So I have been a very bad blogger and not posted for something like two months. I know, I know. Someone I love very much brought it to my attention this week, inadvertently, that my blogging has dropped off, and I think to myself "I should get back to that, even though there's only like, four people reading this. Because, you know, there's four people out there who care about my life. And its healthy for me to express myself."
I have two bits of good news and two bits of not so good news, so we'll cover the happy stuff first so you can bail if you want later.
Good news part one? Kitten graduated. I mentioned this before, I think. She graduated with honors. Her party went well. Everyone was nice to each other (there was some concern about that) and she had a good time. She has a new job in her career field as of last week. It pays much better than her old job, the people are nice, and its not in residential cooling, which was what she was terrified she would end up doing. She did not want to be a lackey for all the window units in this corner of our state. She isn't, and that's awesome. They're going to train her into other fields. They're going to pay for extra education. They're paying 100% of her health insurance. She loves the work already. I'l so terribly proud of her.
The other good news is that as of the day after I posted the blog previous to this one (That is, the 26 May) I have been smoke free. None, nada, zilch, no slip ups or stress smokes or I'm-trying-really-hard-so-I've-earned-ones, not even a its-giving-me-a-migraine one. NO. SMOKING. I'm pretty proud of myself. I was doing between half a pack and a whole pack a day depending, so quitting cold turkey was hard. I am pretty sure I wasn't fun to be around. It may or may not have contributed to the incident that has, in-part, kept me from blogging for the last month.
Which was this
That's right. It was horrible. I'm pretty sure the smiling happened only for the camera. Well, most of the time, anyway.
For the record, I'm giving you the edited for public consumption version of this tale, because I have some semblance of respect (not a lot, but a little) for my family.
I do think that me not smoking contributed to this awful. Kitten actually begged me three days in to smoke, telling me it would be okay and I could start over when we got back to town, but by then I was three days in and I was damn well not going to give up if I didn't have to. The lack of cigarette, for the first week or so anyway, would be enough to make most people be grumpy.
The other part had a lot to do with KMom. Suffice to say our styles of travelling are different. That was a struggle for me. I'm a "lets have a plan and get directions and go do things like we planned" kind of girl. She's more of a "throw caution to the wind, work without a plan, get directions while on the street (even from bums!)" kind of girl. She's also very set in her ways, because she's lived alone for something like 12 years, she isn't used to compromising. In our household its almost all about compromising so I struggle when someone, anyone, is contrary about working as a team. Even in my coven everyone works as a team and we all make decisions based on consensus, which makes it easy for things to get done and everyone to feel like they're important. Not so with KMom. That was a problem for me. A big one.
When it came to the camping aspect it got worse. Really bad, actually. Again, that has a lot to do with me believing that camping is an act of teamwork and KMom isn't really a team player. Not to mention, despite her protestations to the contrary, she's a sissy camper. She is WAY to concerned with comfort. And she didn't like to help carry things. Or work. At all. Which naturally pissed me off. Especially when she's insisting we repack the truck (again) because she doesn't like how things are arranged (even if we are unpacking it all again in three hours). Or when we were getting ready to leave and I'm sick with a headache so bad I'm stepping off the trail to throw up while I haul coolers and bags and she stops with holding only a pillow and complains to me about how long the trail to the car is and how hot and uncomfortable she feels. Or when she's telling me that I'm making dinner wrong (How, I ask? How?) or not to her tastes. She was cranky or combative whenever we went hiking or did anything strenuous, but insisted on coming along. If it rained she would hide out in her tent. And it rained. It did. Like, a tropical storm hit one of our campsites....that was a real treat.
Here's us camping, by the way- well, k\hiking a trail at our campsite. This was our first site, at Hunting Island State Park.
She also wouldn't stop making fun of my newly discovered phobia of raccoons. It was constant. And it pissed me off.
I know its petty, but seriously. I wasn't afraid of them before. I wasn't. Its just, you know, they were everywhere. And not afraid of anything. Like, there were bear boxes for yours stuff to keep them out. Oh, and I should mention THEY WERE THE SIZE OF AN AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD. And they broke into our tent. Twice. Once was at night and it tore through the closet on our tent. Not cool. Of course I was afraid. I think this is reasonable. Especially since I was fighting off nicotine cravings and getting next to no sleep between them and the headaches I was having from what turned out to be a tropical storm depression.
The size of this:
Of course it made me nervous.
There were other things that upset me too, but really, I don't think anyone would like KMom if I talked about it. And honestly, I don't want you all hating her. She's a nice lady, most of the time. She's just set in her ways, and she's still a little skittish about her relationship with Kitten and that makes her a little possessive sometimes.
There were some good parts of the trip, really. Like, you know. The food. I wept over some of the food. I love soul food. I love fried chicken and home made mashed potatoes. I love locally sourced vegetables and fruit. I like veal so fresh that it was just days from gamboling about in some farmer's field. That's good food. The whole trip was like that too- locally sourced ingredients, fresh made honey, hand made desserts. When we were eating out I was not an unhappy person. I was very happy indeed. Even the delis (and god, we had so many sandwiches at lunch because KMom doesn't like heavy food in the afternoon) were really, really good. Fresh bread, hand-sliced meats, local sauces and pickles and such. Yep, the food was amazing.
We went to a zoo. That was fun. We took a ghost tour- actually, we took two. That was amazing. I played in the ocean with Oscelot. We collected seashells at low tide. I managed to impress my ladies with my ability to cook anything in cast-iron- my meals were like we never left home thankyouverymuch. I saw my first lighthouse up close (not impressive) and drove through the Great Smokey Mountains (really impressive). I managed to whittle a new walking staff for myself. Yes, I do whittle. We saw some amazing waterfalls. We hiked in the rain (so that was both fun and awful).
It wasn't all bad. Just most of it. I'm making the best of the memories now that we're here, because I want it to be something Kitten remembers fondly. Hell, a few years from now some of this may seem funny. Maybe.
The other thing that's really kept me off the blog is I've been coping with depression again. Almost from the moment we got home I've been struggling. Some of it, I know, has to do with inadequacy issues brought on by the things that happened on the trip that I don't want to talk about. Some of it, I think, is just old issues reasserting themselves now that they have the chance. I spent the first couple of weeks back sitting in Kitten's recliner alternately weeping and moping.
I;m better now, and I've got my issues sorted out. It was not, however, conducive to me being here and sharing things with you. I credit my speedy recovery to (1) my partners, who totally didn't judge me (2) my coven, who spent plenty of time patting me on the back and letting me be totally weak even though I'm supposed to be leading (3) plenty of B vitamins and an iron supplement and (4) one conversation with one very special person that I hadn't talked to in a while. Talking to him reminded me I've been through worse and I'm tougher than I was letting myself be. It was the linchpin in my recovery.
Now that I'm back and feeling normal again, I'm going to make an effort to actually be a good blogger and put things up more than once a month or so. Maybe I'll even go back to that old blog-every-day habit I had five or six years ago....
I love you all. I want you to know that.
Its good to be home.