Rabbit hole…

I want to fall down a rabbit hole today.

…And not in a bad way

Listen to Oasis

Read some Vonnegut

Look at the book that used to belong to Vincent Price

Make a pizza

Do some yoga and contort myself into ways that are challenging yet satisfying

Say “Okay” a lot- if only to myself

Enjoy the day.

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August 7

It’s one of those mornings. Maybe it’s Monday. My mind is going a million miles a minute with no goal in sight other than to exhaust itself before it finally stops. My attention won’t land anywhere in particular other than the worries that are manifesting.

It’s doctor appointment day.

A year ago, they started scaring me. Until last year, I’d always gotten clean bills of health. All of their fears have turned out to be a series of”nothings.” Nothing but a drain on my bank account and a rise in anxiety over having more tests done and waiting to hear results. Too many false alarms when I know that everything is all right. I should just trust my gut. For real.

But they’ll want to see me again in three months to keep tabs on something.

I kinda think that the rainy weather is trying to keep me in check because out of anxiety I keep thinking of things to do.”I need to take the trash out,” “I need to go out on the back patio, check my flowers,” that sort of thing. Every time I start to break away for one of these things, a cloud bursts.

So I’ve stayed inside.

I’ve done my yoga.

I took a shower.

I got something to eat.

I watched some tv.

I wrote.

And little by little, as I realize the time is getting closer to leave, the anxiety ebbs. I’m sure it will be back, but I’m getting by for now.

 

I don’t have anything very profound to say…

Like the title says, I don’t have anything very profound to say. It’s Sunday. Day of rest. I’ve been pretty lazy today, and I debated about even writing today. I’m trying to keep these good habits in check, so here I am. Since I don’t want to be boring and my day was less than exciting, I’ve decided to compile a list of 20 oddball facts about me. Some may be boring. Some may be interesting, some I think at least some people know, others some may not. It’s an exercise. So here goes…

  1. My very first job was working a concession trailer at carnivals and fairs. I spin a mean cone of cotton candy. I was fourteen or fifteen at the time. I did this in the summers for four to five years.
  2. I grew up around a lot of carnivals and circuses but never traveled or performed. Sorry to disappoint there. It did give me lots of interesting experiences and I grew up around tons of different people and creatures.
  3. I was born with a cyst on my eye. Had it been left alone, it would have grown to cover my eye and part of my face by now. It was removed when I was three and the only reminder I have is a scar.
  4. I’ve had five surgeries in my life. Four were before I was thirteen years old.
  5. I used to get the hiccups regularly in the rotunda room of the West Virginia capital building. It always happened. I think subconsciously I knew it would echo fantastically and my body just obliged.
  6. I have four tattoos and each one means something personal to me. I was almost thirty when I got my first. I’d like more, but I don’t have anything I feel I need to have done at this point.
  7. Despite my plethora of squirrel photos, wolves are actually my favorite animal. It would be my dream job to work with them at a preserve.
  8. I was an only child and my imagination would run wild. I made friends with the cobwebs when I was small and would cry when my mom would knock them down. Yes, they all had names as well.
  9. My husband and I were together for almost fourteen years before we decided maybe we should get married. We’ve been married now for three.
  10. I love doing genealogy work and I love finding the black sheep and oddballs in the family. (My favorite is that my great-great grandfather assisted in an axe murder.)
  11. I have seen a ghost and nobody can convince me otherwise.
  12. I have a weird obsession with cobalt blue glass
  13. I’m extremely quiet in crowds and while I’m getting to know someone. I promise I’m not a snob.
  14. I was on the cover of a catalog for Lowe’s when I was a small kid. Yes, the home improvement place. No, I no longer have any copies of it and that makes me sad.
  15. I lived out of a motel room for two or three years.
  16. I eat an obscene amount of peanut butter. Ask my husband. Better yet, don’t.
  17. According to my parents, I was backstage with my dad at a Johnny Cash performance when I was a baby and he picked me up. I have no recollection of this. I do remember hanging out backstage with Dr. Hook and Ray Sawyer thinking I was cute. Yes, I was still a little kid, not a groupie.
  18. I make my own spice blends
  19. I love to read. I learned to read when I was three and read Alice In Wonderland in its entirety in first grade.
  20. I have a teddy bear named Smacky. He’s pretty nifty.

So there you have it. I’m sure I could come up with twenty more. For now, I’m gonna go to bed.

Writing… or the lack thereof

I’ve been thinking a lot about my post yesterday.

I read back through some of my previous entries and it really cemented the fact that I have already been doing what I proclaimed yesterday. Not worrying about a format, just posting what feels right at the time. Isn’t that how it always goes? You announce to the world that you’re going to do something only to find out that you’ve kinda been doing it already? That the only reason you don’t do it more is because of the limitations you’ve set on yourself?

Our brains can be fickle and strange things.

I’ve also been thinking about how I used to write. I wrote every day when I was a kid. Stupid little stories about things I knew nothing about. I had never been exposed to the fact that writers should research their ideas and “dammit, make them factual!” I was just writing with the innocence and ignorance of a kid and not allowing any kind of rules get in the way of what I wanted to put down on paper. Was what I wrote any good? I’m sure it wasn’t. I don’t think any of it has survived to the present time, and that’s probably a very good thing. The exercise itself was what I loved and lived for.

I wrote any and everything. Fiction, mock articles, I was on my Junior High newspaper staff and had two front page articles on the same edition. I wrote poetry like it was going out of style and published some of it into a book. I carried notebooks for spontaneous ideas and had pipe dreams about getting a word processor or *gasp* a computer of some sort that I could write with and not have to decipher my chicken scrawl later on.

I thought I was a “writer.”

Then came later adolescence and “learning the rules.” You can’t do this, you can’t say that. Write out three instead of 3. Don’t overuse commas, but dammit, don’t forget any either! (I still struggle with this one) All of the minutiae that ends up being pound into our heads that “good writers do.” All so we can claim to communicate 900% more effectively than the average primate.

I’ve let myself become scared to death of “the rules.”  Don’t cross the street against the light. Do not remove this mattress tag or the feds will come and bludgeon you to death with a rubber chicken. Yep. That’s me. So, when I learned “the rules of writing,” I took them to heart. I guess I put the fear in me that if I didn’t research everything, ensure that my grammar was impeccable and my punctuation was on spot, something terrible would happen. In adopting that mindset, something terrible *did* happen.

I stopped writing.

I started worrying that I hadn’t outlined my story properly. I worried hadn’t researched properly and someone could poke holes in my stories and theories. I then began to research what I wanted to write about to the point where I just didn’t care anymore. I blamed it on “writer’s block,” but I don’t think I’ve ever been out of ideas really, I’ve just been afraid of this process that I have perceived as “the law of writing.”

My sophomore year of High School has also bubbled to mind and the teacher that I had then.

I feel like I need to put a little backstory in at this point. Because of severe anxiety and depression issues that surfaced in adolescence, I was eventually granted acceptance to county sponsored home study. We’d tried switching schools, adjusting my classes, I just simply could not function “in school.” It was required that I have some sort of schooling, so we went through the processes of applying and having my doctors vouch that there was a real problem, and thankfully, it was approved. Each year, I had a one-on-one teacher that I met with for a few hours of class time three days a week and I thrived academically this way.

Sophomore year, I had a teacher that I really didn’t feel that I “clicked” with as much as some of the others. She was nice enough I suppose, but we butted heads on a lot of things. One thing that this teacher prided herself on was teaching language arts. At least the “rules” of it all. And she enforced those rules with an iron red pen. I learned the do’s and don’ts. But it was okay, because she encouraged me to write and I liked writing.

Every year, the county did a student publication-slash-competition for junior high and high school aged students. I had been published in it once before in seventh grade, but no prizes or accolades were awarded. Heck, I was happy just being published. I decided that I wanted to try again. I  had written a story that I was proud of and I thought it had a shot. I stayed up late one night revising it, getting it typed up on our old manual typewriter and I proudly turned it in the next day for submission.

I’ve forgotten a lot of the story, but it was a folk tale. None of my characters had names, they didn’t need them. My main character spoke with Appalachian dialect (which I heard a lot of growing up amongst my family. I still use words and phrases today that I get odd looks over) and the story didn’t exactly end on the happiest of notes.

When I next had class, the teacher could not wait to return the story to me. At first, I thought she had been involved in some sort of horrific accident and my paper had been bled all over. Everything was red. So very red. Red ink slashing through words, phrases, making suggestions… nothing had been left untouched. She explained that she could not, in good conscious turn my story in as it was written.

I only half heard what she said as she explained how the dialog was “awkward,” how “nobody talked like that” (except that they do), how much better the story would be if we at least knew their names and for heaven’s sake- give them all a happier ending- it was so depressing! I was in shock looking over the revisions. I wasn’t even mad, I just wanted to cry.

Still, I wanted to have a submission, and a teacher knows best, right?  That evening, I set about retyping the story. I made sure that I made every edit and change that she had issued forth. Characters got names, they spoke proper English and I found a way to make the end more positive. Finally, I had finished it and sat down to read the new and improved version.

And…

It was no longer the story I wanted to tell.

These weren’t my words. I didn’t know these people I had written about. These characters hadn’t lived the same lives that brought them to the point I wanted to make. My voice was gone. It had been replaced with someone else’s. The teacher’s. This was her story. Not mine. Using her exact words, I decided I could not in good conscious turn this story in for submission.

It was late, but I sat back down at the typewriter. Aside from grammatical and punctuational errors I had made in the first draft, I made the decision to retype my story, as I had told it the first time. The dialect came back, the characters once again were anonymous, all of it all went back to the page.

The next day, I handed it back in to her and she began to read. The blood drained from her face and I could see the anger welling up as she realized what I had done. She spit and sputtered asking me what I was doing. That there was no time now to rewrite the story that it had to be submitted that afternoon! She began to panic. Why, this story was  just as “awkward” and “badly written” as the first time! She demanded to know why I hadn’t used her “constructive criticism.” I shrugged and told her, “I liked it better this way.”

Finally, she conceded and said she would turn it in but to not be surprised and not to complain when it wasn’t even selected for publication, let alone winning anything.

A few days later, I read in the newspaper that I’d won second place in the short story division and was the only sophomore selected that year for publication.

Anxiety be damned, I  accepted my invitation and went to the awards banquet where the judges congratulated me on my creativity and for writing something “completely different.” The first place winner couldn’t make it, so they asked me to read an excerpt of my story instead.

Oddly, the teacher never wanted to discuss any of this. Wonder why?

And yet, somehow, years later, I have lost that confidence. I have let rules and opinion and all of the “shoulds” override my creativity. I don’t tell the stories I have to tell, in the voice I want to use. Like my characters, people all speak in different ways, and none of them are wrong.

And sometimes, it’s good to have something a little different.

 

Habit…

I’ve become a creature of habit. For the first time in my life, they’re good habits and truthfully, I don’t know where they’ve come from. I’ve certainly had habits before, but most of the time they’ve been not so good. Nothing terrible. I bite my nails. Or I did. More of a nibble now and again these days. I’ve even been told some of my worrying is out of habit. I guess that makes sense.

I think it all started because my dishwasher sucks.

About a year, maybe two ago our old dishwasher gave up its mechanical ghost to, well, wherever it is that dishwasher ghosts end up after their final rinse cycle. The landlord sent maintenance to put in a new one. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but I’ve come to believe that the bits and pieces of equipment making up said dishwasher would have been better suited to have, oh I don’t know, been a blender. Or a sporty race car. Heck, maybe even a robotic ballerina. Instead, the hopes and dreams of all of the pieces-parts were dashed when they realized that they were destined for the life of a dishwasher.

I’ll be honest. It would depress me too.

To make a long story a little shorter (though not by much) I gave up on the sad piece of machinery and finally decided to leave it alone to brood in the corner and think about its existence. I now do my dishes by hand. It was a struggle at first, but now it’s become a necessary part of my day. I listen to music as I clean them, happy that they’re actually getting cleaner than they were in my severely disappointed with its lot in life dishwasher. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. It kills my back, but whatever. It doesn’t take long. I almost enjoy the task.

Of course, not constantly having a sink full of dishes makes me want to wipe the counters down as well as the stove. Might as well make sure the floor is swept. And if I do the kitchen, I *have* to do the dining room since they are connected. In short (again, not really) my house has become the cleanest it’s been in ages. I’m the mouse that has been given a cookie and it all fits together and that’s just how it is. Granted, I don’t clean top to bottom every day, but it feels much nicer to keep things in order.

So habit number two. I’m picking up after myself better. I’m a slob. I always have been. Not the nasty sort with melted what I think might have been cheese at some time encrusted upon the breast of my shirt worn proudly like a war medal… just… messy. Unorganized. I’m still unorganized in some ways, but it’s getting better.

Habit three. Since doing the dishes kills my back, immediately after the task I take the time to unplug, go get in the tub and have some relaxing me time. Sometimes I meditate. I’ve used more bubblebath and facial masks in the past few months than I ever have. The important thing is that I’m taking my time and taking care of me for a little while. Not just a quick shower and back to whatever needs to be done. That feels really good. I’ve created a routine. I use body lotion and moisturizer now! Wow! Who knew what regular use could do? Ok, ninety-nine percent of the world knows this, but hey, it’s new to me. And I love it!

Habit four. (Which in reality probably predates some of this, I just happened to think about it after I typed out “three.” It’s my blog. I say it’s “four”) I get everything ready for the next morning. Coffee maker filled and timer set for when I get up. Dishes together for breakfast, any pans ready that I might want to use.  I make sure I have Chad’s lunch ready to pack for him to take to work the next day. I also make sure he’s got clean clothes and that I haven’t spazzed on laundry and he’ll have to wear his holey drawers on meeting day. And yeah, I like doing that sort of thing. He’s perfectly capable of fixing a lunch or keeping tabs on his laundry, but for some sick, sad reason, I like the fact that I’m helping his world be a little less stressful. Have you seen him in the morning? You’d thank me for that.

Now I’m looking for new ways to develop new habits. I’m trying not to push it. I’ve asked myself, am I established enough in all of this “new” that it won’t feel like I’m piling more “have-tos” on myself? I don’t want my day to be one big routine. I’m a Sagittarius. We get bored and distracted easily…

SQUIRREL!!

Oh sorry. Ok, where was I? Ah yes.

I’ve asked myself, what do I need to do? Well, I need to move more. I’m happy to report at this writing, I am sixty-five pounds lighter than I was this time last year. That’s just from going back on the di… er sorry “lifestyle changes” that my doctor has prescribed. That, along with finally getting help for my lupus has made a tremendous difference in my pain levels and movement. I have joined a thirty day exercise challenge online. It’s a small group and so far it seems like it will be a good plan of action. Just fifteen minutes of something a day. Yoga, stretching, walking, whatever. Just something. I can do “something.” I’ve even made a chart with little bird stickers to reward myself for doing “something” every day. I’m apparently either a sucker for bird stickers or still a three year old at heart because I look forward to the reward.

Yes. I’ve been told I need help. I like to think I’m just “eccentric” at times.

This brings me to the other thing that I hope to make into habit, and thats getting back to writing and my blog.

When I started this, I had no real plan other than more or less as a journal. I figured I’d just sit down and write like I used to. At this point, I have about 30 posts that I’ve started and either chickened out on actually posting or never bothered to finish. It’s all been stuff I’ve forced or involved things that I realized I wasn’t ready to put out there for the world. That’s okay, it’s still written. I don’t have to share everything. I get that. However, I’m not even doing any of this with any regularity.

I have discovered and have recently had to admit to myself that I hate journaling. No offense to anyone who feels drawn to it. You do you. I just never have really clicked with the concept. Maybe I’ve had too narrow an idea about what journaling is. Who knows. I recently started seeing a new therapist and that’s all she wanted me to do was journal. I was to write down every horrible, negative, downright awful thing I’ve lived through and that has gone through my mind. And then I was to go back and highlight the journal entries in bright, meaningful color coded swatches and tell myself that it’s not so bad, really. That all of the yellow words are things that could be discounted for being an immature state of mind, that all of the pink things were from people I didn’t even know… and all of the blue words, I don’t even remember what the blue words were for. The whole project made me feel more stress than I initially did walking into her office. I’m sure this really works for some people, but for me, it didn’t. She didn’t know how else to help me if I didn’t journal and color. And here we are.

So if I don’t “journal” what do I write then? What *is* this Blog about? I dunno. What day is it? Is it raining? I’ve decided it doesn’t have to be about anything. I don’t have to have a format. I think breaking that idea from my mind will help. If I feel like posting a photo of dryer lint. Guess what? IT’S FRIGGIN SHOW ME YOUR LINT DAY!! If I feel like talking about how I feel about something, I can do that too. And I have *so* many stories in my mind. Things that have actually happened. Not talking the traumatic sorts of stories, (necessarily), and certainly not fiction, but the kind of stories and experiences that come up in conversation and at the end someone says “you need to write that down!” I get told that a lot. I’m kind of thinking this would be a good place for that kind of thing. (Getting pepper-sprayed at work, the time Uncle Jerry’s chimp decided to shave his brother, what happens when you chug ten Jug-O-Juice on a hot day… ok, maybe not that last one. I feel ill remembering it.) They may not be long, they may even be handed down, but that’s okay too. I can tell a story and that’s what I need to start doing more often.

I’m not going to promise that I’ll be writing every day any more than I’ve promised my exercise group I’ll be doing an hour of high impact cardio per day. I’m going to take it at my own pace and see what I feel like day by day. Barriers of what this “should” be removed from my mind, maybe it will be a little easier.

We’ll see what happens.

Oh, and I’m not sure if anyone even reads this, but throw things my way if I’ve told you a story you want me to relate or know of something I can ramble on about. Sometimes I just need a prompt.

Here’s to hoping you’re sick of me very soon, and hopefully more good habits.

Life and Ice Cream

Things have been busy, hectic, and there are lots of changes on the horizon. That’s really all I can say about my absence from my blog. One cool thing to report is that Chad and I are back on the wagon with our low-carb lifestyle. I’ve taken off 55 lbs, Chad is closing in on 40 I think. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes. Sometimes this means taking a “regular” recipe and seeing if I can make it to fit what we’re able to eat.

There’s a video recipe floating around on social networks for “No Churn Unicorn Ice Cream.” It’s pretty and colorful and looked easy enough. The problem? Full of sugar. But you see, once you’ve done this long enough, you start seeing where you can make substitutions to make it more “legal.” I wondered if I could adapt this recipe as well.

Before I go any further, I want to put this disclaimer right here. I don’t know how many grams of carbs are in anything I adapt. There’s math, ways to figure it, but I’m lazy. I analyze what in a recipe isn’t allowed on my eating plan. I try to figure out if there is some way I can substitute ingredients for the ones I can’t have. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. For all I know, some of my cocktails may end up being higher in carbs than I think. It’s all in moderation anyhow.

Here’s my recipe for my Sugar-free, lower carb, no-churn Unicorn ice cream.

  • 4- cups heavy whipping cream (divided into 2, 2-cup portions)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar substitute of your choice (I use Splenda)
  • 2 TBSP salted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • Food colors of your choice- 2-3 drops for each color

**IMPORTANT** The very first thing you’re going to want to do is make one of the key ingredients. The original recipe calls for a can of sweetened condensed milk. I’ve not found a sugar-free alternative, so you’re gonna have to make the stuff. DO THIS EARLY- it takes time and will need even more time to cool.

Combine 2 cups of cream, butter, and sugar substitute in a shallow pan. I used a frying pan. Heat mixture to boiling then reduce the heat and let simmer and reduce for about 20-30 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid boil over and scorching. Once the mixture has reduced about half, transfer to a container and let it cool thoroughly. I cooled mine on the counter for about an hour and then put it in the freezer for about half an hour while I worked on the next step.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the other 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, vanilla and salt until stiff peaks are formed.

Gently fold the condensed sweetened milk into the whipped cream with a spatula. Mixture will thin a little, but that’s fine.

Divide mix evenly into 4-5 smaller bowls. Add 2-3 drops of food color for each bowl. Mix gently just until color is somewhat even.

Use a spoon to place random spoonfuls of the different colored mix into a larger bowl for the ice cream to set. You could use a loaf pan, I used a shallow reusable plastic storage bowl with a lid for mine. See the photo. Rotate through the colors until all of the mix is in your setting bowl.

Use a spoon handle to swirl the mix to marble the colors together. Don’t over mix, but have fun with this.

Cover and freeze for about 4-5 hours.

And that’s it.

The texture is a bit “dry” if that makes any sense, but the flavor is good. It’s rich for sure, so a little goes a long way. Hope it works for you!

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Rebirth

I witnessed something the other day that I had heard about, and had heard would possibly happen. It was amazing to see.
Last month, we traveled up through the mountains to see the damage that the wildfires had done. Things looked alien. It’s funny how you get used to seeing things a certain way, but you don’t realize it until it’s changed. That’s how this was. It was sad to see trees that should at least have the remnants of leaves still, standing bare and charred. Areas of rock that are normally covered in thick green moss and surrounded by brush lay exposed and appeared cold. As we wound along the mountain roads, we could see the spots that the airborne embers had laid to waste, decimating some areas, leaving others untouched. The damage seemed so random, but knowing how it spread, it made sense.
This weekend, we took another drive up through the same roads. The bare, burnt trees still greeted us. The rocks still lay exposed, the black patches on the mountain ahead still very much a visible reminder of what had occurred. But then we started noticing something else.
Green.
Grass, foliage, moss.
Green.
Think about the richest brightest shade of green you can imagine.
It seemed brighter than that.
At first, I thought it was just so bright against such a barren landscape. That it just stood out more against the browns and blacks of everything around it. No, it was definitely bright green.
I needed to know after the fires had happened what would happen next. I read about how the ash would fertilize the ground to promote regrowth. I read about areas that intentionally did controlled burns just to enrich the soil. I knew that the regrowth would happen, but I had no idea it would come so fast or look so vibrant.
I stood and looked at the overlook. The burnt, black tops of the mountain in the distance. The patchy, sparse trees in front of me. And the rich, bright green grass beneath my feet where ash had settled. I turned around and saw the trees behind me still standing with their bases and roots colored black, their bark white and leaves long gone. And yet, I was standing on grass that was more lush than I’d ever seen in any spring or summer of my existence.
As we traveled on up the mountain, things changed once more. As we got beyond the areas that the fire had touched, things looked as they always have. There was grass, but it wasn’t as vibrant or thick. The trees still held bits of their browned leaves, the rest of the leaves carpeted the floor around them. Rocks were barely visible underneath brush and moss. It looked like an average winter day. It looked nothing like the rebirth below.
Witnessing this did me a lot of good. It has reminded me that no matter what happens, life does continue. Horrible things happen and there’s no denying the seriousness of the situation. But sometimes after tragedy, parts come back even more beautiful than before. Just as the ash nurtures the soil, our experiences provide us with wisdom that promotes the new growth. Pretty soon we see rebirth hat emerges lush and full beneath our feet. The scars are still under it all, but we can heal beautifully.
I can’t wait to see what the mountains look like next month.

Anna’s List of Gratitude

  1. I’m thankful for Chad
  2. Smacky
  3. Photography
  4. School
  5. Wolves
  6. Squirrels
  7. All of the animals that come to visit out back
  8. That despite all of the concern and worry this year, I am healthy
  9. I have a roof over my head
  10. the lights from our Christmas tree
  11. My friends, old and new
  12. Godzilla and other old sci fi films
  13. warm blankets
  14. warm homemade sugar free snickerdoodle cake
  15. my computer- my art machine and sometimes lifeline
  16. All of the little things, cards, letters, and gifts others have sent or done for me
  17. People who check in just to say hi
  18. The time I’ve been able to take off
  19. Being able to laugh at tough situations
  20. Hot baths
  21. Concerts and music
  22. Having been able to meet some of the people that I have admired for ages and being able to thank them for the influence they’ve had on my world.
  23. the ocean
  24. the mountains
  25. the opportunities to photograph in the wild
  26. The love in my world
  27. People who “get me”
  28. People that I “get”
  29. Getting lost in a book
  30. purple
  31. being able to do little things for other people that mean a lot
  32. compassion and understanding
  33. knowing that everything is “okay” even if it only seems like it is for the moment. The moment is all that matters.
  34. snow
  35. my raccoon slippers
  36. bubble baths
  37. my family, biological and those I’ve adopted
  38. alone time when I need it
  39. long drives in the country
  40. gadgets and gizmos
  41. cheesy old cartoons
  42. watching ducks
  43. big stompy boots
  44. seeing how far I’ve come
  45. A snakebite at the Jig and Reel
  46. cobalt blue
  47. seeing a rainbow
  48. photographing a full moon
  49. nice surprises
  50. That I have completed this challenge in the allotted time 🙂

If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 15 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2016, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; just write what comes to mind in the time allotted. You may find that if you use numbered mode, and just type what comes to mind, like me you will have enough time for more than 50. When the timer’s done, stop writing. Finish whatever sentence you’re on, but don’t add more. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful!

To join us for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste these instructions into your post) 2) Click here. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. (folks have trouble with this, but it’s not that hard. 4)Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List. Please note: the InLinkz will expire on January 3, 2017. After that date, no blogs can be added. Scan to the bottom of this post to find the inlinkz.

Sunday Morning Glitterfetti Cockroaches

They say that glitter is the herpes of the craft supply world. I’ve always had the tendancy to agree with that. Although, now that I think about it,  I don’t know. I’m thinking more along the lines of it being right up there with leprosy. I do think that exposure to the stuff, very well could contribute to the loss of a limb.

I’ll just come right out and say it here. I hate glitter.

Let me explain. I worked at a card shop for two years. We all do desperate things in desperate times and this was one of my hours of need. Yes, before you ask, I was asked on more than one occasion by shoppers if I had gotten sucked into some kind of satanic cult, to which I always smiled, nodded and assured them that I wasn’t harvesting souls that day. I didn’t really fit in there, but I did a good job, had some great coworkers that “got me” and it paid the bills until something better came along.

One thing you must know about a card shop is that everything, and I do mean everything is covered in glitter. You may not see it at first, but it’s there. Trust me, it’s there. It’s waiting in the wings, ready to pounce at any moment. It will attack when you least expect it. There is no way to exit a card shop without at least a smattering of glitter somewhere on your body. In fact, if we did see someone who had somehow escaped the wrath of the wild glitter in  the store, we pulled out all the stops and released the glitter bombs at the door as they exited. Finely cut metallic death rained upon the hapless victims who smugly believed they had escaped unscathed.

Okay, so we didn’t really have glitter bombs. I sort of wish we had. I’d have put them to good use.

Anyways. Card shop. Glitter. Yes. Not one day did I leave my shift without being covered. Cards, knickknacks, ornaments, they all had it. One of my major duties was the shipping and receiving, so I was into it from the time it entered the building until it ran through the registers on its way to its newfound beginnings. I’m serious when I say that this stuff finds its way into your body. All of the people who worked there had skin issues from time to time. The finest glitter would get into your pores. No joke. You’d breathe it in and sneeze it out. Never mind what got into your hair, your clothes, the washing machine, the seat cushions of anything you sat on- even on your days off. Yeah, it was bad.

Glitter and anxiety don’t really mix. I’m feeling my skin crawl just writing about the stuff.

I’m lucky to be married to someone who feels the same about the stuff as I do.

Once upon a time, when he was a late teenager, early twenty-something, my dear husband, Chad went clubbing with some friends. One of his friends dumped an entire bottle of glitter over his own head in the back of Chad’s car. Said friend thought it was cute. Chad never did get the damned stuff out of the upholstery. Chad gets neurotic around glitter to this day. Just the other day, I was putting up the Christmas tree. I sat a box of ornaments on Chad’s side of the sofa. Apparently some glitter had leaked out. See,  I like to live dangerously at the holidays, so I actually own a few ornaments that are covered with glitter. I figure it’s the holidays- time to face our fears and aggravations head on. I mean, this is why we gather with family isn’t it? I don’t really have any family to deal with, so I bought glitter ornaments instead. Just as annoying. Somewhat quieter. The glitter ornaments at least keep their opinions to themselves. I digress once again. Let’s just say that Chad’s anxiety spiked when he saw the glitter on the sofa that I had neglected to notice. It wasn’t pretty. It’s cleaned up now and my marriage is still intact.

We both hate glitter.

Now, one could argue that metallic confetti is not glitter. I would choose to challenge that point. It’s nothing more than huge-ass glitter. It’s just as persistent as it’s minuscule counterpart, despite its size. Hellbent to take over the world.

I have proof. With photos.

On May 8, 2015 I had the opportunity to see Marilyn Manson in concert. This was something that I had wanted to do for a very long time and I was extremely excited. So excited in fact, that the occurrences that happened later in the evening did not faze me until much, much later. The show was awesome. I had a great time. Chad and I went with our friend Kev, were packed like sardines close to the stage and survived the pits and other mischief that permeated the evening.

Towards the end of the show, the glitter-fetti was released. Tons upon tons of little silver pieces of foil were dumped on us. We were happy. We didn’t care. This wasn’t real glitter. This was confetti. Much different. Or so we thought.

Let me share some images…

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Here you see Chad and I as the metallic snow begins to fall.

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Chad, Kev, and I accepting our fate as the target of this little foil madness. Look at my Chest for crying out loud (by the way, that’s the only time I will ever demand that you look at my chest) That’s all glitterfetti!!

11255023_10153058828440668_1470022275457595022_nThis was me after we got home. I looked like a freakin’ disco ball. And that weird shine on my neck and chin? FROM THE GLITTERFETTI!

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I gotta hand it to him, that night, Chad truly showed his commitment to Sparkle Motion.

We literally peeled off what we could and let the rest take its chances in the shower. I’m sure our pipes are now lined with shiny happy goodness. I picked what I could out of my wig. The opening act had spit Sunny Delight (claiming it to be some kind of hard alcohol) into the audience and my wig caught the biggest portion of it. So yeah, sticky, glittery, orangey mess. That was fun. At least it wasn’t my real hair.

I did our laundry a few days later…

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This went on for weeks.

My bathroom was covered in the stuff. We began finding it in the car. The vacuum was much used at this point in time. Bits would show up in the living room. The kitchen.
It soon became apparent that this “fun” confetti that was dropped was nothing more than the big brother of your ordinary, run of the mill, cockroach of an art/party supply… glitter.

Keep in mind that this has been a year and a half ago. I may not be the best housekeeper on the face of the planet, but I do clean. I have cleaned our house multiple times in that year and a half if you can believe that. Not quite two weeks ago, I gave the bathrooms a good going over. I pulled everything out of the cabinets, purged, cleaned, restocked.I took out the heat/ac vents and vacuumed them out.  I cleaned the floors and around the fixtures on my hands and knees. I used scrub brushes, steam cleaners, and the nifty drill bit cleaner brush that Chad discovered online.

Then this happened.

I woke up on this fine, quiet Sunday morning. Went into my nice still semi-clean bathroom and proceeded to take my shower. When I finished and was hanging my towel back up to dry, I looked down at the floor. Now, I’m extremely nearsighted, but something caught my eye.

No.
It can’t be.

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Oh hell.

Manson Glitterfetti.

I don’t know where it came from.

I’m scared.

If you don’t hear from me, it’s the glitter. It’s finally gotten me.

Help!

When Your Brain Tells You To Buy Berries…

I’ve made a pact with myself that for a week, just a week, I was not going to post anything with a negative slant online. I’ve had some negativity enter my life recently and I’ve found myself buying into its influence more than I’m comfortable with. I felt like if I could watch what I post online, it would be a start.

Let me first say that I already avoid confrontation and drama. There are certain topics that I will not discuss in a public forum.  I learned my lesson on that a long time ago. The conversations that Chad and I have on any given Wednesday? They would make heads spin, but those conversations are not privy to public places. This system has worked well for me, so it will continue.

There are things, however that do come up where I want to, and do say “Ugh!” or “Yuck!” or “WHY??” Those are the things I’m trying to rein in. They’re little things that nobody probably cares about anyhow. Sometimes, I just have to vent. I’ll never understand the phenomenon of such, I don’t think we’re meant to. Life goes on. Upon realizing this, and knowing that my brain very well may explode if I don’t “get it out” somehow, I’ve decided to challenge myself to find the positives in the situation and dwell on those instead.

So let me wax positive on today.

I had a great doctor’s appointment. She’s proud of how well I’ve come off of my medications and a screening showed nothing underlying that the old medicine may have been masking. She has deemed me good to go for now and instead of three months, I see her again in six. That alone is a sign of progress. My bank account sighs in relief.

On my way home, I had a few minutes layover between buses. The stop is at one of those big box grocery and television emporiums. As we pulled into the stop, my brain started talking.

“Hey. You forgot strawberries at the store yesterday. You could go get some. Oh, and some almonds! You’ve been wanting those. Would make a good lunch.”

And I told it no. I had spent enough on the doctor’s visit (the joys of having a doctor you trust, but who does not take your insurance.) and I should just wait for my bus outside. Don’t take the chance of missing it.

“It’ll be fine. You have half an hour, dummy. Go buy some strawberries. And almonds. OOOOOH the CHOCOLATE ones! I’m talking lunch here!”

No, brain, there’s leftovers I can microwave for lunch. And burritos- those frozen burritos that petrify easily but are still rather tasty, I have those at home.

“Well, then. Okay. But you’re at least going to have to go inside to go to the bathroom.”

No, I’m… Dammit. I forgot. You control everything. Even my bladder.

It was then that I heard my brain snicker. It knew it had won.

So of course, I went inside. First, I took care of my needs. Then, I bought the strawberries and the almonds and made it back outside in time to catch my bus home. Home. I was ready to curl up on the sofa and relax.

I opened the door to an oven.

Chad had mentioned that it felt warm this morning. He was up writing in the night and said the thermometer read seventy-nine degrees. We always turn the air conditioning down at night, so he didn’t think much of it. He just opened the back door and wrote in the cool of the night air. He’s smart like that. Remembering all of this, I looked at the thermostat. Seventy-four. The thermometer? Eighty.

Shit.

Here is where I could have let everything go sideways. We’ve had issues with our air conditioning almost as long as we’ve lived here. Maintenance finally  found the key issue a few years ago and we’ve been comfortable ever since. This has been the longest we’ve gone without a problem. I spot checked all of the normal things that have gone wrong and called the landlord. She said they’d be by this afternoon to make the repairs. I began to panic because someone was coming into my house. There was a problem, I was hot, there were dishes in the sink and SOMEONE WAS COMING TO MY HOUSE! THEY’LL SEE THE DIRTY DISHES AND THROW US OUT AFTER THIRTEEN YEARS!! AND IT’S TOO DAMN HOT TO LIVE!!

Then I took a deep breath. Shut up, brain. Let’s look at this positively. While my brain did make me have to go to the bathroom again (jerk) I was able to come up with the following:

I’m positive about what kind of things to look for to convey to the maintenance man regarding the problem. I’ve checked the breakers, know that nothing is iced up, that everything inside is operational and everything outside is not. That will be a help.

I’m positive that the problem will be fixed.

I’m positive that my kitchen is now clean. Trash is out, the few dishes in the sink are done and put away and it doesn’t look like a band of rogue squirrels could emerge at any moment to steal your soul and finish up your carcass.

I’m positive that it wasn’t that bad to begin with.

I’m positive squirrels wouldn’t do that anyhow.

I’m positive that opening the back door and the living room windows will air out the house and be refreshing. Heaven knows how long it’s been since they’ve been open. I hear fresh air does a person good from time to time.

I’m positive that the carpet looks much better vacuumed.

I’m positive that despite the fact that it’s hot in here, I have a nice, cool lunch in the form of berries and almonds waiting for me. I could even add cream if I wanted to. That’s just how awesomely positive I am right now.

And I’m positive that the next time my brain says “Go buy some strawberries!” I’ll listen a bit closer.

Right now, it’s telling me I need to go back to the bathroom.

Jerk.