Sunday, November 30, 2014

Black Friday Tale

This is a story of how Black Friday can be humorous.

All through most of her life my father was on my sister about her weight. She takes after my mom and was just a little heavy. I felt really bad for her. Now the tables have turned and he is on me about my weight.

My sister had started yet another diet, bless her heart, and was doing very well on it. Especially for it being around the holidays.

Now, my sister and her good friend since childhood used to go out every Black Friday. They would go at 4:00 in the morning and wait in the long lines together. I never went, but it sounded like they had such great fun.

One year the Target store was their first stop. They waited in line in the dark, bitter cold. But the store was doing something nice for the shoppers. They had free coffee and doughnuts for the first people through the door.

My sister and her friend got in, were handed the doughnuts and coffee, and proceeded to get their buggies.

Just then, my sister found herself on TV. The local channel's news department had sent a camera crew to cover the big event.

Later in the day, everyone in the family saw the news footage.

My sister, on her diet, with a doughnut in her mouth.

I don't think my dad has ever let her forget it. We all still find it so funny. Her doughnut diet.

Now she is just as beautiful but she is thin. I am the fat one.

She is in a great relationship with a marvelous man, her fiance.

Oh, wait. I don't know if he knows this story. I have some sharing to do!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Happy Fibonacci Day

It is the day of the year that follows the beginning of the Fibonacci number sequence. 1, 1, 2, 3, and so on. Each subsequent number is the total of the two previous.

Though it originally appeared in Indian mathematics, in Sanskrit, Leonardo of Pisa (known  as Fibonacci) wrote about it in his book Liber Abaci in 1202.

The graphic above shows the sequence. It is used in computer programs and has many other applications.

But the one thing that draws me to Fibonacci is the way you can find it in nature. You can see the sequence in everything from flower petals to fruits and vegetables and my favorite, the shell of the Nautilus.

I usually stink at math but in this case I find it to be quite beautiful. Poetic, even.

If you want to learn more about Fibonacci numbers and their applications here is a great website that explains it all.

I hope you enjoy your Fibonacci Day!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

World Kindness Day

Today is World Kindness Day. I think every day should be Kindness Day, but what do I know.

From the time we are young we should be taught kindness. "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted" teaches Aesop in his fable about The Lion And The Mouse. If the lion had not shown a bit of compassion when he first caught the mouse then he would have been doomed when he found himself stuck by a thorn in his paw.

You don't have to go big when performing a compassionate act. Random Acts of Kindness.Org has pages of kindness ideas. You can even narrow the field by category, money, or time involved. The ideas range from something as simple as holding a door for someone to something more elaborate like buying someone a vacation. Bottom line is that there are a lot of good ideas.

You never can know what someone is going through and that smile you show to the harried cashier may just make her day. Complimenting the blouse of the woman by you in line may make her a bit happier the next time she wears it. Tell that customer service representative who is helping you on the phone that you really appreciate his help, it may be the only kind thing he hears his entire shift.

"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

The things I have mentioned cost nothing but a few moments of your time. Yet, by doing any one of them, you can deeply affect someone's view of the world. Isn't that a grand idea?

"Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth."   Gautama Buddha  The Dhammapada

So please, if you can, show a little kindness. Especially on this, World Kindness Day.

Yay! #HintingSeason

There is a promotion by Best Buy on Twitter. You use #HintingSeason in order to hint for something that you would like for Christmas.

I have just started using Twitter. One of my first tweets was to hint for a new laptop and a year of Geek Squad protection.

Well, emails were sent back and forth.

Today I received via FedEx a gift card to Best Buy for $100.00!!!

That is enough for a year of Geek Squad help!

I am so very grateful to Best Buy for noticing my hint and, of course, for the generous gift card. I never win anything.

In other news, I am still very sick. I apologize to NaBloPoMo. I couldn't post yesterday due to feeling so cruddy. But tomorrow I see the doctor because my symptoms seem to be getting worse instead of better.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

No Delivery

Sorry. The delivery didn't happen today. Hopefully I will know something tomorrow.

But in the good news department I did have some very nice friends today. One chatted with me all morning via Facebook and one texted me and even came over and sat with me for a couple of hours. So I do have some nice friends.

Unfortunately, though, I think that I have caught a friend's cold. I knew I was risking it when I took her to get her medicine on Sunday. Waking up with razor blades in your throat is not fun. And my nose won't blow, but it'll run. Go figure. I'm sucking on zinc lozenges like they are going out of style.

So I have felt anxious and excited and spacy and like crap all day. And then the people don't come. It has been a disappointing day, to say the least.

These are my tissues of choice - Puffs Plus Lotion. They are good ones, worth the extra cost.

Hopefully I will find out something tomorrow and all will be good.

In the meantime, I have eaten my soup, blown my nose, sucked on my last zinc lozenge for the night, and I am going to go to bed.

See you tomorrow.

Monday, November 10, 2014

When Help Is Needed

I am pooped. I have been cleaning all day in anticipation of guests tomorrow.

I may have won something in a contest. All I was told was to be ready for a delivery tomorrow. I will certainly let you know what it is in a blog post.

I'm very, very excited because I never win anything.

Because I have been hurting so bad lately I asked my neighbors if they would help me by doing the dishes and taking out the garbage. These are the things that cause the most pain. I paid them in advance because they had some errands to run first. Well, at 7:20 tonight they knocked on my door and asked if they can come over tomorrow morning and help me. I said yes, what choice did I have?

I am so nervous about them coming in the morning that I have set my alarm for very early and will start on these things when I get up. Surely they will come in the morning, though.

Everything else is dusted and vacuumed and mopped and made to smell fresh and clean. It feels better in here, makes me feel better. But there are times that I just can't do anything. It is then that I have to ask for help.

It took a long time for me to think that it was okay to ask for help. I didn't want to bother people. But then I made a few friends that were happy to help me. For free. And there are some people who will do it but you have to pay them. My dear friend who would help is very sick right now with a cold and bronchitis. Otherwise she would have been here for me days ago.

I am thinking that asking for help for any reason is hard for some people. I am very up front and quick to ask for help from my doctors when my mental health is concerning me. But my physical needs are another matter. I often kid myself that I will surely feel better tomorrow, so I 'll put off doing the task.

So, if you think you need help, mentally or physically, ask for it. Don't do like I do and wait until the last moment. There are people who will help. You just have to find them.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Paper Situation

I struggle with Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety. When I don't sleep, my anxiety goes through the roof and it starts me on a downward spiral into depression.

I have new meds now, and I can fall asleep. But I have another problem.

I started getting the local newspaper. Since I live in an apartment building, the carrier leaves it propped against my door. There has never been a problem, until now.

One of my little pleasures is sitting down with the Sunday paper and a cup of coffee and spending a couple of hours reading it all, going through the sale circulars and everything.

Well, I noticed that my Sunday paper had been read already. The sections were folded and crinkled and the whole thing was just stacked up, not one inside the other like a new paper. My coupons weren't in there.

Someone was stealing my paper then putting it back after having read it.

My psychiatrist told me to call and ask that the carrier knock when they dropped off my paper. I did that.

The very next Sunday I got up when the carrier knocked and opened my door to see my neighbor across the hall reaching for my paper.

I have repeatedly gone to her door to ask her not to steal my paper anymore, but she will not answer my knocks.

Today a friend suggested that I offer to let her read the paper when I am done with it. That way I could let go of this stressful situation and go back to sleeping through the night (hopefully). But when I knocked on her door to offer this solution, she didn't answer. Of course, today she could have been at church. She goes to church every Sunday, dressed in her finest. After stealing my paper.

So for now I will continue to be awakened at 4:00 so that I can foil a thief. My stress level will remain high and my health will suffer.

I think, though, that I will take my social worker up on his offer to go to the office for me. There are cameras in all the halls, so the theft would be recorded. She will be given a written warning. I will see how I feel after one more week.

Sorry to be a downer today. I have just had enough.

What would you do in my situation?

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Punsters Day

Today, November 8th, is Abet and Aid Punsters Day. Sounds cool, doesn't it?

To help us celebrate, I found this list of 15 of History's Greatest Puns. My favorite on the list is Winston Churchill's "If you are going through hell, keep going".

For the hardcore pun lover, there is the website Pun of the Day. It has puns submitted by people from all over the globe and you can vote for the one you think is best.

My very favorite pun of all, though, is one I made up with my youngest son, J.

We were sitting around one day, enjoying some delicious string cheese. I removed a few strips from mine, tied them, then asked him what it was. He said that it was string cheese. I replied, "No, it's knot cheese". That just struck us as hilarious and we laughed about it the rest of the weekend.

Laughing with your kids gives you a fabulous feeling. Even if it is about silly things.

So Happy Abet and Aid Punsters Day.

What is your favorite pun?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Good Bad Movies

I just got off the phone with a dear old friend. Thirty-seven years is nothing to sneeze at. He lives in a nearby city so we don't see each other much but we talk quite often.

While on the phone we will listen to the same music, talking about it. But what we do more often is watch the same movies or TV shows. The badder, the better.

Tonight's fare was Robinson Crusoe On Mars. We laughed and laughed. No, it wasn't a comedy it was just that bad. I am sure that it was a very serious adventure when it came out.

The special effects were great. The stock film of volcanoes was hilarious because he put his arm up to shield his eyes, like that would block the heat if you are 50 feet from a lava flow. And the aliens were relentless in their search to destroy Friday.

But please, see it for yourself sometime if you enjoy laughing at bad movies.

Speaking of which, IMDB has compiled a list of movies so bad they are good to watch. The Internet Movie Data Base has made it easy for you to find a serious movie that will make you laugh.

So it isn't just my friend and me who enjoy pointing out silly things in serious movies. Laughter is such good medicine for the soul, especially when one is depressed or anxious. Which I am quite a bit.

Try it, you might like it.

Do you have a certain bad movie that you watch just so you can get in a good belly laugh?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Gratitude Break

I am so very grateful that I can write. I can express what I am going through and, once it is out there, it allows me to examine my feelings more thoroughly. And I am even more grateful to you for reading what I have written and giving me feedback.

There is still a stupid social stigma associated with mental illness. I hope that by writing about what I go through you may realize that you are not alone. There are others out there who know exactly how you feel. Sometimes the difficulty is in finding those people.

I am grateful that I have access to health care when so many do not. While I don't like the fact that I have to rely on pharmaceuticals to balance my brain chemistry, I am grateful to have them. And the wonderful doctors and other members of my care team are so quick to respond when anything changes.

Much of the time I feel anxious but otherwise okay. For those times when I don't, I am thankful that help is only a phone call away.

Since I write about a myriad of subjects, I am always on the lookout for inspiration. Anything that can draw my attention is fair game. Did you know that today is National Men Make Dinner Day? No? Well, now you do. I found out myself only a couple of days ago.

But what I like to write about the most are the everyday occurrences that many people may pass by without noticing.

  1. When the cool autumn breeze lightly brushes your face just right and makes you notice the changing leaves for the first time this year. 
  2. When the kitty has just given herself a bath and feels extra fluffy and soft.
  3. When that first sip of coffee is just exquisite. 
  4. When your hands are warmed by the mug of hot chocolate someone fixed for you when you returned from a walk outdoors in the winter.
  5. When you have washed the last dirty dish and you turn and there are not dirty pots and pans on the stove.

What does your writing do for you that makes you grateful for the ability?

Do you want to suggest something that you wish I would write about?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

No Sleep For Me

I am going on very little sleep for a week and a half now.

My meds are being adjusted. When I started having trouble falling and staying asleep, yet wanting to just stay in bed all day, I got myself right to my doctors.

I struggle with Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety. From miles away I can feel differences in my depressed state and I have to act quickly. Otherwise I could end up spending a month in bed and that's just no good.

Usually my books on my iPod will do the trick. I will drift off listening to the soothing works of Stephen King or Robert R. McCammon. Weird choices for bedtime stories, I know, but I find them soothing.

When I am sleep-deprived like this, I tend to have a certain poem rattle around in my noggin. It is Antigonish by William Hughes Mearns. I first heard it in the movie Identity when a portion of it was uttered by Pruitt Taylor Vince.

Here is the poem:

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away...

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door... (slam!)

Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away...

I suppose that the reason that I enjoy the poem so much is because in times of stress and fatigue I have been known to see things just in the corner of my eye. Fleeting images. Real, or not? Repeating the poem grounds me. Soothes me. I am grateful for it.
Do you have a poem or snippet of prose that you can turn to for comfort?
Well, here is to hoping that the soothing narration of King's The Tommyknockers lulls me to sleep tonight.
And in the meantime, "Yesterday, upon the stair...".

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dealing With An Old Dog

It's official. My little black cocker spaniel has been called a very old dog by his vet.

My Max turns 15 this month. He went to the vet for his shots (he needs his dip-tet - from Raising Arizona) and for him to be shaved in certain areas.

He barely hears. I have to speak very loudly to him. His sight is not the best. When he drops part of a treat I often have to pick it up and give it to him because he can't find it. And I guess that means that his nose isn't as keen as it once was.

His appetite has diminished. It is hard to find something he is interested in eating. The vet says give him whatever he will eat, dog food wise. He currently is eating a grain free lamb and rice dry and lamb and rice canned food. He seems to like it. Since he is getting more canned food than dry I am to mix two teaspoons of plain yogurt and two tablespoons of low fat cottage cheese to his food and hopefully that will even out some potty problems.

His back legs will give out when he is sitting up or standing up. I am to give him a baby aspirin in the morning and at night. Because of his advanced age the vet does not want to give him a prescription anti-inflammatory.

Now that it is cooler we can go out more without the risk of over-heating. He shouldn't get over excited because of his enlarged heart. If there is excessive panting I am to bring him right back to the vet.

He is still the same loving dog he has always been. Everyone who meets him just goes on and on about what a good dog he is. And I agree.

He has been with me through a lot, has gotten me through a lot, and now it is my turn to make sure to do the best for him.

"Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog." --- Sydney Jeanne Seward

I feel so blessed to have him. And maybe tonight as we spoon on the bed (he has to sleep that way unless it is very hot) I will hold him just a bit tighter.

I will hold him to my heart and never let go.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Fear Of Heights

I am afraid of heights. What am I not afraid of, though, right?

Yesterday Nik Wallenda walked a tightrope between two skyscrapers in Chicago, IL. Just the mention of it gives me chills. Below is a photo from ABC News.

Twenty years ago, though, I overcame my fear.

I was crew on a sailboat on Lake Erie. We were in Erie, PA. It was summertime. They were having a celebration on the nearby waterfront. The festivities included fireworks.

Now, I love fireworks. There was one problem. The steaming light on the mast was blown out. We needed this light to be able to lawfully navigate and there was only myself and the captain aboard.

The light in reference was at the top of a mast that stood 45 feet above the deck of the boat. That is pretty high, for me.

As the morning turned to afternoon I thought more and more about letting the captain hoist me up in a bosun's chair so that I could replace that light bulb. A bosun's chair, by the way, is simply a board for your butt and ropes to go around your legs. It is attached to a halyard, the line that raises sails, and the halyard is pulled, pulling you up the mast.

I must have gotten in that chair a dozen times, chickening out each time. Finally I turned to liquid courage. I had a beer. That didn't do it. I had another. Then I waited a bit. At last, I had a third and with that the liquid courage took hold and I allowed him to hoist me up.

Once I got up there, it was no big deal. I replaced the light bulb, we made sure it worked, and he lowered me back to the deck.

We sailed to the festivities and had a lovely time as the fireworks filled the night sky.

Would I do it again today? No. I am now landlocked and sail no more, and I no longer drink. But I am glad that I can recall the time that I faced my fear and, with the help of a little liquid courage, made it a night to remember instead of regret.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Time And Again

I am guessing that everyone that should have has already turned their clocks back one hour.

And that means that the clock in my kitchen and the clock in my car are now correct again.

Why don't I just take the few minutes it would take to set those clocks correctly every six months? That is another thing that my depression and anxiety do, they fill my head with "laters". I can always do it later, do it next time, do it tomorrow.

Then there are the times my brain tells me that if I DO do something, then something bad will happen. If I change the clock in the car, then the car will stop working. If I turn back the kitchen clock, it will break.

Such is the joy of depression and anxiety thrown together. Time and again I tell myself that I will push those "laters" and "ifs" out of my head and do what I really want to do. But they always pop back in.

The only time I can do exactly what is needed is when I am caring for my pets. They force me to be in the here and now. Time and again they ground me when I am anxious and give me a reason to get out of bed when I am depressed.

Do you have thoughts that keep you from doing the simplest of tasks?

Do you have pets that act as your therapy?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Snow Already!

Last week it was in the 80's here. Today it is snowing. Such is weather in the southern town where I live.

But I am in a valley and, while it snows inches in the mountains all around us, we rarely get a good, deep snow.

It brought to mind the snows of my childhood. It seems it snowed more often and the deep snows stayed for days and days. We would be out of school for a week or so.

We were lucky enough to live between two pretty big hills that we could sled down. Of course, traveling those roads by car was treacherous.

And we didn't have the nice, soft plastic sleds. Oh, no. These were the Flexible Flyers. The ones that had the sharp metal runners. When you crashed and those ran over a body part, that body part got hurt.

You could sit on them and steer with your feet or you could lie down on them and have your face just inches from the hard packed snow rushing by. It was about as exciting as anything could be for a kid then.

We would be outside for hours, sledding quickly down the hill then dragging the sleds back up to the top.

One year we did a bad thing. There was a house close to the top of the biggest hill. We thought that the snow was melting a bit too fast and so one evening we took her water hose, turned on the water and placed the hose so that it was trickling down the hill. It was cold enough so that it left the road with a thin glaze of ice. I don't know how, but we were caught and the one whose idea it was stood up and had to take his medicine. But he was out the next day, sledding as though nothing had happened. After all, we were just kids and the snow wouldn't be there forever.

Now I no longer sled but I am happy when it snows. My old dog has a good time in it.

I am sorry if you hate the snow. I know that it can be dangerous to drive in.

But it is so nice to sit in a cozy warm house, looking out at the snowfall. Having a cup of coffee or tea and a good book and your pets snuggled beside you while the snow is falling is so comforting. It is a time for quilts and homemade soup.

I hope you are enjoying the weather where you are, snowing or not. Happy November first!