Sunday, December 30, 2018

Small Successes & New Year's Resolutions

As we move on to 2019, it's time to make a New Year's Resolution. In general, I suck at these, but I'm going to try again anyway because the idea of a new start at a new goal in a new year is irresistible to my one and only optimistic brain cell.

Thinking about what my resolution will be, I was thinking about all of the small successes I've had in 2018. I've begun trying to find success in the little things and not to let the small victories slip by unacknowledged. Maybe I'm becoming more sentimental as I get older. Maybe I'm just looking for anything to boost me up when my brain is constantly trying to drag me down.

In January, I began doing a Q&A a Day Journal. It asks you a question every single day of the year, for five years. So you answer the same question five times. I've completed every day this year. I'm really proud of that because I usually start things like this and don't follow through. I've followed through every day this year and plan to do so for four more.

In July, I went to a movie alone for the first time ever. Just a few weeks before my 40th birthday, I went to see Skyscraper with Dwayne Johnson. Granted, I was motivated by unhappiness at being home alone while Matt was in Branson, MO, having a good time without me. Turns out, he really wasn't actually having a good time, but that's neither here nor there.

In the October, I learned that I might actually like Baseball. I know this doesn't sound like much, but I've been pretty anti-baseball my whole life. I really did not like it and wouldn't give it a chance. I was reflecting to Matt about this tonight and he jokingly said, "I thought I would never see the World Series again."

In 2018, I've blogged more than in the previous two years. So, even though I only wrote 15 or so posts, I feel like it's an accomplishment over the previous, disappointing years.

Even though it's not much, just a few fairly unremarkable little things, for me, they were memorable during 2018. Gotta embrace the little things, right?

Okay, now for a 2019 New Year's Resolution (or two)...

I'm going to join my friend Jodi and commit to blogging, at least once a week. If I manage more, that's great, but I'm going to strive for just one post a week. 52 posts in a year is a totally reasonable goal.

I'm also going to dedicate myself to doing at least 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation a day, at leat 5 days per week. I've been using the Calm app and it's amazing. I don't always make time for the meditations, but I love the sleep stories. They put me right to sleep in the best way. I couldn't love them more. I also use the breathing tool, which helps with guided breathing and really helps to calm me down. Now, I want to start doing the meditations more regularly.

That does it for me this year... Happy New Year, y'all!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

An (Accidental) Compliment

A couple of weeks ago, I was preparing to go to an event for my job. I work at home and don't get out much, so going to a work event was making me quite nervous. I was a little bit nervous about the 2+ hour drive, but more than anything I was nervous about coming face-to-face with people who, until now, I had only met mostly over the internet.

My darling man, trying his best to pep talk me, said: "I don't know why you're so nervous, you're smart and charismatic, you'll be fine!"

Wait, what? He thinks I'm charismatic?

This may not really seem like anything. In fact, you'd think him calling me smart would have been more of a compliment than charismatic, but I know I'm smart. Despite many struggles, including a very powerful case of dyslexia, I'm damn smart. But, charismatic? I've never felt charismatic and no one has ever called me charismatic... until now.

I don't think he was trying to compliment me, so much as he was trying to remind me about my virtues. But, I've been thinking about the compliment ever since. My brain just can't seem to let go of it, so I'm obsessing (thank to my anxiety, pretty normal for me). Unable to resist, I asked him about it the other day and he said that yes, he thinks I'm charismatic. I wasn't fishing for another compliment, I promise, I was mostly trying to verify that he really felt that way.

Thing is, I've always felt so awkward and there are moments when I literally have zero idea what to say. None, no idea. And sometimes, I fumble through interactions, then want to crawl under my desk and die of humiliation. Then again, maybe I'm not so much awkward as my anxiety tells me I am. Either way, charismatic is a strong compliment. Matt's the best! ♥

Monday, December 24, 2018

Coffee and a Classic: Great Expectations

As a part of my Christmas present, my darling man ordered me 3 months of Coffee and a Classic. It's a subscription box service that allows you to choose between a classic novel, classic non-fiction, or classic children's book. You also get to choose between coffee, cocoa, or tea. I knew about this particular gift because he asked me about it before ordering. He let me choose which category and which beverage. Then he put in my email address wrong and getting it fixed was an adventure. They have great customer service who got back to us really quickly and were able to fix the gaffe in record time!

So, my first box came today and, oh my goodness, it's amazing. I couldn't be more pleasantly surprised if I tried. It's wonderful! I kind of expected just a book and some cocoa. This box was packed with goodies.

The December book is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. The edition they sent is so lovely, it's got a silky blue cover. A couple of years ago, my best friend bought me Bram Stoker's Dracula from the same collection, so I knew these books were beautiful. It's such a lovely collectors book.

I read this book in high school, and haven't again since, but Matt recently read it. He really seems to enjoy Victorian literature, which is an interesting facet of his personality. His choice reading is usually business books and fantasy/historical fantasy, so the fact that he also loves classics is great. Now that I've gotten this book, I have every reason to give it another read. I'd forgotten how long it is!

The cocoa in the box is hot buttered rum flavor. I turned the package over and it's actually a white powder, I can't wait to try it. I drink so much cocoa these days (with creamer, a sort of Utah thing that I wish I had discovered years ago!).

The lovely wooden engraved book mark was in the bottom of the box and I just about missed it. I was reading the insert that came with the box when I noticed I'd not seen the book mark. I thought it was missing. So glad it's not, I just love it!

The beautiful cooper colored mug in the box was extremely hard to photograph because it's reflective. But, I did my best. It still managed to reflect my phone, but I think I managed to get a pretty good shot. It's so lovely in person. I absolutely adore the little Victorian scene.

There was a little whoopie pie in the box when it came, but I'm a little embarrassed to say that after taking a picture of the treat, I sort of, kind of ate it. I love that it's branded to fit the title... Miss Havisham's Wedding Cake was delicious!

The ornament in the box is a wood slice with Gads Hill Place, the country home of Charles Dickens on the front. On the back, it's got the name of the house. I put it on my Christmas tree and after Christmas will probably hang it on my desk.

The last thing in the box was Dickens themed wax melts. The packaging is so lovely, but they're too strongly scented like cinnamon for me to burn them. Ever since I was 20 years old and drank too much Aftershock (we're talking the whole bottle, and not the small one, either), I can't stomach anything that smells too much like cinnamon.

I'm just going to leave them in their packaging, which is just lovely, and keep them closed up. And who knows, maybe I will decide to risk it and burn one of the cubes... maybe.

All in all, this gift was a serious win. I've gotten other subscription boxes--Ipsy, FabFitFun, Lootcrate--but none of them have been half as me as this box is. If the next two months are even half as good as this one has been, we will definitely be renewing. Have I mentioned that I absolutely love it?!

Oh, one last thing... this is in no way a paid advertisement. I just love this thing so much, I wanted to share!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Christmas Lights in Temple Square

In an effort to kick the blues and reconnect with the grateful spirit I've been feeling this year, we went to see the Christmas lights in Salt Lake City's Temple Square. We've gone almost every year since moving here, so it's becoming a sort of Christmas tradition for us. We usually eat Red Lobster, do a little shopping in City Creek Center, see the Macy's windows, and then head over for the lights.

This year didn't go according to plan, which was a bit of a bummer, but it was still nice to see the lights. It was the weekend, so the traffic was insane. We sat for almost 45 minutes in traffic trying negotiate just one city block.After the traffic, it turns out the parking garage under City Creek Center was completely full, so we couldn't park down there. It took us another 20 minutes after that to find parking in a lot two blocks down from Temple Square.

It was cold with a frigid wind, but we walked the two blocks with all the other light-goers. But, by the time we got parking and go to Temple Square it was too late to do any shopping in City Creek Center, which was pretty disappointing. So, Matt didn't get his new ball cap this year and I didn't get to go into the Disney store (you really never can be too old for that place!).

So, rather than navigating across the street and down another block to see the Macy's windows, we turned into Temple Square to see the lights. By this point, rather than feeling better, I was starting to feel worse, missing the shopping and the Macy's windows, after all that traffic. But, Matt held my hand and managed to bring me back to where we were so I could enjoy the lights.

They were just so beautiful, my mood lightened and I began to feel okay. Even with the massive crowd, surprisingly much larger than on Christmas Eve (which is when we usually go), everything was just so beautiful. The trip, which wasn't what we had planned exactly and was far from perfect, still ended up making me feel so much better. Being together with Matt and enjoying our time together, doing something we both enjoyed, it was such a lovely way to end the year.

However you spend it and with whom, I hope your holidays are lovely. In the words of the lovely old song... may your days be merry and bright, y'all!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

RIP Grandma

On Tuesday night my mom called me to tell me my grandma had died. She was my very last living grandparent. While she had been sick for several years, we thought she was doing better. She was living on her own again and going to social events. She was living her life. Then on Tuesday, my great uncle went over to check on her and found she had passed.

So as we end another year, and lose another person we love, RIP Mary Lou Rhodes. You will be missed. ♥

Friday, December 7, 2018

"I could fall in love with you..."

I'm listening to a book that's the second in a series where all the heroes are hockey players. I'm enjoying it, even as a person who doesn't watch hockey, but then the hockey isn't really the point of the story. And, the woman are all normal women, like kindergarten teachers and publicists. They're fictional women that real woman can identify with. The genre of romance novels where the male lead is some kind of athlete all go this way and are quite fun.

Anyhow, I'm about three quarters of the way into this book when the hero turns to the heroine and admits that he could fall in love with her... that he's already falling in love with her. *swoon* As a romance novel junkie, I sort of live for these moments. Especially since in this book, the hero is an emotionally closed off widower with a sweet little girl.

But it's not the usual "I'm falling for you" line that got me, it's the way it was said. He said, "I'm could fall in love with you... I am falling in love with you." That's almost a direct quote, but it stirred up a memory from a long time ago, back to my own happily ever after and something Matt said to me when we were brand new, almost 20 years ago. It's one of those things that just stick with you.

We were laying on top of the ugly floral comforter in the uncomfortable bed in a small Best Western in Waco, holding hands and staring at the ceiling, talking about everything. It's the way we were back then, we never ran out of things to say or topics to discuss. We had just come back inside after he had a cigarette and flopped down when he turned his head and looked at me. I smiled at him. I can still see the look in his brown eyes, like he was seeing something for the first time. He said, "I could fall in love with you... I already am." His voice was so quiet and serious. Everything about that moment was so perfectly... perfect.

It was a lovely moment that's forever etched into my memory from a time when most things were pretty tumultuous for me. I had a soon to be ex-husband, a divorce that wasn't at all friendly. Things were generally a bit ugly. On top of that, Matt and I had known one another for almost a year, but in person we'd only just met. We had almost instantaneous chemistry and we had fun together, but that moment was the one where I knew that we would be together, and not just for a little while.

No matter how difficult life was then, that one perfect moment was everything. It's still everything, even after all these years. It was a defining moment in my life and decided a lot about where I am today. And, well, it was pretty damn romantic. ♥

Around about 2000 or 2001

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Reflecting on 2018

With 2018 nearly over, I've been reflecting on how this year has been for us. And, honestly, it's been pretty full. We've both been working, of course, but both of our jobs have made a pretty big leap this year, too. For the first time in a long time, we've had a really good year.

After losing one of our best friends at the very end of last year, I wasn't sure this year was going to be a good one. And, we've had some challenges this year because, well, that's life, but it's been more good than bad for the first time in years. Around about this time of the year, I'm generally looking back and calling the year a wash, or worse. That's usually how I end each year, by reflecting on how rough the year has been. Not so this year. I never liked calling the year a bad one, so I'm happy that I don't have to do that again this year.

At the risk of jinxing it, because I tend to be a little bit superstitious, this year has been pretty great.

My husband spent much of the year on a big project at work (the exact nature of which I can't really say) and it was a huge success. He took several long business trips, too, which left me a little lonely around the middle of the year, but it was very much worth it. He's tirelessly dedicated to his job because, well, he loves it. That's priceless to me, that he has a job he's amazing at and that he loves.

For me, this year brought a job promotion. In October, I got a promotion that has been so amazing. I am absolutely loving my job, which is an adventure every day. Like my husband's job, I don't so much want to talk about what we do exactly, but being promoted has been wonderful.

Other than our jobs, the year has had some ups and downs. A good year doesn't mean the year has been flawless or without struggles. It hasn't. Take for example our sweet little dog, Chewbi, who just about died a few months ago. The good news there is that he's totally okay now, but for a minute it was very close. So, that he's okay is a serious win. We also took a road trip down to St. George in June and, though it was very brief, we got to see my folks.

To end things in the best way possible, we've been getting quite a lot of snow a bit early this year. Since we moved to Utah three and a half years ago, we've never failed to have a white Christmas, which we both really enjoy. Being from California and Texas, neither of us grew up with snow. While we're pretty tired of it by around about March, we enjoy having the snow for Christmas and the New Year.

I'll come back closer to the New Year to set some goals for 2019. I'm not sure I like the word resolution, because I never can keep New Year's Resolutions. So, I'm sticking with calling them goals. For now, as long as nothing terrible happens between now and the end of the year, 2018 is going to go down as a good one.

First snow, 2018

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

On work and blogging...

Almost exactly a year ago, I started working at home. I work for a great company, that treats its employees pretty darn well, and working at home is amazing. But, I'm finding there are a few drawbacks. Like, I don't have much to say these days. Without talking about my job, which can be very interesting on any given day, I don't really have much to share. Since many a person has lost their job by talking about said job, even in the abstract, I don't really want to go there.

So, I'm trying to figure out how blogging fits into that. If I don't have anything going on, or anything particularly interesting to say, what will I do with a blog? I'm struggling, though, to let it go because I've been doing it since 2003. That would make this my longest running, ongoing hobby.

There are days I want to use this blog to talk about my mental health, because I think it's important to get those thoughts out there. The problem with that is that this blog would devolve into a seriously depressing place, even for me. Nothing good going on in my head a lot of days and I'm not sure it would be productive to stew in it.

I've considered using it to share writing and writing prompts, because even though I don't publish or talk much about what I'm doing, I'm still writing. A lot. But, I'm not sure I can do that and feel comfortable... which is also why I don't publish. Extreme anxiety overrides any sort of drive to share.

I don't really know what will become of it, so stay tuned. I just don't think I can let it go just yet, even though I rarely write here these days. What I really want is to start writing here more. We'll see.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Gone to the movies...

For the last month, every time I sit down to write, what comes out is a whole lot of ugly. I have several saved starts where I got halfway done and realized I could or wouldn't post what I'd been writing. I'm not in a good place right now, I'm not able to sleep, and even when I do sleep I wake up every hour. Overall, I'm having a rough time.

But, today, I had a small victory and thought I'd try to write about that instead of the ugliness. A milestone, of sorts. I actually managed to go out to a movie alone today. While I know that sounds like a small and somewhat pathetic thing, for me, it's pretty huge.

As an agoraphobic who also suffers from generalized and social anxiety disorders, I struggle to leave my house alone. I struggle to go to Walmart or even to just go out to put gas in my car. I do okay when I'm not alone, when my husband is with me, but I suck at alone. To make things worse, I tend to catastrophize, imagining the absolute worst possible outcome in every situation. When I can't sleep, the whole situation becomes so much worse.

So going to a movie alone, that's a negative... until today. Today, I actually did it. I went to see Skyscraper alone. I spent a good portion of the time worrying about being in the theater alone. I spent some of the time obsessing about whatever worst outcome could possibly occur. I don't usually go to movies, even when I'm not alone because my anxiety won't allow me to forget the short string of theater shootings that happened in the last few years. But, once I got into the movie, I was able to relax a bit and really enjoy the experience.

By the time I walked out of the theater, I felt pretty good about the whole excursion. An excursion that had been prompted by a fit of emotional upset about being home alone, miserable, while my husband's in another state spending his day off having a good time with his co-workers. Shortly after coming home and having lunch, the emotional turmoil had mostly returned, but for that little bit of time, I felt pretty good about having actually accomplished this small thing.

Deep down, I still feel pretty good about it. Seeing that I'll be 40 years old in less than two weeks, it was long past time to get this thing done.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Some things never change...

When I was a teenager, my favorite thing to wear was jeans and t-shirts. I favored pony tails and skipped the make-up most of the time. Flip-flops were my shoes of choice. I wasn't exactly a tom-boy, I just wanted to be comfortable.  And, because I, like most other teenagers, wasn't all that comfortable in my body I sought to be comfortable in other ways. And, I liked the way I looked in jeans and t-shirts.

This was somewhat of a friendly battle between me and my mom. She wanted me to be more girly. She didn't tell me what to wear, exactly, but thought I should wear make-up and do something with my hair, maybe wear something with flowers on it once in a while. When I began to attempt to attract boys, I tried to make more of an effort, but I never was very good at being interested in things that would make me "prettier."

Twenty-five years later, not all that much has changed. I'm still not all that interested in things that would make me prettier. I care about being comfortable, just like I did when I was sixteen. I thought this was likely (thankfully) one of the only things I have in common with my younger self. As I considered it, though, I think I may have sold myself a bit short. Maybe there is a little bit of who I was way back then still lingering inside me, deep down.

When I was tossing on my Deadpool Taco's t-shirt and jeans this morning, hair in a messy bun, no make-up, I realized this was exactly something my teenage self would have worn. It made me smile, but it also made me think about the things about us that change and those that remain the same. My mom's favorite saying is "the older you get, the more like yourself you become." I never understood that when I was a kid--grown-up mumbo-jumbo, if you asked me. But, as I've grown older, I don't just understand it, I both believe it and don't. I have a relationship with that particular bit of wisdom.

In some respects, I've become so much more who I was always supposed to be. In others, I thank God that I've changed so much that my former self is unrecognizable. Still in others, I've grown into someone my teenage-self wouldn't necessarily approve of. I think this happens to everyone, we're all a big ol' ball of hopes, dreams, and disappointments that make us who we are today. I'm able now, though, to step outside my comfort zone and do things I never could have back then. Maybe that's the difference between being an awkward sixteen year old girl and a 40 year old woman. The ability to differentiate between comfort and hiding. The ability to put yourself out there because you have to, or need to, or just want to.

I still want to be comfortable. I'm older now, but I'm still wearing my jeans and t-shirts. I imagine I always will. But when I leave my house, I usually wear make-up now, too. I straighten my hair so it looks good and try to be generally presentable. Not so I can be prettier, attract men, or look more my age, but because when I look better, I feel better and have more confidence. That's something my teenage-self didn't much understand or care about. I just try to do those things while wearing what will make me most comfortable.

Then there are times when comfort still wins over looking/feeling good and I leave the house wearing slippers.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

How I learned (a little bit of) patience...

I'm old enough to remember a time before online shopping. If we wanted something, we went to the mall and bought it. We drove to the store, looked at things, tried on clothes, and paid with cash or credit cards. While I still do this sometimes, it's much more common for me to buy things online. I even buy my groceries online and go pick them up at Walmart without ever getting out of my car.

I'm all about hassle-free instant gratification. I don't have to go to the mall--I absolutely hate malls--or even to stores. I get the experience of shopping, but don't have to leave my house. They just arrive at my door and do so pretty quickly at that. Thank you, two-day shipping. It may seem like going to the store to buy things would be much quicker than buying them on Amazon, but when you factor in going out to get said items and all the time it takes to shop in person... forget it.

This, however, has led to some impatience. I don't like to wait for all these things I'm buying online. With quick shipping, I rarely do for more than a day or two. Considering I can buy virtually anything, virtually, a short wait is easy to swallow. And, if what I'm buying is books, there's no wait at all. I can buy e-books and start reading them almost instantly.

Then, one day, along came Kickstarter. This is practically the opposite of instant gratification. If you haven't done this, Kickstarter is a way to support projects you believe in while getting some sort of reward for your investment. We've backed 11 projects to date, all of them hobby-related (dice, gaming books, collectors edition paper dolls, etc.) and the wait has been fairly long each time. As an example, we backed a Kickstarter in October 2016 that has still not been completely fulfilled. We've gotten about half the books in the set with the other half to come over the next year.

Even knowing that backer rewards won't be available for most Kickstarters for six months to a year, I still back them. I still give them my money and then I wait. I don't just wait, in most cases, I'm happy to wait. This is how I learned to be patient... Kickstarter taught me patience. In a world where I, like every single other person in the first-world, don't want to wait, Kickstarter has made me more patient. It's allowed me to embrace the old adage that all good things are worth the wait.

Okay, well, maybe some good things are worth the wait. It hasn't exactly made me a paragon of patience... I'm human, after all. But, it has helped me to develop just a little bit of a virtue that I never, ever possessed before and that's something, right?

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Do they remember me?

I opened Facebook the other day to find than an ex-boyfriend from forever ago had liked one of my pictures--when I say forever ago, I mean like, more than 20 years ago. This isn't exactly a new thing, we've been friends on Facebook for several years, and he's occasionally liked my photos or left a short comment. But, for whatever reason, this time it got me thinking about the people I've left behind or moved on from.

Do those people ever think of me? Do I ever occur to them at all or have I become a lost memory? It's not the first time I've wondered, but it's the first time it's sticking. I can't seem to stop thinking about it. I feel like the answer to those questions has to be multi-faceted. It must depend on factors like how close we were, how much time we spent together, and what kind of relationship we shared. But, sometimes I think some people just leave such an indelible mark on your memory that you can't help but think of them. I kind of hope I made that kind of mark on someone, at some point.

For me, it's just once in a while. I'll smell something, or hear a song, or see something that will bring someone to mind. An old friend, an ex-boyfriend, a family member I don't ever speak with anymore. Admittedly, there are some people who crop up more than others and that's likely because they had such a deep impact on who I am now, as a person. For most, I think back fondly, while there are a few that bring such memories of unhappiness screaming forward I'm left feeling pretty rotten.

And it's always the odd memories that crop in, nothing substantial at all, just little bits and pieces of things that you wouldn't think would still be rattling around in there. Hearing the word fuck trudges up memories of high school. Smelling certain soaps brings back memories of... errr, okay, I can't really share that one with you (sorry). One particular Garth Brooks song comes on the radio and I remember a certain older man I dated for a while when I was 18 years old. Pumpkin pie makes me think of my grandmother and, strangely, the time she made home made syrup that was so thick the pancakes stuck to the plate and we couldn't eat them.

But, I also wonder whether those people I think of most and most fondly, are the same people who think of me once in a while. Maybe I'm overthinking the whole thing. Maybe it's simpler than all that and people do occasionally remember me just out of total subconscious inability to prevent it. Hell, I know that I think about some people, sometimes, just because I can't stop the memory from bubbling to the surface. Whether I want that memory or don't.

I suppose, though, that it's just nice to think that someone, somewhere occasionally thinks back and remembers me. ♥

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Earth Day isn't about us...

It's Earth Day. I keep seeing posts on Facebook asking what each person is doing to make the earth healthier. It's got me thinking about how I'm helping because, well, I've always been interested in what I can do to make the earth better. When I was small, I sent a letter to McDonalds asking them to stop using styrofoam. Still hate the stuff. I use the blue trash can for boxes, cans, and bottles. I wash some of our clothes in cool water. I only do full load of dishes and laundry. I work from home, so I don't drive much. I don't run the water while I'm brushing my teeth. You know, most of the same stuff every conscientious person does.

But each year on Earth Day, something that always seems to come up in childfree circles is how we--the childfree--are saving the earth by not having babies. Okay, yes, but also, no. It's a fact that having fewer people in your household lowers your carbon footprint, so yes, science. But, I seriously doubt that most childfree people choose to be sans kiddies just to save the environment, so... no. I mean, I can acknowledge that some do and that it's a consideration, at the very least, for others. I suppose it's just really exhausting seeing it every single year, same thing. I kind of hope we'll stop hijacking Earth Day, like it's about our choices, because it's not.

When I chose to be childfree, it wasn't because of the environment, even though I've always cared about the environment. Hell, I was 16 years old and didn't really have a good idea about carbon footprint and how having kids affected that. I made a choice not to have children because I'm not mentally healthy. I'm not mommy material. I'm not maternal and most days I can barely take care of myself. I chose not to have kids because kids make me uncomfortable. Most of all, I chose not to have kids because I did not want them and I didn't really care about societal pressures to procreate. It just happens that not having kids makes me more environmentally friendly than someone with lots of kids. It's a happy coincidence, not the cause.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

That's our thing...

I'm struggling, which isn't really anything new, except to say that it's getting worse. Yesterday was very, very bad. I could've done without February 29th this leap year. I was off work quite early and spent most of the day in tears or staring off into space. The reasons are partially (read: mostly) work related, but not something I can really discuss. The significant thing is that I'm struggling, hard.

When my husband came in, I took one look at him and dumped all my shit onto him. He hadn't even gotten all the way in the door or put his things down. He hadn't taken off his hat or put down his wallet and keys. Yet he stood in the kitchen while I threw things into the dishwasher and listened to me vent about my very bad day. He stood patiently, moving around only to put his things down. Rather than sitting down after a 12 hour shift he stood listening.

When I lost it and resumed the water works, he was right there to make me feel like I wasn't alone... I started to say to "make me feel better" but that's not really it. He didn't try to make me feel better or discount my feelings. He was there to listen and let me know that someone hears me, that he hears me.

Rather than turning on the TV or requesting to know when dinner would be made, he sat beside me in the living room all evening and talked with me about the things that're making it difficult for me. He listened as I told him my fears, concerns, and feelings. He didn't try to tell me my feelings are invalid or that I shouldn't feel the way I do. Or even that I should feel something when all I can seem to "feel" is numb despair.

When he couldn't stay up any longer, I went to lay down with him and he held me. He told me he loves me and that he believes in me, which is all I need in the world. I need him to keep believing in me even when I don't see why anyone should. He almost always seems to know, intuitively, what I need or want and even when he doesn't know, he still tries to be supportive.

Today, I sent him a text to wish him a good day and to say thanks for being there for me. His immediate reply, "We're there for each other, that's our thing." That is how we made it 18 years married. That is how we're still going strong even after almost 20 years together. All of this, his support and love, this is why we're going to make it another twenty.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Well, that was embarrassing...

Did I ever tell you about the time I met a man so good looking, I actually forgot my own damn name? Yeah, that actually happened, like, in real life. It was humiliating and something I will never, ever forget.

It came to mind today while I was listening to a romance audio book. One of the characters had an experience like this, forgetting their own name because the man was so hot. I started to roll my eyes, because, really...  And, then I'm pretty sure I actually blushed. Alone, at home, like anyone could see me. Yes, this actually happens. It happened to me.

A couple of years ago, I took a temp job during the summer. I was teaching at the university at the time, but wasn't working in the summer. There was a bit more too this particular temp job, but it's not really significant, so I'll skip it. On the day of the event, as I like to remember it, a fellow employee was showing me around the department when we crossed paths with one of our bosses.

The man stopped and they made small talk for a second before she turned to me and introduced him. When he looked at me I literally just stared at him. A good minute passed in what felt like an eternity before I realized I was just standing there, gaping at this man like an idiot. I managed to remember that I should introduce myself, but the damage was done. The woman who introduced us was standing beside me grinning like a mad woman.

He was gracious about it, extending a hand to me. We shook and I blushed, and we went about our business. He handled it so smoothly that I wondered at the time whether or not that's ever happened to him before. When he was gone, the woman who had introduced us took the opportunity to rib me about it and then she told everyone else in the department. So, I got a reputation in my group at work as the woman who forgot her own name because the boss was so hot.

But here's the thing, he was good looking. Very good looking--tall, broad shoulders, blue eyes, a strong jaw, soft but masculine voice. He was not, however, so good looking that I should have lost my shit like that. For whatever reason, I did, and to this day I remember it with something akin to embarrassed horror. I wouldn't say he's even the best looking person I'd ever met. Not even close.

So, tonight while listening to my book, I took pity on the poor character and didn't roll my eyes. Instead, I sympathized. That is a really, truly, horrible experience. While everyone has embarrassing moments, that particular thing is a level of embarrassment you never, ever forget. Like, ever. Seriously.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Watch Your Language

Living in Utah for two and a half years now, I think I'm qualified to say that this is the most puritanical place I have ever lived... ever been, really. It's so damn wholesome, at least on the surface, it kind of makes me gag. Everything is geared toward kids and having kids, or religion and recruiting for said religion. It's absurd. There are few things to do here if you're an adult who enjoys adult things, like drinking and museums that're not about Mormon pioneers.

But the most annoying thing, their language. Nobody says fuck, or even damn. Like, ever. Ever. No, they say freak and darn. They don't say "what the fuck?!" They say, "what the freak?!" And somehow, this watered down language has infected me. I've caught the prudish language virus and it's rewiring my brain to be more respectable. I've begun saying freak, instead of fuck. It's pretty damn annoying and Matt has noticed. So, now, every time I say freak he shames me. Which is kind of pissing me off, actually.

No, it's really, really pissing me off. At first, it was only once in a while, but now every time he hears me say freak, rather than fuck, he makes a comment. Yesterday, he said, "you'll feel better if you just let it out," and it took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about. I told him to shut the fuck up because more than his poking at my vocabulary, I'm upset that I've allowed it to happen. I don't want to be a linguistic sheep. I want to be who I am, but hearing people say freak and darn has somehow invaded my language.

I understand dialects. I understand regional colloquial language. I understand how language patterns can change over time and with exposure. When I moved to the south I swore I wouldn't ever say "y'all" and I say it all the time now. I say it without even noticing. I type it in text, use it on social media, and even in blog posts.  And, even though we don't live in Texas anymore, I still say it. It's become a staple in my vocabulary. I do not want freak and darn to become staples in my vocabulary.

I will not submit to this facet of the culture I've been thrust into. I just won't. So, on that note, here's what I'm currently working on to make myself feel a little bit more, well, like myself. It's from Subversive Cross Stitch and is a reminder I need every single day, both because of my anxiety and because of my issues with the soft language I seem to be picking up against my will...

Yes, there's a link up there for the pattern. No, it's not a paid link or endorsement. I just like the product, okay?! Glad we got that settled.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Depression, Obsession

I'm having a little bit of trouble sleeping again. I've wrestled with insomnia off and on since I was 14. About that time I started to develop symptoms of depression and anxiety. As the years have passed, the insomnia is at it's worst when I'm struggling the most. I'm either all in with sleep and want to sleep 15 hours a day, or I can't sleep more than three or four hours a night. Never much in the middle.

But , I've noticed that when I'm dealing with insomnia and trying to sleep, I tend to obsess. It's a completely unhealthy habit and I know it's linked to my anxiety, but yeah, I obsess. Which is saying something since, on a good day, my brain obsesses about everything. This isn't that, not at all. This is so much worse. So much more powerful. My mind latches on to something and beats me over the head with it. I get an idea or a thought it becomes so potent, I'm unable to think about anything else. But the thoughts are so loud, I can barely close my eyes, let alone go to sleep. It's a never ending cycle of obsession and sleeplessness. It fucking sucks.

It's not always, or even usually, anything that matters or that I can control. Most of the time, it's some freak thing my mind latches on to and won't let go. Or, I worry about things that do matter, but that are so far outside of my control that I wouldn't even begin to be able to do anything about them. But, most of the time, it's the random thoughts about completely random crap.

Take last night, for example. I've been listening to a hell of a lot of audio books on Audible. I absolutely love them. I love being read to while I do other things. It's the best of both worlds, it's like reading a book and being able to play video games at the same time. Anyway, I listen almost exclusively to romance novels. Audible has a romance package now and I cannot deal with how many books I can listen to for a small fee every month. I'm taking full advantage. Most of the books are narrated by Sebastian York.

This is where the obsession plays in. For most narrators, you can just Google them and there are pictures. They have social media. You can put a name with the face, which is sometimes good and somethings not, depending on your personal ability to suspend disbelief. For this particular narrator, though, there's nothing. Lots of articles about him and interviews with him, but not a single picture to be found anywhere. It's a pseudonym, of course, which doesn't help.

But, I'm a little bit a lot obsessed with his voice. I literally listen to books because he's narrating them, it just so happens that I've also enjoyed them all. But, my brain could not let go of the fact that there isn't a single picture anywhere. I spent hours scouring the web looking for even one single picture. All I came up with were tidbits of information, like that he's also a pilot in New York City, and the fact that this mystery about him is intentional. Obviously, right, otherwise there would be a picture somewhere. He likes "the mystery."

In the dead of night, when I can't sleep and my mind cannot let go of the search, I pretty much hate the mystery. Hate. It. So, I lay in my bed and obsess, scouring my brain for details I may have missed and calling on my education, which has made me a top notch researcher. But, it's also kind of pointless, which my brain knows in an intellectual way, but can't seem to grasp in an emotional way. Ultimately, I'm aware that it's not even him that I'm obsessing about, it's just the need to latch onto something to obsess over and he's an easy target because I listen so many audio books.

Really though, he's beside the point and is just one example. Whether it's him or not, I'm going to obsess over something. Usually something just outside my reach, like finding a picture of man with an amazing voice, who has gone out of his way to stay obfuscated. I choose to latch onto something that was unreachable, just like always. I think, maybe, if I could find a pic of the man, this obsession might subside... but it would only be replaced with another pointless, baffling, and frankly, ridiculous obsession.

But hey, if he happened to want to send me a pic, I wouldn't say no. ♥