Category Archives: Anxiety

Vote, Vote, Vote!

I’m just one vote.

Each one of us, here in America, are but just one vote.

Let’s get over that, shall we? Because if there’s justenough of those with the “I’m just one vote” mindset who uses that as their free pass to sit one out this week here in the U.S., we are doomed.

In my opinion, anyway. Not that you asked for it, but you know I’m going to give it regardless. This is my blog and the mid-term elections are going to be consequential.

What is your plan to vote this election season? Before work, after work, on your lunch break? After you drop the kids off at school or first thing in the morning? Or maybe you’re ahead of me and have already voted absentee or via mail in ballot. If you don’t have a plan, please, for the love of American democracy, make one now. One that will work for you, whatever your circumstances may be.

Time is of the damn essence here, friends. Our future, and more importantly, the future of generations under us (for me, that’s Milennials and Gen Z) is on the fucking line.

Anyway, that’s how I see it.

I am voting straight blue, so that:

  • Roe v. Wade can (finally) be codified into law. It just blows my mind that SCOTUS took women’s bodily autonomy away from them after 50 years.
  • More will be done legislatively to address gun violence in this nation.
  • Climate change can be comprehensively addressed, providing scores of American workers with jobs in the clean energy field and protecting Mother Earth against further destruction.
  • We have a shot at leveling the playing field when it comes to taxes; the rich paying their fair share and the not-so-rich getting fair tax breaks.
  • Social Security, not an entitlement program, but one we all pay into as workers, will remain in place.
  • Our LGBTQ+ citizens can retain their right to marry and adopt children.
  • American educational institutions will be supported and not become further eroded.
  • Access to health care can expand and costs can be reined in so our seniors and others with health issues can afford their prescription meds and co-pays. No one in this country should have to choose between paying their utility bill or getting their health care needs met.

I’m nervous as hell about these mid-term elections. I suspect some of you are as well.

Let’s all do our part and get to the polls on Tuesday!

Mother Yourself

My take on self-compassion (aka self-care) is that it’s all about being the mother to yourself that you need in the moment.

The moment when you feel exhausted but don’t want to quit working on the current task because you feel you didn’t get enough of it done.

Or the moment when something you planned didn’t pan out the way you intended and you’re disappointed in yourself.

Maybe your mother is still alive and you have a wonderful relationship with her. Maybe you think of her as your best friend. Or maybe that relationship is the opposite of that. Maybe your mother is no longer here, like mine.

Either way, your mother can’t perform self-compassion activities for you. That’s your job. If you do this job well, the rewards are plentiful.

From my perspective, the biggest reward is feeling more relaxed and centered. My head is more clear. Mothering myself combats my anxiety. I’m better able to enjoy the present moment as a result. To be there for the ones I love.

Sometimes my mothering self is who reminds me that I need to get up early tomorrow so I better cease my late night Twitter scrolling and get to bed now so I feel rested when I wake up.

Sometimes my mothering self is who whispers “this too shall pass” and reminds me of all the obstacles I’ve overcome to get to the place I’m at now.

Other times my mothering self fixes a hot cup of peppermint tea and gives me permission to lounge on the couch, looking up at my knotty pine ceiling and just breathing, slow and steady.

In the mornings, my mothering self urges me to not skip doing my stretches and yoga that centers me and reduces my aches and pains.

Sometimes my mothering self takes on the role of cheerleader, giving me pep talks and saving uplifting images like these for me to contemplate.

So, I say to you all: make an effort to mother yourself. You’ll feel so much better for it. And of course, you are more than worth it.

At The Moment

Is it starting to feel like summer where you live? Are the kids you know and love all graduated and working towards getting ready for their next chapter? Are you eagerly anticipating the next great summer pop song?

I’m cautiously optimistic about this new life that we, as a couple, are going to craft beginning this summer, in Wisconsin.

Hubs, our good boy Radar, and I will be hitting the road in less than 24 hours.

Towing this:

Our summer home!

But for this brief moment in time (aka me trying to remember that #thistooshallpass), things in these parts are super wonky.

Examples:

There is a box of cleaning supplies sitting on top of Hubs’ office chair at this moment.

My dining room table is filled with a combination of disposable grocery bags filled with clothes that need to be put in our camper, 2 old computer monitors , recently found plastic easter eggs with jelly beans inside them (score!), and a parking ticket courtesy of the city of Denver (my bad-but hey I got it paid online just now!).

We cannot park our Tacoma in the garage any longer. It’s filled with stuff for the movers to put in their truck, stuff for the junkyard dogs to pick up, and whatnot.

But that’s the sucky part of moving, right? And it’s almost over.

Did you know that prairie dogs are plentiful in Colorado? Well, now you do!

Hubs and I will be celebrating our recent 32nd wedding anniversary on the road, as we make our way to our next (and final?) destination. To find our “forever” home, as they say. The home we will die in. Or maybe not actually physically die in. I will just say the odds are that it’ll be the house in which we reside when we take our final breaths.

Ok, that’s just dark. Sorry folks, my anxiety is showing.

Really, what Hubs and I will be doing on our cruise through the upper Midwest is a lot of talking. We collectively have some shit to process. Stuff to discuss. Ideas to share. Plans to make. Pages to get on.

But also: the two of us have this unfettered opportunity to cut loose and have some fun. Maybe try some new food and drink, discover new places to rest our heads at night, and just sort of savor the quiet.

I am trying to resist the temptation to segue into how I hope for things to turn out beyond this road trip. Once we’ve landed in small town Wisconsin and reunited with our family and old friends.

At the moment, however, I’m going to make the wise choice and live in the here and now. Give myself and Hubs the “present” of being plugged into our present.

Raise a glass with me, friends! Cheers to a happy, fun, and safe summer!

Raccoons, Cats, and Me

A couple of weeks ago, Hubs and I were laughing about a post from a woman on the Next Door app who had a raccoon slip in through the doggy door. She shared the cutest picture of this little creature. Later in the thread, she posted that she determined it would in fact not be fun to let the critter roam about at will, and found herself throwing everything she could immediately grab at him until he high-tailed it out of there.

This reminded me of another ridiculous thing I saw on the Next Door app a couple of months ago. So Karen this lady posted footage from her porch camera which showed a girl about 10 years old throwing a book shaped object towards a cat sitting in the lady’s driveway. Of course it was her cat, and of course everyone lost their shit and assumed this was an evil child who taunts and torments neighborhood pets for shits and giggles. Unsurprisingly, everyone jumped on this kids parents and questioned what they must be teaching in their home.

I chose to not comment on this post, because my gut told me there was more to this story.

I felt for the kid. It made me remember how my mother, Bonnie, instilled in me a fear of cats. Back when I was in elementary school, Bonnie would be periodically hired to do some interior painting in people’s houses. The one thing she hated about this is the cats inside those houses. They freaked her out. She didn’t like how quiet and sneaky they were. She didn’t like how they climbed the counters and sometimes sit atop the cabinets and hiss at her. She did not trust them for a second.

When I was 12 or 13, some young, foolish parents (I honestly can’t remember who) chose to hire me to babysit for their 1 or 2 year old (?) kid so they could enjoy a night out. I didn’t know they also had a cat until I got there.

Now this was more than 40 years ago, so the details are fuzzy at best. I remember the cat pursuing me around their little house. Like I was prey. I avoided it as best I could.

With adrenaline running through my veins, I got a bright idea: I could trap the cat in the bathroom, thereby protecting myself from this evil feline for the remainder of the night.

I imagine I found some sort of treat which I then threw into the bathroom. Once the cat ran in, I slammed that bathroom door shut and then marveled at my resourcefulness.

Around an hour later, I had to pee. As Bonnie always said “like a race horse”.

That was when it occurred to me that there was only one bathroom (remember I said this was a “little” house).

Oops!

I panicked. I had zero confidence that the kid’s parents were coming back anytime soon. And I sure as hell wasn’t brave enough to let that demon out of the bathroom, especially considering how pissed he would surely be that I trapped him in there earlier.

So I came up with another bright idea.

I found a Tupperware bowl in the kitchen. Then I proceeded to put it on the floor, pulled down my jeans, and squatted down above the bowl, releasing everything out of my bladder. What relief!

I swear to God I do not recall what happened when the couple returned home. I like to think I disposed of the pee-filled Tupperware bowl, washed it thoroughly, and returned it to it’s original home. Yet, thinking back to how clueless I was at that age, I’m guessing I did not.

Now back to the story about the girl and the cat post on Next Door.

My gut was correct here. There was more to it. The child’s mother responded to the thread with a mixture of disgust for her asinine neighbors’ wrong headed reactions to the video and original post, and loving acceptance and understanding of her daughter’s side of things.

It turned out that the kid was deathly afraid of cats (like me at that age) and because of that fear she was trying to scare the cat away. She was not trying to maim or kill the poor thing (you can see I’ve evolved and am no longer scared of cats). And the kid was also a sensitive one, because when she heard about what all the neighbors were saying, her mom reported that she was devastated. This whole debacle probably put her in therapy, if she wasn’t there already.

**Header image courtesy of https://www.123rf.com/

Update on My Purge Exercise

I told you guys I was chicken shit.

So of course I chose the least dangerous PEW (acronym for “purge emotional writing”) path and wrote all my negative emotions out on a word document and then when the 12 minutes was up, I deleted it. For 5 days, though not in a row. Read further to learn why.

This exercise made me feel emotionally lighter. Though in between PEW sessions I thought about all the things I was angry or sad about, the things and people that piss me off and why, so I would have an idea of what I was going to write about. Not sure if that was a good thing or not. Maybe it just showed me that I tend to keep negative emotions buried deep inside me and they need coaxing. Or maybe it was because I knew I’d be filled with anxiety if I didn’t ponder those unpleasant thoughts and feelings ahead of time. Because then I might eat up half of my 12 minutes staring at a blank page.

Another take away is that unlike other things I have vowed to start and finish, I started and finished this one. I’ve always believed myself to be a very determined person, the kind who hitches themselves to an idea and follows it through to the bitter end. However, as I’ve gotten older, my follow through is lacking. So this exercise gave me a (albeit weird) sense of accomplishment.

I think this is a practice I’m going to come back to in the future. When I’m feeling irritable and negative. But instead I will employ the fire method. Perhaps when we’re camping and Hubs has made a fire. Maybe I won’t do it five days in a row. Maybe just once. Or two times in a row. Whatever feels right at the time, I suppose.

Now back to why I didn’t do my PEW exercise 5 days in a row.

On Day 4, Hubs and I had ourselves the Best. Time. Ever. Purging the emotions that had been disturbing my peace onto a computer screen just wasn’t a priority that day.

On that Saturday, we attended a concert at Red Rocks. We saw The Avett Brothers live. After almost two years of pining for the days when we experienced the joy of live music, we got to see one of my favorite bands play at the best venue of all.

It was spectacular. The temps were perfect, the views spectacular. The crowd was in good spirits and their was such a feeling of love in the air for not only the music, but humanity as well. We chatted with the folks on either side of us, talking about which Avett Brothers songs we were most looking forward to hearing and sharing other music-related recommendations. I am especially looking forward to watching the Avett Brothers documentary the strawberry blond millennial from Los Angeles gushed on about.

Here are some pics:

It doesn’t seem right to not include a bit of The Avett Brothers music with you all in this post, especially for those of you who are not familiar with them. Here’s the tune I was looking forward to hearing live the most:

Header image courtesy of ***https://tenor.com/search/angry-typing-gifs

But It Involves Fire

The latest activity I’m interested in pursuing involves fire.

But I’m chicken shit when it comes to flames. My brain goes to all the bad things that can happen when you play with fire: you could burn your house down. You could burn yourself down.

I suppose this is all on account of being highly over-protected as a kid. I am the youngest by more than 8 years. A favorite story of Bonnie’s was when I was still in diapers, sitting on her lap (back before car seats, people) in the passenger seat of the family car with Babe at the wheel: a semi truck passed us (no doubt because Babe was going under the speed limit, which was his norm as an uber-cautious-in-all-things person), and he hollered at Bonnie to keep a tight hold on me so the draft from the semi would not suck me right out of the open window.

My healthy (or is it unhealthy?) fear of fire is on my mind these days because of Crystal’s blog post. In this post, she talked about a cathartic experience she had, which was found online on Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop website. Essentially, as I understand it, you set a timer for 12 minutes. During this period of time, you take pen to paper and write about all the stuff that’s blocking your sense of peace. You are supposed to do this exercise for 5 days in a row. They call it “purge emotional writing”.

This post spoke to me. I started thinking about all the things emotions I’ve been going through these past couple of months on my blogging sabbatical. There’s frustration. Anger. Feelings of helplessness and confusion. You know, the stuff as a “Pollyanna” I tend not to write about, especially in this public platform.

So, I really want to do this exercise. But it involves fire.

I was thinking, maybe there’s an alternate method I could employ to get the same results. Customize it for myself, you know? A method that does not involve fire but provides the emotional release I seek. Then maybe I can relax a bit. Find the fun in blogging again.

One option is I could eat the paper after I’ve done all that emotional writing. I witnessed my kiddo (Rabbie, the artist) do this once during the pandemic. They wrote down something they wanted to manifest in their life, wadded that little piece of paper in a ball and down the hatch it went. Their theory was that consuming the word of the thing they wanted to make manifest would become part of them physically and therefore increase the odds that it would come to fruition.

On account of the fact that not only in my proposed emotional purge writing exercise would I be producing reams of inky paper, I wish to preserve my digestive system and not end up in the emergency room, so eating paper is a no-go for me.

If I had a fire pit along with a back yard, I could ask Hubs to build me a campfire 5 nights in a row in which I could, from a safe distance, toss my emotional writings into. But, alas, we live in a town home community where personal backyards do not exist, so that is not exactly an option here.

But what about those “smash rooms” I’ve heard about? The ones where you pay money to smash shit with a baseball bat while yelling incoherently about everything that pisses you off? That could be an interesting way to release my negative emotions, right?

Instead of obsessing about playing with fire, I could also choose to write all the negative shit in my head in a draft folder and then immediately delete it.

So…I guess I have some choices. Options I can choose to get it all out.

Between now and the next blog post I publish, I will choose one of these options and let it rip.

***Header image courtesy of https://www.hamblyscreenprints.com/how-to-burn-paper-at-home/

Reasons Why I Blog

As any of you that read my blog on the regular are aware, I’ve been in a funk for about the last month. Especially blogging-wise.

You may have noticed that I skipped publishing a blog post yet again last week. But this time, I didn’t mentally beat myself up as much as I usually do. That could be due to some of my followers comments on my last post telling me not to berate myself about it. That they also skip a week or two or three every so often.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for that, Christie and Rebecca.

So with that and the increased busyness of my life in general (not complaining here, folks), I’ve working on taking myself off the hook.

I feel like I need to hit the re-set button with this blog. Like in my bones. Because I want to keep blogging, really. But sometimes…not so much.

The overthinking is dragging me down. The indecisiveness about what I want to write about is grating on my nerves. I’ve allowed it to take too much of my mental energy. It’s not as much fun as it used to be.

So I think it might not be the worst idea to ponder why it is that I’m still blogging.

How about you all? Have you ever just thought “Why am I doing this?” Well that’s where I am right now as a blogger.

Bear with me as I share with you the reasons why I blog. I encourage you to share in the comments the reasons why you blog as well. Your honest perspectives would truly interest me.

  • Blogging helps me to make sense of what I think and how I feel. It’s cathartic for me sometimes. I like the sense of release I feel when I hit that “publish” button.
  • I selfishly enjoy knowing that when I’m long gone, I will have left words from my heart and brain for my family and friends to access anytime they wish to feel my presence. Kind of like the little notebooks Bonnie wrote in and her recipe box that I nabbed after her funeral. I miss her so much.
  • The encouraging comments I receive from my readers. They often warm my heart. Often they make me feel understood and validated. Sometimes they make me think of things from a different perspective, which is very valuable to me as a person who strives to enhance my worldview in this crazy world of ours.
  • Blogging sometimes presents new opportunities for me to pursue. For instance, the newest option of adding a podcast. I’ve always been intrigued at the thought of working as a deejay, and this is a harmless way to give it a shot.

All that being said, the re-set button is being set right now. I’m choosing from this point on to not force myself to publish weekly. But I’m also not quitting this blogging thing.

My hope is that once I stand back and re-assess things for a bit, I’ll come back invigorated and enthusiastic about blogging again.

****Header image courtesy of https://rhondawilliamsnow.com/how-god-uses-an-interruption-to-reset-your-life/

It’s Wednesday and I’m Still Here

I’m neurotic.

It truly bothers me that last Wednesday I failed to publish a post as per usual. I don’t have any good reason for that other than that I didn’t feel I had anything new or remotely interesting to say about anything really.

Hence the reason you find yourself reading this post today. I was not willing to skip yet another week. The anxiety would be too much. I’ve committed to this blog like I’ve committed to a relationship (which I suppose this is-between me and all of you wonderful, patient readers). I’m determined not to flake out on you guys.

It’s not like I was feeling depressed. Quite the opposite, really. Life has been peachy as of late. Rabbie has been making more and more sales on their online site and is positioned to take Karl the cat and move on out of here. Like soon. As in we’re heading downtown Denver tomorrow actually to view the first new potential pad.

The other kid, despite being unemployed (directly related to the Covid-19 pandemic) is doing well also. She’s enjoying having more time at home, more time to herself. She’s making ends meet thanks to unemployment benefits and actively searching for solid employment. She had an interview recently for a job that she is very excited about. The pay is higher than her previous job and the benefits are quite outstanding.

Our 7 year old grandson is thriving! He’s been in a new school for a couple of months now and for the first time is excited to go to school every day. His mom held a birthday bash for him last month at the local roller skating rink and it was reported to have been quite the fun bash.

Work at the food pantry is going well. My boss and I are continuously procuring food and distributing it to those in need. I scored us a hefty sum via a state sponsored Covid-19 grant and will be procuring even more food over the next several months.

As far as writing for this blog goes, I’ve gone back to writing whatever it is I’m thinking about each morning directly after I hit the shower. Before I allow myself to go down any social media rabbit holes. And I’ve been writing more at night, after work and before supper. Luckily, my family is agreeable to eating supper as late as 7 p.m.

I am working on a new blog post. It’s the kind where I challenge myself to delve into a topic that piques my curiosity. The kind that takes some actual time and effort, unlike this post you are currently reading. The hope is it’ll be ready for publication next Wednesday.

As Bonnie would say to me over the phone after breathlessly telling me all the latest in her world, “that’s my stories..how are you doing?”

Let me leave you with a new little ditty from one of my all time favorite singer-songwriters, Carole King. Can you believe she is 79?

Alphabet Soup Challenge: I is for Indecisiveness

I have an almost finished post about how “I” is for “Investment”. It’s about how I’ve been trying to do a better job of investing in myself. Using my time, emotional, physical, and spiritual energy to improve myself.

Investing in myself translates to intentionally going out for walks most mornings, which gives me a lift and helps to collect my thoughts about the day ahead. This investment also includes talk therapy via telephone with a behavioral health counselor. As well as doing more personal journaling and intentionally consuming entertainment that gives me the good feels. I’m feeling better about myself these days. That’s the gist of it.

The it occurred to me that dedicating an entire post to how I, as a privileged white upper-middle aged woman, was “investing” in myself was a bit too much. Too self involved.

That’s when the anxiety I experience on the daily crept into my brain and manifested itself into another “I” word of which I am quite familiar: “indecisiveness”. Because now what “I ” word am I going to pontificate about? There’s so many choices, I can’t possibly decide on which one.

There’s “irony”, which I have a little story about. I mentioned in a recent post how I was reading “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle in which I found some pearls of wisdom that resonated with me. Well, I finished that book several weeks ago. In one of the two all female Facebook groups I belong to, one of the admins posted a picture of herself looking all cute and holding up “Untamed”, notifying us that there was going to be a Facebook live video discussion of the book on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. In a moment of impulsivity, I replied that I would plan on attending.

I had been thinking for a while that I wanted to gain more experience with using video communication, both with friends and family, but also with people that I only know online, not IRL as they say. Zoom and Facebook Live are the tools du jour in the age of Covid-19, and I suspect that will only grow just like the amount of time we will be compelled to stick close to home.

Wednesday rolled around. I remembered about this “happening” about 5:30 p.m., after imbibing in a couple of cocktails. Supper wasn’t quite ready. Kid #2 was out at the local Hookah bar and about to come home soon. I was anticipating Kid #1 calling me at any time based on a message she had sent me earlier in the day. I had taken all my make up off, revealing just how “53” I looked. I hemmed and hawed, thinking about putting on some makeup, fluffing up my hair, grabbing “Untamed” and just doing it anyway.

Then Kid #2 came in the door, greeted by a very happy Radar-ling and his slinky sidekick Karl the cockeyed cat. I felt happy. Relaxed. I let myself off the hook and decided “Nah”.

After having intermittent pangs of guilt mixed with a side of regret about flaking out on this experience throughout that evening and into the next morning, I checked Facebook and learned that the admin hadn’t been feeling well the night before so she cancelled the event. Whew!

Now that’s irony. All that worry for nothing. Ha!

I am very tempted to continue this post with anecdotes on other “I” words that I have a lot to say about like “imagination”, “inspiration”, and “intention”.

However, I’m going to instead head on back to my “A-Z” draft folder and work through my indecisiveness surrounding the remaining letters of the alphabet I have to write about to complete this self-imposed challenge.

And leave you with one of my favorite Alanis Morrisette tunes.

**Header image courtesy of http://www.uniquelyandbrilliantlyadorned.com/2015/10/lets-talk-about-indecisiveness.html

Alphabet Soup Challenge: T is for The Top 10 Things I’m Sure of Right Now

A few weeks ago I was sure that I was at the beginning of a really meaningful career path. But it turns out I was wrong. I am now unemployed.

So here I am, trying to make lemonade out of lemons.

It’s going to be a process, people. I guess you can consider this my first step. Gotta start somewhere, right?

So here’s what I am sure of in this moment:

  1. I have more time for writing and improving my blogging skills.
  2. There are a lot of small home improvement/decor/organizational tasks that I can do around this joint to keep myself occupied.
  3. I don’t want to wallow in the sadness I’m feeling.
  4. Vodka pairs well with lemonade.
  5. My sense of humor is still intact.
  6. Music is therapeutic in times like these. Like this song that my blogger friend Mona at https://www.waywardsparkles.com/ recently shared with me.
  7. My family loves me unconditionally.
  8. So does Radar. Karl too, I’m told.
Karl the cockeyed kitty

9. I’m not the only smart, hard-working, talented employee to ever been given the ol’ heave ho in the history of the universe.

10. I will survive and find new ways to thrive. I am not stopping now.