Eye Put the “Fun” in Conjunctivitis

Hm, in reexamining the spelling of conjunctivitis,  I just realized there is no “fun” in c-o-n-j-u-n-c-t-i-v-i-t-i-s.  WEIRD, ’cause I know that I am having an absolute blast with it.  I demand to speak with Professor James Murray!  (This is a Professor and the Madman / The Surgeon of Crowthorne reference).  In summary, “Sir James Augustus Henry Murray [ . . . ] was a Scottish lexicographer and philologist. He was the primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) from 1879 until his death.”  My citation: Wikipedia, baby!  Also, when you explain a joke, it’s no longer funny; soooooo, moving on . . .

As I have (IMO) humorously explained to a handful of my colleagues and to most of my close friends and family, I went to bed 34YO one night and awoke 92YOA the next morning.  Saturday the 6th – the Saturday that is today, has been a week of excessive body BS.  BS = bullshit should you not be up to snuff with your acronyms.  I am hesitant to complain about my issues because I know several people with serious ailments: chronic pain, organ failure, etc.  However, I’m frustrated.  And I do think that my frustration is “OKay.”

I don’t feel the need to detail all of the issues, but in summary, I’m leaky, itchy, and in pain.  The leak = my eye.  The itch = another round of poison ivy.  The pain = left shoulder and left hip.  I was texting Mum at 0500hrs because when I awoke, the entire white of my right eye was flaming red, and there was some unpleasant eye junk build up.  I set my alarm for 0445hrs because I was registered to run in the Moxie 5k with bib #2 today.  The Moxie Festival is kind of a big deal in these here parts, and it was going to be my first go at one of the most difficult 5k courses in Maine.

I did not go to the run, which leads me back to why I was texting Mum at 0500hrs.  I was attempting to ferret out whether I was merely trying to find an excuse to not go to Moxie OR if I truly felt that the eye is a serious enough issue that I should stay home and call the Dr. as soon as the office opened.  As I have outlined in many a previous post, I have anxiety with new things, large crowds, and “doing things” by myself.  However, I have never not gone to an event I have been registered for.  I have always battled through the stress of all of the above.  My main concern was not the travel to a new place, running a difficult course, the swarms of people, or being alone; my primary concern was that if I was all the way out in Lisbon and was indeed able to make a “sick visit” appointment, that the office would not have an availability late enough for me to get there in time.

As luck would have it, I am scheduled to be seen at 1100hrs.  So, I could have run the run and made the appointment, but I had no real way of knowing that this is the way it would all play out.  I am “bummed” that I missed the run, but I’m not down on myself or overtly upset or angry with myself so I think I really did make the right choice.  The Moxie will be waiting for me next year, and I will be even more determined to conquer it.

I’m off to my appointment, but I felt the need to blog through my feels just to be doubly sure that I wasn’t just punking out.  The irony is, it isn’t my pain ridden hip that took me out of the game, it is my eye . . . but ultimately, I’m not an asshole – hip pain doesn’t spread, conjunctifunivitis does.


Surely Shirley

When did she become old?  When did she begin to traverse the aging process?  I still view my Aunt Shirley through the eyes of a child.  I regard Shirley as young and vibrant and affable with that enviable head of curly, bombshell blonde hair.

The unspoken truth lying heavily upon us like a sodden wool blanket is that this beautiful woman . . . a mother, a devoted wife, a sister, an in-law, a grandmother, an aunt, and a friend is at the end of her life.

This is the second of my Dad’s siblings to face the grim reality of life – death.  Aunt Shirley is the oldest of the brood, my Dad the youngest.  In between Aunt Shirley and Dad, in no particular order because honestly, I cannot remember the proper birth sequence of the middle ones: Barbara, Donald and Donna (“the twins”), and Ronald (deceased).  As an only child, I cannot fathom the loss of a sibling.  Though I have no experience with the bonds that tie brothers and sisters, I have an understanding of the complexities of their relationships.  Even more unfathomable is the loss of a parent; my heart aches for my cousins.  I know that I am so very blessed to have both parents living, especially when I nearly lost Mum years ago.

I have yet to shed a tear for Shirley.  However, while I write about her remaining days amongst the living, my eyes brim with tears, but I will not allow them to spill over.  I have vocalized all of the expected and appropriate sentiments of consolation, I have gone to visit and will continue to do so, but I feel . . . nought.  My well of emotions runs deeply so I know that my current lack of sensitivity is my visceral reaction to mournful situations, and therefore, it is merely temporary.  As is my typical pattern of behavior with loss, the dam will break when the hubbub dissipates and the quiet envelops me like a cloak of fog.

When did Aunt Shirley grow old?  Even as a young child, I never perceived my elders as old.  And because I have essentially zero perception of my own aging, I have had little awareness of the senescence around me.

I will remember Aunt Shirley as young and vibrant and affable with that enviable head of curly, bombshell blonde hair.



41.  Between the beginning of January and the end of June, the number is 41.  Rather, the number as I know it is 41, for 41 does not include data that is not searchable / accessible (to me), and 41 is a number specific to the city of my employment.

Q. What is a number is greater than 41?  A. Three.

Between January 1st and June 30th, there have been 41 overdoses, most of which have been attributed to heroin, Fentanyl, and various other opioids / opiates.  Three of these incidents resulted in death (one of these deaths being of a colleague / friend).  Note: I seem to lack the ability to recall the appropriate use of opioid vs. opiate so I have linked some info. on grammatically correct usage, as apparently, these terms are not so much interchangeable.

I work in a city with a population just over 36,000.  In comparison with Boston, New York City, Chicago, and (insert any large city name . . . HERE), this “city” is merely a sizable town.  So, 41 overdoses in precisely six months is a staggering number, IMO.  Even more staggering is three.  Even more mind-boggling is that the number of overdoses and OD deaths annually, regionally and internationally combined, is forty-leven.  Why?

I do not ask why as in, “Why are overdoses happening?”  The answer is blaringly obvious in just the word itself.  I am ever curious as to why people use drugs, how they develop a relationship with “hard” drugs . . . just why, why, WHY?  I think it is of the utmost importance that I note that my curiosity is not based in judgment; my inquisitiveness is based solely on my craving for knowledge.

What I do understand is that the topic is complex, personal, and unique.  I have an education in Psychology and Criminology, and yet, I continue to lack a hypothesis.  I have studied the overdosing issue(s) from a viewpoint comprised of a variety of angles: law enforcement, public health, psychology, sociological, and humanitarian.  I have read copious memoirs, articles, books, and textbooks.  I have watched an ample number of episodes of Intervention and Dope, as well as viewed documentaries galore.

“In addition to the afore outlined, I have devoted considerable hours to developing, maintaining, and examining spreadsheets detailing instances of overdose and overdose deaths within the confines of [ . . . ].  It is with the upkeep of this data that my interest in the use and abuse of illicit drugs has deepened, particularly in regards to a larger scale and broader spectrum.  With a background in Psychology, as well as Criminology, I grasp the complexities of the opioid-overdose epidemic; my interest lies within both the macro and micro levels of the issue, as the severity of this dilemma is both societal and singular.”

Above is an excerpt from a cover letter I recently submitted with an application for a PHA position with a national program.  I assumed that with this new job, I would be provided the opportunity to really research a variety of aspects related to the “why, why, WHY?regarding drug use, drug abuse, and overdoses.  However, I will not be making a shift in employment in the foreseeable future, but my inquiring mind will not be stifled!

I am not naive.  Therefore, I am well aware that I will never brainstorm a successful plan of action to combat the afore outlined matters.  I sincerely want to learn the “why, why, WHY?,particularly on the singular level.  Do you have a chronic illness?  Are drugs a coping mechanism utilized to numb pain from a trauma?  Did recreation evolve into lifestyle?  Perhaps you genuinely enjoy the ritualistic nature of chasing the high?  I have so many questions (more than the ones I have drafted above, believe you me), but who do I (or can I) turn to in order to seek answers, and how?  Though I have an affinity for research and erudition, I am by no stretch of the imagination to be considered a researcher.

Due to the likely inclination of fellow bloggers, surfers of the interwebs, etc. to remain anonymous, I recognize that this screed will not result in comment or feedback pertaining to one’s experience(s); even my completely benign posts generate very little interest.  Naturally, this subject is fresh on my mind with the five month anniversary of my friend’s OD death fast approaching.  Also, I have just completed the task of reading and documenting June’s overdose cases in my attempt to hone in on patterns, trends, and any other useful information I can glean from data.  I relish data (DUH, I’m an analyst), but it is so impersonal.  Data synthesis leaves me wanting more . . . 






Rabbit, Run

The first (to be annual) Dennis P. Sampson Community 5k was this past Saturday, June 22nd.  When the flyer made its way to me several weeks ago, I immediately signed up.  In fact, my bib was #16 – I was well within the first batch of registrants.  This 5k was challenging for a variety of reasons, and most trying (for me) was the social aspect of the event.  Perhaps I have alluded to my discomfort in social situations and my overall and constant state of shyness, but I do not remember having detailed the extent to which I experience my introvertedness.

In my newfound resolution to celebrate the modest wins in life and not focus on my perceived losses / failures, I am not ashamed to share that my finish time was 34:34, according to my Fitbit.  Unfortunately, my phone dropped from 100% battery life to 17% in a matter of mere minutes.  Therefore, I did not dare utilize Strava, though I delight in the map the app produces based on my activity.  By the time the opening ceremony was over, I was clinging to hope and praying that I would have just enough battery to allow me music for the run!  Though my overall time was not at its usual, my first mile was 9:36, and therein lies my win!  I have never reached a sub-10:00 mile!  I can partially attribute this feat to chaos, but I bestow some of the credit upon myself.

With any first event, there are likely going to be kinks.  I noticed a few said crimps because they were applicable to the run specifically: a). confusion regarding the location of the starting line, b). the lack of a countdown, and c). no indication that the cue to begin was a siren.  Now, for many, a siren sounding off is likely an obvious segway between sedentariness and  activity.  However, my office is stationed in a police department – sirens are background noise.  I learned years ago to stage in the middle of the pack – not with the rabbits, nor with the turtles.  This weekend, I was with the rabbits due to a, b, and c.  Hence why I wrote, “I have never reached a sub-10:00 mile!  I can partially attribute this feat to chaos [ . . . ].”

*Saturday was the 10th annual Poland Spring Heritage Day, the run component was brandy new this year.*

My unfamiliarity with a new course is detrimental to my overall finish time; any time that I run a new race, my time tends to be slower than my norm.  This course was one of the most unique I have ever run.  I traveled to the Poland Spring Resort expecting a road race, but the terrain was very varied.  Knowing the terrain is essential in a successful run (success being up to interpretation).  Next year, I know just what I am contending with: pavement, mud, loose gravel, packed gravel, grass, woods / trails, and even a few stairs.  I anticipate my time will be less, on this course, this time next year.

Success, by my definition and the expectations I have for myself, are simple: 1). just do it and 2). finish.  In talking with Mum, she commented on how proud she is of me, if for no reason other than simply being present at various events.  Just three or four years ago, I would not stray from her side while shopping in a store, nor would I have ever conceived running publicly by myself.  In fact, when I first began perusing the multitude of 5Ks one may join, I would not register for one if a friend or acquaintance was not also going to be in attendance, even if I really wanted to give it a go.  On Friday night, Mum noticed that I was tense because I was going to be going it alone on Saturday, but I went and I did it and I finished.  Granted, because I was uncomfortable socially, I scampered off and headed home almost immediately after I crossed the finish line, despite how many activities there were to enjoy.

My social discomfort was not so much due to the number of people present that I did not know, but the number of people there that I did know.  As novice as I am in appropriate small talk, I am even poorer at “catching up” small talk.  Observation: strangers respect the RBF and tend to leave me to my stretching and mental preparation; people who previously knew me are seemingly oblivious to my social cues.  I am fortunate in that though I do contend with social anxiety, I am able to confront it.  I will never be mistaken for an extrovert, but I am making strides at being less of a wallflower.  In fact, when I reflect on myself now, it is difficult to remember just how timorous I once was.

I am not quite where I would like to be (goal weight, running ability, social agility, etc.), and I have been so focused on the end goal(s), that I have forgotten to take stock in how far I have come.  The journey seems far longer when we do not look at the route and evaluate how far we have already traveled along it.





Those Forthcoming Photos

As indicated in my recently posted Flippin’ Floppin’ & Flounderin’, I had briefly neglected Cupcakes and Canter altogether, and as a result of said carelessness, my 2019 event photographs have yet to be shared.

(Insert dramatic pause . . . HERE)

Until now.

This photo is from the Sun Journal, a local newspaper.  When I posted this picture to my IG account, I quipped, “I made the paper this year! Naturally, I’m not paying attention and fiddling with my #Fitbit @fitbit! Our leg of the LETR was yesterday – pretty perfect since it landed on Global Running Day . . . two birds and all that.”


Callie, myself, and Desiree ran the Safe Voices 5K in early June. This is my 3rd year participating in this event; proceeds assist victims of domestic violence. This picture too is a clipping from my IG account so disregard the arrow jutting from Callie’s head.


R to L: The Callies, Scout, and myself after the Dash for Dogs 5K!  Callie and I ran this one on April 28th.  This event benefits the Androscoggin Humane Society, which is where I adopted my Radin from!  This is the 4th year I have participated in this event, and it has become my staple first run of the season!


Blissful Bebop

*Disclaimer: Title was composed solely for its alliteration value.  There is no bebop in the following text – continue reading at risk of disappointment.*

I have been attempting to be more mindful these days.  Instead of remaining under the thumb of my worries and woes, I am making a concentrated effort to bask in the beauty of the “little things.”  Sidenote: I have been struck (and by struck, I do mean thunderstruck – THWACK!!!) with such a feeling of déjà vu, that I am uncertain whether I have previously written a similar declaration . . . Perhaps I merely dreamed about doing so . . . 

I am thankful for so much.  Even when I’m knee-deep in the funkiest of funks, I constantly remind myself of my good fortune, despite the misfortunes I currently face.  Blessings: I have a roof over my head; I have never known what it is to be hungry / starving; I am employed; I have access to hot, clean, running water; my body allows me to run; my Radin; I am able to read; I can write; I love and am loved; I have both of my parents.  As you can read, my blessings list is quite long, and for that, I am fortunate – more so than many.

So, my pledge to be more mindful is to find a newfound joy in the “little things” that I tend to overlook day-to-day.  For the past two days, my Pandora has been streaming the 90s Pop Radio station, and I am blissed.  I was 5 – 15 years old in the 90s, and to this day, I associate so many memories from my childhood with the music of that time.  Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping was at its peak when Mainers were entombed in ice and without electricity for weeks on end (1998).  At 8YOA, I was viewed, by my peers, as a music prodigy because I could play Ace of Base’s The Sign on the flute (1993).

I am astounded by the number of lyrics I remember from this decade!  (I cannot seem to learn a song from today).  Until recently (yesterday – today), I had forgotten about many of the melodies shuffling through this Pandora station.  I have compiled a list (below) of some of the ditties that have made me euphoric and nostalgic.  Enjoy!

Give Me One Reason – Tracy Chapman

Breakfast At Tiffany’s – Deep Blue Something

The Sign – Ace of Base

Torn – Natalie Imbruglia

Lovefool – The Cardigans

Bitch – Meredith Brooks

What’s Up – 4 Non Blondes

Crash Into Me – Dave Matthews Band

Wannabe – Spice Girls

Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice

All The Small Things – blink-182

Closing Time – Semisonic

Wonderwall – Oasis

You’re A God – Vertical Horizon

Two Princes – Spin Doctors

Semi-Charmed Life – Third Eye Blind

Barely Breathing – Duncan Sheik

How Bizarre – OMC

What It’s Like – Everlast

Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio

Hold My Hand – Hootie & The Blowfish

Jumper – Third Eye Blind

Name – The Goo Goo Dolls

One Headlight – The Wallflowers

Another Night – The Real McCoy

No Rain – Blind Melon

You Learn – Alanis Morissette

If You Could Only See – Tonic

Waterfalls – TLC

Hand In My Pocket – Alanis Morissette

What Is Love – Haddaway

No Scrubs – TLC

Follow You Down – Gin Blossoms

Inside Out – Eve 6

All For Your – Sister Hazel

Santeria – Sublime

Roll To Me – Del Amitri

You Oughta Know – Alanis Morissette

Bitter Sweet Symphony – The Verve

December – Collective Soul

Slide – The Goo Goo Dolls

Push – Matchbox Twenty

Never Let You Go – Third Eye Blind

Meet Virginia – Train

This Is How We Do It – Montell Jordan

Ironic – Alanis Morissette

Iris – The Goo Goo Dolls

Can’t Help Falling In Love – UB40(‘s version)

I Want You – Savage Garden

Hold On – Wilson Phillips

Intergalactic – Beastie Boys

Baby, I Love Your Way – Big Mountain(‘s version)

To Be With You – Mr. Big

Tubthumping – Chumbawamba

Steal My Sunshine – Len

I Love You Always Forever – Donna Lewis

Walkin’ On The Sun – Smash Mouth

Send Me On My Way – Rusted Root

More Than Words – Extreme

Wild World – Mr. Big

Creep – TLC

Flagpole Sitta – Harvey Danger

Come Out And Play – The Offspring

Basket Case – Green Day

What I Got – Sublime

Santa Monica – Everclear

Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

Jump Around – House Of Pain

Brain Stew – Green Day

You Were Meant For Me – Jewel

Caress Me Down – Sublime

Stay (I Missed You) – Lisa Loeb


















Flippin’ Floppin’ & Flounderin’

After a four month hiatus, I think that it is about time that I dedicate some effort to my writing, my blog.  I am particularly glad that approximately six months ago, I did not buy stock in the idea that 2019 is the year of me.  However, if I did make that purchase and just do not remember doing so, then I am pleased that I did not take the notion too seriously because . . . Wellllllllllll . . . I. AM. FLOUNDERING!  My current spirit animal is a freshly caught fish, floppin’ on the boatdeck.

Truth be told, it is comforting that flying fish exist.  Flopping now shall equal soaring later, amiright!?

So, what have I been up to since March, you wonder?  I have already indicated what I have been up to . . . floundering!  Gosssshhhhhh, pay attention, dear reader!

Before I outline what has been troubling me, let me share with you the one task that I have been absolutely slaying since January: the tackling of my GR reading goal!  I set my Goodreads goal at 67 books for 2019, mainly so I can finish and close out my Day Zero Project goal of reading 100 books.  I am currently working on books 38 and 39, which means, my fellow math whizzes, I have completed 37.  That translates to, “I’m 55% of the way there!”  Admittedly, I have been slacking as far as writing book reviews goes; add that to my list of slackage.

Slackage List

  • running
  • blogging
  • letter writing
  • swap-botting

and just added:

  • book reviewing


It should be noted that my current interpretation of slacking re: running is that I am not at the level that I once was, but my use of “slacking” in this regard is not to imply that I have not been doing it . . .  as of late.  (Keywords: as. of. late.).  Since my NYC run in October, I did indeed stop running for several months, but I picked it back up when my first 5K of the year drew near.  I do believe the date of that was April 28th.  The Dash for Dogs 5k went well in that I ran the entire 5k, my only break being at the one water station.  I tend not to run with my cup of water because I splash and slosh.  Between April 28th and my second 5k on June 1st, I hardly ran, and I was utterly mind blown at the traction I had lost in merely a month.  Desiree’s gentle reminder, “You’ll be mad at yourself!” when it looked like I was about to walk, rang true; I finished the 5k (and with several PRs, according to Strava).  During the Law Enforcement Torch Run on June 5th, I was miserable.  I have been dwelling on how just one year ago, I was so proud of myself after the LETR, and this year?  This year, I let myself down.  I allowed myself one evening to wallow, and then I worked my way through my muddled headspace.  I have since gotten back to using the gym located at work, using my own (home) gym, or hitting the pavement.  My heart has just not been in it, and I cannot place a finger on why (or why not), but I think I am getting closer to those answers.  With that being said, when I am on the road or on the treadmill, I am happy and proud and I feel great, and I need to start clinging to those feelings, especially since I have big goals ahead!  This upcoming weekend is the Dennis Sampson Memorial 5k.  In July, I have the Moxie 5k, (maybe) a 4th of July 5k,  and the David Payne Memorial Run.  In August,  I am scheduled to run the Beach to Beacon and the Eugene Cole Memorial Half Marathon.  In September, I have the Dempsey Challenge on my to do.  Finally, in October, I am running the Maine Half Marathon.  I have also decided that I will be finding a way to run the 2020 NYC marathon (I infer “finding a way” because my entry will depend on winning a spot via the lottery OR raising at least $2,620).  So, I have not lost my love for running, nor my heart; I’ve just . . . temporarily lost my way.  (Pictures from Dash for Dogs, Safe Voices, and the Law Enforcement Torch Run forthcoming).


My last entry was in March.  Since March, I have had copious thoughts and perspectives, but my gumption to write has been lackluster at best.  Writing this entry is my attempt at locating that luster that I have lacked.  I must admit, I have indeed missed sharing my blather.

Letter Writing

I have written no more than five letters in the last year.  I surmise that my lack of composing correspondence is due to my overwhelmed state when I look at my bucket of mail that awaits a response.  I need to sit down, go through the bucket, and determine who I want to continue writing with and who I do not.  My fear of hurting feelings or causing offense is what prevents me from completing this particular task, but I do need to widdle my list down to a manageable number, thus making the hobby enjoyable once more.


I have not been utilizing swap-bot.  My desire to swap was quelled by a member who caused me some distress.  However, that is neither here nor there.  I know that my love for swapping will trump my hesitancy to do so, especially since I do have a reliable group of people with whom I can swap.  In fact, as of today, I have four swaps that I have signed up for.  Now, whether I stay in said swaps or drop them before partners are assigned . . .   On the bright side, my lack of swap-botting has allowed me to re-engage with Postcrossing.

This entry is mainly about what I have not done / been doing, but I am brainstorming a follow up featuring what I have done / been doing.  I will get back to being 100% Amy, one step at a time.  Luckily, I took some hefty strides today.  Maybe today is the day I turn it all around.

So, when I do work my way out of my slump, will I be floundering at floundering?