Labels are for soup cans, not humans.

I am a human, not a soup can wrap.  Please don’t label me.

“Red and yellow black and white, they are precious in His sight”, was my first real interaction with human labels. From there, the progression escalated in less than loving titles and comparisons.

Some that were less than desirable were attached to me. Names such as “dogface” due to my terrible issues with too many teeth in a mouth not designed for large glaring teeth. Or how about “Bertha” due to my prominent derriere. Then there were labels such as “depressive”, “anxious”, “crazy”. Wow, those really make a person feel cared about and part of.

I did have some positive labels atrributed to me over the years. Labels such as “hard worker”, “high intelligence”, “care-taker”. These labels, while often viewed as positive labels, were hard to live up to when I was struggling with a multitude of health issues that no longer allowed me to feel confident in these roles. Some days I couldn’t live up to them.

I recall when a dear neighbor of mine who was often a role model for my children called one of the neighbor kids “nigger”. I recoiled. I actually arm punched this 80 something year old. I exclaimed, “I do NOT want my children subjected to ANY names towards ANY humanity EVER! If you cannot respect my wishes you will no longer be part of our extended family and friends”. We eventually came to an agreement, but I would NOT be dissuaded on my stance!

I have had so many labels attached to my person, it would be hard to figure out who I really am if I was prone to molding my life based on others perceptions and views and labels.

How about just taking me as I am. I’m Debbie. I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a grandmother. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a friend. I am a nurse. I am human. I care. I make mistakes. I do great things . I love! I give! I am caring! What I do is so much more about who I am than any label anyone could conceive to attach to me. Additionally there are labels that used to fit and no longer do.

How about “Dog Face”. I got my teeth fixed. I have been told over my lifetime that I am beautiful and have a wonderful smile. I am no longer a “dogface” person with a messed up mouth. That was fixable.

How about the label of “Depressive”? I currently am not depressed. In fact I am really enjoying my hopefulness for a brighter future.

I highly suggest each of us be very cautious when using labels. Those labels may not be accurate, they might not be appropriate, and they might not be any where near correct! How about we just meet one another with open-ness and respect. Leave the labels to soup cans!

 

 

PTSD triggered yesterday – What that looks like

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     Yesterday after I got home late from a long day at the pain clinic and having my very first EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) session for Complex PTSD regarding old traumas from childhood. The specific situation that came to mind to work on was one involving lots of blood, broken glass, police, ambulances and near death situations. Situations a 16 year old girl should never have to manage dealing with.
When I got home from my day I felt the need to shake it off a bit. The work we did around the trauma had left me a bit keyed up.  Nothing a 2 mile walk wouldn’t help.
I have found my walking habit to be an excellent stress reducer as well as I believe it is helping me with sleep! I have a route I have found that is just a little over 2.5 miles which allows me to reach my daily steps goal.

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     So off I went with a smile on my face and feeling pretty good for the completion of ten weeks of education at a local Pain Clinic.  I learned so much from them and am extraordinarily grateful that I was given that opportunity. Their encouragement and motivation is part of what got me on a daily walking plan to start with and led me to believe that in time I can actually be a real runner! 🙂

     It started to get dark and so I switched up my route a bit and needed to walk past the house and up the block a bit to actually get my entire cool-down completed. I was just 2 doors from being back at the house when a pit bull comes charging at me across the main street barking.  I froze!  My stomach tightened, my hands curled up inside my shirt close to my heart.  I was flooded with memories of being bit on my right shin when I was 12 years old.  I was doing my monthly collections for my paper route.  I had dealt with this dog before and had arranged to deliver the paper to this customers mail box rather than their door.  I had called them to let them know I was coming to collect and they said they would have their dog contained.  It charged through their screen door when I showed up, and bit me leaving a bloody leg and a big goose egg.

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I was by the crosswalk sign on my side of the street, pit bull comes from the left where the mailboxes and little bit of white care are.

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This shows it better.  I was at the crosswalk sign and pit comes from where white vehicle is.

I hollered at the presumed dogs owner across the street, “Control your animal,call him off”. The dog was literally at my feet sniffing, and fortunately, not showing any signs of aggression.   Over the years I have gained enough presence to not bolt or lash out or cry or act out in any way around dogs I don’t know.  Yet I was scared.  I repeated my request across the street “Call your dog”. The man would not do anything.   I was terrified.
I was repeating over and over “call your dog sir, your dog is not being restrained”.  He finally called his dog, yelling out at me, “I didn’t tell him to attack or anything, you are fine”.  I was still frozen in place with his dog at my feet and his dog was not responding to his owners calls.  I said, “Sir, you need to get control of your animal, this is against the law”.  That is when the man began to be rude. One of those shitty pit bull owners who have no respect for others and have pitties for all the wrong reasons. I was getting more scared as time progressed.
Finally, on his own accord the dog went back across the street. I again yelled out “you need to keep your dog under control or I will report this, I have been bit before”. The man was cussing at me and oblivious of any wrongdoing on his part.
I admit, by this time my PTSD symptoms were so triggered that I hollered back a few expletives and proceeded to head to the house and immediately called and reported it to the police.  I was shaking and wound up and felt sick.  I could remember EVERYTHING about when I was bit before and my body was responding just how it did on that day!
Today while out on my walk/jog, feeling so confident because I reached my goal pace of 4 miles per hour, the closer I got to home the more tense I got. I felt my shoulders tensing. I felt my stomach tensing.  I felt everything tensing.  Was the dog going to be out again? Was the man going to be nasty and confrontational?  I was worried about it and it was taking away from my awesome feelings of accomplishment and relaxation I usually get from my walks.

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Even though I cognitively can process the difference between the situation when I was twelve years old versus now, my body and all the cells in it still remember.  THAT is what PTSD is.  It is the body remembering and behaving in the same way as it did when a similar situation that was traumatic occurred in the past.
I was able to complete my walk and the dog nor the man were out there to cause any upset when I arrived back to the house. I believe with just a little bit of EMDR or just a bit more processing I can figure out a way to continue my walks without the PTSD trigger being present.  Before I had started this treatment that I am doing with a therapist, I would have likely been unable to continue with something I enjoy, due to the fear (real or perceived) related to something that happened decades ago.  That dog last night did not hurt me.  Had I never been bit before and not experienced that trauma I likely would have just reached down and said “hi there fella” and gave the dog a pat.   Those old fears still get in the way of my life today.    Which is why I need to do some in depth trauma work.

 

(I haven’t found a dog yet I don’t like and most of them like me…it’s those dog owners)

My one experience with EMDR on old traumas was good and I am looking forward to doing more work. We didn’t get through the entire experience we were working on yesterday, so it will get visited again. After just that little specialized therapy yesterday I am not so afraid of doing this trauma work.  I believe it is going to be very helpful in me having a life free of fears that I have had for all my life!!!   Then I will  have the life I dream of and deserve!!!!

The greenhouse film gets put on the frame!

The film was placed and now it's time to start GROWING.

The film was placed and now it’s time to start GROWING.

I am finally back amongst the living after 10 days of fighting a horrible bug.  I suffered nearly every symptom you can imagine with a viral sickness.  Aches and pains for a few days.  Sore throat and post nasal drip took  over for a day or two.  Headache and some nausea and vomiting visited for a day and a half.  An unproductive tight cough for a few days was bothersome.  Throughout all of it I was weighed down with an overwhelming exhaustion.  I spent almost all of my time in bed.

There are blossoms on all the fruit trees.  Many were pruned over the weekend and so I will soon have lovely bouquets of blossoms in my home!

There are blossoms on all the fruit trees. Many were pruned over the weekend and so I will soon have lovely bouquets of blossoms in my home!

 

Today has been the first day that I really felt good on all counts.  I woke up hurting so I took my medication as my NP suggested.  If I take it, I don’t hurt so bad.  I know that.  I still am working on the resentments about needing to take it, as well as it costs money and I don’t like some of the side effects.  But I did take it and dozed back off for about an hour and when I woke up I felt pretty good.  I got out of bed, dressed, and started moving!  A quick tidy up and out the door I went.

Garlic is coming up nicely!

Garlic is coming up nicely!

I had made the decision that I am going to try eating 100% gluten and dairy free for at least 2 weeks and take all my supplements every day (pills…I just have a hard time taking them every day) as well as use my medication as it has been suggested (I never take nearly enough) and see if I notice any improvements in my various health issues.  I have enlisted my friends to hold me accountable.   It’s not that I don’t want to do it, it’s just that I know from previous life experiences with making lifestyle changes, having accountability is a good reinforcement for me.

That meant heading to the Farmer’s Market to load up on fresh fruits and veggies.  I am well stocked in all my other things.  I even have things in the pantry to attempt baking some gluten-free bread!  But I was pretty low of leafy greens and perishable veggies.

Lulu came to grocery shop during the girls snack time.  She was going one way and Honey the other like they didn't even know one another.  They see each other every day!

Lulu came to grocery shop during the girls snack time. She was going one way and Honey the other like they didn’t even know one another. They see each other every day!

Once I got home E informed me that two friends would be arriving shortly to put up the greenhouse film!  YAY!  It was delivered while I was on my trip to The Dalles and E has been working on the frame to have it all prepared.  Today was the day.  I was grateful I was feeling so good and said I would do a few chores and be down to help when the others arrived.

Donna is checking things out and Patch is watching his flock.

Donna is checking things out and Patch is watching his flock.

Everyone started showing up and wanted to see the chicks.  I decided I wanted to let my little girls (I think one of them is a roo actually) have some sunshine time.  I have created a playpen for them to get outdoors for a little bit during the warmer afternoons.   That gets me outside, even on days I am struggling. E asked if I would take a couple of theirs out too.  I was happy to comply with his request.  Everyone helped with the transport of 7 chicks out to the play area and then we headed up the hill.  But not before quite a few pictures were taken.

This is one of my Speckled Sussex.  I think this may be a roo.  They are 5 weeks old now.  So adorable.

This is one of my Speckled Sussex. I think this may be a roo. They are 5 weeks old now. So adorable.

Pumpkin is very inquisitive and Patch is so calm.  I love watching the dogs with the chicks.

Pumpkin is very inquisitive and Patch is so calm. I love watching the dogs with the chicks.

We used ropes and had them tied at intervals and then threw them over the frame and gently and as a team pulled it over the top and to the other side.  It went quite well.  No one got lift off with the few wind gusts we had occasionally blowing through.

This place will be like Fort Knox.  Very tight.  It has been reinforced at every connection and is extremely sturdy.  Good job E!

This place will be like Fort Knox. Very tight. It has been reinforced at every connection and is extremely sturdy. Good job E!

The metal frame is being bolted into the wood frame supports.

The metal frame is being bolted into the wood frame supports.

I loved these bolts.  The drilled right throught the metal and wood!

I loved these bolts. The drilled right through the metal and wood!

The film unrolled and laid out ready for installation!

The film unrolled and laid out ready for installation!

The film is in place and secured on the sides.  The ends will be finished up later by E.

The film is in place and secured on the sides. The ends will be finished up later by E.

 

The method used to secure it to the frame was wonderful.  E had attached 2×4’s all along the outer wall at about 2 1/2 feet off the ground on both sides.  To this he attached a metal frame using these nifty bolts that drill right through the frame and wood.  I can’t remember what they were called.  I will have to ask again.

This contracption is so neat.  Can you see the way it is formed and then you just tuck it and wiggle it back and forth into place.  Slick!

This contraption is so neat. Can you see the way it is formed and then you just tuck it and wiggle it back and forth into place. Slick!

This shows it better.  E had to cut off some pieces.  The lengths were longer than the 2x4's.

This shows it better. E had to cut off some pieces. The lengths were longer than the 2×4’s.

 

 

The neatest tool/materials we used was wiggle wire.  Yep, that is what it is called.  And the person who invented it is wiggling themselves all the way to the bank.  The wire has been formed into this shape that fits into the frame and then you “wiggle” it into place and it holds wonderfully!  And you can remove it easily if you want to roll up your sides for ventilation.  Both of us girls working today loved doing the wiggle wire.  It was fun.

The bottom edges were rolled around landscape poles and nailed into the ground with 10 and 12 inch nails.  It looked so pretty when it was all nailed down.  E has plans on putting a window/fan on the North end of it and making a doorway on the South end.  I am happy to let him work out those details.  I want to get in there and get things back in order and start PLANTING!!!!!  I am so excited.  I have never had such an arena as this to garden at my leisure and enjoyment.  I just know this summer is going to be awesome.

After we were all done I still was feeling energetic and so I tidied up the coop some, hosed off the patio and then moved the last 1/2 cord of my firewood to a new site right outside the back door.  I am hoping to clean up some of the things that have been discarded around the barn so I can create a nice outdoor environment where I can hang out on a sunny summer day.  I don’t care that the girls free ranging all the time means there is poo everywhere.  I can still make things look nice.

My 2+ cords has dwindled to less than 1/2 a cord.  Time to tidy up.

My 2+ cords has dwindled to less than 1/2 a cord. Time to tidy up.

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I finished up around 5:30pm.  I had been going since 9:30am.   I haven’t had a day like this in months as far as I can remember.  Mind you, I had lots of breaks where I would check on the chickens or go take a few more photos of the chicks or just watching others work.  But I was up and out of bed and active for a full day and it felt wonderful.

I have no idea what they were up to but first Grandma got up there, then Winnie.  Teasing the ones on the ground?  Who knows!  They do what they choose....all day.

I have no idea what they were up to but first Grandma got up there, then Winnie. Teasing the ones on the ground? Who knows! They do what they choose….all day.

I had a dinner of leftovers.  I had cooked a Pork Loin and some taters and steamed apples on Saturday when my guy came for dinner.  It was heated up in no time and tasted delicious.  I also had the other 8 ounces of freshly juiced fruits and veggies that I had made for my breakfast this morning.  I have had no gluten, dairy, or sugar all day!

M bought 6 gallon buckets of heather to plant.  She wants to fill one of the hillsides with all kinds of heather.  Summer and winter blooming.  SO pretty.

M bought 6 gallon buckets of heather to plant. She wants to fill one of the hillsides with all kinds of heather. Summer and winter blooming. SO pretty.

I had made a fire because it was a bit chilly and then took a long soak in the tub.  I was in bed by 8pm.  Tired.  From moving.  From working.  It felt so good.  Just for today I felt really good.  I’ll take that.

Thank you God for a lovely day.  A day of work.   A day of productivity.  You know my heart’s desire to work, and I thank you for the gift of work today.

Fabulous First Friday of February!!!

Miss Donna thinks it is so lovely in the sun!!!

Miss Donna thinks it is so lovely in the sun!!!

For a gal who spent most of her life in the Willamette Valley where the winters start the first of October and the gray dampness falling from the sky often continuing into late June, spending the bulk of the day outdoors in Februaray without getting drenched didn’t happen very often. In fact, I don’t think it happened very often at all.  Which is why I am thrilled to be enjoying my second winter in the beautiful Southern Oregon valleys of the Applegate River area.  February 1, 2013 was a STELLAR SUNNY DAY for me in the country. A perfect ending to a busy week.

I had been invited by E to go mining with a couple of the guys down the road. We were to leave at 9:30am. I was awakened by Lulu barking her head off. I got up and padded my barefooted way across the cold wood floors to peek out the window. I had slept most of the night (a real blessing for me) and the fire was completely burnt out except for a few coals. Lulu was up at the back hill using her most persistant “woof…woof…woof” that goes on and on and on. She really is a great alarm. But there was nothing there. Nothing I could see anyhow.

I drug on my sweatpants and sweatshirt and socks and shoes and coat and headed down the stairs. Time to let the girl out. It was a bit chilly. In the mid 30’s. And it was foggy. A little damp. Did I want to go out and tromp around all morning staring down at the ground?

Of course I did! If I didn’t go I might not be invited again. This was a wonderful opportunity to see some beautiful parts of these valleys that are typically “no trespassing” places. I also have an opportunity to become acquainted with more of my community members. I am learning that country life and farming and self-sufficiency is not about being alone…it is about community. And I like it.

The creek that feeds into the ponds at the quarry.

The creek that feeds into the ponds at the quarry.

The quarry where we went was just over the hill, so to speak. Not a far drive at all. We all took our own vehicles. One guy had to do some noon chores, another had to go back home for something before everyone else had planned on leaving, and I wanted to be able to go home if I got too cold or tired.

Beautiful dog.  Very playful and very well cared for as evidenced by behaviour.  :)

Beautiful dog. Very playful and very well cared for as evidenced by behaviour. 🙂

This beautiful dog showed up out of no where shortly after we arrived. She was very friendly and obviously well cared for. She followed us around and hung out the entire time I was there. In fact, when I decided to hike around the various little ponds and water features she was right alongside me like that was where she belonged. Unfortunately her presence snuffed out all the water fowl and so I was unable to get any photos of the ducks and quails that were quite prevalent.

Flusing out all the water fowl before I can get a photo.  At least I felt safe going off on my own.  It is bear and cat country out here.

Flusing out all the water fowl before I can get a photo. At least I felt safe going off on my own. It is bear and cat country out here.

I headed home around noon. I had hiked up and down the quarry numerous times taking photos of this and that and wanting to see what the guys were finding. There was only one little chunk of hard gray material they were questioning that it might be something when I departed.

This is the main pond.  I love the lighting and the shadows playing across the water.

This is the main pond. I love the lighting and the shadows playing across the water.

I took a little break when I got home. Well, sort of. I gathered eggs from both the big chicken barn (M has been under the weather this week) and my girls coop. I walked down to see the new sheep and cows that were brought here  yesterday to live and graze in the pasture. The sheep is very friendly and not bashful at all in visiting. Both sheep are breeders and will be taken to the ewes later in the spring.

This is the newest ram.  The little white guy with the black eye!  He has two black eyes!

This is the newest ram. The little white guy with the black eye! He has two black eyes!

The new cows are a pair of Dexters. Very good looking they are I think. Effective feeders is what I was told. When they first arrived yesterday it was lots of fun watching them become acquainted with the Heifer we have here. He tried to chase the Dexters around, and he was so lumbersome in his movements comparted to the more svelte and agile Dexters. Yes, I think I like those Dexters.

The Dexter's are here...the Dexters are here!!!  I like them lots!

The Dexter’s are here…the Dexters are here!!! I like them lots!

On my way back up the hill, I found my girls having themselves a great time on Solar Hill. They were dust bathing and sunbathing and lolling and scratching and completely enjoying their chicken life here on the farm. I sat in the dirt near them and just watched for about 15 minutes. They were quite entertaining, as always. By this time the sun was beating hot…well…in the low 50’s anyhow. I needed to go for a ride. A motorcycle ride!!!

Ziggy has herself buried down in.

The girls love this spot under the little Madrone.  Ziggy has herself buried down in and is having a little clucking session with Ruffles

Sunbathing in the dirt and enjoying life on the farm.

Sunbathing in the dirt and enjoying life on the farm.

I have been aching to go for a ride all week. There were some sunny warm days earlier in the week but I had commitments to attend to that required me to use my truck. Going to the feed store was one. I know one of these days it is going to get really warm and I want to be prepared if my deep litter method in my chicken coop gets smelling bad. I bought a bale of straw and some pine shavings. I also bought feed and ordered some chicks. Yup…we are getting chicks next week.

M & E ordered 35 chicks. I only ordered 4. Two Speckled Sussex and two Black Laced Wyandottes. I intend to order a couple more chicks. I am considering doing some breeding and have decided I want to specialize in Wyandottes. I find them so beautiful. I am planning to get 4-6 Blue Red Laced Wyandottes in March from a breeder I am corresponding with via email. They will be my start. The Wyandottes are good for laying as well as for meat. If I am going to be breeding I am hoping I can have some be meat and some for eggs and some for show and some for continuing and improving the breed. Well, that is my idea for now anyhow. I’ll get the chicks and see how it goes.

Anyhow…back to my RIDE ON THE BIKE!!! I layered up. I had on my longies and an extra shirt and a hat and scarf and two pairs of gloves and my jacket and wool socks and boots and fortunately I could still move. I started it up and down the hill I went. It was amazing! It was exactly what I had hoped it would be and what I wanted it to be and what I had envisioned it to be. I was yelling “YAHOOOOOO” all the way down the drive!

Yes, it was cold. My ears were the most affected by the cold wind. The rest of me stayed tensely warm. I decided I would ride into Grants Pass and treat myself to a Dutch Bros. I love going there because you get so much more than just a hot drink. You get some good vibes. They are good folks there! When I arrived I was so ready for something hot and to be out of the wind.

There were 3 guys on bikes having their cup of Joe and smokes and taking a break. I recognized two of the guys from previous times there. Everyone was admiring one anothers’ bikes. And yes, even tho mine is just a little Yamaha V-star 250cc, they still take a look and make a comment to me. It is nice. It’s not about the bike, it’s about the fact that you ride.

I knew I wanted to head home before the sun got behind the hills. Even tho the sun had not dropped, there were many areas of shade along the road home. I decided to go along the Missouri Flats road and stopped by the cemetary to take some photos there too. The lighting was nice I thought.

Even the cemetary was a birght and beautiful place of peace today.

Even the cemetary was a birght and beautiful place of peace today.

I am so grateful I got to feel the wind against me and also enjoyed the sun beating down to take off thie chill!

I am so grateful I got to feel the wind against me and also enjoyed the sun beating down to take off thie chill!

What a wonderful day. I was ready to be home. A warm fire and some hot dinner would be just the thing to settle me in for the evening. But first I had to give the girls a snack of popcorn and stale bread. They haven’t had a hot snack in a few days. I am trying to break them of pecking me for treats every time I go outdoors. It probably wont stop. I love spoiling them too much. They are happy girls tho. They have given me eggs all through the winter. From 12 hens I’ve averaged 5 eggs a day all winter long. One day I had 8 eggs!

It is late now. I am tired. It is a good tired. A fulfilling tired. I am glad I was able to get up and out of bed and enjoy this lovely winter day. This first day of February. The sunniest most outdoorsy February day I’ve ever enjoyed!

Saw these impressive horns on my travels and had to take a pic!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Saw these impressive horns on my travels and had to take a pic!

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End of the day and the girls get popcorn and some leftover bread pieces.