Off the Map

It's been almost a week now and this is a follow up to the "Aftermath" post about food, cooking and me. With concentrated effort, I have successfully, purchased pre-made meals, saved money and lost a pound or two.

The first leg of this "plan" involved purchasing two Pasadena salads from Trader Joe's plus two small bottles of chocolate milk, a pound (.50 k) of strawberries and a bag of Pretzel Thins. This was supplemented by a Subway sandwich sliced into 3 sections. I also hard-boiled half a dozen eggs. I wound up eating "little" meals throughout the day such as a hard-boiled egg, or half a glass of chocolate milk or a few strawberries. If I was a little hungrier, I might eat one of the Subway sections or half of a salad.

This seemed to work well for 3 days so I repeated it with the TJ's salads, but instead of a Subway sandwich, I visited the deli at Albertson's and bought half a pound each of potato salad, Neptune salad, coleslaw and sliced Genoa salami. While there, I picked up a dozen little dinner rolls. I made a few small sandwiches from the rolls, salami and turkey (that I had at home) and continued with the same little meals for 3 more days.

Bottom line is that I feel better, didn't waste money or food, and wasn't starving at 9 p.m.! The surprising thing is that it actually cost less money than I normally spend and took very little effort once I had a "plan". I know this probably sounds utterly lame to you. Maybe I can best describe it by saying that sometimes you find yourself in an unknown land, and finally realize that you really need a map to figure out where you're going because the routes you knew and have taken in the past aren't available to you any more.

That's sort of what's happening in my life. My world after divorce is totally different. Nothing is the same. I'm essentially starting over from the beginning...again, and I think I finally stopped fighting it, or at least it seems that way at the moment. It's not what I want or wanted, it just is what it is.

Anyhow, so far, the kitchen experiment/solution seems to be working. Now I have to think of a path for cleaning up the house and getting rid of stuff. But I can't go there today, because just thinking of it really makes me feel like crawling back to bed and I wanted to enjoy this last week's success and build on it. So I'll save the house and my clutter for another day while I revel in the delight of getting a handle on eating and "cooking".

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Nothing and Everything

It's been a few days since I had anything to say, so no posts. There's just nothing all that new in my life at the moment which in some ways is a good thing. No drama or calamities, just quiet. Well, that and the heat. This year I'm really noticing it more as I said in an earlier post.

The only thing I've had to do in the last few days is figure out what health care plan to go with. It feels like playing a shell game. There's a lot of guessing and once you pick a plan, then they'll send complete coverage details not before. So it's a shot in the dark and then you only have 10 days to change plans if you don't like the details of what you picked. It's such a complete joke. 

But if you don't have health insurance, you could wind up paying on a hospital bill every month for the rest of your life, like my friend. Her husband became very ill, requiring a week in the hospital. With no insurance, they faced an astronomical bill. At first the hospital was going to work with them, but then the person they were dealing with was replaced and the second one wouldn't do a thing. They now owe USC Medical $100 per month forever. Isn't that just pathetic?

I'd probably better stop now, I feel a soap-box moment coming on as my thoughts drifted to the Congress which is a bunch of spoiled, self-interested/involved brats who should be ashamed of themselves. I normally would not speak badly of this government, but of late, the whole bunch in Washington D.C. are an embarrassment to say the least. If I see one more picture of Boehner I'm going to scream! They're all boneheads.  See? I told you I felt a soap-box moment coming on.

I guess even though nothing's going on in my life, I did have something to say.

Added later the same day but at night:  oh, there was one "new" thing this week, I went to the dentist for a cleaning and check up. Due to the money restraints of the long divorce, the dentist was one thing I gave up. My parents' ashes are twirling in their grave as I write this, but it's been two years. They ingrained the every-six-months-to-the-dentist rule into me from early on. Growing up in the Depression where dental care was basically non-existant, my dad had false teeth by the age of 55, so I understand their efforts with their children. When I opened wide, I expected Dr. L. to pull out a chisel or crowbar to chip the layers of tartar off my teeth but to the surprise of both of us, there was very little! So that's the good news for this post. I know you were dying to know that bit of nothing. Good night!

Oh, oh, oh! One more thing, the office manager at my dentist told me her divorce took 8 (count 'em EIGHT) years! Unbelievable!

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Crashing Post

In some of my recent posts, I've mentioned how I'm trying to come back to life and how lost I feelafter this horridly long divorce. It has me baffled because what I'm feeling is very unlike previous depressions I've experienced. I haven't been able to pinpoint the why of the listlessness, the total lack of interest in anything that has descended upon me.

The odd thing is that I'm taking medication which helps somewhat but feeling like I don't care about a single thing is just off-putting. I think I mentioned somewhere in a back post that I don't have any desire to cook and am buying pre-made things like salads and sandwiches. About all I can do is slice cheese for crackers and boil eggs. Even my favorite tuna salad recipe seems too much to tackle.

Of course having no shade left on the patio gives me no incentive to go outside and garden or even leave the house. Well, it will certainly save miles of wear and tear on my car (attempt at humor there).

Out of the blue today, a friend emailed me and she must have been reading my mind. She asked how I was and commented that I was "probably crashing from the whole divorce thing". She may have just hit the nail on the head. I really thought I'd gone through all the stages of grief but there must be layers of each stage. It's kind of like what I imagine recovering from a car crash is like...not sure if I want to get back in the car and go anywhere ever again....

Okay, not the most uplifting of posts but as I've said in the past I write to find my way out of this murky quagmire of life I'm currently stuck in. How 'bout a nice little still life of my desk to end on a positive note. (See, I am trying to maintain some balance and not be all about the negative...lol!)

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301st Post

Holy Cow, I didn't even realize that yesterday I published my 300th post! Who knew, who would have thought I had all that writing in me? Of course I realize a lot of it is writing just for my sake and babbling, but still. I'm amazed! While I was looking at stats, which I rarely do, I noticed that my little blog has had almost 3,000 views. Again, who knew?!
From my dear Little Brother last year.
I'd have a give away to celebrate but last time I did something like that, no one replied so instead I'll just sing "Congratulations to me, congratulations to me, congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to me". (Sing to the melody used in Happy Birthday)

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Animal Husbandry B-Day Post

1 year ago
Okay, the Black Forest ham incident, the rawhide chew stick incident...none of those were enough to drive it into my thick head..."DO NOT LEAVE GROCERIES ON THE FLOOR YOU SILLY HUMAN". Once again, I got home and this time had to run to the W.C., (yes, more info than you wanted, what can I say, it's life) so I dropped the groceries on the kitchen floor forgetting two freshly baked sandwich rolls (part of dinner) were protected only by a flimsy paper bag. The brainless human then proceeded to change, wash her face (it was hot outside) and finally noticed the absence of a small dog who normally would be a few feet away. Silence. It's amazing how quiet they can be when in stealth-mode.

So I proceeded through the house (not a long way to go since it's so small) and found Blue with his head in the grocery bag and halfway through the second sandwich roll. He'd already consumed the first one in total silence without any paper bag noises.

I think I'm getting older or I just got used to having an older, very well trained, as far as not hitting the garbage or groceries, Siberian Husky. Maybe it was the extra counter space I had back then. I forgot how quick and quiet they can be when they spot a target (aka "forbidden food") within their reach.

When we first rescued Frost, we soon discovered she considered the kitchen counter and TV trays part of her domain as well as anything on them. Note that the kitchen counter at the time was 30 inches deep (76 cm) and nothing was ever near the edge of it. First there was the two semi-frozen chicken breasts thawing on a plate on the counter...gone in seconds, bones and all. The plate never made a sound. Then it was a pound of butter coming to room temperature, (wrappers included) that she scarfed down. Next was the ham sandwich on the TV tray.

To "cure" her of this nasty little habit, a mouse trap was brought into service. Doltoid loosened it so it would still snap noisily but not hang on to anything or hurt. I know because I set it a few times and it went off on my fingers...no damage or pain, just surprise. This worked like a charm. After a few weeks of "set ups" such as "I'm leaving the ground beef on the counter and exiting the room dear" followed by a few snaps, Ms. Frost got the idea. After that I only had to rattle the trap and set it at the edge of the counter. She was a very quick learner even though her humans were pretty dumb.

You have to have had access to seeing a Siberian Husky hover on their hind legs, front paws not touching the counter to appreciate the incredible skill we were trying to deter. I recall when my Aunt came to visit many years ago and I had filled a little cut glass basket with Godiva chocolate hearts (truffle centers...mmmm) for her and placed it on a rather high night stand in the guest room. Just by chance I walked by the room and saw Ms. M. hovering over the nightstand inhaling chocolates. Thank goodness I caught her before she had too many. (FYI, dogs don't have, from what I understand from the doggie first aid class I took, the enzyme that will break down the chemicals in chocolate and therefore it can be fatal.) After that I was super -vigilant but I was also much younger.

Apparently I am lulled by getting older or perhaps these memories, forgetting I have a new little friend who needs some guidance or at least a human with a light bulb on upstairs. Will I never learn? Geesh! Now I have to go hunt down a new plan for dinner. Not to be gross, but there was no salvaging even a part of the second roll, thanks to Mr. drool-y face Blue. Getting older is a challenge. Lol! But he does make me laugh though and that's totally worth two sandwich rolls any day!

Since the incident, Blue has been in the backyard as I write this. This human's deluded form of punishment since he likes to stick to me like glue. When I let him in, I showed him the bag and partially eaten roll (duh) thinking he'd connect the "crime and punishment", but no, he lunged at the roll like I was offering him a treat, a reward. As I said "duh"...silly, silly human.

P.S. Was just commenting on Alicia's blog about her Corgi (Clover) post and mentioned that Blue will be four this summer. Suddenly it hit me, today is Blue's birthday! Since he was a rescue I picked the date he came to his forever home as his B-day. His age was a guesstimate by the vets at the pound. Anyhow, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLUE! I guess we'll call the sandwich rolls his "birthday cake". Lol!

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Preoccupation and Inspiration Post

Okay, just say it...I'm preoccupied with the weather. Sorry. The rest of the week is forecast to be in the low 90's which translates to high 90's where I live and possibly hitting the 100's. Night time temps are supposed to leave the low 60's and rise to the low 70's which will just hold all the heat in. For some reason, I've become really sensitive to heat this summer. Probably all goes back to the tree butcher and loss of all shade on the West side. And yes, I'm still not over that yet.

Every afternoon, I sit in my un-air-conditioned office working on "my book" as the sun starts beating on this side of the house from about 2:30 p.m. till it sets at night. So every day is a reminder of this evil man:
The Butcher
I know, I should just let it go, dwelling on it is unhealthy and won't bring the shade back or restore the pecan tree to it's former beauty. What can I say? I'm obviously in a rather negative place of late.

To try and re-inspire myself to start creating things again and to clean up this rental, I've been visiting the blogs of some very talented women. I used to buy every issue of "Where Women Create" but it's $15 price tag put an end to that. What I've found in blogs however serves the same inspirational purpose and is not limited by the number of pages in the magazine. If I could afford it, I'd still snap up every issue as it came out, it's really a great publication. But for the moment I'm enjoying the land of blogdom to the same end.

I also resumed writing my manual on divorce (noted above, "my book"). After all that I experienced and still experience, I have yet to find a book, pamphlet, manual or anything, written by someone other than a lawyer that isn't more of a puff piece. I found "Cutting Loose:  Why Women Who End Their Marriages Do So Well" by Ashton Applewhite. Since then I've noticed a few books but at this point I'm not inclined to purchase them.

Applewhite's book was written in 1997 when I found it slightly helpful but too general. Yes, I was contemplating divorce even back then. Why did I take so long? Anyhow, over the years I have found that not that many women are better for it overall. Getting rid of the jerk helps but the fallout from the system is extremely detrimental. I don't know that the books currently available would have any more depth to them.

So, my version will have a different focus. I think it will give me an outlet other than this blog to getting on with my life and maybe make all that I experienced, less negative. Anyhow, I am trying to gain a more positive focus in my life and I can help even one person just a little bit, I'll feel like there was a reason for all this.

I've also tried to set tiny goals for myself such as today. I got up at 7:30 a.m. and checked on my favorite blogs. Then I played chase and tug of war with Blue for 15 minutes or so which made him deliriously happy. Then had half a cup of Glen Oaks liquid yogurt (love that stuff) and at 10 a.m. I went back to bed for an hour. Since then I've been up, checking emails, taking care of two divorce things (sigh...taking a deep breath) and finishing this post.

I started this post several days ago and wanted to include a blog that I found and some pictures of the author's work so I emailed her. Since I've heard nothing, I hesitate to post them so this post took a different turn after my hot weather rant. I think it's for the better.

If I do hear from her, I will post her work, but for now, oh well. Have a lovely day, despite the weather wherever you are!

P.S. My extreme sympathy to all who get humidity with the hellish heat, that's just brutal on all living things (I know from living in the Midwest for years).

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Monday Music Post

In order to help start your week off right (as well as mine), I decided to offer a few musical selections that I hope you enjoy. These will be links to music that I've loved for ages. Plus they're mostly "feel good" music and I need that! What I'd like is for you to post links to music favorites of yours in the comments section. At some point during the week I'll gather all the links and post them for everyone's enjoyment. Keep in mind that I'm not a music reviewer and my comments are just my own little observations.

1. Eric Clapton  Layla / Tears in Heaven / Wonderful Tonight oh my, the guitar work!

2. Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison (ignore the commercial at the beginning) is another great one. This is a very early music video from 1964. There's also this later version which is quite good (again, ignore the initial ad). What's great about this one is that if you look carefully, you'll see quite a number of well known musicians playing with Roy O. The guitar work by towards the end is wonderful. I love the gritty black and white filming.

3. Great Balls of Fire with Jerry Lee Lewis and Bruce Springsteen from 1995. It also has A Whole Lotta Shaking on this video.

4. Pink Cadillac by Bruce Springsteen is a hard music video to find since there are no official videos. This was the best I could locate. If you can find Aretha Franklin singing this, you're in for a real treat.

5. Aerosmith's I Don't Want to Miss a Thing is another great piece. Steven Tyler delivers a performance that isn't sugar-coated like so many other versions.

6. Mony Mony by Billy Idol is another great song for getting your energy pumped.

7. ZZ Top's Legs is still a great rock out piece. This video is so 80's that it's hysterical, but it kind of fits the music. This version is a great tribute to all the TV and film greats with hot legs, fun to watch. Brings back quite a few memories.

8. I'll end this list with Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen. I think it rounds this little list out nicely.

I hope you enjoy the music.

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Aftermath Post

Took care of one of the last things in the divorce process last night and all I can say is some people truly disappoint. I won't go into it other than to say, that the aftermath has once again left me drained and exhausted. I went to bed at 10 last night and slept through till 6:30 p.m. today, finally forcing myself up and out of bed. I seem to have less and less reserve battery power.

I'm starting to really think that I am damaged (see Pity Party Post) and not sure what to do to change or alter the path I'm apparently on. Just don't have the energy for it. 

When this whole thing first began, I still had my store and so I was occupied and in touch with other humans. Now, I've gotten used to sitting in this rental with the blinds closed basically waiting for other people to do what needs to get done in order to get on with my life (like the idiot commissioner taking a month to sign the divorce papers).

Maybe this isolation is magnified by not having a television. It was my last contact with the outside world on a regular basis. 

My outings are solely food-related which seems really pathetic. The problem is that I am still operating on "normal" in one part of my brain where I used to prepare decent meals from scratch (even if just for myself) to non-functional. How can I explain this better? When I'm in the store, I'll see some things that would be a perfect and easy dinner or meal to prepare, so I buy them. Once home, I don't have the energy to follow through with simple food preparations. I talked about this in an earlier post. 

I really have to try to get myself to buy pre-made meals. In the end they're no more expensive than buying the ingredients, having them go bad and then tossing them out. Problem is, I still find myself looking at the price of prepared foods (i.e., coleslaw...$3.99 per pound) and telling myself I could make it better and for less money. The trouble is that I buy into this mentality and get the ingredients but never make the item so I loose money and don't eat.

I know, it sounds so simple to resolve but it's not when your brain is in a land of uncharted thoughts and feelings. Thus, leaving me to wonder if I'm now damaged and how long it will take to heal, if ever.

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Pity Party Post

It's strange and interesting, this not-having-a-TV-thing. Even though I now could buy one, I haven't which seems rather odd, at least to me. And I can't quite figure out my feelings about this. Soon I'm going to run out of things I like to watch on Hulu and then what will I do? I mean, I've watched all the episodes available of Doc Martin, Hot in Cleveland, Firefly and I'm almost done with all of Stargate SG1. Out of about 200+ episodes there's only 30 or so left to see. What I find funny is that I've already seen most of the episodes when they were first aired. I could re-watch almost anything I think.

I have several books that I could read, but I'm just not in the mood. Could be because I need to get my eyes checked and get glasses for the heavy astigmatism I have. Drug store "readers" only help so much.

Funny how technology dates a show even more so than fashions. I watched an episode of SG1 last night and there it was, a blue floppy disc. It seemed so old-fashioned to see. Anyways, as I was saying, I'm going to run out of things to watch.

Plus, I'm getting sick of spending the evening in my office chair watching on my little MacBook monitor. It's not really as relaxing as sitting in the easy chair in the living room. It seems something is wrong with me, like I'm drained of any and all desires, wants, wishes...hope. I just feel empty, as in just existing with no purpose. I wonder if this long, dragged out divorce actually damaged my spirit. It was kind of like being in a jail, unable to make any decisions or choices about life till we got it over with. So now it's over with and here I am. Blank.

Kind of reminds me of a piece of history I've always been amazed at and that was Lincoln freeing the slaves. Here was a whole group of people who had their lives dictated and doled out to them, suddenly free but with no economic foundation. No direction, no guidance or help. I'm always amazed whenever I think of that. How, as a people, they survived truly amazes me. One day you have a life, a home (such as they were) and the next, you're on the street so to speak and penniless. It just seems so cruel and ill-thought-out. Especially in light of the government's recent bail outs of the banks and industry. Where was their bail out or severance package? How things have changed in less than 150 years.

But I digress. Maybe I just feel a little tiny bit of what I imagine they felt. I had a life, a home and suddenly it's all gone. I'm all alone with very little financial foundation to start all over from. Yes, I guess it's a pity party day. Sorry but I have to let this out somewhere. I've been journaling as long as I can recall. It's cheap therapy and a vent for anxiety and frustration which if kept bottled up inside can harm one's health and well-being. Thanks for understanding. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

P.S. Just found this article on journaling for healing. 



Indoor Pollution Post

Who?  Me?  Never!  Really!  Never ever!!
Today was another gorgeous day, coolish, in the 70's maybe a bit higher...it was wonderful. Thank goodness, because Mr. Blue has been...how shall I say this without grossing you out? Mr. B. had been (select one):

                     ____ Passing gas
                     ____ Expelling intestinal gas
                     ____ Suffering from flatulance
                     ____ Fumigating the house
                     ____ Polluting the indoor environment
                     ____ Farting
                     ____ Cutting the cheese

It's been going on all day long. Holy Cow! Doors open, fans on, I repeat...Holy Cow! 

Of course it couldn't possibly be the two thirds of a bag of beefy chew sticks he got into while I was talking to a neighbor. Yes, while I went out to bring a package left on my doorstep by mistake, back to them, I left Blue in the back yard. I had just returned from a grocery run and left the "safe" bags on the floor while putting the "not for doggies" bags on the counter (it's a small kitchen).

Apparently the bag boy at the grocery put the treats in the same bag as a six-pack of V-8 juice and I didn't notice. Well, they must give off a pretty tempting scent. While talking to the neighbor Blue apparently went back into the house and found them, much to his delight I'm sure. When I returned, there were half eaten chews, plastic wrap and cardboard label shreds all over the living room! He was holding two chews in his mouth and his eyes opened wide when he saw me. "Oh, oh, mom's back...."

I immediately grabbed everything including the chews in his mouth. He didn't resist much so he must have inhaled enough to stuff him. The rest of the evening, he consumed 4 bowls of water! He also "missed" dinner as a result.

I should have known better. About 5 months ago, Albertson's was having a sale on deli meats and I bought a pound (half a kilo) of "black forest ham" for lunches. Same scenario...bagger stuck them in a bag with non-food items so I didn't notice and left the bag on the floor. I also left the room to answer the phone. In less than two minutes, he had ferreted out the ham, ripped open it's wrapping and inhaled a pound of ham!

When will I learn? Always, always, always put bags on the counter if I'm leaving the room! Anyhow, he slept most of today under my chair as I write (more on what I'm writing in a future post). Blissfully sleeping not knowing he was also fumigating the entire house.

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A Simple Post...Again


Pea Post

Haven't always been a big Shirley McLaine fan but I do enjoy the movie "Guarding Tess".

In my never-ending quest to organize and de-clutter, I sometimes run across strange little notes that have been buried on my desk. Notes that I've written to myself and totally forgotten about. Today was one of those instances. The cryptic little note on a yellow Post-It  read:
"Le Seuer peas/Guarding Tess/.59/can/1994". 

What's funny about this is that yesterday I picked up a can of the above-noted peas for a whopping $2.29 a can! So in 17 years it more than quadrupled in price. I was dumb-struck when I saw the price on the note! The world has changed so much in less than two decades.

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The Photo Has Nothing to Do with the Links in This Post

A Siberian Husky, hanging out a second story window
The photo has nothing to do with the post. A few days ago, I noticed a lot of views of my April 9, 2011 post with a link to K. D. Lang's performance of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". So I decided to share some other links of musical performances I enjoy. First up is Peter Gabriel's "Book of Love". Which breaks my heart every time I hear it. Probably more so in light of my recent divorce. I first fell in love with it when I watched the video "Shall We Dance" with Richard Gere (melt), Susan Sarandon and Jennifer Lopez.

Next is IZ's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" which is so magical. This video shows IZ performing but also his ashes being scattered at sea. He lived too short a life, but the music he left behind is forever. He died June 26,1997. This is another version of the same song.

The following is one of my life-long, all time favorites, "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong.
This is another version with beautiful photos of "What a Wonderful World". His performance and voice are just magical.

Finally, a musical piece performed by the brilliant Andre Bocelli that never fails to raise my heart to the highest point in the heavens, "Con te Partiro". There is such a feeling of courage in this work.
Then there is this version performed with Sarah Brightman titled "Time to Say Goodbye". When they sing together towards the end, it's just breathtaking. And yet another version for your enjoyment. Oh my, sheer magic.

On a completely different note the song "Amazing Grace" always breaks me up. This version by LeAnn Rimes is beautiful and it's just her voice without musical accompaniment!

Another glorious song is "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack. I truly love this one and listen to it when I'm really down, it helps. Pay attention to the words.

Great music to exercise to comes from The Fine Young Cannibals. You must check out this 80's group. "She Drives Me Crazy" is a get up and dance happy song. The video is so-so except for the great shots of lead singer Roland Gift, who projects great intensity. The music/beat is terribly addictive, at least to me.

Lastly, I'll end with Luther Vandross' "Dance with My Father" which just breaks me up. Ignore the video part, it's the Luther's voice that's so moving. I looked through quite a number of videos with other singers since Luther never performed this live on video and they all pale by comparison with his voice.

Well, that's all for today. Sorry, I got a little carried away, one fav just led to another and another, but it was well worth the time because I feel quite happy and at peace in the moment. I wish you happiness. Enjoy!

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Driving and Weather

It's so funny how sensitive the people who choose to call Los Angeles their home are as far as weather and temperatures! Today, after running two errands at about 6 p.m., I was at a stoplight. The light turned green and as I put my foot on the gas the guy behind me laid on his horn. Apparently I wasn't as lightening fast as he would have liked. Anyhow I proceeded and he sped around in front of me and slammed on his brakes for no apparent reason other than some misguided form of retaliation aka road rage.

Then at the next stop sign, he just sits there, totally confusing the other drivers at the 4-way stop. Finally after letting three cars go while he sits, he pulls forward giving me the finger. I observed that his windows were rolled up so he's enjoying air conditioning and not dying of the heat (it was still about 94F/34-35C). Yet he's apparently still crazed for some reason.

Unfortunately, I'm going in the same direction as him. We both turn into the same shopping center, I drove down an aisle and parked. As I walked into the store I could see him at the far side of the parking lot pulling into a Taco Bell drive-thru. I guess his haste was because he was starving?

It seems that any change in the weather here makes people a little (or a lot) crazy. When it drizzles they forget how to drive...acting like they're driving on eggs or driving so fast they swirl out of control on the oil slick streets covered with rain. When the temperatures suddenly jump from the 70's (21+C) to high 90's (32+C) they drive like madmen. They're either super aggressive or totally daft like the guy on his bicycle weaving back and forth across the lanes of traffic in complete oblivion, causing the drivers of cars to also drive crazy in order to avoid hitting him. If the sun's not out and the day is overcast, they drive slower than molasses. It just amazes me.

Kind of makes me wish for a little black ice to totally freak them out. Heh, heh, heh.



July Fourth

There are some holidays I just don't like, such as Halloween and the Fourth of July. Both these days involve loud or scary things at night. My imagination is just too vivid for Halloween and I hate opening my door to strangers at night to dole out candy. Back when I was married, my ex used to handle that task. Now, I just hide in the bedroom with all the lights in the house off and wait till about 9 p.m. which seems to be when people stop "trick or treating". It's also annoying because virtually no effort goes into making the costumes any more. When I was a kid, my mom made a costume for each of us every year.

As far as July 4, it's a fine holiday commemorating our independence and I love looking at fireworks. But it also brings with it idiots setting off illegal firecrackers which remind me in a small way of what it must feel like to live in a war zone.

My response is to run and hide. Add to that the other bunch of fools who shoot off guns into the sky...Hello? Those bullets come back down! So I find myself just living for each of these days to be over.

The thing that put July 4 over the top for me happened four years ago when the ratty teenager who lived in the back house on the property next to mine, and his friend were playing with firecrackers. They'd light them, drop them in empty plastic water bottles and throw them. They made a really loud explosion.

At the time, Alpine had never been afraid of noises of any sort. Then the kid threw one of the exploding bottles into my yard near Alpine and scared her to death. She hid in the darkest corner under my desk for the next two days shaking like a leaf and refusing to eat. After that, any loud or sudden noise made her drop to the floor with her ears pinned back. It was so sad. I'm glad to say that man and his kid have moved out since then. But I still just want these two holidays to be over with.

On a similar but totally different note, I went out at about 5 p.m. to get poppy seeds for the Wine Country Chicken salad. I was struck by how empty the streets were. While at the store, I picked up a chicken on sale thinking I'd make Chick on a Stick, but when I couldn't find any fresh thyme decided to freeze it for another day, besides I really didn't feel like cooking. I mean, I haven't even completed the chicken salad I planned on making today.

The emptiness I was feeling as I drove home, turned into loneliness compounded by having to drive without air conditioning in 95F heat. Makes one a little daft. Then without warning I suddenly decided to  just go to Subway and get a sandwich, screw the holiday. I was all alone any way. As I pulled in the empty parking lot I wondered if Subway would even be open. It was and I was the only car in that area of the lot as well as their only customer. Leaving, I was enveloped by a sense of anger that here I was totally alone while doltoid had set himself up with not only new friends but a girlfriend he lived with. Meanwhile my holidays are spent alone and I resent him for cheating on me on so many levels it's remarkable.

To get myself out of this funk, I'll end with this magical video I found online. Be sure to watch it on the full screen and with the sound turned down.

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Insomnia Post #2

To be clear, I currently don't have insomnia, rather the opposite. I've decided my body needs to crash and recover after the incredibly long divorce ordeal. We don't realize the toll that enduring and functioning in a state of constant stress takes on the body. It's my only explanation for the incredible tiredness taking over my body. I've been sleeping between 14 and 18 hours a day. This may not be the reason, but it seems very plausible to me. Maybe it's like being in a five year fight and having it finally end. Every fiber of your being is exhausted and shuts down to recover.

At first I felt guilty for being so "lazy", but then I decided to be gracious, forgiving my self for the harsh judgement and just give in to what was needed. Mental and emotional stress can be just as damaging as physical exertion on the body. The same applies to verbal and emotional abuse which can be just as harmful as physical abuse and in some cases more so. Several books I picked up over the years have helped me understand this topic more, one specifically good one is "The Verbally Abusive Relationship" by Patricia Evans.

A couple of days ago I ran across this article on happiness at Yahoo's Shine which was very interesting. It's by Gretchen Rubin who also wrote the book, "The Happiness Project". I have no affiliation with her or the publisher, I just thought the article complimented what I've been feeling of late and that some of you may enjoy reading it. In the article, she writes, "According to my ground-breaking happiness formula, to be happy, you need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth. What’s dragging you down? Is it a lack of fun, of connection? Do you feel a lot of guilt, boredom, or anger? Do you feel that something’s “not right” about your life? Do you feel stagnant or stuck? Focus your efforts on the choices that will do the most to address what’s not working in your life."

She goes on in the article to list a menu of choices to right yourself and the boat called your life. It begins with Friends and goes on to Fun, Challenge, Do good, feel good, Energy, Order, Guilt, Nagging tasks, Good citizen and Gratitude. The list can serve as a jumping off point for improving one's life and happiness. I've read and re-read the article four times now and it's serving to remind me of a number of things, like be kinder to myself, be grateful for what I have, try to tackle things that keep order out of my life and that "less is more" also per Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

It's not anything new or earth-shattering, but it rounds up a lot of ideas we've all read about  into one place for an overall picture of achieving happiness in the short span of time we have on this planet. For more information about Gretchen Rubin, you can check out her blog on Shine.

On a different but similar note, I don't often check stats for this blog since it's written for me and if other people enjoy it or find something of help/interest in it, then all the better. But I checked earlier today and I had an inordinate number of views for "One Simple Post". Now, I don't really recall what I wrote on April 9 of this year so I looked it up. I discovered what made that post special and stuck a chord with people, it was K. D. Lang's performance of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. It's an extremely moving piece done with great inspiration by Ms. Lang. So I wound up viewing it again on You Tube several times. I find a great deal of peace in it though I have no idea why. It's just very moving.

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Insomnia Post

If you ever have trouble falling asleep at night, I have found the perfect solution. Read the instruction book for your camera without having access to your camera. You'll be out in no time flat. I know because it just happened to me, right now, in the middle of the day! I read about 10 pages and as you know, there's not all that much text, mostly drawings of all the assorted digital symbols used to control the camera. If I had the camera here, I may not have nodded off so soon because I'd be going between the book and camera settings trying things out.

An even more effective method (at least for me) is to download the manual to your computer and read it on the computer screen. Holy Cow! It'll put you out like a light bulb. In fact, I'm going to go take a nap right now, I can't even keep  my eyes open.

My, that was a nice little one hour nap, with vivid dreams and all. So there you have it, the cure for insomnia. Don't bother reading books, they may pique your interest, keeping you awake reading to see what happens. No, go straight to a technical manual, particularly one you've avoided reading because it looks so long, boring and complicated...it's perfect! Currently I have several choices, my camera, dvd player, phone and printer manuals. So if you're having trouble sleeping, give it a try, you never know. You may also find out where the white balance settings are, so when you wake up the next morning you can also solve a problem that's been bugging you for a while. Double win!



Knitting and Hades Post

Yesterday the temps topped out in the mid 90's (32C). Starting today, they're going into the high 90's (32C) with Sunday predicted to hit 100F (37+C). They're expected to stay that way for at least 7 days. Sadly the nighttime temps will follow them and be in the low 80's vs. 60's (15C) where they should be. I suppose this is par for the crazy weather on this planet. We've lucked out here in So Cal with really temperate weather, so it seems like this is going to be the summer from Hades where the weather gets even with us.

Thus the fingerless gloves I'd begun working on (starting on Christmas presents early) will be going on hold. The pattern is "Fetching" from Ravelry. An easy and enjoyable project. I've posted this before, but it's really a good picture, courtesy of Ravelry.

In getting this photo, I checked into my Ravelry account and discovered three messages waiting for me! One as far back as Valentine's Day! I'll have to stop in there a bit more often. While at Ravelry I found another pattern for fingerless gloves called Owlings by Kerrie. It's a free pattern and they may be next on my needles if it gets a bit cooler. I tried to download a photo but can't so follow the link.

I can't believe I'm writing about knitting in July!

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Toasty Post

A few days ago, I finally broke down and turned on the living room window air conditioner. It killed me to do that but even with a small fan blowing directly on me, the heat was stifling and I was melting. Unfortunately, while I love LA, I hate the heat, this is why I've ruled out Austin, Texas as a place to move to. I love that city, it has so much to offer but the summer heat would be worse than here since it's compounded by humidity.

How I envy the people who love the heat. I can't even imagine having that kind of tolerance. I've never been one for sun-bathing. Though I love swimming, there's nothing that interests me in laying in the sun and sweating to get a suntan. Of course that's basically impossible since all I do and have done my whole life is turn bright red with sunburn. However, the next day or so, it doesn't turn into a tan, it just fades and I'm pale again. The most tan I ever get is the slightest of gold which still looks pretty much like I haven't been in the sun at all, so there just is no point in the whole process.

Of course, now, I'm glad that I didn't keep trying to get tan, given what we know about melanoma and early aging of the skin. But I was jealous of those girls who glowed and looked so healthy with a deep tan every summer. Well, that was a tangent out of nowhere. If you can't tell, I'm currently just a bit obsessed with the heat though I'm so grateful for the lack of humidity here.

What's this time of year feel like to you wherever you live?