The Blogaversary Post


So thanks to Facebook’s sometimes handy, often cringeworthy On This Day app, I learned today is the anniversary of the day I started this blog. My blogaversary, if you will. I figured I oughta write something, but don’t really have anything I feel like posting just yet (there are things in the works), so I turned to Person for a writing assignment. Sometimes I do that. Here’s a few she gave me today:

“Write about a song that means a lot to you.”

(cuz she was watching The Voice at the time): I’ve done that before. You can find that post here. Another fave would be Neil Diamond’s Done to Soon, and mostly I mention it because I heard it today. It’s the song I play whenever somebody dies (I find it oddly comforting), and one that I want played at my funeral. Dear Person: write that down; tell your hubs. Book a horn section, too, please. I’ll set aside some cash for that.

I’m pretty sure heaven has a good horn section.

I don’t plan on dying any time soon. It’s just good to be prepared. Just ask the Girl Scouts. Oh! I was a Girl Scout once upon a time.  No really, it’s true. I hated selling cookies, and now I’m in sales. Life’s funny that way.

“Write about anniversaries.”

No. Mostly because I suck at remembering them. I’m not that girl. I’m the “I think we started dating sometime in September, maybe? Or was it October? What play was happening at the time?” kind of girl. It would be best if I got married on a major holiday, just so I could remember the anniversary. Plus, built in themes!

I don’t plan on getting hitched anytime soon, either. But it’s good for the guy to know going in that I will probably not remember any anniversaries. I’m pretty good at birthdays, though. Usually.

“Write why yoga pants should be acceptable in the workplace.”

I mean, it goes without saying, really. Comfort leads to productivity, at least in my book. Plus you can drop into yoga poses to realign yourself after sitting at the desk for long periods of time. Yoga pants promote good workplace health, really.

I totally DO plan on wearing yoga pants to work next week. Mostly because I will be working from my Mom’s house.

“In honor of the Wasted series at church, write a list of your favorite time wasters.”

Easy peasy: Netflix, coloring books, looking up random crap on the internet, photoshop.

I do plan on wasting less time. Starting tomorrow. Probably.

“It’s National Poem Month! You could write a poem!”

Fact: In the early days of Facebook, I would compose birthday poems when FB reminded me of friends’ poems. They rhymed and usually made little to no sense. I’m not really sure why I stopped. I’d write one now but the Wondermutts are getting restless. Sorry, Person.

Right now. In my face.

Right now. In my face.

I plan on writing one soon, though.

& that’s the blogaversary post. If anything, it proves I suck at anniversaries, and excel at planning. If I knew ahead of time that my blogaversary was near, I would have planned a better post. One with confetti and unicorns, probably. Or confetti unicorns.

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Panic at the Elephant House


Panic attacks are a glorious part of my life. I have generalized anxiety disorder, and the super fun bit is that I never know when the attacks are going to happen.  Anxiety is all “Oh, you’re having an awesome day? The sun is shining and the birds are singing and unicorns are vomiting glittery rainbows all over your life? Awesome.  I’MA RUIN THAT RIGHT NOW,” and suddenly I can’t breathe, turn into a raging hulk monkey and have to find the nearest exit.

If my anxiety disorder had a face.

If my disorder had a face.

The last time I had a full on panic attack was this past August in Edinburgh at The Elephant House, a lovely little cafe spawned by Satan himself*.

Elephant House

Photo credit: Myself, mid panic attack.

It was mid-afternoon on a glorious mostly sunny 67° day, and Tanya and I’d been traipsing around town, seeing all the things. August is festival season in Edinburgh (yay Fringe) and I was starting to get a wee bit twitchy (cuz humans, so many humans) so we popped into the Elephant House to get a refreshing drink and do the whole “JK ROWLING WROTE HARRY POTTER HERE, YOU GUYS” thing.

And then it happened.

The restaurant was crowded and a stagnant 237°. Not good things for this girl. Too much heat & too little air movement will trigger a migraine in a heartbeat. My system immediately went into fight or flight mode, my throat started closing up, and I got ragey, as I do during panic attacks. Some people cry hysterically, I turn into the Hulk. A tear or two may form in the corner of my eye, but I’m more likely to try to find something to demolish in an effort to escape my uncontrollable fever rage.

Anyway.

Since it’s, ya know, Edinburgh, layers are key.  Shirt, jacket, purse slung across body. I also had on one of those evil, clunky passport pouches under my shirt. Sweat started pouring out everywhere, my breathing became shallow, and I got tunnel vision.

Panicked Brain: CLOTHES OFF. MUST COOL OFF. CLOTHES OFF. GET THIS PASSPORT THING OFF. OFF. OFF.

I ripped off the jacket and began trying to do the bra-removal-through-sleeve maneuver with the passport pouch (rational part of brain did manage to somehow comprehend that we were still in a public place) when ALL THE THINGS got tangled. Purse strap + pouch cord + sleeve = constricting, tangled mess. Poor Tanya, having never seen me in true panic mode, desperately tried to assist in the maneuver, at first to no avail. I may have slapped her hand away at one point, but I can’t really remember. All I knew was I was stuck. I could see out of the window, stood right beside the exit, but could.not.move and was now tangled in clothing and cords and straps.

Panicked portion of Brain: BREAK THE EFFING WINDOW AND ESCAPE.

Rational portion of Brain: um, please don’t get arrested in Scotland.

Voice: GET THIS THING OFF OF ME. GET ME OUT OF HERE.

Somehow, miraculously, I stopped fighting Tanya’s efforts and she got that effing passport heat pouch of death from around my neck and away from my body and ushered me out of the building into fresh air. She’s wee but mighty, that one.

Artist's rendering.

Artist’s Rendering.

We quickly hustled down the street, away from the cute little inferno from hell, towards some little venue that hosted one of the Fringe acts. She helped me order a beer and we sat there in the cool breeze while I self medicated, trying to casually calm the F down while listening to Scottish chefs chat about how they’d visited Kissimmee, Florida.

And that’s the story behind #panicattheelephanthouse, my “Me too” to those of you who have panic attacks. You’re not alone. They suck, I know. I also know that you have the strength to get through them. Keep fighting for the days filled with rainbow vomiting unicorns.

 

unicorn

*I’ve had many folks try to defend the Elephant House to me since the panic attack, and I have this to say: Just stop.  Shush.  In real life The Elephant House is probably really great, but my experience is not your experience. The folks that work there were lovely, this I can confirm. I’m sure the refreshments would have been delightful. And, yes, the HVAC was probably just on the fritz & blah blah blah. Shut it. You’re missing the point. This isn’t about the location. It’s about my panic attack that just happened to occur at that location. I will probably visit The Elephant House again if I go back to Edinburgh because anxiety can suck it. 

Signs You’re Not “Over It”


This is my “You can stop saying this now because we all know it isn’t true” post in response to (more than one) individuals’ continual social media overshares about being “over it.” It’s a lesson I had to learn for myself, and one I share in hopes others can be honest enough with themselves to say “Ya know what? I’m not over it yet. And that’s ok.”

Signs You’re Not “Over It.”

1) Posting on social media that you’re “Over it/him/her.”
2) Continuing to refer to the event/person using derogatory words.
3) Passive aggressively punishing the offender that you insist you’ve “forgiven.”

If you are still doing one or more of the above, you are not “over it.” The only person you’re fooling is yourself.

bowie knows bullshit

Stop kidding yourself.

But guess what? You don’t have to be over it yet. Who put your grief and pain on a timeline? Is someone telling you to hurry up and “get over it?” If so, that person is a jerk that needs a lesson in empathy. Plain & simple. Do you need to heal? Yes. Do you need to let go so you can move forward? Yes. You need to do that…but for yourself, not for anyone else.

 

Nobody grieves the same way. You and a friend may have a shared pain, and you may heal twice as fast as your friend…and that’s ok. She may heal faster than you…and that’s ok.

What’s not ok is to lie to yourself and say you’re “over it” when you clearly are. not. over it. What’s not ok is to keep punishing the offender or referring to the person/event using derogatory words. Why stoop to that level? Come on, you’re better than that. Don’t respond to hurt with hate. Nobody wins that game.

Instead of crying “I’m over it,” call it what it is. It’s ok to say “I’m in pain.” It’s ok to say “I am suffering.” You don’t necessarily need to share that with everyone on the interwebs, but you do need to be able to say it out loud to yourself. Once you truly identify and name your feeling, THEN you can start to heal. Ignoring the true pain and rushing yourself through the process is only going to leave you in a state of emotional paralysis. Staying in that emotional paralysis & not letting go of the past keeps you from recognizing & enjoying future blessings. Come on, friend. Don’t rob yourself of blessings. Stop trying to fool yourself, do the work, and take as much time you need. OH, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Therapy is your friend. There is zero shame in getting therapy. You want to better yourself, heal and care for yourself by getting help from an objective, trained sounding board? Good on you, friend. Good.on.you. Again, anyone that tells you differently is an ass. You’d get a mechanic to fix the wear and tear on your car, so why wouldn’t you get a therapist to help fix the wear and tear on your life? You’re certainly worth more than a damn car. Do you need help? Get that help. You’re worth it.

When you have truly worked through your pain and can let it go, THEN you are over it.

How do you know if you’re REALLY “over it?”

1) You don’t feel the need to announce to the world that you are “over it.”
2) You don’t feel the need to refer to the event or person using derogatory names. If you’re really lucky, you don’t feel the need to mention that event or person at all.
3) You no longer punish yourself or the offender.

4) You finally stop looking behind you, and start looking forward to what lies ahead.

When you no longer give your precious time and energy to the person or event that caused you pain, THEN, my dear, you are “over it.” Then you are free.

Be free.You hold the key to your cage. Set yourself free...Amazing.:

2015 #defianthappiness Year in Review


So it’s New Year’s Eve Eve and the middle of annual Purge week (the cleaning out of old crap to make room for new crap,) which means it’s time for my year in review!

First things first: Person & I theme our years. We do this instead of making a list of specific resolutions, as we’ve had more success with actually achieving awesomeness by using an overall theme instead. Yes, we do SMART goals & all that, too, but we love a theme, so there ya go.

Until 2015 we each had separate themes, but 2014 was ridiculously difficult for both of us, so we ended up each using the same theme for 2015. Combined awesomeness makes for more awesomeness, after all. After reflecting on stupid 2014, we decided our main goal in 2015 was to get back to the happy, no matter what. 2015: #defianthappiness – The Year of Unicorns & Glitter Parades was born.

23 Ways To Defy Your Enemy, According To Tumblr

Slow Motion Photo Booths, you guys. 

Has 2015 been chock full of happiness & unicorns & glitter parades? Pretty much. Not because we never had to deal with sad crap, but because we actively chose to be happy. No, we didn’t throw confetti during funerals or burst into maniacal laughter at inappropriate times.

You're grown men, why are you giggling in the first place? Oh Watson.:

Person is the John to my Sherlock. 

We did, however, find joy in all the little things. We gave ourselves a break. We took things less seriously when we could, and held onto joy-filled thoughts & memories as best we could.

I also drank a good bit of wine, so there’s that.

On always being honest. | 23 Hilarious Amy Poehler Quotes To Get You Through The Day:

Binge watching Parks & Rec is a key to Happiness

Other things that happened in 2015: Year of Unicorns & Glitter Parades:

  • Three Awesome Weddings (all the confetti was thrown)
  • Four Amazing Trips (There are Unicorns in Scotland, you guys)
  • Four Significant Deaths (the dad, my dog, a friend, and a mentor)
  • One Bucket List Role (Rocky Horror: WE’RE ALL LUCKY)
  • Two health scares (One mine, one mom’s, and we’re both ok. Yay!)
  • A gazillion books and movies (STAR WARS, you guys!)
  • All the lights! (because of course)
  • ALL THE THEATRE (So.Many.Shows)
  • All the drama (so.much.drama.)

Food was eaten, pounds were shed. Money was spent, money was saved. Friends were made, friends were lost. Goals were met, dreams were crushed.

That’s life.

There was much laughter and countless tears…but one thing’s for sure: #defianthappiness achieved, and we’re all the better for it.

Bring it on 2016, we’re ready for ya.

 

 

Working on Christmas Eve


Because we’re open for half a day (mostly to make deliveries) and I am out of vacation time (thanks to using it all on awesome trips to St.Louis, Las Vegas, Topsail Island and the UK,) I’m here in my office for four hours trying to think of things to do to make the time pass quickly.

34 “Elf” Quotes That Never Get Old & when you can use them .... SO FUNNY!:

Snuggling at the office is frowned upon.

Here’s my list!

  • Clean and organize office…until the task gets boring, because cleaning sucks.
  • Shred all the things.
  • Wish customers a Merry Christmas on all the social media.
  • Spend prolonged time on all the social media.
  • Eat all the food (biscuits & donuts were brought in because bossdaddy likes to feed the people.)
  • Write a blog post to get back in the habit of writing. Aim low with the entertainment value & just get it done.
  • Think about work goals for 2016. Maybe even write some of them down.
  • Drink all the coffee. ALL OF IT.
  • Obsess over what’s left to be done before all the Christmasing begins & have mild anxiety attack.
  • Curse the stupid rain.
  • Stare at the 1979 poster of the Police on wall for awhile and contemplate starting a vinyl collection.
  • Prepare for Monday’s Year End Review. Include mild anxiety attack in the preparation.
  • Make a to do list for next week’s work hours, because the last week of the year is also traditionally slow & will need things to do to occupy overactive brain.
  • Hope the phone rings.

34 "Elf" Quotes That Never Get Old

 

Merry Christmas Eve, you guys.

34 "Elf" Quotes That Never Get Old

It’s OK to Turn Off the Carols


I sat across from Person last night, updating her on ALL THE THINGS that are happening in my life right now (some good, some bad, some heartbreaking) and said, “I would cry, but I have things to do.” It is Christmas time, after all. It’s a time of celebration! Lights & trees & presents & parties & BLAH BLAH BLAH. Her eyes got wide. She pointed at me and said “THAT RIGHT THERE,” & then proceeded to tell me about her mini breakdown the night before & how she said to her husband “I would cry, but I have to go shopping.”

It was in that moment that I found my Christmas peace.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and OH MY GOD how I would love to be jolly right now, but I’m not, and I’m not the only one. Am I at peace now? YES, thanks to that moment, but filled with joy & glee? Not so much. And that’s ok.

BUT IT’S CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS IS THE BEST! FOR REASONS! ALL THE REASONS!!

Yeah, yeah it is, which is why I’ve held back tears and trudged forward and checked all the things off my to do list. BECAUSE CHRISTMAS, YOU GUYS.

I get it. I do. However, I can not, and will not, try to be jolly all damn day anymore. It’s exhausting. It’s unrealistic. It’s unhealthy.

And guess what. I can be sad if I want. I can wallow in it if I damn well please, because THAT’S the reason we Christians celebrate Christmas. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus, the one born to meet us, exactly where we are, and fill us with hope so we can keep moving forward. Sweet little 8lb 6oz Baby Jesus was born, Son of God, to grow into a man who empathizes with our pain.Sweet baby Jeasus

The Son of God, who, unlike our overly cheerful neighbors, is totally ok with us having a bad day or two during the never-ending party that the holidays seem to be. He’s totally cool with it if your house isn’t decorated as big and bright as your neighbors’. He’s cool with it if you need to turn off the carols for a little while and just enjoy some peace & quiet. He’s cool with it if you say no to a few Christmas parties.

Now, I’m not trying to say ANYTHING bad about the folks out there who are all YAY CHRISTMAS and filled with 24/7 glee. Good for you. Consider yourself blessed this year and count ALL of those blessings many times over. Enjoy your happiness & joy & eggnog. Have the Merriest Christmas ever. Seriously.

But for the rest of us? Hear this:

You have His permission to take a break from all the festivities.  It’s ok. He’d actually prefer it, I bet, if you took a break from ALL THE THINGS and just chatted with Him for a bit. Let Him know how you’re doing. Ask Him for help, for comfort, for peace. That’s why Jesus was born in the first place.

& I get it, you may not be a Christian. You may celebrate Christmas for other reasons, or you may not celebrate it at all and yet are surrounded by ALL THE CHRISTMASING EVERYWHERE. It’s ok. You, too, can take a break.

The pressure is off. You don’t have to be happy during the most wonderful time of the year. You’re not the only one feeling lonely in the middle of the party. You’re not the only one grieving the death of a loved one while others are celebrating life. You’re not the only one who got a pink slip instead of a bonus. You’re not the only one dealing with an anxiety disorder and/or depression while others are fa la la-ing all over the damn place. You are not alone.

I’ma say it again.

You are not alone.

Fear not.

Maybe you can’t feel all the joy this Christmas season, and that’s ok.

But maybe, just maybe, now you can enjoy a little peace.

Cheers.

Cheers, you guys.

Opening Night Thoughts


My morning thoughts, from the time I woke up until I got into the shower:

  • OMG CHARLEY HORSE IN BOTH LEGS
  • I need to get black out shades.
  • Is that what they’re called?
  • It’s way too early & too bright.
  • Get off me, Stella.
  • OMG SERIOUSLY, CHARLEY HORSE.
  • I need to put a whole banana in my shake this morning. Maybe two.
  • Are they fracking in Walnut Cove?
  • Did I read that?
  • I wonder if flames are going to shoot out of people’s faucets.
  • Flaming showers?
  • Yikes.
  • Why is my left knee so sore?
  • WHY AM I WALKING LIKE NEIL?
  • When did I get old?
  • How much salt did I eat yesterday?
  • I need to hydrate.
  • Why is it called Smart Water?
  • Marketing!
  • It’s Opening Night!
  • It’s Opening Night & my knees don’t work!
  • Shit.
  • I’m so glad I have a dishwasher.
  • Are we in a drought or just the West Coast?
  • My grass looks like crap.
  • Why are the dogs barking?
  • I’m hungry.
  • How many calories did I have yesterday?
  • Not enough, clearly.
  • I want caprese after the show.
  • I want steak now.
  • Why is there no red meat in my fridge?
  • Ooh! Hard boiled egg whites!
  • Still not steak.
  • Didn’t I JUST get a massage?
  • DAMMIT, KNEES.
  • Why am I out of cream?
  • I need to check my tomatoes.
  • That requires real clothes.
  • Later.
  • Maybe I can do some yoga at lunch.
  • It’s too quiet in here.
  • What song shall I sing for mic check tonite?
  • Get it together, Pandora.
  • How much caffeine is in this cold brew concentrate?
  • Is that a spider bite?
  • I hope I get spidey sense & super powers.
  • Especially the kind that FIX MY STUPID KNEES.
  • I bet spiders don’t have this problem.
  • Do spiders have knees?
  • I should’ve ordered twice as much Deep Blue.
  • I’m gonna smell like an old lady all day.
  • How long is David at Disney?
  • I wanna go back to Disney.
  • I’ma need a hover round if I go, CUZ KNEES.
  • Do they even make hover rounds anymore?
  • Geodesic domes are cool.
  • I wonder if blue prints for Epcot are online.
  • Science!
  • Einstein was a perv.
  • Um, Bucky Fuller designed the geodesic dome, Suzanne, not Einstein.
  • Get it together.
  • Maybe I shouldn’t read Cracked articles before I go to bed at night.
  • But they’re so informative & hilarious!
  • Unicorns ARE jerks.
  • I gotta buy crayons.
  • Ooh, Jenga!
  • Hurry up, Sangria. I need a shower.
  • Wait…fracking?
  • The hell?
  • DAMMIT, KNEES.
  • I really need to do some yoga.
  • But first, shower!
  • UGH I need to shave.
  • I wish my legs popped off like Barbie legs.
  • Shaving would be easier if I had removable legs.
  • Do cyborgs have removable limbs?
  • Cyborgs are not real things, Suzanne.
  • Get it together, woman.

And this is what it’s like to wake up inside my head on the morning of opening night. Not one thing about lines, choreography, or harmonies, but plenty about spider bites, cyborgs & flames shooting out of faucets, cuz LOGIC.

Wait.

CYBORG SPIDERS WITH FLAME THROWERS AS WEAPONS.

I gotta go find some more coffee. How much caffeine is in the cold brew? Not enough, apparently. Not nearly enough.

Clearly.

Clearly.

A is for Advice – the Unsolicited Kind. You’re Welcome.


Every once in awhile I’ll get bored and peruse writing prompts, and then on even rarer occasions I’ll actually do the writing. This is one of those times.

Prompt:

prompt

Disclaimer: It says nothing about writing good advice.

So here ya go. 26 pieces of random Suz advice, in alphabetical order:

Ask first.

Be bold.

Call your mom.

Dream big.

Eat your vegetables.

Fold your laundry.

Giggle often.

Honor others’ time.

Ignore the haters, especially the anonymous ones.

Jail: Avoid it.

Know when to walk away…know when to run. Thanks, Kenny Rogers!

Love big.

Mend the people and the things you break.

Naps: they are your friend. Rest well.

Own your words.

Pick your battles.

Quit your bitchin’.

Read often.

Shit or get off the pot.

Thanksgiving: keep it.

Unwind.

Vote.

Wish upon a star.

eXercise.

Yield for pedestrians.

Ziplines: try them.

Or just do what he says

Or just do this. 

The Dash Between Two Dates


There is no “celebration of life” page on Facebook, no memorial page, no announcement. There is no obituary, no epitaph, no great list of accomplishments.

There was a feeling that led to a search, a discovery of his death ten days after it happened, a phone call from brother to sister.

“I need you to pay attention.”

“I can pay attention while I’m driving. I have somewhere I need to be.”

“I have to tell you something.”

“I’m listening.”

“Fine…(sigh)…Dad died.”

No tears, no emotion. He could have easily said “I’m having pizza for dinner” or “storm’s rolling in” and received the same response. The discussion of how & when & where continued until I reached my destination.

Dad is gone, but that’s nothing new. He’s been out of our lives for over twenty years, and was barely in our lives to begin with. It’s impossible to grieve the absence of a presence barely felt. It’s difficult to grieve if there is no love, and there is no love. Not anymore. That died years ago, and the grief is long forgotten.

I am sad, though. Sad that a man’s life could be reduced to just a dash between two dates. Sad that the other daughter couldn’t write an obituary for him. She wrote nothing, and that says a lot, considering that he actually was a constant presence in her life. I don’t know her, or what their life was like after our final correspondence, but the lack of obituary is, well, sad. Like real life Ebenezer Scrooge sad. It doesn’t sit well with me, but since I won’t know why she didn’t write one, I’ll have to let that go. No sense in wasting any more time wondering why or what if. I did enough of that when I was a kid.

Sometimes we don’t get the answers we need.

It’s best to make peace with that fact as quickly as possible.

So there it is. My father is dead, and though I’ll never fully forget the feeling of being treated like an afterthought, I choose to instead focus on the little I remember of his fleeting presence:

He smelled like Old Spice & sawdust, and he always had change in his pocket that jangled when he walked.

 

 

 

Friday Fun Times


It’s Friday. Wondermutt Stella woke me up at 5 a.m., apparently thinking yesterday’s accidental early morning is a new thing. It’s not a thing, Stella. Stop trying to make it a thing.

It's 5 a.m. My face is in your face.

It’s 5 a.m. Time for face in your face.

And so the day began. Kinda like this.

This happens more than I care to admit.

Yeah.

So I’m highly caffeinated AGAIN today and trying to find some ways to combat the cranky during lunch hour. Cuz it’s Friday. Friday isn’t for cranky times. Friday is for fun times.

Like vintage bowling.

These are my three favorite fun things on the interwebs right now:

Cuz Jimmy Fallon & the Roots:

Cuz Benny:

Cuz this writer & also Harry Potter (I fancy the Brits. Not ashamed.) You should follow him on the twitter machine:

Friday’s Shameless Plug for Friends:

Tonite I’m going to see something about some Lesbians Eating Quiche.

Shameless Plug for Friends

 

I love this little theatre group. They perform shows I’ve never heard of, which is great cuz I can only watch Hairspray and Oklahoma! and South Pacific performed so many times. Yeah, I said it.

Find something to make you laugh today. Cuz it’s Friday, yo.