you way.
    Lynn

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    1. There's such indignity, somehow, in having a crown replaced. After all, we endured its original placement with such high hopes, no?! And now it's becoming increasingly obvious that teeth will continue to need their replacements replaced, until even those fail. Ah dear, I could get gloomy. . .
      I'm not surprised about those tears over your father's art. And I think you're right that "nothing will ever be finished." We couldn't have endured knowing some of this when we were younger, could we? Wisdom and fortitude . . . thank goodness for these gifts of age, at least on the days they don't abandon us.
      And I wish you tea and gardens and alone time as well. And good thoughts. Be gentle with yourself -- 18 months is still early days in your loss...

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  10. The dental surprise would have absolutely floored me, so lots of sympathy here. I did so enjoy our lunch last week, and I am glad that you are having many more, but I understand the need to hunker down. If you need a silly pot-boiler which is very well acted despite the odd script check out "Doctor Foster" a five part British series about a doctor who begins to suspect her husband is cheating. Enjoy the garden. Brenda

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    1. It was a brilliant lunch -- loved the company!
      Too funny -- Doctor Foster was one I meant to tell you about. The script is odd, isn't it? There was a weird veering at one point, and I'm not quite sure what to think of our protagonist by the end, but the acting was great and there was drama enough to distract. (I'm a bit concerned though, that Suranne Jones is going to be too busy as Dr. Foster to reprise her Scott and Bailey role, and I'm impatient for more of the latter).

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  11. The lily of the valley photos made my heart stop. It seems that quite a few of us love them. For years I wore lily of the valley perfume, Coty Mugler de Bois when I was very young, Diorissimo later. They were fast and nothing was damaged.

    My sympathies on the dental work and the packing! I would recommend leaving some of it for the pros. I moved out of ny home of 20 years last month. The movers packed my kitchen and china cabinet.

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    1. Muguet - autocorrect strikes again. And it was the movers who were fast.

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    2. The sun shone all afternoon on that patch of lilies-of-the-valley, and it became so obvious why so many attempts had been made to bottle it. A glorious scent!
      Thanks for the sympathy and the recommendation. We've had (employer-paid) professional movers do all the packing for most of our moves, but besides the expense, the island logistics would make tht tricky. I'm so glad to hear that your move went well. Hope you're settling in to whatever's next now. . .

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  12. Touching everything, saving, packing, letting go -- it would all be more than a heavy emotional load on its own. To add dental work on top of this seems bound to overwhelm. Let the tears flow, and I am happy to read in the comments that today is better.

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    1. Thanks Mardel -- it's been a roller coaster! ;-)

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  13. Your garden looks beautiful, Frances. We biked yesterday and saw not a single spring wildflower...just a few lovely fuzzy pussy willows. Things are very late here. I had dental work done last year, a crown put on, and two fillings in one day. Biiiig mistake. Felt wonderful until the freezing came out.
    Do you find that in moments of vulnerability and sadness you sometimes can be overwhelmed by past sadnesses? Like a memory that washes over you and only adds to the current upset? That happens to me sometimes and I find myself thinking..."Oh for goodness sake...that was years ago!" Books, tea and lovely gardens do help, though. Don't they?
    P.S. Is sadnesses a word, do you think? Ah well...it is now:)

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    1. How's that lateness affecting the tulip festival? I see it's scheduled to open in less than two weeks. . .
      Yeah, I did the same, squeezed in a filling with the crown prep. Efficient, but...
      Absolutely, on the unfolding of past sadnesses, mise-en-abîme style. I did some reading about this for my dissertation (which had to do with representations of mourning) and it's definitely "a thing"
      And here's to coining new words -- happinessess. . .

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  14. My reply to your reply ended up under Patricia's comment about root canals. Anyway, I've had a few of those, too! Hope you suffer no further impediments to the move.

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    1. I found it and what a horrid but hilarious image! Yuck! I remember that the professional movers who packed our first house even wrapped a wastebasket with the (paper only, thank goodness!) still in it. . .But butter?

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  15. Mater, if you are not vanishing under piles of cardboard and clothing, would you be able to do a post on why you moved to this lovely island all those years ago? I would really like to know because it is such a magical place to live...what was the spur? Nosy, as ever.

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    1. I should write that post, and I'll probably enjoy doing so. Perhaps not for a while, but yes, it would be worth telling I think. Thanks for the interest.

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  16. I had a bad reaction to the anaesthetic once which left me feeling very peculiar. I wonder if that could have contributed to the sadness. Dental work is always stressful even if you aren't actually phobic about it. I wept with relief when the dentist told me at my last check up that I didn't have a cracked tooth! The thought of another crown was more than I could bear at the time.

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    1. That's an interesting thought. The only (two) times I've had general anaesthetic (for ob/gyn stuff), I've had a response I hated, a horrid intensification of nerves to the point of desperately wanting to scream. I guess I discount the effects of a local dental anaesthetic, but that's silly, really. If it's powerful enough to shut off the reading of any sensation, why might it not muck about a bit with emotion. . .
      And I'm glad to meet another dental weeper. When an attempt to repair a (previously root-canaled) tooth ended with an unplanned extraction I few years ago, I endured that procedure with tears rolling, unstoppably, down my cheeks. Nothing to do with pain; something to do with corporeal integrity. I wrote about it here if you're interested: http://materfamiliasknits.blogspot.ca/2013/12/gold-skirt-festive-dentally.html

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    2. On one occasion I have just remembered, the panicky sensation I had as the anaesthetic took hold, propelled me out of the chair. I found I had to leave and didn't know why or where I was going. It was a sort of flight reaction that made no sense to me. I am normally quite composed at the dentist and had no warning that this was going to happen. It passed but I think the dentist was quite taken aback! I think your move is a big job. Very hard work on so many levels.

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    3. So interesting. I should ask my dentist if he ever sees patients experience this and also whether he's aware of temporary (emotional) side effects from the anaesthetic.

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  17. Can't make any comment about the d****st as I have a near phobia and can't even say the word. Lily of the Valley is such a romantic flower, so dainty and beautiful. I have three that come up in a pot year after year, I can't remember planting them, but I guess I must have. They are the most delicate flowers in the garden at that point in the year (the snowdrops take that crown in late winter) x

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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