Category Archives: Everything Else

Painting With a Twist

Painting with a twistMy sweetie pie of a girlfriend arranged an evening at the Painting With a Twist shop as belated birthday present. I never heard of it before she suggested it. I’m so glad she did. We had soooo much fun.

Painting With a Twist is a venue that offers you an evening of guided painting. They provide the canvas, paint brushes, paint, etc. and you bring wine and cheese or whatever snicky snacks you prefer. The session is arranged by going online to their website and choosing a picture. Then you sign up for the date that instructions for the picture if offered.

The instructor takes about 15 people through a 2 hour guided tour of how to paint a picture. There are times when you take a break to let your painting dry a little between layers, so we all wandered around with our wine comparing paintings and talking with the other people in the shop.

I’ve dabbled in painting but never had any formal training, so I learned a lot just from that one sitting. I’m hooked and fully intend to make a habit of doing this. We had a blast.

Painting with a twist2

My first painting using acrylics

In a New York Second – Everything Can Change

Tornado dallas 5-15-13 North Texas had an unusually mild spring this year so far. Mother Nature noticed the oversight and decided to make up for lost time last night.

Tornado dallas 5-15-136 of us went out to a fawncy restaurant to celebrate my Mother-in-law’s 80th birthday. During the meal I could see a reflection of trees whipping around in a mirror across the room. The trees were not just blowing in one direction; they were whipping around like they were in a washing machine. That is never a good sign.

I started to get antsy but kept telling myself that it was just because I was with the in-laws. I even ordered a second gin & tonic which is unusual for me when dining with them. A little after 8:00 pm we stood outside saying our goodbyes. The wind came up and we were all standing there with our hair peaking up on top of our head like we were in a wind tunnel.

For the ride home we watched an impressive light show to the south, all kinds of spectacular but unusual strikes. Some that branched out horizontally across the sky. Others hit the ground and the rays were so wide it looked fake. Someone was photo shopping Mother Nature.

Granbury HailAt home I was in a semi undressed state and Mr. Husband was without apparel when he came running out of the bedroom yelling “the sirens are going off.” I was in a sort of stupor and asked “what sirens?” He answered “the tornado sirens,” for once not rolling his eyes and giving me that “Well duh” look he excels in. I don’t know how he always hears them and I don’t. Must have been that 20 years of working in bars with music loud enough to rattle the fillings out of your teeth.

Of course a sort controlled pandemonium ensued. Where are the pets? Are they inside? Mr. Husband put some clothes on. He tends to respond to panic by dressing. I don’t blame him. If a tornado hits I don’t want to end up getting fished out of the rubble in my birthday suit. I grabbed my 2 most valuable possessions – my purse and laptop and put them in a handy place in case I had to grab them and take shelter.

Fortunately for us, but not so fortunate for those in the path of the tornado, it touched down south of Dallas in the Granbury area. Storm spotters said the tornado became huge with a mile wide funnel on the ground at one point, a real wrath of God type scenario. Some people reported hail the size of grapefruits. A chunk of ice that big could come crashing right through your roof and land on your coffee table.

granbury damage

This morning the news is reporting 12 dead and hundreds injured. The response of people rushing to help those who have lost everything but the clothes on their back is heartwarming.

This kind of disaster always reminds me that life is short. Grab it where you can and don’t waste time sitting around bemoaning your lot in life because it could get a hell of a lot worse in the blink of an eye.

Down With Cyber-Bullies – And Bullies of All Types

cyber stalkerA lovely young woman blogger I follow has decided to stop blogging because of a cyber-stalker.  He recognized her picture and lives in the same town as her.  This just breaks my heart in so many ways. It also makes me white hot furious. A bully got away with shutting her down, silencing her voice, cutting her off from her blogger community.

She tried blocking his posts, but he would just create a new WordPress account and pick up where he left off. From the tone of the comments written by this person it is obvious that he is a disturbed individual. He claims that her posts are derogatory and aimed directly at him. Her posts are almost fluffy bunny on average, so one would have to really work on it to find something to be angry about.

Her replies to his comments are along the lines of “I’m not talking about you; please stop making comments on my blog.”  I don’t want to fall in the trap of blaming the victim, but my first question is “why do you allow these inappropriate comments to remain on your blog in the first place? It’s your blog – you make the rules.” Delete the comments and change your settings so that every comment has to be approved before posting.

Usually the best response to a bully is no response, if at all possible. It reminds me of a problem my daughter once had with getting creepy phone calls from a heavy breather of the “hey baby, what are wearing?” variety. She would go off on in him, yell, call him names, and order him to stop calling her. That didn’t work, of course. I finally convinced her to just hang up the phone and not respond at all. It worked, he wasn’t getting what he wanted and stopped calling her.

Now if the bully knows who you are and where you live that is a whole new ball game. At that point it’s time to start documenting every incident and then consider fighting back. One thing that bullies take advantage of is the fact that you are scared, maybe too scared to do anything about the bullying. Unfortunately it’s often so true. But it’s OK to be scared and still take steps to protect yourself.

I had a cyber-stalker many years ago before there was caller ID. So I never knew what I was going to hear when I answered the phone. He was a mean twisted SOB. He even figured out where I worked and sent me, via my work e-mail, photo shopped pictures where he had pasted pictures of my face on the body of a nude woman engaged in particularly raunchy sexual activities. He threatened to send the pictures to my boss and co-workers. He also informed me that, with my help, we were going to repopulate the lost 13th tribe of Israel. “Uh, thanks, but no thanks.”

Needless to say I was terrified, mortified, horrified, ossified and every other adjective that ends with fied. But I decided to get one step ahead of him. I went to my boss and explained what was going on and what this person was threatening to do. I was in tears and bordering on hysterics. But, he was much more understanding than I thought he would be. He was also outraged. It turns out his friend’s teen-aged daughter was going through the same thing. He ordered an increase in security at the front desk and a crack down on people walking in saying they left their badge at their desk, or home, etc. As far as I know the creep never sent the pictures. If he did, no one told me. And for that I am grateful.

I was one of the lucky ones. Lucky in that I filed a police report and they took me seriously. Double lucky in that I had a couple a friends in the military who worked in the cyber-security department. I told them what was going on and they took up the crusade banner with remarkable chivalry. They also told me to “not worry my pretty head” and that I would never hear from him again. They were partially wrong. I did hear from him one more time. I received a FIVE PAGE apology email in which he apologized to me, my ancestors, my descendants, and anyone who I happen to randomly interact with in my daily life. Then I never heard from him again.

I asked these guys what they did. They said that someone had paid him a little visit, but if they gave me the details they would have to kill me. Ah, military humor at its finest. It is good to have powerful friends. But, even if you don’t have powerful friends, hopefully you do have friends to help you through the rough times. And please stand up for yourself. You deserve it. If you don’t take that first step, the bully wins.

Instructions for the Leaving the House

Instructions for the Leaving the House

  1. Keep your front door in a place where you can find it easily (e.g., at the front of the house or apartment). It’s like the food in the grocery store: if your front door is in a ubiquitous location, you’ll be more inclined to walk out of it.
  2. If the door is locked, unlock it. You can lock it again behind you if so inclined.
  3. Turn the doorknob. Open door.
  4. Close door behind you if so inclined.
  5. Congratulations, you’ve left the house.

Welcome to the jungleInstructions courtesy of Hilary Smith’s book, “Welcome to the Jungle: Everything you ever wanted to know about bipolar but were too freaked out to ask.”

For some reason these instructions stuck me as so hilariously funny that I almost lost control of my bladder. I read them to Mr. Husband and he just didn’t get it. I guess it’s only funny if you’re on the inside and know how difficult leaving the house can be.

Unless you have personally been in a frame of mind where even finding the front door, let alone passing through it,  is an almost insurmountable task, it’s just downright silly. I’ll leave the problem of deciding to exit by the front door or the back door for another day. If you suffer from bipolar maybe your one of the lucky ones who, if the back door only leads to a locked back yard or dead-end alley, your decision of which door to use is moot. You must use the front door if you intention is to completely depart your place of residence.

Having a sense of humor is mandatory. If you take yourself too seriously the consequences range anywhere from unpleasant to disastrous. I recently developed a fear of my toothbrush. Seriously! Here is this nasty pointy object that has already been in your germy mouth, and god only knows when you last replaced it. It’s supposed to be replaced every 3 months, but who remembers that? And now you’re supposed to load this thing up with slimy sugary toothpaste and put it back in you mouth. Then scrub it around – carefully – not to hard not to soft, but just right. I wonder when Goldey Locks took up residence in my mouth?  If you scrub too vigorously you might lose control of the damned thing and jam it up you nose. I know because I’ve done this. It hurts. Don’t try this at home.

Watching commercials about tooth brushing is the stuff of nightmares! Now these pseudo paid Actor/Dentists are telling us that if we are not careful, we’ll scrub all the enamel off our teeth and never get it back. That is enough to make me want to hide in the broom closet. This also leads to the need to go the special department of hell – the dentist’s office. The screech of drills, the weird sucking sounds, sharp objects just laying there all shiny,  just waiting for someone to jab them in your gums and up into your brain. Then the hygienist tells you that your gum “pockets” are getting bigger or are the same. Well yeah!?! I probably have them because you assault me with instruments of torture every time I grace you with my presence. So there, I’m calling the police!

And so it goes. I think it’s time to add new toothbrushes to my shopping list. Such a simple and elegant solution. Why didn’t I think of it before?

I Accidently Grew Up

Close your eyes start a journey through a strange new world!
Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before!

Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar.
And you live as you’ve never lived before.

The Music of the Night – Phantom of the Opera – Andrew Lloyd Webber

I think I accidentally grew up. Damn! It happened when I was voluntarily loading the dish washer. Been telling people for years that the kitchen is a dangerous place that should only be entered by a trained professional. And there I was going against my own advice, again.

It happened suddenly too. Wasn’t pondering any deep thoughts or thinking about what I wanted to write about next, just hanging out being me. It hit like a lightning bolt, “Oh my God, what if this IS me. The me I’ve always been and will be, the core it. I’ve changed, physically grown, aged, changed my mind, then changed it back again. Fallen in love, stomped out of love, believed unbelievable things, told the truth, and lied through my teeth. Been kind to others and said viscous mean things too. Done just about everything that categorizes me as human.

Been waiting 57 years to grow up and dreading it at the same time. Maybe, just maybe, my definition of “grown up” was the stumbling block all along. I always thought growing up meant that you arrived at some specific destination. Now you understand all, you are responsible at all times, always thoughtful and patient. Nothing hurts you anymore. No more saying or doing silly things.

Always thinking of others before one’s self. Never saying “no” to a loved one or a friend. Never choking on a shot of rum and saying yes to a silly request like “hey let’s go to Jamaica, the plane leaves in an hour.” Going to bed early, getting up early. Never staying in bed or your pajamas all day. Keeping an immaculate house.  Never licking the drips off the side of your coffee cup or laughing out loud in public for no good reason. Don’t ask for more, don’t complain, smug in the confidence that you have done all seen all and now there’s nothing left to do but sit around and grow moss on your chin.

Good God! No wonder I was afraid to grow up. As of today, I don’t believe in the growing up theory. I think it’s more of a process of growing into your self . We are all born with tiny little bodies and enormous potential. Then we spend our childhoods learning what not to do. Our physical bodies reach adult size and we proceed to spend decades trying to fit into various molds and labels. I’m a butcher, a baker, a candle stick maker.  I’m a slob, a heathen, crazy, inventive, artistic, boring, obnoxious.  Bleh! Enough with the labels already.

Figuring out that I belong in the skin I’m in is better than Christmas morning. Better than buying a new dress and a new laptop in the same day! But it’s sort of scary too. Every time I stretch or take a deep breath I’m afraid a piece of me is going to fall off like something bursting out of a shell. So what? If it falls off then it didn’t belong there anyway. It was something I tried to patch on to my psyche, thinking that it belonged there. Adult people think this way, mature people do that. Geez, I think I’ll spend an entire day writing down rules so that I can scratch a line through all of them one by one. Then throw a party.

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