Coming soon: a new web address for this blog!

[[[At the end of November I'll be migrating this blog to a new address, which will be:]]]

28 November 2016

and there you have it

I'm officially all moved over to

Anything else I write will be posted there, not here.

Unless I change my mind. Which isn't likely, but even if I did, this would no longer be the top post on the page, would it? So I guess it doesn't matter too awfully much.

Have a lovely day. 

17 November 2016

climbing the valley walls

It was bound to happen. I've been riding the wave of horseriding-excitement for three months.

Every high has its low. Yesterday, I just wasn't feeling it. Life piled up. I'd had three nearly-sleepless nights in a row, I'd worked almost 30 hours in those three days, it was a particularly stressful work week, I was barely keeping up with my homework (thanks to the gracious acceptance of a late assignment by one of my professors), and I'm low on the cash flow this month. So when my alarm went off yesterday morning, I snoozed it for about 30 minutes. Then I got up and drove my kiddo to school, came back home and went back to bed.

I could have stayed in bed all day, comfortably if not happily.

When I could no longer sleep, I still laid in bed, not feeling like moving despite my plans to ride that morning. Eventually, I realized what was happening. I've been maxed out recently, and depression was sinking in. But I know the signs of anhedonia and I wasn't about to let that cycle get a foothold. I forced myself to get out of bed and go to the barn. To be fair, it was a lot easier to keep going once I started, and I was at least happy to be at the barn once I got there.

I had planned to work with Dash on our walk-trot transitions again, but something was off from the moment I got there.

I assumed it was just me and my depression, so I let the awareness just stay on the back burner, not fully ignoring it, but not paying it any attention, either. Then I went about my routine.

Get the tack out of the shed.
Put a treat in my pocket for later.
Grab Dash's halter and lead rope.

Dash seemed quiet when I led him out of the pasture - this is unusual for him.
He does usually stand quietly while tied, though, and this time he started shaking his head. Up and down, repeatedly. There were flies buzzing around; the day was oddly still for our windy autumn season. I got the fly spray out and gave him a good layer. The head tossing stopped. Well, that's that, I thought.

He didn't toss his head when I went to put the bit in his mouth - that's unusual for him. We usually have at least two head tosses before he takes the bit.


All tacked up, he followed me almost meekly to the arena. Again, uncharacteristic. He's usually excited.

As soon as I turned to close the arena gate behind us, the wind picked up.
The wind always makes Dash antsy, but this time he seemed half asleep.

He dragged his feet and half-stumbled several times in our first five minutes in the arena.
I dismounted, concerned. I led him around to see if he looked lame - he wasn't. He perked up a bit while we walked around, and even head-butted me like normal as he followed along behind me. But he was still oddly quiet.

I led Dash back out of the arena, untacked him, and just walked around the yard with him.

The wind was getting ridiculous at this point. I talked to M about Dash's mood and health; she thinks (and she would know) that he's just out of sorts. There are two new horses at the barn and the weather's been changing rapidly lately (cue gust of wind). There was no sign of poor health, but Dash is a worrier. She always keeps a close eye on him, so I'm not really worried, but I felt bad for the big goof ball. He hadn't even asked for a treat until after his saddle was off. That's usually the first thing he communicates to me when I show up.

The weather got weird, then. It was calm but windy and the birds were going crazy. It felt like a storm, but one never came.

I went home pensive.

I took today off. I still didn't feel rested when I woke up, and I just felt crappy. I guessed that Dash and I could both use a day off. I'm going tomorrow, though, even if I don't ride. I can't let the depression win.

I've been coasting on the excitement of getting back to horseback riding. Now, I've reached the low point, but that's okay. I know how to climb up out of the valley.

One day at a time. 

15 November 2016

Banana cake

I did something awesome today. 

The restaurant was crazy busy yesterday and we ran out of almost everything, so I had a lot of things to make this morning. It's also the end of our week in terms of grocery shopping, so the stocks were low in most categories. 

I looked in the fridge this morning to decide what soups to make today and the only veggie we had enough of for a soup were red bell peppers. So I made roasted red bell pepper soup and threw some butternut squash I found in the freezer. (Thanks, Minimalist Baker! You came up in my google search in the wee hours of this morning and saved my day.) For the second soup, I put hard cider in a pot with cheddar cheese, some thyme, a bay leaf infusion, leftover potato leek soup, and an apple I found. 

Those were pretty awesome soups, as it turned out, but the really cool thing was this new cake: 

I didn't have a lot of time this morning, but I did have a yellow cake mix and some bananas...

Here's what ya do: 

Puree a couple of bananas with a little water (I used 2 medium bananas and 1/2 C. water, and ended up with 1 1/2 C. banana puree). 

Throw that puree in a bowl/mixer with: yellow cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, 1/4 C. oil (I used canola), & 3 eggs.

If you're at high elevation like I am, you'll probably want to throw another 1/4 C. flour in there too. 

Mix for about 2 minutes, medium speed. 

Bake your cakes: 30-35 minutes at 350, for my oven. Your measurements may vary. 

*I use the parchment paper method for cakes: cut a round of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of the cake pan, no-stick-spray the bejeebus out of it, and pour the batter in.

I did this one in two 9-inch layers. That gave me a rather squat cake, so if you want a taller cake either increase the recipe or use narrower pans (is 'narrower' the right word? I don't know).

Aaaaand my cakes fell anyway, so I ended up putting a layer of banana slices in the middle of the cake to bolster the middle... which I will be doing from now on because that was AMAZING. 

Oh, chocolate sour cream frosting is the bomb on this cake. I put that in the middle. I also used up the last of my chocolate cream cheese frosting doing the outside and top of the cake. Because yum. 

 I'd show you a picture, but... uh, it was delicious. 

13 November 2016


The other day I posted a link to the 'crane cam' at Whitewater Draw.

But it was late when I posted and the crane cam only showed the night.

I went back to it this morning, out of curiosity.

I watched it, fascinated, for I don't know how long.

This is my new stillness.

Whitewater Draw

prairie grass murmurs

cranes flutter, tumble
and call

Shared with the imaginary garden's real toads.

I wish I knew html well enough to load up that feed on this post, but I don't so you'll have to visit their site.

11 November 2016


This morning Dash and I worked on gait transitions. We're a little rough but I'm getting better about keeping my heels down and staying balanced.

In the afternoon I took Bear (my son) to see that Sandhill Cranes at Whitewater Draw. It's close to our house, an easy trip I often forget is available. The cranes are there in full glory this time of year. This is their winter home. Their presence is a sure sign that summer is over, and winter is near. I'd never seen them before, although Bear had. I had no idea they made such interesting/odd/what-the-heck-is-that sounds. I'd show you a video but apparently I accidentally deleted the one I took. You'll have to take my word for it, except that I don't even know how to describe the sound they made. 

This evening I made two little belt pouches for Bear's yu-gi-oh cards, which are currently his prized possession. They took me forever because I didn't know what I was doing so I basically had to design them as I sewed them. Probably not the best non-plan I've ever had, but it seems to have worked out. I'm pretty happy with them. I'll get pics tomorrow. 

There's something so permanent about cutting and sewing fabric. It always takes me eons to decide what to sew, and out of what fabric, because once I start, that beautiful whole piece of cloth is gone forever. Whatever it becomes had better be worth that loss. 

Hey look, I found a video someone else took:

How would you describe that sound? 

This is cool too. It's a 'crane cam' maintained by the Arizona Game & Fish Department.

(That'll be better viewed during the day...)

10 November 2016

election depression

I'm still struggling to put my thoughts into words.

I woke up late Wednesday morning. Somehow my phone had turned itself off during the night - even though it was on the charger, so the battery was not dead - which meant my alarm didn't go off. I woke up half an hour after my son's school started. He had slept through his alarm (but he does that every day lately).

Even so, I couldn't hurry. I made him breakfast. He got ready for school. We drove there quietly. I went to the office with him, to sign him in. On the sign in sheet, three names up, somebody's parent had given "election depression" as the reason for tardiness.

I thought, "yeah, that's exactly right," but I didn't want to seem like a copycat so I just left that box blank.

I had planned to go riding, like I do pretty much every Wednesday, but the wind was pretty vicious and when I texted M she said the wind was so bad at her place that she didn't think it was safe to ride. So I stayed home. I played Baldur's Gate on my computer. I looked up recipes. At one point my boss texted me to complain about the frosting I'd used on a cake Tuesday. The frosting was too thin; I'd ended up having to pour it on the cake. It was her recipe, and I'd added more than three times the amount of powdered sugar to it, trying to get it to thicken, but it just wouldn't thicken. I ignored those texts. I told myself to do some homework, but I didn't do that. I couldn't do that - it was too hard to focus on mental tasks. In the evening I sewed a new scarf while watching Project Runway with my son and husband. It's our shared guilty pleasure. My boss texted me again before I went to bed, asking me to come in an hour earlier today. I slept as though I'd worked the whole day.

I don't normally work on Thursdays, but my boss had asked me to cover for her so she could do a catering event.

I got up this morning feeling mostly rested, if not restful. I told my boss I'd try to get there at the earlier time. Then I went riding.

It was windy as hell, still, but not dangerously so.

Dash is always spooky when it's windy, and I didn't have as much time as I'd wanted, but we managed to accomplish something awesome despite that: Dash trotted for about six consecutive strides, twice.

I know, I know. That sounds... like a thing all horses can do.
Dash hates trotting. He has two speeds: walk and canter. I hadn't actually gotten him to trot before today, but I can tell you that his canter is so ridiculously bumpy that I have a hell of time riding it. I assumed his trot would be equally bouncy.
But today, four of those strides were actually smooth. It almost felt like a jog. And and I got him to move between speeds - like going from a slow walk to a fast walk without breaking out into a canter. I was so damn happy I didn't even mind that we had to cut our time short to accommodate my boss. Well, I didn't mind horribly I mean.

One of these days I'll get video of Dash's gaits. I've never felt so much vertical movement in a horse's canter before. It's like flying lead changes but not.

Also, I've learned that keeping those heels way down is probably the most important thing I have to learn about riding Dash.

That's my focus right now.

On Saturday I'm going to a protest.
Next week I'm hosting a comfort food party at my house.
But right now, I'm riding my horse.
It's the best I can do.

01 November 2016

changing things up

You may have noticed several posts posting at once, despite their varied dates of publication... I started a new blog, then decided to move it all over here and just continue this blog in a new format.

I don't know if that makes as much sense as it did when I was thinking it rather than saying it.

Anyway, I'm writing again.
My life's a lot different than it was last spring - in a good way.

Over the next few weeks or so I'm going to be making changes to this blog's appearance and structure.

I am considering changing the address. I'll give you plenty of heads up if I decide to do so.

/to new beginnings/

26 October 2016

A little morning relaxation

Guess who got to go riding this morning!
Oh yea.

I could tell he was calming down when he started sticking out his tongue...

This is the first ride Dash and I have had without his owner/trainer (who's also my teacher...let's call her M) nearby. He was a little anxious not having her around, but he didn't act up. He just walked v e r y  s l o w l y. ...Which means he walked like a normal horse and not like his hyper self. He absolutely did not want to go near that fence you can see behind us on the right side of the picture, but I didn't push it today. They've just changed that part of the fence and it looks totally different now than it did a week ago. He never likes that part of the fence anyway (there are dogs on the other side, and a flag, which was flapping in the wind like crazy today). He'll get used to it, but getting used to riding without M around was a big enough deal for one day. 

See, M rescued Dash a few years ago from a pretty bad situation, and she has become something of a security blanket for him. Maybe it's because she rescued him, or maybe it's because she's been there with him every day for the past few years and those days have been pretty good. Either way, he feels safe with her around, and less so without her. He's also a natural worrier so that probably doesn't help.

Surprisingly, not having her there didn't bother me as much as it usually would have. Not that it would bother me to ride without her, but it would bother me to be on another person's property without them. And also to ride their horse without them. We've been working up to this though, and I had a security blanket of my own there with me: my husband, who took that picture. He makes me feel safe the way M makes Dash feel safe. 

Dash did relax after ten or maybe fifteen minutes. He even picked up his speed and lowered his head - both good signs. I didn't ride long, maybe half an hour. I really just wanted to get him to relax and feel comfortable, then end it on a good note and avoid overstressing him. 

This horse is the biggest goofball. I love him and his crazy personality already. The best part is, he's teaching me how to earn his trust. There's nothing better in the world than that. 

25 October 2016

How I met Dash

Lemme back up and fill you in a little.

I grew up with horses, but I had to leave that world behind when I left my father's house.

I bought a horse when I got out of the Army and got a job as a contractor making pretty good money. He was a retired ranch horse with a brand I never was able to identify. I called him Duke. He was big and red and mellow and I loved the hell out of him. Then I got laid off and I couldn't afford to feed him, so I found him a new home. I miss him every day.

My 35th birthday was a couple months ago, about a week or so after the summer Olympics. This year my finances are looking up, and I had just watched every single Olympic equestrian event when my birthday came around. Most years, if I get myself a present at all, it's something like a new pair of jeans because all my old ones have holes. This year, I realized that I could sustain the cost of riding lessons.

So I asked about instructors on the local horsey facebook page. I made a list and met several great people willing and able to teach me. I decided on a riding school run by a woman with a more casual, laid back way of doing things. I liked her no-bs way of talking. I tend to take people at their word, so if you're saying something just to be polite, there's a good chance I won't realize that. I don't worry about that with her. She's direct, and that's what I need in a teacher.

The lesson horse is a cute little mustang named Bella. Bella's a little on the lazy side, but easy to ride and I got comfortable on her quickly.

At my third lesson, the instructor told me she thought I was a capable enough rider to try riding Dash. Most people, she told me, are intimidated by his size. Dash is about the same height I remember Duke being, but not quite as thick. And, she continued, Dash is proud cut, so some people are afraid of him just because of that, but - she assured me - he's really a good boy.

Maybe I'm too trusting, but I hopped on Dash.
Literally, because he likes to step out if you take too long to get into the saddle.

That first ride was bumpy. He definitely wanted to go faster than I did, but he slowed back down when I asked and other than being antsy, he really was pretty well mannered.

I'd been up on Dash maybe twenty minutes when the instructor said, "Well, you're not in the dirt - he must like you!" That did not boost my confidence. But I knew we were right for each other when I realized that Dash was tensing up in response to me tensing up. If I was calm, he was calm. He's a sensitive guy, the instructor told me.

I may be terrible at knowing when I'm anxious, but Dash isn't, and he has let me know from our very first ride. 

21 October 2016


Having depression and anxiety means constantly saying you're sorry.

I'm sorry I didn't send that email, even though I knew I had to and it would have been easy.
I'm sorry I didn't finish my homework on time, even though I had all the time and resources I needed. No, I don't have a doctor's note.
I'm sorry I didn't call.
I'm sorry I didn't text.
I'm sorry I didn't turn in that document, the one they need in order to pay me for my work.
I'm sorry I didn't pay the bills, even though I had the money.
I'm sorry I didn't do the thing. Or any of the things. Not even the easy things.

But hey, at least I didn't die.

20 October 2016

Biscuits & history.

Today I made biscuits and looked for a dead man in the 1910 census. I found him in the voter registration records. Not in that order though - the biscuits came later, with creamed beef.

...Because I'm a research librarian/docent at our local museum, and people come looking for information about their ancestors just about daily. Then I got a craving for biscuits and gravy but didn't have any stock, so I made creamed beef instead.

The biscuits turned out fine, but I am not using that recipe for creamed beef again. It was bland at best and gross at worst. I'll let you know when I find something better. 

Trust me.

I love Wednesdays. They're basically my Saturdays, because they're my first day off work every week. The restaurant is closed, so I can't even be called in (or at least it's extremely unlikely), and I don't schedule things on Wednesdays if I can help it. And my kiddo is in school, so as soon as I drop him off I'm free for hours.

Which means that as soon as I drop him off, I head over to the riding academy.

Now, every time I've been there, I've ridden with Dash's owner, who rides one of her other horses (usually Dash's bff/almost twin, Santana). Today was different. The owner, M, wanted to see how Dash would do if he couldn't see her. He has given other riders problems in those scenarios in the past. So I tacked him up, got him into the arena, and hopped on.

Dash was obviously uncertain of the situation. He was tense and a little spooky, but he came back to me every time I gave him an instruction. After what might have been fifteen or twenty minutes, he started to calm down. As soon as I felt like he was calm, he was listening to me and not looking for M or spooking, I ended our ride, gave him extra treats and a hose-down (which he loves, especially on hot days like today).


Dash and I are learning to communicate with each other. He's learning to trust me, and I'm learning to earn his trust - and to trust him in return. We're going slow, for his sake and for mine, but every time I ride it seems like we do one thing better than the time before.

It's so damn exciting I can hardly stand myself.

That's what I thought of as I was scrolling through my blog feed and came across this prompt.

18 October 2016

Chunky Artichoke Mushroom Soup

I totally should have taken a picture.

I realize this now.

But now I'm home, it's dark out, and all the soup has been eaten already.
So it's too late for pictures.

You'll just have to take my word for it. I made an awesome soup today:

Here’s what you’ll want to have on hand:
1. Potatoes – I used 3 medium russets.
2. Olive oil – IDK, how much is a splash?
3. Onion – I like yellow or white for this soup, but I bet leeks would be good too.
4. Garlic – I like the pre-minced kind because I go through garlic like Sherman through Georgia (as my boss would say).
5. Thyme – maybe a tablespoon?
6. Salt & pepper – I sprinkle enough to give the bottom of the pan a sparse but even layer.
7. Veggie base – this is optional. I just added a large spoonful.
8. Water – lots. Preferably preheated, but not necessarily.
9. Mushrooms – I used 2-3 cups’ worth.
10. Artichokes – I use canned (there I said it). It’s a really big can. We’re talking like gallon-of-milk sized.
11. A blender. No really.
12. A lemon, but only for its juice so you could also just get about a quarter cup of lemon juice, but not the processed kind because that’s gross.
13. Spinach. There’s no such thing as too much. I threw in 3 overflowing handfuls. You could also use kale. It’s surprisingly good – dareIsay: kale is even better than spinach in this particular soup.

Here’s the process:
Peel and slice some potatoes. You can cut them however you want. I just slice them because it’s fast to do and they cook faster if they’re thin. They’re going to get liquefied anyway.

Sauté some onions and garlic in olive oil.
Throw in some thyme, along with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Toss in the potatoes and immediately add just enough water to cover them.
You can add some base if you want it, too.
Cover. Turn that sucker up and let it boil.

Meanwhile, slice up some mushrooms and prep your artichokes.
In my case, prepping the artichokes involved opening the can and casually draining it.
When the potatoes are soft, add just a few of your artichokes.
Cook all that for a few more minutes, then puree your soup in that blender (or I suppose you could use an immersion blender).

Put your puree right back in the same pot (unless you used an immersion blender, then nevermind).
Add the rest of your artichokes, all those sliced mushrooms, and a lemon’s worth of lemon juice.
Cover all the new veggies with more water and let it all simmer til tasty, maybe 15 minutes or so.
You can boil some water in a teapot while you’re waiting.

Turn the heat off when your veggies are cooked, then stir your spinach or kale in, dump some of that boiling water from your teapot in there and cover that pot back up. (This is where I just put in enough water to get the juice-to-stuff ratio where I like for soups.) Give it a couple minutes, then eat. 

As written, this recipe happens to be gluten-free and vegan, but if you wanted it meatier you could totally add cooked chicken to it and it would be amazing. You could also replace the veggie base with chicken base.

*"Base" is basically just condensed stock. If you don't have veggie or chicken base, just use stock in place of both the base and the water. You won't want to add water if you use stock! Or you could just leave it out entirely.

Now, keep in mind that I'm making food for a lunch service at a restaurant. This'll make a big batch. I don't know how many servings exactly, but it's a big ol' pot. You should probably scale this down if you're not trying to serve half the town or have leftovers for weeks.

17 October 2016

Coming home.

I've been trying to get home for a long time.
The thing is, I seem to have lost track of where 'home' is... or do I mean where it was?
Home wasn't where I'd left it. I even went back and looked at the last place I remember seeing it - it wasn't there, either.

Have you ever gotten lost in the woods? My home used to be a place with woods. When I was a kid I used to go out to "the woodlot" and leave the trail behind. I always thought I'd be able to find my way back using landmarks - this tree that had that funny looking branch, or the rock that was sticking out from under those particular two tufts of ...whatever that plant was. That never worked. What did work was picking a direction and sticking to it. Eventually I would come to the fence that wrapped around two sides of the woods, or the road that bordered another side, or our front pasture on the last side. From there I could find my way back.

That's where I left home: in western New York, on 155 acres of pastures, streams, and woods; with a small herd of horses, some cattle, and a colony of barn cats. I was 17. I was too disillusioned and too self-centered to stay, and the woodlot wasn't enough to distract me anymore.

I led a lot of lives, followed a hundred rabbit trails and noted the passing of at least a dozen landmarks that I'll never see again. Then, when the sun sank and the skies rumbled, I started to look for home. For the last few years, I've been sticking to one direction: up.

I don't know exactly what home will look like when I get there, but I know I've seen the borders. There's my husband and my son wrapping around two sides; there's the road lined with gardens, recipes, paintbrushes, and books; there's the pasture in front, with the horse, saddled and waiting to race me home. 

27 July 2016

a book review: The Hermit, by Monica Friedman

I don't have many words for how deeply this story touched me, but I can tell you how it did so:

The characters are people first; they are individuals, not the named trait-collections one finds in some books. These characters have their own voices that are not dictated by the stereotypes attached to them. Men experience sadness; women experience anger; children can be calm; adults can be playful. There is no watering down of a smart character's vocabulary, no fluffing up of the simpler characters' vocabulary. There is never a time when the characters experience only one emotion. They're all too human for that.

It is also true that these characters are archetypes in the fairy tale Friedman weaves. It's a fairy tale about humanity, despite the greater number of animals than humans in the cast. I felt connected to the characters as people, no matter their species.

I could hear the author's voice in this story. It was strong, consistent, and clear. I could also hear the voices of the characters, for the reasons I've already mentioned. And, I could hear my own story in their voices. I cried when I saw my voice in a character's pain; when I saw, finally, how that pain came to be; when I saw how much of our pain is our own creation. I cried again when I was reminded that there's still hope - there will always be hope, and a choice.

This story is everything a fairy tale should be: it reflects us with almost obscene clarity at our best, and at our worst, and it shows us a path through the dark.

I will read this many times, whenever I need to hear it again.

14 June 2016

on Depression

I know why I like music so much: It makes me feel something.

Depression sucks all the color out of experiences. Depression is apathy, it is lethargic, it is inertia. In the grip of depression, I feel nothing. I feel no hate, no anger, no love, no pleasure. Nothing.

Music lends me emotions. I borrow them until I can feel my own. 

Depression has led me to allow a lot of abuse in my life. It kept me from leaving an emotionally abusive ex-husband. Eventually he left me. I filed for divorce two years after he said goodbye. Depression kept me from fighting that rapist; I was emotionally paralyzed, mentally separated from my body; nothing mattered. 

Depression has prohibited me from expressing emotion, because I had none to express.

Is emotion the primary source of human motivation? You'd think so if you could watch the reel of my life. I never accomplished much that I wanted to accomplish. My ambitions have been stymied by involuntary inertia.

Depression has kept me from laughing at my son's jokes. It has kept me from hugging my husband back when he comforts me. Later, these memories fuel the guilt-laden loneliness that precedes a new cycle of apathy. 

I understand the appeal of masochism: when your emotions are blank, physical pain is a blessing because it's reassuring to know you can still feel something

Depression is mental paralysis. 

28 January 2016

in which my entire life changes

Been a while, eh?
A lot has happened.
As you might imagine.
But it has all happened within the past few days.

Turns out, I'm not as good a student as I've always thought I was.
I blame my mother.
She always told me I was a good student. I wasn't.
In grade school I was more interested in other things.
I did well in art class. My high school art teacher told me I was the only student to develop their own personal style. It was reminiscent of Edvard Munch, he said.
I liked band, too, and did well there, though I never practiced my instrument enough to excel. The excuse was that I couldn't take it home (I played mallet percussion) but really that wouldn't have mattered. I wasn't a practicer.
I aced most tests but I almost never did my homework.

I learned to do homework in college.

And now I'm back in college - grad school - which is why I haven't been here on the blog much. My brain has been filled with nuances of American History (those Pinkertons - whew!) and teasing out the valid data from an uninvolved psychology professor. It hasn't left much room for contemplation.

I still thought I was a good student until my Mom mailed me my old report cards. I don't know why she did that, but she did. Maybe she was cleaning out the attic. Anyway, now I remember all the "She could do better" and "doesn't turn in homework" comments.

And lately I've been leaning more toward creating (anything really) than writing reports.
It made me seriously reconsider grad school.

Something else has been happening. It's been in the works a good long time.

It's big:
I got my disability rating from the VA.

This changes everything. EVERY. THING.

I have medical care for life now.
Medical care for life.

And I have a retirement now.

I have a retirement.

I mean, holy shit.

I hadn't even realized I was concerned about that until the concern was resolved. Suddenly, I can do things with my life that don't involve a struggle. There will still be struggles. Like getting out of bed in the morning - that rating ain't for nothing, after all - but there will be at least some things that won't be a struggle.

I can stop trying to fit my broke ass into some sort of corporate-leads-to-retirement-income position and just fucking live.

...I don't even know what that would look like.

I have to think about this.