I have returned. I've been logging in periodically to read and comment on others' blogs, but I haven't felt much like posting. I've done some comment moderation. I wish I could say I was surprised, but the only commenters these last three weeks or so have been spammers planting links to their Chinese-language chat/porn sites.
The last weeks have been eventful, and yet not. I called Dad on Father's Day and found him in the hospital, down with a bout of near-fatal septicemia. That's when an infection gets into your bloodstream, and in his case it had gotten to both his heart and brain. While recovering from that, he had both a heart attack and a stroke. His life is no longer in imminent danger, but his health problems brought to the surface the long-seething conflict between my brother and my stepmother. Thermonuclear war would be less destructive. I wish there could be peace between them, but I don't think it's going to happen.
Back in May I wrote a little about suicide. I am sorry to report that my consideration of that has continued. Some days it's just not worth getting out of bed. I broke down and called a good friend, and she told me that suicide ideation can lead to actual suicide. She went on to suggest that I call a suicide hotline, if for no other reason than to find a counselor to speak to. The young woman who answered the phone talked to me for a bit, though she seemed a little out of her depth. She did give me the number of a counselor who billed on a sliding scale. That, I am sorry to say was less than productive. She started off by asking me about my religious affiliation, if I was "right with Jesus". I told her I was an atheist, and the discussion went downhill from there. I thanked her for her time and hung up. Then I called my friend back. Friends who love are always better than any quack sitting in an office.
On that note, I re-connected with one of my oldest friends via Facebook last weekend. She's the only friend from my teenage years that I didn't go to school with. We were also an on-again, off-again romantic thing, the closest thing in my life to "friends with benefits". I can say without equivocation that the best sex I ever had was with her. We hadn't talked on the phone in almost seven years, and I haven't seen her in more than ten, but talking to her, it was almost as though no time had passed. Naturally, she's in a relationship, and I won't interfere with that. What does it say about me that I would if she wanted me to?
Work is both stressful and sustaining. I'm finally getting forty-hour weeks, but it's meant taking on a 1500-2300 shift, and I always get that on the heels of working 2300-0700. I've always preferred double shifts to working back-t0-back, but the extra money is nice. I've been able to do a little shopping, which has helped me feel more like myself. I bought myself a couple of sleepshirts (one has the art from U2's War on the front) and got a manicure and pedicure last week. The new color is Nicole by OPI's Jade in the Shade, if anyone cares.
On top of all the other stressful events, Spot died last week. I don't know what got him, but he hadn't been "right" since the middle of June. We had to put all the animals outside one morning while we flea-bombed the house, and Spot did his best to try to get away and walkabout. A couple of days later he got out of the house somehow, and didn't turn up until early evening. He didn't have any visible wounds, and I gave him a bath just in case. His behavior changed. He wouldn't hang out in my bedroom much, and took to hiding in cabinets or up on shelves. Last Sunday I realized that I'd gone all day and hadn't seen him. I found him on top of the dresser in one of my nieces' bedrooms. I gave him food and water, and after a time he moved into the bathroom and laid on the tiles. He got up occasionally to shift position, but he didn't leave the bathroom at all. He was lying there peacefully when I left for work Monday night, and I found him in the same place Tuesday morning when I returned. His breathing was rapid and shallow. I spent some time cuddling with him, then laid down for a nap. I woke in the afternoon to find he was gone. We buried him deep in a hole in the backyard. I loved that cat with every fiber of my being, and I like to believe he loved me back. He will be missed.
That said, I got my pick of the kittens remaining from Twilight and Freckles' litters, and I chose the one that seemed to like me best. He's sleeping in the space between the keyboard and monitor as I type this. I haven't settled on a name for him yet. I might ask for some help here before too long.
Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm still kicking down here.