180 in 365

* NaBloPoMo: Day 17 *

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Looking back to one year from today, I still find it kind of surreal, the life I’m currently living. A lot has happened. A whole lot. Some really shitty stuff and some really great stuff and a crap ton of just general life stuff in between. My life right now is good. It’s not perfect. It’s not amazing. In some ways it’s better than it was a year ago. In some ways it is really, really, really bad. I have amazing days and I have horrible days. However, the one thing that is different from the amazing and horrible days I have now, compared to the amazing and horrible days I had then is this: I like myself and where I am going.

A year ago I was not in a great place. I was probably the unhappiest I have ever been in my life and at that point had been pretty damn unhappy for a very long time. I was at potentially the lowest point I have ever experienced it took me getting there to finally grow the balls to say to myself: “Hey dumbass … you don’t have to continue to live like this.” Now, this was a conversation I’d been having with myself for a long while. And I knew that at some point, I would make this change and do the thing that needed to be done for my own sanity. But I continued to put it off. Mostly out of fear. Fear of how I’d manage it. Fear of what everyone else would think about me. Fear of what my kids would think. A whole fucking truck load of fear my friends. It was holding me back and keeping me in a sad and unhappy and very ugly place. I was becoming withdrawn (more than my normal low swings) and just plain angry. I didn’t like my life and I certainly didn’t like myself. I was living in that space that many people live in, the whole “sticking it out for the kids” thing that we tell ourselves is the right thing to do. But there came a point where I was noticing reactions in my kids that indicated their own personal unhappiness with life in the current situation. And the day that I saw that reaction from my son was the day I decided that shit needed to change. My Mama Bear instinct kicked in at the first sign of unhappiness and displeasure in my youngest. I could rationalize keeping myself in a bad situation, but I could not fathom keeping my kid in a place that made him look at me and react that way. That was my trigger. After that switch was flipped, I realized that the “staying for the kids” mentality is really kind of bonkers. I found a great quote:

“Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy is staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce.”  ~ Jennifer Weiner

And it’s true and it’s what I told my son when I sat him down to tell him what was happening. The situation we had was not good for anyone and was NOT a good example of what a healthy relationship should look like. I owed him much, much better than that. And as unhappy as I was, that was my main reason for finally doing something about it.

And now, here we are. I’m 8-ish months out from being on my own again, for the first time in 20 or so years. It’s scary as hell and some weeks I’m not sure how I”m going to make it, but so far I’m 100% on surviving my days, so I’ll just keep at it. It’s not easy, but it is better. Now, when I feel lonely, it’s because I’m actually and literally alone in my house. And being lonely still makes me very sad, but somehow it’s a much better sad than a year ago. If a better sad is a thing. By and far though, the best thing to come of this is that I have come to like myself. And I’ve started to accept myself for who I am. And most importantly, I’m learning to not give a rat’s ass what anyone else thinks about that. The only people right now I worry about accepting me are my kids. As long as they are cool with me … I’m golden. And I ask them. All the time. My son, the non-confrontational, non-decision making, emotion hiding teenager that he is probably hates me for it. But I ask him if I’m doing okay by him. He always says yes, which is his way, so I try to watch for signs. So far I think I’m doing pretty okay at all of this.

Life is different than it was a year ago. We live with less, but we laugh a whole lot more. The time we have together is precious and I treat it as such. Life is different. But life is good.

 

November Check In

* NaBloPoMo: Day 16 *

Since we are halfway through November (WTF?) I thought I might do a check in on my Bullet Journal Habit Tracker for the month and see how I’m doing. Turns out I kind of surprised myself. And then again I didn’t surprise myself at all.

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The Break Downs:

No Spend / Eat At Home:  I’m doing a lot better at not eating out and not spending money than I thought I would. Partially because it’s written down and partially because I have no money to spend .But still, I’m happy to see so many of those little boxes colored in. Now to improve on that one.

Blog Posting / Instagram Posting:  The blog posting side of this is tremendously effected by NaBloPoMo for sure, but I’m hoping that a month of posting daily (or as close to it as I can) will help me stick with it. I’ll be keeping this on my tracker for sure. The Instagram is also a bit of a happy surprise. I so enjoy photography and need to do more of it. Some of my Instagram posts are pretty lame but hey, it’s a start.

facebook-787277No Alcohol:  This is improving as the month goes on, primarily due to lack of funds to purchase said alcohol. But I do love my craft beer. It’s a problem. I mean, I’m not getting shit faced in my house every night, but I do like to have a beer in the evenings. But for health and financial reasons this would be a good thing to cut back on. #workingonit
Exercise: Jesus I suck at this. time-spent-when-you-cant-sleep

Asleep by 10:30 / Awake by 6:00: I’m doing better about getting up in the morning but not about getting to bed at a decent time. My problem is that I try to hold my self to the “Asleep” part of it and I could go lay down in bed at 9:30 and still not be asleep by 10:30. Not without alcohol and/or medication that is. And even that doesn’t help sometimes. I may drop the “In Bed By” portion of this tracking next month and just focus on getting up when I want to. My rationalization is that if I make it a habit to get up early enough I will start exercising in the morning. You can see how well that is working out for me.

Hydrate: I’m trying to hydrate at least 75 oz a day (half my body weight) and some days I do really, really well. Others (obviously) I do not. Now, I don’t count coffee in my hydration and technically I could probably add at least one or two cups of water from the amount of coffee I drink. But I’m trying to be strict with myself on this one.

Reading: This just makes me sad because I want to read all the time, but I find myself just … not. I am however, crocheting again. So I may add that as a tracker next month, in addition to reading, and hopefully will do at least one or the other daily.  That is probably much more achievable.

So far it’s going pretty well. I addition to this overall tracker page, I have space on each daily page to keep track of the things I do each day, so I can go back and fill in my boxes. For me … seeing it written down is a big motivator. No one but me and maybe one or two other people ever see this thing … but still. It helps me be accountable to myself if I write it down. The days I don’t have a decent list in my “Track It” box make me sad.

What about you? If you Bullet Journal, do your trackers actually help you improve areas of your life you are trying to improve? What works and what doesn’t? What are some of your favorite things to track? I’m fairly pleased with my progress this month. And I am getting a good idea of what I will track next month and what I won’t. I have a couple of ideas of new things to track as well. And as always, I’m constantly on the lookout for fun page layouts, so I welcome any suggestions!

Happy Journaling!!

Teenage Mornings

* NaBloPoMo: Day 15 *

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This may look like a giant lump of “gray” to most people, but this is my view most mornings during the ride from the apartment to the high school. The morning I took this, I had to scrape the windows (bane of my fucking existence) and by the time I did that and got in the driver’s seat, he was in this position. He stayed there until we were just a few feet from the drop off area at the high school, which means that he can sense the turns I take getting to school and knew when we were there. A clear indication of how often he experiences the drive to school with his eyes closed.

Don’t let this lump of teenage boy fool you, it’s not that he isn’t a morning person. He’s quite pleasant in the mornings, way more of a morning person than I am by far. True, it doesn’t take a whole lot to be a better morning person than me. But, he can carry on a conversation and has even been known to crack a smile and/or laugh on the way to school. He’s almost always a pleasant person, which proves genetics because he did NOT get that shit from me. #science

But most school day mornings run like this (note that we leave the apartment at 7:20 every time):

6:30 am: I’m usually in the bathroom getting ready at this point and I hear one of his first alarms go off (that shit he DID get from me)

7:00 am: I quietly open his door for the 7 AM time check. He usually mumbles something incoherent back at me while slightly raising his head off the pillow.

7:10 am: I open his door gain, not quite as quietly, and give him his second verbal time check of the morning. This is normally answered by something more closely resembling words from the English language. Never more than one or two syllables though.

7:15 am: I open his door the third time for his final verbal time check and say “you gotta get up pal” and he replies with an “okay” while only sounding slightly irritated, which I give him huge props for. If it were me I’d have thrown something at whoever was at my door by the second verbal time check.

7:17 am (or so): He emerges from his room, dressed with his jacket or hoodie and backpack on his body. He first stops in the kitchen for his daily Clif Bar then proceeds to slip his shoes on (without tying them – nobody had time for shoe laces anymore). Once his shoes are on and his breakfast is in the side pocket of his backpack, he immediately lies down on the couch, fully clothed and WEARING HIS BACKPACK and proceeds to cover himself with whatever blankets are on the couch. This particular morning, there were three blankets, so I had a rather large pile of sleepy teen/backpack blanket covered mess on my couch.

7:20: I announce that “It’s 7:20 … time to go.” and he quietly emerges from his warm cocoon, walks out the door, gets into the car, and assumes the pictured position.

When we get to school (which honestly is in about 10 minutes – we don’t live far) and pull into the drop off area, he will emerge from his hood covered repose and wait until we get up to the doors. When I finally stop, and say “Have a good day pal.” he always (ALWAYS) cheerfully responds with “Thanks! You too! See you later!” and then trudges off to the building. The visual in no way, shape or form matches the inflections of the words coming from his mouth. It’s as if his body and mind and vocal cords are at odds with each other. His body language screams “I want to be in bed.” and his tone says “Hey everybody! What’s up?”

It is exactly who he is as a person. 100% impossible to read. I have not even begun to be able to figure him out and I am totally cool with that. I know he has deep feelings and emotions but he never, ever, let’s them get to him. Well, not never, they do show occasionally, but not often. He will get angry, but he will control it. He will get sad, but not overwhelmed. However, he freely and openly shows compassion, care, respece, and love. He’s one of the most awesome and amazing human beings I have ever met. Morning-lump-of-gray and all.

Holiday Spirit

* NaBloPoMo: Day 14 *

As we get closer to the holiday season (I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is next freaking week. WTF. How has this year gone so quickly), I find myself being a little more contemplative than normal about this time of year. The holidays are gonna be a little weird this year, and I’ve gone back and forth between being sad about it and being fine with it. I find myself settling on the “being fine” side of things.

My sadness, quite honestly, mostly has to do with the fact that I can’t financially provide the kind of Christmas I really want to for my kids. That is really bumming me out right now and 98% of my sadness about the next couple of months is totally based on the money. But … the more I think about it … the more I realize that my kids could give two shits about that, which makes it easier to take. Still not super excited about that aspect of it … but I’m getting there.

At first I was a little sad about sharing their time, but I got over that pretty quickly. I have never been one who was stuck on the aspect that Thanksgiving and Christmas are one day. You can celebrate what those days are about pretty much whenever you want to, so that part isn’t really an issue either. With the recent passing of their grandmother, they need to be with my ex this year and I’m 100% cool with that. I lost my dad during the holidays and it sucked a lot and he wasn’t even much into the whole holiday thing. Their Nana lived and breathed the holidays with the family, so I know how hard this year is going to be. They need to be with him and his family as much as necessary.

So, as I work through all of this, I find that for the first time in a couple of years I am actually, honestly, kind of ready for the holiday season. The last few years I haven’t had much desire to decorate or be festive. I was so consumed with my general unhappiness (in particular last year) that I just didn’t have any “holiday” in me. But this year I find myself actually looking forward to getting the tree up. I’m not dreading the onslaught of Christmas music like last year (although I will NOT listen to it until after Thanksgiving thank you very much and I will always and forever do my very best to make it through the season without hearing
that piece of shit “Christmas Shoes.” Barf).

So bring on the lights and the decorations and the music. Please don’t bring on the snow because I fucking hate snow. Also – don’t get too cold because cold weather makes me stabby. But I’m totally ready for the rest of it. My holidays this year may be meager and simple … but they will be happy. And that is really what it is all about after all.

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Flashback Friday: Washington DC

* NaBloPoMo: Day 11 *

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“My first wish … is the see the whole world in peace, and the Inhabitents of it as one band of brothers, striving who should contribute most of the happiness of mankind” ~ George Washington, 1785

 

Kinda taking an easy way out today, and also with a nod to our amazing Veterans on Veteran’s Day … I’m going to share some old photos of the time we went to Washington DC. it was Memorial Day weekend in 2008, which meant there were lot of fun little things happening in DC that weekend, some we were able to photograph and some not. We got to witness the Rolling Thunder Run as it passed Arlington National 10398549_55268772746_3013144_nCemetery and that was just plain awesome. There was a giant Folk Music Festival on the Mall as well as the big concert at The Capitol and another big memorial event at Arlington National Cemetery where the President spoke. We didn’t plan any of it, but it turned out that Memorial Day Weekend is a pretty cool weekend to go to DC.

A highlight for me was visiting the World War II Memorial. I had been to DC before, but this wasn’t around then, and World War II is one of my favorite subjects, so I was so excited to see it, and it didn’t disappoint. I love the shot of Jamison sitting at the Freedom Wall. A wall with 4,048 gold stars on it, each star representing 100 Armed Services personnel that died or are listed as missing from World War II. Powerful. 10398549_55268627746_5523279_n

We visited all of the other memorials as well, including the Vietnam War Memorial and the Korean War Memorial. Every one of them just as sobering as moving as the other. We happened upon a Navy Memorial Service totally by accident and it was pretty sweet to see. J got to get a photo with some of the honor guard.

In addition to all of the war related memorials, we did the requisite tourist stuff and visited every possible museum and building and memorial possible. We walked our asses off and it was an amazing weekend. I love Washington DC and if you have never visited, you need to do it. It can be done reasonably inexpensively, the train system will get you anywhere you need to go at a decent price and you don’t have to try to drive in the madness that is DC traffic, and there is more to see than you could expect.

I really hope to get back again soon with the kids, now that they are older they will have a whole new appreciation for much of city. From somber memorials to amazing art galleries. From fun tourist trap locations to just wandering the side streets and looking at some amazingly beautiful architecture. From the fantastic National Zoo to the parks and walking paths. It’s most definitely one of my favorite places in the country.

 

Music Is Feelings Put To Words

* NaBloPoMo: Day 10 *

I know that I’m most likely not getting that quote exactly correct, but the concept is the same, and it the main reason I love music so much. It takes my feelings and my desires and all the things I can’t put into words … and gives them words and life and a way to be expressed. Every now and then a song will come along that will absolutely nail what I’m feeling and that happened to me this week. The best part of it is that this was shared among a small group of friends (more of a gang really) who are just trying to find our corner of happiness in this world. We are there for each other and support each other over the long distances between us. We laugh and vent and cry and just do what we need to do to get to the next day sometimes. But we all share the desire to find our best selves and be the best moms we can be and find our happiest selves.

The song I’m sharing today is “She Used To Be Mine” by Sara Bareilles. She wrote it for the musical “Waitress” which is the story of a waitress in a small town, trapped in a loveless marriage, dreaming of a better life. Can you say #nailedit?

I’m gonna do something I don’t normally do but I feel compelled to do … share all of the lyrics. They speak to me so perfectly right now and I want to share them. To type them out on this screen … letting them live through my fingers … reminding myself that you actually can re-write your ending and find that girl that you knew who was just reckless enough and grew stronger every day and found the fire that used to be in her eyes. At least I hope so. Because I need that girl to come back, with her joy and her fire and her happiness. I know she’s out there and I’ve seen glimpses of her, like a shadow through the trees. So maybe this song can be my call to her to come back and stay. I need her.

 

It’s not simple to say, most days I don’t recognize me.

That these shoes and this apron, that this place and it’s patrons have taken more than I gave them

It’s not easy to know, I’m not anything like I used to be, although it’s true

I was never attention’s sweet center

I still remember that girl

 

She’s imperfect, but she tries.  She is good, but she lies.

She is hard on herself.

She is broken and won’t ask for help.

She is messy, but she’s kind. She is lonely most of the time

She is all of this mixed up in a beautiful pie.

She is gone, but she used to be mine.

 

It’s not what I asked for.

Sometimes life just slips in through a back door and carves out a person, and makes you believe it’s all true

And now I’ve got you, and you’re not what I asked for

If I’m honest, I know I would give it all back for a chance to start over and rewrite an ending or two, for the girl that I knew

 

Who’ll be reckless just enough

Who’ll get hurt, but who learns how to toughen up when she’s bruised and gets used by a man who can’t love

And then she’ll get stuck and be scared of the life that’s inside her.

Growing stronger each day ‘til it finally reminds her to fight just a little

To bring back the fire in her eyes that’s been gone but used to be mine.

 

She’s messy, but she’s kind

She is lonely most of the time

She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie

She is gone, but she used to be mine.

WCCW #1: Brooke Cartus

brookecartusSo, on Monday I posted my first Man Comedian Crush Monday on local comedian Tom Plute.

Today I’m following up a Woman Comedian Crush Wednesday on another freaking hysterical local comedian:  Brooke Cartus

She is another funny person I discovered at the Whiskey Bear Festival and my goodness she is funny a hell.

Her webpage / blog is a great read and she also is a regular contributor to Outlook Ohio Magazine with a column called “Dyke Like Me.”

She’s inappropriate and real and funny and just a pretty awesome person.

So go visit her pages, watch her videos and enjoy.

If you like funny people – find the ones in your hometown and go support them. You won’t be sorry.

 

 

 

Radio Silence

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I’ve been sitting on this quote for a while now, hesitant to share it on Facebook, as I know I will receive an onslaught of “what’s wrongs?” and “are you okays?” and I don’t want to have to explain in that venue. Honestly there isn’t much to explain. Hard to explain things that you don’t really understand yourself. I don’t know what causes my Biploar swings. It’s super annoying because if I could avoid whatever it is that takes me from a great place and puts me in a shitty place, I’d totally avoid it. However, it isn’t that easy. Life is way more complex than that, and I’m a complex person.

Being a complex person can make life interesting, to say the least. But it can cause some problems as you may well know. I think the majority of us are pretty complex folks and things like feelings and emotions and beliefs are not always cut and dried. There are lots of in-betweens and almosts and kind-ofs involved.

My current dilemma has to do with not knowing. Of being unsure. I really don’t like it. And my difficulty lies in that I’m in one way an introvert who avoids confrontation at all costs. I don’t like asking difficult questions or going to places that may be uncomfortable. But dammit, I want to know the answers anyway and when I don’t, it leaves me … thinking too much. And being stuck inside my own brain is not always a great place to be. Many people would describe me as outgoing and confident in a way that is true. But I’m also not at all. Not even a little. And when I’m stuck in my own brain, my insecurities take total control and I end up creating a million different variants of what the reality could be and none of them are ever good.

So currently, I’m in a situation where I just don’t know. I don’t know where I stand. I don’t’ know where things are going. I just don’t know and it’s making me a little coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs. Some days I think I know, and then I just tell myself that maybe that is just wishful thinking. Then I tell myself to stop being so negative. Then I tell myself to stop worrying so much and just let life happen. Then I ask myself “can you die from loneliness?” Then I tell myself to get a fucking grip and stop the pity party. Then I either drink heavily or cry myself to sleep. Sometimes both.

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A rational person would just ask the questions to get the answers, but I’m not a very rational person much of the time. So instead I assume and imagine and wonder and worry and make myself … well I make myself sad. And I know I’m doing it to myself … which also makes me sad. There is nothing worse than being a self-aware over-thinker.

When I become sad I tend to shut down. Which also does NOT help things much. Then, after I shut down for a bit, I over-compensate by regurgitating every inappropriate and funny thing I can find onto my social media pages in an attempt to convince myself and everyone else that “I’m winning at life!” and “I’ve got this!” and “Everything is fine over here!” when in reality I’m a giant puddle of goo on the inside that just wants someone to pick her up and put her in their pocket and take care of her.

So anyone who actually reads these on a regular basis and follows my ridiculousness on Facebook or wherever .. when I go quiet it’s only temporary. I’ll pull myself out of it either with some kick ass self talk or lots of vodka. And I’ll be dropping F bombs in public again real soon. It will take more than Bipolar Disorder, over-thinking, and crippling self-doubt to knock me out of this race.

* NaBloPoMo: Day 9 *

 

Surprise Books

* NaBloPoMo: Day 8 *

A few weeks ago I decided to play along on one of those Facebook games that always make you wonder what you are actually getting yourself into.

This was the body of the post I commented on:

WANTED: Participants for a book-loving social experiment. Comment if you want to participate and I’ll send you details. What do you have to do? Buy your favorite book and send it to a stranger (I’ll send you a name and address.) You will only be sending one book to one person. The number of books you will receive depends on how many participants there are. The books that will show up on your door are the other people’s much loved stories #SaveTheCulture #BookExchange #LongLiveBooks

Now this particular friend is not a weirdo or sketchy or anything, so I thought … what the hell. I love books. Let’s give this a shot and see what happens.

I got a message from my friend and here’s how this “experiment” works. He had commented on someone else’s post, and I was required to send one book to that person. Anyone who commented on my post, was to send a book to my friend. All the folks who commented on my post were instructed to have their commenters send a book to me. Kind of a trickle down book club via Facebook.

Now, as with all things of this nature, there is no policing it, so who knows who really will send a book and who won’t. But … I’m happy to say that I’ve received two books in the past few weeks. Which is two more book than I had before! It’s a sad statement, as an adult, to admit to how excited I get when I come home and there is a random box on my porch. Surprise gifts really are the best thing. One of them even came in a fancy little bag with a card and everything. They don’t lie when they say “it’s the little things,” and clearly I need some more excitement in my life when a little book in a red fabric bag inside an Amazon box gets me all giddy with excitement.

The cool thing about this is that you are instructed to send your “favorite” book to this random person that you most likely don’t know. Being the Queen Of Loving Everything and not being able to ever pick a favorite, that was not an easy task for me. I ultimately decided to send the uncut version of “The Stand” by Stephen King. It’s a book that I have re-read more times than I can count and I love it just as much every time. Hopefully my random person can appreciate my choice.

As far as the books I received? The random people assigned to me are doing a great job. These may very well be the only two books I get, and I’m totally cool with that, because like I said … two free books. They both turn out to be books that I think I will really enjoy. I guess the benefit of loving everything is that …. you love everything.  #CaptianObvious

Book #1: “Bored of The Rings” by The Harvard Lampoon.

It’s a parody of Lord of the Rings and I’ve heard it’s good. I love The Lord of The Rings and I love comedy and parody, so chances are good I’m gonna dig this one.

Book #2: “A Different Kind of Daughter: The Girl Who Hid From the Taliban in Plain Sight” by Maria Toorpakai

This book looks AMAZING to be quite honest. And this, ladies and gentleman, is why social media and crowdsourcing is so fantastic. There is a really good chance that I never would have found this book. Either of them really. And I am fairly sure I will enjoy them both. Just a couple more things to add to the never-ending list of things I love.

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