Tag Archives: writing

To Desk or Not to Desk

I remarked to an acquaintance that as soon as I arrive at my new retiree landing pad, I want to troll the second hand and antique shops of New England for a great desk. She said “can’t you write anywhere?” Well, yes, I do actually, mostly on my iPad. When I accidentally discovered the split keyboard option, my happiness overflowed.

But her question made me stop and think. Has technology’s leaps and bounds also made my vision of hammering away at an old desk go the way of the dinosaur? I do need a place to hold my paper clips, laptop, little photo frames, and other sundry, especially now that I am no longer reporting to a job. But ever since I moved to laptops and iPads, I haven’t actually required a desk. However, there is a difference between requiring a desk and really needing one, at least in my mind.

The IKEA lifestyle has left me weary. As I move back to the east coast, I hope to leave slap together furniture behind. Don’t get me wrong – the affordable, flat box marvels definitely helped me keep up with E’s ever changing dreams and passions. And NO ONE can beat the Swedes when it comes to intricate builds with really cool screw locks. But I am looking for more substance and something with a style other than the smooth, minimal Scandinavian lines that come complete with directions and hardware.

There is just something about a nice desk that gives one an anchor, a center from which to view the world, both through the internet and a vivid imagination. And of course, I expect the search to be the best part.

 

 

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It’s About Time

My daughter regularly accuses me of cursing her with it. I think it’s one of the few really good things I passed on to her. What is this trait that I’ve forced on her psyche? It’s the need to be absolutely and always on time.

I don’t know why I have this deeply ingrained habit because Lord knows, our family was never on time for anything. Maybe that was because there were three boys in the mix and let’s face it, they were hopeless. And I can say that because I grew up with them. I don’t have exact memory clips of these times and have this stylized version of me sitting on the sofa in my pretty dress and Mary Janes, still and calm, while everyone races around in Quicksilver time grabbing jackets, ties, and looking for the errant shoe. But in all honesty, what snippets I did retain involve a lot of racing up and down stairs before throwing myself out the door.

So where and how did I cultivate this unique habit? I remember my mom standing at the door with a stern face, purse in hand, and can almost hear a foot tap, although I think that’s an embellishment. Maybe I inherited it but that doesn’t explain the elevated heartbeat or the flop sweat I experience while I tick down the minutes in my head.

I have always chalked it up to my Capricorn quirkiness because it fit so well into the narrative of my life, which included things like detail oriented, list keeping, and other good habits. My star sign has served me well.

Then I found the blog Personal Growth by Margie Peterson which has a wealth of information and handy tips. I zeroed in on the post titled 5 Secrets of People Who Are Always on Time like a battle drone. It was a revelation that gave deeper answers to the why, things like valuing my time and the time of others, and being on time helps with stress and confidence. All of these resonated and, while I appreciated the confirmation, I always had the feeling that I wasn’t just obsessed with time but actually planned the events of my life to be better for me and for those with whom I came in contact. I just couldn’t put it into words.

Now that the words exist, I’ve sent the post to my daughter, along with the note “See? It’s a good thing!” You never stop being a mom.

Credit: https://personal-growth.lifeideasinsider.com/5-secrets-of-people-who-are-always-on-time/

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Purging….Then Epiphany

To prepare for the “big move,” I was given a tip by a friend who recently left town: Get rid of everything.

I laughed at the time but it all made sense last night, standing in front of my picked over bookshelves.

We do love our books. As I referred to in my previous post Books are Life, it is a trait given to me by my mother and I’ve passed it down to E. But now I have to actually move a life and I’m beginning to sweat – and this is just the books! After a second pass over the shelves, I realized I needed to sit and rethink. In my job, if a system stops working, I step back. I take time to objectively figure out a new approach. I figured the process would just as easily apply to my big move so I stopped everything and just sat.

First, I asked what I wanted out of this move. Turns out there was only one real question that needed answering before packing another box: Am I transplanting or am I moving forward?

I had lived and worked different lives to get here. I was into typical trends as a young girl, graduated college, enjoyed my twenties, traveled cross-country several times, worked at sea, been married, gave birth, divorced, raised a child, and worked for a wonderful agency until retirement. And that’s the abbreviated version. Like velcro, my life rolled throughout, picking up stuff and sundry along the way. What I have in this house is the collection of a lifetime and I needed to decide how much from those past lives should come with me.

The answer was….well, I wasn’t sure. But rather than asking if something sparked joy, I needed to ask if it belonged in my new life. I then started to approach this not as stressful packing but more as an opportunity, and that made all the difference in the world. The light bulb went off, I heard the bell ring. It was my A-HA moment. The stress receded (for that part anyway) and I was energized to start again.

Some things I would shed, donating to groups, selling online, and giving to friends. Special family items would be shipped to nieces and nephews to carry forward. The process would have its own type of stress, but I had found a way to be more focused and almost eager to keep it moving forward.

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Retirement Highway

How many times has this happened? I suddenly have a good idea for a blog post. I’m going into a meeting but that’s ok, I can remember that. Then an hour later, I find a blank space in my mind. It’s just gone like a cartoon moment where words are walking the plank. I have it….oops, it’s gone. I don’t think it’s senioritis – it is more about taking a few minutes, jotting down some notes or making a voice memo to capture the tone for writing later.

Soon I will have more mental disc space for such moments. This blog has been about sharing those interesting family moments, with some personal reflections thrown in. It has evolved as we both have grown. But now this momalot life is winding towards retirement. Time will eventually be more abundant and, I hope, filled with less multitasking and more mindful actions. But that’s the end game of this chapter or the beginning of a new one.

Retirement from my job will coincide with home upgrades geared towards resale. Add the challenging coordination of purging, packing, and moving me, E, and two pets across the country, and I expect a good nine months of blog worthy tales.

Get ready for quite the ride.

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Time For a Reset

I was standing in my living room, looking at my wall of knick knacks and pictures from the perspective of Christmas and what needed to be packed away to make room for decorations, when my gaze fell on a photo of me with my mother. It was the year I unexpectedly became pregnant with little E. I had booked a cruise with my mom and, despite her doom and gloom protestations, I was still hell bent on going at two months along. That cruise provided sweet memories of morning sickness, no alcohol, and early bed times. But I firmly believe that ten days of people handing me well cooked meals along with buffets of unlimited fresh fruit gave me a great head start on a blissful pregnancy. It also gave me a small slice of time with my mom, who unexpectedly passed three years later.

My daughter walked into the room while I stood there so I asked her to look at the photo, and told her my mom was the same age I am now. Her jaw just dropped. She couldn’t believe it. Now, my mother had major health issues and she passed away from them as they escalated. And people are just more health aware now, trying to neutralize the diet of our youth when fatty beef was our friend and the fridge held things like head cheese….which I ate alongside my dad, who also died too soon.

This post was motivated by the fact that this year has crapped all over my strength, my self control, and just my overall personal mental and physical balance. And as I gazed up at that photo, I realized how much more feeble I feel. Feeble is a bit strong so I checked with my friend the Thesaurus and came up with a pile of better words: fragile, frail, inadequate, strengthless, and my favorite – out of gas. Whatever the word, it needs to perfectly define my state of being since, when screwing in a bathroom doorstop the other day, I couldn’t get back up off the floor. I mean I needed both the tub and toilet to heave myself to standing. And that is just not acceptable.

I can’t wait for a vaccine or for the world to reset to get it together. Otherwise, I will be climbing out of a much bigger hole. I’ve gained 6lbs throughout this time of craziness so I am better off than some but it’s the flexibility, strength, and the mental sturdiness where I’ve taken my punches. Annually as the weather grows cooler, I have always started my push for healthier eating habits, which has never failed to draw blank stares from my co-workers, their minds already on stuffing, mashed potatoes, and Christmas cookies. I am so glad that at least one of my deep rooted habits still remains.

It’s almost Thanksgiving. A time to be grateful – for my family, my friends, for the life and good health God gave me. And it’s time to throw a razzie over my shoulder and pull myself back up, literally and figuratively, and find my way through. Wishing you all your own curative path.

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Momalotlife Part Deux

Change. It happens to everyone.
When I started this blog, I had a little girl who carried a pony purse and had a penchant for Geckos. Young E – no longer Little except to me – is moving slowly forward and I am left with cute stories of my pets. Don’t get me wrong, my cat womping on my head while I sleep just because he didn’t like the gel my hairdresser used…hysterical. But I have evolved from a harried mom to a middle aged boomer preparing to retire, who’s hobby is researching the best path to longevity. Hint: eat your veggies and move.

I think my focus has changed here.

It is still a momalotlife as my daughter and I do the dance that changes how we see each other. I am not the child to her caretaker yet and she still has bumpy daughter days. Hopefully and with blessings from the universe, the transition will continue to gift me with sweet notable moments. But the inevitable dance has begun.

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In Search of my Well Lived life

Chick Corea. An off-handed song intro from the band’s drummer flipped a switch. Like a car that can do zero to sixty in remarkable time, a hollow memory became crowded with snapshots: an album cover, a turntable sitting on a makeshift entertainment center of milk cartons and shelving, and books, so many books.
I turned to my friend and said in disbelief “I’ve had a previous life!” We all have, she answered. She misread my meaning. We have all had different incarnations, styles, and even names such as daughter, student, performer, mom. But to be frank, my memory of times past is terrible. Joan Didion spoke of me when she said “I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be.” This torrent bubbled up from somewhere hidden away. While I was warmed by the fact it was still somewhere within me, I wasn’t prepared for the quake of its arrival.

She went back to the jazz performance and I went back to the show in my head. The music was soundtrack to the flood of memories of my years away at college that I had shed like snakeskin. The thoughts, ideas, the sheer joy of college life came along on the backs of scenes I hadn’t thought of in a very long time. Mornings of black coffee without the luxury of milk, nights of pub pool, and how egg drop soup can make a meal – all returning to me. And books by the likes of Hermann Hesse and Aldous Huxley alongside James Herriot and Douglas Adams, making just enough of a mix to ward off youthful pretense. The more serious mile markers of my reading life remain with me today and sit on my shelves offering warmth and comfort. But the actual memories of what surrounded me when they were shiny and fresh were dormant, and apparently waiting to startle me with a singular keyword.
Afterward, my friend asked if I enjoyed the show. I felt that was an understatement. Something had shifted in me. I had retrieved a part of my being, one that wasn’t just forgotten but indefinitely buried.

I felt like kissing the drummer.

Am I living the literal definition of losing one’s mind? No, I think it’s less nefarious than that and, like many baby boomers, I am unsettled by the fact that I am getting old. Somewhere along the line, we thought we were promised eternal youth and felt, no, we feel that continued good health, long lifespan, and access to every last memory is our real entitlement, all those fundamental rights to be pried from our grasp. By you and what army.

If all of my experiences total up to one true being, maybe like simple math, I need to find X to solve the narrative of what, and why, I am now before it permanently fades away. I can’t think of a better way of completing my own circle than by mining my past.
Oh, but fellow boomers, it’s time to face the music.

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May 11th

It happened again. That same date, the one which has haunted me and conversely fed my soul, has popped up again. A co-worker and friend has signed his retirement papers and named May 11th as his last day.
The date echoes through my life’s stream. My wedding day (and coincidentally Mother’s Day that year), the birth of two nephews and one niece in the same big family, and other less significant milestones. Now it’s back, another big event because I will sorely miss his company and counsel.

So I thought it was time to google. What else would I do? The first numerology site came back with information on why numbers repeat throughout life. And what was the first one on the list? Yes, my number 11. Apparently I need to read between the lines.

The Master number 11 represents intuition and awareness, as well as wisdom I possess that is not being properly tapped into. That’s a good beginning. Then it gets worrisome.

I must have an inner knowledge that I am not paying attention to and my gut is screaming at me to take a different path.

Maybe it’s because I dropped off my crusade toward a plant-based diet last week. I’ve been maxing out on comfort food with this bad cold and really hit bottom when I had that Zuppa Toscana Soup. But it was so good! I had no regrets. It could have been that recent glass of wine I had after swearing off for a while. It’s not a problem but I feel better without it. Again, so good – no regrets.

I have been fixated on paying off bills. I would love to drop that obsession but I am thinking that can’t be right. Paying off my bills ensures a better future for myself. I’ll put a pin in that one.

In The Atlantic February 23, 2016 article Coincidences and the Meaning of Life, the author notes, and I paraphrase, that Bernard Beitman, a psychiatrist and visiting professor at the University of Virginia, and author of the book Connecting With Coincidence, has found that certain personality traits are linked to experiencing more coincidences…..and people who are high in meaning-seeking are all coincidence-prone.

I have never felt closer to a spiritual journey than I have lately. I am boning up on meditating, getting my crystals in a row, looking at the larger picture of my life. But May 11th has been there for me for the last thirty years. If there is a message to be heard, it’s a hard one to shrug off.

Right now, I chose to think the universe has had it with my scorched earth approach to the feed a cold/starve a fever principle, especially since my gut is actually screaming at me.

As an homage to Spring, I think it’s time to push reset and begin again, and doing it each time May 11th comes back into my life stream is an apt ritual to embrace.

 

Credits:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s?k=connecting+with+coincidence

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/02/the-true-meaning-of-coincidences/463164/

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Just Breathe

I am told I have mild sleep apnea. I don’t understand where they get that. I don’t snore and my daughter on the other side of the wall from my bed never hears anything. But I am fatigued, bone tired, and more exhausted when I wake up than when I went to bed. Depression doesn’t fit my numbers or the way I live my life. Except for a couple of minor age related issues (oh joy) no other issue seems to be affecting me. So my doctor ordered a sleep study.

Terrified that I might have to be locked into an office building overnight – the stuff of horror flicks – I am given the option of wearing a recording device on my head overnight and then returning it for analysis. I picked the thing up near my doctor’s office where I was also instructed on its use.

Device is a loose term. It is really a collection of straps, tubes, and electronic chips which, when secured later that evening, gave my daughter a bout of hysterics and hiccups. Although it looked strange, it wasn’t terrible to sleep with so I had high hopes of an accurate read; that is, if I didn’t keep sneezing out the little nasal tubes.

Fast forward to the sleep study I receive in the mail. At least 2 apnea episodes lead to my diagnosis and to a new challenge of sleeping with tubes, machines, and assorted accessories. It’s now been a week since I began using my air machine and I have had some good days, some not so good ones, and one truly surreal experience.

I opted for the “pillows” style mask, a somewhat misleading term for something that sounds fairy-like yet plugs into your nose. It isn’t terrible but it’s not a spa experience, either. And don’t open your mouth or it will blow in your nose and out with your words. It is the voice of nightmares.

Then there’s the ramp. It is the system by which the air coming into your body gradually increases through the night, adjusting higher as it senses the pushback from the apnea. Mine is set between 4 and 20. The first days I would wake up and feel like a giant wind was taking my breath away. Thank goodness for that reset switch. I have gotten more tolerant to it in a week. Just this morning, I was taking my time, slowly waking to the rhythmic breathing which showed the ramp at almost 9.

Along with these different adjustments I’ve had to make came one of the creepiest experiences ever. On morning, I woke up at 3:45 am unable to speak. I was Wade Wilson in X-Men: Wolverine, wild eyed and mouth sewn shut. I must have fallen asleep with my mouth open and been dried out by the great north wind screaming from the depths of my nasal passage. I grabbed my water cup and managed to slide the straw through my tight lips, only to realize I couldn’t suck. Everything was stuck together and nothing would work. After several attempts, I finally got enough moisture in to create a wave of saliva which (too slowly) freed up my membranes. The humidifier comes out tonight because I refuse to use the face mask option. I am not Bane – I’m one of the good guys, Batman.

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Techno-rant

Haven’t you always wondered where all your extra time and money goes?  I’ve been thinking about all our grownup toys like iPads, cell phones, and DVRs. With all these minions working for us, we should be ahead of the game. They all promise the savings as something to help our day-to-day living. Although I am no techno geek, I am a disciple at the altar of technology. I have all the basic equipment and a kid who keeps me current. Why aren’t I showing more savings, in time and money, now that I have so many things to do my thinking, shopping, bill paying, taping?

I think I’ve figured it out.  Maybe it was the $275 billed from a satellite TV company when I cancelled after the one month trial and before the year was up, even though I never got a signal. (The two holes drilled into my stucco by the installer continue to haunt me.) Or maybe it’s the $179 about which I fought for eight months when I, fool that I am, tried to do my part to reduce e-waste by fixing my own hard drive.

Have you gotten it? Does it sound familiar? I’m sure it does. You probably have a couple of title fights in your past, each complete with a file of backup paperwork the size of a novel and carrying memories of abusive (or, on the other hand, clueless) sales assistants, boxes sitting in the dining room for months (so as not to let it fall off your own personal radar), and mounds of money, retained by companies, faceless voices from the void of a phone line, punishing you for your stupidity for purchasing their product.

But I rant. Let me try to sound more logical. The ironic thing that has come to me like a blast of fresh air is this: we buy things to save time and we spend double or triple the amount of time trying to fix the deed, losing money in the process. Most of the time, it’s pretty clear-cut, such as my hard drive incident. A friend gave me a computer when she upgraded and we both knew there was no warranty left on it. When it crashed, I called the company and paid by the minute for the tech department to tell me I needed a hard drive. I ordered it and was told I had a 16-day money back guarantee. Okay, so when I got it and called the technical department, as instructed by the guarantee paperwork, the voice told me, after an hour on and off hold, in a heavy, impenetrable Indian accent, that he couldn’t help me because my computer was not under warranty. What?

Now, if it wasn’t happening to me, and if there wasn’t a lot of money at stake, and it wasn’t my money, and I hadn’t listened to an hour’s worth of hold music, and it wasn’t the second time in a year this type of idiocy happened to me, well, I would have actually LMFAO.

But it was happening to me. In other words it was personal. The way I see it, outside forces are entering the privacy of our world by our invitation and doing terrible things to us. And we are paying them a lot of money to do it, at a price low enough to purchase, yet too high to walk away from and call it a loss. And, in doing so, we allow them to steal our precious time.

So how do we correct this paradox and still surf along with everyone else in the 21st century? I mean, I love to purchase online and by phone. It makes my life easier. And we live in a world of immediate gratification, one for which, to my dismay, I have been inadvertently grooming my daughter.

Here is where we must take charge. We punish the offenders. We tell everyone we know to tell everyone they know not to use (fill in the blank). We pick and choose whom we buy from and what we buy, and learn to grow some patience about getting a few things. It beats learning it the hard way when you have to call the same number for eight months for a refund. One more thing: cut the cord. Oh, yes I did, and I’ve gone a blissful 8 months without any conversation with a cable company.

And if you get into a firefight again, repeat after me – “small claims court”.

 

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