Weary and Burdened

I was just telling my daughter that I’m exhausted and moments later, I opened Facebook to find this at the very top of my news feed:

Weary and BurdenedI am the type that needs down time. It seems so many people these days are driven by such a sense of urgency. They must be doing something at all times. Every waking hour of their days is filled with something to do. When did it become shameful to do nothing at all?

I sometimes think for a very brief moment that maybe it would be better if I worked five 8-hour days instead of four 10-hour days. It wouldn’t! I work from home and have no commute or need to get gussied up and then change into comfy clothes after work. I work in comfy clothes! That extra day off (today actually) is perfect for me. The nature of my job, however, often has me working 15-30 minutes past the time I should be clocking out. I also take a one-hour lunch break. So I spend nearly 12 hours each day in my office (yes, I come upstairs for lunch usually, but you get the picture). At the end of the day, I just want to fix a quick dinner and collapse in the family room to watch a couple shows before heading up to bed, catching 40 winks, and then getting up to repeat the whole thing all over again. :)

So four days per week, not much else gets done around the house. It’s still amazing how quickly crap piles up around here in those four days. Piles of “I’ll get to that later”, but later never seems to come … or later gets filled with other things to do. Some of those things are “need to do”, but just as many are “want to do”. We shouldn’t completely sacrifice those “want to do” things. Those are important to our mental health!

Though my husband lives with a sense of urgency himself, it was easy to persuade him to take a drive up to Estes Park last weekend. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing, and we didn’t leave early enough to spend a long time up there, but we were out. I enjoyed the drive, but I did feel a bit like Clark W. Griswold at the Grand Canyon. I enjoy just sitting and doing nothing. Of course there weren’t many people to watch (people watching is fun), and it was windy. Who knew doing nothing needed such careful planning. Next time, we need to leave earlier, pack a lunch, and find a spot to picnic and enjoy doing nothing.

Mountain SceneryWith breathtaking views like this, who needs busyness?

On that note, I’m off to get ready for a meeting over coffee followed by errands, laundry, a little house cleaning, and photo processing. I can do all that in five hours, right?

 

Morning Routine

Morning Routine - KitchenMonday through Friday, it’s the same thing… Pour a cup of coffee, reboot the dishwasher, wipe down the counters and kitchen table (follow with Lysol wipes on surfaces, handles, knobs, and buttons if people are sick), and give the dogs food and water. On weekends, I start the coffee instead of using the automatic setting because we get up a little later. :) This only takes about 10-15 minutes.

What baffles me are the crumbs that keep reappearing on the kitchen table. Almost every time I return to the kitchen throughout the day, there are new crumbs on the table that I wipe away and put in the trash where they belong. How hard is it to wipe away crumbs after one’s self? Mind boggling! A close second to that is a tie between goopy gunk left on counters or stove top and dishes left in the sink when the dishwasher is hungry for more dirty dishes. <sigh>

Compared to people who don’t have such luxuries, these problems are microscopic potatoes, though. Glass half full: I’m thankful that I have a kitchen as well as a family to make it dirty!

Rampage

Sleeping until 8:00 a.m. is sleeping in for me. That was good! Since then, not so great. So I’m going on a free-writing rampage with this post.

We hooked up my laptop with the broken monitor to an external monitor so I wouldn’t have to disappear into the basement all the time. I just put it in sleep mode when not in use because the laptop doesn’t have a dock with a convenient power button. However, sleep mode leaves the laptop running. Maybe I’m nuts to worry about this, but I thought the constant heat can’t be great for the mother board. So I shut it down completely last night. When I turned it on this morning, it didn’t remember the monitor set up. I wasn’t aware of the Fn + monitor function to switch it over, but my husband finally figured out to press the power button and shut the laptop right away to get it to power up on the external monitor. That problem is solved now.

Using photo processing programs on the laptop is slow and presents errors because of it. Still a problem. Anything of great importance (work for actual clients) must be done on my desktop in the basement. My office. MY space. And it has to be done during times that are convenient to me. That may be times that are inconvenient to whoever may be trying to sleep in the space I must walk through to get to my office.

OK. There it is. Probably the root of the tension and anxiety. My “yes” nature and apparent gullibility led me into a situation that I’m ready to be out of. I’ve been ready to be out of it for the past couple months. That’s a lie. I’ve been ready for several months. I’ve already told the remaining children living at home that if they ever have a friend in need of a place to stay, don’t even think of asking me. I’m not doing it anymore.

I don’t like being the one to tell someone no, especially knowing that it will make the person’s life harder. However in this situation, I truly believe the best solution would have been to just stick it out where she was. What I thought was being helpful has ultimately turned out to be a disservice to all involved.

I want my house back. I don’t want to have to step over gates anymore that are tearing up my walls. I want to be able to go wherever I want in my house without worrying about inconveniencing or waking anyone or having a big dog beg for attention and sticking her nose in places it shouldn’t be. I want our mulch to stay where we put it. I want the anxiety of the dog interactions to be gone.

Yes, the dog is cute. I really do like the dog. I’m just not a big dog person. Did it once. Never planned on doing it again.

Current mood: extremely anxious.

Severe Weather on the Rise in North America

Tornadoes and fires have been terrible! How many people think beyond, “Oh my God, that was CRAZY!”? There has been a higher increases in weather-related losses in North America than any other continent. Look at this graph:

upward trends in weather-related lossCould it be explained scientifically? Maybe. Are the powers-that-be picking on (or punishing) North America? Interesting thought that might be plausible depending on your beliefs.

Nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America. The study shows a nearly quintupled number of weather-related loss events in North America for the past three decades, compared with an increase factor of 4 in Asia, 2.5 in Africa, 2 in Europe and 1.5 in South America. Anthropogenic climate change is believed to contribute to this trend, though it influences various perils in different ways. Climate change particularly affects formation of heat-waves, droughts, intense precipitation events … (read more)

And still, we North Americans continue to be prideful, greedy, arrogant, and boastful. I’m not saying that the weather is a direct result of those things, but the possibility of some connection is something to ponder.

Women & Friendships Beyond Marriage & Parenthood

Friendship in Your 20s

Ladies, remember the friendships you had in high school and (if you didn’t marry young) into your early 20s? Remember how you could drop everything on short notice and meet your friends at the mall, restaurant, bar, etc.? Did you notice a change in your friendships after you or they married? As you get older, have you noticed continued changes as each of your friends married and even became parents – especially if each of those life events happened at different times?

Friend with Kids

These changes are difficult for many women on both sides of the coin. Women with children feel they are being avoided by their kid-free friends and often miss the freedom to drop everything and go do something with friends. Women with no kids don’t understand the stress and demands of being a parent and feel they aren’t important to their friends with kids anymore. Talking on the phone when there are kids awake and demanding your attention or fighting with each other is a major challenge. It’s a big reason I stopped calling people. What was once a 15 minute phone call turned out one of two ways: 1) a 5 minute phone call with an empty promise to call you back in 10 minutes, or 2) a 45 minute phone call full of “hold ons” while you sit and listen to your friend discipline or otherwise tend to their children’s various needs.

Forming new friendships with women who have matching priorities is just as difficult because everyone has commitments and time constraints. Phone calls when both women have the above scenario happening in the background are now pointless. Finding time to meet without the kids is next to impossible, and if possible may be at a nearby location for 30 minutes at best. Play dates are your best bet, but enjoy them while you can because sooner or later, one of you will be pregnant again. If the planets align just right, maybe you’ll be pregnant at the same time and the crisis will be avoided. This is rare (not trying to be a buzz kill – just keeping it real).

Picture this … You have multiple children and a friend with multiple children about the same ages as yours. You are done having children, and your friend has another baby several years after her last. Baby comes along, and you “ooo” and “aww” over the baby for a few months. Then the baby child becomes more demanding of your friend’s time. Perhaps you manage to keep your friendship alive until the baby child is old enough to start school. Then the child becomes involved in activities. Game over.

I’m not even going to venture into what happens to a friendship when your kid and your friend’s kid start dating. Girlfriends fantasize about this in high school. Stop it! It may turn out alright, but it may not – especially if your parenting styles differ in any way. That’s all I have to say about that. :)

This also applies to siblings with children. As much as you want to keep the family bond strong, having children makes that very tricky. Hopefully, there are no hard feelings and nothing taken personally. Trying to schedule family get-togethers around the kids’ activities and other personal or kid-related commitments is hard.

As you get older, your priorities, values, and opinions change. Sometimes it’s best to have friends who are really more like acquaintances – those you see in social gatherings from time to time. Fellowship time at church is a good example of this. You get to socialize and gab about light topics for a while and then focus on your marital and parental commitments the rest of the week.

I have one local friend who I am comfortable sharing a fair amount with, but there are still topics we don’t discuss (politics being one of them). :) I have two lifetime friends 850 miles away that, to this day, I could share anything with. I miss them just as much today as I did 13 years ago after moving away, and I think of them daily. They are truly lifetime friends who mean the world to me! They get me!

So hold on to any close friends you had before marriage and children, but understand that lifestyle changes will have an affect on your friendships. If they love you as much as you love them, your friendship will stand the test of time! Also, know that newer friendships you form along the road of life may last or they may be temporary. That’s OK. As long as you have some type of social outlet from time to time, that’s enough to get your gab on. ;) Juicy gossip is usually not such a good idea anyway, but that’s for another post!

Work – More Than Gainful Employment

There’s a time for rest and doing things that we find pleasurable or bring us joy. There’s also a time to work – not just at a place of employment in exchange for money, but in your own homes. A job well done brings  brings a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction – joy. I am guilty in a huge way of laziness and idleness. Wait. Let me rephrase that. I am guilty in a huge way of physical laziness. My mind is never idle. I have a hyperactive mind! I have great intentions, but I lack the drive get started. I think every task on my list is going to be hard and take a very long time, so I procrastinate … an hour, a day, a week, and so on. Before long, my list of tasks has grown to something beyond overwhelming, and I shut down completely.

Genesis 2:15:

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

The things we are blessed with having cannot care for themselves. Work is required. Man was not meant to be idle. This doesn’t mean we need to be working every waking moment of our days, but work is necessary in life. Even if a person were able to live off the land, cook over a fire, and read by candle light without being gainfully employed, they still work. They hunt/garden, cook, and clean.

Everything we do requires work. Unless you have a servant, getting a glass of water requires walking to the kitchen, getting a glass, perhaps filling it with some ice cubes, and filling it with water.

Blogging is work. It may be harder work for me than for someone else. It has taken me a long time to write just this much. I wrote more but deleted it because it was overkill and headed in too many directions. My mind goes in many directions, and it’s hard not to let my posts run off in all those directions as well. If I wrote the way my mind wanders, everyone would consider me completely bonkers! That may well be, but sometimes I want to make a clear point. I almost deleted the entire post because by this point, I’m feeling like none of this is going to matter much to anyone anyway.

On the off chance it might matter to just one person, I won’t delete it. If only one person can make sense of the madness that comes from my scattered brain, then YAY! :D

Now I must walk away from my greatest distraction (the internet) and work on some things on my list of tasks. I’m talking projects more than simple tasks, though. Procrastination be damned! I need that sense of accomplishment; that satisfaction in a job well done. That’s right! well done. Not just done. I don’t like approaching projects willy nilly and rushing through them just to get them done. I’m sure this is a big reason I see each project as overwhelming.

But I digress. Before I go on and on from there, I bid you adieu. Work awaits.

Spring 2013 in Colorado Unkind

When the early buds broke on my snow crabapple this year, I anticipated the flowers … flowers on this particular tree have always, without fail, year after year meant one more big snowfall. This year that big snowfall came earlier and confused all the trees. They thought it was fall. :( The tiny leaflets turned brown, dried up, and fell off the trees just as yet another wet, heavy snowfall came through. Now we wait for the second buds to come forward at a time when we’re usually seeing trees full of leaves. This might mean the crabapple tree in the backyard won’t produce fruit this year. I wouldn’t be mad about that!

What I am mad about is this…

Evergreens Succumb to Heavy SnowThese shrubs were fine until that last heavy snow. Not only did they not perk all the way back up, but they are turning brown. Not-so-evergreen anymore. :( Will they make a comeback, or will we have to remove them? They were only about 18 inches tall when we moved here just over 13 years ago. I believe they are Leyland Cypress trees, and I’m a little surprised that they were planted in the first place because they are more for zones 6-10 (we’re zone 5 here). They could be Emerald Green Thuja, though. Don’t know. Didn’t plant them. :D If they have to go, I want some fast-growing trees planted in their place. I picture three Aspens along that section of fence placed 5 feet apart. In the other corner of the yard, a Hybrid Poplar. My only worry about that one is the breakage tendencies in the heavy snow.

I not only want more privacy from the houses behind us that sit on higher ground and look down into our backyard, but I want more shade. Our house faces NNW (a bit more N than NW). So the two bedrooms upstairs on the west side of the house are always the hottest in the summer. We’re just out of luck there. The backyard, however, really bugs me because I like being outside. I just don’t like being on display! :P If anyone wins the lottery and wants to share so I can create an amazing outdoor living space, you know where to reach me!

Lauren | Season 1 – Silencing Women in Military

Featuring Troian Bellisario (Pretty Little Liars) & Jennifer Beals (Flashdance)

This is a web series with short episodes. Season 1 is just 3 webisodes long. I am hooked! CAUTION: The subject matter is for mature audiences. It’s very powerful!

Lauren | Season 1 Feat. Troian Bellisario & Jennifer Beals – YouTube.

Internet Crime: Scammers Barking Up Wrong Tree Here

Fraud - Scam - Theft - DangerThey will stop at nothing. Scammers. Scum of the earth! They will weasel their way in anyway they can to get personal information. My post about an Arbonne product is getting a fair amount of attention from people searching the very term on the internet. It’s starting to show up as a suggestion for related searches in multiple places. I had a few new comments today, but I only approved one of them.

You see, two of the new comments had email domains from Germany but came from IP addresses in Ontario, Canada. One asked to do a link exchange because our blogs were “based around the same subject”. I checked their blog, and there was one post written in February about Legos. I could be wrong, but I’m just not seeing the similarity there. :D That one asked me to email if remotely interested. Not even the slightest bit, honey. I don’t know what you’re after, but I’m not giving. You obviously have no idea what I do all day at work!

Gun Control | My 400th Blog Post!

I usually refrain from posting such opinions, and I’m still going to be as gentle as possible with this one. I have to spit this out, though. The NRA recently said, “We will never surrender our guns. Never.” I also see posts on social network sites stating the same thing. I don’t see anything in the President’s plan to reduce gun violence that says anything about anyone being required to surrender guns they already own. If this is being proposed somewhere, please show me where it is written.

What does a child want so urgently to do when told not to touch something? They want to touch it! When humans are told they can’t do something, they want desperately to do it. Tell them they can’t have, and they want! It seems a bit of mass hysteria is being formed here.

Requiring background checks for all gun sales, strengthening those checks, and passing a new, stronger ban on assault weapons … I believe these are good things. I’m not against handguns for self defense with concealed carry permits. Guns for hunting? Fine! Semi-automatic assault weapons? What on God’s green earth does any John Q Citizen need those for? I’m sorry. No, I’m not sorry for having an opinion. I don’t think there is any need to have such a weapon in any house. As many reasons as someone who does have (or want) one will try to spew out to make their point, I honestly believe it’s because they are being told they may not have the freedom to purchase one in the not-too-distant future. Period.

Assault RifleIt’s interesting to me that the point was made that [killer's name left out on purpose] left the Bushmaster rifle in the car. What if he hadn’t? He still had the thought in his head of using it when he gathered weapons that day. Ponder the alternate outcome if he had taken that one in with him.

We will continue to have the right to bear arms. No one is going to abolish the second amendment! Calm down, people.

Once upon a time, a child was told he could eat all the cookies he wanted. The child later developed diabetes. Changes had to be made to his diet, and he could no longer have all the cookies he wanted. He especially couldn’t have the giant sized cookies loaded with super-sized chocolate chunks. He never wanted it more than at the very moment he was told he couldn’t have it! However, the change was necessary.

Change happens all the time, everywhere. Sometimes it’s necessary for things to change to continue to move forward. Change is often uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be considered bad.

I can’t believe all the whining I’m hearing about the proposed gun control measures. What astonishes me even more is to witness the contempt in the hearts of my Christian friends over the issue. I just don’t understand that. Shame.

Here ends my tirade on the issue. My 400th blog post certainly went out with a bang!