Bible Verse of the Day

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Away

Sandestin Beach at evening. Photo courtesy of family
After the Senior Games, I took care of neglected things for a couple of days, then headed to Sandestin, FL, for time with my grandson and family. What a wonderful trip! Travel, going away, and just spending time by myself in airports (and writing) all help clear my head.

I came back home with realizations that my life needed to change. I have issues I need to deal with. Therefore, I gave notice at my job. It had to happen. Because it's an open-ended contract, I might ask to come back sometime next year, as I am leaving on good terms. But for now, I need to get my head together, as we used to say around 1970 or so.

For now, it's finish out the work I've committed to, then it will be time to take care of some long-neglected parts of me. I will also write things I want to write and have been stifling for three years. Once I see how I can do writing other material (and whether I can make some money at it), I'll decide on my next steps.

I'll probably never have the money to own at place at this location, but I can rent a place and go back to visit. That I will do. Maybe even with family again! I sure hope so.

One view of the immediate neighborhood. Photo courtesy of family.



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Senior Games

I'm heading out tomorrow to see family and take a 3-day Florida vacation. Today is busy, but I wanted to post how I did at the Kentucky Senior Games, which were Sunday, Sep 16. If you've already seen this information, feel free to skip this post.

I ended up with 5 golds, 5 silvers, and one bronze. Some of those medals are qualified with, "Kentucky gold," etc., meaning I didn't take first place overall, just among KY participants. Which means, in cases like the javelin where I was dead last but was the only one competing from KY, I got a gold medal. So the medals are not a big deal to me.

What matters is that  I qualified in the 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m race walk, shot put, javelin, discus, high jump, and long jump for the National Senior Games next June. I'm especially excited about my 100m race, where I had the fun of actually beating someone (LOL) and turned in my best time ever--23.62 sec, or around 9.5 mph (I was second). The 200m makes me even happier--54.64 sec, or a little less than 8.5 mph. I have never done either distance that fast before. None of the rest of my results are all that exciting, but the 100m and 200m make me feel proud.

So, it was a great day where I also had a lot of fun and enjoyed talking with like-minded women my age and older. Tropical Depression Florence stayed away--only a few sprinkles of rain and it wasn't unbearably hot. I won't train all this week, just do normal exercise and enjoy the moment!

Yesterday was a rest day, so today I run myself ragged, metaphorically speaking, to get ready for my trip. See you on the other side!


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Poor and Middle Class are Still Under the Wheels (Links)

Courtesy of Free-Photos on Pixabay. Creative Commons licensed.
This blog post will be long on links as we approach the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the bullshit known as the Great Recession, among other names, of 2008.

The Recovery Threw the MIddle-Class Dream Under a Benz

There were those who could recoup their losses and those who could not...


Please note the story of Terry Sadler of Richmond, KY. More and more people are in her position ten years on.


The Banks Changed. Except for All the Ways They’re the Same.

I used to document software used by big banks. I have worked for the Federal Reserve Banks. Banks are emphatically not your friend.


The Next Financial Calamity Is Coming. Here’s What to Watch.

Debt levels are higher than ever. Hackers are a wild card.


Did the Government Bailouts Work and at What Cost?

The short answer is Yes, we avoided financial Armageddon — but at a cost. 

Read. Reflect. Talk about it. And remember in November.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Who, me?

I am an athlete.

I have never said that before in my entire life.

Last night my first-ever pair of track shoes arrived. Today I tried them on the EKU track to see how it felt to sprint in them. Wow! I felt positively propelled.

Yes, they are meant to be two different colors.
I cannot believe this is ME who runs miles, who sprints at track meets, who actually hired a coach to teach her how to throw the discus, javelin, and shot put, and how to do the long jump and triple jump.

I cannot believe that, if I qualify at the Kentucky Senior Games a week from tomorrow (Sunday, Sept 16), I will be eligible to compete at the National Senior Games next June.

Look, I was such a nerd in high school. I HATED gym class. I felt stupid and uncoordinated playing sports. I never felt that way in the classroom, where I shone.

I always liked to walk long distances and to run and jump, but I never thought that was anything special. It's just what kids do when they play outdoors.

But eight days from now, I'll put my practices and training to the test.

I keep waiting to wake up. Surely this is not me.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

My Head is on FIRE

I am a material girl. I am not ashamed to admit it. But not in the pursuit of diamonds and luxury. I'm all about pragmatism and I'm hard-headed about numbers. Save now, spend later. "Only boys that save their pennies make my rainy day."


(I had fun blasting this song while driving through my little town earlier today...)

FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) is all the rage. I see bloggers praising quitting your job and retiring once you have enough money to live on for the next 50 years. (Notably, the bloggers doing the praising are pulling down big bucks as famous bloggers, so, consider the source, y'all...)

Let me be clear: I am all for quitting a job you hate and following your bliss if you can do so! As most of us in their 60s and beyond could tell you, life is short. But I find so many of the FIRE bloggers rather clueless on the practicality of FIRE. They are in their 30s and they simply can't envision the day when they can't find another job because they have aged out of the market.

You have to turn 50 or 60 to run into that concrete reality.

I remember those days... basically I could go out and pick a job off the job tree and never, ever worry about periods of unemployment. But these days, after 50, especially in certain fields, doors shut forever. Don't believe me? Okay, go ahead.

I am all for frugality, for fun, for spending as much time as you can with family and friends, for doing only work you love (or at least tolerate well). But Millennials and Gen Xers entranced by FIRE should keep this in mind:

"Just go find another job" if/when you run out of money only works up to a certain age.

Trust me, you do not want to be still working at 67 because you must. Or be 67 and no one will hire you because you are old. Or be 67 and work at a job paying minimum wage that's beating up your body because otherwise you will starve.

Or be 67 and have all your money gone because health care costs were higher than you thought they would be when you retired at 35. As someone who has paid for their own health insurance, it only costs more the older you get. You might be shocked.

Yeah, you're 35, have a family, and think $500,000 that's well-invested will do the job for the next 50 years? Good luck with that. I do mean that. Maybe you will be one of the lucky ones who makes it work. Maybe you're a market genius and your investments will pay off wildly well. Maybe you will be spectacularly lucky with your health or with life in general.

Most people aren't.

Please, please, for the love of God, if you are considering FIRE and feel cocky about how much you have saved/invested, think again, or at least consider the following suggestions:

  • Find someplace that has a low cost of living.
  • Find something else to do if you truly hate your job that you can do in said location with a low cost of living that still supports you.
  • Be free of debt.
  • Know how to live without all the perks of 21st century life. (If you can't do without cable or a new phone every year, you might not be ready for FIRE.)

Take a look at our country. The trend is to provide less of a safety net, not more, for people in trouble. It's a cold world when you can't pay your rent/mortgage, when your EBT card (food stamps) runs out of money before you run out of days, when you have to get to work but can't afford to repair your beater car.

If you have never been there, you're in for a rude awakening.

FIRE is a fine goal. But know yourself, and be honest about what the next 50 years will cost you to live. I suggest FIRL (Financial Independence, Retire Later) and aiming for a 45-50ish retirement rather than throwing in the towel at 35.

In any case, may you never run out of cake to eat.

Photo courtesy of gorartser on pixabay. Creative Commons licensed.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

When Failure Feels Like Success

From the memorial created after the bombing at the Boston Marathon, April, 2013
My photo
While reading a friend's blog and enjoying her artwork, I was struck by something she said:

"...reflecting on why in the world I keep putting the energy into applying for these things that have remote chances of success, and realized being awarded a grant or submission to a show is secondary (although lovely) to the necessary hard work of building self-confidence and identity as I am putting my work out there for review. For me, it is this vulnerability of exposure that is the hardest part of being an artist, yet I know it is the only way to keep moving forward." --Michelle Hayden

I have felt this vulnerability in my fiction writing, but I am especially feeling it in my current athletic pursuits.

I am training for the Kentucky Senior Games, something I didn't even know existed until about two years ago. This year, the stakes are high because my dream is to get to the National Senior Games next June, and this is my only shot at it, pretty much. Otherwise, it's wait another two years for a shot. But participating involves the risk of so much failure. So. Much. Failure!

As the man who has been training me in all types of freakin' hard track and field stuff said today, there can be only one world record holder, only one world champion. And someone has to be last, too. (In other words, don't stress about it.)

So, what if I fail? The first 5K I ran, I was dead last (and embarrassed about it). The next race I ran, a 3K, I was second in my age class. Knocked me out. My first medal!

To get to the Nationals I have to battle my injured knee (and my natural dorkiness--I am by no means a natural athlete). And yet becoming an athlete feels so natural to me. I am amazed at how my life has changed since I began running a little over seven years ago in an effort to "lose a little bit more weight." I have more mental toughness. I care less about what others think of me. After all, you can't be a dorky 67-year-old runner and care what you look like while doing so.

I don't know what's going to happen. Training at the moment is painful and difficult because of my knee. I am hugely disappointed I injured myself and haven't been able to heal the problem. Until the Kentucky games, I have to walk a fine line between training adequately and not overtraining, in order to keep from injuring myself worse so that I can't compete.

We all do this, you know--take chances, push beyond comfort levels--and we are the better for it. It doesn't matter what you are doing, or what you are risking--taking a chance, to me, is what makes life worth living. Sometimes you lose in terrible ways, like Rebekah Gregory, who lost a leg in the Boston Marathon bombing, April, 2013. She wasn't a runner--she was a spectator. And yet her trauma inspired her to train for--and run--3.2 miles of the Boston Marathon on a blade prosthesis. She's a winner in my book.

On September 16, I will put myself out there in the starkest way--I will compete in about 10 track and field events, where winning or losing is clear-cut and can be separated by hundredths of a second or by hundredths of a meter. But failure still feels like success to me. This dork loves being an athlete.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

I Went Back on Antidepressants/Tenth Year Anniversary of the Death of Dreams

Image courtesy of creozavr on Pixabay. Creative Commons licensed.

I went back on antidepressants, and it's not helping.

It's not the fault of the antidepressants. They work like a champ on my SAD--seasonal affective disorder. No, it's just that too damn much else is happening in my life. So I'm going to vent. Lucky you!

I post on Twitter under a pseudonym because it gives me some much-needed freedom to say whatever I feel I need to say. I don't abuse others, but I don't hold back when it comes to my opinions or my thoughts about life, the universe, and everything. Yesterday, I tweeted something like, "I think I might have just quit my job."

The reasons why and the story behind the tweet are complicated (still no resolution at hand), but my feelings are shifting all over the place about it. To know why, we have to rewind 10 years.

We are coming up on the anniversary of the day our lives ended, as I used to think of it. My husband's place of business died, Lehman Brothers was told, "no bailout for you," and the stock market began its months-long, extreme crash that killed our investments. I remember feeling like a deer in headlights, watching the approaching disaster, and not able to do a damned thing about it.

I'll never forget Monday, September 15, 2008. The panic had not yet set in. Eventually, it did.

Fast forward to Spring, 2015, and the job I landed. I've been there 3 1/4 years. If I leave, I know I'll feel that old panic about not receiving a paycheck. [OMG! We're going to starve! We'll lose the house!] So I'm feeling panicked about not working again. It's an emotional reaction. We are so much better off than we were in late 2008 that the panic is, honestly, irrational.

But who said emotional reactions were rational?

That unholy mess, plus an insane number of committments, including training for the Kentucky Senior Games for my shot at going to the National Games, and I am feeling an incredible amount of pressure. Nothing in my life feels right. (Except when I exercise, which exorcises demons.)

This, too, shall pass. At least, I keep telling myself that.

Back to work.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

I Don't Know What to Call This Post

Nietjuh on Pixabay. Creative Commons licenced.
Don't worry, this is not really a political post. It's more about class blindness and frugality and hungry people. If you consider talking about hunger political, well, bless your heart. The rest of you, bear with me, K?

Sometimes the best way to see the wealth divide in this country is to read what middle-class/up-mid class folks read in their off time. I imagine most of us would include NPR in that class group, right?

Recently NPR posted an article about how to reduce food waste.

"Here's advice from one family who significantly cut back on food waste for three months:
▪️ Plan out meals for the week to reduce excess food purchases ▪️ Know when food is actually spoiled ▪️ Stray from recipes ▪️ Study personal food waste"
Someone on Twitter reposted the NPR link with this rather savage comment:

Or, you could lose your job/income and need to eat everything you have, along with lots of rice and beans. Both have a great shelf life and are cheap as fuck....

These days, I'm probably considered middle class, though I grew up much poorer: I have a graduate degree, I own a home, I have health insurance, I own a paid-off car, I have a decent job, and I can go to the grocery story without flinching too much at the prices or counting my money before I get in the checkout line. (In the past, I have done the latter, however, hundreds of times.)

I live in a state with a high degree of what is called "food insecurity" these days. Nationally, as of 2016, "41 million people struggle with hunger in the United States, including 13 million children and 5 million seniors. A household that is food insecure has limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life."

The disconnect between those with plenty--the NPR audience, for the most part--and those who don't have squat really bothers me. When people are hungry, there is no planning meals, there is no "buying local," there is often no using recipes (you just throw crap together, BT, DT), and most of all, there is no "food waste." You eat everything you've got. You're hungry! (Disclaimer: I have been hungry because I did not have enough money to buy sufficient food for months at a time.)

Yes, if you have plenty, don't waste food, by all means. I do my best never to throw anything away. But get out of your own head now and then, and think about what the people down the street might be doing to get by. Yes, I'm talking about the folks who moved out in the middle of the night because they'd been foreclosed on. (Do you cluck over how they ran and that they had a better car than you?) Foreclosure is still a thing. Our neighborhood has one or two foreclosed homes almost all the time.

Give to your local food bank today. Do whatever else you can if your life is bountiful. And, again, if you consider talking about hunger "political," well, bless your heart. Sure hope you don't consider yourself a Christian.

Did I make you angry?

Good.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tea Time

I'm sitting here with a mug of sweet, milky (decaf) tea while I ponder the events of the past couple of days.

Libertad on pixabay.
Creative Commons licensed.
Someone I once knew recommended hot tea with milk and sugar when feeling distraught or down. Because it's evening, my tea is decaf, but she was right. Something about the combination works to make one feel better.

I'm not normally a tea drinker. I'm mad for strong coffee. I've loved coffee since I started drinking it at 15 (instant with evaporated milk while listening to moody protest songs way back when--instant because that's all my parents drank).

However, decaf tea later in the day (Twinings Irish Breakfast decaf) hits the spot with me. Especially with a European-style, not too sweet cookie like Biscoff.

Work has been tough the past couple of days, lots of brouhaha, which is unusual for my employer. Unfortunately, I've gotten very little real work done and am feeling the pressure of how much I need to do this week. Today we went to the neurologist in Lexington to see what might be going on with my husband. So far, any dementia illness has been ruled out. They took blood to check a couple of things and sometime soon there will be a brain scan to rule out things like tumors and lesions. I suspect we'll end up with a "it's just one of those things, we can't find anything wrong" diagnosis. As frustrating as that can be (I have one of those in my past), it's better than having a tumor.
Kitty

My Kitty weighs on my mind a lot these days. She's old and sick and not doing as well as she had been. Sunday night she got under my feet and I stepped on her. When she screeched, I tried to get off her paw, lost my balance, fell, and put a nasty scrape on one forearm, the whole length of it. That wasn't the worst part. The worst was that Kitty wouldn't get near me for hours, looking upset that I'd hurt her. Man, I hated that. Thankfully, 24 hours later, we were all made up.

Just sitting at my desk, writing this blog while having the tea and cookie is calming. Tomorrow is another day. Things will work out. Think I'll have another cookie...


Saturday, August 18, 2018

No Words. Well, Some.

Courtesy of rwayne307 on Pixabay. Creative Commons licensed.
I'm taking a deep breath, astonished that it is already Saturday. The last time I posted here was Sunday. Six days ago. WTF.

It's been a week filled with meetings at church (4 at last count), work, seeing people I needed to see, fighting fires of all types, working out like a fiend for the Kentucky Senior Games, and playing bridge (it's a card game, for those who don't know) for the first time in probably 30 years.

Honestly, last night I was toasted, and not in the good way.

The coming week looks to be similar. My husband goes for a consult on Tuesday regarding memory issues. I'm nervous about it--more another time. There's a big picnic I need to attend. There are people I need to reach out to who are in distress. I'm trying to figure out the best time to see an old friend from my salad days who is a delight (we recently reconnected). Of course, there's always work. Of course, there will be fires of all types to fight. Did I mention I volunteered to be on the search committee for a new music director at church? Holy crap, what was I thinking? I don't need one more thing to do!

And yet, it was a good week. I felt needed and that I did useful stuff, especially when brainstorming worship themes for September. It was wonderful to spend time with my old friend. It was cozy to feel (re)connected with people at church. I enjoyed some positive feedback regarding my work. (How nice to feel appreciated!) I received support from friends about my husband and his possible medical outcomes.

And it was especially, especially good to play bridge again.

I'm not much of a player--my husband has won tournaments playing bridge, while I'm mediocre--but it was a real stretch and probably good for my brain. I was astonished at how much I remembered about the game. And I had a thoroughly smashing-good time. Last night I fell asleep early, exhausted by the week and the mental energy expended at bridge, but it was that good kind of tired.

So, while at times this past week I felt like the tree surrounded by rocks (above), notice that the tree is green and apparently thriving. I can't keep up the pace for long, being a staunch introvert, but for a short while, it's all right. It might even be good for me.

But I don't like that it has cut into my blogging and thinking time.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Runner

Courtesy of intographics on Pixabay. Creative Commons licensed.
Not me in real life.
I began running a little over seven years ago as a way to lose the last ten pounds or so after I'd already lost perhaps 45 pounds. I was walking a lot and eating properly, but no weight was disappearing, so I decided to jog a little. At first I lasted only 30 seconds. But I persisted.

I never, ever counted on falling in love with it.

How wrong I've been in life, repeatedly. (See previous post, "But What If We're Wrong?") These days, although I don't run every step of the way, I can put in four miles and am running much of it at about a 10 minute pace. It is an enormous achievement that I am proud of. Not everyone starts running at 60.

I was never an athlete, you understand. I was the high school brain and ended up salutatorian without trying very hard. (Not a brag--I loved schoolwork and it simply happened. I didn't know my class position until the beginning of my second semester senior year.) I've traditionally enjoyed intellectual pursuits and artistic endeavors, not getting all sweaty. I thought sweaty was gross. While I've always liked to walk and used to run a lot just for fun as a kid, I was definitely not an athlete in HS, except for part of one season spent as a second-string basketball guard. (Got kicked off the team for smoking cigarettes. Poets often smoke, you know.)

I found that exercise in general, but especially running, was exceedingly beneficial in the dark years after September 15, 2008. It helped me feel better about myself at a time when I had a shitty self-image and too many feelings to contain inside me, including some extremely toxic ones. Running helped me expel frustration and fear and anger--no, make that rage, not merely anger. I often worked out listening to Green Day's "Twenty-First Century Breakdown" and "American Idiot." (And still do...)

Yesterday, I did four miles. Today, I went to the gym and ran on the indoor track, then exhausted myself on the rower and weight machines because of the sadness I felt. The music director of our church, probably 40 years younger than me with his whole life ahead of him, is leaving for a Big City Up North. I'm certain this man will go far and make a name for himself in the music world. I am completely happy and excited for him and his new opportunities. But I am, quite selfishly, sad for us at my church, and for me. It's going to suck without him and his snarky wit around. Hands down, he's the best choir director I've ever known, and I've known a few. He's also a damn fine human being.

Thankfully, running is my friend. It helps me unwind the spooky energy that builds in me when I am overfull of feelings. It quite literally has saved my sanity at times. I've occasionally cried while running. Today was one of those times.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Friday, August 10, 2018

Grrrrr

Courtesy Tumisu on Pixabay. Creative Commons licensed.
I am angry today. Too many things need fixing that aren't getting fixed and I am simply livid over the state of the union.

I will breathe. I will act where and how I can. I will not take out my bad mood on anyone else. And I will remember that the day holds work, wine, bridge, exercise, and other things I enjoy. I have love and a home and plenty of food, clean water, and air conditioning/heating.

It's Buddha time.

I hope you have a tranquil Friday.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

But What If We're Wrong?

If someone had told me 40 years ago that I would truly love Japanese food at some point in the future, I would have laughed and asked what they'd been smoking. When I was just short of 24, I had gone to a Japanese restaurant for someone's birthday and did not understand what all the fuss was about. Didn't like the flavors at all. I didn't eat Japanese food again until 1988, when I was in NYC on business and decided to see what all the fuss was about re: sushi. (Sushi was big in the Eighties.) I tried a vegetarian variety, and liked it a great deal, along with sake. Still, it was a few more years before I began seeking out sushi on a regular basis. Then I tried other Japanese food, such as udon noodle soup (yasai udon, at a lovely hole in the wall north of Watertown Square, near Boston, long gone I suspect). Then it was Vietnamese food and pho. Now it's just about anything Japanese (and Vietnamese) I can find, IF it's good quality--not a lot of that when it comes to Japanese and Vietnamese food in east central Kentucky. (I admit I have not tried raw fish--but if I could go to a reputable sushi place in a big coastal city, I'd ready for it.)

Photo courtesy of langll on Pixabay.
Creative Commons licensed.
The point of all this is not to give you an exhaustive tour of my food obsessions, but rather to segue into a book I began reading: "But What If We're Wrong?" by Chuck Klosterman. Like my first foray into Japanese food, in the beginning I couldn't see what all the fuss was about re: this book. It meanders all around and makes me impatient. CK spends a lot of time talking about what makes something "great" (for lack of a better adjective). First it's literature, then it's 20th century rock music and its evolution into hip-hop. He's got me now, I admit, with the last topic.

The book takes a skewed look at how none of us can predict what will be popular or considered "great" in the future. I recently read something (God knows where or when or by whom) about how humans are notoriously poor at predicting the future, even the near future. The book nails this statement to the wall and insists you study it and accept it.

When I look back at my life, I see now that I could not have predicted most of it--practically all of it, honestly.

So what makes me think I can predict the future? Why do I keep trying?

That's hard for me to swallow, because I am a planner. Boy, am I a planner. Plans often change, but in the planning, I've found, I've come up with ways to deal with the unexpected. That's the real value of it. ("Plans are worthless, but planning is everything." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower, general and US president)

One thing I could have never predicted was that I would end up retired in Kentucky. Or that I would live for 13 years in NJ between Massachusetts and here. Or that Japanese food would end up being my favorite Asian cuisine, more than Thai, far more than any type of Chinese. (And if I could have predicted the 2008 crash, well, let's just say my life would be way different.)

Keep planning. But watch out for life along the way. And always have a backup plan, even if it's crap.

P.S. Korean is the one cuisine I'm still trying to love, at least dishes like bibimbap, which leaves me cold. Those who have eaten bibimbap will get the wordplay.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

TCB Finally

No, not the old yogurt chain TCB(Y). We're taking care of business today.

I can't believe we grew this old without making any will or the usual proxies, etc., especially considering we are very much in the assisted suicide/DNR camp.

Today is the first step.

Why am I scared?

I think it must be facing my own mortality. And my husband's as well. That medical appointment is looming large.

Memento mori, all.
Courtesy of rottonara on Pixabay. Creative Commons licensed.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Second Post

Sometimes a news item is so evocative I must share it. I want to write a story about lonely people who sleep in 24 hour places.

Please read this article. It's worth it.

Why so many people sleep in McDonald's in Hong Kong


Antsy

“Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.” -- Lily Tomlin
Courtesy of johnhain on Pixabay. Creative Commons licensed
I'm not feeling down or depressed today. Nor was I yesterday. I simply feel... restless. Antsy. And I don't know why.

Perhaps I haven't exercised enough (although I have been walking pretty hard in the heat). Maybe it's because I desperately need to travel somewhere (it would help, I imagine, to get out of town). Maybe I'm tired of working (too bad on that one--I gotta suck it up). I'm sleeping ok. I'm eating pretty well. I'm not abusing any substances (5 oz of wine daily is not abuse). And I'm disengaging from crazy-making news and paying no attention to those who would diss me online. (I use Twitter under an assumed name to blow off steam when I can't take the madness anymore.) I miss my grandson--that affects me, too. So... why?

I did recently stop taking my antidepressants, but for a good reason: historically I don't need them this time of year. I have winter SAD, not summer SAD. And I should have stopped taking them a month ago. I just didn't think about it. But, somehow, I don't think that's it.

I believe what's happening is simply anxiety. Kitty is going downhill, and I love that little spitfire. She's noticeably less fiery these days. I'm not traveling because she is so attached to me that she visibly suffers when I'm gone--stops eating, hides, clearly grieves. So, no. My heart won't let me leave for days on end.

I'm concerned about a doctor's appointment that will happen in two weeks, although we probably won't learn anything at the initial visit. It causes all manner of thoughts. I try not to obsess. It isn't easy because Obsession is my middle name. And here you thought it was something beginning with L.

It's hard to sit in the chair and write. And I have a stack of work to do, unfortunately.

Right now, I'm saying, enough is enough. I'll go exercise and do some much-needed food shopping. It will help, I think, if I simply get my butt out of the chair and move.

Stepping away from the computer now in an effort to achieve some serenity. May today be a tranquil one for you.

(Just noticed the Bible verse of the day--Isaiah 41:13, in case you read this post later than August 7. What a kick in the pants. It's automated, so I don't control which verse appears. It's been claimed that "fear not" occurs 365 times in the Bible. I have no idea if that's true. Still a kick in the pants, regardless. Today I shall be fearless whenever possible.)
Courtesy of Pexels on Pixabay. Creative Commons Licensed

Monday, August 06, 2018

The Water of Connection

Berea City Park
I recently celebrated my birthday and found it interesting as to who remembered or wished me well. It came hard on the heels of reconnecting with a college roommate whom I first met... a lot of years ago. We had a drink and a snack in Lexington and have decided to renew the friendship.

A friendship from that long ago and since resumed is a little like a blurred photo--it's not in focus because some parts shifted, but it's still the same person. We're both going through a lot of changes at the moment and not sure where our futures will lead us--or even if one or both of us will stay in Kentucky. We first met at a college in northern NJ, and she's a New Englander, so to have both ended up in KY about 40 miles apart is rather astonishing.

I am very much looking forward to resuming our friendshipus interruptus.

One of my very oldest friends called me to wish me well a couple of days later. Our paths have diverged rather sharply when compared to who we both were in December, 1975, when we first encountered each other, and yet that connection remains. At one time we were close enough that he became my daughter's godfather.

Last week was also filled with (relatively) new friends. One dear person took me out to lunch--what a lovely time we had! Another friend shared wine and conversation with me twice last week. I also went walking with new acquaintances and it's developing into a weekly habit. It's all good.

So why do I feel so conflicted about a lot of things? Perhaps it's normal aging angst. Perhaps it's that my heart will always live in Massachusetts. Perhaps it's because I dearly miss my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. Perhaps it's the health uncertainties facing my husband.

Connections are like water to me. They ebb and flow. They reflect the tears we sometimes shed. They can wash us clean or their steam can burn us. They can dry up as we enter the desert of one of life's seasons. But they are the reason we are human beings. We need community and connection to thrive.

As an extreme introvert, I do my best to remember this fact on days when I don't want to do anything but pull covers over my head.

Monday, July 23, 2018

After Ten Long Years...

This blog was last updated right after my dad died in 2008. Life has changed a lot since then. For one thing, we had yet to experience the crash of 2008 and see our hopes and dreams die. More on that another time.
The fog of my future

I'm probably leaving Facebook as of this writing, so I have added a daily bible verse at the top of this blog for those who know me from the FB page, "Know Your Bible in 15 Minutes a Day." Welcome if you have found me through that page! I'm glad you're here and I hope you will sign up for an automated feed (look right) so you can get the daily verse in your inbox. I still have plans to release some books, but right now my day job takes precedence.

This blog will not focus on Sacred Harp, and likely not even singing. Instead, I'll probably open a vein periodically and bleed out, talking frankly about my personal life these days. Frugality, the wonder of some answered prayers, running and seniors track and field (my most passionate hobbies), and the difficulties of living in a marriage that may have run past its expiration date. Other topics not ruled out.

Politics will not be on the agenda except in oblique ways. I might refer to my political views and why I hold them (in brief: what Jesus said, y'all), but no candidate/partisan info or current affairs. I want this to be a politics-free zone. Comments will be moderated, and any persons who try to hijack discussions into contentious areas will not be allowed.

We seek peace in this space, but peace does not mean a lack of honesty or refusing to face facts squarely. It may get raw at times, both in language and content. I hope you will hold on for the ride.