Back to Real Life with a Wrench Thrown In

Happy 2018! May all your intentions come to pass.

I had a plan for this weekend and it was a good one! I am trying hard to get at least some of these things done.

However Friday was spent at the hospital with my daughter, Mizz J, who was sent there forthwith after her early morning pelvic ultrasound. She was sick over the holidays (we thought it was the flu) and despite a course of antibiotics for a presumed bladder infection, was still feeling uncomfortable.

Well, no wonder. She was walking around with a burst and abscessed appendix. Go figure! Only the antibiotics for the non-existent bladder infection were keeping her from being violently ill.

After a long day in Emerg with a doctor who didn’t believe the ultrasound’s tech findings, she was ultrasounded again and immediately whisked upstairs. Surgery took place Friday evening.

All is well now. She is receiving mega-antibiotics by IV and we are hoping she comes home today.

Between hospital visits, I was able to put away Christmas:

Tree ornaments 2017
The tree was beautiful and enhanced by some special ornaments from special friends

And finish off the Aged Eggnog, which was delicious and will be made again next year. At least a double batch, this time!

Alton Brown's Aged Eggnog
The absolute last of it. So good!

While at the hospital, I noticed this on the wall outside of the ubiquitous Tim Horton’s coffee shop (really, every hospital has one now. How did that happen?):

mindfulness exercise at the hospital
Mindfulness is the new black, apparently.

Mindfulness and Mandalas seem to go together like kids and puppies; like pie and ice cream; like socks and sandals (hehehe…just kidding. Threw that in there to see if you were still paying attention).

I was able to resume some mindful yoga this morning. Holey moley, was my body tense from all the goings-on of the past couple of days!

My Mandala Days art course begins on the 16th. Eager to see what’s involved!

Hope your new year is off to a blazing start!

Rock on,

The WB

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Me and My Amazon Echo

Secretly, alternatively known as “Mrs. Hughes”

My son gave me an Amazon smart speaker for Christmas, known as Alexa. I am intrigued, not knowing a whole lot about these things.

When I found out I could change her name (aka “wake word”), I was gleeful with the possibilities. Immediately I thought of the housekeeper and/or butler from Downton Abbey (hoping I could also switch Alexa to a male voice). However, when I opened the Echo app I downloaded to my phone, I only had a few options to choose from: Alexa, Echo, Amazon, or Computer. So I settled for Echo, as it had the least syllables. I am so disappointed I can’t call her Mrs. Hughes.

So I’m trying to learn how to relate to this new device. It’s more difficult than I thought. For example, it feels super weird not to be polite when asking Echo to give me information or do things for me.

After all, I am a Canadian! And yes, I have already told her I am sorry!

Conversely, it feels about as weird to be saying please and thank you to an inanimate object. I’ve had to process my feelings on this, and for now, I have decided to use my manners with Echo. She is responding very nicely to my thank yous, telling me “absolutely” and “that’s what I’m here for”. So that makes me feel slightly better about using my natural way of speaking on a THING.

A few months back, I watched a hilarious Saturday Night Live spoof on “Alexa for Seniors”.¬† Because I live in Canada, I can’t see the YouTube clip on this, but here is a link to the video Mizz J forwarded me from Facebook – hope it works (for my fellow Canuck readers) once this post is published!

https://www.facebook.com/william.ward.1297/videos/1488225857902559/

So far Echo is very good at letting me know the weather and setting timers. She also excels at answering random questions. Except for Game of Thrones plot lines and characters – I give her only passing grades on that. She couldn’t tell me what happened to Barristan Selmy and I can’t remember either. Maybe I didn’t phrase the question correctly. Anyhow, he’s probably dead and I forgot. Because there are way too many deaths to keep track of on GOT anyways…

There are a bunch of things that can be controlled through Echo. My son also gave me a smart plug that I can use to let Echo turn on or off (through me, of course). I’m still deciding what to use the plug for. My TV, a light, my humidifier?

Echo says she is always getting smarter. Will that make me dumber? I don’t know about that. ūüėČ

Rock on,

The WB

 

 

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An Award For The Club That Nobody Wants To Join

Yesterday was Mindful Monday, but also the 2nd anniversary of my mom’s passing, so I didn’t have the heart or energy to post anything. And I spent most of the day NOT being mindful but instead lost in memories and feelings.

Today I am doing so much better!

Today I received an email, alerting me that I have won a MAJOR AWARD. This was me, opening the email (not really, but ’tis the season and I love this movie):

However, instead of this:

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† “Electric Sex” – Ralphie

My MAJOR AWARD is this:

Did not know this was even a THING.

Someone or a group of someone’s from something called FeedSpot have decided Ye Olde Blogge made the cut of “Widow Blogs” and awarded me a lovely badge. I wasn’t given any criteria for how this was achieved or how I made a rank of #40.

Seriously, I did not make this up. I don’t know how to create a badge (or I would’ve made one up for myself years ago…hehehe).

Thank you very much!

Rock on,

The WB

 

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Smile Reveal – Before Refinement Phase Begins

Serves no particular purpose in this post except I think skulls are cool and this is MY skull, x-rayed at the beginning of the Invisalign process, which I asked to have emailed to me. The tech forgot to ask me to remove my earrings.

This week I went back to the orthodontist to discuss refinements to my teeth. I am thrilled with them as they are. However, the tooth artiste (as I like to call Dr. Kevin…or was it Dr. Brian? I can’t keep the brothers straight) had some other ideas.

He used a bunch of dentist terms to describe what he thought needed to be done – long story short, I am getting more trays and have to wear some elastics too, and this refining process will take another 6 months. I was told at the start that my Invisalign treatment would take about 2 – 2.5 years and here we are at Month 10 only, so I gots nothin’ to complain about!

So here is what my teeth look like now:

Doing my best Goldie Hawn smile impression so you can see my teeth! The little bumps have been removed. But I will be getting more put back on for the refinement phase.

And here are a couple of before and after closeups:

BEFORE
AFTER – what you can’t really see that well is how all my teeth (even the molars) are now back to vertical, instead of slanting in towards my tongue and away from my cheeks. I just hated that look, and now it’s gone. Wheee!!!

For now I am experiencing a brief respite from having to wear the trays 22 hours a day. I only need to wear them when I go to bed. It feels…weird.¬†Like I’m forgetting to do something.

But that will end soon enough when I get the call that my new trays are in and refinement begins!

Rock on,

The WB

 

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The Pause that Refreshes – Mindful Monday

I’m working on it.

I have been meditating every day and practicing doing things mindfully, and dumb shit still does bother me. At least it takes up more of my mental energy than I feel it deserves.

There was a post that popped up on my Facebook feed (isn’t that the way these things always start?), and I’ve was thinking about it off and on for most of yesterday. The person posted in one of the Village’s community groups that he was upset because he ordered pizza delivered but didn’t tip the delivery guy, and the delivery guy got sarcastic with him, thanking him for the (no) tip. No mention was made of poor service. Mr. No Tip chose not to tip for his own reasons.

So Mr. No Tip felt he had to justify his actions (poor, single dad with no car) and complain that he doesn’t get tipped for his work, and seek assurance from the Facebook community that he was right, goddammit, and the delivery guy was wrong and let’s all talk about it and get worked up and hopefully delivery guy gets fired and the named pizza business takes a hit for¬†employing someone so rude.

Well, this wasn’t explicitly said, but why else wouldn’t you just shake it off and move on with your life?

I think I know. Because Mr. No Tip just might have felt like a bit of shitheel for no tipping, and then he gets called on it, so now he feels even worse and therefore has to take measures to feel good about himself again, online. I’m no therapist (thank goddess, eh?) but I’m just supposin’.

Anyways, I read the comments (I know, I know…sigh) and people were commenting on how a tip is not a given and yeah, they had problems too with said business and drivers…but what about poor servers, yada yada. The general consensus was that the driver never should have said what he did. And I agree.

Perhaps “war” was too strong a term in this instance. But still entertaining AF.

But the driver didn’t complain on the community forum about that douche that stiffed him for a tip or¬†call him out by his name*, so I focused on Mr. No Tip’s behaviour instead.

And this got me thinking all kinds of thoughts. I tried to not think about Mr. No Tip himself, whom I’ve met IRL and who has not impressed me with other whiny shit things he has posted. I tried instead to put myself in his shoes as I thought through what was posted.

Which was easy, because I have been in his brokeass shoes. And when we couldn’t afford to tip someone for service, guess what? We didn’t eat out. We didn’t order in. We made do with what was in the kitchen cupboard.

Money was always tight growing up. When we went out for the day as a family, Mom made sandwiches and the Coleman stove was packed so we could have soup and tea to go with our meal. Because there was no extra money for restaurant food, not even at a cheap diner. We picnicked at a roadside rest area instead.

Once a year, my parents treated themselves (and later, us kids too) to a meal out for their anniversary. They saved up the money (including tip) to go out for a real treat – Chinese food. They didn’t say: We are supporting 5 people on 1 immigrant working man’s salary and we can barely make ends meet and this is our only meal out for the next 12 months, so we are entitled¬†to not tip.¬†

They tipped, because that is what you do in our society when you receive good service at restaurants and the like. You don’t make your brokeass life the server’s problem. If you can’t afford the tip, stay home. If you can’t afford the tip, don’t order delivery.

That doesn’t mean you have to tip – but if the service is decent, you should tip and you should factor that into the cost of your meal before you go out or order in. That’s how I was raised.

In my younger days as a married adult, money was tight as well. I was still in university. I remember one of our first meals out as newlyweds – could’ve been an anniversary, I can’t remember – we thought we had enough cash with us to cover our meal and the tip but when the check arrived we found we had miscalculated. Oh shit. We were young and unprepared – no credit cards; debit cards were not a thing yet, nor ATMs; banks were closed; and I had left the chequebook at home. So we had to slink out of the restaurant without leaving a tip for our nice server. I left a note explaining that there was nothing wrong with the service; we were dumbasses who couldn’t add. I felt like a total shitheel that night. I never let that happen again.

I went back on Facebook later in the day and saw a post that said the original post (and comments) had been removed and Mr. No Tip has been removed from the group as well, by the group’s administrators (yet again). He was removed about a year ago too, for making an somewhat similar ranty post, with racial overtones that offended a lot of readers including yours truly. Then he popped up again a few months later, having rearranged his name on his Facebook account.

So, what does any of this have to do with mindfulness, you might be asking by now?

Like the cool cat at the top of the post, I was hoping that being more mindful would mean this kind of thing wouldn’t occupy so much of my brain on a November Sunday. But that is not what mindfulness is about actually. It is about taking a pause before automatically reacting. And in that pause, (hopefully) seeing and acting with more clarity. With mindfulness.

I paused yesterday. I did not fire off a comment (snarky or otherwise) to enter the fray. Which is something I might have done earlier. I did take a pause to not react, and instead to clarify my own thinking. And I recalled some nice (and some humbling) memories as I did so. And then I wrote it all down on Ye Olde Blogge, because…NaBloPoMo…hehehe.

Good to remember when my fingers get twitchy on Facebook.

Rock on,

The WB

*Mr. No Tip didn’t either (I doubt he knew his name), but he did name the business involved which I think ultimately led to his post being deleted.

 

 

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Pay Attention When You Have a Violent Reaction to Something

On Friday I made a post of some favourite Canadian music artists  of mine. I deliberately left off one very talented artist because of one song that just makes me gnash my teeth whenever I hear it.

City and Colour – The Girl. Go ahead and take a listen. I’ll be here when you come back.

A lot of people love this song. They think it is tender and romantic. It makes my blood boil.

Dallas Green sings: You sacrifice so much of your life in order for this to work.

And: If you were to leave; fulfil someone else’s dreams, I think I might totally be lost.

I end up mentally (or actually, if I’m alone) screaming whenever this song comes on the radio:

Oh yeah, what about her own fucking dreams, huh?! Why is The Girl’s only purpose to fulfil someone else’s dreams? What about her own dreams? Why does she have to sacrifice so much of her own fucking life to make the relationship work? Where is your sacrifice, Dude?!?!

Lately I’ve been thinking about this violent reaction I have to what most people would say is a gentle and loving tribute to someone in the artist’s life.

If you’re acquainted with this blog or know me in person, you’re probably shaking your head right now and thinking it’s so bloody obvious. And yes, it is to me now. I hate the lyrics in this song because It. Is. About. Me.

I’m the one who sacrificed her own dreams for most of my adult life to support the two husbands I committed to. Men who either were or would have been totally lost (at least temporarily) when/if I left.

So I’m furious with this song because it reminds me that I alone allowed this to happen. I willingly drank the Kool-Aid. And I’m still not at peace with myself for doing this. Although it is getting better.

A valuable lesson for me to remember: that when I have a violent reaction to something that doesn’t warrant that much emotion there is some inner work I need to do.

My apologies to City and Colour for omitting them from my Friday post. It’s not you; it’s me. Really.

Rock on,

The WB

 

 

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My “Go Beige” Moment

I remember reading an article about Sophia Loren years ago. She (at that time) only ever wore 1 lipstick colour. It was called “Go Beige”. And when she found out it was going to be discontinued, she bought up all the remaining stock and kept it in a cooler so that she would never run out of it.

I remember thinking at the time how boring that was. I loved (and to a certain extent still do) playing with makeup and to have only 1 shade of lipstick to use seemed so limiting – so like my mother’s style of making up to go out when I was a kid: red lipstick, powder, mascara…DONE! (Ladies did not wear much else in the makeup department, back then. Not if they were “ladies”.) Her makeup collection could fit in the palm of my hand. Whereas mine takes up most of a very large and deep drawer.

I possess probably way more lipstick colours than I should, considering that I usually only apply it once a day (just before I head out to work, if I think of it) and then switch to Burt’s Bees lip balm for the rest of the day.

Yet what can I say? One is always on the lookout for the perfect-er shade of red or pink or wine or pinky-mauve or browny-pink or….

For the past 4+ years (a record for cosmetically-fickle me), this is the one lip colour I have returned to, again and again:

I wish it had a cool name like Go Beige but alas, it is just good ol’ 104.

It’s not an expensive brand of lipstick. Rimmel can be found in just about any drugstore. This colour is just the perfect matte-ish warm rose that goes well with my skin tone no matter how much or little sun I’ve been getting or what clothes I’m wearing. It’s like my natural lip colour on steroids. You might as well call it my Go Beige colour.

I was at the drug store on the weekend and happened to notice that my already inexpensive little friend was on sale. So I picked up a tube, thinking it would be good to have another on hand just in case Rimmel ever decides to discontinue (horrors!!!) this line and this colour.

I threw it in the drawer in the vanity for a couple of days, but then thought about what Sophia did and decided to move it to the fridge because it might be a year months before I have to replace my current one and it couldn’t hurt to keep it cool.

This is what I found when I opened the seldom-glanced-at top compartment on the fridge door that I wanted to store the lipstick in:

Huh! Looks like I already squirreled an extra 104 in there, at some point. Plus a partially consumed bar of chocolate I received at my MBA grad, back in June 2016.

So now I have 2 backup lipsticks. And some old chocolate. (Don’t even ask me about the Lindt bars underneath the Athabasca bar either. They have to be¬†at least as old.)

I’m thinking there is a high probability that there will be a 104 #3 to join 1 and 2 in the fridge someday, as once again I will see it on sale and think: Hmmm, I should pick up “a”¬†backup, just in case.

And let’s not kid ourselves – when I finally do run out of my current tube, I won’t remember what’s in the fridge. I’ll just go to the drugstore and pick up another one up.

Sometimes I find myself and the things I do unintentionally hilarious. This is one of them.

Anybody else do stuff like this? Please?

Rock on,

The WB

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This is Getting Old

The new email subscription widget I oh-so hopefully installed yesterday doesn’t work so I’ve removed it.

I tried subscribing with various emails (personal, work, theWB@widowbadass.com)…got an error message with each one when I clicked on the link to confirm my subscription. Shit.

Spent about an hour trying to figure out the problem with no success and finally decided it is not to be, for whatever reason. At least not for today. So the offending widget has been plucked, once again!

My old subscription widget (Feedburner) is still sending out emails with blog posts despite being inactivated AND deleted, so please unsubscribe (click link in email) if you receive one.

I sure hope Jetpack isn’t lying when they say people will be offered to subscribe to the blog through the comments. If someone could try it out and let me know if it actually works, that would be great.

This is all I have for today – I have to move on to other necessities of life, like grocery shopping and trying to catch up on the work backlog. See you on the blog tomorrow!

Rock on,

The WB

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If Thine Widget Offends Thee, Pluck It Out*

As (insert deity of your choice) is my witness, I will figure this blog thing out!

*From the scriptures of the little known Clueless Blogger’s Bible….that I just might write someday.

So, thanks to a comment from Joanne, the WHITE SCREEN OF DEATH commenting problem related to ye olde blogge might be because of an email subscription widget that I have been using since FOREVAH.

So I have ditched it and instead activated the subscription feature that is inside of Jetpack. I have also enabled a “follow” option for commenters. ¬†I am having difficulty testing it out because my blog already knows (and hopefully loves) me. Although I did test out commenting from outside the blog and it worked – several times! Hoorah!!!!

But because ye olde blogge knows who I am, it is not offering me the “follow blog” or “follow comments” options so I am not sure if they are even there or working.

If someone wouldn’t mind trying to comment and letting me know if they see these options or not, this clueless blogger would be most appreciative.

Rock on,

The WB

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Commenting on Ye Olde Blogge – A Public Service Announcement

Around the time of April’s A to Z blogging challenge, I learned that a subset of the few people that actually read my blog – the commenters – couldn’t. I started having replying troubles around the same time. If you go back to my posts during that challenge, you can see all my little updates and PSAs as I worked through the problem. Spoiler: Unsuccessfully.

If I replied to someone from within ye olde blogge Р through the WordPress dashboard Рno problem. If I tried to reply directly from the page, I usually got the WHITE SCREEN OF DEATH. And my oh-so-carefully crafted and witty response had gone into the ether like mist on a July morning, just like it did for my commenters. GRRRRRRRRRR.

So I tried researching this problem through the good ol’ Interweb and came up with squat. Then I called Bluehost and Mr. Bluehost had no problem commenting on ye olde blogge no matter what web browser was employed. But of course you did. So no solutions found there.

This problem was so bad I wasn’t even getting spam anymore, and I complained about it to Mr. Bluehost and I think this gave him the laugh of his day if not his week.

I tried everything I could think of. I changed themes. I installed plugins. I removed plugins. I swore. I drank. I shook my tiny fist of rage at the screen. Then I begged its forgiveness. I burned incense and meditated on the problem. I laid offerings in front of the iMac. Nothing worked.

Fast forward to now – I AM back to getting spam again. Hoorah, I think?

So I thought the problem was fixed. But some other bloggers have been telling me it is still there.

So I reached out to Joanne of My Live Lived Full, who seems to have found a work-around. This is what she does, to successfully comment without triggering the WHITE SCREEN OF DEATH:

What I have learned is:
1) if I see that my info has not auto filled in the comment section (i.e. my blog name, email address etc), I know that my comment will not post and I’ll get the white screen.¬† If I manually enter the data, the comment will not post.
 2) my work around is that I will return to your home page and then reopen the post from your home page.  It seems that every time I do that, my data will then auto fill and I can comment without issue.
I am sorry, dear Readers/Potential Commenters of Ye Olde Blogge, that I don’t have anything more to offer than this. And thank you Joanne, for sharing the secret to your commenting success.
I am contemplating moving to a paid theme at some point, in hopes problems like these will be non-existent, or at least fixable. And then I can access some support when these things arise, amiright?
Who uses a paid theme? I’d love to discuss this with you. Please leave me a comment shoot me an email.
Rock on,
The WB
P.S. And now I can’t seem to get the paragraph spacing to work after I inserted Joanne’s workaround notes so the bottom part of my post is all scrunched together. Fuck it, I gotta go to work. Sorry.
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