Friday, December 21, 2012

WTF: A Response



As a follow-up to the previous post of possibly nonsensical ramblings and to present you with a more practical mode of what the hell I'm trying to say, here you go!


I'm not so great with the practicals. As if you hadn't noticed.


So maybe this will give you a little hint of the direction I'm nodding in. Im going to go soak my aching head in some chili. The Loony Farm is closed for today. Try again later.


Massive Scarves and The End Of The World

Two things have been on my mind:


Today is the end of the world,




Sometimes scarves make me nervous.


The other day after work as I was running Christmas- and Redbox-related errands, I could feel this ball of tension winding around my gut like a mouse on crack chasing cheese with legs...also on crack. Everything's on crack.


The thought of simply parking my car in the dark seemed to bring this feeling of imminent doom. To drive through parking lots strewn with the shells of humans as they frantically ran errands similar to mine conjured a thrill of panic. So I parked in one spot and walked through the lots so as to return Wanderlust and simultaneously rent Ruby Sparks from the Jewel (can you tell I don't have internet or cable yet?). All to avoid having to get out and drive in and around the masses on a cold, dark, windy night.


As I'm walking back to my car and contemplating why I feel so fevered to just be HOME already and not be wearing this godforsaken SHOES and be done DRIVING for fucks sake, it strikes me that a portion of the anxiety is rising straight up from my throat and all twisty through my head and body. And around my throat I'm wearing a scarf.


TO CLARIFY: I don't just mean "a scarf." Winter scarves to me are more like half-blankets that somehow sit on the shoulders and need to be constantly adjusted and manipulated so as to stay on the shoulders. They tend to cover half my face and a large portion of torso. This scarf in particular could hide a small child with room to spare. I'm obsessed with it, but it is also my downfall as it brings about the aforementioned stress response when I'm anywhere save for the safety of my couch. With wine.


So I'm still considering why winter scarves have this effect on me -- I'm pretty sure it goes all the way back to grade school when I could never figure out how to make a scarf simultaneously warm and functional as it constantly came untied and/or slipped off my face rendering it seemingly pointless -- as I drive home trying to swivel my head this way in lieu of the Massive Scarf so as to actually get home, alive, in one piece, and not miss an oncoming manic shopper en route.


I live like 5 minutes from the Jewel, by the way.


But I think I realized during the brief pondering and subsequent days of it since that the Massive Scarves that I love so much stress me out in this way because there's something physically constricting about them. On one hand they are preventing me from inevitable Face Burn and Throat Chill, but on the other they inhibit my natural movement. Like if I had to whip my head around real fast to see the old lady headed my way with a shopping cart full of Dr. Pepper at an intersection. Massive Scarves are unnatural, to a point. Plus sometimes I feel like my shoulders are at constant attention trying to hold the damn thing up. Hence the physical reaction of stress sans-stressor. Sigh. What a world.


Speaking of, today is that whole Mayan calendar where's-the-rapture-you-zelouts thing. I actually stayed up last night (not entirely intentionally, but there you go) and watched the first winter lightning I have ever seen flash the sky bright blue repeatedly. Around midnight a little piece of me thought, "maybe?"


Alas, I haven't seen much Armageddon today. Aerosmith will still be waiting. I have felt exhausted for staying up so late but not so much as to regret spending that time with someone I would gladly greet the End Of The World with. I have thought a lot about scarves, though.


Because look, here's the thing:


I understand that because the Mayan calendar never accounted for leap years this day has come and gone by a few months already. And I hear that it's all a bunch of hoo-ha or maybe you take it quite seriously. Or maybe you didn't even know.


But what I'm looking at, and especially granted the winter solstice that today marks, is what such a time as now might mean for all of us. For me, it's a time of change. In my cobbled-together-don't-ask-because-I-might-make-a-fool-of-myself spirituality, this is a time of great expansion and evolution for each and every person on this planet. Read: live this time what you want it to be and watch it unfold.


WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, MOLLY? Have the aliens come and fried your brain? Scarves and now this mumbo-jumbo?


Possibly. What I'm trying to sort through in my brain is what I was thinking about as realized what wearing Massive Scarves does to me and why it's been on my mind so much, as today approached and now quickly moves past us. I'm thinking about all the things that I do in my day-to-day that seem entirely unpractical but are essential to my survival, and all that seems entirely necessary but eat up far too much of my time. And how the hell to marry the two.


Kind of like my entire life is a Massive Scarf. Things that I do that are uncomfortable but necessary; practical and simultaneously ridiculous. And what I can weed out and what I can transform into that practicality. Basically, I'm wondering what this time means for those that have dreams they want to make reality. And realities that need to be put to sleep.


It would take a lot more woo-woo for me to go into what I really think this time on our planet means. To be short, I think this is the time when we start making things happen. I think Dec. 21, 2012 was not a date marking the end of the physical world -- but a signifier that the end of the world you don't want to a part of anymore is here. So stop fighting with the things you don't want anymore and just let them go. And begin chasing everything that's waiting for you.




Monday, December 17, 2012

Playdates ARE Funny

Around almost every corner I turn on the Interwebs I find myself face-to-screen, drooly-cheeked and squinty-eyed, reading Mommy blog after Mommy blog. Don't tell me you haven't noticed.


I'll trade you all the Zoloft in the world to assure me it's not a sign or something.


I don't know how this has happened. But most of the blogs I read on my fancy google follow-y thing cycle themselves through each other in varying stages of hilarity, as I am churned through the workings of the Next Generation of mothers. The funny ones. The ones that drink and don't lie about it; the ones that laugh at their kids' mistakes (maybe if not in their faces); the ones that say "fuck" and "shit" and "tits."


Somehow, as I rounded the corners of web space a few months ago and stumbled upon these hilarious people, I found my kinship. I found people that made me laugh out loud though I have no idea what they're talking about when they wax hysterical on their children's lisps; make fun of grammatical mistakes in a two-year-old; and somehow make staying at home all day with tiny almost-humans simultaneously horrifying and The Best Thing Ever.


I would be lying if I didn't say that these are the women that give me the courage to write.


But I don't think they notice me. Sigh. It's like I'm in high school all over again and I'm pretending not to stare at the most popular girl's jean skirt. Like, how does she pull that off, exactly? What does a "thong" do?


I never did have much fashion sense back then, not to mention courage with my words. Though I did have a teacher comment on a poem I wrote in sixth grade with "depressing dark." Thanks, Mr. Forgotyourname. It's not like I was slitting my wrists or anything. But my timid wordsmithing and sparkly eyeshadow aside, there is more to my love affair with mommy bloggers than what it's pulled from within these depths of coffee and self-doubt. And more than the obvious hilarity.


I love the Mommies of the blogosphere because they don't give a shit.


Ok, well, hold on a minute. That's not exactly it. Or that's not all. Allow me to dissect the frog in my brain for you. Mommy bloggers had me at "diapers" because:


1) They actually don't give a shit about what you think of their parenting. A model that can and should be adopted by the rest of us in every other facet of our lives. Ridiculousness be damned.

2) They are funny. This is obvious.

3) They talk about the most serious of the serious AND they are funny about it. Try that when you're concocting your next "we went to the park today" post.


See number 3 for the clincher in my own humble, un-mommy, stalker-geek opinion.


It is a strongly held belief of mine that while life is full of every kind of serious; a modicum of tangled darkness and shit storms of all colors; none of this is worth a damn if taken too seriously. I believe that there is nothing worth experiencing if not learned from, and if you can't do it without taking the light along with the dark then you probably aren't getting all that you can out of it.


Because there will always be shitty diapers, not enough sleep and hallucinogenic side effects of both. But there is also the laughter that accompanies a speech impediment and the hilarity in uncoordinated toddlers.


The lesson that the rest of us can take from this is that when life seems overwhelming enough even for the toughest of us, if we can't just learn to take it in stride and say "well, that happened today," then there isn't much hope of getting to the other side of it. When we can learn to feel the bad and feel the good in everything, then we've really made it.


I haven't always been very good at taking things lightly. I tend to freak out at how much money I have in my bank account or whether or not my tights are the right shade for my outfit. The deeper ponds are even harder to wade across. But I try and learn from the wisest among me -- even if they don't see their wisdom, either.


So thank you, mothers out there. Someday I hope to describe playdates with as much titillating gusto. Even though I'm still banking for a very, very long time from now.




Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Other Side Of Darkness

I've mentioned before briefly before that The Mother is a practicing intuitive. It's taken her a while to share this with the world, and I suppose it's taken me some time as well to do the same. It gets easy to be pigeonholed under some sort of label when you let your secrets out -- especially those that are easily pigeonholed.


But she wrote something today on her website that I feel is so poignant and necessarily vulnerable yesterday's tragedy that I think it needs to be shared. This is what I've come from and what I find strength in, and the kind of mother that I hope to be to my children someday. My mother has taught me everything I know about what it means to love and be true to yourself. I hope you find some connection in it, too.


A reblog from Laura Brown at



The Other Side Of Darkness

I am not going to argue here about the merits or disadvantages of guns, controlling them or any body's "rights". I simply want to tell my story from my perspective in part because of the overwhelming desire to channel some of the energy we're experiencing on the planet now. Hopefully, as people work with the energies consciously, big dark shit like what happened out east will begin to be transformed.

The shootings in Connecticut. Yes, now we as a culture are faced with this gun thing again. It's the 3rd time in what, 10 days? The football player and his girlfriend, now leaving a little baby without parents. The mall shooting in Oregon. Now little babies, grade schoolers not to mention mothers and one obviously tortured soul, all of whom are someone's sibling, child, friend and loved one. We're also faced with what to do with these human beings who act out this way. I heard on the news that these guns were his mother's, purchased legally and that this young man had a history of mental illness. I know lovely people who have guns, clients whom I respect immensely, who carry dignity and grace with them and who use them in ways that are aligned with the earth. But what I don't like nor enjoy, nor think should be tolerated any longer is the idea that it's alright to have your guns while you live with someone who is mentally unstable. Why do we as a culture insist that this should work, when it clearly doesn't? To me it is an incredible amount of denial about both the sensitivity of some human beings and the insensitivity of others. It's like being pissed at the ocean when it swallows the house you built on the edge of it's mouth.

What strikes me as such the issue is not the guns. That's the surface bullshit we tell ourselves to ignore the fact that the gun has to be used by a person in order for it to fulfill it's purpose. Personally, I wouldn't have a gun, I don't want them any where near me. If someone wants to kill me with a gun, then so be it. I believe in many lifetimes and while I don't want to get wrapped up in someone else's karmic amends if they shoot me, I'm not going to play the "I've got to cover my own ass at all costs" thing either. I don't want to carry that fear of others around with me, it's hard enough without a gun, it would just up the terror ante to have one. I don't want to protect myself that way. I will say this, had I lived in my youth in a house with a gun, I would not be here now. It's highly possible that I would have taken someone with me, too. This is not a new thought, I've always thought this. I have always steered clear of guns out of that fear. When briefly dating someone who showed me he had a gun in a paper bag in his closet at home and the instant I saw it, I shut the door in my heart to that relationship. There was no way, with the way that I felt, that I was going to put myself close to helping the darkness I'd had in my head wipe me or any one else off of this earth. The pain I endured as a young person and the way it processed in my body and my mind would have had me killing myself, easily, if I had access to guns.

When I was 11 years old a darkness settled in on my soul. Depression literally hit me square in the head with such force and such power that I scarcely thought I would live to see 18, let alone my all the way to now. My brain would hurt daily, pounding and sending my ability to think clearly or function out the window. My throat hurt, my body hurt, my soul and spirit felt utterly and completely hopeless and without purpose. A heaviness came over me that I can only describe as black. It felt and looked that way and if any of you mothers have ever experienced true post partum depression, you know what that is like. It's utter darkness. Situational depression combined with young hormones(what my mentor Carol says is like going on hard drugs)that turned into chemical depression came over my soul like an engulfment. Having a sensitive system made it a piece of cake for the chemicals in my brain to freak out under the duress I was experiencing at home.

Before I hit my early teens, as a child, it had felt that things and people around me had things coming out of them, thoughts feelings, intentions that didn't match what it looked like their bodies were communicating. Big things with scary teeth would project in my mind's eye when certain family members would gather together for a benign Sunday dinner. Large shapeshifting beings visiting me all night some nights, things moving around my room, stuff I had no reference for. Peoples intentions came out of them in three dimensional form when I was around or near them. Feelings and attitudes went unsaid among the adults in my world that I would find manifesting in my own body, in the form of violent rashes or raging sore throats or just deep, bound energies pounding out of my legs and arms. I had no clue what was going on. As I grew into my teens and the situation at home became untenable, there was no longer an ability to cap off these crazy, wild feelings, they began to pour out of me and I began to act out. I became increasingly violent towards myself and towards my younger siblings, regularly screaming for those in charge to pay attention, to do something, to notice. Never mind that in reality my family was falling apart, that my mother had decided to check herself out as a parent with relationships and alcohol in order to get out of paying attention to what was going on(God bless my mother who would not do this as the person she is today, nor my father-they have made their amends). Also, that an active sexual predator and abuser was willingly invited into our house to stay. No concern that my father, who had spent all of my years up to that point targeting me with relentless and crippling criticism that had shredded any rightful sense of self, had suddenly left for another woman, leaving my mother emotionally hamstrung as a parent in the throes of her own deep abandonment issues. Issues so deep that she would ignore signs that her new husband to be was going to overtake and consume our household with his abusive behavior.

In school, I saw my peers and the adults around me as just as neglectful in their awareness of what was going on. There were many, many times, when the way I saw children and teenagers act towards each other as deeply violent and uncaring. Bullying was basically a sanctioned activity, ridicule as well. No one stopped it, no one noticed. Adults regularly looked the other way. I remember it being incredibly difficult to pay attention in school. It was all that I could do on a daily basis to get there and sit in my chair, there was no more energy left to do school work or focus on a future. The pressure in my head consumed everything. In all four years of art class in high school, I finished not one piece-regardless of really wanting to. It seemed so incredible that the world I had incarnated in was so unwilling to wake up, to see what was in front of them, to behave as if everyone mattered. It all seemed so wrong.

That feeling of wrongness gripped me in a way that nearly killed me. Sometimes my head would hurt so badly that my vision swam around in my head. My hands shook, my legs stiffened. All I wanted was to somehow stop feeling what I was feeling and be normal, like the rest of my peers. I made multiple suicide attempts, I really didn't want to die, but I so very much wanted someone to pay attention and for something to change. I consistently thought of death, thinking my life was a mistake, there was no purpose. Anxiety woke me at 4 am every morning in high school, terrified. Later in my teens, having been thoroughly convinced that I was crazy and without purpose, I struggled with relationships with boys, only choosing those who would be the least available. My terror of feeling unworthy made it nearly impossible to be in a healthy relationship. When a man I had a crush on assaulted me after drugging me during a company picnic, I knew so strongly that it was all me, I was the fucked up one, the one who was nuts. Because of my deep rage and acting out, I became the family scapegoat, the problem, the nightmare child and girlfriend, the one who caused all the trouble saying shit that shouldn't be said.

It wasn't until I was 28 years old and finally in a kind and compassionate therapist's office that I understood what it was like to be heard. I began to walk through the experiences of my early life with a compassionate and clearer eye, purging shit that clung to me like the black gunk in my head. The experience of someone listening to my pain and perceptions and someone invested in my healing saved my life. In hindsight now, I realize that I was a frustrated and angry Lightworker, dying, literally to channel what I was feeling in a way that would be heard and utilized. My perceptions and my feelings weren't crazy, they were real, had origins, had something that was important to say about what was out of alignment in my/the world. This acknowledgement saved my life. It took a long time, by the way. Still to this day, I can slip into that brain pain, that place that says, there is no point. I know now how to redirect the darkness and transmute it to the Light. It can be done. I've been lucky though. Without my therapist, my mentor, my family, my mother and my sister-who continue to show such great courage doing their own healing work, my children, this channel would not be here. This voice. Now, the work I do brings all of that energy through a positive channel, into something that helps people be clearer themselves.

We are all channels, we are all trying to communicate something. The energy that comes through human beings is powerful. And we've been taught, repeatedly to ignore it. Often times it is the sensitive channels that appear to be the craziest. When they act out on this feeling of crazy, we need to stop and ask why? Are they really so very different then everyone else or are they not able, for whatever reason, to metabolize the crazy? Because capping off shit that's raging to come through doesn't work. It can't. It's basically the theory of displacement. If you push something down it doesn't go away-it's going to come out somehow. It's physics. A law on this planet, of this Universe. You want to break that law? Do you want to ignore that someone close to you can't seem to stabilize themselves, but heck you just want to keep those guns around anyway-to hell with that reality! What's the message there? Go ahead, I dare you? You don't think those nasty little demonic spirits I talk about clearing in Circle every week don't LOVE it when human beings ignore the obvious connections? Guess what? Don't be surprised when the gun and the pain make contact. Then someone is going to get hurt and the darkness wins, big time.
So why the hell don't we pay attention now? Before something happens. Why don't we look at what the heck happens to these football players who keep getting their heads whacked around and do something to acknowledge that it's causing thinking problems, tendencies towards violence. Why do we still want to go along our business as if nothing should have to change???? How long was it that this young man in Connecticut was screaming inside? When are we going to STOP, to see why our culture is so painful, so damaging, and so dismissive to live in sometimes for all of life. Why is it STILL that way in 2012?

And the arguing is not solving the problems. "I want what I want" and "other people are very, very bad" are somehow two sides of a very fearful coin. It's neither. We must see each other. We must respect each other. We must pay attention long before someone is beginning to go off of the deep end. Why are they doing that, what is going on? What's out of alignment right now? And, How can I go and do my hunting, how can I feel safe, how can I look at this cool metal toy I have and do it in BALANCE and HARMONY with my fellow beings on this planet?

So, there's a bit of my story. In truth it comes up for me every time there is something like this on the news-one crazy person falling into darkness and a whole lot of pain as the result. I've been that crazy person and it's possible to come to the other side. So many lives have now been affected. The Universe is screaming at us to pay attention. It's getting ridiculous how loud it has to yell now. We're not deaf, we just like to not be bothered or we like to endlessly argue. It takes energy to pay attention. This will change, we will get it. But we can do it a whole lot faster and without such pain and suffering. Can't we just listen and as human beings move ourselves out of this darkness, willingly, now?

God Bless,


Friday, December 14, 2012

Self-Care Is Not Just About Masturbation

Laura and I are attempting to be Responsible Adults tonight and will be doing some Christmas shopping. This afternoon as we're discussing how I also need to buy wall paint so as to transform my living room out of its everything-looks-pukey-tan hue and she's on the hunt for good wrapping paper, she suddenly interjects with "are we going to drink wine at any point tonight?"


Why yes, Laura. We will drink a bottle. For our health.


For those of you that don't know my most demure and that-girl's-got-her-shit together friend, well, that girl's-got-her-shit-together. Generally she is not the first to suggest we pour our difficult weeks into a glass and watch as it disappears into the buzz of a healthy Cabernet. That's usually my job.


But seeing as she has spent the week commuting almost 2 hours to and from her new job while simultaneously juggling her current one, the ever-approaching holiday and needy friends (hi); I'd say she deserves a glass. Or five.


Because look, here's the thing:


We all need time that is designed for nothing except rebooting. Playing pocket pool is great but we all need to learn what self-care is really about; especially during a season that's gotten so oppressive it feels as though we've all got a nutcracker shoved down our throats (just hope you're not allergic).


Self-care is about deciding what you and your health are worth and acting accordingly. Self-care is about taking a few moments out of the day to stop and say, "self, how you doing in there? Are you as ready to bitchslap that lady with the tiny dog as I am? Maybe we need to go take a nap and let her yap at someone else."


Whenever I get overfull on life I read Harry Potter. Here it should be noted that I've read each book in excess of 10 times. You tell me what that means about my daily stress levels. Every few months or so, I'll spend a week doing nothing but coming home from work, making dinner, having a glass of wine and losing myself and my problems in the fantastical world of teenage magicians. Usually I go to bed around 9. Sometimes I read it in a British accent in my head. Sometimes I get phrases like "leviosa" stuck in my head. Sometimes I cry when Dumbledore dies (ok, every time). Sometimes it takes me longer than a week to be rid of the urge.


And that's ok.


But despite whether or not I'm practicing my wand movements alone in my room or wake up with the book adhered to my face vis-a-vi drool, those weeks always give way to the ones that are more energized, exciting and free-flowing. By the time I've let myself get so desperate for peaceful alone time that I actually choose to read Harry Potter for the fivehundredthousandth time, it's now wonder it takes me that entire week to get recharged.


Laura is way better at being good to herself. The queen of 10-hour sleeps and dark-room book-reading, I'm not surprised she was fine the day we had to work after our previous wine night -- while I grasped for air the entire time. She's got a store of self-care bigger than our combined asses. It's a concept I struggle with and am trying to learn from her every day.


So I took the day off work tomorrow. Tonight I will shop, drink wine, knit and sleep in really late tomorrow. I will paint my living room so that I can stop obsessing over how the carpet matches the wall matches the furniture. I will bake Christmas cookies with my family and try not to eat an entire stick of butter in dough form. I'll remember that taking care of myself takes effort because I'm not naturally incline to just chill the fuck out.


I hope you remember during this season where too much is never enough to take some time out for yourself, too. And if you need some wine and a mediocre knitting lesson, I'm never out of both.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Nudess

As I lay in bed this morning trying to summon the courage to a) wake up and b) step into anything other that the warmth of my bed, I realized that there are probably 5 ice-solid months between me and Not Freezing. We've come to the point where winter shoves itself right up our asses and I attempt not to freeze to death every single day. We will now spend the next Forever wishing we lived in tropical climates while being served Long Islands from a lawn chair. We've entered into the zone where time does not exist. I think I just made a Twilight Zone reference.


But seriously, geology played a cruel joke on the Midwest when it bestowed upon us this Merry-go-fuck-yourself ride of weather. I will never forgive my parents for staying here and torturing their children with Chicago winters and not moving to say, SOMEWHERE HOTTER, either.


Around this time of year -- between hourly hot showers, contemplating how to get away with not moving for most of the day and whether or not anyone would still talk to me if I wore a blanket around my shoulders -- I usually start getting calls from various drawing leagues in the area to come in and work. This is where I wonder whether or not to delve into the fact that I am -- in varying frequencies, depending upon the season -- an art model.


I guess that cat's out of the bag.


Just to answer your questions in advance, because I've revealed this too many times and had to navigate around those wanting to ask but simultaneously too shy:


- Yes, that means naked.


- You can stop laughing nervously while you try not to glance at my boobs.


- That was actually a pretty good boob joke.


- Yes, the money is fairly good when you're needed.


- No, it doesn't make me uncomfortable.


When I tell people this I mostly get men that glance shiftily at each other or laugh uncomfortable as mentioned above; or women that look at me as if I am some foreign creature who deems her body worthy enough to bring it into the outside world unclothed. Overall I just like seeing how fast I can get the receiving party to change the subject out of discomfort or ask me more questions hoping I might actually say "boob".


The truth is I really enjoy this work. Not because I get to be the center of attention for a few hours at a time or because I think I could have been friends with Athena, but because it is some of the only time in my life when I am forced to just sit down and shut up. For 3 hours, a few times a month, the only thing between me and my thoughts are the neurotransmitters synapsing across my hemispheres. If I were actually able to meditate on a daily basis, this is what it would look like. Maybe I'd wear clothes.


I began modeling as an experiment in self-acceptance back when I lost weight and have followed it all the way through getting fat and thin and fat-ish and thin-ish again. The bare bones and beauty of art modeling is that it doesn't matter two nipples from none what you look like. Life drawing is about what the student sees and how he puts it down on paper. And the more comfortable you are with yourself, the better it will be translated on the other end. And to be honest? I feel more comfortable in this type of setting, wearing nothing at all, than I often do clothed in the real world.


I learned through not caring how my stomach bulged when I sat a certain way or whether or not my cellulite showed in this or that light how to love and accept my body. I learned through how little those that drew me cared about the same things that the human form is in all its forms beautiful. And I learned from doing it that curvy bodies are more interesting to draw than those with straight lines. Sorry, twiggies.


Today, however, I remembered just how uncomfortable it can be when you're needed to sit around in the buff during colder months. If you've ever reclined in a cold warehouse for a few hours at a time NOT MOVING, then you know what I mean. As I lay there contemplating just how shivering keeps the body warm and what the hell kind of biological response goosebumps are (thoughts, Nichola?) I also remembered what it feels like to have your arm thoroughly and completely fall asleep. Note: it feels kind of like your arm is doing the chicken dance without you.


Despite the occasional discomforts and the odd sideways glance from people that think I engage in some form of prostitution, being an art model has been one of the best things I've ever done for myself. It's taught me to be a better artist and a better attention-payer. From art modeling I learned to be still, infinitely patient, and introspective. A few skills I didn't have much of a grasp on until I began.


I also like to play a little game where I make eye contact with new students and see how long it takes them to hastily look away. That's always fun.




Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Accidental Parenting

In continuing my streak of being generally lame and a failure of a blogger (I'M SORRY, ok?? Moving has taken all my creativity and shoveled it into decoratively positioning my crappy furniture, lighting candles, and trying to figure out how to mask the fact that most of what I own has come from the garbage. Also to resist the urge to paint everything in varying shades of purple. GIVE ME A FEW DAYS, WILL YOU?) all I have the energy for today is a Daily Mosifer.


This is a post from another one of my favorite Funny Moms. If ever I have children and don't farm them out to child labor or lock them in the cellar of the giant home I'll somehow own, I hope this happens to me. Here's just a little sneak peek, to get your juices flowing:


We told the girl she and her friend would be going to camp together. They were excited. We got applications and sent in the check. The husband, as he was filling out the check, said to me, "You know this is run by the Detroit Presbytery, don't you?" I was busy playing SuperMario or something and said, "Yeah, sure, that's fine," because although I had no idea what the Detroit Presbytery was and though it sounded kind of religious, I figured it was like the Girl Scouts or the YMCA. Sure, that Christian thing is in the YMCA, but I've not really seen how it affects their day to day operations of a swimming pool and tennis courts.

Then we got the information packet from the camp, including the packing list. Here are the first few items, which may have caused a more aware person to pause:



Sleeping Bag

I'll leave you to your reading. Also for you parents out there, I await your stories of unexpected debauchery against the tiny heathens you are currently rearing. Or maybe what you thought your parents did to you on accident in your youth but you now understand was pure, unadulturated revenge. Your mom is still pissed about what you did to her boobs.


Sunday, December 9, 2012




When your weekend consists of driving an hour to spend too much money on a "transparent red oxide" couch made of cardboard, an ancient form of velour and sturdy styrofoam (circa 1970); watching movies on your failing laptop propped on a stool because your $30 DVD player suddenly decides to only play the trailers of Redbox movies; driving around for 3 hours only to ditch the fabric line at JoAnn fabrics because the holiday crafters make you want to chuck a garden gnome at their overly-spirited heads; and soberly leave the Home Depot without lumber because you've realized you assumed the coffee table you'd planned to create would just magically build itself; I think this is the only thing that could cheer a halfhearted adult such as myself up.


(Is that enough semi-colons for you?)


If you are spitting your Velveeta cheese and Rotel dip at the screen right now, then I assume you understand my frustration with all that resembles "DIY" and "Home Decor." I think I'm nearing the end of the one week limit I seem to have in which I care about how my wall hangings "open up the room." God bless The Mother, who has a great way of pointing out all my ineptitudes in home-space management while simultaneously doing it for me. Don't mind me, I'll be drinking in the corner. If I fall into the couch, just pretend it was termites.


I swear I'll start writing writing like I care again soon. Just give me some time to go to the grocery store, first. Is anybody else aware of how valuable a parent's fridge is, right now? GO HUG YOUR PARENT'S FRIDGE.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Hyphens are for Women

I'm feeling a great fondness for Jada Pinkett-Smith today, for this wonderful excerpt from Sinuous magazine. Keep workin' that hyphen, WOMAN.



How is man to recognize his full self, his full power through the eye’s of an incomplete woman? The woman who has been stripped of Goddess recognition and diminished to a big ass and full breast for physical comfort only.

The woman who has been silenced so she may forget her spiritual essence because her words stir too much thought outside of the pleasure space. The woman who has been diminished to covering all that rots inside of her with weaves and red bottom shoes.

I am sure the men, who restructured our societies from cultures that honored woman, had no idea of the outcome. They had no idea that eventually, even men would render themselves empty and longing for meaning, depth and connection.

There is a deep sadness when I witness a man that can’t recognize the emptiness he feels when he objectifies himself as a bank and truly believes he can buy love with things and status. It is painful to witness the betrayal when a woman takes him up on that offer.


He doesn’t recognize that the [creation] of a half woman has contributed to his repressed anger and frustration of feeling he is not enough. He then may love no woman or keep many half women as his prize.

He doesn’t recognize that it’s his submersion in the imbalanced warrior culture, where violence is the means of getting respect and power, as the reason he can break the face of the woman who bore him four children.

When woman is lost, so is man. The truth is, woman is the window to a man’s heart and a man’s heart is the gateway to his soul.

Power and control will NEVER out weigh love.

May we all find our way.




Vice Grips

Sometimes I have to force myself to sit down and write. Sometimes I have to physically put a timer on to make sure I don't leave the studio before it jolts me out of drooling at the easel. Sometimes the creative pursuits -- like almost anything else -- are what fuel us to keep going but can become as hard to pull out as a wedgie (especially if I'm wearing boy shorts. Girls with big butts don't wear boy shorts). Sometimes I have to go on menial errands like meandering around Target and buy everything but the tweezers I went there for, just to let some of the information trickle in and begin arranging itself before I'm ready to set it to type. Today was one of those days.


This post was especially hard to write because it goes way down into my vault of security, down past the guard dogs and fangs dripping with blood, screeching to a halt into one of my greatest insecurities and deepest shames. It's something so many women (and men, not to be exclusive) deal with but none of us want to talk about. At least not in the real sense, anyway. Forget about Dr. Oz and Raspberry Ketones. This is my story of Food:


Look, Here's The Thing:


I've been catching myself in the kitchen lately. I'll pull random things out of the fridge and stand at the counter eating. Not because I'm boredom eating -- which has very often been the case in years past -- but because somehow I'll find myself starving at the end of the day and the process of biting, chewing and swallowing just seems so boring that I might as well do it standing up; so that I may get it done as quickly as possible. Somehow, I'm forgetting throughout the day to feed myself. Somehow, I'm forgetting one of the most basic functions of human being. Somehow, I'm losing interest.


I noticed this initially when I became a human tension wire over my relationship issues and all thoughts of food made me want to vomit the nothing already in my stomach. Everything tasted like dirty socks (or maybe those boy shorts). Somehow chips and french onion dip became dinner -- to be served in high doses after midnight. I would have drip-fed myself coffee as a filler if I could. The only reason I find this so interesting "now" is because of how different it is from "before."


It's no secret to those that know me that I've always been curvy. I've always had an ass for days, cheeks a chipmunk would scratch its eyes out for and HELLO, thighs. For fuck's sake, I didn't even start looking in the mirror and seeing someone moderately attractive until I was like 19. And for a long time my weight fluctuated because eating was not something I did for nourishment, it was what I did to nourish the empty spaces. Give me something to worry about and you give me flapper arms. Hand me an empty afternoon and Thou Hast Bestowed Mine Winter Weight. The great tragedy is that none of the extra ever spread to my boobs.


I turned a 180 after high school, when I joined the ranks of women starving themselves on low-calorie ice cream and boca burgers on Weight Watchers. I lost a bunch of weight and felt like super woman. The problem? I was still as obsessed with food as I had been before I began. It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle in my head; from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed I was fitting together the food pieces and trying to create a picture of my day with as much as I could squeeze into it. Watching the Food Network late at night doesn't help either; though I think it would make Jim Gaffigan proud. I felt better about myself, but that was only when I could even think about anything other than what I as putting into myself (yes, I caught that...get your head out of the gutter).


After 9 months of insanity I came to a halfhearted conclusion that two opposites don't make a middle ground. And that some other avenue probably needed to be ventured, seeing as every time I'd go home from school I'd "take a break" from dieting and eat entire batches of cupcakes. I'm pretty sure you can black out from sugar, now.


Then I was bequeathed the gift of Geneen Roth. This woman is a genius of food obsession. Dude has dieted and binged enough to have gained and lost over 200 pounds in her lifetime, a fact she touts proudly in her profound recovery. From the insight of her finally reaching sanity, she has a magical way of taking you out of the compulsion and instilling the concept of food as health, rather than harm. All in a way that makes you laugh at the gallon of ice cream you just ate while simultaneously asking yourself, "who in there actually wants to eat a gallon of ice cream at a time?" Because when it comes down to it, if you really do love yourself, why would you want to eat a gallon of ice cream? When you sit down and truly feel how that feels in your body, what molecule in your stomach enjoys being drowned in frozen dairy?


After that I began paying attention to my body. I began listening to how it felt after each meal, and whether or not I was feeding it when I was hungry or just bored. My weight fluctuated a little bit and I spent brief moments panicking about it. I certainly considered going back on Weight Watchers after I split my pants at work one day and Lori laughed her own ass off, but I eventually convinced myself they were just really tight (they really are -- I still wear them now that they've loosened up a bit in the crotch, though).


Somehow I've strayed back to the starvation end of my spectrum, but this time it's not entirely on purpose. I'm trying to inch my way back to center, one cookie at a time. I made Laura, Katie and I chili last night and now that I am the master of my own kitchen again, I expect that to be a regular occurrence. Not to mention that I make damn good chili. Plus, I think I'm nearing my Deli Chicken Salad capacity. Maybe I'm nearing capacity for this particular vice of mine, too. Cheers to you, and your good health.




Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gnar-ly, Dood


Maybe I'm the last to know, as usual. Maybe I'm just really impressed by men in drag when they don't pull it off very well. Maybe I just have an affinity for places like Denmark and Iceland where it's cold enough to justify drinking yourself warm every night. Maybe I just think this is a sign that we're headed into a greater time -- if only our own political system would get its head out of its ass.




Just click this and you'll see what I mean.



Don't worry.


I'm not dead.


I don't have Zombie virus.


I haven't run off to join a Mormon cult. And I wouldn't drink the kool-aid.


I've just been moving.


To be honest, I've been having the hardest time beginning this post because I feel like I've been away for so long. But when I think about it, it's been less than a week since we spoke last. In that week (reality: 5 days) I found the apartment of my dreams back in my favorite midwestern town, received the keys a mere day later, packed up every last bobby pin I own in one Sunday morning, painted a shitload of closet space and had it all moved in by Monday evening. I also drank a lot of celebratory beer.


(AHEM. Before I get in trouble, let me take a moment to thank those that actually painted the closet space, assisted me in packing, and donated their time to at a dime's notice moving all my crap on a Sunday afternoon: thank you Buddy Holly (painter extraordinaire), The Mother (moving dictator and master coordinator), brosef (stop drawing on my furniture and just put it together already) and the entire Kotecki family (no, Emma, you cannot hang your Big Time Rush posters in my room). You're the Rotel to my Velveeta.)


Tell me you're still with me.


Most of you -- most of my favorite people in existence -- don't even know that I've moved. Here's my announcement:


COME OVER RIGHT NOW. And bring me a couch, because there's nothing to sit on right now.


I've had a hard time believing I would get back to this point. When my apartment was foreclosed in August due to lackluster landlord performance (read: asshole hadn't paid his mortgage in 4 years), I thought my time as a Real Adult was coming to a soul-shattering end. I thought I was being squeezed back into the hole of my adolescence by some force of God or whatever brand you want to slap on it; stripped of the only space I'd ever let be truly "mine" and "solitary" and "quiet;" regressing back into some state of what-the-fuck-edness that only losing everything you've accumulated as your own can bring. You've been reading. You know that it messed with my head.


But I remember how I found the previous place. I had envisioned myself as never having the capacity to leave home, lest some Career Breakthrough stumbled my way or I sold my soul to the corporate takeover (I still don't think they'd take a college-dropout CEO-wannabe). But then when The Mother told me "get out of my house. You're miserable and you know it. It's annoying," and I actually listened, it took me a total of 7 days to make the decision and move out. I did my budget on a Tuesday and had gotten the keys on a Friday. That's how fast it goes, sometimes.


I'm a firm believer that when you admit to yourself what you want (and sometimes even when you don't), it will come to you. When I moved into my first place, it was very small but entirely mine. The moment I let myself believe I could have it, I did. And it was the first home I built all on my own (not literally. How awesome do you think I am?). But when I was forcibly moved, I still had not admitted to myself how unhappy I had become with it. It was too small. I'd outgrown it. My energy and my life were becoming stifled because I had moved on without admitting it to myself. And though I was devastated when I left, a tiny part of me was relieved.


A few things wouldn't have happened if I had not left that place:


1) I doubt I would have started writing. My creativity was so stifled by the discomfort I felt with my surroundings that I couldn't get myself to look outside of any kind of box. And though I didn't know why or how, I could feel it.

2) I would not have gotten that money I used to pay off my car and buy too many clothes in the interim, which made it possible for me to;

3) Find the apartment I had long known was waiting for me but took some stumbling to walk across.


So it goes.


From all of this I find myself back at one of my favorite conclusions; the one that I keep as true as anything but as hard to hold as a snake swimming in jello. The one that says that everything happens for a reason, simply because it happens. You have no choice but to go with it and hope for the light around the corner.


Our lives are not linear. They do not follow a cookie cutter or a play-doh mold. They are circular. And sometimes it takes working your way all the way around that circle to find where you begin again.


First meal in the new digs, circa last night. Jealous of my table setting?


Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Goat Whisperer



I would say something snarky here about peace-loving tree huggers or the Mormon faith, but if you don't think this is the cutest thing you've ever seen then obviously you are going to die a sad, lonely death surrounded by cats and newspapers. I'll watch for you on Hoarders.


Willow the baby goat visited us at work today from Silver Prairie Farms in Harvard. Willow's owners make handmade soaps out of her mother's milk and other organic ingredients. Let me just tell you, washing with goat milk soap is like lathering silk on your goodies. It's that amazing. I've been using the one that has a loofa molded inside of it in attempts to banish my cellulite. It hasn't done much for that particular over-share yet but my skin is like butter -- rich, lumpy butter.




When I grow up someday I'll have a fleet of goats in my backyard. I will dress them each as a different Spice Girl. Here, you can have ASPCA's number right now and save some time later.


Goat whisperer I am not



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hey Girl


Simply, this and these. Partly because I want to lick chocolate sauce off his beard. But mostly because of that month I didn't wash my hair.


Sam And Molly Drive Out West!


I did this drawing in the car en route to Los Angeles in July. After a 10-hour journey from Milwaukee airport to Dallas to Phoenix that morning, Sam and I literally threw a giant convertible blow-up bed/couch, an immaculately packed tent and far too many clothes for two girls and a 4-day road trip into her car, and took off. 8 hours, a few torturous snippets of 50 Shades of Grey and a brief detour on the coastline (at which it was too dark to see anything, and we'd driven two hours out of our way), we found ourselves in BuFu California or; Bakersville. Don't judge my artistic skills on this drawing. I was really fucking tired.


Eventually the following day we made it another 4 hours to Yosemite National Park or, THE GREATEST PLACE ON EARTH. But not before perusing the local fineries (Target) and watching the shoes I had lusted after for months be unceremoniously purchased by Sam. Traitorous bitch. Somehow we managed to find what I assume is the area's one and only free campsite via a crotchety old man whom we befriended at the local B&B. I really wanted to stay there. Sam really wanted to get scared by bears (we still don't know if they are more or less attracted to women that are menstruating).


Despite the fact that Sam necessitates at least one shower per day -- absolutely BEFORE doing anything at all that day -- and my hygienic needs are practically nonexistent by that standard, we are the most compatible travelers ever that have ever walked this planet. Except maybe Lewis and Clark. Wait, did one of them piss off the other? Did Pocahontas screw something up? Fuck it, Sam and I are the most Compatible Travelers Ever, Ever.


CASE IN POINT: on our second day at Yosemite we both really wanted to Climb Something. We chose the Upper Falls, being that it was the longest hike that would fit into the remaining light we had. It's an estimated 6-8 hour hike, in which you climb a round trip of 3 miles up this godforsaken-ly steep mountain, at which point you are privileged with the most amazing view of the valley below. And you get to swim in the waterfall. And climb to the very tippy tippy edge where the water begins to cascade downward, if you are so daring. I WAS so daring.


Notice that I don't mention Sam at this point? That's because halfway up the mountain she decided she'd had enough of Mother Nature, thanks, and headed back from whence we came. I, on the other hand, had some sort of death wish and obviously no consideration for my inadequately prepared leg muscles and finished the climb. IT SUCKED. But never have I ever been prouder of myself. Nor more abhorred that I climbed to the tippy tippy fucking edge of a fucking waterfall are you fucking crazy??


But this is what makes Sam and I the Most Compatible Travelers Ever, Ever. Because we know that at any time we can look at each other and say "get away from me, please" and go climb a mountain or sit and journal only to make friends with a guy transcribing his voicemails onto a banana. That's what she got. Even after the epic climb, I was kind of jealous.


A lot happened on that trip that solidified both our friendship and our faith in ourselves. My big moment was making it up and down that mountain -- on a smoker's lungs, no less. On my way down there was this little blue jay following me for a good half mile or so. The next day, I got him tattooed on my arm and it remains my favorite piece thus far.


I've been running around a lot today and though I don't have quite the accomplishment to pin it onto, I feel kind of how I did that day. Tired, but victorious. I think I've conquered something today. Or maybe it's just the coffee.



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Beets. Bears. Battlestar Gallactica.

The beet salad I made for Linner (it was 4 PM, ok?) was delicious. Not only is it one of my current favorite foods but beets are like, one of the healthiest things on planet Earth. Ok maybe not really the healthiest but they're damn close. Nom nom nom, NUTRIENTS. I feel more energized and healthy already.


I was going to regale you all with my beet salad recipe and some factoids on beets for today's Daily Mosifer, but then I realized that's kind of boring, and the recipe takes like 30 seconds to convey (MIRANDA: buy beets. Peel and chop into small cubes. Steam until soft. Simmer up some pecans in butter and brown sugar. Throw all that shit on a plate with some blue cheese. Devour -- but not before taking a picture, becaue I forgot. See, I haven't ignored your request for NaBloPoMo! -- and run around the block to expunge newfound energy).


As I was thinking about the wonders of beets, I remembered their significant role in one of my favorite books. My uncle introduced me to Tom Robbins via Villa Incognito two years ago and I've been hooked on him ever since. Jitterbug Perfume, in which beets are the mojo to this book's Austin Powers remains one of my favorites. Robbins has this uncanny way of expressing all that I believe in spirituality and the power of the universe with a wonderfully rare "who cares?" attitude.



It's the undercurrent of spirituality conveyed with nonchalance that I love about his books. Robbins knows what's up, but he also knows that there's no good worrying about it too much. He understands what I struggle daily to grasp: that there is truth in what you believe no matter its origin, but to relax and just let it happen is the real key to happiness.


My friend says his over-the-top use of allegory makes her sick. I say give me a good story with something behind it, and I'm hooked. Though I'm still not talking to David Foster Wallace.


Yes, SVU IS On Right Now

I can feel a cold coming on. It's no surprise, considering what my schedule looks like lately, that my diet largely consists of the aforementioned Starbucks breakfast sandwiches and chicken salad and that my sleep patterns look more like a map of the moon (lots of HOLES. Get it??) than any real REM. I generally have a stellar immune system thanks to my pure, unvaccinated body -- yes, I'm bragging -- but in the last few years whenever I get too busy I tend to get sick.


When I was younger I LOVED getting sick. Read: I loved the staying home part of getting sick, in which I would forgo school and sneak in episodes of Jerry Springer and Maury, eat ice cream and have the house and TV to myself. One year I plastered our front window with handmade snowflakes and littered the floor with their clippings because hey, I CAN BECAUSE I AM SICK AND WEAK AND INCAPABLE OF HOLDING A BROOM. Let's just say I was rarely sick as a kid, but was fairly often "sick." I also knew the penguin puzzle in the nurse's office by heart due to all the times I spent on her couch "waiting to get rid of a stomach ache."


Now in adulthood I hate getting sick. There are the responsibilities that need attending to, as well as the things I actually enjoy doing that I miss out on. Jerry Springer isn't as entertaining since I saw it live and know that the audience only boos because we're told to, and I can't get myself to believe that there are that many women who don't know the paternity of their children anymore (or maybe it's because I DO believe there are). I also get all compulsive; I MUST not miss a day of exercise, I MUST write four blog posts today, I MUST see my friends lest they ditch me forever and ever. You see the crazy, yet?


Whenever I get sick now I am reminded of the Yogic concept of the Kriya. Basically it's a physical manifestation of energy. It says that the body expresses all that the mind thinks, whether we are aware of it or not. The way I understand a kriya illness is that after the body has endured something it really does not like, it reacts in something like a "YOU GET IT NOW??" fashion.


Ain't that the truth. Every time I've been sick in recent years, I always notice it follows a period of unorthodox stress or when I really haven't been very nice to myself. My body is like, KNOCK IT OFF and I spend a week dripping snot and lying in the bathtub. Occasionally I call The Mother crying and persuade her to bring me more ice cream and tissues, because obviously I cannot be trusted to operate a vehicle in such a condition. Or so I'll say.


Currently I'm lying around in my pajamas, desperately trying to figure out how to knit in the round so I can attempt not screwing up a hat for the godawful midwestern winter. I've got beets on the stove and am dying to consume their sweet, sweet nutrients. My pee will be red for the rest of the week. Tea follows shortly and hopefully like 10 hours of sleep tonight.


I wonder if SVU is on right now?


Monday, November 26, 2012

I Had A Really Great Title But I Forgot It

Thanksgiving day this year, it rained. Thanksgiving day this year, I ran out in the rain to shut the car window I'd left open earlier. Thanksgiving day I got in, turned the key in the ignition, rolled up the window, and spent some time in the middle distance before hauling ass out the door to protect any semblance of a hairdo I might have to rejoin to the festivities. Without the key.


And that's how Thanksgiving day ruined my following morning, when my car wouldn't start and my stepfather had to let me take his to work while he spent the day jumping a severely dead battery. And apparently Karen O. is still pissed at me for it, and is passive aggressively refusing to make her radio work. I am currently a Silent Driver. First World Problems.


All the silent driving to and from work has given me a little more brain space to think (though many would argue that I don't need it seeing as it drives me farther and farther into the maze of my cranium). When I'm not (somewhat manically) singing One Direction (because that's what would normally be playing) in my head or out loud on these rides, I'm usually (somewhat compulsively) stringing together sentences for blog posts.


(BY THE WAY...every time I get to that part where they sing "tonight let's get some" I inadvertently picture my 12-year old cousin singing these lyrics to her posters of the effeminate singers in her bedroom and cringe. WHAT HAVE WE DONE??)


Today on my way home in the crushing silence I was thinking about how drastically the look and feel of my life has changed in the last few years. Back when I was emerging from my depressio-coma, I (also somewhat compulsively) adhered to a fairly strict schedule of my own implementation. It looked kind of like this:


At that point I really needed it to give myself something to hold onto when there was so much I was working through. As I became more comfortable with myself and started expanding my wants and desires, it started shifting in and out of organization. The more I let myself become interested in different things, people and experiences the wavier it got. Fast forward to now, where it tends to look like this:

I think I need to chill out a little bit. The extreme shift reminds me a hell of a lot of this picture my therapist draws for me over and over again when I'm getting all WHAT'S GOING ON WITH ME:

The gist of it is this: whenever we enter into a period of change or consciousness of ourselves, there is a tendency to swing all the way in the opposite direction of where we had thus far been operating. And then there's the backswing, when you return to the other side. This continues back and forth and back and forth until some sort of equilibrium has been reached. It's like a life-and-behavior teeter-totter.


I've been on this ride a few times, with many different catalysts. And there are a few that I'm still waiting on reaching center with. I guess this is just one more to add to the list.


Honestly, Man
I'm pretty sure this has been circulating the interwebs for a fair amount of time already, but in typical Mosifer fashion I bring it to you now: as totally outdated and probably "so 5 minutes ago." If you came here expecting the latest in breaking pop culture, please join The Mother over on TMZ and leave me alone, K?


I actually read Dan of Single Dad Laughing's 16 Ways I Blew My Marriage a few weeks ago and have referred back to it several times in the interim, just because I think it's so spiffy. The reason being? I LOVE THE HONESTY. I'm a sucker for bare-bones, closeted-skeleton, painful-makes-you-wanna-look-away-and-make-a-guy-walks-into-a-bar-joke honesty because face it: we've all got this shit, but we're not all ballsy enough to say it (and if you make it through the two sequels, read up on how he changed after marriage. GAAAAAH).


Plus, I'd never miss an opportunity to see what's going on in the other half's heads (men: what are you, and where did you come from?). Always worth a visit, even if just to check that nothing's on fire.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

I call the one on left.

I'm not a big documentary-watcher. Less so for those in subtitles. Mostly because when I watch movies it's because I want to get out of reality. And forget subtitles, movies are all about being lazy and crying over unrealistic love stories. I'm still waiting for Ryan Gosling to carry me up a flight of stairs.

BUT THIS MOVIE. If ever I've complained about working too hard with too little in return, either refer back to this movie or send me to Japan. I'd probably be deported within hours for my love of bubble baths and ice cream out of the tub, though.

There's something about this culture that dedicates its life to their passions that blows me away. The dedication behind this movie makes me ashamed of how little it shows me I work for what I want. Though I'm not an extremist in any shape or form (or so I tell myself), somehow Jiro makes me want to buy a gas mask and spend the rest of my life in the studio.

Just watch it, and wait for the inspiration to hit.      

Crossing Paths

I've felt for a long time like I'm living two lives at once, and they're in a dead sprint to see who wins the title of the Real Me. There's the "work" me, running around from 9-5 spewing factoids about fantastical nutrients and the nature of one's bowels; talking politics and conspiracy theories during the off moments; giving advice (both wanted and invasively otherwise) because "look, I've been there and I know what you're going through;" and in general conveying a sense of Responsible Human Being With Maybe A Hint Of Crazy.


And then there's the life that I live outside the clock, in which I spend hours staring into space as though it has the answers; beating my head against a wall over problems I can't for the life of me figure out how to solve; painting because for all the know-it-all I claim to be I'm still just as lost as everyone else sometimes; and writing because when my head gets too clogged it feels like the only place to lay all those words to rest.


I'm getting pretty tired of the two butting heads. I've known I wanted to be an artist for a long time. I knew I wanted it to be my career path when I just happened to be in Milan for an Egon Schiele exhibit and found myself getting lightheaded and tingly as I read his story; when Lucien Freud just happened to have his retrospective on display in Paris the week I was there; when I just happened to be given a Jenny Saville book the in first weeks I started painting for myself again.


I've also known, for as long as I could find my conscience, that I would never be able to pursue a career that did not make my heart sing. The second I dropped out of college I knew it was because I wanted something different than a piece of paper could give me, and it was likely that I would have to make it up as I went along. I knew that my life was up to me create, and it would be full of mistakes and backtracking and new and incredible discoveries around each turn. I knew what I was getting myself into.


But like I said, I'm getting pretty tired. I love my job, and I love my work. But as the agonizingly impatient being that I am, I am anxiously awaiting the day when those two cross paths. For when all that I work the day job in order to do finally become the day job -- with elements of both stirred up in some crazy life stew of pure joy.


I know that the journey is the destination. Blah blah, cliche cliche. But don't you ever get caught up in waiting for that moment that feels like arrival? Who else is stewing a pot on the back burner, waiting to serve it up as the main course of your life? What is it that you would be doing for both pleasure and pay, if you had the choice?


I'm slowly inching my way there. I'm taking my time, biding my progress. I'm trying to enjoy the lesson that each moment teaches me. And occasionally to not think about it so much, too. But sometimes I just want to scream at the mirror and ask, "ARE WE THERE YET??"


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Small Business PWN.

In the wake of the conglomofuck that is Black Friday, a lesser known but -- in my opinion -- far more important day emerges. Today is that day, better known as Small Business Saturday.


Almost exactly four years ago, my life was drastically changed (I could even argue "saved") by the small business that I currently call work, home and family. We are a tiny knot of wackos in the great twine that is local and national economy. Our large and yet strangely cramped Victorian house in its downtown location supports 40+ years worth of the business's history, as well as more nutrition-y crap that you could swing a grass-fed burger at. The people I seldom refer to as "coworkers" and more often "those weirdos that I hang out with all the time and no Laura is not my sister" comprise some of the most intelligent, passionate and caring people I could ever have hoped to call my own.


Until my indoctrination at the health food store, I had little concept of the importance of small business. But in case you didn't know, it really is that important. Small business drives local economy, creates jobs and overall is the backbone of our country. We are the singular stores, the ones run by its founders and those that you visit for the people as much as the product. And no, WAL-MART DOES NOT COUNT.


As much as I love me some Starbucks, I have found more genuine connection and identity in the small businesses that make up my everyday life. Here are a few that get me hot and heavy:


Le Petit Marche (Dawn's Bread) -- Crystal Lake


Ehrmegerd, BREAD. And CAKE. And PIE, WINE, SOUP, WINE, COOKIES, and WINE. Need I say more? Not to mention that I can never just "stop in real quick," because guaranteed Imma get at least three or four hugs on my way out. Ladies, this is your wine night come true.


Moxie -- Dekalb


When I journey to Dekalb, I will never EVER leave without popping in to drool over the vintage goodies oozing out this place's walls. For real, these wonderful people spend a hell of a lot of time looting through estate sales and vintage markets just to make me pee my pants in excitement. Walk through front door. Run to stairs. Don't plan on leaving for several hours.


Duke's Alehouse & Kitchen -- Crystal Lake


Ah, the drunken debauchery that has occurred here. I'm already steeling myself for the 12 beers of Christmas, in which I spend a month working my way through overly large, ridiculously high-proof beers in order to claim my hard-earned Duke's t-shirt. But trust me, this will never occur until AFTER I have eaten my grass-fed giant beefburger made with all local ingredients and vegetables grown ON THEIR OWN FARM. Other Towns of America, don't even try.


The Backdrop -- Woodstock


Despite the fact that Greg likes to gnash on The Mother and my egos, The Backdrop has been a loyal member of our family since day 1 (he just loves us that much). Go. Just walk in. Prepare to spend a lot of money on things you instantly cannot live another second without.


Enjoy your Small Business Saturday, everyone!