It doesn’t feel like September

My apologies for not being here since April. I have been working from home. And, yes, I have been wearing a mask when I have had to go out. I have too many doctor appointments to not wear a mask. Has it gotten any more comfortable? Not really. I don’t have quite as much anxiety when I’m out. But I usually have an asthma attack by the time I get back to my car.

But here we are in September. I have started yet another round of shots in my back for arthritis. There are still little yellow flowers blooming at the edge of the forest I live in. We are still getting tomatoes off our plants on the deck.

TV shows are finding ways to be socially distanced. Football is back and trying to keep players healthy and fans socially distanced. People are still getting sick from Covid-19. And I still don’t feel safe going out anywhere. Especially now that a lot of local stores are getting lax on there precautionary measures. Masks are about the only thing they are still requiring and many people still do not wear them or do not wear them correctly.

The news just makes me sad or angry. I have to limit how much of it I watch or read. It’s easier to just focus on the few shows I enjoy and football now that it is back. And my crochet. But that is another blog all together. Stay safe my friends…

Social Anxiety, Kind of

I had to go out yesterday. I’ve only been out of the house maybe four times in the last month. I have asthma and I am at high risk for catching the coronavirus. The last time I had to go to a doctor appointment they gave me a mask to wear inside the building. I was very nervous being out and the mask did not help that. It was hot and made it hard to breathe. Not a good thing when you already have breathing issues. 

Do I look nervous? I feel nervous…

This trip out I was going to an area hospital for my monthly injection. It’s a shot to help with my asthma and dermatographia. (That’s the skin reactions that causes everything to look like a rashy writing on the skin.) Almost everyone in the hospital was wearing a mask. I was not offered one when I went in, though they did check my temperature. The nurse that took me back asked if I wanted a mask. I declined. 

As I stood in the elevator with her and then followed her down the hall, I realized that the mask would not alleviate my anxiety. The mask alone was not going to do anything. It was simply the fact that I was outside among other people. We don’t have enough people getting tested yet, not enough effective testing. And there is no herd immunity yet. It’s too soon. And too many people still don’t understand the importance of simply staying inside and washing their hands. 

I know the weather is getting nicer and people want to enjoy it. Kids want to play outside and adults want them to. But we have to be smart. I know as a group that is hard. People as a group are stupid as cattle. Individuals are smart.

We need to think like individuals and act as a group. Maybe, if we can learn to act smarter, we won’t become a virus ourselves. Like so many before us. 

With a little help from my friends

My nerves have been a bit frayed today. For all sorts of reasons that I’ll spare you. Several times today I’ve been tempted to put on my headphones and blast some heavy metal music. Just block out the world. But something always stopped me for one reason or another.

Finally, I reached my limit tonight. I put on my headphones and found myself not with screaming guitars in my ears but a familiar meditation playing. I like Native American music for meditating. Drums and flutes, mostly. It’s either light and airy or deep and earthy. Sometimes with the tinkling sounds of water or the rumble of thunder mixed in.

I let the music play while finished what I was stitching on a crochet project for the day. A new design I’m working on. I drew it out this morning and started on it after breakfast. It’s coming along nicely. But I needed that music tonight.

I haven’t meditated in way too long. I learned how several years ago after the death of my mother. It’s what got me through it. Helped me through a lot of emotional upheavals. Not sure why I hadn’t thought to do it before now. Caught up in all the news broadcasts I guess. That whole “not seeing the forest for the trees” thing.

Just the little bit of time I was plugged into the music seemed to help a bit. It’s important to take time for ourselves and to focus on our mental health. Especially now when the entire world is in an upheaval. There is so much stress over every little thing. Remember to take a deep breath, don’t hold it. Relax your shoulders. Give yourself a hug.

Dark :30

It’s late. Yeah, I know. But I made it. I’m back again. I have completed two projects today. And I did the boring paperwork thing I hate doing. It got done in between the two projects. I made myself do it before I started on the second project to make sure I got it done. That way starting on the project felt more like a reward for getting the paperwork out of the way.

I even got some filing put away. I guess today was about finishing things. Not too bad for a Monday. With the world on lock-down, finding a way to feel like I’m accomplishing something is a good way to put the anxiety on the back burner. Kind of surprising considering how much news I actually watched today. But let’s not talk about that. I already have a headache.

Let’s talk about the cute Fennec fox I crocheted today. He’s adorable and cuddly. I also finished a scarf. I love to crochet. Probably why I’ve been doing it for well over 30 years. I’ll save those stories for my other blog. That to-do list will get tackled tomorrow. But for now, I think I’ve accomplished enough for today. Now for some sleep. Sweet dreams…

Well, this is interesting.

I’ve been looking for some writing mojo for a long time. Life seemed to be knocking the steam out of my writing. After a good writing buddy died, I just could not find the words or the will to look for them. After getting some more stability in my life, the words still eluded me.

Recently, I left a message for a friend who was struggling with her writing during the CoVid-19 pandemic. Stress is a bitch. Let’s be honest. We all get stressed. It hits us in different ways. Apparently, as I get older I hyper focus. Yesterday I spent the day working jigsaw puzzles and listening to classic rock music. I must have needed it.

Today there are words. I’m here writing. And I can feel more words just under the surface. I don’t what they are, what they will lead to. Will they be another blog, a short story, a poem? I have no idea. But there are words. So I’m sitting here sharing some with you while I binge watch sharks on TV. Because I need those, too.

It’s been a while…

I haven’t been here in a long time. I owe myself an apology for that. I started blogging many moons ago as a way to purge a backlog of emotions and vent about the world in general. The blog grew into a lot more than that. Probably why I’ve kept it for so long. It’s migrated to a new platform and changed names. But I still keep coming back, even when I’ve been gone for a while. No matter how long it has been. So I’m sorry it has been so long this time.

The world is upside down right now. The CoVid-19 pandemic is everywhere, except Antarctica. I hope they like eating fish. A lot of my friends, both local and online, are dealing with changes to their lives. Loss of work, working from home, kids trying to do online school. I have a friend waiting for a test result. I have been staying home because I am high risk with my asthma. I try not to watch too much news. It’s bad for my blood pressure. They start repeating themselves after a bit anyway.

It saddens me to see so many artists dying from the virus. We need artists. I know the virus does not discriminate. But why can’t it take some politicians? We don’t need as many of those. They need to be culled now and then to remind them they are not invincible. We already know most of them are inhuman. That’s why we need more artists.

I read this morning of the passing of Bill Withers. It wasn’t from the virus but still. Another legend has left us. I get the feeling today is going to require a lot of music. I already have my headphones on…

Trust Yourself

I woke up from a nightmare this morning. Haven’t had one in a long time, not like this. I woke up falling. I don’t have to give you all the details although I do remember them quite well. The main thing is that a decision was made and suddenly the person in the dream was me and I was falling inside a stairwell.

I woke up before I hit anything or hit bottom. I hate those dreams. For me, they always mean something is out of control. I was driving in an earlier part of the dream and that was definitely me. But I was trying to get away from the area I was in. That lead to the character in the dream being at the top of that stairwell.

I’ve been thinking about making some changes in my life: health, money, housing. It’s not hard to make the connection. I feel like there are things out of my control. Believe me, I am not happy about it. But I think the last part, where the woman at the stairwell made a decision (I remember her being asked what are you gonna do now), is very important. Don’t make rash decisions.

Decide what you want to happen. Research what you need to make that happen. See that list as goals to get your end result. Then come up with a plan that will get you there quickly and smartly. Get help when you need it. Make smart changes where you need to. Trust yourself and trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, step back and reevaluate. Most importantly, you have to actually start work on your list of goals. Don’t just sit there looking at. It’s not your Christmas list. You have to put in some work to make those goals happen.

I’ve always said happiness is a choice. You can choose to stay in a stagnant situation and say you’re happy. Or you can choose to make a move to a better situation and do what makes you happy. Trust yourself.

Size Matters

There. I said it. Yes, size matters to us ladies.

I’m not talking about in the bedroom. I’m talking about clothes.

I was looking for dresses online. Went to the site for my local super store first since I knew I would be going there later in the day. Then hit up Pinterest since I do have a sewing machine. It didn’t take long to see the problem.

Even on Pinterest which has a plethora of ideas for any type of dress I could possibly want, size is a problem. I am not a small woman. Short, yes. Skinny, no. I’ve never been skinny, not even as a child. I have curves. I shop the plus size section. The fashion industry is no where close to recognizing how to dress us. They’ve started to see that we exist but they are still not getting it.

I first searched just dresses. Then I got more specific with sundresses. It didn’t help. Either the models are not plus size models. Or the dresses are too tight. Or they go in the opposite direction and have no shape at all. Or worse, they will have shaping and detail but it’s in the wrong place.

From Walmart.com

I’ll give you an example of one the worst offenders: the waist line is too low. Like this one from Wal-Mart in the picture. How does that work, you ask? What most people think is there waist line sits just above their hips. That’s the natural waist line of your body. On more curvy people, we are trying to de-emphasize our hips which are usually the largest part of us. The best way to do this is to move the waist line of the clothing up to draw focus to the bust line and face.

An empire waistline does this perfectly. So does putting the waistline just below where an empire waistline would sit. The difference is that empire sits just under the bust, like right under the bra line. If you put the waist a couple inches below that around the bottom of the rib cage, you get the same effect without having it right up under your boobs.

This creates focus around the bust, drawing attention to the upper part of the body away form hips or stomach. Focus can be on the cleavage, the face, jewelry. Anything you do above that line will keep the focus up. It’s not hard to design stuff with this in mind. Even a simple wrap dress creates a line that pushes the eyes higher.

This is not a new concept. I heard it for 10 seasons of What Not To Wear. Where are Stacey London and Clinton Kelly when we need them?!

It is very frustrating to continue to see models who are only plus size because they are either well over six foot tall or because they are a size 12 or 14. Really?! There are a few truly plus size models now but we are still tremendously under represented. Come on, fashion industry. Take an honest look at who really buys the clothing in the world. Snobby rich people are the only ones who care what goes down the catwalk. The rest of us are shopping at Wal-Mart and Macy’s and Amazon.

Where did you go?

Where did my Muse go? The so-called creative angel that’s supposed to whisper inspiration in my ear so the words flow onto the page. Where is she? I haven’t felt her presence in a long time. Her voice was drifting in and out for a while. Then a writing friend died maybe a year ago. It’s like he took the words with him. Maybe he was one of my muses. If he was, he’s welcome to haunt me.

Some writers say they have to just sit down and do the thing. No matter what. I can’t force the words out like that. If they don’t come of their own accord I get frustrated. Then nothing on the page works. Once I reach that point I have to walk away and do something else for a bit.

But when the words do flow it’s like music. I usually write to music. Something to fit the mood of what I’m writing. I like to write with headphones on. Helps block out distractions. I have a lot of ideas for stories based on song lyrics. Lately, I’ve been thinking about writing song lyrics. They were my first venture into writing many moons ago.

At this point, I don’t care what I’m writing as long as something hits the page. I did write something recently for work, which we don’t have to do very often. Maybe once a year. I realised how much I had missed it. Felt good to have my hands on the keyboard again for something outside the norm.

Not all of my creative process has gone astray. I’m still crocheting quite a bit. My Pinterest boards are overflowing with ideas. Probably more than I can ever make. I usually have a project queued up while I’m working on one. Sometimes two. Writing crochet patterns can be very satisfying but it’s a different feeling from writing fiction.

I try not to make resolutions because nobody keeps those. I do like setting goals. So my goal is to write more posts here for the next couple months. Start with that. Try to rebuild my writing muscles. Hopefully I can draw my Muse back. And if Glenn wants to help me from the other side, I’ll be listening.

New Year, New Goals

I’ve written about resolutions before. I don’t like calling them resolutions. Nobody keeps those. Few people are able to last far enough into a new year to say they kept those pesky New Year’s resolutions. We get all excited at the ball drop or drink too much and have high expectations for what we think we can accomplish. And then we go back to work.

Reality sets in. It’s cold, rainy or snowy, or you get sick right after the holidays. You have to deal with taking down all the decorations on top of it all. You may be worried about paying for Christmas if you maxed out your charge cards. Your stress is climbing if you keep thinking about it. Those resolutions are getting pushed further and further out of your mind.

Stop. Just stop stressing yourself over it. Resolutions are fine but not realistic. We should all have goals. And not just at the beginning of the year but throughout the year. Realistic goals that don’t cause our blood pressure to rise unless it’s with excitement. There are some ways to keep your goals attainable.

Make them something you can achieve so you don’t feel like you’re never going to get there. If buying a Bugatti is 3 years worth of your salary, doing it this year is probably not going to happen. Get real. But if you do need a new car, plan for something that you can afford and will be able to work into your budget this year. Then you can save for the Bugatti later.

More achievability: say you want to save money for a vacation. If this is something you usually struggle with then you need to take an honest look at where your money goes. Buying high priced coffee on the way to work every day? Take-out more days than you cook? More drinking nights out with the buddies than hanging out watching a game on the couch? There are always places you can find where you can cut back on spending. Take a close look at where you money goes. Write down everything you spend and do for a month then go back and look at it. You may be surprised at where the money is. Then you can decide what to start cutting out so you can start planning that sweet little beach trip.

Another trick to keeping goals is to have accountability. Have a partner. Someone who can help you stay on track. If you’re trying to lose weight, have someone to work out with. If you live with someone who can help you, plan meals together and shop together if you can. Cook together and when you sit down to eat, turn off the phones and the TV and talk to each other. A big part of accountability is keeping communication open. If you talk to people about what you’re doing and they talk to you, you’re a lot more likely to keep it up.

Also consider time frames. Is the goal something that needs to be done within a certain amount of time? Are you trying to lose 20 pounds before a reunion or a wedding or some other event? Are you trying to get the garage cleaned out before movers show up to take everything to a new house in a month? Even short term goals should still be planned. Use a calendar or planner and keep it where you can access it quickly and daily to track your progress. Make notes on where you are and what your next steps are. That leads me to my next point…

Write down your goals. Let me say it again. WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS! Make a big board with pictures and encouragement. Put twinkle lights around it. Put it where you will see it Every Day! You need the reminders that you have something to work toward. Keep telling yourself that you want this, and that you can make it happen. Make small versions of your sign and put it in several locations: your car, the bathroom, on the fridge, at your desk at work. Put them anywhere you need the reminder of what you are working toward.

Goals are good. We all need them. Professionally, personally, spiritually. Whether it is to learn a new hobby, a skill, trying new recipes, to read more books, or to write more books. We should all have something we want to do. Being stagnant is for ponds. Be a flowing river, ever changing, ever growing.