Daily Archives: October 18, 2015

Creepy, Crawly

Anyone want to come help me?  Yes?  I’ll send you my coordinates.

I’ve been gone from The Studio (as you certainly remember, I lived in my late dear Daddy-o’s ceramics studio, without plumbing, for four years, while he was in the process of dying in his house up the hill) since March 4th, and the spiders, as my son so eloquently said, “have set up shop in there.”

Have they ever!

When I first got in–my mother having had her handy man jimmy the lock since I hadn’t left her a key and she wanted to look at my mess, so the lock is now, uh, fucked up–all I could see, as far as the eye could see, were webs, with those charming little sticky balls containing future little baby spiders stuck up in them.

They were everywhere.  Everywhere.  I had to fight my way in with one of those disposable dusters on a long handle.  Ugh!

Think hobbits stuck in spider webs in Mirkwood.  That’s how many webs there were.  Good thing my poor relative, who has a phobia of spiders and their webs, was not there.  She vomits when she sees even a little thread left over from a web.  Imagine the mess!

It is fortunate that at this season, at this latitude, the female spiders have already eaten their paramours and laid their eggs away in spider egg-cases, tucked them to bed in special egg-case-webs, and died, died, died!

Now there are dead spiders everywhere. Ewww!  Had I returned even a month ago, I would have been greeted by 2,000 square feet of–ugh–live spiders!

I HATE SPIDERS!

Yes, I know they have a job to do, and they have been doing it very well, to judge by the piles of empty bug shells piled around the spider corpses.  Some of the bugs are fucking HUGE.  I don’t know what they are, and I have never seen them around here before, dead or alive.  The huge bug shells are lying next to the giant spider carcasses. EWWW!!!!

And the spiders themselves…ranged from the little bitty kind that I used to find in my bed when I lived there…to the horrid Brown Widow, whose bite contains a potent neurotoxin..to the enormous fleshy tarantula-like Wolf Spider, whose dried-up corpse is bigger than a quarter–ugh!   I’m sure there are some Brown Recluses among the remains–why not?  I’m very glad they’re all dead.

Well, almost all.

Even though I set off four bug-bombs that said they killed all types of spiders, I still found several little ones lurking under furniture when I moved it.  That makes me nervous about the larger pieces, like the enormous walnut breakfront and the smallish but very heavy chest of drawers, which I can’t move.

After filling up three large vacuum canisters with dead bugs and spiders and webs, I felt so sick that I had to repair to my camper van to avoid the fate of the above-named relative.  Tomorrow is another day.


That thing.

I’ve thought of that thing so very many times in my life it no longer has any meaning. It’s become the norm.

I’ve said the word a thousand times. A thousand thousand times, and it’s nothing more now than any other word.

I was a teenager when I bought not one but two copies of Erwin Stengel’s book, read it cover to cover as if it was a talisman; informing and protecting me from its subject.

It means so little to me now it blurs with breathing, thinking, seeing. Believing. But most of all, knowing. A thousand thousand times.

I still don’t feel protected, however much I feel informed.


That thing.

I’ve thought of that thing so very many times in my life it no longer has any meaning. It’s become the norm.

I’ve said the word a thousand times. A thousand thousand times, and it’s nothing more now than any other word.

I was a teenager when I bought not one but two copies of Erwin Stengel’s book, read it cover to cover as if it was a talisman; informing and protecting me from its subject.

It means so little to me now it blurs with breathing, thinking, seeing. Believing. But most of all, knowing. A thousand thousand times.

I still don’t feel protected, however much I feel informed.


Where Am I Going Now?

Wife Mother Writer Artist Advocate Activist Speaker Performer Passionate Empath

How do I describe myself? How do I best describe my blog? What has my blog become? What direction do I want to take it?

What direction is my life taking? Is my writing taking? Is my (dare-say) art or photography taking?

Back in the 90s when I registered my first corporate URL, I knew that some day, some year, some decade, I would register the URL kittomalley.com. I knew that I wanted to post my writing online.

I never envisioned kittomalley.com as a community. Didn’t realize that I’d be conversing with others. Never imagined what it has become.


Filed under: Acceptance, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Gratitude, Mania, Mental Health Advocacy, Mental Illness, Writing Tagged: art, direction, identity, purpose, Writing

The Tapestry Of Suck That Is Life

“The Tapestry Of Suck That Is Life”

It just sounds so elegant, does it not? Tapestry…

Oh, I know, I know. “Do you ever have a good word to say about life, you ungrateful pessimistic bitch?”

I’ll think long and hard on that and get back with you.

Following Friday night’s kid free serenity…Life reared its ugly head, bringing upon me things that stole sporks I didn’t have to spare. Cold struck. Well, I ventured out into the dish because I had no tea or sugar left and the instant I was out…I got hit with waves of coughing and allergy drainage which had me choking to death. And then I went to Dollar General, figuring a smaller store would be safer than a busy store on a Saturday. They, too, were busy, and to top it off, the aisles were spaced so close together I felt like I was trapped with the walls closing in on me. I just wanted out. The second another register opened, I nearly trampled a couple of people behind me to get to it. Normally I’d say, go ahead, I have lots of stuff, you don’t…In a panic…Every man, woman, child, and pegacorn for themselves. Fuck that shit.

Hit traffic en route home.Then got hit with another fit of coughing and choking on drainage, while trying to navigate traffic, and my nose was running and my eyes watering on OH THAT’S NOT FUCKING ENOUGH, LET’S COUGH SO HARD I PEE A LITTLE! Yeah, I went there, because it was never a fucking issue prior to pushing out the soccer ball known as a spawn, and no amount of Kegals has helped against the body racking coughs that hit my diaphragm. GODDAMNIT ALL TO SMEGGING HELL. By the time I got home from that 40 minute jaunt…I was already exhausted and it wasn’t even 11 a.m.

Ya know, the “peeing a little” thing pisses me off, but what pisses me off more are MEN who find it funny or gross, or the super women who for whatever reason have snatch muscles of steel so they can gloat “I’ve had six kids and I’ve never had that problem!” Fuck you all with barbwire dildos. It’s NOT funny. It’s annoying and inconvenient and embarrassing and yet…for some of us not so super snatch holder…it’s real. So pardon me if I pee a little when my chest is being attacked by a cough that’s a 10.0 on the Richter scale.

I’m a hoot,aren’t I? All “the government is up in my business and I am a private person” yet sharing such things here…Well, it made me mad. I don’t do silently mad. I do ranting mad.

Went to fetch the spawn. My ever loving mommy chastised me for not bringing the kid a coat. For “letting” her wear short sleeves. Then starts questioning me about how maybe my bad depressions are what makes my kid feel so unloved and do I take to my bed and shun Spook…And it’s like, I don’t even believe this shit. My mother spent six months of our childhood unemployed and in her pajamas unless it was check day so she could go manic spend and get happy for a minute. *She denies this,but my sis and I both remember it.* To have her question me…Just like, okay, Spook, we’re out of here.

After all that… I returned to binge watching The Event. Which means putting up with Hulu’s constantly dropping out. They blame my ISP and yet none of my other stuff was affected. Their service is shit. It is a mystery why people would procure things illegally. Paying for shitty service is living the dream.

Spook was relatively low key. I did have to panic when I saw it was gonna get down to 32 overnight and I realized…the car likely had a teaspoon of anter frozen in it. (Yes, I know it’s anti freeze, anter frozen makes it funnier.) I called stepmonster in a panic and she agreed it was necessary. Which it wouldn’t have been had R-sole kept his word to put some in it FRiday when he put some in his own car. Broken promises are the deal breaker for me. It’s so easy to avoid- don’t say a word. But repeatedly giving your word to do something and flaking every fucking time…You deserve my wrath.

I was on the fence for hours. It was cold and I had a yen for chili. (tomato water, people call it cos I don’t use beans, groooss.) But I didn’t want to do Aldi on a Saturday. But I wanted chili. Lather, rinse, repeat. Finally, I packed up the spawn and we went to frigging Aldi. I didn’t even have a quarter for a cart, so we just grabbed a few things, ensuring another trip to the hell hole for me at a later date IF I can get a quarter. Anyway…I got my chili and it was good and warming.

Spook went to sleep fairly quick. I stayed up awhile watching The Event but I was cold and beaten down and curled up under the covers. An hour in, the Restoril started to kick in…Only for me to shoot awake just as I went under. Pure terror. It happens almost every night and I don’t know why. I got up, fed the cats, got some water, came back to bed…Tossed, turned. I was freezing but the uber warm shirts I had on felt like they were strangling me at the neck..Changed into something baggy at the neck, so I was freezing but not feeling strangled…Slept. Woke. Slept. Woke. And stayed awake with coughing hacking draining fits to the point I had to keep the trash can by bedside as I was drowning. (I know, it’s a mystery why no man has grabbed me up when I paint such a sexy pic of myself.) It was a long hellish  night and by the time Spook was up…I couldn’t pry myself up. I was awake. Just unable to get out from under the covers.

But get up I did because the bastard bladder won’t be denied. Now I am back to watching The Event (it dropped into buffering seven times in one forty minute show, FFS, Hulu!). No plans today. I want to finish the laundry as I am like one load from being caught up, most even put away. It may happen, may not.

I’m not gonna spaz about it. I’ve got a sniffly runny nose the anti histamines won’t touch, my chest and abs are sore from all the coughing last night, and frankly, my give a fuck is broken. I am gonna vegetate.

I need the rest as we go into another week dealing with the tapestry of suck that is life.


The Tapestry Of Suck That Is Life

“The Tapestry Of Suck That Is Life”

It just sounds so elegant, does it not? Tapestry…

Oh, I know, I know. “Do you ever have a good word to say about life, you ungrateful pessimistic bitch?”

I’ll think long and hard on that and get back with you.

Following Friday night’s kid free serenity…Life reared its ugly head, bringing upon me things that stole sporks I didn’t have to spare. Cold struck. Well, I ventured out into the dish because I had no tea or sugar left and the instant I was out…I got hit with waves of coughing and allergy drainage which had me choking to death. And then I went to Dollar General, figuring a smaller store would be safer than a busy store on a Saturday. They, too, were busy, and to top it off, the aisles were spaced so close together I felt like I was trapped with the walls closing in on me. I just wanted out. The second another register opened, I nearly trampled a couple of people behind me to get to it. Normally I’d say, go ahead, I have lots of stuff, you don’t…In a panic…Every man, woman, child, and pegacorn for themselves. Fuck that shit.

Hit traffic en route home.Then got hit with another fit of coughing and choking on drainage, while trying to navigate traffic, and my nose was running and my eyes watering on OH THAT’S NOT FUCKING ENOUGH, LET’S COUGH SO HARD I PEE A LITTLE! Yeah, I went there, because it was never a fucking issue prior to pushing out the soccer ball known as a spawn, and no amount of Kegals has helped against the body racking coughs that hit my diaphragm. GODDAMNIT ALL TO SMEGGING HELL. By the time I got home from that 40 minute jaunt…I was already exhausted and it wasn’t even 11 a.m.

Ya know, the “peeing a little” thing pisses me off, but what pisses me off more are MEN who find it funny or gross, or the super women who for whatever reason have snatch muscles of steel so they can gloat “I’ve had six kids and I’ve never had that problem!” Fuck you all with barbwire dildos. It’s NOT funny. It’s annoying and inconvenient and embarrassing and yet…for some of us not so super snatch holder…it’s real. So pardon me if I pee a little when my chest is being attacked by a cough that’s a 10.0 on the Richter scale.

I’m a hoot,aren’t I? All “the government is up in my business and I am a private person” yet sharing such things here…Well, it made me mad. I don’t do silently mad. I do ranting mad.

Went to fetch the spawn. My ever loving mommy chastised me for not bringing the kid a coat. For “letting” her wear short sleeves. Then starts questioning me about how maybe my bad depressions are what makes my kid feel so unloved and do I take to my bed and shun Spook…And it’s like, I don’t even believe this shit. My mother spent six months of our childhood unemployed and in her pajamas unless it was check day so she could go manic spend and get happy for a minute. *She denies this,but my sis and I both remember it.* To have her question me…Just like, okay, Spook, we’re out of here.

After all that… I returned to binge watching The Event. Which means putting up with Hulu’s constantly dropping out. They blame my ISP and yet none of my other stuff was affected. Their service is shit. It is a mystery why people would procure things illegally. Paying for shitty service is living the dream.

Spook was relatively low key. I did have to panic when I saw it was gonna get down to 32 overnight and I realized…the car likely had a teaspoon of anter frozen in it. (Yes, I know it’s anti freeze, anter frozen makes it funnier.) I called stepmonster in a panic and she agreed it was necessary. Which it wouldn’t have been had R-sole kept his word to put some in it FRiday when he put some in his own car. Broken promises are the deal breaker for me. It’s so easy to avoid- don’t say a word. But repeatedly giving your word to do something and flaking every fucking time…You deserve my wrath.

I was on the fence for hours. It was cold and I had a yen for chili. (tomato water, people call it cos I don’t use beans, groooss.) But I didn’t want to do Aldi on a Saturday. But I wanted chili. Lather, rinse, repeat. Finally, I packed up the spawn and we went to frigging Aldi. I didn’t even have a quarter for a cart, so we just grabbed a few things, ensuring another trip to the hell hole for me at a later date IF I can get a quarter. Anyway…I got my chili and it was good and warming.

Spook went to sleep fairly quick. I stayed up awhile watching The Event but I was cold and beaten down and curled up under the covers. An hour in, the Restoril started to kick in…Only for me to shoot awake just as I went under. Pure terror. It happens almost every night and I don’t know why. I got up, fed the cats, got some water, came back to bed…Tossed, turned. I was freezing but the uber warm shirts I had on felt like they were strangling me at the neck..Changed into something baggy at the neck, so I was freezing but not feeling strangled…Slept. Woke. Slept. Woke. And stayed awake with coughing hacking draining fits to the point I had to keep the trash can by bedside as I was drowning. (I know, it’s a mystery why no man has grabbed me up when I paint such a sexy pic of myself.) It was a long hellish  night and by the time Spook was up…I couldn’t pry myself up. I was awake. Just unable to get out from under the covers.

But get up I did because the bastard bladder won’t be denied. Now I am back to watching The Event (it dropped into buffering seven times in one forty minute show, FFS, Hulu!). No plans today. I want to finish the laundry as I am like one load from being caught up, most even put away. It may happen, may not.

I’m not gonna spaz about it. I’ve got a sniffly runny nose the anti histamines won’t touch, my chest and abs are sore from all the coughing last night, and frankly, my give a fuck is broken. I am gonna vegetate.

I need the rest as we go into another week dealing with the tapestry of suck that is life.


The Wrong Life

Nothing prepared me for this.

This is not the life my upbringing prepared me for. I don’t just mean the special guest speakers we had in home economics class who tried to introduce us to the subtleties of silver, china, and stemware. No, I was also misled by the books I read.

If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? and Please Don’t Eat the Daisies led me astray. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a total fan of Erma Bombeck’s writing style, but the quirky suburban life she loved and lamented was not what I got. Bombeck and Kerr both made light – and fortunes – of portraying the petty foibles and cute misunderstandings of women and their husbands, women and their children, women and their neighbors, women and other women.

Daily disasters with dishwashers, sticky-fingered children, and clueless husbands were an endless source of amazement and amusement for them. They soldiered on, supported by an innate buoyancy, faith in the divinity, and the occasional glass of wine.

My glasses of wine have been more than occasional. My disasters have not been humorous. I do not have children, and the cats are somewhat deficient in making adorable conversation in high-pitched, lisping voices. Sometimes all I can get out of them is “meh,” which is pretty much how I feel too.

As for the trappings of the genteel life, we eat off paper plates more often then not. I did once have a set of Limoges, but only because I was acting as a pawnbroker for a friend who needed ready cash. I fed one of the cats on the Limoges saucer, just to say that I had.

My parents used to say that their house was decorated in early married junk and I have followed in that fine tradition. Most of our furnishings are a demonstration of the maxim: If it’s not from Kmart or Goodwill you won’t find it here.

No one’s life prepares them for clinical depression, hypomania, bipolar disorder, or any other mental illnesses. I’ll wager that even psychologists’ kids don’t have a clue when they escalate from picking scabs to experimenting with lit cigarettes. Maybe their parents don’t either.

Either the mental disorder has been going on so long that you don’t know what it’s like without it, or it comes on so suddenly that you desperately hope that it goes away just as suddenly. Or it comes in a way that you can just convince yourself is no big deal. “I overspend? That’s just because I love shopping, not because I have mania or need to validate myself with expensive things.”

Perhaps people who grow up with a mentally disturbed loved one have a chance of understanding the underlying mechanisms. But with the number of families who don’t discuss the “elephant in the room,” or pass it off as, “Your sister is just high-strung” or say, “Uncle Ted is a little odd. Just ignore him,” not even that exposure may help.

How do young people learn about mental illness? Or even – gasp! – get help for one? If not at home, maybe at school? The National Association of Secondary School Principals cites the U.S. Surgeon General’s report saying that “one in five children and adolescents will face a significant mental health condition during their school years” and that the ratio of school counselors to students is 471:1. Add to that the fact that most school counselors have been shifted away from offering personal and emotional support to offering academics-only services. (http://www.nassp.org/Content.aspx?topic=57948)

Most of us struggle alone. Some never find a proper diagnosis and treatment. We have to be our own resources and our own advocates much of the time, even if our illnesses do not allow us to get out of bed. If we have one family member – or even a close friend – who understands, we are lucky beyond measure.

I wish that I had been even slightly prepared for the life I now lead, instead of the one I was “supposed” to have. No one can predict the future, but why can’t we at least have a bit of mental health education in school? I suppose that’s a lot to ask, when even sexuality education varies from the merely adequate to the appalling, when schools are barely able to stay abreast of the teach-to-the-test curriculum, and when Texas’s governor vetoes a bipartisan bill allocating resources for mental health, based on lobbying by Scientologists.

Do I sound bitter because I didn’t get to live the genteel suburban life? Probably. But there are aspects of that life that likely would have actively impeded my search for mental health. So I’ve had to do it on my own, or nearly so, at least until recently. A lot of us go DIY for mental health.

But a lot of us are accomplishing it. Living the life we have and not some fictitious pie-in-the-sky one. We may not have been prepared for it, but we muddle through anyway – and sometimes even realize that imperfect real life is better than a perfect lie.


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: being overwhelmed, bipolar disorder, childhood depression, depression, media and mental illness, mental health, mental illness, my experiences, public perception, support systems

The Wrong Life

Nothing prepared me for this.

This is not the life my upbringing prepared me for. I don’t just mean the special guest speakers we had in home economics class who tried to introduce us to the subtleties of silver, china, and stemware. No, I was also misled by the books I read.

If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? and Please Don’t Eat the Daisies led me astray. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a total fan of Erma Bombeck’s writing style, but the quirky suburban life she loved and lamented was not what I got. Bombeck and Kerr both made light – and fortunes – of portraying the petty foibles and cute misunderstandings of women and their husbands, women and their children, women and their neighbors, women and other women.

Daily disasters with dishwashers, sticky-fingered children, and clueless husbands were an endless source of amazement and amusement for them. They soldiered on, supported by an innate buoyancy, faith in the divinity, and the occasional glass of wine.

My glasses of wine have been more than occasional. My disasters have not been humorous. I do not have children, and the cats are somewhat deficient in making adorable conversation in high-pitched, lisping voices. Sometimes all I can get out of them is “meh,” which is pretty much how I feel too.

As for the trappings of the genteel life, we eat off paper plates more often then not. I did once have a set of Limoges, but only because I was acting as a pawnbroker for a friend who needed ready cash. I fed one of the cats on the Limoges saucer, just to say that I had.

My parents used to say that their house was decorated in early married junk and I have followed in that fine tradition. Most of our furnishings are a demonstration of the maxim: If it’s not from Kmart or Goodwill you won’t find it here.

No one’s life prepares them for clinical depression, hypomania, bipolar disorder, or any other mental illnesses. I’ll wager that even psychologists’ kids don’t have a clue when they escalate from picking scabs to experimenting with lit cigarettes. Maybe their parents don’t either.

Either the mental disorder has been going on so long that you don’t know what it’s like without it, or it comes on so suddenly that you desperately hope that it goes away just as suddenly. Or it comes in a way that you can just convince yourself is no big deal. “I overspend? That’s just because I love shopping, not because I have mania or need to validate myself with expensive things.”

Perhaps people who grow up with a mentally disturbed loved one have a chance of understanding the underlying mechanisms. But with the number of families who don’t discuss the “elephant in the room,” or pass it off as, “Your sister is just high-strung” or say, “Uncle Ted is a little odd. Just ignore him,” not even that exposure may help.

How do young people learn about mental illness? Or even – gasp! – get help for one? If not at home, maybe at school? The National Association of Secondary School Principals cites the U.S. Surgeon General’s report saying that “one in five children and adolescents will face a significant mental health condition during their school years” and that the ratio of school counselors to students is 471:1. Add to that the fact that most school counselors have been shifted away from offering personal and emotional support to offering academics-only services. (http://www.nassp.org/Content.aspx?topic=57948)

Most of us struggle alone. Some never find a proper diagnosis and treatment. We have to be our own resources and our own advocates much of the time, even if our illnesses do not allow us to get out of bed. If we have one family member – or even a close friend – who understands, we are lucky beyond measure.

I wish that I had been even slightly prepared for the life I now lead, instead of the one I was “supposed” to have. No one can predict the future, but why can’t we at least have a bit of mental health education in school? I suppose that’s a lot to ask, when even sexuality education varies from the merely adequate to the appalling, when schools are barely able to stay abreast of the teach-to-the-test curriculum, and when Texas’s governor vetoes a bipartisan bill allocating resources for mental health, based on lobbying by Scientologists.

Do I sound bitter because I didn’t get to live the genteel suburban life? Probably. But there are aspects of that life that likely would have actively impeded my search for mental health. So I’ve had to do it on my own, or nearly so, at least until recently. A lot of us go DIY for mental health.

But a lot of us are accomplishing it. Living the life we have and not some fictitious pie-in-the-sky one. We may not have been prepared for it, but we muddle through anyway – and sometimes even realize that imperfect real life is better than a perfect lie.


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: being overwhelmed, bipolar disorder, childhood depression, depression, media and mental illness, mental health, mental illness, my experiences, public perception, support systems

Nothing is Broken

When it was time for Sadie to return to her office Thursday, I replied to the e-mail I shared in Asking for Help.  I included a link to that post, and explained that when I called her I didn’t really know what help to ask for.  I said that I’m conflicted between always wanting to […]

Nothing is Broken

When it was time for Sadie to return to her office Thursday, I replied to the e-mail I shared in Asking for Help.  I included a link to that post, and explained that when I called her I didn’t really know what help to ask for.  I said that I’m conflicted between always wanting to […]