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Posts Tagged ‘distraction’

I have been getting a lot of SOS signals from friends lately who have been experiencing sadness, poor attention spans, or some even feeling a bit weepy. From what I’m hearing on the news channel, this range of emotions is not limited to my circle of companions. There’s a sort of general malaise running through our society after two plus years of COVID. In my case, I have noticed in the last few months I am certainly more distracted. Friday, for example, I had an appointment at the opthamologist. The office is located in the cluster of buildings in town where most of my physicians have their practices. Arriving the allotted fifteen minutes early, I was number five in line. When it was my turn at the counter, I answered the usual barrage of COVID related questions and moved on to provide my name and DOB. Keying in my information, after a moment of staring intently at the computer screen, the desk clerk said, “You don’t seem to have an appointment today”. “That’s odd”, I said, pulling the card out the side pocket of my purse with confidence and handing it to her. After looking at the card she said, “Well you are correct, you do have an appointment today, and as you said, it is at 9:00.” “Ah Hah”, says my mind. “However, this is the dermatologist office”. Ohhhhhhh. I considered walking sideways to the door like a crab scurrying across the sand so as not to make eye contact with any of the people in the waiting room who I was sure had heard the exchange. Instead, I said, “thank you”, and took a brisk walk of shame to the front door. Thank God for masks. Wow.

At the correct office shortly thereafter, the eye doctor suggested I use a face mask morning and night on my eyes for my allergies. He went on to say I could order an appropriate mask at Amazon. Of course. You can order everything at Amazon. Need a kidney? Surely someone at Amazon has one for sale. Good news was I had been through this routine before, so had one at home I could start using right away. The mask is made of canvas material stuffed with little beads. You heat it for 25 seconds in the microwave and then apply the mask to your eyes for 5 mins. Not rocket science. I got up this morning and after significant rummaging, located the mask in a drawer. It seemed a good idea to get this procedure over with before washing my face and beginning my day. I went in the kitchen, poured a cup of much needed coffee, and placed the mask on a paper plate pushing 25 seconds on the key pad. Hearing my phone ring in the bedroom, I went off to answer it and became involved in a conversation. A foul smell suddenly filled the bedroom. Huh? Ending my call, I went into the kitchen to find the microwave counting down most likely from 25 minutes instead of 25 seconds. The material had split open like a dropped watermelon, spewing the contents out in a putrid smoking pile on the plate. Whoops. That’s not good. Once I got the smoldering mess in the sink, the smell was so pungent I began to wonder if I’d created noxious fumes, so I opened all the windows (even if it was thirty degrees outside) and turned on the fan. It took nearly an hour for the house to smell normal again. Sitting in front of my laptop I typed “Amazon” and ordered a replacement. I really do need a keeper these days.

My days have become super busy this month. I am not complaining, because I like to be busy, but they are just a tad overly busy the next few weeks even to my liking. Today my appointments were lined up like ducks in a row. The earliest one was an annual x-ray at 8:30. I arrived, checked in and sat down to wait to be called. The man next to me was probably in his late eighties. Little old men like this gentleman are cute. I know that sounds terribly sexist, most likely because it is, but sexist or not this guy was cute with a captial C. There he sat without displaying one hint of discomfort, wearing his Christmas pajama bottoms and slippers, accessorized by his jeans jacket, a fishing hat and what looked to be one of his lady’s scarves. Very nice. This is not making fun of him (well maybe just a twinkle) but more I admired him for being comfortable enough in his own body to show up without apology dressed exactly as he was. Sitting there, we shared a word or two on the usual waiting room subject, the weather. According to the weatherman on the morning news, it is to be unseasonably warm outside the rest of the week. The man sitting across from me in cargo shorts and a short sleeved tee apparently had already gotten the memo.

The temperatures are predicted to be hovering in the mid to high seventies this week. This would be truly nearly perfect weather, for June. February, not so much. California weather is for the most part ideal year round. However, with the current drought situation continuing to plague the state creating dangerous fire scenarios, seeing this kind of heat this early in the year doesn’t bode well for what’s coming our way during the summer months ahead. Another side effect is the trees, shrubs, and plants are blooming in the faux spring atmosphere and my allergies are responding. Next Monday I begin allergy shots in an attempt to pre-empt allergy season this year which usually begins in May for me. Last year I had a series of allergy test which revealed I am allergic to just about everything outside as well as inside, including Boo, the Queen of Cats. Boo is staying, so hopefully this will make spring a little easier on my nasal passages. Also, I have been on maintenance steroids for about five years and would love to wean myself off. This could make that possible. I have my fingers crossed.

When my appointment schedule had been satisfied, I came home and took out my cleaning products. I guess the spring feel in the air triggered my need to clean out closets, and move furniture and clean behind things. I spent the good part of the afternoon returning the luster to my tabletops and rediscovering my floors. Yay. Since Dale passed away I’ve sort of taken a busman’s holiday from it all. Slowly but surely, I’m taking steps towards coming back into my world again and that makes my heart happy.

Happy Thursday to you. Almost Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a difficult day for those of us who are partnerless. The holiday is all about love, romance, and couples staring wistfully into one another’s eyes. Rather than sitting around feeling sad about the whole affair, or lack of one, I am taking an art course. It does remind me, however, of years back sitting in my office one Valentine’s Day. I was going through a very painful divorce. Love, at least for me at the time, had hit a bit of a sour note. At lunch I had to spell the receptionist so she could eat. While I sat there I was bombarded with a parade of roses, chrysanthemums, and carnations being delivered for the ladies in the office behind me. Oooohs and Ahhhhhs were the words of the day. What a miserable day that was. On the way home I stopped at the store and bought myself a lovely bouquet, a bottle of wine, and a large chocolate cake, which would end up being my dinner (the wine and the cake, not the flowers). Sometimes a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do.

Have a great weekend!!!

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Today I could really see through a clear lens, how distracted I am at the moment. The indicators of this lack of concentration became obvious early on in the day. For some reason, I seem to have accumulated a plethora of uncooked vegetables in the refrigerator. Though food isn’t high on my priority list right now, I hate to waste it. Particularly, with what they’re charging for everything with the supply chain issues at the grocery store. Also, my mother and grandmother drilled me well on the dire situation in China with all the starving children there when I was young and wouldn’t eat my Brussels sprouts. However, the truth is there are people who don’t have something to put on their plate right here in the good old U S of A. Knowing this to be a fact, there’s something terribly selfish to me about tossing food out in the trash. My ex husband grew up in a poor family in backwoods Arkansas. Their finances improved greatly when he was a teen, but his mother really scraped the bottom of the barrel to put food on the table when he was grade school. Often, with nothing much else to give him, she would give him beans and biscuits in his lunch. Kids can be really miserable when they smell vulnerable prey. If there is anything different about you, be it clothing, accent, looks, hair color, or in this case food choice, they pounce on you like a rat on a piece of ripe cheddar. At the noon break, he was teased regularly about what was in his lunch box. Where most kids had peanut butter and jelly or bologna and cheese and a bag of chips, David might have sorghum on rice or rabbit stew. Sometimes he went without eating to avoid scrutiny and his mom said he regularly got off the bus after school sporting a black eye or bruises on his hands from defending himself from bullies. Some days he would ask her to give him two biscuits in his lunch bag. She never knew why. Later he was to tell her, he would eat one and then go over to the trash can and toss the other one to prove to his tormentors his family had enough food to waste. There are so many children in the U.S. without enough food to eat, it is sad to me to casually throw something out because you don’t make good use of what you have. Just my opinion, but it’s a strong one.

At any rate, surveying my bounty and thinking Peter Rabbit would be right at home in my vegetable bin, I took out the bags and cleaned and trimmed my veggies. The cauliflower and broccoli could be steamed together. The rest of the vegetables I decided would work perfectly in a vegetable soup. I have to pay attention to my eating while going through this time of mourning. When you are being a caregiver, quite often self care gets puts on the back burner. Meals get skipped, or something is hurriedly consumed while standing at the counter. Then, after the person being cared for passes away, you enter a grief period where you really don’t want to eat. A double edged sword of sorts. Blessed with my mom’s rapid fire metabolism, it won’t take long for the pounds to begin to melt off if I don’t pay attention. I looked at a photo taken of me not long after Rick had passed away. I’d gotten so thin the only thing visible indicating I was in the picture were my big feet.

Being in the kitchen is cathartic for me. Standing there peeling and chopping it almost felt like a normal day in the life of. Settling the steaming tray in the bottom of my pan, I dumped the cauliflower and broccoli in and secured the lid. Turning on the burner, I went off to take a shower and get ready for the rest of my day. This would’ve been excellent except for the fact I forgot I’d left the vegetables cooking on the stove five seconds after exiting the kitchen. This is not easy to ignore, as both vegetables emit an odor when cooking I liken to elephant gas (not that I’ve ever actually experienced this phenomenon firsthand) to remind you they’re on the stove. Somehow, I managed to circumvent the signs, and pretty soon the smoke alarms loudly reminded me of my oversight. Darn. Aside from the cat losing a life or two, I managed to ruin a relatively new pan and reduce my veggies to a black gelatinous blob in the what was left of the bottom. Sigh.

Beyond the humanitarian side of food waste, it costs a lot to eat these days. In an effort to defray the flow of cash moving steadily out of my bank account, I have begun to watch for coupons. This is something I used to do routinely, but sort of phased myself out of over the last twenty years. The other day I was in the pharmacy picking up some toiletries. I pulled my cart up behind the only other shopper in line standing at the only checkstand with it’s light on. In the “baby basket” as I call it, the woman had what looked to be a wedding album sitting alongside her purse. Kay. Though her cart was not filled to the brim, there were a generous number of items resting inside the basket. I have learned to relax into those situations. Getting all impatient and wound up, at least I have found, doesn’t make the line move forward any faster. Unloading her purchases on the conveyor belt, the woman opened her book. Now I was not being nosy, but I could clearly see it was bulging with plastic covered pages lined with all manner of coupons. Well maybe a little nosy. This woman, apparently, had created the Bible of all coupon books and as I stood there she went through what felt to me to be every single one. By the time she was done, I had meditated three times and begun doing Tai Chi in the aisle. I believe this is called “extreme couponing” and I am here to tell you I don’t have either the time or the patience to pursue such an endeavor, but God bless her for doing it. While I’m still on the subject of the pharmacy, why is it one pharmacy in particular (if you’ve been there you’ll know which one) insists on rewarding your patronage by giving you a receipt long enough to write a legal brief on the back of it. If you walked into the Amazonian jungle and dragged this receipt behind you to leave a trail to follow you wouldn’t run out of paper until you hit Columbia. Aren’t we supposed to be saving trees? I realize these are all store coupons printed on the receipt but in my experience every time I’ve tried to use one of them it had either expired or couldn’t be used for whatever item I was buying. I’m just sayin.

Once I had put out the fire both literally and figuratively in my kitchen and disposed of he charred remains, I went outside to pick up all the twigs strewn around my yard from the last storm and put the trash cans by the curb. While standing by the bin, my neighbor wandered over to ask if Dale had passed. Telling her he had, though we speak frequently over the fence, I suddenly struggled to remember this woman’s name. I knew it had something to do with the TV show Bewitched. I set up little reminders in my tired brain to trigger a response for names. I am terrible at remembering them. Sometimes I have to look at the name embroidered in my underwear to be able to write a check. A light went off. “Tabitha” that’s it. Proud I had conjured (pardon the pun) up the correct name, I applied it liberally during our conversation. Before leaving, she turned and said, “Oh, and Susie, my name is Sabrina not Tabitha”. Drat the luck. Close but no cigar. At least I didn’t call her Darrin.

I’m trying hard to deal with the emptiness in the house. It hits me every time I leave to do something away from home and then come back into the front door. Dale was such a large presence in my world, it is hard to fill up the empty spaces, so I don’t even try for now. Easy to laugh, he was always already chuckling before telling a joke, and his hearty guffaws could be heard at the other end of the house when he was talking on the phone to one of his friends about something that greatly amused him. Boo, the Queen of Cats, though a sparkling conversationalist on most days, really hasn’t exhibited much of a sense of humor.

Feeling a bit antsy after cremating my innocent veggies, I decided to take myself to the store to get some more of the same and start the process again. Damn the torpedoes and all that. This time, I would cook them with my eye on the clock and the stove. I bought a few extra groceries while there, you never get exactly what’s on your list, and pushed my cart out into the parking lot. Pushing the trunk release on my remote, nothing happened. Really? Now the remote and/or the car is not working. WHAT IS GOING ON!!!!!! I pushed it again, and then again. Why do we do that? It is obviously not working. Perhaps it’s our mind way of coping with the situation. I gave the door handle a jiggle. Nothing. Suddenly a man came up behind me. Fine, now I’m being accosted in the parking lot. “Excuse me”, he said politely. (I thought he was going to offer to help). “Yes”, says I? “You’re trying to get into my car”. “What”? Looking in the window I realized I did not leave a gym bag in the back seat nor did I purchase the Starbucks coffee sitting in the cup holder. “Oh”. Insert red face here. Quickly I apologized for the mistake and located my car two rows over. Hello?

After that I just came home. I entertained the thought of going in the closet with the bottle of Gray Goose and some fiery Cheetos but decided to tough it out and cook my vegetables instead. This time without nearly setting the house on fire. Another day worked through and I’m still here. Hugs from me.

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