Friday, April 29, 2016

Y'know, whatever.

Behind the times again, and we're winding down. On the up side, I am liking blogging here more. On the up side again, I'm looking forward to writing without parameters.

So for starters, we're at 28. 28 is about phrases you use all the time. I have some, I spose. FYI is one, and I guess I use that so much to indicate that it's a useless fact I'm about to give someone. FYI, there's extra salad.  I guess I use it to say things aren't important.

At one point, I'd stop myself mid sentence a lot to say "Like...yeah." This prompted the boyfriend to pull a Miley on me, and start singing "Going to the store like yeah" when I'd say that.

I think my most common one now is "or whatever."

I know exactly why I do this, and it's part of the diplomat personality trait that sometimes gets out of hand. I tend to soften things or qualify opinions to make them seem less harsh. It's part of the people pleaser trait that gets out of hand. It's weird, because I'm pretty damn introverted, but I really really still want people, even strangers, to like me. Leads to great awkwardness. Or whatever is something that I tag on to the end of sentences to indicate flexibility. Like, "We can get Hardee's...or whatever." Like, here's my thoughts, but whatever else is good too.  I need to temper this, because while on the surface it's harmless, sometimes it's not good.

So that's a wrap on that.  29 later tonight, if I'm good.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


I think I'm gonna mix my prompts today and make them one and the same, because it feels right.

Today's about things you'd say to exes and what you're wearing.

I'm not dressed particularly nicely, but the pants I'm wearing are soft and comfortable and fit me nicely. They've got pockets, too, which is nice for a time like the present, when I need my phone charged and on me 24/7 in case of emergency. (Unfortunately, in the interim period between this post and last, things got a little more intense for me and mine, and I'm hoping that there's some sun that's gonna come from behind the clouds that gathered.)

What else I'm wearing is a simple black v-neck shirt. Hair's up in a claw clip, black flip-flops and well, comfy underthings.

I think that's how I feel about my relationship too (when things are going well, of course)...that it's soft and cozy and comfortable, and that it's not about airs or pretenses.  We know each other without suits or makeup or particularly good breath. We know each other cranky and smelly and sick and healthy too. And that' the same headspace that soft, drapey black pants with a pocket for my phone lay.

Not walking around in a pencil skirt where I haven't got the range of motion to kick my heels up, not nipping skin off the backs of my heels til they bleed to get a few extra inches...grounded. Naked toes, naked nails, messy hair.

This isn't to say I'm not obsessed with new things I can do with my Christmas Gwen Stefani eyeshadow palette or coloring my hair bright red or looking at pretty dresses to wear for no reason, and not to say that sometimes, if I'm coming home to my sweetie, I'm not putting on lipstick I wasn't wearing on the job or touching up eyeliner just to prettify for him. It's just to say that the basics, the comfort, the all good, and what I'm glad to have. It's not to say I don't think pencil skirts are THE.DAMN.SEXIEST sometimes. It's just to say I know NOW that the underlying comfort is where it's really at.

In this little metaphor, my SO now is the comfy pants, and my exes are the ones making my heels bleed and restricting my motion. You take these things off because they're hurting you, or in the end, they're just really not working for you.  That said, you cared about them once, so what would you say?

If honesty were any part of one of my ex's lives, I'd sit him down and tell him, one on one, in enough raw detail to drive the point home, how hurtful his actions were, and the trail of hurt he's left behind him. I'd tell him that the person that I saw was likely still in there, but he's paid too much attention to being some sort of alpha male playboy with an interest in whisky and his friends and family would rather him be a nerdy, outdoorsy sort who knows what truth is and realizes the hurt in his life is coming to him via his own hand. I'd like to tell him all the times he could have made it right and ask why he didn't just. Before, that was a burning question. Now? It's just...a sort of curiosity. Oblivious, malevolent, or something else, you know?

To another, I'd just express concern and support. A push to be something, create a fantastic life for himself, and not waste away in a better place than before, because then you really didn't gain any ground.

To any: That I'm not and should never have been a secret. That I can see now that I let some things happen to me that I shouldn't have, but that they damn well knew it too. That I'm worth the risk of a real relationship, and that I'm a damn good catch.

Sometimes, I need to tell myself that last one too.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Because Reasons...

Alrighty. I'm here, it's still 4/25 somewhere, like New Mexico, and I'm writing. I'm unhappy and tired, but I'll give you what I've got. This *should* be a fun post, so I'll try to get there. We cool?

This picture kinda makes me smile at least. Yes, I am holding a sign that says a dragon burned down my castle whilst literally panhandling with a plastic tiara and a singed shirt.

This was for GISHWHES, and it's me at my weirdest and boldest and most fun, and GISHWHES was a wonderful thing for me both years I did it. I kinda hope to be doing it again this year.

Anyway, weirdness is the topic, and I have plenty of that. Unfortunately it's four weird traits that YOU have and I am bad at talking about me successfully. So, we pull the teeth.

Traits. Weird traits.

1. Driving to un-mad/non-routine driving:  I got in a car and I was hooked. I loved the freedom, I loved night drives, I loved exploring. I drove to get away, I drove to be independent, I drove for work, even. And I still love it. Part of it is control, and that's not that weird. I like driving places because then I can leave when I want to, and knowing that helps me be more comfortable when I'm places that I'm not sure I want to be (hello, introvertedness on full display!).  But I also drive to calm down. I know people always say "don't drive angry" but driving actually helps me feel less stressed, more calm, more sane and less mad. Also, I like knowing multiple routes to the places I want to go and taking them often, even if one way is a little bit longer or has more traffic. I just would rather have a change in what's outside the window than save five minutes most times. This drives more logical people nuts, so I try to save it for when I'm alone, but luckily, almost everyone I'm close to indulges me in the wanderlust sometimes.

2. Talking to myself: I know it's not necessarily that weird, but I get more weird looks when I step out of the car having a conversation with myself than I care to admit. Usually I'm just going over what I need to do, or where I need to go or something, but I don't always curb it just because the car door is open, and sometimes I embarass myself with it a little bit. I think it's a function of being an only child for so long, and living on my own so long. I actually think I made my cat Ana a bit more of a vocal critter because of how much I talked to her when I lived in Los Alamos and was pretty isolated because of my baker's hours and general unwillingness to put myself out there to make friends at the time.

3, Severe Weather Obsession: Most of my close friends know about this. And now I'm  using it for good, as I've become a trained storm spotter for the National Weather Service by attending a class a week or two ago.  When I was younger I was terrified of even a regular thunderstorm, but as I got older I just became fascinated. It's especially tornadoes, as it's literally one of the most, if not the most, powerful force on earth, but sporadic and mysterious and here and gone. It's this random burst of incredible destructive force, and yet one house stands and another doesn't.  I've learned a lot over years and years of watching shows and documentaries, but I learned more practical stuff in my class.  Now I feel like I can take something I am randomly obsessed with and hopefully help my community. Last year was the impetus, when an EF-1 touched down in my town and the neighboring one, and neither community had sirens or warning for it til afterwards. I saw the rotating wall cloud but I wasn't sure I was seeing what I was. We went to the basement, it touched down, tore up a local food joint everyone loved, and tore the roof of the high school off in the next town over. If that had been a bigger tornado, I really don't want to know what would have  happened to the places I grew up in and where a lot of people I love still live. So I'm glad that instead of just watching two weeks of tornado shows as breakup therapy, now I can use the meteorological stuff I just learned to call it in and hopefully get word out should another storm come through here.

4. Intentional word murdering: So yes, I fight grammar nazi tendencies. But in my spare time, when not writing, I also like to murder the English language. The easier to pronounce the word is, the more I like to butcher it.  Car? Three letters. One syllable. It will now be "the cray."

Usually, I did this alone, or sometimes with my mom, who likes to call scissors SKISSORS or knives kuhnivees herself at times. Then I met the boy who now holds my heart, and I do it way, way more often. Early in our relationship, we had a sort of epic rap battle style mispronounce-off of the word "helicopter" which went on until we got to obscure units of measurements (hectarecopter) and left off at the completely insane "heca-lobster" which is sometimes what we still call them. I have, in fact, gotten confused looks from friends in recent years because of the new prevalence of this weird trait, when I yelled back at them to get in the CRAY. Oops.

So there's four weird things about me, and one other one: I'd drink milk with just about anything. Spaghetti and meatballs is a milk meal deal or no deal. No milk, no spaghetti.

Alrighty. Well, I do feel a bit better. Being weird tends to make me feel more comfortable, even if it's just on a blog.


Sunday, April 24, 2016


Well, this is the prompt to end all prompts. What do I miss?
It's probably the one with the most obvious answer, but I want to elaborate.
I miss New Mexico. I know, I'm obsessed.
But that's what it's like when it's love, you know?
That's what it's like when you move over a thousand miles from where you've ever lived before, and you find out that that was where your heart was in the first place.

It might sound kinda ridiculous, or overdramatic, but I dream of the mountains I came to know by their faces. I crave that feeling I so often describe to people of the sun sitting just over your shoulder. Of all that unabashed sunshine.  Of the blazing sunsets and bright blue skies and vibrant red earth. Of that openness, and that invitation it always extends to me to run until I can't stop and sit at the top of a canyon and listen for the whispers from the other side of the mesa.

For green chile and white sands and fresh honey drizzled on warm sopaipillas.

For a slower life and a smaller town.

For the incredibly rich surroundings, so that every weekend or even at the end of a day, you can go to a canyon and watch the sun set.

I want every bit of that. I loved every minute of that.

It has been six years, and I've gotten so much out of being back in Chicago- from Chicagoist itself to a wonderful boyfriend I love and more employment opportunities...but I ...I can't shake it.
I want to be back there. Lucky for me, the boyfriend is also a fan of the Southwest, so there's a sweet someday that we might be able to make a life there.

I love Chicago. I love that my friends and family are out here (though less so now than when I got back).  I *really* love Chicago. I very much love the opportunities Chicagoist gave me. But that damn desert is in my heart and my lungs and my head all the time.

Sometimes I wish it wasn't that way.

When I visited in 2009 on the road trip I just wanted to stay, and there were a lot of reasons for that. When I went back in 2013, it felt like coming home. Stepping off the plane the air felt right, the town felt familiar, the burrito lady still made the hottest and best burritos....Sofia's still served the best and hottest in Socorro. The Cap was still the town center....

I could still get a green chile burger anywhere. Kija and I could play around on Nob Hill.
Water Canyon was still amazing for camping, and waking up in those mountains? Being in a cave at the Box at 10 am? It felt exhilirating. I felt alive. Exploring the Quebradas, White Sands, pistachio farms and everything else...just felt like the life I wanted.

I want to take the high road to Taos. I want to go back to the pueblos and parks and plazas.

So so much.

So...what do I miss? I miss that.
I feel like I need it and I always will.  Luckily, the people closest to me? Seem to get it.

I'm gonna have some mountain dreams. Good night, Facebookland.

My House Is Rising But I Am Not?

So hey! It's me, back from the depths I disappeared into. Seriously though, I need to try to reinforce writing as a habit, and I need to make sure I catch up if not keep up, and then keep going after the prompts finish.


We were on 21. This is all about the sign, which you saw or didn't see, and which did or did not open up your eyes.

My particular sign is Sagittarius, though I am, as it happens, on the cusp of Scorpio. I was once told that I could have my picture in the dictionary under Sagittarius, because I was so typical of it. I do have some of the traits that people attribute to it, like a wanderlust, a hatred of routine, creativity, etc. I have some scorpio stuff too, like a strong desire to keep to myself, though that's a function of introversion too.  This could be telling or totally coincidental depending on how you look at it, and that's all I've got to say about that.

Next, for 22, it's morning routines.

IF I were to have one, it's hitting snooze for another half hour, complaining, getting out of bed, feeding the kitties while the bf does the medicine rounds, then sleepily either making the bf coffee or standing around the kitchen while he makes the coffee, one or the other. We then lumber into the living room for some light internet browsing before figuring out what it is we're doing that day.

That's a typical day. Picture doing everything as if you're slogging through mud, slowly and quietly and resentfully. Morning and I were never friends.

Let's knock out 23 also. It asks for a family member you dislike. First, I wouldn't really put that here, and second, I really like my family. Sure, we have issues here and there, and feelings have been hurt in the past, but we always seem to work it out and we're there for each other when it matters, and in fact, I have a pretty close family. So...yep!

One whole post after this for 24, and then tomorrow's shall go tomorrow. :)

Catch'd and up!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

I Get Knocked Down. So I Take A Bath...And Then...

So I got taken out today by a combination of dehydration, working outside all day without eating, some hella fun but expected pains, and a bit of gastrointestinal distress. I'm still sore as heck, but oh well. Got some neat stuff going in the yard and garden. Just need to be smarter about how I'm going about things.

The above flower is real, fyi, it's just not in our garden. It's from the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Maybe one day, our garden too? I dream of hydrangeas and lilacs and dahlias and stuff.

Meanwhile, we're still doin' the prompts.

Five fears was the oldest due. Let's list it out! I promise less bullet points than last time.

  1.  Losing people I love. I'm sure everyone has this fear, I just think it's a little bit more pronounced with me having lost my dad so early. I felt like anyone could be taken at any time, and if I'm honest, which I guess this post is looking for, still do. That and a couple of ghosts and demons in my past and I feel like if they're not gonna be taken, they'll just up and leave themselves. "People always leave" has been a mantra I adopted without really wanting to.
  2. Bees. It's sort of on the lighter side, except I really, really am afraid of bees. Like..I try to tell myself to calm down and be rational, because I'm bigger, and I'm not allergic and they may not actually sting me, but get a bee around me and I start bobbing and weaving and sweating and all sorts of undignified stuff. Then once, in New Mexico, I found out what a tarantula hawk is. You guys. I found out by thinking it was a hummingbird. It's a friggin 2 inch or more long BEE that HUNTS TARANTULAS. No. No. All the no.
  3. Not being good enough/making it. I know that Emily Gordon, a woman I greatly admire, says this too. But sometimes I feel like a fraud. Like I'm not a writer/good person/girlfriend/friend. Other times I worry I'm never gonna add up to anything good or full or worthwhile. To be honest, lots of times. More times recently than at other times in my life. I feel like I took some steps off a cliff but I haven't found the ladder to the next part of life yet, exactly.
  4. Making people mad. Sometimes you've gotta crack some eggs. But I'd rather wrap them in layers of bubble tape and foam and soft things and add the extra pounds to my shoulders than do it, and when I do, I panic, and then I make things so much worse. I'm at my worst when I realize I've made someone mad, and I need to figure out how to take it from panic to recovery mode way better.
  5. Heights. Ok, so at one point I said New Mexico pretty much cured me. It did and it didn't. Mountains don't scare me because I love them so much and they're so solid. Driving in them, not really scary either except in certain places or during certain conditions.  Sheer cliffs? Sheer drop-offs, really, even in a shopping mall? Totally kill me. Gut drop fear. Ladders? The past summer when I had to climb up the roof of the Art Institute? I was excited to get the exclusive look at the roof, but scared as hell climbing tons of ladders in cramped spaces and then getting hands up to other levels of the rooftop. This one I can mitigate better than bees so as not to look like a spaz, most of the time. 
And there you have it. Other than fears I haven't mentioned so people don't prank me and end up getting punched in the face (certain nighttime scenarios come to mind), I have mentioned five fears. 

Now let's come off the fear train with five songs, at random, from my iPhone on shuffle. Then I shall sleep, because seriously guys, nearly killed myself earlier. 

  1. The Weight- The Staple Singers- First, I love this song in many versions, but boy do I love Mavis Staples. The first time I heard her sing was in Union Station at my first "big" Chicagoist event as an offical Chicagoist. What an amazing voice, what a wonderful, joyful woman, and what a vibe she has. She makes you feel like you're around her piano after a good Sunday dinner. I adore her. 
  2. Girl With The Red Balloon- Civil Wars- I really like the Civil Wars. Their particular combo of musical talent hits me right in the  feels. At the time I listened to them heavily, I had a lot of mixed feelings, a lot of sadness I was carrying around, and a desire to really soak in some music that touched on all of that.  The Civil Wars, especially the songs on the album this is from, which I  can't be arsed to look up right now, are beautiful, beautiful sadness. Sometimes, you have to fall into that and let it soothe you.
  3. We Only Come Out At Night- Smashing Pumpkins- Had to laugh about this. It's around the right time of year for this song. Smashing Pumpkins has to have some of my favorite spring night drive music. Windows down, still a little chilly, earth full of fresh soil smells and a little rain falling..and a nice blank road waiting to be travelled, while you work out your dreams and fears.  Yeah. This is night drive music. It reminds me of being much younger and doing the same thing, and reminds me to do it more often now too, if I can, just to get a breath of fresh air, literally and not.
Well, that's a double decker for you, and I'm going to bed. Have a good one, people out there!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Color Me...

Well hey! I'm back on track. And for today, I'm going to take the track and run with it. Maybe I should always write when I'm freshly showered.

Today, we're writing about colors we love.
Ansel Adams' prints, when viewed in person, taught me how many different shades and intensities of black and silver and yes, even grey there are. Each little nuance made a difference to his pictures, and even then that wasn't "in colors."

If you want simplicity I'll usually stop at orange and purple. Purple always won the day for me as a little girl and even now, as an adult, it's a frontrunner. Orange came along later. Orange I love for its audacity. Most of the time, orange is a color you can't look away from. It's pure sunshine and energy, and it sort of radiates. When I think of both together, I think of one of those electric sunsets that you get in the summer (or almost any time out in the desert) and the way the oranges fade to soft yellows, and the pinks deepen into purples and then blue-blacks.

The truth is, I love the electric blue of the sky in the mountains and the desert.
I love the rusty, dusty red of the red rock mesas.
I love the electric green that's bursting out of every corner right now, as spring is FINALLY springing here in Illinois, and I remember what a shock to the senses it was from the earth tones of the desert when I first came back to visit.
I love deep, unknowable, bold cobalt blue, the kind that you see when you peer into the center of a sapphire or lapis.
I love the bright pinks or bleeding reds that are so intense that camera sensors have a hard time figuring out how they work.
I love the soft, delicate yellow of yellow rose petals, that you want to wrap yourself in to sleep in the warm sun.
I love a bright, crisp white in the noon sun, and a perfect red against the dark of night.

I need color. I need energy. I need to be at once lilac purple, soft and fragrant and fleeting, as well as orange- bold, sharp, available and energetic. I need to have the depth of cobalt and the softness of rose petal yellow. I need the electric blue of the sky and the deep purple blacks to lull me to sleep. So favorite color? Yes.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Bullet the Blue Sky- Sunday Bulletin'

It's Sunday! And because I'm weird, I'm bulleting today instead of yesterday. It's more because yesterday, I just..didn't. So here we are, and I'm giving you today, in fun and funky little bullets.
Maybe purple ones.

  • Purple bullets!
  • Wake up late because baking sourdough until 3 am
  • Take a shower to try and function so I can hit Jewel for things we need for demiglace
  • Realize it's almost 80 out, roll all windows down and turn on radio en route to Jewel. Spring, where the hell had you been hiding?
  • Jewel is: being remodeled, has no AC on, is packed, and I hate my life. Supermarket sweep. And damn, they have no thyme.
  • On to Garden Fresh, also packed, but cooler. Get thyme! Race back to house. Sweat.
  • Boyfriend in midst of demiglace making, wearing apron, attractive. It is hot in here too though. Whyyyy.
  • Help some, take out trash, recycling and do dishes. Eat goulash for lunch. A hot meal. Whyyyy?
  • Convince boy that if he's making demiglace from scratchy scratch, I surrender total control of kitchen to him and therefore do not wish to make enchiladas, because that project and his would not combine well.
  • Dream of tonight's tacos that I will pick up from the best Mexican place in town/county/state possibly.
  • Surf internet, catch up on blog
  • Order mats for cat food and water bowls to go on, purple kinky desk fan for hot weather days
  • Leave this post up, updating occasionally. See where it goes. 
  • Nap?
  • Nope. Order tacos. Lose keys. Check rose bushes, which look good!
  • Get food situated for everyone, pour self a Belgian Red from New Glarus. CHERRIES!
  • Get "torpedo burrito". Attempt full consumption. Give up halfway through.
  • Decide to fit more liquid cherries inside of me.
  • Play Dark Souls 3
  • Think about if I'm going to do laundry tonight. Think about not doing it. Think about how I should do it. 
  • Actually start Dark Souls 3. I can put it in on a break?
  • Am helping make espagnole sauce, as a mute prep cook. Think we pulled off the mis en place
  • I'm actually progressing a lot today in Dark Souls 3. On my own. Maybe forward motion is possible!
  • Finish torpedo burrito. Start sourdough bread post for 52 weeks of cooking at the last minute again. Dammit, this year it's been hard to keep up!
  • Make stupid jokes, snuggle and go back to work on sourdough
  • feel tired. want to nap. no laundry done yet. can nap?
  • Plan on sleeping til forever tomorrow. Want cookies.
  • Was supposed to go to walgreens for sympathy card and one to send mom. cookies?
  • Look at my smart, busy, determined man as he runs to the kitchen for the 45th time intent on making demiglace. Smile because I love him.
  • Demiglace takes forever to make. This bullet list is getting long. 
  • Oh yeah, finished the sourdough post. All pics edited, resized, text added and on reddit. Still really proud that I can make bread rise without commercial yeast.
  • I am tired.
  • I don't want to go to bed while he's still stove slaying, so...keep busy by gaming? If I watch tv I will probably nap. Ok, fine, Dark Souls. I'll try you.
  • For those keeping track at home, both of us love to cook, but this is a project that my love has wanted to do for forever, so I am but an assistant. I had my tornado thing, he's got his demi-glace. 
  • This makes a gallon of demiglace. So like...where are we putting that? What are we doing with it?
  • Either way, I love his focus and dedication and determination.
  • No laundry, no Walgreens. Tomorrow I really should garden. Things are already piling up.
  • Oy. It's almost 2. Demiglace has a ways to go. Teh bummer.
  • I think this is enough of a bullet day. Goooodnight blogland.

Day Swap! And Words To Live By!

I was all like "Omg, behind again!"

But then I was like..."This is MY Internets. I do what I want!"

So what I'm going to do, is I'm going to take yesterday's, which is bulleting my day, and do that today. Then, I'm going to do the quote thing right nowlike, because I save quotes like it's my job, and I have at least one or two that came to mind IMMEDIATELY.

From what I've sourced through the years on it, this is a Pueblo blessing. But in the end, if it isn't, whoever said it was right, I think. 

Hold on to what is good
even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe
even if it is a tree that stands by itself
Hold on to what you must do
even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to life
even when it is easier letting go
Hold on to my hand
even when I have gone away from you.

And you know, I think this one will be the only one I put up.

I do, incidentally, have a handful of earth that I hold on to, quite literally. I took some red dirt from New Mexico when my mom and I went on our epic road trip, added some dried cactus, turquoise, and a few native rocks, and a little pine cone I found in Water Canyon, and I put it in a square, lead crystal vase, like a terrarium. To remind me that I'd gone and chased my dream, and it was all real. To remind me that it's my goal to get back there. To enjoy having a piece of it wherever I go.

Holding on to what you believe is harder, especially as I struggled to figure out what I believe vs. what I was told to believe. Then there's the harder task of standing up for that even if it's not popular or if it goes against what loved ones say. I need to find gentleness yet still be firm, and this one's a life goal. 

I like that it says to hold on to what you must do even if it's a long way from here, because to me, it pushes me. It reminds me change isn't always easy and I still have to do what's right no matter how hard it is. I've made the choice before and suffered the fallout but there's times I've shied away from it too. If your heart tells you to go somewhere, you gotta go.

The next one...well, speaks to hardships. No matter what, don't give up. It would be easier to let go, probably, and at some point even for a moment, I know many of us have felt that. But...we press on. We try. We fail, we try again. It's what we do, and I want to always keep doing that.

And for me? That last part tells me to remember everyone you love in everything you do. Hold on to those memories, those lessons, those hard times...keep them with you. If you don't have that many memories, then that's ok, but treasure and protect the ones you do have. 

So yeah.

I think it's a primer. And I think I'm gonna keep trying to go by it.

Saturday, April 16, 2016


If nothing else, I found the appropriate  picture for this post.
Today: Pet peeves. Here's a pet, and he looks peeved. In this case, it's my sister's pet Rufus, and he's peeved because he's not invading the bed with his 80 pound self to snuggle.  This peeve would soon be a non-issue.

So...what are mine?

The first one I thought of is online applications.  You upload your resume, make a great cover letter happen, and then you spend 3 hours re-entering everything you just entered. Not only that, but many of them are powered by the same 3 terribly unstable HR software systems which will inevitably eat what you wrote and make you enter it again, or do something like this:

IT: Phone number invalid
YOU: No, that's real. *deletes and re-enters*
IT: Nope
YOU: *re-enters again, typing more angrily*
IT: Nope still.
YOU: *re-enter*
IT: How about start all over again. Sorry, were you almost done? TOO FRIGGIN' BAD!

Next is probably more accurately a pet peeve than a universal dislike, because it doesn't bother everyone.

I hate eating noises.

It's way worse when someone's chewing with their mouth open, and that's most of what drives me crazy, but not because I'm Emily Post, it's just a really grating sound for me.  I'm conscious of it myself too, when or if I do it. I always feel like a jerk for mentioning this particular peeve, but again, I'm not judging anyone for doing it, it's's like that high pitched noise that only some people can hear (usually me  again, thanks laser-hearing) that you just keep hearing and it really starts to drive you crazy.  I can avoid it, ignore it, and otherwise distract myself and so that's what I do most of the time.

And three? I guess here I'll go with terrible spelling and grammar in professional places. 
Though it makes me cringe, fine, text your friends that "you guys will nevar beleive wot happened last nite"
I get it, not everyone has an easy time spelling, and some people don't care. I'm not one of those people, and it drives me up a wall, but I'll try not to be a jerk. But if you're say, working for the New York Times, or you have a professional website for your business, no matter what sort of business it is, IF YOU CAN'T SPELL, FIND SOMEONE WHO CAN. Find someone to edit your stuff. And I'm not talking about typos or occasional slips. We all do that. I've looked at articles as soon as they go up and been like "ohhh nooooo." But just...the ones where no one makes an effort...that's what drives me insane.

Now? I go off to think about things that don't make me crazy. And you have a good day, I hope.

Life or Something Like It- 14

Keep taking two bites at a time instead of one, eh ?
Well, this one choked me a little bit.
Where do you see your life in 7 years?

I guess it made me look at my life now, and that made me wonder about what I see vs. what others see, vs. what needs to be done.

I'm in transition, again. I'm trying to change my circumstances, again. I've taken on more than I suspect a lot of people know again.

I'm learning and stumbling and falling and getting up as far as my relationship.
I'm this little baby fledgling bird in the world of writing trying to get some momentum to take off, and I've still got a foot in the nest of temp work or customer service, though right now those twigs seem to be falling right out from under my feet too. I guess this post served to worry me, help me become more determined, and totally flip me out one night.

Anyway, here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna look forward seven years and list my hopes.
Because that's all it asked, and my brain put more in it than that.

I want to be happy.
I want to be in love and developing that relationship to the best it can be, and I hope it'll be a 10 year old thing by then.
I want to have a place that's just for us where everyone feels safe and comfortable and loved.
I want to have enough, and a little extra to give, if that's possible.
I want myself and my loved ones to feel fulfilled, supported and secure.

There. I guess that wasn't so hard.
Now I pin this somewhere, and try to achieve it.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Funny Freelancing

Alright. I owe you guys several. The most important thing though, about trying to do something for 30 days, is that if you DO NOT reach your goal one or two days, not to quit. 
So here I am. I am no to be quitting. 

The days I missed were: Two words/phrases that make you laugh and my commute. 


Cat memes usually make me laugh. These two inparticular get me, though I admit the first one is mostly because of the cat's expression. about something I say wrong all the time that makes me laugh: Chicken Cacciatore. 90% of the time I say "Kitchen Cacciatore."
My brain is weird.

As to my commute? Well, right now my job description is freelance writer. As such, I have no idea where my next commute will be, but a lot of times, being that I write for Chicagoist, it's somewhere in Chicago. Being that I live about as north of Chicago as you can get before you wear cheese hats (because I love mah boyfriend), this presents me with a long commute if the story is during business hours. I compensate with plenty of good music, coffee, and podcasts.  Most of the time the story I'm going to cover is at a museum or somewhere equally intriguing, so even when it takes me a few hours to get there, which it can, because Chicago traffic is the's worth it, it's fun, and I tend to not mind so much. Then, on the way home, I pick a lunch place at random, grab a drink and some food, and head back home. On the way home, I try to write the story in my head. 

And that's my process!


Day 14 to be finished tonight.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Current Affair

Well, it's Big 11 today in this April roundup we're doing on our blogs. That's a bigun for me, and I'd been somewhat dreading it for fear of lack of words or, conversely, too many.

Today's about your (well, MY, in this case, since it's mi casa, internetically speaking) current relationship.

*coughing awkwardly*

So. Neither myself nor my lovely and currently slumbering boyfriend are much for having our relationship all over the book of faces, twitter, or anywhere else on the great WWW. I once, having been a "secret" girlfriend, wished that I would have someone who wished to say sappy things to me on my wall or tweet our every move, but what I found, when I found this relationship, is that I wanted to not be secret, but being secret and not being a highly advertised internet couple are NOT the same thing. I don't worry about being hidden, because I'm not. I don't worry about introductions, because I'm his girlfriend, and he's my boyfriend.

We're going on 3 years, and by Day 2, life threw some challenges at us that many couples don't deal with til way, way down the road. And for one of us, that's been par for the course for far too long. One of the most beautiful things I see in him, though, is his heart. It's in no way hidden, it is huge and beautiful and he pairs it with a sense of duty far beyond what one is taught in any institution in the world. He speaks his heart with his hands, and his hands are those of someone who works hard every day.

It's been a learning process, this relationship. I had to and have to learn how to trust. I have to learn how to communicate. When you're somebody's secret, or somebody's second, that stuff doesn't matter.

When you're trying to build a relationship that can withstand any storm, and can rebuild walls that fall down, you need to have a strong foundation. I can honestly say I had no idea where to start. I was used to building the bricks to keep people out, not to make room for someone else and to protect us both.

It's learning that, as my wonderful adopted dad and my aunt/godmother have said, marriage or relationships aren't 50/50. And they shouldn't be. Sometimes, they're 99/1. And you might be the 99 percent, or you might be the 1, and you have to be ok with the times you're the 1, or the relationship won't last.

As much as you think you're prepared to give someone everything you are, we're all selfish creatures.We want what we want. We get tired, we get weary, we get snappy, we create problems where there are none, we get to feeling neglected.

And, most interestingly, we become "we."
We need to mesh our goals. We need to take care of ourselves, each other, and two families.
I can't say I knew what that'd be like 2ish years ago. I knew I was in love, and I knew it was something different and special.

I knew he would come in and sit at our dinner table. I watched him bring homemade ice cream and amaryllis flowers to my grandma after she had oral surgery and couldn't eat anything that wasn't smushy. I knew he'd be there, brother in tow, when my Jeep got smashed and I was too hysterical to make clear words.  I knew, from years and years in our past as friends, that if I got the crazy idea that we should stomp puddles and walk home in the pouring rain, he'd come with me.

And he has. And he does. And every day, I still try to figure out why and how.
He loves me. I can say that with absolute certainty.
We are a match made in nerd heaven. We've got spreadsheets for shows we watch, and we celebrate holidays like "Dark Souls 3 Day" and have mini MST3K parties and board game nights.

It is hard. It's been harder than I've ever thought anything would ever be.
There's times I've wanted to run away. There's times I've gotten in my car to do it.
And I get some miles down the road, and I look at my passenger's seat, and there's a big, 6 foot something void. There's no big paw on the back of my headrest. There's no chiptunes or video game music. There's no Thrilling Adventure Hour. There's no him. And no matter what the problem was, no matter how much hurt...I know that I wish, in that moment, he was there with me.  I know that leaving isn't what I want, and that it's oddly (I say oddly because of my own insecurity, not because of him) not what he wants either.

So if he gets the flu, I have the flu. If he needs me, I will make him my priority. If he talks, I'm going to listen. Because I know he did and does the same for me, and because I know that it's the only way we're gonna make a future.

So, hell and high water be damned. Or dammed, perhaps. I'd love the latter.  Sometimes I dream of more worry-free days, less stress on our shoulders.  But if we can do this now, then we can keep doing it, and I hope we do. Forever.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Age is Weird- Nine

Well, to go along with a day where I'm hitting my head against a wall, why don't we add that I skipped 9 on my list of bloggy things to do each day in April. 9 was to talk about ageism.

Here we go.

Pictured above is Weird Al Yankovic. Weird Al is 56. Weird Al can also kick over his head, run back and forth on a stage making upwards of 20 costume changes, make jokes, dance, and sing on key all at once. That's good, not just "for 56" but "for" anyone.

My experience is that people of all ages can do great things, and it's important that we all know that. That way, if we're 30 and we feel like we have no idea what the hell is going on with our lives, or we feel stopped along the way somewhere, or whatever, we know that some people's careers and lives are just beginning.

If our nephews, nieces or sons and daughters see a 13 year old start a business or a 16 year old graduate college, they know the sky's the limit for them, and they can aspire to big things now, instead of just wishing to be older.

I've seen the ageism on both sides- people talking about how everyone "millenial" or whatever they want to call the generations below them are lazy, overprotected special snowflakes who can't function when anyone doesn't like them or their Facebook status, and I've also seen a young office turn on their older staff, mock them for their out of date ways, and basically drive them away, though they're perfectly talented and qualified for the job, and might even have some insights and ideas that would blow their minds.

Mozart started composing at age 5
I just read about a kid who summited Kilimanjaro at age 9.
J.R.R. Tolkien published the first of his Lord of the Rings Series at 62.
Einstein got a nobel at 42.

So why can't we just throw the numbers out and start realizing that a lot more than we think is possible. Time to start trying that.

Ten for Nothin'

I think I'm just having a rough day, but I don't think "Name a fruit you dislike" gives me anything to work with today.

That said, I love pomegranates, so the picture is just....cuz I thought it was pretty.

I am not a fan of grapefruit. Too weirdly bitter. It just tastes bitter to me. I could dump three cups of sugar on it, and there's some weird bitter sensation that it leaves me with.

Not a fan.

Speaking of bitter, today has been just that. Bitter.
I really just want to go to bed and let it pass.
There's a lot on my mind but I don't really want to talk about it to anyone.
I'll sum up with an example. There's this game I'm about to be finishing called Demon's Souls. And I keep hitting my head against the same walls in the game. Like, it's the 15th run, I know there's a bad guy around the corner, I know he'll stab me to death if I don't put my shield up, but for the 15th time, I run around the corner and fail.

I know how to put my shield up.
I know he's there.
I know about the stabbing.
And yet.

At least with a game, eventual success is still success. With real life, you could have done a lot of damage that isn't gonna reverse by the 16th time when you get it right.

Throw three cups of sugar on it and I still won't like today.


Ok, I've been bad. Bad me, bad.
Meanwhile, let's talk books, because I'm farthest behind on the book post.

I'm gonna give you a book I loved but instead of just a cliche my favorite, one I really enjoyed that isn't my all time favorite.

It's by Aisha Tyler, and it's called self-inflicted wounds. It's autobiographical in a fun and funny way, telling stories about all the times she messed up things for herself. She does a feature with the same name at the end of her podcast, and it's always been eye-opening to me to hear all these different people tell stories of times that they really screwed things up for themselves, even when they should have known better.

It's nice because it's the great equalizer, and because everyone does screw things up for themselves at one time or another, and it's nice to hear it's universal. She tells it eloquently and hysterically, and it's a great read for a plane or trip or

Now here's a book I dislike. It's controversial, you guys. But whatever. Here goes nothing.

I dislike the Great Gatsby. Big yawn.
I feel nothing for the characters, I just...I don't care. The story isn't compelling to me, and I...don't like it. I've read it in both high school and college, and I'm a big fan of a lot of great classics, but I just...can't find anything in my heart for that book. The only reason I blinked an eye for the movie was all the period clothing and Art Deco style, but...I dunno. It all seems surface.

On the wakeup tomorrow, i shall tackle everything that catches me up. Meow.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Day 7: We've Crashed, Captain!

Guhhhh. I missed a day! Interestingly enough, the day I missed was one in which I was out at a happy hour for Chicagoist, so I was hanging with a bunch of writers ignoring my writing duties here.
Also, this prompt doesn't...have anything for me.

It asks what tattoos you have and if they have meaning. I don't have any at all. meaning!

That said, I've thought of one. I've even gotten it sketched by a friend in New Mexico who's a tattoo artist, and I think she did a lovely job incorporating all the elements I wanted in it. I don't have it yet, and though it would mean a lot to me, I don't know that I want to go into the raw detail of it here, so that's what I'll say about that.

Tattoos in general though...growing up I thought it was wrong, I guess? Many people I was surrounded by thought so. Screwing up God's temple and such. But I see tattoos as people revealing who they are on the inside on their outside, and I think the stories behind so many of them are so poignant and beautiful, and it's so bold that they want to wear it on their skin forever.

Personally, I'm interested in the things that we commit to forever. Forever is a long time, and we don't always get to choose what we carry with us. If I've got anything close to a tattoo it's my big scar from moving to NM. And I earned it, and though sometimes it's inflamed and red and angry, I've come to like it. It reminds me of something brave and crazy and unforgettable that I did. I didn't really choose to get stapled in the arm, but now that I have it, I choose to see it as more than just an injury.

One day, maybe I'll get that tattoo, and choose that story to be told everywhere I go, inked on my skin, forever.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Object of My Fascination

Well, hello out there, whomever you all are. Another day in blogland, and another writing challenge to go along with it. I'm having a hard time with the prompts this year, as a lot of them leave me rather stumped.

Today's supposed to be about "someone who fascinates you."

I can think of lots of answers...maybe I'll turn this into a list?

Robin Williams fascinated me.  Where he found all that energy and connectivity and crazy, bubbling over personality that could make the Easter Island heads smile.

Jim Henson fascinated me.  What a world he created. Full of color and love and life. It seems he never let go of the "hippie" ideals some people mock and instead just forged a path creating that world around him.  To me, the reason why the Muppets are what they are is because they represent the real goodness that people can achieve- and the real community they can have.  They show us a world where things aren't always easy or fun, but where we can all still rise above it. It's utopian but not unreachable.

Salvador Dali fascinates me. How did his brain work? How did he see the things he saw, and what did he mean with every brushstroke in every painting. There's so much, and to him, it all meant enough to commit to canvas.

My grandma fascinates me. She's going to be 91. She was born in Chicago in 1925 when there were still flappers and gangsters and bathtubs full of whiskey. She tells stories of when the mob hit up her mom for protection money at their store and she chased them out with a broom. And I could see my grandma chasing some big, hard-ass guy out of any room with a broom too. She has a strange authority, but also a way of wondering at the world even now that I still admire.

So many writers fascinate me. Gaiman, Vonnegut, Bradbury, Yeats, Neruda, Roach, Sedaris, Rowling,'s a weird, wonderful mix of classical, comical, fantastical writers who all have made windows into other worlds for me.

I guess what this impresses on me as I list though, is that I need to be fascinated more. I need to look for more inspiration. I need to keep wondering what  makes everyone tick, not only to understand them better for their sake, but to keep growing for myself as well.

Sometimes You Wanna Go Where Absolutely Nobody Knows Your Name

So, because my schedule has been all over the place with vacation spent being total's 5 am on the 6th and I'm doing my 5th. For me it's on schedule though. What this also means is I read one person's response to this already, and gained some insight into them. It made me think a bit more about how I'd respond.

The question du jour is about a place you would live, but have never visited. I can't say Seattle, because though it was a short visit, I've been there before, for a day.  With Seattle, I can say it didn't take me long to arrive at being happy there.

I feel like I've almost moved somewhere I never visited before, like Minnesota, and perhaps Los Alamos, which I didn't visit before I moved there, although with that, I did visit New Mexico first. Not sure if that counts?

So I started thinking general too...would I live somewhere I didn't really know anything about, or hadn't been?

I think so. I know my resistance to change can be pretty strong sometimes, but I know too that I really hate stagnating, and I really like exploring. I think that if I had to, I would move somewhere sight unseen.  I like getting to know a place, and starting to discover its ins and outs. Heck, I've lived in IL forever and I'm still discovering things, even just in Chicago.

Then with my mom moving to Minnesota, I got another chance to get a taste of it, and while I know that change makes me unhappy initially, I came away from my second trip to Minnesota to see her with a newfound sense of certainty that I could carve out a life just about anywhere. It's not my goal to move north to colder weather or even stay in the Midwest, but a few trips out and a little bit of research, and I'm finding that MN has some great museums, great outdoor spaces, and its own little trendy area to explore.

It's like I said the other day about exploring alone.  I like it, and I feel like I could use the lone traveller gene to work my way into a place and love it.

It makes me feel good about my future, because I feel like, to borrow from my favorite song, I can fly away from here and start again if I need to. I don't know why, but that gives me confidence.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Fact Sheet

*I'm a little nutty* (Free factoid!)

I'm still on track, you guys. On track for the writing challenge and here comes a list I have no idea how to populate or finish. This pains me. 10 Interesting Things About Me. Right? Ok, I can come up with 10 things, but interesting? Wellllllll. I think I might be lactose intolerant now. See how "interesting" doesn't work that well? I'll try harder though.

10.  I've only lived in two states, but I've lived in about around 10 to 12 different houses. Maybe 13 now? 

Nothing sinister there, just a single mom trying to keep improving our life. I actually don't hate it. I've had lots of different rooms to make my own, lots of different neighborhoods and yards to explore, and as I got older, new towns to get to know.  It helps me with the whole "home is where your rump rests" concept, so I can make myself feel at home wherever I land.

9. I've had tons of different types of pets- started with gerbils and cats, then when my mom remarried, we had lizards, pheasants, chukar, quails and ducks, dogs, lovebirds, parrots...and I'm grateful. I love getting to know animals, and I don't know what life would be like without furry friends around. Lucky for me, there's plenty of those here. 

8. I like travelling on my own. A lot. - I love travelling in general, and I love sharing adventures with friends, family and especially my love, but I'm also totally ok and even cheerful about exploring on my own. I love a good day trip, and I can be a tourist just about anywhere. When I'm alone, I worry less about looking touristy or dallying too long to get a picture or read a book.

7. I'm in love with the desert.  Probably something most of you know already. But when I hit New Mexico, after a few months, it was home. It felt like where I always should have been. I have dreams about the mountains I lived in, both north and south. I can't get away from the flavor and smells. I have this stupid desire for the intensity of the desert sun all.the.time.  I need it. It feels necessary. I hope one day I can have it again, because it will always be a part of me now, of that I'm sure.

6. I love storms. I love studying them. I was TERRIFIED all the time of every thunderstorm when I was a kid, but it turned into a fascination, and a bit of an obsession. Later this month, I plan on taking a class to turn it useful, and become an official storm spotter for my county. I'm *really* excited about that.  

5. I am full of artistic ambition. If I had more time, I think I'd take all the art classes. I learned a bit about acrylic painting from my mom this year and now I really want to get paints and go for it. I want to try all the Pinterest things. I want to draw better. I do calligraphy and lettering.  Sometimes I wish I had unlimited funds for art supplies and more time to get involved in projects.

4. I'm bad in person. I'm not a good communicator, not really. I've written emails after fights to explain what I was trying to say countless times. I can fake it sometimes, but in reality, I came to writing because expressing myself vocally is both intimidating and immensely hard for me. Words don't tend to come out right, or they vanish in thin air before I get to arrange them right.  

3. I feel a little lost these days, even though I feel like I'm in the right place.  It's weird. I have a relationship more stable and loving than any I've had before, but I'm a little floaty.  I have the start of a career but I haven't been able to weave it into something more solid yet. I don't want to go back but I've been not great at going forward. I need to do different/more.

2. I'm a freelance writer/photographer. I think this might not be interesting, but it's important for me to say here. Sometimes I think i don't do more because I still feel like a fraud here. But I really am a writer, by trade. I really am a photographer too. I've literally sold my work. 

1. I love my job. Having said that, if I could make this full time, and even now when it's not, I really, really love this job. It has its moments, like anything else, but going to these events, seeing the art, exhibits, nerdy things....then sharing it at Chicagoist? It's pretty amazing. I want to do more. Believe it or not, this is a means to that end.  

Speaking of ends, there's one. This list is over! Ha!


Topic du jour: Firsties

They really stick their claws in you, don't they? Perhaps they should.
I guess the topic now is first kiss and first love, and if they're separate, which mine are, discuss both.

I sort of assumed I'd be like Josie Grossie from Never Been Kissed, and have to back my way into it at the ripe old age of 30, I guess. I'm not sure why I thought this, but high school did nothing to soothe this fear, as I was the weird sheltered girl who came from the Christian school and as such had no idea if I could date someone without being a)cool b)experienced or c)any combination therein.

So it was a bit surprising when I not only found a guy who was my best friend and I had developed massive feelings for, but I also got a slightly sweaty note in gym asking for a date, from a tall, lanky guy who reminded me of Ashton Kutcher. I didn't know much about him, and on my way to English class I contemplated the possibilities.

Well, I accepted, and thus began a storybook high school romance, in which we rode in his classic car, I wore his letter jacket and class ring, we went to corporate picnics with his parents..we even accidentally decided on Secretary as a movie to watch with his stepmom without knowing what it was about. Our first kiss happened in my kitchen. Of all places, my kitchen. The house where my super strict parents lived. I don't even know why or how they weren't around. But I remember it was sunny on a weekend afternoon,and I knew ahead of time the first kiss was coming. So naturally, I was seven shades of nervous, wondering if I'd end up missing and propelling myself through the kitchen window into the front yard or biting his nose or some such other disaster. But it worked! He, much taller than I, leaned down and kissed me.

First love? Well, that had claws, and it's better left in the past. It crept around in the shadows and did unspeakable things and blamed me for them. I thought first love was *the* thing, but it turns out, later on, it's not. In fact, in my case, it's sweeter, longer lasting and more based in the simplicities of friendship than first love. It's the person you just can't lose, and these days, that love and that certainty that I won't lose him are starting to heal the wounds those claws first ripped open.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Blanket Statement

When I was a kid, people sort of got into "First Memory" contests.  One friend would claim they remembered something from when they were 2, and another would brag that they had an encyclopedic memory of their life from age 6 months on.

Though I still don't know when, scientifically at least, is the earliest our brains let us store real, formed long term memories, I was always somewhat a skeptic of these super specific, super early memoirs some seemed to have stored with their pin numbers, most embarassing moments and local commercial jingles. I can't say I know for sure how clear and accurate first memories can be, and perhaps...I could be a bit jealous. If it was possible to remember back to those first months, then a whole world would open up to me, and I could know so much more about the missing third of this picture.

As it stands, my first memory takes up one fraction of a sentence. It's simply an image in my head of almost unnaturally bright colors. Cobalt blue, sunflower yellow, carrot orange- the whole rainbow represented, against a backdrop of 70s wood panelling.

I can't recall whether it was in mentioning this memory to my mom or in stumbling across a picture in my baby album that I realized what all the colors and wood panelling were about.  My first memory, it turns out, is of a blanket.  A bright blue quilted blanket with a rocking horse on it, and a big rainbow stretched out behind the horse.  The rocking horse wears a cowboy hat, and in the picture, the blanket hangs on a crib in a room with wood panelling.

We still have that blanket, packed away with a number of baby things that made the journey with my mom and I from Colorado to Illinois after my dad passed away. That blanket was in both places. It was mine when mom and dad both were mine, when I was breathing mountain air.  It was part of a life that could have been, and part of a life that was instead later.

Maybe I don't remember his arms, or his voice. Maybe I don't remember what it was like to live in the foothills or be held in the strong arms of my father. Maybe I just remember the rainbow blanket. I like to think the blanket remembers for me. That maybe some mountain air is trapped in the pillowy quilted squares. Maybe a stray soft scent or even the echo of some time when there were three. And maybe that's why the very first thing I remember is a link between us that I can touch and hold today.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

What Is Wrong Here? Five Things I Don't Love About Social Media

New month, different location, hello people whose eyeballs are currently converting images and translating symbols to make words. Hello. I'm in Door County on vacation, largely disconnected from the internet, and now that I am, I've got a little breathing room to dissect it some. Timely, since this is also my first writing prompt for an April exercise I have going with friends. media. I was around before it was even a thing, and now companies have entire teams and executives who ONLY take care of it. Even still, they bork it so majorly sometimes that one wonders how an entire team could make such a huge mistake.

Which, I guess, brings me to something that might be our faults, but social media doesn't help.

5. Mistakes are public. Sometimes, I crack an egg directly into the sink and throw the shell in the bowl. In fact, I did that this morning while trying to make a romantic wake-up breakfast for the boyfriend.  It's dumb, and if someone had been around to see it, I'd have felt dumber. With social media, people are always around, and many of them love a good bit of schadenfreude... so if you make a mistake, you're never alone.  As mentioned, sometimes, we bring this on ourselves by airing that which doesn't need to be aired. In other cases, we just...have a bad day, can't spell a word, or get excited about something before we have all the facts. But once it's out there, it's out there. Somebody happens to catch you falling face first into Denny's at 4 am while being overdramatic, you're forever Denny's Girl. If you're lucky, you'll make the talk show circuit and get a few dollars from it.

4. Expression- There's a lot of ways being on the internet lets you express yourself. But especially with social media, there's a lot of policing too.  Too much baby pictures, they say to the new mom who can't believe this kid just actually came from her and all the wonderful things she's experiencing. Too much boyfriend, they say to someone who finally has a stable relationship. Too much of your cats/dogs. Too much of what's important to you for me to enjoy as a reader.  While I do think there's levels of restraint to show, I also think social media does a great job of quashing real passion and expression for the "acceptable for the average reader" level of enthusiasm.

3. Hate breeds. Sometimes I wonder if anyone will ever agree to disagree agreeably ever again.  Ad hominem is the law here, so much so that if you and I love the same show, say, Gilmore Girls, but you're Team Jesse and I'm Team Dean, and we start a discussion arguing who's the better boyfriend, give it about ten comments down the list and someone's saying someone else is a terrible mother who should die. It's out of hand, and it's how people fight in real life, often, now too. See: Trump as a prime exhibit of someone who can't disagree with a point with any amount of civility.

2. Speed Kills.  I'm pretty open about it, so I have no qualms saying it here. I love Twitter. I grudgingly participate in FB to keep up with family and some friends, but Twitter I am 100% in on. I love getting to interact one on one with people and companies I couldn't otherwise, I love the bite size pieces and links to great articles...but blink and you miss it.  When I lived out West, I finally slowed down some. I realized not everything has to be now.  Back in the burbs of Chicago, I've picked up that "now" freakishness I thought I'd lost.  Add to that the speed of twitter, and I'm buried in my phone trying not to miss the next article I can pitch or cool story to tell or friend hurting.  I'm glad I have it, but not so glad when I'm tempted to glue my face to it and not miss anything. And the struggle can be real.

1. One Up? Sometimes, Facebook especially just seems like a one upsmanship. It was a long time ago I decided my theme song was "Taking The Long Way Around," so trying to win at fashion/dating/housekeeping/whatever is really not my thing.  I just want to keep my head above water and enjoy life. There are neat things I get to do, and places I get to go. Right now, I'm more spoiled than usual, what with this being our annual vacation and whatnot.  But I don't want to feel like I have to impress anywhere, especially on facebook. But even I have to admit there's times when it feels like everyone's in a competition for the better holiday, better relationship, better whatever. It's good to celebrate our own life, it's good to be able to celebrate others, but I dislike when it breaks down into a competition.

And there you have it. For all the good it does me, for all the help it's given me...these are things I could do without.  And in retrospect, it's probably because people. And people? They're the same everywhere, social media or not.  So maybe the answer is less nose in phone, more politeness online, and more willingness to scroll on down past what we don't feel like looking at.