Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Food, Glorious Food

As appetizing as this picture looks, if I should eat it, I would be in the Emergency Room within minutes. I am very allergic to the strawberries, cantaloupe, and the kiwi. Now, on this new FODMOP diet that I am on, the cherries and peaches are off limits.

As a child, I was the queen of the picky eaters. I could not bring myself to eat peas or beans. I was not big on fruit. I could not drink milk without getting queasy, and I never could quite get used to yogurt. I never really liked tuna, and thank goodness the smell of cooking shrimp discouraged me from ever trying it.  I was one to eat cornbread, meat, hard cheese, eggs, tomatoes, starchy vegetables, and peanut butter. 

Over the years, I tried to add the foods that I had not wanted to eat as a child, but they were never quite tolerated and some even caused almost disastrous results as my ER bills will attest.

Ironically, when I was tested for allergies, I came up allergic to most fruits and non-starchy veggies, ocean fish and shellfish, most peas and beans, and coffee. Long time reflux keeps me from citrus fruits and spicy things. 

Ironically, on this FODMOP diet, many of the things I am allergic to are off limits. Many of the things that I would not eat as a child are also on it. I have to wonder if my young self instinctively knew that these foods were not good for me.  Fortunately, I had parents who did not push me too hard to eat the things I did not want. 

My "child self"  was instinctively wise to what my body needed and did not need. As I go through this plan, I am going to try to recapture that instinct for what my body does and does not want and need. 

Wish me luck!



Tuesday, March 07, 2017

FM Radio

On my last vacation, instead of plugging in my iPhone with its customized playlists, I decided to listen to old fashioned FM radio.

It turned out to be a lot of fun. As one adult hit/Top 40 station faded out, I would scan to see if I could find another one. I almost always could. I found out that John Tesh really is everywhere with his 'Intelligence for Your Life.' 

Best of all, I heard some new (for me, at least) songs. Ed Sheeran's 'Shape of You', Nathan Sykes 'Over and Over Again', Andy Grammer's 'Keep Your Head Up' (How did I miss THAT??), and 'Scars to Your Beautiful' by Alessia Cara. 

I am glad that I got out of my iTunes rut long enough to rediscover the fun of scanning for new stations and hearing different music. Of course, now that I have discovered it, I will be downloading it on iTunes! 

Here is a radio song for your morning.

Monday, February 27, 2017


"In conditions of uncertainty, humans, like other animals, herd together for protection."
-James Surowiecki

Don't get me wrong, I do understand that nothing in life is ever totally certain. But, lately, I wake up every morning to terrifying levels of uncertainty. And, I am one of the "lucky" ones. Caucasian, middle-aged, retired, and with enough resources to live comfortably. 

When I wake up, I read about today's "target." Who is it going to be this time? Is my local Mexican restaurant going to be raided? Are the precious Vietnamese people who do my nails legal and safe? Is some mad man going to mistake one of my friends (or one of my doctors!) who hails from India for someone from the Middle East? It seems that anyone who is black or brown is at increased risk right now. That scares me.

Are my LGBT friends going to lose their hard won rights? Are my friends with disabled children and grandchildren going to be able to send them to school? Are my friends going to lose their health insurance? Am I going to wake up to find that America is engaged in a nuclear war? 

Uncertainty is one of the most difficult things to live with. Anyone who has every waited for medical test results, that college acceptance letter, or the phone call telling you that you got the job can certainly relate.

As a Christian person, I am trying to cling to the 103 verses in the King James version of the Bible that tell me not to fear. 

I'm working on it. 



Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Pinterest Success

Most of you have seen the pictures of what happens when ordinary people try to recreate something they saw on Pinterest. There is even a site that highlights some of these failures. 

However, I had seen this shaving cream marbled paper idea that I was compelled to try. I love using this type of thing in collage work. So, I went to the dollar store, bought some cheap shaving cream and one of those disposable aluminum baking pans and went to work.

Not being certain of the permanence of food coloring, I chose to use liquid watercolors instead. 

I recommend doing this outside if at all possible. It is messy! 

I was able to get 4 sheets of marbled paper from one shaving cream/watercolor bath. Each one was a bit lighter, but I can use all of them for various projects. I found that different colors needed to be stirred more, especially the red.

Overall, I was very happy with my results and plan to do more soon. 


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Hidden Figures

My husband and I went to see this movie yesterday. I had heard good things about it from my friends, and this movie did not disappoint. 

It also set me to thinking (dangerous, I know!). These women almost did not get to do the wonderful things they did just because of their gender and the color of their skin. That thought just stuns me. It also made me wonder. What if that refugee that we "can't have over here" holds the key to a cure for cancer or our shot at putting a man on Mars, with the right education and support. 

 In today's world, I just don't think we can afford to waste intelligence and talents. I don't care if they are Arab, Mexican, Cuban, African, or whatever. The world needs ALL of us, using whatever gifts we have to keep it going. 
" Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Hebrews 13:2 

You never know. 

Saturday, January 07, 2017

The Impossible Detox

I see variations of the meme on social media all the time. Detox your life in 4 easy steps! Yes! 


What if the people who do this are family members? Co-workers? Church mates? Difficult people cannot always be as easily avoided as this meme makes it sound. 

Granted, I have been able to distance myself from people in the past who have done all these things. But, what does one do when one has no choice but to be with people who do these things on a regular basis?

Some days, I can shield myself to an extent. This is never easy for me. Being around these behaviors on a regular basis can make me physically ill. But, if I quit every organization or activity where folks do these things, I would not have much of a life outside my home! 

2017 will see me working to develop my defenses. I may have to get out of situations which become completely intolerable. And I want to learn how to better deal with difficult persons who cannot be avoided. 

Wish me luck. 


Monday, January 02, 2017

Organizing Art Supplies

Today, I used my "Christmas money" to hire Lacey McLaughlin of Neat Freaks Organizing to help me clean up and organize my art area. 

Said art area is actually a corner of my living room and is not very large. Making the most of my small space was a challenge that Lacey took on willingly. Bless her. 

My supplies had become so scattered and piled up that I found my creativity was stifled as well. I look forward to being able to regain my creative freedom as I use my newly reorganized space. Now I just have to find the time to do my own art in between getting ready for classes and other obligations. That is the hard part. 

Wish me luck!


Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 How Did I Do?

Last year, I decided to make (hopefully!) simple, realistic resolutions. So, how did I do? 

Much like socks, I have decided that I will never find the mates (lids) to all my Tupperware bowls. I did find a few, so I am going to consider this one fairly successful.

I DID have total success in finding the perfect pencil sharpener. This little Prismacolor sharpener not only sharpens my graphite pencils without waste, but my colored and watercolor pencils as well. It was about $10.00, but has been totally worth this price. 

One thing I did not have as much success with was seeing movies in the theater with the hubby. It is hard to find much we really even want to see these days. We also tend to have different tastes in movies, so it can be hard to find something we both want to watch. Netflix has been wonderful, because we can usually find a TV series, documentary, or occasional movie that we both enjoy. Right now, we are hooked on Midsomer Murders.

Thanks to Lacey of Neat Freaks Organizing, I have found quite a few of those things that I put in supposedly safe places. She helped me de-clutter my office and it has been nice to feel like I can breathe in here again. 

I can't say that I have made more art, but I have done some decent quality work this year. After Lacey helps me de-clutter my art area, I hope to do more this coming year. 

 I did manage to hug some grand trees! A large oak in front of the otherwise disappointing Beauvoir in Biloxi made the entry fee worthwhile.I hugged crepe myrtles, dogwoods, Bradford Pears, even a couple of pines. I love trees. What more can I say? 

I am trying to decide if I want to make any resolutions for 2017. I have a feeling staying relatively healthy and sane might be as good as it gets. I still have a day to decide. Stay tuned! 


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

No Shopping Zone

I tend to shop like most men. I go in, get what I want, and get out. I don't have any desire to look at, touch, or try on everything. 

When I do shop, I try to patronize brick and mortar stores if possible, particularly those locally owned and operated. Unfortunately, much of what I need simply can't be found locally. Decently priced plus sized clothing is in short supply. Specific electronics are not always available here. And the makeup that I am actually not allergic to (and can afford!)  is not to be found in Vicksburg. 

When I go to Jackson for doctor's appointments and allergy shots, I try to do necessary shopping while I am over there. I knew today might be a busy day due to customers returning Christmas gifts, being off work, etc. But, my external hard drive decided to die on Christmas Eve, I ran out of makeup, and I wanted to have lunch with my sister, so I reluctantly made my way to Flowood. 

First I went to JC Penney to the Sephora section for makeup. After waiting 15 minutes (I always get behind THAT customer) a second salesperson came up and helped me. We were able to find one of the two items that I needed. Check.

Then I made the mistake of going to Ulta to look for make-up item #2. I was using my walker and I was absolutely flabbergasted at the number of people who bumped me trying to squeeze past me instead of going around. After a salesperson did it, I left without even asking about the potential purchase. Fail.

I went across the street to Best Buy to look for the aforementioned external hard drive. I got my walker out of the back seat and headed across parking lot (I was in the marked crosswalk) when a car (driving too fast for this situation) hit his brakes to avoid hitting me, then zoomed behind me so fast that the customers coming out of the store were shaking their heads. This actually happens to me all the time in Flowood and Madison. 

A trek to the back wall of the store revealed that there were no suitable hard drives on the shelves. Another Fail. 

I came home, got on Amazon Prime, (I start at Amazon Smile, where a portion of the proceeds from my purchases goes to a charity providing clean water) and in 10 minutes had my makeup, hard drive, and a couple of other things on the way. No almost being knocked over, no futile and exhausting excursions to the backs of large stores, no almost being run down in the parking lot, and no being behind "Miss Thang" who thinks salespeople exist for her sole pleasure. 

The WIN in the situation was having lunch with my sister at Amerigo. Next time, I will just go to lunch and do my shopping at home!



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Where There's Smoke...

As I anticipate a Christmas which will most likely include my wearing capri pants, sandals, and short sleeves to Christmas dinner, I remembered one of the coldest ones I have ever experienced. 

Bill and I were talking today about one of the coldest Christmases we could remember. It was 1985 and we had been in our house just a few months. It was about 4 AM and I heard Bill urgently telling me to wake up. The house was filling with black smoke, and, although we saw no fire, we figured we better call the fire department. This was before cell phones, so we had to call 911 from our house phone. I grabbed a coat to wear over my pajamas and we went out in the front yard to wait for the fire truck. It was 9 degrees that morning. Fortunately, the problem was a (only) central heating malfunction. No fire, but also no heat! 

I am sure that the neighbors were probably not happy to have their Christmas sleep so rudely interrupted! No one ever complained, that I recall anyway.  

After the house had aired out for a while, we went in, put on some warm clothes, and headed down to Hazlehurst, to my grandmother's house. We were cold and tired, but thankful that our house, albeit smoky smelling, was OK. 

I have had several friends lose homes to fires. I feel for them. I remember those few, heart stopping minutes in 1985, when I thought we might be among them. And, every Christmas, I pause to give thanks that we were not.  



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Suicide Isn't Painless

Yesterday there was a situation in the parking lot of our local Kroger store in which a gentleman of my own age (57) had a gun and was threatening to commit suicide. 

Emotions tend to run high at this time of year. Statistically, Christmas is not the most likely time to commit suicide. It is not even the most common time of the year for depression to surface. Suicide rates actually increase in January. 

Maybe it was just coincidence, but when I was working in mental health I usually volunteered to be on call over Christmas. I had no small children at home to get ready for Santa Claus. My contribution to the family gatherings was usually a tray of deviled eggs, which were easy enough to prepare. So, I took call. 

Sure enough, when I was on call Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, a suicide threat (and sometimes a homicide one!) would inevitably come in. I usually sang for Christmas Eve services somewhere, so the timing of these was sometimes dicey. It always worked out. One time I had to have someone call the sheriff on one phone while I was talking down the person on another. Thankfully, the person was always picked up and taken to get help. 

Always take a suicide threat seriously. And if you are suicidal, I know from personal experience that things are truly darkest before the dawn. There is help out there. Get it. 

Here is a list of hotlines for suicide and for other issues that don't go away just because it's Christmas, such as drug abuse and domestic violence.

Suicide is not painless for those who love you. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Still Missing Daddy

This is one of my favorite pictures of me and my Daddy. It was taken about 3 years before we found out that his prostate cancer had returned and metastasized. He was remarried, happy, and feeling pretty good. 

Tomorrow will be 5 years since he died. Some years I miss him more than others. This is one of those "really miss him" years. I am concerned about so many things. I just wish I could hear him tell me there is no use worrying about things I can't do anything about. Telling it to myself is not nearly as effective!

He loved hosting his annual Christmas Eve party. Eventually it changed to Christmas Eve Eve as everyone had different Christmas Eve church service schedules. It was when my side of the family exchanged gifts and got to be together. He was really in his element with the small children who came. It was hard to tell who was having the most fun. 

As much as I am like my mother, I see a lot of my Daddy in me as well. I am a perfectionist. I have to have things organized, and if possible, done as much in advance as is feasible. I can't just let problems go without trying to find a solution. 

Now, if I could just get this not worrying thing down! 



Friday, December 09, 2016

Finding my Voice

This Christmas night, it will be 26 years since my mama died. She always told me to say she DIED. Not passed on, not gone on to the great beyond, not expired. She had no patience for pussyfooting around! 

Mama was larger than life and was the dominant force in any and every situation she found herself in. For the most part, I was happy to sit back and let her take the lead. 

However, after mama died and I crumbled like a house of cards, I realized that I had never really found my own voice. I had to find out who I was apart from my mama. This took a LOT of therapy and a lot of work on my part. But, I found my voice. And, once I found it, I vowed never to lose it. 

It may have been a Facebook error, or even an error by a reader, but when my blog post was blocked the other day, I was furious. The thought that some unseen "friend" could, with one click, silence my voice absolutely floored me. 

The older I get, the more outspoken I become. Sometimes I inadvertently put my foot in my mouth. Sometimes my words are not as eloquent as I would wish. But, my voice is here to stay. 

Until I die! 


Not Silenced

Recently, I was quite shocked to find my blog post had been reported as abusive and blocked by Facebook. I have no idea why someone would have done such a thing.

Even on my blog, I am careful not to give specifics if I am writing something concerning an interaction with another person. I don't give age, sex, times, dates, etc. And, if I think someone might recognize him or herself, I don't post the link on Facebook. In this case, the person is not on Facebook, nor are any of the other parties who might guess who it might be. And, I know that none of these folks follow my blog. 

My blog is my way of recording events in my everyday life. I post them because sometimes other people may be going through the same things I am going through. It can help to feel like there is a kindred spirit out there. Sometimes I need a reality check. Sometimes, I just need support. Sometimes I just need reassurance that I am not completely crazy for feeling the way I do about an issue.

I am too old and cranky to be silenced.


Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Phone Calls

In this day and age of texting, tweeting, email, messaging, and chatting, I don't get a lot of phone calls. We still have a land line, and most of the calls on that one are either my husband's family or friends, or the dreaded telemarketers. The older I get, the less I like to talk on the phone unless the callers are family or close friends. 

After receiving a phone call recently where the caller (who I truly thought was a friend) proceeded to berate me for some real but mostly imagined sins, I got to thinking how something as simple as answering the phone can make or break a few minutes, an hour, a day, a week, a year, or even a lifetime. Most of the time, I can look at the caller ID and have a pretty good idea of what I am going to get. But I can, occasionally, be blindsided. 

I have to admit, I have let this one affect me far longer than it should. Coupled with not feeling well, having my annual December funk because I am missing my Dad, Father-in-Law, and Mama, who all died during this month, and concern for the future of my ability to receive good healthcare, it was all a little bit too much. 

A few days have been "broken" but I am determined not to let this phone call affect me any longer. Life is just too darn short. 

If this person calls again, thank God and caller ID, I will know not to answer.