Lost It

You should start writing again they say.

Well, “They” say a lot, and I generally shrug off what “They” say with my usual degree of self- absorbed laziness and a plethora of not-so-well thought out excuses, but maybe “They” have a point.

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There’s an age old saying that probably dates back to Old Testament times when God granted Moses the power to do some stuff, and he responded with “Nuh uh. I can’t do that stuff…” To which God replied, “I gave you the ability to do stuff, Moses, now go forth and do some stuff….’cuz if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.”

Or something like that.

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If you don’t use it you’ll lose it.

There they are. Those ancient, dusty words…

And maybe I have lost it.

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Oops. Wrong kind of “lost it”.

Anyhow, at times I can almost physically feel it slipping away…that passion I once had for weaving random verbiage into something mildly entertaining, the way that a kindergartner might weave some fuzzy strips of overstuffed, booger-laden yarn into a pot holder for Mother’s Day. It’s at those times that I give in to the self doubt, and then mentally beat myself up with the assurance that it’s most certainly gone by now…

But then, here we are, and just like that rambunctious little monster that hasn’t been quite right in the head since he was old enough to talk simply has to stick his tongue on the electric fence just to see what happens, I, of course, have to find out.

Who knows? Maybe I do still harbor a glimmer of that former key-stroking glory that once had my adoring one and a half fans so enraptured by my oozing charm and insatiable wit…

Or maybe it’s just a slow night for prime-time programming.

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At any rate, let’s consider this a little “stick my toe in the water” test to see if it’s warm enough to dive back into this vast blog ocean once again.

I’ll either sink or swim.

Or get eaten by something really big with sharp teeth.

So check in occasionally for random (and probably highly infrequent because the crazy lady now has a full time job) installments of really inane babbling that will probably leave you having “lost it” yourself.

Until next time…

Here’s a napkin.

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Sop up that drool.

The 12 Year Honeymoon

Daily Prompt: First Sight

Whether a person, a pet, an object, or a place, write about something or someone you connected with from the very first second.

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I had never been one for long term relationships. I would make excuses for myself and place the blame solely on whatever guy unwittingly had one foot out the door at the time (even though at times it genuinely was a wise decision to move on), but in retrospect I can chalk it up to mostly my own selfishness. I had developed a “grass is greener” mentality, and when the butterflies in the stomach were gone, the guy that wrought them was soon to follow.

I went through a plethora of “relationships” in my younger years, with my 2 longest being 3 years and 5 years respectively, and even those were on and off at times.

I would dump a guy for the most absurd things, too. This one because he had too much nose hair, that one because I didn’t like the way he laughed, another one because he’d hold his fork like a 2 year old at the dinner table.

Yep, just give me a willing heart, and I could break it into a million pieces in the most creative ways.

I had developed an unhealthy relationship pattern, and I honestly didn’t even recognize that I had a problem at the time. I mean, society had made this type of behavior perfectly acceptable, how could I possibly see that it wasn’t right?

So on I went, hacking away with my relationship machete, oblivious to the  wake of destruction I left behind…

Until HIM.

It started innocently enough, with a “Happy Birthday” from a distance of 1200 miles via the online game we both played. If I think about it now, I was probably hooked from just those 2 words.

Over the next few weeks, more words were to follow in the form of lengthy conversations long into the night. We discussed hopes and dreams, wishes and desires. We got to know each other on an emotional level, without that pesky physical attraction business getting in the way.

We exchanged pictures after a time of course, and neither of us were disappointed. Exchanging pictures led to phone numbers, and after several lengthy phone calls (accompanied by astronomical phone bills), we were making plans to meet in person. He bought a plane ticket to Michigan to come see me, and I counted the days until I would see him with bated breath and nervous anticipation.

When he walked down the gangway and into my waiting embrace, the sparks were instant. I mean sure, we had connected on an emotional level already, but this…this was chemistry.

He told me later that his very first thought when he saw me was, “I’m going to marry that girl”, and I can’t say that I wasn’t thinking much the same. Love at first sight was always a trite and ridiculous concept to me, but there I was, with stars in my eyes, feeling like my heart would explode out of my chest.

As he walked me to my car, he held me close, placing a string of soft little kisses along my fingertips and up my arm to the tune of me giggling like a schoolgirl. This guy…oh…this guy.

Our first weekend together was magical, and our first kiss was off the charts. He had spent the day teasing me…getting close enough to move in for a kiss, making me think it would finally happen, and then he would quickly back away, leaving me breathless, confused, and still longing for our lips to finally meet.

He waited until a time when I was least expecting it. I had just stepped out the door when he turned me to face him, and the passionate connection that ensued left me with wobbly knees and rendered me speechless for some time to follow. I couldn’t even rate that kiss. On a scale of 1 to 10, that kiss was somewhere in the 50’s.

He was no sooner on his flight home than I was planning a trip down to Florida to see him the following month. Another amazing weekend was spent together, and that was all we needed to be sure. Truth be told, we were both sure even before that second visit.

I flew back home, found the perfect wedding dress, and 4 months after the words ‘happy birthday’ flowed in bright green letters across my computer screen, my hair was tressed up in flowers and curls, and I was shivering in chiffon while making a promise to love that man for life on a Florida beach in the nippy January air.

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Our ‘love at first sight’ is now going on year 12.

I still look at him sometimes and wonder how I got lucky enough to win over this beautiful man. We drive our kids crazy with our frequent smooches and love affirmations. “Get a room”, my son will say. I’ll retort with, “Got one already.” Then they’ll roll their eyes and groan. My husband and I will just look at each other and smile.

Sure we’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve wanted to kill each other at times, and we’ve wanted to kill for each other at times.

We are each other’s world, though, and we wouldn’t trade that…

For the world.

Commitment to Crazy

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As I stood in the kitchen last week, watching my 12 year old son bawl his eyes out because, and I quote, “Jonathan says he rubbed his nuts all over my food when I wasn’t looking and now I’m too paranoid to eat it,” I thought to myself, “Self, why don’t you write anymore? It’s not like your life is any less entertaining and chaotic than it used to be. I mean…a houseful of teenagers, a husband that sometimes behaves like an overgrown teenager himself, world’s worst excuse for a pet rabbit, a half crazed lizard that thinks she’s a dog…it all screams blog fodder to me.” Besides, my one and a half adoring fans are probably wondering where I’ve gotten off to.

So, here it is. My commitment to try. To once again grace the world with my quick wit, humor, and wisdom. (It’s been a long week, just let me have that one, okay?) To boldly go where at least 85% of all other bloggers have probably gone before. To don my shiny red cape of awesomeness and fight the never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way. Oh. Wait. That’s Superman. Got a little ahead of myself there. Can’t help it, though, I’m excited.

Now, my posts won’t always be humorous. Sometimes my life can be downright sad. Keep tissues handy just in case.

Sometimes I’ll be in a thoughtful mood, or perhaps I’ll want to just hop up on my soapbox and rant and rave about the injustices of the world.

Whatever the topic may be, I’ll do my best to at least make it worth reading. That’s a promise. It may not be every day, but it will be more often than every 6 months. Deal?

So, on that note, lets all have a group hug. (ooof) Okay, not that hard. And don’t touch me there. Buncha animals.

It’s good to be back. Stay tuned for forthcoming insanity.

Disclaimer: no rabbits, lizards, husbands, or teenagers were harmed in the making of this post.

 

Down the Rabbit Hole of Depression

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Yes, I fell off the face of the earth.

In much the same way that Alice fell down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, or Dorothy was swept up by the twister and deposited in Oz, I was whisked away…no…more like drop-kicked…into a land that only exists somewhere in the far reaches of my reality beaten mind, but isn’t nearly as glamorous as the afore-mentioned tales.

I got lost there; or comfortable there, depending on how you look at things, and I’m still there now; searching for a way back home.

Or not.

I don’t know that I’m ready to come back just yet.

It all started immediately after a nice vacation at sea; four days of fun in the sun with my husband, best friend, and other friends and acquaintances. I ate delicious food, sipped fruity things with little umbrellas, watched people go by from all circles of life, and took part in an assortment of entertaining activities. It was a truly magical experience. Like all vacations, though, it had to come to an end.

An ending is one thing, though. An abrupt and painful ending is another thing entirely. I was no sooner getting my land legs again when I found myself unexpectedly facing my demons. I wasn’t ready to face them yet. My mind was still somewhere at sea.

I was first asked not to write about certain people or past events. I considered this and surmised that it rather defeated the purpose of my writing to begin with since the things I write about are therapeutic to me. Sort of a shared diary of whatever is on my mind or heart. I share to let go. I let it out so it’s not IN anymore. I put fingers to keyboard and emotionally flow. If it pains me, aggravates me, makes me smile, or makes me laugh, I share it with others in the hopes that someone else can relate.

Then I was called onto the carpet and made to think twice about things that I had previously written. I came under fire for my OCD and the way that it affects my family. Truth be told, I hadn’t even brought my OCD with me on vacation…I had left it at home. Imagine my surprise when I found out it had followed me.

I felt like a horrible person for days after being forced to face the things I do and the way that I am. For the first time in years, I honestly wanted to die. I thought that, in my inability to “just shut it off” when others expected me to, I’d be better off if I took myself out of everyone else’s misery. Willing death is a far cry from follow-through, though, and I’m simply not capable of commitment to such finality. In reality I like certain aspects of life, even as screwed up as I am.

So, I simply shut down.

After crying all the way back home, I walked into the house with my shoes on (gasp), dropped my bags, crawled into bed, and stayed there for 3 days. I didn’t unpack, didn’t clean up after anyone, didn’t care.

Or tried not to care. Tried really hard not to care.

I thought, “If everyone wants to do whatever they want and have me not care, fine, but I can’t watch it happen.” So I stayed in bed, miserably tucked away from anything and everything that would send me into an anxiety fueled tail-spin.

Until 2 things happened.

First of all, it all got the better of me. I had to get up and clean up because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Three days is apparently my limit when it comes to what my OCD can and can’t handle.

Secondly, I thought about what I am.

I…am a human being. I am who I am. I’m in no way, shape or form perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I have hang-ups, issues, eccentricities, emotional baggage, and mental problems.

But you know what? So does everyone else. Try and show me someone that doesn’t, and I’ll direct you to the word falsehood in the dictionary.

So I got up, brushed myself off, and tried to throw myself back into life again.

Tried.

Something had changed, though. Several somethings, actually.

I had completely lost my desire to write for one thing. I still wouldn’t consider this a triumphant return. It’s more like an explanation, and writing this now is not without a certain degree of struggle. The passion and fire that I had for writing before have now been redirected into other past times; legal of course, but perhaps not entirely unsinful depending on how you view video games.

I also lost my desire to work. Maybe that isn’t all that unusual, not many people actually want to go to work. It’s just exceptionally more difficult for me now than it was before.

I don’t want to be around people, either. I’ve become anti-social. I find it easier and more enjoyable to be alone with the exception of my immediate family (at times) than I do to be among friends.

I suppose you could call the land that I’m currently lost in ‘Depression’…or ‘Selfishness’; likely a combination of both.

And there you have it.

While I may not be ready to come back yet, don’t write me off completely. Consider my absence as a hiatus until I find my way back to reality…

Which, with any luck, will be soon.

Unconventional Canines

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I’ve always been a dog lover and even used to want one of my own.

I’ve filed that idea away for the time being, though.

My husband had said no to a dog for many years because of his allergies. Then one day, out of the blue he agreed that I could finally get the Dachshund that I had always been begging him for, as long as he didn’t have to walk it or clean up after it. I said, “What about your allergies?” To which he replied, “Benadryl.”

So, I had immersed myself in a search for a canine companion. I had been searching rescue websites and asking around for about a week, when 2 things happened.

First of all, Ray happened. Ray Darr. The rabbit that, I have surmised, was probably found abandoned because Satan had thrown the hairy little troublemaker out of hell. My husband declared that if Ray stayed, the idea of getting a dog was out.

Then my step daughter’s dog Athena came to spend a night at our house.

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When I stuck my head into the girls’ room that night, the smell of dog was so overwhelming that my anxiety went through the roof. That’s when I realized that while I may have made great strides of improvement in the OCD department, my issues still weren’t ready to face dog ownership.

I was rather saddened by this until my daughter pointed out that we do, in fact, have dogs. Two of them. They just don’t bark or need to be taken outside regularly like your customary canines, which makes them that much better.

You see, Ray Darr thinks he’s a dog.

He digs holes:

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Yeah, don’t try to look innocent.

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He goes for rides:

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He gives kisses:

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He has his own harness and leash so we can take him for walks, where he knocks people down and jumps on them:

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Then, if he doesn’t claw the flesh right off your legs begging when he knows you have food of any kind, he just plain steals it:

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So you see he’s not really a rabbit, he’s just a rabbit-shaped dog.

And then there’s Lizzie:

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Now, don’t let her lack of fur fool you. She’s just your average pooch in so many ways.

She’ll flop down on top of her house for afternoon naps:

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She’ll lie in awkward positions:

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She’ll climb on top of things that she shouldn’t:

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(I guess the secret’s out. Now you know who writes most of my blog posts.)

She’ll knock stuff over and then look guilty:

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You can put food on top of her head and command her to stay:

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And she begs, too. Her tank sits near our dining room table, and at dinner time, she’ll rush over to the corner, mash her little face up against the glass, and start clawing until we notice her.

Then, either me or my bleeding heart, animal junkie daughter or will get her out and let her join us for dinner:

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Yep, that’s the dinner scene most nights at our house.

She’ll eat pretty much anything, too, because she’s just a dog in a lizard suit.

So I guess, in reality, I am a dog owner.

No matter how unconventional my canines happen to be.

Tales From the Thrift Store: Chapter Closed

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A few weeks ago I made a tough decision, but it was one that needed to be made for the sake of my own sanity.

I asked a group of ladies at church if they would be willing to take over the thrift store for me.

They accepted the challenge, and I passed the torch off to them. This will now be the second week in a row that I am thrift store free.

The day I packed up my personal effects and took one last look around the place was a bittersweet day for me. I was relieved to get my weekends back and rid myself of some of the stress of taking on too much, but sad to see it go nonetheless. My daughter and I had set everything up and gotten it running ourselves. We built the clothing racks, moved in all the shelving systems, organized and priced it all, and maintained it for a little over a year and a half. I had a lot of hard work and time invested in it, and it was like a baby to me. I shed a few tears as I said goodbye.

You see, In addition to trying to keep my house in order (being a neat freak is hard when you’re already exhausted), and have a little extra time to write and, well…breathe, I was essentially working 3 jobs and it wasn’t working out well for me. I was painting apartments Monday through Thursday, teaching my art class on Tuesdays (which I needed time to pick up supplies and prepare a project for), and then running the store on Fridays and Saturdays. More often than not I was finding myself having to leave an apartment unfinished over the weekend to go off and run the store.

I was admittedly spreading myself too thin, so something had to change. I weighed my options and decided that the store would be the easiest job to let go of because it was the one that wasn’t bringing in any much needed income.

I had waived off any offers of a paycheck when I opened up shop for the church in February of 2012. I just couldn’t, in good conscience, take money from them when they were already struggling to make ends meet because we had to close our daycare in November the year prior. The daycare had been sustaining the church for many years, but with the economy being what it was, we had started losing money. So we closed the daycare doors and it was suggested that I start a thrift store, because I had already been doing bi-monthly rummage sales with a decent amount of success.

Running the store was basically volunteer work that I was doing for my church. I wasn’t being paid, but my kids were being kept in clothing that fit, so I considered it a fair trade.

I loved the work despite the lack of a paycheck. I loved to help the homeless with a fresh change of clothes and food during the busy summer months.

I had regular customers that I will miss a lot, too. Like deaf Dave, with his wild animations and loud noises. My daughter would lean over to me and whisper, “He scares me” every time Dave would come in. I’d say, “Who? Dave? I like him. He doesn’t know he’s being loud. He can’t hear himself. Why are you whispering, anyway?”

I’ll also miss that 85 year old guy that buzzes through the parking lot every single day with a shopping cart. He wears an Australian style hat with a feather in it. I like his hat. He moves pretty fast for 85, too. I knew he was that age because he stopped and talked to me once while I was sweeping out the entryway. “You want some wine?” he asked as he offered me a swig from his paper bag. “No thank you,” I replied. “Do you know Chico? He’s my son. He’s a chef. Do you know Chico?” he asked as he beamed with pride. “No, I’m afraid I don’t know Chico.” He then rambled on about his life, age, and of course, Chico for a few more minutes before making his departure. I would smile and wave from across the parking lot every time I saw him after that. I just love the elderly. They’re so entertaining.

I’ll also miss the crazy antics of those that inspired my “Tales from the Thrift Store” stories. They supplied me with some great writing material. I’ll miss writing the tales almost as much as I’ll miss the store.

As this chapter of my life and the tales that came with it close, though, another chapter is opening. There’s plenty of crazy stuff that goes on at the apartment complex that I paint for during the week to fill and entire book. Maybe I’ll write one someday. For now just stay tuned for the next dose of insanity inspired by a fresh batch of unhinged people:

Happenings in the Hood.

Bacon Nation

Daily Prompt: 2100

The language of the future: what will it be like? Write an experimental post using some imagined vocabulary — abbreviations, slang, new terms.

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There’s this new Facebook game going around in which you’re encouraged to replace one word of any movie title with the word bacon.

This of course only works with movie titles that are more than one word long, as my son and I soon discovered.

The boy, being 11 (almost 12) decided that this is now his new favorite game, and on our drive home from work yesterday, he started musing to himself over this whole bacon bit of fun. I, of course, added my 2 salty cents, and before we knew it, we were embroiled in a contest to see who could come up with the most amazing bacon movie title.

I was admittedly in the lead with “Mr. Magorium’s Bacon Emporium” and “Percy Jackson and the Bacon Thief”, both of which he found uproariously funny, until he, after about 20 seconds of silence and some careful, face scrunching consideration, blurted out, “Harry Bacon”. We both laughed the remaining mile home. I conceded. The kid won by a landslide.

Then I got to thinking about this amazing little game and the awesomeness of bacon. What if bacon becomes so big, that someday, we’ve replaced every adjective and verb with the word bacon, just like the Smurfs always did with the name of their race. Bank tellers would send us off with a smile and encourage us to, “Have a bacony day!”

What if bacon became currency?! Bacon bits could be spare change, of course, and our wealth could be counted in terms of how many slabs we have. Okay maybe that wouldn’t work; we’d always be eating up our assets.

Bacon could become so huge, though, that it replaces all other amazing things in life. Like hugs and kisses. Can’t you just see yourself holding your arms out to your spouse as they walk through the door, saying, “Come on over here and give me some bacon.”

What? It could work.

There’s a whole bacony world out there, just waiting to be explored. I’m betting that bacon will become so big someday,  that I can almost taste the future.

Just some food for thought.