Pin Check

* NaBloPoMo Day 22 *

I’m addicted to Pinterest. I will fully admit that. Somedays I surf Pinterest more than Facebook and Tumblr put together. I have all of these amazing boards curated with a very, very wide variety of things. From home DIY projects to amazing recipies. From sketching and drawing tutorials to crochet patterns. Boards of shoes and clothes and purses and jewlrey. Photos and memes from my favorite TV shows and movies. Boards dedicated to my nerd side with Doctor Who and Rooster Teeth both fully represented. And several boards with meaningful and deep quotes on life and love and the pursuit of happiness.

So … a quick glance at my main Pinterest home page can be …. interesting.  Between my friends that I follow and the “suggested pins” that the Pinterest algorythm assigns me, I have a lot of fun, interesting, and rediculous stuff to look at. As an exercise in transparency … what follows is a photo collage of the first several pins on my Pinterest Hompage from some point today.  Enjoy.

PS: Bonus points if you know what the bracelet is!!

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20 Things

* NaBloPoMo: Day 21 *

Today … enjoy 20 Random Facts about me.

  1. Full Name: Kimberly Renee (Benner) Calland
  2. Three Fears:
    1. Fire:  I have a situational/irrational fear of fire. I can handle a nice camp fire that is contained and I don’t mind burning candles in my house, but I my last house had a fireplace and I was terrified to start a fire in it. And fire that seems to me to be out of control in any way terrifies me. This is also one way I really, really would not want to die. Also I am consistantly terrified that my car is going to randomly burst into flames on the freeway. Note the irrational disclaimer at the beginning of this section.
    2. Spiders:  Yes. I’m afraid of spiders. Shut it. Don’t judge me. Spiders are creepy and freaky and I hate them.
    3. Disappointing My Children:  Probably the one fear that is most likely to actually come true. As a mom, I’m always concerned with doing the best I can for my kids. Keeping them happy and healthy and well cared for is my most important job. Now that my life circumstances have changed, this job terrifies me. On a daily basis I find myself wondering what they think of me and if they understand how much I love them and that I’d do anything for them and I worry every minute that what I’m doing is the right thing. #reallifefear
  3. Three Things I Love:
    1. My Kids:  I went with the obvious answer first.
    2. Music:  Music is a very big part of my life and the life of my kids. We all sing and have since we were young(er). Music helps me express emotions, gives me an outlet for the side of me that is a performer, allows me to be brave and put myself out there, and acts as a sort of therapy sometimes. I can’t imagine my life without music.
    3. Food:  I. Love. Food. All of the food.
  4. Last Song I Listened To:  “Kiss The Sky” – Jason Derulo  –  I love Jason Derulo.
  5. Four Turn Ons:
    1. Kindness:  There is nothing sexier than a strong, kind man. Not kindness because it looks good, but kindness because it’s inherent. Because it is just what you do.
    2. Sense of Humor:  I love laughing. Major bonus points if you can keep me laughing every day.
    3. Love of Music:  Music is one of the biggest “things” in my life – aside from my kids – so having a love and appreciation for music is not just a turn on but a requirement.
    4. Optimism:  I’m an optomistic person. I generally see the glass as half full and also usually see the best in people. Or at least try to. In the past I know this has driven people crazy, as I am usually looking for the bright/good side of things and some people just don’t think that way. So, someone with optimism, love that.
  6. Three Turn Offs:
    1. Negativity: As much as kindness and optimism are important to me – negativity is more than just a turn off. I don’t like it. I’m an empathetic person, I don’t know that I’d go as far as to say I’m an Empath, but I do know that negativity reallty effects me. In a very bad way. Being around negativity for too puts me in a bad mood and exhausts me. Probably because I’m spending all of my brain power and energy on offsetting the negative energy with my own positive energy. Negative people suck out my life force and make me sad. And I forget how much I really hate negativity until I end up around it and it drags me into a shitty mood. Negativity sucks.
    2. Self-Centeredness:  If you are the most important person in your own life … I don’t need you in mine.
    3. Laziness:  I don’t mean sitting around for much of a weekend every now and then or spending a Saturday binge watching on Netflix. But doing that 98% of the time … not so much. Sitting around like that too much makes me tired and depressed. I don’t even mean “working” but just not sitting around all the time. Go for a walk or a hike. Wander around the mall and look at the shit I can’t afford to buy. Go to an antique shop. Just every now and then. Get off the couch and get out in the world.
  7. How Many Tattoos/Piercings Do I Have: For now, I only have my ears pierced. For now. Hoping to change that soon. And (as I’ve said before) I’m pretty certain once I start down the Tattoo Road I won’t be able to stop. And I’m totally cool with that.
  8. What Is Your Go-To Order At Starbucks: Most times it would be a Quad Venti Carmel Macchiato. Some days just a good old fashioned Americano. During the Fall/Winter I like a good Holiday Spice Flat White or – my new favorite – the Chile Mocha. Generally if I ever get a flavored drink, I get an extra shot of espresso.
  9. Something I Really, Really, Want: Happiness. Fairly simple and yet extremely difficult to find for real.
  10. The Meaning Behind My Blog Name:  I have to admit – I 100% stole this phrase from someone else. Some friends of mine are in a quartet and at a rehearsal (if I remember the story correctly) one of them was thinking of the phrase “catch lightning in a bottle,” but instead said “catch fire in a bucket.” It became a bit of a thing, we’d use the hashtag #fireinabucket when posting pictures and other stuff in regards to the quartet, and when I was trying to think of something to call this place it came to mind. So thanks to Jon and his quartet The Regulars for being the inspiration behind the name of my blog.
  11. Someone I Miss: My dad. I really, really miss my dad. Every single day. He’s been gone for 17 years this year and I still miss him every day.
  12. Favorite Part of My Daily Routine: Most weekdays I get up early enough to leave myself a good 30 minutes to just sit and enjoy my coffee and read whatever book (or one of the books) I’m currently reading. I also read many evenings before I go to bed, but I really enjoy this slow entry into my day. No one else is awake and there is no TV or computer on anywhere in the house. Just me and my coffee and a blanket and a book. Love that.
  13. Something That Is Currently Worrying Me: Making Christmas awesome for my kids. I know it’s not about the “stuff” and luckily my kids have been raised to know that … but still. I want it to be a great Christmas for them and I really hope I can make that happen.
  14. Where Were You 3 Hours Ago: At home trying to convince myself that coming in to work was a good idea. The jury is still out.
  15. Where I Work: I work as an Administrative Assistant in a Real Estate office.
  16. Something That’s Constantly On My Mind:  My 100% honest answer: Money. I’m in a pretty shitty place financially right now. The worst I’ve ever been in. I knew it would be like this, so I’m not complaining or looking for pity. Just stating that this is constantly on my mind. I’ve done the single mom thing before, but honestly back then I was making more per paycheck and my rent was about half what I pay now. It’s tough. A constant struggle. One that I am not alone with – there are many, many, many people and families out there living just like this. So far I’m pulling it off and pushing through – working towards better days, which I know will come eventually. But until then … I’m constantly thinking about the money.
  17. Three Habits I Have:
    1. I Hum. This is a habit I didn’t even realize I had until it was pointed out to me recently by two different people. I hum, sort of quietly and under my breath, much of the time. When I’m walking just about anywhere, in the car (if music isn’t playing), at the grocery store, at work, around the house. I hum.
    2. I chew on my fingers. If I have a hangnail or some dry skin on my fingers, I bite at it.  I’m not a traditional nail biter but I do still manage to often times be chewing on my fingers.
    3. I’m a leadfoot. I have a bad habit of driving fast, kind of all the time. It’s a problem. The fact that I don’t have a lovely collection of speeding tickets is kind of a miracle.
  18. My Idea Of A Perfect Date:  It would need to include food, drinks, music, and a fun activity. In some combination. I’m a pretty easy date, it really doesn’t take much. Dinner could be as simple as pizza or wings, maybe stopping somewhere to play pool or throw darts, maybe bowling. Most likely there would be music playing wherever the activity is taking place. Bingo – great date criteria achieved.
  19. Do You Like Bubble Baths: I love bubble baths. I don’t take them too often though. My current tub is small-ish and if I can’t fit all of my body in the water, it’s not as relaxing or enjoyable for me. Drawback of having certain body parts of a larger size – they don’t fit in the tub with the rest of me. #firstworldproblems
  20. A Photo of Myself: This is from a few years ago … but my hair is almost this length again. And the soft, warm light hides all the wrinkles and gray hair. So bonus.

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Things I Love: Mugs

* NaBloPoMo: Day 19 *vintage-coffee

Here is yet another (hopefully) regular post, maybe something I’ll do monthly, who knows. I’m changable so it may happen again next week. Or maybe never.

Things I Love – First Edition: Mugs

I love mugs. If I had unlimited resources I would have full cabinets devoted to adorable and hilarious mugs. Big mugs, little mugs, funny mugs, pretty mugs. All of the mugs.

So I’m sharing today some of the mugs I have on my “Mugs Everywhere” Pinterest board.

Many of the mugs I pin are related to other things I love.

Foxes, foxes, foxes, I adore foxes & there are lots of fun fox mugs. Pretty ones, whimsical ones. sarcastic ones. Love. Them.

I can’t resist an adorable sea creature. Turtles and octopi in particular.

 

Large amounts of inappropriateness and sarcasm. All day every day.

Some of them are just downright gorgeous. I mean really beautiful.

I also enjoy a rough and rustic mug. Something that looks handmade and “from nature.”

Mugs. Can’t get enough of them. Always a great gift idea (just sayin’).

Do you have an unhealthly love of mugs? What kind do you prefer? Funny mugs? Traditional mugs? Giant mugs? Tiny mugs? Or do you not drink coffee (or tea) like some kind of animal?

Song of the Week: It Puts the Crabs in the Buckit

* NaBloPoMo: Day 18*

In what I hope will be a weekly thing, here is a song I love this week. Well, I love this song all of the time, but I’m sharing it this week. Deal with it.

This week’s song is:  “Crabbuckit” by k-os

I discovered this song because of video #2 in this post. GQ is one of my favorite female quartets and this song is on their newest album. I got to hear it live last summer before the album was released and have been obsessed with it ever since. There is just something super fun and funky about it and I sing it in my car at least once a day. Minimum.

It isn’t a deep song with any kind of meaningful lyric. Just damn fun to listen to and sing along with. I’m sharing the original by k-os as well as a video of GQ singing it live at a Regional contest.

Enjoy!

 

 

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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