Out Picking Again!

For the first time in a year I went to the outdoor flea market and indoor antique shops. It feels so good to be able to go out picking things other than the dandelions from my front yard!

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How I Overcame My Fear of Writing Publicly about PTSD

Part three of my previous post, How Being Pissed Off Saved My Life & Career:

How I Overcame My Fear Of Writing About PTSD

When I first went public with my PTSD in 2016 on my old blog it was one of the most freeing things I had ever done! The responses I received exceeded my expectations. More importantly some confided in me that they, too, suffered from PTSD nightmares like I have. What led up to my sharing it was the realization that it wasn’t a shameful secret and that acknowledging I have PTSD isn’t an admission of weakness of character! For some of us it’s a big part of our lives and not because we are weak or wish to define ourselves by our problems.

Yet, over time, despite wanting to write more about it here I haven’t, for the following reasons I told myself:

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How Being Pissed Off Saved My Life & Career

Or, how being true to myself emboldened me to take steps to save myself from petty villains in positions of authority.

First: How I Quit Smoking in 1999

I had my first drag of a cigarette at age 13 while spending part of the summer at my family home in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. It was a hot, humid evening in 1980. Bruce Springsteen was playing on the Boom Box underneath the pier. My friend’s feather earrings blew around in the sea breeze as I decided to break my square streak and have a smoke. She was petite, blond and beautiful and I was definitely not. I was dark, brooding and quickly became hooked because my fictional hero, Holden Caulfield, was a smoker as were all the kids I was hanging out with. This includes the kids at home and at school so socioeconomic status wasn’t a barrier or predictor. I was smoking between one and two packs a day. I had a “smoking den” back at home which was the fire escape staircase at the end of the hallway with a window view of Queens. I started out with Parliaments, then Marlboro Light, then Reds. I smoked on the way to school, between classes and even when we walked from our school building on East 70th and Third to the Park for gym class. As you can imagine, this was very unhealthy and I frequently was winded when I tried to exercise.

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Yankee Thrift: Spending with Love and Not for a Love of Spending!

Let a man have a genius for spending; and whether his income is a dollar a day or a dollar a minute, it is equally certain to prove inadequate. — Horace Greeley, 1850

I’m looking forward to spending money this spring and summer! There are restaurants and places that were off-limits due to Covid in 2020, so we saved that money to spend that much more this year now that we’ll be vaccinated and restrictions more relaxed. (Yes, we will still be masking up when not dining and distancing per CDC.) We have “spending money” in our budget and it’s reserved for those things we don’t need but certainly love to do, but it is always within our means. We invest it in experiences that enrich our lives or satisfy our appetites that also support our local economy. Whether that budget is a hundred dollars one year or thousands another, the focus is on what we love and not a “love of spending”. I’m like you and so many who will say that they love so many things so that how can one not be good at spending beyond their means?!

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Silver Linings & A Fetching Chipmunk

I got my first Covid vaccine dose (Pfizer) yesterday!!!! My immediate side-effects were relief and joy. Then in the middle of the night I woke up and had a giggling fit for about ten minutes because I was so giddy with excitement about all the things I’ll soon be able to do. Wayne had his second dose a few days ago. We’ll still mask up in public, of course, but now we can soon visit with friends. When I got home after my vaccine it was about 6:30 and the sky was so beautiful behind my house. It had rained very hard while I was inside at the clinic and stopped when I got home. I love the silver lining on the clouds reflecting the setting sun.

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Ricky made it! She emerged yesterday!

Last week my heart warmed when I saw three chipmunks chasing each other on my deck before making a beeline into the woods, and about thirty seconds later a fourth chipmunk ran towards the fast-moving merry parade. I watched another in my woods run back and forth along a wood pile in the warm sunlight. Free from the dark burrow! Fresh air! Yet Ricky had still not emerged until yesterday afternoon.

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Pretty Things, Ugly Attachments.

I roasted a chicken last night and I decided to put out a very special tablecloth that I hadn’t dare used since I first scored it at an estate sale over a decade ago…

It was a beautiful late spring morning in Portland and for once I had beat the other early bird pickers, those old-timers who had been doing it since they were kids. I was standing in the lush green yard and asked the lady having the sale if she had any linens? Yes, she said. “I’ll buy them all.” I learned that early on. There’s no time to ask how much, just claim them! Seconds later one of my main competitors showed up. I have to tell you that this part of picking is the most fun…that is, when you are the one winning! The woman having the sale proceeded to bring out gigantic boxes stacked with vintage, never used linens! She only wanted $15 for everything! This competitor in particular is very good-natured, not all of them are, and she was shaking her head but also smiling for me. It was Christmas for weeks at home as I sorted through them all. I sold most since that was a side hustle for me but the very special pieces I’ve kept, like the tablecloth I used last night.

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Thrifty Yankee Health Saver: 30 Cent Device & Tinnitus

I don’t hold a grudge against Michael Stipe for the hearing loss in my right ear and lifelong tinnitus that is the result of an REM concert in 1989. I was only a few yards away from the speakers on the far right side of the stage. After the concert my ears were roaring for days which gradually lessened but never completely went away. I habituated to it and I only noticed it when it was very quiet, and because it was a low pitch it wasn’t too bothersome. In fact I didn’t know it was called tinnitus until many years later. I thought everyone heard something when it was quiet! Because of that experience I’ve been very protective of my hearing.

There are things we are all exposed to on a regular basis that can damage our ears, but for this post I’m going to focus on the home and a tiny expense that can save your hearing, peace and quiet and possibly thousands of dollars in medical bills. I’m also going to share a very personal cautionary tale about how I recently suffered further hearing damage which has negatively affected my mental health. I’m now ready to write about it and hope it will help someone.

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