Thursday, August 2, 2018

August Ramblings

I have sat down exactly twice to try to work on a blog post since the last one. I've sat down with the hope to write anything else a grand total of one time. If searching for inner peace didn't already involve piss poor time management skills and external stress, I could reformat this blog in the exclusive theme of bitching about the passage of time and lack of progress in desired avenues.

Sometimes I'm sure it's about handling your stress or outside demands in a different, more constructive way. But I really do think quite a lot of it has to do with learning to accept what can't be changed, finding a bit of inner peace in the midst of perceived chaos, coming to grips with a lack of control in life. So on, etc, & so forth.

I want a nap. Like in the worst freakin' way.

So with a little lightweight bitching done to fluff at the cobwebs coating my mind, I should probably re-focus to something slightly more constructive. Because it's one thing to acknowledge something, it's another thing to let the miserable cow setting become a comfy habitat.

I'm over the moon a close relative's cancer, which returned last year for a 2nd round, is responding so well to treatment that even their oncologist is impressed. I'm militant that this person needs a solid 40 plus more years this lifetime.

I'm super grateful that this year has brought so many opportunities for travel - be it new places I've never been or returning to familiar places I don't get to see often enough. At this point, it feels like a dream that I need to remind myself actually happened.

I'm in awe over the personal growth a variety of loved ones have experienced. It's amazing to watch someone handle without a second thought something that would have made them break out into a cold sweat not so very long ago.

There's plenty more, things that strike me even when I'm trudging through a rough afternoon, sparks of hope in a day that show there are still good people in the world, the rapid-fire thump-thump-thump of a dog's tail when I get home. There's the heart-melting moment a senior dog who is not one for cuddles or silliness decides a head scratch and a quick belly rub sound pretty darn good as long as it's just the two of you.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Carpe pen

For Christmas, a friend got me ye olde fashioned fountain pen. I've always wanted one. It feeds into so many obsessions of mine, not least of all my office supply fetish. 

But I'm one of those people who tries to save the nice stuff, save the special ice cream or what have you, for a special purpose or occasion. This yields solidly mixed to poor results. For example, did you know that homemade, preservative-free marshmallows will ultimately just melt back down into a sugary mess if left untouched for 3 months? The anticipation. The special treat. Total bummer, dude. 

And a good reminder. 

I took my shiny, special pen out from my desk drawer. Or like, from underneath the sticky note pad I'd most likely set aside as my disorganized self discarded it after writing a note. However it transpired, I began using my nifty pen. So much so, I've found myself getting back to writing longhand. 

My handwriting is only a degree or two better than a doctor writing detailed instructions, and I'll never make any headway in fancy, decorative writing, BUT I get the biggest kick out of using it at every chance. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Rewrite of a different kind

Family is a tricky thing. What you grew up with as normal might freak out others you come across. What you tried to hide as embarrassing family shenanigans might be ho-hum for others.
What may be more to the point for this post is that explaining your family can be a tricky thing. How do you explain why your dad calls your oldest cousin 'Apple Juice Fitzhibbert' instead of Alan, followed swiftly by everyone of that generation repeating on cue "So say we all"? This is not a true story from my family, but is as random as the collections of both you-had-to-be-there and it-evolved-over-time family stories that many of us don't even realize we have. Most of our family stories involve fart/poop jokes or injuries, so I aimed for an example that might seem more wholesome. *cough*

I've had my share of relaying family history and stories. All of my siblings are married and have children, so there's been plenty of rehashing of us. My poor husband asks on a weekly basis WTF the reason my parents do or say something is.
He's got no room to talk though.
Recently family history has taken a turn off the paved road, shall we say. New relatives, people kept hidden one or two generations back, have appeared on our radar thanks to the modern marvel of DNA testing. Exact relationships are still being figured out because, we think, those involved are deceased. But initially it looks like a pretty close, family altering, match. On my husband's side. A family history that has been difficult to piece together at times - perhaps we now know why.
I'm in the position now of trying to explain a family's history. What do you start with? Do you stagger info, saving the potentially less ideal for the future? Do you lay it all out from the beginning, warts and all?  I mean the "new" relative is already quite aware somebody in the biological mix kept a secret.

Secondly, how do you address this with the family who is still alive but was not aware of what happened? How do you go about having to rewrite their history?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Time Sucks

As usual, I have thoughts on a simple, easy to put together blog post to try to keep this limping along. And then I sit down. Brain stops working.

In my defense this time, there's a lot going on in my house. I've taken in a not-so-new-to-us member, a nibling in need of some guidance, boundaries and a lot of support and love. It's been a hell of a roller coaster, let me tell you. Instant parent, just add teenager with a sense of entitlement.
Things are in a tentative lull - which is great because I'm exhaustipated (too tired to give a shit)- after a series of emotional upheavals to kick things off. Seizing the moment, I took a little me-time this afternoon once I finished my daily dose of melting in the summer heat.
She went to the store in June, too.
At a snail's pace, I've made my way around various streaming music services. Way, way, far behind the rest of the curve. I'm not too keen on paying a monthly premium to listen to music, but I LOVE music of so many varieties, I can't help but love being able to access just about anything I can think of without having to own it first.

So I signed up for a 3 month trial of a new-to-me service. I've liked all the ones I've tried for different reasons. Some are really great at learning what I like. Some have superior user interfaces. Some are so-so, but their free content/stations are pretty impressive. Whatever the setup, I'm a playlist fiend. Music to keep me moving. Music when I'm annoyed. Music for any and every kind of writing I might attempt. Music from my childhood. Soundtracks that blew me away. All rock. All sugary sweet pop. Alternative angst to make my husband proud.

My deepest time suck - music.
I'm looking forward to the ridiculous time I'll waste cultivating playlists that I may or may not ever use again after the trial is up.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Home Again

There and back again. Damned if Tolkien didn't come up with perhaps the best vacation summary ever.

So, I survived a heck of a road trip, two weeks of sites and highways and blurred loss of time. Come hell or high water... or suicidal animals and brisk crosswinds, everyone who left returned home. We covered an impressive (according to everyone whose mouth drops as we keep listing the places we stopped at) 10 states not including those we drove through without having a scheduled activity. More than 6,000 miles.
Did anyone check to see if the Misty Mountain pass was closed for bad weather?!
And nearly the same number of photographs taken. If I'm being honest, the photos surpassed the miles driven.

Which brings me to one of my current situations, aside from the first quarter of the trip mashing together in one, continuous vague memory of driving and hotel stops: sorting through pictures.

We visited some amazing natural formations and prehistoric remains of animals an ancient peoples, literally taking our breath away at spots. (Ruling out altitude sickness and asthma of course.) So we took a heaping shit ton of pictures. More to the point, my husband did. I'll safely round down my photographic contribution to at or below 1,000 pics. As if that's any less mind-numbing to sort through.

Because sorting through them, trying to whittle down the volume to an easier to share set that highlights our best of the trip? Holy shitballs, people! It's going to take a bit of time. And an IV of caffeine. And maybe a few alcoholic beverages near the end. Perhaps a cheesecake.

Which makes me wonder: would the Lord of the Rings trilogy been easier to read if instead of describing each tree in each forest, there just would have been a snapshot included on occasion?
They walked for months, then shit happened, then they walked more.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Hair Cares

I got my hair cut today.

I know there are people who flip out at the thought of more than just a trim - but I'm so very much not one of them. Short of shaving my hair totally off (something that certainly appeals to me some days), I've tried just about every length. I'm always game to try something different.

Don't get me wrong, I dread going. I feel as out of place as possible in a salon - a place devoted to style and beauty. But a few times a year I suck it up and go in. Because as much as I feel like a giant neon sign points me out as a misfit while I'm there, every haircut feels like a mini-revolution to me. A temporary reinvention.

I've had stylists want my husband's approval before cutting off hair from MY head. I've had stylists who were kind, who were not, who put me down just to sell me products to 'fix' my defects. Now I go to a very sweet woman in a zen-themed place who cannot remember my name if her life depended on it despite being typed on a piece of paper she pulls out for each appointment. But she's always kind and has never made me feel like I'm a sore thumb.

By the time I leave, having dodged the low-grade sales pitches and push for scheduling haircuts for the next 3 years of my life, I feel like any other person who walks out of a salon and plays with their hair (or the lack of it) with a stupid grin on my face. And I know in a day or two that will fade as I'm confronted with the reality that there's no way in hell I can come close to recreating the style she gave me at home. Even then I'll still enjoy the change, my own personal mini rebellion, and scold myself for putting off going for so long.


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Traveling Writers

It's a bit of an exciting time in our little writer's group. Everyone's made travel plans for various destinations (Europe! Islands! Massive Road Trip!) for the coming months. 

In true writer fashion, we all have different travel techniques. Pantser - very little planned, take each travel day as it comes. Planner - Every.single.detail.under.review. And of course, the fence-sitter of them all - the hybrid. A mix of planning and go with the flow, having a decent framework to depend on and running amok around it. 

Whether it's writing or planning a trip, when I get bogged down in details or when I'm struggling to work out a logistical issue, I've found it really helps me to go off-screen. Pen to paper, having pages to move around and scribble on helps me when I just can't figure something out. 

Doing this made my trip possible, despite of/in addition to plenty of well meaning travel apps. I broke down and tried it out when I just couldn't figure out an important plot point writing-wise recently as well. A nerve-wracking conversation (man, I still feel like an idiot discussing anything I'm writing with anyone) followed by a quick dissection of the problem, pertinent info and a piece of paper and voila - a workable bit of something to get back into the sandbox with. 

August Ramblings

I have sat down exactly twice to try to work on a blog post since the last one. I've sat down with the hope to write anything else a gra...