2015-03-30

Once Upon A Happily Ever After: My 1st Wedding

Once upon a time there was a beautiful Princess, who loved books and was raised by the kind and benevolent King and Queen to be not only crafty and clever, but generous and giving. She did many good deeds for the kingdom, volunteering her time and talents, where she met a silly minister and they quickly became friends. 


Every summer the Princess and the Queen would meet with the silly minister to throw elaborately-crafted, themed parties and care for many tired, smelly walking people. 

They had great fun. 

And raised money and junk for charity also.
One day the beautiful Princess met her Prince Charming and knew there something special, magical and musical happening between them. They faced many trials and tribulations, faced fire swamps, slayed dragons and fell in love all storybook-like.
I worked this into the cerermony quietly right before the vows. From 123Photobucket.com
They had a storybook wedding, in a beautiful castle.
ACTUAL VENUE. The ceremony took place on that landing on the right. TheCopernicusCenter
They made beautiful music together - no, quite literally. The bride sang Irish tunes with the band, her Father and new Father-In-Law joined in and the groom played a celtic drum - to begin their fairytale lives. 
Bodhran, Celtic drum.
from musicbrokers.com

The silly minister stumbled through the ceremony with a shaky, mouse voice through tears and some people in attendance even said they could hear her.


Meh, it's all legal and done now.


The End

And that’s pretty much the story of my first wedding. 


Er, that was the first wedding I OFFICIATED anyway. Everyone survived, no Mosby-esque YouTube video fame, not yet anyway, though I do need to work on my ‘outside voice’ a little more and sobbing like a cartoon cat caught in a mouse trap a little less.

It was the MOST FUN wedding. The crafty bride did so much of everything herself, I'm amazed by some people. She had paper flowers made from pages of books, mixed in with REAL flowers for her bouquet and everyone's flowers. 

I didn't get a picture, but here's an example below from good ole Pinterest. 

They were gorgeous and very clever, like everything she does.

The tables were all named for fictional places like Hogsmeade, Gotham and Emerald City and we sat in Casterly Rock. We made sure like Lannisters to always pay our debts, though we didn't have sex with our siblings or murder anyone, really anyone at all.

Yes, each and every table had these gorgeous candle pots and 3 beautiful hard-cover books like this one. At the rehearsal dinner, each table had a painted quill in an inkpot, which she crafted with mod podge and ink herself. She not only was a Girl Scout, she works for them.

Perfect day, beautiful couple, wonderful families. I was very glad to be a part of it. It's one of the best things I've ever done actually. Knowing I was part of joining two amazing people, and stepping a wee bit outside of my comfort zone. I used to have a pretty bad fear of any kind of public (or even mostly private) speaking. While volunteering for the 3-Day Walk for Breast Cancer, ironically where I met the bride and her mother, they needed speakers for several training and Crew meetings. 
The Queen, bride's mother, no doubt the reason she's so amazing.
I worked my way up as a team captain, then a coach of captains, then a captain mentor and spoke to different groups of people, to speaking to larger and larger groups, giving demonstrations, providing training and even speaking before the entire Crew of hundreds, and managed to kill that fear. 
Look how THRILLED I appear to be. Yeah, enthusiasm took awhile.....still waiting.
There are few things that feel better than facing a fear and kicking it's butt. That nervous, am-I-excited-or-am-I-going-to-throw-up? feeling makes you feel alive.

It's the closest we come in our time to slaying a dragon and I highly recommend it.
The flower girl carried a sign like this one. thewritersloop.me
I didn't have my camera with me most of the day for pictures.

2015-03-23

Can You Help Me Practice Crying?

I had a great idea, ok AN idea for a blog post but of course I didn't write down and now apparently we all suffer with my stream of semi-consciousness.

Nothing exciting to report, we spent all of last week outside because Monday was SEVENTY degrees. Today it's snowing ass because: Chicago. Well, probably all of the Midwest and other places too, but I'm in #Chibera and that hashtag is large and in charge on Instagram today.

It was semi-warm Saturday so we fired up the grill and threw every animal we could find on it. Apparently we left our napkin-holder and some other assorted items outside and now they're covered in snow. Hashtag Spring Problems.

I have no idea what's going on in the world because I've been reading and reading and reading the words to the wedding ceremony I'm officiating. That word, "officiating," is that the right word? Makes it sound like I'll be ref'ing a Battle Royale, doesn't it? Well, I will be wearing black and white and sensible shoes, so I'm ready for whatever breaks out.

The first 100 or so times I read the words they made me choke up, because being a woman is some Major Bullspit. I just keep reading them hoping they'll lose their ability to manipulate my woman parts. Like when you say a word so many times it loses all meaning,
"Gum gum gum gum gum gum gum gum" what does that even mean anymore? 

Just in case I did get some waterproof mascara. I have no idea how/if that works but the lady at Target said to "practice," along with a bunch of other words I couldn't hear because she had SO MUCH make-up on I couldn't stop looking at her spider-leg eyelashes. I'm lowkey jealous of people with eyelashes. I don't care if they're real or fake. I got nothin. If I don't wear mascara at least 37 people ask me if I'm sick.

Soooo I'm not sure if  she just means practice applying it, or applying it and then making myself cry. Which sounds like a freaking blast. I asked Alex, so being the Ever HELPING Husband, he took it upon himself to tell me increasingly sad and depressing things after that. Buuut we've been together for over 10 years so my ability to ignore his words is about at an Olympic-level. 

Any suggestions for what would help me practice crying this week? Don't say the weather, I've lived here my whole damb life so I know it snows in March. Sometimes it snows in April. Everyone loses their minds, and we all go marching on. 
How terrifying is this? Also, NO EYELASHES.
I may have to throw down some Lifetime Television or something this week. Can you recommend any movies that would help me practice crying?? Not The Crying Game, that didn't make me cry.

2015-03-15

Random Acts of Cake-ful

I started this post awhile ago, but these items are all relevant still so it totally counts (SBoR 37.1ish or thereabouts, check it.)

Last weekend we did some new things and you just can't beat that New Experience ... experience. Or something.

We finally checked out the mysterious "Popcorn Store" in our town. We have seen it, and actually walked past it a hundred times without even seeing it, and wondered 

(in Jerry Seinfeld voice)
"What is the DEAL with the tiny place?"
Do you see it? The architect must be the same guy who designed the Order of the Phoenix HeadQuarters. I totally wanted Dumbledore to jump out when we walked in. 

It's like there was a nice-sized gangway (as we call them in Chicago, you may say 'alley') and someone thought,
 "I bet if we put a roof over this alley and a nice door, we could sell popcorn and candy!" ,, 

Gods bless you, Genius Person. The thing that makes this place so great is that the rent, if any, has to be really low because these wonderful people sell a whole WALL OF CANDY for pennies a piece. They also make fresh, real popcorn for cheap. We bought a medium-sized bag for $1.29 that my husband and I shared, and was plenty for both of us. You can barely buy a soft drink or a bottle of freaking WATER for that price, and the Earth is mostly MADE OF WATER.


This is THE WHOLE STORE in this picture. That's it, that's all folks. It's just this hallway of candy, popcorn made in the back. If a pregnant lady wants popcorn? Everyone has to leave the store so she can get back where the popcorn is. 

We also got NEW PHONES. My phone was constantly locking up, even after uninstalling Facebook, and I had to pull the battery out almost every day. It was getting old. I'm thankful my new phone works well, brings me the internet even if cough-cough it's initial load time is slow, I'm still thankful for technology in my pocket. Yes, that is a tiny computer in my pocket, and I'm happy to see ya.

We went to the Pac-Man themed restaurant, which was fun even if it wasn't exactly the amazing 80's experience I was hoping for. I did a whole review, so click that link to it if you're curious and leave it at that. 

I'm sure everyone who isn't abominable is thankful that Spring seems to have Sprung. This Saturday was not only THEE Pi Day of the century, 3/14/15 but also the day they dye the Chicago River green. I posted this picture last year, I love it.
A & M Photography
Even though Saturday was Pi Day, I made a cake for my BIL (that I'm marrying to my sister in September.) I'm more of a Cake Person. By that I mean I'm now more Cake than Person now. 

I think literally. 

My Blood Type? Butter.

CAKE PERSON. Look at that guy's FACE! from VH1.com
I found a great cake recipe, that is not only delicious which it IS, the writer explains the reasoning behind each step so that dum-dums like me don't think, 'eh, I don't really need to use a mixer for this, or separate egg whites, etc.' and now I DO those things in that way. For great results. It's a yellow cake with chocolate frosting, totally delicious.

Warning: A pound and 1/2 of butter goes into doubling the recipe for a 2-layer cake, which is the preferred method of cake delivery for an ideal Frosting-to-Cake ratioThis is something I know about. Click >>HERE<< for the recipe

Or just know that it's pinned to my Pinterest, not only in my "Cakes" board, but also my FAVORITE Recipes board, which has recipes I have made and highly endorse. I like the writer of this recipe's explanations.

I've gotten a lot better at cake-ing thanks to:
New Pans 
and
Practice.

Meaning I make a cake like every week for one reason or another. Hey, Practice Caking is an important thing. And totally a real thing. I have to have a recipe down for my friend, Lizzi's trip to 'Murica this year! 

Though my husband has called a "Cake Intervention" and called my baking self-destructive 
- literally the words that he used
at this point, but I can now bake a mean cake. I mean a delicious cake. My cakes are not mean. If you don't count the damage they do to your arteries. And I don't. 
St. Patty's dessert tray. Rainbow cupcakes & booze.
So to balance all this cake, I'm thankful for crispy fried onions. I'm going somewhere with this, they make eating salads less of a punishment. Let's face it, salads are sadness in a bowl. These add some actual taste.
Delish. from freshgourmet.com
Also thankful for Lite beer, and you can put it down all you want but it still tastes like beer for under 100 calories and goes well with salad. 

Hey, I'm balancing Midwest Winter (and cake) Weight Gain so give me a break, beer snobs.

I'm also thankful for Wii Fit because I can pretend exercise without leaving my house, which other than walking is the only way I'll ever do it. 


This list of buttery cakefuls and rambly thankfuls is a post that is part of an awesome community, the Ten Things of Thankful



2015-03-09

Throwback Weekend

This weekend we had a baby-sitter 2 nights in a row. It was one of those things that happens that you think couldn't possibly be real. Something is going to happen that will change it, so you don't get too excited about it. 

But it happened.

And just like when I saw Sir Paul McCartney in concert, and our own Chicago White Sox in the WORLD SERIES, it still feels a little surreal. Like a Total Recall purchased and implanted memory. Worth every penny.

It was a great reminder of that time pre-kids when we did everything WE wanted, which was: NOT MUCH. We drank too much, slept in, sat around watching TV and actually hearing it. So yeah, nothing productive. 

We didn't cook anything, or clean anything, our house looked like a crack den on Sunday. Some people just shouldn't be left to their own devices. Shout out to our children for coming along and forcing us to be real grown ups. Some of the time.

We did some things. We went to a Casino Night charity event for my friends on Friday night. We weren't sure how the ticket thing/raffle prizes worked, so we gave our few tickets away and left at Old O'Clock. I drank more than is age appropriate, judging from my pounding head Saturday morning, but it was fun.

Saturday was pretty boring errand-running, trying to find clothing worthy of a 'high priestess.' That's what I accidentally said when I told the lady at Chico's I didn't know what to wear to officiate a wedding. In my defense, she was a classy-looking ladytype who works AT A CLOTHING STORE, and she didn't know either. But she agreed I should totally call myself a High Priestess whenever possible. Even though it couldn't be more inaccurate.


We spent a lot of time getting new phones, especially for our approach. I always say, 
"Just give me THEE cheapest phone that takes pictures and brings me the internet." I'm a thing-dropper, why tempt fate?

My husband Alex does his online research ahead of time, and pretty much just goes with whatever smart phone has that thing where when you take pictures, you hold down the camera button and it automagically (remember that?) takes 10,000 pictures so you can pick the one your kids are least creepy-looking in. 

Then, when we were having all of our digital junk transferred to our new phones, AFTER we've paid, it turns out Alex did didn't even have any IDEA how much his phone costs. He literally said, "I don't know." WHAT?! That's the most American thing he's ever done ever. 

Quick disclaimer: They used to do free phones with contracts, so this was the first time we had to pay for phones. Now they break it down into monthly payments on your bill. Our service price went way down, so our bill was about the same including the new phones. If we want to upgrade before they're paid off, they will pay them off.

We also heard a pretty hilarious Wacky Dad in the store, Dad-ing it up to his preteen daughter. We missed the beginning of the convo, but he said something like,
"It doesn't matter. By the time you have kids I'll be dead."
She dramatically smacked him and "DDAAAAADDD!"'ed him, and he said,
"Unless you have kids pretty soon. You should probably hook up now."

That was a first for me. I wanted to stroll by and say,
"Hey, I heard your looking to 'hook your daughter up' I have a teenage son" and see how much I could mortify someone else's kid, but they left before I could do it.

Yes, it's probably for the best.

Speaking of throw-back, Saturday night we went to what was promoted as a Pac-Man themed restaurant. ::80's Nerd Boner::

I will admit, I was disproportionately excited about this. A couple of the pictures promised Big Things, 80's style.
RIGHT?! from DailyHerald.com
This wall-sized Pac-Man game was there, but it beats me how you ever get to play it. No one ever explained the process. Or any process. Or anything. It was a fun night of watching other people play video games.

I'm not sure who designed this restaurant, but I'm almost positive they weren't alive in the 80's. You can tell the difference between someone who was there, who gets it, and pop culture kids who want to create a vibe but weren't there.

I read about this place and was immediately excited, hoping for nostalgia. A little bit of that, 
"We had to leave the house to play video games, Son" 80's magic. Well, being at a place in a mall where they have arcade games reminded me exactly why my generation made sure we didn't HAVE to leave our houses for this crap anymore. Because: PEOPLE. I hate when People.

This place was such a great idea. They promised table-top games and showed people eating meals on those table-top games. Maybe it was just us, but that gave us the impression we would at some time be seated at a table like that.
WRONG.

I'm not sure how to get the experience they promise in articles, but we couldn't figure it out. We had some logistical problems, that might have been cleared up by people who work there, but weren't. No one ever told us there was a Coat Check, we had to ask. 

We weren't sure about how the game cards worked, they said by time. We later figured out that didn't mean GAME TIME, that meant actual time. Except not quite the actual time of Earth, where I have lived all of my life, because we swiped one at one point and the screen told us "2 minutes and 30 seconds left of Play." Then we walked about 40 feet to the next game, swiped the card and the screen said "No Play Time Left." Maybe they installed Time Jumps and Black Holes, but again, none of that was explained.

They claimed the cards are done by time so that you can "socialize" but when the clock is running down faster than actual time, you can't stop and chat, Sister. You need to be constantly sprinting in a circle around the games to find an open one. And do you think you will find TWO or more NEXT TO EACH OTHER that are open? This is not a "Fantasy Island" themed restaurant. Unfortunately.


Most of your precious Game Time is spent trying to find/play an actual game that was open, and not being played by a teenager or young adult. Who didn't look like they ate at the restaurant. Speaking of the restaurant, described as a word I despise, "upscale" was totally separate from the games, and all things Pac-Man. And 80's. And fun. 

In my selfish mind, I couldn't help but think, 
'Wait, didn't I just way overpay for a small plate of THREE scallops so that I didn't have to fight teens for an open game? Because I really thought I just paid $12 for a FROM SCRATCH froo-froo drink called "The Pinky" so that I could have that kind of experience.'

And, as I stated in my novella of a Yelp review, if I actually had had that type of experience, I wouldn't have minded paying that. But the food wasn't the level of Justified A Mostly Empty Plate, as some of the upscaliest of the upscale. 

The food did not earn it's Car Payment price. My dinner was $28 for 3 medium sized scallops and literally a spoonful of some kind of corn and vanilla puree. That's right, vanilla. This restaurant was full-on mocking the Upscale Restaurant formula. It would have ONE crazy ingredient that didn't belong with the others, like:
"Porkchops, potatoes, swiss chard"
Every menu item read like that,
"Regular food item, food, eeew"
"Yum, yum, WTF"

The swiss chard was rolled into a seaweed wrap, that tasted like a Horcrux. The worst Horcrux. That one in the cave where Dumbledore tells Harry he has to keep feeding him the poison water, and he's begging Harry to stop and it's killing us all. You and I would have totally stopped, but this is why Harry is the Chosen One. He doesn't let the absolute horror on Alb's face stop him. He keeps scooping and feeding him, and we can't even LOOK, but he gets it done. I imagine that poison water tasted like the swiss chard, like Impending Death. It's ironic how the more healthy the food is, the more it makes you not want to live any longer.

Speaking of Impending Death, the service wasn't great. The waiter was friendly enough, he went on and on about some fancy water that is filtered by magic fairies 3 times in the back, and you could get SPARKLING water from the birthing tubs of baby unicorns, but then we never got this fancy water until our meal was almost over. We were totally over it by then. We needed something strong to get that Horcrux taste out of our mouths, not water. That mush was was SO BAD that on a dare we all had to taste it. This is a job water can't handle. Accio alcohol.

I would rather see some corny, campy 80's or game-themed food. Like this cake I made for my husband's birthday.

And then we were given game cards that didn't work, and we had to hunt down and wait forever for cards that actually worked, and then we still had to wait in line like commoners behind teenagers to play their version of an 80's video game. 

Since it's dubbed a "PacMan themed restaurant" I assumed there would be plenty of those games to play. Wrong again. I did not see ONE Ms. PacMan game. There was a Baby PacMan game, I didn't even remember that was a thing. Where is the Missus? In back cooking like it's 1947??? 

There was one regular PacMan game, and a few "Level 256" games that at times we waited in line to play. One went right to Level 256, the highest level of PacMan, but it wasn't the split-screen craziness we heard about. 

It was just impossible to play and when you ate the BIG PILL, the ghosts didn't turn blue.

Homer Simpson voice: "BOOORING!"

The place seemed to be for 80's kids all growed, but that is exactly who we are and it wasn't for us. I have no idea what could fix this. I can't even grasp the logistics of my preschooler's Pajama Day, so don't ask me how to run an Upscale Restaurant-slash-Arcade. That doesn't even sound like a thing to me. 

It may have been better if we could have sat at the tabletop games tables at any point. Remember those machines? In Pizza Hut and whatnot? 2 people sat at a table and played 2-player Ms. Pac-Man and Frogger and it was fun. 

I have pictures, but effing Blogger is not letting me upload them. There are pictures on my Instagram if you're curious. Button in the upper-right of this screen.

Anyway, they had those tables. Right near the book shelf full of 80's board games, and some nerds had the audacity to play Rummikube on the table. ON TOP OF A VIDEO GAME. Alex was beside himself, "They're using TWO games!" 
Blurry. I didn't want the people to freak out about having
their picture taken while being HUGE wasteful nerds.
It did seem like a waste. I don't know if it was the same exact people sitting at those tables all night, but I never saw anyone get up from those at any point. They felt like a secret we weren't in on. 

We did get to play a few games, Space Invaders and Q-Bert, one of my favorites. I didn't see Frogger, Donkey Kong or Burgertime. *sad face*

Tapper. Can't read it, sorry.
And some game I did not remember called Tapper, which seems to be an 8-bit Budweiser commercial. See the bow tie logo at the top? It's through the whole game.

In the game you're a bartender of FOUR bars simultaneously. 

You pour the drinks and sling the mugs Sam Malone-style at the drunks, then you have to collect the empties before they crash to the ground. Good times.

They also had overly fancy disco-ball bowling alleys, which seemed more 70's to me, but what do I know? 
Does this look 80's to anyone??
I was alive in the 80's and there weren't disco balls at bowling alleys. Not any that I ever went to. They did have them at roller skating rinks. It seems like a reach. Gratuitous Disco Ball-handling. To the Penalty Box!

They also had that plastic dome hockey game with the swivel dudes. Remember those? Yes, sorry for the technical jargon on the games. I don't know what you call that crap.
THIS thing.
The highlight of the evening for me was when I got 5th high score on Q-Bert and got to enter 3 characters for my name. Even though I have a 3-letter name, I entered "ASS" because 80's forever!

This place is somewhere between,
"Totally tubular!"
and
"Barf me out, gag me with a spoon."

We had a pretty good time, but I doubt we'll return. If we do, it definitely won't be on a Saturday night. Based on the price vs. quality of our meal, we'll probably just skip the restaurant part all together and stalk out those table-top games. Have appetizers and torture people by playing Go Fish on top of them or something. 

What do you think about a "Pac-Man themed restaurant?" Any ideas for how to make it a better experience?

2015-03-02

Vulcans Are Not Logical. RIP Leonard Nimoy

You've heard by now that Leonard Nimoy joined the Final Frontier. Well, I guess technically from the show, space is the final frontier. He didn't go there, so he's gone to the FINAL Final Frontier. He died, okay. Geez, I hope I never have to write a funeral in my minster duties. 

Anyway, I was/am a Star Trek geek and I know everybody loves Spock, but I connected with his character in an extra nerdy way. Vulcans are purely logical people. I first thought, as everyone did, they didn't have any emotions. That sounded really awesome to me. 

Later I learned that Vulcan history involves a lot of violence, and they consciously chose to suppress their very intense emotions. After generations of training, they learned to replace their emotions with pure logic. Amazing.

I envied them as Captain Picard later envied Data in a TNG movie, when he told the Captain he was going to deactivate his emotion chip.
from scifi.stackerexchange.com
 We learn more about Spock as the show goes on, his official record listed his full name as: 
"Spock, Vulcan name unpronounceable." 

I learned that Mr. Spock has a more emotional struggle than most Vulcans, his mother was human. The show wasn't afraid to tackle difficult cultural issues of the time. Throughout the course of the show he does show emotion, and a lot of humor. Nerd humor, but that was the target market.
from boards.ie
That was even more fascinating to me. I couldn't help but wonder if human people could do that. 

Little did I know I already was doing that. Having 2 brothers made me tougher than I may have been. Anyone with siblings quickly learns to hide their fear, and to a large part their happiness. If someone knows what makes you happy and sad, it makes all that much easier to torture you. 

That's not as devious as it sounds, Only Children of the world. Sibling torture prepares you for the bullies of the real world, who are often more cruel and usually much more stealthy with their intentions.

Speaking of family drama, even Mr. Spock, the allegedly all-logic Vulcan, had a strained relationship with his father. We're forced to assume this comes from his human half. He also consulted Bones, the ship's doctor, quite often to check if his behavior was appropriate throughout the show. He continues to struggle and grow in terms of emotions throughout the show and the movies.

If you haven't watched the show, you should look into either The Original Series (TOS) if  you are a fan of fun, campy SciFi, or The Next Generation (TNG) if you're more a fan of pure Science-based Fantasy/Fiction. TNG is less campy, much better geek writing. Unlike many, I liked them both for their various reasons. 

I'll always love both Captain Kirk and Captain Picard, and I still do. I tell my husband I would still hit it, for both captains, yes even now. I have a special place in my shriveled grinch heart for Spock. I think a lot of women, and certainly some men, can really relate to and respect the concept of suppressing emotions, and replacing with logic.

I know I'm pontificating a fictional character, I know that. 

To some Fiction is more important than a story being told. For a lot of people Fiction of all kind is an escape. I feel like you either get that or you don't. If you do, I'm sorry you felt you had/have something to escape but in terms of your choice, it could be a lot worse. Take it from me. There is no return from some kinds of escapes. 

When I watched TOS, I was young and it was a fun escape. When I watched TNG, I felt I really needed a mental escape from my life. It wasn't as easy for me as a non-Vulcan to suppress my emotions. 

Prescription (and some not) drugs helped with that, and created a myriad of other problems, too many to get into during this post.

Thanks to all of those distractions, and the beginning of a very long journey of counseling, I was able to successfully suppress all emotions so well that I stayed in a horribly oppressive marriage for years after I should have. Conservatives and religious zealots would consider this a victory, and as always they can line up to SUCK IT. 

Considering the very dark place it brought me to, including violent thoughts, it could have been very disastrous. 

It's also taken me decades to start realizing, feeling and and even acknowledging my actual feelings, let along trying to deal with them. This is what the teen years are supposed to be for. I'm beyond emotionally immature. The dick jokes are Just the Tip. 

My point is, it was a really bad situation. Humans aren't Vulcans, because we're real. We exist. Beings that exist cannot possibly suppress every human emotion. Not without dangerous results. Eventually your feelings are going to surface, in a variety of ways. 

Maybe you'll be lucky and all that will happen is you have a harmless little nervous breakdown. These often come at inconvenient times, and without much warning.  

Maybe you'll develop intensely bad habits while using all of your energy to hide your misery. You could become addicted to an unhealthy substance, or even too much of a healthy one. Once you're an addict, to whatever it is, do you think anyone is going to appreciate that this was a result of wanting to "stick it out" through a tough situation? No, they won't.

If you have a breakdown and anyone or anything winds up getting damaged, do you think it will be in your advantage to mention the struggle you were going through at the time? It won't.

Once the situation has finally broken your spirit, and it will, all anyone will remember is the bad thing that was the result. The lives you hurt. The money spent to fix the situation. The damage you've done. 
No one will care that you tried so hard for so long to get along. Not one person will appreciate the enormous effort it takes to put on a fake happy face and trudge through misery day after day. Believe me. Not your family, not your children, certainly not your Significant Other. 


The longer you pretend to be happy when you're not, the more betrayed everyone will feel in the end. Allow yourself to feel your feelings, you're human. You're supposed to have feelings. Find a safe person, a safe place to explore those feelings. 

Figure out what you want, often the most difficult line of thinking a human can do, and then take small steps to get yourself to that point. No matter how long of a process that is, the journey will help you. Each step will be enough to get you through to the next. A community of support will help, but you have to be true to yourself in the end. Nothing good comes of pretending.

I can't offer advice on how to be happy, that's up to every individual. I can tell you how to deal with utter misery. 

Don't fight it. Don't suppress it. Don't try to replace it with logic. We're not Vulcans. Being Vulcan is not logical. Not for humans. 


_____________________
Quick mini-tribute to the real person, Leonard Nimoy:

I learned there was so much more to Nimoy than Mr. Spock. (I keep wanting to call him Dr. Spock, totally different guy.)

I heard about him directing, but did you know he wrote poetry and was a pretty amazing photographer? Though my novice eyes are easily impressed, his photographs seemed to have deep meaning. 

The poetry? Don't ask me, and I really mean that. Do not ever ask me to read and decipher poetry, it makes me cranky. I never get the same meaning as other people when I read poetry, at times it's downright embarrassing so I've learned to avoid it. I have a fear of poetry, and developed an Intolerance. It's a medical condition okay Karen, so no, I do not want to read your daughter's poem for school, I'm sure it's beautiful.

His photos however, are very artistic. There is nothing to puzzle and decipher, you look, you're touched. Or not. Art is subjective, and usually I hate most of it.
Self portrail from cbsnews.com
Most art doesn't make me feel anything but bored. And frustrated because once again I am forced to realize I don't respond to things the same way most other people do. After enough years of people being shocked, it gets a little old. You get tired of arguing and just pretend to like things. Painful.

And, okay if the art is really good, I also feel a dollop of jealousy (I'm only human) that I don't seem to have the same resources, or use of my lame limbs as these other-wordly super humans that are just here to make us feel inferior. These photos don't make me feel that way.

The photos I've seen of Nimoy's are mostly of people. 

If you're thinking "Big Whoop" I'm with you and we should totally *fistbump* and go make fun of an art show sometime. 

Some of his photos did make me stop and look for a minute. 
Here is a link to his photos, good stuff IMHO:
http://www.rmichelson.com/Artist_Pages/Nimoy/pages/Leonard-Nimoy-Gallery.html

I am always fascinated with pictures of him smiling.
Do your eyes go straight to the ears? Just me? from fanpop.com

One amazing project that moved me is The Full Body Project. This was a book that he did with real-life women. That is to say, real life real sized curvey women. 

I'll put a link here, the pictures are totally Not Suitable For Work. They're also extremely artistic, which yes means some are NEKKED. They are also very empowering photographs for women.

According to the author, the aim of the book was to showcase the average American a woman, someone who “weighs 25 percent more than the models selling the clothes,” and to go against Hollywood’s “fantasy” ideal of what females should look like. The collection received rave reviews, with critics applauding Nimoy’s respectful approach to the photographs and his sincere attempt in demanding change within the industry.

http://www.bustle.com/articles/67048-leonard-nimoys-best-feminist-moments-from-his-full-body-project-to-his-fight-for-equal-rights
Live long and prosper, he certainly did.

2015-02-20

For Your Consideration - #1000Speak

Today is the day. Can you feel it? 

That warm feeling spreading across the internet today. It started with an intimate group of friends (namely Yvonne Spencer & the adorable Lizzi Rogers) and took off like wildfire. It spread here and I'm giving it to you. Don't worry it doesn't even burn when you pee. Much. It's #1000Speak day, the day more than 1,000 writers unite! But separately in our own homes like that introvert meme, to put something into the world that feels in short supply:
Compassion.

Before we can expect to suddenly find compassion just magically flowing along the river of molten evil running underneath society that is the internet, I feel it's a good idea to start with empathy. Or at least consideration.

Relax, you know I'm not going to make you actually do anything, or even promise to be a nice person. That sounds like a lot of work, that I'm not cut out for. 

All I'm asking you to do? Is consider.

Consider another person's point of view. 

Just consider.

Consider that perfectionist at work. The one always half an hour early for work, correcting people's grammar, and pointing out every little flaw while wearing his ironed jeans with the perfectly straight line down the front on Casual Friday. 
If you could go ahead and iron
YOUR jeans, that'd be great.
from voanews.com

Consider whether his parents were extra tough on him. Consider the struggles he may have had in school, which was never as easy as it was for his younger sister. Maybe if he were personable or musically talented, or if anything he ever tried went well, he wouldn't have to constantly double-check every piece of work he comes into contact with, to relentlessly over-achieve. Maybe if his father just once told him he was proud of him, like he does to everyone else, he could give himself a break. He could sleep at night. He could make a marriage work. 

Consider the Clean Freak. The neighbor with the sparkly clean car, parked in her meticulously clean driveway next to her perfectly manicured lawn. The one who obsessively washes her hands, and carries her own hand sanitizer everywhere, and has recurring nightmares about public bathrooms. 

Maybe all that hand sanitizer works like a child's "Monster Spray" to make her feel she is finally taking control of her fears in some small way. Maybe she wasn't sent here by the devil to make you feel inferior. Maybe she's covering up her own feelings of inferiority. Consider how hard she works to paint that perfect picture, and what's she is trying to hide with all of her constant efforts. She must really have something terrible she doesn't want anyone else to see.

For your consideration, think about the woman who is up on all the gossip. She always has the scoop, will be glad to tell you every moment she's witnessed of other people's misery. Because maybe if she fills her life with everyone else's problems, she can distract others and herself from her own miserable life. And all of her personality flaws that are becoming overwhelming, beyond her control, chasing everyone away. 

Consider that woman wearing sooo much makeup, bronzer, or self-tanner she actually looks like a caricature of herself. 
My inner goddess? 
Is also hella ratchet.
naturalhealthandbeauty.net.au

She may not have had a role model to explain that she has more to offer then world than her outer appearance. 

She may not have siblings to tell her how ridiculous she looks. She may not have a good mirror, or any working lighting in her home. Or a vision plan to get those eyes checked.


Maybe it's soul-crushing low self esteem, maybe it's Maybeline. 

Maybe the process of putting all of this on, sometimes again and again before she can go out and face the world, is what she needs to mentally put on a protective barrier over herself. Consider how afraid she must be for the world to see the real her. All of this makes her feel safe, and more comfortable in public. Instead of adding to her insecurity, it would be nice if someone could recognize something positive and tell her about.  

Consider why someone would face actual surgery to change their physical appearance. What could make a person hate themselves so much they would pay the price and risk their lives just to change the way they look? Maybe someone who claimed to have loved them worked very hard to take away their confidence, carefully working at their weaknesses, beat them down over time and made them feel ugly beyond repair.

Consider someone who grew up watching what they were given as role models live that kind of life, bringing others down, instead of supporting each other. Meanwhile they paid so very little attention to their child that said child has to go to great extremes just to interact with them. Just to get them to even talk to her. To notice her, or him.

Consider that child, finally getting attention from some other adult, maybe a teacher. The first person that ever made him feel special. An adult who should know better, but is battling their own demons, so loud and so determined the person gets lost, and can no longer make proper decisions. This child and adult connect in a way neither has experienced before. They get the attention each craves, and start an inappropriate relationship.


Consider the series of unfortunate effed up events that could bring people to do something like that with their life. 
*shudder forever* from abcactionnews.com

Consider a life that has somehow driven a licensed professional to a point where they feel like being with another person is so much better than every other thing in life they risk their job, their very freedom for this relationship. Nothing can keep them from it. 

Except for being locked in jail, that is. Locked up with a lot of other people looking for 'love' in all the WRONG places. Sad life doesn't excuse breaking the law, I'm just asking you to consider what atrocities people must have had to endure to get to these places.

You know that terrible waitress, who has been distracted and inattentive throughout your meal? Before you go all Kate Goslin and demand to 'talk to the manger' 
We know someone IRL who has this cut
and is TOTALLY like this. F'real.
She would get you fired for anything.
from Reddit
or  demand she be fired, consider whether she may be going through some personal turmoil. She may be waiting for a call regarding the health of her father in the hospital. 


Sure there's a chance she may just be a loser crackhead working for cash to avoid the drugsick. But just maybe? 

She is just a regular person having the worst day of her entire life and just need someone to give her a break for once.

Now that I mention it, consider the crackhead. 
from sodahead.com
Really any drug addict/alcoholic, a person so addicted to whatever substance it is they are willing to sacrifice everything, ruin every relationship, even sell their own body and destroy their entire lives just to avoid going through the sickness of withdrawal again. Consider the pain a person must go through physically or mentally to wind up at that place. 

Consider the bartender who keeps disappearing, instead of attentively refilling your drink while you're out with your friends. WTF? Where is she? I need a refill, and she's just gone. Consider that maybe she has to run back and cook food, also, because the deadbeat fry cook is late again. She doesn't want to fill in for the cook, she hates that guy and hates frying bar food. It's smelly, you don't make tips, or even get double pay because if you tell the manager stupid Jay was late again he'll get fired and he has a sick kid he's trying to help care for.

She hates this whole job and this whole place, but she makes enough money to pay her rent by herself, without loud, partying roommates that steal her food. That's more than she can say for all the other 'real jobs' her family keeps trying to make her get. She tried, she did. The copy place paid crap, and that receptionist gig her dad 'pulled some strings to get for her' was a complete nightmare of women hating her, and sleezy guys in suits ogling her and staring at her chest whenever she tried to ask them a question. Only offering to help her with the system if she would have a drink with them after work. Sure, eventually she would get those precious insurance benefits if she stayed, but at the price of every shred of her dignity. And she doesn't even get paid tips. Thanks for the obvious disappointment with my decision though, Dad.

Consider the kid parking  your car, or serving your fast food, or selling magazine subscriptions door to door. Consider what series of events made him go from a person who had parents willing to pay for college, to a person out on his own, refusing any help, working for minimum wage just to be able to make his own decisions, and live life on his own terms. Consider quickly as he decides whether it's worth losing his job to punch you in the face for treating him like less than a person. If you're lucky, he will want to keep the job. Do you feel lucky, punk?

Speaking of feeling lucky, consider before you make comments about someone's weight ask yourself if that person may be going through something. Will your words be helping or hurting? Definitely consider whether that person has access to you when you're sleeping, or if that person prepares all of your meals. 

Consider the writer who rambles on and on endlessly. Consider whether the environment she has to write in is very loud, and she is doing the best with what she has. She is.

Okay, last one. This is more of a favor for me.

Consider the homeless. 

When you see a homeless person, consider them as just that: A person. A person who is most likely struggling with a bigger problem, joblessness, addiction, mental illness, etc. This may just be a hungry person looking for some food. 

Consider the homeless young man with perfectly straight teeth, and very beat-up brand name jacket. He may have come from an upper middle class family, but consider that for one reason or another he's no longer welcome to live with them. His mother may be fighting her demons, moving from town to town not telling him where they are this week. 

He may be one of the 40% of homeless youth (according to study in 2012) that are part of the LGBT community. Imagine that struggle as a teenager, on top of everything else humans go through at that age. Just imagine your teenager, or your niece/nephew/cousin's kid, consider yourself at that age, trying to deal with homelessness*. 

That's all I ask. Put yourself in another's life for just one moment, and consider what that must be like.

Just consider.

People may not always share the reason for their situation, or opinions. They may not even fully understand them. If we just start by considering another person's point of view, where they come from, why they think the way they do, we can begin to understand why their opinions are so different from ours. And just maybe, one day, give them a break.

This post was part of the #1000Speak movement. 


Please feel free to write or share anything you've written about compassion and go to here to link up and join in!

P.S. 

I stand by my earlier promise of not expecting you to do anything, but for your further consideration:

If you think helping people won't work, consider Utah's program for the homeless. They provide shelter for everyone who needs a home. This system is working. In just 8 years, they have cut the number of homeless by 78% and predict to end homelessness. 

By building someone up, giving them a chance, they have something to work for, feel like the human being that they are, and work hard to stay where they are, and keep the chance they've been given.