Friday, April 01, 2011
This morning started out normally enough, but when it was time for me to do some grown-up things (like filing my daughter's financial aid information before the deadline, as I swore to the poor financial aid counselor I would do this time) I couldn't get an Internet connection here at the house. Well, I know a thing or two about these things....I know!...I'll restart the DSL box!
Okay, still no Internet service. Well, does the phone work? Hmmm.....nope.
Call the phone company - in my experience, unless there's a widespread weather disaster, the only reason my telephone goes away is because I somehow blew off/forgot about paying them. No, phone company is okay money-wise. Put in a service call? Sure, why not.
.........................(five hours later)
White van in the driveway, little man shinnies up the pole, then comes back down. Comes to the house to do something or other outside. Dial tones heard through the window glass. Little man knocks on door but isn't patient enough to give me time to get there and starts to leave. "Wait! Come back! What did you discover?" Little man returns. With rueful head shake, tells me that the problem appears to be (insert dum-dum-dummmm of doom here) inside the house.
"Okay, well, there's only one place the phone wire comes in - see, it's right here in the corner - but I don't see how...., I mean, it was fine this morning and no one goes back there...."
"Well", says little phone man, getting down on his knees in the corner, "it appears there have been CATS back here."
"Um....wha? Cats?" *cough*
"YES!!", says little phone man. "There is a WET SPOT on the CARPET and the box is all CORRODED."
"oh! oh my!"
"YES! But I can FIX IT ANYWAY!", little phone man declares as he replaces the corroded box and a couple wires. "But you must MOVE the equipment up onto a shelf to prevent this from happening again."
"I'll do that", I said, glaring at one of the possible culprits, hiding under the table (the culprit, not me, although if I thought I'd fit I might have tried.)
Exit little phone man. I tentatively reload Spark People and sure enough, all is well in Internet land.
And my reputation as Crazy Cat Lady (why are there no Crazy Dog Ladies?) is apparently secure. Cat pee as telephone destruction mechanism...who knew?
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Received this just now:
We were not able to deliver the package which was sent last week in time
because the recipientís address is not correct.
Please print out the invoice copy attached and collect the package at our office.
USPS , United Parcel Service of America, Inc.
with an attached zip file.
I live iin a very small town, so something coming to me with an incorrect address would get here anyway - Donna, the postmistress (is that the correct term?) knows where I live and would drop the package on her way home at night. However, for people in a city, I can see that this might have a certain surface validity to it.
Your first clue is that a zip file probably contains something larger than an address form. You might also wonder how the Postal Service and/or UPS would have your email address. And aren't invoices something that tells about an amount paid for a sale, rather than a means of gathering an address? Anyway, the whole deal is a scam. This isn't how delivery services operate. Don't open the attachment.
Here's the story: http://www.snopes.com/computer/virus/ups.a
Monday, March 28, 2011
... but I largely blame that on the weather. It's been really cold (single digits and negative wind chill values? What's with that?) and snowy - one day we got like 2 1/2 feet. I wasn't really surprised - I do keep telling myself that March is one of the months that we get lots of snow - but somehow I was really hoping it would be spring. And it was, for two days. but when I'm snowed in, I find it really hard not just to follow up on my exercise/food plans, but to even care about it. I just want to hide until it gets warmer. And this desire was made one hundred times stronger by my malfunctioning heating system, which left me with a living room in which you could see your breath and no hot water for the better part of two weeks. Heating water on the stove for washing dishes or taking a sponge bath is okay when I'm camping, but not as a regular practice. Call me spoiled.
Then I weighed in this morning and discovered I'd lost a little better than one pound (one whole pound) all month, and my first thought was that at this rate, I'd be at my goal weight in, let's see..... about five years. But after a few minutes I decided that it had taken me five years to gain sixty-some pounds, so if it takes me five years to lose it, what the heck? I really didn't do anything to warrant that pound loss, so it can only get better, right? A little exercise here, a few fewer calories there, and I'll get there, and maybe even sooner than five years from now.
I've got some new plans to look into for income, some ideas for the house (and since I'm the only one here permanently, I can do anything I feel like, whether "normal" or not), even some plans for doing things simply for enjoyment, which is something that I'm not good at. I was raised with the view that if it wasn't a way to earn money or be a real benefit for someone (like paneling their game room), then it wasn't a worthy pastime. I'm trying to get away from that view and do some things purely for the pleasure of doing them.
I've always had a little trouble with that, "Don't say 'I'll try' because you give yourself an out. Say, 'I WILL.'" But what if you say you will, then something (anything, from disaster to ennui) comes up and you don't do whatever it was - seems to me that's a built in failure plan. So, "I'll try" and "I will" are both out of the semantic running. I've decided I like, "I intend to." It says what I want to accomplish, only without either the loophole or the failure options.
And that's my thought for today.
Monday, March 07, 2011
Apropos of nothing at all, did I ever show you guys my tattoo? I got the name part when we went to Pittsburgh to be with daughter #2 right after my husband's death, then added the rest of the design (after Id figured out what it would be) on a later visit:
This shot makes it look tilted, because I'm trying to take the photo with my phone in one hand and a mirror in the other - it's part of a Mucha drawing.
The rest of this entry is a post I made over on my other blog, mumsananarchist.livejournal.com. Since we'd talked about this topic on SP, I thought I'd re-post it here:
SELF-COMPASSION VS BUGGY WHIPS
The other day, an online friend and I were casually discussing the idea that people, particularly women, were far more understanding and compassionate with the problems of others than they were with themselves and their own issues. We counsel patience, love and time to heal for others, but when it comes to ourselves, we expect to snap the hell out of whatever is bothering us, lose the damned weight, clean *all* the things, and in general set the world back on its proper axis by this afternoon at the latest.
I've been accused, over the years, of being somewhat, well, less than compassionate. When presented with, "It hurts when I do this", my stock response has always been, "Well, then don't do that." In times of true crisis, I've always come through like a champ, but for the normal bumps and scrapes, if nothing's broken and blood isn't pouring from a wound, I tend to lean more toward worrying about possible damage to bikes and clothing than to bodies. When I flirted with the idea of being a life counselor, my daughter observed that I'd be like the ex-drill sergeant in the insurance ad, who responds to his clients woes with, "Well, maybe we should stroll on over to namby-pamby land and find you some self-esteem, ya jack-wagon" and throws a box of tissues at the client's head. Yep, that's me.
But all in all, I've been working at this compassion deal for some time. I now ask if people are all right before asking how the car is, make sure they're not emotionally scarred before asking about the cab fare. I hug people (albeit reluctantly) and sit with them when they are somehow damaged, instead of just writing them a check to go shopping (children) or taking them to lunch (adults.)
But self-compassion? Not so much. I took the Self-compassion Test ( www.self-compassion.org/test_your_self-com
passion_level.html ) at
www.self-compassion.org , a lovely, seemingly very caring organization, and I scored sort of so-so. The C, + or - , or Self-compassion. Go on, take the test. You know you want to. I'll wait here....
.....okay, now you know your score. But don't you wonder, particularly if you scored high, "Maybe I'm being too soft on myself, not pushing myself enough, using this whole Self-compassion deal as a loop-hole." A loop-hole that you could slide right through to your true destination, not love but laziness, not self-compassion but indolence.
Which brings us to PART 2:
I was always pretty stubborn when I wanted to do something (my grandmother referred to it as "firm-minded.") i'd keep after something until I got it; a job, a man, a completed project, you name it, if I wanted it I plugged away at it until I got what I came for. Half the time, once I got whatever it was, I discovered it wasn't what I'd expected and threw it back, chalking it/him up to experience. But I never, ever quit, even when any sensible person would have gone home long ago, usually being a complete pain in the ass and wearing out everyone around me in the process. ("More balls than brains" is something I may have heard a few times *cough*)
Now, though, I fold like a house of cards at the slightest little breeze. I hire (or bribe, in the case of family members) people to do things I should be able to do for myself but don't want to try. If the snow clogs the driveway, I shrug and am perfectly willing to wait for spring rather than grabbing a shovel. If I get resistance or even simple lack of enthusiasm from an idea I propose, instead of trying a little persuasion or further explanation, I give it up. I used to laugh when I fell down (which I've always done fairly regularly), particularly if I hurt myself, but now, to my horror, I cry. I even *think* in the passive voice; "That should be done", rather than, "I should do that."
What the complete hell is going on? Did my mother's and my husband's deaths just drain all the stuffin's out of me? Or did I use it all in a valiant fight against the medical community and, perhaps, fate, with my husband's illness? My immediate assumption now is that whatever the problem may be, it'll be insurmountable. Sure, I suppose I could appeal the insurance company's decision, but what's the point? I don't have enough hot water (one shouldn't have to choose between one bath per day or doing the dishes), but when I told Mr. Fix All that, he told me I *did* have enough hot water, and so I agreed - and as a result, I'm buying paper plates because every dish in the house is dirty (I, however, am clean.) If a daughter needs money, I hand it over without even demanding an accounting, figuring that when I run out, I run out, so what the heck. (And I'm running out momentarily.) It's just.... bizarre.
So do I need *more* self-compassion, or less? Am I being so easy on myself that I've dissolved into a puddle of mush? Should I be leaning on myself to regain some semblance of strength? Or is this sudden lack of ... spine ... just part of some grand Healing Process and I'll emerge, with wings of tempered steel, any day now?
Your guess is as good as mine.
Music:whining dogs, snow plows, irritable chickadees
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
...was a little unexpected. I didn't do as well with the whole food thing as I had planned (the road to hell being paved with, besides good intentions, perhaps buttered toast and sherry) but I didn't do that badly, and I did do unexpectedly well in other ways.
I went through all my SP profiles and teams, and signed up for some team goals. No, I didn't get the living room cleaned up, but I put new batteries in the Wii, sorted through the myriad cords and wires to get it going, and did all sorts of exercises on it - proving, once again, that my balance is completely pathetic, although I have excellent posture (win a few, lose a few.) I weighed and measured and did the fitness tests here on SP, too, and despite the horror of my hip measurement, got a Good to Excellent on the 3 minute step test. And the exercise, what there was of it - maybe half an hour - felt good!
I canceled a bunch of magazine subscriptions - I have a whole box of magazines I haven't even looked at, and I figure if I buy them on the newsstand and read the upcoming issues, I might consider subscribing again. In the meantime, it's one fewer thing to deal with (or feel guilty for ignoring.) I also decided that for every new book that comes into the house, I have to list one on Amazon to sell (I don't have to actually sell it - that part really isn't up to me - but I have to be willing to sell it.)
I did all my usual stuff - feeding the critters, feeding the people, filling the furnace, etc., all in record time and in good humor. I even paid a few bills without flinching. Oh, and that sturdy little spider that showed up on my computer when I was writing earlier - I didn't squish him or put him outdoors where he would undoubtedly freeze. I put him down an air vent to the cellar - an action that I'll probably come to regret when he's eight times his current size, but it seemed a decent compromise meanwhile.
it's difficult for me to distinguish between "being easy on myself" because I honestly have been through a lot in the last couple of years, and not asking enough of myself to lift myself out of my doldrums. I'm still trying to find that balance, and the tipping point shifts from one day to another. To make it more complicated, I've had varying degrees of clinical depression for decades, and sorting out what is bereavement and/or empty nest feelings - real things that need to be dealt with in a healthy way - vs. depression, an unhealthy animal that needs to be handled quite differently, is a real challenge.
But the best news is that I gathered my courage and called a local business about an idea I had last summer - and they're excited about it and I have a chance to present the details in two weeks. I've been worried about what I was going to do for a living, and have been taking every suggestion from hay farmer to phone sex worker (a friend's niece put herself through college that way) but this idea was all mine, and it looks good. Details another day, but it's legal, ethical, practical and horticultural.
I view SP not so much a place to lose weight and gain fitness, but as a place to get one's life together, with an emphasis on health. To that end, I did maintain an awareness of what I was eating, I did move more, and I made some real and positive steps toward getting a functioning life again. All things considered, a successful day.
Hope yours was good, too.
PS: The insurance thing is complicated, but basically my husband died five weeks short of the two year minimum for automatic payout. Under two years, the insurance company does a big investigation, and despite the fact that my husband died of liver cancer unrelated to his other liver problems (and I have that on good authority from Mt Sinai in NYC), the insurance company seems to feel that I answered questions untruthfully. I maintain that I didn't - I answered exactly what they asked, without elaborating and providing information for which they did not ask - and thus the lawyers, guns and money (a nod to an old Warren Zevon song.)
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