Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Gym Suite Part One: Social Anxiety and Other Triggers

I lead a charmed life, I truly do, or maybe it leads me. ~grin~ Yet I do face occasional stress. Social anxiety is perhaps the most common and very much a trigger for me. It’s an effort to mingle with strangers at the gym until I get into the physical groove and zone out.

Sudden noises, not even necessarily loud, are another problem.

Our home is very quiet, free of barking dogs and noisy people. My pets are two elderly cats and tropical fish, all very Zen companions.

At my neighborhood YMCA families troop through nearly nonstop. That’s especially true in the locker room, which naturally provides natatorium access. I cannot count how many times I have finished a relaxing swim or been grounded by resistance training only to have my calm shattered by slammed locker doors and screaming toddlers.

A few weeks ago I faced yet another swim meet. Besides self absorbed sports enthusiasts bowling me over at every turn, the announcements were broadcast in the locker room at deafening levels.

While in the fitness room I debated whether or not to bother showering there. I considered asking at the front desk if the sound could be lowered in the locker room. It seemed unlikely.

If only I had cotton with me, I thought. Then I remembered my cotton tipped ear swabs. Unfortunately that idea failed because the swabs were too narrow and could too easily injure my eardrums.

Ultimately I ended up using pieces of a torn up facial tissue. It worked, giving me an idea.

I went home, bagged up some cotton balls, and put them in my backpack. Now I block my ears upon every visit to that locker room. It has made a huge difference. I just wish the idea would have come to me sooner.

How about you? Do you suffer anxiety? Can you offer any suggestions on how to cope short of hiding in your house (which I have been known to do)?


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Luddite Chronicles

Anyone the least bit familiar with me probably knows that technology and I don’t get along terribly well. Lately I’m even having trouble with chip reading credit card machines.

At my doctor’s office the receptionist finally had to put my Visa through for me. Then at the grocery store weeks later I suffered the same indignity trying to charge a purchase to my credit union chipped debit card.

“You cancelled the transaction,” the frustrated clerk kept saying.

“No. I followed the instructions and then the machine just blanked out.”

“Here. Let me see.”

At least the keypad accepted my numeric password. I was starting to wonder.

It’s insane. I can’t help recalling how digital watches never lasted long on my wrist either. They always kept slow time or stopped altogether.

A longstanding joke in my home is that if something happens to my tech savvy partner all is lost. Every gadget in the house will gradually seize up and moss will grow over everything. The cats and I will go feral.

What do you think? Could I perhaps have a wonky electric field emanating from my body?


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

April A to Z Blog Challenge Topic Reveal

I was technically supposed to do this yesterday but the Hanover Pennsylvania eaglet hatching caused me to post twice as it was, an unprecedented occurrence. So, today it is.

And my challenge topic? Music. Music. Music.

Compared to some, my topic is probably pretty staid, especially considering I featured music last year. This time, however, I first heard these acts on a local college radio station.

My commercial “alternative” radio station has become just about anything but. WNKU, however, broadcast from the University of Northern Kentucky, fits the bill beautifully.

Often, the disc jockeys play blocks of similar sounding tunes, too, which makes for some pretty fun listening. Still not a big fan of most country or folk music, I’m finding some acts really swaying me. Mostly they are of the latter persuasion. Still…

In addition I will again manufacture a band or performer for each letter of the alphabet. Those silly blurbs give me another creative outlet.

How about you? Do you plan on joining the April challenge?


Monday, March 20, 2017

March is TryPod Month

Introduced to podcasts a few years ago, I have found them a wonder when forced to drive long distances. No longer do I struggle tuning in a good music station only to have to start over in another ten or twenty miles.

Apparently, podcasting is still a fledgling industry. So the hosts of the various programs have asked their followers to share their favorites with family and friends. They know that furthering one will benefit all.

Surprisingly I could not even find ‘TryPod’ (get it? Try a podcast?) with online searches, so maybe I’m spelling it wrong. Or maybe that's telling something about Internet and radio conglomerates not wanting their audience taken away.

Anyway, my favorite podcast is called Stuff You Should Know hosted by Charles Bryant and Josh Clark. These guys are hilarious, though sometimes they ramble pretty far off topic.

I have mentioned them before, in fact. They take something that sounds completely boring, such as grass, then proceed to entertain and inform. My partner and I have taken to listening while we run local errands. If the show hasn’t concluded before we come home, we often finish listening on the couch. A favorite has to have been the one on professional clown hierarchy.

You should check them out:


Do you listen to any podcasts? Please share in the comments.


We Have an Eaglet

This is likely the first time I have posted twice in one day. The news from Hanover, Pennsylvania’s live eagle cam warranted it.

Check this out:

Daddy Eagle Warming His Firstborn
You can see the live feed here:

How’s that for a Zen moment?


Phrases I Hate

I’m sort of a harmless, garden variety rebel. Hyphenated catchphrases make my skin crawl. It still pains me to even type ‘stay-cation’ and ‘man cave’.

Now there is ‘drop the mic’, apparently coined for some diva or other (male or female) who hit the high note and flounced off the stage. I really don’t care where it started.

But the other day I coined my own axiom when something so clever flowed onto the page (in my journal, no less), that I threw down my pen.

Drop the pen!

That’s for all those writers out there who amaze themselves with their own cleverness. Of course this is probably the only place I will share the phrase since I’m a solitary writer living in a state of semi-hermitage.

Are there any pop culture expressions you either love or hate? Tell me in the comments.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Holding My Tongue

I had to practically race out of the YMCA this morning or risk swallowing my tongue. It was all because a man stood directly outside the woman's locker room. Normally I would greet someone so nearby.

But what could I say when he stood there holding this adorable stuffed rooster by the neck? I couldn't think of a single thing to say that wasn't risqué, not quite appropriate for my surroundings. Passersby probably thought I was having a stroke.

Should I have at least tried to say 'hello'?