Writer’s anxiety

Yellow shrimp plant

Yellow shrimp plant

My current life and the geopolitical world have left me lost for words. I have been feeling anxious about everything, which is part of my diagnosis, and nightmares have exhausted me. There is a short break before I start the Super Bowl work then I will stop feeling anxious because of focus and tiredness. Sometimes writing lifts me up or helps ease anxiety but despite taking more medication, I am like a cat on a hot tin roof, yawning with insomnia.


I have peppered this short post with some final photos from Puerto Vallarta – just to take the edge of my writing. I work alongside people who have immigrated from Iran and Iraq and wonder if their American dream feels as ephemeral as mine. Even at the shops, people are talking in hushed tones about executive orders and I don’t know if they feel happy or afraid. When we went to Puerto Vallarta, we were seriously considering a retirement home somewhere in Mexico but now I doubt that they would want us. Do you think I have enough Mexican ancestors to request entry? Should I print out my Ancestry family tree?


Almost every week I soothe people whose relatives have been detained at immigration. It is usually something relatively minor such as an incorrect visa or a similar name. We were stuck in Egypt until the very last minute, whilst my husband’s employer desperately tried to get a work visa for him to go to the USA. I remember being at the airport in Cairo, wondering if they were going to accept our cats’ paperwork or my husband’s. I have an American passport, so I could go anytime. Nonetheless, it was terrifying, especially since it was during Gulf War II.


I can support passengers and myself by being as helpful as always. A smile can work wonders, for the recipient and the person feeling depressed.


What do you do when sleeping?

cartoon cat sleeping

I woke up the other week and I thought we were having an earthquake in Houston. Have they started fracking here? The bed was shaking and I looked over to Teddy who was fast asleep but having fun all by himself… I nearly burst out laughing, then thought about joining in but decided to go back to sleep. I bet he wasn’t thinking about me – Jennifer Lawrence, perhaps? This has happened before but he has no memory. Most commonly he wakes me up with his impersonation of a snoring bear.

When we first got married, I sleep walked on one occasion and often mumbled in my sleep. One night, I got up, washed and dressed – ready to go out to work at 2 pm. I would have gone had I not realized that it was silent and pitch black. When I was a child I could not sleep without a light on and a thumb in my mouth. I shared a bed with my single mum and she was driven to distraction by all the soft toys she had to eject just to get into bed. I started having horrible nightmares when I was less than five years about witches crawling up the wall. I still have dreams almost every night but they are more like disturbing reality. My mum used to wake up the whole house, screaming, after horrific nightmares. I suspect that is a side effect of a similar diagnosis and medication that we take.

My poor little crazy cat, Zhenny, will often wake up after a nightmare, hiss and fall out of the laundry basket onto the washer. She starts to cry and has to be comforted by mum or dad. Sometimes she falls into a deep sleep while on my lap and will have a falling off a cliff shudder and wake herself – bless her heart. She chose the right family to live with.

I rarely have erotic dreams but when I do, it is always forbidden and surreal. My dreams are in color but they are either muted pastels or gloomy. I have several recurring dreams that all revolve around a house or area that we used to live in. It is always something unpleasant, like living back in Egypt or England. The houses are surreal but bear some resemblances to previous houses. Despite this, I have the capacity to sleep right through a hurricane or recently a tornado storm. This will only make sense to fans of the Walking Dead, but recently Teddy woke up after a nightmare and ran to get a cuddle from me. Apparently I had a shotgun and told him to “look at the flowers”. I wonder if I was wearing a twin-suit? I told him if he keeps shaking the bed it might be prophetic….

This morning I was dreaming of having illicit sex with my first boyfriend (I never did). It was very realistic until I realized that yet again the bed was shaking… LOL!

Widower at Trader Joe


Bunny and Teddy signing the wedding registry in 1982, Our bridesmaid and best man married each other and are still together.

Last night I had endless horrible nightmares. This was because I accidentally noticed a job advertised that was perfect for me. It was a low wage but had excellent benefits. There were two problems – it was full-time and in downtown Houston which is about 40 miles away in frenetic driving conditions. Nevertheless, I was thinking seriously about it after I had investigated the cost of health care. I know exactly what my psychiatrist would have said – Noooooo!

So, before we went to bed we had a normal marital fracas. I thought he was already in the master bathroom but he had gone to pick up his notebook in the study. As I had turned all the lights off, he accidentally kicked our very sensitive baby cat in the dark. He blamed me, I started fecking about how stupid he was and we went to bed in bad humor with baby cat sleeping under the spare bed. I was so angry and wanted to go sleep with baby cat in the spare bedroom but knew that Teddy would have been so upset.

The nightmare was a variation on a recurring dream. As usual, I had not completed my equivalent of an Associate’s degree and was struggling to sit the final exam with one day’s notice. In reality I passed it all (in 1980) with no problem whatsoever and have endless other useless qualifications and experience (counselling skills, training for trainers, blah, blah). I woke up terrified at 6 am, worried that I was not going to have a business major and there would be a zombie apocalypse. I ran into the living room where Teddy was starting to feed the cats and ran into his arms. He asked me what was wrong but I was too traumatized to have words yet. He apologized for being grumpy the night before and life went back to some kind of normal.

Then I met with some other volunteers for our regular lunch and life was put back into perspective with someone else’s ill health. On the return journey an 18 wheeler truck tried to take me out on the interstate and yet again perspective was realized. I knew in that moment that someone who was made anxious by lunch, had neuropathy after a 45 minute drive for something pleasant, in slow traffic, could never manage a downtown job with a 2 hour drive both ways.

I asked Teddy if he would like to go to Chilli’s for a meal so we went this evening and had a lovely time discussing when we wanted to die. At the moment, 75 is my limit and I really mean that. He worried that his middle-aged forgetfulness was early onset Alzheimer’s and I reassured him that I would ‘take him out’. After that he wanted some chocolate so we went to Trader Joe’s. We stocked up on cheap wine, Peruvian giant corn and chocolate and went to the till. Our sales assistant, Ricardo, was new to me – I know everyone there.

Teddy attempted to pay the old way with a swipe of the credit card but Trader Joe is all set up for the chip, so you have to insert it. I tutted at his inexperience and explained to Ricardo that he wasn’t used to shopping, with a laugh. Ricardo asked how long we had been married and I told him 33 years. He remarked that we had an easy way with each other that only long married couples had. I asked him how long he had been married and he said, “She passed after 30 years”. My eyes filled with tears and we chatted about whether he was ready to meet someone else. Of course, I offered to find him someone and told him he was very handsome. When we left the store I nearly fell apart with the sadness of that and once again I realized how very lucky I was.  Count your blessings.