Mouth Open Speechlessness

I spend a lot of time here in this new life with my mouth open in speechlessness (MOS).  The most innocent of comments will at the very least give me pause.  For instance this week I’ve met a test tube baby (fully grown now) – someone who grew up homeless – although quite financially settled now – someone who had 5 step mothers growing up – I mean we’re not talking just single mother stories here.  These are scenarios that I thought only happened on TV.  Sometimes just realizing someone grew up on the beach is enough to make me wonder (in awe in a good way) what that must have been like.

There are the stories that give me pause and then there are the MOS stories – a friend in a car accident because they hit a bear.  A BEAR.  (They’re okay – more worried about the bear – but a bear – MOS) –  Someone who days after telling me about how her daughter was the only survivor of a car accident (a couple of years ago) where the other two died and one decapitated – MOS then – this week the same woman got a call at lunch that her brother died in a car accident. He was 44 years old, flipped his car on a wet road in Orlando just regular day-time driving.  It’s like heart stopping isn’t it?  Another story (a different person) who shared how their sister was murdered a few years back.  Then there’s Rosalie, my boss from the Caribbean, who loves to scare me with her stories saying people where she’s from don’t carry guns they carry machetes and will butcher you in a heart beat. She’s not kidding. I used to want to go home with her (to Antigua) but I’m changing my mind.  Someone else’s brother is a marijuana farmer – quite successful. Some of my MOS’s are fun like “no shit, that’s so cool” but I’m just amazed how sheltered my thoughts are when I hear about other people’s lives. I am not in Kansas anymore. Soooo far from it.  Even my first two years in Florida where I lived in a middle class neighborhood sitting by the pool with my pedicures and horseback riding and then at the beach ,, that wasn’t reality.  Well, it was my reality at the time but where I live now is so far from that. Every single day I am offered another opportunity to show me how sheltered I really was and how I really did live in a bubble. All these people I meet with such vast different upbringings and horribly sad experiences are great “normal” people.  I honestly don’t know what I would have expected otherwise but I’m learning something about myself.  Not sure exactly what I’m learning but I’m learning something.  I only know this because of all the MOS’s. Even the President of our University gave a welcome at one of our meetings and shared how her own child didn’t graduate from high school.  I don’t know that that piece of information would come up in a speech where I come from. Ya know? I mean MOS.

My mom had some years of her life where she lived in a shack (I’ve never seen) without a bathroom.  I  can’t imagine how she managed.  She has never acted like it was a big deal.  Just the way they lived while her father was building that beautiful log house. That was while she was in high school when kids can be their cruelest.  She did offer that some would-be boyfriend was a bit stunned when he brought her home one day after school and witnessed the shack (her home).  Similarly I was thinking about Jimmy, my youngest son, and how he never wanted to be “different” –  The fact that his parents weren’t married made him different in those days (A little more common now) but he never “felt” different that I know of.  We really were on the forefront of the baby-daddy thing. Anyway, during middle school one of his classmate’s  father died.  I’ve always remembered how he said he would never want to be that person because all the sudden you’re different than everyone else.  In addition to the tragedy over losing your father you are now forever singled out as that kid who lost their parent with kids not knowing how to act around you. The fact that he could articulate those feelings has always astounded me.  MOS.

I told Zachary that he would probably like it here in DeLand because it is the least pretentious place I’ve ever lived.  I also shared that that is probably why I don’t like it.  I don’t know where I fit in. Zachary pointed out that the experience of growing up in Sewickley is one where you are constantly navigating the social and economic constraints and how you fit (or not fit) in.  But that said – I would never want my children to live here. Central Florida is crazy and after watching the nightly news it’s no wonder I don’t leave my apartment at night.  Even when I was home in the freezing weather over this past Christmas I didn’t give it a second thought walking up to Sewickley to meet Diane at Roma’s or over to Jerry’s or Janice’s in the dark.  Not that I’m not still aware of my surroundings…but still, there is no comparison.

The bubble was a great place to grow up but it really is not how the rest of the world lives. Although admittedly there are a lot of people in the world that do live like I did in their own similar bubbles but the bubble around here is very different. Not one person has ever heard of or cares about Sewickley, commented on my weight or asks who I was friends with in high school.  I’ve come a long way from “he smokes, she smokes.”


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I’m starting to get the online ordering bug.  Although I still like a trip to Macy’s on occasion, I decided to try this “Stitch Fix” thing.  The idea is you answer a bunch of questions about what style of clothes you like, give them your size (your real size I assume) and they send you a box of clothes and accessories.  You then have three days to keep or return and you’re only charged for what you keep.  Kinda cool don’t you think?  Oh and then you can pick the frequency of delivery.  I decided I’d try it once a quarter.  I have a base, right? (although finding out I do NOT have a winter base any more) well assuming I have a base a nice new piece every quarter is not a bad thing.  My son Jimmy gets a box a month.  Not from this site but anyway, it’s like a thing.  Like a food box only with clothes. I was expecting my box this month.  A work friend told me she used to get a box from them but she quit because they’re too expensive.  Oh well.  Returns are free.  You only keep what you pay for.

Last night was Christmas party Bunko night.  I got my grab bag gift over the weekend, made a huge tray of deviled eggs and cranberry sauce, came home early to get my laundry done (Wednesday is laundry day don’t forget) and 10 minutes before I was to head out the door I got an email from the Stitch Fix people.  I was thinking that box was due around now so I looked at the email.  Upon clicking a bit I found that I had until today to return the items.  I’m like WHAT?  WHAT????  Upon further inspection found a Fedex tracking number that boasted the package was delivered at 11:11 on Monday the 11th.  Wouldn’t that have been a nice sign?  yea, no.  I didn’t get a box on Monday the 11th at any time.  So I immediately contacted FedEx..via chat..and they asked all the questions, “did you check with neighbors, landlord, do you know if anyone has a similiar address?”  Here’s the point of this story.  I froze. I cried. I was shaking.  I was convinced that Stitch Fix was going to drain my bank account, causing a plethora of NSF charges, one week before Christmas.  Why?  FedEx said I would get a call by the end of the night.  I contacted them twice always promised that I would hear by the end of the night.  I stayed by the phone.  I didn’t go to Bunko. I was despondent. I waited up until midnight for the FedEx call that never came.  I ended up accepting my fate deciding that it wouldn’t be the first time my kids didn’t get anything for Christmas.

Today I went to work, head hanging low, deviled eggs and cranberry sauce in tow for the office. Brenda, my fellow Bunkoette was out today. Must have been one wild Christmas party.  Dammmit.  Anyway, I called FedEx from my office, yelled a bit and sent 3 emails to Stitch Fix.  I finally told Kathy (work friend) what happened and she said “you’re just catastrophizing”  I’m like WHAT?  Feeling immediate relief I said, “is that a thing”?  Catastrophizing?  And she said Yep, it’s when you assume a situation is going to have a catastrophic outcome. No shit…I do that all the time!!  And it’s a thing?  You mean I’m not just a loser?  I have a condition?  I can’t tell you how happy this made me.  I mean if I’m a loser I really just have to accept that.  BUT if I have a cognitive disorder, well then there’s a cure!!! Right?  Catastrophizing is a cognitive distortion, see?  Look here – you can look it up yourself:

I mean how great is this? I don’t know that I’ll ever be invited back to Bunko (catastrophizing) and I really do feel sad about that but knowing that I have something wrong with me is making me feel alot better.  And people at the office loved my deviled eggs.  So there’s that.

As you might imagine I continued thinking about my newfound disorder during the day. Happily seeing where it does and doesn’t apply. I don’t catastrophize about everything but I am seeing patterns where I do.  I would say in most areas of my life I do NOT catastrophize but anyone that read my blog last year when I moved in with mom, well let me tell you, I was the epitome of catastrophizing. Kinda rolls off the tongue when you say it out loud doesn’t it?  Catastrophizing.  Anyway, when I told Robin the word she was a little excited too and went right to her computer to Google it.  She said “I do that too!”  That Kathy, she was the star of the office today.

I can hear Diane now saying “you’re not crazy for catastrophizing, you’re crazy for being happy about it.”  Right Di?  Well once you know something you can do something about it.  I can stop it.  I can say, wait a minute…don’t do that thing that you do.  You know, going right into talking to myself…piling up the crazy.

Stitch Fix sent me three lovely emails today and the end result is they are sending me another box. No problem they said, don’t worry about it, the other box was lost in transit, blah blah.  The box could have been taken off the porch.  I mean it is Christmas and central Florida is….well let’s just say it’s not like it’s unheard of, but so far I get my Purple Carrot boxes with no problems ever, I’ve had several other deliveries and no problems so I just want them to try sending it again to my house.  They are NOT going to drain my bank account.  I am not going to be punished at all.  I could have gone to Bunko. I could have slept and not waited up for that stupid FedEx call that never came”  Well, wait if I wouldn’t have catastrophized in the first place then I wouldn’t have the condition.  Then I’d have nothing to celebrate today.  Hmmm.

The brain is quite an anomaly.  🙂




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There was a curb

There was this curb, covered in grass – you know like the grass on the edge of the sidewalk had grown over the curb so it looked like it was all one level.  Ya know?  Well it wasn’t one level so my ankle didn’t know to take a bigger step down or out and it just twisted all up not knowing what to do since the depth of the angle didn’t register in my brain because my brain didn’t see it.  Does that sound like an old person to you?  Does it?  I don’t think so – I think it sounds like a sidewalk that needs edged.  Well the very good news, in my opinion, was I was only down a short time.  Not even 5 minutes.  A couple rubs on the side of my foot – some deep breaths and up I went.  I was actually very surprised that I was up and walking almost immediately.  Then there was a twinge in the other knee – so if I stepped wrong on the right ankle and caught myself with the left leg then that knee was screaming in pain surprising only myself that I didn’t go down completely.  But this young body of mine continued with my chore and then I even went to Publix after that and did some shopping, dropped ice off at my boss’s house and then  I went home. Not gonna lie, as the day wore on I was very shaken up and was getting sorer by the minute. I laid around, watched an episode of Dark on Netflix (anybody else watching?) and then took myself to Urgent care. …just in case.  They at first said no broken bones but called me back later and said the radiologist saw something broken – something small in the foot that they can’t do anything about anyway.  So basically I’m perfectly fine staying off my feet. And I can get around as needed.  I just decided today I would stay home, as needed, feet up and work remotely…or not.  The only reason I’m bringing this up is that I have had quite a few comments about this fall being related to my age.  The doctor made a comment that he was surprised this was my first fall. REALLY?  I mean doesn’t that seem asinine?  I didn’t see the curb?  How does that have anything to do with my age?  And why am I the only one super impressed that I didn’t do more damage, and that I did get back up, and like my ankle didn’t break in 6 places?  I mean really…I think I should be getting accolades instead of these “old” comments.  Although I don’t wish ill will on people in general, I do hope a 20 year old goes down on that curb, at some point soon, so I can say SEE?  Age. Seriously.

Yesterday I woke up, not sore as I was expecting, popped quite a few Advil just in case and took a drive, not like a random drive, I had some place I had planned to go before the tumble.  I’m going to say this about Florida… It is a crazy place to live.  I mean Central Florida is where you just don’t want to get out of your car or stop to pee.  Although I did stop to pee a couple times – and had to make three stops before I found a working restroom at a gas station.  The further you get from the coast, the more you seem to want to lock your doors, head down, and get to your destination.  But then you come to a place like Ocala where there are horse farms like you’ve never seen in your life. It’s absolutely beautiful with rolling hills even. I mean rolling in Florida! That’s a sight in itself. And grass, green mowed grass. Acres and acres of these beautiful rolling hills.  Even growing up in a town like Sewickley (or Goochland County, Virginia) where money abounds, there is nothing like Ocala horse farms.  Check out some properties: I mean the prices aren’t bad.  Compared to some of the beach homes I’ve seen, or prices in California, a lot of these properties are a steal. I would live in Ocala in a heartbeat, if I had horses, a barn manager, a trainer, someone to tack up the horse for me when it’s time to ride, and at least 20 million dollars.

I also drove past this place.  I want to know – who is their customer?  I’m going to go back someday when I can walk around but I mean really, who is their customer?  (You might have to zoom in to see)

I’m excited to be home today and blog mid day like I used to.  Having a day off, mid week, no TV on…yet…although I’m thinking of trying a few more of that Dark series on Netflix, now that it’s mid day and I won’t scare myself to death.  I decorated my apartment already.  I’m still a bit sad of what I don’t have anymore.  I was looking for a few favorite things last night which apparently didn’t make it to this place but those pangs of loss are getting less and less impactful all the time and I’m happy to have saved anything at all.  I once again have a tree that I can look at at night when I’m watching TV.  It’s a start.


Well, I have all this time to blog and really not a lot to say.  And my blog site is all messed up. I can’t log in my usual way and am posting this in a wonky way,  and not sure what is going on there and it’s causing me undo stress to think about it 🙂 So maybe I’ll use this time to send out a few books to prospective agents.  Maybe the Gemini Full Super Moon (which is now) is when I’ll be lucky and get a taker.  Maybe today is the day.


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He smokes She smokes

I’m off sugar again.  Well except for yesterday.  It hit me the same as when I quit smoking.  You know one of those habits where you know you should quit but you get too much enjoyment out of it so you keep going asking in your prayers for the strength to stop and then you just keep smoking or drinking or eating those hostess cupcakes.  Go ahead and laugh but an addiction by any other name…wait…what comes after that?  And addiction by any other names is….??

Well anyway, I started smoking (cigarettes) when I was really young.  I mean REALLY young.  I was in 6th grade.  I remember walking to Mikes Cash Market, which was probably a mile from my house, on a back road, in 6th grade, with Ellen, who was also in 6th grade. Nobody cared that it was a secluded country road and we were what 11?  I mean first of all I walked there without a thought.  My kids wouldn’t walk to the corner.  Second I was ELEVEN!  Perfectly acceptable behavior in our part of the world (the country) – not to mention that someone at Mikes Cash Market was selling me cigarettes as an 11 year old. I remember asking my dad, still in 6th grade, if I could smoke in front of them.  I mean can you just imagine????  Stephanie and I were talking about memories last weekend.  Sometimes you remember a snapshot, like a photograph, and other times you remember like a movie. She has some hilarious movie type memories.  But those are her stories, for her blog.  This memory I have of asking my dad if I could smoke is a movie memory.  He was calm and went to this little night stand he had and pulled out a white cloth handkerchief and blew smoke into it so he could show me the brown nicotine that goes into your system, which meant absolutely nothing to me.  So I asked again, “can I smoke or not?” – then he said no.  I don’t even think he was that surprised that I asked.  He probably smoked at 11 years old too.  I was pissed.  How dare he tell me no.  I mean aren’t I a grownup?  Dam parents.

I continued to smoke for many years…well not as many as some, but it certainly defined me for many years.  My friends smoked…and again I’m remembering a time when Diane and I went through the yearbook and picked out “he smokes, she smokes” photos. I think we may have been drunk.  I’m not sure about that but everytime she brings up “he smokes she smokes” we crack up.   So many smoking memories.  Jean and I smoked Virginia Slims, then I went to Marlboro’s and I finally ended on Marlboro Lights.  When I first started smoking I tried Kool’s.  Do they still make those?  They were nasty.

I remember picking butts up off the ground (butts, for those of you that don’t know, are already smoked cigarettes that someone threw out while there was still perfectly good nicotine left) –we’d pick those up off the ground and smoke em.  Unless they were menthol.  Daddy smoked Camels.  They didn’t have filters.  He was lucky I didn’t like them or I would have stolen most of his; although on occasion I would.

In highschool (and junior high) we would smoke in the bathroom at school.  I got sent to the office in junior high for smoking in the bathroom, but that could have been for skipping class too. Not quite sure.  In Jean and Stephanie’s highschool (they were in a different school district) they actually had a smoking lounge, in highschool.  I visited their school once.  I couldn’t believe it.  Smoking out in the open, in front of grownups!!.  I think all my friends smoked back then.  I’m trying to think if there was anyone that didn’t.  I’m sure there were people who didn’t smoke but they probably didn’t want to hang out with me.  Susie might have been a non smoker come to think of it.  All of my friends that went to the Academy (private school, I went to public) would tell their parents that the cigarettes they found in their rooms were mine.  You know that white trash public school girl.  But I found out years later that Linda’s mom knew better.  Parents are smarter than we give them credit for.

In college everyone but Sandy smoked.  Everyone.  It’s a bonding activity. You bum cigarettes off of each other, then someone else lights it. It’s a group activity.  Almost every picture of me back in the day I have a cigarette in my hands.  I don’t even remember thinking I was cool smoking, it was just such a part of me.  I never even considered quitting.

I married Dennis in 1982 – pregnant in 1982 also (don’t judge) – the doctor never told me to quit smoking.  He just said “don’t increase..but you don’t have to quit” – I smoked the entire pregnancy.  I smoked when I nursed.  I know it’s sickening, but it just never occurred to me to stop.  No one ever suggested it.  Zachary (that son born in 1982) once commented that he was short because I didn’t let him drink milk.  I was like WHAT?  It was definitely because I smoked.  Milk…pishawww…

Well anyway, all this background to say that when I was in my 20’s , married, with a child, my Dad started asking me when I was going to quit smoking (still never smoked around them) and I said “I’ll quit when you quit” knowing full well that was never going to happen.  Then he died.  Massive heart attack and all that unhealthy stuff that goes along with it.  He was 58.  The day of his funeral when I woke up I didn’t want a cigarette.  So I went with it.  When it would be time to have a cigarette I would think to myself…hmmm, not really wanting one…and then I would go longer…and it lasted three years.  A work colleague of mine at the time said when he quit he wanted a cigarette everyday, for 10 years.  I think he might have started up again.  I thought about it a lot but I can’t say that I wanted one everyday…

After 3 years though I was starting to slip, a drag here and there, and then this weird thing happened with Dennis (my husband) where he ended up in the hospital with this crazy condition called epiglottitis. The doctors said he could die in seconds…I was young, I was scared, and I couldn’t believe that I was mad at him for making me (he didn’t make me, he said he’d drive himself, but I took him out of guilt) take him to the hospital at 4 in the morning just because he had a sore throat.  Well it turned out to be this life threatening thing and had he not gone to the hospital he would have died.  DIED.  I started full-out smoking, right then and there, in the waiting room while he was getting an emergency tracheotomy.  Smoking in the waiting room.  In a hospital.  Have you seen the TV Show This is Us?  You need to watch the first episode (there’s a connection to this topic..I’m not just writing random things).

Anyway, I continued to smoke for about 9 months and this time I couldn’t stand it.  I couldn’t stand the way I smelled the way my hands smelled, it was making me sick.  I quit again and have never wanted another once since.  Even the thoughts of it make my lungs hurt.  BUT I loved it once.

I’ve given up a lot of things.  I believe I’ve blogged about this before.  Smoking, drinking, … but sugar is the hardest.  Obviously I have an addictive personality.  I was not able to only smoke when I drink (the envy of all smokers who wish they had that restraint) – I’m not really able to drink just a couple drinks…well maybe I can, but more than often I couldn’t…and I can’t eat just one Hostess cupcake.  If I open the pack they’re both goin down.  I know sugar is bad for me.  It’s bad for everybody but it’s been hard for me to quit.  And obviously I have to quit totally.

A couple of weeks ago I got through a day without wanting something sweet.  So I kept going.  3 days and supposedly you’re cured. It’s been 3 weeks, but I slipped yesterday so I have to start over. I will admit it’s easier after a couple of days but cured?  I don’t know that’s ever going to happen.  I already think I look better, I don’t know that I feel better as I didn’t really feel bad before, but I’m having less guilt about my unhealthy decisions. It’s a social thing though.  I mean who doesn’t like to go out for ice cream, split a dessert, talk about the delicious chocolate they had or bring in a cake they made?

Most of my friends have quit smoking. Most of them. Well some of them.  None of my friends have quit drinking to my extent but most of them will still hang with me.  But no desserts?  I mean really…everyone is going to be sick of my “not doing that anymore” rhetoric. I’ve been lucky to never have lost a friend over my quitting behaviors but I really might lose friends with this one.  Is it worth it?

Tomorrow I’m meeting Jennifer in Orlando.  She taught me how to inhale (cigarettes) when we were in 7th grade.  She was so much more mature than me. I have that memory as a movie memory as well.  We sat on her bed and she gave me inhaling instructions.  I’m pretty sure we had the window open, like you know, thinking that no one would know we were smoking.  Well anyway, after her excellent instruction I became a pro smoker.  It was a proud day.

Maybe tomorrow we can have a healthy quinoa salad with kale and carrots.  And for dessert share a smoke.  Just for old time’s sake.

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State of Affairs

I’ve been thinking again.  I know, it’s going to be one of those kinds of blogs.  It all started because I was thinking about the blog..and my blogging and not blogging and what I blog about or don’t blog about and I was thinking about my cousin Ira. (hi Ira) Ira is my cousin but he really is my mom’s first cousin.  I mean he’s my cousin too but I did not meet him until maybe 5 years ago.  He’s a few years older than my mom, looks so much like my Grandad to me, at least he reminds me of him, not sure he actually looks that much like him. Mom says when they were kids, she felt like Ira kept an eye on her, not too close, but kept an eye out walking to the bus stop that was miles away from the house for instance. And then when she lost her sight and needed help again he’s there.  I mean doesn’t that make you cry just a little?  To think about the people who come in and out of your life?  Especially relatives.  I’m thinking about Zachary and how much he played with my sister’s kids and his other cousin when he was a growing up and he has absolutely no contact with them now.  I wonder if when he’s 80 there will be contact again? Ya know? I have/had a similar relationship with my cousins.  I remember them from when I was little –like before 10 – and then nothing until I was about 20 – and then nothing again for maybe another 10 years, and then we had the big family reunion about 5 years ago.  Well anyway, I don’t know my cousins very well but I love them because they’re family.  At least that’s how I feel.  But I digress because this wasn’t supposed to be about cousins.  See how I am?  I get so sidetracked when I type.

I was thinking about Ira because he reads my blog and when he comments he makes very thoughtful comments and has complimented me on being open and honest…stuff like that…and well lately I haven’t been sharing any heartfelt stuff.  Not that my renewed interest in the male species isn’t heartfelt  but I guess maybe I should share this whole being thrown alone into the wilds of Florida experience and update my 5 readers (down from 20) on how it’s progressing. I have met a few people on this path of mine that have commented on how brave I am to be here, all alone, knowing no one etc.  I don’t know how brave it is but it can be trying at best. I attribute a lot of the success (for lack of a better term) of this experience on having so many different experiences.  This is what I thought about today…let me be more specific…for your weekend reading pleasure.

I have always had a lot of friends. I didn’t come here to make friends, which is good cause that’s not going so well, but at this stage of my life I’m not feeling like I need to find new friends.  Not that I don’t like new friends, it’s not that, but the fact that I don’t have any friends here yet doesn’t really upset me because I already have more friends than I can make time for.  So like I’m not sad or worried about that.

Now work, well my history in the work-a-day world has always been one of confidence.  I’ve never encountered a job I couldn’t do.  Well…maybe…there was this time I had a temp job and I couldn’t figure out how to print – computers were new at the time…give me a break…anyway I did walk out of that job at lunch. LOL.  That was a long time ago, obviously.  I mean I know how to print now at least. But moving here, I wasn’t worried about being able to perform in my job here in DeLand.  Now though, for the first time in my life ever,  I am a little worried about it just because it’s too’s literally a job that two people should be doing!  But I sucked it up and brought home stuff and stayed up working until 1 am last night and again today until noon or so, so I just have to quit being a baby and get it done and just do it..for now.

Men, well men, I’m not looking for one.  I won’t mind having one in my life again some day but for the first time in my life, ever, I’m not consumed with being in a relationship.  At least today.

The town is great in the way that there is always something going on. Today there is a music festival on the streets, there is a big homecoming something going on (Stetson’s homecoming) everything within walking distance.  On Halloween they closed the streets off downtown and all these people were out in costumes just walking around.  Bunch of kids dressed up.  I did walk through it just to check it out.  There’s also sky diving, there’s weekend Stetson football games (when they’re home), there’s parades, there’s craft shows, it’s really a happening place.  Of course I do none of it because I don’t have a friend…yet. (see above)  I mean I’ll walk through a craft fair but mostly I stay inside on my weekend, or go to the beach.  But just now I watched fireworks from my window.  They set fireworks off for Homecoming.  See?  I’m entertained enough.

My apartment isn’t ideal but I really don’t mind.  It’s ideal for me at this time.  It’s kinda fun when I get all excited about buying myself a new pan, which I only do when there’s a recipe that requires me to have a different pan than I have now.  I mean it’s stupid but to me it’s fun. I have everyone at work cheering me on with my pan purchases.

I’m fortunate to have a whole lot of time to think about this kind of stuff, that is when I’m not watching my shows.  In education, in higher ed anyway, there is a lot of time after an assignment when educators are asked to “reflect” on their experiences.  My job specifically has me building surveys for people to reflect on their experiences.  This year I learned the word PREflection where you’re supposed to think about what you expect to learn before you reflect on what you have learned.  Sheesh…a lot of thinking.  Based on that mindset I am probably exactly where I need to be.

I am at the midterm of my life and I’ve been given this chance to reflect on what I’ve experienced so far.  Kinda like “go to your room and think about what you did Missy!!” Kinda like that.  I don’t know that I’m being punished, I mean I really do know that I’m not being punished, but I did have to have things taken away from me in order for me to just stop and think.  I think about the big picture things now like permanence.  I think about permanence a lot, and how fleeting and fast time is.  I am surprised that I am so nostalgic for many things. I’m sure empty nesters go through that a lot.  I surprise myself though missing my kids, missing my dogs, missing Fair Oaks, missing living in Moon Township and the fall sounds of Robert Morris sports that I would hear at my apartment or living downtown and walking around the Point on the weekends.  And of course I miss Palm Harbor and Treasure Island and floating in the Gulf and walking on the beach and everything that went with that.  Well I could go on and on but I wonder if I miss things so much, why do I leave?  Why do I change?  Why did I leave my apartment in Moon Township?  Obviously there are circumstances that are inevitable and we need to change with them. Kids grow, dogs die, but there are a lot of other choices that I’ve made that I question now.  Not so much regret, but just reflect on 🙂 That’s probably the first essay question on the midterm the universe is offering me now. Question #1.  Why don’t you stay put? (PS – there is no right answer)

I think about what kind of friend I am, what kind of friend I want to be.  What kind of new friends do I want to hang out with?

I think about what kind of house/home do I want?  Do I care about a “home” like I used to?  I’m down to what I would call the bare minimum, the bare minimum for me, but do I even care?  Ya know?  Like what do I care about in a home?

This is the gift I’ve been given.  The gift of reflection.  Sure I’m lonely sometimes, not really though, I mean I’m back to talking on the phone a lot, but I wouldn’t mind having someone to hang out with on occasion…but back to now, now I’ve been given the gift of time. My job keeps me busy enough that I don’t wallow in this stuff and my detachment from any outcome gives me perspective.  I have time to think.  Sure thinking at the beach would have been nice too, but…I digress once again!

I think my purpose here in DeLand, my goal in the short term is to get back to being self-sufficient. Apparently not too quickly, but still. That’s what I gave up in my last chapter. Not my independence.  I never felt I gave that up, but I did give up being self-sufficient. I’d give that up again in a heartbeat, BUT for now I need to get back on my feet on my own. That’s what this chapter in my life is about (I think).  I mean that whole issue is a reflection question in itself isn’t it?  Being self-sufficient or being financially supported? I reflect on giving back too. Like how to pay those times back? Not will I ever get the money to pay Chase bank back, or send money to people who gave me money (although won’t that be nice someday?) but more specifically how do I pay the world back for helping me get through that?  When I get back on my feet do I donate to charities?  Do I go online and give $20 or $200 to a random go-fund me page?  Maybe a 3 bedroom house on the beach where friends and family can come stay is a pay back option? More reflection and savings needed there for sure.

I really do feel like something good is coming up – at least something new and possibly big. Retirement is only a heartbeat away.  I think about that a lot.  I mean A LOT.  I am weirdly excited to get there.  I don’t want to wish away these times, like I am so apt to do, but I just have this feeling that the best times are yet to come.  It’s my PREflection.  I expect that I’m going to be having a lot of fun when those days come but for now I will just be happy to reflect on what I’ve done to this point.

So that’s all, some soul-searching stuff to share. I’m not sad. I don’t hate my job on most days, sooomme days I think wtf, but most days I’m fine, I’ve got the beach, I got my friends at a distance and I have my new pet lizard.

Seriously I have this lizard that I kinda like having around.  It started with me trying to figure out how to get him out of the house but he got away from me of course and then was hanging on the window blinds and I told him that we would figure it out in the morning, just stay out of the kitchen.  The next morning I checked on him and he was still on the blinds but after my shower he was gone. Sooo, I figured he got out.  A couple of days later I get the mixer out to make banana bread (for work) and there he was on the mixer.  We were both stunned.  When I told him that I specifically said to stay out of the kitchen and he didn’t listen that now I guess he had to go, but I couldn’t catch him.  So I’ve decided to keep him.  I’m hoping he eats bugs because that’s what I’ve heard lizards do and I’m not feeding him, although I did put some water out for him the other day.  I’m not sure if it’s too much water and he could drown so I’ll have to research that.  He hangs out with me now in the kitchen although he still stays to the edges quick to run under that cupboard so I don’t drop something on him (I did that the other day…felt really bad) and now it’s like having a dog or a cat or a roaming baby again.  I’m always looking down so I don’t step on him.  HA!!  I haven’t named him yet.

Well anyway, I kinda like having him around.  And I’ll just let you all reflect on that!!


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There she is….

Part of my job is to organize events.  Actually it’s a big part of my job.  So today was one of our Spotlight presentations.  Terry, our speaker, had a video in his presentation about Pygmy rattlesnakes and the AV set up wasn’t really working for him to show the video.  Luckily he left the room offering he knew exactly what he needed to do.  That was great news for me because this AV stuff has gotten away from me over the years.  Honestly I know that it’s not hard but in my experience it’s always been someone else’s job.  While at Thomson we’d call in an AV service.  At Federated that was Carmen’s sole purpose.  Point Park I think IT would have fixed whatever, so I haven’t bothered to really pay attention.  I mean really, I just don’t care enough.  Although I’ve been trying to act like I do.

So I was sharing with Julia that we needed to add a HDMI cord to our “meeting” box that we carry from meeting to meeting when here comes Terry back into the room with a helper.  Luckily we know to start setting up 1/2 hour before the presentation for reasons just like this.  It takes time to get that AV stuff up and running.  Plus there’s lunch.

So anyway, in comes Terry with the most beautiful human being (man) I have ever seen, prompting me to become even more interested in the ins and outs of AV business, all of the sudden. Although I didn’t realize it at the time I now know I did not take my eyes off of him. Just blatant staring. I’m not sure if my mouth was gaping open…I can’t be sure. It was probably extremely embarrassing for him.  I’m going to guess he is probably in his late 30’s…probably the age of my son Zachary.  Which normally would make me sick to my stomach but I don’t know, I think after 35 it’s kinda like we’re all the same age now aren’t we?  Well anyway, I could not take my eyes off of him because I just couldn’t get over how good looking he was. I kept looking for a flaw.  Bad teeth?  Hole in his face? Disfigured somewhere?  Nope.  Perfect. PERFECT.  So what does it all mean?

If you were my friend Diane, I think what would pop into your head is “there’s my Lynny.” I am not dead inside.  I am sure this man, whoever he is will keep one of those “stay away from this woman” pictures of me up on his desk.  But honestly I’m not even that embarrassed.  As a matter of fact if I see him again I think I’ll just admit to him that he’s the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen.  I bet he hears it all the time.  If not it is my duty to strike up a conversation and tell him, perhaps over lunch. When I was in college at Carlow, one of our nuns said she thought it was kinda like a sin to not give someone a compliment when a compliment is due.  And I’m no sinner.

I will have to go through my calendar and see what meeting I’ve scheduled is coming up.  I am sure to have AV issues and have to call someone.



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You’re how old?

I may have mentioned this before, I have young-looking genes.  I know this because I have always been told I look a lot younger than I am.  My mother apparently has the same gene. A friend of mine at our senior dinner (yes senior in high school) said to me “if you could guarantee that you look like your mother at that age I’ll marry you” – well it went something like that.  Stupid boys, but compliment to my mom and her young genes that a high school boy thought she was hot.

So in my late 20’s people thought I was late teens,  late thirties, late 20’s and so on.  Remember the post where I said I could get a rich man because I had a young face?  Well those types of statements are based on my past experience with comments received throughout the years.  Soooo many comments about how old my son is and how young I look (he’s 35 next month!  Yikes!) One time he was so pissed because someone thought we were a couple. He was highly incensed!  He was probably like 22 at the time.  Great compliment for me though. I don’t think much about how old I look because I’ve always assumed/taken for granted that I look younger. I mean I look like I look but I’ve just thought other people think I look younger.

There’s this program through our health insurance where you can earn points (and cash and prizes) for doing particularly healthy things.  Who doesn’t like cash and prizes ya know?  So I sat down and signed up for it last night.  It takes you through a whole bunch of questions about how healthy (or unhealthy) you are.  Then you can sign up for missions (i.e. goals) and get points etc.  I sat lazily on my chair and lied about how active I am.  HA!  Not really, I was pretty honest.  Honest enough to get an age estimate based on whatever I entered of 65.  SIXTY FIVE!  An outrage.

This morning when I got to work a few of my floor mates were in the conference room happily chatting around a fresh loaf of Irish Soda bread, still warm, that Carol made and brought in.  Somehow that Rally thing came up – perhaps because I was showing how many steps I walked today as I walked to work, showing off my steps that my phone actually logs (not my broken fitbit)  Anyway, I then shared the story about signing up and how the age came back I was 65.

Dead silence.  Everyone nervously looked at each other or in Sidney’s case eyes to the floor.  I scanned the room and realized nobody knew how old I was but no one was saying “you don’t look that old” – NO ONE.  So I had to say “I’m not that old!!  Come on…!!!   Sidney said he knew better than to say anything or ask. Carol just said her age came up as one year younger. That’s it.  Even after I said I’m not that old still noone said  “you don’t look that old”  65?  Really?  Do I look 65?  WTF?

It’s not that 65 looks bad – at least not now that I’m only 6 years away.  Someone 65 is my age but doesn’t it just give you/me a stomach ache?  I was sharing my story with Robin who works downstairs who I know is close to my age – I asked her to be honest and tell me if she knew how old I was.  Stupid question and you know she was never going to be honest. She guessed 55.  So in reality  probably thinking low 60’s. But then she told me not to worry, she just got test results back that said she has the metabolism of a 99 year old.  HA!

Resche, another floor mate, recently said he liked my new glasses.  Said they made me look young and hip.  I said 35?  He said ehhh no.  45?  He just walked away.

Well I guess the past few years of stress and lack of sunscreen has taken it’s toll.  I mean I am excited about retiring…which is not that far away…but looking like retirement age?  I just thought I’d still get that “you don’t look like you’re old enough to retire” thing.

Some say you should wear your age proudly.  Having never that experience of looking older than I am it is a new experience.  I am not sure it’s going to be one I’m going to embrace.  But I’ll give it a go…

same/same right?



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It’s not easy being me

I’ve been trying for weeks, or at least a week, to start a blog post. I have come up with a plethora of reasons not to write one, not to mention normally I wait for something to say. I can’t even pretend to have something to say.  I got nuthin. So, there ya go.

But then…but then…I’ve had this ongoing exercise debacle so I’m going to share that story and as long as we don’t bring up the Pittsburgh Steelers or Mike Pence I should get through this blog without being extremely negative.  Stupid Ben…five interceptions….seriously…

I have always tried to incorporate exercise in my life.. I’m not consistent, but I try.  Even when I lived in Miami 1980,  I remember finding an exercise class at some high school gym and learning step aerobics for the first time. I have gone to exercise classes and various gyms throughout the years. Up and down.. and I have been really trying to get back to “up” these days.  It’s hard to get started and it’s REALLY hard to get re-started.  It’s way too easy to get off schedule.

I didn’t join the YMCA here – I talked about it and although I went a few times, the hurricane disrupted my rhythm (and bank account) and so I thought I’d just figure out how to use a video and work out at home.  I’ve worked out to videos for years. Hard to believe but I have been pretty disciplined with those, on and off,,,I’ve just been off for a very long time. And now I have this great selection of yoga videos and one Jane Fonda video. But I lost my video/blue ray DVD player in the storage wars. For weeks I’ve been pricing DVD players on Amazon. It’s as much as a YMCA membership. I couldn’t justify it.

I knew that I needed to exercise in the bedroom because the floors are tile out here in my other room and are fakewood in the bedroom, so softer in there for exercise. I also decided I needed a rug in there because that would be good for yoga. Right? (the rug was more than the DVD player)  Then I found my Chromecast gadget that I got 7 years ago when I first thought of cutting the cable. (finally a storage war save)  It’s a neat gadget that will cast what is on your computer screen to your TV.  After I remembered I had that (and surprisingly found it right away) I thought that would be perfect. I can leave my computer set up where it usually is and I can cast to the TV in the bedroom. Perfect right? No extra cords, no space issues. Finally a solution.

A Chromecast gadget works on wi-fi. My wi-fi has been very spotty since the hurricane.  It cuts out almost every night around 9 pm. I couldn’t do the video cast because the wi-fi wasn’t working consistently.  So I finally called my internet service provider. They came out the next day to fix it.  All of this so far has taken weeks, maybe even months. I actually ordered the rug before the hurricane and it was delivered during hurricane week while I was in Virginia…Actually I wanted to order it in August but delayed my order because they were going to deliver it when I was in Pittsburgh so I ordered it after I got back from Pittsburgh after Labor Day, and then they ended up delivering it when I was away in Virginia…anyway anyway – this gives you an idea how long this whole getting-back-to-exercise has been going on.

Right after the cable guy left my house, I put the Jane video in and tried the Chromecast.  It didn’t work of course. Why would it? But I kept up the momentum and called the support line for Chromecast.  I was on the phone over 45 minutes with their experts trying to figure out what was wrong, who then connected me back to my internet provider who couldn’t even find an account for me and while I was on hold it starts working. I hung up on them.  And even though it is now 9:30 at night I was so excited I decided to do my Jane Fonda video using my computer, casting to the TV in my bedroom.  Like magic.  It was a long time coming and I was ready to get back into it. It’s impossible to do Jane without smiling and being taken back 30 years.

Less than half way though my first do-wop dance routine the sound quits working – the picture doesn’t sync with the sound anyway when it was working although now there is no sound and is very jerky and disjointed and very blurry. So between running back and forth to the kitchen to turn the sound up – trying not to quit just because the sound and picture don’t match up even remotely close, I got through it. I then decided to see what I could find through Netflix, and give up on the Chromecast idea (not sure why this never occurred to me before).  I switched the bedroom TV to the Amazon Firestick which takes forever to load (I hate that thing, except when it works) and decided to just buy an exercise DVD through Amazon and play it on the TV, without having to worry about a DVD player, a computer, a battery, or an HDMI Cable.  The Firestick bootup process is so slow to load had I not recently gone through menopause and find that I’m mostly zen (due to lack of hormones) I would throw that damn Firestick through the window or at least step on it multiple times crushing it to a pulp while yelling obscenities. I calmly waded through the maddeningly slow “app” found another Jane video and bought the dam video online thinking that now I’ll have two Jane options if and when I get the system working.  Turns out I bought the exact same Jane video.

You may be thinking, why don’t you play the DVD in the computer and hook the computer directly to the TV? Well first of all I couldn’t find my HDMI cable and the computer doesn’t have a battery anymore so I have to unplug/replug whenever I move it to.  It’s annoying to say the least since it takes so long to reboot.  I also don’t have space in the bedroom beside the TV to put the computer to plug it in and I don’t have an open plug. But determined, I bought an HDMI cord this past weekend anyway, in anticipation of one day getting everything to work. I could also buy a battery for the computer to make it more convenient to move the computer around, couldn’t I? And then I wouldn’t have to worry about the plug situation. The battery cost about as much as a new DVD player or as much as a YMCA membership. The HDMI cord was only $7.

In the meantime, while exercising, the carpet that I bought specifically for exercising (and it’s adorable) was sliding around so realized I needed an under rug non-slidey thing.  The carpet is 3×8 (like a runner) – the under slider thing I got turned out to be like 2×3..maybe. Very small. I figured it would still keep it from sliding. I was wrong. I also realize where that piece of underthingy is, it’s a lot softer under my feet so I really should buy a bigger one that fits the whole carpet. I also don’t want the carpet to wear unevenly.  So now I don’t want to use the carpet when I exercise and decided that until I buy a bigger under carpet padding thing I should just roll the carpet up and exercise on the wood floor.

Here’s your visual:

See? Where am I going to put the computer?
no room again
don’t you love it?

Tonight I grabbed $10 and went to yoga down the street.  I drove one block to get there.

It’s not easy being me.


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Doing my part to save the earth

When you live alone, as I do, with very little to do, you tend to start analyzing things you do.  Okay, replace all those “you’s” with “I” – “I” am analyzing even more, if you can believe it, what I do.  And I have come to realize that I hate to waste things.  It all started back in the day with Christmas trees.  Going way back, 30 years, Dennis and I would go cut one down, in the freezing cold, take it home, decorate it of course, and in the end throw it over the hillside or in the woods.  That was okay because it was like composting.  Dust to dust and all….  But then in Fair Oaks, without Dennis, I would buy real trees, Zachary hated, and I mean hated, to decorate it, we’d cut our arms all up getting those lights just right but at least to me it would be worth it. Every night I would sit by that tree, watching TV or whatever all the while adoring my tree. I loved my Christmas trees.  But then, it would end up on the curb.  ON THE CURB!!  I mean first you ask this tree to give up it’s life, but then you decorate it and admire it for a few weeks giving it the main focus of your life, I mean that tree is living high in the scheme of things and then you thank it for giving up it’s life by leaving it on the curb…with the garbage.  I couldn’t stand it.  Just couldn’t take it.  So I switched to an artificial tree.  Yes I did.  I couldn’t stand wasting that trees life.  I have been much happier with artificial.

And flowers?  I have always had a dead zone, in every house I’ve ever owned.  You know how you buy those cute little plants to brighten up your house, your table, or someone gives you as a gift and then they die?  I can’t stand throwing them in the garbage.  So I always plant them.  I even started a dead zone at my mom’s last year.  I checked on it last week when I was up there.  I actually think something (a begonia) came up.  The Poinsettia didn’t look so hot.  I should probably make them into mulch better instead of those dead sticks sticking up out of the ground.  Well, next visit.  I mean it’s okay if they are in the ground dead, just not the garbage. And at least give them a chance, ya know?

I’ve mastered the reuse of vegetables, thanks to my friend Jean, who taught me that you take allll  the scraps and keep them in the freezer until the next time you make broth.  So now after I buy one of those rotisserie chickens I throw the whole carcass, together with a couple handfuls of veggies (now frozen) simmer a few hours and I’m not gonna lie, I make really good chicken broth with those scraps.  And I mean all scraps.  Skins of onions, ends of carrots, ends of anything, seeds of peppers.  I have read the ends have all the taste and nutrients.  Well anyway, I still feel a bit bad throwing out the veggies after the broth is made (at my mom’s they go in the compost) but I have yet to figure out what to do with the scraps after cooking.  Ellen, will chickens eat those?  Are there any nutrients left for them?

And I’ve been missing my juicer lately.  That thing was like a dinosaur though.  I rarely used it the last couple years – like maybe never, so when it came to losing it in the storage wars I was okay with it.  But when I first got it I loved making carrot and apple juice, throw in a lemon, it was like heaven.  Being that it’s fall now I’ve been making applesauce.  It’s apple season (up north) so while visiting my kids I made a big pot of applesauce with the apples from the farmer’s market.  I LOVE the farmers market (but you already know that) And then at my mom’s I made applesauce for her.  So I bought a big bag of apples at Wegmans, in Richmond, and brought them here and have been making (and sharing with Julia) more applesauce.  Normally, if I still had that juicer, I would take all those cores and skins and throw them in the juicer, with a lemon and lime (left over from all these Purple Carrot recipes) and drink that delicious juice.  But instead I saved all these apple scraps for Julia’s chickens.  I kept them in the refrigerator all weekend and was thrilled to know that I was going to Julia’s for a staff meeting this morning and I could take those apple scraps to her for her chickens and therefore not waste.

I looked pretty cute for work today.  Nice linen pants, a little sleeveless lacy top (still can’t figure out those damn bra straps) and then put on my shoes that are sparkly and cute.  I got the apple scraps from the refrigerator, scoured the house for a bag to transport them there (believe it or not I threw out all my bags pre- Irma incase the house got flooded I didn’t need all those wet bags – so I put them in the recycling…see how good?) anyway, found a bag for the apple scraps I so carefully saved.  Julia is happy to have the scraps but when I bring them I have to feed the chickens myself.  The coop is in the back of the yard (as most chicken coops should be)

I looked at my shoes, looked at the apples, looked at my shoes again…thought about the walk through the wet yard to the chicken coop and threw those apples right in the garbage.


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