Sunday, February 7, 2016

I've moved more often than the average American

According to the Census Bureau, it is estimated that a person in the United States can expect to move 11.7 times in their lifetime. Link

Despite the fact that I hate to move, I have somehow managed to beat the average having lived in 15 places - so far. 
  • Three towns in Iowa while I was still a minor. 
  • Five places in and around Clinton between the ages of 18 and 25.  Two places used wood stoves for heat.  One had been used as a storage shed before being rented out.  I learned that getting dressed right next to the wood stove is only a good idea if you don't stumble.  I had a burn scar on my thigh for years.  I also learned that geese are mean. 
  • One place after my divorce, then back in with my parents. 
  • Rented an apartment in an old mansion cut up into apartments.  My new boyfriend moved in the day I moved in.  
  • Stored all our stuff at my in-laws for two years while we drove truck cross-country. So technically I guess that was an address.  
  • Bought a house in rural area north of Clinton. We had 3 acres and a house where we stayed when we weren't out driving truck.  Loved that house, except for the mouse infestation.  And the annual bat incursion.  One day I looked out of the kitchen window to see a large barn owl sitting in the tree staring back at me. Another day I looked up and saw a bald eagle at the top of one of my trees.  A possum hissed at me.  A garter snake chased me. 
  • When that marriage ended in a surprise divorce, I moved back to Clinton into a sweet little house with a flower garden. Most vivid memory was when the basements on either side of me flooded.  I checked on the older woman next door and her small freezer was floating in her basement. 
  • With little job prospects in Clinton, we followed my mother to Arizona.  First was a small condo with a single carport and a tiny, tiny patio. Then to a house on what was then the outskirts of town with more square footage, a garage, and a yard.  
This is where I have been for  the past 17.5 years. Good neighbors.  Room for my dogs.  Nice area to walk in. 

I'm hoping this is my last address, but I suspect at some point I will want or need a smaller place, or a single story.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

I've been feeling pretty good. So why am I worried?

I have frequent headaches. And a stiff neck.  

One or both could be related to my seriously bad posture from hunching over a computer keyboard for years. Which I am trying to fix.

Or allergy.

Or falling out of a second-story window when I was two years old.

In short, I don't know what causes either the headaches or the neck pain.

But this past week I have been gloriously pain-free.

Have I enjoyed it?

Well, yes. But I have also been puzzled. And worried.

Puzzled because I don't know why this week is any different than last week. While I appreciate the lack of pain, I want it to continue. Forever.

So what am I doing right this week that I was doing wrong last week?

And I worry about when the pain will return. It seems inevitable that it will.

I worry when I turn my head and feel a twinge. Is this when the neck pain returns?  I stretch my neck and the twinge subsides.

Head starts to ache, just a bit. I get up from my desk and stretch. So far so good.

I don't know anyone who isn't in some kind of pain, regardless of age. It seems to be an integral part of life.

But I would really like a nice, longer, span of pain-free days.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The fragile workplace

It takes so little to mess up an enjoyable workplace.  A work environment is a piquant blend of location, office, equipment, and co-workers.

I had a wonderful job a few years back.  Bright and airy environs.  Collaborative team mates.  Open and communicative management.

Then the upper management changed.  And the company moved to a new location.  The atmosphere became dark and oppressive.


The area I was assigned to was between two walls with no window access.  And the senior personnel decided that they wanted it dark.  So the blinds were always drawn.  And the lights were kept to a minimum.

I had to bring in a desk lamp to even see my paperwork.

And the collaborative nature of the company evaporated.  It became an Us versus Them attitude.

I left that job when I found myself crying in the car on the way to work.

Now I see issues in my current company.

Cost-cutting has left us short-handed but the schedule hasn't been adjusted to compensate.  Everyone is over-worked.  Joking and cheeriness is at an all time low.

The boss that had a talent for deescalating tensions was replaced by a less experienced manager with a knack for amping up the pressure.

He and a lateral manager disagree on almost everything.  I agree with each of them on different items.  It's like being in the middle of my parent's divorce all over again.

Everyone is trying their best, but the mood is hurried, dark, and frantic.

I'm not to the point of crying on my way to work.  Yet.

But I can no longer say I enjoy my job.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Tell my mind I'm not decrepit.

I was outside today weeding, bending over and reaching down to grab an errant clump of grass.  I stood back up and stumbled on the paver behind me.

The first thought that popped into my mind was, I hope I'm not losing my balance in my old age.


When did my mind automatically jump to decrepitude when anything untoward happens?

If I forget the word I want to write or say, I worry I am getting senile.

If I ache or groan when I stand up, I worry that I am becoming feeble.

If I leave my keys in my other coat when I change coats between dogs, I worry that I am losing my mental acuity.

I stumbled because the ground was uneven.

I forget the word I want to write or say because the hard drive is full, people. It takes longer to retrieve the perfect word when you know so many words.

I may groan when I stand up - sometimes.  But so do the young men I work with.  Muscle aches are a symptom of over-activity, not frailty.

The house keys I left in my other pocket because I was hurrying to change into a lighter coat while leashing Angel and trying not to get tangled in Bogie's leash.

All logical explanations that don't include being infirm or doddering.

So why was age my first thought?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Oddest refusal statement

Bogie and I do pet therapy volunteer work 2 or 3 times a month at the nearby hospital.  We visit for an hour or 90 minutes before he becomes "peopled" out, loses interest, and becomes inattentive.

He wears a neck tie and we walk around the wards visiting with staff, visitors, and patients.  People are impressed by his size and his calm demeanor.  And they are tickled by a dog wearing a neck tie.

Most people are thrilled to see him.  He's a welcome distraction in their day.  Others either don't like dogs or are intimidated by his size.  I can understand that and we move on to the next room.

Sometimes  patients are busy with their doctors and we don't interfere.  Generally, if there is a nurse or technician attending the patient, we are still welcomed with enthusiasm.  Whatever discussion or procedure was in progress is put on temporary hold while everyone gets some canine attention.

But the weirdest refusal I ever got was yesterday.

She was sitting in her bedside chair where she could see us pass.  She perked up as we passed so I offered to bring Bogie in. 

She said “Not right now. I’m putting on an expensive bracelet. But could you come back? I really want to see him."


The bracelet is so important that it couldn't wait until we leave?  

Did I need to know that it was expensive?  

I considered going back before we left the ward, but wasn't sure what room she had been in. And honestly, I didn't like being asked to come back for such a silly reason.   

Besides, we have a limited amount of time and there were other people to see who would appreciate our visit. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My favorite bloggers all swear

The Bloggess
Wil Wheaton
Rubber Shoes in Hell
Mark Manson

I'm not sure if it's a coincidence that my four favorite bloggers are not afraid to curse in their blogs. I've been told I swear too much.  I don't think I swear much at all.  I've recently come to the conclusion that I am okay with some people disapproving. .

But I find myself unable to swear in print.  I rarely even swear in my own journal.  I'm not sure why this is an issue for me. Maybe because of its permanence?

I mean, I know when to moderate my swearing.  I didn't swear in front of my mother.  She wouldn't have approved.  I swore less when I was married because my husband didn't think it was "ladylike".

Now I swear at home all the time when I am talking to mysel... the dogs.

And I swear at work.  It's that kind of office.  Except around one older guy who actually told me, "Language, little lady"!

The best part of that incident?  The guys I work with made an extra effort to swear in front of him to see whether he would criticize them.  (He didn't).

Not one of them thinks that saying "Fuck" is inappropriate.  There.  I wrote it down.  It's in print for all to see.

I've recently begun seeing articles and memes that state people who curse are smarter and more honest that those that don't.

I agree.  Do you?

People who curse a lot have better vocabularies
People Who Curse Are Smarter Than People Who Don't

Monday, January 11, 2016

Doctor Who Lego set

I've been on a bit of a Lego binge in the last few months.  But how could I refuse the combination of Legos and Doctor Who.

Two Doctors, because you would need two when the Daleks and the Weeping Angels join forces.

And isn't the Weeping Angel creepy even in miniature?