#MyFirstPostRevisted

So my “friend” (haha.  Love you) Fatty McCupcakes tagged me to play along with #MyFirstPostRevisted.

It’s a pretty simple game.  You repost your FIRST post.

Even I can’t mess THAT up.  Right? 

DA RULZ:

Obvious rules:

  • No cheating. (It must be your first post. Not your second post, not one you love…first post only.)
  • Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of ladybugs).

Other rules:

  • Copy and paste your old post into a new post or reblog your own bad self. (Either way is fine but NO editing.) 
  • Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title. 
  • Tag five other bloggers to take up this challenge. 
  • Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog
  • Feel free to cut and paste the badge to use in your post.
  • Include the rules in your post.

Pretty basic.  Easy peasy.

But then I looked back on my first post, and it’s kind of…sad.  Not funny at all.

And I’ve been through a helluva lot since then, with the whole Ashley Madison dealio, my dad passing away, and, more recently, my stepson’s mental illness.

But despite all that, I never quit laughing.

It’s what keeps me going.

So here’s where it all started….


So why am I here?

Big question with a long answer….

I’m Kate.  I’m in my 40s.  (EARLY forties, thankyouverymuch)

I have happy, smart, well-adjusted kids.  I have a devoted husband. We both have stable, steady jobs that we don’t hate.   No one has a troublesome illness, police record, or embarrassing YouTube videos.  So everything is wonderful…everything should be fine.

But it’s not.  And it’s a shame, because this should be a wonderful life.

Don’t get me wrong – I do appreciate what I have.   How could I not?  But I’d like to enjoy life more.  And I think I COULD, if I could just get rid of all the noise in my head.

So what exactly is the problem here?  I hate to spell it out, because it feels so trivial in black and white.  But I need a safe place to talk some things out and unload the weight of the thoughts that keep me from seeing the sun in all the places it shines.

I want to find my joy, but I struggle.

I struggle with my relationship with food and my weight.   That began when I was ten.  Until that time I had no idea I was fat, or really any sense of how I looked at all.  Until one day, during a school assembly as I sauntered to the front of the gymnasium to accept some geeky award for math or spelling or some such, my brother’s friend told him that I was getting as fat as he was.  And of course my brother told me, and POOF, I was suddenly fat, and have been ever since.  My weight’s gone up and down a number of times since then – I’ve been 65 pounds heavier and 15 pounds lighter – but I’ve always been too fat.

The trouble with food issues is that it really isn’t about the food.  It’s about a convenient thing to be upset about so you don’t have to think about whatever it is that you’re REALLY upset about.  In other words, the size of your thighs can be easier to fret over than the stability of your marriage, or whether your kids love you, or why your mom doesn’t really like you all that much, or when your boss will find out that you’re really a poseur and have NO idea what you are doing, or why the heck you’re on this planet in the first place and is there really any point to life?  (Side note – I’m not in the market to off myself.  Just don’t feel like I’m doing much more than existing sometimes.)

To add to this, my husband has been stretching through some sort of spiritual mid-life crisis.  Spiritually, this has been a challenge.  To be fair, when we met, I knew we approached religion from different angles – I identify with Christianity, while he is agnostic.   This has mostly worked just fine for us, and we’ve explored some ideas together and kept it respectful.

However, as of late, he’s been on a mission – he wants to be the Voice of the People for atheists everywhere.  This has involved ripping apart the Bible and buying in-your-face blasphemous T-shirts.   I’m all for freedom of religious expression, but it’s hard not to find his behavior hurtful.  It’s hard not to take it personally.  Yes, I know a lot of wars have started over religion.  Frankly, I think God hates that.  I just can’t wrap my mind around the idea that everything associated with Christianity is automatically bad.  People can be very bad, religion can be very political, but that’s not its intent.

I could write a lot about that, and I might later.   But that’s one of the things that brought me here – my husband says he loves me, but when he goes on these anti-religion rants, I feel like he’s wrenching my heart out.  I feel like every harsh, angry, derogatory thing he says reflects how he really feels about me.

So it all came to a head last December, when my husband was at his peak vitriol and my dad suddenly had a heart attack and life just got really dark really fast and I no longer wanted to eat anything at all…and I decided that enough was enough and I’d better learn to handle this better.  I decided I needed to attack this thing and address the noises in my head.

I need to cope better and not be so darn hard on myself.  So this year, I’m working on getting well.

I started therapy.  (I’ve only gone once so far.  But making the appointment and actually showing up is a big step.)  I’m trying to learn to meditate.  I’m trying to get regular exercise.  And I’m trying to be gentler with myself.

I’m hoping that getting my thoughts out here will help me better deal with them.  I’m hoping this can be somewhat of an online journal to assist me with the process of therapy.

And maybe if I post things out loud, maybe it’ll help someone else who wrestles with this mess to walk just a little bit closer to wellness.


So there ya go.  The first day Kate spilled her intestines on the interwebs.

And now it’s YOUR turn!  Let’s hear from

Have at it, kids.  It’s all fun and games until the IRS sends you a past-due notice.  🙂

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Procrastination Station: Seven Rando Factoids

So I have some stuff I need to get out of my head and write about, but I’m procrastinating, because it’s kind of painful and therefore feels like work.  Which I have no interest in starting, contemplating, or completing today.  BECAUSE WEEKEND. Plus, I’m really, really good at procrastination. It’s the zippy convertible I use to drive through life – tight corners on two wheels, slamming into the last available parking space thirty seconds before the show begins.  WHAT. A. RUSH.

(And yes, I recognize that life would PROBABLY be a lot less stressful if I actually planned out things and allowed ample time to complete them, and this last-minute-Charlie thing I’m sporting feeds my anxiety like fertilizer on corn in July.  But dat’s how I roll, yo.  It’s as much a part of me as curly hair and birthmarks, and I’m not sure I could change it if I tried.)

Today I’m putting off stuff by buying shoes.  Here’s what’s coming to my house later this month:

 

Merry Christmas to me, yo.

So, since I’ve spent my shoe allowance for December (and probably most of 2016), and have to clean out some old shoes to make room for these, I’ll clean out my blog awards closet, too, and post one of the awards that’s been sitting in my drafts folder for a bit.

So, without further ado…

versatile-blogger1

whereishappy was kind enough to nominate me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  (Over a month ago.  But again, why do TODAY what can be done after the mall closes?)  You can find the rules on her post. And you should check out her blog anyway, so go click on it.

Since I dropped my grocery money on shoes this morning, I’m not feeling too rules-y today.  But, as the award commands, I will post Seven Meaningful (and Potentially Creepy) Facts about Myself.

1. My tree has been up since October 24.  We put it up specifically because the hubs is a cardboard hoarder.

Makes sense, right?  Let me explain:

I may have mentioned in the past that I have an aversion to hoarding clutter.  Thankfully, the hubs is pretty good about not collecting useless crapola that belongs on the Goodwill truck; if he DOES hang on to something, at least it’s only ONE of the thing, not seventy thousand million of the thing.

(Well, wait.  That’s not entirely true.  He kind of hoards food.  Meaning, if one of the kids mentions that he likes a specific Luna bar, for example, he’ll buy ten boxes of said Luna bar.  But, the hubs is 6’4″, so frankly, he eats a lot of what he buys.  And he DOES toss it if it gets old or expires, so we’re not going to be featured in a TLC documentary anytime soon.  But currently, Target started stocking his favorite frozen pizza again, and there are now SEVEN of them in my freezer, despite the fact that there are THREE Super Target locations within spitting distance of my front door.)

Yet… the one thing that the hubs cannot seem to part with?  Cardboard boxes.  Whenever you buy a new computer monitor, video game, vacuum cleaner, etc., the rule is that you keep the box just in case the new item goes kaput and you have to send it back.  OK, I get that, but you don’t have to keep EVERY BOX FOREVER AND EVER UNTIL DEATH DO US PART.

So, since he’s been in and out of the doghouse these last few months, I announced one Saturday that we were cleaning out the shed AND the garage.  We have been blessed with a shizton of storage – we have a four-car garage AND an external shed.  Plenty of room for storing bikes, your mower, rakes, extra furniture, a helicopter, a few horses, and probably a national monument or two.

What we had?  Two cars, a workbench, an armoire, 4 bikes, a Christmas tree, and FOUR HUNDRED EIGHTY MILLION CARDBOARD BOXES.

So we excavated Mt. Cardboardicus.  Our township recycles cardboard IF you tie it neatly in 2′ X 3′ squares no more than 12″ tall.  That day, after cutting and stacking boxes and boxes from old appliances we no longer had and furniture we bought over a year ago (seriously – who is gonna mail a couch?  !!??!!) I ended up with two cardboard towers each about 4′ high.  A veritable…wait for it… skyscrapper. <rim shot>

But the good news?  I got to use a saw to cut the cardboard down.  Power tools are such a rush.  Even if you’re only using them to terrorize glorified paper, saws are awesome for channeling your inner Dexter.

Plus, I found my old rollerblades that I hadn’t been able to locate for two years, AND we unearthed the Christmas tree.  So, since we spent all that time digging it out…why not bring it inside?  Going ALL THE WAY to the backyard AGAIN to get it in a month or so?  Super inefficient.  I mean, you’re halfway to Target by that point.

Also, that night, the neighbors were having a Halloween party, and their yard was THOROUGHLY decorated.  I mean – Frankenstein automatons, fog, cobwebs….I have nothing against National Beg for Candy and Dress Like a Ho day, but for some reason, the juxtaposition of a lit tree beaming down on the graveyard zombie scene cracked me up.

Hey, someone’s gotta be first, right?  And this gave free license to our other neighbors putting their lights up, as well.  Including this one.  Although, if anyone actually has any clue what it’s supposed to be, you get mad props because I’m stumped.

xmaswut

Christmas kangaroo, anyone?  Kids, let this be a lesson: Lights first, cider second. 

2. This is our tree topper:

treetopper

Angels watchin’ over me, my Lord….

3. Last year, our tree didn’t come down until April.  Because again, PROCRASTINATION.  I had to finish our taxes first, ya know.  Hey, if there’s snow on the ground SOMEWHERE, the tree can stay.  MY HOUSE, MY RULES.

4.  Speaking of houses…Last year the kiddos and I made a gingerbread house.  Since we suck at all things art, we made it a crack house complete with a murder scene:

crackhouse2

See the rats?  And the blood gushing from the head? And the door blocked off?  Parent of the year, right here, folks, molding tomorrow’s youth.

5.  More “I can’t art”:  Super-glue HAAATES me.

Every.  Single. Time.

I come by it honestly, though.  I have fond memories of my aunt gluing herself to a hairbrush when I was a kid.  Who needs a DNA test to prove blood relation when you’re bonded by your lack of adhesive skills?

6.  My son isn’t good at art, either.  When he was in kindergarten, his class made a recipe book.  He needed to illustrate a favorite recipe from home.  I present to you “Ice Cream Pie.”

pieno

Brings tears to my eyes, it does.  TEARS.  Someday, when he’s the lead burrito assembler at Chipotle (yes, this is his current career aspiration,) we’ll be able to say “we knew him when….”

By the way?  I have never, EVER, made Ice Cream Pie.  Ever.  I asked him later why he chose this recipe.  “Mom.  It’s pie.  Anyone can draw a circle.”  Well, kiddo, clearly not EVERYONE.  Love you.

7.  I made my own pens.  This is a Big Deal because I suck at all things art (see above) AND because I very nearly failed shop class in middle school.  Apparently, I can’t smooth out a solder bead smaller than buckshot – my “lines” probably spell out something obscene in Braille – and when it comes to wood, straight lines and right angles are for non-creative types, in my humble opinion.  <turns nose upward>

The ONLY reason I passed Industrial Arts was because half of our grade was a written test to identify tools.  I got 100% on the test, but my projects are likely either polluting our planet in a landfill, or they’re a horrible joke circulating through a local club’s annual White Elephant Swap.  If you come across one of them, they’re SUPPOSED to be a metal pencil box and a wooden Tic-Tac-Toe board.  No, really.  Quit laughing.

But recently, I tried my hand at turning, through the help of a friend at work, and I MAKED THESE PENS ALL BY MYSELF (practically) AND I AM SO PROUD.

The red and the purple are fountain pens, because I so fancee.  And the purple pen has purple ink.  BECAUSE PURPLE.

Here’s a shot of Pen #2 in progress so you can sort of see how it’s done.

pen2a

Essentially, you start with a “blank”, which is a rectangle of wood or acrylic or whatever.  (The orange is all acrylic; the red and purple are actual wood with added colored resins – kind of a hybrid of wood/plastic, which you probably guessed as purple trees currently only exist in The Lorax.)  Then you cut it, drill out the barrel, and turn it to get the shape. I got to use saws and drills and lathes and polishers and I STILL HAVE ALL MY FINGERS YO.

Plus, I have three very elegant pens.  I sign benefits contracts and written warnings with just a little more flourish.  It’s like using the good china for a grilled cheese sandwich.  Why not?  You’re worth it.

Next up will be turning a bowl.  Fingers crossed (while they’re still attached, that is….)

Happy Sunday!

 

Midweek Marketing: Going Against the Grain

As you know, I started this blog  with the intent of focusing on recovery.  But as of late, I’m not feeling all that brave, especially after recent events, and more especially because I’m just coming off a two-day food bender, and subsequently have gained two freaking @Q#(#@$(#@* pounds, which will take me four weeks and a blowtorch to undo. IF I’M LUCKY.

*insert a few more expletives.  Colorful, vibrant, grandmother-shocking expletives. 

UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH

Transitioning from a full-on binge to “normal” (read: diet.  re-read:  not) eating is tough.  Your body is coming off its sugar high, and the afterburn sends mixed messages to your brain.  And by “mixed” I mean that every voice inside your head, along with a few it’s recruited from the outside, are SCREAMING at you to EAT EAT EAT EAT.

Blah.

Two f(#@*F&G** pounds.

**More expletives, please.  Get creative, peeps!  Use your favorites as noun, verb, and adjective. 

So, while I’m sitting on my hands trying not to stuff my face with both Ben and Jerry, I’ll leave you with some of the other random thoughts in my head.


A few days ago, Nikki at The Undiagnosed Warrior was kind enough to nominate me for the Encouraging Thunder award.  Now, Nikki is an amazing young woman who has been dealing with a debilitating illness – the cause of which has continued to evade many trained medical professionals.  Ya gotta be brave to face chronic illness day after day; that’s true tenfold when your illness doesn’t have a name.  So if you need a story of perseverance and determination, check out her blog!

encouraging1DA RULZ:

When you get this award, you can:

  • Post it and the logo on your blog
  • Pay it forward by nominating others

You cannot:

  • Abuse or misuse the logo
  • Claim the logo is your own

If you receive the award you should:

  • Give thanks via comments and likes in the blog of the person nominating you
  • Mention the person who nominated you in your award blog
  • Discuss your purpose in blogging in your award blog

I feel a bit like I’m cheating, because I actually won this award before.  But the rules don’t SAY only one per participant.  Not that this would stop me.  If I can scarf through an eight-serving bag of popcorn in one sitting, do you think I’m gonna even blink at a “limit one per customer” rule?

If you’re still not sure, ask the demonstrators at Costco how many Bailey’s truffles I scored last weekend.

Wait.  On second thought? Don’t.  I don’t think we need, like, an actual NUMBER here.  Never mind.

So anyway.  You can read about why I started this blog here.  Essentially, I was taking a wild stab at recovery.

As I mentioned above, though….these past two days were bad.

Very, very bad.

This weekend, ice cream and dill pickle popcorn were my binge foods of choice – namely, because I had them in the house. See, that’s how binges normally work:

Step 1:  I buy groceries like a normal person, taking time to select items that actually sound good.  (Side note:  I know the experts say never to shop when you’re hungry…but if I don’t, I won’t actually BUY anything.  I have to shop when I’m physically hungry, or I leave the store with new makeup instead of anything I can actually eat.  And if I don’t buy food that looks appetizing, it just sits about my pantry like ugly wedding gifts, and I just won’t ever get around to using it.)

Step 2:  I fall off the wagon and binge-eat a certain food item (or items.  Yeah.  More like items.)

Step 3:  I CAN NEVER BUY THAT FOOD AGAIN because I will eat it all in one frenzied nonstop session like there’s a prize at the bottom and getting it is my JOB.

This is why I can’t buy stuff like frozen pizza, ice cream, pudding, cookies, chocolate peanut butter, kettle corn, potato chips, anything from Culver’s, or cereal.

Especially cereal.

Cereal is the WORST.

One time?  I ate an entire fifteen-ounce box of Peanut Butter Puffins.  IN ONE AFTERNOON.  (Note to self.  Do NOT eat whilst Facebooking.  It’s trouble.  Especially when peanut butter anything is involved.)

And don’t let’s pretend “well, at least this is HEALTHY food,” mmmkay?  Because the second ingredient is – guess what? – SUGAR.  And the box is SUPPOSED TO FEED FIFTEEN PEOPLE.  That’s 1,650 calories of cereal, folks.  (And it wasn’t even the only thing I ate that day.  NOT EVEN CLOSE.)

So at the tail end of my dill-pickle popcorn binge, I was watching the Patriots totally SPANK the Cowboys, and between plays they announced that Jason Witten (tight end, Dallas) now has his own breakfast cereal.

(The stars were not so lucky on Sunday.  BOOYAH.  SUCK IT COWBOYS.)

So as I’m sitting there on the sofa, crashing rapidly from my sugar rush face-first into a carb coma, I started thinking about other cereals the NFL could market.

And they sounded…kinda dirty.

(Just in time, too, since apparently you can’t get your jollies from the pictures in Playboy anymore.)

What do you think?  Would you buy any of these?  Tape them to your face, go long, and not stop until someone calls a personal foul?

In Chicago Cutler’s Crispy Bits

New England:  Brady’s Frosted Patriot Power Os 

Denver Peyton’s Protein Clusters

Pittsburgh:  Big Ben’s Marshmallow Poofs

Seattle:  Wilson’s Brown Sugar Nut Toasties

I can’t say any of these splits MY uprights, exactly.

Yum, yum.  Guten appetit!


For this award, I’ll nominate a2eternity, adjustremembered, and wehaveapples.  Thank you, ladies, for saying some of the many things that need to be said!

Liebster, Revisited: Part 3 of 3: How I Met the Hubs. And Shoes.

For those of you just tuning in now, this is the third and final installation of the challenge presented to me by sonofabeach96, who kindly nominated me for the Liebster Award:

liebster3(You can find Part 1, and Da Rulz, HERE.  Part 2 is HERE.)

Eleven simple questions, eleven long, convoluted answers.  Okay, I swear this is the final chapter in this disjointed series.  Then we can move along to something interesting, like politics, paint drying, taxes, or landscaping.

<snurk>

So, the rest of the questions:


What is your favorite vacation destination, and where would you want to travel if money were no object?

I actually haven’t really had many vacations, other than to see family.  Which, as much as I love them, doesn’t count, because being around family requires you to wear heavy, impenetrable armor, and after a few days, it just wears a gal down.

But I do have a couple of dream vacations.  I want to visit the West Coast (the last time I was there, I was sorely tempted to cancel my return ticket) and see mountains, ocean, and giant redwoods.  (Oh, and yeah, a few wineries.) I want to take a cruise to Alaska.  And I’d like to eventually visit Hawaii, because it’s both warm AND beautiful.

But the thought of being on a plane for four or five hours exhausts me – I’ve had several jobs where I’ve had to travel a lot – like 75% – and they’ve sucked all the glamour out of travel and basically ruined me for airports for life.

If money were no object, I’d sit in first class, and I expect it’d be a heckuva lot nicer.  Plus there’d be no hurry to return.  So maybe, in that case, I’d squeeze in a side jaunt to Australia.

BECAUSE KANGAROOS.


If you’re married, how did you meet your spouse?

The story behind my “starter spouse” is, unfortunately, not all that interesting.  We were in college together and married right after graduation.*  Very typical, very average.  And, just like everyone** else, we got divorced a few years later.

*Technically, I was three credits shy of graduation.  Details, details….I did finish three years later.

**I actually only know one couple who married right after college and stayed married.  Actually, she was my roommate and he was my ex’s roommate, so they spent a good bit of time together somewhat by default, and eventually decided to be a couple.  We always thought they were really odd together – culturally, spiritually, physically, personality-wise – they just never appeared as a matching set.  As the Brits would say – cheese and chalk.  But then again, who really had a good man-picker in college, anyway?  Clearly not EVERYONE ELSE who wound up divorced.  Twenty-plus years later, I guess they WERE the odd couple, at least in tenacity.

The story behind the hubs is much juicier.

Fast forward a few years.  I’m going through a divorce and juggling a new job.  In the midst of dividing up a life’s worth of possessions and trying to establish a “new normal”…I met someone.

It was a lousy time to begin a relationship – all the experts on divorce recovery will tell you “take time for yourself” and “don’t rush into something new.”  But I was never great at following a vague “they say” (or, for that matter, any voice of authority.)  Plus, I was enjoying my freedom – I had recently come to discover that my first spouse was mentally abusive (and likely suffering from some sort of personality disorder.  We flunked out of three therapists (which is a story for another time) so I never found out for sure.  Suffice it to say that if it walks like a duck, it ain’t a donut.)  

And this was not the relationship to start, for a number of reasons.  In addition to the fact that it was a long-distance relationship, he simply wasn’t available, and neither he nor I knew the difference between drama and love.  So while there was admittedly a lot of passion, it was the over-inflated extremist version that would rival any long-running soap on afternoon TV.  And I hadn’t learned enough about relationships to understand that while, on paper, he appeared to be the polar opposite of my ex (physically, politically, socially, etc.,) the reality was that they shared some startlingly similar personality traits (controlling, belittling, demeaning) that I failed to recognize until the bitter, melodramatic termination of the relationship.

And we pretty much had nothing in common, save loneliness.  Hard to build a long-term bond on the absence of something.

I didn’t marry that guy.  (Although, we looked at rings, and I bought a dress – which, after several moves, is currently sitting in a local consignment shop, tags still on it, ready to complete YOUR dream wedding!)  But I did endure about two years of emotional highs and lows, the soaring and plummeting of which would earn the envy and admiration of amusement park thrill ride engineers globally.

To further complicate matters, I had just been offered another job 900 miles away, in this guy’s metro area.

Kismet!  This was MEANT TO BE!

(Maybe.)

And then we broke up.  Again.

My sister decided that enough was enough, and perhaps I could try to meet someone else.  With renewed resolve, I reactivated my online dating profile (it had been created, utilized, and deactivated several times between our frequent breakups and reconciliations – you know, for added entertainment and histrionics -) and changed my location to my pending address.

Ahhhh.   A fresh start, a new city, a clean slate, a whole new buffet of man candy.   My sister and I clicked through profiles, evaluating and reviewing each one.  (Side note:  Online dating is like shoe shopping.  You can sift through a ton online, but until you walk in them a while, you really don’t have any idea whether they’ll actually work with your wardrobe and your lifestyle.)

A profile popped up.  “Ooh!  He’s cute. His ears are kind of big.  But he’s cute. Click him!”

So I did.  And I liked what I read:  He sounded intelligent and honest.  Plus, he was cute.  Waaaaay out of my league cute.  But…what the heck?  My last boyfriend was fond of saying, “You miss all the shots you don’t take.”  So I shot.

I composed a message – I commented on a few things he listed in his profile, and closed with, “I think peeling some mental onions with you could prove interesting.”

He said he fell for me right there.  (Aww.  <barf>)

So what happened to the other guy?  Well, he did try to get me back.  (No one saw THAT coming, right?)  His argument was – I kid you not – “We weren’t really broken up.  We were just taking a break.  We were supposed to get back together in a couple of months.  You weren’t supposed to meet someone else and fall in love.”

(Sorry.  Couldn’t resist.)

I’m embarrassed to admit that he and I briefly got back together one more time before the hubs and I became exclusive.  But our final breakup was empowering – I used my words, and my voice, and by ceremoniously dumping him, I was able to purge my soul of both him and my ex-spouse, and define how I deserved to be treated.

(Odd how it sounds like much of my eating disorder.  Like I “had” to stuff myself with pizza and ice cream one last time before I started The Official Diet.  Hmm.  Gonna have to think about that one.)

After the final fireworks died out and the audience went home, I emailed my now-hubs, told him I’d love to see him again, and the rest is history.  And while we’ve had some challenges over the last year, it would be unfair of me not to mention that he’s been absolutely amazing lately. He’s trying so very hard and has put in some tremendous effort after I was clear with him about what was so troublesome – especially lately.  (Funny how that works in healthy adult relationships….you rationally and calmly state what you need, and you get it.  It really can be that easy.)

P.S.  The dating site I used?  Don’t laugh.  Plenty of Fish.  It’s free.  Which means…well, you know what it means.  The hubs often tells people that he found me in the “FREE” box at a yard sale.  <snort>


Describe your personality and what type of people are you drawn to?

I think I’m drawn to people who have the traits I like in myself.  So, here’s my list:

  • I like funny people who can laugh at themselves, but not at the expense of others.  (Well, maybe a little.) <snurk>
  • I like people who have opinions they’re not afraid to use – as long as they use their ears and their brains as effectively as their mouths.
  • Bonus points if you have great shoes.  BECAUSE SHOES.

Speaking of which – here’s my latest haul.  Enjoy!

shoerunning

My most expensive shoes are my running shoes….

shoegold

GOLD SHOES. TWELVE DOLLARS. SCORE.

shoepinkpatent

These just make me happy. Lipstick for the feet!

Liebster, Revisited: Part 2 of 3: High School Never Ends, Cars, and Christmas Trees

This is a continuation of my last post, where I started responding to sonofabeach96’s  nomination of me for a Liebster Award:

liebster3Because I’m the verbal equivalent of Niagara Falls, I couldn’t get it all into one post.  So here are three more of the questions…and three more long-winded answers:


What were your high school days like?  Good, bad, or indifferent and why?

On the surface, high school wasn’t that bad.  I wasn’t really bullied.  I had friends.  I was involved in every music activity our small district had available.  I got excellent grades.

But it’s hard to reminisce about high school without noting, as a point of reference, where I was with my eating disorder.  It’s like having a sterile, undisturbing stock photo of a smiling family set inside a dusty, chipped, weather-beaten picture frame.

The story’s in the setting, not the scene.

Ninth grade started with a bang, because <dramatic pause> I met a boy.  When you’re fourteen, this is typical.  When you’re fourteen and chubby, and he likes you back, it’s life-changing.   He was older (by one year – oh, the SCANDAL!) and was (of COURSE!) as thin as a rail with a sky-high metabolism.  (Seriously – weren’t they all?)  I coasted through most of freshman year with a lot of “firsts” – first kiss, first date, first formal – and, for the first time since fifth grade, didn’t focus too much on my weight.

I ended my first year of high school wearing a size 11 and weighing about 145.

And then summer hit.  And with the heat came last year’s clothes that were way, way too small.  And by August, I was appalled to discover that my marching band uniform had shrunk.  Significantly.

Now, as an adult, I can objectively look back and see that truly, I was pretty much “normal.”  Probably a bit chubby, especially compared to the track stars and cheerleaders.  But surely I didn’t stand out as the fattest kid in the class.  I understand intellectually that I didn’t look all that different from my classmates – to this day, when I occasionally page through an old yearbook, it never fails to strike me how downright NORMAL I appear.

But at the time?  I was FAT.  And Something Had To Be Done About That.

I knew all too well what worked.  I quit eating.

I started tenth grade a good 25 pounds less than I had ended freshman year.  I walked into my first day of my sophomore year with my size 7 jeans hanging off me.

Bolstered by success and compliments from my classmates, I kept going.  I kept going despite occasional blackouts.  Despite a blood pressure of 80/40.  Despite lectures from the school nurse.  Despite missing family meals.  Despite peer praise turning to worry.  Despite bodily functions ceasing to exist.  Despite my (new) boyfriend begging me to eat.

I finally settled in at just barely over 100 pounds, logging every calorie and measuring every morsel of food (including mustard and Crystal Light – I was hardcore, bro).

This was my existence for the next two years.

Outwardly, things looked to be great – I was thin, I was active in music stuff, I had a boyfriend who loved me dearly and was going to take care of me ALWAYS, and as long as I controlled my body and the food I put into it, I was safe and secure.

Then, during my first semester as a senior, my boyfriend – my first love, the boy who swore he’d marry me one day and would love me forever – unceremoniously dumped me.  (Because college, ya know.)  Suddenly, after over two years of coasting in the shade, the sun was beating down on me, burning off the fog and forcing its bright, harsh light directly into my eyes, commanding my pupils to constrict as my eyes ached from pained, constant squinting.

With absolutely no idea how to cope, I started to eat.

Once the dam broke, it was impossible to stop the flood.  I gained fifty pounds the last half of senior year, as I filled the time with extracurricular activities (read: boys) trying to find my self-worth while simultaneously feeding my starving soul with anything I could get my hands on.  (Unfortunately, I was feeding it the equivalent of onion rings and Twinkies.  But I had to start somewhere.)

I left for college in the fall with the Bright Future of weighing 170 pounds and having absolutely no idea what to do with my life.

So…yeah.  High school was…high school.

KatieSeniorPic

And here I am, twenty-five over twenty years later, still wrestling the same pigs and getting just as dirty.  True, I have cuter shoes and no boa.  But still….


What was your first car? 

The first car that was actually MINE was a 1991 Chevy Lumina.  I’d love to say it was a sweet ride, but the only people to say that about this car is the bluehair-and-Bingo set. 

I mean…just…gaaaah: 

Really makes a statement, doesn’t it?  In addition to its edgy, bad@ss look, it also featured a speedometer that pegged at a hairnet-blowing 85mph.  Which is totally un-American, and un-German, and un-everything-under-age-seventy.

So why did I have this?  Well, as is the case with most first cars, I wasn’t actually involved in picking it out.  It actually came into my possession courtesy of my now-ex-in-laws.

See, my former mother-in-law cleaned houses for a living – generally for the elderly.  Consequently, they often paid her in either quarters, baked goods, or castoff clothing.

Still, she persisted.  We think she was hoping that someday, one of her clients would kick the bucket and mention her in the will.

That never happened.

But, since most of her customers were in their late eighties, they did hop the heaven bus to harp lessons on occasion.  And, as the stereotypes dictate, they often left behind an older, low-miles vehicle – which she’d then volunteer to buy, at a bargain price, from the grieving family.

I kid you not.

(I guess it’s a small reward for choking down loaf after loaf of soggy, well-intentioned pumpkin bread.)

At the time, my then-spouse and I were newlyweds – and I had finally, after years of resistance*, learned to drive.  So we needed a second car, and this one met all of our requirements and qualifications (read:  it ran and it was cheap.)  It wasn’t exactly hip and trendy, but it was only a couple of years old with less than 15,000 miles on it.  SOLD!  I drove that sucker into the ground, tooling around in it until we eventually popped out some offspring and traded it in for a minivan.

*Side note:  I didn’t actually learn to drive until I was 24.  Why?  Well, if you asked me directly, I’d tell you, as I flipped my hair and narrowed my eyes coyly, “I always had a boy or two to drive me around.”  That was partially true; I also had an older brother and a younger sister who were more than happy to play chauffeur.  But the truth?  I’m hopelessly uncoordinated, easily distracted, and a champion procrastinator.  Plus, I wanted to spend my babysitting dinero on clothes and shoes, not gas and insurance.  Priorities, ya know.


What is the one thing that grates on your last nerve?

OK, there is NO WAY I can only pick only one thing.  I talked about a few Things I Hate in the Love/Hate Challenge (which took me SIX posts.  I am ridiculous.)

But out of all those posts, there was one thing I missed that absolutely drives me to shoot fire from my face holes and rant in unholy tongues.

It’s Christmas lights that BLINK IN SECTIONS.

They don’t twinkle.  They don’t flutter off and on to music.  They just ALL flip on and off AT THE SAME TIME, like some idiot minion is half-wittedly turning the switch off and on, off and on.

Off.  On.  Off.  On.

These are usually at the house that’s hung just one string, usually lining a roof or a window. Or part of a roof.  Or half a window.  Or until the string of lights just ran out.

THEY’RE LIGHTS THAT DON’T EVEN TRY.

And please note – when I say “you didn’t try,” I have a pretty high threshold for what I consider gallant effort.  Witness our family Christmas Tree a few years ago:

frogpoolnoodletree

Shout out to Problems with Infinity (http://problemswithinfinity.com/) – see? SEE?!?

Yes.  It’s a stuffed frog and a pool noodle.  BUT IT SAYS “TREE” SO IT’S LEGIT.  And I didn’t have to step on a single needle.  I WIN.

This tree is creative and unique (and affordable, I might add!)  But lights that blink in sections?  It’s like Christmas just gave up.  It’s Christmas sadness.

Don’t be that house.  Don’t be the Holiday Spirit Slayer.  Leave your lights on, in all their energy-sapping, glowing glory.  Your neighbors will shovel your walkways and bring you cookies, and there will be world peace and harmony.

Or, at least, I won’t have to violently hurl the Fruitcake of Christmas Past through your front window.

Liebster, Revisited: Part 1 of 3: History of My Career

Recently (OK, it’s been a couple of weeks, because summer, yo!) sonofabeach96 was kind enough to nominate me for a Liebster Award:

liebster3This feels a little bit like cheating, because I actually won one of these before, and wrote about aliens and my cat.  But this one is a different COLOR, and like shoes THAT MAKES IT TOTALLY DIFFERENT so I’ll make room.

Before I dig in, lemme tell ya about sonofabeach96 – he writes about life and family, and seasons his posts liberally with great music.  He’s a good read, so go check him out. kthx

DA RULZ:

  1. Make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated me and include the Liebster Award sticker in the post.
  2. Nominate 5-10 other bloggers and notify them of this in one of their posts.
  3. All nominated bloggers are to have less than 200 followers.
  4. Answer the 11 questions posed by your nominator and create 11 different questions for your nominees to answer.  Or, you can repeat the same questions.
  5. Copy these rules into your post.

And now for the questions, which are sure to provide fascinating insight into the mental supply closet that is my psyche….

(Some of these are repeats, so I hope y’all don’t mind some backwards links.  Actually, I think I’ll list those questions first, just to get them checked off.)

What is your favorite movie and why?  I have two:  Hitch and The Incredibles.  You can read why here. 

Do you believe in an afterlife and/or ghosts?  Oh yes indeedy.  Here’s THAT post.

Describe your family and its dynamic.  I think most of it, and how it plays into the hot mess accomplished, mature professional I am today, can be found HERE.  


And now, some new stuff:

What is your career and is it what you’ve always wanted to do or did you just fall into it?

I work in Human Resources.  NO ONE wants to work in HR when they grow up.  No one even really knows what that IS, honestly.  I think “human resources” comes from an ancient Gaelic term meaning “shoveling employee drama that stinketh like elephant droppings”.

ihatepeople

Getting into HR was a total accident.  The kind where you’re juggling hot coffee and a plate of danishes, and your stiletto catches in the sidewalk, thrusting you rather violently and ungracefully into the cement, resulting in 1) hot coffee all over your white blouse, 2) scuffing your heel up beyond any hope of repair*, 3) tearing holes in the knees of the ONE pair of pants that don’t make your thighs look like they need their own zip code, and 4) all the pastries you were carrying landing sticky-side down in the dirt.  (Krispy Kreme redefined.  Bleck.)

*what nail polish and a Sharpie can fix.  (Don’t judge.)

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a meteorologist.  (OK, to be fair, not a lot of kids have THAT dream, either.)

I started college with no idea what I wanted to do for a living, and ended up gravitating towards education.  (Hey, I’d spent twelve years in school, it was the one thing I knew about.  I really wanted to study diet and nutrition, since that was the OTHER thing I knew about, but as a fat freshman, I didn’t think I’d be all that believable, so…. Voila!  Education it is!)  Unfortunately, after a fairly significant investment of four years and 175 credits, I learned in my last semester (during student teaching) that, while I enjoyed the actual TEACHING part of the job, I just could not stomach school politics.

The last straw?  I gave a kid a D in music class, and his dad threatened to kill me.  Note – the kid EARNED that D, refusing to participate, or listen, or do anything.  Essentially, he was a little a$$hole.  And his dad came to the school and told me I’d better think twice about keeping his precious little groinfruit off the honor roll, because he’d hate for me to be found dead in the park across the street like that 13-year-old girl they found there six weeks ago….(and I’m like, yeah…that totally just happened.)

I’m SURE this kid is enjoying a lucrative career now, thanks to Daddy’s stellar influence.  Somewhere that serves french fries.  If he’s not in prison.

The kicker?  The principal said I should consider the guy’s offer.  Uh no.  Little Lucifer got his D, and I washed my hands of the mess of trying to mold tomorrow’s society.  (Epilogue:  it broke all by itself without my help.) 

Unfortunately, when you study teaching but decide to pursue other careers, you really don’t have too many other readily marketable skills.  However, I had worked in college for the Conference Services department, managing the ins and outs of various camps and classes in the summer. (Yes…”band camp”.  And cheer camp and choir camp and art camp and robotics camp and football camp and pretty much everything else camp.)  So, with the handy skills of distributing keys, collecting payment, and working holidays under my belt, I got a job working the front desk at a hotel.

Hotels are crazy businesses.  Because people stay there, and people are nuts, especially after dark, and times fifty when you add in “I’m on vacation!” and alcohol.  For example – did you know that the reason there’s no roof access from hotel stairwells is because people go there to jump off?  There’s a whole book of “wow, people are totes craybeans” procedures around all kinds of stuff like that.

Unfortunately, employees aren’t much better, so eventually we had to fire someone for absenteeism or stealing food or sleeping with a guest or something, and no one wanted to deliver the message.  Which stumped me.  I mean, with all the crazy sauce the guests were slinging everywhere, employee discipline seemed like a fairly logical progression:

flowchartfiredSimple.  No guesswork here; I was just telling them they had arrived at the end of the chart, right?  This wasn’t complicated, or difficult…yet no one wanted to do it.  I guess they were afraid the person would be…angry?  Cry?  <eyeroll>  Whatever.  Just gimme the phone, Nancy-pants.

And that is how I got into HR.

Quickly, I became a pro at terminations.  Which served me well, career-wise – after working in manufacturing for 20 <gulp> years, and with all the ups and downs of the economy, and its myriad permutations of rightsizing and downsizing and layoffs and restructuring – not to mention the occasional employee bad behavior (and yes, there are some GREAT stories there…but we’ll save those for another day) I have had to fire literally hundreds of people.

At one company, we (read:  I) went through six rounds of layoffs in fourteen months.  And I sat through them all.

One by one.

It was…sucktacular.


If you could be anything, career-wise, what would you choose to do and why?

HR, of course.

frognope

I actually have a plan for this.  Once I can afford to retire HAHAHA who am I kidding win Powerball and become independently wealthy, I’m totally quitting HR for good.  I’ve told my coworkers, and my boss, this very thing – the moment I can afford to no longer work, Kate will turn into a puff of smoke and a screech of tires.  <poof>

My actual exit will be more subtle, though.  Because once I’m a bazillionaire, I need to fade into the sunset so people aren’t hitting me up for cash.  So one day, I’ll leave for lunch (which I have done maybe three times in as many years) and simply won’t come back.  My coworkers will start to miss me later in the afternoon:

“Uh…where’d Kate go?”

“Gosh, you know, I haven’t seen her in a few hours….Wait.  Didn’t she say she was going to lunch?”

“Yeah…which is weird because she, like, never goes to lunch.  She usually eats her six Cheerios at her desk.”

Eventually, one of them will text me, and I’ll simply reply “still at lunch.”  Which, a week later, will be freaking hilarious.  Right??

But I digress.

So my dream job?  I’ll learn to play guitar and sing folk songs in coffee houses and wine shops around the city.  I guess that isn’t really a job.  But I don’t care, because I’m independently wealthy now, and your rules no longer apply to me.  Neener neener.


I’ll continue answering the rest of the questions in another post….because by now, your nether-regions have likely fallen asleep, and you probably need to get up and stretch.

But without further ado…here are my nominees:

NOTE:  This is a zero-obligation nomination.  I swear my feelings will not be hurt if you don’t do this.  It’s just a way to give y’all a shout-out and say thanks for hanging your mental skivvies out on the line for all of us to gawk at.  Heh.  😉

But if you’re game….here are YOUR eleven questions – certain to provoke riveting and inspiring trinkets for conversational fodder…. 😉

  1. Describe for me your favorite piece of jewelry.
  2. Regarding #1, tell me where you got it, and who gets it in the will.
  3. What food should be made illegal, and why?
  4. In exactly fourteen words, tell me how you feel about clowns.
  5. Tell me how you got that scar.  (Pick your favorite.)
  6. What’s something you enjoy eating that others might find odd?
  7. What’s your favorite thing to look at/see in the sky?
  8. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve found while outside?  Jewelry, money…?
  9. What’d you do with what you found in #8?
  10. Have you ever stolen anything? Besides my heart.  <barf>
  11. Have you ever won anything?

Enjoy, kids.  😀

Sunshine on My Blog Page Makes Me Happy

Anyone else remember that song?

When I think of John Denver, I either think of Sunshine on My Shoulders, or, peculiarly, Kermit the Frog.

I’m not entirely certain why my brain equates John Denver with the Muppets. I know he was featured on the Muppet Show a few times, and this was the early 70s (which where my formative years, NOT because anyone I knew was smoking anything suspect.  Then again, I was a kid; what did I know?)  Although John Denver appears to have had a full life and career outside Kermit’s world, it simply doesn’t exist in my brain.

Anyway…sunshine’s on my mind today.  Both Chelise at Caterpillar to Butterfly and Nikki at Undiagnosed Warrior nominated me for the Sunshine Blog Award (so I get TWO pretty things to hang on my wall!  And they’re ORANGE!  My fave!!!)

sunshine-blog-awardsunshine-awardDA RULES:

  • Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post
  • Answer the 11 questions set by the person who nominated you
  • Nominate 11 blogs to receive the award, and write them 11 new questions

So that means I have TWENTY-TWO QUESTIONS to answer.  Yowza.  This could take awhile….

What is the most important thing to you?   I probably am supposed to say something poignant and sentimental here about my kids and the hubs. 

Realistically, though, the longest item of focus in my life has been my weight. 

Wow…that’s kind of…pathetic, isn’t it.  (Not a question. A statement.)

But I guess if I’m being honest here, my weight is something I’ve kept a close eye on fairly consistently for…<does quick math> THIRTY-THREE-FOUR FREAKING YEARS. 

Yikes.  That’s kind of an eye-opener.

Seriously – I need to think about this for a bit.

Do I really want this to be my legacy? 

<shuts laptop and goes outside to mow lawn and contemplate meaning of life vs. weight loss>

OK.  I’m sweaty now, and have clippings stuck to my neck.  (There’s probably a fetish site for that. NOT GOOGLING.)  Burned 300+ calories, have well-manicured lawn, and am no closer to setting life goals.

Ah well, it’ll grow back and I can try again.  <shrugs>

<tucks into rest of post>

If you could go anywhere right now, where would it be?  Back to bed with my coffee.  Ahhhhh. 

As far as physical places go – I would love to take an Alaskan cruise, although I’m a bit iffy on the whole cold-weather thing.  I really want to spend time on the west coast – mountains AND ocean and ginormous trees, and lots of wine.  What could be better?  (Also will take recommendations….HINT HINT)

What’s your favorite thing about blogging?  Camaraderie.  I love my new invisible friends!  

What’s your favorite thing about yourself?  I crack myself up.  🙂

What has been your biggest challenge in life so far?  I think the hardest time in my life was my divorce.  It’s like breaking a Fabergé egg.  You have this thing (marriage) that you’ve worked up in your mind to be beautiful; to be treasured and protected – and you have to smash it on the ground and sweep up the pieces, reordering them into something that will never resemble the ideal ever again.  You and your kids WILL get to a point where things are OK…but it won’t be the Fabergé egg.  That no longer exists.

Whoa.  Deep. 

Do you believe in love at first sight?  Only with shoes. Everything else needs to be tried on and worked into the wardrobe, and sometimes, no matter how fabulous he appears to be on the rack, he just doesn’t work with your lifestyle.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?  Hopefully I’ll be a grandmother and taking FABULOUS vacations out west!  (No pressure, kids.  Even though I have fed and diapered you since birth, and have sacrificed <sob> SO MUCH for your happiness….)

How many languages do you speak?  What languages do you speak fluidly? English only.  Although I used to understand Spanish fairly well – I’ve worked in a few bilingual facilities; between that and four years of high school Spanish, I often only needed an interpreter one way.  (However, no amount of language training can prepare you to explain how an HSA works.  Heck, it’s nearly impossible in English.)

What do you think is your best post so far? Link it.  I’m picking two, because I’m a thug rebel like that.  Why I Hate Deer is one.  The other is a little darker but I needed to get it out of my head:  Frosting

What’s your favorite quote?  “The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.”Paulo Coelho

If you could recommend one fellow blogger for me to follow, who would it be and why?  Click on Problems With Infinity.  Quirky humor AND PICTURES.  LOVE.

Favorite vacation spot? Sadly, I have no idea, as I haven’t been on one in over ten years….

Favorite time of day?  Evening.  I’m not quite the night owl I used to be (thanks for NOTHING, societal norms) but I do my best thinking after 4 PM.  Or maybe I just LOOK good in comparison because by that time of day, everyone else’s battery is pretty much drained.  Ha.

Ocean or Lake?  Mountains. 🙂

Dogs or cats?  I’m a cat person. You can read about my eating-disordered cats HERE.

Favorite season?  Notwinter.  THAT TOTALLY COUNTS.  Fall = Football, Summer = Warm, Spring = Flowers and End of Winter.  All good, all not winter. 

Zodiac Sign? Both sides of my brain are firmly Gemini. So is the hubs. Makes life interesting, if you like seesaws and being randomly off-balance.

Exerciser or Couch Potato? Genetically, a couch potato.  I do exercise, but it’s always a chore.  It’s like brushing my teeth – I may never LOVE it, but I’ll DO it, because I don’t like what things look like when I don’t.

How long have you been blogging?  I started this blog 2/4/15.  It’s been six months and over 50 posts – wow, that adds up!

Camping or Hotel? This is much like asking, “buy new shoes or stab self with fish hooks?”  I love indoor plumbing.  I do NOT love schlepping 100+ pounds of crapola from house to forest in order to sleep outside when Man has invented PERFECTLY GOOD devices for this in sheltered areas. 

Nor do I relish the thought of hauling all the sweaty linens, dishes, and shelter, with freshly accumulated dirt and leaves, back home to have to clean and put away.  Seriously – hauling half a week’s worth of groceries kind of sucks.  You want me to carry my bed, my food, AND my roof around the wilderness?  Just thinking about that makes me too tired to actually go outside.  HOW IS THIS FUN? 

And there’s no WiFi.

I seriously think y’all who enjoy this are just pretending.  I simply cannot wrap my head around it. 

Favorite movie?  Again, I have two.  While I normally lack the attention span to sit through an entire movie (two hours?  Kill me) there are two that I’ll watch over and over and over again.

First:  The Incredibles.

blah blah

(Weird glitch isn't letting me caption this. Photo from http://movies.disney.com/the-incredibles)

So many gems in that one.  I seriously overuse “You got me monolouging” and “WHERE.  IS MY SUPERSUIT” and “Abort! Abort! There are children aboard!”  And I reference Bob’s opinion of incessant graduations ALL.THE.TIME.  Go HERE and read ALL the quotes.   It’s totally a scientific sociological specimen.  100%. Seriously.  WATCH THIS.  Now.

You also need to run out and go see Hitch.  BECAUSE IT’S HILARIOUS.

Every adult in the dating world needs to watch this – after you do, you’ll feel strangely better about the whole mess.  I promise.

This is another one with so many relatable quotes I can’t even.  “Don’t need no pizza.  They got plenty of food there.”  BEST QUOTE ON BAD DANCING EVER.

See?  Now you’re intrigued, aren’t ya.  GO WATCH IT. It’s on Netflix and it will TOTALLY brighten your day.  Like sunshine.


Passing the torch along to eleven bloggers who do a nice job of spreading light.  I won’t be offended if you don’t take this challenge on.  Just know that you brighten my day.

<barf>

  1. theGoodVader
  2. Happiness, Health, and Hypnosis
  3. sonofabeach96
  4. fattymccupcakes
  5. karmasarma
  6. Mermaid in a Mudslide
  7. This Little Diary
  8. Cat in the Cactus
  9. Remember the Good Stuff
  10. a funny thing happened when I was learning myself
  11. surviving the specter

YOUR QUESTIONS:

1. Describe to me, in detail, your favorite pizza.  (Bonus points if you can make it sound sultry.)

2.  Congratulations!  You just won a boat.  What do you name her?

3.  INTRUDER ALERT!  Someone’s breaking into your house!  What do you grab to fend him off? 

4.  What is your least favorite household chore?

5.  A stranger hands you $100 and one condition:  you have to spend it on something COMPLETELY frivolous, or a puppy dies.  What do you spend it on?

6.  Say something spiritual about doing laundry.

7.  What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten (on purpose?)

8.  What’s the oldest thing in your fridge right now?

9.  Describe your sleeping space. 

10. Thrill rides:  Yes or no, and why or why not?

11. What’s your favorite joke?

That oughta do it, for now. The sun is setting on this post.

<gong>

Cleaning Out the Trophy Case – Awards On Parade!

Now that summer is winding down, it’s time to clean out my virtual blogging closet and get a bit organized….I’ve been spending time bingewatching Friends on Netflix and Supersize vs. Superskinny on YouTube getting outside, hanging with the kids, and just generally enjoying the long summer days before winter (which starts in October and often goes through May…MAY.  Why the eff did I move here, again?) sets in.

So while I’ve been firmly planted on the couch watching my glutes spread out and about having a fulfilling, meaningful life, a few awards and such have been piling up.  And yeah, I know I’m not obligated to take these on….but I find they serve two purposes:

  • They get the creative juices squeezed out of the driest of lemons – they make you write SOMETHING, and generally, something > nothing.  (Unless your writing is crap. But even then, better out than in, right?)
  • They give you an opportunity to give a nod to other blogs you enjoy.  (There are some real characters on here.  Wanna laugh?  Cry?  Nod frantically while yelling “THIS THIS THIS ZOMG YES THIS EXACTLY“?  It’s all on WordPress, folks.)
  • It’s free therapy.  You can chuck your mind’s ramblings on a virtual wall, and what you get back is validating, encouraging, enlightening, thought-provoking, and/or freakin’ hilarious.  For FREE, yo.  FREE.  (And free can be AWESOME.  Have I ever mentioned I met the hubs on a free dating site?  I’m like Choos on clearance, totes.  Or like stumbling on Prada at the dollar store.)

And yes, that’s three.  Or maybe two and a helper with that Common Core brain scramble.  I love this post about Common Core at suyts space – the pictures and the ensuing comments sum it all up nicely for me.  (See what I did there?  <snort>)


A few weeks ago, Chelise from Caterpillar to Butterfly was kind enough to nominate me for a couple of things.  First up – the Encouraging Thunder award:

encouraging1

Full disclosure:  We have three teenage boys in the house.  “Encouraging Thunder” sounds like passive encouragement for a belching contest.  OR WORSE.  (Which reminds me…Both of our Aim ‘n Flames seem to be empty – mental note to add to shopping list.  Along with Febreeze.  YAY BOYS.)

Rules for accepting the award:

  • Post it on your blog.  Check!
  • Add the Encouraging Thunder logo.  Got it!
  • Grant other bloggers the award.  Below!
  • Mention your purpose in blogging.  You can find that here in my first post.
  • Thank the person who nominated you.  Thanks Chelise!  🙂

Nominations:

  • I am learning a lot from Mr. Know Body.  Lots of medical stuff (likely not for squeamish delicate-flower types, but good info if you’re not terribly fragile.)
  • Also have always enjoyed The Persistent Platypus – she manages anxiety in a very open and extremely positive way. You can’t be in a bad mood after reading one of her posts. I promise.  🙂

Next up: Brighton Bipolar was kind enough to nominate me for the Blogger Recognition Award!  By the way, if you don’t read her blog – you totally should. It is filled to the gills with great info on all things mental health – lots of info to digest and share!

BR_AwardBlogger Recognition Award Rules:

1. Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to. Do some digging if you must! Find those blogs. You cannot nominate yourself or the person who has nominated you. 

2. Write a post to show off your award! Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers. Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog. List who you’ve nominated in the post. Make sure to also attach the award itself! (You can do this by right-clicking, saving, and uploading the image above).

3. Comment on each blog and let them know you’ve nominated them. Provide a link to the award post you created.

4. Provide a link to the original post on Edge of Night. That way, anyone can find the original guidelines and post if needed, and we can keep it from mutating and becoming confusing!

Let’s get started….<rolls up sleeves and whips out fancy pen>

(Holy Frito.  Fifteen?? That’s a hella lot.  Lemme think here….I’m just gonna list some blogs I enjoy, learn from, or both):

  1. karmasarma
  2. betternotbroken
  3. Storyshucker
  4. The Ninth Life
  5. Walking After Midnight
  6. Daily Inspiration Blog
  7. Vogue Infatuation
  8. Navy Striped Peonies
  9. Slightly Imperfect
  10. Living to Thrive
  11. This Little Diary
  12. By Lauren Hayley
  13. Remember the Good Stuff
  14. Tati’s Galaxy
  15. adjust remembered

Whew!  I think that’s the first rule I’ve followed in awhile….Gah, following directions is EXHAUSTING.

<leaves for snack time and nap>

OK.  <steels self> Let’s git ‘er done.

Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers.

Brief?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA  Have we met?  (Sorry.  Do I have to give the award back?  Because Kate is to brief as fish poo is to breakfast.)

OK, back on task here.  Hmm.

Well, the good news is that I already wrote about why I’m here, and why I started this blog.

Advice to new bloggers?  Hmm….

1. Join the community. Read at least three times as much as you write.  “Like” liberally and comment frequently.  Put yourself out there – virtually position yourself in the center of the room with a fabulous glass of red, a brilliant frock, and killer shoes – and mingle.

2.  Don’t try to cram every thought into your post.  It’s like packing for a trip.  Sure, you can ALWAYS pack one more pair of socks, but there comes a point where the zipper will kersplode, leaving the tourists and weary business travelers shaking their heads as your unmentionables roll down the conveyor.  Not the image you were gunning for.  (Clearly, I sort of suck at this one.  Both the point AND the analogy.  It ain’t full until I sit on it and pull the zipper with pliers to get it shut!)

3.  Remember why you’re doing this, and stay true to YOU.  Your writing isn’t mass-produced – it’s one-of-a-kind.  And sure, that MIGHT mean you’re the sequinned and bedazzled reindeer-and-turnips sweater that your dear Aunt Matilda knitted by hand – but you’ll be the ONLY bedazzled reindeer-and-turnips sweater out there.  You’ll find your voice, and it’ll be uniquely yours.


One more – the Just For Fun Blogging Award, created by whereshappy at a funny thing happened when I was learning myself! 

JustforfunawardDA RULZ:

  1. The questions generated should just be silly and fun.
  2. Invite any one you want to participate, but really think of those people that you find have a great sense of humor and are willing to just play along for a few minutes.
  3. Please link back to this page (ping me) if you participate so that I can try to see who is giving this a go and to see how far it reaches.  I have no problem with this being re-blogged, if that’s how you would like to share.
  4. This is just for fun and is just a way to get people to know each other better!  Seriously, that’s it.  Just have some fun with it, please!
  5. No is a perfectly acceptable answer for me and everyone else. If you think this award is dumb, then more power to you–I hope you have a wonderful day doing whatever floats your boat.

I like her style.  🙂  Plus, she digs Darren Criss WHO I TOTALLY MET IN PERSON WHEN HE DID THE LISTEN UP TOUR IN CLEVELAND.  It was my daughter’s 15th birthday present.  Happy Birthday to ME, yo.  Besides, he’s 18; it’s all legal, baby.

So I’m picking three questions from her list to answer:

What was the first concert you ever attended?  The Monkees revival tour, in Elmira, NY.  (Revival.  1986, not 1966.  JUST TO BE CLEAR.)  It. Was. Epic.

Who is your celebrity crush?  Since Darren Criss is taken….I loves me some Wayne Brady.  He is BRILLIANT.

I got to see him live at an HR conference in 2002 in Philly, and I almost GOT ON STAGE with him, too, but then some pushy harlot pretty much flashed him and I got lost in the shuffle.  Brush-with-fame sadness.

Seriously, his improv is ART. ART!  (Plus, he’s adorable.  Right?)  Incidentally….he used to stutter, and had anxiety as a child.  He also suffers from depression.   Despite these challenges, he’s freakin’ amazing.  Tremendous talent in a fine-lookin’ package….  😉

What is your go to song to sing in the shower?  Broadway, baby.  My first pick is the complete soundtrack of Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Aspects of Love.  I can pretty much do the whole thing by heart.  But in a pinch, I can blast through Les Miserables or Sweeney Todd, too.  Nothing blasts through a crappity mood like singing about turning society’s derelicts and deadbeats into savory, craveable meat pies.  Right?   

Nominees for this prestigious award are Cat in the Cactus and Problems with Infinity.  Here are your three questions:

1. What’s your FAVORITE pair of shoes?  Describe them and tell me how you met.

2. The mail’s here!  What do you get SUPER EXCITED about seeing in your mailbox?

3. What condiment can you eat the most of?  Like, a shot glass full, or a bowl of?

These ladies are hilarious, so I eagerly anticipate their answers!  🙂


Well, that’s all for this one, folks.  All the candy has been tossed, the horses have been swept behind, and the bands have gone home.  (Why do they ALWAYS put the marching band BEHIND the horses, anyway?)

Over and out, peeps.

<flips light switch>

The Love/Hate Challenge: Part 6 – SHOOT IT SHOOT IT SHOOT IT

I am pleased to announce that this is the FINAL INSTALLMENT of this challenge!  Loud cheers and huzzahs!

<faint slow-claps from two bored audience members>

I do enjoy these challenges – because although I like to write – and it’s good for me to do so – sometimes breaking the inertia and getting started is the hardest part, and these challenges give you somewhere to point your feet once you actually get off the mental sofa and open the front door.  But this one is starting to look like an evening gown in my closet that I bought for a fancy party four years ago – while I still love it, I need to get it to a consignment shop before it’s no longer fashionably relevant (and before I get too fat to wear it, and just looking at it makes me cry.)

lovehatechallengeDA RULES:

  1. List 10 things you LOVE
  2. List 10 things you HATE
  3. Nominate a few suckers to do the same

10 THINGS I LOVE and 10 THINGS I HATE (in unranked order)

PART 6:  THE FINAL CHAPTER

When I first started working on this series, I was having trouble coming up with ten different things.  (Now that I’m at the end, I have like six more things to write about…so I guess this challenge was a good starting point.)  But I was having trouble getting off the starting block, so I asked my kids for help brainstorming.

(Yes.  I should have known better.)

Me:  So I’m writing about ten things I love and ten things I hate.  What are ten things YOU hate?

Daughter:  My brother, my brother, my brother, my brother….

Me: <cutting her off>  That’s cheating. Your brother is ONE thing.  You can’t list him ten times.

Son:  OK then.  My sister’s face.  My sister’s head.  My sister’s mouth.  My sister’s singing.  My sister’s bu….

Me:  <cheerily> HEY!  Who wants ice cream?

Sigh.

The Love/Hate Challenge has been up WAY past its bedtime….time to shut out the lights and tuck this one in.

10.  I hate deer.  But I love messing with people.

Remember when Bambi first came out?  Wait…of course you don’t.  That was like, 1942 or something. But I do remember watching it in the movie theater.

Incidentally, did you remember that Bambi was a DUDE?  Next time I’m at a bachelorette party, and the fake-cop comes in to strip, I’ll try shouting “Take it off, Bambi” as I shove dollar bills in his general direction. I’m sure it’ll be super effective in getting his attention.

I also distinctly remember the scene when Bambi’s mother died. Strangely, I was the only one who leapt to her feet and cheered.

What?  You were sad?

Don’t be.

The only good deer is a dead deer.  And here is why:

Deer suck.

They really do.  They’re sort of like the rich teenagers on Gossip Girl (which I am NOT currently bingewatching with my daughter) – when people see them, they ooh and ah over how pretty they are, and everyone wants to get close to them and snap pictures to share on social media.

But then they randomly do totally b!tchy things like eat your flowers or randomly leap in front of your car when you’re zipping down the highway at 72 mph, and as you’re looking over the remnants of your petunias or your crumpled fender, you suddenly want to mow them all down with a fully loaded AK-47.

So far, I’ve been lucky – I haven’t actually struck a deer yet.  Since I grew up in rural PA, I recognize that I’ve beat the odds here.

But my time will come.

They’re all waiting along the highway, watching me, waiting for that PERFECT moment when I’m tooling down a nameless country road at midnight, juggling a refresh on Google Maps and a hot cup of Dunkin’.  Then – only then – they will strike.  And once they do?  It’s ON, futhamuckers.  It.  Is.  On.  You spill my coffee, we will have words.  <angles bazooka menacingly>

In the meantime?  I married into a family that hunts.  And while I support the swift obliteration of the entire species of glorified rats with antlers, I’ll admit I’m not the biggest fan of using them as decoration.  I mean, if you want to make an impact, hang the severed heads outside, where they can serve as a horrible warning to the survivors to stay the h#ll off my lawn.

(Side note:  My grandpa was a salmon fisherman, and once he cleaned the fish, he used to nail their heads to the pine trees by the garden.  He said it kept the snakes away.  I can’t tell you whether it worked or not, but you can bet your sweet bippie we never had any salmon digging up our gardens and dinging up our bumpers, that’s for sure.  To be fair, salmon skulls aren’t really all that cuddly.  Would YOU raid a garden decorated with this?)

fishhead

Fish heads aside, most folks insist on displaying their kill indoors. So my options are either to get used to it…or help them kick it up a notch.

I present Exhibit A:

antlerwig

Tragically, after running away to Vegas, Amber paid the ultimate price for hard, fast living.

Recently, my kids and I were at a birthday party for one of the hubby’s relatives.

Now, these are perfectly nice people….but after a while, I was frantically looking for a graceful escape route when the birthday girl’s grandmother monologued for TWENTY MINUTES about how relaxing and rewarding it was to…

…wait for it…

…iron.

Wait, what?

Iron?

Yup.  Everything.  Baby clothes, sheets, it’s all so soothing.  And she won over her husband because of how meticulous she was about pressing his underwear.

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

I can’t even.

I think we still have an iron.  It’s stuffed in the back of the NOPE closet next to the bucket of Hell No and the box of Never Again.

I do remember the last time I ironed, actually.  It was October of 1999 and I was about 12 weeks pregnant with my son.  I was getting ready to go on a business trip, and my pants (already!!) didn’t fit, so I had to dig out pair of maternity pants.  They had only been in storage a few months, but were wrinkled beyond recognition, and iron repellant* hadn’t been invented yet, so I attempted to iron.

And promptly burned my arm.

And immediately quit ironing forever, because I was traumatically scarred FOR LIFE.  That shiz is dangerous, yo.

irontragedy

See?! SEE?!??!?

* Iron repellant = Downy Wrinkle Releaser.  If that stuff doesn’t work on an article of clothing, it goes in the Goodwill bin.  Ain’t nobody got time for dat.

Anyway.  After that absolutely riveting tale of uncreased unmentionables, the kiddos and I were bored.  And when my kids get bored…let’s just say I can either create a diversion, or become a victim.  I learned my lesson at the LAST family party, where my daughter stole my phone and updated the spelling dictionary to change over seventy-five common words to autocorrect to “poop.”  (She also changed her name to Her Royal Highness, and her brother’s to something unprintable. <shrug> She comes by it honestly, I guess.)

So we decided to play a game with the party balloons.  There were about a dozen trophies hanging on the wall.  First kid to score an antler basket wins $10.  GO!

It took about 10 minutes (it’s harder than it looks with 12′ ceilings.)   My son is $10 richer, and in my opinion, it was money well spent.

AntlerToss


The final nomination for this challenge is sonofabeach96 – because we recently bonded over coffee.  😉

And with that – CHALLENGE CLOSED. <mic drop>

The Love/Hate Challenge! Part 5: A Second Pot of Coffee

Bear with me, folks – we’re on part five of six – I PROMISE I’m wrapping this up here.  Eventually.

Coffee was the subject of my last post, and I suspect will occupy the better part of this one.  But because my daily cup of personality allows me to spell it “morning” instead of “mourning,” it deserves a little extra love and attention.  So pour yourself a fresh cuppa joe, prop up your feet, and get comfy.

lovehatechallengeDA RULES:

  1. List 10 things you LOVE
  2. List 10 things you HATE
  3. Nominate a few suckers to do the same

10 THINGS I LOVE and 10 THINGS I HATE (in unranked order)

PART 5:  MORE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE

9.  I love gas station coffee, and I hate Starbucks.

In my last post, I may have mentioned that I love coffee.  And while this is very true, I’m totally blue-collar about it.  As long as you’re drinking it black, I’m the furthest thing from a coffee snob that there is.

Confession:  I actually drink – and like – coffee from the gas station.

<passes smelling salts for delicate flowers who dead-fainted>

Hey, don’t knock it ’till ya try it – if you can’t find a McDonald’s, know that Sheetz, Holiday, KwikTrip, and SuperAmerica all have decent roasts – and they sell 24oz cups to tote it in.  WINNING.  (Side note:  Sheetz actually has some decent food, too, for a 24/7 gas station.  Certainly a few notches above Taco Bell, and deny all you want, I KNOW you are totally eating that shiz on the sly.  Taco Bell is the Walmart of fast food – the largest chain where <cough> “nobody” eats, EVER.)

My fave chain coffee is Dunkin’ Donuts.  I’m self-aware enough to realize that it was probably because I was raised on the stuff – I’m from the East Coast, and Dunkin’ dominated; back home, this chain is everywhere. Although Tim Hortons is seriously encroaching on the terrain; once we let him out of Canada, he started to spread like some sort of mutant coffee kudzu.  But if he chokes out Starbucks, I’ll consider it a symbiotic relationship and agree to peacefully coexist.

Side note:  Where you’re raised definitely influences your tastes.  I remember reading a study years ago (it was probably Consumer Reports, but do you think I can find it now?) with taste-test results for different brands of dark chocolate.  Hershey’s makes one called Special Dark.  You probably remember this as the also-ran in the bag of miniatures, left to grow stale long after the Mr. Goodbars and Krackels were gone.  (Except in my house, where Mom and I fought over them.  We also fought over the Brazil nuts in the Chex Mix.  Ah well.)  Although it tends to get mediocre ratings nationwide, Special Dark tends to be the favored brand of dark in the region surrounding Hershey, PA.  Whether they actually like it, or pretend to out of unfailing loyalty, I can’t say for certain, but if you know any Steelers fans, you’ll likely lean to the latter theory.   Because those people are in their own special category of uniquely nutzoid.  Green Bay and Dallas fans have NOTHING on loyalty next to Steelers fans.  Nada.  Zip.

Usually, I brew my own coffee at home.  I justify my addiction by supporting small farmers and/or local businesses while I’m getting my fix.  (Shout out to Velasquez Family Coffee, who delivers my monthly prescription subscription of beautifully delicious beans.  African Cinnamon is da bomb, but they’re all excellent.  Trust me.)

But if I’m on the road, and there’s no Dunkin’ available, I will happily hit the local fill station for my morning boost.  No matter how questionable the store appears, the coffee there HAS to be better than what I’ll find at Starbucks.

Ah, Starbucks.  The one chain coffee I canNOT stomach.

This isn’t a political statement, nor is it a protest against the overpriced blended dessert drinks made-to-order with a brutally bastardized handwritten approximation of your first name.

It’s simply because THEIR COFFEE IS TERRIBLE.

Aficionados of the swill will claim, with their noses pointed high, “it’s DARK roast…you must not like coffee that dark and robust.”  I raise my pinky delicately <snort> and call BS on y’all.  Folks, it’s not “dark roast” any more than charcoal is ebony wood, or broken glass looks JUST LIKE diamonds.  The Emperor is naked – in the name of decency, grab a tarp to cover the floppy bits.  THAT SHIZ IS BURNT YO.

The last time I voluntarily drank a cup of Starbucks coffee was in 2005.  I had to make a long drive, and it was early in the morning on a holiday and I was bone-tired.  I was heading into a rural area (read:  nothing open, not even gas stations) and, out of desperation, made a regrettable decision – I pulled into Starbucks to grab a small cup.  Just a little, to get me through the drive.  I mean, it was either that or headbob my way into swerving offroad through the forest.

I did what I had to do.  I knew it wouldn’t be great, but how bad could it be?   I needed it, right?

I selected something called Christmas Blend.  Gamely, I raised the cup to my lips.  My sophisticated tasting palate has identified the composition of this brew, just in case you’d like to replicate it at home:

  1. Chop down a pine tree.
  2. Let it rot in your backyard for approximately 12 months.
  3. Burn it to ashes (be sure to leave the dead bugs, dog hair, and bird droppings!)  Grind well.
  4. Pour hot water over the whole thing and drink up.

Halfway through the cup, I gave up and chucked it out the window.  And probably killed an endangered turtle or something.

My aversion to Starbucks has gotten so bad that the very smell of it triggers my gag reflex.  It’s like morning sickness all over again, when the smell of the fireplace, of all things, sent me on a frenzied sprint to find a bathroom. (Hmm.  Fireplace = burnt wood.  Coincidence?  I THINK NOT, Starbucks.  I.  Think.  Not.)

If Starbucks is the only option available, I will actually make the risky and painful decision to <gasp> FOREGO coffee, even when I desperately need it (read:  mornings with boring meetings, mornings when I didn’t get much sleep, mornings in general, and mornings on days of the week ending in Y.)

I’ve attended enough local seminars to know which hotels have the hazard placard on the silver vat of caffeine:

hazardsign

Image obviously from http://www.starbucks.com

(Dear Hilton:  I used to be an HHonors Diamond member.  DIAMOND.  THIS IS HOW YOU THANK ME?)

Thankfully, Starbucks hasn’t ruined tea.  Yet.  So that’s still a relatively safe bet if you’re stuck in an endless meeting and can’t get out to bring your own.  It’s a poor substitute, true, but it might be just enough caffeine to keep you on the left side of regrettable decisions that get you fired, arrested, or both.

Of course, that might be a super effective way to get banned from meetings for a while.

<raises Friendship mug and winks conspiratorially>


One more and I PROMISE we’ll be done with this.

I pass the torch to Lauren Hayley at Madness, Sparkle, and Creative Flair.  She’s pretty busy but I suspect she has a lot to say, too. 🙂