Thursday Thoughts ~ 9/16/21

I did something people might consider morbid but I’m trying to make sense of the senseless. I wrote down the names of everyone I know who has died since March of 2020; the month that for me will live in infamy. The beginning of the end.

I’ve written ad nauseum about the pandemic. The neverending cycle of crap. The worry and anxiety are overwhelming but lately the overtness of that moves into the background. Truth be told, I am suppressing too much. I’m doing that thing I do where I discount my feelings as not worthy enough to have because someone always has a worse situation. My former therapist helped me see that we shouldn’t discount our feelings because life is not a zero sum game. I might be using the term incorrectly, most people do but oh well. In layman’s terms, if I win you lose. The takeaway is that my level of suck may not be as bad as yours but what I am experiencing still sucks all the same.

I have become very good at faking it. Excellent in fact. I’m HAPPY!! Right?!?? I’m the good little girl, people pleaser, rule follower, sweet, kind, demure. Problems? We don’t got no stinkin problems. Smile and wave boys, smile and wave. I do enjoy those Madagascar penguins. Laugh to keep from crying. Story of my life.

I had a dust up or two recently that lets me know maybe I’m not covering as well as I thought I could. I even tried to go back to therapy but after 3 sessions I was cured! Told I was a breath of fresh air who had a good handle on how to deal with my issues. Hmmm. Well I guess I can still hide with the best of ’em. Hence the reason for the list.

But now as I write this post, I realize that making a list is akin to scoring my troubles. Back to zero sum game after adding the pluses up too. What’s a girl to do? I only want to recognize the pain instead of pretending the pain isn’t there. I’m not looking for sympathy either. I’d be all Gecko Someone help me, I have a flat tire! If sympathy was my angle. And yep that’s a repeat commercial below. I laugh every time I see it. And I need more laughter.

I’m just trying to keep on swimming and btw, swimming is my favorite exercise. I regret all the years I stayed out of the water to avoid disrupting my hair color. Uberly stupid.

While I make my mental list to confirm what I’ve written, I realize I haven’t included the injuries and near misses. Accidents happened to three people very dear to me. Both of B’s parents too. MoMo a broken shoulder and PoPo a broken leg. Emotional meltdowns were had by both my kids. Somehow those instances are softer since they’re in the rear view mirror. No looking back. All of this is happening to the backdrop of real word events, some horrific in nature. Pile on after pile on. Those impacted me too. Indirectly sure but as a human being I’d have to be really twisted not to care.

Now what’s left? To get over the hump. How do I move forward?

The number is nine. Nine wonderful people I know irl have passed away in those 18 months. Four from Covid, one was my brother who while we were not that close, we were still family. My sweet sister took care of everything. She sent me his picture, a prayer card, and a ‘bill’ which are tucked in for safe keeping. I take them from the space on my desk and look at them off and on. Two of whom died by suicide. Two from cancer or cancer related complications. One heart attack. I never even told my immediate team at work. No time off. Though once or twice I worked around virtual services. No true grieving, just keep swimming. That can’t be healthy.

Admitting these feelings now is freeing. The genie is out of the proverbial bottle. I may not burst after all. I may be just like the bionic woman, better, faster, stronger.

As always, more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 9/9/21

Sweet story for Thursday Thoughts. Driving Mrs. Dub. a.k.a. the Mother-in-Law Chronicles.

It’s been a while since I had to take my mother-in-law to one of her appointments. Whenever we go, she chatters incessantly. On our last trip, she talked about her parents, who would both be over 100 years old if they were still alive. Out of the blue. She brought them up. I steered the convo by telling her about a prompt I participate in. I asked her a question from a recent one of Melanie’s Share Your World posts: Is there such a thing as a good death? Without missing a beat mother’s was a good death, dad’s was not.

And of course I remember both deaths. B and I hadn’t even been married a year when we lost his grandpa. His grandma was alive to see the birth of both of our kids. And she was a wonderful great G-Ma. Very stubborn and opinionated just like her daughter but there’s nothing wrong with that I finally realize in my advanced years. We should have let them have their opinions, doesn’t mean we’d have to jump to when they said what for. The relationships would have been much easier not to resist. Let ’em tell us what to do, then promptly ignore it. They’d never have known.

Okay, time for the sweet story. Which will eventually tie back to the question we discussed. She talked about Mr. Balfour, the local florist, who she just absolutely loved!! He and his wife were the most kind, gentle people. One night Mr. Balfour went to bed. Then the next morning, he just didn’t wake up. That’s the example of a good death, she said. No suffering. I’ve seen too much suffering. Could never have imagined.

She went on to tell the story about how when she and PoPo were dating, they’d visit the Balfour farm with all the flowers and vegetables to get cucumbers or something. There was a drive through delivery where he or his wife would come out to the car. Mr. Balfour would always tease them joking saying, now you two remember, leave enough room for the breeze to blow through. PoPo’s car had a bench seat where she always had to sit right next to him. Get it? she asked me because PoPo’s car didn’t have a console like this one.

Well I got it and much more. She had a life before us once. That in her almost 80 years, she has witnessed quite a bit. Sobering and sentimental. Maybe bittersweet for this story is more apt than sweet. But still a story and I’ve got a boatload of them. We all do.

As always, more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 9/2/21

I’m in this weird sort of head space. Again. One step forward, two steps back. Gimme two steps toward the door. Mixing metaphors and song lyrics as the whirling dervish whirls. Yeah buddy. I tell ya what.

It’ll be nice to have a long weekend. No big plans just a low key dinner. I plan to sleep in Monday which is something I rarely do these days. My Kindle is loaded up and I’m treating myself to the library Sunday. Yep that’s me living large.

Alright. Lemme let ya go.

As always more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 8/26/21

I wrote something too controversial to post. Some words are best left unsaid ya know. In its place I had something good but I didn’t write down my thoughts quick enough. Which means I forgot. So much for good. Instead you get boring and wordy.

Not as good as what I thought about this morning but along the same vein, here goes nothing.

Dreams. I have been having lots of vivid dreams lately. Usually early in the morning after B gets up at 5 and before I have to get up at 7. I hear the beep, beep. beep of his alarm but quickly I am under again. Those are prime hours for the active imagination where I’m in deep REM sleep. I think I wrote before about how I was enamored with dreams and their meanings. I wanted to analyze them to make sense of the nonsensical. That’s not going to happen because I don’t remember them. All I know is I wake anxious because the dream is active like me running away from a lion or something.

I also used to be enamored with my horoscope. I read the daily and every month I’d get a scroll at Handy Andy. I miss the Handy Andy. I remember the candy and gum at checkout. Fruit Stripes and some cherry gum that I always had to have. Well that or fire sticks or jolly rancher green apple. The joy! lol

Alrighty, enough prattling about. Lemme let ya go.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 8/19/21

*** Trigger Warning ****

The swirling thoughts are a whirling dervish of worry. Calgon take me away. If only a bubble bath could solve problems long term instead of temporarily pushing them away.

As much as I’m an open book, I also keep things close to the vest. I’m odd about what I share and what I push down/bottle up. Some ‘stuff’ is happening again that makes me want to scream from the rooftops but I stop short in these are not my stories to tell. And/or I think no one cares to listen to you whine Jilly. Or worse, I believe my ‘stuff’ is not important since others have situations worse than mine. Damn that part of therapy didn’t take. My feelings are second class citizens.

I did a little writing exercise. Old school pen and paper. I timestamped the date March 16, 2020. That was the Monday after Spring Break where I returned from a week of vacation to work from home. Yep, I got the call, don’t come back until this blows over. The ‘this’ was Covid-19 and the virus is still blowing us down.

A lifetime of “stuff” has occurred over this past 17 months. Mind boggling actually. My list beings simply with that date. No real form or fashion, only bullet points of trauma. Ya, I said trauma. And these are things on my list that do not directly impact me. But being witness is sometimes as traumatic. My list contains an in memorandum section. Jesus weeps, the list is long.

I only put people I knew in real life, either by work, school, community. I included children of friends, co-workers, family members. Yep I lost a brother during Covid and a cousin. My brother was in his late 70s, in a nursing home, had dementia among other ailments. They still have his cause of death as the Rona despite several of the family thinking he had so much other health woes going on that cause of death should be changed. My cousin was quite tragic in that hers was not by natural causes. In fact, three people I know besides her died by suicide in that timespan.

For the last 4 days, I have been sitting here with knots in my stomach. Twisted gut syndrome I call it and pretty sure it is mentally induced. All the tests are negative so this has to be emotions manifesting as physical pain. I have been worried about my Pony Boy. I told B something was up but I didn’t know what. Ever since the dust up on Christmas Eve we’ve been out of sync. But then things returned to normal. People only worry about the ones who aren’t smiling. We never worry about the gregarious. And my boy is a jokester. Our son-shine. Mister happy-go-lucky. Sweetest kid ever.

He basically had a breakdown for reasons that shall remain locked up tight. He showed up at my door in the middle of the day. Told me all about it without too many specifics. He’s my twinkie and he also bottled up too much ‘stuff’ until the bad had no place to go but out.

Now I worry that he could one day soon be on my list, without intervention, that thankfully he is getting. Or so he says he is getting. I pray that what doesn’t kill him makes him stronger. That he believes tomorrow will be better. That everything is eventual and things will change. That this too shall pass.

As always, more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 8/12/21

Howdy y’all. I’m a hot mess. Many swirling thoughts. Mostly goodness too. Yesterday we had a ‘chat’ at work. A follow on to the big meeting that caused many people to spin. Me? I’m a cucumber baby.

Actually we had two meetings … the all in chat, then the department level notice of re-org. They always play music before we get started and when Rachel Platten’s Fight Song started blasting, I did too. Sobbing actually. Why?

When my dear friend Cat was prepping for surgery, the one she ultimately died from, she asked us to recommend songs for her hospital playlist. Fight Song was my nominee. This song will forever wreck me and lift me up simultaneously.

Then we rolled right into Sara Bareilles’ Brave. Jesus weeps. I was a puddle.

After my good cry, I was reset. Even more than from my week off. I don’t want to minimize anyone else’s feelings but between you, me, and the fence post the world is full of whiners. In case you wonder, the boomers aren’t necessarily the entitled ones. Entitlement to me is a personality trait or learned behavior that has no age limit.

Did the news suck? Ya, some of it anyway, but that’s life. I have choices. If you don’t like it, “don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya”. Go on get outta here said in my Bugs Bunny voice over voice. Lol.

Freedom to make our own choices. I’m telling ya what. Sweetness. Maybe my old age and life experience has simply made me malleable in the best way possible. Bring it!

Okay enough blathering about. TGIR! Lemme let ya go.

As always more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 8/5/21

Yesterday, we got the final bid for our roof. We texted back the acceptance. That is already giving me the heebeegeebees. I’d like to see a contract. The thing is the bid us from a friend of a friend giving B the ‘brother in law’ deal. With several other home projects, B has done that. Our A/C for example was 1/2 of the cost. Of course now we find it’s a brand no one has heard of and recently it leaked due to faulty install. And the friend is no longer talking to the friend and it wouldn’t matter because we are outside the warranty anyway. Ugh! Pray the same doesn’t happen with our roof.

I’m harping that something is rotten in Denmark. Asking B ” who would do this and not make money?” The total cost is less than the material from the other guy. B assures me things are legit. Swears the other guy overbid to shoo us away. Again I asked “who would do that” and B says Jill it happens.

We started this process before the storm as part of home maintenance. I played darts in the phone book and got some bids but then PoPo broke his leg and other stuff happened delaying things. I had even forgotten how much those original estimates were for so I dusted off the emails showing a range of $12,950 to $25,200. Post storm, having already been paid, I put out a call for recommendations. I didn’t feel comfortable playing darts in the phone book. One place rose to the top. Disproportionately the winner. Of course, I had to have them. We waited three weeks to even get a bid. Are you sitting down? Their price was $39,993. We wanted standing seam not gold. I called one other place through the contractor connection via the insurance company and that price was $34,228. Then, breaking down and letting B work his magic, we get an estimate for $20,250. Hmmm.

Oh well, we’re taking the plunge. I just don’t like it. Maybe I’m still too salty after the A/C leak. Or maybe I’m just MSU = making stuff up. Yep, we’ll go with that.

As always, more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 7/29/21

I took off a day last week, in part because I needed a break but also to catch up on things. The proverbial ‘to-do’ list was burgeoning. I still have a lot going on but I’m better y’all. And, I plan to stay that way.

Besides dropping off my vehicle for repairs (at a new place) sorry old place, I reconciled all the bills from my recent medical services. I tried to be mellow but oy vey. What a freaking racket.

I needed anesthesia. There was a doctor for that purpose who flew into the room all clipboard in hand, asked questions but appeared not to care enough to wait for answers. I don’t think he did anything but he still had to be paid. His nurse was the one that watched me as she was planning her wedding. No I didn’t dream it, this conversation went on before I went under. She too sent a bill. Here’s the rundown of both:

His charge was $1360 with insurance paying most of the member rate at $223. Yep without insurance that mofo could have claimed and received $1360 for a 3 minute conversation to ask me some questions. $223 is bad enough.

Her charge was $1040 with insurance paying most of the member rate at another $223. Funny how the member rate was exactly the same despite her original bill being less and her doing more work (if watching me for 20 minutes as I sleep is considered more). Well of course it is.

The leftover for me after insurance paid was $25 to each person. That means I paid $50 out of pocket. When you count the insurance payments of $446, $496 was paid in total. Why? Because I have insurance. Without insurance, we’re talking $2400. More than quadruple. Something is greatly wrong with that picture. I mean seriously!!!! Rotten.

I’d love to know the true cost. The medicine, the equipment, a fair fee for the provider. The insurance company contribution makes this feel like a pyramid scheme. I’m glad I am only out of pocket $50 bucks but I feel for anyone else without the same means.

Alright, I’m worn out. Until next time, be safe. Peace.

As always, more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 7/22/21

Where does this story start? Maybe with a very early memory of my mom telling me a lady always leaves a little bit of food on her plate. Which was counter to the “if you take it, you have to eat it” philosophy of my dad. To be fair, both were waste not, want not folks having lived through the Great Depression. But as they became more affluent, mom wanted to look a certain way. She smoked her ass off in small part to stay skinny. Well that plus the addiction to nicotine.

Little Jilly was always well … little. Toothpick thin. And I remember liking that. I felt special. Having people comment on my diminutive size pleased me.

With the exception of my mom and her sister, I was surrounded by big women who I loved fiercely. My Mamaw, Aunt Carol, Aunt Jo, Aunt Marie. I never saw them as too heavy. Quite the opposite. They were just my role models. Larger than life is an ethereal way. I felt their love, kindness, and genuine goodness.

Later in life, I put on quite a few pounds due to the antidepressant I took for a brief stint. But after I weaned off that, the weight came off. I’ve more or less maintained within a ‘normal’ weight range (whatever the fuck that is). Overweightness never impacted me until my own baby girl began to struggle with her weight towards the end of high school.

The specific details of what started her spiral will be left out. Only to say she had issues; she still does; we all do … even you judgy preachy. After Good Friday of her senior year, Lulu slowly but steadily ate herself into an oblivion, each year bigger than the year before. This went on for all four years that she was in college away at school.

I claimed her blossoming size didn’t bother me but it did. And somehow her size bothered the outside world too. I was concerned. I vehemently didn’t want her size to matter. I read every body shaming article I could. Justifying what should never need justification. Blamed the gain on her meds like me, etc… wanting desperately to know the reason … so that her being plus size would somehow be tolerable to others.

Like the elephant in the room, the subject of her weight was avoided. When we were together, anywhere, walking or whatever she stopped being able to keep up with me. What she termed the chafe sidelined her. She could no longer buy her clothes in store. I was scared and would talk to B who would say, “what do you want me to do? It’s hereditary”.

In March of 2020, the Rona ended everything. Being back home limited her ability to binge. Certain things like no pop in the house (yea sometimes I think I’m a midwesterner), slowly started to change things.

We still never talked about the elephant in the room. She is like her daddy. Stoic. Few words. In fact, talking is torture to her except to her person.

In May of 2020, when her graduation gown came in and it didn’t fit, we could tell she was devastated. She still wouldn’t admit she was hurting. Instead she found a weight loss app and began meal planning. Measured every morsel.

Again, I was worried. I hovered and watched silently. Ready to pounce if she went to the other extreme and quit eating. The weight slow dropped off, a pound or two each week. She adjusted her calorie count down never going below 1500 calories. She also never banned any specific food. If we ordered from Dairy Queen, she did too, just allotting for yummy ice cream. After a while, she started weighing herself multiple times daily. If the number of the scale didn’t move or heaven forbid, went up, she’d be upset. That’s when B stepped in and told her to stop. If she wanted to keep meal planning, she could but no more scale.

Before he took the scale away, she marked the loss of 100 pounds. Dropped from a size 26 to a size 16. People started commenting. Not realizing their praise stung. My quiet girl, began talking. Wondering out loud “mom what do you think they used to think about me?” “Do they think I lost enough already or should I keep going?” Easy for me to say “fuck em”; what they think doesn’t matter. Because it mattered … to her.

She recently told me she was finally proud of herself. And asked me if I was proud of her too. Because I never said anything. I remained zipped lips. Until I broke. I didn’t want to call attention to her weight loss because pride is a venial sin. And because I didn’t want her to think we hadn’t loved her all along exactly as she was even when she was heavy.

My relief over her transformation has nothing to do with her weight loss and everything to do with her loving herself. Maybe even for the first time. I’m proud that she took control all on her own for something she believed in. That she put in the work and even had she not lost a single pound, I’d still feel the same way.

Funny how one never really sees what is standing right in front of them. When I stop to look at her and really see her, she’s my baby at age 2 or 3, giggling. Then I flash to grade school, on a field trip to the zoo. She is polite and behaving. Then she’s older still and somehow I always remember her smiling with a willingness to help. I pass her office and hear the smile in her voice “yes, you’ve got it, I’ll help you with that”. She got my call center gene just like her brother. I love her wit, her sass, her easy spirit. Like my role models before her, I feel her love, kindness, and genuine goodness.

Alrighty, time to wrap this up. Before I go, a gentle suggestion if I may. Don’t tell someone they look good because they’ve lost weight. Don’t mention when someone puts on a few pounds. Trust me, they already know. Keep your opinions about appearance to yourselves. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Shakespeare expressed a similar sentiment:

Good Lord Boyet, my beauty, though but mean,
Needs not the painted flourish of your praise:
Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye,
Not utter’d by base sale of chapmen’s tongues

Love’s Labours Lost, 1588

And another good one: “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid blind.” from A Midsummer Nights Dream.

As always, more to come.

Thursday Thoughts ~ 7/15/21

I started writing blogging ideas down when I woke and couldn’t go back to sleep. Now I pulled them out trying to spark a post but I’m flummoxed. What the heck? Ugh. Well, at least the notes served their purpose of getting me back to sleep but not much here to use. Guess I’m back to MSU = making stuff up.

Funny how life imitates art some times. At work, we have challenges to earn healthy points which can then be converted into % discount off our health insurance premium. I’m a carrot and stick kinda gal who always plays. If you get 2k points, that’s 5% off the annual premium. For 3k points, you get a bonus prize. For 2021, that prize is a hoodie. Well you have me at bonus points. The what I win is of little concern.

Back to life imitating art. I watched a resiliency video for 15 more points toward the prize. Our calm spokesperson talked about how two very well known people still got nervous before an engagement. To deal with that energy, one would go into a bathroom stall and scream. Then she’d go on to give the speech of her life. Another would run up and done a flight of stairs three or four times with the same result. Taylor Swift was on to something with her song Shake It Off.

A true tip for getting the butterflies under control. The resilience video went on to discuss fight or flight and how movement, even the small act of standing up, or moving positions, changed everything. Like a steam valve was released.

Right after I watched that healthy points video at work, I was clearing out our DVR which records PrimeTime Anytime. I watched the season finale of Rebel which is loosely based on Erin Brockovich. As one of the lawyers waited in the hallway before the big court case, she was pacing and shaking her arms. Flapping like she was about to take flight. Yep, even in fictional setting, ways to demo resilience are displayed.

So, if anyone in my real life sees me in the bathroom at work, taking longer than expected, I’m likely in the stall shaking or screaming. Maybe a little of both. Gearing up to go back to the “area”. And if people don’t like it, they can send me back home. Where my ❤ is …

As always, more to come.