Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Potpourri Of Putridity Has Been Proliferating In Plentitude

I've had some personal challenges recently, or as I recently wrote in a letter to a dear friend - "the potpourri of putridity has been proliferating in plentitude of late".

And, as usual, when putridity enters the scene, creativity beats a hasty retreat and I've just basically been languishing in a non-luxurious state of inertia, enhanced by healthy does of overwhelment and ennui.

Plus, it really is 37°(F) outside despite it being late-ish April.
I know, I know - springtime is unpredictable...which is why I distrust it so.  
Did I mention the wind?  Yes, on top of the unseasonable temperatures we are experiencing here in New Jersey we are also under a gale force warning. 

But back to the putridity...it really all started months and months ago when we moved back to NJ and a whole bunch of Other People's Stuff started happening that affected me directly and I forgot to remember to protect myself from a lot of it as I put Other People's Wants/Needs/Issues ahead of my own and you have to trust me when I tell you that no good will ever come from that. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

From 2019: Sitting Still On A Friday (6.10.19)

More evidence that sometimes something good comes from something bad:

 Last week Sherilyn was not feeling well with a pretty good cough and general malaise and so I got to work making a vat of chicken soup for her.  This is what I do whenever any one of us is sick as a pot of my very garlicky chicken soup has been known to cure most ills.

Then I got the idea to mix up a batch of fresh juice for her and us, too.  The more vitamins, the better, right?  But I didn't want to drag out the juicer because cleaning that thing after usage is a nightmare, so I decided to use the Ninja thing with the big attachment.

 This is really boring so far but here comes the good part.

As I was attempting to assemble the blade attachment it somehow slipped right out of my hand and I don't know what happened next but one or two seconds later I became very aware that a very significant amount of blood was gushing from my right wrist.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

You Know What They Say About Mean People

Mildly apoplectic with a large dose of being disheartened would be the words of the day for me.

I had a job interview the other day and the interviewer was rude and condescending and I didn't speak up for myself so I've been stewing in that for the past couple of days.

Ever have something like that happen?  How did you handle it?

I used to interview people in a previous position and I was really good at it.
Thankfully, it would never occur to me (then or now) to to be rude and condescending to anyone generally speaking, but especially in an interview setting when you know the person is already nervous.

I'm frustrated at myself for not speaking up but more than anything I'm sad that there are people who treat other people with such disregard.

Seems like a good day to get outside and spread some extra kindness.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Finally, March (aka Fake Spring)

It never fails.
Despite knowing better, as soon as the calendar turns to March, I'm like hooray, winter's over!

Case in point:  I was an avid Rollerblade skater back in the day. I was pretty much addicted to it and used to skate between 3-5 miles every day, always in the same place.

There is a road in Bay Head, NJ, that runs right up alongside the ocean and the oceanfront mansions of the Excessors (people who buy more and spend more than they actually have to). It's not heavily trafficked so you'll mostly find people riding their bikes, walking themselves and/or their dogs, skating, etc. You'd find me there every day from springtime to late fall, showing up immediately after work on the weekdays and sometimes several times a day on the weekends. Regular exercise - which I will not go on about because there's not much else that's more boring than people talking about exercising - will do that to you...make you addicted thanks to glorious endorphins...the exact ones that have been eluding me of late.

Back then I had to skate, just like I had to eat and sleep.

But skating outdoors in a place like New Jersey is a seasonal activity and I would freak out hard when the seasons changed and it got too cold to skate anymore - especially along the oceanfront where it's much colder and windier than it is inland.  

Winters were long for me as I counted the days until I could skate again.

When the calendar turned to March it was on.  In my head March meant springtime no matter what the thermometer said and so I'd head out to finally skate again. Drive to the beach, park, put my skates and wrist guards on, and off I went.

To hypothermia.

20 or so yards into my skate and my eyes were tearing, nose was running, and I would start to not be able to feel my extremities and it would dawn on me that it wasn't time to start skating yet.
Skating the 20 yards back to my car felt like this:


I did this every March for at least a few years.

In my defense, no one ever said I was the sharpest tool in the shed.

My only excuse?  I guess it's only that hope always springs eternal + those eager little endorphins.

19 days until technical Spring.
Actual Spring is anyone's guess.

A few minutes ago it was flurrying outside.  Not a good skating day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Not Always Uplifty (Especially A Year Into A Pandemic) & That's OK

Hello all.
I hope today finds you as happy as you can muster during these uncertain times
Do you hate that term as much as I do? I'm sorry. I don't know why I used it. I won't do that again. 😕

Recently I have been stuck in a mildly depressive funk* and I wrote about it in a previous post. I received a comment from someone in response to that post in which the person wrote 'thanks for being so uplifting' with what I deduced might have been an itsy bit of sarcasm, and accompanied by the statement being punctuated with abundance of exclamation marks (!!!!!!!) which can sometimes come across as being shouted particularly when more than one is used.


Ha ha, I'm having fun with it although I am hoping that the commenter wasn't really yelling at me because there's nothing I can do to change about being in a funk and not being very uplifty right now. 

See, I write from my real life.
Sometimes in my real life the things I write about might be happy, funny, weird, sardonic, sad, ridiculous, depressing, self-deprecating, etc. 
Am I uplifting and encouraging at times? Yes.
All the time? No. I'm an actual person with various moods, emotions, etc. 
Am I filled with a bunch of nonsense? Regularly. I use humor in all aspects of my life because
(a) what's better than laughing?, and
(b) humor is a fantastic coping tool when sh*t gets real (see resources below and image above).

I do not subscribe to the idea of constant positivity because it's unrealistic, unsustainable, and also unrelatable, which may be the most important 'un' of the three. 

Monday, February 8, 2021

39 Days Until Spring + Everything's Stupid

I am not dealing well with winter this year which is quite surprising as I am usually a wintertime welcomer.

This year, though, I've been stuck in a pit of despair struggling more than usual and so being stuck indoors is not doing wonders for my fragile state of mind mood.

This morning I heard that springtime is 39 days away and I felt this sudden odd and foreign sensation that might have been hope but I'm not sure because I no longer really know what that feels like, which was then quickly followed by the crestfallen thought of how the hell am I supposed to get through the next 39 days even though I've now gotten through almost 12 months of what was supposed to be a 15-day pause.

The truth is that I don't need springtime; I just need it to not be 20°(f) so that when I do go outside it doesn't make my lungs feel like they're going to explode. 

My mood has been so low lately that I have resorted to looking things up on the internet like How To Cope With Winter During A Pandemic and Wintertime Mood Lifters While Traversing A Worldwide Plague and Happy Activities When Pretty Much Everything Sucks.  Not surprisingly, I have not found anything very helpful in reading such things as it does nothing for my mood to consider following their suggestions such as getting up off the couch to go alphabetize my spices or starting a new home-based fitness routine via free YouTube videos. The only real exercise I'm getting lately and seem capable of is lifting my hand to my mouth to shove food into it.

note:  the above meme is meant to be lighthearted  

Monday, February 1, 2021

HandyCam Fun

So I bought a video camera.

A few reasons why...

1. I love filming stuff. I love making goofy little movies, proof of which is on my new YouTube channel. Creating movies using various software is crazy fun for me. I love messing around with different kinds of technologies and so using software to make short films - getting the sequence right, adding music, special effects - is such great brain food for me.
2. I hate cell phones. Oh sure, they're useful and despite my aversion to them I can't deny even my own reliance on them...but I hate them for doing creative things, especially movies. For such purposes, they're terribly awkward and cumbersome. Also, I don't like walking around with a phone in my face and I am most definitely not a selfie stick kind of person. 
3. My new little camera fits nicely in the palm of my hand using the side strap that's part of its design and it weighs just a few ounces so the cumbersome factor is non-existent.
4. It's an excuse to get out of the house and go on more adventures and document things and places.
5. I like the old school factor. Everyone is using their iphones and apps for iphones and I'm over here with my $200 video camera. This gives me lots of satisfaction.
6. Capturing scenes like this one that just happened outside my front door:

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

That Time Of The Year + Random Stuff

January 18th is the anniversary of my lungs collapsing.
In 2009, I suffered a spontaneous pneumothorax (lung collapse) in both lungs. I had walking pneumonia, didn't know it, which had a lot to do with my lungs collapsing.
Left lung, 100% collapsed. Right lung, 70-75% collapsed. 
By the time I got to the hospital the doctor told JP if I'd waited two more hours I would have been a goner. Terrifying stuff.

12 years ago on this day, at around 4-5am while in ICU, a doctor came in and inserted a chest tube through my ribs and into my left lung - with no general anesthesia. If you're thinking that having a 1" tube inserted into your body is excruciatingly painful, you would be correct. I remember the pain - which was about a 47 on a scale of 1-10 - and wondering why a doctor was kind of straddling me.
I was in ICU for 3 days and then regular room for 7 days; my memory of most of it is absent and I recall only bits and pieces from the entire 10 days. 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Insert Really Long Dramatic Sigh

So yesterday was pretty interesting.

Wednesday is JP's day off so we get to spend the day doing things that ensure we are together doing them.
His job/commute mean that his work/life balance winds up favoring the work part and so it's important to prioritize quality time over pretty much everything else during his limited free time.

Quality time for us has always meant hopping in the car and driving around aimlessly which works especially well during a pandemic when there is not a lot of other things to do.  Lucky for us we live at the shore again so meandering the coastline is just minutes away and is perfect for meandering. 

Our first stop was the charming town of Spring Lake (NJ - also known as the Irish Riviera) because they have a fantastic boardwalk alongside the beach and ocean and, even more importantly, an authentic coffee shop that has the best cappuccino I've had in a very long time, consistently. If you love coffee like I do, you know how important the 'consistently' thing is. If you're nearby, be sure to stop in at Driftwood because I need them to have a lot of business so they stick around forever because of my developing addiction to their cappuccino.

We took our perfect cappuccinos and drove over to the beach and sat in the car for a long time watching the walkers, the joggers, the seagulls, and the ocean waves rolling and breaking. You don't get more quality than that. We didn't walk because it's pretty cold alongside the ocean and we hadn't dressed properly. Next time, though.

From there we drove up through Belmar, Avon-By-The-Sea, Bradley Beach, Ocean Grove and, finally, Asbury Park. Our coastal foray took up the entire afternoon and we didn't get home until after sunset.

Little did we know that our lovely afternoon out together had the added benefit of rendering us blissfully ignorant of what was happening in Washington, DC.  I was alerted to the melee by my daughter during her dinnertime check-in call to me. With dread, I tuned in to the news and was rendered speechless by what I was seeing and reading - and, trust me, speechless is not a character trait anyone would ascribe to me.

I am not political. That used to not be the case until I realized that being politically tuned-in did not enhance my life in any way and, in fact, detracted from it significantly. Which begged the question why would I intentionally focus on something that only brought strife into my consciousness? That's basically a masochistic activity, no? Whatever it is, it's an activity that doesn't make sense to me. Focus on things that make me stressed, angry, frustrated? Yeah, no. I'm too aware of how short life is and how important it is to fill my limited time here paying attention to things that actually matter. Some would argue that politics does matter and I would ask them to please point out how politics has fixed anything in recent memory.  Seems the opposite is true to me nowadays which might actually be the problem. 

Alas, being non-political is not popular right now and someone somewhere might read this and send me hate mail which is fine

but I'll stick with what works for me which, by the way, has always been and always will be that which resonates and doesn't cause turmoil. Popular and its counterpart popularity, in any form, is not and has never been something I'm interested in or care about.

As for what is happening in my country right now (politically and otherwise) ...well, as far as I can tell, things are pretty upside down in a whole lot of ways at this time and there isn't a whole lot I can personally do about that except stay the right-side-up course and do my best to remain remain hopeful and faithful.

If you are at all in agreement with that but are maybe in need of a little help in the faith and hope departments at this weird time, I'll remind you of the final paragraph in Max Ehrmann's Desiderata:

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

I Love 12/26

Today is one of my most favorite days of the year.

After weeks of watching and hearing about people lose their minds because of Christmas, 12/26 means it's thankfully over. All that frenetic and crazed Christmas energy- which I am highly sensitive to and respond very negatively to - is now a thing of the past, at least for the next 10 months or so.

I wake up on the morning of 12/26 like little kids do on the morning of 12/25:  joy-filled, exhilarated, ready to seize the day 😁

The only things left now to deal with are castoff Christmas trees - which break my heart - and New Year's Eve.

I am not of the real Christmas tree camp because, as an ardent tree lover, all I see are the happy trees that get murdered, then propped up in people's living rooms to slowly die while decorated in lights and baubles and then thrown to the curb where they will complete their death throes no longer wanted and waiting to be transported to the landfill. 
I will never be convinced that any tree is happier getting chopped down instead of living out its days with its roots in the ground surrounded by its tree friends and family. 
Think I'm crazy?  I'm not. Read this and watch this.

As for New Year's Eve revelry - no, thank you.  I like mine quiet with no pomp or circumstance.
Although after this nightmare year I may stay awake to watch 2020 end.

JP and I decided to follow guidelines and not have people over or go visiting this year for Christmas.
Our thoughts are that it's better to err on the side of caution + sacrificing one year is nothing in the grand scheme of things. We still got to see the people we care about only we did it via drive-by present dropoffs and video phone calls. My 80 year old mother threw open her second floor window and we stood under it waving and throwing kisses. Not the ideal way we would have liked to spend the day but we implemented the 2020 mantra:  it is what it is.

However, we were sadly made aware from other people we know whose families were not being cautious - the "you have to live your life" types - that they were being manipulated/guilted/bullied by them for deciding, like us, to not throw caution to the wind.

Please please tell me you are not Covid guilting anyone. No one gets to tell another person how or what they should be doing in the middle of an unprecedented plague (unless their behavior is endangering others). Don't be a Covid jerk.

I'm going to spend this week before the new year tidying up my website and developing ideas and making plans for my life and business as 2021 gets ushered in. This week is always a weird one, right? Like, you can't figure out what day it is or why you can't stop eating :-)
Best to just decide to relax this week and have as much fun as you can.

And, really, don't worry too much about all the eating. 
You don't always have rich leftovers and bins filled with homemade cookies laying around.

Relax. Enjoy. Have fun. 
It's been a rough year.  ♥

Friday, December 18, 2020

The Gift Of Holiday Spirit From The Ornament-Finders

After the past year we've all had, I knew coming into the season that I would be lacking a good deal of holiday spirit. Since I lost my sense of smell in 2009, holiday spirit has basically been a thing of the past anyway.

If you can smell properly, you would be shocked by the magnitude of the toll not being able to smell takes. Most people think "oh, you just can't smell stuff" but it goes much, much deeper than that. For example (and this is how not being to smell ties into lack of holiday enthusiasm), since losing my sense of smell I can no longer attach scent to memories. This is a profound loss. So at Christmastime, no Christmas tree smell, no fresh baked cookie smell, no turkey or ham or lasagna cooking smell, no pretty candle smells, etc. All of the scents that would take me back to past memories...gone.

From the Portsmouth Daily TimesThe sense of smell is uniquely connected to memories, especially during the holiday season. The connection between smell and memory is strong because it is so immediate. In fact, did you know that the sense of smell is the only one of the five senses that bypasses the rational part of the brain and goes directly to the limbic area, where memory and emotion are? Which is why when you smell something, it immediately takes you on a walk down memory lane, allowing you to recall the emotion associated with that scent from the first time you smelled it. This direct connection between smell and the brain is how aromas become strong memory triggers, often without our awareness until we smell the same scent again.
”I genuinely believe that the sense of smell is the most important sense because it is so closely tied to memory. One’s life is made up of nothing but a collection of memories and experiences. To have a sense that can literally take you back 40 years to your childhood on Christmas morning in an instant – well, it’s incredible,” says Emrie Oliver, in-house fragrance expert for ScentSicles.

So that, in a nutshell, is why it's been harder to get into the spirit of things at holidays.

Throw in a pandemic and it's a wonder that I'm not crying in a closet everyday. It would be easy to choose to do that, right? But I'm not really someone who gives in and gives up easily. I have been diagnosed with depression since losing my sense of smell but thankfully it's mostly mild-ish (anxiety on the other hand? well that's a topic for another day!). I struggle, but I function, and I'm pretty good at finding ways to lift myself up enough to at least have my head above water when a funk strikes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

First Drop Of My Free Ornaments

Today was the first drop of my hand painted ornaments that I'm giving away for free.

I set out with my helper Luna (the Elf Dog)

and off we went to find a couple of places to leave the ornaments.

Luna (the Elf Dog) suggested that we leave the ornaments at parks and even though it kind of felt like she had an ulterior motive - she really like taking walks at parks - I thought it was a good suggestion so that's what we did.

First drop: Huddy Park in Toms River:

gingerbread man ornament left conspicuously at the edge of the bench

Second drop: Whispering Pines Park in Berkeley Twp:

snowman ornament nestled snugly between the fence post

We decided that setting out two ornaments each time we go out on a Ornament Drop is enough each time.

I have to tell you it was really fun doing this today.
I hope that whoever finds them loves them.

I'm also so hoping that I will hear from the finders!

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