Monday, December 2, 2019

Mistaken identity: Advil for Ambien

It might seem an impossible mistake, but I have some Advil that are not round, they are long and capsule-shaped and they are a dark rust color. The Ambien I occasionally take are the same color and roughly the same size. In a normal life (not mine!) they would NEVER share the same pill bottle for obvious reasons.

Yesterday I woke around 7:00 to get ready for work, took my shower, reached for a tiny traveling pill bottle, shook out my blue blood pressure pill and a tiny, oblong dark rust colored pill that I was, at that hour, certain was an Advil. (The Advil was in a separate bottle, since they would NEVER share the same pill bottle. HA!)  Down they went with a glass of water. I was staying at Jenn's, so I went into the kitchen to cobble together a salad for lunch since there is little food available where I work. After about ten minutes I began to feel quite odd. A little spacey, light-headed, couldn't quite figure out where my feet were. This never happens to me unless I am drinking heavily (which rarely happens these days) and thus I was a little unprepared for this bizarre physical weirdness. Especially before  8:00 in the morning!

Even with the fuzz in my head, a light bulb went on in my spongy mind and the realization that I had taken an Ambien instead of an Advil became a certainty. Holy cow!  I was due at work in 15 minutes. What to do?  My son was up, I mentioned it to him, he suggested I not go to work. Not an option. He suggested I not drive. Again, not really an option, I was fine.  (Again, HA!)

I floated out to the car, lunch in hand, and somehow my car knew the way; I got to work safely (it's only 3 miles after all) but when I walked into the Clubhouse, my coworker looked and me and very hesitantly said "Good morning..... are you OK?"  

I wasn't.  It was not unlike being drunk, the room was shimmering a bit, tilting a little, my thoughts were as scattered as tumbleweeds in a wind storm, my eyes were a bit unfocused and things remained that way for a couple of hours. 

Trying to stay awake after taking a sleeping aid is quite difficult. Ambien is a sedative and can be a hypnotic. It is an immediate release drug, so no wonder it hit me within ten minutes.  Once the drunk feeling dissipated (after about 3 hours) it was a struggle to not curl up and take a nap. My shift was over at 5:00 and I was certainly "sober" but very tired. Back at Jenn's for the night I spent a bit of time just staring into space, my mind and body exhausted.  

Lights were out before 9:00 pm and when the alarm went off this morning at 5:50 am, I felt like I could have slept for 8 more hours but so, so relieved that I actually just got a good 8 hours of sleep. 

We learn life lessons everyday if we are paying attention. Small ones, big ones, some important and some trite, but lessons nonetheless.  There will never be another Advil-Ambien mistaken identity in my life, of that I am certain. Lesson learned.

Image result for what is ambien    vs  Image result for what is advil

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Saturday, November 30, 2019

Thanksgiving, moving, food and love.

Whining about moving into a new cottage is so, so ridiculous. I would take down the previous post but it's how I felt at the time so it will stay there. But I am a bit abashed about it all. How many people in the world have NOTHING? 

Thanksgiving was at Jenn and Dar's so you know the food was outstanding. There were ten of us, a motley crew, all very different and we had a great time. Jenn and Dar have a pool table in a little funky room and it is such a crowd-pleaser. I think almost everyone embarrassed themselves attempting to channel Minnesota Fats or Fast Eddy. (To be truthful, Dar didn't embarrass herself, she actually plays rather well.)  We drank a lot of wine, ate everything that was be offered and laughed and discussed and argued a bit. It was wonderful!

Moving is stressful and exhausting, we all know that. But to have the ability to move, to have the means and the opportunity to actually find housing in this county, housing that is affordable (thanks to my generous landlords) and good and new, it is something to be hugely thankful for. And I am. 


In a day we a will be a month away from entering a new decade. A new year, a new start.  Old problems, yes. Climate and the homeless, our POTUS and lack of a Democratic candidate who can win in 2020, these are problems that will not disappear. But there is always room for change. Always room to forge ahead. 


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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Moving, movers, moved. But not yet home.

All the other times I have moved, it took a few days. Many boxes were schlepped on one day, more on the next, furniture got moved,  and finally, after three or four days it was done. This time I hired movers and therefore packed everything up and waited for them to take it all. What looked like a ton of stuff in my living room hardly looked like anything on the moving truck. What took me several days to box up took the movers an hour to load on the truck, and that included all the furniture I had, which wasn't much.

So everything was deposited into the small new place last Thursday. Most of the boxes were unpacked and some of the stuff was put on shelves and in cupboards and the bed was set up and I still don't know if I should move the bed to the other wall and the couch and TV to a different place. But with 250 square feet of space there ain't a lot of area in which to position stuff. I need other eyes on it, like Annie, to help make sure the space is used to its maximum benefit. 

It has been a very odd emotional and psychological adventure because it has been a very odd move. The cottage was supposed to be reconstructed two years ago but the Tubbs fire, which burned a lot of Glen Ellen, put that off. Then the contractors thought it would be done in the spring, then July 4th, then Labor Day, then October. It has been such a waiting game..... to the extent where I was ready to call the whole thing off. 

Plus, usually when one moves, one scopes out a couple of possible places, mulls it over, decides on one and then moves in, knowing exactly what to expect because the property has already been vetted. In this case, I showed up last Thursday with the movers and all my stuff and it was the first time I had seen it even close to being finished. It was like a fait accompli, a done deal. The cottage is lovely, the contractors did a really nice job, there are nice touches, good materials and it is brand new. But it still is a strange situation. It will take more ingenuity than I have to make everything fit well, but I am trying.  Again, I need another set of eyes on it and I hope that happens soon, in the next several weeks.

Emotionally, I am feeling a little sad and a little hopeful and a lot exhausted. Exhaustion isn't simply a physical reaction, of course. My mind feels overloaded and blank at the same time.

That's all for now. More to be said. Tomorrow.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Thinking more about the Tom Hanks interview.

These are scary times we live in. Threats from other countries, impeachment hearings in our own country, bombings, fires, floods, more fires, more tragedy. Yes we have a good economy and low unemployment but we also have a joker as POTUS and all that entails. And it entails a lot. It means we often wake up at 2:15 a.m. wide-eyed and afraid and we can't sleep until 20 minutes before the alarm goes off. It means we no longer trust anyone or anything except that stupid alarm clock and sometimes not even that. It means we are sad and marginally depressed.

It means we need to find something that will let us peer over the foxhole we have created for ourselves and not think we will be shot in the forehead.  Grim, yes, but just saying.


Thinking about Tom Hanks makes me feel better. Don't ask me why. He is just a guy, just one more person in the universe but when he said this about being a parent, I cried:  "Somewhere along the line, I figured out, the only thing really, eventually a parent can do is say I love you, there's nothing you can do wrong, you cannot hurt my feelings, I hope you will forgive me on occasion and what do you need me to do?  You offer that up to them. I will do anything I can possibly do in order to keep you safe. That's it. Offer that up and then just love them."

Of course, that's what I have been doing for the last 46 years but it's so difficult to know if that's enough and it is never enough. There is no way to keep anyone safe, we simply try to do our best.


Another reason the article hit home was because I am in the middle of packing all my crap again, moving again. Right now, in Santa Rosa, this is the 7th place I have lived in (not counting the week or two here or there in a friend's place or in a motel) since 2011.  This next move will be the 8th. Is it any wonder I feel dispassionate about the move and displaced? Hanks mentions that he moved a lot as a kid, he has nothing of his life when he was 5 or 6 years old. I can totally relate.... I have nothing much from my 20's or 30's, not to mention my childhood. I don't miss that, but I do recognize that it's odd. Sort of like a huge part of my past is covered with barely see-through white-out, foggy, not clear but there.


I pride myself on not having a lot of junk, not carrying much along the path, but having to pack it all up, finding small reminders of my late friend Martha, of my past vacations with my second husband, finding photos of my first marriage, it's dissembling in surprising ways. Did I fail at that part of my life? Did life fail me? Was I a good friend, am I a good friend, can I just shut the lid on that box and move on?


Ah, the vagaries of life. Maybe it's just my unsettledness of life right now that makes me cry about almost any and everything. But I still think that having Tom Hanks as my neighbor would be sweet.  As Mr. Rogers said, "Please won't you be my neighbor?" 


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Read this, not just to feel good but just because: Tom Hanks

For years I have been wishing I lived next door to Tom Hanks because I imagine asking to borrow a stick of butter, or having spontaneous small dinners, like BBQ or just wine and snacks together. Tom Hanks has always seemed like a smart guy who would be an easy neighbor.

Well, who would have thought he would be morphing into Fred Rogers and asking me "Won't you be my neighbor?"

In the 1970-80's I was working in Menlo Park and living in Daly City, at least a 30 minute drive in the car with my two kids. When I got home from work I would park those two kids shamelessly in front of the TV for 30 minutes and Mr. Rogers would occupy their small yet vibrant minds and calm them down after a day of stimulation.  The key words here are: Calm. Them. Down. Mr. Rogers did nothing to excite kids, he did everything to simply talk to them in a calm, nice, safe voice. However he did it, it worked. The kids watched, listened and chilled out.

Tom Hanks is now Fred Rogers in the just-released movie "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" and there is no one who could be better at Mr. Rogers than Tom Hanks and I say that without having even seen the trailer. I just know it.

I just finished reading an interview with and article about Tom Hanks in the NY Times. It is not often that a simple piece about a regular man written by a staff writer moves me to tears but this one did. Not just moved to tears but out-and-out crying.  But I felt in good company because the writer, Taffy Brodesser-Akner also confesses that in the middle of her research/dialogue/interview she also broke down in tears and Tom Hanks said "It's okay to cry. I am here for you. It's good to cry. It's good to talk."

Seriously, what movie star would say or do that? Well, Tom Hanks, I suppose. Which is another reason why I wish I lived next door to him.

Here is the article/interview. Read it. I have much more to say about all this because I have been in a state of .... what to call it? Angst? Unease? Crappiness?  Not sure how to identify it but I am getting closer to figuring out why. More on that later as well. 


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/13/movies/tom-hanks-mister-rogers.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage



“I recognized in myself a long time ago that I don’t instill fear in anybody,” Hanks said. “Now, that’s different than being nice, you know? I think I have a cache of mystery. But it’s not one of malevolence.”

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Netflix: "Fire in Paradise" Watch it.

A year ago the small town of Paradise was destroyed by a fire that moved 100 yards a second. Not just Paradise, but all the small enclaves around that town were wiped out. Almost 90 people were killed, many burned in their cars as they tried to escape. Named the Camp Fire because of where it started, it was the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history. It burned for 16 days, covered more than 240 square miles and wiped out more than 18,000 structures, most of them destroyed in the first six hours of the fire. The spread of the fire and its intensity were ferocious.

Netflix is showing a 45 minute documentary on the fire and everyone should watch it. It is a portent of fires to come. The last fire we had here in Northern California, the Kincade fire, was small compared to the Camp Fire but some of the factors were the same: high temps, dry grass, very low humidity and wind.

"Fire in Paradise" will chill you with its human terror and it should make you shudder at the number of lives that it could have taken, those who were told to get out of their cars and huddle on concrete for five hours, only to see their abandoned cars burned to nothing after those hours. Told by regular people who were there, it is a testament to the power of fire and the resilience of human hope and its power to survive. The film seems rushed at times and there is so much that happened, so much more than this 45 minute doc shows, that it barely gives you time to catch your breath. But I think that could be intentional:  the Camp Fire was out of control within its first hour, and the video captures that frantic, out of control rage of the fire.

It's just tragic that it isn't a movie. It is real. Out of control is no longer outside reality. "Fire in Paradise" makes you want to turn your head, turn it off. Instead, watch it.


Monday, November 4, 2019

Those fires will continue, count on it.

They continue to burn throughout California. POTUS continues to deride California for its lack of foresight, not mentioning that the current fires are not in a forest but on city streets, in fields, in chaparral, in shopping centers, near the ocean, burning homes, churches, schools and making all of us Californians worried, frightened and incredibly anxious.  We will remain so until rains fall.

And then, next summer, it will happen again. As Jerry Brown said last year, this is the new normal. Fires will happen over and over as our climate changes (fake news to the POTUS until his home burns down or the waters rise and drown his resorts) and as our government does nothing to even try to remedy that.  Time is running out on that scenario.

Scary times. I am not going to belabor the issue except to say that I have talked to at least a dozen people in the past week who are actively looking for another place to live, out of California. Can't blame them. It is getting more and more expensive to live here and not just monetarily. The psychological toll it takes waiting for the mandate to evacuate one's home, waiting for the smoke, the flames, the emergency every summer..... it is getting too much to take.

And the fires will continue. Fire season is not over yet. The nights are cold but it was 80 degrees today in Santa Rosa. We pray for rain.

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