Subourbon Mom


Big Thoughts
August 5, 2021, 5:33 pm
Filed under: Middle Age, Misc. Humor | Tags: , , , ,

I don’t know if y’all can relate, but I miss having big thoughts. Actually, I just miss having any thoughts, really.

I used to spend my free time reading and writing or doing something else creative. These days, it is all I can do to stay awake long enough to read two pages of a book and my blog posts have been as rare as an honest politician. Podcasts and comedy streams have replaced thinking and daydreaming as I cook, clean or drive, and when I watch tv, I’m often playing games on my phone at the same time.

How did this happen?

I blame a lot of it on my phone. The games are addicting. Have you ever played Candy Crush? I mean, c’mon…it’s designed in every way to make you an addict, just like casino slot machines. We never had a chance. The rapid-fire bits of brain candy I can access at any time are also addicting – social media is the worst for that, never mind the Google rabbit hole. I seriously did not need to know where TSA puts all our stuff when they confiscate it, or that babies don’t have kneecaps – thanks Google. That’s an hour of my life I won’t get back.

  

But seriously, the phone is just the tool I use to distract myself.

So why am I so uncomfortable with my own thoughts?

Oh, that’s right – they’re scary and stressful.

Not scary in a “I’m gonna skin a cat and wear it like a hat” way – that requires some strong psych meds and probably a Silence of the Lambs face muzzle.  

My thoughts are scary in the way that all the stressors of everyday life converge into one enormous, swirling black hole that steals every ounce of creative energy. That anxiety black hole also sucks repressed thoughts out of the box in the corner of your brain labeled “Don’t Open This Box….Ever.”  Usually, that box only gets opened when I’m starting a hangover at 2:00am. You know, when all the things you’ve ever said or done get blown out of proportion and you’re pretty sure you’ve offended everybody you’ve ever met.   

Playing Candy Crush keeps that box closed.  (Yes, young’uns, I know Candy Crush is something only middle-aged or older moms still play. Quit judging my escape techniques while you watch make-up and how to make water melon drink tutorials.)

Disclaimer: I’m definitely not any kind of psychologist, and if anyone is really sinking into that black hole of anxiety or depression, please get help.

Speaking for myself, I truly believe hiding from my thoughts is a cycle of bad mental habits combined with a crazy two years and probably some haywire hormones. Breaking some of these mental bad habits is an important first step to feeling better. I’m also learning to break down all those black hole worries into manageable pieces.

Learning to stop and pay attention to one sense at a time helps.  Doing that while being dragged around on my morning walks by two energetic dogs makes that difficult, but mostly I can do it a couple of times throughout the day when I’m feeling stressed. My watch even reminds me to breathe, but only when I’m in the middle of editing a heated email with the restraint Donald Trump’s staffers wished they could use. I do try to breathe afterwards, though.

And finally, thinking about things I’m grateful for before going to sleep puts me in a better frame of mind before my brain goes rummaging around in The Box. It’s harder to dwell on all the bad things when your brain has already decided your life is actually pretty good.   

Am I going to give up my games?  People, I said small steps. Let’s be real. These mental habits took years to cultivate. And frankly, I’m on level 1925, sooooo….I’ll start with taking the games I only play sometimes off my phone. I’m definitely going to try and break the habit of looking at my phone while “watching” TV. If the show can’t hold my interest, maybe it’s time for a book.

I think the same can be said for pretty much any situation – if it makes me want to retreat into my phone, I need to change the situation.

We all have things that we do to manage our worries and keep the stress at bay.  Feel free to share your suggestions and methods in the comments section so others can benefit.

And don’t worry, I’ll get back to bitching and pointing out stupid people/stuff soon…there are only so many habits you can change at one time.



No More Exercise Appointments
July 23, 2021, 7:00 am
Filed under: Exercise, Middle Age | Tags: , , , , , , ,

In our efforts to become more and more efficient with our time, exercise has become something we do to be healthy, look good and relieve stress. And the faster we can do that, the better.

So, hat’s off to all you exercise psychos who get up at 5:00am, be at the gym by six and showered and at your desk by eight.  You’ve knocked it out for the day and you’ll sleep better knowing your blood pressure is lower, your muscles are tired, and that eating the donut Kevin brought into work isn’t going to wreck your dietary world.

I used to be one of you. 

But, since the pandemic forced me to work from home, I’ve learned some unpleasant truths about myself: 

  • I won’t exercise at home unless it’s walking the dogs, and even then it’s really only because my apple watch talks to my health insurance and I get $1 for it.   
  • Watching exercise videos on YouTube is like watching TV – I’ll just turn it off when I don’t like what they’re doing. It’s a lot harder to do that when you have a trainer blocking the gym door against runners like me.
  • I need physical and mental separation from my work, which doesn’t happen for me, working from home. Compartmentalizing is not my thing. 

As soon as I could, I started going to a Pilates studio. I was too out of shape to go back to Orange Theory (no way was I going to go back to being a “Walker” – if you know, you know…).  I had injuries to heal, and I knew Pilates is good for strengthening your core. Since my “core” had expanded to include a lot of peripheral areas, that sounded perfect.

And it was, for a while. But just like with all the other exercises I’d tried, I got bored. It became an appointment I had to keep instead of being something I looked forward to.  Worse, I still couldn’t disconnect from work. I’d be doing stretches and making a “C—Curve” until my body shook, but I would still be thinking of all the things I had to do.

Finally, after a lot of bitching and a heart-to-heart with Daughter #1, who is now a personal trainer herself, I understood that I need to find an exercise that is something physical that I enjoy doing away from the house/work, but that also takes my complete attention.

Enter Daughter #2, who asked for the millionth time why I didn’t just start horseback riding again.

From the mouths of both my babes.

With horses, you must be present. They can read your emotions form the moment you enter the barn, and trust me, if you’re in a shitty mood, they’re going to be too.  And who can blame them?  Would you want someone sitting grumpily on your back, hands clenched, attached to the reins and the bit in your mouth?  When I’ve tried to ride Daughter #2’s horse like it’s a mission to accomplish, he simply refuses to walk out of the barn, and I don’t blame him.


From grooming to riding to walking them to their field, horses demand your complete attention. There’s no sneaking out when you’re done, like I used to do at Orange Theory, when the rowing part of the class was just the last straw. If you’re not paying attention with a horse, you’re either on the ground, chasing an escapee or simply stepping in a big pile of shit.

humor patience

So this fall, after Daughter #2 heads back to college, I’m going to start riding again in earnest. God help the poor horse that has put up with me flailing around until I’m strong enough to stay balanced (and on).

Now, I know riding isn’t for everybody – that’s not the point. The point is to make exercise something you want to do, not an appointment you have to keep. Go find your thing – hiking, canoeing, pickle ball, swimming, rock wall climbing, yard work, whatever it is that floats your exercise boat.  Just make sure it’s something where you have to be completely present – the rest will follow.  

   



Weed: We’ll Ruin This For You, Too
July 13, 2021, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Middle Age, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , ,

Recently my state made it (sort of) legal to smoke weed.  It’s not my drug of choice for a lot of reasons, but I have enjoyed watching Bougie, middle-aged people decide that it’s now ok to try it, or at least openly talk about trying it.

But I suspect that, like all things that have been cool, this too shall pass. We’ll ruin it for our kids like we do everything else:  Face Book, Tik Tok, using the word “woke….” 

Here’s how it will play out:

 

  1. We talk it to death amongst ourselves, like we’ve discovered some huge secret.
  2.  We start trying to talk to our kids about it, who take pity on us, thinking we’re cute for trying to be hip, and let us know how much we don’t know.  They give us lots of tips, glad they don’t have to hide what they’re doing anymore.sativa

  3. We wait for hours in line outside strip mall weed stores to get the 4 free seeds they’re giving away as a promo, with visions in our heads of growing our own and becoming 21st century weed homesteaders. 
  4. We grow it, dry it, roll it, bake it and whatever else you can possibly do with it. We post our epic fails, techniques and recipes on Tik Tok with the same enthusiasm as we post about Karens and dueting with other people much cooler than we are. 
  5. Older Weedies marvel at the fact that middle-aged, middle class parents are now paying top dollar for the seeds they used to pick out of the crappy weed they could afford back in the day.
  6. Older Weedies have mixed feelings about the new weed on the market. They are wary of the new, more powerful and branded weed, but happy it’s regulated so their grandkids don’t experience the same flashbacks from laced weed they “got that one time from Jimmy.” 

    kurt
  7. Boutique brands have their own lines of weed-related products – Lily Pulitzer wrappers and bags, Toberlone weed-infused dark chocolate, Trader Joe’s weed/pesto ravioli bites. 
  8. Younger Weedies turn away from weed entirely, shitting all over it and the benefits they shouted at us until we made make it legal. Weed has now become uncool. They identify something about the new weed that is the equivalent of side parts and skinny jeans.

    stopped weed
  9. The states once again make money based on the middle class’s desire to be young and cool.

So enjoy it while it lasts, my Bougie friends and Young Weedies. There aren’t many times when our worlds intersect before we part ways again over what is cool and what isn’t.  



This Pill Is So Much Like Weed…But Better
April 2, 2021, 7:00 am
Filed under: Middle Age, Misc. Humor | Tags: , , , ,
I know, weed is legal in a lot of states now, but there are still some gray areas, especially when it comes to federal laws. Not so with my Progestin pill, prescribed to help me through the throes of menopause. Now, I have not partaken of the Wacky-Baccy (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), but I can tell you this – there are apparently a lot of similarities between menopause hormones and weed:
  1. I’m hungry – A LOT.  At 1:00am the dogs look up at me, wondering why the Maker of Cookies to Steal Off the Counter is rummaging through the fridge and pantry, devouring everything sweet and salty.
  2. They’re edible. I’m seriously considering a venture start-up for hormone edibles. It would kill two birds with one stone – you get the hormones in a tastier form and you get to eat.  Bonus: no one would have a problem with enterprising Girl Scouts camping outside that store front and making a killing. munchies
  3. They make you spacey. Since taking this pill there has been a definite increase in the airhead factor. In one day, I managed to attend the wrong gym class, almost go to the wrong doctor’s appointment and wear my pants backward in public. So…wait, what was I saying?
  4. You still need a prescription to get it. Ok, I know having a prescription card isn’t a thing very much anymore, but a lot of the reasons for the prescription are similar, too: anxiety, sleeplessness, pain.  You get the picture.
  5. You need a dealer. Dealer, doctor…whatever.
But here’s why it’s better than weed:
  1. It doesn’t make me paranoid, just occasionally bitchy; and frankly, that’s only a problem for the people around me….so bonus in my mind.
  2. It’s regulated – there’s almost zero risk of some crazy shit causing flashbacks, blackouts or accidental heroin addition.
  3. My insurance covers it – completely.
  4. It keeps the night sweats away and (mostly) helps me sleep at night.
  5. My house doesn’t smell skunky when I use.
  6. I don’t have to hide it from my kids. I can continue to be the pillar of my family’s dubious moral high ground and still get all the bennies.
I generally like to try and eat right, minimize my bad habits and stay away from medicines unless I need them, but in this case I say “better living through pharma.” Side note: Yes, I tried a lot of natural remedies, but that fact is I’m at low risk for the more dangerous hormone replacement effects, and I struggled with anxiety, depression and sleeplessness for months before giving in. So, judge not, my friends – you do you and I’ll do me. If weed is your thing and it’s legal where you are, have yourself a green day.

Call Me Lagertha
March 19, 2021, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Country Living, Exercise, Middle Age | Tags: , , , , ,

After the possum-in-the-driveway incident, I realized I may need some skill with a gun to put animals out of their misery. Well, I’ve changed my mind. Sure, there are some valid reasons for getting a gun, especially when living in the country: coyotes, cops don’t hang around the end of my road for my convenience, and the creatures going bump in the night can be a little more menacing than the neighborhood tom cat calling for his ladies.

But there are a lot of reasons for me, personally, to not get one:

  1. I can’t see 10 feet in front of me without contacts or glasses (which are nowhere to be found when you actually need them), so night protection is out. All I’d be able to do is point my gun in the general direction of the problem.
  2. The kind of gun I would have to be able to shoot in order to actually wound anyone would be too heavy for me to use. (But OMG I love the image of myself charging out of the back door with a shotgun at my hip yelling “Come and get it, Mother F@#$%r!!)
  3. I don’t like loud noises, and using a silencer just screams “I’m going to end up in a Netflix movie.”
  4. Even with practice, I still can’t hit the side of a barn because it’s impossible for me to keep my eyes open and shoot. So, I pull to the side. Every time. Honestly, I don’t trust anyone who can keep there eyes open while shooting – they can probably do it while sneezing, too, and that’s just messed up. If you can do that, your body clearly isn’t functioning properly and you should start surfing WebMD to find out what the Hell’s wrong with you.
  5. Snakes (a.k.a. “danger noodles”) have tiny heads and move fast; therefore I will most likely still be bitten if I try to shoot them.
  6. Trying to shoot a dying possum in the driveway as an act of mercy would probably result in bullets ricocheting back into me, rendering me unconscious, next to the possum. I don’t want to die lying next to a possum. But if that happens, that shit better be in my obituary because that is FUNNY.

All of that said, I am now in the infancy of becoming the Lagertha of my neighborhood. For those of you who don’t enjoy bloody, Viking sagas on tv, Lagertha is a bad-ass, axe and sword wielding Viking Shield Maiden on the show Vikings. Oh, and did I mention she’s gorgeous? So yeah, I decided to channel my inner Lagertha these days.

Last month, when I turned 50, I asked Hubby for a different kind of gift, one I learned about from my friend Patrice. I asked for a set of throwing axes and a target, which he made, although not without some concern that his life expectancy might drop dramatically if I was having a bad day. On my birthday, when the world had iced over in one the many signs of the coming apocalypse, we threw axes at the target in the sleet for 2 hours.

Friends, I gotta tell you….it is life changing.

It is like being Lagertha (but in a semi-rural setting with the dogs barking madly behind the storm door because they’re too untrained to stay out of the way). There is something viscerally satisfying when you hear the THUNK of the axe sinking into the wooden target. When I picked up a powerful handgun once and fired off several rounds in a row, I could see how that firepower would have its appeal. But throwing an axe seems more connected, more intimate, more ancient. More violent. More…satisfying.

Yes, I know Millennials have been throwing axes at bars for a while now, and as usual, us old folks have probably already ruined it. But for a middle-aged woman, being able to forcefully throw something and connect with the target somehow makes you feel powerful, and more importantly, less invisible.

Will an axe beat a gun in a fight? Nope, probably not, but I’ll bet there aren’t many criminals who’ll expect to see a 2021, female version of The Shining coming at them.

Will throwing an axe make a difference in how others see me? Probably not, but more importantly, it changes how I see myself. So, if you come into our driveway and hear the steady THUNK, THUNK THUNK of an axe hitting wood, know that I probably had a bad day. You may want to loudly approach, holding a glass of bourbon at arm’s length. If you see me doing this with my hair braided and wearing some kind of animal skin, you probably should call the cops.




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