Please bear with me…

I am hopelessly addicted to my shows on TV.  I hate this about myself at the moment.  I mean not this immediate moment, but I’ve been realizing that I’ve got to get away from it somehow.  My routine is work, home and as soon as I walk in the door I turn on the TV and I sit there until bed – well I make dinner with the TV on and THEN I sit there and watch it until bed. It’s bad! It’s really bad. Plus there’s nothing on – so I switch over to Netflix and the like and look for something on that…and well that’s even worse because then you just start binging because that’s a thing.  Binging.  Recently Jimmy got Hulu for me…so I had to check it out and on there I’m watching Deception, wait maybe it’s Perception. Yes Perception.I think.  Turns out it was a regular channel tv show for a while – I have 3 seasons to watch.  Then over to Starz where I started watching American Gods after I finished the book.  It’s good, weird but good and thank god I read the book, which was great (and weird) or I’d have no idea what it’s even about, plus the music/soundtrack is so bizarre I sometimes think I shouldn’t watch it before bed.  So I switched over to Counterpart also on Starz.  Last night I watched until 12:30 a.m. – then I did the dishes before going to bed because I’m wide awake from these shows. See what I mean?  A terrible downward spiral into TV land.  I have a couple of friends who are afraid of retiring because they think they’ll become slugs and just lay on the couch and watch TV (you know who you are) and of course I’ve always thought I’m above that as I have so many interests, my hospice work, my writing, a yoga class here and there and so where have I been every night of every day?  In the chair in front of the TV.  I don’t volunteer, I don’t go for walks – I go to yoga ONE night a week and every other moment?…in front of that dam TV. So tonight I said NO!  Do not turn on that TV…yet.  Write something dammit (while sitting in said chair.)  And well here I am, writing.  I had to get through my phone calls first.  I am on the phone a lot these days. It’s good to catch up and stay connected. But seriously how will I ever be a writer if I don’t write? And I am a writer! (right?) I’ve decided that I need to take this opportunity to write the nonsense, to practice the craft and when that story comes into my mind I’ll be ready.  But if I keep that TV on I’ll never be ready.

Okay well that’s the preamble. That got me to 7:49. I got home about 6 pm – I made dinner, cauliflower and chickpea somethings from Purple Carrot – already cleaned up from it, talked to Jimmy and my brother and well almost two hours with the TV off and I’ve written something.  But seriously I’m twitching a little.

How about an update (remember those?) I think things are moving forward and/or I’m settling in here in DeLand.  It seems contradictory, either you’re moving on or settling in, but in my case perhaps they are both happening simultaneously.  I have a couple of friends now – I know right?  We’ve been having lunch and going to yoga and well it’s fun to have new friends and all.  Oh this is kinda big, I’ve put my foot down at work and said “enough” – then of course I am very quick to say I’m not quitting and I love my job but seriously it is impossible for me to do it.  And I’ve been using my big words like “sustainable” and “turnover costs” and “cost-effective innovative solutions” and “strategic planning” and you know…like a grown up.  But seriously I’m going to burn out here and then there will be turnover and if I can’t do it then nobody can do it.  I think the burning out during the day has an awful lot to do with the chair sitting/TV watching vortex.  I feel pretty good about sticking up for myself – although I vacillate a lot between feeling “proud” for advocating for myself and feeling like a “baby” for saying something and feeling like a “failure” for not being able to do it all, but I think I’m going to stick with words like “proud” and “advocate” and “sustaining”…without whining. It’s my job as project manager to make sure the Center is staffed correctly isn’t it? Of course nothing will happen and I’ll continue to do it but steps.

In other great news, it’s back to beach weather and since I’m not yet “in” the ocean I’ve been heading over to New Smyrna Beach.  I have mixed emotions.  There’s an adorable couple neighborhoods where I’ve been parking and at certain times of the day the surf is up to the steps and the beach is deserted. This is my kind of beach:

On Saturday it looked like this.  I shit you not this is the same place:

I mean I don’t get it.  I don’t understand the tides enough to know if it’s tide related, storm related or what the heck happens between the first group of pictures and the second.  It turns into an actual parking lot with cars on the beach and miles and miles of wide surf and you have to be careful not to get hit by a car while walking ON the beach.  But for now this is my beach. Once swimming season starts I have to pick a different location to avoid the “most shark bites capital in the WORLD” beach.  My beach routine consists of either Saturday or Sunday (I still have errands I need a day for)  I just jump in the car – head over – park, walk, sit, read or catch up on phone calls, then stop at this little restaurant before heading home.  I’ve decided I’m going to try everything on their menu before I change locations and move to my summer beach where the sharks don’t often…which will probably be back over to Stephanie’s and Pass-a-grille beach.

And let’s see do I have anything else to share?  Tomorrow night is a vigil in our town for the high school shooting victims.  It’s also laundry night AND I finally met a neighbor, after a year. Good news/bad news, she sells some product, Arbonne, which she’s going to drop off tomorrow night. I think I’ll put in a load of laundry, see if she wants to walk into the town with me while it’s washing and do a little vigil or protesting or whatever it is going to be before running back home to put the load in the dryer and trying some new face cream.  Perhaps tomorrow night will be another night without TV until at least the laundry is done.  Look at how cured I am already.  As I sit here looking at the clock wondering if it’s been long enough… wondering how many shows I can get in before going to bed, where I am reading Origins by Dan Brown.  So here’s a dilemma.  If I read in the daytime I always fall asleep.  When I read at night it keeps me up.

I see I have a lot of writing practice to do before I’m ready for book #2.  Perhaps, perhaps, I will drag you all down along with me while I practice.


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I was wondering…

I was thinking of making the title of today’s blog Friday Blogday…doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like Fireball Friday does it? I imagine not as much fun either. I’m also trying to write this while watching the news which is impossible as I’m unable to focus on either thing.  However, that said I am very sad for the highschoolers in my state who were/are victims of the latest shooting.  In case you’re wondering, that school is not near me.  About 3+ hours south.  Tragic no matter where you live. And now I’ll just turn the TV off because the remote stopped working.

I’ve made some decisions in my life, believe it or not, throughout the years.  What’s notable in this case for this blog/story is there are, at certain times in my life, when I feel “torn” over which way to go.  Finally I will get to a point where I take a stand and decide “I’m going this way” – I finally make a decision.  And then without a doubt I am presented with the exact opposite of what I have just decided.  I mean like within days, sometimes minutes of making my decision.  So for instance going back to when I sold my house in Fair Oaks, after a year on the market and not selling I decided that at the end of my realtor agreement which was going to expire in a week or so, I decided that I would take it off the market, it wasn’t selling and I didn’t have to move. Literally with days left on the agreement my house sold. We had to renew the agreement to finalize the sale it was that close.  And the offer was so high it would have been financially stupid not to accept it.  But in my mind/heart I had changed my mind and was going to stay.  Ya know?  It’s like a “what just happened?” feeling.  When I was living in Virginia with mom last year I had just come to terms with and actually was feeling settled and happy with staying in the area and becoming a Virginian.  I had finally let go of the idea of moving back to Florida.  Within days, if not minutes of making that decision, I got the call for the interview for the job back in Florida, months after I had originally applied. My life is just crazy like that. It’s like my gods are effin with me. I’m not gonna lie, in the past it has really thrown me when this happens, but now I’m learning to laugh. I sometimes wonder why I even bother making a decision at all. I have come to accept without a doubt that I have a fate or destiny those gods have in mind for me.  It’s like god lets me try and make the right decision, seriously never gives me a heads up, just waits until I make the decision and then he/she’s like “nope…eh…wrong., you screwed this up …here do this..”  Of course with free will and all I could have always said “no” on the house sale. I could have said no to moving to DeLand and stayed in Virginia. I still had the choices. But since they weren’t “my” choices I knew they had to be the right ones. Ha!  I’m thinking about this (and sharing) because I recently made a couple of decisions that I’ve vacillated internally about for about a year and within 2 days of being settled on my decision at least one of them is teetering on not happening. It’s laughable. It really is. I can’t tell you of course because it’s still up in the air.  But aren’t you curious now?  Perhaps something to look forward to in the next blogs to come?

In the meantime here are some things I’ve been thinking about (without decision making).  Perhaps you have thought about these things too:

Why do short work weeks (4 days instead of 5) seem longer?

Why does the workday seem to last longer when you take a lunch break, as opposed to eating at your desk and powering through without one?

Did Cavemen and First men (GOT reference) have a sense of humor?  Did they have sarcasm?  Did they roll their eyes at something stupid?

Why do we hear more references to Atlantis than Lemuria?  Why do people discredit anything these days? Has history and Ancient Aliens taught us nothing?

Why is my lip disappearing?  Like where is it going? What was god’s plan with that? What exactly is this cosmetically disagreeable aging thing about?

On the other hand, how is it possible to look as good as Jane Fonda at 80 years old? Is there really something to exercise?

How can you simultaneously look better with a tan, but older with too much tanning? Why do I now look older without a tan?

Why are freckles cute when we’re young but ugly age spots when we’re old(er)?

Why do people with curly hair want straight hair and visa versa?

Why do I love sleeping in, but hate going to bed early? I love mornings, why can’t I change?

Why are there so many calories in Hershey kisses?

How do Gluten free cookies stay together without flour?  Are they less fattening?

If poor people or the less than 1% didn’t care about money, prestige and power; would the powerful lose interest?  If there was no one to impress or laud power over would that whole thing just go away? Would the have and have-nots stop being a thing?

Do you think if enough people decided “times up” in the work place it would spill over into other duties as assigned?  Why bother having a job description at all and then adding that? Why not say, “sit here and do what everyone asks you to do.”

How did hospitals/health care become these huge conglomerates in such a short time, since Dr. Selkovitz who still did house calls when my dad was sick? What’s going to be the next thing like that?

Where did all the Mayans go?  Why do we call them primitive people when clearly they were more advanced than we are?

Why do sprains take longer to heal than broken bones?

What do you think will be the next big thing since computers? Will anything surprise us anymore? Horses to cars – radios to TV’s – airplanes to rockets – then computers and cell phones – things previous generations could never have imagined.  Think about how even the simplest things like photos have evolved. Did anyone ever say back in the day “I bet one day you can take a picture with your phone and post it on something called the internet for the world to see in seconds.”  So many changes in our own lifetime. What is it we aren’t imagining that will happen next?  Isn’t it exciting to think about?

If I bought a pair of pants at Goodwill to wear on the beach, and then wear them to work, are they now considered work clothes so I shouldn’t wear them to walk on the beach?

Does anybody else see this cable cutting and extra channel thing becoming the same thing?  Pretty soon all the fees for Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Starz, Amazon Prime are going to equal the same amount as paying for cable TV.  It’s not like antenna TV. You still gotta pay for the internet too.

If being on your cellphone is dangerous on an airplane, why do some airlines offer free or paid wi-fi?  Is it less dangerous when you have to pay them for it?

And last but not least, why do I love to read a book and can think about doing at least 10 other things but will invariably choose to sit on this chair and watch TV?



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A tree by any other name…

Everyone knows how much I love Florida.  But do you know I also love trees?  While Weeping Willows have traditionally been my favorite the Spanish moss and sprawling oak tree is also very much in my heart.  I wrote in my diary, when I was 10, during an overnight stay in South Carolina, about how beautiful it was – I actually remember the trees over the lake when I was writing in that diary were the reason I thought it was so beautiful. Those huge oaks with the Spanish moss and living in the south is deep in my soul.  But that said, trees and warm weather aside,  I have been starting to think about moving back to Pittsburgh.  Not like looking for a job and packing it in yet but the thought crosses my mind every so often.  There’s no doubt I miss my kids, my friends and those darn babies. Visiting usually takes care of those home-sick pangs but sometimes it just seems like maybe it’s time to start thinking about going back. When I get thoughts like that what I like to do is keep going with it and see where it goes. Like when I was interviewing for this job here in DeLand it just kept coming together ya know?  So I just put those Pittsburgh thoughts back there in my head and decided to carry on with my life and see where it goes. If it’s meant to be I’ll get signs, I’ll get a job offer, something will happen. I don’t hate DeLand – I don’t hate anything – I just don’t love it here so I keep wondering if maybe I’m not supposed to be here. Shouldn’t I be loving it by now? Shouldn’t something be happening to ingratiate me?

Lori, a friend from Pittsburgh is visiting in the area and suggested we meet today in Mount Dora for an Arts Festival.  I have heard lovely things about Mount Dora but have never ventured over that way.  It’s in the middle of the state.  I never want to go further away from the beach if I don’t have to. Mount Dora is 45 minutes inland. So anyway,  now with a reason to go, friends to see and a day to look forward to I drove on over. Parked in someone’s yard for $10 and proceeded to walk into the biggest arts festival I have ever been to. Well maybe not ever…but still it was fabulous with really great art.  Lori and her friend and I met for lunch, delicious food, great restaurant overlooking the water (lake) and afterwards we proceeded to walk around.  After Lori and her friend left me I decided to stay and look a little longer for that special something. I wanted to buy something, a memento, something new. Initially I thought I’d buy a piece of beachy type art for this blank wall in my apartment. I’ve been looking for something for that spot for 9 months now. At one time I wanted an Egret there. But today I wasn’t finding anything at first, so I turned my attention to jewelry and thought maybe I’d buy myself a ring.  Then I came across a booth with photos of beautiful southern oak trees. Giant beautiful oak trees. One of the $3000 photos had this story about oak trees beside it:

Oak trees are symbols of physical and spiritual nourishment, transformation and liberation, sustenance, spiritual growth, union and fertility. The tree is a spiritual motif and framework, a map of conception and consciousness that brings together the temporal worlds of time, space and consciousness.

Okay that’s not exactly true, I don’t remember exactly what she had posted by the tree.  No photos allowed and my phone battery was dead…What she had posted was actually more beautiful than that excerpt I just copied from the internet, but that was the gist. And in that moment I knew, I knew this tree is a sign. I began the search then for an oak tree, one that I could afford, wandering up and down the streets of the arts festival. I envisioned this new artwork of a big oak tree (just one not a group) with the roots reaching down to the chair where I always sit watching TV. The roots reaching for me symbolize my search for connection with the Gods, getting my spiritual nourishment and representing my ongoing transformation into my new life all while sitting in my chair.  Perfect right?  A sign. I love clear signs like that.  Although I knew the tree symbolized my transformation and connection to spiritual growth etc., I didn’t know if maybe the tree also represented a move to Georgia, or maybe South Carolina? Like is my love of Florida and needing to live here over?  Maybe it’s a sign that the South is in my destiny just not Florida? After wandering for over an hour, and enjoying every minute of it, I knew another clear sign, there was no oak tree there for me. It was still a great day being happy with my new vision and happy to find a place in Florida that I never knew about and absolutely loved.

I stopped into Tuesday Morning, one of those bargain stores, to go the bathroom before coming home plus I thought just maybe they’d have an oak tree. You can get some really good finds in places like that, you just have to keep looking. The bathroom was out of order (not a great sign) but I still went to the wall art aisle and there it was. A picture really is worth a thousand words. Here’s what I bought:


The moral of the story.  I belong in Florida.  I’m not going anywhere. I love my Gods.


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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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