Daily Archives: January 14, 2013

There’s a Princess in My Bed

It’s a rainy, dismal morning: the sort of morning when you don’t want to get out of bed.

Noga refuses to get out of bed on a rainy morning!

Noga refuses to get out of bed on a rainy morning!


As most of you know, Noga is my Psychiatric Service Dog.  She helps me deal with the ups and downs of having Bipolar, PTSD, and a a few other DSM diagnoses.  She takes care of me at night when I get stricken with the Blind Terrors, and she torments me mercilessly when the time for my evening meds rolls around and I am still furiously writing.  When I get depressed she cuddles up to me and when I dissociate she pulls at my pants leg till I come back.

Her payoff–well, part of it, anyway–is that every morning she gets kisses and hugs.   She waits for me to wake up, and is usually snuggled up in the snuggly place between my left shoulder and my ear, which has been wonderful in the cold season; I think I shall have to put in air conditioning in the summer, though, so that the snuggling can continue unperturbed by sweatiness.

Back to the hugs and kisses part.  Noga will not get out of bed without her hugs and kisses.  And by some unit of measurement known and determined  only by her, she must have a certain quantity of hugs and kisses before she will get out of bed.  And there is a specific sequence to the ritual:

1.  Hugs and kisses, especially tummy rubs and kisses on the head, preferably between the eyes.

2. Stretches, with hugs and kisses along with.

3.  Scritches and playful tugs on the hind legs and tail, accompanied by little love nibbles on the active hand, given by the Princess.

4. Standing up and prancing about in the bedclothes, and “killing” some of them with fierce shakes.

When we get to this point, it is time to get out of bed and go outside to “do our thing,” since Noga does NOT use the Electric Toilet (see previous post).

Today was an exception.  Noga awakened, opened one eye, saw through the glass slider that it was pouring rain, and went back to sleep.  I tried kisses and hugs in vain.  She enjoyed them, yes, but she was not about to be moved.  Bed was where she planned to stay.  I could see it in her eyes:  I will stay here all day if need be.  You see, Noga has a morbid fear of getting wet.  She is rather like a cat in that respect.

I really could not believe that after ten hours in the sack she could not have to go potty; so I picked her up and cuddled her for a while, just to get her going.  Then I set her down in the bed, and as you can see in the picture above, her answer was: “No dice.”

Lhasa Apsos are arguably the most stubborn dogs in the world.  They make Corgis look like boot-lickers.  So I snatched her out of her warm bed and bundled her up in her Paddington Bear raincoat and carried her outside in the rain.  She looked like this:



She was not happy, and indeed she refused to look at me the entire time we were outside.  But we got the job done, and when we came inside and took off our raincoats we played chase and had breakfast and everything was lovely again.

Romantic Monday with Passion; Love Released

the weight of want like chains upon my heart I long to break to leave behind not be twisted up at the mercy of a thought ruined by neglect in [...]

Just Watching…

It’s finally snowing where I can see it — huzzah! I find snow to be a very soul-soothing thing, so that’s pretty much all that I have to report of vague (non-)interest. Maybe it’s because it’s part of a meditation I used to do to fight insomnia, or maybe because it’s just not a part of my growing up experience, it’s a happy-making thing. It makes the cold worthwhile (but then, I’m not the one driving in it either).

So yes, back to watching it hit the patch of concrete outside my window view. It’s only just starting to accumulate there, so it’s fascinating to watch it hit and mainly met, with the occasional bit lucky enough to cling on and remain white. I have no idea why this particular patch of concrete refuses to host snow, since the roads themselves are already starting to cover back up… but at least it makes for good watching.


My Arctic Heart

Readers in the Southern hemisphere may find it more difficult to relate to aspects of this post than readers, say, in the Russian Federation. Or Sussex, where I live, on the south coast of Britain.

I’ve had a few days off work (just taking some time back having worked more days than my usual 3 a week at the end of last year).  I planned a ride today into the countryside – it’s been a while since I spent the best part of a  day in the saddle.  I thought I’d take a route along the coast before heading north into some lovely villages and beautiful views.  I knew it was coming, but was hoping it would only arrive after I had gone back to work.  This morning the snow has arrived.

Well, frost, actually.

To say that my spirit and enthusiasm for a ride melted is a corny way of puting it, but a glance outside from the comfort of my warm home and I was making other plans.

I can just see the disappointed, weary shake of your head, dear reader.

Instead I plumped for an 8 mile round trip across town to my brother’s cafe for mushrooms on toast and a nice cup of tea.

It’s not all or nothing.

But that’s not how it feels when there really are snow drifts outside my window. And inside my head.

It’s dangerous to cycle in icy conditions.  A few degrees colder and the roads really will start to become hazardous.  It’s at times like that that I take the bus.

My Psychiatrist tells me that I can take it a bit easier when I’m not feeling well. Maybe go into the office a bit later, leave an hour early.  Go to bed at 10 instead of 11p.m. I’ll be saying the same thing to the Peers I support (and who support me).

It’s not all or nothing.

Easier said than done, dear reader, easier said than done.

I live half way up a hill.  It gets frostier up there sooner than it does in town.  The frost melts away as the morning staggers into life.  I know all this.  First thing in the morning is not always the moment to decide. Eggs or cereal for breakfast, maybe; but what it’s like outside (and inside my head) not sensible. 300mgs of Quetiapine taken later than 10.30p.m. the night before and I am not going to be threading anything through the eye of a needle before 8a.m. the next mornning.

It’s not all or nothing.

I can wait a bit.  Have breakfast.  Pop out and buy the paper.  Put on a washing load.  But in conditions like this I need a pick axe to splinter the ice that has sealed my soul. I don’t have to ride 80 miles there and back, stopping for a coffee and riding up the Dyke (a relentless 2 mile climb).  On days like these I can just free – wheel across town to my brother’s place for breakfast.

It’s not all or nothing. On days like these I can just sit and wait… and wait…for my arctic heart to begin to thaw.

Schoolboys in Winter

The schoolboys still their morning ramble take
To neighboring village school with playing speed,
Loitering with passtime’s leisure till they quake,
Oft looking up the wild-geese droves to heed,
Watching the letters which their journeys make;
Or plucking haws on which their fieldfares feed,
And hips and sloes; and on each shallow lake
Making glib slides, where they like shadows go
Till some fresh passtimes in their minds awake.
Then off they start anew and hasty blow
Their numbed and clumpsing fingers till they glow;
Then races with their shadows wildly run
That stride huge giants o’er the shining snow
In the pale splendour of the winter sun.

John Clare (1793 – 1864)

Flash in the Pan;

This week’s word for The Flash in the Pan  - Flash Fiction Challenge ; listless It’s really last weeks word, I know hard to believe right? Oh but here’s a [...]

brand new med…brand new mental state

Day five of Topamax.

day Five of Cymbalta withdrawal.

I am…

sort of a trainwreck.


Full of self loathing.

Uninspired. Not creative. Irritable.


It is what it is.

Which is not the least bit helpful.

I am hoping it gets better,since Topamax was my idea.

I WANT MY CYMBALTA BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don’t care if I was bad manic, I felt happy and alive and creative.

At this moment…I just feel…dead.

I have had death thoughts.

I don’t want to die.

But I am so frustrated and disgusted…

\death would be better than this mental state.


Is this the topomax?


is it coming off the Cymbalta?

My kingdom for another manic episode….

Bloody hell.

I DESPISE when starting or stopping- a med- makes me completely unsure of who I am.


My Electric Toilet

An electric toilet?  What a bizarre concept.  In general we think of toilets as contraptions having to do somehow with water, which, after being used, gets flushed down a pipe and that’s it.  When we go camping we sometimes use “pit toilets” which are the ickiest, in my opinion; or sometimes, no toilet at all, which hopefully involves a smallish shovel to create what’s called a “cat hole” in trail lingo.  I like those the best, actually.  Then there are chemical toilets.  I have one outside.  It’s the one that went over the cliff in the big wind storm and had to be retrieved upside down and steam cleaned before it could be restored to (hopefully) a more secure spot on the cliff that I live on.

It is because of this cliff that I don’t have a “normal” toilet.  Since the building I am living in is literally built into the side of a rock face, there is no place for a septic tank, or leach field, or any of your other means of safely getting rid of human waste.  Don’t even think about sewers:  I live about 7 miles from the nearest one.

Having a chemical toilet outside isn’t bad in good weather, but when it’s dark and rainy or sleeting or windy, and one is worried about going over the cliff backwards in a port-a-potty, one longs for some sort of indoor facility.

My father, whose studio this used to be, at one time had a composting toilet; but he discovered that there has to be a certain amount of “material” to compost correctly, and he was unable to supply it, so he put the unused toilet in the shed, where it still sits, and put his drafting table in the former bathroom instead.

I really wanted a propane toilet, since I have a 500 gallon propane tank sitting in the yard.  My father used to fire his huge walk-in pottery kilns with propane, and used a lot of it, hence the huge tank.  But propane toilets turn out to cost around $5000, which is way far out of my pay grade.

Enter the electric toilet.  My mother found it on the internet.  It only cost $1250, which is really a lot of money for a crapper, but hey.  So we sprung for it.  This is what it looks like:

View from the top

View from the top

This is what it looks like from the top, with the lid closed.  You can see the button that says “push.”  That is how you “flush” it.  It starts the incineration cycle.

All ready to use!

All ready to use!

And here we see the Incinolet all ready for action!  The white thing inside the “bowl” is a special paper liner that catches the “deposits” and when a foot pedal is depressed, bundles all tidily into the burn chamber.  Theoretically.

2013-01-13 20.05.11And this is what the Incinolet looks like without the paper liner.  Now, it is a VERY bad idea to try to use the Incinolet without the liner.  If it is “liquid,” then it just pours out onto the floor; and if it is “solid,” well….you can imagine that for yourselves.

I won’t go into the details of what human waste smells like when it’s burning.

Most electrical appliances that we industrialized humans are used to come with big stickers on them that say something like, “WARNING!!!!  NO USER SERVICEABLE PARTS!!!!”  The Incinolet, on the other hand, is one big user serviceable part.  It comes with an extensive manual complete with blow-up (or is that exploded?  I never get that right.) diagrams down to every screw, and three pages of trouble-shooting instructions, all of which involve taking some portion of the device apart.  I have had the whole thing apart now, so I consider us to be on intimate terms, in more ways than one.

All in all, it is a decent thing to have an indoor commode, and I am grateful for it; but if the truth be known, I’d rather be using a cat-hole in fine weather, with a good view and no chance of being disturbed.