Friday, June 9, 2017

The Extroverted Introvert

That's me, and extroverted introvert.  Left in the wild I will seek out one-on-one conversations, avoid large groups and get hives at a sign of a big crowd.  I will avoid public speaking at all costs.

The flip side of that coin is I have a job that is very public and very much a people-oriented game.  I get hurled into large groups of strangers and which often leads to the public speaking opportunities I loath.  I'm a program cordinator...I've got no choice.  It just comes with the territory.

I'm loud and often funny, maybe even a bit quirky.  Most people mistake me for an extrovert that loves the wild world of entertaining.  I'm a good jokester in the right company and I enjoy a good round of teasing.  Left to my own devices though, I'll choose to alone.   I often decline party invites, especially if it's a party where I know very few people.

The other part of my personality that is often misunderstood and misjudged is the public withdrawal.  After weeks of engagement, I will withdrawal from the world.  This is how I recharge.  I unplug from human interaction.

What I always find funniest about all of this is how many people find me to be a rare breed, when in all actuality I'm not that rare.  There are zillions of us running around the planet.  I have several friends who fit the mold.  People also find it odd that I'm married to an introvert and will often inform me that because of this fact I can't possibly be an introvert as well.  Look folks, it is how it is and he is the most amazing introvert and loves me in ways I never knew were possible.  Get you mind out of the gutter, he loves me, all of me - My heart, my soul, my mind, my emotions and my body in all of its imperfections.

Introverts, whether full-on introverts or the extroverted kind like me, are some of the most loyal people you will meet.  We love whole-heartedly and have very few close friends.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Perceptions

How much of your life is based on someone else's perception of you?  No really, think about that a minute.  Home much of what you do and how you act is based on the thoughts you perceive others to have about you?  Go ahead, mull that over.  I'll wait.

Are you a little shell shocked?  It really does put a little perspective into your life when you think about it and actually, consider some of the more mundane things we do.

Do you wear make-up?   Why?  To hide your imperfections.  To enhance your natural beauty.  To highlight you check bones.  To make you eyes pop.  I really could go on and on with all the lines we're fed in our daily lives through advertising and social media.

Why do you hate your body?  You don't feel you're thin enough.  You don't feel you're swimsuit ready.  You don't feel your boobs are big enough.  You feel your butt is too (insert descriptor here).  Again, society has influenced these thoughts.

All of these things are based on someone else's perception of who you should be.  Oh, wait, what?  Yeah.  Didn't see that coming did ya?  When you started reading you thought perhaps I was going to talk about your friends, your neighbors and even you family's perception of you, but I caught you off guard didn't I?

Some of us are brave and take the Rett Butler approach about it all, "frankly my dear, I don't give a ...", and buck the norms, but most are wound into one perception or another.  Most of us have something, and many of us start to fly the "who gives a ..." flag in our late 30's and early 40's.  By then we are sick of all the cages we feel the perceptions have put us in and we're busting free.

I'll be honest, I still struggle with my body image, although it has improved ten-fold in the 12 years I've been in a compassionate and loving relationship.  The make-up thing is a security blanket for me.  I will now, at the age of 39, leave the house without most of it, but never without my mascara.  If you send me to a desert island I will want mascara, sunscreen and bobby pins.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Excuses Are Like...

Excuses are like ass holes, everyone has one and they all stink.  Yep, I sure did.  I just said it.  I put it out there for everyone to know.  I have the vocabulary of a well-educated sailor, but in all seriousness is anyone ever interested in someone's excuse?

When is it that we learn the behavior of blaming others for our shortcomings and failures?  No seriously.  When?  When is this taught to us?  Grade school?  Middle school?  High school?  Or do we learn it as young adults?

I've learned in my nearly 40 years, that's it's just better to man up and take the blame for the misstep and move forward.  That's not to say that the perfectionist in me doesn't beat me up for a few days after the misgivings of the failure, but if everyone survives without injury it's all good.    Yes.  I am still learning to let it go, but I do accept blame for the missteps I take.  

What I'm wondering is why is this so hard to do?  Do we hold ourselves so highly, that we don't think we can make mistakes?  Do we think others will think badly of us if we aren't perfect?  Do some of us just think we're that perfect and we can't possibly be at fault?  Do we think it makes us look better if we provide the excuse?

What I'm really talking about is the chronic offender.  You know the one who has an excuse for EVERYTHING!!!  "I sorry I'm late, but..."  They can't ever just stop at "I'm sorry I'm late."  I understand that there are sometimes when an excuse is perfectly acceptable, but really how does that apply to the chronic excuse maker?  

Am I alone here?  Someone, please tell me I'm not.  

In my line of work, I hear a lot of excuses and there is a lot of follow through needed on my part, but when I screw it up I admit it and move forward.  I jacked up yesterday, as a matter of fact.  I gave the wrong info, but no one died and the rest of the day went smoothly.  An hour after it all happened we all had a big laugh, at my expense, but a laugh none the less.  Everyone learned that I too am human.  I was still beating myself up a little as I wrote this, but I've moved forward and today is a new day.  I don't usually make the same mistake twice, and I know that owning it makes it easier to move forward.
Stop making excuses for your actions.  Break the habit.  Break the pattern.  I'll wager that your life will improve when you stop creating reasons why the world is against you and you start taking on the world.

"You're the sky.  Everything else - it's just the weather" 
~ Pema Chodron

Including your constant excuses.  

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Rest, Relax, Reflect

I took Friday off last week and gave myself a long three-day weekend to rest, relax and reflect.  The 2017 year has been a bit tense and I needed some time to just chill.  I'll spare all the details, but I can say I definitely needed this weekend to unwind and recharge.

Day 1:

I enjoyed and iced coffee and a good book after running a few errands in the morning.  


Snapped a pic of the honey bees that are enjoying the dandelion field where my garden usually is.  


Sat in the grass and supervised Hubby repairing our garage roof.


Day 2:

Enjoyed a homemade waffle for breakfast while doing a bit of journaling.


Spent some time hanging out in the yard with the pups, enjoying a large glass of iced tea.


Did a bit of reading about Nature Journaling.


Grilled some chicken and bacon for dinner.


Which I turned into a delicious spin on a cob salad, to go with my red wine and Sunset magazine.


Took an evening stroll around our property.  It's my own little piece of heaven this time of year.


Ended my day with a little bit of creating in my art journal.


Day 3:

Started my morning with some art journaling in the yard.  It was such a beautiful morning complete with birds singing and the neighbor's rooster crowing.



I took myself to lunch at the local drive-in.  They have a delicious halibut fish sandwich.


I did a little more sketching outside before dinner.



These are just the highlights of the weekend that I took pics of.  I read quite a bit, did a bit of tree trimming and yard work, but mostly I just enjoyed being outside nearly all day long.  To be quite honest, I didn't realize how frazzled and worn out I was until I allowed myself to just rest all weekend.  I'm now ready to face the next very busy three weeks with a clear head and well-rested soul.

Monday, June 5, 2017

What if I was never meant to fit into the idea of "ideal"?

I don't want a busy life.  I'm not interested in what's referred to as "the hustle."  I hate hearing the phrase "you know how it is."

The answer is NO!  No, I don't.  I've never understood the feeling that you constantly have to be on the go and always doing.  I physically can't and mentally won't.  When life gets too busy I reach a saturation point and will withdrawal from everything!  I become angry and less tolerant of people, noise, and places.  Busy isn't good for me and what's more is I find it maddening when I ask someone how they are and I get the pat answer "busy" or my other favorite "crazy busy."  Either of which is followed by "you know how it is."  No.  I don't.  I've made the choice not to live like that.

To be quite honest, when you tell me about your "saturated" or "busy" life, it all sounds like complaining.  It sounds like you're letting your life is run you, rather than you running your life.  The other phrase that often follows "I'm so busy" is very often "I'm so tired."  Hmmm....anyone else see the connection?  If you're spending your days chasing everything for fear of missing out on anything, there's a reason you're so tired.  Stop.

Our life is simple.  We choose not to be busy.  We choose not to chase it all.  We choose not to care about missing out.  Is your mouth open?  Jaw on the floor?  Pick up your jaw, and close your mouth.  We choose to be lazy and enjoy our life.  Yes, I did say lazy.  Not the never do the laundry, lay on the couch all the time, and never shower kind of lazy, but the guilt-free option of not doing "chores" in place of something we'd rather do that day. Laundry gets done, but may not get folded for a week.  Beds don't get made very often.  Dishes might sit on the counter overnight before they go into the dishwasher.  We choose time with each other over the fast-paced lifestyle of "busy."

I'm not into the latest "diet and food" trends.  In fact, I hate the word diet and unless you need to be on one for allergies or serious health reason I don't want to hear about it.  I don't want to listen to you drone on about what you can and can't eat.  I don't enjoy listening to how fabulous you feel now that you're doing "X".  Quite honestly, when you "brag" about you newest diet you often make those around you feel like shit.  There I said it.  This kind of talk often makes those your raving to focus on all of their own issues, all at once.  Think before you speak, if all you talk about is your diet maybe you need a new hobby.

Furthermore, I don't want to feel guilty for having a belly, thighs, stretch marks and cellulite.  It's taken me a long time to build a healthier relationship with my body.  Yes.  I'm considered overweight.  Yes. I could stand to loose a few pounds.  No. I don't want to feel bad about it anymore.  I don't want to feel guilty because I enjoy food, all of it.  I don't want to feel shame because  I'm not a size two model who's been airbrushed to perfection.  Last, but certainly not least, I do not want an overweight health professional judging me about not fitting into the "BMI" chart.  You first pal!

Children, one more of those hot buttons for me.  No, we don't have children.  Please stop asking.  Think about this for a moment - if we had kids don't you think I would talk about them?  If you engage me in conversation about children and I don't share a common ground story, chances are I don't have one because I don't have children.  For us, it was a choice, but for so many, it isn't and when you ask you often make them feel worse about not having any.  And no, I don't hate children, thanks for asking.  In fact, in my real life, I work with middle school and high school kids daily.  If I hated kids I wouldn't have the job I have.

My final thought, or maybe it's food for thought.  Slow down, stop punishing yourself for eating the cake and talk about something other than your kids.  Who were you before all of these things?  When was the last time you really connected with a person other than your children or your spouse?  When was the last time you sat down, enjoyed a good meal with friends, didn't worry about the calories, and talked about yourself, your hobbies, and your dreams?  When was the last time you had an unscheduled day in your calendar?

Monday, May 15, 2017

On Writing

I've been writing for years, like my entire life years, or at least since junior high.  I've written in starts and spurts.  I've had long dry spells, and I've had those moments of scribbling on any piece of paper I could find in my bag.

For me, writing isn't about scribbling out the next great American novel.  It's about getting all the thoughts and ideas out of my head and onto paper.  If something creative comes from all the nonsense, then that's a bonus.

I was never much of a journal keeper until a couple of years ago.  I took it on as a challenge for myself.  Somewhere to just get random stuff out of my head.  Looking back I wish I'd developed this habit years ago, but hindsight is always 20/20.

The type of journal I keep could be referred to as a "commonplace book" or a "brain dump book" or even an "everything book."  I'm not a "dear diary" kind of person, those kinds of restrictions make me hyperventilate and cause writer's block.  I also keep different journals for different things.

My daily journal is a Midori Traveler's Notebook.  I write anything in here daily including quotes, the weather, pictures I took, what we did (especially if we're on vacation), something I found interesting and even personal revolutions on things.  In the past, I've tracked my weight, activity and hours of daylight.  You get the picture - this is my anything goes book.  The journal where I put random thoughts.

Beyond that, there are a few other notebooks, all of which are composition notebooks.  I love comp books, versatile and easy to embellish the covers if desired.  I have one for "morning pages" where I clear my brain of all the stuff that seems to be on repeat in my brain.  The stuff you wish you said.  The stuff you need to do but hate doing.  The things that made you mad or stressed you out at work.  This is just a purge book, a book I rarely go back through.

Next on the comp book list is the one that holds all my free verse writing.  Creative writing needs its own space.  Sometimes it's just a line, sometimes a paragraph and often a complete poem.

The third is a second commonplace book.  I use this book for things I want to do more than jot a few notes about.  Things I'd like to research, kick around more and sort out.  Like when I decided to start writing this blog.  There's a list of notes and ideas, even options for blog names.  This book gives me more space to scratch it all out.

As if these aren't enough journals, there's one more in the stack for reading notes.  As a general rule, I read mostly non-fiction, which leads to note taking.  Lots of note taking.  Quotes, ideas of notes, little bits of knowledge I want to return to.  This also helps me write book reviews for the blog.

Do you write?  Should you write?  Does the thought give you hives?  Do you wish you could or had the courage?  What keeps you from scribbling in a journal?

Often when I ask these questions of friends they say something like "It'd be a bad idea to write down my thoughts," or "I don't want all my crazy out there for everyone to read."  I think this often comes from the preconceived idea that a journal needs to be a "dear diary" style and that you have to write all your secrets in a book with a lock and key.  While I don't doubt that those kinds of journals exist, I don't think they're as common as many people think.  I think commonplace books are much more common in the world of journalers.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

From My Collection of Quotes & Poems

For Rent

The baby came with the house.
As we walked up the sidewalk,
I saw him through the window lying in a crib.

Summer wind breezed the yellow curtains,
billowing them against railing sides.
He lay watching the flow of the tapestry
as it breathed in and out of the window
and he reached to grasp the edge
as it was inhaled against the wooden window frame,
his expectant eyes peering at me 
through the glass from inside the empty room.

That was why I cried, 
knowing we would never come again.
You see,
the baby came with the house.  

~ by Roxanne Fehlaicer

I've had this in my collection for years, and unfortunately, I can't tell you where it came from.  I know it was a Wyoming Anthology of sorts, published quarterly and that I picked up an issue at a library book sale when I lived in Laramie years ago.  That's where the info stops.  I didn't write down the book name when I copied down the poem and I no longer have the book.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Craving Travel

Torn.  There are so many days that I would like to run away and live in a Winabego, on the open road, thumbing my nose at the world.  That's the point where hubby reminds me we're just too responsible to really do that.  I nod my head and go on with my daydream. Then there are the other days, the days where thinking about giving it all up gives me anxiety and can't cope with the thoughts of how much we'd have to give up to travel full time.


I still have wanderlust and will probably suffer for life.  I like having a house, but honestly the older I get the more I want to travel and what better way to do it than in a moveable house - be it travel trailer, RV or converted bus.

I have a romance in my head of living a traveling life, writing and creating art wherever we go.  Most days I know this a  crazy pipe dream, but days like yesterday I don't care!!!  Days like yesterday make me want to be free and life a life of creating, writing and photographing my journey.  Everyone needs dreams right?  Even if they are a little crazy and somewhat irresponsible for an almost 40-year-old.

Yes, I realize there are people out there doing this very thing daily, many of them are even raising kids on the open road, but we're not them.  We need an income and I'm honestly starting to think neither one of us really has the hustle to be self-employed.  Ok, that's mostly me that I think that about.  I know hubby has no desire nor hustle to pursue the self-employed, travel the world life that I find and itch for on a weekly, if not daily basis.

Right now were sensible people living the daily hustle and bustle of regular jobs, if you can call my job regular.  Monday through Friday people, weekends off.  Living the American dream, but is that really the American dream?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

From My Journal - February 2015

Start again.  
Find your path.  
Look beyond the now.  
Learn to grow.  
Trust your inner self.  
Find courage.  
Step away from comfortable.  
Seek your own peace.  
Be your own light.  
Move past the fear.  
Accept the compliments.  
Be confident in your own skin.  
Accept yourself. 
 Seek your heart's truth. 
Find creative peace.  
Build the path one stone at a time, remember Rome wasn't built in a day.  
Who said that anyway?  
Stop being someone's afterthought.  
Build the success you desire.  
Open your own doors.  
Use your passion.  
Learn to satisfy your personality.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Spring Refresh

Good morning.  Are you sitting down?  Do you have a good cup of coffee?  I hope so because this is gonna be a little long and maybe a little deep.

I know it's been months since I wrote a post, and I'll be honest, I'm not gonna apologize.  I've been working on some personal growth.

At the beginning of the year, I did something I've never done, I picked a phrase to lead me through the year - "Inward Acceptance."  When I picked this phrase I really didn't think it would impact my life that much.  I was wrong.  It's five months later and I'm in such a different place.  I've been exploring a lot of things, so of which are a bit more personal than I want to share here, but good things have happened and are continuing to happen.


I dropped a lot of things and opened myself to my own talents and started telling the world I'm an artist.  This was a HUGE step for me.  I've spent several months drawing, painting and working on things, beyond my card making comfort zone.  This was such an intricate part of my "Inward Acceptance."  The art has done well and is growing slowly.  Check out the art on my website - Inked Inspirations by SLMP.

I feel that my art now has roots and I'm ready for the next two things on my list - writing and photography.  Honestly, it's more like one thing as they are so interwoven.  I started working on writing a few weeks ago and a friend gave me some amazing advice - "Be true to your voice, avoid writing for the reader."  If you're wondering what that is supposed to mean, stick with me.  She went on to explain that if you write for the reader your work will sound forced and your authentic voice will be lost.  No one wants to lose their authentic voice!

I started this blog because I missed writing, but it was starting to seem like I didn't miss it enough to actually write regularly.  Turns out, I've just been forcing my voice, trying to write for the reader, rather than just writing.  I lost my authentic voice.  It's time to get that back.

Beyond the writing is the other facet of my creativity - photography.  I've been taking pictures for over two decades.  Yeah, go ahead and do the math.  I'm 39 and I've been shooting since I was in high school.  I've lost touch with my camera.  It's sitting in a cabinet and it might even be a little dusty.

In October of last year, I started digging through my archives and started a photography blog - Stacy Petersen Photography.  I've taken some amazing shots and I crave this hobby in the nicer weather.  It's time.   Time to dust off the camera bag and start wandering around with my camera again.


So that's it.  That's where I've been and where I'm heading.  Back to me, my creativity, my soul.  I hope you'll come along, but if you don't enjoy what happens along the way, don't feel guilty if what I write doesn't fit your life anymore.  Go find your authentic voice.

Live life, enjoy food, make art, travel, journal, photograph it all.

Monday, January 30, 2017

January 30, 2017

January is drawing to a close, and I'm reflecting.  Reflecting on the direction I'd like to take all three of my blogs.  Reflecting on where I want to take my creativity.  Reflecting on my journaling journey.

Three blogs, it's a lot, but it is what it is.  I needed separation with this new blogging journey.  In the past, it was all dumped in one place and in the end, it just didn't work.  

Here on The Porch Postscript, I've built a place for me to purge random thoughts and ideas about my life.  Things will wax and wane here, some spurts being longer than others.  You might also notice there are times of crickets here.  Not all my thoughts need to be public.  Trust me!

Stacy Petersen Photography is just what it say it is.  It's my photography portfolio.  The words are limited here.  I share photo title and the place and date taken.  I haven't put anything new up in a while, but I'll get back to it when the weather gets nice again.  I'm a fair weather photographer.  

Inked Inspirations by SLMP is a bit of a bigger project than just a blog, but the blog is a place to share what I'm creating in the studio and a place to talk about my art.  This is my building focus right now.  I have thoughts, plans, and ideas for this blog and space, but I'm taking it slow.  

My creative journey is all about growing into who I've always been, but it's about making that growth public.  It's about putting myself out there.  Sometimes it's easy and other times it's harder than it should be, but I keep pushing myself to break the box that I let myself be built into.  I'm growing into the artistic, creative life I want.  

The journaling journey will continue, but I see growth coming there as well.  I  write daily, but many days it's just a list of what happened in the day.  My move is to build more of a commonplace book with, more brain dumping and less structure.  I'm not longer tracking daily things, with exception to the temperature and the pictures I've taken that day.  More notes on reading and ideas I want to try.

This is the first year I've ever picked a phrase for the year - Inward Acceptance.  While we're only about a month in, I'm starting to feel more peace in my heart and soul.  I've noticed that I've changed many of my mean-self-talk habits and I spend less time dwelling on thoughts of wonder about what others are thinking and saying about me.  I think the phrase is a success, and I can't wait to see what happens as the years moves forward.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January 25, 2016

It's been a while since I wrote, and some of you might be wondering why.  The answer is simple - I've been holed up in my studio creating, which is by far my most loved thing in the world.  When the desire to create hits, the desire to do much else disappears.  I love making things, and while I have dozens of crafty options, paper is my first love.

Over the weekend I listened to a few episodes of Crafty Chat on YouTube.  There were a couple of episodes with the CEO of Hero Arts that I really enjoyed, probably because it took me down memory lane.  Back to the days of mail order rubber stamp catalogs, before the big scrapbooking trend and way before mixed media was a thing.  It dawned on me, I've been doing this for a really long time, nearly three decades, a quarter of a century.

I wandered down this path when I was in high school when a rubber stamping store opened in my home town.  Rocky Mountain Impressions was a tiny little shop, lined with wood mounted stamps.  It was in this little shop I learned the magic of embossing powered, how to make tiny gift bags from envelopes, how to layer images and some cool ink techniques I still use.  It was here that I fell in love with the world of rubber stamps and learned to make cards.

If you'd have asked me back then I would have told you it was a phase.  I have tried a lot of hobbies and dabbled in a number of mediums if you will.  I would have never guessed that I would pack my rubber stamping and card making supplies through four states and expand my skills as we moved.  I've added die cutting and mixed media goods to my stash of card making supplies.  I use watercolor techniques and still love embossing.

I read this quote a few days ago:

And suddenly you know... 
it's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.  

This gave me cause to stop and really think.  While card making isn't new to me, I am starting something new.  I'm starting to trust myself, trust my instincts to create.  Trust myself to be the artist I've kept locked inside for way too long.  I have a new focus and am moving forward.






Monday, January 16, 2017

January 16, 2016

I don't think people realize how healing creativity is.  No.  Really.  I've been creative my whole life and as I have gotten older and struggled through rough spots in life I've realized that my art and creativity help me get through those bumps in life.  It rebuilds my momentum and fills up the spots in my soul that stress and daily life drain out and empty.

I've spent the quite a bit of time in my studio creating and working on new cards, the last few days.  Trying new techniques and looking for myself in the lost chaos of the daily grind.  While I have a day job that I love, but it's taxing on my mind and sometimes my emotions, often times stressful.  Being creative helps refill all those places.  It gives me time to let my mind wander and be free.  
Right now I'm focused on exploring mixed media and learning new techniques to stash in my mental closet of card making skills.  This is where you picture that hall closet that is stuffed to the max and when you open it everything pours out in avalanche fashion.  It's like potato chips, you can't just learn one technique.

Are you creative?  If you said no, I'm gonna say you don't give yourself enough credit.  Being creative isn't just about being crafty.  Creativity could be part of your love of cooking, the way you're always redecorating your house, the garden you spend hours in, really the possibilities are endless where your creativity may lie.

Creativity is that opening for us to be free, open and unbound by the rules that society places on us.  Most of us have a "day job" and whether it's one we love or not it's bound by rules.  Creativity is an escape mechanism.  It's a way to unwind, let your mind wander, take off all the hats you wear and let go of the stereotypes of daily life.

I encourage you to go find your creativity and let you mind wander.  Journal, create art, sketch, cook, garden, knit, crochet, quilt, sew, embroidery, photograph your neighborhood, mow the lawn.  It's all creative and there are too many other options for me to list.  Find your release and recharge your soul.  Ignore the inner critic and branch out.  Try new things.  Learn to do that thing that you've always wanted to do, but thought you'd never be good at.  Find your well to refill your soul.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January 11, 2017

Are you ready for another round from the well of my deep thoughts?  Yes?  Well ready or not, here we go, down the rabbit hole of Stacy's wandering mind.

The past couple of days I've really begun to wonder where have all the manners gone?  No.  Seriously.  Do you know?  When did we become such a rude, self-obsessed, self-serving bunch of knotheads?

In the past few days, as in since Monday, I've been called names, hung up on, and yelled at for things I can't and don't control.  I've had people just walk in and interrupt meetings, without even a blink or apology for the interruption.  Again I ask when did we become so rude?

When did it become acceptable to talk on the phone while mailing a package, ordering food or doing business at the bank?  When did it become acceptable to talk back to the customer in a demeaning tone?  When did rudeness become the norm?

I was taught - You give the janitor the same respect as the president of the company.  In high school I these wise words became a motto - Kill them with kindness.  In the past few years, I've replayed this phrase in my head - You don't have the right to cause anyone a bad day.  All of these things are tied together - Respect, Kindness, Influence.

Everyone should learn to respect others, simple really.  Respect is a give and take thing.  Learn to give it, work to earn it.  Respect for others and what they do will take you a lot further than demanding anything from anyone.  It should be sincere, not something you toss around like confetti.

Kindness should be a condiment, slathered on everything throughout our daily travels.  This is the one that should be tossed around like confetti.  Kindness is something, that yes on any given day you might think it will kill you to share it, but it doesn't cost anything to be kind.  Smile at that crabby old lady, hold the door for that struggling mom, be nice to the clerk on the other side of the counter.  Your smile, your kindness, might be the only bright spot in an otherwise terrible day.

Influence, think about it.  You have a bad day, you take it out on the next person, causing them to have a bad day.  The dominos are set in motion.  Do you really want to be that domino?  Again I repeat - You don't have the right to cause anyone a bad day.

I've worked in customer service my entire life.  Yes, my entire life.  My dad ran a business out of our home and I've been helping customers since I was old enough to answer the phone.  Serving the public is my calling in life, but the rude jerks in life make my job a lot harder.  I'd love a sign in my office that says "Check your anger and rude demanding attitude at the door."  No, seriously, if you come seeking help I'll help you to the best of my ability, often going above and beyond what's expected.  Bring that rudeness and anger with you and you'll get what you came for but not much else.

Are you the jerk who shows up three minutes to closing and delays the staff from getting home to their families because you're totally unaware?  Are you the jerk who talks on your phone while in the checkout line?  Are you the jerk that hangs up on people once you have what you called for without so much as a thank you and a goodbye?  Are you the jerk that makes an appointment and then thinks it's okay to be a no show?  Are you the jerk with the screaming baby that you ignore and expect everyone to tolerate?

The next time you go somewhere, dust off you manners.  Hold the door for an elderly lady.  Smile when that man twice your age calls you honey.  Say thank you when the waitress drops off refills at your table.  Don't be offended when someone holds the door for you, try saying thank you instead.  Smile at that lady who always look angry.  Use please a little more often and always remember you don't have any right to cause anyone a bad day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

January 10, 2016

Are you a societal failure?  WOW!  Did I just opened a big can of worms, didn't I?  Yep.  Get your coffee and let's talk about this.

I'm a societal failure!  I don't fit the mold on so many levels.  What's more, I'm proud of it!  How have I failed in the eyes of society?  I don't have a degree, I got married later, I don't have kids and I'm an artist.

Let's start with NO COLLEGE DEGREE.  That's right, I don't have a degree.  What's more, I don't want one.  Now, let's put things on the table right now.  I'm not against college.  I work with college-bound students five days a week.  However, college isn't for everyone and it shouldn't be forced on anyone, let alone someone who is still trying to figure out what they're interests are.

We start asking children what they want to be when they grow up once they're old enough to talk.  They tout things that don't always fit in the box society has built, but it's okay at five.  We think it's cute when they say things like fairy princess and race car driver.  When they reach ninth grade we ask them to get serious and to pick a "pathway" for their future.

What amazes me about this is we don't think they're mentally developed enough to drive, drink or vote, yet they should know what "pathway" they want to take for the rest of their lives.  Seriously?  They're 14 and 15 years old.  You don't need a "pathway" to learn to be productive, contributing members of society.  We should be setting examples of respect, responsibility, accountability and leadership.

MARRIED, I can check that box, but not the way society thinks I should have.  I was 29 when I got married.  Which amazingly enough is still kind of a double standard in today's society.  It's okay for men to wait to get married, but not women.  Once we pass the age of about 25 we get labeled as "the crazy cat lady," which 50 years ago was labeled "spinster" and "old maid."  I was none of these.  I was 27 when I met my Hubby, and even when we started dating getting married wasn't high on my list. I was looking for someone to enjoy doing things with, but by society's standards, I was behind on all the things.  I was supposed to already have a degree, be married and be started on building a family.

That catapults us into failure number three - NO CHILDREN.  This was our choice, and as you learned in yesterday's post, I'm 39.  What's more, while people no longer ask me when we're going to have kids, they still show me the sad face when I say we don't have children.  What infuriates me the most about this is that while we chose not to have children there are people out there trying without success.  It's none of your damn business, stop asking and stop putting on the "that's to bad face" when you encounter people without children.  You don't know their story.  It's not sad that I don't have children, it's a choice.  While I've never been in the shoes of someone trying to conceive, I'm going to guess that you just put them in an awkward, emotional position and they probably don't want to share their battle with someone they just met.  I've learned, that as a general rule, people with kids are going to talk about them, you won't have to ask.  So if they don't volunteer don't ask.  Because why?  Oh yeah!  It's none of your damn business.

I'M AN ARTIST!  This is a big one for me because it took me 37 years to say this out loud, to a stranger's face.  Not an artist in the starving sense of the term, but an artist none the less.  There's that little critique in my head saying "you're no artist, you don't make money doing it."  Don't mind me while I tell that little voice to piss off!  It took me a lot of years to become comfortable with sharing my art and telling the world  I'm an artist.  Mostly because all I ever heard was "you can't do that for a living" when I was growing up.  What they failed to say was that, while I may never make a living doing it I could do it on the side with my other endeavors of life.

I'm sure there are a dozen other ways that I'm a failure in the eyes of the societal norm.  To which I say SCREW OFF!  There will always be labels, rules and square holes for round pegs.  Labels are meant to be torn off, rules broken and round holes to be found.  We don't get there by asking for handouts, placing blame on others, or getting what we "deserve."  No one is entitled to a damn thing if they didn't earn it.  No go out there, earn some respect, show your accountability, take responsibility and show some leadership.  When you do these things it won't matter if you fit into the societal norms.  You'll be confident in yourself and you won't give two shits what society and it's norms think about you.

Monday, January 9, 2017

January 9, 2017

It's my Birthday!  I'm one year away from the big 4-0!  Am I where I thought I'd be at 39?  Probably not, but I'm also not sure I ever gave it any thought.  I'm just not bent that way.  I just live life and take what comes.  I thought today it would be fun to share 39 things about me you might not know.

39 Things About Me
  1. My youngest sibling is 15 years older than me.
  2. In the last 9 years, I've lived in four different states and five different houses. 
  3. I lived in the same town until a few months before my 30th birthday.
  4. I read mostly nonfiction.
  5. I'm an action flick junkie.
  6. I love second-hand shopping and the thrill of a good buy at a thrift store.
  7. I eat more ice cream in the winter than any other time of year.
  8. I could eat Mexican food every day of the week.
  9. I'm and extroverted-introvert.
  10. I recharge by being alone in my studio.
  11. I wish I lived by the water.
  12. Italy is on my bucket list.
  13. I learned to walk in an RV.
  14. I hate the cold, yet live in one of the coldest states.
  15. I was 20 before I learned to cook.
  16. I've only recently started drinking my coffee black.
  17. In my world, Chocolate is it's own food group.
  18. I prefer red wine. 
  19. My pets are my children.
  20. I hate folding laundry.
  21. I'd rather shop for craft supplies than anything else.
  22. I come from a long line of crafty ladies.
  23. If I find it interesting I will seek info and teach myself how to do it.
  24. I love the ocean.
  25. I have enough "stash" in my studio I could survive any craft apocalypse.  
  26. I love sharing what I know.
  27. My life isn't perfect, but it's full of happy.
  28. I go on vacation to eat new foods.
  29. Grocery stores are one of my favorite places to check out while on vacation.
  30. I take photos of food all the time.
  31. I rarely drink soda.
  32. I eat dinner so I can have dessert.
  33. I've got a ton of hobbies, but I always go back to my first love - paper.
  34. In the real world, I work for an educational consortium and am a student advocate.
  35. I enjoy my own company.
  36. I despise politics.
  37. Me being creative is an essential part of my life.
  38. I'm a creature of habit and thrive better with routines
  39. Sending happy mail is a self-indulgent thing.
Happy Birthday to me!  Enjoy my day and share kindness with someone.  

Thursday, January 5, 2017

January 5, 2017

More snow.  It seems everyone is getting more snow.  What's our current accumulation?  I lost track somewhere after the 10-inch mark.  Yes.  I realize I live in Alaska.  To be frank, I'm not complaining about the snow.  I love the fresh snow, I'm merely stating the facts.  We're getting more snow, so much better than last years one snow wonder.  We only had one good snow last year and most of the winter was overcast, gray and depressing.  This year we're getting snow and turning the frozen north into a winter wonderland.  If I'm going to suffer through the cold and the dark, I want the snow.  The snow makes it more tolerable.

Winter - Alaska (04 January 2017)
I took this pic on my way to work yesterday morning at 11:15 am.  Believe it or not, this is a color shot with no filter.  The snow was lightly falling and everything was just so very white.  It was about 15 degrees and beautiful.  Today, we're under a winter storm advisory.  We supposed to expect another two inches of snow, but winds will are predicted for gusting up to 40 mph.  With all the dry powdery snow we have this is going to make any kind of travel interesting.  The snow we've gotten lately has all been like a superfine glitter.  Then you add gusting winds and you get snowglobe conditions, which are whiteout conditions in the real world.

The one question we get asked often is "what do you do in the winter?"  So many assume that all of Alaska is dark and extremely cold this time of year.

Let's start by stating it's not like a light switch, the light doesn't suddenly get shut off.  It's a gradual loss of light.  As for the amount of light we have this time of year really depends on how far north you live.  Those that live on the coast of Alaska have more light than we do in the interior.  What's more is that there is a difference in the amount of light between us and Fairbanks, as they are farther north.  Those in far northern locations, like Nome, then yes, your winter is dark for 67 days of the year.  We've passed the darkest day of the year, December 21st, and are now gaining light gradually.  As of today, we have 4 hours, 43 minutes of daylight.

It's not always 40 below zero here either.  Our winter weather varies, just like everywhere else that gets cold and snowy.  Sometimes it tends to be more extreme, but winter is winter.

Back to the famous question - "what do you do in the winter?"  Personally, Hubby and I aren't winter people.  We hunker down and hibernate.  We're not the outside enjoying the snow kind of people.  We don't own snowmachines.  We don't snowshoe.  We don't snowboard or ski, although we both own cross-country skis and I need to get boots.  Might need to get on that, since this year there is enough snow to actually ski in.  We're indoor winter people.  Movie-watching, book-reading, food-eating, jammie-wearing, stay cozy, winter people.

What do you do in the winter?




Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January 4, 2017

Good Morning.  Have you started to settle back into your daily routines?  Or are you still sorting it all out?

I'm happily getting back into my everyday groove.  Loved being on vacation and celebrating the holidays, but I'm a creature of habit.  Having a routine helps me stay grounded.  There's a quote I pulled out of something I read a while back that is so very fitting of my nature.
Highly sensitive people, having daily rituals in their lives can help them feel at one with their world, instead of just being overwhelmed by it most of the time.  
I love my mornings.  They are slow and filled with daily rituals, or habits if you will.  I read blogs, sip coffee, post on Facebook & Instagram, write, enjoy breakfast with my Hubby and work through a yoga routine.  I'm blessed with a part-time job that allows me these luxuries.

This year I'm considering adding an art journal to my mornings.  I've been thinking about this for quite a while and late last year I did a little bit of play but didn't commit to it.  I think it's time to either jump in or abandoned the idea.  There are a handful of empty sketchbooks in my studio, just begging to be used.  I think committing to a morning art journal would make good use of at least one of them.

I'll be honest.  I love creating art, but the inner critic has a way of squelching the artist.  As part of my focus on Inward Acceptance, an art journal is an ideal way to open the door to mix media exploration and could be an excellent way to silence the critic and embrace the artist.
Be creative and ignore your fear of imperfection.
Do you fear imperfection?  Does it keep you from really enjoying what you create?  I'll be 39 in five days, and I don't want that inner critic holding me back anymore.  It's time to toss a stick in that spoke and move on.  It's precisely why I'm making this year about Inward Acceptance.
You're never to old to set a new goal or dream a new dream.
While I'm not goal focused, I feel this quote is very fitting in reference to age.  Never let your age get in the way of your desires to live life, to pursue your passions.

 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!  It's time to get back to reality.  Are you ready?  I'm not sure I am, but I have to go there anyway.  Back to work, time to start the Spring Semester.  Working for an educational consortium comes with so many perks and rewards, but starting a new semester isn't one of them.  Things will be a little bit of a madhouse for the next couple of weeks, but I digress.  Today's post isn't about going back to work, and quite honestly is a little raw and may not be a read for everyone.

I started my morning with this yoga video, let's just say I'm a bit off my game.  I let my daily practice laps a bit over the last three weeks.  It's time to get back to it.  Yoga has helped me in so many ways.  The movement and stretching are what it's about for me.  I don't follow a yoga practice for spiritual or meditational guidance.  This practice started as a way to heal my back, and increase movement in my very sedentary lifestyle.  Where am I going with this?  Keep reading.

In my last post, I talked about needing to be inspired to make changes, that I don't do resolutions or goals.  All of which are true.  I also linked to an article about picking a word.  While this idea has been pushed around in my brain before I've never actually picked a word to carry me through the year.  This morning I found a bit of inspiration for how I'm going to face the new year and quite possibly a word, or maybe a bit more of a phrase - 2017 will be my year of Inward Acceptance.


Part of my morning routine is to read multiple blogs, one of which is The Healthy Maven.  This morning's post - Healthy Living Accounts to Inspire You in 2017.  As someone who's always looking for new blogs and Instagrammers to follow I was anxious to read this post.  I found a couple of new blogs, but really fell for The Real Life - RD.  While poking through some of her older posts I found this one - Actionable Steps to Accept, then Love Your Body.  Robyn hit a lot of nails on the head for me.  I spend a lot of time beating myself up and making jokes about a body I don't really love and accept.  I've been working on this mental image of myself over the last year and that image is getting better, but I'm still not at the point of acceptance.  I've reached the tolerating phase, with the help of my yoga practice that I was talking about earlier.

All of this tied into another post I read this morning on The Art of Simple.  Her post, One Thing I'm  Adding to My Routine  This Year had a couple of highlights that struck a cord with me.  My biggest take away from reading this article is as follows, which I've paraphrased:
Stop Looking outward for validation.  Instead Look inward.  Choose to do things that feel good and actually serve you.  Instead of looking around look in, life is fuller that way.  
Then we'll tie all of this into the afternoon I spent with a friend yesterday.  The two of discussed the picking of a word to carry us through the year and I wasn't really sure about a word, but I was willing to give it some serious consideration.  With all of this in mind, I've been inspired to embrace a word, or as I stated earlier, it's more of a phrase.  Will I stick with it for a year?  There is no way to know that unless I try it out.

 As we move forward into the new year, we all carry something with us that we wish to change.  For so many, it's a change in our body image, but what I'm learning is that until I accept my body as it is now I won't be able to move forward.  Old habits are hard to break.  Mean self-talk is hard to let go of, especially when you've been doing it your entire life.  As my wise friend stated yesterday - I've got to find the stick and jam it in the spokes to propel me forward.  When you put a stick in the spokes of a bike wheel you fly forward over the handlebars.  Let's hope I develop my wings while in flight.  Moving forward with my mission for Inward Acceptance.  Happy New Year and may you find your word or phrase to propel you forward.