Category Archives: blogging

Things That Make Me Crazy

7qt_lyceum_v2Crazy, in this instance, meaning more crazy than my usual amount. Just to clarify.

— 1 —

Being shushed. You know, when someone says, “Shhhhh!” I, myself, prefer the dagger glare with a finger to the lips for someone being loud in the library or movie theater. If that doesn’t work I go to the librarian or manager and have them show the offending parties OUT. They WILL do this. The phrase “Within sixty seconds after I resume my seat I want them GONE!” along with a smartphone clenched in your hand usually works well.

Being shushed is only for young children, usually those still in diapers. If someone shushes you as an adult, feel free to take umbrage and begin communication on the topic. BE WARNED: If you are cursing or behaving in a vulgar manner in public you are in the wrong. Tone it down or take it home. Being shushed by another adult in your own home is another matter altogether. NOT acceptable.

— 2 —

People who are “disabled” and can still live normal lives. As a nurse, I used to take this as a given. So many of our young patients came in on Medicare because they were disabled. And why should I even notice or care if my patients are disabled? Well, it’s part of the admission assessment (“What sort of work do you do?”). Also, we all know the insurance companies run the world, so when providing information to qualify a patient for a particular test, drug, treatment, or even length of stay I was always asked for their insurance information, which specified whether or not they were disabled.

Some people were clearly disabled. Some clearly were not . . . “Yeah, I’d gutted this eight-point buck and drug it ’bout a half-mile to my truck when my chest started hurtin’.” Dude, you can work for a living better than I can, clearly, since I’m in incredible pain just standing here with narcotics and muscle relaxers on board and an ice pack around my neck. Asshat didn’t even send me any venison sausage.

— 3 —

Kids who try to motivate other teens to do college “their way”. I know, peer pressure has been an issue since the dawn of time, or perhaps just since poodle skirts. Anyway, each kid should go to the school that works best for him or her, not for their friends, girlfriend/boyfriend, or their favorite teacher. Go to school where you feel at home or you won’t last. Listen up now or wait and see how many of those credit hours transfer later (50% if you’re lucky). If you feel the need to rush a fraternity or sorority, do so (if your parents can afford it – it’s more than you make!).

But first, before selecting a college, a major, Greek life, a job change, or any other big decisions . . . the pro/con list. I only do these for huge decisions, but they are certainly just as effective for deciding what to have for lunch.

— 4 —

Post-election whiners. It’s pretty much a given that this year no one got exactly what they wanted. Most years close to half the population voted for a candidate who didn’t win. The solution isn’t to whine about it or dramatize your “fear for the future”. And the #notmypresident thing is laughable, since both Canada and Mexico have made it clear you’re welcome to visit, but don’t plan on moving there without jumping through some hoops. Suck it up. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

— 5 —

Clean house snobs. Years ago, when both my boys were still young and I was working full-time and physically able to scrub floors, do yardwork, etc. I hosted Thanksgiving for a large group. Within the next couple of days I got a call from one of my guests. She wanted to apologize in advance for not accepting any future invitations to my home. She said that with my two dogs (chocolate labs) and the lack of cleanliness she just couldn’t justify putting her young children in that environment. Since I still had a “filter” back then I thanked her for being honest about her reason and for letting me know well in advance of any other gathering I had planned. My house is ten times dirtier now than is was then, so she should probably not even drive by.

— 6 —

Rude drivers. I usually don’t get worked up about this until the holiday shopping season, but this year people are already pushing me to my limit. Before you honk at someone in front of you because they are not going far enough above the speed limit to satisfy you, because they let someone pull in front of them, or just because they didn’t want to run a yellow light realize it might be me in front of you. And I might just put my car in park and walk back with my cane to discuss basic manners with you. Don’t make me do that.

— 7 —

People who duck out of Mass early. I’m not talking about people who have a fussy infant or a child who really needs the restroom. I’m talking about people who just want to beat the crowd out of the parking lot and maybe get to the restaurant or country club for brunch before the rush hits. Stay for the final blessing. Stay for a little while longer and talk to the people around you. Sit in the car and discuss the readings, the homily, the music while the parking lot empties. And maybe once a month instead of going out to brunch give a gift card to the elderly people in the clunker parked in a handicapped space and go home to cook and eat brunch together. Just a thought.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

My Seven Favorite Quick Mood-Changers

7qt_lyceum_v2I’m a bit more of an expert in this area than I’d like to be, since I’ve attempted suicide and ended up in a locked psych ward for a few days with intensive outpatient therapy for two weeks after that. I still see my psych guy regularly. My inpatient and outpatient experiences added extensively to my “toolbox” of coping mechanisms. Some are odd. Take what you want and giggle at the rest. Sometimes you just have to laugh or cry.

— 1 —

Anger. I have a lot of anger. For the doctor who fucked up my second surgery and washed his hands of me. All he had to do was read the radiologist’s report of my X-ray and he’d have known my vertebrae weren’t fused. All of this could have been avoided and now I’d be working full-time and being myself. I’m angry at all the patients I did stress tests on who had chest pain while running a 10K or lifting a hundred pounds. When I asked what sort of work they did daily they said, “Oh, I’m disabled from back pain.” I haven’t been able to work at all since 2011, I spend 18-20 hours in bed, and I still can’t convince a judge I’m disabled.

When the anger gets to be too much, I want to yell and break things. So I close the windows, give the dogs treats, and sing/shout along with “angry woman” songs until my throat is raw. Pat Benatar works well, as does Miranda Lambert. Aerosmith is a great choice, too.

I have a stash of Goodwill plates. No stoneware – the more fragile the better. Grab some plates: two if you’re angry, five if you really want to hurt someone. Put on protective eyewear, shut the dogs in the house, and throw those plates as hard as you can at a concrete or brick wall. Of course you have to pick up and throw all the pieces away, but it’s so worth it!

— 2 —

Depression. I’ve got a lot of this one, too. I take my meds, and I read from this book before I get out of bed every day.
believing-in-myself
It’s secular, not religious, and it’s what we started our meetings with during outpatient therapy. I love this book. You can get a used copy cheap on Amazon.

If that doesn’t get you through the day, distraction is my most-used tool. Call or text a friend and ask about how they are doing. Don’t talk about yourself, just them. If you’re able, go for a run. I miss running. I was never fast, but the scenery distracted me. Read a book that you know is funny or uplifting. Or even better, watch a movie that makes you laugh until your sides hurt or makes you get all the tears out. Steel Magnolias always does it for me. I should write Sally Field a thank-you card for the funeral scene.

— 3 —

Envy/Jealousy. This is one I have to deal with more frequently than I’d like. I know, intellectually, that most of the people in the world would love to be me. I can walk and talk, I have a fantastic family, and I worked more than twenty years at a job I loved. I can worship the way I want, say anything on this blog, and I still have health insurance (praise God!).

I tackle this one with my prayer journal. It’s an old Nurses’ Day gift. I write the date, then what I’m thankful for, then what I pray for. It puts in all in perspective. If that doesn’t cover it, or if I’m feeling jealous of the whole world (Hey, it happens!) I write. My words are mine and only mine. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing lyrics, a short story, a blog post, or phrases and doodles in my journal. It’s mine, and no one else on Earth can claim it.
prayer-journal

— 4 —

Exhaustion. Extreme emotions are exhausting. So is chronic pain, which is another issue I deal with 24/7. I read somewhere that you should treat yourself like you’d treat your beloved sister or daughter. Let yourself rest, treat yourself now and then.¬† Most importantly, have faith. I highlighted a quote about faith in an ebook I was reading recently, but now I can’t remember which book it was in. Anyway, it was something about believing everything is going to be OK somehow even though all evidence leads you to believe it won’t. That’s how I get through it when I’m forced to look at anything further ahead than the next day.

— 5 —

Loneliness. I’ve been alone in a room of hundreds of people. I’ve been alone in my own home, with my family surrounding me. In addition to the faith I’ve mentioned it’s important to have a physical companion, physical affection. I’ve seen all the samplers and pillows talking about how cats and dogs are angels with fur, and I firmly believe it. If you can’t have your own, volunteer at an animal shelter. Pets are overflowing with love.

— 6 —

Pissiness/Bitchiness“. That’s what my husband and youngest son call it, anyway. Personally, I think my filter just finally wore out. I translated mean into polite fifty times a day for over twenty years. Then I spent five years jumping through hoops for people who couldn’t string a grammatically correct sentence together to save their lives and completely lacked compassion. Maybe theirs just wore out, too. My psych guy gave me meds, but the filter hasn’t grown back yet. Obviously, I don’t have any tips for this one except to try really hard to keep your mouth shut, or at least keep the sarcasm out of your voice. If you have tips, I’d love to hear them. I actually offended my 17yo yesterday with my language. Impressive, huh?

— 7 —

Self-Pity. Get. Over. It. Really, I don’t mean to be cruel. I tell myself this nearly every day. Go on YouTube and watch someone without the use of their hands and feet paint with their teeth. Watch a soldier who lost both his legs run a 5K. Google things like “worst living conditions”, “poorest country”, and “most painful diseases”. Make a list of your blessings. It’ll be long!

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

Very Important Post

7qt_lyceum_v2

— 1 —

I’m writing this on Wednesday, hoping it will post by Friday morning. I use Dreamhost for my blog and email, and I’ve never had a problem with them until now. I lost access to my email on Monday, and it’s been a very trying week. I thought I’d finished “defining myself” (Part I and Part II), but now I’m narrowing my focus. I’m a writer. There are many other aspects to my life and my personality, but I am a writer. Not a blogger, not a salesperson, no longer a nurse. I am a writer. First novel coming out before the end of the year. Follow me on social media and you won’t miss a thing.

— 2 —

My eldest son called me the other day (cue Hallelujah chorus). It was the first time we’d heard from him since sometime in early May. No, he didn’t call on Father’s Day. Seeing Michael that sad was incredibly painful. I was so very, very close to sending an email asking what we’d done to offend, anger, or insult our son just twenty-four hours beforehand! It’s just one more example of how waiting on God’s timing is always better. I talked his ear off, quizzed him about everything except what toilet paper he was using, then passed him off to Michael. After a few minutes I let John know his brother was on the phone, and he sped downstairs to the studio to wait his turn. Then Aaron set us all up with an app called GroupMe, where we can share the everyday nonsense that really keeps people in touch! And it’s been wonderful!

— 3 —

john ksparks
John had his Senior pictures taken this week. We had a mini-session with a fantastic photographer in La Grange, which was perfect. John hates to have his picture taken nearly as much as I do, so he was much more relaxed with a thirty-minute maximum! Then he had his picture taken at school for the yearbook. All senior girls in drapes, all senior boys in tuxes. I just made the appointment, since I certainly couldn’t complain about his picture. Mine got me a threat from the assistant principal to “make my Senior year very difficult.” I suspect his year was more difficult than mine since I had a great time and I made sure he had to hide 600 pennies on his person during graduation. And I’m not sorry. Misuse of power is always bad, but exponentially bad if the victim is a teen girl. The fact that I just took it as a challenge proves Mr. Akers didn’t know me as well as he thought he did.

— 4 —

Thursday John and I will tour the campus at the University of Louisville. It’s just a casual group thing. We’ll see dorm rooms, classrooms, the student center, etc. No meetings with the marching band director or with instructors in Computer Science or Asian Studies, no “come to Jesus” with the financial aid people or the Speed School admissions people. Of course it will be raining cats and dogs. But I consider that a good sign, since when Aaron fell in love with Morehead it was during the storm of the decade and we couldn’t even make it home without stopping to wait out the storm.

— 5 —

Remember the cute birdcage¬†I bought when my local Hancock’s Fabrics went out of business? Well, now my Muse and the Wine Fairy are roomies, with shell beds, flower pillows, and leaf coverlets. They both seem very happy, BTW, so if you have writer’s block maybe it’s time to bribe your muse!
fairy habitat

— 6 —

Normally it’s Winter that is toughest for me to get through. This summer has been pretty awful, though. The barometric pressure is bouncing around like the ball in a Disney Sing-a-Long, and it’s cause for celebration when I have feeling in all four extremities. I’m taking a cane and extra meds for the UofL trip.

— 7 —

I’m spending an hour a day (four 15-minute chunks of time) searching for scholarships for John. It takes a few clicks to weed out the ones for which you already are enrolled in college, have not survived a car crash that was fatal to someone, or have not read a particular little-known book. But “every little bit helps” as a young relative once wrote me in a thank-you note after receiving $50 (no gifts given since then, clearly) so I’m bombarding him with scholarships he needs to apply for. If I’d had the internet when I’d been a high school senior I’d have gotten a full ride to an Ivy League school!

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

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