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Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Lately, anyone who can get me to finish what I’ve started has my full attention.

 

Obviously.

 

It might also be obvious—at least I hope it is—that I get joy from writing. Despite the fact that tucked inside that joy is a tag. Much like the grating kind that is often stitched into the neck of a shirt.

 

Okay. Side note – Why do they do that? I can’t be the only one who thinks it an unnecessary form of torture. No matter how painstaking my snips, I have inadvertently cut holes in 80% of my wardrobe while trying to remove every last pokey bit.

 

Unnecessary, perhaps. But clearly effective in capturing my attention.

 

And writing is that for me too. I never forget it’s there. It scratches at my skin. Claws at my neck. Breathes, I’m here and you will not be rid of me that easily. Writing is up in my face as boldly and relentlessly as that damn razor-threaded spikey tag. It won’t let me clean. Or organize. Or putter contently the way I used to.

 

It sticks to me while I attempt to be as satisfied as I once was, arranging a closet or making the beds. “You’re not thriving,” it hisses behind me. “None of this stuff will last.” Its tone is chiding, as it references my efforts to keep the house clean. The words, you are not making a difference, branding my neck red and raw. Leaving holes in what once was the solid fabric of my life. 

 

So yes, writing itself is a distraction for me. It even makes reading tough. I start a book and can only think, you should be trying to write. Look at this author. They did it. Why can’t you?

 

I have a lot of ¼ (not even ½) read books on my shelves because of this. And I know this is wrong. It is the opposite of what an aspiring writer should do. If you want to be kickass, one of the most important things you should be doing, besides writing, is reading. Lots.

 

Thankfully being unable to finish them for the last year or so hasn’t squelched my enthusiasm for buying books.

 

A short while ago, I picked up Not That Kind of Girl. Purchased in a University bookstore, no less. Which now makes me feel kinda kindred with the author. Like, I “got” her before I even read the book.

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And yes. I did read it. Cover to cover.

 

It’s a compilation of essays. Journal entries. Perfected blog posts. Micro stories. (She may cringe at those last three depictions) And in them, Lena Dunham chronicles the notable times and moments in her life to date.

 

Entertaining. Painful. Hilarious. Tragic. Raw. Moments.

 

She masterfully pegs subjects to the line most of us tend to keep buried at the bottom of the pile. With a hilarity that can only be understood as, broken but mending.

 

Things like, an aggressive sexual encounter in university. One she tried to laugh off initially, but later, had to admit was pretty much a rape. You don’t usually, after all, cry regularly over an encounter that is not.

 

She talks about drugs. Prescription. Illegal. And her use of both. Her family. Growing up. Relationships. Interactions. STD’s. Sexuality. And sexual orientation.

 

Disorders. Eating. Mental. Personality. And physical. Her weight. Her fame. And her low self-esteem. Despite the fact that she has achieved massive success making use of all of these.

 

I know there are a lot of people who will wonder why anyone would ever need or want to share such delicate thoughts. To tell the world they are imperfect. That their life to date has been far from the Shangri-La it may have seemed. “Air dirty laundry,” so to speak.

 

But, even though I sprout from a tight-lipped culture, I do not find myself wondering.

 

Not one of us will get out of here alive, so why be a façade? What’s the point? Like Lena, I believe there’s a bigger picture to be disclosed. We’re not here to impress. To come across like we’re living “the dream” day after day.

 

Positivity is a gift for sure. To ourselves. And to our circle. But so is sharing what’s real.

 

When a life ends, we scramble for answers. We tend to ask, what was it all for? And if the only answer we come up with is, to create the illusion that life was seamless, well, that’s a sad injustice to those that struggled, isn’t it?

 

They were more than that. No matter what it was, good or bad, they had something to teach.

 

Lena Dunham is the itchy tag of her generation. She refuses to be cut out and forgotten. She leaves a hole. Retaliates the smokescreen. 


That’s why she wrote this book.
So we don’t feel alone. So we know someone else out there feels like we do. So we can see that there’s “crazy” in us all. And that it’s okay. 
And, that it’s also not all that crazy.

 

That we’ll be alright. Somehow. That mistakes are standard. That it’s fine to make them. To be where we are.

 

And to stay there until we’re ready to move on.

 

That’s why we’re living. That’s why we connect. That’s why we ask what it was all for.

 

Lena Dunham is letting us in. She’s just not waiting until she’s gone.

 

I appreciate that.

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I’m just in from a coffee shop. Alright. Yes, it was Starbucks. And, surprise, surprise. There were 4 people in there with MacBook Airs. And they looked pretty much how I would’ve looked, had I also brought mine.

 

They were scarfed and sweatered. Fenced in by open books, cords, pens, mugs and, of course, phones.

 

At first, I was envious. Thinking how I long for days of doing nothing but writing. It’s a glorious feeling, you know. To be sure of your purpose. And for it to be something you enjoy. Something you find fulfilling. Albeit scorching and torturous at times.

 

And while I waited for my order, I, for the zillionth time, imagined a world where writing is my only focus. A world, that in reality, will never be. And, that’s okay. In my heart of hearts, I really wouldn’t want that, would I. I mean, where would my family be? Where’s my home in that scenario?

 

I don’t ever want to be without those things. Those distractions as they are sometimes referred to.

 

Anyway, what started as pre-beverage envy ended in post-coffee realization. Not one of those blessed little lambs was actually using their laptops. Every single one of them was on their phone.

 

Texting. Liking. Sharing.

 

Wasting.

 

Using valuable time. Precious, hard-to-come-by freedom. To generate useless statuses and insignificant tweets.

 

But, in truth, I really have no clue what they were doing on their phones. Never mind judging whether whatever they were doing was insignificant or useless. They may have been replying to agent’s proclamations, “CONGRATULATIONS, we sold your novel!” Or throwing out a few likes in support of fellow writers. Perhaps sharing triumphant news of a book deal.

 

Who knows? Like I said, not me. I just tend to make wild assumptions when I’m coffee-deficient.

 

So, I admit to suffering from misplaced projection. Putting myself in their chairs. Surrounding my own being with beloved writing gear. Staring into productivity-stealing space. And spending too much time on a phone of my own.

 

But luckily, the coffee-sufficient me sees the advantage to having, what one might call, an overactive imagination. Next trip, the phone stays in my pocket.

 

What? You didn’t think I’d turn it off, did you!

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I don’t know where I’ve been, so I guess I can hardly ask you to know either, right? But if you’ve been wondering at all, I thank you.

 

I wish I could tell you I’ve been writing a novel. Or busy becoming addicted to exercise. But that would be so not the truth. Though I have been busy. Doing other things. Parenting. Cleaning. Working. My make-up magic.

 

And yes, I have been writing.

 

A different type though.

 

I’ve been writing articles. Copywriting. Which I am finding terribly interesting and incredibly educational.

 

And strange.

 

Although they like the way I write. My style. My tone. It has to match the tone of the publication. So, I find myself changing the way I write. My style. My tone. For publication. It’s a new world to me. One that I’m enjoying. In a different way from blogging.

 

A very different way.

 

I realize my blog is a blurp. Meaning, I am allowed, here, to spill onto the page. In any flavor. Color. Texture I want. And I’m so, so thankful for that.

 

But, I am also extremely thankful for the structure, feedback and guidance of copywriting. It’s teaching me so much. And, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to a sense of euphoria in being paid to write. In knowing someone is willing to pay for my writing.

 

Because they think it’s good enough. After 20 edits, but still…

 

So, if you’re concerned at all about me going MIA again, or ensuring that my state of euphoria goes uninterrupted, let me know. I can always set up a Hazy PayPal button.

 

No really. It would be no trouble at all.

 

And if you don’t want to pay off my mortgage?  Well, I’ll still be here. Because I love this place. Paid off or not, it’s home.

 

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He fills with words that will only reach the earth, he’s been warned, should they carry their weight in truth. The sweat of his pudgy finger crimps the creases he’s so carefully bent, and he pulls himself in tight, hurdling his most sincere spirit into what he must believe, is an accepting unknown…

 

It can be hard to remember how something began. Details fuzzy and timing, non-specific, but Elian and Luna are not spared in this way. The moment that first child disappeared is forever cut into their hearts. After all, watching someone fade is not easily forgotten. Laughing one minute and evaporating like a recalled raindrop the next, hangs heavy in the atmosphere.

 

At one time, this small town had been a home. Long before despair scraped its way to the core with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel, they’d slept on cozy beds inside colorful houses and shrilled as they’d swung high enough for their toes to touch the moon. They’d trailed fingertips in the park fountain and sacrificed their pennies for precious wishes.

 

But children continued to vanish. Panic rose. Terrified mothers fictionalized mass killings and undiscovered bodies. Fathers waited with shotguns at the ready for evil that would never show its face. Paranoia and mourning became their way of life.

 

Time passed and slowly, the township reached a decision to understand it rather than to fight. And as they deliberated ideas, they became shamefully aware that the departed were solely the ones conceived without love. The conceptions cultivated from seeds of greed, selfishness or pride, some spawned out of lust or envy. They determined that not one of the lost had blossomed from a pure moment of tenderness.

 

True to human nature, they were eager to replace what was gone, to fix what was broken. They attempted to conceive through despair, but their still loveless efforts refused to bear the fruits they once had and a relentless darkness swathed their barren souls.

 

Now, unearthly quiet fills the creeks and crevices as Elian and Luna make their way to the fountain. Swings sway loosely in the intermittent wind, their rusty chains straining against a tongue-tied backdrop. The two make their way through the littered streets, Luna’s fingers curving around Elian’s palm, long and loose like the limbs of a weeping willow.

 

The park is so much smaller than when they were young. The surrounding fence halts at their shins and they now loom over the jungle gym they couldn’t quite conquer at three feet tall. Roots from the massive Oaks have thrust up through the dusty earth and turned the timeworn slide upside down. A carousel is cocked on its side, a discarded toy on a vacant nursery floor.

 

But, today is unlike any other time they’ve ambled this path. The waterless fountain urges them on, the air surrounding it fused with static and a vibrating hum that pulls them to it much like the tow ropes used to haul them up to the highest mountaintops. With no words, they each hear what the other is thinking. With one glance, they feel what the other is feeling. With one touch, they each want what the other is wanting.

 

They are one.

 

Elian turns and presses his lips to Luna’s forehead. They stand this way for some time, paused in the moment between what was, what is and what could be. Most had given up, some had moved on, others, simply bided their time, withering to ash between their sheets, but Luna and Elian only got stronger, looked after one another, grew together.

 

Built a life.

 

They stand at the fountain’s edge with Luna’s coattails flapping in the wind and Elian’s dark curls shifting freely over his brow. He takes her hand in his once more and they wait together while the sky begins to change. Shapes and patterns kaleidoscope into brilliant hues of azure and indigo, folding into amethysts and tangerines. They believe it to be the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen.

 

And it is.

 

Until a small white tip—the nose of a well-intentioned craft—breaks though a slit in the colorful clouds and glides gracefully, softly, silently into their hearts.

 

This is the most beautiful thing they’ve ever seen. Luna feels the stir. Elian reaches to touch the swell of colors that have drifted down from the sky to stretch across her belly.

 

“Welcome, little one. This is love.”

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Because I know you were sad upon finishing my post yesterday—probably like a great book you didn’t want to end, right?—I’ve decided to write a little more about this laundry detergent.

 

If you’re anything like me, first of all, I’m sorry. Secondly, you will have laundry room cupboards filled with potions and elixirs, powders and pastes. You will have spent oodles of dough on this brand and that, in the hopes that the next one will fulfill all of its wickedly wondrous promises. You will have hoarded all of the failed jars and bottles, believing that one day…someday…you will put them to good use. And to think some have called me a pessimist! Tsk, tsk.

 

My point being, this sud-up makes sense. It took me 15 minutes to make, it’s great in hot, warm or cold water and works like a charm in regular and he machines, not to mention it will last anywhere from 6 months up to a year depending how many are in your household.

 

Pop it directly into your top or front-loading drum and prepare to inhale an angel-infused breeze and the fresh mountain air all in one sniff. It combines the many things we go out and buy individually, bringing them together in a fresh, fragrant, fusion of squeaky bubble goodness. I spent a total of approximately $30 on ingredients and splurged $20 for the jar.

 

Hey, the jar is not only reusable, forever and ever, but it had a lot to live up to. Remember the tea and red satin heels? I needed a nice jar!

 

It is also important to note that any storage container can be used and that those Downy Unstopables are solely for scent, thus, are also an optional spend. Feel free to leave them out if you hate angels and mountains. And, needless to say, if you don’t like pretty, stuff a sock in your crafty self’s glue gun and leave it all plain Jane.

 

So whether you want to save money or brag about your domestic superiority, this is worth a try. Heck, if you have doubts, I hazard to propose they will all be washed away.

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Pull those strings in real tight ‘cuz I am about to take you on an adventure that might just blow your hat off.

 

Are you ready?

 

Laundry Soap.

 

Yes, I made my own, silly me, and I’m going to share the entire process with you, right here, right now.

 

Well, right after this blurb…

 

While I am grateful to have a laundry room, mine is not a favorite place in my home and the cause for this is probably not what you’re thinking. I don’t mind doing laundry. At times, I even find it relaxing, but my actual laundry room is kind of demotivating. It’s very small—and even that’s okay—but it is not ergonomically configured. I have to contort to get everything into my front-loader and I sport a permanent bruise on my left hip where it inevitably hits the counter top which never fails to jut intrusively into my narrow path.

 

The room is awkward…and it’s blue…like, early 80’s blue…including the angry countertops, so yeah, not my favorite spot to hang out. And I guess I believed that somehow making my own fresh-smelling, pretty-looking powder would transform the room into some place I might like to have a cup of tea while perusing Vogue or maybe sway to a little Van Morrison in my red satin heels.

 

That transformation didn’t take place of course, but the good news is, the detergent was a success! It smells divine and having that gleaming jar perched atop my obnoxious counter, peering down its nose at the evil city below is slightly inspiring.

 

If you like to listen to music while you cook or work on projects around the house, it may be important to note that for reasons unbeknownst to me, I chose to listen to a Songza generated playlist entitled “Mom-Jean Jams.” Okay, maybe the reasons aren’t a complete mystery. I was making my own laundry soap after all. Thankfully though, I found it less than inspiring, so may I suggest something a little less baggy and high-waisted while you toil over your own magic suds?

 

Anyway, without further suspense, may I present…Laundry with Love

 

Ingredients

The Ingredients

The Ingredients

 

(I found most things at Fred Meyer, including the storage container. I bought the chalkboard labels & scoops at Hobby Lobby and Deals)

 

~ Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (3lb box)

~ Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (4lb box)

~ 20 Mule Team Borax (4lb box)

~ Oxi Clean (1.3 lb container X2)

~ Fels Naptha (X4 bars)

~ Downy UNSTOPABLES (X2 containers – I used the scent “Lush” which comes in the purple & black bottle and smells heavenly)

~ A food processor, blender or cheese grater

~ A large receptacle for mixing (I used a large Rubbermaid, but you may also use a simple plastic garbage bag)

~ A container to store the finished product

~ A measuring scoop

 

(This recipe makes approximately 2 gallons of washing powder. As you can see, it filled my one very large storage jar, plus 5 smaller ones)

 

Directions

 

~ Pour the boxes of Washing Soda, Baking Soda, Borax, Oxi Clean and Downy UNSTOPABLES into your receptacle

Two containers of LUSH Unstopables

Two containers of LUSH Unstopables

~ Cut the Fels Naptha bars into small cubes and process, blend or grate

Use an old cutting board

Use an old cutting board

Fels Naptha blended on grind setting

Fels Naptha blended on grind setting

~ Add the Fels into the powder mixture (I of course, did this the other way around because I don’t read directions. It really didn’t matter other than that the Fels is slightly sticky and would probably have been easier to blend had I added it last rather than first)

The blend

The blend

~ Put the lid on your receptacle or tie up your bag and shake like there’s no tomorrow. If using a bin you can also you use a large mixing spoon.

~ Repeat until all ingredients are evenly distributed

~ Use 2 tbsps for small loads and 3 for larger loads.

 

As you can see from the pictures, I got my craft on and prettied up the jars. This is optional, but if you choose not to go this route, well, what the heck is wrong with you?!

Scoop Me Up!

Laundry with Love

Laundry with Love

Fancy it up!

Fancy it up!

Homemade

Homemade

Gifts for everyone!

Gifts for everyone!

Okay, you are now ready to love your laundry!

**This recipe was recently found on APRONS-N-PEARLS**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I turned 45 last Friday.

 

Funny thing just now—my fingers went mysteriously rogue and plunked in 24 the first time ‘round.

 

Strange.

 

It’s not a marker birthday or anything. It’s not like 21 or 40, but it is half way to 90 and I’ll admit that’s been slightly mind-boggling for me. Is that even a possibility? Can you be slightly mind-boggled or is the very word itself a full-on admission of a complete and utter flabbergast?

 

Technically, it’s middle-aged. I’m at mid-point. I’ve officially crossed the line between what was and what will be. This half versus that half. That is, assuming I make it to 90. There’s always a chance I may not. In which case, I am more than half way through my life. How in the world did I get here?

 

And, what happens now?

 

I can remember stretching out on the sun-warmed carpet in my family room sixteen years ago and promising myself I’d publish a book by the time I turned 30. (Who hasn’t promised themselves that? I can hear you asking) I was 29 then. I didn’t make it. But in the sixteen years since, I’ve raised a family, worked and written a book, albeit terrible and unpublishable, it is a book nonetheless.

 

Well, I’ve had a week to unboggle and now that my head is clear, I’ve come to a place where I realize I’m not only content with my age, but overjoyed to arrive at it. This year has taught me that. I am the fortunate one. I got here. I did make it. My goals are still on the table. I get the chance to keep going. I’m lucky to wake with hope beside me. I can continue my journey with possibility.

 

I get to live.

 

And, of course, make my own laundry soap. Because I hear that’s what 45 year-olds do…

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