Magical Mystery Tour

My birthday is next week, and I have bombarded everyone (i.e. Dad, Mom, and Kelly) with my requests–often changing and always demanding.  Haha!  Am I spoiled?  But of course!  My latest have to have item for my birthday that I will probably end up saving up for myself over the new few weeks are one of the pairs of Dr. Martens below.  I had black Dr. Martens in my goth phase in junior high, and I wish I would’ve saved them. They’d still be good, I’m sure, but in a fit of anxiety and “your things you own end up owning you” panic, I chunked them one day.  The ones below are dreamy, though?!  I’m just struggling with which pair I want the most?  I think the top ones, but then, I change my mind.

Boots Like Art

 

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The Great Mushroom Hunter

I’m interrupting my posts on sexual assault (don’t worry–those are still coming) to discuss something that has overtaken my life for the last two days and potentially many more to come.  I may have missed my calling as a Mycologist.  I have Mearl-Purvis Ponder to thank for it.  I started taking our puppy on walks around the neighborhood, specifically in areas where there used to be houses but they have all been knocked down.  I kept noticing teeny little delicate mushrooms growing everywhere that I was obsessed with, and then, the more I started looking, the more mushrooms I spotted!  It’s hard to explain what makes it so exciting and fun to me, but I think it might be sort of like bird watching.  The more different kinds I find, the more I to hunt for them.  Some are beautiful.  Some are ugly.  Some are sturdy.  It’s fun to spot as many different kinds as I can. The pictures below are just from the ones I’ve found in the last two days.  Now, that I’ve explored our neighborhood, I think I’m going to get some books on it, maybe join a mushroom club (there is one in Arkansas), and who knows, next time they have a mushroom walk, maybe I’ll go.  It’s my recent obsession.

This photo doesn't do justice to how huge this is...I'll try to take another photo with a penny bit it so you can appreciate the size.  It's bigger than a dinner plate.
This photo doesn’t do justice to how huge this is…I’ll try to take another photo with a penny bit it so you can appreciate the size. It’s bigger than a dinner plate.

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I think this one is the prettiest.

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Feeling Good

So I’m usually behind on everything because I’m picky and because I can be kind of stubborn and fight the tastes of the masses.  Anyway, I’d heard about Hayao Miyazaki’s work for ages here in Internetland and from friends, but I just recently checked out some of his movies from the library.  I watched Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro over the weekend.  I really loved Spirited Away, and My Neighbor Totoro was pretty cute.  I’ll have to check out his other films now, too.

So in crisis news, I discovered our indoor cats (as in don’t ever go outside) have fleas.  I’m thinking it’s from a two second escape one made one day or from the cat tree we got.  All the cats have been dosed with meds that promise to kill fleas and their eggs, but I still feel freaked the eff out as if my kids came home with head lice.  I can’t deal with little creepy shit.  I also freaked out because ants are invading around our sink.  I nuked them with some chemical smelling Clorox kitchen cleaning spray which will probably be ingested because it was near our dishes where I was spraying.  Undoubtedly, K. and I will have a third eyeballs soon, but I don’t care.  Not in my house, dudes.  I told Kelly to say a prayer all the creepy crawlies left soon, or I’d be forced to move out.

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Jolly Old St. Natchitoches

Ready to take on Christmas in Natchitoches in short sleeves?! It was so warm during our visit, I contemplated purchasing flip flops, and I definitely lost that scarf.
Ready to take on Christmas in Natchitoches in short sleeves?! It was so warm during our visit, I contemplated purchasing flip flops, and I definitely lost that scarf.

Another highlight of my holiday season was our little getaway to Natchitoches, Louisiana.  Last year, a friend of mine who visits every year was talking about it in the office, and I immediately posted a Youtube video on Kelly’s page with a “We have to go here” message attached.  Fortunately, Kelly’s family saw our posts, and in December of 2015 they gave us a gift certificate to Andre’s Riverview Bed & Breakfast.

A stay at this beautiful bed and breakfast was one of the best gifts we've received as a couple!
A stay at this beautiful bed and breakfast was one of the best gifts we’ve received as a couple!  We were on the third floor, and we so enjoyed our stay here.  It was very relaxing, and the location couldn’t be  more convenient.  We were able to walk to everything in town.

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Sweet Savannah: Travel Post Day Two (Part I)

As usual, I wake up before my sleeping K.  I scroll through my phone and fidget as long as I can before I can no longer take it.  I think it is possible I might die of boredom by the time he gets up so I’ll have to find something to entertain myself.  Our room is messy—a reflection of a late night, early morning and a bottle of wine.  The suitcases are on the floor, spread open like novels, clothes strewn throughout the room.  I throw open the French doors and head out in my pajamas.  My hair is standing on end, but I don’t care.  I am embracing my Mom’s philosophy that stuck when I was a fat seventeen year old, afraid to venture out to the beach in a swimsuit.  She said, “To Hell with them, Sarah.  None of these people will ever see you again.  Life’s too short.”  I grab my camera off the nightstand before wandering out, “to Hell with them.”

This will be the only hour of the day that isn’t sweltering.  I will even venture to claim that it “feels good.”  It is blissfully quiet.  Silence only echoes this way after a night of revelry.  The sky is a suggestive soft pink; it holds the promise of happiness after several of my darker weeks.  Lately, I’ve been confused and restless, but this morning on the river feels better, more meaningful.  It isn’t manufactured calm like when my bones loosen after swallowing one of my anxiety pills.  It doesn’t feel like I’m swimming underwater and everyone else is speaking to me in garbled voices.  A group runs along the river, and there is a decisive rhythm to their steps.  I lean on the rail and watch a tugboat churn down the river, slow and stubborn like a bumblebee.  Our neighbor comes out on their balcony, and her face is puffy, swollen with sleep. I imagine I look the same way, and we nod at each other. She stands closely enough that I could reach across and touch her, but instead of contrived small talk, we both are anchored, silently watching the boat until it disappears behind a building.  I run inside and wake up Kelly to tell him mercilessly what he’s missed.  “You’re wasting your day,” I admonish like an old Grandmother. Continue reading Sweet Savannah: Travel Post Day Two (Part I)

No Excuses

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My “Track”

In the past, whenever, I would “try” to eat healthy and add exercise to my life, I would always find excuses:  I wasn’t a member of a gym, cooking everything took up too much time, and in general, I was too busy.  “Too busy” is a funny thing.  I always seemed to find time to binge on Netflix.  I found time to lie on the couch and mindlessly scroll through Facebook.  I truly found time to do a lot of nothing!  When I chose to make positive choices for my long term life, it was amazing how much time I suddenly found!

Now, I am a member of a gym, however, the first place I started working out was my neighborhood “track”.  The track I’m referring to is literally a circle drive in my neighborhood. I have lost count of how many times around this small circle it takes to make a mile.  I had never really tried jogging so I wasn’t comfortable being with a lot of other people in the beginning as I worked on improving, but I faced the reality that change only happens when you refuse to allow yourself to make excuses. Little did I know, that the tree coverage in my neighborhood was perfect at providing cooler spots of shade when I was sweating buckets in the summer heat.  At first, I could only walk a mile, but you know what, I concentrated on just doing the best mile I could.  Before I knew it, my time had improved and I could do more.

I think we can be so hard on ourselves and expect so much from ourselves, so fast, when we start a new lifestyle.  Instead, I chose each day to focus on giving my all to whatever I was doing.  It’s okay that you can’t run when you start!  It’s okay that by the end of your first time jogging, your jog is more of a brisk walk. Ask yourself, “Am I giving this my all?” If you can answer in the affirmative, feel good about that and acknowledge what a strong body you have!  Sometimes, just forcing yourself to “dress out” and following through at the gym, is a huge accomplishment deserving of recognition.

Stop beating yourself up along the way.  Stop staring at yourself with disgust.  Stop judging yourself by harsher standards than you would others.  As you begin giving it your all and improving your life, I would also encourage you to stop making excuses.  Life changes that stick are made by making the conscious little decisions every single day to do what you need to do.

Bring on the Zen

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I find that truly taking notice of my surroundings as I hurry from one thing to the next can serve as a such a recharge!

Here’s where the honesty begins.  This personal journey started on a random Sunday. June 7th was the date, to be precise.  On that largely unremarkable day, my husband Kelly treated me to an hour massage at our local Massage Envy Spa Is it still considered treated if I begged him for two days straight?

When I arrived, I was warmly welcomed with a cup of hot green tea and answered some questions on a form about my occupation and any health issues that I had.  I skipped noting the glaringly obvious ones that arose in my head—sedentary lifestyle, sugar addiction, mental boredom and exhaustion, and what I’ll jokingly refer to as, extreme cowardice (aka generalized anxiety), and wrote, “Left shoulder pain, upper back pain, posture problem.”  Oh, the woes of a secretary or those that are cubicle bound.

The receptionist took me back to their Tranquility Room. The air temperature seemed to be perfect in this waiting room. The music is soothing.  The lights were dim, and fortunately, I was able to sprawl out on one of the cozy couches with no other company around. I thumbed through a magazine, paged through the company brochure, and scrolled through my phone.  I nervously bounced a leg.  While I’ve had a massage before and wasn’t nervous about that experience, these are my anxiety “ticks”.  I consciously forced myself to put everything away and tried to focus on deep breathing and relaxing. It wasn’t long before I found myself in a wonderful state of “zoned out”.

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