In the midst of chaos, there’s hope

It wasn’t all bad news yesterday.

I went to my favorite place for brunch after church. (By the way, church was fine. None of the peeps got upset.) I don’t go to my favorite brunch place as much as I would like because it gets mad packed. But I wanted to eat there so I told myself I would persevere. It paid off. The hostess recognized me, and asked me if I would like a counter seat if one came up before a table. I said yes, then this bratty young woman next to me started trying to get the attention of the hostess because she wanted her to know that she and her boyfriend also wanted to eat at the counter if that came up first. She made a complete ninny menace of herself. I think because of that they ignored her. The staff knows me, and treats me well even though a good bit of time may pass between my visits. They ushered me over quickly to a counter seat, and, for some reason, they gave me my tea for free. I had the brunch special:

General’s Benedict (never heard of it, but it was tasty) – two biscuits with poached eggs, braised chicken, sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and white sausage gravy (the Texan in me was thrilled that white gravy was on the menu!)

The  bratty girl and her boyfriend were still waiting for a table when I left. Ha!

When I finally was able to go to the laundromat to drop off my laundry the cashier gave me a wink-wink and charged me a lot less for my laundry than the scale read. She smiled, winked, and said something about taking care of regular customers.

Yesterday while I was flat on my back in bed trying not to feel so heavy, and trying to find the strength to get it together, a friend of mine texted me and helped me get out of my fog so that I could get things done. Vicki, if you’re out there, I freakin’ love you. I love you for being such an awesome friend, but, yesterday, I especially loved you for texting me helping me get out of the bad neighborhood that’s also known as my HEAD.

Even when the chips are down, the universe can still cut a person a break or two. Yesterday was proof of that.

A plain jane turkey dinner that I adored

I’ve been feeling shaky on a consistent basis, I’m sorry to say. It’s been a full-time job trying to combat all of this shakiness and dissociation. Good thing it’s the weekend, I suppose.

As part of my quest to not dissociate I’ve been out of the apartment quite a bit. I dissociate substantially less when I am not at home. I was driving around this cute rural area I don’t know very well when I came across this little cafe at the end of the village. It was one of those places where the locals gather, and everyone talks to each other across the tables.

I found they had a turkey dinner as a special so I ordered it as it sounded like good comfort food. Here’s the thing with a turkey dinner: It’s great if it’s a gourmet meal, and it’s even better if it’s a plain jane turkey dinner. And, yes, I know that statement needs an explanation.

Before my mother married my stepfather we never had a Thanksgiving dinner at home. I’m assuming it was a combination of not being able to afford it, and my mother was likely working on Thanksgiving. Because of this, I always looked forward to the Thanksgiving turkey dinner they served in the school cafeteria the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I loved it all: the gummy mashed potatoes, the thin sliced turkey loaf, the boxed stuffing with an overabundance of parsley, a prefab bread roll, canned peas, and jellied cranberry sauce.

I would sit there and eat that turkey dinner and imagine that the potatoes were the right consistency, the turkey actually had skin and bones, the stuffing was homemade, perhaps with cornbread (yeah!), the vegetables were fresh, the bread was a homemade parker house roll (yes, as a poor kid in West Texas I was familiar with the concept of a parker house roll as an avid reader of cookbooks) , and you could see the berries in the cranberry sauce. I was likely one of few students who happily ate the entire dinner. In my mind I had eaten a Thanksgiving dinner fit for Martha Stewart!

It was a plain jane turkey dinner, and during the time I ate it I was present, calm and grounded.

Today when I eat such a dinner it makes me happy because it reminds me of the optimism I had as a child. Such a turkey dinner also gives me hope that I’ll be optimistic again someday.

Sometimes you just have to ask

Christmas in the post-War United States

I’m going to see my sister Cate for Christmas this year! I’ve been singing Christmas carols since yesterday when Cate and I first started talking about it. I think that somewhere in the back of my mind I convinced myself that I was not entitled to have a nice Christmas with family. I never asked her if I could visit for Christmas. I believe I presumed that she was not interested.

It seems like I just eliminated holiday happiness from my list of life possibilities. This year I said to myself, “Why? Why have I decided that the holidays have to be lonely for me? Why do I choose to be alone?” I did not have a satisfactory answer.

I made all these assumptions without even investigating them. The irony is that I was an investigator for a number of years, and I was a good investigator. Perhaps I was only good because I wasn’t investigating myself!

Last Christmas was pretty good, but I was at the residential program at McLean Hospital. I told my sister that I think we can easily top last year’s Christmas since I was at a psychiatric hospital. I think the bar is low. She laughed. I love making her laugh. She’s always been wiser than me, even though I’m older. But, I can make her laugh. She’s a laser-focused type-A personality, and it always feels great to make Ms. Serious laugh.

I just took a chance, and asked her if I could come for Christmas. She not only said yes, but she offered and used frequent flyer miles to get me an airline ticket. I almost cried. I’m turning 40 next month, but I think my birthday present came early this year.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)