State of the Turtle

Dear Riverchild Friends — the state of the turtle: (Alice Turtle Robb)

Blogging again. Now! okay, good. I stopped in May, thinking it would be a brief rest. A breath.

Then, life hit like an avalanche. My rock girl friend moved away and had a mental breakdown for a while, again. So we fought all summer, like we always do in the crazy times, and by now we’ve made up, again, as we always do. In retrospect, I see that life started slipping sideways that spring night she and I worked until 3 in the morning, two 60-ish women loading her whole disheveled senior high-rise apartment into the rental truck. Pushing through exhaustion to what was, at the time, a rush, feeling young and strong there among her elder neighbors. When you’ve known someone since you were thirteen, you can be young with them. The other tenants, especially the guys, apologized for not helping. They advised, geezer-style.

So, the last half of 2015 was that kind of bad storm – my dog died, and there were hard elder friend losses, including my dog’s best pal. Also, I was ill. Gall bladder surgery. One of my sisters had a big life heartache, my heart all with her. Large difficult decisions in my faith and work communities required big commitments of head and heart, time and energy. My mother’s health continues to be unpredictable, but she is well enough to move to an assisted living community where more of her social and emotional needs can be met. This will allow me to freely occupy and open my home, which will help me to meet my basic emotional and practical needs.

In May, I was saying “I live with my mother.” Or, “she lives with me. We live together.”

Today, having caught my breath, I say “I share a house with my mother.” To you, dear Riverchild folk, I will add “I live in my cave.” Being a cohabitant family caregiver has ruined my friendship with my mother. Figuring that out was a roller coaster. Now, I recognize it as something I’ve often seen in other families in my twenty years as a professional caregiver. I can’t believe how hard this was to see. I have helped people with these things forever, but I could not help myself. I tried adding a housemate; this was a temporary improvement but eventually just illuminated and aggravated the problems to a breaking point. Living separately, I suspect she and I will become friends again, (instead of me feeling, as I said to a friend recently, “like her fucking maid.”)

BLESSINGS upon all of you personally present to carry me through that! I should say, through this, so far. Stand by, PLEASE.

So, that was 2015 – a wild exploding spiral of time, up and down and knots and cuts. At some point when I got dead-down lost, I was reminded of the practice of centering. Turtling in. I’ve renewed one of my practices from the 1900’s, the Friday peace vigil. It is my worship. And, now I mostly live in a space in my garage that is sweetly similar to how I lived in my bus, parked near shared houses. I have my little writing cave, space heaters and a microwave, rain on a metal roof, a cool dark room, my best fit bed. Bliss enough for now.

my girl cave

my girl cave

Bottom line, I’ve been having a tough time, but, all is well, BECAUSE I AM WRITING!! Wrote a new story. I might post it here. Working gloriously on the Nessa Allen comedian novel, again, yes, but wow, it is roaring! This time around, it’s kind of like doing improv, it is creating itself. Yes, and! my writer friends are perfect.

More, later. I’ve missed blogging! I need to redesign the website. I have stories to push this direction. For example, re-discovering the musician song-writer Steve Forbert.   “All ears may listen for free.”  And, all eyes may read, on me.  Truth. It’s an artist thing.  Welcome aboard, again.


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