Thursday, September 27, 2012

What We've Been Up To (With Some Random Photos)

Can I just say how much I love periods when I feel super engaged with blogging? So much better than the periodic lows where I think I'd find it easier to cut off my own arm than come up with a decent blog post.

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Our week has been pretty eventful.  I'm slowly developing bronchitis, which I can thank Rob and his crew for, but happily it hasn't slowed us down too much.  Stupid lungs.

Robbie's last day of work was Wednesday, which means NO MORE FUCKING FIRE SEASON and it's awesome.  It's so nice having him home, and not worrying about when he's going to leave again.  I feel like I distance myself a bit though--a nasty habit left over from...well, you know, all the other fucking times he's had jobs that have him away from home.  We're quickly getting back into a routine, and soon we'll be in Ireland so you know.

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After his last day of work we went out to celebrate the boys getting laid off for the winter. which was a lot of fun since I hadn't met most of them before.  I'm always terrified that I'm making a complete idiot out of myself around new people, especially men for some reason.  At the risk of sounding like a total party animal because let's face it, I totally am, I can't remember the last time I drank that much.  Hotshots are a bad influence in the party department.  Couple that with the burgeoning bronchitis and I felt pretty rough the next morning, but the boys got us thrown out of a Santa Fe bar on a weekday so I'd say it was worth it.

In other news, my friend Heather invited me to go to a pole dancing class this week and I am super fucking excited about it.  I've never done anything like this before and if I can get over my fear of failing at everything instantly I think it'll be a lot of fun. SEXY SEXY FUN.

I literally just stared at the screen for like five minutes trying to figure out how to end this post, and that's just sad, so here it is.  End.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Frequently Asked Questions: Celiac Disease

For those of you who don't already know, I was diagnosed with celiac disease about 2 1/2 years ago. I get a lot of questions about it so I figured I'd share some of those questions (and my answers) here.

1. What is celiac disease?
Thanks for asking! Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the consumption of gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye) causes damage to the lining (villi) of the the upper intestine.  Villi are finger-like extensions in the intestine that absorb nutrients, so without them people who have undiagnosed and untreated celiac disease are at risk for other nutritional deficiencies and related illnesses.  There is no cure for celiac disease except to follow a very strict gluten-free diet.

2. How did you find out you had celiac disease?
I remember having stomach problems for years and finally brought it up to my doctor, who ran a full blood panel including celiac disease.  The blood test was positive, so I had to go to a gastroenterologist to get my intestine checked through an endoscope.  This test was also positive for celiac disease, so after a gluten-filled meal at Ruby Tuesday I started on a gluten-free diet.

3. How did you get celiac disease?
Typically you have a genetic predisposition to celiac disease--there's no gene for it per se, but the tendency is there and can be "turned on" by any number of factors.  No one else in my family has celiac disease but I do have a genetic predisposition toward it; according to a DNA test Rob bought for me for my birthday, I had a 1.2% chance of developing celiac disease (in comparison to the average Northern European female's chances of 0.7%).

4. What can't you eat?
Pasta, bread, cookies, crackers and wheat cereals are the biggest, most recognizable ones.  Some processed foods have "hidden" gluten so I've had to learn which names to watch out for.

5. What can you eat?
If it comes from the ground and isn't wheat, then I can eat it.  Potatoes, rice, rice-based pasta, quinoa, fruits, vegetables, chocolate, and most candy with the exception of Twix, Kit Kat, or regular Milky Ways.   All meats are okay assuming they haven't been treated with a wheat-based preservative (like some cured meats) or marinated in something containing flour to thicken it. I can eat French fries if they are cooked in clean frying medium without breaded items.

6. Can you eat white bread?
No. It's still bread. (side note: I get this question far more often than you'd imagine.)

7. What can you drink?
Most drinks are fine, including alcoholic ones.  I can drink vodka as it's usually so far distilled that the gluten is at an undetectable level (at least that's what I've been told).  I can't drink beer (though I never drank it before) or whiskey.

8. Is it hard to eat gluten-free?
No, at least once you get a lot of practice at it.  And even if it was hard, I don't have much of a choice. There are lots of gluten-free "substitute" foods that have worked just fine for me, and it's forced me to be much more aware of what I'm putting into my body in general.

9. If I couldn't eat cookies/pizza/bread/pasta/crackers I'd kill myself.
Well if I had your face I'd kill myself.  See how obnoxious that is? Celiac disease is not something I chose, it was something I was born with.  I will never get rid of it and it's not that big a damn deal.  I think that if a doctor told you that you could give up Oreos or put yourself at risk for cancer you'd probably make the same choice I did.

10. I have a family history of celiac disease/have celiac disease symptoms but I'd just rather not know.
That's absolutely your right as it is your body.  One thing I want to clarify, however, is that celiac disease is not the same as a gluten intolerance.  If you have a gluten intolerance, you can eat gluten without physically damaging your intestine. If you eat gluten and have celiac disease you put yourself at risk for infertility and miscarriages, colon cancer, rectal cancer, diabetes, anemia, nutritional deficiencies and early death from other causes. For me personally pizza, bread and other yummy bread-y things aren't worth any of that.

10. Can you eat at restaurants?
Yes, but I generally have to be very careful and know exactly which questions to ask to avoid cross-contamination with gluten-containing foods.  The only times I've gotten sick from gluten after my diagnosis were at restaurants so I am very careful.

11. Does Rob eat gluten-free too?
Not completely.  We don't make two dinners or anything so he does eat gluten-free meals, but we do have bread and cereal in the house and because of this take a lot of extra precautions.  For example, we usually have separate jars of peanut butter, butter, cream cheese, etc. so that he can use them on his bread without worrying about getting bread crumbs on whatever I eat.  We also have separate toasters for this reason. He's also learned to wipe down the counter/stove after making something and if he's using a condiment I use a lot to not touch it to his bread/tortilla so I can use it after him.

11. I'm gluten-free and I make all my own food which is so much better than gluten-free substitutes and ipso facto I am better than other gluten-free people who don't make their own food.
Congratulations, you have won the gluten-free people contest.  I'm going to keep eating premade gluten-free substitutes because they are easy, I am healthy, and I don't have the time and ability to cook.

If you have any other questions for me or for my intestines, or if you are a gluten-free eater who has other questions you'd like to add, please feel free to share in the comments.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Freewriting about Life, with Pictures!

I feel like I say this at least once a quarter, but I have been finding myself increasingly more limited by my inability to come up with interesting blog topics.  I am positively itching to write every day but for some reason I come up empty every time I sit down to actually do the deed, so to speak. My general solution for this problem, as you guys know, is the wonderful act of freewriting.

Last weekend Robbie, Cypress and I went on a hike in the Santa Fe ski basin with Heather, her husband Seth, and their beastie, Bingley.  The drive up was gorgeous--if I ignored the red rock I could actually imagine I was in Maine, or at least Pennsylvania.  Turns out as you get higher shit just gets greener. The highlight of the trip was that we got to see the tiny bit of foliage in New Mexico that actually changes color, which is comprised almost entirely of aspens.  It's hard for me to get too excited about it, since it's only one color rather than the myriad of fall colors you see in Maine, but it's better than staring at junipers all day hoping they'll magically turn into maples.

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That last one is probably my favorite. It was really cute to see Robbie and Seth walk ahead with their beasts.

Heather took this photo of me, Robbie, and Bingley on our way down the mountain. I liked it so much that I made it my new Facebook timeline photo.

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This weekend we're planning on taking Amie to the Grand Canyon to do a wee bit of sightseeing and maybe if Rob's up for it some light camping.  If you missed my first Grand Canyon go-around, don't worry, I'll take about as many photos this time I'm sure.  I think I'm most excited about seeing Amie's face when we actually get there; having only ever lived in Maine she hasn't really seen anything much like the beauty of the Southwest, and I'm pretty sure the Grand Canyon will totally blow her away.  Rob will be pretty amazed too, but it'll come out more as, "Yeah, it's nice," so not as much payout on the whole anticipation thing.

Emotionally I've been feeling a bit off.  I guess restless is the word.  I talk to Rob about really wanting a second dog and I feel oddly passionate about it, even though I suspect it's largely because I'm bored and itchy and ready for something new now that he's home again.  I feel like sometimes my mind reacts to things in ways I can't ever really predict or understand because it's all happening from my subconscious.  Hopefully it'll fade soon because we have some pretty damn exciting things on the horizon (Ireland, mostly).

I've also been napping a lot, because I've been sleepy for some reason and let's face it, napping is awesome.  Also Rob went to the dentist and was told that he is "blessed" with naturally great teeth. Except that his remaining bottom wisdom tooth is somehow wrapped around a nerve and has "hooks" on it, whatever the fuck that means, and I'm pretty sure he's an X-Man. OH THE MUNDANITY.

Hope you guys are having a wonderful week so far.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Links (Reprise)

Oil paintings on pennies. (via Liz)

A man experiences (a realistic simulation of) childbirth. (via my ma on Facebook)

A Love Story in 22 Pictures.  This was absolutely beautiful, I totally teared up.

Some awesome Facebook Timeline cover photos. (via Cassandra)

How to explain different TV shows to different people.

Sad Impersonators.

How to tell if you're at a hipster wedding.

Lucille Bluth and Mitt Romney meet in this amazing Tumblr.

So dorky but I REALLY want to try this.

I shared this a year ago but it's great--a photography project called Created Equal.

Artist Takes Different Drug Every Day and Draws His Self-Portrait. (via Amie on Facebook)

Musicians' Portraits Made of Their Own CDs.

I kind of want this inspiration pad. Anyone want to buy it for me?

Awesome author quote posters.

Free eBooks.

Gross, Comfortable Love

I'll go ahead and issue what the kids call a "trigger warning" here--if you don't like open, frank discussions about bodily functions it might behoove you to move on to the next blog in your reader right now. I promise I won't be hurt.

I read an article on xoJane a week or so ago entitled "How Gross Are You Around Your Significant Other" which is basically about exactly what you'd expect it to be about. I left a pretty honest comment about just how gross Rob and I are around each other and got a surprisingly high number of Disqus "likes," which by the way I think qualifies me for a Nobel Peace Prize, or something.

Anyway, some of the other comments showed me just how (apparently) strange it is for ladies to be full-on gross in front of their significant others. It surprised me because after almost 10 years together Rob and I are pretty damn open.

And since I have absolutely no shame, I figured I'd share the magic with you guys as well. I've already lost 3 followers this week so why not go for gold, right?

Here we are:

1. Rob and I have both peed the bed while the other was sleeping in it on two separate occasions.  Mine was less forgivable because it was mostly due to drunkenness.

2. When Rob was in the Army I used to help him pop his foot blisters.

3. Before I got diagnosed with celiac disease I had some pretty awful stomach aches and some pretty terrible gas.  Rob has experienced second-hand quite a few man-sized farts from me and somehow still wants to be married to me.

4. We both pee with the door open. Just happens that way.

5. Because my husband's choice in jobs, I have often hugged him while he is wearing clothes that have not been laundered in a month or more.

6. Also because of my husband's choice in jobs, he finds himself eating a lot of MREs, which means a pretty disgusting transition period to regular food when he comes home.

7. I was put on a new medication recently that caused me to have, erm, stomach issues.  We had to run errands one day and I basically "wrecked" about 5 bathrooms around town.  Then described it to him in detail.

Alright ladies, spill it. Just how gross are you around your significant other?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Patio Nights and Other Things

So for those of you who haven't followed Rob's ridiculous trip home on Twitter or Facebook, suffice it to say he made it home around midday on Thursday and it was just magical.  I'm always amazed at how easily we reacclimate to living together again no matter how long it's been since we last saw each other.  Guess that's why I married the bastard, eh?

Anyway on Thursday night Rob, Amie and I all relaxed on the patio, listening to music and talking about anything and everything and having a few drinks together.  It was nice to just be with my husband and enjoy his presence, something I've been unable to do for far too long now.  We're so happy to finally get back to our version of normal.

I felt sort of "inspired" to take some photos while we were relaxing--none of Robbie because he hates having his picture taken, but just some neat detail shots of the different things we were looking at as we chatted and drank and laughed. I don't know if I emphasize enough how happy I am to have him home but let me tell you, I'm pretty damn happy.

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Yesterday Rob and I went out to eat at our favorite restaurant for lunch and spent the day enjoying our time together in between my work.  He has today off but has to go back tomorrow for a few days to clean everything up before the season ends.  I can't wait until he's officially mine again.

We also made steak and corn last night for dinner.  Jeezy creezy you guys, my dad taught me the perfect way to make a juicy, rare steak and I have been cooking the hell out of it.  If you guys are interested I'll share it here because it is shockingly easy, far easier than any other way I've seen to cook a steak.

Well that's all that's going on right now.  Life's back to normal and it feels great. I hope you all have a lovely weekend and forgive this rather random post.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Back Again: The 11 Things Meme

I'm pretty sure I've done this 11 things meme around 11 times now, but it's come back around again and I was tagged by Lauren and Ryan and I think a few other people, and I'm a sucker for memes, so here we go.

You all know the rules: first I'll tell you 11 things about myself, then answer 11 questions (I'm going to do some from Lauren and some from Ryan), ask 11 questions of my own and tag a few bloggers.  If you aren't a fan of memes or feel that you already know too much about me as it is, feel free to skip on by this sonofabitch.

11 Things About Me

1. I used to be terrified of driving, particularly in cities. I grew up in a really rural area so city driving and highway driving were totally unnecessary.  I'm much better now (and don't go 65 in the right-hand lane on the highway anymore).  

2. I can't drink soda. Never have been able to, actually. The carbonation physically hurts my mouth and I hate the feeling when you burp and the bubbles go into your nose.

3. I refuse to read "50 Shades of Grey."

4. I'm more likely to watch the same episodes of the same shows than branch out into new shows or watch movies I've never seen.  

5. Phobia of trains, but you guys knew that 5 or 6 times over already.

6.  I know a lot of people are afraid of public speaking, but I totally fucking relish it. Usually before I teach a class I'm anxious for a few days, and as soon as I start talking I feel totally awesome. 

7. One of my favorite things to do is to write.  I love when I come up with the perfect way to say something. I think it must be how other people feel when they solve puzzles.

8. I fucking hate puzzles.

9. I hate suspense. When I'm watching a suspenseful movie the stress is usually so tough for me to take that I'll hide in the bedroom and just listen to what's going on (this happened recently during the episode of "Breaking Bad" where they robbed the train).

10. I have a reputation among my family and friends for being the one that always answers her phone. Natalie, who at the time had only known me for a couple of months, called once and I didn't answer because for some reason my phone didn't ring; when I called her back she said, "I thought something was wrong, because you always answer your phone!" I think it's left over from when Rob was in Iraq, but my phone never leaves my side and if I don't have it I feel anxious, especially now that everyone knows I'm the one who answers my phone and calls if something is wrong. I'm a great emergency contact to have.

11. I'm really anal retentive about my computer screen being clean. Smudges and other various debris drive me absolutely insane.

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11 Questions Answered

1. What has been your biggest struggle in life?
I guess I'd have to say anxiety, and feeling inadequate in everything I try and do.

2. If I moved to your town, what are the top five tips you'd give me? 
Try a new restaurant every week, because there are tons. Visit a pueblo. See some of the monuments and hike on the mountain behind my house. Walk around downtown for a few hours. When driving make sure to watch at green lights, people run reds like it's their job here.

3. If next year only had one month, which would you choose? 365 days of ...?
May. I might be biased because my birthday is in May, but the weather is gorgeous and spring is finally here so I think it's the perfect month.

4. If you had 24 hours to live, and you weren't wasting your time by freaking out about dying-- what would you do and WHO would you spend your time with, and you have to spend it someone other than your significant other!
My sisters and my parents. And mostly I'd just like to sit around and be normal with them so I could remember those little things.

5. If you were a character in a novel, who would you be? 
Hermione Granger. Frizzy hair, a nerd, she's perfect.

6. What is your favorite dessert?
Slutty brownies. Chocolate chip dough on bottom, then (gluten-free) Oreos, topped with brownie mix.

7. What is your favorite ethnic cuisine?
I really liked Ethiopian but have only had it a few times and probably couldn't eat it now, so I'll say Indian.

8. The first song that comes to mind is ...
"Bakersfield" by Social Distortion.

9. What is your greatest contribution to friendships/relationships?
My friends can correct me if I'm wrong here, but I think I'm a really good listener. Also a good talker, but that's not as valuable.

10. You won an unlimited gift card to any store. Which do you choose?
Probably Amazon because it has everything. Or maybe Express, because then I could buy so many pairs of jeans.

11. What are you looking forward to the most in the next year?
Rob finding another non-fire job, maybe starting to talk about kids, maybe finally buying a house.

11 Questions FOR YOU

1. If you could instantly become a virtuoso at any instrument, what would it be?
2. If you could instantly become fluent in a language, what would it be?
3. What is your greatest contribution to friendships/relationships? (totally stole that one)
4. If you are from the US, what is your state motto? If you aren't from the US, write the best line from your national anthem.
5. What is your vice?
6. Where is the absolute last place you'd ever want to live?
7. What is the best thing about living in your town/city?
8. If you could get paid well to do anything, what would it be?
9. What do you most look forward to about fall (or if you're in another hemisphere, spring!)?
10. If I came to visit you, what's the first touristy thing in your town (or nearby-ish) that you'd bring me to?
11. Who is your favorite author?

I tag:

Sarah at Sarah Rooftops
Rochelle at Lucky Lucille
Alice at Niceties

Have a lovely Friday, kids!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thoughts on a Sunset

Lately I've sort of rediscovered the Santa Fe sunset.

Being from a gorgeous place like Maine, I've developed the habit of getting used to beautiful scenery.  I grew up on a pristine lake without a car or airplane in sight; my dad likes to tell the story about how when we'd hear a car drive by we would all run to the road-facing side of the house, excited to see who on earth had made their way four miles down to the end of our dirt road.  When people hear about where I come from and say something like, "I bet that was beautiful," I am more likely than not to say, "yeah, I suppose so" with an air of awesomeness because I got over that beauty a long damn time ago.

I've done the same thing with the view from my patio, a view that encompasses all of Santa Fe, and the gorgeous sunsets that fill the sky here.  It isn't intentional, but I've slowly begun to realize that it's a symptom of my broader tendency to avoid living in the moment in favor of worrying about, well, everything else.

The other day Cypress and I were taking a walk and I turned around to notice the absolutely stunning sunset behind me, which I showed you in my last post.  I took a moment, breathing in the crisp fall air, and watched the sun fall slowly behind the horizon.  I can't remember the last time I did that, and I can't tell you how fucking awesome it felt.  I wasn't thinking about anything else other than how amazing it is that the sun rises and sets every day, and that we're all here sharing this totally random experience together at the total mercy of the earth and the sun.   For someone who is constantly caught up in minutiae rather than the truly important things, this was a pretty damn awesome feeling.

Enough of the schmaltzy stuff, we all knew that this post was an excuse to show you more sunset pictures, am I right?

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I hope you all can take a moment to enjoy the pretty things and people around you today.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Husbands, Dogs, and Cactus Spines in the Butt

Well, it's official, I will finally get to see my husband after 25 long days on Thursday, which is also payday so you know, double whammy of awesomeness.  I seriously cannot fucking wait to see him again.  We both agreed that this roll has been by far the worst, and not just because of Rob's messed up tooth.

Enough about my husband because basically I'll just keep saying the same shit I always do.

Amie and I have been putzing around the house and around Santa Fe being generally pretty lazy. She recently got a job at a local doggy day care which she really enjoys so far, and which is keeping her really busy.  She's not the type to find pleasure in sitting around doing nothing so I think the job will be great for her. I feel sort of like her proud older sister, or something.

Speaking of Amie and feeling protective of her: a week or so ago Amie walked Cypress up the mountain that sits behind our house.  She had been gone for awhile so I opened the door to see if I could hear where she was on the mountain.  As soon as I came outside I heard Cypress get into a dog fight and Amie yell and pull her out of it.  By the time I got to where she was, the other dog and its owner had left and she was shaking with the adrenaline rush and making sure Cypress was okay (she was, fight-happy little bitch).  In the kerfuffle, though, she had actually sat on a fucking cactus.

Long story short, she ended up face-down on the couch with me, armed with a headlamp and a pair of tweezers, picking cactus spines out of her bare ass.  So yes, I think you could say that our friendship is legitimate now. No, I don't have photos.

Anyway, friends, I'll mercifully kill this whimpering, dying post now with a few photos of a Santa Fe sunset, because I never get sick of them.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Confessions on a Tuesday

1. The other night I had a vivid dream in which Robbie requested that we take a break, and shortly thereafter I was seduced by Sir Patrick Stewart.  The last sexy sort of dream I had was about Bill Nighy.  I have no idea where this secret affinity for aging British actors comes from, and I have no shame in talking about it on my blog.

2. I've been thinking vaguely about a portrait tattoo and one of the top contenders as a subject is Rod Serling.

3. Sometimes when I am part of an audience that is applauding I feel like that we objectively must kind of look like a bunch of chimpanzees. When you think about it clapping is pretty ridiculous.

4. I'm not looking forward to 2013 because I hate odd numbers, and especially 13.

5. I never knew it before but it turns out I'm a huge nerd for sci-fi stories.

6. I've never smoked before, but if I watch enough episodes of "Mad Men" I will find myself craving a cigarette.

Happy Tuesday, friends! After all, what is Tuesday if not a watered-down Monday?

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Different Kind of "Currently" Post

Lusting after... I am sorry, but not enough bloggers talk about how bone-alicious our significant others are and seriously ladies, we should. We are red-blooded females with legitimate needs and urges.  I am totally lusting after my sexy-ass husband and I don't care who knows it.  He's been gone for the majority of the last six months, and more recently close to a solid month, so you do the sex-math. I'm ready for some lovin' from the sexiest man I know. DEAL WITH IT.

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My sexy face. WATCH OUT. Just kidding, I was crying in this photo after finding out Rob would be gone for another week.

Cutting off... A person I've spent far too much energy on.  I hate writing passive-aggressive nonsense like this and I know how annoyingly it comes across, but the fact is the main "event" that occurred with this person was close to a year ago and I didn't have the lady-nuts to confront them about it at that point.  If I did it now I'd just be a petty, grudgey weirdo.  Plus from what I've seen this person wouldn't really care or apologize, and that's fine by me. Anyway, it feels good to end an association with a person who has been downright disrespectful to not only me but to a few good friends of mine, and as silly as it sounds I'm always proud of myself when I move on from a toxic connection.

Sitting on... My bed. Since the living room has become Amie's "bedroom" I do most of my work and computering from my bed.  It's a really stupid idea in terms of carpal tunnel and my back, but it's comfy and it's Saturday so suck it.

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Beating myself up for... Finishing my story but not being happy enough with it to share. I'm not sure I'm ready to accept even the kindest of criticism, so I decided to leave the story alone and come back to it later.

Totally dreading... Waiting another four and a half fucking days until I hug and sex up my husband again.

Sympathizing with... My darling prodigal husband.  He called me unexpectedly (for longer than 3 minutes!) to tell me that his wisdom tooth became infected again and he had to go into a clinic in town to get it looked at. Like when he got his Purple Heart, I was so upset that he was hurting but secretly happy that it meant we actually got to talk.  He thought that the clinic staff would just give him antibiotics and pain meds, but turns out his "shit was pretty fucked up," so to speak, and they had to remove the tooth with only local anesthesia.  Now he's back out in the woods with a sore tooth-hole and I wish he was here so I could snuggle him and give him some old-fashioned Caitlin-healing.

Shirking... My dog-owner responsibilities.  I haven't been great about walking Cypress as far as she normally goes and she's been a little antsy.  Today I took her to daycare (which she loves) so that she could get some doggy exercise and socialization.  I feel like in the future I might end up being one of those parents who drops their kids off at daycare for a day to get a bit of a break, does that make me a bad person?

Skyping with... Jessica and Suzy! Jess and I actually shared shots (me around 5, her 2, but we'll make up that discrepancy soon) which was so much fun, and Suzy and I met at midnight my time and talked for 2 1/2 hours about accents and cultural differences and everything in between. Can I just say that I love my awesome internet friends? I don't care how nerdy I sound. And sorry I didn't get a picture of you, Suzy!

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Give Yourself Permission

The other day I was engaging in some self-indulgent whining on Twitter, which to be honest isn't that much of a rarity for yours truly. Specifically I was whining about the fact that despite trying to write short stories for like a fucking week now I'm somehow not Ray Bradbury yet. Lisa, who always has really awesome words of support and advice for me, gave me a little bit of advice that kind of proverbially slapped me in the face and made me think:

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"Giving myself permission" is quite simply something I've never done, which I'm sure most of you know because I've blogged about similar thoughts in the past.  I can feel myself doing it with writing just as I did it with drawing and frankly it's driving me crazy. When I've sat down to write stories in the last few weeks, I assume that however good or bad the story is when I first write it, that's as good or as bad that I'll ever write, ever.

I've never given myself permission to fail at something, or to not be great at it at first and work to get better.

I've never given myself permission to do something for the sake of doing it, rather than with the goal of excelling at it instantly.

I've never given myself permission to be human, or less than perfect.

I've never given myself permission to not judge myself based on how quickly I excel at a new task.

I've never given myself permission to treat myself with the same kindness and understanding with which I treat others.

If anything, I've apologized.  I've apologized for not meeting my own inhuman standards.

One thing that has always amazed me about Rob is that he really does excel at everything he tries.  In high school he didn't really put forth any effort because, simply put, he didn't want to.  He didn't advance past Algebra 2.  But when he went to college and decided to try, he fucking just took calculus and rocked it.  In contrast, I went as high as honors precalculus and I still feel uncomfortable trying to help a friend figure out whether a function is positive or negative.  Rob decided to fucking become a firefighter, something he'd never done or studied, and he's already done incredibly well and is admired by many of his crewmates. Italics.  He does so well at new things because he doesn't fucking apologize for being himself, or not knowing something, or taking time to learn it.  He just does his thing and does whatever he wants.  I know I'm biased, but I'm pretty sure he could become a neurosurgeon if he really wanted to.

It's a simple concept, really, though nearly impossible in execution it seems.  It's been something that I have struggled with constantly throughout my entire life, be it sports, writing, drawing, or anything that other people do well and that I can't grasp instantly.   I want to get better at just fucking doing something without finding a new and inventive way to destroy my self-esteem. I guess I'd never put this challenge into words, which is why Lisa's tweet totally stuck in my brain.

If you can't tell I totally gave myself fucking permission to not be coherent in this post, and it was awesome.  I am aching to grow, to change, to move on from my sometimes stagnant ways and learn new things fucking unapologetically.  Also I'm not apologizing for over-using the word "fucking."

I know it's silly to end your post with questions, but I'm eager as always to hear of your experiences.  Do you find difficulty in giving yourself permission to fail? Permission to learn? Please share with me your tips, because this is like learning a new language to me.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

You Should Get Those Links Checked Out.

7 Simple Tasks That Would Have Been Magic Back in the Day.

Women should have the right to choose when or if they have children. Couldn't be clearer to me.

The Breaking Bad Drinking Game. (via Nova)

My Parents Adopted a Murderer. Can I magically write this well, please?

Yet another woman harassed on public transportation for being a woman.  Shit like this makes me feel so fucking sad. (via Nova)

I love tattoo history.

I can never get enough of perfectly-timed photos.  (via Suzy)

Love these 19th-early 20th century drawings by French artists depicting life in the year 2000. (via Nova)

The most honest TLC promo ever. Could probably pass as real.

Pintester: Fucking Up Pinterest Pins So You Don't Have To. (via Alycia)

An xoJane writer shares some of her favorite non-fiction books about plagues, dead people, and freaky diseases.  One of my favorite books I've read recently was about using poison as murder during Prohibition, and I then bought a book called The Rape of Nanking, so this list was right up my alley.

10 Things You Must Give Up to Move Forward. (via Kaelah)

How to Determine if your Religious Liberty is Being Threatened in just 10 Quick Questions.

Jimmy Stewart reading a poem about his dog Beau to Johnny Carson.  Totally had me in tears.

If Schools Were Allowed to Use Sarcasm.

Mitt Romney accidentally confronts a gay veteran. This had me cheering and also totally tearing up.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Q&A Vlog, #2



Aw, really YouTube? I promise I'm not sobbing in this video however much it appears that way.

Monday, September 10, 2012

What We've Been Doing

Well first off, I got another 3-minute call from Robbie informing me that though he was set to start coming home this Tuesday, shit's changed (fucking told you) and he's now going to be on this fire--with no cell service--for another week.  Then of course it'll take 3-4 days for them to actually drive home, so we're looking at almost a month apart. It sucks, and it's stupid.

That said I'm pretty proud of myself for how well I took it. I was in Petco buying Cypress a new collar and leash (we've somehow lost 2 leashes and a collar in the black hole of our house) when he called, and when he said "we're here for another 7 days," my response was pretty much, "sounds about right." The fire he's on has been marked at 5% contained for about a week and a half, so I figured if they were going to pull the old extension trick--which is apparently rarely used--it would be during this roll.  Fuck fire season, but at least I'll have him back for six whole months at the end of this bullshittery.

On to happier things, shall we?

Amie and I have been keeping pretty busy, which is good because if she weren't here I'm pretty sure the little bit of news I just mentioned would've totally knocked me out.

Last Thursday we decided to forego Zozobra and instead made our own "dolls" out of newspaper, burned them in the fire pit, and took a shot of tequila together to kick out the negativity of the last year.  Despite being a total spaz about the fire (one of my many mini-phobias) it was a lot of fun, and much better than sitting by myself on my couch watching X-Files and reading blogs all night.

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On Saturday we literally did nothing.  Except take a few shots in honor of the people in our lives who have dealt with cancer (long story, it was pretty legit though).

On Sunday we decided to actually, you know, do something. About 40 miles south of Santa Fe is the Tent Rocks National Monument, a series of rock formations that were created by volcanic activity in the area, and since we didn't really have time to check out Taos yet we decided to go for a leisurely hike.  There's a slot canyon trail we didn't hike--though Rob used 5 seconds of our call to say, "I'll hike in your slot canyon,"--but we got to see the rock formations and a neat-o cave that some of the Cochiti tribe carved into the soft rock centuries ago. It was a really simple hike--more of a walk, really--so it was a nice distraction for a few hours.

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So that's the bulk of our last few days. I won't lie, I'm feeling pretty run down with Rob being gone and more than anything I just want to see him and hug him and smell him. What can I say, I'm pretty fond of the douchebag.

What have you guys been up to?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Q&A Vlog #1

This is a little long so I apologize for wasting 12 minutes of your life.

Here I am answering a few of the questions you so graciously posed to me!

I feel like I look really ugly in this in a really weird, weird way.



Happy weekend, all!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Post About Nothing for Your Thursday

I've decided these random posts are my favorite.

So I didn't get a ton of questions on my blog post asking for questions.  At first I was really embarrassed and almost deleted the post because I'm the human embodiment of the socially awkward penguin, but then I stopped being so weird and instead chose to take the question-pandering to Instagram.  If you have any questions you'd like to see me awkwardly answer on a vlog, visit the post or my Instagram and ask away or risk making me crawl into a deep hole of social awkwardness. THAT'S ON YOU.

Amie's been here for almost a week and so far it's been really awesome.  For those of you who don't already know the goal currently is to have Amie stay with us at least through September and perhaps October. A lot of people expressed concern that we'd get sick of each other or miss our personal space especially in such a tiny house, but we've made it work.  Also, she's been washing the dishes and making me breakfast sammies whenever I want them.  I'm thinking this arrangement will work out well for both of us.  Robbie's due home (hopefully) the middle of next week and I think he'll enjoy having her around too. I know Cypress does.

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Speaking of my prodigal husband, he's been gone since August 25 and as of August 28 he was sent to a fire in Idaho that is smack dab in an area of no service.  The separation is at least six times harder when I can't talk to him or text.  I feel like maybe he was just some sort of figment of my imagination and that I actually live alone here in Santa Fe with my weird dog.  Last Monday he got the chance to call from some sort of torture-device-cum-telephone which allowed him to connect a call for 3 minutes before automatically cutting him off.  Basically it was the most unsatisfying conversation ever because I was trying to cram a week's worth of things into the call while still asking him how he was doing. FIRE SEASON IS SUCK, my friends. I can't wait until this shit is fucking over and I have my husband and my married life back.

Onto things that don't make me want to throw myself on the floor and cry like a petulant 3-year-old. After a recent post in which I vented semi-incoherently about writing I received a comment from my dear friend Nova suggesting I write some short stories.  The idea has remained stuck in my head since then, in particular since I've never considered trying to write fiction because I always assumed I'd be terrible at it.  Frankly, I figured my stories would be of the "it was a dark and stormy night" variety and they'd make everyone's heads explode and not in a good way.  Talent be damned, I decided to give it a try, and after finally getting over my fear of actually setting "pen" to "paper" (read: keys to Microsoft Word) I word-vomited out about a quarter of a story.  I have no idea where I'll go with it or what will happen to the protagonist (I'm literary!) but for now I'm just enjoying the actual crafting of sentences and story lines.  Maybe I'll share a few here if I can tolerate the criticism. If you have any advice for me or would be willing to offer some light criticism (until I can handle the tougher stuff) please let me know!

Also, tonight in the lovely city of Santa Fe is Zozobra.  This is an annual event started in 1924 in which around 50,000 people cram together together in a park and burn a giant marionette symbolizing "Old Man Gloom" and then celebrate Fiesta (a celebration of the Spanish retaking Santa Fe from the Pueblo Indians in the late 1600s in that lovely colonialist way).  As an aside I'm pretty sure that was the most Pagan sentence ever written. Unfortunately inherent in the event is a celebration of Spanish domination here in Santa Fe which can leave the Native Americans a little understandably peeved.  Apparently there is also a history of violence against Native Americans during Fiesta.  Because of all this--and because I hate city parking, walking a mile from my parked car, and cramming into a field with 50,000 other people to watch a giant terrifying marionette get burned while people scream "BURN HIM" because I have a mild phobia of giant representations of small objects--Amie and I will be sitting comfortably at home watching "Archer" reruns...and maybe drinking a little to honor our shared Pagan history. If you want to watch a video of the 2007 Zozobra, click here, but be warned that if you're scared of clowns this will probably be terrifying. Also, Old Man Gloom fucking screams as they burn him and the whole crowd chants "BURN HIM!" In case that wasn't clear initially.

Other than that and plans for a new (and relatively spontaneous) tattoo, I'm just hanging out and about, relishing the beginning of fall and eagerly awaiting the return of my better (and more handsome) half.  I miss the crap out of that guy, figuratively of course.  I hope you are all having a wonderful--and if you're in the U.S., short--week.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Vlog: Accent Challenge!



Wow, thanks YouTube for once again picking the least flattering still possible.

Also, I kind of look like a boy here and my glasses have a glare.  SORRY.

Here are the questions I answered if you'd like to participate! Make sure to share your link if you do.
  • What is your name?  
  • Where are you from? 
  • Pronounce the following words: Aunt, Roof, Route, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Pajamas, Caught, Naturally, Aluminium, GIF, Crackerjack, Doorknob, Envelope, GPOY, Polka Dots, Papaya, Penthouse, Subtext, Smile 
  • What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house? 
  • What is a bubbly carbonated drink called? 
  • What do you call your grandparents? 
  • What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket? 
  • What’s the bug, that when you touch it, it curls into a ball? 
  • What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs? 
  • What is your favorite swear word? 
  • How old are you? 
  • Is it cold where you are? 
  • What is your favourite color? 
  • What color are your eyes? 
  • What was the last thing you drank? 
  • Say a sentence in an accent from a region near you that you don’t have. 
  • Do you speak a second language? Say something in it. 
  • Do you think you have an accent? 
  • End the audio post by saying any THREE words you want.

Hellos, Goodbyes, Churches, Cigars

It's been an interesting week for friendships, indeed.

As I mentioned in my last post, my good friend Natalie packed up and moved off to California this weekend.  I'd known about the move for months but the actual goodbye was even harder than I'd planned for.  When it was time to leave I just found myself hugging her and crying, not really knowing what to say or able to put into words how much she helped me get through this summer.  It's hard to meet someone you connect with only to turn around and say goodbye.

All that said, I wish her the best in California, as she's working in a winery and seriously that's pretty fucking cool.

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The sweet to that bitter is that my friend Amie from Maine arrived on Saturday and will be staying with Robbie and I for the next month at least.  The timing couldn't be better, what with Natalie's departure and the fact that we aren't even halfway through this fucking fire roll and I haven't talked to my husband in six fucking days.  She's been doing a great job--whether it is intentional or not--of keeping me busy and out of my own head. On Sunday we frolicked downtown checking out the local church action and, of course, hitting up the Coyote Cantina before it closes for the winter.

I might be a bit of a strange atheist for saying this, but I love churches as well as church services, assuming of course that they aren't talking about striking down gays or putting them on an island or telling me that as a woman my body is a wrapped gift meant only for my husband.  I think that even if you aren't religious, as I am not, taking a moment out of your day to think about how fucking amazing it is that you are here (whether by design or by SCIENCE or a combination of the two) and that we are all having this shared experience called life can be awesome and, dare I say, spiritual. For me personally, Catholic churches hold a particular significance for me since my grandparents, who were a huge part of my life and still are though they have passed, found so much comfort in Catholicism in life and in death. The first church pictured below has a private chapel for praying and I've honestly considered going to just slow down, think and appreciate.

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Also, I went to go walk Cypress the other day and my landlords invited me over to have a high-end cigar with them and a friend who's staying with them that buys things like high-end cigars.  I've never smoked a cigar, but it was surprisingly pleasant as far as inhaling shit into your lungs goes (yes, cigar smokers, it took me a bit to realize that you aren't supposed to inhale cigar smoke).  They invited me just after their dog attacked Cypress (and Cypress won) so I figured why not, you know?

Anyway, that's what has been occupying the vast and frenetic space inside my head for the last few days.  I'm so glad that fall has come and that soon my Robbie will be back where he belongs: surgically attached to my hip bone.  True love, amiright?!