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I don't have a particularly good memory for events. I will remember that I went somewhere and did something and enjoyed myself, but afterwards the details blur together awfully quickly until all I really have left is a kind of zeitgeist. I spent four years in high school and can barely remember ten minutes of it. I don't think this makes me unusual, but I'm certainly on the "poor" end of this spectrum.

So photographs are especially meaningful to me. They're not just reminders; they give me back something I've lost.

Now, I just had a small wave of nostalgia and tried to find, on the internet, some pictures of nodermeets I've been to; pictures that other people took, pictures I remember fondly but was too foolish to save for myself. Pictures of frisbee, cricket, and Pimm's in Hyde Park, mooching about in Edinburgh, my longest pub crawl ever, being swung in a circle 80 meters above Copenhagen, even my first ever nodermeet (at which someone actually captured the moment I first arrived, dressed atrociously and wearing a suitably awed expression).

They're all gone. A few Copenhagen pictures remain, including the all-time classic Impossible Copenhagen Nodermeet Panorama. Some of the noders in question are still around, and the pictures probably still exist somewhere so I am perhaps being a tad melodramatic. And yet, they were there. Now they're not there. Realistically, even if I made a nuisance of myself, I'm not going to track all of them down. It's hard not to feel as if I've irretrievably lost a part of myself.

On a positive note, it's an E2 tradition to node nodermeets. So (some) of these wonderful events aren't completely lost to time. An especial shoutout goes to sam512 who was present at most of these and whose comprehensive logs are, in some ways, even better than the pictures.

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I can't believe I took the time to write this instead of my MSc thesis proposal this evening. But E2 is in the air, somehow. Catbox numbers are up. Old faces have shown up again. New writeups is looking fresh. It must, surely, be time for another nodermeet soon?

I almost typed 2017, but I caught myself. Today I've been cleaning and organizing. One of the things I've done which helps me when I remember to keep doing it is to keep an ongoing list of things I want/need to buy. I have a red mop bucket, but I really need another so I can keep the clean water separate from the nasty dirtiness that accumulates on the end of the mop. Speaking of my mop I'm disappointed by the head. It's the Mister Clean model, I debated about getting the traditional rag mop style, but thought that I would give this a try because of the neat wringer at the end. What I really need is a squeegee, but those are considerably more expensive so I'll have to save up if that's on my wish list of cleaning supplies and products. It was so nice to have the floors really clean again. Mopping saves my back and knees and eliminates the need to cart heavy buckets of soapy water around as we scrub if we do it on our hands and knees.

Another thing I did today was spend some time getting to know my finances binder better. I took out my list of receipts from 2016, I batch them by month and frequently don't do anything after I've gathered them together. Today I wrote the date, the store, and the amount, and holy cow am I spending a lot of money I don't have on food. But the good news there is I developed a system and picked up a new food plan, both of which should save me considerable time and money while reducing food waste, storage, and cleaning. One of the things I bought myself at Goodwill was a yellow tablecloth with an orange circular pattern. I put a cast iron kettle/pot in a dark orange on top of the table and put our blocks and balls in them. If I leave the blocks out, the girls play with them, otherwise they're hidden away and nobody thinks twice about them. That's another thing I'm learning about this place. We use things that are out and easily accessible and forget about the things that are tucked away.

An advantage of being bipolar is I get tremendous bursts of creative energy. A disadvantage is I have a hard time stopping when I should be taking a break or quitting altogether. Today I wanted to clean out the bathroom closet. It's been bothering me for a while, I added it to my project list, but then I couldn't ignore it. I tried setting the timer for eleven minutes which is how long I anticipated it would take me to clean and organize the mess in there. I found we have a huge stash of razors, more bars of soap than we're going to use in a year, a gigantic box of bandaids that my sister gave us for some reason, and a lot of toothbrushes in various states of decay and usefulness. I can't remember if I wrote about being in a car accident. I was driving behind a bus when my car wouldn't respond to steering. Since I was headed over a steep drop off into a field I cranked the wheel and ended up going the opposite way in a ditch.

Fortunately two very nice women who were well dressed in long coats and boots helped me with digging. I was eventually pulled out by an ornery man who kept telling us what we were trying wasn't going to work, I offered them money, but they wouldn't take any, I hadn't expected them to, but it made me feel better to offer it. That night I went home and Googled supplies to keep in the car. I could have used a shovel that day so I put my garden shovel in my trunk figuring that I could take it out in the summer when I'm less likely to need it although I suppose I could get stuck in a pile of mud. I'd like a better shovel I can keep in the car, I'll have to put that on my wish list for a future time since I have already way overspent this month. But I like that I have a better tracking system and am very optimistic about my ability to stick to it. Marie Kondo recommends taking receipts out of your wallet every day. I've started doing this and have noticed how much nicer it is to have a wallet that is clean and organized. She was right, I do feel better about it now.

Another accomplishment that felt like real progress was figuring out how to pack and organize my bags. I started the dental assistant program on Saturday. Apart from one of the instructors jamming a sensor into my mouth so hard I started crying it went well. I learned that I have a flat upper palate and these weird bones that make it hard for people to take bitewings on me. The main instructor took a look at my mouth, said something like 'Dear God' and had me rinse several times with warm salt water. My hands are pretty raw from washing them so frequently and aggressively. There's a rigorous hand washing protocol we have to follow. We change gloves a lot, and I really don't want anything that was in anyone else's mouth hanging around me when I'm eating or taking notes. We learned how to take off our personal protective equipment, I'm so glad I had a pair of decent shoes that can be easily wiped down, and even gladder that most of the time I wore my lab coat. The amount of grossness and contaminated surfaces really can't be exaggerated, but rest assured that when I'm taking down a room, it's clean when I'm done. 

I bought myself a red and navy striped bag to keep my school things in, I also found a cool flat zippered soft sided case type thing for the knitting needles I use. I had purchased another storage bag, but that one doesn't have a top that closes so every time I forget the needles and crochet hooks fall out. I was pleased to have learned some new things at our last meeting, I pulled my one knitting book out and stuck it in that bag, gathered my writing supplies together, and inspiration struck when I realized that I could use a picnic bag for art supplies which freed up some space on my bookshelf. I've been trying to eat more fruit and keep it on display in the kitchen so people will grab a piece instead of searching out less healthy options. I had a pretty bad Friday evening after the girls left. I'm out of melatonin so I had to take my regular sleep meds which make me feel very groggy the next morning. Improving my sleep hygiene needs to be a higher priority than it has been in the past although I'm getting much better than I was.

I met with a new Physician's Assistant who went over my meds with me. It was disappointing to hear that my diagnosis had changed. I went from Bipolar II with a depressive feature to Bipolar I with psychotic features. She was super nice which helped. We discussed by tendency to dissociate which she reassured me was a protective mechanism to try and escape the reality of abuse or threats. My ex called me irresponsible when I asked when he was going to fix The broken window, but I was able to remain calm while he got worked up and told me that it was extremely frustrating to deal with me. Fuck you too asshole is what I wanted to say, but didn't. The stacks of books behind the couch are really getting to me as are the CD's that I pulled out of the sunporch, but I know that almost everyone dies with items on their to do list and things they need to tackle in their inbox. Eight hours of school on Saturday left me very drained, the afternoon was especially tough since we had lecture. I think it would have been better if we had lecture first and then lab so we understood more, but whatever. They're professionals and I'm the new kid on the block. 

My PA is advocating for a higher dose of the main med that I take for mood stabilization. She hopes to get me there in February, a best friend of hers is bipolar and she said she can always tell when she goes off of her meds because she lays in bed for days on end, neglects her kids, and goes on shopping sprees to buy things like a set of very expensive golf clubs because she thinks she's going to become a champion golfer. I have my own delusions, fortunately for me I seem to be higher functioning than some people who are deep in debt due to their unchecked spending (I'm working on this because I really didn't need a new bag to put my lunch in or the lunch containers I bought) I forget that money I've spent is gone. I'm going to go back to my old habit of getting cash from the bank or ATM and allocating it for items in my budget, even though it's annoying to have to buy things like salt for the water softener when I want to be buying fun treaty things for the girls and myself. Twice now I've gone to the thrift store and spent $15.00. While that's probably not extravagant to many, it's not in my budget right now. Even if I got some cool stuff, and I put a lot of things back, I was shopping and being a bit reckless. 

In the past I've tried to stay out of the big box stores. I went to Wal-Mart with a friend and rediscovered how 'inexpensive' things were there. It's frustrating to look back and see where I was foolish, but reassuring to see myself making progress and staying on the narrower path in a lot of areas where I badly needed some (a lot) of correction. I put some books in a wire basket and more in a small bin I have. This was an attempt to corral the books I have scattered around that I pick up, read a few pages in, and set back down. I read some in my dental assisting textbook which is surprisingly a pretty quick and fairly interesting read. There's a lot that's going to be on the upcoming test, tooth morphology confuses me, and sometimes the questions at the end of the chapter seem picky and focus on a very small detail instead of a broader spectrum question, but I'm not too worried about it since I had to take this test on material we needed to know before class started and I only got one wrong on that although I did guess on a few of them. We only need to pass with 70% correct on each of our tests, but I want to really know the course work cold because I might decide to go on and a lot of it is the type of thing that sets one assistant apart from another. Very tired now so I am headed to bed...

Take care,

jess 

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