Over and Over and Over

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“I should be further along than I am now.”

That was a statement I’ve said recently, echoing statements I’ve made over the years.

There’s been a gap, ever widening, between where I want to be and where I am.  Or, perhaps more accurately, what I want to do and what I do.

My publishing resume reflects that (nothing since college), my finances reflect that and, now, finally, my blood work reflects that.

I’ve always held that being fat isn’t the problem; being poor isn’t the problem.  Each is A problem, but not THE problem.

They are symptoms of bigger problems. They carry their own consequences, sure, but they are primarily symptoms.

And it’s time that I put the symptoms in check.

Tonight, I walked.  Not far, and, of course, I lost my pedometer along the way. But I walked.  With an arthritic hand and a terribly behaved dog, I put one step in front of the other before the sun went down.

Which is a whole set of accomplishments right there. Getting home from work before dark (an increasing challenge with the time change and this time of year); getting out the door rather than looking at “one more thing” on the internet; remembering to bring the doggy bag for the presents the pup always leaves on our walks.

It’s a start. And I’m moving again.

That’s something.

Also: I don’t think I’ll ever refer to take-away food as a “doggy bag” again.

The Thermostat in Hell

On November 25, 2014, Federal Judge Reeves struck down Mississippi’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

That’s pretty much how every story about the decision starts.

I probably should have started by calling Hell, Michigan, and asking what the temperature was.

I haven’t finished reading the transcript, which, incidentally, can be found here, but it’s pretty much what I expected: Mississippi’s Constitutional Amendment has been found unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The Clarion Ledger said, “Others, like Forest Thigpen, president of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, derided the decision as tyranny against the will of state voters who in 2004 overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage” and then “‘We have reached this point where the voice of the people and their elected representatives doesn’t matter,’ Thigpen said in a statement” (1).

Cause, you know, state law supersedes federal law. Cause Mississippi.

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Child’s Play

I am officially a woman of a certain age.

I consider myself young still. I still love a lot of the things I dug when I was younger: Tool and the Cure; having espresso drink-off’s to see who could be the most Beavis in the shortest amount of time; the sheer pleasure of eye rolling at the only Candlebox song that ever got rotation.

Arguing, eye-rolling, and smartassedness.  I wish I could have majored in those.

As both a pre-teen and a teenager, I loved Saturdays: ThunderCats, Gargoyles, and X-Men. The PeeWee Herman Show, even.

I can almost trace my childhood through kids shows: The Letter People (that song, 30-some odd years later, still rings in my head) led to Smurfs led to Thundercats and G.I.Joe led to Gargoyles led to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and ultimately, Batman, Spiderman, and the X-Men.

I had secondhand knowledge of Transformers through my younger brother, but the X-Men and the various DC Hero shows were mine, all mine.

I figured I had shopping for a five year old who is into some of the same stuff I was into as a kid nailed.

This is so not the case.

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Priorities and Success in Baby Steps

My cat has decided I am spending too much time attached to the computer.

She often stares at me like so:

She is judgmental, this cat. She has a PhD in Judgmentalism.

A couple of months ago, I set a few goals:

 Get a financial plan in place.

Get some sort of chore management program in place.

Go out once a weekend, and preferably not for just groceries.

So far, I’m doing pretty well. I’m still tinkering with the financial plan, but I started tracking assets and debts, and am glad to say that I’m definitely moving in the right direction. I’ve set a chore management plan, and still tinkering with it as well.  As for the going out, I’m rating about 50%.

One of my biggest challenges, financially speaking, is attempting to save for so many things at once with a finite amount of income. When I say I love my car, I mean I LOVE my car. Unfortunately, she’s 12 years old and, like ice cream especially in my house, won’t be around for ever. I want to have an emergency fund of $5000. I want to pay off my house. I want to save for retirement. I’d like to buy something fun once in a while or go on vacation some time before I shake off this mortal coil.

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Starting Over and All That Jazz

I turned 40 a few months back, and have spent the past few months, well, struggling.

Over a year ago, I had begun pulling down my posts here at WordPress, attempting to consolidate my online presence as I was attempting to launch a writing business. I was attempting to plan an exit strategy from my current job, and hoping that the writing would be somewhat profitable in a year so that it would allow me to go part time at work to maintain health benefits and  but shift my focus to writing.

I had formed the company, purchased a domain, and paid a goodly amount of money for someone to design it for me. I had vision; I had focus; I had the enthusiasm of a kid the night before Christmas.

And then I got sick again.

I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 2003, and it was several years after that I discovered I have Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder which, to be honest, I still don’t understand.  In the 11 years that I’ve struggled with this, I don’t think my thyroid has been within normal range for more than three months in a row. It’s caused weight gain, overwhelming depression, and a sense of exhaustion that words fail to explain.

Which is okay, because that’s not what this post is about.  Just a set up.

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Mindfulness, Mirth, and Money

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One of my greatest spiritual teachers has been (and continues to be) money.

It sounds strange, even to my ears.

When I think of spiritual teachers, I think of the Buddha, Jesus,  St. Francis, Rumi. Saints and Sufis, philosophers and monks.  I think of men and women who have demonstrated spiritual law, who have lived godly lives, who have magnified peace and compassion.

I don’t necessarily think of things. Especially not money-type things. After all, love of money is the root of all evil (or all kinds of evil, depending on your biblical version); it doesn’t seem to be an expressly spiritual thing.

And yet money seems to be my first–and longest lasting–teacher in mindfulness.

I first started paying attention to where I spent my money when it seemed I was running out of it.  I had, month after month, mindlessly paid my bills and without ever paying attention to them.  Why? I had enough to pay for them. It was only when my “safety net” dropped below my “acceptable” threshhold that I really started to pay attention.

I noticed how very much I was spending in a nation-wide “big box” store, a store, I might add, who promised to save me lots and lots of money.  I hated going to this store, everything about it was unpleasant, from the struggle to find a parking space to the obviously unhappy cashiers. The chain has a horrible reputation both for poor customer service and for the way it treats its employees.

I knew all of these things.  But yet, I went.

Because it was convenient. It was convenient, I found, to be able to buy light bulbs, socks, and milk all in the same place. It had everything I needed.  And then some.

As I became more aware of my distaste for the store, I began shopping at local stand-alone grocery stores. The prices were higher, I noted, in some cases much higher. So, for a while, I vacillated, torn between the better service and quality of the grocery store and the lower overall prices of the big box store.

And a strange thing happened. Continue reading

Cure Fear Now

If ever there were a bumper sticker that should be made, this is it, I think.

I’ve long held the belief that fear is the antithesis of all that is good, and, as such, is the source of all that is evil. Greed, dishonesty, even violent crime and war, to me, can all be traced back to fear. Fear of not having enough, fear of not being thought of as good enough, fear of loss and lack of power.

Fear.

Yesterday was the 30th day of my 30 Day Challenge, and, wow, what a month. I lost sight of it at times, I plain didn’t want to do it at times (which was, perhaps, the most telling realization), and I succeeded far more than I wanted to at times.

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Connection


My phone is dead, dead, dead. Dried out and flipped open, it still wouldn’t turn on. I keep thinking that I’ll get it taken care of, but I’ve been turned on to the Iphone which would require my changing carriers, and I have a single month till my contract expires.

I’m still not sure what I’m going to do. I check my messages daily, and it seems strange that no one leaves their number despite an explicit request to.

“Hi. This is Nancy’s phone and she killed me. She drowned me in the swamp at the DeSoto National Forest, so please leave your name, AND your number, and she’ll get back to you as soon as she can.”

Most of my messages are along the lines of, “Haha! You killed your phone! Call me back.”

Ugh.

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Communication Breakdown

Despite thunderous call-response drumming in the sky yesterday morning, I decided to brave the hike alone. I bumbled around a bit Wednesday morning, listening to the radio in the sky, and finally, I decided screw it. There are far worse things than walking in the rain, and I had been looking forward to this for a week.

Give or take the rest of my life, really.

My dad has a hairline fracture in his foot, so was out of commission, much to both of our disappointments.
So, without GPS but with fully charged camera batteries, I went. It was a completely different experience this time, in part because, although I was completely alone, I really wasn’t.

I stopped and sighed at the lotus pond, my pond, I think, although it’s a bit egoistic to say that. I do think of it as my pond. Although, there’s a bit of flawed language there, something that I was pondering while actually sighing at the pond, but that will have to be a post for another day.

Suffice it to say, I do feel that it is, in a sense, my pond.

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Good-bye, George

I didn’t always agree with him, but I didn’t have to.

Carlin was a Fool-with-a-capital-F in a court of errant knights. No matter the greatness of his fanbase, I think his scope of his influence can only be underestimated.

Many people preached the message, but it was Carlin that drove it home: laughter disempowers and breaks down tragedy into comedic, digestible pieces.

Most celebrities don’t even blip my radar, but he will be sincerely mourned.

Warning: Carlin language ahead.