Micro Story: Completely Destroyed

My Dear Psychos, I struggled to think of something to blog about today.

I went to https://cheerpeppers.wordpress.com/ to look for prompts and I wandered into this database for photos anyone can use on their sites. The photos reminded me of little prompts I sometimes get in my feed from HitRecord. Any of you heard of it? I’m a fan of Joseph Gordon Levitt, and this is an organization where he and others make art and crowdsource for contributions. What I like about it is that it’s accessible, it’s easy, and the prompts are so simple, especially the micro ones. Meaning, he often posts an intriguing photo and then asks his followers to post a story that’s exactly 6 words to match. A 6 word story?! I can do that. Anyone can.

Therefore, I searched for a photo that inspired me and wrote my own micro story. Observe:

Photo by Morgan Sessions on Unsplash

Everything she knew was completely destroyed.

And now I task you with doing the same. Comment below with your own 6 word story for this same photo.


Day 21

Here’s Something

Today is going to be a hodgepodge of a blog post.

  1. Here’s something that annoyed me but I did not allow to ruin my day.

We went hiking today. The weather app on my phone did not predict rain. I live in Oregon. I’ve lived here for almost exactly 7 years now. Fricknfrack, I should know better to carry rain gear with me wherever I go after Labor Day, whatever the app may or may not say. I’m just so tired of lugging my entire household with me whenever we go on an outing. Jackets aaaaaand rain jackets, hats, snacks, water, plastic bags for when things get wet and/or dirty, extra snacks, and now I’ve included masks and hand sanitizer, plus the toddler potty in case the restrooms are closed due to Covid. Ugh.

At any rate, we got rained on. In true form, the kids complained at first that we weren’t going on the long hike. And then later on, they complained that they were “wet” and “tired.” We didn’t get completely drenched and we didn’t have any complete meltdowns so that’s considered a success in our book. The kids reported that their favorite part was the snack. Parenting high-five!

2. Here’s something that brought tears to my eyes and made my heart happy

We watched the SpaceX launch today. A multicultural, international team of three men and one woman got catapulted into space today and they’re headed to the ISS!! My eyes teared up as soon as they reached max q, a few minutes after launch.

What made me even MORE happy was to see a panel OF THREE WICKED SMART LADIES giving us commentary after the launch. I can’t remember a time where I have ever watched any sort of big, important science endeavor be presented and interpreted for the public via a panel of womenfolk. Moving forward, I’d like to get to a place where I am no longer astounded by this. But for now, good on you, NASA and SpaceX.

3. Here’s something that tickled my funny bone.

Yesterday, a lonely, lonely person with a sexual affinity for clowns stumbled across my blog and I feel like I owe that person a heartfelt apology.

I’m so sorry you didn’t find what you were looking for here. I hope you enjoyed a post or two before moving onto…more edgy entertainment…but if not, I understand too. The heart wants what the heart wants. Good luck to you!


Day 15 – we’re halfway, folks!

Crafting Words Over the Years

I just remembered, a day late, that yesterday was my blogiversary.

That’s right, folks! I’ve been blogging with WordPress for 9 whole years. Whew, that seems like a lifetime ago now.

I started my first diary when I was 8 years old. It was in one of those Lisa Frank diaries with the scented pages and the metal lock on the side. My first entry was about the trip my family took to drive through the devastation of the Oakland Hills fire. I had never seen anything like this before. I remember seeing ash and debris and a bunch of brick fireplaces where houses should be. Like a budding journalist (or at the very least, a person who enjoys properly documenting everything), I drew pictures of what I saw next to my words. Clearly, it made an impact on me, even if I didn’t completely understand what I was seeing at the time.

Over the years, I continued to keep various diaries, albeit sporadically. I also wrote poetry and songs, and I tried my hand at fiction a few times. No joke- around 4th or 5th grade, my friend and I got together and wrote a full album’s worth of songs about pollution and how bad it was for the earth (spoiler alert- it’s really bad). We even recorded a few that we sang at her house with her family’s fancy equipment. I want to say that we even designed a t-shirt to be sold to help raise money for our cause. We were environmentally conscious and we were going places, you guys.

I kept handwritten diaries through my college and grad school years that were for my eyes only. In looking back through them, I noted that I usually only felt the need to write when I was either angry and frustrated or very, very sad. They made for a very lopsided view of my life, if considered all on their own.

I started my first public blog around 2003, as a way of coping after my cancer surgery. It was with LiveJournal – anyone remember that platform?! I’m pretty sure only my college roommates and a smattering of friends and creepy strangers actually read it, but that wasn’t really the point. While I wanted to get my feet wet writing for an audience that wasn’t an English teacher, the entries were mostly for me. After a year and a half of being independent in college, I was home again and briefly unable to do much at all for myself and I needed an outlet. I needed a way to process what had happened to me, how I felt about it, and how I was gonna deal with it. I made that happen from the comfort of my parents’ ginormous communal desktop computer.

At some point, my LiveJournal career peetered out (I’m guessing college and life got back to being normal and busy) and I didn’t do any online journaling for quite some time.

Fast forward to Fall 2011. I had been out of school for a few years, working as a therapist at my first Big Girl Job. My boyfriend (now husband) had just started his master’s degree while working full time. He was either at work, at class, in the car, or studying, which meant he had zero time to hang out with me. I desperately needed a hobby and didn’t have to think too long or too hard to know what I needed to do.

Fun fact: when I first signed up with WordPress, I named my blog Things My Cat Made Me Say. I suppose I decided that my cat didn’t deserve all that unearned attention. Either that, or the theme was a little too nebulous. Ideally, I wanted an overarching theme for this blog that wasn’t just look-at-me-look-at-me, but still reflected who I was and gave me a sense of direction. At the time, I was living and breathing therapy. I worked two jobs seeing clients, consulting with my colleagues, and working with supervisors. I spent my free time researching weird diagnoses and reading disturbing memoirs of fucked up people. I was in it to win it, and so my blog might as well reflect that.

I searched for the right name, crowdsourcing my Facebook friends and keeping a witty list of Freudian-inspired puns. During one supervision meeting at work, a coworker mentioned the term psychobabble in passing, and I quickly scribbled it down in my notes. That’s it! I thought. It was perfect- psychology themed with just the right amount of crazy.

And I’ve been blogging, more or less, ever since. It’s still, as it will always be, mostly for me. Will it ever lead to a more serious writing gig? We’ll see. For right now, I’m super proud of my growing body of work. I enjoy the community this blog assembles around me and I enjoy using my tiny corner of the internet to express myself, process my feelings, and maybe make people laugh along the way.

Thank you, thank you, to everyone who takes the time to read my posts!


Day 12

Halloween Afterglow

Welcome to Day 1 of NaBloPoMo, or as I like to call it, HolyShitIForgotINeedToGoPostSomethingBRB. I really enjoy writing, but give me a deadline and it almost immediately becomes a yucky chore. So I do this month to challenge myself and I do it in 2020 because why the hell not? It’s a healthy outlet that I will add to my pile of leftover Halloween candy and leftover Labor Day booze (that’s a thing right?). Also, I figure that this healthy activity gets me out of things because now I just hole myself up in my room (ok, the bathroom) and yell SORRY, CAN’T! I’M BLOGGING!

Without any further ado.

I am basking in the Halloween afterglow, you guys.

We saved it, and I’m so glad.

Halloween is my very most favorite, but my expectations were appropriately low because hashtag dumpster fire. As you know, I usually make or put together as much of the costumes as possible. I don’t like to buy the premade costumes cuz that feels like cheating.

While my kids are still young and impressionable, I also try to wrangle my living companions into a family group costume and this year was no exception. Because I wanted to do something easy, I convinced my kids that we could all be The Incredibles. Sure, it’s been done, but it would be fun to be a superhero family who runs around putting out dumpster fires! Plus, I figured it couldn’t be too hard to find some red clothes and slap on some black masks.

Well….after some online shopping and price comparison, I realized that buying all the materials to make 4 Incredibles was going to cost about 2-3 times as much as the premade ones. Soooo, I found myself giving in because 2020 has sucked all my energy. I filled my Amazon shopping cart with the costumes we’d need and then I headed to the local Halloween popup store to see what they had. I called my husband from the store sounding frantic because I was second guessing what I was about to do; my husband probably thought I had been in a car accident or something.

Me: Brian! The store doesn’t have all we need! I’ll need to get some on Amazon!

B: Then do that.

Me: But what if they don’t fit!! And this one’s too expensive! Do the kids even want to be The Incredibles anyway?!

B: Just come home. Are you okay?

Me: I’m not okay! Nothing about this is okay! Do we need any more fake blood? Maybe I’ll just use my own.

B: What? Put down the knife and come home. I’m hanging up now.

The takeaway here is that 2020 has also zapped my ability to make any kind of decision.

It’s true that originally my kids wanted us to be characters from Frozen. We haven’t done that Disney movie yet for Halloween, and my kids are still obsessed. I had originally vetoed the idea because there was no way I’d be able to make all those costumes during Covid when I can’t spend hours at Goodwill like I usually would. But. Now I was considering…gulp…buying premade costumes. I was this close to pulling the trigger on the premade Incredibles when the ghost of Covid Halloween came to me and said, hey. hey you. put down the knife and look at me. first of all, there is such a thing as too much blood in a Halloween display. please. let’s keep this classy. second. you’re allowed to buy premade Halloween costumes during Covid. I give you permission. make your kids happy.

And that’s how I was finally able to buy an Olaf costume for my son, an Anna costume for myself, and spruced up an Elsa costume that had been given to us for my daughter. My husband was to be Kristoff, but those costumes were super expensive, and so my mom came to the rescue! She bought a quarter zip black jackety thing, took out the zipper and sewed on the fake fur and burgundy trim. We used the same fabric for his chic burgundy sash. Lastly, my mom fashioned some awesome curly-toed bootie out of felt and fake fur that strapped on over his normal shoes. He added a black beanie and bam! We were set.

As soon as these decisions were made, I felt so much better. Not only were we gonna be what my kids actually wanted to be in the first place, but I realized that I was gonna get to play a Disney princess for the first time in my life!! And not just any princess – one of my favorites!

What was better still was that we were able to plan and enjoy socially distant Halloween fun that made the holiday feel just as fun and festive as any other year. I helped plan and execute a mini parade where families watched from their parked cars, and on Halloween night we did a treasure hunt fully masked with some friends.

One thing that continually brings me hope during Covid is how humans refuse to give up. So many of us are making the most of this situation and we’re finding the most creative ways to still have fun and be as safe as possible.

Are you, are you, coming to the tree…

A dumpster fire, you say? Let’s all sit around it and roast our fucking marshmallows. I hope everyone had a happy and safe Halloween!


Day 1

Team Cheer Peppers Dumpster Fire

This November, I’m going to post once a day.

Why, you ask?

Because I am a blogger, and in November we wear pink we post for NaBloPoMo, or National Blogging Post Month, or more affectionately called NanoPolano, aka Team Cheer Peppers. Plus, it’s also the pandemic-social-distancing edition, and I have nothing better to do, my friends. I mean, this year is already a world-class shit show, and so why not add a little class and sass to this dumpster fire? Why not indeed.

If you’ve been on this ride with me before, bless you, because things tend to get hairy towards the end (or in the middle if I’m being honest) when I rapidly run out of writing ideas.

And, as the saying goes, it takes a village to write a blog, so this is where you come in, my dear Psychos.

  1. Please comment below with compelling, witty, and/or thoughtful ideas of what I should write about in the coming month. Winning ideas will be featured on the blog accompanied with virtual hugs and kisses and an imaginary cookie.
  2. If you have the time and would like to support other bloggers on Team Cheer Peppers, please check them out in all their glory: Team Cheer Peppers 2020!

Wish me luck, dear Psychos. Lord knows I’m going to need it.

No Time Like the Present

I started this blog in 2012. I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. Heck, even before I could write properly, I was making wordless books.

Eventually, I’d love to get published. On my bucket list it says, write a book.

Well, today is a special day because today, I submitted an entry in a short story writing contest – something I’ve never done before.

Even if I don’t win anything, I’ll still have won something.

Might as well do something creative and productive and hopeful with this crazy, anxiety-filled time I/we am/are wading through.

No time like the present, eh?

Wish me luck!

You know you’re doing Whole30 when…

  • You’re constantly thinking about food.
  • All you have to do is give your partner a look and a grunt (maaaaybe a wave of the hand) for them to get that fucking beer/ice cream/candy bar wrapper out of your sight.
  • All your girl scout cookies are shoved to the back of the pantry.
  • You practically live in the bulk-foods aisle. (Did you know that those pre-packaged nuts are a racket?! You can just bag them and weigh them yourself- they’re the same nuts! -for much cheaper y’all.) #samenuts
  • Your husband starts naming snack options for your kids and after each option, you start saying “compliant” or “not compliant” without even thinking.
  • You start thinking about how many ways you can make eggs. There’s scrambled, hard boiled, poached, fried, omelette, raw…such a world of possibilities!
  • You start carrying full meals around with you to social gatherings. You know. Just in case.
  • You try to cram an entire meal into your piehole (not compliant) before going out because you’re pretty sure there won’t be anything you can eat there…and then you still bring a meal with you just in case.
  • You make slow-mo videos of the blender whirling your latest tastebud sensation and then post them to Facebook (ahem).
  • You start mentally planning your next smoothie even before this one has finished whirling (has anyone included almond butter?! Totally doing that next.)
  • You start looking up W30 memes and laaaaaugh and laugh.
  • You start running out of compliant food midway through the week and have to run to the grocery store again, ugh.
  • You start continue sharing about bowel movements.
  • You start blogging about it. Like, all the time.

 

2020: There will be multiple abs

Happy New Year, y’alls!

I felt the urge to mark this milestone, the passage of time by writing. An attempt to reflect a little more deliberately.

It’s the end of another year, and I felt like this year was on the upswing, which is saying a lot. I’ve had a very tumultuous several years lately. My daughter just turned frickin THREE, started preschool, and folks, we’re finally out of the tiny human slash baby phase, and oh man, it feels so good. We’re getting rid of diapers and some strollers and the high chair and baby toys…and making room for Frozen dolls, Legos, big feelings, and books.

Speaking of books, my oldest turned FIVE and he’s starting to effing r-e-a-d. The other day, I spelled s-n-a-c-k-s to my husband in front of the kids and my son PUT THE LETTERS TOGETHER AND SAID THE WORD. I’ve never been so simultaneously proud and horrified. I’m now going to have to learn French (or work on my Dutch, ja?) because my kids already know too much sign language and Spanish (seriously). Also, my son’s entry into kindergarten sparked this huge turnaround in terms of his behavior and maturity level. Finally, he’s not melting down during every little transition. And finally, he’s decided to EAT FOOD TO LIVE (not every day, but it’s progress!)

Because both my kids are in school now, this fall I got 6 glorious hours a week to myself. I joined a gym, and you guys, I am the proud owner of an ab. It’s real and it’s spectacular.

It’s been a big year and we’ve all gotten some breathing room; it’s been a life-saver. Right now I’m in the middle of winter break where both kids are home with me full time again and I seriously can’t remember how or why I got through having them in my hair and watching me poop and screaming in the house every. single. frickin. day.

I can feel the days, weeks, months getting more crammed and hectic as the kids get older and more active. As I continue to try and keep a lid on that, I’ve been enjoying having more intelligent interactions with them and watching them turn into little humans. Dare I say it, parenting has gotten easier, for the moment. I plan to enjoy it as much as I can, for as long as I can.

As for me, well…eventually the plan is to go back to work, hopefully part time. I’m dying to do therapy again. But, as soon as I start thinking about all the logistics, I feel incredibly overwhelmed. First, I have to reinstate my license which means spending lots of time and money getting my continuing education credits. That also means finding and paying for childcare while I do that. Then comes the job search, cover letters, interviews (all of which I loathe with the fire of a thousand suns). Any job would have to feel worth it (a privilege I recognize that I have). It’d have to pay enough and be close enough to home. It would either have to be super flexible OR I’d have to magically find childcare to pick up my kids and then there’s early release days and teacher work days and breaks and holy crap. Without family here, or a professional network, all this put together sounds like Mount Everest.

I know, I know, one step at a time. And I’ll do that. At some point.

As for now, I’m enjoying the small bits of time I’ve gotten to do what makes me happy. In the past year, I took two painting classes! And one was a bucket lister because I got to work with oils for the first time – LOVED it. I Marie Kondoed my entire house this year, more or less. It’s a work in progress, as I love to shop for just the right storage containers. We took our first major family road trip! I completed NaBloPoMo for the second time ever. I became secretary on the board of my local MOMS Club chapter. I was able to volunteer in both my kids’ classes. I made it to my first Women’s March (hopefully there won’t be a need for too many more of those). I saw NKOTB, and, more importantly, THE BACKSTREET BOYS! Dear lord that was fun! I ran my second 5k ever, through downtown Portland where we got to stop for donuts and beer mid-run. It was all about moderation, my friends. We went tent camping and went to an airshow, both of which were much better experiences (read: no kid breakdowns) than the first time we attempted them. I’ve also read 21 and a half books this year, whereas in previous recent years, I’ve only gotten to read about one a month.

Also this year, I am happy to report that anxiety was way down, and I got considerably more sleep and exercise. I can’t emphasize enough how amazing this part has felt.

WHAT A GREAT YEAR!

I’m so glad I took the time to actually list all that, because that does feel like a full life, doesn’t it? I’m grateful.

I’m confident that 2020 will be even better.

There will be multiple abs, just you wait and see.

 

The Last Day

You guys, this is the last day.

I did it!

I’m actually genuinely super impressed with myself, because almost every single day this month I was able to generate original content, and some of it was actually kind maybe good-ish.

And, the fact that I was actually able to write about my daily life without too much trouble, means – wait for it – that I actually have a life! Actually!

Before, when I had tiny babies and was largely housebound and unable to string words together to make coherent thoughts, let alone get pants on my ass, I didn’t feel like I had much to say. It was the same shit, different day. Literally. At least now, my kids are growing and changing rapidly and I’m running to catch up and I have some time to myself to collect my thoughts. We’re also able to go to better and more interesting places, have more lively conversations.

In short, life is getting more interesting. And I’m thankful.

I hope, for those of you who stopped to read this thing, that you enjoyed it. I hope it was amusing at the very least, and at the most I hope it made you laugh, made you think, and made you get to know me better and want to be my very best friend. I like warm hugs.

Also, THANK YOU. If I didn’t care about anyone reading my stuff, I’d write in a private diary. So thanks for stopping by; I really appreciate it.

Now I am off to decorate my house for Christmas and then redo everything my kids try to decorate. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season. Stay warm. Stay sassy.

Stay psycho.

 


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We could all use more rainbows

I’ve been reading the blog Raising My Rainbow for a long time now, and if you’ve never checked it out, please do, because it’s as fabulous as it is heartbreaking and informative.

It’s written by a mom who is raising a gender nonconforming kid in Southern California. These people are such an inspiration! They practice what it means to be kind, inclusive, and advocates for LGBTQ folks.

Recently, I read a post where CJ, the author’s son, wrote his own version of the Three Little Pigs. It was so fabulous that I had to share it. (That, and I’m running on empty in terms of my own blog posting ideas.)

The Three Little Pigs Reimagined

Please enjoy!


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