Hard thymes




When I lived in Florida, in my previous life, I dabbled in vinyl cutting. My dearly departed splurged and bought me one of those big industrial vinyl cutters so I could make signs and wall art and the such. I had big dreams to make loads of cash with this monster. There was just one problem. It wasn’t as easy as it looked. Sure, it was easy to peel off the back and slap a clever saying on your wall, but before that magical moment there was quite a bit of blood, sweat, and tears.

When you cut out vinyl, you have to know how to format your machine on your computer. This takes brains. Brains are not something I used regularly in that lifetime. Don’t get me wrong, I was good at mommy brain; organizing grocery lists, coordinating laundry, scheduling 5 million kid related activities weekly, but not computer formatting. I remember staring at the computer screen and just … not having a clue what to do. It was frustrating.

The other part of vinyl cutting is picking out all the parts you don’t want on your finished product. This is the equivalent of trimming your acre sized lawn to exactly the same blade length using dull nail clippers and wearing a blindfold. This could be why I need reading glasses now (which I don’t use). It was mind numbing.

After those parts, it was a breeze, kind of. I gave up on the idea after a while and sold the machine to a friend in Alabama. She has done great things with it. I was perfectly happy to say I couldn’t do that hard thing.

When it comes to doing hard things, I have learned over the years that I can actually do them, if I want to. Take child birth. I have survived every time because I wanted to. I didn’t give up because I didn’t want anyone else snuggling my babies. Then there is school. School has been a mixture of super easy stuff and stuff that makes me want to hold my breath til I pass out, kicking on the grocery store floor. That never really works, but it seems really appealing at times….

I can do hard things. I don’t always like to, but I can do them. I’m at the end of my masters’ program and I can’t remember being less interested in my classes since I went back to school six years ago. I am D O N E emotionally with it. If I wasn’t “this close” to getting those diplomas, I would say screw it and walk away. But, here I am…at the final home stretch…and I can do this.

I’m still tempted to offer cold hard cash to someone to finish this for me…Or to pay off my professor. I’m not above begging.

Cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.dailymobile.net

Dopple Gang


I recently went on a trip with my youngest daughter to Atlanta, Georgia. I had not been to Georgia before. I used to live in Alabama and Florida (at different times), so I figured it would be mostly the same. What I didn’t know was that Atlanta is Gotham City. You may not have known this, and I’m sorry if I’m ruining some fantasy-other-wordliness aspect of Gotham City, but….it’s in Georgia.

Our adventure began when we got the rental car and headed out in the safe hands of GPS (aka evil maniacal devil guide) to our hotel. I don’t know when I decided Siri was a reliable source again. She has burned me way too many times in the past for me to have any sane reason to trust her, but here I was, across the country in the middle of a rainy night, trusting my life to the voice in my phone with a desire to kill me.

How do I know she wants to kill me? Let’s recap. I have gotten lost more times than not when using her. Usually it is because she decides to tell me to take U turns in the middle of freeways or busy roads. Other times it is because she leads me to my destination which actually turns out to be a lonely spot in the middle of nowhere, perfect for murder. This time, it was to the back side of a prison. Yes, just pull into the guarded driveway…don’t mind the guns…”your destination is on the right”….sure it is. I didn’t fall for it.

I had a feeling that no matter what Siri said, I should probably head towards the taller, better lighted buildings in the distance. By some miracle, we ended up at our hotel. I prefer to believe it was devine guidance. On the way, we discovered we were in Gotham. It wasn’t hard to tell, all we had to do was look up. The buildings were somewhat shrouded in fog. Did I mention it was raining? Constantly? The entire weekend? The fog swirled around the tops of the buildings. One building in particular had lights shining off the top, cutting through the fog, just waiting for the Bat signal to be blasted into the sky. It was Gotham. I’m sure of it. If that wasn’t enough proof, the sirens that screamed all night were the clincher. I didn’t actually SEE Batman, but I’m pretty sure I saw something dark and caped streak past my 9th floor hotel window in the middle of the night.

The rest of our trip went fairly well. We went to a Art walk/block party, very much NOT like the art walks here in Arizona. I expected to see cool art that made my mind scream, “How did they think of that!?” like what happens at the art walks here. Instead, what my mind was screaming was more of a, “WHY did they think of that? What is wrong with them!?” My daughter assured me it was all about the experience, not the product. That had to be the only resoning behind the live music in the “Mammal Bar” which turned out to be a very warm, over crowded room (bar), with a group of adult size toddlers playing on xylophones, recorders, and bongos….with no apparent melody in common. My brain hurt and I wanted to curl up with something familiar, like a cactus. It was painful.

All in all, I totally enjoyed my trip with my daughter. She is an awesome person. I’d want to be her friend if we weren’t related. She’s totally cool. She is also blessed/cursed with the same talent as I have. We both see celebrity faces in random people. On this trip we saw young DiCaprio, Ice T’s uncle, A white Bruno Mars, and the perfect blend of Bradley Cooper and Will Arnett. I admit to following the latter around with my eyes for quite a while and even snapping a picture. Is that weird? It’s not like I’m going to stalk him or google his picture online and find out his name and whether or not that girl with him was his girlfriend or send him bunnies or anything, it was purely for research.

Cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.dreamstime.com

Rub Rick


steampunk watch

I saw a post on Facebook today where a woman announced she had been married to her husband for 10,547…(or so) days. It caught me off guard. I thought we had moved on to months or years for big stuff like that. I did make me think though, what if we did keep track of everything in days or hours or even minutes. I wonder if we would be more conscious of how we spent our time?

A week isn’t such a big deal to spend on a project. But what if we said we spent 168 hours doing something. Much more impressive. Looking back on my life, I had to wonder how much more impressive my accomplishments would look/feel if I changed the measurement device. These are all approximate…..Enjoy:

I was pregnant for 38,880 hours of my life.

I was married for 170,820 hours.

I did laundry for 2600 hours.

I went to school (college) for 5460 hours.

I was in the kitchen for 54,600 hours.

I didn’t want to add up the hours on Facebook or other pointless social media because I was afraid I would go into a severe depression and jump off something high.

I also didn’t add up the hours I’ve spent at the gym…it would be embarrassing. I don’t even know the hours my gym is open. I feel more like I should write the money I spend on my membership off as a donation. I pay, but I get nothing out of it.

When it comes down to it, I don’t think the time we spend doing something is really the point. I’m much more concerned with the quality of how my time is spent. I may have spent way too many hours/days/weeks watching movies, but I was usually with my kids and we were laughing together. I may have spent an obscene amount of time reading, but now I am extremely well versed and seemingly clever. I may have stayed up for hours watching netflix, but now I’m…well, tired. I don’t think there is really a benefit to that one, except I do leg lifts to justify it.

How ever you spend your time, it is yours. It’s really all we have, til it’s gone. So, use it!

Cause I said so.

Photo credit: ashleyssuperiorcadproject.wordpress.com

Standing Bull



I don’t like to shop at WalMart. There is something about that store that just makes me sad. It could be the cheap products, or the crowded isles, or the shade of blue on the workers vests. Take your pick. Like it or not, I find myself trotting through the jumbled corridors more often that I would like to admit. There aren’t many stores open at 10:30 pm that sell copy paper and craft supplies. Seriously. Any logical craft store would be open from 7pm to 6 am. Those are the hours moms finally get their kids in bed and they want to go out and peruse the heavenly racks of crafting goodness…without the help of little hands. Think of all the pointless items we could avoid buying if we didn’t have children in tow when going craft shopping. My son in particular manages to find the most expensive “experiments” to do during the summer that end up sitting, drying out, cumbly, or eaten by the dog a week later. $29.99….and that’s not all!

Regardless of my less than fond feelings towards “Wal-scat” as my neighbor calls it, I have found it to be enlightening at times.  Just this last weekend I came across a conduit of light in the form of a little grey haired lady. She was working hard ringing up my essential items. I noticed a medical symbol on the necklace she was wearing so I asked her about it. “It’s so people will know what to do if I fall on the floor. My five year old grand daughter is already trained. I think she will do alright.” She did not elaborate on her condition, leaving it with the cryptic warning that she may fall down on the floor at any minute. I wondered if they had cushions behind her, just in case?

The brilliance of the necklace suddenly dawned upon my feeble mind. (I was starving and doing all I could not to tear into my rotisserie chicken in the line.) What if we all wore ‘medical necklaces’ that told everyone what our ‘illness’ was? You might be think, “But I don’t have an illness.” Let me clarify. I’m talking about mental illness. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little notice when you saw someone that “hey, this symbol means I fly into a frantic rage whenever I don’t get my way.” Or,”I’m bipolar and won’t make sense tomorrow…or today”. What about, “my OCD will compel me to follow you around til I get that lint off your shoulder.”

Think of the conflicts these little gems would help us avoid. You are walking down a the street and you see a man with a symbol that says, “I’m cronically gassy.” You have time to cross the street. Or you see a woman on a bus with a symbol that says, “I can’t help but tell strangers my most disturbing life stories.” You pick a different seat.

The place where these would be the biggest hit would be in the singles’ world. You go to a dance and easily avoid the symbols that say, “addicted to porn, cheated on my spouse, eats crackers in bed, will never help with dishes.”

I think I’ve stumbled upon my retirement plan here. Nobody copy me, read my symbol, “I wanna be in charge of stuff but I’m overbooked and lazy when it comes to making big decisions.” You better watch out…

cause I said so.

Photo credit: www.margauxlange.com

Eye lashing


water dreams

What do you do when you have a free moment? I find a way to fill it. No sitting around bored for me, it just isn’t in my nature.

Some might say I am running from something, I prefer to think of it as running toward something. Something better, smarter, more accomplished….a better me.

I went many a year being a stay at home mom. I do not regret a moment of it. I loved being home and taking care of my family. There wasn’t a day I remember wishing I was out in the work force doing …. something for money. I got a rush from a clean kitchen, vacuum lines, and freshly baked bread. I loved being able to volunteer at the kids’ schools, attend community mom meetings and events, and do yoga at the gym at 10 in the morning. Good times I cherish.

My life has changed in many ways. By 10 am, I am deep into my day of forming the minds of fifth graders. I walk, stand, bend, stretch, and see very little muscle growth for it. I talk nonstop, answer questions, ask questions, and dig deeper. I look beyond and see beneath and hope for miracles. When I finally reach home again with my kids, I’m ready for an after school snack and a nap. I cook dinners some days, do laundry occasionally, and pay my kids to sweep and vacuum. It’s a different life.

Do I wish I was back in my warm, bread making yoga days? I really don’t. I loved those days and I cherish them in my memory, but if I’ve learned anything in my many lives, it’s to enjoy the here and now.

After listening to a talk by President Hinckley on his top ten, I decided it was time for another top ten list here. I know you’ve been waiting with baited breath anyway….breathe easy! It is here:

My top ten list for enjoying today:

  1. The mistakes I made yesterday are done.
  2. I have one more day of experience under my belt
  3. I didn’t kill anyone ( I plan to always have this be true….if you were wondering)
  4. I learned something today (You can’t trust email)
  5. There was something to laugh about today (even if it was just ME)
  6. I brightened someone’s day with a smile (or totally confused that guy in the truck…)
  7. I have all my limbs, and they work! ( regardless of last night’s dream)
  8. I didn’t cure cancer, but I also didn’t find it in my body
  9. The sky is a wonderful masterpiece I can’t get enough of
  10. I live with the most amazing people on the planet…and they are related to me!

I may wake up stiff and groggy, but I get out of bed and smile. It takes way too much energy wishing today away…I need that energy to keep me awake past 10pm when I finally get time to do homework.

Enjoy today!

Cause I said so.

Photo credit: the-meeg.deviantart.com

Good Suma Ramen



You know the story, a guy gets hurt; beaten, robbed, left for dead, and an unlikely hero stops to help him out. He goes down in history as the example to all of us to help those in need. We look to his kindness, selflessness, and lack of prejudice like a light in a darkened world. But what if…

The guy that has been left for dead doesn’t want help. What if that guy, bleeding, hurt, spit in his eye, likes where he is. What if he wants to wallow and suffer and die.

I like to help people. I get a bit of a rush when I do something for someone else. I remember right after Brad died, I was at the grocery store in Florida getting some food I probably wasn’t going to eat. The lady in front of me went to pay and realized she didn’t have her payment method with her. I paid for her stuff. It wasn’t a big deal, not more than $4o I think, but it helped her and it gave me a rush. Call me selfish, but I needed that rush at that point in my life. I was drained and bleeding inside, and it healed me a bit.

What if we turned the story around more and looked at it from the bleeders point of view. Aren’t we all hurting in some way? Aren’t we all close to the edge at some point in our lives, wondering why me, why now, why can’t this go away? Hands reach down for us, trying to help, and we swat them away; too focused on our suffering to let anyone in. Misery may love company, but pity makes its own party.

When I was dating Brad, he came into my room one day to find me lying on my back listening to The Cure. He hated that band because he said it was depressing. He asked me why I was listening to it then. I told him, it was depressing to me too, but since I was feeling low already, I thought it would bottom me out so I could climb back up. Kind of a weird technique some might think, but that’s how I roll. I don’t like to wallow around in misery, I’d rather invite it in, feed it dinner, and send it off with a goodie bag for lunch tomorrow. After Brad died, I would schedule my grieving. A nice car ride around the neighborhood with a special song playing and tears flowing freely. Badda boom. Done. On to the next day.

I can see the mess from both sides. Someone might be sad and need to just be sad for a while, and someone might need to pull another person out of a pit. We all do what we have to I suppose. Don’t judge me too harshly if I walk away from a person in a misery driven rant, it’s not that I don’t care, it might just be that I know it’s a fever they need to bask in for a while before the cool collection can ensue. It might also be that the point they are tipping is causing my own cup to overflow, releasing those feelings that I keep so well behind my walls of sanity.

Cause I said so.

photo credit: http://www.coramdeogp.com

Size fine


9096879-Scared-man-running-away-with-grimace-in-his-face-wearing-jeans-shirt-and-tie-Stock-PhotoI’ve always been very self conscious about my weight. I was a twig in high school, always bumping my hip bones an corners of walls an such. I had bird legs and protruding collar bones, but I always focused on that one area I couldn’t shrink. The motherhood bump.

I remember the day I was able to fit into a pair of jeans that were size 5. This was a huge accomplishment for me. I was 5’8-1/2 and thought it was important to have the waist size of a girl 5’5 at best. I don’t know which super star to blame for my twisted idea of ‘perfect size’ but I do remember Dana. She was a model in high school and wore size 5, so that must have been my motivation. Looking back, I don’t remember much else about her except her fateful words, “I wear size 5”. It became my goal.

The jeans were beyond tight. I could get them on and zipped up by laying on my back and doing a weird sort of jump-grunt dance. Who cares if I could walk or sit down? I wore them with pride…stiff legs and all. It was the day of the big choir concert; the day everyone would notice if I wasn’t wearing size 5 jeans. I was finally going to fit in and be like all the cool girls. I was SURE they ALL wore size 5. That’s why they were cool, right?

I was in the Honor Choir. That meant we got to do more than just sing. We had “choreography” with our songs. Born in the U.S.A. was one of our high energy songs. We started at the back of the auditorium and ran to the front while we sang. It was a lot of fun! It went awesome until I had to run up those stairs to the stage. I hadn’t tested the size 5 jeans for running…these were posing jeans at best. Imagine running up stairs, stiff-legged, quickly. I did it, almost. On the last step, I didn’t manage to get my peg leg up high enough to advance and I fell face first towards the floor. Here it came….my moment of size 5 glory, quickly turning into my high school nightmare.

An angel from above, named Curt (I think), grabbed my arm as I descended and pulled me up and along with him as he ran. No one even noticed my near death. The song went on, my jeans stayed on, and my moment of size 5 glory stayed in tact. In my mind.

In reality, no one cared what size jeans I wore. No one looked at me and said in awe, “she’s size 5…she’s cool!” The truth is nobody even noticed me in high school. I realize now that not being noticed isn’t such a bad thing. Kids can be mean, and being noticed usually ends up with a target being put on your back with “kick me” under it. Blending in is okay.

Now that I’m an adult, I don’t care about sizes anymore. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about my body and how I look, it just means I dress for me. I started a new diet to feel better, not look better. I exercise (on occasion) to have fun or spend time with people. I eat right because junk food makes me feel like crap. I look at my sisters in awe because they have drive to work out and stay fit, but I don’t let it reflect back on my self image any more.

We all have strengths and weaknesses and personalities and needs. I’m happy with who I am because I’m an original. I’m size me. Cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.123rf.com