Monday, December 11, 2017


So, last year I was in Barnes and Noble and I saw this beautiful journal I instantly fell in love with.

Deep blue with gold accents, the cover called to me. It said “Fill me with words, your words, your days, your life.”

Only upon holding the journal in my hands did I realize I felt a deep sense of sadness; my life didn’t feel ‘worthy’ of the book I held.

I ended up putting it back that day, not buying it. Later, I picked up a cheaper journal with a boring paper cover and so-called inspirational quotes in it that did little to inspire me at all; on the contrary they seemed to mock me, because my life felt so uninspired.

I was sleeping more than 16 hours a day at that point, in the depths of a Bipolar depression that refused to relent at all. I lost most of 2017 to sleep, and a lot of 2016 to it as well. As long as I can remember at this point, with the exception of a week here or there spent traveling. Those weeks were forced, and I was barely able to deal with the fear and anxiety while they were happening. Somehow, I got through them.

Now, with a drastic change in meds (dropping one and starting another one I hopefully can afford going forward, time will tell…) I finally feel like I’m waking up.

The thing about emotions waking up is that you can’t pick and choose which ones rise to the surface. When they wake, they ALL wake and it can be confusing and intense to say the very least of it. But it feels better than staying numb, which I had been for so very long.

So, on Saturday I was back at Barnes and Noble.

They still had the book. The one my life didn’t feel worthy of this past year.

This time I bought it (on sale, to boot.)

My life is worthy of its faux gilded edges and pretty cover.

What’s more, I want to try to get back to being more myself than I have been in a long time, and make my life feel even more worthy of the pretty journal instead of the cheap, throw-away ones.

I bought the book. Now I just have to commit words to the pages in the coming year, and hope that in 2018 I will feel much more alive than I did in 2017.



Monday, December 4, 2017

Wrapping Up 2017 in a Bow

I wondered on Twitter what I should possibly blog about after all this time, and a reply from Henrietta M Ross came: “What you’ve been up to…?”

So here it is, everybody.

The short version in case you want to skip the rest: I marked the second anniversary of my Father’s passing at the end of October. Followed medical advice and forced myself (and it was HARD) not to participate in NaNoWriMo last month. (Thanks to all the friends who encouraged me to put my health first.) Took a solo trip for 4 nights/days to Walt Disney World, overcoming many physical and mental challenges to do so. It was a victory, and not a small one, either.

The longer version…I can’t believe my Dad has been gone for two years. Of course his quality of life had become so bad in the ending months/few years of his life that it was hardly like having him really here. He was suffering. Knowing that, I wouldn’t bring him back if I could to suffer more; I am glad he is at peace. We just miss him so much.

Now, on to “No NaNo for bru”. My medical team has observed repeatedly that writing novels the way that I do—the way that I MUST, the only way I can, makes me go into a manic state that is difficult to get back from. Knowing this they advised me not to participate in NaNoWriMo. And I knew they were right because if I had I would have done what I always do: written 50K words in a week or less and ended up manic as all get out during and afterward. And especially since I have been going through a serious, difficult med switch (discontinuing one long time med and starting to try a new one) I was/am having enough trouble controlling my mood already; I didn’t need to add mania to that. Neither did I need to get manic knowing that I had a trip coming up mid-month; a trip I was originally not meant to make alone but because of circumstances (and a very generous husband) I ended up taking on my own in the end.

The trip was about as magical as Disney trips can get. I was treated like a celebrity at my favorite WDW resort, where we have stayed several times and where I am friendly with quite a few of the Cast Members. They sprinkled all the extra Pixie Dust on my trip that they could; from giving me ‘magic’ FastPasses the last two days of my trip to making sure I had everything I needed and keeping an eye on me since I was traveling alone; I can’t say enough about staying Club Level at a Disney resort. It is an experience that (thanks to discounts) I have been able to experience more than once and if you ever get the chance to save up for it, it’s totally worth it.

First thing I did after I arrived and checked my luggage in at the hotel: Headed to Hollywood Studios to cross my number one thing off my wish list…

Later in the trip I crossed off the next thing, going to the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast (which was so fun I was lucky that I got to do it twice!)

Me with Flynn from Tangled

Other highlights included seeing Elsa light up the castle with Christmas Frozen magic, and meals that were so amazing that they qualified as an attraction all on their own. Also, great character interactions including the best visit with Mickey I’ve ever had (and I’ve had many…)

The travel was hard on my body, as it always is, and by the time I got home I was exhausted and swollen beyond belief all over. I couldn’t see my ankles, even my hands swelled up. It took two solid days of sleep and elevating my legs to begin to see improvement and has taken weeks to resolve almost completely. This is the price I pay when I push my body at all; even with the use of a scooter in the parks and saving myself steps where I could, even just getting through TSA at the airport is a production with me. 

But I was lucky, and had mostly patient and kind people around me, people who offered to put my bag into the overhead bin for me and get it down afterward while the flight attendant returned my crutch to me (they store it in the closet during flight, it usually won’t fit in the bins.) Kudos to Delta for about as pleasant a flight experience both coming and going as you can get these days. And my gratitude to kind strangers.

When I got home, after I finally woke up and got over the worst physical pain left over from the trip was when the bottom dropped out of my mood. I don’t know if it was the one med leaving my system after being steadily fed to it for about six years or if it was just inevitable post trip blues, but I was crying over everything for a while there. TV commercials, songs, you name it, it made me cry. Then I started laughing more too and realized that my feelings are thawing out after feeling zombie-fied for a long time on the med cocktail I was on for such a long time and I think that’s a good thing.

Even though it hurts sometimes to feel everything so intensely I’ll take it over feeling nothing at all. Especially for an INFJ it’s horrible not to be able to feel your feelings properly, since they are so much a part of everything you do.

My mood has been greatly helped lately by the ability I now have to celebrate Christmas (long distance) with my daughter once again. The other day she texted me while she was putting up her tree and lights and sent me photo after photo… and I cried happy tears because for so long, I didn’t know if we would ever be able to share times like that together again. We miss each other and I wish we could be together for Christmas, but I hope that sometime next year I will finally get to put my arms around her and hug her tight again.

Christmas shopping is about wrapped up no pun intended (online shopping, a must…) just one package to ship this coming weekend out to my daughter and then I think we’re set.

So I will leave you with this… I have been absolutely living inside Tom Chaplin’s new album Twelve Tales of Christmas. It’s like swirling inside a beautiful auditory snowglobe. A few classics but mostly new songs. And it’s what is playing, on a loop, in my home this holiday season. Check out Youtube for a taste of some of the songs, I highly recommend it. It’s bittersweet and wonderful and pretty… all the things that the holiday season is for so many of us. Whether it’s due to empty chairs at the table because of those we’ve lost or those who are far from us that we wish were close by… or any other reason you may be struggling with the holidays, I hear you.

Remember you’re not alone and just do whatever healthy things you can do to cope with it all until it’s behind us.

I hope that you can make some memories worth holding on to this season, find beauty where it hides in the ugliness of the everyday world… and above all if you have a chance to be kind to someone, do it. Give, share, and be a light that someone else might desperately need to remind them that there is still good in the world. Even if all you can do is offer a kind word to one person a day, how much better the world would be if we all did that, eh?

Anyway… that’s what I have and have not been up to. Thanks for listening.

I’m wishing you and yours a good, safe and memorable holiday season…



Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Why I Must Bow Out Of OctPoWriMo

Due to my cat's back injury (which we still don't know how he got) I am unable to continue with OctPoWriMo, as I am spending all my time watching over him and making sure he doesn't jump up on things he can't get down from (jumping down causes the pain.)

Watching him in pain breaks my heart, I can tell when his medication wears off and right now he has all my attention. 

This cat has been with me for almost 13 years (we got him as a rescue at 8 months of age) and through more than 15 surgeries he has been my faithful companion and friend, and designated 'therapy kitty'; it is time for me to give back and put him first while he heals (hopefully this won't become a chronic issue...)

Thank you to all who read and commented on my poems, I am sorry I cannot continue till the end of the challenge with you.

hugs to all,


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Day 15 OctPoWriMo Off Prompt: The Non-Poem

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ 

The Non-Poem by February Grace

I cannot write today, 
she said,
the sky is falling in;
the phone is pinging
my ears are ringing
and all I want is sleep

There'll be no poem today,
she said,
there's too much on my mind;
then her thoughts came
pouring out
just like the rain outside

On rainy days like this, 
she said,
when everything feels wrong
we need to find our 
words the most
...and that was all she wrote.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Day 14 OctPoWriMo: Off prompt... "Cat"

Off prompt. Our cat gave us quite a scare today so he has been the only thing on my mind. He's going to be okay but it will be a long couple of weeks while his back strain heals. Pain meds three times a day...and no jumping. Yikes. He's 13 and very stubborn, this is going to be rough.

In honor of my dear little faithful buddy, this haiku:

Cat by February Grace

Silken fur bright eyes
love rumbles through every breath
a fine noble friend

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

See you tomorrow...

Friday, October 13, 2017

OctPoWriMo Day 13: Reaching

Today's alternate prompt was to "write about mental health or mental illness."

This is something that I do all the time. Yet when I sat down and tried to write a poem about it, I ended up with a stream of consciousness in disarray; free-form poetry of the rawest order, words that just spilled out of me when I tried to put my own struggle with Bipolar 1, OCD and PTSD into words today.

This poem focuses on the Bipolar, the unpredictability of it even taking the best of medications that are available, and how I struggle on, even though I'm 'doing better' right now than I have been in a very very long time.

So here it is, it is what it is...

~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Reaching by February Grace

inside my own head
though the music that I hear
never stops

No one
understands the sound
and trying to explain
makes it worse

tossed about on 
restless seas
adrift, alone, and

though I'm not on my own
getting better
a little every day

the devil that you know
or angels' saving grace
who knows

is judged in tiny steps
on the 'good' days
I try not to forget

and trying to hang on
to improvements
no matter how small

when the compass spins 
and I'm left
to pick up the pieces again

mania or lows
so far down you touch
the bottom of the ocean

every single day
no knowing where
my mind will go today

may ever just 
exceed my grasp
still I keep reaching.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~