Where Do Wants Come From

(sorry, word vomit warning: consider this an Honest to Blog entry)

I'm in one of those contemplative moods again--it's funny, sometimes these questions just appear to me from out of the great Nowhere and I feel like it's some kind of test that I have to figure out the answer to, and then I obsess over it for days.  Who is asking the question? It must be me, but it feels like it's coming from somewhere else.

Two things have made me think about this recently--firstly, my friend Charity posted a clip on Facebook about what you really want (taken from the Notebook) you know, one of those "but what do you REALLY want?" things, and she listed some of her wants afterward, then posed the question.


I guess that question in itself caught me off guard because lately I haven't been thinking that deeply, but then I read this article (thanks Kaelah) which talks about how we waste time "finding" ourselves when our "selves" are simply there, waiting.  It brought to mind a quote I love: "The horrible things that happened to you didn't make you: you always were."

One of those life-changing questions for me, several years ago, was that exact dilemma--are we who we are? Or are we what our life has shaped us?  I could go on about why I believe that I have always been myself, and it would include a lot of depressing childhood stories and memories and tales of resilience, but maybe I'll save that rant for another day.  The point is, I do believe we are who we are, and it's not the circumstance that changes us, but rather our reactions to circumstances that reinforce who we were to begin with, that really showcase who we are rather than create some sub-personality trait(s). 

Anyway, with this philosophy in mind, I had to ask myself what it was I truly wanted from life at this very moment.  Things have definitely not gone in a linear or even slightly understandable way--ever, really--but particularly from the moment I turned 24.  I've done a lot of traveling, but I don't think in retrospect I was "finding myself."  I was looking for something else.  Maybe a home.  Maybe acceptance.  Maybe success.  I think it was a bit of all of these.  I sidestepped around the whole western hemisphere and landed right back here in Utah, more confused than ever.  So maybe like the article suggested, it's time to listen to myself and not try to find or locate anything or anyone.

So, what do I want?  The answer comes pretty quickly and easily.  I want an education.  I want to go to school and learn about geology and chemistry and with some luck, nuclear physics. I want to give myself a second chance at math and actually believe that I'm intelligent; my fear of being stupid is a huge roadblock in my life and it's time to confront it.  Looking at other aspects of my life, they've changed but I'm content with what they are (home, job, social life, personal life.)  One thing that I get hung up on, in fact, the hugest thing I get hung up on in therapy these days is mourning who I "could have been."  As in, what would have happened to me, this person I've always been, had I been brought up in a nurturing, learning-appreciative environment, and not a hillbilly version of Auschwitz. 

This answer came pretty easily to me and that's strange considering that I have been afraid of going back to school for years.  Basically since I left college and went out into the real world I sort of vowed that school was off the table until I won the lottery and married Till Lindemann and raised an empire of savage warriors who could protect me emotionally while I learned.  Again, I have a pretty big fear of my own stupidity, and a lot of remorse at imagining what I could have done in a happier home.  

But then the looming question surfaced: Where does this want come from? That led to a snowball of deeper questions--where do all wants come from? Are some wants more credible than others?  How do I know if this want is credible?  What is the shelf life on wants?  

I surmised (I think correctly) that I have always had this desire, but I want this now because other facets in my life I have been working on, are pretty stable and I have put things where I want them.  I am not agonizing over how awful my job is or how I feel unloved or how my apartment is a junky mess.  Those things are in order.  I've succeeded.  So the next phase of my life goals has simply slipped into my subconscious wants, and when I called out to see what I should work toward, it popped up.  This is really fascinating to me and sort of reinforces the whole "we are who we are" thing.  I didn't decide to go to science because all of my life experience pointed me there.  Man, I was doing the science thing in first grade.  My biology teacher in high school actually made a personal call to my parents after some ridiculous statewide test that I aced with no studying whatsoever--I fucking love science, man.  I remember feeling so disheartened every time I changed schools because my math skills suffered the most, and I was unable to keep up in chemistry class.  I remember basically eating my entire geology book for the one geology class I took because I was so fascinated.  I remember having a rock collection at ten years old, the only source of rock identification being our dusty old encyclopedia's from the 70's.  

But, due to circumstances, I couldn't (or wouldn't) even think about school or science or being the next Marie Curie with a way less pleasurable accent.  Now, also due to circumstances, I am allowed to think about it and even plan for it--my FAFSA was just filed last week.  To me it's mindblowing, and honestly confusing, since "you're too dumb for school" has been a mantra I've carried since being a kid.  I struggled through EMT school with self-doubt the entire time and just about had a panic attack my first day on campus.  I think that I have more confidence now than I did then, having accomplished more, and I also think that I have calmed the fuck down and can listen to myself better.  It's still strange being excited for something you've been too terrified to even visualize for most of your teenage and adult life, or having a sudden want that feels like part of you, but that was "hidden." 

It really makes me wonder what other wants I have currently that I am not assessing or even noticing.  I'm sure they're there, I just have no idea how to activate them.  Maybe that's for the best--school is a big undertaking on its own and enough to concentrate on.  Still, it makes me curious for the future (something I normally am not.) 


I Jumped 855 Feet - Twice

I just got back from Vegas, and have a LOT to talk about--some good, some bad, some ugly--but I have to mention the Skyjump first and foremost.

Video will be linked here asap; it is taking FOREVER to upload to YouTube.

Back in 2014, I leapt 855 feet from the Las Vegas stratosphere.  I never thought I'd experience the feeling again, but after getting back to the Strip and watching little bodies fly off the edge over and over I knew it was something I needed to do again.

It's not a bungee jump, but an actual free fall off the tower's edge.  You're hanging onto a safety rope and it slows about fifty feet from the ground, so it's full speed until you hit the bottom (and if you're me, trip all over the attendant who catches you.) 855 feet is no joke; it's taller than Hoover Dam!  The actual fall is somewhere between 14 to 17 seconds, which is a looooooong time to fall. Since my original blog entry about the jump was eaten, I'll summarize how it felt.

It was terrifying the first time.  From the moment I checked in, all throughout getting my equipment checked and re-checked, I was absolutely petrified and time seemed to move in liquid-slow motion.  I heard one great bit of advice, I forget from who--the attendants give a countdown. DON'T hesitate after the countdown, just use that as your 'sentencing' and go.  I did just that, and even though the half hour leading up to the jump I felt like I was walking to an electric chair or some other gruesome death, the moment my feet left the ground I felt amazing.

It's hard to explain why but I've always felt and noticed that adrenaline-kickstarts or near-death experiences really seem to 'readjust' my brain and make me feel happy for weeks, or even months, afterward.  I noticed this first in 2012, when my friend Brad and I went on this terrifying drop thing at a theme park in Utah called the Skycoaster.  He had to unhitch our cable and send us dropping several hundred feet. At the time he had been suffering really crippling depression and nothing I could do or say made the kid smile, but letting us loose in air seemed to make him actually happy--he talked about it for months and how nothing compared to the feeling of almost dying.  Chase, who has combat-related PTSD, has flat out told me the same thing: he's like me and loves the unnecessary brushes with death...like me, they make him feel alive and happy. I seriously wonder if someone should start funding skyjumps for therapy or something.

So for this jump, I was prepared.  There was still a bit of fear, but seeing the other jumpers and remembering that exuberant feeling, loving being alive, made me strengthen my resolve.  When the time came, I was putting on my clothes and heard my partner jumper ask a question to the attendant.  I immediately halted, recognizing her accent.  "Where are you from?"

"Sweden," she said.

"Ah...jag pratar svenska."

Her face lit up, she couldn't believe it!  This girl was jumping for her first time, in Vegas for the first time, and she was scared and petrified and not only could I guide her through what to do and how to prepare for the jump, but I could even speak her language and discuss her country with her! The 108 floor elevator ride was full of Swenglish and exchanging our ideals on the quirks of socializing in Sweden versus America.  Everything transformed so quickly into being supportive and chatty that I almost forgot what awaited me, until I stepped out onto that blue little ledge.

And then I was like "oh...shit." HAHA.

But it was beautiful.  A wonderful, lengthy flight, an actual leap of faith.  Sailing down alongside the tower and drinking in all of Vegas's night lights.  I would recommend it to anyone.

Would you jump?


Should You Get an Undercut?

A coworker asked me the other day, "why do you shave the bottom of your hair?" I was taken aback by the question and realized it's not something I really talk about.  Why not give a little insight on it?  When I researched female undercuts there was a hilariously small amount of information online for those of us that weren't going full Furiosa under there.

My story
I LOVE undercuts.  On men, they look absurdly handsome, and on women, they look SO badass.  I am glad they've made a comeback (on men) and are a new trend for the ladies.  But it's one of those "things" --- even though I think it looks great, I'd never shave off a huge chunk of my hair on the side, or sides.  It's just not me, and though everyone says "it's hair, it'll grow", it's not that simple when you have hypothyroidism.  For me, half an inch of growth is a damn miracle and to get that half inch without it all being split ends is twice the miracle.

A Small Jump
So I thought I would just have undercut envy forever, until I saw a post on /r/fancyfollicles where a girl had taken a small leap, like an Alex sized leap, and got a tiny little triangle nape of the neck cut.  From there I spoke to a few others who sang praises of the wimpy undercut and I was sold.  Went and got it that day.  I've now had my undercut for over a year.  Here are my thoughts--the good, the bad, the ugly!

1.  It's supposed to help with tangled hair.  It didn't, for me.  Not sure why, but what a bummer, because this was a huge selling point for me.  I have fine, thick hair and it tangles like a barbie doll's hair.  I wear collared shirts at work and this just won't do if I choose a down-do, so I was pretty disappointed when the shave made absolutely no difference in the amount of rat's nest my hair can produce in half an hour.  However, other girls on reddit said it did help with their tangles.  Believe who you will, maybe it has to do with different hair textures.

2.  It's supposed to be cooler.  It's not.  I don't notice much of a difference, to be honest.  This is another selling point that other girls on reddit claimed worked.  Maybe it has to do with thickness of the hair shaft, but my hair is superrrrrr thick, with a very fine shaft, and this didn't help one way or the other.  Thick, fine hair is prone to tangling anyway, so maybe we're just cursed.

3.  It looks pretty nifty.  I have to admit I like the look, when I wear my hair up.  It gives me incentive to wear it up more often and it shows off my neck tattoo.  Me gusta.  As a fashion statement, it's very appealing!

4. It caused ingrown hairs.  Is this something that's common for everyone who shaves their head?  I never have had a problem with acne on my scalp, but after getting this it got rampant.  But it wasn't pimples, it was all ingrown hairs.  That was frustrating and gross.  I still have them now and then when I get it trimmed.

5. It requires upkeep, frequently, and it's not something you can do yourself.  Maybe with a double mirror, but especially when it comes to keeping the shape up, I wouldn't trust myself to do it.  If you let it go too long, it gets soooo aggravating.  Again, I can't imagine what men go through with short haircuts their whole lives.  What a pain! (Maybe that's how they feel about heels and makeup)  I originally wanted one of the cute little designs like in the above photos, but honestly I would never see it and I am too lazy/busy to spend time in the salon for something like that.  If it's you to be more high maintenance than me, go for it!

6.  It might give you the courage to go full throttle.  If you're one of those badasses who wants a real Mad-Max apocalyptic 'do, maybe try this first and see how it feels.  Honestly, mine was very small when I started and I've gradually enlarged the surface area of the undercut (in the hopes it would help with detangling, but nope.)  So do consider that, feisty peeps!

All in all I keep the undercut because I really do like the bit of edge it gives my look (despite being a conservative, Mormon-looking beauty minimalist, I am still a tough bitch dammit) and I would rather deal with the issues above than wait for the shit to grow back out.  So there you have it.  Hopefully this helps anyone looking for answers, and if anyone has other experience or details (or questions) about undercuts, please let me know!


Utah Lake

Warning, pic heavy post!

I think all I keep saying anymore on this blog is "haha I'm busy doing things with people, that's so weird!" Well, here we go again--this time it was a celebration of Derik's 30th....THIRTIETH!!!!! birthday, which was Friday.  I secretly planned shooting after a Ruth's dinner with my awesome friend Roy, who is a weapons instructor, swordfighter, and lover of julmust, among other things.  Between Roy and Chase I figured we would have enough guns and ammo for our own group of Minutemen, and they didn't disappoint!  Even better, we kept it secret from Derik until the minute Chase arrived with all his guns and tossed Derik a round.  It felt great to get out in the sunshine and have some lead therapy, but it felt even better to do something for Derik that I knew he would enjoy.  And what feels best is having people in your life that you can call or text and say, hey, let's make this thing happen.  I am in the middle of three overnight 12 hour shifts, so I couldn't do much of anything except beg for help.  And everyone helped!  What kind of magic is this?  Where I can give up control to friends and let them help me do something?

Maybe I'm not as dysfunctional as I think I am.  Or maybe things are changing for me.  Or maybe it's summer and I'm caught in a fantastic dream of what I want my actual life to look like.  The latter is probably reality, especially since I took these photos and they actually look pretty good!  I'm still such a dummy with my camera, I was shocked to see that a massive overhaul of editing wasn't needed.  So yes, caught in a summer dream of life seems to fit.

My favorite! This little red legged grasshopper was not shy about eating the piece of tomato I offered him.  I thought it was adorable!!!


Biking to Wendover and Bonneville Salt Flats

The best thing about loving where you live is loving the novelties and unique landscapes it has to offer.  I've been in and lived in a lot of places, both in and out of the States, and I've never been anywhere more filled to the brim with geological goodies, strange towns, interesting historical locations, and just plain beauty, than Utah (probably why Utah is known as "The Land of Contrast.") I've written about the Bonneville Salt Flats before, and visit them relatively often.  Chase and I decided on a quick and cheap getaway for mid-summer.  It was fantastic!

Before I had the opportunity to ride on a bike I didn't really get bike culture (despite my parents being huge bikers) or why seeing the gorgeous west was so much better on two wheels instead of four.  A short overnight trip to Wendover later and I totally, totally get it.  You just feel like you're part of the landscape, you can see so many details that you miss in a car.  Also, if you're me, you spend 1/4 of the trip imagining the horrific death you'll experience when you skid across the interstate like a rock on a pond (I am an EMT okay? I just visualize gory things) For our first short tour, Wendover was the perfect idiosyncrasy.  It's everything you want in the state border of Utah and Nevada: cheap motels, cheap casinos, cheap liquor, and all the pizzazz of the gambling life, looming over the dark and empty state line of Utah, which has little to offer in terms of night life fun, but boasts those magnificent Salt Flats bastards a few miles to the east. What a strange place.  What a fun trip.  

In all seriousness, I can now truly say that biking is the way for me.  I have always loved this state and its geology, beauty, mesmerizing landscapes, and everything the road has to offer; if it comes to it I'll still take as many road trips as possible in my little Fiesta, Luis Sera, but the bike ride was just amazing and is now my preferred method of travel.  I didn't get photos of our excursion minus the Salt Flats, because to me that area is absolutely sacred and so sublime I'll never leave without taking 900 photos of it--but I was honestly enjoying myself so much in Wendover that I didn't even think to bring my camera or pull out my phone.  After an amazing sunset ride into town, with a ghostly pause on the side of the road by the flats and all their quiet loveliness, we ate at the Red Garter and had a few drinks before turning in...114 miles is a lot for beginner bike road trippers  I did point Chase to drive up and around Wendover Will, because why go to Wendover if you don't tour the strip? (haha)

Things I learned on this trip:

  • You just can't have good hair and wear a helmet.  It's not going to happen.
  • Trucks are scary as hell while riding on the interstate. So are potholes.
  • You can sunburn through a helmet visor.
  • A Marine vet and a loudmouth southern patriot are an awkward combination for a security guard who won't hold up a fallen flag until it's taken down.  
  • A long island iced tea is not just a girly drink (I maintain it looks and sounds like one.)
  • Digital blackjack is just as addicting as Fallout: New Vegas blackjack.
  • Biking is amazing but you'll need an ass massage after a long ride.  
  • Utah is even more impossibly gorgeous from the back seat of a bike.
  • A great partner makes all the difference when roaming around the desert.
Can't wait for the next trip! 


The Foster Care System is Broken

I have had this post on my mind for awhile--it's one of those big balls of disorganized thought in my head that comes spilling unceremoniously whenever I rant about foster care, and I suppose I would like to throw it out as a somewhat coherent formation of words.  Forewarning: very little organization awaits.

Identifying the Problem
I'm a firm believer that you can't fix a problem until you identify it.  I usually tend to stick to fixing my own personal problems in my life; issues I have with myself and so on, and I'm fine to let the rest of the world worry about themselves, because I don't believe I have the answers to anything.  (For what it's worth, I don't believe anyone else does, either.  We're all clueless.)  This is the one issue I'll get up on my soapbox about, because I've lived the system in the worst ways imaginable and I have seen, doubtlessly, what the problem is.

The problem lacking identification in the foster care system is that it, by nature, is a failure.  It will always fail, and nothing can help that.  It's not a profitable charity for youth where they eat glue paste all summer or a seasoned young women's camp where they sew squares and learn about pioneers then go home at the end of the day. This is a monstrous, non-functioning engine built around the premise that people harm their own children.  Where's the success in that?  What's the game plan?  Yeah. The laws all weave around these tiny little micro-solutions and exemptions and try to treat human issues and abuse issues as a puzzle that can be solved with regulations and a "system" in the first place.  Goddammit, it can't be solved that way, and if everyone would stop pretending that it could be, the children involved would benefit greatly.

Family Harms
It would be nice if the foster care system didn't have to exist.  But that's life.  Just like pain and hunger and death exist, so does and will always, abuse toward children by their caretakers and family.  If this is something you know about or endured, rest assured there are millions of us out there with the same problem.  Everyone who goes through this always feels so alone but I've learned that family hurts so, so many people out there.  It's a very real epidemic and it will never, never go away.  It is just a part of human nature, sadly.  Some might criticize my analogy, but foster care is a lot like war.  It's inevitable and it will always produce pain and casualty.  I'm not speaking to anyone who had a great upbringing and a great life with their family; good for you.  For the rest of us who have struggled with wondering why our young lives weren't worth a heartwarming Lifetime movie, we know that blood can hurt, and the people who are supposed to protect us don't always do so.  You'd think "the system" would grasp that better than they do. The thing these people seem to forget while they cite this law or take that parenting class in hopes of bettering the "situation" is that the casualty in foster care will always, always, always, always, always be the children.

The Wrong Focus
And where these workers--the State, lawmakers, and so on--fail, is focusing on the wrong problem.  The focus is usually on reunification--i.e., get this kid back to the morons who abused them.  I get the principle of the thing.  Everyone's human, parents make mistakes.  Their reasoning is that most parents are sorry for whatever they've done and will do the steps necessary to get their children back.  It's a nice thought, but it's a huge pile of bullshit and anyone, a caseworker, a parent, a foster kid--ANYONE will tell you the shitty success rate of that route.  And we all know, the real reason for returning the child to the parent is to get them out of the system, where they eat up money and resources.  If your parents can provide a few cans of pork n beans a month and a pee-soaked mattress for you, that's considered gold star material by the State.  And yet, there are thousands of children every year who are put in and out of the system, swapped around like a bad white elephant gift at Christmas, because "likelihood of permanency at home is low."  I was one of those children.

More Incorrect Priorities
So what's the next step for these problem children who suck up all the state resources, whose parents cannot provide stability? (They couldn't in the first place...?)  Adoption, foster homes.  The market for young optimistic couples looking for a giggling, unspoiled baby is very high.  The market for young optimistic couples with the grit to take on an emotionally abused and suffering child or teen with behavioral issues and no sense of trust is minimally lower.  And foster homes might as well be train stations on the long track to nowhere, because foster parents are not interested in what's best for the child--they are only interested in what's best for "everyone".  For them. To expect foster parents to be a solution, even a temporary one, is setting children up for failure.  To hope for a successful, trauma-free adoption--also a failure.

Again, the focus is all fouled up.  The  mindset of the broken system is "give the kids what substitution for normalcy we can, and hope it helps" when the only beneficial mindset is "they are destined to fail.  How do we make the failures less instead of more?"  Foster youth will have trauma.  They will have PTSD.  They will act out or develop issues that prevent them from integrating into society at 18.  They are more likely to continue the cycle of abuse.  To abuse drugs, to be incarcerated.  To be in abusive relationships.  To have children of their own in foster care.  The mind blowing failure thought train of the system does not take into consideration a potential life utterly wasted with every single foster placement or court ruling.  Everyone urges permanency.  Everyone urges stability.  That's a nice pipe dream, and it's just that--a dream.  It's basically the same as saying, well yes, what would be best is if we could just have cars that fly.  That is what would help.  Flying cars.  Great idea!  Terrible failure rates. There's no realism. This system does not grant stability by its very nature.

Now that you've heard me rant, I'm sure your question is, okay genius, what do we do? It's simple.  Stop worrying about placement.  The placement, whatever it is, is going to affect the child, and negatively.  Doesn't matter how long you hold a little hand to a red hot stove eye, there's going to be a burn and a scar, whether it's five minutes or five seconds.  What I'm saying is, you can put a kid in the warmest, most nurturing adoptive home on earth, full of hugs and roses and perfect parenting, and that kid will still have lifelong issues related to their background.  So fuck the placement and the perfect fit, because there isn't one.  Get these kids into legitimate life skill classes, get them into serious, reputable therapy geared toward treating PTSD, because let me tell you, they have it.  No one is in foster care for a stubbed toe.  We all have it.  Dedicate the proper funds and time to getting these youth driver's licenses and the ability to pick a trade school or other post-graduation realistic option before they have time to be homeless or get pregnant at 18.  They are going to be adults one way or the other and the only logical solution is to plan for that, not scramble trying to fix what's already broken. Hand is already on the stove eye, moving it around and calculating the best position for it is pretty futile.  Treatment needs to be focus.

These youth will fail and they will fail hard when they become adults.  We all do.  I did.  It didn't matter that I had scholarships and grants awarded to me when I entered college.  I didn't have food, so I failed at college.  When I became homeless and asked the State for the assistance I was due, I got a shady motel room rented out and a caseworker telling me in a snotty voice, "Look at all the trouble you've caused."  No one showed me how to be a functional adult.  I wasn't even allowed to be a functional kid.  None of us were.

Prepare For Failure
But that's all another story for another day.  The biggest takeaway I have is for those of you interested in helping this failure of a system, just know that it will fail and you will fail.  The only way to help is by preparing realistically for what's to come.  And it's not a small drizzle or even a hurricane.  It is literally a devastating typhoon + earthquake combo with very little hopeful outcome.  How would you plan differently if you knew that? Know that you will not change the world, you probably won't even change the life course for any of these kids.  What will happen to them is always going to be based on what happened in the past and how they choose in the future.  Take your hope and positivity and shove it up someone's appropriate orifice, because foster care is not the place for false hope and first world affirmations.  It's a nasty prison world where children are lied to, neglected, abused emotionally, sexually, and physically, then punished by being moved around without any hope of stability, and then lastly, thrown out into a world where their best bet is food stamps and community housing--through no fault of their own they are left with no parental guidance.  No direction.  No safety net.  No one to call when they need help filling out those college forms.  No help to buy a car to get around as an adult.  Nowhere to go for Christmas.  No explanation why.  Why everyone was so busy flitting here and there and putting this order together and visiting this home and "working with the system" when the system is just a dead vehicle on the side of the road, going nowhere.

Once we accept these things as truth, I truly believe progress can be made.


July Monthly Goals

Click image for source

It has come to my attention that if I blink, I miss the beginning of a new month.  I can't complain though, June was a TON of fun and somehow really felt like summer even though it usually never does.  Before I go over goals and what epic failures they were, I want to share some of the highlights of the month!  (PS I'm linking up with Angie  and Autumn for this post.) 

I have been out and about.  Off the top of my head, there was my company Lagoon day, a Dutch Oven fundraiser from the guys at work, visiting Black Rock, a picnic at the old Saltair site, getting rained out of a car show, seeing my very first Bee's game, and driving Chase up to Guardsman's pass for the first time.  For someone who never socializes and spent the last year in a dark hole, it's all I've been doing and though it's strange for me I'm trying to just enjoy it.  

Also, quite a few of these trips were taken on Chase's big beefy Boulevard that doesn't have a name yet.  So how do you not enjoy that? 

One other thing I have to talk about for a minute--surprise--is Flemeth.  He's getting older now and definitely has his own personality.  He's still playful as a kitten, still loves me and is attached to me, but he's also now a wanderer and a curious little guy.  He has fallen in love with Chase and now escorts him to the bathroom as well (lol--I feel betrayed) but the thing I love the most about this little fella is his expressiveness.  I've never seen a cat make such human-like smirks and meows.  I wonder if all kittens raised primarily around humans adapt this way? Or is it just my little guy?  Either way, I am so thankful for him and though I miss him being my tiny little helpless furball baby, I'm also loving his new, independent teenager personality. 

One other thing I accomplished that I'm proud of--I got a floating desk and set it up.  I was so tired of doing my makeup in the living room, and having this little sad wicker stand for my stuff.  This thing turned out ten million times better than I ever thought it could, and I am continuing to surprise myself at how well I can keep a house.  For being raised in a shack, I'd say I'm doing pretty good! 

What a month! Onto the goals: 
  • Do a good job, and learn the in's and out's of my job. SUCCESS!  Everything's going decent!  I handled an incident in a way that my boss really liked, so score :D 
  • Go to a goddamn pilates class. FAIL  I give up. Never gonna happen.  
  • Plan Derik's birthday Vegas trip + book motel.  SUCCESS  I got the thing booked, but don't have to pay til check in--even better!
  • Finish my 4/4 portrait series.  FAIL  Didn't even get started.  Whoops.
  • Flemith's vaccines  FAIL  I really am a terrible cat mom.  SOON BABY I SWEAR
  • Work on CME's for the month and get at least 40 hours.  FAIL  hahahah I have like maybe ten hours.  Dammit. 
  • Lay off the fucking sugar. SUCCESS  I've gotten better....slowly.  Kinda.  It's a WIP.
  • Write more stories.  SUCCESS  I've blogged a few times and written some Silus drabbel so I am going to be optimistic and call this a win.  It's amazing I got anything done at the computer this month. 
  • One Car Show.  SUCCESS    It was rained out, which wasn't my doing, but at least I got ready and went!  
And this month's:
  • Make Derik's birthday a HUGE SUCCESS!  Vegas, baby! I've already started the itinerary...Now to follow through.  I think it'll go great and I'm so thrilled to be able to do this for the person who has always done everything he could to help me see the world. 
  • Finish my 500 Squats Challenge.  Wish me luck.  I freakin' love squats though.  
  • Flemith's goddamn vaccines. Terrible parent. No excuse.
  • No seriously, lay off the sugar.  I have been noticing my stomach issues getting worse, and now instead of an ulcer I'm wondering if the artificial sweeteners are tearing up my guts--I've decided to just go back to veggies and protein and chill out on all forms of sugar and carbs. We'll see if it makes a difference. 
  • Paint one portrait.  Already know of whom, now I just need to force myself to make time. 
  • Get back on track financially. I've been playing mad catch up since waiting on this new job, and by this next paycheck or so I should be right where I need to be.  My goal is to not lose focus of this because I'm tired of spreading money so thin.  


Quotes I Believe In

Have I done this post before? I swear I've done this post before, haha.  I looked through my archive and couldn't find it.  But there are a lot of quote related posts, like the very recent "The sadness will last forever" post, or the less depressing "look for the helpers".  I even wrote a whole post about Skyrim quotes for Mariko over at Gamerwife! I guess it's high time to sit down and write down the list of quotes that get me through the hard days (years).  I'm not referencing anything specific here or following a theme; these are just the words of wisdom that are always close to me.

"Every day is just one day."  This was a lyric I misheard as a teen.  It was my mantra for getting through foster care.  That thought got me through over 1000 days--over three years--until I turned 18.  Luckily things aren't so miserable that I have to use it as often these days.

"For many of us, the road is a difficult one, but the path is always there for us to follow, no matter how many times we may fall."  A bit of video game wisdom from Joshua Graham.  This quote has been with me for years.  He's a Mormon in the game, so a lot of people attribute the message to religion, but even as an atheist it's comforting.  "The path" is just life for me.  I have to keep getting up and living my life.

"We are not special. We are not crap or trash, either. We just are. We just are, and what happens just happens."  I find this one so intensely comforting, and the truest of all these quotes.

"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."  Can never go wrong with Dumbledore, that magnificent gay bastard.

"We come into the world how we come into the world.  It's not our choice, but at least we're here."  One of many amazing moments from Bates Motel.

"And I am not frightened of dying. Any time will do, I don't mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There's no reason for it – you've got to go sometime."  Again, a darker quote I find more reassuring than anything.  And it's from Great Gig in the Sky, maybe one of the most beautiful songs about death to ever exist.

This is something Till Lindemann said about love.  I have loved people who were very bad at loving, my parents included in that I suppose--they would have preferred to live alone, hardened, away from society, but they still somehow fit love into the picture.  The problem with that mentality is it ends in abuse, or neglect a lot of the time...but I think it's helpful to know and understand that not everyone is built the same, and that love is always there in some form or another.  It's probably a cynical quote, but if you've read this far, well, no surprise.

"I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go. But what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye. I was never able to thank my father for all I learned from him. To tell him, without his lessons I would never have survived. I know Richard Parker's a tiger but I wish I had said, "It's over. We survived. Thank you for saving my life. I love you, Richard Parker. You'll always be with me. May God be with you." I can never stop raving about this movie (I know it's a book, but the movie is what won me over.) Amazing amazing movie.  I always think about my parents when I hear this quote.