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I’ll never understand limitless greed, blind obedience to a religion, political figure, or ideology, or racism.

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Glass half empty

Glass half empty

No one wants to read pessimist thoughts. We live in a society where optimism is king; if you are just positive enough and believe in yourself and your future, all that you need will come to you.

Yeah, right. Here are some thoughts for you:

Oscar Wilde: “Pessimist; One who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both.”

Anonymous: “A pessimist is one who feels bad when he feels good for fear he’ll feel worse when he feels better.” Huh?

Woody Allen: “More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroad. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.”

I especially like this one: “An optimist will tell you the glass is half-full; the pessimist, half-empty; and the engineer will tell you the glass is twice the size it needs to be.” I really like this one; it got me, twice.

OK, one more: “The man who is a pessimist before forty-eight knows too much; if he is an optimist after it he knows too little.”

Pessimist, cynic, what's the diff?

Pessimist, cynic, what's the diff?

The truth is, I have been running out of ideas to blog about. Because, my thoughts are all dark these days, for the future. When I was young I tried really hard to learn what I needed to know; I tried to be like others and fit in. It was for the most part, a losing proposition. My parents did not do what parents are supposed to do, that is explain the world to their young; so I had to make sense of it myself, and being introverted and excessively shy, I had to do it alone.

I concluded by the age of about 35, that is not really possible. Humans are herd animals and we cannot run away from that, because the world is full and there are no more frontiers. Wherever you go, there are people, and you have to find a way to fit in, unless you are a sociopath and you REALLY don’t care.

This is my antidote

This is my antidote

As much as I tried to not care, I never got far enough away to REALLY not care. So there you are. Or rather, there I am. Uh, I mean here I am. Whatever.

I guess the best I can say to other pessimists out there, is to take a vacation from your dire expectations about the future. I go hiking, read fun novels, go to the gym a lot (you don’t really think too much when sweating up a storm and trying to get the last ounce of energy to make it to the end of my workout). I play with my cats – they aren’t worried about the future, as far as I can tell. I suspect they do worry when I don’t get home at the usual time to feed them. They are house cats and can’t even get outside.  They might worry some about that; hard to tell.

The nice thing about pessimism is that all your surprises are good ones. Take comfort in that!

Hamster thoughts

I haven’t been writing as much lately, as I see the world crumbling around me – I do say around me, as I am still floating with my head slightly above water. My problem is, I always strive to know what is actually happening, not what would I like to think is happening right now. Then, as soon as I lock onto what I think is the truth of current events, my mind starts projecting the future.

This is a really bad thing to do. Of course, I have only lived my life, so I can’t really say if there has ever been a time when studying current events and then making projections as to what the future will be was a happy thing to do. I like to think there was. Maybe in some primitive (primitive to us technological addicts) society where people had plenty to eat year-round and were at peace with their neighboring tribes for as long as they could remember. To a person living in such a community it might seem that things would go on forever like that.

I’d like to think so.

All we ever studied in my history classes was who went to war with who, how many were killed, memorize the dates and names of the battles and generals and yada, yada. I grew up during the Vietnam war; my dad attended the 2nd world war, which was followed by the Korean war, and now we are in the unending Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

I am aware of the not-very-safe nuclear reactors all over the world, and Fukushima of course; not to mention the thousands of nuclear warheads on our missles.

So, anyway, if you haven’t stopped reading yet and gone of for a dose of qualudes, or whatever the current drug is that is supposed to make us believe that everything is OK, I don’t really know what to say.

What I do to deal with the down side of reality is to take good care of myself physically and mentally. I know, it sounds hard to believe, but its true. I intersperse books on the environment and politics with escapist fiction. Right now I’m reading a series by author Lauren Haney on ancient Egypt, with the main character a policeman who solves murders during the time of the pharoahs. Try them, they’re great fun.

Eclipse Bookstore, Bellingham, WA

Eclipse Bookstore, Bellingham, WA

A Place of Darkness

A Place of Darkness by Lauren Haney

Copied this from Amazon.com.

Amazon is where I get my books when I’m not buying them from the local used book store here in Bellingham, Eclipse Bookstore (see photo above).

Well, that’s about it for now. Let me know what you are thinking – especially about the future. And don’t write if you think god is going to solve all our problems, because I’ve been down that road and it isn’t working for me.

 

Hamster report

2012 end of the world
National geographic graphic of end of the world

For those of us who are still employed, however temporarily that may be, and are working the traditional Mon –  Friday work week –  gosh, there are so many qualifications to a sentence in which I am trying to refer to employment – oh, frack, I’m getting lost here.

Um, yes, I remember –  Wednesday is the day we used to refer to as “hump day” – yeah!!! I finally got to it. Hump day – oh, get you heads out of the gutter – it is the middle of the work week, the top of the hill, it’s all downhill to Friday! Got it? Good.

Now, every day is “Do I sill have a job day?, and how much will unemployment pay if I get laid off today?  Personally, with all the hype about the end of the world due to some ancient Mayan calendar implying the world will end in 2012 (is that January 2012 or December 2012?), I’ve kind of thinking it might be a good thing if it did. End I mean.

Then I wouldn’t have to worry about whether I have a job, whether I can afford to go to the doctor, do I have enough food stored in the closet if there is an earthquake, etc., etc., etc. . . .

Enough of that. On a personal note, my blood sugar is under control with the diet the naturopath recommended, and I’m back at the gym, and out on the hiking trails. My finger is still in a splint, but it feels better and seems to be well on the mend.

I’m looking forward to my planned backpacking trips this summer, and I guess that’s it.

Oh, I LOVE this part of the world – we do not have huge forest fires (too much rain on this side of the mountains), no hurricanes, tornadoes, only local flooding (don’t buy a house in a floodplain – how many times do I have to tell you there is a reason they call those flat, low elevation areas next to rivers FLOODplains), and my personal, favorite – no poisonous snakes.

Hamster report. (Can I hibernate thru the end of the world, please? Or just thru the next 20 years, whichever comes first?) Where’s the beer? Remember, reality is for those whom cannot handle drugs, you know, people like me.

OK, I’m out.

damaged finger

damaged finger

 So, yesterday I went home from work early because I was feeling sick. I fell asleep on the couch for about 3 hours and then felt a lot better. The key here is that while I felt better, I wasn’t up to full speed.

I started working on some shelves that I’ve been installing in my basement. So far, so good. I should have stopped there. I just wasn’t feeling 100%. But I made an error in judgement, and turned on my table saw to cut a piece of trim for the shelf.

damaged finger - 2

damaged finger - 2

 

  So I started cutting this strip of trim. I got halfway thru the length of it, and tried to switch hands, to pull it instead of pushing it. Somehow my right hand touched the saw blade and instantly it had cut into my index finger.

damaged finger -3

damaged finger -3

 

My immediate reaction was to grab the injured hand and try to stop the bleeding. Of course I didn’t know at that time the extend of the injury – whether it was really bad or if it was possibly something I could bandage up myself.  I could see that I still had all my fingers, but there was a lot of blood, and while I don’t panick at the sight of blood, I really prefer that it stay where it is supposed to be, not squirting around on my garage floor.

I exagerate , it wasn’t squirting. I did panick, but my reaction to panicking is to think through it. I ran to the basement sink and ran cold water on my fingers and saw then that I probably needed to go to the emergency room, but I didn’t want to. I ran upstairs and put ice and water in a small bowl and stuck my fingers in it. It was bleeding pretty good, but definitely slowed down in the ice and water.

I was still in panic mode and was having trouble thinking clearly. I live alone and knew I could not drive myself to the doctor, so had to figure out how to get there. I was trying to look up my doctors office phone number in the phone book using my left hand while my right hand was bleeding into the ice water. My doctor told me to go to the emergency room.

About that time I thought of my friend Hamilton. I figured he was the closest to me and the most likely to be home. It was hard tolook up phone numbers and hard to punch in the numbers. I kept hitting the wrong numbers and having to redial.

 I had to change the water and add ice to my little ice bath bowl, as I was still bleeding into it. I was feeling shaky and I guess, scared. I kept wondering if I could just wrap something around the wounds and not go to the doctor.

To conclude, my friend got me to the emergency room and while my finger is all stiched up, and I did nick the bone with the saw, it isn’t all that bad.

Hamster out

Blue sky and clouds in Bellingham
Blue sky and clouds in Bellingham

Cloudy
The sky is gray and white and cloudy,
Sometimes I think it’s hanging down on me.
And it’s a hitchhike a hundred miles.
I’m a rag-a-muffin child.
Pointed finger-painted smile.
I left my shadow waiting down the road for me a while.

Cloudy
My thoughts are scattered and they’re cloudy,
They have no borders, no boundaries.
They echo and they swell
From Tolstoy to Tinker Bell.
Down from Berkeley to Carmel.
Got some pictures in my pocket and a lot of time to kill.

Hey sunshine
I haven’t seen you in a long time.
Why don’t you show your face and bend my mind?
These clouds stick to the sky
Like floating questions, why?
And they linger there to die.
They don’t know where they are going, and, my friend, neither do I.

More lyrics: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/

I guess copying a poem into a blog is a big deal for the program to handle. I couldn’t get it to let me use “paragraph” formatting above the song lyrics, so I’m typing my comments down here. I love Simon and Garfunkel songs – I was sorry when I heard they didn’t really like each other. I guess they hated each others guts. Their lyrics were beautiful poetry and their singing was perfection.

The question – “do you see blue sky or do you see clouds” is sort of like “is the glass half full or half empty” question. I always say its half empty, dumbass, but that’s when I’m talking about something to drink. When I look at the sky, I say there is a lot of blue up there. Depends on where you’r coming from I guess.

I see that as I get older I’m getting crankier. I may have always felt irritable, but I did my best to hide it, because that is what I was told I should do. Be polite, smile, say positive things. Hah. One of the benefits of getting older is, I can say what I want, and I don’t care what people think.

One more beautiful sky photo:

A pretty spring sky in Bellingham
A pretty spring sky in Bellingham

Look for the good, but know the truth.

Hamster time.

Ok, no offense to the very real struggles going on in the world and especially no denigration meant to those who have died.  Their struggles are real and I am in awe of their courage and sacrifices.

I once heard a woman  speak about the many years of struggle that she went through in Ireland, where there were many deaths due to bombings and shootings, as the different factions fought for supremacy and sought revenge for deaths caused by the other side in the struggle.

A comment she made made a great impression on me – she said that while the struggle went on for generations, they never forgot how to sing and dance and laugh, and that was what sustained them and kept them human through the generations long struggles.

So, I don’t mean to imply that I am going through anything like the freedom fighters and protesters in Ireland and North Africa, but I have my own struggles, and in America today, it looks very much like we are in a period of decline from which we may never recover, certainly not in my lifetime. 

So, here is one way I keep my spirits up:

Gotcha!

Gotcha!

Squeak & Cleo wrestling

Squeak & Cleo wrestling

The next photo is typical of most of the pictures I get of the cats.  They’ll be doing something that would make a great photo, but by the time the shutter clicks, I get this:

Squeak - do I look like I care

Squeak - do I look like I care

I suspect that what she is thinking right now is: “Ohh, if only a rogue mouse would get loose in here, I could have the greatest time decimating the little creep.”

The hamster is cautious around the kitties.

So, this is my 3rd day of accounting 102 class, my online classes.  We still don’t have our book for the class.  I called the college bookstore (its in Shoreline, WA, and I’m not) on December 13th, last year. They said the books would be in on the 15th.  Good going jerks, can’t even order books for a class when you know 3 months in advance when the class will start, and what book you are using?

This is starting out to be a remake of last quarter.  I don’t even feel motivated to do this anymore and I don’t know if I will quit.  I’m 60 years old, I’m working full time at a low paying  job, I put myself through college in the 1980 – 90’s working my ass off day and night for 6 years to get a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering. Now I can’t get a job doing that, and I’m losing my motivation to put myself through this again. 

I want to go for walks in the sunshine.  I want to go hiking in the mountains, in the sun, in the rain and in the snow.  I want to go sailing in the summer.  I want to sit on my couch and read a good book and drink a cup of coffee in the morning.  I want to go to the gym 5 times a week, something I can barely work in 3 times a week with this schedule.  I want to NOT be stressed all the time.

The hamster

This blog is one way of dealing with stress – pass it on to the next guy.  I’m good with that.  It appears that not too many are interested in sharing my stress – buck up people, we are supposed to be a herd species and we need feedback from each other or we go nuts, right?  Thats why isolation is such a great torture method – the government know it, so keep me from going nuts and read my blog, then send me a note  . . . . good, bad, or tell me I’m boring as hell.  It’s all good.

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 140 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 75 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 115mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was July 19th with 33 views. The most popular post that day was Revenge of the Bees.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were slashingtongue.com, en.wordpress.com, android-vs-ipad.co.cc, digg.com, and mail.live.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for bees, old woman, winter scene, pictures of bees, and plumbing trivia.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Revenge of the Bees May 2010
9 comments

2

Ongoing Gulf Oil Disaster May 2010

3

About March 2010
1 comment

4

Women’s Issues: Menstruation, Menopause, Aging, Makeup, High Heels April 2010
2 comments

5

Accounting Hell and, oh by the way, its winter November 2010

Erle Stanley Gardner, also writing as A. A. Fair
Erle Stanley Gardner

So, lately I’ve been reading another Bertha Cool and Donald Lam mystery written by Erle Stanley Gardner, aka A.A. Fair. 

I think we all need a break from what is going on today, as those who care and those who go to the trouble to ferret out the real news are in danger of getting really depressed. 
My escape fiction is Perry Mason books and the Bertha Cool Donald Lam mysteries.  My favorites are Perry Mason, probably because I loved the TV series, and when I’m reading I see the actors from the show in my mind.  Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper, William Talman and Ray Collins.  As actors they really seemed to enjoy working together, which gave me a warm fuzzy feeling watching the show.  They always got the bad guy and cleared the innocent something I wish was part of the real justice system.  Morally pure, with no complications.  It makes great escape material.
Anyway, as far as I can tell with my limited research, they are all out of print.  So I order used copies off Amazon.com.  I get a kick out of the prices on the books – remember when they used to actually print the price right on the cover?  No bar codes, the price didn’t change between when they printed the books and they were sold. 
I have paperbacks from the 1940’s to some from the 1960’s.  Prices even into the 60’s were only 50 cents or maybe 75 cents.  Books today cost around $8.00 or more.  Inflation?  You know they make up the numbers to keep people from know how much they are really being screwed these days.  And don’t get me started on the imaginary numbers they use for unemployment rates. 
See how hard it is to stay out of the realm of reality for some of us?  What is that famous quote from Lilly Tomlin?  “Reality is for people who can’t handle drugs.”  I love that.  I can’t handle drugs, so I have to deal with reality, sigh.
Hamster
PS:  Don’t forget how to get back to the real world, you just might need to.
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