WeVerb12 – 3

It’s the end of another year – how’d that happen so quickly? It’s time to reflect. Well, it’s time to be asleep, but I have a lot of things running through my head right now, so sleep just isn’t an option. I have to work today, which is also not fun, and since I feel much better, working from home, while very appealing, is probably not an option. I guess. I just have to make sure my sick time was used for Thursday. I couldn’t add it myself.

Anyway, I’m gonna cram as many as I can in this post, and maybe, if I have time, make another post or two to finish this out. I said I was going to do it, so I’m going to. It is something I’m doing for myself, something I want to do. I should be able to handle that, right?

The first real snow, taken with my new camera
The first real snow, taken with my new camera

11. spend/save [LIVE]: Are you richer or poorer this year, compared to last year?

This is an easy one – richer. I make more in a month than I did in all of last year. Of course, I have some bill collector threatening to take me to court to pay a bill they bought from one of my creditors, but that wasn’t unexpected.  It’s going to get interesting.

12. toss [GROW]: 2012 was the last time for ________________

I don’t know. There are things I’d like to never do again, or never not do again (that totally made sense in my head), but I can’t pick out one that will absolutely never happen. The things I’d really like to never happen again – uncertainty, disappointment, loss – are things that cannot be controlled.

13. associate [LISTEN]: What blog/book/article spoke to you the most in 2012?

Oddly, this one’s easy. This blog post spoke to me. It’s about belief, and how hard it can be to shake, even when all of the evidence says otherwise. It helps me better understand how logic and belief can contradict one another in the same head.

2011-02-12 Bighorn Sheep Day GoG 030asm
Garden of the Gods North Gateway, with Pikes Peak in the background

14. walk [LIVE]: Describe the path to a favorite place of yours to walk in 2012. What’s meaningful about the place or the journey?

Hmm. Well, I don’t do much walking. Partly because I don’t have time, partly because I’m out of the habit. But there are places I enjoy walking, and one I keep going back to is Eden Park, here in Cincinnati. While I was in Colorado, it was the main path of Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs. Both are city-owned parks, both are very popular with locals and visitors, and both are beautiful and historic. For me, both are just peaceful. They are great places to escape, to relax, to people-watch. There are, of course, times to avoid. For Garden of the Gods, pretty much any gorgeous sunny day is going to be a zoo after 11. For Eden Park, the Overlook is a Sunday hangout for people in the area; has been for as long as I can remember. It’s just crowded, and hard to find a place to park, but when it’s warm, it smells delicious while all of the grills are in use.

15. quote [GROW]: What inspirational quote would you associate with this past year for you?

Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t tend to do inspirational quotes. It’s not my thing. I generally find them trite and almost meaningless when taken out of context. And they’re usually taken out of context. They’re just lovely words that have a meaning for certain people, in certain situations. There are quotes that speak to me, like Galileo’s “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” That one’s been my battle cry for most of this year, while mindless sheep ignore the evidence of their own eyes. But that’s getting political, and that’s not what this is about. I suppose closest I can get to a quote that fits well with this year is “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

16. replicate [CREATE]: What were you inspired to create/make this year based on something else? (i.e. a pin from pinterest, recipe from a friend, etc.)

Nothing. This year was about learning how to function again. I didn’t have the energy to try things i liked or that interested me. No, wait, that’s not completely true…THIS! This WeVerb thing. I’m doing this because I saw it on another friend’s blog. There’ve been other things I’ve done, like some photographs I’ve taken, but I was going along for the ride, I wasn’t necessarily inspired to do so. And there have been other groups I’ve joined because they looked interesting, and games I’ve played because they looked fun, but I didn’t stick with them because I got bored. So, there we are. This, I was inspired to do from someone else, and this, I’m finishing.

17. thank [HOPE]: Write that thank you note that you’ve been meaning to send this year… or would like to send next year…

Hmm. Thank you note. That’s pretty narrow. I have things for which to be thankful, and people to whom I owe my thanks, but I’ve done that. There are other notes, though, that I’d like to right, notes that are not thank yous, but more…acknowledgements of what that person or persons mean to me. I did manage to get one sent off earlier this year, so that was cool. I was so impressed, I ripped open the envelope and typed up what I had written, so I could have a record of it for myself. It was really pretty good…

18. soak [LISTEN]: What have you soaked in this year? (Baths, sun, ideas?) How did it affect your mentality?

That’s a bit personal. Too personal for this. I do have an answer, but not one I’m willing to share publicly. Moving on…

19. exercise [LIVE]: How did you live actively in 2012? What will you change in 2013?

I’m working on this one. Once, I used to work out regularly. I walked 2 -3 miles every day, or every other day, I did 100 crunches, 50 push-ups from my knees, and I paid attention to what I ate. And I looked goooood. Then one day, I had to take a medication to control my blood pressure. I regained 50 lbs in just under 3 months. My co-workers thought I was pregnant. The blood pressure had elevated because of my Polycystic Kidney Disease (don’t look at images while you’re eating). I hadn’t changed anything else. I gave up. Now, this April, I participated in a walk for MS, for my sister and in memory of my mother – I was the only one walking for her – and I regretted it. Three miles. It’s really not that far. Unless your walking causes your gigantic kidneys to bounce up and down with every step. I was in so much pain, I could barely move. And for two days, along with the excruciating pain, every step I took made me nauseous. No more long walks for me. I do take the steps at work, at least when I’m going up, and I don’t look for the closest parking space I can find when I’m shopping, but I still have a bit of work to do. But, as noted before, I was a bit more consumed with functioning. This time of year, all my energy goes into that, so the extra stuff, like eating properly, takes a back seat. Some days, I get so nauseous from the PKD that I wouldn’t eat at all, if not for the fact that if I don’t, it actually makes me feel even worse. So, right now, I’m working on functioning. I’m not there, yet, but I am actively pursuing that.

20: reminisce [GROW]: What distant memory/time did you find yourself longing for in 2012?

This was a very nostalgic year for me. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve reconnected with a lot of people I knew from high school. And I went to a pretty cool high school. It was an arts magnet, with a very high academic standard. I’ve spent a lot of this year longing for those times. They weren’t all perfect – I rarely got cast in anything, and I was never a soloist, and I gave up on my writing because I didn’t like the teacher I had (the second one, not the first one, she was AWESOME), and I wasn’t even close to popular. But man, I did love it there. I was accepted for who I was. I wasn’t picked on for having a white mother. I wasn’t picked on for being smaller or smarter than average. I wasn’t picked on for my hair or my skin color. That’s not to say I wasn’t picked on, I was. It’s reality, c’mon. But I wasn’t picked on for the things I had been for so long.

Eleven more. I think I will put those in a subsequent post. This one’s full.

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WeVerb12 – 2

My wild lifestyle seems to be catching up to me, all that working overtime and performing in my church choir and playing Civilization IV all day… I’m supposed to be at work in 5 minutes, but I’m not. I’m sitting at home instead, feeling a little dizzy and tingly, phlegmy and coughy. That’s generally a sign to me that something is attacking my immune system. Lucky for me, the immune system generally wins.

I meant to get back to this, to post more from the WeVerb12 project. Life got in the way. So, I will make up for lost time.

I didn't make it, but I did eat it. It was delicious.
I didn’t make it, but I did eat it. It was delicious.

Day 6: Cook (Live) – What was your best recipe/dish of the year?

Hmm. Well, I couldn’t do much cooking at the beginning of the year because my refrigerator didn’t work. It sorta did, I mean, it kept fruit from spoiling as quickly as it would on the counter, and the freezer worked okay. In the summer, I could use the top half of the freezer as a fridge, since it didn’t get cold enough to work as a freezer. The bottom half still froze food. Whatever I made had to be consumed in one sitting, since the fridge was basically a cooler that was warming up. Once I had a job, though, I got that fridge fixed. Yay, I could start cooking! Yeah, no. I was out of the habit. Aside from baby back pork ribs (garlic, onion, dill, basil, salt, 250* 3 – 4 hours depending on your oven), I stuck with my single-serve Stouffer’s. A little sad. So I guess my best dish of the year was the ribs. They’re tasty.

Day 7: Enliven (Grow) – Was there a book or article that inspired you to make a change in your life this year? What was the source and what did you change?

Not really, no. No one that stood out for me, anyway. I’ve read lots of articles, and before I was hired on permanently in August, I read a lot of books, fiction and non-fiction, recommendations from friends and popular books (couldn’t get through 50 Shades of Gray – yawn). But nothing particularly life-changing. I guess for the most part, I spent my year reading things I already knew, or already believed. That’s kinda sad to me.

Day 8: Respond (Listen) – Do you actively listen to your inner voice/conscience? Describe a time this year you heard and responded to it.

One thing I don’t like about this project – I can’t remember last week, let alone any other time this year. It has to be a BIG event to register in my memory. I remember my first day at my current job. I remember the day I was t-boned by a Ford F-350 (his fault). I remember the day I was laid off from my last permanent job. I remember the day my marriage ended – two days, really: the day I realized it was over, and the day we made it legal. I listen to my gut often. Not always – I try to ignore when my gut is desperate for an Entemann’s doughnut – but if I get an uncomfortable feeling, I listen. So I really can’t pick out an individual event. It’s as natural as breathing.

The bar behind me had wifi...and beer, apparently.
The bar behind me had wifi…and beer, apparently.

Day 9: Triumph (Create) – How were you challenged by a project or goal this year? What did you learn from it?

My goal this year was trying to stay cool this summer. Early on, I spent a lot of time in air conditioned locations. Because of the heat in my house – usually the same as, if not worse than, outside – I couldn’t go home to relax. I couldn’t sleep. My blood pressure was ridiculously high (caused by PKD), so that was impacting my health, and my body’s ability to regulate the temperature. I’d had issues with heat exhaustion multiple times in May and June alone. On July 4th, after a parade, I had actually stopped sweating. It was 100 degrees that day. Not good. I was working though, so I finally had some money. I bought an air conditioner. My project became figuring out how to run this window unit in a house with wiring from the 70s. I found a way; I made it as safe as I could. And I could sleep. I could retreat to my home when it got unbearably hot, instead of having to spend time at a mall.

So how was I challenged? I needed to find a way to stay cool, and safe. What did I learn from it? Humans can be very creative when they have to be.

Day 10: Lose (Hope) – Did you have to say goodbye to a person, or even a cherished object, this year? Take a moment to celebrate the memory

No one I knew personally, no. Not this year. I try not to worry too much about it. The people I love are getting older. The ones that are my age have reached the point where health, rather than stupidity, is more likely to kill us. And of course, there’s family, who are getting older too.

No, that’s not quite true. Friends’ parents are passing. A couple of them I’d known since I was little. It’s been 25 years since I talked to them, but it’s still a bit of my childhood fading. If I stay healthy, there’s a chance I could see my 90s – my father’s mother is 100, and my mother’s father was 95 when he passed. Meaning I probably need to get used to that.

WEverb12: Reflect And Renew – 1

This is an interesting thing – a website that is providing writing prompts throughout December. Now, this is probably not for everyone, but me, I’m stuck. I get so worn out with work, I don’t always have the energy to do the things that actually relax me, so I get more worn out with work, and have even less energy, and then I’m even more worn out…you get the picture. Having some external force reminding me of the things I enjoy doing, and more importantly, to do them, well, maybe that will allow me to relax a bit more, and maybe be less worn out.

I saw #WEverb mentioned on one of my friends’ blog, so I thought I’d give it a shot. It’s been a while since I’ve used writing prompts, but maybe that’s just what I need to really get me going again. I’m a bit late to the party – it’s already the 15th, so I have a bit to catch up on.

Let us begin:

Eden Park Overlook
Eden Park Overlook

Day 1: Write a Haiku for 2012

A haiku is a poem with three lines – two verses with five syllables and one with seven – that is traditionally about the natural world. This won’t be.

Struggling for cash
My health suffering greatly
I found security 

Pretty much sums it up. At the beginning of this year, I only had gas money because of the generosity of a friend, and a place to live because of the generosity of my family. Now, as the year closes, I have an income. It’s not a huge income, but I only have to support myself, so it’s enough.

Day 2: What movie did you see this year that you would recommend to a friend?

Well, many, actually. Once I was working regularly, but not the hours I work now, I saw a lot of movies. Ones I’d already seen, ones I owned, and ones I saw in the theaters. Nearly all of them I would recommend. I have recommended. I suppose Under the Tuscan Sun is my surprise recommendation. I don’t care for romantic comedies. It’s not my preferred genre at all. I had to be talked into seeing that one, and once I did, I was hooked. It is a romantic comedy, technically, but it’s nowhere near as vapid or predictable as the typical RomCom is. A woman finds out her marriage is ending from a catty writer who didn’t like her review of his work. Her friends give her their trip to the Tuscan countryside in Italy, and she meets a slew of interesting people, and has interesting adventures that are, on the whole, not beyond plausibility. I found the ending satisfying, and the movie enchanting enough that, if I’m not on my way out the door, or don’t have something else I planned to watch, I will watch it when it’s on the air, whether I caught it at the beginning or half an hour from the end.

Setting up at Balluminaria 2012
Setting up at Balluminaria 2012

Day 3: How did you stay in the moment this year?

This one is hard. I think because in most of my everyday life, I don’t stay in the moment. I think of the moments that have passed, and I think of the moments to come, but I don’t stay in the moment. Most humans do that, really. By the time we recognize a moment, realize its significance, it has passed, sometimes quite some time before. It’s not easy for anyone to do. The only time I’m really in the moment is when I have a camera in my hands. For instance, at Balluminaria last month, I wandered among the ballonists, while they were busy setting up. After a while, the park cops started cordoning off the crowd from the balloons, guiding those who didn’t belong in the area to other parts of the park. I lingered. I made an effort to look like I belonged, because I didn’t want to leave yet. I wasn’t ready. I had a few more shots I wanted to take, so I took them. I wasn’t really thinking about what would happen if someone challenged me, I was only thinking of the photos I had in mind, the moments I was trying to capture. I did leave the area eventually, after they’d already roped everyone else off, and I’d found my own space to stand. I got lucky there, too. I happened to be standing in a space where there were people who gave up their prime spots to me. I didn’t ask; they offered. I wasn’t so foolish as to refuse. I think I got some decent shots that night.

One more.

Day 4: What did you do in 2012 that you had never done before? Will you do it again?

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. What have I done that I had never done before? There has to be something. Well, I’m sure there were plenty of things, but they were effectively of little consequence, so I don’t remember them. I’ve been involved in political campaigns and activities in the past. Heck, I’ve been involved in protests at the city, state, and national levels. I’ve worked as a temporary employee before. I’ve babysat young children. I’ve taken pictures of random strangers, with and without their permission. I’ve written blogs, driven too fast, taken recommendations, asked questions I couldn’t answer. I’ve admitted when I was wrong, and fought for myself when I was right. I’ve been to movies alone and with friends, and I’ve even organized a gathering, although that one, well, it’s close to never before. I’ve even acted as a tourist in the city where I lived, because when I first moved to Colorado, well, I was a tourist. So what have I done this year that I’ve never done before? I bought a used cell phone. I started wearing bifocals. My astigmatism has always been horrible, so my adjustment period was pretty short. With severe astigmatism, there’s always a longer adjustment period for new glasses. This wasn’t really any different. There’s more – there has to be more. I just don’t know what it is.

Alright, since I’m so behind, one more.

Day 5: What community has engaged you most this year, and what did you get out of your participation?

I have two answers for this one, but only one I wish to share publicly. If I’m honest, the Facebook community I have created has engaged me most this year. What have I gotten out of it? So very much. I’ve had intelligent debates and stupid fun, I’ve met new friends and reconnected with many old ones. My birthday party this May, in fact, included people I hadn’t seen in a few years, up to 20 or more years. People I had known since college, since high school, were there, along with people I had known for a year or less. They didn’t know one another, for the most part, when they sat down, and that made me nervous. I was worried I would have to make this happen, make everyone get along and talk, and that is a role I do not relish. I was wrong. So wrong. It took maybe ten minutes before our little group sounded like they’d known each other for ages. It made me realize I know some pretty fantastic people, even if I’m *really* bad at keeping in touch.

The Abyss

2009-07-08 It Comes 026Hello, old friend. I’m afraid I’ve not missed you. Well, maybe a little. You’ve been around so long, you’re like a part of me. Maybe it’s a part I try to hide, try to ignore, or even try to change, but you are a part of me, a part of who I am.

I’ve spent so much of my life thinking of you. Yes, usually with a little sadness, and maybe a taste of regret. I think of opportunities missed and time lost. I think of things that I could have done if maybe I didn’t have to deal with you. I think of who I might be if you were never part of my life. But then I think, well, who would I be? What if I had never known you exist?

I suppose I could have been someone bigger. Or, well, smaller, actually. Yeah, I bet I wouldn’t have a weight problem without you. I could have been more successful in my life. I could have made money, I could have had a wonderful relationship and children and a beautiful home. I could have had so many things I don’t have. What have you done for me, really? You’ve held me back when I was on moving forward. When things were going well, you showed up and made everything fall apart. You took me away from my friends and my family; you took me away from the things i enjoyed doing; you took me away from the things that made me who I am. I do things that I know are bad for me, things that hurt me. But I can’t help myself. Not when you’re here. You’ve left scars behind. Just when I think they’ve healed, you come around and they open up again.

2010-07-15 Clouds 006aMaybe it’s not all bad. I mean, because of you, I’ve learned how to spend time with myself. That is a valuable skill, really. People don’t always want to do what I want to do, so I have to be comfortable being alone at times. I can eat out at a restaurant alone just fine. I don’t have a problem going to a movie by myself. I can even take short trips solo. It gets old, but I can. I suppose you gave me that. The worst part, I think, is you are, in part, responsible for my more creative moments. Some of my best writing happened when you were around. Some of my favorite photographs happened when you were with me.

But it’s fleeting. It’s only at the beginning, when the world gets brighter and louder. Before long, I’m back in my hole, waiting for you to leave. I wish you would go away forever. You won’t. You can’t, I suppose. As sure as the earth goes around the sun, you will be back.