The day I broke my stomach.

Yesterday was an epic dieting fail, but I’m hopeful that I can put it behind me. I’ve already started today with some healthy oatmeal, and I have a healthy dinner planned as well.

But yesterday things went awry. My sleep schedule got messed up when LuLu the pup woke me up way too early. I got up and walked her, stayed up and did some hardcore cleaning (taking boxes from the basement to the garage), and then took a nap. I ate a Lara bar at some point instead of starting the day with my oatmeal. Things unraveled from there, when I uncovered my dad’s stash of chocolate chip cookies.

I ate two of them, and then at a later point, I ate two more. But when I ate the second group of cookies, something weird happened. I had some sort of blackout again. I sat down in the living room with the two cookies in my hand, blinked, and two seconds later (seemingly), the cookies were gone. I shrugged and just assumed I’d eaten them. (Where does my mind go when it’s not here?!?!) Then I moved on with my day.

Well, apparently, I didn’t eat them–I inhaled them. A few hours later, I had the worst stomach ache I’ve ever had. (Don’t worry, Emilia, there was no nausea.) I worried that I’d broken my digestive system beyond repair. I was in agony and was very concerned. And I knew I must’ve inhaled the cookies because I have a tendendy to “snarf” junk food, as my dad puts it, meaning that I forget to chew it.

I felt demoralized and like a total failure. I swallowed some Pepto and ate some chewable probiotics, but it was beyond help. In good news, I never want to eat another cookie again. (Snort. We’ll see how long that lasts.) But I was so upset with myself.

I emailed my life coach, and she was very supportive, which was nice. So today I feel ready to try it again! Go me. No more cookies. I’m back on the straight and narrow.

In other news, my Czech dictionary is coming in the mail today and I’m just now wondering how I can afford (or otherwise acquire) 3,500 flash cards to memorize all the words. (This lunacy assumes I’m capable of memorizing 3,500 vocab words.) Flash cards are expensive when you need that many! Oh well. I’ll figure something out.

I’m leaning toward buying this landline phone because it’s retro and gets good reviews for audio quality. (I was born with bad hearing.) Wouldn’t it be elegant to answer that phone, lift the receiver to my ear, and say hello? I think so. I guess I could get a separate answering machine. That’s what my dad uses. He has an answering machine that connects to the phone.

The above phone also comes in black and red (on separate listing pages). I haven’t decided for sure. There’s no rush. The AT&T guy isn’t coming for a week, and I don’t have money to buy a phone now anyway.

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Tomorrow I’m seeing my mom. I think I might bring her over here, make her that salad I showed you guys (but I’ve been using a different dressing since I took that photo), play piano for her, and let her spend some quality time with LuLu the pup. That should be nice.

I hope everyone out there is having a great day!!

It’s fate!

So, I’ve been spaced out all day, and I finally went downstairs to call my mom. I figured I’d check in with her and see how her week’s going. She’s back in town but I won’t see her until later this week. But it sounded like she was visiting Li’l Sweetmeats, and she said she’d call me back. No huge deal.

After I hung up, the phone rang, and the caller ID said it was an 800 number. Thinking what the heck and feeling ready to take on some scammers, I answered it. It was AT&T, my phone provider, with a recorded message that they’re retiring my type of internet service. It said to press 1 to speak to someone, so I did. I was feeling rather irritated, and I was under the assumption that this was a ploy to raise our rates.

I was trapped on the phone for a whole hour, but the woman turned out to be really friendly, and she got me a great rate on the new internet. We’ll be paying $10 less each month, and–get this–I’m going to have my own landline again! Yeah, so you all can call me. I haven’t had my own phone line since I can remember. I used to have a landline up here, but at one point AT&T said it had to go, but now they’re bringing it back. Awesomeness!

And if I hadn’t answered the phone, my dad might’ve wound up dealing with it, and he wouldn’t have known how excited I’d be to have my own landline, so he might’ve settled on a different deal, or something. Wow! Things have worked out great today. Now, I just have to survive their installation a week from Friday. (No new landline access until then.) See, the woman asked me for a second contact number for me or my dad, but I didn’t have one to give her. I think our conversation led her to see what could be done about that. Praise God!

I might have to handle the installation solo. Come to think of it, my sister’s wedding is the next day, so my dad might be busy. No huge deal… I hope.

While talking to the lady, I said, “Wow, I can have my own landline!” and she burst into laughter. It seemed funny to me too, though. HA HA HA HA!

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And I’ll have faster internet, although I have no issue with the current speed. It always amazes me when they say, “It’ll be four times faster!” Like, wow. Faster than fast enough?

And now the worry sinks in. The nice woman said she’d email me confirmation, and I haven’t gotten an email. What if she got my email address wrong? Oh well.

At any rate, I can’t wait for my dad to get home from dinner so I can fill him in on this. And then I’m going to go landline-phone shopping!! I want one with all the bells and whistles. Maybe people will call me! (Oh my gosh, I must sound like a teenager.) My own phone line! What a thrill! I can make business cards. I can send my new number to all my friends. I’m downright giddy. How exciting! I can now be gently ushered into the past century. Maybe someday soon I’ll buy one of those newfangled selfie sticks and poke my dad with it.

The diet’s back on track today. I massively overslept, so I’ve only eaten the brunch of oatmeal so far. But I haven’t made it to the gym. I intend to go later tonight, but that will mean I only went once today instead of twice. Oh well.

Oops.

So, my diet was going great until…

And don’t worry–this is a minor setback. I intend to make a full recovery from this. But… uh, things went amok.

I started the day with oatmeal, all good. I ate a healthy dinner of that salad I showed you all recently, all good. I was still hungry and ate a few Lara bars. That seemed excessive to me, and I decided that if I’m still hungry, I should make a third small meal of brown rice, for example. I made a mental note.

But that’s not where things really went wrong. In order to atone for the Lara bars (which are reasonably healthy and “clean” but still rather caloric), I went to the gym late tonight. Go me! I burned 250 calories on the treadmill and got home after midnight.

This is where things got sketchy. I asked LuLu if she wanted to take a walk, and she did. See? This is all her fault. Bad pup. I blame the dog. I’m sure you agree that this wasn’t my fault.

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So, okay, we were walking around the block, and no one was around. All the shops were closed except the 24-hour drugstore across the street. But as LuLu and I were passing a local restaurant that I’ve never eaten at, it happened. I spotted, on an outside table, a whole and untouched order of sweet-potato fries. Just sitting there under the beam of an impish streetlight, beckoning me with their shimmery grains of salt.

Need I say more? I’m too ashamed to recount what happened next, but I’ll try. While I struggled to carry them home, LuLu kept trying to jump up on me and get them for herself. Then we got home and… I ate them.

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Oh my goodness. Well, they were good. Cold… but good. [Facepalm.]

Yeah. I can’t decide whether to laugh at myself or weep.

Meg! What about germs?! Good Lord! Have you no sense? 

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Well… I realized in the aftermath that I have a legitimate issue with “found” food. Whether it be my dad’s cookies or who knows what else, my mind immediately thinks, wow, such opportunity! I can’t pass this up! Basically I’m like a dog who follows a good scent. The worst thing someone can say to me is, “If you don’t eat this leftover birthday cake, it’ll just go to waste.” Never tell me that. 

I’m morally depraved.

It’s okay. When I wake up tomorrow, I’m going to go back to the drawing board of healthy eating, along the lines of what I was thinking earlier about adding a small meal of brown rice if I’m still hungry. I can totally come back from this.

In good news, the fries tasted good but they left something to be desired. I think I’m losing interest in unhealthy foods in a brain-chemistry sense and even a taste sense. We can hope. I think the goal is to be so separated from unhealthy foods such that if I were to go on a bingefest, it would be like, yuck. And I feel close to that yuck.

Meg, you just ate someone else’s sweet-potato fries. Of course you feel close to that yuck. So does your readership. 

Oh, shut up, inner voice. 

I’m in this for the long haul and will try harder tomorrow. I hope my life coach doesn’t flip out too much. The email I sent her was titled Oops. I think that says it.

A fun blog post about many things.

It’s hot. Like, really, really hot. Like Frosty-the-Snowman-just-died-in-two-seconds-and-now-I’m-traumatized-by-his-death-all-over-again hot. And humid. Did I mention humid? And it’s not even July or August yet! Send help!

Things are going well. I went to the gym late last night and wound up sleeping until 1:20 PM today. I’d like to get up two or three hours earlier, but I blame my late-night exercising. And I might have to keep exercising late at night if this heat wave doesn’t dissipate.

My gym is under-air-conditioned. I guess when you’re paying for $10-a-month gym access, you get what you pay for. It’s a great gym otherwise. And the little fan on the treadmill is helpful, but not much. The funny thing is that the sign out front orders everyone to wear a mask, but inside the gym, no one’s wearing a mask. No one at all. Go figure. I’m onboard with this. Where I live everyone has had multiple opportunities to get vaccinated.

Oh! Great news. I weighed myself today. Holy flip. My weight’s down to 209 from its highest point of 220 (I think). 209 is what I weighed in late 2018 before I went to visit Sonya for the first time. Afterward, my crashing relationship with Nate (a mutual friend of ours at that time) turned me toward junk food and my weight went up higher. Now I’ve gotten it back down to the pre-Nate days. It’ll be more of a challenge to undo my disastrous relationship with Billy, back in circa 2010, which caused me to gain all the extra weight I still have. (I think I used to weigh around 160 or 170 prior to Billy.) So now I must lose that weight. Go me!

So I’m thrilled with the weight loss. I was sort of staring at the scales (the kind with a dial, not a digital number display) thinking, uh, oh no, did it go back up to 220? No… wait, it’s just below 210! Holy flip!

Yeah, so go me! I hope to lose as much weight as possible before I visit Sonya so as to impress her. Maybe I won’t even tell her, and she won’t recognize me exiting the airport. HA HA H A HA! Giggle-fest! 😀 Like, “Where’s the rest of you?”

I won’t be seeing my mom, who’s  back in town, until Friday or Saturday. She’ll be busy doing a lot of things and seeing a lot of people.

DEAR ABBY: My adult daughter and I had a big argument while she was visiting me. Sadly, we both used words that were hurtful. Afterward, I wrote her a note telling her I loved her and would like to hear from her. She replied in an email that she received my letter, but she is still hurt by the things I said.

I wanted to be the adult in this situation, but I was also hurt by her words and actions, and feel angry that I have to be the one to apologize. I told her I hope that we can put this behind us. Must I apologize even though I told her I am sorry that she is still hurt? — WOUNDED IN OHIO

DEAR WOUNDED: I see nothing positive to be gained by allowing this to fester any longer. You are the parent in this situation, so if you’d like a resolution, apologize again. (c) DEAR ABBY

Um. The mother never apologized the first time, Dear Abby.

I wrote her a note telling her I loved her and would like to hear from her.

That’s not an apology.

I told her I hope that we can put this behind us.

Neither is that. Can we make a third effort here?

I told her I am sorry that she is still hurt. 

Mm-hmm. [Shaking my head.] Zero for three. Oh well.

♥♥♥♥♥

I just got back from Target. I was waiting in an enernal line, it seemed like. An employee, an older woman, came up and yelled at me that I could go to the return area and check out there.

This put me on the spot to cut in line ahead of everyone who’d been waiting in the line in front of me; and thus, it made me feel very uncomfortable. The people ahead of me should’ve been told to go up there. Also, it triggered memories of being corralled at the local grocery store as though I’m a shoplifter. I don’t like being yelled at. Granted, I have dreadful hearing, but she was being way too upfront. (Also, she couldn’t have known of my hearing. She started yelling as soon as she appeared.)

When I get put in this situation, I often get rather tongue-tied and just shut down. (Trust me, the alternatives are worse.) Like, I can’t open my mouth to explain the problem, but I also can’t jump to do the person’s bidding without feeling as if I’ve just sold my soul to the devil. So I just said nothing and stayed where I was. She then told the people in front of me that they could go up there, and they did.

Then she came at me again like an angry pitbull. “MA’AM! YOU CAN GO UP THERE!”

I didn’t reply.

“No? Okay. You all! You can go up there.” She pointed to some other people.

Everyone else left.

The people in front of me were buying the whole store, so that cashier pointed toward the cash register ahead of hers. I went up and waited. A mother paid and left with her kids as I put down my two boxes of dessert tea. (And this is why I drove to Target. The grocery store is unstocked, and this tea costs more and takes forever to arrive when ordering from Amazon.)

The cashier there rang up my tea. “That will be $6.40,” she told me.

I flipped through my bills. I had several $10 bills and two $1 bills as well. Deciding I wanted to get back a $5 bill and some change, I gave her a ten and the two ones. She got a confused look on her face, and alas, I knew it was not to be. She handed me back the two ones and went about making change, lots and lots of change, from the $10.

“Oh no,” she told me. “I’m out of ones. Do you mind getting several dollars worth of quarters?”

I gazed longingly at the $5 bills–she wasn’t out of those–and sighed. “Yeah, that’s fine,” I told her. “No huge deal.” She filled my hands with quarters which I shoved in my pockets.

She wished me a good day, and I returned the well-wishes with a smile.

I guess I tend to give back to people what they give me. I’m not sure if there was another point to that narration or not. She seemed sensitive, and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. But with people who are intrusive and obnoxious and too “outward,” I lose my compassion and often disengage. It is what it is.

Time for Tarot! (6-12-21)

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Hi, everyone! Here’s how this works: use your intuition to pick an item from the above image. Today we have a rainbow dish, a rainbow canvas, and a rainbow ornament. These are timeless readings, meaning they’ll apply whenever you read them and not just when I post them.

I can’t promise that all of my readings will have a section that resonates with you! Some will, some won’t. These are general readings, so you really never know! If you’re interested in a you-specific reading, feel free to contact me at zeldas_lullaby@yahoo.com. And you can find all my Tarot readings here.

The rainbow dish!

People really look up to you as being mature, emotionally balanced, and kind. But on the inside, you wrestle with a lot of self-doubt and limiting beliefs (like, for example, “I don’t deserve to be successful,” or, “I don’t deserve to find love,” etc.). You are way too hard on yourself!! You don’t see yourself as others see you! You’ve been having some sort of existential crisis involving what you put your time and energy into. Is it what you want to be investing yourself in? You’ve been wondering. I think this conflict has to do with work, school, raising kids, and so forth, while trying to find balance and keep it all together. I did a similar reading a while back and wonder if the same people who read that one will stumble upon this one!

The cards are saying that you’re capable of more than you realize. You might not be getting all the recognition you deserve, but people really do look up to you and admire you. These people probably figure it all goes without saying. [Eyeroll.] I think the problem is that you feel stifled creatively, and you’re convinced that you’d have to walk away from everything you already do in life to find any time for creative expression. You have unrealistic expectations for, like, how much anyone can accomplish in a day (or however long). You expect yourself to be on the go-go-go at all times, always getting stuff done; and it’s got you convinced that you’re wasting time somehow…?

You miss how simple life was when you were a kid. You could benefit from really thinking through all that you’re accomplishing now (raising kids, working, etc., etc.) and reminding yourself how much value it all has. Because it all has loads of value, and the cards are telling me very clearly that what you do every day—all the ways you spend your time—are directly connected to your life’s mission, and that’s wonderful. You’re on the right track, so don’t devalue it!

What you’ve also got to do is get organized! You’ve got too much going on, and you’re overwhelmed. You must devise a gameplan here so that you don’t crash and burn.

You’ve got to get some forward momentum going toward eking away some time for yourself! You’re meant to transform into someone who values their own lives and activities as much as their family’s! Find some ways you can take steps in that direction. If you’re married, find time for your marriage as well. And be kind to yourself. The Angel of Balance is showing up here. (I have no clue if such an angel exists, but I drew the oracle card of the Angel of Balance. Let’s put it that way.) She absolutely does not want you to put yourself last. (Yes, she’s a female angel.) There’s an interesting quote in the oracle deck’s book here: “Remember, however, that when you put yourself last, the Universe will do likewise.” That sounds harsh, but I don’t think it means the universe is against you. I think it means that it’s following your lead, sort of like the subconscious mind.

Like, with the subconscious mind, if you think (consciously), “I’m fat and ugly,” the response of the subconscious mind is always, “I agree.” The subconscious mind is like a yes-man.

“I don’t deserve love.”

“I agree.”

“I’ll never get that job!”

“I agree.”

The subconscious mind has no desire to believe negative things, but that’s just how it works. It chooses to believe whatever you tell it. So, I’m thinking that you’ve got to tell the universe, or your spirit guides, or whoever you pray to, that you want and deserve more time for yourself. They probably already feel that way but have been honoring the priorities you’ve set. There must be a way for you to have it all.

“I deserve to have lots of time for myself.”

“I agree.”

See? It’s not hard.

And, oh, look at this! Here I drew the oracle card of perception, and it states that you’re about to have a shift in perception that will change everything. Yes! It talks about how your perception creates your reality. People hear that and scoff, because we can’t, for example, decide we’re in Hawaii and then find ourselves there in a tropical oasis as if by magic. But there’s a lot of truth to perception creating our reality. Like, for example, I don’t have kids because I don’t want kids. Now, if I’d grown up with a strong desire to have kids, then I would’ve made it happen by now. Another example is how you react to a bad driver. Personally, I blow on the horn for five full seconds. But if my perception could see that the driver’s a distracted mom whose kids are all trying to get her attention, then I’d feel bad about my reaction (but worried about their safety). So, I truly believe that perception creates our realities in ways we don’t realize, and you can change yours. Watch, and I’ll go first: “I am worthy of love.” There we go. My subconscious mind just agreed with me, because it’s good like that. Now, I’m closer to finding love. Go me!

Wow. The last card says you’re a spiritual teacher. I believe it! The first Tarot card I drew told me that others look up to you and see you as a role model, so work it! I’m especially sensing that you’re good with kids, so if you have kids of your own, you’re doing the world a service by being a great parent. And parents have the chance to be the best spiritual teachers of anyone. It might not seem spiritual to potty train your child, but trust me… it’s spiritual, ‘cause someone’s gotta do it. Am I right? So absolutely do not devalue the work you do!

The rainbow canvas!

Wow, you’re a positive, upbeat, optimistic person! Rock it! You’re laidback and lackadaisical, too, but I sense that you’ve got people in your life who are trying to get you to take life more seriously. Ugh. Their attitudes are taxing your inner strength as well as your resolve to stay wholly who you are. You’re a perceptive soul who needs lots of downtime. You’re a bit unfocused, and I’m sensing some ADHD sort of thought patterns in the way you organize a project or make plans. Sometimes progress is halted due to this. But I’m seeing you as such a good and positive person that I want to emphasize that I think you rock! Don’t worry. No one’s perfect. You’ve gotten pretty good at organizing your daily routine and getting it all done, so good job!

I definitely am a believer in playing to your strengths. So what if you’re a bit unorganized? Work that positive energy and be proud of your good outlook! Seriously!

Oh, wow, there’s a huge opportunity here. It could pertain to travel, internships, whatever you want to do with your life, and so on and so forth. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but if you’ve just gotten accepted into a prestigious college, or you’re being offered a new job, or whatever’s going on, the cards are shrieking at you to go for it. You’ve got some anxiety like, if I don’t do it, I’ll be a failure. What I’m seeing here, though, is that if you do choose to follow this path, security and happiness will be yours. There’s a huge chance of success here! So don’t talk yourself out of it. Seize the day!

Let’s see which oracle cards you drew! (I haven’t looked at them yet.) Your first oracle card says what I’ve been saying—now’s the time to follow that new career path or opportunity! You’ve got what it takes, and you’re almost magically imbued with success at this point in your life. Righteous! The next one says to stay positive and keep doing what you’re doing! You’re on the right track, for sure! Oh, wow. I drew a card from the self-care oracle, and it wants you do to abundance planning. The card speaks of working toward financial organization by crunching numbers, budgeting, trying to earn more income, and so forth. I think this would be great for you.

The next oracle card asks you to have fun with your inner child. I agree. I feel like whoever’s trying to get you to take life more seriously needs to loosen up. There’s nothing wrong with being carefree, playful, and spontaneous. I mean, really, don’t try to change yourself too much! Maybe just enough to get to work every day.

The next oracle card says you might benefit from a financial advisor. I’d agree, especially if number crunching isn’t your thing. You might want to look into hiring one, especially if you can’t make sense of your finances. Yeah, the card shows a very sexy man holding a coin. He’s really good at holding that coin. The card is called “Man Holding a Coin.” And then there’s a field of wildflowers behind him. You gotta love oracle cards.

Your next oracle card shows that you really are at a time in your life where you can make things happen. You’ve got it going on right now, so use that to your advantage to land that dream job! Also, there could be an element of the unexpected. You know how people sometimes fully plan to follow a certain path, but right off the bat that path sort of guides them into unknown territory where they discover their ideal job or life path? That’s happening for you now. So yes, you should follow the path that’s calling you, but you never know where it might lead! No worries, because all you have to do is take that first step.

Your last oracle card urges you to seize the moment. I couldn’t agree more. There’s definitely something you’re being called to do, and you absolutely don’t want to lose the opportunity. It seems as if every single card I’ve drawn here is urging you to just go for it! So please, jump in! Be brave!

The rainbow ornament!

Can I just give you a hug? I’m seeing a painful divorce here. There was betrayal and probably cheating on your ex’s end. I’m sorry. It’s pretty brutal. In good news, if none of that resonates with you, then this isn’t your pile.

For those of you who are still reading, yeah. It’s the ending of a major cycle in your life as shown by the 10 of Cups and the 10 of Swords, both reversed. I sense you’re working hard at getting yourself together, which is great; and you’re sort of pushing yourself to come to grips. You can tell that the relationship was bringing out the worst in you. Like, there’s no doubt in your mind. And I even suspect that you may have been the one to end the relationships. Not your actions—what I mean is that you’re the one who chose to break up. I’m not seeing that you’re the one who’s at fault, though. (I’m sure there’s plenty of blame to go around, but I can sense how betrayed you feel and how shocked and angry. I’m sure I’d feel the same.)

It’s been a huge transition for you. With both the High Priestess and Death being upright, and later in the reading both the Star and Justice, also upright, I can tell that the universe is sending you loads of support right now. From what I can tell, this change (the breakup) needs to happen. Your archetype is the Sword, which speaks of putting something out of its misery swiftly rather than delaying the inevitable or (in a strictly metaphorical sense) leaving someone to die slowly and painfully when you can just end their suffering. Let me emphasize the metaphorical here. Please don’t engage in actual swordplay with your ex. I know you want to, and I feel you—I really do—but try to refrain.

You’ve had some good times with girlfriends lately or just with friends in general while working toward a common goal—something work-related or productive, like a joint project. It has helped to get your mind off of things and to reorient you to the way things are now. I’m glad to see this. Do more of this!

But I’m also seeing that part of you wants to go back and reunite with your ex. I can’t stop you, obviously, but the cards are screaming at you to stay separated. It will get easier. I promise. But everything here is pointing toward your needing to be broken up with this person.

You will rediscover your faith as you find that you can stay separated from your ex. And with the reading ending with both the Star and Justice upright (as I mentioned earlier), what I’m seeing is that you’ll be okay on your own; and also, the card of Justice upright is very promising here. It points to your interests being well-represented in the divorce proceedings with a positive outcome therein in a financial sense.

I’m not seeing any indication of kids in this reading. If you have some, perhaps the issue of custody isn’t coming up. (I.e., you both agree on who will have/share custody, making it a non-issue. Or one of you brought in kids from a previous marriage, so there won’t be custody disputes over those kids.) But if you are concerned about custody, even though I didn’t pick up a vibe of kids here, the card of Justice upright is very positive that your concerns and needs regarding custody will be met and granted.

I drew a relationship oracle card for you. I do this whenever I realize that a reading is about relationships. Here’s what your card says: “Life is a series of constantly shifting cycles. When we resist change, we resist the natural flow of life and create unnecessary stress. Go with the flow—you will be surprised where it leads.”

Let’s dive into your other oracle cards here. The first is a message from the universe for you saying that your loyalty within relationships is appreciated and valued. You’ll notice that your friends are going to come through for you nowadays. You didn’t deserve to be betrayed.

The next card speaks of rejuvenation. If there’s anything good you can do for yourself like a day of beauty or other self-care, it would be great! What I’m also sensing here is that you might suddenly start feeling better than expected, because although it’s agonizing to lose a relationship, you sometimes find yourself and aspects of yourself that you’d put on the shelf. A good mood might surprise you!

Don’t forget that you carry many answers to your problems within yourself. It might help for you to clear your head somehow and get in touch with how you feel (or what you’re concerned about) right now. You’ve lost some of who you are in this relationship, and now’s the time to reconnect with your deepest values, desires, concerns, and so forth. Come home to yourself.

Ah! The next card is reinforcing what I was saying about having a beauty ritual. Hey, it can’t hurt. This is also a time to protect yourself romantically until enough time has passed that you’re ready to date again, if you choose to. The final card urges you to again get in touch with your core values. Which values really matter to you? Which values were used against you? Which values do you still desire to have within yourself, no matter what? Which values will you now require future significant others to possess? This is the time to question these things. Go deep.

I hope this has been helpful!!

What else can be said?

Dear Annie: My “Laura” is the light of my life. It’s been more than a year since we found each other, but my whole body still shakes with anticipation every time I see her. Recently, though, I can’t help but feel a growing tension between us. This is my first real romantic relationship, and I know that I have a lot to learn, but Laura can be so critical of me. Like, she tells me I use my tongue too much when we kiss. And the other night, when I was just trying to cuddle, she insisted I go sleep on the couch instead.

As soon as she gets back from work, I can’t stop talking to her. I find myself following her around the house. I know that she likes to have a second to unwind in silence. But I’m just so excited to see her that I always forget! The other day, she went so far as to hold my mouth shut. Then she said, “Honey, shut up.” It made me feel so small.

I don’t want to push my love away with my enthusiasm. But I also can’t help but be myself. Admittedly, I’m young and inexperienced. So maybe I’m too eager. But I just can’t hide the way that I feel. And I guess I’m afraid that Laura is turned off by my puppy love. Please, help me. What should I do? — Simply Smitten

Dear Simply: There’s love, and then there’s infatuation. Your letter speaks more to the latter. For true love to grow between you and Laura, you must give it the room and time to do so.

To help curb your obsessive thinking, I encourage you to attend therapy and read “Codependent No More” by Melody Beattie. Develop your hobbies; spend more time with your friends; find work that excites you. Investing energy in yourself will not only boost your self-esteem but also make you more attractive to your girlfriend — a win-win. (c) Annie Lane @ Creators.com

This cracks me up. I’m not even sure why. It’s just… I have no clue. I think Annie Lane misunderstood the letter, but I’ll get to that later.

Laura can be so critical of me. Like, she tells me I use my tongue too much when we kiss.

No, that’s not criticism. That’s called getting an education. More lip action, dude. Think of your tongue as a shy groundhog who’s peeking out to see if winter’s over yet.

The first (and one of the only) guys I ever kissed was my childhood sweetheart. We grew up together as young children and still knew each other in middle school and high school. One day in the youth lounge we were just messing around with another friend named Jana when I said, “I want to kiss you, Nick.”

Well, one thing led to another, and pretty soon Jana was appalled at what the two of us were doing. “I’m trying to study, you guys. Get a room!”

The youth lounge had sofas around its perimeter and may as well have been a love nest. It was remodeled shortly after that.

But, um, Nick was using too much tongue, and I had no clue how to tactfully tell him. I mean, it’s hard to be critical of such things. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. And quite honestly, I had no one to compare him to. [Shrug.] But mostly I didn’t want to destroy his ego.

Nick and I started sneaking off to kiss in odd places. And by odd places, I mean odd rooms, not odd body parts. Just to clarify. Like, we made out in his living room, we made out all over the church, we made out at youth camp…

Anyway, then we had “the talk” where we determined that we didn’t really like each other that way. And… that was that.

What’s up with Annie Lane recommending a book about codependency? Doesn’t codependency involve addictions and covering for people? When did society decide that codependency equates to relying too heavily on your relationships?

Hmm… this is from Amazon’s blurb of the book Annie Lane referenced:

Is someone else’s problem your problem? If, like so many others, you’ve lost sight of your own life in the drama of tending to someone else’s, you may be codependent–and you may find yourself in this book–Codependent No More. The healing touchstone of millions, this modern classic by one of America’s best-loved and most inspirational authors holds the key to understanding codependency and to unlocking its stultifying hold on your life.

Well, if I’m codependent, I enjoy it, because I take great pleasure from my relationships. But, yeah. If I have a friend who’s unhappy, then I care. What does this book teach you to do, tell your friends to deal with their own problems? Um. Harsh. If I were to try to live in such a way that was all about Meg, I’d be miserable.

Okay. Well, the author freakin’ dedicated the book to herself. (Click to look inside the book if you don’t believe me.) I think that says it. [Snort.] And yes, I actually snorted just now. Not making that up.

I wish people wouldn’t demonize relationships as being bizarre forms of dependency. I do have to admit, though, that this letter writer… I have no idea. If codependency outside of addictions is real, then this letter writer makes a good case for it… almost. (Read on.)

But I call fake letter. The letter writer is obviously Laura’s pet dog. (Reread the letter if you don’t believe me! It’s, uh… eye-opening.) Yeah. Annie Lane’s been taken for a ride. And her column has officially gone to the dogs.

The calm before the storm.

Hey, everyone! Here I am. My diet’s going freaktastically well! Having someone to answer to makes all the difference. But also, I realized that if I go a week without junk food, I quit wanting junk food. That’s major. It’s not something I can easily eat in moderation for two reasons:

  1. It makes me feel like failure, which leads to a slippery slope of diet loss, and then I’m back on the junk food all the time; and
  2. It triggers happy chemicals in my brain, and then the addiction returns, so really it’s best for me to never indulge.

But it’s all good. Some days, all I eat is my peanut butter oatmeal (yum!) and a huge salad for dinner, and minimal snacking. It’s all filling! So, no hunger.

Oh! Hey, guess what? My Amazon Prime got cancelled again. This time I very calmly checked my browsing history. (I was sitting here when I got the email.) Apparently, I hadn’t been to Amazon in four hours. Aha! Someone must’ve hacked my account and cancelled my Prime. So I changed the passwords and logged out. Good thing I’m not as out of touch with reality as I feared! (That sort of thing really does freak me out.)

I’m not sure if I’ve lost weight yet, but I need to get back into exercising. I hope to do that soon, ideally later today.

I love my new bed and slept quite soundly last night. I still tossed and turned a bit, but I don’t really blame the bed. I’m just a rough sleeper. But I felt very comfortable and deeply relaxed. I was practicing Czech before bed and getting everything wrong. Duolingo started saying things to me that it’s never said before, like, “Don’t worry. Even when your answers are wrong, you’re still learning,” and “Practice makes perfect! Don’t give up.” So I finally realized I need to practice earlier in the day, and then I went to bed.

Oh my gosh, I just remembered. My mom’s coming back to town tomorrow. She’ll be here for a while, staying at her condo again. My sister’s fetching her from the airport. I’m going to ideally earn some money by taking my mom on errands and to doctor’s appointments. It should all make for some very entertaining yet tragicomic blog posts, so stay tuned. She also wants me to drive her north two hours so she can visit her sisters. She’ll have to pay me hugely for that, as the drive (with her, no less!) exhausts me under the best of circumstances.

My sister’s wedding is in a few weeks, and the very next day is my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary. We’re going to celebrate it despite their divorce of roughly thirty years ago. I find this delightful. They do still care about each other and like each other, so that’s worth celebrating in my book. My mom’s boyfriend won’t take offense. It’s not a romantic thing at all. Oh, yeah. I need to tell my dad that it will be celebrated. He doesn’t know yet. Being a good ex-husband, he won’t mind.

Whenever my mom asks why my dad still likes her, I say, “You’re his favorite ex-wife.”

She replies, “I’m his only ex-wife.”

“Right, which makes you his favorite.”

So anyway, things are going to get crazier real fast, and this blog post should set the scene to the calm before the storm. Hold onto your seats! Things might get a little out of sorts.

Well, I’ve checked out.

I’m a dissociative person. Today something happened that has me scared to death. My Amazon Prime membership, which I re-enrolled in two days ago, was canceled. I contacted Amazon, and they said that I canceled it. And it didn’t get canceled because it expired. It literally got canceled by magic.

The email that Amazon pointed out to me was indeed in my inbox as of 11:00 AM this morning. (I found this email now while talking to Amazon customer service via chat. I overlooked it earlier.)

As you requested, we’ve canceled your Amazon Prime membership.

Since you only used your Amazon Prime benefits a few times, you will receive a prorated refund of $6.85 for the remainder of your membership. Your refund will be processed within the next 3-5 business days and will appear on your next billing statement. If your latest membership charge is still processing, we’ll issue the refund as soon as the charge is completed. If you’d like to join Amazon Prime again, start a paid membership by visiting the Amazon Prime page.

I didn’t request it.

Honestly, my poor memory scares me. I’m not sure if it’s caused by:

  • mental illness
  • psych drugs
  • premature aging

or what, but it all scares me. I woke up today at around 10:20 and went downstairs. I got dressed and walked the dog without checking my emails yet at the computer. (I don’t use a cellphone.) When I came up here to check emails, it must’ve been after 11:00. Ashley Leia’s 11:00 AM post was already in my inbox. (It’s amazing that I remember this much.)

Huh… according to FB, I sent a message to someone (a stranger about some boxes we’re trying to unload on FB marketplace) at 11:08. I started sending emails to people at 11:11. Would I have… oh, wait, I remember now.

I went to Amazon to track my new bed to see if it was coming in the mail. I clicked on accounts & lists instead of returns & orders. I didn’t recognize the page I was on, so I clicked on returns & orders.

But going into accounts & lists now, it’s not that easy to accidentally cancel Prime. (I just now rejoined Prime and am trying to cancel for theoretical reasons.) That page does indeed lead to canceling prime, but it doesn’t have an easy accidental way to cancel it.

This is freaking me out. How dissociative would I have to be to keep clicking through until I cancel, and then completely forget that I just did that, when I had no desire to do it in the first place?

I just now clicked on “end membership”, and sure enough, they’re trying to persuade me to stay. “Are you sure? We have all these benefits!” No memory of that, either. All I remember is accidentally clicking on the account & lists page, and then there’s a seamless blank of two seconds until I clicked on returns & orders. This is freaking me out.

I know I “block” in a daily sense. Stuff stresses me out, so I “block” it by ultimately sleeping it off. Many, many times people will say, “Are you feeling better today?” And I’ll have no clue what they’re referring to (and I don’t want to know, either), but I appreciate the kind word and just say yes.

It happened recently (sort of) with Jeopardy. We knew my friend would be on either Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. Come Monday, I said, “I’ll guess she’s not on tonight.” You know, I was trying to be psychic.

My dad said, “You already told me she’ll be on Tuesday.”

I had no memory of such and was massively freaked out. I’d gone to the Jeopardy website over the previous weekend and it wasn’t updated yet. That’s all I knew. Terrified that my dad was telling me I’d done something I had no memory of, I started praying that my friend wouldn’t be on Tuesday. She wasn’t on Monday, so it was fifty-fifty.

She was on Wednesday. Massive relief. I think. I mean, I could’ve told my dad that she’d be on Tuesday, but why?! It’s scary that I have so many blanks.

But on Tuesday, the phone rang during Jeopardy. It was my mom. “Why isn’t your friend on tonight? It’s Tuesday,” she said.

Great.

“Uh… she’ll be on tomorrow.”

I’m starting to think that I should get some therapy and/or read self-help books, etc., in order to regain my memory. I don’t know if I have premature cognitive decline, but what I do know is that I’ve trained my memory to turn itself off. The traumas from my childhood that I do remember were bad enough. I don’t know the ones I don’t remember (well, obviously). But I don’t cope well with day-to-day stuff, and I often have this fear that I’m forgetting things. I’ve taken “blocking” too far, and now I can’t turn it back. I’m no longer in control of it.

I’ve got to get my memory back! Yikes!

Other symptoms of dissociation that I regularly exhibit:

  • Whenever I run an errand alone, I pretend a friend is in the car with me and I point stuff out to them.
  • I’m constantly talking to myself. Out in public, I talk to LuLu the pup and hum and whistle Christmas tunes incessantly.
  • Sometimes I’m not sure if something happened or if I dreamed it happened.

But getting back to my memory, it takes extreme mental effort. I’ll be walking with my dad and he’ll ask, “What have you been up to today?”

And I’ll reply, “I don’t remember.”

It’s just all freaking me out. Oh well.

The good advice columnist, the bad advice columnist.

Dear Annie: My husband and I got married right before the pandemic. Before the marriage, we lived in different states, 3,000 miles apart. After we got married, the pandemic split us apart again geographically for eight months. We finally got back together, and I was glad to get the opportunity to work from home with him in his city.

We mostly stay at home, working from home and watching movies together. We were in a car accident a few days after we were reunited, and my leg was hurt, and I am not able to run or walk for long periods of time. He was not hurt in the accident.

It’s been six months since the accident, and my husband has not shown any physical interest in me all this time. I occasionally hug him and hold him while watching movies, but he does not initiate any similar physical affection. We must have kissed four or five times since the accident, always at my request.

I keep telling him that I love him, and he acknowledges that, but when I ask him why he has lost interest in affection of any kind, he says he just has. Upon prodding further, he once said that it was because of the arguments we had when we were dating. Another time he said that after my leg is healed and we are able to go out more, we’ll both feel better.

Other than the affection issue, everything else is good.

I know I have extra belly fat that is difficult to get rid of, but I had the fat while dating, too. I have gone on a few hikes and walks with him, but with a walking stick, and sometimes I need help. I think he wants me to be completely self-reliant.

The arguments while dating were just about our past relationships that I left behind, but I don’t think he is the kind of person who likes to forget the past. While we were separated during the pandemic, I was glad that we had stopped fighting about the past and assumed we had moved on, but now I think there is something stuck in his head that he refuses to let go of.

I am guessing he would want to blame me for it, but the problem is that he does not tell me what is really going on in his head, and we don’t even argue anymore. Other than this issue, he has always been a great guy, helpful to family members and me. I assure you he is not having an affair; we spend all our time together.

I can continue living with him and working from home, but I think going back to my city and state and stopping day-to-day communication with him might get him to open up and resolve the issue.

My concern is that, considering the little amount of time we have spent since we met, we should be like newly married couples, making out all the time. Instead, we don’t even hold hands like we did when we were dating. Before the pandemic split us apart, he used to express his love for me, and we would cook, clean and make out like normal couples. I am not planning to give up on us. What should I do? — Feeling Lost (c) Annie Lane

Okay, Annie Lane. Knock this easy pitch out of the park. You can do it. Keep your eye on the ball, Annie Lane. Don’t recommend marriage counseling. Don’t recommend marriage counseling. Don’t recommend marriage counseling. Come on, Annie Lane, nail it. There’s a serious problem here like incompatible sexualities, and it can’t be fixed. Don’t recommend marriage counseling. Just don’t.

Dear Feeling Lost: It sounds like absence made your husband’s heart grow colder, rather than fonder. Shutting you out emotionally and physically is not the solution for a happy marriage. You are right to be upset, and you deserve all the love and tenderness that a marriage can offer, but moving back to another state will not help.

Suggest marriage counseling to him. In the meantime, try and let up on your expectations of what the honeymoon phase should look like. A lot of couples have a very difficult first year of marriage as they iron out this new way of living with someone. Be patient with your relationship and try not to have such an idealized notion of what it should look like.

With the help of a good therapist, you can iron out together what your individual needs are. Always remember to listen to his, and always voice what you need.

Okay, we went there. We recommended marriage counseling. Hell, it can’t hurt. But it won’t help, either.

There’s a small chance that her husband is a control freak, rather than being sexually uninterested in her. But either way you slice it, the marriage won’t work.

In the meantime, try and let up on your expectations of what the honeymoon phase should look like.

(It’s try TO, Annie Lane. Try TO let up on your expectations. Not try AND. But I digress.)

I don’t think this letter writer has unrealistic expectations of honeymooning. I mean, I’ve never been married, but from what I understand there should be sex aplenty. This letter writer isn’t getting any at all. She can’t even get a kiss. That’s a serious problem. There’s maybe a 5% chance that it’s fixable. Her husband might be aromantic or asexual. He put in a good-faith effort early in the marriage (like, really early in the marriage), and now he’s out of lovin’. It is what it is.

I can’t believe that naïve Annie Lane thinks that they need better communication and lowered expectations. [Eyeroll.] It might not be too late for an annulment. It’s worth looking into.

Dear Amy: I’m a wife and a mother.

Six years ago, I had an affair. It went on for about three months. At the time, my son was 3 years old, and I was an active addict, making so many bad decisions.

My husband found out about all of it and wanted to work through it.

I fully expected him to divorce me and to take our son away because I was not a good mother or wife.

I’ve been sober for six years now, and I still feel so guilty.

I used to have dreams at least once a week about infidelity, whether it was me or my husband being unfaithful.

After these dreams, I would wake up crying and hyperventilating.

Now the dreams occur every four to six months.

How do I stop this? My husband has forgiven me, and I thought I had forgiven myself but clearly there are still some unresolved feelings on my part.

Do you have any ideas for me?

— Guilty Dreamer

Guilty Dreamer: My first thought is that you are making great progress. You are married to a graceful man and have the privilege of being a parent to your son.

You are having these dreams less frequently. You are sober, you are taking responsibility for your own actions, and you are — very appropriately — working on the next step toward greater health and healing.

Forgiving yourself is a big job, and tapping into your own mothering skills might help. When your son makes a mistake, feels guilty and beats himself up for it, you likely tap into your gentlest self to comfort him.

You need to learn how to apply this skill, this very parental sort of gentleness, toward yourself.

Your challenging tendency to be unforgiving toward yourself probably goes back further than your addiction and infidelity.

Your addiction might have been one way of anesthetizing or numbing these tougher feelings and reactions. A sobriety counselor or support group would help you to continue to put your past into your past.

I hope you will continue to work this through to be the very best version of yourself.

Dreams are your mind’s way of narrating your story. But you write that story during your waking life. Keep going. Keep writing. (c) Ask Amy

As usual, Ask Amy is tackling the real issues, unlike Annie Lane. This is good advice.

The situation is heartbreaking. Based on what I learned in the cult when they taught me dream symbolism, she (in a dream) represents her conscious mind. Her husband (in a dream) represents her subconscious mind. One of them having an affair would mean that the letter writer’s conscious and subconscious minds aren’t in harmony with each other. For example, if she decides she wants to save money, but she can’t quit buying lottery tickets every day, then that nightmare is going to get triggered. Or if she wants to lose weight but eats junk food all day. It’s her subconscious mind’s way of getting her attention. Every single time she has the nightmare, after waking she needs to ask herself if she was acting out of accordance with her goals the previous day. (Dreams are commentary on the previous day.)

This is not a guilt trip for her about infidelity.

My sense is that the subconscious knows our unique triggers and uses them to its advantage to get our attention. And since she’s a recovering addict with a young child and loving husband, she needs to be kept on the straight and narrow at any cost. I don’t condone the subconscious’s use of nightmares–I’m just explaining it. This woman has much to be proud of, and I wholeheartedly agree with Ask Amy’s boosting her up. I wish she knew the truth about the dreams. I guess my being in that cult had some benefits.

Pass the spinach!

So, things have been going great with my life coach, Leonie. She recommended this salad recipe, and it was divine! I even photographed it:

DSC00098

… to preserve the moment for all time. (Then I ate it.) It was like eating fancy restaurant food. (But don’t get me started on the artificial, styrofoam strawberries. It’s only possible to get real ones from the farmer’s markets a few weekends a year. Strawberries used to be good. I’m not happy about eating the styrofoam variety/hybrid.)

It’s becoming more and more clear to me that I’m a food addict. In particular, any sort of packaged junk food is going to be problematic. I’m not sure which ingredients in particular are setting me off, but it might not matter. So many unhealthy foods trigger my brain’s happiness chemicals. My dad brought home a few carryout fries several nights ago. I hate some of them and immediately wanted to go on a junk-food bender.

I doubt I can do moderation here. The slightest amount has me running for more. I’d love to find a snack food that is non-addictive and not too junky, but until then, here I am eating only healthy foods. Every time I want junk food, I just remind myself that healthy foods can taste good, too. And then I roll my eyes and make a face. I’m probably, like, this close to falling off the wagon.

In good news, food addiction seems to have a non-existent withdrawal period. The first few days are the hardest, but possibly for psychological reasons, like, “Why should I bother? I can’t turn things around now,” or whatever. But as long as I don’t eat even a bite of something addictive/junky, then I won’t go off the deep end. I’ve just got to keep making healthy choices until the end of time. Gee, does that seem like forever? Yeah, it seems like forever…. Well, I spaced out and checked my email just now. Forever minus five minutes. [Groan.]

Oh, good, here are some emails from Leonie. She was impressed by the salad! YAY! I’m sort of impressed, too. My new mantra is that healthy food can be good, too. Just got to keep repeating that! She recommended dates. Interesting. I’ve never eaten plain dates, not to my knowledge. I’ll look into it! She keeps recommending healthy foods that actually sound good. This is just what the doctor ordered.

I accidentally shipped my portable music player’s cord with an eBay auction I sold. I can’t seem to find a replacement, which is sad. So I finally bit the bullet and ordered a new music player, and you all have got to check this out. It’s so retro as to be awesome. I was like, yeah, I want that one. I’m going to be the cool person at the gym. I can’t imagine a neater mp3 player.

Forever minus fifteen minutes. Go me! Sigh. Oh my. Leonie’s suggesting whipped cream (homemade) for strawberries, and I told her I can’t eat mushy foods. Then she recommended regular cream, and I told her I’m repulsed by dairy.

Picture it: As a young child, I loved eating square cheese and drinking milk. Until one day when I was six years old and living in a mansion with my parents and little brother in Old Louisville, where the houses are ancient. My brother woke up early in the morning and saw that our carriage house, an outbuilding that was two stories tall and made of brittle green wood, was on fire. We all got up and watched it burn from the back porch. My mom kept running around taking photos and being sociable with the firemen.

I was terrified. An arsonist had done it, but what if he’d set our house on fire instead of our outbuilding, I wondered? No one cared enough to check in with me, as usual. I think my mom told me to make my own breakfast. So I made a bowl of Grape-Nuts cereal, and I didn’t put in any milk. It tasted different, the texture. I added a spoonful of sugar. Better. And that day, in some strange way, I awakened to the awareness that I no longer liked dairy. Go figure. After that point, I couldn’t be bribed to eat square cheese or to drink milk, and believe me, people tried. Then they just gave up. Dry cereal became my odd reality.

Well, that was a fun trip down memory lane.

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