Tag Archives: anxiety

Paperwork and Peas

Somehow, my head has still not exploded. I have spent hours and hours reading tax forms and publications, feeling as if my head would explode any moment, but my head remains intact. I am grateful. I still need my head, because I am still trying to understand my tax return and get it filed.

I spent all of yesterday and much of this morning reading tax publications and trying to figure out which forms are necessary and what I need to do to make sure they are properly filled out. Yes, I have an accountant, but my poor accountant seems as confused as I am this year. Ours is, apparently, an unusual situation.

Let this be a warning to any of my readers who may, ever in their lifetimes, retire. If you decide to do that in December of one year, do not wait until mid-march of the next year to start trying to figure out your taxes. Don’t do it. I kept putting it off because I wanted to make sure all the necessary forms had arrived, but now I’m two days away from the filing deadline and I am still full of questions about the tax consequences of what we did back in December.

Yesterday, my head was spinning in the evening and I worried about how I would ever manage to get it to stop doing that and let me sleep. I took a break and went into the living room, where my husband was busy shelling peas he had brought in from his backyard garden. I sat down across from him and started to help.

As I opened up the bright green pods and stripped out the peas, I felt my shoulders begin to relax. My breathing slowed. All I did was shell peas, but my attention shifted completely to that activity and my whirling hamster-brain stopped thinking about taxes. My husband found some travel videos on YouTube and put them up on the living room TV. We shelled peas and watched videos of faraway places until all the peas were out of their pods and all my tax questions had given up and gone away for the night. I went to bed and I slept.

This morning, I tackled those forms again and reached a point where I could crystallize my questions and send them to my accountant. She has not answered them yet, but I am not going to lose sleep over that tonight. I still have two days and if I can’t work it out in time, I can always file for an extension. If I work it out and then find out later that it was not correct, I can file an amended return. There are options. It will be okay.



That’s what the little green peas told me, anyway.

Bleary Blog Day

I’ve been around the blogosphere long enough to know that there are bloggers out there who are so organized, they not only publish on a regular schedule, they have several drafts on hand at any given time. All they have to do is pick one and post it on blog day. I am not one of those bloggers. I do have a regular blog day. Sometimes I even think about starting to write my post ahead of that day, but I never actually do it. I also think about starting to write my post early in the morning of my blog day. I don’t do that, either.

I might think about my blog during the week and consider different ideas, but I always end up putting off the actual writing until my blog day bedtime is breathing down my neck. This does not allow for unforeseen circumstances, such as getting no sleep at all the night before my blog day. There’s no good story that goes with that, just a weird panic attack in the dark. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does happen, I have to get up and go in search of light.

I try not to disturb my poor husband, who needs to sleep before rising early and heading out to a soul-sucking office job every weekday morning. I just grab a flashlight and go to the living room, where I can turn on a real light. Or two or three, plus the television. Last night, I picked up my iPad mini and played every game on it to calm myself down. That kept the panic at bay but I didn’t really feel calm again until I went to Facebook and saw a post from a friend who lives in Europe. Hers was a “Good morning” post. She was drinking coffee and writing Morning Pages.

That was when I started to believe it really would get light again. It was already light in other parts of the world. I’m often surprised at the things that help when the anxiety is trying to spiral out of control. One evening, it was a PBS teaser for a show about Ireland. The minute I heard those Celtic fiddles, my anxiety started to melt away. For me, the least scary darkness of all is a darkness filled with fiddle tunes.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I need a blog post and I’m too bleary-eyed to come up with anything clever or profound. In such situations, I default to the truth. This is what happened to my blog day.

On the upside, I have a couple of paintings to share. These are the latest in my series of paintings of things I happened to find in my kitchen. This time, I found a peach and a pear. I painted them first on an 8” x 10” canvas and then again on an itty bitty canvas.

Peach and Pear

Peach and Pear

Tiny Peach and Pear

Tiny Peach and Pear

As you can see, orange is still my nemesis. Some day, I will make it my friend.