Category Archives: Advice Column

Sensory deprivation…

Or maybe propaganda deprivation would be a better term for how I’m feeling right now.  It’s going to be an interesting kind of day.

I know I should have probably taken a mental health day after the weird, not so great day yesterday.  Thank you other commuters and mechanical issues.  Then there was the issue of understanding how a pivotal person could not see why they need to do their job correctly.  But not my circus, not my monkeys, right?

After yesterday, there was this morning.  I’m still not sure what set me over the edge enough to type this.  Maybe it was the guy who was almost on my bumper to the point had I stopped, he would have had nowhere to go but into my trunk.  Or the person who was in such a rush that I had to pull over to the side of the road to let him pass, even though I was going 45/50 in a 35 (yes, I’m telling on myself).  Or maybe, just maybe, it was trying to get around people while trying to catch my transfer, then looking up to see advertisements freaking everywhere!

Let’s support DC Mothers and Babies, complete with picture of young, white woman on a sunny day holding her protruding stomach.  

Go back to school with [insert college name].  Complete in little to no time with a Bachelor’s in [fill in blank:  Business Administration, Business Management, Political Science, etc.], featuring an affluent, young, black woman in a pantsuit sitting behind a desk.

Want to go to a concert?  Here’s what’s coming up at [insert musical venue].

Check out this hashtag for information about George Washington, complete with animation and our nation’s colors.  

And on and on and on.

There are anthropomorphic squirrels asking you to define “ever” when applying for security clearance jobs, more schools, upcoming musicals, and even things to do around town locally.  And that’s just what I noticed this morning!

Does anyone else not see the issues with these?

Sigh.

Sometimes I wonder if the world is breaking or if it’s just me.  It’s difficult to just be alive right now without the “try this, do that, look this way, wear this” advertisements thrown in your face.  What happened to “be yourself”?  What happened to empowerment?  What happened to being a community?  What happened to having a sense of purpose without the influence of propaganda?  When did having boatloads of debt for a piece of freaking paper become a norm?  When did making yourself up trump not using it?  When did we start caring so much about what was on the outside?

Just some things to think about.

Listening to:  Nothing.

Reading:  A lot.

Quote of the day:   “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” ― Gilda Rander

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Currently I am…

Damn Pinterest again.

I was looking for recipes for this weekend that are keto-friendly—something other than eggs, steak, and bulletproof coffee—and ran across more journal prompts.  This is great actually since it helps me with thought provoking questions as well as getting content up on my blog.  That is always a good thing.

One that I ran across was “Currently, I am…”  I know I normally put a Listening to: and Reading: at the bottom of my posts.  But this list goes a little bit more in depth than that.

Let’s get started.

  • Reading: Stardust by Neil Gaiman and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Both are really good books and the narration on Strange the Dreamer is awesome!
  • Playing: Nothing.
  • Watching: I’m on season 11 of Supernatural. I don’t want to start it because then I’m going to want to binge watch it and season 12 just to get caught up before Season 13 hits Netflix.
  • Trying: Not to procrastinate.  I really should be working on other things but I’m excited to almost be done with my detail that I’m not focusing.
  • Cooking: Chicken Enchiladas sans the tortillas.
  • Eating: Nothing at the moment.
  • Drinking: Bullet proof coffee and flavored water.
  • Calling: No one right now.
  • Texting: No one.
  • Pinning: Nothing at the moment.
  • Tweeting: My blog and vlog posts.  That’s the only reason I get on Twitter and I normally ignore likes and things like that until I am really bored and then I might check them out.  Same with Instagram.
  • Crafting: A really pretty four seasons wreath cross-stitch that Ray got me for Christmas our first year together.
  • Scrapping: Um… unknown
  • Doing: This post.
  • Going: Home soon.
  • Loving: This weather.  I need it to be like this almost every single day of my trip back to Maryland.
  • Hating: My lackadaisical attitude right now.  I don’t really want to do anything work related but have a couple things I need to get done.
  • Discovering: What I want out of my job and for my life.
  • Enjoying: Not stressing so much about things that don’t really matter.
  • Thinking: It would be nice to go to the coast this weekend.
  • Feeling: Mellow
  • Hoping (for): A quiet weekend with lots of reading!
  • Listening (to): Nothing right now.  I had to take my earbuds off for a meeting.
  • Celebrating:
  • Spelling: Um… ????
  • Thanking: The Universe for generally being awesome right now.
  • Considering: Calling my school and changing some of my tuition things around.
  • Finishing: This post.
  • Starting: My list of things I have to get done tomorrow.

Happy Friday!

Quote of the day:  “I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.” ― Martha Washington 

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Filed under Advice Column, Writing, Writing Prompts

Journal Prompts

This morning I wasn’t sure what to write.  Pinterest, again, is a plethora of ideas.

May’s Journal prompts were pretty short and sweet.  Today’s was “something that needs to change.”

Thinking about things that need to change is tough.  Sometimes, we focus on the big things in our lives that take the most to change, like trying to find a new job.  Notice how we only ever look for a new job when things are going really poorly at our current one?  I hadn’t thought about that until I started typing that out, but honestly, I never once looked for jobs that I thought might be interesting while I was happy working where I was.  It was only after things got bad that I started looking.

Other times, it’s the small things, like waking up earlier and making the coffee at home vs rushing to get coffee and then rushing to catch your train or drive into work.  Something so small as that can change whether the day is good or bad.  Of course, I have that to look forward to in three weeks.

So something that needs to change for me, at this moment:  I am procrastinating on writing up a list of things that need to be done by the person coming in behind me.  Why?  Because I don’t really want this time to be over, and yet I’m ready for it to be.  It’s funny really.  I keep wanting to do awesome things and I want the person coming in behind me to be awesome too.  So why am I procrastinating on doing something that helps them be awesome?  I don’t really know.

Something else that I need to change:  Not writing.  I keep saying this one.  I keep ignoring my own stories in favor of reading other peoples.  My stories aren’t going to get out there if I don’t write them.  Some of them I have to go back and change the characters because I don’t want to write heterosexual characters anymore; that’s not who I am.  Maybe changing the character’s gender will help; maybe it won’t.  Either way, I need to stop not writing and just get back into it.  That will probably be easy once I am back home in my new office with time on my hands again.

These seem like small changes, and they are.  I just have to get them done.

What are some changes you’ve been stalling on?

Listening to:  Me typing.

Reading:  The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Quote of the Day:  “All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.” ― Pope Paul VI

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Filed under 1001 Days, Advice Column, Writing, Writing Prompts

Reading the Signs

In the last two weeks, I’ve dropped symptoms of what happens to me when I eat sugar and cake-like things to people.  My mother-in-law askThe most recent was pecan pie.  It looked really good and when asked if I wanted a piece, I explained that my hands and nose get numb when I eat things like that.

This coming after I had a cookie for breakfast (OMG was it good) and then got told, at work, that I looked blank faced.  I don’t know if that part goes hand-in-hand with each other but it was weird to have someone say that to me while I’m at work.

Same person asked if I was diabetic or hypoglycemic.  I know the stuff runs in my family, but I was not diabetic before I had surgery and most people say that post-gastric bypass, their diabetes goes away.  What if it doesn’t?  It just shows up as something else, or manifests as something else after surgery.

My symptoms:

  • Passing out about 30 minutes after eating cake, pie, etc. I’ve been very lucky with cookies although after yesterday morning, they are now regulated to afternoon/night time.  Also, paleo cookies didn’t cause issues from what I remember.  I bounced off the walls with those.
  • Cold fingers and nose.
  • Brain fog. I know brain fog; post-surgery, it bugged me.  Felt like I couldn’t care about anything or anyone.  I guess I would compare it to being mentally numb.
  • Mood Swings. These happen a little more than normal and I have been attributing them to other things like weather changes and S.A.D.

I haven’t gotten tested though and the last time my panels were drawn, I was fine.  What if I’m not?  Two people ask you the same question for the same symptoms…

Research time!

Symptoms of hypoglycemia (which normally shows up two to three years post-op):

  • Fast heartbeat.Many things in addition to hypoglycemia can cause a fast heartbeat, including excitement, stress, exercise, or ketones associated with high blood glucose. This can make it harder to notice fast heartbeat as a potential sign of hypoglycemia, but if you are having a fast heartbeat when there is no apparent reason for this to occur, you should check your blood glucose level.
  • Looking pale.You or those around you may notice that you are paler than usual during hypoglycemia.
  • Hunger is a useful symptom of hypoglycemia since it usually leads a person to eat and consequently raise his blood glucose level. However, you may be in the habit of ignoring the initial symptoms of hunger at work or school if you’re in a meeting, engrossed in studying, or attending a lecture. This is a dangerous habit to have, because the longer you ignore hunger, the hungrier you get and the more likely you are to overeat when you finally eat. In addition, if you wait until you have moderate hypoglycemia, your judgment may be affected such that you eat the first thing you find, whether or not it will quickly raise your blood glucose level.
  • Weakness and fatigue.These symptoms are directly related to your body not having enough energy (glucose) for both physical and mental needs. It may be tempting to take a nap when you feel weak and tired, but it’s important to monitor your blood glucose level if you feel this way at a time of day when you are not usually tired. If hypoglycemia is causing your feeling of fatigue, your blood glucose level may go even lower during your nap, and you are unlikely to be able to detect other symptoms of hypoglycemia while asleep.
  • Having a headache often signals that you had hypoglycemia earlier in the day or have had it for some time. For example, if you wake up with a headache or leave a movie theater with a headache, you may have been hypoglycemic for some time. If the headache is severe enough, you may have nausea. You should treat yourself with carbohydrate and plan to monitor more frequently for the rest of the day. If the hypoglycemia has lasted a long time, the body’s stored sugar may have been used up, and you are more prone to repeat episodes of hypoglycemia that day.
  • Impaired vision.Double vision and tunnel vision are two types of visual disturbances that may occur with hypoglycemia. Like headache, impaired vision also often signals that your blood glucose has been low for quite some time. Your brain routinely takes two pictures from two eyes and formulates the pictures into a single image. When your brain does not have enough glucose, the brain loses the ability to coordinate vision. You may see fine with one eye closed, but quick action is needed to prevent the confused state that will follow if you don’t raise your blood glucose level.  Enlarged pupils can also be a symptom of hypoglycemia, but you are unlikely to notice them unless you’re looking in a mirror or someone else takes a close look at your eyes. If you are becoming hypoglycemic while reading, you may notice that you cannot find the correct line or that you see fewer words with each glance.
  • Difficulty communicating.Difficulties with communication can range from not being able to remember a word, to speaking in a monotone, to only responding in simple words such as “yes” or “no.” Some people describe feeling that the words they want to use are just out of their reach.
  • Difficulty absorbing new information.Without adequate glucose, your brain has trouble taking in new information. If you find yourself reading the same paragraph over and over or listening to someone speak then realizing you missed what was said, perhaps because you were daydreaming, you may have hypoglycemia.
  • Dizziness is another symptom that occurs after a person has been hypoglycemic for some time. You may have trouble walking a straight line or changing body positions. This is one of many symptoms of hypoglycemia that may be misinterpreted as drunkenness. If strangers or the police find you swerving while walking, medical identification in the form of a bracelet, necklace, or wallet card may save you from a misunderstanding and get you the treatment needed to stave off severe hypoglycemia.
  • Numbness or tingling.Numbness or tingling in the face or hands may be symptoms of hypoglycemia. Sometimes the numbness is first noticed in one spot, such as the upper lip, then it spreads across the face.
  • Unusual behavior.Anxious, giddy, confused, and irritable behaviors are important symptoms for friends, coworkers, and family members to learn about. These symptoms may occur when you can no longer judge that you are in danger. Your blood glucose may be so low that you no longer recognize family members or authority figures such as the police. You may argue, cry, yell, or fight.

Reading these after I copied them into my “working document” scared me a little bit.  Hello doctor’s appointment and panel work-up when I get back to Maryland.  And I guess new recipe board on Pinterest.

Shaking my head, but definitely not regretting surgery.

Listening to:  2007 Hits Playlist on Amazon

Reading:  Dear Martin by Nic Stone and The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

Quote of the Day:  “You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” ― Shirley Chisholm

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Filed under Advice Column, Weightloss

Personality Types

For the record, I’m 30.  That may seem old to a lot of people and very young to others.

I’ve not been quiet about my need and desire to find a new line of work, maybe freelance work like writing or opinion-based journalism (although lately what’s the difference?) or maybe travel agent/dreamer/unrealistic goal setter.  Take your pick.  A deep, secret part of me would have picked librarian or successful author.  I have a book finished; just can’t bring myself to finish editing the damn thing.

One terrible thing about me with this whole “wanting to change careers” movement is I research things to death.  Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you that I research until things aren’t fun anymore, or don’t do enough research…although not sure how that happens.  I’m pretty focused on things and once I dig my nails into something, it’s very hard to get me to not do it.

The first article I came across about switching careers at 30 gave the reader the advice to figure out their personality type before moving forward, since making any type of career change now means finding a career that makes the person happy and going for it.  At 30, with the standard 62 year retirement rate, I’m looking at spending 30+ years (if I finally find something at 32 that I love and qualify for) working in that career field.

So personality tests:  Myers-Briggs.  That’s the go-to for any type of personality test that I know of.  And Pinterest, the best procrastination tool out there, is littered with explanations about the types with memes, lists, why a type might hate you, etc.

Damn it if I didn’t come out as an INFP (Introverted, Intuition, Feeling, and Prospecting).  I will say that the N could have easily been an S (Sensing/Observant) and the P could have easily been a J (Judging).  I don’t know what questions would have gone the 2% in the other direction and I kind of don’t want to know.  The other two, I and F:  no question on those two.

So at my age, with no degree, what jobs am I looking at?  Pretty much novel writing.  What can I do that makes what I make in a year?  Nothing without a degree.  I mean come on!  I have to have a degree to be a librarian, and a Master’s degree at that.  That is a dream job, doesn’t pay much starting off, but as a bibliophile, in a perfect world, that’s what I’d do.  Experience though counts for almost nothing.  Note:  My high school volunteer work and summers were spent at the library.  See?  Already looking at that route.

I’m complaining because now I have to get off my duff, finish my Bachelor’s, and start working on my Master’s in Library Sciences.  Yeah to another two to three years of school and another three years doing what I do now.  At least I’ll hit the eight-hour leave category by then right?

Listening to: Wish You Were Here by Incubus on repeat (Thank you Amazon!)

Reading:  Queen of the Darkness by Anne Bishop and A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Quote of the Day:  “The turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt.” ― Max Lerner

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Filed under Advice Column, Goals, Writing

Perceptions

Perceptions are judgements wrapped in neat, little packages.  Seriously, perceptions, according to the dictionary, are “a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.”

Here’s a great impression for you:  Respect.

I grew up being taught to give respect when people have earned your respect.  What they never tell you is how to earn said respect.  Is it by good actions? Pleasant words? Being formal in informal situations? Calling people out when they step over your boundary lines? Constantly calling someone a name they have asked you more than once not to call them when you aren’t like that with anyone else in the family? You may perceive you are being respectful but you aren’t.

They also never tell you all about the different forms of respect:  Parental respect, respect in friendships, the business world, etc.  The newest one in respect on the internet.

Perceptions.

Another great perception is a safe and fair work environment.  Question:  How does that look to you? Because it means different things to different people since safety is viewed as something different for each of us.  For me, it’s a place where I can grow and not worry about screwing up.  It’s being able to feel like I’m breathing clean air and not surrounded by slimy things that steal small patches of happiness. If you’ve ever seen “Howl’s Moving Castle,” those things… Ugh!

Perceptions.

Here’s one more for you: The pursuit of happiness. I perceive someone’s life as worthless and unfilled, but they are happy with what they have. I wouldn’t be happy in their life because I perceive it as meaningless. I’m also coming from a D.C. perspective and not a WV background anymore.  I perceive them as not happy because they are scrambling paycheck to paycheck (I still am too; see why I said perceptions were judgements?) but, to them, they are happy for the most part.

I perceive my life as awesome, with a great partner, a family, a few friends, a house, a job, and plenty of “stuff.” Someone else may perceive my life as cluttered, messy, unfathomable, unambitious, etc.  But their perceptions of my life are colored by their experiences and their feelings.

Are they wrong? No. Am I wrong? No.  We just perceive things differently.  You know how that changes though?  Communication!

Enough ramblings.

Listening to:  Amazon Music.

Reading:  Night Broken by Patricia Briggs

Quote of the Day:  “Some people see the cup as half empty. Some people see the cup as half full. I see the cup as too large.” — George Carlin

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Change in Location

There have been few opportunities where I can change my life for the better.  One was going to DC, then having some amazing people who were great and supportive of my life and my career.  Another was meeting Ray.  I know I talk about Ray a lot but she’s pretty freaking special to me.

Then, just when life feels like it is going to break you, the Universe (or whatever external divinity you believe in) reminds you that good (and even great) things are out there.  You just have to be brave enough to take them.

Currently, I’m typing this on my laptop at a table 3,000 miles from home.  I’m still coming down off the high of even being given this opportunity.  I thought it wasn’t real up until I got told there was an action in the system for it.  Still didn’t believe it was real as I was driving out this way.  It probably won’t hit me that this is really happening to me until I get to work tomorrow and get settled.

Every missed opportunity from before…  I want to say has led to this moment.  It hasn’t though.  I screwed up on an interview years ago for almost the exact position in a different location.  Then there was Portland.  I had my hopes up and everything, only to have it land in my face 24 hours later with two words:  Not selected.  I kicked myself a lot for those, but I wouldn’t change the way all that happened.

Life is good and things are awesome.  And someone was willing to take the chance on me to allow me to the chance to work in the field.

All because I put my name in the hat to do something different.

Listening to:  Down with the Sickness by Disturbd

Reading:  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and Lirael by Garth Nix (Tim Curry is an awesome narrator!)

Quote of the Day:  “The most important thing is this: to be able at any moment – to sacrifice what you are, for what you will become!” ― Eric Thomas

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Filed under Advice Column, Bucket List, Vacations/Travel