I don’t want to go home.

Obviously, I’m having the time of my life. I’m getting up around 4:30 every morning to try to run at least 5 miles before showering and getting to Islands of Adventure when they open for park guests at 8am. They open for the general public at 9am. That one hour is my favorite hour of the day. I can practice my spellwork in Hogsmeade, I can ride whatever I want without lines, and I can take pictures to my heart’s content without fretting about being in someone’s way. Nikki has come with me every morning but the boys have taken some chances to sleep in later because this whole trip is EXHAUSTING. But I’m running on pure love of Harry Potter and knowing I have more to experience and see, or the re-experience and see again is what is getting me going everyday. I’ve loved some of the non-Harry Potter stuff too, but really I do all of that stuff so I don’t feel guilty making the kids go back to Diagon Alley again. If I had it my way I’d be there or Hogsmeade all day, just walking around and photographing the wonderful little treats around every corner.

We have 2 full days left and I’m already getting really sad. I wish we could afford to do this more than once every 6 years, and I really wish I could believe that this would not be our last full-family vacation. But the truth is, this vacation is expensive and E is 20 years old and heading to Indianapolis for the summer for an internship. I’m going to do my best to savor every hour of these next two days and really hold onto the memories and the joy that this place brings me.



Maslow and Government Assistance

I’ve been thinking a lot about the people who have SO MANY OPINIONS about how others on government assistance should be spending their money. Not to see movies! Or eat steak! If you need the government’s help to pay your rent or buy your groceries, then you – my friend – should be the most responsible person on the planet when it comes to money.

I remember when I was poor and the government was assisting me in any number of ways – I still always splurged on payday. When I had the check in my hand, I always did something stupid with it. Sometimes I took E to a movie, sometimes we went out to eat at a fancy restaurant…like Ruby Tuesdays. Sometimes we bought a used VHS of our VERY OWN at the Hollywood Video which sold them cheap. Every two weeks, I did at least one thing with my money that I probably shouldn’t have considering I never really had enough money to pay my bills.

I think of it often as it relates to Maslow and his hierarchy of needs.


We weren’t starving or homeless, so our very basic needs were being met, but I did worry about paying for groceries and rent as I inched closer to each payday or to the end of the month. And I definitely lived in places that weren’t very safe. So I don’t look at those bottom two layers of needs and say that we confidently fulfilled those needs on a regular basis.

And to me – if you’re not living a life where your confident that those two bottom levels of needs are going to be fulfilled every day? Then you’re not going to be making “responsible” decisions about your financial future. It sucks not knowing for sure if you’ll have enough money to pay the rent, and that’s so hard – carrying that burden around – that escaping with a trip to the movie theater is a wonderful temporary release.

Remember: I was also a smoker back then. I got plenty of notices about my utilities getting cut off, but I still found money to buy cigarettes. I was basically the person all of those articles regarding mis-spending government assistance are written about.

But until all of your basic needs are met, you’re not likely to be thinking BIG PICTURE about your needs and self actualization. You’re living day to day and your day to day is kinda miserable so if there’s something to lighten that misery, you do it. Who cares if that means you’re eating ramen for 4 weeks. Cigarettes make you feel normal and less pitiful, so they’re a priority.

I knew plenty of people during that time who fell victim to drug addiction for the very same reason.

If you’re not getting your very basic needs fulfilled, then you’ll find any shortcut you can to achieve some sort of joy – even if it’s temporary. If you’re worried your downstairs neighbor is a murder (we were, don’t ask) then you’re not thinking about how – if you saved that cigarette money – you could maybe afford to fix the air-conditioning in your car. If the math shows you can’t afford that Biology Textbook AND pay the utility bill, then you’re going to use the cash in your wallet to go see that movie with your kid because that helps you escape a little bit. And then you can’t afford EITHER the textbook OR the bill. (I assure you I made this exact decision. Several times.)

If you just got paid and the money isn’t enough to cover all of your bills, you’re going to buy NON GENERIC TOILET PAPER just because you’re sick of the cheap stuff.

Not everyone who is poor makes bad financial decisions, but there’s a whole celebrated theory of Hierarchy of Needs that explains it a little bit.

I worked two jobs, was going to school, raising a kid and couldn’t pay my bills. It was a tough life and yet I still sometimes get more depressed NOW which is INSANE to me. But that is because I was trying to just SURVIVE back then. I didn’t have time to analyze how I take criticism or my relationship with food. I was trying to just keep my head above water and if that breathing was a little easier some days because I splurged on dinner at Olive Garden? Then I was going to do it.

And that limited grocery money never EVER went to fresh foods. Could we have eaten healthier? Most definitely. But when you’re struggling paycheck to paycheck…horribly processed macaroni and cheese is one of your treats. You’re not going to put it back on the shelf just because someone told you that whole foods are better for you.

I’m not saying “LEAVE THE POOR PEOPLE ALONE!” Well, maybe I am, I don’t know. I’m just pointing out how I felt and why I sometimes bought steak and went to movies and was a smoker. And hoping that as I share this, that maybe people will be less about the pitchforks waved at people on food stamps and more about finding someone struggling in their community and maybe offering to give them a break once in awhile.


Photo Post

So, as some of you noticed, I spruced things up around here. My old theme didn’t really provide much interesting styling for non-standard formatted blog posts. And even though 99% of my blog posts are standard, I had thought I could use my blog a little more often for other types of postings that WordPress allows for. However, I’m not really familiar with how it handles them so this is basically a test post to see if the 90+ people who subscribe for email updates will still get emails even if I do a non-standard post. I really don’t want that to happen because then you poor people might be bombarded with stupid emails notifying you of every pretty picture I post to my blog.

Sorry if you get the email about this one! It’s just a boring photo of my bullet journals on their shelf!

(Dear Bullet Journals: YOU ARE NOT BORING, I love you! I shouldn’t have called you boring.)



Grammar Shame

The other day I realized I accidentally used “their” instead of “they’re” in something online and I could NOT DELETE IT FAST ENOUGH. And then I sat there, falling down a shame spiral, wondering: Who saw what I did? Did they make fun of me? Do they think I’m dumb? Am I now on they’re – no, THEIR (DAMMIT!) – list of idiost who they have to periodically mock? Will they think if me every time someone makes fun of people who don’t know the difference? I KNOW THE DIFFERENCE! IT WAS A MISTAKE!

I mean, that’s not verbatim, BUT IT IS DAMN CLOSE to the thoughts that followed the error.

You know what else I sometimes do? I sometimes double-space after a period. YES. YES, I DO. And YES. I understand it’s not necessary thanks to modern typefaces. I’ve read that article you posted about it 100 million times now. But I learned typing ON A TYPEWRITER in 10th grade and sometimes the old habits come out and when I catch myself I’m mortified.

Why do I fall down a pit of shame at the smallest error in language? Because every day there are 14 million memes making fun of people who make mistakes in language. Or there are 12 thousand articles proclaiming in exasperation to PLEASE STOP MAKING THAT ERROR that you keep making. Now, full disclosure: Major publications or signs or advertisements with grammatical errors because some copy editor didn’t get enough sleep the night before? Yeah. I laugh at those too. But the general, “Stop Making This Mistake!” articles that clutter my feed or the, “Every time someone uses ‘it’s’ instead of ‘its’, a puppy dies!” type of humorous memes, make me feel Bust-My-As-In-Front-Of-My-10th-Grade-Boyfriend levels of embarrassment whenever I make a mistake.

Let me give you some back history.

I’ve always been a reader. And I always enjoyed writing, but I didn’t know it. What I did know was that most of my writing/grammar type classes growing up were the ones I struggled with the most. Now, in college? I was better, but K-12 I tended to be the math/science girl and not the english/reading girl. Even though I was an avid reader, math and science came easy. Grammar did not.

When I started blogging in 2004 I always kept descriptions on my sidebar that said something like, “I know my grammar sucks! I’m not a writer!” But then I saw/heard this Stephen Fry talk and it changed my opinion on writing and language and grammar COMPLETELY.

I am a writer. I convey ideas with words and my stories and my ideas MAKE SENSE. Just because I sometimes (often) put commas in the wrong place or end a sentence in prepositions, doesn’t mean you can’t understand what I mean when I’m talking about boob sweat. My stories and thoughts are conveyed clearly, even if I used a colon instead of a semi-colon.

So I quit adding the disclaimer and I owned the title: WRITER.

When I need to now, I often say that my writing style is casual. I write how I speak. Filled with grammar errors and hopefully…joy.

Here’s what I don’t get.

Of the dozens/hundreds/thousands/millions of people that see the snarky meme about grammar errors (depending on where it’s posted and who the audience is) people post online, what percentage of the people who see the mocking meme or article actually DON’T KNOW the rule it’s teaching? I’d say it’s a very low percentage. Most of us active online know the differences between they’re/their/there. And those that still don’t? Probably need a bit more than a snarky meme to teach them. And they’re probably not going to read that annoying article because the tone is just RUDE. Instead, it makes those of us who just accidentally get it wrong sometimes feel complete and total embarrassment when we do. THANKS FOR THAT.

I left a comment on a YouTube video a few weeks ago. I never do that. Why? Because I can never be 100% certain my thoughts/comments are grammatically perfect. I’m the same way commenting on blogs. If it’s MY Facebook page or MY blog I don’t freak out because it’s my turf, but someone else’s turf and I’m totally paranoid about saying what I want to say incorrectly and WHAT IF PEOPLE THINK I’M STUPID?

And that is so sad.

How many other people are paranoid about their own grammar/language skills and terrified to leave their words somewhere on the off chance they end up making an embarrassing mistake. Does anyone else worry, What if they think I’m stupid?

Well. I’m sick of it. I’m done with worrying about if people think I’m stupid. My words aren’t for them. I have a hard time with some fake southern accents so I don’t watch movies or TV shows with actors delivering bad ones. (Michael Rappaport on Justified last season almost KILLED ME.) If someone gets twitches reading my writing and my grammar errors and misspellings, then they’ll go somewhere else for their stories about boob sweat. And if someone decides to direct their mocking at me on someone else’s forum (blog/video/article) then that’s ON THEM, not on me. I need to not be scared of sharing my ideas because of the fear of the shame of bad grammar or spelling.

I am a writer. I like sharing my words. My ideas are usually coherent, even if they are insane. That’s all that should matter to me – that I’m sharing my thoughts and stories in a way that makes sense. And if someone rolls their eyes because I end my sentence in a preposition? Then that’s okay. I rolled my eyes during 7 seasons of The Closer because I loved the show but HATED Kyra Sedgwick’s accent. Sometimes we suck up our annoyances for the greater experience, and hopefully my writing about my cats and bullet journals is just SO RIVETING, people will overlook my overuse of sentence fragments.


Bullet Points Of Miscellany.

This is one of those mornings where I want to write about 14 different things but none of them are really worth of an entire entry, soooo….BULLET POINTS! A blogger crutch since 2004.

(Possibly earlier, but that’s when I started blogging so I’m only qualified to discuss things at that point.)

  • I binged watched Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix this weekend and LURVED it. It definitely has a some issues with a few things, but it made me do a lot of smiling from beginning to end. It’s a Tina Fey creation and definitely could be RIDICULOUS and not at ALL funny if the wrong actress had been cast in the lead, but I find her charming and not at all annoying. I’m very open about my preference for TV that makes me happy…and Kimmy Schmidt did that.
  • I have been re-listening to Harry Potter and I’m on book 7 and they’re walking down the tunnel back to Hogwarts from the Hogs Head and it occurred to me that almost all of my truly FAVORITE moments in the series involve Neville Longbottom. I adore when he gets the final 10 points in book 1, I love when he starts to kick ass in the DA in book 5, my heart wrenched when he joined the fight in book 6 (and Harry’s heart swelled too, noticing that he and Luna were the only ones who answered the call of the DA because they were the only ones who missed it) and when he shows up in that portrait of Ariana? And the way JK Rowling writes the reveal that it’s him? Is probably my “incidental favorite” of the whole series. In terms of moments that aren’t HUGE? It’s my favorite. I just love the way she almost teases it but it feels like you’re experiencing the shock of realizing who it is along with Harry. LOVE IT.
  • Wesley has entered a new phase of behavior where, as soon as he does something he knows he shouldn’t do, he goes into Floundering/Urgent Apology mode. It bothers me because sometimes it feels like it happens so fast that he’s allowing himself the behavior because it’s being followed by an apology. But it also bothers me because he focuses on THAT instead of righting the wrong. For example, if I tell him to do something and he yells at me, “No!” or throws something or kicks a wall, he IMMEDIATELY apologizes and demands a hug and forgiveness. But, lately I feel like he’s stalling. Last night it was like a yell/apology cycle and after 10 minutes he still hadn’t gotten any closer to brushing his teeth which was the ORIGINAL request. I finally told him, “Obey me FIRST, then apologize. Do what I’m telling you to do FIRST, then come apologize for the initial behavior. That makes it a much better apology.” But it’s SO FRUSTRATING because on one hand? Yay! He recognizes his actions are bad! But BOO! Still not actually doing what I’m telling him to do.
  • When I was visiting E we discussed how he never fills up his gas tank because you just don’t to “waste” that money and it gave me SUCH HUGE FLASHBACKS. I remember NEVER getting a full tank of gas and I had forgotten about that. I’m not sure if that forget makes me happy (because I’m financially stable now!) or sad (because I’ve lost touch with my past) but oh, man. I vividly remember the few times my Dad would come visit and fill up my tank and I’d feel SO EUPHORIC.
  • Y’all know I watch Glee even though it has SO MANY flaws. I love the music and the dancing even when the stories and the characters are ridiculous. But y’all? This last season? They have introduced new members and I kinda love them all and now I’m depressed it’s ending. I didn’t mind before, was actually irritated they didn’t keep it in New York this season, but I love the new Glee members and now I’m going to be sad it’s gone. BOO!