Forget me not…unless

I haven’t posted in a long time. Haven’t had the motivation, or the inspiration, to write, and that’s OK. Life stuff goes on — work, house, garden. Repeat. Weeks go slow; weekends fly by. There’s never enough time to do what we need to do, let alone what we want to do.

We have, however, made some exciting (for us) progress in the last few months, including completing our 3-year sunroom project and redoing the last (worst) bedroom to turn it into an office for Mike and an occasional guestroom. They’re both great transformations and useful spaces — I’ll post pictures one of these days. Of course, lots of other projects are still ongoing, and it truly does get old. We marked 8 years in the house in May — 8 years at hard labor is a long time, and while I can see light at the end of the tunnel, it’s still frustratingly small.

But this isn’t about that. What’s bothering me lately is my inability to focus on work the way I used to. I’ve made some mistakes the past few days on a particular project, and it’s just not like me. Catching inconsistencies, keeping track of a lot of details, grasping the problem and running with the solution — that’s pretty much what I do or, at least, what I’ve always done. So failing at that is both embarrassing and worrisome. I know I’m not enthused about work these days (is it retirement day yet?), but I should still be able to do the work.

Today it hit me that maybe I can blame the lack of concentration and general ennui on middle-age brain or collapsing hormones or, God forbid, the coming of “the change.”

As depressing at that thought is, at least it’s a temporary thing. A transition to get through, instead of the new normal. Your mind and body do eventually stabilize, right?

Or is this the beginning of the end, signalling that I’m losing my ability to do good work? That the last 25+ years was a good run, but it’s all downhill from here (and not in a good way — funny how “all downhill from here” can be positive or negative, depending on the context). That other people will now be gently correcting my mistakes, rather than the other way around. That the next 20 years of my work might just be a little shoddy.

Ouch. (Or as we say in the ’Burgh, “ahch.”)

I accepted it when my brain wasn’t as johnny-on-the-spot as it used to be. When I couldn’t answer the Jeopardy questions fast enough (or at all). When the right word didn’t leap onto the page, but had to be pulled from the depths after some painful mental gyrations or roundabout online searches. But this I don’t want to accept. Being good at my job has always been an essential part of who I am. I’m not ready for it to be who I was — not ready to say good-bye to me. 

Unless that lottery thing comes through, of course. Then it’s bye-bye Ms. Anal-Retentive-Writer-Editor-Proofreader and hello Ms. Woman-Who-Hires-People-To-Finish-Her-House. Maybe the key is just finding something else to be good at?


Take your work seriously, but never yourself.
~ Margot Fonteyn

And on the 7th day, she rested less

Not to belabor the “oh poor me, I’m so sick” thread, but GEEZ — this latest cold/flu/virus thing has been just horrible.

Today, Day 7, I feel semi-human again (that means I only still have a clogged ear, a less-sore throat, and lingering laryngitis from coughing up bits of lung). I thought nothing could top last year’s episode, but this year’s double-whammy (5-day bout of misery, 7-day halfhearted recuperation, then 7-days-and-counting relapse) has been something other-worldly. Complete with conjunctivitis (pinkeye) of all things.

I so wanted to be dipped in an antibiotic bath (or at least get some in pill form), but haven’t had anything but OTC meds (save the eye drops prescribed  for the pinkeye, though that was probably viral in origin as well). Intellectually, I know antibiotics do nothing for viruses, but emotionally, I needed to think there was something to kill the invaders — my immune system sure wasn’t doing it. I tried a few of the “natural remedies”… gargling with saltwater, drinking apple cider vinegar and honey in water, steaming my head over a bowl of boiling water…to no avail. The only thing that actually felt good was drinking lemon juice and honey in hot water when even tea was more than I could stomach.

So what’s the deal? Have the viruses gotten that much stronger or have I gotten that much weaker? Before last year, I could count on one hand the times in my life I’d had anything even remotely like this. Now I’ll be worrying I’ll never have a “normal” cold again. Also, I thought the body built up immunity — that once you had a certain virus, your body could fight it off next time (I think I gleaned this from an episode of House — probably incorrectly. Or maybe it only works for chicken pox. Or maybe all these viruses I’ve gotten are different. Or maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about.) And all this despite taking a handful of supplements daily, eating pretty well, and exercising regularly.

Forget giant sunglasses and clunky plastic clogs. I think these young ladies have the right idea — imagine how much illness we could prevent if this were the next fashion fad. Maybe I should lead the trend.


Sickness comes on horseback but goes away on foot.
~ A proverb

Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo

I read a new term last night for those nose-to-mouth deep wrinkles that I euphemistically like to call “smile lines.”

“Marionette lines.”

That stopped me cold. Geez. Those are some baaaaadasssss lines.

Then it led me to The Sound of Music and the puppet show and looking up the lyrics.

You can actually download The Lonely Goatherd as a ringtone — how fun is that? If I had a phone sophisticated enough to let you download ringtones, I might just have to do that. Maybe I’d smile the once-a month my cell phone rings instead of thinking, “Oh sh–.” (My mother cannot keep it straight that my one sister wants to be called exclusively on her cell phone and I never want called on my cell phone, which is always in my purse and has a ringer I can’t hear even on its loudest setting. So she’ll call it, leave a message, and I won’t know for days. Or until the middle of the night when I hear a brief vibrating, buzzing sound every minute or so and figure out it’s coming from my purse. Plus she hasn’t figured out that voicemail is not the same as an answering machine. So she’ll say “Hello, this is mother…..[pause]….are you there? Then wait for a while to see if I pick up. Then leave her message.)

(I just checked my phone now, in my purse, and of course it’s dead.)

But anyway, back to those lines… I’ve just started attacking mine recently with two different types of spackle. Even at drugstore (Wal-Mart) prices, I cringed to buy them. So I’ll be using every drop, effective or not. And I figure it may take a few years to work my way through the various options on the market to see if anything really makes me feel like I”m keeping my face from imploding.

Oh, and neither of these products has sunscreen. So I’m apparently supposed to spread more goo on my face on top of those. (People can actually do that without causing major eruptions?) I had good skin until my 20s, then it all went horribly wrong. A little sunburn is about the only thing that makes it look good.

In the “How Obsessive Are You About Your Skin?” quiz that was the source of the “marionette lines” line, I turned out to be a low-to-medium-maintenance kind of gal. What I really need is high-maintenance funds — I’d be at Dr. Rey’s office so fast asking…”What can you inject here, plane off there, and reconstruct in this general area (neck up)?”

But no, I”m kidding. If I had that kind of money I’d be hard-pressed to spend it that way. Not when there’s a front porch that needs rebuilding and an attic to revamp and a garage roof gone bad, and on and on. “Cottage Industry” will always trump “Smile Lines.”

It’s just how I’m strung.

Your wrinkles either show that you’re nasty, cranky,
and senile, or that you’re always smiling.
                                                  ~ Carlos Santana

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