I Had No Idea

I’ve seen a lot of memes on Facebook that say we should be kind because we never know what others are going through. Frankly, I never gave that too much thought. For 25 years, I was in a rocky marriage. There was a lot of screaming, but never any physical violence. We had the usual teenaged angst with our kids, but no physical violence. Still, I always thought I had terrible problems at home, and I couldn’t see past my own issues to understand those of anyone else. If my co-workers came to work looking fine, then I thought they were fine.

Someone in my county started live streaming a scanner on Facebook, so I thought I’d have a listen. Last night, a child called 911 and said her mother was acting crazy toward the kids and had a knife. The child said the mom had come at them with a knife before. At the same time this was going on, a mother-in-law called in and said her son-in-law was suicidal, and she heard him cock a pistol. A couple of nights ago, a mother called and said she and her husband were sitting in the car at the entry to their subdivision because their son was threatening to kill them and they were afraid.

I’m assuming the family members in these situations went to work and school this morning and tried to act like nothing significant had happened last night. They may encounter a teacher who gives them detention for not having their homework to turn in. They may snap on phone calls with customers and get fired. They may be rude to friends and cause strained relationships. All of these things on top of what happened last night may break them or cause them to snap. Chances are, there will be more domestic violence, and maybe even workplace violence.

Now I have a better understanding of what the memes on Facebook are saying. I really don’t know what others are going through. When someone posts a picture of their new car, maybe it’s a gift after a violent outburst. With enlightenmet comes responsibility.

Conspiracy Theorist or Open-Minded

Why is “conspiracy theory” such a bad thing? Especially since COVID-19 started, people throw the term around like it’s bad. Anything people don’t like or don’t agree with suddenly becomes a “conspiracy theory.” But is it? Crazy things happen. Haven’t we all read something that sounded so weird and crazy that if we had heard of the possibility of it happening we would have chalked it up to conspiracy theory? I have. I read a lot of true crime books, so I see what people are capable of doing.

I’ve been following the disappearance of a local young man for over a year. His car was found with the headlights still on, but he left everything behind, even his clothes, shoes, and watch. I belong to a couple of communities of people who toss around ideas of what could have happened to this young man. One guy posted that he didn’t want to hear anything about alien abductions or cults. I’m not entertaining the thought that aliens abducted him for a year and never brought him back, but in my head cults are not out of the realm of possibility.

Cults are a real thing. They do exist. They also use unscrupulous methods to attract – or force – new members into the cult. Another young man was kidnapped by some cult members about 50 miles from where this young man disappeared close to the same time, but he managed to escape. Why do some people think cult abductions are so far-fetched that they don’t even want to consider the possibility?

Some may think I’m too open-minded, but I like to consider all possibilities in any situation. I’ve seen some weird stuff. It seems like the majority of people can only consider simple explanations. I do realize that it usually is just the simple explanation, but sometimes it’s not. An hour before this young man disappeared, he was talking about spiritual enlightenment and a couple of extreme ways to reach it. Maybe he wasn’t kidnapped by a cult. Maybe he joined one of his own accord. Maybe he started his own cult. His father is the pastor of a church, so he has seen people invited into a religious organization before and all the effort that goes into keeping parishioners. Just a thought.

I’m going to put on my little tin foil hat and see what other ideas come to me.

My January Fix

KAILEIGH
Soll Mixed Material Top

My January fix arrived this morning. This month, I selected a shirt, a jacket, two pairs of jean, and some sneakers. They did not disappoint. The Kaileigh top (above) is so soft and comfy. It will go great with the TOMS sneakers and denim jacket below. Thanks to my prior fixes, I already have a selection of purses and jewelry to match.

TOMS
Cabrillo Canvas Lace Up Sneaker

I don’t know how they do it, but StitchFix always sends me shoes that fit perfectly. It’s amazing how they do that, because if I go to the store to buy my own shoes I’m not nearly as successful with getting comfort, beauty, and trend as getting the ones StitchFix sends me. My arches need a little extra support on the inside, and these sneakers provide that. I wore them around the house this morning, and they were great. No need to even break them in. These shoes have a bit of a suede look and feel, and they are a bit dressier than my other sneakers.

DEMOCRACY
Jeri Skinny Distressed Jean

A funny story…My son called me one day and asked if I owned any jeans with holes in them. I said that I did. He said when he and his girlfriend had spent the prior weekend at our house he had taken my jeans home with them because he thought they belonged to his girlfriend. He said, “They’re trendy jeans. I thought they were hers.” I guess he didn’t think I could be trendy. He must not pay attention to what I wear.

The jeans I’m wearing right now are practically shredded across the front upper thighs. I love them. One time, I wore them to a baseball game. Two women sitting a couple of rows in front of us kept looking back at my jeans with disapproving glances, and they were obviously talking about me. I have no idea what that was about. Maybe they thought a woman my age shouldn’t be wearing jeans with this many holes in them. They must not have enough fun in their lives. There was this one time that I went to a different baseball game, and there was a lady sitting in front of us who was wearing a completely shear black shirt with nothing under it. I talked about her…and look at me still talking about her here. She probably thought I didn’t’ have enough fun in my life. I’m sure at the time she would have been right about that, but times change and I’m plenty fun now.

JUDY BLUE
Adelene Girlfriend Jean

Of course, I also like to have jeans without holes in case I’m going somewhere that holes would be less appropriate. I’m not sure where that would be, but just in case. They didn’t used to let us wear jeans with holes to the office, but I telecommute full time now.

LIVERPOOL
Kolten Denim Jacket

I’ve never owned a denim jacket before, so I thought I’d give this one a shot. Every one I’ve tried on in the past had no give, and it was hard to move my arms around. This jacket has some stretchiness, and it’s comfy. I hung it by the front door so I can wear it the next time I go out.

I’m going to see George Lopez next week, so maybe I’ll wear some of these pieces. With COVID raging like it is right now, I could possibly end up not going, but if I do go I’ll probably incorporate the denim jacket for sure.

Intermittent Fasting Update

I’ve been doing well with the intermittent fasting (IF). My goal is 16:8, but most days I’m actually doing 18:6 or 17:7. Although I’m not experiencing any weight loss, I’m not gaining any weight either. I’m still attending the WW workshops, but honestly, I’m not counting calories or points or anything. I’m just attending the workshops to keep my focus on being healthier.

I noticed that after about a month or two of IF my memory got significantly better. I wasn’t expecting that and was quite surprised when it happened. I did a little research and found that memory improvement is a benefit of IF. I’ve also had a lot of breakouts on my face. Hopefully, this will clear up at some point. Maybe that’s just my body clearing out the crud? I don’t know.

I haven’t been exercising at all. I’ve been a bit of a slug. That’s nothing new for me. I’m pretty lazy. Everybody tells me I do more than anyone else they know, but in my mind I’m absolutely lazy. I totally complete a task in my mind before I actually get up and do it. That way, when I’m working on the task it’s very quick. My friends and family see the end result, but in my mind I didn’t put forth that much physical effort. I should probably count the mental effort I put into it. My job is mentally taxing, and I spend the rest of my time trying to unpack my brain.

I know if I would exercise or watch what I eat during the eating window I would lose weight, but that’s just not happening right now. For me, it might be helpful to try 19:5. I’m not there yet either. I’m pleased with not gaining weight anymore, so that’s a real positive.

I went for my annual doctor visit recently, and my blood pressure was perfectly normal. That hasn’t been the case since I was about 21 years old. I was so excited. I know it was because of IF. That’s all I need to keep me going.

So, to summarize here, I’m no longer gaining weight, my memory is significantly improved, and my blood pressure is normal. There are probably other positive effects that I haven’t even noticed yet. I will keep going. IF is a good thing for me.

Clothes – Another Guilty Pleasure

Six years ago, one of my coworkers came to work wearing a really cute dress. When I complimented her on the dress, she told me she got it from StitchFix. I signed up for a subscription the same day, and I’ve been receiving five clothing/jewelry/shoes/purses/scarves items monthly ever since. You fill out a profile with your sizes, shape, likes, and dislikes. What amazes me is how they send me shoes that have fit perfectly 100% of the time. You can also select the frequency you would like to receive a box, and you can request special items for a date or event that’s coming up.

Okay, yeah, I know that’s a lot of clothes. So? When you receive your five items, you can keep all of them, a few, or none. You just send back anything you don’t want in the enclosed return package. If you keep everything, you get a 25% discount.

I received the above sweater in my last package. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It’s a long sweater that hits about mid-thigh. It’s warm, cozy, and stylish.

I whole-heartedly recommend StitchFix. I love that no matter what kind of occasion comes up I can find just the right thing in my closet.

Dress Painting

I kind of like this painting. The texture on the bodice was intentional. I thought about going back and adding some sparkly paint, but I think I’ll leave it alone. The painting is not my original. I copied a painting I found on Pinterest. Soon I hope to be doing my own original work, but I’m not there yet.

I’ve always heard that it takes 10,000 hours to get good at something. Today I ran across a TED video that says you can get good at painting – or many other things – in only 20 hours. I don’t know about that, we’ll see. I don’t think I’ve spent 20 hours painting. Maybe 10-12. I guess I have something to look forward to soon. I’ll just keep on keeping on.

Perfectionism is a Disease

I’m on a little rant today about perfectionism. It’s my personal opinion that perfectionism is a disease. It not only affects the perfectionist, but it affects everyone they touch.

Examples:

  1. Someone currently in my life is a perfectionist. She has extremely high expectations of herself, which is fine with me, but she also has the same expectations of others, including me. Her expectations give rise to micromanagement of everyone around her. When something doesn’t go exactly as as she expects she lashes out at everyone in her vicinity. If anyone doesn’t agree with her, she implies they are lacking because they don’t see the issue. I’m pretty laid back. I don’t take on other people’s issues, so she insinuates frequently that I just don’t understand. Well, I’m not taking on her opinions either. I see this as her problem and not mine. She can address it with her therapist.
  2. Two people in my past life (no longer a problem for me) were perfectionists. The problem is that they had no expectations of themselves. They wanted everyone else to be perfect. These two were so toxic. They screamed at others throughout each day and physically abused others.
  3. I have a friend who is a life coach. While getting her business started, she decided to hold a series of three group meetings of ladies from our church to demonstrate her services. There were about 15 women who attended the meetings. They spent the whole time whining and teary-eyed as they poured their hearts out about feeling like they always have to be perfect. Their house, kids, husbands, themselves all have to be perfect all the time or they feel judged. I couldn’t deal with this group. I didn’t identify with anything they were saying. There was a similar women’s Sunday school group.
  4. I was once helping a few ladies decorate a Christmas tree in a public place. While we were placing ornaments on the tree, one of the ladies kept talking about what a perfectionist she is – like this made her feel superior to others. She talked about how when decorating her tree at home, she would move everyone else’s ornaments to “better locations” so the tree would be perfect. I asked her if she would be moving my ornaments after I left. She said she would be moving them. I handed her my basket of ornaments and told her that since she would be relocating my ornaments anyway that she might as well just put them all on herself. I left and took another lady with me. I’m not going to waste my time doing things that are going to be unappreciated and re-done by a perfectionist who thinks she can do it better than I can.

I’m no doctor…oh wait, yes I am…but not of the medical variety, but the perfectionists are their own problem, not the world. They have unreasonable expectations, and they make others miserable.

This person who is currently in my life is only temporary, so it’s just a matter of temporarily keeping my thoughts on track and not allowing her to make my day bad.

It would be great if everyone had the ability to see themselves as they are seen by the world. It may not even matter though because sometimes they are deliberately mean to others and see themselves as being justified in their behavior.

Here are a few books. I like books.

Beach Scene Part Deux

I attempted to paint a beach scene a second time, and this was the result. A lot better, but still a lot of room to grow. Consistency is key, from what I’m told. The palm tree leaves came out better than in past attempts.

I’ve been watching SkillShare videos on acrylic blending techniques. After watching three such videos, I ordered these round brushes. I only need one, I think, but this came with three for only $2.00 less than buying one. You know…a girl and a sale…I also ordered this pack of two color wheels after the video showed what can happen if you mix colors that are across the color wheel from each other. Some of them turn muddy or brown. We don’t want that to happen, and it already has several times.

I looked at blending medium as well, but haven’t ordered any yet. One thing I really want is an art portfolio to store some of my paintings. I’ve looked at some, but haven’t found the right one yet. There really isn’t a right one, but just one that grabs me and says, “I must come and live with you.”

One Percent Better Per Day

I stole this picture from “Ken Carter.” Thanks, Ken.

My motto for 2022 is “1% better is Better.”

I don’t exactly make New Year’s resolutions, but I do set goals. Resolutions sound so vague and breakable, but goals can be defined and refined and broken down into do-able pieces. I guess resolutions can too, but they have such a negative connotation.

This year’s goals are helping me to prepare for my second act. Maybe I’m too old to be going for a second act, maybe it’s my third act. Whatever. I’m still calling it my second act. What I’m referring to as my second act is preparing for what I’ll do after my eventual retirement.

I don’t plan to retire any time soon. My plan is to work another five to ten years. That said, wouldn’t it be cool to spend my retirement years painting and writing? Maybe a little teaching university students? I already have all I need to teach university students and to research and write. I want to spend this time before retirement learning to paint.

I’m committed to painting an hour a day every day in 2022 and watching one Skillshare painting video per day. That will give me 365 hours of painting and 365 Skillshare videos. That won’t make me an expert, but it will bring me 720 hours closer to my painting desires. Some things are hard to measure in percentages, but those things I can measure in time spent on them.