Thursday, September 30, 2010

From The Nugget Files...

The Nugget: MOM! I am not a baby anymore, I don't need to hold your hand!
Me: (Dies a little inside) OK... can I at least get a kiss or are you too old for that, too?
The Nugget: Nobody is ever too old for a kiss.

Ain't that the truth.

On Book Banning (also, I totally just used bronzer as eyeshadow*)

*I'm all about the levity. Or that's what I tell myself to make myself feel better when I interject inanity into an otherwise important topic.

As a rule, I usually don't like most of what I hear or read. No, really, I don't. It's because, in my opinion, most people are inherently full of shit or have absolutely no clue about what they're talking about. They'll extrapolate the fuel for their fire to prove a point, completely ignoring the rest of the content, which would invalidate their point.Then there's just bad writing (*cough*Chuck Palahniuk*cough*).

It really gets my goat, y'all.

Just because I don't happen to like what you say or write, doesn't mean I think you should stop saying or writing it. I'm not going to ask my local library to ban your book, or call your producer and have him fire you. That would be insane. You know what I'll do instead? Turn off the radio (I don't have cable, so changing the channel is rather moot for me), put the book down or stop reading the article. It's really that simple.

Let me go on the record, again, as saying I am not a Christian. In fact, I find most organized religion rather hypocritical, but Christianity takes first prize in the hypocrisy contest (hey all you Presbyterians! Thanks for still going to the church my grandfather's family established. No, they really they did.). I'm not going to go running around to libraries and bookstores demanding that the bible be banned, or anything written by a Christian author be removed from the shelves. I'm not going to ask the FCC to remove Christian broadcasts from the airwaves. Why? Because I have the option to just not read it or listen to itThat's right, I can choose.

I can choose whether or not I want The Trolls to be exposed to viewpoints I don't agree with, or to let them be exposed to explicit (sexually and otherwise) material, violence, radical concept or alternative lifestyles.

When people insist on banning or removing a book, it speaks volumes about the character of that person (or lack thereof). It reeks of laziness and implies that you think that your opinion is the only one that matters. And you know what? I can choose to ignore you and go ahead and read those banned books.

Actually, that's exactly what I'm going to do. To celebrate Banned Book Week, I am going to have The Trolls read the Bill of Rights, specifically:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

And we will be reading To Kill a Mockingbird together. If we have time, we might even get to Huck Finn.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You'll get nothing and like it!

Quick! Name the movie (see blog title for the quote).

Eventually, I think I'll have to set up some tabs or something for all the different themes I keep turning blog posts into. Today's theme: 12 Things... The "12 Things" series will be a list of -- you guessed it -- 12 things that I like, inspire me, aggravate me, make me smile or whatever other thing that I can list in 12 bullet points.

I'm all about the themes, y'all!

I've been having a rough couple of days. I've lost sight of my center and have felt rather wonky -- not to mention hive-y. Because I need a little positivity -- and because life is just a little too real right now -- my first 12 Things entry is...

12 Things That Make Me Happy

1. Rainy Days -- swear to God, I have the opposite of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I'm happier when it's cloudy and rainy perpetually than when it's constantly sunny. Yes, I am aware of the irony of my living in the Sunshine State. I am also aware that my living in Florida speaks volumes about my masochistic tendencies.

2. A Good Book -- I read a lot. No, I mean a lot. When I moved to Florida, I moved with 400 books -- and those were just the ones I couldn't bear to part with. So when I say "a good book" I don't mean the average good book. I'm talking about the book you just can't put down, even if not putting it down means that you're only going to get 3 hours of sleep the night before a big presentation at work, and that you can't stop thinking about during said presentation. The all consuming book.

3. Snuggling in Bed -- this one is new for me, but man alive! Do I love it -- especially when The Boyfriend™ and I wake up before the alarm and he grabs me and cuddles up again, and we both go back to sleep. Tied for first is when one or both of The Trolls sneak into my bed for a not-quite-awake-enough-for-breakfast snuggle. This is also the other reason I love weekends so much -- I can stay snuggled up until my bladder is near to bursting... or The Trolls get hungry.

4. When My iPod Gets the Shuffle Right -- most of the time, when I put my iPod on shuffle, it does horrible and unspeakable things to the combination of songs. Unholy unions between rock and classical; hip hop and alternative. I mean, it's to the point where I'm all, "Who the bloody hell put this tripe on here?!" But every once-in-a-while, the shuffle gets it so right and so perfect that I can't find a pen fast enough to write down the song order, so I can make a new play list.

5. A Good Cup of Coffee -- There is nothing like a bad cup of coffee to ruin a perfectly good day. The best way to start a day (other than morning nookie) -- a good cup of coffee.

6. The Zone -- you know that head space where everything clicks, colors blend, lines draw themselves, and words flow as if they wrote themselves? It's that place where you are no longer in control and it's the art that flows through you, as if Michelangelo possessed your body and your apartment is the new Sistine Chapel.

7. Life's Little Ways of Making You Smile No Matter How Crappy You Feel -- You know when you're having a really shit day and everything sucks out loud and you don't know whether you want to rip your skin off or cry yourself to sleep? Then, out of nowhere, you see a drunk guy on a bicycle or hear a toddler swear and you just HAVE to laugh.

8. My Yellow-Striped Pajama Pants - It's kind of silly, but those jammie bottoms are comfortable beyond all reason. Not only are they comfy, but I always feel sexy as hell when I wear them (I know! Right?!) What more could you ask for in a pair of pajama pants?

9. 3 AM -- There is something exquisitely empty about that time of day (night?). As a consummate night owl -- and a mildly agoraphobic one at that -- I appreciate those moments when the world feels beautifully and magically all mine.

10. Diffused Light in the Woods -- There's really no good way to explain this one; you'd really have to experience it first-hand, but there is a distinctly ethereal quality to the light in the woods. I want to live in that light all the time.

11. Fairies, Gnomes and Other Magical Creatures -- Supposedly they don't exist, but I'm not entirely buying it. And the idea that they might exist -- at least in someone's imagination -- is good enough for me. Maybe my nana read The Hobbit to me too many times.

12. Stolen Moments -- You know when you take a mental health day from work or when you leave the laundry in the drier? Those are the moments where you feel equally guilty and rebellious because you stole back your time from all of the shoulds and have tos, but you just couldn't resist. I try to steal as many of those moments as possible.

The Color Purple

I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don't notice it.

-Shug Avery in The Color Purple

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

There is nothing like a pair of great shoes...

To make an otherwise craptastic day a little less painful. Every time I look at my feet today, these shoes cheer me up.

Sometimes, it's the simple things in life...

On Honoring... Authenticity

Another theme I'll be running through this blog is "honoring." "On Honoring..." will be a series of entries about accepting, allowing and honoring something about myself -- and, hopefully, by honoring that something in me, I can give someone else the foundation to honor it within themselves. Honoring is something I'm learning how to do, mostly because I've find myself rather defective in a lot of ways.

But you know what? Defective is OK. Actually, strike that -- defective is fucking fantastic!

When we say no, or when we follow our dreams or true callings -- people might be disappointed in our choices. Allowing people their disappointment sets us free." (Attributed to Christine Kane, from Boho Girl's blog)

Living authentically has always been difficult for me -- mostly due to my innate fear of disappointing anyone. I mean, it could be a distant cousin, the stranger in the passing car, or the telemarketer on the phone -- I don't want to disappoint any one of them. Most especially though, I don't want to let my family down.

I'm rather phobic about it, actually.

My disappointment phobia is a fairly large hindrance to living my most authentic life, because living the way I want to will inevitably disappoint someone -- most likely my parents. I will undoubtedly make a choice for my life that someone else would not have made for me.

Woah. Wait. Let's pause here and take a look at that last sentence. It encapsulates my thought process rather nicely:

I. Will. Undoubtedly. Make. A. Choice. For. My. Life. That. Someone. Else. Would. Not. Have. Made. For. Me.

Anyone else see something wrong with that? Yeah, me too.

That very disturbing sentence really does explain why I am constantly afraid of trying... of succeeding... of failing... of taking a stand... taking what's mine... of being brave... of saying, "This is YOUR prejudice. I will NOT let it inhibit my life anymore!"

I will honor my authenticity -- and all that fabulous defects that go along with it. I declare:

I will try...
I may stumble and fall, but...
I will get back up.
I will succeed!

And while I'm at it, I'm changing the definition of defective, too!

With or without anyone's approval, MY life begins now!

Monday, September 27, 2010

SAT Lesson: Bacon is to meat as marjiuana is to __________________

So yeah. You know that vegetarian thing I was attempting last week? It's not going so well. And by "not so well" I mean "I'm practically a carnivore." I was great for the first week, but then there was bacon. Then there was bacon wrapped scallops. Then, today, there was chili.

How could I have fallen so far and so fast? Why does meat have to taste so good?!

I'm not going to let a little set back like scallops and steak binge deter me from going vegetarian. I am simply going to start the clock over. My 30 days starts tomorrow (it can't start today, since I've already consumed more chili than is reasonable or sane).

And in other news...

I've hit a rut, artistically speaking. I've been feeling blocked for a week or two and just can't seem to unblock. This might have something to do with raging PMS, then my bout of scurvy/typhoid/malaria, then some other life issues cropping up; I just don't have the head space for art right now. There are too many have to's and shoulds in my life that are beyond my control (which is difficult for someone like me, who is a consummate control freak). So in an effort to not feel so chaotic and discombobulated, I am simply going to do what I can. No more, no less.

Which means, of course, that I'm going to try to do everything because sitting still makes me feel panicky and fidgety.

And I wonder why The Boyfriend™ has doubts about living with me.

Friday, September 24, 2010

I bring you PHOTOS (subtitled: the blog post that will take forever to load)

The Trolls and our cousin, Ilana. This was torture for her

Here are a few samples of some of my photography. I'm still learning how to capture images, and I don't know how to use Photoshop. But, these make me happy, so I'm spreading some of the love around.
Ahh... nothing like relaxing by some anarchy. In the alley

Pensive Nugget -- subtitled: waiting for the crabs to bite
Macro photography! This rose makes me happy

The Trolls. The Monkey was not loving the camera this day

White box photography

I like random pieces of wood as my photographic subjects.

All photos are ©Sady (that's me), and cannot be reproduced, copied, used, borrowed, or printed without my permission. Seriously, stealing is BAD, so don't do it!

Forgive me, for I have sinned...

Today uses up one of cheat days.

It feels so good to be so bad!

The blog where I proceed to publicly humiliate myself

Why is your blog called Fearlessly Phobic?

This is a question I’ve heard quite a bit since I’ve gone more-or-less public with my blog.

I don’t know if it’s obvious to anyone not intimately familiar with the inner workings of my neuroses, but I am plagued by chronic fear of… well… everything.

OK, not everything, but it feels like everything and that’s what counts. I think.

My neuroses get even more complicated when you factor in my very contradictory nature. It makes keeping track of my various phobias about as uncomplicated as mapping the human genome. For instance…

I am terrified of public speaking… to small groups. Put me in front of 500 people, with a spotlight squarely on me, and I’m good to go. Just please don’t ask me to speak to a group of 20 people – especially not with a microphone. I think my fear of microphones is what made me develop such a loud speaking voice.

I am also terrified of talking on the phone – and am beyond relived that text is an acceptable form of communication. Text gives me a chance to form what I want to say, to delete and refine my words, so I can appear much more eloquent than I actually am. My fear of talking on the phone also has a great deal to do with my over-reliance on using hand gestures to fill in the gaps in my speech patterns (lost for a word? A flap of the hands and the gap is magically filled!), and you can’t see hand gestures over the phone.

I’m also pretty socially awkward. I tend to speak before thinking a lot, and often end up committing huge gaffes in an attempt to be funny. Most of my social goofs are committed on the phone, too. This does not help matters and contributes a great deal to my mild agoraphobia that only rears its ugly head in small settings like parties or other social gatherings. You could set me down smack dab in the middle of New York City and I’d be like a fish in water, completely comfortable. But in those small social settings, where I’m expected to hold a conversation, I suddenly forget that I do, in fact, know how to speak.

…This, of course, makes me come across as bitchy, a fact that I am all too aware of. In this case, knowing that I’m coming across as a bitch only makes the whole situation worse.

A late appearing phobia to my ever-expanding repertoire is a fear of flying. Miguelito is a pilot and has attempt to waylay my fear of flying by telling me all about the science that makes airplanes stay in the sky, so I can use the knowledge to talk myself off the ledge. But all of the science in the world cannot convince me that I will not somehow make the plane fall from the sky if I shift in my seat. No, really. Every time I jitter my leg, “suddenly” the plane hits a patch of turbulence.

I still fly quite a bit – at least four times a year – but the only way I can is with a little help from a friend I like to call Xanax (The Boyfriend™, I hope, is a better flier than me, because he’s going to have to calm me the fuck down on our trip home from Massachusetts. This should be an interesting benchmark in our relationship… “Remember that time, Honey, when you had to talk the flight attendant out of calling the air marshal to arrest me? No. The first time you had to do that. Y’know, after you meet my nutty family? Wasn’t that hilarious?!”)

Speaking of making planes fall from the sky, I am also incredibly superstitious. Logically (HA!) I know that my lucky penny has no real effect on my life, but that doesn’t stop me from lifting my feet when I cross train tracks, scream at crows or hold my breath past graveyards. I swear I’ve tried to give them up, but my life has a strange way of reinforcing my superstitious nature.

Oh, but wait! There’s MORE. Any situation that involves preparedness or being accountable, like parent-teacher conferences, training sessions for the staff at work or paying my bills in person (or over the phone), strikes a chord of fear in me that makes me rock back-and-forth while trying to go to my “happy place” (which, BTW, is a land that doesn’t have such things as parent-teacher conferences or paying bills).

Being touched also makes the list of things I’m afraid of. Mostly this is because being touched automatically makes me hyper-aware of all of my flaws. It’s one thing for me to know that I had to use an elastic hair tie to keep my pants “buttoned,” but I like to pretend that you see me as a sylph-like vixen who wears a size four. Never mind that the only size four I’ve ever fit into was a pair of shoes. And I was 12.

Like the list of things I’m allergic to, the list of miscellaneous things that freak me out is pretty random, too: goats, bugs (all of them – including butterflies), clowns, midgets and identical twins.

I can cite specific reasons for the goats, bugs and clowns, but I’ll be damned if I know why midgets and identical twins have made the list. Maybe I just like things in fives.

Now that I’ve bared my myriad issues to explain the title of my blog, I’m going to crawl under my covers and die now.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ursa thinks she's a much bigger cat than she actually is...

And Meep is a sucker for kittens and lets her get away with it.

I may be dying from a Victorian - and appropriately tragic - disease... like scurvy

So I bring you some randomness. This is an actual, honest-to-God conversation that I had today, with The Nancarita. And you wonder where I get it from:

Warning: I mention "tragedy," "appropriately" and chaise lounges about 150,456 times. It's because I absolutely REFUSE to be suffering from something as common as a cold. Because that wouldn't be tragic... or appropriate... enough.

 Me: Speaking of shocking, in case you were not aware, I am dying. From something appropriately tragic 
The Nancarita: What a coincidence!  I, too, am dying of something appropriately tragic.  I'm spending my days in bed.  I've discovered that I really like spending my days in bed.
 Me: Maybe I'm having a symbiotic response to your dying. And it will be all Little Women and stuff... except that wasn't very Victorian.
Me: And damn you, BTW, for dying. Now I can't whine and beg and plead for you to watch The Trolls tomorrow.
The Nancarita: Of course you can!  There's nothing about my dying that precludes me spending time with my angels.  I'll just enconse myself on the couch rather than my bed.  I'll make The Monkey bring me peppermint puffy candy.  It'll be fun.
Me: The Nugget will gladly do your laundry, too (no. Really. He will... he likes it)
 The Nancarita: I'm liking this plan better and better.  And yes... I've noticed that he likes laundry.  He's fascinated with our washer.  He likes to measure the laundry products for me.  It's adorable.  He even helps me sort the laundry.
 Me: AND he loves doing dishes. I don't know whose son he is, but he's not mine.
 The Nancarita: He's my grandson.
Me: I reward The Nuggets's good behavior at school with laundry and dishes. He couldn't be happier.
Have I mentioned how much I love my trolls? Because, fo'real, it's insane the love I feel.
 The Nancarita: I loves me some grandsons, too.  And I MISS them.  It's really pissing me off that your life is interfering with my grandson time.
Me: LOL! My life is interfering with your grandson time? What life? I sit at home and mourn my youth while simultaneously amusing myself by making my children do chores.
The Nancarita: I just ate about a hundred puffy peppermints and now have to slip quietly into a sugar coma.
Me: ROFL! Oh, look! You're being all tragic, too. That is fabulous!
The Nancarita: Aw, fuck.  No sugar coma.  I have to give The Sister a ride.  Well.. I don't HAVE to, but I can't think of a single good reason not to (other than preferring the whole tragic coma from puffy peppermint idea), so I need to go find a clean bra.
 The Nancarita: And, bee-tee-double-yew, do you not totally love the notion of a puffy-peppermint-induced coma?
 Me: I love it so much, that I am now officially dying from a puffy-peppermint-induced coma. Tragically.
 The Nancarita: Don't you need to actually eat some puffy peppermints first?  I'm not an expert or anything, but I'm pretty sure that you can't die from the mere *idea* of puffy peppermint.
 The Nancarita: Also... I fully expect to see some of this conversation on the wall of instant message infamy on your blog.
Me: You absolutely can die from the IDEA of eating puffy peppermint!! It happens ALL. THE. TIME.
Me: I will post this on my blog. Why? Because it amuses me so.
 The Nancarita: I have GOT to get out more.
 Me: I've also decided that I need one of those chaise lounge-thingies so that I can die tragically and appropriately.

Edit: The Nancarita seems to think that excerpting a conversation exactly how it took place needs to be cleaned up and refined before you post it, and so she asked me to edit this post. So I am... in my own way.

The Nancarita: Me: You absolutely can die from the IDEA of eating puffy peppermint!! It happens ALL. THE. TIME.
 The Nancarita: Really?  I have GOT to get out more.
 Me: I've also decided that I need one of those chaise lounge-thingies so that I can die tragically and appropriately.
 The Nancarita: Edit the existing as precedes.
 The Nancarita: Also, I would have wound up that discussion with "And let's not forget the whole LIVING tragically and appropriately -- or at least *lounging* that way."
Me: Oh nononono... there will be no editing. Well, NOW I might edit, but only to include this part of the conversation as the postscript.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Down with the sickness...

When I want strange combinations of food, that's how I know I'm getting sick.

I am going to honor the messages my ailing body is sending me, and relax. My immune system's inability to fight off this cold is a gentle reminder that I am human.

So I am going to take the next couple of days to recharge, get healthy and un-block.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Life List Goal #62 - To Grow My Own Vegetables (...and then some thoughts about compost)

I (we*) have eggplant seedlings!

I (we) have seedlings coming out of my ears these days, which is just so tremendous. It just feels so wonderful to finally be able to grow something, that now I feel like I could cure cancer. Single-handedly. With my green thumb.

If I can grow vegetables, thereby curing cancer, then why is this composting thing so damn difficult?!

The plan for my (our) garden is to be as organic as possible, using only natural pesticides and fertilizers whenever possible. Not only should this keep my and The Boyfriend's™ gardening costs down, but would mostly ensure that we won't be poisoned by our own vegetables.

So yeah, composting. Who knew something as seemingly simple as a compost pile could be so diverse and complicated?

You have your in-house versions, one of which relies on fermentation rather than decomposition. Then you have the other more traditional versions, that rely on decomposition.

You have your outdoor methods - and this is where it gets tricky. Do you want a bin or to let it free stand? Do you want to include kitchen waste or just garden waste? And, if you do include kitchen waste, is it strictly vegetable and fruit scraps or will you include animal-sourced scraps as well?

It appears composting involves a bit of science and is not as simple as one might think:

- Not enough aerating, your compost pile might get mold.
- Not the right temperature (did you know there's such a thing as a composting thermometer? Yeah, neither did I), and your compost pile can develop unhelpful fungi, stop fermenting/decomposing, or experience a host of other heretofore unknown [by me] compost-related issues.
- Apparently, slugs, maggots and their ilk are a good thing to have in your compost pile.
- But not unpleasant odors.

And really? Decomposition isn't supposed to smell like, well, rotting stuff?

The plaguing question for me is how do you know when the pile is ready to use? How you know when your rotting pile of refuse is done decomposing enough to dump into your vegetable garden? Jesus wept** -- when do you stop composting?

...Or do you ever really stop? Is it the compost pile that never ends?

*The Boyfriend™ has helped-ish. So I feel morally obligated to include him, albeit marginally.
**I have been dying to use that phrase for, like, forever.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Veggies (Subtitled: I mention bacon in this post approximately 11,987 times)

Have I ever told you that I was once a vegetarian? When I was a teenager, I announced to my family that meat was murder and I would no longer be eating food with a face.

...Or, as it turns out, any actual vegetables.

I've always admired those that can stand by their ethical convictions and not be swayed by temptations like bacon. These same people have found a satisfaction in life with the spartan diets that I envy, and I wish I could emulate, but that my hedonistic nature can't wrap its mind around.

I mean, I really like bacon. Bacon is God's way of saying He loves you! How can I commit to a diet or ethical stance that prohibits the consumption of God's love by way of BACON?!


As I mentioned previously, the whole end goal of my life list is to:

                               A. Make a decent living from my artistic endeavors
                               B. Live off the grid

In my mind, living of the grid means living in a sustainable way, one  that does not unnecessarily tap into resources that aren't essential. Since a hell of a lot of good farm land goes toward the raising and grazing of commercial cattle, it seems to me that one step toward living off the grid is to step away from consuming meat (bacon isn't meat, is it?).

Good idea in theory, but did I mention that I am naturally a hedonist? And I really like steak. And bacon.

Knowing my nature and knowing that austerity is just not a lifestyle choice I can embrace, I'm going to go ahead and try this vegetarian thing [again] anyway -- for real this time, too -- but with a few of conditions:

-Because I'm allergic to most alternate protein sources, like eggs, I will allow myself fish from time to time. But only if it's ethically farmed or not fished from endangered groups.
-Dairy products are also allowed. I said vegetarian, not vegan. And yes, I know, a lot of farm land also goes to grazing commercial dairy cattle, too. Baby steps, y'all. Baby steps.                          

-I am only initially committing to vegetarianism for 30 days. That's right, only a month.
-I get two bacon days in that month.

I figure quitting meat is like quitting smoking -- you have to set yourself achievable goals. If I absolutely forbid myself a couple of cheat days, I'll be hoarking down five pounds of bacon, while hiding in my closet -- which is where the EMTs will find me after I go into cardiac arrest. If I tell myself that I'm completely changing my lifestyle to become vegetarian, then I will rebel. I know me, I don't even like self-imposed rules (and I wonder where The Trolls get their anti-authoritarianism from). 30 days is definitely do-able.

My life list goal of growing my own vegetables will come in handy, too, because I'll have ready access to things like peppers, carrots, lettuce and tomatoes -- all organically raised. Plus, this whole veggie schtick will give me the opportunity to try new and inventive recipes. If all goes according to plan, The Trolls will learn about making healthier choices with their diets, too.

Anything I try out, recipe-wise, I'll post on here so y'all can give it a whirl (because sharing is caring). Rest assured, I'm a foodie. I know from good eats. If it sucks, I won't put it up here.

30 Days begins... well, yesterday.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

In my next life...

I'm coming back as one of The Nancarita's cats.

This is normal, allowed and encouraged behavior from her animals.

The Boyfriend™ dresses up like a pirate. I love him in spite of it... or because of it. I haven't decided yet.

Have I mentioned that The Boyfriend™ likes to go to Renessaince Fairs... dressed as a pirate:

Yeah. He really does dress up like a pirate.
I can get past the pirate stuff. Actually, that's nothing I really need to get over, because pirates (of the historical sort) are pretty bitchin', and The Boyfriend makes a rather sexy pirate, if I do say so myself. But I'm having a really hard time getting past these:

These are The Boyfriend's feet. In his sandals. God help me

These? These are decidedly not sexy. As part of the pirate costume, these work. But The Boyfriend™ insists on wearing them... as regular shoes. All the time. 

He says they're comfortable. I point out that many people find Crocs (which he hates) comfortable, and those are a damn sight better than these monstrosities. He says it's different. I pretend I don't know him when he wears them -- especially when he starts randomly polling strangers to get their opinion on his choice in footwear.

Things I'm Grateful For - Part 5

The Boyfriend™ and I both stayed home from work today: he with a stomach bug and me with the beginnings of whatever's been going around my office... or it's PMS. It's hard to tell sometimes. 

In my opinion, the best place to fight off a cold or flu is on your couch, wrapped up comfortably (in your dingiest, most comfortable clothes), while you doze through a couple of a crappy movies. An even better place to fight off a cold? Wrapped up in bed with your beloved.


I took this picture just after waking up from my nap, while The Boyfriend™ was still dozing. It makes me smile. It boosts my immune system. It is generally good for my soul.

Today, I am grateful for the psychic chicken soup that is The Boyfriend™.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Update on goal #61

The basil has bloomed! Yay! The tarragon* appears to be sprouting as well. Nothing from the dill just yet, or cilantro, but I saw a little lone catnip seedling.
Despite my most valiant efforts, the rosemary seems to not be faring well. I wonder if this is due to the pot I used (recycled from first attempt).
I am VERY excited by this progress!!

*Update: You know that expression about chickens and not counting them? Yeah, the tarragon took a shitter yesterday, when I accidentally knocked over the pot. I saw seedlings scattered. It made me sad. Here's hoping the seedlings I salvaged will make it.

Drafts of Dottie #1

First draft, essentially getting the crap out of my head.

This isn't terrible, but nowhere near the ideal. Definitely would look better in color, but I don't want to color in what is, essentially garbage.

Back to the drawing board (pun intended)!

Life List Goal #86 - To write a children's book based on my gram's life (get it published) - and other thoughts about creativity

I'm going to start work on the illustrations for my children's book about my gram today. The muse has spoken and I must answer her call. Added bonus: I have an excuse to sit on my ass for the next few days, while I hyper-focus on illustrating. Super added bonus: The Trolls are gonna be totally stoked because they get to have cereal for dinner.

Whenever I pre-plan an art project, I have to let it germinate. Germination times vary, however. If I let it sit too long, I lose interest and the idea goes away. If I dive right in, the results are often piss poor and result in a lot of wasted art supplies, which is neither environmental nor fiscally friendly, (my salary from the day job can only allow for a very limited art supply budget, and The Trolls didn't sign on for the "starving" part of the starving artist gig). If it's a project of worth (aren't they all?), I have to keep an eye on it, but without keeping an eye on it. It's a delicate balance.

I knew I wanted to write a children's book about my gram for a while. Looking at pictures of her from when she was a kid, she was always the one making the funny faces while her sisters posed politely and appropriately for the pictures. She was impish and tomboy-ish, all qualities necessary for the hero of a children's book. Plus, she's got a great name for a character, Dottie, which saves me the trouble of coming up with one. Above all, though, she's my gram and I love her to bits and I think it would delight her to know end to see herself as a children's book character.

But I was having a hard time wrapping my head around the illustration part. Would I do literal interpretations of the stories? Would I try to sketch images from the photographs? Should the pictures be sort of the nonsequitor element of the story? In color? Black and white? I couldn't decide, so I just sat on the idea coming back to it every once-in-a-while. I'd roll it around, decide I didn't quite have it, put it away, take it back out... basically, it's the hokey pokey of projects.

In a moment of... something (I don't know what word I'm looking for here)... the illustration piece came to me, so I'm going to start hammering those out this week. The pieces will be inspired by gram - kind of like movies that are "based" on books are more "inspired" by the book - rather than literal interpretations of her life. I'm very excited and will try to post pictures of the illustrations.

I don't want to get too far ahead of myself and think about the "get it published" portion of the goal. I know I can get it published, what with the plethora of self-publishing options out there. If it's good enough, I may try to get it actually published, published. But in the mean time, I don't want to put that kind of pressure on myself.

Close, but unrelated side topic: it interests me that the muse seems to speak to me mostly when I just don't feel like doing anything, when I'm not feeling "it," and when I'd like nothing more than to sit on my ass and contemplate the bottom of a bag of Cheetos. But this is also when I'm at my most neutral, mood-wise. I can't make good art when I'm depressed or happy; I'm too vested in the emotion. When I'm feeling neutral, but may not actually be neutral, the emotion can sort of just flow through me and come out in the work.

Things I'm Grateful For - Part 4

See these incredibly handsome guys? You may not be aware, but you are looking at my entire cardiovascular system in the flesh. Without my heart and lungs, I cannot live. It's the same with my trolls -- I need them to live. Co-dependent? Perhaps. But it is what it is.

The Monkey and The Nugget - Chincoteague Island, VA 2009

I can see what I'm about to say coming back to haunt me by way of various future therapy bills, but that's OK. When I found out I was pregnant with The Monkey, I set up a therapy fund rather than a college fund. After all, the poor kid has me for a mother.

When I was younger and a hell of a lot less smart than I am today, I didn't want kids. Kids were nice from a distance, but that's where they needed to stay -- in the distance. To actually have my own kids would completely interfere with my life's plan to be the child my parents didn't want to talk about. In retrospect, I suppose having kids wouldn't necessarily nullify my dream of being the child my parents didn't want to talk about, but I didn't know that at the time.

About three or so years into my relationship with The Ex (who, by the by, is a drummer. All part of the aforementioned plan), I found out I was pregnant with The Monkey. This is the part of this blog entry where I should fill you in on back story, but I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say that when I saw those two pink lines on the stick, after I was able to stop thinking "Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit!" I listened to my heart and it said, "It's time. This is your child and we will love him fiercely."

Not quite nine months later, The Monkey was born (he looked like Curious George).

The Monkey is serendipity.

The Nugget was very much a planned child. Of course, The Nugget does things in his own way, on his own terms, when he's ready and he decided to grace my uterus with his presence precisely when The Ex and I decided to stop trying to have another baby & went about making other life plans. Because that's when he was ready to show up. He was also two weeks late and I had to forcibly evict him from the confines of my abdomen.

He's still like that. The school years are proving to be a challenge.

My trolls frustrate me, infuriate me, have caused me to go prematurely gray. If a day goes by that I'm not yelling at one of them for something, I mark it on the calendar.

But none of that really matters, because that's just typical kid stuff. We're all still learning about each other.

What does matter is the unique ability they have to melt my heart. They taught me what love really is. They opened me up to the all the possibility and potential in the world (I hope I'm returning the favor).

Today, I'm grateful for my kids.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Things I'm Grateful For - Part 3

As I took the picture, she said, "OH GOD! You're gonna blog about this, aren't you?"

This is The Best Friend®. This picture was taken moments after she unleashed The Bog of Eternal Stench (read: she farted) in my car. It was horrible. It stunk so bad that the cashier in the drive-thru could smell it.
The Best Friend® couldn’t stop laughing. She laughed so much, she cried. I would have laughed, but every time I uncovered my face, I could taste the fart and that’s just not a good way to start off your day. So I took this picture instead, because capturing these moments for your blog is a good way to start the day.

It’s in moments like these that I can clearly see The Best Friend® and me, both 80 years old (well, she’ll be 82): she in Depends diapers (trust me, she’ll need them), me with my boobs down to my knees. She’ll start laughing for no reason, I’ll ask her what she’s laughing about. She’ll say, “You’ll see.” And then I will see… or smell, as the case may be.

Yes. We’ll still be doing this when we’re 80 (she’ll be 82).
Because fart jokes never get old, even if they are disgusting.
Because that’s the kind of friendship we have: eternal, mildly co-dependant and comfortable – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Today, I am grateful for moments like these, with The Best Friend®.

Things I'm Grateful For - Part 2

I finally got a good night’s sleep last night. This is due in large part to having access to “my spot."

The Boyfriend™ is fuzzy. Also, that is a tattoo of a tree. It is not a weird vein-type-thingy.

Yes, I know it’s a picture of The Boyfriend’s™ shoulder-neck-armpit area, and yes, I know that’s weird. However, when we snuggle it’s the place my head fits best without cranking my neck at an odd angle, and it’s where I can hear his heartbeat best which, without fail, puts me to sleep every single time I put my head there. The Boyfriend™ has a very rhythmic and very soothing heartbeat. Oddly enough, his heartbeat is even kind of dreamy (…and in the distance, I can hear the sound of a thousand people gagging)

It’s also the same spot where I learned to be comfortable falling asleep while snuggling with someone other than my kids for the first time in my life.

On a different-but-sorta-related note, here’s a conversation between The Boyfriend™ and me, yesterday:
(As you may remember, The Boyfriend™ was away all weekend, the bastard, which resulted in my kinda sorta missing him a little bit a lot. This how we make plans to hang out. Also, we never talk on the phone – this is all over text message)
The BFTM: Still sleepy… need coffee!
ME: I feel your pain! I was hoping that you were all rested up… but, I guess I can wait one more day. L
The BFTM: Oh, I’m rested enough to chill!!
ME: Hmmm… I think I will have to take advantage of the “rested enough” part, and invade you like Germany invaded Poland. J
The BFTM: Poland was asking for it!
ME: See? My metaphor works! Hahaha!
The BFTM: Zzzz
ME: No!! No sleepiness!! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!! I need my spot!! LOL!
The BFTM: Haha!
The BFTM: Zzzzzz
ME: You know what? You can totally sleep. I’ll just be forced to pose you in amusing positions and take pictures of you for my blog, (PS: That’s what happens when you leave me to my own devices for a whole weekend – I start my own blog).
The BFTM: You have a blog??? Well… just don’t put lipstick on me and an arrow with a note ‘insert dick here’ because that would be rude.
ME: Yes. I started a blog. J Yes, you can read it. Hell, you can even comment. But I do mention you… I even think I referred to you as “dreamy” at one point (I blame the beer*).
Can I put lipstick on you as long as I leave out the arrow?
The BFTM: Hmmm… in my sleep?
ME: I could totally do it while you were awake! Then you could choose your color!
The BFTM: Something with glitter!
ME: Oh, I’ve got you covered! Can I do eye shadow, too, or is that pushing it?

Again, I must note: how can you not love a man who is willing to let you put lipstick on him so you can post a picture of it on your blog?!

*I keep blaming the beer. This is perfectly acceptable to me.

Things I'm Grateful For - Part 1

Along with the "blogs of substance" and the updates on my life list, I also want to talk about my spiritual journey. I've had quite a few conversations with Miguelito, over the tenure of our friendship, about the nature of God, spirituality and how we can all have conversations with God (Miguelito is not frustrated with my circular conversational style, bless him. On top of being able to understand my non-linear "logic," he occasionally watches me down 12 shots of tequila, drunk text everyone in my phone book, throw up 8 of the 12 shots and then pass out on his lap. That's friendship, my friends).

Part of my journey is learning how to be grateful for what is, right now, not what I wished and wished and wished for and has finally come true. It's hard to be grateful for the here-and-now, especially when the here-and-now is rather bland or routine.It takes a fair amount of patience (which I lack) and skill (again -- something I lack) to not look forward or behind, to not focus on results and to merely be. Thankfully, the God* I know is patient with process and understands that I will most definitely fall.

Heart-shaped leaf. Photography by me

When I think about my spiritual journey and my progress on my path, my thoughts invariably turn to my friends. People like The Best Friend® and Miguelito -- the only two people who know absolutely all there is to know about me, and the only people I would trust with that knowledge. Or Adrienne, who I can still count among my friends even though we'll go literal years without speaking to one another, and who is the keeper of the closet where I hide many of my skeletons. Then there's Mischka, who's kindness and selflessness got me through the last few and very difficult months back in Massachusetts.

And all my other friends, who would forgive me for not citing them specifically in this post, because they know that I would never, ever deliberately omit them... except for right now. And only because it's too early in the morning for rambling, run-on paragraphs. Not that they aren't worthy or good enough to be written about in rambling, run-on paragraphs, but only that I am tired and under-caffeinated to write the aforementioned paragraph.

These people are my chosen family. I could no more separate myself from them (even when they beg and plead for me to just leave them the hell alone already!) than I could my children. These people are my psychic innards.

Today, I am grateful for my friends.

*I do not used the word "God" typically here. When I say "God" I mean "the He/She/It that created us all, whether it be Allah, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha or Einstein." Basically, I use "God" for conversational ease.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Off with her head!

One of my pieces: mixed media, paper, spray paint and acrylic.

*Technically, I posted this from my cell phone before I posted my last official blog of the day, but it took forever to load.

The Actual Life List (and last post for today... maybe... I'm making up for lack of posting yesterday. Yeah, that's it)

You’ve talked about your life list, but what’s actually on it.

Part of me wants to tell you that my life list is a private thing and I don’t need to itemize out every single thing on it. But isn’t this whole blog about my life list (among other things)? And if I’m blogging about it, and want to live my most authentic life, I should probably be candid about my list.

Disclaimer: Some items on the list will be redacted, insofar as they’re just too personal to be in such a public place.

  1. Learn how to make a chevron pattern friendship bracelet. DONE
  2. Make those friendship bracelets for my friends.
  3. Go back to San Francisco and visit all the touristy places I missed the first time I was there.
  4. Visit Seattle
  5. Visit Colorado (I’m thinking Boulder)
  6. Get my passport
  7. Get divorced (about ½-way there… paperwork is done, etc)
  8. Own an outrageous and unnecessary red dress
  9. Have the fairy princess wedding of my dreams (I don’t actually have “wedding dreams,” but I’d like to have “the show.” I eloped the first time)
  10. Host an adult dinner party.
  11. Cook a five-course gourmet meal.
  12. Eat Chinese food in bed with The Boyfriend™ (maybe even feed it to each other)
  13. Be passionately kissed in the rain.
  14. Travel through Europe.
  15. Hike the Appalachian Trail.
  16. Take a road trip whose sole purpose is to stop at every tourist trap and historic landmark along the way.
  17. Go to New Orleans.
  18. [Redacted – I considered leaving it, but this one is just this side of too personal]
  19. Go back to college and earn my degree in something useless, like business.
  20. Be recognized for my art.
  21. Be a published author (specifically with books that are written and illustrated by me).
  22. Make my own pottery
  23. Learn how to sculpt
  24. Learn how to salsa dance – for real.
  25. Learn how to properly cook five French dishes (two of these are done).
  26. Visit an ashram in India.
  27. Visit India
  28. Visit China.
  29. Ride in a hot air balloon (I have a late appearing mild fear of heights, so this will kill a couple birds with one stone).
  30. Visit Africa.
  31. Make my own ice cream.
  32. Make my own olive oil infusions.
  33. Attend Burning Man.
  34. Go to Macchu Picchu.
  35. [Redacted – it’s in my journal, but too personal for the blog]
  36. Learn how to speak Italian
  37. Learn how to speak German
  38. Learn how to speak Spanish
  39. Own a Craftsman-style house.
  40. Learn to crochet.
  41. Crochet an afghan.
  42. Get my nose pierced.
  43. Photograph indigenous people in Africa, Burma, Sudan, Bali, and the Easter Islands.
  44. Attend a drum circle.
  45. Visit Tibet.
  46. Ring in the New Year in Times Square.
  47. Taste 50 different types of rum (I’m up to eight, so far).
  48. Visit Hadrian’s Wall.
  49. Visit Stonehenge.
  50. Take a trapeze lesson.
  51. Have truffles in Paris.
  52. See the aurora borealis.
  53. Learn how to process my own film.
  54. Kiss the Blarney Stone.
  55. Contemplate my navel – or figure out exactly what that means (I looked it up, so I know what it means. I only consider this one ½ done).
  56. Go two weeks without a clock or calendar.
  57. Learn how to juggle.
  58. Learn how to belly dance.
  59. Become a licensed massage therapist.
  60. Work for Doctors without Borders.
  61. Grow my own herbs from seed to plant – without killing them (I’m on attempt 2)
  62. Grow my own vegetables (Thanks to The Boyfriend™ for starting this one for me)
  63. Cook a meal using only the herbs and vegetables that I grow.
  64. Put on my own gallery show, sell the art, and donate the proceeds to charity.
  65. Make a decent living from my art, be it through gallery shows, Internet sales, etc.
  66. Learn basic metal smithing.
  67. Make my own metal jewelry.
  68. Get a postcard from 20 different countries.
  69. Take The Boyfriend™ home for Halloween (we have a trip planned for mid-October, because I happen to be going to a trade show during that time. I’m going to count this one as done, once we go and come back). Done (10/16/10)
  70. Go on a [redacted] getaway weekend with The Boyfriend™ and [redacted].
  71. Get an iPhone, iPad and a Macbook (yes, I’m an Apple fanboy)
  72. Make my own clothing that I would actually wear in public.
  73. Buy an African Violet and keep it alive.
  74. Planet lavender by my front door – keep it alive.
  75. Learn to ask for help – and ask for it.
  76. Own and wear a traditional Indian sari.
  77. Make kites from newspaper and fly them with my kids.
  78. Make a fort in my living room with my kids. (DONE)
  79. Have a spa and makeover day with The Best Friend®
  80. Make a pinhole camera and take pictures with it.
  81. Take my own breath away.
  82. Quit smoking.
  83. Learn how to say “kiss me” in ten languages.
  84. Learn how to say “I love you” in ten languages (DONE).
  85. Tell my kids I love them in ten languages.
  86. Write and illustrate a childrens’ book based on my gram’s childhood. Get it published.
  87. Read War and Peace – from start to finish.
  88. Understand algebra.
  89. Jump in puddles with my kids (DONE)
  90. Learn woodworking and build my own furniture.
  91. Bake my own bread (DONE)
  92. Own a Chincoteague pony.
  93. Find and buy a Duaflex camera (DONE)
  94. To finally believe that I am, in fact, an artist.
  95. Taste 100 microbrew beers.
  96. Live off the grid.
  97. Learn to live simply.
  98. Be a bartender (I don’t know why, but the idea appeals to me).
  99. Make a tutu and wear it.
100. Design and build my own web site.
101. Learn to play the violin.
102. Learn ASL.
103. Learn to play the guitar.
104. Have a dance party with my kids, in the living room.
105. Make a thousand paper cranes (I have 21 done).
106. Make an oaktag crown.
107. Learn five new origami folds.
108. Make my own ricotta cheese.
109. Make my own lip balms
110. Travel to Turkey
111. Go to a Rainbow Gathering
112. Learn how to weld.

I am nowhere near done adding to the list, but this is a good start.

I left my heart in San Francisco

Life List Goal #3 - Go back to San Francisco and do all the touristy things I couldn't do the first time I was there.

My original trip to San Francisco was for a trade show, so I didn't have a whole lot of time to really explore the city as much as I wanted to. Besides, those hills are a bitch of a walk great work out, and I believe that my hotel room at the Mark Hopkins InterContinental came with its very own siren, because I did not want to leave that bed. I still dream about that bed; it's more dreamy than The Boyfriend™. I loved that bed more than I love coffee, and y'all know how I feel about coffee.

While I didn't have a whole lot of time after the show to explore much, each place I wandered to captured my heart. San Francisco is a magical place. Which might be why The Charmed* ones hail from there.

China Town in San Francisco - 2007

*Please ignore my taste in television shows.

This is the blog post that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friends...(now try getting the song out of your head)

Despite my tendency toward flakiness, I try to be as organized as possible. I have lists (in case that wasn’t obvious), I make back up plans for my plans… basically, I’m like a girl scout with my preparedness. Then, something shiny distracts me and it all goes to hell in a hand basket. It is not in my nature to be responsible, which is why I don’t understand how I ended up the oldest child.

So, when I started this blog I decided I would take the advice of bloggers before me and prepare my blogs ahead of time, so I could rework them as necessary. Also writing them beforehand would help me so I’d stay on topic (The Boyfriend™, for instance, finds my conversational style – which tends toward the circular – aggravating at best), without veering too far off from the point of the blog.

Of course, I did warn y’all that I’d be exploring my innermost private thoughts in this very public of forums. And that the blog was about my life.

…Hell, it’s my blog, so I can talk about whatever I want. So there.

See? I’m already getting off topic.         


The point is I came up with this list of topics I want to explore during the next few entries, interspersing them with updates on the progress of my life list. The Boyfriend™ is out of town this weekend on a last-minute trip with his friend and failing having any other significant plans, I decided to sit down and start banging out some of the blogs, (seriously, I’m like a kid with a new toy. I’m gonna play with this thing until it breaks – or something shinier distracts me. Whichever comes first). I started with what I presumed to be the easiest topic – The Devil – and wrote the blog. Yes, I did. In my zeal, I almost posted it.

Thankfully, my internet connection decided to suck out so y’all were spared the pure tripe that my devil blog was.

Seriously? It sucked.

I may go back to it at some point, because I think it’s an interesting topic, but right now it just sucks and I need to walk away from it. But my visit to Mediocrity-ville got me thinking about how I really need to freeform this blog. Even though I wrote the topic list down, forcing me (yes, I know. I’m forcing myself) to write about preset topics will make said topic turn into either some rather bland writing a la instruction manual or some preachy epithet with more analogies than is rational.

I’m a planner who is much better at winging it than sticking to the plan.

Did I mention that I’m a walking contradiction?

And that I write one sentence paragraphs?

So back to my point – I’m trying to bang out these blogs, because I really want to try to do at least one blog of “substance” and one about my life list updates, daily. I made a commitment to the blog world by setting this thing up and I’m trying to be one of those people who actually follows through on things. I figure if I have all these blogs pre-written then it’s only a matter of copy-and-pasting into Blogger. But if my devil blog is any indication, I’m gonna have to wing the blogs – writing of substance be damned!

Hey, a leopard can’t change its spots and I can’t fight my nature. No matter how hard I try not to be, I’m a space cadet. I want to be dependable – wait, no I don’t. Never mind.

Moving on…

So in the spirit of winging it, I’m going to answer some general questions from a couple of people who I’ve told about my blog. I’ve already answered the questions to the questioners, but I figured that my blog is just as good a forum as any to keep on talking.

What is a life list and why the hell do you keep telling me to write one?

I discovered the life list (see intro blog entry) during a point in my life when I was really grasping to find meaning in my life. On the surface, my life seemed pretty OK: I have two wacky yet great kids; The Boyfriend™ was a delightful and wonderful surprise and the relationship was (is) going well; I had a good paying, cushy job, and The Best Friend® was finally living practically right next door to me. I was also finally allowing myself to occasionally entertain the notion that I’m an artist, but still… despite all that goodness, there just seemed to be a lack.

Then I had a really great conversation with my friend Adrienne and she helped me find some clarity. Then synchronicity decided that it wasn’t done with the topic yet, and I happened upon Chookooloonk’s blog whereupon I found the life list. Needless to say, it changed my life (hyperbolic? Hardly. It’s actually quite true).

The life list is a list of things you want to do during your lifetime. It should not, as a rule, contain anything you have to do (for instance, I need to lose 20 pounds, but that’s not on my list), and should only include those things – big and small – that you want to do. You should shoot for about a hundred things you want to do (which is why the small wants can easily be included), but can be a few less or many more. It really depends on you and your dictates. Because it’s your life list – so you get to set the rules. Just try to stick with the “no shoulds” part.

Why was it life changing for me? Well, suffice it to say that I’m one of those people that, if given the choice between two things, will try to find a way to avoid having to choose between the two at any and all costs. I don’t want to miss out on anything. At all. Ever. But, holy shit! I have a list. I was clear about my goals! I had made not just one decision but over one hundred and counting. For the first time in all of the life I can remember, I said “This is what I want” and committed to it! Not just when I had to, but ahead of time!

Miraculously (to me, anyway), things started happening: opportunities started just showing up, plans came together. My shit was finally getting together and I was able to fill more and more checkboxes. Let me tell you, that is some hella motivation right there!

Why should you do one? Well, because it’s awesome feeling this successful without feeling like you’re doing much of anything except writing stuff down. And that success with the small stuff is giving me the balls to chase down the biggest of my dreams and goals, fearlessly.

OK. So you’ve talked ad nauseum about the life list – and you even carry it around with you all the time – so why blog about it?

First, I carry around my life list in my journal (which also doubles as my sketch book), to remind me to keep up the good work. I also try to do a little something every day, like planning a trip to Ireland (#54) or finding a recipe for homemade ricotta cheese (#108), and include the plans and recipes in the journal so I have a quick reference for the future. And  it feels like I’m making progress toward the goal by having the plan or recipe in place already.

I also like to keep the journal handy to write about those times when I’m just not feeling it and to give myself a more-or-less mental kick in the ass to get over it.

The blog part is a step toward Goal #100 – to have my own web site. You have to start somewhere, right? And this is just a good a place as any to do it. I also wanted to have my own space, outside of Facebook or MySpace, where I can post pictures of my latest works of art, my thoughts on current events, my life and my list. Pretty simple, really.

Most importantly, though, is that I wanted to add my voice to the others of us out there who provide inspiration and guidance for the other dream-living neophytes. Most of the blogs I’ve read to date are written by people who are already in the midst of living their dreams. I’m at the beginning – not quite living the dream yet -- and I think it’s important to share my journey from this point, rather than at a more successful time.

The added bonus is that the vast majority of my family, who I now live too far away from to see on a regular basis, can have a one stop place to check up on me. I’m considerate like that.

Do you really think people will read your blog?

I hope so. I hope they “follow” me and comment, too.

But you’re not really saying anything different from hundreds of other bloggers, so why bother?

First, I am saying something different than other bloggers – because my experience is my own. While I may be discussing similar topics, my experience makes what I say different from what others are saying about the same topic.

I bother because it’s important to me to do so. To date, I haven’t had the balls enough to think I was actually worthy of blogging about anything going in my life. As it turns out, I am worthy enough. So are you.

For the love of God, what are you going to talk about? Should I be afraid?

I think I already covered that part in my blog description and the “about me” section, but when I answered this one out loud it was to people who haven’t read my blog. Basically, I’m going to talk about my life, my list and my life list.

Should you be afraid? Only a little bit and only if you embarrass easily. I will do my best to change names, or give you cute monikers like The Boyfriend™ or The Best Friend®, but I insist on complete authority over what I will – and will not – discuss about my life on my blog.

I’m not a total idiot, though. I will exercise a modicum of discretion. I work in an industry that reminds me, daily, that what you put out on the internet will (not just “can”) come back to haunt you. There are some ghosts better left in the closet where they belong, and not out on the internet preventing you from obtaining future employment.

So what’s your end goal with this whole life list and blog stuff?

My end goal is to accomplish everything on my ever-growing life list, which, when all is said and done, are just steps to my ultimate goals of making a decent living being an artist and living off the grid. The quickest way to start making a living from my artistic endeavors is to go public.

I’m grateful for my job, but it’s not what I want to do with the rest of my life. It’s also not what I want to be doing in six years. I’m proud of what I do for a living, but it doesn’t make my soul sing. And the older I get, the louder the siren song of soul gets and I’m, frankly, too old and tired to resist it much longer.

What does The Boyfriend™ think of this blog stuff?

I don’t know because I haven’t told him about it yet. My blog is only a minute-and-a-half old, but I don’t think he’ll mind very much. In fact, if his previous actions are any indications, he’ll be incredibly supportive. I’m officially going on record as saying that, outside of my family and close friends, I have never met anyone as supportive and understanding of my dreams as he is. There is not a day that goes by that I am not grateful that he turned out to be more than the fling he was supposed to be, and that he keeps choosing to stick around – despite my mild craziness and hyperactive children.

Aren’t you afraid that what you say on your blog could get you in trouble?

Nope. Not really.

No, seriously. You’re in the middle of a divorce – a blog could hurt you in the long run.

The Ex isn’t all that bad and I don’t think I gave him too much to hate me for. In his own way, he was supportive of my creative efforts, too. So far, the divorce stuff has been amicable (a few hiccups notwithstanding), and we’ve been in agreement about most of the finer points. At the end of the day, we were too different and too young to do something as important as getting married. We did and we shouldn’t have, and I think we both recognize that. We got a couple of great kids out of the deal, and we had a few good years in there, but there’s really no point in making each other as unhappy as we did for as long as we did.

Long answer, short: I honestly don’t think he’ll use the blog against me.

No, SERIOUSLY. You have a fairly important job that keeps you mildly public. Couldn’t your blog draw unwanted attention and get you in trouble?

I am fortunate enough that The Bosses are also my parents. God love my parents, they’re as supportive as The Boyfriend™ of my creative endeavors. The Patere is nothing if not informational and I’ve learned quite a bit from him about taking an action down the road (as he likes to say). While I retain the right to say whatever I want on my blog, I will exercise a good deal of caution when it comes to discussing most – if not all – aspects of my job on my blog.

Besides, I spend most of my time at my job and I really don’t want to talk about it when I’m off the clock.

And if it does get me in trouble, I can always start using AdSense on here, market the hell out of myself on Facebook and MySpace, spam every one in my email contact list, and try to make a living that way.

See? I always have a back-up plan.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Basement Cat

This is Ursa Henrietta Minor, or Ursa for short. She's the newest member of our little family (read: The Nancarita shanghaied me into taking her).
Don't let her sweet face fool you. Or the fact that she's a girl tell you differently - she's got balls the size of Texas and she ain't afraid to use them. She's cunning, too, using the cuteness and motor loud purr of hers to worm her way into - or onto - whatever she wants.
She growls when she eats. She also protectively hugs her food, like the nerd in class shielding his test answers from the kids who didn't study.
She uses her paws like hands.
She also likes to think she helps me blog.*

*Please ignore my taste in beer.

Updates on Life List Goals #61 and #1

The purpose of the life list is to itemize those things you want to do in your lifetime... in no particular order. Writing the list is an exercise in free association: I want to do this, and then this. Oh! I want to do this, too!

Because my mind works in a rather sieve-like fashion, the smaller stuff tends to come out first. I get the crap out, then the significant thoughts are left there, to be sorted through and played with, like so many diamonds.

Which is why making a chevron pattern friendship bracelet was number one on my list. It's seemingly unimportance brought it to the top of the list.

...And I completed it last night!

The pattern is rather timing consuming and doesn't allow you to work in a normal linear bracelet making fashion. Which explains why the ability to make one has eluded me for so long. But it's done and I have a happy little check mark on my list.

I do so love check marks in boxes, signifying completion of an objective. I may even get a check mark as a tattoo.

I'm attempting goal #61 -to grow my own herbs from seed to plant- again. My first attempt was foiled due to some nefarious fire ants and my need to kill them. The poison must've gotten into the plants. Unfortunately, fire ants are nothing if not pervasive, so my need to kill them is an on-going battle. Que sera, sera.

This time, my strategy has changed, too. More herbs, more pots, keeping the whole set up off the ground. The rosemary in this picture is obviously not a seed, but I like rosemary and wanted it. Besides, I think it adds a little something to the overall "look." I am nothing if not in tune with overall "looks."

Interesting point about growing in Florida: you can plant as late as September. I have finally found a reason to be grateful for this constant heat!

Keep your fingers crossed for my little seeds!