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The too-strong smell of Jean Nate in the elevator, taking me back to my teenage years…the sister of a teacher killed at Sandy Point speaking outside Union Station at a rally for Moms Against Guns….a red peony with no scent….a walk down 16th Street….lunch at Little India….tears sparked by the song “Leaving of Liverpool”…. leftover exhaustion from previous days….the first day that feels like summer.

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Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “There are no random acts…We are all connected…You can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind…” — Mitch Albom

Daily gratitudes:
Air conditioning when it’s needed
Hugs and kisses
That Kelsea comes home in less than two weeks
That my garden seems to be taking
That the woman loudly discussing her parenting philosophies a phone call  on the early bus got off shortly after I boarded

 

Dear readers,

You probably fall into one of two categories: male or female.

If you are female you will:

a) think these things can never happen to you
b) relate and have your own random comments
or c) remember what I’m talking about

If you are male, you will:

a) turn away from this page immediately for fear of Too Much Information
b) forge ahead and learn something about the women who may be in your life, now or in the future

It occurred to me the other day that I’ve been experiencing hot flashes – one of the stars of perimenopause and beyond – for over four years now. And sadly, I know that the end is not in sight.

Do you know what a hot flash is like? It’s like being flamed with a sparkly blowtorch all over your body. It comes from the inside out, and it comes on suddenly and unexpectedly. It’s very Chuck Norris-like. There’s nothing you can do to fight it off, to defend yourself. If it’s there, it’s already won. It lasts as long as it’s going to last. And then it’s gone.

And then there’s the bleeding  – or not.  It’s either a tsunami or a leaky faucet. And like the hot flash, you never know when it’s going to strike. But unlike the hot flash, there are repercussions from this unpredictability.  When you’re used to a regular cycle of 28 days or so, you know when you need to be prepared, And so, you travel prepared. With perimenopause, it’s always a surprise. Bleeding episodes can be six months apart. Or 39 days apart. They can last for three days or for three weeks.  But the biggest disability is that damn flow. You can stand up from your desk, and suddenly discover that you need a new pair of jeans. My bottom file drawer at work always contains an extra pair. Lesson learned.

That whole unpredictability thing is the hallmark of perimenopause. You just never know when to expect what. And it’s as if your body is completely confused. It doesn’t know what to do. So it just…. does everything. It has mood swings. It gets bloated. It cries uncontrollably about nothing for days at a time. It has nightmares. It has PMS – but without the M. It’s like getting your period, but not getting your period at the same time. It’s a giant fake-out. Poor body.

But there are some good things about perimenopause that, in the spirit of gratitude, I feel compelled to share.

There are some things that ease the symptoms. Black cohosh (an herb). Estroblend, an over-the-counter herbal pill. Evening primrose oil. Soy products (or so I’m told – I haven’t tried them yet, because I’m not really a fan). And of course, ice cold San Pellegrino, hand-held japanese fans, and frozen bodice coolers that you can pick up at any Renaissance Festival.

It definitely keeps me warmer in the winter. This is strange for me, because I’ve always been a cold-bodied person. Now, I can comfortably keep the house at 60 degrees no matter what the outside temperature. (Unfortunately, my niece and MKL cannot live like that.)  And sometimes I drive with the truck windows down in the depths of January.

I’m saving money on winter clothing. I mean, really, what’s the point of wearing sweaters to work if I just want to strip down to my skivvies every other minute? As it is, I’m in sleeveless tops and have the little desk fan going for half the day, with an icy beverage close at hand.

It helps me accept change and unpredictability. Let’s face it, it’s not called “the change” for nothing. This experience has helped to reinforce for me that life within this body is anything but predictable, and that just because things are one way one day does not mean they will be the same the next day. You just never know. So you might just as well enjoy the ride.

It is a hallmark of the wisdom gained from life. In some cultures, women who have experienced menopause are allowed into traditionally male bastions from which they were previously banned, as a sign of respect. If one has lived long enough to move into a new cycle of life, then wisdom must be one’s companion on the journey.

I like to think of it that. Between hot flashes.

So, if you’ve read this far, congratulations. If you have yet to experience this transition, and have questions, ask away. If you are in the throes and have positive feedback, comments, perceptions, or suggestions, please share. And if you’re past it and have stories to tell, I’d love to hear them.

This perfectly wonderful random thing was in the parking lot at Union Station, which is now a giant hole, as that classic property is being pillaged by the city. I am trusting that the City of Denver has enough integrity not to touch the interior of the building, which holds the memories of countless souls, including my grandfather, and MKL’s grandfather.  Fortunately, I spent some time in the building taking pictures, which I will share with you at some point soon.

Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the Day: “Why are they called buildings when they’re already finished? Shouldn’t they be called builts?”  —  Steven Wright

Daily gratitudes:
Couples in love
The ridiculous number of pillows on my bed
Not having to scrape my truck windows this morning
A washing machine that works
Cobalt blue
My Razorback fleece union suit

MKL and Thunder Cat have a love/love relationship – even though MKL has never been a cat fan.  Thunder Cat is such a fan of HIM, however, that he couldn’t resist her furry charms. Still, his skepticism lingers, and he often comments that if she gets hungry enough, she will kill and eat one of us, perhaps starting with the eyeballs.

Somehow or other, as we were falling asleep last night, our conversation turned into this:

Me: If we’re ever lost somewhere, and I starve to death, you can eat my eyeballs.

MKL: I wouldn’t do that.

Me: But I’d want you to. I love you and I’d want for you to go on.

MKL: I would not eat your eyeballs.

Me: Well then, what part of ME would you eat if I was dead? And you were starving?

MKL: I wouldn’t eat ANY of you if you were dead.

Me: That’s just silly. Why let me go to waste?

MKL: I’d find something else to eat.

Me: But if you’d been able to find something else to eat, then I wouldn’t be dead.

MKL: That’s my point.

And he fell asleep.

I don’t think his point made any sense at all. But I guess it’s nice that there’s one less thing I have to worry about. At least from him.

I love color.  It’s so nice that I have scarlet and turquoise in my living room now.  Pat’s house, while panelled in wonderful old knotty pine, is all beige.  Why is it that men like beige so much?  Is it just easier to make a decision about beige?  Does it just require less thought?

I just discovered that there’s a “Dark Shadows” Festival in July in Burbank. (Burbank?!)  Now, I don’t know if I would really fit in there.  My fan status was the same as many people my age (including Johnny Depp, who is hoping to play Barnabas in the planned Tim Burton movie version of the ’60s daytime gothic soap.  And it would be worth going just in case Johnny Depp is there in person, wouldn’t it, ladies?)  Anyway, back to my fan-dom —  we used to hurry home from school to watch this wierd, quirky show every day, and even as unsophisticated as we were, were astounded by the poor cinematography, entertained by the perilous mistakes of live television, amused by the fact that Julia ALWAYS had her mouth open, and annoyed by the fact that Barnabas could never reconnect with his true love, what with constantly changing centuries and incarnations.  Yes, folks, vampires and werewolves were popular long before the Twilight series.  But I’m not one of those people who can recite every line, dress in character, or even explain the progression of beings that was Daphne-Maggie-Angelique-Cassandra (or something like that.)  So maybe I wouldn’t fit in at the festival.  But it might make a good story.  And it would definitely be a unique experience.  Hmmm.

I am coughing so much that it’s making me throw up — probably TMI — sorry, but it’s random.

My new website for my new business is up and running – still need to add some samples, but it looks pretty good.  A friend helped me toot my own horn more, as that’s always been tough for me, and the first version was too shrinking violet.


Kendra and I have finally exchanged the last of our Christmas presents.  Oh wait, I still have to send some to E-Bro.  Darn!

I was coughing so much last night that I only got about 3 hours of sleep.  The only good thing about getting that little sleep is that you have a pretty good shot at getting a better night’s sleep the next night.

There’s a bar in Nanjing, China called the Rising Sun Anger Release Bar.  You can drink, break glasses and beat up the staff.  Really.  And most of its customers are women.

Today is Unique Names Day, and here’s a doozy for you:  Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorffvoralternwarengewissenhaftschaferswessenschafewarenwohlgepflegeunds
orgfaltigkeitbeschutzenvonangreifendurchihrraubgierigfeindewelchevoralternzwolftausendjahresvorandieerschei
nenwanderersteerdemenschderraumschiffgebrauchlichtalsseinursprungvonkraftgestartseinlangefahrthinzwische
nsternartigraumaufdersuchenachdiesternwelchegehabtbewohnbarplanetenkreisedrehensichundwohinderneurass
evonverstandigmenschlichkeitkonntefortplanzenundsicherfreuenanlebenslanglichfreudeundruhemitnichteinfurcht
vorangreifenvonandererintelligentgeschopfs vonhinzwischensternartigraum, Senior.  That’s not going to fit on the name badge.

I am one of those unfortunates whom Nyquil makes jittery.  Hence, I look like the disgusting sick people in the Nyquil commercials even when I am awake.  Sigh.  Snort.

It’s a vegetable day.  Did a little work, but mostly felt like an asparagus stalk.  Guess that’s better than feeling like a cabbage. Though an old boyfriend who used to live in Paris did call me “ma petite chou-chou”, which I think means “my little cabbage.”

Channel-surfing, I came across a reality show called “Little Miss Perfect”, about a child’s beauty pageant by that name. Unbelievable stuff.  One mom said that she started her daughter in pageants at five months old.  Seriously?  So I guess your baby told you that’s what she wanted to do?  It’s nothing to do with YOU, right?  One of the moms was so bummed out when her daughter forgot her “Wow” routine that she just sat up against a wall and wept.  Poor little girl.  It’s hard enough to be a kid and want to please your parents without having that pressure on you.  And of course, my head goes to JonBenet Ramsey.  It just seems so wrong.

The Atkins Diet is going pretty well.  I had a day off yesterday though, and that was very nice.

I am getting very edgy about my job ending.  And yet, I am doing nothing.  What’s up with that?

Tulips for Valentine’s Day were lovely.

I dreamed about my Mom last night.  As I woke up, I could feel her ams around me in a hug.  I didn’t want to wake up.  I am wondering if I am suffering from Prolonged Grief.  I cannot seem to accept her death and it’s been over three years now.

Kelsea and I have become addicted to San Pellegrino sparkling mineral water. Maybe it’s the lithium in it that perks us up.

So with this quiet, contemplative day, I think I’m feeling depressed.  I’m not sure why.

How can I have a full brain and yet not one interesting thought?  Oh, well…perhaps tomorrow.  TIme to go workout.

As I have gotten older, the chocolate-brown puppy eyes of my childhood have changed.  E-Bro has noticed a similar phenomenon in himself.  I have gone from having eyes like a 6-week old Labrador, to having eyes that might once in a while be called hazel, to having eyes that are green with flecks of brown and gold. 

I wonder about this.  Is this something that everyone experiences?  If eyes are the windows  – or mirrors – of the soul, does that mean my soul is lightening?

My eye color has always been somewhat variable with intense moods or situations.  I remember a boyfriend in freshman year in college noting with amazement that they looked like bright emeralds in the light at dawn.  (I take the liberty of quoting from the site linked below:  “A warm lover’s eyes will be green, a cold lover’s eyes will be …. otherwise.”)

Mine are pretty eyes.  Pat, with his odd sense of humor, used to tell me they were “the color of a cesspool”.  Once on a visit to San Francisco with the Captain, I sat for a street artist who did a lovely picture of me, though it didn’t really look like me, except that he caught my eyes.  The Captain had the picture cropped to just my eyes, had it framed, and hung on the wall in front of his bed, so he could always see them.

In one blistering moment immediately after my Mother died, I went in the bathroom, looked in the mirror, and saw not my eyes, but hers, looking back at me, in my reflection.  My eyes have indeed come to look more like hers over the years.

So now that  I have these nile-green eyes, I ponder all the other connotations around green eyes in our culture.

The green-eyed monster, an image driven by Shakespeare, to represent envy.  Envy.  One of those deadly sins, and I can understand why, having fallen victim to it myself off and on.  These days, it is more of an “on” thing, though I am consciously trying to control it.  It is one of my least favorite qualities in myself. 

I envy people who buy what they please without regard to the impact such purchases might have on their future finances.  It’s interesting to me, though, that I don’t envy the actual stuff that people have.  I just envy their ability to be carefree about having it.  I know that the appearance of carelessness may just be an illusion though.  Their spending may cover some much darker emotion that can only be sublimated by acquiring things, things which serve to obscure their pain and sadness further.  You can bury a myriad of emotions under mounds of clothes and pounds of stuff.

I envy people with money to travel.   I know that this won’t be an issue for me; the universe’s recent gestures, such as pennies from heaven, have shown me this with an absolute certainty.  But for right now, I don’t think those people are as worthy of it as I am, nor do I think they appreciate it as I would.  That’s awful of me.  I know it is.

I envy couples who claim to have “perfect” marriages.  And I don’t believe them.  No one has the perfect relationship.  If we’re lucky, it can be perfect for a high percentage of the time.  But realistically, no couple can be completely, totally, absolutely harmonious all the time forever.  I’d rather not create an illusion within my own head that I might use to crush myself with later.  That said, there are such things are soulmates and true and selfless love.  I believe in those things with all my heart.

(Jealousy is envy’s sharper twin.  It involves a stilletto-blade of hatred, a toxic flame of possessiveness, a sulfuric covetousness.  I feel it rarely, but when I do, it hurts me.  I’ve been subject to it, and it has literally ended relationships for me in the past – and that’s probably been a blessing, for to be in relationship with a truly jealous man is like sleeping on a powder keg.)

Only 1-2% of the population of the planet has green eyes.  They are more common in women than in men, and can be found anywhere in the world that has even a hint of a melting pot culture.

In doing a little research for this post, I came across a fascinating work called “The Green Eye Project“.  This self-described photo-essay contains links to anything and everything you’d ever want to know about green eyes, including film references, song lyrics, art, and photographs.  (All that may be missing is literary references.)  I love this quote from the site:

“Perhaps when we see green in a person’s eyes, we feel a subliminal connection with the wild, sensual, carnal side of humans beings, where the blood runs hot.  The color not only infers the possession of this level of sexuality in the beheld, but also its potential release in the beholder.”

So if you check once today, check back later for more.

I am snowbound.  I measured 23 inches off the little patio.  Snow is up to the second fence rail.  The garden fence is completely buried.  Why on earth would anyone live here?  I can’t see how I will possibly be able to get out, even tomorrow.  And it’s still coming down.

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And I am still wearing my pink elephant flannel pajamas.

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But it’s time to get showered and dressed.  Pat is going to venture out (idiot) to go to the store.  He’s always said that it’s not a problem to drive in this kind of weather because there’s no one else on the road (read that as no one else insane enough to do so).  He’s going to bring supplies by, but he says I have to swim through the snow to get them.  Oh well, it’ll be good exercise.

Later……………………………..  to separate today’s episodes, I’ve decided to include a shot of what the world is REALLY like, as opposed to this brilliant white frozen tundra.  Like so….

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I have now shoveled a path all the way to the truck, and started shovelling out the driveway, but my back was really tired.  Sooo much snow…

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Yes, the snow pictures are smaller than the sun pictures – that’s as it should be.  Except for these two – Kelsea had a great time attempting snow angels – actually, it was more of a dead drop.

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As you can see, she met with limited success.  It’s still snowing, I’m still working, and Showboat is on TCM.  Although I can think of a few additions to this scenario that would make it cozier, it’s not too bad.

———————–Later:

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Still snowing lightly here at 6:45 pm – will it ever stop?

I have felt lonely these last three nights, as if being single changes something in me, even though I was not living with Pat.  Perhaps it’s the weather.

I love the Desperation Dinners cookbook.  Everything I’ve made from it has been easy, fast, good and healthy.  And one of the authors’ parents owned a beach house we stayed at in Topsail one year when I was very small, and that’s really really cool.

I worked out for over an hour on top of shovelling snow today – good me.

A quiet day.

A quiet night.

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Cast your mind back to last night, and join me in my random thought patterns…

  • You probably didn’t know that this is National Chicken Month….National Love Your Files Week…and Punctuation Day.
  • Dogs are beautiful.
  • I am tired of working so much – but what else is new?
  • Aren’t yoga classes supposed to be quiet?  The class next door to the presentation I’m moderating tonight sounds more like an Ultimate Fighting Championship.
  • I’ve decided (albeit mighty late) to participate in the 365 Photo Challenge for 2009.  It’s a very cool thing – 365 themes are given and photographers try to post 365 images in the course of the year, one for each theme.  Since my principal images are on MonkeyEye, and they don’t all fit the guidelines, I’ve set up a separate site devoted exclusively to the challenge – check it out at http://locollama.wordpress.com.
  • Wouldn’t it be a fun life thing to try to see every animal in existence in the wild?  Of course, I’d be taking pictures of them.
  • I feel like I’m looking old.  Hopefully, it’s really just the lighting in the bathrooms at work.  And while we’re on the subject, why on earth don’t they make lighting and mirrors in store dressing rooms as flattering as possible?  Don’t they know the impact it would have on sales?
  • The best thing about my current work:  learning a lot about web development – not how to program, but how to visualize, sequence, and write for the web.
  • My friend Melanie came up with a new term for an ex-husband:  a wasband.  I love it.
  • Did you know that the brain is not fully developed until your mid-20’s?  I’m WAY past my mid-20’s and it’s very hard to believe that my brain is fully developed.
  • I have ham in my back tooth and have been trying to get it out with my tongue for four hours.  (My tongue is getting tired.)  Moral of this disgusting nugget of randomness:  always carry floss.
  • Life is forever a work in progress.

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