Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Welcome Spring!

The snow is almost gone. Things are thawing, melting, flooding, growing. Mud is the medium for Earth's expression. Mud and vines and the waking green. This past Monday I celebrated Ostara with a few friends. I started my period too, which, is kind of right on the money for Ostara. During the evening we talked about things here and there and in the end we drew Rune eggs from a cauldron. The Rune suggested things we have to look forward to/work on/focus on for the following year. My rune was Ansuz. This rune means Odin or god. It is the 'A' in our modern alphabet and how fitting because I have no less than eight letter A's in my full name. Three in my first name alone. 

A friend interpreted and divined for me that maybe this is the year to really form a connection with a god or goddess. While I'm very drawn to may deities, I have yet to feel one really claim me and become my patron. Maybe that's just not in the cards for me, but at the same time, I feel I really do want that relationship. I've thought about Thor, Freya, Skadi, Elen of the Ways, Herne, Innana, and several others as potential patrons but I don't know that I've really made myself available to them. I know that I am too in my head most of the time for even the smallest of meditations so really listening to the gods and to the wights and to the fairies and to everything around me is never easy. 

I am always looking to the fallen angel and watcher: Penemue. Enochian lore is very interesting to me from a spiritual and literary standpoint. About ten years ago I played around with a novel about a little fallen angel named Dobiel but didn't get very far. I wouldn't mind revisiting the idea but I would like to learn a lot more about the fallen angles before I do. 

Lately I've felt a huge pull toward 'darker' entities and deities. Sometime in summer I'm going to, with the help of a few friends, perform a ritual to honor the scary, misunderstood, dark, and commonly considered 'evil' of our spiritual brethren. Some of those I want to include are: Lilith, Lucifer, Loki, and Princess Luna. Yes, L was a very intense theme here. But there are more gods and goddesses and creatures that fit this category and I'm open to expanding it or even adding a second part. I know I want to keep the feeling of this ritual light and inquisitive and educational. This is a ritual to explore the necessary and positive aspects these beings represent, not to emulate their less admirable acts. 

In other news, the Hannah is doing amazing. She still has really bad days but more often than not she is finding solace and healing in her writing and I'm very proud of her. Right now we're working on building up strength in both of us. I'm walking to the bus stop again (and bitching about it because damn am I out of shape!); and she's going to start going to the mail box and walking me to the property line of the apartment complex when I leave in the morning, We're hoping that we'll both feel able enough to go and see the big cats at Cattails, which is a big cat rescue reserve in northern Spokane.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Surgery (not as glorious as 'Repo: The Genetic Opera' would lead you to believe)

So I haven't posted in a long time. About three months actually. Things have been difficult for me emotionally. Hannah and I have been fighting to get her a hysterectomy for a long time and the beginning of this year things finally started happening. She's written about much of the experience over on her blog and she's done a great job chronicling the stress and pain she's gone through. And now I want to express a little of what I've gone through as well. 

It is not easy to see your loved one suffer or be jerked around and treated poorly by those in the medical field. Hannah's suffered extreme vaginal bleeding for 8 out of the 9 years we've been together and as a result has been anemic as fuck. For those out there suffering from anemia, I'm so sorry, because it is shitty. It's more than just feeling fatigued. It is a condition that can permanently harm the sufferer if not controlled. In some cases, anemia (low hemoglobin) can lead to heart attacks and death. It's no joke. But for many, many years doctors looked at Hannah and said, "take iron," and sent her on her way. Well iron helps a little but no amount of iron is going to help when you're bleeding through 10 plus feminine pads every fucking day. This became the norm. I started to just accept that this was how it would be forever. But then at the very end of 2016 we learned that it didn't have to be this way. We got in to see a gynecologist and hysterectomy was suddenly on the table. 

For all those years we the frogs sitting in a pot of slowly warming water. But starting in January we finally saw the bubbles of boiling water and panic set in.

Things got worse. Suddenly and terrifyingly. Hormones, hemorrhaging, a trip to the ER, blood draw after blood draw, biopsies, pre-cancerous cells, an irregular EKG, so many doctors, so many ups and downs, a trip the Cancer Center and finally a date for the surgery, February 22nd. But then that date got pushed back. So then March 1st was to be the day. And February 22nd to March 1st was the longest week of my life. I cried every day, had panic attacks, felt a sort of premature loneliness creep over me as if I was preparing for Hannah to die. This was supposed to be just a run of the mill hysterectomy but all of the things around it (the alarmist verbage, the 5 wishes of a dying patient document which I had to sign, the mention that Hannah's weight made this a 'risky' operation) made me feel like Hannah was going to go to sleep and never wake up again.

But she did wake up again.

We arrived at the hospital at about 5:30am. During her pre-op I was allowed to sit with her. She was so nervous. So was I. We chitchatted a little and I told her everything was going to be alright. She wore a bind rune and a drawing of the four elements on her back and I no for a fact that these things worked their magic on both of us. I did cry a little with her in pre-op but mostly I was a silly, fun, strong fiance. The doctor came in and told us that she was going to make five incisions and sent in her robots to do the deed. Well, after she left, I told Hannah that essentially she was going to have Voltron inside of her, which meant that her uterus was Zarkon, which suddenly made surgery kind of epic and perhaps a smidgen less terrifying. She was prepped and taken in for surgery around 7:30 and by 9:30 the doctor herself came out to tell me that Hannah had done well and was in the recovery room. She said that they'd let me go and see her after a little while and that Hannah would be coming home that day. It was surreal. Just like that the surgery was over. It was as surreal as when you wake up in a different country for the first time and really realize where you are. 

There was a moment in post-op recovery that I broke down a little. I was leaning over Hannah, holding up her cup of water so she could drink from the straw. I saw a little crust at the corner of her eye like the salt left from an involuntary tear. I remembered the line in the '5 wishes' thing about "I wish for a warm wash cloth for my face" as a comfort requested by someone near death. Even writing about right now makes me cry a little. Such a small request with such a huge implication. And I just looked at her and imagined how this all could have ended up differently and how thankful I was to the gods that she was just groggy and thirsty and not fading away forever. She saw my crying and playfully, sleepily said, "you really are a wimp." Guilty a mother-fucking charged. I own it. I'm a wimp and I'm really, really happy that the surgery is over and we can start looking toward a future free from the daily worry, emotional and physical pain, and intense fatigue.

She's lying on the couch right now, struggling between medicinally induced sleep and the desire to stay awake and cuddle with me. In about four hours I'll wake her so she can take another pill. So far, aside from some pretty bad aching and a touch of nausea, she's actually doing amazing. I am still afraid to leave her alone. I've seen her shift from doing perfectly fine to sobbing in the bathroom within seconds, so I still want to have someone at home with her while I'm away during this next week for work. But on the whole she's just fantastic. 

And on the subject of fantastic, our friends and support network have been absolutely stunning in their kindness and consideration. I can't even begin to write or verbalize my thankfulness. I am touched beyond words and I know that had it not been for our friends and family, I would be completely lost right now. Thank you to the many who have made Hannah and I feel so very special and loved. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Here's to the Death of 2016

Happy New Year everyone. And I'm so glad it is a new one. 2016 was made of suck. In true Hannah and Amanda form we have yet to send out cards and letters. These are coming, I promise. They may arrive in July but, much like the ukes in Sensitive Pornograph, they are definitely coming. 

2016 took so many people and pets from us all. And it didn't leave without a fight. In the last week I managed to cut myself nice and deep on my thumb (new knife for Christmas doesn't leave one wanting!) and break all my nails. They are my natural nails and I'm used to the longer ones occasionally meeting with a jagged death but not all fucking ten nails at once. I look like... like... someone who cuts their nails. It's horrendous I tell you! 

But not all of the end was bad. There was a spontaneous Hobbit extended editions marathon one day. And Yule was made of ash, mead, reindeer fur, and three lone souls bearing witness to the birth of the new sun after the longest night. And what a sun it is! We've had some beautifully sun shiny days. Cold as fuck but sunny at least. 

Looking forward to the future: Hannah and I are going to start writing 6 hours a week. That's the minimum that Brander Sanderson, the author of the Mistborn series) prescribes his students in his college writing class. I think 6 is fair and more than doable. I think I shall start with a short story and then return to Death Man. I need to finish that so that I can do two things: send it out and get on my life! Haha. I feel trapped by my desire to make it perfect, but I keep forgetting what my first MFA mentor told me and that is - it will never be perfect. There will always be a sentence you wish you could tweak or a phrase that you want to go back and hash over again and again. In short, you will never be finished writing. You're never finished composing. But there comes a point when the book itself is finished with you. And that's where I need to be. And soon. 

There's a wolf moon coming up and I would like to greet the full moon in her splendor with wolf howls in the night. I remember last year's Wolf Moon and want to relive the energy though in a much more contained way. The aspect of wolf I want to explore this year is the cunning and sly aspect, the clever watcher from the shadows. I want to embrace those shadows for all the secrets and knowledge that may lie within. 

In other news: the two kitties are getting along remarkably well. They tolerated/cuddled on the same cat bed last night for four hours. However, Narcisa it seems is feeling very under the weather. She's thrown up (very tiny amounts) twice this week and this cat never throws up. I mean she's a rock solid warrior princess, she ain't got time for that shit! Yet she's thrown up twice that we know about and her voice is ragged and scratchy. That may be a result of all the hissing she threw at Thorin when he first came to live here but I think she's caught a cold or something. We're taking her to the vet on Thursday because we're paranoid mommies and don't want to just say "Oh, she'll get over it on her own" because what if she doesn't? What if she suffers for our negligence? So to the vet she goes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Kitty's gonna Kit; Pyrex gonna Py

Tomorrow marks week three after catching the sick and I'm finally feeling better. Still coughing (because goodness knows I wouldn't want to spend a day not doing that!) and still a bit weak and sore in my core but overall I'm feeling much more like my old self. And I can talk again! World beware. So here's a quick update of all things fanged and fragile.

Our friend Chris got us a cat for Christmas/Yule. She knew we were looking and so she paid half of the adoption fee which was the only reason we were able to get a cat and it was damn nice of her. We visited her rescue ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccc                                                                                                                                                    yttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttth6777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777x

Okay... so I left the computer for a minute and came back to the above nonsense. Since it was the new cat who inserted said nonsense, I've decided to leave it for your viewing pleasure. Also it ties in nicely with my explanation of this cat's proclivities. 

So back to where I was: we visited the rescue and found a four month old little orange tabby. He came from a feral mama but had been fostered pretty much since birth with his brothers and sister. Of the litter he was the smallest as well as the last to be adopted. So we brought him home. Narcisa had things to say. Mostly hissing things to say. But it hasn't even been a week and the cats are already playing and chasing each other. They sniff each other a lot and are not aggressive toward each other at all, however it may still take some time before they cuddle. If they ever do cuddle. But I think eventually Thorin (that is the little one's name) will wear her down.

In the mean time however the Son of Thrain has found his calling in dismantling our computers. He took mine off internet access for two days. It wasn't that he put it into airplane mode... no he somehow erased my computer's connection to our wifi. Hannah had to work her magic and run a whole bunch of cleaners before I was able to get back on the net. No sooner was my compy back up and running did he waltz over to Hannah's and erase all her icons. He's been known to turn off the computers as well as save print-screen images to Hannah's one drive. Yeah, he's pretty good with the technology but that isn't surprising as most kids these days are born with a tablet in their hand. 

The cat and his shenanigans aren't the only reason for this post tonight. Earlier today, friend Rachel of kettle korn fame, came over to the house to hang out with us while Hannah made a butt-load of bierocks (German buns) and I made an equally loaded butt of baklava (honey-nut pastry). Apparently it was b-named food night in the Hannamanda kitchen. Anyhow, I made some fun alterations to the baklava. I am trying to think of a dairy and gluten free sort of substitute for a friend but that might not happen. I'm a wee bit discouraged, you see. I made the Krampus-klava (pumpkin spices and whiskey) without too much stress and followed that up with Snow-klava (the addition of sweetened coconut) but then I made my masterpiece: Freya's Delight Baklava. We named it that as I was constructing it. This baklava had everything in it apart from the kitchen sink. And the honey syrup mixture that I put on top was perfection! I set it on the stove to cool and went to work on a special fruit filled batch for my dad that I call Loaded Odin Baklava. 

I got one layer of Loaded Odin down when there was a sudden loud pop-crack sound. I looked up to see Freya's delight (and Rachel's very special baking dish that she had let me borrow) scattered all over the kitchen with a decent sized fire roaring over the burner. A burner that I had left on. I feel like a moron for that rookie mistake but I know that I'm not the only one who has done it and I take solace in knowing that while it's embarrassing at least it is common enough to illicit a teensy bit of sympathy from my culinary friends. The best part about this sudden emergency was that none of us panicked. Hannah quickly and efficiently herded the cats to the bedroom and closed them in while Rachel and her boyfriend helped me to extinguish the fire (baking soda is my new best friend) and clean up massive chunks of broken glass and honey. What a fucking mess! But how cool of them to help me. 

The kitchen counters are very clean now and I'm nearly 100% certain that there is no glass in the bierocks that Hannah made earlier. I suppose if we find blood in our stool we shall know otherwise. The last thing I have do to now is to mop the kitchen and that will have to wait until morning. I'm exhausted and it wasn't until Rachel and her boyfriend left that I realized how late it was. Today has been an interesting one to be sure. (Or yesterday into today rather, since it is still in the very wee hours of the morning right now.) 

At first we thought the breaking dish might have been a sign that we'd angered the gods or that we were somehow undergoing a sort of curse. Earlier in the evening my Yule tree fell over on the table for no seemingly no reason. So the tree falling and dish breaking all seemed a bit spooky at first but we realized in the end that the tree fell because I had neglected to ever balance it properly (something I have since rectified) and the dish broke because I'm a moron. In all actuality we can count this as a blessing because no one was hurt. We could have easily been in the kitchen and been cut, burned, or otherwise harmed when the dish exploded but everyone was off doing their own things. A cat could have been in there, or been in the tree. But no kitties were harmed either. Aside from adding a lot of cleaning to the evening and wasting a batch of baklava (and the loss of Rachel's dish which I'm still very sad about as the dish had belonged to her mother who is no longer with us) the evening was a fairly decent one. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Coughing for Christmas

This Tuesday will mark two full weeks of upper respiratory infection. It feels like it's been months. The worst of it is over. I no longer have the fevers, the shakes, the horrible congestion that makes me throw up and piss myself. I feel, for the most part, like a regular human, except that now I am a coughing machine. I suspect it's the damage I've done to my throat and airways over the past two weeks that are keeping the cough well and alive. Which means I'm right back to dealing with piddling here and there because I can only take so much coughing before my eyes water, my nose runs, and my bladder leaks. Today I couldn't get much out without being winded by cough. At work I sounded horrible and after work, at my mom and dad's house, I sounded even worse. 

We went to see my mom tonight and do a little Christmas shopping. (The roads were fun in the "wow, maybe this was a horrible idea, we might die!" kind of way). We don't have much money and many of our friends are just getting the flat Hannah and Amanda versions of ourselves that we are working on. But even in tight times I still like to treat my Hannah and my parents to a stocking full of goodies come Christmas morning. For Hannah and I we open gifts in honor of Yuletide, but with the folks we will always do a Christmas thing. There is something very magical and mysterious in the quietude of Christmas morning when the whole world (or at least a generous portion) takes a break and just watches a loved one open a gift. Doesn't matter what the gift is... somewhere in the world little hands are tearing at tissue paper, a teenager is breaking in a brand new karaoke machine, a husband is ignoring the instructions as he puts together a bike, a dog is gnawing a new bone, and a cat is playing with a wrapper. That's what Christmas is to me - a time of year when secular, Christian, and Pagan traditions all come together to invite fellowship. No matter what entity or vision of Santa Claus a person celebrates, they are still celebrating. Even the bah-humbug, Grinch-wannabes are participating in the energy. Whether they want to or not. The harder you look away, the more energy you are sending out. 

And I'll be spending most of this magical morning with my Dispatch rep at work. There will be no customer calls that day. I'll mainly be providing carrier line back up and checking emails. I plan on bringing in something yummy for her and I to munch on as well as bringing in Dutch Bro's coffee for us. I am Starbuck's girl through and through, but my Dispatch Peep is all about the DB. One thing I've learned being a lead in newspaper circulation: keep your Dispatch happy. So I swing the way of the Dutch Bro's when I'm there with Dispatch. It's a small sacrifice to make to keep the world turning. 

Speaking of circulation and all that jazz, today was made of suck. It was so stressful and so busy and I had to wrangle so many attitudes. And all this while coughing out a series of distressed foghorn signals and trying not to fill the cushion of computer chair with Prednisone scented piss. I have one day left. Tomorrow I work from 7:30 until 4:30pm. After that I'm free for over a week! With Hannah applying for disability much of that free time is going to go toward doctor's appointments but still, that's a much different level of stress than going in to work to listen to the pre-Holiday rage that always seems to happen to the customer class right before we get the magical Christmas morning scene. This month has turned out much busier than I had wanted it to and I'm a little worried that any time off I have is going to fly by so fast it'll leave my head spinning.Still I'm going to make the most of my time away from work. I'm going to recharge and get ready for the new year and hope that at the very least 2017 will see me free from persistent coughing.