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Life's little luxuries...

Everyone has their own definition of luxury. To some it is a cruise, to others it is a day at the spa and to still others it is buying a new car. I truly would find all of these to be luxuries indeed but for now, tonight I have gotten to enjoy one of life's little luxuries that so many people take for granted.

In my new home my refrigerator has an ice maker that acutally works. That, in and of itself, is a luxury in my book. However, for this evening's moment of feeling pampered and on top of the world I got to take things a little bit furher.

This morning I made some Peach Mango herbal tea that was absoulutely yummy. I drank the entire quart that I had brewed, relishing each and every drop that I consumed. When I finished the Peach Mango tea I decided to try another flavor so this time I made Black Cherry Berry. It smelled so lovely when it finished brewing.

As I prepared to make a mug of iced Black Cherry Berry I realized that my ice still tasted of Peach Mango and I wasn't really sure how the two would mingle. Then I remembered that I have an ice bin FULL of ice just begging to be used. So with a dramatic flourish I dumped the ice from the Peach Mango tea into my kitchen sink, rinsed out my mug, filled it up with fresh ice from my freezer, poured up the new batch of herbal tea and enjoyed a sip that only tasted of Black Cherry Berry not Black Cherry Berry Peach Mango Fusion.

I felt like such a wasteral when I tossed the Peach Mango ice and such an extravagent rich bitch when I filled my mug up with fresh ice. Such a swirl of feeling tied to something so small and easily overlooked in the hub-bub of every day life. This was out of the ordinary for me though. It was out of character even but I am glad that I allowed myself to enjoy one of life's little luxuries. Maybe next time I will get all uppity and allow myself to but Charmin Toilet Tissue instead of the Scott 1K Sheet Value Tissue that isn't like sandpaper but isn't as soft as it could be. If I decide
to talke the plunge and buy Charmin that will be an extravagent action indeed worthy of being reported on the 5 o'clock news with footage of me leaving the grocery store to capture the moment for posterity's sake.

I know...I am such a goofball, but really it will deserve at least a mention by Craig O'Neill and Denise Middleton. Don't you think?

Ciao babes!

Alone...just me, myself and I...

I have not been in my own residence alone in more than 20 years. Tonight I am. It is a most queer sensation.

There are still things I stop myself from doing because I don't want to disturb Stephanie because, of course, if the house is quiet and her lamp is off then she is sleeping. That isn't the case right now. Stephanie has been gone for the better part of four months. I know that she is in a long term care facility but I think that there are parts of my mind that haven't totally wrapped themselves around that fact. I suppose with time they will, maybe.

The little dog has stayed very close to me most of the time since Stephanie has been gone. I think that she fears that I am going to disappear too. At night, once she is sure that I am going to stay here, usually when I am in my bed asleep, she will go get in her(Stephanie's)bed to sleep for a while but in the morning she is right back in her bed in my room. She isn't going to take any chances. She is going to keep an eye on me.

Little dog is having oral surgery tomorrow morning so she is spending the night at the animal hospital. Every time I get up to do something I wonder where she is. When I go to the kitchen I check to see if she has "done her business" in case I need to change her puppy pad. Then I realize she is not here either.

My house is devoid of dogs, girlfriends, children, cats, inside or outside(even when outside they were under
the house). It is just me. Not even any moths flying around the porch light. Just me alone. So very disquieting and yet peaceful in other ways.

Little dog comes home tomorrow afternoon. I will be so very glad to see her and I hope that when her mouth heals up she will be able to gnaw on her sticks and wrestle her "fluffies" to the ground. I will get to hear her "digging through to China" before she decides her bed is sufficiently ready for her to sleep in.

I tend to be a hermit but when you are used to having life forms sharing your space it just doesn't feel right when they are gone.

Ciao babes!
On January 1st after finally sampling collard greens with bananas in them I declared "2018 The Year
for Adventure" because I felt pretty adventurous tasting what turned out to be some mighty delicious greens with
bananas slice in them. I can tell you that since that day my year has been filled with adventures of all kinds but mostly the type that most people would find as boring as watching grass grow. Not everyone has that same sense of adventure that I do.

This led me to thinking of another "A" word...ACTION!!!! Now let me tell you...this year has been FILLED with action. Again things that most people would have no interest in but I am here to tell you that there is no rest for the weary.

Every day brings a new "to-do" list, things that must be dealt with NOW and more to attend to than I can say grace over. I am not complaining at all but I could handle it if things settled down a little bit. You know, just a smidge.

I am taking care of the house and dog mostly alone, except for some assistance by Zyoh on the weekend, but a lot of our time is spent on things that are part of the "new normal" rather than the once customary. At the ripe age of 60 I am a better, if much slower, housekeeper than I have ever been before, my daddy would tell you that is not saying much, but I do work hard to try to keep things clean, mostly organized(in a way that works for me) and as uncluttered as I can considering that I am a clutter magnet. Trust me, there is a LOT of action involved in all of this. Sometimes I wonder where I get the energy to get the things done that I do, mostly because I would like to go back and tap another keg so I could get even more done.

I am trying to take better care of myself. I guess "better late than never" truly is a good motto. If I don't take care of me, nobody will and if I don't take care of me, I can't take care of Steffie and the little dog. Steffie may not be at home right now but there are still many things to take care of on her behalf. As for the little dog well, she is the Queen of the Castle and she never lets you forget it for a moment, so there is a great deal to do in order to meet the demands of Her Majesty.

I go to meetings, doctor appointments, take care of business, visit Miss Teffers and meet myself coming and going. This in the midst of never knowing what little surprise is going to gobsmack me next.

So, I stay busy in my action packed life that is filled with adventures galore even if they might seem mundane to others. I suppose that 2018 is the year of both action and adventure. I am on my journey and cannot wait to see what
awaits me next.

Ciao babes!

Dr. McCoy aka Bones on the original Star Trek was known to say the above or some variation thereof on many episodes of the show. Thus it has become part of the geek lexicon. I use this phrase often to refer
to my own crazy life that is more like someone wandering lost through a "fun house" while high on pot. Neither are easy to traverse and yet we persist.

It might seem weird as all get out that finding out that one has a hive of bees living in the wall of one's house can turn one's life upside down but it can. Trust me. I lived through this. The fact that one of the occupants of the house was barely mobile due to a torn Achilles Tendon that did not heal properly, and maybe never actually healed at all, while the other was more mobile despite having lupus, fibromyalgia and a laundry list
of other health issues. Yeah, that was fun. We were having to excavate the house so that the crew could come tear a wall out of the house to remove the bees and then replace the wall in question. This may not sound SO bad but the only rooms that the crew did  not have to go through to get to the room that needed the wall torn out and etc. were the miniuature bathroom and my bedroom which was already packed full of funiture.

Thus there was no place to put the contents of other rooms that needed to be emptied especially the bedroom that had the wall that needed to be moved. In addition the back room of the house had a stash of boxes and packing material from my days of selling on eBay that could have filled three rooms of the same size. There were also leftover items from my days of selling on eBay that should have gone to my parent's flea market or to a thrift store many moons before.

So, the excavation began. It was slow because I can really pack stuff into a small space, tightly...very tightly and because we only had help one day a week and the garbage cans and recycling bins filled up quickly. We couldn't afford to lease any more of them from the city and you could only put so much out on the corner for the special crew to pick up when you could get them out.

When I say that our lives were turned upside down I am not kidding. As it turned out it was way to damned expensive to do the bee evacuation "thing" so they continued to live happily(I suppose)in the wall and we continued to declutter our house, slowly but surely, very slowly...there were many delays.

After an interminable period of time on this project and much unnoticable progress having been made, it was decided that due to our disabilities and difficulties just getting in and out of the house that we were going to move to more accessible housing. So after I "hem-hawed" and was dragged out of my home of 31 years practically kicking and screaming we found a wonderful cottage to reside in at a senior citizen housing complex. What...what!!!! A place for OLD people...you have got to be kidding me! I was only 58 and Miss Teffers was only 55. We are NOT senior citizens but we were accepted to live there and fell in love immediatly with the cottage we looked at when we were applying to live there. It turned out that the process that was supposed to last six months to a year took less than a week. Yes, that's right. Five days after we turned in our application we got a phone call that there was a unit available for us to move into within less than a week. Holy cow Batman! How were we going to manage that?

Now fortunately, we didn't have to be completely out of the house as soon as we needed to be in the cottage that we were already paying for. With the help of family and friends we were moving in as soon as we got the keys. At the house it was no longer a thoughtful and deliberate decluttering of the house it was more like we had human bulldozers moving things out as fast as we could. Carefully selected and saved items to be sold on eBay when I felt better were given to friends who were helping with the move. I didn't have any place to put them after we moved. Other things were sent to my parent's flea market and the Goodwill got more stuff from us than you can imagine.

We also put things on the curb for people to "pick" so that we didn't have to haul it anywhere. Almost everything we put on the curb was taken very quickly, like in minutes. It was awesome. I love it when things can be used by someone else and as a curb picker from way back I enjoyed putting things out free for others.

Some way, we got most of the stuff packed up and moved out by "moving day!" Of course, the weekend before our move on Monday it SNOWED and our helpers couldn't get to the house to help finish things up. Now that was fun, NOT!

We got moved though and the sanitation department eventually picked up all of the things we had on the curb...that is a whole different novella. City services are not always as helpful as they should be. I will leave it at that.

After moving the last things from the house, "more or less" we started working on truly unpacking and settling into our new living space. We actually had more closet space and square footage than we had in the house. We also had TWO bathrooms!!!! What a bonus!

We moved at the end of January. It seemed that the topsy turvy life we had been living since the bees were determined to be living in the wall was at an end and that we would be able to chill in our new place and start a new life. Hah! Like they say, "Life is what happens when you are making other plans." You bet your sweet ass it is.

In late March some of the cognitive issues Steffie, had for years, started to get worse. By April they were much worse. By May
her mobility issues escalated rapidly and we talked to the doctor about the possibility of getting a motorized wheelchair. As part of the process of evaluating Steph for a wheelchair she was referred for in home PT and OT. Less than a week after PT started Stephanie had 3 falls in one day that required the fire department to help her get up. After the last fall I had her taken to the ER. She ended up being admitted to the neurology floor of the hospital for evaluation and testing. Then she went to rehab for 3 weeks. After she left rehab and came home Steffie was doing much better. PT, OT and a home health nurse came out to the house several times a week.

We were referred for a home health aide. After much paperwork and many evalutions Steffie was approved for mulitple services due to her disablity including a home health aide. We were so very grateful for that. She was going to be here 20 hours a week to help Steph and that would give me a much needed break.

I am always nervous about a new person being in my space but this worked out perfectly. Our aide was our Angel and she quickly became part of our family unit while caring for my Stephanie. It was a match made in heaven.

We had our Angel with us for almost a year when Stephanie's mobility began to deteriorate again. I took her to doctors and tried to find answers but in November everything really started to fall apart. The falls became very frequent...almost daily and sometimes more than one a day. Sometimes I could help Steph get up but more often than not I would have to call the fire department. Finally on December 1st she ended up in the ER again, the doctor referred us to a nurse case manager who assisted in getting Stephanie into rehab again.

This rehab program was very structured and worked Stephanie quite hard but they also had Steph in a wheel chair or in bed at almost all times. She was not allowed to get out of bed unless she was assisted because of being a fall risk.
Steph "graduated" from the program on December 13th. That night she fell. She fell again the next day and the falls just escalated. On December 16th she was back in the ER for a possible broken nose.

The doctor then referred us to a nurse case manager again. It had been decided that Stephanie could not go home because of her fall risk but yet they sent her home and handed me a short list of sub-acute rehab facilities that could handle Steph's special needs. I tried to make phone calls on Sunday but no one for admissions would be available until Monday. In the meantime Stephanie, who did not have a broken nose by the way, had FIVE falls on Sunday. They all required assistance from the fire department in getting her up. It was a most stressful day.

Stephanie's focus was also blurring more and her dementia was very evident to everyone including the fire department personnel who assisted us. It was heartbreaking to see her helplessness and confusion.

On Monday, I started making phone calls and located a facility that met Steffie's needs, as well as, having an opening. The admissions nurse made a home visit that day. We did a ton of paperwork and then she went to work on making sure that Steph met all of the criteria for admission. The final approval came through on Friday, December 22nd at about 4:30pm. Since Stephanie could not get into my van and transportation through the nursing home would not be available until the day after Christmas that is the day her admission was scheduled but the admissions nurse told us that if anything happened between that time and the scheduled admission to call her as she was on call and could help us with an emergency admission.

After several more falls including 2 on Christmas day, Steph was again sent to the ER because she could not stand even with the firemen holding her up, she fell immediately. I called the admissions nurse at the facility for an emergency admission. She met me at the facility to do even more paperwork which we had just finished up just as the ambulance brought Stephanie to the facility from the emergency room.

My mom who was with me helped Steffie get adjusted to her room. We left when the nurse came in to do vitals and talk to Steph about the program. I think that this was one of the most bizarre Christmas Days in my life.

Miss Teffers has now been in rehab for two months and 1 day. Her mobility is still very limited and she has had numerous falls. She spends most of her time in a wheelchair and in bed when she is not in therapy but she is in her wheelchair most of her time while in therapy as well.

The doctor at the facility has determined that Stephanie has Alzheimer's and for a while Stephanie was completely "lost" while at the facility. She is doing better now but her short term memory is very poor.

Because of her inablity to meet the bare minimum of mobility standards in order to come home and due to her increasing cognitive issues Miss Teffers will like be in long term care when her rehab days are used up. This means that Steffie probably will not ever come home again even though work will continue in an effort to improve her mobility and her therapy will still be part of her case plan.

Since the situation with the honey bees which started in 2014 through today and beyond our lives have been turned upside down and backwards. Any degree of what is considered "normal" has vanished and we continue to have to adapt to "new normal" on an almost daily basis.

The Winter Olympics that just ended are the first Olympics since the summer Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 that we have not watched together. That was very difficult because the Olympics have always been so very special to us.

"It's life Jim but not as we know it..." but we are beginning to know it, live it, cope with it and find every ray of sunshine that we can because if we do any less we will fall into the abyss of hopelessness and darkness. I absolutely refuse to let that happen on my watch.

Ciao babes!

Chronic Fatigue, Pain and Painsomnia

If I start to sound whiney in this post I apologize in advance. So many posts I read from others who suffer from these same debilitating conditions do sound whiney to me even though I understand their plight. I mean I am living it for god's sake and yet at times I want to say "Get a grip!"

I am sure that people have wanted to tell me to "Cowgirl up!" at times and, in fact, they have often said things that were much less kind than that. There are people who have no clue what battle we face just to get out of bed some days and yet they feel that they have the right to judge us. Well, they don't. No one does. I don't even have the right to feel like some who write about their illnesses sound whiney so I know that none of us are perfect but the ones who are really nasty need to reel it in and think about what it is like to walk in our shoes. A little empathy never hurt anyone and I doubt that it ever will.

I have chronic pain. I have had chronic pain at least since I was 14 years old and in a car wreck that mess up my back. My parents made sure I had the best medical care that they could get for me back in 1972. My mother who worked nights missed many hours of sleep making sure that I had treatment opportunities. Some injuries just never
heal completely. You just live with it and go on. I have had myriad other incidents that have injured me over the years. I seem to be an accident waiting to happen. Some of the incidents have an interesting story and others are so unreal that I can't believe that they caused me to be in acute pain to the degree that they did. They still befuddle me.

Aging, accidents and arthritis have had their way with me. For the most part I have gotten to where I can life almost peacefully with some of my chronic pain but then something happens to flare it up. Then all bets are off.

This leads to a lack of sleep from either not being able to go to sleep or not being able to stay asleep because the pain awakens you. I often talk about "my good friend pain" waking me up. Pain has to be my "good friend" because it lives with me all of the time and I would hate to see what pain would be like were it my "enemy." So my "good friend pain" and I wander around the house together reading, watching a few minutes of television, playing some mindless games on the computer and then we try to go to bed again where we do the "toss and turn" Tango until we either go back to sleep or get up and start all over again.

This "song and dance" with pain is called Painsomnia. Now I have had good old fashioned insomnia most of my life. When I was younger it wasn't as much of a problem because I had lots of extra energy. That is no longer the case. There is some secret vortex that sucks up all of my energy and spews it into the stratosphere for other things to feast on and delight in while I feel like a turtle who has been on a three day drunk from drinking some really cheap whiskey. Now that is really a slowed down and dragged out feeling. It is most yucky.

It is techinally called chronic fatigue. Everything is overwhelming. You are tired...beyond tired actually. Brain fog overwhems you, your skin is hypersensitive, your eyes feel like they are about to crack like glass from being so
tired and dry. That is just a start of what chronic fatigue feels like. It is something that grows bigger and bigger
kind of like kudzu does in the wild. The more sleep deprivation you have due to pain the deeper your chronic fatigue
abyss grows until you realize you are completely lost and consumed by the fatigue and do not know which end is up. It is a living hell.

Lately the chronic pain I have lived with for years has been followed by a new variation that seems to intircately combine two conditions that affect one's nervous system. Let me just say that nerve pain is a whole different animal than other kinds of pains. The commercials that talk about nerve pain don't even show the half of it. Even though I do not have shingles I can understand why they are so horridly painful for some and I hope to be able to afford the vaccine before I find out for myself.

There are other kinds of pain I have not experienced besides back, joint, muscle and nerve pain. I know this. It is my hope that I never do because the swamp of painsomnia, pain and chronic fatigue threaten me daily with being buried alive by them.

I do not just sit around and wait for my pain to simmer down. I may sit for a minute to rest but I take care of my house, cook, clean, do laundry, care for my little dog and spend time trying to do what I can. I have help with some things like taking out the trash, grocery shopping and such but for the most part I care for myself and my dog alone. I try to push myself to do more every day. I am not going to just sit back and wait for life to pass me by if I can keep from it.

Sometimes the chronic fatigue slows me down to the point that I cannot do everything I need or want to do. At those times I respect that my body needs rest and I let it have it. I only have one body and if I abuse it the way I once did in the past I won't be able to keep doing the things that I can now. It is a win/win situaiton really so I will rest when needed and work as I can. It is all a matter of balance.

In the meantime, however, if anyone invents a way to better manage chronic pain, and I have tried just about everything available that I can afford, please let me know because I sure would like to try some new things that I have never been able to do, I would like to be able to ride a bicycle again and I have never given up my dream to go to Machu Picchu.

Those of us who live with chronic fatigue, chronic pain and painsomnia can find means to cope in our own ways but it is not easy. It is one step at a time as we work through the torture that surrounds us to reclaim our bodies and live the lives we were meant to live to the best of our ability. You see, we all do the best we can, where we are and with what we have. This is our life, please don't judge us. Help us to celebrate our victories no matter how small and support us along the way. We have value. We try not to forget that. we need you to follow our example.

Ciao babes!

2018 ~ The Year For Adventure

I do not make resolutions because I assure you that they will be broken before January 1st has come and gone. I just have trouble feeling confined and resolutions make me feel all boxed up. So, i just don't make them.

I do however sometimes create a theme for the year. It isn't something I consciously think about but rather something serendipitous that comes
along and gets my attention. My mom has always said that whatever you do on New Year's Day you will end up doing for the whole year. I have never actually seen that happen except where work was concerned but then...there is work if you know what I mean. It seems based on a single incident today that 2018 is going to be my year for adventure.

Many, many years ago like more than 30 I was reading the Tassajara Cookbook for the first time. The recipes looked absolutely scrumptious. I love cooking, and well, I love eating too. I couldn't wait to try my versions of many of the recipes until I came to a recipe where greens were cooked with apricots. I didn't eat greens at that time, except for spinach, and I was having a little trouble wrapping my brain around eating
spinach with apricots in it. Then I decided that it would be pretty good so I eventually tried stir frying spinach with onion and dried apricots. It was really tasty.

Following the recipe for greens and spricots was a suggestion to use bananas in your greens. Well, at that point I was about to roll around on the floor in total disbelief! Greens and bananas, oh yuck! I shuddered at the thought and continued to shudder at the thought over the years.

Since that first introduction to the idea of having fruit with greens I have had many fruits with greens and I don't just mean in smoothies. I have cooked greens with citrus fruits, pears, apples and pineapple to name a few. I have also used grapefruit and oranges in spinach salad as do many people. Greens and fruit make a very happen combination, especially in smoothies.

I also have started eating many other greens and hate that I missed eating them all of these years. In fact, my favorite greens are collards which I refused to even touch until one day I saw a nice looking bag of fresh chopped collards for .99 at Kroger's. Oh my, it was love at first bite. Now I am not sure I would like just anyone's collards but I sure like the ways that I cook them.

This brings us to today, January 1st, 2018. I have collards cooking because well, it is New Year's day and I need my collards for good luck. I also have several bananas that need to be eaten before they start getting brown spots on them. It was lunch time and I wanted to eat both. I wanted a banana and I wanted a bowl of greens. Suddenly Edward Espe Brown's suggestion to have bananas in greens came to my mind. At first I was like, "No way!" Then I was like, "Why not?"

I got a banana and a small bowl of collards. With no small amount of trepidation I put a little bit of banana on my spoon and then got a few collards on it. I decided that I was crazy but I took the bite. It was good. I was surprised but decided to go out on a limb a little more so I put a few slices of bananas in my bowl of greens stirred them in and ate them. Hey, this was really tasty. So I decided to go all out, I added my usual Creole seasoning and sports peppers to my greens then sliced the rest of the banana in, stirred it up good and took another bite. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness...wowzer, this was really, really good. I couldn't believe it. Wow, just wow. Bananas and greens are delicious together and I have missed eating them all of these years. Dang!

As I was enjoying my collards and banana I thought about my mom's saying, then decided that 2018 was going to be my year for adventure and stretching my boundaries. My life has been rather consticted the past several years and it is beyond time to stretch my wings a bit before they get to rusty for flying.

I am looking forward to my year of adventure delighted that it started with a banana and a humble little bowl of collards. Who'd thunk it?

Now, I wonder how much it will cost to book a trip to Machu Pichu or Barcelona even? LOL!!! Maybe I won't be quite that adventurous unless, of course, I win the Powerball.

Ciao Babes!

On Being OCD...

I am OCD/OC. Many clinicians, advocates and consumers would insist that the correct way to state this is that I have been diagnosed with OCD or something similar. Okay, I have been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder but I live it and breathe it day in and day out. It is part of who I am so if I want to say I am OCD then that is my business and everyone else can pay attention to their own affairs. As I often say, "you go to your church and I'll go to mine."

My OCD can manifest itself in many different ways. Sometimes I am washing my hands so much that I think that my skin will just dissolve and other times I am so inflexible in something that is going on that I make everyone else around me crazy. My symptoms ebb and flow. Medication helps but it is not a magic answer, just like it is not an answer for most medical conditions. I used to take Ascendin for OCD and it was the best medication that I had taken for this condition but the side effects caused me a great deal of trouble so I had to quit taking it. That was a bummer.

My OCD quite possibly is accompanied by Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder as well. I do meet sufficient criteria for the diagnosis but on other criteria I am so far the opposite of them I have left many a clinician baffled so they just have diagnosed me with OCD and let me work through my symptoms as best I can. You know that really pretty much sums up how to deal with OCD and OCPD. There are treatments and therapies but what it comes down to is trying to be as functional as possible day in and day out. Some days I am more successful at this than other days.

Today I learned that I have another obsessive behavior that I had not even been aware of. I am a hair "puller" at times. I don't mean trichotillamania I mean holding onto handsful of hair and pulling it. I have found that I do this when I sit in one particular chair in my home. I learned that I do this when I commented on how my hair looked while talking to Miss Teffers. I noticed it while I was, ahem, washing my hands. Steffie said that it was like that because I pulled my hair. I walked out of the restroom and looked at her like she was crazy. I asked her what she meant about me pulling my hair. She then told my that when I sit in my chair I pulled my hair. I rolled my eyes decided that she was imagining things and went to sit in my chair to continue whatever other conversation we had been having. In the middle of the conversation Steph said, "You are doing it now."

I realized at that point that I had a handful of hair in my hand, that I was was indeed pulling it and that yes, I do that quite often while sitting in that chair and ONLY while sitting in that chair. I don't know what it is about. I don't really care except that I mess up my few attempts to actually brush my hair and have decided that as long as I don't start pulling out handsful of hair that I am just not going to sweat it. I have way too many peccadilloes and eccentricities to worry about the fact that I pull my hair when sitting in my chair in the living room. I don't spend that much time in that chair anyway. At least I am not frying the skin off of my hands with hot water when I do that so there you go.

I do hate when I find myself being rigid and inflexible. If I can at least catch myself doing it I can modify my behavior but when I don't realize it until after the fact it just looks like I have been being a bitch. I mean I CAN be quite the bitch but that is not always the issue. Sometimes I just get caught up in the web of rigidity. I do not like that. I do not like being around rigid people with broomsticks up their "woo hoos" so I don't like being this one with the broomstick "where the sun don't shine" if you know what I mean. At the time I am doing this my behavior seems not only logical but downright ESSENTIAL so modifying it can be a real opportunity for personal growth. How is THAT for reframing?

OCD is often a joke among the masses. I joke about it too but I am laughing at myself and that seems to be okay to me. I don't like being the butt of a joke though especially when it is mean-spirited, thoughtlessness is bad enough. It is a bitch to be caught up in obsessive and compulsive behaviors. It is what it is though and I just get through it one day at a time.

Anyway, if you see me obsessively doing math that makes no sense and has nothing to do with anything, pulling my hair, washing my hands or engaging in weird repetitive activities just realize that it will stop once I catch myself and redirect my energies. I am who I am just like other people with OCD are just their own special little somebodies. We do the best we can with what we have to get through any given situation. Isn't that the bottom line for us all?

Ciao Babes!
My home would never ever pass the white glove test. I am not in the least bit domesticated. You could be nice and say I am housework challenged or you could say I am a slob. Take your pick along that continuum. I just don't truly comprehend the whole cleaning, haus frau, housework thing. Yeah, I know things have to be done but I think in my heart of hearts I believe that some little fairy types should come around when we are away or sleeping...clap their little fairly hands to make everything clean and tidy. I feel gypped, gypped I say, that this is not reality.

I am so undomesticated that when I do get some cleaning done like clearing out the refrigerator, cleaning the bathroom or(heaven forbid)sweep and mop...my mom wills say, "Don't you feel virtuous!" when I tell her. My response is something like, "You have GOT to be kidding. I feel tired and like I have just lost two hours of my life that I will never get back." Yeah, house stuff is just not my thing.

Oh, and don't even TALK to me about making the bed. Really...don't! I will just be sleeping in it again later. I am NOT wasting time or energy to make the damn thing. That is the most ridiculous waste of time and energy I have ever encountered. Now I know that many, many people disagree with my position but as for me bed making is not going to happen. It just isn't. You know like hell will freeze over first.

Mom used to try to shame me into housework when I'd date someone I really liked. I'd tell her I thought I'd found love, she'd say "Are you willing to keep house for him?" I'd give her my fire starter look or roll my eyes depending on my mood at that moment and say, "Why the hell don't you ask me if he might be willing to keep the house clean for me?" Yeah, this has been a touch subject over the years.

My biggest challenge is clutter. I am the QUEEN of clutter. In fact, as I turn to my left and see the table to my side my immediate thought is, "My gawd I just cleared that off a month ago. Where the hell did all of that crap come from?" Notice the word "month" yeah, I am just not that into it and I accumulate stuff that overwhelms me so I stack it to the side of me. These stacks have been known to overwhelm me and my living space. Egads!

Meema Barbara, who WAS domesticated, used to try to inculcate me in the art of housework. She'd say things like "a place for everything and everything in its place" and "take care of something immediately so that you don't have to handle something twice." God bless her heart the woman tried.

At the age of 60 I am starting to get the not handling something twice thing and trust me I do my very best but the "everything in its place thing" well I am pretty much a complete failure. I have never lived anywhere with enough storage space AND if I put something important where I am sure that I will remember where it is...I can guarantee you that I am likely to never see it again. Car titles, insurance papers and birth certificates should never, and I mean NEVER, be entrusted to my care, just go ahead and wave goodbye to them. They will likely never be seen again. Sigh!

I DO have more stuff than I can say grace over but it isn't because I don't try to dispose of and prevent clutter. I don't buy a lot of stuff and when we moved a year and a half ago I threw away, gave away, gifted and otherwise disposed of many of my possessions. There are still some things that I wonder why the heck I moved them but then they are sent to the dumpster or Goodwill. I want them out of my house.

There are things that I have to have. Clothes for example, those are important. I haven't bought any clothes in about four years. I have plenty of clothes. I hate to shop. I think I have six pairs of shoes. I haven't purchased shoes in almost 10 years until last night. I found some flats on Amazon that I think will meet my current foot issues and shoe needs. If not I will sent them back. I have more bottles of daily medications than I ever thought I'd need. They overwhelm me as do medical supplies that I MUST have. Then there are important papers, you know important, things I need to deal with. Do you know how often I have to play phone tag? Why can't every business have email available so that issues can be addressed. I want to address the problem, dispose of the papers I don't want to deal with anyway and get on with my life. These things SWARM me. It makes me crazy!!!!

The only thing I will say about the kitchen is that I drive Steffie's personal care aide crazy in there. Now, I wash dishes, sweep, mop, cook and generally clean but due to physical limitations I keep a lot of things, certain pans, bowls and such on the counter, as well as, the bar in my kitchen. I cannot reach things if they are too high or too low. Cabinet space is limited even though it is probably more than I have ever had in my
adult life. Angie however wants to put everything up. I understand that but then cooking will be nearly impossible for me. So there will always be clutter on my counters.

Clutter I understand and try to prevent. I do not let junk mail or catalogs come into my home any longer. They go from the mail box straight into the recycling. They do not darken my door. I also get rid of stuff I do not need. I don't have the energy to deal with such things. So even though I still have some clutter there is a method to my madness and except for those damn papers I have to deal with I am pretty much doing okay with clutter.

Dust is something else. I hate dust. I don't know where it all comes from. I  get rid of it one day and it is back the next. Oh how I loathe dust.

I try to ignore dust but it will procreate right before your very eyes. It is the gift that just keeps giving.

In my new home I have worked so hard, so very, very hard to keep things clean. It might kill me, especially the DUST!!!!! I keep finding it in places that I never thought of before like on baseboards and window sills. At my other house there was furniture in front of all of the windows. I didn't see window sills for 30 years. No, I don't rearrange furniture and no, I almost never move furniture to clean under it. I told you...housework challenged.

All of these new places to try to keep clean are making me CRAZY! Good gracious, will it never end? The answer is "Hell no!!!!!"

Yesterday I was getting out of the shower. I have balance issues and was really wobbly yesterday. I just touched the shower curtain rod lightly to help with balance so I could step out of the shower. Guess what my nice, clean hand encountered! That is right DUST who the heck knew that you had to dust the top of the darned shower curtain rod. I know YOU probably did but that was WAY outside of my experience. OMG...I feel like I could clean, cook and tidy up 24/7 and still not be done with everything. There is a REASON I was a work-a-holic. It was to avoid dealing with the danged house and all of the "stuff" in it. Then after I became so very ill that I couldn't work I did good to scrape by with the most basic household duties. Now in my new domicile there is a LOT of light so I can actually SEE the dust and such that I never really saw before plus I am trying so very hard to just keep things clean. It may kill me. I want my obituary to list my few survivors and the words, "It killed her." That's it. Nothing more will need to be said. I shall die at the altar of semi-domesticity while dreaming of a life where clutter, dust, dirt and dog poop do  not exist. LOL!

I continue my struggle. Maybe some form of domesticity will possess me before the household "opportunities" do me in but I am not going to hold my breath. I will just swab the toliet and do another load of laundry. Maybe those wee little elven folk will show up later and make all of my troubles vanish into thin air or maybe I will win the Powerball and can afford a cleaning crew every week. Yeah, I want option number 2. That might be even better. Then I can buy all of the pickles that I want too. LOL!

So, my friends I will not only NEVER pass the white glove test. I just hope that dandelions don't take root in the dust behind my armoire. Really, I worry about such things.

If you are more domesticated than I am feel grateful that it is part of your being for it will make your life easier in the long run. I almost always wish the best for those with whom I share this wonderful planet, even if it is just the understanding of how to deal with dust, clutter and the force that creates more stuff to clean the moment you turn your back. May the force be with you!

Ciao babes!



An Ode To Pickle Juice #amwriting

Yeah, yeah, yeah...it's not really an ode...not even close it is just my crappy little blog post but I liked the title so there you go. LOL! Most of you know that I am more than a little weird...you know as in "out there weird" or "not the girl  you want to take home to meet mama" and it isn't because she's a little bit of a tart but because she has an aluminum foil beanie that she wears most of the time. I mean I have always been my own special little somebody.

One of the many facets of my extreme weirdness is that I like to drink pickle and olive juice. I like to drink them a LOT! This started when I was very young and at the age of 60 it is still somethng that I enjoy. When I was a kid my mom would let me drink pickle and olive juice when all of the goodies were gone. I could count on juice from black olives at every holiday. Mmm...hmm!!!!

My friends, it seems that with pickle juice, at least, I was a trendsetter. Who'd have thunk it? Little old me the pickle and olive juice guzzler.

It seems that athletes use pickle juice to alleviate cramps during and after exercise. Yeppers, that's right pickle juice for cramps. I learned about this totally by accident on Amazon. Pickle juice is sold in shots like the energy drinks and Best Maid pickles will even sell you a gallon jug of their pickle juice. Heck, why do people have to go buy pickle juice? Don't they have some in their refrigerators? If they don't they should. I mean goodness gracious, you can buy a whole tasty, tasty, tasty jar of pickles for what two shots would cost you. Then you'd have the pickles AND the juice. It would be a lot more that two shots worth too. This is madness...buying pickle juice without the pickles.

Now, not just any pickle juice will do. The best is from plain old dill pickles. Hey, that is even better. I am a connoisseur of pickles and pickle juice. Well, at least the less expensive varieties any hoo! I can get a GALLON of Kroger brand dill pickles for less than six bucks. That is a GALLON of some mighty tasty and crisp pickles for less than six bucks. My friends think of all of the shots of pickles you could get from that gallon of pickles plus some yummo pickles to boot.

So now you are in the know. Your weirdo compadre was a health and fitness trendsetter by drinking the very same pickle juice that in many of your families just got poured down the drain. Too bad I didn't make money off of my forward thinking ideas. LOL!

Asi I sit and write this I wonder how pickle juice would taste over ice with some hot peppers in it and a shot of vodka. Remember babes you read that idea here first. When the Manhatten bars are doing that just know that your crazy azz friend came up with the idea. Who do you think invented the Dirty Vodka Martini? Hey, it was Olive Juice Girl herself back in the 70s or 80s. Love those green olives...in fact, I might love them a little too much. Ask my friends Rosemary, Tricia and Katrina. Katrina's husband Mark has witnessed my love for the concoction too. It is a wonder
that any of them speak to me any longer.

Have a great day everyone! Buy some pickles and sample the juice. Who knows, it might just cure what ails you!

Ciao babes!




Time To Rise and Shine #amwriting

Well, HOLY COW I just found out that I have not written a post since November 18, 2016. I knew that things were out of kilter but gee golly Jiminy Cricket, I had no clue that I hadn't written much of anything in that long.

My life did turn upside down during that period of time and has pretty much stayed that way until now. At this point groovy guys and groovy gals I am starting to have a little bit of my brain fog burn off. Now being the total and complete optimist that I am the happy dance has commenced. It doesn't matter if within the next hour everything heads south because for right now. This very minute I can write and my mind is almost on the ball. LOL!

Over the past several months I have had many ideas of things to write AND I flesh them out in my head as I am cooking, cleaning, showering and etc. Well then the brain fog that plagues me kicks in about the time that I sit at the keyboard and I can't even remember the subject I had been so ready to write about. Yeah, it sucks big time. Even worse is that I can't think of a damn thing to write about to the point that even doing Facebook updates have been beyond challenging. Talk about an all time low. Bah humbug!

I have tried to find a way to be able to make notes about my thoughts so that maybe, just maybe, I could get them written up. I invested in a Kindle Fire. It was on sale cheap at Christmas time. The plan was to get an app where I could make notes as things entered my head. Well, for some reason the screen does not respond to my fingers when it comes to letters on the keyboard. Now I can listen to music, read and other fun things so it is not a total bust but it doesn't do what I want it to do. As an added note, when I got the Fire I was looking for a Palm Pilot to do the notes on. They don't make Palm Pilots any longer. I am so far behind the curve that I may never make it to wherever it is that I am trying to go LOL! Oh, and for my other technology challenged friends. I do have a notebook that I carry everywhere with me and there are notebooks all around the house but between arthritis, lupus, neuropathy even writing a short grocery list or signing a check can be a challenge. Also, I do not understand smartphones so that is not an option right now either. Trust me I have done a lot of brainstorming in an effort to work through these "opportunities" that life has sent my way.

So here I am writing and babbling about a whole lot of nothing BUT I #amwriting and that is the whole point to this exercise. My nimble fingers are flying along the keyboard and words are managing to escape from my brain through my fingertips to the monitor!!!!! YAY!!!! How exciting is that?

The old girl is back, well sort of, and she is at least yapping about things that have come to her mind. Just so you know, my little dog is still demanding, makes messes and such. Life is physically challenging as always but as my cousin Mark says, and I paraphrase,"Any day you wake up on this side of the grass is a good day." So there you go, I may have some things that slow me down but I am able to lie on the grass(allegorically speaking, of course)rather than having to look up and contemplate the root system of a variety of weeds and grasses. It truly is a wonderful life.

My mind works a lot of the time but the brain fog still shrouds things so I may spend most of my writing time being repetitive, silly or worse. We will see. In the meantime, good morning everyone! I hope you have a simply marvelous day.

Ciao babes!

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