Family · moving · random stuff · seizures

It’s My Life…

My life is not really busy enough to warrant my being such an absentee blogger. I am the Queen of Procrastination, and that does justify it, I guess… Anyway, here I am, with an update.

As most of you know, I share a house with my extended family – my elderly parents, my younger sister and her two children, ages 13 & 23,  2 dogs & a cat. We rent this large house, and have for a few years, and mostly it works. Or it did. Things aren’t working so well anymore. My father has dementia, which is getting progressively worse, and he refuses to see a doctor. He’s gone from being a friendly, funny, loving man, to an angry, hateful unhappy stranger. He’s mad all the time, at everything, especially at the dog, and at me, for some reason. In all of my childhood, I have only one memory of my father yelling at me, and that was when I was about 4-years-old, and ran into the street after a ball. These days he yells at me all the time. I try to remind myself that it isn’t him, it’s the disease, but some days that’s difficult to remember. In January Mom fell at church and broke her hip. She spent two months in the rehab center, and had a mini-stroke while she was there. She’s recovering well, but not as fast as she’d like. Not being able to do all the things she’s accustomed to doing is frustrating to all of us. The biggest issue right now is money (isn’t it always?). While the folks wait for the settlement from the insurance company, bills are falling behind, and we’re all worried. Our landlord has informed us that in September our rent will be raised, so we are going to need to move. Mom has been looking at assisted living facilities, but the prices are insane. I’ve no idea where there rest of us are going to go. I have my disability income, but that’s not really enough to pay rent anywhere except a nice cardboard box.

As I type this, I’m becoming very discouraged. I keep telling my mother not to worry about me, but really, I have no idea what I’m going to do. There is no such thing as affordable housing, especially for someone in my situation. I need to be able to move in the next couple of months, and I don’t see that happening. It’s not as though I need something fancy–all I need is one bedroom, a bathroom, and a small kitchen, somewhere within walking distance of the bus line. I need internet access and decent water pressure, and a closet. Keep dreaming, Jonna.

So what else is going on? Umm…I went six months without a seizure, and then, boy did I have a doozy. Big time. I did change doctors–I am no longer seeing the folks up at OHSU for my neurological needs. I got tired of seeing a different doc every appointment, and that last doctor was just plain rude, so I have switched everything over to Providence. My new doctor is very nice, and seems on the ball.

I had blue hair for a month this summer. That was a mistake…But the blue was better that it’s aftermath! In trying to remove the blue, I damaged my hair so much I’ve had to cut it short, which isn’t the problem, not really. The cut is a bit odd, and needs some help, but the color at the moment, oh. my. gawd. My hair is this awful shade of ashy golden blonde, which just looks nasty on someone with my skint one. Looks as if I have scurvy! Blech. Fortunately, I know how to fix it, and will be doing so VERY soon. As soon as my sister arrives with my supplies, as a matter of fact! And then, I’ll be a beautiful brunette once again…pictures will follow!


















decorating · home · moving

How do you say hoarding in French?

We moved into the new place on New Years Eve, and have been pushing ever since to get things done. I knew my parents had a lot of stuff, but I had no idea how much there actually was hidden away! Every time we’ve moved before, the packing has been done before I showed up or something, because I do not remember there being this much stuff. And all this time, my father has been harassing ME about my few boxes of books! Jeez. Of course, nearly everything I own (including every book that isn’t an e-book) is in a box in the garage or in the storage shed. This is the first time I’ve ever had a room without a bookshelf. It’s surreal.  I’m sure the lack of books won’t last long; I’m bound to visit Powell’s sooner or later…

I don't hoard books. I hoard ebooks.
I don’t hoard books. I hoard ebooks.


So. The new house. It’s yellow. And pointy. Or peaky. Choose your adjective.

We have a lovely sunroom, where the dining table and mom’s big jade tree now live, and beyond that is the backyard. In one corner is a barbecue pit/fireplace kinda thing; one the other side is a big wooden deck where there was once a pool. There are two sets of stairs, one on each side of the house; the set off the front room is skinny and steep, and leads to a loft area with two bedrooms. That’s where Jolene & Max are. Below that is the master bedroom & bath, as well as another room Mom is using for her sewing room, and where the folks clothes hang. There aren’t many closets in this house, for some odd reason, so Mom & Dad had to buy a wardrobe rack for their hanging items. On the other side of the house, off the laundry room (what Martha would call the “mud room”),is my room ,the entrance to the garage, & another set of stairs. These lead to two more small bedrooms with slanty roofs, where Hattie has staked her claim.

My room is just below hers, and has the bathroom that we share. The sliding glass door on the deck leads into my little room. I finally have a room that gets some sunshine! I hung colored sheers across the sliding door so I could have some privacy from the neighbors, and bring some color into the place. (The walls throughout the house are the same shade of cream.) I have a closet, too. My only complaints about my room so far is that there isn’t any lighting in the closet (I fixed it by hanging fairy lights), and that my window is painted shut. I’m going to have to work on getting it open, because I hate not having any fresh air! I could just open the sliding door, I suppose, but that’s a bit more air than I need.

I haven’t done much decorating here in my space yet, other than the curtains. Usually I have a couple of bookshelves taking up most of my wall space, and here, it’s all bare. So I’m taking my time, deciding where to hang the few things I’m going to hang. I did hang my Eiffel Tower poster in the bathroom–which is also yellow, by the way–and put some other tower accents in there. I plan on speaking with a French accent every time I take a shower.  Oooh la la.




money · moving

All I want for Christmas….

Someone heard our pleas, prayers, posts, and whines! It’s not even Christmas yet, and we have found a place to live! Mom & Dad have rented a house not far from where we are now, about a mile away, actually, and there is room for all of us. The close location makes them happy–they were so worried about being too far away from their church, as well as Max being far away from school. This also means we don’t shouldn’t have to pack quite as severely as if we were moving farther away. Of course, my Dad doesn’t really believe that, and is packing us as if we are moving across the country. Which is funny, since 75% of the boxes we’re for using this move are banana boxes, with holes in the tops.

The new house, at least what I’ve seen of it so far, seems nice. It’s yellow. And kinda…well, pointy. Tomorrow I’m going over to explore and get a better look, and I’ll take some pictures, so you can see what I mean.

As of today, the plan is that we’ll all split the rent & utilities: the folks, Jolene, Hattie & myself. It’s been agreed that I will be saving up, in hopes of being able to move into my own place. I’m hoping to do that by my birthday, in March.

The big problem now, of course, is packing. It’s interfering with my actual life -you know, surfing the internet, reading, watching the telly, doing my nails, reading some more, snacking, and whining because I have to get all this crap in my room put into some boxes before my father has a conniption fit. I did pack my books, but that was the easy part. Books are simple-they’re all the same basic shape, and don’t need to be wrapped or cushioned. I’ve moved a lot in my life, and have packed boxes of books over & over & over; I can do it in my sleep. It’s the other, random stuff that is going to be a pain in the tukkus. Once I get going, it’ll be fine. What I really want for Christmas is someone else to do the packing, and moving for us–and that Dad would be somewhere else during the whole thing. He’s getting on everyone’s nerves, and the day of the move is going to be hell.

be quiet


On a different subject, entirely: I saw Dr Jeff last week, and am now taking a new antidepressant combo, and have a referral to a therapist. He was concerned about me, and very nice about the whole thing, didn’t make me feel ashamed or wrong in any way. I appreciate that. He also told me that if  I ever begin to feel as if I cannot fight the darkness again, I should call him, immediately. He promised to give the office and service orders to put me through if I call. I was pretty impressed that an GP would do that. This is one of the many things I like about him.

Here’s another lovely thing to whine about:  two years ago, I informed the Department of Education that I was now considered “fully and permanently disabled,” which meant that I was eligible to have my student loans forgiven. I filled out paperwork, had my doctor sign it, and sent it in. It never arrived. We went though this four or five times. My neurologist has left his position (he’d originally signed the papers), and the PA couldn’t do the new paperwork. So the Department of Education decided I was in default, and sent my loans to collections. Because I needed one more thing to worry about, I took the new paperwork to Dr Jeff last week, and he’s filled it all out, signed & sealed. I talked to the collections company today, and they were so sweet–frankly, I was confused. All I have to do now is either fax or email that paper, and they’ll be off my back. Let’s hope this works this time!


Okay. I’m off to bed, where I’ll stay awake for the next two hours reading, I’m sure. Goody for me!

images (2)

Limbo · moving

Told Ya

I said in my recent post about our moving that plans would change. And they have. My sister has decided that she needs to take care of her children, and is looking for a place for the three of them, with out little ol’ me. Now, I understand this, and I applaud her for chooseing her kids over all else–she is a great mother, always has been, and her children (while raging smart-asses, both of them!) adore her. Isn’t this what a parent is supposed to do? Take care of their kids, sacrifice, all that stuff? I’d do the same, if I had any kids. So I am happy that my sister is a good mom, and will get her a big badge, or a bumper sticker or something as soon as I can. But….I am now stuck wondering what to do with myself.

Both of my parents have approached me with reminders that I can come and live with them, because there is always a place for me in their home. Yippee. I’ll get to spend the rest of my life in another tiny room, with the too-loud sounds of Fox News and whatever sports event is on drifiting in, trying to pretend that this is the life I want. Nope.

I was so hoping for some kind of actual change, but it looks as if I’m not gonna get one. Other than the color of the walls, I’ll be in pretty much the same place; More than likely, most of my belongings will remain boxed and in a garage or storage shed somewhere, unused and gathering dust. My big beautiful bookcase will remain empty and lonely, all the books in boxes. And forget about my having my own bathroom; this time around, I get to share everything with a pair of senior citizens.

Guess it’s a good thing I don’t have any semblance of a social life, huh? Bringing a guy back to an apartment I shared with my sister and an 11-year-old would have been difficult enough. I wouldn’t even consider it in a home I share with my parents. Complete celibacy for me. Another thing that isn’t changing.

I’m depressing myself again. I sure hope nobody out there reads this looking for uplifting, inspirtational posts, because these days, I ain’t got those in me.

This is how I feel.
This is how I feel.
Christmas · Dreams · home · Jolene · moving · stress

Does anyone want to give me a house for Christmas?

I can’t honestly say I ever had a grand plan for my life, but I can say that this wasn’t it. To be 46-years-old, divorced, childless, in chronic pain, and soon to be homeless. That is the issue I am whining about right now (I don’t have any real problems with being divorced, since I am on very friendly terms with my ex-husband. The childless thing, well, that’s something I will discuss with God some day.).

My parents, John & Arlene, are selling the family home. This is where they, my sister Jolene and her two children have lived for the last eleven years. Max has never lived anywhere else–we brought him here from the hospital. I’ve moved around a bit while they’ve owned this house, but have always had a room to come back to. I was living here when I met Charlie, and when I both married and divorced him. Totally not the point, I know, but still…

They’ve been talking about selling for a while, but decided to actually do it seemingly overnight. . Apparently the folks assumed we were all going to move together again, into yet another big house, but one we would rent, rather than try to make house payments on. They aren’t too happy that none of us are going along with that plan. Jolene & I have mostly decided that she & I and Max will find a place a together, and that will work, we hope. Mom and Dad will have to find their own place, as will Hattie Jo. Of course, this plan has changed several times, and continues to do so.

If I had the money, and could have my way, I’d get my own place. But that isn’t going to happen. EVER, apparently. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family, I do. But I am sick and tired of living with them. Of being treated as if I’m either not there at all, or if I am there, as if I’m still 14-years-old. My sister doesn’t treat me like a teenager, but neither of us is real considerate of the other. I’d really like to live somewhere where the menu consists of more than pizza and chicken nuggets. I’m going to spend the rest of my life living with others, it seems, living in a place filled with cigarette smoke, video game noises, and fast food. Sounds like living in a college dorm.

I have dreams of my own little flat, decorated just to my specifications, dreams that will never come true. (I am depressing myself.) My Pinterest boards are filled with dream images of this fantasy place– a beautiful bedroom (I have one of those now, really), a bathroom I don’t have to share that is not decorated with cartoon fish, a kitchen not overflowing with plasticware or processed food. Books everywhere, and no Fox News EVER!!  Granted, I am not the most ambitious of people, and it’s quite likely my place wouldn’t be as perfect as I’d hope. But what ever is? Still, I can continue to dream, can’t I?

Looking for a new place to live has caused huge stress for our entire family. If a day goes by without a fight or tears, it’s a wonder. Dad is driving us all crazy, because in his semi-dementia state, he seems to believe that we should be able to just clap our hands, and like Tinkerbell coming back to life, the perfect home will appear. Perhaps, in his world, I’ll be able to do my Bewitched nose twitch and furnish this new home as well. Makes me wonder what happens when the Law & Order doink plays.

We’re looking for new homes, just in time for Christmas. I don’t think Santa is going to bring any of us what we need this year.

Internet · Michele · money · moving · realizations · seizures · Shel

Questions Worth Asking — And Some Answers

A while ago, someone sent me a link to a page entitled ‘25 Beautifully Illustrated Thought-Provoking Questions.’ I glanced at it, thinking “Hey, that’s nifty,” bookmarked it, and went on with my life. Today I stumbled upon it again, and a few of these questions hit me right between the eyes.
The last few weeks have been rough, and I’ve spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. Complaining, whining, bitching, whatever you want to call it, I’ve done them all-in spades. (There is a reason I called this site “Read Between the WHINES!”) Not enough money, bad health, bad weather, too many stupid commercials, nothing good to eat, blah blah blah. The worst thing was, after two-and-a-half years without a seizure, I had a whopper of a fit. Ended up with a huge headache, sore muscles and a nasty bitten tongue. Poor Jonna.
Then, as I was scrolling through these photos today, this question struck me.

Of course, I am aware that others have things much worse than I do. I’ve always been aware of that, but sometimes I forget. When I began having seizures at age 15, I took it in stride, and never made a big deal out of it, partly because my friends didn’t. If my friends had flipped out, I might have, but not one of them did. I’m sure there were people in our small town high school who thought I was a weirdo, but I was not aware of them. My mom always took it the hardest. And when I began seeing specialists at the OHSU Epilepsy Center, and met young people who had never been able to have any kind of normal life because of their seizures, that was reaffirmed. I was able to do almost everything that so-called normal people did: I worked, I had a home, a life. I never had to wear a helmet, or be confined to a wheelchair. For a long time, I even drove! (Looking back at that, I am amazed at how careless I was with others lives!) Many people who have the type of seizures I do (tonic-clonic, formerly referred to as grand mal) often lose control of their bladder and/or bowels during a seizure. I have always been extremely thankful that this has never once happened to me!
So yes, I am aware that others have things much worse, in many areas. I am struggling financially, but what that really means is that I don’t have spending money, and cannot afford to move. I am not homeless, nor will I be; nor am I going hungry. My family is always here for me, and I for them; so many don’t have that. So, I cannot buy a new book, or get a manicure. I have a perfectly good library card, and a drawer full of nail polish. So, I can’t afford that gym membership. I’d probably never go, anyway! I have perfectly good walking shoes, and the neighborhood behind us has sidewalks.

This month I turn forty-five years old, and shortly after that, the anniversary of Michele’s death arrives. I miss her every day. If Shel was anything, she was positive, and she would want me to celebrate what I have, not what I am missing. Somehow, I think finding these pictures was her way of reminding me of that.