chronic illness, confession, depression, entertainment, family, fibro, food, gratitude, home, journey, Lately, list, marriage, music, rant, self care

It’s Friday I’m in love…

Well, I’ll start by being blatantly honest… My least favorite thing this week was the weather which went from -20 (with wind chill factors) to a toasty 55 degrees. Our 55 degree Thursday, (of which, to be clear, I am in huge favor of) took away our snow, left everything soggy and morphed into today. Today it is 20, with a wind chill factor of 7. (SEVEN!!!) Oh yeah, and we accumulated 3″ of snow within one hour. Lucky us, it is still snowing, and it took about 10 minutes for mine and Elenor’s deep set footprints to be covered up.

If there is one thing Elenor can not stand, it is fresh untouched snow. She finds the mere thought of it offensive. (other things which equally make this list include, but are not limited to: breakfast being late; dinner being late; socks laying around; gloves laying around; La La Land (the film, she loves the soundtrack) and Leah Remini’s Scientology show. (Re: the latter, I think it is because she feels so much empathy really, she just can’t bring herself to not get passionate about it. Elenor is such an advocate. This may, in fact, be the motivation behind the sock/glove issues as well. She feels strongly that socks and gloves belong on hands and feet. When she finds them elsewhere, she will promptly carry them over to me, drop them at my feet and look at me with sheer disgust. See? ADVOCATE…))

Getting on with the reasons we are actually here today, and not my Overlook Hotel volume of stir crazy nonsense. (But let’s be real for a second. If Jack had had access to the internet and communication with others, it is fair to speculate none of that horrible ax wielding would have occurred. In the current day adaptation I guess Jack would simply have connected with a long lost high school friend, via Facebook, and had a torrid online affair leaving Danny to still go a little crazy… They were doomed any way you look at it.)

I’ve dutifully been jotting down the awesome things I want to share with you. The cool things I’ve really loved this week. Full disclaimer though, I’m super overwhelmed, struggling with some depression, LOTS of sadness and so, maybe these details will have an affect on my top five. Then again, maybe they won’t. At any rate, I felt you should know…

1.) After weeks and weeks of procrastination, and the urging of those who truly know me, I have finally signed up for Fantasy Movie League. It’s super cool, so far, but I think I wish it were a little more socially interactive. I’ll let you know how my first box office goes!

2.) It is Awards Season (My favorite of all seasons, of course) and while literally everyone has morphed into lemmings, chanting Oprah and running right off a cliff (no offense to Oprah lovers, It was a great speech.) but I’m all over here in a camp of one, with tears in my eyes over Guillermo Del Toro’s acceptance speech. I absolutely love this speech, so much! As a writer, as a dreamer, as a human being, it is just lovely!  Maybe it is because he followed Oprah’s presidential teaser, and so the masses were still a little dazed? (also, it’s a little funny and sad to see how guilty and victimized these men seem just by BEING MEN, after Natalie’s remark.) (plus, I REALLY love his movies!) (lastly, this was a refreshing turn of the evening when Stedman no longer seemed comatose, and finally charged to life… I know, it was Oprah’s speech.)

3.) If we interact at all, in real life, then you’ve likely already heard your fill of my happiness over this non-revolutionary idea… You guys, I’ve been putting cinnamon in my ground coffee beans, when I brew them. It’s a game changer and super awesome. The end.

4.) I’m taking my husband to see these guys. They are AMAZING! How they never crossed my radar before, I do not know! (I mean, SERIOUSLY!!!!)

5.) Ryan Murphy is an absolute tv genius. I may not love everything he does, but let’s face it- he kind of makes something for everyone. There is no limit to his creativity, vision, story-weaving, and art. Obviously, I am a big fan! His new show 9-1-1 does NOT disappoint! So great!

There you have it… My life, these days, needs all the happy bursts of sunlight that can be offered, so if you’ve got something awesome to share- PLEASE do!

beautiful, confession, entertainment, family, friendship, gratitude, home, journey, Lately, list, marriage, parenting, rant, self care, travel

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

This morning I am sipping Holiday Blend coffee from my Seattle cup. Because I really love these Friday posts, Friday mornings tend to be a time of reflection. Even though it is already the 17th, this is my first Friday post of November. We can blame this on many things… There was lots of traveling, lots and lots of quality time with some of my favorite people, more traveling, more quality time, half a dozen long doctors visits, a conference, quality time with the stranger-as-of-late, whom I share a home with- (this would be Chw, of course, though we had barely seen each other since mid-September!) a week-long battle with a seasonal illness all sprinkled with some work stuff and the menial tasks of adulting…

Over the weeks since my last FIIL post, I have been keeping a list of things to share with you! Full disclosure, however, what tops the list (and is not super sharable via links anyway) is getting to spend time with my son, his wife and their beautiful baby girl. (You guys, she has the best head of silky curls, and so much personality and so many expressions, and she is so smart and funny and amazing…)

This will top all of this lists, all of the time…

Now that I have made my position on the matter pretty clear, here are the things I’m loving this week…

1.) Coffee! This is also a huge relief to me. You see, people in the midwest just don’t get it. They may be trained, and know things to the best of their abilities (generalization… I am sure some people do get it, just not the ones I usually encounter.) The PNW gets it. While they may not have invented coffee or the many delectable drinks one can whip up, with coffee, the PNW really is responsible for this bliss being such a part of American culture. (note: NO, I do not give Starbucks all of the credit. In the midwest, Starbucks is kind of the IT thing. And I get it, I love a good Starbucks drink as much as the next person, BUT there, well- Starbucks isn’t the IT thing. It’s the sheep thing, and for anyone else who just wants an awesome coffee, there are TONS of other options.) Anyway, this is quickly becoming a coffee post and that isn’t my intention. Let’s not squabble over Starbucks, ok?

While I was home I had coffee from all of my favorite Idaho places, and it was heaven. (I was also really, really caffeinated.) Coming home, I shipped some beans from my favorite Boise coffee roaster, (which is tragically lost in the mail forever, I’m afraid, along with about $200 of other things… BOO) When the crushing reality that I was out of my Storyville coffee (favorite coffee EVER) and my Dawson Taylor coffee was lost in the mail (forever), my husband consoled me with the news that Starbucks Holiday Blend was now out! What?!?! This is, in our (And many other people’s) opinion, this is the only really palatable Starbucks coffee. Christmas angels rang out their Hallelujahs and all was right with the world… (Minus the previously mentioned illness, the husband’s back injury, the bitter cold weather, etc…) But, you guys… Then something even more wonderful happened! Storyville sent an email about a free shipping promotion (LoveEverybody is the code, what are you waiting for??? AMAZING Coffee AND it supports a good cause!) Since I hadn’t been able to get in there and stock up, while I was in Washington, this was amazing news! (plus, lets face it, it would just have been lost in the black hole of the US postal service anyway.)

2.) My awesome friend (who I love so dearly and miss already!!! You know who you are… COME TO MICHIGAN!!!) showed me this amazing weather app called What The Forecast?. Here’s the thing, weather typically sucks, right? And we all kinda want to complain about it, and complaining about it only makes us (or me) feel crappier. But what if you had a weather app that complained about the forecast for you, and in such a negatively funny way that you looked at the forecast and then LAUGHED with joy, AND THEN reached out to share that laugh with someone you love, (you may not do that, but I do. All of the time, because it is seriously super funny) pretty genius right? This app is fantastic! (and so accurate re: the forecast AND the sentiment.) (**IF you find yourself offended by things like the general use of profanity than good news! You can have the app edited to state the same funny things, but in a less crude way, profanity free!)

3.) Flying has changed a lot. This was my first time flying in a decade, and to celebrate I decided to fly on five planes over the span of 15 days. (Bold move, I know.) Security is a nightmare (seriously, EVERY TIME… And depending on the airport, such things as Essential Oil cough drops or a cut out in a dress may be seen as contraband and HIGHLY threatening.) After I was in Washington I stumbled upon an article about a Michigan man who had SEVERAL guns and ammo in his carry on. Naturally they found him and naturally he was arrested. Rumor has it, it was a bigger terror plot. Here’s my question though, what the heck size of cajones do you have to think those things will simply slip by? Had he also not flown in a decade? THEY CHECK, SCAN, SWIPE and XRAY EVERYTHING. My bag was hand searched every time. I was put in what is equivalent to an airport time out for COUGH DROPS. Every inch of my body was shown more affection that a stranger has ever had the privilege, in both Detroit and Seattle. (I wanted to find the article and link it for your reading pleasure, but what I found instead were 4 separate instances of other people with impossibly large cajones attempting the same stupid thing- SINCE JULY. I mean, what the? I wouldn’t even attempt fingernail clippers, I was so nervous about it.)

That rant aside, Flying has changed a lot. I was able to track my flight on the tv screen in front of me. My bag texted me when it was safely on the plane, when it securely made my connection and when it was safely off the plan. After the luggage nightmare I had in 2006 in LA, this is the most geniusly wonderful thing in the history of travel- EVER. You get real snacks (Kind bar please, no nuts for me), have the option to purchase meals AND free wifi to Imessage (or FB message) til your hearts content. All in all, well worth the molestation and need to re-pack (over and over again) when awesome people are waiting for you on the other side.

4.) Catstudio is SUPER fun! Specifically THESE. (I want so, so badly, to have four of them.) I’ve seen them in person, and they are amazing!

5.) Christmas movies! (I know that was the topic of my last post, but seriously… It’s Christmas time!) The movies I’m referring to are the two Christmas movies currently in the theater. (Both parentally themed, oddly enough.) The first one being Daddy’s Home 2. I loved Daddy’s Home and was super cautious of this one because, well, it’s a sequel AND Mel Gibson is in it. (I found myself screaming, why??? Why???? when I first saw the announcement.) I had minimal expectations (which might be the best way to go in to any movie) and I absolutely loved it. I mean, LOVED IT! We laughed so hard, and the funny thing about Mel Gibson’s character (in the movie) is that he just sucks and everyone accepts it. (#typecast ???) It was endearing and funny (SO FUNNY) and we had a great time! The second one is Bad Mom’s Christmas. (I am going to stop right here and say that I realize I have some readers who fall on the more conservative spectrum of things and that is totally ok. TOTALLY. I absolutely respect that conviction. So, those of you who are there- this movie isn’t for you.) I saw it in Boise with my bestie and, honestly, I was really disappointed. It had some funny parts, but the one thing I CANNOT stand being used in entertainment is little kids using BIG profanity. I just can’t… And since this happened at the very start of the movie, I think I was just irritated for the rest of it. Once I was back home and settled, I kept seeing trailers for it and remembering not only the really funny stuff but also the pretty deep point of the gigantically emphasized caricatures of the storyline too. Chw had really liked the first one and had really wanted to see the second one, (I would have known this had we not been separated by thousands of miles of ocean and land for two months) and so after a really stress filled day of hospitals and annoying doctors, (so many doctors) we went to see it. Knowing the big evil was there, (you know, the kid/profanity bit) I was able to really enjoy the movie and it was still so very, very funny.

So, I guess it isn’t super terrible that it’s a lengthier post, since it’s representing an entire month, right? But now what should you do, after investing the time in this novella? You should go buy some Storyville coffee (you will not be sorry!) and then enter my Christmas giveaway!

home, journey, rant

Good mourning…

We live in a time when our senses are bombarded with distractions on a continual basis. At the same time, as we battle this truth in even the most basic of times, we are encouraged to live simply, take in our moment and just be. It is almost like we are simply setting ourselves up for failure and the habitual guilting of self because we try to slow down and take in the moment, but our way of life usually won’t let us.

Until our way of life makes time stop.

I do not know anyone who has been wounded/injured/killed in this Vegas tragedy. I do not know the transgender teen who was brutally murdered in MO. I do not know anyone personally who has been affected by the devastating weather in Mexico, Puerto Rico, etc… I realize this makes my world seem so small, since the tendrils of these tragic reaches spread out so far. (The realist taking up residence in my brain uses this opportunity to point out that my time will come, and I shudder.)

I spent the stolen, few free moments of my weekend devouring a book that talks about the necessity of slowing down and living present, in the moment. I fell asleep praying, as I usually do, and I kind of vowing, brain groggily, to practice the slow/present in the morning.

Morning came hard, slamming my little untouched reality. While I do not personally know anyone altered by such brutality, this does not mean that I am not affected. I should be affected, we all should. Waking to such horror does not make me want to live in the moment. It makes me want to play a game on my phone, busy myself with mindless activity and escape from the moment. As the death and injured Las Vegas tolls rise, as my mind has to comprehend what four people did to one soul- I want desperately to be present in a different moment.

And then I chastise myself because I am so selfish. So many people DO know, do LOVE, people lost and broken by these things. Who am I to feel I deserve something different? I don’t.

I deserve to be in those trenches of hell just as much as any other person, and no one deserves it at all. The only thing stopping this from being my reality is a few details. As these things continue to happen, (and grow in severity), there is no protecting me next time.

So, I keep my promise and I intentionally practice living in this moment. This awful, terrifying, hopeless moment. Why, God? Why did this happen? How could this happen? Why is this the time I need to focus and be, and practice intentionally savoring my life? Life… Why?

Here’s why: Because I did this. We did this. Each one of us are at fault for these unspeakable things. I am sorry if that is uncomfortable, but it’s true. I am sure that someone reading this will think, offended by my words, (off course offended, I mean, isn’t that part of the problem?) and defensively remark that they would NEVER carry a gun to a hotel room and aim it at unsuspectingly HAPPY people (because 9 times out of ten, concerts are a happy place.) That same person while declare that, though may not agree with transgender equality, they would never stab and mutilate someone because of it… And yet, the internet is full of faceless people hiding behind their booming fonted arguments and opinions. The words found on the internet inspire suicides in CHILDREN. We are all so busy disconnecting from real life relationships/people/community to attack and lash out on those who disagree with us online, because it is safer that way. Is it safer that way? Look at suicide rates… Look at the state of things. We are all so macro focussed on ourselves, our thoughts, our opinions. We are all so ME FOCUSSED, that we are missing the people planning the violent ends. We are missing it. In a time when the culture is touting about how WOKE they are, maybe we are more asleep than ever. Actually no, we aren’t. We are simply laying there, eyes closed, pretending we are.

Your average home burglar will target a darker, quieter neighborhood, where everyone keeps to themselves. They neighborhoods with watches, who form a community, that’s another story. While things may still happen there, (it’s life… bad things happen) those neighbors take care of each other. THERE IS POWER in relationship. In love. In loving people, even when we don’t understand them/agree with them/etc.

Whether from Terrorists, American made or not, or the agendas of our own leaders and agencies- America is an EASY Target right now because we are so far removed from community. We are so busy looking at our selfie sticks, retweets and Insta-likes that we are missing it all- not just the beauty in our moments, but the absolute brutality in them too. Which tragic moment will act as our wake up call? Let’s stop blaming our leaders for their same behavior and start taking responsibility for our own.

The sky is blue here, the air crisp. Our nation is grieving deeply, and I am too. More than that though, I am keeping my eyes open. I am planning to love the lonely, help those in need and stop living through the filter that makes my ego feel it’s best while hiding behind anonymity… Nothing will make any of this not a tragedy, but if we rise up and unite together, the cowards will shrink back to the darkness and we can at least aid good coming out of the bile…

chronic illness, confession, entertainment, fibro, gratitude, journey, rant, self care

I totally hold Joss Whedon responsible…

On Monday I had a pretty rough day. It was one of those days where, if it could go wrong, it did. I had a few rocky appointments/meetings, followed by some pretty not-awesome (but also not terrible) news from my doctor’s office. The thing about the doctor was that they called when I was getting a massage…

I realize this is likely the point in the story where I’ve lost your sympathy vote. Massage? This girl is complaining about her bad day AND she had a massage??? Yeah, I know how it sounds. Please though, allow me to explain. While it may not be everyone who suffers from a chronic illness’ journey, I can tell you that massages are a necessary evil for me. I have to book in advance because of the type of therapist I have to see. When that date rolls around, it doesn’t matter if I am in a Fibro flare up or not, I have to go. How my body receives the massage very much depends on if I am flaring or not, and what the weather outside is like. Let’s take yesterday, for example… It is really, unseasonably hot in Michigan right now and so my body HATES me. My therapist had to spend an extra 15 minutes just to get my neck and shoulder muscles to loosen a little. My lower back has been miserable ever since the massage and I’ve juggled a headache. THIS is more common than not, how I am post massage. So it’s not really a fun thing.

Anyway, I digress… As I am (slowly) dressing from my session, I decide to listen to the voicemail my doctor’s nurse left. What followed was a very ominous message which left me wondering if this was when they share that I only have a few weeks to get my affairs in order. So yeah, I’m fine,(whew!) but the massage AND the anxiety when 90 minutes passed, after I returned the call and left a message, with no word, took their toll on me.

The day had a few other bumps. Over all I just felt drained physically, mentally and emotionally.

Tuesday was different though. I resolved that I would approach every situation differently. (There must have been something off, in the air, yesterday because people were NASTY!) What I found, instead, was myself silently (and often comically) observing life’s quirky bits…

  • like the conveyer belt, at the super market, ate an elderly woman’s $20 bill. Chaos ensued and I was delivered about a hundred apologies and treated with kid gloves as they attempted to solve the error. Is this the sort of thing someone might get really angry about, I wondered. Instead, I had a lovely little chat with Killian the clerk, who must be nearing his 11th birthday, he was so young.  At one point he shared that he really loved old horror movies, and when he offered up movies from the early two-thousands as evidence, I kindly took my receipt and headed for the door. Oh Killian, sweet small boy, I could be your great-grandmother… I really couldn’t, but that is how I felt. (I also bought a bottle of wine, which he did not card me for, so he may feel the same. Silly, Killian.)
  • Tuesdays at 10:20 a.m. are apparently a major traffic time at the USPS. Who knew? I purposefully avoided it on Friday and Monday because I knew my business there would take some time. People were over all carefree, so I clearly made the right choice as everyone in public, Monday, was behaving like they were straight from a freak episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Starbucks drive thru employees tend to lean strongly one way or the other. You have the ones made of cardboard, who seem more bot than person. Those are kind of fun, sort of. (except probably on Monday. No one was fun on Monday. Seriously.) The other side of the spectrum would be the overly chatty ones. The ones who feel the need to divulge very personal information, OR take credit for your purchase. Of course, I am generalizing… Not ALL of them are like this, but I have encountered one or the other more often, as of late. Today I ordered a peach infused green tea. This is not a drink I am new to, and yet, this barista guy decided to congratulate me on my choice. He was confident I would really like it, and that he is always telling people to order this very drink,and they don’t, so it made his day that I had chosen it and that if I did not like it, come back and he would recommend something else. Um, ok, buddy… Pretty sure it is bound to taste like the other 350* I’ve ordered this summer (*slight exaggeration).
  • Tuna. Tuna… I have loved Tuna forever. Grew up eating Tuna casserole, Tuna sandwiches… I have appreciated Tuna because it is such a great source of protein. I tried to eat Tuna at lunch and got sick. the smell, sight and taste of it is so unbelievably repulsive to me- instantaneously. What? Why? I feel like I have lost a friend. (a smelly friend, but hey- I love unconditionally.)
  • People really do stand in super market aisles, lost in confusion. Maybe this has been me at times, but I have never really noticed it in others. Today’s trip found eleven patrons in such circumstance. (Then again, with the conveyor belt eating money and the talk of “super old horror movies” (SHM!) I am suddenly wondering if Joss Whedon is responsible for this silly day too…)

I have produce sitting in my fridge waiting for me to chop, dice and stir it all into a big pot of soup. The lover of fall in me is irritated and antsy that such rituals have not begun. It is nearly 100 degrees outside and my autumn loving soul just cannot understand. I hear rumors that fall will descend upon us tomorrow and I am holding out hope, stock pot and ladle in hand. (At this point I am going to blame Joss Whedon for the weather too, because, why not? It seems like something he would write.)

There is a spider crawling on the outside pane of my office window. I have killed a half a dozen (after spraying, mind you) inside, over the past week. Apparently the spiders are too on their autumn clocks and heading in-doors because it’s time. (either that or- I hesitate to say it- we are slowly being overrun by arachnids. Dang it, Joss… knock it off already.)

In all fairness, today it is misting out, cooler, and absolutely glorious…

books, confession, journey, Lately, rant

When do we say enough?

Coming off the weekend, I found notes scattered with an array of things I wanted to write about here. Somehow though, the weekend killed those desires, or at least numbed them. Monday’s are my big home day. The day where I catch up on laundry and household chores, the day I get some reading done, take care of phone calls I need to make and knock out a good chunk of work. Usually, I’m sad to admit, this is work related stuff I am a little behind on. This, of course, leads to loads of guilt when I don’t actually catch up on anything.

Except laundry.

Laundry is always done.

I am currently listening to an audio book that I’m not loving. Reviews of this book are GLOWING, which leads me to wonder what my problem is. Readers rave at its humor and easy reading, but I find my ears choking it down (if ears could do such a thing) and have not laughed yet.

I am not usually an audio book fan, but have found they help on the laundry/chore Mondays, as well as the longer moments in traffic. Somehow I lie to myself and tell myself I am maximizing my time that way. And sometimes the books are so great, but this time it isn’t. Perhaps it is the narration? At any rate… I read, on Saturday, the tale of this particular books author. The article mentioned that she’d simply entered a competition and won. Her manuscript was passed on to Penguin and a book deal was given. The article’s author seemed to be awed by not only the book’s author’s luck, but the fact that she is over 40. What? Is it more likely for such magical things to happen if one is under 40? What difference does 40 make anyway? Does being 41 mean that my life’s goals and dreams as I know them are screwed and I may as well select a coffin and begin planning my memorial service?

I mean, really… Just when our society seems to make great strides of progress in some areas, women decide to march around with vagina hats on their head and we have nazi gatherings. (While one is obviously NOT as garishly grim as the other, I’ll still admit it is embarrassing.) Male, Female, Gay, Straight, Trans, White, Black, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Athiest… Over 40, under 40- why can’t we, as a people, just get over our radical fears and judgements and just love each other? These things are getting worse because we are so adamant about taking sides. My side is community. Humanity. Can’t that just be enough? This division is being driven by bigger, governing forces and we just play along and people die. PEOPLE DIE…

We need to stop.

And also, let’s give props to an author for writing something that resonates with people, (even if I’m not one of them, I still applaud her!) and admit her age doesn’t have a damn thing to do with it…