COME SLEEP, OH SLEEP

On a morning like this one, “create” hardly seems relevant. Late to bed and early to rise isn’t a good combination for the most tired amongst us and my lids are heavy with sleep … and the contractors — for whom I rose so early — are not here. Why am I not surprised? Although it isn’t raining — yet — there is a promise of rain later. If they don’t get here soon, the whole process will be deferred until next week. This rain, like so many others this year, will be several days before clearing.

The best sleepers are fully furred … Have you ever met a dog or cat who had insomnia? Me neither.

The tiredness factor plays a much bigger role in creativity these days than ever in the past. One of the big differences that comes with aging is the “limited bounce-back” effect. The younger you are, the more you bounce back from adversity. Tiredness, colds, flu … just about everything. The three-day sniffles of your thirties become the several week-long coughing, sneezing exhaustion of your seventies. It’s not that you don’t recover, but it takes longer. The tiredness you could sleep off in one long night takes a good many nights today. Sleep is less deep and mostly, briefer.

The experts, whoever they are, say we need less sleep as we get older. I don’t doubt their well-researched beliefs, but I have a nearly constant sense that a few good hours of really deep sleep could go a long way towards fixing what ails me.

And with that, while still optimistically awaiting the contractors, I think I’ll get another cup of coffee.

HIGH ANXIETY – BY ELLIN CURLEY

On June 11, 2017, the front page of the New York Times ‘Sunday Styles’ section had an article called “An Anxious Nation.” The article talks about the near epidemic levels of anxiety in our society. For a generation, depression was the poster child for mental illness/psychological malaise.

Now it’s MOVE OVER DEPRESSION! MAKE ROOM FOR ANXIETY!

I have both depression and anxiety disorders. My life changed when the first mass market anti-depressant drug, Prozac, became available to the public. It does wonders for me and alleviates my anxiety based depression. Because of Prozac and other drugs in the same category, I have been able to control my symptoms. I have become a happier, calmer, more upbeat person. My inner life now is positive more often than negative.

But, I’ve always felt ‘different’. There was something about me that most people couldn’t understand or relate to. I learned to edit out my anxious and/or depressive thoughts when talking to people. I didn’t admit many of my fears or worries. I just made myself do what I thought was considered ‘normal’ in a given situation.

I felt great relief when depression came out of the closet, so to speak. A lot was written about it and it became universally recognized and better understood. I didn’t have to anticipate the question “what are you depressed about?” if I told someone I was depressive. Over the years of mainstream depression education, most people ‘get’ that it is an illness in which irrationality can control the sufferer. They can understand and empathize, at least on a superficial, outsider level.

Donald Trump has helped push this condition into the mainstream. Since he’s been President, therapists all over the country are reporting a large increase in the number of people coming in with some form of anxiety! Now it looks like anxiety will have its day in the spotlight. A lot is being written about it and an avalanche of people are admitting that they are afflicted by it.

I feel freer now to be open about my issues, however minor they may be for me nowadays. Now I can tell people that I have serious anxieties about driving to an airport alone. This used to be one of my embarrassing secrets. That kind of anxiety is ‘out there’ today. It’s all over TV sitcoms, other TV shows and movies. Celebrities have talked about having agoraphobia. So now I can admit that I have days when I feel anxious about leaving the house. I can reasonably expect some empathy and understanding of my irrational feelings.

Hopefully more people are recognizing and diagnosing their anxieties and getting help. Medication does a lot for most people, as does Cognitive Therapy. More support groups are popping up online and in the real world. Being able to talk openly and feel support is a big step towards conquering the illness.

It is liberating to know that I am not alone battling my demons. It is comforting to know that many other people have similar issues. Why does that help me? Because the painful sense of stigma is removed. No one, including me, believes it’s my ‘fault’.

The need for secrecy and pretending is removed. I can just deal with my issues in peace. I don’t have to add insult to injury. I don’t have to be anxious about my anxiety!

ORANGE BEGONIAS: FOCUS

Hanging flowers. Where to focus?

When you shoot close, you can focus front, middle, or back and the effect is very different. The orange begonias are interesting. So bright, they come up best in rather low light. Sunshine on the flowers makes them appear to be on fire — and out of focus.

Orange begonias
More orange begonias
And a final look

I have found that focusing on any but the flowers in the front seems awkward when you’re viewing. I’m not sure why, but I have given in and focus tightly in the front and let the rest of the photograph drift back into bokeh.

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2017

WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THOSE LOTTERY WINNINGS

Share Your World – June 12, 2017

Let me start today’s post by saying I don’t believe we’re already in the middle of June. Maybe because we didn’t really have a season anyone could call spring, summer seems to have just popped up, like Jack from his box. Time is speeding along. So fast!

What do you do when you’re not working? If you are retired, what do you that is not part of your regular daytime routine?

I write. I take pictures. I cook. I make appointments, try to make sure we actually get to our appointments. Hang out with Garry, the dogs, and whoever is available for hanging out.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

 

The only things that occur occasionally not “on our schedule” are vacations. Otherwise, life is our schedule. We do life. Good, bad, indifferent … it’s what there is on our table.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

This is one of those ever-changing answers. It gets asked often and it gets answered depending on where I am, life-wise.

Oh, the plans I had when I was younger. Now? Pay off this house. Give it to someone who needs it. Get a smaller, single-level house. NO stairs with a big fenced yard for the furry ones, and a shaded patio for us. Maybe a nice garden and someone to maintain it. And a weekly cleaning service. If there’s enough money left, give it to people whose lives would be better if they weren’t so poor.

What makes you laugh the most?

Garry and I do a lot of laughing, though I must admit, this year hasn’t been one of our funniest. Generally, though, we find all kinds of things hilarious.

Photo: Bette Stevens

Books, TV shows, stuff in the news. People. And of course, the dogs, who are always funny.

What is your biggest pet peeve with modern technology?

Mostly that they keep putting out new models of stuff that doesn’t need to be replaced. The “new, improved” item is always “better” than the one before it, but surprisingly, none of the “better ways” are anything I’m ever going to need. Or use. It’s just a way to ramp up the price without ramping up the quality.