I Did It

This is it. This is the place where I’m going to try to say some things, break down some walls, and grow. I’ve got big plans, small plans and no plans… all at once. I’m not sure how all of this is going to work out, but I’m gonna try it. First steps, baby steps, giant leaps off the edge… for at least 15 minutes each day anyway.

Impulse Buyer

One coping mechanism the I have developed for my abusive work schedule is impulse buying. For the most part, I try to buy things for a purpose. The pin I bought that reads “unfriend a racist,” not only has a message I can stand by, but also supports a small business. My new skirt for my wrap party was much more expensive than I would usually spend, but it is hand-made with quality material a great craftmanship. With an Amazon Prime account, if I think of something that I may need in the future, I buy it; a new filter for my shower, a new kind of coffee maker, suet cakes for my bird feeder. I can, and probably should, live without all of these things (except the shower filter). I know that I would have more money to extend my “between shows” money for paying bills, adventuring, etc. But being able to get things helps me justify my long hours of hard work. I talk to my co-workers and we all have our little addictions that help get us through.

I may have overdone it this weekend, however. We only have 2 weeks left until wrap, so I figured this would be a perfect time to order some baby chickens. I impulse bought 15 baby chickens. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice variety of chickens, chosen for their egg color, size, attractiveness, and availability. Right now all I’m thinking is, 15 chickens is a lot of chickens. The plan is not to keep them all. I did order some broilers, but 15 chicks is a lot of chicks. They will hatch tomorrow and be shipped to my neighbor, Cindy, right away. Cindy works mostly from home, so she will be able to pick up the live chicks from the post office. See, I’m currently working too much to be able to do this myself. What was I thinking.

Its gonna be alright. Its gonna be fine. Maybe I’ll have a too cute for words photo shoot with my 15 adorable chicks and my new expensive skirt.

Its September, and I Suck

I’m back and I feel like I’m gonna need this more than ever. After a really financially unproductive summer, I’m back to my paying job. I have been both busy and a slacker during this time. I made a bed! I got a my new roof! I got to help out my aunt. I’ve started to set up my nap/craft room. And, somehow, I feel like I’ve been a total slacker. I have been moving forward with my life, but I’m super critical of myself. I wish I was going faster, and I’m exhausted. I’m going to try to take this weekend to remind myself of all that I have done and to have some patience for the journey that I’m on. I’m OK.

Now, for some pictures…

Some of the bed that I made out of pallets:

Some of my new roof:

Bitmoji

I have been pretty overwhelmed with life lately. So many things happen all at once, or at least it can feel that way sometimes. One of the things that is supposed to help me deal with that feeling is writing, but instead it has been the thing that I have neglected. Luckily, I have some really good friends. Sarah gave me a “gentle” reminder today that I need to get some thoughts out. I am very thankful for that, but I’m not sure what to say.

Maybe I can write a little about my experience with Bitmoji yesterday. I finally download the bitmoji app yesterday and thought I would try to create my very life-like avatar. I very quickly learned that I have a very limited understanding of what I actually look like to the world. For example, I know I have short grey hair, but when I picture myself in my head, I don’t see it. Bitmoji walks you through the basics, hair color and style, eye color, but then it gets more complicated. I know that I’ve always had small eyes, but I’ve never really considered the shapes of my eyes or how far apart they are. I know that my sister, Erika, has a big round head, but never really considered the degree of “oval-ness” of my head. I’ve always really just thought that I’m pretty regular in most of my features, but I don’t really have an understanding of what “regular” means.

I started to think I should be construing my avatar in front of a mirror or with a picture or two next to me. Why was it so hard? (Mostly because I was trying to sort through the ideas of what I thought I looked like vs. what I would like to look like vs. what I used to look like vs. what I know I never looked like). I decided that I would approach it like an experiment and try to go off the facts that I know about my appearance and them fill in the black with what felt right and I would let the people I know decide if I was close or not. I went through most of the options and chose the one that felt the most right. I felt really strange during the process, and even stranger with the result. 

                  VS.                          

Weird, but apparently close enough. 

Then, today I listened to Paula Poundstone’s new podcast: Live From The Poundstone Institute. The episode is called “Does Science Think You’re Pretty?” Apparently, it is very common for people to not fully understand what they look like. However, I think that with me, I don’t imagine that I’m prettier then I am, but just a younger version on myself. More like:

 Or  Or  Or 
Now, that’s a lot of Jessica and even as I sit here, I wonder just how connected I am to these pictures. I know that its all me, it just feels very strange when you think about it. 

I’m Pretty Sure That I’m Jealous Of You

There is that saying, “the grass is greener…” and I just thinking about how often it feel true. I’ve been thinking about my relationships with people. How and why I chose to keep people in my life or let them fade into the past (however abruptly). There is something that is sticking out for me. Something that I’m trying to bend my mind around. If you’re someone in my life, I’m jealous of you in someway. Is this healthy? Is it normal? Is it ok?

Let’s start off with some of the obvious reasons for my jealousy. If you are someone who doesn’t have a strong physical response (hands sweating, heart beat increasing, etc) when thinking about going to work, I’m jealous of you. If you feel neutral about your job, or at least not like your job is source of physical and emotional pain, a battle where (over time) you build up this heavy armor to protect yourself, I’m jealous of you. I’m even more jealous if you feel satisfied in your chosen field. If you have been in your chosen profession for more then 5 years, you’re lucky. You have found something in your life that fulfills you. You have found a profession where you fit in, where you can be challenged and rewarded for your efforts. Good for you, I wish I had that. If you have a job that you’re excited about, where you look forward, not only to whatever daily challenges there are for you, but to how fulfilled or appreciated you are by going to work. Congratulations, I really want that. Here’s my biggest hurdle… I don’t really even know where to start to get that. I am in my 40s and I don’t have a passion to follow… I never really have. I feel like there aren’t too many jobs out there that I can not do, I just have problems finding ones that I want to do. I’m really jealous of you if you have that.

I’m jealous of you if you have a “good” relationship with your family. If you enjoy talking to any member of your immediate family and a regular basis, I hate you (in a completely loving way) a little. If you have someone in your family that you can call, say if you’re arrested or your roof has fallen in, or you have a question about your medical history. I’m jealous. I have some of what I’m talking about with my extended family, but my heart aches for the fact that my father died and my mother had my sister TEXT me to ask me for money. I love hearing about my friends that go out to dinner with their family, or get to go on hikes with their nieces or nephews. I’m probably being a little selfish when I offer to help out a friend with a manual labor task because that was something that I used to love doing with my grandfather. I’m jealous of you if you can share a Christmas that is filled with the people and the unique traditions you had when you were younger. 

Right now, I am also currently jealous of people that been through a relationship failure, learned from it, and moved on. I don’t really think I need to go into too much detail on this one. Just know, I wish I was you. I wish that that was my experience.

I’m also jealous of the people in my life that have a positive, working relationship with their brains. My brain and I have a strained relationship at best. There are power struggles, periods of prolonged lying, and countless distraction techniques by both sides in my relationship with my brain. Don’t get me wrong, my brain and I can be great friends too I just with it knew its place a little better. If you can read these past few sentences and have no understanding of what I’m trying to say, I’m really jeaslous of you. 

I really am not sure if all of this jealously is a good thing or not. It’s good to have goals???? I’m completely open to suggestions, insight, drugs… etc. I am aware that everyone experiences life differently.  It is just hard not to see someone who looks like they are experiencing it in a better way and wish that you could have it that way too.


Tracker enjoying the green grass.

A Little Writer’s Block

Well, I’d hardly call myself a “Writer,” but it seems that I am experiencing a bit of writer’s block. I have set this flexible goal for myself, but it is harder and harder to follow through. I guess I could just write a little about my day yesterday? Auntie Beth and I headed out of Black Mountain to do a little shopping and run some errands. I got myself a pair of water and wind resistant pants at REI. Auntie Beth suggested we have lunch at the Sierra Nevada Brewery. It’s only a year of two old and I haven’t been to check it out yet. That place is HUGE, but done in a very tasteful way. I got one of their collaboration beers, Campout Porter, because I reminded me of Casey and Shadoe’s pictures of their honeymoon. (They visited New Zealand and made their way the quite a few breweries… including Garage Project brewery). Good beer and good food too. Who know you could get a good curry at a brewery in the mountains of western Carolina.


I got my new favorite frames repaired at Tunnel Vision. The lady there was just incredibly nice. I brought in the antique/retro frames that I got from my neighbor, Cindy. I was just expecting to price out the cost of fixiting up the glasses. Instead, She replaced the nose pads and tightened the “wingy” parts on the sides. (For some reason I want to call them the legs, but I’m totally making that part up). She also gave me some advice for cleaning the grime off and what I’ll need to do to get some lenses put in. All of this for FREE. What a lovely shock in this day and age.


We did a little shopping at Whole Foods and headed home. I watched 2 episodes of my current British Binge Series, Grantcheser. (It’s not the best, or the worst of the British TV shows I have watched, but there is some SERIOUS eye candy on this show!) Sidney is a vicor that helps the local police solve murders… as you would expect. I’ve just about made it halfway through season 2, which in British TV shows means I’ve seen about 9 episodes. Season 3 is currently featured on PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery.

Tracker, Zeva and I went for a nice little 2 mile walk, after Grantchester (round 1). I was a warmer day yesterday, but there is plenty of shade here in the mountains. Auntie Beth had started dinner when we got home. We ate on the porch, cleaned up the kitchen and got ready for Grantchester (round 2). 

I’ve Escaped (Temporarily)

I made my big getaway yesterday. I loaded up the truck, wrangled Tracker into the cab, and stocked up on my favorite doughnuts of all time. We headed north, to escape to the mountains! 

 

I totally made it sound cooler and braver then reality, but I’m the story teller here. I decided I needed a change of secenery and some cooler mountain air. Black Mountian, NC is really like a second home for me. I’ve been coming here for years. My fist visit was when I was very young, but I’ve been coming here regularly for the last 20 years or so. My cousins were so young back then and now they have all grown up and moved out. 

I really enjoy my visits with Auntie Beth. We have time to talk about food, diets, exercise, books, movies, jobs, all the regular life stuff. She does her best try to understand my life decisions, not to judge, and offer advice. I try to do the same for her. Family can be hard, trust me, but with Auntie Beth I always know that she is coming from a place of love and that knowledge helps me when we don’t see eye to eye.

So, I’m looking forward to spending the week here, enjoying the views, the cooler, less-humid temperatures. I’m looking forward to Tracker having more space to explore, and Zeva to pester him into playing. I’m looking forward to discussing some of the books I’m reading, some recipes I’ve tried and the British TV I’ve been enjoying with Auntie Beth. I’m also looking forward to noticing how I feel physically while I’m here, to seeing what opportunities are here for me (temporary or permanent), and paying attention to how I can be more present emotionally. It’s a tough order, but starting with doughnuts a a great first call.

C O F F E E

Sometime, during elementary school, and more specifically during Mrs. Delano’s music class we sang a song that almost changed the course of my life forever. It is so funny, the little, seemingly incidental experiences that we have, that our brain just holds onto. Now that I’m really thinking about it, I have a bunch from Mrs. Delano’s class. The most interesting part about this is that I’m only like 70% sure her name was Mrs. Delano. I know she was an old lady, but I can’t even picture what she looked like. 

I remember that we had these hardcovered song books that were stored in the music room, but I’m pretty sure we used the same books for years. Anyway, we were spending some time learning to sing in rounds. I’m sure that is super fun for a music teacher. All of those kids, singing all at once in all of their various voices, but slightly off in timing… on purpose. (Teachers will NEVER make what they deserve). The song that we were learning went like this:  

          C – O – F – F – E – E / coffee is not for me / its a drink some people wake up with / that it makes them nervous is no myth / slaves to a coffee cup / they can’t give coffee up

As a young impressionable child, I took this song as a serious warning. It does not paint coffee in a favorable light. My little sponge brain heard the message loud and clear… coffee is bad. It makes you nervous and can control your whole life. That’s probably one of the major reasons why I was a junior in high school before I even tried it.

I was on a 6 week foreign exchange trip to Switzerland. My host mother offered to make me a special, small cup of coffee. I was already a vegetarian and feeling guilty about not being able to experience all of the food culture there, so I agreed to try it. It was just a small cup, so I picked it up and drank the whole thing in one gulp. Whoa, my first coffee ever was a downed shot of espresso. It was strong.  Maybe even knocked me back a bit, but I will never regret it. It tasted like roasted, warm earth with a hint of acid and chocolate.

That was my first impression and it still rings true today. I drink my coffee hot and black, rich and full, strong and bold. I will not drink bad coffee, On most days, I drink at least a pot of coffee. My current specialty go-to coffee drink is a breve latte, with at least one extra shot. In my early 20’s, I worked at a coffee shop where we roasted our beans. I loved going to work everyday and just swimming in the fragrance of the freshly roasted beans. That was also the time that my doctor suggested that I cut caffeine out of my life…so now I dabble with decaf. I blend decaf and whole cafe beans in my home coffee, which lessens the health issues and still allows me to drink good coffee.

I once tried to describe to my students what I loved about drinking coffee. It’s really the whole thing. The ritual of making the coffee. The smell as the coffee brews. The sound the coffee makes as you fill your mug. Holding the warm mug in your hands and that first sip. It’s like the coffee is giving you a full, warm hug from the inside out.

I love mornings in the winter when I got outside to either walk the dog or get the morning’s eggs and come back into the warm house that has been fully infused with the freshly brewed coffee scent. Heaven, and just think Mrs. Delano almost took all of that away from me. 


(I made the coffee and the mug)

Oh No

What happened?!?! Yesterday I spent sooooo much time writing about how I came up with my domain name. Way more then the 15 minute minimum. I wrote paragraphs. Then, when I uploaded the picture (because every post must have a picture), there was some sort of technical sabotage. The whole post just went away… but the picture uploaded. It’s all a huge mystery to me that I’m sure I brought on myself. Either way I have a decision to make today. Do I use today’s time to just re-write the post? Should I just be personally satisfied that I completed the exercise? Do I double up today or some future day and re-write the post and then add a new one? So many options.

I guess I have to think about the purpose of this site. I want it to be a place where I can hold myself accountable for writing everyday (I am aware that I have missed a few days). I want it to be a place where I can share some things about myself (not just a place for complaining). I want it to be a place where writing does not trigger my fight or flight response. I want a space where I can say things and those things exhist(?). I’m not sure if that’s the right word, but it the best one I have right now. I don’t really NEED anyone to read it. I just want to know that someone can. (This is not some sort of friendship test or anything). I’ve only told a few people about this site because it really is just an exercise right now.

So, that’s my motivation. I did the exercise ✔️.  I did tell a story about a part of my life ✔️(with minimal complaining). My anxiety level remained within my “zone of tolerance” (that’s for you, Stephanie)✔️. So the only purpose that is not fulfilled, is that it has now disappeared… no one can find it (I’m the only one that looked, but I’m pretty sure of my technical incompetence). That means that a re-write is in order, but not today. Here’s an official IOU – I owe this site an explaination of its name. I promise myself that I will re-visit the topic in the future. 

Now… for the picture…

(Notice that he’s peeing with his tongue out)

Just Do It Already

There are so many things that I’ve been putting off for so long… not even counting major household repairs. In fact, it almost feels like there’s so many little things that there’s almost no point in starting, cause where do you start. Should a deep clean the kitchen drain thingy? Or wash the shower curtain? Re-start my Pilates routine? Or build that work table for the nap room? Maybe I should start by making a list, but the whiteboard is in the nap room and I haven’t found a good place to keep it yet. I know that I respond best to lists that are large, easily modified, and color coded. So the first item on the blue lists of projects should be, find a home for the whiteboard. Maybe I should get rid of that twin bed.

This is how my brain is bouncing around these days… I get in the shower and try to not touch the curtain that has developed is own fragrant ecosystem of (most likely) protists. By the time I’m out of the shower and dressed, I’ve forgotten about the curtain because I’m now focused on the fact that I forgot to cut my hair before the shower (remember for tomorrow). Oh crap, it’s raining and I’m going to be late for my appointment now. Ah, it’s that noise in my truck that I’m sure is just some sort of loose heat shield (maybe I should stop by and have Chris try to listen for me). Dang it, I rushed to my appointment and left the stretching DVD that Joan let me borrow and only took me 3 months to remember to watch… and that’s just about a 90 min glimpse of my day today.


Here’s what I know, tomorrow I’m going to find a place to keep my whiteboard, so I can start those lists: Quick Fixes, Projects, Longterm/Ongoing, Business. I will probably try to do that after my morning yoga and walk with Tracker, but before my haircut??? Unless something else comes up.