Tuesday, July 12, 2016

It's a short one. And it's about Pokémon...

Since it's release last week I've seen three teams evolve. The lovers, haters, and the people who can't believe they love it (or, the love-to-hate'rs). The lovers just sort of chat about it endlessly. Post pictures of what they've caught. The love-to-haters post funny meme's that acknowledge how ridiculous it's making us all, while still feverishly searching for Pikachu or Charzard. The haters seem irritated to the core that a good portion of their social media friends are playing and talking about something they take no enjoyment in. And they're getting pretty loud about how much they hate it. To the haters, let me offer you some soothing ointment for the spiritual burn that is Pokémon Go. It's actually doing a lot of good! 

People who have been or feel isolated are finding new and interesting things to bring them out of doors and into the path of interacting with other humans. I won't lie, I've felt pretty estranged since I moved here. It's a small rural town and I don't meet many people who chat regularly about the same things I like to chat about. Everyone's nice enough but there's not a lot of common ground out here for things in which I am passionately interested. BUT, two days in to playing Pokémon Go I have met and talked to a bunch of new people. And we're finding each other in the most random places. We would have normally walked right past each other, never engaged and probably not even noticed each other. But because we were all playing the same game, we had something in common to bring us together. That is invaluable to me. I just spoke to someone for the first time today that I've seen every day for the past 3 years. Every day we pass each other and - 

Her: "Good morning".
Me: "Hey". (I've never been a "good morning" person)

And that's it until the next morning. But today I was walking past while looking at my phone and I stopped in my tracks for a second and the girl says "Did you find one?" and I looked up and we started talking. (And I wasn't even playing the game at the time) I'm seeing other articles that share tweets where people who suffer from metal health troubles or are introverted to the max, are finding reasons to get up and go outside. 

Lily and I went Pokémon hunting after Girl Scouts tonight and met a TON of fellow Poképeople. 😂 It was awesome!!!

Not only that, but they've gone and made Pokéstops (places you go and collect goodies to advance your playing abilities) inside places like art museums, science museums, zoo's, opera houses, libraries, etc. This game is bloody brilliant! (When it works.) 

It's got us up and moving, out exploring and interacting with new friends. My daughter and I have a new summer nights activity when I get home from work. Last night, our hunt took us to a library where we spotted not only Poké related items, but a Little Free Library out back in a pretty park. We stopped to check it out and Lily chose a book to take home. We made a mental note to bring it, or another book, back. So in one stop we got fresh air, light exercise, a new book and met some new friends.

So, for my part, I love this game.

Please play responsibly. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I Have the Power

Today I saw something on social media that made me very sad at the state of the world today. On a smaller scale than things that make it to CNN or your local paper, but still something that most likely affects us all on a daily basis. 

I saw a topic of discussion in which the poster proudly bragged on how they have, in a previous job, used their powers to retaliate against unruly customers. They then asked for others to comment on how they have used their positions similarly in the past. None of these responses were criminal. Nothing above grade school "prank" level. But something about reading all these people proudly state how they even the score when they encounter patrons in need of an attitude adjustment honestly broke my heart a little bit. I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried for a few minutes too.

I almost always work in some sort of customer relations based position where I always have the "ability" to make someone else's day a little more hellacious than it may already be. But I can't bring myself to abuse that power because I always remind myself that I don't know their struggle. They may have had awful news this morning or have physical pain or a similar person or causing hell in their daily life. Who knows, maybe they just genuinely are an asshole. It's not right for them to take it out on random people they don't know, but all I can say on behalf of the human race is please try your best not to match disgusting human behavior with more of it. 

Everybody's naughty sometimes. And who knows, I am nearly 37 years old. Maybe I have misused my powers before on an occasion that has long since slipped my mind. But in such cases that I have allowed my reactions to be controlled by the actions of another, I have never looked back on it with pride. Only ever remorse. To me, it doesn't feel good to do someone else wrong; to add insult to an injury. Case in point: yesterday I had a woman call me on the phone in a very displeased state. To say that this woman was distressed would be an understatement.  She wanted to speak to someone who was unavailable at the time of her call, and in her state of irritation she confused for a moment my personal life with the one of the woman she was asking for. The conversation went a little like this: 

"This is ridiculous. I need to talk to her right now. I'm tired of this and I don't care if her daughter does have cancer." 

"No, that's my daughter that has cancer."

"Oh. Well I'm sorry but I'm just very upset right now. This is ridiculous and I'm tired of it." 

Not only was her comment unnecessary and crude, it was a bit malicious. I had it within my power to destroy the rest of this woman's day. I could have not passed on her message, not followed up with anyone to get an answer for her. I could ignore every single call she ever makes to this office from this day forward. I would most likely eventually be found out and fired for this but you see my meaning. I could have made things worse. Instead I listened to the rest of her rant and apologized to her for the inconvenience of my inability to have an immediate answer for her. When we hung up I sent the message out."Such-and-such asked A, B and C" and put in motion the means to her end.

Ten minutes later, she called back of her own accord and profusely apologized to me for her behavior. She had had a moment to calm down and deeply regretted her demeanor and was completely ashamed of herself.

We don't always get these moments of reconciliation between wrongfully injured parties, so I can't recommend that you hold your breath waiting for that rude customer from last week to come in and say they're sorry, tip you 90% to make up for it and be on their best behavior from this day forward. But you have the capacity to understand that not everyone has your life, not everyone will understand your pain and sadly, not everyone will care. But people understand kindness and whether they ever say it out loud or even admit it to themselves, kindness can go so far in helping a human chain reaction go in the right direction. Be kind when you're needed and tip the scale in favor of a better tomorrow. 

If anything, confront the issue head on. If it's honestly bad enough to warrant retribution in your eyes, speak up in a professional manner and shut it down. But if it's just enough of an irritation to tempt you into taking a petty approach then please remember yourself, find your scruples and rise above the mud. Your future self will thank you for it.

Don't be like the rest of them, darling.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sorry Not Sorry

It’s Monday, so I feel like ranting. I realize that this is going to piss off almost every single person I've met in Texas, but today I don't give a damn. Hence the name of this entry. In a discussion with my British pen pal today, his first question of the day was this:  "Do the men stand there chewing and spitting it out in a bucket or is that just in the films?" I told him about spit cups and how it's nasty and gross and I'm still not used to seeing it everywhere because it's not as common in California. To which he replied “What is it they chew, is it beef jerky?” Apparently they don’t dip in England, either. So in further discussing chewing tobacco with him, I looked up this picture to send him. 

I would like to make one thing clear; I will NEVER kiss the mouth that houses this nasty shit. Ever. Besides the ungentlemanly behavior of constantly spitting and talking with your mouth full, this is willfully putting a giant cancer ball in your mouth. Cancer is the last thing on this planet that you want or that your family wants for you; and I speak from experience.

I’m not even going to throw statistics at you. You all know them. Everyone knows them. I did, however, look up “Health Benefits of Chewing Tobacco” just to be fair and guess what…there are none. So there’s one for ya. What is the point of this rant then? (Do rants ever have a point?) Not a damn thing other than  

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Have a Merry Christmas with Random Acts of Kindness

Boy, my last post was a tad dark. Let's see if we can lighten things up. It's Christmastime after all; my favorite time of the year. I can't think of very much to say right now other than to reassure you that despite normal setbacks that anyone can suffer, I am doing well. My daughter is still in remission and despite having had a lumbar puncture yesterday, she stays mostly sunshine and rainbows.

This year we got an Elf on the Shelf. Lily called Santa and left him a voice mail asking him to please send a girl Elf to our house. She woke up the very next morning to find one sitting in our Christmas tree! She named her Glitzen Von Schweetz. So far, Glitzen is a good elf who mostly watches over Lily and sometimes brings her early presents from Santa. This morning we found her on a book shelf reading "Dipper's and Mabel's Guide to Mystery and Non-stop Fun!" Guess she's a Gravity Falls fan too.

Which reminds me, I DO have something SUPER AWESOME to say, but I am at the office right now (ssshhhh) and I don't think I'm ready to have that emotional happy cry here while I answer the phones. It has to do with the most amazing September we've ever experienced in our lives!

But for now I just wanted to share with you some cool ways to make yourself feel good while spreading a little magic this holiday season. I've compiled a list of Random Acts of Kindness I've found from around the web. So if these were your ideas originally, please forgive my plagiarism. But...it is all for a good cause, so chill. Some of these, Lily and I have done before and I can tell you, it gets really fun. Especially if you try and sneak around really fast and not be seen.

1. Go to a $1 store and leave behind dollar bills in random places (on shelves, taped to a can of food, etc) with a little note that says "Merry Christmas. Please enjoy an item of your choosing on us! Secret Santa."

2. Tape an envelope with some spare change to a random vending machine. Maybe with a note that says "Marry Christmas. Have a Coke and a smile."

3. Donate some blankets to a pet shelter so little Fido's wont have to sleep on the cold concrete.

4. Give food or your time volunteering at a local Food Bank

5. Pay for the car behind you the next time you're at a drive thru food or coffee shop.

6. Give up your spot in line.

7. Make a Christmas Card for your school receptionist

8. Leave nice chalk messages on the pavement around your neighborhood

9. Send a thank you note to someone who's Christmas yard decorations really brighten your holiday.

10. Offer to babysit for a friend so they can have an evening free to decorate, bake or wrap! (...or nap)

11. Give a gift to the bus driver who takes you to work or school every day.

There are lots of ideas on the internet if you're looking for ways to spread a little cheer and magic during Christmastime or throughout the whole year.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

It Might Have Been...

"For of All Sad Words of Tongue and Pen, the Saddest are These, It Might Have Been....." John Greenleaf Whittier

I have been having a severe mid-life crisis lately. Panic stricken moments so overwhelming that I find it difficult to breath. I started my youth ambitiously pointed towards acting and Hollywood. But somehow in the last 2 decades...I've not taken another step in the right direction. What the hell happened to me? 

I decided somewhere along the way that I wanted to get married and have a family. I also decided that everything my (undeserving) husband wanted was far more important to our future happiness than anything I wanted. I gave up everything. And he didn't even have to ask me to. I just threw it all away. 5 or 6 years of us go by and we have a baby. And then 18 months go by and we get divorced. And I get fat. Now alone, living at home with my parents and raising a toddler, whom I love with all my heart and soul, everything I started out wanting seems even farther fetched than ever. A few years of sitting behind a desk in an office and "surviving" pass, and my parents win their battle to convince me to move with them to a small town in Texas. I find myself without a decent job, without health insurance, without anyone I can really talk to, and sadder than ever. And hot. Fucking hot. And still fat. 

And then the worst thing happens. Two years into the oblivion of Texas life, my daughter, light of my life, gets diagnosed with leukemia. 


What. In. The. Hell. 

We'er in the middle of two and a half years of chemo therapy now. Hospital trips. Hospital stays. Weak bones and occasionally no immune system. No fun for her. No school for her. Sometimes no friend time for her. Jesus Christ. How did this happen? 

I find no sleep. Like, ever. But in my sleepless state I do find food. Lots of food. And what I thought was fat before, becomes a fond memory. Because now I seriously get fat. Like, really fat. I spend most of my days in a trance-like state, trying not to let the fear of the reality come into the front of my mind. I use every grain of strength I have to keep the earth shattering terror at bay. Because when you have a child falling into despair over their own body trying to destroy itself, you don't get to fall to pieces. You keep all those pieces glued together for as long as you can. I am convinced that my doctor thinks I'm insane because he walks into the exam room only to find me sobbing. Sobbing quickly because the few minutes I'm waiting in the room all alone is the only time alone I ever have that I can let the dam break. 

By next month we'll be a year in to her chemotherapy treatments and so far, barring occasional setbacks, things are moving in the right direction. Until now I couldn't even bring myself to write anything about it. I have actively avoided my diary because I felt like if I wasn't writing about cancer, then I shouldn't be writing about anything. I still can't go into much detail about it. Again, this would be a dam breaking. 

She's in remission. She's in a place now where the treatments aren't so severe that she's frequently left with no immune system. Only occasionally left with no immune system. It's at a place where I feel comfortable enough to look beyond the cancer. Make plans for the future. What happens after. Maybe I'm foolish, but it feels nice to think beyond. To feel optimistic of a future that promises fulfillment. But how? 

I find lately that I am utterly disappointed in myself. What have I accomplished with my life? What did I work for? What have I trained for? Nothing. I haven't. I just blew around like a dried leaf in the breeze. Not grasping on to anything. Not focusing on anything. Not ready to until now. And now I am so old. So old to start over. To start anything! 36 years old and I've never been to college, never had a career, never truly pursued what my soul has ached for. And how do I do that now? With a daughter not yet in third grade, how do I uproot her again to move back to California with no money, no prospects, no direction at all. All I do know is that I don't, no, I can't be where I am anymore. There is nothing for me here and this drifter lifestyle must come to an end. I am ready for my life to start. 

And at the same time, I couldn't feel more selfish. How dare I think of moving my daughter so that I may chase after my dream? Even though we are talking about "beyond cancer" here. What do I do? What do I do? What do I do? I'm more lost than ever and so confused that it honestly makes me dizzy. Disheartened. Scared. Maybe terrified is a better word. I am terrified to be on my death bed one day with my final thoughts being "what if"? 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


I can't. I'm having some sort of midlife crisis. I can't. I feel crazy and shaky and stuck. So stuck. I hate this. I hate this. I hate this. I can't deal. I can't. I'm having a fit inside. I feel like everything in me is shaking. I am afraid. I am afraid. I don't want this. I want something else. How do I get it? I feel stuck. Trying to tell myself that I am not stuck. It is not forever. I can do anything. Anything. It can happen if I need it. And I need it now, but I can't have it now. I can't think whole thoughts. I almost can't hold my fingers still enough to type. I'm so irritated with myself. I'm stifled. I hate it. fjdklshaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Adventure in Crafting: A DIY Sock Creature (Level: Super Easy)

My opening words of comfort to you: I am not great at many things. So if I can do it, YOU can certainly do it. This is my clueless girls guide to creating a stuffed animal out of a sock.

I'm not gonna lie, this is fairly simple. Let me say that I barely know how to use a sewing machine, can rarely follow directions properly and usually get frustrated with any new project that I try less than halfway into it. Which leaves me with a bunch of funky looking half finished projects all over the house. Despite my lack of expertise with a sewing machine, I still very much enjoy actually sitting down and sewing. One day I will attempt to make an article of clothing using an actual pattern. But today is not that day. For my first project however, I have attempted to follow directions that I saw in a magazine to make a doll out of a sock. Similar to a sock monkey, only not like a sock monkey at all. Confused yet? Good, we're all on the same page.

The best part about this project is that I spent exactly 3 dollars. And I only spent that much because I wanted some variety. I was lucky enough to have some poly fiber filling at my house, thread, needles, a glue gun and other various crafting items. If you don't have any stuffing then it will cost you more. I picked up three pairs of socks from the dollar store. I figured if I totally screw this up, at least I only spent three bucks. So let's boogie already.

Take one sock at a time and lay it on a flat surface. Cut off the length that would go up your leg.

Make another cut right after the heel.

You can also make one additional cut if you wish to add a tail to your creature. I forgot to take a picture of this step, so I just drew a circle around where you would make this cut. You would want it to be about 1 1/2 inches thick.

Now take the part left over that goes over your foot and toes and cut it in half. This will make the arms of your creature. The long part of the sock that goes up your leg will make the head, body and legs.

With the foot section cut in half, take each half (wrong side out) and sew the sides closed, leaving an opening at the top. Flip the arm right side out, fill with stuffing and then hand stitch the rest of it closed and set aside. To make it nice and neat, tuck in the ends and stitch them inside where they wont be seen. Repeat on other arm. (Do people call it stuffing? I call it stuffing.)

Go to the bottom half of the long part of the sock, find the middle and cut up as far as you wish to go to make the legs as long as you want. If you wish for your creature to have horns, find the middle of the top of the sock and cut down a few inches. Depending on how long you want your horns to be. If you don't want horns/ears then just leave this part alone.

Option 1: Flat Head

Option 2: With Horns/Ears/Pop Up Eyes
 Once you have made all your cuts, flip everything inside out. With the wrong side out, sew ends and inner edges and ears/horns/eyes (if you opted for those) shut. Leave an opening in one leg big enough for you to work with so that you can flip your creature right side out and then easily fit stuffing everywhere it needs to go.

Once your creature is right side out and stuffed, hand stitch the leg closed. Since it alternated between black and white I just went for white all the way. It's on the inside of the leg, so it's not very noticeable anyway.

Taa-daa! My finished body.

If you opted for a tail, follow the same rules as before. Sew it (wrong side out) into a rectangle, leave about an inch opening, flip it, stuff it, stitch it shut. Set aside.

All my individual parts made. This didn't take long at all. The most difficult part was the few hundred misunderstandings that the sewing machine and I had over how a bobbin is supposed to function properly. I'm not gonna lie, I had to call my mommy in to set it straight for me. That's how I fight my battles. "MAAA!"

Once you're ready to attach your arms (and optional tail) just hand stitch them onto the desired location. From here on out it's up to you how you want to finish your creature. I loved this striped guy, but I wanted to mix things up. I repeated the above steps on two other pairs of colored socks and started trading body parts and adding embellishments. You can use poms poms, googley eyes, hot glue, sequins, buttons, yarn, felt, jingle bells, old jewelry...the list goes on and on. I kept it cheap this time, just using what I had around the house. I am very fond of Kawaii style, so I chose that for all my creature faces. Here are the finished bodies, without faces...

Sorry about the pink on pink. Makes it difficult to see, but everyone was on my bed. 

And here is everyone completely finished.

I am happy to report that when my 6 year old got home from school she squealed with delight over these creatures. She begged me not to sell them all, and chose for herself the 2nd one pictured. The next morning when her friend came over to get a ride to school, she also chose one for herself. LOL! She picked the one with the two hearts above the eyes. Well at least I know the target audience (we'll call them the focus group) approves! Mission accomplished! This feels so GREAT!

My sewing set up.