It’s a new year

Lots of good things happening for me this year. I’ll expound on that as the year moves on; some of it I can’t talk about just yet, but you’ll all know when the time comes. I promise.

It’s already almost the end of January. It is just me, or do the years just seem to go by faster now? I came to the blog to just make sure that things were as I left them and realised that I hadn’t posted in a month. There was a time when I posted multiple times per day. I don’t have much of an explanation other than social media is taking over our lives. 😕 I spend a lot of time on Facebook. I am trying to do better at that because Facebook is truly a time sink of the worst kind. I want to spend more time on Medium, or in Pocket, or even reading or writing offline. It hasn’t happened yet. But it is a new year – maybe I’ll manage to discipline myself better this year.

So, Happy 2016 to those of you who still read this blog. I’ve had tons of ideas of how to revamp it but none have really taken … yet. We’ll see what 2016 holds.

Of course, that’s going to be harder than ever what with me getting into USC for a Masters in Social Work. It’s the full time, 4 semester program too. I may not have time to scratch my ass much less blog. We’ll see though. One never knows.

That’s my good news of the month, by the way. 😊 I struggle with the notion that I am too old for a masters degree now and I’ll be paying off student loans when I’m on my death bed. Meh. I’m gonna do it anyway. It’s a calling. One I missed in my youth and one I refuse to give up on again. It might be too late to be a forensic psychologist, but I sure as hell can still be some kind of mental health practitioner. 😊 More on that as the year unfolds.

In the meantime, I’m heading back to my television where I am currently running Criminal Minds marathons.

It’s been a while since we last spoke …

Ok, maybe not quite as long as it has been in the past, but it’s still been a few days. What’s new with me?

Well, for the first time in a year or two, we have a Christmas tree up …

It’s looking a lot like Christmas around here …

Of course, the reasons are far from being particularly Christmas-y. There are no presents underneath it and we aren’t particularly feeling Christmas-y (yet), but I did need it for the backdrop for our first ever family portrait for Christmas cards (which are more of a duty than out of anything other feeling right now). Yes; I am admitting it on my blog. I’m not sending out Christmas cards because I feel the spirit of the holiday season. I am doing it because it’s what is done these days, at this time of year.

For a couple years now, I’ve wanted to add my own creative touch to holiday communiqués. Buying cards, writing a little nonsense on the inside and sending them far and wide is a tradition I grew up with. It shows that you’re thinking of these people at this special time of year. I like the gesture, but I hate the chore of it. I’ve always wanted to *make* my own cards. For birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. And last year, I made myself a promise that this year I would do exactly that. (“Project!” *whoooo*)

I guess the spirit is lacking in me this year … for several reasons. Mostly personal. Still … I am going to “fake it” because at some point I am hoping that I’ll actually feel it. And this is my first attempt at faking it. A christmas tree – all lighted, and pretty, and festive and stuff. The next step is the cards (some of which have already gone out – some of you will be receiving yours WAY early; yaadies may get theirs a little late). A third step is participating in a Jeep Christmas parade this Saturday (maybe I’ll get some pictures – we’ll see if I get a chance to work the camera a bit). One certain step is on December 21st (which is my “Christmas”), I think I’ll flood the house with candles (some of them ones I make for myself hopefully) all day.  Candlemas is supposedly February 2, but for me December 21st is all about coaxing the light back – even more so now that I live in the Northwest U.S. where the daylight lasts less than 12 hours (it’s actually about 8 hours in total; not counting dawn and twilight).

So … it’s early days yet, but here’s hoping all of you have a very happy and safe holiday season – whatever you may be celebrating at this time.

 

Thanksgiving chatter

So, today is Thanksgiving Day in the US. I am still trying to get used to that. A whole holiday for being thankful? And what are people thankful for? It sure looks to me like it’s all about the food and football (cringe still can’t get over that the sport of “football” rarely involves the use of feet connecting to the ball #old). Asked the hubster this morning what it really was all about; his response was “it’s all about getting the family together”. I can get behind that. A day to be especially thankful for family (and friends too, of course) which involves fellowship and food and fun. Yup; that I can definitely get behind. (Course, it would help if the hubster wasn’t working today … but that’s another issue altogether #MilSpouseWoes)

 

So anyway, we’ve been under a burn ban here in Thurston County, WA since the weekend. Of course, I hadn’t noticed that until Tuesday morning – after we’d already burned wood both Sunday and Monday nights for warmth. No worries; I didn’t think it was too late. I told the hubster, no wood fires until the ban is lifted. Thus it’s been a wee bit cold in the house. This morning, however, we realised something else. It’s also dry in the house. Neither of us realised just how much moisture our little iron kettle on top the wood-stove actually contributed to the humidity in the house. Ouch.

 

So, since we can’t light the stove, I hauled out the humidifier to try and get some moisture back into the air. The thing about the humidifier is this: it uses water from the tap. And our water here is notoriously …. hard? Meaning, it has so much stuff in it because it’s ground (well?) water which isn’t treated with too much chemicals. (Au naturel?) As a result, there is residue on just about everything in here that water touches.

 

The other day, I had to replace my aluminium (Oh hey! Aluminium and aluminum are the same thing; the difference is accounted for by “the pond”! #SomehowIThinkIAlwaysKnewThat) kettle because it started to make strange funny noises that sounded like it was about to explode. (That might be because I boiled it dry one times too many, but I digress …) The only options I had were copper bottom kettles with a ridge and a glass kettle. The copper bottom ones, while fabulous for conveying heat, won’t work well on a cooktop (because the bottom has an edge or a rim); so, glass kettle it was. And h’oh boy! Now I’m not so sure I wanted to see what’s in my water when its boiled. :/

 

But to come back to the humidifier – since it hadn’t been used in a while, I took it apart to clean it out. What a nightmare! So much gunk buildup – I’ve never seen that much hard water deposits. This particular appliance has a water channel that moves the water to the heating chamber in the back of the unit. While washing it out, the water wouldn’t flow at all. I couldn’t get into that channel at first and I thought I’d need to throw it out or wait for a pipe cleaner. Then I noticed the top could be removed. Inside? Completely blocked with gunk!

 

Moral of the story? Always clean out your appliances before you store them.

 

I know, I know – that’s on the user’s guide that comes with all of them. Who reads those things anyway?

 

Anyway … Happy Thanksgiving, all! Enjoy the day!

 

Turkey
Turkey (Photo credit: wattpublishing)

 

A not-so-good week.

I’m not sure what’s in the air this week, but it hasn’t been all that productive for me this week at all. Distractions abound. Every task I attempt is interrupted by some frivolous pursuit. Nothing is happening the way I want it to. And when I think of how well last week went, I want to cry. And so I try to think what I did differently last week, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Among those distractions? A new series that I discovered via Netflix called Twisted. I’ve already finished all 11 episodes. : Earlier in the week, it was just trying to stay focused through my not-quite-ill state. As flu season descends again, and hubby receives his bi-annual nose-squirt, he comes home and breathes on me and shares it with me. So I’ve been fatigued, and stuffy, and achy all week. My tinker hobby (Vaping) took some more of my attention later in the week.  So frustrating.

In the mornings, I can barely crawl out of bed. As a result, in the evenings I’m not tired enough to go to bed early enough. I sleep like a rock throughout the night, but not restfully because I wake up just as tired, if not more so than the day before.

Yesterday, I left the house. I needed to get out. The walls were closing in. I refilled a couple prescriptions (which reminds me, I need to message my doctor about refills), and then spent a good 2 – 3 hours at close-by Starbucks. I got *some* work done, but not half as much as I’d have liked.

This morning, I woke myself at about 5am by unconsciously trying to yank my nose ring out by the fingernail. At almost 7am, I gave up and just got up and started the coffee maker. Because after laying in bed for 2 hours without any sign of sleep returning, it just seemed more prudent to get up.

The best part of all of this? I got so much done already this morning for work. I really do need to get up at 7am or earlier if possible. Even if it means a nap about noon. Hubby heads off-road (and possibly into the snow) tomorrow, but I think I’ll be sitting here writing and reading. Bummer! So much for trying to get much done during the week so I’d have the weekend to myself. Even more of a bummer since I’ve not seen hubby for longer than about an hour or two each day in the last week or two (#HellishArmySchedulesFTW).

Argh! If it didn’t hurt so bad, I’d have torn all my locs out already. Grrr….

No matter; next week *will* be better. /nod

Isn’t all noise the same?

I often tell people that noise gets to me. But when I say “noise”, I am usually referring to people noises. I’ll sit outside on a quiet day, and enjoy the birds, the creaking branches of the trees as they bend and sway in the wind, and even the rustling of the underbrush when wild creatures wander, as they like to do, through our yard. I love the sound of trickling water, and delight in the sound of the wind through fir trees. The wildlife where we live is amazingly alive and thriving and I spend as much time as I can outside.

Yet, the minute my too-near neighbours start to yell at each other, rattle around implements of civilization or just simply appear, I get annoyed. It never occurred to me until now. What’s the difference between the noise of the birds and the sounds of a lawnmower or leaf-blower? And why does one but not the other annoy me so much?

I’m inclined to say that it’s because I am more attuned with nature than with my fellow human beings. But that seems a little arrogant since I love my Internet access and my microwaved leftovers as much as the next guy. I don’t “live off the land” and I don’t particularly engage in ultra-natural food or habits. So why should I be so offended by the fact that my fellow humans indulge as often as I do in the products of the industrial and technological ages?

Is it possible that on some level, I am aware of how parasitic humans are? Is it that I somehow instinctively rebel, on behalf of nature, against the encroachment of technology on nature by consciously being averse to the sounds of “civilization”? Or am I just naturally asocial and would prefer a completely harmonic existence with the earth? I don’t know. But it is certainly something I want to spend more time examining and analysing.

All I know is this: if I never have to live in a big city again, it will be too soon. I love my little woodland haven here and I fear that having to leave (as I most likely will) it will traumatise me in ways that I may have great difficulty in overcoming.

Environment happy but me unhappy.

I tried the environmentally friendly way. I really did. When we moved here, the instructions were “Absolutely NO BLEACH!” The explanation was that because of the septic tank, bleach was a big no-no because it killed all the friendly bacteria and caused the tank to back up. So I threw out my bleach. Not down the drain, just figuratively. I had no bleach when we moved here and when they told me no bleach, I just never bought any more.

That is all wonderful and I get it. We are killing the world slowly with all our poisonous shit. I get that. Now hear me out.

I am blessed (or cursed) with an abnormally sensitive nose/sense of smell. Washing our dishes with environmentally friendly stuff gets them clean, I assume, but they stink. When I put my omelet on a plate and the plate smells like day old-fish, the environment might be happy, but I am not. There has to be a way we can coexist. As it is, I can’t use any of my side plates and not be constantly nauseated.

My mother suggested cider vinegar as a way to cut that raw smell. I tried that for a month of two, but my dishes still smell like day-old fish. I’ve tried just about everything: hot water and soap; vinegar, hot water, and soap; cold water; cold water and soap; multiple washings… nothing has helped.

So today, I’ma get me some bleach. Don’t worry. I’ll be gentle with it. I’ll dilute it mightily and use it sparingly. But Goddess help me … I cannot do without my bleach. My nose knows the difference and it’s not happy.

UPDATE: Cascade Complete did the trick! I’m happy again!

I am feeling less like a milspouse these days

These days, I feel so far removed from military spouse life that I sometimes wonder if I was fooling myself into feeling a part of it in the first place. There is no avoiding the face that I am a military spouse. If the ACUs in the laundry hamper and the various items of other military gear lying around the house aren’t good reminders, then I have serious issues.

No, what has happened is that our life has become quite civilian, living out here in the so-called boonies.  I no longer hear the bugle calls, there are no unruly children running around in my front yard, every second person is not wearing some kind of military uniform and a trip to the supermarket does not mean I will be one civilian swimming amongst a sea of ACUs.

To be honest, I sometimes forget that we are military. It feels as if we have transitioned to civilian life and I suspect that is only because I was civilian for a lot longer than I have been military.

In some ways, I miss it. I felt safe living on-post in Texas and in Kentucky. I knew that no matter what, I was one amongst a community that would be taken care of in the event of something bad happening. It was an illusion, though; at least in Texas. When Maj. Hassan blew into work one morning and emptied his gun into a crowd of soldiers, all I officially knew about it was that we were to stay inside and keep our doors and windows locked and our air conditioning systems off. (Yes, our air conditioning units.)

A few months later, there was a flyer being placed on our front doors warning us to be on the alert for a man in uniform who was not a soldier but a sexual pervert who had assaulted at least two other women on post.

When they caught the guy driving a car full of explosives near the gate where we lived, we heard nothing about it until way after it happened.

Safe? Safety is an illusion in this crazy world. There are so many disillusioned and ignorant people around that I am beginning to feel safer trusting myself to the wild than to the wider community. I would rather be mauled by a bear in my backyard than come that close to a car full of explosives again.

Meh … I fear my misanthropy is showing again; and while that may be true, I have to say I like living out here in the boonies. I like the peaceful quiet of this neighborhood. I don’t know what I would do if I learned I had to leave.