“It looks like sloth, but it feels like war”

This is a quote from a very well written essay on depression that my friend sent me today. I think this may be the best description of living through it that I have ever read. Though I have been off meds for years now, and made intense choices and kept moving forward without their help, the thought of going back on...or needing to...is never that far away. Sometimes I wonder if my Sundays spent alone in my apartment or on solitary walks through the city are a sign that I am receding into myself too much. Perhaps yes. Perhaps no. I tend to think no. It feels vastly different to be alive in my skin now than it did then. It actually feels quite good.

People around me are living through some seriously brutal chapters right now and I wish I could help them with their pain. It has to be ok for people to shut down when they need to and it has to be ok for people to find help in whatever form works for them. There is no weakness in feeling fragile or lost -- this is the cost of being human. It is sometimes hard to remember what it was like to just get through the days and keep breathing.

If you are interested in reading the essay, here is the link: http://www.dervala.net/archives/000873.html


Look mom, I'm wearing your hat!

My mom gave me this hat to wear in cold weather. And it is. Cold. Especially on a bike, but it is also sort of an adventure -- I'd never imagined myself as Sir Edmund Hillary before the ride in to work this morning.


Windy days

Check this out! This tree fell onto a houseboat one canal from where I work. There are bits of roof flying around and broken glass scattered on the street where windows broke from debris.

The pigeons are being blown across the street!

There will be no bike ride home tonight.



These are the things I bought to combat my week's worth of insomnia:
  • Valerian capsules
  • Sleepytime tea
  • Extra-strength herbal sleep pills with Valerian, Passionflower and Melatonin
  • Whisky
  • Ny-Quill
  • Sounds for Meditation, Relaxation and Sleep album from iTunes
  • Advil

Before you think, "That Katie sure believes in treating insomnia in a healthy, natural way," don't. You can not buy any sort of sleep aid over the counter. Not Tylenol PM, not even Ny-Quill (I had brought that back from the US). It is herbal or nothing here. So if you don't finish your prescriptions for muscle relaxants, pain killers or sleeping pills, please remember your friend Katie and save them for me.

The insomnia cured itself (though the soothing sounds of rain, waves and whales on the CD didn't hurt) and I am back on track. Only I'm not. Because it is 4:00am and I am STILL AT WORK! Sweet Jesus. It hurts my head. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


Stuck between places

Last night was the first night since I have been back where I slept more hours than I was awake. It has been a bizzarre trip to function without sleep. I began to feel, and look, vaguely vampire-like (and not in a hot Drusilla from "Buffy" kind of way, but instead a Paul Reubens from the other "Buffy" kind of way), and I didn't like it much. But it was amazing how easily things snapped back to normal today. Apparently I even had color in my cheeks.

It has been strange to be back. I think a lot about the friends I have in Portland and struggle with being here without them. Life is short...perhaps too short to live without your people. But on the other hand, there are weekends in Florence with my mom (who is coming over on her own in March) and going to Luxembourg just to see the new modern art museum. I am between a golden rock and a diamond hard place.


Sleep! Please give me sleep!

Jet lag has kicked my butt this week. I have only slept three hours each night and spent countless hours staring at the ceiling and trying to picture happy places. I thought I had a foolproof plan for sleeping last night: go to bed at midnight, therefore fooling my body into sleeping later, and, if I wake up, smoke a little something and read a 35-page financial document.

I did both of these things with no luck. I have never stayed awake through a 35-page financial document before, and I wasn't so impressed when I finished it. Apparently the end of a financial document doesn't involve magic fairies or ponies. My economics professor lied! Bastard.

So I, in my crazed mental state, decided it was a great idea to take Nyquill at 4am. I put "Kinky Boots" in my computer and dozed for a while on the couch. After an hour or so, I decided it would be a good idea to go to bed. And I did. And then I woke up. At 10:45. Did I mention that I had a 10am meeting? Or that I am WAY too old to be sleeping through work? And I had to function while still in the Nyquill haze, which was just embarrassing. The bike ride in was interesting -- very fuzzy head and I am certain that my face was the picture of dazed and confused.

This weekend will be all about sleeping and restocking my larder. I don't like being awake at 4am -- the morning hours are the sad and lonely hours were I start to doubt myself and the choices I have made. But then I have a good moment at work, or see something cool on my bike ride in, and everything gets better.


The Portland highlight reel

Friday: Stacy picked me up at the airport and we drove to her house for champagne and cheese. And it snowed! LeeAnne came and fetched me, and, to be honest, it was a blur from that point on. There was more bubbly and pepperoni pizza and the comfortable couch island, where I fell asleep for a few hours and then woke up to "What Not to Wear." I didn't sleep at all for the rest of the night.

Saturday: Target, TJ Maxx, Marshalls and other frenzied shopping spots (it was a week before Christmas). I tried to drink a Starbucks Eggnog Latte and almost spit it out because it tasted like chemicals. Fortunately my tolerance for American additives and preservatives came back by the end of the trip...
I saw the brilliant and beautiful Jackie for my much needed brow harvest and a lovely facial. She has known me for many years and has listened to me through all my life changes. The perfect way to begin my stay.
That night I went to Amelia's 40th birthday party and saw many of my crafty bitches from the quarterly cabin trips. The love! The brilliance! They are such kick ass women. I would have stayed and drank and talked all night, but LeeAnne (wisely) took me home at a reasonable hour to get some much-needed rest.

Sunday: Crafty wonderland with Stacy and Marie at Doug Fir. Portlanders at that venue all looked like art students. It was very Bust magazine and a nice dose of home right away. After wandering amongst the crafts, we went upstairs to the bar for booze and food. Three hours later there was tipsy shoe shopping at Imeldas. So cheap compared with Amsterdam and soooo much better. Heavenly day.

Monday: Took the bus downtown to do some Christmas shopping. Wandered around a lot and loved the cold weather. Went to Wieden around 4 and visited people for a few hours. It was GREAT going back there and being reminded just how funny and kind people are. Went to leHappy with friends and wondered at their wit and smarts.

Tuesday: Met my friend Geoff for coffee and quickly remembered why he is one of my very favorite people. Got my hair done with the fabulous Theo and three hours later emerged sleek and very brunette. Went out to St. John's to see my friend Jake at his shop (Blue Moon Camera) and ran quickly back to the west side after realizing just how ugly St. John's really is. Went for sushi with the fabulous Mary Miller. She had just returned from a trip to Argentina, which sounded amazing. She is someone who I am constantly amazed by -- so smart and funny.

Wednesday: I wrapped presents and was a general sloth most of the day. LeeAnne and I went for tapas at Fernando's that night and reminisced about the trip to Spain.

Thursday: Amelia's actual 40th birthday! We went for Monte Carlo sandwiches at the Tillicum where she was resplendent in her birthday tiara. We were in awe of the hairdos on the regulars - very white and very high hair. After eating the fried wonders, we wandered Alberta street and went back to her house for celebratory champagne.
That night I went to Margo's going away drinks at a cool bar on Burnside. She is moving to SanFrancisco to take the city by storm with her writing prowess. It was so good to see her and she gave each of us the coolest thing: a book she made where she wrote about five of the new foods she discovered this year and used her photography to offset the story. She included some samples of the foods (fleur-de-sel carmels are my very favorite) all packaged in a pastry box. Very charming and unexpected. I can completely see her writing a cook book.

Friday: Picked up the gayest rental car ever: a cherry red PT Cruiser. Good god. Tom was disproportionately excited about riding in it. Went to lunch at McMennemins with Stacy and had the tater tots. Bliss! Then went downtown and met Lisa, Maya and Tracy from W+K for their celebratory "No work for a week" drinks. Those ladies are great and I am not just saying that because now I know they read the blog. LeeAnne got the kids that night and we went out for Mexican food at the local strip mall. Si senor.

Saturday: Long breakfast with Heidi savoring bloody mary's and reminiscence of Amsterdam. Bad news from Stacy and Dave about the baby made me very sad. Last minute shopping made me know without a doubt that I was back in the US.

Sunday: Christmas eve! Had the family over to LeeAnne's for dinner and presents. Very nice.

Monday: Christmas stockings and mimosas with LeeAnne. Then there was the traditional Christmas day hot tubbing. I think there may have been a nap in there somewhere. I went to dinner at Pete and Sheri's and then picked up my dear boyfriend at the airport that night.

Tuesday: Tom and I went to Black Butte and he met Mimi and Bill. All seemed charmed by each other. I am so glad that I took the time to go up there because it is so beautiful and peaceful there.

Wednesday: It snowed Tuesday night and most of Wednesday so Tom and I got to walk in the snow (check that off the list). Unfortunately it was too icy to drive to Bend and meet up with our friends, so we chilled at the house and I dominated Tom in Scrabble.

Thursday: We had a long and nerve wracking trip back to Portland on very icy roads, but made it back safely.

Friday: I had ten people over for dinner (that was the limit of seating and space in my sister's kitchen) and it was just amazing. Spanish food, loads of wine and great conversation. At one point I sat at the end of the table and just watched my friends interact with each other. I wish I could have invited three times the number this time, but that gives me something to look forward to (summer party on LeeAnne's deck). How great is my sister to open up her house to me...

Saturday: Tom went with me to run errands as I gathered things up to take back with me. Packing took a lot longer than I thought it would and I was exhausted by the time the Giants took the field for their "must-win" game to get to the playoffs. So it was a little anti climatic, but at the same time very normal.

Sunday: I took Tom to the airport in the morning and then returned there a few hours later for my own departure. It wasn't so sad because I realized, after this trip, that six months flies by. I will be back before I know it for more fun.