My gorgeous Boyfriend and I went to visit his family in Eagle River, Wisconsin this 4th of July Week. Likely several Blog Posts about this trip will happen. This is the first.

Down here in the Southeast we have so many freaking venomous snakes. Copperheads, Moccasins, Rattlesnakes even in some places. And they're all over, there's no safe space. They're in our gardens, back yards, garages, fields, forests, and ALL of our bodies of water. There are also SOOOOOO many nonvenomous snakes. I see snakes more often than I'd ever wish to if I go outside. Even just the tiny, ropey green garden snakes. Too many of them. And since we have practically perpetual summer, they don't often hibernate or go away.

We're constantly reminded to watch the ground while we walk, we're told not to walk barefoot in the woods, we're told if we see a baby snake to get the hell out. We're told not to kill the snakes, just get the hell out.

The news frequently reports about people being snakebit. It's just… a thing.

The most frequent place to see snakes is in all of our bodies of water. So from the time we're little we're told that while we're swimming we have to be very careful. Don't play in the creeks, watch out for water moccasins, look out for water moccasins… blah blah blah.
Even when we go to the big, highly trafficked lakes and such… you'll see people out on a boat screaming up to shore and pointing "snake" when they see one.

Needless to say, this is not a similar problem Up North. No venomous snakes up around there for the most part.

But my man and I are ruined. Neither of us can spend a long time in a lake. About 15-20mins at a stretch and I start to feel uncomfortable, scanning the top of the water for movement. I have to get out and take a breather. Now I'm responsible for watching out for myself, not my parents.

He said he felt the same way. So even though we had this supposedly safe lake to be in all week long, we only spent small stretches in it at a time. And when a piece of grass or weed touched my butt… I still flipped out a little inside. And a little outside as well.
Just makes me crawly even thinking about it.

We’ve just been ruined, I guess.

I still did this, though.

Open up those shoulders.
I used to want to be a red-head.

But I never wanted to bleach my hair. So I used Home Box Hair Color to get the deepest Auburns (and one time a pretty rad Pink) that I could.

I stopped about ten/twelve years ago.

Fast-forward to last week...

Woohoo!!


I've been getting compliments and everything!!
Recently, it was my Birthday. For a Post-Birthday Celebration (because my actual date of birth was on a week day so I just scrapped the day altogether and waited a few weeks to celebrate) we decided to go to Tampa for a two-night stay.

I had a few things I thought I might like to do with roughly 48hrs in Tampa and spend some time hanging out in a place that I've never really explored.
So I had a bit of a plan and things didn't so according to the schedule of that plan but the plans did pan out in a different order. I'm really only going to talk about one part of this experience, but I thought I would give some prologue.

We decided, well, I decided and my company wasn't averse to the idea- we went to the Hard Rock Casino Tampa to their Champagne Brunch Buffet. It had everything I required to be a good time. Casino-style Buffet, Bottomless Mimosas and a price tag that was slightly intimidating but not exorbitant- presenting a challenge to making certain to get your money's worth.

The pictures make up the whole of my food consumption for the morning but don't also show the three mimosas and complimentary Bloody Mary that I consumed as well. There was also some water because I'm not a total heathen.

I noted a theme while we were eating, though, that has always sorta been stirring at the back of my brain but just now is making its way into the forefront with a good metaphor.

There emerge two distinct types of people when approaching a daunting amount of food. I will describe them.

THE METEOR:


Bursts onto the scene in the atmosphere, sparkles super brightly for a while, then burns out. This was my breakfast companion this morning. He'd had a plate and a half of food before I'd eaten my first plate entirely. But then he hit the wall. For quite a while. He hit that wall while I got my Bloody Mary Customized, while I my second plate of food, while I ate my third plate of food he took another small bite and while I summed up my meal he had a small dessert. Burned bright at the start but ultimately had no flash.

THE OLYMPIC TORCH:


This is Me. I came in, I stalked around the buffet to gather the lay of the land before I even got my first Mimosa. I had a plan.
First- a plate of veggies.
Second- a plate of meats and carbs
Third- more savory dishes if I felt them necessary or desirable
Fourth- sweet breakfast foods, dessert, etc.
Fifth- fruit and cheese to promote satiety and round out the meal.
General Plan- slowly consume the alcohol, but steadily.

I had a plan, I stuck to it. I didn't let shiny things in the corners distract me. I ran my course, I made the stops I was supposed to make- even though my flame was strong it didn't go out. This is a marathon, people, not a sprint. When I get to the end of my long journey, there's a celebration and I get to walk away (waddle) with my head held high.


So I'm the Olympic Torch, my partner the Meteor. After I was through I remarked to several people via text that "someone needs to roll my Blueberry butt out of the chocolate factory" and that was true. There was about an hour of the Buffet Sweats on the way back to our hotel, I admit. But I got through that and most of it was because it was like 85 degrees outside and 100% humidity and I was wearing skinny jeans and heeled booties.

Maybe one day you'll be faced with amazing amounts of food and need to decide which of these two types you will be. There's nothing wrong with either. But you have to decide going in in order to get the most out of your "there's SO much Food" experience.

Clockwise from Top Left: First plate of veggies; Second plate of meat
and carbs; Third Plate of heavy dessert; Fourth Plate of fruit and cheeses.

(I wrote this at night, I'm posting it in the daytime because it is more convenient. I do NOT day drink on regular weekdays. Only on fun weekdays) There are no pictures for this right now, maybe I'll update with added pictures soon!!

I just made myself a vodka and orange juice in a small IKEA tumbler. I have a weird thing for these tumblers and they're not mine. They're part of the "Roommate Kitchenware Shuffle" and I'm going to miss these damn things when I'm no longer a part of this Roommate shuffle.

There are six of them. They have little geometric patterns on them: two have black and white bars, two have black & white concentric circles and two have black & white layered squares.

I would seriously consider, I am seriously considering right now, offering the Owner Roommate like $15 on the way out the door (their way out or ours, whatever happens first) for these tumblers.
Nearly every morning we have our orange juice in them. If we have cocktails, they are perfect cocktail size. If I want to drink a random glass of almond milk in the middle of the night… perfect. And while I am sure IKEA currently makes comparable tumblers, I am for some reason obsessed with these.

They make me so happy. I love serving two little cute matching glasses of orange juice or vodka tonic or half a beer when we're feeling like lame old people.

I'm gonna have to start breaking up with these glasses just in case I can't buy them away from their owner but… I don't wanna!!
I've been away from posting anything here for a while but I can give you a concise and clear answer as to why...

I've been trying to write a new About Me section and it is causing me to tear hair out of my head in chunks (metaphorically, obviously, thankfully.)


Because I realise some people actually want to know ABOUT Me, and some people just want the gist of the thing, to find something About Me that they're looking for. So I'm trying to accommodate both those instances of ME, ya know?

So I popped by to say "never fear, I'm still here" and also to say "hopefully I will get this mess sorted soon and have a new section to my site with more info and awesomeness.

Just be patient, deal? Deal!!

The first time I heard the phrase "Half a Bubble off of Plumb" I heard it from my VERY Southern Literature teacher in high school and through her accent I heard "Half a bubble off a plum."

I spent a long time wondering what bubbles and plums had to do with one another. Not because I didn't know about Levels or Plumb lines… just because I had no idea how to interpret what I was certain I'd heard.

Until one day, years later, while building a Stage Set for my Theatre Degree. I was laying a plumb line with a chalker and a level and I actually said out loud "It's about half a bubble that way" and then gasped because I suddenly understood.


I'm pretty sure I stood up, laughing at myself and said "Half a bubble off OF plumb… not half a bubble off A plum…" and everyone looked at me funny.


Head back to Part 1 right here: How I Pray and Why

So, from the last part of this we gather that I:
-Am Protestant Christian
-Pray more often than just to bless food or when I want something from God
-Still fall back on being selfish sometimes
-Have a few weird but serious hang ups about Formal Corporate Prayer, that I'm not going to talk about
Moving forward…

I have plenty of friends who do not identify as Protestant Christians. In my life I have had Catholic friends, Jewish friends, Buddhist and Hindu Friends, Muslim Friends, Coptic Christian Friends, Friends who identify themselves as Wiccan, Pagan, Atheist, "Spiritual but not Religious" and members of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster… I've known lots of people and hope to continue to do so for my lifetime.

A lot of my friends don't directly pray. A lot of my friends even if they don't share my religion, DO pray. But I'm not trying to exclude anyone that I know from doing their level best to help me when I need it.

And I truly, 100% believe in the power of people's positivity and good intentions to influence situations for the better. Even if my friend is not directly involved in the situation, even if my friend is not aware of the exact nature of the situation… I believe that just having someone in my corner is enough to make good things happen. Just knowing that I have a network of people who are willing to take literally just a couple of seconds to move air with my name in it in a positive fashion is enough sometimes to get me over hurdles or just to get me moving past hang ups I have in my life that I wouldn't manage well without this little bit of knowing.

Even just the idea that people SAY they'll do it (cause I know words sometimes grow hollow) is often enough. Even though I firmly believe that actual prayer and people's good intentions have tangible influence on the world, I also believe that the act of even setting your thoughts positively toward something for a moment, ends up making you a more positive person over all. So while their promise to pray or send good vibes or whatever may never come to fruition, if they sincerely meant it when they said it (like slapping a Band-Aid on a paper cut) it worked.

Anyway, all of this rambling was just to say that I frequently ask for any sort of positive intentions toward my life that I can get. And I frequently respond to people's requests for the same, with positive intentions or prayers of my own.

But really this entire Two-Part Post was just to slip a little personal history of religion in there. So, what? :)


Part 1: How I Pray and Why

I identify myself as a Protestant Christian. I was raised that way, even if imperfectly and I try to live that way, very imperfectly but trying. So I pray. I can't say if I pray more, or less or on average the same as other identifying Christians, I'm probably my own unique level of praying in my own unique journey through life.

I don't necessarily formally pray a lot. There's a whole huge backstory to that, that includes a LOT of formal prayer and a lot of emotional and spiritual breakage… there's no need to go into that right now. Suffice it to say that I don't "come before the Lord in prayer" a lot and outside of a Church Service Setting, that phrase makes me anxious. For personal reasons, solely.

I do, however, pray "formal prayers" in an informal setting. Prayers that start with "Dear God…" and end in "In Jesus' Name, Amen" are my idea of serious, formal prayer. Prayers at meal times that go beyond just a blessing of the food, prayers when people are ill or hurting or when tragedies happen.
The love of my life and I pray together formally before one of us travels away from the other.

When I was younger, ok I'll admit it, in high school… *coughtwentyyearsago* I had a "Prayer Notebook" where someone told me to write ACTS prayers. For those of you not in the Sunday School Know (eesh) ACTS Prayers are prayers that follow the structure of:
Adoration and Praise- "You are a holy and loving God and I acknowledge your sovereignty" etc etc…
Confession- "I confess that I am a sinner" (we all know that one)
Thanks- "Thank you for everything that you've done for me this past day…" (it was hard sometimes to be thankful daily, it was a lot of repetition)
Supplication- "Lord I just ask…" (this is where you get to ask for things, not until the end so you don't seem greedy or ungrateful)
That lasted off and on for a semester because it probably took me the whole 15mins of Home Room to think up a one page notebook paper prayer so it was a good way to waste time, that I felt was helping me spiritually. I know… I know.

So now I'm an adult and my "prayer life" has been shaped by all of these things. I've learned in my life about things called Popcorn Prayers (throw up a tiny prayer in the midst of something else) and I've learned about not letting your prayers be in vain (another entire sermon series I could give from rote memory)  and so many other things.
But I've found a rhythm that works for me, works for my relationship with God as I see it… and has gotten me the spiritual results that one who identifies as a Protestant Christian can expect to see from prayer, in some small measure.

Now I pray when I have the inclination. For whatever reason, in whatever situation and not super formally at all.
Riding in the car, "God please help me make it through this day because I know you're the absolute source of everything I will need to make it and I am fully acknowledging that you have put inside of me everything that I need for today so long as I am willing to trust you that it is there."
Wracked with emotion when I can't find the words beyond "pleasegodpleasegodpleasegodpleasegod."
Completely thankful for everything in the world "Thank you God that you woke me up today to see another beautiful day and that I am breathing and alive and able to partake of this wonderful creation around me."

Sometimes I still selfish pray, I mean, we're all only human. But in general, this is my prayer life as it stands, 33 (almost 34) years into my trips around the sun.

Carry on to Part 2 here, whenever I get around to posting it.
NTTR Week 2


Week Two's Update of the Nose to the Rhinestone Challenge brings a lot of issues. I'm admittedly struggling because I'm used to spending nearly weeks without addressing anything creative, and then plunging in and putting in 40hours like a full-time job.

Just trying to do 30mins a day is ridiculously stressful. 


I'm more likely to want to do 8hrs one day and not again for a few days than this consistency. Trying to carve out 30mins in every day is not easy, finding a way to rearrange my entire schedule so that I can find five or six hours at a stretch is super easy.

I like to think I don't spend any time outside of my house, but trying to find 30mins to sit down and get these things done shows me that I'm out of the house a LOT more often than I realise. I'm frequently in places where I can't craft or produce creative things. And I'm generally ok with that. Consistency has never been my Prime Objective. Except, maybe it should be.

I am definitely learning from this experience, and I've two more weeks to go.

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