Friday, June 11, 2021


I got my 1st dose last week, finally, after overcoming personal hurdles.

I have medical PTSD...well, actually, I have C-PTSD (the C stands for Complex) which means it's sourced from more than one trauma but the medical part is a big part of my particular PTSD pie.

What that means for me is that it's about 1000 times worse than the more commonly known 'White Coat Syndrome' so even something as simple-sounding as going to Walgreen's to get a vaccine that a gazillion people have gotten is a monumental thing for me...and I mean that in the true sense of the word.
Anyway, we went to Walgreen's. I had cancelled approx 3 appointments prior to this one for various reasons such as the stars not being in the correct alignment 😄 but at this point I was so sick of myself, sick of my anxiety and neuroses, that I forced myself this time.

And once we got there and approached the pharmacy part of the store I told JP I couldn't do it, which he understood because he is saint-like in his support and understanding of my aforementioned anxiety and neuroses.

Not wanting to disappoint him or myself, I then told him let's walk around the store a bit to see if the panic subsides.

Friday, June 4, 2021

The Herbary at Bear Creek Farm

As I said in a previous post, we stayed local during JP's vacation which was just fine by me especially since it turned out to be oppressively hot and depressingly sunny that week. As someone afflicted with Summer SAD* and photosensitivity, hot and sunny weather is the most dreaded combination and makes me hide in the house insulated comfortably by dark window coverings and air conditioning.

However, I do recognize that it's creepy not always healthy to hide from the sun all the time and so we ventured out on a hot, sunny May day to visit a place I've been meaning to get to since we moved back to the shore last July - The Herbary At Bear Creek Farm in Howell, NJ.

Have you ever heard of terrain - the Anthropologie-associated garden center/gift shop/all around amazing retail wonderama?  When we lived in Delaware we would frequently go to the terrain location in Glen Mills, PA since it was just a few miles from us. I haven't been back there since leaving Delaware and I've missed it, so you can imagine my delight at discovering that The Herbary has a very similar terrain vibe which is also my vibe: simple, natural, peaceful, hip.

The first thing we noticed when we drove into their parking lot is the openness. No cramming of mass amounts of plants that makes you feel overwhelmed...

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Staycation At The Jersey Shore

JP was on vacation last week - or, rather, he was on staycation.

It was his first time off in sixteen months other than the one day he took off when we moved into our house.  To say he needed a week off would be a gross understatement especially considering that he works in the auto industry. Oh, the stories I could tell about what it's like to work at a car dealership!  
For now I'll just save it for that book I'm going to write soon.

Taking the kind of vacation where you pack bags and travel to a place and sleep overnight(s) there was not on the agenda since what he needed more than anything was to do a whole lot of nothing.  To just be home, to take it slow, to sleep in. His daily commute is pretty much a nightmare from the Jersey shore to north Jersey so I did not want him to have to drive too much during his week off. As usual since he is the best husband on earth, he said he'd do whatever I wanted but what I wanted more than anything was for him to relax. 

Staying home for vacation is highly appealing to someone like me. I hate sleeping away from home. For one, I have a monstrous phobia of bedbugs and other disgusting things that might be present in a place you would rent to sleep at - hotels, motels, Holiday Inn, etc. Have you ever watched the television show Hotel Impossible? I've seen things on that show that have scarred me and will haunt me for all my days. 
I used to not be this way. In fact, for many years I spent the winter months in a Miami Beach hotel suite.
This was before bedbugs made a comeback. By the time they re-emerged (<---that word makes my skin crawl), I was no longer a snowbird and was instead embracing local day trips that had me back in my own nice clean NJ bed by bedtime.

For two, in the few instances that I have actually been able to get past being completely skeeved out about laying in a bed that many, many other people have laid upon and in, I literally cannot sleep. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll get 3 or 4 hours of broken sleep which means that I am basically a zombie on away vacations.  I have stayed in everything from super luxury resorts to rented cabins and it doesn't matter - I won't sleep. 

For three, many people seem to want to pretend it isn't so but...there is still a pandemic. It's really obvious that there are wayyyyy too many people who seem to have forgotten that now that summer is nearly upon us and there is fun to be had. 

We took a ride on Sunday from Seaside Heights to Point Pleasant Beach (which encompasses some of the most prime NJ shore destinations for those unfamiliar with the area) and I'm still traumatized 24 hours later but what we saw - and we saw a lot because we were stuck in summer-style traffic even though it's not summer yet.  Thousands of people on the boardwalks and beaches. Truth is I've never been big on being anywhere that a whole bunch of other people are and now thanks to pandemic, that's about 1000% worse.

Deciding to stay close to home and enjoy our house and yard and sleep in our bed this past week was just fine for both of us.

The plan now is to buy a really small inflatable pool that will fit on the patio so we can cool off while enjoying a cocktail.  If we stretch our imagination we can pretend it's sort of like a swim up bar at a fancy hotel but much, much cheaper and without the crowds. Or the bedbugs. Or various other germs and inconveniences.

In no way do we feel like we're missing out. In face, we really wouldn't have it any other way.

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.

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