The Winter Olympics and Snowopolis the Second

I am so into The Winter Olympics that it’s not even funny, and it’s probably not healthy either. I could literally sit on the couch all day, every day while the games are on and watch every single sport. So obsessed, don’t care. Obviously that’s not a feasible option in real life, which really ticks me up, but (not so) luckily for me, we have been snowed in for the thirty thousandth time this season. It sounds like I’m exaggerating, but if you lived here, you would completely know that it feels like at least that long.

The first few snowstorms we didn’t bother to name. The one we got hit with just a mere week and a half ago we named Snowopolis. Hence how we are now on Snowopolis the Second. Snowopolis the Second is actually just a mini version of Snowopolis the First and the crazy snowstorm prior to that, which had a whole life of its own and need not be named. This snowstorm actually deserved no name at all, far more a name of its own, which is why its name is a rip off of the first Snowopolis. (Did you get all of that?) The only reason this snowstorm has become of importance is because I live in a township run by people more likely to get drunk and fall asleep in the snow than to actually actively weather a township through the storm.

Our township has been complaining since November that they are running out of salt. However, more than two months later, they have not actually gotten any salt. To the township, this also means that there’s no need to even go scrape the roads with the snowplows. Instead, they decided to impose a Declaration of Disaster Emergency for our township in a snowstorm that is a mere sliver of the ones we’ve been getting. The roads are not bad at all, and this is actually the best our road has been following a snowstorm since they started rolling in in early November. (Yep, you read that right, our township was nearly out of salt right after the snowstorms started. This is because they are famous for salting our roads in warm conditions when there are no snowstorms being predicted.) Our road is always the worst of the township roads and the last road touched. Everywhere else but our township, including areas that have been hit much, much harder than us, are open with no Declaration of Disaster Emergency so much as pending. So when I say the people who run our township are idiots, I am really not making a mountain out of a molehill.

There’s zero reason for any of this, and to make matters worse, they’re sticking us indoors until Saturday. That would be fantastic, except I have to get to the store tomorrow. We are living in a house with nothing to eat and have run out of dog food today, which has never happened before. I have medication to pick up. I am not typically an irresponsible adult who does not pick up things ahead of a snowstorm. There were duel problems with this scenario, however. One was that it is impossible to shop without money, and I wasn’t getting my money until today. Money is really, really tight and I didn’t have the spare money to go out and pick up food without charging it on a credit card, which I only use for emergencies. The second is that the news did not call for this snowstorm, claiming it was going to miss our particular area and we were only going to get a “light dusting” of snow today. I saw no reason to run out on Wednesday and unnecessarily charge things on my credit card when I could go out today and buy the stuff forthright. It snowed so hard today that it was dangerous to even attempt going out. Tomorrow is going to be a perfectly clear day, but the township is saying we aren’t allowed to leave, even though it was just dandy if we went out in the snowstorm today. No Declaration of Disaster Emergency was issued during all the snow. I have news for the township. I am going out tomorrow, because I refuse to starve and let my dogs starve for absolutely no reason.

What the township is failing to see in this instance isn’t only that they have little reason to declare a Declaration of Disaster Emergency, but that you can’t tell people they can’t leave their houses, even if they have an imperative reason to do so. Just because someone doesn’t have to go save a life with their superhero like job doesn’t mean they don’t need life saving things, such as medication and food that they were, by no fault of their own, unable to obtain prior. If given a hard time, I will simply explain to them that I am on disability and must go get medication. If they’d like to argue with me, they can take it up with my doctors and maybe gain some common sense in the process. You can not, under any circumstances, keep people from getting things they absolutely need to survive. And yes, I am cranky, because I’m living off of the little bit of food we do have in our house. Also, we’ve been going back and forth with the township over the issue of them leaving a sheet of ice at the bottom of our driveway, instead of properly plowing it out, as well as them fixing a pipe that belongs to the township and is causing the ice, so I’m already pretty ticked at them.

The only shining star in my day that lacked communal common sense is the Olympics. It’s safe to say that when I saw the weather man had lied to us yet again, I curled up on the couch for a day of Luge, Figure Skating and Slopestyle. I literally can not help myself. There has to be some kind of therapy for this. I’m beginning to fear that when the Olympics are over that I’m going to spend the rest of the year in my psychologist’s office looking for condolences over my lost love of The Winter Games. It will be the worst breakup ever and I’m already dreading it. Since they will be gone from our TVs in just over a week, let’s talk about them.

I just want to start out by saying that I think everyone who makes it to The Olympics is incredibly talented and should be so proud just to be there, whether they medal or not. They are already amazing! The only way I would be making it down those hills is to lay down and roll. Otherwise: death. If I tried to professionally figure skate, I’d break something three feet onto the ice. If I, by some grace of God, made it more than three feet: death. All of you athletes representing every country around the world, I am in awe of your talents. That being said, let’s be brutally honest together in the spirit of critiquing our teams knowing that if we even merely tried to do what they excelled at: death.

In previous years, my sport to watch in the Olympics has been Figure Skating. I would get all twinkly eyed over it and cancel plans for the day to stay in and watch them. This predates the time of the internet and On Demand, so I was super serious about my Figure Skating. I remember all of the skaters trying to land quads and gaining an incredible amount of points when they were able to. I remember pairs skating so fast you found yourself dizzy just watching them. This year is just not the good old fashioned ice skating that I remember. So much has changed since the last Olympics and I’ve been perplexed on how they are scoring and judging, so I’ve decided this pretty much isn’t my sport to watch anymore. Though still wowed by the skaters, I admit I have little idea of how all of this works, and really no one is pulling out the quads or skating fast. Instead of being twinkly eyed, my eyes are glazed over in confusion.

Even with my lack of understanding in this newfangled world of Figure Skating (Man, those words make me feel old.), there is one team that has left me perplexed throughout the competition. It is that of Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, aka: the really tall guy and the very miniscule girl. The perplexity does not just come from the height difference in the pair, but the scoring. The pair is, no doubt, insanely talented, but the question remains, were they ready for the Olympics? They have been earning what is said to be “record breaking” scores for the pair, yet are consistently fifteen to thirty points behind all the other teams at any given time. If these are their highest scores yet, but they are that far behind, are they in the same league as their competitors? Did they ever have a fighting chance coming into this? Also, Marissa has either fallen, gotten caught on her skate or the ice, or not properly stuck her landing nearly every time she’s come out of a jump, throwing her off of rhythm with her partner. There are webpages dedicated to how many times she has fallen, and she’s become known around the internet and in my group of equally obsessed Olympic friends (And those not so equally obsessed, who still spent several hours talking Olympics with me today. What’s up, Ashley?), as “Oh, her.” Everyone is beginning to know her for this reason. Given another four years, I think the team could have been real contenders to medal, but this year, I feel that they were just not ready for a competition of this magnitude.

With the gleam of Figure Skating behind me, where my undying love for the Olympics really comes in is in the snowboarding and skiing events. Mainly, the Halfpipe and Slopestyle. These are the sports I understand. I get the tricks, I get the scoring, I know what the judges are looking for. I get really crazy about it and start yelling at the TV when I think they deducted points for the wrong reason or ripped someone off of points when they had a good trick. I even yell when they don’t land the trick properly, but the judges let it go. I completely turn into a guy during the Superbowl, minus the facial hair and farting.

The real disappointment going into these competitions was that the Olympics had promised to pay heavy homage to Sarah Burke, but failed to do so. Sarah was a pioneer in getting the Superpipe Skiing event added into the 2014 Olympics. Sarah landed on her head in January of 2012, after pulling out of a trick in Park City, Utah. She appeared to be okay, but went into cardiac arrest moments later, while still on the pipe. She was resuscitated and placed in a medically induced coma, but had irreversible brain damage and succumbed to her injuries nine days later. In death, she donated her organs and tissue, something she had requested be done if she were ever in this situation, and saving the lives of several others. To simply skip over doing a tribute to her, no matter how small, was not in the spirit of what the Olympics are all about. Her family and husband even made the trek to Russia to cheer on her former teammates, which is so inspiring. Even though they couldn’t cheer on their own daughter, they were still there for her friends.

That wasn’t the only frustration I found with this year’s events. The majority of my yelling stemmed from the nasty course conditions the Olympians were up against. I spent the entire Women’s Halfpipe competition cringing and hoping no one got seriously injured. I thought the women handled talking about the condition of the course on competition day well, simply stating that, “The conditions were the best they had been,” but you could see in the way they were moving down the halfpipe that the conditions weren’t what they should have been. The girls were getting little air compared to what they should be, and consistently getting slowed down on what has been called the flat section of the pipe, when a flat section should not exist in the middle.

The course first took out Arielle Gold, who was poised for a medal position, according to the media. She was knocked out of the competition during the training round with an injured shoulder, ruining her chances of competing in the Olympics. When Kelly Clark took her fall during her first of two runs in the finals, it was very reminiscent of Sarah Burke’s fatal fall in 2012. Had Kelly come down just a half a second sooner, or a few more inches to her left, we could be looking at a repeat of that situation. It was a hard couple seconds, watching her slide down the half-pipe unmoving and wondering if she was going to get back up. Thankfully, she did and went on to do a successful second run that earned her the bronze medal, but no one should ever have to be frightened by a scene like that strictly due to the conditions of a professional course.

Granted, any great athlete could fall and be seriously injured any day, in any place, in any conditions,  just as Sarah was, but forcing athletes out in conditions they knew weren’t ripe for the halfpipe was asking for trouble. A lot of people would say these girls had the option of backing out, but they came thousands of miles from all over the world for this. They are counting on those responsible for the courses to tell them when it’s unsafe, a choice that Sochi refused to make, leaving these athletes open ended to fates much worse than anyone has endured thus far in the competition. If they’re told the course is safe, they’re going to compete, because they are, above all else, athletes representing the world. The high temperatures and melting snow have left the workers continuously trying to find ways to refreeze the courses, leaving the competitors little idea of what they are getting into each time they go out to compete. The fact that no one has been fatally injured goes to show what amazingly strong, controlled and incredible athletes made it to these games. It’s their skill alone that has kept the accidents fairly tame compared to what they could easily be.

With all the controversy going on in these events, the biggest line of contention in this year’s Olympics has undoubtedly been surrounding Shaun White, and for reasons listed above. A day before the competition in Sochi began, Shaun made what quickly became and unpopular decision full of criticism to pull out of the Slopestyle competition due to the questionable safety of the course, a course he was also injured on. He has been heckled by nearly everyone in the media, as well as his fellow competitors, including two young Canadians, who showed unsportsmanlike conduct by shooting harsh words toward a fellow athlete. The only respect he seemed to gain was from that of the Men’s Halfpipe winner, Iouri Podladtchikov (If you can say that five times fast and correctly, I will pay you.), who thanked Shaun for making the sport what it is today.

Personally, I think Shaun made the right decision in pulling out of Slopestyle, and I commend him for having the balls to do it when he realized the sport just wasn’t working out for him. I think what everyone is failing to  understand when they bring their judgement toward his decision to the table is that he is up against kids ten years younger than him. At twenty-seven, his body just isn’t working like it did when he was sixteen or seventeen. As someone who is a year older than him, I can attest to the fact that your body says no to a lot of things it used to say yes to. (Running when something isn’t chasing you, for instance.) Add this to the fact that he’s had two open heart surgeries as a child and has also been a crucial support system for his sister, who has gone through nineteen brain surgeries as a child. This is someone who is not just physically strong, but mentally, and knows what he can and can not handle. If he backs out of a competition, it doesn’t necessarily mean he is incapable of winning a gold medal in that competition, but that he feels it’s not something he can safely handle without the chance of straining his body past its limit.

Picking on someone who knows their limits makes you the weaker person. Him not responding to what others had to say already made him the winner, whether he had gotten the gold, or earned fourth place in the Halfpipe. For years he has taken gold in this sport and has shaped the sport into what it is, earning his fame, recognition and his spot as one of the most prolific snowboarders the sport will know. He doesn’t have anything to prove, especially not to those who are at their first Olympics, or have been there before and failed to win. They are just getting started. Their time will come, but it will come slower if they feel the need to constantly criticize those who helped build and shape the sport.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only thing Shaun has gained flack for during the competition. What’s important to remember is that the media goes into these games with a plan. They watch the contenders and know who will likely end up on the podium and who will not. They formulate their media around those people before they even board the planes to Sochi. Because Shaun has always been the forerunner in his events, their campaigns centered on him as a shoo-in to win any competition he went into. When he dropped out of the Slopestyle, the frenzy started. The media had already planned on reporting on him, so they had to quickly turn things around and start a scandal. They decided the real story was in how the other snowboarders hated him because he was so stuck up, when the story could have been about an athlete who, though not old, is considered to be in sports that require this kind of athleticism, and how with that age came the knowledge to really know his body and what he could handle. It could have served as an inspiration to other competitors on how to know when to pull out of a competition before you seriously injure yourself, and how it is okay and smart and respectable to do so. And also how you are still a winner just for making it to the Olympics.

I think it has been in poor taste to say he’s “too big for the sport,” or “doesn’t want anything to do with the rest of the snowboarders.” When I trained for horse shows, a far less brutal sport, I trained alone. I didn’t want bothered either, and it didn’t make me stuck up. It made me a focused athlete who went in to have fun, but also to do the best that I could do, which was win. That’s what sports are about, being all that you can be, and when someone takes that seriously, suddenly they are stuck up. They don’t deserve what they have. It’s sad and pathetic, and it’s also poor judgement, especially from media outlets who have never been present as part of the snowboarding clan at events and are going on hearsay alone. As media personnel who have never partaken in the sport a day in their life. As Shaun’s mom has said, “It’s funny: They will tweet things, but up on the mountain they will be right next to him and not say anything.”

I’ve always been a fan of Shaun White for his undeniable talent; not his personality, not his persona in the media, but his plain and simple talent. I don’t know him personally, so I can’t judge the kind of person he is, but when you love The Winter Olympics as much as I do, being a fan of Shaun White goes right along with that. I’ve been disgusted to hear the media go from saying nothing but good things about Shaun, to nothing but nasty things since he dropped out of one competition, and even worse things when he didn’t win, completely missing the point that making it to the Olympics alone already showcased his talent and spoke for itself. What many reporters except for this guy from the Washington Post fail to point out is that he does give $1.2 million dollars to St. Jude’s Hospital every single year. The reason he went ahead and cut all of his famous hair off was also for charity. He takes time for his fans, even if it means skipping the press and further pissing them off. In other words, Shaun rightfully doesn’t give a hoot what you think or the press thinks, because you don’t know him. But he does give a hoot what he thinks of himself, how he takes care of himself, and what kind of person he is, and that’s all the media needs to launch a tirade at anyone. It’s completely undeserved, media. Completely undeserved.

While we’re on the subject, what does everyone think of his hair? Serious question. My friend and I (What’s up, again, Ashley?!) spent over an hour debating his hair today, because crap, you guys, we are stuck inside and going stir crazy. She hates it and thinks that he needs to bring his long hair back, because his short hair is too “preppy.” I like it. To be honest, I never actually knew what his face looked like. I could identify him on hair alone, and that was the only way I identified him. I flat out did not recognize him with his hair cut, and his face doesn’t look like I thought it did. I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean either, but it just didn’t. His face isn’t that bad. I’m Team Haircut. I’m also team, Even My Compliments Are Kind of Accidentally Mean.

Aside from all the crappy (and sometimes funny) things happening in Sochi, like bad course conditions (crappy), unfinished hotel rooms and the partially complete Olympic Village (crappy + funny), and media attacks on star athletes (also crappy), there’s also been some really amazing things happening there as well. You have the two female skiers, Tina Maze and Dominique Gisin, who tied for gold in the Alpine Skiing event. The odds of this happening are ones I can’t even begin to fathom, but to tie down to a fraction of a second was really something to watch. Both girls were so gracious about the entire thing, sharing the podium, hugging and smiling. It was a true show of sportsmanship and unity of the world to watch these girls become comrades, without boundaries or politics or jealousy.

Another really unique thing to see was three Americans sweep the podium in tonight’s Men’s Slopestyle in skiing. The most remarkable part of this story was based around Joss Christensen, who won gold against all odds. Just six months ago, Joss’s dad, an avid skier who introduced him to the sport and supported him through his Olympic dreams, passed away. He pushed through the emotional pain and continued to ski. When his mind was grieving, it was also focused on getting him to the Olympics, for his dad. He competed with a picture of his dad in his pocket, a father who I’m sure couldn’t be more proud of his son right now, even from Heaven. These are the kinds of stories that you just can’t make up, and what makes me love the Olympics so gosh darn much.

I also have to admit that I’m a little bit of a jerk in the way that I also love the Olympics because people falling is funny, as long as they are not hurt. I would like to say that again, it is funny as long as they are NOT hurt. Someone falling and getting hurt is never funny. People losing is also never funny, so yes, I am a total jerk when it comes to this, but I was accidentally more of a jerk than I meant to be this evening when Swedish Freestyle skier Henrik Harlaut took his turn at competing. Not only did this kind dreadlocked sir find himself unable to keep his pants up and save our eyes from continually getting flashed by his electric blue and black underwear, but he also said he was keeping an egg in his pocket for good luck. I made the offhand comment that I hoped he fell and broke the egg, simply because I thought it would be hilarious to break an egg in your pants.

You guys, he fell. Hard. I’m so sorry Henrik. This is totally my fault. I won’t make it up to you because I don’t know you, but I will give you the advice to wear pants that fit you better so that you never flash anyone again and we can call it even. Trust me, it’s useful advice.

Blogging While Addicted to the Olympics

I am so addicted to the Olympics right now that it should be illegal. Forcing myself to go to bed while the Olympics are still on is like telling a child they can’t have the lollipop you just handed them, even if I don’t like the event that’s on. I realize there’s something wrong with me, but it’s fine. If this is what lands me in a sanitarium, so be it.

With that being said, there’s an event on that I don’t like, so I’m going to blog until one I do like comes on. I have plenty to blog about. It’s been an interesting month full of an infected tooth that needed pulled, generally being ridiculously tired and weak and putting items on Craigslist. You know that last one is totally where this blog is going.

I’m really poor at hiding my feelings about things or downplaying a situation, so let’s all be honest here. For those of you who have used Craiglist, you know that it’s a cesspool of stupidity. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not everybody. I have met some absolutely wonderful people on Craigslist, who have bought items from me with no issues and have generally been terrific. You have to sort through a lot of stupid to find those people, though.

I’m not talking about the people who email you to set up an appointment and never email you back or just fail to show up. I’m talking about the people who are incapable of reading or are very clearly trying to rip you off by giving you some sob story about their life. Not to be rude, but I don’t care about your life. I am selling absolutely nothing that a person has to have to survive. If I were, I would care about your life and work with you on getting you what you need, because I don’t want anything to happen to anyone, even jerks. But when I’m selling something you simply just want, please don’t try to rip  me off. If you can’t afford the item, then don’t try to buy it.

Case in point, I have a lady that I have dealt with before that fits all the above criteria. Let me set up this situation for you. I have bedroom furniture I am trying to sell. I understand everyone needs furniture, but this is good quality, brand name, all wood, somewhat expensive furniture, and if you are in desperate need of furniture on a small budget, you could certainly get furniture cheaper elsewhere. When I sell the furniture, I’m going to the thrift store for new furniture, because I certainly can’t afford furniture like I currently have and could use the money for better things, like bills. I am aware of the value of my furniture and am selling it slightly under,  as I have no interest in over charging anyone for the furniture, but also don’t want to end up basically giving it away for practically nothing. I think it’s perfectly reasonable for me to want a fair amount for my furniture knowing the value of it.

The furniture is too big for my current bedroom, as it wasn’t bought for this bedroom. The bed and the nightstand don’t fit in my room, so I am selling them separately or with the rest of the set, which includes a vanity, dresser and chest of drawers. Since I am currently using the vanity, dresser and chest of drawers, I will either sell them together or not at all, because I don’t want to end up with mismatched furniture and am really not concerned about selling them. I’m just giving the option to buy them with the bed and nightstand in the event that someone wants the full set. All of this, including my location and the responsibility of the buyer upon purchase, which is that they are responsible for removal of the furniture from the home and hauling, is all in the ad. I have also denoted that I do not have a full picture of the bed, but will around springtime when I get the area where it is stored organized, and that if someone would want to see it, I will pull it out of storage then. Otherwise, I will have full pictures of it up in spring. I’m not in a hurry to sell the furniture, so taking two hours to pull it out of where it is just to take pictures isn’t worth it to me, because it’s currently the only place I have to store it and would have to put it back in there. I understand that may put some people off, and that’s fine. I can wait to sell it until I get it dug out of storage, but I figured while I was putting stuff I do have to sell on Craigslist, I would shove it on there too and see what happened.

I had tried to sell my furniture on Craigslist before, about a year or so ago, but ultimately became busy and took it offline since the furniture is not something I must sale and not a priority, and I didn’t want to bother with setting up appointments and having people coming in and out of the house when I was suddenly incredibly busy. I had one particular lady who was quite a pain in the persqueeter and was a large catalyst for me taking the furniture offline, because she wasn’t listening to anything I was telling her. As soon as I received one particular email about my bed this time around, I immediately recognized her name and email and thought, “oh no.” I was interested to see if she would try to pull the same crap on me that she did before, and she didn’t disappoint and obviously doesn’t realize I’m the same person she’s tried this on before.

The first email I got from her was riddled with bad spelling and no punctuation, so it took me awhile to figure out what she was saying. It really got no better the more emails she sent, but I digress. The first email was a simple enough email, asking me if I still had the bed and requesting more pictures. Remembering her from before, I immediately knew where this was going, especially since, like before, she clearly hadn’t read the ad. She was going to run me in circles and refuse to come out to pick up the bed, but I’m getting ahead of myself. I knew what I had gone through with her before and predicted what she was going to say next, which was to ask me if I had foot board to the bed and how much I was asking. All the information about the bed, including what all comes with it and the dimensions, as well as the price are all listed in the ad. Sure enough, that’s exactly what she asked me. I feel like such a smart ass jerk for referring people back to the ad, but in this case that’s what I did.

If she followed her same pattern, she would next ask me where I was located and if I would take way, way, way less for the bed than what I was asking, because that was all the money she had saved up. I hit the nail on the head with ninja like precision and went on to tell her I would not take that low price for the bed. Next she would tell me that she could try to borrow the money off of someone. She would then tell me a sob story about how she had the rest of the furniture, but not the bed, and how she absolutely had to have the bed, and how I should help her out in getting it. And then she would reveal to me where she was from and ask me to give her general directions from where she lived to my town. Again, I was right, and I simply referred her to Bing Maps to find directions to my location. She only lives about a half an hour from me, and literally straight up the highway, but I thought it ridiculous that she can’t even look up directions for herself. If she was asking me to clarify directions to my house, fine, but she was asking me just to get her to my town. I also told her that, as the ad said, I took credit cards, if that would help her any. I knew she would get back to me and tell me she didn’t have any credit cards and that the rest of the money was an awful lot for her to come up with, but she would let me know. Again, Yahtzee! I refrained from pointing out that if she thought it was an awful lot of money to come up with, she should think of it from my end, because it was an awful lot of money to give her off the price.

I knew that wasn’t the end of her, and that in exactly a week she would email me back telling me she lived over and hour away and asking me to meet her with the bed. She would ask me if the furniture would fit in her vehicle, despite having all the dimensions to it and me not knowing what vehicle she has. She would never tell me if she had all the money together or not. When I told people this, they thought I was just being silly or exaggerating. So far, this woman was sending me almost the exact emails she had the first time to a tee. I was sure at this point that she is and has been running some kind of con on people to get them to give her things cheaper and basically bring it to her, and I was in no mood to put up with her. I was in less of a mood to put up with her when today, exactly a week after the emails started, she emailed telling me she wanted the bed, but she lived well over an hour from me and wanted me to meet her with it. But, oh, would it fit in her vehicle? Because clearly I magically know what vehicle she owns when she doesn’t tell me. I politely wrote her back and pointed out the ad outlines that the buyer is responsible for removing the furniture from the home and that the dimensions of the furniture were in the ad so she could figure out if it fit in her vehicle or not. I refrained from telling her that she already told me where she lives, I know where it is, and I also know she’s a liar and completely full of shit. Last time she wanted me to meet her literally a mile from the town she lives in and told me it was the halfway point between where I live and where she lives, so I know by now that she’s just a lazy liar, and I don’t feel mean saying that.

She hasn’t gotten back to me yet, but I know she will, and when she does she will also give me a sob story about how bad she wants the bed, and if I don’t meet her she won’t be able to have it. I will tell her that’s alright and thank her for her interest, and she won’t take the hint and will continue to bother me about it like this is my problem that she doesn’t want to abide by the terms of the sale that have been in the ad since before she emailed me. This will leave us where we were last time, when I got busy and took the furniture offline. This time I will just ignore her. Maybe she will surprise me and actually want to come get the bed, but when someone is this big of a pain in the ass, do you really want them at your house? Do you trust them to show up or have the money? Because experience with similar people on Craigslist tells me it’s just not going to go down like that.

What really amuses me about this situation is that she actually wants me to put the bed in my car and meet her with it in a parking lot, where she will want to look over on the pavement, which will risk nicking up and beating up otherwise pristine furniture. Who thinks like that? Would you call a furniture store and tell them you’re interested in their furniture and would like them to meet you with it because their store is too far away? You would be laughed at and hung up on. It would be different had she paid for it, but there is no guarantee that she is going to have the money or end up buying the bed after she sees it. It’s also extremely weird to try to inspect furniture in a parking lot. Luckily I didn’t even have to lie to her about why I wouldn’t meet her, because I have a Nissan Versa and couldn’t even begin to fit the bed into my car.

I had another woman email me about my furniture, but I think she got her ads mixed up and emailed me on accident. She was interested in my bed set, but wanted to know what the dresser with the mirror would cost her itself. I have a vanity but no dresser and mirror, which are two completely different things. I emailed her back anyway and assumed that she was referring to the vanity. I repeated what was in the ad, that I wouldn’t sell the vanity separately, but would sell it with the dresser and chest of drawers as a set. She got back to me and let me know she didn’t need the bed and wanted to know what it would cost her to get just the dresser and mirror, despite me telling her the price in the previous email and telling her I had a vanity, but no dresser and mirror. I also told her I would not sell the vanity separately. I emailed her back, and I think she realized she accidentally emailed the wrong person. I hope, at least. If she did have the right person, I have her awards for World’s Worst Reader and World’s Most Confusing Email waiting for her. I even explicitly put in the ad to please not ask about buying the vanity separately because I would not sell it separately. Everyone wants that gosh darn vanity, you guys. And everyone thinks they’re doing me a favor by telling me they’ll give me $100 for it to entice me to sell it to them separately from the set, when the piece was appraised at $350. No joke.

Instead of getting annoyed with people on Craigslist this time around, I decided to be amused. I am amused enough for a whole city worth of people. People are funny. For those of you who have used Craigslist, I’m sure you have similar stories to mine. Feel free to share them in the comments so we can laugh (or cry, or rage) with you.

Happy 201…Hey, When Did That 4 Get There?

Are y’all as freaked out as I am that it’s a new year? Every other year I wonder why New Years is a big deal, because we literally have a new year every 365 days. You will have many new years in your life. This isn’t news, or new. This year, however, I see the excitement. Because, seriously, where did 2013 go? Did it even exist? Was it existentially even here? I’m so confused. It was my Return of Saturn, easily the hardest year of my life, and it flew past me like a bat out of Hell, or a bat straight into the hell I was living in. On the sarcastically bright side, I’m still stuck in that Return of Saturn brouhaha for another year, because apparently the offset of it effects your 28th year too, so here’s to another year that flies by like it’s got places to be and people to pummel.

I’ve made a lot of changes in the last year. I found out I had PTSD because of something someone did to me. I sought treatment for it. I started standing up for myself and got rid of all the things and people that I didn’t really like. It sounds harsh, but we all have those friends that we’re only friends with because we feel obligated to be, or because they’re friends of friends, but we don’t really like them and they’re problem causers. I’ve learned who my real friends are and who will exclude me from things in a hot second to avoid an issue someone else caused, but I got blamed for.

I got rid of the men in my life that were problematic, and I don’t say yes to dates anymore just because I want to give someone a chance. I’m a fairly intelligent woman. I can tell from a conversation or two if we would make a good match or want the same things. There’s no use giving anyone a chance if you just simply aren’t compatible, no matter how nice they are. Last year, I shed all the those parts of my personality and all the things that didn’t make me happy.

This year I decided to start fresh. I took all the things I’ve held onto from a past relationship and I burned them. I kept them safe in an album, because I like to look back on my past and think of it fondly. But the truth is, they’re just things. They mean nothing to me anymore, and the person they’re attached to treated me in a way that has forced them into the shadows. He means less than nothing to me. Why keep things from a relationship like that? Why remember a toxic person? It’s not worth it. It also keeps you from moving on, even if you mentally have. Emotionally keeping those things sticks you in one place, and I don’t want to be stuck in one place, because I have so many places I want to go and so many things I want to do. I’m worth so much more than one person’s words.

I decided to do the things that I actually want to do, instead of the things I feel like I should do with people I don’t even like all that much. I want to finish my novel. I found out I have quite a following on a story I started and posted online, but never finished. Who knows, maybe that is meant to be my first great novel, and not the one I’m currently working on. I want to blog more, because writing is my life and I miss it. I miss finding me and being me.

So far, this year has been tough. My health problems have wreaked havoc on my teeth and I need a ton of work done and have no dental insurance. My car passed away in a tragic turn of old age and I had to get another one a few months ago, so now I have an unexpected car payment. I’m on a set income and I’m finding that because of the car payment and the upcoming dental work, I don’t actually have money for things I need. This is the first time this has ever happened to me, so I’m now in a position where I’m forced to make a lot of decisions I don’t want to make very quickly. Maybe it will be the end of having a cell phone, but I can live without it. What I worry I can’t live without is the continued treatment for my PTSD, but that likely has to go too. I have to pick and chose, and sometimes things you need turn into things you can take as life lessons and a challenge you can step up to. We will see if I can rise to the occasion.

Another thing I’ve decided to devote more time to is my work in the paranormal. At any given time I am six months behind on cases. I’ve unfortunately made the decision to charge for cases. I’ve done this professionally at my own expense for twelve years. I’ve lost money helping other people, and I can’t do it anymore. I’m often behind because I don’t have the extra money for gas to go to someone’s house repeatedly. For years I’ve been told to charge something, even to just cover gas, and that’s what I’m going to start doing. The tough decisions are here and when push comes to shove, I have to shove. If I could be a full time psychic medium, I would do it in a heartbeat. It’s what I’m good at. I don’t ask the dead to come to me, but they do. I always use resources, such as historical documents, to back my findings after the fact. I’ve never been wrong, and I encourage people to check in to what I see and find and tell them. If I’m wrong, I’m not ashamed. I want proof. I want to know if what I find is real. I always go in with no information of the hauntings or the location, and I tell it like I see it. Nothing more, nothing less.

I had an unusual paranormal experience today while not working a case. My mom had asked me to go with her to a client’s house to make sure she didn’t fall and die while on the ladder getting the curtains down to wash. I had been to the house before and never noticed anything odd about it. I was walking through the house, and once I got into the kitchen I blacked out for a second and had a flash of something go through my mind. I stopped to get my bearings, a little disoriented and confused. When I started to comprehend my surroundings again, my spirit guide and best friend dead girl Sarah was standing next to me asking me if I was okay. I had no good way to answer that.

From that point on, the whole house felt like a fun house. I was constantly fighting to remind myself where I was, because I kept going back into flashes of things and feeling like someone was trying to take me over. It was very overwhelming and only got worse in the upstairs of the house. I pinpointed the room where the feeling was the worst, but I didn’t see anything, which concerned me. There had been two people who had passed away in this house, but whatever was going on felt like either a ton of dead people at once or one really unfriendly one posing as something nice when it wasn’t.

As I walked down the hallway toward the staircase, gathering curtains and hoping to exit the house soon, something pushed me. Everything went black for a moment. I caught my balance before I reached the staircase, but only inches away. Whatever pushed me wasn’t my size. It was small. Though the hands were distinctly on my shoulder blades, they were tiny and pushed me in an upward motion, as if they were short and reaching upward to push me. Had an adult pushed me, the push would have also been a lot harder. I only weigh 108 pounds, and an adult would have had no trouble pushing me down those stairs. Whatever it was seems to be posing as a child that is too cowardly to show itself to me in fear that I will know what it really is.

We have to go back to the house tomorrow to put the curtains back up. I’m not looking forward to it, but at least this time I will go prepared.

If you’re looking for something to listen to in your spare time, I’m hooked on the one song that describes the last twenty months of my life that I burned last night. Goodbye, 2013. It would be a lie to say I’m going to miss you.

I’m Stunned Without a Kerfuffle

Y’all, I had this really great, entertaining idea for a series on my blog. It was approved by several people. It was a go. And then it up and went topsy turvy on me. I don’t know how to act. I’m fact, I’m nearly speechless.

Let me back this up with a little pretext, since you’re not all mind readers. In the last post, I mentioned dating and that when I find the right guy I will write about it. No one get excited yet. That didn’t happen. I have been fortunate enough to be out of the woods with my PTSD and functioning like a normal, cheery person. I really want to get back out there and date. I’m ready. I’m excited. I hate dating, so this is kind of funny to me. I don’t really know how to date, but my psychologist gave me homework to get out there and go for it. So I am. I have the confidence to do this and to just say no to people who aren’t right for me.

The only problem was, I had no idea how to meet people. I’ve tried online dating before. I failed miserably. I don’t get out to meet the right kind of people though. I joined some groups on Meetup, and on a whim decided to give online dating one more try. I’m not going to lie, I kind of tried it because I figured it would tank horribly and I’d end up with a handful of fun stories like I did last time. I would then blog about these fun stores, and my bad dates could be your laugh of the day.

Only, it hasn’t gone that way at all. Plenty of Fish has added a filter so you can weed out people right off the bat. Because of this, I’m not getting twenty year old frat guys trying to sleep with me and fifty year old creepers trying to convince me I want to date them. I’m getting age appropriate guys who can spell, are nice, and form complete sentences. Most are even funny and interesting. I’ve never met anyone online that I wanted to meet in person, but I could see me meeting a few of these guys. I’m stunned speechless, because no kerfuffle has broken out yet. If one does, you know I will write all about it. We can laugh together.

You Say Bad Date, I Say Endless Free Entertainment

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving full of turkey comas and enough pies to make you go up a jean size. Our Thanksgiving always consists of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from the comfort of our home and in our pajamas, and then pretty much doing whatever we want the rest of the day.

Today, I worked. Not out in public like most people, for whom we should bow our heads and pray that they don’t get pancaked by a stampeding crowd. I never left the computer, therefore, I “worked.” I have been selling stuff to help pay for my dog’s surgery for the last couple of months. He had a cancerous tumor on his shoulder, and if he didn’t have it removed the cancer would have spread or he would have been unable to walk, because the tumor was growing. Not having the surgery was not an option, though it was very expensive. I have a small website and webstore called Hello Leo, and I’m trying to be hip and keep up with the times, so I arranged a sale on the site during the weekend. The fact that I just used the word hip shows just how well I am keeping up with the times.

I really enjoy that I’m able to pay for his surgery this way, and we’re almost halfway there (Oh oh, livin’ on a prayer.) in paying off his bill. I’m not able to have a real job because of my medical problems, but being able to do this gives me something to do on my own time, when I feel well. It’s been a great experience for me, but when I do feel well, a lot of my time goes into it.

I miss writing. I miss working on my novel. I feel like I know where I want my novel to go, but not how I want to write it. I never get time to write anymore; to really sit down and plug away at the novel. I decided to try to remedy that with attempting to blog more. I don’t have to have a ton of time, nor do I have to sit through pages of notes and force all my ducks into a somewhat crooked little row to blog. All I have to do is have stories. This is fortunate, because boy do I have stories.

I could start with the story about how I have two bulged disks in my neck, and how funny that is since I can’t physically do anything that could have caused it. It’s kind of a dead end story, though, because apparently the bulged disks showed up in a 2009 MRI. No one told me, so instead of trying to fix it and going through therapy, I went on with my daily life, and now those disks are angry. So, thanks, neurologist that I had at the time, for not telling me this important information I needed to know. Now I’m in pain, on medication and going through therapy. Fun times, my friends.

Instead, I’m going to tell you my stories about my minimal adventures in dating over the past year from a sunny side point of view, wherein we make fun of my misfortune instead of complain about what horrible dating luck I have. These stories may not have been funny at the time, but they certainly are now. Some of them are absolutely my own fault, and I’m not afraid to make fun of myself.

As you all know, I went through a bad breakup last year. That story isn’t fun, so let’s skip it. Instead, let’s go straight to the long story short of the guy my ex’s best friend set me up with. Nice guy. Wrong time. I put the bitch in psychotic bitch. I wasn’t ready to date. I tried too soon. I ended up actually really liking the guy. I pushed him away. I say a few Hail Marys for the kid every now and then, hoping he’ll find someone better than me. We have all had this issue at one time or another. Up until this incident, I thought I was immune. You can laugh at me. It’s cool. I’m not afraid to admit that I would have ran from me too if I were him. I tried to run from me, but I kept smacking into myself.

Directly after this incident, my friend at the time tried to set me up on a date with her relative. He evidently mistook me for a porn star. Not even thirty minutes into our first text conversation, he began asking me explicit sexual questions and begging for naked pictures. Dumby over here, *points to self,* decides to give him another chance. He just went through a bad breakup too. Maybe he was upset. Maybe he wasn’t himself. Definitely, I was stupid. It should come as no surprise to anyone that this tanked. Horribly. Epically. Hilariously.

We talked things out. I agreed to meet up with him. I mostly did it because he was my friend’s relative, and I thought if she set me up with him that he must be a really nice guy and I should give him a chance. I told him that I could meet him any day or time. He picked the day and time on his own. The day we were to go out, I woke up in the dead of morning sick. By noon the next day, I was still hugging the porcelain throne. I let him know that likely I wouldn’t be able to come out that night, mostly because commodes aren’t portable or a sexy accessory. He told me he hoped I could make it. This should have been a sign, you guys, but I was too sick to be smart. Or just too stupid. He never even asked me if I was okay.

Rewind to later that day when I knew that I still was not going to make it. It was still several hours before we were to meet up, so I texted him and let him know that I was still sick as could be. Instead of being a gentleman, or any kind of decent human being, he went on a tirade about how he canceled plans for me. I found this interesting considering he was the one who picked the day and time. I also found this to be a flat out lie for the same reason. I told him off about it, because momma don’t play that game. He got super mad and basically showed his crazy, unhinged side that was inexcusable and made me nine kinds of glad that I hadn’t met with him that night. God did me a favor that night. I never thought I’d be so grateful to have been sick.

A little while later, the same friend tried to set me up with a friend of hers. It’s a known fact to people who barely know me that I like older guys and that I do not drink or like guys who get drunk all the time. The friend she sets me up with is just turning 21 and new to drinking, and he was quickly becoming buds with the bottle. His second text to me ever was to tell me that he drank an entire case of beer the night before. As in, he was bragging about it and expected me to be impressed. His entire Facebook was literally filled with nothing but posts about how hard he parties. Instant block. Also, there are reasons she and I aren’t friends anymore. These two incidents and a few other ones on the side were proof enough that she really paid no attention to anything I said, nor did she respect me enough to set me up with relationship material gentleman.

Somewhere in between this hootenanny of a hailstorm, I tried online dating. I know, I know. You don’t have to say it. It was super entertaining, though. I saw no penises, so that was a plus.

One of the first people to hit on me was a 50 year old guy with no profile picture or information on his profile, who immediately came at me telling me I should date him because age was only a number and I shouldn’t be stuck up and bitchy like other women. (Way to flatter a girl.) When I pointed out that this was coming from a guy twice my age with no profile picture, he told me I was being unfair to him and started telling me to submit to him. It became obvious very quickly how controlling he was. It also gave me the ha-has to find out that the situation didn’t go both ways. If I were 50 and he were my age, he would think I was too old. I guess when you’re middle-aged and lonely and don’t find women your age attractive, you have to bully people in to dating you. Never gonna happen, dude. For the record, had he started a nice conversation with me and been a gentleman and had information on his profile, I would have given him a chance. Age is only a number, when you’re not a chauvinistic jerk.

I met a few people here and there, but no one that I clicked with or had potential any kind of long term potential with. There was one guy who I talked here and there, not so often, for a few months. We hadn’t talked enough to really meet, but he was one of the only people who got my real email address, and overall he seemed alright. I’m overly cautious about online dating, what with Catfishing and scary rapists and murderers who troll these spaces, so it took until we started talking on the regular for me to give him my phone number. I’m no Penelope Garcia, after all.

Almost immediately I seemed to be talking to a different person. This guy who told me he was more of the stay-at-home artsy type was suddenly asking me to come out at meet him at the bar to drink, where he was alone. At a bar. On a Saturday night. On weeknights. Texting me the whole time. This was happening a few nights a week. I had a Johnny to my June once, and I couldn’t do it again. Not only that, but wanting to meet a girl for the first time in a bar in the dark seemed sketchy to me. His texts often came in at midnight or so.

Suddenly I was getting the picture that he wasn’t quite who he had told me he was, and now that we were talking about meeting, it was coming out. I should have backed away then, because men who sit at bars alone several nights a week have never been my type. Not that I have anything against them. There are lots of guys who don’t like girl-at-home types of girls. But not being a girl who enjoys bars and being asked by a guy to come to one several times a week is usually a sign. I’m so glad I didn’t back away, because this has become my favorite story to tell any and everyone who will listen.

One night, we happened to be talking about a little of this and a little of that, including this mysterious job that he had, but wouldn’t tell me what he did and never seemed to be anywhere but at the bar. But I digress. The topic of religion came up. It’s pertinent to tell you that I am religious. I am far from a Bible thumper, but I have a strong faith in God and want a partner who also has a strong faith in God. This was in my dating profile. From things that this guy had said to me before, it was clear he had read my dating profile. Unfortunately, reading and paying attention do not skip hand and hand off into the sunset. Boo.

Out of nowhere, he brings up that he feels God and religion and the Bible have no place in modern society. Uh, what now? When I think back on it now, I realize he had read my profile, and he was saying this just to be a jackwagon. Otherwise, who just comes out with something like that out of nowhere? Troublemakers, that’s who. His grandma would be embarrassed. I don’t know her personally. I’m just flying by the seat of my pants on this, because I know a lot of grandmas. None would agree with his behavior.

I told him that I disagreed, and that it was in my profile that I was looking for someone with a strong faith in God to date. I was over and done with him there and then. He had spent the last several months lying to me about such things and pretending like he had faith in God just to reel me in. I wasn’t even mad that he didn’t believe in God, but the lying is what did me in; the pretending to be someone else in more circumstances than just religion. I don’t understand what he thought he was going to get out of this, but I ended up being the winner of this situation. I will gladly take the prize of a good story any day.

It quickly came out that this guy was, in fact, atheist. I really don’t care if you’re some made up religion that prays to Martians that may or may not exist. You could wear hats and dance naked every day at 3 PM, regardless of where you are. I don’t give a hoot. I will be your friend. Some of my best friends are atheists. I’ve dated men of different religions than myself. Judgmental I am not. However, it’s a personal choice for me to want to raise a family with a man who also has a strong faith in God, whatever religion that faith may fall under. That’s all it is; a personal choice. When looking for a mate, you have to know what you want and what you don’t, and you’re entitled to have non-negotiables. That was one for me, hence why I put it in my dating profile. Heck, y’all, I would even take a guy who wasn’t religious but just had a faith in God. Seriously, not picky here.

He proceeded to berate me for this decision, telling me I was missing out on really great guys because of this. The fact that he chose to flip out on me over a personal decision said everything I needed to know about him. There was a control factor entering the picture when he didn’t get what he wanted. I was not judging him for being atheist. I never cared. I had made a personal decision, which I was up front about as to not lead anyone on, regarding wanting a partner who shared a faith in God. He went on about how he was raised religious and he knew the Bible inside and out. Then, you guys, he said inarguably the best thing I’ve ever heard to sum up an entire situation in my entire twenty-eight years on this planet. And I quote:

“You’re the kind of person that makes Jesus roll over in his tomb.”

I tried to explain Easter and Palm Sunday and resurrection to him gently, but none of those things rang a bell. He flipped out about how me saying Jesus has risen just showed that me, the “supposedly great, religious girl,” as he would put it, knew nothing about the Bible, and that he, the “atheist,” knew more than I did.

Obviously I blocked his number, because this kind of crazy I did not need. But I’ll be forever grateful for that little incident. And so will Jesus, who is not in his tomb and literally gave me an open joke at his own expense. This, folks, is exactly why I love the man upstairs.

I want to date, but then I reminisce about all of this and I think, nope, I’m good single. But man do I love the stories. I date for the stories.

As for the good dates, when I find one worth writing home about, you can be sure I will.

 

Thankful (Let Me See You Be Brave)

Some of you have been asking me lately why I don’t seem to blog anymore. See; this year. More recently, you’ve been asking why I wasn’t participating in NanoWrimo. I met a lot of my greatest, sweetest friends through there, and I was flattered you noticed my absence. The truth of the situation, however, wasn’t something I could talk about, or was willing to talk about. Until now.

I apologize if I’ve been short with you or failed to give you an answer when you asked where I’ve been. I’m also sorry if I’ve pushed you away just to avoid the truth and get rid of you, or if I’ve just plain ignored you. It wasn’t you – it never was. On Monday, the doctor found that I had two bulged disks in my neck, so I’m somewhat heavily medicated while I go through therapy for it, and I’m forever seeing pink sparkly ponies. It’s entirely possible that it’s the medication that’s making me brave enough to tell this story, or it may just be that it’s time, but I’m going to come clean with all of you about where I’ve been this year and why I’ve behaved as I have. Some of my closest, dearest and longest friends don’t even know this, as I’ve kept it close to my heart and away from the maddening crowd of life.

I started to notice something was wrong around Christmastime last year. I started feeling extremely depressed, often times thoughts of suicide crossing my mind. I had gone through a horrible breakup a few months earlier that had wore me down and broke me apart at the core, but enough time had passed for me to know that this was much more than that. I’ve always been a strong, resilient woman, and suddenly I felt like a timid little sheep facing down the cavernous belly of the beast. I was scared, but not ready to admit it.

Come January, things had only gotten worse. It occurred to me that I had started a new medication, Lyrica, to help with all of the pain I was in. When I looked up the side effects, they described the exact symptoms I was having. I went off the medication and in about a week / week and a half, I was feeling like myself again. The depression and confusion and anguish were gone and I was ready to move on with my life. But that didn’t happen.

It was a few weeks later that I started having severe pain in the left side of my head. It got to the point where I would completely lose my vision in my left eye. It wasn’t just a sensation. I really couldn’t see out of that eye. I went to the doctor, but no one could figure out the issue at first. I went to two doctors, and yet nothing. I was really starting to suffer and become extremely ill from the severity of the pain. While in the MRI machine, everything went completely black and I forced them to pull me out. I’ve had MRIs before and had never had that happen. It wasn’t that I blacked out, but that my whole range of vision completely darkened as if I were blind. As soon as I sat up, the lights came back on. Even after that, we still had no answer. Meanwhile, I was back to being an emotional tidal wave. I couldn’t control anything inside of me.

My autoimmune doctor was the one that that finally figured out that my blood disorder was wreaking havoc on my brain. The blood was pooling and thickening in one particular area of my brain, and there wasn’t much we could do about it. It wasn’t a clot yet, and if it turned into one, I was in trouble. If they tried to thin out the blood in any way, it would cause a hemorrhage. I was given orders to take it easy, and told that the place where the blood was the thickest was the cortex of my brain that controlled my emotions. The pressure from the thickening of the blood was causing my erratic behavior and feelings, and I just had to ride out the storm.

I kept hope alive that my problem was just that, but in my gut I knew something else was going on. I stopped being able to sleep, I wasn’t hungry anymore, and I was running around on adrenaline just to get things done because of my lack of sleep. I started taking pills at night just to knock me out and ones during the day just to keep me going. I started drinking alcohol, which I never do. Granted, it wasn’t to the point where I was drunk, but it was enough to know that I wasn’t myself. Yet the only explanation I had was the one given by the doctor, so I kept my mouth quiet and my issues to myself. I put on a fake smile for awhile, and then eventually just faded into the black and kept to myself in order to hide the emotional roller coaster I was riding until it slowly came to a safe stop, the blood thinned, and I felt like myself again.

The problem was, my blood had thinned, but I wasn’t feeling any better. In fact, I felt worse. That’s when I really started to isolate myself. I blew off everyone and everything imaginable to avoid people. I shirked my responsibilities. I didn’t care if I was being rude. I didn’t care about anything, especially not myself.

I tried everything to get back to me. I ditched everything that wasn’t me; the clothes, listening to the music on the radio, a way of talking like everyone else and fitting in. I went back to country music, I pitched all the clothes I didn’t like and got only the things I did, and I said and did what I wanted. None of it helped. I saw a piece of me shining through, but by the time that summer began to crest over the horizon, things had only taken a further tumble down the rabbit hole.

Around this time, I just completely went off the grid. When I did pop my head out to talk to a few people, I acted like I was fine, that nothing was wrong. There were only a half a handful of people who had any idea that something may be wrong. Everyone else basically thought I was being a jerk. At that point, I didn’t much care what they thought. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. Other peoples’ opinions of me sure as hell didn’t matter.

The middle of July marked the shift in the shaky ground I was standing on, and I finally fell through. It was inevitable, really. I hadn’t been fine in quite awhile, but I wasn’t ready to admit that. I wasn’t ready to give up the fight. There’s a stigma that goes with not being okay. It means you’re crazy. It means there’s something wrong with you. But that’s not the truth, and there was still a dark veil in front of me that allowed me to ignore the truth just a little bit longer. It let me fall into a false sense of security each day when I would put on my cowboy boots and my country words and walk out that door falsely confident. That little ray of hope kept me going and kept pushing me through. It kept me telling myself I was okay even after the bottom had long fallen out.

This is when the panic attacks started. I had been acquainted with them occasionally since September of 2012 after not ever having any. This was different. Out of nowhere, I was slammed with the sensation of not being able to breathe or control anything. This was happening three or four times a day, and Xanax was barely helping. I still wasn’t ready to give up the fight, but I was slowly losing it in every way possible.

It wasn’t until a friend of mine threatened to 302 me that I realized things had gone too far. This friend knew me better than anyone else in the world, had an education in psychology, and would never threaten such a thing on me unless it was one hundred percent necessary. I literally trust this friend with my life, so I was forced to open my eyes and see that I was worse off than I had been telling myself, and the person I was lying to the most was me. Truth be told, he probably saved my life that day, with that one not so small threat.

For those of you who don’t know what the 302 law is, it’s a law much like the 5150 law in California that Steve-O and Mischa Barton were forcibly committed for a mental evaluation under. If a person or persons feels that you are submitting to erratic behavior, they can force you into a limited hold in a mental institution to be forcibly evaluated for mental disorders or conditions.

I had a doctors appointment lined up not long after all of this, and I had promised my friend I would talk to my doctor about what was going on. I had talked myself out of it three or four hundred times in those few days, and when I got to the doctor I planned on saying nothing to her. I wasn’t strong or brave enough to admit something was wrong. I had spent my entire life taking care of myself and everyone else around me, and I just wasn’t prepared to tell someone that I needed help. I was always the girl who didn’t; the girl who everyone went to when they needed something. And now, here I was, a shell of myself and unable to stand on my own, but unwilling to admit it because I felt it just wasn’t who I was or who I was allowed to be.

Though I had a standing appointment with the doctor for a separate issue, God had plans of his own. I broke down in the middle of the appointment, out of absolute nowhere. I just started bawling my eyes out and I couldn’t stop myself. I never cry in front of people, and my doctor knew me well enough to know that I was typically a happy, outgoing young woman who looked to the sunny side of life. She knew in that moment that something was very wrong.

I had to make a fast decision there or then about my own strength and free will. I had mere moments to agree to see a psychologist or be 302ed. At that point I almost wanted to be 302ed, because if I was, I could get away from everything. I could let the world stop and go on without me while I took time to myself to heal, because that’s what I needed most. Afraid of being pumped with medication when my body has issues tolerating it, and worried the situation would be made worse, I agreed to see a psychologist. My doctor told me I had every symptom of PTSD and that she wanted to continue to follow up with me, because what was going on with me was serious, and in no way my fault. There was nothing wrong with me.

I called the psychologist she suggested the next day. I remember thinking a lot of things about myself that fit the stigma of mental health disorders. I remember thinking something was wrong with me. Then I would think about the strangest thing – Demi Lovato and her battle with addiction and being bipolar came to mind. I remember thinking how brave she was for going public with her problems, and how strong she was to realize she needed help on her own, taking herself off of a world wide tour, and, at a mere 18 years old, checking herself into a rehab facility to get help. If she could do it with the world looking on, I could stand up and do it for myself, in this tiny little town.

The psychologist was quick to reinforce that there was nothing wrong with me. She was careful to diagnose, but overwhelming in assuring me that I didn’t have any mental health disorders. For me, it was a relief, but I knew even if I had, that I was okay with who I was, because I had sought help. I had decided to get better, instead of sitting around lying to myself for another eight months. I was simply suffering from PTSD related anxiety for all that I had been through, and it wasn’t hard to pinpoint the situation that threw me into a tailspin.

Almost immediately I was doing better and I was back to being more like myself, only a better, healthier version. I’m proud to say today that I am happier than I’ve ever been. It’s only been a little over three months since I started going to the psychologist, but I am already down to going once every two weeks, and I’ve been holding my ground pretty well. I’ve stopped caring what people say about me or what they think. I’ve got rid of people I didn’t need in my life – the ones that were causing unnecessary drama. I left the past behind me and became grateful for what I’ve been put through, because now I know myself better than I ever have.

Some days I still slip up and find myself in my room crying, or having a panic attack, but the days are so few and far between, and they’re part of life. No one gets better overnight. This may be something I struggle with for the rest of my life, or it may be something that goes away in a year. I’m careful to know when I’m losing my ground now, and not so careless and reckless with my heart. Those times when I’m falling down, I stop and take care of me now, instead of putting on a facade of makeup and fake smiles. I can deal with this on my own now, but keep up with my psychologist so I can make sure I stay on solid ground and that I keep going with my head held high. And I’m not ashamed to admit this now, but, rather, I am proud of how far I’ve come in such a short period of time and where I am now.

I know myself better than I ever have, and I’m working on getting back out there and becoming a part of society, getting into a little bit of life. I’ve learned a thing or two about dating, but mostly chalk it up to a comedic experience that leaves me none too eager to be a little fish in that large sea. When the right person comes along, I’ll know like I’ve known before, and I’ll give it a shot. (I’ll also soon share the stories of the dating mishaps on here, and hopefully you will all find them as funny as I do.) I’m not shutting down completely, but focusing on me, which is something I’ve never done before. But I have to say, I find that I kind of like it.

This Thanksgiving, while everyone is going around the table saying what they are thankful for, I can honestly say that I am just thankful to be here. There were times this year, more often than I’d like to admit, when I was taking a mix of pills just to sleep and another just to stay awake, that I didn’t think I’d be making it to see another birthday or holiday. I didn’t much care if I did or not, to tell you the truth. But I did make it. I’m here. I’m alive. I’m okay. And that’s as much as any woman can ask for.

My Personal Experience With September 11, 2001

There’s a lot of stories that have been told about September 11, 2001, that fateful day when two planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City, another into the Pentagon in our capital, and the last, Flight 93, went down in a field in Shanksville, Pa. There’s stories from firefighters, national guardsmen, victim’s families and even people who survived these viscous attacks. I’m none of those, but I have a story of my own; one that I’ve never talked about or told because it still bears an emotional scar on my heart. Being the twelve year anniversary of that day, I decided now was the time to share my own personal story. Though not as heartbreaking or terrorizing as the other stories you will hear, that day forever changed my life, though I was not present for any of the attacks.

Though I never reveal my area of residence on this blog, for this very special post I am willing to go out on a limb and do so to tell a bigger story. I live in a small town in Pennsylvania, about forty miles from Shanksville, the crash site of Flight 93. This town is a place where you never expect terrorism to hide or even find. We’re pretty far off the map, and it’s quiet in these parts. The most excitement we have is when our neighbors’ horses breach the fence and end up in our yard. September 11th had different plans.

The morning of September 11th, I received a call from my mom telling me that there had been terrorist attacks in New York City, and my aunt, who lived a few miles down the road, was coming to get me so we could be together. Also, we were under a State of Emergency, though the news was refusing to announce why. I hadn’t turned on the television that morning and had no idea anything was going on, but when my aunt came over, my fourteen year old self got in her car without question, still confused and not entirely sure of what was going on.

Once at her house, we planted ourselves firmly in front of the television, watching the aftermath of the attacks of the Twin Towers and the news of the crash at the Pentagon as it unraveled. We were still hoping someone would tell us why we were under a State of Emergency, but no one ever said, however, it quickly came to the point where everyone was forbidden to leave the place where they were in our particular county only, Westmoreland County. No traffic. No movement. At this time, the internet was not a number one source for news and we did not have cell phones or even access to the net where we lived, so it was never a thought to check online for the news we wanted.

We hadn’t been watching the coverage for quite an hour when we heard what sounded like a very low flying plane. We live in a military flyover zone, so we shrugged it off, figuring they were deploying out to D.C. or New York City. Minutes later, we hard an incredibly loud exploding sound, which was accompanied by the ground shaking violently. Seconds later, the sky became pitched black, as if it were nighttime, and the smell of burning flesh and what smelled vaguely like kerosene filled the air. A mechanical sound could be heard, like a glitch in some sort of equipment, and it would vibrate the ground every few minutes as it came and went. We kept asking each other what it was or if the other had heard it, and even though we both had, neither of us had an answer.

It was at this point that we knew something was terribly wrong, but none of the news channels were reporting any other attacks. Not more than twenty minutes before this had happened, it had been reported that a fourth plane had been hijacked and was believed to be headed for D.C. via the calls air traffic control was receiving from passengers on that plane, so all we could figure was that the plane had found its target and for some reason, even from four hours away, we were feeling and smelling the effects of it. As we went outside to take a look at the sky, we didn’t know how close to the truth we really were.

Unable to stay outside for more than a few minutes because of the smell, which later permeated the whole house even with the windows and doors closed, we glued ourselves back to the television. It was about an hour later when the news of Flight 93 came in. The words coming out of the newscaster’s mouth hit both of us like bricks upon the realization that what we had heard had not been a military plane, but Flight 93 flying low overhead, heading for its final destination in a desolated field in Shanksville. What we felt shake the ground and what we were now smelling was the bodies of those brave souls who overtook the plane to stop another attack burning in the wreckage, and the fuel from the plane keeping the fire going. The darkness in the sky was from the smoke from the burning fuselage. We also learned the real reason for the harsh county wide State of Emergency that had suddenly gone into effect, stopping anyone from leaving the places they were. At first the whole state was simply under it as a wildfire guess of caution due to our state being between New York and D.C. Then, when word of Flight 93 came in to air traffic controllers, the flight trajectory indicated the possible crash in our county, though the plane did get through our county, crashing in the next one over.

That smell, and the smoke, continued to haunt the air for nearly a week. Fire trucks could not readily get back to the crash site of Flight 93, and the decision had been made to leave the plane burn since the crash was in the middle of nowhere and had breached a mine shaft from the sheer impact of it all. Being so deep in the ground, there was no danger of the fire spreading, only the danger of a haunting reminder to those nearby. So we lived in the literal dark from that day for nearly seven days, and we lived with the smell and the memory of what every single one of those heroes on that plane did that day; the way they knowingly sacrificed their lives to save the lives of Lord only knows how many others. Whether they get properly recognized for it or not, they are the true heroes that make this country so strong and so amazing.

It wasn’t until a few days ago that I learned the trajectory of the plane immediately after the hijacking and in the initial moment of the passengers breaching the cockpit had set it to hit in a town just eight miles from where I live in Mount Pleasant, Pa. It’s believed that, in the last act of heroism, one of the passengers killed the terrorist flying the plane and took control over it, pulling it up and causing it to miss Mount Pleasant altogether and giving it a few more minutes of flight time before landing in the middle of Shanksville. That was more lives saved by those passengers, because had the plane hit Mount Pleasant, many more lives would have been lost. Hitting homes, businesses and hospitals would have been unavoidable in that little town on top of a hill.

There’s still so much I don’t understand about that day and so much we don’t actually know about the crash of Flight 93, and never will, because we weren’t on that plane. We didn’t live inside of the last moments of their lives. Thinking back on this day, remembering the moments of the crash and knowing that I felt it, heard it and smelled it as those people lost their lives makes me cry. Though I was not there, it still remains just as emotional knowing that you felt someone lose their life while they saved the lives of countless others so bravely.

As a psychic medium, I have been asked numerous times over the years to go to the crash site, somewhere that I’ve never ventured. The hope is that I can talk to some of those souls who died so quickly and probably still find themselves at the site, confused. To date, it’s not something I’ve emotionally been able to do. I see things how they are when tragedy struck, not how they are now. I know if I make the decision to go up there I will see the wreckage, I will see the plane as it went down, and probably many other things I don’t want to see. When I mix those images with the memory of the sounds and smells from that day, I’m afraid I won’t emotionally be able to stand my ground. One day I do want to go up there and I do want to help the heroes of that day, but I need to know it won’t break me, because if it does, I won’t be helping anyway.

Since that day I’ve had a numerous variety of spirits come in and out of my home telling me their stories of how they lost their lives that day. This is something that still continues to this day and gets especially worse around this time of year. Often times, I find myself unable to function and filled with sadness during the first few weeks of September. One particular young girl, who has never uttered a word to me other than to tell me that she was a hero of Flight 93, continues to be a constant visitor around this time of year. From pictures I’ve seen of the heroes, I strongly believe she is the young girl who called her stepmother to say goodbye right before she and the other passengers breached the cockpit, but without her speaking to me, it’s not something I can prove. My hope is that all of these souls can find peace, and hopefully I can and have helped the ones who have come to me over the years. It’s been a struggle, but I refuse to think of the people on Flight 93 as victims, but only as the heroes that they are, because I believe this is the best and most accurate way to preserve their memory. They knew the likely outcome when they took over that plane and they selflessly chose to do it to save other lives.

We are and always have been one nation under God, and even in the darkest act of terrorism where the devil was present, I truly God has shown brighter in the heroes of September 11th, including those on Flight 93. Thank you to those heroes, for saving lives and putting yours on the line for others. You are everything to an entire nation and your sacrifices will never been forgotten and neither will you. As we all look back and remember this day in history, I find our nation remembering the acts of heroism more than the acts of terror. God and good will and has prevailed over that day through those heroes. You will be remembered.

Summer Camp For Nerds

It’s that time of the year again. It’s NanoWrimo time! Okay, not really. For those of you who are NanoWrimo nerds like myself, you’ll know that there is a summer camp going on. I’m all about summer camp, as long as there’s no bugs or cabins or community toilets.

Who am I kidding? I fail at summer camp. Nevertheless, Nanowrimo is having one that I can participate in from the comfort of my own Sleep Number bed, and I get to spend the whole month basking in the goodness of writing my novel. I need something to bask in the goodness of, other than humidity, broken car mirrors and seizure testing. (See: The really fun part of last month was when someone parked in a spot that wasn’t an actual parking spot and ripped the mirror off of my car while I was in the hospital for an appointment. They didn’t leave their insurance information, so now I have to pay for a new mirror and my mechanic is out of town for two weeks. Fun times, my friends.)

Coincidental to this whole situation, my novel takes place at an old summer camp turned retreat and wedding venue, Firefly Meadow, set in the fictional town of Adelyn, Alabama. Population: crazy. I was looking for a way to integrate a situation in my life that changed everything inside of me and made me lose who I was, into a fictionalized story, but didn’t know how I wanted to do it. Several ideas swam through my head, until, with a little help from a very special friend named Sarah, came the inspiration for the book.

Some people I know will be portrayed under fictional circumstances. The ones who were good to me will like it. Someone probably won’t. But it’s not gossip if it’s the truth, and it’s not real if it’s fictional. The burden of similarity lies on the ones who are vain enough to believe they’re worth writing about. And if, by chance, they are one I wrote about, actions have consequences. Inspiring a story may just be that. No one is put to shame. No one is mocked. It’s just a story after all. A fictional story. One that I know other women can relate to and will find when they just need something to relate to like I’ve done with so many books over time. They made me feel normal. They made me connect with the characters. That’s all you can ask from a book.

So wish me luck on this little journey because, as Sarah would say, “I’m so excited I could pee!” (Please don’t.)

Help! I’m Turning Into Rachel Zoe! (And Am Secretly Okay With It.)

As women, we grow up learning that our first love is our family and friends. Then we get older and find boys, and we talk about love and marriage and children. We love boys, who turn into heartbreaks, and then men, more heartbreaks and, if we’re lucky, the real deal. But for those of us who find boys and love and heartbreaks and not much else, there’s still hope for us. There’s shoes. They’re the third kind of right kind of love. (Try saying that three times fast.)

Taylor Swift once said, “I don’t know if you know who you are until you lose who you are.” Love her or hate her, she’s absolutely right, and every breakup teaches you to do that. A breakup from true love does so much more. True love is something that last, unconditionally through all time and space, interweaving into your life and never ending. You could hate your ex and hope a gorilla eats him. Getting back with him could be the like, ever kind of never ever. If you were going to talk to your ex in only cat memes, these might be the ones that would represent what you had to say best. (I’ve used the last one. I’m too nice to use the other two.)

photo 1

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Regardless, no matter how definitively you’ve moved on or how much you’ve let it go and watched it run away, and how happy you are in your life, you will always love that person somewhere deep down inside, no matter how much you hate them on the surface and think they’re a piece of dirt. It’s those kinds of relationships that leave you feeling bare and empty and sad when they’re through. Something has to change, and you realize it has to be you. Back to me without you. (“You made grief my chief emotion. Why’d you have to do what you thought you had to do.”) Me. That’s who I need to find again.

We’ve all been there, so we resort to who we were before we got lost in trying to love the things he did because we loved him, and strip ourselves to the bare essentials, becoming a better us for it. It’s easy to get caught up in being “us” and lose yourself as part of a team, but when one team member quits, it all falls back on number one. It’s this incredibly saturating feeling to be the best you, and now even better; stronger.

This is a lesson it took me so long to learn, and I remained stuck in the past for longer than I’d like to admit, even if I had moved past the person. I started looking ahead and realizing that it wasn’t him that had me stuck, but I had myself stuck, because I was surrounded by my past. I’m one of those people who doesn’t throw anything essential out unless it’s completely ruined. One day I opened my closet and found that none of my clothes were me. That’s probably because every article of summer clothing, at least shirt wise, was something I had owned since I was in high school, prior to getting sick, a whole thirteen years ago, save for the few vintage pieces Aunt Bev had given me. I look young, and I was dressing like a kid. I hated all of my clothes and half of them didn’t even fit right. It was time for a change. It was time to find a new love that wasn’t a boy. It was time to really love myself.

So I changed my wardrobe and got rid of stuff that had sat in my closet for years without being worn, and the stuff that didn’t fit me right, and I found a few great pieces that were me. It killed me to give away shirts that were in perfectly good shape, but they were pried out of my hands by my mom, who insisted I did, in fact, look as ridiculous as I thought. I was feeling better about myself already. Even though I knew the ex wouldn’t have been attracted to me in the clothes I wore, that brought me peace, because I was finally myself. It showed me how many miles apart we were and how glad I was to have had the chance to part from him and get back to me. I felt lucky to have a chance to find someone who would love me for me; someone who appreciated the mature way I dressed and wasn’t looking to relive their high school days.

What I never planned on doing was changing my shoes. I’ve never been a shoe person. Even when I worked at a shoe store, I wasn’t a shoe person. Shoes were just some stupid things I had to spend money on so I didn’t walk around barefoot and was allowed in stores. I bought the cheapest ones I could find that fit and called it a day. That could be why, when I went to clean out my closet, I noticed all of my shoes were falling apart. I mean literally losing their souls, or discolored, or badly worn. I change out my tennis shoes every six months in order to keep good padding in my shoes and keep my back aligned, but I’ve had the same shoes for at least ten years when it came to every other kind of shoe, save for my cowboy boots, which were now also pretty dead to the world. I also had one pair of dress shoes that actually fit me right and didn’t care if they matched what I wore when I needed them. I had three pairs that didn’t fit. There was a lot of horrible going on.

Begrudgingly, I decided to set out on a search for shoes. I don’t even like shopping for tennis shoes, nor do I care what they look like, so I just go to Ross and find a cheap pair. However, the last time I bought tennis shoes, I got some fancy Skechers shoe and I love them. They’re so light and so comfortable, but I digress. It was time to go out in the world and buy actual shoes that actually went with my clothes and completed my new, adult look. However, every time I think of shoe shopping, I can’t get this out of my head, which wasn’t helping me take shoe shopping seriously.

One pair of shoes I don’t mind shopping for are cowboy boots. They’re kind of my trademark, but the last time I bought a pair, I got a cheap, not so authentic pair, and they died over the last year because I wore them all the time. I’m picky about my cowboy boots and couldn’t find a pair I liked, until I came across an authentic leather pair made by Laredo. When I was a child, I rode horses and lived in Laredos, so I knew that they were comfortably padded and guaranteed to last, unlike my other pair. I didn’t want to spend the money on them, but I found a terrific deal and went for it. I am truly in love with these shoes, which isn’t unusual since they are cowboy boots. They’re so me.

Cowgirl 1

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Then, to sweeten the pot, I found a leather jacket on clearance at Target that matches them perfectly. Since I was in the market for a new jacket, they became the perfect pair. The cutouts on the jacket are the same as the ones on my boots. This picture, for whatever reason, came across with a weird glare that caused it to look vintage, but I like it.

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Boots were the easy thing to shop for, because I was going to do that anyway. I wasn’t planning on replacing my other shoes, simply because I hate shoe shopping. I never find anything I like, so I buy cheap and go on with my day. This time, I decided I was going to buy shoes I actually liked. I knew this was going to be a disaster and a half and require a ton of online shopping, because I didn’t have the energy to scour stores, and the few I did, I hated everything. I felt like Grumpy Cat. My other problem is that, with my medical problems, I need something comfortable or I just get completely annoyed and won’t wear them. Every good woman can tell you that beautiful shoes are not comfortable. I also wasn’t willing to spend a fortune, so I was pretty much on a mission bound to fail on the principle of asking too much.

I decided to start the shoe search I didn’t want to do with sandals. This sounded easy, but royally sucked. Those things that go between your toes? I don’t do those. Apparently almost every shoe does. I had the perfect pair that didn’t do that and were as comfortable as all get out, but also just as ugly and the soul was coming detached from the part you slip your foot into. I also had another pair that broke at the buckle and had to be tossed.

I decided I didn’t want to shoe shop and only wanted one pair of sandals, so they had to be cute, go with everything, and be a little classy.They also had to be flat and easy to slide on. No one carried them, naturally. By accident, I came across a pair on Wal-Mart.com that they didn’t carry in stores. They were also Dr. Scholl’s, so they should be comfortable. Who knew Dr. Scholl’s made cute shoes that weren’t just for the retirement village folk? They were flat and soft on the feet like my one pair of old ones, but also had the pink buckle like my other pair. They were perfect. The only issue I found is that you can’t wear them if you’re going to walk all over the place like I could with my old ones, because the buckle will dig into your foot some. I was bummed about that, but learned long ago that sandals were not really made for long walks anyway, so they were sufficient for what I needed. Plus, they were only $15, so I was a happy camper. That’s more my price range. Actually, zero is my price range, but that’s how I ended up with crappy shoes I hated in the first place.

Pink Sandals 1

Pink Sandals

Just like that I threw out two pairs of shoes that were falling apart and I didn’t like anyway and replaced them with one pair I did. That was great and wonderful, but I really sucked at buying high heels for several reasons. I can stand a high heel, but I can’t stand the pumps in the front part, because that’s when I fall over and either break something or kill myself. My ankles swell because of my blood disorder, so straps were completely out of the question, as they end up digging into me. I just wanted a straight, basic pair of high heels. Apparently fashion has taken a couture turn in the past couple of years, because this task started to feel more like recovering The Ring from Mordor than buying something pretty.

Let me preface this by saying that I’m very pro Taylor Swift’s adorable style and that’s the kind of girl I am, but I never wear heels. This is because mine don’t fit and I can never finds ones I like, so I just don’t do it and I end up looking frumpy and not at all how I feel on the inside. Investing in heels I loved was something I was serious about, but also didn’t want to spend $50 for a pair of heels, so I had to be cautious about finding cute and inexpensive. I was dooming myself again.

A little birdy by the name of Fate told me that Forever 21 carried some cute classic country pieces, so I stopped in and picked up a few new shirts so I wasn’t so 2000. While I was heading toward the checkout, the heavens open and I about fell tit over ass over a display with shoes on it. There, I found shoes that were so very vintage Americana, and so very me. I fell in love instantly, and these came home with me. It was meant to be. Better yet, they were only $27.99, which, men, is cheap for heels. If your woman ever comes home telling you she spent that for heels, praise her and take her out for dinner. Take her somewhere she can wear those heels to.

Cherry 1

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Cherry 3

I have some very pretty dresses and shirts that would go amazingly with these heels, but with the pattern, there were some things that just weren’t going to have any of that at all, meaning I needed to find a plain pair of heels for those everyday events. I wanted just a classic black pair, but nothing boring. I was hoping for something with a little lace, but all of those were peep toes, and homie don’t play that. Discouraged post trying on several pairs of shoes that I found boring, I knew I needed to change things up.

I happened to be minding my own business when an incredibly obnoxious commercial come on. Lo and behold, it was advertising shoes, so I went to the website to find out it was Rachel Zoe’s website, Shoe Dazzle. I love Rachel Zoe in a weird kind of bananas way, so I signed up and took a look-see. The shoes seemed reasonably priced, but out of my cheapo price range, so I went for the clearance rack. There, I found a flowered lace pair of black high heels, with a shiny metal toe that can be used for kicking people you don’t like strongly in places they don’t like to be kicked, at the wonderful price of $25. Done.

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My only mistake here was that I had looked through all the clearance shoes while looking for this perfect pair, and there I became completely obsessed with shoes, because I found a pair so perfect, so divine, so worth obsessing over and falling in love with multiple times a day for the rest of my life that I was nearly shitting kittens. I finally, FINALLY, understood being obsessed with shoes. It was just that I didn’t need them. Unlike the black high heels, they wouldn’t go with everything. The  problem was, I was already in love, and they were also on clearance for $25, so I splurged when I knew I shouldn’t have. Once I got them, though, I officially became completely shoe obsessed like every other woman. They are that perfect. They are, single-handedly, the shoes that made me realize shoes are more fun to fall in love with than boys, and definitely the perfect fix for loveless times after you lost a love. These make me feel so classy and grown up, but still young.

Love

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While I was ordering from Shoe Dazzle, I decided to search the clearance boots, as fashionable boots have long been a staple in my winter wardrobe, but mine had detached from their souls and found their death. All the boots I was finding were ugly and made me unhappy, but then I found a versatile pair for $13 on Shoe Dazzle. They’re so versatile because you can wear them below the knee and buttoned, or above the knee for a new look whenever you feel like it. These weren’t easy to photograph myself in since they have to be on to show the true potential, so I used stock photos from the site. Not very creative. Sorry!

Obsess 1

Boots 4 Boots 5

I am completely and absolutely enamored with shoes now and Shoe Dazzle. The transaction was quick and easy, I got my shoes quickly, the prices were great, and they had shoes that no one in my area is sure to have, so I can be unique. I just have to remind myself that I can’t keep buying shoes. Thank you, Shoe Dazzle and the perfect high heels for making me cray-cray about shoes, or just plain crazy. This is problematic for me. I can’t tell you how obsessed I am with heels, especially that specific pair, and shoes in general. I’m practically as obsessed with shoes as Rachel Zoe now.

Sometimes you have to invest in you. It’s not a waste of money to make yourself feel good. Buy things you love, but buy in your price range and you’ll be happier for it. How you look on the outside is just a showpiece of how you feel on the inside. If you’re going to wear it, it’s okay to spend some money to update your wardrobe so you’re absolutely you. And someone will love you for it.

On a separate note, this song makes me so happy and the video is so cute. It gives me hope and makes me completely jealous of these kids all the same. Great, now I’m jealous of eight year olds.

If none of this stuff helps you get out of your breakup rut, because you are fabulous and need a guy who appreciates you, let me help. If you’re tired of listening to Johnny Cash to make you realize that, hey, you don’t have it that bad, then I suggest My Blood by Ellie Goulding. It got me over everything, even in the roughest times.

“And God knows I’m not dying but I bleed now, And God knows it’s the only way to heal now,
 With all the blood I lost with you,
 It drowns the love I thought I knew”

Everything But the Books

I don’t know what is wrong with me lately, and at the same time, I do. I’ve written and scratched out, crossed out, rewritten and deleted posts. Some are still hanging in the balance of the edit circle, where I don’t want to backtrack in my life to go over them before I post them, and only want to move forward. Our eyes face forward so we’re always looking ahead in life, not behind. It’s not the way God intended life to be.

Things have been strange lately. Not that they’re ever not. My life has a way of doing funny things and I’ve learned to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches. Health wise, I think I’m barely hanging on. I’m handing it better on the outside than I am on the inside, and most people don’t know there’s a thing wrong with me. I have a rare blood disorder that is causing an even more rare pressure on my brain. It’s one of those, “we’ve all heard of this, but we’ve never seen it” situations amongst my doctors. There’s not much that can be done. If they don’t break up the blood, the pressure will cause a hemorrhage, or worse, a stroke which will lead to a hemorrhage. If they do try to break it up, that will also cause a hemorrhage, since too much blood will be loose in my brain.

I also had an autoimmune neurological test come back positive, though the doctor who did the test has taken a month to let me know the results, and won’t discuss what positive results mean and what kind of treatment plan there is for me until my appointment in August. She knows we’re waiting on clarification on the results to move forward with treatment for the issue with my brain, as the positive test results greatly affect what route they can take to get the pressure off my brain before it does hemorrhage. Waiting three months isn’t acceptable and it could be too late by then. Clearly, it’s time for me to find a new doctor who cares about what’s going on with me. There is also something going on with my heart, and I have a pre-existing heart condition. She also won’t discuss that with me until August. No wonder I’m stressed in the moments where I’m supposed to stay away from everything stressful as not to cause more pressure on my brain. Doctors aren’t supposed to stress you out worse.

I’ve had a lot of weird side effects with the issue with my brain; anything from loss of vision, to blacking out, to severe dizziness, to barely being able to walk or stand, and also not being able to control my emotions due to where the pressure is sitting. Possibly the weirdest is forgetting people; ones I have known that have meant so much to me. A good example is Craig, my ex. I remember how I felt about him, I remember moments and things that happened between us, and I remember things about him. I just don’t remember him. When I try to recall him, he’s just a blank. I couldn’t tell you what he looked like to save my life, and it’s very strange. It’s a bit scary, too. I wonder how bad things will get or if this will or can cause any permanent damage before we are able to solve the issue at hand; if we’re able to. Every route we think we can take meets a roadblock because of my other health problems, and I’m scared. I can barely function right now and I’m worried about what could and will happen to me. Yet I still know there’s people out there who have it worse than me.

I’m not supposed to be using the computer, really, but I’m bored half to death, which isn’t funny considering. I’m trying to write my novel now that my heart is telling me what novel I was meant to write, but if I stare at the screen for more than a half an hour, my vision goes on me. I’ve been trying to brush up on paranormal stuff, ordering and reading books about the history – both paranormal and non paranormal – of the area so that I can piece together some absent parts of past cases I’ve worked. I have sewing to do and lots of Little Miss Suzy Homemaker types of things to occupy me, but I can barely move from the couch most days.

Little Miss Suzy Homemaker fits me fine. I found a part of me that I lost nine years ago when I realized that people can hurt you just to do it and not give a damn. You can’t find yourself until you lose yourself, and the last eight months have ripped me at the seams. I may not be the long-haired red head that dresses in jeans and rock shirts anymore, but I am a curly haired blonde who loves the south, Johnny Cash, June Carter, Lemon Breeland’s style and vintage things. This is who I am and have always felt like I wouldn’t be accepted for. But when I go to the store wearing a vintage dress that’s so very June from the 1950’s, guys still talk to me and bitchy women avoid contact with me. It’s a win. I’ve gotten rid of the old; the things I didn’t like and thought I should, and replaced them with things that make me happy and are so very me. That includes people. I’m more me than I’ve been in a long time and very grateful for that. I’m certainly not the same woman I was a year ago. Someone will love me for exactly me, and I’ll be my best me with them. I don’t know if that’s what I want; I may want to just be alone. I don’t need another Johnny to my June. I don’t want to parent my significant other through parties and too much drinking again. Only time will tell.

I’ve had a blind spot when it comes to the paranormal ever since I got sick. I was backlogged six months in cases before I got sick, and now it’s more like a year. Things have started to come back to me slowly. I can see Sarah again. I can hear Lauren. I’m trying to slowly get back into taking cases, without stressing myself out. I’m still not where I used to be, and I can’t sense things like I normally can. My friend thinks that, when I get better, I’d make a great television show. Maybe I should start taping what I do, I don’t know.

But I ask, dear readers, as I try to find a niche with my blog, should I tell my paranormal stories on here? Should I make a section for it? Should I do updates with videos instead of typing, and also include some of the cover songs I’ve recorded? What would you all like to see this blog become?

Through the years, I’ve had to learn a lot about stressing myself out, and this also comes from the paranormal side of things, too. I’ve always felt obligated that, since I could see and speak with the dead, I had to help everyone who had a paranormal problem, and I’ve always done it for free. This has recently led me to learn why people charge. I’ve taken the cases where the people couldn’t afford to bring in help, and most of the time it has gotten me talked back to from completely complacent, unappreciative homeowners who want nothing to do with getting rid of what is in their home, and don’t understand it’s a process in which they have to be involved, as well as a process that takes time. When someone pays you to get something out of their house, they are truly prepared to do any and everything it takes to get it out, because they are serious about it. I still don’t have the heart to charge, though, especially because sometimes I get the most wonderful, grateful people who are so delighted to have help and truly become such beloved friends of mine. They make what I do worth it.

I’m not going to be able to see to keep typing much longer, so before I go I will share a short story. Please let me know what you’d like to see more of on my blog and what you think is a good niche for me. Everything has changed and I’d like to start over.

I don’t wonder why the U.S. Postal service is going bankrupt. Our local post office is like a tiny violin playing the soundtrack to their own little movie, which would undoubtedly be some twisted, weird sequel to Dumb and Dumberer, just minus all the original stars and completely unscripted as cameras follow our mail carriers and postmaster around. I’ve told you stories before about leaving packages out in the rain and inside flower pots full of water, and then lying about there being something covering them. I’ve probably even told you about how they will never alert us there is a package at the post office for us, and only when the original sender gets it sent back do I find out they never bothered to do their job and simply returned it to sender. I’ve contacted the head office several times, but they keep kicking back the complaints to our postmaster. They don’t seem to realize that she is the problem, no matter how many times I’ve politely told them.

With not feeling well, I’ve found myself having to order things that I need online more and more because I have more bad days than good, and I can’t exactly go to the store when I’m having issues getting around. This has brought on a whole new stupidity of our mail people called, “we shall steal her mail and she won’t notice.” But I notice. Knowing how our mail people are and that most places don’t give you a cost efficient alternative to shipping besides FedEx Smartpost, I’ve downloaded all the apps to keep track of my packages. Still, they have a whole new plan of action.

Fedex’s website will tell me that my package was dropped off at my local post office, with a date and time. Oddly, my package will never arrive. I give it five days or so and give things a chance, but the package never shows up. I go to the post office with the tracking information and typically get the postmaster. Though I have the information right in front of me saying that the package was delivered and checked in by our post office, she tells me it’s not there, refuses to look up any tracking information on it, or look for it in the post office. She’s actually told me I was lying and refused to look at my phone to see that they did, in fact, check the package in. This doesn’t surprise since the one time there was a package with my name on it sitting two feet to the right of her and she refused to give it to me, saying it wasn’t my package, though I could clearly see my name on it, and then sent it back to the shipper.

With no help from her, I go to Fedex down the road, they print out all the necessary paperwork saying that yes, it was checked into our post office, and I take the paperwork back to the post office, where I’m still met with disdain and the lack of help. A few days later the package mysteriously turns up at my house, badly repackaged and re-taped, missing any packing materials and receipts. I’m not saying our post office workers are stealing my packages, holding onto them, lying to me about it, and then, when I get all up in their grill, putting them into a box and delivering them…oh wait, yes I am. And from the way the postmaster acts when I try to retrieve a package that I know is there, I’m also accusing her. Nothing gets done about it and I get to lather, rinse and repeat this cycle often since the higher ups still don’t get that she’s the problem and she will not help me when this happens. She also seems to have no shame about the fact that this keeps happening and I have to keep going over there when my packages don’t show up after five days or a week. I’m fair. I give them time to deliver it before I go over there. They just don’t deliver it, is the problem.

It’s only certain things that go missing. Stuff that comes from pet supply places I typically get. Stuff from Amazon, depending on the size of the box, I occasionally get, however, I’ve switched to Prime to avoid my packages having to go through the post office. Things from Kohl’s packaged in shipping bags I get. Things packed in boxes, I don’t. Anything from Wal-Mart is sure to go missing. I’m wondering if my order from Shoe Dazzle will too. I’ll know tomorrow or the next day.

But you know the one thing they never, ever, ever take? Books. My books come one by one, as I order them from different sellers used from Amazon. They always come in paper mailers and it’s obvious they’re books. With having ordered over twenty five books, not one has ever gone missing. This says everything about why our postal service is going bankrupt.