Thursday, January 18, 2018

Adventures in Minimalism 1/18/18

Winter cleaning and organizing is underway.
Here are a few things I've done over the last six weeks:

I tackled the kitchen junk drawer.
Photo 1: everything out and on the stove.
Photo 2: a drawer that's "Tuff & Tidy". :-)

I cleaned and organized my largest closet.

The hangers are turned backward to show myself what I'm wearing
throughout the year. What isn't touched in 11 months will be donated.
I own way too many dollar store shirts, but I do seem to wear them!
That's a huge pillow on the shelf. It says so right there on the package.
Except it's not. Wal-Mart is a capitalist realm of lies and deceit.
(See you soon, anyhow, Wally World. Whether I like it or not.)

Welcome to my basic white girl bathroom.
Someday, I'll have matching towels. But not today.
Today, I just need my entire world to be made out of that squishy bath mat.
(The bathroom closet is currently in progress. I'll post a pic of it someday.)

I made a pillow for my butt.

I have owned this Care Bears fabric for over a decade.
I finally put it to use and covered a stack of foam squares.
It's duct taped underneath because I'm a loser who can't sew.

I sorted papers, which seems to be a never-ending task.

I've got a problem with paper. I can't seem to get rid of it.
I don't think I've reached hoarder status, but it's a minor flaw.
(As opposed to my major flaws, of which there are many.)
I seem to constantly find random bags and baskets filled with
various papers and I wonder how it happened, as if I have pesky
gremlins stashing paper around my apartment after midnight.
Alas, the gremlin is a prematurely-aging crazy lady with paper issues.

Friday, January 12, 2018

What the heck, January...

I drove Midori the Gypsymobile to the grocery store today.
I stood in the cold, handed the keys and title to a tower, and he took her away.
Walking cane in hand, I made the short trek home without my only asset.
I will miss her. She was a great car, and had a long life. what? I don't know. I'll do what I can to save up some money so I can eventually buy another used car. Only Heaven knows how long that will take, but it's all I can do unless a generous soul wants to give or loan me a couple grand.

In the meantime, I live across the street from the power company, a grocery store, dollar store, coffee shop, and an Asian restaurant. The water company is around the corner...not the easiest walk in my condition, but I'll get there. I'm not near my bank or pharmacy, which is concerning, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it in a few weeks. My local doc is 2 miles north, so I'll have to find a ride there and home when it's time to go back. My docs in Jackson probably won't be seeing me at all this year. Living rural is a challenge where getting places is concerned. No taxi service, and no meal deliveries.

Actually, I do have groceries delivered every eight weeks or so, from Schwan's. That helps! Budget permitting, maybe I can reinstate my Home Chef subscription eventually for once a month delivery.

Saying goodbye to my car wasn't the only challenge of the day. I also had to factory reset my phone. It wouldn't stop freezing every few seconds. I was hard-booting it several times an hour, and couldn't complete text conversations or use several apps. I reset it to its default settings. So far so good, and I'm currently trying to convince family and friends to text me. I lost photos, videos, phone numbers...everything.

Me and all things mechanical don't get along very well these days, it seems. I received an Instant Pot for Christmas, and it broke on day 2. I had to send it back to Amazon. Sheesh.

The universe is making me take this minimalism thing seriously, isn't it? Ha! It could be worse. I've had less than this, and I survived. I'll survive this too.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Twitter Art Exhibit 2018

"Making A Wish"

Colored Pencil on 6" x 4" Bristol

2018 Twitter Art Exhibit

Stay tuned for details. :)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Diving Into Books

As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I had a goal of reading all of the books in my possession, and I also downloaded a ton of classic books from Project Gutenberg. In addition to that, I have the Hoopla and Overdrive/Libby apps so I can borrow ebooks and audiobooks from libraries. Thankfully, I have access to my local library as well as my family's library in Louisiana, so what I can't find at one, I can usually find at the other. It has worked out great, and I have read 30 books in 8 weeks.

I'm going to be talking about some of them here, or at the very least, list the ones I've read.

But before I go any further, here's my Goodreads account. If you happen to be on there, feel free to friend me to follow my progress.

What I've read since November:
I recommend reading the author's interview/commentary after reading or listening to the book. It helps to explain some things. I thought it was ok, although I dozed through part of it. I am sure it made a great movie.
I read it on Christmas Eve.
Who knew there was a prequel that described the creation of Narnia and the wardrobe? Apparently everyone but me. It was good.
I love this story and it feels different now that I know the back story. I'll read the rest of the series soon. (I did watch the movies already).
Plenty of crying, just like the last Mitch Albom book I read.
Absolutely fantastic book that I recommend to everyone. Everyone. Read it.
Doyle was racist/prejudiced to a disgusting degree. That aside, I've always liked Sherlock and Watson. Hound of the Baskervilles is still my favorite after all of these years.
Much validation found here.
Idealistic nonsense. He writes pretty sometimes, but there's little substance.
Heart and Brain is my favorite comic.
I could say so many things about this book, but I won't ramble on. I think it's good that she finally became honest with herself about who she was, and made an effort to do something about it. I don't know whether or not she actually changed in the long run, but her journey was interesting enough to carry me through to the end. I appreciated her honesty in spite of not relating to her needs. I think she was lucky to have been given the opportunity to travel the world and write about it.
Boring and racist. I stopped listening an hour in. I'm almost sure Christie was a Nazi, as she hated Jews and foreigners.
"In a 1985 study, blah blah blah..." over and over. Zzzzz. Disappointing.
Rated G and a fun read. I'll look for the rest of her books.
I finally know who Paddington is.
I'm studying minimalism, as per my 2018 goal.
Sad and memorable.
You'd think I would have loved this, but I felt that much of it didn't apply to me. Maybe I'll use some of the writing prompts someday, but otherwise, it wasn't terribly useful.
Meh, this wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be. He's kind of condescending. I felt the same way about Douglas Adams, so maybe it's an atheist thing. I think it's entirely possible to be atheistic without being an ass about it, but some people clearly didn't get the memo.
This lady is overboard, but she has used her obsession to her advantage. Overall, I think her efforts are very successful.
This was a long audiobook and somewhat forgettable, although I will probably buy small red plates someday to test one of their theories.
I know very few people who don't love Anne by the end of the book. I am no exception. I thought she was a bit ridiculous in the beginning. By the end, I was crying and looking for the TV show.
The grammar is seriously lacking in the first book, but this stuff is legendary. I loved the movies, even the ones that made me mad. I'm now on book 4. I'm reading the ebooks as well as listening to the audiobooks (which are very well done). HP fan 4 life.

In Progress:

Don't faint, but I've opened comments for the first time in many years. Feel free to chime in with input about the above books, and/or recommend others. Thanks!

P.S. - I don't get paid for anything I share here, ever.

Making Headlines

My stepsis is making headlines in NY and beyond. I'm proud!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

January is the Monday of Months.

The wind chill in my town this morning was 9. NINE! On a Gulf Coast bayou!
Scoff all you want, Northerners, but this area is classified as humid subtropical.
We are not designed nor equipped for temps below 32 F, much less single digits.

Gotta love Sweet Brown. LOL

I'm ok, but this unusually hard freeze needs to buzz off as soon as possible.
Muscular Dystrophy doesn't do cold. My body thinks it's dying a horrible death.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve, 2017 Resolutions Review, and Other Thoughts

My 2017 Goals:

1. Learn to play the tin whistle

This is the one thing I failed miserably at. I've already explained why in another post.

2. Read all books and comics in my possession

ALMOST! I read all comics and most of my books. What I have left:

In progress:
Anam Cara by John O'Donohue
Fed, White, and Blue by Simon Majumdar

On the shelf:
Song of the White Swan by Aleta Boudreaux
Triorion: Awakening by L.J. Hachmeister

I read a ton in 2017. I'm proud of that, because although I'm an advanced reader, there are several factors (poor eyesight, migraine disorder with auras, and brain fog/ADD) that prevent me from enjoying it much. I'll talk about books (and audiobooks!) in further detail later.

3. Continue to declutter

While I admit anxiety and depression drove me to dive into some of these tasks, I feel that I've turned my art supply/storage room around. It wasn't awful, but I had stuff that needed dealing with, and I'm glad I finally tackled it. I gave a lot of things to the local homeless shelter thrift store, a little to relatives, and organized the rest.

4. Renovate Mac, backup files, and prepare for new system

Done! My fantastic friend Joanna gave me her old laptop and tablet because she wasn't using them. I love both and use them daily. What a gift! Bessie the MacBook, now the ripe old age of 8, has been downgraded to a storage facility. The Mac was an awesome system and well worth the discounted price I paid for it back when I was a teacher and student.

5. Organize and knock out art charity projects in progress 

Once again, I completed a piece for Twitter Art Exhibit and sent it to England. This coming month, I'll complete a new project for TAE and send it to Canberra, Australia. I always love being a part of this.

I had two other pieces and attempted to raise funds for a cancer charity in a more private manner, but no one was interested.

6. Tighten social media and continue to reduce public presence

This is the first thing I addressed on the list. I experimented with a name change, locked down some accounts, deleted others, and renovated one or two. I wiped out friend lists and started over. I installed an app called FB Purity, and shut down my news feed. Most of the process went better than I thought it would, although I eventually returned to my real name on Facebook. I'm still public in a couple of places (like here, obviously), but I am now in friends-only mode elsewhere. Even those folks can't see everything, but it's not an issue. I'm content overall with my decisions.

7. Take a watercolor painting class

I researched this for a long time, and finally chose Art Tutor, an art instruction company based in Liverpool, U.K. They have free tutorials, as well as very (I mean VERY!) affordable courses that cost little more than a lunch date. The content is thorough, and once you own it, it is download-able for offline use and yours forever. And let's face it - their fabulous "across the pond" accents make me smile. :-)

8. Figure out MawMaw’s seafood gumbo

I am so happy that I finally accomplished this. Gumbo is important in my Creole-Cajun family, and I miss my MawMaw and her awesome food. (Side note: I also nailed her roast beef and gravy.)


While I completed most of my goals, this year was pretty rocky. I lost three loved ones, battled systemic disease to little avail, and existed in a constant state of anxiety, pain, and exhaustion. The sadness has been overwhelming at times. 2017 was supposed to be a year of "allowance", a word I chose and wanted to embrace. However, it was more a time of analysis, devastation, and aggravation. As always, I hope the upcoming year will be better. In spite of the cesspool of current events. In spite of my pain and many ailments. In spite of myself.

If it wasn't obvious, I'm a list fiend. I'm forever seeking something to look forward to, as well as something to keep me productive.

Thus, my 2018 goals are as follows:

1. Stick to the diet most ideal for my systemic disease.
2. Read more and write more, with frequent updates.
3. Study minimalism and document my ongoing effort.
4. Sort all paperwork for storing or shredding.
5. Spend less idle time on the cray-cray interwebs.
6. Either utilize art supplies, or get rid of them (yikes).

7. Find effective methods for managing stress episodes.

As always, I'll spend some time explaining each goal in detail at a later date. May 2018 be a safer, healthier, happier year for us all.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

3:30 A.M. Brain Dump

I must have been dreaming, because I awoke just now thinking that I needed to talk to my mom about a charity run by a friend. I knew they would get along very well because they held the same views, and I hoped Mom would support the charity (an orphanage for special needs children).

When I was fully aware, I remembered Mom is gone and I "unfriended" the friend on social media earlier this year. I still receive email updates from the charity regularly, so I guess that triggered the dream or whatever this confusion would be called.

I think about the fact that my parents are dead and wonder when I got so old, but the reality is that they'd still be here if they hadn't been such difficult people. Even my stepfather acknowledges that, and he worshiped my mother. I'll never get them, and I strive to be nothing like them, but I will always miss what could have been.

Just a 3:30AM brain dump for the sake of sanity. Nothing to see here.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Today Is The Day For... #1 (Carpe Diem Journal)

Today is the day for preparing for Christmas.

It doesn't feel like Christmas. Two loved ones have died within seven days of each other. I missed my student/friend Mark's funeral because my car isn't running well. It hurts, because I know he would have been at my funeral had it been me to die first. He was too young, and I'm sorry for his family.
Zollie, my brother's father in law, was the sweetest man you'd ever meet. He told me only a few weeks ago that he had "adopted" me as one of his girls. I told him I was honored. Now he's gone. The funeral is the 27th. I don't think Christmas will ever be the same. It certainly won't for his real daughters.
My stepfather has the flu, but is thankfully recovering. I panic when I think about losing him someday. Sometimes my anxiety and depression barge in when I think about it. I'm trying to tell myself to stop grieving over people who are still alive. I'm grateful he's here. I don't see him much anymore, but I'm glad he's doing ok and living his life as he wishes.
It's 3 A.M. so I guess I will try to nap before cooking for tomorrow's Christmas dinner. I don't feel like celebrating, but those who have gone from this Earth would want me to.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

My Name Is Perseverance

This is what my Facebook looks like now.

Because of this app: FB Purity

No home page. No news feed. No left or right sidebars. No friend request tab, although I will still receive friend request notifications by email. No public photos except my cover photo. No game invites. No questions or suggestions. NO ADS!

I will visit my reduced friends list individually on their own pages. They are, of course, still welcome on mine. My rules are simple: no inappropriateness, no religious debates, no chain letters (for the LOVE of GOD, PEOPLE!), and no politics please.

I'm going to the doctor in a few days to follow up on my systemic disease. I will also be asking for advice or a referral for pain management and stress relief. I am not coping well, and I think that has been pretty obvious. I believe I have low-functioning anxiety. It hasn't been labeled low-functioning by a doctor, but it will be discussed because that is what I'm displaying. Whereas I have loved ones who have high-functioning anxiety and manage to get through each day looking like they have their life together, I have gotten to the point where I go from "zero" to "the room is on fire" over statements on social media. A couple of weeks ago, a man told me my illness was invalid, that I had no argument in regards to my own healthcare or anyone else's, and demanded I shut-up and go to bed. I cursed him, and I spent the rest of the night and next morning in the bathroom sick and wishing for death. One cruel, abusive asshole threw me right back into married life circa 2002 (except I didn't curse at all back then). "I want out" cycled through my head for hours.

What this middle-aged military man said was disgusting, misogynist, and borderline fascist. It was unacceptable. Make no mistake of that. It was not ok. But obviously, neither was my reaction. I have a right to defend my own life or someone else's, and by God I will. Venting is normal, stress is normal, maybe even yelling or wanting to punch somebody in the face over the internet is normal to some extent. I know many of my readers have done or felt the same way. This, however, was a meltdown that hurt me physically, and it's not the first one. So, I will bring up my anxiety attacks to my doctor until either he or another professional acknowledges it.

Muscular Dystrophy, as always, complicates things like this. Stress is a paralytic trigger, which fully explains my low function when episodes like this occur. To add insult to injury, medications designed for people with anxiety and/or depression, and even pain meds, greatly affect my condition. I don't mean annoying side effects, I mean a swift decline in muscle function to the point of detriment. It's serious. I've been there and done that already. So, in summary: pain is bad, stress is bad, yet medication for pain and stress are bad. This is not an easy fix. Nothing I have ever is.

I told you all of that to explain the changes I've made. I take frequent breaks from Twitter (deactivating the account often), and I've reduced my Facebook dramatically. The last time I talked to a social worker, I told them I couldn't cope with the news. Not surprisingly, I was instructed to stop reading the news (thank you, Captain Obvious). The same is about to be said to me concerning social media, without a doubt. I've simply taken the initiative to beat them to the punch.

I cannot disconnect from the world completely, because even an introvert knows it's not wise to be without human contact 100% of the time, nor would I want to be. I care about my friends. I also can't completely avoid the news if I intend to continue voting, which I do. I refuse to be someone who ignorantly worships a political party, so I'll remain aware enough to be an informed voter. My Instagram is up and running again, and I have connected it to the Facebook account. I will also still post on my timeline regularly. You're not going to notice a difference on my page, but perhaps on yours. I'd suggest friends and family not take it personally, but some already have. Do what you like with the friend button, but I would appreciate your respect in this regardless.

Thoughts and prayers are very kind, and I sincerely thank you. But remember that this is my reality, so don't be too surprised if you don't get what you pray for or think about. Above all, don't blame me. I've been as honest and straightforward as I can be, and I am a chronic trier. My name is Perseverance. But the truth is if you have expectations of me at all, fueled by spirituality or not, the chances are high that you will, at some point, be disappointed. That's life. And all any of us can do in life is the best we can with what we're given, until our body or mind give out, and we simply can't anymore.