Category Archives: Anxiety

Conundrumm

“I married my best friend” is a bit of a tired cliche. How often is it really the truth? How do you truly know this statement to be fact? And if that statement is put to the ultimate test and proven to be true, what do you do then?

It seems like a lot of relationships start out as infatuation/lust. Sometimes they develop into genuine friendship but all to often couples rely on that friendship developing over time and through life experiences, that can be a bit iffy. Men get their head turned by a pretty face or cute figure while women like bad boys and all too often overlook what’s right in front of them. That’s a broad generalization but good enough for where I’m going with this. How many people do yo you know that tell everyone that they are married to their best friend while finding excuse after excuse to be anywhere but around their spouse? I can still remember when I matured enough to realize that all too many people can’t wait to complain about their partner, in fact it almost becomes a badge of honor to talk trash about your “best friend”.

My wife truly was my best friend. Trust was something we had right from the start, respect was never lacking, and secrets were something shared and never kept from each other. I knew for a fact that I married up and was amazed every morning when I woke up and realized she wasn’t a dream. Maybe that is part of the puzzle of finding that perfect friend, we both thought we had found someone better than ourselves and worked constantly to be worthy of each other’s love and respect. So how can I say with such certainty that Karen was my best friend? Because when faced with the ultimate test, the sudden and irreversible severing of that friendship, I find myself completely lacking in the knowledge and skills to have and be a friend.

Karen and I were married in 1986 when we were both 21 years old. Karen had been part of the popular clique in school while I had been the opposite end of the spectrum spending most of my time behind the scenes figuratively and literally. Looking back now I never really developed any life long friends until meeting Karen, while she heard from friends from high school all the time I truly can’t remember the last time I talked to someone I was close to from back then. I spent 30 years looking forward to getting home just to be around my best friend. Actually I was rather anti-social, my go-to response when asked if I wanted to go golfing, hunting, drinking, or pretty much anything was “I’ll check with Karen”. That response probably made some friends think “boy is this guy whupped” but the reality was it was just an excuse not to be away from my bestie. Usually I never even discussed it with Karen cause I would rather be with her.

Now that she’s gone it’s the quiet support, the knowing she was always there that I miss the most. If we went somewhere she was my guide, she was never awkward and approached all situations with confidence. Now I’m consumed with doubts and anxiety at just the thought of accepting an invitation. How do you know you’re not bothering someone? How long is too long to stay? Do they really want me here or do they just feel sorry for me? And most important of all, who’s going to elbow me if I slip into my “Union Meeting” voice or get to preachy?

Karen was my validation, seems like everything I did was anchored to her. Sure I did stuff that pissed her off, that’s normal (whatever “normal” really is) and just like a child testing boundaries I usually didn’t do that again. Where and how do you find that stability, that continuity, that reassurance we all need after a stressful day, week, month, year? Lots of people may tell you that “I’m here for you” or “if you ever need to talk” but how do you get that voice in your head that’s screaming “you’re being a bother!” to shut up? I haven’t quite figured that out yet. Practicing a bit of self regulation before reaching out does seem to muffle that little jerk inside my head a wee bit.

What can you (I) do once you (I) have recognized you’re (I’m) in this circular world of needing contact, support, and validation but not believing you’re (I’m) worthy of it? As with most everything in life Practice is the key. Practicing self regulation makes reaching out just a little bit less scary. Practicing mindfulness makes the inevitable missteps less painful. Practicing being a friend helps others realize that they too are worthy of love and affection.

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The Continuum

What do you do when the lights go out?

Find a candle.

August of seventeen found me sitting in the dark with no sense of where to look for the light that had gone out on SuperBowl Sunday of that same year. In hindsight the darkness was so complete I wasn’t able to see that light still existed, just not where I had grown accustomed to it being for the past 33 years.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time the first sparks that were trying to lead me to that light were all around me. My dear friend, Jennifer, sent me a link to an app called “Headspace”, before I knew what was going on I found myself spending 10 minutes a day in my back room meditating no matter what else was going on. On a lonely Saturday night emptiness and thoughts of Richard, a friend I hadn’t talked to in quite awhile, resulted in me sitting in the home of two unique and genuine people. We talked, chanted, meditated, and talked some more. I heard and felt things that made no sense but the validity of the experience was never in doubt. In fact when I mentioned to these friends that a decade ago I wouldn’t have even entertained or listened to what I had just experienced, Lauranna’s comment was simply “that’s why the storm that blew through then was unable to extinguish the light, she new you weren’t ready and couldn’t handle it”.

Shortly after that experience I was on a bit of a manic mission that took me from Oceanside CA to Klamath Falls Oregon and back in just over 48 hours. Along the way I stopped in Lassen Volcanic NP, Crater Lake NP, Redwood NP, and Pinnacles NP. During those long hours driving my truck NPR was my steadfast companion, all NPR seemed to talk about though was how mindfulness, meditation, and Yoga were for everyone not just hipsters and bendy young women. A woman named Jessamyne instantly became the breathe of fresh air causing that candle flame to burn just a little bit more noticeably. I signed up for the YogaGlo app and did some practices at home, something was lacking though. Thus began my search for studios in my area, unfortunately I wasn’t brave enough to overcome the perceived stereotype and just kept trying to figure it out at home.

Dark lonely nights seem to be when what your truly looking for finds you. August 9, 2017, my 31st wedding anniversary, was one such night. Isolating and looking inward after a long day at work I opened Facebook and a post jumped out at me, Yoga at an old VFW hall downtown on Wednesday nights, seemed just right. I sent a message to the host of the group and then fretted when I didn’t hear back immediately. Little did I know that a simple post on Facebook would lead me to the candle I was looking for. People whose candles burned brightly, despite the personal darkness trying to consume them, all of a sudden came into my life. Alison, Danielle, Joyce, Darwin, Ziya, Nichole, and so many others literally and figuratively showed me the way.

My personal practice began through this month long awakening, that practice is ever evolving, expanding, and enhancing the flame on my candle. The fear of that candle blowing out is a constant just like the dark spot created when Karen’s candle blew out will always be there in my heart. Regular practice has helped me to not only find one candle in the dark, but to add candles in other places to help weather the storms that threaten the flame inside.

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Egg Sucking Bastard

All summer long I was on the hunt for which of my chickens was eatin eggs. In fact I got just a tad obsessive about it here on my blog, first in July with my pie in the sky hopes of “Caught the Bastard” continued with “Update Schmupdate” culminating in a little self examination in “Focus” . Well I’m off my meds and back on the trail of them damn Alien Inspired Evil Egg Eatin Bastards! This time I decided to go high tech and called up my BFF Hoss for advice.

Top of the line Game Cam

Top of the line Game Cam

Isn't Hoss one hell of a handsome fella? That's his Daughter Sidney with her Awesome Buck

Isn’t Hoss one hell of a handsome fella? That’s his Daughter Sidney with her Awesome Buck

Good ole Hoss knew just what was needed, a Moutrie MFH-DGS-D55IRxt is just the ticket he says. For a small consideration he hooked me up and man-o-man what a story that sweet little machine painted! It was a snap to set up and was I ever amazed when I uploaded those pictures.

 

 

 

 

Coop in the Daytime

Coop in the Daytime

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Coming up empty again!

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Dusk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Golden Cuckoo Marans rooster Checkin things out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So far everything is normal, no eggs, but normal…..Then:

I think I may have found the problem

I think I may have found the problem

Is there anything in there?

Is there anything in there?

 

Could be

Could be

 

Chomp Chomp

Chomp Chomp

 

Oh the Arrogance!

Oh the Arrogance!

So I think maybe technology may have won out again, I had been fooled for months by this evil critter blaming everyone and everything that came to mind. Is this the end of my quest in pursuit of those Damn Alien Inspired Evil Egg Eatin Bastards? Probably not, I’ve thought I had them whupped before but they just came back at me from another direction.

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Plans, we all need Plans

This weekend my Sweety, Karen, the Princess, Alexa, and I went to Tonopah  to watch our oldest son Michael’s team play football. Growing up Mikey always planned to coach football, he truly loves the game for the games sake meaning that it isn’t about the “celebrity” players for him. I am not a sports fan in any way, shape or form but I enjoy watching a game with Mikey because he understands every little thing that is going on and loves to talk about it without pontificating.

Pyramid Lake High School hired Michael 2 years ago as a Social Studies Teacher/Head Football Coach. The first two seasons were rough, a big goose egg in the W column. He had told me he had a 5 year plan to build a program at a school that had never embraced football, him and his boys are in year 3 and things are starting to come together a little bit. The first season Mikey was a maniac on the field, throwing clip boards and stomping his hat. It was interesting sitting in the stands listening to the parents talk about that crazy white boys antics on the field, but they liked how respectful their sons were required to be. This year he finally found an assistant coach to be the drama queen and Mikey is growing into the Head Coach role, being the calm in the storm but always ready with the steady encouragement or the swift kick in the ass. I think he is finally getting it that if you scream all the time everyone gets used to it and just tunes you out. His boys are 2-0 this year, are they going to go undefeated? probably not, but they, Mikey included, have turned a corner because of the strong foundation that was forged in those tortuous first 2 seasons.Mikey was even calm enough to ask his niece, Alexa, to be water girl and put up with her antics the whole game.OK maybe not the whole game, Lexi did spend a little bit of time in the stands helping Karen pick on me. Karen has been encouraging Lexi to help her with the birds and loving the fact that they have found an interest they can share.Sometimes though I think Lexi is planning how she can use the birds in a Lady GaGa style dance performance. This post has been way off topic, could you guess that my main focus right now is how proud I am of my eldest son? He is developing into quite a man. Getting away and putting the mess in my little plot out of my mind for a bit was nice.

That doesn’t mean ideas aren’t swirling around, straw bale gardens popped in to the old noggin for a bit but luckily that idea slipped out my left ear during a highly unusual afternoon nap Sunday. The focus is going to be on refining the narrow raised beds between the rows of trees and raising the lower end of the orchard. Both of those projects are going to require fill so right now my labor efforts are zeroed in on compost manufacturing. This weekend Karen and I are going to Escondido to hang out with Arwen, Grady, and Tess. Tess is my newest niece and isn’t in this picture, I haven’t got to meet her yet and am very excited about that. While in Escondido Karen has promised to find me a couple more Mulberry trees and maybe some more Comfrey. Knowing Karen she wont be able to resist taking the kids to the feed store which means baby chicks! Woo-Hoo! Isn’t it great how plans are always being formulated, coming together, and coming to fruition?

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Focus!

A little bit of self-examination tells me that I am focusing a bit to much on the “evil egg eaters” and have been letting them drive my agenda. This evil chicken cult is obviously a secret society with a much larger agenda than uninitiated neophytes like myself can truly comprehend. In fact I find myself obsessively watching Ancient Aliens on the History Channel hoping that Giorgio Tsoukalos will just lay out the facts that prove once and for all that the only explanation for this phenomenon is “space aliens”.

Squirrel

Did I ever tell you about the awesome present my sister Lorri brings me every year at Christmas time? (insider tip: click on Lorri’s name to see a really awesome blog!) Here are some pictures, see if you can guess what it is.

If you guessed Prosciutto de Parma your some kind of italophilia foodie wannabe, Jamón ibérico? a clueless foodie snob of the worst kind! Wheres the black foot? Duhhhhhh. Maybe the delicately aged hind quarter from a road killed white tail? Go back to the bayou you poor uneducated excuse for a Redneck!!

 

This here is a fine aged Country Ham! A whole leg of salty goodness with just a touch of that lovely mold inspired FUNK! I skinned it saturday and gave my chooks the rind, wholly moly them girls appreciate a fine southern delicacy. They scarfed, running around for a couple hours stealin choice bits from each other.

Squirrel

The next bit of fodder to analyze is Comfrey. Every garden guru here in Vegas either looked at me like I was stupid or told me that it won’t grow here when asked about Comfrey. As I mentioned in a previous post my Sweety, Karen, got me 4 comfrey plants during our adventure to the Pomona Bird Mart back at the end of June. These plants survived (barely) a trip back to Vegas in the back of our pickup, then sweltered in record heat on our front porch for a week before being put in the ground July 1st. By that time they each had 3 or 4 inch long leaves left and those were wilted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are those same plants 2 weeks later, why are they doing so well? I bet you that space aliens are peeing on them when they come down every night to plot nefarious deeds with the “evil egg eating” minions! I am pretty sure that I heard Giorgio mention that Space Alien urine is super high in nitrogen and phosphorus due to their exposure to cosmic radiation. And speaking of fodder my chickens love this stuff. I have been plucking 1 or 2 leaves a day from each plant and the girls gobble it down before the swiss chard.

Squirrel

Well I think I have worked myself out of my self induced anxiety attack and can now go back to chillin with my Sweety, Karen, and darling little light of my life Alexa.

Nitey Nite

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