Eyebrow Wax, Anyone?

I went to get a pedicure with my mom, niece, and daughter this week. We haven’t done it in a while, and it was so much fun hanging out with them. My niece– a stunning 15-year old– has grown into quite an amazing young lady, especially since she was only 11 last year.

My experience was better than theirs, though. I had the best nail tech ever. It was absolutely fabulous. Here are highlights from conversations with the lady who was doing mine:

Conversation #1
LADY: You need wax eyebrows?
ME: No, thank you.
LADY: No, you NEED wax eyebrows. I will do.
ME: No. I like my eyebrows the way they are.
LADY: [looks at me with the you-are-a-crazy-lady look]

Conversation #2
LADY: You have too much. [pointing to my heels and tut-tut-tutting]
ME: Pardon?
LADY: [showing me the dead skin in the callous-removal-tickle-torture device] You have too much. You need to put vaseline and socks. [shakes head with disbelief]

Conversation #3
LADY: [leading me to the front] You sure you don’t need eyebrows?
ME: I’m pretty sure I don’t.
LADY: [looks at me with the you-are-a-crazy-lady look again]

I know that some people would find this offensive, but I don’t. I figure that she cared enough about my beauty to get a little bit tetchy about it. Plus, it gave me wondrous blog fodder.

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My first post since January and it is one about a pedicure. WTF? I have had tons of ideas, just not the time to sit and write them down. They’re still running around in my brain and will come out soon. Enjoy this in the meantime. I know I did. 🙂

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Hello, 2013. Thanks for Visiting.

Ode to 2013

2013 is a year that taught
me copious lessons. It brought
hope and some trepidation,
faith and some affirmation.
A bounty of choices demanded attention,
giving my simple life greater dimension.
An unheard of act of risk taking
led to an act of decision making.
I cried, I cheered, and I laughed
(What the hell is a mosquito craft?
This rhyming dictionary is weird.
)
I frequently disappeared,
sinking into my protective shell
dealing with change and doing it well.
Today I celebrate the good
in 2013, just like I said I would.

__________________________

At the beginning of the year last year, I made a “Resolution to be Successful.” My goal was to concentrate on the great things that happened throughout the year. I had never done it before– usually ending the year with a “thank goodness it is over” feeling. I was tired of living my life, waiting for the year to end so I can start afresh. It was time to realize that every day is a fresh day and I needed to acknowledge and celebrate that fact. I made a jar and I filled the jar with wonderful things so I could write about them at the end of the year. I hope you enjoy my adventures.

Family

I am thankful every gosh darn day for my family. Without them, I would not have as much joy in my life. They keep me from staying in the darkness when I’m depressed, and still love me when I spend extra time there. Here are some highlights.

  • We have a little raised garden in our back yard. It has become a family project. Every season, we clean it out, hand till it, and plant it. Pretty much every season, we end up with very few veggies– they get creature-eaten or frost-bitten or die in the hot, hot sun. Yet we continue to do it. There is something about sticking your hands in the earth that reminds you how connected you are to everything around you.
  • The girl figured out how to tie her shoes. It may seem like a little thing, but she was determined to never learn how– at least not from me. Thank goodness Hubs has the patience of a saint or she’d still be in Velcro shoes. Now if we could get her to keep them tied…
  • We were able to send the girl to Camp Invention. It is a week-long critical thinking/problem-solving day camp. She learned so much, including how to work with others to solve real-life problems. It was fabulous listening to her stories about what she learned. Her excitement was palpable.
  • We took two camping trips. I am not very fond of camping, but I like to be outside with my friends and family. The first trip was with my brother, niece, and nephew. I had so much fun during the day. It was fabulous being with them in a different setting than the living room. I want to do it again with them before my brother moves on to his fellowship and my niece and nephew go to college (or wherever– no pressure, guys). The second time was with my BFF, Jen. It was freezing and relaxing and wonderful (for camping, anyway). We did decide that next time we’d camp in a motel. It’s so much better that way.
  • We actually had some weather this year. I love it when we have weather in the desert. After one seriously rainy day, the girl and I played in the puddles until she had mud up to her eyeballs. It was so glorious letting loose and getting dirty. I think my heart grew three sizes that day.

There are so many more, but I know that it’s important to keep posts short so people read to the end. 🙂 Maybe I’ll do a part deux.

Educational

Both my husband and I are pursuing degrees– his is a B.S. and mine is an M.A. I’m so proud of us for managing school, work, and family without wanting to hit each other in the shin. With a car. I celebrate the following:

  • After a bazillion years of study, I am so close to the end, I can see it. I submitted my application for graduation. This does not mean that I am done, but it does mean that, if I take the last FOUR classes that are required, I can graduate at the end of the summer term. FOUR CLASSES! I really need to be done because I’ve got such a serious case of senioritis (mastersitis?) that it makes my eyes burn.
  • I had to take a graduate research class. It was horrible and felt pointless to me. Focusing on the positive: I had one of my favorite professors again, I earned an A, and it is another class down. Only FOUR more to go!
  • I took the summer off. It was fabulous spending the time with my family. Even though it put me a little behind, I needed it. I still only have FOUR more classes until I’m done.
  • My degree program is online, so I miss the face-to-face interaction that I enjoyed with I was getting my B.A. This last semester, I had a colleague taking the same classes. It was wonderful! I had someone to bounce ideas off of for the first time in a bazillion years. I wish he was going to take my final FOUR classes with me, but he isn’t. Still– I had someone to kvetch with… er, share ideas with.

In case you didn’t notice, I have only FOUR classes left until I’m done. Not that I’m excited or anything. Not me. Not at all.

Professional

This is the aspect of my life that changed the most. This is where I took a leap and let the Universe catch me. I don’t generally do that because of my anxiety. Here are some of the positives:

  • I finally said no more to the job that was disintegrating my being. I was turning into a person who I didn’t enjoy being and it affected every aspect of my life.
  • I woke up in the morning and didn’t have a debilitating panic attack thinking about going to work. After I decided it was time for a change, I began to repair myself. This was the first sign that it was working.
  • I got a new job. Even though I felt beaten down and almost destroyed, I was able to keep my head straight during interviews. Even though I felt like a fraud, I was able to tell potential employers how wonderful I was. It worked. If you want to read about it, I wrote a couple of posts about it: Part One and Part Two.
  • I made a decision about my professional goals. The public education system no longer suits me. I can’t do what they ask me to and still live with myself. I finally decided to leave the public school system. After 13 years, I am taking a break from it. I may come back, I may not. It just depends on where life takes me. Once again, when I made that decision, another layer of anxiety and fear disappeared. Once again, I have no fear that my decision is the wrong one. I have no clue what the future may bring and that doesn’t scare me. Weird for someone who’s live her life in fear that she’ll make the wrong decision and destroy the world.
  • Hubs attends one of Embry Riddle’s satellite campuses. He is good friends with the director there. They are in desperate need of English teachers. Hubs has worked his magic and there is a great possibility that I will be teaching some classes for them when I’ve completed my M.A. (FOUR more classes!). This is a wonderful opportunity and I hope it comes to fruition. I’m trying not to want it so much.

I haven’t felt so sure of myself professionally in a very long time. I am thankful for the year that passed and am definitely looking forward to the future possibilities.

Other Awesome Stuff

Not everything fits into lovely categories, so here is the potpourri of great things that happened this year that don’t fit anywhere else.

  • I got a new, used car. It is the car that I’ve always wanted. It has a sun roof and, because I’m spoiled, brand new speakers and a kick-ass radio. It also only started with 30,000 miles. Because it’s a Toyota, I will get to enjoy it for many, many miles to come.
  • I’m getting crafty up in the hizzouse. I started crocheting again, something that relaxes me and makes me feel productive. Hubs got me a sewing machine for Christmas and I’ve already made myself a purse. Creating is such a wonderful feeling and I am glad that I’m doing it again.
  • I was brave enough to put my writing out there. When I won NaNoWriMo in 2012, I had a mostly, sort-of finished manuscript. I’ve been sitting on it, fearful of letting it go into the world. I decided to share it. There are so many plot holes and loose ends that I need to tie together. I wasn’t able to do so objectively. Hopefully it’ll get worked out. Either that or my readers will tell me that it’s too convoluted in its current state and will need to be disemboweled and reanimated in another configuration. I’m comfortable with either possibility.
  • One of my students graduated this year. This young lady has been in my life since she was a sixth grader. I love her like she was my daughter. I’m so proud of who she has become. She honored me so much when she asked me to escort her to senior night basketball game. Her mother and I proudly stood next to her before her final game of her senior year. I felt truly blessed that I meant so much to her that she asked me to be there. Teachers don’t always see how they affect their students’ lives. Chelley made sure that I knew.

There are so many other things, but brevity is the soul of wit (so they say).

The Girl’s Celebration

The girl was so excited to participate in this project. For the first seven days. Because she was six. I told her I’d post everything that she wrote down. Here it is:

  • “I have school.”

She’s so awesome.

Final Thoughts

This was a great exercise for me. I am thankful for my blogger friend Danielle for making the commitment to do this with me. If it had not been for her, I am pretty sure I would have stopped writing the good things down about the same time that the girl lost interest. I’ve decided that I am going to do it again in 2014. I think it is part of the reason why I’ve been able to make the positive changes in my life. It helped me live in the moment.

__________________________

Resolve to be successful

Obsessions 2012: The Wheaton Family

Welcome to part 2 of my SERIES of posts about my obsessions. If you missed my first post, check here. It’s fabulously interesting (or tedious if you don’t like AFP)!

__________________________

I have a confession to make. I have become a celebri-stalker. Wil Wheaton has been one of my favorites since I was in high school, drooling over Wesley Crusher in ST: TNG. I had the posters. I wanted to be his girlfriend. You know… typical fangirl-crushing going on there. When I joined twitter, I found him through The Bloggess who I found through… well, I can’t remember. Anyway, I immediately followed him and started fangirl-crushing on his twitter feed. His twitter feed led me to his blog(s), podcasts, and books.

That is when I realized how many layers he has. And the fact that he’s effing brilliant. And funny. And empowered by his manly geekiness. I couldn’t believe it, but my crush grew and grew (kind of like the Grinch’s heart).

I never realized that he was hated as Wesley Crusher and that he used to get death threats. To me, Wesley was a symbol of hope for people who didn’t quite fit in. He was incredibly intelligent but also very young and naive. I felt like I was Wesley (except not quite as smart, because, well… WESLEY CRUSHER- SUPERSTAR). It made me sad to think that a person who I admired was despised so much.

Thing is, Mr. Wheaton could have reacted badly to this. If I were in his place, I probably would have. So much hatred winging my way would have caused a collapse of astronomical proportions. Instead, he grew and got stronger.

They should win the cutest couple EVAH award.

They should win the cutest
couple EVAH award.

He also got married.

Happily, wonderfully, married to an absolutely wonderful woman who I was so incredibly ready to hate with the passion of a thousand dying suns. I just couldn’t.

Anne Wheaton is an amazing person in her own right. She’s hilarious and honest and smart and beautiful (inside and out). Check out her VandalEyes mission. Never have I wanted to carry around googly eyes everywhere I go as much as I do now.

To make it even better, they have a delightful menagerie of rescued cats and dogs. They are part of the family and both Mr. and Mrs. Wheaton take copious pictures and share them with their followers. Rarely a day goes by when I don’t get an awesome feeling from the cuteness of their family.

Following/stalking the Wheaton family guarantees that I will have something to look forward to on those days that I just need to get out of the sads.

To the Wheaton Family– Wil, Anne, Ryan (their son, who is awesome as well), Luna, Marlowe, Seamus, Riley, and Watson– I must give a thousand thanks for all of the joy and distraction you’ve given me this year. I can’t wait to see what happens next year.

Also, a final word from Mr. Wheaton:

Wil sez:Don't be a dick.

Wil sez:
Don’t be a dick.

Click it!! DOOO EEETTT. Buy me one while you are at it. I like the blue one.

Obsessions 2012: Amanda F*cking Palmer and the GTO

Everywhere I look, I see end of the year lists/countdowns/reflections. I’ve decided to jump on that bandwagon and ride it for a bit. What better way than to write about my obsessions for the year? Let me tell you, there have been so many because, well, it is what I do. Here goes, in no particular order whatsoever.*

*okay. I thought it would be all one post. It’s not. Apparently I obsessed much more than I thought I did. Welcome to my SERIES of posts about my obsessions.

____________________________________________________________

Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra

amanda-palmer-and-the-grand-theft-orchestra

Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra

I love Amanda Palmer (AFP) and have done so since she was half of the Dresden Dolls. She is feisty and says the things in her music that I wish I could say. When I first started using Twitter, she is the first person I started following. I knew that she would have something to say that would make me think. Little did I know where following her would take me this year.

One thing that I admire about AFP is the fact that she loves her fans. Loves them. She understands that she would be nowhere without them. When she decided to crowd source her latest album through kickstarter (click here if you want to see the magic unfold), I watched and waited. I so desperately wanted to be in on the awesome. My brain was obsessing in two ways:

  • I wanted desperately to be involved.
  • I didn’t want to spend the money because, well, money.

Believe me, these two things fought and fought in my mind. It was like a huge smack down going on in my skull. One morning, I woke up, fired up ye olde laptop, and backed her project before my mind woke up properly.

It was amazing. I became a part of something big. For me this was a big thing. I’ve felt an outsider for as long as I can remember, as I am sure many people have. This was something I belonged to. The Theatre is Evil album is one that I had a hand in making. I felt powerful because of it. That doesn’t happen much for me.

This power transformed itself into bravery. I woke up early on the day that they were pre-selling tickets to the concert in Phoenix. I waited, hand hovering over the enter key, to get a chance to see the album that I helped make be performed live. LIVE! I was one of the first ones in. The tickets sold out in 20 minutes and I was fast/strong/good enough to get some for hubs and I. I have to admit that I cried a bit.

I used to go to concerts when I was younger. I went to every 311 concert that I had enough money to attend. If there was a band in a club, I was there. Even thought I was uncomfortable, the music was all that mattered. I was music; music was me. As I got older, my OCD/anxiety grabbed hold and grew stronger. Music was still important to me, but not enough for me to brave the crowds. Choosing to go to this concert was a huge step for me.

It was one of the best experiences of my life. It was a small venue with about 300 other people. Aside from a couple of drunks at the bar, the other concert goers were lovely.  I can’t really describe how it made me feel. Anyone who has ever gone to an AFP concert knows exactly what I am talking about.

One of the bonuses of going to the concert was finding new music. Jherek Bischoff, a member of the GTO, is a wonderful composer. He was the opening act and I was entranced by the beauty of his music. The Simple Pleasure, headed by GTO member Chad Raines, was the perfect mix that got me dancing and laughing. The band’s enthusiasm and joy was intoxicating.

I left that night lighter than I’ve felt in years.

I wanted to leave you with a AFP and the GTO video. I’m not going to post the one that I really want to because it is definitely NSFW. Click on the AFP Video Page and check out “Want it Back.” There is nudity, but it is a beautiful video and a beautiful song.

This is another of my favorite tracks off of the album. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

One more– this is not from the band but from AFP herself. It is the song that I go to when I need an uplift.

Thanks for stopping by! There is more to come. =)

Zombie Kitteh Will Eat Your Face

Awww. Such a cutie-pie!

This is Frodo, our new-ish kitten. He looks innocent, doesn’t he?

Appearances can be deceiving.

One night (morning?) at 3:00, he crawled up next to me on the bed purring loudly. I love snuggly cats but I’ve not had one in a long time so this was exciting to me. His little whiskers tickled my faced as he moved closer. I figured that he would just rub against me and then settle down for a good sleep. I laid there, waiting to see what my cuddly, itty-bitty kitty would do next. Then, I felt a tongue in my nose, literally. He was trying to find something in my nostril with his tongue. It was not at all enjoyable; cat tongues are quite rough and- yuck- in my nose! I reached up to pull him away but, before I could, something startling happened.

The little turkey bit my nose! Not just a little nip, oh no, not for this fella. He was full on gnawing on the tip of it. The zombie kitteh was trying to eat my face!

Luckily, I was awake enough to not throw him across the room. I gently took him and placed him on the floor by my bed and tried to go back to sleep. This is when I discovered that my little Frodo furball is a zombie. He is not the typical zombie in search of brains, though. He mindlessly seeks nostrils and the tips of noses. Obsessively, even. It usually takes about five times removing him from the zombie-feeding zone before he gives up. It has been four weeks and he still does it three or four times a week.

Have you ever had a zombie pet? How long did it take for the face eating to cease? Do you think the rules from Zombieland would help? Cuz I’m getting a little bit desperate.

I’ll see you in your nightmares!

Thoughts about Reaching my XXth Birthday

Today is my 39th birthday. I know. Women aren’t supposed to tell anyone their age. I don’t really subscribe to that thought. I have worked hard to make it through my 39 years and I am proud of that. Plus, I’ve been saying I was 39 all year and thought I was going to be 40 today until I did the math.

I’ve heard the memory goes as you age, but I didn’t think it would go this quickly!

I now have a second year of being 39! Inorite? I get one more year before the dreaded 40, an age where I’ve heard that everything starts falling off (but not the things that you want to fall off– like the middle-age spread). I might have a 3rd year of 39 just to be safe.

Not enough candles, but you get the idea!

In the past week leading up to this glorious day, I’ve done some thinking. I don’t know about you guys, but this is the time when I look back at my year and see how I’ve done. Forget New Year’s Day– that is for everyone else. I’ve got to be different! Oh, side note: July 2nd is halfway through the year. I didn’t know that. My friend told me. I didn’t research it so if I’m wrong, let me know. I’ll probably forget though. Because I forgot I was 38, remember?

This year’s taking stock of my life has been very different from all of the others. Usually I get very depressed and think of all of the things that have gone wrong. I focused on how worthless and imperfect I was. Death loomed ever closer in my mind and I would never be able to make something of myself. I usually spent a whole week alternately crying and getting angry. I hated my birthday and never wanted to celebrate it. Well, this year I did none of that. Okay, that wasn’t completely true. I did cry a little last night, but I think it was more because I was worn out and it was late and I forgot to eat dinner. Probably. Still, it was only about ten minutes long, if that, and I fell asleep right after.

Instead of looking at my life negatively, I’ve chosen to look at it differently. Even thought there were difficult times, I made it through them. Sometimes I learned something about myself. Sometimes I was just happy to get out of it with only a few scratches on my psyche. Amazingly, the scratches were few. I’ve become a much stronger woman because of it. The difference is that I’ve actually been in a state of mind where I could actually see the strength. Part of it I attribute to finally finding the correct melange of medicine. The majority of it, though, is all me. Yes, my meds have balanced my brain chemistry, but I have chosen to do the work to make myself stronger.

Happy birthday to me.

__________________________

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All photos that are not mine are under a CC license. For more information about this wonderful resource, go to www.creativecommons.org

Cake Photo: Neil T via flickr

Friday Funtime (Saturday Edition)

Hello, ladies and gents. It has been a long, but lovely, week. Hubs and I spent our tenth anniversary abroad (by abroad, I mean in Flagstaff, AZ, a three-hour drive from our home, but still!). I swore off the Internet (gasp, choke) and managed to do so most of the time. Yay me! It was a great time with tons of outside walking and what-not. I have great blogging plans for this. There WILL be slideshows. Many, many slide shows. That is a threat promise.

Anyway, when I came home, there was tons of Internet to be had and, boy, did I have it. While it may not be as long as the last one, I did put my heart into it. Enjoy!

Just Because

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Cool YA Site

If you are looking for some YA audiobooks for free, sign up for Sync. Every week during the summer they provide two free audiobooks on the same theme– one is a classic and the other is contemporary.  This week it is The Eleventh Plague and The Grapes of Wrath. It’s definitely worth a look.

Buy me this, Mom!

Yes. This exists. And I want it. A desire that burns with the fire of a bajillion suns. Click on this picture and it will take you to a world where it is possible to cuddle and snuggle and huggle your very own @wilw. If you are getting one for yourself, mind getting one for me? I’ll write a very special post for you because you would be very dear to my heart.

So, that is what I have today. I tried to get my slide show to work correctly, but I couldn’t. Family is making hungry noises and I’ve got to go. I hope today’s Saturday Edition was as pleasing as last weeks. 🙂