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

Losing heart: don’t do it, don’t you dare!

June 24, 2021

I was so taken aback, my jaw dropped. Just me? Has any of you ever found this kind of fortune in your Chinese take-out?

losing heart

Losing heart. What the hell?! Who gets a fortune like that? First of all, that’s not even a complete sentence. Secondly, …okay, I’m sorry, I’m back to what the hell?! again. It hits a little close to home.

I’m trying to remember that no matter how many times I have to climb the mountain in front of me, it’s going to stand there until I get past it. It’s my mountain, and it’s just my luck. Some people have their houses burn down. Some people lose their children, or lose parents at an impossibly early age. There are so many different kinds of trauma or hardship.

My mountain is my mountain. Sometimes it’s easier, sometimes it isn’t.

Don’t lose heart, Katie-girl. You can do this.

My best life apparently includes ALL the wildlife.

June 17, 2021

Today was a rough day. Like, almost throw up from the stress of it all kind of rough. Because no one likes surprises. Especially stressy, tough surprises. And not those surprises over and over again.

Honestly, yous guys, I feel like Wile E. Coyote a bit, because just when I feel like I’m getting back on track, rebuilding my best life, feeling great about who I am and where I’m going (except for one or two pins I need to fall into place), and then… KABLOOEY!!!

But! When I woke up this morning, I pulled up my Girl Scout socks and told myself that anyone who can find a bald eagle in the wild – a bald eagle nest, even! – doesn’t have anything to worry about. She’ll manage.

Of all the inspirational things I tried to tell myself, that was the one that actually stuck to the wall.

Because you know what? I DID see a bald eagle – a bald eagle nest, even! – in the wild! I’ve seen a mature bald eagle, majestic, breathtaking, damn near miraculous honestly. And I’ve seen two fledglings still in the nest (…who i maybe thought were part of the tree at first. Shhh! -don’t tell!). The fledglings were ginormous; nearly the size of their mama. They all just sat there, occasionally preening. Not much ado about anything.

How crazy is that? I’m a city girl. I didn’t roam out of the city…well, maybe a little towards the suburbs as we roamed the Langolier pole path, and sat by the sides of swamps. By “we”, I mean one of my uncles took me. He used to be an avid hunter, and for the past 15 years or so, he’s changed fields and now photographs (and sells prints of) New England wildlife. I had gone to his house to vent to him and my aunt about the newest surprise stress, and after I finished unloading, my uncle asked: “Wanna go look for some eagles?”

“Uh – YES!!!!!” was my reply. I think I had my shoes on before he finished turning around.

I’ve been asking him him he finds all of these animals; I know there are tracking methods I could just study, but my uncle’s talents are beyond that. He just happens about all kinds of things, like he’s a woodland magnet, or maybe a Disney animator with a magic wand.

Whatever it was, we saw the mama (or papa) eagle with the two fledglings at the first pond. Then we went to check out the owl tree – sadly, nothing doing there. I’m glad we went though, because he’s been telling me to look in the tree in the town center. I drove there and there are twenty trees in the little triangle of park! The owl tree he meant? Is across the street in front of someone’s lawn. But he made up for it – we went rambling down backroads, seeing the squirrels the size of cats; a deer ran in front of our truck thankfully when we were crawling along; there were red-wing blackbirds; crows the size of eagles; an empty osprey nest; and then my proudest moment: I asked what the bump on top of a telephone pole thingy was, and it was an Osprey sleeping! Mrs. Monopoli would be so proud of me!

At the next place, which was next to an adorable old-timey cemetery a few towns over, one I’ve driven past a hundred times!, we saw osprey in their nest with wee ones; Great Blue Herons stalking fish in the shallows; other Great Blue Herons in nests (like apartments) with fledglings; paired swans; Canadian Geese; duckies; and even muskrats swimming around! And then, as if that wasn’t enough Disney wonderland to lift anyone’s spirits, he pointed out a doe that was walking through the woods on the opposite shore. See what I mean about how he’s a woodland creature magnet?

All of that buoeyed me today. I hope the thought of it helps someone else, too. I’ve given Uncle John a new list that includes pheasants, bobcats, and a black bear that’s a safe distance away. (If football has taught me nothing, it’s: be very, very specific with your requests to the Gods above.) Oooh, and pheasants – I should tell him there’s been an update. I can’t add porcupines or anything else until we check some off. But it’s okay – I’m keeping track.

And then it turned out the stressy thing went my way this morning and I have a month’s reprieve so I can show everyone that I really am trying to be the best Katie I can be. It just turns out that my action figure comes with a field guide and binoculars.

Small victories (and silly little goofs).

June 10, 2021

I’ve been hitting the gym pretty regularly. It works out for me since my dad’s house is old and you can hear everyone walk everywhere, nevermind trying to work out. And that’s before you try to even find the space to work out. Or a time when we’re all awake at the same time.

I’m proud of the commitment I’ve made. I’m moving steadily (if a little slowly) towards a healthier me on the outside, as well as emotionally.

Down one pants size, two more to go!

That’s right – I’m killin’ it! …We’ll just pretend I didn’t walk a full block past the car when I tried to go home today. Heh. If that isn’t the Katie-est move I could have made in light of all my “glory”!

On the porch, in the rain, with the Concrete Rose.

May 28, 2021

Things you can do when you’re house-sitting for an aunt in a house with a covered porch that sits on a quiet street:

You can sit in the rain and read a chapter – that turns into the entire second half – of the book you’re reading, Concrete Rose, by the incomparable Angie Thomas.

The rain was pitter-pattering. Either it was thundering, or the trucks bailing from the Pike onto the main road just one house away sound just like thunder – just like Mum always used to say.

The wind was pushing the rain, too. But the magic porch kept it away, long enough for me to zip through the ending, wondering how Thomas was going to cover the jail thing with so few pages left. (My full review will be on Thursday, when I usually talk about my week in reading, but spoiler: she didn’t.)

You know when you read a really good sequel (or pre-quel, as the case may be) and you want to immediately go back and read the first book that got you hooked? Yeah, that. Only I waited til I went inside and found The Hate U Give already downloaded to my phone. Thank you God for small little miracles.

So, yes, today’s adventure wasn’t any further than my aunt’s front porch. But sometimes adventures are like that.

It just depends on how you want to look at things. Do you need the car keys? No. Not always. Are there still 43905834908 churches out there that I want to photograph? Yes. Are there a billion stories I want to share? Yes. Are there genealogy adventures waiting for me to untangle? YES.

And I can do all of that now. But today’s adventure was one Concrete Rose. And I think you should pick it up and make it your adventure, too.

(And then come tell me all about it.)

Godspeed. Stay safe and don’t get shot. And heaven’s to Betsy: enjoy what you have, right this minute.

This is the song that never ends…

May 28, 2021

…yes it goes on and on, my friend! Some people, started singing it not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because this is the song that never ends…

Yes. Well. This, except with my posts. How many times have I pledged that I was going to pick up the blog and run with it again? Last night optimism, I suppose.

But here’s the thing: I think I need some sort of touchpoint while I find my way in my new (old) stomping grounds. I write blog posts in my head nearly every day. So why not just…write them down?

As I’m interviewing for job after job, and applying for about a hundred zillion times more than I’m called in for, I keep myself busy. I’ve written two 350+ page novels; plucked away at my memoirs; dissected my life with my girls, and tried not to think too much about them because my heart weighs 6,000 pounds when I do; created 100 versions of my resume; and adventured.

I should clarify: adventuring here – my adventuring, at least – is rather mild. It consists of venturing out into the sunlight at least once daily, so I don’t get stuck in the comfy and familiar nest I’ve made for myself in my room, and tried to find at least one fun or odd or picture-worthy something out in Woo or the surrounding towns.

Since I’m just back in town, there is roughly a billion-gazillion choices for me. I can’t decide what I love more: when I stumble across something nostalgic and preternaturally magical, or when I find something new that I didn’t know existed.

Whichever it is, that’s when I start writing the blog post in my head. (For the record, you’ve all loved hearing about everything I’ve found and pointed out. I have a dazzling track record and a dizzying intellect, if I do say so.)

And so, dear bloggy audience, I’ve picked up my pen again to actually reach out, to try to satisfy the gremlins in my brain who are begging me to scratch their itch. It’d help if they told me how to solve that problem, but I’m hoping this will do it for now.

If you’re familiar with the area and have suggestions for my travels, or pictures you’d love for me to post, go ahead and yell out your answers – no need to raise your hands.

Thank you for sticking with me as I re-combobulate my life. It’s a difficult task at 40, but sitting and crying in limbo waiting for the Universe to fix it doesn’t seem to be working. Time for me to carve out a little life for myself. That answer was the same at 21 when I moved cross-country and gambled on this random dude I found in a chat room on the internet; the same at 25 when I found myself married for less than a year and pregnant (with the first love of my life); 30-something when I found myself single and mom to two loves of my life; 40 when I asked for help climbing out the hole I found myself in; and 40-something when asking for help backfired, leaving me with…

…Well, with a sense of adventure.

I don’t know what I’m going to call my blog, but it turns out that you CAN get there from here, but it’s a hell of a worm-hole and I don’t know that I’d recommend it.

I’m still gonna keep walking towards that place I had in my mind all those years away from family and home. And apparently getting there right now includes day trips and fun pictures of home.

I’m clicking my heels together three times…. There’s no place like home. Because home has all these weird places and stories you get to brag about…

Five for Friday

December 4, 2020

Friday! Huzzah! Although, to be fair…

  1. I have a hard time remembering what day of the week it is. Not because I’m jobless (friendless, hopeless, helpless!)(No, put down the panic buttons – it’s just [just?!!!] Vizzini, the world’s greatest, most hapless Italian.), but because it’s so rare that I have a day off from all three jobs at once. So I wasn’t only wondering if it was a Friday, but also if it wasn’t a dream. [Bonus bullet: I doubted my spelling of Vizzini, mostly because of the Red Squiggles of Death, but also it looks odd having the double consonant at the beginning of the word, followed by a single consonant. So I looked it up, and good gosh god dang if I wasn’t right! Never doubt a Princess Bride fanatic when honor is on the line! Ahem.]

  2. My friends and I have undertaken a fun distraction for the month of December, in which we pick songs for each day, according to the rules. Like a scavenger hunt. So, December 1st was “A Song from Your Childhood” (Jelly Man Kelly, performed by James Taylor on Sesame Street); December 2nd was “An Underrated Song” (Pearl Jam’s Come Back, which I’ve been playing on repeat lately.  It just hits me in my feels! Pearl Jam will never be my favorite band, even though I wish I liked it better because one of my best friends is DIEHARD Pearl Jam); December 3rd was “A Song That Makes You Cry” (“Edelweiss” from Sound of Music, because I remember so clearly watching The Sound of Music with my Mum whenever it was on TV, and later when it was on VHS, so she could watch it in the living room while she ironed and sang and we made fun of her. Oh, Mum. I can’t even tell you how much I miss you and how much I wish you could listen to me and help me with the girls right now. See? Songs that make you cry, indeed.); December 4th was is “Song That Makes You Think of Summer”, which is an interesting prompt. I thought of sooooo many songs, most of them from mixes I made for when the girls and I traveled back to Massachusetts and New Hampshire for summer holidays; and the rest from when I was in high school and things were so much happier/simpler/amusingly sad in easily fixable ways. I ended up going with Rude!, by Magic! from one of those mixes. I just think the beat is quintessentially summery.

  3. I’m working on solving a creative problem with one of my favorite craft items. My highest demand item is my shatterproof globe ornament – a round, clear ornament that is filled with hand-selected lines from different books. I can’t even name them all – like, actually, literally can’t because I have more than 300 different books that I’ve used! But to give you an example, I’ve been working on a few Charlotte’s Web ornaments this week. I love Charlotte and Wilbur and Fern and Templeton and all of the other barnyard galoots! I love choosing each line to fit with the theme and feel of the ornament I’m working on, and I especially love picking out quotes for the specific ornament. My dilemma is that when I have one title that is sooo in demand, I run out of times I can clip the title from obvious and inventive places so that I can include it in the ornament. I’m trying a new technique where I type out the title on the closest color cardstock I can match, and in the samest (is-too a word) size font, and see if that will work. I hope so, because then I can also focus the quotes I use for each ornament! If you want to see other ornaments and book-ish crafts Bee and I offer, you can come visit us at Bee Crafty on Etsy (really, it’s called BeeCraftsShop on Etsy, because Bee Crafty was already taken. Le Sigh.) There’s a sale going on, just to tempt you. Ha!

  4. There was a surprise tornado here last week – or maybe the week before? – during one of those weird winter storms when the weather feels like spring/early-summer, and the two weather feels start arguing. I was at work – the work that requires me to actually be somewhere – and everyone kept commenting on our earpieces that it was raining, and then that it was really raining, and then that it was ohmygawd raining, to come see it. But we were slammed, so while I fully intended to go see it, I forgot all about it about 2.5 seconds after it was mentioned. Then I thought I heard thunder. And then the lights flickered for a second. But that was that. Until I checked my phone an hour later and saw that there had been a tornado warning! Not for where I was, or for where home was. But still! And then there were reports of storm damage. Bad storm damage. I looked at the pictures on the news, and checked on friends who lived almost directly in the path, but I was still surprised to hear that the Powers That Be announced it was an EF2 tornado. That was, until I was driving in the area where they said the damage was located. From the street, you can see the tornado’s path through the apartment complex, across the street, and through some fences and into the houses at the end of the street across the way. It’s insane! I couldn’t help but think of how you hear that the storm skips this house and that house, but hits this one; how narrow and despicably discrete the damage path really is. It’s mesmerizing.

  5. Amends time: I’m sorry my posts are so sporadic. I think of what I want to say all the time! But committing thoughts to paper…okay, well, that part has always been crazily easily for me. What’s difficult is committing myself to finding time to do it. Creating healthy habit. Forcing structure into my life. And if life would bless me with the right 9-5 (8-5? 7-5?) job, I promise it would be a lot easier. Manifesting greatness! – that’s been my 2021 motto that I decided started right after the election. We’re making things happen NOW! So that job should feel free to call me back on any one of my resumes I’ve submitted. Or a surprise Meant-For-You! job at any time from any direction. It would be just the chapter I need to finish off my book!

With that! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy yourselves thoroughly. Just remember to do it in a safe, COVID-anti-spreader type way. From separate homes. Not travelling. Not eating out. Just chillin’ from your Zoom-zone. Mmkay? Mmmkay.

Friday! Huzzah! Although, to be fair…

  1. I have a hard time remembering what day of the week it is. Not because I’m jobless (friendless, hopeless, helpless!)(No, put down the panic buttons – it’s just [just?!!!] Vizzini, the world’s greatest, most hapless Italian.), but because it’s so rare that I have a day off from all three jobs at once. So I wasn’t only wondering if it was a Friday, but also if it wasn’t a dream. [Bonus bullet: I doubted my spelling of Vizzini, mostly because of the Red Squiggles of Death, but also it looks odd having the double consonant at the beginning of the word, followed by a single consonant. So I looked it up, and good gosh god dang if I wasn’t right! Never doubt a Princess Bride fanatic when honor is on the line! Ahem.]
  2. My friends and I have undertaken a fun distraction for the month of December, in which we pick songs for each day, according to the rules. Like a scavenger hunt. So, December 1st was “A Song from Your Childhood” (Jelly Man Kelly, performed by James Taylor on Sesame Street); December 2nd was “An Underrated Song” (Pearl Jam’s Come Back, which I’ve been playing on repeat lately.  It just hits me in my feels! Pearl Jam will never be my favorite band, even though I wish I liked it better because one of my best friends is DIEHARD Pearl Jam); December 3rd was “A Song That Makes You Cry” (“Edelweiss” from Sound of Music, because I remember so clearly watching The Sound of Music with my Mum whenever it was on TV, and later when it was on VHS, so she could watch it in the living room while she ironed and sang and we made fun of her. Oh, Mum. I can’t even tell you how much I miss you and how much I wish you could listen to me and help me with the girls right now. See? Songs that make you cry, indeed.); December 4th was is “Song That Makes You Think of Summer”, which is an interesting prompt. I thought of sooooo many songs, most of them from mixes I made for when the girls and I traveled back to Massachusetts and New Hampshire for summer holidays; and the rest from when I was in high school and things were so much happier/simpler/amusingly sad in easily fixable ways. I ended up going with Rude!, by Magic! from one of those mixes. I just think the beat is quintessentially summery.
  3. I’m working on solving a creative problem with one of my favorite craft items. My highest demand item is my shatterproof globe ornament – a round, clear ornament that is filled with hand-selected lines from different books. I can’t even name them all – like, actually, literally can’t because I have more than 300 different books that I’ve used! But to give you an example, I’ve been working on a few Charlotte’s Web ornaments this week. I love Charlotte and Wilbur and Fern and Templeton and all of the other barnyard galoots! I love choosing each line to fit with the theme and feel of the ornament I’m working on, and I especially love picking out quotes for the specific ornament. My dilemma is that when I have one title that is sooo in demand, I run out of times I can clip the title from obvious and inventive places so that I can include it in the ornament. I’m trying a new technique wherry e I type out the title and

Who knew they were right?

November 9, 2020

How many times, when you were down, have you heard: manifest your destiny! Act as ye have faith, and faith shall be given to thee. Get down on your knees and pray, every morning to thank God (in whatever Universal form you’d prefer) and humbly ask Her for that which would help you be your best you.

It’s getting a little woo-woo in here, so let me just shorten to this: Fake it til you make it. And Readers, I think I’ve just done that.

I’ve manifested myself a side-job. One I desperately need right now. For my sanity, for my pockets, and yes – I’ll say it out loud so someone out there won’t feel like they’re the only one – a little bit for my dignity, too.

It’s a great big little thing. It’s a reminder that Someone is listening to me. The Universe is not all out to get me. Things will get betterthey are getting better. And I am very grateful for those gifts that apparate at just the right time.

Why? Is something going on today?

November 3, 2020

Today’s…fraught. It’s fraught with tension and anxiety and I’m feeling so many different kind of ways.

But even though I am both popping onto news sites and trying to distract myself so I won’t glom on to them, this weird thought hit me. I’m…well, I’m grateful today that I feel this much.

For real.

Some people don’t care. Or care, but not enough to vote. “Eh, one vote won’t matter.” “Nothing’s going to be decided tonight.” “Whoever wins will still be there in the morning.” I’m sorry. I might not have two dollars to rub together right now, but my head is straight. And more importantly, my heart is straight. Both care very much about the outcome of the elections.

I have feelings. I have plans. I’ve even bartered with the Universe so if the Very Bad Thing happens, I’ll have a trade that I’m convinced will happen. (And the lottery isn’t a bad consolation prize.)(I’m kidding!!)

It’s not easy, feeling all the feelings and trying to be patient when that’s the least used muscle I have, but I’m pretty sure that means I’m supposed to work at it, right? So here I am. Waiting. Feeling. Stressing. And being thankful that I care about things that matter, and not the meaningless things that used to steal my attention.

Just a gazillion more hours, and we’ll have an answer! Who’s waiting with me?

The happy little blue whale things.

October 28, 2020

Sometimes – oftentimes – it’s the little things that reach out and grab you, even if they’re hiding on the bottom shelf of a busy toy aisle. He was just sitting there, not trying to bother anybody, facing a main aisle customers use to hop between store sections.

But I swear I saw the little guy, and my heart went BOOM!

Blue! Happy blue! Really more of a shiny, smiley turquoise.

We didn’t have cute little suckers like this guy when we were little. The closest we got to hopping along, playing pretend on the Ultimate Toy that made all your friends jealous and your heart explode was this:

Hippity-Hops: 80s kids’ nostalgia boomin’!

And maybe that (but probably not) is why I fell in love with Fizzy. Yep, I named him. Fizzy the little blue smiley, happy whale who made me smile big and stop traffic.

I love you Fizzy. And I am grateful for the burst of joy.

Five for Friday.

May 31, 2019

Hey, look Ma, I made it! (If you were Panicking at the Disco right there, you need to turn on your radio more.)

Right of the bat – I have something to discuss:
1. Why is it that I’ll have a moment (this week it was yesterday afternoon) when I’ll be jotting down ideas left and right for my Friday moments, and then when it gets to Friday, I can’t think of half of them, or get excited about the rest? Seriously, I was like “I can talk about this, and then I can mention that! and ohmygod what was that other thing?!” Orrrr, if Fridayphobia doesn’t strike, I’ll be excited, have a list finished in my head…but then maybe because I’ve checked that task off my mental to-do list, I look down and it’s, like, 6 p.m. and I haven’t written a jot! Jeez, writing gods!

2. My dad turned 70 this week. I don’t talk about him very often because I have a very complicated relationship with him for very complicated reasons. Still. He’s 70. And it just…hit me out of the blue. I guess even though what I think of as “young” or “middle aged” has been creeping as I get older, 70 still feels very different to me than 69 did. I mentioned it to Gracie: “Did you know Grandpa turned seventy this week?” Aghast for obvious reasons – so I thought. Gracie’s jaw dropped, I thought in agreement. But she responded, “Only 70?!!” Okay, yes, yes – she has a point. Grandpa has been an “old man” since he was 50. Should have seen that one coming.

3. I’ve been sorting through my genealogy again. And I happened upon an improved Web site that has collected a lot of data and family trees since I last used it, about 20 years ago. I was so busy focusing on charting the Founding Families of my mom’s town that I didn’t look much at my paternal side. I found records and compiled family trees that added four more generations to my paternal-paternal side. I’m 12th generation (maiden name).

4. It’s summer. June in Texas = yeah, definitely summer. So why is it that I’m having a hard time packing away my extra blanket? Does that happen to anyone else? I have my top sheet, a quilt, and then an extra blanket that’s thin, but medium weight. I haven’t used it in a couple weeks, and only once in the past…oh…2 months? So why am I having such a hard time making a firm decision? I hate tripping over that ends that are piled on the floor no matter how I drape the thing. Ugh!

5. And then this happened. The last day of 9th and 7th grades!

LastDay

No more homework, no more books! No more…getting up at the crack of dawn for school, for which these bleary-eyed demons are thankful. And so is their mama.

Have a great weekend!