Thursday, May 29, 2014

DIY: Making the Most from a Bad Situation

We were away this past weekend on an impromptu up north trip (very impromptu- as in husband said he was going to work Saturday and Monday, decided not to work Saturday, and as we were walking in the woods like 30 miles from home, decided we should do an upper peninsula jaunt). Perhaps that it why I am feeling more able to cope. We don't often do "vacation", let alone have something we plan actually go fairly smoothly, yet this happened. We rushed home from our walk, made lunch and packed up all the things we would need for an overnight or two in the UP. At that point, we were thinking we would visit my parents on Drummond (as they invited us for the weekend, but as one of us was thinking of working 2 out of 3 of the days, it wasn't going to happen), and then go up and explore where my husband went to college. The plans grew from there, but shrunk back down as we realized how poorly our 2 year old sleeps away from home. Like really poorly. But that's another story for another time. Both boys did pretty well in the car (thank God for smartphones and devices), we managed to actually see everything we planned to see (such beautiful waterfalls!), the weather was beyond spectacular (it was in the 80's in the UP all weekend- couldn't have planned it more perfectly), we got in before the bugs were too bad. God truly blessed us with safety, clear roads, healthy kids, happy kids. There were some hiccups- as in the 2 year old refused to go to bed in under 2 hours of trying, or the detour trying to get to Kitch-iti-kipi that almost sent us away (but the husband said he was so thankful we went- it is gorgeous. Seriously- it's so hidden trying to get there, no giant signs or tourist traps. But it's Michigan's largest natural spring. Google it. Maybe I'll post pics tomorrow. It's unbelievable. Super deep, crystal clear, ginormous fish just chilling. I couldn't believe the husband had never been, especially since he went to school up in the frozen north). Overall, it was the best last-minute decision we have ever made. And we rolled with the punches fairly well, like the 2 restaurants we had to leave before we resorted to an Applebee's in Houghton for lack of something better for the family (and yes, my husband argues it's because of the crazy gluten-free diet that I'm such a nut about and one of my crazy little crazy-person delusions, but I'm pretty content being gluten-free for the moment, thank you very much).
So very long intro to the DIY, I know. I'm nothing if not long-winded and my stories are pretty pointless (I get long-winded narrative from my grandma). Yesterday, I'm cleaning up the house, and had to make some bleach-water, as the toddler bed I pulled from the basement looked like it was covered with either mud or poop, and I didn't want to mess around if it was poop (in retrospect it was probably mud, as the final time the husband disassembled the crib- which couldn't fit through our doors assembled- he threw it all outside in a fit). I decided to clean the counters with the mix, as my oldest was having some tummy issues and I was worried it could be more than it ended up being. I'm wiping the counters, etc, not really thinking anything. We went outside and walked down to the park, and when we were walking back I looked down and noticed a big ole bleach spot on the front of my shirt. Now it's a Pink by Victoria's Secret shirt, which I have already had the pleasure of noticing that the color from some of these shirts bleeds like no other. This luckily wasn't a bleeding color type, so my shirt under the bleach spot wasn't discolored. But I'm sitting there with a pretty big bleach spot, wondering what I'm going to do. By this point I'm cleaning up after dinner, and decided to just smear other parts of my shirt on the counter to see if I'd get a similar effect. Yep. Unfortunately, my dipping effect wasn't exactly like artwork, but I was like- voila. There it is. I will make my own art shirt. I took it off and laid it out on the table I was going to spray anyway, and sprayed the shirt with the mist setting of the bottle, trying to get some bigger splatters too. I got the back as well, with only the mist setting as I decided it didn't need big smears (also, it has an interesting back so it doesn't need to be fussed with). I rinsed it in the sink with warm and cold water, not sure if either would stop the bleach from further bleaching. I laid it out to dry and this morning, I am quite pleased with the results. The bleach solution I used was like 1 to 10 parts water? Probably a little strong, but I don't like to mess around. I will just have to remember to wear white shirts or ones I don't like in the future when using bleach solution. Duh, right?
The shirt is wet in this picture. Slightly lighter when dry.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Attempting: Motivation

I seriously lack motivation.
I pray often for motivation.

Well, moreover I pray for a path. I feel like once I had a path I would greatly increase my motivation down that path.

Then again, maybe I need the motivation first in order to find that path.

Damn double edged sword.

Lately, I have found some motivation (and if you aren't motivated and don't want to be motivated, trust me, it's cyclical and pretty soon I shall be discussing my intentions to sit and watch mindless tv and eat Ben and Jerry's), just little tiny pearls of motivation.

My main motivation comes from that stupid quote that boils down to insanity is repeating the same thing over and over expecting different results.
Am I the only one quoting this to myself like daily?

For example, I was hoping that by June I would be ready for shorts season. One key factor you should know about me- I have not worn shorts since I was a kid. In ninth grade I had a pretty significant eating disorder, and that was the last time I wore shorts. I didn't fully appreciate the shorts-wearing then, since I was enmeshed in a body war. After that, I have grown to realize that my legs were not legs that should be enshrined in shorts. My calves have always been reminiscent of butch German weight lifter legs (and I'm part German so it's totes ok for me to say that). No matter how much I work out, what type of exercises I do, my calves do not slim down. My husband calls me sturdy. Don't know how much I appreciate that, but I do resemble it. A couple months ago though, I decided I would wear shorts and June 1 would be my estimated arrival date. I've lost all of the baby weight, and while I'm not quite back to wedding-day weight, I'm pretty close. Granted, much of the weight has changed it's location since having children, but I'm still stuck with large calves (and now a baby gut). I'm working out more, realizing that crunches of some sort have to find their way into my repertoire, as well as squats. I'm hopeful squats will help with the bathing suit portion of the summer. I have also not worn a bathing suit in a number of years. Lie- I wear it but with a shirt and shorts over it. I do not want to hand off my boys my body issues, because it is more common for guys to have body issues nowadays. I must be in a swimsuit and shorts. This must is moving me forward into working out more regularly. Last night, for example, I wanted to work out. I put on my workout clothes. I had no motivation. So I slept in them and before lunch today I worked out. It wasn't extensive, but anything is better than nothing.

Another motivating factor is this feeling that looms over me, a feeling that I don't want to get to be 40, 50, and wonder what I did with my life. I realize that there are only so many hours in a day, and I'm not dramatically changing at the moment. There has been too much bad news and upheaval recently that I'm not trying to reinvent my own life wheel. I'm just taking inventory of where I am and where I'd rather be. For instance, while I love my children, I do not need to spend any more time with them. This isn't something I need to work on. I spend almost all day everyday with them, and it would be close to impossible for me to spend more time with them. Instead, it's my goal to spend more time reading and knitting. I used to read obsessively until grad school. After that the reading train was derailed and she's been in the shop ever since. I have also discovered recently that I would rather read a YA novel then an actual novel. Yep, I am pathetic and worthy of slander, but I don't have a month to devote to one book (and I'm not a slow reader by any stretch, I just don't get much alone time. It's incredibly difficult to get anything done when little people are asking you to watch something every 3 minutes). I just read a YA novel in about 3 hours the other night. Is it mind candy? Perhaps. But it's reading, it's selfish me time, and I crave it. Also, knitting. Love to do it. Once again, difficult to accomplish with little people climbing you and demanding lap time. With the hour or so I get to myself each night, I need to decide what takes precedence. And these are top of my list. I also need to start getting up earlier, maybe working out then, and doing some spiritual stuff.
But it's hard to motivate.

What are you trying to motivate to do?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I found out on Sunday that a family friend's child committed suicide.

I shouldn't say child, he was early 30's.

I didn't know him at all, but apparently he went to our school (then again when I went there, the class size was over 1000 I think, so pretty easy not to know someone even in your own grade, let alone someone in a different grade).

I don't know his story, I don't know what had happened in his childhood, youth, adulthood.

I know that he was married.
I know that he killed himself in a gruesome manner.

I can't even begin to wrap my head around it-
what it takes to get to that point
what his family must be dealing with
what his wife must be dealing with
As a parent, I don't know how you would ever recover.
I can't fathom it.
As a wife, how do you go on and potentially remarry someday?

The thing is, everyone gets completely screwed with a suicide. Everyone you met will spend the rest of their lives wondering if maybe they could have prevented it, could have convinced you to get help.
Your parents blame themselves.
Your partner blames themselves.
God forbid you have kids, and they blame themselves.

It's a huge burden to give to them for the rest of their lives.
I don't think a day would go by that your loved ones wouldn't think of it.

I know the issue is much more complicated than that, the emotions a depressed person must be going through, the pure emptiness in order to contemplate ending one's life.

But I'm strictly talking about the wake of destruction left in the path of a suicide.
Because that's what it is.
I don't think any man is such an island that no one would be impacted if they killed themselves.

And it's not a smart plan. You die. Game over. You can hope and theorize about some afterlife or not, but when you take it into your own hands, who knows. Maybe there is, maybe there isn't, point being that you are dead.
I dont' want to turn this into some sort of PSA, but things get better.
I've been at some pretty low points in my life, where I couldn't imagine things ever changing.
They did.
I've known several people who have tried to kill themselves before, and guess what? Their lives got better too. And they are glad to be alive.
I'm not trying to say I know that everyone's life is going to be some rainbow and unicorn happiness, cuz it won't. But if the option is deal with the bad crap that comes into my life for the chance to deal with happy stuff too, I'll take that option.
And there are always people who want to talk to you, to help you. Maybe it seems like you are alone, that no one cares, but it's so false.
It's sort of like when I had an eating disorder- I constantly had to tell myself how ugly, fat, gross I was in order to keep myself going. If I opened my eyes to the truth in front of me, to how skinny and deathly twigish I had become, then I probably would've been horrified. Maybe it's like that- convince yourself how alone, unloved, undeserving you are. But it's a lie. There is always going to be someone there that wants to help you, to reach out if you'd let them.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Oversharing Online: SOAPBOX

It's soapbox time.

I hate facebook.

It's not facebook's fault. It's a social connection tool. Awesome, I get it. But it has been abused.
Terribly terribly abused.
Now I won't even get into the bane of "Hit 'like' if you love your dog, ignore if you want your dog to get hit by a car and die within an hour" type posts. Those are super annoying, and also a good reason to abandon facebook, but they are not my main gripe today.


What do I mean?
It's your friend who posts every gut-wrenching detail from their family's stomach flu outbreak. It's the old classmate who constantly complains about the weather, their job, their car, how exhausted they are, etc. It's your friend who insists on sharing every picture taken at their 3 day wedding extravaganza that they did themselves from Pinterest, using Mason jars, fedoras, gluten- and dairy-free everything from scratch, and locally sorced wildflowers harvested ethically.
We get it.
You're life is suuuuuuuuuper important.

Well just get over it and delete them from your friends' list, or hide their feed, you say.

This post isn't for you then, bossy britches. I have a feeling you might be the oversharer if you feel that way.

This blog post is meant for the rest of us, those fed up with the minefield of their daily newsfeed.

I actually quit logging onto facebook because I didn't want to deal with it. So many of my facebook "friends" would post everytime their children are sick, and in minute detail. I personally couldn't handle the anxiety, regardless of their proximity to me.
I feel bad, because I would like to see cute baby pics, hear about who is getting married, etc, but not enough to deal with the anxiety mess that I always end with.

And besides, if they are not good enough friends with me to tell me in person or over the phone/email about their exciting news, then I don't even care that much.

What is it about this social platform that makes people want to overshare? Or is it certain personality-types who are driven to pollute this media with the oversharing?

Maybe it's the thought- well they are my friends, so they want to know what's going on in my life, and if they don't, then they can unfriend me.
That is a good point.
But the overshare is never-
"I am so constipated- omg I need to take some stool softener stat"
"I had some awesome sex with a random stranger last night- thanks Bacardi!"
"My cramps are so bad I could punch a bitch, no seriously. Come at me"
It's not that these people overshare every last detail. There is still (thank God) some level of appropriateness.
I just don't know why some people can comprehend what is appropriate to a certain degree, but be flagrant in other areas.
This just in-
NO ONE wants to hear about your bodily secretions or the bodily secretions of anyone in your family. Trust me.
Did you have a gorgeous baby, a lovely honeymoon, some awesome GlamourShots? Please, post one or two of the highlights. NO ONE wants to scroll through 100 pictures. Well, I want those pictures saved online, you say. There are only about 1000 different options now to do so. Dropbox, Snapfish, Kodak, what have you. Those would be an awesome way to make sure you have a saved copy.
Was there a delicious sandwich at lunch?
Enjoy it and stop taking damn pictures of it. Seriously  NO ONE cares about your sandwich.

This would be an excellent post to discreetly share on facebook if you have friends who are guilty of these things, but you are too polite to call them out.

Or you can do like I do, and avoid. At all costs.

Although I had a brilliant idea (thank you, self. You are welcome, smart self.).
We need it to be required that all posts are tagged in a specific way.
Posting something happy, like a wedding, a baby, a new job? Then you select "happy".
Posting something sad, like a puppy dying, spilling your coffee, student loans? Select "sad".
Posting some illness plaguing your family or friends, like cancer, the flu, pink eye? "Illness".

There could be several categories, or it could even lump "illness" into "sad"
(and as a side note, "we are finally recovering from 4 days of puking our guts up" is not "happy", ok?).

That way, if you are having a shitty day and want to punch someone in the face because your ovaries are exploding or some jerk cut you off in traffic, you could hide everything labeled "happy" so you don't feel the need to consume 3 milkshakes.
Or, if you are needing a pick-me-up and want to see happy puppies and smiling babies, you can select "happy".

Seriously, how great would that be to filter out all the unwanted brain rot?

And while we are at it, how about a feature to "hide" every single forward someone shares, or score from some stupid online game, or anything that Snopes would rule out as false?

Then again, I hear facebook is a dying medium- that growing numbers of teenagers don't even know what it is. I guess they are snapchatting or tweeting or insta-whatevering.

So this is just a big soapbox rant.