Category Archives: Opinion

A Lot Of Walking

I hit 10,000 steps by 6:00 a.m. One of my Fitbit competitors had to walk about 25 miles to catch up late last night.

Someone accused me of feeling superior for having lost a hundred pounds. There are a lot of reasons why people don’t be or become who they’re supposed to be. I admit I was very evangelical about my approach to weight loss. In part, because I did every bit of it only by changing my diet. Almost anything can be accomplished if you commit to increments and keep the promise to yourself that you’re going to do better. Part of the conundrum of life is that when you excel in one area, you tend to let other areas deteriorate. Each of us has limited time and focus and it is so easy to let the grind of the day distract us.

If I can ever figure out a way to channel my obsessive commitment to anything I set my mind to, I imagine that I will drive people crazy.

On second thought, I probably do that already. It is so easy to let criticism from people that don’t have you or your best interests in mind get in your head. Mine is too crowded to do more than give such criticism a passing inspection.

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WTF-Time

“Lazy is a bad word. Shall we instead call it selective participation?” – The Internet

Today so far… woke up to laughter. Anytime 2 a.m. involves laughter is an auspicious day. And probably suspicious if I’m involved. There was heartache in the morning for someone I love and I hope she finds peace knowing she gave her presence in a time when it was most needed. I worked a bit, then came home and put wheels on my desk. Insert joke here! I built a wooden planter for sunflowers and installed it along the inside fence at this hideous apartment complex. Put up a shelf for random nonsense (I loathe specific nonsense.), one I repurposed and made from fence board. And then, because I couldn’t stand looking at it, I went outside (because that’s where trees and brush grows!) and cut away all the limbs and brush along the 50′ of the fence next to which I put in the planter. I’ve accumulated 4-5 truckloads of limbs and brush for ‘somebody’ to haul off; otherwise, the neighbors might stage an impromptu bonfire. I also picked up an entire bag of trash that somehow managed to get all over the complex since the last time I cleaned it. My back is still sore from all the previous festivities involved in “The Great Cleaning of 2022.” It’s 10 a.m. and I feel like I’ve accomplished a blizzard of activity. I’m going to go find some more laughter in a little while. My soul needs it. Enthusiasm is at a premium these days and I’m going to cash every bit of it in today.

“If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.” -Brian Tracy

X’s Frog Corollary: “If you have to kiss two people, at least one of them should be a woman.”

Remember that there are three distinct stages in life:

BIRTH

WTF

DEATH

The first two have already happened. Squeeze in as much wtf-time as you can, because it’s flying past with indifferent velocity. Otherwise, you’ll lose your health, your loved ones, or your life – only to look back and vehemently utter the phrase, “WTF happened to all the minutes?”

Love, X

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P.S. I made the picture out of several elements and rendered it.

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Reimagined Art

I went to Crystal Bridges yesterday. It’s always a beautiful place, one I’ve been absent from for quite a while. It was my birthday. Today, I am 20,090 days old, which still seems a better metric to me. 20K+ opportunities for me to do something that resonates.

Despite the multitude of art, it struck me again that while there is much to see, a great deal of the art isn’t art at all to me. Art is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve seen much better in the nooks and crannies around Fayetteville, created in lemon moments by people who will never be appreciated for their creativity.

The painting that had the biggest visual impact for me was Daylight at Russell’s Corners, by George Copeland Ault. As serene as the picture is, I imagined it as a metaphor, with a restless creature at my back, one representing my mistakes and my past. It can stalk all it wishes to.

Love, X

PSA Personal And True

Despite some of my missteps, I’m still not a fan of secrecy. It leads to all sorts of behavior, much of it counterproductive. I learned the hard way! Which seems to be the way I learn everything. I’m using the word “learn” very loosely here.

When I talked about anxiety and taking Lexapro, this social media platform restricted my account a few months ago. Given the content I see, I’m still perplexed by this.

I can only imagine what this post might trigger. It’s personal and honest. And maybe a little irreverent. I have a sense of humor about it, just as I do with everything else.

About 50-80% of adults have oral herpes (HSV), a virus that we usually know as cold sores. Another 16% have been diagnosed with HSV2, the kind that typically hits below the belt. Many more have it, as they are either asymptomatic or the symptoms aren’t apparent. There is no cure. Over time, most people tend to have fewer symptoms. Women in particular often have it without any visible signs given their anatomy.

I have HSV2. I recently used Everlywell at-home testing to confirm it again. It doesn’t usually have any serious medical complications. There are exceptions for some people.

Most of the people who have it don’t talk about it. That’s a problem for a lot of reasons. The principal consequence is that so many people don’t tell their potential partners. Additionally, most people don’t get tested for STDs, or even have their yearly blood tests for the spectrum of other possible diseases or illnesses. Testing for STDs is essential for sexually active adults. So many people have one without being aware. No one likes to imagine that a partner might be infected; either the potential partner knows or doesn’t. It’s on you to be proactive, no matter how phenomenal someone looks standing next to the fireplace while wearing a come-hither look in the dim light from the Bed, Bath, And Beyond candles on the mantle.

If you are wondering, you can get herpes of any kind even when you’re with someone who has no symptoms. Even if you are careful and use protection. Using contraception as an example, none is 100% effective. As I’ve personally learned, being ugly isn’t a guarantee, either. Someone will look at you with fire in their eyes. It’s one of the most complicated parts of being a human being. We superficially talk about it, of course, but few people are direct about how important this side of private life is. It’s possible to have a fulfilling life without sexual expression, but it’s one I couldn’t imagine. I can listen to only so much NPR.

If you have an STD, it is the least you can do to have an uncomfortable conversation with your partner before engaging in the horizontal mambo. Such discussions will likely be awkward. All important ones are. It’s possible to avoid transmission to a long-term partner. But it is equally valid to remember that nothing you do is 100% safe. Your libido will lead to a satisfying sex life if you’re lucky. Any potential partner worth having will be glad you took the time to allow them to make an informed choice. Giving someone an STD is the best example to prove why “it’s better to give than to receive” is problematic.

Suppose you want to test without the embarrassment of going to the doctor? In that case, you can use a service such as Everlywell to test yourself for all manner of medical conditions affordably, STDs included. It’s better to know the truth than to risk someone else’s health.

I know what you’re thinking. No matter how attractive someone is, they likely have something for you to worry about, not the least of which is bad credit and a penchant for being best friends with their exes. Hopefully, an STD won’t be an additional worry. If you haven’t had comprehensive blood testing and an STD test in a while, you owe it to yourself to do it.

You can get back to Chad or Suzanne afterward. Or Chad and Suzanne if that’s your thing. No judgment here.

Love, X

PS Yes, I will say anything on social media.
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Washington Regional Rebranding Idea

Infrequently, I try to use my endless ideas to create something ‘serious.’ I hate that word, as it needlessly demarcates life into impossible categories. I’m both ridiculous and contemplative – as most people are.

For years I’ve thought that Washington Regional Medical System needed both a new logo and a new name, one that reflects simplicity, recognizability, and appropriateness. The hospital system is flung across multiple counties, with dozens of clinics. As it has grown, the “Washington” part increasingly becomes a misnomer, especially as it encroaches on other systems in the area.

The name I invented is pronounced “Regional Plus.” The logo is just the word “Regional” with a symbol that uses the essential foundation of the complicated logo it utilized for years. It’s simple, recognizable, and has a plethora of built-in marketing potential. I’d rather have the word “Regional” be purple, too, but I used a nondescript gray to keep the suits and ties happier. Additionally, my proposed rebrand fits on t-shirts, badges, and marketing materials – something the longer current one does not. It will save a LOT of space on signs, too.

“At Regional +, we’re not just a hospital, we’re a hospital plus.”

It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to extrapolate dozens of such marketing phrases. Naturally, I have several funny ones, too, but I’ll leave them for later.

I shared it with marketing and a few other people and didn’t get a response. Crickets.

The weird thing? Without evidence, I see this logo becoming the new one for the hospital.

Tell me that mine isn’t better and I will shut up.

X

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Another List From Social Media

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I got a dose of humility again.

I patiently explained to the inconvenience store cashier that I wanted a Natural State jackpot multi draw ticket for the next 10 drawing dates. She mocked me, so I explained it again, telling her that it meant the ticket would print with one set of numbers on one line and with a corresponding date range from today and the next nine drawings. She mocked me again and then rang it up wrong. For the first time in several consecutive such encounters, I told her she was going to have to void the ticket. She launched into an angry rant at me and called me an idiot. I told her that I am indeed an idiot but that she should ask her manager how to ring up a multidraw ticket. And then I wished her a good day. I genuinely smiled at her, even as she muttered profanities under her breath.

When I drove up to the inconvenience store, a homeless person was bundled in a white blanket.

When I left, I saw him walk around the back side of the parking lot. Out of curiosity I walked around too. Behind the brick facade containing the dumpster, there was a shopping cart full of someone’s life. Next to it, a closed tent. The homeless person I had followed was not the occupant of the tent.

I shivered with the chilly March breeze.

And even though I was beyond polite to the cashier who mistreated me… Seeing that cart and the tent next to it broke up a stone in my heart.

I don’t have a moral to the story. Just grateful for my life.

Love, X

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I hadn’t seen Max the terrier in a few days. He got excited and jumped up to me to give me hugs and kisses as I petted him…

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That’s the moon next to the stop sign. Sirens racing past, dogs barking, sitting on the patio with my sister as she talks to one of her 300,000 friends. An unexpected life, a moment in time…

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In LR, making sister seem annoyed with me. Enjoying time and also missing home.

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I used my night vision lens to snap this picture at around 6:00 a.m. Scull Creek roars and overflows on both sides of me. The bright moon of course is diffused by the filter but I took a mental snapshot too. I’ll look back in a year and probably feel like 10 years have elapsed. A beautiful moment, full of thoughts and delights for the eye.
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Zen proverb modernized:

A farmer arrives home late from the day in the fields. He finds his wife of 30 years in bed with another man.

“Is dinner ready?” He asked her.

She emerged from the bedroom, hair a mess and bewildered.

“Aren’t you going to ask why I was in bed with another man?”

“Why? Would it change what happened? And I still need to eat.”

Acceptance.

Not defeat.

Life relentlessly marches forward, even as things out of your control happen.

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I finally got the hint and realized that I’m not attractive. My proctologist stuck his finger in my mouth.

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“Rain can’t wash away enthusiasm.” – X

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“Some people at full tables will wish they were you.” – a quote contained in a video sent to me by my favorite cousin. It’s a good reminder that a lot of people don’t live deliberate lives, or the ones they wish contained them.

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Operation Blue Justice is going exceedingly well at work today!

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Dubious~Optimistic FB Post #637: the percentage of known drug dealers in my apartment building is now down to 14%. I’m confident that no one has ever posted this type of statistic on their personal Facebook before.

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If you hear the klaxon call for help, know that I will be there quicker than Metamucil clears out a senior citizen. I will fight for justice and also tacos.

Love, X

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“If you put both arms out, he will hug and nuzzle your neck and face,” the owner of the large dog told me, as I kneeled on the trail’s edge.

I put both hands out palms up. The dog wagged his tail and put one paw on my hands. As I leaned forward, the dog put its nose against the side of my neck and I rubbed its flanks and neck. I laughed and watched its tail wag ferociously.

When I stood up, the dog barked a single time, a pop against the quiet and the dark around the trail.

“He wants another one,” the owner said.

I kneeled and got another hug from the dog.

“If you put both arms out, you’ll get a hug.”

I wish the entire world would stop long enough to absorb that lesson.

Love, X

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I like to get everyone to use hand sanitizer. Not for hygiene, but because it looks like they are hatching evil plans when they use it.

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Güino and I in an imaginary world, where colors blend and bend to the will of those seeing them. Where the sun both sets and rises simultaneously.

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Another famous painting suffers at my creative mercy. 🙂
PS That’s my Uncle Buck in the bathtub behind me.

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“Always wear two socks,” I was taught, so I put them both on one foot for the day. “Be happy,” they said, forgetting to tell us that happiness is being grateful for the opportunities in front of us rather than what we think we think we’ve lost or what we want.

-X

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Two women were jogging on the trail, both with dogs on leashes and flashlights blazing. One of the dogs saw me and surprised its owner by barking and yanking the leash free. The dog continued to bark and ran towards me. I kneeled down and waited to see if I was going to get mauled. The owner shouted in fright, probably assuming I was about to get a bite-sized chunk taken out of my ass. Instead, the dog ran at me full speed and jumped up on me with its paws licking my face. I made a new friend. Totes is his name. The owner was very apologetic. I petted and rubbed Totes until he decided it was time to run again.

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If you wear underpants without pants, they are no longer underpants or under pants. There is a lesson here. And that lesson is that decaf isn’t the same as regular.

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Redactyl got cold and started complaining. I put a blanket on him so he seems to be comfortable now.

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Compared to middle managers, velociraptors are pretty tame!

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My coworker Darian is a big guy. I definitely wouldn’t play seesaw with him.

He was complaining about young women being unable to cook.

Without missing a beat, I retorted, “Evidently young men these days definitely know how to eat though.”

I got a lot of laughter but I deserved a round of applause.

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I sat next to the trail. An enormous blackbird came and sat directly above me, commenting vociferously with a loud cacophonous caw. When I stood up, it looked directly down at me and stared. For reasons known only to the CIA, I talked to it in broken Russian. The bird cawed at me again. It did this all three times I spoke to it. I hated to leave the bird and to return to work. It felt like that bird needed to tell me something. Probably not to talk to strange birds.

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My guardian dinosaur, Redactyl, is a lot happier now that I have bedazzled him. He has the watch because of course dinosaurs have no sense of punctuality. Everything is totally Jurassic for them. He was complaining earlier about not having a hat so I’ll have to find one for him.

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To prove I do have an inner voice that corrects me, I did not post my meme today, the one that said: “If assholes could fly, this place would be an airport.”

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Philosophical observation: without a doubt, horses have to be the most farted upon animal on the planet.

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“A keychain is a ring invented so that you can lose all of your keys at once.” How often do we stop and figure out in how many other ways we’re bundling our lives like keys?

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I am a time traveler, as all we are. It flies past us, our most valuable commodity. Reality is whatever our filters tell us it is. I got a reminder yesterday just how tenuous it all can be.
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My name tag is a funny variation of carpe diem. I’ll leave it to you to figure out what the translation is from Latin. (Carpe culus)

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I hear birds singing hours before the sunrise. And I can imagine why. Someone asked me what’s good about the day. And I smiled and pointed at my curved lips. Enigmatically, I replied, “I brought the day with me.”

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Me and Cookie Monster, imagined inside the famous painting “Rain’s Rustle.” Carry on!

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My therapist recommended that I hold hands at the movies, in order to address intimacy issues. Again, she should have stipulated that none of them belonged to people I don’t know. Goodbye forever, AMC Theaters.

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My roll of 350 HELLO stickers arrived. I am playing the role of Frankie Jane today. And someone surprised me with a hare brooch, making the pun that I did not have enough hair on me.

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I set five alarms so I would have time to sweep off the car. But it was the Fitbit that woke me up. My cat Guino was sitting on me pawing at my arm with the Fitbit. He got his hugs in this morning. So it’s already a good day despite the snow.

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P.S. I had zero problems driving to work in my little bitty car. Anyone who wants to make it to work should depart before the rest of us idiots get out there.

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Despite the amount of sleet that had fallen, I had no problem driving in my small car around 10. It was like another world out there; even the traffic lights cast a beautiful sheen on the crystals covering everything. I felt like I was driving in a secret world, entirely new and refreshed. Tomorrow morning, I might well wake up to a blanket of lord knows what. But for tonight, it was sublime. I’ll remember this for a long time. If I didn’t have to work tomorrow, I would go out and walk a few miles, even if icicles formed on my nose. Feb. 2nd

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“I do all my own stunts, but never intentionally” seems appropriate this morning. Happy Monday!

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In a moment of profound victory, after weeks of doing it wrong, I realized that if turn my gallon of homemade protein drink upside down and shake it, it mixes immediately. I’ve spent so much time violently shaking the gallon, like I was having heroin withdrawals. What else have I been doing completely wrong? I’d make a list, but I don’t have a notepad that long.

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I learned something: when someone says I should walk with Jesus, they should have warned me he would stroll across the lake.

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I really struggled with my lunch. Now I know why. I ordered the pork chops but they accidentally gave me a plate of karate chops.

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When people ask you, “How are you doing?” Interpretive dance is evidently the wrong way to answer.

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The world is two kinds of people: morning people and mourning people.

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P.S. This joke could also be interpreted somberly.

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Because of my ability to explain things simply, the director told me to walk everyone through the basic premise of the new protocol. Using as much brevity and clarity as I could, I extended the middle finger of my left hand and walked away.

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This morning, instead of being productive, I lay in bed, watching the sun through the big window in my bedroom. Guino staked his claim across my stomach and torso. I’m unaccustomed to being lazy. Guino had no complaints. Now, I’m sitting at my desk by the front window, watching the world whiz by and the little birds darting at my feeder. I’m happy, even as life continues to unevenly give me blessings and obstacles.

PS Guino is unhappy again; he’s scratching at the door and singing the song of his people. The landing is calling his name, as the birds chirp and beckon him. Jan 22nd

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With everything going on in my life, I got a horrible reminder of what physical pain is: because I’m chewing gum more, I bit my bottom lip hard twice in the same place with my incisor. It brought blood the second time.

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Ellen DeGeneres quipped: “Accept who you are. Unless you’re a serial killer.”

I don’t THINK I’m a serial killer. It could be my delusion talking, though.

Someone snarked at me that I post too many pictures of myself! And they are right! With that in mind, I of course felt compelled to update my profile picture. Not because I’m too arrogant or because I’m wowed by myself, but because it is important to feel comfortable in my own body. And I do. I’ve changed what I can. The rest? It’s inside my head, where it matters most.

“Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.” Lao Tzu

“Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth.”

Love, X

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I’m standing out on the landing. The door is open and Güino is prowling in the dark, furtively looking at me to see how far I’ll let him go. It’s 52° as I watch the neighbors go about their secret business. I have Anni’s Lullaby by Patrick Pietschmann playing on the soundbar. One of the downstairs neighbors looks up with her head cocked sideways, wondering where the haunting piano melody might be coming from. I wave and she nods, then smiles. “It’s beautiful,” she said. I laughed, and the laugh caught in my throat. “Isn’t it all?” I rhetorically asked her. Because most of my neighbors are accustomed to my weird ways, she laughed too. I stand there against the railing for a few moments, thinking about my evening. Surreal is the word that best encapsulates my experience. 54 years old and capable of being surprised. Both by myself and the people around me. I let the song play a few more times, each time letting it punctuate the nocturnal air with a staccato rhythm. Were that all nights were like this. It would be difficult to complain. A day of ice cream smiles, exertion, storytelling, and feeling like I belonged exactly where I was. Jan 18th

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She used my own trick against me. She handed me a white note card. It had 7 words written on it: “People change out of inspiration or desperation.”

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At 4:00 a.m. the mockingbird doesn’t sing. But I can hear it hacking and clearing its throat.

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Here we are, each of us, as the day breaks. All of us have a different view in front of us. But each of us shares a huge overlap of the things we find to be important. I hope your day surprises you in all the best ways. Let this be a subtle morning prayer. Optimism and one foot forward is all you need. Jan 4th

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Don’t Write A Long Post On Monday Morning

My “Ask” project both failed and succeeded. The truth of it is that you can’t control another person’s response – only your own. I wrote that it’s never wrong to ask; the bigger sin is to have an ‘ask’ and remain silent.

“Silence is the gravedigger for enthusiasm, love, humor, and happiness.” – X

Ask
Ask for what you want or desire.
If you don’t, it is a certainty you’ll never get it.
Ask of life and ask of people.
The answer, though bitter or not what you sought…
It’s at least the truth.
Everything starts from there

Ask

PS I do mourn the failure.
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I woke up at 11:30, safe and happy. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I think multiple things kept me awake, one of which was the unusual trip I took to LR to see my sister Carolyn. Her house was built in 1939 and updated before she bought it. It’s a beautiful house, one she’s made comfortable and homey. Like many people, I think she doesn’t see it for what it is. It’s truly something to be proud of, like her life. Although I don’t have a clue how she juggles knowing so many people. She could run for state senate based on the number of friends and acquaintances she keeps up with. Though she will kill me for saying so, she’s fiercely single. But she needs a lot of hugs, preferably from someone really cute and financially capable. Don’t tell her I said so, though.
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The Target Rule For Women: If you love Target, you can never be truly happy with a man who hates it.
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I got out of bed instead of laying there. My cat Güino did his part, nuzzling me and demanding more treats. So I made him a concoction of juice from cat food paste. He doesn’t eat the actual meaty part. He likes to just lap up the mess I make by compressing extra water into the paste. I’d mock him but I eat some weird things too. We all do. Last week, I made the mistake of making sardine juice. Güino loved it. One afternoon as I sat in the office chair, I turned to watch him hurl a stream of sardine juice across my newly-washed comforter. I could see a look of satisfied amusement on his face as he finished. I’m sure of it. The smell reminded me of a late-night bowling alley after hot-dog and free beer hour. Bed Bath & Beyond does NOT make any candles scented this way.
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The Reg Flag Maintenance Rule For Women: if your man spends more than five minutes on his hair, he’s going to be ridiculously high maintenance about all the things that matter to you or annoy you, too.
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I still do a few hundred pushups a day, without going crazy like I once did. My cousin was right; doing them made my life more manageable and better. Over the last few months, a couple of people have been energized by my advice to start doing them, too, especially when they realize that they can spend a couple of minutes a few times a day exercising and avoid the hassle of driving or being at the gym – if they choose. When I got my hair cut the last time, a younger barber was fascinated and I sold him on trying them for six weeks. One of the things I explained to him was that he could start with “female” pushups if he needed to. (I also convinced him that he could do ten pushups at a time, multiple times a day. Before long, he’d be doing sets of 25-50, if he wished to, and even between clients.) Male pushups do work more of the lower body, but if upper body fatigue is reached by doing the allegedly easier “female” pushups, they are extremely effective to build upper body strength. It’s a myth that they aren’t great for your physical well-being, much like the mistaken belief that walking isn’t an amazing way to stay in shape. So many people think we have to run, do a lot of cardio, or stress our bodies needlessly to be in shape. “Female” pushups and walking aren’t as flashy as their counterparts but they do result in transformational physical effects if you make them a habit. Any small applied change to behavior becomes a habit. The Law of Increments prevails.
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“To a dog, all food is dog food.” To which I’d add, in the same way, if a person won’t remove their personal filter from what they see in life, circumstances will never change. “All is yellow to a jaundiced eye,” though not my quote, is apt.
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Profile Picture Rule: if the person doesn’t have a visible and updated profile picture, swipe away if you’re looking for a reliable partner to date. It is the minimum level of honesty and telegraphs their ability to be open. Argue all you want; those people have infinite time and access to both phone and their accounts.
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One of the pitfalls of social media is that people don’t use it to expound on the spectrum of their experiences. You see a thirsty photo or one of a big moment and conclude it’s an honest representation of their life. You know from experience it’s probably not. I continue to learn it’s definitely not. It’s both a comfort and a curse, as perverse as that might sound reading it.
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I went out on the landing around 1 a.m. Güino accompanied me, of course. My solar lanterns had charged well yesterday for the first day of spring but only one still held a dim charge. I heard a strident voice clearly. The person was upset and ranting. I made a cup of strong coffee and knocked on the apartment door. The voice went silent. To my surprise, the door opened. “Here’s a good cup of coffee. Do you need to talk and have someone listen?” The person was astonished and said, “Thanks for the coffee. I’m sorry you could hear me. I didn’t know.” I waited a couple of seconds before saying, “I’m sorry y’all are struggling. It can be better if you want it to.” The person nodded. “Reset it if you can,” I said. “I hope your night goes better.” There’s no moral here. But I do hope they read the inscription on the cup I designed and had made: “Choose your hard.” It’s hard to change but it’s equally hard to continue navigating waters that always capsize your boat. I hope I get the coffee cup back. It’s one of my favorites.
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Yesterday, I was delighted to discover that my internet provider had decided to put the previous tenant’s $500 delinquent bill on MY account. You can imagine the creative phone call(s) and comments I made. It seemed to be a disservice to not respond with humor and sarcasm. The person who lived in my apartment before me not only trashed the apartment but succeeded in ruining her credit. The mistake to my bill was supposedly fixed but I do wonder at the imperfect process that allowed it to happen in the first place. To say something positive along with my negative, I was shocked and delighted to see that I somehow qualified for a $30 monthly credit on my internet bill. I had zero expectations I would be able to.
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During my trip to central Arkansas, I got a ding to my windshield as I exited Conway. When I got in my car yesterday afternoon, the ding had spread to a 4″ crack. I was going to epoxy it today; now I’ll have to hope a window service can drill it out enough to repair without needing a new windshield. I guess that’s what I get for making cracks all the time; it was inevitable that one appear in my window. I get dings all the time driving through central Arkansas. I should probably refrain from driving through so many ditches. That’s where all the interesting stuff is, though.
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The two and a half hours of sleep I managed before midnight will have to suffice for this day. I shouldn’t complain. So many people suffer worse. I’ve been lucky and I can’t forget it. That is the worst kind of entitlement, that of failing to see blessings.
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“If it is important enough to you, you will find a way. If it is not, you will find an excuse.” Not my quote but resoundingly true.
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It’s going to rain hard later today, which is great. I cleaned more of the parking lot and landings yesterday – by hand, no less, wrenching up detritus and trash that the landlords failed to clean from last fall. A couple of weeks ago, I cleaned up 23 bags of leaves and trash. The rain will do its magic and cleanse the remaining residue. If it isn’t chilly, I’m going to stand out in the rain like a lunatic this afternoon and get drenched. My hope is that it will do its metaphorical work on me, too, taking away the residue of self-doubt and discomfort in my life.
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Words of unexpected encouragement from a while back:

“You’re not too much. You’ve just dealt with others who don’t have the capacity for you. Somewhere, that ‘extra’ that you give is exactly what will fill someone with happiness. Really, you’re going to reduce yourself? How’s that for a slap in the face, X?”

I decided to post it because recently, I explained the 10% Rule to someone who was unfamiliar with it.

We focus our attention on perceived defects about ourselves. But what if instead of trying to change those things, we embraced them and actively sought out people who think those alleged defects are enhancements?

Instead of fighting our nature, find someone who looks at us with a little bit of fire and awe? No hair? Big nose? Odd hands? Love handles? Weird feet? So what. The world is an awfully big place filled with a variety of people.

All of us would be so much happier if we could swing for the fences for someone who appreciates us with our defects.

“Defects become invisible where enthusiasm resides.” – X
Its counterpart is this: “Faults are thick where love is thin.”

A sense of humor is the number one key for me. Followed by wit and a quick smile. That wit and quick smile telegraph so much about a person to the world. Things are going to happen – but such an outlook glides past the obstacles without getting stuck. Because I’m a comforter, I want comfort when I’m stressed – and I want to freely give the same. It’s impossible to be myself when someone else isn’t reciprocal during the tough times.

The other thing? Enthusiasm for my presence and the ability to express it with their hands and heart.

I know, the lightning of hypocrisy may very well strike me. That’s okay. I’m mortal in the worst way. I fought a losing battle with wanting attention until I realized I didn’t want to fight for it anymore. It was the worst kind of agony trying to put it into practice.

When I was 20, gray hair set in. About that time, I adopted a short, almost military-style haircut. For convenience. My hair is one of the least important things about me. Now that some of my hair is permanently gone, I don’t chase getting it back or hiding the salt and pepper. Far from it. It’s like me new scar running up my abdomen. I own it and as perverse as it sounds, I’m glad in some ways that it happened.

Now that I lost weight, my sternum is odd. It was one of the first things that emerged from beneath my fat. I used to lie in bed and touch it, both surprised and tickled. As the rest of my body caught up, it tickles me that my sternum has that ‘jut’ in it. Below it, I have a weird connection from the surgery that obscures my stomach muscles. I’ll never get rid of it without surgery. But I would never want to. I don’t care if the whole world sees it.

For some, I am too much, too needy, too something.

The 10% rule continues to tell me that I need only one person to find me to not be “too much.”
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Love, X

Dear Eric:

The optimistic part of me hopes that justice has already been served to you on a hot plate.

One of your cases probably already unfolded this morning. I of course hope that the victim in that case is soberly acknowledging that some measure of appropriate response finally transpired.

The realistic part of me, the one who has read and heard so many stories about you, dampens my expectations.

Relying on the criminal justice system to protect people is at best foolish. It is an eternal after ~the~fact endeavor.

I know that karma does not really reach out and grasp the people who legitimately deserve a harsh measure.

I would hope that you would finally yield to the universe’s demand that you be held accountable.

To the women you made victim through no fault of their own, I offer my apology. Were the decision mine, liberal though I might be, legal proceedings would be the least of your worries.

I am hoping Justice prevailed. If not, there is no point in honoring our collective agreement to do no harm.

X

Both Personal And Random Ideas

“Make all the right choices. Eat all the right food. And you will still be dead one day. This is a rigged game, indeed, this gift of life.” – X

Have you ever thought that another way to describe a bath is “butt soup?”

For the first time in MANY years, I am getting a refund for both Federal and State taxes. While I can’t finance a yacht with the refund, it is a pleasant change of pace! Also, I did my taxes exceedingly fast; in previous years, it was a very tedious process, usually involving a lot of typing, swearing, and frustration – and that was just addressing the envelopes. Though I meticulously followed the software and triple-checked it, the IRS said my refund had to be adjusted. Whether it’s worth arguing over depends on whether my hold on sanity is firm the day I receive the letter to challenge their adjustment.

“The chickens came home to roost. Or so they thought… the smell of fried chicken soon permeated the air.” -X

Last week, very early in the morning, as I rounded the corner of the apartments near the trail by the hospital, I found three bags stuffed with personal items. Though there was no one there along the fringe of the building, I surmised that someone had slept between the minimal hedging and the brick wall. I saw someone there the following day, and I left them in peace. When I passed by again, they were gone, but the bags were still there. I left a gift for them next to their bags. I’ve not seen the bags since. I wonder about them each day.

I keep learning that being clear and honest still likely results in a mess. It doesn’t matter what your motivation is or how concisely and openly you share; the odds still dictate that things will likely spin away from you. Likely, there’s nothing you can do about it. So much of the outcome depends on the other mercurial person. Not stating your truth will just as likely cause you to bubble over unexpectedly when the pressure to speak overwhelms you. As hard as it is, between the two options, it’s always better to just state your truth when you feel like you need to. It won’t feel like the best option, though. Most of us are hard-wired to put off what plagues us until it seeps or explodes out. It’s important to remember that the feelings you bury are still alive under all the layers.

Wine ice cubes are fantastic. Not only do they go well in actual wine, but they also can be used as needed when you want wine to cook with. Don’t “at me,” either, saying that ice cubes in wine are uncouth. There are no actual rules regarding taste, cooking, or eating. The sooner we abandon that nonsense, the better off we’ll all be. And happier eating macaroni over the sink – or a bowl of cereal for supper. One wine ice cube is much better than a cheap grape popsicle, too. In my opinion. Adult note: if you drink enough wine, your appetite will likely go away. And your ability to cook coherently definitely will.

“Wisdom teaches us to be patient with the ridiculous setbacks we’re all going to encounter. It also somehow still fails to prepare us for being surprised by how people will act.” – X

Not everyone is wired the same way sexually. That’s to be expected. But if you’re a sexual person and not being intimate, consequences to your quality of life or well-being always follow. It doesn’t mean that sex is an overwhelming or inflexible motivator; it just means that human behavior will succumb to the urge toward intimacy. People need to stop being ashamed of their essential needs and how they practice and define them. Sex is the big mystery that permeates our lives in multiple ways – yet most of us have a completely mistaken idea of how other people live sexually, much less how to be happy with our sexual selves.

My therapist told me that in one of my first sessions, I said this: “Isn’t it odd how most of our need to look presentable isn’t really so we’ll feel good about ourselves. It’s because we are leaning into the idea of spectator attractiveness. We want to look good to other people. Because if not, generally speaking, we’d all dress comfortably and not think much about hair, makeup, shoes, or how we are perceived. Absent the expectation of attractiveness and left to our own devices, we might be a lot less preoccupied with appearance and happier as a result.” I could be wrong, but it seems to be true generally.

You can drive around the roundabout 17 times if you need to. Likewise, you can fail as many times as you need to or have to until you finally make the turnoff. It’s where you end up that matters, anyway. It would be nice to avoid a convoluted, circuitous path of errors, but life tends not to work that way.

“You’re not afraid of being alone in the dark. You are afraid that you might not be alone in the dark.” This isn’t my quote. It does demonstrate how our fears and thoughts overtake us.

Male secret #34: most men do not care if a woman’s legs are smoothly shaved. Or if their nails are painted, their blouse, shoes, pants match, etc. The enthusiasm of presence derails all those concerns. I’m not sure you should trust a middle-aged man named X or not – but this is true.

Rule of Presence: each of us will jump to hold the door for another person, but we will move heaven and earth to stop someone from passing us on the road.

I’ve put up three ‘fake’ streets signs in the last couple of months. All of them are still posted. PS If you want to do it quickly, have the sign made prior to showing up, with the bolt already through it. Since most street posts have multiple bolt holes, push the bolt through and twirl the nut on it quickly. Also, did you know you can order a custom street sign easily? If you’re bored, google it. It’s no accident that 75 mph is a great sign to add in Johnson. (I didn’t do that one due to public safety concerns. And the lack of a sense of humor with traffic enforcement there, now that I think about it.)

Another one I stole from the internet: “Each and every selfie is a picture of perhaps your own worst enemy.”

It’s been about six months since my surgery. It’s been the longest ten years of my life. I’m still thankful to be here. But I can’t escape the idea that I’d be a lot happier with a check for one million dollars in my wallet. I might not ever cash it.

Love, X
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