Saturday, December 27, 2014

Original Art III






I should’ve spent Christmas gifting my mother with a painting made of my blood, sweat, and tears. Instead, I was curled up in bed with cold sweats and nausea. Yay, seasonal flu. Best Christmas present EVER. 

Even if I didn’t get to share it with her yet, I thought I’d share it with all of you. 

This painting was a tiny bit of a departure than what I’m used to. I mainly stick to decorative art. Things to spruce up my apartment. Nothing remotely art in a traditional art way.


But, my mom saw a painting at Home Goods and wanted me to imitate it. It definitely doesn’t look like the original, and this is my first time painting water reflection, but I’m still really proud of it. 
Store Art

What do you think?

My Art

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tis the Season



The inside of my house looks like a crappy Christmas display from Home Goods. Sadly, the outside is not reflecting the nature of the season. 

I think this year has been the best Christmas so far for expendable cash to spend on others, but the least Christmas-ee feeling of them all.


Maybe I’ve become disillusioned by having to deal with the very worst kind of Christmas spirits. Anyone working in customer service will know who I’m talking about. 


I get the shopping frustration, especially when dealing with technology based gifts geared toward 90 year old shoppers, but the rudeness is almost shocking. 

I’ve been sworn at when relaying bad news, called inept by someone who doesn’t even know where the refresh button is on her browser, called a liar while pasting the truth typed on the page verbatim, and worthless because I cannot put someone’s order to the front of the line because they want it so. 

Thankfully, there are also my saving graces. The really sweet, kind people who understand mistakes, who understand technological and personal learning curves, and those who admit that maybe it’s their fault or the programs fault or something out of everyone's control and accept the problem with grace and kindness. 



The season colors things in many ways. 


I'm trying to not let the dark block out all the twinkly lights







Sunday, December 7, 2014

Returning from my Hiatus

Poor Picture quality but that face 

We’ve reached the other side of my annual November blog hiatus.

Was I successful in my NaNoWriMo endeavors?

The short of it … no.

I made my word count consistently for the first week, and then it all took a tumble.

It was one of those situations where you wanted to do everything but the thing you committed to.

Was it a total failure?

No.

I finished a short story, finally, that I’d been working on for about a year. I’m excited to see readers’ responses after I do an initial edit (if any reader is interested in being a short story guinea pig, don’t be shy, let me know.)

Since I wasn’t writing as I should’ve been for NaNo, I got some other things sorted out.  Including some exciting things on the horizon for a friend and me that combines our love of reading and cooking. Stay tuned.

I started working full time, more than full time now. It’s still from home, but there’s human-to-human interaction on a daily basis now. Yay me!

I also bought a new vehicle. My Malibu was reaching the end of its very prolonged, slow death. Like any good car owner, I decided to abandon it in favor of a shiny, quiet, black Chevy HHR.

Car aficionados out there are shaking their head at my choice. Of all the options, why go with something judged so poorly in the car world?

The answer comes in three points:

1)   It was cheap
2)   It doesn’t sound like a motorcycle gang driving down the road
3)   If it runs good, which it does, I’m on board since it meets the first two criteria

Naturally, one progresses from car buying to house buying. So, we’re now traveling down that road.

November … A lot of stuff crammed into 30 days.


December: Christmas goodness and prepping for a very, very busy 2015.


A 2015 without our family dog, Zack. Rest in Peace. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lush Haul


In celebration of my employed-ness, I took a trip to Lush.

Somewhere circa 1999 bath fun was all the rage. Every present I got for Christmas in the 7th grade had some form of bath salt, bath pearl, or bath fizzer inside. Little me went crazy in the bath accouterments aisle at the dollar store.

And then it all disappeared. The only things left to take a bath with was that pink stuff that parents bought for their toddlers, which reminded me more of Pepto-Bismol than something I should be bathing in.

Needless to say, I spent decades with boring baths, waiting to find something to bring me back to the lavender scented bliss of my middle school days.

Then I spotted Lush, competing with Hollister for the mall’s smelliest store but still inviting with their little baskets full of gigantic bombs and bags touting their cruelty free bend. They sucked me right in.

Lush has become a reward system. Whenever there’s something worth celebrating, I get a bath bomb. A new job was a cause for massive celebration, so I went a bit wild.

Sparkler Bath Bomb $6.95
I’ve already used this one. I liked the unique shape of it and the spicer scent of Rose Jam over the purple Northern Lights bomb, even if Sparkler wasn’t exactly exciting in the tub. It just shoots out copper glitter. Still a nice scent and my skin felt smooth after.

Father Christmas $6.40
I got this one more for the festiveness than the smell. It smells like a flowery, pink jolly rancher to me, if that makes sense. But it’s supposed to color your bath red to green, so I had to get it. Just look at that jolly face.

Butterbear $4.95
I got this one for a friend’s birthday because it has a lot of oils, and she was complaining of dry skin. If you’ve ever had the candy FunDip, this one smells exactly like the stick. I’ve used the Butterball bomb before, and it’s the one that made me fall in love with Lush. You feel moisturized for a couple days after your bath.

Cinders $4.95
Mmm, love the smell of cinnamon on this one. This one has a lot of oils as well, so I’m hoping it gives me a nice silky feeling.

Wizard Bubble Bar $7.95
I thought this one was adorable, and it has a musky pine scent to me that I really like. I thought it was festive and cute.


Sparkly Pumpkin Bubble Bar $7.95
This has a hard scent to describe, sort of a citrusy spice happening. I mainly got it for it’s shape. Most of their bubble bars are too fruity for my taste, so that’s a point for the pumpkin.


Hot Toddy Shower Gel $19.95
I haven’t stopped using this since I got it. It smells like sweet apple cinnamon, and you smell like apples for a couple hours post shower. Love. It lathers well too. It’s a bit pricey and limited edition, so I’ll miss it when it’s gone.

As Lush is so expensive, I usually cut my bombs and bars in pieces so I can get more than one use. I also usually don’t go for that many at one time either, but a steady pay check makes you go a bit crazy at first.


`Who else loves Lush? What’s your favorite product?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Old Stuff and New Stuff



My parents came to visit today, lugging another loveseat in the back of their van to shove into my tiny little garage apartment. At least my furniture matches now, and I can say it was all made post 1950.

Anybody else the family donation box?

A big antiques market was happening in the next town over, so we went to look around. I really, really wanted a coffee table and chest I found, but I went home empty handed in the end. Although, I regret leaving the coffee table behind. Our living room has plenty of seating now but only one half-destroyed end table I've been dying to replace.

Last week was kind of a big week for us. I started working full time and the hubs had an interview and got the job on the same day.

We're a working couple now!

It's kind of insane. I've never had a straight, 40 hour 'conventional' job before. I can't really say this is conventional either, since it's a work from home customer service job, but it is full time.








It's a special sort of wonderful to talk to customers in my pink zebra print pajama pants and a bird on my head.

And it's sooo good to not have to worry about bills anymore. Our slim savings had fallen to the desperation level. I seriously worried about having to start that whole 'sell your stuff for survival' routine.














Interesting reading
options. 


I'd like to think I'm more spiritual than religious, and it's times like these that reaffirm my personal brand of faith. I don't expect God to hold my hand through life, but I like to think He puts things in place that I need to find.

Creepy

I'm glad both the hubs and I found these opportunities.







This past month, really the past six months, has been nothing but a hurry-up-and-wait time. Anticipation is one of life's true hells. Nothing can describe my feelings when I first realized it was over.

















Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Day with Anxiety part 2




We make it to the hospital, but I’m freaking out a bit since I don’t know whether I can walk to the door or not, but I don’t want to have to use a wheelchair because that’d mean something major was wrong.

I check in, and I feel a bit calmer. At some point in my packing to leave, I began chewing on a piece of gum and can no longer distinguish between the numbness and the minty tingle on my tongue.

I haven’t been to the hospital since my artery dissection and small stroke fall out from the injury almost 2 years ago.

The heart palpitations started after I get triaged. Those are a daily occurrence, so it’s more of an inconvience than anything else, and I feel a bit better. Still dizzy, but calm. If I have a stroke here, at least my chances are good.

I spend an hour in the waiting area. The hubs is being a trooper even though I’m ruining his plans by making him sit with me through all of this. My anxiety claims just as many of his days as mine.

Everything is fine until I notice a man come in with a trash bag. He’s a loud puker. When it hits me that that’s what the bag is full of, my body freaks the hell out. I go up to registration because I can’t sit still. I’ve got one finger in my ear to block out the man while I ask the lady as politely as I could about when I’d be getting back. 

Apparently, I’m next, but my fingers and toes are tingling again and there’s a ringing in my ears. I use the bathroom … again. When I come back out, the man has somehow gotten louder and another woman is wheeled in with a puke catcher in her lap. I fall to my chair, pretty positive I’m going to pass out now. The hubs is trying to keep me calm, but he’s got his own issues with hospitals, so we’re a real pair.

It seems a better option to just go home and if a stroke comes on … well I tried.

Instead, I’m called back. Once away from the puking man and the lady with the bucket, I’m exhausted. I tell the doctors about my symptoms, we go through the stroke tests, I get a CT scan, and I spend six hours waiting around for tests and results. But it’s not too bad most of the time. Having two panic episodes in one day takes the fight out of me. I’m not anxious anymore. Just tired and hungry.

The results come back negative for any artery dissections or stroke. I'm thrilled. I really didn't want to relive that experience. 

When I get home, I eat a bowl of soup and pass out, completely ignoring the dizziness that comes with lying down, and sleep for 11 hours.

After all that, I have to admit, it wasn’t that bad of an anxiety day. Maybe a 5 out of 10 on the type of panic-y days I can have. Most my anxiety revolves around my health, so as long as I’m feeling good, I don’t really have a problem at all.

It’s obviously a lot worse for some people, but I wanted to share my day with people who maybe don’t understand. I know a lot of my reactions are blown out of proportion, seem extreme, and crazy, but when I’m in the midst of my anxiety, logical thought is impossible. My sole concentration is on feeling better and panic ensues when that doesn’t immediately happen.

It’s exhausting. Anxiety is exhausting.

A good resource for learning more about mental illnesses is the National Institute of Mental Health.

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Day with Anxiety part 1



Before I even open my eyes, I feel off balance, like someone has kidnapped me in the middle of the night and left me on a boat to die. I don’t want to open my eyes because if the dizziness doesn’t go away, it’s going to be one of those days.

I take stock of everything I’m feeling, testing if it gets worse when I move my head—it does—moving my jaw around and noticing the stuffy, crinkly pressure in my ear.

God, I love fall and all its weather changes that heighten my vertigo and turn me into an anxious hermit on the brink of panic until my body adjusts.

I finally open my eyes and the dizziness doesn’t stop. My fingertips start to tingle, and I start to sweat. I sit up because I need to do something to get everything to focus before I fall over the panic edge.

I begin the body analysis, noticing how once I focus my eyes on something, my head adjusts and the spinning is gone. I know this feeling; vertigo is an old friend. I’m not going to die, nor pass out, nor is this a stroke.

I get out of bed, flex my fingers, continue the ‘I’m fine’ mantra through breakfast and every time I move my head and have to repeat the focus process.

I wanted to go shopping today. I’d wanted to maybe get a coffee too.

That’s not going to happen anymore. The thought of walking through the mall with this dizziness makes my stomach flip.

I don’t get out of my pajamas. I play Skyrim for a few hours because it takes my mind off everything, and I’m calm.

But now I feel useless. It’s Tuesday and I’m wasting it away on a video game. I think maybe a bath will help. 

I settle in, ignoring the heightened dizziness of lying down, and read a book in the warm water.

A phone call from my mom pulls me out of my daze. I sit up quickly to answer and immediately regret that impulse. The room starts spinning, but I concentrate on my mom’s voice, talking with her about the cats in the backyard while my balance equalizes.

Suddenly, my tongue feels like it’s fallen asleep. And it’s all I can think about. Why is my tongue numb? Has this ever happened before? Yes. But this isn’t a stroke. I can still see and there’s no headache. But what if this means another one is coming? Should I go to the hospital? It kind of feels like I may throw up.

My mom’s voice breaks through, but I tell her I have to go, not waiting to give a proper goodbye.

I rush around the house, trying to get dressed. I tell the hubs I need to go to the hospital, but I’m silent after that. I can’t process conversation right now. I’m just trying to get dressed without passing out or throwing up.


I go to the bathroom three times in fifteen minutes before I get everything together to go. One of the more lovelier side effects of my panic attacks is the body release. It’s all kinds of pleasant.

Tomorrow comes part 2 at the hospital. 

To learn more about my experience with anxiety, go here to read about my first panic attack story and here for my battles with OCD.