Motivational Monday — Courtney Act

The finale of Dancing with the Stars: Australia just aired. I haven’t seen the show but I know of one of its contestants this season, a very special Miss Courtney Act aka Shane Gilberto Jenek, by way of another hit TV show Rupaul’s Drag Race, which I have watched for years.

Courtney has already built up a strong and profound history of advocacy and education. Here is a clip of her being ya best pal and explaining some fundamentals:

You seeing this? Accessible, fun, intelligent and warm, and that is just a glimpse.

What I really want to bring up here, though, is one of her post performance interviews on the show Dancing with the Stars (AU).

So, again, and the whole thing, because it so bears repeating:

“You remember those times when you’re living in shame or you’re hiding something about yourself that you think you should be ashamed of and I guess it’s just a message of whatever benefit you think you’re receiving from minimizing a part of yourself, you have no idea how wonderful it is on the other side when you shine a light on that dark place and you live it.”

 

Happy Monday.

I’m Trying! — to Organize My Arts & Crafts Supplies pt 1

I’m planning a cross-country move for my parents. So why would I be organizing my house right now? Well Tamar, did you watch the show?

gif credit u/tampire on tenor

Procrastinating on a chore with other chores is my very bread and butter.

When we first got my parents their apartment down the street from us, I migrated a lot of my arts and crafts supplies to their place, because I thought I’d be spending a lot of time there basking in their company and working on my lil nuffins. It turned out, chores and errands continued to run the day, and my mom never even taught me how to use a sewing machine! So guess where all those supplies have to go? That’s right, back in my house.

Here is everything that was not in the cabinets (the “underutilized storage” pictured) set out on the sofa, ft. Abbie who wouldn’t get out of the way.

Fear not, friends, per my “I’m trying!” (featuring an exclamation mark meant to denote excitement, not exasperation, seriously, how’s your head) series, I’m gearing myself up to try out my supplies, and will soon report back with results.

But first, I must organize, which will give me the chance to review what I have, and drive home the realization that I don’t need to consume more to start creating. So let’s see what resides in these underutilized cabinets:

Lizzie is judging this mess
she judges this mess too

 

I started out by taking everything out, and along with what was already out, grouping like items. Then I relocated things that did not belong. Dog things went to the dog cabinet, and the video game controller went to the media console. I gave away my squiggly pen holder. I love it because it’s so ugly, but then everyone refused to look at it much less use it, so it had to live in the cabinets, which is unfair to the life this beauty was meant to live. So I talked my dad into taking it, and, he promised, to feature it prominently in his new home. I also donated this puzzle that I’m sure I’ll never complete again.

 

FUN STORY: I finished the whole thing and found I was missing a single piece. I couldn’t find it so I dismantled the whole thing to regain our counter space, and lo and behold I FIND a piece? I had to put the puzzle together again immediately to figure out where it was the original stray or a subsequent, unrelated stray… I never want to see this puzzle again. Wow that is not a fun story.

 

Infuriating tale of puzzle gore aside, the next step here is understanding how much space each category I return to the cabinets needs and planning those spaces properly. Tune in again for progress updates!

Poetry Ptuesday: The Thing Is by Ellen Bass

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

(S)LOW BUY: March 2019 Spending Breakdown

Happy Tax Day! Last Month’s credit card statements are in, and, here we go:

 

First off, last month I said I needed to watch my Amazon spending, and I happily report I did just that! In March, I made only two purchases on Amazon: one necessary and the other a gift.

see for yourself!

My mom asked for that book, and I always do her bidding.

I know Bed, Bath and Beyond carry the Simple Human trash liners, but I couldn’t find any in the right size at the physical store I frequent so I went on Amazon. I prioritize buying in person when possible.

Not only was this all in terms of buying from Amazon, this was all my online shopping! Period!

 

Other purchases I made include:

March 15 — $1,422.79, at IKEA — I flew out to California (where my dog nephew kept me company!) to sign the lease on my parents’ new apartment. I spent a few days setting up the place. I bought a bed and mattress as their current place uses a futon in the guest room that will become the 2-seater sofa in their new, larger space. I picked up two more bookshelves as we’re leaving behind two flimsy, falling apart ones. I also sprang for the delivery (more $) as I didn’t have anyone who could help me move the heavy, large pieces.

March 16 — $15.98, at Goodwill — I bought two mugs so I could stop relying on single use beverages during my stay. I bought some organizers for closets and drawers as my parents had nearly none. I wouldn’t say these were impulse buys or unnecessary purchases… I’m actually including them for positive reasons. I’ve wanted to transition into buying more secondhand and in person to really hone my selectiveness with my purchases. I’m happy to make a start.

March 16 — $318.99, at Target — I bought my parents a TV so that when cable and internet were installed later this day, I could verify functionality. This was not strictly necessary, as I could’ve waited until their Pennsylvania TV arrived in California and went from there. However, I wanted to check all the utilities off the list so that when I returned, I could focus on coordinating the movers, organizing and unpacking. I decided it was worth $300ish to 1) get my parents a second TV, and 2) let myself enjoy the relief of completely checking an item off my To Do List.

March 17 — $16.00, at Goodwill — This was a different location that was on my way back from meeting a friend of my mom’s in downtown LA. I bought two lawn chairs (their current place does not have outdoor space). I also picked up two small planters that were not exactly necessary, but I plan to pick out some plants with my dad. Y’all know how I feel about plants. I appreciate them.

March 17 — $38.77, at Target — I bought the few items I could not find at Goodwill such as shower curtain and liner. Side note: I was lucky enough to be able to raid my aunt Irene’s place for things like laundry detergent and other household items, or this Target trip would have cost more.

March 18 — $11.65, at I Love LA Terminal — I remember exactly what I bought because of the shame: gummy bears, pretzel chips, and a sudoku book. The Financial Diet is right (again), the airport markup is unreasonable. I also bought trash instead of sustenance, and I never finish these puzzle books, so why on Earth?! I have no excuse really; regrettably, I slipped up.

 

Overall though, I think I did pretty okay this month. I made 2 online shopping “trips”, down from 5 (60% decrease) in February and 8 (75% decrease!) in January when I started this whole thing, neither trips were impulse buys to boot!

 

My only 100% impulse buy/unnecessary purchase was the $11.65 I spent at the airport. I remember distinctly wanting to reward myself for the hectic days preceding, so I wanted to do something that was purely, unjustifiably bad i.e. buy some horribly marked up junk food. I suppose I should be more vigilant and wary of my equating airport candy with a substantive reward. Still, I had a good run, and I can’t wait to see how I do in April!

Poetry Ptuesday: The Morning after I Killed Myself by Meggie Royer

The morning after I killed myself, I woke up.

I made myself breakfast in bed. I added salt and pepper to my eggs and used my toast for a cheese and bacon sandwich. I squeezed a grapefruit into a juice glass. I scraped the ashes from the frying pan and rinsed the butter off the counter. I washed the dishes and folded the towels.

The morning after I killed myself, I fell in love. Not with the boy down the street or the middle school principal. Not with the everyday jogger or the grocer who always left the avocados out of the bag. I fell in love with my mother and the way she sat on the floor of my room holding each rock from my collection in her palms until they grew dark with sweat. I fell in love with my father down at the river as he placed my note into a bottle and sent it into the current. With my brother who once believed in unicorns but who now sat in his desk at school trying desperately to believe I still existed.

The morning after I killed myself, I walked the dog. I watched the way her tail twitched when a bird flew by or how her pace quickened at the sight of a cat. I saw the empty space in her eyes when she reached a stick and turned around to greet me so we could play catch but saw nothing but sky in my place. I stood by as strangers stroked her muzzle and she wilted beneath their touch like she did once for mine.

The morning after I killed myself, I went back to the neighbors’ yard where I left my footprints in concrete as a two year old and examined how they were already fading. I picked a few daylilies and pulled a few weeds and watched the elderly woman through her window as she read the paper with the news of my death. I saw her husband spit tobacco into the kitchen sink and bring her her daily medication.

The morning after I killed myself, I watched the sun come up. Each orange tree opened like a hand and the kid down the street pointed out a single red cloud to his mother.

The morning after I killed myself, I went back to that body in the morgue and tried to talk some sense into her. I told her about the avocados and the stepping stones, the river and her parents. I told her about the sunsets and the dog and the beach.

The morning after I killed myself, I tried to unkill myself, but couldn’t finish what I started.

I’m Trying!: Coming Soon

When people want to know what I’m doing with this blog, I don’t have an answer other than “I hope something nice?”. I want to share things that are generous, good, kind, and positive. In short, I want to do something nice here, for Mini (and others).

Obviously I’m here for selfish reasons too. For one, I couldn’t let this place go. And two, I want a nice space for myself. Some days the internet doesn’t feel like a great place to spend my time. Some days it feels like I only come across negativity and spam that are poorly edited/written to boot. So I started to hoard the shiny things I like here. I cover books I’m reading, plants I’m growing, puzzles and more; I gather articles and poems and YouTube videos I enjoy. Because these things are nice.

But then I thought: You know what’s nice? Trying is nice! It’s good just to try, and the best way to try (and to keep at it) is to document relevant efforts honestly and in detail. Thus a new series– I’m Trying— is born and will soon make its true debut; but first, let’s break that down:

 

Trying my best is nice. My spending tracking and slow buy series already is in this spirit. I essentially create journal entries to hold myself accountable and to reflect on decisions I made as I pursue a fundamental change and track my progress. I can only know if I’m doing better (and striving for my best) if I consistently document my journey.

Trying out a different way is nice. This represents one new part of the series to come. I know I have not optimized my approach to many areas in my life. I want to tackle the worst offenders in this category, and journal my progress and setbacks encountered.

Trying something new is nice. This makes up the other new part of the series. There are a lot of things I’ve never tried before! Frankly, there are an inexcusable number of things, for which I’ve acquired all the requisite materials, which I never attempted. So I’m going to take on my (former) fantasy projects one by one and track my results here.

 

Happy Saturday, y’all, and stay tuned!

Plant Appreciation Post: Wall Mounted Ferns

Last summer, the lovely Mini helped me wall mount two of my ferns. Well first she accompanied me to Terrain where we picked up the beauties, then she helped me get them situated.

from July 16, 2018, time flies!!!

So after she blessed them with her beautiful smile, they went on to live on the wall of my pilot house powder room.

The leggy guy unfortunate was no happy with gravity? lack of humidity before I learned of my ignorant ways? And started to drop his straggly leaves one by one.

Luckily I saved a pup from him to grow in a pot because I was worried wall mounting would prove too much for his constitution.

in November 2018, the pup was all “cool, Imma grow you a little shield frond so you can get a taste of what I can do”

This leads us to iteration number two, in which I attempted to rescue Big Guy by putting him back in a pot and saving him from his fight with gravity/less than optimal growing environs.

Here we are in late November, 2 weeks after I noticed the The Pup’s shield frond, I says to him, I says, you’re ready for The Wall

Big Guy is still hanging on in that pot, albeit by a thread. But The Pup is doing AMAZING!

Here he is a month after mounting, in late December, growing a second shield frond

 

Another month goes by, in late January, even through the winter he’s doing his thing putting out FAT leaves

 

And here he is a week ago, look at him go! Stretching out!

Let us not forget his wall buddy: literally the coolest fern I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. After a long time of looking like he’s on the cusp of something great, a new leaf started to inch out, very slowly.

In fact it was growing so slowly that our first picture is from early January

For the longest time I couldn’t justify taking “progress pics” because I wasn’t sure if any progress was being made. But it looks like he’s come into the spring very ready to pick up the pace!

 

Here he is last week, putting out a another leaf!

 

Now that we’re all caught up here, nothing left to do but share a slightly NSFW picture:

the buddies during their twice weekly group shower 😉

 

Happy Thursday!

Poetry Ptuesday: Hurry by Marie Howe

“Honey I’m sorry I keep saying Hurry–”

(more…)

Starting Today: Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

I’ve shared snippets of this beautifully written, heartrending, monumental work before. But I’m reading it for the first time in its entirety, and I’m already in stupid love.

“Well, you’re not here.

Such is the ease with which one can silence the dead.”

Poetry Ptuesday – Sculptor of Tyana by Cavafy (Translated by Rae Dalven)

“They must be made so light that / their bodies, their feet, must clearly show / they do not tread the earth, but run on the sea.

(more…)

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