Monday, September 1, 2014

Unfortunately I'm Human

I don't only eat delicious things and make crafty crafts.  Sometimes I'm a your typical human, and I get into situations with members of my desired sex that are less than awesome.  Sometimes the situation involves a member who things didn't go so great with the first time around...but who I decide to try being friends with a year-and-a-half later.  I should have cut things off sooner than I did.  Why is it so hard to say goodbye to someone who is no good for you?  Why is there an ache when I think about never being able to talk to him or see him again?  Why do I secretly want him to contact me even though I've asked him not to?

The answer to all of these questions is that...unfortunately, I am human.  If there's another answer, please let me know.  Mine is the only answer I could conjure.  I wrote the following last spring, back when I was first struggling with feelings that were starting to make themselves known.  I followed through on the conclusion I came to for a good month and a half before I slipped back into feeling instead of thinking.  I hope that this time there is no going backwards.  Maybe by posting this here, where it is more easily accessible, I can help remind myself to follow my own knowledge back to safety next time I feel myself slipping.

Sometimes I don't accept what I think when I just think it. I have to write it down, and read it, and then I'll accept it as being real.
Hollywood and Nora Roberts books and Pinterest are full of stories and quotes that beg society to be guided by their heart.  To let go of reason and jump and to take the risk to earn the reward.  Well...that all sounds fun.  But, as mom used to say, it’s all very fun until someone gets hurt.  And I was hurt.  Last time I ignored my head I wound up flat on my back, broken and in pain, looking up at the ledge that I had so joyfully thrown myself off of, and wondered just what in the hell I’d been thinking.
My dad so often tells me to turn off the audio.  Look at the video.  Do the two match?  No?  Then no good.  Move on.  He has also told me that sometimes your heart is beating so loudly that you can’t hear your brain.  That’s an accurate description of what happens, I think; at least to me.
So...no audio.  Video.
I see two people who have a history together—a history laden with poor choices.  One where the word “boundaries” seems to have no meaning and is given no respect.  I see people who have a lot in common and enjoy each other’s company.  I see me, who, in the past year and a half have changed quite a bit.  I have a new home, a new job, a new sense of self-worth, my own hobbies, friends aside from him, and a more well-guarded heart.  And then there is him.  In the same relationship, still in school, living in the same place, still not adhering to boundaries that should exist (those fricken’ 45 second hugs!)
I know it takes two to hug, and I am not guilt or responsibility free.  However, just like in the past, he is the one in a committed relationship who should be upholding boundaries even moreso than me.  The fact that he still isn’t makes me feel that he hasn’t changed all that much.  He still likes me enough to be a little inappropriate, but not enough to do anything real about it—to change his situation.
If he is still standing in the same place he always has been, I don’t want to go back.  I like where I am—where I’ve been since him.  
I want there to be a way for me to bring him with me into my future as a friend.  I want to believe that we can do that and be mature adults about it, and not negatively affect one another.  I want that so badly that I can just about convince myself that it is possible.  I have the habit of seeing the hopeful side of things.  But the truth is, I have my doubts: in his intentions and sometimes in my own.  I even have doubt in the ability to stop from slipping back into old bad habits despite whatever good intentions we both have—simply because it feels natural to go back to the way things always were (regardless of how unnatural that situation actually was).
I tell my friends that the only time our lunches are inappropriate is in the last minute or two when we hug for too long.  And, technically—physically—that is true.  We don’t grope.  We don’t kiss.  We don’t touch on anything sexual in our conversations.  But it is also untrue.  Because every time he IMs me, every time we eat lunch together on that stupidly cute little bridge, every time my cheek is against his shoulder and my eyes are closed and my mind swirls with old memories, the small part of me that has never stopped caring for him—a part that had become so small that it could be easily controlled by logic—it grows.
I can see it happening.  I can feel it happening.  The proof is in the number of times my mind wanders to him during the day.  Or in having him over to my new apartment.  My new apartment that, when I moved in, had made me happy in the knowledge that he no longer knew where I lived.
Last time we parted, as we hugged, my fingers found their way into the hair at the back of his neck.  They slid through and his face was in the curve of my neck and when the hug ended his hands were on my waist and my thumbs were in his back pockets.  I hadn’t meant to do that.  My brain had not consented.  It was just so familiar.  He is so damn familiar.
Knowing that my ability to be logical about this is going to decline as he is given an increasing amount of space in my heart and head, I have to decide now.  There are only two options.  I think or I feel.  I want to feel.  I want to release the logical restraints on my heart and see where things go. 
At one time, he was all I saw in my future.  I wanted his mind and his crooked smile; his smell and the refreshing sense of security that I was able to find in his arms.  I even wanted his flaws.  I wanted everything he was or would ever be.
But my future has happened, and now he’s backwards.  So I choose to think.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Life's Like a Garden: You Only Get to Eat What You Plant

Kale

This photograph is titled "Where is Willy?".  Willy is the name I just decided upon for the turkey.


Fresh cut flowers

Hey, it's a cabbage patch, kids!


Cosmos and a roommate in the distance on a beautiful Sunday night in the community garden



Cabbage and dinosaur kale (the best type of kale, imo)


A little patch of nature and gardens within the city.  Excellent!

Shhh...be vewy vewy quiet.  We're stalkin' tuwkeys!
I'm a really excellent turkey stalker.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Very Crafty Weekend

The weather did not turn out as crumby as predicted this weekend, but it was certainly a little more chilly and rainy than usual on Saturday, and I used that as an excuse to craft my little heart out.  Sometimes I feel a little silly -- and a little reclusive -- when I go into let's-make-things mode (though since March I've had a wonderful craft pal [and oftentimes craft mentor] in my roommate, Annie).  But I have come to believe that I come by this mode honestly.

I don't consider my father's side to be very artsy craftsy.  My grandma can knit a mean blanket, and I've heard that my great-grandfather dabbled in painting, but that's it.  Growing up, there were many pieces of evidence of my mother's craft past around our house -- a dollhouse she painted and decorated here, an embroidered wall-hanging there, and a plethora of decorations that came out at Christmas from her time in ceramics classes -- but I never saw her actively making a craft during my lifetime.

One ceramic Christmas tree for the kitchen table stands out in my mind; there are fake clumps of snow on the branches, holes for dozens of colorful little lights, and when you wind it up it plays I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas.  I'm not sure if my sister knows, but when mom kicks the bucket, that tree is mine.

Anyhow..back to my main topic: where did my craftiness come from?  Probably not from dad's side...not really from mom...so, since my mother was adopted, it seems that the craft gene is one based in nurture not nature.  My grandma was the craft QUEEN, and I don't use that term lightly.  Plenty of people are quilters, or crocheters, or painters.  Excelling in any one form of craftery (all copyrights on that word belong to me) is impressive, but to earn the title of queen, you really have to enroll in a wide variety of schools of craft.  Enter Grandma Lea.  She sewed like a wizard: quilts, clothes, stuffed animals, and miscellaneous...you want to be a tyrannosaurus rex for Halloween but there are no such costumes to be found?  No problem, we'll drive to grandma's so she can measure every part of you.  She would knit, crochet, do needlepoint, embroider, cross-stitch, paint ceramics, and do totally random things like make a mouse Christmas tree ornament out of felt and beads and an unshelled Brazil nut.

(To prove that my last example was 100% the truth.)

I spent many a day at my grandma's after school, and like most children, would frequently utter the phrase, "I'm bored!" Unlike most children, I wasn't told to shut up, or to go watch television.  My grandma would go rummage in a drawer and produce the materials for me to create something fabulous!  I loved the needlepoint kits, the small window hangings I got to paint, and eventually...the basic sewing projects where I was allowed to USE GRANDMAS SEWING MACHINE!!  This was a huge deal because the one part of grandma's house that was 100% off limits to the grand-kids was her sewing area (aka half of the basement). She always said it was because there could be rogue needles and she didn't want us to step on them, but I'm sure that was just grandma code for "I don't want you to mess with all of my nice shit."

If she were still alive, I know that she would be very pleased to know that I can now afford to buy my own craft shit to mess with (from wherever she is right now, she is frowning at my use of profanity). Anyhow...that's where my craft bug comes from, and here's some of what I've been / am up to this weekend:

Ever since about three weeks ago when I confirmed that I could make a decent pillow, I've been wanting one with Poland on it for my bed.  My bedspread has tons of country and city names on it, so this is perfect!  I'm in craft love.  If you now need one, too, go here.

Michigan in one of my favorite prints!  I haven't decided if I want to frame it (see here) or make it into a pillow.  Thoughts?

 The beginnings of my first quilt ever.  It is a baby/child's quilt so that I don't feel overwhelmed by the sheer size of my first project.  I'm excited but nervous -- kind of like how I feel on a first date.
(If crafts make me feel this way, I'm certainly going to be single forever...)

My favorite part of this quilt??  The raccoons!  I had a moment in Jo-Ann Fabric when I grabbed the bolt of this fabric and then said to myself, "Beth...put down the raccoon fabric."  I laughed out loud at my own thought.  Not because of how preposterous it was that I was in a situation where it was appropriate to even say that to myself, but because the idea that I was going to walk out of the store without purchasing the racoonies was completely ridiculous.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Humble Beginnings

If y'all are going to go with me into my future of eating, I need you to understand where I came from.  So I need to admit something.  I wasn't always an eater.

My mother loves to tell the story of how when I was a toddler, she began to get worried because I was barely eating.  She took me to the doctor and he tasked her and my father with writing down everything I ate and drank for a week.  My mom is much better at worrying than at keeping lists, so she stuck with that while my dad trotted dutifully after me with pen and paper.  They both quickly noticed a trend -- I was consuming incredible amounts of apple juice.  Sippy cups upon sippy cups.  I was apparently pretty sneaky about asking different family members for refills, so nobody realized the true rate of my consumption. The doctor confirmed my father's suspicions (Mom was still too concerned [about my little body and the toll all that Mott's might have taken] to be mounting suspicions): I was drinking so much that I was never hungry.  I was clearly just way ahead of my time on the whole juice cleanse trend.  Regardless, my juicing was restricted to the point where I began to eat again.  Selectively.

I liked to pick pepperonis and sausage off of pizza and leave the rest. I liked to eat the cheese off of nachos and leave the tortilla chips. I would not eat tater tots because I was positive my mom was lying when she said they were "just French fries."  I would not eat rice because something about its shape was alarming.  Orange juice? No. Bologna? Gross. Ketchup? Disgust-o.

I stuck with plain cheeseburgers, macaroni and cheese, turkey sandwiches, potatoes, pancakes, dinner rolls, and pickles.  And I loved chocolate milk.  My sister, who would always eat whatever was put in front of her, called my picky.  My friend's mother's probably hated when I came over.  And restaurants always messed up my order (how hard is it to leave off condiments!?).

My aversion to every unknown food item came to an end the summer after my freshman year of college.  I had gone to visit my (coolest) new college friend down in St. Louis for her birthday.  Ally's family and house and life seemed so classy in comparison to mine!  Her mom paid for us to get facials.  Her sister's summer project was translating a book into German.  I'm pretty the only "summer project" I had was hanging out at the mall and hoping to find a good deal on shoes at Payless.

I was trying hard to pretend like I wasn't horribly small-town and boring, and so when Ally's mom made dinner and pre-tossed the salad in something called ball-salam-ick, I shut up and took some.  Nevermind that I did not eat salad dressing. Ever.

Much to my surprise...I liked it. A lot! And the next night when her dad made salmon on his new cedar planks, I did not (as I usually would have) state that I did not eat fish unless they were in sticks and came from someplace called the freezer aisle. I shut up and ate it. And...liked it! A lot!!

I went back to Michigan with a whole new perspective on the world (ok, ok, mostly on food).  The first day I was back, my friends and I went to Macaroni Grill for one of our traditional dinner-and-then-games nights, and I ordered balsamic vinaigrette with my salad.  My friends looked astonished, and one (a fellow picky eater) exclaimed, "ew, Beth! That sounds gross."  I held my head high and declared that it was something new that I liked -- something they ate in St. Louis (note that this is maybe the only time in the history of St. Louis' existence that it has been used to refer to someplace posh).

That was the beginning of a whole new life for my mouth.  I fed it new things like green peppers, salsa, chili, sweet potatoes, zucchini, cottage cheese, seafood, olives, mustard, and a whole slew of other things that normal people eat on a fairly regular basis.

I still don't like everything, but I am fairly willing to try anything.  And isn't putting things in our mouths (at least once) what life is all about??

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Coworker Conversations

b: that sounds like a good ass wrap
b: a good-ass wrap
b: not a good ass-wrap

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a: wanna play with my hair?
b: if I can do it with my pants unbuttoned
a: nvm

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b: do you leave your socks on when you're being intimate with ladies
C: lol what do you think?
b: I'm 60/40 slanted towards no
C: hahahahahahahahahahahaaha