An Attempt To Break Through Writer’s Block

1.Around the first of this year, I told a few people that I wanted to write a memoir. They were very encouraging. I bought a book about writing memoirs and read and studied and underlined carefully.

I haven’t written anything since.

Writer’s block is a real thing. I think mine is fueled by fear. Fear of messing up. Fear of not doing it right. Fear of the immensity of such a project. I still have another book to study.

I know the cure for writer’s block is to write. So I’m writing.

2. I took one of those quizzes that pop up on Facebook about whether my right brain or left brain was dominant. It said my left brain was, the side that’s orderly and logical. As I look around my office and consider my lack of discipline with exercise and writing, I feel more right-brain-ish. I’d LIKE to be orderly and organized. I used to be. I rarely am these days. I blame it on late-onset ADD.

3. Kids are like acorns. Little acorns grow into big trees. Little kids grown into big human beings. Both need water, dirt and sunshine.

4. From an article in the journal Emotion by researchers at UC Berkley:

AWE is a natural anti-inflammatory.Those who experienced more amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, joy, love and pride had the lowest levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, specifically levels of interleukin-6.

So, my rheumatoid arthritis, caused by inflammation, would be better if I spent more time beside the ocean or with my grandchildren. Okay!

5. I have a small stink bug issue. Here’s a link to a picture and some information:

It says in the article, someone had 26,000 in their house! (Who counted??) That’s why I said I have a small problem.

Stink bugs completely freak me out. I think they know that. I only see them once or twice a week, in my office and our bedroom, both upstairs. I’ll walk through a room and there one will be. I don’t see it come. It’s just there. The other morning, during my quiet time, one landed on the arm of my chair with a little buzz! I jumped and almost spilled my tea.

I generally am a kind and compassionate person to all living things. Not stink bugs. I flush them. The retired man I live with is appalled by that. He picks them up and opens a window and lets them out. So they can come back and find me again.

6. Doing the right thing doesn’t always feel good. I keep having to learn that.

7. Did you know you can use wadded-up balls of aluminum foil in your dryer to get rid of static electricity? I read that in a list of housekeeping hacks on Facebook. One piece of useful information in a 30-minute pilgrimage down a path of wasted time. Sigh.

8. I have an ottoman in my office with a removable top. I recently remembered that I threw a pile of papers in there to quickly tidy up when someone was coming over at least a year ago. I think I should just dump them in the recycling can without going through them. Obviously, I don’t need them. I haven’t done that yet. See #2 above.

9.During one of our snow/ice times, I saw this in the list of school closings:

Ed-Choo-Ka-Tion Station


10. I want a heated toilet seat. Our upstairs bathroom is cold in the middle of the night. I googled “heated toilet seats.” Prices ranged from $52.66 to $1,578.00. Wayfair has one that includes a nightlight in the rim and three temperature settings. It needs a standard electrical outlet, which in our older house is on the other side of the bathroom. Maybe there’s a battery-operated one. By the time I investigate all the brands and bells and whistles, it’ll be spring. I live in NC. We have short winters. I think this is a “want” not a “need.”

And Want vs. Need is a big topic for another day!








Published in: on February 23, 2016 at 10:43 am  Comments (2)  
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It’s A New, Gadget-Filled, App-Designed World

The world keeps reminding me that I am not young. It’s not just having grey hair and 3 grandchildren. That’s about chronological age.

No, it’s realizing there are all sorts of things I don’t know about and/or don’t understand.

TIME magazine had a long article about Reddit. I read the article and I’m still not exactly sure what it does. Or is. The article said it’s mostly used by young men, teenagers or 20 somethings. I’ve never fit in those demographics. So now the question is do I care enough to investigate the website? No, not really.

I already spend an embarrassing amount of time on Facebook reading posts from HuffPost50 and HuffPostParents. The ones I agree with I share with my daughters who are actually parents of young children. Makes my advice and opinions more authoritative, I think. I wonder if they read them. I’m not going to ask.

The last time I applied for a job, the application was on paper and there were no personality tests involved. Another TIME article (yes, that’s one of my main sources of what’s new and improved in the world) described the kinds of tests people often take these days during the job application process. (here’s the link)

Examples of questions:

Would you like to be an art collector? (What does a yes OR a no mean?)

Do you find yourself getting angry easily? (How stupid or self-destructive would you have to be to answer yes?)

Do you often fantasize about being famous? (Is once a month “often”?)

Do people say you are eccentric? (At my age, I consider that a compliment.)

I took the little sample test. For spontaneity I scored a 2 (out of 8). On independence I scored 7 (out of 8). For competitiveness I scored 0 (out of 8). So would you hire me?

I think too many computer nerds have reduced too many things to algorithms. Quirks and talents matter.

On a lighter note–

Did you know that the Denver Post has a designated Pot Critic? I read about that on the front page of the NY Times Style section a while back. Back in the day (or so I hear), there was pot or no pot. Now, I guess it’s like wine or craft beer. So many varieties, so little time. Are some people weed snobs like wine snobs?

I enjoy reading about what’s going on this new, gadget-filled and app-designed world. I’m glad I can pick and choose if and when I participate.

But I still like reading books. From the library. Printed on paper and bound by a cover with a title and a picture.

Published in: on September 8, 2015 at 1:36 pm  Comments (8)  
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How I Busted Out of Writer’s Block by Wasting a Bunch of Time

I sat down at my desk and opened up my laptop 52 minutes ago.  The plan was to bust out of writer’s block and just write something, anything.  I even had a place to start.

Then I remembered I said I’d send my daughter a link to a “real food” blog post about fixing kids’ school lunches.  I found it and sent it. I also followed a link in that post to another blog.  I hardly ever cook anymore, thanks to the retired man I live with, but I like to read recipes and food blogs, especially the ones that tell a story with the recipe (see Smitten Kitchen or 100 Days of Real Food).

Thinking of food reminded me that I’d been up for a couple of hours with no breakfast and my stomach was growling. I went downstairs to get a KIND bar which I buy because a little boy behind me in line at Earth Fare one day told me it was the only kind his mom let him have.  Must be good for you, right?

I thought one of the links I crossed paths with deserved to be on Facebook.  Oops. Now I was on Facebook.  I kept scrolling and not looking at the little bitty clock at the top of the computer screen or the clock that sits on my desk next to the computer.

Oh, and did I mention that my phone vibrates when I get an email, which I can easily hear as it sits on the bare wood table that I use for my desk? Could you ignore that?

My KIND bar called out for a cup of tea.  I got up to pour some water into my mini-Mr Coffee so I could make a cup of my favorite tea.

I generously added links for you to a bunch of the things I talked about in this post.  Just click on the red, underlined words and you, too, can go off on a trek through the internet.

Please tell me in the comments which links catapulted you into a hole of lost time.


Published in: on January 7, 2014 at 5:25 pm  Comments (4)  
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Pointless Ponderings–Peek into My Brain

1.  I just gave away an hour and a half of my time wandering through emails and google searches.  None of it helped me write a post. Really, it’s a wonderful way to procrastinate. One email was from a friend I haven’t talked to in years. I opened the Lands End clearance sale email. I shopped; I unsubscribed.  I don’t need sale emails from Lands End, Jjill, or LL Bean, but I keep signing up for them and then unsubscribing.

2.  I grew up in the midwest and moved to NC when I was almost 16.  My comfort foods prove I am  American white Anglo-Saxon protestant (WASP).  Cottage cheese–one of my grandmothers ate it.  Tapioca pudding–same grandmother.  Very well-done pot roast–other grandmother (we kids called it stringy roast beef, meant as a compliment).  Bologna and cheese sandwich, not fried, with mayonnaise.  (I have moved from white Wonder bread to whole grain.)  Casseroles with cream of mushroom soup.  Grilled cheese (often still Kraft singles) and tomato soup (now Progresso low-sodium tomato basil instead of Campbell’s with milk).  Regular potatoes, baked or boiled.  Note the lack of color in most of these foods!

3.  My husband grew up right outside of Pittsburgh in a Czech family.  On his mother’s side, his grandparents never really spoke English. His comfort foods include sausage, all kinds.  Stuffed cabbage.  No casseroles, not even the green bean one. Good rye bread–his uncle had a bakery.  Sauerkraut (which I learned one New Year’s Eve I couldn’t eat after drinking a bunch of alcohol.)  Note how interesting his foods are.

4.  A few years ago, I had knee replacement surgery.  In the months before and after the surgery, one of the challenges was getting up and down from a chair or the toilet.  While healing, I got dehydrated because I didn’t want to have to go to the bathroom–it hurt to sit and get up.  So we learned about toilet height.  Did you know there are toilets in between regular and handicapped height?  We have those now.  (We are aging in place, I guess.)  The retired man I live with also found toilet seats that close slowly with just a gentle touch. (Why?) They delight him.  Retired men go to places like Lowe’s and Costco to fill time and spend (justifiable) money.  When Adaline started toilet training he found the same gentle-close toilet seats with a built-in little-kid-sized insert in the lid that drops down onto the regular size seats.  She doesn’t like to poop that way, though, so we put a stool in front of the toilet for her feet.  Grandpa gave the potty chair to Adaline’s cousin and we still haven’t replaced it.

5.  We are a family who follow the early to bed and early to rise body clock.  My daughters are grateful when they get kids ready to go to childcare so they can go to work.  A couple of years ago, Adaline’s mother’s hours changed to 10 hours a day for four days a week–7:00 am to 5:00 pm.  We kept Adaline some days–they’d arrive at 6:30 am.  That is early.  We took naps with Adaline those days.  One son-in-law is a night person, bless his heart.  We all stayed in a 3-bedroom beach condo one time.  Poor Josh.  We are a chirpy, noisy bunch at 7:00 in the morning.  He works Monday-Friday 4:30 am to 1:00 pm.  (He unlocks the Ralph Lauren distribution center in High Point.)  He says it works for him because his body thinks it’s still nighttime at 3:30 am. It is. I would die.

6.  Relationships–friend, spouse, partner, parent/child–take some effort.  Healthy ones require vulnerability, trust, forgiveness, listening without judgment or advice, keeping secrets, and boundaries.  I’m reading Brene Brown’s new book, Daring Greatly.  She is a PhD social worker who has done years of research on shame and vulnerability. She uses stories and statistics to show how we all deal with shame and vulnerability (or choose not to). Check out Daring Greatly and her earlier book, The Gifts of Imperfection.  She also has 2 TED talks:  this one on the power of vulnerability and this one on listening to shame.

7.  For the first time in my adult life, I am going to Sunday School.  Clif, a true scholar, teaches and guides us.  He gives us background information on one of the Bible readings for each Sunday. Last week he divided us into 3 groups, one for each of the main character groups in the reading.  Lynn and I were Samaritans.  What an interesting way to learn.  I go to worship and have a deeper understanding of the sermon.  I like being intellectually challenged and am glad I joined such a caring and supportive class.

Published in: on October 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm  Comments (10)  
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I just want to ask why

I are amazing,”

says a 2-year-old girl.

“Who are you?’ we ask.

Me!” says a 1 1/2-year-old girl.

These kids are well-loved.  They were planned-for and very welcome.  They are surrounded by caring and supportive adults.  I pray they don’t lose that feeling of delight about themselves.

I doubt they will grow up to be computer hackers.

A hacker got into my yahoo email account.  My contacts got an email asking for money  because I was stranded in Madrid.  I was at a writing retreat at the coast with my phone turned off.   Mike was at home babysitting our granddaughter.  He answered a lot of phone calls from concerned friends.

I’ve changed my password and communicated with yahoo security.  They are investigating.  The hacker erased my address book.  I hope yahoo can get it back for me.  (Please send me an email if you want me to have your email address.)

I really do want to ask the hacker “Why?”  I guess it’s probably about money.

Maybe the hacker wasn’t wanted or loved.  Maybe nobody taught him/her that choices have consequences.  Maybe no one cared enough to teach right and wrong.

Or maybe he/she is just a clever, bored teenager with too much free time.

I think the whole thing is just mean.

Published in: on October 10, 2011 at 8:30 pm  Comments (9)  
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