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Today's Rant: Home Security/Dog Stories

Sunday, November 06, 2011

(This train of thought comes courtesy of all the people out in the hills today shooting at things. Bow hunters don't bother me as much, because all in all they're pretty skillful, but anybody can buy a gun and go shoot turkeys and small game....or their brother-in-law. "I thought he was a squirrel." Kinda makes ya wonder, doesn't it? But anyway....)


Since my husband died last year, I've been asked many times, "Aren't you afraid, living up there in that big old haunted house, way out here by yourself?"

Well, first off, I have no problems with whatever "haints" might be in my house. I've always been more worried about the living than about the dead.

Secondly, while I may have one of those little perimeter security systems, I rely on it more to tell someone if the house is on fire than to prevent intruders from messing with me. I prefer my back-up system of dog and shotgun.

I remember a story my grandmother told me about a friend of her who raised...I think it was cocker spaniels. She had a red setter, too - sweetest, silliest dog in the world. But my grandmother's friend, a gentle little writer, said that she knew if anyone ever raised a hand to her, that sweet, silly dog would tear his throat out without hesitation.

My grandmother always had Dobermans. Beautiful intelligent dogs and wonderful family members. But if anyone came to the door, the dog (and there were many over the years) would always stand between the family member and the visitor in the doorway, until the visitor was okayed by the family member. They always got up in the night, too, to "make rounds", and that sound of dogs padding quietly around the house, their tags jingling a little, has always given me a special feeling of security.

My Uncle David, my grandmother's brother, was a kind, funny man who raised bees and collected antique postal trucks. He was the one who taught me how to shoot a 12 gauge without dislocating my shoulder.

I've retained both dog-raising and shotgun skills, and honestly, while the technological security system is a fine thing, and I do sleep with my cell phone at my side, dog and shotgun are also right handy, and if I had to bet, I'd bet on them any time.

I'm jes' sayin'.




  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 11/11/2011 10:30PM

    A woman after my own heart. I have my 22 Ruger semi-automatic close by as well. My hubby has his pistol handy too and we also have a security system but nothing puts a stop to marauders like staring down the barrel of a 22. Like my hubby tells people, "If you want to tangle with someone my wife would not be a good choice." LOL.

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APPLEPIEAPPLE 11/6/2011 6:01PM

    My cat would defend me but my dog is so gentle I am not sure. I got him when he was 4 years old so I am not sure how he was trained. My old dog who died was a lot like yours. Gentle but defended us to death. I do not own a gun but have been considering it. I used to shoot rabbits as a child but I am not sure of my aim anymore. The next dog I get will be trained to protect as well like my first one. Meantime my 21 year old cat can still hold her own if need. LOL.

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SUZYMOBILE 11/6/2011 4:26PM

    And our dog, Dingo, would, I'm afraid, have welcomed intruders wholeheartedly into our home!

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BETHGILLIGAN 11/6/2011 4:06PM

    Love it!! I'm afraid my beagles snore so loud they wouldn't hear an intruder!!! LOL

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Depression: If one more person tells me to snap out of it

Saturday, November 05, 2011

I'm gonna choke 'em.

Let's think of it this way:

Your friend is diabetic, maybe has been from birth, or maybe developed it later, but the bottom line is that her pancreas doesn't make enough insulin, or the way it is used by the body isn't quite right.

Can you hear yourself saying, "Oh, for crying out loud. You're not "diabetic". You just think you are. You could make insulin if you tried. You just like the attention of everyone fussing about your pancreas. You can eat anything anyone else does if you just put your mind to it. It's all in your mind. Come on! Snap out of it! Make some insulin, already! You know, you're bringing the rest of us down with your so-called "insulin dependence." You're just being self-indulgent. All you need to do is talk to someone and your pancreas will be just fine!"

Sounds silly, right? Substitute "brain" for "pancreas", "depressed" for "diabetic" - it's pretty much the same thing. Depression is a biochemical issue, not a play for attention or a character flaw.

I'm glad we had this little talk.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAR58OLE 11/8/2011 5:42AM

    Thank you - I have sisters that don't "get it"... I have started new meds now - Dr FINALLY "heard" me... anyway, I can totally relate to this...

don't WANT it to interfere with my "life" but know I can't do it alone!



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REBECCAMA 11/7/2011 8:24AM

  My mother to this day tells me to "Snap out of it". Really clueless!

If you are interested there is a great group blog that is good for support for depression and a lot of other things. It is "Band Back Together" and you can do a little search and find it. I have something being published there tomorrow. It is a great network of support for depression sufferers and many others.

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REDWRITINGHOOD 11/6/2011 5:23PM

    Yeah, you tell 'em!

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FIFIFRIZZLE 11/6/2011 1:43PM

    Well put!

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KM9369 11/6/2011 10:33AM

  Thank you for saying this, it can never be said enough! emoticon

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GIANNA345 11/6/2011 10:09AM

    Unfortunately, the attitude you describe will probably persist for a while, although there has been progress.

You can't "snap out of it," but there are things you can do to help your body return to balance. I have a lot of experience with them. Let me know if you want some ideas.

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BETHGILLIGAN 11/6/2011 7:31AM

    This is a perfect analogy!! My son was diagnosed with clinical depression in high school. Boy, did my hubby have a hard time with that!! He had said all of those things to my son and resisted the diagnosis. My son is now 30, doing great on meds, and hubby is totally accepting of situation. Thanks for the blog!

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JAMMOM 11/6/2011 1:28AM

    emoticon you are absolutely right! Love this way of putting it in perspective.

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EMRANA 11/5/2011 11:17PM

  Definitely!! I've had clinical depression since my teens. I can't fix it without medication, and I don't need to just cheer up, hang in there, or play the mind over matter game. I have a chemical imbalance in my brain. I am one of the most upbeat and positive people you will ever meet. But my brain doesn't work right. On my meds, I can be myself again, even if that might be too happy for some people...teehee!

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-WRKNG2ABTTRME- 11/5/2011 10:05PM

    Very good point! Maybe some people will be more understanding now. emoticon

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SLIMMERKIWI 11/5/2011 9:58PM

    When I was in the pits of despair and not wanting to live, people would tell me that it was all in my head - which of course, it was, but just not in THAT way!

Anyway, they reckon ignorance is bliss - well it isn't - it is just downright ignorant!

Kris xx

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JUST_ALICIA 11/5/2011 9:42PM

    I remember and yup if one more person said snap out of it, I would have done the same. It was a really long haul and a lot of work and meds as needed and depending it can last a lifetime. I was very lucky.
Hugs

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PUDLECRAZY 11/5/2011 9:19PM

    Good blog.
So many people think depression is a choice. If they suffered from it, they would know that no one would choose it deliberately or to choose to stay depressed. There is some collective ignorance on the topic of depression.

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SCOOTER4263 11/5/2011 9:12PM

    I'm actually okay - this was mostly for someone else today. But I've certainly encountered this attitude before.

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SUZYMOBILE 11/5/2011 9:05PM

    Would a hug help?

emoticon emoticon

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Schedules and routines

Friday, November 04, 2011

I'm old enough to have read Dr. Spock when I was having children, and he always stressed that schedules were good for children. It became fashionable in the 1970s - maybe earlier - to allow children to eat when they were hungry and go to bed when they were tired - this was referred to as raising the "natural child", if I recall correctly. But Dr. Spock was all about routines and schedules, and because I didn't like the idea of never knowing when people would be eating or sleeping, I went with him. It drove my spontaneity-loving husband mad, but both daughters turned out well.

The last few years didn't allow much adherence to schedules - too many crises and unplanned events - but now that things have settled down I'm trying to work myself into some routines. I think a lot of the reason I don't get exercise in is because I don't schedule a time for it; the reason my meals are sometimes not the best is because I'm used to eating sort of catch-as-catch-can, rather than being sure to have what I need to prepare something nourishing and reasonably simple. Getting the 1600+ words written each day is more difficult than it need be because the activity has no "home" in the day.

My usual meal schedule, I'm sorry to say, is, after I get up whenever I feel like it (and often much later than I'm really happy with) I have some coffee and then just sort of wander in circles for an hour or so - read the paper, do the puzzles, fill the furnace, tend the critters, whatever - and two or three hours later I'll have something light like some fruit and cheese or a small sandwich. I do whatever I'm going to do - which way too often is nothing - and then somewhere between 4 and 5 p.m. I'll make some sort of supper, eat a bunch of it, and later on go to bed before I get hungry again. I usually have an adult beverage or two before or with dinner and a brandy or sherry before bed (and yes, I know how many calories that adds up to.) This is all just so not good enough.

So I'm trying to pry myself out of bed at a decent hour - when I wake up the first time, which is usually sunrise, as opposed to rolling over and deciding to sleep more. I don't sleep well, but I'm willing to bet it's largely because I don't get enough exercise and I sleep in too late in the morning, then go to bed too early (left over from fourteen years of getting up at 4:45 every morning.)

Then I'm going to take my little - actually not so little - Pad Planner and pencil in time for exercise and writing. And I'm going to try eating three meals instead of two.

I know that in the past when I've tried this, its downfall has been that I tried to schedule in *everything* I wanted to do - scheduled meditation, scheduled reading time - and things I felt I had to do - scheduled cleaning, scheduled shopping. It wound up that every minute of every day was scheduled, so I abandoned it almost immediately.

This is all new territory for me - having no one to "answer to" or show up for. I've spent the last year since my husband's death just lying on the sofa, waiting for various legal problems to settle out and trying to be gentle on myself, but I think it's about time I tried to get my legs back under me. I think part of the reason is that I miss having routines and schedules.

Deepak Chopra, one of my heroes, says that routines are comforting to the body, and I believe that. I believe that's why they work so well with children, and may be highly underrated for adults.

I'll let you know how it goes.

  
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SUZYMOBILE 11/5/2011 5:19PM

    I agree completely, but you're probably going to think, when I'm done telling you what I do, that I'm an automaton! Working at home requires that one have a schedule, because wandering around in one's jammies is none too productive. I try to get up no later than 6:15, put the coffee on and fire up the computer, go for a walk (such an ingrained routine now that I feel like a slug eating breakfast without having walked first), eat breakfast and Spark, get in the shower by 8:30 (a major new accomplishment that I was skipping completely for a while!), and work until I'm hungry again, at which point: the same lunch pretty much every day. I eat lunch now sitting by the pool in the sun, because I feel it's important to get away from that desk before sitting back down at it until at least 5. Then the unscheduled time begins: adult beverages, another walk, dinner, exercises, TV, swim in the pool, read, etc. Weekends are pretty unscheduled, but I do make myself little to-do lists that are meant to be broken by spontaneous stuff that happens.

Good luck! Keep us posted on how it goes!

I wrote like 100 words and concluded that I ain't no novelist!

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PENNYAN45 11/5/2011 8:57AM

    A schedule provides some structure to the day - which is helpful for me. I enjoy taking breaks and going off on tangents too often - and if there is no structure at all, my diversions can leave me feeling ungrounded and free floating and detached from the world sometimes.

My schedule is imposed on me by my teaching position twice a week. I think it would be helpful for me to take a tip from you and add in some personal scheduling as well. Funny, I don't know why I resist it so much.

Certainly I understand how important scheduling and planning is to accomplishing anything else I do - why not this?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts; they have me thinking too.

And good luck to you on implementing your plans.

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BETHGILLIGAN 11/5/2011 8:16AM

    Since retiring this has been the most difficult adjustment for me. I was so used to the "working" schedule that I just felt lost without it. I couldn't move off of square one because I had so many things I wanted to do that I did nothing. emoticon I still struggle with this but, for the most part, I have a "loose" schedule every day, I prioritize my "to do" list weekly and I try to stay focused and moving. It is too easy for me to get sidetracked by the computer and "lose" an entire afternoon. I also schedule in reading time--30 minutes a day at least. I find that sometimes I feel totally frustrated because I don't seem to be making "progress" on my to do list and at other times I understand that those items are not going away but the need to babysit grandkids, do lunch with a friend or even clean a nasty bathroom has to take priority and get done NOW. So I try not to be too rigid, a little more flexible but more focused. Good luck! You can definitely do it. I think the biggest step is to recognize the need and establish the basic routine.

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JUST_ALICIA 11/4/2011 3:53PM

    I am with you. Schedules are important but I also need to have some open time or I rebel from too much schedule. I always need to set up something like this when I am off for the summer or I can stay in PJs until like 3 or 4.
emoticon

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An interesting side effect of NaNoWriMo

Thursday, November 03, 2011

(For anyone not familiar with this form of self-induced torture, NaNoWriMo is a yearly challenge to produce a novel of 50,000 words or more during the month of November. See nanowrimo.org for more information.)

I'm the first one to admit that I have a real problem with self-discipline, second only to issues with procrastination. I began writing the 50,000 word novel to see if I have the self-discipline - or can develop it quickly enough - to complete the writing challenge. I started a day late (see above re: procrastination) and so far have roughly 2500 words down - about a day and a half's worth. However, this is the second day in a row that I have sat down with the intent to work on the novel and have done so.

Two days in a row may not feel like much to you self-disciplined types out there, but for someone like me, it's a real milestone. Not only did I actually begin something, rather than just thinking and/or whining about it, but I kept at it for a second day.

Oddly, this little burst of discipline or motivation or whatever we want to call it, has already begun to leak over into other areas of my life. For the second day in a row, I ate a healthy breakfast and will soon have a healthy supper. I also - two days in a row here, kids - got a wee bit of exercise and intentionally drunk a glass of water. Again, for lots of people this will not seem like much of an accomplishment, but for me, it really is, for I am the poster child for Short Attention Span Theater.

Luckily it does not have to be great writing, it just has to be writing. So I'll keep at it for another day, and then perhaps a day after that, which will surely be some sort of Personal Best. And we'll see what happens from here.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HIPPIECHIC68 11/8/2011 6:41PM

    You are ahead of me...I procrastinated so much, it wasn't until I read your blog I thought...I was going to do that!

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DANCINGGARDENER 11/8/2011 12:31PM

    (left my browser open for four days and this was still here waiting to be posted....)

In't it amazing how things start to fall into place when you force yourself to do what you do best?

Love being overwhelmed by the why-did-I-ever-stop-doing-this bewilderment and the why-did-I-wait-so-long-to-get-back-
to-me regret.



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FRACTALMYTH 11/7/2011 1:47PM

    I want want want to do nanowrimo... I have at least two novels begging to be finished (and probably more if I went through the pile of paper under my wardrobe... but alas, once again, I get up superearly to work because I must earn some money, spend a precious hour following around some lovely interesting Sparkperson, feel guilty, return the nose to the grindstone until the offspring awaken (while snatching my exercise in 10 minute breaks every hour) and there is no time for the intense creative endeavour I dream of. One day. Ah well. When I grow up I want to be an old woman. Since I am starting baby number 3 at the well-ripened age of 38, I had better make sure I am healthy enough to be an old old old old old old old woman, if I am going to get done all that I want to do! Enjoy your nanowrimo-ing for at least one Sparkfriend who both envies and dreads your splendid isolation and the freedom it brings with it!

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F.SILVI 11/7/2011 1:01PM

    Good luck! I am slowing working my way toward 50k. See you in the winner's circle!

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PIXIEMOM13 11/7/2011 10:07AM

    Thats great. Unless a last minute idea hits me and just DEMANDS to be written it looks like I'm not doing Nano this year. But my husband is..so I'll be as good support for him as I can. (Like he is with me in my weight loss and fitness endeavors.)

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REBECCAMA 11/7/2011 8:25AM

  Way to go!

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APPLEPIEAPPLE 11/4/2011 11:40AM

    Sounds challenging. My husband wrote short storys of Sci-Fi and sold a couple. My son dabbles as well. Me, I try, but I just can not seem to find the nitch that I can put into those many words.

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HIPPICHICK1 11/4/2011 11:09AM

    Practically every person I know is writing a novel this month! This is great!!! You know that you are a natural when it comes to writing and if the side effect of writing every day is eating breakfast and exercising a bit then I say NaNoWriMo your brains out grrl!!

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CEKER9 11/4/2011 2:04AM

    emoticon emoticon
Since you are doing an awesome writing task, I commend you and trust that you make it through until you have enough words to meet the challenge. And that you continue to have the "spin-off" positive effects with your efforts.

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RUSSELLORAMA 11/3/2011 11:41PM

    That's definitely a cool side effect!

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REDWRITINGHOOD 11/3/2011 11:15PM

    I'm so happy for you!

I tried NaNoWriMo several times and failed. Mostly because I have this horrible perfectionist streak that rears its head every time I have any good amount of writing down. I want to edit right away rather than just let the words flow. I need to work on that. I decided to pass on NaNo this year. I just didn't need to pressure myself with that additional stress. Maybe next year. :) I might try the PAD Chapbook Challenge this November, though. I do PAD (Poem a Day) every April (except this year) but can't seem to focus enough to produce to the prompt every single day. I save the prompts in case I need something to kick start writing for me and I produce some really good work (even if it isn't every day of the month), so it's all good. :)

Good luck NaNoing! I shall NaNo vicariously through you this year :)



Comment edited on: 11/3/2011 11:16:15 PM

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MLH148 11/3/2011 10:26PM

    It is amazing how NaNoWriMo forces you to find time you didn't know you had-- and you can use it for other things as well-- like exercise. Keep it up!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 11/3/2011 9:48PM

    My best writing comes in spurts of inspiration and I can't force it. It's either there or it isn't. I admire you for trying this. It would be hard for me.

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PUDLECRAZY 11/3/2011 8:38PM

    Good gravy ~ that sounds like an ambitious project!

Writing is probably the major thing I procrastinate about. I don't like it. Yet I have to publish in our publication for our school twice a year. I am told I am a good writer, but I agonize over the right word, the right turn of a phrase, whether I have clearly expressed myself, etc. I used to think I wanted to write books, but my professional writing totally quashed that notion because I find writing makes me want to do a million other things instead of sitting down to write.

So, I am in awe that you are taking on this challenge, and totally understand the procrastination.

emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/3/2011 8:39:35 PM

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SUZYMOBILE 11/3/2011 6:43PM

    I'm so excited for you, in part because I know you're a great writer. Well, I like reading your writing anyway. And the slopover effect is wonderful!

I keep meaning to "write more." It's on my list of things that I keep meaning to make more time for, but then I just write a blog here or write a review on TripAdvisor and call it a day. Plus, the day's over by then. The discipline of a novel?? Yikes! I'd have to outline the damn thing first. (Spoken like a true procrastinator, right?)

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BETHGILLIGAN 11/3/2011 5:48PM

    YAY!! Good for you!! Glad it's "leaking" into the rest of your life, too! You go, girl!

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I don't understand today's Healthy Reflection

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

"Think about the last time you had the choice to fold under pressure or to rise to the occasion."

This is similar to when well-meaning (or not, I guess) folks ask if you're all right. What can you say? I've wondered, if I were to answer, "No, I'm not all right, not in the least" if the questioner would then press the magic rewind button and make the trouble go away. The closest to the usually obvious answer, "NO!" that seems acceptable is, "I'll be fine."

"Folding under pressure" sounds like a delightful option, a sort of Victorian era swoon, that causes one to be gently lowered onto a velvet-upholstered day bed. The next day the swooner would be sent someplace quiet, to wear a white dress and sit outdoors on a bench on the lawn, feeding ducks. "Shhh. It's all been too much for her, the poor dear."

I do understand that sometimes people handle bad times poorly, and this could, I suppose, be called "folding under pressure." We've also all seen people who, when confronted with disaster, mutter, "the heck with all this" and leave the mess for someone else to clean up. But to me, the first person is trying to rise to the occasion, just doing a poor job of it, and the second is neither rising nor folding but refusing to take part altogether (which may be avoidance and may be self-preservation and good common sense - but that's not what we're talking about here.)

Maybe it's naive of me, but I believe people genuinely do try to rise to whatever occasion presents itself. Because of their own histories and personal make-up, they may meet with varying degrees of success, but I can't imagine anyone saying, "No, sorry, can't cope. Must take to my bed and wait til you've all solved the situation. Don't forget to bring my tray and be sure my tea is hot and sweet - shock, you know."

To add to this, I believe that the worse the situation, the more people are willing and able to respond. Evenings when the mosquitoes are bad might find folks hiding indoors, but in times of war or natural disaster or just severe family hardship, people are quite good at assessing the situation and acting. We may joke about a "crise du jour", but I believe that in a genuine crisis, most people will make a mighty attempt to "rise to the occasion."

It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required.
Sir Winston Churchill

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 11/3/2011 9:53PM

    I agree. I tend to be the type that usually rises to the occasion but have had days where I did go to bed because I was so clumsy or fried that having a knife in my hand almost ensured I would lose a digit. LOL. It was fun to give up and go to bed with the vapors.

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MINDHORIZON 11/3/2011 1:24PM

    I suspect that only rich Victorians were able to swoon like that. The vast majority probably had to buck up and deal with the hard work at hand. And it was hard work back then. After all, we didn't have washing machines, dishwashers, automatic heaters, and the like. Just getting through the day required manual labor.

There are some who would hide and do nothing when pressure demands otherwise, even when pressure is minimal. I think the majority will do what it takes to get by. A select few will excel under pressure.

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_UMAMI_ 11/3/2011 10:32AM

    I've been handed a lot of stress this year, and I've lost it a few times. I don't think I folded so much as exploded. (imploded?)

The only time I'd say I "folded" would be when someone close to me sensed my struggle and said, "Are you ok?" (or the like). THEN all manner of emotions bubble up and I'm a mess. So, I've been avoiding people I know, for the most part. Probably not so good.

Though I didn't see the original Healthy Reflection, I liked your take on it.

(and OUCH, all that typing has me needing to retire to my chaise with my bottle of vapours)

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HIPPICHICK1 11/3/2011 9:12AM

    For some reason the term "folding under pressure" sounds like a laundry term to me today. Folding clothes as fast as you can as more and more come tumbling out of the dryer or off the clothes line and are heaped onto the bed.
Maybe all the pottery-making is making me daffy!

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REDWRITINGHOOD 11/2/2011 3:53PM

    I like how you put that. Especially today. Today I feel like I want to be Victorian and swoon. However, that isn't an option. No one to pick up and take over--not that there is much to take over, really. I'm just feeling overwhelmed again and I need someone to sit with me and help me through what I have to do. Except there isn't anything anyone can really help with. It's just stuff at work and my homework. So, I'm going to go take a 5 minute walk and start again, and hope things feel a little less heavy (darn those lead pencils). :)

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PUDLECRAZY 11/2/2011 3:28PM

    I enjoyed your blog! I agree with WalkingtheWalk - it is hard for people who naturally rise to the occasion to imagine people who do not. I've been around both people who do and people who don't.

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WALKINGTHETALK 11/2/2011 11:58AM

    great blog with some definite truths. It reminds me of a time in my life when my husband and I made a very difficult decision while our daughter was ill in hospital and the hospital social worker we were talking to commented on how strong we were....to which I responded "We aren't strong. We are just doing what we have to do"......to which she responded "but some people don't"

I think people who "rise to the occasion" just can't imagine that there is an alternative.

thanks for a very thought provoking blog!

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SUZYMOBILE 11/2/2011 11:25AM

    I'm so glad that you're back blogging! I do agree with you, but unfortunately there are those who do "fold under pressure" and take to their bed or the bottle (medicinal or liquid). On the other hand, when put in extraordinarily stressful situations (such as the Chicago fire or the great San Francisco earthquake) groups of people often do act rationally and altruistically--such as the lady in Chicago who set up an impromptu soup kitchen in the midst of the rubble. I read a book about that a few years ago.

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