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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye, 2015. You Were Wrong

I don't mean wrong as in right vs. wrong. I mean wrong as in "unsuitable or undesirable." I tried very hard to get along with 2015, but my feelings say I hated it.

The weather was wrong. Too much rain, too many clouds, too mild. No wind, except for the severe weather threat (meaning strong tornado chance) every 7 days starting in March, taking a brief break at the end of September into October, and ramping back up with tornado outbreaks from Thanskgiving through Christmas. That's insane. Normally, I catch a break in winter and summer to recover from from my tornado issues. No break this year.

The social climate was wrong. Everybody's upset about something and bitching about it at the top of their preferred social media. Can't get on the computer without reading about who hates what, or who's being intolerant or how suicide and gender-swapping surgery are admirable, and if you disagree, you're a bigot and deserve to be beaten with a rubber hose.

My attitude was wrong. I spent the first five months of the year furious, and the next three grieving. Thankfully, God reminded me about forgiveness, so I've been working through all that, but strong emotions take a toll.

My body was wrong. My back has twinged before, but this year it decided to become a full-blown weather barometer, and I've had to adjust my definition of pain. My mouthpiece stopped working for reducing jaw and neck pain, which is fine because the crown made it impossible to wear anyway.

A few good things happened, mostly in the last three months.

Forgiveness, for one. That's a daily exercise, but totally worth it.

Daily exercise is another. I found Miranda's Classical Stretch in late September, and I'm growing longer and more flexible all the time. Days started with stretching are good days.

As a result of the increasing hostility on Facebook, I quit Farmville and limited FB and computer game time. That has made such an improvement in my overall mood and cognitive capacity, I strongly recommend all my Friends start reducing their online and/or gaming time and see what happens. I'm almost convinced that my general depression was being fed by too much mindless computer time.

I now have a line-of-sight end date for the mortgage payments, which gives me a short-term financial goal and a wary hope for the future. It also gives me something to work toward for the next 3 - 6 years, and I like that idea a lot.

I started reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn. That book has made such a dramatic impact on my mental state, I'll likely devote several posts to it. Next year.

In short, a few good things crammed at the end, but mostly drawn-out, emotionally exhausting wrongness. Not my favorite year.

Goodbye, 2015. Let's not call each other.

Push button. Receive bacon.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Blog Review

I've noticed a few things as I've been reviewing this blog.

I usually post when I'm cold and unhappy in the dark of Winter, occasionally upset by current events. If I'm too upset, I don't post at all because I don't want Mom thinking I'm suicidal.

The fact is I was suicidal once, and I never will be again. I'm not chemically unbalanced, and my life is lived on the melancholy side of things. It doesn't bother me anymore. Not in a kill-myself way.

I do have an obsessive bent. Blogs topics focus on one thing for two weeks to a month and move on. Thankfully, I have the self-control to not obsess with money on a new thing. If I can hold off buying for one month, I usually snap out of it and move on. Things that stick with me longer than that are life habits. The Blood Type Diet (11 years this January), cats, excelling at my day job. Essential oils and "natural" living (like bone broth) are the newest at slightly over two years, but they've stuck.

I want to add "writing" to that list, but I've almost decided to give it up. It doesn't make me happy, and I've chronicled my growing aversion to the task over the last four years, using every excuse in the book for why I have trouble producing. On the other hand, I've written stories for most of my life, and perhaps one "season" where my writing happens more at work than at my home computer isn't a failure. And it has definitely been happening at work.

I'm not nearly as detailed as I thought I was in this blog-journal. In my quest to avoid unprofessional TMI, I've left even myself wondering what I'm referencing on some of these posts. Something was going on, but I can't for the life of me remember what the fuss was about. That's probably good. Do I really need to dwell on past unhappiness when I have a whole world of future unhappiness to anticipate?

Finally, I worry. A lot. That and pride are my big Jesus-working-on-it issues. They're kind of the same thing. Pride says I can control everything in my life. Worry says I control nothing. A kind of inner tornado that never lets me rest.

Ah, well. If I were perfect, I wouldn't still be single.

Push button. Receive bacon.

Monday, December 28, 2015

I Hate Waiting

I spent yesterday waiting for the winter storm to arrive. Woke up at 2:47 AM and waited to hear if the storm would affect when I had to go in to work (it did), and now I'm waiting to go in to work.

Normal people slept through the night, woke up just enough to hear "work delay" on the TV or radio, and went back to sleep for two more hours.

I'm not normal. I can't go back to sleep once I wake up, especially if I'm waiting for something to happen. Not only did I not sleep after 2:47 AM, I can't take a nap until I have to leave. So I blog.

Reading through this blog, I realize I've been waiting for a while. Years. At least 20. Not sure exactly what I'm waiting for, but I suspect it's the end of the world. I've pretty much expected the world to end in my lifetime, and I keep being surprised it hasn't happened yet. It's why I never wanted to marry. Why I never wanted human kids. What's the point? The world's going to end.

I go through the motions of living. I bought the house. I published two books. I keep a job so I can feed the furkids. I mean, if I'm wrong and the world doesn't end, I have to live. I'm not willing to kill myself.

But it's just motions. None of it means anything to me. I have no sense of accomplishment. Just the waiting.

Paying off the mortgage has become my "next step" goal. Something to keep me occupied while I wait for the end. Not the best goal, maybe, but it has possibilities.

Anyway, happy Monday. If you're lucky enough to be normal, enjoy your life. Never know how long you'll have it.

Push button. Receive bacon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Vomiting Cats

I said on Facebook I was tired of vomiting cats. What I meant as an adjective reads as a verb. I was (jokingly) advised to stop eating cats.

Little Brother and I have been fighting over his weight. For nine years, he's been my Chunky Monkey, and the struggle was to keep his weight down to something between 19 lbs and 15 for what is a 13 lb body frame. This year he seems to have developed chronic pancreatitis, and the struggle is to keep food down and his weight from dropping like a dead sparrow. His last weigh-in was 12.3 lbs, and I'm doing everything I can to keep it there, including giving him Pepcid daily, moistening his food, and feeding him six to seven times a day in smaller portions so he doesn't throw up. When he feels good, he beats up Caleb. When he feels bad, he's better behaved. Not the best punishment-reward cycle for keeping him healthy.

Miss Kitty has joined the vomiting crowd, mostly because she wants to eat her entire daily intake at breakfast, and her tummy isn't big enough.

Skuttle has projectile vomited weekly all her life, but because she's very overweight, it's hard to get a vet to pay attention. She should be a 10 lb cat, but she's probably 13 lbs with a pouter-pigeon figure. Even when I do get some weight off, only her waist gets smaller. Adding a splash of water to her food right before I serve it has helped slow down her eating and slow down the vomiting, but it hasn't stopped entirely. I suspect there's something wrong with her intestines, like a kink that would require elective surgery to find and unknot. That isn't going to happen.

Add Skamper and Caleb, who also eat too fast and too much, and some days I am cleaning up everything I've just fed them fifteen minutes before. Those aren't good days for any of us. Especially at $70 a month for prescription food.

But this is my hell. I chose it. I have no business being upset about it. I have eight years left with Simon at best. Less, if I can't get him stabilized. That thought brings no comfort, either.

Push button. Receive bacon.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Why I'm Too Old to Go to Theaters to Watch Movies

I said I'm too old to go to the theater to three different people, and all three asked "What does that mean?"

Theaters are too loud. I don't live my life with earbuds implanted in my aural canal at volumes intended to melt my brain. I don't need Dolby surround sound for anything that happens on screen. I resent surround sound in real life. It keeps me awake. Even if I take ibuprofen before going in, I always leave with a splitting headache that lasts the next 24 hours.

Theaters are too cold. The kind of cold that requires a coat, and a face mask if I thought I could get away with it and not be shot for a terrorist. I don't like being cold, and I don't like shivering in the cold for two and a half hours in summer. I have this problem at work, too, but I get paid to be there.

Theaters are too crowded. I don't like to be jostled. I don't like stepping over or around people. I don't like people bumping into me as they step over and around me. I am not a rat on a sinking ship. I will not tolerate feeling like one. Addendum: sitting absolutely still to avoid touching my neighbors exacerbates the back pain I will automatically generate by sitting for more than an hour. Ibuprofen doesn't prevent this, either.

Theaters are too sickly. When was the last time you went to a movie someone didn't cough through? Usually the someone right behind you. Not that I can hear them. I just feel the spray.

Movies are too high-flying, twisty-turny, upside-downy camera work. Seriously. Think of a recent movie that didn't have at least one scene where someone dangles from "fill in the blank" while the camera flies all around them, presumably on the back of a deranged fairy. Add the "shaking" of a hand-held camera (a pox on The Blair Witch Project for that little indie affectation) to up the excitement level, and my fellow patrons will get more half-digested popcorn excitement sprayed on them than they bargained for. I've spent good portions of movies with my eyes closed to avoid motion sickness.

Movies are too dependent on the special effects or soundtrack to be enjoyable with my eyes closed. Guardians of the Galaxy, the last movie I saw, is a perfect example of a so-so movie made ridiculously popular because some people can't get over the 70's. I was over it the minute I was born in it.

Finally, it is too expensive. I am not willing to pay $11.50 for a matinee show where I will be yelled at, frozen solid, alternately pummeled and stretched on a rack, exposed to Typhoid, nauseated and bored for three solid hours.

When I want all that, I can ride the bus to work.

Push button. Receive bacon.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Colossal Failure

The Guest Room didn't work. Twice I awoke to Caleb pawing at the door with enough force to rattle it in the jam. It was just as irritating as him sleeping on me, and he seemed to take his new quarters as undeserved banishment.

To be fair, I don't know if the second awakening at 2 AM was because of Caleb, the furnace kicking on, or the pain.

The furnace now regularly comes on at night because the furnace guy said keeping it much lower at night than during the day was hard on the machine. Well, not lowering it at night is hard on me because I wake up from both the sound and the sudden flush of heat. Maybe I can close the vent before bed.

The pain wasn't just my back but everything connected to my spine. My feet, my hips, my back, my shoulder blades. Even my crowns. Which doesn't make me happy because the next step for those are more expensive root canals. I'll be putting that off for the mortgage's sake as long as possible. I finally got up around quarter to 3 to slather pain lotion on myself. I think I slept a bit after that before the alarm - and Caleb - woke me up.

Shouldn't the stretching be helping with the pain? Isn't that the point of exercise, to make me healthier? Are the exercises causing the pain, or would the pain be even worse without them?

This is the fourth time this year my pain levels have been there. The first three came before weather fronts that did not lead to severe weather for my area, btw. I haven't been watching TV so I don't know if there's a system moving through or not.

Miranda says being fit doesn't stop back pain because she's flexible and strong, and she still suffers. I guess this is just the way it's going to be for the Turtle.

I'm annoyed about the guest room. I wanted to move the other cats upstairs in the winter, but if Caleb without claws can keep me awake, what would six cats with claws do? Sorry, Jackson Galaxy, I don't have 12 days to go without sleep while they get trained.

Push button. *yawn* Receive bacon.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Journal of My Life

Caleb has a better than 50% chance of sleeping in the guest room tonight. At least 3 times I awoke from a sound sleep to a 19 lb cat squeezing me off my twin bed. Even when I shooed him to the foot, he was creeping back up to my shoulder before I fell asleep again. With my new back issues, I have to be able to roll over when the pain starts, and I can't do that when he's occupying my space.

Our agreement is he can stay upstairs at night as long as he acts like the dog he's named for and let's me sleep. If he can't uphold his end, I see no reason to uphold mine.

I started rereading my blog from the beginning, adding spaces between paragraphs for easier reading, and, yes, correcting spelling, even though six years ago I said I wouldn't correct stuff. I'm sure I didn't mean spelling.

I didn't know what I would do with the space six years ago. I have come to appreciate it for the journal it is. I don't share a lot here, because some things are too private or too unprofessional to puke onto the internet, but, for the most part, this is me working stuff out by writing it down. I don't really care anymore if anyone else reads it. I'm not giving advice to anyone but me. I'm not trying to spark discussion, because I've found most written conversations on the internet to be extremely uncomfortable and prone to misunderstanding.

I'm just trying to cage a few thoughts before they're gone forever.

Push button. Receive bacon.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Hump Day

This year is rapidly spinning to a close, and I'm glad. I've tried very hard to get along with 2015, and all it's done is give me colossal wedgies. Fine. You'll be dead soon, and I will dance on your grave.

I'm training two people at work on two different jobs. Neither of these jobs is my job. I just know how to do them, and I know how to teach people. I am fully capable of training with grace and accuracy, and occasionally humor. However, the last two nights I've awakened from dreams where I'm doing some endlessly repetitive work task. Meaning, my conscious mind isn't feeling it yet, but my subconscious is telling me to take it easy or I will blow an artery.

Happily, I've felt no desire to return to Farmville. I've not immersed myself in solitaire, bubble spinner, TV or chocolate. Instead, I've classically stretched, I've resumed writing, and I've added an official prayer time to my day, in addition to my regular conversations with God when I'm alone but doing physical tasks that don't require deep thought (like driving, dressing, and walking). I'm petting and snuggling cats rather than yelling at them.

So far, my jaw, neck and back pain have not increased, and I'm not using any pharmaceutical pain management.

Consciously, I'm doing what I can to manage stress. God will have to manage the subconscious.

Applaud the jellyfish.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Turtle Tale

After everyone ate dinner, I opened Scrivener and found a place to start writing. I added maybe five sentences. They're garbage, they took an hour of procrastinating to write, but they're something. The story moved forward. Then I went to bed.

Once upon a time, I wrote. All the time. I kept a paper notebook and a laptop handy and I used both constantly. I never finished anything, but I started lots of things. I wrote my million words. That was twenty years ago.

I got a job, I bought a house, I adopted a couple cats. I stopped writing because I was busy and exhausted and I never finished anything. What was the point?

One summer I had some time, and I was curious if I had matured enough to finish something. I wrote Star of Justice. A monster book that poured out of me in a few months (and then got polished for years). I finished it. I felt like a genius, and a real writer, and I was satisfied.

I wrote Daughter of Anasca. It was much harder, but I did it. I felt like a genius, and a real writer, and I loved my second book as much as my first, although in different ways.

I tried to write the next book, but I couldn't gain traction. I couldn't pick a plot. My new job took far more energy than my earlier job. My couple of cats turned into a demanding clowder, and they didn't like it when I wrote. I remembered how obsessive I was writing my books, and I didn't want to fall into that pit again, even though I have no reason not to because everyone else I know is moving on with their lives without the Turtle.

I stopped writing. For years. I let my brain atrophy with computer games and weekend TV commercials.

Last night, I started writing. It was hard. It felt horrible. I didn't like it. I did it anyway. I'm going to keep doing it until I have a crappy first draft that I'll shove in a drawer for a year while I write the next crappy first draft.

Somewhere in there, I hope I start enjoying it again. Or maybe the world will end and save us all. Might as well write while I'm waiting.

Push button. Receive bacon.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Cutting the Cable

I have proved to myself that too many hours of computer games is bad for the Turtle. Went overboard yesterday morning, and by 5 o'clock, I was irritable, depressed and apathetic.

I play games when the TV is on, or I turn the TV on when I want to play games. Probably chicken and egg. Except for The Walking Dead and The Librarians, during which I never do anything except watch, I'm not actually watching TV. I'm listening, and I have a radio for that. I also don't watch new shows because CBS canceled three shows in a row after three episodes each years ago. I learned not to trust networks or their audiences. 

I don't DVR. If I don't have time to watch it when it airs, why would I have time later? With Cox's switch to all digital, I'm paying full price to watch one TV when I'm home. It makes no sense. 

I'm steeling myself to give up cable TV. I got it when the government forced all TV off antenna channels because The Swamp gets no reception for the new kind of antenna, and my weather issues require access to TV during bad weather. On the other hand, the more paranoid station in this area has moved most of its weather coverage online, so I may be able to do it. 
I've heard Cox had a basic, basic package of just local channels in 2012. I don't know if they still offer it because their website blocks any service less than I have now. Whatever. I know where their store is, and I'm not afraid to use it. 

Friday is the day I will either downgrade to local channels or remove TV altogether from the Turtle household. I can use that money to pay off the mortgage faster, and avoid the temptation to fry my brain cells on the weekends. That's a win-win. 

Applaud the jellyfish. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Dangerous Hope

Now that the initial terror of an emotionally measurable end of the mortgage has ebbed ('cause we all know it will be back), I'm getting a little excited about the possibilities.

Excitement makes me nervous, and not in the synonymous way. Keeping my expectations low is what keeps the Turtle happy with life. I'm a born cynic, after all, and I can make the return of Christ a gloomfest if you give me half a chance. The moment I make actual plans, life will smack me with a 4x4 (such as Lavender Squeak the Van), and I will not pass "go" and collect my $200.

However, since life will progress until I die, I may as well have a sketch for the future. I'm already considering how to shave down that six years without eating beans and rice, or cats.

There are only 3 things to do with money: save, spend and give. A balanced life does all three.

Save: Without the mortgage, I could get my retirement up to 15%. I could get my emergency fund to what I consider fully funded. Dave Ramsey says everyone has a "security gland" that begins secreting anxiety when certain things happen, like the emergency fund being too low. I haven't yet experienced what I consider the "right amount" of emergency fund. I suspect six months of expenses in cash would do the trick, but I don't want to be greedy.

Spend: I could vinyl-side the house. I could build that screened-in porch I crave, and maybe add a foot or two to the kitchen while I'm at it. I could take friends to lunch and pay for both of us, or bribe the nieces to visit me. I could be a Realm Makers sponsor and force them to come to Topeka for a conference.

Give: I could give equally to my current charities, and maybe add one or two to my monthly giving instead of just what I can manage here and there. I could give spontaneously to those opportunities I hear about on AFR, or be that anonymous matching donor for pledges. Who doesn't want to be that anonymous donor?

Well, we'll see how life goes. No point getting too excited. Something horrible is bound to happen and screw it all up.

Happy Friday! Push button. Receive bacon.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


I stopped Farmville a couple weeks ago. I have no concept of time, so I'm a little fuzzy on the when. I also drastically reduced my bubble spinner and solitaire time, aiming for no more than an hour during the week and an hour or two on the weekends. No point giving up one thing to replace it with something equally bad.

I did this because I was worried about my brain on constant computer games. I noticed the day after a solid day of playing games was an irritable, weepy, pain-filled day. Took two years to notice, but I blame the self-induced decline of my mental facilities for my lack of perception.

The increasingly depressing and volatile Facebook atmosphere finalized my decision. Have you noticed how angry Facebook is lately? Everybody's upset about something. Where are all the funny cat videos? And I mean funny videos, not people scaring cats with cucumbers.

I backed away. Time to remember my computer is for writing, not "push button, receive bacon" stimulus-response. I want my brain back

TT: Y'all do understand the "push button, receive bacon" thing, right? It was one of those amusing sign manipulations about the hand dryers in restrooms? I'll have to find the thread and post it.

I resumed blogging, unless the morning just gets away from me as mornings sometimes do. I've been reading books instead of turning on the TV. I'm currently reading Randy Alcorn's Heaven, which would explain my numerous references to the Cursed world. It's rather soothing and hopeful overall. Helping me rebalance my bleak perspective.

Anyway, last night... I picked up my WIP (laughable designation since I haven't progressed in a year) and typed the outline into Scrivener. I didn't get any farther because the Spawn of Satan I call furbabies all decided to come see what Mom was doing and stop it immediately. However, I did something. More to the point, I wanted to do something. My brain is waking up.

Push button. Receive bacon.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Wonder of Vitamin D

I'm a sunshine girl. That's why God put me in Kansas. I don't care if the sun is "up there somewhere" behind a mile of clouds. If I don't see it, it may as well not exist.

Three years ago I learned about vitamin D - the sunshine vitamin -, but the lesson didn't stick because 2 years ago I forgot about it and turned into one of the non-Reavers by January. You know, the ones who stopped. I scared a few co-workers and one boss before Mom reminded me about vitamin D again.

That's what life with no sun does to the Turtle. It qualifies as "depression" if you use the dictionary meaning of being squashed or flattened, in this case by never-ending cloud cover. It doesn't qualify for the mental health definition because, while I quickly pass through irritable and weepy, I always land at an emotional dead zone of zero energy. I'm not actively suicidal, but I'm also not actively alive. Life without sun is pointless.

TT: There is a DSM-IV diagnosis for such a state, but the DSM books are coding manuals for how to bill insurance while treating a client, so I don't take them seriously most of the time. I don't take much seriously anymore.

Vitamin D doesn't cause euphoria. It doesn't replace the sun, or make me want to see it less. It does allow me to continue living. I get up and move around when I take it. That's a miracle.

The recommended dose is 5000 IUs a day. It is possible to overdose and cause liver damage, but you really have to try. I started in October, and I haven't lost the will to live yet, even through that seven day ice/rain storm at Thanksgiving.

Kansas winters have been gloomy and snowy in the past years. I believe this is a cyclical occurrence, not global climate change, because I remember winters of my childhood being gloomy and snowy, but not winters of my twenties and thirties. What goes around comes around. Of course, I'm also willing to believe it is the birth pains of a world nearing the end, and that works, too. I'm tired of living in a Cursed world, as tired as Rand when drawing on a tainted Source (Wheel of Time reference there).

Good thing I have that vitamin D.

Push button. Receive bacon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Number of Man

Every year or so, I evaluate my financial goals. I've learned not to do it more often because either 1) I get depressed, or 2) I seem to trigger a universal "you're not allowed to get ahead" reaction that causes my plumbing to go south within a month. When it happens enough, I can be taught.

If my math is correct, and we all know my hate-hate relationship with math, there is a reasonable chance I could pay off my mortgage in the next six years. As in, own my own home free and clear.

This terrifies me. Seriously. Weight in the pit of the stomach, trouble breathing, hard to concentrate on anything else fear.

I should be thrilled. From the day I signed those papers, I've paid ahead on principal deliberately to shorten the life of the mortgage. I got rid of PMI early by refinancing so I could pay that amount on principal instead. I know that if you only make the "scheduled" payments, you end up spending way more for your house in interest than most people ever think about. Like up to a third or half of the loan over 30 years.

TT: I wasn't listening to Dave Ramsey when I bought this house, but I followed the advice of his mentor, Larry Burkett of Crown Ministries, to buy a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage with a payment I could easily afford (not the loan the mortgage company is willing to give but far lower) because houses create their own expenses. Had I known Dave at the time, I would have lived in a low-rent apartment without animals and saved every penny until I could either buy a house with cash or pay half in cash, finance the rest for 15 years and pay it off in 7. Sounds impossible, but people do it every day. Just not the people on those home shows we all love to watch.

Six years is a third the life of a cat. It's a first grader. It's the shelf life of a Twinkie. It's just not that long. But a lot can happen in six years. I could lose my job. I could suffer a serious disability. The house could get hit by a meteorite.

Worse, I could actually pay it off, and have what I've wanted since I started listening to Dave Ramsey - that mortgage payment available for other things, like retirement, charitable contributions and new sneakers every year.

Going back to the first paragraph, I can be taught, and what life has taught me so far is anytime I come into money, I run headlong into an expense that takes that money away. I should be grateful that God provides a way to meet my needs without debt, but I worry. I worry about what I will need that mortgage payment for in six years.

Randy Alcorn says we don't get to know security in this life because it would prevent us from relying on God. If that's true, I should expect my life to be one continuous struggle after another.

Maybe the jaw isn't nausea after all.

Push button. Receive bacon.

PS. Randy Alcorn was quoting C.S. Lewis from A Problem of Pain. Gonna have to reread that.

Friday, December 4, 2015

I'm Not Rigid; I'm Nauseated

Yesterday morning was so chaotic, I didn't get a workout, and I felt it all day.

This morning, I decided to join Miranda's "zero-impact cardio" workout to make up for it. I believe this is the same workout I tried two months ago and nearly puked five minutes in. I decided at that time it wasn't my lack of fitness that caused the nausea, but motion sickness. Cardio without jumping means a lot of rotation of the body in the same place, and that is bad news for the Turtle.

So, this morning, while trying to keep my head absolutely still while spinning the rest of me, it hit me. I'm not rigid; I'm motion sick.

I live my physical life by two rules: 1) Eyes forward. 2) Don't change the angle of my head.

If you suffer from actual motion sickness - and aren't just using that excuse to sit in the front seat - you know that the fastest way to empty your stomach is to turn around and look behind you while moving. Or glance to the side. Or, change the angle of your head while moving so your ear fluid is no longer level with the horizon. The severity of your condition chooses under what circumstances these rules come into effect. For me, it's any time I move. I've actually caused an attack by tipping my head back too far while lying down.

I puked my way through life for 13 years while my friends' parents threw me in the backs of their 70's station wagons on the way to somewhere. When the inevitable happened, sooner rather than later, and spoiled everyone's trip, I wasn't invited back. Which is fine, because I don't want to hang with people who don't believe me when I tell them something so crucial to my own well-being, such as "If I don't sit in the front seat, I'll throw up."

It's no wonder I've developed neck muscles that lock my head into an "eyes forward, head level" position. It's self-defense. The wonder is that it's taken me this long to realize it.

Push button. Receive bacon.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Stress Release

Yes, I promised an AT&T rant, but I'm not in the mood.

This morning, Miranda and I did a "stress release" workout that left me impatient and annoyed. I didn't want to breath deeply for two minutes, or align my spine for five minutes, or any of the stuff she wanted me to do. I wanted my stress released now without all the silliness. I did not feel calmer at the end. I felt like I'd wasted my time.

One of the reasons I'm staying away from computer games is this growing impatience issue of mine. I have wondered too many times in the last couple of years if the ease of "click" to reshuffle, or "click" to harvest, plow and plant is creating some kind of instant gratification expectation that real life can't meet. When expectations aren't met, frustration results. And yelling. And neck pain.

My turtleness includes patience - unless it's food-related, then get out of my way because I will hurt you to reach the buffet table. This loss of patience has me flummoxed and, naturally, impatient with myself.

This year I have had trouble breathing. More than once I haven't been able to "fill my lungs" enough, for days at a time, unless I open my mouth. While it might be a deviated septum, it's not asthma, or heart issues. I'm perfectly healthy, and have no trouble working in The Swamp, even though the mold out there should have killed me a long time ago. I believe this shortness of breath is a pre-pre panic attack kind of thing, an early warning system that I have to get my stuff together before I lose it in a real way.

Please forgive me as I dabble a bit in nonsensical eastern philosophy stuff for a moment.

I did a (very) little research into chakras when I started with essential oils, mostly because while I was familiar with the concept, I wanted a bit more general knowledge. I took a test that told me my yellow chakra was blocked. That's the energy one that relates to breathing and living life. A block here can result in rigidity and failure to enjoy life. Sounds familiar.

I learned this after I was noticing my breathing issues, so it isn't a self-fulfilling prophecy kind of thing. While I don't intend to find a guru and spend my life under a baobab tree examining my navel, when I start hearing the same thing from multiple sources, I try to listen. Two physical therapists have told me I'm too rigid. This test told me I'm too rigid. My own body is telling me I'm too rigid to allow breath into my lungs. It's a problem.

Adding daily exercise is step one. Reducing computer game time is step two. Practicing breathing may have to be step three. 'Cause life only gets worse, and I'm not one to take Valium.

Applaud the jellyfish.