oh um hi

November 24, 2014 | 12:02 am

Being a blogger (not a monetized blogger or gun for hire blogger) is being adrift on a silent sea.

But hey hello, I am very busy (and not in the superficial, half-lying, “oh gosh I’m just so active and popular”). It is hard to make time for this because I am not sure what it is I am making time for. If you are reading this, thank you for reading this!

To continue. Here are some things.

This year’s theme has “I’m not myself,” has it not? I think I’ve mentioned it plenty. I have been grappling with my new life, my new life with many fewer obligations and the fact that the only person that depended on me doesn’t anymore (his being dead and all). After the heartbreak of last year, the backbreaking will execution, and the planning/organizing of the family thing this summer, suddenly everything screeched to a halt. Family left, obligations settled, stepdad fully interred in the ground.

I’m starting to realize that I was seeking my old self, my pre-taking-care-of-John self, and that person is no longer. It’s new self and new chapter that I am struggling to find and define.

Over the fall, I crashed deeper into depression, it going from a little sullen (but relatively quiet) demon on my shoulder to a lead weightedness that made it hard to swim with. It’s getting better but I’ve had a few hard weeks. I thought I was hiding it well but there was an undeniable sadness about me that only a few people accurately identified as depression (and not stick-in-the-mud-ness, or boring-tiredness).

So I’ve made an attempt to be busier with new obligations, to be of service in various ways, to rededicate myself to my support group, and to start caring for myself again. Hard road! Hard hard road! So hard!

A lot of remarkable things have happened in a short amount of time, things that I planned on mentioning in breezy detail in this post (but no, this post had a downer mind of its own). One good thing that happened is that I’m not feeling blank horror at the holidays that we are hurtling toward, for the first time in … when? Maybe it’s because I don’t have enough time to think about all the shit I should be doing, if that makes sense, or maybe my support group work is working (despite my best efforts!), or maybe I’ve learned to make do with it all. I dunno.

Another good thing is that I still have this quiet, happy, clean home.

And another thing is that I feel valued for my knowledge and my talents.

And there are more things. But I’ll leave you to ponder this sort of sad, sort of hopeful, sort of grateful post. Happy Thanksgiving if I don’t check in before.

big blue marble

October 20, 2014 | 11:05 am

[direct link]

About 20 years ago, I went to a self-actualizing weekend workshop. A lot of crying and writing and woo and meditating and “I” statements. It was okay. I did have a revelation that I was as angry at my mother as I was at my dad, but that is so totally a different subject. At any rate, it was a very typical 1990’s Marin County happening.

At one point, we were encouraged to go up to a microphone and talk about our biggest issue (or something like that).

A very earnest, very tie-dyed lady stood up and tearfully said something like “I don’t know how to save Mother Earth!”

And the still-smirky punk nihilistic in my soul rolled her eyes a little bit. Not so much at the notion but more at the delivery. Same mental place from which I ordered “Save the Whales” checks ironically in the 1980s.

I smirked, even though some troubling articles had come out already, about the puzzling and concerning global temperature increase.

I smirked, even though I knew better. And BOY do I know better now.

fucking hell

Human destruction of earth, ladies and gentlemen. All in my little lifetime.

[direct link]

things i sure wish weren’t facts

October 2, 2014 | 10:16 pm

  1. I’m on a first-name basis with my exterminator.
  2. I have loud, nightly reminders that my neighbor across the way has a new girlfriend.
  3. I get nervous if I neglect my Sims (and it’s Sims Freeplay, the horrible second rate game)
  4. I have a Groupon for a toenail fungus laser treatment.
  5. I am a gum lover who has given up gum.
  6. That Fact about That Friend which is super weird and distracting and makes me want to go back in time, just before he revealed said fact, and shush the hell out of him.
  7. I know what it’s like to get Shingles twice!

This post and the last post were designed make you love me despite everything!

all matters repugnant

September 23, 2014 | 3:47 pm

I like the word repugnant and I think I know what it means. I’m a little unclear on how it’s pronounced, and probably won’t ever use the word in spoken conversation. I think probably that’s because when one expresses disgust, one doesn’t need fancy words — just the ability to arrange one’s facial muscles in an appropriate horrified grimace.

[note: I originally wrote the paragraph above about the word puerile, which I thought mean “disgusting” but it totally does not! I’M LEARNING THINGS]

Let’s make a list of grossness. I’m sorry or you’re welcome, depending on if you like talking about what I like talking about. Consider this my therapy. Hang onto your hat.

  1. Mary Roach mentions in her book Gulp that a group of researchers agreed that old saliva was the grossest smell possible. I would find and reprint the actual passage from this very, very entertaining book, but that would involve reloading the book onto my iPad, and just typing that made me fall asleep, so no.
  2. The Haycox family group agreed that this summer’s Sierras Garbage Incident qualified as the grossest smell possible. As we were all cleaning up in the cabin, a forgotten garbage bag was pulled out of a neglected can in the back of the hallway. Little did we know it contained fish guts, mostly liquified from time and heat. Too bad an unlucky family member tore the bag as he ran from the house to the front yard, and sprayed this vile cologne everywhere, just everywhere. I laugh about it now, but even the longest-fused kin were furious and in a most impotent fashion, since the fish-gutting culprits were long gone.
  3. Last night I happened to arrive at my supermarket just as a big tank truck lifted a lid set into the surface of the parking lot and started vacuuming up whatever was in there into the truck. By the time I got my purchases and went outside, the smell (which I verify as sewage) was incomprehensible. I actually dry-heaved in my car as I sped away.
  4. Speaking of cars! I touched upon it briefly in this blog post, but my new, improved migraine behavior is to ramp from nausea to vomiting in a distressingly short amount of time. This happened over the summer while driving. I pulled into a parking spot at my apartment building about 1.5 seconds too late to unbuckle and exit before hurling. My poor car! (and steering wheel and clothes and door and me) Best $100 I spent ever was to get my car detailed, because I’ll tell you, no amount of civilian sweat and tears can un-throwup a car. But the professionals can! And those dudes have seen it all. “There was a vomiting incident…” I timidly peeped as I handed over the keys. The guy barely blinked and just asked me to point out the trajectory and coverage areas. My car came back to me totally odor-free and even more beautiful than the day I drove it off the lot, and that went a long way towards feeling less awful and weird about the whole event. You may ask: did anyone witness this? To this I say maybe, as the vomiting kept on keeping on after I had staggered out of the car — but then the space was magically whistle-clean the next day and not done by me. Thanks to whomever did the anonymous-neighbor equivalent of holding my hair.

Wow, I’m getting the whirls! I’m going to stop here and not even going into my fascination with infectious diseases.

I do have to say that my two public vomiting experiences as an adult have reduced the general anxiety that most people have around the idea of vomiting in public, but increased my anxiety about the (likely) likelihood of it happening again. But this is something I can prepare for — with planned exit routes, stashed plastic bags, and an earnest search for migraine medication that works for me.

Yep, a post about vomit, dedicated to Polly.

how not to make a dress

September 13, 2014 | 7:49 pm

how not to make a dress

  1. Impulsively commit a precious weekend day and a large handful of money towards a class, pattern and a large pile of (admittedly awesome) fabric
  2. Make sure to have insomnia the night before class
  3. Bring your lunch to eat later. Neglect to put your name on the takeout box and put box in kitchen
  4. Assume that your size means your size in this pattern and avoid taking actual measurements of your body
  5. Piece and sew the main part of the dress; try it on to find it is too small then feel fat
  6. Let your blood sugar get nice and low before going to the kitchen to find that your unmarked lunch was inadvertently thrown away
  7. Feel hangry tears forming
  8. Grab at the snacks others hastily assemble for you
  9. Rip a lot of seams
  10. Feel time running out; sew a new seam, but sew the wrong pieces together
  11. Run out of time before even starting the sleeves, collar, cuffs, hems
  12. Trudge home with your large and sad pile of scraps

… et voila! How not to make a dress!

[I had fun anyway, weirdly. Just some circumstances as well as limited brain function on my part. And lovely teacher is committed to making sure we’ll learn what we need to learn to actually finish this gosh darned garment. Gosh darned ass-accommodating besleeved garment.]

my love’s like the warmth of the sun

September 2, 2014 | 5:10 pm

Here is your soundtrack to this post. Good ol’ Beachies. Hit play then read on.

It’s Labor Day, a grim-sounding day that takes on the grim task of being the unofficial end of summer. And I can feel a long-shadow melancholy, even though A. there’s three more weeks of summer technically; B. (but) the summer ended weeks ago for the majority of kids going to school in the area; and C. it’s hotter and sunnier than ever in this drought-stricken, perpetually sunny socal weirdo weather.

What has occurred since my last post in this spindly, neglected blog? The west coast finally had to give up my nephew Peter so he could return to Massachusetts and to school. It was an outstanding July and August with that man, and our relationship will never be the same, for the absolute better. I’ll miss you, funky spaceman.

Then our little theater had an improv festival (as we do every year) just to exhaust everyone completely before the end of the season. It was good this year, a little dialed back, a little disorganized, a little FUCKING SWELTERINGLY SCORCHINGLY HOT ON STAGE, and a success. I was struggling with a little bit of a health thing that is new and not welcome and rhymes with banic battacks (what the hell!) but managed to rock my time on the stage, have some fun, and pause for a moment to appreciate my hard, marketing-monkey toil which resulted in getting decent numbers of of asses into the seats.

A picture before our Friday show. I’ve been very much enjoying marveling at the specific facial muscles I employed to make my face do this:


Saved that one to the ol’ Pinterest board reserved for things that make my sister and me laugh a lot.

I am partial to this take, as well, because Kyle’s face in the center (hi Kyle!) is extra good.


There are actually some smiling “come to our show” friendly takes, as well, but what’s the fun in that?

We can all agree this has been a good summer for me, yes? I agree!

So, just to bring things down whu-whuuuuu style as is my favorite thing to do, here are some bad things that happened this summer.

  • Screw you, apartment building living #1: cockroaches. I can’t keep things much cleaner but I’ll bet my neighbors don’t! Thanks, everybody else, for keeping the infestation happenin’!
  • Screw you, apartment building living #2: no laundry facilities in the apartment nor building nor immediate area. I sort of have a system now where I can take advantage of super-cheap weekday mornings at “Coin Laundry” while I bring my laptop and work, and get the grocery shopping done at the same time. But going from having garage laundry facilities (and a garage) back to scrounging quarters and dropping chonies is a straight-up life demotion.
  • [Oh no my ardor has not cooled for the actual apartment. I live in the cutest apartment ever!]
  • Screw you, migraines. I thought my 2012 Christmas night plane-and-airport vomit spree brought me as low as I could go, but oh that was just child’s play. Apparently these days my migraine induced nausea comes on so suddenly I do not have time to make, um, arrangements before the onslaught. Don’t worry, I’m seeking help. And Wet-Wipes.
  • Getting back into some kind of dedicated exercise regime in this muggy heat. Or, like, in any weather. Stupid horse. Why can’t I just stay on you?

Oh wait! I also had a fantastic visit from my friend Ellen and she brought me a box of Miette and she spotted what was to become my new plates and coffee cups at Super Thrift, and we did this!


And earlier in the summer my nephew and I caught the glory that is La Gloria Market.


Ok, NOW I’m done.

free form media

August 6, 2014 | 5:51 pm

I had to poke around the ol’ hamblog today, sending links to my epic “health care, we have a problem” series to a person I recently met who is starting a nonprofit related to end-of-life matters and I am SO EXCITED for it to come to fruition. For if there is one takeaway from my experiences as a caregiver, things need to be a lot BETTER and EASIER for the dying. And that is what she hopes to accomplish.

But never mind that, I am writing because I’m all logged in to WordPress and my poor blog is neglected and blinking-cursor-ing at me and well, hi. Here are some things in my head.

This “I’m not feeling myself” refrain of the last few blog posts continues, but I’m working hard on getting reattached to me. In fact, I’ve been seeking out — and receiving — outside support and it’s going really well. This past month could have been so anxious and complicated and hard; I have been in person-to-person contact with many family members in many configurations over the past few weeks, and will continue to be for a few more. This could have just done me in, since family = stress (usually), but instead I’m, well, kind of dealing with it like a grown up and EVEN ENJOYING MYSELF. 

In related news: wow, I sure have been angry for the past dozen or so years!

Yoga is back to kick my non-yogaed ass. This ass thought the “Yoga Over 50″ class would be easy on me, but no, I was just schooled by a bunch of ripped and flexible 70-year-olds. And so it goes, one wobbly half moon pose at a time.

The memorial for my stepdad was lovely. I am proud of the eulogy I wrote, proud that it came together really well, and so grateful for friends and family who showed up to make it awesome. I put together a slide show of utter gems found in the photo box.

John Baily Memorial

Just John and his sister with a goat and a cart, 1929.

I just got back from the eastern Sierras. I was a soft weak sea-level baby, compared to my siblings and nephew, who fal-do-ree and fal-doh-rah’ed circles around me as I gasped in the thin air and demanded lots of hiking breaks. But: heaven! So beautiful! No picture available: us, lying in natural hot springs of graduating heat. One could soak deliciously, while keeping one’s head shaded inside a small cave, letting cool rivulets cascade from the rock above down upon one’s face. When the heat became too much, one could plunge into the crystal clear rushing river and scream like a banshee. This is before both a heard of cows and of sheep decided to join the fun — dozens of livestock crashing down the hillside, mooing and baaing and splashing into the river and chasing us away.

I brought back my nephew P from the Sierras. He is an east coast nephew, and I usually only see him in conjunction with the rest of his family, so this one-on-one time is incredibly special. These weeks are full of excitement — so far, he tried his first jicama, we nearly vomited on the Zipper at the Ventura County Fair, he walked 16 miles in one day, and we talk talk talk talk talk about everything under the sun. He is going with his other cousin to Outside Lands in San Francisco this weekend, and will get to see two additional cousins — all of them are offspring of different siblings, and two of them have never met. This fills my heart in ways I can’t express here — to see all these fine young adults connecting and reconnecting. I know, I just know, my mom is smiling about this, wherever she is.

Life is delicious.

the post i’ve been waiting for

July 11, 2014 | 4:41 pm

true as of 7/11/14

American Express sent me a card 25 years ago. I was unprepared for that kind of power. Shortly thereafter (even though I neglected to pay the AmEx in full on time every month) my bank sent me a Visa card. I was extraextra, horrifically unprepared for that kind of power.

I was very naive about money and finances. Long story short, I had a rich person’s approach towards money, then I had a poor person’s approach towards money — both approaches being distorted and unrealistic. And it took me a long time to figure it out, stabilize the boat, work hard and get a grip. I mean, here’s a blog post from 2006 all about debt and the desire to do something about it.

But well you know. I tried to consolidate my debt onto one interest-free card, then screwed it up, and somehow ended up with two maxed cards with interest rates that sometimes were as high as 30%. Then the economy got challenging. And I was still dum about money. And so the debt persisted, just another stupid American albatross weighing down my psyche.

Then I caught a break. Thanks to reducing my expenses while living with John, I was able to get a few steps ahead. I saved, I consolidated on a REAL interest-free card, and for a while I was a stone’s throw away from free and clear. And then a couch and dental work and new car said hi and I had to delay the final debt-death for a bit. And then I got scared (like one does when one has been poor) to use my savings, to spend money for something smart.

Today, I pushed that magic button* and paid off the last bit and felt the quease one feels at spending real hard-earned money on something invisible and sort of imaginary. And then it felt really, really good.

My first big purchase on my brand new Visa all those years ago was a television. I feel like I have finally paid for that TV. That big, boxy, clunky, outdated TV on which I watched that new Simpsons show.

Whew, finally. Onward and upward with eyes wide open.

*”Magic”, hahaha. No more magical thinking in this mind-arena, friend.

have a great summer see you next fall

June 2, 2014 | 5:01 pm

How many times have you or I written that out in a yearbook — scrawled feverishly while still in motion, looking for that girl or that boy to sign yours. And most likely, s/he signed with the same old silliness. Until, of course, once you arrive at your very best friend’s yearbook, the multiple page novel begins, full of “we’ll be friends 4ever”s. I skimmed through the epic my stepsister wrote in my senior yearbook, and have yet to puzzle my way past the walls of inside jokes that are … well … meaningless now.

Hi diary! How I’ve missed you. I have not yet written about Birthday nor Hawaii nor the recent shooting spree nor puppies nor kittens nor ongoing preoccupations with death and fear.

What was that, now? Oh, never mind me.

I’ve been going deep, lately, trying to feel like myself again, which is not who I’ve been feeling like for a while. This entity in which I’m living looks and acts* like Becky but isn’t completely her.

This is not an identity crisis with a threat level of any kind. In fact, I’m pretty cheerful. I’m just in a certain headspace.

In the meantime, marvel at me employing the word “headspace” and enjoy with me a headlong jump into having a summery summer** by

  • wearing flipflops to EVERYTHING, even work meetings!
  • walking in the ocean (hey! I leave on the coast! so the pacific may not be the pacific of KAUAI THE PERFECT PLACE, I still live a five minute drive from a beach).
  • inviting myself to every barbecue ever
  • enjoying the spectacle of distracted, nuts, nearly vibrating classrooms full of kids waitingwaitingwaiting for school to be out for the summer.

Now cue the Alice Cooper song in your brain.

Thanks, brain. Whoever you are. BFF!!!

* and TASTES :p

** I did not go outside recreationally last summer due to, you know. That house?


How-o-lee Laa Haa-now to me

May 6, 2014 | 12:01 pm

It’s my birthday. I am in Kauai. I highly recommend doing this for your next birthday, and inviting me along.

I’m about to get on a helicopter then later, get on some roast pig at a luau. USA! USA!


Here’s an apple banana and something called a chico.


Here is a view outside our jungle cottage.

Bad coffee so far, excellent swimming, views so perfect they almost make me angry, happy humans everywhere, weird one way bridges, critters everywhere, humidity and salt making my skin and hair oddly happy, and flowers flowers flowers.

Oh so much more later.