Why I Believe

I believe in supernatural forces.

End of an hour-long, mid-morning meeting and I have had four cups of coffee. The stories have gotten longer and funnier. There are stories of bad customer service and possible murder motives. We are laughing so much, the meeting has run over time.

We finally stand up to leave. My bladder is so full, it is painful.

The only male in the meeting room has his hand on the doorknob, keeping the door closed. I walk up to it with my head at a low angle, just pleading with body language. He opens the door.

The toilet closest to my cubicle is closed, so I walk to the next nearest toilet. It is in an area that has just begun renovation, a fact I remember only when I am halfway there. There is another toilet just past this area, so I still feel good about my chances.

I walk carefully, trying not to jar anything loose. Two bathrooms just ahead, two venues of pain relief.

Coming towards me is member of our facilities team. A man who, 20 years ago, interviewed to work with me and who I turned down solely on his poor written communication skills.

We became friends anyway. “Jay,” I ask, “are these bathrooms closed?” He nods gravely, then says,

“The ones just past are closed too. So are the ones over in Sales. Your only options are the ones in Finance -” I have no idea where those are, “and the ones by Advertising.”

I perform an about-face, head towards Advertising, and hope. Three out of five bathrooms in the building are closed makes it likely there is a run on the remaining, open toilets.

O Spirits, those toilets I currently, desperately need, one has got to be available when I get there. Oh please oh please oh please. Bladder weighs more than a Thanksgiving turkey. Heel-toe heel-toe heel-toe, turn the corner, into the bathroom and – My spirit guides had gotten there before me.

EVERY STALL IS OPEN. All three!

I bared half of myself, sat down, and emptied myself of used coffee. I left the stall a moment later to find a small crowd waiting on my seat.

Blessed be, y’all.

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Peevish

Mis-used words are my biggest pet peeves. I would count people passing me on the right as a pet peeve, but it is too dangerous to be a “pet”. Drivers using exit or merge lanes to pass me is terrifying. I am already I the slow lane, you fuckers! 

But words. I need words to be consistent if not exact. I hate popular phrases that get shortened until their words mean something else, but the phrase is still used for the same meaning. Worst example is “I could not care less” being shortened to “I could care less” but being used synonymously. 

My husband describes failures as “skyrocketing down”. This confuses me badly. Skyrockets evoke images and concepts of rising, charging upwards, climbing. Eentallyi realized that to him, skyrocket just means “amazingly fast.” He is not referring to a rocket that is blasting towards outer space. 

By the example of caring less or not caring less, I could say that he IS referring to a rocket that is blasting towards outer space and expect you to understand that it means the opposite. 

My eye just twitched. I peeved myself.

Intentionally Lost

I envy people who sink into work or practice, losing track of time. They relax and get to enjoy the process, accepting no criticism, admitting no fault. They are absorbed in the moment and get real progress done. 

I suffer anxiety created by my mother and schoolteachers who would never allow such creative reverie. This sunken brainwave is abhorrent to those who demand obedience, compliance, attentiveness. Authoritarians require your servile fear, the ability to throw away all your own thoughts and will, to serve them. 

They are behind me. The anxiety is not.

I need to devote myself to creative process again, as I did as a child. I miss that, I miss that smooth, glittering magic of giving full attention, my whole mind wrapped in the ecstasy of a thought, a song, a world of my own. 

So here was ten minutes of creative devotion. I am proud of it. 

Mid April Summer Day

Weather Forecast said we would reach 80f / 26C this mid-April day in Tennessee. We dressed to work outside, then decided to start the day with a run instead and headed to the park. 

Teddy the heeled laborador puppy is three and a half in the old and learning leash manners. I took him on my run. It had been five months since I last got to run I felt recovered and smarter, ran two miles, and did great! No pain. Teddy did fairly well, did not jerk too much or trip me. He enjoyed the run. And I hit lots of poke stops to get poke balls to catch Pokemon. 

Garden had weeded over with henbit, bitter cress, false geranium and chickweed. I lulled buckets full and dumped them in the chicken pen. The birds ran in terror, then the boldest returned to scratch thru the green pile. The second bucket was met with real enthusiasm. Even if one bird just stood on top, eyeing the height of the wire wall. 

The weed plants were tall and broad with narrow bases. Easy to pull, but next time they will be smaller and mor numerous. Good thing I learned how to use a garden hoe.

We have two rain barrels, which stood upside down all winter. That way, ice would not burst their walls. I turned one upright a couple weeks ago and set it back on its base, which sits on the concrete patio. 

The second rain barrel was another story. Its base sat on gravel, which winter rains and frost heave had shifted. Today, I moved the blocks and bricks, scraped the gravel flat, and reassembld the base. The barrel is upright and ready for the storms predicted for Tuesday. 

Got my big flowerpots set up around the rain barrel, watered them and pondered what flowers they might contain. 

Needed a break from heavy yard work. Pulled out acrylic paints, a gold umbrella and my bag of smooth white beach stones. Painted an egg shaped stone as an Easter egg, painted a square stone as a landscape with a flying bee, painted red roses, yellow roses, and yellow daisies. Also painted one that said “love you mom” where mom is Earth. 

The garden behind our apartment featured a cement dragon figure in three sections. Frost heave is destroying it, since it sat on soil where it constantly soaked up water. I cleared off some native stone, typical to this area, and moved the broken tail section a few days ago. The exposed stone is at one end of a large iris bed. 

I used our heavy weight dolly to move the dragon head. I was not able to move the more awkward middle arch. Maybe husband can help me move it soon. Then the dragon will swim again. 

Pulled poison parsley starts from the hyacinth bed under the central cedar tree. It is poison to eat, but not to touch. Want the hyacinths to gain more sunlight and increase. Last year, only one bloomed. This year, half a dozen bloomed. Hurrah! 

Found another poison ivy start. Saw four o’clock starts. Trimmed weed tree saplings. Sent threatening stare towards the poison ivy. 
Listened to husband. Talked to Mother in law and talked to daughter.  Walked the dog again, got a shower, sat down eat homemade pizza, courtesy of my husband, and we are splitting a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Standing!

Got a stand-up desk at work last month.┬áIt was set up on a Friday afternoon. I finished up the week’s tasks whilst dancing in place.

I stood all of Monday morning, and sat most of the afternoon. My legs were fatigued but I was less tired than usual by the end of day. This makes my fitness app setting out of date; I changed it to “light active”. No longer sendentary desk sitter!

Standing still resulted in several of my toes going numb. I asked my chiropractor about it this morning. He said that toe numbness begins in the lower back, and movement will prevent it. So, I am dancing a lot today.

25 years of sitting still are over! This is exciting, especially considering my family history of heart disease. I look forward to better health.

What I Believe

I read recently that if your beliefs now are the same as five years ago, you are not growing. I agree half-heartedly. My beliefs frequently change but I do not judge people whose beliefs are settled.

I wanted to be Atheist when I was young. Atheism seemed intelligent, objective and removed. It had no dogma, committed no coersion on its adherants, and allowed science complete freedom.

I was utterly absorbed by the sciences and any related fiction. My favorite book was a large, general science hardback that my brother handed down to me. By age 7, I was infatuated with thermometers, compasses, maps, rain gauges, and magnets. I had a small rock collection and an enormous imaginary world swarming with robots and sprites. I begged for and was denied comic books and matchbox cars.

We attended church in the Protestant tradition every Sunday without fail. Rain or shine, sickness or health, I attended dutifully and did my best to learn the scriptures and its wisdom.

But it was the Greek Mythology taught in my 4th grade schoolroom that awoke my faith. I loved the myths, For the first time, I looked forward to school. Myths made sense to me; they tied religion to the natural world and portrayed human drama in grand settings.

I later learned that organizing stories help distracted minds develop structure and discipline. Even later, I learned that I was not a Protestant or even a mono-theist.

I came to believe in Magick, in the holy cycle of the year, reincarnation, and divination. I began talking to crystals, then to animals, then spirits and most recently, the Fae. I make myself shake my own head. What is a good science-loving girl doing in the midst of this spiritual chicanery?

A Few Health & Diet Tips for Not-Rich People

No time to eat healthy?

1. Snack on baby carrots. They are sweet and crunchy, are not messy, and they last for a couple weeks in your crisper drawer. Yeah, they are still good even if they are a little dry and have turned a little bit white on the outside. Add them to a stew if you can’t handle them being old & dry. Pairs really well with PB&J.

2. 5-Can-Stew. Make it in a slow cooker, takes about 10 minutes to fix, including rinsing the cans.

1 can diced tomato
1 tiny can of tomato paste
1 can of spinach with its juice
1 can of baby potatoes or corn with its water/juice. Both if you have no fear of carbohydrates.
1 can of pinto beans, rinse in a colander first

Load them in your slow cooker, add pepper and garlic if you like, & turn the slow cooker on low for the day. Or, put them in a big pot on the stove, medium low for about half hour. Serve with a slice of cheese on top if you want to be fancy.

Picky eater?

1. Add romaine lettuce to your sandwiches. Don’t worry about your spouse or your kids. Just add it, it goes on any sandwich that doesn’t include jelly. See if you can do this every day. Get two leaves, rinse, shake, fold, put on sandwich.

2. Dried fruit can be a good substitute for candy. Raisins and prunes are the most popular, but you can get dried apple, cranberry and apricot, too.
p.s. prunes are sometimes just called “dried plums”.

3. Mix your favorite sugary breakfast cereal half & half with a healthy plain one you can stand. Half-way is much better than not at all.

No time for yoga?

1. Touching your toes is one of the best stretches. If you can only reach your knees…or thighs, it is still helpful. Keep your back straight. Do this stretch any time you realize you feel stiff and you are not also driving your car.

Bonus: when doing this stretch, turn slightly to touch the outside of each foot/leg/knee to prevent shin splints.

Bonus 2: bring your hands to above your knees & look ahead of you, take a really deep breath, then stretch down again. Feels great.

2. Neck stretches help with stress. Look down. Just let your head rest foward and take a couple breaths. Look up. Just let your head rest back. Take a couple breaths. Then push your chin out and take a couple more breaths. Shake your head just a tiny bit while you’re still looking up.

No money for a gym?

1. Mow your own lawn. Use a push mower or reel mower.
Tip: split your yard into in three equal parts to make the job less onerous and get in more, shorter work outs.

2. Stand up as much as you can, when working or watching TV, whatever. Bob your knees every few minutes, then lift your knees. Or, sway a little while bobbing each knee.
Bonus: do squats a couple times an hour.

3. Take the stairs, even just to the first storey before getting on an elevator.

4. Get a used treadmill or stationary bike and put it in front of your TV or gaming station. Walk/ride while watching and/or playing games.

5. YouTube has exercise videos for free. Loads of them.
Bonus: dance is good exercise and it is way fun.
Tired all the time?

1. Learn how to nap. Here is how: when you lay down, you usually fall a little bit asleep and wake back up before you really fall asleep. To nap, don’t get as far as really falling asleep. Get up after that first little doze. You will feel better for awhile with just that few moments of rest.
Tip: If you instantly fall asleep as soon as you lay down, you are dangerously exhausted. Go to bed for real.