Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Work in Progress...

Today was a chore day. I KNOW! We just talked about this yesterday, but some chores I have to do on my own. Like getting the permanent crown put in. I couldn't really outsource that. And since I was out of some things I needed to hit the grocery store as well. And I really needed some things that Macy's had on a really great sale today only so I did that as well. And then...

But I did write. Not just this, I started working on a short story triggered by a writing prompt. Which made me think I might just make use of those for awhile, just to get the gears moving again, and not only moving but used to moving daily. Today was only a few paragraphs, I need to think on how I'm going to turn the story, but it was a few more paragraphs than I had this morning. I think this will be a piece that does double duty. I'll send it off for my Friday Due Date and then post it here on Saturday as well. It's most likely going to be a self contained thing so no reason why it can't be here and really no reason why it can't count for the other as well. Tricksy.

That's my thinking anyway.

Tomorrow the dryer repairman is coming, AGAIN, and I really do need to finish up sabbatical planning, but other than those things writing is the only thing on my list. Oh and the gym, of course. Though I'm not happy about the scale again...but that's a fight for another day...

Just thought I'd do a quick post here. Mainly to let you all know I am following through on the daily writing, even if it wasn't much, and partly because since it wasn't much this will make me feel like I got a little more writing done. Still being tricksy.

AND I'm going to share a dream I had last night because the image has stuck with me all day.

Years ago, before I went in to massage school I wore my nails longer. Acrylics. I stared doing them when I was in my late 20s. A woman I worked with at the car dealership ran a shop out of her home on the side and she did my nails when we lived in Albuquerque. I got used to them long (and loved it!) so I kept it up when we moved. I used to do all sorts of airbrush designs as well. Bats for Halloween, candy canes for Christmas, that sort of thing. Then when we were in Colorado Springs I found THE COLOR. Bogota Blackberry. That was that. My nails (and now my toes) never changed again. They were long, dark red, clacking on my key board nails. But once I decided to try massage therapy they had to go.

My nail beds were a wreck when I took them off so I didn't go back to them. Even though sometimes I miss them.

Apparently last night was one of those nights.

I dreamt that I put them back on. But instead of going to a shop I just pulled the old ones out of a drawer I had been storing them in and glued them back on my fingers. Worked great until I tried to put the ring finger of my right hand on and the nail was the wrong size. The tip was find but the part that covered the nail bed was too narrow. Just a stripe of red down the center of my nail. I kept trying to convince myself that no one would even notice that it wasn't whole. That the tip part (the part extending out away from the bed) was the only part that mattered. The show. Not the base. It wasn't working. I finally had to take them all off again and forget the whole thing. Which left my hands a wreck, again.

Moral of the story, you can't go back to who you were. You aren't that person anymore. I am not a long red nail person anymore. I'm a short, neat, nails, typing on a computer all day person.

At least that's what I think my subconscious was telling me.

Let's go with that.

Better than, you have fat fingers now.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hashtag #blessed...

Back to Hawaii...

One day while Brent and I were talking about life back on the mainland I was talking about times of day I am most motivated and that it was a challenge on chore days. I am motivated in the morning. I go to the gym, I get home and I tackle the number one item on my list. House keeping is often that item. I stay at home while Brent works so I view it as my job to keep the house clean. But on days where I clean house I find it hard to then go sit down and write for a few hours in the afternoon. And on days where I write first I find it hard to then get motivated to clean house in the afternoon.

It's a different mind set. The cleaning and the writing. Now sometimes cleaning is great for my writing because I can work through ideas in my head while I am doing the not super brain draining cleaning. I can talk out dialog when no one is around to hear me saying outrageous things to myself. But that only works if I am actively working on a story. Times where I just need to sit down and force choke out words doing anything else really throws that flow, or lack of flow, off.

As I was explaining all of this to Brent he said, "Why don't you always write first then?"

I was a little taken aback. "Well because that's not my job."

"You think cleaning house is your job?"

"Well, sure it is."

"The house will get cleaned no matter what you do during the day. Either we will clean it together on the weekend or we will hire a cleaning person to do it. But the house will get cleaned."

Okay, so...We talked some more about that. I view writing as something I do for a hobby and what my job is, is to take care of the house. Brent views writing as something I can do well so I should focus on it and the fact that that leaves me extra time for taking care of the house is just bonus for both of us.

It's an odd thing to wrap my head around.

And part of me feels a little badly about it. It's like that #blessed thing you see online all the time. People use it as a way to say their life is SO outstanding while the rest of us silently bite our knuckles at their #blessings and think #punchyouinthenose. Well here I was all of a sudden, #blessed. And I know it's a real gift. The time, that is. I have a friend who is MAD talented. Like crazy good with the words. She's also a mother of two young children and works full time outside of the house. She works her craft though.  Is part of writing and critique groups to get her stuff out there. Does an exchange with me to make sure I'm writing. The one thing she doesn't have is time. Just the luxury of time to sit and write. And here I am with no job, no kid at home, a husband who says, hire a cleaning lady, nothing but time and I'm faced with...what now?

Clearly, since I've been home from Hawaii for over two weeks and I've only posted 5 (now 6) blogs and written pieces of only two other short stories I'm not exactly comfortable using that time yet. I'm really trying to figure it out. How to feel about my #blessings. I don't want to feel like it's a #trap, or #obligation. I write and I read other people's writing to keep from going crazy. How sane would I get if I wrote every day? EVERY DAY?

Hmmm....

Working it out in my head. I know I'm #blessed. I'm incredibly fucking lucky to have a husband who supports me, not only financially but emotionally. Who encourages me to write and to focus on that even though he also knows I'm not ever going to be motivated by money so the odds of this ever panning out in that way are slim to none. That publishing is most likely not in my future. But who still understands that writing, that having people read the words I put out there, that fictional universes and non-fictional brain dumps make me happy. I'm hashtag a lot of things. But lucky is really the biggest one.

So now that I've spent a couple weeks kind of freaking out about the freedom I am going to spend more time writing every day. Some of it you will see. Some of it my aforementioned partner in crime will see. Some of it will be sent off in to the great wide open to see where that leads. But I know that squandering my time would be the worst thing I could do, so the balance is tipping more towards the words and less toward the cleaning. Wish us all luck.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Parenting Advice...

I'm an introvert. Brent's an introvert. C didn't really have a shot at being anything other than an introvert. I want to make all of this clear because the advice I'm about to give is really aimed more toward those extrovert parents who have extroverted children. I get that for us this was an easy thing to teach, but it doesn't mean that I don't think it's incredibly important.

Teach your children how to survive alone. Teach them that it's okay to be by themselves sometimes. Teach them to enjoy their own company. Teach them how to keep themselves busy when they are alone. Teach them these things so they aren't constantly looking for another person to be with.

We have a friend that we've know since we were teenagers. He's been married 5 or 6 times. We lost count. I think it's 6, but I can't remember for sure, one of them might have just been an engagement. But I'm pretty sure it's 6. He was never taught that it's okay to be alone. He has a strong drive to be part of a couple. 

We all have friends like that. If they are out of one relationship they are in to another within weeks if not days. They just cannot be alone. Now, the constant bouncing from one relationship to another is a different thing to learn and usually means they love falling in love but the act of staying in love is boring to them. That's a different subject. But if you can teach them to be alone. To be fine on their own, then at least they can take the time to learn what it is that's making their relationships fail. You can't learn that lesson if you are jumping right in to a new one.

We had to teach C the opposite. That sometimes you have to be in a crowd. Sometimes you have to be part of a group. These are the ways you deal with that when really what you'd like to do is go home where it's quiet and a lot less crowded. It's part of life, you teach your kids how to handle things.

But please, extroverted parents of extroverted kids, teach them how to handle being alone. Or at least not part of a couple. Teach them that they are whole, wonderful, people without having "a better half." Teach them that they are their own better half. And if they do find someone they want to share their lives with, that's great! But make it a choice based on a want to, not a drive based on a need to.

Teach them that it's okay to be alone.

Teach them that nobody but themselves is going to make them a whole person.

Teach them to let people in to their lives because they want them there, not just because they feel like they need to have someone, anyone, there. 

Teach them that being part of a couple isn't really a good goal for your life. Not on it's own. Being part of a couple can enhance your life, but only if you are part of the right couple, not the RIGHT NOW I NEED TO BE PART OF A COUPLE couple. 

Being alone isn't the worst thing that can ever happen to someone. Being with the wrong person just because you were afraid of being alone can be. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Warning for Skippy...

Storm Warning

Snow to sleet to hail
Winds that tear blossoms from trees
Tornado sirens blare
Spring is coming

April Poetry Month Looms
Skippy hides in her basement
No more free verse!
Stop the rhymes!

March in like a lion
Out like a lamb
Iambic Pentameter hides in wait
Haiku crouches to pounce

Can she make it?
Will she survive?
April is coming.
March to May

Cancer cards have been played
But bribes are still accepted
You have three weeks
Make your best offer...




Saturday, March 11, 2017

Try To Be Smarter...

So last week I talked briefly about our trip to Hawaii and how it was filled with more downtime than normal. Which meant a few hours of sitting together quietly watching the rain and talking. And during one of those talks I had a realization of why I have been so bugged by a part of the political discourse lately.

I've talked all around it here and on my status. That seemingly perpetual drumbeat that I need to understand them. That I somehow have to bend what I believe to match what they believe. That Trump won because I don't understand them. And it has bugged me each and every time I've heard it. And I've gone down the lists of reasons over and over again. But as Brent and I were talking about one of the latest lies our current president told and I was voicing my frustration with it all I said something that made it all finally click for me.

I am tired of pretending that being smart is a bad thing.

I am part of what is hopefully the last generation to do so, but part of the generation that told their little girls to not act as smart as they were because boys didn't like it if girls were smarter than they were. Or stronger. Or faster. Or better in any way except in possibly smelling good and looking pretty though not too pretty because you didn't want to be intimidating. Basically be less than.

I was never good at being less than.

And that's what I keep feeling over and over with the current climate. Being smart is vilified. Taking the time to learn about an issue is viewed as elitist. Understanding that your point of view isn't the only one is political correctness run amok. Using facts, fact checkers and logic is biased. Blue collar is best. Intelligence is soft. Correcting someone who is wrong is intolerance. People revel in their ignorance and celebrate the fact that they can hold their misspelled banners high knowing if I point out the fact that they want to say Their not There I am somehow the stupid one.

It's insane to me.

Science. Reason. Logic. Discussions with people you don't agree with, not to change their minds but to broaden yours. Knowing that if you always win every argument you are in, you aren't really winning and you've missed a chance to learn something. These things are important to me.

Instead now I have people telling me that facts are biased. That numbers are lies. That it only matters what you feel is right. And that it's okay to discriminate against people as long as you can justify it by saying it's your religion or they are such a small minority that it doesn't matter or because there was this guy this one time that had this one thing happen to him and so it means that all things are exactly like that one thing and you are an idiot if you don't see that my anecdotal story is more compelling than your facts and statistics.

I'm being told that my problem is I need to understand people who refuse to listen to facts and want to live in their feels.

It bugs me so much because it feels so familiar. If I would just sit back and let the minority, and it is the minority I don't care how many maps you show me where you refuse to understand that a majority of land mass does not equal a majority of people, I need to sit back and let the minority tell me what is right and what is wrong because of their feelings. They are tired of the coastal elites telling them they are dumb. But if what you are doing is dumb, and I can show you why it's dumb, then it's dumb and it's not my problem that you are dumb.

But for fuck's sake, now it is.

Because now I have to sit back and watch as protections for minorities are dismantled. I have to sit back and watch as people who deny science are put in charge of science heavy departments. I have to sit back and watch as the man who is supposed to be running our country lies and then lies again and then tweets conspiracy theories that are just more lies. And knowing the whole time that a huge swath of people think this is okay. That this is right. That facts are weapons that have been used against them for too long and by GOD they will not listen anymore. They will tear it all down and we will have to watch it happening. And they will gleefully mock us as sore losers as we watch the world burn. Yes, I am a sore loser. Sore as in angry.

Angry and disgusted and disappointed.

I have never been good at being less than.

Oh and I know that this is why Trump won. "Stop thinking you are so smart! That you know it all!" Okay, I admit, I don't know it all. There are areas where I am incredibly ignorant. There are always things to learn.

Now it's your turn...

...try being smarter.



Monday, March 6, 2017

It's Good for You...

Sitting here nursing a very sore mouth. I had to get a crown and today was the sizing and temporary crown being put in. My face is weird so dental work is always a challenge. The nerves are flipped on one side of my face so the numbing doesn't always take. Today getting work done on the other side of my face which doesn't have the weird nerve thing but has something else to with the size of my jaw bone it took 5 shots with the last one going directly into my jaw right at the tooth as a last ditch effort. It hurts getting that much Novocain shot into your face. My jaw hurts from the shots and from being open for the work. And it will take until well in to the evening for all of the numbing to wear off.

I knew it would be like this today. It always is. It will hurt tomorrow as well. Hopefully he won't need to numb it out when I got back in for the permanent crown, often they don't, and that's so much better. But even if he does I'll get it taken care of, because it's good for me. Though I have done dental work not numb before just to forgo getting another shot. I was right on the edge of that today. If the last one in to the jaw hadn't worked I would have just sucked it up and dealt with the pain. Because it needed done.

And isn't that a pisser? When you have to do the things that are good for you no matter how uncomfortable they are? Dental work. Mammograms. Pap smears. Bra fittings. Dermatology scans. Exercise. Eating healthy. Visiting your in-laws...

Nobody likes it. Nobody wants to do the hard stuff. But we all soldier on and get it done. Or we face the consequences. Like my tooth. Dr. Youngblood has been watching this particular tooth for a few years. It had a giant filling in the middle and it was developing cracks in the edges of the tooth. Every year he would take a picture of it, measure the cracking and say, "we need to keep a watch on this one." Until this year. I knew as soon as the hygienist popped the latest picture on the screen, and sure enough, the cracking had gotten wide enough that he was afraid the tooth would split if we didn't get a crown on there. I could have said no, I'll just wait, but odds are that tooth would have cracked even if I wanted to wait. Biting down on an almond one day it would have said, "And I'm done..." and that would have been much worse than what I did today. We do the things we need to do no matter how uncomfortable they are.

Or we face the consequences.

I was talking to C this weekend and we were talking about diet and exercise. I know A LOT about both, as you all well know. So we were talking about some healthy food options and then I had to say I wasn't going to do something I had been talking about doing because I could recognize that it was triggering my crazy button. It's not super comfortable to tell people that I am off mentally when it comes to diet and exercise. I know that might be shocking to you all since I talk about it pretty openly, but it's not easy. I know it comes across as crazy and obsessive. And that's only because I get crazy and obsessive about it. When I was younger I would just stop eating at all. A little older than that and I only ate things that were extremely low in calories. In Weight Watchers I always ate less than my points allowance AND I would work out to bank even more. When I use food trackers I do the same thing. Every day I try to eat a little less than the day before. To take in fewer and fewer calories while burning more and more. Right up until I scare myself then I stop tracking at all and gain a lot of weight while I try and ignore the panic.

It's not good for me. It's actually really bad for me. And yet I've done it over and over again.

So I do the uncomfortable thing and tell people about it. That way they can help me watch. So the times when I am not aware that I am being crazy and obsessive they can mention it. Gently, if you tell me to do anything too directly I tend to fight it, another problem I know I have but gently works. So it sinks in and I put the brakes on and stop. Again. I've gotten a lot better. I really have. I recognize it now. Usually. I can stop it before it gets way out of hand. Mostly. And I ask for help. In my own way.

So like getting the work done before the tooth falls apart I do the thing that is uncomfortable because it's good for me.

Like sharing with you all when I go off the rails with food. Too much or too little.

So right now I am working on losing weight. Slowly. So very fucking slowly. I gained a lot last year. And I'm trying to get back to my knees are happy zone. Which is about 12 pounds less than I am right now or 21 pounds less than I was January first. So yeah, I've lost a little less than a pound a week so far this year. Which is great, I know it is. I know it's really steady and the best way to do it and it's still making me a little nuts that it's not faster. I'm doing it by cutting back on added sugar. I was going to do a sugar detox/cleanse when we got home from Hawaii and cut out all the added sugar. It was going to make me lose weight faster and more and better and...I realized while we were on vacation that it was not a good idea. One it's really unsustainable. I like cider. I like baked goods. You need sugar for those things. And two it's something to get obsessive about. And when that happens bad things happen. So I had to back off of that. And I told Brent and I told C and now I'm telling you all.

I will continue with limiting added sugar, but not cut it out completely. I will continue with my gym time, but not add another hour later in the day. I will continue with the slow and steady pace. And I will continue to talk about what I'm doing so people can watch me. Because I need extra eyes. Knowing where you are lacking is the first step. Asking for help in that area is the second. Actually doing the things you need to do even when they are uncomfortable is the constant.

Thanks for letting me be awkward and uncomfortable with you all.

Because it's good for me.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Vacation Rejuvenation...

Vacations are wonderful for so many reasons. Seeing new things. Getting a change in weather. Relaxing. Disconnecting. Eating and drinking without guilt. (maybe that's just me)

But one of the things that I have found vacations are really great for isn't in seeing new things, it's in seeing things in a new way. Because you are out of your typical pattern of daily life, the habits fall away. You are reacting in a more, let's call it pure way. So you get a chance to see yourself differently. And to see the people around you differently. Brent and I have been married for a long time. We were friend for years before we started dating. We have known each other since we were 14. When you have known someone that long, when you have lived with someone for that long, you tend to have conversations with them that they don't even have to be there for.

Confused?

I mean, like you are looking at something and you think, "What would my partner say about this?" and you can fill in their side of the conversation. Now many times, maybe even most times, you would be right. You do know them that well. But sometimes, you would be wrong. You wouldn't really know how they felt about that. What they think about something else. In our day to day lives we are on autopilot for much of it. It's efficient that way. Especially if you have kids. Kids, work, the dog, the house, the laundry, the thing with your parents, that party next week...it all needs taken care of so we just go on about our lives taking care of it. Divide and conquer and have those one-sided conversations.

But on vacation? Well we aren't just taking care of it. We are experiencing it. Often for the first time. And so we have to ask the questions and listen to the answers.

Or there are long periods of waiting. Or resting. Or for those of you that like to do such things, just relaxing. And those can lead to long meandering conversations. Or even conversations about what you need to do at home when you get back. But instead of a "to do" list it's more of a "get to it" list. More relaxed. Nobody is getting off the beach chair and painting the porch right now so you can actually talk about if it even needs painted or not without it looking like you are just shirking your chores.

This trip we got rained out a bit. Things got canceled. Plans got tossed. We eased our way through the week. And we had those conversations that you have while you are on vacation. And I was surprised at times. New bits of information. New ways of looking at things. After 30 years of marriage he still has new things to tell me. I just have to make sure I'm listening.