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Just Can’t Have Anything Nice…

Visible Hollie

Visible Hollie

Hurt myself again.. and yes, I can still feel!

Sunday night, as I lay sleeping, a horrible pain sprouted from deep within my lower right abdomen. This ache was so painful that it woke me from my sleep with a cry. It felt mean and ripping… like someone had shoved a dull knife into my guts and left it protruding to fester and bleed. I tried ibuprofen. I tried changing positions. I tried massage. I visited the doctor. I tried RX pain meds. Nothing seemed to help. The pain just kept getting worse.

I tried going to work to see if it would go away on it’s own. It didn’t. I visited with the doctor hoping for some miracle cure. She had none. I even consulted friends for anecdotes and tidbits of advice… Still, nothing seemed to help. Work just made the pain unbearable. The doctor was waiting to see which direction this was going to go in order to order the proper tests. And friends, well, it’s sumer, they’re busy and most of them just weren’t available… Eventually, after a few things progressed, tests were ordered. Tables were laid on. Scans were taken.

After 2 nights of no sleep, a day and a half of extreme pain, and convincing myself that either my appendix was ready to burst or some mean ovarian cyst was rearing it’s ugly head,  I now know exactly what I did to myself. I strained / partially tore my Large Right Rectus Abdominis. That’s right. I literally “shredded” my abs… And I’m still not even sure how! :P

[Find a little more info here: Rectus Abdominis Muscle Injury from LiveStrong ]

The doctor has prescribed rest, first and foremost — That means no work until Monday and bowing out of a lot of the holiday festivities for the next few weeks. I’ve been letting my newly purchased heating pad make sweet love to my achy abs 3 times per day, also doctor’s orders, and have been taking a cocktail of prescription pain killers, muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories that the doctor felt were best for my particular problem.

Of course, all this resting has left me with a lot of creative time on my hands. So I’ve been messing around with a few ideas I’ve been pondeirng but haven’t really had time for until now. I purchased some canvases, pens, pencils, and paints and have been really putting a few things down on paper as I think.

Of course, I’ve also been busy puttering with some electronic graphics (including those on this page!) and have been helping a friend set up his own private web server (from a distance).

And I guess that’s all. Here are a few images from my scan on Tuesday that I thought were interesting.

My pelvis and abdomen via CT Scan Note the metal link in my left pelvis.

My pelvis and abdomen via CT Scan
Note the metal link in my left pelvis.

An animated GIF of my CT scan going from chest to legs

An animated GIF of my CT scan going from chest to legs then back again

Working Wounded?

Welcome to the “Working Wounded.”

Wait… What?!

If you truly understood, you’d know that I have been the “Working Dead” for the past 8 years! The only time I felt truly good was when my body had purged these drugs that are trying to prevent THE REAL DISEASE from rearing its ugly head — And even that ended with me losing control of half of my body and an astronomical amount of IV steroids being pumped into my system followed by losing 35 pounds of water weight in less than 20 hours and a stay in the local hospital! The rest of the time has been plagued with me oftentimes puking, shitting, or floating down a river of snot on my way through a work day. There is no welcome wagon for me, sweetie — I’m the grizzled hardcore who’s been here a lot longer than you.

Welcome to the world of the Chronically Ill!

That may sound melodramatic and maybe it is — but, you’re talking to someone who’s been pushing through a workday “wounded” for a lot longer than I let on. And this disease — You know the one that steals every ounce of energy I have, threatens many of my mental faculties, and destroys a good deal of my physical prowess, but leaves me looking pale and lovely for the world to see — The one I deal with every day yet no one recognizes because my chemo drugs don’t leave me hairless or green, just susceptible to every fucking illness that crosses my path? Yeah, that one. That robust, cunty bitch named MS gives me every right to look at insensitive people and say “WTF was that?”

But — I also know we all have to deal with our own hurts, problems, and ick and it’s really quite hard to step outside of our own bubble to view the world through clearer eyes. So I try, using a lot of restraint and understanding, to ignore the comments or insensitive remarks. Sometimes, I’ll try to convince myself that the other person is way worse off so that I don’t think the cruel thoughts lurking behind these tired eyes. Sometimes I actually start to believe it and buy into my mantra of “I really do have a very mild course of disease” so I can just smile through my day with a fake grin of delightful, happy, chubby-girl bliss.

Why? Because that’s what people want from me: A smile, a joke, a positive remark, and a push forward through the rest of their day… And they get it in abundance. No one likes to hang out with a downer, don’t you know?

But make no mistake: My days are not fun. I am sick more than I am well. I suffer through every fucking day so I can live some semblance of a life beyond what has been written on my god damned page. And this annoyance, this fire, this pissed off regime of disgust is what fuels this machine through everything I do. So maybe that unwatched pot ready to boil over feeling when you’re standing next to me in line or that car out of control sense you get from me when we talk isn’t so far off. Damaged people are dangerous because we know we can survive — The jury is still out on you.

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But also understand, as a person, I am not mad at you. I’m not mad at the world. I’m not even mad at the people saying these things. I’m mad at me, my body the hand grenade, and whatever god you subscribe to — Or maybe fate… Let’s blame that bitch. Perhaps I can let my anger flow into every bad decision I ever made… because I’m sure one of those made me more susceptible than the next likely candidate to get this.

But what all of this ranting really boils down to is that in five minutes this anger will be gone, evaporated, pushed under that blanket of calm I carry every day and reneged. I’ll laugh. I’ll smile. I may even mean it…

But try as I might, I will never be well.

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Till Me Under, Plant My Heart…

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Lately, for reasons I can’t define, I’ve been having a hard time dealing with a lot of loss I’ve experienced over the past few years. I try not to think on it a lot, but it’s still there watching from just off stage like a nervous stage mother — So much pressure to act natural and ever make a good impression.

Sometimes, if I slow down long enough, I am immediately dumped right into the middle of all the emotion I don’t share with the world: The sad stuff you feel depressingly stupid simply admitting, the moments where you feel so lost and alone, the unanswered grief, the empty time, the yearning that leads to nothing. All those moment when you realize that all there is, all you can really count on, is right in front of you — That this moment could be the penultimate of where you’ve been, where you’re going… And if that’s the case (which it most surely is) how much potential has been squandered? How much life has been left unlived. How much suffering and pain and loss have you experienced… all for… this?

I admit, I’m a worker bee. I do what I’m told, what is expected. I try not to dwell on things that can’t be changed. I try not to focus on all the things that are so much a part of me that must be denied in order to function. The things that must not be spoken, yet exist just the same. The ghosts of your past. The glimmers of futures that will never be. The shadows of dreams long since dead. Fallen cities lost in the pages of time. Each and every one.

It’s depressing and I try very hard to avoid it… but still, it sits waiting for me to stumble and fall into the hole I’ve dug. Still, I claw out and move on.

Is there any other way?

~Hollie

Vocal Coaching: Week 1

Last night was my first Vocal Coaching session. The coach was phenomenal, positive, nice, professional… and had pets! (Her big yellow dog was super sweet and friendly and her orange tabby curled up on my scarf for most of the session… How perfectly great is that?!)

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves… I will start at the beginning.

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Notes from Week 1

Jason arrived home earlier than usual and, since I am the on-time police, I left when he got home to ensure I had enough time to find her house/studio. I made it there in 15 minutes… So, I got to sit there like some creeper in front of her house (on-street parking just off the Plaza) while people came in and out. Yay for me! :D (One soccer mom who was picking up her kid really did look at me like she was calling the cops. Right now. Seriously.)  Just as I was thinking I might head to the door, I got a text asking for me to come no earlier than 7:30 as she was taking her supper break just before. So I upheld my creeper status another 20 minutes or so and finally climbed the stairs up to her quaint cape cod. Upon entrance, I was greeted by the sweetest big yellow dog and, shortly after, a friendly orange tabby that matched. We all made fast friends. :)

The vocal coach herself was very nice, yet professional. She had a lovely East Coast accent with East Coast mannerisms. She looked exactly as I expected, down to the sweater. She was very knowledgeable and took seriously her job and what we were doing…  I really can’t find a single bad thing to say about her. She was just a lovely person.

After some short conversation it was down to business. She talked to me about the mechanisms behind types of singing, design and use of the vocal chords, what my (our) goals were, some helpful tips, and kind of what we’d be doing.

Finally, it was time to actually sing something, lol! She was going to check my range… I warned her I was very low today because my allergies were kicking in. (Thanks, Mold, you infamous bastard!) We started in and found that my vocal range was 3 octaves, my usable range (that which didn’t sound strained) was almost 2, and that my goal would be to get me usable for the entire 3 plus some, along with cleaning up my transitions and technique, and really harnessing my vocal power and endurance. She seemed impressed that I had such a large lower range and I told her anecdotes about poking fun at James Hetfield/Metallica and being told it wasn’t half bad, which we both thought was funny.

We set on doing various exercises and discussing/trying out breathing techniques and ways to increase range and power. She recorded the session, so I have a copy and I admit I sound better with her recording equipment than with mine… so that’s a bonus, lol. But I also sound very low… I hope that as the allergens clear, so will my vocal range, because I know I can do better than that on a good day! :D Anyway, all the exercises are on a convenient disc with my fumbling voice for comparison, so I can practice them. She said every other day was fine, every day was great… I figure I’ll probably end up doing them 1-2 times per day, just until I see results in what I’m producing.

At a certain point, she mentioned that people don’t always have the patience to try new technique… I told her, if I have the patience to teach myself to walk again, raise twin daughters, and work in a cave for 15 years when I miss outside so much, I have the patience to do this — And this is fun! :D

For next time, I’m to pick and start working up a song… It can be any song I desire, so long as I can bring copies of the lyric and the piece on a CD. I have no idea what I will choose or what even sounds good on me — But I will tell you this straight away: It will NOT be Black is the Color of My True Loves Hair! (Sorry Beverly, but I still, to this day, hate that song!)

Some I’m considering currently:

(Suggestions are welcome on this last part as I am just truly unsure what to pick!)

~H

Watch That First Step

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So, I did it. I took the first step on a journey I’ve been mentally preparing for over the past 20 years:

I signed up for my first vocal coaching session as an adult…

In fact, I signed up for an entire months worth!

I suppose to some this seems so very sudden. Perhaps it even seems impulsive and part of it probably is. But what people don’t quite understand about me is that I’m not nearly so open with my own feelings as I might seem. Sure, sure, I accept you for you. I will share my stories and a drink. I often let things slip out that seem so private… But that’s the thing — I tend to be very bombastic about the things that are trivial, things that can’t really be changed, or things that don’t really affect any true future goals or secret desires. Those more fragile things are kept very close to the vest lest I out myself and tell everyone the things I’m truly afraid to fail at or invite criticism or competition to an already delicate construct.

Well, this is one of those things! As was previously discussed, I have an okay voice. Great some times, mediocre others, but always with the desire to perform. But, for all my bravado, I’ve been scared to actually ask someone who knows right form wrong, how I’m doing and what I can do to improve. The behind-the-back whispers of those close to me about my singing, either being good or bad, have struck me a little harder than they should have… Plus, I was afraid I might have lost any talent I had along with my youth. (Seriously — These gray hairs aren’t getting any shorter!)

So, tonight I will be meeting with a woman who is far too qualified to be working with the likes of me for my first session — And I’m sure it will be great…

But right now? I’m terribly nervous.

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Wish me luck! :D
~H

Still Learning…

Last week, I figured a few things out, revisited a few old themes, and actually learned a couple new tricks.

First, I rediscovered how much I love to work at home. This week, KC experienced a huge snow storm. 8-12 inches over everything with drifting as high as 3 feet in some areas. The children’s school cancelled class Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday… everything was blanketed and there was no way I was getting out in that! So, time to work form home again. (Yay!)

One of many reasons working from home is a very good thing!

One of many reasons working from home is a very good thing!

Every time I do it for any extended period, I find myself happier, less stressed, and generally more productive. I honestly could work form home, become a hermit, and lock myself into a back office very, very easily, I think… Just imagine: The entire world a click away and me locked in a room in someone’s basement! :D

Of course, I was pretty stir crazy by Friday when I headed back into the office. Part of that may have been due to those keeping me company. (Have you ever been locked in a house with two very active, very ornery twins? Trust me, this can sometimes wear on you!) :D

Second, while playing Rock Band at my mother’s house this weekend, I discovered that my girls are starting to show some sort of interest in really making music! As it stands, Miranda is on drums, Mae on Bass… me on vocals. Yes, I’m on vocals a lot… It’s about the only thing I can do with any precision! :D I always put the kids on beginner or easy and myself on difficult or hard, depending on which permutation of the game we’re playing. We did pretty good… Of course, there came the inevitable squabble about wanting to switch with someone… So I let Mae sing, Miranda was on bass… I was on drums…

We got booed off three times. :)

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After a lot of finger pointing and general fussing from the girls, I explained to them that this was why bands work. Not everybody can do everything. Maybe a few things, or a couple, but you need to rely on the strengths of your group to make the best sound you can. This gave them renewed interest in their previous positions and we moved forward with high scores for all. :)

Maybe I should look into those children’s music lessons more closely? Maybe I should step into the student’s seat for a few voice lessons myself… Just to get these old-lady pipes back in shape! :D

I was also reminded that I have a lot of work to do socially. Nothing points this out faster than when I’m trying to identify with a person or empathize with them. Seriously, no matter how I try, I come across very dominant and somewhat combative when I address people in these situations. I don’t mean to. I just have a very forward style of speaking. It doesn’t matter what I’m trying to evoke, empathy or understanding, joy, comradery… What have ya. I always end up looking like a battle worn bitch. :/ It happens all the time.

There have been instances where a person reveals to me how unintentionally intimidating I am.  Maybe it’s because I’m tallish or because I’m a bigger person… Maybe because it hurts me not to sit or stand up straight. Maybe I have bitchy resting face. I have an odd accent, I guess. I don’t notice it, but people often ask where I’m from and are often surprised when I reply with “Right here!” Maybe that’s why…

But for whatever reason, women (and often men) seem to be intimidated by me at times… Other times, they seem pissed off by something I’ve done before I’ve even spoken.

This weekend, it happened twice in completely unrelated realms. One with an friendly acquaintance and once with a family member. I won’t go into specifics because dirty laundry is best aired in private and really I don’t think these people did anything wrong, save misunderstand my intent, and this is old hat. Still,  it left me feeling a bit shitty and like I wanted to lock myself in a back office somewhere. (See the first section.)

I learned that I resent having to ask permission to do the things I want to do as if I were a child.

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Seriously, I am 35 years old and the mother of two children. I have a full-time job, plus. I pay my bills and my taxes and, if I want to go to a rare party with my friends, then I shouldn’t have to ask permission. I also shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to go. I shouldn’t have to feel as if I’ve done something wrong because I have a desire to NOT BE AT HOME! :P

Finally, I found out that fruit nectars make a darn good mixed drink. I had a leftover fruit juice mixture from our Girl Scout meeting Sunday… So I put it into a glass about half and half with some Villa Jolanda Moscato & Pineapple. It made a wonderfully refreshing sipper for any girl’s night out party or one with lighter-weight drinkers of any persuasion. :) (Recipe Follows)

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Mexican Canary

  • 16oz Jumex Peach Nectar
  • 16oz Jumex Mango Nectar
  • 6oz Jumex Papaya & Pineapple Nectar
  • 6oz frozen apple juice concentrate prepared using 6oz of water
  • Moscato to taste (We added Villa Jolanda Moscato & Pineapple equivalent to about 1 – 1.5 bottles (750ml size)

Chill all ingredients at least 3 hours prior to preparation.

Mix all the juices together in a LARGE pitcher or punch bowl, stirring to combine. Slowly add the moscato. Serve chilled or over cubes made from leftover nectars. Garnish with a peach or pineapple slice or a fun drink umbrella. (Maybe both!)

Delish!

A Long Time Coming

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This morning, while singing along with the radio, I was struck by a very strong memory:

The First Time I TRULY Disappointed Myself

I don’t remember the exact year, but I want to believe it was the summer of 1991. I had just turned 13 that March. I had taken a bottle of peroxide and mixed it with conditioner, fashioning my own bleach mixture, and turned my hair a sort of awkward orange/auburn/copper mess that suited me well. I had noticed that older boys, no matter how much they called me chubby, also started making truly lewd comments towards me. I was a cheerleader that summer, even though I was still a bit of an outcast. (Yes, in a small town, you can be both.) Things were, to my perspective, looking better for me than they had… Well, since I could remember, to be honest.

That summer, my uncle’s nephew, Adam, had come all the way from Pennsylvania to stay for a while. He was an odd boy with an even more foreign background. He was pail, chubby, overly confident, and a little pushy… but so was almost every boy I knew outside of my family — So of course, we got on well.

My aunt was charged with keeping him entertained for a good portion of his visit and during one of those days, she decided we would all go to the local amusement park: Worlds of Fun. That summer, I had already been there a time or two with various friends and groups and every time I had gone, I went past the tiny recording studio booth they have at such places.

As an adult, I can look back at it and say: :”What a crock of shit!” Seriously, it was a small store front, babysat by a pimply teen whose two responsibilities were to pop the right Karaoke tape into the machine and to press the right button to record. The booth itself was dark, unimpressive, and about the size of my mom’s kitchen closet and the equipment was, honestly, terribly sub par…

But, to 13-year-old me, it was the most fascinating place in the whole park and, honestly, the most terrifying. I had often been overlooked for singing parts in school productions and my friends would roll their eyes when we were all singing together in cars as girls that age are known to do… but I knew I could sing. I had taken a handful of lessons and been assured I was doing well. I had taken a piece to contest and also done well there… I patterned my voice after all these people I worshiped (still relish) and I knew I could do this… But I always chicken-shitted out.

Every. Single.Time.

And for the 2-3 years I’d been allowed to go to the park with my friends relatively unchaperoned, the story was the same: I would always take pause outside of the place, note the cost, weigh the decision in my head, and walk away. The fear of realizing I truly sucked and that people were just being nice when they told me it sounded good was too much. I’d rather take uncertainty and self-confidence than negative certainty and all that self-loathing any day… I’m not even kidding.

But, on this particular day. Having admitted to Adam that I always wanted to try it, he mentioned it to my aunt and uncle and they spotted me cash to do so. With the three of them urging me on, I couldn’t just not do it… I went in, gave the 16-year-old harbinger of doom my cash. He popped it in, gave no instruction, bumped me into the booth and pointed at the headphones. I put them on, my chosen song blared through them. It was some poppish, popular Madonna single with stupid lyrics and a catchy beat I’d seen on MTV a million times and knew the words by heart. I started singing, unsure what was going on or if I was doing this right. I couldn’t hear myself and felt really off… But there was Adam. I still, to this day, can see that strange, yet nice, boy watching me with some sort of sweet adoration that can only be titled “she’s my girlfriend today.” As I sang this piece of shit song into a crappy microphone, he smiled at me from the other side of the glass and, for about 20 seconds after I was done, I thought I must have done well.

Of course, you are then required to listen to yourself and suddenly that shining moment of feeling like I was amazing dissipated into dust. The dust being caused by my dreams crumbling under the weight of my shaking ego. I took my tape and very quietly left. Of course, the aunt and uncle wanted to hear it, but I was so horrified. Here were two of my favorite people in the world asking to hear me slaughter something… What if they thought less of me after hearing it? I mean, I certainly thought less of myself after hearing it, why wouldn’t they?  But, I did let the boy listen, not because I trusted him but because he was genuinely complimentary and because I knew I’d probably never see him again. He said it was great and… after much cajoling and one more listen through choked-back tears, I let him keep it. So, somewhere, probably a trash heap outside of Monaca, PA, sits a tape holding the hopes, dreams, and ultimate disappointment of a little girl playing at big girl dreams.

For years following, I wouldn’t sing around people just so embarrassed by my naivety. Imagine, me, thinking I was ok at that! The outrage I felt at others turned inward and there was only this fragile, broken candle where a spotlight had once shone. Sure, I might join in during a group sing along, but I throttled… Man how I throttled — Quiet like a mouse, make yourself unheard. Disappear. This was really reflected in how I dressed, acted, everything. I simply tried to look like everyone else… disappear.

Then in mid-high school, the boy I was dating and his friends were playing a song I knew well. They started singing along and I joined in with them. (Mostly bolstered by the fact that they sucked so bad, I couldn’t be any worse! Plus the comradery! I am a sucker for a group to belong to — I’m always searching for home.) But I was accused of showboating and, since I couldn’t control what I produced with my voice then, being loud and obnoxious. (To some extent I still can’t control it. I am loud if I’m really trying and it’s any good. You just have to deal with it. Sorry world!) My notes were usually spot on, but were loud, hard and powerful… and not like the other girls. If I didn’t throttle, I would drown out any one singing next to me and they weren’t getting the attention they’d fought so hard to get. I was usually pushed backward — Sometimes physically, but more often by mean words, scant looks, rolled eyes, or just plain walking away. And I let them push… I mean, no one was telling me I did good anymore and I figured I was a joke, lol. See? even I’m laughing at me.

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This went on until later my Senior year of high school, when, out of pride and hope, and faux Screw-the-World attitude, I suggested that instead of a senior play we have a musical this year. At a small school, you can suggest such things and actually be heard without actually having to do anything… Just start a buzz. Mention it to the drama instructor. Mention it to the little high school song birds and pretty people. Mention it to people who have some sort of pull. Compliment the talent of others… Make them feel like it is all their idea and, poof, like magic, you’ve got yourself a musical. Oh, the petty manipulations of a teenage honor student. (Although, it wasn’t intentional. This is just the way of things there.)

They had us audition at a cold reading and didn’t even have us sing a note. I was chosen for supporting lead female — A bad-girl, Jesse-James type character who was the butt of several jokes but had one strong song and a handful of minions. I was disappointed and knew I’d been type-cast. (Because, I was always the bad girl, second-lead, even in everyday life… Why should the school musical be any different?) They sent us home with a script, a tape of our singing parts, and a date to come in for individual practice. I busted my ass over that tape. I had no idea what my lines were, really, but I listened to the tape and patterned my style, pitch, everything off that woman who was probably paid nothing for the idolatry she was getting from me. Then came my day… I went in nervous, twitchy, excited… and ready to shine. I had recorded myself, finally after all those years, and played it alongside the provided tape and was satisfied. I had prepared and practiced. I WAS READY TO DO THIS! But, before a single note came out of my mouth, I was instructed to just yell out the words. “Just do it like we said… just yell them out in time with the music.”

I tried it their way and was miserable. My throat started to hurt and I was starting to get hoarse. I was defeated, disheartened, and really, really upset when at the end I asked, trembling, if I could just do it my way for the last run through. They shook their heads, looked at each other like I was a failure, and agreed exasperatedly that I could, after reminding me that next time we do this I was to perform it as they said…

And then, the taped background music started and I blew them away. Loud and brassy and just like the girl on the tape, I sang that shitty song with everything I had. There was confusion, then quiet. They told me I should just sing it like that from now on. “I had no idea you could do that.”  Later that next week, we started read throughs to familiarize everyone with the script. You didn’t have to sing your part during, but you were encouraged to… so I did. The usual snickers and looks were stifled and I was stared at. Unable to bear it, I looked at the words like they were the road map out of the room. Afterward there was silence — And then they clapped. (My fellow players, classmates, adolescents… clapped. That feeling stays with me to this day. Every time I’m afraid I’m going to fail when I know, deep inside, that I got this, those people who probably don’t give me a second thought are there… staring, then clapping.) There wasn’t a single person there that didn’t agree that I should sing it just like that. I was the smart, chubby, bad girl that no one noticed for so long — This was a boon I couldn’t resist… Like the best drug you can imagine times a thousand. A lifetime of nonrecognition at that age feels like an eternity of invisibility and being visible is painful perfection. It’s very hard to describe.

Soon was graduation and a general feeling of relief that I was finally OUT OF THERE! I went on, that following year, to sing some background bits for a small-time local recording guy for no credit at the urging of my freshman writing instructor. Dr. G told me “Everyone wants to be a teacher. You don’t have to have any real talent to teach, you just have to bring the talent out of others… and there’s so many of us ready to bring out that talent. Teachers are EVERYWHERE!”

“Look at me,” he said. He had a way of convincing you that anything was possible. He was mostly deaf, but loved music. He wrote strange erotic books of fables about animals. He was, in himself, quite a talent. As I looked at him, I wondered if he realized I knew all this about him. “You should sing if that’s what you want to do. Switch majors… or don’t major at all and follow that dream for a lot less money than this degree will cost you.”

And I almost listened. I was right there on that crossroads… when I had the car wreck of 1997. It changed me forever and stole too many dreams to count… but that is a story leading to so much self-disappointment and regret, it’s best saved for another day. I mean, my lunch break is only so long. :)

On a more positive bent, over the last few months, I’ve been slowly coaxing myself into putting together a set of badly strummed guitar tunes that I can try to sing and play in front of people. (This would be better with someone actually talented playing alongside, but the interest and talent necessary has not really reared its head, lol. My guitar playing sucks — Nerve damage is a bitch. :P ) Maybe an open mic? Maybe just sitting on the sidewalk in City Market? Maybe hidden behind the safety of the internet where trolls aren’t attacking you to your face… Who knows?

Wish me luck!
~H

Project 365 ~ January 2014

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January was fairly sedate. A few birthday parties, some festivities, and a lot of downtime was what it had to boast.

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Heavy Snow? Come at me brah!

 

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Registering my troop for Northland Encampment this May.

 

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Coffee Party!

 

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My Monday Walk @ Macken

 

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During the Impromptu Roadtrip From Hell!

 

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Baby Brother

The Bucket List 2.0: More Additions

Every once in a while, I revisit this list and reevaluate how important the things on it are to me. Usually, most of them seem so off base and trivial, that I’m embarrassed they were ever important enough to put out in the open, let alone strive to complete.  I mean, they are pretty awesome things, but as I get older, I realize the thought of me doing most of them is laughable at best and, circumstances being what they are,  thinking beyond the immediate is just something that takes a lot more energy and faith than it used to.

So, I decided to do two things: Modernize The List into something that is actually doable and then actually do some of those things! The old list isn’t gone, but it seems so far away at this point… It’s just time to revamp.

At the Diner

The List… Again

Write a Personal Mission Statement

Teach myself to play the guitar

Working on this one. I can play a few songs along with the original artists and am doing better than I expected, lol… Today the couch; Tomorrow City Market? ;D
~ July 09,2014

Take Voice Lessons

Did this for three months. Learned a lot, but spent a lot to. Had to quit due to cost, but hopefully can return once Bettie has been paid off.
~ February 17, 2014

Be a Street Musician (for a day) in City Market (on a Saturday) with a Hat

Take a Family Trip ANYWHERE! (Chicago? Grand Canyon? New York City? Europe???)

Family is going on a trip to Disney this fall. It’s not the great American Road Trip, but I guess it counts?
~ October 2014

Apply to Grad School    Learn to Actually Ink Skin

Get a Master’s Degree In English: Creative Writing    Do the Zombies as Models Photoshoot

Draw Something Every Day

Write Something Every Day

Photograph Something Every Day

I took a photo every day for 365 Days during 2013. (Pretty much!) I think that counts!
~ January thru December 2013

Remove the Fireplace     Travel to Europe

Get the outbuilding finished

Almost there… Just needs a few tweaks and it will be a complete structure ready to house crap!
~ July 09, 2014

Turn “That Room” into usable space

Put a Workspace Together for Me

Bring My Lunch Every Work Day for a Month

Did this not for one month but for 3.5 months. Was great. Lost weight. Was everything it was supposed to be… Yay! (Why did I stop?!) :D
~ January – Mid-April 2014

Eat Out Only Once per Week for a Month

Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle

Read more for enjoyment

Go on a Long Road Trip by Myself

Finish My Right Arm’s Ink

Good start on this one. The Geisha is complete, now onto the flowers and birds.
~ June 2014

Create my own ring using precious metal clay

Maintain a usable herb garden

Storyboard the entirety of The Mother

Start submitting work for shows again

Start an old school ‘zine

Waiting for Bus-1

A Toast to 2013

 

2013 crept in quietly by the front door early on January 1, 2013. She napped on the sofa for quite some time. (No doubt exhausted by jumping the previous year’s hurdles.) She slept late during that time, growing fat and resting well. We really thought she had settled in for the duration when she surprised us all. Flying off the couch, wailing like a banshee, with no warning nor provocation — Fists pumping and feet stamping. She bustled about, making a mess of everything, spilling glasses, dumping boxes, upsetting chairs… Reining down on everyone with problems and burdens sometimes to heavy to bear.

Overwhelming loss coupled with great joy fell from the ringlets in her hair. Rewarding endeavors, mistakes made innocently, failures, successes, and joyous exultation scuffed my floor as she danced. Eye-opening illness, fear, and disappointment alongside great love and understanding ran through every song she sang… and always love on the tip of her tongue and at her finger tips. (Love is never a problem at our house… It’s all the other day-to-days that seem to get in the way of things.)

Try as we might, she would not be fully consoled until after Christmas. At which time, she settled into a happy stupor and quickly slipped out the back door one night in late December. Her year-long tirade left me decades older, far more pensive, and slightly overwhelmed. (In fact, I think we’ll still be picking up her pieces for months to come!)

There were times I wished this year could have gone any other way, but then I realize the past can’t be changed. So we just keep moving along the road, skipping speed bumps and potholes, stepping on cracks, slipping on chat… taking one plodding step after another. With Destiny’s promises ringing in our ears we keep moving toward some ending. She’ll catch up at the next stop — Just give her a moment to gather what’s left of dreams scattered by Father Time. (That messy, old bastard.)

So, I send my respects to 2013 and wish her well. Let’s hope her sister who graced our doorstep this January 1 is a blessed visitor bringing temperate breezes and easier days than her sister gifted upon us.


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