2012 in Review.

2012 has been one hell of a ride, that's for sure.  It didn't start off so well, in Virginia in a bad place with my husband, stuck in a location and relationship that didn't suit me.  I think it has been a great year to learn and explore, and most importantly 2012 has seen me realize several of my dreams.

The year was full of meeting new friends...some on this blog! I am very lucky for the magical people in my life.  

And this year was also packed with adventures. Here are a few of them.

I visited Sweden for the first time since 2009.
I saw Rammstein in Denver.
I went back to college.
I enjoyed the Utah Arts Festival and Red Butte Gardens.
I took some pills....
went back to Tennessee...
and had an amazing Halloween.
Recently I celebrated Utah's first snow of the year.

I'm ending the year with an adventure too.  I'm currently in Sweden! It's been great.

2012 was also an amazing period full of learning about myself, self-exploration, venting, and facing some hard life lessons, but in the best way possible.  I don't have negative feelings about anything that's happened to me this year, even the hard stuff.  Usually I do have some reservations and regret, but this year has shown me so much and I've gained so much from it that looking at losses seems a bit silly.

For the first time ever in print (or web) I shared my foster care story.
I learned a lesson about the past.
I also went public with my suicidal thoughts.
And shared my experiences with depression.
My most difficult day was when I ran into my Dad.
And my best day of the year involved a letter in the mail...

So there you have it, 2012 in more or less a few links!  Thanks to all of you who have turned up to show support and enjoy my madwoman rantings.  I promise soon to fill you all in on my Swedish holiday adventures, but I have a new year to ring in!!  Bring on 2013.  :)


It's the (sometimes very) little things.


 So, I won't lie, I haven't been well recently.  Not by a long shot.  Anytime there's erratic pauses in my blogging you can bet that I'm turning over some turmoil in my head.  And I've warned my readers that my depression gets to all new lows in winter.  I've been obsessing over death lately and honestly, I felt (and feel) that my purpose, if I ever had one, is over and I can't do anymore for the world.  I can't do good for the world.  I've been feeling like I'm destined to end up like my family.  

I think about them, how they're so sheltered and they live in this sort of false reality where emotional outbursts, physical violence, drugs, discrimination, laziness, and immaturity rule the day.  Because I am so emotional lately I just feel like I'm going to be the same way they are.  And if I dare say it, I've been feeling jealous of them, too.  Ariel may be a 20 year old with a baby, but at least she has a son who depends on her.   A baby to look at that's her own.  My mom is basically the worst human being ever mashed together genetically but she's had a successful 25 year marriage.  I know most people don't count being physically abused and mentally a slave to your husband "successful"...but she does.  They all do.  I may have spoken too soon about growing a beard and being suicidal, because the beard is next on my to-do list.

I was talking to a friend about this Saturday and he asked if anything would make me feel better.  Oddly enough I mentioned that snow would make me feel better.  I wanted it to be a cozy beautiful sparkling wonderland, not a cold dead depressing suicide garbageland outside.  Not twenty minutes later as I prepared to leave, it started snowing.  It snowed all weekend.  This morning while I was waiting on my bus to work it snowed, and I looked down at my hair and saw this.

(Because everyone keeps asking me) yes this is a real snowflake.  It landed on my hair for maybe ten seconds, long enough for me to gasp, take a photo, then look again--and it was gone.  I was so excited.  Others fell and were equally majestically amazing, but this one seemed special.  Maybe because it landed right there, or because I got the perfect photograph.  I've seen snow my entire life and I've never seen anything like this.  Henri put it best: "It's like nature wanted to show you something beautiful."

So, thanks, Nature.  I do love the way you form water droplets around pollen and dust and make this breathtaking art.  Why people need a god in their lives, I will never understand.  Look at this, isn't it enough?

And if that weren't enough, take a look at this email conversation: 

(Her) After talking to you yesterday we both felt happy because we really think you are wonderful. We have made our decission, and would be glad to have you as our new family member :)  Please let us know as soon as you have decided!
(Me) Ahhh! That is wonderful news indeed! I was so hoping you would say that because I really feel like we clicked and I would love to come be a part of the family.  I was hoping you would want me to. Well I guess I will be bringing all my identification to Sweden in a week!

(Her) Wiiiieeee! Oh, i think this Will be as you would say... AWSOME! Your so welcome dear!! Im so happy! :D
See you soon our Patricia!
Warm hugs

She said our Patricia.


I get a Swedish family.

Music Monday.

I generally only do this if I feel there's music worth sharing.  And while I'd love to put together a whole list of some of the amazing music I've found lately, I just don't have the time.  Sweden is in 11 days.  I have even more exciting news about that, so stick around.  In the meantime....I know that this song will remind everyone of someone.  Hopefully they're worth it.

It sure is hard to dance across the room when you've got
one foot on the floor and one foot outside the door.

I want nothing more than to dance with you.

The peace I've known, floating along,
The deep green river with you and a song
is something like the peace I hope
to make with you my whole life long.

I want nothing more than to float with you.

paddling through the hail storm, clothes ravaged, the leaves all torn,
a part of me was born.

Why care about yesterday's haze
when the stars above are all ablaze?
Why care about the coming dawn
when the moon pours now, its searchlight strong?

I want nothing more than to dance with you.
I want nothing more than to float with you.


What Santa Means.

(Santa and I at Wheeler Farm)

As you may or may not know, I now work for Santa.  Not only that, I'm an assistant manager for Santa! (quick promotion amirite?)  Every weekday morning I see him coming out of the mall with security escort and toward our little cottage area, and every weekday morning I get to greet him with a big cheery "Good morning, Santa!" I know it might seem silly but I feel so privileged when I say those words.  What kid doesn't want to meet Santa, to thank him for all he does and ask him about the North Pole all day long? 

I've gotten some flack lately for believing in Santa, from both friends and a co-worker. WHO BY THE WAY SHOULDN'T NOT BELIEVE IN SANTA SINCE HE WORKS FOR SANTA. I'M TALKING TO YOU BEN.  In Sweden, it seems to be common and accepted for kids to grow up knowing that Santa is Mom and Dad or whoever, and both atheists and Christians alike have accused my belief in Santa of being hypocritical, as I'm strictly opposed to any religion.

To me, the idea of Santa has nothing to do with religion.  I wish I could properly explain just how much this idea really does mean to me, but it's one of those things you can't put in words.  Little kids will see him through the doorway, they'll scream, "HE'S REAL!" and some of them will bolt to the door and hug him fiercely, just as they'd hug a family member.  Seeing the unbridled joy and innocence from so many kids and adults every day is just part of what makes Santa so great.  I also admire the parents who come in, encourage their children to tell Santa thank you for all the hard work he does, how much the parents admire this hardworking gift-giver.  They take no credit for their work, it's all Santa.

And I grew up believing that Santa lived in a castle at the North Pole, that he was hundreds and hundreds of years old...that he was in fact just a very generous wizard who happened to love the best part of humanity; charity.  Giving without needing thanks, giving in fact at night when everyone was asleep and no one could disturb his work.  Instead of breaking into your house to TAKE stuff, Santa breaks in to GIVE.   Is that not the epitome of kindness?  Not only that, but he loves cookies...and he has reindeer, one of my favorite animals.  It's just a formula for a beautiful, warm feeling.

I don't know what made my parents turn from depressing hillbillies into slightly less depressing hillbillies right around Christmas time.  Our Christmas celebrations were something to behold.  From my dad shooting down mistletoe with a rifle, to sneaking out into the forest at night to chop down our Christmas tree, to the antique German Christmas ornaments my mother hoarded like Gollum over the Precious....everything was just wonderful.  We had cards from tons of family and friends taped up over our entryway door.  Tinsel and a gorgeous wooden Nativity scene was prominently displayed on our piano.  And every year Dad would sit quietly and play his Gibson while Mom, Ariel, and I decorated the tree in near-silence.  

We drove around at night and looked at Christmas-lights on houses.  We sang carols.  We climbed to the top of a mountain to view one of our local parks', Fields of the Wood, light display at night.  We drank egg nog and made sausage balls and shrimp dip and lemon pie and everything was just wonderful and beautiful.  Sometimes it even snowed, enough snow to give the ugly shack we lived in a really cozy 'cabin' feeling, and it looked like maybe we were normal and functioning in whatever way we were capable of.  And it was all in anticipation of that big night, the night Santa came and our stockings were bursting with presents the next morning.  Despite the disappointment and heartaches that followed every Christmas morning, it was worth it to feel loved and noticed and taken care of, those few short weeks in December.

I believe in Santa because he reminds me of happy and simple times, because he reminds us all to give selflessly and keep others in mind, and because he is a magical figure who lives in a castle surrounded by the Northern Lights and flying reindeer.  

Here is the Santa (and his wife Mrs. Claus) that I work for.  The second photo was our test picture we took this morning when the camera wasn't working.  Well, it worked on this pic!