Thursday, January 12, 2012

Keep Things Spooky!

Hey friends. It's Friday the 13th... well, it will be in 20 minutes... and I want to devote today's blog entry to a friend of mine. My friend Red Clark is an amazing person. He's funny, he's creative, he's talented, and he's one of the nicest, most genuine people I've ever met. He's also a huge horror fan and aspiring filmmaker. He's really active in the Chicago horror scene and he's always coming up with fantastic ideas and projects.

If you follow me on Facebook or follow my horror blog, you may recall me crowing enthusiastically about a cool and creepy little video we did that won third place in a Midnight Syndicate video contest. Red was pretty much the mastermind behind that, and he did all the filming and editing. The end result was incredible. AND HE THREW IT TOGETHER IN LESS THAN 48 HOURS. You can now find it on the DVD for the film The Dead Matter.

I'm telling you about Red because he has a new project in the works. It's perfectly suited to his unique talents and I really think his passion for old school horror and his keen eye will make this into something great, but he needs just a little help to get it off the ground. Stephen King (yeah, that's right) has given Red permission to make a non-commercial short film adaptation of his story Gray Matter, from the collection Night Shift. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and would be a great stepping stone for Red's career! I truly believe that the horror world needs more filmmakers like Red, with original ideas and a driving passion for the genre. Red is funding this project through Kickstarter. He's 8 days out and $1,100 shy of his goal right now. If you can find it within you to celebrate a little spookiness this Friday the 13th and lend a hand... whether it's through a donation OR just by spreading the word... it would be much appreciated.

Thanks, everyone!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wonders of Nature

Oksana saw kitten and puppy birthing today, thanks to Milo and Otis. Which I'd seen once long ago, but only retained a memory of "OMG CUTE KITTEN AND PUPPY ADVENTURE!". I forgot there was birthing involved. Not that I have a problem with it, I think it's right to raise your kids to view birth as a perfectly natural process, not something taboo. I would even let them be present at the birth of my next baby if they wanted to be there.

At the same time, though, while I believe it is wonderful to treat it as a natural process and really, I applaud the movie for doing so... at the same time, when you randomly encounter something like a BIRTHING MONEY SHOT when you're watching TV with your kids, there's always an internal part of you that is completely caught off guard and totally squirms, like 'oh. OH! well. um. that's happening. My kid is now seeing this. ohhhhh.... kay. Here we go!' and you have to steel yourself for questions and reactions all while keeping yourself calm, collected, and NATURAL. ACT NATURAL. ACT NATURAL SO THEY'RE NOT SCARRED FOR LIFE DAMNIT!

My daughter's reaction? "Oh. EWWWW."

Two minutes later: "OMG THEY'RE SOOOO CUTE!"

The end.

you know you wanna see it.

Bedtime Conversation: 5 Year Old Edition

Oksana: "I don't like when Sonic catches bugs. Well, I like when she catches OTHER bugs, but not when she catches moths." 

Me: "Why is that? You like moths?"

O: "Yeah. They're little and cute. Do you remember that one time when Sarah was over and she found a REALLY BIG moth?"

Me: "I sure do. It was big!"

O: "Yup. And part of it glowed red."

Me: "uhh... I... don't remember that part."

O: "it did! It was on the tail. Well not like a tail like Sonic has, but you know. Maybe that's it's butt."

Me: "Could be."

O: "And if it was a girl moth, it would have little boobs too."

Cecropia moth in our yard!
Not pictured: glowing red tail. Or tiny boobs.

Sarah and the giant moth.

Moving On

Christmas vacation is over! The kids are back in school today. I enjoyed having them home with me the last two weeks and I am kind of sad. Everyone's adjusting back to going to bed early and waking up early. Somewhat reluctantly, on all our parts, I might add.

Things are coming along in all the other areas of life. Financial Peace University starts tomorrow. I picked up our kit yesterday and I'm really looking forward to it. We have something of a working budget hammered out for now. We're so far behind on the house that for now we've decided we're not paying the mortgage. We are in communications with the mortgage company and have tried several angles to get assistance, to no avail. Right now what we will probably do is wait until they start foreclosure proceedings and then see if we can turn it into a short sale. That will, hopefully, buy us the time we'll need to get everything together to move somewhere else.

"Somewhere else" is looking like it'll probably be North Carolina. I'm open to it and OJ is really interested. We love Boone but employment opportunities are slim... so it'll probably be either Raleigh or Charlotte. He has friends in both cities, and I have a cousin in Raleigh.

On our radar is also Austin, Texas. We have friends there, and OJ's brother lives there. Neither of us have ever been though, and OJ is really not keen on how hot it gets (whereas I LOVE it!).

(And of course, lest we forget, we're probably going to spend about a year in Park City, Utah after I win my beloved HGTV Dream Home.)

It is our hope to visit all of the places on our list sometime this year so we can truly decide on our favorite and start looking for work. And of course, despite which one ends up being the 'favorite', it'll really depend on jobs. OJ's going to try to get a job and stay with friends while he finds us a place to live, I think. We'll just have to see how it all plays out.

I'm still working on the house. Getting lots of stuff purged. Which reminds me, I have a trunk full of stuff I need to bring to Kara, the lady that sells my stuff on ebay. She does an awesome job! She has an ebay store and does online consignment for several people, so she always has a nice variety of merchandise. If anyone is in need of stuff, and wants to help out me, or her, or any of the rest of us local moms that need money, you can find her store here: The Sweet Buy And Buy.

I've also started working on my health a bit more. I had stopped taking everything but the absolute necessary medications while I was having all my stomach trouble last year, and while that hasn't completely cleared up (the endoscopy showed nothing but some inflammation, biopsies of which gave us no information), we're chalking it up to stress/anxiety pain and acid reflux. So I'm easing my way back into my other medicines and vitamins, starting with my metformin, which is causing a little bit of stomach upset but is also bringing my blood sugar down to more acceptable levels, so yay. I'll do most of my health and weight loss blogging over at my blog, The Big Fat Breakup, if anyone wants to follow along.

one of my favorite recent pins. Are you on Pinterest yet? Follow me!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

After Bath Goodness

A fluffy, slightly disgruntled Patches G. Pig after a bath last night. Curled up in towels on my bed, soothing his frazzled nerves with a delicious salad!

Friday, January 6, 2012


Had my IUD removed yesterday. My five years were up and it was time. You all know I've been wanting another baby anyway... I'm still in the "yay babies!" boat. OJ is in the "baby in a year or two" boat. I'm putting him in charge of birth control for now.

Is this an ideal time to have a baby? HELL NO. Are there things I want to do to improve our lives before we have a baby? ABSOLUTELY. All the same, would I be thrilled if I got pregnant? You know it!
Life's funny that way. Things tend to work themselves out as they should.

We're working on our finances. Financial Peace University starts next week. We have hard decisions and even harder work ahead of us.

I'm continuing to get the house in order. Purging even more than before since it looks like we'll be moving in the next 6 months - 1.5 years. However we decide is best to approach the house issue, we're going to try to stay here as long as we can to get into the best financial position possible for moving somewhere. Right now we're leaning towards waiting until foreclosure starts and then seeing if we can get into a short sale. We need more information overall though before we really decide.

My health needs work. I need to eat better foods, have lower blood sugar, and exercise more. I should also work on some meditation / stress relief exercises to help with the anxiety. If I get pregnant I won't be able to take my anxiety medications so that's something I'll really need to work on.

Those three things remain my biggest priorities right now.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

you can wipe your ass with my damn house

welcome to my life right now.

Aside from starting the day dealing with FECESCAPADE 2.0, it was a relatively normal day. Did lots of laundry, cleaned in the kitchen, cleaned more in Oksana's room (found more hidden pockets of cat pee, and lots more toys that need to be cleaned thanks to that), took care of animals and kids. Talked to OJ about our 2012 budget and wrote out a document that lays out where the money should go from each paycheck. Butted heads a couple times over how to best deal with money. Agreed to start taking the Financial Peace University class that starts next Tuesday. I'm sure we'll butt heads some more, but I think the group support will be good for us.

Right now our financial strategy consists of figuring out which steps would fuck us over the most for the longest, and then taking what appears to be the best path in that minefield. Walk away from the house? Short sell? Declare bankruptcy? Can we declare selective bankruptcy and keep some of our accounts out of it? Just stop paying some of our credit cards and wait until they sell them to collections and settle then? Pay off all the rest of our debt? Keep deferring things like student loans for the rest of our godforsaken lives? Decisions like that, where none of them are any good but some are (I guess) better than others.

I was surprised today when my mother told me that one of my cousins, whom I've always considered very savvy, thinks that the best thing for us is to walk away from our home. I know some of my other relatives think that's the case, but to hear that someone who is wealthy, intelligent and well-informed on a lot of matters like this agrees kind of surprised me. It's still hard for me to wrap my mind around. I mean, I understand that our house is worth about $100,000 less than what we owe on it... and that there's a good chance we'd never even get back to up to amount we owe on it in our lifetimes. But it was a risk we took, an obligation we signed up for, not to mention an emotional investment as well... and it's just hard for me to say 'ok, time to walk away'. Part of it feels right, but a lot of it feels wrong. I hate welshing on obligations and I hate the idea that my decision will make the overall economic climate worse.

Waking Up Is Hard To Do

I have a devil of a time waking up anymore. No matter when my morning comes, no matter how many hours of sleep I've gotten, it still feels like I'm drowning in sleep, swimming my way up through mud, trying to break through to the surface of wakefulness. I don't know what is causing it... I'm blaming general health issues, because it could be anything from my diabetes (high blood sugar) to my anxiety medications to my lack of activity to sinus infections to poor sleep to god knows what. It makes it REALLY hard to get moving for the first few hours of my day though, and I'm ready for it to change. I'm just a little befuddled because I don't know exactly HOW to make a change. There are a lot of health changes I need to make, that is, and it's a little overwhelming to know where to start. Especially when the house keeps screaming at me to clean it and just finish PURGING already!!

So I got a slow start today. Other than that, I spent a bunch of time working on Oksana's bedroom; it got a little messy around the holidays again, and of course, Casey started peeing on things again. I'm battling that crazy mess (AGAIN) right now. I'm also battling giant mounds of laundry, BAGS full of laundry, and a lot of that has cat pee on it too (because that's another thing she pees on if it's on the floor; dirty laundry). Which means that each load takes twice as long because I do extra rinses and vinegar washes on top of the regular washing.

A friend posted a great article on Facebook today: Why Lying Broken In A Pile On Your Bedroom Floor Is A Good Idea. It made me feel stronger, having read it. The author shares some insight gained from a Hindu goddess. Here's an excerpt:

“Ishvari” in Sanskrit means “goddess” or “female power,” and the “Akhilanda” means essentially “never not broken.” In other words, The Always Broken Goddess. Sanskrit is a tricky and amazing language, and I love that the double negative here means that she is broken right down to her name.
But this isn’t the kind of broken that indicates weakness and terror.
It’s the kind of broken that tears apart all the stuff that gets us stuck in toxic routines, repeating the same relationships and habits over and over, rather than diving into the scary process of trying something new and unfathomable.
Akhilanda derives her power from being broken: in flux, pulling herself apart, living in different, constant selves at the same time, from never becoming a whole that has limitations.
The thing about going through sudden or scary or sad transitions (like a breakup) is that one of the things you lose is your future: your expectations of what the story of your life so far was going to become. When you lose that partner or that job or that person, your future dissolves in front of you.
And of course, this is terrifying.
But look, Akhilanda says, now you get to make a choice. In pieces, in a pile on the floor, with no idea how to go forward, your expectations of the future are meaningless. Your stories about the past do not apply. You are in flux, you are changing, you are flowing in a new way, and this is an incredibly powerful opportunity to become new again: to choose how you want to put yourself back together. Confusion can be an incredible teacher—how could you ever learn if you already had it all figured out?"

I highly recommend checking the whole thing out.

Other than that... I got pretty loopy / dizzy after I took my anxiety medication tonight (that happens sometimes) and ended the evening playing Skylanders with Oksana.

Speaking of anxiety. The Bloggess shared a post yesterday wherein she talking about her battles with depression and anxiety and admitted publicly for the first time that sometimes she self-harms. I'm really proud of her for talking about it and for standing up for herself and all the other people that fight their demons daily. I don't suffer from depression, and I don't self-harm, but I do suffer from GAD - generalized anxiety disorder. I was diagnosed about a year and a half ago. The symptoms had been creeping up on me for probably a couple of years before that, but I didn't recognize them. I had no real context for anxiety disorder. Sometimes it is hugely disabling, especially when other things in life are hard. It's harder to take action on many things in my life right now, for instance, when so many huge issues are crushing down on us right now. It's hard for me to explain to people why I don't just go get a job and make more money, because it's just not that simple for me. That's not all due to anxiety, but a large part of it is. I worry that people won't understand. I struggle with explaining my thoughts and feelings to people because without an understanding of how terrible anxiety can be to someone fighting it daily, I fear judgment. Scorn. Dismissal.

I fight anxiety every day. I take medications to help me deal with it. I see a therapist and a psychiatrist. These things have all helped immensely... but some days, life is still a huge battle.

Through it all, I do my best to figure out what I can do to make myself and my family happy. Sometimes that means compromises, BIG compromises. Even compromises on my own principles / morals at times. Because I'd rather be happy than right all the time.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Financial Peace

I've always been a fan of Dave Ramsey, but I've never really put effort into following his ideas... or much of any ideas about finances, really. I'd dabble in fixing our finances but never really committed for more than a short while. Good intentions, bad follow-through. After reading about a friend's experience with Dave's Financial Peace University (and her recent encouragement to check out one of the local FPU classes that will be starting soon), I convinced OJ that we should take the class. It's $100, not very much to spend on one's financial future. I think taking it together, spending dedicated time for 12 weeks talking about our finances and ways to make things better, working together and finally building a solid partnered financial foundation in our marriage, is a good idea.

OJ is skeptical about the fact that it is a Christian-based program and that it is held at a church. He's become very atheist over the past year or two. I told him there was no way I was entertaining the idea of moving to the Bible Belt (North Carolina) with him if he wouldn't even take a class because it was held at a church. I'm sure we can filter out any God messages and apply them in our own spiritual / ethical / moral way. He also doesn't love the idea of paying someone (AKA making THEM rich) to give us 'financial peace', but I maintain that people's time and efforts are worth paying for if we learn something / get value from it. AND, as I said, $100 is not that much for two people to invest in a 12-week class.

I don't know which class we will be taking yet; I have sent an email to the most likely one with some questions. Hopefully we'll be able to start soon.

I wonder if there's a way to take these methods and convert them in such a way that they could be applicable to weight loss and clutter management. I could become the next guru of fixing up your life!


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