When Things Go Awry, Agitation & Self-Talk

Pixabay: johnhain Free for commercial use; No attribution required

Sometimes small things agitate me; today it was forgetting to bring my health insurance card to a medical appointment.

As soon as I walked in to the lab, I realized my new insurance card was at home. The sign in the receptionist’s window said cards were required for service. I hoped they’d let me email them a copy when I got home; I feared they’d tell me no card, no service, and I’d have to go home and get it.

This would be an unexpected change in my plans; a change I didn’t want. Unmet expectations are not uncommon in life; they are what they are. But sometimes those unmet expectations—things not going the way I want them to go—can trigger an inner reaction.

When that happens, I’m trying to pay attention to how my body reacts; because my body usually sends me signals before anything else.

Continue reading “When Things Go Awry, Agitation & Self-Talk”

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Mom’s Last Week

Dad photo

Mom arrived around noon to the room she would live in until she died. She knew the facility, although this was a new room. She expressed appreciation for the photos and flowers I had decorated it with. She thanked the two young men who had transported her by ambulance from the hospital.  She was weak, but knew how to be polite.  It was Friday, September 21.

Her arrival marked the beginning of the end. An end that came nine days later.

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To My Blog Followers Using WordPress Reader: Yes or No

Pixabay: geralt. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.

Hi followers of Walk the Goats, especially those who find my new posts through WordPress Reader. Thanks for following me and…I need your help.

I posted a new post this morning (1/17/19) at 9 am Eastern Time entitled I Have 340 Separate Account Log-Ons.

My question to you is: did that post come through your WordPress Reader?

  • YES=Yes, it was there! Wahooo!
  • NO=Nope. It didn’t show up.

I’m asking because I follow myself and it didn’t come through mine. Not on my phone; not on my iPad; not on my browser.

Fandango, on his blog This, That and, and The Otherhas posted recently that he’s had lots of problems with blogs he’s following not coming through his Reader.  Right after reading today’s post from him about this, my post vaporized in Reader.

I’m a small blog with a small list of followers. Not appearing in Reader impacts the engagement I have, which is already…small.

I’m trying to do some data-gathering and would love it if you would post in the comments if you saw my above-referenced blog in your WordPress Reader. And if you’ve had any issues with Reader, feel free to note that, too. I’ve already reached out to WordPress about my missing post, but if I have more problems to tell them about, I’ll pass that on.

Thanks for your help. And for reading!  After this has been up for a while, I’ll tally the results.

And keep my fingers crossed that THIS post appears in Reader.

 

Photo source: geralt on Pixabay


 

I Have 340 Separate Account Log-Ons

Pixabay: Pixelkult. Free for commercial Use. No attribution required.

There’s a reason people use the same log-on name and password on every friggin’ site on the internet; they do it because every friggin’ site requires we establish an account in order to interact with them beyond looking at their offerings through the internet-window.

You want to come in and browse? Set up an account, create a user name and unique password, give us your personal data, and then—and only then—will we let you in to see our wares.

Imagine if that happened at retail stores? They would have collapsed sooner than their apparent, imminent collapse.

I have 340 web sites that required me to set up an account with them in order to engage.  Really? Did all 340 of them really need me to set up an account? I don’t even know if some of the accounts I have exist anymore. I’m pretty sure my MySpace account is defunct, but who knows, it could still be sitting there.

Continue reading “I Have 340 Separate Account Log-Ons”

WordPress Design and Content Tweak Suggestions

Pixabay: pixelcreatures Free for commercial use; no attribution required

Cheri Lucas Rowlands, with WordPress, recently published two posts to help us improve our blogs.  In case you missed them, here are five design and content tweaks she recommended. The posts themselves serve up narrative and visual guidance to implement each change, so if one of them catches your eye, click through and tweak away!

Five Design Tweaks for a Fresh Start in 2019

  1. Set the tone with a new header
  2. Clean out the cobwebs and remove your background
  3. Get stylish with a fresh font
  4. Build your site’s visual identity with a custom logo
  5. Use your photography game with high-quality images

Five Content Tweaks for a Fresh Start in 2019

  1. Update your site title and tagline
  2. Reorder and reword your menu tabs
  3. Clean up your categories
  4. Revisit your sidebar and footer
  5. Audit all of your pages

There’s lots more WordPress blogging guidance and reading suggestions on WordPress.com-Blog and WordPress-Discover. If you aren’t following them, sign up to get plugged into more resources!

 

Photo source: pixelcreatures on Pixabay


 

My Costco Greatest Hits

Pixabay: Geralt, free for commercial use, no attribution required

I asked a friend once why she didn’t shop at Costco.  “Because when I do, I buy stuff I don’t need.”

With another friend, I joked that it was hard to get out of Costco for under $100. “Under $100?” he quipped. “More like $200!”

I’m of two minds about Costco; I’m drawn toward it, and have resistance to it.

There was my misfortune a few years ago with Costco’s red, medium sticker on my sweater, worn at a memorial service; no, it wasn’t Costco’s fault, but it remains a well-seared-in, unpleasant memory.

Costco is to blame, though, for being a place with too much tempting stuff; I’ve admitted to having a love/hate affair with stuff; Costco takes those feelings and gins ‘em up.  So, yeah, I have some Costco…baggage.

But there are also things I love about Costco; things that keep my membership alive and active.

Here are 5 things I really like about Costco. They’re my Costco Greatest Hits.

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Mom’s Final Hospital Discharge

Walk the Goats Photog

My mother died September 30th, one week and two days after being discharged from the hospital, terminal cancer her final diagnosis.

In early September we were talking about her possible discharge home at the end of that month; she was making great progress with her hip replacement rehab, despite continued pain.

We thought we had time ahead of us. She thought she had time.

Then, with a September 15th phone call, our world changed. The resident calling reported mom had terminal cancer.  A day-and-a-half later, I’m back east, meeting with dad, mom, doctors, nurses.

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I Love Stuff. I Hate Stuff.

Pixabay: 999theone, Free for commercial use; no attribution required

I have a love/hate relationship with stuff.   I own too many things.  Not all of it sparks joy, that Marie Kondo test to decide whether to keep something or eliminate it.

I’ve gotten rid of things along the way, but unless I move and have to do a major purge, things flow into my house at a faster rate than they flow out. Having lived in the same place for nearly 20 years, stuff has accumulated.

The percentage of stuff I use regularly is…small.

Some of the stuff is seasonal, stored until the season rolls around again.

Some is aspirational: those pants I’ll fit into once I’ve dropped 10-pounds.

Some is, if I’m brutally honest, fantastical: am I really going to read Daniel Pink’s To Sell is Human or George Lakoff’s Moral Politics?

Continue reading “I Love Stuff. I Hate Stuff.”

Postage Stamps are Little Marvels

Pixabay: AngelaT Free for commercial use; no attribution required

The price of a U.S. first-class stamp goes up January 27, 2019 from $0.50 to $0.55.

If you’re of a certain generation you might ask, “What’s a stamp?”

If you were alive 50-years-ago, when stamps were $0.06, you might grumble about the higher price.

But focusing on the price misses something bigger: the marvel of what you get for the price of that stamp; that stamp affixed to an envelope you can send to a friend 3,000 miles away.

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Road Intersection Lesson #2

Pixabay: Alexas_Fotos / 19628 images CC0 Creative Commons

Have you ever thought you’d squeezed every morsel of learning out of some lesson, only to have it say, wait! there’s more!

My Road Rage story was like that. I dubbed the location where I learned to reduce my road rage, mindfulness intersection. After blogging about it I thought, ok, that intersection is dry; I’ve learned all there is.

But life continued. And I realized so much depends on perspective. When I first wrote about taming my road rage, I wrote about it from my perspective: the one pissed off that another car cut in front of me.

My second lesson had me being the cutter.

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Dating and Baggage

Pixabay: Alexas_Fotos CC0 Creative Commons

When I was single and dating—a divorced adult with a child and more than one serially monogamous relationship in my backpack—the word baggage was often used.

Baggage: past experiences or long-held ideas regarded as burdens and impediments.

Burdens and impediments.

Not exactly a super-hero word in the world of adult dating. The sentence used to illustrate the word—the emotional baggage I’m hauling around—conjures up Pig-Pen from the Peanuts comic strip; the dirt and dust trailing behind him his emotional baggage.

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Small Things Falling

Pixabay: maciej326 CC0 Creative CommonsThe other day a paperclip fell out of my hand, straight down.

Or, at least, that’s what it should have done. It should have fallen directly to my feet, where the carpet should have caught it, grabbed it, and trapped it.

But that isn’t what happened.

I padded my hands in a small circle around my feet, feeling for it. Despite this being the obvious place, it wasn’t there. I expanded the circle until, finally, I found it.

Five feet away.

This isn’t the first time a paperclip or an earring has fallen and landed farther afield than where gravity suggests it should be.

Do they bounce? Is there a draft from the furnace that allows them to ride the breeze?

I never know. I just know I’m always surprised how far away small objects can land in their flight for freedom.

Maybe it’s just the stuff in my house….

 

Photo source: maciej326 on Pixabay


 

Those Pesky Resolutions

Pixabay: geralt CC0 Creative Commons

January 1st. The first day of a new year. That day when we feel the potential of who we think we can be as we write our resolutions.  It’s that First Day of our Big Promise to Quit Something or Start Something.

It’s usually one or the other.  Stop drinking. Smoking. Swearing. Eating ice cream. Start going to the gym. Drinking more water. Reading more.

We choose things that promise we’ll become better, healthier people if we do them. Because, lord knows, if we accept ourselves as we are, how will we ever improve? We need motivation and surely these New Year’s Resolutions will motivate, yes?

Yet we fail miserably at New Year’s Resolutions.

Still we keep doing them. January 1 rolls around and we promise to stop or start various new behaviors and naively act like, this year, we’ll successfully stick to it for 365 days.

Here’s my thought on the New Year’s Resolution Custom.

Stop It.

Just quit.

Continue reading “Those Pesky Resolutions”

Tilting at Windmills

VIVIANE6276 CC0 Creative Commons on Pixabay

I love moments when I see my perspective shift on something.  I tilt my psychological head and, bam! things are suddenly different.

I was driving to the hospital to see mom. The Vermont hills, peppered with farms and cows, rolled before me, small towns and communities rising up and fading away.  The green scenery swaddled me in its splendor; an occasional tree hinted at autumn.

I rounded a turn. There on the hill before me was a display of a half-dozen windmills.

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Emotions [Invisibilia]

Podcasts are one of my favorite ways to get different perspectives on things and explore new ideas. This Invisibilia podcast on emotions is mind exploding. If you like podcasts, check this one out. If you experience emotions, same advice.

Pursuing Podcasts

freeGraphicToday, Pixabay, CC0Creative Commons

If you think you know how emotions work, this podcast will turn your world upside-down.  Enough so that you may find yourself arguing that what’s being presented can’t be possible.

Before hearing this, I had a hope that we have more control over how we respond to things than we sometimes think. It’s one of the reasons I started meditating: to learn to not get hooked as much by emotions.

Yet it often feels as if an emotion takes me over, as if I have no “choice” in feeling something. But what if emotion is the interpretation of a physiological feeling? What if it’s a way our body tries to “make sense” of a sensation? What if we do have control?

That’s the idea this episode presents.

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Road Rage Lesson #1

Alexas_Fotos / 19406 images. CC0 Creative Commons

You know that road rage emotion? That righteous anger that feels good because you know the other driver is an absolute, f’ing moron behind the wheel?

Yeah. That road rage.

Ever hear the quote, “holding grudges is like taking poison and hoping it kills the other person”?

Replace “grudges” with “anger” and…same truth.

Continue reading “Road Rage Lesson #1”

Where Would Mom Be When She Died?

Cindy pictureMy mother died September 30th, two weeks after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. This was almost seven months from her first medical emergency in the spring, when on March 10th, dad rushed mom to the hospital. When they arrived, she was unresponsive. The medical folks revived her. The note I jotted down simply said: “pneumonia?”

That night was the beginning of many months during which mom faced a cascading waterfall of medical issues and curveballs, from surgeries delayed (low blood count) to surgeries accelerated (mom was suddenly a “trauma case”).

Continue reading “Where Would Mom Be When She Died?”

32-Days

Vermont NY Sky cvc

I didn’t know when I blogged on August 28th that my mom would live for only 32 more days.

We didn’t know that until September 30th.

In the span of those 32-days, we went from expecting her to be discharged from rehab at the end of September, to suddenly being told she had a fast-growing, aggressive cancer. Get her home and comfortable, we were advised, and admitted into hospice.

It was two weeks and one day between her cancer diagnosis and her death.  The sudden flip in her story arc, and the speed with which the ending arrived, catapulted our world into a surreal state. The walls of the “real world” quickly got shut out and a single-minded focus grabbed hold.

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Mentor Cat

ggirl144 on Pixabay CC0 Creative Commons

“Note the thoughts. Note the feelings. Let them go. Don’t chase after them; don’t resist them.”

“Note the thoughts.” It’s a fundamental lesson of my meditation program. It resonates. It’s helping me be less attached to thoughts and feelings. Not all of the time, but I’m discovering, with greater frequency, a wee bit of space between thoughts and how I act upon them. In that space I’m finding greater clarity and calm. And less judgment. Which, given how active the internal Judge has been in my life, is something I celebrate.

I’m getting it, slowly. Bubba and I have a joke that it takes 19 times of hearing something before we “get it.”  I’m still in single digits on this.

Recently I got lucky and got to watch an element of this meditation idea in action. The “don’t chase” concept was demonstrated by that great spiritual teacher: our cat.

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For Those Missing WP’s Daily Prompt & Community Pool

Edar on Pixabay CC0 Creative CommonsSince WordPress dropped their Daily Prompt and Community Pool at the end of May, other sites have stepped in to fill the gap.  If you feel adrift, here are three sites to both jiggle your brain cells, and help you connect with others in the blogosphere. It’s a great way to discover new blogs, help new writers, and find new fans of your writing.  Enjoy!

SwimmersDaily Prompt and Community Pool

“Have you just published a new post and need some feedback? Do you need some advice on your blog theme & layout ? Maybe you’re a newbie and need to increase your audience? Just leave your question in the comment section adding your blog’s address.”

Ragtag Daily PromptDaily Prompt

“To participate in the Ragtag Daily Prompt, create a Pingback to your post, or copy and paste the link to your post into the comments. And while you’re there, why not check out some of the other posts too!”

FOWC with FandangoDaily Prompt

“FOWC was designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt at the end of May and I want to thank each and every one of you for being so supportive and for participating in these prompts.”

Photo source: Edar on Pixabay