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Anna S.
22 May 2011 @ 03:50 pm
Just posting to wave hello, I'm alive, I'm maintaining. I haven't been online; mostly, I've been pacing out daily routines, or holding onto the rope of routine like taking steps through a white-out between lean-tos...and trying to make the first part of this sentence readable was effortful, so I think I'll just leave it at a wave for today.
 
 
Anna S.
12 May 2011 @ 11:53 am
The week to two-week placement I'm currently in has turned into a potentially long-term month-to-month opportunity, and I accepted the offer this morning from the program manager at Pioneer Housing. It's a low-cost transitional housing program that offers free addiction counseling services--one on one, group--as well as job placement assistance. It's better located than the other recovery/housing program I've been waitlisted for, and the program manager, a nice woman, seems moved and motivated to help me personally.

It's a fixed rent (rather than percentage of income/benefits) and I have enough set aside to cover the next few months--and it's people reading this that I'm indebted to for that. Thank you.

So today has started with good news, the coy Seattle weather has turned balmy again, and I'll soon be taking my daily walk across town to check in with my current case manager.

My mind is a bit blank today; if it were put in terms of weather, it'd be like one of those days when the sky is a solid pearly grey-white, overcast but not dark. I don't have a lot of thoughts to type down. It's just one more day in days taken one at a time.

Current read: Paul Theroux's Kingdom by the Sea, my fourth or fifth re-read. He traveled around the coast of England about thirty years ago. Reading about his day-to-day trek from village to village doesn't instill a deep desire to dedicatedly follow in his footsteps. I'd like to see maybe one village out of every five or ten he visited though. I'd like to live in a quiet coastal village, I think. With a big garden. That's the daydream vista.

The daydream has a cat or two, and it reminds me that pets are allowed in this new housing unit. But I can't see far enough ahead to feel comfortable making a commitment to a cat....

I should not try to think so concretely when the mind-skies are so wispy. Maybe I will have cake and coffee now.

Best,
Anna
 
 
Anna S.
09 May 2011 @ 04:08 pm
LiveJournal is branding itself as "A global community of friends who share your unique passions and interests." My unique passions; those which I share globally. :)

I am typing on a netbook that kormantic's significant other loaded up and lent me. I've been wanting to try out one of these. I've decided it's like typing on the side of a hamster. But it's just as cute.

I'd have liked to post days ago, but the shape of those days kept me away from computers until now. My case manager got me a week-long (possibly two) guest stay in a Capitol Hill transitional housing unit. It's a stone's throw from the apartment I lived in for eight years when I first moved to Seattle. It was transitional housing back then too, and I remember being nervous when I walked past the stoop where dubious people--junkies! possibly criminals!--sat smoking. In fact, so far, it is one of the most reassuringly sedate buildings I've ever lived in. We all have ten o'clock curfews and similar problems.

I wouldn't mind staying in this place in a more long-term way. The housing manager who did my intake mentioned it as a possibility; an encouraging, no-nonsense woman. I don't know how feasible it is yet. We'll see.

I'm in a floating current; so much keeps changing day to day. But I'm doing okay at the moment. I have appointments tomorrow to structure my time, and a new month's worth of food stamps (which aren't stamps, but electronic funds), and I'm near a Half-Price Books and a flagship Starbucks (where I sit), and every day I get at least one exercising walk in, crossing town to check in with my case manager. I've done two loads of laundry in the basement facilities: I so much enjoy doing laundry. Not a thing to take for granted. (Laundromats in downtown Seattle? Ha ha ha...! None. And yet, interestingly, not once did I notice someone's B.O. while staying in the DESC shelter--except my own. Joy joy joy, the bathroom at my current place is completely private and beautifully clean.)

With the goal of limbering my brain at least a little I am making myself intermittently set down my escapist mystery novels and pick up something different. I read Oliver Twist over the last few days. Maybe not the best first choice for a literary departure. Long, twisty, taffy-like sentences and roundabout methods of expression. But I hadn't read it before.

Now I am reading (re-) Garrison Keillor's Love Me, which I got for a dollar on the clearance rack. All his books to me are brilliant yarns knitted into warm, homey scarves, cozy and familiar but at the same time you can't put Isadora Duncan and stranglers entirely out of your mind.

I won't try and re-read what I just wrote. The Starbucks ambiance is a fuzzy overlay of music, talk, and espresso steamers--not a place where you get Thoreau-like lucidity, but that's okay. Hm, maybe this entry is Keilloresque? Or just dopey and globally unique.

Live from Seattle,
Anna
 
 
Anna S.
04 May 2011 @ 02:43 pm
My grandfather died, my mother's father. My mom's death hit him hard in his weakened state; his health had been failing for the last few years since my grandmother's death.

My sister-in-law called with the news. I'm gathering that she's the practical, detail oriented "better half"--I still have only had a few brief conversations with my brother. We're both amiable; it just hasn't worked out yet. I last talked to him when I was half-prone in the ER. Since then I've been recovering from the sinus infection. I'm really tired. Tonight is my last night in the crisis respite program bed. Tomorrow I need to have an alternative, or else see about staying in the shelter on a day-to-day basis. Day-to-day, shelter living is a much more complicated matter. Each service is ad hoc and a la carte, so to speak. You show up at a certain time of day to try and reserve a bed; you show up during another window of time to pick up mail or take a shower; etc. Locker assignments are harder to get than bed assignments--you put your name on a list, show up at a certain time in the middle of the day, and hope that one opens up. If not, show up the same time tomorrow. Until you get one, you carry your stuff with you. You can't leave it anywhere--they do sweeps to collect unattended items, and of course it could simply be stolen.

I'm not sure how well this system will work out for me. I do have enough money set aside now--people's gifts--that I could probably rent a motel room week to week. But that as much as any other option worries me. I don't want to be isolated in a seedy room somewhere off Route 99, marking time while I wait for a place to open up in the recovery program I've been accepted to. I'd be alone and that's not good for me right now.

I'm in a weird emotional space while hanging in a physical limbo. Everything is an incremental step though. I think I'm moving forward along some chosen but unknown path.

I haven't been reading people's responses here in LiveJournal. I know that's a terrible thing to admit, but I'm so afraid that someone will offer tangible help of a room or something, and every additional choice seems to only paralyze me further. And I don't feel like I'm really here. I feel absent, submerged, asleep at the wheel. I can't call up that true and lucid self that I felt wake up for a few days last week during my feverish period. The magical sinus infection, I should call it.

I'm inching forward...I think? ...I hope? ...I something.
 
 
Anna S.
30 April 2011 @ 12:42 pm
Today isn't a good day. I don't feel present or alive in my body. Now that I've experienced a different state of mind for comparison, I'm aware of how absent and dead I've been for the last thirty years, as if what's walking around is just a poor sixth-generation copy of the cells I was born with. This kind of existence is worse than a state of illumination and terror. I'm not going to harm myself--I'm just going to suffer the loathing and, for now, hope. I hope the meds were responsible and not a fever or some rare, unrepeatable alchemy of factors.

I don't have a lot to say today, but I did want to say that I've been getting a lot out of giving to the people in the shelter--on a daily basis I get to surprise people with gifts of food, movies, cold medicine, cigarettes, phone chargers, whatever I've been able to identify that they need. I've been spendy, but just the right amount, I think--I still have money set aside for myself.

One of my current roommates is a weathered woman, a self-identified crack whore with a raw voice, a disintegrating body, and the short-term memory of a gerbil. This morning when I brought her some strawberry milk and M&Ms she was so happy and said how baffling it was to get things without any expectation in return. "Usually I have to perform."

I'm going now to get my other rommmate a blanket--she's breaking out in a rash from the shelter-issued emergency blankets--and something else that I've forgotten and will try to remember between here and the store.

The weather is beautiful today.
 
 
Anna S.
28 April 2011 @ 02:01 pm
The day I made my last post was one of the strangest days of my life. I will probably put it down to a confluence of events--viral sinus infection, a sudden surge in Wellbutrin efficacy, a fever spike, unmonitored Nyquil consumption. But after I posted and went back to the shelter, I had a strong premonition of death...which didn't pan out, obviously. But it was a very physical experience. Chills sweeping me, hair standing on end, all of that. My throat closed up and the right side of my face along with my right ear was a dead zone; I knew just how it would feel when my body went into convulsions, seize up and expire. I wasn't sure it would actually happen right then and there; it was more like existing in a world of static and then suddenly receiving a concrete and recognizable transmission that you never received before--wham--which could be meaningful immediately or in the future. I knew I was either going to die or do something extreme and embarrassing.

To cut a long story short, I went with extreme and embarrassing and asked one of the shelter staff to get an ambulance. While he sat and waited with me I kept telling him to write things down--my brother's name, my e-mail password. "Write this down, this is important," I'd say. Important or febrile. Then I went to the ER, waited for about five hours, increasingly dehydrated and hungry and nutty in the head (but not particularly angry, because I felt that I was getting pretty much the experience I deserved), and got finally got looked at, then returned to the shelter. And then yesterday I filled my prescription for antibiotics and did a lot of lying around, hacking and encrusted with snot, confused and poking around in my head at the sensation of the experience as it faded.

It was a precise mirror of the positive experience I wrote about the other day, the childlike feeling that every moment of my life has been good and exactly right: the understanding that I'm going to die, the understanding that I'm alive and have been all this time, that every detail of life is real. I felt terror. I thought that I might someday have to end my own life before it ended itself in some long, drawn-out coccoon of trapped suffering. What I mean is, I recognized how it would feel to have a stroke, to be immobilized, to be handled and moved around without being able to express anything--what can't be suffered is. People suffer this every day.

It's hard to bear that thought. It's like blinding sunlight: you blink reflexively, putting a buffer between yourself and these feelings and realizations. A veil, to put it poetically, which I don't have a problem with. The veil of everyday life, Plato's shadows on the cave wall, the insertion of definition, the verbal.

It's all big and strange and I had to write it down. Now I'm going to eat something, and buy some VHS movies for the guys in shelter to watch, and read more Martha Grimes.

Love, Anna
 
 
Anna S.
26 April 2011 @ 03:29 pm
I feel as if I'm posting fugitively again, from my seat here in the downtown Seattle Public Library. Each time I visit, more significance becomes associated with the actions; the people around me are on missions tense and meaningful. The pressure of compressed time pushes me; I keep forgetting to choose a length longer than the default thirty minutes and you can only log in once a day.

I'm still sick. I am patient zero of the zombie plague, the figure that the camera follows, lurching from place to place, hacking and flaking as I condemn everyone around me.

I went to the doctor's this morning, last minute, and they said sinus and ear infection, viral--gave me a prescription, said not to fill it unless I was worse by Friday. The entire right side of my head is essentially trapped in a static, empty thought bubble. I'm told I have fluid in my ear, and the pain I'm feeling in my throat and jaw is the connectivity of my ear to everything else in my body.

I'm tryin to to get jumbled thoughts out in a hurry, as if trying to pull out exactly the three items I need from a that's closet stuffed floor to ceiling with a roiling stew of hockey sticks and basketballs. My last post sucked, I thought, but I won't elaborate on that item of thought. I posted, it's done, I move on.

So in this semi-silent Kafka-bubble of intense pressure and meaning, last night was strange. I don't know if it's the virus or the Nyquil but for hours I was flooded with memories from my childhood, a confetti storm, some memories incredibly tactile--tough grass that you can't pull loose from the ground as easily as you thought; the roll of sodden wet swimsuit rolls clinging to your thighs. It was Christmas ornaments, furniture, pets we had, places, the texture and smell of books, of wood, driftwood and rock covered with scrappy moss. My childhood was expansive and beautiful and full of joy, which was odd, because I'd always thought it sucked, but these memories came back to me. It was as if I'd been missing my entire life. I became ten years old again, sitting in bed with the TV playing in the next room, the feel of clean sheets on my knees, floaty, my hands talking to themselves--it was all so strange and I only have eight minutes or so to capture this and get this down.

If there'd been any type visuals, I'd have been extremely suspicious I'd been dosed with acid. Every feeling was slightly tilted and altered, but also--in a huge way--I felt glad for my life, for everything that's happened to me, it was exactly right, everything, it was worth it--and I still feel a bit of that now with this pressing bubble of silence on my right ear, surrounded by people in the library. Not as intense as last night, but it's still there. It's a very calm personal space--and apparently I have no fever. So. Virusues or alien Nyquil. Weird. I did buy a deep dark green kind from the little shop on the corner....

I do have to go, but I wanted to tell people that all is well, that I'm sick and computer-less but floating out in the world like a free thought bubble, and getting by. Calling each day to check on housing. Trying to eat right.

More soon, with love, Anna.
 
 
Anna S.
23 April 2011 @ 01:58 pm
It's been a long week. I tried to kick off my cold but it stayed around. For days now, I've been talking as if I just smoked sixty years of cigarettes. I just roused myself out of bed for the second time today, leaving behind three other snoring, humanish lumps in the bunks around me. When I was depressed on my own, wasting life and time, it seemed like a self-indulgent sin. In the shelter, it resembles something more systemic.

I got someone at the housing program to give me an estimate of the length of time I'd be on the waiting list for a room--about a month and a half, they said. My case manager had been trying to persuade me and himself that the absence of information meant I could be there within a week. He finally mentioned an actual day--Wednesday--that the shelter might have to kick me out its doors. Not the shelter proper, but the crisis program that has been providing me with a round-the-clock bed. I won't stay in the main shelter. I can't and won't. In the main shelter, people's entire existences revolve and hinge on getting a bed each day, and their schedule is circumscribed very strictly by the shelter's timetable. Out the door with all your stuff by 7:00 a.m. If you've managed to get a locker, you could stick around maybe and take a shower without losing your stuff. Bed opportunities for the coming evening start at 8:30 a.m. so people hang around. If you're expecting mail, you can't pick it up until 1:30. No laundry services in the main shelter. It's meager and demeaning even at a remove.

I've been in a mood as terrible as rough weather. Last night after a period of sobbing and thinking of my mom I lashed out in screaming rage at my bunkmate, who was recently released from prison for assault. She'd just asked me if I was okay. But the measure of how miserable and pathetic I am is that I sobbed apologies within seconds, feeling guilty and horrible, and she softened and called me honey and reassured me it was okay and gave me the room for a bit. Later she told me her life story--a lot of people do that here--and projected our friendship well into the future. However, she probably forgot everything five minutes later, so no real commitment should be expected.

My cold is deep in my body, doing things to it. A nerve in my jaw is agonizing. I seem to have lost some hearing in my right ear. Today I went for the heavy-duty cold medication and now my head is numb and the world feels Kafkaesque.

Short-sightedly I only booked thirty minutes on this computer and now I have to go. I am lonely and floaty and achey today; my throat is raw. I'm going to pick up some food and go back to bed, I think.

I want to say a thank you. The money has made a huge difference. I didn't want to admit it. I wanted to imagine myself as fiercely independent. But without people's help I think I would have sunk under by now.

A passing wave,

Anna
 
 
Anna S.
21 April 2011 @ 01:26 pm
In the last few days I've managed to drop my laptop off the top bunk and lose my voice to some kind of throat infection. So I really have been offline in more than one way.

Yesterday I made a trip to a funeral home here in Seattle, an affiliate to the one in Virginia that handled my mom's body; I had to sign a release for cremation.

I was accepted into a housing program for recently homeless and people who are also working on recovery (sobriety). I don't know how long it will be until a room opens up, so I call and check in with them every day, waiting for a vacancy.

I feed the gulls, I take cough syrup, I read. Today is spray day again at the shelter. A fumigation lock-out until about 4:00 p.m. In the morning's frazzle I left my cell phone and meds in my locker. I'm killing time until I can get back in and then I'll probably burrow into my bunk and sleep for a while.

Need to log off the library computer now, so this is just a passing hello.
 
 
Anna S.
17 April 2011 @ 08:06 am
Overnight I picked up sore throat crud. Came down here to cafe to get hot tea and check on e-mail from my brother, but will probably go back to bed. At some point soon I need to make it to a local funeral home affiliate and sign some paperwork to release my mom's body for cremation.

My brain is full of muddy wool. I might be offline for a few days.

Thank you for all your kind thoughts. Like the gulls they buoy me.