What to do When You Don’t Know What to do

You say you’re stressed, distressed, and don’t know what to do next?  Are you filled with anxiety, grief, doubt, depression and confusion?  For your own mental health, this is the time to get out an old-fashioned pen or pencil, a pad of paper, and write, long hand, as much as you can.  Long, stream of consciousness, totally uncensored writing, raw with every misspelling, grammatical mistake, and rule ignored.

Most writers are familiar with this process, because that is how we make sense of the world.  We just write.

Don’t even read what you wrote for a while.  Just write, day after day, for days, weeks, even months.  At some point you will want to go back and read what you wrote, but not until you have enough written that you will be able to see the full arc of your thoughts and feelings.

Don’t let anyone else read your journal either, or you will find yourself writing to your audience, which means you will edit yourself.  You can always share what you wrote at some later date.

When should you write?  First thing in the morning, while you are still groggy with sleep is a good time to write, as you are then unlikely to edit yourself.  Write anything.  Write how stupid it is to write when you have nothing to say.  Write about your cat getting in your way of writing, because she wants to  be in your lap.  Write about your frustrations, fears, hopes and dreams.

Some people recommend writing with your less dominant hand, resulting in a childish scrawl, and it is said, childish feelings and memories.  Write any time you are filled with strong emotion that overcomes your inclination to hold back.

As I go along, I will put a mark next to information that I consider really important to key on later.  Right now, I am looking for problems and their solutions.  Why not just make a list?  I would if I knew what problems I had.

Things reveal themselves in a very subtle way in a journal.  You might not even know how really annoyed you are with all the clutter the family leaves around your work-space, until you see you have mentioned it here and there.  This is something fixable.  That thing waking you up every night at 3 a.m. might not be under your control to fix, but maybe you can find a way to help the situation.

You will learn how you really feel about things.  Don’t jump to the conclusion that you already know.  People are notorious for discounting or minimizing their feelings.  How can you address an issue without really admitting the depth of feeling you have.

Even if you never read over what you have written, your writing will have helped to clarify your feelings and thinking.  This is why mental health professionals recommend writing in a journal.  But rather than toss it out, give it a read.  You are bound to be surprised by something you wrote.

 

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Time

8 Year Anniversary Achievement
Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 8 years ago.
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.
Eight years ago I had no idea what a blog would come to mean to me.  My original concept was very different.  I wanted to write about psychographics, but nobody seemed interested, except my sons.  After awhile, I decided to try again.  Sometimes I’m more serious about blogging than other times.
These days I am not exactly burning up the keyboard.   What am I doing?  Processing!
If you aren’t from my area of the world you may not even realize what is going on here.  Between current events in my area, and personal events, there is a lot to process.
We had a very contentious election in 2016, and the divisiveness continues.  We have this Russian investigation into Russian attempts to interfere in our election, and possible collusion with candidates.  There is also a special prosecutor investigating obstruction of justice related to the Russia investigations.
Our outspokenly provocative president has done nothing to heal the divide in the electorate, and has participated in a war of insults with any opposition, including, most notably, North Korea.  This discourse includes such memorable comments in tweet form such as, “My button is bigger than yours!”
Trade agreements have been tossed.  Tariffs have been instituted.  Regulations are rolled back.  The Environmental Protective Agency is barring new organizations from meetings dealing with clean water concerns.  The Government has opened park land to business interests and has put up for sale large tracts.  There are scandals in various government departments.  There are also politically motivated accusations of improper procedures being followed by anyone who has anything to do with the various investigations.
Some of this “politics” continues to spill out into daily life.  Political topics quickly lead to arguments, and sometimes violence.  Demonstrations seem to be a part of daily life:  Against guns/for the Second Amendment, kneel for social justice for black people and minorities/stand for the flag, white power (complete with tiki-torches)/unity of all people.  Plus we have Women’s March, Not One More rallies against gun shootings, and the Me Too movement against powerful men.  As I write, Harvey Weinstein is being taken to prison after being arrested and charged for violence and abuse against women in His business under him.
All of this can be overwhelming.  It is mesmerizing!  It is upsetting, no matter which side of the politics you are.  I now limit my news viewing.  I need to give some thought to my real life.
There are changes going on in my life.  Doctors are now a big part of life.  Answers need to be found.   Adaptations have to be made.  Plus there is our house.
Our house is being painted!  I know I picked them, but I have to say, I love the colors!  I am so relieved.  Those tiny little swatches look great as a room.  I still have some anxiety about my other selections.  They are so different from anything else I’ve ever had.  It is exciting and fun.
While I am processing all this stuff, time just gets away from me, and yet another day goes without a blog posting, but I’ll do better.

A Season of Change

I think we made it past another winter.  I had a birthday, and usually that means we are out of danger of anymore snow!  I was born on Mother’s Day, but this was not a year where I got to celebrate both on the same day.  I’m glad, because it still doesn’t seem correct to celebrate both without my Mom.  Yes, I am the family matriarch.  That doesn’t get me anything.  It just means I am getting old.

When does getting old happen?  I never really thought of my parents as old when they were 66 years old, my age now.  They were still active and enjoying life, as am I, but….

There are some really good things about being older, like retirement.  We tried to enjoy the journey to retirement.  We were not among those Americans who refuse to take vacations.   We have crisscrossed the country, just for fun.  We have also traveled to several foreign countries.  Hubby traveled to more countries due to business.

I would like to travel the country again.  Or course, am excited about my home-coming together.  It looks like a building that could become a home again.  We still need a kitchen, and bathroom.  We have selected everything, and we are eager for installation.  Then, we need our stuff back.

There is no doubt things are changing.  There is a little arthritis, bursitis, things that are giving out.  Other conditions, that need to be managed, watched.  We now have a stable of -ists:  Orthopedist, Podiatrist, Cardiologist….  The list is growing.

I am not looking forward to this season of change like I have to other seasons:  starting kindergarten, starting High School, High School Graduation, College Graduation, getting Married, having children, watching them grow and follow along my same path.  Now there are grandchildren following the same path.

The path ahead for us has fewer firsts.  That is what you get for being the matriarch or patriarch of your family.  What is left is to get the most enjoyment you can out of the final season.

 

Balance

One foot in front of another.
Look at me!  Way up in the air.
Delicate as a dandelion seed.

Each step of a dance on a wire.
Look! I’m fine.  Swinging in the breeze.
Beautiful as a ballerina.

Life swirls around with a bump.
Look ahead!  Aiming for the goal.
Pretending, as if knowing success.

Trouble lands, shaking the footing.
Looking down, the abyss below.
Steadying, breath cleansing from tension.

One step after another.
Look at me.  Don’t see me shaking.
Confident, moving forward until,

I fall, or not.

 

Lunch with a Side of Politics

We stopped for lunch at our local, neighborhood restaurant after church on Sunday.  The Hugger Mugger, in New Castle, PA has generous servings of good food.  Around the restaurant, there are televisions, but this is the second time I’ve notices a change in channel selection, so I asked about it.

When we moved into the neighborhood, Hugger Mugger was the closest restaurant to our home.  It has been our first choice, for times we are busy and don’t want to cook.  Hugger Mugger has several televisions throughout the restaurant which have been set to the major news channels, CNN and FOX NEWS.  I liked to sit where I could look back and forth between the two.  I liked the attempt at balance.  I liked a choice wasn’t being made.

Things at the Hugger have changed.  I am told the owner has instructed the only channels to be used are FOX and The Weather Channel.  If all the televisions had been changed from news channels to something else, I would have an entirely different reaction.  There are other choices:  cartoons, fashion, sports, or other non political programs.

I already know I am one of the few who voted for the opposition in this area I now live.   Now I feel a little less welcome in one of our local establishments, and the community at large.

I remember Republicans complaining about the cast of Hamilton making an appeal for unity.  The Republicans called the comments “rude,” “harassment,” and “inappropriate” for a venue where you pay your own money to be there.  Vice-president Pence left the theater.

The peaceful protest by athletes of taking a knee during the National Anthem has additionally been called “disrespectful to veterans”  (some of whom support the athletes), and “un-american.”  Some people have decided to boycott athletic events due to these political statements.

It was called being PC or politically correct to be careful of your opinions.  Restaurants, businesses, and professionals were expected to be quiet with their opinions while they were taking your money for their services.  If they are forward with their opinions there are other choices.

I just wanted a nice omelet for lunch, without the side of partisan politics.  It is a simple business basic to appeal to the broadest possible patronage.  Politics and business don’t mix if your intention is to appeal to the broadest possible clientele.  Another business may offer your same service.

Hazel’s in New Castle, PA has a nice Omelet.  Hazel’s also leaves the partisan politics outside.

Good News

20180413_153438

We were out at the house today, which is ready for the rough in inspection, which means the electric and water lines are run.  It is a beautiful day here in eastern Pennsylvania.  Sunny and temperatures in the 70’s made spring cleanup of the yard a pleasant task.  Hubby even planted some early spring seeds:  radishes, lettuce, peas.

On the way home we stopped at a sandwich shop.  Hubby’s sandwich came wrapped in this “newspaper.”  The news is all from Sunday, November 19,1989.  The news is all actual new from this day in history.  Take a good look at the picture. (I hope you can read it.)

What do you notice about these actual news events?  I can’t  wait any more.  ‘lt is all good news: The first Women in Space, Remarkable Upset in Olympic History, Titanic Found,  The Berlin Wall Falls, plus the hot movie was E.T. – The Extra-terrestrial.

We hear about how horrible, and bad news is.  Lately, we hear news called fake when the powers that be don’t like their coverage.  Back in 1989, the press was called biased, but jjournalists were believed honest, hard working people.

There was plenty of bad news in 1989, but there was also good news.  It was good to be reminded of this really terrific good news.  I bet if we stop focusing on our divisions,  we will be able to see some really good news today.

I challenge you to look for the good news today.

 

 

 

 

Psychographics and Data Driven Marketing

You have heard about it in the news:  Psychographics.  This is something I know a little about, as I studied psychographics in college.  Many of my classmates just didn’t get it, and now all Americans are coping with the fact that their data from social media has been used in a deliberate attempt to sway their votes in the last presidential election.

Normally, psychographics is used to shape advertising for companies, like radio stations who want to appeal to hard rockin’ men, or maybe their girlfriends.  Movie producers will use psychographics to test ending to movies.  Politicians will use psychographics to understand what their constituents want, and word their political ads and speeches to show they are the ones to fulfill their needs.

Even a clever blogger could study other blogs and figure out what they really believe and pander to that.  A clever blogger could craft blogs to appeal to their current followers even better.  A really clever blogger could understand what motivates other readers so well that they could have a hit with every blog.  (I wish I was so clever.)

So how are your Facebook posts of family, fun, comedy, and how your day went useful to advertisers?  All of this information gives your basic demographic information:  sex, age, married or single,  and number of children, how old your children are, type and number of pets, and show an advertiser what you might need to make your life easier, happier, prettier, and more fun.

In addition, every like, can provide information about your likes and dislikes.  You don’t just like flowers and pets.  You like a political ad and share certain topics over and over again.  If you support the police, as opposed to black lives matter, you have registered a “vote” showing your political leanings.

There is nothing wrong with supporting the police.  There is nothing wrong with acknowledging black lives matter.  In fact, the two things are not mutually exclusive.  It is only advertising presented as opinion that makes the two things seem mutually exclusive.

Even more powerful, is to make advertising look like news.  This is the real fake news.  One of our son’s saw an ad presented as a newscast of the showing Seattle’s Space Needle being moved by tractor trailer to a new location.  (I was unable to find a video of this.)  My son could not be persuaded until he saw the Space Needle in its place in Seattle.

But know there is some clever advertiser, maybe someone who has no business involving themselves in our election, taking your click, and putting them together with other clicks, and use them to craft messages to get an emotional reaction from you.  Messages that look like someone’s opinion, or a news article.

You don’t even have to agree with the messages.  You see the messages over and over again.  As the messages get crazier, maybe you begin to wonder.  With all the smoke, you start looking for the fire.

These messages are tweaked to mix truth with speculation.  There are kind, well meaning people willing to believe the most outlandish speculation.  There are people who can get carried along with the crowd as emotions rise.

A tool that started as a way to bring us goods, wonderful entertainment, and services to make our lives better, has been used to manipulate us.

Equating common sense gun legislation with Nazi Germany’s attempt to exterminate Jews, is an exaggeration of paranoid fear.   I have several friends who have shared that on Facebook.  They are all excited that something drastic will be done.  Our right to bear arms is the principle they agree with.  Just because it originates with the NRA does not mean it is real.  Do the majority of gun owners agree?  No.  Every survey says most gun owners want common sense gun control.  We get to decide what is common sense.

The solution is to be skeptical.  If something seems extreme, that you have not seen someplace else, anyplace else, except another social media site, you may have something designed to manipulate you.

You are bombarded by adds for everything.  Click on Wayfair once and it will be forever be in Facebook feed.  Don’t be a sucker for every add that comes along, and that is what these posts are, designed to look like a person’s opinion.

 

If a Man is in The Woods

Originally Blogged September 26, 2014, this may be my favorite post ever.  Since then I have many new readers, and unless you have taken the time to comb through past offerings, (for which you’d have my very humble thanks) you have missed this.  

If I was writing this today, I can’t think of anything I might add.  Life has been stressful lately, and I offer this to remind us all, that although miss-steps may happen, the dance goes on.  A little humor can  help us get back on track.  

Enjoy. 

If a man is in the wood, and he talks, and there is no woman around to hear him, is he still wrong?

I think I made this up, but I really couldn’t swear to it. I am sure I am not the first woman to think such a thing. Hubby and I were fighting in the car and he was complaining that he is always wrong, so I made this little sarcastic comment. He laughed and the argument was forgotten. He has now repeated my bit of sarcasm to everyone at every opportunity. It is funny, and always gets a laugh, and neither of us can even remember what the original argument was about.

It is the kind of thing I’ve heard my whole life while in the kitchen with the women on the holidays. “My husband is head of the house. I always let him think so.” “Boys will be boys,” we say about our men engaged in the annual Turkey Mud Bowl. The men will laugh at these also. Men go along with the joke, giving their “little woman” a pat on the behind to send them off shopping. Okay, maybe it is only grocery shopping, but hey, its part of the game, or maybe better described as a dance.

Even if you don’t dance you know that the man is the lead, the one who directs the dance. You would only be partially correct. If the man tried to lead exclusively, there would be a lot of bumping into people on a crowded dance floor. Dancing is a cooperation. When the man is moving backwards he relies upon his partner, since he does not have eyes in the back of his head. Likewise, relationships should be cooperative.

In a relationship, one or the other may take the lead depending upon knowledge, skills, and talents each possesses. With discussion, sharing, and mutual consideration each person will have the insight to see who should lead. Two people working together can accomplish much more working cooperatively, than one person trying to do everything.

By working together, hubby and I raised children while putting ourselves through school. The two of us built garages and porches and gardens. Oh my! We have built an entire life. As long as we are working together, we can do anything.

So, if you see my hubby in the woods, tell him I’m waiting for him.

Zombie Raccoons

Zombie Raccoon by Shutterstock

Honest, it’s true.  Police are getting reports of Zombie raccoons near Youngstown, Ohio.

Raccoons are out and about during the day, are standing on their hind legs, and terrorizing residents.

Rather than the start of the zombie apocalypse,  the raccoons most likely have distemper.  This might be a good time to make sure all your pets vaccinations are up to date.

This should go without saying, but You know how people can be.  If you see an animal acting in an unusual way, just keep away from it.  You can get all kinds of things from animals, like rabies.

Other conditions you can acquire from your pet includes common infections:  hookworm and roundworm, salmonella, Psittacosis (parrot fever), Lyme disease.

If there is a zombie apocalypse remember, something sharp to the brain stops them.  What you really need to be afraid of, are the people.

I have to go now, it is nap-time for my kitty, Shadow.  She needs my lap.

 

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