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Rated: E · Book · Opinion · #2282648
My thoughts about things.
A place to put my thoughts about various stuff.
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July 31, 2023 at 1:04pm
July 31, 2023 at 1:04pm
"Are you ok?"

Those three words were spoken to me this morning while I was in the grocery store. An employee who was working in the produce section near me asked me that question. I hadn't looked towards her or indicated that I was in need of help. I didn't feel as though I was giving off any vibes of feeling bad. It was just a normal morning for me, stopping by the store after a workout.

It struck me though. This out-of-the-blue question from a stranger.

My first thought was, do I look like I'm not ok? What had I been thinking of? It made me do a quick self-check, I guess.

I assured her that I was ok. She smiled and then asked if I was looking for something. I mentioned a vegetable that wasn't in stock, and she offered to go to the back to see if there were any. I told her thank you, but no.

It was this incredibly short exchange between two strangers, but it was such a nice thing to have happen. A simple kindness reminding me that there are people out there who care, just because they are good people.

So, to the ones reading this, from me to you - are you ok?

July 3, 2023 at 9:35am
July 3, 2023 at 9:35am
Vinegar has become my enemy.

In the past, it was a love-love relationship. Give me pickles (especially homemade), salad dressing, or anything with mustard, mayonnaise, etc. I’ve always loved that tart bite on the tongue or even the smell of it. Distilled white, apple cider, white wine, rice or most recently balsamic – all of them were beloved.

Until the last so many years. I started having trouble with swelling. Talking to my doctor, they steered me towards possible causes. Salt was one of them, but I had long since nearly eliminated it from my diet. Other allergens. I went to an allergist and was told I am only allergic to the most common of allergens, like dust and pollen, etc.

When I spoke to the allergist, they informed me that a person cannot be allergic to vinegar. They said that the reactions I am experiencing were from acid reflux and possibly other coincidental occurrences that happened alongside eating something with vinegar.

Here’s the thing. I can document that these side effects happen only when I eat something with vinegar and it is isolated events. They also greatly reduce and/or subside when I take an antihistamine.

What am I getting to, then? That it is frustrating to go to a doctor and talk to them about something that is affecting you and have them tell you absolutely it just can’t be the case. I would argue that perhaps it could be that the something that is affecting me just hasn’t been widely documented and/or explored as a possible problem yet.

At one point in time no one understood or believed that germs were a real thing.

Could I be wrong? Absolutely. Could the doctors be wrong? Absolutely. I just know that it is only one of us that is readily available to admit to that possibility.

So, here I am. Slogging through the realization that I just deal with this odd condition that seems to affect just me, or a very small percentage of the population at least.

I went through my denial period. Perhaps, if I just listened to the doctors and ignored the consequences of eating something with vinegar, then those aggravating side effects would disappear. Not surprisingly, they didn’t.

Weeks of misery and antihistamines later, I decided to quit vinegar ‘cold turkey’.

Do you know how many things have vinegar in them??

Pretty much any condiment, salad dressing, or liquid seasoning known to mankind. *Angry* *Sad*

I completely realize there are more pressing issues for me, and society as a whole, to consider. On the scale of things to be distressed over, not being able to consume vinegar is pretty far down on the list.

But *&#*(@$#*!!!!! *Frown* My hissy fit has long since been thrown. I have beaten my fists against the imaginary walls of denial, pig-headedness, and finally acceptance. I traversed the path of the love-hate relationship with vinegar.

Now, I find myself walking the path of hate-hate with it. I hate that I still love and miss it. It hates me and makes me miserable by consistently reminding me of how much I miss it and trying to entice me into consuming it again… which I do… very rarely and with much regret. And Benedryl.

The majority of the time, I focus on how much better I feel without it in my life. The swelling is nearly non-existent when I am completely free of it. I feel better overall with less sinus congestion, better blood sugars, and more energy.

It is certainly strange to think that a lot of my overall suffering could be linked back to that one consumable. Something that I happened to see a correlation between and, even after doctors assured me it couldn’t possibly be the cause, took it upon myself to do elimination trials and found it helped my health to be away from it.

So, while I admire vinegar from afar and have fond memories of potato salad, deviled eggs, and pickles, I find that my life is more enjoyable when I am not constantly fighting swelling and congestion. In the end, it is a good trade-off. Even if it is still one that I harbor ill will towards.

Sometimes, we cannot have our vinegar and eat it, too.

Unless we wish to be miserable and sleepy. And 99.9% of the time I choose not to be.
June 26, 2023 at 9:28am
June 26, 2023 at 9:28am

For some the possibility of moving from one home to another is not even an option to consider. It can be financially, emotionally and physically taxing. Some may have the means, but not the need or desire to do so. There are those (like much of my family) that will be born and die in the same area. They have deep roots and moving even a short distance is an unpleasant idea, let alone to another state.

There are those that may wish fervently to move, but obstacles prevent them from doing so. Devotion to family (I admire those that stay near to younger or older generations to help with their care) can be a strong pull that overrides the desire to leave an area. Financial means can be a deciding factor, though I can personally say that if you are motivated enough, they can be overcome - where there's a will, there's a way. Physical restrictions can limit someone's ability to perform the move or where they can settle. Some climates aren't friendly to certain existing ailments.

Then, there are those modern nomads that never really settle for long and are constantly on the move. It could be due to job requirements or a fierce desire to see and be a part of as much of the world as they can experience. These individuals can be outgoing or solitary. Some make fast friends and leave behind lasting impressions in a short amount of time that make those around them feel like they had known them forever. Others slip in quietly and enjoy their stay, then are gone with the wind, leaving only the vague impression that they were ever even there.

Where do I fit in here? Some of me exists in all three categories. I grew up in a small town in the house where my dad was born. The town was in the triple digits when I was really little and didn't even rate a stop light. I loved it. Our home was in the country, but just a few minutes from town. It was cozy, but convenient. And in my little girl's heart, I would have never even for a minute thought of leaving it.

Then, I met the man who would be the love of my life, my best friend, my husband.

He is the opposite of me in so many ways. It can cause clashes. It often works to our benefit, as we balance one another.

He moved as a kid. A lot. Rarely was it out of necessity. It was just something his family chose to do, most of the time. There were times he enjoyed going to a new area. There were times he hated everything about having to leave a place. What I learned about his childhood was that he understood the concept that sometimes you had to sacrifice even the place you live, if you want to have the chance for better circumstances.

Our life together has been a blend of both. Early on, we moved out of necessity. Then, we stayed in one place for nearly a decade, partly because I held us there. The most recent years have been spent for medium stretches of time in areas and then heading to a new one.

***Interrupted by circumstances and sickness. Completed on 6-30-23***

Our most recent move just happened, and it was the most significant one since we were first married.

It was significant because of the distance, the job he accepted which was the cause for the move, and the fact that our kids are old enough now to chime in on what they think of making such a change. In the end, we decided to take that leap of faith again and... now, here we are.

It wasn't easy, or simple, or cheap.

We decided to sell most of our furniture to lighten the load and bring the cost of moving items down. Cherished items and necessities were the only things trucked across the country. What didn't sell was donated. So much the better that someone else can use it than put it in some landfill.

Complications arose, even the day before the movers were set to load us up. The proverbial poo hit the fan and we had to scramble to make a new plan, which actually worked out so much better in the long run. One of our vehicles broke down. If it had been used during the move, those in it very well might not have lived to make it to the new home. Things happen for a reason.

The cost I speak of is more than monetary. This move has taken a mental, physical and emotional toll on all of us unlike any of the other ones... but we are doing well. We have cheered one another up and on as times were tough. At different times, we each have gotten grouchy and snapped at one another. We have shared tears and fears and hopes and dreams. We have once again pulled together as a family and made this change happen.

Now, we settle into this new 'normal' and set our feet upon the paths here that await us.
May 18, 2023 at 9:41am
May 18, 2023 at 9:41am
When my life gets so hectic and I feel overwhelmed, I like to go out to the History Channel and look at the 'This Day in History' stories. Sometimes they help me put things into perspective. Of course, it's all based upon how I interpret the stories and relate them to my life, but isn't that how we process pretty much everything?

On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens violently erupted. The eruption killed 57 people and devastated 210 square miles around it. Thousands of animals and millions of fish were killed. The area was forever changed.

But this devastation did not happen without warning. The first tremors began on March 20th of that same year. Local officials who monitored the volcano immediately began closely watching the situation and making plans. After a minor eruption on March 27th and the appearance of a mile-wide bulge on the side of the mountain that was moving upward at a rate of 6 feet per day, they began immediate evacuations of the area.

Even with the circumstances staring them in the face, some people chose to stay. Without judgement of the unknown circumstances, I have to wonder what reasoning they had to make that decision. For me there isn't any material possession that would keep me bound to one place. There are definitely people for whom I would die, but not any parcel of land. That's just my own personal viewpoint.

Our family is facing stress at the moment. It can be termed both good and bad stress all mixed together. The situation is not one that will be resolved for at least a few months, it affects all of us, and though we chose to undertake it, the situation nevertheless is still pressing upon us and having its adverse effects. We are all dealing with it as we can individually, as well as together.

I have two thoughts with the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

One, it wasn't something anyone was able to choose to happen or not happen. One day everything was going along as it always had been, and the next the first beginnings of a historical event were taking shape. You can't negotiate with nature.

Two, the people that did choose to live there knew the possible consequences of their choice. It's likely that many lived their entire life there without being present for any devastation. The last active period prior to 1980 had been between 1837 and 1851. However, living in the shadow of an active volcano precludes any reassurance that nothing will ever happen to destroy your home.

Our situation has not been imposed upon us. Though once we made the decision, it seems to have taken on a life of its own and it does feel like it is this great organism that is steamrolling its way through our lives. We remind ourselves, and one another, that we chose this path, and we will succeed traversing it together.

Change can be frightening, even when it is a positive change.
Life isn't without risk and sometimes it is those risks taken that return the best of rewards.

Knowing that there will be change thrust upon me by time and nature that I have no say in one way or another, makes me appreciate those decisions that I do have the ability to make myself. Even if it brings necessary stress to affect the change, it is worth the effort to strive for a better situation in the future. No one said the act of growth would be painless.

So, I will endure the parts that are unpleasant and cherish those that are joyful. All of them will forge new memories and those are priceless.
April 3, 2023 at 8:20am
April 3, 2023 at 8:20am
Wow. I would like to say that April snuck up on me, but it didn't.

March was just a busy month full of great experiences and different stress popping up randomly. (Stress loves to do that.)

The third month of the year is such a contradiction in my part of the world. You never know how it is going to go temperature-wise. Come in like a lion, go out like a lamb? Some years, it comes in like a t-rex with diarrhea and leaves like a Cat 5 hurricane. The best you can do in those years is try your best not to piss it off any more than necessary, keep your head down, and get through it.

Thankfully, this year was not one of those.

Our household has a couple of birthdays in March (including mine) and those always add to the cheer. It took some doing, but years ago when I first got married, I established 'birthday weekends'. Yes, we celebrate for an entire weekend instead of just one day (including the day of, too!). Why? Well, why not? They only come once a year and we can all use some extra cheering up! It isn't anything huge. We get to pick a thing to do (at home or going out), a special meal (homemade or in a restaurant), and pretty much get waited on hand and foot - as much as the current circumstances allow for at least.

It makes it special for the birthday person and also everyone else, at least for us.

The stresses that popped up this month kicked my butt, so to speak, but made me realize that I am handling it better in some ways. And in others, made me reevaluate how I am handling it. It's a constant battle, but one that I am more comfortable recognizing and tackling, so I'll take that positive away from it.

April has arrived just how I enjoy it best - with sunshine, greening grass, birds chirping, trees budding, bunnies hopping through the yard, and squirrels scrambling up tree trunks. I am thankful for everything that I have and will move forward with purpose.

Right after I get another cup of coffee.
February 8, 2023 at 10:51pm
February 8, 2023 at 10:51pm
A song comes to mind. It's a favorite of mine.

Fair warning, I am about to link to a Jimmy Buffett song.

Whether you like his music or not (it seems to be polarizing - love it or hate it), it's the lyrics that fit this time of the year for me.

Or, here are the lyrics, if you care to read them instead of listening to the song.

Lyrics to the song Boat Drinks by Jimmy Buffett

I actually love winter, but by this time of the year, even I am craving the beginnings of Spring. The trees are too bare, the grass is too sparse and brown. And most of all - we are ALL driving each other NUTS! *Smile* I tend to be the diplomat in the house (until I can't take it anymore), so I've been averting skirmishes, fistfights, brawls and outright war for long enough. Mother Nature, could you please kick Phil in his cute little groundhog behind and get this season going?!

Yes, yes, I know. The trees and grass are still sleeping. Enjoying that last bit of slumber before they awaken and bring forth the madness that is allergy season. And bees. And mowing. And pollen covered vehicles.


Ok, fine. We'll ride the rollercoaster that is this time of the year. Highs of 50s one day, 20s the next. Sunny with the windows open, then close them tight for another round of snow. March 21st is coming, it's just around the corner from St. Patty's day. But, first...

We must pay homage to the bare-butted cherubs that take pleasure in shooting people in the arse with their heart-tipped arrows. Sneaky little buggers. One of them got me nigh on 26 years ago now. I am ever grateful to that little scamp.

So, to keep myself busy, I shall bake. Bake cupcakes, I say! *CupcakeP* *CupcakeV* Chocolate and yellow with pink and red frosting and sprinkles!! So many sprinkles. These shall be gobbled up by myself, the love of my life, and our two wonderful angels (that use their powers for good the vast majority of the time). Another round of chili, and soup, and all of the comforts we so enjoy on these cold days... because they will come to an end, soon.

This time of the year when it feels like Christmas is just at the far end of my peripheral vision and the 4th of July is getting ever closer. When I take the car through the carwash but know that the days are coming when I can eschew that cost and have the fun of washing it in the driveway (or have fun watching the kids wash it in the driveway *Wink*). I can put away the sweatshirts and get out the shorts!

We are getting there, folks. Slowly, but surely.

Until then, I'll try not to shoot six holes in my freezer.

January 20, 2023 at 10:35am
January 20, 2023 at 10:35am
I woke up this morning and found myself pondering chaos.

It felt like my life was filled with it. Laying there, trying to get back to sleep or at least relax for another hour or so, my body rested somewhat while my mind refused to settle down. I tried a few mental exercises to try and convince my brain that it should agree with me about the relaxing part, but it just wouldn't have it.

So, I went with it. Sometimes it's not worth the energy spent to go against the grain than just ride with it.

Everything I thought about seemed chaotic. From the small details of my life to the ones of the world at large. I felt like everything was whirling around and as soon as I tried to concentrate on one piece, it spun off and something else came into view. It was frustrating, disorienting and well, annoying to be honest.

I like to make order out of chaos. It's something I tend to be good at and enjoy.

Now, I'm not talking about being OCD or something like that. In fact, taking a glance at my life, it would be easy to see that I am not that.

No, what I'm talking about is more fluid. I actually pride myself on being flexible (well, mentally at least! *Laugh* ). Normally, I don't mind chaos, in fact, a lot of the time, I thrive on it. Give me a load of laundry to put in order. A basin full of dirty dishes to clean. An evening where everyone has tasks and responsibilities to complete before we can all settle down together. A classroom full of rambunctious kids that have anything but learning on their minds.

All of those things give me the opportunity to wade in and start organizing, and I don't just force things.

I like to find the flow that works best for everyone (if possible). Laundry doesn't have to be folded the same every time. Dishes can soak so they are easier to get clean. I get everyone settled (or driven to) where they need to be so they can complete their stuff and then make sure we are all back together, tasks done and have some time to enjoy whatever part of the evening that we can before bed. Students respond to individual attention, but also the ability to work in (productive) groups. They also appreciate a little bit of time to just talk and not have it be all work all the time - I mean who doesn't?

It's all a balance, like a beautiful never ending unrehearsed dance where the beat will always be shifting to whatever meets the needs of the moment. And usually, I love it. Love being immersed in it. But most recently, there have been a few occurrences right on top of one another that have worn me down, worn me out. And I'm tired.

So, how do I handle that then? In the past, I would have just added more and more stress and tried harder. That most definitely does NOT work anymore. Not that it ever really did, right? Yeah.

The reality is that... order is chaotic, and chaos is in itself a kind of order.

The events that have happened recently that seem to have knocked me off my so-called balance aren't anything out of the ordinary. They are what I would term 'big' events that just have happened to coincide together. Some good, some bad. The events won't change. It's me that has to adjust. Oh, boy. Yeah, there's the underlying reality that I want to slap away and give dirty looks. The woman that claims to be flexible is now growling at the fact that she has to be... flexible. Ha, ha. Very funny, life. You got me.

I have to quote something from a Marvel movie now. (Granted, I love those movies, but I don't put stock in that it was in a Marvel movie. I just take words for what they are regardless of where I find them, which is why I really loved this line.) In "Avengers, Age of Ultron", at the end, part of what Vision says is this, "Humans are odd. They think order and chaos are somehow opposites and... try to control what won't be."

For many of us, me included, order is what feels right. It comforts us and makes us feel more secure. Thinking that we can organize and create order where there initially doesn't seem to be any, makes us feel in control of what's happening... when in reality, control like that simply does not exist. Somewhere along the way, I have forgotten that part. I've become more complacent with thinking that by influencing certain situations, I am actually orchestrating them.

I'm not. I know that. I've known that all along. I just needed to remember it and accept it again. A little easier said than done, but I've got this.

Like a bird rides the wind and dolphins ride the waves, I can be fluid and adjust course as needed. I can't see what's coming, but I can choose how to deal with it once it's here. And recognition of that reality, reminding myself of it, is what will help me regain my ever-shifting place of 'balance'.
January 13, 2023 at 9:14pm
January 13, 2023 at 9:14pm
Today is Friday the 13th. It's also a member of my family's birthday.

It's something they have been teased about since they were young. They take it in stride and this birthday that comes by every so many years passes for them again, until the next time.

I have another member of my family that, for the most part, absolutely believes in superstitions. Yes, Friday the 13th, plus breaking mirrors, black cats crossing your path (or in general), don't walk under ladders (this is just practical advice, in my opinion), don't open umbrellas indoors, don't rock empty rocking chairs, if you spill salt throw it over your left shoulder using your right hand (or is it the other way around?) .... The list could go on and on, but I digress.

I'm not firmly in the disbelieving or the believing category. I tend to take things as they come. Do I knock on wood after saying something that could incur bad luck? Yeah, sometimes. Have I owned a black cat? Absolutely. He was one of the best damn cats I've ever had and sweet as could be. I miss him every day. Do I try not to step on cracks in the sidewalk? Yep, but I also have a tendency to stumble, so ... again, practicality. *Wink*

I think, for me, this falls under the 'to each his/her own' category.

It's definitely not healthy to be so paralyzed by these possible unknown consequences of our mostly inadvertent actions. I imagine it would turn a person's life into this perilous daily journey filled with anxiety and depression, when quite frankly life has some very real consequences in store for everyone that we usually don't see coming ... and if you are spending so much time watching for these possible supernatural occurrences, then you might not see the very real mistakes you are making that will lead to something very real and very bad happening.

Personally, I like the light-hearted approach to Friday the 13th. And if you see me throwing some salt over either shoulder or purposefully taking a stroll around a ladder, rather than under it, well ... the floor needed seasoning and practical safety measures around construction equipment is just good sense.

Still, I am glad that my birthday is on any other day than the 13th. Putting up with people purposefully trying to annoy me just isn't my forte.
December 29, 2022 at 7:15pm
December 29, 2022 at 7:15pm
For the last 28 days, I have looked at that reminder that says, 'Hey - you haven't written in your blog! WRITE IN YOUR BLOG!'

Ok, so it doesn't say it that way. *Smile* But to my eyes and ears, it seems to be in that tone. And for the last 28 days, I have sighed and passed it by because there wasn't anything that I really felt like putting here. Not that I've been having a bad time, I haven't. I've spent a lot of time with family and worked on various projects, plus had the chance to do a lot of reviewing. It's been great.

Still, I want to be able to write here regularly. I am just not ok with slapping together words simply for the sake of a post.

So, here's where my idea for today's post came from - The Writer's Cramp last week of poetry challenges hosted by Bianca. I normally do not write poetry much. When I do, it is usually for a good cause, such as something for a family member. I've never felt compelled to search out the dynamics of poetry. I guess all of mine is what would be called free verse. It works well enough and those on the receiving end have always seemed happy to get what I've created. It helps that it comes from the heart.

I've had the time and opportunity to explore two different poetry styles this week: Breccbairdne and Dutch Tanka. These were two styles that Bianca set forth for poetry week of Writer's Cramp. I have to admit that when I read through the guidelines for the Breccbairdne, I sighed and closed the page! But being stubborn as I am and intrigued, I came back later and read them through again with a fresh eye. Temptation overcame reluctance and I wrote my first one! It was a fun challenge and had me so enthused that I returned to try the Dutch Tanka poetry style. This one was somewhat easier to follow, and I wrote a poem that was one of two that won for that day!

I have never been attracted to much poetry. Most of it feels like it twists my brain and makes me wonder if I am constantly missing what the poet is really trying to convey. However, these two opportunities have helped me overcome some of that feeling and not only enjoy the works of others, but also attempt and achieve written poems of my own. For my own writing experience, this has been a remarkable feeling, especially for it to happen the last week of the year. *BigSmile*

I also had the inspiration today to start another novel on here! I have it kept for my eyes only for the moment as I write the prologue, but once that is done, I will post it so that others might pop by and review it.

2023 - wow. I can't believe it is almost here. There are a few events that are on my mind for the coming year, some concerning and some celebratory. Mostly, I want to be able to live in the moment, while planning for the future. I have a tendency to live in the past or future and that is a recipe for stress. I am definitely looking forward to all of the WdC fun that will be had as we make our way through the new year!
December 1, 2022 at 9:38pm
December 1, 2022 at 9:38pm
I always think this every year, but how did we get to December so quickly? It really does seem like just yesterday it was New Year's.

December 2022 has been ushered in with stress, happiness, problems, celebrations, and change. Of course, that's the only thing that stays the same, right? Change. For a long time, I have felt more stressed and on edge because - frankly - every time I let myself get comfortable, something happens to spur on change in my life. Most of it turns out to be good change, even if the beginning of it is all chaos and heartache. My family and I are good at being flexible and sticking together to get what needs to be done, done. Even though we are all feeling weary and have our own individual issues to address, we have once again pulled together to support one another and provide reassurance that everything will be ok. And the simple truth is that it will be, one way or another. The sun sets tonight, it rises tomorrow and another day full of possibilities will begin.

One day earlier this week was a particularly long one that was filled with different kinds of stress. I had made it to the evening and still had things to do, but I grabbed just a few spare minutes time to sit down and read a couple of items posted on here and do reviews for them. For just that brief amount of time, I was separate from everything else. I set down my burdens and found joy in the words of others, feeling what they had written and experiencing the worlds they created. I'm pretty sure it dropped my blood pressure by a significant amount. I literally felt more relaxed, more focused and refreshed with a renewed sense of optimism.

I really enjoy reviewing items on WDC. I have felt guilty because at times, when I am tied in knots from trying to put words into my own projects, I will pop out and do some reviewing. The thought repeats in the back of my brain that I should be writing, but the truth is that I am writing, just in another format. It's all exercise for the brain... and if it can provide some true stress relief, then - yes, please! It also leaves me feeling lighter and in a better frame of mind to go back to my own writing.

Writing - oh, how I love to write. Seriously, I do. It's sometimes more of a need than a desire. I feel better afterward. I sleep better. My mind feels less cluttered and there is a wonderful sense of accomplishment to get those characters out of my head and onto the page. But there is stress with it. I edit while I write and then end up writing very little. I get frustrated with a storyline, so I choose another to work on instead of sticking it through with the current one. I'm still trying to figure it all out and the trying to figure it out is driving me batty. URGH.

But. Here I am on the first day of the last month of the year. I have made progress. I am improving. It's a process and it's one that I am going to enjoy being here to be able to continue working on. If the only thing that stays the same is change, then I choose to do my best to make those changes count for something worthwhile.

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