Last Days

(Somewhat fictional, somewhat factual.)   The ICU was on the ninth floor of the hospital, at the very top. On the bad days, Lisa wouldn’t wait for the elevator, but would take the nine floors without stopping, and arrive in the waiting room certain that she might need to have the bed next to her brother. Steve had been here for the past two weeks, brought from the rehab hospital with a 103-degree fever. Two days after the move, she answered the phone to a nurse’s voice saying, “Steve has gone code blue, and we need your authorization to resuscitate him.” They were able to start his heart, but he never woke up after that.   So Lisa was sitting in a hard chair, staring at a photo of a stone caught in a stream, poised on the edge of a river, and ready to go over into the unknown water. Yep, one never knew when college would come in handy; she got metaphor and simile when she was 14, and finding a deeper meaning soon became second nature. This was both a light and darkness in her life; as an english literature major, everything had to mean something, whether she wanted it to or not.

“Lisa Solozzo?” Lisa made it to the window in a second and a half; the ICU nurse motioned to the door, and she walked over, opened the entrance, and walked in.   The darkened halls were painted white, and there was a light at the end. Just like heaven…or hell, Lisa thought, as she walked down the hall towards the nurses’ station. She knew where Steve’s room was, so she passed by the nurses, and glanced to her left, where he lay in the half-light of the various machines that were attached to his body.

She walked into his room, and looked at him. Steve had lost most of his weight that he had maintained over the years through alcohol, fast food, and dedicated couch surfing. As Lisa stood and watched her brother, she could swear that his hand moved. Nights of not sleeping, crying, and drinking enough gin to numb the pain had scrambled Lisa’s brain to the point that she knew she was seeing things. Steve’s hand hadn’t moved, and it wasn’t going to move. Lisa understood the first part of her thought, but not the second half. Steve would get up, and talk again, and get better, and everything would be all right.

But it wouldn’t be all right. As Lisa left the hospital room, and walked back to the waiting area, she felt as if she was the stone at the edge of the river, with no way to hold on to what she knew; soon she would lose her secure place and fall, and keep falling….and without Steve, she had no safe place to land.

Presenting….Celexa, now coming to a medicine cabinet near me!

I had planned on writing about all of the intentions that I made at the beginning of the year, and how well I was doing with them, but instead, I’m sitting here typing, after just taking my first dose of Celexa (ten milligrams), and reading all of the side effects that could occur. (FYI, if you are anxious, I don’t recommend reading all of the possible side effects that could occur with a drug; your anxiety will blossom like a Venus flytrap, and demand to be fed. I am prepared for some side effects, and will just have to be surprised for the rest of ‘em).  My doctor has prescribed the antidepressant, after I explained to her that I have had three anxiety attacks in the last six weeks, and that I want to feel better.  I have been fighting depression this year by pretending that I was all right, and denying the symptoms.  My last experience with the antidepressant family was about ten years ago, with Lexapro. I had a positive experience with the drug, except for a twelve pound weight gain, which I eventually lost.

These days, anxiety attacks take place when I have something physically wrong with me, like pain that I can’t explain away – my doctor has diagnosed me with  PTSD, which she says stems from all of the loss of family members that I’ve experienced in a relatively short period of time. (Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with major recurring depressive disorder – I took a peek at my diagnosis, then looked it up in the DSM-IV; I already knew that I was depressed, but I still wanted to read the official designation.)

At this stage of the game, there are a few other factors that are at play in my decision to go back on antidepressants.  This year has kind of sucked in that I had to go through a pretty painful back injury, as well as chronic tension headaches (which I understand from reading can be a result of depression, as these started before I was injured). The last time I was diagnosed with depression, I had the same kind of chronic headache, which lasted for months; I was sure that I was a goner, and paid a couple of teary visits to my doctor, before my mind was put at ease (somewhat).

I’m also going to start therapy again, with a new therapist.  My previous therapist helped me so much, but I’m looking for a new perspective – I have two names, so it’s just a matter of picking up the phone and making an appointment, and then my adventures in Therapyland (the sequel) can begin (again).

If you have never experienced depression, or know someone who has it, let me just tell you that it’s not what you might think it is. It’s not what I thought it was –  it’s not romantic, and it’s not something that you can just shake off with a good night’s sleep. It’s a sneaky little bastard that creeps up on a person, and changes the way you feel and the way you think. It’s funny – once I decided to acknowledge that I needed help again, I actually felt better – still depressed, but taking steps to climb out of the hole, so that’s a start.

Good intentions 2013

Just some things I was thinking of doing in 2013:

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1.  Read one book a month (except in the case of Les Miserables by Hugo, which may take two; it’s on my list, and in my stack)

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2.  Jazzercise (shopping for this outfit, by the way)

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3.  Yoga

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3.  Regular meditation

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4.  Crockpot Sunday!

5.  And this:

Philippians 4.8

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And one more quote to end 2012 for me: “Be excellent to each another.”  Party on…and happy New Year to us all.

2012 in review – Julie Wrote What?

If you like numbers, check out mine for 2012 – thanks to the kind peeps at Word Press!

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 14,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Christmas list

Hanging out with the LBD (Paco, my ten pounds of terrier/chi terror), and seeing what the day brings. Jamal and I had a very nice time last night with the family, and today I just had a great visit with a long-time friend who stopped by with her husband.  We hadn’t talked in about five years, not because of any drama, mostly because life just kinda kept happening, and we didn’t keep up with each other.  I’m not the most Christmas-ey of people, but seeing Laury and Steve gave me a great gift of good cheer when I wasn’t looking for one today.

Can we look at the list now?

1.  It just seems to me that the Christmas crush was a bit more…pulpy this year.  Granted, it was a broad spectrum of behavior out there, and I’m certain that I allowed some of the bad behavior to affect me more than usual, but… it’s the holiday season, and so many horrible events have taken place recently, that it wouldn’t have killed you grinches (and you know who you are) to be a little nicer, to the retail staff, to other people in the parking lot, even to your own family.  Maybe you didn’t feel like it, but sometimes acting “as if” can put a person into a better sprit – never fear, crabby folk, we’ll give you a chance next year; just hope that everyone in your family is still here for you next year.  For the rest of you, who held places in line for strangers, who wished cashiers happy holidays, and who were aware that there were other people in your sphere of existence besides yourselves – your halos are showing; thank you.

2.  Seeing the Christmas lights is always my favorite part of the season; I love when they start appearing, and I get a little blue when they come down. What I find interesting (and a little bit scary) is the appearance of the enormous balloon figures on the lawns in our neighborhood:

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I gauged this Santa at ten feet tall, but he was taller than the house, so he was maybe more like fifteen.  And what’s a little odd about these decorations (maybe it’s just me) is that they are deflated during the day, then are inflated to monster size at night.  Seems like a Santa (or a giant penguin, like the one on my block) that could suffocate Mom and Dad and take the kids away to his evil workshop at the North Pole where Oogie Boogie lives; wait, I could be mixing up my movies….anyhow, it could be scary, dunno.

3.  I found a cool website: completely-coastal.com.  If you enjoy all things seaside, you will want to take a look; our Christmas tree is covered with seashells and mermaids, and my vision for the master bath (once the guest bath is finished) is that it will feel like the song “Under the Sea.”  (My husband Jamal is on board with my design taste, which is cool.)  And my taste is all over the place, so I have to be careful, because I like this:

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And I like this:

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My coastal living has a little bit of the apocalypse mixed in – works for me (and thankfully, for Jamal).

So I think that’s it for today; I missed writing here, so coming back is my shameless, self-promoting, self-centered gift to you.  And one size fits all! I wish you all good things today – let your heart be light, and I’ll see if I can do the same. Deal? Deal!

Au revoir mes amies!

Beginning today, “Julie Wrote What?” is going underground – I will be starting a new blog about the movies, of which the title has yet to be determined. Thanks to everyone who took the time to read “Julie Wrote What?”  I hope you will enjoy what I have  to say about the movies, and tell me what you think.  Bye for now, campers!

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New blog is “After The Picture Show,” and it’s up and running; hope to see you soon -

8 1/2 things

1.  I watched “Hanging Up” for the bajillionth time today; it’s with Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan, and Lisa Kudrow, and Walter Matthau.  I cried at the end, like I always do, and the thing that keeps me coming back to this movie (aside from Meg Ryan’s floor-length camel coat, which I WANT in an unnatural way, and can’t even find anything remotely similar to) is that Walter Matthau reminds me of my father.  To be specific, Walter Matthau’s arms remind me of my dad’s arms – his relationship with Meg Ryan also hits a nerve.  I miss my dad every time I watch this movie.  I miss my dad, period.

2.  It’s summer in southern California, never mind the calendar. It’s warm, and dry, and breezy – no giant fires yet, but October isn’t over.  Our seasons should be renamed – Three Days of Rain, June Gloom, Hot like the Surface of the Sun, Still Hot, Fire Season, and Cold and Dry. (We’d go from four to six seasons, but at least they’d be more accurate.)

3.  Go see “Seven Psychopaths.” Don’t question me, just read about how good it is, and go.  This movie deserves attention; it’s well-written, funny, and has Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, and Colin Farrell (and Tom Waits with a bunny). Who else do you need for entertainment?

4.  I loved how the SF Giants ended their playoffs, 9-0, in the pouring rain.  I also love how they’re playing like bosses in the World Series.  I read a great line once, that baseball is a game of moments, and that’s how I appreciate the sport. And the last game in the NL playoffs was a moment; congratulations, guys.

5.  I have recently been listening to a huge amount of country music.  (When I say “huge,” I mean that before two weeks ago, I would be able to listen for about three songs of any country artist and have to tap out.) I will be back later to expand on this development, as I’m finding it very interesting, but have no way to account for it.  I believe that Joe Walsh may have something to do with it, as I watched him on an episode of “Crossroads,” playing alongside Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, and other country stars. I’m convinced  some  strange sort of transference occurred, because I will now listen all day. I will also take suggestions, as I’m all over the place right now…y’all. Uh-oh.

6.  The bathroom remodel is a go for Tuesday; our guy Mark estimates between three and four weeks.  To have a bathroom with walls, and a pretty shower and tub, after three years, hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Once it happens, I may continue writing from the bathtub, as I plan to take many long bubble baths after being deprived of them for so long.

7.  Please vote.  I won’t ask you to think the same way as I do, but I will ask you to go vote on November 6th (or sooner, if that’s what you do). If you are a woman, remember that we didn’t always have the right to vote, and that women fought, were jailed, and died, so that we could. Vote – vote – vote – vote – vote! It makes a difference.

8.  Knots of Love is a wonderful organization that accepts hand-knitted  and hand-crocheted caps and donates them to cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, so that they might feel better.  One of my caps was accepted by the organization, and sent to someone in Laguna Beach, so that they could wear it and feel better. I share this because it was important to me to do something that I love to do, and be able to help someone who needed comfort.  Also, I share it in case any of you are interested in knitting or crocheting caps for Knots of Love; their website is https://www.knotsoflove.org/.

Phew! Time for Italian food –  Ciao!