Thursday, December 1, 2016

Rough Draft [squeeee]

I am ridiculously proud of this essay... and it's still only in draft mode. Rough Draft 2.1 to be exact. Brought 2.0 to class, took more notes and edits, input the notes and revisions from the last page forward. That is 2.1. Now I am going to take a break, feed my tum [has been bothering me lately], etc. When I come back to my computer, I will read top-down for cohesiveness and clarity, and make adjustments where I can. I know some of the sentances are broken. I know some of the words don't make sense. I have found that the more I embrace myself--in everything--the better the results are. I saw it with biphasic sleep patterns [fighting them means 4-5 hrs a day, vs. 2x4 hrs], I see it when I get the cleaning-ADD [flit around from one mess to the next, randomly do dishes, but get distracted by the mess on the floor, etc]. At this point in life I am learning to a) find the flow within my life and b) roll with the flow instead of try swimming up stream [my spirit animal is crow, not salmon! jk] What I mean is, I have begun embracing my own writing style and process, and I can already tell a huge difference between this essay and the last. I think I understand what Mr. Z meant about taking authority and writing with it. Of course I know what I'm talking about, and I am trying to share it with all of you wonderful people. It's just that at this point, not all the pieces are there yet. It's still rough around the edges.

I make such a point of stating this because I want to share this essay. So badly. But thanks to the culture of trolls, I am skeptical of posting it. I like to think that I have thick enough skin to handle criticism, but trolls don't offer criticism. They offer unfounded personal attacks. I know this isn't perfect. I admit it. But I expect for it to be accepted with a grain of salt, since it is a work in progress. No one looks at a painting that is only background, waiting for the paint to dry, and critiques the lack  of perfection of the subject that hasn't yet been painted. Do people even understand painting these days? Sigh. Here's some stuff to read. If you're ready to go down the rabbit hole, just know the tunnel isn't smoothed out professionally yet and you may have to do a little [brain] work of your own.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Cosmic Validation

or, the Universe Provides, when you are on the right path.

So much. So deep. It's going to be hard to convey the exact energy that I'm feeling more and more these days. The past week has been astounding. Ever since the idea came to me... everything has been falling into place and making so much sense.

You may have seen something like this before. I know I certainly have, although I never saw it used with the word or concept of "Ikagi." 生き甲斐, In words, it means, "the Japanese concept meaning "a reason for being". Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. ... In the culture of Okinawa, ikigai is thought of as "a reason to get up in the morning"; that is, a reason to enjoy life."

I have struggled with this so hard, for most of my life. Nothing has ever made sense to me. Nothing has ever driven me to conquer achievements or challenges. I have always taken a somewhat easy road, kind of mindlessly doing what was expected of me--albeit in my own way, to be fair--but not really sure of myself. Until this week.

It started as a joke. Hubs and I often make jokes about "the impending apocalypse," especially in light of today's politics. As you can imagine, we often refer to the film V for Vendetta, especially compared with the book 1984. Hubs identifies most with the main character V, but I have always had a soft spot more for Stephen Fry's character, Deitrich, the collector.  It's who I identify with. I am a collector. I am a packrat. I find odd value in cultural items that most people overlook. Also kind of like Seymour in Ghost World, with his collection of "Coon Chicken Inn" posters. On deployment, they called me a "data whore" for the many gigs of film, tv, books, and games that I would horde, pieced together from many others' collections. I spent hours organizing, filing, streamlining. It was my zen.

I'm also the go-to for research. For just about anyone. An acquaintance recently got in touch with me regarding wrongful military separations: "Give me ten minutes to get home and I'll send you all the reference numbers you should look up and read." Any time we needed to find information... who came to the rescue? Me.

So here I am, 31 years old, with a BA in English.... taking English 101. I know, right? At first I rebelled against the idea. Then I reluctantly accepted. By the end of the first class I had fully embraced it. I used my AP scores to bypass 101 at my first college. That AP credit doesn't transfer from school to school. I also needed the credits in order to go [close to] full time and get my VA payments. So I figured, whatever, I'll just have a really easy quarter. I can play this game in my sleep.

And now my life has completely changed because I accepted this. We just finished our first essay, 5-6 pages on Paulo Freire and the film Dead Poets Society. My title was, "Splitting the Difference: Escaping Extremes Through Pragmatic Application of Freirean Pedagogy." Mouthful, huh? I haven't been so proud of something I've written in a long time. And apparently that showed!

My English instructor asked to see me after class. He opened the moment saying, "Tell me about your background, you obviously don't need to be in a 101 class. Why are you here?" I giggled; I had decided to try and keep my BA a secret until the end of the quarter. But he had read my paper that morning, and called it "practically graduate level work." When we turned in rough drafts he was a little concerned, because I had used Word's Track Changes feature to leave myself notes; I guess one time a student paid someone to do this, and it was considered plagiarism. But once he realized I wrote both the notes and the paper, he said it was "higher level thought, meta-analysis."

I explained to him that I had a BA and was now going to school for Electrical Engineering. He flat out said, "You know, I think that would be a mistake." I grinned. Because as of this past week, I have come to agree with him. I love electronics. They're neat. But it's not really where I belong. I enjoy the theory and ideas, but the math is killing me. Instead... I have decided to pursue a Master's of Science in Library and Information Studies.

YES I KNOW!!! For some reason, this is HILARIOUS. And I don't know why! Other than, it is exactly what I need to do with my life. Finally. I figured it out. I am concerned at the way print media is dwindling, but as long as we have colleges we will need librarians. They are projecting a 2% growth rate as a career, which is a little less than average, but again... It's something that will never fully go away. There are even some really cool ways to synthesize this reality, hence the "Information Studies" part--for example, Digital Stewardship. Finding ways to ensure data and information is preserved for the future... without necessarily knowing what sort of technology the future will hold. I am on Cloud NINE with this stuff!

The exchange with my instructor today was just validation that I am finally on the right path. It's taken me 20 years to figure it out, and 10 years of stumbling around ignoring it, but I've always wanted a Master's degree. Never wanted to teach, not big on writing as a career. But this... this is IT.

I'm still looking into programs, but I mean it when I say nothing has ever felt so right. And to think of the opportunities. I haven't been this excited about something... well like ever, I think [except maybe developing this relationship, which has also been an amazing journey]. I might even have the opportunity to study in Europe for this. Which would be so awesome.

 I never knew what this was. I did not understand. But now I do. As a side note, the other thing that really pushed me towards this idea is my belief in genetic memory, combined with the book, How the Irish Saved Civilization. Briefly, the book is based around the idea that had it not been for the Irish Monks who insisted on copying, hoarding, and borrowing information, rewriting everything they could, and so had "backup copies" when the Library of Alexandria was destroyed. So not only do I feel this as a personal calling, but it resonates on a deeper, ancestral level for me. We must preserve information. We must pass on as much as we can--we've already lost so much. I feel this, straddling the ancient times and future times, feeling uncomfortable with the present. Things I've never had words for, I'm suddenly able to explain. Or at least get closer to doing so.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Just Workin' for a Livin'

Well I haven't been doing much working, so I have been actually doing a surprising amount of living. Have not posted in ages. We know this. I couldn't get the summer classes to work out with the VA so I have basically been floating in the wind all summer. We did go on an epic half country road trip though, which was a lot of.... stress.

I'm very exhausted with having great ideas and the spark of inspiration and then ending up with so many half-done projects. This applies to crafts, arts, business ideas, freelancing, hell even blogging... I'll get such a great idea and then obsess over it for a couple weeks and then... drop it. And then get bored. I don't understand but it is definitely an established pattern in my life. I don't call them failures. Because if I had kept the drive and continued to follow through, it may have worked out. But I have a very low patience threshold, and if I don't see results quickly I'd rather walk away than "fail." So that was a very long way of saying I am trying not to get super excited about this and throw a lot of premature effort into it. BUT. I have been sending friends prints and originals of my artwork over the last year. I am displeased with the quality of scans and prints that I have been getting recently from FedEx, so I have enabled the print option on my DeviantArt account. I have not been attempting to meet their upload standards, so for a while a lot of my stuff won't be accessible. But. I hope to keep a closer eye on this account, and if I actually start getting enough attention, I may set up an Etsy account as well. A lot of my work is commission-based, because I need a little push to get started usually.  Here's my latest, which is the inspiration of this post.

I don't exactly have a "strong online presence," and I'm not sure I really want to put the effort into establishing one. I know myself fairly well, and I could easily screw up by focusing too much on that, especially while school and work or chores are an option. So basically I don't know if this is going to pan out or not, but I'm going to put it out there and play it by ear.

Have you ever realized how much of what we say is based on metaphors and euphamsims?

Side Note: Have been primarily studying Old Norse myth and religion. Need to remind myself to write about Ask & Embla, and Lif and Lifthraisir and the cyclical cosmos theory. There's a lot of writing that I need to get done.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Bink-182 Was Right

It really is the little things.

Cash must have levelled up again.

"Hey Bubba, are you hungry?"
*wagga wagga*
"Would you like to eat lunch?"
*hops off bed*
"Okay, bring me the Wooba for lunch."
"Yeah, bring me that."
*picks up food toy*
"Okay, give."
*gives toy* !!!!!!! <--this is a big step for him
"Good boy!! Good boy!!"

"Mom, not while I'm eating! GAWD!"

Holy crap. I am so proud of this little 4 legged child right now. I can't believe what a good boy he's turning into. All we gotta do now is just work on his barking problem and we'll be golden.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Salt is the New Burn

Well, for me anyways.

But mostly, lots of fire.
Have you heard of Burning Man? If you haven't, it's this wild week long festival where a bunch of strangers go hang out in the desert and live it up. There's tons of music, sex, and drugs, but also more than that--from what I understand. I'm basing this assumption off of some friends who go religiously; and actually, it kind of does seem like a spiritual adventure. There's a sense of community and belonging that does not usually exist in the "real" world. There's a freedom to it. And also lots of paint, fire, costumes, and I don't even know what else.

Now personally, I have never been able to take Burning Man totally seriously. I mean, there are people like my friends, who look at it as a life changing event, and something they do every year. But there are also some people who are just dirty hippies who like drugs and sex [no offense to said hippies, of course]. But if you think about it, it seems like the happiest people do have some sort of annual [ish] ritual of getting away and being ultimately free. My aunt used to hit some hot springs in Colorado for a few days each year; my guess is it was a similar experience for her.

This is our version.
Back in March, hunny and I went on the Salty Dog cruise. It's been about five months since we've been back, but seriously, that trip did so much good for both of us. It was amazing. It was rejuvenating. He went expecting to wear a fake grin and suffer through it because it was "my people" and technically my birthday present... but by the first night he was just as caught up in the atmosphere as I was. Granted, he sat out the Rancid mosh pit, but at the same time he never once judged or complained about me insisting on being up front. Instead he sat out on the balcony making friends--I swear, the most antisocial, awkward, kid ever at home; you put him in a situation like this and suddenly he oozes charisma and attracts cool people.

Since we've returned home, we've booked tickets for the next cruise, and joined a few facebook groups related to the cruise. The community is insane. In the best way! To you, it may seem like throwing a few thousand punk rockers on a fancy cruise ship and giving them unlimited alcohol is a bad idea... it's so not. I don't even know if there were any fights! Everyone is so happy to be there, and having the time of their lives, that there's no need for drama. There's nothing but friendship and One Love. You know when you're in a mosh pit and someone goes down, and suddenly everyone's priority is finding the person who's down? That's One Love. That feels. That community.

So much help. So much love. No one left behind. It's amazing. If you want to go be wild with strangers, great! If you want to chill and relax low key, also great! Forgot something? Here take mine! Hey, here's a bracelet! On top of seeing a couple of my favorite bands [on a boat! and on a private island!] we were also spoiled half to death by the crew. Atlantis may have been not worth the price, but seeing my honey floating in the ocean waves with the biggest smile on his face... so worth it. The food was awesome. The whole atmosphere is amazing. And this feel, I imagine, is why people go to Burning Man.

This flag showed up all weekend.
This shot is during the Skinny Lister push off party.

We came home and booked SDC17 as soon as they'd let us. Also joined a few of the fb groups. And let me say, these people... they're amazing. They understand. They entertain. I've always been one of these people, surrounded by takers. It is so comforting and [relaxing... enlightening... I can't find the word I want] to be surrounded by others like this. I'm not saying that I don't know people like this in my life, but they are fewer and further between than the assholes. So to be completely surrounded by these people... and then to acknowledge that I'm one of them... and I'm in love with one of them... It's so amazing. I suppose I've fallen into shameless rambling, but it's a point I'm not sure if I'll ever make. To help explain, I really do think I will start posting memories of little moments throughout the cruise, just to illustrate the unspeakable that I'm trying to share.

I have been looking forward to SDC17 from the first night of the last cruise. It's going to be a big thing for us, I'm sure. A ritual, a tradition. It is something we literally need. It's amazing and I'm so thankful that we took the jump last year and booked our cabin. Everything involved was worth so much more than the financial cost.  I can't wait until next year--as veteran cruisers I know we're going to have about 10x more fun than we did this past year!

Shameless plug. If you're interested in the Cruise, please click. The lineup alone is worth the price, I promise. Imagine a three day Warped Tour. On a cruise ship.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

MIP: Meal in Progress

Often I find myself looking for a recipe for guidance, but nothing I can find quit fits the bill. So I tend to do a lot of experimental cooking. Actually, lately I haven't been doing much cooking at all, but that's another story. But unless I'm baking, I generally skim recipes for the important numbers and move on to throwing things in a pot or pan together. The recipe below is currently about half cooked, but I wanted to write it out to help me plan out what I'm doing, because I know I started with a great idea, but I'm a little foggy today and don't want to screw up the plans I had before I forgot what I was doing [slight exaggeration].

Half-Crocked Greek Lemon Orzo Chicken
[get it?! ba-dum-tssss!]

Throw some frozen chicken in your crockpot. At least enough to cover the bottom, more if you're feeding a small army. Legs, breast, bones, no bones, your choice. You could use fresh too, obviously, but I buy frozen in bulk at Costco because it's cheaper and lasts longer. Sample white wine. Cover chicken with about 1-2 cups of wine... finish the bottle yourself. Sprinkle chicken pile with olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings. I have a salt-free Greek that I used, plus some extra garlic, lemon pepper, and basil. Also smooshed fresh garlic cloves [I used about 5 or 6 because the Italian and I are trying to keep our vampirism in check /s] My crockpot is practically turbo powered, so right now it's on low for an hour--then I'll check the chicken for doneness.

Chop an onion. Ruin your make up. Sprinkle a little sugar to help carmelize it when you sweat it later. Cut cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters, whatever you consider bite-sized. Throw them in a baggie with a little Balsamic vinegar. Chunk two zucchinis, throw in a baggie with Italian dressing. Toss both bags in the fridge until the chicken is cooked. If you're feeling antsy, chop-slice some fresh spinach. Ideally, we are going to sweat the onions in some olive oil first, then throw in the marinated veggies, then wilt the spinach in last [all in the same pan, just stagger them out because they need to cook for different times].

Last time I tried orzo in the crockpot, it was practically ruined. But I figured out why--I cooked it way too much. That's why it's still in the box sitting next to the crockpot right now, and everything is waiting. So my theory is, once the chicken is cooked, toss in the sautéed veggies, adjust the liquid [I think I'm out of chicken stock though] and add the orzo. Apparently orzo only needs about 30 min in the crock, and about 2 c. of liquid. If you've never worked with orzo before, be careful! A little goes a long way. The first time I ever made it I made a whole box, and most of it was untouched. I'm planning to use about half a box, but I'm basically a visual chef, so I do all my "measuring" by guesstimating. Still debating on whether I'm going to shred the chicken or leave it in cutlets. You can top with parmesan or feta.

Update: Added pics. Also since we were out of broth [as I suspected], I did find a can of cream of chicken... added that with a can of water, and a little more lemon juice.

Thursday, July 14, 2016


I just searched Pinterest for "gym hacks."
I really did.
No, I'm not dying, have not been kidnapped or ransomed, and I am of sound mind [ish] and making this statement of my own free will.

I have never been athletic. My mom tried to make me stick with team sports, because she said it taught you how to interact with people. But between all the moving, I never did get to build the relationships you're supposed to build. Every school I'd switch to a different sport, never really able to stick with any of them. I tried softball, basketball, soccer... couldn't stick with 'em. Did not enjoy sports, or the team aspect. We finally agreed that I'd start doing theatre instead of sports to work on speaking instead.

I have never enjoyed working out. I hated PE class, and actually, because of transfer credits I almost didn't graduate because I was short one semester. In college, I went to the gym a couple times, felt alienated and ostracized, knew I didn't belong in that world. After college, mostly the same. Never happy with my body, but couldn't find some way to work out that I enjoyed to a degree that would overpower the "meh". I had no inspiration, no drive, no desire... Well, when it came to sports and crap, I mean.

Then I ended up needing to join the military. I had to get into shape before I could leave for bootcamp even. I went to the gym twice a day because I needed to. Not because I wanted to. But, it was during this time I was introduced to heavybag boxing workouts. The gym I went to [no longer in business] had a heavy bag room, with a grid of maybe 5 by 5 bags. There were a few different classes, and some were more like cross training, or actual workouts in preparation for boxing. But my favorite one was taught by a rock hard, insane, lady in her 50s. She was intense. It was like circuit training plus boxing plus step aerobics plus oh yeah running laps. I loved the hell out of it.

Fast forward. Hated working out all through the military, but was able to suffer through it because it was a "need" not a want. I had the external pressure, extrinisic motivation if you've seen the documentary 'Happiness' [not that other film with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, that was... messed up] but point is, even though I couldn't find the motivation to enjoy working out, I could rationalize it or force myself to get through it. Somewhere in the middle of my military years, I started going to hot yoga. I'd always hated the idea of yoga, it seemed somehow inferior or lazy. I also hated the stereotype of people who went to yoga often.

Well, I fell in love with hot yoga. Or more specifically, I fell in love with Expand Yoga. Because I've gone to other studios since them... And I've done yoga on a carrier after the sun has gone down in the middle of the Persian Gulf. And none of that holds up to the way Expand makes me feel. I've been off-and-on since they opened. When they moved locations, I was ecstatic. I've been going to yoga somewhat consistently for the past 3-4 months, and I am slightly embarrassed to admit how much I enjoy it now and how much of a positive change it has had on my life.

Babe has, to different degrees, joked and or suggested I work out with him. Our awesome roomie has a weight set that he shares with the house. I hate lifting weights more than pretty much everything ever [except maybe Pilates]. It is just not for me. I find it tedious as hell. But. A friend of ours has a heavy bag. When I found this out, I started to get excited. Completely forgot about it. Then tonight, I got the urge to listen to MSI. And I remembered what a great band they would be for boxing. And my goofy ass started shadowboxing in the bathroom. That's when my smart brain caught up with the rest of me, and figured out a plan for how to buy a new setup for friend [who was wanting to upgrade] and have him then "sell" us his "old" one. Tadah!! Well, I started looking online at boxing gear, and come to find out, it's not even that expensive! The store didn't have the size our friend wanted, but turns out even starting from scratch it's not that expensive to get into. We already have the other equipment [weights and elliptical] moved to the garage, and storing a friend's items comes with courtesy use of the tv in the garage... things started coming together in my head and I... actually... got excited about fitness.

Yes. Me. That's how I know that it's what I need to do. Because it's the one thing I actually get excited about, besides yoga. Because I know that if I actually enjoy this, and have a drive within myself to do it, then I actually stand a much greater chance of sticking with it. We've been putting off trying out one of the ilovekickboxing gyms, but the thought of going back to a class kind of sparked some social anxiety. But instead, me and my love can kick ass, make our own playlists, and enjoy time together and privacy by boxing at home.

I recently had a friend post about her "third workout of the day," a concept that just blew my mind. I tried to explain how envious I was of her attitude, and this is how she responded:
"I mean it's all mental in a way. I've hit funks here and there and went for long periods of time without working out due to stress of being to tired from work to have the energy. But even now, I'm stressed to the limit at my new command but working out gives me that release. You gotta just tell yourself that you're gonna be the change and you're gonna do it."

And the way for me to do that....... is obviously boxing. Because it's the only thing that made me FEEL. The idea of boxing in the morning, walking the dog, and going to hot yoga at night doesn't scare me, doesn't turn my stomach, or make me want to hide... it sounds like actual FUN.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Dat Struggle, Tho.

I'm feeling awful and have taken a Benadryl, so this blog is kind of a race against whatever length of time before that knocks me out. The reason I'm writing is somewhat related to feeling like crap though, so yeah. I think I have it figured out though... Cash goes out in the yard, and the grass is tall, and he runs around in the grass, and then sometimes rolls in the dirt too. So I'm not allergic to Cash, but he's covered in the crap that I AM allergic to. He's gonna get a bath tomorrow when I feel less crappy.

Anyways, on Tuesday I accompanied Honey to some friends' house. It's like Gear Heaven in there. He's been politely pushing for me to come with for a few weeks, and since I'm out of class I finally had enough free time to go. Now you have to understand, I've been somewhat avoiding music for about 2 years now... thanks to some unpleasant past experiences. But I've finally broken that hiatus and went to jam. I actually had a really great time and experienced music in a way I haven't in so long. It was relieving. I don't think I can really explain the gravity of this to other people, but trust me, kind of a big deal, k? I was planning on writing this whole long thing about that, but I ended up having to shift my focus thanks to my body.

We were supposed to go back today. Woke up to an allergy attack [yay]--the meds the VA gave me stopped working, and even when I take 24-hour Allegra it only lasts for about 12 hours. Anyways, I went to Costco for a few things but forgot about my physical therapy appointment, so ended up being super rushed. I was go-go-go-go for a few hours. Decided to take a nap before heading out to jam, so that I'd be able to keep up tonight. Well, that didn't work out so well in my favor. I really wanted to go. I did. But when he woke me up to say it was time to go, I couldn't. I'm not sure why, it didn't seem like today took that much out of me, but I guess it did. And so this is the struggle we face... do we pretend like nothing's wrong and put ourselves through hell so we can have experiences and connections? Or do we give our body what it needs [or at least what we think it needs] and baby our fragile selves? I'm missing out tonight, but hoping that Babe doesn't wear himself out so much that we bail on tomorrow. This is the struggle. The struggle between trying to fit in and function like a "normal" human, but also trying to take it easy. It's a very very fine line that we have to straddle on a daily basis. You have to push because pushing is good for you, but you can't push too much or you'll regret it.

The second point that I want to make is this: It was so comforting and relieving to have someone understand this. He did not push, did not guilt, did not manipulate. He made sure I would be okay, that I didn't need anything, and that I wouldn't miss him too awful much if he went without me. This. So much this. Now that I see what a relationship of partners is like, I am constantly amazed. And even though things aren't always perfect [because there's no such thing] I understand how it's supposed to work now.

Side note: Have been doing a lot of research into runes and chakras. Given the downtime from school, I've been doing a bit of art lately. It takes me weeks to do anything because I work with layers that have to dry. Unfortunately, I need smaller brushes to be ab;e to finish the color, but, here is one of a 7-peice set.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Achievement Unlocked!

First of all, my conscience will not let me start a blog on this day without taking a moment to acknowledge the holiday. Today is Memorial Day, where we take a moment to pause in remembrance for those who have fallen for the survival of our country. We pause to thank them for their sacrifice and appreciate the freedoms we have because of them. [side note: I think they'd all be quite appalled at the state of things if they could see America "the Beautiful" now...] So, a moment of respect and reverence for "those who have gone before  [us] to defend freedom and democracy around the world. "

Greater love hath no one than he who lays down his life for his friend.

Speaking of Love, that's what I actually wanted to write about today. Well, more accurately, Balance. Okay, Balance AND Love. That was the blessing my mom always asked for me. It was my goal in life to find the two. I used to think it meant that I needed to be balanced in order to find love. Turns out, that's not so true. Although I'm more balanced than I used to be, I've still got a long way to go. However, I've managed to find love, and I think it's the love that's bringing me into balance. We create the balance together because of our love. Let me illustrate.

For the past couple of days, I've been feeling really cruddy. And quite overworked with school. On days like this, my honey is the sweetest person in existence. He takes the best care of Sad Rolls. He brought me chocolate milk and a big cookie [the cookie was a surprise] and cleaned up around the house because I had a group meeting coming over. Days when I am at school all day, he cooks, cleans, or does yard work. He makes sure that I don't have to stress about little things at home so that I can focus on studies. He makes sure the puppy is cared for. That's great and all, but now check this out....

Today he got called in to drive for the dispensary where he used to volunteer. They pretty much only call him for emergencies now [but I'm guessing the "emergency" was someone's BBQ plans]. So he's a little grumpy about that, and didn't sleep well either. What I am about to say next is completely unspoken between us, unless it's in retrospect. But, today it's my turn to clean up the kitchen, make sure he has something to eat after being on the road, clean clothes, a soft place to come home and get some affection to refuel him throughout the day. Today it's my turn to take care of him. And not because I "owe him" for taking care of me yesterday. But because I love him. I don't owe him, I care. Big difference. Love cannot be tit for tat. There is a balance to be strck, yes, and there must be fairness; but you have to look at the overall. I don't do nice things for him because I feel bad, or guilty, or any negative hidden connotations. I do nice things for him because when he feels good, I feel good. I do nice things because it makes me feel good to do them. And it feels good because he notices and appreciates them. And I try my best to make sure that he knows I notice and appreciate what he does too.

We both struggle. We both hurt. We both have bad days... and good days! And we have them together. Because everything is better [or at least, less bad] together. Balance is not something you just achieve once and forget. Balance is an ongoing goal, one that takes constant adjustment. Kind of like yoga--it's a practice. It can get easier, but it's not always going to be at 100%. It fluctuates. Balance is an equal and even exchange of energies.

I have officially dried out my brain on the topic. I think there was more I wanted to write, but It's not flowing so I'm not going to force it. Instead I'm going to tape up my wrist and get to work on some of my school projects.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Trigger Points and More

So it's been a helluva week, a helluva month even. Lots of consistent stressors and more to do than usual. I got knocked out of my biphasic sleep schedule, but I've still got the insomnia part that has been keeping me up til 3 or 4 in the morning. My involuntary jaw-clenching of course helps cause tension headaches, and the extra screen time I've been putting in has caused my vision to start going wonky, culminating in a migraine yesterday. On top of all that, or possibly part of the cause of all that, is that I skipped yoga this week. I've been going once a week pretty steadily, but wanting to go twice a week... and this week I went none. I can really tell a difference in my upper body.

On Friday, my fantastic hunny sent me to a massage--he says it's a pre-apology for how much time he's going to spend playing DOOM [what a keeper!]. He asked them for deep tissue and Trigger Point Therapy, which is something I've always wanted to try. Now, I've had many massages before, and even some that I considered more therapeutic than relaxing. But this--holy crap. This was a beast of a totally different color, and practically a different species. Holy crap. Two days later, I am still sore.

But I'm not complaining. No, not at all. See, that was closer to physical therapy than massage. I've been waiting for the VA to send me for myofascial release, but they have instead scheduled me with a hand therapist--twice! And they were both different therapists! [side note, there's your free healthcare, folks, are you prepared for that?] When the massage gal saw myofascial release on my paperwork, she perked up and asked if I was also a massage therapist. I told her no, I just study a lot of topics.

So way back when, I transferred high schools. Different states, even. And of course they had different standards. Because of the timing, it turned out I was short half a PE class. Top 10% of the graduating class, but they wanted that PE credit out of me. We managed to rig a sort of independent study with the community college. And that summer is where I was introduced to myofascial release. When she stretched my neck, I could hear things breaking up. It was absolutely insane. Anyways, that was a tangent.

So she is apparently the "3rd deepest" therapist they have, and holy crap I can't believe there's more levels. She very most definitely had her elbow in my shoulder blade at some point, and the knots ranged from feeling hot, burning, stabbing, dull, you name it. I came home and took a nice Epsom-CBD bath. Still sore the next day, but at least I could mostly function. I'm still sore today, but I can see how doing that on a regular basis could be very beneficial. Also, she has Fibro and scoliosis, so relatability--she said the reason she became a therapist was because of her Fibro, and she wanted to help people deal with problems like that. I don't know how she manages to keep that job on top of her conditions, she must be a tough cookie.

My face was hurting. That's a little abnormal for me unless I've got the sniffles causing sinus pressure. But all week my cheekbones have just ached. When she was working on my jaw line, she asked, "Are you clenching your jaw?" I assumed she meant in general, as in, establishing patterns... yeah no she meant right that second. And I wasn't. So my muscles are so tense that even when I'm "relaxed" they still feel max contracted. Hooray.

One thing that we talked about, which I had totally forgotten about, was Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Basically it's a nerve impingement caused by your own anatomy [yay!]. I had completely forgotten about it--but the person who introduced me to it was also a massage therapist. She was working on a point in my trap area, and my fingers started going numb. Big sign. She asked if I'd ever had neck x-rays, which is a big negatory. The impingement can be caused by all sorts of things--inflammation, mostly, but also something called a cervical rib, which of course the VA isn't going to give a crap about looking for. It's vestigial :D

But here's what I remembered. As a kid, middle school aged, my mom insisted I try sports. I played a year or so of soccer, but the running absolutely killed me. In addition to your average side-stitch, I would get an absolutely horrendous stabbing and throbbing pain--can you guess where? Under my clavicle. Where the Thoracic Outlet impingement happens. It was the same with basketball, and even in the military. I've always just sucked it up because I figured "oh, I'm just out of shape," but no, it's actually a thing. If I may be somewhat facetious, I had a better understanding of my body at the age of 13 than most doctors do now. Kind of freaking sad.

I tried to see what I could find about kinesiotaping and TOS, but sadly there are almost no resources that combine those two topics. Why the hell not?! Obviously, if the nerve is impinged, soothing the muscles and pulling them away from that area might ease the pain. [but I did find a nifty neck tape that I am going to try today]. It's kind of hard to tape yourself in the ways I need done, so I'm having to wait until the man-thing rolls out of bed, but I will follow up with pictures and details.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Certainly Mixed Feelings...

I didn't want to deal with today being Mother's Day, but it's almost literally everywhere I look [at least online]. I have some really mixed emotions over the whole thing, and probably all too personal to rant about blindly online. This may come out vague, but hopefully it's the kind of vagueness that becomes poetic. We can only hope, right?

A very very intelligent and insightful woman who may have helped save my life once said, "the very first image of self that we have is what we see reflected in our mother's eyes. And if there's nothing there, for whatever reason--be it due to abandonment, addiction, abuse, or anything like that--it can have some lasting effects." [paraphrased at best] Now, I am not here to say that my mother doesn't love me and didn't always want the best for me. But wanting it and achieving it are two different things. As I've grown closer with other members of my family, I have found out more information about the past. Nothing terribly bad, but let's just say the drama runs strong in our family. My mother used to joke that "you would have moved out when you were 2 if you could have changed your own diapers!" It's a running gag on my super-independence. But you have to wonder... how does one gain that much independence at such a young age? Perhaps out of self-preservation... the necessity to care for oneself on an emotional or intellectual level. Our relationship was "good" at some point, but quickly degenerated over the past few years. It's one of those "out of self-preservation" cut ties.

We had some good times, us three.

The other running joke is that I "have the maternal instincts of a rock"--at least, as far as human children are concerned. Give me a puppy or a kitten and it's a different story. Now, I don't even know if I can physically have children, and due to extenuating circumstances, I will probably never find out for sure. It's a beast of a thing to come to terms with, but I was always on the fence about kids anyways. Now many of my friends are getting pregnant and having children over the past year or two... and I have a pup. Don't get me wrong, I totally adore this dog, and he sure as hell acts like my kid... but I'm not sure how I feel about leaving zero genetic legacy on this earth. My genes are awesome! I love my roots. But I guess it's not meant to be. And for the millionth time, adoption is not out of the question, but just not right now.

Puppy Smiles will have to suffice.

It's kind of depressing to think of being 31 with no hope of children any time soon. But at the same time, no offense to you moms, but a kid would ruin my life. I'm definitely too selfish, and aside from that I can hardly keep my life in order--I don't need to be legally and morally responsible for screwing up [or not] another human. There's always a chance down the road that some family member is going to need someone to care for their offspring, for whatever reasons.

Basically I find myself stuck in this awkward middle ground. I no longer carry a relationship with my own mother--so nothing to celebrate there... but I'm also tehnically no one's mother--so nothing to celebrate there, either. I feel kind of numb about it. It's bittersweet, sure... It's like I want to feel something, but can't. Even if that something was anger or rage or hurt or sad, it would be something to grasp onto, something to explore and understand.

I am happy and excited for my mom-to-be friends, and the recently mothered. Hooray for you guys. And my heart deeply, sorely goes out to a friend who lost her pregnancy recently and is coping with this holiday. I can't imagine how much more pain she is in than I. I also feel like I should take the moment to appreciate the other women in my life, who have mothered me in other ways--moms aren't always biological, I suppose. My "big-shot" Auntie has always jokingly claimed she was my real mom, and she has taught me understanding, compassion, and manners.  My grandmother, who certainly tried to share her love, even when we two black sheep didn't understand or threw it back in her face--what a saint to open her arms to me now. My Step-mom, who embraced the challenges of stepping into an empty role and sticking with it [and learning from me, perhaps, to be a great mom to her own kids]. To my friend's mom, who always treated me as one of her own brood, despite the years and distance and even my withdrawal during some tough times [thanks for chili and white Russians]. And her daughter has spent a time or two mothering me as well, usually being the voice of reason [now it's your turn to be impulsive, brash, and have some fun!]. The doctor I quoted above, who helped me see my situation in a different light, and helped me find the strength to start my life over--I still feel like I owe her an enormous thank you. JT & EK, who have mothered me in spirit, even though we're probably more like sisters in the end. To the moon who gives us an inner light, and the Earth who is home and womb to us all. To all the goddesses and divine representations of the nurturing female spirit... you don't live much in me, but the little light that shines for "cripples, bastards, and broken things" comes from you.

I guess I feel a little better now.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Getting Poked With Tiny Needles, Round One.

So as you may or may not know, I have fibromyalgia. It sucks, but it's not going away any time soon, so I just cope day by day. For the most part it's manageable, although I don't function at 100%. On a good day, about 80%... but on a bad day, when my muscles are stiff and achy and everything is too bright or too loud and a migraine is creeping up... then I only get about 20% of peopling done, and basically try to sleep until it's better.

My case isn't nearly as bad as some others, and for that I am thankful. I'm lucky to avoid most of the digestive symptoms, and little to no chemical sensitivities. And paradoxically, mine tends to get worse in the summer [as opposed to the winter]. For some reason, the summer just saps all my energy and everything is like that Tsunami Bomb song, "Swimming Through Molasses." Most folks with fibro also have something called Reynaud's syndrome, where basically any time you get cold your circulation shuts down in your hands and feet and they turn blue and cold. And of course, painful. Not so much for me.

See that pressure change? Yuck.

But the one thing that's worse than exhausting summer heat? This lovely back and forth weather we've been having in Western WA. Up, down, hot, cold, humid, dry. I can cope with even summer time if it's consistent. Once my body adjusts, I can deal. But when you're alternating between hoodies and fuzzy socks to tank tops and shorts every other day... well that just sucks. It's more miserable than it just being hot and yucky. I probably didn't think that through when I scheduled my first acupuncture appointment.

I had good luck with massage--which is also backwards of "most" fibro people. For me it loosens up the muscles that get stuck, and anything that hurts is one of those "good" hurts where it's worth it. My doc has referred me for myofascial release therapy, which I love, but so far the appointment hasn't come through yet [same principle behind the kinesiotape that I adore]. Anyways, my stepmom enjoyed acupuncture for her neck and back issues, and she advised that it's at least worth a shot. Since I've been getting more into alternative health practices I figured I'd give it a fair try. From what I understand, it's kind of one of those things that gets worse before it gets better. At least, I hope that's how it works. The doc warned me that most people tend to feel sore the day afterwards, especially the first session. Well, I haven't slept yet and it's only been about two hours since my session, and I already hurt. I'm not sure how much to blame on the weather, but wow I am achy. I feel like my neck and shoulder have the flu--it's like my beginning flares all over again. Thankfully I have hunny and puppy and snacks... but unfortunately, I also have a trig exam tomorrow.

This ended up taking more setup than I anticipated, and less about acupuncture. Long story not much shortened, Ow. But, I know it takes a few sessions to "kick in" so I'm giving it another few tries before I call it a no-go. Luckily, I've been sticking to biphasic sleep more-or-less, so I'm going to take a nap [sleep #1] and study when I'm more refreshed.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Back in the Saddle, Plus More!

So, by now you all know that I'm hit or miss with blogging. I always hope to fall into a regular routine, but it ends up being very difficult for me. Part of that struggle is that when life is interesting, there's no time to write... but when I have time to write, it usually means I'm not up to much of anything.

With that in mind, I'm considering running a series of stories from our adventures on Flogging Molly's Salty Dog Cruise 2016. We had so much fun, and it was so awesome, but the level of detail to do our adventures justice would require multiple posts. We've already put down the deposit for our cabin next year, and I HIGHLY recommend YOU come with us!! We're already planning hijinks.

After we returned from the Cruise [and our accidental pit stop in Denver, thanks to a combination of food poisoning and bad weather], my quarter started at school. When you factor in the wedding, this is my first quarter with ZERO distractions--I am able to focus entirely on school and learning. It helps that Matchu is so supportive. He takes care of a lot of the little things so that I don't have to stop what I'm doing, and I can stay at campus longer and make sure my assignments get done on time. So far, it's been paying off! Surprisingly, my entry-level engineering course is actually the most work, and I'm not struggling much with Trig. Java... well, bless his heart he's trying to teach. It's not great. But, I'm having a lot of fun fooling around with code.

This is the very first mixed media project I did.
I keep it hanging over my desk.
Part of the reason that I think I'm doing better this quarter is that I am embracing my true nature. "To thine own self be true," said Mel Gibson. Just kidding, it was totally Polonius. But yeah, embracing yourself is much easier than fighting against yourself. What do I mean by this? Let me give you a couple examples. I've taken a lot of pressure off of myself to focus or complete one task entirely. Instead, I will do bits and pieces of things until I get settled. It may seem disorganized, but I've actually managed to accomplish more by doing this than by dreading every task ever. Another thing that I am accepting is a biphasic sleep schedule. I've written about this before, and I've done this before, and now that I can control my whole life, I keep coming back to it. Again, it helps to have a supportive partner who holds such vomitously cute beliefs as, "as long as you're sleeping next to me, and we get to cuddle, it's like spending time together."

For some reason, the days that I have every class, I come home exhausted. I'm not sure why--it's not like I have to hike up a mountain or walk to school or anything. My guess is that either a) using that much brain power to concentrate, think, focus, study, process information is tiring; OR b) being around that many people in one day is exhausting. I wish I could explain this idea in more depth, but think of it in a metaphysical, personal space kind of way. Either way, the days I only have one class, I am much less tired. But on the days I have all my classes, I have to take a long nap. Instead of fighting  to stay awake and making myself miserable, I can make the best of it and adjust. I usually sleep for 2-3 hours, and then either go to yoga or do homework. Then I'm free to stay up til at least midnight, which is a much more natural time for me to go to "bed." But since I've already gotten one sleep cycle out of the way, waking up around 8 am is no longer a miserable ordeal. I'm actually settling into a nice routine of taking out the pup, making coffee, etc.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Who'da Thunk

Paraphrased at Best:
"Go home, eat the best food you can find, and drink lots of water. As always, practice kindness--And start with the person on the mat first. When your cup is full, let it overflow onto others."

From another angle: "Take care of yourself first--you can't heal others if you're too broken."
[Unless your name is Chiron...]

There's a reason the verb for doing yoga is "to practice." It's been a while, but honestly I can say I feel great. It's slightly frustrating though, and a little difficult to stay positive, because I remember what I used to be capable of... and I'm nowhere near that right now. But thinking of that word, "practice," reminded me of band practice. I think in life I need a thing to practice. I may have stepped away from the music, but I have been feeling a calling lately. Part of it is because of the cruise--they have an open jam every night and I'm hoping I still have the chops to follow a guitarist and fake my way through a song or two. My practice used to be music [and rage, I suppose, haha]. Now, my practice will be yoga [and peace].

In case you missed the bulletin, my favoritest yoga studio moved to a much more acceptable location. I used to be able to jog the mile down to the studio before I left the apartment. Until they moved [opening night was literally tonight], I had to drive over, park down town, pay for that or risk the ticket, etc etc. Now I'm back within walking range. I am so excited for that. I'll be starting a 30 day challenge on my next chance. Goal Pose [just realized that it is ironic]:

If you had told 16 year old me that I'd be heading home from yoga, looking forward to leftover Indian food, and snuggling up to my sweetheart vet ... I would have laughed in your face until I suffocated. Ask anyone who knew me, they'd agree. But now, I couldn't ask for more. [Okay actually I could, but I'm sure it will work out later].

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Geeking Out H.A.R.D.

For those of you who don't know [which is far too many of you], HARD is a fantastic photographer gal I know. She is seriously amazing.

Ethereal Sessions. I want her to make a book, seriously.

I woke up in a funky mood and haven't wanted to do anything, all day. I've been feeling apathetic and uninspired. Things like taking out the trash, cleaning out the freezer, organizing anything... Anything that requires me to adult is just not really happening. This mood never stretches out long enough for anyone to consider it "real" depression, but it's just as annoying [see: Dysthymia].

My Amazon cart was full of ideas, and I keep forgetting that the clock is actually ticking. For what, you may ask? Two awesome things. One, the Salty Dog Cruise with Flogging Molly. Two, my turn to do photos with Holly! For some reason, that's all I've been able to think about today. I guess it's kind of a good thing, too, because I've been really dragging my feet on getting the materials together. This means that I'm going to have to rely strongly on Etsy and rush orders, but I did find a couple things on Amazon that are helpful. And Ms. T, just wow. Such a quick response and enthusiasm! The good news is that a couple of the items I need for the shoot I can actually use on the cruise too: strappy gladiator sandals and a nice lacy coverup number, for example.

Which reminds me. I forgot to order spf-vampire-level. Crap. But anyways, do you know how hard it is to buy a good swim suit in February? They aren't exactly out on the shelves yet. So I'm stuck with my friend Amazon... but half of their stuff is shipping from China [which also means Asian sizing, not American]. Yeah, my self-image took a big hit today. Thanks for bathing suit sizes, you jerks. However!! After the cruise two things happen. I start back up at school, and my favoritest ever yoga studio moves to a new location. Meaning, not downtown. Meaning, no parking issues. Which is pretty much the only thing that kept me from going. In fact, they are going to be close enough for me to walk to! Score. Ask and the universe will compromise. I still have to do the hard work of going, but this coincidence was well timed.

PupDate: After the Quest of the Cone, Cassius has officially leveled up! He put all of his new stats into Good Boy Points. He's still obnoxious from time to time, but he's much better behaved now. Not sure why, but whatever. I'll take what I can get. Here he is deciding that the kitty scratcher-tree is now his chew toy:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Back-Slide Cha-Cha

Two steps forward, Three steps back. Cha-cha-cha.

I realized yesterday how easy it is to slip back into bad habits--and how difficult it is to maintain good ones. We wanted to eat at home and cook more, rather than eat out [for the benefit of both health and our bank accounts]. That lasted about two weeks. I wanted to get back into yoga. One week on, one week off. I'm not on here to bitch and moan though, more to muse. Within a week or so, we stopped cooking, I stopped keeping my food log, started buying coffee rather than making it at home... it was all just so easy to start again. But now that I've really caught the backsliding, I can actually do something about it. So.

Today when I woke up it was actually perfect weather to do yard work. So I did! I spent a good couple hours planting more crocus bulbs, aerating part of the side yard and sowing lavender, and sweeping up the sidewalk. I will probably regret this tomorrow, if not later tonight. I was going to weed the side flower bed, but Mr. Obnoxious was being, well, obnoxious. Decided it was probably time to give the neighbors' ears a break.

I haven't been writing [obviously today changes that]. I did manage to finish one of the baby blankets, but the other is still barely started. Although I dropped my math class, I have been keeping up pretty well on Kahn Academy. However... I'm a little nervous about taking pre-Calc 2 and Java at the same time, so I started doing some of their JS tutorials. I'm not trying to brag, but this entry level type coding seems to be coming to me very naturally. It's kind of like line-editing, or learning a foreign language. It's all just a matter of knowing the right commands and using 'correct' punctuation [for the program]. I'm hoping that this might be the start of me settling into a career finally.

Unfortunately, I can't focus on coding as strongly with company over... the boys are about to start playing something online, which will distract the hell out of me. And we'll probably throw on a movie as well. I could work on the other blanket, but my hands are kind of sore from gardening. I'm definitely too tired and sore to be cleaning up or doing more laundry [why is it that laundry never ends?]... soooo I will likely try Civ Beyond Earth again. It was on sale so we snagged it. I'm still not sure how I feel about it--I can't seem to do as well on BE as I have on V--but then again, I have played V for years. Plus, I'm limited to things I can do with a puppy in my lap.

Side note, Pup-date: He's had his stitches out for a couple weeks now and everything's doing well. He finally got a bath again! He still has one teeny scab from the stitches, but everything else is healed up. Except... he hasn't quite grown back his foot fur yet, so his toes look really creepy. Especially next to his other foot. We're hoping that was his last histiocytoma, but only time will tell. He'll be 2 this July, which is around the time they 'normally' stop showing up.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Feelin' Like Death

I don't really have a whole lot to write about today, but I figured since I'm sick I might as well spend some time writing. That's at least semi-productive, right?

I have a pretty killer immune system. I rarely get sick. I'm more of a Typhoid Mary character--I bring the bugs home to everyone else. But when something does manage to get through my immune system, boy it sure hits hard. Usually this only happens once or twice a year--once in the spring, and once in the fall. In college, it usually managed to hit right around finals. On deployment, I really only got sick after vaccinations. After we got home, I only got sick when we got the flu shot. I'm not sure if I've even really been sick-sick since I got off the ship... But wow, this year it's killing me.

It comes in waves kind of. I'll feel fine for a little bit, functional at least, and then I'll be so miserable all I want to do is sleep--but unable to. This is Day Four of the sickness. I can never quite trust my brain or my body. I can't tell if I need to take it easy and heal, or if I need to suck it up and just get everything done. So far today has been a decent compromise--I slept in, went out for meds, and made some phone calls I'd been putting off. I also cleaned the bedroom fan and set up the humidifier I bought back in December--the dry air has been making my nose burn now that I'm sick. I'll probably spend the rest of the day crafting in bed--I have a special project for a friend who is opening her own salon. Nothing major, but I'm really excited for her and I hope her plans come together. I was going to try to tackle the laundry and also go to hot yoga, but now I'm thinking that might be pushing it a little.

Even though I'm sick and miserable, I'm really really thankful. I love that I have a comfy bed and a sweet puppy to curl up with. [That face! It's like he knows!] I love that I have an equally sweet man to spoil me, even though he thinks he never does enough [hint: he totally does]. I have everything I could ever ask for right now, and it feels sooooooo good.

Friday, February 5, 2016

-insert clever title-

Pupdate: Stitches came out on Tuesday, but Doc said we should keep the cone on for another week, in case the healing caused him to itch. Most of the fur has grown back so that's a plus. He's been really good and I'm home sick today so I could supervise completely... So today was Cash's first cone free day in over two weeks! YAY! He has only licked once or twice and generally doesn't seem to care about his foot, he's took excited that he doesn't run into things now. I think tonight he'll still get to sleep in the bed, but then we'll start to transition him back to the kennel for nite-nites.

What else? Well, I am dropping out of my math class because I'm too far behind. I was auditing a class--meaning taking it for free, and receiving no credit--but it was too far above my skill level. Mostly because the University goes on semesters and the community college goes on quarters. So I'm taking the rest of this quarter to focus on health and getting in shape and establishing a routine--not that being sick and having cramps is helping with any of that, but hey, baby steps. I bought a groupon for some Hot Yoga, so that will be kicking in as soon as my uterus quits kicking my ass.

Today I mostly laid in bed with Archer on, ate pho [magic soup], and worked on finishing up a baby blankie for a friend. I'm one row from being done, because I don't know if I have enough yarn to do a full border around the outside. I wish my hand would stop going numb... but that's kind of normal for me. Mildly annoying to take this many breaks, but it is what it is. I'm a little overwhelmed because I have two friends due in March and volunteered myself to send them blankies. Silly me, I forgot how much I procrastinate and ADD on projects. I only have slight baby envy. It's a little bittersweet that I'll never produce my own kid; but at the same time I was never sure I wanted to. Mostly I feel bad because I'm helping to perpetuate Idiocracy by not birthing an intelligent and responsible child. However, I would run the risk of ending up with some very bad physical defects,  which honestly I'm just not a big enough person to deal with. I don't want to end up with a kid and resent them, so I am probably just better off with a puppy. This has always been the case. That said, I love making blankies for my friends' kids, and I hope that I can be a positive influence on their lives in some way. And adoption is always an option later down the road, when life is much more settled.

Just realized I have 919 photos on my phone! That's a little bit overkill. I try to go through them and clean them out from time to time, but I'm always paranoid I'll have not backed something up enough and lose a picture I wanted to keep. Luckily my phone has a huge internal SD card.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Lessons from the Garden

Correct, Mister Laurie!

It wasn't until after I got started working that I remembered this quote. I've been feeling antsy and agitated about my yard and garden the past couple weeks... we have NOT taken good care of it this winter. Today for some reason, when I came home from class, I didn't go inside. I just put my bag down, left my headphones on, and got to work on the garden. As I worked, I had many thoughts.
  • Perfection is the enemy of progress. 
  • Proper tools are essential for easier tasks.
  • Tools are great, but for really delicate things, sometimes you have to show your ass a little and get your hands dirty. [Okay, maybe I just need a belt...]
  • Work from the inside out... or else you will end up undoing the work you've already done. [think in terms of self/other... You must heal yourself before helping others. You know, like an oxygen mask on an airplane. First affix the mask to yourself, then provide assistance to others! Or like Ru Paul says...]
  • If you're going to play in the dirt, don't be surprised when the creepie crawlies show up.
  • Maintenance is much easier than a major overhaul. Consistency is key, and much less daunting.
  • However... cleansing and purging is sometimes necessary to move forward, and can be very rewarding.
  • Above all, grow. In the face of death, destruction, ignorance.... grow. Until you reach the sun. Be like this little guy.

Which reminds me.

Apologies for the tangent. Now. Focus. I can plant some more crocus bulbs now, but generally the second week of February is the nastiest of the winter up here. So I may wait until after that. But having to wait until April to plant everything else is going to drive me nuts! I want to put down some sunflowers by the fence where the pup has worn the grass away [so it at least looks like it was on purpose], and a major project idea came to me while I was working in the flower bed. It's going to take a lot of help, some cash, and a lot of work. Updates when I get the plans fleshed out a little.

Pup-date: Conehead gets his stitches out tomorrow. And hopefully today is our last day of dealing with the cone!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Zen of French Press

Quick Puppy Update: good news and bad news. Good news is he no longer needs a bandage. Bad news is he is cone-bound for the next week until the stitches come out. Damn! So close!

So. I do not like waiting. Patience is not something I have an abundance of. Near the end of deployment I always had a book in my back pocket so I could read while I had to stand in line for x, y, and z. However, I feel like if I "play on my phone" while I wait, I'm just wasting time. There's so much better things that I could be doing instead. So much productive time wasted.

Lately I hopped on the "adult coloring book" craze. I still haven't finished a whole page, but I've started a few. I didn't want to "make time" for coloring, because that seems a little extreme... but I never knew quite when to do it. Enter the French Press.

It's quite a process for someone like me. I have to wait for the water to boil. I have to wait for the coffee to brew. That's like at least ten whole minutes! I can load or unload the dishwasher while I wait, but there's only so much to clean sometimes. So I've started keeping one of these coloring books and a set of markers in the kitchen for those long drawn out moments during brewing coffee [and cooking, too]. Coloring while coffee brews is nice. Yesterday, for some reason, a particular anecdote popped into my head while I was coloring for coffee. Now, the validity of this certainly can be disputed, because considering the source it may be exaggerated.

But once upon a time, I was a strange child. [no way! go figure!] When I was in pre-school, I guess they called my mom and said there was a problem. My mom went in to talk to the teacher. The teacher pulled out a page I had colored and sat it on her desk. The assignment had been to "color the farm animals." The rest of the exchange went something like this:

Mom: "I don't see the problem. She colored the chicken."
Teach: "Yes, but she colored the chicken blue."
M: "Okay, so what?"
T: "I told her there was no such thing as blue chickens. Chickens aren't blue. She said yes there was... 'that's a chicken, and I colored it blue. So there are blue chickens.'"
M: "Are you serious right now?"

So yeah, this teacher lady was practically distraught that I colored a chicken blue and then called her out on it. It's not like the assignment said to only use real colors; and besides, it's pre-school!The rest of the story, as I was told, goes on that my mom took me home laughing, told me to color animals whatever color I wanted, and proceeded to tell this story to her mom [my grandma, a psych nurse] who went on to tell a doctor friend, who theoretically included "The Blue Chicken" as a chapter or section in his book on child psychology.

I checked today, and haven't been able to find such a book by the doctor in question.

But. Here is a Blue Chicken for you all. You can tell he's a badass because of the shades and cigarette.

Moral of the story? Life is short. Color the chicken whatever damn color you want, and if someone tells you "it's wrong" or "that doesn't exist," then you laugh in their face.  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Bittersweet Pill

Before I start: Genius managed to actually wear a hole in his bandage [which he was supposed to wear til Tuesday] soooooo it ended up ripping pretty bad and then I had to cut it off. How is he so destructive?! He's been in a cone the whole time!


So, when I visit my folks, I usually manage to find all the old photos, and start taking photos of them. I've been fighting for about two days with Flickr to do minor edits on them [just a little cropping and light balance] to no avail. I got pretty irritated and might just bail on Flickr. But then I still need a way to group and organize my photos, so I turned to the built-in Google option. Now, this is where my phone auto-backups to. Yeah. So. There's a TON of crap. At least... there was.

I was able to clean out a lot of crap. And I started two albums. Still, there's a lot of work to do. I wish my phone didn't upload automatically, but if I try to do it manually, I end up forgetting and losing damn near everything. I still have a ton of albums in my head--I categorize obsessively. Anyways, so, I get to looking at all these pictures from about two years ago. Right after I came home from the hospital. The time that I had weigh-in's dropped in my lap unexpectedly and actually managed to pass--including the fitness portion too [thank god for the alternate cardio option!]. It reminded me of when I first got out of bootcamp. So then I went on facebook and looked at those pictures.

Wow. Seriously, wow.

Now granted... Since then I have hit two deployments, gone through a divorce, been diagnosed with a handful of wonderful syndromes, left the military, and been on a terrible medication regimen. But wow. I'm not going to give numbers or after-pics, just know that I'm not healthy. To say I'm not happy with my current weight is an understatement--but if you've known me for any length of time, you know this is generally normal. But to rub my own nose in it... to see what I am capable of... I can't tell if I'm frustrated or inspired.

Trying to stay positive: I have been home from vacation for about two weeks now [I think]. Rather than ruin vacation, I decided to start my journey once I got home. So far, I can at least boast this: two weeks.

--Step one was to get off the medication. Check.
--Step two was to stop eating out. Semi-check. I still have to hit the deli now and then, but it's not too hard to get semi-healthy choices from a couple places around town. Sushi now and then, or a sandwich on a high pain day, things like that. But the concept is, cook at home and control ingredients. Now if I could just get portion control down!
--Step three is the hydration step. I've never been big on sodas, but I generally avoid water like the plague. I tend to drink too much coffee throughout the day--and I'm talking like a 24 oz latte. Instead, I've switched to a French Press at home, which is good for about two cups a day. I;m also doing better about water in general. Semi-check.
--Step four is the one I hate the most... exercise. Chalk it up to the depression/dysthymia issue, but on a logic level, I know that once I'm finished working out I'll feel better. But it's everything that leads up to that point that makes me drag my feet and avoid it. We now have a weight set at home, so I need to be hitting that twice a week. Ideally, I want to do hot yoga twice a week, but the puppy can't be unsupervised yet so that's out. I could do regular yoga at home... *effort*. The one thing I can't avoid, though, is walking to class. So instead of taking a full courseload while I try to get my health in order, I am auditing a class at my old college. It's free, but I get no credit. But. Class is walking distance from my house. But so far I have only been to one class. Hopefully this works. Not-Quite-Check-at-All.
--Step five is another really easy one that I've been avoiding. There are a handful of supplements that I know work for me, both for pain and weight loss. I should be taking them. I have I think all of them. Why don't I take them? I hate pills. And I haven't established my routine yet. [that's just an excuse].

Anyways, thanks for bearing with me. I needed to vent, if you could call it that. I don't want to be a health food gym rat. But at the same time... I kind of need to be. At least for right now.