A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: Q

Q

This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

Quiet is one of my favorite things. While I am home alone during the day and Papa Bear is at work, I almost never have the tv on or music playing; the only sounds to be heard are cats talking to me (a couple of mine like to talk, and Smokey thinks we understand his chirpy language) or purring while they nap, and my fingers clicking the keyboard of my notebook as a write.  Maybe the clothes washer or dryer rumbling in the background.  That’s it, and I love it that way!

I talked about my sensitivity to noise in an earlier post, but I think that much of my appreciation for quiet stems from more than thirty years of office work answering multiple phone lines, with phones ringing off the hook all day long.  By 5 PM I was usually lucky if I could remember my own name, and had to work hard at being friendly and polite instead of grumbling. 🙂  If I never heard another phone ring, it would be too soon!

For me, quiet equates with peace, when it’s quiet I can stay in tune with my thoughts and listen to the spirit voice within me.  No disruptions, no frustration, no one always needing something. No need to interact outside of written words. I think I could easily become a recluse, as long as I could keep Papa Bear, my cats, and my computer!

Another q-word I love is question; curious should be my middle name. I question everything, I want to find out, I want to know… Google is my best friend.  🙂

Not only do I tend to question what people tell me, (I like to make up my own mind regardless of the facts presented), I love to question people about their lives!  Nothing fascinates me more than finding out what other people have experienced and what they’ve learned from it, how it has shaped them and affected their life.

At one time on my other blog I ran a series of interviews involving fellow bloggers, asking them five questions. It was great fun, and the answers were really interesting too.  No easy questions like what is your favorite color, but in depth things to find out more about who and what they were.  It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done while blogging, and I’m thinking at some point I might pick it up again, if my fellow bloggers are willing to humor me.  🙂  I think I might have made a great investigative reporter, I like to get down to the nitty-gritty of stuff!

I can think of one last q-word that might well relate to me, and that would be quirky… meaning good in a weird way (of course)! Anyone who knows me fairly well, knows that I have a few weird ways about me, or at least different from the norm.  I wear the same pair of shoes every single day, even though I have a few others.  I’ve had the same pair of earrings in my ears for eight years now, even though I have a box of other lovely ones.  I don’t wear makeup at all anymore, and I don’t cut, color or curl my hair.  My clothing style is “comfort” and I could care less what the current rage is.  I very seldom listen to music because it has too many emotional triggers, and I will put down a book or walk out of a movie if the content is too disturbing. Life is disturbing enough without seeking it out for entertainment! I don’t talk to friends on the phone unless I just have to; but I talk to tree spirits, and to rocks and wind. I could go on and on, but that’s enough to give you an example of ways that I am a little quirky. In short, I am just me, unique and unapologetic for it, and I hope you are the same. Who is to say what is “weird” or “normal”, anyway?

Do you prefer to watch tv or listen to music when you are alone?  Would you be willing to participate in a blog post interview? What are some of your quirks? 

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: P

P

This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

Anyone who knows my is aware that my favorite color is purple, preferably in a rich royal hue. I love anything and everything purple, it is the first color that my eye will be drawn to.  My computer mouse is purple, so is the cover for my tablet. My favorite coat of all time was purple, it was a maxi coat and I had a large purple hat to go with it… think early 70’s! 🙂  I still love hats by the way, though I rarely have occasion to wear one.

Purple hasn’t always been my favorite color, before that I loved sunny yellow, and I still do.  Yellow roses are my favorite flowers.  Bright yellow reminds me of smiley faces, and it’s impossible to see something that color and not smile.  Finding something that has both purple and yellow… like Easter colors,  is the best of both worlds as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

For most of my life I was a people-pleaser. I have a caretaker nature, which is a good thing, but people too often take advantage of that, and knowing your tendency to do whatever is asked or expected, they soon turn you into a doormat.  Sometimes it is our insecurity and lack of self-esteem that tells us we have to be all things to all people, or else we aren’t good enough.

We aren’t taught the most important thing… that is ok to say NO! I didn’t learn this until I was nearly fifty. We have to be self-protective and learn to do what is healthy for us and in our own best interests. Just because someone we like (or we want to like us) asks us to do something, or worse yet – tells us to do something, doesn’t mean we have to do it.  Often they are acting in their own best interests which are not necessarily the same as ours.

When I left my last husband I was determined to stop being a people-pleaser and a doormat. I have learned to stand up for myself, I have learned how to say “no”, and I have also learned that doing so doesn’t require an explanation or the need to defend your position.  No means no, period. The more you use it the easier it is to say! 🙂

Tying in with that, I have also learned not to make many promises. It is far too easy to promise something in the emotion of the moment, and then find it difficult to follow through on that promise, or to find yourself resentful because you’ve promised to do something you really don’t want to do after all.

The best plan when it comes to making promises, is to keep them few and far between… make them be a thing of value and importance, and don’t commit to anything until you’ve had time to think it over.  If we all made promises less impulsively, and considered the long-term ramifications, there would be far less hurt and disappointment caused by failure to honor or word.

I can think of several situations in my life when i promised someone or a group of people something in all sincerity and with good intent, but for one reason or another I was later unable to keep those promises, and I regret that to this day. Promises are important, use them wisely!

I want to share one last p-word that’s important to me… peace.  A love of peace is part of the Aquarian mindset. As a middle sister I often found myself in the role of peacekeeper. I’ve played that role in work situation, marriages, and between friends.  It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it if you can succeed in restoring harmony.  You have to also know when to bow out and let the dust settle on it’s own, this occurs when the people involved don’t want peace, they are emotionally invested in their conflict.

I remember as a child growing up hearing my parents argue at night, it was deeply disturbing to me, it left me feeling fearful and insecure. It made me angry that we, as children, were being subjected to this. I swore to myself that I would never put my kids through that, and when my second marriage became a situation where hostility and conflict were ever-present, I opted to end it, not only for my children’s sake, but also for my own.

My home and my life are now infused with peace. Papa Bear and I have a rule to never, ever go to bed angry with each other. It is even very rare for grumpy words to be exchanged.  Peace at all costs is not always the answer, but peace by choice on the part of all involved is.  I believe in peace as a way of life. Together we can  make it happen.

What is your favorite color?  Are  you a people-pleaser?  Is your home a place of peace? 

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: O

O

This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

O is for “oh dear… I am a day behind!”  Yesterday got taken up with getting things organized for our upcoming vacation, shopping for new jeans (clothes shopping is something I rarely do), typing up legal documents, and a phone call with a family member. By then I was too brain dead to write more, and ready for pillow time.  So, this is a bit late, but that’s okay.  As I always say, life trumps blogging. Life comes first. Now on we go!

This coming weekend we are headed out on vacation and going to my most favorite “o” place of all… the ocean… Galveston Island on the Gulf Coast to be exact.  Living in dusty, dry West Texas, it is pure delight to travel to the only ocean beach within driving range, and I love it there!  Galveston Island is 550 miles from home. Being a bit older, riding in the truck for that long is too much for one day, so we split it and stay near San Antonio this first night.

Sunday noon we will be joining Papa Bear’s cousin for lunch, and she’s a fabulous cook and baker, in addition to being a real sweetie.  I wish she was our neighbor.  Then it’s over the bridge and onto the island, our home until mid-day Thursday.

We have favorite spots where we love to sit on the quiet beach and watch the waves come in, wade in the water and pick up shells, and be entertained by the seabirds.  Early evenings will find us on the free ferry that crosses from the island to Bolivar Peninsula, watching dolphins play in the water along side the ferry, and enjoying the beauty of the sunset.  I am counting down the days.

Living in Galveston and walking on the beach would be my fantasy life, the wind, the rhythm of the waves, and the smell of salt air are the most healing things my soul knows.

Another very important o-word in my life, has been online dating. In fact, that’s how I met Papa Bear!  Ten years ago Yahoo had a Personals site, and I decided to give it a try. Admittedly, there are a lot of people using such sites that you really don’t want to get involved with, some are dishonest in representing themselves, and there are more than a few crazies.  I loved Papa Bear’s profile picture, and in his profile he wrote “It’s what is on the inside that counts.” How refreshing!

What began as an introductory exchange of messages soon evolved into hours long phone conversations at night, and it wasn’t long before I travelled to Odessa to meet him.  We knew from that point that we were meant for each other, in less than a month he had purchased a repo manufactured home for us to remodel as our own, and in less than five months I had ended my job of nineteen years (I was so ready for that) and moved to Texas to begin a life with Papa Bear. We were married in September, this year we will be celebrating our tenth anniversary! It is my fantasy that we might just both live long enough to celebrate our twenty-fifth. 🙂

Moving that quickly in a relationship isn’t something I would recommend to anyone, and I would normally be the first to advise against it. But sometimes your heart just tells you this is the one meant for you, and I am so thankful that I listened to my heart!  As I’ve said many times, God truly saved the best for last, and I know how blessed I am! ❤

While online dating isn’t for everyone, and we’ve all heard the horror stories, I also know of several couples who met as Papa Bear and I did, and have gone on to have loving, lasting, relationships.  If you are careful, there are good partners to be found there, just as there is anywhere.  I believe that God uses all kinds of ways to bring us together, and that he intended Papa Bear to meet up with me. Papa Bear believes that too!

Obesity is an o-word I want to talk a little bit about. I was on the chubby side as a child, and have fought weight my entire life. I inherited fat genes from both sides, and it’s a struggle. I have carried excessive weight for many years, and have lost all of the extra pounds twice in my adult life, only to slowly put it back on again. Losing weight is the easy part, keeping it off is much harder, it requires life changes in diet choices and activity levels. Stress hormones don’t help, and my life has often been stressful until the last few years.  In fact, when I quit working I lost thirty pounds through no real effort on my part other than less stress snacking and fewer fast-food lunches. Thankfully, I have not gained it back. I don’t eat a lot during the day while I am home alone. Evenings are, however, another story.

I am not making excuses, I have none. I know it is unhealthy to be overweight, I know it is unwise, I hate being fat. Papa Bear has also dealt with obesity his entire life. We don’t beat each other up over it. There may come a time when we decide to adopt a healthier lifestyle and ditch the weight, or I may die with a Hershey Bar in my mouth; either way, what you see is NOT all there is to me, I am obese, but I am so… so much more than that!

What is your most favorite place to be?  How did you and your partner meet? Do you struggle with weight? 

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: N

N

This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

For me, every day is a new day, and I wake up with hope and prayers, ready to see what it brings. Although I rarely awaken with the energy I once had when I was young, and I miss it, I still wake up believing that God is good, life is good, and good things are yet to come. I try hard to leave any worries, anger or frustration from the day before in the past and set my mind on beginning again. “Always begin again” is a philosophy I love! You don’t have to wait for the perfect time when all the conditions are just right, because that day will likely never come. Forgive, forget, set it aside, and begin again in a new day with a new frame of mind!  I don’t really understand people who begin their day complaining and grumpy, it kind of sets the tone for the whole day.

Noise is a big issue for me, I am super-sensitive to loud sounds and noisy situations whether I am experiencing that in person or at the movies or on tv.  I often have to ask Papa Bear to turn down the volume on a noisy tv show, and have been known to take out my hearing aids at noisy public events. Maybe that sensitivity is part of why I love the quiet so much.  In fact I am extra-sensitive to all kinds of stimuli in addition to sound… bright light, smell, touch, heat and cold.  Bright sun often makes me sneeze!  Quickly flashing action scenes in a movie or strong scents will give me headaches. When I get hot or cold it takes a long time for my body to readjust.

For that matter, my mind and heart are extra-sensitive too.  I cannot and will not watch something extremely violent or evil on tv or in a movie in the name of “entertainment”.  It leaves me feeling very disturbed. I have also stopped reading a book in the middle if it becomes too horrible to continue. The only thing I want my mind or body bombarded with intensely is love and light!

Another N-word that leaves me shaking my head at times is “never”, as when people use it or “always” in making pronouncements about something… “I always _____”, “I never_____”, etc.  The reality, at least as I see it, is that life is never quite that absolute, and none of us align with our intentions perfectly.  While MOST of the time we may or may not, ALWAYS or NEVER are risky statements. This is especially true when proud parents say “My child would never _____.”  All too often those are the very children that ARE doing exactly that while their parents remain unaware; never say never!

There are some things I believe pretty strongly that I always try to do, or would never do, but I really can’t make a blanket statement for the rest of my life.  I have done things in the past that I would not do now, and maybe I will do things in the future that I can’t conceive of now.  Always better to leave a little room for the possibilities I think! 🙂

One more N-word that played a long role in my life… New Mexico. I resided there for twenty years before moving to Texas to marry Papa Bear and begin a new life here. I ended up in New Mexico as a result of accompanying my second husband on his life journey.  We first moved to New Mexico when my son was less than two years old and my then-husband was leaving the Army to attend college. We moved from Augusta, GA to Las Cruces, NM which was then a small, dusty community North of El Paso.  We stayed there a few years while my husband finished college, then he decided to rejoin the military and we relocated to Ft. Bliss in El Paso.

A few years later he again wanted to leave the Army, and joined the New Mexico National Guard because a friend of his was doing so. Thus, we ended up in Hobbs, where I lived for the next twenty years.  Hobbs is in the Southeast corner of New Mexico, kind of in the middle of nowhere, and I am firmly convinced it suffers from too much inbreeding. 🙂 At the time we moved to Hobbs, the air reeked from the smell of oil refining. It was a difficult transition for my kids to the schools there, but eventually it became home. There are other areas of New Mexico that are pretty, and nice places to visit… the mountains in Ruidoso, and of course Albuquerque/Santa Fe.

You would be amazed at how many people don’t realized that New Mexico is a state in the USA, there are many stories of confusion regarding this. I have even tried to place orders for things by phone and have operators inform me that my order can not be shipped out of the country!  🙂

Although I followed my ex-husbands from place to place willingly, believing that it was what wives do, moving to Texas to be with Papa Bear was the first time in more than twenty years that I was able to choose where I was wanted to live, and it turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. If long ago someone had told me that I would one day end up in New Mexico and Texas I would have laughed at the absurdity of that idea; life holds many surprises in store.

When you are upset about something or someone, is it hard for you to shake it off or do you recover quickly?  Have you ever moved somewhere and later regretted it?

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: M

M

This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

I am the middle child in my family. I have a sister who is two years older than me, and another who is three years younger.  Much has been written about the role of a middle child, it is not the most desirable position to claim.

My older sister was my mother’s favorite, and my younger one was “Daddy’s little girl” until the day he died. This left me feeling a bit short-changed at times, though I worked hard to win favor from both parents, (at least until my teen years),  most often being the one to help mom or dad with projects and such.  As the middle child I grew rebellious as I got older, sometimes acting out, and sometimes feeling like I didn’t belong at all.

As an adult I have often been stuck in the role of peacemaker between my two sisters, and this has caused far more frustration and grief than it ever brought resolution. In recent years I have learned that it is best to bow out, to refuse to be pulled one direction or another, and to let them settle (or not settle) their differences and disagreements on their own.  As an Aquarian, I am a peacemaker. I believe in harmony and learning to let go of past hurts and grievances and get along.  It hurts my heart that at over sixty years old they still haven’t managed to forge a lasting peace between them.  I have often wished that I had a couple more siblings to balance things out a bit.  My own kids would undoubtedly have benefited from more siblings too, and I wish now that having larger families wouldn’t have been such a shunned idea at that time.

I was born and raised in the Midwest, in small towns in the Northeast corner of South Dakota to be exact.  For the most part it was a good place to grow up, and a good way of life. Eastern South Dakota is farming country, my father was a John Deere Implement Dealer.  He was a good businessman who supported us well.  In my teen years I couldn’t wait to escape small town life, but as I’ve grown older I miss those simpler times.  I miss the trees and the lakes, the change of seasons, and walking barefoot through soft green grass in the summer. I don’t miss the mosquitos that loved me way too much, or the icy cold winters that can start in October and continue into April. (They are experiencing yet another blizzard there this weekend!)

Moving has played a big role in my life.  This is a reprint from my previous blog…

In 2012 I wrote a post called The Road I’ve Travelled which listed the thirty-seven residences in eighteen cities, eight states and two countries that I’ve called home in my sixty-plus years of life.

I’ve moved with my family, with a partner, and sometimes on my own. Some of those moves were sad and/or scary, but usually I was happy to see the old address in the rear view mirror. I always look forward to the adventure of discovering a new place; I have a Gypsy soul.

Papa Bear has also moved more than twenty times in his life so we are quite content to stay put on our little piece of land out in the country for the time being. We are talking about making one more move though, to someplace greener than it is here in West Texas; one more change of address before our final forwarding address reads “Gone to Heaven.” 🙂

How many different places have you lived? Which one is the furthest from where you grew up? 

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: L

L

This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

While going thru my archives on the old blog, I came across this post that I did for the 2015 A-Z Challenge. It’s a list of things that I like that begin with the letter L, and since I still like these things, I thought I’d share it here on this blog…

L Things That Make Me Smile…

Love – “…the greatest of these is love.” – I Corinthians 13:13  Amen!

Lilacs – The scent of lilacs is my very favorite of all the flowers.  My mother had a cousin who lived in the country and the entire drive from the road up to their house was bordered by huge lilac bushes, when them began to bloom it was heavenly!

Lefties – Lefties always make me smile, because of course I am one!  We even have our own official day each year! You’d be amazed at how many things are designed with the right-handed person in mind, making them a bit more difficult or clumsy for  us lefties to use.

Log Cabins –  I love log cabins, both old and new. There is something about the warmth of wood that can’t be duplicated by wallpaper, paint, tile or other wall surfaces.  One of the fantasies Papa Bear and I share would be to live in a small log cabin by a lake.

Lakes – I was raised in the northeast region of South Dakota, and there were three lakes within 30 miles distance from our house.  I spent many happy days swimming, picnicking and fishing with my dad.  When I was in high school our family owned a small lake cabin and we loved staying there.

Limericks – Limericks are fun!  They are silly and sometimes bawdy, and written with the intent of making the reader smile… and they do!

Lemon Chicken – One of the Chinese foods I love, though it’s probably an American adaptation. Lemon goes well with fish and chicken, and the sweet/sour taste is perfect with fluffy rice.

Lava Lamps – Ahh, sweet memories of times gone by!  I love them, and I still have a couple. 🙂 They are so relaxing to watch!

Lace –  Lace, which long ago was all handmade, is such lovely stuff.  There is nothing prettier than lace trim on a blouse, or a lace-covered dress… it is the essence of femininity!

Listening to Life Stories – Listening is important! It’s an art we all need to practice more. My most favorite thing to do is to listen to someone tell me their life story. We all have story to tell!

What are some of the things you like that start with the letter “L”? 

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: K

K

This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

Today I’ll tell you a little bit about my kids, the joy of my life! I have two of them (and one that I won’t get to meet until I get to Heaven).

My daughter is in her early 40’s and now lives in Dallas, Texas after relocating from Nashville last Fall.  She is a registered nurse, and has done hospital floor duty for 21 years.  She’s just beginning a new career path as a home health nurse case manager, and loves it so far, despite the rush hour traffic and hours of charting in the evenings. She is happy to be working Monday thru Friday, as her husband is usually out of town several days a week and they can spend weekends together.  She seems to have inherited a lot of her mother’s genetics, not only physically but in temperament as well.  It is easy for us to butt heads, but we have a wonderfully close relationship, which I cherish. She also loves cats, and has three of her own.  They are hoping to soon buy a home North of Dallas.

My son is in his late 30’s and lives in Nashville with his wonderful girlfriend and her eight year old son.  He loves having a family and they spend time out doing fun things together every weekend.  He is an air traffic controller for the Dept. of Defense and works at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. He has been in love with airplanes since he was two years old, and this is the perfect job for him. His is an Air Force Veteran, having served time in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He is my kid with a great big heart, always affectionate, kind and caring. I harass him about getting married and he says “it will happen”, so I must be patient.  🙂  He loves the ocean like his mother does.

Both of my kids are intelligent, independent and resourceful.  What I wanted most for my kids growing up was for them to have a good career to support themselves so that they would never have to depend on anyone to survive.  They have accomplished that and so much more, both make excellent incomes and have owned nice homes.  They both have careers that are transportable should they desire to relocate. Both are compassionate and generous, and have a smart-ass sense of humor. (I wonder where they got that? 🙂  I couldn’t be more proud of them.

Papa Bear also has three awesome grown daughters, six grand children and four great-grandchildren, but we don’t live close enough to see any of them very often.

Another k-word I want to talk about today is kindness. Several years ago I was participating in a blog group where one of the questions that came up was how you would like people to remember you… what would you hope your epitaph will say.

I didn’t have to think about it long to know that I would most like to be remembered as being kind.  I also had to admit that I wasn’t always a kind person. I was dealing with a lot of anger  and resentment in my life. I also had a lot of frustration with my job of nearly twenty years, and a some of the people I had to deal with on a daily basis were more than challenging.  Admittedly, at times I can be sharp, and even ugly if I feel that I am being attacked.  One of my ex’s used to say I had an “acid tongue”.  While I used to be a doormat, I learned to stand up for myself and fight back, but sometimes my anger got the best of me and I said and did things I wish I wouldn’t have.

It has taken a lot of years of experience, and a lot of work on my part, to learn to be more patient, tolerant, compassionate and forgiving.  I make it my focus to be as kind as I possibly can in all situations, to step back from that knee-jerk response and put myself in the other person’s place.  I have learned that we can treat people kindly even if we don’t agree with what they are doing or have done, and even if we don’t necessarily respect them. We can still practice the Golden Rule and treat them as we want to be treated. And you know what?  I have found that the more I practice being a kind person the happier I am with myself and my own life too!  🙂

Nowadays when someone tells me that I am kind I sort of wince, because I know what they don’t… that there are still moments when I fail to live up to that goal. But I am working on it and I am sincere in my intent, so just maybe if someday people say “she was kind” they won’t be too far off the mark.

When you’ve departed life, what one-word description would you most like people to remember you by? 

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: J

J

This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

Since my recent posts have been long and of a serious nature, I thought I’d shorten it up a bit today and give your eyes a rest. 🙂

I’m sure that most of you know that Josie Two Shoes isn’t my given name, though I wish it was.  My legal first name is Wendy and I’ve had five last names, counting my maiden name!  I’m keeping this one, and the awesome guy that gave it to me. 🙂

My middle name is Jo… that’s where the Josie part comes from.  I adopted the pen name Josie Two Shoes after I left my previous husband and moved out on my own. I wanted something to symbolize standing on my own two feet, but Josie Two Feet didn’t quite have the right effect… hence, Josie Two Shoes came into existence and I’ve used it ever since.

Even though Josie is not my legal name, I feels more real to me than Wendy does. Wendy has never really felt like it fit me well.  Since Josie is the identity I use in writing and blogging, it is also the name where I have been most open and real.  Anyone who knows me as Josie probably knows a lot more about me than those who don’t.

I originally started using a pen name as a means of deterring coworkers and family members from snooping, but it really isn’t very hard for anyone to track down my real identity if they are determined, I’ve even shared it now and then on my previous blog.

Obviously, if you have a public blog you do so with the expectation that people will be able to connect you to your writings, which is both a good thing and a risky thing.  As you’ve noticed I’m pretty much a “put it all out there” person, and I’ve experienced a bit of stalking/harassment from time to time, even going so far as to make my blog private, by invitation only, for awhile.  But it wasn’t any fun that way, because I never had the opportunity to meet new people or have them discover me.  So I’ll take the risk, and if someone has an issue with who I am or what I write, so be it, it is my reality and I am good with it.

One additional thought on privacy… have you ever had a friend or family member that read your blog regularly but didn’t tell you or ever write a comment, and then one day refers to something you’ve written?  I have, and it made me a little uncomfortable, it wasn’t a family member I felt close to, and it felt like she was a lurker just being snoopy. Ugh!  I am grateful for anyone who finds what I write to be interesting enough to return again, but please take a moment to at least say “hi” now and then, ok?  🙂

Have you ever used a pen name or a nickname? 

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: I

I

This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

Although some people seem to find this surprising based on my blog persona, I am an introvert.  I am very uncomfortable in group social situations and am usually the one looking for a way to escape.  I don’t like crowds, and I don’t like unfamiliar situations.  I detest loud and aggressive people. I don’t like being the focus or center of attention. I don’t like drop-in visitors. I don’t enjoy visiting on the phone.  I am terrible at polite but meaningless conversation. But… I like people, I am fascinated by them and what makes them tick. I love to interact and have deep-thoughts discussions in one-on-one or small group situations; then I can go on and on for hours.

I find human interaction very draining though, even with people I adore, and require lots of down time/break time/rest time to recharge my batteries. I am happy at home by myself and have no burning need to go out and socialize, that’s why the Internet and blogging are perfect for me… I can have awesome friendships while retaining my personal space.

Independence is something that is incredibly important to me.  As an Aquarian, I am freedom loving to the max.  Freedom was one of the most used words in my former blog.  Give me freedom to choose and room to breathe, and I will thrive; box me in, limit  me with excessive rules and expectations, and I start to feeling suffocated… which leads to rebellion (more when I was younger than now) or depression.

Maybe my strong desire for independence and autonomy stems from my sense of being different, and that I don’t fit “in the box” very well.  I used to feel that I had to somehow justify why I wanted to be or do something different, why I didn’t measure up to expectations set for me. In recent years I’ve come to embrace my uniqueness and celebrate being me.  I am capable of thinking and acting on my own. I am capable of taking care of me. Papa Bear is wonderfully understanding about being ok with whoever I am, and what I want to do or not do. I never feel confined in this relationship, that is a first. He is such a blessing in my life!

Talking about independence and freedom brings to mind memories of times when I had neither.  Now I’m talking about incarceration… being confined/detained against my will.  I was briefly detained in a jail cell twice in my young adult life as a result of my choices.  In the first case I was arrested for shoplifting and released on bond posted by friends in just a few hours. It was an admittedly dumb thing to do, and I’m not sure why I did, I guess just to prove that I could.

However, in the second case, I was not released, but rather remanded to the custody of the State Police in my home state who came, along with my father, in the middle of the night to retrieve me.  It’s a long, complicated story, but the short of it is that I had run away from home late in the summer after I graduated from high school to go and live in another state with some people who were members of the same religious group I had joined. My parents knew where I was, and my father siezed this opportunity to get me away from them, which resulted in me being court-committed to a state mental hospital.

As it turns out, I was to be there for a period of 75 days, but I was told by those in control that I would be held there until I conformed to acceptable behavior/choices and was no longer considered “at risk”.  In retrospect, I know that my father was acting in what he believed to be in my best interests.  He had no idea of the hell he put me through in that place. I figured out very quickly that if I wanted to get out with my mind in tact I’d better play the game as they called it, or at least pay lip service. Thankfully, that worked.

It took me years to overcome the emotional trauma of that experience; and more than forty years later, I can still shut my eyes and replay the scenes in my head. Keep in mind that in the early 1970’s the care and conditions in such places were nothing like they are today. I could tell you horror stories about it… and maybe someday I will.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you enjoy spending time by yourself? Have you ever been placed in a situation where you had no control over what was happening to you? 

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:

A to Z – The ABC’s of Me: H

H

This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!

Today we begin our second week of the A to Z Challenge and I have to say that I am enjoying the process. Talking about myself comes easy, it’s more like stream of consciousness writing than having the stress of planning and plotting for each day’s post.  As I write I’ve been thinking about how much I would enjoy knowing more about my fellow bloggers too; some share personal info, some not so much. I like to see the faces and know the person behind the things they write, it gives me insight and a greater sense of connection. Everyone has a story to tell, and I love reading about other people and their lives!

So on we go, today we have the letter H.  I will start with one that plays a big role in my life… hearing loss.  I first realized that I was having difficulty hearing what other people were saying about twenty years ago, especially if someone was speaking softly or I was in a noisy group or environment.  I found myself feeling isolated and doing a lot of smiling and nodding and making general comments because I couldn’t hear exactly what was being said.

I went to an audiologist and to an ENT specialist and learned that I have a significant hearing loss in both ears.  The ENT told me he believed the hearing loss might have been caused from by the chemicals used in aerial crop spraying of the cotton fields around our rural home.  There are other possible causes too, but the result was irreversible and would likely progress as I got older, and it has.

I got my first pair of hearing aids and I have to admit that I didn’t wear them faithfully because technology back then was poor and you had to do a lot of fiddling with volume control, they whistled during phone calls, etc.  More often than not I didn’t wear them, and just struggled to get by as best I could.

By the time I met Papa Bear ten years ago it was obvious that I was going to need new hearing aids to do well in my office job.  I had a supervisor who sat at a desk behind me and I had to turn around to hear to her.  I tended to talk too loudly on the phone as well, because it sounded ok to me.  I got a new pair of very expensive hearing aids, and they were a miracle, like a window had been opened in my life.  I didn’t realize until I put them in my ears how much I hadn’t been hearing for so long… birds singing, cats meowing, soft music.  I cried tears of joy! At first I was almost overwhelmed with all the sound around me, but the brain is a marvelous thing and quickly learns to filter out things you don’t want to hear so that you can focus on voices or whatever is important.

On that note let me just say, anyone who has hearing aids and doesn’t wear them probably has an inexpensive or ill-fitted pair that picks up so much background noise it drives them crazy.  Also, just like glasses or dentures, you have to put them in your ears and leave them there all day every day so that you get accustomed to them and will soon forget that you wear them.

Hearing aids have come a long way both in the technology and in the nearly invisible size.  I got a new set a couple years ago as the previous pair was wearing out and giving me frequent problems with reception. They cost so much, and insurance does little if anything to help; but oh, how it is worth it!  If I don’t have them in, my world is composed of soft, muffled sounds, which I kind of like at times, but it’s not very safe.  I usually don’t put them in until after I shower so that I don’t forget to take them out, and on Sunday  mornings when he is home with me, Papa Bear is likely to ask “Do you have your hearing aids in?” when I don’t respond to his comments while reading the Sunday paper or requesting a refill on his coffee. 🙂

There are still things I don’t hear well now… coyotes in the fields, cars passing on the highway, cats meowing in another room, and I still have to request him to turn up the TV a bit, but I am grateful that I can hear and participate in conversations and groups.  I have a heart for elders who can’t hear well, I understand now how isolated they feel, it can be very depressing.  If you know someone like this, encourage them to obtain and wear their hearing aids… and don’t settle for the cheapie ones you see advertised, all they do is amplify sound, it’s money wasted.

I want to briefly comment on another H-word which is somewhat obvious from my photo on the sidebar… may hair.  I like it long, so does Papa Bear.  I haven’t cut it in ten years, he trims a few inches off a couple times a year for me to get rid of dry ends and that’s all.  I cut my own bangs.  Beauticians scare me, too many scissor-happy experiences.

My hair is now waist long, and it won’t ever be cut again if I have control over that.  I don’t curl it, but I do braid it or pull it back in a ponytail, or up in a twist on warm days or when I’m working in the kitchen. I haven’t dyed it in over ten years either.  It is mostly silver gray on top now but the bottom still retains some of the brown it evolved into as I got older.  When I was young I had very auburn red hair, I was told that it matched that of my Swedish grandmother who died when I was very young.

I started seeing gray hair appear when I was 35, and I colored it in assorted shades for many years, even trying out blonde once and candy apple red once, along with darker colors, but never black a least.  Papa Bear likes it natural and so do I; he has a lot of white hair and we both embrace our hair and our age.  Aging is a natural part of the lifecycle, and not something to be avoided.  I have earned everyone of these silver hairs and I wear them proudly!  It also comes in handy for obtaining senior discounts at movies and cafes, we’ve been able to do that for several years now. 🙂

One more H-word today before I go… by far the most important one… HOPE!  Without hope life is scary, dark, and well… hopeless.  There seems to be little point in continuing on. For me, hope and faith are interconnected, you can’t have one without the other. One of the hardest things I had to do in life was to not give up hope when life was at its worst. There were a few times I came close, I will write about that for S.

I now know that God has  some wonderful surprises in store for our lives, things better than we could ever even imagine much less hope for.  After three nightmare marriages I had little hope or expectation that I would ever find a really good man. I doubted that such existed.  But look  who I ended up with, and look at the life I have with Papa Bear now! I am loved beyond a doubt by the most wonderful, caring man and I know that God had that planned for me all along!  I just had to be ready,  andI had a lot to learn about life, love and relationships first.  But if I had given up on life too soon, I wouldn’t be here today and I never would have had the privilege of this experience, or watching my children grow up to be amazing adults, or all the other wonderful gifts God has blessed my life with.

If you only remember one thing from all you read in my A-Z posts this year, remember this… No matter how hard or how dark your life gets NEVER GIVE UP HOPE, good things are yet to come!

How do you like to wear your hair, and why?  Has there ever been a time in your life when your life felt hopeless? What kept you going?  

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Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts: