Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Finally, September

“We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.”

— Henry Rollins

Once again, after an 11-year absence, I am back living with a few miles of the ocean at this, the best time of the year. Those who live in this area look forward to "local summer" - which is September, and if the weather cooperates, even October. Local summer - when the tourists and summer residents all go back to their homes and the seashore belongs again to the locals.  No crowds, no traffic - at least during the week. The tourists still come on weekends, but their numbers are far less than in proper summer. The cacophony of high summer transitions to the melancholy of September, when the memories of summer are still fragile in their newness.

Do you notice how the light changes in September? I really hope you do. No longer harsh, it's a soft and diffuse light, a gentler one. It almost twinkles with a bit of magic. 
As with all things magical, I highly recommend you find some time to notice, appreciate, bask in it.

In September it always feels to me that you can finally exhale as summer's intensity wanes.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Taken To My Bed

Whenever life gets to be too much for me to deal with, I take to my bed.

Bed is my refuge.

I pile up about 10 pillows behind me so that bed is cloud-like and then I just float there, hiding from life existing in my bed until whatever is happening that is overwhelming me...passes.
Or the meds kick in.  Whichever comes first.  Ha ha.


Depending upon what is happening, 'I've taken to my bed' usually means that I take to my bed for a few hours or a few days until I no longer feel the great need to escape from reality.
I haven't had to take to my bed in a surprisingly long time;
however, the past month has been so surreal and tumultuous that I definitely have spent more time in bed than out of bed. (Thanks, C-PTSD)

Make no mistake, though...I am (mostly) not just laying in bed staring off into space or crying watching reruns or eating bags of Skinnypop. On the contrary, I'm often tucked in there all propped up reading about Harry and Megan still thinking about being semi-productive and how much I wish I was working away on my laptop in between the tiny catnaps that I can eke out during a lull in the construction renovation noise happening in the apartment above us directly above my head.

The renovations above my head being a significant part of why I've recently taken to my bed.  I will tell the renovations story at a later date but so as to not leave you hanging, suffice it to say that, unbeknownst to us, big renovations had been planned for the apartment above us before we even moved in. This information would have played a role in our decision to take this apartment but we didn't have/weren't given this information at the time so we took it ("the apartment upstairs isn't ready yet" is what we were told). For example, had we been told when we came to view the apartment that "at some point during your tenancy we are going to be renovating the apartment above you for an extended period of time of perhaps two months or so resulting in almost daily very loud construction noises that will very much interfere with your ability to live/work/sleep here peacefully", we probably would have elected to not live here.

I know.  The audacity of us to want pay a bunch of money each month and expect that in return we would get to live here peacefully.  What nerve we have.

And this is just part of the story that I will tell at a later date.

i don't have 4 young children but if i did this would be them

But let's face it, when life circumstances send you to your bed too much or too often, it is definitely time to reconsider things and make changes that are within your power to do so.

So we are doing that. One day at a time.

It's getting to be time to get out of bed and put away the Skinnypop.

However! If you find that you yourself would rather be in your bed instead of most any other place, then go there and stay there until you sort yourself out enough to deal or function or regain the capacity to make decisions.

This is where I go wrong, often.
I have been known to make really bad decisions. For example, like not asking a prospective landlord if there is any chance that they will be doing extensive renovations to the apartment above the one you are interested in at the time you are viewing the apartment you're interested in.
I kid...mostly. I mean, what are the chances that a landlord would have major renovations planned that would happen above your head and not tell you about them?


Take it from me. You really should ask questions like that. Maybe pose it as something general, like "are you planning on any kind of non-essential, non-emergency work in the building in the foreseeable future that will significantly impact our ability to live here peacefully and quietly?"
Maybe get the answer in writing, too.

But let's get back to bed and making bad decisions.

Bed is a haven. Bed is your own private island (Idaho?). I do my best thinking in bed because bed feels safe even when you're waiting for some construction guy to fall through the ceiling because they are jackhammering right above you.

If you have decisions to make whether they be big ones or small ones, go to bed and lay there and do nothing. The decisions you come up with from there will probably be better ones but if it turns out that they're not, at least you'll be a little bit better rested.

I'm thinking about dropping the Poor Girl Mercantile name soon, I think.

It's no longer resonating with me. It's not fully capturing the essence of everything I do.
I know...I'm not doing much right now so I'll have to wait it out because "Lady In Bed" is probably not a good business name.

What the real new name will be is up in the air right now. I've got some good ones that I already own the domains for but I have to let them simmer for awhile until I mull them over for a good long time -in an environment in which I am not listening to drilling, sanding, banging happening above my head for hours on a regular basis - to make sure that the one I choose is right.

The naming of your business is a huge thing. I operate as a sole proprietorship so thankfully it's just changing the DBA (doing business as), which then allows me to do that whenever I'm compelled to.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Here's What I Have To Say

JP and I spent the past two days at our Delaware house, completing the last of the packing and moving stuff to storage. It was a little bit bittersweet as there are things about that house that we'll miss. For me, it's all the birds that visit each day because they know I'm a sucker for feeding them. It was a nice house for us but it was never my end-all dream house so leaving it isn't as bad as I thought it might be. Thankfully we weren't there long enough to make many memories which makes selling it even easier. Also, everybody who knows me knows that the truth is I never loved Delaware but it was where JP worked so you do what you have to do and make the best of it. Bloom where you're planted blah blah blah.

JP stayed behind a little longer to finish things up yesterday afternoon while I headed out to go back to our Pennsylvania interim apartment. As I was driving I happened to pass a gun shop and was stunned to see that there was a line of maybe 15+ people waiting to get inside.

Not gonna lie: it unnerved me and sent a bit of a chill down my spine. I understand lines if donuts or cake or puppies are involved. But guns? Yeah, no.

I don't really want to be in a place where people are lined up to buy firearms, you know?*

I've been in deep contemplation for the past few weeks about social media and its effects on me.
For various reasons, a lot of my time is spent in front of a computer and when I step back and actually pay attention and be truthful - it's a lot more than "a lot of my time".  It's more like most of my time. Part of that is that my personal livelihood comes from artwork that I create on a computer or the fact that I sell things via computer. So with that comes all kinds of connections that have to be updated and monitored. Then of course I stray off course and wander down the rabbit hole of reading about things that in truth don't matter.
And it has taken a toll. A big one.

I used to not be jaded and now I kinda am. I used to have an attention span and now I don't have much of one. I used to have good eyesight and now I don't.
But those things are just the tip of the iceberg.
When you spend too much time enmeshed in the world of social media you can't really tell what's real and what isn't anymore.
This came to light for me just the other day. They were protesting in Delaware and things got ugly so I wanted to call my 80 year old mother to let her know that JP was fine (he was in Delaware and she knew that). But she had no idea what I was talking about when I told her about the protests. I had to bring her up to speed. This is not because she is in any kind of mental decline; it's simply because she just does not pay much attention to the news. She almost never knows anything about current events. She just doesn't see the point.

It's hard to imagine, isn't it, that someone could know not a whole lot about what's happening in the world they live in?

Yet I think she's better off. Way better off. She makes a great point about not seeing the point.

And I've decided to take her lead and edit what I let in.
There are so many better things to do with my time and fill my mind with.

*Nothing at all to due with a 2A issue

Monday, June 8, 2020

City Life About Face

I do not care for city living. Particularly the current city in which we are residing.

I wouldn't have written that 20+ years ago to be sure when I dreamed about living in NYC but like almost everything else I used to be about, my truths have changed. In fact, if you have a young person/people around you to advise, you should tell them that part about growing older: who you are and what you do at a certain age might not resemble at all who you'll be a decade or two or three later. You will have many personas throughout your life, grasshopper.

The city where our interim apartment is located is more like a big town but it's called a city so I'll stick with that. When we first came up here last winter during the time when our circumstances were changing and we were starting to plan for our upheaval, we were charmed. We thought oh good, a place with history and beautiful architecture and restaurants and shops that we can walk to. 

So we moved here, into an apartment that makes you think of a Parisian  apartment, a pied-à-terre;
a small apartment that isn't meant to be your permanent home. We have wide plank wood floors and very large windows that overlook the street, a bedroom that you have to walk up two steps to enter, a gleaming remodeled kitchen that no one ever used before us. It's cozy and cool - like what we thought the big town/small city was when we made the decision to move here.

But there are downsides.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Memories & Tiny Little Gardens

A bunch of years ago I used to spend a good deal of my time in Manhattan; Greenwich Village, specifically.

I lived in NJ but only about 20 minutes from NYC so it was nothing to jump into the city on a whim...and that whim struck sometimes 3-4 times a week.

I loved the Village. I knew its nooks and crannies, I knew the cracks in its sidewalks, I inhaled its vibe and let it infiltrate my blood. I knew its homeless people by name and they knew mine. I was a non-resident resident.  Some of the greatest nights of my life were spent sitting on a stoop, drinking a big old coffee, people-watching. I created memories there - simple ones - that are stamped forever on my heart.

Of course I wanted to live there.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

What Day Is Today?

Not a great week, so far.  No surprises there.

I'm vacillating between mostly coping and thinking rationally and, well, this...

Today I can joke. Not so much a day or so ago. Maybe not tomorrow. Saturday? Maybe.

But things are getting better.  Where I am, wherever you are, and even in really faraway places.  We're reopening, slowly and cautiously.
Knowing that, helps.

One of my coping techniques through this has been to watch webcams all over the world. I started watching them early on, to confirm what I was hearing: that the world was shut down. Empty beaches in Florida, Paris with no people, the Abbey Road camera with no one acting the fool as they imitated the famous Beatles scene (on a regular pre-pandemic day, Abbey Road is filled with scads of people trying not to get hit by vehicles as they walk across the famous zebra stripes while their friend takes their picture.)
I would watch these webcams intently, looking for any sign of life.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Reality Bites

Yesterday was bad, today is better.

That's how things go now - you're up, you're down, you're in the middle - and sometimes all in that happens in one single day.  In no particular order.

I called JP at work yesterday when I started crying.
He asked why I was crying.
I told him I didn't know exactly.
He was so kind and understanding and reassuring, I felt better almost right away.
I hope you have at least one person you can call (not text!) when/if you start crying for no apparent reason.

I had to go to the grocery store again yesterday and I think that's what triggered me.  I do a bang-up job of keeping my depression at bay - as a high-functioning depressive I've been doing it for years  - but sometimes a thing hits you that you're not already on guard for and then you slump.
Not even the joy I have when I think about my new freezer was helping 😏

For me, the trigger was seeing all the people lined up with their masks on, waiting their turn to get into the store.  Like a scene out of one of those really bad movies they show late at night on Saturdays. Or a Twilight Zone episode.  A zombie movie.  Then I go straight into this really can't be happening in the United States of America.  In 2020.

I drove home from the store thinking that I would do anything to be a little kid again right now when my parents had all the responsibility and kept me safe.  And did the grocery shopping during a pandemic.

I've never been really good at this adult thing to begin with.  I am well aware now how foolish I was to want to be one when I was young.

And so I continue to do as I always do to cope: find as much nonsense as I can to distract myself from too much reality.

Nonsense is my drug of choice.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Scoring A High Demand Item: I Got A Freezer

There used to be a time in the not-so-distant past when the type of purchases that made me over-the-moon happy were things like shoes (oh so many shoes)...silver jewelry...some great funky find like the vintage designer real velvet red coat I scored in a New Hope, PA thrift shop for next to nothing.

I am here now to tell you - the times, they are a changin'.

As I write this, I am basking in the sheer unadulterated joy of...my new freezer.

Upright, nonetheless.  Glass shelves.  The whole freezer-y nine yards.

The apartment we live in for now while we're between houses has a brand new stainless steel fridge in the shiny redesigned kitchen.
Like the kitchen itself, it suffices but it's small which means more trips to the grocery store.  I hate going to the grocery store now which is weird because I have never hated going to the grocery store before this stupid pandemic.  I went yesterday. It's a nightmare. You park in a spot and then you have to put on your Grocery Shopping Gear before exiting your vehicle:

Friday, April 17, 2020

I Still Can't Sell Anything

Now that the world is closed and there's nothing to do but stay home and be creative, I've been doing exactly that except that I'm not doing any of my usual stuff like photo art, art clothing, etc.

Those things are my money makers, the things I create that have been my source of income for a bunch of years now.

Yet I can't bring myself to work on any of it. Many of my creative compatriots have actually amped up their production and are talking about how now is a good time for creative people's businesses because there is a (literal) world of people out there with time on - and credit cards in - their hands.

I can't tap into that.

I just read that 17 million people applied for unemployment in the past three weeks. I can't help but think it would be pretty obnoxious of me to send out a newsletter or write posts about the new things I've made that they should buy during this mess.

Sure I could make stuff and set it aside for the hopefully not too distant future when things will return to some semblance of normal.  I might do that.  I'm working on finding the motivation to do that.

In the meantime, I'm painting. It's so calming. I'm making ornaments and painting whimsical things on them with the sole intent of leaving them around the neighborhood for people to find.

Like little, free, spirit uplifters.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Pandemonium Diary, Episode 1

Yesterday was a not great day. The weather here in Easton was terrible with lots of wind and rain and then we were under a tornado warning.  Tornado warnings/watches give my anxiety so much anxiety that my chest tightens and I spend the day mildly hyperventilating.  I run around the house closing all blinds and curtains so I can't see the sky and then I go to bed. That was yesterday.

Today is better.  I got over my grocery store trepidation and went early. And you know what? It wasn't bad at all.  The shelves were stocked (except in the TP aisle) and the aisles weren't crowded. The only weird part was everyone wearing masks and gloves.  I so hate that part. You remember on Star Trek how they would step into that tube thing and then get transported to somewhere else? That's what it feels like to me when I look around and see all these people wearing masks.  Like I somehow got transported without my permission out of the United States and into some third world country.

I feel compelled to write today. There's nothing else to talk or write about so I am giving in to writing about the current state of affairs.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Raise Your Vibe & Stop Stealing My Hand Sanitizer

Everyone is hyper-focused on only one thing right now and I'm no exception but I have to tell you that I am pushing back hard every single day against that exact thing: hyper-focusing.

I said recently that I wasn't even going to write about this stuff too much but I felt compelled to this morning because I want to be someone who reminds you to take every chance to raise your vibration.

All is well is my new mantra and it would serve the world right now if you could come up with something similar. 
painting happy ornaments to keep myself happy

We know we're supposed to stay home so please stop saying it over and over and over again; raising the energy level is what is needed.  Also, everything is closed and there's really no place to go right now so staying home is kind of the only thing to do. Plus when you say something too much people tend to tune out.

Also unnecessary: saying in these uncertain times. All of the commercials say this. Heck, every day of our lives is and has been uncertain!
I'm certain that things will certainly be more certain rather than uncertain certainly soon.

I am also certain that you should locate the mute button on your remote so that when every single fear-based , triggering commercial comes on the television you can mute it quickly.

Pay attention to the triggers:  anything you see or hear that makes your stomach tighten with tension or makes your heart rate increase, etc.  Whatever those things are for you are exactly what you have to protect yourself from and avoid.  As a coping mechanism, I'm on a complete news fast right now.  If there's something I really need to know, someone will tell me.

I thought about this recently: for so long now, so many gazillions of people have been putting forth so much energy to saying how broken our world is for the various reasons that they've decided to focus on and, well, here we now are.  I can't wrap myself around how much gloom and doom negative energy was generated by that kind of thought. I was always uneasy with it. You have to be careful about what you're putting out there, ya know?  Cause and effect...like attracts like...and all that.

Raise your vibe. Spotlight and imagine what's right, not what you think is wrong.
Shift your focus even if you can only do so for a few minutes at a time right now. 
We need the uplifters.

Plus you'll be a nicer, calmer, more centered person as a result.  My father was like this. Calamities could be abounding and he'd say gee, that's terrible and then wander off to get a bowl of ice cream to enjoy while he watched his game shows or previously taped golf tournaments.  It's not that he didn't care; on the contrary, he would have actually given you the shirt off of his own back if you needed it.  He just always had a it will all work out one way or another outlook and I can't think of a time when he wasn't right.

I've been keeping myself busy with painting and creating all kinds of things.
The wood ornament pictured above is an example of the type of stuff I've been doing.
I wanted to create things to leave around town for people to find to lift their spirits.  JP says some stuff I should sell but I can't bring myself to do that right now.  I feel like in a world where there's a toilet paper shortage, people probably should be thinking about spending their money on black market Charmin or hand sanitizer.

Speaking of hand sanitizer, I had ordered some all natural hand sanitizer a few weeks back on Amazon. It was on backorder which was fine, I was in no rush and just glad to know I would eventually have some.
I was happy to receive notification that it had shipped earlier than anticipated and even happier to get a text message days later saying it had just been delivered (you can sign up on Amazon to be notified when something gets delivered).
I raced downstairs but no package anywhere. I raced back upstairs to check my notifications again and they said it had been left in my mailbox.  Well, my mailbox is big enough to hold about three letters so how could two 8 oz bottles of hand sanitizer be in there? 
I raced back downstairs again, unlocked my mailbox, only to find the empty mailing envelope the hand sanitizer had been shipped in.  Empty and very obviously slit open at the bottom.
Yup, some heathen stole my hand sanitizer.
The empty envelope was inside a clear plastic bag from the post office with a big We're Sorry! sticker on it that the post office apparently uses when there's an evident problem with a package.

You couldn't make any of this stuff up if you tried.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Worldwide Weirdness

I'm not going to talk about this too much because at this moment I am choosing to focus my thoughts and energy on good things and put that kind of positivity out into the Universe at a time when it is so very badly needed.

Everything's freaky right now, I know.
Those of us with anxiety issues know all too well that it's very very easy to freak out right now which of course won't help anyone or anything.


Here's my simple advice to you and to me, not necessarily in any particular order:

  • Stay away from the news.  If there is something you should know about, someone will tell you. Today I went online to check the weather and the headline on that site was awful.  There was not one thing about that headline that was helpful to anyone in any way or even related to the weather - just fear-mongering because that's what sells.  Shame on them. 
  • Stay away from or at least limit social media.  People are posting all kinds of things and while some of it is helpful or uplifting, a lot of it is not and can be quite triggering.  
  • If you must go on social media, post about happy stuff, silly stuff, encouraging stuff. 
  • Do calming things that distract you.  I don't care if you think you don't have a creative bone in your body, pick up a pencil and doodle.  At best, you'll surprise yourself.  At worst, you'll laugh at yourself.  Both are good things.
  • Clean.  It's therapeutic.  So is cooking, baking, reading, laughing, etc.
  • Remember that there are many, many people working very, very hard right now to keep all of us safe.  Yay for them! This morning I thanked all the people at my grocery store for all they're doing right now. They all said how much they appreciated hearing that.  
There isn't much more that I can say about all of this that a gazillion people aren't already saying so this is it. Going forward I'll keep writing about stuff that has nothing to do with this stuff and then you and I will both be happier because the constant inundation isn't really helping anyone.  

Oh...and that reminds me...
it is still okay to be happy.  

In fact, repeat this as often as you can, even if it's 9,264 times a day or write it on your hand as a reminder so you don't forget: IAGTBHA.

Pronounced eye-ag-teh-buh-ha ;-)

It stands for I AGoing TBHappy Anyway!

Corny, but it works most/some of the time.

So bake that cake, draw silly pictures, find stuff to laugh about or otherwise distract yourself with.
You'll be helping yourself and those around you.  Mr. Rogers said in times of trouble look for the helpers :-)

Remember this, too:  the things that are being done right now are being done to protect us.  And that's ultimately a good thing even though it doesn't feel very good right now.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Higher End Of Chaos

My lack of writing for the past couple of months can be chalked up to what can only be described as the higher end of moderate life chaos.

We were dealt one of those very unexpected life circumstances that all the platitude writers tell you about.

It all started with a very odd group of events.

The short version:

In July JP decided to leave the job he'd been at for almost a decade.  He was presented with what was to be opportunities that were not available to him at his existing job.  He had been basically told that he'd capped out - he could stay for another 10 years or 50 years but he wasn't going to make any more money - so leaving that less than ideal situation* was a no-brainer especially because the new job offered a significant bump in pay.  Additionally, the new job put him close to Berlin, MD, where I was the long-term solo resident artist at the historic gallery at The Globe. We were intent and excited to sell our northern Delaware home and buy in southern Delaware; he would be closer to his new job and I would be closer to the place where my art had been selling very, very well for a good long time.  Everything really seemed to be lining up nicely.

Then the first bomb dropped.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Letter Writing

I've been working on the website for a lot of days recently and I'm excited for what I want to add to it this year.  Lots and lots of ideas.

One of the main things I'm really looking forward to adding is a stationery page filled with all kinds of writing stuff. I often refer to myself as old-fashioned because the older I get and the more the world gets nuttier, I truly believe that back then was better for a myriad of reasons, one of which was letter writing.  No one writes letters anymore - it's a terrible loss.  I'll let this quote explain why I feel that way:

“There is a charm to letters and cards that emails and smses (text messages) can’t ever replicate, you cannot inhale them, drawing the fragrance of the place they have been mailed from, the feel of paper in your hand bearing the weight of the words contained within. You cannot rub your fingers over the paper and visualise the sender, seated at a table, writing, perhaps with a smile on their lips or a frown splitting the brow. You can’t see the pressure of the pen on the reverse of the page and imagine the mood the person might have been in when he or she was writing it. Smiley face icons cannot hope to replace words thought out carefully in order to put a smile on the other person’s face, the pressure of the pen, the sharpness or the laxity of the handwriting telling stories about the frame of mind of the writer, the smudges on the sheets of paper telling their own stories, blotches where tears might have fallen, hastily scratched out words where another would have been more appropriate, stories that the writer of the letter might not have intended to communicate."― Kiran Manral

Do you save the emails people write to you?  The text messages?  Do you print them out, fold them, put them in a box so that weeks or years or decades later you can pull them out and read them again, remembering?  Probably not; or, at least, you don't save the majority of them, right?
Does anyone have a box filled with the text messages that showed the words shared between two people that they can show to their kids/grandkids one day?
When is the last time you sent someone a card for no reason?  When I was younger we did this all the time.  I still have letters from an old best friend that I pull out from time to time so I can travel back in time just for a little while.

If, when I add a stationery section to my website/online store, it influences even one or two people to slow down and pick up a pen and write something to someone, then I will consider myself and my business successful. I never started this business to become a millionaire.
There are plenty of other reasons people pursue their passion(s) besides money.

If you want to write to me the old-fashioned way, just let me know.

P.S.  I'll write back.
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