Monday, June 29, 2015

Results from the Facebook Fast

Courtesy of
My Facebook Fast ended yesterday and I'm rather sad. I liked being off Facebook. It did wonders for me to be able to ignore it and I found myself with far less wasted time. I complain about being nonproductive and I knew that Facebook was a huge part of the problem.

Let me be very clear here. This is my problem. If you can sit in front of facebook for hours on end and feel useful, good for you. If you don't spend but a few hours a month on it, that's wonderful. I view it as a problem. I'm an information addict and it is easy for someone like me to get sucked into "info dumps". That's a place where there is unlimited data with a varying levels of value. The problem is you have to sort it. That takes time, wasted time.

While I did cut down dramatically - from 51 hrs in May to 24 hrs in June - that is still too much time wasted on Facebook. Twenty-four hours spent on anything that doesn't profit me mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or financially, is a waste.

So, with that in mind, I still have to do something. I downloaded the Block Site from the Chrome store in mid-June to aid me in avoiding Facebook and it did help. I was able to override it when I needed to go in for group items or to check on my family. I will continue to use Block Site to control my access and time on Facebook. Even with it, there were a few days I spent far more on FB than was necessary. One day I spent 7 hrs. No one paid me either.

I noted that the worse I felt, the more I was apt to go to Facebook and I didn't feel better when I got off. When I was busy with crochet, reading, writing, working in the yard, or the house I had no desire to even bother with Facebook. But, once on Facebook, I immediately lost track of time and was sucked into the vortex of sludge in the stream. Yes, sludge. I needed a shower after my swim most of the time.

When I realized the draws, I started paying more attention and evaluating what I was seeing, rather than just reading what friends and family posted. There is a lot of garbage that I'm feeding my brain. In general, I tend to read scientific, historical, educational, crochet, or craft items most but on Facebook nothing is arranged in any order and you have only two choices, Top Stories or Most Recent. So one is forced to swim through all the other debris to reach the items that most interest you.

Traditional advertising gimmicks serve as hooks to pull you into things that look interesting. Recently, I found an article of historical photos that I saw months ago. I have now seen it four times under different headlines to make it look like a new post. Also, videos are a problem if they aren't on YouTube. You may want to see one video but are pulled onto a site which has three videos playing in the sidebar that you can't turn off and you can't find the mute button on. These are time sinks and bandwidth devourers that take forever to view.

One of the problems is that if you have a very diverse group of "friends" you're going to get a lot of junk. We don't all share the same politics, religion, and fashion sense. This is the major flaw that I see in Facebook. There is no way to control your content unless you eliminate people from your contacts. You get the good with the bad, the ugly with the beautiful. I've been unfollowing people in the last week. I like the people I have on my list and I don't want to penalize them for their opinions but I also don't agree with some of it. There is only the follow button that gives you any control at all.

I started comparing my time on Facebook with G+ during my fast. I'm on G+ drastically less than Facebook. The 51 hrs in May on Facebook .... 5 hrs on G+. For June -  FB = 24 hrs: G+ = 5 hrs. Huge difference.  Why? What was different?

  1. I don't have a lot of family on G+ but that isn't much of a factor because I'm rarely conversing with them on Facebook anyway. I do read their posts but not a whole lot.
  2. I actually have more connections on G+ than Facebook. This is due to the way people connect to you. But they don't seem to post as much "stuff" so I'm not wasting time shuffling through it.
  3. Facebook is a random stream of stuff with no organization, no way to organize posts, no way to find a post once it is months old. G+ is organized by interest, communities, and circles. You still have to sort, but they have a tag system, too. If I want to post something about crochet, I have a label for that. If I want to visit the communities I'm in, I select Communities. I can create labels, collections, and everything is sorted under them. Finding things takes way less time and there is less chance of getting sucked into useless items. 
  4. There is more focused, educational, and well-written content and less Buzz Feed, and fewer post with the endless redirect links to the content. There are also fewer links to sites with huge quantities of advertisements and bandwidth sucking content. There is some of that but far less than Facebook.

The reason for these could be because FB has more people. I don't care. I'm never going to talk to a million people, let alone 4 million or billion or whatever the last census said. I'm sorry to say, and if you get offended you can unfriend me from Facebook, but it appears that the level of education is at the upper end for G+. I'm linked to things like Neuroscience,  Health, History Channel, Scientific American, Time, TED, PBS, NPR, Nature, and Bible Gateway. That's the kind of stuff I like to read.

Facebook caters to millennials and teenagers, ergo, the content is geared to that: clothes, jewelry, loudmouthed videographers, every pet known to man, children, and food. There's more but to avoid becoming even more offensive, I'll stop there. Yes, there is some of that on G+ but quality far exceeds quanity there.

The net result is that it takes far less time to go through my G+ stream and read the items of interest, targeted to me,  than it does to wade through the stream on Facebook and sort out the debris. Facebook's idea of "target" is to put ads up they think will suck you in.

Yes, I'm arrogant. But I appreciate structure and order and I like feeding my brain amazing stuff.

Overall, I've learned a lot about myself through this 30 day Facebook Fast. It was important. It matters what I feed my mind and soul. I'm not happy being controlled by social media. I intend to retain my independence and to guard my brain against the effects of the sludge. If I fail to do this, it is no one's fault but mine.

I can choose to fill up on cute cats, funny dogs, adorable babies, and insulting articles from both sides of the political and religious fences. I'm sick of it all. Alternately, I can read good books, make beautiful crochet items, make repairs to my house, write stories, mow the grass,  watch movies with Mike, or just sit on the patio. I've decided for me, that is far better than swimming in cesspools.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Day 28: Facebook Flop? Sort of........

Although I've flubbed my 30 day Facebook Fast,(I know I have two days left) I have cut down on the amount of time I've been spending on it. I'm going to have to continue to battle I suspect. I'm using a site blocker in Chrome now. I'm fairly faithful to myself but at times I've  had to turn it off so I can go in and that is annoying because I don't want to. Honestly, I'm about ready to just chuck the whole thing. Let me explain.

I don't subscribe to newspapers. I do not have cable television or local television. I do not wish, desire, or covet either of these things. I had them for years. I suffered from severe depression and worry. I still battle those diseases. When I dropped those, I found life was not filled with a million negative images and words. I have not missed them.

Facebook, in my opinion, is worse. Particularly since it gives the impression that the whole world is insane. I don't particularly believe that but it looks that way on the inside. And the insanity is highly contagious. And keeping up with the news is worse than depressing. I'm not surprised that some folks go off the rails and start doing horrible things. A steady died of having the mess out there shoved down your throat all day, every day is unhealthy. The problem with this country... don't get me started.

I will keep using the site blocker and spend as little time as possible on Facebook.

So, what have I been doing this week?

  • I've been finishing the crochet throw I've been working on. The skein of yarn you see on the throw is my last skein.
  • Starting a crochet dress for one of Sarah's Barbie dolls. 
  • Trying to repair a ceiling. Semi-successful.
  • Researched all morning for a drywall contractor to replace said ceiling. 
  • Called a dozen this morning and sent emails. No one answered or they didn't want the job. Mike started calling and got three appointments!
  • Trying to find someone to do some masonry work. Got three bites.
  • Contemplating the tall grass that needs mowing and trying to decide when to cut it. Not today as it rained again. Maybe tomorrow. 
  • Watching Bones from the beginning on Netflix. While I crochet, of course.
  • Working on River City Writers stuff: 
  1. free seminars/workshops 
  2. my short story for the anthology 
  3. the agendas for meetings
  4.  scheduling meeting places
  5. creating in polishing my seminar presentation for July. 
  6. Oh, On Thursday I took a friend to her doctor's appointment and Mike to his. 

My friend had a procedure that took from about 8:30 until about noon. Mike's appointment was for a final check of his leg. His appointment took just as long as that procedure! The office was bursting with people. We are usually in and out in 30 minutes. So all day at medical facilities but at least it wasn't for ME! The result is I am nearly finished with the throw.

I'm not sure I've been very productive, but I'm sure tired.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Day 25: Do You Ever Wish for an Uneventful Day?

Courtesy Pixabay
I know it sounds silly. On those days when nothing is going on, I'm so annoyed because there is just nothing of interest happening. Even this retirement thing is a pain. I've had the devil of a time trying to learn to be retired. You'd think it would be a breeze. It isn't.

So, I was going to repair the ceiling and wall in Sarah's room while she was gone and repaint the room. It was a simple job. Scrape off old paint, patch a few rough spots, sand down drywall mud, paint. Really, as home repairs go for me, this was a piece of cake. After all, I didn't have to reinvent the wheel. 


I started scraping the paint. It was old damage from when there was a leak that we were unaware of. It had bowed the drywall and caused the paint to begin to flake, although it never came off the ceiling. No biggie. I scraped off the first chip, maybe the size of a half dollar. 

That. Is. Mold.

I scraped off another flake, larger this time. Oh no. Crumbles of what appeared to be sand fell on my hand. Oh no. That's a hole. I scraped an area about 1 ft x 8 in. The hole you see near the wall is all the way through the ceiling and large enough to put a man's fist through. 

Now, this isn't my first rodeo, folks. If you're read this blog for a more than a decade, you know that home repair for my family is a unique and .... exciting event. I refer you to How to Install a Faucet

This was not going to be a simple project. This was major repair the required a 2x3 ft section of the ceiling to be replaced. Why so large? Because there is mold on the damaged section. I don't know how far under the paint it goes. Because the drywall bowed from the leak and although dry for years, it is still bowed. I won't be able to patch an unlevel surface with a small section of drywall. I have to cut a patch wide enough to fit between the rafters and long enough to eliminate the bowed section... about 3 feet. 

To facilitate this, Mike had to go in the attic to remove the insulation from the area. My insulation is blown in and it will fall all over us when we remove the section of the ceiling. It was about 150 degrees in the attic. My roof is low. Mike is 200 lbs. He was nearly ready to faint in the 15 minutes he was in the attic. 

I've already heard that he should have waited until night to do that. Unfortunately, I have to sleep and I doubt the attic would have cooled below 100F before 3 a.m. He can't go in my attic in the middle of the night without help and someone to supervise in case of emergency. So, we settled on a 15 minute time frame to get in and out. Of course the vents and supports and the low roof served as blocks in his passage. He's a big guy. We elected to remove only enough insulation to allow us to take out some of the damage drywall and then try to move the rest when we take out the ceiling. Fortunately, I learned some things during the process. 

As I stood on the ladder with a light stuck through the hole so he wouldn't waste time searching for the area, I figured out how to repair this with the least amount of trouble and without having to go back into the attic to do it. And it will be perfect. In fact, if the section is longer than I anticipate, It will be no problem, except I'll be the one having to hold the thing up. I'm not sure how that's going to work. 

Mike lay on the couch with a wet cloth wiping himself down and drank 32 oz of water. It took half an  hour for him to recover. We went an got lunch. He did his laundry at my house and before he went home, he stuffed a plastic bag in the hole to keep the heat from coming through. 

I am going to write. Tomorrow, we're going to work on the ceiling and I have lunch with my writer friends. Thank goodness! Thursday, Mike goes back to the orthopedic doctor to see where he stands. (No pun intended.) Friday, I hope we're done with the ceiling. 

I'll think about the next step after that. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Day 19: Facebook What?

The Blahs 
I will admit I fell off the wagon this week. I've had so much pain in my hands and a hideous headache all day yesterday that all I could do was sit and stare at the computer, which didn't really help at all. I finally took sumatriptan around noon and it finally cleared out around 5 p.m. I lay in the recliner for three hours with something over my eyes and an ice pack, both of which did not help. I had Pandora set to Relaxation music. I've used it several times and it is amazing. Still, I'm not sure if it was the medicine or the weather but the headache left. It rained around the same time.

Spending Money
Today, I had a dental appointment for a cleaning this morning. Cha-ching $200. No dental insurance yet. They told me dental insurance was nearly useless since it didn't pay much and if it cost me more than $400 a year it would be a waste. Well, yeah! But what if i need a root canal or extraction or whatever!

Balanced Diet is So Important
You may have noticed the sandwich in this post. That is my lunch. And breakfast. I didn't eat before going to the dentist. I just want to point out that this is a completely balanced meal. Bacon, lettuce, tomato, bread. All four food groups plus whatever mayo falls into... maybe dessert. I was famished and remember again why you shouldn't skip meals. But it was good.

Fastbook What? Flop?
I pointed out in my title that this is day 19 of the Facebook Fast...  which has rapidly degenerated this week. I've been on Facebook too much, particularly since FAST denotes not getting on at all!  My state of mind has not been good. The weather has been pretty much horrible most days - hot, wet, cloudy, hot, wet, cloudy. Too uncomfortable to go out for long. My hands have been very painful and made any writing and even crochet painful. the headache presented visual problems. Yard work was out of the question. I was exhausted for days for some reason. I mean several days. Yesterday was a monster headache  that even my pill had trouble with most of the afternoon.

Light at the End of the Tunnel
I was finally able to continue work on the crochet throw I'm making for someone. It is really coming along and is so pretty. I really like the Hobby Lobby yarn "I Love This Yarn". It comes in a lot of colors and is so soft and warm. I found out this is called Seaspray

I've used three skeins and it is already about 24 inches deep. I have three more skeins left. The width is probably a yard and a half. I think it will be a perfect t.v. lap throw.

That about wraps up the morning. It is 1:35 p.m. now and I'm headed for a nap. I've started needing one about this time every day and I've decided to stop fighting it. I was going to write but since the better part of the day is gone and I'm feeling sleepy, I'll wait a few hours to get to that.

Have a great Humpday and hope the rest of the week is downhill. For those of you in Texas and other areas affected by Bill, do we need to send a boat? I have some duct tape and a tarp.....

Monday, June 15, 2015

Day 17: A Bit of This 'N That

Today has been one of those days when nothing got done. I mean really nothing. My sister's car had to go to the shop at 7 a.m. and Mike, bless him, came over and we picked up her car and took it to the shop. We both came back to my house and both of us crash landed. He lay down on the sofa and I went back to my bed and slept until 10 a.m., something I never do. Aside from the oddity, it was great sleep. The problem is, I slept two hours yesterday afternoon and went to bed around 11:30 last night, so I shouldn't have been that tired.

If you saw yesterday's video, you know I spent my time crocheting and watching Netflix. I'm watching CSI:NY. I watched it the first season it was on but stopped in the second season. I think that is when Jerry died and I turned off the cable. Although CSI: Las Vegas is my favorite show, I never cared much for the NY one and I absolutely hated the Miami show. Still I love Gary Sinise in anything so, I'm going to watch it again. It passes the time when I'm tired.

I had a lot of problems with my hands yesterday. Could hardly crochet. It stormed late in the evening and my hands were better this morning after I got up the second time. They've begun hurting again this afternoon and a brief shower began a little while ago. So unstable weather, as usual is a factor in inflammation.

As for today, after we both woke up, we kind of just hung around trying to figure out why we were so tired and then we went to Sonic for lunch. Mike has shopping to do today so he brought me home and went off to do that. I spent the rest of the day reading until I finished the book I had started yesterday. Then I messed around with my photos, posting some I forgot about.

Sarah is having a good time at her Dad's. I can tell when I talk to her, however brief the calls are. She's just so busy.

I'm going now to download a new book and work on my crochet. I keep thinking I'll work on my writing but at the moment, I just don't want to do that. The crochet is going well, but it is difficult with the pain in my fingers. I suspect that is another pleasure that is soon to be gone.

Good night to you.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Day 14: Working My Fingers to the Bone... It Hurts

I've been doing yard work for about a week now and I'm taking the weekend off. Mike helped me with the weed trimming... finally. I got the yard cut again. Today he came early and we put dirt, a weed barrier, and cedar mulch around the front of the  house. Water backs up against the foundation when it rains and I have always had a concern about that. This is my attempt to prevent some of that by raising the areas directly against the house. Don't know if it will work but it can't hurt.

Besides, it  looks better and will make grass cutting a bit easier here since the mower can't really get close to the house. This is on the west facing part of the house. I want to continue it along the south side, that's the corner nearest you in the photo, and continue along the back (east side) of the house. I just think it will look better and maybe will help keep out mice. 

They've torn the house next door down this week. The large shovel you see is filling in the huge hole where the basement used to be. It has taken three days of shoveling dirt and they're still not done filling it in.  I had no idea it has such a large basement. It was as big as the house as far as I could tell. It must have been very dark down there as I never saw a single window. 

I felt bad for the owner. This was the house she grew up in and her mother, now deceased, left it several years ago to enter a nursing home. It has been empty, although filled with stuff until they knocked it down. She was a hoarder. Even after they removed truckloads of items, it was still stacked to the ceiling in places. 

It will seem strange to not see it there. I suspect they'll sell it and someone will eventually build on it. If I had the funds, I'd buy it but it takes all I can do to manage the property I have now. And it would raise my taxes anyway. It is a lovely tree filled lot. 

I've had a rather good week physically. There has been very little pain and it is one reason I've pushed so hard to get this outside work done. Mike and I stopped at noon today because by then the heat was just unbearable. I came in and showered and we went to lunch. When I got back home I hurt all over. I just piled up in the recliner with a Snuggy and Pandora set to Spa music for three hours. I had to take something for my sciatica and I actually think it eased the pain in my hands just a bit. Not sure about that but it seemed they were better. It is back medicine so maybe not. 

I couldn't go to sleep because I was in pain, but I did doze off and on. Around 5 p.m., I took two extra strength acetaminophen to take care of the rest of my pain. I'm feeling much better now, but I have taken something to help me sleep and will go to bed in about an hour. After I rested a bit, I did a bit of crochet while I watched a movie. Now, I think I'll go back to it and find something else to watch. 

Did I mention it is day 14 of the Facebook fast? I will admit that I've gone on a few times because people keep emailing me or I need to send a message to someone else. I don't like it. I haven't missed it and what is shocking is when I get on I realize how very much I don't like Facebook. I don't look forward to going back to it. I've downloaded a Chrome extension called Block Site and it allows me to block specific sites and I can block said site during specific hours. Yes, I can turn it off and I have twice. I'm being honest about my lapses but despite my sense of failure, I'm doing rather well. My Facebook hours are blocked from 8 a.m. to 7  p.m. at the moment. So, no getting on during working hours. I can change that, but I'm not going to at this point. 

I think this is a good extension. I can block one site or multiple sites. There is a password feature but if you forget your password, you're kind of stuck. So, with my lengthy list of passwords, I'm not taking that chance at this point. However, I think it is a great feature. I know it works because twice earlier this week I clicked on the FB link. I put a redirect command in the blocker and it takes me to my Gmail page. So, it worked. I'm a fairly faithful person and I'm good at keeping my commitments most of the time. I've fallen off the wagon a few times this week, but I'm not going to throw in the towel. 

I've had to tell Mike twice not to use my account to send messages because it is logging my productivity time also. My Rescue Time logs all my computer activity and my productivity is up 62%  since I went off Facebook. That doesn't count my offline activity. I was shocked at the difference. I went from 32% to 62% in two weeks.

I"m signing off for the night, I think. Hope you all have a great weekend. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Day 12: What We're Drinking In S. Indiana

Well, this is 12 days without Facebook. It hasn't been a total fast because I had to go on to check some emails and, of course, the addiction draws you but I spend less than 30 minutes each time, I think. I haven't missed it over much and, I've managed to get a lot of work done around here.

I've been busy doing yard work, cleaning house, moving furniture, and doing some minor repairs.  Yesterday, Mike and I rearranged the living room. I'm getting ready to move the computer desk out of the house and my nap sofa but several things must happen before that. 

Yesterday, I changed the water filter under the sink because the water had just reached the point where it was nasty. Please understand, we have a water filtration plant here that cleans and filters water out of the Ohio River for us to drink. For years, I drank it without a filter. About 15 years ago we got an under sink water filter and have used it ever since  in the kitchen, on the cold side only. We changed the filters every six months, roughly January & June. I got off track last year and so the filter has probably been on for closer to nine months. I decided to video the process and let you see just what Southern Indiana is drinking.  

Monday, June 8, 2015

Day 9: Down the Rabbit Hole

*Warning: If  don't like it or get offended when I just pour out my insides, skip this one. 

I'm having a difficult day today. Sarah left to go home with her dad for several weeks and the house is as quiet and empty as the tomb it is. I think too much when I'm alone. When there is nothing to draw me externally, I begin to look inward and truthfully, that's a dark place.

The weekend was rather a letdown. I had to do the yard work and I hurt myself so badly after weeding the flower bed on hands and knees, and then doing trimming I could hardly move all weekend. I hurt from my neck to my feet. My arms, back, neck, and even my stomach were sore. I was glad to see my son, but I was out working most of that time trying to get the weed trimming done before the weather turned or suffering in my chair. I still have not finished the trimming and it is raining today.

I went for a walk, thinking it would be good to get me out of the house and would lighten my mood. It did not. If walking in the rain can't make you feel better, it's pretty bad.  I can't say I have any real physical pain. It is maybe 2-3. The agonizing pain of the weekend, which was really strained muscles, is now nearly gone.

While I was working on some paperwork earlier, I wondered when exactly children begin to have no use for their parents. I raised two sons. I assumed they loved me. I adore them. Elder son does things for me and has always done so. If I'm sick he always shows up and calls. Not so much my younger son. Now he lives in another state so it would be impossible but he lived most of his life up the road a bit. He put up cabinets once.

So, as I stood staring at some stuff I'm clearing out it was with only a slight shock that I realized in 35 years I've never received a mother's day card, a birthday card, a get well card, or any kind of card from my children. Not one. Not ever. Neither of them.  When they were in elementary school, they may have made a couple. I don't think I have them. If I do they're in a folder somewhere.

Nor have I ever received gifts of any kind from my children. They've taken me to lunch a few times. I've bought more of our meals for every occasion. The only real gift I ever got and I know was bought with great thought and love is a beautiful collectible doll in a glass case. Mike got it for me when he was about 12 and I can still remember his face when I opened it and how much that doll meant to me. She is in my bedroom right now, carefully protected from harm in her glass case. I open it sometimes and touch her. She looks a bit like a bride. Jerry bought me a doll, a few years later "because she looked" like me. She's in the living room.

Once, when he was married to his previous wife, the younger son sent flowers. I think it was for my birthday. I showed them to my whole office. Elder son has taken me to lunch a few times ... when he had the money. Younger son has on occasion bought my lunch.

But I have no special mementos to point to and say, my son got me that. Except the doll. I have no file of beautiful cards to Mom. I have a file of cards from my aunt, my sister, Sarah, my ex-daughter-in-law, and maybe from my Dad and step mom.. whom I hardly know. I even have a file of letters from some people. There is a file of sympathy cards I received from people when Jerry died. You will find no cards from my sons when I die.

I also realized I never got flowers or cards from Jerry from probably the early 90's, if then, not even anniversary cards. There are none in my folder from him, but I vaguely recall getting one or two. When we first married I used to get flowers now and then. The last time he bought me flowers was around 1999. It was for my birthday and they were in a cute pumpkin planter. He'd take me to lunch on Mother's Day and my birthday so I suspect that substituted for cards and gifts. For the last 10 years of his life, I bought my own Christmas presents.

I remember being at work when people got flowers on Mother's Day and I'd leave the area because I didn't want someone to ask me, "What'd your family do for you? They did nothing.

I'm not sure why this all came to my mind today. Maybe because the emptiness of my home is a mockery of all that I thought I had once. To wake up one day and everyone is gone and you realize you really weren't special after all is a bit of a shock. How did I miss it? Was I so full of myself that I thought I was really important to these people?

I've never said anything to anyone. I just kept it quiet. I stayed silent. Honestly, I was usually embarrassed by it. It doesn't make me feel better, putting this here today, but I think I've hit bottom. It took me a long time to get here. The fall is pretty steep. My only rationalization is that there are various stages to grief and I suspect some of the realizations I've been having over the last year have something to do with it.

When you go through things after people die, you learn things. Some are things you knew but forgot. Other things are things you should have known but didn't. And still other things are things you wish you'd never found out. You find things that hurt, some that anger, and some that just confuse you. I've experienced all those.

It took a while to realize that not everything was perfect in my little world. I had a good husband most of the time. He was far from perfect. After he died, I made a lot of excuses from some things and just ignored others. Oh, he wasn't doing reprehensible things or illegal things. There were just things I don't know how I missed, some I should have seen and didn't, some I saw but simply chose to ignore. I have "good" sons. Meaning they never got into serious trouble. But when your children leave home and get older you actually discover the depth of character you've instilled in them. It is never what you think.

Most of us turn blind eyes to the faults of our loved ones. I'm no different. My nature is to forgive people any insult to me that they care to dish out, particularly those I love. But here I am today asking myself why should I?

I don't like writing this post because I don't like whiners. But for once in my life, I'm not staying silent. I'm not going to pretend there isn't a problem. I'm not going to make excuses for other people's bad behavior, attitudes, and actions. There are things that are just wrong, and ill-mannered, and selfish.

I can't change the past or the present. I can't fix what is already set in stone. Somehow I have to figure out how to make life mean something without the things or people I thought gave it meaning.

Maybe, as someone once told me, there is no meaning. We just move through our life like pinballs, racking up points here, losing some there but never really making an impact on anything. The sacrifices you make are pointless and go unnoticed everywhere but your own mind. Ultimately, we have no one but ourselves to live with and if we can't do that, we might as well just die.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Day 8 of the Facebook Fast: Chores & Pains

I was up by 8 this morning and had some coffee and started the fountain on the patio just to hear the water. It is too bright and hot on the patio in the mornings, but I could stand and watch it for a bit.

Believe me when I say it was a pain. I hurt everywhere, particularly my gluteus maximus. I think kneeling over in the flower bed yesterday and climbing ladders and weed trimming did a number on me. My arms hurt. My neck hurt. My back hurt. My legs hurt. My butt hurt.

And they still hurt tonight.

By 9 a.m. I was in the yard using the weed trimmer to cut the rest of the weeds. I still have the railroad area and back of the house to do. My arms were hurting so I stopped. And my behind is not happy with me.

You'd think my glutes get a good workout, sitting all day but apparently that is not the case. Let me tell you, weeding your flower bed is the best workout your butt will ever get. It will give a huge pain in your neck, too.

At 1 p.m. today I attended the River City Writers' meeting. That is always fun because I get to see the other writers. Once that was done I came home and started on the mower.

Dave and Mike replaced the blades on the mower and I hope will be able to do the oil and filters tomorrow. I also need to do some more planting. There are other things I wanted to get done before Dave left, but I will have to just do them after he's gone. It was a good thing he was here to change those blades. Mike's leg is still a  problem and removing the deck, cleaning it, replacing the blades, and putting it back took both of them. I could not have helped Mike.

It is after 10 p.m. now and I'm still sore all over after a hot shower. I can hardly get up and down. It is amazing how much work you butt does when you try to get out of a chair, climb steps or get in and out of cars. It is awful.

Still, I feel better knowing those blades are fixed. I just wish we'd got more done. I know eventually I may be able to do the weed trimming without help but at the moment, it is really difficult. I've lost so much muscle mass and just have no strength. The work also causes severe joint pain after I do it. So, even if I get the strength, my joint problem persist. I'm not sure that the butt pain is also attributable to my walk on Thursday with Sarah. We walked 1.7 miles. Then, I worked on Friday morning pulling weeds. So, the combination is probably to blame.

I'm at Day 8 of the Facebook Fast. I hardly miss it these days. I miss talking to family and some of my friends. However, today, I got my report card from Rescue Time. My productive time so far this month is 62% higher than it was last month. Can you believe that? Sixty-two percent more productive in one week than I was in the whole month.

So, I'm letting myself feel good about this. If I don't hear from folks, well, I've been here before. When Jerry died, people stopped calling after a six weeks. There are people I haven't heard from in nearly 7 years. I'm not hunting them down. I found new friends. A

Thank you for sticking with me. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Day 7: Face Who?

Weather: Warm & Sunny
Pain Level: 2 in the morning 5 in the afternoon
Mood: Not great

I started the morning hopeful I'd get some things done. My pain levels were low and that's an opportunity that I try to take advantage of when possible. I went to Lowe's at 9 a.m. to see about counter tops. I want to put a bar counter in the kitchen above some cabinets. I have to special order them and that is an expense I doubt I can afford. It was a thought.

I came back thinking I could get the weed trimming done. I got the front done and the flower bed weeded and the crepe myrtle trimmed up and with the help of a tall ladder, all the dead branches off. And that was when I crashed. No, I didn't fall off the ladder. It was noon. I didn't get 4 good  hours before I was wiped completely out, my neck hurt, my hands hurt, my right knee stopped working, and I felt as if I was going to pass out.

There was no one to take over so I had to leave the trimmer lying in the garage floor. I was too tired to care what  happened to it at that point. The mower is sitting in the middle of the floor too. I just don't care. I simply can't keep this up. Doing this yard work is just too much for me. By the time I get done, it is tall grass again and I have to start over.

I came in and around 3:30 I lay in the recliner and napped for about an hour, until people woke me up.

I was going try again before dark, but David said wait till tomorrow. I still have the whole railroad area to cut. It is virtually impossible to do that in less than two hours. After it is all cut, I'll do the yard.

And I have a meeting at 1.

Still the end of the day was pleasant. We had supper on the patio and I just sat there like a slug. David as Sarah had a good time together while I watched.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Day 5: Facebook Fast Turns to Feast

Weather: Cool & cloudy
Pain level: 2
Energy level: 6

A Pretty Lady

Here she is. Isn't she beautiful? I just love her. I had to move some stuff to put her in front of a mirror so you could get the whole effect in one shot. I am so trilled with this. It says on the bottom, Park Avenue Dreams. It is a Lenox figurine so I know it was originally pricey. I paid $6. I want to go back and get a couple of others but honestly, what am I going to do with them?

I'll have to pull out the one my mother bought me, and put them together. I keep that one in the china cabinet. It occurs to me I'm not enjoying it as I could. My new lady is standing on the table by the window in front of me.

Sarah Rambles

Sarah spent the night at her other grandparents. She had done that a couple of times now. I'm glad they're finally getting to enjoy her some. She had a great time the last few times she's been there. It gave me a bit of a break as well, although, you can't imagine how empty the house was and how much I missed her. She was my salvation after Jerry died and has remained my sanity. I pray for her all the time because the world is a horrible and cruel place and a light like Sarah should not be dimmed. One of her school friends said to me once, "I love Sarah. The teachers love Sarah. Everyone loves Sarah." There was not even a hint of envy in her voice.

Enough sappy stuff.

Tart Cherry Juice

I went to the Vitamin Shoppe yesterday and bought the Tart Cherry Juice. I've had several people tell me to go and get it because it helps reduce inflammation. The clerk said they sale a lot of it but you know, he's trying to sell a $25 bottle of juice. You take 2 tablespoons a day. I think I can get 30 days out of the bottle but it is still expensive. If it works, that will be every month but honestly, if I can get off some of this toxic meds, I'll forego bread. I started last night. I'll keep you posted on how it is working, if it works.

Note, if you are wondering what it taste like, it isn't cherries. It is wildly tart but not unbearably so. There is a mild underlying hint of cherry but it really has a rather odd taste. When I took it I was shocked that it tasted familiar and I spent the better part of an hour trying to figure it out. When I did I was on the phone telling my Aunt Phillis about it.

Anyone remember Black Draught? It taste like Black Draught!  I believe the Black Draught from my childhood had a black cherry flavor! And Black Draught was just a senna laxative. My aunt and I had a good laugh over this. When we were both children, Black Draught cured everything. I suspect it would have cured the plague (tongue in cheek). The irony of it all is that there is a common belief these days that cleansing the bowels is actually healthy. And that is all it was used for back then.

Writing Progress 

I'm well behind in my writing. Today I will have to finish up my checking account issue. For the most part I've figured it out but I must get all these things entered and pay the bills. I shouldn't spend until I get it all done.

Crochet Project

Since yesterday was totally non-productive in terms of real work. (The laundry is on the bed again and beds unmade.) I spent the evening watching some movies and doing a small crochet project. Felicia, my daughter-in-law, asked for coasters for her car. She wanted a wine color but they didn't have it at the store. I had this variegated thread left over from a previous project.

After several text, photos of the cup holders, and figuring out we had cars made by the same company, I whipped this up and put it in my cup holder. It fits. I've never considered putting one in the car holders but they do get rather messy down in the bottom and are rather hard to clean out. This will catch some stuff and soak up spills. They'll wash but I'm not sure how well the cotton will release stains. Sodas leave a rather nasty one but she's is a dental assistant so maybe she avoids too many sodas. I've never asked.

I will make the second one tonight and mail them to her. David will be here sometime tomorrow but she can't come with him. She'll get them probably by the time he leaves on Monday, actually  maybe even Saturday.

Multiply Memories

As you can see my Facebook fast has not starved me at all. I'm actually enjoying it because some of my old Multiply friends are commenting here and there and it almost feels like old times hearing from them. Now if y'all start blogging again so I can read yours and comment.  I don't think I've missed anything as much as Multiply. And you know, the company is totally bust now. I it flopped in one month. You can read the Multiply wiki here. I had no idea they had reached 2.7 million members before they sold it.

I was also astonished at how much the site encompassed, even though I was there from nearly the beginning until the end. It did it all. As I was reading, I also became aware that G+ is now doing nearly everything Multiply did except creating the personal website feature but actually, Blogger fills that niche for them. You can now even buy your domain. You can design your page pretty much anyway you want. There is unlimited photos hosting, YouTube movies, Blogger blog, and now the new Collections, which I think I'm going to like a lot. Someone said they were trying to mimic Pinterest but it isn't at all like Pinterest. It is more like a better way to organize your posts.

I still miss the interaction of Multiply but I think the problem is everyone sort of scattered and those who came to Blogger were confused as to how to proceed and just dropped out of site. I managed to keep contact with about 15 or 20 people and actually some of those I picked up after Multiply closed.

Well, enough reminiscing. I have several things to do. Dry my hair, finish the checking account balancing, clean up a bit. I pick Sarah up between 1 & 2. My friend Rae is coming over for at 3 for a couple of hours so her son and Sarah can play a bit. Then, I suspect our day will wind down. My, it goes so fast!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Day 4: Facebook Fading

I am sitting at this table with you and we're enjoying the sunshine, a gentle breeze, and good conversation. The flowers are lovely and I can smell the lemon and hear birds chirping.

O.K. so maybe I'm exaggerating but it is a nice place in my head. Actually, today, the weather is crappy again. What happened to spring, pray tell? I'm pretty tied of this. I think I'm going to have to go to the desert just to get some sunshine.

Weather: Cool, damp, cloudy
Pain levels: 3
Energy level: 4

In reality half the day is gone and all I accomplished was getting Sarah over to her other grandparents. She wanted to go and since she is going to her Dad's for the summer, she needs to visit them. It will give me 24 hours of space to get a few things done. At least, that was the plan. All I really did was get up, feed her, get her some items packed and take her over. 

I did stop at the grocery to pick up some items. I also went to the thrift store looking for coasters. They didn't have any but I did pick up a suitcase for Sarah to use and a lovely figurine that I have no idea what I'll do with, but she was lovely and I wanted her. I suspect she was rather expensive when someone bought her originally. She cost me $8 at the thrift store but I suspect she cost well over $20 new. I'll post pictures when I unpack her. 

I had to work on the router a bit and now I'm going downtown to get the statement from the VA that will allow me to signup for some financial assistance for medical expenses at one of the hospitals. 

Later, I hope to do some writing on the short story. I've been organizing several group things and my own story is flagging. I doubt I'l be back on today. 

I'm not missing Facebook at all. That can't be a good sign.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Day 3: Approaching the Oasis

Today was an exciting day for Sarah. Her best friend from school came by this morning and visited for a couple of hours. Erin is a pretty girl with short dark hair and a big smile. When they saw each other they were ecstatic. I couldn't believe how happy. They were grinning and giggling. I was a bit envious. I don't ever remember having friends like that. I remember having friends, playmates, but I don't remember anyone ever being thrilled to see me. I think I'd have remembered that.

They played for a couple of  hours before she had to leave. It was so funny when Erin arrived. She had on this purple shirt with a dog on it. Sarah laughed and said, "I have that same shirt." In a bit she rooted her shirt out and went and put it on. They really were cute together and you could tell by the constant smiles on their faces that they were just so happy to be together.

After the company left, Sarah went to play with the little girl up the street, Harper. I sat down to do my bank account and pay bills... and nearly had a heart attack.

Mid-month is when I update my account and make sure everything is entered before I pay bills. I do the same at the first of the month. I remember doing it mid-month because I was extremely low on money and knew I was going to need to be very careful.

Imagine my feeling when I got into my checkbook program to find everything from the 5th of May was gone. All the entries I made weren't there. Not a trace. It appeared as if I hadn't done a thing since the first of the month. I knew it wasn't true because of the balance that was showing when I finished. Both the active file and the backup file were affected,which is very odd. I never figured out what happened. I only knew I had to fix it, fast.

First I had to do the May reconciliation. Then, I had to pull out every receipt for the whole month of May and review them to see if there were in the system.  After the 6th of the month none were there. So, I had to start entering them.

I have a system I've had in place for  years. Every dime I spend I get a receipt for and I put that in an envelope labeled for that month and year. Each month I start a new one. I keep these envelops in a file drawer and shred them about every 4 years. Yes, 12 months of envelopes x 4. But I can't tell you how many times in a year I've had to research a month for a receipt to prove something, to claim a warranty, to return an item that proved defective, or to prove I paid a bill. You have no idea how many times this has saved my bacon.

Today was a case in point. Had I not kept those receipts, I don't know how I would have rebuilt a month of the register. Yes, I could research my check register or the statement when I get it but the register was the problem and it is tedious reading over old bank statements. In this case, the statement won't come out until the 6ht. Then if you can even find what you're looking for the stores still want a receipt. If I can find when I bought it, I just go to that month and pull the receipt. My system paid off big time today.

I finished another coaster cozy in a couple of hours while Sarah was off playing. They look so nice in the living room. I'm very impressed and will be making more of these. I have two more of my hard coasters that need covers. I may take a look at some of the thrift stores to see if I can find some old ones to use to make as gifts. I use a lot of coasters. They're in every room in the house because I have wood furniture every where. And I don't mind people carrying a drink to the living room or cold water to their room at night. I just don't want it on the wood.

I was doing a lot of "business" stuff today which included calls, one related to medical bills. I found out that I may qualify for some help with my medical bills. That has been a slowly escalating debt. I either have to curtail my doctor's visits or lab work. The hospital is going to send me the paperwork to fill out. She thought I'd qualify based on my income. We'll see. I generally don't qualify for anything so I'm not getting too excited.

At some point Sarah came home, around 3 pm I think, with the friends and played outside until she decided to play in the "lake" at the bottom of the drive. I caught her with mud smeared on her face, hands, and a ball. She came in for a bath and change of  clothes and the other kids sent on their way.

I think she thought I was going to be roaring mad. It was rather amusing actually but I didn't laugh or even smile. I told her I was mostly annoyed because she could have played a couple of hours longer. She's been told before to stay out of that mud hole at the end of the drive. It is just filthy and with all the rain it just won't dry up. I asked her what she was thinking. She said, "I'm stupid." Of course I had to nix that idea, too. I told her, "No, you're a kid and you do dumb things sometimes." She didn't agree. Insisted she was stupid. But she smiled at me.

I went back to work while Sarah entertained herself. Around 6 p.m. I stopped . We decided it would be nice to just go and eat and relax with no phones. I left my cell phone in the car. We just sat in Dairy Queen and ate chicken and chatted.

When we came back we sat and watch Disney's Tarzan. I'd never seen it before but I really enjoyed it. She got tired and went to bed. I was going to work more on the data entry but I've had it. I'm headed for bed when I close this post.

Oh.. it is Day 3 without Facebook. Again, the first hour of the day is a bit difficult. A couple of times I found myself hovering over the icon on the task bar but I moved on to something else. I've had a about half a dozen comments on the blog and it was so nice to hear from them. I said people who wanted to hear from me or talk to me would find me. Jilly, in particular, has been absent for a while and it was great to hear from her. She's the busiest person I know but I do miss her blogs.

I'm still getting my land legs under me. I need a bit more organization and structure. I suspect it will take a bit. I'll have plenty of time when Sarah goes to her Dad's but I am sure going to miss her so much. She's become a good little companion at times.

What I have noticed almost immediately is that I'm actually doing stuff. Lots of stuff, without a lot of organization, but it is getting done in fits and starts. That's giving me fits. I have to reestablish some structure to my days.

Good night, my friends. I hope you have sweet dream and pleasant days.