Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My annual anti resolution post

Not Manipulated
Christmas Tree
So here I am again ... it's the end of the year and I have a chance to reflect on everything I wanted to accomplish but didn't.  It's also the time of year I am supposed to look eagerly forward to 2015 and see all the opportunities I will have to achieve ...

whatever ...

I truly do not like to make "New Year's Resolutions."  The concept of stating that in 2015 I will ... I don't know ... and it doesn't matter.  It is simply not realistic to try to foresee, or try to force the direction of a year when events change daily ... hourly.

Love my food photography
All I can expect of myself is to keep moving forward.

All I can ask is that I do the best I can with what I have.

Is that a resolution? ... Maybe.

Am I disappointed in 2014? ... Yes ... ... and no.

I haven't looked back at what I've written, so I base my conclusions on what I remember.  Like I have said many times, what I remember is based a lot on what mood I'm in ... what has been happening at work ... at home ... how I feel.

Somewhere in the year I became entirely comfortable as Tiffanie.  I don't know when it happened, but it did ... and I never want to go back to where I was.

2014 had me lose a lot, if not all my motivation to exercise.  I did not try to train for a marathon ... I did not really try to walk or exercise.

This past year I emerged from a horribly deep depressive mode ... at least I got my head above the water and don't feel like I am drowning any more.

My beautiful Pam is
so very sweet and talented
She made this for me
My work became increasingly stressful with many more people wanting many more reports with the same information in less time.  I love my job, but I am getting more and more frustrated with the corporate hierarchy.

I've been able to focus on better and more efficient work habits, but I spend less time in the office so the evidence is not what I wanted.

The last pic of
me in 2014
I started to like photography and photo manipulation again.  I am not running everywhere with my camera, but I am finding the relaxation it used to bring.

I dealt with a lot of turmoil.

I survived the turmoil and learned I am stronger than I thought.

Sure a lot of things could have been better ... and many things could have been worse.  I will never know ... I don't need to know.

2015 is here, or at least very close.  It is sure to be filled with surprises.

Friday, December 26, 2014

All I wanted for Christmas ...

December ... ... dear lord, choose a year.

Christmas was likely one of the most anticipated and fun holidays as a child.  It was truly about the excitement of the gifts ... well, at first.  As I got older I liked giving gifts as much or more than receiving.

I could rattle off dozens of stories about my sister driving me around to look at Christmas lights (more likely she was getting my brother and I out of the house to give my mom and dad a break, but ... ) ... going to the Esplanade mall to see the giant obviously fake tree, visit Santa, see the puppies in the pet store and get an Orange Julius ... sneaking out to see the presents only to see that my dad was "sleeping" in the chair (I think every sibling has a story like this) ... Playing with my brother in the bedroom while waiting for the others to wake up, and ending up slammed against a dresser standing on my head and trying not to laugh.

I could also talk about the year I freaked out because the Santa that visited the house had huge black eyebrows.  I didn't react horribly until he left, but I knew he wasn't the real Santa ... My dad being stressed and edgy during the few days he took off through the holidays.  This often led to frustrated outbursts and hurt feelings ... the griping and bickering that stems from boredom.

Nothing is all good ... nothing is all bad.

As the years went by I found a different level of enjoyment in the holidays ...  and a different level of frustration as well.

The joy  of watching my son relishing the magic of Christmas ...

The frustration of the crowds ... the shopping ... the lack of money.  Maybe the biggest frustration was the fact that Pam, Tim and I never really had a special day the way we planned.

My days off were often non existent as the company expected me to work the holidays so I could accomplish more.

Pam was asked to work Christmas pretty much every year despite being scheduled off.  She so truly wants to help people ... truly wants to make them happy, and people take advantage of her.  She has done so much for so many over the year and usually gets treated like dirt for her efforts.  I think the first year we spent Christmas morning together was the year she was off work due to her depression.

The last few years all I've wanted was a quiet and relaxing holiday.  Time to unwind, recharge and enjoy some calm "do nothing" break ... it just never seems to happen.

It doesn't really matter why ... last year my mom had surgery, the year before I had surgery ... it just always seems to be something.

This year Pam and I spent yesterday together with my mom doing nothing ... we spent today just like yesterday and if everything goes right, tomorrow will be the same.

It isn't perfect.  Pam is feeling a bit yucky and I am getting a scratchy throat.  We didn't do dinner at my sister yesterday evening, my brother and his family won't get their holiday stop in because we may be contagious. I do think this is the first time in ??? hmmm, maybe the first time ever that we have several consecutive days to ourselves.

It is relaxing ... I am enjoying it.

Monday, December 22, 2014

What could I update? ...

So I've been driving myself crazy lately ... well ... many things have been driving me crazy, but how I react to these things is the icing on the cake that is life in general.

I have several blog entries that have started as "Updates ..." or "Happy for ..." but as the words appeared on the page they morphed into a quagmire of frustration and unresolved issues.

It's not that venting about the things irritating me is bad ... it's just ... I don't know.  I know good things have happened ... I have accomplished things ... I have had happy times, but all these positive moments are surrounded by frustration.

Katniss discovers a rose
from the president in her home
A very creepy scene
I truly want to make an effort to recognize and talk about positive things ... the brief moments that brighten my day.

But really ... what might seem pleasant or innocuous to some may not be so enjoyable to me.

I won't ... I can't stop talking about the troubles ... the pain ... the challenges and difficulties that are very much apart of life.  I can look for the tiniest of bright spots even in the darkest of times.

This time of year seems to bring increased tension ... tension, anxiety, animosity ... what ever.  'Tis the season, I guess.

A few weeks ago Pam and I went to see Mockingjay part 1, the latest Hunger Games movie.  I really do not like going to the theater ... the noise and the crowd ... the rude and talking people, but I really wanted to see this.  Movies are a brief escape from reality ... a temporary distraction.  This movie is one of the very few that I was willing to chance the crowds for.

Well ... there was no crows.  There was only one man sitting halfway up the seats.

There was also no volume.  Pam went and complained.

It was a very good escape.  We will likely see it again soon ... very soon.

This series ... the books and the movies just click with me.  I'm really not sure why.  Maybe it's the implicit (or somewhat obvious) references to depression.  Possibly it's the overt parallel to society today ... the government uses the people to survive while pitting the districts (or different ethnic groups, religions, wage classes or whatever) against each other.  It could just be a good series of stories.

During a long day at work last week, Pam called and wanted to go to lunch.

It's likely a sad commentary on how things have been going, but my first thought  was something must be wrong.  Why would she drive to Oxnard for lunch?

She just wanted to spend time with me ... and I definitely wanted to spend time with her.

I generally like don't like restaurants for the same reasons I don't like theaters, stores, parks, beaches, sidewalks ... ... in general, anywhere in public.

It was between the typical lunch and dinner crowds, so I figured it may not be too bad.  We went to Yolanda's Mexican restaurant ... we both love their food.  We sat at a table looking across the ocean ... well, more like across a half empty marina a mile or more from the ocean.  It was still a nice view.

Despite the time we went it was still noisy ... more accurately, the three men at the bar were loud, the other two small groups were across the restaurant and I couldn't hear them over the other sounds.  The cacophony that consumes even a relatively empty establishment is amazing.

It was still nice to have a break in the day ... time away from the office to relax.

There are definitely many little things that I see, hear or do often that keep me from going totally insane.  Sometimes it's a seeing a nice post or compliment on Facebook, other times it's simply knowing that efforts that are not advertised across the internet are appreciated.  Yesterday it was a sunset.  For the first time in a long time I grabbed my camera and ran ... or walked ... maybe limped to the back yard to document the beauty.

Do the good moments outweigh the bad?  Probably ... I hope to notice them more often.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Frogger ...

Sometimes my brain drives me nuts.

There are so many times it feels like I get stuck between thoughts ... or maybe it's a little more like my thoughts get run over as they try to get to their destination.

So my brain is like Frogger.

For those that don't remember - Frogger was a video game where you moved your frog across a busy street followed by a river with floating logs, turtles and crocodiles and then you must end in one of a handful of safe zones on the far side ... ... but even then you're not guaranteed anything because sometimes a crocodile appears in the safe zone.

If you don't time things properly ... if you delay or move too fast you get run over.

If you aren't careful on the water the log may sink and you drown.

No matter how many times you get across the obstacle course there is always another frog that needs to be helped to safety.  It never ends ... in fact it gets harder and harder with every frog.  Eventually all your frogs are dead and the game is over.

I wonder at times how many frogs my brain has left.

In my brain there isn't just one frog ... there's dozens, or hundreds at a time ...and the cars on the road are not slow moving nor give a lot of space to move between them.  I don't really get the luxury of starting over if a thought is squished or drowned ... I have to somehow regain my mental footing and continue across.

I often find myself staring at the blur of the passing cars.

So what does this have to do with anything?

Nothing ... this is the correlation I made after a random thought interrupted a daydream which sidetracked the disruption that invaded a random thought which derailed my train of thought as I was writing another blog entry ... ...

Ummm ... Yeah.

I'm really not complaining about all this.  Some of my best ideas have come during these distractions.  I just find it amusing how quickly I can go from contemplating current situations I am dealing with to thinking about a 1980s video game.

Maybe next entry will be something more relevant ... like how my organizational skills are like playing a game of three dimensional, multilevel Tetris.