25 April 2015

Sleep meds

One of the very best things about sleep medications:

Knowing with absolute certainty that you will sleep soundly for a minimum of eight hours. 

Knowing that you don't have to spend two or three hours struggling to unwind and relax enough to sleep... You can just dissolve that magic chemical under your tongue, read for a bit, and drift off. Like a normal person. 

It's so good to actually look forward to sleeping... Now that it's not such hard work. 

22 April 2015


Woke up today utterly exhausted. 

Dunno why. I did a few things yesterday, but nothing overwhelming. 

This is how it goes. Some days, your body just says "no".

Best to listen. 

21 April 2015

It's not because I won't let go...

A friend posted this on my time line today:


I was so sure that if I just let go of the past I'd get better. 

I let go. It was definitely an improvement. 

But the damage of PTSD is not the same as "unresolved issues". There are neurological changes. Your biochemistry gets reset to a completely unhealthy "normal". For people like me with delayed reactions to long term stress, untangling everything is very complicated. Things can definitely improve... Meds, therapy, support, learning to live inside my boundaries and limits...big helps. 

But I'm not "healed". I'm not "like I was before". I'm not who I wish I could be. 

I'm OK, though, and I'm coping pretty well with this chronic disease. It nearly killed me a year ago, and I came back from that. Yay me. But this is chronic. Not "wait it out, it'll go away.". This is here to stay, though how it is expressed may fluctuate over time. 

My life has limits I never dreamed I would need. It's still a good life. Very good, in fact. 

But letting go of my past didn't magically make all the consequences of that past go away. (this was a huge shock and disappointment to me... I was sure that's what would fix everything)

And it's not because I haven't tried hard enough, haven't done the work. It's just how PTSD - especially the variant I have - works. 

I'm only now starting to understand this.

15 April 2015

Getting ready!

This swollen udder means a calf is coming!

I've been waffling between sure that Sasha is pregnant and being terrified that I've just starved my cow and that's why she looks so caved in on the sides...but she'd be due April 22 if the AI took so... Here we go!

I've been gradually getting things ready... Found the mastitis test cards, mixed up a bottle of iodine solution for udder wash, and made udder balm from olive and coconut oil, eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea tree oil. I've never used udder balm before but the minty stuff is supposed to help with the edema, and her skin is pretty dry so I figured it was a good thing to try. Sure smells nice!

Infrastructure is the other thing to deal with: a cow in labour may try to bolt for the trees, and the fences back there need to be tightened. The pastures need more rest anyway, so I have the animals locked into the most securely fenced area, which adjoins the barnyard. I'll separate Sasha out when I think she is closer. 

Moving the animals meant getting the water in the summer location... So I took my rake and shovel and levelled a spot. It's the same "central watering hole" we set up last year, but it is on quite a slope so a bit of digging created a spot to put one of the big water cubes and a trough where it won't required levelling with boards and rocks. (I have no idea why it took me so long to realize that a shovel is all you need to make a level spot.) I can fill the big cube from the rainwater collection place or the hose... But this way we won't need a garden hose running across the yard all summer. I'll post a picture once it's all in place. 

Last job was to take more straw to the barn, some to eat and some for bedding.
Oh, and I made myself a set of dairy supply carry bags:

Pockets for all the stuff, washable, and easy to hang up inside and in the barn!

Now to wait one more week...

10 April 2015

More Beautiful Than Before: ready to order!

Some things are best expressed in words, some in art.


Inspired by the Japanese art of kintsugi (broken pottery mended with gold), More Beautiful Than Before will help you think differently about the marks life leaves on all of us, encouraging you to see beauty in the places where we have been put back together rather than seeing only ugly scars.

This guided journey of self-discovery walks you through the creation of two easy felting projects and a number of simple journal writing exercises. Never felted before? Never done any writing? All the information you need is right here ... come and experience the joy of creativity!

More Beautiful Than Before is available as

a mini set (the book and writing cards),
a full set (the book, writing cards, and matching journal),
and a deluxe set (the book, writing cards, matching journal, and the fibre and other materials you need to complete the felting projects).

If you would like the e-book version of More Beautiful Than Before, you can purchase it from Smashwords, or your favourite online book retailer.

A printable set of the writing prompt cards is available for download here.

And the book itself can be ordered from yours truly!

Which set would you like?

Pacuter Stuff

When The Boy was small, ‘computer’ came out as ‘pacuter’. I can’t believe he is so big, yet things like this are still so clear in my memory!

Today was a day to do a bunch of stuff on da pacuter. I created a new website for Apple Jack Creek – removing the references to selling meat (we are only raising enough for ourselves now, though if things go well I may raise household milk cows!), updating the section on my books to encompass all the new works, adding links to my Ravelry page where my patterns are available, all those details. Our web hosting provider (DreamHost) has a one-click install for a product called Concrete5 which turned out to be a super easy way to build a website – no fussing with FTP and uploads or anything, it’s open source (thus free), mostly visual design tools but includes ready access to HTML for detailed work (adding PayPal buttons and such) … just fabulous. Dunno why it took me so long to realize that was there!

So, that took most of today. The catalyst for the change was the arrival of the latest book … which will be in the next post.

25 March 2015

Today’s distraction: Japanese Mon Design

At my counselling session yesterday, we were talking about the  Scared Girl, the Not Good Enough Girl, the Angry Girl … all those personas inside my head who each have a job to do, but sometimes try to take over when their help isn’t really needed. Each Girl has a name and an image in my mind … my Scared Girl wears flannel pyjamas and hides under the bed most of the time, whispering to everyone else hold still, don’t make anyone angry, just hide. My Not Good Enough Girl stands there in a very prim skirt, low heels, beige nylons, and a buttoned up white blouse, her hands on her hips as she chides me for being inadequate. The Angry Girl has a leather jacket, ripped jeans, scuffed steel toed boots, and a pair of brass knuckles - she shouts and curses and yells and wants to hit things.

Mostly, these troublesome girls have quieted down now that I’m appropriately medicated, and for this I’m profoundly grateful. Still, I know they are there if I need them … and I’m also aware that because I’m so sensitive to stress and prone to feeling unsafe in perfectly ordinary situations, the Girls might jump out and try to help at times when I don’t actually need them.

Yes, if I’m truly threatened I will need my Angry Girl to stand up and say “No further! That’s enough! Stop there.” However, I don’t need her hitting anyone or yelling mindlessly – she has to communicate clearly, to fight fair, to be honourable. I don’t really want a street brawler who is always spoiling for a fight living inside my head.

So, I am going to send my Angry Girl for martial arts training. She’s going to become a peaceful warrior, one who will fight honourably in defense of herself or those she is responsible for, but who will not seek out an argument and will avoid violence, using only the amount of force necessary to evade danger and remain safe, no more.

Now I know that the samurai of history who developed the martial arts were in love with violence and death and I am, truly, a pacifist at heart … but there is much in ancient Japanese culture and martial arts philosophy besides physical violence, there is much that is beautiful and not inconsistent with my beliefs. I took a few lessons in Aikido when I was in university, and the idea of turning the enemy’s strength back on them while evading their blows really resonates with me. You aren’t out to beat someone up … just to safely get out of the way and convince the person that attacking you (or those you are protecting) was a very bad idea.

If there was a way for me to go to Aikido classes, I think I’d probably sign up again. I’d really like to use a quarterstaff, but reason tells me I’m not likely in any shape to even practice something so physically demanding. So, for now, I’ll see what I can do about reforming Angry Girl into an Honourable Warrior through mental discipline … and a wardrobe change.

Warrior Girl has set aside her leather and denim. She is now wearing plain peasant hakama and an indigo jacket. The brass knuckles are gone, instead she carries a wooden staff that serves as a walking stick to help climb the bumpy spots on the trail, and as a defensive weapon to ward off predators on two legs or four. She carries no swords, no tools of death … she is a pilgrim walking the Tokaido Road in search of peace, helping others as opportunity arises, always headed towards the sea.

On her jacket, at the centre back, is the mon: the crest of her family.

MonEncircled by the wings of a crane is the staff of a pilgrim and a flower blossom: the crane for longevity and peace … the pilgrim’s staff for support, safety, and the ongoing journey … the flower for hope, life, and beauty.

I may need to make myself a haori jacket with this symbol on the back. And find myself some hakama … they seem like they’d be terrifically comfortable.