Posted in loss

Monday Mourning

mourning candle
image courtesy of thecjn.ca

Trigger warning – Mondays are always hard, but today is harder than most, and not just because the world is a mess. If today’s post on grief and loss is too much for you, I completely understand. I’ll see you next time!

mourn·​ing | \ ˈmȯr-niŋ  \ noun

1: the act of sorrowing

She is still in mourning for her dead husband.

2a: an outward sign (such as black clothes or an armband) of grief for a person’s death

lots of people there, and only one man in full mourning

— Arnold Bennett

b: a period of time during which signs of grief are shown

after a long mourning, resume their ordinary dresses

— Henry Reed

2b gets me. Well, it doesn’t “get” me (does anyone?), but it’s only fair, since I don’t “get” it either.

What exactly is “a period of time”? Or, to be more specific – how long should we mourn?

According to the bible, we should mourn for 30 days, or 70, or “many days” depending on who died. Well, that was helpful.

According to Karen Roldan’s post on grief and loss, “various cultures have formal mourning periods of…up to three years (but) one year is a generally accepted mourning period in the US.” What the actual F?? What is wrong with people in the US? (don’t answer that).

When I was young, I thought a year was long enough. As my brother says, you give yourself time to get angry/sad/mad, but if there’s nothing you can do about it, you let it go (to his credit, he wasn’t talking about grief, but it fits). I believed that a year (or two, maybe three at the max) gave you plenty of time to move from denial to acceptance.

Boy was I wrong – and not just because Time is an asshole and a year doesn’t last nearly as long as it used to.

Today is my mother’s 27th deathaversary. I still can’t accept it. My mom wasn’t perfect, but she was pretty awesome – just ask my friends. As a teenager it bugged me to no end that she would TALK to them, but they remember her still.

My mother’s door was always open – and not just because houses built during the 60s were just weird low-ceilinged boxes. If you fell and scraped your knee or needed a mid-day snack, you were welcome. Our father traveled a lot for work, so she was one of the original “single mothers” who managed to get my brother and me to school/work/dance recitals/soccer practice without a hair out of place (thanks aqua net!). She was from Oklahoma, and definitely brought her sense of Southern hospitality with her to Southern California. She loved it when our house was full – full of kids playing in the yard or snacking at the table or staying up all night at a “Sleepover”, full of adults chatting and playing cards and eating and drinking and laughing and skinny-dipping (after the kids had gone to bed). Her heart was huge, and she loved everyone – even people she didn’t know. As she put it, strangers are just friends you haven’t yet met. She didn’t care who you loved, the color of your skin or what religion you did or didn’t follow – if you needed a place to stay or a mom who loved you unconditionally, she was there.  She was loving and supporting and kind, and her only fault (well, the only one I’m willing to share) was that she didn’t know how truly special she was.

It’s been more than a year (or three) and I still mourn. I still pick up the phone and start to dial. Not that I’d ever get through – she was always on the phone.

mom

I miss you Karen Maron.

Posted in days of the week, Weird Wednesdays

Is it weird in here?

steven wright
image courtesy of quotesgram.com

Don’t you love Steven Wright? I wanted to shout “Yes it is!!” but shouting in my empty living room seems weird.

I mean, I know I’m weird (I’ve been told often enough). I blame the theater. Not the movie theater, although some theaters are pretty strange. Take Cinespia, for example. Cinespia is best know for screening movies at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. People bring blankets and chairs to watch a movie in the cemetery that marks the final resting place for Marion Davies, John Huston, Peter Lorre, Fay Wray, Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer, Harry Cohn, Bugsy Siegel, and the Black Dahlia.

I am talking about “the theater” – yes, it’s true – I am a damned thespian. At least I have a reason for being what my family called “so drama” (special shout-out to my mother for nicknaming me Sara Heartburn*). Fortunately I found my tribe long ago.

tribe

But I digress, yet again. It’s the third Wednesday of the month, which means it’s time for news of the weird.

The past month has been weird, and not just because the Depp-Heard drama refuses to die. A 9-foot boa constrictor visited a family in New York (is that weird, or just freaky?), an Idaho man had his brother-in-law catapult 59 marshmallows into his mouth, and Sandy Cheeks ran onto the field (and visited the bullpen) during a Cubs-Pirates game.

But the highlight (lowlight?) of the month has to be the story about the Charlie Bucket wannabes. As reported by Huffpost, two people fell into a partially filled chocolate tank while doing maintenance work at the Mars-Wrigley plant in Elizabethtown Pennsylvania. Emergency responders were able to free the pair by cutting a hole in the bottom of the tank.

That’s the official story anyway. I’m thinking that Willy Wonka has gone to the dark side and that chocolate-covered people are the new Soylent Green.

In closing, I want to leave you with this very important message from Graham Moore.

stay weird

Stay safe, stay weird, and don’t forget – normal is just a setting on the washing machine.

*Sarah Heartburn was my mother’s twisted take on Sarah Bernhardt. In a strange twist of fate, I worked on a production of Divine Sarah when I was in my twenties.

So tell me – do you have anything weird you’d like to share?

Posted in days of the week, mental health monday

Numb Little Bug

numb
image courtesy of soundcloud

Good morning!

Yes, I am perfectly (well, practically) aware that “good morning” is an oxymoron for most of us. As per this article from mattresscarity.com only 48.7% of women and 39.7% described themselves as morning people. Well, look at me, using statistics again. Evidently I am learning to like them (why isn’t there a sarcasm font?).

But I digress. It’s Mental Health Monday, which means I should be providing tips and tricks for maintaining some sort of sanity. Unfortunately the block is winning, and I am struggling to find the right words.

supernatural-chuck

I have no doubt the issue is that I am trying to find the perfect words. Ugh – perfectionism is the worst. I still blame Mary Poppins.

Whatever. On this Mental Health Monday I find myself wondering – is anyone else obsessed with Em Beihold’s Numb Little Bug? Maybe it’s me, but the lyrics resonate:

I don’t feel a single thing
Have the pills done too much
Haven’t caught up with my friends in weeks
And now we’re outta touch
I’ve been driving in L.A.
And the world it feels too big
Like a floating ball that’s bound to break
Snap my psyche like a twig

And I just wanna see if you feel the same as me

Do you ever get a little bit tired of life
Like you’re not really happy but you don’t wanna die
Like you’re hanging by a thread but you gotta survive
‘Cause you gotta survive
Like your body’s in the room but you’re not really there
Like you have empathy inside but you don’t really care
Like you’re fresh outta love but it’s been in the air
Am I past repair

A little bit tired of tryin’ to care when I don’t
A little bit tired of quick repairs to cope
A little bit tired of sinkin’
There’s water in my boat
I’m barely breathin’
Tryna stay afloat
So I got these quick repairs to cope
Guess I’m just broken and broke

The prescriptions on its way
With a name I can’t pronounce
And the dose I gotta take
Boy, I wish that I could count

‘Cause I just wanna see if this could make me happy

Do you ever get a little bit tired of life
Like you’re not really happy but you don’t wanna die
Like you’re hanging by a thread but you gotta survive
‘Cause you gotta survive
Like your body’s in the room but you’re not really there
Like you have empathy inside but you don’t really care
Like you’re fresh outta love but it’s been in the air
Am I past repair

A little bit tired of tryin’ to care when I don’t
A little bit tired of quick repairs to cope
A little bit tired of sinking
There’s water in my boat
I’m barely breathin’
Tryna stay afloat
So I got these quick repairs to cope

Do you ever get a little bit tired of life
Like you’re not really happy but you don’t wanna die
Like a numb little bug that’s gotta survive
That’s gotta survive

Songwriters: Andrew DeCaro / Emily Beihold / Nick Lopez

Numb Little Bug lyrics © Songtrust Ave

If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out for help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text “home” to 741741. Talk to a professional, talk to a friend, turn off the news and watch a cute puppy or kitten video. Do whatever it takes, because Em got that last lyric right – you gotta survive. 

And now I have Gloria Gaynor running through my head

So tell me – how do you fight the black dog?

Posted in all about me, life lessons

Statistics

stats
image courtesy of boldomatic.com

I hate statistics.

It’s not that I hate math.  I mean, I don’t love it, but I’m good at it. Numbers make sense to me, and, unlike most people (including me) they never lie – and I looooove word problems. I know, I’m weird – but hearing “two trains leave the station…” gets my blood pumping. Word problems are multi-step puzzles without missing pieces.

But statistics?

OIP8NCJVHU5
image courtesty of getty/metro.co.uk

I know that I’m not alone – a quick Google search of that phrase comes back with “about 221,000,000 results” in .61 seconds. There’s even an “I hate statistics” website.

So imagine my dismay at discovering I’ve become one – and not a fun statistic, like being one of the 1 in 42 million who win the California super lotto.

I am a victim of identity theft. Again, I’m not alone. As per this 2022 article from Fortunly, 33% of US citizens have been victims of identity theft, with over 49 million victims in 2020.

I am “lucky” in that he/she/they/the motherf-er “only” used my information to file an unemployment claim. It seems counterintuitive to do so little with my information (not that I’m not grateful) but, per my conversation with the EDD, it’s increasingly common. Criminals buy data in bulk when there’s a breach, and file thousands of claims. I don’t know about you, but filing thousands of unemployment claims seems like a lot of work.

I don’t want you to join me. Nerdwallet has great tips for preventing identity theft, including:

  1. Be alert to to phishing and spoofing. Scammers can make phone calls appear to come from government entities or businesses, and emails that appear to be legitimate may be attempts to seal your information. Initiate a callback or return email yourself, working from a known entity such as the official website, rather than responding to a call or email. And be wary of attachments-many contain malware.
  2. Watch your mailbox. Stolen mail is one of the easiest paths to a stolen identity. Have your mail held if you’re out of town. Consider a U.S. Postal Service-approved lockable mailbox. You can also sign up for Informed Delivery though the USPS, which gives you a preview of your mail so you can tell if anything is missing.
  3. Shred, shred, shred. 

Lastly, stop answering questions on Facebook. “I bet you don’t remember your third grade teacher” or “What’s your childhood phone number” may seem innocuous, but hackers use the answers to collect your security questions! While you’re at it, don’t play those games either. You know the ones – “Which Disney princess do you look like?” I love them, but a security expert warned me against them last year. No, I don’t remember why (thanks swiss cheese brain!).

If, like me, you do all the right things but still find yourself a victim, there are several steps you should take.

1. Scream, cry and throw things. It’s not helpful, but it is cathartic.

2a. Check your credit report. By law, everyone is entitled to one free credit report/year, but, thanks to COVID, you check your credit report once/week (which is the only good thing about the pandemic. Well, that, and the fact that I finally get to work from home).

2b. Place a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit report. The nice thing about a fraud alert is that you only have to notify one of the three credit reporting companies (they alert the others) AND it halts all those pre-screened credit card applications for 6 months.

3. File an identity theft report with the FTC. Their site leads you step-by-step through the necessary actions. Hmmmm. Maybe that should be the first step?

As my daughter reminded me, in the grand scheme of things, this is a minor bump – it’s fixable, nobody lost a limb or became “unalive” and we’ve dealt with a worse in our rollercoaster decade.

She’s right. Life’s a rollercoaster, and 49% of people like rollercoasters (now that’s a statistic I can understand). So get in, sit down, buckle up and don’t forget to throw your hands in the air – it makes the ride so much more fun.

rollercoaster

Posted in boosting the signal, mental health

A 30-Day Challenge to Detox the Negative Vibes from Your Life So You Can Love Your Life Again. —

I stumbled across this VIP (Very Important Post) today. The past two (or more) years have tried to steal everything fun from our lives. TBH adulthood is not as much fun as I thought it would be – but it can get better. Midlife Margaritas has come up with a detox I can get behind (all the other detoxes ask me to give up margaritas). Let’s do this together.

Step one – turn off the news. I’m not sure that 30 days without the news is possible (especially since my husband seems to be the reincarnation of my paternal grandmother and she watched the news all day long), but let’s try taking it a day at a time. Instead of turning on the “this is what’s bad and sad today”, go for a walk, read a book, or watch a movie, or (even better) spend time with people you love.

I asked a group once if any of them could say they actually LOVED their life right now. Not one person could do it. So, I came up with a plan to detox the bad juju and reset our mindset to live a fuller, happier and more intentional life. AND it’s super easy to do! […]

A 30-Day Challenge to Detox the Negative Vibes from Your Life So You Can Love Your Life Again. —
Posted in days of the week, mental health monday

Mistakes, I’ve Made a Few

There-Are-No-Mistakes_Richard-Bach-300x298[1]

Here we are again – just another manic Monday. Wish it was Sunday.

No I don’t. Sunday sucked, and not just because it was Monday eve.

That’s a lie. Sunday was ok – I tried a new dish. I’m not much of a cook, but the roasted cauliflower in this video looked delish. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as gorgeous as the one in the video, and it was a little overcooked. The EIC told me that I’d failed.

My normal response to the bully in my head is to roll over and allow him to lead me down the rabbit hole of mistakes. Being a “woman of a certain age” I have many, many years of stumbles and missteps, so it’s a long way to the bottom (I was going to say that my hole is deep, but that sounded wrong, even to someone with a twisted sense of humor).

I think he was surprised when I agreed. Yep, I failed – but that doesn’t bother me any more. That’s because I know what fail means. I’ve said it before, but the definition bears repeating:

First

Attempt

In

Learning

On this Mental Health Monday, I wanted to remind you that we’re only human – you are human, aren’t you? If not, congrats on learning to read! I know it sounds silly, but in a world where dogs and cats are learning to use sound buttons to communicate, anything is possible. Next thing you know this cat will be taking the newspaper into the bathroom.

 

Sorry, ADHD squirrels at it again.

Where was I? Oh yes – being human. 

We’re only human, which means we’re not perfect (as a recovering perfectionist, this was a hard lesson to learn). We make mistakes, and that’s ok. 

That’s a lie.

It’s more than ok. Making mistakes is what makes us human.

Have a great week, and don’t forget to be kind to everyone, including yourself!

Be-kind-to-yourself (1)
image courtesy of tiny buddha

So tell me – what have you learned from your mistakes?

Posted in days of the week, Friyay

Finally, Friday*

lucille ball
image courtesy of myhappybirthdays.com

Looks like we made it!

It’s been Quite A Week (deathaversaries, plumbing issues and anxiety attacks – Oh My!) but it is finally Friday – or is it finally, Friday? Grammar police, this is your chance – my brain has melted and English has fallen out of my head y hablo solomente uno poquito d’espanol (Spanish speakers, feel free to correct me as well). I know enough to ask for “mas cerveza” and inquire “donde esta el cuarto de bano” so I’m ready for my Cabo vacay (I wish).

ANYWAY.

I am slowly working through all the dias de la semana in an attempt to conquer my writer’s block, but today my writer’s block is punching back. For now I will leave you with a Friday funny.

loyal
image courtesy of en.dopl3r.com

Maybe it’s my twisted sense of humor, but that made me LOL. VIMN (Very Important Mom Note) – DON’T DO DRUGS!!)

My second smile came courtesy of those little yellow dudes (no, not mother’s little helpers)

minion
image courtesy of littlenivi.com

So tell me – what’s making you smile today?

P.S. For those of you “of a certain age” here’s a flashback for your Friday

Posted in days of the week, life lessons, WFH Wednesdays

WTF*

happy-hump-day-2
image courtesy of dictionary.com

Happy Hump Day everyone!

We are halfway through the week, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t Wait Til Friday.

Wait a minute.

What’s so special about Fridays? I mean, I know it’s the end of the workweek and all, but really, what makes Friday better than Wednesday? Is it truly a better day, or does it just have a better marketing team?

In my last post I tried to give Monday a spin. I learned that Mondays get a bad rap because they have no feet. I also learned that I am not a very good spin doctor – at least, not as good as these guys:

but I am going to try to work my way through all the days of the week.

I know what you’re thinking (I do! It’s because I’m psychic. Or is it psychotic? I get the two confused). You’re wondering why I would waste my time spinning the days of the week. I’m wondering the same thing.

TBH I don’t know why.

These are things that I DO know –

I know that I have let death, illness, stress, brain weasels and the black dog keep me from writing. I know that days weeks months of avoiding the blank page have turned it into the monster under my bed (literally – I have a whole slew of empty notebooks gathering dust under my bed). I know that the only way to chip away at a writer’s block is to write. And yet….

The words don’t come.

So here I am, rambling about the days of the week, chasing the ADHD squirrels and hoping that they’ll lead me over/around/through the block.

But (pay attention – I have a big but**)

My squirrels lead me straight to an epiphany (ok, not straight – they are ADHD squirrels, so we spent far too much time getting distracted by shiny things) –

We all look forward to Friday – we spend our week looking forward to the weekend and our weekend dreading Monday. When we’re at work we wish we were home and when we’re home (and faced with honey-dos) we wish we were somewhere else.

We are wishing our lives away. It needs to stop.

Life is short. Be here now.

The people at spiritbutton said it better

wtf

*I know what you’re thinking (did you not read my post? I’m psychic!). You thought this was going to be a post about WTF moments. I don’t want to disappoint you, so here’s a link

**mostly thanks to WFH and stress eating

So tell me – what’s your favorite day of the week, and why?

Posted in days of the week, motivational mondays

#TGIM

mondaymotivation

Happy Monday!

I know, I know, it seems like the world’s greatest oxymoron. Who the #!? is happy about Mondays?

TBH I’m not a fan, but as I said before,  I feel sorry for it. Put yourself in its shoes….Wait – does Monday even have shoes? or feet? (Ugh, the ADHD is strong today). How would you feel if you knew that everybody hated you? Is it any wonder that Mondays are so…well, Monday-ey?

I think the problem with Monday is bad PR.

That’s a lie (if you’re new here, I lie – a lot. Well, not a lot…mmmm..or maybe I do)

The main problem with Monday is that we’ve spent 2-3 days playing, and Monday marks a return to the real world – and it’s not even MTV’s Real World. BTW I hate the Real World more than Mondays.* The show, that is, although reality leaves a lot to be desired.  Returning to the real world is stressful. According to this AZCentral article, scientists say the stress of going back to work means our blood pressure is higher on Mondays, which explains why they are the most common day for people to have heart attacks and strokes (side note – the cdc site lists early symptoms of strokes or heart attacks – being aware can save a life).

And Monday can be an asshat – just ask Garfield:

garfield hates mondays
Image courtesy of Jim Davis

But maybe Monday is just taking a preemptive strike? Maybe, just maybe, if we start being being excited for Mondays they won’t be quite as rough? As I was looking for images for today’s post I came across a 2021 post by beautifulmindsinspireothers. Ronda reminds us to be gentle with ourselves because “there are enough people waiting to knock us down or criticize us without us leading the charge.” challenges us to “start your week with a better Monday Mindset and live the week being intentional about of beating yourself up over everything that doesn’t go wonderfully.”

She also shared a great acronym for Monday:

Make today count

be Open to new opportunities

Notice the good in others

Dream out loud

Acknowledge your effort (and remember that)

You make a huge difference

So TGIM everybody! Grab Monday by the balls and make it a great week! (Wait does Monday even have balls? No? No wonder its so mean!)

Sigh. The acronym is nice and all, but I still side with the Boomtown Rats

*Not only did The Real World interrupt my viewing of music videos, it was the very first reality tv show. Yes, you can blame The Real World for Keeping Up With The Kardashians and all the Real Housewives shows….