Monday, September 29, 2014

The 1,000 List, Installment #1

Good evening, Friends.

Have y'all heard of Ann Voskamp and/or her list of 1,000 everyday gifts? Admittedly, I haven't read her book (yet), but it's on my list. And I've decided to take her lead and make a list of 1,000 things that I enjoy. Because I believe in this science/phenomenon of listing things you're grateful for and feeling and experiencing the positive results in your larger daily life.

So. I'm going to give my list to you in installments of 100. And below is list #1. I hope you like it. I hope you write down things that make you happy, however small. And I hope it helps make you happy, in a big way. Hugs to you.

1. Buttons
2. Coke cans with Santa Claus on them
3. Holding hands
4. Flossing my teeth
5. Seeing someone walking a dog in the morning carrying an actual (non-travel) coffee mug
6. Drinking wine with friends
7. When a gentleman buys me a drink
8. The crunch of kiwi seeds between my teeth
9. Making friendship bracelets
10. Reading books to kids
11. Running
12. The sound of a coffee pot beginning to gurgle and drip on a Saturday morning
13. Being at a live football game -- the sounds, the air, the game, the food, the beer, the cheering, the community -- all of it
14. Sitting in a classroom, listening to lecture, and taking notes*
15. Chick flicks
16. Celebrity sightings -- always unexpected, always over as they begin, always providing a little thrill
17. Reading, reading, reading
18. Falling asleep without setting an alarm
19. Sharing a bed with a cat
20. Talking to a cat
21. Animals
22. When they let you leave the office early
23. Those unexpected situations where the power goes out, or you get lost, or a huge storm keeps you inside a superstore, during which forced bonding and community commence
24. Getting a haircut
25. An album that I can enjoy from start to finish
26. The feminine, sexy feeling I get when I wear perfume
27. Walking the Kansas City Plaza (wrapped in eight layers) to see the Christmas lights
28. The free beer at the end of a brewery tour
29. Being called by a nickname
30. Lifting weights
31. Painting my nails
32. Sitting on my patio
33. Watching "The Little Mermaid" with my niece
34. Playing with Play-Doh
35. Disneyland
36. Disney's California Adventure park
37. Coloring a picture with no regard for "appropriate" colors, but instead with the aim of using all the colors of the rainbow, so the finished product looks rather psychedelic
38. Having a beer with my parents
39. Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror or a window and seeing my mom in the reflection
40. Seeing the reactions of people who first see how much my younger brother and I look alike
41. Doing a freelance writing assignment and remembering -- when the check comes -- that I get paid for it
42. Being out to dinner with a boy, or particular friend, and knowing I don't have to even bother reaching for my wallet
43. A simple, small chain/pendant necklace
44. Putting sunscreen on my face, neck and arms in my car before work (in the parking lot at work, not while driving)
45. Vacations with my adult friends
46. Introducing family to friends
47. The fact that my cat, Max, loves people
48. The fact that Max knows who his mother is and loves her the mostest
49. Organizing papers into file boxes and binders and such within my personal life
50. Raking leaves, particularly with a group of people
51. Ditching the rest of the family with my sister-in-law Jenny to get coffee or lunch and bitch about things together
52. Skyping with my brother Patrick and his family
53. Browsing at the library
54. Picking up an item on hold at the library
55. Cross stitching
56. Baking
57. Giving baked goods to men in their 20s/30s and watching them turn into boys
58. Doing dishes
59. Alone time
60. Meeting new people
61. Watching Mizzou Tiger football games with fellow alumni at bars in LA
62. Completely air drying in the sun, after jumping into a pool or swimming in the ocean
63. Being in a car with friends, windows down, music up loud, everyone singing along
64. A bath by candlelight
65. Hotels
66. The movie theater experience -- popcorn, Junior Mints, soda, the dark, the laughs, the drama, the romance
67. Zac Efron's beautiful mug
68. Men. In. Glasses.
69. Sliced banana in vanilla yogurt with cinnamon stirred in
70. Blowing bubbles
71. The first cup of coffee at the office each morning
72. Coworkers who make me laugh
73. Hugs
74. (Sometimes) Grocery shopping
75. Buying things I don't need -- but that are so stinkin' cute -- at Target
76. Being in the same room as Nick, a long time friend. Just sitting on our computers, drinking coffee, coexisting, sometimes commenting on something or making the other watch a YouTube video.
77. Morning talk radio that has me cracking up in my car
78. Going to the lake with Corie and her fam
79. Ham and cheese Hot Pockets
80. White Christmas lights
81. Colored Christmas lights
82. A clean room, or home
83. Being with plants. The smell of soil, watching growth. Green.
84. Praying with my family
85. Being a bridesmaid
87. Writing
88. When my dad answers the phone by shouting (one of) his nickname(s) for me: "Bling Bling!"
89. Payday
90. Pancakes
91. Spaghetti
92. A cute waiter
93. The way that corpse pose feels after a yoga session
94. Going to bed early
95. Sleepovers with my niece. And pretending to be asleep when she peers over her bed railing to see if I'm awake: "Auntie Bailey???" :)
96. A home that smells like a home cooked meal in fall
97. Striking a match
98. Laughing so hard your face hurts
99. Laughing to yourself about something that happened at another time
100. Playing Dr. Mario on old school Nintendo

And finally, since we've kicked things off here with Positivity, I'd like to once again share this video that talks about thinking about good things, in this case when you're scared/anxious. EN. JOY.

*I'm not kidding. This is legitimately one of my truly happy places.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Life Update

Let's do some life updates, shall we?

Why are we doing life updates?

Well, because Bailey Kathleen wants to write, but she kind of just wants to do a little journal spew thing where she tells you about the cat and the book(s) she's reading, etc.

Sound good?



I'm going to Disneyland tomorrow! With friends Rosie, Courtney, Carlos, and Joanna. Should be a fun group.

I bought myself this blingtastic necklace, and let's just say the pendant is a little larger (like 3 times, at least) than I expected, making it quite blingtastic.

I will wear it with pride.


He is lying sweetly right now, with his head on one paw -- SO CUTE -- and kind of giving me grumpy/sad eyes that say, "Why aren't you doting on me?" but Bro, I was just over there and loved on you and you up and moved yourself, so I'm not quite sure you want my love right this second. Per your body language. Just saying. Love, Mom.


Darius Rucker is singing one of his new country tunes on my Pandora shuffle station. I love ya, Hootie, but I think we're gonna skip this track.

Excuse me. Be right back.


I am reading "Harriet the Spy" and quite enjoying it. I've laughed out loud a time or two.

Officially halfway through this list. Concluding "Harriet" will get me up to 51 of 100 books read. Holla. Harriet. Harriet holla.

However, one of the running jokes in the book is that Harriet's friend Janie is always working in her at-home lab attempting to make explosives. The book was published in the 1960s. I don't think this kind of content would fly by a publisher's eye today... I say this is both good and bad. Totally horrible that we have so much violence today -- both in general and in schools. Good, however, that literature is (hopefully) adjusting to this fact and curbing or tailoring its discussion of violence in a way that is clear and healthy for youth.


I just won a cross stitch kit I bid on on eBay. Yay! There is more to the story about the particular kit I bid on, but frankly I'm feeling too lazy to tell that entire story right now. But it involves Disney, I can tell you that.


Annnnd, just got an email update (because I don't text) that my out of town friends will be here within three hours, so I gotta get out of this bed and get to cleaning my apartment, yeeps! And cleaning myself (shower needed).

Loves to you, my readers! Have a wonderful weekend, and try and get something Disney in there, because Disney stuff is fun and great! Here's a song to kick things off for ya!*:

*Fun/weird fact. I like to put sunscreen on while listening to this song. I don't know if it's some subconscious, reminds-me-of-Africa thing, or what. But there ya have it.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Problem/Not a problem

The cat is very snuggly in the mornings. This is a problem/not a problem.

It's so refreshing and reassuring and, ahh, just lovely! when I wake up and realize he's been nestled by my head for a while already before I had even opened my eyes.

I mean, really -- how sweet? He's waiting for me in the mornings.

I understand this happens in romantic relationships (between two humans) sometimes, with someone admiring the other sleeping beauty or beast, but, um, I'm not in one of those (nor am I living inside a romantic comedy). Sooooo, I just admire my beautiful giant friendly beast and reach over to touch his soft, soft, fuzzy wuzzy self after slapping the Snooze button again.

I think he turns on his inner snuggle machine after I've hit the Snooze approximately seven or eight times. By then he starts to think, "You know what, I think she may be closer to being awake and thus available for petting and feeding." And then, really, the snuggle machine is kind of in overdrive.

I'm not complaining.

The only thing I [might] complain about is how @#&$! difficult it is to get out of bed when he's like that.

I mean.

I mean.

The snuggling, and the head butting, and the CUTENESS!!!!!


(Trick or) Treats

Since we're nearing that weird holiday where kids walk around in costumes and get free candy, and because I'm eating candy and sugared cereal and salty chips and PICKLES ON SANDWICHES!!!* right and left, I think now would be a good time to discuss Halloween candy.

*Not pregnant.

First, we must talk about the ludicrousness of it.

The fact that you get (or got, for those of us now over 4'8") heaps of it.

For free.


No really. Let's pause and reflect on that. (Continue reading when you're ready). (By the way, Jerry has reflected on this).

Second, the trading.

I don't know about y'all, but my brothers and I used to extend our Halloween festivities by turning the whole thing into a gambling operation, carried out in full public display in our living room.

With half-worn costumes -- Dorothy braids loosely assembled, PeeWee Herman jacket shed but grey pants still intact -- we would spread ourselves on the carpeted floor and first --

we would sort.

Tootsie Pops with Tootsie Pops, Starbursts with Starbursts, Kit Kats of varying sizes with Kat Kats of other varying sizes.

Four blonde (or red, or black, for the night) heads would bow over the pillages, relishing in all the greatness of the evening's hunt, maybe the stick of a sucker poking out of a mouth puckered deep in concentration.

Once sorted, the trading post would open, inevitably led by -- eye roll -- the eldest child.

For the most part there was a natural and civil order to the operation, with standard trades being Kit Kat for Snickers, Skittles for Starburst, M&Ms for Sixlets. Items equal in brightness of hue, matching in sweetness or tart (Warhead would be an acceptable trade for a Lemon Drop, for those using this guidebook at home; an Airhead might be a comparable trade for a Warhead, but it might make more sense being traded with something in the softer candied division (sometimes texture trumps flavor, don't ask me why)).

Sometimes my brothers would try to pull a fast one on me, but I either wised up quick or never fell to their prey -- I'm not sure which exactly. But anyway.

They would try to get me to trade something delicious of mine for something disgusting of theirs. Namely, what we fondly called "Orange and Black Nasties."
I believe they are a peanut butter candy of some sort, wrapped in black and orange wrappers.

OK, Google tells me they are "Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses."

Um, I like kisses, but y'all can keep these.

Anyway. The bros were always trying to trade orange and black nasties. Which, if they wanted to fool me, they should have just remarketed the product. Orange and black Deliciousies. Something like that.

And now, finally, we must discuss the smell of Halloween candy.

I remember when my brother Patrick first commented on this, whilst sticking his face inside his pillowcase (because after the age of 10 you must graduate from a candy pail to a pillowcase; sturdy, and holds at least 10 pounds of candy -- I know this from experience, and that experience is called the Halloween of 1998) full of sugared plunder and taking a giant and lasting whiff.

I followed his lead and realized all in one moment that this smell I had smelled year after year was indeed unique.

And oh so precious and special.

Don't believe me? Find some kid's bag of candies this year, and put your sniffer near it.

It has its own smell.

All that candy mixed together -- Tootsies, Snickers, suckers -- it is distinct.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Signs you may be PMS-ing

1. In morning meeting, your boss mentions popcorn and chocolate and you immediately start picking out your beverage of choice (Coke) to accompany this snack that is not before you as matter but is very much in your head now that your boss has mentioned it.

2. In same morning meeting, your boss mentions pizza and you think, "YESSS!!"

3. Immediately following lunch, you come back to your desk and start eating Chex mix.

4. While eating Chex Mix, you see the Cinnamon Toast Crunch on your desk and think, "YESSS!!"

Just a hunch, but I think there could be hormones behind this.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Announcement: Will the real Daily Bailey please stand up?

I'm sorry (not sorry), this deserves a mid-Saturday announcement.

I am THIS CLOSE to resigning my tomboy-grew up with brothers-incompetent dresser-one of the boys status.

Case in point:

My friend Abby brought me sunflowers on Thursday, when she came over to drink beer and eat pizza and play in the pool and relax in the hot tub and talk about boys with me.

Initially I put them in the tallest, sturdiest, got-it-at-the-LA-County-Fair-when-I-bought-a-giant-beer plastic cup, balancing them so their tough, thick stalks wouldn't cause the whole balancing work of art to topple.

Today. Just now. I grabbed an empty Nescafe jar (which I salvaged from the recycling in the break room at work for my crafting purposes), trimmed the sunflower stalks (with my scissors that I often use for cross stitching -- another reason to be heaped on this identity crisis, "Am I a tomboy or am I a housewife in training?" moment), and popped them in that there jar.

And then I grabbed a ribbon (which I salvaged from a cookie basket that was delivered to our HR director at work) and tied it in a bow around the jar.

And it looks damn good and homey and hipster and all that jazz.

And I am a woman who grew up with boys who wrestled in hallways and belched and smashed watermelons with baseball bats in the backyard.

WHO AM I?!?!?!?!?!

I have spent my afternoon (not morning, because I got out of bed at 12:30) doing dishes, making French press coffee, peppering thyme on my scrambled eggs, etc.

My apartment is a huge, slobby mess, so I still have that boyishness to cling to.


And I let someone in my apartment last night, so he saw the slobby mess, and I think that not hiding your slobbishness is a sign that you are a tomboy and just one of the guys, right?


.......................Deep breathhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh......................................

I'll be calculating my identity, if you need me. But first, look:

Friday, September 12, 2014

Sweet, glorious water

Once upon a time it rained in Africa.

Just the one time.

And Toto wrote a song about it.

The end.

OK, no. But once upon a time -- yes, just the one time -- I spent a semester in Africa and it rained more than the one time while I was there, but not a ton.

It was an event whenever it did.

We arrived in late August, and didn't see a cloud for many months in the desert land of Namibia during its summer season.

On Thanksgiving, my friend Liz declared loudly for the whole room to hear: "Condensation!" and held up her plastic cup with water droplets on the perimeter for all to behold. We gathered round and oohed and aahed. I'm only exaggerating a little bit; we were for sure intrigued, and indeed beheld the spectacle.

I also still remember -- among other very detailed memories I hold of seemingly small events -- when my class/travel mate Andy asked the group, shortly after our arrival on the grand continent across the sea, if their hands, like his, were extra sweaty.

"YES!!!!" I yelled across the room, because I get very over zealous about small things like shared sweaty palms sometimes....

No one else seemed to be that excited, Andy included, if I recall...In fact, he seemed to be a little regretful he asked the question upon receiving my response.

Moving on.

Here in the States (which is what you will say to refer to the U.S. once you leave this country for any length of time, FYI) we have seasons. LA pretends to have them, and I am both proud and ashamed that I am beginning to tell the subtle difference that indicates "fall" is joining us here.

Yes, it is ONE HUNDRED AND TWO degrees outside right now and I'm not saying that it is fall, but I'm saying that the light is different and so it seems a little more like fall than it did a month ago, and I feel weird about this as a Midwesterner so just leave me alone, OK?

Wow. Emotional today.

Moving on. Again.

So POINT BEING, even in places like Southern California, we still speak in seasons. "Ooh, I love winter," say the Angelenos with snowflakes embroidered on their clothes and Christmas lights in their yards. And then we head to the beach. Not to swim, but still, to the beach.

In southern Africa, they just cut to the chase, people. They keep it real. They speak more in water terms, as in: is there water present or not?

In Namibia, you have two "seasons," are you ready for them?

Dry. And wet.

That's it.

In Namibia (a desert climate), it gets so dry that water disappears from places. The riverbed doesn't just lower, its sentiment is more along the lines of, "See ya!"

I almost completely missed the "wet season" in Namibia, so I didn't see the apparent flooding that happens every year.

However, there are signs next to bridges that remain all year, that look like this:

It took me a looong time to figure out that these were indicating creek beds, or river beds, or whatever.


A) Because my hair is blonde, and while I consider myself an intelligent individual, I also know that I struggle with 2 and 2 sometimes; and B) Because there was no water underneath these bridges.

Um, hello.

Once I figured it out, I started joking with our driver, Passat (both as a way to have fun and also deflect attention from the fact that I was slow on the uptake of the fact that these were signs indicating water), that I didn't think there actually was a wet season.

"No, there is!" he would protest.

"I don't know, Man, I haven't seen any water."

That wasn't entirely true. It had rained a couple of times, including while I was at a library trying to study with my friends Stephen and Mike on Halloween. We stopped what we were doing -- or, in my case, not doing -- to look out the window and (pun) soak up the rare occurrence of weather in the region.

The time that I remember most fondly, however, was a time that it rained in Africa and in some ways it was just like the movies.

I was at home with Stephen, Samantha, Annelise, Olaf and Sarah Ann, probably.

Sammy and I were in her bedroom doing something, looking at CDs or talking about boys or -- quite possibly -- having show and tell with the items of clothing we brought with us that we were no longer, ahem, slim enough to fit into.

I'm here to personally break any stereotypes you may have of me and my friends eating bugs and dust in Africa, all the while shrinking down to tiny Zazu birds. The reality, for me and Sammy anyway, was eating lots of freshly baked bread with lots of butter and, for me anyway, looking a little plump in my next drivers' license photo.

But I digest. I mean digress.

So we were sitting there, enjoying the relatively quiet house (there were 20 of us living in a 5-ish bedroom house*, but most of our classmates were away on a vacation), chit chatting like we had been practiced at doing together for two years already (we met as freshmen and quite instantly hit it off),

when all of a sudden --


Just like in the movies. i.e., as it never actually happens in real life.

But it did.

A random clap of thunder, seemingly out of nowhere. Nothing preceding it. No sprinkle of rain (that we could hear, or noticed, anyway). No light rumblings of thunder.

Just the sharp CRACK of a whip in the sky.

And our eyes.

They popped wide open, moved to meet, and locked, in shared excitement, surprise, and "what the....?"

And then, just as quickly as the thunder came on, so did the rain.

Just like in the movies.

Whooooooosh. Gushes of water, heard on the roof above and the roads outside.

And then we ran.

Ran to our nearest exit to be near the water, near THE RAIN!!!!

We ran to the upper level porch of the house and then did what any sane Bailey and Sammy would do.

We ran into the rain, and did ballet leaps up and down and across the balcony.

I don't need to tell you that it was awesome.

Or that we were so excited, and loving the crazy sudden initiation of a rainstorm that we had just experienced.

Or that we were already dressed to go out to dinner and then had to change clothes to get ready to go to dinner again.

Actually, if you know me very well, that last detail might need to be told to you, because I could just as easily have chosen not to change clothes. I'm kind of a come-as-you-are person, both in receiving of others and in giving of myself to the world, eatery joints included in my definition of "world."

Stephen snapped a picture of us before we put on our driest clothes with the stretchiest waistbands, and we headed to dinner -- warm, happy, washed.

And I am yet to forget the sweet, sweet memory.

This is a webcam photo taken of a print photo. FYI.

*I shared a bathroom with nine ladies (counting me, we were 10).

Monday, September 8, 2014

Quiet on the set

Goodness gracious it's hard to write when things are on your mind.

OK, actually the opposite of that is true, too. When you have things on your mind that's generally considered fuel for writing.

But when certain things are on your mind. And that's all I'll say about that...

I can tell you how deliciously and delightfully comfortable my sweatpants are right now. And how deliciously and delightfully wonderful it is to be sitting in them on my patio right now.

Did I mention I love my patio?

Currently it has two faux leather ottomans on it (because the cat was tearing them up, so I brought them outside, but one of them is my footrest right now, so I'm not complaining), along with a rug, a table, 3 planters, 2 candle holders (with candles, but I have no long-stemmed lighter, so they remain unlit), and a chair which my behind is resting comfortably in.

Actually I could afford to shift my weight ever so slightly.

There we go.

And a cup of mint tea. That's also out here with me.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm patio!!!

First, more on the sweatpants -- because they merit description at this point in time -- and then I'll get back to the patio, which for sure merits description and general being talked about-edness.

The pants are black, medium to thick weight. My sister-in-law and brother (usually you would put brother first in that statement, but I figure she had more to do with the shopping) got them for me several Christmases ago, because I had made a specific request for more sweatpants, and because I guess we're adults now and so we actually request from and subsequently obediently buy for each other things like sweatpants.

I think it was the Christmas after the sweatpants Christmas that the same brother and I were having highballs together, and I thought of my dad and his siblings and thought, "Wow, we're here now. We're drinking highballs together."

This same brother and his wife and I are very into going to bed before midnight on New Years' Eve as well.

Squares. But squares you want to be friends with, which is the important part.

OK, sweatpants. Sorry.

These pants are warm. I'm not sure why, but they're holding some delicious, glorious heat, and with the help of my socks -- which are a little clammy and chilly, but ultimately a layer on my always cold feet, so thus favorable -- they are giving me some happy, glowy warmth, literally and figuratively, to keep me cozy outside here.

Never mind that it hit 91 degrees today, and is maybe still 84 right now.

I'm a tiny little woman and I don't know why I can enjoy sweatpants and a warm laptop on my legs during desert summer, but I can!

And I'm wearing a unisex-cut yellow t-shirt boasting the Mizzou Cotton Bowl win (holla!), and it's all just cozy and boyish and cozy and mmmmmmmmmm


So OK, back to the patio.

I love my patio.


I gained a very serious, rich, amazing, never-thought-I-might-have-it gift this year, and that is that I learned to sit and do nothing.

I'm not kidding.

I only average about 20 minutes of this activity per every, mmm.....120 hours, I'd say, but that 20 minutes is powerful.

And with the patio, I gain more of this quiet time. Like sometimes 20 minutes a day for 3-5 days a week. Which, given 2014 culture, that's a lot.

You might be thinking, (with your hand raised, in a classroom, because it's funnier that way), "Um, Bailey, aren't you writing right now? Doesn't seem to me you're doing nothing."

And I would say, (as a teacher, because sometimes people say I'd be a good teacher, and I love it when they say that), "You're absolutely right. Right now I am writing. But usually when I sit on my patio, I am doing nothing."

Also, I'm usually in the dark.

Like now, minus the lights from the office building windows across the way and general LA light pollution in the sky. And the glow of this screen.

But generally -- dark...ish.

My patio doesn't have any lights. I have a string of colorful Christmas lights, which I plan to stick out here for festiveness, but I think even with those, if I was going for the quiet time, I'd probably leave them unplugged. And here's why:

The dark, and the (traffic-spackled) silence out here? They calm me. They shut me up. They slow me down.

I honestly just got very excited, like cheerleader excited, to emphasize to you how great sitting and doing nothing is.

I'm not kidding when I say this was a gift to finally discover how to do this, and to discover that I can do this. That I can sit and not have music, and not occupy myself even with clipping my fingernails, or organizing a bookshelf, or just....anything.

And honestly, it's kind of terrifying and disgusting to me when I think about how much I just do and do and do. And I don't even think of myself as a workaholic, or a "do-er." I'm more of a thinker, and a lazer (lazy person).

But even occupying myself with thoughts, and noise, it's a lot.

And it's a little ironic that it was the noise and the sounds that made me scared to stop the noise and the sounds.

Let me explain that: I thought that stopping the noise would make my scary thoughts that much louder.

And boy was I wrong -- and praise the good Lord above that I was wrong -- and so happy, happy, happy to find that just the opposite was true.

When I get quiet, the chaos inside me slows down that much faster, than if I were to try and "get calm" by listening to classical music or flipping through pictures of pastoral watercolor paintings.

Because music and thoughtful images are just another thing added to the thinking agenda. They can calm us, yes, and have their place to do so, but when I dared myself to try and go it without these types of things, I was surprised by peace and calm and joy.

I'm not kidding when I say that I've worried about developing schizophrenia. I'm neurotic, have a very hyperactive brain, and as a holder of a psychology bachelor's degree, I know full well (kidding, here, people, to make the point once again that self diagnosis is bad, bad, bad) that schizophrenia can come on without warning*.

*I think it can, sort of, but double check with a psychologist/psychiatrist instead of quoting me on this.

Soooooo, I think I had legitimate reason to worry.

My friend Mary, when I told her this, asked me if I hear voices. I told her no and she told me it's not God's will for me to worry about it, then.

That was comforting, but didn't fully shake the fear.

Some things that have since helped shake it are continued therapy, meds to keep my anxiety at bay, and, truly, the silence.

See, when you have these weird thoughts swirling through your brain, you find yourself wanting to push away the weird ones, the scary ones.

And let me just pause here to say that if you have enough disturbing, frightening thoughts running through it regularly, please go see a professional; it could be that you're just an over-worrier like myself, but really, let a professional decide that for you. Don't let it swirl around and make you feel worse and maybe cause you to be worse. (Take it from someone who's been there. This isn't a textbook talking. This is the case study).

Some of your thoughts are rational; you remember a fight with a sibling, it makes you upset, you want to enjoy your latte in the moment, so you try and move on. Drown it out with music, call a friend, watch something funny online.

Some of your thoughts are less rational. These, depending, can be known as intrusive thoughts, which I was unwilling to buy into for a while and still worry about sometimes, but as I talk and read more I realize I'm not alone in these intrusive thoughts. (Again -- see a professional. He/she can ease your mind and really separate the rational from the irrational, the real from the fake, what needs to be worried about and what may pass when your youthful stress passes, or -- more likely -- matures and strengthens you).

And these are some of the things -- if I were to bet -- that keep a lot of us from turning the stereo off, keep us adding hobbies instead of curbing them, keep us going instead of slowing.

So I guess, since this is a long post, as a lot of my posts are, I'll get to a "takeaway" here, and that would be to try and be quiet.

I know you've read it in Woman's Day, or heard it at church, or seen it preached in a TED Talk, but again, this is the case study talking, not the text book. So maybe give it a try, based on my advice in addition to theirs (I hope that didn't sound arrogant).

I told a friend of mine about this new found gift of mine, and this friend is just like me, and he said in response to the idea of silence: "That scares the hell out of me."

I want him to know the silence.

When I got out here on my patio tonight, I had country music playing, and the rare cloud cover of LA was reflecting off the office building windows at dusk. Now it's back to its usual view, dark outside with certain windows lit up across the street. I used to search for a very specific light blinking on a desktop hard drive in one of the offices on an upper floor of the building.

Nowadays I tend to lean back -- rule #1 of the patio, posture is not judged -- and breathe. My breathing slows automatically. If I'm a little more keyed up, it takes a little while. Sometimes I close my eyes. Other times I let my eyes focus on the window lights, then fuzz out to the darker portions of the air in front of me.

There's really no agenda. It's just to sit.

When I feel myself getting extra squirrely, or even if I'm "fine," I tell myself to go outside to sit in the dark. Because I know I need it. And sometimes I get giddy thinking about it.

Which might sound creepy to you, because telling yourself to go sit in the dark might sound like a very sadistic version of "time out."

But it's great. Sometimes I come inside after being on the patio with this whoooooooooosh feeling of wobbly calm, like getting out of the pool as a kid after you'd been splashing and cannonballing with all your little strength and your body just wept with gratified release.

Other times I come inside and still feel uptight, but less so than when I first went to the patio. And that's better than stewing in the uptightness.


I mentioned earlier that my thoughts slow down so much faster when smothered in silence than when blocked with noise and image.

It's so true, and I never would have believed it had I not experienced it.

It's like physics in a fun house mirror -- totally makes no sense when aligned with the textbook of acceleration and the equation for velocity and all these things you have experienced to be true. But once you experience it, you see it from the view of the case study instead of the text book.

This backwards physics that doesn't match textbook physics is a lot how I experience my relationship with God, and faith, and the Bible, too, by the way. I'll be reading some passage in Isaiah that, honestly, kind of makes zero sense to me, but I weep. And in not making sense, it makes sense. And this is not the result of recreational drug use, either. Which is probably why I keep coming back for more, schlepping through my crankiness on Sunday mornings at crowded church, feeling the bad moments of doubt and fear and wondering why life can feel so cruel yet not concluding with a walk away from Him.

And it's another reason why I come to the patio. Because while mostly I feel the breathing and the quiet and the soft silence, I also sometimes find myself maybe talking (I say "maybe" because I'm not always sure that's what I'm doing, exactly), or even listening?, to Him.

Diet PSA

I need to stop living off of protein bars.

If you see me eating a protein bar, don't knock it out of my hands -- because I may desperately need the calories -- but do escort me to the nearest restaurant or kitchen.

And then be bossy and make me eat something other than a protein bar.

Thank you,