Friday, March 31, 2017


Last night we were at a hockey game. Part way through the second period I looked over to a little area they have set up with a bar and tables at glass level and saw Portland Fire and Rescue working on someone. I pointed it out to Brent and the guy next to me said they had been working on him since part way through the first intermission. They were across from us and at ice level and I hadn't noticed it at all.

From that point on I split my attention between the game on the ice and drama right off of it. When they took the man out of the arena on a stretcher they were still bagging him so it was very serious. My guess from his size, the bagging and the fact that his shirt had been opened that he had a heart attack while watching the game. It was a very exciting first period, with us tying it up at the end after being down 2-0. And I know that sounds really disrespectful and that's the point of this blog.

How surreal must it have been for the team working on him, any love ones he had with him, and, if he was conscious, for him as well. It's a playoff game. We were down 2 games to one going in to last night. If we lost that one that was pretty much it. We were blown out the night before. And started down 2-0, fought back to 2-2, then briefly took the lead in the 2nd to lose it and then to get it back, the crowd was loud.

Now, do not misunderstand me at all, I hope that the man is okay. That he makes a full recovery, that he suffers no real permanent damage.

But...I am a writer.

While it was happening, when the boys would make a great play and everyone would cheer, when the goal song played, when the announcer yelled, when the bumper music played...all I could think surreal would it be to die in this environment?

We all have ideas of how we would like to go. Mostly they are peaceful. Go to bed one night and that's it. Or quick. I want it just to be a flash and I'm done. But I don't think anyone thinks, I want to die while the crowd cheers and sings along to TNT.

And how many people in the arena had no idea what was going on? We were in a battle for our play off lives while a man was in an actual battle for his life? I mean, the area he was in is right across from me and I didn't notice it right away because I was focused on the game. Anyone not in the line of sight for the bar area would have had no clue. And anyone in the line of sight who never left the ice viewing would have had no clue.

 And yet, there he was. In what might have been the most important moments of his life. Portland Fire and Rescue working on him. Getting him stable enough to take to the hospital. All the while the crowd goes wild...

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Too Small...

The summer before my 13th birthday my parents and I went back to Iowa to collect a few antiques that belonged to my mother. My grandfather had recently died and my grandmother moved in with my aunt and uncle when the farm sold. So we were going to get the pieces that belonged to mom now and bring them home. It was a massive road trip and ended up being a bit of a disaster for the antiques when the closed trailer that was supposed to be waiting to rent was an open trailer with a tarp. But that's another story.

This is a story about a stop on the way. 

My father's middle brother was living in a small town (I think it was call Pierson) with his current wife and her kids and we stopped to visit with them for a day on the way to Osceola. My cousin Dulce was about my age and we hit it off right away. So as kids did in those days we took off on our own. We went to the local playground to hang out and do what ever it is we were going to do. I think pretty much just swap stories. 

We were swinging and gossiping when a loud whistle blew. Dulce stopped and said, "Let's go."

"Let's go where?" If I had been older I might have panicked thinking it was a tornado siren, but I honestly had no idea what it was, aside from loud.

"It's time for lunch."

Seems the whistle let everyone know it was lunch time. Hunh.

We headed back to the house, "Does that blow everyday?"

"Yeah, lunch and dinner."
"You all eat your meals at the same time? Like everyone in the whole town?"

Dulce looked at me like I was crazy, "Yeah..."


We got back to Uncle Robert's house and sure enough lunch was spread out on the table. I told my parents, "They blow the whistle for lunch every day."

My parents just smiled and nodded like this was something totally normal.

After lunch we headed back out again. This time with a shouted, "Wait for me!" from Dulce's little brother. On our way back to the park his friend joined the group. 

To say that this kid was a brat would be to insult bratty kids everywhere. He was the worst. He tried to butt in to every conversation, he tossed pine cones at us as we swang, he shouted and yelled so we couldn't hear each other talk. I suggested to Dulce's brother that they both go play somewhere else. Then THE EVENT happened.

The friend asked why I wanted them to go away. And I told him. "Because you are annoying."

"I'm not annoying, YOU are annoying!"

"Then go away."

"No. I don't have to. I live here. YOU go away."

"I will. Soon. But right now you are annoying me and I wish you would go play somewhere else where your annoyingness stops bothering me."



So I told Dulce we should go back to her house and play in her room where annoying people couldn't join us. And so we left. With him following along the whole way saying we couldn't do that. But of course we could and we did. 

When the whistle blew for dinner we headed over to the only restaurant in town.  Which with my mom, dad, me, aunt, uncle and two cousins and then the family that owned the restaurant eating with us we shut the place down apparently. Which boggled my brain a bit. It seemed like if they were joining us for dinner it wasn't so much of a restaurant as just going to someone's house for dinner and then paying them for the invite. But what did I know right?

Anyway we get there and my cousin's annoying friend is the youngest son of the restaurant owners. Oh great. We have to eat with the punk. As we are getting situated at the table he is smirking. Hmm...

His mother looks over at me and Dulce, "Did you girls need to say something before we start?"

I'm thinking she means grace, and usually dad handles that so I say, "I don't think so, no."

"I think you need to apologize for the event this afternoon."

Now I'm confused. "What event?"

"Didn't you call (cannot remember his name for the life of me) annoying?"

"I did."

"He was being annoying."

"I think you should apologize."

"I just told you why."

"No. You just said what I said. I wasn't wrong. He was being annoying."

"Well I don't know what it's like where you are from but around here we raise our children not to call names."

I look over at my parents because even at 12 going on 13 I realize that she's just insulted them and questioned their parenting and I'm sort of waiting for them to step in. Now looking back I realize that they probably thought the worst thing they could do to her is let me keep going on my own.

"I didn't call names. He was being annoying and I told him so. I described his behavior. He asked why we didn't want to play with him. Should I have lied to him?"

"You should have played with him."


"Because that is the right thing to do."

"Screaming at us and throwing pine cones at us doesn't seem like a fun game to me. It seems more annoying. Where I'm from people raise their children not to be annoying." 

Looking back I also realize that at that point that was probably not true at all because she was clearly annoyed.

"He was trying to engage with you girls and you were ignoring him."

"We were ignoring him because he was being annoying."

"Did you ask him what he wanted to do?"

"No. I wasn't visiting with him. I was visiting with my cousin. He just tagged along. I didn't care what he wanted to do. He's 8."

"Nine!" annoying kid yelled.

"Fine, you're nine. I don't want to play with a nine year old. I wasn't there to play games with a nine year old. I wasn't there to be yelled at or had things thrown at me."

"If he was throwing things at you, you should have told me about it instead of calling him names."

"I don't know you. You weren't there. And why? You didn't need to know he was being annoying, only he did. You weren't involved with any of this. It wasn't your business."

Which of course made her really mad!

"Not my business! You called him a name of course that was my business!"


"Because he is my son and I have a right to know."

Then I saw the line, looked at the line, and vaulted over the line, "Then I guess you should get used to people telling you he's annoying."

At this point my Uncle Robert clapped his hands and said something to the effect of we should probably eat before the food got cold. 

I never apologized. 

I also didn't eat dinner there that night. I might have been raised in a place where kids aren't taught right, but at least we were taught not to touch the food if you've pissed off the kitchen staff. 

When we got back to my aunt and uncle's house my aunt made me a sandwich. She also said, "You're right, he's pretty annoying." Which made my cousin laugh so hard she peed a little. 

It was on that visit that I decided there was such a thing as a town too small. And one where the whistle blows to tell you when to eat, is too small. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Prompted to write...

I mentioned before that I was going to use writing prompts on days that I didn't have any ideas about what to write to make sure that I was writing more days than not.

Today was one of those no real ideas but haven't written since Friday so really need to sit down and crank something out sort of days. I thought a little about a political tirade but, honestly, I am so tired right now of all of that. I am tired of watching people make excuses for the inexcusable so I'm skipping that for a moment. But that means looking for a prompt. I decided that there must be some sort of daily writing prompt thing out there. I mean I have daily prompts for my picture of the day so there must be something for writing, right?

I found a ton aimed at teachers to get kids to write. I don't think a story about the great Alaskan earthquake that happened on this date in history is really in my wheelhouse and I don't have access to library resources #1-4 to complete the assignment. I'm not even sure what those are which increases the level of difficulty quite a bit. Then there were these three aimed at adult writers:

Use the following sentences as the opening lines of a short story:
He did not know what to do. They had never had contact with this race before.


How about this one?

If your hero's love interest could invite three famous people to dinner, who would he or she choose?

And then this jewel from a list that is formatted pretty much the same way as my Picture of the Day prompts:

Destroy it.

Unless you write science fiction the first one isn't really going to grab you. And as I don't write science fiction I am ungrabbed (back to political writing? hmmm...) The second one is one of those things that is supposed to help you write your great american novel. It's more a cue to dive deeper in to your characters and flesh them out. Who are they? What are their deep thoughts? Well, I don't have current hero right now I just have my standard stable of characters who when asked questions like that roll their eyes at the very cliched thought of such a thing. "I'd invite Mario Batali, Michael Symon, and Duff Goldman. And not so much to dinner as to make me dinner." And then there is the last one: destroy it. What the fuck does that even mean? That's not a prompt for writing. That's just lazy. Though not as lazy as tomorrow's which is iPhone. THESE ARE NOT PROMPTS! THESE ARE JUST RANDOM WORDS!

So yeah, I need to find a good book of prompts and not rely on the interwebs it seems...

Though I did get a short blog out of it, so maybe all is not lost.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Final Assignment

She had reached the last chapter of the workbook. The recommendation had been to allow for at least 6 months to work through all of the items. She had done it in two. Part of it was that she had always been an over achiever, she liked being faster than everyone else. Doing things quicker, it made her feel accomplished. Of course part of why she was such an over achiever was because she had always been a procrastinator as well and had put off starting the workbook for as long as she felt she could. But she hadn’t ever been worried about getting it done. She would have finished it even earlier except there were things that she had had to wait on. Group work. She had always hated group work. If it had just been her she could have had it all done in a week.

Which was about how much time she had to finish it now. Which really should be more than enough time. After all the last chapter was only two tasks. She knew that because she had looked ahead. They advised against it in the foreword of the book. Work through it in order. Don’t skip ahead. Handle each task in turn. Don’t get overwhelmed. But she had been a back of the book peeker her whole life. Not about to change now.

So she had one assignment with two tasks left to do. Then she would put the workbook and the accompanying documents in the official, postage not included, mailing tube and send it all off for her final report. Just one more chapter to go. One last assignment to complete. She was sure she had done everything else exactly right. Over achiever, remember? She flipped to the front of the book and ran her finger down the chapters like a check list. Done, done, done, done, done…yep. She had done them all. And now it was just this last chapter. One more assignment. One last easy thing to complete. Easy enough to do. Just open the book and start.

She was really thirsty though. And a snack wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Proper hydration and nutrition were important right? No sense starting on an empty stomach. It only made sense. She made her way in to the kitchen. When she opened the refrigerator and saw the empty shelves and spotless interior she had to laugh. It had been the second to last assignment after all. Clean out the fridge. If she wanted a snack she was going to have to go out and get one. And that was probably stalling a bit too much.

She went back in to her office and opened the workbook.

“If you could choose, what would your last sentence be before you died?”

That was the chapter header.

Tasks to complete in this assignment:

Using list of contacts from Chapter 2 write a brief note to each of them saying goodbye. Make it one or two sentences only. This should not be a repeat of the Chapter 3 notes. (Chapter 3 had been instructions and bequeathed items, as she only had 3 contacts and very limited items it had not taken her very long to complete). This should not be a repeat of Chapter 4 burial and services instructions. Each note is simply a time to say goodbye. The benefit of a short note is ease of remembrance for the recipient.

At this point she looked at her bulletin board. She had pinned her collection of notes received there. The first one she received she had memorized. The second as well. Now there were 43 notes on the board. She only had to write 3 herself. There weren’t many people left to send them to. The notes she wrote would be sterilized before being sent off to their intended recipient. They were pretty sure the virus couldn’t live on paper anyway, but just to be safe they would do whatever it was they do with the paperwork to make it safe.

As if any of them were safe.

She had thought she was going to be okay. For a very long time she was. There was something to be said for being antisocial after all. Her extroverted friends, notes 1-20 on the board, dropped like flies right at the beginning. Her introverts took much longer. And now she had 3 left. Three goodbye notes to write to people who would then have one less note to write themselves.

“If you could choose, what would your last sentence be before you died?”

This was the final assignment. Three notes to others and then her last words. They were memorializing them all for any possible future generations. Future generations. The more optimistic believed there would be survivors. She wasn’t sure anymore. Would there be a new Adam and Eve? Or were they all Lilith? The end of the line.

The notes to her contacts went quickly. She had received so many of them herself that she knew at this point what to say. What would help. Or what seemed to hurt the least. “I love you. Thank you for being in my life. Try not to be scared.” That was it. Each note got the same message. She thought about personalizing them, but those were the true basic lines. She loved them. She was grateful for what she had been given with her time with them. She knew they were terrified that they were next. And they were next. From the moment the first deaths occurred they had all been put on a list and they were just being checked off one by one. Like this workbook. Here are your assignments. But instead of contacting next of kin and getting your affairs in order is was “Infect the Johnsons. Then move on to their next door neighbors the Jones. Don’t forget their new baby.”

Entire families gone in a few months. Or worse, staggered. Like hers. Their son had gotten ill first. Before they knew it was a death sentence. He had died quickly. They had been in shock. Didn’t know how to move on. The doctors didn’t know at that point what was happening. Nobody did. It was a virus. It was unexplained. It was random. They were so sorry for their loss. Then her husband came home from work with a fever. By that time they knew. If you got sick, you died. It was contagious but they didn’t know how. They still don’t know how it’s passed. His entire office was gone within 4 months. There were drug therapies then. It was put in the water supply. They weren’t given a choice. All the drugs did was prolong the sickness.

Now they knew, you had 6 months from diagnosis to death. The drugs would keep you asymptomatic until the very last. So you had time to get your affairs in order. Here take this handy workbook we’ve compiled to make the end easier. Tidier. Less hassle for those left behind. Because, let’s face it, there aren’t many left behind to take care of things anymore.

“If you could choose, what would your last sentence be before you died?”

And now she had this one last thing to do. She thought it was cruel. After all, there was no choice here. They were dying. They were done. It could very well be their last sentence. She understood the psychology. If you could have a little bit of control over the uncontrollable you would be more at peace. So pick your final words. Choose your last profound thought. What do you want to leave to future generations?

She looked around her now very tidy apartment. Her bulletin board with last notes. Her spotless kitchen. Her meager belongings set out with notes attached. Her workbook, almost complete. She had no control. It was going to happen soon. There was no more putting it off. No matter how she procrastinated. No matter how much of an over achiever she was. It had all fallen apart. It had all ended. First her son. Then her husband. Now her.

“If you could choose, what would your last sentence be before you died?”

If she had known, if she could have chosen, if…

She picked up a pen and wrote:

“Hold on, honey, Dad and I are going to come with you.”

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?


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.


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 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.