Currently - Life Catch Up // Bloggy Brunch

I always hate writing these because they feel like they don't have a point, and yet "currently" or catchup posts are my absolute favorite things to read from others.  I have no idea what my problem is.  Haha.  Anyway, here's what's going on in my life since...what, January?  I've been sporadic since then.

Looking forward to: Work has been its usual good self, nothing to report there.  I change schedules starting in May so that Allyn and I can be on the same days on and off and it's going to be incredible.  We've only been waiting FOREVER for this.  I feel like what anxiety and annoyance I have about work will be wiped away.  I'm trying to stay realistic about that because a truck driver will always burst in and call me a retard (no, that really happened last week) no matter whose shift I'm on.  But it'll be a change of coworkers and schedule off work.

I'm also looking forward to spring, and car shows!  I fully intend to hit up a ton of them this year, as well as write more articles for Hot Rod Time.  I always struggle on wondering if what I have to say is interesting (see: this blog post) and I end up not writing anything.  TIME TO JUST LET IT GO.  I was bummed out when I realized we would be missing arguably the two coolest car events I could attend--Viva Las Vegas, and Wasteland Weekend.  But they're annual events, so it just gives me time to work on my figure for the first, and my costume for the second, right?

Reminiscing: Allyn and I had a precious one day off work in February (or was it January? idk) and we went on a sort of 'tour' for ghost towns all over Tooele County.  We hit up Ophir, Mercur's cemetery--the creepiest place I have e v e r been, and I've been in medieval Swedish cemeteries and Viking burial mounds-- Eureka, and the Tintic Standard Reduction Mill.  It was the PERFECT day except I was still suffering morning sickness and had to scream at Allyn to get the f away from me so I could go be sick in some bushes.   Twice.....  Anyway, a great day all around, and good follow up to our visit to the Home of Truth in January.  It's so great to have a partner who supports and shares my morbid fascination with rotting societal remains. And when we get our schedules aligned, not only will we see each other, but we can go exploring more!

Obsessing over:  So many things.  First that comes to mind is Bates Motel.  This show has hit it out of the park since season 1, and though I'm not a "tv aficionado" I pride myself on my taste in stories.  And damn was this ever a crazy story.  The last season in particular, this season, has been on point every single moment.  They're not going the True Blood way, where they ruin every single positive plot and run the thing into the ground.  Bates is ending after this season and I think I may be the saddest person on the planet because of it.  I'm also totally obsessed with the footage from Rammstein: Paris, and caaaaaaaan't waaaaaaaaait to own it.  In the meantime I may see if I can use the footage to paint a few Till studies, i.e., the subject I enjoy painting most of all.

he's just so...so...photogenic and all

Planning:  Hard to believe, but, another Tennessee trip!  I have been stressed over ticket prices and whether or not Allyn and I would get ANY damn time off together in our lives, but we jumped the gun and got some great tickets.  I very, VERY rarely travel with others.  Allyn, minus a trip to a ballpark, has been in the West his entire life, so we are both excited at a "new" experience for both of us.  I have come to understand through planning trips the last decade that I am like the wise old sage of travel.  That's super weird considering I'm a cranky shut-in who likes her cat and Till Lindemann.  But it's nice to plan trips, and I find myself "in my element" when I am booking tickets, looking at itineraries, comparing activities and all of that.  I think I will just always have a bit of traveler in me despite the homebody-ness.  I'm happy with it.

Frustrations:  Honestly, food?  I had this great plan of getting back to LCHF and finishing off the massive weight loss I had, and then BOOM nope! I couldn't stand the sight of a vegetable for a good 2 months, and now my excuse is more "cravings" and "convenience" than anything else.  I live with two men, and one of them won't eat practically anything I touch because I use white-people flavors.  I like cooking big extravagant meals, but there's always waste, and I always get frustrated and decide to never do it again when it feels like I am the only one stuffing down the healthy food while everybody else runs out to get hamburgers and Panda Express.  But I really need to get it under control.

I'm also having a lot of frustration with the whole "intrusiveness" of making a life and all that.  I am not one to lay everything on the table anyway, but now I get "how are you feeling" a good thirty times a day.  What if I say I feel like I want to run into traffic and jump off a bridge? Do people even listen?  It's just like a "check-in" button that means nothing.  Then when I complain about symptoms or feeling like a whale or whatever problem I'm having, they shut it down.  It's like that twitter post:

But like everything else, the appropriate response is to just ignore and forget about it, over and over again.  I truly don't think that people mean badly with it, but it adds to the exhaustion.  I prefer to be treated like a normal adult, same as I've always preferred, and I'm thankful for those who have the ability to see that.  I've just never wanted to run away and build a cabin in the woods more than I do now.

Which leads up to the last part of this post:

Thinking about:  I have wanted to make the jump back into school for geology or chemistry for awhile now, and couldn't really find the motivation or more specific niche within those communities.  Now I'm remembering how great it was to grow up in a forest, surrounded by nature, and what a magical childhood I had (minus the beatings and screamings you know) and how I definitely don't want to raise a family in suburbia.  I somehow came across the idea that working in Forestry was a good idea.  I would even consider wildland firefighting, (heavily!) but with a degree I could do so much more.  Fish and wildlife, parks, environmental science, and naturally move to areas in close proximity to nature for whatever work.  I could even keep up my credentials with fire and rescue, and work to make people+nature safer, which is a passion of mine. Kind of sounds like paradise, and also kind of sounds like I'll be going back to school soon.


The Time I Dodged Being Used in Child Porn

Note:  My story is unfortunately not atypical for a youth in foster care.  Rape, abuse, neglect and emotional harm are all rampant in the system.  If you'd like to help please don't hesitate to search for your local foster care groups -- even if you can't parent, you can still volunteer, become a CASA, or otherwise make a difference.

It's funny how the past fragments sometimes.  Mostly I just have two big bundles of my shitty childhood.  There's "home" and "foster care."  Foster care consisted of home after home after home, and subsequent disappointments (of mine and my foster parents'...) it really just blurs into one miserable lump until something comes into my consciousness that demands attention.  That's usually when my therapist learns about it, I get to revisit it and process it, and occasionally rant about it here because that's how I do.  When it's time to share, well, it's time to share.

The foster care system just about breaks its neck getting parents and kids reunited, even though logic would dictate that isn't always a reasonable or good thing.  Some families suck.  If "reunification with bio parents" (I remember all the shitty legal terms) isn't possible, sometimes an alternative in the State's eyes is a permanent guardian in the child's family--think aunt, uncle, grandparent.  The theory here again is that family=better than strangers.  I might even argue for that one, but on a case by case basis.  Sorry, but blood does not guarantee safety, as I unfortunately learned when I was sixteen.


Better than Positivity

I've made it no secret that I detest the syrupy all-positive narrative that infests everything on social media.  Probably the biggest reason I never dove head-first into that "make money with your blog" thing isn't because I don't care to write, I do, or that I don't see it as a good investment, I do, but nobody wants to hear negative things or failures or venting or ranting or anger.  Not just the blogosphere, but even micro-blogging sites (Instagram, Snapchat) and our personal accounts are de facto "not allowed" to say "this shit's terrible!"

I don't mean to say that I scroll through the news looking at horror stories, that's just as bad.  I long to read and see and hear about and talk about, and live, something that's better than positivity--perseverance.  There's a million things I could even say about it right now, but I'm trying to stay on topic here.  Day to day people and relationships are so much different than the curated posts and photos.  I hear and see struggles and the people in my life impress me with their resilience, maturity, and perseverance.  That's so much better, so refreshing, and it teaches me so much more than "derr, sit down and write five happy things about today!"  Lay off.

Anyway, I thought I'd share my favorite passage about this...at least, that's how I interpret it.  Why people persevere and keep going.  The true answer? No reason.  A million reasons.

“The garden is one of the two great metaphors for humanity.
The garden is about life and beauty and the impermanence of all living things.  The garden is about feeding your children, providing food for the tribe.  It’s part of an urgent territorial drive that we can probably trace back to animals storing food.

It’s a competitive display mechanism, like having a prize bull, 
this greed for the best tomatoes and English tea roses.
It’s about winning; about providing society with superior things; and about proving that you have taste, and good values, and you work hard.

And what a wonderful relief, every so often, to know who the enemy is.  Because in the garden, the enemy is everything: the aphids, the weather, time.

And so you pour yourself into it, care so much, and see up close so much birth, and growth, and beauty, and danger, and triumph.
And then everything dies anyway, right?
But you just keep doing it.”


2017 Haircut!

I cut my hair!

Oh no you don't. You're about to go, "and?" Don't you dare.

I'm going to sound incredibly vain and Leo-esque for a moment; my hair has been my life's prize possession, I'm talking about my entire childhood and all adult years. I have no idea where this started, but I imagine it was my dad; he had really long hair, and there was no discussion of whether or not we (including my mother, sister, and me) kept our hair long. We just did it because he demanded it. In fact, both my mother and myself were privy to a secret haircut, courtesy of my aunt and grandmother, and both times my dad freaked the everloving hell out when we came home with chopped locks.

I have no idea where his Puritan lady-hair ideals came from, because I'm pretty sure that Satan himself is more religious than my dad. I never figured it out, but didn't argue because I loved having long hair. I have always been into fairy tales and warrior princesses, before I even read about Eowyn. I kept it long in foster care, cut it off for graduation, HATED it, and waited years to cut it again. HATED it. I cried as soon as I was a safe distance from the barber's chair both times.

So in my early 20's I dedicated myself to long hair, happily. I didn't look back and no amount of the "it's just hair, it grows" comments lessened my fear of scissors. Truly I was a female Samson! I can't stress enough that I would probably bargain my soul and anyone else's soul (except my cats) if it meant choosing soul, or my long hair. It would be like suggesting to someone that they take out their eyeballs and just go blind. Nope.  And the strangest part is that since I periodically trim the extra-extra-EXTRA dead ends, my hair actually got shorter!  It was getting trimmed faster than I could grow it.  That's very discouraging for any long-haired wisher.

Anyway, how did this change of heart happen? It just did one day. I was just so tired of mixing colors or spending time on styles, and most of all, I was tired of the big dead weight of damaged hair trailing down my back. It only looked good if I put ten conditioners and treatments and glosses in, and then styled it after blowdrying it.  I think that hair is a testament to the crappiness I dealt with over the past few years, and honestly it just reminded me of all the struggling I endured from 2011-2016.  What a mess.  Back to the maintenance-- if you know me, you know I like to roll out of bed and go, so this product+styling+management+money+time drain was obviously not my style--if I'm going to have long hair, it needs to be healthy enough to look good with a simple brushing.

I finally accepted that it didn't anymore. And instead of some big cataclysmic moment where I sobbed dramatically or wrote a love letter to my hair and begged it to work with me, I just woke up and thought, "I'm cutting this shit off." Haha! Who even am I? That is SO not like me, I'm even still weirded out by the origin of the decision. Every time I try to bring some deeper rationalization into it, there's nothing. It was just a random decision made on a random day. Not only was it a random split decision, but I actually stuck with it!

I made the appointment at Array Salon, the literal only place I will trust my hair in anyone's hands, and then fretted the entire next week, trying to convince myself to wait for the appointment and not pull a Mulan and whack it off with a katana in the middle of the night. Luckily, there was no katana within reach. I wanted my hair gone, but I wanted to still look decent and adult. So it was important to get it done right.

I had no idea how right! Tonni is an amaaaaazing stylist and colorist. She basically finished all my sentences when I explained what I was going for. There were several times I just said, "Do what you want" because at that point I was ready to go full-blown Furiosa. Instead, I got the blond with some red in--exactly what I wanted-- because my skin-tone is definitely not suited to that grey-ash blond everyone's sporting (looks great, just not on me!) and I wanted more of a golden than a grey. I got the perfect length and I LOVE everything from styling my hair, to coordinating makeup and wearing cute outfits. Even my earrings look cuter now!

I keep waiting to suddenly wake up and miss my hair and cry, or feel "not like myself" since my identity and self-image was so strongly tied to long, red hair.  But I don't feel different.  I still feel like Alex, just Alex without a foot of raggedy carpet on the back of her head.  I guess it's a midlife crisis/almost 30 thing, but I'm totally fine with that too.

So, if you're in the Salt Lake area and in need of a stylist, THIS IS ME TELLING YOU WHAT TO DO.  Also, if you're on the fence about cutting off your hair, all I can say is, you'll know when you truly want it gone.  I hesitated years ago, cut it anyway, and spent years regretting it.  This was much different.  Of course, I also got excited about a new vacuum last week, so maybe I'm just getting old.