My Music

Tell us how your week went by putting together a playlist of  five songs that represent it.

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This puts me in something of a dilemma.  I am not into pop music these days. I hate the stuff most kids like.  It’s been a long time since I listened to much besides classical or sacred.  But let me dig back into the archives of my own youth and see what I can come up with:

1. Sixteen Tons and What do you Get?  Another Day older and Deeper in Debt (Tennessee Ernie Ford)

2.  I’m Leavin’ on a Jet Plane (Glen Campbell)

3.  I’m on the Top of the World (Karen Carpenter)

4.  Raindrops (snowflakes!) Keep Fallin’ on my Head (BJ Thomas)

5.  When I was a Young Man Woman and Never Been Kissed (Jimmie Rodgers)

You can find all these golden oldies on You Tube.  They really do reflect my week.  I’m going on a girlfriend getaway in April with two lifetime friends, and I just made the flight reservations this week.  I think the other songs are self-explanatory.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/playlist-of-the-week/

Sigh.

Remember this prompt, when your home was on fire and you got to save five items? That means you left a lot of stuff behind. What are the things you wish you could have taken, but had to leave behind?

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Sigh.  Now I’m really bored.

I don’t know, and at this point I don’t care. I suppose picture albums.  I’m old, so lots of our photos are still the old school variety.

Books?

Honestly, I can’t think of anything valuable enough to risk my life for,and it can all be replaced.  Sometimes I think it would be a good thing if I somehow lost all my possessions. Wouldn’t have to leave a mess for my kids to clear up; wouldn’t have to decided what to do with stuff I seldom use.

When I do marital counseling, often one of the biggest issues between the two people is that one of them is a hoarder, to some degree, and the other is an OCD-style neatnik.  Finding some way to help them compromise is quite a challenge. We are a nation of stuff-keepers, and we become very protective when our stuff is threatened.  It’s all stuff we need!  Someday it might come in handy, and then you’ll feel bad for griping about it.

I can especially empathize with wives who are married to men who are good with their hands.  These guys don’t throw away a single nut, bold, screw, nail, or piece of wire. Everything has value. Aluminum foil?  Collect it, keep it in big buckets until you have enough to take wherever you take such stuff and get money for it. Same with copper.  Oh my word, copper! Thing is, it’s never enough. You wait until you have just a little bit more, to make the trip worthwhile.

Bins of all different sized washers, mayo jars full of little doodads screwed to their lids that have been nailed to a beam in the basement.  Workshop area filled with paint and all sorts of other strong-smelling chemicals that you just can’t toss because, you know, handy some day. Cleaning chemicals.  Paint-stripping chemicals.  Gunk-removing chemicals. Thinners, thickeners, strippers, cementers, glue and solvents.

It’s amazing, really.

And we won’t even talk about tools.
“Would you get my my blue-handled flat-blade screwdriver from the tool chest in the basement?  I can’t let go of this right now.”

Sure.  So down she goes to the basement, scarey place. “Which tool chest?”  she hollers up the stairs.
“The one with the red  ballpeen hammer on the top.  Hurry up!”

“What’s a ballpeen hammer?” 

(This is a ball peen hammer.  You’ll thank me later.)

“Oh good grief! Never mind, I’ll get it myself.”

And the ensuing muttermumble down the basement stairs, accompanied by an unfriendly sideways glare, lets you know you’ve failed in an important part of your duty as a helpmeet.  But that’s ok, because he never knows which drawer the vegetable peeler is in, even though you’ve been putting it in the same place for 20 years.

How did I get here?  I don’t know.  I just know I didn’t want to talk about what I didn’t take out of yesterday’s burning house that I should have, and now I’m done.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/burnt/

Pillbiquitous

Create a new word and explain its meaning and etymology.

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Here’s one I’ve been using for quite some time, due to my work and my observation of mental health practice:

Pillbiquitous. 

It’s a combination of, obviously, pills and ubiquitous.  Pills are often the easy answer to  everything, and Big Pharmacology keeps putting out oceans of new pills to meet our every need.

Ubiquitous means everywhere.  Have a problem?  Take a pill. You’ll feel better.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/play-lexicographer/

P.S.  Perhaps a disclaimer is in order.  I am not 100% opposed to the use of medication mental health practice.  There are instances in which it is clearly indicated, and even necessary  if the patient is going to have anything like a normal life.  Bipolar Disorder fits that category.  People who have Bipolar Disorder often do very well if they are compliant with their meds.

What I’m trying to point out here, though, is that we are too quick to use medication instead of common sense, and Big Pharm is just fine with that.  There are other effective treatments, for instance, to relieve anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress that are not dependent on the use of medication. The same is true for many cases of depression.

I just think we’ve gone way overboard.  We won’t put up with the smallest discomfort, physical or mental/emotional, if we can find a pill to relieve it. Therefore, we no longer understand how to deal with certain situations unless we have medication for it.

And my disclaimer has now become longer than my original post.  Good grief.

Embrace the Ick

Think of something that truly repulses you. Hold that thought until your skin squirms. Now, write a glowing puff piece about its amazing merits.

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I cannot and will not think about snakes on purpose, and to write a glowing puff piece about them would give me nightmares for the rest of my life. So that’s out.

Mammograms?  Nah.  It’s been done.  So have colonoscopies. Besided, they don’t make my skin crawl.

Centipedes do. A puff piece on the amazing merits of centipedes? Hmmmm. They eat spiders. That’s all I can think of.

I’m stuck.  There are very few things that actually make my skin crawl that are fit topics for this post. Pedophiles make my skin crawl, and I seriously can’t think of anything good to say about their amazing merits.

See, the stuff that makes my skin crawl? Those things are just evil and ugly and wrong! I can’t wrap my mind around finding even something fictionally good to say about them.

The only thing I truly dreaded having to clean up when my kids were small was vomit. I had to hold my breath and just DO IT. So maybe I can think of something glowing to say about the amazing merits of hurling. 

It cleans the gunk out of your belly.

It makes you feel better once it’s over.

It tells you there may be something more going on.

It  shows you how much your mommy really cares about you, because she doesn’t set you outside until your insides settle down.  She takes your temperature, feels your forehead (I used to wonder why my mom felt my forehead when I threw up when it was clearly my tummy that was under siege) and lets you have gingerale and crackers.

You get to stay in your jammies if you’re really and truly sick, and you get to sleep all day and you don’t have to eat anything you don’t like.

Of course, the downside to all this is nausea, pain, and the wretched act of throwing up.

And now that I’ve improved your day, I hope you all have a lovely one.  The humungous blizzard we were supposed to get mostly swept out to sea.  Some of the New England states got more of it than we did.  The decision to close our office today was made yesterday when it looked as if we were right in the path of the storm, but we got only a couple of inches. The street in front of our house is already clear. So I have a lovely day off.

And that’s all.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/embrace-the-ick/

The Rain on the Soil back Home

Write down the first words that comes to mind when we say . . .. . . home.. . . soil.. . . rain.Use those words in the title of your post.

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Ellie stood in her ramshackle kitchen, staring out the dusty window at the dusty yard that met the dusty field. There was nothing green in sight. Not one blade of grass, not a leafed-out tree or bush. The yard had been a showplace just a couple of short years ago, before the rain had stopped. Now, there was nothing but brittle brown stubble and tired old trees that didn’t have the strength to raise their branches to the sky.

Her prized roses? Huh.  Not much of a prize these days. What the dust didn’t kill, the locusts did.  Or the wind. The wind sucked the life out of everything, leaving desolation in its path.

Drought. Dust. Dry. Drained. Depression.  The Great Depression, they called it. That sure was fitting.

Ellie rubbed her eyes with her index fingers, trying to relieve herself of the itchy feeling the dust always left. Sighing, she picked up her rag and set about the useless business of trying to wipe the dust from the kitchen counters. When she finished that, she’d try to clean the dishes.  Thank goodness the well hadn’t gone dry yet. They rationed water as if it were gold, knowing that eventually, if it didn’t rain, the well would go to dry dust just like everything else had.

Years later, one of Ellie’s granddaughters would ask her, “Grandma, why do you always rinse out the glass before you fill it up with water?  It’s clean when you take it out of the cupboard, isn’t it?”

And she would reply, “Yes, Sweetpea, it’s clean.  It’s just an old habit of mine from the Dustbowl Days when no matter how clean the glass was when you put it away, the dust would get into it anyway and you had to rinse it out before you could use it.”

But this day, Ellie didn’t know she would survive this hell. She didn’t know she would live to see grandchildren running through the lush green yard and coming racing into the house seeking a drink. All she knew was that she was slowly losing her grip on reality, and if something didn’t happen soon, she may slip into a world where no one could follow her.

Sighing, she worked her way through the darkened house. John had boarded up most of the windows against the dust and the grasshoppers and the wind.  They did everything they could think of to protect themselves, but when a dust storm blew up, it seemed that the gritty stuff seeped through the walls themselves.  She’d taken down the curtains and stored them away, hoping for a better day.

Pushing the front door open, Ellie stepped out onto the porch.  The boards creaked under her light step. She took her worn out broom and swept the unrelenting sand and dirt from her wide front porch, down the steps, into the yard.  Futile as it was, knowing she’d be doing the exact same thing tomorrow, she stayed busy with the chore until it was as clean as she was ever going to be able to get it.

She looked out across the stubble in the field, squinting against the sun as she watched her husband pouring buckets of precious well water on a few remaining cornstalks. Her heart ached for him. He’d worked so hard, and all he had to show for it was a handful of still-growing plants.

Sighing, she turned to go back inside when she felt a little tug at the hem of her dress.  She glanced down, expecting to see the tired old dog asking for his water bowl to be filled.  Nothing there. Huh.

Then she felt it again, only this time her dress flattened against her body and her hair lifted off her forehead in wispy feathers.

A breeze?  Oh, no.  Another dust storm coming?  She really didn’t think she could stand it one more time as the black clouds of hatred rolled across the prairie, darkening the sky and covering the ground with filth. 

She turned to the west, expecting to see the tell-tale line in the distance, but there was nothing. Raising her eyes, she stiffened in shock to see a few greyish, puffy clouds rising from the horizon. Holding her breath in hope, she watched those clouds come racing toward the farm, beginning to fill the sky and creating a different kind of wind from the dust storms.

Her heart began to thump, then to race. Could it really be?  Those sure did look like rain clouds! Oh, John!  Would he see?  He was so intent on his task, his head was still bent so he couldn’t see up.

“John!”  she screamed as loudly as she could. “JOHN!  Look up!  Look at the sky!  Look!  LOOK!”

John’s head came up, turned in her direction. She pointed up toward the clouds, and he swiveled his head in the direction she pointed. He stood stock still for several seconds, then turned and began to race toward her, waving his hat and yelling for sheer joy.

They met in the center of the yard, hanging on to each other as the drops of mercy from the clouds began to spatter against the  hard, parched soil.  Then it drizzled, and then it poured!  Rain! Glorious, life-giving, thirst-quenching, well-filling, soil-healing, soul-healing, merciful rain!

They stood with their arms raised, letting the rain sluice down their tired bodies. Thoroughly wet, they turned into each other’s arms and hugged, then without saying a word, they waltzed to the rhythm of the falling rain until their feet were muddy and their clothes stuck to them.  They laughed.  They cried.

They thanked God.The rain would save the soil, and it would save their home.

It was a good day.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/free-association/

I QUIT!

When was the last time you were ready to throw in the proverbial towel? Did you end up letting go, or decided to fight on anyway?

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I don’t quit easily or often. The only time I’ve given up recently is with a client I’d been seeing for over six months, and I’ve already written about that.

Wait.  I know.  There is something at which I quit regularly—which tells you how good I am at quitting.

I’ve tried every diet known to man, and a few that no one ever heard of.  I’ve made resolutions to exercise consistently, give up chocolate, butter, ice cream, and  lasagna.  In other words, all the foods I like.

I want you to know, by the way, that it’s been about nine months since I had a doughnut.  That’s a major victory.

So what I want to know is, why is it that the foods I crave, the foods I love, are the ones that make me fat? (Noooooo! Please don’t write and lecture me about that! It was a rhetorical statement!)

And just a side note here.  I read recently that vegetables can slow down one’s metabolism.  Well, there you go.  I’ve eaten at least the equivalent of the size of the earth in salads over the last ten years, and guess what?  I’m still the size of the earth. Yeah, that worked.

The good news is that I did lose ten pounds last year.

Quit laughing, it’s not funny.  For those of you snooty types who can lose ten pounds just by thinking about it, I want you to know that I WILL find you, and you won’t know I’m there.  And your demise will be horrible, because I will dump a truckload of ice cream, whipping cream, and hot fudge all over you, and you won’t be able to eat your way out.  Bwahahahahaha!

I’ve quit more diets than have ever been written.  I’ve sworn off buying diet books. I’ve sworn off counting calories.  I am making an effort to move more, although my hinky hip and wonky back are making that a bit chancy right now.  Still, I’m trying.

I cook healthy stuff.  I cook clean.  I know people who have dropped dozens of pounds doing exactly what I’m doing.  I haven’t even made it to ONE dozen yet, but so far I’m not quitting.

Don’t pity me.  I’m doing quite well at that all by myself.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/enough-is-enough/

Sir Wisdom: A Morality Tale

Tell us about something that happened to you in real life last week — but write it in the style of a fairy tale.

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Once upon a time, not so very long ago, a kind and benevolent queen lived in a pleasant palace with her equally kind and benevolent king. They were no longer young. They had reared their precious princes and princesses, who were all married themselves now and living in other palaces, giving kind and benevolent reigns to their kind and benevolent subjects.

One day the queen, whose name was Benevolence (Bennie to her closest friends) decided she would love to do some writing.  Perhaps she would write a book all about what it was like to be a queen in a pleasant palace, married to an equally kind and benevolent king, whose name was Able (short for Amiable).

So Queen Bennie set about the task of writing her book. She required piles of parchment, and baskets of goose quills.  She ordered ink to be made that would fill a tub, and she had a desk specially built to fit her perfectly, with a matching chair. All of this was set up in a special room with  windows that followed the rising and setting of the sun so that there would be natural light for Queen Bennie.  Her eyesight was failing, you see.

Day after day she wrote, while her servants took each roll of parchment when she had filled it up. They stretched each one out to dry, treating all of them with special  potions that would keep them supple and strong. As each one dried, it was rolled up into a scroll and stacked tidily in a book box.

One day, the queen grew restless. She was having trouble thinking what to write next. She even became a tiny bit less benevolent, and she ordered her court wise man to be brought into her presence.

“Sir Wisdom, you must give me a prompt!  I seem to have run out of things to say.  Please, Sir, give me an idea!  Immediately, if you please!”

Sir Wisdom bowed low before looking up at his Queen. “Madame, I shall have an idea for you in the morning, promptly at 8 a.m. Until then, why don’t you rest, walk in the gardens, enjoy some fresh fruit?”

“Sir Wisdom, I shall be waiting!  If you do not have an idea for me at 8 a.m. tomorrow,  you will be very, very sorry!”

The next morning dawned with a clear sky, the twitter of busy birds, and the bustle of scurrying servants as the morning meal, morning baths, morning dressing rituals and morning cleaning were observed.  Finally Queen Bennie was ready to meet Sir Wisdom.

At precisely 8 o’clock, the queen sat upon her throne, tapping her toe and drumming her fingers on the arm of her cushioned seat.  Sir Wisdom was nowhere in sight.

“Where is he?  Has anyone gone to look for him?  I can’t wait much longer!  He is late!  I have work to do!

At 8:30, when the queen’s patience had disappeared, Sir Wisdom came rushing in. He knelt at the Queen’s feet, begging her forgiveness for his tardiness, and confessing that he hadn’t yet thought of a really good idea for her. He trembled, knowing she was a woman of her word. She was about to make him very, very sorry.

“Sir Wisdom, because you have failed me, you will spend the rest of your miserable days  wandering from country to country. As you travel, you will be required to give an intelligent answer to anyone who may stop you and ask you a question. If you fail to respond, the questioner may do with you as he pleases.  Now, begone!

And Sir Wisdom was banished forever from the kingdom. In fact, he ended up being banished pretty regularly.  He just couldn’t seem to come up with ideas for anyone, and he was almost always late.

And he did not live happily ever after.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/once-upon-a-time/

Snow

So.  I’m tired of waiting for the dilatory daily prompt. Not checking again today.

Anyway, we got a beautiful prompt overnight. 

I took this with my iPhone, from inside our dining room.  It looks out on our back yard. We got about six inches, and the temperature right now is 33 degrees.  Not bad, really.

There are myriads of paeans written to the beauty of the snow.  There are songs and poems and photographic essays, and I can’t (won’t) try to improve on any of them.  There are also lots of things written about the horrors of the snow, the unrelenting cold, the dangers.  Both are true. And both ideas have set my mind to work this morning.

I work in mental health.  I’m a private practice, independent contractor therapist.  I work three days each week, and at my ripe old age, that’s plenty.  I spend those days listening to people’s sad stories.  Some of them are horror stories of abuse, neglect, post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression, bipolar disorder, marriages crashing and burning, financial disasters, medical disasters. Sometimes, I see someone who just has garden-variety depression that is fairly easy to help, and that’s kind of a relief.  It’s never easy.  Don’t misunderstand me. But I know how to handle the snow storm of depression.  I’m learning  how to work with most of the other things I mentioned. Sometimes it’s a blizzard beyond my ability, and I have to bring in the heavy plows and disposal trucks, the sanding trucks and the emergency vehicles. I always regret having to do that, because sometimes doing so puts my client into a system we both dislike.  Reporting child abuse, for example, is something I truly hate having to do.  I’m a mandated reporter, so I have no recourse. Doing so puts all kinds of social services into play, and sometimes it turns out well.  Other times, it’s just a bigger blizzard.  I have a client who had been falsely accused of molesting his own daughters.  He has since been completely exonerated, but during the process his girls were removed from his home and put into foster care for a full year. That’s an ongoing story, and there will be lifelong repercussions.  The girls were molested by a family member, just not their father.

Horrible blizzard with howling winds, white-outs, and lives endangered.

On the other hand, just this past week I had the delightful experience of a gentle, cleansing, beautiful snowfall of forgiveness and restoration in a marital case I’ve been working with.  Mercy is necessary in order for forgiveness to be effective.  Mercy, kindness, forgiveness, recognition of one’s own contribution to the problem. When one person stands in stern and unrelenting judgment on another that he claims he loves, there isn’t much hope of restoration.  If one person always has to be right, then the other person always has to be wrong.  No one can survive and thrive under those conditions.

Mercy is like snow that falls in huge, puffy flakes while the air is still. It covers the ugliness of winter grass, barren bushes and neglected flower beds that make me think of the wrong choices, wrong behaviors, hurtful words that are said.  When the fall of mercy is done, it leaves a blanket of spotless, glistening beauty over everything. It does bring calm. It brings a sense of warmth and comfort  as we stand inside a warm house, gazing out onto a changed landscape. It is clean, It is unmarred, until the first squirrel or winter bird leaves its tracks across the surface.

Gentle snowfall in still air, doing no damage, but restoring nutrients and moisture to the soil, like mercy soaking into a broken and hungry heart.

Quickie

Write a post about any topic you wish, but make sure it ends with “And all was right in the world.”

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Linda clicked on Daily Prompt at 8 a.m.  Nothing.  She clicked again at 8:02 and 8:05.  Nothing. Phooey. She typed off a quick note of frustration and went about the business of getting ready for her busy day.  There may not be time to write a response to the prompt today, and missing that part of her morning routine would definitely cause the sky to fall.

By the way, I saw it again yesterday.  I don’t remember where.  Someone wrote, ” And I’ll defiantly do it again.”  She meant definitely. If anyone can explain to me how that particular error is so common, I’d defiantly appreciate it.

Sorry.  English teacher popped up for a minute there.  I just smacked her back down.

Anyway, in the process of getting ready, Linda popped into the study and clicked the daily prompt button and VOILA!  There it was.  Half an hour late, but at least the pieces of fallen sky were rising back into place.

So she rattled off a response, not worrying too much about whether or not it made any sense. She tagged it and categorized it and even found a  picture for it. Then she did the pingback. Done. 

All was right in the world.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/easy-fix/

But the pingback isn’t working. Sigh.