Monday, December 30, 2013

Take The Time

We're creeping quickly up on the end of the year, ReaderFriends.

You know what that means...

More food! Yay! New Year's means an extra day of feasting and festivities. As a child, it meant taking down my grandmother's Christmas tree and watching the parade. As an adult, it means a bonus day off from work to recover from staying up all the way until 12:05 to yawn through a "Happy New Year" to Boyfriend of Amazingness before crashing like a toddler in a sugar slump.

(But really...)
New Year's means that I have to come up with a new resolution.

But first, let's take a second to look back at how well last year's resolution served me.

On January 1, I resolved that I would "Take The Time." Here's a snippet:

This was such a busy year. The past holiday season has really highlighted the fact that I've been scrambling through, trying to do everything to the best that it could be done, and failing miserably more than half the time.

In dance, I didn't practice nearly as often as I should have.

In my home, I didn't clean up or do laundry nearly as often as I needed to.

At work, I made more than one mistake because I was rushing through tasks, jumping from one to the next.

My friends, my family and my love spent more time than I care to admit being pushed to the back burner as I worked frantically on other projects instead of spending time with them.

And my own health suffered from time to time, as I neglected to focus on myself.

So, through the coming year, my intent will be to Take The Time.

*  In dance, I will take the time to practice and focus on what I DO know, instead of rushing out to absorb new knowledge at the risk of losing what I've already not focused upon.

*  In my home, I will take the time to tidy up the dishes immediately following a meal, and I'll run a load of laundry as soon as the dirty clothes basket is full. Short bursts of well spent energy will mean more time to lounge in a tidy home.

*  At work, I will focus on each task as it presents itself, in order to complete them thoroughly and not have to waste time returning to them for hastily made mistakes.

*  I'm going to take the time to write. Maybe not every day. Maybe not things that make sense, or words in a recognizable language. But I'll tap my keys, twirl my pen and put thoughts down just as often as I can.

*  My friends and family will find themselves burdened more regularly with my presence for meals together.

*  My Boyfriend of Amazingness will be sick of me after I'm through taking the time to appreciate all that he does.

*  And, damn it all, I'm going to take the time to say "No" once in a while. It's okay to turn down an opportunity if something I love is going to suffer for it.

Even if that means saying "No" to myself and my self-imposed restrictions. Dish-doing comes second to time-spent-with-loved-ones. Sometimes you just have to say no.

What is it that poetical man said about "Best Intentions?" Yeah... whoever he was, he hit that nail on the noggin.

2013 wasn't any less busy than 2012. I rushed, I rallied and I stressed my way through portions of the year.

I danced some, but not as much as I should have.

I cleaned more than I had, but still not enough.

I had about a 65% success rate with seeing family and friends who wanted to be seen, and often they had to do the travelling to get to our rendezvous.

And my writing... well, my writing was pretty abhorrent.

But you know what I did do this year?

I was there for a grieving family as they said goodbye to father/grandfather much too soon.

I moved out of the apartment I hated and into a home that I love - A home that I own with a man who I'm thrilled to get to spend the rest of my life with.

Together with that man, I adopted a young dog and have - so far - managed to impart basic manners upon said beasty and continue making strides together towards being a polite family unit.

I made it through to the other side of a health issue that caused heartache and tears for the past three revolutions around the sun.

I made it through a new health issue that caused me to be a monstrous, angry beast.**1

I worked.

I played.

I ate and drank.

I sang.

I loved and was loved.

And while I didn't Take The Time to do the things I thought I needed to do at the beginning of the year... I lived a wonderfully full year and I'm hopeful that I came out the other side better than I went in (and imparting some good upon the people in my life as well).

So that's that, 2013. We've had our fun, but I look forward to seeing what your newer, younger friend has in store.

To 2014! Hurrah!

**1 Estrogen rage. It's a thing. An angry, sweaty, tearful, high-blood-pressure-causing thing. But it doesn't have to be a thing. And coming through to the other side gives remarkable clarity and knowledge of what's worthwhile, and what's not worth getting cranked up about, and how in-control I really am when I'm healthy versus when I'm not.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

On the First Day of Christmas...

And so, Christmas is over. And with it comes the same sense of loss that I've felt every Boxing Day since I can remember.

Christmas is over. Presents are done, feast is finished, and all that remains of the season is a tree in my living room that's more fire hazard than festivity. I need to tidy the house and make way for the coming year.

But I still feel sad.

At first, I think about what I could have done to make the Christmas Spirit last longer. Maybe if I had gotten that one extra gift, the merriness would have stuck around through today. Maybe if I had saved a slice of pie instead of eating it all with my family. Maybe if I had done one of a zillion things differently that I do every Christmas day, this year would have been different.

But that's not how it works. The idea behind a tradition is that you do some activity or another the same every year, to the same result. I wouldn't trade a single slice of pie or a single gift beneath the tree for the happy faces I see on Christmas with my family. And what I ask for - this extension of Christmas - wouldn't extend their happiness.

So as I sit here, brimming with leftover cheer that would otherwise be wasted, I find myself grateful that my sister, my mother and I have decided upon a new tradition this year:

We will be indulging in the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Specifically, we exchanged stockings and some gifts on Christmas day. We had food, we had merriment and we had naps while the dogs played (and played... and played... One of my gifts was a quiet evening at home while the Young Master snored on my foot. It was adorable.) and it was lovely. But it was over too soon, as it always is.

And so this year, on Twelfth Night, there will be more gifts. There will be more feast. And there will be more spirit.

Because sometimes more is more.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Santa, Baby!

This is a particularly busy time of  year for The Big Guy in Red.

I'm not sure what it is about my  own circumstances this year that have me pondering him so deeply...

Perhaps it's that I picked up a babysitting gig for the season because money has gotten excruciatingly tight. Spending so much time with doe-eyed babes (okay, so they're pre-teens. But they're children, still, and they have that child-like wonder that I cherish...) is bound to make a childless phenomenon such as myself think twice about the glowing eyes of tiny tots playing beneath a tree. It's hard not to think about Santa when you're with little ones at Christmastime.

Perhaps it's the money situation. Knowing that Christmas will be frugal and filled with more cheer than with actual presents for my family has me thinking about a festive benefactor slipping down the chimney and making magic for the people I love.

Perhaps it was the radio ad I heard not too long ago, all throughout which the company eluded to Santa but didn't mention him by name, likely to avoid angering parents of tentative young folk who might hear the ad and ask questions about why Santa needs to use UPS.

Whatever the reason (my heart or my shoes)... I've got Santa on my mind lately.

As a child, I don't remember believing firmly in Santa Claus. I remember leaving him whatever we had available - not usually cookies, but often rum balls or fruitcake and one of my father's favorite beers. I remember leaving carrots out for the raindeer one year. I remember writing him a note, and an unfamiliar hand writing back a response.**1

But what I don't remember is the crushing heartbreak of realization that Santa Claus was a childhood falsehood. I never faced that realization that would thrust me into inconsolable tears, and make me question everything I had previously known, up to and including God and the love of my family. I've witnessed it in other children, but never faced it myself.

This Christmas, the song on my brain-radio is "I Believe in Santa Claus" from the animated Christmas special The Year Without A Santa Claus. In case you haven't heard it, check it out:

And I believe it's my current state of mind about Santa. The big fat man with the long white beard may be a personification... but I believe that there is a tiny piece of Christmas that lives inside each Christmas-Celebrating-Individual**2 waiting to be nurtured or extinguished. Either a child will face that heartbreak and accept that Santa Claus was a childhood dream, or they'll quietly observe and create their own understanding that includes the whisper of hope I still carry myself. Perhaps, in time, that hope will fade and the commercial cynicism will set in. But it is my fondest wish that I can retain just a morsel of my own childlike wonder to brighten my holidays with hope.

Best wishes for the happiest holidays to you, my ReaderFriends. I do hope that they're everything you're wanting and more.

**1 A response that I desperately wish I had kept, by the way, as an echo of a happy childhood Christmas...

**2 I hesitate to say "Everyone" because I wouldn't want my Jewish or Hindu or Pagan or Whatever friends to have to make space for Santa Claus when he isn't part of their tradition.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


So, troopers - here's a new game. I've been waxing poetic for the past hour, and have cobbled this brief thought. I'd be interested to hear how it inspires you to continue the story! Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

I do not proclaim to practice the Life of a Night Owl. Indeed, to watch the moon creep slowly across the heavens is a sight upon which I rarely indulge but which I do so greatly enjoy. And so I found myself happily blessed last eve - as I trekked slowly homeward whilst tomorrow became today, I gazed fondly across the frigid beauty of vast fields and towering trees dusted lightly with freshly fallen snow twinkling under the light of a pale, waxing moon.. A peaceful revelation thereupon took hold: This beauty and wonder, so pristinely untouched as the snow was as new as the day, was nature's gift for my eyes alone. Not a soul was awake along this road flanked by darkened houses and empty fields. The only luminescence came from the vibrantly colored lights strung around doorways and shrubberies, from the headlights of my car and from the moon hung high in the heavens.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Holiday Manners

Author's Note: I started this post before Thanksgiving. Well before Thanksgiving, in fact. But then Thanksgiving crept up on me, and I didn't finish this post. So now we're teetering into Christmastime, and I thought it's better to get this out there than to let it rot in the archives. So, here we go! Let's call it an adventure!

I try to give Thanksgiving its due. I really do.

But when there's something as exciting as Christmas on the horizon of a holiday for which the only anticipation is a single song about the fate of the turkey and weeks of preparation for a single day of over-indulgent eating... It's hard not to let the turkey get overshadowed.

So when I realized that a local radio station was already playing Christmas jams in the middle of November, I decided that it's OK to tune in once in a while until the feast is over and I can dive into the Christmas season with both feet.

(Which, of course, means that I'm listening at every available opportunity.)

Fortunately for me, the station playing the holiday music is (at least) focusing their stories and spots on Thanksgiving for now. I was particularly interested when I heard a feature one evening about eleven things holiday hosts do that annoy their guests.

The List (found here):

11. - Being forced to play a board game.

My response: THE NERVE. So your host pulls out Monopoly. If you're dead set against the game, sit off to the side and allow them to play. Interject when you will, and give your host a moment to perhaps fill their home with some holiday merriment. But watch out - if you go around letting your host have fun, you're more likely to be invited over again... or even (gasp!) have a good time yourself.

10. - Being told to take off your shoes.

My response: Do you mop the floor of this home? Did you pay $2,000 to have the living room floor refinished? Do you enjoy stepping in puddles of snow that was tracked in and left to melt in the middle of the floor? If your answer to any of these is "No," please give a moment's pause to the fact that, maybe, your host is simply trying to make her guests feel more comfortable. Or, if you're totally anxious about people seeing your bunions, say "I'm sorry, but I'd feel more comfortable if I left them on - would that be okay with you?" Seriously. How hard is that?

9. - When it's too hot or too cold.

Okay... Yeah, I get that. My home is typically too cold because I can't afford to crank up the thermostat to 80* and burn through the oil it took me two months to save up for over the course of one over-heated evening. Yes, homes that are climate-challenged can be uncomfortable. But, as a guest, you have the potential to come prepared. Wear layers, instead of just the heavy wool sweater that Gramma knit you or the skimpy glitter sequin dress that isn't heavy enough to have a UV value, much less any thermal comfort.

8. - Not being introduced to strangers.

A month ago I held a housewarming party. I was anxious when it started - social circles were going to mix that had never mixed before. But, because my friends and family are fabulous, I had no need to fret. Guests introduced themselves to one another, and conversations were started based upon how each guest knew us. Which is fortunate - I didn't have a moment to spare in between coordinating food and giving tours of my home. Do your host a favor, and try for a moment to take such a simple burden off their shoulders... even if only by asking the awkward guest next to you their name and if they've ever been to such a rude host's home before.

7. - Fighting off pets.

Now, I can absolutely understand that this can be a nuisance. My Young Master can be a handful and a half, especially when he gets over-excited and wants to jump on newcomers in our home. Pets around the holidays can be a hassle. Fido wants to eat your fruitcake. Muffins keeps drinking out of your mug of eggnog. But, chances are, they're at the party because your host feels as though their pets are family. Would they lock their child in a bedroom and listen to it cry for the duration of a festive event? No. While some pet owners might feel comfortable excluding their fur-babies from party occasions, as a guest you don't have the right to expect (or request) that a critter get locked away. If the dog/cat/ferret/gerbil/bird/whatever is bothering you, move yourself to an alternate location and make the best of it.

And, for good measure: If you are a pet owner who's hosting a holiday party, do what you can to meet the needs of your guests and your pets. Provide a safe space for pets to escape overzealous guests, and likewise a separate pet-free room (not the main party space!) for particularly difficult guests. And if Aunty Edna simply cannot tolerate your four-legged little one, invite her over the next morning for a post-party brunch instead.

6. - Getting stuck outside in the cold with no one answering the door.

Maybe I'm super rude, but this seems simple to me. For the guests: Five minute wait, MAX, and that's only if you're the first guest to arrive. That gives time for the possibility that your host is taking a few solitary moments on the necessary or is in the attic/basement getting last-minute supplies. If those five minutes tick by without an answer at the door, you have two options. 1 - Open the door, pop your head in and announce yourself. "Hello? Is anyone home?" This is a party. Your host is expecting a guest. You're not going to take them aback by letting yourself in. But if you simply cannot abide the idea, here's the other option - Ditch the party, and be on your way. Go out for a nice dinner if you've gotten a babysitter. Or go see the lights in a neighborhood you don't frequent. Enjoy your evening instead of standing awkwardly on someone's porch griping about the weather.

For the host: If you know your guests are going to be sticklers for proper party manners, leave a note on the front door inviting them to let themselves in instead of waiting for you to answer the door. Simple as that.

5. - Not being offered a drink.

Again, perhaps I'm oversimplifying... but at most parties I attend, beverages are "serve yourself" instead of "wait impatiently to have service supplied." If you're thirsty, ask your host or hostess where you can find a glass. Either they'll be flushed with embarassment and will scurry to find you a beverage, or they'll point you in the direction of fixings so you can get one yourself. Problem = solved.

4. - Being left alone for too long.

Now, this one I get. It can be frustrating to be invited over for a party only to be left by your onesie. However, try to see things from your host's point of view: They've invited you over, presumably to have a festive holiday shenanigan or two. All of a sudden, Aunty Edna calls and now they're stuck on the phone. Sure, they'll try to hasten back to you promptly. Sometimes that won't be a possibility, because Aunty is stuck in the hospital or has been run over by a reindeer or something. Or maybe your host is just outright rude. But you can either wait until they decide to return, or you can bundle up, thank them for their time and take off into the night. (That would be my course of action if I were left alone on multiple occasions during the same party.)

3. - When the host engages in public displays of affection.

This one really torques my tatas, if you don't mind my saying. You've been invited as a guest in someone's home. Who are you to pass judgment on their actions? Sure, it can be unnerving if your host suddenly disappears into a dark corner and starts making out without ceasing. But in all likelihood, the public display of affection you'll see at a party is a snuggle, a hand-hold, a hug or a brief kiss. And if this is a holiday party, it's likely there will be mistletoe involved. So if you're prudeish, gaze into your eggnog mug while the unpleasantness passes. If you're jealous, grab some willing participant and haul them off for some affection of your own. But if you're just being unreasonable, perhaps it's best that you just stay home.

2. - Not enough toilet paper.

There are two ways this could have come down. 1 - the roll by the toilet has run out. In this case, feel free to pillage through your host's bathroom. Somewhere in there will be a roll to help you in your endeavors. Or, 2 - the entire house is devoid of toilet tissue. In this case, you've got a much bigger problem on your hands. Do what you can with what you have to hand - tissues are an acceptable alternative, as is wrapping paper (which can also play in to the festive atmosphere). And please DO let your host know. They'll want to remedy the situation, instead of blissfully thinking that the bathroom is running itself smoothly.

1. - When the host is texting instead of talking to their guests.

Absolutely. This is abhorrent, and can be due cause for walking out of the party, after a point. In this technological day in age, it's likely that a brief text will be from a partygoer asking what they can bring (and your host asking them for some emergency provisions). So give your host a moment to put the phone away before you get your pheasants ruffled. If it becomes apparent that your host is more interested in their celly than in your presence, try this nifty trick: Text your host. Just a simple "Hey! What's up?" from your phone to theirs, bringing their attention back to the fact that there are people in their home that need attention. If this trick doesn't work, tootle out the door and find yourself a party with a better host.

Monday, December 2, 2013


Yup, I failed.

I lost.

I fell short.

I didn't win NaNoWriMo.

Was I upset?

Well... not really.

Sure, I spent a five-day weekend bingeing on roasted poultry and over-indulging on pie.**1

Sure, I had a brief moment of "Will I ever finish anything that I start? Ever?!"

But that passed pretty quickly.

All in all, I'm proud of myself for trying. I set an interesting goal - 30 poetic works and short stories, 50,000 words, 30 days.

I didn't hit any of those marks.

In the end, I didn't even break 10,000 words. I cobbled together maybe a dozen or so poems and stories, and only half of those were seen through to completion. But I tried.

I do now have a binder of fabulous nuggets that I can wrap up and put out into the void at a later date, once I've polished them and readied them for their debut.

Who knows - Maybe I'll take the world by storm with my rendition of "T'was The Eve Of Thanksgiving."

Or maybe I won't. Maybe I'll just keep plugging along and see if I can't finish my challenge to myself by next November.

For now, I'm focused on Christmas. This is my favorite time of the year, for goodness sake. I'm not going to sully it with frustration and sadness over a dream not realized.

Why would I waste time with that when I could be eating fruitcake and frosting cookies instead?!

**1 Definitely because of the NaNoWriMo loss, and not because of the holiday or anything like that. Definitely.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mother Dear - See Here, See Here...

I am a momma on a mission today, troopers.

Today's undertaking:

Survive a workday while my four-legged little one is at his first day of Doggy Day Camp.

I'm pretty thrilled with the establishment we chose - It's nice and roomy, with separate play areas for dogs of different sizes and web-enabled cameras so over-protective mamas like me can watch through the day.

Our interview this morning went swimmingly, and ended with an assessment of "He's amazing!"

My lunchtime check-in was answered with a "He's doing great! Really excited to be here, he hasn't stopped playing yet."

With any luck, my Young Master will be the sleepiest Young Master this evening. And it will be glorious.

But for now, I sit and I wait and I look forward to seeing him when I get out of work.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

PoNoWriMo Word Count - 6,400

Ah, the infamous word count.

I'm drowning in it, my ReaderFriends.

But it's been so exciting to challenge myself with poetry and short stories through the past two weeks.

(Okay, I'll admit. I've only written three of the past twelve days. But I'm knocking out over 2,000 words each time, so I might reach my word count yet if I keep at it.)

(Or I'll finish some time next year. Whatever.)

Anyway, here's a short selection from yesterday's short story:


I'm going to kill him.

No, I'm quite serious.
It's my wedding day, and I'm going to be standing there at the altar when she walks down the aisle... and instead of looking at me with those sweet, loving eyes that I fell head over heels for, they're going to pop out of her head and she's going to use that panicked whisper to ask me "What the hell do you think you're doing?" because I'm going to be covered in my best man's vital fluids.

And, to top it off, I’m going to have to hug her while I explain what’s going on, just to keep her from hitting me in the head with her bouquet. I'll probably get something sticky on her dress and then she'll be all "I knew it, we should have just eloped." And then she’s going to start to cry.

Which is probably for the best, because she can’t yell at me if she’s busy crying.

I mean, honestly. We're ten minutes from the ceremony, and he tells me now?! My mother is out there.

Her mother is out there.

Oh, God.

Her father is out there.

And he looks fucking pissed.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Now I almost committed a grievous crime here, ReaderFriends.

I almost entitled this Happy Festivus.

Which would have been horrible, thoughtless and wrong.

But today is plentiful with festivity, you know!

In my own home country, we celebrate "Hallowe'en." Pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns and children on raging sugar highs.

But also recognized around the world today are these exciting holidays:

* Samhain, the Gaelic festival of the end of the harvest and turn of the year towards the winter

* Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the Mexican celebration and remembrance of loved ones passed

* Carve a Pumpkin Day, where the harvest season's most plentiful gourd is hollowed out, decorated and set on the front porch with a candle inside**1

But when you ask most people around what today is all about... they talk about the candy.

Trick-or-treating, special festive delicasies and more are all a part of this fabulous day.

Which led me to wonder:

What Does My Halloween Candy Choice Say About Me?

"Everybody likes you, even if they don't enjoy everything about you."

Yup, that'll do just fine.

Happy Holiday, ReaderFriend!

**1 Because that's what sane people do.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Brace yourselves, I've made a decision.

(Yeah. Big deal alert, right here!)

My first dance class being ended, I'm looking forward to a holiday season focusing on other activities I enjoy:

* Baking
* Decorating
* Spending time with family
* Reading
* Napping
* Sniffy pleasantly-smelly things**1
* Snuggling
* Watching cherished children's movies

But specifically, I will have a few moments to focus on something that tends to fall to the wayside in Real Life...
My writing.

(As noted by the fact that I haven't posted in fifteen days. Inexcusable is what that is.)

Friday, as you know, will be November the First.**2 That marks the first day of National Novel Writers' Month, also known as NaNoWriMo.

I've tried NaNoWriMo before, my friends.

It ended with 23,000 words and a feeling of defeat because, in the end, I couldn't meet the 50,000 word mark or even get a cohesive first draft pulled together.

So I set it aside, and now two years have passed.

And over those two years, something remarkable has happened...

I'm no longer the angsty, trapped-in-a-hell-hole admin that had so much snark to share before.

Which means that the fodder upon which my novel so delicately snacked has dried up, withered away, and died off.

So what, then, shall I call upon in times of creative surplus?

A challenge I am imposing upon myself, that's what.

This year, I am inventing for myself this challenge:


That's right - I will be spending the month of November writing a Poetry-Novel.

How, then, does one do that?


Good question. I'm not quite sure.

What I've figured is this:

November lasts for thirty days.

NaNoWriMo calls for writers to write 50,000 words during those thirty days. No structure, just words to paper.

NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writers' Month) - in April - calls for poets to write a poem every day for thirty days. No word count, just completed poetic pieces.

So to meld these, I will be pushing myself to write at least thirty poems in the thirty days, and the word count should total 50,000 words.

I will be focusing on free-form poetry, although I'm certain there will be days that even cobbling a haiku into order will be a momentus undertaking.

But, no matter what I write, there are certain word counts that I'll have to hit:

I could write one poem per day, each with 1,667 words. The total word count would be 50,010.

I could write two poems per day, each with 834 words. The total word count would be 50,040.

I could write one poem per week day and two each week-end, each with 1,283 words. The total word count would be 50,037.

Or I could make myself write any combination of these, allowing shorter poems some days and longer poems other days, and offering myself opportunities to bank poems just in case I get to Thanksgiving and find myself so stuffed with food that I cannot bring pen to paper for the writing part of my day. Opportunities will abound, and I look forward to this creative adventure.

No matter how it goes, and no matter where it takes me, I'll do my best to keep you involved and up to date on the excitement. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

**1 Is there any better-smelling season than the holiday season? Between the cookies and pies, evergreens and spices, fresh-fallen snow and crisp cool air... I think not.

**2 Rabbit Rabbit. I've said it. I've banked it. Come Friday, consider yourself bested.

Monday, October 14, 2013


I've had a busy morning.

Here are the Strokes of Genius that have hit me in just the past hour:
  • YEAH! I just drafted the perfect schedule for the rest of my day, so I can surely get done everything that needs doing with the minimal application of craziness! I'll get through this in no time.
  • AH! I just brained out the perfect solution for a dog gate! I'll build that when I get home.
  • OH! I just dreamed up the perfect solution for a guest book! I'll ask Boyfriend of Amazingness his thoughts when I get home this evening.
    • AIE! I could make an example on my computer, and send him a picture right now! Then I can get to work on it post-haste, his approval notwithstanding.
  • VOILA! I know exactly what I want to make for dinner tonight, and it's not even lunchtime yet! I'm going to nom that chowder's face off.
I'm telling you, ReaderFriends. I may have to have an extra snack today for all the busy brainwork my noggin is doing. I'm practically steaming at the ears right now.

But for now, I must away... I feel a gear turning, and who knows what I'll scheme up next!

Friday, October 11, 2013


This past Monday I posted about all the accomplishments I accomplished on half a tank of gas over the previous weekend.

Today, I post about all the things I need to accomplish this weekend, no matter how much gas it takes me:
  • Yard Work
    • Mow the lawn
    • Rake the lawn
    • Clean the gardens
    • Weed-Whack the edges
  • House Cleaning
    • Completely clean the inside of the house
    • No, really - clean all the things.
  • Dog Training
    • Meet with dog trainer to begin "clicker" training with the Young Master
  • Perform on Saturday evening at a local restaurant
  • Baking
    • Make cookies, muffins and other miscellany for next weekend's party
  • Crafting
    • Make guest book for next weekend's party
  • Socialization
    • Meet up with besticle for birthday dinner
    • Take Young Master for "Blessing of the Pets" ceremony with Mom
    • Spend time remembering how amazing Boyfriend of Amazingness is, and remind him that I appreciate his Amazingness
It's going to be busy, and it's going to be great!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Grin and Bear It

In class last evening, one of my students asked me "How are you always so energetic?"

I hear that question often, with different twists on the adjective, but all with the same general idea:

* Positive
* Upbeat
* Happy

The list goes on, with the same underlying question: How is it that, in this dark world, you remember and continue to shine your light?


That's a good question.

And a difficult one to answer, because typically the honest response is "Because I try."

Which makes me sound conceited, detatched and oblivious to the bad in the world.

Which can lead a Sunny to feel grey and down indeed.

That's why I was so pleased last evening to stumble across this gem from the Huffington Post:

The Habits of Supremely Happy People.

The article discusses what conscious or subconscious efforts Happy People make to maintain their outlook through their day. It's based on the work of Martin Seligman, "the father of positive psychology."**1

They phrase it beautifully, so the article is definitely worth the read. But, if you're strapped for time... the high points are:

1.) Happy people surround themselves with other happy people.

2.) Happy people smile when there's something to smile about, even if it's just in their minds. They don't "fake it."

3.) Happy people are resilient, and don't allow themselves to be beaten down or defeated.

4.) Happy people notice positive moments and simple pleasures in their day, and celebrate them.

5.) Happy people spend time and money on others, giving back to the world around them.

6.) Happy people get lost in the moment.

7.) Happy people express their emotions and talk deeply.

8.) Happy people listen.

9.) Happy people understand the importance of face-to-face time.

10.) Happy people find something positive to focus on, instead of something negative.

11.) Happy people understand the power of music.

12.) Happy people can put down the technology and walk away.

13.) Happy people have a sense of spirituality.

14.) Happy people exercize, spend time outdoors and get enough sleep.

15.) Happy people laugh, and they laugh loudly.

16.) Happy people are happy, and they know it. So their faces surely show it.

**1 Brace yourself, world. I think I just found my post-graduate area of study.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I shouldn't write a blog post today.

Tomorrow I teach a dance class, so I should be using this lunch hour to pull together my lesson plan and ready the music for this evening's practice run.

But during my pre-lesson-plan surfing session through Facebook, I noticed an article that caught my attention.

It is called 20 Things Every Twentysomething Should Know How To Do.

It's from Relevant.Com.

And... it's great.

I figured, with twenty items to check off, the list would have its frivilous ups and downs.

I was wrong.

It started strong, with "Know how to Make A Great Breakfast."

It ended strong, with "Know how to Keep a Good Friend."

And every point in the middle was worth reading.

Whether you're 21 or 12, 29 or 92... I hope you'll check it out.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Half-Tank Weekend

  • Adventure through Our Fair City with a similarly-chromosomed companion
    • A visit to a local consignment shop, where I found (and bought) a skirt identical to the very favorite one I wore to death two years ago
    • A stop at a Mexican eatery for margarita-like beverages (so called because they weren't margaritas at all) and fundido/chips-and-dips/fried plantains
    • Perusal through three separate hippy-chic boutiques, where I found (and bought) a beautiful hip wrap to wear while I dance
    • A brief encounter with a pseudo-wafflehouse for end of evening snacks
    • All while an Art Walk was happening, and every resident of the city and surrounding towns were crowding the sidewalks and storefronts of the land
  • Attend a funeral and burial in my hometown
  • Adventure through my hometown to my Mother's house with the Young Master for a morning of Play and Adventure
    • Dig a large hole in the backyard with the assistance of the Young Master
    • Meet and greet with Mother's dog (success! Minimal snarling, and Young Master seems to be coming out on bottom, cowtowing to the superiority of the older, wiser Mother's Dog)
    • Fill in large hole in the backyard completely contrary to the wishes of the Young Master
    • Sojourn for sammiches just outside of town with Mother and Young Master in tow
  • Find, Coordinate Delivery Of and Receive two absolutely beautiful mirrors for my dance studio
All of this and more.

That is what I accomplished this weekend, and all on half a tank of gas.

Because I'm awesome.

Friday, October 4, 2013


I know I've mentioned more than once that we're preparing for our housewarming party.

And although it may be cliche...

And although it may be pooh-poohed by our friends...

I want to have a guest book.

See, to me, this house is a big deal. Boyfriend of Amazingness and I are not married and have no immediate plans to modify that situation. So signing the paperwork for a thirty-year contract together on the house was our commitment to one another.

And, yes... he carried me over the threshold.

As such an important mark of commitment, it's important to me to have somewhere for our friends to leave their mark.

But I know that a typical guest book isn't our style.

It would get filled out by family memebrs and a few select guests, and would then be left on a shelf to collect dust.

So where does that leave me?

It leaves me with two options:

1.) Give each friend a Sharpie and wish them luck, leaving myself open to finding "Good luck, and best wishes!" written in corners and on baseboards throughout our home...


2.) Getting creative, and finding an alternative solution that we can display proudly without fear of vandalizm striking our home.

I opted for option number two, and a serious session of Pinterest has commenced.

  • Paper keys, with key tags for the well wishes. Keys would then be hung on a pinboard over the mantle
  • A globe, with a heart around our new hometown and space around the rest of the world for well wishes
  • A print of our state, with a heart over our new hometown and space around for well wishes
I know I can figure this out... but Pinterest is a vast and time-sucking land. Send reinforcements, ReaderFriends. I may need help to get out alive.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Attitude Adjustment

Today I need an attitude adjustment. I woke up with a pounding headache and didn't want to leave the snuggly Boyfriend of Amazingness and the snuggly Young Master for the cold, cruel, un-snuggly world.

But I had to, and was faced with a drooling Drama Llama at work who dribbled their drama-spit on my shiny shoes.


The negativity is contorting my whole day.

I don't like it.

I will not allow it.

And so, I must undertake an Attitude Adjustment.

How, you ask?

Like this!

Sunny's Ten Steps to a Brighter Day

1.) Think about Christmas, and what wonderful presents might be given to loved ones.

2.) Think about cookies, and how yummy they are, and consider making a batch tonight to boost my spirits.

3.) Think about other people who like cookies, like the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street, and how they might respond to one from tonight's batch.

3a.) Watch a Cookie Monster video on YouTube.

4.) Remember that there is already some fabulous ice cream in the freezer, bought by someone who loves me very much, so I don't really need cookies.

4a.) Make note to pick up chocolate syrup and whipped cream for optimized ice cream experience this evening.

4b.) Consider making cookies anyway to go with ice cream.

5.) Talk to someone on the phone as if they are the brightest moment of my day. Smile and create an upbeat aura for the conversation, and allow myself to be buoyed by their positive response.

6.) Talk with an always-optimistic-and-upbeat coworker about her dog's latest shenanigans.

7.) Call Boyfriend of Amazingness for a quick lunchtime pick-me-up chat

8.) Remember that Boyfriend of Amazingness will be working this evening, so make a fabulous plan for cheesecake and ice cream and cookies for dinner while watching musicals on TV.

9.) Undertake a Random Act of Kindness.

10.) Make myself laugh until the laugh becomes real, and giggle my way through a brighter afternoon!

I hope your day is bright and Sunny, ReaderFriends!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I want you to know, ReaderFriends, that I haven't forgotten you...

I think about you daily as I search for my writing inspiration.

Today I fear it's hiding at the bottom of Pinterest, where I'm lost amidst pictures of halloween housewarming decorations... but I can't find my way out through the mass-produced cobwebs and clinging decals of zombies.

I miss you, ReaderFriends.

And I'm ever-so-slightly afraid.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Walking Stick

The typical order of operations in our humble home happen something like this:

5:30 - Alarm clock rings

5:31 - I grumble and roll back over for twenty more minutes' rest

5:50 - Boyfriend of Amazingness insists that it is time to get up, and I can't call out unconscious

5:52 - Shower Time

5:53 - Young Master sticks his head in the shower to find out what all the excitement is about

5:53.5 - Young Master complains of a dampened head

5:57 - Boyfriend of Amazingness finishes his shower, goes to dress

6:05 - Boyfriend of Amazingness is dressed and takes the Young Master downstairs to start the coffee

6:10 - I finally convince myself that there's life outside of my shower and that perhaps I should get on with it

6:11 - Boyfriend of Amazingess takes the Young Master out for his morning constitutional

6:20 - I finally decide upon an outfit and make it downstairs to greet Boyfriend of Amazingness and the Young Master as they return from their constitutional and settle in for breakfast

6:30 - Boyfriend of Amazingness leaves for work; Young Master's world comes to a screeching halt

6:35 - After five minutes of prompting and persuading, Young Master remembers that there's another human in the household with whom he might engage

6:37 - Young Master and I set out for a morning walk

6:38 - Young Master insists that we must turn back, for he has forgotten his walking Stick

It's the same every morning. We walk out the door, and make it almost to the end of the driveway before he remembers that something is missing, and we cannot continue forward until it is found.

His walking Stick is the length and bredth of my forearm - exactly the same circumference and only gnawed ever-so-slightly about the ends.**1 It is, by all accounts, the only Stick worth having.

It is the Stick with the capital S.

Sure, other sticks might fill the void for a short time. They might help distract him from his missing companion.

But no stick could e'er replace his Stick.

For instance, one afternoon my fabulous sister puppy-sat for us, on a morning wherein the Young Master would not constitute during his constitutional. For fear of regression of our house-trained pup, I called upon my sister for a lunchtime potty run. She obliged most graciously, but somewhere upon the route of the walk his Stick became lost.

Now, "lost" is a strong term. What happened in my sister's words is that Stick was momentarily set aside in favor of a delectable to-go container that had been cast aside by the road. After he "Dropped It," they were both flushed with success and forgot to retrieve Stick before moving on.

This meant that Stick was lost, as was all hope for future happiness.

The situation was easily resolved when I called Sister and asked if she knew where Stick might be. She directed us, we retrieved Stick and the world was right again. But for those short hours, life was the absolute worst it had ever been.**2

And so, my morning routine is set. I rise, I shine, I walk with Stick.

And it is good.

**1 Of note because the Young Master is a "power chewer." Thank goodness for Kong, whose resistance to puppy teeth resets my hope for the future of nice things in my home.

**2 Ironic for a pup whose baby-making paraphernalia has only been missing for a month. To me, that would be a greater catastrophe... but perhaps his incessant licking of his nethers has reassured him that he's as whole as he needs to be.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Never Thought...

I don't remember where I saw the book that noted "Things I Never Thought I'd Say Until I Was a Parent."

But it was exactly what it sounds like, and it was comedy gold.

Within its pages, parents had noted utterances they never expected to pass their lips until they had offspring who started pushing boundaries and learning about the world around them.

Or maybe it never really existed at all... maybe it's only in my mind. A hodge-podge of different executions of the same concept. Like the web page created by a fellow Educator of Organized Religion, where we noted phrases we never thought would come up in a Sunday morning class. Things like "Yes, sweetheart, that's a very fine sword. But it doesn't belong in his tofu box." (Mentioned during a Halloween party, wherein a ninja was terrifying a large box of tofu. Yeah... the context doesn't make it sound any less crazy. But we had fun!)


Having thus far remained childless, I hadn't the need to deploy any oddly-phrased requests in my day-to-day life. I mean, sure... sometimes I have to say some awkward stuff to my EngineerFriends to keep them in line. But nothing really, truly out of the ordinary**1, and nothing in my own home.

That is... until the Young Master joined our ranks.

He's been with us for just a few days more than a full month. And every single day has been full of "Honey, look what he's doing now!" and "Aww, aren't you just the cutest when you [snuggle in daddy's armpit] [have peanut butter all over your face] [insert typical puppy activity here]..." and "No. NoNoNoNoNo. That is not how we treat [the coffee table] [new insect friend] [mama's arm]."

But on occasion, a form-letter response isn't what the situation calls for.

On occasion, I say Something I Never Thought I'd Say, Until I Was a Parent.

   10.     Oh, oh dear. No, honey, I'm sorry... You killed the bug. You can't play with bugs after they die.

    9a.    Sweetheart, don't lick Daddy when he's in the shower.

    9b.    Okay... hold still, please. Lets get those icky bubbles off of your tongue.

    8.      Oh, honey! Did your fart scare you?

    7.      I don't know what you just fished out of the couch, but spit it out. We don't eat couch treasures.

    6.     Could you not with the teeth, please?
    5.     Honey, if you don't belong in the refrigerator, then your tennis ball doesn't either.

    4.    No, no, no... it's okay, sweetheart. Look! There's no other doggy in the oven. See? Just you!

    3.    Seriously?! We're in the car! What did you find that crunches?! Stop crunching!

    2.    There's room for exactly one tongue in my mouth, and yours isn't it.

    1.     I'm going to die in this burrito of hell**2, smothered by body heat and dog kisses. But at least I'll die happy and loved.

**1 At least, not since the licking incident.

**2 A phrase I coined whence my two male counterparts undertook sleeping upon either side of me on top of the comforter, while I was underneath trapped by their body weight on the blankets and the overwhelming body heat emanating from each party.