i am a happy world.

i warned you all that i am a super pro procrastinator.  starting this blog came with the… oh  shit, what’s the word… (‘foreclosure’ and ‘stipend’ flash in my weird brain and are totally not at all what i am searching for)… i’m going to go with PRESAGE (thanks, online thesaurus)… anyway, starting this blog came with a presage that i very likely might bail.  it’s not because i am lazy.  it’s because i am not the biggest fan of small talk.  if i don’t have anything to say, i’m not going to eek something out just to fill the void or keep my stats up.  i have too much respect for you to treat you as if our blog writer/blog reader relationship might only be yada yada fodder.  as i mentioned previously, i’m always searching for something deeper…

i am back in pittsburgh.  it feels nice and it feels different.  maybe it’s because everything outside is suddenly green and alive.  maybe it’s because my best friend is moving here in a month and my brain is operating my eyes in a fresh way, always on the lookout for future adventures with her.  maybe it’s because the last time i sat on this slouchy brown futon i felt like i was dying.  now, much like the drying hospital flowers on my window sill, i feel transformed… a more solemn, quiet, wiser version of better than ever.

it could also be the fact that i spent the last few weeks at home, in Dagtown, USA.  i may have mentioned before that it is my favorite place on earth.  it always has been, it always will be.  it’s quiet and unchanging and everyone has lived there for 100 years and they all help each other out.  it’s a comfort to know that no matter how many transformations i may endure (there have already been at least a handful), there is always that place i can go to where i am the same and unchanged, in simpatico with my surroundings.  do you have a favorite place to return to?  i hope so.  even if it’s a place you can close your eyes and find wherever you may go, i believe it’s very important to carry home with you and revisit it once in a while in any way you can.  hop in the car, meditate, click your heels and repeat the mantra ‘there is no place like home’…

i’m planted back, solid, on the other beloved end of the home spectrum.  back to noise, paved roads.  the smell of manure is replaced with an olfactory rainbow of street meat, car exhaust and the faint Mothers Mary and Nature.

i hope this post compels you to join the search for something deeper and to take home with you wherever the seeking leads.

and now… a self portrait?

worldview

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the weird door

i’ve slacked on this post because i’ve been trying to figure out how to best honor the themes of fate, faith and forgiveness.  i’m having a very difficult time with focus and concentration.  my head feels like a mirrorball full of helium and tumbleweeds of confusion.  are these symptoms?  i still don’t know what MS means to me.  i’ve explained this to only a few of my closest friends, one of whom spent this past Sunday with me.

i met Nate six years ago through his cousins and we became instant friends.  it was one of those connections that had me wondering where he’d been all my life.  we and the aforementioned cousins went on a riotously fun adventure to the Seneca Wine Trail, throughout which Nate wore a rubber dinosaur hand from a child’s halloween costume he’d randomly found at the house we were staying at.  i’ll forever have an image of him casually picking up pieces of public popcorn off the bar at a classy winery with that dinosaur hand burned in my memory.  he’s that kind of person… the kind who is always creating moments to smile about in retrospect… moments like this one, where he was just casually enjoying a BlowPop with his dino hand.  (i’m laughing out loud right now.)

dinohand

so, over these six years, we have only hung out a handful of treasured times due to distance but we have kept close contact. when i started making public announcements on Facebook about my health, i got a sweet notification that he had updated his profile picture to a snapshot of us from that winery adventure (see us looking confuzzled in that particular photo below).  so sweet.  even sweeter?  he wrote a heartfelt caption about our awesome friendship and wished me well.  even sweeter still?  he contacted me directly to tell me he was going to be in town and would love to hang out!

britt and nate

this part of the post is going to drive me crazy because it involves more back story and i’ll admit i’ve been sitting on writing this because of it.  as i mentioned before, my brain is london fog town right now and this simple task feels gargantuan.  this part of the post is also super important because the back story is the springboard for the theme of faith.  i hope i do its effect on the day justice.  anyway, here goes…

my Talbot grandparents (the adorable ones i visited and wrote about in the last post) told their good friends about my situation.  these friends told my grandparents that a “healer” would be coming to their church on Sunday and that it would be wonderful if i attended.  my grandparents relayed this invitation to my mom who in turn relayed this invitation to me.

(this is where it gets tricky) i did not grow up in the church but i did not grow up without the concept of God.  you who have been following since the beginning may have picked up on this via my use of [Higher Power] in my first post.  i’ve always been searching for a deeper connection to something, though, and have always kept the possibility of finding that deeper connection open.  i just don’t know where my relationship stands with Him at this point in my life (or if it is Him that i am seeking)… hence [Higher Power].  Nate’s family has Three Springs Ministries, a beautiful Christian retreat located in north central Pennsylvania.  i know God and faith have been a huge part of his life and i’ve always admired that.  keeping something sacred like that is something i aspire to do.

so there’s the pesky chunk of back story.  i’m relieved it’s out of the way and i’ll be even more relieved if its function and format is conducive to this post’s intended theme.

our May Day/Sunday rendezvous began with lunch in Mansfield.  mom came along because, even though she’s met this kid once, she adores Nate too.  we enjoyed oversized plates of chain fare and i filled Nate in on all of this MS business.  he was interested in my treatment plan (which as of yet is still a mystery) and it prompted mom to mention the invitation to see the “healer” later that day and asked him, as a devout dude, what he thought about the prospect of us going.  i know she almost didn’t bring it up and i’m glad she did because this topic of healing caused Nate to open up about some struggles he’d been having and, after a particularly rough night earlier in the week, he decided he was going to challenge himself to stay sober for 365 days.  he said he wasn’t sure what “healer” meant but we could either not go and trounce the possibility of taking what was being offered or we could go and embrace that possibility.  i summarized his statement with “there’s a weird door, we open it or leave it be.”  mom decided to ruminate on it while checking on our grandparents’ house, leaving Nate and i to continue the conversation alone.  i told Nate i doubt i’ll be drinking much anymore and we each downloaded NOMO, a sobriety app, on our phones.  i asked him what he was up to for the rest of the day (no plans for either of us) and then i asked him, “welp, shall we go see this healer?”

so, to the church we went.  the “healer” was actually a visiting minister whose focus was on the healing power of forgiveness… forgiveness for yourself, forgiveness for others.  for years i’ve been turning the phrase “forgiveness is necessary for survival” all around in my head.  it’s gotten me through things i can’t explain… why do bad things happen to good people?  why do good things happen to bad people?  what ARE good people and bad people?  we’re people… we screw up… forgiveness is necessary for survival.

the sermon was really something special and i noticed that Nate was scrolling through his phone for most of it.  he’s a classy guy and wouldn’t be Tindering in church… a closer look revealed that he was reading the corresponding scripture.

Me: is that a Bible app?

Nate: yeah.  get it!

… and this is why NOMO and The Holy Bible are now neighbors on my main screen.

at the end of the sermon the congregation was invited to speak with members of the church who had been prepared to heal through prayer.  you could get in one line and be prayed for, you could get in a second line and be anointed with oil and/or you could get in a third line to have a more intensive one-on-one healing experience.  i stayed put, awkward from my mostly churchless existence.  Nate got up to get in the first line but came back a few minutes later because he wasn’t “feeling the spirit.”  this caught the eye of one of the church members who immediately came over and approached Nate.  this man counseled Nate, who confessed his struggles, and he started to pray for him.  it was an intense experience.  I held Nate’s hand while this stranger prayed over him, hugging him and allowing him to emotionally release and… forgive.

my grandparents’  friends who had invited us in the first place came around with other people i knew and other people i didn’t and i was prayed for too.  we were embraced by strangers like family.

i couldn’t (and still can’t) shake the feeling that this all was fated somehow… Nate and i being in town at the same time for the first time in forever, our simultaneous struggles, the weird door appearing for us to walk through it together.  i’m so glad we took a peek to see what was inside… because it was beautiful and just what we needed.  much like our friendship from the very start.

my body feels like shit but my heart and soul feel golden.

and now, a photo of us before we walked through the weird door.

natedate

my appreciation for you all is as intense as a cherry healing prayer session.

 

 

short, sweet and visual.

i’m currently hanging out with my Talbot grandfather, Dick/Gramps, at “The Resort” while mom and my Talbot grandmother, Doris, are off at a doctor’s appointment.  gramps is nodded off in an armchair by Doris’s bed and Marie Osmond is on the tv waxing poetic to Dr. Oz about music being medicine.  it’s actually quite ironic that this would be the topic in the background as i write this post.  i mentioned in an earlier post that an old friend contacted me about singing a special request for her.  that special request was The King’s classic Can’t Help Falling in Love.  my dad, Mike/The Captain, and i enjoyed being in the studio together for the first time in forever as we tackled this fun, fast project.  gramps & dad gave me my blood-born love of music.  i’ve taken such a narrative approach to this blog so far because writing, like music, has been a therapy.  this post was originally intended to be a tribute of sorts to the people who have encouraged my deep appreciation for both art forms, but i’m afraid that one will have to be postponed and this one will be more picture-laden than anything because i am not having the best day with my shaky hands, jelly legs and hazy head.  i just can’t seem to focus today.  so i’ll keep it short, sweet and visual.

i got an update on my diagnosis today after exchanging emails and a phone call with my new, awesome UPMC PCP.  here’s what’s up for now:

update.jpg

more questions but the answers are sure to come.

now, for the more enjoyable moments of my day so far:

Dick&Doris

backseaters

fambly

i’m a loved and lucky lady.

finally, if you do click the link above to have a listen and are a member of Soundcloud, please be sure to follow me so i can follow you back.  along with keeping myself accountable for this blog, i’d like to keep myself accountable for creating way more music with my family and friends in the future.

soundcloud

i hope y’all are enjoying this hazy, lazy friday.

’til later, my friends.

slumber zombies.

i am duh-rained.  not because i feel like crap (i mean, i do… i ate a universe and all its cosmic sugary bits today) but because i had a really, very, greatly superb day.  the sun woke me up, warm lapping on my cheeks through the summer curtains in Phyllis’s guest room.  she doesn’t like me to call it the guest room.  it’s my room.  you can tell.  there is photo evidence of me growing up on every wall, complete with a Romeo + Juliet poster on the door.

you can’t have a bad day when its beginning is all sunshine and Leo.

leo

dad picked me up and we “went into town” which, if you speak Dagtown tongues, you know that means we either went to Mansfield or Elmira.  in this case, it was Mansfield to pick up a fresh script for the still ever-pulsing pain in my back.  as we rode along to our points A , B and C we talked about music.  i put on some Spiritualized and told him about the magic in experiencing them live at Radio City Music Hall back in 2010, where they performed Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space in its entirety with the whole shebang… the horns, the strings, the ivory-robed choir.  all i want in life’s a little bit of love to take the pain away.  the couple next to me got engaged during the performance.  it was a precious, quiet moment between the two of them.  i’m not even sure they knew i noticed.  it was really sweet.  i can still see them in my mind, their dilated gazes locked and flicker-lit from the stage.  it’s a much beloved memory.  i hope they’re happy and still being righteous together, oblivious that this sap of a stranger thinks of them now and again and wishes them well.

when we returned to Dagtown i was quick to head out the door and into the fresh air.  lawn mowers were buzzing and i wanted to soak up the fragrance of other peoples’ progress.  i walked down our whimsical Church Street and stopped at the bridge on the corner where i exchanged Good Mornings with a fisherman who was already wrapping up for the day, satisfied with his technicolor catch.  i tried to work out a phrase about “the early worm” in my head and just ended up muttering ridiculous things under my breath as i took a picture of one of my favorite scenes… the stream and the shack.  i stood and listened for a bit, wanting so badly to be underwater.

stream

in fact, right now, i actually feel like i am.  underwater, i mean.  or maybe it’s the slobber of the slumber zombies nibbling at my sucked-dry bones.

i would continue going on about this fabulous day, but i have another one ahead of me and i have to make sure there’s enough of me to fully embrace it.  i needed to at least get something up, though, as i have promised myself that i will do this every day until i can trust myself to take a break and not quit completely.  baby steps.

okay, okay… the jaws and claws of the slumber zombies are no match for those of my guilty conscience.

short and sweet… i was visited by my lovely future-sister, Michelle.  there was much candy, cake and brownie consumption as we marathoned a full card of Yahtzee.  i’m a Yahtzee fanatic.  we’ve played from the same box for as long as i can remember.  having your name on a card in that box is almost a rite of passage.  family, friends, high school sweethearts, old, new, alive, dead… i wonder if the makers of Yahtzee realized that they were also creating a time capsule.

yahtzee

-oh no, more slumber zombies… the stronger, faster kind.  the Stretch Armstrong kind.-

before we ended our sister visit, we snapped a shot in the sun by the pasture.

sisters

-they got me by the eyes, pulling my lids like blinds-

i’m falling prey/asleep, gobbled up like dumb bubblegum, you beautiful people.

and now, a picture of what is absolutely certainly Juicy Fruit… a lifelong Porter/Garrison family gesture that means you are much loved.

juicyfruit

all the Juicy Fruit to y’all.

little lullaby. 

an old friend/past sister figure asked me just a bit ago if there were any videos anywhere of me singing… I’ll be working on a special request for her this week.

here’s a song I wrote while I was living in Boulder, CO some years ago when I was just learning how to play my guitar:

http://youtu.be/kkZX9onjq60

… I’m always just learning how to play my guitar… I’m looking forward to cradling this baby with a lot more tender love and care. [reminder to self : just play your damned guitar.]

warning : take care in streaming the only other upload on my channel… it’s not for the faint of heart (or ears).

I want to complete this day by expressing my gratitude for those of you who have followed along with the wonderdribble so far. much love and clarity was felt and the rejuvenating healing silence of fresh air and sunshine was soaked up on these hallowed Dagtown grounds. [reminder to self : play outside.]

aside from finding that my favorite headstone of all time in the cemetery is broken and beaten and nearly illegible, it was a serene solo spin. [reminder to self: see that Hattie Jennings gets her stunning epitaph back.]

this final sentiment etched in stone for this little lady lost in time has haunted me forever  : rest in peace, sweet little one. thou art free from sorrow now.

it makes me think about how it seems we are just born and live and die in the day and age we end up in and that’s just kind of that?  … big wheels are turning, little words are coming out but the thoughts are there when I look at/think of that stone.

anyway, life may be spitandshitshined sometimes… but at least we all never knew a time without…


love y’all.

❤️