It all fits…somewhere…

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Immersed in my current obsession again this morning, another big jigsaw puzzle on my desktop. It’s one way to kick my brain cells into gear before noon, along with about a gallon of coffee, and the sunshine outside my windows.

Obsessions, like the rest of life, can add to our education if we’re paying attention. For today’s wake-up challenge I chose one with a semi-tough blend of colors and upped the percentage of oddball pieces, as well as the total number, and as I’m working away my stream of consciousness goes something like “Okay, that one might work, just try it. Wow, so close. So many pieces, but it’s one per spot, focus until you see it. Look for one at a time, just one, but if you run across one that goes somewhere else grab it,” which taken together strikes me as a rolling metaphor for life.

I give the piece shapes names: one that’s concave on all four sides is a squishy, the fun pieces are toys, the ones with droopy or proud tabs come with a ‘toon-peen warning. And there’s always an empty spot that doesn’t seem to have a match anywhere on the board, but toward the end, there it is. It doesn’t look like it could be right until you drop it in place…and then it’s a perfect blend. Subtlety is so easily missed…

Guess that was Granny Smith’s little homily for the day, make of it what you will. But do keep your eyes open for opportunities and sweet link-ups that can change the whole picture, and I wish you well with solving the puzzle that’s currently in front of you. MUAH!

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Easily distrac…

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discipline is hard

distractions claim too much time

have to set some rules

JSmith 02/21/2017

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How bad is your OCD?

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Over the years together Kimmers and I have gradually realized that we’re both assorted shades of OCD. His shows up, fortunately, as a desire for neat and clean so we’ve saved serious coin by declining to engage the services of a Professional Domestic Engineer since his Mom-&-U.S.Navy Training rendered him eminently qualified. He also prefers being alone in his kitchen while he works his magic according to nose and feel. It isn’t nice to interfere with the Zen, not to mention that it would be foolish, so staying out of the way and maintaining partial radio silence is no sacrifice on my part. I read yesterday that “he who feeds us is our personal god.” I’ll buy that, especially since Kim’s an entirely benevolent one and those are hard to find.

My OCDness is sort of what it looks like – oddness. Odd Cranial Disarray. That’s me up there with too many things taking up space in my brain, sorting priorities, trying to stockpile enough spoons for whatever’s ahead. When it all gets to be a little much I start asking myself what needs to go, either for a while or for good. This month it was my long-term addiction to Facebook, something that felt unbreakable until now. In a bold effort to rescue myself from the slough of despond over politics, which is to say daily life, I shut the door cold turkey on February 1 and the only thing I miss is comments from my real friends there. If I go back when March blows in it will be with a far less engaged mindset. No rush.

The most obvious clue that I’m at least a little OCD is that whatever toy grabs my interest and attention gets the “You’re my favorite thing in the world” treatment until the shiny wears off. Disclaimer: The preceding statement does not apply to people I love – distractions only.

First obsession I remember was learning embroidery from my grandma, making quilts with her, making my own clothes, and then in my little old lady days falling victim to the counted cross-stitch fever that took the civilized world by storm. It was fun, expensive, and I got good at it, but alas, in the end too much work for the eyes and neck muscles, so bye-bye trunkload of fabric, floss, and patterns, hope your next mistress isn’t so fickle.

Having grown too young at that point for needlework I got my first computer and the world was new again. It turned all that industrial-strength bookkeeping on the farm into a sweet walk in the pasture, and it was chock full of games, including an elaborate DOS setup that taxed all my brain cells even as it entertained. Then…years later, when I was even younger, social media burst onto the scene in all its primal glory and began its scorched-earth march to the sea, incinerating all in its path. And hasn’t it been a barrel of laughs, boys and girls? Still is, some days, and I’ll wander back soon, to touch base if nothing else.

I have fond memories of the adorbs farming app in the early days – I lived that silly game, fretted when my crops failed because I was, incredibly, away from the computer when they ripened, took pride in arranging everything just so. One day it dawned on me that I was exerting a godlike control unavailable to me as an actual farm wife and I quietly left it to the birds and bunnies. Then came Candy Crush, the game that ate my soul.

In my current iteration as an adolescent I’m bouncing from one fill-the-blocks app to another, working an endless selection of online jigsaw puzzles and crosswords, dabbling with Twitter, and still ending up with plenty of focused hours to write. Shocking how time-devouring Facebook alone is if you think you have to see every.single.thing that passes through your feed.

I started out to say something here but it got lost in the spaghetti, so let’s do this – if you have reason to think that you, too, may be eligible for the OCD Club, raise your hand, introduce yourself, and let’s have a meeting.

 

 

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“You’re faking it…”*

 

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Thursday was amazing – from morning ’til night I stayed busy with stuff people all over the civilized world do every day and never think twice about. Rolled out of bed at 8:00, had some coffee, got dressed, slapped a cap on my wild head, and strolled over to the barbershop, a distance of half a block plus an alley. After all that dedication on my part, my girl Shelby wasn’t in yet, so I turned myself right around and trekked back home.

Took a shower and spent the morning writing at my computer. After Kim got home from PickleBall we had lunch at Five Guys, went to Target where only he went in, stopped at the dry cleaners, Kim again, and he dropped me off for my haircut, after which I walked the block and an alley home again. Played on my computer a while, did a load of laundry, policed some clutter. Around 3:00 we went south again to Cielito Lindo, which sits that one alley I mentioned short of the barbershop, for Margaritas, chips & salsa, and forbidden queso. We were home and entertaining each other on our own balcony by 5:00, and asleep early, as in by 9:30pm.

That was a big ol’ mess of trivia and why in the everloving did I bother sharing it, you ask? Only because, since no good deed (or day) goes unpunished I woke up at 3am in full-on fibro meltdown. To expound on the symptoms would turn this into a whine, just know that I paid big for the best day I’ve had in quite a while, and that this is the sort of price extracted from anyone out there with an autoimmune disfunction who’s bold enough to enjoy what’s in front of them once in a while. You can say I overdid it, but if you read back through and pick out the action words you can see that it was well-paced and carefully done and didn’t amount to all that much. At no time did pain tell me to sit down and shut up, so I rambled around in the sunshine behaving like a real person just for shits & giggles. The 3am message was “Hey, girl,” sounding nothing at all like Ryan Gosling, “you thought that regular stuff was for you. Haha, so sorry.”

The good news, because who can’t always use some, is that Friday was the only lost day this time, down from an average three. Tells me we’re on the right track with Ken & The Lymph Nodes, and that makes me happy.

The reason I’m taking the time to blog about this is that the thinly-veiled scorn that ends up out there on the backs of people who can scarcely spare the energy to deal with it is grating and I hurt on their behalf. Whatever people might say about me is none of my business, but ignorant digs at friends and family don’t go unnoticed, so I choose to fly my educator flag occasionally.

It’s all so simple – if you haven’t experienced or been diagnosed with an illness that for some reason annoys you in others then you don’t have a platform, so this is not your circus, it’s okay to wander off and take care a’ bidness, maybe contribute to the greater good through kindness or tolerance, something like that. Fibromyalgia is an invisible disease that affects 100% of the body, so you can feel really good about cutting people slack, in fact that’s your mission today should you choose to accept it.

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*Don’t read past this point unless you’re in the mood for naked truth…

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#saturdaymorning #notwhining #Fibromyalgia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Good morning, sunshine…

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is sunshine magic

does it always inspire you

does it give you strength?

JSmith 02/17/2017

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Oh look, another episode…

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In this new paradigm where the girl half of the merger isn’t on Facebook or other social media all evening while pretending to keep up with whatever’s on TV, we’re bingeing on Netflix like mad fools and it’s wonderful. We were shockingly behind on the good stuff, so we started with Breaking Bad and took a break halfway through to watch every tantalizing second of Peaky Blinders before coming smack up against their filming hiatus, which is leaving us in a serious state of withdrawal. The incredible cinematography, the soundtrack, the cast, the exquisite level of acting that feels every minute like real life happening in front of us – we’re enchanted, all the blood and gore notwithstanding since art without authenticity fails.

We weren’t quite ready to pick up Breaking Bad again, so we started Too Young to Die, a series of eleven one-hour documentaries about people who were exactly that. The first is Heath Ledger’s story and it was beautifully done so we’ll gradually watch the other ten. And last night we once again immersed ourselves in the world of Frank and Claire Underwood, House of Cards Seasons 3 & 4, which we somehow never finished. Watching now, it seems clear somebody had access to a crystal ball in 2014.

My sister Rita is anxious for us to get into This Is Us and so are we – it’s next. What mini- or maxi-series are on your must-see list and why? I’m hoping a few sleepers will be among the recommendations, titles that don’t show up on everybody’s agenda, so bring surprises.

Annnnd…GO.

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Keep peace in your soul …

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self-care is hard-learned

after all options used up

rest has to happen

JSmith 02/15/2016

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Behind every good woman is a good man!

Rerunning a four-year-old Valentine post because it’s still a true story…

I’ve been blogging on WordPress for a week now and haven’t really said much about my husband, so today is his day.  I have to be careful when I talk about him because I can easily take …

Source: Behind every good woman is a good man!

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Doesn’t apply, just saying…*

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when it’s down to just

two pancakes topped with cherries

t-shirts are the shiz

JSmith 02/13/2017

* Some days are all about the corn.

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Just get through it…

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days informed by pain

must be survived in one piece

life takes a back seat

JSmith 02/11/2016

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Ignorance is blistering…

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I read a stunning statistic this morning* that blew both Kim and me away – over half of Americans believe it should be illegal for a woman to keep her last name after marriage, WHAAAT??

Of course that represents people who were actually polled, which I’d like to think means half of those surveyed in rural areas, remote hollers, and socially isolated mountain ranges rather than honest-to-goodness 21st Century Americans who know what’s up, because this finding is both laughable and disturbing.

Events until recently seemed to indicate that we were steadily moving toward a better world informed by human equality in every direction, but here we are still fighting the same old shit that first raised our collective consciousness in the 60s. Unbelievable.

A world without women and our influence is not to be contemplated, so why is the focus so rarely on what’s good for us? (Simple question for the Luddites among us, please show your work.) All you pathetic cases of arrested male development endlessly stuck in junior high need a brighter awareness of truth: Women have 100% of the babies. Just the facts, Jack, and your ideal little world starts to go downhill after one generation, so what are you thinking? Oh wait…

This crap is so silly I thought it must be “fake news” but no such luck, so I’m sitting here hoping I don’t know anyone with this attitude and outlook, it would shatter my heart, hyperbolically-speaking.

Prejudices, stereotypes, and backward thinking are buried so deep in our nation’s psyche, how is it we believe we’ll ever dig out, but women are fierce and we don’t quit. That alone should show you what we’re made of, but that’s okay – we’ll keep doing what we do because – what else? Respect is owed, but we’re used to working without it, so don’t give it another thought, you guys all persevere in your empire-building and let us know how that’s workin’ out for ya’. But here’s how it is: Brains are the new tits and you’re falling behind.

 

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* The Name Game

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Namasté…

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clear out the cobwebs

brain engages as it will

worth the good effort

JSmith 02/09/2016

#ShePersisted

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No snowmobiles on sidewalk…

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We need the kind of winter we aren’t having this year – with plenty of snow and cold to replenish the soil and annihilate every bug. So far it’s been “string of mild days” followed by “plummet into the cellar” for a couple, shampoo, rinse, repeat, and with only a dusting of white to show for those few wintery days. The photo above was taken in the 1950s, my two little sisters and me atop the fifteen-foot snowdrifts in our grandparents’ orchard, which was endless fun for us but sobering in the destruction the storm left behind.

I have a soft spot for the raging blizzards of my childhood despite their danger, mostly because they seem to have gone out of vogue. Pretty sure, after observing weather patterns over a lifetime, that the climate change phenomenon at work in Lawrence America and around the globe is a thing to be dealt with, sooner rather than later, and the changes we’re seeing will continue to proliferate until we’re in real trouble, maybe as early as yesterday.

Not my circus, not my monkeys, however, I’m just along for the ride, so might as well enjoy the warmer days as they roll through. Forecast says 53º today, 37 tomorrow, with only a hint of any precip on the horizon. Life IS and we roll with it, you know it’s true. The bitching and whining we do is all window dressing, which of course doesn’t apply only to weather, amirite?

Go out there and make your Wednesday a happy one for you and everyone within range of your influence, why not? Staying alive continues to be a good thing, I’m in line to kick it in the fanny one day at a time, and the whole thing gets easier if we team up, so let’s just do it.

Warm Winter Savings

Warm Winter Savings

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Honeybun cake…

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I find it hilariously revealing that my all-time most-visited blog post is one entitled “Heeeyyy, good lookin’, whaaatcha’ got cookin’ …?” It’s a recipe for coffee cake, which people might not be expecting to find under that title, but had I called it “World’s Best Coffee Cake, Trust Me,” I can’t imagine that it would have outperformed everything else I’ve ever published by 1000 to 1. Since I put it up three years ago it’s never left top spot on my “most viewed.” People are so freaking predictable.

And yet…and yet…92 people have taken the time to give it a rating, for an average four stars, and a lot of comments have been left, so you know what? This probably IS the world’s best coffee cake, trust me. So simple to make, so yummy to eat – we should all bake one this morning just to get the week started on a good note. You know you want to…

Best Coffee Cake

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Don’t forget…

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Not nearly enough paeans to Monday mornings have been penned over the years, would you agree? After surviving almost seven decades of them I’m finally learning to appreciate them for what they are – the lull before the actual week – which runs Tuesday through Thursday – cranks up. The privilege of this is not wasted on me nor unappreciated and it was worth the slog to get here, she says, not suffering pangs of guilt, not ever, at all, but given enough coffee and therapy she’ll get over it.

There’s a Monday Morning level of quiet that happens – a hush composed of minute layers of sound and aroma: coffee on the warmer, the laundry gurgling and sloshing at the far end of the loft, the faint scent of detergent and softener, muted traffic noises under my windows, faraway voices muffled by winter humidity, people walking to work but not hurrying, because Monday. Faint construction sounds, too, and the now-familiar slight moans and groans of our steel and concrete building. If home is a state of mind, that was the nickel tour of mine, free today just for you.

And now assorted sirens from a few blocks over are saying it’s time to move it, so I think I will. Make your Monday feel like a Friday if you can. And then there are only three actual days until Real Friday – you’re gonna love it.

 

 

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