Something’s gotta give!

I like a guy.

I know, right? Hide your children! Flee while you still can! Meg likes a guy! Yikes!

(For those readers just now tuning in, I tend to have relationship issues, the likes of which have been known to cause tectonic plates to shift, dead people to reach through the ground with clawed hands, and plagues of locusts to descend upon mankind.) (And that was one of my least-disastrous relationships.)

You know how women are always going for “bad guys”? Whether they’re bad by:

  • Being unavailable (in any capacity)
  • Wallowing in angst and/or self-absorption and needing a constant sounding board
  • Being flakes with no substance

Or, in ways that don’t tend to happen to me, but probably to other women:

  • Being domestic abusers–rigid, controlling, abusive
  • Having addictions without seeking treatment
  • Cheating/infidelity, etc., etc.

So, it occurred to me, “You know what, Brunhilda?” (Because that’s what I decided to call myself today.) “You deserve a nice guy who’s single, available, lives nearby, and thinks you’re the sexiest woman alive–which you are, of course. I mean, have you looked in a mirror lately? Stunning, if I do say so! Right, anyway, you deserve a stud.” (And yes, I really do talk to myself that way. It’s good for morale, and I highly recommend it.)

And then I laughed, because yeah, right. Is one just going to drop onto my doorstop? I guess I could order such a man from Amazon. I do have that newfangled Prime shipping. He could be here by tomorrow if I place my order in the next forty-eight minutes. Returns are free! And if I miss the return window, I can still have the satisfaction of giving him a bad review if necessary. And don’t put it past me!

Huh. If only we could review each other on the internet. (As a society, let’s please not go there!) I shudder at what my rating would be. Probably 1.4 stars. Oh my gosh. There are so many people out there who’d… ahem. Moving on.

So, yeah, I like this guy. I think he’s single. (No wedding ring, no social media indication of having a significant other.) I just don’t know if he’s into me, too. And I’m not going to ask him out. That is not happening. I’ll try to give him encouragement, but it’s on him, because I’m not willing to put myself out there like that again. It should be on the man. Women, after all, have to bear the pain of childbirth. If that onus were on men, humankind would die out. So the least they can do is ask out the women.

But he seems like a great guy! Nice, friendly, caring, gentle, all those qualities I like. I think it comes down to one thing that I can’t control: him. Does he like me? Does he not? (Alas, why can’t relationships be decided on solely by the female? You hear me, ladies? I mean, who gave men a say in this?!)

I’m just sad because Meg never gets the guy. Ever. It seems to be my lot in life, to the point that I’m paranoid and superstitious about it, and that’s not good. Self-fulfilling prophecies, and all that. I need to break out of it.

I’ve never had wild sex with anyone, or engaged in any wicked BDSM, or made love while falling off the bed and temporarily becoming airborne, or anything at all. I’m so freakin’ virginal (sort of–let’s not get technical) that I may as well be this guy:

The 40-Year-Old Virgin!

It’s all like, “Autoerotic asphyxiation, party of one,” in my bedroom. That has to change.

(Just for the record, yes, I’m being sarcastic.)

Meg never gets the guy. If I had one, I wouldn’t even know what to do with him. A routine search? Oh my gosh. Who wants to wager that I don’t publish this one?

If he doesn’t like me as I like him, it’s going to be crushing. Not because of him, necessarily–I don’t know him that well yet–but because I’m sick of being single! I’m just fed up with it. Do I not deserve a boyfriend? Am I inadequate somehow? What’s the deal? Every time I fall for a guy and it doesn’t work out, it just gets shoved in my face that I’m incapable of being loved. Ouch. Time and time again. Something’s gotta give.

Most people my age have relationship experience. Heck, they have ex-spouses, kids, the whole relationship package. They’ve experienced things I’ve only dreamt of.

But maybe someday the dream will come true. It could happen, right?

Anyway, I like a guy. That’s all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prevention.

I’m a bit spaced out today, so bear with me. Elpy left a comment on my blog recently that got me to thinking. Why do bad things have to happen before change can occur? Shouldn’t we, as a society, be proactive in the prevention of bad things, rather than just allowing them to happen to an extreme before safety measures are put into place?

Picture it: Hartford, Connecticut, 1944. Kids flocked from miles around to see the bigtop at the circus. The bigtop which, for reasons unfathomable, was coated with a waterproof chemical that was highly flammable. I won’t get into the gory details, but clowns were mauled and elephants were injured. If you’re interested, a great book about it was written by Stewart O’Nan.

Needless to say, in the aftermath, people realized, “Hmm. Maybe it was stupid to coat the bigtop with flammable chemicals.” Gee, you think? Now, because of that incident, there are safety protocols put in place, as there should’ve been in the first place.

History gets gorier. Picture it: Chicago, 1958, the Our Lady of the Angels Catholic school with elementary and middle-school children. The school catches fire. Fair enough, because they could evacuate, right? Wrong. The nuns who were teaching were told never to evacuate unless the priest gave them the go-ahead. Even though alarms were sounding and smoke was in the air, these idiotic nuns kept the children in class. Yeah, just… no. Here’s the book I read about it.

Today, because of that incident, schools are built with escape route upon escape route. And, uh, the priests no longer get to have the final say in evacuating. Buh-doink.

That’s not all. This next one hits too close to home for comfort. Picture it: Carrollton, Kentucky, 1988. (That’s from Wikipedia. I haven’t read a book about this one, but I grew up hearing about it.) A busful of church youth were traveling home from an amusement park. The bus crashed because of a head-on drunk driver who served just under eleven years in prison. I actually visited his prison and saw him when he was an inmate there. (It was a field trip for my college sociology class.)

I could’ve been one of those kids. I was eleven in 1988, as were many of them. It was so close to where I live. All of the kids have become amazingly mature individuals, many of them working as burn nurses, and it chills me to think of what they went through. Their bus had no useful exits. None that really helped them to escape. It was pretty much a firetrap. One girl’s leg got burnt to a crisp, and when her parents got to the hospital and saw it, they pretty much had to agree with the doctors that it should be amputated. I seriously freak when I think of how composed the victims are about it. One said she pities the drunk driver, Larry Mahoney, because he didn’t set out intending to kill twenty-seven people. Incredible. Their virtue is mind-blowing and inspirational. Just on a spiritual level, I wonder if that bus was filled with old souls. It would have to be.

Today, because of that incident, there are standards for church buses as far as having exits available and other safety features. I’m not sure how much progress has been made against drunk driving, but oh well.

And so now we have George Floyd, who was killed by a police officer who clearly had no clue what he was doing or why he was doing it. It’s incredulous. Who does that?! And now there will be much-needed reform in how policemen are trained, what they’re allowed to do, and so on, and so forth.

But here’s my beef: I sense that in Minneapolis, there wasn’t enough police training going on, or any at all. I think they just hired people and sprung them on the general public. That never should’ve happened, and it shoudn’t have taken Floyd’s death for the idiots in charge to realize that. For crying out loud, every job I ever had working with violent youth included at least a month of training, especially in restraint.

Well, problem solved, with the police department’s ineptitude. Reform, reform, reform. But at what cost? George Floyd is dead. And if the signs had been seen and the corruption not tolerated, he might still be alive. And that makes me sick. There’s no excuse.

As a society, we need to start speaking up when we see something that’s wrong. Like, with my dog, Sammy Samson. He was violent. I took him to the vet’s to have him euthanized, and the vet treated me terribly and sent us home–violent dog in tow. I was trying to be proactive before he could bite anyone. The signs were all there.

Left with no recourse, I gave him to the rescue organization for his breed. They worked with him and found him a new, loving home. But guess what? His issues returned, and they wound up putting him to sleep. Thank God no one was harmed, which was my original motive.

We can’t wait for evidence that something’s dangerous. We need to speak up before an accident can happen. (I’m not saying George Floyd’s death was an accident, but the system was so corrupt and inept that I think it played a role in his death. Trust me, I’m not trying to say his killer isn’t a total criminal.)

But it seems impossible to create a way that safety and prevention can occur. Should there be an organization for it? People who sit around and design rules for safety? If it were governmental, it would likely be comprised of pencil-pushers.

So it’s up to us. When we see that something isn’t working, we need to speak up… before someone dies. Safety is the responsibility of everyone. History needs to quit repeating itself, and we need to take safety and prevention seriously.

More weight-loss efforts with Kodiak!

Someone who I won’t name (Big Woof the pup) woke me up at freakin’ 7:30 this morning, around three hours ago. Geez. So, what did I do to entertain myself? I went on an internet shopping spree. Good grief. Bad, bad dog. Bad dog! And look at her, smiling that goofy smile at me, as if she did nothing wrong. She doesn’t take life seriously enough.

So, what did I buy? Loads of Kodiak cups, mostly. They’re a product made by my waffle manufacturer, Kodiak Cakes. I think I’ll like them.

My current diet that I’ve been trying to maintain is:

  • 300 calories (six patties) of turkey sausage for brunch.
  • 900 calories (three large waffles) of Kodiak waffles for dinner.
  • 300 calories (a bowlful) of popcorn for a late-night snack.

That comes out to a reasonable 1500 calories, but last night, I got hungry and went out and bought junk food. So here’s what I’m thinking…

  • 200 calories (four patties instead of six) of turkey sausage
  • 900 calories of waffles
  • 300 calories of popcorn
  • 290 calories of a Kodiak cup

That would bring it up to 1690 calories, so I think I could reasonably expect to lose weight if I were to stick to it and also add exercise.

My weight has been in a holding pattern for three months. Something’s gotta give. I just need to try harder. I’ve managed to make some healthy lifestyle changes, though. Namely:

  • Thanks to the wonderful invention of dessert tea and my birthday tea maker, I no longer drink any sugar. (Nor any artificial sweeteners.)
  • Every day when I eat my waffles, I eat a few teaspoons of yakon syrup with them. This is allegedly some sort of powerful superfood that has massive health benefits, including weight loss due to its yogurt-like digestive enzymes that eat fat. (Don’t quote me on this! Science isn’t my subject.)
  • I’ve been brushing and flossing with a toothbrush that does both at the same time. (That’s not relevant to weight-loss, but I’m still proud of it.)

So you’d think I’d lose weight. Nope.

There’s an old joke about that. A man eliminates sugary drinks and loses twenty pounds. A woman does it and loses one pound. A man gives up potato chips and loses fifteen pounds. A woman does it and loses half a pound. [Makes vicious, frustrated face.]

I think I need to exercise more. I’ve been doing a little bit here, a little bit there, by riding my bike or going to my recently reopened gym and using the treadmill.

Anyway, there’s not much going on. Here’s a funny anecdote from when I was a child and my mom was attempting time and time again to traumatize me. We were at the beach, and she went out on a raft, like really far out, and she waved to my brother and me. Being nice children, we waved back, glad to have her attention. She waved again, and we smiled and waved back, pleased that she was sharing her good time with us. She waved again, and we waved some more, wishing we knew how to take photos with a camera.

Then my aunt approached us and said, “I think she’s stuck out there,” and she phoned the coast guard. Before they could show up, though, she drifted back in. [Shakes head and rolls eyes.] She was most upset that we weren’t beside ourselves with worry.

 

When your bascart has a mind of its own…

Dear Amy: Here’s a typical scenario: I am walking on a trail that is only a few feet wide. Someone is coming toward me. Neither of us is wearing a mask.

I step off the trail to give the other person (and myself) space. The other person walks by without saying anything.

Am I wrong in thinking I should receive a “thank you” for moving aside?

Or, I’m in a market with the aisles marked as one-way and a person with a cart (with or without a mask) is coming in the other direction. I’ll either retreat from the aisle or face the shelves to allow the person to get by.

I passingly wonder if I should remind the person that they are walking the wrong way, but again, a “thank you” would be nice.

And then there are masks in general, the wearing of which seems to be devolving into a political statement.

I wear a mask in public (especially indoors), not because it protects me (most masks available to me will not prevent airborne viruses from getting through), but because it protects other people.

If we were going to be courteous to other people, wouldn’t we all wear a mask?

I realize that courtesy and etiquette in the age of COVID-19 is a minor issue (and it is a minor issue to me). But I think things would be a little better if we were more courteous with each other (and less political). Am getting too worked up about nothing?

I’d appreciate your thoughts.

— Seeking Too Much Courtesy?

Dear Seeking: You might benefit from some perspective. I wonder if for every instance of rudeness, there might be two or three of people demonstrating social kindness. But — rudeness takes up a lot of space.

In every instance you cite, I agree that you are being courteous, and the other person should acknowledge your courtesy. But — people don’t always behave in optimal ways. In American culture, we don’t seem to have a very rigid code of social conduct. This means that some people interpret their own personal freedom as license to behave however they want, claiming a sort of sovereign rule over what should be shared public space. (This is how going without a mask somehow becomes a political statement, rather than one of protecting public health.)

Also — lots of people weren’t raised as well as you may have been. Or — they’re having a bad day, are stuck in their heads, or distractedly walking the wrong way down an aisle accidentally.

One minor tip from me, to others: People should not necessarily wish for a verbal acknowledgment from a maskless person if they are also maskless.

As you know, the virus seems to be spread primarily through aerosolized particles expelled when people speak, cough or sneeze. A silent wave, thumbs up or head nod might be preferable to a verbal “thank you.” (c) Ask Amy

Seriously? The only justifications for not constantly saying thanks are: having a bad day, being stuck in your head, or being distracted? Hello, what about introversion, shyness, paranoia, lack of ability to engage in minor interactions, and/or a desire to avoid wasting social energy? What about the fact that social distancing was meant to make life easier for those of us who hate interacting, and the forced thank-yous would be counterproductive to that goal? (Okay, I get that social distancing was meant to prevent the spread of disease, not to bless introverts; but can’t we introverts have our moment without the good-manners police destroying it for us?)

My dad and I were taking a walk earlier today when a man passed us. He waved at both of us, and I managed to wave back and smile. For me, this was huge, and it sucked a lot of my energy away. He seemed encouraged by the reaction he got from me. (I suspect a lot of people in my neighborhood take perverse delight in trying to open me up.) That was fine, but then as we circled back around, we passed him again. I saw him coming, and I had no more social energy to give him a second time. He waved again, in quite a showy manner, and said, “How are you doing?” He peered closely at me and added, “Good?” I shied away from him and was unable to offer up the niceties I’d given the first time.

People who expect a thank-you–or anything at all, for that matter–from a complete stranger would do well to remember that everyone’s different, and that we aren’t all wired to engage in on-the-spot socializing. The letter writer isn’t getting worked up over nothing as much as she’s having unrealistic expectations of others. I would never project my own level of socializing onto a complete stranger and expect him/her to match me, introversion for introversion.

And on the topic of walking in a certain direction up a grocery store aisle: um, no. Not happening. And here’s why: dodging. I’m a master dodger because I attended a public middle school. If you also attended a public middle school, then I’m sure I don’t have to expand upon that point. Thank you.

My dodging skills are amazing. Feint left, dodge right, make my move during the brief moment that the old lady in front of me pauses to inspect her produce. It’s all about predicting the other person’s next move, and acting while the iron is hot. If you slow down and doubt your intuition, you’ve just lost. Dodging isn’t for the weak of heart. Sort of like cutting your own hair. But I digress.

The point is that I’m a great dodger, but I absolutely cannot incorporate walking in a particular direction with dodging. It’s amazing that I dodge as well as I do. Let’s not complicate it or otherwise make it more problematic. Thank you. (I should explain that my local grocery store is chaotic, and it has seriously bad feng shui. Not kidding.)

So I’d be unlikely to get mad at anyone for walking the wrong way, since I myself am guilty of it. What would anger me, though, would be someone who’s hogging the area and won’t let me past.

I passingly wonder if I should remind the person that they are walking the wrong way, but again, a “thank you” would be nice.

If someone were to “remind” me that I’m going the wrong way (are there signs up? Seriously? I just go where I go), my response would be, “WHAT?!”

(That’s not me trying to be rude. I have hearing issues, and I’m paranoid, and I hate being accosted for going the wrong way, of all things. I mean, it’s not like I’m driving a car. I’m just pushing a bascart. Geez.)

(Why Kroger’s named the carts “bascarts” is completely beyond me. Where were their heads during that staff meeting? Weren’t there any viable options other than “bascarts”? You could insult someone with that! “You bascart!”)

Anyway. “WHAT?!”

“You’re going the wrong way,” this letter writer would tell me.

Blank stare. Three seconds would pass. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick-tock. And then I’d flee the scene, noble bascart abandoned, not bothering to determine which way I’m supposed to go.

But that could just be me.

Run, Meg, run!

 

Dreams.

DEAR AMY: I have been married for five years. We have two beautiful boys. While we’ve had typical ups and downs, we are happy.

In high school, I had a serious boyfriend for three years. It was a very emotionally abusive and a very unhealthy relationship for me.

However, for the last year and a half, I have had dreams about this high school boyfriend every night!

Some dreams are a bit steamy, but most of them are like clips from an unlived life. We’re doing daily tasks in our home, spending time with his family, going out with friends.

The kicker is, I’m so happy in these dreams! My rational mind knows that there were few positive aspects to this relationship from over a decade ago, but what gives? A dream or two is one thing, but 18 months of them!?

Confused Dreamer

DEAR DREAMER: Our subconscious sometimes emerges during dreams to help us resolve issues in our waking lives. I suggest that you start writing down your dreams each day in order to look for emergent patterns that you could interpret. The act of writing will help you to recall specifics in your dreamscape.

My own interpretation is that you might feel guilty for staying in such an unhealthy relationship for so long. Rewriting the old script (exploring the “unlived life”) might be your mind’s way of trying to prompt an attitude of acceptance and forgiveness toward your younger self. I hope you follow this prompt.

The fact that you are having these dreams every night without resolution is cause for concern. A psychologist could help you to turn the corner and dream differently. (c) Ask Amy

I’ve had such dreams. I’ll dream of someone who, in waking life, is a total jerk; but who, in my dreamworld, is ever so nice and loving toward me.

I interpret it thusly: each person we dream about represents an aspect of ourselves. If the person is our gender, it’s an aspect of our conscious mind (i.e., we know all about that side of ourselves). If it’s a member of the opposite gender, it’s an aspect of our subconscious mind (i.e., we do it or have that trait without really knowing we’re doing it).

If you dream of someone, you should describe the person in a few simple words. (Not based on how the person acts in your dream, but based on the waking-life version of the person.) I know whenever I dream of Brad, a friend I had in college, that I’m dreaming of my hardworking, industrious side. Often, the day before I dreamt of him, I got a lot done and worked hard. I know when I dream of Bennett, aka Mr. Self-Absorption, that I’ve been self-absorbed the previous day. I know when I dream of Sam that I’m getting in touch with my disciplined, focused side.

Sam (in real life) is into martial arts and disciplined breathing, and that sort of thing. He’s also the world’s hugest jerk, although I don’t think he means to be. My dreams of him are always (and always have been–this goes back to high school) very pleasant. I wake up, and my first thought is, “Huh. That’s not the Sam I know.” Dreams are symbolic like that.

With this letter writer, I’d wonder a few things. This guy from her past must represent her subconscious controlling, abusive side, so it concerns me greatly that she’s having recurring dreams about him. I’d wonder primarily, is she a loving and gentle wife and mother?

If she passes that test, then the issue might be that she’s putting too much energy into unhealthy lifestyle choices. She says that her ex was very unhealthy for her, and I believe her; so is she eating unhealthy foods, drinking alcohol, etc., etc.? Because the happy dreams of this guy might indicate that she’s indulging in unhealthy choices. I’d ask her to explore the previous day every time she dreams it–did she make any unhealthy choices yesterday, before the dream? If so, bingo.

This is how her subconscious mind (through dreams) is trying to get her attention. In real life, the guy was a controlling jerk. In the dreamworld, she’s embracing his family (different aspects of unhealthy lifestyle choices and/or controlling tendencies) and doing stuff at home (home represents a state of mind, which shows that she’s nurturing these bad aspects of him within her). My guess is that in her dreams, she and he are on the second floor of the house. The second floor represents the subconscious mind, and since he’s the opposite gender of her, that would make sense.

To resolve the recurring dream, she’d have to take action accordingly. And for anyone who’s enjoyed this blog post, please consider preordering my newest novel, The Enervation of Eve, which is all about what I’ve been talking about here.

It’s easy to think the dream is about the other person, the one you’re dreaming about. But it isn’t. It’s about you. And this makes dreams very strange indeed.

*****     *****     *****

I was so depressed earlier, so I spent all day eating junk food, and then I felt better. Go figure. Whatever it is in junk food, it makes me feel good. Fat? Sugar? Carbs? Starch? All of the above? I just felt off-kilter today, and it made the first half of the day feel pretty lame.

But then I rallied and things got better. I think it was the help of the junk food. I’ve also been working on making some Christmas trees to sell later this year on etsy. I finished cutting, drilling, and sanding the wood. In the below photo, the isoceles trapezoids and the top triangle are balancing on top of one another. It’s not time to screw them together yet, although the screw holes are there for it to happen, hidden between the levels. I’m also going to stain them bright red and put a glitzy black upholstery pin in the exact middle of each of the four levels. There will also be topcoat to add gloss and durability to the finish. (For example, if you were to get it wet or dirty, it would wipe clean easily with the topcoat.)

DSC00360

They should be quite pretty, I hope. I’ve invested under $5 per unit (I’m making ten) so if I can sell them for more than $5 apiece, I’ll make a profit. Of course, I’ve never successfully sold my woodworking. We’ll have to see!!

The spaced-out world of Meg.

I haven’t blogged for a while, but my life has been going great! That said, I’m concerned about the rioting and the racism. I’m hoping it will lead somewhere positive, like expanded awareness (and that’s already happened for me), but seeing people getting beaten up and hurt is alarming. I’d say it’s best to stay far from the angry crowd. I stronly approve of protesting, but my concern is always that it will turn to rioting, which I don’t approve of. The message needs to get across without damage, violence, and lawlessness.

I also sense that the coronavirus has a lot to do with this. You can tell your countrymen to isolate for a certain period of time, but the danger is that tempers will flare and, at some point, become downright combustible. I don’t know what was right or wrong with the social distancing. Maybe it saved us all from a horrible fate, or maybe it was needless idiocy. It’s one of those things that I don’t have the answers to. I’m not sure if anyone knows. I guess there are arguments for both sides. But I do believe that our politicians tried to handle it as well as they could.

But I do suspect that the social distancing created a layer of hostility beneath the surface that was just waiting to go nuts. And that’s unfortunate, because the violence and destructiveness are undermining the important message that needs to be conveyed. They’re also keeping me from joining in, due to concerns about safety. I don’t feel secure joining any protest that might become a riot.

In fact, I bought some 2 x 4s yesterday at Home Depot. I was scared I’d get pulled over by a cop wanting to know if I had them for looting. But had that happened, he’d have gotten an earful about my table saw and its millisecond shutdown that occurs if your finger touches the blade. But fortunately, Home Depot sells the 2 x 4s in 4′ lengths now, so I didn’t have to drive home with the boards going out my car window.

My city (Louisville, KY) has been under curfew for a while now. I’m proud to say that the protesters here are far less aggressive and much more peaceful than in other places. Louisvillians are good people. It must be because of the Kentucky Derby. (Said rather tongue-in-cheek, because that’s all we’re associated with; and every secondary association–country music, cowboys, riding your pony through town, living on a horse farm, and southern accents–are all patently false. I’d say we’re more akin to any major [yes less-than-humongous] city, such as… I don’t know… some major Ohio cities or Denver or Indianapolis, etc. Only better, because our neighborhoods aren’t suburbs. They combine houses with shops with businesses with parks.) But I digress.

Wow, I must be in a meditative mood. I’m rambling a bit and feeling thoughtful.

A very good friend of mine has insisted that I read books again. So, having followed his wise counsel, I find myself at chapter 7 of Jane Eyre, which I’ve read before. It’s a favorite of mine. I’m also going to try rereading Pride and Prejudice, of which I bought an illustrated copy. I don’t think I’ve read it since college.

It feels good to be reading again. I think I’ve been blaming my mental health (side effects of my drugs, to be specific) for my inability to focus on books. But the truth is that I’ve encountered one crappy book after another over the past several years, and it tears down morale every single time. So I’m going to stick to rereading for now until I’m feeling more confident to try new books.

And even with authors whose books I’ve loved, it’s still been an issue. They’ll sell out and publish a crappy book, and I lose my faith in reading even more. And, like, with Pride and Prejudice, I’ve seen movie or live theater versions of her other books, but I didn’t enjoy the storylines. So for now, I’m going to reread every book I’ve ever loved, and honestly, that ought to occupy me for a long, long time.

Oops, I missed my chance to get to the post office. It now closes in three minutes. Hmm… I guess I could drive out to the late-hours one.

I’ve been building some wooden tabletop Christmas trees to try to sell on etsy later this year. They’re coming along great so far! They have three stacked isosceles trapezoids (I had to look that term up right now… I’m not that brilliant at math!) of decreasing size (yet with overlap), and the upper piece is a triangle. I’m going to stain them red and put a black upholstery pin (way more durable than basic pushpins) in the center of each of the four units. I’m very hopeful that they’ll actually sell. I’ve never been good at selling stuff I make.

I saw people carting things away from the business across the street earlier today, so I went over there and entered. There were three men inside, and one woman outisde in a car with a U-Haul attached. She eyed me warily. Once inside, one of the men said, “Can I help you?”

“Yes. Is the guy who runs this place here?”

“That’d be me. How can I help you?” He came zipping toward me. “Can we talk over here? You aren’t wearing a mask.”

[Eyeroll.] I always wear one when I go inside stores or businesses, but this was impromptu, and I was caught without my mask.

“I’m here about my rug.” I pointed to the floor.

“You bought that? Please, keep moving. Can you step outside?”

So I got booted from the store.

“Let me call the owner,” the man said. “What’s your name?”

I told him. While he was on his phone, I drifted over to my dad, who I’d handed over control of LuLu to. They were waiting patiently across the parking lot.

The man showed up a minute later. “He didn’t answer. He’s old. He doesn’t always answer. But I see that the rug has a ‘sold’ sticker on it. Sorry about that! Do you live nearby?”

I pointed across the street and told him he could bring the rug by anytime.

“No, I can’t,” he said. “It’s too big and heavy. You’ll have to come and get it.”

[Eyeroll.] There I was, ready to have it already! Like, give it to me now, buddy! And he’s shaming me for not wearing a mask, and then for wrongly presuming he could handle getting a floor rug across a street. [Shakes head and rolls eyes.]

He’s lucky I was in a good mood. Otherwise, I might not have been so tolerant.

I paid for the rug in March. The store was going out of business, and the owner told me he’d let me have the rug once they closed up shop soon. But right after the transaction, the pandemic hit, and the store closed for good. (His intention, he told me, was to try to stay open into April and May, even in the absense of paying the rent, if he could stave off eviction. The coronavirus had other plans.)

I’m hopeful I’ll get the rug soon! It cost $50, it’s huge, and it should improve my dad’s downstairs office area. And if I don’t get it, I’ll have to take the old guy who sold it to me to small claims court. Good grief.

Our current rug belonged to Granny Smith, and it’s a red braided rug that has been unraveling in chunks for some time now. It’s become a safety hazard and an eyesore. That rug gotta go!

The new rug looks oriental, and so it won’t cause issues with safety, being that it’s not braided in a circular shape.

Oh my gosh. I came into some money recently, and I bought one of those toothbrushes that flosses your teeth for you while you brush. (It seems I’m clinically incapable of forcing myself to floss.) Isn’t that amazing? I got the thing up and running last night and used it for the first time. My shirt got drenched, but my teeth have never felt so clean!! Oh my gosh. For the first time ever, I might start getting good reports from the dentist! That’ll feel great! I think this has been a great investment in dental health.

I’ve become aware that my short-term memory is shot to hell. I’ll have a thought in my mind, like that I want to do something or look into something or go someplace, etc., etc., and then the thought vanishes. Not just the thought, but the type of thought. And I’m left thinking, what was I thinking about? Was it someplace I wanted to go? Something I wanted to do? Sometimes it comes back, and other times, it disappears for good. I don’t know if it’s side effects of my medication or if my brain is fried. I have reason to believe that part of my brain has atrophied based on images taken of my brain, but I also have reason to believe that Prozac treats depression (or, in my case, pure O from OCD) by thinning out thoughts and thus preventing the ability to dwell upon something negative or obsessive. A direct effect of this would be the inability to focus.

I should talk to Dr. Phlegm about it and show him the photos of my shrunken brain, but he might still be only seeing patients by phone one day a week. This doesn’t feel urgent.

I started noticing cognitive issues in my late thirties. (I’m 43 now.) That was when I’d use the wrong word inside my head. Like, I was thinking about how I never speed when I drive, and I never make unnecessary lane changes; and I meant to refer to myself as a conservative driver, but I accidentally referred to myself as a Republican driver. The synonym doesn’t really work there!

Nowadays, using the wrong word happens all the freakin’ time. I accidentally referred to the top triangle of my Christmas tree as the star. I know stars go atop Christmas trees, but the ones I’m making will just be the tree. No stars. That’s just an example. My brain is fried. Often, especially when I talk (versus writing), I pause midsentence and “lose” the noun I’m looking for. Aren’t I too young for this? And earlier today, with my dad, I balanced on the stoop next to our front steps and said, “Look, I’m balancing on.. whatever this thing’s called.” I do that all the time.

Intuitively, I blame the Prozac and wonder if I should take less of it. But the world doesn’t deserve to be terrorized by me, so nobody panic! Yeah, just… no. I mean, there are other times when I wonder if I need more Prozac. I’ll start having my initial obsessive thought–the one that leads down a slippery slope to complete irrationality–the thought that something isn’t right. Something isn’t right. Hmm… what could it be? And then I’ll think of a few things that are off, but the feeling doesn’t go away. It’s definitely something. But what? The fact that that thought has been bothering me lately is high evidence that going down on Prozac could be disastrous.

Without Prozac, I don’t just become unhappy. I become irrational and impossible to interact with. It’s scary, because I wholly lose control over rational thought, and I dissolve into a puddle of complete insanity. And the idea that something isn’t right is the last rational thought I have before I make a carnage of my life.

Yeah, I guess I’ll try to live with the short-term memory issues. No one’s life is perfect, anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karmic relationships.

Dear Annie: In July of last year, I saw three psychics, and they all told me that when I started college in September I would meet the love of my life again. I didn’t believe them because I have no luck in that department. Well, within a week I ran into my old boyfriend, whom I dated at two different times in my life.

The first time that “Trey” and I met was in high school. My brother introduced us. I was 14, still playing with Barbies, and I didn’t know how to kiss. We were both nerds. He wore an orange tuxedo to prom. We continued dating for a little while after high school graduation, before he left for the military. It ended soon after.

When we reconnected, I was 21 and had become a single mom, and he was in Texas for military training. We had so much fun whenever he’d visit. But the distance was hard, and I was struggling with the challenges of single motherhood. We ended things on good terms.

Then I ran into him last fall. He said he’d always wondered if we would see each other again. That day I realized one thing for certain: that the piece I’d been missing in my soul was him. I felt home.

Unfortunately, I looked him up online afterward and saw that he had gotten married in June. That broke my heart.

I know he’s a wonderful man for a husband, and he would make an excellent father. I would be honored to have his children, even if we didn’t end up staying together afterward. Should I tell him how I feel, since marriage doesn’t mean anything nowadays, or live in regret and heartbreak? I feel like we belong together but we did it wrong. He was the only boyfriend who treated me like a person, but I blew it both times. — Pining for the One Who Slipped Away

Dear Pining for the One Who Slipped Away: This man was love of your life. But he won’t be the love of your life. And while he may have been the first boyfriend to treat you well, he won’t be the last. You will make sure of that by developing better self-esteem. Throw yourself headfirst into your college classes; try new hobbies; get out there and meet new people. In time, you will come to find that Trey wasn’t your missing piece; you were whole on your own. (c) Annie Lane

I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling like someone is a close soul to you, even if said person is married to someone else. What you have to accept, though, is that it’s not going to happen in this lifetime. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened in past lifetimes or that it can’t happen in future ones.

There’s a guy I’ve known since high school named Sam. I swear, I’m convinced he and I have shared past lives together. I don’t know how to account for this belief. In this lifetime, there’s been a lot of animosity and broken trust between us, and I’m glad to finally be in a better place where I have high-quality friends who I can trust. With him, the trust is gone. But I still believe we’ve shared past lives.

I had a crush on him in high school, but considering how many crushes I had, that’s not saying much.

Now, he’s married to a mutual classmate, and they have a few kids. I know with everything in me that if he and I were married (ridiculous “if”), it would be disastrous. He’s very strongly Christian to the point of raising his kids with strict adherence. So is his wife, so they’re freakishly perfect for each other. I’m half-Christian myself, but I guarantee you that he and I would clash all over the place. Being half-Christian only has merit to me. Full Christians sneer at it.

So why the conviction that he and I have shared past lives? I have no idea. But I’ve even dreamt of some of those lives. Go figure.

And when all is said and done, he’s had a huge impact on my current life. It’s impossible to overlook that.

I think about him a lot and mostly find myself dwelling on his strict religious upbringing. He comes from a huge Southern Baptist family where being devout is important to grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, parents, siblings, etc., etc. It was drilled into him, and he believes it. What’s hard, though, is that I think he fears that Jesus doesn’t love him because of how he deigns to associate with non-Christians. (The horror! The horror!) So he justifies it by telling himself that he’s being a missionary to these non-Christians by setting a good, Christian example to them. Hmm.

Anyway, before I had good friends, picture it: 2013. The youth group with whom I grew up was planning a reunion, and I wasn’t invited. They all hate me. Yeah. It’s become a mutual thing, but at the time, they were still the only “friends” I’d ever known, and I was devastated. Sam acted like he was my friend, but he pretty much stabbed me in the back without apology. I put a curse on him. I’m not exactly proud of this, but I told him that if he and his wife had a third child, then the child would be born a psychopath.

There hasn’t been a third child. I couldn’t reverse the curse, so they’re probably better off.

Anyway, you can see that there’s some definite karma between me and Sam. It’s sort of a love/hate thing. A few years after I cursed him, I tried to make things right. I sincerely apologized and told him I loved him. Oddly enough, that seemed to actually make him happy to hear. And I do love him. It’s the only gift I can give him after everything that’s gone wrong. I’m filled with hatred and anger toward him, but I love him. (I realize that sounds contradictory.) And for this lifetime, that’s all there’s going to be. What am I going to do, defy the fates?

But anyway, one past life I remember with him in it was this one: it was a few hundred years ago, and we lived someplace in Central or South America. I was rather large-boned and had a huge nose. I wore a lot of long skirts and colorful dresses. I came from a stable and loving home with parents who never made a stir. It was nice and peaceful. When I came of age, I moved out and stayed on my own, supporting myself by working. Sam was a boy I knew who was five years younger than me. So when I was eighteen and living independently, he’d have been thirteen. He came to stay with me on many occasions to escape his rotten home life. His father was a domestic abuser against his mother, and Sam (or whatever his name was then) needed to get away.

When he came of age about five years later, he moved in with me for real and we got married. Our relationship was incredibly rocky. He was conflicted within himself. On one hand, he’d been exposed to disrespect against women. And I was a woman! On the other hand, even as a young teen, I’d always been there for him. So he felt loyal. The push and pull between his misogyny and his loyalty toward me stayed an issue for our whole lives, but we never gave up on each other, and we never quit trying.

I don’t know what it all means. I’d guess that he and I have a karmic relationship. Maybe we’ll make future attempts in upcoming incarnations. I have no clue. But in this lifetime, I’m already 43 years old, and if asked to list the “major players” in my life, he’s on the list. That means something. I’m pretty sure it does.

I never go back to him, not in this current lifetime. So many times I want to let him know how happy I am now, how great life’s going, how wonderful it feels to have true friends (shout out!). But I don’t trust him to be happy for me. I fear he’d take what I tell him and feed the gossip machines with it. [Shakes head sadly.] I don’t know. That’s not on me, though; it’s on him.

There have been tragic deaths in his ultra-religious family. One was caused by poorly managed juvenile diabetes, another by a drug overdose (from what I understand). I tried to donate to the diabetes organization and contact his uncle, who I used to look up to (he was a youth leader I used to know–Ashley Leia, he’s Uncle Max). But I was shut down and not allowed to have his address, which I needed for the online form to donate and have him know I’d donated. The whole youth group has closed ranks on me because I’ve spoken up over the years, and because I bullied someone else who deeply hurt me. (That would be another blog post.) I’m fine. I’ve moved on with my life. But whenever Sam or his uncle is hurting, I feel it, and I can’t make it okay. That’s hard.

Maybe I’ve risen above them. I no longer need them, and I’ve found true people in my life who appreciate me and accept me. But I’m convinced there’s something to my belief about past lives shared between me and Sam. I don’t know.

Anyway, my belief is harmless. It is what it is. He and I will probably never be closer in this lifetime, but that’s largely because I don’t trust him any longer, and also because we have nothing to offer each other, for whatever weird reason. We’ve screwed up. But there will be other lifetimes. In the meantime, I wish him the best. And I do love him, so there’s that.

Something good ought to come from this!

So, my city is sort of on fire.

So are several others. I live in Louisville, and people here are angry as all hell. And they should be! Our police force is made up of hardworking, dedicated cops, but the leadership is corrupt and incompetent. Our police chief, Steve Conrad, has blackmailed our governor into letting him run the city as he pleases, and he’s a horrible police chief. Horrible. Fortunately, Steve Conrad “retired” a week ago. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

I’m not supposed to know all that stuff about blackmail. All the local news keeps asking, why hasn’t mayor Greg Fischer kicked him to the curb yet? Well, duh. Steve Conrad has dirt on him. (But if Greg Fischer had any integrity, he wouldn’t allow himself to be blackmailed.)

My fellow Louisvillians are upset, and quite rightly, because of the senseless death of Breonna Taylor, a woman who was shot in the crossfire when the police broke into her place of residence without knocking on the door, or anything. Picture it: you’re watching television, and someone barges in. Her boyfriend grabbed a gun and tried to kill the “intruders”, and now Breonna’s dead. It’s senseless.

Louisvillians were happy to finally have Steve Conrad “retire”, but then George Floyd got killed, and my fellow citizens just reached a point of not being able to cope. I get it. However, the good news here is that dirty Steve Conrad is gone. Kaput. Out to pasture. No longer relevant. Yesterday’s news.

Just writing this is triggering Large Flatulent Marge.

The tragic and senseless death of Breonna aside (and that’s a huge thing to set aside), I’ve watched over the past several years as my neighborhood and my city have fallen apart under Conrad’s leadership. The specific problem depends upon which neighborhood you live in. In the poor neighborhoods, police have been stopping black people (for routine traffic stops) and harassing them to death for half an hour. That’s bad. In my middle-class/upper-class neighborhood, there have been no traffic stops at all.

That might sound like a minor complaint, and I realize that in the greater scheme of things, it is. But this has led to people routinely treating stop signs and even red lights as optional hindrances. I’ve told my dad repeatedly that if I wind up getting injured because someone runs a stop sign or traffic light, I’m fully prepared to sue the Louisville police department for having tolerated this sort of poor driving for the past eight years. And my dad, a lawyer, says, “You could very well have a case there.”

On some intersections, people have put up signs saying, “Please, for the love of all that is holy, my kids play nearby! Stop at the freakin’ stop sign!” That was several years ago. Eventually, the signs came down, and parents and other residents just gave up. No one pays attention. Our whole neighborhood has become a stop-sign-ignoring free-for-all. And it’s getting gradually worse. More and more people have started brazenly driving straight through red lights. Not yellow lights that are turning red–solid red lights. I see it every day at the nearby intersections. No one ever gets pulled over. And they don’t slow down to check for traffic first, either. Just zoom.

And this has nothing to do with the pandemic. This goes back for years. Conrad has been our chief of police since 2012. At some point several years ago, I emailed him and begged him to start doing traffic stops. No response.

Traffic stops are a great way for police officers to find people who have arrest warrants out for them. They’re also a great way to keep people honest with their driving. That’s all gone to hell. I’m fully aware that I don’t need to stop at the stop signs, and I have been for years; but I can’t bring myself to wantonly zoom past them. I just can’t.

So goodbye, and good riddance to Conrad. Louisville deserves better.

With the rioting, I’m on both sides. I don’t think all (or even most) cops are corrupt or bad like the cold-hearted brute who killed George Floyd. That guy deserves to rot in prison, surrounded by vengeful inmates who feel cheated by the system. But on the other side, I also fully understand the frustration levels of the rioters. They spoke up and complained when Breonna was killed. But then… things got worse, and George Floyd was killed even more senselessly. If anything would push people over the edge, I think that would, for sure.

Being on both sides, I can’t riot, so I’m here at home in my glass palace. But I’m so glad that Conrad is out. Now, if we could just get a mayor with the integrity to resist subtle threats of blackmail, we’ll be in business. But for now? My city is sort of on fire. And I hope Mayor Fischer is paying close attention, because he could’ve prevented this.

 

Silencing the dysfunction.

Dear Amy: In response to “Tired Ears,” I had a similar situation with my niece. She would call and talk nonstop. Mostly she wanted to rant about her mother (my sister), and how her mother always hated her, etc. So not true!

Finally, I’d had it. I said to her, “Do not talk about my sister anymore.”

She was shocked, but it worked.

We have been in a loving relationship ever since.

— Worked for Me

Dear Worked: Boundaries: they work! (c) Ask Amy

I have a different take on Ask Amy’s column. I agree that the letter writer would be peeved to listen to her niece going on and on about how her mother doesn’t love her. I can see how that would get old real fast.

But I’d wager anything that the letter writer does talk to her sister about her niece. Otherwise, how would she know that her sister hasn’t always hated her daughter?

Further, the niece is obviously unhappy. Why didn’t the letter writer suggest that she discuss it with her mom, or with a therapist, etc.?

Also, I find the letter writer’s assertion that her niece is wrong (“So not true!” she wrote) to be a bit glib and unaware. Dysfunction can be frustrating as all get-out when no one else will acknowledge it. Great job, letter writer. Right, it’s all in your niece’s head.

I’ve never complained about my mom to any of my maternal aunts. It would be wasted breath. But the fact is that they have a clique, the Sisters’ Clique, that I’m not a part of. So even though I don’t complain about my mom, she routinely gossips about me: how mentally ill and unable to cope with life I am, how completely unhinged I am, how awful it is to be the mother of a mentally ill woman, how she must’ve been a bad mommy (in order to aquire sympathy), how miserable my life is, how I’ll never be normal and have kids and work, how I’m always depressed and anxious and out of touch with reality, and on and on. So, as you can imagine, I don’t want to break into the Sisters’ Clique. I find such tawdry gossip to be immoral and beneath me. They can be exclusive all they want.

But growing up, it was hard. They’d be seated around Granny Franny’s kitchen table, where they’d talk to each other and ignore me. One of them would speak, I’d make what I hoped was a witty reply, and it would be ignored. This happened frequently. I simply wasn’t there.

So the letter writer’s insistence that her niece should quit complaining about how her mother never loved her seems like a lame cop-out. There’s more to it, because why else would the niece be convinced her mother never loved her? Dysfunction, that’s why. I get that the letter writer no longer wanted to be the sounding board, but I don’t think it helped anything for her to shut her niece up like that. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil? Sometimes, the best thing for dysfunction is to own your own role in it, and this letter writer seems to be dodging that quite deftly. Of course, it’s possible that the letter writer hasn’t contributed to the dysfunction. But still, I’d be concerned if I had a niece who kept going on and on about how her mother never loved her. Yeah, I might get tired of hearing about it, but I’d also want to help. “Linda, you bring this up all the time, and I’m worried. Have you considered talking to your mom or a therapist about this? I’m not sure I can help.” It’s not hard.

Just trust me, the aunt’s glib self-assuredness (“So not true!”) doesn’t sound remotely credible to me. Let me put it this way. My family is Dysfunction Junction, but I would NEVER accuse my mom of not loving me. So my point is that that’s not the sort of accusation or complaint that’s made lightly. I’d accuse my mom of a million other things, but not of that. She loves me! So if you’ve got your niece saying she feels unloved, maybe ask yourself why! Don’t just shut her up, because who’s she going to talk to now? Geez.

 

The dessert tea is THAT GOOD.

So, I’m a grumpy-pants who’s been eating a lot of chocolate to survive menstruation. Other than that, I’ve been sticking to my diet. Well, not counting Memorial Day. We ate ribs, potatoes, cornbread… Well, okay, I’ve stuck to my diet otherwise. Hmm. [Rolls eyes in a shifty manner.]

In good news, the leap of faith I took in buying the tea maker with my birthday money has paid off! I was hoping I could find some tea that would taste so good that it didn’t require being sweetened, whether naturally or artificially. (I’m trying to drink less sugar, but I can’t have artificial sweeteners for health reasons.) And, holy flip, I succeeded. You remember that dessert tea I ordered from Amazon?

Butterscotch Blondie, Glazed Lemon Loaf, Vanilla Bean Macaron - Tazo Dessert Delights Tea - Variety Pack of 3

I don’t think it’s unhealthy, as its name implies. Rather, they shared my goal of making a tea that could be drunk without having to sweeten it. It’s just tea with natural ingredients added. And it freakin’ tastes great!! No sugar or other sweetening required. Heck yeah.

I’ve only tried the lemon loaf so far. It tastes like you’re drinking a lemon cookie! For flip!! The other two varieties also have yummy-scented teabags, so I’m hopeful for them as well! But the lemon alone is a fabulous find.

What this means for my diet, both short-term and long-term, is that I no longer need to drink sugar ever. This is amazing. And right now, it’s one of only a few things that are going my way in a dietary sense. I still lack the will power to exercise (but I’m getting there), and I’d give myself a B for overall eating; I do stick to my Kodiak waffles often, but there have been a few slip-ups as noted above.

I used to drink, I don’t know… maybe 600 calories’ worth a day? This non-sugar adjustment ought to lead straight to weight loss. I’ve graduated from the Monin flavor syrups! Go me! I’ll never have to worry about becoming diabetic. This is all good. Now if I could just manage to actually lose some weight from all this! (Did I mention what a grumpy-pants I am today?)

I also ordered some yacon syrup on Amazon. It apparently has amazing health benefits–everything from improved bone density to weight loss to I don’t know what else. I went to the local Rainbow Blossom natural foods store to buy some, and things got sort of funny. I was searching the sweeteners aisle, and they had everything under the sun except for yacon syrup. An employee was nearby, so I asked her if they had any.

“Oooh,” she said. “You know what? We don’t. We carried it a few years ago, but then it quit being trendy.” She shrugged.

Wow.

Okay, so, no huge deal. Amazon sells everything. I’m taking a leap of faith on this, too, because it costs a lot, and if I don’t like it, I’ll be out all that money. But if I do like it, I can eat it as my waffle syrup (in lieu of my regular maple syrup) and get all the health benefits from that small recommended amount each day. (I think I eat about a spoonful with each meal. I use it as dipping sauce in a tiny Dixie cup rather than drenching my waffles with syrup.) That would be great.

So things are looking up. I’m just a crabapple.

I also have some fun ideas for earning supplemental income. I enjoy selling things on eBay, and I have furniture rehab skills, so I think I’m going to become a buyer of expired storage bins. What you do is buy what someone abandoned and then sell it for a profit. (I hope.) I’m pretty excited to try it out!

I also hope to make some wooden tabletop Christmas trees and sell them several months from now. Each unit would require a less-than-$5 cost, so I wouldn’t be out much to make ten or twenty. Worst case scenario: all of my loved ones get wooden tabletop Christmas trees for Christmas. (I’d love to actually sell something I’ve made for once. Who doesn’t love Christmas trees?)

Ebenezer Scrooge, the Grinch, people who don’t celebrate Christmas, tree haters… 

Okay, I get the picture, Large Flatulent Marge. (See, when I’m crabby, I argue with my alter ego. It’s ridic.)

Anyway, life is looking up. I just need to catch up with the happy times! The yacon syrup is coming tomorrow, and I’m excited and hopeful that I’ll like it! I’ll keep you guys posted.

 

 

 

 

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