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Locked in a Bookstore

Innerspace Cavern, Texas Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Innerspace Cavern, Texas
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Did you hear about the guy who got locked in a bookstore in London?  He was apparently upstairs, and staff locked up without checking on him.  Twitter blew up as he waited to be let out, and it took about three and a half hours.

It sounds like the beginning of a good book, doesn’t it?  Why don’t things this ever happen to me?

Part of me thinks it would be the most awesome thing ever, that I’d find a cozy corner and flip through lots of books.  Part of me things I’d be so worried because I wasn’t supposed to be there (I’m a rule follower) that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it.  Either way, take a look at the Twitter feed… it’s laugh out loud funny.

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IMG_5213I’m superstitious.  I throw salt over my shoulder to blind passing witches and will never pick up a penny unless it’s head’s up.  I knock on wood to stun the fairies (they’re mischievous), and I don’t like crossing under ladders.

BUT… I love the number 13, and I love black cats.  Did you know that black cats are the least adopted?  Did you know that October is a dangerous month for these precious animals due to their completely unfair reputation?

I don’t personally have any black cats right now, but I have in the past.  My sister in law has always had black cats, and they’re exactly the same as other cats.  Except, you know… they’re black.  Normally, I like scary stories, but not at the expense of a living thing.

So where did the whole black cats being unlucky thing come from?  Well, it comes from a couple of different places, but it boils down to black cats being evil, and often blamed for being a witch’s familiar.  Because we all know how often “old woman” and “cat” goes in the same sentence, right?  Apparently a witch was just the earliest crazy cat lady.  Here’s a link if you want a more in-depth explanation.

I bring this up because I want you to realize that there are some people who are superstitious out there.  If you have a beloved black kitty, please keep him or her close to home in October especially.  And next time you go to adopt, remember that black kitties need homes too.

What’s your favorite superstition?

Feel Good Friday

Hello, it’s Friday, so there are lots of reasons to feel good today!  Here are a few more…

Army veteran gets a happy surprise.

People thank people who have helped them.

Dogs stay with an injured woman until help arrives.

Man regains some sight with a bionic eye.

Facebook users save horse from an uncertain fate.

abrahamlincoln137180

Mystery Castle, Phoenix Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Mystery Castle, Phoenix
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

When I was in college, I ran a recreation program at an inpatient state psychiatric facility.  We did the normal things like art projects and games, but one of the men I worked with liked to play what he deemed, “The Word Game.”  I was puzzled by The Word Game at first.  The game was played by him saying a word, and then me saying a word.  They didn’t have to connect in any way.  There were no winners and losers.  We would just say words back and forth to one another, with his occasionally interjecting, “Oh, that’s a good word!”

Flash forward, years later, and I met a friend who started texting me random words.  It had been years since I played The Word Game, but I was reminded of it almost instantly.  We once spent a Saturday afternoon texting words back and forth.

I was reminded of how much I liked words just for their own sake.  Yes, I like putting them in order and forming sentences, but sometimes exchanging a word like “cimmerian” can be fun for no other reason than I’ve not run into that word before.  Through the new and updated Word Game, I’ve learned the meanings of new words.  This is different than a boring word of the day program, and it leads to interesting discussions about how the correct pronunciation of cimmerian makes it sound less interesting than it did in my head.  I “know” a lot of words, but I’m sometimes a little embarrassed when I try to use them out loud in a sentence, and realize I have no idea how it’s pronounced.  Or even worse, I sort of know, but just can’t make my tongue cooperate.

In any case, I missed The Word Game.  When else do I get to use words like “psychopomp,” “chimera,” “soporific,” “phantasm,” or “troglodyte?”

(Incidentally, troglodyte has always been one of my favorite words, though I do love psychopomp.)

Do you have a favorite word?

Cedar Park, Texas Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Cedar Park, Texas
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

The world is loud.

I never knew that before. I was born with a hearing impairment, not a really bad one, but just enough to make certain things annoying. Like when I had jury duty. Or talking to soft spoken people. Or eating with a friend in noisy restaurants. I probably could have gone my whole life without hearing aids, until I became a therapist. Then I realized it was just impractical to be with someone who just told me about something awful and emotional, sometimes their first time telling anybody, and have to say, “I’m sorry, could you repeat that?”

I intended to get hearing aids back in Arizona, but then I found out we would be moving, and decided to put it off until I got to Texas.  Once here, I got tested by an audiologist, and got my first pair of hearing aids ever.  I told her that I primarily wanted them for work, or in as needed situations.  She laughed and said she was pretty sure that once I got used to them, I’d want to wear them all the time.

Um, no.

The world is a loud, loud place.  I never realized it before because I’ve always been insulated by my own limited hearing.  My first day, I wore the hearing aids for two hours, and then I had to take Excedrin from the pounding headache from being able to hear everything.

And they’re not even turned all the way up yet.

I’m so grateful for this wonderful technology, and I’m grateful that I had enough money in my HSA account to buy them.  But to wear them full time?  No.

You see, silence is one of my favorite things.  I love to sit and read or write or surf the internet in silence.  If I do put music on, it’s quiet.  I love being outside, but I can hear the birds chirping or the wind rustling in the leaves of the trees.  I can’t hear traffic.  Or my neighbors.

I knew that for me, hearing aids would primarily be a tool, but I didn’t realize how they would make me understand that my limited hearing has never been a limitation for me at all; it’s been a blessing.  I get to hear the world in a very different way than others do, and that’s not a bad thing.  When I want to hear more, I put my hearing aids in, and suddenly, the world is louder.  It’s easier for me to understand other people speaking and pull in background noise.  And when I take them out, the world is quiet again.

I asked my husband if he minded if I didn’t wear them at home, and he shrugged and said that after 14 years, he’s used to speaking loudly so that I can hear him.  <3  I guess most of my friends are.

Back to my audiologist… it occurs to me again that it’s an extrovert’s world.  She assumed that I would like hearing and like connecting with the world around me, when it’s the opposite.  I don’t feel disconnected.  I connect with the people I want to and leave the rest in the background.  I don’t mind not knowing what’s going on behind me or around me.  I don’t mind missing background noises or sounds.  I like my life’s soundtrack to be quiet.

Where do you weigh in on silence vs noise?

Feel Good Friday

Hi, it’s Friday, so it’s time to focus on the good in the world (but you’re already doing that all week, right?)

Blind dog has seeing eye cat.

Cop pays vet bill for service dog after hit and run.

College students tip pizza delivery man $1200.

Veteran who is a double amputee uses exercise to battle depression and ends up on cover of Men’s Health.

Not a specific news story, but a whole site dedicated to random acts of kindness.

“Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.” ~Robert Brault

Home-made Halloween

You can't see the spiders in this picture, but I assure you... they're there!

You can’t see the spiders in this picture, but I assure you… they’re there!

Halloween is my absolute most favorite holiday.  I love everything about it.  I love that it happens in fall, when it’s cool and crisp but not cold.  I love horror movies and people trying to “scare” me.  I love the costumes, and I love wearing black.  The only thing I don’t love is the candy.  (Yes, I know.  But give me french fries over candy any day.  Hey… holiday idea… something involving the consumption of french fries! But I digress…)

I started to think about my costume this year.  Every year for the past several years, I’ve wanted to be Alice in Wonderland, either the Disney version or a Steampunk version.  And every year, by the time I go costume shopping, the selection of Plus sized costumes is extremely limited.

I realized that I have never owned a store bought costume.  Never.  Not in over three decades of dressing up.  I’ve never gone to Wal-Mart or Target or the Spirit store and actually purchased an entire costume.  I’ve purchased props, like a witch’s hat, a wig, wings, fangs, makeup, craft items, or shoes.  But never a full costume.  I’m not sure why that is.  Honestly, I don’t remember ever wanting a store bought costume.  Most of the fun was in making up the costume, piecing together different things and coming up with something unique.

I’ve been lots of things over the years.  Last year I was a spider spirit, with netting sewn all over a skirt and an old black shirt, spiders hot glued on my webs.  I’ve been a witch, a vampire, a hippy, a devil, a black cat, and probably many other things I’m not remembering.  One of my proudest costumes was in high school, at a party I got a pity invite to.  It was a costume party, but I was the only person who showed up.  I used fake blood all over a white lab coat, smeared my face with purple eye shadow, and made up my lips and eyes with black lipstick.

Realizing this, I finally understand why I haven’t been able to find the perfect Alice in Wonderland costume… I haven’t made it yet!  I don’t know if it’s going to happen this year or not.  But when it does, it’s going to be great.

Do you make or buy your costumes?  What was your personal favorite costume ever?

I’m a fan of graffiti.  Not gang tags or kids destroying stuff for the sake of destruction, but I understand the need to carve your name in a wooden picnic table or write on a bathroom wall.  I’ve never done it, but I admire the artwork and creativity of others.

I don’t understand the need to destroy, when others deface artwork or “tag” things that were clearly not meant to be tagged.  I once saw petroglyphs in a rock where people had carved their names into the stone around them, and I wondered who would destroy something like that.

This post isn’t about acts of destruction though.  I recently ran into graffiti on a bathroom wall that made me smile and made me think.  When I read it, I thought, “This is kind of a low-tech Facebook.”

As seen on a bathroom wall stall...

As seen on a bathroom wall stall…

I really enjoyed this conversation.  In black, is:

“Don’t (sic) ever fall in love.  it’s a trap.”

“<– thats depressing.”

“<DONT (sic) EVER FOLLOW SOMEONE ELSE’S HEART.  THATS (sic) THE TRAP.”

Then it gets interesting.  (Extra points because she used mostly used proper punctuation, grammar, and spelling).  In brown, it says,

“Love is a choice, not a feeling.  Those butterflies are from infatuation.  Love at first sight is a Feb 14 hoax.  We should strive for love and grow more deeply in it daily with our partners.  Because when I see him for the last time I want to be more in love with him then (sic) I ever have been before.  But, Just my opinion. -CK”

It’s clear that the first girl had a bad experience, probably not long before she wrote that.  I picture her in the bathroom, getting a disappointing text message from her beloved.  Maybe her beloved broke up with her via text just then.  Maybe they had an argument over dinner.  Maybe her beloved didn’t send her a text when she expected one.  In any case, at that moment, she was moved to write those words.  She could have updated her Facebook status with that, and maybe she did that as well.  Or, maybe she didn’t want her friends and family to know that her beloved disappointed her yet again.

The girl in brown wrote that “Love is a choice, not a feeling.”  I agree with her sentiment, but not exactly what she says.  Anyone who’s ever been in love, especially after they’ve made it past the butterflies in your stomach feeling, knows that long term love is both a choice and a feeling.  Once upon a time, I dated a wonderful man, but I just didn’t have that feeling for him, and ended up breaking it off.  I could have chosen to stay, but without that love feeling, it can be hard to get through the ups and downs of a real relationship.  In contrast, with my husband, I’m long past the butterflies in my stomach stage, but I still have that warm and fuzzy feeling.  And that warm feeling helps me choose not to bash him over the head with a very heavy object when he irritates me.

In all seriousness, I don’t believe that you can choose who you fall in love with.  I believe in chemistry, and I believe that the chemistry between two individuals can be love.  I’m not just talking about romantic chemistry/ love, but also the platonic chemistry/ love that happens between friends.  Sometimes you just know that you’re going to be wonderful friends or lovers, and the relationship doesn’t take years to build.  Sometimes those relationships start immediately because of chemistry.  But at some point, there’s clearly the choice to put the hard work in or not put the hard work in.

Love isn’t the trap.  Thinking that love should be easy is the trap.  But, just my opinion.  :)

Feel Good Friday

Here’s your dose of good news for the day.  I’d just like to mention that one thing I noticed when doing my homework to post good news, is that a lot of good news stories are much shorter than their negative counterparts.  Click these links, look for good news, and show the news outlets that you’d like to see more of these stories.  That’s how change happens.

Vet with PTSD feels better with the help DD from Pets for Vets.

Finally, a mirror that tells the truth!

Cops rescue ring and save marriage proposal.

Man donates kidney to stranger.

Firefighters clean up yard for an elderly woman.

“Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished and hoarded and worshipped and fondled like a priceless diamond.”
-Hunter S. Thompson

 

Coffee and art.  :)

Coffee and art. :)

My husband’s friend recently visited from out of town for a weekend, and it was fun.  We always enjoy having this guy around.  Not only is he my husband’s friend, but at this point, he’s mine too.  It’s nice that I can say that and mean it.

We got to talking about Facebook.  I mentioned that another friend of mine is on Facebook but never goes on Facebook because he blames it for the disconnection of society, which led to a rather interesting discussion on social media.

Social media, at its best, is a tool, like a phone or a hammer.  If I use my hammer to pound in a nail (what the tool is made for), it works perfectly.  If I use my hammer to open a jar, it’ll work.  Once.  :)  The point is that social media is a tool.  If it’s used to keep in touch with old friends, see their pictures, and stay up on their lives, then in my opinion, the tool is being used correctly.  However, if it’s used in place of a social life, if I’m checking my Facebook feed instead of interacting with another human being, then it’s being used incorrectly.  If I’m using Facebook to be passive aggressive or start arguments that I’d never start in person, then it’s being used incorrectly.  I’m I’m using Facebook to put people down, compare my life to others, or brag, then I’m using Facebook incorrectly.

Back in the 1800s, everyone wrote letters.  They had lovely handwriting and wrote lovely long letters to one another, filled with banal details of life.  The Facebook feed is nothing new; it just takes a different form now.  It’s faster and without filters.  Sometimes I read critical statements about how people share “unimportant” information about their lives, and that’s the problem with the Facebook feed.  Personally, I’d rather read about someone “checking in” than a passive aggressive post telling an unidentified person to stop something.  I don’t mind seeing food pictures or reading that someone is tired, because it’s real life.  We act like things have to be “important,” but why?  Maybe that’s what leaves us feeling lost and disconnected, that idea that others have more important things to say/ do or that others are having more fun.  Why can’t we just be?  And if the most important thing that happened to me today is that my eggs and toast looked like a smiley face, why shouldn’t I post that?

A guy in Australia is in the process of having coffee with all 1,088 of his Facebook friends.  What a fun idea! I would too if I had unlimited income and could fly to Pennsylvania, Maryland, Montana, and more places, spend a few weeks there to see everyone, and have coffee (or lemonade) with all of them.  Still, in my opinion, the point isn’t what he’s doing so much as it is that he’s connecting with old friends, some of whom he probably hasn’t seen in a long time.

All that being said, while I love Facebook and accept it for what it is, I also don’t want it to take the place of real human interaction.  Real human interaction doesn’t have to be face to face.  For example, I have a childhood friend who I was very close to while she lived up the street, but in the pre-social media days, we lost touch when she moved away.  I missed her, but keeping in touch was difficult, and we moved on with our lives.  About 20 years later, we reconnected through the magic of Facebook, and she’s just as zany and interesting as I remember.  I comment on her feed and vice versa, but we also “talk” via messaging and email.  Without Facebook, I probably never would have reconnected with her.  She lives in Montana, and I live in Texas, so we probably won’t be getting together for coffee, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t raise our virtual cups together!

What do you do to connect with old friends?

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