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!

Monday, November 30, 2020

Inertia During Worldwide Plague But Happy Holidays!

Well here we are in Month Nine of The Plague.

Thanksgiving was a few days ago and a lot of people went ahead and had too many people over to eat a meal that they could postpone and eat at any other safer time but, dammit, they won't be denied!

Black Friday was yesterday and did not disappoint despite the plague: the roads were rife with oblivious, manic shoppers and there was the requisite fistfight...this time at the local mall and over the last PS5, which I think is the latest video game apparatus.

Fighting. With fists. Over a video game machine.
During a pandemic.
Sure, why not?

If you are like me, none of the ongoing nonsense is doing much to restore your faith in humanity at a time when we so, so desperately need a little faith restoration.

Also, if you are like me, you're dealing with a whole lot of inertia right about now.

I don't even really leave the house much anymore except to go pick up curbside grocery orders, a service for which I have gratitude on a level I did not think possible. 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Windy Monday

"Windy" by me, 2016

"I don't know, maybe it's that most people are checking their phones 
instead of watching the wind 
but I sometimes think it's okay to just observe 
the wonder of the world we're in." 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Interesting Questions From Facebook Marketplace

As part of the massive downsizing we are still in the middle of since the beginning of this heinous year, I have been selling a bunch of stuff using the Marketplace feature on Facebook.

While I mostly detest Facebook, I find it to be quite useful in making me a good deal of extra cash as I use its Marketplace to unload the things we no longer want or need, which is very nice.

Sometimes, though, interacting with the general Facebook public can get a little...interesting.

For example, the other day I listed a set of armchairs that we cannot use in our new home.

These are them, in a picture the realtors took when we were selling our old home:

I listed them as "Beautiful Armchairs" and wrote a nice description which included that they were from a clean, smoke free home.

I got a few tire kickers which are basically people who think the item you are selling is very nice and that they would maybe like to own it just not enough to actually pay for it or have to arrange to pick it up.

And then I got this message:

"Do you have pets?"

Well, yes, I do have pets.  Actually, one pet and she's a yorkshire poodle mix which means she doesn't shed and is considered to be hypoallergenic so it's irrelevant to selling these chairs and so I didn't mention my pet ownership status in the ad.

But before I could answer, they sent another message.  This one said:

"I'm asking if you have pets because I have a dog and this is exactly the type of furniture that he likes to 'mark' all the time."

How does one even respond to such a statement? 

They were asking me, seriously, if I was selling furniture that was desecrated by an animal.

Worse, they admitted that they have a dog that pees on their furniture all the time.


I sat for quite awhile pondering my response.

Many questions arose, most of which I did not want to ask, such as if you have a house filled with furniture that your dog had peed on all the time, what does it matter if you're purchasing more peed on furniture? 
Also, do you ever have company? 

Anyway, I went the high brow route and wrote back that I can assure them that for one, I would never own or allow a pet to pee on my furniture and for two, that in the very unlikely event that a pet that I owned dared to relieve itself on my furnishings, I most certainly would not then offer the disgusting item for sale to the general public as the furniture would be at the curb for the next trash pickup.

They wrote back that they were no longer interested.
I can't figure out if it's because I went high brow or because the chairs weren't peed on. 😄

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Finally, September

“We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.”

— Henry Rollins

Once again, after an 11-year absence, I am back living with a few miles of the ocean at this, the best time of the year. Those who live in this area look forward to "local summer" - which is September, and if the weather cooperates, even October. Local summer - when the tourists and summer residents all go back to their homes and the seashore belongs again to the locals.  No crowds, no traffic - at least during the week. The tourists still come on weekends, but their numbers are far less than in proper summer. The cacophony of high summer transitions to the melancholy of September, when the memories of summer are still fragile in their newness.

Do you notice how the light changes in September? I really hope you do. No longer harsh, it's a soft and diffuse light, a gentler one. It almost twinkles with a bit of magic. 
As with all things magical, I highly recommend you find some time to notice, appreciate, bask in it.

In September it always feels to me that you can finally exhale as summer's intensity wanes.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Taken To My Bed

Whenever life gets to be too much for me to deal with, I take to my bed.

Bed is my refuge.

I pile up about 10 pillows behind me so that bed is cloud-like and then I just float there, hiding from life existing in my bed until whatever is happening that is overwhelming me...passes.
Or the meds kick in.  Whichever comes first.  Ha ha.


Depending upon what is happening, 'I've taken to my bed' usually means that I take to my bed for a few hours or a few days until I no longer feel the great need to escape from reality.
I haven't had to take to my bed in a surprisingly long time;
however, the past month has been so surreal and tumultuous that I definitely have spent more time in bed than out of bed. (Thanks, C-PTSD)

Make no mistake, though...I am (mostly) not just laying in bed staring off into space or crying watching reruns or eating bags of Skinnypop. On the contrary, I'm often tucked in there all propped up reading about Harry and Megan still thinking about being semi-productive and how much I wish I was working away on my laptop in between the tiny catnaps that I can eke out during a lull in the construction renovation noise happening in the apartment above us directly above my head.

The renovations above my head being a significant part of why I've recently taken to my bed.  I will tell the renovations story at a later date but so as to not leave you hanging, suffice it to say that, unbeknownst to us, big renovations had been planned for the apartment above us before we even moved in. This information would have played a role in our decision to take this apartment but we didn't have/weren't given this information at the time so we took it ("the apartment upstairs isn't ready yet" is what we were told). For example, had we been told when we came to view the apartment that "at some point during your tenancy we are going to be renovating the apartment above you for an extended period of time of perhaps two months or so resulting in almost daily very loud construction noises that will very much interfere with your ability to live/work/sleep here peacefully", we probably would have elected to not live here.

I know.  The audacity of us to want pay a bunch of money each month and expect that in return we would get to live here peacefully.  What nerve we have.

And this is just part of the story that I will tell at a later date.

i don't have 4 young children but if i did this would be them

But let's face it, when life circumstances send you to your bed too much or too often, it is definitely time to reconsider things and make changes that are within your power to do so.

So we are doing that. One day at a time.

It's getting to be time to get out of bed and put away the Skinnypop.

However! If you find that you yourself would rather be in your bed instead of most any other place, then go there and stay there until you sort yourself out enough to deal or function or regain the capacity to make decisions.

This is where I go wrong, often.
I have been known to make really bad decisions. For example, like not asking a prospective landlord if there is any chance that they will be doing extensive renovations to the apartment above the one you are interested in at the time you are viewing the apartment you're interested in.
I kid...mostly. I mean, what are the chances that a landlord would have major renovations planned that would happen above your head and not tell you about them?


Take it from me. You really should ask questions like that. Maybe pose it as something general, like "are you planning on any kind of non-essential, non-emergency work in the building in the foreseeable future that will significantly impact our ability to live here peacefully and quietly?"
Maybe get the answer in writing, too.

But let's get back to bed and making bad decisions.

Bed is a haven. Bed is your own private island (Idaho?). I do my best thinking in bed because bed feels safe even when you're waiting for some construction guy to fall through the ceiling because they are jackhammering right above you.

If you have decisions to make whether they be big ones or small ones, go to bed and lay there and do nothing. The decisions you come up with from there will probably be better ones but if it turns out that they're not, at least you'll be a little bit better rested.

I'm thinking about dropping the Poor Girl Mercantile name soon, I think.

It's no longer resonating with me. It's not fully capturing the essence of everything I do.
I know...I'm not doing much right now so I'll have to wait it out because "Lady In Bed" is probably not a good business name.

What the real new name will be is up in the air right now. I've got some good ones that I already own the domains for but I have to let them simmer for awhile until I mull them over for a good long time -in an environment in which I am not listening to drilling, sanding, banging happening above my head for hours on a regular basis - to make sure that the one I choose is right.

The naming of your business is a huge thing. I operate as a sole proprietorship so thankfully it's just changing the DBA (doing business as), which then allows me to do that whenever I'm compelled to.

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