Invisible

I recently put a tweet on Twitter that said that I wonder, if I disappeared, how long it would take anyone to notice. Okay, my Twitter following is teeny-tiny, but I’ve been trying to post there more in order to grow my social network, and it seems that I end up ‘hearting’ or responding to other’s posts but seldom get any indication that mine have been noticed at all.

My circle, away from social media, is even smaller than my circle on social media. I have just less than 100 followers on Facebook, but then again, I only follow people whose happenings and goings on are of interest to me. My followers on Twitter are easily less than 20. In real life? My “followers” – those with whom I’m engaged in meaningful contact with – are 2. I have more friends than that, for example, I consider my nail tech as a friend as well as a service provider, but we only are in contact outside of social media when I’m there getting serviced! My hairdresser doesn’t do ANY social media, so I have contact with her only when I’m there for a haircut. I adore my chiropractor but we have contact only at my appointments.

My brother, one of my two real-life “followers”, posts in his blog every day. I’d know immediately that something might be wrong if he went a day without a post. With my sporadic postings to my blog, he’d not necessarily equate not seeing a post with anything serious.

My bestie, my other real-life “follower”, hears from me two or three times a week via email, and I hear from her about once a week with a possible text now and again. We only live a mile apart, but she’s got a husband (who needs to be fully wrapped in bubble-wrap) who has somewhat consistent medical appointment demands, and a 25-hour/week job with our police department (administrative) and all of the other things in her normal life to deal with. If more than three days go by and she hasn’t heard from me, she’ll text me and email me both asking, “Are you okay?”

My upstairs neighbor, Jeri, will knock on my door if she hasn’t seen me out and about or at least that my car is parked in a different place in a couple of weeks.

Ouch! I don’t want this to be true, but is it?

I’ve chosen this more ‘loner’ lifestyle and honestly, I prefer it. I’m suddenly conscious that I often go out of my way to make sure others know I’m thinking of them. With nothing important to say, I can write paragraph after paragraph in an email to my brother or bestie. I use social media to let the people I know out in the cloud that I’m paying attention to them. I even send the occasional ‘no special reason’ greeting card in the mail! And I guess I feel invisible because I don’t get very much of that coming in my direction. Only I know how many times, in my career span, I’ve thought about sending myself flowers at work for my birthday or, heaven forbid, Valentine’s Day, just to show others that I was special and important to someone!

And I come back to something I acknowledged in a previous post about “giving most what you need to get in return”. Apparently, that’s still not working for me…

P.S. After my tweet, I got two responses, both from people I know from the same Twitch stream. Both were loving and kind; one made me feel better enough to get teary-eyed from the words.

Good Intentions/The Road to Hell

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

The modern expression, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” was first published in Henry G. Bohn’s A Hand-book of Proverbs in 1855. An earlier iteration, “Hell is full of good meanings and wishes”, was published in 1670 in A Collection of English Proverbs collected by John Ray. The exact origin of this proverb is unknown and its form has evolved over time. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” is a saying that has been attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091—1153), but that cannot be verified. The earliest known text resembling this phrase occurs in Virgil’s Aeneid: “facilis descensus Averno (the descent to hell is easy)”.

I hope that it’s not just only me who has occasion to quote that proverb in current times. It is consistent with every “I was going to do it, but…” excuse any of us has or is going to use. “I was going to stop and fill your car up with gas to thank you for letting me use it, but…the line was too long.” “I was going to pick up your dry-cleaning but… the baby’s been fussy all day and then my sister had to call and tie me up with the latest drama in her life.” “I meant to stop at the mechanic’s when the ‘check engine’ light came on but…” “I wanted to make reservations for dinner out for our anniversary but…” Okay, I could come up with a zillion of these, but you get the picture. Small or large reasons, we all try to concoct a contrite reason why we didn’t do something we should have/were supposed to have done, and we’re all guilty of going to hell because we had good intentions of doing whatever it was.

My faith knows this is propaganda, that there needs to be more than that reason why we may end up in hell. We’d be far more likely to be sent to hell for lying by misusing the good intentions theory when it’s not really true. Who of us is insane enough to tell our significant other, child, family member, important friend, etc. that we “just didn’t feel like it”?

I’ve started many of my days recently looking at little things – chores and the like but nothing significant – and my head tells me to just get up and do some of them. I look at the bigger chores that would make me happy if they were accomplished, and can now immediately dismiss them as impossible or impractical with my shoulder/arm situation. (Okay, Brad and Joanne, that may be another reason I’m procrastinating about physical therapy!)

Most of what I see, when I look around at things I can do and the ones I don’t think I should do yet, has to do with cleaning. I was so damned proud when I deep-cleaned my bedroom in early April, wiping down woodwork dusting the ceiling and walls, washing windows, laundering curtains and dresser runners, etc., moving every piece of furniture that I could move without help. I was so excited about how clean it was that I set up the organization I would need to start on my living room next. I didn’t even know that I’d done something to mess up my shoulder, because I didn’t have any kind of problem or pain for a few days after. But whatever the cause, the pain became evident before I could start my living room and my chiropractor’s diagnosis was a dislocated shoulder. Painfully, he got it back in place, but I’m dealing with side effects now that really do prevent me from raising my arm high or using pressure of it on something. So, there’s a very good chance that no more deep-cleaning will happen this year.

And that’s probably why I don’t even want to bother with regular cleaning. I want to really clean, really enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing how genuinely clean the room is. If that’s what I want, than doing anything less than that just seems worthless!

So here I am, with good intentions but… I’ve been here before. When my parents first moved to Florida to retire, long distance was costly, so letters were my recourse. My dad used to call my letters “Epistles” because they were always 3 or more typed pages. Sometimes, when I’d been stagnant about stories with which to regale them, it might take me longer than usual between letters. And most of the ones following started out with saying the proverb “the path to hell” because I always had good intentions about wanting to sit down and type a letter…

I’m always wanting to write something for my blog. My writings don’t follow any schedule, but I think I need to be somewhat consistent with putting something out there. My good intentions are prominent, but… if my life isn’t exciting to me, how the hell will it hold any excitement for anyone else?

And so, if the proverb is indeed true, I know I’m going to have to get used to the hot weather about which I’m not fond. On the bright side, I suspect I’m gonna know a lot of other souls when I get there.

Go ahead, tell me you’re not guilty!!!

Random and Circuitous

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been seriously limiting my time on the computer. The reasons are many. The first and primary one is that I live in a 200+ year old house divided into apartments, and so window air-conditioning units are my only relief on hot and humid days. My living room and bedroom each have a unit, but the spare bedroom (where my desk is) and kitchen, both of which are towards the back of the apartment, do not. It doesn’t take long, no matter that it cools down at night, for this area of the apartment to get warm. So, early mornings are the time I spend here, except for an occasional check-in for emails.

Another reason is that I’d subconsciously become aware of using the computer as an ‘escape’ from what life is these days in terms of the ongoing pandemic and political rhetoric. It’s become an alternative to what little social life I used to have.

Anyhow, I’ve chosen to make an effort to get back to reading, a hobby I’ve always enjoyed. In the past three weeks, I’ve read my way through nine books, and I’m enjoying getting back into it. I admit, I read for escape as well, but it’s a more enjoyable adventure because each book has different characters and a different storyline. I’m also a little excited to see my TBR (to be read) pile of books become an almost manageable amount again. For me, ‘almost manageable’ means that, at this rate, I can empty the pile in a year’s time!

Because I still become physically fatigued late afternoon, and there’s nothing on TV I care to watch, I also spend some time just sitting comfortably with my eyes closed and letting my mind wander. And boy, has it been all over the place recently!

Most of my mind wanderings travel in rather obscure paths, starting in one place and ending up in a place that only makes sense to its internal directions. I’ve thought mostly about people – people from my past – like ex-colleagues and friends I’ve moved past from. It sometimes gives me pause to think about people who were so important in my life at one time and who I would have no clue how to find these days anymore. I was telling my BFF recently that I’ve been a maid-of-honor in two weddings, and for the life of me, I have no clue where either of those people are.

My mind has also delved back into previous work environments and colleagues who became friends, some who remained simply great colleagues. It is meeting up again with those great colleagues, however, which also brings me angst. For all of those years of wearing my mask, of portraying only who I thought I should be in any given situation, I wonder how many of them would be surprised (and possibly horror-stricken) of who I am today. I’ve mellowed in a lot of ways, but I’ve also become more clearly tunnel-visioned in ways as well. I’m more accepting and less judgmental in so many ways, but my tolerance for words and actions that are a waste of breath and energy has lessened significantly as well.

I actually enjoy my mind’s wanderings these days, as they tend to travel to specific people, places and events which, however lightly, have left a mark on me. I often think about my weekends of camping and the comradery that was among the group of us who had permanent sites and rarely missed a weekend. I think about vacations that I remember from childhood, and about people who were friends of my parents whom I also adored dearly. Someone recently posted a photo on social media of a 5-gallon bucket of green beans harvested from their garden, and that made me remember sitting with my grandma on her back porch cleaning green beans from her garden. That led to thinking about how our meals when produce was available were centered around that produce. Corn-on-the-cob wasn’t a side dish – it was a meal! Green beans with a few potatoes and a small piece of ham were a meal for several days! Cherry puddin’, which was actually a cake, in a bowl with milk and sugar was a meal! Ah, I miss those!

No matter how often I go back to childhood memories, I cannot, for the life of me, imagine how we managed without air-conditioning! I know we did, at least for the first 10 years of my life, but I can’t picture me as a little girl being okay with being so sweaty! And yet, as I think about it now, I can still recall being bundled up in a dress with pants underneath (removed with our coats and other outerwear, trudging to elementary school when it was cold out. Why one and not the other?

I sometimes think, more sadly though, of the various men in my life, and do sometimes wonder what’s become of them. It’s funny to me that, when I think about them, I have to consciously force myself to remember that they, too, have aged over these years. I wonder what they might think of me now, through all of the introspection and self-growth I’ve been through, and wonder if they’d like me more or less than they liked me way back when. That’s a struggle for me at times – although far from being pretty, I had my share of boyfriends (later to become male friends when boy sounded too childish) and I know in my heart that the reason the majority of those relationships didn’t stand the test of time is because I sabatoged them (story for another time, perhaps). This is yet another thought that rambles through my head some evenings.

Ironically, happy or sad, I’m glad I’m revisiting these memories. No, I don’t see a bright light ahead and my life is passing before me. It’s more about noticing how many wonderful people, places and events gave me those memories, and cherishing them anew and perhaps in different ways.

Do you ever let your mind go back and feast on this type of memory?

Around-the-House Hacks – VI

I am going to assume that most of my readers have heard all about the ways that baking soda and white vinegar – two staple items in most kitchens – can be used for cleaning and deodorizing many things. If you haven’t, I suggest a simple search on either and you’re sure to find at least one good hint on each.

But did you know that you can mix baking soda and vinegar together to make a cleaner? I didn’t. I’ll be honest, I have so many different brands of different cleaners in my home, mostly because I’m too lazy to make my own when the spirit moves me to clean something. But recently, after much internal growling at how cloudy my vehicle’s headlights lenses are (okay, my girl is 14 years old, so one expects some wear and tear) and trying multiple “magic” cleaners on the market guaranteeing to remove the cloudiness with just a spray and a swipe (none of them did), I finally decided to do my own search for a DIY solution. This was all after I learned that you can’t just replace the plastic lens, but have to replace the entire headlight, to the cost of close to $200 each!

I found a site which gave me just a few short steps, and which used baking soda and vinegar as the solution. Okay, I admit that I was extremely cynical that these two pantry items were going to succeed where expensive, allegedly powerful chemical products had not, but since I had both products and the time, I decided to give it a try.

This is what I was dealing with.

The instructions were to first clean the lens (DUH!). Then mix baking soda with white vinegar to make a paste. I used a small container (again, I wasn’t expecting results, so why waste a lot?) and had to add the vinegar in little bits at a time until it was ‘paste’ quality. It was recommended to use an old toothbrush. Well, I have a battery-powered toothbrush and some old brush heads that I keep just for cleaning things, so I knew I was well armed. Simply dip the toothbrush in the paste and apply it in small circles over the entire lens. I did multiple paths to make sure I’d gotten everywhere. By this time, much of the paste was dried on. I simply took some window cleaner and paper towels and cleaned the surface.

Only see a little bit of difference!

Okay, as suspected, it wasn’t shiny and new-looking as I had hoped! But it was a little bit cleaner and clearer! On to the final step!

Using WD40 (also something many of us have on hand) and a microfiber cloth, spray a liberal portion of the WD40 on the cloth and then wipe over the entire lens. (Note: WD40 does NOT hurt vehicle paint – I checked!)

Um….. WOW!

Okay, it’s not perfect – but WOW, it was a pretty amazing transformation to a piece of plastic that had been oxidizing for at least 14 years! I’d learned, in my research before trying it, that oxidation is what causes the lenses to become cloudy. The oxidation causes pits in the lens and then dirt fills in those pits. By using the WD40, the pits become ‘filled’ with the oil and thus creates the shine!

I kept looking out at it for hours, afraid it would disappear!

I can’t tell you how proud I am when I see these headlights now! I want to become a viral spokesperson to everyone who has the cloudy lens syndrome and tell them what an incredible and easy fix this is! Both headlights cost me less than an hour in time total, a few teaspoons of baking soda, maybe 1-1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar and a few cents worth of WD40 – well worth it!

I’m seriously that excited about my headlights, and that excited to share this hack!

Wishing Our Lives Away

Remember how, during our school years, we couldn’t wait for summer? How we’d keep wishing time would move faster so we could get out of school and be able to sleep in late, play outside (the pre-technology days) and go on family vacations and all of the fun things we couldn’t do during the school year?

Remember how, during our senior high school years, we couldn’t wait for schooling just to be over? We wanted to turn “eighteen” – the magic age when we legally became adults and had rights?

Remember how (if we went to college) we couldn’t wait for weekends home and semester breaks?

Remember how, when we finally found “the one”, we couldn’t wait to get married and start sharing our new and proud adult life with another?

Back in the early days of life – as a child and as a young adult – we all tended to wish for time to move faster. We all wanted to rush on towards the next best thing that we’d laid out for our lives in our brain. Most of us imagined the spouse, the house with the white-picket fence, children, family pets, consistent paychecks that allowed us to pay our bills and buy more stuff. We didn’t think – to be honest, didn’t know – about the drudgery of daily life once we’d settled into being adult. For some, the picture turned out just like we’d imagined and for some, it did not – but either way, we stopped looking forward to the next best thing and let ourselves become slaves to the routine of the “thing” where we were. We became – most of us, anyhow – mature, responsible adults, doing what needed to be done in order to make our way successfully through whatever was put before us. What was put before us wasn’t some wish of something we’d looked forward to, but something that needed to be done in order to sustain ourselves exactly where we were.

And at some point, in our 40s or 50s, we started wishing time would pass again – this time to when we could retire from work and be allowed to have time to enjoy life as we wished again. Whether it was to travel, or garden, or just be lazy, we realized that adulthood wasn’t exactly the bright shining orb we’d wished ourselves into all of those years ago. We were at one time excited to earn money and thought it was the answer to fulfilling every dream and desire we had.

We were wrong.

We were wrong about a lot of things. But most of all, we were wrong seeing our future through rose-colored glasses when we were young. We didn’t know about the stress of mortgages or car loans, the costs of medical, home and vehicle insurances. We didn’t know how much of the money we worked for would be taken by the government instead of being in our paychecks.

And we didn’t know that we might possibly reach a time in our lives where the days would seem to drag on forever but the years would pass by far too quickly. We didn’t know that there was a possibility that, once we’d reached the ‘golden age’ of retirement, we might well not be physically capable of all of those things we thought we could do once our time was ours again. We become intent of making memories with our loved ones, because for all of us, our biological clocks begin ticking. Chronologically, we’ve somehow scraped and clawed our ways to the top of the hill and have started the downhill slide. All of those tangible things we craved in order to show ourselves and others our stature no longer take precedence if our physical stature prohibits us from enjoying them. The vacation home, the boat and jet skis, the planned trips around the country in our motorhome, the planned trips around the world to visit other cultures – all of them become the “work” in our lives that we craved while we were “working”.

And we stop – we stop wishing our lives away. We’re melancholy about turning the calendar over to the next month, wondering where that month went… wondering if we’d done anything constructive or created any lasting memories, or if we just let the days slip by to be filled with doctor’s appointments and errands like grocery shopping. If we have a bucket list, we occasionally look at it and see more things we’ve never done that we’re most likely never going to do.

When we get to this new age of enlightenment, we may finally understand why our elders told us not to “wish your life away”. We may also wonder why parents and grandparents weren’t more forthcoming and honest about what we could expect from life. To protect us, as children, their struggles were kept from our eyes and ears – and we remained clueless.

I heard someone lament recently about an approaching 32nd birthday and I had to bite my tongue. I’m tired of telling people in their 30s who complain about “being old” that they have no idea what “old” feels like. I wonder if it’s my duty to inform them – forewarn them – about what’s to come. I feel bad for them for feeling so “old” at that age (already).

But, we all got what we asked for. We spent all of those years wishing for time to fly by, looking forward to the next chapter in our life story. But here’s what I know about the story of life. We should read it from end to beginning. I know if I’d have seen this part of my life before I’d lived it, I’d sure have lived it differently!

Would you?

(P.S. I wrote this article because I’ve found myself wishing that time would fly again. Not for years, but for months. I’m ready to see the end of the political BS by a November election here in the US. I’m ready for the pandemic to have some solid move to overcoming.)

Congratulate Yourself!

I’ve become a big fan of memes these days. I’ve copied and shared numerous ones – especially about coffee and sleep! – on different social medias and with different friends, as appropriate. When I came across this one, it spoke to me loudly and clearly, and I determined that it needs to be shared here as well. It reads:

It’s said that we are all our own worst enemies. I don’t know if that’s true for everyone, but it certainly is accurate for me. I’ve written before about how I hold myself to a higher standard than I hold others, how I feel guilty at even the possibility that I might let someone down and other similar topics. I also know that when I do something nice for others, it makes me feel good, and I subconsciously add that to the “done good” column. But when I’m feeling fragilely depleted, as I am these days, and realize that I have nothing good to give unless I put on that fateful mask and pretend everything is okay, I’m at a crossroads.

I’m good at being chatty and cheeky. It’s a natural and oft seen part of me. I rationalize to myself that this is what people have come to expect from me, and that my silliness and positivity give them a moment to smile. I’m happy I can do that. But when I can’t do it naturally, an internal fight goes on inside my head. I like making people smile. I like creating a moment or two in another’s day that makes them chuckle or relax. But when it’s not something that’s coming naturally, I either tend to hide myself away because I don’t have it to give, or I ‘pretend’ at being that chatty, cheeky person. Neither is the right answer.

The mask frightens me. I wore it for so many years that it became a way of life and it often came close to destroying me pretending to be someone who wasn’t genuine and real. It took me a long time to release the glue that held that mask in place – and a painful time releasing it as well – so I shudder about the idea of putting it on and having to start that process all over again. The alternative is also frightening. I’m not a social butterfly by any means, so my life is generally secluded. My socialization occurs in places and with people who, with the exception of my bestie and my brother, have only ever seen that positive side of me. Plus, in this world full of problems, I’m not likely to lay my own on people whose problems seem so much worse than mine.

I’ve gotten off-track a bit. Thinking back to the meme, I might need to print it out and put a copy in several places where I’m bound to see it. Maybe if I learn to concentrate on the good vibes of the good things I do instead of keeping such a growing list of all of the ways I haven’t done good, I’ll be able to be more ‘okay‘ with myself and more willing to reclaim the funny, sarcastic part of me that people like seeing. It can’t hurt, can it?

Yes, I am, even if it’s not good enough for anyone else!

Apathy

I stated in an email to my bestie recently that I was feeling apathetic. I decided to look up the word to make sure I’d used it correctly.

“Apathy indicates a state of fatigue and idleness accompanied by an indifference or an absence of emotion and desires. The apathetic patient doesn’t feel emotions, is indifferent to everything, and doesn’t feel like doing anything.”

For someone who is a strong empath and who also suffers from depressive moods now and again, I find myself at odds with the fact that this is exactly how I’m feeling! My bestie and I call it “meh” – describing “meh” as “I just don’t care either way.”

I’ve already discussed the need to become NUMB to the news these days, news which is either political (not in a good way) or about COVID-19 are at the top of every news show these days. I’ve figured out that every idea of both is filled with truth or lies, depending upon one’s own perception. People snarl and fight about having to wear a mask, while others wouldn’t be caught anywhere without one. People snarl, fight and make idiotic remarks about both of the candidates running to be President of the US of A in the November elections. Hydroxychloroquine either does or doesn’t help with coronavirus, depending on which ‘experts’ you choose to believe. Climate change either is or is not something to be worried about, again, depending upon which ‘experts’ you choose to believe.

I think another definition of apathy should include the words wishy-washy. We are a country that simply has become so feeble in stature in our need to be “right” that the need to be right becomes the only thing that matters. I guess my question is, how is it possible to not feel apathy these days? I am certainly not qualified to know which of the opposing ‘experts’ is correct or wrong in any of these things. To be honest, none of us are qualified. It comes down to a gut instinct, and that’s such an individual reaction that it’s almost no wonder why we are divided!

Meanwhile, I can’t help put struggle with what becoming apathetic means to me – it’s nice to have the break from always being highly emotional about anything and everything – my own or someone else’s anything and everything. It’s nice to have a break from the roller-coaster ride of emotions. But, I have to admit, it’s also boring as hell!

The monthly calendar has turned to August. My year-to-date, though my years aren’t always abuzz with activity, has been the most boring time I can recall. I’m joining on the bandwagon of understanding that the coronavirus not only brings physical issues, but mental issues as well. I know I’m bored because I’ve resorted to online window shopping and I LOATHE shopping! Worse, I know I’m bored because I’ve dug out my dance-ersize DVDs and have them ready to load up and play, and I HATE exercising more than I LOATHE shopping! (Light-bulb moment: I don’t hate exercising, I merely HATE feeling sweaty – which I can do on my own without exercise!)

Seriously – the “highlight” of 2020 has been dislocating my shoulder and having to deal with the pain, the strengthening movements, the cupping therapy, the Graston therapy and the ongoing issues. It’s given me something to focus on!

Anyone else suffering like I am?

Around-the-House Hacks – V

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is the time when we seem to use a lot of ice cubes to keep our drinks cool in the sweltering heat. For me, at any time of the year, I like my drinks to be ice cold, so while I go through more ice cubes in the summer, there are always ice cubes available in my freezer any day of the year!

For people who like to make smoothies or for those who live for ‘frozen’ alcoholic drinks, ice cubes on hand are also a major concern! Provided you’re proactive like I am about making certain to always have plenty on hand (my dream is an ice and water on the door fridge!), there are other ways to use ice cubes.

If you have hanging plants that require you to reach for the step-stool in order to water them, the next time you water them, add a few ice cubes around the plant as well. The ice cubes will melt slowly, providing a small but consistent amount of water to reach down to the roots over a period of time and without concern of causing a downpour from over-watering the plant. Ice cubes are an excellent way to water your live Christmas tree as well, for the same reason. In both cases, you won’t have to climb up on the step-stool or shimmy on your belly under the tree nearly as often!

If you’ve ever rearranged furniture, you know that heavy pieces tend to leave dents in the carpet where they’ve been sitting. An easy rehab? Place an ice cube directly on the dented area. Let the cube completely melt, and then brush (fingertips work fine) the nap in all different directions and it will snap back up!

Have a DIY caulking project? You know how difficult it can be to try and get a perfectly smooth line with your fingertips. Grab a piece of ice instead! Using a piece of ice will insure a nice even bead, and the caulking won’t stick to the ice like it does to your fingers!

No matter what flavor your local pharmacist offers in children’s medicines, kids often still turn up their noses at the taste. Give your child an ice cube to suck on before administering the medicine. This numbs the taste buds and allows the medicine to go down – and all without a spoonful of sugar!

An ice cube can also numb the area where a splinter has seated itself, making it easier to “dig” it out.

For a less expensive alternative to popsicles, make a flavored drink your children like and pour it into ice cube trays. When frozen enough, add a popsicle stick to each cube. Pop when completely frozen and let them enjoy! (Extra hint: to protect from dripping, slit and slide a cupcake paper up on the stick – it will catch any drips!)

Does your leftover rice dry out when you reheat it in the microwave? Put an ice cube in the center of the pile of rice before covering to reheat. The ice cube will melt as the rice reheats, giving the rice a much needed drink of moisture to return to its original texture.

If you like to make gravy from the drippings of roasted meat, you know that there is always fat in the broth you’ve made while roasting. Pour the broth into a bowl and add one or two ice cubes. The fat will quickly adhere to the ice cubes. Make sure you scoop the cubes out before they are completely melted, and you may have to do this step an additional time. Worth the effort though, over seeing your gravy boat start to cool with the gravy in it and the grease rising to the top!

If you have a garbage disposal, drop a handful of ice cubes into it now and again and turn it on. Any grease on the blades from use will cling to the cubes as they are ground up, making your disposal clean and grease free!

Ice cubes – they’re not just for drinks anymore!

I’m In Over my Head!

Which of my loyal readers knows how many times I’ve mentioned in blog posts that I am electronically technology illiterate? I’ve never pretended to be otherwise!

Well, now I’m officially in over my head!

I’ve recently been watching an online streamer play a game called Sims 4. She’s been building and decorating a house there, and I have had so much fun suggesting ideas for decor and furniture placement, and she has taken many of my suggestions. With my usual inability to sit still for long periods of time, I have been mentally invested in this fun for over 2 hours at a time without realizing that over 2 hours has actually passed!

This sweet young lady, who knows I’ve never played a video game and tend to get bored watching, saw how much enjoyment I was having, and graciously provided me with her information so that I could download the game on my PC and play it on my own! So I downloaded what she sent me.

However, I’m frightened by it already! It may be on my computer now, but I still know literally nothing on what to do with it now! Because it’s under her name, I have great anxiety about doing something with it and having it affect her game! So, I suspect that it will do nothing more than take up some space on my hard drive.

On top of that, I’ve been invited to take part in a Zoom get-together. Now, I think I safely assume that I need a microphone to be able to talk to the other people in real time. Okay, I suspect that a camera would enhance my being there, but I’m more than okay with not showing my face. To be honest, I don’t really like my voice so I’ve been happy with being able to type in chat what it is I want to say. However, I don’t think that’s an option, so the microphone is necessary. Which microphone? Where do I plug it in? How do I use it?

I’m not against learning new things. It’s just that I’ve always learned best when being taught by a hands-on approach. I even watched a YouTube video on Zoom and was overwhelmed in under 5 minutes! I need someone sitting beside me who knows all of the ins and outs, telling me how to do things and watching me while I try them. Even then, I’d need to make notes because I’d quickly forget much of it without some reference the next time.

I usually detest people who tend to play ostrich and stick their heads in the sand rather than confront something. But that’s exactly what I feel like doing! At the foundation of it all is the fact that I’m afraid I’ll do something to “break” my laptop and end up having to buy a new one. This one has lasted me longer than most – almost 2 years! – and that’s a record for me. During these economic times, I’d prefer not to have to spend money to purchase yet another laptop that I’ll eventually break!

HELP! I’m in OVER MY HEAD!

Finally Making Use of Time

It’s been many months now since COVID-19 came to completely change our lives. For some, the sheltering-in-place was a good time to clean out closets, do small household repairs, tackle bigger household projects, etc., etc., etc. Of course, we found time to whine and complain about the barriers of the pandemic as well!

As someone who routinely cleans out closets, who rents so she never has household repairs or projects to do, the days haven’t been any different for me than they would otherwise be. I’d see the occasional thing that needed to be done, but they were all insignificant things. Like sewing on a button to a winter top that will be months until I’m ready to wear it again. Like regluing loose pinecones on the pinecone wreath I made and hung two years ago. I’ve managed to keep up with the routine household chores in the way I’ve always done, limited, of course, to what I can do with my shoulder/arm at any given time.

I’ve returned to reading more and watching stuff on Amazon Prime to pass the time this past few weeks. I looked at those ‘projects’ but gave no thought to actually putting action into them.

Today, I finally did. I had a project that I’d been wanting to do which required me to dig out my hot glue gun, and since I also needed to take care of those loose pinecones, it seemed like the right time. Mission accomplished!

Well, that felt good – to have that one inconsequential thing taken care of! Finishing my project on the same day I started it was a major accomplishment, and I only considered once about letting it go to finish in the near future. Little bits of tidying up – like organizing my junk drawer, for example, are things I’ve started to do a few of daily. My two BIG projects still loom – finishing scanning photos into my computer and then transferring them to a disc drive so I can empty the boxes of unorganized pictures and going through three large totes and four shelves of crafting pieces and projects and making decisions about what might actually get done and what needs to be given away. Both of these projects require massive amounts of time, and both of them must occur in my spare bedroom, which is not air conditioned and gets warm even with a fan blowing over me.

Meanwhile, what time I can tolerate in this room has also been productive. I’ve cleaned out so many files on my computer, for starters. I’ve also done some research into recipes, like how to make risotto which I’ve never had but would like to try. I’ve spent time on Amazon comparing prices for grocery items I can purchase (and have delivered to my door!) versus what the same items cost in the grocery store (which I have to lug to my car and then lug into my house!)

I’ve been slowly looking at and starting to purchase Christmas gifts. Two years ago, I would have been 99% or more done with the shopping part, but last year I learned that I shopped too early and then found something I liked better as a gift after I’d bought something else.

Is any of this astounding? Nope! But I’m often very skilled at procrastination, so no matter how insignificant and menial these tasks may be, a feeling of accomplishment is a feeling of accomplishment after all! It’s not like anyone but me knows anything is different – for example, how my junk drawer looks now compared to what it looked like before I organized it. No one else would have even noticed the loose pinecones on my wreath. No one else knows how many and of what files I had on my computer to know that it’s been cleaned out.

But I know! I get to pat myself on my own back in acknowledgement of success and finishing a project that is important to no one but me. It’s kind of like darning a whole in the heel of your sock – no one knows the hole was ever there so no one knows you repaired it. But you can feel it when you wear that sock!

We all deserve to feel accomplished! Sometimes it’s as simple as putting fresh sheets on the bed! Congratulate yourself!