Every year at this time I start thinking there’s something about August. Especially late August. The air is cooler . At least it used to be. The sun sets a little earlier. Gardens are being harvested. Summer vacations are drawing to a close. Kids are returning home from camps. Fair season has begun. Back to school is lurking around the corner. There is also a sudden feeling that the first small step into autumn was taken.
Over the years I have relished the good feeling that has gone along with this particular snippet in time. This year seems to be different and I am not liking the difference. First, let me say that I have always been a big fan of Autumn. Autumn and Spring are 1 and 1a for my favorite seasons. As much as I thrive on the cooler weather, something is not feeling quite right. In fact, I am aware of a low level of anxiety or dread about the inevitable winter. After pondering the situation, I think I have come up with why. It’s kind of a P.T.S.D. scenario.
About mid-January of this year there was a monster snow storm. I recall being quite disturbed by additional limitations to the ones I already had. I became less independent than I already was. The discomfort didn’t get a chance to ease much as another unfortunate episode happened in March. I had a form of vertigo that affected my well-being into June. What I realized is that I’ve been feeling the retention of the memory of those difficult months. That memory had me dreading a repeat this coming winter.
As I acknowledged that anxiety about something that, in actuality, may never happen, my attitude began to shift. I also believed that some COVID crazy exacerbated my worries. So many of us have experienced unusual effects from the pandemic.
Seeing thoughts and unfounded expectations through a lens of truth and reality, allows me to once again look forward to what I love about Autumn.
There are 2 morals to this story:
One: We should not believe everything we think.
Two: Stressing over impossible to predict tomorrows, robs today of it’s joy and wonder.
Comments are welcome.
After last week’s confession about this blog business, I did consider calling it quits. I have an easy exit if I choose to use it. My M.O. is to agonize over such things. For now, the decision is to take it one week at a time and see what happens.
They say that things come in 3’s. Over the past week or two, my appliances may have been attacked by gremlins or some other mischievous being that spooked them and me. This was most disturbing as I am very grateful for my appliances and even have the occasional appliance appreciation day. That basically is being intentionally grateful for the services they provide. The tendency is to take some of the basics for granted until something goes awry. You know – the stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer. My AC tops my gratitude list due to the horrifically hot summer. Coming in next are the devices such as my computer, TV, phones. Doing without any of these is unthinkable. Ironically, many of us grew up without any of those except for a land line phone and one day the advent of a black and white TV. How things have changed. How we and our expectations have changed.
What seemed like a small matter until things escalated began with the AC. The AC people who had originally installed the units came to service it’s entirety. A good thing, right? Essentially it was, with a small glitch. After they left, it took 2 days to get the AC working again in the manner to which I was accustomed. Of course, it was brutally hot during those 2 days. After that all was well and I was grateful.
The next thing that happened was weird and inexplicable. This time it was my computer. I had been out for a couple of hours. Upon my return, the computer was malfunctioning. It was a panic and anxiety filled situation as the one person who could help me was away. I did the usual fix which was to shut down and restart. That did not work. Being blind, I had no idea if there was a message on the screen since my screen reader was not working either. I phoned my son-in-law, who is not a tech person, but might have a clue. He, my daughter and their dog came over. There were messages on the screen which were like a foreign language to us.
I phoned Microsoft Disabilities, the tech service to those with a disability. They were not much help since they could not remotely connect to my computer. The tech did say to try to back up everything in case the worst happened. Fortunately, we were able to do that. My son-in-law tried a few things hoping to decipher the screen messages. Finally, he turned the computer off.
My anxiety level was climbing as I had a class to teach in a couple of days and everything I needed was on the computer. I was so glad the dog was with us as he is my therapy dog. He is cuddly and helped temper my anxiety. After a few minutes S started the computer to see what would happen. Miraculously, it began doing normal computer things, my screen reader returned asking for the password. I typed it in. Lo and behold, everything was back up and running. Relieved and beyond grateful. I can only hope and pray all will be well for a long time
Then along came number 3. Fortunately, what at first seemed like having to buy a new TV, got resolved fairly quickly. After the morning news I turned the TV off and went on with my day. When I later turned it on again, nada. NO sound. Of course, I could not know if there was anything on the screen. No one was around to help me. Before hitting the panic button, I went through a check list. First, I turned my other TV on to see if it was a service provider outage. The second TV was working. Next, I did a reboot. Nada. Then I changed the batteries in the remote. Nada. Next, I turned the volume up in case it was somehow muted. Nada. I turned off the TV and figured I would phone my son-in-law after work to once again come to the rescue. Meanwhile I go to the worst case scenario – having to buy a new TV. That thought prompted me to phone my daughter to see if she had some time to come by and check it out. I told her everything I had done so far. She asked if I changed the channel in case it was one of those channels that sometimes go out. Duh! Don’t know why I never thought of that. I turned the TV on and changed the channel. Voila!
There are 2 morals to this story:
One: Almost everything will work again if we unplug it for a few minutes, including us.
Two: The way we see the problem is the problem.
Comments are welcome.
I was so crazed about zucchini that I overlooked last Monday, August 8. It wasn’t just National Zucchini Day. It was the fifth anniversary of this blog. That may not mean much to anyone other than me. In fact, it is a really big deal for me. Here’s why.
The reason is all about this business of blogging. A couple of years ago I was searching for some kind of a creative endeavor. The one thing that was available to me was the one thing I was trying to avoid. Isn’t that the way? The things we do our best to avoid have a way of jumping up and biting us. That’s what happened. Ouch!
As part of my avoidance plan I considered learning a new musical instrument. For years I was intrigued with the dulcimer. A friend had one which he leant me. I took some lessons from Maestro Google, but soon lost interest. I tried to revive my piano skills. Piano lessons were the bane of my childhood, but I thought what the heck? I even went so far as to purchase a small keyboard. It resides in a cozy nook, sporting a lovely dust cover, going unnoticed most of the time.
There I was, once again faced with the unavoidable – writing. Ugh. The idea of a blog was put before me. There are so many reasons this was a bad idea. Long story short, a lengthy, neurotic internal dialogue ensued. Finally, coming up with a psychologically acceptable exit strategy, gave me the impetus to go for it. Somehow, I managed to go 5 full years without missing a single week.
The main reason I have never missed a week is that I know if I skip one week, I will not pick it up again. Yet, there were several times I considered invoking my exit strategy including right now. There were a few occasions I did take a break, but still put out short notices saying so. Again, if I hadn’t at least done that much, it would have been the end.
Given all that, I decided to celebrate this accomplishment. This all tells me that I do have perseverance, creativity, the ability to keep commitments.
As I sit here typing all this, I really want to call the whole thing off. However, something inside me says keep going. Well, we’ll see. Meanwhile I will celebrate going 5 years without missing one week. Guess that’s pretty good.
My apologies. I just can’t help myself. I seem to have a thing about zucchini. A few years ago I wrote about my forgettable introduction to growing those quasi cucumbers. Today being National Zucchini Day, I was compelled to revisit a horticultural horror. What gardener does not have a zucchini story? Here’s mine.
Full disclosure, the closest I had ever come to gardening was buying fruits and vegetables from a farmer’s market. Consequently, during my first bona fide gardening experience, I learned, the hard way, the zucchini principle: Never plant more than one zucchini seed, ever ever ever. Of course, in my exuberant ignorance, I planted the entire packet. There was a song from the 50’s or 60’s about the eggplant that ate Chicago. Then there was some grade B sci-fi movie about killer tomatoes. We had the zucchini that swarmed Centerville. Zucchini vines traversed the entire garden menacing all the other vegetables. They wound their way down an incline leading away from the garden, under the clothesline nearly reaching the main road ravaging everything in their path. The zucchini regenerated as quickly as they were picked. The more you picked them, the more prolific they became. Why keep picking them, you ask? If you don’t they just grow larger until they reach the size of torpedoes or small ballistic missiles. Then you need a forklift (or the military) to clear them out. I was in a real pickle. Gosh, I had never thought to make zucchini pickles. Probably a good thing.
There are numerous recipes calling for zucchini and a myriad of ways to disguise them in other foods. We ate as much as was humanly possible. When the eating became humanly impossible, we tried giving them away. Of course, no one in their right mind (or left mind) would take any. When I tried to slip some to the pig. She looked at me grunting. Her grunts sounded like, “Are you insane? What, do you think I am bereft of a discerning palate? Get real.”
It was time for Plan B. Okay, I didn’t have a Plan B. Before long, I got the brilliant idea to stack a cord of zucchini in amongst the wood pile. They seemed to blend in very nicely . Hopefully, no one would notice. Ultimately, the beneficiary was the compost, which before long gave the impression of Vermont’s fifth mountain range being formed
FYI. It’s been said that if you are driving through Vermont in the summer, be sure to keep your windows closed. If you don’t, people will throw zucchinis into your car as you drive by.”
Call it time out, out to lunch, gone fishing or whatever metaphor works. I’m calling it a brain break. For so many reasons (or excuses) I am taking a thinking pause. My creative juices seemed to be in dry dock. Temporarily, of course. Rather than try to force the issue I am disappearing this week. Hope you all have a safe, healthy, enjoyable week. See you next Monday.