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Friday, December 31, 2010

Rabbit! Rabbit!

Wish y'all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011.

I am currently sitting here with The Trolls, watching cartoons, after we all chased each other through the house, which was after pig piling on The Boyfriend (who woke up just long enough to kiss me when the ball dropped).

It's quiet-ish. It's full of love and already a lot of laughter and this is the way a year should start.

New Year Resolution - to be more grateful - will be easy to keep when I'm feeling the kind of love I'm feeling right now. This is a very auspicious beginning to 2011.

Along with the happiness, health and prosperity, here's to your lives being filled with love, smuggles and maybe some wood gnomes, too.

12 Things - New Year Resolution Edition!

(please ignore the rampant typos in this post. I blame the iPad)

Every year I resolve to not make any new resolutions, mostly because I'm really bad about keeping my resolutions. Ironically, one year, I resolved to follow through on things...it lasted for a little while, 'til I got bored with following through.

But I'm all about turning over a new leaf and trying to improve (at least that's what I tell myself so I can sleep better at night), so this year I'm going to go ahead and make so more resolutions. 12 of them, to be exact.

1. Swear less. I have a mouth like a wounded pirate and have a really difficult time censoring myself. But it's gotten so bad that even The Nugget, whose second word was "shit", has asked me to curb the cursing. So, I am going to endeavor to get more creative with the english language, in an effort not to swear anymore. Or less. Definitely less.

2. Honor the physical restrictions in my body and eat as organically and healthily as possible. I am going to make The Trolls follow suit.

2a. Resolve to be okay with The Trolls hating me for this.

3. Consume less. This will go hand in hand with another resolution - to be more creative - but this resolution is about finding creative ways to get the things I need, like laundry detergent, by making them rather than buying them.

4. Get more active. I want to commit to an exercise routine, like a walk at night or yoga, so I get off my tush for a fewe minutes a day.

5. Commit only when I can, so that I can follow through on my commitments.

7. Constantly work on my life list and put sone happy little check marks up o there.

8. Live creatively and find excuses to create just about every day.

9. Fear less and don't let fear hold me back from seizing every opportunity that comes my way.

10. Be more whimsical. I want to dance with faeries and have tea with talking worms.

11. Have taken steps toward quitting smoking, so I can quit by the beginning of 2012.

12. Constantly be grateful and express that gratitude frequently.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I never claimed to be quick on the uptake...

So, you know how, last night, I went o this rant about not having time to blog and/or play with my iPad? Well, it turns out I can do BOTH! You know...blog from my iPad.

The word "duh" comes to mind at moments like these.

And in other news, I've decided that I really don't like my handwriting so much that I am going to change up some stylistic points. Gotta start 2011 off right.

The changing handwriting kind of goes along with what that hand writing analyst told me in March. She said that if I changed my signature, I'd feel more confident... Or like myself... Or something like that.

And since 2011 is all about moving forward, bringing goodness into my life (and into the world), I figure having a little more confidence wouldn't hurt matters.

Or something like that....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We'll return to your regularly scheduled program soon...

You hear that sound?

...That's the sound of no more Christmas music on the radio. Except when I went to AT&T to replace the SIM card in the iPad The Boyfriend™ got me for Christmas.

,...Oh. Wait! I can tell y'all now. The Boyfriend™ got me an iPad for Christmas!! He is incredibly indulgent, that one is. He can't pay his mortgage this month, but at least I'm happy. Materialism aside, how can I not love that man?

But I am sorely glad Christmas is over. I was not feeling it at all this year. Due in large part, I think, to my new found anti-materialistic mentality (iPad cravings notwithstanding). I just couldn't wrap my head around obligatory purchasing, because that's what Christmas has become. Next year, I hope that we can all just do something wonderful and nice for each other, rather than go broke trying to one-up each other on the gift giving scale.

But that's not what I hopped on here to tell you.

The next couple of weeks are going to be a maelstrom of packing, moving, unpacking, working, packing, moving, unpacking, cleaning, working, cleaning, packing, moving, and more unpacking. I have all of January until I have to be officially out of my humble abode, and safely ensconced in The Boyfriend™'s bachelor pad, but that's really only eight days, where I will be unencumbered by work. So I gotta get this shit done, y'all.

The Boyfriend™ keeps saying things like, "you still have a month. What's your hurry?" which infuriates me to NO end, because he's not the one trying to work, parent and pack. I really just want to hang back and play with my iPad until I get iPad pointer finger syndrome or something, but I don't have that luxury right now. I mean, I put a shit load of holes in my walls (from hanging pictures, people. My temper isn't that bad). I need to patch and paint and steam clean.

...I'm toying with the idea of blowing off my security deposit, just so I don't have to do all this work. But I don't want to end up owing anything when I leave here, either, so I'll do the work. I'm not about burning bridges.

In the midst of all this chaos, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel so clearly that I need to wear sunglasses, it's so bright. That light is what's keeping me from completely going out of my tree, so I'm grateful as all get out for that.

And as scary as this move is, I know that nothing but good is going to come from it. Ironically, I'm fairly scared of that good, too, but not in a bad way. In a "woo-doggy!" kind of way. Like wedding day jitters.

What that means to my blog, though, is that I'm not going to be a frequent poster for the next thirty or so days. I mean, hopefully, I'll be able to check in and blow off some steam here (and, hopefully, be ironic enough to invoke a chuckle from y'all), but I don't want any of you to bank on it. I just can't stand the thought of letting you down. Because I've got nothing but love for y'all.

And really, at the end of the day, I want to give you quality of content and not some blathering tripe tossed against the wall just because I want to feel like I'm keeping up. Frankly, I don't have the energy to keep up anyway. Moving SUCKS.

Next time I have a few spare minutes to catch my breath, I'll send some love by way of posting to y'all. In the mean time, keep the positive energy and love flowing this way. I promise I'll pay it back.

Peace!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Boyfriend™ and The Bloggess

First, The Boyfriend™ is remarkable and beautiful beyond description. He expressly asked me not to say anything 'til later, so I am going to abide by his wishes... for now. But suffice it to say, he literally left me speechless.

Universe... in case I haven't said it enough, THANK YOU for that man!!

The Bloggess also makes the roll for remarkable and beautiful beyond description. She did this whole pay-it-forward Christmas thing on her blog that literally gave me goosebumps. But I'll tell you what, there is still time for all of you to get in on the action.

If you can contribute, even one little bit, go here and help out a family who may have to tell their kids that Santa doesn't exist. Not because it's time for them to know, but because the parents have to choose between keeping the lights on and buying their kids presents.

That's a shitty place to be, y'all. I know. I've been there. If it hadn't been for some really wonderful and miraculous people I worked with, my kids wouldn't have had a Christmas. Since then, I've been extraordinarily blessed to never have to be in that place again, but there are FAR too many families out there who aren't as blessed as I am.

Go, please. Do what you can do. If you can't give a cash donation, take a present that you've wrapped and see if you can send it to a family in need. Or go to your local Women's Shelter and help some kids out. Keep Santa alive for these kids... BE Santa for these kids. The world's a scary and dark enough place as it is without having to kill off that jolly bastard.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Small, eensy, weensy favor?

Dear Old People Drivers, Soccer Moms and People of Moderately Failing Eye Sight:

Please stop driving. Or, failing that, stay home between the hours of 7 am and 9 am, and any time after dusk.

Also, when you're out and about, motoring around like you're the only person whose travel agenda matters, could you at least travel at the speed limit? Is it too much to ask that I not be ten  minutes late to work because you find it imperative to drive fifteen miles an hour slower than the posted speed limit? 

Furthermore, you see that lever on the left-hand side of your stearing column? tit ain't there for decoration. You might even say it's there for a REASON...to, oh I don't know, let other drivers know when and in which direction you intend to turn. Go ahead! Give it a try...preferably several yards BEFORE your turn.

And on that subject, turning does not require that you come to a full stop. No, seriously. You can turn AND keep moving AT THE SAME TIME EVEN! 

In case you were wondering, the left hand lane is for passing. The right hand lane is for slower traffic. I know it's fun to pretend you're in Britain, but you can stop now. The rest of us are not amused.

I thank you in advance for your consideration of these matters, and look forward to your response.

Signed,
Barely Controlled Road Rager

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

Yes, I have a painting of the word "if". I also have it tattooed on my shoulder. Don't judge.


 I stuck to the shed-yule and put up my Christmas tree. The Trolls helped and fun was had by all, until it was time to go to bed, because the Christmas music was making them sleepy.

As soon as the Christmas village was put up and all a-glow, I started feeling more in the spirit of the holiday. Sure, I still have to pack. Sure, I have so much going on that I have to schedule it. But... well... there's something to be said for feeling a hell of a lot less grinchy than I have been.

It turns out that my artistic self was simply shoved into a cage while I was letting my crafty-for-Christmas self play. It also turns out that my artistic self is a loud-ass and wouldn't leave me alone until I created some art stuff. I feel much better now that I'm all covered in ink.

And I feel almost hopeful that I'll pull everything off without collapsing into a crying, nervous-breakdown-having heap by December 23rd. I can feel some Christmas miracles eeking their way in and I may very well end up being all Tiny Tim-ish before all is said and done. Honestly, I really hope so.

Update on the Battle of Mrs. Bitch-face -- the war wages on. It seems that she's upped the ante by threatening to send The Nugget to the office if he doesn't stop fidgeting. I'm going to threaten to put Ex-Lax in her coffee if she doesn't get less bitch-tastic. I say to her: BRING IT! I will go down in your memory as the Parent You Hated to Deal With of All TIME! And I will wear that badge with pride!

So... yeah, Merry Christmas 'n' stuff.

Monday, December 6, 2010

OH! OH! I FOUND IT!!

Oh hey! The Boyfriend™. I know you wanted to be wonderful and indulgent and get me an iPad for Christmas (and I will love you forever and ever if you do), but I will love you even longer if you can find this book for me:

Gnomes: 30th Anniversary Edition

Well, I already found it, but if you wanna go ahead and get it for me, I won't stop you. Unless, of course, I get it for myself first.



Now I must figure out how to get The Boyfriend™ to read my blog without letting on why....

Oh, one more thing. Real quick. While I avoid cleaning s'more.

I TOTALLY forgot to tell you! I've had a niggling, back-of-the-head-ready-to-surface obsession with gnomes, pixies and fairies lately.

I have no idea where it came from, but I a find myself waxing whimsical in the direction of all manner of magical folk, but especially gnomes. I think it has something to do with my girlhood, where I was briefly, albeit passionately, obsessed with a book that my Gram gave me. It was all about gnomes. I need to find that book, if I can remember what it was called.

So here's some magic folk love, courtesy of a Google image search and the sites in the captions. I have no idea where those sites got the images from though.

Lifted from this site: http://www.fanpop.com/spots/magical-creatures/images/13952902/title/gnomes-photo

Lifted from this site: http://www.webring.org/t/Mystical-and-Magical

This post brought to you by the letters "Pro" and "Crastination"

OK. So I have a laundry list of things to do -- which actually includes doing literal laundry -- and I was all gung-ho to get it done and then, well, my nature kicked in and I decided that updating my blog was a better idea.

The Best Friend(R) also has a blog. Well, she has the bones of a blog. But she announced her blog on her Christmas cards and has dedicated herself to actually blogging (Oh, hey! G... time to start blogging!). And she even set up a schedule (pronounced shed-yule) to do it.

I'm inherently competitive and so took her idea and made it my own. I've decided that my shed-yule for blogging is any time I don't feel like doing what's on my laundry list of things to do.

Yes, I realize this is all very self-defeating. Did I mention that self-defeat is one of my hobbies? It's all part of my charm, really. Oh boy! Does The Boyfriend™ ever have a wake up call comin'!

Anyhoo... I digress (shocker there).

So here's what's new-ish in my world.

The Nugget has this daily agenda thing that his teacher fills out to let me know what kind of day he had at school (usually "not good"). The Nugget is also supposed to write down his homework assignments for the day in said agenda. I'm supposed to read and initial something that says I've read it. I'm not very good at initialing -- mostly because The Nugget tells me if he had a good or bad day, so I kinda feel like my his work  is done, and I don't need to do the whole initialing thing.

Well, now I have a handy-dandy excuse to initial. The Nugget's teacher, apparently, took her teaching methods straight out of George Orwell's 1984, and insists that all children tow the line. The Nugget is not one for towing any lines, much less one made by a teacher he doesn't like, so Mrs. Bitch-Face (that's my pet name for her) has taken to writing snarky comments in his agenda. I've taken it upon myself to snark back. It's fun!

Some excerpts:

Now that The Nugget has all his work turned in, he needs to work on his behavior. The Nugget is not paying attention, he does not focus on his assignments, he talks at the wrong times, and he twirls his hair. ~Mrs. Bitch-face.

It took every ounce of will power I had to not point out the her inability to write coherently. Mostly because I was distracted that TWIRLING HIS HAIR is a behavior issue. Really? Really?! So I responded with:

Thank you for the note. We will work on The Nugget's behavior at home. However, the hair twirling tic is genetic - I do it, too - and it helps him calm down. So, I won't disallow him that one concession. Thank you, ~"You're pissing me off, Lady!"

Apparently that pissed her off enough to start giving him a black dot (indication of a bad day) for every infraction from not turning his homework in, to being late, to, apparently, twirling his hair. Right after Thanksgiving, I get another note home:

Please be aware that school starts at 7:45 AM. The Nugget has been late the last 3 days. (Her underline, not mine).

That level of snark was crossing the line. So I called The Nancarita up to get some advice about writing a nice, but firm, note back to Mrs. Bitch-face. Here's what we came up with:

Dear Mrs. Bitch-face (notice that I actually addressed the note directly to her, rather than rudely getting right to the point?)

Your reminder was unnecessary. I am aware of what time school starts. I have been dropping The Nugget off with more than enough time to make it to class on time.

That being said, The Nugget is currently in the midst of a growth spurts and is constantly hungry (he's eating anything that's not nailed down). My guess is that he's going in search of a second breakfast.

Since I can't walk him directly to his classroom, I don't know how to rectify this problem. Any suggestion you have would be welcome. 

Thank you ~  "Seriously, you need to get the hell over yourself."

So today, because she couldn't leave well enough alone, and because she peppers The Nugget's agendas with black dots like it's her sole purpose on this earth, I had to address it. Also, I had to address the issue because I know The Nugget did the math assignment he supposedly didn't turn in. Why? Because he did the assignment twice -- once on the wrong day, and the other time on the correct day.

Her: Math homework page 84 has not been turned in.

My response:

Dear Mrs. Bitch-face,

What is the policy regarding giving black dots? By looking at his agenda, it seems that The Nugget is incapable of achieving a good day, but I have no knowledge of the why. For instance, last week, it appears that you penalized The Nugget for being late. The week before, it appears to have been a homework issue.

If you would, please provide detailed explanations for his black dots, each day, so that I am better able to address any specific issues that you may have. Otherwise, I would ask that you be less seemingly arbitrary in your daily assessments.

Thank you ~ "OK. Now I'm REALLY pissed."

That was this evening, so we'll see what she has to say. Needless to say, it may get interesting.

And in other news... moving during Christmas sucks. Between work, packing, cleaning and work, I don't have the energy or desire to really decorate. I'm forcing myself to put up my tree because it's what good moms do. Also, despite my desire to have a real, honest-to-God Christmas tree this year, I'm going with my fake one again. Mostly because I just learned that one acre of Christmas trees produce enough oxygen for 18 people. The environmentalist in me just can't ignore that statistic.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cat Nap

My cats are not aware that they are actually cats. Meep is not aware that he is not Ursa's pillow. Ursa is not aware that it's rude to use your brother as a pillow.

But it seems to work. These cats are devoted to each other, and definitely serve as inspiration to us all.

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Friday, December 3, 2010

The sexiest women in the world? Really??

As I may have mentioned, I don't have cable. As such, I'm not subject to as much commercialization as the bulk of America. For this, I give thanks.

But I do have internet access, which means that I am kinda sorta aware of what's going on in the world around me. I guess, earlier this week, Victoria's Secret had some sort of runway spectacular, where a bunch of emaciated-looking, scantily-clad women trotted around making approximately 99.74565% of the women watching this thing feel like utter and complete shit about themselves.

It didn't help that the show advertised that the sexiest women in the world would be modeling.

Really? Really?! These are the sexiest women alive?

This is a rhetorical question, really, but when in the hell did Victoria's Secret become the standard to which all beauty must be held?!

When did this become beautiful?!

Image taken from http://ednosgirl.wordpress.com/thinspiration/




Seriously, I want to take this girl home and force feed her a sandwich.

But it's not her fault. Not really. She's just as much a victim of fashion's pervasive hold on our aesthetic psyche.

And when Victoria's Secret touts this as one of the sexist women in the world, the world is clearly sick. As far as I'm concerned, this is socially sanctioned abuse of women.

Worst of  all, we allow it to happen. We allow ourselves to be abused.

As a student of history, I know that women have almost always been expected to shape their bodies to someone's ideal of perfection. We pluck, we tuck, we paint, we dye. All in the vain attempt to look different from ourselves; to be desired not for our inner worth, but our outward appearance.

Even the Rubenesque ideal, as more honest a depiction of real women as it was, was still not attainable by the average woman of that time:

Paul Rubens - The Three Graces
Ironic, I know.

I spent the last 11 years of the 13 I spent with The Ex concerned about how I looked, lest I get too heavy for him to love. I knew -- intellectually -- that I was better than that, but still allowed myself to feel less than because I couldn't get rid of the baby weight. I knew that I was intelligent, beautiful, witty and charming. I knew, on some level, that I was, in fact, sexy. But because I was heavy; because I didn't still possess my swimmer's body, the value I gave myself was close to nothing. Any worth I had was closely tied to his opinion of me.

It's bullshit, really, but it's a mindset that isn't easily shaken. Even now, I have an adoring loving boyfriend, who finds me ridiculously sexy, and I still won't let him see me naked because I don't look like a Victoria's Secret model.

I even have a hard time finding this picture of me sexy, because I know that I deliberately positioned myself so my mom apron wouldn't be in the picture. I made Miguelito take the picture using the whole depth of field trick so my stretch marks wouldn't show. I wore the shirt so my droopy, saggy boobs wouldn't be too obvious:

Yup, this is me. Picture taken by Michael Barnard
I don't find this picture of me really sexy and yet, this is The Boyfriend™'s favorite picture of me.

What's worse, is that I still have a hard time finding myself intrinsically valuable despite all indications to the contrary.

There is something inherently wrong with that. Fo'reals... how am I not one of the sexiest women in the world? How is The Best Friend (R) not? How is The Nancarita not?

Fact is, we are some of the sexiest women in the world!

I can't change the world over night (until such time as I become the ruler of the world, which will happen. Mark my words), but I can change how I view the world -- and myself.

All of you fabulously un-airbrushed women out there! Those of you without personal trainers and personal chefs. Those of you that stay at home raising your children, or are out in the world working your heinies off to feed your children. Those of you without children, or with grown children, or with grandchildren. Those of you who can comfortably wear a size four and those of you who squeeze into a size fourteen. And everything in between -- all of you, join me in declaring yourselves THE SEXIEST WOMEN IN THE WORLD!

Because YOU ARE the sexiest women in the world! Let your light shine through and LOVE YOURSELVES. Turn off the TV and go stand in front of the full length mirror and love the hell out of those curves and stretch marks and saggy boobs. Worship yourselves for the goddesses you truly are!

Then, when you're done, remind yourself that it's what's INSIDE that makes you truly beautiful!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I've come to a conclusion


I am unequivocally NOT a crafter. I truly and deeply admire those with the tenacity to craft; to create workable goods, like quilts and afghans. I WANT to be one of those people.

Frankly, I just don't have the patience for it. 

I don't want to follow a pattern. I don't want to read the instructions. I don't want to baste or pin or knot. I just want it to magically HAPPEN.

This lack of patience might explain why I can't bake to save my life, but why I can cook like my name is Gordon Ramsey. See, baking is an exact science, and cooking is more abstract and amenable. You need patience to bake, kinda like you need patience to, oh I don't know, quilt.

Needless to say, while I am going to see these projects through, put some check marks next to the numbers on my life list, I canNOT wait to get back to the freedom that art - for the sake of art - gives me.

And I will leave the crafting to those with the mettle to stand it.
-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Other Distractions

So...I now have my new phone. It's wonderful having a pixi in my pocket. Oh and yes. I've already dropped it. I'm good like that.

This weekend was spent reverting back to my nocturnal nature: stay up til 3 am and sleep in til noon. Problem with that is that I have a day job that doesn't mesh with my nature.

In addition to reverting back to nocturnalism (is that a word?), I also began embarking on the project of repurposing shirts, that I haven't worn in forever, into a quilt. The Boyfriend even contributed to the endeavor and is now claiming it's his quilt. 

He is, of course, mistaken. At best, it's OUR quilt. But I digress.

And so the shift continues, both in the physical and spiritual realms. As more boxes get packes, I can literally feel the shift in my psyche. Big, good changes are imminent. Changes that are going to give me a whole new context to operate in. 

It's exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Terrifying because I am walking into this with eyes wide open and trusting in the unknown.

So, I distract myself with quilts.

-- Sent from my Palm Pixi

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oh HEY! There you are!

So, I know I promised that I would try to update daily... or at least more frequently than I have been. And, yes, I know that as a new blogger, I need to keep blogging like I'm getting paid for it (if I ever expect to get paid for it). I know all this. But I have a really good excuse...

I'm still busy as all git out.

So here's what's been going on, in list form (and in no particular order):

1. Right now, I'm cooking lunch for work. My kitchen looks like something exploded in it, which is how it should look.
2. Because I'm cooking lunch for work, I'm not doing my laundry. I'm also using the fact that my laundry basket is full of clean clothes, so I can't use it to haul the dirty clothes to the washer, as a handy-dandy excuse to avoid laundry.
3. I'll get to the laundry. I have to. I'm down to the unmentionable underwear and it's not even that time of the month.
4. I dropped my phone yesterday and it is no longer in working order. Apparently, when I purchased insurance when I replaced the last phone I dropped and broke, the idiots at the Sprint store put the insurance on the wrong line. So I had to pay for the replacement.
5. I've been knitting and looming (is that a word?) like it's my full time job. I kind of wish it was my full time job.
6. All this constant motion is making me feel incredibly artistically drained. I may have to resort to purchasing pre-made Christmas cards this year, rather than making them like I usually do.
7. I've been in cleaning and sorting and throwing-out mode for the last week, in preparation for The Move™. It's actually quite fun... sort of. I like the whole getting rid of stuff part. I've even been clearing out email, which is not like me at all. I have email in my inbox from 2007. No, I'm not kidding.
8. All this cleaning and getting rid of stuff has made realize that I have a LOT of shit. This is making me want to toss it all in a big ole pile and set it all on fire and just start over.
9. The Boyfriend™ won't let me set anything on fire... the bastard.
10. The Move™ is the official name for the moving in with The Boyfriend™. Adding ™ to the end of things makes them more amusing... and less scary
11. The Boyfriend™ has made noises about getting me an iPad for Christmas. If he does, I will officially be his slave for the rest of my and/or his life (whichever comes first... or until something shinier impresses me more).
12. I discovered that no matter how good you are at poker, you can't win when you're playing against beginner's luck. And settling for second place isn't settling; it's just good financial planning.
13. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I. Can't. Eat. Any of it!!! Between my weird food allergies and my stupid gallbladder issues, I'm down to salads and fat free chocolate pudding. I take comfort in the fact it's how the Pilgrims did it.
14. The lunch I'm making for work is all British food, because I'm ironic that way.
15. I had my first unadulterated road rage moment the other day. I enjoyed it probably more than I should've. But I was totally justified, y'all. Home boy was at a full stop at a green light.
16. I have to go roast some hazelnuts, or I'll be up until tomorrow morning cooking.

Yeah... I'll stop listing things now.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Aaand.... GO!

Woo doggy! There is just a ton going on, much of it requiring that I float in this sort of holding pattern for a bit longer. All of it rather disjointed and leaving me feeling mostly empty and devoid of anything tangible to offer in this here blog space.

...Except for a smidgen that is reminding me of all the immense wonder and good that is coming down the pike. I hold on to that smidgen tightly these days -- it's my life preserver.

So what have I been up to lately? I'm glad you asked!

Learning to live with the restrictions of gallbladder disease is still a process, but one that is keeping me acutely in tune with the rhythms of my body. While this particular journey is one about learning to live with restriction, I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know my physical being a bit better. The process is definitely helping me to learn to love myself; to find my curves voluptuous and sexy, rather than the unpleasant consequences of a hedonistic lifestyle.

I'm amazed that this particular medical malady has triggered a wellspring of self-love and healing. Seriously, the best presents come in the plain wrapping paper -- and when least expected!

And in other news, I think I can safely announce The Thing That Needed To Happen thing... The Boyfriend™ and I will o-fficially be living together at the end of January (that's when my lease is up)! Yay!

...No. I still haven't met his mother yet. Yes, I'm aware that this is all very ass-backwards.

The process of choosing to live with someone is foreign to me. When The Ex and I moved in together, it's because I was very, very pregnant with The Monkey. And even then, I stayed a night or two with The Rental Units until they moved to Florida, forcing me to spend every single night with The Ex. Living with The Ex is my only frame of reference for this kind of thing, sad as that may be.

However, I'm learning to navigate these strange waters of choice. The process is bringing The Boyfriend™ and me closer, allowing us to learn to communicate with each other from a very fundamentally honest place. We are speaking from our hearts about our fears and concerns -- and not just about living together, but also about the whole scope of our relationship. Skeletons are being exorcised from their respective closets, so to speak. The Ghosts of Exes Past are being trotted out, greeted and promptly dismissed. Quirks and neuroses (yes, even The Boyfriend™ has quirks) are being discussed, poked, prodded and told to shut up.

In addition to the lovely-ness that this move is creating in my relationship with The Boyfriend™, it's also lighting a fire under my ass to start purging myself of all my clutter, which is in keeping with my life list goal to live more simply.

And, frankly, co-habitation will enable me to more easily and readily pursue other items on my Life List, as it frees up some of the necessary cash flow. More importantly, however, The Boyfriend™ is a constant support for my life goals, never really allowing me to rest on my laurels and constantly, yet gently, reminding me to get on with it already! Despite his claim that he can never remember anything, home boy certainly remembers to remind me about going back to college... and to re-type the family letters, like I promised my nana I would do.

(Universe, if you're listening, THANK YOU!! for the wonderful, delightful miracle that is The Boyfriend™)

Of course, it's not all sunshine and magic faerie dust. The impending move stuff is happening smack dab in the middle of getting ready for Christmas. And when you have Trolls under the age of 15 living with you, you can't just skip over all the Christmas stuff.

Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I decided that this year I'd be making Christmas gifts for all of my nearest and dearest, in the style of the Magical Box of Delight that is my annual Christmas and birthday gifts from my Uncle Brion*. This means that most of my free time is being consumed by creating gifts, which means that there isn't room left for me to create for the sake of creating.

Strangely, I'm OK with this for right now. I think my soul needs the down time and space to process all this change coming 'round the bend. As soon as I'm settled in my new digs, I will being jumping back into my art as if my life depended on it -- and that may very well end up being the case.

In between all of these marvelous things, is my spiritual progress. I'm learning so, so much right now:

- I'm learning to find my limits and in those limits, learning to say no without feeling guilty.
- I'm learning that selfish impulses are a normal part of the human condition -- we just don't have to act on them is all. But occasional indulgence is good for you.
- I'm learning that it's OK to feel empathetic to a friend's plight or "lack" without having to diminish your own happiness... or feel guilty about your own plentitude.
- I'm learning that, much like how the universe handles us all, there's only so much help you can give someone emotionally, physically, monetarily before you have to say, "Enough. Start helping yourself now."
- I'm learning how to hold my tongue -- especially when a loved one is not in the head space to hear the truth.
- And I'm learning that MY truth is not THE truth, and may not work for everyone.
- I'm learning to simplify. Sifting through the physical detritus of my life thus far, and getting rid of a lot of it, has been a wondrous catharsis.

So, as you can see, there is so, so much going on! So, so much to do -- and more of it yet to do. This is the ramp-up; the training before the big race, where the finish line is all of my dreams coming true, and happy little check marks appearing next to all of the things on my life list.

I wish ALL OF YOU this joyous wellspring -- as overwhelming and exhausting as it can be at times. I wish YOU ALL these miracles.

-Namaste.



*My uncle Brion always sends me these wonderful boxes filled with things that only Uncle Brion knows how to find. Things like weird socks and lip balms and journals and odd clay jewelry. His presents never fail to delight me no end. I'm starting to think that Uncle Brion is actually Santa Claus

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

And the adventure begins - 12 Random Tuesday Thoughts

So much floating in the ole brain bowl tonight. My undiagnosed ADD is in hyperdrive. I'm too excited, too nervous, too impatient. I'm too TOO. So, have some updates by way of randomness, in list form!

1. Numbers 67, 90 and recent addition 112 on my Life List will be done, done and done once I take a few intensive weekend workshops at Snow Farm in Williamsburg, MA (my home state).

2. Snow Farm is perhaps the coolest place I've come across in a dog's age. I am BEYOND excited about even the idea of immersing myself in the culture of this place and learning new skills, to add to my talent pool.

3. When I say things like "talent pool" I am reminded that I have been in the corporate world far too long.

4. I let my cat, Meep, sleep with me for the first time since he was a foundling kitten. He was so happy he chirped at me all night long. It did my heart so much good. Ursa, on the other hand, couldn't have cared less about being let into my bedroom. Why? Because she is mischief incarnate; an imp in cat's clothing and sneaks into my room every chance she gets. She is clearly The Boyfriend™'s cat.

5. Speaking of The Boyfriend™, I have had some of the most perversely rational conversations about co-habitation with him lately. I mean, surreally rational. I am just not used to this level of rationality. So I...

6. Informed The Boyfriend™ that I could make no promises about remaining constantly sane because sometimes I just really need to let my temper out of its cage. Which is true. It's not a facet of my personality I'm particularly proud of, that I pick fights just so I can yell, but at least I'm honest about it.

7. I need to learn how to yell to the people I love, rather than at them.

8. The Boyfriend™ is very understanding and accepting of my personality quirks. So I blame him for enabling me.

9. Recent events that were required for the next passage of my journey have come to fruition. But I'm still not going to tell y'all what those events are until such time as I actually have to. But it's big. It's scary -- in a good way. It's exciting. Keep the love and positive energy flowing this way, because we're going to need it in the coming weeks. I'M SO EXCITED!!

10. It's never too early to teach your children about the nuances of sports betting, so The Monkey has been doing chores around the house so he can earn the money to get in on the football pool at work. I feel like such a good mother. Added bonus -- when he's telling his future therapist about all the things I did wrong, I can pipe in and say, "Yeah, but what about the football pool I let you participate in?! That taught you important lessons about LIFE. Score one for Mom!"

11. I have never been so constantly hungry IN. MY. LIFE. Reducing my fat intake to practically non-existent quantities (just enough so I can process proteins and vitamins, but not enough to make my gallbladder freak-the-hell out) is making me feel like I have a constant case of the munchies. But without the bonus of being too stoned to notice.

12. I am TOTALLY going to make the world my bitch! I am going to own this place like it was my job (because being The Benevolent and Merciful Ruler of Everything in the World is going to be my job). It'll be fun... and awesome! It may even involve unicorns and, quite possibly, ninjas (of the Teenaged Mutant Turtle-y variety)

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Almost there... but not quite

So I'm almost there, the end is in sight. Using the appropriate metaphor here -- the baby is ready to crown (not that I would know what that's like. The Trolls were C-Sections). There is still so much that can go so very wrong, and the slightest misstep can throw a wrench into all the works.

It's an odd no-man's-land I'm sitting in, even for me: a notorious fence-sitter. But here I sit, and I wait. A heretofore unknown wellspring of patience keeping me afloat. My leg is metaphorically and literally shaking, because I'm not exactly Job, but I'm trying desperately not to rush things that must come in their own time.

I'd love to share with you all this potential goodness coming down the pike, but I'm inherently superstitious. I don't want to jinx anything by saying it out loud. Right now, I'm focusing as much energy as possible as manifesting this next step, which is entirely necessary for the subsequent steps.

So much goodness, so very close. I can see it as vividly as if I was currently living it. When the universe gives me the go-ahead, I'll fill you in. In the mean time, share the love and send some manifesting energy to this step.

Namaste.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'm not going to pretend that this is even going to make sense



I've been experiencing a strange dichotomy of emotions lately. Simultaneously feeling stuck and at the cusp of a major spiritual breakthrough. Funnily enough, I haven't had time, this week, to focus on much more than just simply getting through the day. I could only spare my beloved a couple of short hours ('til this weekend) -- a gift of time that was sorely needed.

But I was talking about my dichotomous emotional state, wasn't I?

I think the best way to explain what's been going on with me is this way: I hand write my blogs before I post them -- a habit (the handwriting, not the blogging part) picked up in elementary school, where we were told to always do a rough draft first, to work through the bugs. Of course, this predated computers and I suppose, these days, I could skip past the writing-it-out part and get right to the typing (and make my corrections real-time), but I rather enjoy the connectivity and visceral response I feel putting pen to paper. When the words flow through me, writing it out feels more like art and less like something anyone can do.

But I can't stand my handwriting these days, and I become focused on the aesthetics of the page, rather than the words themselves, and I end up stopping -- the displeasure so rancid in my mind that I become too distracted to continue my thought. I have about six blogs started -- good ones, too -- but not fleshed out enough to post (maybe I should just post what I have, in list form. Hmm... that's an idea).

This really is a good example of what's been flowing through my head lately. I am doing battle with a seemingly ceaseless mental cacophony of negativity, yet have never felt more clear or more connected to myself. I am so in touch with my emotional state, and am in awe of the process, that I really don't want to stop the barrage of vitriolic sewage from battering my skull.

And yet... yet, I have never felt more spiritually centered, more aware or more connected to myself and the God force than I do right now.

I'm not even afraid that all this means that I am naturally an evil and bitter person. Quite the contrary! I recognize it as an honest response to the recent medical trauma I experienced and my working through it, and also of cleansing of the cobwebby parts of my head; the dark side, if you will.

I am fully honoring my darker nature because I know I don't want to stay here for very long, and to resist the darkness is to linger longer with it. And because of this honesty and clarity -- and my lack of fear -- that I recognize it only as a rite of passage. So I will immerse myself in the cleansing fires and await my deliverance with calm certainty.

Monday, November 1, 2010

So I get a little obsessed sometimes. Doesn't everyone?

When The Boyfriend™ and I first started dating, and up until very recently, most of my conversations were peppered with mentions of "The Boyfriend™ did this..." and "The Boyfriend™ said..." This was due in large part to his novelty. The relationship is still pretty new (we haven't even hit the 18 month mark yet), and because the bulk of my dating experience happened during high school, most every event and milestone in our relationship was new. So I talked about it non-stop.

Suffice it to say, The Best Friend ®  is very patient and long suffering. She only called me out on the obsessive boyfriend chatter once.

Despite the continued novelty of The Boyfriend™ and his deliciousness -- and in no small part due to my undiagnosed ADD -- my gallbladder is my latest obsession. I mean, I was just told that I have an affliction that will effect the rest of my life y'all... like having kids, except that my gallbladder won't ever move out. And I can't ground it.

What's worse is that most people who have low gallbladder ejection fraction results just get the thing removed and deal with the dietary restrictions that come with having no gallbladder. Seriously, I scoured the internet for more information about LGEF and there is nada out there, except forums for people who just got their HIDA scan results back and are moving onto the forcible eviction of their gallbladder stage.

WTF, people?! Seriously WebMD? You've got nothing?! And don't think I've forgotten about YOU, homeopaths and holistic healers! Where are my remedies? Where are the teas and tinctures and tonics to get my gallbladder to start pushing out bile like it's supposed to?

Oh and Google? You're supposed to think for me! Why aren't you popping up search results that don't include "gallstones" in the posts?! I don't have gallstones; I have a practically non-existent gallbladder ejection fraction (I'm not being hyperbolic here. It really is practically non-existent. Normal function is between 35-75%. Mine is 3-7%).

Internets, you have let me down. You have not given me the magical answer to make my gallbladder behave itself. I thought you were omnipotent, God-like... dare I say you were actually God. But, you have limits and I have found them.

So now I'm back to obsessing about my gallbladder. I'm trying to send it lots of love and healing energy (the opposite of what I do when The Trolls misbehave). I'm taking it to fat-free dinners and speaking to it in soothing and dulcet tones. I'm also talking about it non-stop to anyone who will listen. What I can and can't consume will keep me chattering for literal tens of minutes on end and I'm debating getting "Pavlov's Bitch" tattooed on my ass, because I totally feel like a Pavlovian dog at the moment.

Or maybe I should name my gallbladder Pavlov.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

12 Things - I learned this week

1. I am not a good patient in the hospital -- well, I am when I have to be there, I think (like when I had meningitis). But when I don't have to be there? I am a whiny, crying baby.

2. I have a malfunctioning gallbladder -- because my gallbladder didn't want The Monkey to have all the fun, so it decided to be disobedient, too.

3. A malfunctioning gallbladder and a hedonist personality do not mix -- Because now I can't have chocolate. Or bacon. Or chocolate covered bacon. For the rest of my life.

4. I can have chocolate and bacon... if I want to be in a LOT of pain -- and I'm not down with pain.

5. My spirituality goes all to hell when I'm in the hospital -- I just couldn't bring myself to be kind of compassionate when my roommate was snoring like a buzzsaw, which prevented me from sleeping, but DID make me cry like a baby.

6. My spirituality comes right back when I'm home & can reflect on my blessings -- I am incredibly grateful for all the love and kindness that was sent my way over the last couple of days. I am wholly blessed and loved, which goes a long way toward the healing process.

7. The Nancarita is precious -- she was all freaking out that she couldn't be with me in the hospital, despite being the one that was taking care of The Trolls while I was in there, ergo, relieving me of any worry I had about their care.

8. The Boyfriend™ is a blessing -- I don't think I can ever adequately express how good he is. I'll spare y'all the schmoopiness.

9. Everything has fat in it -- and having to live a mostly fat-free lifestyle now, I am becoming increasingly paranoid about anything I put in my mouth. My gallbladder has turned me into one of Pavlov's dogs.

10. I am a mama bear when I can't be near The Trolls -- those are my chicks, y'all. And even though I know they're being well taken care of, being forced to not see them does not make me happy.

11. The Best Friend (R) is adorable -- home girl hung out until she was absolutely sure I was being discharged... despite having much more amusing things planned with her kid-free evening. That's friendship right there.

12. There's nothing more restorative and therapeutic than a kiss and hug from The Trolls.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thoughts on knitting... while knitting

Undiagnosed ADD is not something one should have when they undertake a hobby such as knitting. I mean, unless they want to make potholders all the time. Then undiagnosed ADD is perfect for knitting.

Basically, I have no patience. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. For instance, when The Trolls were born, I expected them to come already knowing stuff, like how to go on the potty... or change their own diapers. I just don't have the constitution for things like follow through -- or knitting, as it turns out.

Part of my problem is hyper-focusing. I get so excited about a new project that I eat, sleep and breathe it. I binge on a new project and then, inevitably, I purge. I get bored. The novelty wears off, and then it's just too easy to get distracted by something shiny. Seriously, y'all, I'm surprised I've kept up with this blog as well (and for as long) as I have.

If these blog posts were time stamped, you'd see that there was exactly ten minutes between them. That's my point. I blogged, I went back to knitting, got bored and came back to blog about being bored.

All of the wisdom from the people I've asked say that you should do things in small snippets, especially when you're living a dream while still working a day job (and doing the full-time, single mom routine). I've been trying to follow their advice because, well, they know stuff. But part of my problem is that small snippets leave way too much room for lack-of-completion. I have seven different paintings mid-way through. My living  room is still not completely rearranged. The nine loads of laundry I came home to? Still muddling my way through that (a load sits, unfolded, on my dining room table as we speak). So when it comes to this knitting stuff, especially since I wasn't kidding about scarves for Christmas, I gotta buckle down and get some shit done.

This is part of the purpose of the life list -- to learn. To combat that which is counterproductive to your nature and get rid  of it. Or, at the very least, make it work to your advantage.

So, this time, I really am going to go back to knitting. I'm going to carpe the hell out of this lesson. I am going to do the task for the task's sake.

Wish me luck.


....Ooo... shiny!

Life List Updates and Wednesday Night Randomness

Goal #40 - Learn to crochet. Once-upon-a-time, I actually knew how to crochet. Nothing fancy, mind you, but enough to keep my hands busy. I'm of the opinion that we humans are much like computers -- there's only so much memory. So, when I had to learn something new (like lyrics to another song -- you don't even want to know how many songs I know the lyrics to), I unlearned how to crochet.

A while back, I was at Michael's and I picked up one of those kits you get 'tween girls to keep them crafty and wholesome. The one in particular was a knitting craft kit. I held onto it for a bit and lost track of it (which, believe it or not, is easy to do in 900 square feet action packed full of crap). I was rearranging my house the other day and came across it again and decided to pull it out and see what I could make of it. Before I knew it, my house was only 1/2 rearranged and I was ensconced in my favorite chair knitting the hell out of a scarf.



So, it's not crocheting, but it is knitting and I'm gonna call this goal done. One of my co-workers is a master crochet-er and she's willing to teach me how to -- and maybe I'll take her up on the offer -- but, for now, I'm pretty damn happy knowing how to knit.

Note to friends on the Christmas list -- guess what you're getting??

And in other news...

I have Internet access at home again! But now I'm feeling all this pressure to get out on the web and do stuff. Why is it that a connected computer makes me feel like I added about eleventy billion things to my to do list?

Speaking of Internet -- Facebook is starting to become the bane of my existence. I'm torn between canceling my account and keeping it active so I can keep tabs on my nearest and dearest. I mean, Facebook saves me the trouble of having to actually call people, but then there's that whole I should call thing. Facebook stalking is so much more convenient, but...

I think you can see my conundrum.

Oh, but wait! There's MORE.

So, apparently, I have this inexplicable stomach issue that worried my co-workers enough to forcibly evict me from the office to go see my doctor, who, in turn, was worried enough about what was going on to send me for an ultrasound (he thought it might be my gallbladder). When the ultrasound didn't show anything, I got to experience the joys of a contrast CT scan.

CT Scans are actually kind of fun -- and the contrast stuff makes you all warm in the good places. Totally worth the big-ass bruise on my hand from the IV

Just in case you wanted to know.

In all the randomness of the last couple of days, I got to experience some really wonderful moments of connectivity. My nurse today is, apparently, going through a painful divorce. I was able to reach out to her and offer her some of the wisdom gleaned from my experience in the same kind of place she's in now. My heart ached for her, because I know how raw this place is, that she's in. Her eyes oozed the vulnerability that she was trying very hard to cover up.

I remember all too vividly that place -- putting on a brave front; trying desperately not to cry in front of total and complete strangers. I gave her a hug and wished I could do more for her than offer her five minutes of camaraderie.

I also learned that, no matter how old you get, sometimes you just really need your mommy. Fortunately, my mommy was willing to mommy me, which made me feel tons better than I thought it would. And she totally didn't call me out about being a big whiny baby.

Last, but most certainly not least -- The Boyfriend™. Good lord am I ever grateful for that man! I'll spare you the schmoopiness, but let me just say that you know you're loved when someone feels guilty for wanting to go home when his car breaks down on the side of the road (who wouldn't?), but still comes over because you feel like ass. Who still hugs and cuddles you, despite your looking like utter and complete shit, making you feel like a princess on a throne, and who will still be a smart-ass just to remind you that even though you're sick, he will stay exquisitely and beautifully just who he is.

I'm off to try to knit some more... and bask in the glow of love and gratitude.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Special Guest Post from Magpie Girl

Hello my lovelies!

I'm very, very excited to be sharing my blog space with Rachelle Mee-Chapman, of Magpie Girl. As I've mentioned previously, I'm all about synchronistic moments, and stumbling onto Magpie Girl was another one of those moments. Rachelle provides soul care for artists and her messages and inspiration (most recently about taming the monkey mind... ooo... shiny!) have provided a great deal of help while I'm on my journey toward living my most authentic life.



In honor of her birthday, Rachelle is doing 30 Stories in 30 Days -- answering questions posed by we artists in the blogosphere. She stopped on by Fearlessly Phobic to answer my question:

Q: How do you chase your dreams while still having to do the have-to’s without burning out?

The language of your question is revealing in and of itself. Did you notice your verb? Chase. It’s quite driven isn’t it? Not just compelled but also propelled.

Many of us feel that our life is like this – pushed around by forces that are not within our control. It can be maddening to try to figure out how to make space for one’s creative dreams, while still doing the work, chores, and child-rearing of everyday life.  Here are some tips and techniques I’ve found helpful.

- Adjust to right-fit expectations. Notice I didn’t say “lower” your expectations. This is not about setting your sights low, it’s about healthy function. Be realistic about the amount of time and space you have for your dreams, and trust that this is enough. (And it will be.)

- Work in small snippets. Sometimes we don’t work on our dream because we want a big chunk of time in which we can do it all at once. Even ten-minute increments will add up to a finished project eventually. Do what you can when you can.



-Do Less. One of the issues I see in my coaching practice is that people are not willing to do less to make space for their dreams. Your kids might not be able to be in two sports. You might not be able to be in your book any more. Dinners might have to get a lot simpler. Society tells us a lot of “shoulds,” but really very few of them are essential. You can to Do Less to Live More.

-Rest. You cannot pursue your dreams when you are drop-dead tired. Get sleep. Practice Sabbath. Take a day off. You have to fill-up to create something new. Even a little rest can shore you up for a new burst of creativity.

- Make a Pact. When you are spinning a dream, having a withmate can be a big help. Together, you can help each other focus, set right-fit goals, and break each other out of stuck points. What might a creative partnership look like for you?

What about you? What are your tips and techniques for getting your chore list done and pursuing your dreams? We’d love to hear what works for you, because “there ain’t nowhere to go but together.”


Rachelle Mee-Chapman, specializes in customized soulcare for spiritual misfits. She works with clients at Magpie Girl to help them find a spirituality that fits; and hosts Flock, an online soulcare community. You can learn more about her creative approach in her free ecourse, Magpie Speak: a new vocabulary for soulcare.
Friend :: Follow :: Presents!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hey! Boston! There's a whole rest of a state to the west of you!

Pictures from my trip home:

Random guy, enjoying the scenery. Potholes, Buckland, MA



Down the river from the potholes.



 
I forgot what the exact symbolism is for the stones, but these line the path on the way to the Peace Pagoda

The Boyfriend, taking pictures of the stacked stones. I took pictures of him.

Ooo... depth of field. Fancy! Actually, I really like this one.

Prayer flags that line the koi pond and woods, surrounding the  pagoda.
Some fancy flower on the Bridge of Flowers in Buckland, MA

Things I'm Grateful For - Part 8


I originally started this entry while on the plane ride to Florida, back from Massachusetts (my home state). Either the Xanax (necessary for my being able to fly – damn turbulence) was working overtime or the freshness of the trip was making the words rather bitter, so I shelved the entry until I had at least one full day “back to normal” with which to process the last couple of days.

Since moving to Florida in the summer of 2005, I have not been back to Massachusetts during the fall – admittedly my favorite time of year. This was not for any particular reason other than I just hadn’t made it up there. But I think, subliminally, I hadn’t made the journey north during the autumn because New England falls have a unique magic all their own; it captivates and enthralls you – even one such as me, who thought herself pretty immune to foliage – and you find yourself pricing houses and wondering how many cords of wood you’ll need for the upcoming winter.

"Downtown" Buckland, MA


As fate my begging would have it, I wound up working a trade show in Marlborough, MA this past weekend. My bosses bestowed their benevolence on me by allowing me to piggy-back a mini-vacation onto the trade show trip (it helped that it was significantly cheaper for the company for me to fly back on a Tuesday, rather than that Sunday).

Side note: The Boyfriend™ was born and raised in Florida. The furthest north he’s ever traveled, in this country, was to West Virginia (he was in Michigan when he was a baby, but that hardly counts, since he doesn’t really remember it).

Because I was already headed home, I begged and cajoled nagged The Boyfriend™ into coming with me, to see my roots. I figured it would be best to place myself “in context” by way of explaining some of my rather – to a Southern-born mind – eccentric way of being. In need of a vacation outside of Florida, The Boyfriend™ acquiesced and I picked him up from Logan Airport and we made our way to Western Mass.
The Boyfriend™ being intensely touristy. See the look on his face? Intense.

Side Note: There is an entire state west of Boston. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe – even the maps Enterprise Car Rental was handing out stopped exactly at Interstate 91 – but Western Mass exists. Where do you think people go to get liquor on a Sunday?

I pre-warned The Boyfriend™ -- who hates long car rides about as much as I hate flying – that there would be a lot of driving involved in this trip, mostly because my grandmothers now live 45 minutes apart from each other, and they were my priority for the day. Because The Boyfriend™ is delightful and incredibly understanding of my weirdness, he was mostly good-natured about my neurotic, road trip-filled behavior (the man seriously needs to be nominated for sainthood. I am no picnic – even on the best of days). I think it helped that my family was incredibly accepting of him (read: they just went along about their normal behavior, as if The Boyfriend™ had always been there), and he could just ease himself in.

The last time I was home, I was rather melancholic about it; home didn’t feel like home anymore. I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to be nomadic for a bit longer, until I either found where home was or I made peace with New England again, so I could return, but other than that didn’t pay my melancholy much mind. Home feels less so when you stay away long enough. It’s the nature of the beast.



I must’ve made peace with New England, when I wasn’t paying attention. Sometimes that happens to me – must be the perpetual distraction by shiny things.

While driving hither and yon, this quote from Rumi was a constant refrain in the back of my mind:

It may be that the satisfaction I need depends on my going away, so that when I’ve gone and come back, I’ll find it at home.

HOME!
Suddenly, I was home. It wasn’t just the place I was from – this was home. A sense of peace overcame me and I was looking at familiar streets through a different set of eyes. I was aware of everything and the beauty of it all – how food tasted better, the water more pure. As poetically trite as this is, my heart literally sang with joy. HOME!

The Boyfriend™, apparently, feels similarly. That, let me assure you, was not something I was prepared for. In fact, I was prepared for everything but his falling in love with Massachusetts. After all, Florida is what he knows; it’s where he was born and raised. He’s always been within a stone’s throw of an ocean – and the Pioneer Valley is certainly not an ocean; and while the Connecticut River is pretty, it’s not nearly as warm as the Gulf of Mexico.

But I should’ve been prepared. I should’ve known that the foliage would be a succubus. I should’ve known that he’d experience the first good night’s sleep he’s had in a dog’s age (New England air has that effect). I should’ve recognized that one of the things that attracted me to The Boyfriend™ in the first place was a similarity in spirit to my beloved New England. Perhaps, it’s why I wanted to take him home for Halloween to begin with – I must’ve known on some level that he’d love it.

I knew I’d be weepy and nostalgic – even though home hadn’t felt like home for quite some time, I still miss the holy hell out of my family – and the Xanax would be doing double-duty to calm my frazzled flying nerves as well as my heartbreak at leaving my family, but I was prepared to suffer that alone. Turns out, I don’t have to. The Boyfriend™ misses home as much as I do.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Update on Life List Goal #69

And it is done...ish. The Boyfriend got to experience -- albeit briefly -- a real New England fall.

Added bonus: I now know how much he loves me (read: he can, good-naturedly, put up with me in neurotic traveling mode).

Down side: I miss home truly, madly, deeply.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Observations from an airport

We're at our layover in Philly, that got extended an extra hour. I love airports! They're great for people watching and observing human nature.

Believe it or not, airports - to my mind anyway - have a whole lotta love in. I'm grooving on the vibe... or maybe it's the xanax.

Hard to tell sometimes..

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I have no idea...

If the chicken pot pie will be enough,
Or if the shephards pie is too much;
I undercooked the rice in the pudding,
But a little crunch is good, right?
(I'll claim it's how the French do it)
Salad veggies need cutting,
I still need to pack.
I'm tired.
My feet hurt.
The kitchen gnomes are on strike.
But it's a heck of a lot of fun.

One Last Thing -- and this is kinda of a huge, big deal

I was going to wait until tomorrow to post a sort of book review about Life is a Verb by Patti Digh, which I heard about through one of the blogs that I follow, and finally got this week to check out. This book is sixteen kinds of awesome! While some of it is really rather intuitive, a lot of it is giving me those AHA! moments that are inspiring me and keeping me on this path.

Cuz sometimes it's really hard to stay on the path. All I want to do, most some days, is lay down on the side of the road and take a nap, y'all.

But life isn't just about living your dream; it's about living in such a way that you can make a difference -- no matter how big or small -- in the world. You have to give back. And I don't mean "have to" in the obligatory "I have to go to my parents' for Christmas" kind of way, but in the "You know what? I want other people to feel as great as I do, so I'm gonna pay all this goodness forward" kind of way.

Bottom line: we're darn lucky to be living the kinds of lives that enable us to whine about inconsequential stuff, such as hating our 9 to 5s. There are entire countries being ravaged by HIV/AIDS, and other treatable, preventable diseases. There are oppressed cultures, orphans, war zones, natural disasters, Republicans... the world really is much bigger than we think it is.

I am not in a position where I can afford to donate to all the charities and organizations that really need my money, but I can do a small part in letting you all know about some wonderful efforts made by some magical and talented people.

I'm going to excerpt directly from Gypsy Girl's Guide here, because they say it so much more eloquently that I can:

We are honored to support this month’s collaboration between our gypsy friends and contributors, Christine Mason Miller & Marianne Elliott. As you know, Marianne has taken the challenge to raise $20,000 for HIV/AIDS Projects in South Africa. Here is one way you can be a part of this very important endeavor:
For the entire month of October, Ordinary Sparkling Moments will be available at Christine’s  Etsy shop for $24 instead of $28.  Christine will donate $10 from every book sold to Marianne’s project, which you can read about right here.
To sweeten the deal a little bit more, Christine will also include a FREE set of four notecards as a special Thank You for your help towards reaching the project’s goal.
And if you already own a copy of Ordinary Sparkling Moments, if you have enjoyed this lovely book, please consider purchasing another copy this month as a gift to someone you love.
Also, if you feel inspired, we would appreciate any shout-outs, tweets and anything else you do to help spread the word.

I'll tell you what, too, I cannot wait to get a copy of that book. It'll do my soul a whole lot of good.

Things I'm Grateful For - Part 7

Despite the sheer amount of complaining I do - about my job, The Trolls, perpetual sunlight - I actually have a pretty great life. Sure, there's some bullshit and minor drama that I deal with, but in the grand scheme of things it's really not all that bad (this fact, however, will not stop me from whining about my life -- with a startling regularity).

Every once-in-a-while, I get handed a big heaping dose of perspective that actually shuts me up for a while -- and for that, I am grateful.

Today, I'm on my way into work, listening to NPR, as I usually do, and they featured an interview about this web site, which is dedicated to featuring emerging music from the Middle East. On the surface and taken at a very American face value, that's not such a big deal. Right? Except that in most Islamic countries, being in a hip hop band, for instance, is grounds for death.

Death, y'all. These kids can be killed for being hip hop artists.

Truth be told, it's  not really as simple as being killed for being a hip hop artist. You can also be put to death for being in a metal band or being a female in a band. There's really a laundry list of punishable-by-death musical offenses. You can be put to death for speaking out about social issues, religious issues or promoting a band whose lyrical content speaks of dissent.

Listening raptly to the interviewee, a sense of gratitude came over me -- for the perspective to realize that, as long as The Trolls aren't inciting a riot, they can be in a band that speaks out against their government; that my biggest issue is teaching The Trolls when to pick their battles, figuratively speaking. Which is a damn sight better than their having to pick their battles literally. That I can teach The Trolls to speak up against authority -- to question it and to live the life they want without fear of death or dismemberment. That I can create any kind of art I want, freely and without fear of governmental reprisal.

With a sense of relief that I live here, where freedom of expression is encouraged, my gratitude is overwhelming. Today, I am grateful for perspective.

Artist Space and Pages From My Sketchbook

This is my work desk. When I need more space, I work on the floor, despite owning an easel.

Sunflowers  - rough draft, though I'm kinda diggin' it this way

Turning The Best Friend's album cover into art -- this is the only part of it I like.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rainbow Toes

I am having a wonderful, rainbow kind of day. To celebrate, I painted my toes rainbow-y.

May you have a rainbow-y day, too!

Date Night with The Trolls -- Or, How I Learned to Love Having Less

The Monkey is going through The God Awful Puberty and is pretty much unbearable to be around most of the time. I know this is not his fault, but rather the fault of the toxic combination of pubescent hormones floating through his little body. Knowledge does not equal power, when living with a little person in the throws of adolescence.

What I wouldn't give to have a fast forward button for this part of his/my life. But since I don't have said fast forward button, I am going to do my damndest to try and use his tween rebellion to impart some life lessons -- like "You can't alpha Momma, so don't even try, but because you're going through God Awful Puberty, you will try anyway, despite my warning, so please try to learn something from this moment."

I know it's going to be a rough couple of years here, while The Monkey tries to reconcile the disparities between Who He Is Now and Who He Is Becoming. Wars will be waged, he will hate me (and I'll wish I lived some place far, far away from pubescent children, like Mars), and I will try to make peace with the monster I created.

To keep me from stowing away on the next NASA mission, I do a little recollecting back to happier times before my mother's curse -- I hope you have five just like you -- manifested itself in my life. One of those happier times is The First Date Night.

I'll spare you the dramatic intro to this story, because it ain't pretty and I don't want to relive it, but suffice it to say there were circumstances in my life that found me a single mother to a toddler and an infant, in the great cold north, with not enough money to turn the heat on, never mind afford any extras. Now there are only so many "arps and craps" (that's a Monkey-ism) projects you can do with a four-year-old boy and humanoid blob with marginal motor skills, and the four-year-old will only be entertained by The Teletubbies for so long before he goes off to grander adventures (read: finds something to break).

In the interest of sparing my pawn-ables from the curious hands of a four-year-old Monkey I came up with the bright idea of date night with The Trolls. After a long, long week working the phones in a customer service department for a candle company -- during the holidays -- I just didn't have the energy to be a "good mom" and attempt to entertain my kids for a night. I also didn't want to be bothered cooking anything remotely healthful... or make anyone brush their teeth. So, I rented a movie, made some popcorn (The Nugget got biter biscuits), and we all cuddled up under our warmest blankets, in our warmest jammies, and chilled. There was a lot of love in the living room that night -- so much that even The Nugget sat still and relished it.

It was good. No, really good. So good, in fact, that the one date night turned into a tradition that has gone on for the last six years.

It always strikes me that if I'd had enough money to turn the heat on, thus had enough money for extras, this lovely tradition of ours wouldn't have been born and, quite possibly, I wouldn't have the bond with The Trolls that makes God Awful Puberty a little less God Awful. Also knowing that I don't have many date nights left with The Trolls -- time has a curious way of flying faster than you want it to -- means Friday nights are sacrosanct for me.

On second thought -- screw the fast forward button.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Monkey's new name: The Worm

The Monkey...err... The Worm is taking hip hop dance classes as one of his electives at school.

He can do the worm across the entire house. Makes a mother proud.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Some people never go mad. What truly horrible lives they must lead" - Charles Bukowski

So a couple of weeks ago, I left The Boyfriend™'s house and didn't have a whole lot to do. I was Troll-less for the weekend, I had made no other significant plans and was really just... well, bored. I decided to mosey on down to Books-A-Million (which is the only passable bookstore around these parts, that doesn't require an hour long drive), where they were having a dollar sale on a bunch of books.

I love dollar sales on books! Dollar sales on books (and bacon) is God's way of saying He loves you.

Because I had actual time to browse (try shopping with two spirited boys sometime. It's an exercise in guerrilla warfare, I tell you!), I scanned the carts and grabbed a couple of books that I thought looked interesting.

Side note: I often judge books by their covers. Or, rather, the texture of their covers. I've had remarkable luck with books of a certain texture.

One of those books I grabbed was The Virgin's Knot. The author had a way of depicting the beauty of Turkey in such a way that I have added Going to Turkey to my life list. The other book I grabbed is called A Short History of a Small Place by T.R. Pearson.

Jesus, Buddha and Santa Claus! Is this book GOOD! Seriously, I want to write like this guy. I want to be able to convey mental illness in such a candid and humorous way -- because I'm going to need to know how, down the road, if my neuroses get any worse.

An excerpt:

"Daddy said the nature of Uncle Warren's employment probably afforded him the great leisure insanity requires and he imagined Uncle Warren had spent the better part of his life losing his mind. He never went violently or dangerously crazy, Daddy said, just noticeably so, but according to Daddy there was no reason to suppose that Uncle Warren would have ever been committed if not for the combination of his particular brand of madness with Great-grandmomma Lanier's affliction. They simply did not mix."


After reading that, I have also added "Finding a job that affords me the leisure insanity requires" to my life list.