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OUTOFIDEAS's Recent Blog Entries


Sunday, October 12, 2008

What's wrong with this picture? We are assaulted with contradictions and temptations like this every moment of our lives. Is it any wonder that we are increasing in weight and decreasing in health and moral strength/will power?

Anyway, that's from my "For what it's worth" department. I ran across some quotes today that I thought I'd pass on to those of us struggling with growth in whatever form. From an e-mail I received from a friend, entitled: A Woman Should Have:

...one friend who always makes her laugh...and one who lets her cry. If they both come in the same individual, that is a real lifetime treasure.

...a feeling of control over her destiny. God is in ultimate control, but knowing Him gives us true confidence in our direction, because we can see Him when we can't see the direction.

...knowledge of how to love without losing herself.

...knowledge of when to try harder, and when to walk away.

...a youth she's able and content to leave behind.

...knowledge that though her childhood may not have been perfect, it's over.

...knowledge of what she should and shouldn't do for love...or anything else, for that matter.

...knowledge of how to live alone without being lonely.

...knowledge of who she can trust, who she can't, and why she needn't take it personally.

...knowledge of what she can and can't accomplish in a day, a month, and a year.

That last one brings me to a question I was asked by a Sparkfriend recently...why I don't blog more frequently? I'd love to, but with the CFIDS, I have learned to pace myself carefully and pay attention only to what I absolutely have to do...most of the time, anyway. My "normal" fatigue level doesn't allow me to do all that I'd like. But having each of you to interact with is a great gift to me. I don't take it lightly! You each bring encouragement and inspiration into my life as I read your blogs and comments around the site.

So for all of us imperfect people, here's my closing thought...also lifted from an e-mail. (I'm completely w/out originality today...)

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light!" Go shine some light on your world through your best efforts...no matter how imperfect!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THREEWHALES 3/19/2009 10:37AM

    Thank you for your words. They came as a blessing to me this morning.
I would love to read your article "The God of Tiny Things."

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SAYRAH-M 11/11/2008 9:21AM

    Thanks so much!

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STARTSPARKING 10/16/2008 1:13AM

    What a picture... It makes me think of another photo of contradictions:


"...knowledge of what she can and can't accomplish in a day, a month, and a year." That's an important one for me also. I need to recognize that there is finite amount of time in a day, and there is only so much I can do. Therefore, I need to prioritize and not get overwhelmed.

Thanks for another brilliant blog post, my friend! emoticon

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KATHYLM51 10/14/2008 9:06PM

    thanks, loved your blog. You may write less than some but you say more.
I have to use the cracked thing in the quotes on my page....to keep "me" in line. Take care of yourself. Kathy

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KATHYLM51 10/14/2008 9:06PM

    thanks, loved your blog. You may write less than some but you say more.
I have to use the cracked thing in the quotes on my page....to keep "me" in line. Take care of yourself. Kathy

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LUCRECE 10/14/2008 7:29PM

    blessed are the cracked...heehee

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DOTSLADY 10/13/2008 10:18AM

    Sometimes I think I let in toooo much light I'm so cracked. :0P

I'm SPing less, and paying more attention to my health. There are few people who inspire me, but you're one. I treasure whatever you give and appreciate you!
(Love today's pic, too!)

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    Our local WW is in a strip mall, with Coney Island on one side and there used to be a Baskin Robbins ice cream on the other side. Look at this way: they may have planted the WW where it was most needed! As a very wise person once said, "Only the sick need a doctor."
But I do agree with your point.

You have to do what's best for you. We enjoy your company and insightful comments on our blogs. You are a faithful encourager, and we are honored to know you.

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ROYALETBONE 10/13/2008 1:37AM

    Dang woman, so nice.
I feel like most of your blogs are very special- like having a perfect sunset. I don't ask why so few- I'm happy I get them when they come.
Thank you so much for being you.

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QUILTEDCAT52 10/13/2008 1:04AM

    Thank you for the day brightener! emoticon

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm going to be traveling over the weekend and am presently frying all my circuits trying to get ready to leave. In the midst of the craziness, my brother sent me the following via e-mail. I had to stop and laugh. (especially since I "fit" into several of the mentioned categories!) Hope it brings some comic relief to your day as well.


In 2009 the government will start killing
all the mentally ill people.
I started crying when I thought of you.
Run little friend, run!


Hello and thank you for calling The State Mental Hospital.

Please select from the following options menu:

If you are obsessive-compulsive, press 1 repeatedly.

If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2 for you.

If you have multiple personalities, press 3, 4, 5 and 6.

If you are paranoid, we know who you are and what you want,
stay on the line so we can trace your call.

If you are delusional, press 7 and
your call will be forwarded to the Mother Ship.

If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully
and a little voice will tell You which number to press.

If you are manic-depressive, hang up.
It doesn't matter which number you press,
nothing will make you happy anyway.

If you are dyslexic, press 9-6-9-6.

If you are bipolar, please leave a message after the beep
or before the beep or after the beep.
But Please wait for the beep.

If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.
If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.
If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.

If you have low self-esteem, please hang up.
Our operators are too busy to talk with you.

If you are menopausal, put the gun down,
hang up, turn on the fan, lie down and cry.
You won't be crazy forever.

If you are blonde, don't press any buttons.
You'll just mess it up.

This coming week is National Mental Health Care week..
You can do your part by remembering to contact at least
one unstable person to show you care.

Have a great rest of the week, friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUCRECE 10/7/2008 1:22PM

    very funny. i especially liked the low self esteem directive.

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THEGRACE2B 10/6/2008 10:29PM

    That was great! I copied and sent it on to some friends... the "Friday Funnies" a few days early! Thanks, I needed a good laugh!

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STARTSPARKING 10/5/2008 6:18AM

    I hope you are enjoying your weekend trip. Thanks for sharing such a hilarious piece! emoticon

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TRECECOOKS 10/4/2008 3:28PM

    I'm just curled up in a ball, howling with laughter!!

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PUPPYWHISPERS 10/1/2008 2:02PM

    I just dialed, and I didn't press any buttons because I'm blonde, but then the a voice in my head started whispering, "press 8, press 8, press 8" But another voice (this time female) said, "press 0, press 0, press 0." Then the voices began to argue.

What do you think that means?


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ROYALETBONE 10/1/2008 11:18AM

    Yup, I had to forward this one. Too funny.
The Mother Ship will be coming for me next Monday at 7pm!

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MOJO-REAL 9/30/2008 11:13PM

    I think I've seen this before but how would I know for sure....

Made me laugh so hard - I've sent it to everyone I know! I needed a good laugh this week and I think this is it!

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    Ha ha ha, that gave me a good laugh! I needed it. Thanks, my friend.
Hope all goes well with your travels.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

I feel sadly compelled to post this account from the LA. hurricane sagas. This perspective is never covered on the national news since it is entirely politically improper. Make of it what you will.

Dear Editor,

I am a nurse who has just completed volunteering, working approximately 120 hours as the clinic director in a Hurricane Gustav evacuation shelter in Shreveport , Louisiana over the last 7 days.

I would love to see someone look at the evacuee situation from a new
perspective. Local and national news channels have covered the
evacuation and "horrible" conditions the evacuees had to endure during
Hurricane Gustav.

True - some things were not optimal for the evacuation and the shelters
need some modification. At any point, did anyone address the
responsibility (or irresponsibility) of the evacuees?

Does it seem wrong that one would remember their cell phone, charger,
cigarettes and lighter but forget their child's insulin?

Is something amiss when an evacuee gets off the bus, walks immediately
to the medical area, and requests immediate free refills on all
medicines for which they cannot provide a prescription or current bottle
(most of which are narcotics)?

Isn't the system flawed when an evacuee says they cannot afford a $3
copay for a refill that will be delivered to them in the shelter yet
they can take a city-provided bus to Wal-mart, buy 5 bottles of Vodka,
and return to consume them secretly in the shelter?

Is it fair to stop performing luggage checks on incoming evacuees so as
not to delay the registration process but endanger the volunteer staff
and other persons with the very realistic truth of drugs, alcohol and
weapons being brought into the shelter?

Am I less than compassionate when it frustrates me to scrub emesis from
the floor near a nauseated child while his mother lies nearby, watching
me work 26 hours straight, not even raising her head from the pillow to
comfort her own son?

Why does it insense me to hear a man say "I ain't goin' home 'til I get
my FEMA check" when I would love to just go home and see my daughters
who I have only seen 3 times this week?

Is the system flawed when the privately insured patient must find a way
to get to the pharmacy, fill his prescription and pay his copay while
the FEMA declaration allows the uninsured person to acquire free
medications under the disaster rules?

Does it seem odd that the nurse volunteering at the shelter is paying
for childcare while the evacuee sits on a cot during the day as the
shelter provides a "daycare"?

Have government entitlements created this mentality and am I
facilitating it with my work?

Will I be a bad person, merciless nurse or poor Christian if I hesitate
to work at the next shelter because I have worked for 7 days being
called every curse word imaginable, feeling threatened and fearing for
my personal safety in the shelter?

Exhausted and battered,

Sherri Hagerhjelm, RN

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANGORA4 9/30/2008 7:33PM

    Thanks for posting this. I am truly concerned about this nation. During the depression, we had a 'can do' attitude. During the second world war, when our airfields were bombed, we just filled up the holes with wet sand, and took off! We did not bemoan our situation. We were inventive, "Yankee ingenuity", and we moved on. We counted on ourselves to do what we could. We counted on God to do what we could not. We helped our neighbor when we could.

Read all the disasters that occurred in the Little House on the Prairie books. Famines, floods, sickness, death. They picked up, and started over. Again, and again. Yet in a spirit of love, adventure, determination, and dependence on God.

Now, we see the situations described here in the evacuation shelters. Did these people prepare? Did they have an emergency plan? (FlyLady has a basic emergency plan to get you thinking: http://www.flylady.net/pages/FLYing
Lessons_Prepared.asp Lack of preparedness can cause frustration and anger. Loss of control does the same. That is why FlyLady reminds us to bring "patience" with us. And if all those evacuees helped each other, the nurse wouldn't have needed to do it.

So, we can use this as a lesson for the future. Be prepared. That includes medicine, comfort things for children, clothes, food, water, important documents, extra cash tucked away for an emergency.

And mostly, be patient, be kind, be helpful. You know, those Boy Scout traits?" A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent." We all could use more of that. I think we are all guilty of not being our best when things are going all wrong. It takes a big effort to do what doesn't come naturally (which is to complain, complain, gripe, fuss, fume. . .) and be bright instead.

I think this is a choice we have to make ahead of time. Prepare ahead of time. Practice being helpful in little circumstances as they come up. Practice not complaining when you really want to blast that poor clerk. Practice in small ways every day, so when the big one hits, you're ready.

And most of all, our salvation is not in government or in their programs. The "government" is just the people. We are responsible. And we trust a God that is able to take care of us, even through the "valley of the shadow of death".

I fear what will happen when a large scale disaster hits, with a nation that has lost its trust in God, and lost any sense of the responsibility of the individual to do what they can.

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BUTTONSMUM 9/29/2008 7:19AM

    So Sad and so true... emoticon

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SAYRAH-M 9/24/2008 1:33PM

    I think this is the danger we fall into when we don't make people personally responsible.

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KATHYLM51 9/23/2008 8:07PM

    Thanks for sharing that reality even though its ugly.

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STARTSPARKING 9/23/2008 2:07AM

    How sad... Some people will behave badly in the best of times and in the worst of times. Thanks for sharing the other perspective.

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PUPPYWHISPERS 9/19/2008 7:50PM

    Working in the public sector, I completely understand this woman's frustration with the system. While at one time, I'm sure our social services system worked, now it is badly broken and abused on a daily basis by people who know very well how to work it. Explain to me how a family cannot afford to pay for their child's school lunch, but the application comes in reaking of cigarette smoke. Having said that, many people truly need the help, and most of them are too proud to ask for it.

Thank you for sharing her story.

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ROYALETBONE 9/19/2008 7:44PM

    Thank you for sharing Sherri's story.
We need to stay in balance, aware of all sides. My heart goes out to her, and to others who are feeling overwhelmed by the needs and foolishness of others.

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MOJO-REAL 9/19/2008 6:45PM

    I don't know. It's like some people get started down the wrong road and they don't know where the right road is anymore. Heck, I'm not sure they even know there is another road. So many people are just getting more and more lost. On the other hand, everyday I spend time with folks who are trying so hard to find that right road and to turn their lives around. When they actually do, it feels like a miracle but just their effort gives me hope.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Yesterday, the Ouachita was whipped to a backward flowing turgid froth by Ike's outlying winds, swirling, sucking, and battering the interstate bridge pilings below me. The city raised the floodwall on my side of the river 3 days ago, because the backwaters of already swollen rivers and bayous had been emptying into this river for a week following Gustave's visit. Today, the river looks like slowly melting pewter glass beneath uncertain skies. I've been kicking myself all day for not taking pictures yesterday from my perfect vantage point! A friend's daughter's house a few miles to the southwest was robbed of windows by a tornado spawned by the hurricane system...thankfully, she and her family were unharmed. She said that small twigs lined all the crevices on her car doors as though they had been carefully and deliberately inserted upright by some mischievous child making a unique work of art! How incredible are the forces of nature set in motion by the hand of God at the beginning of time! I pray for all those who have been more closely and seriously affected by this storm.

I've done reasonably well this week on the "cut back on the dairy products" regimen. I've been fighting a throat infection all week, but I haven't felt the bloated, swollen head thing, so I think I may be on the right track. If I have to completely give up cheese and yogurt, though, it's going to be a difficult battle. I think I can almost live without chocolate more easily than I can live without cheese! But then, I suspect that the cheese and other dairy products may contribute to my craving for chocolate and other sugary things. We'll see. My sister has embarked on a similar dietary clean-up program, so we are being mutually supportive.

I maintained the Nordic Track sessions for the week. All in all, I'm satisfied...no weight loss yet, but I could zip my jeans a bit more easily! Whee!!

P. S. Tonight I tried fixing salmon a slightly different way than usual. I started off the same way...sauteed some sliced red onions in a spritz of olive oil, then added the salmon on top of the onion, sprinkled it with dill weed and cracked black pepper, and cooked covered (turning once) till done. When it was almost done, I added a squeeze of lime juice to deglaze the pan. I served it with a thin smear of roasted red pepper hummus spread over the top along with sides of brown rice and a bit of chunky guacamole. (That last one's for you, MOJO!! emoticon) I have to say, I was satisfied...yum!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUTTONSMUM 9/29/2008 7:27AM

    I too have given up the chocolate, and seriously, I mean seriously cut down on cheese.. emoticon

My omelets consist of just 1 egg & 2 whites, but to be honest, just as nice/good.

& Im hoping I get some results on my next weigh in.

Iv done two just under 5 mile walks this week, another this afternoon is planed.

& what you have written has given me more inspiration, thank you.



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DOTSLADY 9/18/2008 12:49PM

    The way you write about hurricanes is how I sometimes feel about giving up foods too! "swirling, sucking, battering, whipped" LOL
I hope you find answers and that your challenge will be rewarded - persistence really does pay off. Considering your challenges, I find your efforts heroic, too. That should be said.
I'm reading Dr. Dowd's "Vitamin D Cure" and he says cheese is VERY VERY acidic (as are grains). He's celiac-saavy, too, so I "trust" him - :). Um, next time you make salmon, give me a call. I just finished walking and I'm starved - it sounds sooo good! (And Dr. Dowd would approve!)

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STARTSPARKING 9/18/2008 6:50AM

    I hope by now you have recovered from the throat infection. Giving up dairy is tough. Give up chocolate? emoticon Since I am a chocoholic who doesn't eat cheese, I'd choose chocolate over cheese any day.

If you are able to zip your jeans a bit more easily, you are making progress because your waist is getting smaller. emoticon

Your salmon dinner sounds so delicious and healthful. I have to try it one of these days! emoticon

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LUCRECE 9/16/2008 12:19PM

    I know what you mean about giving up things, but this is one thing i learned about my refined sugar fast: eating what you're trying not to eat is it's own punishment b/c if it makes your body feel bad, that is punishment enough. sooner or later you will learn that if your body responds badly to a certain food, you won't eat it so you can feel good.

the other thing is that nothing is forever. the psychological pull of a forbidden food only powers the obsession. "just for today" anyone can give up anything...one day at a time.

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ROYALETBONE 9/15/2008 7:23PM

    Beautifully written. Powerful stuff, like the days.
The dinner sounded great. Maybe I'll pick up some hummus tonight.
I'm glad you are ok. Be safe, behind your floodwalls.

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SAYRAH-M 9/15/2008 5:10PM

    OH MY that just made me hungry! Wonderful.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

This comment was in one of yesterday's sparkpeople e-mails:

"The groundwork for all happiness is good health." (Leigh Hunt)

There is another old saying that goes, "If you have health, you have everything."

I want to disagree with both of these statements. While good health is a wonderful gift, and being without it can be miserable, health does not necessarily ensure happiness, and neither does ill health have to guarantee misery. I have known a number of people who have had great health, reasonable financial security, and stable relationships, and they were still ungrateful, spoiled, selfish, unhappy people who would fail to be happy no matter what they had. I have also known people in poverty and illness who were filled with contentment, gratitude, and peace. Granted, the latter situation is a really, really difficult one to pull off. I know from personal experience. I'd much rather try to be happy in a position of abundance. To quote an old song: "I've been poor, and I've been rich, and now that I know which is which, I'd rather be rich!" Suffering in any form wears on the spirit which can, in turn, further drag down the body...a cycle of spiraling diminishing returns. But what is the ultimate value of and destination of our spirits? Are we designed for this physical realm alone? Just food for thought.

Meanwhile, the sun is shining over Northeast Louisiana today for the first time in a week. My Mother, brother, and uncle are still without a landline phone, and they were on generator power through Thursday evening. Water came down the chimney in torrents, ruining the living room carpet...it was like the wind drove it right through the bricks themselves! Here in my city, there were scattered power outages, wind damage, and flash flooding all over the city. One man was attacked by a huge gator in his front yard...made the national news...we don't see many alligators roaming the neighborhoods in this part of the state! There were cottonmouth moccasins slithering all over the place...again, they don't frequent the more civilized realms of the city...made me grateful to be holed up in my non-luxury third floor apartment! I hope those of you facing Hannah and her boyfriend, Ike, fare at least as well as I have.

Speaking of alligator (were we?)...I tasted the critter for the first time last weekend in my stay in Natchitoches. Had "Blackened" Alligator: marinated in a blend of Cajun spices and sauteed, served floating in a pool of buttery, peppery sauce...it was pretty darned good!...kind of a cross between chicken and veal...very tender, melt in your mouth, rich and light at the same time. The small portion didn't even run up the calorie count in too horrid a fashion! Besides, I don't eat like that very often, so I thoroughly enjoyed it!

On the diet front, I've been trying to cut back on the dairy products I'm so addicted to. I fixed a spinach and tofu fritata for dinner one night this week...w/tomatoes, bacon, (a teensy bit, just for flavor) mushrooms, and onions and used less than half the cheese I would have normally used. I've used soy milk in my breakfast protein smoothies to replace 2/3rds of the yogurt I'd normally use, and so on. The plan is to see just how much dairy I can phase out entirely and whether it makes any difference in my food cravings...especially sugar...and calorie count over the long haul.

I've gotten in 20 minutes on the Nordic Track 3 days this week. I'll hold steady at that level for several weeks and see if the CFIDS will allow me to keep it up. I hesitate to write about my small successes, since I am so used to having to give them up to the greed of this disease. But today, I am going to enjoy them and be grateful for them. That is a choice for joy! Cheers, everyone!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THEGRACE2B 9/9/2008 11:25PM

    Thanks for the update and great work on the Nordic Track! emoticon

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ROYALETBONE 9/8/2008 5:52PM

    I hear you. Very powerfully said.
Injuries and loss can make powerful friends when we embrace them. Ahh, to hold close, and know our enemies, love our enemies, and know death is over our left shoulder.
Easy to lose track of this, easy to cling to silly stuff...
And! Congrats on the Nordic trac! Great job on the cutting down/out on dairy!
You are so beautiful. Thank you.

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JIBBIE49 9/7/2008 5:52PM

    Thanks for stopping by to say "HELLO". I've been stressed today wondering if Hurricane IKE is coming to Pensacola. Had just 24 hours of RAIN BANDS from Hurricane Gustav, so I'm sorry your family is still without the phone, etc. AND HERE a couple of summers ago, we had a DROUGHT. emoticon

I'm glad you liked that alligator. I've had frog legs, as my F-I-L use to go down to the lake and get them at night and my MIL would "fry them" and they were like chicken. I grew up on a big farm where we had a lot of food, so my father always saw that as "poor." I knew people who ate raccoon, opossum, rabbits, etc. but we didn't. Remember "THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES" where Granny was always wanting to get a "critter." emoticon I saw a little of it on Channel 12 the other day, and thought "GOSH, Granny looks younger than ME." emoticon

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TRECECOOKS 9/7/2008 4:03PM

    Yes, enjoy and be grateful!! Hooray for small victories!!

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LUCRECE 9/7/2008 12:31PM

    maintaining small meaningful changes is important. it's the foundation for bigger things to come. keep up the good work.

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MOJO-REAL 9/7/2008 10:05AM

    Ah yes, I too would rather have all the comforts of life but I agree that is not the formula for happiness and contentment. How many people have I watched struggle and struggle to hold on to what they think is their "rightful place" in the world, only to lose it all and THEN find happiness and contentment in their lives.

The character I am playing right now appears to have literally nothing in her world but TV, memories, and food and yet her moments of self-pity are fleeting. As she says, "No use crying over sad things and disappointments... A lot of folks have it much worse that I do."

We've been watching Hannah, of course (they say it will remain strong all the way across the ocean to northern Ireland and Scotland!) and I've been keeping an eye on Ike as it comes roaring into the Gulf. My heart goes out to Cuba (third direct hit) and I pray that it loses steam before it bears down on the Gulf Coast or Mexico.

If seeing alligators and water mocs in your neck of the woods is strange for you all, I can only imagine what they must be thinking when they wake up and discover they've left the swamp far behind and now they're in some guys suburban swimming pool!

We're living in some wild times...so to speak.

Good for you on the Nordic Trak. If you can do that 3X a week then I can certainly go for a walk. You've inspired me!

Comment edited on: 9/7/2008 10:05:28 AM

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    Sorry that your mother's place is without a landline phone. I am also sorry that her living room carpet is ruined. I'm glad that you are safe living on the third floor.

Hmm... Alligator meat, huh? I have never tried it. Is it on the nutrition tracker? Good for you for doing so well on the Nordic Track. I admire your positive attitude. Keep up your great work!

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