Friday, May 30, 2014

I have issues

At certain points while I was exercising tonight, there were males on either the elliptical or treadmill to my...rear.

Which got me thinking, "Well they have a nice show to watch" (regarding my rear being in their view and me having no way to really know if they were looking at it, because I wasn't really going to turn around and check on them. My eyes were forward, what was I going to do about it?*).

Which then reminded me that I have issues, for thinking such thoughts, and ruminating on them.

Then. Then, I thought about not one but two lines from Disney films that involve a character talking about looking at another character's derriere.

Then I thought about how strange and perhaps inappropriate it is that from two Disney films -- clean, precious Disney films -- I was able to pull these quotes. Not strange and inappropriate on my part, but on the company's part.

OK fine, maybe additionally on my part.

Then I thought about going to Facebook and posting some sort of poll for my friends to see if any of them could name two lines from Disney films regarding looking at another's backside.

[Hint: If you're secretly playing along, I just gave you a big clue by using the word "backside" there.]

I thought about how I would conclude this Facebook poll/game post by writing something like, "If you know these two lines, we might be more connected/better friends than I thought."

Something along those lines.

This is what I do continually, by the way, throughout every day. Think about things to post to social media. If social media is not immediately present ("How is that possible?" you're asking. Flip phone owner, right here.), then maybe one in every 20 ideas experiences an actual life in social media by the time I am able to reach a computer. The same is true for ideas I have for things to write about. Ideas happen regularly, writing about them, not as regularly.

Is anyone keeping a tally of how many issues I have accumulated here? Probably best if you're not, as I have already shaken my head at them while on an elliptical machine thinking about Disney quotes and the people behind me and the "show" that they were [probably not] watching.

So, I will conclude here with: a) the recap of our summary point here, which is that I have issues, in that I think inappropriately about people in the workout room and their perception of me, and I think about social media way too much.

The fact that I can quote several lines from several Disney movies (and may have, in an entirely unrelated phone conversation tonight, sang part of "Part of Your World" to a friend) is not an issue. That's simply a talent and a handy resource.

I will also conclude with b) the reveal of what these two lines are that I know several of you are waiting to hear.

I stand by my previous comment that if you already know what these two lines are, then we are quite connected on a very special level in life. And we should probably be going to Disneyland together.

So, without further babbly ado, I give you:

Line #1: When Sassy says of Chance in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, "Guess I'm gonna have to stare at your butt the whole way."

Shadow, giddy with the recent reunion with their previously-thought-dead cat companion, laughs jovially at her clever quip. He is so happy to have his sassy Sassy back after her getaway in that cabin with that nice man who gave her goat's milk.

Line #2: A woman at the market in Cool Runnings says, as Olympic-bound Derice runs past her in his shorty short Olympic shorts, with delicious Jamaican resonance, "I could watch that backside all day."

The woman and her friend laugh together, gleeful like girls, holding baskets atop their heads.

What is perhaps most ironic (?) about this story is that the entire time I was working out tonight, I really wanted to watch the Disney channel, but because I never got a moment alone (the workout room was hopping tonight! Friday night, Y'all!) to boldly turn on the TV to whatever channel I wanted, I worked out in silence. Except of course, for my Disney thoughts, which kept me company and followed me back to my apartment which offered an availability of social media.

Ah, the blank canvas of social media. How many of my issues have I shared with the world...

*One of my college friends -- who will remain unidentified in this forum -- once said of the fact that boys living in the dorm across from ours could see her changing if she didn't bother to close her curtains, "Well I hope they enjoy the show." She and I still keep in contact.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

No, Drill Sergeant! Busy sleeping!

Is it the extra hours of daylight that is making it so hard for all of us to get out of bed these days?

I say all of us because you will not leave me alone in this.

Also I have talked to several people who seem to also be struggling to get out of bed these days.

But really, isn't there something to the idea that with more daylight, that lasts later into the evening hours, our brains think that we can stay up for more hours in the day, thus we need more recovery time during our sleeping hours, yet our places of employment still require us to be at work at the same time as usual, so in essence we're getting less sleep than usual?

This theory holds some water, yes?

And it's probably not that original and if I google it I may stumble upon something like it and realize I'm not that original?

[Also, did what I explained up there make any sense?]

In any case, I think that at this point, the only thing that might motivate me to GET. UP! is some drill sergeant workout buddy who would make me get up in the morning. By yelling.

Otherwise, I'm out of ideas. I mean I've had ideas -- get up early and do yoga, take a shower, clean, pray, just simply sit and be awake but at least be up earlier than I'm getting up -- but there is no actual execution of any of these ideas in the early a.m. hours as of late.

I even prepped the coffee pot on Monday night so that it would be ready Tuesday morning, to coax me away from the futon even 15 minutes earlier than normal. (Yes, I'm freshly 29 and sleep on a futon. Move on from it.)

It should be noted that I do night-before coffee pot prep approximately twice a year. Maybe.

This week's evening coffee prep did not get me out of bed early. I knew all I had to do was plug it in (because when it's plugged in the blue light is annoying in the dark of my apartment during sleepy time, and I live in a studio so I almost-but-not-quite sleep in my kitchen) and push a button (because even though it supposedly has programmable settings to begin brewing at a scheduled time, it doesn't cooperate with me in this department of function), but I think I was so out of it Tuesday morning that by the time I actually realized/remembered the ease of this task it was already my standard roll out of bed time, so I missed the occasion I had set up for myself.

So anyway, basically, I think that either a very angry or very peppy but regardless very persistent and noisy workout coach by my bedside is about my only hope for a non-pathetic wake up time these days.

Because for crying out loud the situation is pathetic.

Friday, May 23, 2014

29 things I've learned in 29 years

Here 'tis! 29 things I've learned about life, faith, and myself in 29 years. I feel like last year's list was not quite so heavy on the lessons about moi, so it's possible I've become even more self-involved in my 29th year...?

Happy May 23rd, y'all! Let's get started!:

1. The "Alt + Tab" surfing function on a PC is probably one of the top 10 best computer tricks ever shown to me. Sometimes my left index finger aches, and I wonder if it is because of that daily, repetitive reach over to the Tab key.

2. Having a beverage -- caffeinated, fermented, or otherwise -- with a friend is one of my simplest and most satisfying pleasures in life. I am almost always up for it, and doubt that I will tire of it before I leave this life.

3. No amount of extra noise is going to stop you from thinking or feeling the things inside you.

I have just recently begun to be able to sit quietly, and I am amazed and grateful that it is in fact calming to me.

4. I am still too much of a wuss to utter the words "I have a crush on you/I like you" or "Let's just be friends." This might be [beyond] pathetic at 29 years of age, but there you have it.

5. It is really not worth it to worry so much about that outfit you are putting on.

I find that compliments most often come when I'm not looking for them, people laugh when I'm not trying to be funny, and that extra praise in my direction can be shortcoming when I put a lot of thought into something that is done with the hope of receiving superficial, fleeting attention. Appearance is fleeting in all its forms -- decor, style, youth, etc.

Also, mismatching, I have decided, is kind of my thing. People expect it, and I think they love it. Coworkers, pals -- they can never quite expect which cardigan-dress-sock-shoe-earring mash up they're going to encounter with me on any given day. And I think they find some comfort in the fact that they can always count on me to not really give enough of a care about wardrobe.

6. On the above note, Ladies: (straight) guys find us attractive no matter what. This really is something I have learned and come to firmly believe in 29 years. Sure, boys enjoy the way lip gloss makes our lips shine. They don't mind heels and a slinky dress. But I really, really think that if we are bald, wearing sweats, weighing whatever we weigh, having whatever hair color we have, blah blah blah -- they still find us attractive. I think it's just natural.

I think of course each guy has his own cup of tea (that's the cool part about chemistry and love, is that we're not all perfect for each other, otherwise this place would be an even madder madhouse), but if a guy is attracted to women generally, you can probably do yourself a favor by trusting that more men than you think are indeed checking you out. And there are certain people on this planet, whether you believe it or not, who are going to -- and probably already do -- find both your specific looks and personality irresistible.

I'm serious. I believe this.

7. Comparing yourself to others is exhausting, mostly fruitless, and might kill me if I can't learn to curb it.

8. Spotting a roach in your apartment kind of makes you feel like a failure.

9. You are entitled to your emotions. If pop music makes you ridiculously happy, then it is happiness in your book. Done. If something breaks your heart, you don't have to explain why in order to verify it. You are allowed to feel grief for something that may not seem like a loss to another.

10. I still haven't decided if I'd prefer the next guy in my life to be The Guy or if I'd like to make up for lost kissing time and smooch on a handful more before I make a commitment.

11. It breaks my heart when I see beautiful women doubting their beauty and giving their energy reserves to calorie counting and obsessive exercise or any form of destructive treatment of their bodies, minds, and hearts.

I am grateful to possess what may seem a naturally positive body image, though I know nurture was involved. I largely credit my parents for this, by feeding me balanced meals yet not treating junk food as poison, and being explicit in letting me know they think I'm cute, while complimenting my character for balance.

I also generally don't mind eating tasty food with people I love -- and the tomato bisque at Jimmy's is so good I cannot hold a conversation while eating it.

And feeding each other and eating together is an ancient form of community, and it makes complete sense to me how it has stood the test of time.

All that said, very often I still view eating as a chore. It can be depressing to eat alone, I get tired of all the preparation, I fantasize about sending someone to the grocery store for me, and I find it annoying that my body nags at me several times a day to eat. yet. again. "Didn't we just do this???" is my thought much of the time.

12. Friendships can be restarted after several years of lying dormant, and this is fantastic. Try and remember this the next time you have to say goodbye.

13. If you put your sunscreen on while naked, you'll be less likely to miss spots, and, Bonus: you can quit worrying about smearing it on your clothes.

14. Laundry is maybe the best chore. You put dirty clothes in a machine, you walk away, you put wet clothes in another machine, you walk away, and then you can wear whatever you want and it all smells great. I don't understand why people hate doing it.

15. Joking about rape or suicide is always stupid because a)neither thing is funny and b)you never know who your audience is.

16. I am really not shy, and can chat it up with a stranger about any topic, but if you're an attractive male and I like you, I will be nervous and have a hard time looking at you.

I think I've lost some of you over the years because my inhibition was mistaken for lack of interest.

17. I am a (highly) sensitive individual. I also continue to be astounded by the reserves of strength that are inside us humans. I don't doubt that you reading this are built similarly -- strong and sensitive, sometimes beyond belief in both respects.

18. Routine is super helpful and important, and probably hardest to follow when unemployed and/or severely anxious or depressed. It is also extra super helpful and important in those contexts.

19. A man who puts on a zip-up hoodie becomes instantly adorable to me. It is one of the strangest and best surprises of fashion life.

20. Talking to strangers is one of the greatest highs I can experience. I. Love. It. (I am especially hyper and ready to initiate bonding with unsuspecting new friends in the wee hours prior to organized athletic events).

21. When I can cry with someone, it opens up a whole world of freedom.

22. I am believing more and more that prayer is less about piety and more about just opening up your mouth and directing your thoughts upward.

Start where you are. If we wait to be "worthy" of prayer, we'll never enter a dialogue that has the capacity for life-altering healing.

23. Being single at my age can be either crippling or liberating, depending on the moment. It sucks that the disparity has to exist.

24. It is a gift if, as a single person, you can keep relationships with friends who marry before you open and continuous.

That said, as more and more of your friends get married, and the singles among you continue to grow strong in your singleness together, those are some of the strongest bonds I have ever known and I cherish them.

These single people also make great travel buddies, and it is super fun to experience the community of crashing on each other's couches.

25. For as much as I think I couldn't possibly connect with married people because they're married and don't get me and my current state in life (especially if they married young), when I stop and look around I realize that I am super close with several married people. They are precious gifts all their own, and I'm grateful to have them in my present and to know I'll have them in my future to guide me through marriage (if and when I get there).

26. Fun, kind, funny coworkers can make all the difference in a job. And fun, kind, funny people make life in general a lot more livable.

27. It's really hard not to write your own imagined version of what others think of you, think of your relationships with them, think of your work ethic, etc. It's also really hard to convince yourself that this imagined version may be just that: only imagined.

It's also really hard to bring it up to people and ask them what they really think.

But I'm beginning to think that it's way harder to keep on believing your imagined version of a situation than it is to ask someone else to give you their take and in so doing let him or her possibly dispel the imagined version you're telling yourself.

28. Pride isn't just swallowed, it also has to digest.

29. And finally, in conclusion: Even though it scares the SH*T out of me sometimes when depression creeps back up in me AGAIN, I know that I am so, so, so, so, SO blessed to have friends who continue to listen to me -- and who maybe even see the task as a privilege -- and who cheer for me to feel good, and to succeed in both my dreams and in everyday, ordinary life.

Much love, my readers. Thanks for stopping by. Xo

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I hope I see him tomorrow

Yesterday when I got home from work, I emerged from the staircase out of the parking garage and saw a cat. 

Naturally I went over to it, and naturally, after I knelt down, the cat came over to see me. 

Cats learn quickly to love me, because they quickly learn that I love them.

I was petting Cat, and I heard someone say, "Hey, that's my cat!"

Not mad, as if to say, "Hands off my cat, Woman!"

Just matter of fact: "Hey. That's my cat." Like, "Dude, where's my car?"

I turned toward the voice and saw a dude on a 3rd floor balcony with his hand in the air for me to notice him. He asked me if I could bring the cat over near his building, and that someone was coming downstairs to get the cat. 

I told him sure, and asked if the cat would let me pick it up. He said sure, so I gladly picked up Cat. 

Naturally, Cat was purring. Cat had already nudged me and talked to me. 

I walked over with my new pal, where sure enough a second dude came to get the nugget tucked in my elbow. 

I am swooning just remembering this. 

I complimented the dude on the beautiful animal, and he thanked me with a smile. I suddenly realized -- with a mix of horror and personal reminder that cats are pretty bad ass and can fall from certain heights and land on four feet -- that the cat had to somehow get from 3rd Floor to Ground Level, and asked second dude if he thought the cat had fallen. 

"No," he said, "He gets up on the roof and then..." and then mumbled some words while gesturing that the cat goes where he pleases, because as previously mentioned, cats are pretty bad ass, not to mention athletic, slinky, and the BEST pets around. 


Today I emerged from the stairwell after work and once again saw Cat, who had once again escaped, to ground floor, I presume to see me. 

It was like Groundhog Day except it was Cat Day, which has to be an upgrade, even if neither Bill Murray nor sweet vermouth, rocks with a twist are involved. 

There was more kneeling and nudging and then, 

we had a drop and flop. 

This is a term that is often used in the Brewer household, and it refers to when a cat in the household does the following:

The receiver of a drop and flop at least metaphorically, if not literally, usually throws hands to one's chest in excited affection, accepting that the fuzzy feline has said that yes, you may look upon and [maybe] pet my belly. 

A drop and flop, if I'm not mistaken, communicates extreme love on the part of the cat for the cat's human. 

Another three-syllable title for this irresistible action is "belly up."

So I assume, based on today's sweet second meeting, that this cat who hangs by the pool and has welcomed me home yet again, is mine by default? 

I mean, he seems taken with me, is all I'm saying. I've been told that if a man really wants to be with you, he will go out of his way to make it happen. 

And after meeting this gal by the pool yesterday and then being returned to his homeland, Cat traveled back to ground level, via the roof. And if that isn't going out of one's way to see a cat-loving girl, I don't know what is. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

House guest

Last month my friend Tommy was in town for work. (I love it when he's in town for work. We crack each other up, and it's great to have friends who fall under that category).

I had him over for Thai food and beer and a viewing of a documentary about Everybody Loves Raymond, because that's our idea of a good time

-- and a good time it was --

and during his visit I mentioned I had Girl Scout cookies in the freezer. Because while I rarely have people over and I have to tear my place apart to make it decent looking before anyone does come over, I am an awesome hostess in regards to things like having Girl Scout cookies in my freezer.

Admit it, you want to come over right now and watch a Raymond video and eat some Thin Mints.

Before I gave Thomas any cookies, however, I gave him the OCD: Official Cookie Disclaimer.

"So here's the thing. I left the cookies in my car, and they melted, and then I put them in my freezer, and then they all kind of froze together in these chunks, and --"

"So they're giant Girl Scout cookies?"

I held my applause for his genius and abstract thinking and said only this (or something only mildly different): "Hashtag nailed it."

We like to speak in hashtags.

"Hashtag salad face" is our current fave. But it's honestly probably only funny to us (let's be honest, unless he's spread this around, or I have and I've forgotten, I'm not sure anyone else even knows about this secret code had-to-be-there hashtag), so I'm not going to tell you about it unless you ask.

Although knowing my tendency to just tell stories whenever and wherever I want, my previous statement is not a promise.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Kraft, my love

Time to write. Time to write. Time to write.

Sooo, how's everyone doing today? Happy Caturday, y'all. Here's the pic I just shared to Google+ to celebrate this once-a-week occasion:

That's BooBoo and Yogi, my parents' little nuggets (and my precious Dibbs' current roommates), when they were little bambinos. 

Yogi is humongous now (very long and heavy; he's kind of like a miniature jungle cat, really), Boo still petite but a little chunkier around the middle. 

I also just discovered the following gem while checking the weather on It's a collection of pictures of an abandoned amusement park in Germany. This location might legitimately be added to my bucket list, because it would be fantastic to see this in person. Though the photographer, Athanasios Gioumpasis, did a wonderful job capturing the place and, I assume, its essence. So you enjoy that and then come on back here to do a little more reading:

OK, so thank you for coming back. I still haven't decided what I'm going to write about today. 

OK, fine, let's talk about mac & cheese. 

Kraft, of course. 


If I had to predict, I would say I've consumed...a lot of boxes in my lifetime. I want to say upwards of 300, but then that sounds too big a number yet at the very same time too small a number. This is tough. It's a good thing I'm not paid to make predictions for a living. 

Oh wow, I just had a flash where I imagined myself as an insurance underwriter -- I would be terrible at that job! When people ask me that age old question of, "What's the worst thing that could happen?" I don't give them an honest answer, because my mind will go there to the worst scenario, and I'm not sure whoever is asking me the question can handle it, nor is it helpful to his or her question-asking exercise or providing him or her with his or her desired response, which is something far less dramatic and doom-filled. 

Anyway. Predicting: not my forte. When asked to do so, I either think of really horrible situations or agonize over just how many boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese I've consumed in my lifetime. 

My most recent box was Sunday. I cried while I ate it, making it difficult to swallow. I was so overwhelmed with being chronically tired that I felt to some degree like the world was ending. I was having trouble seeing hope and a future for myself. I then crawled in bed and (I think) took something of a nap (I rarely nap, but enough time passed while I was lying down that I think I must have been unconscious for some of that time). I woke up feeling better, less helpless and hopeless.

Sunday's box was of the spiral noodle variety. I like the extra texture.

My journey with mac & cheese of course began as a child, when my parents made it for us, usually as a side dish to other things. Sometimes they added "little smokies," which me and the brothers enjoyed immensely. 

I recall going to a friend's home in my youth and being served what I felt (and still feel) was the lesser version of this dish and that is macaroni and cheese with hot dogs in it. 

More than likely I was still uber pleased at the fact that macaroni and cheese was before me. 

I sometimes think of my adolescent years -- from approximately fourth grade, when I was first allowed to steer the stove, through about, well, today -- as having a box of mac & cheese present once a week. (Here in 2014 I'd say I average about one box every two or three months, but through middle school and much of high school I fairly routinely had mac & cheese each week). Almost always on Saturday, the one day a week when the Brewer children were not necessarily on our own for lunch, because our parents would have fed us if we asked, I'm sure, but perhaps allowed to be on our own for lunch.

I don't remember what the brothers ate, honestly. Unless I was babysitting Riley, in which case he was eating the same thing I was eating. 

And you can guess what Bailey Kathleen made every Saturday. Mac & cheese.

Until sometime around college, I still measured the milk and butter according to box instructions. At the time, it was a quarter cup of milk and a quarter cup of butter (half of a standard stick), if I recall. Now the Healthy Police have gotten a hold of us and altered the recipe. 

I used to cut off half a stick of butter and drop it in the pot, and stir it around as it melted. It always looked like a bar of soap to me, dwindling down as it would in a shower but at a much faster rate.

I see my friend Corie and her husband Cyle only seldom these days, but about half the time I show up at their house, we have mac & cheese. It has been one of the many bonding points between me and Cyle, as in his few years my senior he too has not abandoned his affinity for the salty, fake-cheesy treat. 

Even if not on their meal radar, I can easily influence a previously planned menu at their home, by requesting a box of Kraft and then being granted my wish. 

It helps that adult Cyle makes childlike smacking sounds in echo to my plea. 

It also helps that Corie likes to eat it, too.

It also helps that they tend to have a stockpile of the stuff in their pantry (because they're grown-up married people who have a Costco membership or something. Me, I wait until Mom sends me a care package and then think, "Eureka! I don't have to go to the store, because dinner has come to me from 1,600 miles away!").

As an adult I have discovered that cooking actual, non-box foods can be rewarding and enjoyable, but for many years my kitchen abilities included dish washing, making scrambled eggs, egg sandwiches (scrambled eggs tucked into folds of toast), and mac & cheese.

Imagine my swell of pride, then, when my own mother, who can make all kinds of things with ease -- it is in fact a little jarring to catch her consulting a cookbook -- began to request that I make her Kraft mac & cheese for her. 

"You just make it so creamy," she said on that pivotal day of my life. 

Added to my ego at this moment, and feeling that I must really know my way around a saucepan, was the fact that at this point I had begun eyeballing the amount of butter and milk I added to each set of boiled noodles. 

So, clearly, I have no shame in supporting this multi-billion dollar brand. 

While reading one of my all-time favorite books, Me, Myself, and Bob by Phil Vischer, creator of VeggieTales, I came across a point in his story where he was invited to an event where some Kraft family or business members were in attendance. Vischer wrote that he thanked them for all the mac & cheese. 

I believe I wrote in the margin that I would have done the same. 

So consider this your love letter, Kraft mac & cheese. I don't have a box on hand just now, but it's only a matter of time before I'll purchase another. Maybe swirl in some tuna, some peas. Maybe get the SpongeBob SquarePants-shaped noodles for a little whimsical texture. 

We'll just have to wait and see. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Caring for my dogs

I went shoe shopping today. Not that kind of shopping -- for heels, cutesy flats with glitter and such. Got myself some new running kicks. And donated a chunk of my bank account to Fleet Feet in the process.
Plantar fasciitis, go away, NEVER COME BACK AGAIN ANY OTHER DAY. 

Wells Fargo was so alarmed by all the day's purchases

(Burger King x1 and Starbucks x2, then Fleet Feet x attempted 2)

that they put a hold on my card. 

When rejected at the F.Feet register, I stepped aside to call up the bank and see what was up. The guy who helped me over the phone, after ticking off my recent purchases for verification that I had approved of them, said, "So you're a fan of Starbucks."

"Guilty," my response [caramel macchiato in hand]. 

Once I told Mr. Bank Helper Man that yes, I do indeed have a coffee issue in my life, he told me that in about 90 seconds I could purchase my shoes, and that I did. 

Rewind a little bit: 

When I walked into the store, all of the shoe-fitter helper people appeared to be busy, so I appeared to be interested in a sports bra (read: interested in discovering how freakishly expensive it was).

In my brief glance to the shoe-fitter helper section, I made a very quick and unexplainable choice that I wanted the guy on the end of the row of fitting benches to be my helper. I don't know completely why, I just felt that I wanted him to help me find shoes. 

And seconds later, he had come to my area and greeted me. 

He was a sweet, cute, sweetie pie cutie pie. It was a double whammy. And best of all, I could look him in the eye and talk to him about my foot woes and needs, foot hopes and dreams.

(Usually when in the presence of a cute and/or kind male I have trouble looking him in the eye. For all my years in a brother-dominated household, for all my legitimate abilities to talk football and play football and not flinch in the face of burping and wrestling and whatever else boys do, and for all my male friends whom I hold near and dear, truth be told I do get very nervous in the face of attractive, kind men who I have crushes on. So when I can be calm with someone who is kind and/or attractive, it is a wonderful and beautiful thing that I don't take lightly and I breathe a nice sigh of "This is nice" when it happens.)

My shoe helper man has plantar fasciitis too. We talked about it. It was kind of like foot injury [couples] therapy. 

We talked about races we've done. We talked about ones we want to do. 

He showed me how to use one of those roller things to massage out my stiff calves. 

We planned our wedding.

All this and I don't even know his name. 

If he reads this, this is going to be pretty uncomfortable. Or the best ice breaker ever. 

I didn't even really have that big of a crush on him, like this post is making it sound that I did. I just so enjoyed his company, the ease of talking to him, our common injury, the renewed hope of walking away with shoes that were chosen for me by someone who knows shoes and knows my injury, shoes with special inserts that might help to once and for all kick this damn pain in my foot. 

Rewind again:

Shortly before I arrived at the shoe store, I realized I had done some work in that neighborhood last summer, via a temporary agency. I was so broke when I did that job, and was so grateful for just two or three days out of the house to make $11 an hour to help an office catch up on their filing. But I was so stressed out, mind always churning as a result of unemployment. It was at that time that I decided I needed sanctuary, just needed to go home and let people who love me feed me for some weeks. To be near family and old friends and cats. 

About a month later I did go home and within a week of coming back that same temporary agency found me a job which turned into my now full-time job. 

Being able to walk out of the store today with $200 of merchandise aimed at bettering my health, in an area of town that carries memories of such an opposite state of income and uncertainty in my life, put an extra bounce in my step and my spirit. 

I woke up this morning well rested -- 10 hours of hard sleep, with only one pee break that I can recall -- but shortly after I exited unconsciousness I realized my head was spinning. 

Thoughts of boys, thoughts of purpose, vain thoughts (wondering which pictures of myself could be potential #tbt items for Facebook; that's embarrassing to admit, but hey I was thinking about it), wondering why I've been feeling depressed lately, wondering what to do with myself today. 

Lately I've started sitting still, sitting quietly, when the familiar thought of "What can I do with myself right now to pend off anxiety and/or depression?" appears for the millionth time of my twenties.

This has been a revolutionary change for me, and I've been shocked and so pleased with how much being still creates stillness in me. For years, when panicked or on the verge of panic, I have done more, not less, in an effort to make myself feel better. Exercise, cross stitch, call a friend, watch a movie. Anything but sit still and just be with my thoughts. 

Sometimes all this motion has helped, but since I've started sitting still I've realized that if one wants to be still she better take Step One and get still. 

So lately, instead of doing lots of cleaning and errand running on the weekends, I've been heading to the beach. It's been great and really, truly life-changing.

A beach day was on the table of possibilities this morning, but I wasn't even sure about that, because I have so many things that need to get done, several of which will be good for me, like getting new shoes so I can stop re-injuring my foot. Yet in recent weekends I have ditched any to-do list for quiet time in the sand, so I wondered this morning which path to take. And by "wondered" I mean agonized.

I wondered if I should sit still, read the Bible, pray, call a friend, run errands, write, go to the beach. Cook at home, then get coffee, or go get coffee, then come back home and cook? I couldn't make a decision, so I prayed about being able to make one. I read the Bible passage we're supposed to discuss at this week's community group get together. 

Eventually I got out of bed, feeling funny, depression sticking itself to my backside, like Peter Pan's sewn-on shadow. 

I sunscreened myself, spent way too much time on Facebook, sent some emails, looked up directions to a Walmart with an automotive department (one of my very overdue errands is to give my car some love), to a Starbucks, and to Fleet Feet. 

I finally got in the car to go get food and coffee and to see where the car took me. 

Fleet Feet is where I landed. I felt better by the time I walked in -- food, java, sunshine, and some prayer helped with this, is my guess -- and felt good when I left. The retail therapy helped, but so did God's good grace that removed my icky gloomy feelings and that put human connection and some podiatric hope into my day and life. 

Yesterday I called my insurance company for a podiatry referral. Here's hoping for healthy feet, running days, and more direction-filled, less depression-filled days ahead. 


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Book (and movie) haul

So have you heard of these things called "haul videos"? I read about them this week in an article I found when I googled Bethany Mota, after seeing her on YouTube ads that had been popping up during my episodes of "Hot in Cleveland" and "Awkward" while I watched TV online because I have a TV but no cable.

Did you follow all that?

Apparently these haul videos are when people shop -- no wonder I didn't know what this phenomenon was -- and then show off their purchases via video.

Well I purchased a caramel macchiato and some scones today and one of the items on that two item list has already been consumed, so if I made a video for you of my Starbucks haul, um, you might be bored.

Except my friend Courtney, who thinks my videos are funny. On at least one occasion I believe I posted a video solely for her, because I thought she might be the only one interested enough to watch and actually enjoy.

Well I don't anticipate myself creating a haul video anytime soon -- although I am much more open to shopping these days and then talking about it than I was 10 years ago -- but I'm going to do the next best thing and that is a book haul blog post.

That is the next best thing, yes?

So it is hot in "the Valley" of Los Angeles, currently. I just did a little driving trip (can you guess where? If you guessed Starbucks and the library, you would be correct) and my car temp said 92, I think, around the time I got back home. (Check your calendar. It's May 3rd.)

I am currently sitting in my apartment without the air conditioner or overhead fan on. I am feeling very brave and tough in doing this, with legs that are starting to feel a little clammy due to sweatage due to the computer being on my lap and being a little warm.

Let me just say if it were 12 degrees outside and the sky were grey and it had been that way for more than two days, I would probably be depressed right now, so bring it on, sweaty computer legs. I can take it.

I don't know why I brought up the heat...

Oh, maybe because part of my joy in going to the library had to do with there being air conditioning there?

I don't remember exactly.

In any case, let's talk about what I brought home from the LA Public Library today, shall we?

#1: Because of Winn-Dixie
Author: Kate DiCamillo

I have never read this before. At least I don't remember, but I don't think so. It may go without saying that I haven't read it before, since I decided to check it out and bring it home, but some people read things twice, or even beyond that, so maybe it doesn't go without saying which is why I decided to say it.

As a crazy book-obsessed person myself, I actually rarely read things more than once. Even books that I devour and plow through and then tell all kinds of people about, hoping they'll read those books themselves. Even those books I rarely read again. I guess it's like falling hard and fast in love and then just...not doing it again. Or, doing it again but with a different book the next time.

And there isn't usually a break-up period in between books. Meaning I'm usually thrilled I read the book I fell in love with, but then don't cry a whole lot and ask my mom to bring me an americano as I continue to feel sad. I just feel happy about Book A and then sometime later read Book B and feel happy about it. No book-related sadness in between.

Now I sound like a promiscuous librarian or something.

And I haven't even told you about Because of Winn-Dixie. Well I can't tell you much, because I haven't read it. There is a dog on the cover, so I'm guessing a dog is involved in the plot. I doubt I'll read the back cover before starting in on Chapter One, because I don't like surprises to be ruined.

Read the back cover of a book and you might as well skip chapters one through four, is my humble opinion on the matter. I'd rather discover the story for myself as I read the actual book, if you don't mind.

Why did I check out this book? Because it's on a list of 100 Great Children's Books that the New York Public Library put out, that my friend Lydia pointed me to. So I'm going to read the books on the list that I haven't read yet. Winn-Dixie falls in the Venn diagram in the circle-overlap section where "on the NYPL list" and "Bailey hasn't read it, or at least doesn't remember doing so" meet.

I haven't seen that Venn diagram drawn anywhere, but it exists in my head.

#2: Deaf Child Crossing
Author: Marlee Matlin

Found this in my perusals of the child/young adult sections. Can't tell you much, because I haven't read it, nor did I read the back cover too closely minus a quote from Booklist. Not sure I've ever read a book about a character who is deaf, so this should be an interesting read.

#3: Feeling Minnesota (DVD, not a book)

Cameron Diaz and Keanu Reeves are in this, looks like a romantic comedy. I got it in case I get bored/lazy/antsy tonight. Pretty sure I had never heard of it until today. I found it because I was among the "F" movies, where I was in search of:

#4: Finding Nemo (DVD)

I have seen this before, and got it because once upon a time I was watching Pixar films and then reviewing them on YouTube and have since faltered in that pursuit. So it's time to get back on the horse, perhaps. Or in this case, maybe back on the turtle ("Grab shell!").

#5: A Good and Perfect Gift
Author: Amy Julia Becker

I actually retrieved this gem out of my mailbox on the way to my car which transported me to the library. I bought this book on Amazon after filing my taxes, when I couldn't sleep and in giddy expectation of a return coming to a bank account possessed by me (the opposite of this happened after filing my taxes in 2013, so I was excited and decided to celebrate).

I first heard about this book and author when I went to the Festival of Faith & Writing at Calvin College in 2012, which was incredible. Becker is a minister and writer who has a daughter who has Down syndrome, and this book is about that.

For those who don't know, I am a faith memoir fanatic, so I am looking forward to reading this. I already read the author's note and the eyes got a little misty. Should be good.

#6: The Horse & His Boy
Author: Clive Staples Lewis

This year I began reading the Chronicles of Narnia. I didn't know if I would like them or not, but so far I am enjoying them. I am reading in the order that puts The Magician's Nephew first, although this was at first a stressful decision because when you hit the Internet to figure out how to read these books you discover that there are THREE orders in which you can read the series (publication order, order in which the books were written, chronological story order).

I have read The Magician's Nephew, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and about half of The Horse and His Boy. I had to return Horse to the library to avoid joining the Big Fine club, and today I rechecked it out.

Also, I just watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe film this week and L-O-V-E loved it. I'm not one to usually say filmish things like this, but: the cinematography was awesome. When Lucy pulls the sheet off the wardrobe and it ripples majestically and slowly to the floor?


When Lucy backs out of the wardrobe for the first time and her hand is pricked by the pine needles and she turns around in surprise?


And I totes cried during two scenes involving Aslan. Love the Biblical allegory.

And while we're talking about C.S. Lewis and children's books, I will tell you that I'm also about 100 pages in to The Hobbit, written by Lewis' friend J.R.R. Tolkien. (I made sure my dad knew that I am reading this so that he wouldn't forget who his favorite daughter is.)

But The Hobbit is due back on Monday, so Bilbo Baggins took a little trip to the book drop this afternoon.

"Why don't you just check out one book at a time, Bailey, so you don't always have to return books midway through?"

Good question. I have no (simple) answer for you (that you would care to read at this time). (But I do have an answer to that question; it might just be faster if we talk about it over drinks, so call me. Actually that might not be faster, but maybe I can draw out some of my points on napkins?)

Over and out, Peeps. Go read a book. It'll make you smile.

Also, what are you reading? Tell me about it. Feel free to draw on a napkin if it helps.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

An art of the twenty something

Balancing an ice cube tray loaded with water while moving swiftly enough to the freezer to begin the freezing process before the freezer door closes.

You may think it's simple, people who live with a door-holder-opener-while-you-leisurely-balance-the-water-filled-slots-across-the-kitchen-floor, but it's not. At least if your freezer door is an ornery little hingersnapper (just made that up -- trademark!) that don't like to remain open for long -- then believe me, it's no easy task.

If I had an inner ear issue going on right now, the water in that tray I just loaded in the fridge-that-is-shorter-than-me-yet-not-a-mini-fridge wouldn't have made it to a frozen state. Sloshed all over the floor it would have done instead.

I have one particular ice cube tray (yes, my two ice cube trays don't match; would you expect anything less?) that I have resigned to taking a measuring cup to, because the carry across the floor task is just too much with this tray. So I pour from the measuring cup spout a lil' H2O into each well and move on with my life which in very few other ways -- aside from this measuring cup pouring task which may seem, well, focused on the minutiae of life that most of us don't own the patience for -- resembles the one which our pal Martha Stewart lives.

Except I do cross stitch. So I think she and I could probably have tea and carry a conversation for a bit. And if, post tea, she asked me to join her in a little gluing of craft sticks, I may just have to cancel all other plans (which likely consisted of watching "Awkward" and not cleaning my apartment anyway (though I still don't like to cancel such plans, if you know me)) and help her out with the gluing of some craft sticks.

Perhaps it could be at this point during our visit that I could ask her advice on transporting ice cube trays to the freezer while avoiding a spillage. Because she's probably thought about that. And she could probably teach me how to multitask and mop the floor as I do this. With some sort of Pine-Sol soaked cloth underneath my feet which I could shuffle on.

I actually just came up with that idea myself, so perhaps I have underestimated myself and could show Ms. Martha a thing or two! ["Here, watch this, M, we can watch TV AND not clean! It's really simple, here, watch me. Just sit, now...stay sitting."]

I may have been listening to/watching a lot of stand up comedy lately, and am perhaps integrating acted out hypothetical interactions into this post as a result...

However I will tell you now that if I tried to shuffle on cloths while doing the ice cube task, it would only increase the spillage factor to a very precise 100% rate of IT WILL HAPPEN.

OK I just digressed a lot there, so.....remember where we were five minutes ago and then meet me in the next paragraph when you're ready (if you're still reading):

So in sum, while getting the ice cube tray to the freezer is a difficult task (and one that I legitimately avoid), due to the ice cube tray balancing athletic prowess I possess, as a result of my twenty-something-single-something-living-alone-without-a-door-holder-opener-in-the-form-of-a-spouse-or-boyfriend-or-roommate status, ice cubes will soon (in some hours) be mine for the taking. And the melting.

[Ooh, that reminds me of this great line of a poem I came across last year that is, of all places, magneted to my shorter-than-me-yet-not-of-mini-status fridge. Here, let me share it:

"Yielding, like ice about to melt." - Tao Te Ching

Ahhhh. Breathe that in again one more time. Nice, eh? It just does something to you, doesn't it? I can't help but take a deep breath or image an ice cube in my mind or practice yielding right when I read it or think it.

As Sadie Saxton says (except never after quoting a poem), You're welcome.]