Happy Friday

Indeed. It’s been a settling week, with all the international upheaval feeling a lot more familiar than it did, 10 days ago. I have been a little behind on my sleep, as I’ve had a few late nights, and I’m running on 6 – 7 hours, instead of 8+. I had some interesting experiences last weekend with sleeping past 7:00, which is “sleeping in” for me. But I don’t really like to do that much. I need to keep to my schedule. Fortunately, my spouse now understands that, and they are actually helping me get to bed earlier, instead of insisting that I stay up late with them, like they used to.

I can’t believe it’s nearly Thanksgiving. That’s crazy. I’ll be traveling through several states to see two sides of the family, this year. The ranks are thinning at my parents’ house. My siblings all have some adult children of their own, now, and their kids are starting to get engaged,married, and have babies. So, they’re starting to congregate in their own spaces, rather than at our parents’ place. Which makes for a quiet time.

And that’s fine, actually. Thanksgiving at my parents’ place has always been so loud, so overwhelming, so chaotic… that’s how my parents like it — lots of people, lots of noise, lots of activity. They just love it — as do most of my siblings. But for me, it’s always been sheer hell, to have to deal with everything. It was always exhausting, always depleting, and 11 years ago, I got slammed with a nasty TBI, thanks to being over-tired and un-coordinated while standing at the top of my parents’ stairs.

This year, things are much more mellow. And that’s fine with me. It’s even fine with my parents, who are slowing down and are (finally) starting to realize that spending quiet time just hanging out and talking with your loved-ones is a good way to pass the time. They both get squirrely, sure, but they’re better at just chilling out than they ever were before.

Might have something to do with them getting older and literally slowing down… Which is sad, in a way. And they’re old enough that each year I have to wonder if this is the last year we’ll all be together.

This time of year always brings that up for me. The seasons are shifting and changing, fall is gradually turning into winter, and things appear to be dying. There’s been a lot of death, over the past months. A lot of losses — for me and for the rest of the world. My PCP, who was the only doctor I ever actually got along with and formed a decent working relationship with, died at the beginning of September. That business in Paris. All the bombings all over the world. And now my neuropsych is getting ready to retire.

In a very real way, their retirement is a sort of death. Because the person I am, when I am around them, is going to cease to exist in another 4 months or so. There are 19 weeks left, till we stop working together, and I’m conflicted. On the one hand, they have really, really helped me, and I frankly don’t know what I would have done without having their help each week since 2008. I believe I actually used to see them twice a week, at the start, then  went to once — and it was pretty nerve-wracking, at the start.

Anyway, I want to really do that working relationship justice and close things out properly over the next four months. But the prospect of 19 more weeks of that is a bit daunting. So, I’ll just take it day by day and let it all just be. It’s Friday. I love my job. Things are good. I have enough money in the bank that I could pay for the timing belt repair on my van without needing a four-month payment plan, like before. It took 1/3 of my available savings, but I did pay it off. No debt. No harm. No foul.

So, today, what shall I do? I am working remotely today. The library opens at 9, and I can hunker down and do some work. I will have uninterrupted time to really study and dig into the guts of what I am working on. I need some time to study, away from the busy-ness of the workplace, and this is what I’ll have.

So, that’s good. Happy Friday.

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No harm, no foul

You don't have to be a pushover to do no deliberate harm

You don’t have to be a pushover to do no deliberate harm

Okay, I’ve disconnected this blog from my Twitter account, so that makes things simpler. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… they all have their different rules for how to format your writing so that you can get visibility, and I just don’t have the time (or interest) for doing anything special, other than writing.

I have no desire to accommodate other “platforms”. I have no desire to use/create hashtags, so I can be in on the larger conversation. The larger conversation tends to not be a conversation at all — rather, a shouting match. Especially with all the events of the past week.

Count me out of that particular exchange.

What we need now, more than anything, is a lot less yelling, a lot less attacking, a lot less blowing people up over differences of opinion. Whether it’s literal or metaphorical, trying to destroy other people never, ever has the intended results. If anything, it just makes things worse and perpetuates the exact problems we’re grappling with, to begin with.

It’s just common sense that a living, breathing human being who is attacked, is going to strike back. So, why would we think that attacking our enemies — even with a superior show of strength — is going to settle the matter?  Those attacks can be with bombs or words or social policy, but in whatever form, they strike at the humanity of others and threaten their existence.

What do people do when you threaten them? What do they do when you humiliate them? What do they do when you blow them and their families up? They fight back. Of course they do. We do it, too. No self-respecting individual or culture is going to just roll over because someone overpowers them at one point in time. Things change. Power shifts. Someone takes control of an arsenal of weapons that used to belong to someone else, and the balance of power shifts against whoever was the aggressor, the last time.

Fantasizing that it’s anything different from that, is not helping, in the current “wartime” situation.

All our our intentions to “settle the matter once and for all” do nothing of the kind. What do we think? That others are just going to sit back and say, “Oh, you’re right – you’re much stronger than we are, so we’re not going to do anything to you anymore!  You’re the MAN!!” ….? Have we lost our minds? No self-respecting individual is going to do or say that — and mean it. They may pretend to surrender, they may retreat for a while, but they’ll be back later to try to hurt us again. And there will be someone out there who’s willing to sell them all the right weapons to do exactly that. That’s just human nature, and anybody who thinks that shock-and-awe force will “settle” any issue for all time, has not been paying attention to, oh… just a few millennia of human experience and history. Even looking at the past 20 years will show you that.

Of course, if you’re in the arms business, life is pretty sweet, right now. So, it’s not all bad — for some people, anyway. I’m sure there are plenty of mutual funds out there that are invested in arms manufacturing, which means all the retired school teachers and civil servants and countless folks drawing on their 401(k)s can avoid eating dog food and living in a cardboard box under an overpass for at least a few more years. It’s all interconnected, and we’re all complicit in this arrangement. As long as any (all) of us are benefiting from our perpetual state of war, there’s only so much we can say about it. Even if you move off the grid, you’re still probably going to be using things that were created, thanks to the system we all live in. So, none of us is without blame in creating this situation.

Of course, I’m never going to convince the People In Charge that running around blowing up your opponents is going to solve anything. Everybody who talks in these terms just looks like a bit of a passive, utopian twit on Facebook. Or Twitter. Or whatever social media outlet they prefer. In these days of escalation, anyone who talks about de-escalation seems soft and out-of-touch with the necessities of the situation. Blinded. We’re all blinded by trauma and passion, and even though I agree with the words posted about how to relieve conditions of war, all those pictures of East-Asian gods and goddesses and the Dhali Lama just make me angry.

As far as I’m concerned, the only thing for me to do is get out of my head. Get out of my fear and anxiety, to just get on with my life. Get active. Live my life. Live it fully. Don’t sit and stew. Get going and take positive action.

“No harm, no foul,” seems like a pretty good philosophy and life approach to me.

It’s about not letting myself be harmed by what others do. They will do what they please, and they won’t necessarily give a damn about how it affects me. It’s often up to me, to decide what I’ll do with the experience — if I’ll get carried away by insult and perceived hurt, or if I’ll let it slide and get on with my life. There are many, many things that are done “to” me, that I can either notice and turn into a terrible offense… or I can just ignore them as moments of stupidity that mindless people are doing because they don’t know any better. It’s my choice, what I do with all that.

Probably the best thing that anyone can do these days, is do no harm. That, and make a positive difference in the world. Pay close and considerate attention to what’s going on around you, so you can be strong from moment to moment. Be alert to opportunities to be a little better at what you do than you were, just a moment before. So many things are happening at a “macro” level that are beyond our influence and understanding. There is so much we do not know, so much we cannot control.  What we can control is how we relate to others… how we take care of ourselves… how we mind our own behavior and keep it as clean as possible.

There is only so much we can influence, on a day to day basis. But the things we can influence for the better, could make all the difference in someone’s life, or a troubling situation that has the possibility of escalating.

I have to admit that, for myself, I bear a lot of responsibility for having caused others harm. Many times in my life (usually shortly after a TBI, or later on because of brain injury and PTSD), I struck out and harmed others. I broke things. I attacked people. I did my share of damage, being deliberately hurtful — because I, myself, was in pain. For many, many years, this went on. Hurting people — family, friends, loved-ones… saying and doing the kinds of things that were intended to cause pain — to make sure I wasn’t the only one who was hurting.

I wasn’t fully aware of what I was doing, when I was doing it. And while I was doing the damage, I believed I was entitled to do it, because, well, I was hurting. And I needed some relief. Hurting others was the only way I knew how to relieve that pain, that hurt. It was the only way I could figure out how to not be the only one in the room in excruciating  discomfort.

And it took a toll. It trashed so many friendships, so many relationships that have not been able to recover in many, many years — even after I got my act together. There is little to no trust between myself and some of my siblings. There are old, once-close friends I have not spoken to in 25 years. There were family members who had to turn their backs on me, for their own sake, and who died before I could make amends. My past is littered with broken relationships and fractured trust. I am still paying for it, and some debts I will never get to repay.

Which is why I now feel like the best thing I can do, really, is be kind. Be gentle. Be generous. Be strong. Be fierce, when it’s called for, but don’t let that be my default mode. There’s a difference between being a pushover, and standing your ground firmly  with a disarming smile on your face. The people who can do the latter are the true bad-asses of the world.

And that’s what I strive for: To stand firmly, but to not let others get the better of me because I’m an easy mark. Also, to not be a mindless jerk who unconsciously messes with other people. Being aware of my surroundings and responding as who I am, rather than what the situation turns me into, is a true martial art. Being able to absorb the hits of the world, and not fall to pieces… not take it out on others… that’s my ideal. When I can do that — just let the world be its crazy place, deflect its blows,and keep going with my life, calm and collected — there need not be any blood, there need not be any foul.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

It just means that I don’t hurt others, as a result of my own pain.

It’s a goal, anyway.


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Leaving Twitter – for a while

There were 10 minutes left on Christmas Day...I’ve been thinking a lot about Twitter, lately… Looking at the stream of tweets over the past few days, it’s probably a good idea for me to just leave it alone.

I need to both simplify my life and deepen it, and Twitter does the exact opposite for me — it complicates things and floods me with 140 characters of comment that don’t help me sort things through.

So, for the holidays, I’ll be taking a break from it. Not canceling my account, but just not posting to it, not reading it, just leaving it alone.

Have a good holiday season, everybody on Twitter. I may see you in the New Year.

Posted in Personal Experiences with TBI | 4 Comments

Oh, haters…

Cranky after concussion? You're not the only one

Everybody’s got an opinion. And some folks feel the need to go on the attack to make their point.

I just got my first nasty-gram from someone who disagrees with what I said about Ronda Rousey and that fight. They really felt strongly about the subject, that’s for sure. I guess I hit a nerve.

Too bad they didn’t actually leave their name — they commented as “Anonymous”. I guess it was one of those “hit and run” kinds of things.

I always find it strange when people find it necessary to go after other people and call names, just because they disagree with what the other person said. I don’t begrudge anyone their opinion. I really don’t care of others disagree with me — I welcome it, in fact.

But I won’t be bullied by name-calling and insults.

Sigh. Time to get on with my day.

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And another loss. Ronda Rousey got her ass handed to her.

rousey-fightingThis is a different kind of loss than the Paris attacks. It’s miniscule, compared to what happened in France — or Lebanon , or Syria, or any of the other places on earth where the enormity of human cruelty and misery staggers the mind.

But it’s still a loss.

Ronda Rousey got her ass kicked last night. And Holly Holm handed it to her on a platter. I watched the fight — even paid the 50 bucks and stayed up till after midnight to watch the whole thing.

It was not at all what I was expecting. I’ve been following Ronda Rousey for a relatively short time — mostly over the past 6 months. A buddy of mine on FB is a martial arts instructor, and they have been posting videos of Ronda Rousey fighting for years. But it wasn’t until her victory over Bethe Correia, that I really took notice.

I have to say, the press and media around Ronda has been phenomenal. She’s the kind of lady who’s “relatable”, who’s an amazing athlete and an “everyperson” kind of hero. Working her way up from tough living circumstances, reaching out to fans, being very real with the press. And being ferocious in the ring. I’ve been impressed — the more I have seen her, the moreso.

I wasn’t expecting things to go the way they did last night, with Ronda going down in a knockout in the 2nd round. I don’t think many of us were. But at the end of the first round, I saw her wobbly on her feet and disoriented, and I suspected she was hurt. In her corner, she seemed dazed, almost mentally stung, as though she believed nothing could touch her… and when it did, she wasn’t mentally prepared for it.

Plus, she was hurt. Her brain was hurt by a couple of hard hits right off the bat. And when your brain is injured, there’s not much you can do to overcome it in that moment. Ronda’s a fighter, and she took it to the only conclusion she could — getting knocked out. Because that’s the only thing that would ever stop her from keeping moving towards her target.

I must admit, it’s a strange juxtaposition for me. I know what repeat head trauma can do to a person, and I hate what it does to the lives of everyone affected. Yet I love MMA and boxing. A good match-up, like the one between the two ladies prior to Rousey and Holm, is pretty fascinating for me — getting hit, keeping your head together, and being able to prevail in the long run, is something that I can relate to. Lots of other people can, too. Good fighters are phenomenal to watch, even with all the blood that sometimes comes with MMA and the knowledge of what getting knocked out does to a person — especially if they keep getting knocked out. (I suspected Silva was not going to last against Hall, because he’s been knocked out three times in recent history, and that sort of injury is cumulative. Sure enough, he got knocked out again. It didn’t seem to take much.)

The other thing is that Rousey had three title fights in the past year (I believe), and even if you do get plenty of rest in between, the effects of getting hit hard, repeatedly, are going to be cumulative, so that’s going to work against you. It’s going to work against your brain — which works against your body — which works against your chances of winning… or getting out of the second round in one piece.

Anyway, it was deeply disappointing to see Rousey go down like that. In the midst of it all, it became clear to me that Holm was the better prepared athlete, the better conditioned one, perhaps even the better of the two, overall. It’s a credit to Rousey that it took someone like Holm to take her down, but I was expecting Rousey to be more aggressive and put up more of a fight. But she got hit a few times early on, and to me, that was the beginning of the end.

In the end, I hope Ronda gets some good rest and takes care of her brain. At the end, when she got hit (and Holly kept pounding her head, even after she was knocked out on the ground), I could have sworn I saw a “fencing response” when Ronda was on her back and Holly was beating at her head.

According the The Concussion Blog

The fencing response is an unnatural position of the arms following a concussion. Immediately after moderate forces have been applied to the brainstem, the forearms are held flexed or extended (typically into the air) for a period lasting up to several seconds after the impact. The Fencing Response is often observed during athletic competition involving contact, such as football, hockey, rugby, boxing and martial arts. It is used as an overt indicator of injury force magnitude and midbrain localization to aid in injury identification and classification for events including, but not limited to, on-field and/or bystander observations of sports-related head injuries.

It looked like Ronda was holding her arms up to defend herself, but I think it was that kick to her neck that caused her arms to raise. Unfortunately, everybody seemed to think it meant the former, so Holly took it as an indication that she needed to finish her opponent — when her opponent was already more than done.

Ideally, it would be great to educate MMA folks about this, so the same thing doesn’t keep happening. Arms raised, while you’re clearly not conscious does not mean you pose a threat. It means your brainstem has been injured, and you’re unable to properly defend yourself.

In a perfect world, the refs would keep an eye out for this and be more aggressive about stopping fighters. When Rousey went down from the kick and her arms went up, that should have settled it for both the fighters.

But when your arms go up, it can signal that you’re still fighting… so your opponent continues to wale on you, long past the point where you’re defenseless. And that’s the thing that concerns me the most – that Holm beat on Rousey past the point where Ronda could defend herself… and now the UFC folks are pressing for an immediate rematch. I hope Ronda tells them to go f*ck themselves. She needs to rest up and give her brain and brainstem a much-needed healing. She’s got enough money that she can afford some pretty advanced treatments, so she should take advantage of that.

And rest.

Anyway, for now, that’s a loss. I hope Rousey and her team are smart about what comes next. She absorbed enough head trauma in that fight to last her for a good, long time. Maybe for all time. She has a lot of light in her, and she has helped a lot of people by her example. It would be a shame to see that light go out, because she doesn’t know when to tap out for good.

I wish her all the best. At this point, I think her split lip is the least of her worries.

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Quiet day today

desert-canyon-streamLast week was a full one. Full of news, both personal and international, and full of activity.

My friends in Paris are safe. That is some consolation, as the terrible stories emerge. But it does nothing for those who were killed or injured — and all of their loved ones who will forever be affected by that horrible series of events, last night.

And now the fever pitch of war cries picks up even more. When war doesn’t just happen everywhere else, and people start to notice how… horrible it is, there tends to be an outcry. Something must be done. Action must be taken. Things must change.

But then, after people have gotten used to it and made the experience part of their world view, the cries for action go away, and people go back to living their lives, grateful to be excited over things that don’t matter at all.

Of course, not everyone gets to leave the struggle behind. Some of us live with the struggle, day after day, and it never really goes away. People with chronic pain…. or neurological issues… or chronic degenerative conditions that will never, ever be cured, just get a little less painful, from day to day… or daily struggles with PTSD, mental illness, emotional trauma from things done to them, their family, or another loved-one.

Many of us carry these things around with us, day after day, sometimes coming to terms with the pain on a moment-by-moment basis.

Some days are better than others.

And today — for me — is a quiet day, which I hope will mean it’s a good day.

The attacks in Paris last night really set me off. I was up later than I usually am, but fortunately I was able to “sleep in” till after 7:20. So, all is not lost. And later today I plan to take a nap. Or two. It’s all about pacing myself… but also not letting myself get pulled down into the malaise that sometimes takes over me when I’m not active (“taking it easy”) on the weekends.

Sometimes, taking it easy is the last thing I need. It can be physically painful. A three hour nap can leave me feeling like I’ve been trampled by a herd of while boars. It also makes me feel dull and drugged. I may need the sleep, but it takes a toll. Yes, I want to rest my mind and body, and I need it. But the inactivity actually brings the pain.

So, while today will be a quiet day for me, it will also have its share of activity. Interspersed with naps, so I can get up and be active again. Short bursts of doing something, followed by a rest period.

I will also rest my mind. My head is swirling from the past week and the Paris attacks, and I need to get myself to what I’ve heard people call “desert mind” — where your mind is free and clear of clutter, and things are moving through as they will, without getting snagged on all kinds of things you make up. Or maybe that’s “zen mind”. Anyway, that’s where I want to be today. Flowing right along, playing my music, exercising a bit, driving around to run my errands, trying out some new music out of curiosity, taking care of odd things at home, and just following the day where it leads.

Sometimes, when I am trying to get to sleep, I imagine myself in a desert canyon, sitting in the shade of a rock face beside a flowing stream where wild animals come to drink. In my mind’s eye, I watch coyotes and mountain lions and rattlesnakes come to the water’s edge, while I observe in silence. They see me, but they know I mean them no harm, and they mean me no harm, either. I watch scorpions scuttle by, and I see vultures circling overhead. It’s not frightening. It’s relaxing for me — to be in the presence of creatures that many fear, and to not feel anything akin to fear — just letting them be there.

Just letting it all be. Letting it be quiet. Letting it be what it is. Seeing everything for the danger it can be, without reacting to it as danger.

That’s how I feel about the weekend ahead of me. Two days off my regular work, I have time to focus on the things that really speak to me in a way I want to be, mentally. I can create the state of mind I want to have, in the midst of it all, and that’s a mighty valuable skill. It comes in handy, in times like this.

I’ll also have time to revisit things I’ve left off over the work week, because I’ve been too busy/tired/overwhelmed to do them justice.

Things like my neuropsych retiring — and taking away the one opportunity I’ve had each week since 2009 to understand my life in a way that is useful to me, not just a blind repetition of others’ phantasmagorical imaginings. I’m starting to understand the true impact of this change. In a very real way, a part of me is going to die when they leave. I believe that our Selves are defined in large part by the circumstances we are in and the dynamics with the people we interact with. We are a certain way with people, and when those people depart from our lives, that way goes away. And it can never come back, because there will never be another person like them in our lives. Ever again.

So, it’s a death, of sorts, and our working relationship is essentially going into a sort of long-term care, and then hospice, as I say good-bye to that part of me that exists only within the confines of that office, once a week.

It’s time to dive a little deeper, now. It’s a little frightening, a little invigorating, a little freeing, because it’s finally happening. I had wondered about this for months, and now I know my hunch was right. That month they were away with their family, they were probably looking at condos, during much of their visit.

And it’s time to stop dwelling on the Paris attacks. It’s a horrible, horrible thing — and it’s not going away anytime soon. So, I can do myself a favor and step away from it to think about other things that build me up, rather than tear me down… and drain the energy I really need to just live my life.

It’s time for a walk in the woods.

Or maybe a nap…


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I wish I felt worse about this impending loss… but I don’t

So, my neuropsych is retiring in the spring. I’m probably in a state of denial,right now,with the inevitable progression from that state of mind to anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance.

At least,that’s how it’s supposed to go.

But I’m off to a strange start, not feeling much of anything other than genuine happiness for them — and being a little relieved. Similar to my PCP passing away, this impending loss will solve some issues for me — issues that I had been planning to resolve by just terminating my relationship with them.

Supposedly I’m supposed to have a reaction to this. And back in the day, I would have. But since my fall in 2004, I haven’t been able to muster the emotional connection with others, like I used to. I don’t know what happened to me. I have been thinking it was just a by-product of getting older, getting crankier, and ceasing to give a damn about the things that used to get me in such a whirl before.

Maybe it is… but other people my age seem to be able to forge strong personal bonds with others… especially others who help them on a regular basis. This working/therpeutic relationship I have with my neuropsych is the most stable, constant connection I’ve had — probably ever.

And it’s going away in 5 months.

I guess I’m feeling a bit sad, in some ways, but not as clearly as I used to feel before 2004.

I think part of it is, I’ve never really understood clearly how I was supposed to feel about them, in the first place. I go there each week to work, to make progress, to get my life back on track. It’s not for emotional support or whatever. But they seem to think that’s what things are about.

I dunno. It’s a bit confusing for me, even though I know it’s not supposed to be. Maybe I’ll sort it out.

Or maybe it will be like when my doctor passed away — a burst of regret and sadness and frustration that they had to suffer as they did, but not a ton of loss and regret for me. In a way, I had already moved on. And I sort of feel that way about my neuropsych, who I have felt myself drifting away from for a number of months, now. As though I expected something like this to happen.

To be honest, at this point, the most distressing thing about it, is that I’ll have to adjust my schedule and get acclimated to a new neuropsych. I need to keep working with someone, because if I can’t talk to someone who knows neuropsychology, the rest of my life becomes a tangled mess of not being able to put things in order. I’m surrounded by lazy-ass people who just want to be comfortable in life, and who think my issues are mental or emotional or just character-based. It drives me nuts. I need to interact with someone who is A) aware of how TBI affects your life, and B) is dedicated to improving both themself and helping others do the same.

Anyway, enough about this. Shrug. The day is waiting.


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The end of a mini-era

Last night, my neuropsych told me they’ll be retiring in another 5 months. Then they’re moving out of state to be closer to family.

I’ve been working with this individual since 2009, and with their help, I have come so very far.

I will miss them profoundly. It’s safe to say, they have been a huge part of my life, all this time. They’ve been a lifeline for me in many ways, providing stability and sanity, while everything around me seemed to be falling apart.

I’m still just taking it in. I have been expecting this for some time, as they are getting on in years. But it’s still a bit to get used to.

The whole things makes me a little tired. Thank heavens it’s Thursday. I am looking forward to Friday. Very much.

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Thank you for your service

us-flag-and-soldier-1A big THANK YOU to all our Veterans who serve — and have served — to keep this great country free.

We owe you our lives. Thank you.

Service is so very important, and those who put their lives on the line for our continued safety and freedom, are our most valued resource, our finest examples.

Thank you.

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After a good, long day

Calming it down, one breath at a time

For today, I decided to be the master of my own destiny. It was fun.

I spent the day working around the house and yard. I got an early start (for a Sunday), getting my breakfast and starting at 8:30, and working till about 10:00. Then I stopped for a snack, made myself a soft-boiled egg and a banana and a big glass of water, then I went back to it.

I finished everything up around 2:35. So, that’s about 5-1/2 hours of good hard work behind me. I had a lot of cleanup to do around the yard, raking up dead leaves and pulling out dead plants, moving around fallen limbs and branches, and making sure the front bushes are okay after having limbs fall on them. I also found some things I need to fix — the front stairs have a gap in front of them, and if you step into it, you can get hurt. Repair folks coming to the house, the first year, often stepped in that gap.

Mind the gap

Now I need to go get a long 2×4 to lay across the gap. The other one rotted out.

I also had to clean up along the edge of the driveway, where I had let leaves and weeds pile up into a kind of compost heap. I clean that out every couple of years, because it builds up from nature doing its thing, and it’s a hard place to keep clear. This was the year I did it. I got out the wheelbarrow and a shovel and took three loads of “compost” down to the ditch along the road. The compost has a bunch of different stuff in it, including some non-organic materials, so it’s better off down by the road, where it will just help fill in the ditch.

By the time I was done, I was DONE. I was completely worn out, and I didn’t have the energy to fold up the tarps and put away the leaf blower. I just left everything in the empty bay in the garage. I’ll get to that later.

For today, that’s enough. I took a little nap afterwards, then woke up feeling like I needed to check Facebook, for some weird reason. I looked, and I saw that one of the younger members of my family who has been going through some tough times just got a massive break — their life has turned a corner for the better, which is really phenomenal. They remind me a lot of myself, when I was their age, and now that they’re getting on the good foot, they don’t necessarily need to go down the self-destructive road I was on, when I was 30 years younger than today.

So, it’s good. Work is a bit of a pain — my boss was emailing me today, but I’m not in the mood to deal with that. I’m OFF work, till tomorrow. Then I’ll worry about things. I’m sure it will all be very exciting and dramatic. No doubt about that.

Lying down earlier helped the pain — a lot. I’m feeling better. I also feel better when I move around, instead of just lying in bed, and I ran out to pick up my spouse’s medication a little while ago. It was good to just get in the car and drive.

One thing I need to be careful of, this holiday season, is drinking too much coffee and eating too much candy. I have been hitting the Halloween stash a little too heavy, these past couple of weeks. It’s funny, because I don’t even celebrate it — just eat the candy. Halloween is just an excuse to load up on sugar, and on top of that I haven’t been exercising enough for my own good.  I’ve been caught up in a new project that I want to get done this month. Fortunately, I’ve worked like a crazy person for a week, so I am actually ahead of my self-imposed schedule.

With the holidays just around the corner, I need to keep steady and take good care of myself. I’ve been drinking more coffee than usual, lately, as well. I get tired in the late afternoon, so I have a little cup before I drive home. It’s really not good for me — makes my migraines worse. I’ve been very fortunate, over the past few months, to have far fewer headaches than usual. Ever since I cut back on the coffee and also really focused on keeping my heart rate lowered, the headaches have been almost non-existent. I still get some, now and then (I’ve got a little one now), but they’re nothing like they used to be.

So, it’s all pretty chilled out, right now. My spouse has been in a foul mood, all day. Something must have happened at their business event yesterday evening — but they’re not telling me about it.  They sometimes make poor choices about who they do business with, and they realize it too late — and after they’ve described the behavior of their new “business partner” to me. I think they may have done or said something unwise, and they’re embarrassed about it. They don’t want me to know. They keep their phone close by, and they spent most of the day in bed… hiding from who knows what.

Anyway, I have a few more things I need to do, this evening, then I’m turning in. I’m much less sore now, than I was a few hours ago, and I hope tomorrow I’ll feel even better. I have a light week, this week, with only one appointment in the evening, so I want to get to the pool every day… as much as I can. I’m also considering joining a local health club that has a sauna. I really want to use saunas regularly, because it’s incredibly good for you and helps clean out your system. I feel like I need to “flush out” a lot of the stress and gunk in my system.Of course, working out each morning would help, but I’ve been so antsy. I’ve been so caught up in my new project.

Anyway, I’m going to back off a bit on the pressure, and just see what the next week brings. I’ve got a number of different irons in the fire, as regards my little projects, and it’s time to shift them around and shake things up — keep interesting. Break up the monotony. I haven’t been hiking in over a week, which is unfortunate because the weather has been next to perfect, and winter is not far off. But I had other things going on. And now my yard is looking good.

I’ll paint the kitchen ceiling next week.

I do look forward to that. I’ll be able to get it done early, and then spend the rest of the day in the woods, if I so choose.

Or maybe I’ll work on my projects…

The main thing is, I need to keep productively occupied. I can’t let myself get down in the dumps, because I know better. I have things to do, I have a purpose to serve. Even if it’s not world-shaking and earth-shattering, it’s my own little way of making the world a slightly better place.

At least, that’s the plan.


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