Sunday Morning: Heathens Greetings – Happy Ishtar!

I hope you all have a wonderful Ishtar (pronounced like “Easter”… really).  Please enjoy this image that I found on the Net:



You’re welcome!

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Become a Blogger in 39 Easy Steps!


I think Darla sums it up very well!

Originally posted on She's a Maineiac:

Hey kids! Want to become a blogger? It’s easy! Just do the following:
  1. Roll your eyes when blogger friend suggests you start a blog.
  2. Start blog.
  3. Write first post. Make sure it’s short and stupid because you’re certain no one will ever read it.
  4. Get two followers. Ego instantly inflates while at the same time you’re baffled someone willingly wants to read your writing.
  5. Write second post and this time make it way too long but still very stupid.
  6. No new followers. Tell yourself you don’t care. You’re writing for you, not them.
  7. Write third post, mention the Kardashians and add fun colorful images.
  8. Get first comment.
  9. Become obsessed with blogging.
  10. Write posts every other day.
  11. On the days you don’t write posts, think about brilliant ideas for posts.
  12. Think about dumb ideas for posts.
  13. Realize you have no way of differentiating what will be considered dumb or brilliant.
  14. Keep at least…

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Fancy No-Coffee Friday: Tea Time

Green tea.  Decaf Chai tea.  Lemon Zinger tea.  Chamomile tea, plain, with tulsi and honey and with tulsi and rose.  Presently, “Throat Coat” tea.

No coffee for two weeks.  I miss my coffee.  I really miss my coffee.

But, I’ve accepted this loss of coffee as a lesson in impermanence.  We all need to give up things from time to time even if it’s not by choice.  We lose treasured items, two coworkers have lost earrings in the last two weeks.  We lose important things like wallets (which was thankfully found under the endtable).  We lose unimportant items like disposable pens that write smoothly but were running out of ink.

Thankfully, while I have lost one ritual of heading to my favorite shop for coffee, I made a new one with my morning tea… mid-morning tea…. afternoon tea…. evening tea (mostly chamomile).  It’s still a hot beverage and if you’re a fan of “The Big Bang Theory“, you’ll appreciate this:

So, no coffee, but I have tea.  A whole lotta tea…. but no lumps.



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Sunday Morning: When are you “old enough”?

Yesterday morning I had to run errands and my first stop was at my friends R & M’s house to drop off eggs as M is one of my “egg pimps”.  They were in the middle of a kitchen improvement project and talk turned to questioning when one was old enough to hire someone else to do work for them?  What age should you be, or other factors should be in place, before you could make the decision to pay someone else to complete a project or a task?

R quipped that he was 40 now, and after considering his very frugal nature and that if he waited until 50 before he started to hire out for projects and tasks he was essentially ten years away from retirement and that just wouldn’t do.  He was going to start hiring out for projects which it made more sense for someone with the skills and equipment to complete.  I confessed that Mr. Muse and I have a large Spring cleanup for the yard that involves removing a lot of gravel, tiny pea gravel, from the grass adjacent to the road and driveway and the work would take us the better part of two weeks after work, weather and light permitting.  I decided that my time was much more valuable – therefore I called landscapers for estimates to do it for me.  I think this means that we’ve reached the age where we can start hiring out.

While I might be hiring out for yard cleanup, the rest of the year’s yardwork will fall on Mr. Muse and I; mowing, fertilizing and raking up the leaves in the fall to compost will land squarely on our shoulders – for now.  Mr. Muse is a do-it-yourselfer to a deep level and I have to make my case to hire someone else to do things he feels are well-within his skills to complete.  I have to catalog equipment we already own, account for the time it will take to buy or rent equipment that is needed, amortize it over usage if we actually buy it and compare the costs of all of that to what it would be to pay someone else.  Slowly my methods are working.  I pick my battles carefully; today, for instance, Mr. Muse and I will be working on our East Pasture fencing in anticipation of getting a couple of freezer lambs this Spring.  We want that responsibility for ourselves.  Should our lambs get out – then it would be our fault, not someone we hired.

Mr. Muse wants to install solar panels and has been researching them thoroughly.  He’s discovered that most of the work he can do himself (he’s an Electrical Engineer) but will hire out for the major electrical connections.  These are all good things and it is a project which is not worthy of a battle on my part.  The whole process interests him and makes him happy – that in and of itself is worth a great deal.

So, how do you know when you’re “old enough” to hire out?  

How do you decide to pay someone else to do a job or task for you?



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Fancy Coffee Friday: Decaffeinated

Fancy Coffee Friday

Fancy Coffee Friday oh how I miss thee.

Rituals.  We all have them.  Hourly, daily, nightly, weekly.  You name it, we all have things, few or many, that we do on schedule.  Sometimes events happen that cause us to skip or fail to fulfill these rituals that we have set for ourselves – so what happens when we do miss a ritual that we look forward to?

For me, it’s Fancy Coffee Friday, or in the event that I have off on Friday, Fancy Coffee Pre-Friday, aka Thursday.  I look forward to stopping at my favorite coffee (and wine and cafe and gift) shop where the baristas know my order.  The drive into work has me squirming in my seat with delight, anticipating that first sip of my Baby Grasshopper, or for us adults, a “Peppermint Mocha” (non-fat, no-whip…. sometimes with an extra shot).  While I wait for my drink to be made I work on the crossword puzzle taped to the counter, filling in as many words as I can with surety.  Pencil, pen, it doesn’t matter as I own that puzzle for those few moments that I am standing there waiting.  (I’ve also dropped off a couple of my pens… you know, swag, while working on the puzzle. Marketing, Baby!)

However, for weeks now, I have foregone my Friday ritual.  My unruly heart has left me overly sensitive to the effects of caffeine; just yesterday I had my first small cup of regular coffee in weeks and paid for it come evening with being “on edge” and anxious.  My heart fluttered and skipped in my chest as I attempted to relax.  One lorazepam later I was drifting off to bed while working on my addiction to Candy Crush Saga.

Today, on the drive home from work I confessed my sadness at not having my fancy coffee to Mr. Muse.  He asked if they could make my preferred concoction decaffeinated and I lamented, “that’s like going to McDonalds and ordering three Big Macs and a diet Coke!”  I don’t want to walk in and say to the baristas, “Hey, could you just brew that up decaf so my heart doesn’t explode?”  I could walk into my cardiologist’s (that would be Dr. Awesome) office and said, “I NEED my coffee!!!  Fix me!”  But, then again, there may be nothing to fix.  I’ve received no emergency, or even informational, calls regarding last weekends stint with the Holter monitor.

So for now, no caffeine.  Camomile tea and the occasional adult beverage.  Delicious gluten has already been cut out of my diet…. sure – why not caffeine, too.

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Sunday Morning: Stress is my Nemesis.

According to my cardiologist, and the previous one, every single person on the planet gets Premature Ventricular Contractions, or PVCs for short.  Most people are lucky enough not to notice them.  I’ve pointed out to Mr. Muse the exact moment that he has had a PVC and he just shakes his head and says, “Nope.  Didn’t feel it.”  I’m a cardiac patient (as indicated by “my cardiologist” in the first sentence of this post, and have been dealing with PVCs for the last 24 years.  I’m hyper-sensitive to the pause-and-thud of a PVC, often in quantities of more than one, so sensitive in fact that I can’t rest with my head on Mr. Muses chest as his infrequent PVCs cause waves of anxiety to wash over me which trigger my own PVCs.  It’s a vicious cycle.

I never had anxiety, at least in the capacity that I do now, when I was younger.  Years of heart issues that always hit when I was in a state of rest, once causing me to not sleep until I collapsed from utter exhaustion for two weeks, means that when it’s time to relax – that’s when I feel the least at ease.  At times I have literally sat on the edge of my seat waiting for “something” to happen while I tried to reach a state of calm.  I like control and I was, and am, unable to control my cardiac events.

During times of utter chaos, I have felt most in control.  I could see everything that could or should be done and set myself or others to action.  I can direct and maneuver and get things done.  My independent heart will hear nothing of it, and stubbornly ignores my demands, which soon devolve into teary-eyed pleas, to just beat “normally”.

However, stressful times often beget more stress, and while I can’t say I thrive on stress – it keeps my mind occupied and diverted away from what my heart is doing and preventing panic attacks.  Apparently this sick and twisted ideology is also the reason why I can’t relax when I should be and why, when things get really bad, I have to take anti-anxiety medication.

Aww, it even has a little heart on it.

Aww, it even has a little heart on it.

There is a silver lining in all of this.  No, really.  It dawned on me last Thursday that stress as always been my trigger for PVCs (except for this one time) so I started to think about all the things that I was feeling stressed out about.  The list was long and storied, from planned vacations and weekends away to work.  Some of the items were things that I knew I didn’t need to be stressed about, while others were not as stressful as I was making them out to be.  And like that, the PVCs, once I put my mind to logically and rationally figuring things out, lessened.  Oh, they haven’t left completely and at present I’m still wearing the Holter monitor that was put in place Friday morning to track my every heartbeat for 48 hours.  (As soon as this post is edited and posted this monitor is coming off and I’m taking a shower!  Because you can’t bathe while wearing one.)

The chest pain, feeling like someone is sitting on my chest, arm and jaw pain (yes… all symptoms of a heart attack… I am well-aware), the PVCs and the anxiety are slowly melting away.  Mr. Muse may even miss my, “Are you looking at my leads?  My eyes are up here, Mister,” as he intentionally stares are the wires and stickers where they are attached to my chest just to get me to say that.  I’m not even worried very much about what my cardiologist will find when it comes to the results of the heart monitor, either the plans will be to do nothing or to do something; it’s pretty much out of my hands… other than handling my stress.  To that I raise my mug of chamomile tea in cheers.

What do you do to handle stress in your life?

What are the best ways you have found to relax? 

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Sunday Morning: Sparkly Grapefruit and smithereens

I found humor yesterday in the fact that I had been up early and on my way to the salon for some hand and foot therapy in “sparkly grapefruit” and in the afternoon I was tromping about the chicken pen and corral wearing work gloves and hauling an old cat litter bucket into which I was tossing the myriad of junk I came across that had worked it’s way to the surface of the soil.  The previous owners appear to have failed in the subject of Environment Friendliness in all respects.  The first year that Mr. Muse and I lived here we filled a yard-and-a-half dumpster every two weeks with junk that we picked up from around the property.  Year two finally found us able to toss some of the demolition  items from the house in there as well, but overwhelmingly, those first two years were devoted to picking up after the previous occupants.

The Happy Chickens initially began to follow me around and Sumo, my shadow of a rooster who had already “escaped” to the front yard to be on patrol, came running back to make sure I wasn’t handing out any good treats to everyone else without him.  With every plink and thud into the bucket the chickens attempted to view the contents therein but soon lost interest when I continued to throw things into, rather than take them out of, the bucket.

Bits of asphalt and wire insulation.  A sliver of orange marker light and a chunk of computer monitor glass.  Filter from a cigarette and a chunk of melted plastic.  Shards of a “Squirt” bottle and an old silver dinner knife.  The variety and wide-ranging amount of smithereens was astounding and as I walked, stooped, crouched and combed I began to think of one of my favorite Shel Silverstein poems, “Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out“.

The former owners of this property were similar to Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout.
Oh, they took their garbage out, but they took it out the backdoor and down the slope.
Behind the barn and in the trees.  All the places visitors wouldn’t see.
They invited friends.  They encouraged kin.
Everyone told to toss their trash right in.
Tubs of moldy yogurt and broken porcelain plates.
Mangled car wire and lots of old, bent gates.
They buried boats and riding mowers.
Snowmobile tracks and busted-up lawn blower.
Acoustic tiles and concrete edging, old swing sets and construction wedging.
Bullet shells and lug nut caps, plastic roping, all of lifes bits and scraps.
They’d pile everything up and ignore it for good, the local wildlife used it as food.
It got so bad, the neighbors built fences, blocking the the trash that blew around, their only defence.
Then we moved in, and began to clean up.
The neighbors stopped by and praised the work begun.
The cleaning is ongoing, and probably will last for life.
Our duty is to the land, to end it’s strife.

Earth Day is coming up, and I believe that every day is Earth Day.  I’ll head out with my off-roading Radio Flyer wagon in the next few days to pick up the trash in the ditches but today, Mr. Muse and I will go enjoy some of the local Earth and head out for Go Take A Hike, Sunday.

How are you spending your Sunday?

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