‘Don’t endure’

Once upon a time, like on Thursday, I went to a girls night office gathering at a local bar.

I was THIS CLOSE to NOT, but then I felt bad when the front desk receptionist asked if I was going so they could save table space, so I said yes. When I got to the place, it was packed. Beyond packed. I found my coworkers and tried to make small talk while looking at a menu filled with things I can’t eat, all while continuously eying the door.

The woman I was sitting closest to — no longer with our office, but one whom I meet with semi-regularly because she’s awesome — kept asking me if I was okay. “I’m fine,” I repeatedly answered, because that was the truth … for my gut. My gut was fine. “But there’s something going on with you,” she insisted, and it made me laugh. Oh, God, my super power is supposed to be looking calm and collected on the outside when there’s a riot going on inside, and apparently she saw right through that shit.

(Are you guys offended by bad words, incidentally? I work in a newsroom so I swear a lot — sorry, Mom — but I don’t usually write in swear words. I don’t know, I’m feeling salty today I guess.)

Anyway, the moral of that is I confessed that I was feeling anxious: About the menu, about the crowd and the noise, about Abby coming home on the train for Thanksgiving break, about work deadlines being so ^*%^$$^& unreasonable and how I almost didn’t come. I didn’t go into detail, but my friend is wonderful and said, “You should go then. We will meet up, just us, soon.”

What a gift, seriously. To be understood like that. I did stick around for another few minutes before making my leave. I came home, microwaved one of my Trisha-friendly freezer meals I’d made earlier, curled up by the wood stove with a book, and enjoyed the quiet house (as Eric and Jo were at basketball practice). It was fantastic.

Anyway, I went to acupuncture Friday afternoon and was talking about how I’ve been doing in the past month. It’s part acupuncture, part therapy. And I retold the story above.

My acupuncturist was like, “I’m going to give you some advice, and it’s only two words so it’s easy to remember: Don’t endure.”

And I was like, “That is brilliant.”

I am an introvert and a people-pleaser. That’s not bad on either account, but it does mean that a lot of my stress and overwhelm is completely self-inflicted. And I’m trying to accept that about myself — that I know I need to take better care of my mental and emotional health but often choose not to.

Case in point: I wanted to go home and read after a long and tiring day at work, but chose to walk into a crowded bar instead. I chose to give myself a panic attack, basically.

So that’s what I’m thinking about this week and working towards. It’ll take longer than a week, but I can lay some groundwork, anyway. And I’ve got “Don’t endure” notes all over my journals.

P.S. We picked Abby up from the train station on Saturday morning, and we get to keep her until Sunday. YAY.

I give up. Let’s all just be distracted

I had planned to put up a real post this morning … but decided that what we all use a laugh instead. So I give you:

Being an Introvert HERE

Being an Extrovert HERE

Both are by the same guy — but I tell you this, I really did laugh out loud. (The introvert video is waaaaaaay to real.) And the comments are great, too.

We’ll double back NEXT week and … I don’t know, mess around some more, probably, who am I kidding?

You’re welcome. 😉

Back on track

After the soul suck of everything of last week, I’m heading into this week with grand plans of getting myself back on track. One of the issues I face is that, when the going gets tough, I shut down. This is why I need a social media ban after 7 p.m., to keep myself from just laying on the couch all night in a device-induced haze. I’ve always tended to be like this, although we didn’t have devices when I was growing up (I mean, we didn’t really have devices until I was in my mid-30s), so my “induced haze” was mostly just laying on my bed, listening to Depeche Mode and The Cure on the ol’ stereo and being depressed.

Different times, different drug. Although I can’t help but think THAT was healthier than, like, getting into fights with strangers on Facebook just to vent feelings.

Because I like to journal, I’ve made a list of what I want to remember this week — those things I have to do, like sweeping up all the cat hair off the floor (Pro tip: Dark hardwood + light-haired cats = a recipe for disaster), and the things I want to keep in mind, like making decisions based on how they will affect my overall health.

And THEN, because I know myself so well, I made an additional list of what I can do when I feel myself shutting down — generally just problem solving my way out of bad decisions. I want to take care of myself, not just numb the negative feelings, as is my fallback solution to basically everything. (It’s probably a good thing I don’t like the taste of alcohol, to be honest. I would have another layer of problems if I did.)

My list, in part:

  • Put phone on silent
  • Keep a stack of books on hand
  • Journal it out
  • Listen to music
  • Take a nap
  • Yoga
  • Hot shower
  • Walk break / outside time
  • Turn off electronics
  • Go to bed early

I need to come up with a list just for work, I think — things there aren’t quite as bleak as I thought they were last week, but damn! It’s not unicorns and rainbows, either. And I’m finding myself completely wiped out by the time I get home, physically, mentally, emotionally, the works.

So let’s do some brainstorming, internet friends: What do you do when you’re overwhelmed? How do you put your health / sanity first? How do you make good use of the time you have in ways that fill you up? How do you deal with stressful situations?

Election hangover

Well … I thought I would be able to write a real post today, but it seems that I’m just not in the mood. I was hoping to feel better after Tuesday’s election results came in, but I still have this sense of impending doom hanging over my head.

i voted sticker spool on white surface

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

I think it’s because I wanted something more … substantial. A huge slap in the face for the powers that be. And I didn’t quite get that. I need to be happy with the positives that did happen (Oregon had a measure on the ballot that would have repealed our sanctuary state status that was soundly defeated and we kept our governor) and resign myself to the fact that America is still a deeply divided country.

It didn’t help matters that I spent Tuesday evening glued to the television and my laptop to get continuously updated results. Wednesday morning felt like a hangover — or what I imagine a hangover to feel like, since I’ve never actually had one: A vague sense of shame and a fuzzy head.

Work is also weird … we’re undergoing some major changes at the paper and I have a feeling the writing is on the wall. I don’t necessarily care for myself, but it’s way more depressing to see things fall apart than I thought it would be. It’s like we’re on the Titanic, the band has started to play and we all know how this is going to end, but we’re still holding out hope that a lifeboat is will turn up.

The moral of this story: Don’t be journalists, kids.

This has ended up being a rather pathetic brain dump, so I am now going to attempt to turn it around: Things are super stressful right now, but I can choose to … what? … to have a happy heart? To look at the bright side? To not let the bastards get me down?

Five things I can do to make myself feel better right this very second:

  1. Turn off the television.
  2. No news websites.
  3. No stress eating.
  4. More coffee!
  5. Write it out, yo.

Huh. Creating that list was simple, yet effective. I do feel better! Maybe it’s all about the illusion of control, I have no idea, and why analyze it, really.

Okay, internet friends, real post on Monday. Probably. How are we all doing, incidentally? Everybody hanging in there?

Vote!

I have never NOT voted.

I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, and we had this awesome little musical cartoon that would play between Saturday morning TV shows called Schoolhouse Rock. It was brilliant — awesome graphics and a history or grammar lesson set to rock music. My favorite was Suffering Till Suffrage (HERE) because women receiving the right to vote is the 19th Amendment and my birthday is on the 19th. Obviously THAT is more than enough to recommend it, but also, it was just so damn hard to believe that there was ever a time that women weren’t allowed to vote and that the suffragettes had to go through so much to get us that right.

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We were sufferin’ till suffrage! Image: Pinterest

I remember being about 9 and thinking, I cannot WAIT to vote! Because I wanted to prove to those brave souls that their work to get me a vote was appreciated.

I mean, I guess — I was 9, so my thought process wasn’t quite that advanced.

I’ve had a few, shall we say, moments when I’ve felt that, regardless of the chance to voice my opinion through the voting process, that maybe it doesn’t really count for much after all (um, 2000 and 2016 elections, specifically). So I get that there are people out there who are fed up with the system and don’t vote. Only I just lied because I get being fed up, but I cannot understand not voting. Especially not when it took so much to get the right to vote, and when there are still women out there in various countries who cannot, still.

Perhaps you’re thinking, Uh, Trisha, I don’t come here for politics, or you think I lean one way or another based on this post and find that offensive. I know. Politics suck. But here’s the thing: I don’t care which way YOU lean. I just want you to cast your ballot tomorrow.

It’s just too important not to. Vote vote vote.

P.S. In Oregon, we have vote by mail, which is AMAZING. Here’s how we vote: Your ballot comes a few weeks before the election, along with a voters pamphlet. You sit at your kitchen counter with a cup of coffee and a cat on your lap and make an informed decision in whatever time frame works best for your schedule. Then you either pop it back in the mail or you take it to a ballot drop-off site by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

HERE, read this — it’s about how awesome we are. Basically if you don’t have vote by mail, you need to petition or something because damn! Not only does it open up voting to everyone who is eligible, but it’s hard to hack a piece of paper …

P.P.S. Real post Thursday.

From NPR: European Parliament Approves Ban On Some Single-Use Plastics, Reduction On Others

Heard this on the radio last week and wanted to share. Story link HERE.

From the article:

Consumption of single-use plastics “for which no alternative exists,” such as single-use food boxes or containers for fruits, vegetables or ice cream, must be reduced by at least 25 percent by 2025, according to the legislation.

The measure also cracks down on fishing gear, such as monofilament fishing line, and tobacco waste. It seeks to reduce waste from tobacco products and cigarette filters containing plastic by 50 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2030.

This is just so damn great. I mean, China is probably the worst offender and the US is probably second, and I would love it if America would follow suit (fat chance under this presidency) … and we’re talking seven years from now … but considering that our oceans are filled with plastic, this is such a huge step in the right direction.

Yay good news!

Trisha-friendly

It’s been a hell of a week — Eric was hunting in central Oregon (the elk continue to survive), Johanna has a ridiculous activity schedule, and work can best be described as “challenging” at this particular juncture in time. But I DID IT. And I only had one anxiety attack, which is a miracle. Because I am a creature who lives by her routines, and they were completely disrupted all week long.

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I don’t really have art for this post so here’s some pumpkins and apples.

I credit a couple of things to this:

I have been eating very, very well for my gut — more on that below — and I have been very, very good about keeping to the parameters of my social media habit re-do. Both of these have contributed to an overall sense of well-being.

For me, social media is a gateway drug to wasting time online. I have unfollowed and unfriended (and hidden when neither of those were an option) so. many. people and sites. and it doesn’t take long for me to actually go through any of my accounts — a quick check to see what Thoughts of Dog is up to and what hilarity can be found on Man Who Has It All on Twitter, then over to Instagram for pictures of kittens and babies, maybe a scroll through Facebook … but after THAT, it’s like a free for all. Any new emails at home? No? How about at work? What’s going on in the news? I’ve been meaning to look for a new book … which is why I’m over here checking out weather reports and what new pins Pinterest has chosen for me and laughing at cat memes.

And then three hours have passed.

But not this week! I was a tiny bit afraid that while I waiting for Johanna at her various activities I’d turn to social media just to kill time, but I solved THAT problem by leaving my iPod at home. BOOM. Also, introvert tip: If you pull out your laptop and open a Word doc and start typing, everyone leaves you alone because they think you’re working.

As far as the food front goes, I have made some progress since my rant a couple of weeks ago. I have learned that spelt tortillas are not for me, but I have also learned that butternut squash soup IS.

And what is a Trisha-friendly butternut squash soup? Observe:

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 chopped medium onion

Saute the onion in butter until translucent, then add:

  • 2-3 pound butternut squash, cut into 1-inch chunks (or, like, whatever my knife deems appropriate, details are boring)
  • 32 ounces of chicken broth

Add butternut squash and broth to onions and simmer 15-20 minutes or until tender. Puree and add back to pot; season with:

  • Nutmeg, salt and pepper

… To taste.

I mean, that’s pretty boring and basic, but my gut seems to think it’s awesome, and it tastes good, too, which is more than I can say for a lot of what I eat. AND it’s low waste as far as trash and plastic go, so even better.

I made this again this weekend and froze three 2-cup servings. I have learned that having a stash of meals is important and necessary. And it also means that Eric and Johanna can have pasta for dinner and I’m not tempted to compromise because I’m starving.

I also made hamburger patties and baked sweet potatoes for another couple of freezer meals. I’m not a big meat eater, but beef, chicken, pork and eggs are all safe, so … I guess now I am a big meat eater. We’ll concentrate on the fact that THAT is also low waste (meat counter visit with a container, bulk sweet potatoes) to ease my conscience.

So we’re getting there is what I’m saying.