Leave my stuff alone

This post speaks to me. I know those of my generation will understand what it is to feel the texture of cherished things.

Suziecreamcheese Sings the Blues

A friend of mine likes to share articles on Facebook about how people of our generation have too much stuff, constantly reminding us that millenials don’t want our stuff and thus, we should get rid of it all now.

Somehow this strikes me as not just annoying but downright obnoxious. The most recent article was by a woman who was writing about cleaning out her mother-in-law’s home after the woman died, and finding a stash of sweaters that were her father-in-law’s from years past. Apparently he had died some years earlier. She couldn’t fathom why THESE old things had been kept and seem to relish discussing how they were tossed unceremoniously into a dumpster, then going on about how much they had to pay for said dumpster.

If her mother-in-law had been at all considerate, she would have spent the last years of her life throwing out her little mementos…

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If Your House was Made of Glass

If your house was made of glass,

Transparent and refined,

And everyone could see right in,

Do you think that you would mind?

Would “keeping up with the Jones’s”

Be even more important then,

If people could see how well you lived

By the material things within?

Would you control more of your emotions,

Negative ones, such as rage and doubt,

If people could see your actions

When you let them all come out?

What if your anger towards

Your spouse and children were seen?

Do you think that your neighbors

Would still hold you in high esteem?

The perceptions we choose to be seen

Are those of an endless bias,

But the truth would surely come out,

If your house was made of glass.

So think before you act,

take a moment to ponder through

That the stones you throw at others

May come flying back at you.

Zany Zzzzzs

For some reason, my already odd sleep schedule has taken a new turn. For a long while, I was waking up and getting up between 3:30 AM and 5:00 AM most mornings. It didn’t matter if I went to bed at 10 PM or at 1:00 AM, my body built an internal alarm clock that I could not shut off. Most mornings it was right around the 3:30 AM mark, so I joked that sleeping until 5:00 AM was like a luxury. Since the holidays, things have changed again and now, I’m awakening around midnight. Again, it doesn’t matter what time I fall asleep, that has become the usual wake-up time. I have to admit, however, that there is something oddly satisfying to me about doing my daily chores that early in the day; when 99.5% of the people around me are sleeping, I’m achieving! (I’m trying to look on the positive side here, folks – play along!) My favorite male gaming streamer is also on during the overnight hours, so I get to hang out there.

I’ve diagnosed myself with having the physical symptoms of depression. Usually, when I fall into a bout of depression, I have no energy or motivation to do anything, and my body craves being asleep; as well as the mental anguish that tramples all of the positive energies in my brain. I expected to fall into a depression this winter, only hoping that it was not as deep or long-lasting as last winter’s seemingly insurmountable one. Oddly enough, I’m experiencing only the physical symptoms right now. I think it may have to do with my finding a social outlet on the Mixer platform – having a place to ‘hang out’ with other people and just chat. This activity has allowed me to socialize, rather than just sitting in the quiet ruminating, with my mind working itself into a dither.

To be honest, I don’t mind getting extra sleep. However, I have not been able to break the cycle of waking up every 3 (or so) hours, and so I don’t feel as rested. Not to mention that, with age, come those more frequent middle-of-the-night bathroom trips. I do have prescription sleeping pills, which help me sleep more deeply, but they don’t stop the need for stumbling to the bathroom at least once, and I don’t get the 8 hours’ sleep I should be getting with them. I’m using them in a very limited way since, #1, they don’t let me sleep through anyhow and #2, they make me feel extra-groggy for at least an hour after I’m out of bed.

So, for now, my sleeping pattern is even zanier than usual. There has even been the passive thought that I wish I needed a technical surgery that would require my being put to sleep for 8 or more hours. Of course, I don’t really wish that, but the sleeping part of it would be nice!

Anyone have any great ideas for getting a full night’s rest??? I’ve tried relaxation music, lavender scented candles, etc.

Yesterday’s special, too. Probably tomorrow’s as well!

Hidden in a file….

Every so often, a spark of an idea about a possible future blog post comes to me and seems so important that I have a file on my desktop for these ‘snippets’ of thoughts. Sometimes, when my muse seems to be resting, I’ll open that folder and see if there is something in it that I can possibly use. Most times, these snippets are the very literary of how I used to write…flowing adjectives in rambling prose that paint a picture for me, and with which I hope to be able to paint a fluid picture for my readers. And most times, I skim through what’s written there and easily decide that I can no longer force myself to write in such literary ways – because, once upon a time, I didn’t have to force it, it simply poured itself into my fingers.

I looked again today, wanting to be certain I could have the concepts (and perhaps drafts) that would allow me to post fairly often. As always, a quick skim through them deemed them all too delicate to mock with a mere attempt to create a more vibrant picture. But I read the last one twice, and wondered what had ever made me think to even jot it down. The snippet reads:

“Funny…. When I love someone, every part of me wants to bring to and do some good in that person’s life.  Not so funny…. I’ve never fully succeeded.  I wonder if I consider that to be my biggest failure of all?”

What strikes me at this moment is why I think I have the knowledge to know if I have succeeded or failed in my attempt to ‘bring to and do some good‘ in another’s life? Those closest to me would challenge me whole-heartedly that I have, and do, bring good to them. And I’d like to think – in fact, I DO think – that it’s true. So what is this measuring stick that I use which makes me think I’ve never fully succeeded? Is it back to that idea that I hold myself accountable at a much higher expectation than I hold others? Is it that I was taught growing up that the measure of your ‘success’ as a person is based on merits – like good report cards, a solid and important job, etc.? Does my seemingly unconscious desire to give to others stem from an equally unconscious need to earn merits in some way?

This is an interesting conundrum, and may take more internal introspection than this blog article gives me by sharing it. Half of me is excited for this chance for personal growth. The other half of me is focused on the work it may take and is asking, “Why the hell did you open that file?”

Do We HAVE To Forgive?

Almost five years ago now, someone who I had once admired, despite obvious flaws, said something to me that was not only very inappropriate, but was said at a most inappropriate time. In the time since, that situation pops into my head randomly, and each time I replay it in my memory, my sense is that I am not ready to forgive it yet. Of course, it certainly doesn’t help me to find forgiveness when that person has never apologized nor even hinted at some sense of remorse or acknowledgement of wrongdoing. Because of social media and familial obligation, I have a very limited contact with this person and we have not spoken directly to each other since this event happened.

Because of the amount of psychological training I have under my belt, I know that the concept is that we need to forgive but are never forced to forget. All of that training insists that I believe that not forgiving induces that the person who wronged is still “in control” of me in some way. And it’s true that I have forgiven others of more traumatic and life-changing wrong-doings done towards me. Why is this one so difficult?

I’m realizing lately that it isn’t anger that I truly feel, but disappointment. This is yet another straw in the camel’s backpack of someone who touts Bible-banging, righteous Christianity continuously, and what was said was, I believe, the exact opposite of what Christianity is supposed to mean. Having grown up in a small church where, not only was everybody’s business everybody’s business, but gossip behind peoples’ backs was rampant; it felt like this was just another example of fake Christianity. I’m fortunate to know some people who truly live their Christianity by deed far more than word, but finding another hypocrite hiding under the wing of Christianity still seems to cut like a knife.

Should I forgive this person? Probably. And maybe in time, I will. But I’d rather stand with my feet in cold ocean water stating that I have trouble with faith issues than stand on some pedestal proclaiming, by word, of a devout faith and showing, by example, that it’s a farce. And if my inability to find forgiveness never changes, I’ll know, at least, that I have been more honest in my faith than this person is. And I’m deciding that I’m okay with that!

This is going to take some work….

A Safe Place to Hide

I hope you know that I didn’t intend to become interested in you.

Your wholesome, Barbie-doll types are the kinds I’ve never tolerated.

I prefer blue jeans, bare feet, quiet music and casual evenings at home.

But still, my interest in you is growing – a fascination of our differences if nothing else.

So, if you ever tire of being on-stage for the people who expect as much,

I will be your safe place to hide out.

Maybe there is more to you than the role you play. I’d like to find out.

I’m sure we could have fun… If only on a temporary basis.

Hacks from my Happy Place – XIV

I am officially turkey’d out! I only cooked about half the amount (pounds) of turkey I made for Christmas, 2019, but somehow, after everyone took a share, I still had a lot left! I’ve used it in place of chicken for a couple of recipes, and there is still some left! So…. I got a small head of cabbage and will use the last of the turkey in place of chicken to make some of my delicious cabbage soup.

I like mashed potatoes – I grew up on a meat and potatoes regimen so that shouldn’t be a surprise. However, I abhor the chore of peeling and dicing potatoes in order to make them. Living alone, I’ve pretty much gone to those packets of “instant” potatoes that look and have the texture of mashed potatoes, if not quite the same taste. Well, I’ve been crazing a meal of roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn and I didn’t want the instant ones. However, I also did not want to peel potatoes either! So, I took a chance and bought Bob Evans mashed potatoes that can be microwaved. The packaging says it’s made from real potatoes and butter, so I decided to try them. I give them an 8 out of 10. They definitely have a more potato taste than instant. They serve up creamy and thick. They don’t start getting watery after being refrigerated but keep their texture. This will be a hack when I want good mashed potatoes without the work to make them!

I also have to give a shout-out to Campbell’s for their slow cooker beef stew packet. It is basically the stew-flavored gravy. I had some pot roast with onions, carrots and red potatoes in my freezer, and I was bored with it as it was, so I simply warmed the ‘gravy’, cut up the meat, potatoes and carrots into smaller pieces, heated it all through, and added a drained can of peas at the very end. For me, the sauce needed more pepper (it was plenty salty enough), but otherwise, I’ll give it a 7.5 out of 10. It was actually almost too salty, which is maybe why I added more black pepper, but it has a definite beef stew taste and a nice consistency.

As much as I like to cook, when I’m only feeding me, I don’t feel it’s worth the effort to make everything homemade. These two new shortcuts definitely gave me what I was looking for. The Campbell’s sauce has even inspired me to check out their other slow-cooker sauces and see if I can add something new to my usual repertoire of entrees.

Speaking of slow cookers, if you have one, you know about the slow cooker bags from Reynolds, right? If you don’t, please let me enlighten you. Basically, they are like the oven bags made to cook your meal inside of. Since slow cookers offer a ceramic inner bowl which is not non-stick, many of the things you cook in it will stick/crust to the sides. The bag insert simply cooks everything inside the bag, making clean-up a virtual breeze! Even when I’ve occasionally put a small hole in a bag – for instance, when moving a roast around – the drippings are minimal. After cooking, you simply let the bag cool, lift it out carefully, and drop the entire thing in the trash. A quick swipe with a soapy dishcloth to the ceramic interior, and you’re all set for the next use! I LOVE them!

One more idea I wanted to share with you… For most of my life, I’ve always preferred “salty” snacks over “sweet” snacks, but over the last 2 or 3 years, I’m more apt to go looking for something sweet. I still buy salty snacks, especially when they are on BOGO or a 2-for-sale-price deal. However, I no longer consume a half-bag (or more) with unconscious eating in one sitting. And after I’ve had one or two servings, I’m then bored with the taste and don’t want any more! I’m fortunate that my bestie and her family enjoy salty snacks, and I give them a lot of them once I’ve tired of them. However, I had the thought just the other day that a lot of them could be used in making main meals. Anything flavored – like Doritos, for example – can be crushed up and used to coat meat like fish, chicken, pork, etc. instead of bread crumbs. Others can be crushed up and sprinkled on top of casseroles to add an extra flavor and texture. Things like regular-flavored potato chips can be crushed up and used instead of bread crumbs in meatloaf. The best thing may be that they can be stale and still work in that way! So, while I’ll still give my bestie a lot of snacks after I tire of them, having some of them on-hand may help me create a variety for something I already enjoy!

Speaking of enjoying – all of the forecasts show that we’re going to be getting our first ‘official’ snow tomorrow, followed by our first truly cold weather streak. I’m going to have lots of comfort foods from my freezer to enjoy! Decisions, decisions!!!