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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Resolutions and stuff

Yeah, I'm one of those people this year.

I don't always make resolutions, but this year I am. And really, they're not new. But I have a renewed determination to follow them.

Lose weight. Get in shape. Those are the no-brainers in this case. And thanks to a 1000-Mile running challenge, I should be able to do that (and if you want to join, and you click on that link to do it, I get credit for free stuff...and free stuff is awesome) and train for the next few races at the same time.

And I've gotten some fun gizmos to help, like this awesome calendar from a friend, and an activity tracker thingambob from The Dude, and some hand weights to use while running. Plus, my "sole sis" is doing her evil best to keep me motivated (actually we torture each other, but that's ok). We've been slacking for the past couple of weeks because of the holidays and the craptastic weather, but we'll get back to it. We always do.

I totally bombed at the whole attempt to lose 25 pounds by my birthday thing, but I think I'm in a better head space to do it now.  New year, new start, right?

Then there's the whole business thing. I'm determined to actually turn Mom Cave Designs into a legitimate business, and not just a hobby that makes me a little bit of extra money. I have no idea how to do it, but I've been looking into taking some business classes and figuring out what I need to do in order to make this happen. The orders that I've been getting have been keeping me busy, and it's been awesome. I love being able to do this - especially getting the weighted blankets out to people who need them, and adding new items to my Etsy shop is always fun.

Write more. I constantly have things that I want to write about pop into my head. And then I get distracted and I don't do it. Or I lose my nerve and decide not to put whatever it is "out there". I've always been very selective about the things that I write about, and I plan to continue that. But at the same time I'm going to try to stop worrying about making someone mad with the things that I want to say.

Those are the main things that I am focusing on this  year. And hopefully, with the support of my friends and family and all of the people who are crazy enough to keep reading what I spew online, I'll be able to make it all happen. Only time will tell.

Happy New Year, people!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Backwards Stocking

I finally started decorating for Christmas today.

I went out and bought a fake (ugh) tree, and got it upright and put more lights on it (a story all on its own) and I got the stockings hung up on the mantle.

Every time I post a picture of our stockings, I sit back and wait for someone to point out that one of them is backwards - because someone does it every. single. time.

The funny thing is that I don't even notice it anymore. It's normal to me.

After I got them up, I decided that I was tired and I was going to quit for the night. There's still so much to do and if I keep going, it's going to be way too late way too fast. So I sat down for a few minutes and looked at the stockings and tried to remember exactly why I ended up with one that faced the opposite direction.

It all started back in 1998, when I was dating Ex1. He told me that he had never had a stocking when he was growing up, and I was stunned. So I set about making him a quilted stocking to give to him that Christmas. I didn't have a pattern, and I didn't have a lot of money, so I used scraps of fabric and made him a quilted stocking and gave it to him.

By the time that Christmas 1999 rolled around, we had Sarah - so I made two more stockings. The toe on Ex1's stocking pointed to the right. So I made mine point to the left and made Sarah's point to the right. That way, when they were hung up "in order" the toes would alternate. When Emily was born and I made her stocking, her toe pointed left in order to continue the pattern.

Then life happened, and Ex1 and I split right before Christmas the year that Jared was born. Ex1 took his stocking with him, and Jared didn't get one right away because things were too chaotic. In fact, I made stockings for Ex2, my then-stepson, Jared, Alex, and Daniel for Christmas in 2006 - however Daniel's didn't even have a name on it since we knew he existed but we didn't know if he was a boy or a girl yet. We used the blank stocking to announce to the kids that there was going to be another baby coming. And for whatever reason - probably chaos and lack of time - those stockings all pointed the same direction.

Fast forward a few years. The Dude now has a stocking hanging with the rest.

To me, Sarah's stocking isn't backwards. When I look at the row, the first one, the fifth one, and the seventh one are backwards. They should all point to the right in order to have the alternating effect that I planned.

When other people look at it, they see the one pointing the opposite way.

In the end though, we all have our stockings. And they'll all be jammed full on Christmas morning regardless of which direction they face.

Plans change. Life changes. Things don't always turn out the way we hoped, but it's ok. It's important to sometimes stop and look at things from a different perspective and realize that an unexpected result isn't always a bad thing.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Putting it out there

This is my "running shelf".

The finisher medals that I've gotten are hanging on the left side. All of my bibs are hanging on the right. In the middle is my battered old Penn State hat and my belt that I use to hold my phone and keys when I run. The top has various other doodads, like my watch and mp3 player...and for some reason a little ceramic bowl that one of the kids made is there too.

This shelf is in my bedroom (note the festive - and very stained - wallpaper) directly between my closet and bathroom doors. I see it many times each and every day, which is part of the reason why I put it there.

Although I haven't been doing it as much lately, I do enjoy running (sort of). It's hard, and it makes me hurt (mostly in a good way), and I grumble about doing it - but it's something that I never expected to be able to do and it's something that many people over the years told me that I couldn't do.

But I can do it. I'm not fast, and I'm never going to break any records, but I can do it.

I can do it.

And I'm going to keep doing it. And I'm going to do it more.

I've fought with my weight a lot over the years, and it's gone up and down within about a 40 pound range over the past 10 years or so. Without disclosing the actual number, I'll just say that right now I'm about 25 pounds over where I want to be.

My birthday is in about 2 1/2 months (*cough*72 days*cough*). I'll be 45.

While running with a group of friends this morning, I voiced something that has been bouncing around in my head for a few weeks now. And now I'm going to put it in writing.

I am going to lose 25 pounds before my birthday.

I'm doing it because I want to. I know where my ideal weight is, and it's actually a little beyond that 25 pounds. But getting rid of that first 25 is a good, realistic start. And if I can when I get that done, it's going to mean something.

It's going to mean that I finally took control of my eating and exercise habits.

It's going to mean that I have proved to myself that there are better ways to deal with crappy days than eating myself stupid.

It's going to mean that I'm going to be healthier than I am now.

It's going to mean that I've forced myself to not hide in the house as soon as the weather turned cold.

It's going to mean that I was able to make a promise to myself and actually keep it.

And it's going to mean that I can tell myself I TOLD YOU SO.

If I was a hashtag person, I'd call it #25by45. But I'm not, so I won't.

But watch me, because I'm going to do this. And I'm going to rock it.

Monday, October 5, 2015


I had a pretty crappy day yesterday.

I'm not going to go into the specifics of the situation, because they aren't necessarily important. Suffice it to say that I was involved in an argument in the middle of my driveway and it was loud and it was heated and I lost my cool over the whole thing. It wasn't pretty, but at the same time, I managed to say what I wanted to say (something that I have kept in check for a very long time) and at that point in time I didn't give a crap who heard me.

But, while I was getting everything off of my chest, so was he (no, not The Dude). The insults were flung at lightning speed, and every one that he threw at me was returned.

Until he puffed up his chest and got in my face and hit me with the zinger. The one that brings it all back up to the surface.

"I have to work for a living. I don't get to just sit around on my ass all day like you do."

Suddenly, it all came flashing back.

His voice wasn't his anymore, but instead changed to a voice from my past and I swore I could smell the booze even though I knew there was none there. I snarked something back at him and went back inside the house and did what I had to do until he was gone, and then I lost it. The Dude held me while I sobbed and until I could catch my breath again. I wanted him to stay for the day but he had to go and so I stayed here with Jared and Daniel. They kept themselves amused with toys and games while I drowned in my thoughts.

We always hear the phrase "domestic violence survivor" (or something similar to that). I survived it. I got through the physical violence with nothing more than a pair of bent glasses, some handprints on my neck, and a few minor bruises now and then. The physical stuff, in my case, was easy.

The emotional violence was so much more. The insults - about my housekeeping, my cooking, my parenting, my weight, my hair, and yes, even the fact that I got to sit around on my ass all day and do nothing - were thrown at me on a far more regular basis than the punches were. I knew even then that I was doing my best, but it wasn't good enough.

Then I realized that my best was never going to be good enough, so I quit doing much of anything. I survived by doing the bare minimum, and I got lazy. The kids were always fed and they always had clean clothes, but the house was always a disaster. I didn't care - because even if I cleaned it, I'd still get yelled at - most likely because in order to get the house clean enough, supper would be later than usual or something equally ridiculous.

I finally escaped from that life a few years ago. I started a new life and eventually got a new house in a new town and started to really pull my act together. But there is still one box sitting on my bedroom floor that I haven't unpacked from when we moved, there are always random messes in various places, the laundry doesn't get done as often as it should, the grass needs to be mowed, and my kids can sure as hell still give me problems on a regular basis.

I'm not perfect. Not even close. But I'm so much better than what I used to be.

But yet, that one insult being yelled at me in my driveway yesterday brought all of that pain back to me like it had never even gone anywhere. I wanted to yell back, to tell him how his idea of me sitting around on my ass was drastically different than my reality, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't say a word.

That one insult hit me like a punch to the gut and a kick to the head all at the same time. It knocked the wind out of me and took me back to one of the darkest times in my life, a time that I have talked about and written about and analyzed and replayed millions of times. A time that I thought I had "survived".

In reality, I honestly don't consider myself to be a survivor. I'm not "over it". It's not done and gone and buried somewhere so that it can never come back to haunt me again. It's still a part of me and it always will be, no matter how much time passes.

I'm not a survivor, but I'm surviving.

Please, do not ask who it was. Other than referring to him as "he", I've intentionally kept this vague, because it's really not important who "he" is. "He" could be anyone, and "he" has been multiple people in the past - I only chose to write about this particular incident because of my own personal reasons.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Pumpkins and Persecution

We all know how I feel about pumpkin, right?

It's gross. It's icky. I hate it with every fiber of my being, and then some. I don't want to taste it, I don't want to smell it, I don't want it near me unless I'm hacking it to pieces in the process of making a jack-o-lantern....and even then I usually gag a time or two.

So a year or two ago when I was working at the fast food joint, pumpkin season rolled around like it always does. We started serving pumpkin spice coffees and pumpkin ice cream and other grotesque items made with that horrendous stuff.

Guess what? I had to deal with it.

I could have told my boss, CrankyPants, that I refused to serve anything related to pumpkin because I thought that it was gross and icky, and she would have shown me the door. I could have quit then and there and just kept going on with my life elsewhere. Or, as I chose to do, I just sucked it up and served the damned pumpkin crap. And life went on.

I bet you can see where I'm going with this, can't you?

I am so sick and tired of seeing posts floating through my newsfeed saying that Kim Davis is being persecuted because she's a Christian and she's standing up for her rights. No, she's not being persecuted. She's being punished for not performing the job that she was elected to do, and that she most likely took an oath of office promising that she would do.

That's not persecution. That's the consequence of breaking the law.

She can believe whatever she wants to believe. She has that right. Whether or not I agree with her isn't the point. (For the record, just in case you're new here - THIS is how I feel about equal rights.) She's standing up for what she believes in, and that's ok. I don't agree with her, but in a way I almost (I said almost) admire her for sticking to her guns.

What's not ok is that she's not doing her job, and by not doing her job she's violating other peoples' rights.

She's a government employee. The law says that everyone has the right to get married, but she's using her religious views to prevent that from happening.

HER religious views. She is trying to impose HER religious views on everyone else in Rowan County, regardless of what religion they practice themselves.

This country was founded in part on the freedom of religion. But folks, it's not just freedom OF religion.

It's also freedom FROM religion. People are free to choose not to follow any religion at all.

If homosexuality, gay marriage, or singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" while driving violates your religious beliefs, then don't participate in those activities. IT'S THAT SIMPLE.

Don't like it? Don't do it. But the law says that you can't stop anyone else from doing it either.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Get a grip, people.

It's  getting to be that time of the year again.

Fall is coming and people are anticipating cooler weather, and for whatever reason it seems that people just have to equate that with one thing.


Pumpkin everything.

Pumpkin all the things.

Personally, I despise the stuff. I think that the taste and texture of pumpkin is nasty, and yes, I've tried to eat it numerous times, and no, I don't give a crap how YOU make it - I don't like it.

Pumpkins are good for 3 things: jack-o-lanterns, roasting the seeds after making said jack-o-lanterns, and then smashing the aforementioned pumpkin after Halloween is over. That's it. Nothing else.

But yet, there are people who worship the almighty pumpkin. As soon as there is a hint of fall weather (or even before), their eyes glaze over, drool runs down their chins, and all they can think about is adding pumpkin to everything edible and/or drinkable.

They act as though they can only get their beloved squash for a limited time each year - which for the most part is true - if they're going to wait for one to ripen on a vine in their garden. However, with the dozens of people I know who are afflicted with pumpkinitis every year, not a single one of them stands in their garden, guarding the plant, watering it, weeding it, talking to it, waiting patiently for it to ripen so that it can be harvested and cut open and gutted for its (supposedly) delicious flesh. Instead, they do what most people do.

They go to the store and they buy a can of it.

See that? I bought that can of pumpkin last year specifically to make a point. It's been sitting on the shelf in my pantry for close to a year so that on the off chance I decided that I wanted a pumpkin pie in June, I could make it.

Want a pumpkin roll in February? Well, by golly, whip that can of pumpkin off of the shelf and make it!

You want pumpkin cupcakes in May? Crack that can open.

Got a hankerin' for some pumpkin pancakes for a delicious brunch in December? Guess what? YOU CAN MAKE THEM ANY TIME YOU WANT THEM.

You don't know how to cook/bake, or you don't want to? I bet you can find another pumpkinitis victim who would gladly do it.

Oh, but then there are the people who think that their coffee needs to be laced with the crap too. Pumpkin spiced lattes and cappucinos and whatever - well guess what? Some of them DON'T EVEN CONTAIN PUMPKIN!!! They contain "pumpkin spice" which is usually a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice (all of which are available at any grocery store *GASP* year round). If you don't want to make your own "pumpkin spice" mixture - you can buy it already made and sprinkle it in your drinks until your little heart is content.

Now from what I understand, some of these places that sell these grossly overpriced fluffy coffee drinks are now adding 'real' pumpkin to them - but a quick google search brought up about eleventy bajillion recipes for drinks with pumpkin in them - so if I had the desire to ruin a perfectly good drink, I could do it myself for a lot less money. And you can too!

Of course it doesn't stop there. Corporations feed into the pumpkinitis epidemic by adding the crap (or some imitation of it) to everything that is prepackaged whether we want it or not - Oreos and M&Ms and peeps and salsa and candles and soap and pudding and bagels and marshmallows and air freshener and cookies and soda and toothpaste and ice cream and it just. keeps. going. on.

I even found an image for pumpkin spice flavored condoms - which I found are NOT a real product. But I wouldn't be surprised to see them on the shelf at the local drugstore any time now because people will somehow feel that they just can't live without them.

How long until we have pumpkin scented toilet paper?

Seriously people. You can buy pumpkin year round. If you love the food that much, make it whenever you want to make it. SEIZE THE FREAKING DAY and make a pumpkin pie in March if it will make you happy. If you love the candles so much and they're not available at your favorite candle store year round, then stock up on them in October when they are on the shelves. Burn them whenever you want to BECAUSE YOU CAN. All of this prepackaged food has the shelf life of Twinkies anyway, so if you love the Oreos that much, buy a case of them and stash them in the cupboard to enjoy year round.

Stop acting like you can only get the crap for 2.5 seconds out of the year.

Oh look - I still have over
15 months to use it.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Almost there...

Less than a week until school starts.

The majority of the school supplies have been purchased, parent/teacher conferences are scheduled, sports practices have already begun, and it's only a matter of time before I dump the kids off at the front door of the school and do the happy dance on the way out of the parking lot.

I love my kids. I really do.

But I can not wait until they are back in school. Seriously.

I've never been one of those moms who greets the new school year with "but I'm going to miss my babies so much" or "I just can't bear the thought of my darling angels being gone all day" or any of that jazz.

Instead, I'm over here saying "finally, I can poop in peace!"

After dedicating the past 3ish months to them morning, noon, and night (and then some), I'm ready for some quality ME-time.

I'm ready to deal with the morning drama, take them to school, and then go for a run.

I'm ready to go to the grocery store - alone - and not feel frazzled the entire time I'm there (or come home with a bunch of crap that I didn't plan to buy).

I'm ready to help Emily get her Crayons for a Cause up and running.

I'm ready to hide out in the Mom Cave and work on lots of new projects. I have so many ideas for things that I want to get made in addition to the normal routine of the weighted blankets, and it's so hard to get any of that done when the kids are home - but with 7-8 hours of peace every day I can get so much done without feeling like I'm neglecting them. 

And I'm totally ready for Date Day with The Dude - on Tuesday, the first day of school, he and I are packing a cooler and our fishing poles and we are taking off for the lake as soon as the kids are safely at school and we're going to just hang out together all day. We might have just spent a solid 2 weeks together, but we did not get any time alone - and ever since we got back we've both been busy taking care of stuff and haven't really had a chance to really see each other - so I called him today and officially asked him out on a date. And he said yes.  (I think he likes me.)

I've been told before that I'm selfish because I enjoy my time "too much" when the kids are in school. Maybe it is selfish of me, but I look at it this way - I am here for these kids 24/7, whether they're in school or not. I'm lucky enough to not have to work a "real" job so I can spend the entire summer with them and it's awesome. But when they're in school, I get to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I finally get to do stuff for ME, without taking away time from them. I can sneak away for a day and go fishing with The Dude without having to worry about finding someone to keep an eye on them. I can hide in the Mom Cave all day and not worry about who is going to fix them lunch (because I already packed it before they walked out the door that morning). I can go for a run to clear my head and keep myself healthy without wondering if they're burning the house down while I'm gone. And if I want to take a nap in the middle of the day, I can do it without fearing judgment from someone who might show up at the door for some unknown reason.

And if all of that is selfish, then so be it. I know that having the time to myself while they're in school makes me a more relaxed person, which helps me to be a better mother. And I'm ok with that.

5 days, 4 hours, and 45 minutes....... give or take a few......