I’m good at everything*, but I’m particularly good at:

  • Setting a pretty dinner table. Actually, I sometimes do this for fun (yes, I do; don’t judge) without making said dinner or inviting people over to appreciate my table setting skillz; sometimes I just like to make my dining room look pretty, okay?
  • Internet shopping; for several years online shopping has been my Go To for almost every possible purchase. I am not saying that I am an expert on buying everything at some kind of major discount, or that I optimize coupon codes or anything like that. I just can find almost anything online…and because of that I tend to buy almost everything online. I have yet to cyber-source my groceries because I love walking around the store and picking out produce. But, I often buy things that aren’t in my local grocery online because I’d rather they ship it to my front door than try and drive for 4 or 5 stores to track down that spice or sauce or whatever.
  • Writing lists and planning ahead. Plans always change and the lists are always left partially incomplete (see: plans change), but I am really good at writing down a plan. I cannot tell you how many lists I have in notebooks and notepads around my apartment.
  • Hosting an awesome book club; every month for three years I’ve had anywhere from 8 to 30 people in my living room spending at least a full hour discussing a solid piece of literature or writing. Honestly, it is one of the most glorious social activities on my calendar. Friends, food, books, and lots of exchanging of opinions and ideas are the perfect way to spend a Thursday evening.
  • Arranging lunch dates with friends; the only thing I like more than spending my lunch break with my nose in my book du jour is spending that lunch break catching up with a girlfriend. I probably meet a friend for lunch at least once a week, and if we’re being completely honest, more often than not I’m the one who initiates lunch dates because I just love them so very much.
  • Learning new things; I love learning new things, whether that is a pile of facts (on volcanoes, North Korean society, Charles Darwin, brain chemistry, Chinese history, whatever), or a new skill. Other more “practical” skills include sewing (as in, designing and sewing costumes for high school plays with a cast of over 100 students, been doing this for 9 years, 3-4 plays per year.), photography (helped out and encouraged by my Dad and his awesome camera toys), and about 18 months ago I took up oil painting and while I am nowhere near “advanced” in my skill set, I am certainly past the beginner stage; I paint recognizable objects with appropriate scale, shading, and color. I love the ongoing practice and experience I am gaining in all of these, but I think next year I want to try my hand at learning to play the cello.
  • Creating and hanging gallery walls; I have no less than 11 gallery walls in my apartment with one more in the works, these vary in size and scope (with a minimum of 4 pieces), but all are full of original art, fine art prints, and my own photographs. I’ve exported this tetris-like geometry skill to the homes of several other friends and there are very few vertical spaces in my home that are “safe” from the gallery wall chopping block. I love seeing art everywhere I look!

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*Um, this is obviously a total lie.

Inspired by Janssen’s post: A Few Things I’m Good At

I will and I won’t

I will put clean, fresh sheets on my bed every 4 or 5 days.
I won’t make my bed unless company is coming over.

I will always have nail polish on my toes.
I won’t tend to my cuticles on a regular basis.

I will binge-watch TV shows on Netflix like it’s my job.
I won’t, under any circumstances, watch live TV with commercials. Can. Not. Deal.

I will send birthday cards to my siblings, in-laws, nieces and nephews.
I won’t pretend I can do this without Google calendar and it’s 10-day reminder email.

I will work a few extra hours in the office to finish up a project.
I won’t bring work home.

I will spend my entire lunch break reading a new book.
I won’t skip taking a lunch break, and only rarely will I take less than an hour to myself midday.

I will give up sugars and baked goods and carby pastas for weeks at a time.
I won’t give up cheese.

I will kill 95% of my houseplants, despite my best intentions.
I won’t forget to buy myself some grocery store flowers, just because.

I will leave untidy piles around my apartment for up to several weeks.
I won’t always wash the dishes before I go to bed. (12 years without a dishwasher!)

I will read as much non-fiction as I can get my hands on.
I won’t read YA fiction unless it comes very highly recommended by someone that I not only trust, but who deeply understands the kind of books I like.

I will happily have you over for dinner, or invite a dozen people to a party on a moment’s notice.
I won’t dust before you come over because I *hate* dusting with the hate of ten million haters.

What about you? What will you? What won’t you?

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Afraid of the dark

Are you afraid of  the dark? Not the soft deep of a midnight sky full of mountain stars, and not the comforting cocoon when you’re wrapped up in a cozy blanket and trying to ignore your alarm clock and the responsibilities of the day. But the dark that smothers you in your bed and seeps in your eyelids with terrible monsters and nightmares. Have you ever been afraid to fall asleep because then the darkness takes over?

Have you ever experienced that kind of dark? It is terrible. It’s the kind of thing that skirts around your consciousness and puts your mind on high alert; you can’t sleep or concentrate or think straight and you can’t turn it off. It’s not insomnia, not exactly. It’s just…this interminable blackness that you can’t shake and you can’t sleep off.

Up until about a year ago I didn’t know that this kind of nightly hell wasn’t “normal.” I thought all adults woke up every few hours in a state of half-panic and had to sing or rock themselves back to restless sleep.

Yeah. Apparently that’s not normal. I’m not normal.

So, thank heavens for doctors and medicine and better living through chemistry. The thing is, even with the pills and the therapy and everything….sometimes I still find that I am scared to fall asleep, scared to let down my conscious guard because when I’m asleep I’m vulnerable and vulnerability means…vulnerability means that the dark can take over. And sometimes it does.

About a year ago I put the following quote from Madonna Badger in a post:

“Basically, I go to wherever the light is, because anything else is darkness…”

Sometimes, I can’t fight back the dark, and it’s scary. And sometimes, in the middle of the night, I can’t turn on the light; and that’s scary too.

I take my meds, and I talk to my doctor, and I do all those things I’m supposed to do. But I’m still afraid of the dark.

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