Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Packing -- it's going great

The cat is on my suitcase.

Nothing else is in my suitcase.

I'm going to miss you too, my sweet Max.

Packing the warmest things I own. Leave no long johns behind!

I also have a fun little New Year's Eve dress but....not sure it's gonna be warm enough. Not for the wuss of a warm-temperature gal planning to wear it.

I called my family tonight, to be assured they were having zero fun without me.

They said they weren't, but I heard something about a bottle of wine being polished off, so I'm not sure they're having zero fun.

They also went to church tonight and there was a cow inside the building, so I really don't think they can promise they are having zero fun.

Cow in church = fun.

I hope everyone is enjoying my incessant blogging of late. It is my way of not packing.

I'm actually packing actual outfits. Be proud of me for that. I usually just throw whatever in my bag, and then I'm dressed like, well, me.

I am syncing up my tablet -- that I won for free at the company holiday party, yessss -- so that I can watch Felicity tomorrow at the airport and on the plane.

Again. Yessssss.

Gonna order my chardonnay -- or what have you -- on the plane, throw in my phones, and laugh right out loud at Javier if I feel like it!

And I'll think of Max. And miss the warmth of California. And some other people and things.

Sigh.

But I'll be headed to see some people I love. The bittersweetness.

I've laid a bunch of clothes out on my bed. Am I done yet?

I also discovered that I don't think I can watch Felicity on my tablet.

Nooooooooo.

Good thing I love to read. And that they have booze at airports. Here's hoping I don't forget my book like last time when I flew to Chicago. But then I made a new friend in Chicago and he gave me a book that was great. So it'll work out.

I'm tired. I want to be done packing. I want to snuggle with the cat.

One day...

Christmas Eve!

Raise your hand if you still need to pack your bag to fly home on Christmas!

Hollllllllllllllllllllllllllaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

I have to admit I was mid-sentence a few minutes ago when I realized, with sudden urgency (and no, that's not redundant, because it was rather sudden and rather urgent), that I needed to call my brother Patrick.

Once upon a time, a 6-year-old Bailey made a piece of art, which has since been cultivated in the family museum of art.

Admittedly, sometimes it is on display in the front hallway bathroom.

This piece is a Christmas piece of art.

It is on a piece of that horizontal lined paper, with solid and dashed lines, that children use to practice their printing.

I wrote on this piece of paper, in alternating red and green marker, with lesser punctuation and capitalization that what appears below:

"One day Jesus made a holiday and he named it Christmas Eve."

Patrick in particular has taken to quoting this piece of prized visual decoration, and he often greets me in person or over the phone on the day it honors by reciting my famed words of childhood.

Today, when I realized, I decided to beat him to it. I whipped out the flip phone (remains to be seen whether Santa will replace this phone).

"One day Jesus made a holiday," I started.

"And he named it Christmas Eve," we finished together.

Then he told me he was trying to feed pancakes to a cranky child, so I let him go and told him I'll see him tomorrow, late. But I couldn't let the day pass without holding to our tradition.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

"You're just gonna chill"

I'm going to write something totally predictable, cliche, and annoying that you may stop reading this blog.

Quick, think of a message you hear during the holiday season.

Was it something to do with being grateful, relaxing, slowing down to open your eyes and look around and enjoy the blessings in your life?

Well holla at your favorite blogger, who's about to do the same thing!

OK here's my situation, leading me to do this.

HEAR ME OUT.

Calm down. Pop some popcorn. Slow down. Take it in. Read slowly. Peace on earth.

I'm a brat.

But I do cheer for peace on earth.

First, I have a history of stressful, tearful, depressed, anxious, let's-just-get-through-this Christmases.

This was due to living in a cold, grey climate, not being on the right combo of psychotropic drugs, and having too much time on my hands to sit around. As a student, I would have month-long breaks from school, and I would spend a lot of time waiting for siblings with full time jobs to traipse home from far away for just a few days -- it was too much free time. Especially when I would switch from the stress of constancy of schoolwork, grading exams as a teaching assistant, gibber jabbering  with classmates, getting drinks on Friday nights to decompress to...sitting quietly with my parents in front of the TV with three cats.

I know what you might be thinking -- Bailey, you love TV and cats and your parents. Cats. Cats!

But, and I don't mean to bring this up all the damn time, but drugs make a lot of difference -- which is another conversation for another time, and I don't expect everyone to be on mood-stabilizing drugs, but I do know that for me they have changed my life, markedly.

So part of it was that I literally wasn't treated fully for something I needed to be treated for. Say instead I had diabetes for five winters in a row and didn't know it. That first Christmas with insulin would feel pretty great, yes? (Providing I cooled it around all the sugar cookies my brother makes every year). Similar situation here.

Also, as you know, and want me to shut up about, I am the last one standing in my family when it comes to the marriage milestone in life. When you fill a room with four sets of couples and one's single, solitary, selfie self, while yes, the three cats do help things, one can find herself wondering what to do with her hands.

And if she's sensitive like me, she may get tearful. And then when all the blissed-out couples in the room are feeling blissful and not tearful, then she may find herself to be the only one in the room crying. Which she isn't self conscious about in terms of the simple fact of crying with an audience, particularly if that audience is her family, but she does start to wish that someone else would cry during this time of year that has a lot of pressure to be happy and during which she doesn't feel quite so happy.

More so she feels anxious and sad and like she wants to run ten miles outside but dammit the sidewalks are covered with snow.

But NOW! I don't feel quite as sad. Truly, praise the good Lord above.

So why am I still stressed out about the holidays?

In short, I'll be covering four states in 10 days. If you really want to get technical and count my starting state (CA) in there, I'll be setting foot in five states within three days.

I don't care who you are -- as long as you're not a teenager, because wow are they energetic -- that's exhausting.

And I've been sick for more than two weeks. Finally got an antibiotic, so hopefully that will help.

I had sent a whiny email to my parents asking for prayers about my sickness and my stress for the holidays, so after seeing the doctor yesterday I called my dad to give him an update.

"And about this trip coming up?" he said, through the ear piece on my conveniently compact flip phone. "Don't worry about it. You're just gonna chill."

"I'll give you bourbon," he said.

Father of the year. Every year. I love him.

I heard him, I did, but I also rolled my eyes. I knew he and Mom would have such sentiments. "You can sleep in the car," they always say, when I start to get overwhelmed with quick turnaround road trips, seeing a new city every morning, a new bed every night. Forgetting that car sleep kind of sucks, and my anxiety knows no bounds and it will keep me up and stressed out if it wants.

But it hit me last night, after I picked up my prescription and came home to Max the cat, that I could, maybe, maaaaaybe, ease into this holiday, and really just enjoy the ridiculous amount of fun that it has to offer.

I mean.

Beginning Christmas night, I am going to be treated to:

Not dropping a dime anywhere
Having highballs with my brother
Drinking wine with my parents
Yes, maybe actually sleeping in a car
Being surrounded by adorable kids who call me (melt) Auntie Bailey
Opening presents
Giving presents
Listening to Julie Andrews Christmas music
Drinking more wine
Petting three fluffy cats
Talking to my parents about whatever I want -- because, mostly, depending on the topic, they'll listen
Letting my brother crack me up
Seeing a whole bunch of people in KS and MO who put huge smiles on my faces
Playing foosball
Playing guitar hero
ETC.

And, of course, the now-promised bourbon with Pappy.

So yeah. Maybe I should chill the you-know-what out and enjoy this.

Last year I took a month-long trip to seven cities or something crazy like that. I was unemployed, I was burnt out, I was self conscious about my placement in life, my parents bought me a plane ticket home and I used what little cash I still had to buy cheap bus tickets and found a way to needle my way around the Midwest to see so many people who I love.

I ate grilled cheese, I drank so much beer I think the effects may have been visibly apparent, I laughed, I talked, I danced.

IT WAS SO GREAT.

I was self conscious about my life but I was moving too fast to think about it. I don't recommend this as a pattern, from a therapy standpoint, but for the moment it worked.

After it ended, I recognized the blessing that it was and that I may never have an opportunity like that again, when most of my friends were still single and childless, when I didn't have a job so that I could take some time to goof off, when, remarkably, no one seemed to be judging me for doing something that most 20-somethings do at some point but that I had always thought to be impractical and therefore judged others, jealously, for doing so.

I now have an abbreviated version of that trip ahead of me. Beginning in t-minus two days. This is like a person's dreamland, being offered up free of charge, cats included. Cats included.

So maybe, if I can recognize what I have and chill out, I might actually enjoy myself during this holiday season.

Maybe this will be the year mind wins over matter.

If you need me, I'll be sipping bourbon. See you in 2015, y'all. And see some of you before then, in a Midwestern state of your choice.*

*Note, I may still blog in 2014 a time or few more.

Monday, December 22, 2014

More thoughtoids, a book you should read (and have a good cry)

Does anyone else have a vague illness that's just hanging on?

For crying out loud...

Going to the doctor today.

----

Read a precious beyond precious book at work today (we continue to sort toys for our clients for the holidays, which is great and feel good). It's called "You're All my Favorites" and it's about these precious baby bear siblings who wonder if their parents love each of them less because they are all different. The parents assure them that they are all equally beloved.

And the illustrations! So sweet. The bears remind me of little kitties. Because a lot of things remind me of kitties; birds, even. Because I'm obsessed.

Anyway, upon reading this book, I almost cried.

Read some reviews on Goodreads (I gave it five stars, obviously), and I wasn't the only one to get misty.

----

I thought of something while in bed last night that made me feel better. I remembered that Anne Lamott says that December is the worst month to try to get any writing done. I've been writing these little pieces of my life updates for you on the blog, as opposed to more thought out, longer essays; part of that is the attention span of my sickness, but I think it's also the fact that it's December!

I ran a half marathon last December and decided never to do it again; it's just too busy. And October and November are busy, too -- holiday parties everywhere I turn -- so the lead up of training for the race was crazy.

I've done a really good job this year of curbing my activities, so as to remain calm and rested and more jovial. It's worked quite well, I think. It was a good reminder to remember the Lamott December advice/wisdom piece.

----

I can tell I'm not feeling well in part because when faced with the opportunity to eat sushi -- one of my loves -- this weekend, I passed. When you pass on things you love, something's up. Physically, emotionally, what have you. Remember that.

----

A bientot, Mes Amis. Wish me luck at the doctor.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Finding his lap

The cat has become a lap cat overnight.

No I'm serious.

He's been sweet, and eager to see me -- and my feeding hand -- when I arrive home from work, for the past four months we've been roomies, friends, cat and human.

But I've wondered lately, and expressed confidently, bravely, to some people in my life, that I'm not sure Max is in love with me.

Dibbs, my beloved cat who has been officially adopted and inherited by my parents in Kansas (he's kind of a princess who would never survive a trip from Kansas to California), was in love with me. Purred before I picked him up. Purred a lot. Crawled in my lap. Only recently has he begun to spend time in my father's lap, as I gather from letters from home, and this is a big development in his character.

I won Dibbs over and it was a victory that I will not forget nor let the world forget.

He is mine and I am his and we love each other.

Are in love.

(Well, whether the active "are" verb can be used is perhaps up to the cat, as his mother did hop in a Corolla two years ago and leave him 2,000 miles in her dust. With food and water, and human guardians.)

But I've been fearful of Max. I tried to keep it on the down low, not letting my cat lady panic rise to the surface. I told myself it will take time for him to fall in love with me.

Meanwhile I feared that my imaginings of his affection being greater for me when I first adopted him in August than it is currently were true.

I took deep breaths.

I confided in few.

And today: I have a new cat.

He has met my lap.

When I came home from church this afternoon, I scooped him up and laid on the floor, setting his front paws on my chest, his face facing mine.

I do this often, expecting his usual response -- 30 seconds' tolerance, then a polite, but direct padding off of my torso and onto the non-human surface below.

Today -- sweet, sweet today -- he stayed.

He settled.

He laid on me, and stayed.

Later, I was watching Felicity (because, duh -- I'm nearing the end of the series; you will soon only hear about it sometimes, as opposed to always), and he came and squished himself beside me.

This he has done before, as well as the very occasional sprawling across my chest, but not as much lately. Furthermore, he used to do this when the futon was in an upright, couchlike position, but today he did it while the futon was in the laid out bedlike position.

And occasionally his paws would rest on my stomach.

Later I was sorting mail, sitting cross-legged on the carpet.

He balanced himself on a thigh (he did this yesterday, now that I realize; I probably just didn't commit yesterday's experience to memory for fear of it being a fluke. And my heart can't handle a fluke. Not with the all precious Office Max).

And then, as I laid on my back, propped on pillows, once again watching Felicity, he was on me again. Granted I went and gathered him from across the room -- he was eyeing some papers and I was afraid he might decide they were going to be a makeshift litterbox -- but when I brought him back over to the futon*, he laid down. His front on my torso, his back portion on my legs.

*I spend a lot of time in my futon.

He was warm. He purred. A steady purr, not motory or gravelly. Even keel, feeling like sand on the ocean's floor slowly pawing at my stomach.

I finally had to get up and go to the bathroom. When I sat up and gently picked him up to move him, placing myself temporarily in a sitting position, he took the opportunity to lie on my legs.

He is sensing I am craving extra affection -- I am -- and he is giving it to me.

I love him.

And I don't know if I should say it yet, but we may be on our way to being in love.

All I know is his timing is great, on this Sunday afternoon when my thoughts are on repeat and my compromised health is keeping me from doing things to actively distract them. He is redirecting my thoughts (to an extent -- he isn't God) to his purring. His warm sandy purr on my belly. His desire for my lap. His desire to fall in love.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Random thoughtoids

We were sorting toys at work today, for our toy drive, and I noticed that Barbie's bikini is almost more scantily clad than mine. Yeeps.

I actually said, however, to my coworker, that her bikini was more scantily clad than mine, then upon reassessing the situation I realized my bikini isn't actually all that pastor's-daughter friendly...

----

I sang karaoke at work this week.

That was unexpected.

I sang, with accompaniment, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "My Favorite Things," "White Christmas," and "Go Tell it on the Mountain."

I was sitting there with my lunch in front of me and all of a sudden I was being called to the front of the conference room.

I may or may not have been wearing a Santa Claus apron.

I like to be festive.

I was sheepish upon arrival at the microphone, insisting that my coworker sing with me, wishing there were two microphones instead of one, so that her voice could be heard more clearly and mine less.

But at some point, I'm not entirely sure what prompted it, but I grabbed the microphone and flew solo.

Like Rudolph. Flying. With his nose sticking out. Literally.

Today at lunch a coworker said I have a beautiful singing voice, and that surprised me a little bit, since I was being pretty silly and have a cold. But hey. I'll take it.

----

I'm doing a lot of side traveling when I travel home for Christmas this year. We're talking coverage of four states.

That's a lot of states in 12 days' time.

Aw, I just realized I'll be home for 12 days of Christmas. That's kind of adorable.

But still annoying that so much driving and relocating must happen. But I suppose it's WORTH IT! to see my grams times two and my sibs and lots of friends. So, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, I will be seeing you soon. And cursing at your temperatures.

I am looking forward to showering the niece and nephew with gifts.

----

Back to the talk about sorting of toys. I really rely on the ages printed on the boxes of toys in order to figure out which age it's appropriate for, given my lack of children and knowledge of what kind of things they play with.

I'm not sure that was very interesting, but I am just trying to type here, so that you readers have some content to read.

----

Hmm, OK. I think I'll sign off now. Smooches. Much love, BB

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cats, Colds

If this stupid cold doesn't go away....

I'll probably just go to the doctor.

Or whine.

I'm good at whining.

Speaking of illness and medication (smooth segue), I recently had to give the cat some drugs, and:

a) He was sometimes a total champ about it, so much so that if the pill fell out of his mouth he would find it on the surface nearby him, where it had fallen, and lap it back up and swallow it down.

b) I discovered that, when I wrapped him up in a blanket or cardigan or something, I could hold him like a baby, and sometimes he purred. If you're a cat person, you know this is a big fat win in life, to be able to hold a cat like a baby and have it purr. I am currently, obviously, trying to cultivate this action in him to become a habit. Because if I can have a purring fur baby in my arms every night, yes please.

What else can I tell you, as I sit here and feel swimmy and mope about my cold that just won't leave?

I am leaving Christmas day for "home," to see family and friends and more family and friends. It's going to be a whirlwind trip, and I better not forget to pack my long underwear.

I shall miss the kitten boy, but he will be in good loving hands, and I am going to my parents' place, which doubles as a Castle of Cats. I'll see the precious/famous Dibbs Master, as well as Yogi and BooBoo. There will be much smushing of fuzzy faces and baby talk and feeding of begging mouths. I actually fricking love it -- I mean obviously, but really -- when I'm in such a ratio of cats:room environment, because I basically put one cat down from a cuddle, pass into the next room and scoop up the next one, and so on and so forth.

It takes me a good minute (hour) to leave the house for coffee dates and whatnot whenever I'm visiting the 'rents.

I must bid all cats a proper adieu!!!

And I must bid you adieu, before this blog post gets any whinier or more cat-obsessed.

Cat love,
Cat Freak

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

An evening

I thought I was going to break down and turn on the heat last night, but I didn't.

I figured Dec. 16 was too early in the season to do so.

[Grin]

While sitting in the futon all wrapped in blankets yet not quite warm enough, I decided on the bath route instead of the heater route.

I crumbled granules of salt from the blocky clump inside the bag of Epsom salt, massaging the plastic covering to coax them out into the water pouring hot from the spout.

I grabbed my recently organized candles and made a selection of a handful of them, which I placed in a line on the tub's edge. I enjoyed striking the match that lit them, down the line.

After peeling off my work clothes and fleece jacket, I stepped into the water. I rustled the salt grains sitting on the bottom of the tub with my hand, and they dissolved as more water plunged into my sitting chamber.

I noticed that the water was actually steaming, and that the candles I had selected were each a different color, a rainbow of sweaty wax. Thing I buy rarely match; I just like all the colors.

I turned the handle to stop the waterfall and, well, remained sitting. I immediately felt a little too warm, and reflected on our never-satisfied existence as grumpy, spoiled humans.

Eventually I leaned back, and as the water level adjusted the water started to drain, through an emergency chamber that keeps the bathtub from overflowing. I was mildly annoyed, but mostly just sitting.

Sometimes the cat visits me while I bathe, and I have terrifying visions of his tail catching ablaze from the candles and setting the apartment on fire, the fuzzy fuze doing its work.

He didn't visit me last night.

I alternated between sitting and lying back.

I shaved my legs.

I thought about the thing I'm trying not to think about.

I watched the flames of the candles and marveled at that which is fire. Marveled at how I struck a match and lit five separate wicks, then extinguished the match, then five separate flumes remained independent yet came from the same source. Thought about how fire was discovered. Thought about the sun, a boiling ball of fire that keeps me warm and fends off depression.

Thought, thought, thought. Though about that thing I'm trying not to think about.

I got into the bath to get me into a hands-off mode. The tub is a great place to tear one's fingers from the keyboard, from all our cycling habits, pacing repetitions that we do when given some free time. Nothing like stripping down and putting yourself in a bunch of water to keep you from doing anything else.

I lifted and lowered my legs from the water. Watched the water slide down the now-exposed thigh, the edges evaporating. Pulled the leg back under and watched the dimples of my knee create a dimple in the water.

Watched the water steam.

Watched the candles flicker and send black smoke upward, mixing with the steam.

Sat up and hugged my knees.

Looked at myself in the closet mirror.

Wondered if the cat would come visit.

Not quite sure if I was ready to get out -- if I had an appropriate enough "experience" of a bathtub experience -- but then pressed the drain plug and stood up to towel off.

Thirstily I poured myself a glass of orange juice -- one of my current almost-obsessions -- and petted the kitten, in the living room, simply sitting on the carpet. I love how soft their fur feels when I get out of the shower or bath. Holding them against your naked chest is the best.

After a little more Internet time, I pulled myself away from the laptop, got myself a glass of water, selected a book from the shelf, and got back in the futon.

I woke up around 3. It was raining. And thundering, which never happens in LA. The cat seemed a little confused.

My shirt was moist with sweat. Guess I didn't need the heater after all.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Fiction? Fiction!

Below is something I wrote earlier this year. I thought I'd try my hand at fiction. So while what you usually read on this blog is true, below is fiction. (I hope you) enjoy:

And so they laid in the grass.

The ground was not quite warm, and the earth between the million shoots of grass was a little wet, but once their backs met the not-quite-hard, slightly bumpy surface, it was an instant bond that made them powerless to get back up, at least right at first.

And besides, they had had it. They had done enough thinking and problem solving for one day. “Enough already!” they thought, and squished their shoulder blades around to get better acquainted with the ground, not minding that their t-shirts got wetter as they did so. Because as they lay there, they remembered how healing it can be to just lie on the earth and look at the sky. And sometimes it can be the best place to start when you’re trying to solve a problem and just don’t know where to go next.

Brady looked at a cloud and thought to himself that it looked like a rabbit – a boy rabbit, with stiff tufts of hair around his ears and buck teeth that made him look at once mischievous and impossibly charming. He laughed to himself, but only inside, a laugh that didn’t make it to the surface, causing no ripples of movement to move the folds in his t-shirt nor a sound from his mouth. He didn’t tell Jack, either, about the funny image he was picturing, because he just didn’t feel like expending the energy. He wasn’t cranky about it, but rather the longer he laid in the grass the more victim he became to its overpowering influence to make him relax. It was like gravity was literally pushing down on him, rather than just causing his body to fall downward.

This was the best he had felt in weeks, and it only took three seconds to get there.

How we forget to lie in the grass!

Jack let out a grumbly sigh, that both let out his aggravation toward spending half the day fighting their conundrum and expressed the same relief Brady was feeling at having met the grass.

Brady closed his eyes and took three rattly, relieved breaths, feeling safe, quiet, not rushed. Of course the thoughts were still spinning in his head, but when he opened his eyes again and looked at the clouds moving at their own pace he began to transfer the speed in his own head to the sky. “You do the moving for a while,” he thought, talking to the clouds.

He closed his eyes again, softly, and for several minutes would open them faintly, then his lids would close again, as if they couldn’t make up their mind what to do.

At one point the boys happened to let their heads fall to the side so that they caught a glimpse of each other, and they both smiled weakly; weakly but satisfied.

Finally. Finally, they'd stopped. Perhaps for but a moment, but at least for right now the world didn’t have its grip on us with its grimy, manipulative little hands, taking every moment and pointing us toward distraction, exhausting ambition, more more more. For now the world was holding them from a different angle, in the crook of its elbow, like babies. The boys were happy to be babies, babies who care only about food and milk, diaper changes and Mama being near.

And while Jack and Brady were teenagers, constantly shouldering the pressure to be manly, responsible, cool, tall, acne-free, they were in fact part baby, as all boys, all people, are. For the moment, they sank into their status as it was when they entered the world, free once again and not being watched, sized-up, not good enough. Mother Earth held them in her elbow thinking they were perfect, and they were, just as they were.

Short, pimpled, not always happy – all of it. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

What a sick person does and thinks about when she's sick

I could go for a boyfriend right now.

We'd order Chinese food and look at the cat and talk about how cute he is (the cat, not my BF).

I'd make him (my BF, not the cat) watch Felicity with me, and I would talk Noel versus Ben. He (my BF, not Noel or Ben) would think I'm so cute he would just let me talk about these fictional boys. And he would tell me I'm pretty and be happy he was my nonfictional boy.

Le sigh.

Anyway.

I'm actually feeling content to be single, but if a boyfriend were here and he wanted to have Chinese food and watch Felicity and talk about the cat, I'd be totally into that.

And my apartment is messy but not like disgusting-embarrassing messy so it would be OK if he came over.

Anyway. Again.

So I still have this fabulous cold. I spent the morning in bed, and took a nap -- before noon! I read, I made some lists, I watched Felicity (with guest stars John Ritter and Donald Faison), I ate some candy. Hey, I have a cold, not the stomach flu. I can have chocolate for breakfast.

Eventually I got bored.

I called Mom.

"I'm bored," I said when she answered the phone.

We talked for a bit.

We hung up.

I took a shower.

I went to Panera. Third time this week. Do I have a problem?

I went to what I thought was more of a shopping mall, but either I'm not good at finding secret passages to where the stores are hidden or this place was mostly restaurants and a movie theater. So I paid $3 for parking and got out of there.

Then I hit up the dollar store. Got a bunch of loot for me and the niece and nephew.

Then I returned the dead car battery in my trunk to Pep Boys.

Then I picked up my hold at the library.

Then I got coffee.

Now I am home.

Loot is spread on the floor, cat is on the floor, looking at me.

Who's enjoying this post? Show of hands.

The dollar store has a lot of jigsaw puzzles. I took note of this but did not purchase.

All righty. I've been thinking about a children's story -- I have a setting in mind and I think it's going to rhyme -- so I think I'm gonna go get to work on that. We'll see. My attention span is kind of, well, not there today.

Smooches,
Me

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Interesting flavor combination

You know, Circle K's Holiday Spice coffee (mixed with a little House blend, I think -- can't remember exactly which concoction I worked up this morning) makes a nice chaser to Rite Aid's Maximum Strength Adult Tussin Multi-Symptom Cold CF (non-drowsy, alcohol free).

The things you learn when you have a cold*.

I sincerely hope my neighbors in the office have enjoyed listening to my hacking and old-man-sounding nose blowing today.

*At least it isn't cold here. I'm wearing a sundress without tights or leggings. It's December 10th.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The 1,000 List, Installment #3

Three hundred things I'm grateful for, 700 to go! Click here and here for the first two installments of my ongoing gratitude list. Also, if I'm starting to repeat myself with some of these list items...well, then, I'm starting to repeat myself.

201. That scene in "Friends" where Joey accuses Ross of breaking his fridge.
202. Ridges on fingernails
203. Reading to someone
204. Being read to by someone
205. Watching a cat drink water
206. Watching a cat bathe itself
207. Being in bed on Saturday with all the blankets and sheets and lack of rush and responsibility
208. Scarves (with a spritz of perfume on them)
209. The smell of musk/men
210. Seagulls
211. The weight of another (animal or human) on or near me. Amazing the power of this comfort.
212. Riding a train in Chicago
213. Whipping out my Discman on an airplane
214. A really good book to keep me not bored during a flight
215. Vacation
216. A string of several days when I get to see several people who I really love
217. Psychotropic drugs that keep me feeling happy and regulated, calm -- that allow me to be me
218. Noel Crane on Felicity
219. That speech in Jack when Bill Cosby's character tells Jack he's a shooting star
220. The rare sighting of a butterfly -- live and in winged person
221. The scene in Miracle on 34th Street when Santa signs "Jingle Bells" to a girl who is deaf
222. Stickers!
223. Quilts
224. An empty -- or smally populated -- email inbox
225. Sara Evans' song "Stronger"
226. The fact that onion rings always make me think of my mom and my childhood
227. Disposable, paper bowls (I'm serious - it dates back, I think, to a grade school party I had involving ice cream sundaes)
228. When the opening credits -- music and pictures -- for Felicity start
229. Tomato soup
230. Fish sticks and ketchup
231. A bland breakfast with coffee
232. A sweet breakfast with coffee
233. Toast
234. The humidity that forms on the glass pane of the door when I start the dryer
235. Plain oatmeal
236. Oatmeal with pecans and dried fruit
237. A good day at work. No annoyances, fun coworkers. Either a highly productive day or one where I can get away with doing little.
238. Stale marshmallows
239. Roasting marshmallows by a fire and washing them down with beers. Particularly with my cousin David (a memory that may not be repeated, but it was a sweet one).
240. Quoting Cool Runnings with Corie and Riley
241. Ordering pizza
242. Watching the Home Alone movies with Riley or Jeff
243. A toddler in my lap
244. A baby in my arms
245. Smiling at a baby slung over the shoulder of a parent in a row in front of me at church
246. Avocado that is soft enough that it spreads across bread like butter
247. Clipping my fingernails (and pushing back my cuticles)
248. Watermelon
249. Romance
250. An encore
251. Live music
252. A burger from Five Guys with "everything" and jalpenos
253. Seeing a great movie in a theater, with popcorn, Junior Mints, soda, [and a friend]
254. Lunch dates with my coworker Shonna
255. Seeing my coworker Carrie afresh every morning
256. Walking across the hall to Carrie's office to gush about my cat and her dogs and how much we can't wait to see the animals we left at home mere hours before
257. Orange juice
258. Scott Speedman's smile
259. Benjamin McKenzie's smile
260. Javier on Felicity
261. French fries with room temperature ketchup (bonus if eaten seaside)
262. Blackberries with a little sugar sprinkled on them
263. Strawberries dipped in powdered sugar
264. Honeydew -- when it's perfectly ripe
265. A perfectly ripe pear
266. Tearing through a book
267. People who smile as much as I do
268. Thoughtful people
269. Funny people
270. Building someone up
271. Addressing a group as "Party People"
272. The phrase "Are you pickin' up what I'm puttin' down?"
273. Sticking my face in a kitty's belly
274. Running
275. Whipped cream on coffee
276. Whipped cream period
277. A great coffee date, with a friend or a family or a boy
278. Putting together a jigsaw puzzle
279. Live music
280. A beer on tap
281. This: "Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." -- Khalil Gibran
282. Christmas stockings
283. Index cards
284. Wet hair, air drying
285. Saturday mornings
286. Friday nights
287. Watching hair tutorials on YouTube
288. Karaoke
289. Shopping at Fresh & Easy
290. Sushiiiiiiiiiii
291. Roller skating at old school (are there any new school ones?) roller rinks, carpeting and hot dog smells and all
292. Making friends with people on the single pretense that we attended the same university (and I suppose the other pretense that we live in the same geographic location thousands of miles from the university)
293. I don't do it anymore, but I always loved doing math homework
294. That feeling of peace and calm that hits a few minutes after a long run
295. All those glorious items one doesn't need at Target
296. Finding a gem of a book in a used bookstore
297. Hand-me-down clothes, especially from friends I love
298. Rainy days in LA
299. The way a knit sweater feels on a chilly day
300. Water, in its many healing and soothing forms

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The many stages of an unintentional almost-all nighter when you're a grown up

Around 2 a.m. today, I awoke.

Though I've been having bad dreams lately, which have been waking me up, I don't recall having one last night. But alas, I was awake around 2-ish.

After just a few minutes of lying there, I decided I was anxious enough for it to not make sense for me to lie there with the lights off. After years of anxious insomnia, I know -- the way a migraine sufferer knows the difference between a basic headache and a migraine -- when my anxiety will pass and I will soon fall back asleep versus when I might as well turn on the light and distract my brain for a while.

So light on it was.

I read for a little bit (from this great book I'm reading call "The Short Bus"), then got on the Internet and listened to Christmas music and played Hearts on my PC.

I did try and get some shut eye around 4, but then finally gave in around 4:30 and turned the big overhead lights on -- not just the little futon-side lamp -- and fired up the coffee pot.

I don't know what you all do when you can't sleep, but I went ahead and painted some empty mushroom boxes I have, to make some cutesy drawer organizers.

I added a coat of polish to my toenails. Emailed a friend. Sneezed a lot -- allergies. Blogged.

I wanted it to be closer to a normal getting-up(-on-a-Saturday) time so that I could clean my filthy apartment and not be that neighbor who stomps around as she picks up tissues and shoes and does the dishes while normal people are sleeping.

I was in the workout room at my apartment complex around 7, watching The Nanny and Young and Hungry and Dolphin Tale. I did 60 minutes of cardio, split in thirds: 20 minutes on the elliptical, 20 on the treadmill, 20 on the bike.

Right not it's nearing 5 p.m. It could easily be 8 or 9 according to my body's rhythm right now.

At some point -- probably around 8:30 -- I started to reminisce about this one extremely productive day I had in high school, around Christmastime. (My memory may be lacing more than one day together, since high school was a while ago, however I do know that my energy level as a 14 year old was such that it could withstand all the activities that my memory thinks I once did all in one day. I was an energetic, hyper little thing. If you can imagine.)

On this day/weekend/group of days strung together in my memory, I did homework (we were studying the Reformation in history class). I cleaned my room. I helped count candies to assemble a guessing jar for my mom's work. I think other things were done. And at the end of the day, a couple of holiday items were dug out of storage (this was one of the years we had moved, so I was extra giddy to happen upon them -- not everything was taken out of storage every year when we moved). These items were:

The family Julie Andrews Christmas CD -- from that year forward it would become my Julie Andrews Christmas CD, as it was voiced by the family that they weren't the biggest fans of Lady Andrews' musical stylings --

and

my Christmas troll dolls (I collected troll dolls and had quite a few Christmas ones specifically, let alone those representing other holidays and sporting random costumes like a pizza chef outfit).

I remember just being blissed out at the end of the day, listening to my Julie jams, arranging the trollies on the bookshelves, enjoying the fruits of my labors: a clean bedroom and a worry-free Sunday ahead of me, what with the homework done.

I had reached a point of fitting in at school and wasn't quite as homesick -- certainly I was past the debilitating stage of homesickness -- for my previous town of residence, but it was comforting to have the sounds and decorations that had been a part of previous homes around me. The town we were living in at the time was alien to young me -- more liberal politics than I was used to, classmates who were vocal in those politics, streets with a more urban feel than I was used to -- and suddenly with Julie and the trolls I felt a little more like my old self.

All that to say that today I was remembering that go get 'em day back in 1999 and I had these grand visions of doing the same thing myself, today.

I was eating "lunch" at 10 a.m. I washed clothing, towels, sheets, and floor rugs today. I even washed the shower liner. Boom.

I was doing it. One thing after the other. Energizer Bunny.

And then I hit a wall.

If I had to name the wall, it would be called "Whoa." As in "Whoa. You weren't sure you could act like a 14 year old and you were right." And then I had a shot added to my drink at Starbucks.

Then I took a break and watched TV -- considered a nap, but those are few and far between in my life so I don't usually bother. Got back up and got back to it.

I had some moments of, shall we simply call them: emotions. Feeling extra worried, depressed. I reminded myself every time that I was uber sleep deprived. I was thankful more than once for a prescription drug I'm on that made this day far less depressing and anxiety-ridden as one like this would have been in the past.

I decorated for Christmas today. I Skyped with the brother. The sheets and towels are folded (though admittedly not put away). There is one more load of laundry that could be done, but Guys, I don't think I can do it.

I'm exhausted. I'm about two steps away from ordering a pizza, but I need to go to my car to get my credit card, which is about 300 (?) steps away.

I've hit the Whoa Wall again.

OK. Here we go. To the car. Pizza time. Then bedtime.

Because Whoa.

Whoa.

Can't sleep and can't get coffee (read on to find out why) so I'm typing this -- Lucky for YOU

Can't sleep.

Finally put the coffee on around 4:30.

It's 4:44 now.

I set up my cross stitch while the coffee was brewing, and the cat came and put himself on both my cross stitch and my legs. So I am pinned (by, arguably, one of the better things to be pinned) and can neither cross stitch nor gather coffee, so I might as well blog, yes?

Anyone else having stressful dreams? Anyone else ever found a correlation between vitamin B12 and stressful dreams? I have no idea if the correlation holds water, but I don't know what else could be causing such consistently anxious dream topics. I am stressed, I think, and have been grinding my teeth during the daytime, but never before in my life do I recall waking up several nights a week from a dream so vividly stressful or scary that I believe my body is waking itself up to escape the dream.

So on that positive note.

Maybe time for a gratitude list, eh?

Grateful for...

1. The kitty putting weight upon my legs this moment
2. Some great books I'm reading -- at least two are fighting for my attention of late
3. Making progress on my reading list of 100 kids books
4. Allergy medicine
5. A pet who does not require the outdoors for his bathroom activities, and
6. A climate which would not freeze my arse off should I need to take my pet outdoors for his bathroom activities
7. A brother who has been a mentor to me, who turns 35 today
8. Mizzou win! Headed to the SEC championship!
9. Made some new friends yesterday
10. Hair is getting longer. Excited by this.

So I've watched two Charlie Brown holiday films, two Home Alone movies, and the Muppet Christmas Carol thus far this season. Still need to watch Miracle on 34th Street, The Holiday, THE SANTA CLAUSE, (Whoops, how'd the Caps Lock get on for that entry? Oh wait I meant to highlight it because it's GREAT), The Family Stone, and of course:

The Julie Andrews/John Denver Christmas Special.

DUH.

This blog post is thrilling, if I do say so myself. If I were reading it, I would recommend this blog to a friend.

"Bookmark it," I would say, because I live in a flip phone world where people still bookmark things on their computers.

I'm not gonna lie, Guys, I want some coffee.

Oh, but the kitty widdy baby has now laid his head down, and he's extra cozy and fuzzy and happy and precious HOW COULD I EVER INTERRUPT HIM?!?!

Have you heard about all the research of a weight atop a person or animal calming anxiety in both species? It's true, and I think that's fascinating. I truly love the weight of Max on my legs right now. One of my top feelings in life is to have a cat atop me.

Kitties. Kitties kitties kitties.

So I didn't go shopping for Black Friday. I never do, except maybe to grab a Starbucks drinkie.

I did go to a bar to watch the Mizzou game and made myself some new friends.

So maybe I did go "shopping" for a burger and fries, and some beers?

I didn't have to get to the bar at midnight, so that was appreciated on my part. In fact I didn't show up until almost halftime, which was probably a good life choice because we actually decided to pull out a win in the second half, whereas when I arrived the score was 3 to 14, with us claiming the "3."

OK. I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do with the cat (though it will break my heart, I may stealthily slither my legs out from underneath him), but I have decided to stop typing for a bit.

Yay, it's 5:04! Getting closer to other people being awake! So I can clean my apartment and not have a neighbor pound on the door to ask my why in the world am I stomping around, dancing to Justin Bieber's Christmas album, washing dishes and carrying on?

Latas.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

This is what the 20-something Thanksgiving looks like

Full disclosure: I am severely lacking in calories in my body and feel a little bit sickly and if I don't eat soon this could look like depression and a headache.

However.

I started my day in bed with the cat. Smooched on him a lot.

Then got up and put the coffee on.

Shower.

Shaved the leggies.

Poured coffee, naked.

Danced to Tegan and Sara a little.

Put on jeans and a bra.

(Getting dressed in stages).

Added whipped cream to the coffee.

(Dressing the coffee in stages, too).

Danced to Tegan and Sara some more.

Drank some coffee.

Added some whip.

Still dancing as I type this.

Next:

EAT. Not TG food, but eggs or something, so I don't get depressed or sickly or in need of Advil.

Then to meet my friend Scott, to hang out at the beach and watch Christmas movies.

Then to my friend Abby's home for din din.

Then, presumably, in the car to rock out to Julie Andrews Christmas music.

Then back home to smooch on the cat.

Xoxox Be safe out there, y'all. I'll soak up the sun for those of you in cold places.....

Friday, November 14, 2014

You can do it!!

I wrote the following months ago. Recently stumbled upon it in my drafts folder. Just a little encouragement for the students in our world and for those eeking it out in the professional world. Chin up, my sweets!

This post might seem like it's coming out of left field, and probably a lot of what I write and/or talk about falls in that category.

It also might stem from the fact that I just edited a paper for a friend of mine who is currently getting her college on, in other words who is currently in college.

This got me thinking about school, and how I've been in school, you've been in school, some of us go to school longer than others, some of us hate it more than others, some of us would like to kiss school on the cheeks and thus seek after Ph.D.'s and such.

And I got the urge to be encouraging to the whole lot of us, in our schooling adventures and our other life endeavors.

I guess there are some main things I want to say, and they apply to school and whatever else you're working on right now that occasionally - or always - makes you feel like a cranky camper who wants to turn on bad television and call your friends to whine and cry more often than it makes you feel like, "Yes! I am accomplishing something! The fruits of my labor are clearly presented before me and I must eat bon-bons to celebrate! Also, today is a good day to buy a Lamborghini, I think."

Tip/Thought #1:

Don't buy a Lamborghini. Unless you can afford one and you really, really want one.

Tip/Thought #2: 

In that same vein, do reward yourself. Sometimes you will feel insanely pathetic with how much you have to carrot yourself along to do the tiniest, babiest of steps in your school/career/etc. journey, but by all means do it. Dangle the most ridiculous carrot in front of you, 100 times a day (I'm not entirely exaggerating here, regarding some days of this life) if you have to, if it helps you to get something done. Example: "If I read to the bottom of this page in this text book, I can watch one video on Ellen's YouTube page."

More pathetic example: "I can clip my fingernails once I write this paragraph." (Personally I get very distracted by my nails while doing anything that takes effort, so this one applies to me quite a bit. Also I like to keep my nails super short, so when I see any white at the tips my brain goes into "Clip clip clip those nails" mode and doesn't quickly exit this mode.)

Tip/Thought #3:

It really is

One
foot
in
front
of
the
other

One
day
at
a
time

Period
.

Really. I started telling myself this at least as early as my freshman year of college, and I still have to tell myself this. I don't always listen, but I still repeat it to myself. No doubt I will be doing this for the rest of my life. And that's OK. It's OK to repeat the same things to yourself (if they are helpful and true and build you up). It's not a sign of failure if you have to tell yourself yet again to take things one step at a time. It doesn't mean, since you told yourself the same thing in 1993, that because you are telling yourself that same thing again in 2014 that you are somehow dense, or an idiot who can't learn things. No. Let 1993 mind its own 1993 business. This is 2014. February 9th in 2014 and we are dealing with 4:37 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2014 right now, thank you very much. Feb. 10th? We will see you tomorrow. Until then, please leave us alone.

The reason I have to continue to tell myself that I need to take things one step at a time is because, while I know the whole one-step practice to be effective and realistic, my brain will almost always jump to let's-think-about-everything-all-at-once-far-far-into-the-future-all-encompassing mode no matter what the circumstances. Wisdom gained is no matter when it comes to (some of) our brain's hard wiring.

I could wake up every day and think, "Hmm, I bet I'd look interesting as a brunette," but I'm still blonde. I can dye my hair brown.

It will grow back blonde.

I can think, "Wow, I wish I was more mellow, and didn't think of everything all at once" (and one of my BIGGEST jealousies is of people who are neither crazy happy nor depressed, but just mild mannered, calm and content, moving at a steady, productive, peaceful pace). I can think this every day.

My mind still races.

This sucks. Some days I deal with this better than others. But it's my hard wiring; I can't mechanically change it.*

*Note since writing the above months ago: a particular new medication helps with this a lot.

In the example of school, Friends, how many moments have I had where I thought, "This is too much, I am so tired, the rest of these people are smarter and more energetic than me [etc.]"?

Here's the thing: there's a reason a college degree is set up to be completed in four years, a graduate degree in two. A Ph.D. program? Indefinite. Well, sort of. They give you a lot of time to finish those suckers, because they take a lot of work.

All of it takes a lot of work, and a lot of time, which is why it's spread out.

There was one day in graduate school where I left class and went to Target to buy Spaghettios and cried and called my friend, feeling defeated and having received advice that I thought was obvious and made me feel misunderstood.

I remember vividly - even which cafeteria table I was sitting at - getting nervous about a presentation I would have to give on Native Americans. I was in 7th grade. I think it was the first day of school, and the presentation had only just been mentioned. It's not like it was due the next day, yet it was getting in the way of my lunchtime enjoyment, and no one's lunchtime enjoyment should be interrupted at the tender age of 12.

I remember thinking at that middle school lunch table: "Think about what you did in 6th grade. You did presentations then. You can do this, too."

OK I'm rambling.

I meant to give you advice on taking things one step at a time.

So you have that moment where you're in the Target parking lot, crying with your Spaghettios. You with me? If you're not exactly there, put yourself in a similar moment in your mind - perhaps with Twizzlers on your back porch. You're somewhere and you're freaked out about moving forward and ever finishing this damn degree.

Here's what you're gonna do: You're gonna eat the Twizzlers, the Spaghettios, what have you, you're gonna cry, you're gonna call that friend.

Then you're going to either:

a) nap, or go to sleep for the evening, or
b) sit down and start that next assignment. The very next thing, what is most pressing. Can't figure out what's most pressing? Start with one of the most pressing things.

You have sociology class in the morning? You're going to get out your sociology syllabus. It might make you feel actually depressed just looking at it. Keep moving. Turn the pages, find the correct date. It looks here our reading assignment is Chapter 2.

Get out your book. Read Chapter 2.

You might actually cry while reading, because you're not done feeling defeated and sorry for yourself and terrified at the thought that is very real to you in that moment: the thought that you may not finish your degree.

If you take it one step at a time, you probably will finish your degree.

Finish reading Chapter 2, finish anything else that needs to be done by 8 a.m. the next day, and then go to bed. Binge on YouTube videos for an hour first if you need to wind down, then go to bed.

Don't forget to set your alarm clock.

Next day? I've got news for you, you might be a little cranky. Here's what you're going to do:

Get coffee, get some mini-donuts (these were my personal favorite during Research Methods class circa 2011).

Now get to class.

Sit down, wait about 5 seconds. Someone near you will either roll their eyes to express their non-excitement at being in class. Or, even better, someone will crack a joke. You and others around you will laugh. Your professor will come in, you will take notes, and before you know it you will be outside on the quad, talking about something easy with a friend and not feeling that horrible about life and school.

And guess what?

You've moved one step forward. You did the assignment. You went to class. That's more like two steps, actually. Or ten, if we're counting in taking a shower, getting coffee, eating mini donuts, etc.

I'm taking three years to get my point across here, but I can hardly express to you how serious I am when I tell you that sometimes all that is required to get you to move forward in a moment are those mini-donuts and the tiny little smile or joke from your pal sitting next to you in class.

This world is big, and our goals are big, and our thoughts put huge pressure on ourselves, but it is small steps and small moments and small laughs that keep us sane amidst the big thoughts and the big goals in the big world.

Tip/Thought #4:

Americans are workaholics, and in my opinion that is not all that great. In fact, it's pretty terrible.

I could really get into this, but I won't right now. But I will say that the standards our society sets for us, and the pressure we put on ourselves, are unnatural, exhausting, and detrimental - by and large.

Keep that in mind as you do your work/school work/dream-chasing.

Yes, hard work is necessary, and worth it, but not worth the cost of losing a realistic understanding of your self worth, your value, and your limitations.

Regarding the limitations: it's OK to have them. I am convinced there are people in this world who can get a ton done during one lifetime because of talent, smarts, sometimes money, and also this: they don't need that much sleep.

I need sleep. I prefer not to think of this as a limitation but rather as a built-in human setting. But in terms of me being President of the US of A? Then yes, my need for average amounts of sleep is going to act as a limitation for me becoming the President. I would quit far too early in the journey toward the White House because there are not enough Starbucks stores in the world. For some, maybe there are enough Starbucks. Let them be President. You be whoever you are. Some days this is going to be the hardest thing you have to swallow. Other days you will swim along in happiness, feeling you are on the right track, getting compliments from your peers.

Other days you will be clinging to mini-donuts and your amusing, sarcastic peer like they're all you have.

It's OK.

Because we are taking one day at a time.

Tip/Thought #5:

School will end. You will accomplish. You will be able to do things that you don't think you can do.

Whether school is the route for you, or working your arse off in a field that doesn't require a college degree is the route for you, you will move forward if you keep taking baby steps.

I'm telling you this as much as I'm telling myself. Almost weekly at work I have to tell myself to stop thinking about the project that starts in three months and take care of the meeting that is the next morning. This is a constant battle, but you need to keep in mind that certain battles will end, and when you look back on them,

1) They won't look as hard as they were before you started them.
2) They will teach you that you can fight another, different battle.

And as you look forward you must remind yourself:

I will fight the next battle one step at a time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hermit/Cranky/Tired

If anyone is wondering why I cling to my hermit hobbies, consider this:

We have entered the season called October-November-December, which includes lots of holidays and lots of office parties and friend parties and family get togethers. Also work does not stop during this time.

It is me against my inbox, my voicemail, and coworker walk-ins with requests for favors and such at the office right now.

I am fighting fang and claw to find a cat sitter for my sweet Max so that I can go home for Christmas. This is proving to be a difficult task and a, well, task all its own.
 
Every morning I want to stay in bed, because enough sleep is not exactly a reality right now. Meanwhile I'm having anxiety-ridden dreams that are waking me up and are not helping my general mood, or sleep cycle. Arguments? Cancer? Yes, these and other uplifting items are the content of my dreams these nights.

Scheduling things like massages and exercising and the cooking of vegetables -- all of which could reduce stress and fatigue -- is stressful in itself, during this busy season.

Anyway, whine.

Last year I was in a similar boat, but was also training for a race, attending football "watch" parties with my graduate school alumni, and going to other social activities.

So this year, I learned my lesson and am not training for a race, have not been to a single watch party. But even while putting my foot down and not agreeing to extra activities, I am still exhausted and grumpy.

So if you're wondering why I stay home to cross stitch and pet the cat and read and go to bed at 9, that's why. Hermit hobbies aren't all bad, friends. Unless they're getting you depressed, which they are trying to do to me. Which is why occasionally I get off my arse to go hang out in the work out room and watch the Disney Channel. Oh yeah, and work out. Which is what I managed to do last night. Got in an elliptical session while watching a Tinker Bell movie. Which was actually quite entertaining.

And Tinker Bell's hair!! Those bangs! That topknot! Get it, girl!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sex. Or lack thereof.

Welcome back! Today at the Daily Bailey, we're going to talk about one of everyone's favorite topics:

Sex.

Namely, the not having it.

Oh wait, people don't love talking about that. Because they like to have sex, am I right?!

Well, we're gonna talk about it! Or, I'm gonna.

This is something I've wanted to write about for a long time, and I even drafted almost 3,000 words on the topic at one point, but I'm just going to start fresh, because if I've learned anything as a writer, it's that it's OK to write several long-winded things that may never see the light of day, because it's practice, and it gets your thoughts hashed out, helps you realize stuff, etc. And then it's OK to just start fresh on the draft that finally sees the light of day, or the eyes of you right here, right now, reading this.

So let's do this. I have way too much coffee and only two cookies inside my belly and it's after noon on Saturday, and that sounds like a great condition to be in to write about virginity, yes?

OK so part of the reason I haven't published something on this topic yet is because I have a lot to talk about (it's really topics, as sex opens up a kaleidoscope of conversations) and it's hard to break it down, so I'm going to do my best to just get the discussion started. And to myself now I say no more stalling (this is like when I dance around in my living space and eat things and take another pee before a run; I love to run, but I consider the stalling portion to be a part of the workout process itself). GO:

Why I'm not having sex, AKA the Big Question here:

The answer to this question is several-fold, but I will tell you what is perhaps the main reason why I have held onto my V card up to my 29-going-on-30 year of life: because I haven't been in love.

It just seems really, really strange to me to have sex with someone who I'm not in love with. I am such a relational person, such a sensitive person, that I cannot imagine being naked, with synced breathing, etc., in one of the most vulnerable states possible, with someone who I don't feel like I can be completely 100 percent vulnerable with.

Sure, that's something (the 100 percent vulnerable part) I probably won't learn to do until I have sex, but I am capable of deciding whether I am in love or not, and so from there I can make the call on whether or not to drop trou with someone.

It's weird to me that sex can be casual:

As you continue reading this post, please realize I am speaking for me, the only person I can speak for. I'm not the Voice of Virginity here. For me to explain why I don't understand how sex can be casual is not to say that I say sex can't be casual for others. It is just me saying for me, about me, that I have a hard time imagining casual sex in my own life.

Let's start here: one thing that is very weird to me, that I have not been able to get my head around ever, is the pairing of machismo with casual sex, or sex at all.

What is locker room talk all about? How many girls one guy has banged, right?

But isn't that same guy in that stereotypical situation the guy who doesn't "feel" anything, or at least not anything feminine, or vulnerable, or that he would describe as feeling good? He's tough, he's physically strong, things roll off his back, people don't get in his way, etc. We don't usually associate him with the sensitive, caring, thoughtful guy, right?

(Tell me if I'm wrong, seriously. This is just my understanding of this stereotype. And I'm a virgin over here and also have never been in the guys locker room to eavesdrop on said locker room talk, so feel free to correct me.)

We talk about feelings in two ways -- emotional and physical.

From what I hear about sex, it seems to be essentially the one place on earth where the ultimate best emotional and physical feelings one can have meet.

So not only are you experiencing physical ecstasy during sex, but ideally, hopefully, you're simultaneously experiencing an emotional, honeymoon-we're-so-in-love-type ecstasy.*

*(I realize that sexual situations run the gamut from the horrific end of rape through honeymoon bliss, including such negative situations as: painful physical first time, one or both people not being ready emotionally for the first time, people who have fallen out of love but are still having sex, one or both persons having sex is cheating on someone else, etc.)

It just seems oxymoronic to me that someone can have the persona of not caring about someone's emotional feelings, including his (or her) own, yet can put him or herself in a situation -- rather, aggressively seeks out being in a situation -- in which the most positive physical feelings of a human body are experienced.

Am I making any sense? Does anyone else see my confusion here?

To me it seems if someone is going for the most tough exterior image possible, then wouldn't he be above sex? Above sexual pleasure? Isn't everything else about the locker room stereotype one of someone who is never vulnerable, who doesn't need to acknowledge his feelings or pain (including physical ones, what with all the weight lifting and tackling on the football field (I realize I am grossly simplifying this stereotype, but go with me on this)), who can be ON HIS OWN and be just fine?

If that is true, then why does he need to make his way to someone's bed?

My theory: because we all need connection, we all need to experience feeling. Whether we'll fess up to it in the locker room or not.

Maybe sex can be casual for some, but I make emotional connection with people really quickly, and I have a hard time not worrying about being hurt by the loss of even a casual crush. So for me, for now (and probably for always), you won't catch me casually sleeping with someone. Because I know I would be hurt. My feelings are too much into everything I do, think, experience.

ALL THAT TO SAY is that even casual sex would affect me. If I care for someone and am cared for by that person and we merely kiss several times, the loss of that relationship would be (and has been) hard for me, so up the ante on the physical and emotional connection (i.e. sex), then the oh-so-much harder it would be for me, and many others out there going through the same thing, I am willing to argue, when that kind of connection has been made and then is broken. That's my point here.

My reasons for abstinence are religious, but then again no:

I grew up attending church, and as a part of that, spent many hours of my adolescence involved in middle and high school youth group activities, ranging from serious conversations about spiritual doubt with my youth counselors to "Jell-O parties," in which my peers and I all threw a bunch of gelatin at each other. (The latter may sound sexual in nature, but I assure you it was not).

At these youth events we were encouraged, yes, several times to not have sex until we were married, or at the very least to not have sex while we were in middle or high school.

There are several arguments for or against this kind of teaching, and I understand several sides. Would I rather a teenager have protected sex and know about birth control, etc. than have him or her have unsafe sex because they were only educated to simply not have sex and were in turn not educated on the physical health topics? Yes.

Would I rather not see anyone, regardless of age, be hurt because he or she was not ready emotionally for such a connection? Yes.

I am not ignorant, and I applaud my now-defunct WB teen dramas (Dawson's Creek, Felicity) for writing into storylines pieces of plot addressing condom usage and HIV testing. Seriously, HIV testing!! When do you see that on TV now?!? And Dawson's Creek and Felicity were aired in the late 90s/early 2000s! That's laudable.

It's hard to imagine if/when I would have lost my virginity, had I not been provided with guidance through a church environment and by religious parents. A large part of me thinks I would have abstained anyway, out of fear, late physical development, and just being interested in other things at the time -- because I was young and frankly was pretty interested in making collages of magazine clippings rather than strutting my stuff in front of the boys (get me involved in a game of football at that age, however, and you bet I was flexing my muscles and doing touchdown dances, hoping to turn some heads. But that was more of a desire for attention in general, I think).

My focus as a young'n was also very much centered around simply making friends and doing my schoolwork, as I will explore further down in this post (hats off to those of you still reading, by the way. Get yourself some popcorn. You deserve it).

Another part of me fears that I would have had sex too early, and that it could have been a frightening, potentially devastating thing. If no one had told me that I had the right to wait (to be fair, it was more often presented not as a right but as an ultimate decision to make), I might not have known that.

I am beyond blessed to have parents (including a father who doesn't give a f*** (my words, not his) about what people think of his dancing in the streets or other general silliness) who encouraged me and my siblings to be ourselves, always. So it's likely I would have taken a stance of, "I am Bailey, here me roar! I will have sex when I am good and ready!" and continued on making my magazine collages in peace. But who's to say that's the case? Who knows who I would be or how I would have acted had I not been given the education I received, as I received it?

I don't think that schools should teach abstinence only. My fear is that the messages of safe sex that are being dished out these days may perhaps (and I am ignorant on this, as I do not work in a school, so I don't know what the reality is) be responding in enough defiance against archaic abstinence-only stances, that abstinence may be put in an unfair light. Again, I really don't know the reality of how these messages are delivered, but I hope the message given in schools right now is not: "Here is three hours of education on the pill, condoms, etc., and finally five quick minutes to brush over this thing called 'abstinence.'"

I say this not to defend the youth groups of America but to protect the emotional well being of the youth of America, several of whom may not be ready to have sex, even if their bodies are old enough to participate in the activity.

[Section here about what the Bible says about sex (or no sex) before marriage; removed for the time being because I'm not fully read up on the subject, and to curb the length of this post. But we can discuss this matter in "Part Two" of this post, should there ever be a Part Two.]

Finally, per the sexual education that occurred in my (religious) home growing up: if I had to peruse the issue, I would guess that my parents didn't talk to us too much about abstaining from sex because a) they probably knew what our youth counselors were telling us, and b) from knowing their kids, they probably could guess that their kids weren't having sex and weren't planning to for a long while, probably not until marriage (I'm sure we iterated this to them, too, in conversation every once in a while).

The message I did receive at home was focused on love, and the importance of love in long term relationships. We discussed this specifically and pointedly, and also watched a video from which we garnered the all important term, "pizza love."

What is pizza love, you ask?

Pizza love is that kind of love you feel for pizza. You love pizza (and I do love pizza), but you don't LOVE pizza in the sense that you would commit to it. We should, in turn, approach potential life partners with the pizza love question in mind. Do I pizza love this person, or do I LOVE this person? And does he or she pizza love me back, or LOVE me back?

So my parents did talk to us about sex, but their message -- interestingly enough -- is one that I have carried with me, and that is that sex and love go hand in hand.

Why it's not that weird (that I don't have sex):

To me, it's just not. It's the norm for me. I do think about it, more so now that I'm older, but I legitimately don't have regrets about being this age and being a virgin.

Why it's a little weird:

Sometimes it seems weird. Sometimes I wonder if I'm too late in the game to learn the game. But I learned to kiss at 25. I'll catch up. I'll be fine.

Where it creates the biggest struggle, perhaps, is in dating. Sometimes I want to walk into a bar wearing a sign that says, "Wants to marry a Christian, not having sex until marriage" (don't worry, I won't wear this sign), so that it is out of the way, and so I don't find myself in an awkward situation of having to explain to someone why, actually, we're just going to make out tonight.

But we can make out all you want.

Am I scared of sex?:

Helllllll yes! I won't lie, sometimes it's nice to have this little waiting plan I have, because it means I don't have to be that vulnerable with someone today.

Will I date someone who has had sex?

Yes.

And finally, Why it hasn't been that hard for me, Bailey Brewer, to wait, due to the very specific details of my specific life: 

For those of you who don't know, my father switched careers in his middle adulthood, and this resulted in more than one move -- due to his schooling and, later, placement for his job -- across state lines. I moved three times before graduating high school.

Some girls whose families move during their adolescent years somehow manage to have regular friend groups and be involved with a myriad of clubs and also have these foreign things called boyfriends in their lives, but I was absolutely not one of those girls. Some of them even become Prom or Homecoming Queen, and this is something to discuss in my therapy sessions: all my rage and jealousy and whatnot.

I managed to participate in a variety of things -- but I did so with varying levels of confidence -- and I managed to make friends -- but to this day have not, since the 8th grade, felt as if I've been part of a friend group -- and, boyfriend, wait, what? What's a boyfriend?

Would you like to know the age I was when I had my first, tried and true, real boyfriend? 25.

Maybe my libido isn't as raging as certain others. Maybe that's why I'm a virgin.

I mean I'm a human. I have desire. I have a body. I'm not dead inside.

But I just have to say that very few things in my life have followed a conventional or chronological pattern ("pattern" isn't even an appropriate word to use, as it is so far from the norm in my life). During adolescence, while my classmates were playing Spin the Bottle and Seven Minutes in Heaven, I certainly wasn't making out with handfuls of boys and meanwhile trying to talk my hormones off some "let's have sex now" cliff, reminding my body that I was a "good girl" who wasn't going to have sex until I was married.

Guys weren't asking me out, and I was spending a lot of my time just trying not to feel self conscious. Ironically I was a pretty self confident person, but that's a whole other ball of wax that we can tear apart some other time.

Some boys confessed to having crushes on me, but beyond that I don't recall (unless I totally missed it) anyone leaning in for a kiss. I believe the first time that happened was when I was 22. Not only out of high school but, by then, out of college.

I took my brother to a high school dance, for crying out loud. I just reached a point in my senior year of high school where I thought, "It's my last year of school, I love to dance, and I want to go to a school dance!" I was tired of missing out; in fact sometimes I think that was the framework that I placed my life in -- thinking I was situated in a manner to perpetually miss out. My brother Patrick was coming home from college for his spring break, so I took him to the dance. We actually had a fun time, and used the slow songs as time to take breaks to visit the refreshment table -- efficient.

This is not me asking for pity, this is just the reality of what my life was. I'm grateful that I was able to make the best of things; instead of skipping the dance, I found a way to go. But I skipped a lot of dances as a freshman and sophomore; it took me several years of missing out before I learned to dig my heels in and realize that I better make things happen or things weren't going to happen. Since then I like to think I've only become better at practicing that mentality. But I still struggle in feeling like I am outside of others' groups, and am only allowed in with an obvious invite -- possibly the same reason why I rarely date. Without a clearly worded, "Bailey I like you, I want to be your boyfriend," from a man, I will probably assume the guy just likes to watch football with me. If he tells me I'm pretty that helps, too; then again I just like to hear that someone thinks I'm pretty.**

**This can be dangerous, for women of all ages. Again, another conversation. Maybe for Part Two.

Anyway. I'm getting off track here.

So I went to college, and while making friends was a snap because I was so disgustingly used to introducing myself to strangers, maybe I just carried my head too high (after years of becoming "too" strong and growing up too fast) and the guys in the dorms found that intimidating?

Friends, I don't know. But I haven't walked through life this far just thinking, "Seeeeeeexxxxxxx. When am I going to have sex?!"

I suppose I've just had in my head for so long an answer to that question that goes something like: "Well, Bailey, you'll have sex when you're married. Meanwhile focus on finding someone who you really like who you wouldn't mind having sex with for years to come."

(OK the thinking hasn't gone quite like that. Generally I walk through each day thinking about what I'm doing at work and the book I'm reading and the next time I'll be hanging out with a friend and what I can blog about and my current crush(es) and....)

So in sum, we are all very unique creatures with very unique, specific lives of our own, and so our own sex and virginity stories are all going to be very different. Thank you for reading to the bottom of this post, if you did. I hope that this sheds light on some of my thinking on the subject. And again, I can only speak for myself.

I am happy to continue this conversation. There is plenty more I can say about all this. I really consider this a scratching of the surface. So if you want more thoughts on the matter, clarification, etc., let me know. I am aware that there is a gross number of topics related to this overarching topic that I didn't touch upon here. Trust me, I've probably thought about most of the things you might be thinking I missed here.

And finally, I will close this with this bit of information: Boys, if you're interested in dating me, that's fine, and we can make out with each other plenty, but we're not doing the deed until there's a ring on my finger...and on yours. ;)

Over and out,
The Virgin

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

X's on canvas

I am not the only one who makes fun of my cross stitch habit.

People at work do it all the time. I often prompt it, but they readily join in for a turn to rib Grams and the reason she's pushing 30 with no bling on her finger.

A coworker who I love to pieces recently asked me if I have a sewing machine, and not expecting me to actually say yes, got very excited/concerned when I did say yes and told me I was really Sally Homemaker.

Anyone who knew me from the years 1997 through, oh, last year, are likely reading this with a degree of skepticism, since during that time period I wore sweatpants and belched and flexed my muscles whenever given the opportunity.

I still do the final thing on that list, and to all you reading with skepticism, I think that's fine. In fact I'd be worried if you weren't.

So yes. I'm becoming (another friend recently said, "Becoming?") a very domestic lady in recent times. It's a little weird, a little alarming, a little head scratching, and a little great.

While still a slob, a beer drinker, an obnoxious fan at football games -- don't worry, not everything has changed -- I find myself sprinkling baking soda on the carpet, baking muffins, offering bandages to men with cuts on their fingers.

And cross stitching.

I'm not sure why the sudden rush of domesticity in my life (I have theories, but I will keep them to myself for the moment), but I am sure of the why behind the cross stitch obsession:

Because I love it.

My grandma works on a lot of jigsaw puzzles. So do I, and at least one of my brothers does, so this works out nicely when we pay her a visit. We all refill cups of Folgers, melt Hersheys bars in our mouths, and work on a puzzle before us.

Grandma (who loves puzzles) will generally say, at least once per puzzle-assembly session, "This is silly. It's like making a quilt. You cut something into pieces and then put it back together."

She pauses as she says this, but does not take her eyes off the puzzle nor set the puzzle piece in her hand down.

It has occurred to me that cross stitching is one of the slowest ways to put color on canvas.

I don't know how much you know about the craft, but it requires (usually) a specific fabric called Aida fabric, which has strings of thread pulled very tightly in order to create a sort of grid. It's like fabric graph paper, and each corner of a square is a hole, a hole in which a needle can fit through.

[Blah blah blah more details] about how the craft is done, but essentially you cover each teeny weeny square with a diagonal stitch across two corners with some thread, and then add another diagonal stitch across the other corners in order to create an "X," or a cross.

Hence the name cross stitch.

I'm not kidding when I say these squares are teeny weeny. I'm amazed I am yet to get a corrective lens prescription, and I am already pricing out eye exams at Costco, because my brow is rather furrowed these days.

So, because the squares are teeny weeny, and because one makes several teeny weeny stitches over and over and over, when you step back a ways from the canvas, eventually you start to see a picture. Each white square is almost completely covered by colorful thread, and like a series of dots of ink or muddled Van Gogh brush strokes, it -- slowly, slowly -- forms a picture.

Honestly this activity is probably something the pilgrims did to pass the winter evenings. But some of us freaks find this thrilling in 2014.

The same friend who smirked when I tried to pretend I am only becoming domestic has admired my patience and talent for this craft. I told him I'm not sure it's a talent, as it's more of a craft than an art (and I use patterns, so for me the creativity really isn't in it).

And he's not the first to mention the patience. But to me it doesn't take patience. It really is a labor of love. Which is why I've stitched so many bibs for babes. Babes who may not even wear my gifts, if their mothers are afraid to dirty my work, or frankly maybe just don't care to use the bib. But I make them anyway.

The quick reasons why I like love stitching so much are:

1) I can't explain why
2) I love color
3) I love math

I -- and I mean this -- love looking at the busy color-coded graphs that come with each project and translating each square on the graph to each square on the cloth, figuring out exactly where each "X" is to land, in order to uphold the integrity of the whole, final image.

It takes me hours (days, weeks, for some, total) to finish each project. But I only look to the clock in a reluctant manner, when I decide I need to quit for the evening to rest up for the evening. And then I literally sit at my desk the next day and think about stitching.

Stitching stitching stitching.

As a person with (maybe undiagnosed) ADD, anxiety, restlessness, and a well-documented history of tomboyism, it surprises even me why this absorbs me so.

I am luckily on some psychotropic meds right now that have me feeling less anxious and less depressed and the most regulated I have felt in years, praise God above, but before I was on such a successful cocktail, I found that one of the only things that distracted me almost fully during a bout of anxious fear or sadness was this stitching.

Stitching stitching stitching.

(And for those of you worried that a drug may take away your edge or your artistic bent, well let me just say my obsession for stitching has not wavered).

I recall one time, on the phone with Dad in tears, he asked me what I was going to do after I got off the phone. Sniffling, I said I was going to stitch. I could hear his smile through the phone as he replied, "Mm hmm." He knew the power of the stitch.

I was Skyping recently with my brother Patrick and his family and, being silly, I grabbed my nearby embroidery hoop and placed it in front of my face, as a frame around it.

I quickly laid it down, out of sight, but my niece, being an unflappably curious 4-year-old, asked, "What was that, Auntie Bailey?"

I then conducted a mini-education session with my family about how the hoop pulls an otherwise-floppy, oversized piece of fabric tight, making it easier to hold and to stitch upon.

The lesson may have been lost on my niece, but one thing I have learned from stitching is that tension holds a purpose.

I hate tension, I'll be honest. (In my life; it's all right in cross stitch). It hurts, it makes me cry, it helps me realize again the coward in me who can't confront anyone, even when I am in the right and in addition have every right to address this person who is clearly wrong, or who has hurt me, or is hurting me.

Or to just tell a boy that I like -- or don't like -- him. Still haven't figured that one out yet. But I promise to ruminate on it while I stitch.

I have had too much tension in my life. We all have.

But in stitching, at least, it helps.* It keeps my hand from getting cramped, which allows me to stitch longer. It makes the picture clearer, not wrinkled or crumpled.

And it focuses in on a piece of a larger picture. Right now my hoop is fastened around Minnie Mouse's face. She has no eyes or mouth yet (because I noticed she looked like a zombie without them and thus kept them that way in order to take a picture and post to social media), but she will.

Next to Minnie's face is the very, very beginning of Daisy Duck's sleeve. (Stitched in DMC floss thread color No. 210, lavender). You wouldn't know it's her sleeve, unless I told you or you looked at the graph or the picture of the finished product that came with the project kit.

But it will be her sleeve.

How do you finish a jigsaw puzzle? You look at the box cover, with the final picture on it.

Sometimes you don't need the box. Sometimes you get into a groove and you know right where you're going, piecing together that section of yellow, or blue, or lavender.

My grandmother (who was too nervous to watch her beloved Royals in the World Series tonight, as they were losing) says that jigsaw puzzles are silly.

She says this every time she works on one.

But she never wavers in her commitment to the puzzle. Because she knows that moments later, the edges of that piece in her hand will rub against the cardboard corners of another, and she will be spurred on to seek another piece and find it a home on the table.

Anxious or no, scared or no, baby-will-actually-wear-the-bib-I-am-stitching-for-it or no, I imagine this habit of mine is not soon to die. Because I love that groove. That stitching of black thread to make the ear of a mouse, a mouse who first animated screens years ago, and still turns heads at Disneyland, tourists running to get a picture with the famous Minnie.

Thanks to this gift of a hobby, I have been privileged to stitch eyes on a zebra, snow upon a bicycle seat, the name of my nephew.

I love it. And I'm grateful for it.

With the future unflappably curious 4-year-old (circa less than one year old), modeling her bib
 
*And apparently in other situations, too.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Blog now, blog a week ago

Well a week ago I was blogging from a Chicago kitchen, eating turkey sausage, not doing work.

Now I'm on a futon mattress in California, and I just polished off a yogurt with mini M&Ms stirred in.

I'm always befuddled at how many mini M&Ms make their way into each bite. It always seems to me there is a limited amount of mini M&Ms apportioned in the lid-holder section, but I often have more than one mini M&M in each bite of the yogurt.

This truly fascinates me.

I guess now I'm not doing work, but I've spent a portion of my weekend doing a freelance assignment, and I have a pretty good draft going now so I'm taking a break before bedtime.

Bedtime will probably translate to underlying worry-amidst-confidence about the current draft, thus causing me to quit trying to sleep and:

a) worry
b) watch "Felicity"
c) read
d) work on draft

The cat has diarrhea. I prefer to think he's having sympathy stress. That's easier than thinking how sad I am for him, and that I am stressed I have to miss work in the morning and take him to the doc.

And easier than worrying about his health (we were at the doc for a tapeworm -- HIS, not mine) two weeks ago; I don't like that we're going back so soon. I mentioned death of the cat today, and my friend mentioned that was perhaps a little dramatic.

I am planning to vigorously remove things from my calendar for the next few months. Also to be my own personal planner bouncer in keeping things from making their way onto the calendar.

I'm just thinking about the stress I felt today and the stress I felt in November last year and I just don't want to revisit that! It's time I learn my lesson and actually act upon it.

Also, did you know it's $52 to see Tegan and Sara in LA on November 18?

True story.

Considering it. I know, that's another thing on the calendar -- Planner Bouncer! You're needed! -- but. But. It's funnnn.

OK time to stress/try to sleep/remember why I'm glad college is over for me.

Xo

Friday, October 17, 2014

Life after vacation

Life after vacation...

Well. It's kind of brutal.

In theory I think I'm OK with going to the office.

But.

Tired.

Then I go home and

after smooching all over the cat

I sit.

This is almost like a poem.

If I weren't so tired I might consider actually writing this post as a poem.

But.

Tired.

Diet Coke and coffee and tea are more flavors for the tongue rather than actual keep-Bailey-alert tools right now.

Because.

Tired.

I've been reading on my lunch break -- which I used to do all the time but for several years now have reserved reading for bedtime -- which is nice, but then -- because I'm used to all the bedtime reading -- I realize I'm sleepy. (Pavlovian).

And then (because I read in my car) I put my seat back and close the eyes for a bit.

And then I go back in to the office in search of Diet Coke.

In other news I drank regular Coke for years and years and years and now I drink Diet. Or Cozo (my nickname for Coke Zero).

Weird.

But.

Reality.

I'm glad it won't snow here anytime soon.

I'm glad I can walk laps around my office because there's so much sun and warmth here.

And the walking makes me feel awake and alert until I come back inside.

Because.

Old.

And tired.

I need to start exercising, and start eating food with vitamins.

Seriously is all this journal dumping masquerading as blog posts bothering any of you?

I will start exercising and eating broccoli and being vigilant about not adding things to my calendar, and hopefully the prose will improve here,

however

you must understand that we have entered October/November/December in which Bailey always finds herself overbooked and overwhelmed and cranky and tired.

And sometimes almost in tears at the prospect of being at work with friendly coworkers on a Friday.

I mean, Friday. Friendly coworkers. Friday.

No tears should need to happen.

And they haven't, yet.

The other most recent time I (almost) cried was when I was telling my sister-in-law at brunch last weekend about that part in the 1994 version of Miracle on 34th Street when Santa sings 'Jingle Bells' in sign language with a girl who is deaf.

Because.

Santa.

Sign language.

SO SWEET.

Tears = allowed and totally appropriate.

OK time to stop boring you and go in search of D. Coke or coffee. It's that time.

Because.

Well, you know.