past the season lights, suspicious neighbours, Uncategorized

Seems It’s Never Too Late For Christmas Lights

So many people have the same problem with the cold. Travelling the side streets, resting Christmas lights are common. It’s too friggin’ cold to take them down. They just hang there, unlit, unremarkable, collecting street salt mist since it’s January 29th.

From my back door window, across the street, a blaze continues nightly. It’s not an elaborate scene, but Christmas lights burning nonetheless. One porch railing has white lights, the other golden, soft white. A wrapping of pine needle rope is decorated with blue, green, and red lights. There’s a wreath in the midst of it. It’s lit up, too. Balls hang off the rope—what’s left of them. Looks like a solitary Santa hanging there as well, clinking against lights when the wind blows. The whole lawn is illuminated by this created light fest.

I’m not in the least bothered by this—because I don’t have to take it all down and find a space to cram it, but I’m amused. I’m in the habit now of looking each night to see if they’ve decided it’s too late for Christmas lights. Seems it’s not ever too late. But it’s late  January now… the Christmas ship has sailed so to speak.

When will they take their Christmas lights down? Maybe they won’t. These neighbours are elderly. Not ancient, but grey poking out from their wooly hats says they probably don’t care what others think. We get to an age when the important issues are: did the bran work?; trying not to forget where we just set down a mug of coffee; when’s my kid coming to show me how to manage the latest technology of the snazzy elliptical needed for exercise; where’s the Tylenol, and who ate the last of the damn ice cream. So let the lights burn. It’s too much to remove them in the cold, and why waste a display.  Live for what’s important.

I suppose if the colours are still lit next month, I should ask if they’d like help. But what if they push me off the porch with a broom. What if they call the cops because I’m trepassing? See? This is the thing. Sometimes neighbours we don’t really know are grateful for help, sometimes they’re too suspicious. I could get my ass kicked by a couple married of forty years. Don’t laugh. These people could own cast iron frying pans. I can barely pick, never mind cook with it.

But if I don’t ask, I may be able to amuse myself throughout the summer with the countdown until those lights are valid once again.

Live and let lights burn. I’d post a photo, but I didn’t want to step foot near the lights for fear of a small, fast dog. Those little ones have a good aim. Their bite surely is as bad as their bark. Haha~ Well, that’s it. All I had to say.

Thanks for reading.

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Human Behaviour, Humanity, millennial children, undisciplined grandchildren

The Changes Regarding Parents’ Rights

Baby boomers, both my husband and myself. We grew up with rules, and we didn’t make decisions about what we ate and when, about bedtime, or if we went to school or not. And if we disrespected our parents and other authoritative figures, there were most definitely consequences.

Why did the rules change? Why do little children get to decide so much these days? When did it become all right to show little to no respect? Why are parents giving up the driver’s seat? Why are they surprised when their unmanageable little ones become manipulative, defiant teenagers? And why does everyone have to get a trophy in competitions?

Moreover, why do parents turn to the internet to raise their kids now rather than asking a parent. Grandparents are called grand for a reason. Grand experience, skill, knowledge, understanding, background, maturity. Wisdom.

Why is my daughter teaching her kids to scream it out when they get frustrated? My grandson could’t get his zipper undone. “Just scream… and breathe.” Scream? Are kids no longer being encouraged to cope at five years old? I’m the grandmother of twins and I’m telling you, it’s double mayhem. There seems to be a confusion in this day and age about the difference between discipline and abuse. And we grandparents are to step back and watch the decline of our future adult population. If we offer our opinion, we’re given twenty-five excuses as to why our logic, which has sustained society for  centuries, is terribly wrong.

I’m not the only one who feels this way, yet it’s one of those things we don’t talk about much. Although our grandkids are not our children to raise, isn’t there still an element of shame in our cheeks when we see how those we did raise well are failing at the essential task of being in control of their own kids? Didn’t we teach skills of coping with frustration? Didn’t we teach manners, like being grateful for birthday and Christmas gifts with a thank-you said rather than a gift thrown to the floor in distain? Didn’t we teach about eating proper food before getting dessert? Did we not teach our kids to greet company and say good-bye also? I’m sure I’ve not mentioned it all, but I bet you get the point if you have grandchildren whose parents think we and our ways are old and outdated. Silver hair, invisible being. Wasted wisdom.

Perhaps not. It could be your grandkids are well behaved, and you’re comfortable taking them anywhere. If this is the case, I must say I feel exceedingly glad for you. You have sensible grown children who’ve accepted old-school logic.

What makes the difference? Why are some millennial parents better at getting good results? Well, I can only assume your grandchildren are being raised not by the internet, but instead with your input when needed, and good information in published books by reputable publishers. Good parents these days know how to say no and stick to it. Consistency outshines giving in to fear of children being displeased and not being their parents’ buddy.

I’m genuinely interested to know who out there finds the discipline lacking and tension growing. Who, despite raising your own children to the best of ability, are experiencing the hardship of keeping your mouth shut while watching chaos develop?

Thanks for reading. Leave a comment to agree or disagree. I’m looking for input.

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Bipolar, Human Behaviour, information

Bipolar Season

The disability of the bipolar mind aches for sunshine.

Unaffected people don’t understand how the dim days have such an impact, and even our doctors cannot be empathetic, only sympathetic. But we can understand each other.

We know the reason for trying to stay in bed as long as possible is counterproductive to our condition. But it’s the season. Winter sucks in more ways than one. Everything takes longer in the winter. Clearing snow off cars, driving in slush and snow shaves time off the precious few hours of daylight we have. More layers of clothes take longer to put on. Walking takes longer. Coffee shop lineups take longer, because more people need that hot caffeine—and we with bipolar need more than that.

The problem is, treatment for depression in persons who have bipolar is dicey. Antidepressants can push the brain into mania, and no treatment with medication keeps us in the pit. So we must be carefully monitored by our doctor either way.

It’s bipolar season. We must be prepared each year if we live in areas where winter manifests with gobs of snow and breathtaking frigid temps. It’s cold, the sun makes a rather brief appearance, and the whole world looks grey in our view and in our heads. We need to work on our mood skills. And we can. It’s the middle of January, we have enough winter left for us to work on feeling less like we’ve died and are waiting to be put to rest. We’re alive, our brain needs our efforts. C’mon, let’s get up.

There are things we are able do to help ourselves. Sometimes it dreadfully difficult, but it is not insurmountable. What’s the alternative anyway?

Get up and go to bed around the same time, even on weekends. Our brain needs consistency.

Take medications as near to the same time as possible. Meds work best if the distribution to our bloodstream is regular.

Avoid alcohol. It’s a depressant. A sociable drink or two when you’re well isn’t terrible, but alcohol is easy to become addicted to because of its legal availability and the illusion of remedy.

No one who is depressed wants to go out unless a job pulls us out. If you don’t work outside your home, make yourself go into a mall. The stimulation is more than you’d think. Any reasonable stimulation for our brain is good even though we may not feel it. Go have a coffee or tea somewhere, preferably with a friend. If a friend isn’t available, go anyway. Sit in, finish your coffee or tea while listening to alive sounds of conversation murmurs and dishes clinking in the kitchen. It’s a small step, but it makes a big difference in our human brain, our weary mind.

Play some favourite music. I know it won’t feel like it’s your favourite, nothing really does during depression. So just do it. While it’s playing, go make your bed so you’re less inclined to get back in it. Watch a movie or surf Netflix. It’s helps with mind racing if there’s something to focus on.

Remember to eat properly. It helps to combat fatigue.

Text a friend or two and tell them you feel empty. Ask for a voice conversation. Don’t hide the fact you’re depressed. It shows in your eyes, voice, and body language anyway, so tell a friend you need support.

Accept company even when you’d rather hide in your jammies and mindlessly scroll past Facebook ads. It need not be a long visit, but it’s reassuring to not feel like the last human on earth.

Write yourself a note about how you’re feeling before and after doing something to stimulate your mind. Eventually you’ll see what makes the biggest difference.

Do some housecleaning, especially in the room you spend most of your time. Clear surroundings declutter the mind, too. And colour! Adult colouring books are the best invention ever.

If you’re having racing thoughts, remember it’s just the depression speaking. If you have thoughts about taking your life, call for help. Don’t second guess yourself, call immediately. There are different numbers for various areas, so jump on Google and type in suicide hotline and your city, province or state. Your life is worth way more than you think. No one is going to be better off without you, including you.

If you live with someone, tell them you are depressed. If you live alone, make sure a friend or two knows. It’s a pretty hard secret to keep. It makes us feel very alone.

One of the most important things to do is remember this is temporary. Even a long temporary is still not forever. And you have bipolar, you are not bipolar. Keep your identity with your given name. Remember this always.

We have bipolar. We are creative. We are survivors. We are strong, and we all love it when spring comes—winter is also temporary. We have so much to offer. We have talents and maybe they’re still hidden, but we do have talent; it is a magnificent gift to share. Check out “famous bipolar people” on Google. I could hardly get my fattened head through the door when I saw who I share this big ole bipolar with. We can do this bipolar season. We’re nearing the end of it. Keep your chin up. Give yourself a smile in the mirror. That tricks the brain, believe or not, into thinking we are happier than we feel.

We matter. Bipolar, bipolar, let wellness come over.

Thanks for reading.

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Cat lovers, cats mental health, information

Cats and Depression

Staying in dark, quiet places spells trouble if it is becoming your cat’s habit.

Cats do like dark quiet places to rest, but if you notice they’re spending more time away from the family than usual, your cat may be becoming depressed. If you’re like me and your cat or cats are not merely pets, but family members, you’ll notice their absents rather quickly.

Sax is my Maine Coon. He’s the one with his face showing in the photo. We traveled to another town to get him not knowing our choice would be him. I was looking for a black and white female as I was told they have dynamic personalities. This little girl kitten wasn’t looking for me. She pushed all of her legs against me in protest to cuddles. It’s unusual for a cat or kitten to push me away. My friend calls me Dr. Doolittle when we walk. Neighbourhood cats follow me, dogs strain leashes to get head rubs. Meanwhile, the only striped kitten of the litter had his sights fixed on me and my hubby. We held him and he loosed the purrs instantly. (Wrap ’em up!) He rode in the car like  he owned it, and he has no adjustment period at his new home. He was in and that was that. He lives up to his name, too, entertaining us with his personality and antics.

Sax became more aggressive with me as he got into his teenager-type years, I was his cat friend. I played hide and go seek with him, I roughed him up on the bed for a good ole cat fight simulation, and I taught him many tricks, words and phrases. I let him chase me, and I chased him. But it became apparent he needed another cat to chum with and do cat stuff, like the mutual washing. I adore my cat, but I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy cat fur on my tongue. Ew—haha. That’s reasonable, isn’t it?

We adopted a rescue. Sax growled for four days. I kept Purrla in a separate room when I wasn’t present. Purrla was the size of a large muffin when I brought her home with blue eyes. Tender loving care was showered upon her as she was abandoned by her mother. When she finally meowed with her teeny voice, the gentle giant realized she was a baby cat and took over from there. He taught her the life of cat ways, washing her and often sitting on her to clean her back feet and her bottom after using the litter box. He showed her how to open the cabinet by the stove, how to toss a catnip toy around, and she was shown how to change the pitch of her meow to get treats. It was sweet to watch.

All was well for years. But Purrla has totitude. She goes out of her way to take swings at him, and she is trying to take over what was first his domain. Instead of fighting back, he tolerates her. He’s a big boy, he could send her rolling, but he takes the abuse.

I recently noticed his absents at night while bingeing on Netflix by the fireplace. In the day I was looking for him, too. He decided my writing lair closet was his safe place.

My husband didn’t agree cats could get depressed. It’s a good thing I know they can.

I went and got Sax to come downstairs with Purrla, me and his dad, who is of course my husband. If he left and went back to the closet, I’d turn on the light, sit with him and gently speak to him, petting him and scratching under his chin, backs of his ears. I’d pick him up and carry him back downstairs. I’d do that a few times a night if necessary. In the day I kept bringing him out and talking almost constantly to him. I’ve been doing this for a couple weeks and the improvement is vast. His eyes don’t look sad now. He’s starting to come when I call him. He’s been sleeping in areas I’m in during the day. He walks faster, he plays with toys, he asks for treats, and his appetite has improved.

Purrla is being disciplined and she’s adjusting her little black and red coat attitude. Yes, it is possible to train and discipline a cat. No, really. Expect a scratch and spit here and there, and you’ll be shunned with tail flicks, but it is possible to reroute their behaviour. Notice she isn’t cuddled up to him? I’m sad they aren’t good buddies.

I caught Sax’s descent into depression early. I’m no stranger to depression, so I could relate to his wanting to hide in dark, quiet places. It’s true. Our beloved fur babies can become depressed. Watch for hiding, appetite decrease, and, although it may seem weird, look at their eyes. Their eyes change shape slightly with cat’s facial expressions, so depressed cats look a lot like they do when you’re loading them up for a vet trip. Also, their tails tell a lot. A cat walking around with their tail up is good. Tails close to the legs indicates unhappiness of some sort. Whiskers, too. Straight out to the side or perked forward is good, pointing to the floor, not so good.

Am I a cat specialist? No. Do I research and learn because I’m a devoted cat mom and the subject has interested me since childhood? Yup. That’s it. I’m a hopelessly committed cat lady.

Here’s to furry mental heath, and ours, too.

Thanks for reading.

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