Thursday, August 15, 2013

Inescapable (GBE2 #117 Topic: Power)

This week, I'm pretending to be a poet.  Enjoy!



 Fingertips...
    grazing my collarbone
gently sweeping
    secrets keeping
    softly whisper
press into me
        ...deeply






Fingertips...
    delicate squeezing
exquisite pleading
    voltaic frenzy
    the silent demand
be my
        ...authority


impetuously
  
      breathless.

electricity.....


sealed our fate



Sunday, August 11, 2013

Moving Away? (GBE2 #116 Topic: First Steps)

I have a huge decision to make.

I want to make a gigantic change in my life.

I want to move.
 

 Not just around the corner or up the street.  Not to a nearby town or city.  Not even to a neighboring state.

I want to move ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY!!!





( Portland Baby!! My My dream wedding here I come!!!)

If you know me...or you've read this blog...then you may know that I've been having a love affair with the city of Portland for years.  Once I visited, the deal was sealed and I've wanted to be there ever since.

We've discussed it in the past.  We planned to move when all the kids were out of the house.  But recently, we've started feeling antsy...like a BIG change is just what we need.  

We've devised a plan.  We have a tentative date picked out.  Most importantly, we'll actually have the money to do it!  

Some of the kids are excited.  Some just flat out don't want to go.  I'm torn between making them happy and making one of my biggest dreams come true.  I'm torn between doing something terribly exciting and keeping things comfortable.

What if I can't find a job?  What if all the money runs out before we really get a handle on our new life?  

What if everyone hates it and they all resent me forever?

What if we all die from dysentery on the way?

What if?  What if?  What if?

I'm not taking this decision lightly.  I think about it every single day.  We talk about it constantly.  I keep telling people " I'm not comfortable with saying that we're actually going...but man, I sure want to..."

It is such a scary idea.

I'm so confused.

I guess for now we'll keep talking...researching and dreaming...working out the kinks in our plan.

Until...hopefully...we're ready to take the first step.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Living Well Is the Best Revenge (GBE2 #115 Topic: Faith)

I go out of my way to try NOT to write about autism.  

For starters, there are so many other bloggers that do a much better job of capturing life with autism than I feel I could.

And then...my life with autism...isn't really all that difficult.  I see what other parents go through...what other children have to endure...the lives of some of the individuals that I have cared for during the course of my career...and I figure that I'm pretty damn lucky!

On their worst days, my kids just seem to be a little weird. 
Nathan can come across as kind of a jerk...uncaring...cold...a kid who has no use for the world around him or the people in it.  It's just his way...personal connections are difficult for him and sometimes, I think he'd prefer it if we all communicated in the virtual world--his comfort zone being almost strictly behind a keyboard.  But there can just as many moments when he does engage with us and his smile and sarcastic sense of humor--that took forever for him to develop (he had no idea we were joking for years!!)--light up the entire room.  
Bear is Nathan's opposite.  He loves to interact...too much sometimes.  He loves to ramble on and on (and on...) about his favorite topics:  the video games, Minecraft and Skyrim, and watching videos on Youtube.  Even at the age of almost eleven...and at the size of a small adult...his favorite place to be is wedged between Jeff and I on the couch with me scratching some part of his body.  He walks around the house with "t-rex arms" and spins around and/or flaps his hands (what he has named "advanced jazz hands") whenever he hears the theme song to the television show "The Big Bang Theory". 

Nathan has one really good friend.  Bear maintains that his family are the only friends he needs.



While Nathan tends to keep things inside and doesn't like to talk about what's bothering him, Bear freaks out about almost anything and is prone to meltdowns over seemingly minor things.  As Bear has matured, the meltdowns have become smaller and easier to come back from...but they still happen...frequently.

These differences, I think, are why Bear was easily diagnosed at the age of five but Nathan wasn't diagnosed with Asperger's until he was fifteen.  Bear can be loud, obnoxious, and rude.  Nathan is generally quiet and well-mannered.  Adults like Nathan because, even when he was younger, he acted like a tiny adult.  Bear's emotional and social age is at least 3 years younger than he actually is.  A ten year old, who is five feet tall and weighs 150 pounds, having a "temper tantrum" like a five year old isn't an easy pill to swallow for people who just don't get it.
All of Bear's life, people have shunned him.  Sometimes he notices....sometimes he doesn't.  And sometimes, people pull me aside to tell me what a rotten child he is and how it's all our fault!

Sometimes...they say these things when he is in earshot! 

We didn't discipline him enough.
We coddle him.
He isn't really on the autism spectrum--we're just bad parents.
He doesn't need special ed--just a good smack every once in a while.
He should know better not to give us a hard time by this age.
You dropped the ball with this kid...shame on you!!

Sometimes, these statements come from people who are supposed to be loving and supportive.

Often, the very idea that people feel that way--when they are supposed to love us unconditionally--causes more pain and anger than I can handle.

But I have faith.

Not necessarily in them...but in my kid.  That he will continue to be the happy, charming, amazing kid he's always been...and that he will grow into an even more amazing adult.

Proof...

that we never dropped the ball....




Sunday, July 14, 2013

Walking in My Spiritual Garden (GBE2 #113 Topic: Photo Prompt)


  
"You see...you can't run away from your pain.  Because wherever you run, there you will be.  You have to learn to water your spiritual garden...then you will be free" ("Special" by Janet Jackson)

I've felt off lately.  I've been really down on myself.  

I've been comparing myself to others...others that I have absolutely no business comparing myself to.  People I can't compete with...shouldn't compete with...

There's no competition  to begin with...

I'm angry with them for being better than me? themselves. 

I'm sad because I'm just not measuring up to own over-inflated expectations. 

I'm being petty and irrational...I KNOW THIS...and yet, I find myself sinking back into the same bad habits every time I talk myself out of them.  

I've been walking for a while now.  Trying to incorporate some much needed physical activity in my life.  Everyone morning, between five and five-thirty, I put on my headphones and make my way up the hill.

I live at the bottom of a pretty large hill and, in small increments, have worked my way up to walking up to two miles every morning.  I'm really happy with this and quite proud of my progress.

However...when your inner monologue is a miserable sack...well, that just sets the tone for a really crappy day!  

I needed a sign like the photo above!

I needed something to tell me that all this negativity was NOT the way to go!

And while I didn't exactly get a sign...what I did get was a clearer head.  With every minute I've spent out there in the morning...with every step I've taken...I've started to feel better.

I listen to my inner voice.  She's hurting.  For stupid reasons, for sure...but she's hurting nonetheless.  That voice NEEDS to vent.  Instead of pushing things out of my mind and pretending they don't exist, I've discovered that I need to really think things through...even wallow a little bit.  Maybe brainstorm possible solutions. 

I try to be very careful though.  There's a big difference between letting it all out and letting it eat away at you.

I look forward to my early morning walks.  What started as a a chore to possibly lose a few pounds has turned into my special time just for me--a meditation of sorts.

My inner monologue has turned from a miserable sack....to a slightly less miserable sack.

I'm a work in progress.....




 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Perfect Choices (GBE2 #107 AND #108 Topics: Half My Life Ago/What If?

Half my life ago, I was almost 19.

I'd dropped out of college and was just beginning my journey into living my life as an adult.

I had no job...but I was looking.  Luckily, my grandmother had left me her house when she passed away or I would not have had anywhere to go.  I had a roof over my head but a very limited understanding of how the business of having a job, keeping a job, and paying bills actually worked. 

I thought I had a boyfriend.  I hadn't really noticed that, for the past several months, he only showed up late at night or not at all.  I heard rumors that he was seeing another girl but I wasn't overly worried.  It couldn't be too serious with her if he was still visiting me...right? (Oh, silly 18 year old Stephanie...you have lots to learn!)

One night, as I was just drifting off to sleep, there was a knock at my door.  I peeked out into the hall and found a nice looking young man standing there.  He looked a few years older than me--probably in his early twenties.  I didn't know him and I had no idea why he was here.

He was a friend of my sister's boyfriend and my sister had sent him over to visit hoping that we'd hit it off.  I invited him in.  (I know, I know...I'm pretty darn lucky that he wasn't a total psycho...I was young and stupid!)  We started talking.  I thought he was a nice guy.  I can't imagine what he thought of me...with my pj's on and my bed hair...sitting cross-legged on the floor in a room with next to no furniture! 

He asked me if I had a boyfriend.  And I said yes!!  Then I proceeded to carry on about this "boyfriend" of mine for at least a good half-hour. 

As you can clearly see, I was a master at flirtation!

We crossed paths a few times after that but nothing ever came of it.  Within a few months, I had reunited with my high school sweetheart and a year after that we were married.  Five years after that, I met Jeff...five years after that...Jeff and I tied the knot with three of our children in attendance.

Sometimes I look back at moments in life where crucial decisions were made.  Did I make the right choice?  What if I had chosen differently...would things have been better?  Would things have been worse?  How different would I be?

As I sit here, writing this, I'm at the library watching Addy play checkers.  Mathias is reading me "Green Eggs and Ham".  It's been a terrific day.  Jeff and I went to the movies.  My makeup looked amazing.  We had an unexpected turn of good luck yesterday that will make our lives just a little bit easier.

Life is pretty awesome sometimes.

Sure.... I could have chosen differently.  But then I wouldn't be where I am right now. 

And right here is the perfect choice...for me.




Friday, May 10, 2013

Better Than Yesterday--a short(ish) story (GBE2 #103 Topic: Photo Prompt)

 This week's GBE2 topic was a photo prompt.  I wrote a short(ish) story.  Enjoy!!
 
The sun was just starting to peek over the horizon. Elsa could hear the birds singing and the waves lapping softly at the shoreline. The blazing colors in the distance would soon be full fledged daylight, bathing her in the first rays of early morning. Her house was slowly fading behind her as she gradually made her way up the beach, her bare feet sinking just slightly into the damp sand with each step she took.

She still had on her dress from yesterday-- A long, white, flowing, peasant-style dress that she has owned for years. She hadn't been to bed...hadn't thought much about changing into something more comfortable either. The old dress was just fine. Its hem kissed the sand every now and then as she walked along--bottle firmly in hand. Her long, wavy blonde hair was pulled back from her face and fastened with an ornate silver clip. Strands of hair had escaped hours ago and now framed her face with loose ringlets. Her eyes were rimmed with smudges of black and gray—remnants of makeup that had been destroyed by hours of weeping.

The champagne was finished hours ago...it's affects no longer noticeable. She didn't often drink but last night that bottle was her new best friend. A night that was supposed to be a loving celebration with her special someone, somehow turned into an almost endless session of replaying old memories and crying in the dark. Around four o'clock in the morning...her new friend persuaded her to write the letter.

Nobody writes letters anymore, a small voice in the back of her mind scolded her. Certainly not with a pen and paper. What would she do with it? Send it? Pouring her heart out on tear stained paper-- no matter how fancy it was with it's pretty flowered borders--wouldn't make things right. It wouldn't get her what she wanted.

You can't get back what was never yours in the first place.

But the tears kept flowing and her glass seemed to refill itself without her even trying. Numbness and clarity walked hand in hand as she rose up from her seat by the fireplace and made her way to the desk. She chose her favorite pen—the one her grandmother had given her on her 18th birthday—and a few pages of that fancy stationary. Then, she sliced herself wide open and her words bled onto the page.

I think love you. Not the forever kind. Not the kind that makes people take life altering risks. Maybe it's not even love...who knows...but I feel something. Something strong and deep and real. No matter how long we've been doing...well, whatever it is that we do... I never feel enough. I get so nervous when I'm around you and I feel like everything I say is the wrong thing. This letter is probably the wrong thing...but it's late...and my inhibitions are rather diminished. I've always been perfectly happy to love you from a distance and I told myself that it didn't matter if you ever loved me back. As long as I put my love for you out into the universe, good things were bound to happen. I kept waiting. Waiting for the universe to reward my patience. Waiting for you to throw me scraps of attention. “Rejection is the greatest aphrodisiac”...I heard that in a song once. I guess people really do want what they know they can't have.  I've spent what feels like an eternity in this endless loop of rejection and reward. I would ride on the high of a single kiss for days...only to crash to rock bottom...humiliated...time and time again. And no matter how many times I talked myself out of this insanity, I keep coming back. You didn't even have the decency to tell me you weren't coming tonight and yet, I know that if you asked me right now-- I'd drop everything and come to you. And I don't know what hurts more: knowing that I am really that weak or knowing that you're not going to ask me.

Elsa stared off towards the ocean. The morning sun warmed her face and the soft breeze lightly tousled her hair and caused her skirt to wind around her ankles. She tucked a few stray strands of hair behind her ears and fished the letter from her skirt pocket. She felt changed. Determined. It had been a rough night but the morning seemed full of promises.

She looked it over quickly, then rolled it up and slid it into the bottle.

She took a deep breath and haphazardly wiped a few tears away with the back of her free hand.

With all of her might, she threw the bottle into the sea. It bobbed and swayed with the current until, eventually, it disappeared from Elsa's sight. It was only then—after she could no longer see it—that she turned around and began to head home.

As she retraced her steps along the shore, a smile started to make its way across her pretty face.

Today would be better than yesterday.

The next day would be better than today.

She was finally free.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

How To Do the One Thing I'm Really Good At (GBE2 #102--Topic: "How To...")

 This week's GBE2 topic is to write a set of "how to..." instructions.  This was really difficult!  I hope I explained everything clearly.  Thanks for stopping by...even though I'm sure not everyone is as interested in this topic as I am!

This is my favorite way to do my eye makeup.  I realize that this is a pretty dramatic color scheme for most people (although, I would wear this on a Tuesday for no reason at all...) but the technique for this can be used with even the tamest of colors.

You will need
Eye shadow primer (I used one from e.l.f. It only costs $1!)
3 different shades of the same color eyeshadow--one light, one medium, one dark
(I used the Wet n' Wild 'blue had me at hello' palette $4.99)
1 "skin tone" shade of eyeshadow
black eyeliner 
mascara 
various makeup application brushes (e.l.f. also sells these for $1 apiece)
scotch tape (optional but very helpful for beginners)

1.  Before starting any eyeshadow application, you should dab a small amount of primer onto your eyelids and gently rub it in all the way up to your brow bone.  This really helps keep your eye makeup looking fresh all day and keeps it from fading and creasing.

2.  Take a strip of scotch tape and stick it to your hand.  Remove it from your hand and stick it at an angle going from the outer corner of your eye to the end of your eyebrow.  Sticking it to your hand first removes some of the adhesive and it won't be as difficult to remove later on.  Ripping very sticky tape off your face in that area could be very damaging to the delicate skin near your eyes.

3.  With a flat eyeshadow brush, apply the lightest of your three shades all over your eyelid.  Be careful to not bring this color up any higher than your natural crease--the area where you can feel your eyeball meet the socket bone. 

4.  With a stiff dome-shaped brush, take the medium shade and apply it to your crease.  Start with circular motions near the outer corner of your eye to concentrate more color there and then blend it out toward the inner corner of your eye using a back and forth motion.

5.  This step can be done with a stiff dome brush but I prefer to use an angled brush because I feel it's easier to deposit the color exactly where I want it.  Using whichever brush you prefer, take the darkest color and apply it in the crease again.  This time, you want to concentrate the color in the "deep crease" or "outer-v".  In the picture, you can see where the darker color defines this area.  This step isn't necessary, but I feel it adds more depth and dimension to the finished look.

6.  With a fluffy blending brush, take the skin-toned color eyeshadow and apply it to the brow bone area, working it down to the medium shade you used in the crease.  Use this color to buff out any harsh lines.  This helps to soften the look and can help to fix and hide certain mistakes.

7.  Remove the tape.  This should leave you with a crisp, straight edge.  With practice, this isn't entirely necessary.  I still do it sometimes--when I want a really crisp line.

8.  Apply eyeliner and mascara.  These steps can be optional but I always wear eyeliner and mascara.  I don't think eye makeup looks finished without them.  This is just what I prefer.  There are no strict rules when it comes to makeup...do what works best for you.

EXTRAS:  When I did this makeup, I also added blue glitter to my eyelids.  After I applied my eyeshadow,  I gently dabbed an adhesive (Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy...but there are others on the market) to my eyelids with my finger and then used a flat brush to pat the glitter on.  I also added a bit of sparkle to the inner corners of my eyes and just under the arch of my brow.  A very light or white shadow in the inner corners can make your eyes appear farther apart and it's also just a nice finishing touch.  For this look, I used Unicorn Pee from My Pretty Zombie Cosmetics.  It's a difficult color to describe other than to say that it is sparkly and shimmery and exactly what one might think unicorn pee actually looks like!  The camera never does this amazing eyeshadow any justice.

This, of course, is only one of many different styles and techniques of eye shadow application. 

It sounds like a ton of work...and it can be...but it can be a ton of fun too.  








 
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