Friday, February 20, 2015

Camp Widow: One Day Arriving, One Day Crying, One Day Laughing: Part the First

Camp Widow: One Day Arriving, One Day Crying, One Day Laughing
Part the First: One Day Arriving

To explain the giant omnibus title there, this was originally envisioned as one post, and then I realized it was at least three. But the title is a good summary of my Camp Widow experience: one day arriving (Thursday), one day crying (Friday), one day laughing (Saturday).

One day arriving. It all came together at the last minute.My hotel was covered by an angel walking among us. It was possible. I had barely enough to cover spending money/food/incidentals/airport fees to and from, but just enough. Also, because I apparently like to double-complicate matters for myself, (Not on purpose! Just booking at 2 am and....Herp Derp, Widda Brain!) I managed to book a flight into Sarasota instead of a flight into Tampa, which turned out to be a scenic hour's drive away. All very well and good, in the 'taking in the scenery' sense. Not so great in the 'I have two roommates waiting for me at the other airport' sense.

I got a ride from home at 5 am, bleary-eyed. Flight left at 7:50 am, boarded at 7:30 am. By some miracle, I got waved through to the easy TSA line, even though I didn't pay extra money for it. (God knows I can't!) Even taking off shoes was optional in that line. No newfangled scanner, no riffing through bags...simple. Window seat, lovely view, all the way to Charlotte. Ditto, though with smaller plane, to Sarasota, where I sat next to a very chatty, very nice guy who was literally named Attila the Hun(garian) and pastored a Sarasota Hungarian Protestant Church. I told him why I was going to Tampa and about Camp Widow and he seemed interested in it, and in SSLF, as a resource for his church congregation, which includes an unusually high number of widow/ers, due to their age. I hope Camp Widow Tampa gets some Hungarians from Sarasota there for a day trip next year thanks to me! :)

I took a rental car from Sarasota's airport, which is adorable and tiny, to Tampa's airport, which is ginormous and manages to have duplicates of the rental car stations in both the red and blue loading/unloading areas. (Cue the requisite joke from "Airplane.") Not that I turned out to need the rental car place on arrival--I got a receipt on car delivery and was set--but I told C. and P. I'd meet them at the rental car place and then I was running round creation trying to find them. May I also note that I'd never rented a car before and this was super-exciting and fun for me? It was easy to find my cut l'il red car in Sarasota's 'International' Aiport. "Go to number 10." I think it only went up to 12. In Tampa there was an entire parking garage with hundreds of vehicles.

Anyhow, eventually, I found my awesome friend widows C. and P., who I'd been corresponding with online for most of the five years we'd all been widowed. (Seriously, we are all at year five.) The difference is that both of them have been at multiple Camp Widows and this was my very first one. I recognized them both by description and by their Camp Widow t-shirts, which I wanted right then and there, knowing full well that this was the Camp that they weren't giving out free t-shirts but free notebooks. (Like I need a free notebook. Pshaw.) But I digress...These two ladies, my roommates, were women I'd known online for years, but I'd never before met in Real Life. It's so different meeting somebody you've only known online in meatspace. It adds a new dimension.

Also, I had the funny experience of finding out that my Hira/almost real FB name firewall has been so effective that even people who are friends with both me-as-Hira and me-as-real name on FB can think I'm two different people. I suspect it's because 'Hira' lets her hair down and tells it how it is, and even cusses occasionally, whereas real name FB-me is more buttoned down? Perhaps. Perhaps because I've been careful to ensure the twin never met? At any rate, P. didn't understand why she'd been hearing from both FB-me's about meeting her in Tampa. Mystery solved! And then I found out folks had been calling me Hy-ra instead of Hee-ra. ::Facepalm:: Yeah, probably best that I explain that...

So that first night, we all went down to the Champions Lounge, which is in the lobby area of the hotel, and chatted with the huge bunch of widow/ers there (in two places). I had a mojito and bbq sliders. Then I went with P. and our new friend R. from Canada to Publix, the grocery store, since I'd just found out it was 'lunch on your own' and I had to make things stretch for breakfast and dinner. I didn't realize yet that breakfast would be provided downstairs, so it was mostly lunch that would be problematic. I got breakfast things, lunch things, and some seltzer water that served me well.

After that, P. and I ran into C. in our room. She had just been in the hot tub. P. wasn't prepared to get into the water, but I changed into my bathing suit and met up with the smallish crowd of our CW tribe that had gathered in the hot tub to kvetch, kvell, connect, and laugh. I had a great time. P. left before I did. The rest of us went downstairs to pester widowblogger/internet celebrity Kelley Lynn, who was hard at work on her blog post. We took two selfies which rock in their utter randomness. (That is the True Nature of Selfie.)

And the morning and the evening was the first day...

Monday, February 2, 2015

All registered up for Camp Widow Tampa...

Welp. I've done it. I requested (and got!) a campership for Camp Widow East in Tampa, Florida, which starts next Thursday--well, technically, next Friday, but people start arriving Thursday. I have registered for workshops. It is starting to feel real.

I almost did this two years ago but it fell through at the last minute because I was scheduled to work a night shift at the hospital the night before I was supposed to drive down (it was in SC then), and I was doing things even more last minute then.

I just have to find a way to get myself down there in time. One way or another. I am terrified of screwing this thing up.
You'd think I'd be happy...but no. There's the PTSD again, screaming "PANIC! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC!" I'm so tired of it. No wonder I've forgotten how to sleep.

Lord, how I hope this thing works out. I'm dying to go down there and meet my tribe. Finally meet my friends that I've conversed with on blogs and Facebook and generally online for the past five years. I have five years of hugs and tears saved up. Probably other emotions too.
Self-care! In CPE we always talk about self-care. This trip is the ultimate in self-care.
Lord, how I need this thing.

Oh, right. Some background. Camp Widow is the genius brainchild of this nonprofit group*, the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation, designed to help widowed people. There are workshops designed around the needs of specific widowed groups. I signed up for a workshop for unwedded widows (yay! it exists now!), for widows with no children, and one for widows of sudden loss. (There are more but I'm not posting my entire schedule here as of this moment.)
*Said nonprofit group is the genius brainchild of genius Michele Neff Hernandez, founder/dynamo/amazing person.

Tired wired cannot sleep
Glamis hath murdered sleep
Still it cried, “Sleep no more!” to all the house.
“Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor
Shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more.”
But get the memo, sleep:
I ain't Macbeth
Or Lady Macbeth
Gimme some of that
Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Masquerade

We all wear masks Hi, I'm fine At 20 paces Smile and nod You're doing fine They all think You're genuine We all wear masks So no one's prying Your trompe l'oeil It looks so real It works if they Can't see you crying And here's the deal: This thing ain't lying You can't be real And still survive No one gets out Of here alive Careful, dance The masquerade Bow and curtsy, Take your place Step into The self you've made Never let them See your face. (written 1/28/2015)

Darkness, my old frenemy

Darkness, my old frenemy, You've come to shadow-box with me: I shall not let you win today, I'll never let you win.
With the abyss you'll threaten me, Make all my senses dead to me, You will not wrest my faith from me Into your rictus grin.
Despair, for all you harry me Bully, harass, and sally me I'll never let you carry me To regions dark and grim
You tempt me with that last cravasse Where woes and troubles are all past I know it is an Auschwitz gas, And a poisoned web you spin.
You monstrous spider sucking light, You ghastly thing begetting fright, You servant of the things of night, I'll never let you win. (written 1/28/2015)

Ode to a Migraine

(from 1/26)

My brain is a barometer
Expanding like a balloon
Ow ow ow dammit
Stupid migraine
I don't need a brain-barometer
I have an app for that
Also an old-school barometer
My head's in a vise
You might surmise
It's no surprise
I hate it
Stupid migraine
Barometer balloon vise
In my brain
Make it stop dammit.

Well, I'm back.

I guess I might as well cross-post here and at WordPress, since there's no point getting rid of the WordPress blog I went to so much trouble setting up. But all the traffic goes here.

I got rid of all my widgets; hopefully that should get rid of the "You have evil Russian spam" problem.

Where have I been for two years? Oy. That's a long story. I reckon I'll start at now and work backwards.