Archive for the ‘Why – yes it *IS* all about me!’ Category

Remember that time there was a Chocolate Cuppa-cake Truck?

July 11, 2018

When you’re soooooooo close, but still missed it by a mile…

TwinkieFunko

(Yes, this is the depth at which my brain is operating. Because sometimes shallow is deeper than me.)

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A little bit of why.

July 10, 2018

To know me is to really, really know that reading is my jam. At the moment, I’m devouring Gabby Rivera’s Juliet Takes a Breath. Right?! Right.

It’s life-changingly, gorgeously, unabashedly mine in all possible ways.

So there’s this quote I’ve read about 47 times in a row that goes something like,

Read everything you can push into your skull. Read your mother’s diary. Read Assata. Read everything Gloria Steinem and bell hooks write. Read all of the poems your friends leave in your locker. Read books about your body written by people who have bodies like yours. Read everything that supports your growth as a vibrant, rebel girl human. Read because you’re tired of secrets. ~Raging Flower

And I’m just like: yes. YES. This is just a little bit of why. It’s why I read and why I write.

Because, to me, it’s as essential as breathing.

Ice cream > Magic kisses.

July 5, 2018

Behold! For it is just the magic I needed to wake me up from the deepest slumber.

You can keep your unsolicited (and kinda creepy) kisses from your Disney Princes. I will keep the black raspberry ice cream.

BlackRaspberry_20180630

Let’s hope the complete surprise (when I needed it most, too!) sustains me through this bout of depression. I’m just gonna keep writing (and ice creaming) until I don’t have to force myself. Faking it until I’m making it.

…But, um, not with the ice cream. No forced marches there!

Jumping back into the water – all of me, all at once.

April 22, 2018

Hello. It’s me. I’ve been wondering if after all this time you want to hear me. But I want to write. I need to write again. I need to feel like me and it’s time to add this piece back into the mix.

So how do I do it? I spent the past week thinking about it, casually, and then I contemplated it more often and seriously this weekend. How do I write out loud, on my blog? How do I return? Dipping my toes back into the water doesn’t seem like a good idea: it always feels colder and draws out the uncomfortable part. Just jump back in, Katie. The water will feel warm and you’ll get your breath back in just a minute or two.

Still, it’s a weird feeling – being gone so long from my blog, and then just being here, in one fell swoop. Or jump, I should say. I wonder if anyone will notice, or if I’m just shouting into void, voicing words that won’t even be heard. But that thought, even though it echoes back frequently, doesn’t hold much weight. I write for myself. I always have. It’s why I shrug my shoulders when what I’ve written causes trouble (because heaven knows I’ve tripped backwards into trouble so often it’s like an old friend), because what I write is me trying to figure out what I feel, what I’m going through, how I should act and react. It’s how I process so much of what I go through in my life.

Okay, this is getting maudlin and more than a little cheesy. Just jump in, Kate!

So what’s going on in my life? What the incredible, impossible-to-ignore urge to write? Let me tell you a little bit of it. It’s all way too much to write about in one go. So for starters…

I’ve all-of-a-sudden gotten a giant promotion at The Place That Shall Not Be Named. It came at exactly the right moment when I thought I would implode from burnout and…okay, I’m going to stop there because we don’t talk about things at The Place That Shall Not Be Named. Talking about work is not what you do in public, in writing. Suffice it to say that I’m incredibly happy to be noticed and rewarded. I’m overwhelmingly challenged to think and improvise all day, every day. And so I’m exhausted and barely able to move at the end of some days. But it feels like the best unexpected blessing right now. So I’m just going with it and trusting in my angels that they know what I need.

Then there’s the girls. Gracie is turning 14 on Thursday. Four. Teen. That is, if she makes it! We’ve hit a bit of a rough patch, the girls and I. Bee-girl is turning 12 in a few months and she’s full of hormones about to explode. Every time she asks to talk to me, she starts with an epic eye roll and “No, I didn’t start my period.” Because she’s been so acting like it lately that I maybe possibly might ask that question a lot. Oof. But we’re surviving. A little bit ago I thought we might not. Show me a parent of two teenagery girls who didn’t think that once or twice! But something I didn’t expect and no one told me – when your girls hit this age, this hard-to-parent, oh-my-goodness, pass-the-wine, oh-no-you-didn’t! kind of age, your love for them grows even fiercer, like you might explode with love and protection instincts, and you just want to smother them with mama love and talk their ears off, and show them every card game you know, because you want to spend time with them, but it has to be sly and sneaky, or else they’ll disappear into their rooms. It’s a tricky time, but we’re managing. I’m managing. By the skin of my teeth some days, but we’ll be okay.

My reading life has come back, and I am rejoicing! It’s what keeps me going when things get dark, and I am so grateful for it! I’ve already topped 125 books for the year and some of the books I’ve read have been shout-from-the-rooftops! kind of wonderful! Exit West, by Moshin Hamid; The Chalk Man, by CJ Tudor (Oh, I can’t wait to tell you all about it in my Thursday book reviews!); Allegedly, by Tiffany Jackson; The Sun and Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur; Love, Hate, and Other Filters, by Samira Ahmed. And speaking of Samiras, I’ve finally watched Orange Is the New Black after four or five attempts, and Samira Wiley, my god you guys! I need more of her in my life! For reals. And surely that show counts as literature, yes?

Other creative outlets are afoot. Bee-girl and I have started an Etsy shop, and as soon as I get a few items in there, I’ll set you guys up with a link and beg you to take a peek. Bee has slime, slime, and more slime. Finally, a place to ship everything she creates! And ohhhhhhh does that girl create a lot of slime! She’s a connoisseur of all things slime-related. Isn’t it normal to have industrial-size containers of Borax on your counters? And shaving cream. And food coloring? I’m blaming Uncle Kene for introducing my mad scientists with the wonders of Borax. As for me, I’m selling needle point creations of literary quotes and political jokes. I have baby blankets. And so. many. Christmas ornaments! Corrie and I spent an entire weekend making Christmas crafts, but we might need to wait a few months before our Christmas Shop hits the markets. Let’s just say we’ll be ready!

And running! I’ve started running again, using the Couch to 5k method. I’m on Week 3  and about to embark on Week 4 – 12 minutes of walking and 18 minutes of walking. I’m doing great! I’m so proud of myself. I told you I was crawling back into myself, and running is definitely a part of me. I started running because a dear friend PHYSICALLY MADE ME, and I will always be beholden to her, to use an Anne-ism. Running is something to strive for. It gives me goals and an outlet to pour myself into! When I get a bit better, there’s a running club I want to join. Maybe there will be cute, sarcastic, bookish types who flounder near the back of the pack, like me. Who knows?! But I can’t wait to find out! Goals are good. They’re fantastic! And I’m reaching for them.

So yes, I’ve been up to a few things. Just a few, because these past few months have been sort of dark and depressy. I’ve been missing for a reason. But I’m glad to be back. The water is warm, jumping in took a courageous moment of fuck-it proportions. But my water-wings are nearby if I need them.

But mostly I just need to write.

 

Five for Friday.

January 26, 2018

Friday: I could kiss you right on the mouth for showing up today. It’s been a pretty good week (did you notice I wrote three blog posts this week?!), but I’m still ready for the weekend! To usher it in, let’s find four or five things to talk about, shall we?

1. I’ll be missing my girls this weekend. With my broken foot, they’ve really stepped up to the plate: cooking me dinner; loading and unloading the dishwasher; doing laundry and putting away clothes; cleaning the house. Not to mention all of the fetching they’ve been doing for me. I’m supposed to stay off my foot if I want this low-chance miracle to happen, so something tells me there will be a lot of hopping around on crutches with the girlies gone.

2. Last night there was zero hopping. Of course the very first night of my new Broken Foot Game Plan there was a career fair that Bee-girl was All About. We walked around for more than an hour, but I was so glad we did! I mean – completely stoked kind of glad! This high school/trade school program will get Bee completely certified and trained so that she will be able to enter the work force at a high level as soon as she graduates. The teacher we talked to last night said there’s such a shortage right now of chefs in our area that they can almost guarantee jobs to their kids. The school even runs shuttle buses back and forth to home campuses so we won’t have to figure out how to get Bee there and back. It was so amazing and Bee’s face was so lit up that I am willing to sacrifice so much to make this happen. Why can’t this kid be in high school already?!

3. Gracie-girl, meanwhile, also had a pretty good day yesterday. Her instagram post about Australia Day was immediately liked by one of the pretty, pretty lifeguards from Bondi Beach Rescue, causing my teen to nearly hyperventilate. And then her choir class won the solfege spirit week competition, in part because of last-minute poster boards she made, and because of the flash mob she designed. Yes, flash mob. Several kids in the hall started with a we-love-solfege chant/hand-clap, and more and more joined in…or however she designed it. I don’t remember the details. But it was awesome and it won them some bragging rights, and so everyone was happy at my house last night. Win!

4. I am covered in hives on the right side of my belly and hip/waist area from one of the meds I was given. I am itchy as hell and waiting for my steroid and Benadryl to kick in. God bless medicine…although, wait – it’s the perpetrator. Damn you, medicine!!!

5. In an epic act of miraculous timing, this week is the 24-in-48 Readathon – have you signed up?? So I will be spending nearly all of my awake time reading, with my foot up. See how magical? I don’t really have anything picked out for it yet, other than finishing the new John Green. Oooh, and maybe the second Bear and Nightingale book that came out last month, because the first book was one of my favorite reads of last year! And my books are library-police level overdue, so I suppose I’ll bring those back and get new ones. That doesn’t sound like staying off my foot, but I promise to use my crutches! Also: the french fry place is conveniently next to the library. What a coincidence! But the point is reading, reading, and more reading – so if you have any good book recommendations, shoot them to me!

There you go, folks! We’re one step closer to the weekend. BRING IT!

Current parenting mode.

January 11, 2018

Gracie-girl got all the Funkos for Christmas. Seriously: she had most of the Harry Potter ones from before. And for Christmas she got Stranger Things everything. Including two Joyces. So she gave me one.

And I fixed it.

Joyce

Because me right now.

January 2, 2018

Resolutions. I have issues with the concept. To resolve is to promise of ourselves – a beautiful concept, a flowery phrase, the give very best of intentions and of ourselves – but for me it’s also a concept that bodes of anxiety and constant worrying about whether I’m doing enough, whether I am enough. [Hey, you know what? More people should be honest about this. I’m not saying everyone feels this way; I’m saying that some people do. I do.]

So my resolutions are offered lightly. They’re goal I’m aiming for, not hills I’m willing to die on. And you know what? As I check in with myself, they might change. So be it.

That said, here’s what I’ve been thinking about…

I resolve to try to stay more organized. Santa brought me a giant tote bag for Christmas. I have a small wallet I can grab to run into a store, so I’m not pissing off my chiropractor by carrying around this behemoth all the time. It has my planner, the book I’m reading, a pouch for semi-essentials (hair ties, chapstick, etc.), pens for my planner (those obviously need a pouch), my iPad if I’m going somewhere to work, room for my lunch bag… This way I’m not walking into work carrying eight different bags. I feel so much more together!

 

I resolve to bullet journal, even if it’s a little more work, instead of running off to Erin Condren to bail me out. It’s a lot cheaper to use the $10 journal I found and practice some of the hand-lettering than it is to order a fancy pre-sorted journal. And look at the cool layout I’ve already designed!

BuJo

 

I resolve to focus on my writing. I’ve made such wonderful strides in 2017 – perhaps the only good thing to come out of 2018 – and it’s something I want to continue and grow in 2018. I’ll keep smashing through the connections I’ve already made, submitting writing and strengthening ties, and I’ll reach out to new organizations and opportunities. My confidence in myself has always been there, I know I am a catch…I’m starting to think my writing is worthy, too.

Lastly, I resolve to get rid of the damn clutter! My house is currently a disaster zone, and while normally it doesn’t bother me, it’s starting to. I understand that I’m a single mom and I prioritize making sure our family unit is strong, my girls are taken care of, and we take care of each other first and the house second. How.ever. The house is starting to look like something from Annihilation, and so now it’s a bit of a priority. I’m going to read a book on minimalism, and then a book on hygge, and in between all the lines, I’m fixing my dang house. And keeping it fixed. Bit excited about it, too.

If you’re one to make resolutions, blessings and patience on you and yours! Let me know what you’re working on, because I’m so curious about this resolution thing – I’m always looking for unconventional ones. And if you’re not – good on you! Don’t let anyone pressure you otherwise. And to all – HAPPY NEW YEAR! We made it through 2017. Let’s smash and resist our way through 2018!

 

Five for Friday.

December 29, 2017

Morning, all! And what a morning! Let’s catch up on some stuff, shall we?

1. My morning has been whack. But let’s start with last night. I finally had a chance to stop and catch my breath a little. It started with dinner. Kim and I (KIM IS HERE, BTW) took the girls to Babe’s, so we could feast on fried chicken. Well, they all got a mound of fried chicken; I had hickory smoked. And boy did we feast! I had three pieces of chicken, two bowls of mashed tatoes, a bowl of creamed corn, two biscuits, and some green beans. I was stuffed. I mean, we destroyed it. But it was tasty, you guys.

2. After we dropped off the girls, Kim and I maybe spent $130 on milk at Target, and then had a glass of wine and watched Mozart in the Jungle. Which you HAVE to watch if you haven’t! I am fascinated and in love (in a messy never-in-a-million-years-but-maybe-once kind of way) with Rodrigo and the cast of characters is amazing! But because I’ve been up the past two nights with a work crisis, and haven’t slept well, I was asleep on the couch, sorting my crayons, glass of wine half-drunk – by nine o’clock. I was exhausted, apparently.

3. Which meant that I sprung wide-awake this morning at 5 a.m., fully rested. I slept the sleep of the dead and was ALL DONE, THANK YOU. So I read in bed (Home Fire, by Kamila Shamsie, wicked good) for an hour, then got up to get ready when my alarm first went off. But because my routine was thrown off, I was ready and out the door by 6:10. Wicked early. But I figured I’d work on stuff in the office before I had to work-work. Only…remember when I said my routine was off? Almost half-way to work, I realized I didn’t have my frickin’ phone. Sigh. So I banged a you-ey (U-ey?) and had to go back home. Which put me to work right at the time I usually get there. Just 45 extra minutes of driving is all.

4. BUT! When I was driving to work the first time, the first song I heard was The Cure’s Friday, I’m in Love – one of me and Kim’s songs! I was pumped! And up went the volume and I knew it was going to be a good day. Then the phone thing happened, but whatevs. It’s solved, we’re good, still a good feeling. And when I was almost to work, Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ came on – my all-time favorite song. I think I broke my ears with how loud that one got. Music fixes everything!

5. Except music might not fix this: there’s a certain spot on the street near work where cars always seem to wreck. And it always seems to be drinking, middle-of-the-night sort of wrecks. Light poles get taken out. Cars on curbs. Bumpers and car bits always there. But never something quite this extreme –

House

Yeah, not the best quality, since I was trying to snap it quickly while I was driving home yesterday. Looks like a car didn’t realize there was a turn in the road there, jumped the curb, hit the fence, and smashed right through the house! I can’t even imagine how scary that explosion must have been! It makes my leaky roof and mouse problem seem so small. Crazy the things that make you grateful, isn’t it?

So! Here’s the deal – we’re all going to have good, safe, FANTASTIC weekends! And then you’re going to tell me all about them. Go forth and have fun!

Quick, cozy check-in.

October 10, 2017

I’ve been away. But this morning the temps were in the upper 50s when we woke up and today might only hit 70, and you guys – this counts as Fall down here in hell Tejas!

So I was cozying up to my blanket this morning, snuggling down deep and seriously glaring at my alarm clock because it was a giant. liar. Then I made out with my corduroy pants because I’ve missed them this summer. I put on a long sleeve shirt and yelled at the girls to do the same – or at least grab a sweater – and off into the cool air we went. I know I say jammin’ in the car is always better when it’s warm outside, but we (er, um, I) didn’t have any problems singing along this morning!

So, yes, I’m still alive. We were sweltering under the heat we’ve been having, but I’m hoping this cold front will kick-start my writing. Er, well, I should say my blogging. I’ve been writing up a storm for other writing gigs I’ve gotten lately and that experience has been incredible. It jumpstarted my mood and really helped pull off the gauzy layers of my depression. I don’t know where I summoned the courage to reach for the opportunities, but I’m glad I did. I wish I could do that for all of my friends in similar situations.

For now, I’ll take it. Cool temps for a day, maybe two. Writing away for someone, even if it isn’t here. (Sorry, all.) Reading fanatically, like someone’s going to tell me I can’t anymore. It’s a pretty good place to be, and I’m thankful in the moment each and every hour.

Happy Tuesday, guys. I hope your day is as much of a gift for you as mine is.

New kind of joy.

September 20, 2017

I have this tiny little joy that is sitting in my pocket. It’s cool to the touch and sparkly in the sunshine whenever I take it out to stare at it, to make sure it’s really there…which I have to admit is often. That’s what happens when you’ve had a time of it lately. Something good happens, and you find yourself staring it down. Baffled. Amazed. Joyful.

A lot of hard work has gone into this joyful, happy thing. Honey, don’t even let me hear you say the words “passive tense.” It’s not like kerplunk! Oh, heeeey! Happy fell from the sky and knocked me over the head! I put in a lot of time, looking for just the right spot to stand in. I worked hard on building the right type of lens. When the politics in this country got crazy, and I needed to grieve, I went down hard. I let myself feel my knees and hands prickle where I fell. I let the torpor of the next few months linger. Fighting it off too soon was only going to backfire.

And then, when it was time, I started dusting myself off.

I felt joy in reading again. I wasn’t just adding books to my To Read list; I was crossing off titles and penning reviews. I wrote thinkpieces and journaled and blogged and doodled crafts that ended badly. I sketched pieces that turned out okay, too. I wrote and I read, and I read and I wrote, and by the end of it, I felt like I was the Big Bad Wolf in reverse. Instead of tearing down the sticks and haystacks of everyone around me, I wrote and read myself back into existence.

To quote an old Latin teacher I had in high school, I was happy in my hut. I was happy in a hut of my own making, again.

My tiny little paper hut won’t stay standing without a lot of work. Joy takes a lot of time and energy. But my god it will be worth it, all of these new adventures. They’ll be the interesting parts of the memoirs. Because, hey did you hear – I’m writing again.