Tag Archives: driving

FPQ23: I Burn Whole Cities

Fandango provocatively asks…

“How do you manage or deal with stress? Is there a specific strategy or approach that you’ve found to be particularly effective?”

My post title comes from the HBO show Game of Thrones where dragons have been known to release stress by destroying cities with fire. I am not a dragon, alas, though I have gotten vicarious pleasure especially during stressful times by reading A Song of Ice and Fire and from watching the show.

In general, I find that losing myself in a fantasy world of a novel or movie for a few hours is a great way to deal with stress. I do prefer movies over series, or series that have finished, because I don’t want to have to wait for the next season (and these days, that can be so unpredictable), which ends up leaving me at the mercy of people yapping online about the show and giving their predictions. Annoying!

Depending on what the stressful even was, I may wish to talk about it privately, with a daughter or a friend. I’m careful what I say to whom these days though, so as not to end up with more stress from the convo itself. I may write about the situation in a diary for my own clarification. I find the act of writing words on a page/screen to be therapeutic.

For immediate relief, deep breaths work. For a 24 hour period, repeating the mantra that “this too shall pass” helps a lot. If I can’t sleep, there’s always the Valium or Benadryl last resort. It’s really bad not to sleep because then I’ll feel even worse the next day, which will increase my stress. Cuddling my kitty and spending time alone at home usually helps me feel better.

Here are some stress management techniques that are supposed to help but do nothing for me:

1. Exercise. I know it’s good for me, but it makes everything hurt more and I end up with a (worse) headache.

2. Taking a vacation. Way out of my budget and I would be completely stressed about the money I spent.

3. Glass of wine. This is a migraine trigger about 50% of the time.

4. Music. This is tricky because a lot of songs pull up sad memories for me. I have to be careful about music. Plus, Gatsby doesn’t like it. Mostly I only listen in the car.

5. Sex. With a man? This was generally the cause of almost all my stress and giving it up has reduced my anxiety to nearly zero.

Dracarys! 🔥🔥🔥

Escape [flash 261]

Kevin never had been good with rope, which is why he killed his lawyer with a nice clean punch to the throat.

Next, he stole the dead man’s clothes, swiftly switching his prison garb for the distinguished navy blue suit, white shirt, and red tie. Kevin slipped on the brown wingtips, not bothering with socks. He was in a hurry.

Kevin patted his new pockets, making sure he had the lawyer’s ID and car keys–some things, you couldn’t skimp on. Lastly, he removed the Rolex from the dead man’s wrist. It was a fine piece, but alas not for him. He passed it to the guard on his way out. That guy had some bad habits.

In the parking lot, Kevin discreetly beeped the e-key until a vehicle responded. Ah, a Lexus. Nice. His disposition was cheerful as he found his favorite radio station and exited the visitor’s gate. Stomping on the gas, he made a zigzag down the empty road as he continued his escape.

But suddenly blue lights flashed behind him at the next stop and Kevin was forced to pull over. Remembering he had the lawyer’s ID, he forced himself to stay calm as he showed the officer the registration from the glovebox and the driver’s license.

“What’s the problem, Officer?” Kevin asked calmly. “I’m late to a meeting.”

“I’m sorry, sir.” The policeman looked at the license and then at Kevin. “But your tags are expired and you don’t look anything like this photo. When did you shave your head and get the cobra tattoo?”

~*~

Laura’s Music Challenge 11

Laura brightens our Monday with another fun music challenge. Join in! 😀🎉🎶

1. Post a video of a song from a musical.

2. Post a video of a song from 1994.

3. Post a video of a song about driving.

On the road… [CFFC]

Cee challenges us to find photos of roads, streets, dirt, country, etc. this week.

1. Portland, OR

2. Costa Mesa, CA

3. Ross, CA

4. Huntington Beach, CA

5. Costa Mesa, CA

Liar’s Poker

The Haunted Wordsmith can’t handle the truth…

1. You wanted to book a trip to Athens, but the agent misunderstood you…where did they send you?

The California Department of Motor Vehicles.

2. What will customs agents find in your luggage?

Everything but a CERTIFIED copy of my divorce document.

3. What do you sneak aboard the flight, and what do you sneak it in?

A comfort skunk in my backpack.

4. The plane crashes — everyone survives — where did you crash?

Starbucks.

5. What are three things you find at your crash site?

My birth certificate, my Social Security card, and an uncertified copy of my divorce decree.

6. Survivors see a rescue opportunity but don’t take it…why?

Everyone is giving me advice on how to get a passport and other documents to prove I am me so I can get a Real ID.

7. What are you finally rescued by?

The Valium truck.

8. What is the first thing you do when you get back home?

Switch to the Republican party.

9. The airline offers you money, but you turn it down…what do you get instead?

A regular driver’s license.

10. You decide that a cruise is safer, where do you go?

The Island of Rage.

11. You get marooned on a deserted island but find huts and scientific equipment made out of coconuts…what happened to Gilligan and the Skipper?

They obviously didn’t have the correct paperwork and were stuffed into jail.

12. A fishing boat rescues you, but you have to pay Poseidon for safe passage…what do you pay?

The very valuable and rare black and white mink in my backpack.

13. He rejects your fare and throws you across the world…you land safely, but where do you end up?

Israel.

14. How does your story end?

Deliciously.

The Struggle Is Real (Green)!

Some friends and I decided to hang out Sunday, so naturally I had to buy some festive apparel. I know, you’re thinking… Paula, don’t you already have St. Patrick’s Day themed stuff from prior years? Well, not really! I have a hat, I guess, but that’s about it. I wore my greenish shirt on Friday to work, and it’s not that festive besides. I have a lime green sweater, but March 17th isn’t really about lime green, now is it? I used to have shamrock socks, but they got all holey. 😢

So, Friday night I went onto the Target app, like you do, to commence shopping. There wasn’t anything I liked much in my local store, so I moseyed on over to Huntington Beach. Eh, a couple shirts were okay, and there were some cute socks and earrings. Then I had a brainstorm to try the men’s department. Well! The guys had adorable shirts! Beautiful green ones with the Lucky Charms logo (we just got plain white), and OMG a kitty shirt, black and white, with a widdle green hat!!! Obviously, I had to get the kitty shirt. Why wouldn’t they make it for women/juniors? Who even can figure out the logic to these things? 🙄

I ordered the shirt, socks, and earrings, paid for all that, and planned to pick them up the next morning. I was very happy… for about 5 minutes until I received an email saying those items were no longer available in Huntington Beach. Or Costa Mesa. WHAT? I began searching the whole area on the handy-dandy app. They said I could buy all the same things in Irvine on Barranca. FINE. I was very happy again… for like 5 minutes. Then they said I could only have the shirt. No earrings, no socks. Wtfff? What about the Target in Irvine Spectrum? NO. Westminster Mall. NO NO NO! You can’t have any festive socks or earrings. Get over it. 😡

Ooh, I was so mad. This wasn’t the end of it though. I stayed up late, all energized by my fury. First thing Saturday morning I went right over to the Barranca Target and got my shirt ~ there was a minor drama however because they couldn’t find it at Guest Services and I was about to have a heart attack, but then they did, so I was okay. I went to Peet’s after that for coffee and a PB cookie (yummo). The reason Target was out of green things is because they took them away to make room for Easter things. I stopped at CVS, which sometimes has fun socks, but they too were all Easterized before St. Patrick’s Day. Kohl’s had one little sad display of green dishtowels. ANNOY! 🔥

But then… then I went to Party City. And guess what? They had tons of St. Patrick’s Day stuff still on the shelves Because… because PEOPLE WANT TO BUY IT! And unlike Target, CVS, and Kohl’s, Party City likes to make money from people who want to buy things! What a unique and interesting concept! Stores keeping things in stock that people want to buy. Huh. Who would have thought? Capitalism at its finest, folks, right here in Huntington Beach. Or over there rather. Up there? Idk. Directions confuse me. WHATEVER! I bought green things, which is the point. Yayyy!!! 🍀💖🍀

Friday Noms

Well, just one nom actually, from the lovely Laura, but there might be more noms… how would I know, since WordPress has decided I shouldn’t have posts while I sleep. Meh, say the happiness engineers, why should we bother putting posts in her feed between 10pm and 6am? She’s not going to read them while she’s in dreamland, lol! Funny guys (guys being a gender inclusive term in this case). 🙄

Anyhoodle. Thank you, Laura. I appreciate the one nom. I was going to say one measly nom, but that makes me sound ungrateful plus also might get the whole vax debate started up, though why there should be a debate GOD ONLY KNOWS. What a bunch of idiots, amirite? If you don’t want to vax, move to Antarctica. Problem solved. ❄️

I’m supposed to tell all y’all 7 things about me now, as if there are even 7 things left you don’t know (well, there are, but I can’t post them), so I’ll just jabber on a bit and see where it goes. Beware of rambling. 😛

1. I’ve been thinking this week that I don’t have enough time and energy to finish my novel now that I have actual side work that pays. I don’t have hours of free time at night and on weekends to write the way I used to. And I’m not giving up paying work. 💰

2. I have written novels, so it’s not a matter of proving to myself or anyone else that I’m capable of doing it. They’re for sale and have been for years. They don’t sell though, since I’m a nobody with no marketing resources. 🎻

(Please don’t give me marketing advice in comments. I’ve read tons of it, and it’s all way too time intensive for me with minimal payoff. I already have paying work I am not willing to take time away from.)

3. The fact that my novels (and books of short stories and poetry) molder on Amazon year after year, bringing in only a measly dollar or two here or there, doesn’t give me much hope for the success of the next one. Sure, I still enjoy the process of writing because I’m a writer, and I’ll always write when there’s nothing else going on, but then when there’s no money or feedback? Sadness. 😢

4. If I can’t make money from writing, the next best thing is to get people to read my stuff. And I have that right here! Thanks to this fabulous community of supportive WP peeps (along with a few otters), my little blog poems and short stories get read all the time now, which is a great feeling. ❤️

5. I’m tired of feeling stressed every week that I didn’t get “enough” done when I work 7 days a week now, including most nights after my real job when I get home. This doesn’t include chores, shopping, etc. Yes, mostly everyone else does all this too, but there’s no need for me to feel like a failure because I didn’t work on my novel. I can simply take it off the list. ✅

6. Ironically, since the time change, I’ve gotten more sleep… and it’s nice. I don’t feel physically better at all, but it’s so great not to be exhausted and achy. So, perhaps that’s what’s prompted this line of thinking. I just don’t want to feel obligated to write for two hours after working after work. Wtf? That’s nuts. And I don’t want to get up at 4:30am and write. Wtfff??? Who does that?? (Well, I did, many years ago.) 😴

7. What I really should do, if I had any sense (lol) is to prioritize exercise, so I could live long enough to finish all my unfinished writings after I have more time once I retire in 12ish years. Danger, danger… adding more things to list! Assuming, that is, I make it to retirement without getting hit by a truck, drowning in a tsunami, or being bitten by someone’s pet cobra that escapes and comes boinging up in my toilet bowl.

Could happen. 🐍

K. That’s 7, arbitrarily broken into paragraphs and numbered. No tags. You’re all awesome and should jabber on about yourselves too. Not you, Becky. 😀

Nose & Sose

Another Guy Called Bloke Production…

Talked to a complete stranger about life.

Never! Well, except for my blog blabbing and how I used to blurt stuff out to weird men on dating sites and…

Gone skydiving.

That is a 100% no way!

Got a tattoo.

Also nopety nope.

Had an allergic reaction.

So way. My parents called emergency in Chicago for me because I went into anaphylactic shock. The doctor said his best guess was a bee sting from handling fruit. But we don’t really know.

Cried while watching a movie.

Sure, all the time.

Gotten gum stuck in my hair.

I don’t think so.

Fallen asleep in the sun and gotten burned.

Yep. But not recently ~ I avoid bright sun because it’s a migraine trigger.

Over-plucked my eyebrows.

So way, as a silly teenager.

Been in a haunted house.

Only pretend ones.

Fallen asleep during sex.

I don’t remember.

Wore a whipped cream bikini.

No way.

Been to an “adult store”.

So way. The first time was funny. I went with a girlfriend who was too scared to go in, but I was fearless back then. I went in alone. This was in Wisconsin, I think, and I was 18. But once I was inside I lost my nerve a bit, so I just grabbed two paperback books and bought them. They were dumb, of course.

Felt the presence of “paranormal activity”.

I thought it could have been, but I don’t believe in that, so it wasn’t. It makes for good stories and poetry though.

Asked someone when they were due when they weren’t pregnant.

No way. Never. I avoid commenting on people’s body sizes and looks generally except to give bland compliments.

Seen a sex therapist.

Not as a patient, but I had a date with a man who thought he was one. Lolololol. Yes, another one of my wonderful dating experiences. 🤮

Burst out laughing at a really inappropriate time.

Often have the urge but can usually stifle it.

Called someone the wrong name.

I’m sure I have, but I am pretty good with names.

Walked in on a stranger who was butt naked.

In gym locker rooms, yep.

Said you were minutes away when you haven’t even left the house yet.

No. And it’s sofa king irritating how many Californians say everything is 20 minutes from wherever they are when LITERALLY NOTHING IS 20 MINUTES FROM ANYWHERE!!!!! Gahhh why do I even live here???

Fun questions. 🙄

Monday Night Share

Heyyy! It’s me! With my nighttime post.

QUESTIONS from Melanie:

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?  If you don’t think Heaven nor God exists, you might want answer by saying something outrageous, just for fun!

“MEOW”

 What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

The fact that Game of Thrones will soon be over and gone forever.

 What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

 That I should do my will and health directive thingie.

How would you rate your memory? 

Vastly variable. Sometimes I can remember trivia from ages ago; other times I can’t remember something important from last week. At work, I write everything down, which helps immensely, but otherwise it’s just like whatever. Have I mentioned I make a zillion lists? This is why. In general, if I don’t care about something, I’m not too likely to remember it.

And lastly:

What’s one song that always cheers you up, no matter how blue you’re feeling?

Sorry, can’t choose only one!

Serendipizza

Saturday night I was talking about pizza with friends, which gave me a craving for pizza on Sunday when I drove up to L.A. to visit my daughter. I didn’t know what she’d planned for lunch, but it had been a long time since I had pizza, and I was definitely missing it.

After baby woke from her nap, we walked over to Pico for lunch. I assumed we were headed for the salad and burger place, but I was wrong ~ it was a pizza place! And not only that, it was make your own pizza. Well, not make your own, but choose your own ingredients. Ooh so exciting! So many choices! Macaroni and cheese pizza! What about all mushrooms? I couldn’t decide.

Finally, I just ordered the standard margherita with no alteration. It’s the one in the photo ~ and it was delicious!

The restaurant is One80 Pizzeria on Pico if anyone cares. 😀