IWSG February 2019

I missed posting this on time, but whatever. Here’s my answer for the Insecure Writer’s Suport Group prompt.

Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?

Writing has been my main creative outlet for a long, long time — second only to daydreaming, probably, which is absolutely where my drive to write started. Some of my other creative hobbies have, similarly, come out of writing, and others have come in on their own.

Drawing

I guess I’ve always been a doodler, always been very fussy about my crayons and color pencils and markers. For a long stretch I didn’t do anything with those because I was too much of a perfectionist, and the colors weren’t going down consistent enough. Have you ever looked at something you colored in with a Crayola marker and didn’t like it because the pen strokes were at slightly different angles or overlapped to much and made a dark/light/dark stripe effect? That sort of thing. Anyway, in college I ended up taking a life drawing class and I loved the control of graphite, the messy straightforwardness of charcoal, and, omg, my fave, coloring in a sketch with watercolor.

But oddly enough, what really made me feel like an “artist” was making fanart comics. And because I’m a fan of the economy of simple lines (and I can’t draw backgrounds for the life of me, lol), I got into the habit of drawing stick figure comics. While it wasn’t exactly High Art, it was a really entertaining way to convey a story. And I did do other, mostly watercolor based fanart as well.

Baking

For some reason, my grandma and I are the only people in my family who seem to really enjoy making pies. I probably started because of the apple tree in my parents’ backyard, and because I knew my dad’s friend Jane also baked and was willing to share her pie dough recipe with me. (A few years after doing so she made me cry over not refrigerating the dough in the right shape… and that, more or less, is why she’s not invited to my wedding this summer. Life’s to short to make a nineteen year old cry over spheres vs disks, come on.)

I do follow recipes. I think partly because I started in baking, where ratios and things tend to be Very Important, but also because I’d rather produce something tried and edible than an experimental disaster. The more I learn about spices and different flours and lower carb options, the more I’ve become willing to experiment. Started with tweaking the spiced sugar mix on the apples, and so far I’m up to subbing a mix of almond and coconut flours for regular flour because my grandpa has celiacs. (Coconut flour burns, like, at the drop of a hat though, so maybe I’ll do a 3:1 blend or something next time.) And, branching out from this, there’s also…

Cooking

Again, I follow recipes. But I spend a lot of time googling substitutions. My spice rack grows in fits and starts, but if I don’t have something I’ll try something else instead.

There’s a thrill in trying a new recipe and discovering a new favorite. I’ve made keto tortillas several times, made cauliflower fried rice a lot, made a keto French onion soup not often enough because it’s amazing. There’s a pride in creating edible things. And I’ve even started collecting the recipes I tend to reuse into my own recipe binder for future, plastic-sheet-protected reference. Someday it might even rival the massive Holiday Recipes cookbook my grandma gave me one Christmas (each of the grandkids got one) with every cookie, candy, chocolate, and brittle recipe she has (and possibly also my great granny had) ever made.

Plus, getting more into cooking has allowed me to get more into healthy foods, and it feels really good to have kept off the thirty pounds I lost last year. Hashtag confidence boost.


Overall, I think a creative outlet is something that should boost you up. Having a finished product afterwards is nice, but not always necessary because it’s more about how you feel. Like, clearing out the cobwebs and putting good, accomplished feelings in their place.

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What’s up with all these Weddings?

In the past two months, I’ve been to one bachelorette and three weddings, while in the midst of taking the first major steps into planning my own.

In some ways it feels like I’m on an episode of Four Weddings — a reality show where four brides attend each other’s weddings, rate them, and the one with the highest score gets a free honeymoon. I don’t watch this very often because, you know, it’s a reality show. The contestants can be very bitchy and backstabby sometimes because, duh, they really want to win. But sometimes you get a good episode that feels a little more wholesome and almost like the ladies could actually be friends after filming is over, which is nice.

Anyway, after attending all these weddings, I’ve come away with a few observations — a compare and contrast, if you will, of what other people wanted for their celebrations that I do not. Out of all of these, I really only have one “what’s up with that” bone to pick and I’ll get that out of the way first.

MY WEDDING WANTS

  • I absolutely want to go around to every table during the wedding dinner, thanking people for coming. At two of the three weddings I attended, the couples didn’t do this and it seemed odd. To be fair, one of them had several days of events leading up to it where the couple did have the opportunity to talk with everyone at least for a few minutes. But, um, if you’ve put some family friends at table 9, they’re going to feel like an afterthought if you don’t at least come say hello on the day. (We’re not doing that kind of seating arrangement, but still.)
  • I don’t want a sweetheart table, head table, or anything like that. My fiancé and I have known for a while that we want long farm tables, ideally just one long one but two if we have to, and a family style dinner rather than plated service. We can do this because we have a sixty to seventy person guest list; the three weddings we’ve been to this year have all been closer to a hundred or one hundred fifty.
  • I want realistic vows. I don’t want flowery, poetic “I’ll be yours forever and a day” fluff. I want, “we’ve been through a lot and I’ve got your back.” I want the occasional chuckle from the assembled guests. I want real world statements that actually mean something. I want to feel the love, not feel like I’m watching a poorly done chick flick.
  • I don’t want a ton of flowers. Bouquets for the ceremony are a separate thing, but other than that I don’t want to blow too much on florals. For one thing, they don’t last and it seems wasteful. For another, we have a pretty tight budget and it will be better spent on amazing venue and spectacular food. For yet another, big arrangements at the dinner table doesn’t work well with family style, because of all the dishes being passed hither and yon. Have you ever been to a party where the centerpiece gets in the way of even seeing the person sitting across from you, much less talk to them? What we want instead is greenery with occasional pops of color — all colors, because as a queer couple we’re dead set on a rainbow theme.
  • I don’t want both rings held by someone on the groom’s side. My “person of honor” will be my brother, and I want him to be the one to hand me the ring I put on my fiancé’s finger. At all the weddings we’ve attended this year, the Best Man had both rings and passed the groom’s ring over through the officiant. Nah. I want my bro to feel like, “I’ve got this.”
  • I wish we could do fireworks! But we’re in a wildfire danger zone (thanks Northern California), and cant even have sparklers. But, the wedding we attended in the French countryside (it wasn’t exactly a destination wedding, both the bride and groom are French and have family in the area) had the most AMAZING firework show in between the main course and dessert. We will have to be content with a bubbles and glow sticks sendoff, or something to that effect.
  • I don’t need an official videographer, but I absolutely want to designate a family member or two as the iPhone videographer for vows and speeches. It doesn’t need to be professional, but I do want to remember those moments in their full-motion glory.

That’s all I can think of at the moment. Not very many things, but the impact they’ll have on our big day ranges from kinda big to very significant. Some I already knew — but the rest, I am so grateful to have thought of. Attending weddings while planning your own is a fantastic source of inspiration!

Overcoming our own thoughts

Overcoming our own thoughts

https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2018/05/26/overcoming-our-own-thoughts/
— Read on druidlife.wordpress.com/2018/05/26/overcoming-our-own-thoughts/

This raises a very good point about internal vs external sources of stress and anxiety.

When I’m going through a rough patch, I sometimes have a hard time sorting out how much is in my head/body responses and how much is in my environment. Often, I’ve found, it’s both, and they feed on each other and get all tangled up. The first step is sorting out which is which.

#AtoZChallenge — Alone, Alive

This post is part of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge, where I am challenging myself to reflect on other A to Z posts that I come across. 


This reflective essay by Blikachuka is like a snapshot of how I used to feel all the time in high school. When I thought about my crushes, the things I imagined never really went beyond holding hands. And usually, the guys I picked to have crushes on were at a distance of comfortable impossibility.

Except I never really pushed myself on the “why” of it. As an introvert with some anxiety stuff going on (not that I was specifically aware of this in high school either) I was content with getting my homework done, reading a lot, going to marching band practices and shows, just going through things day by day. Kind of like I was on autopilot, waiting for my life to start.

Going to an extremely liberal college expanded my horizons. For the first time I saw examples of relationships and people existing outside the heteronormative, straight-laced bubble I’d been raised in. I started having real crushes, with real feelings and real kick-you-in-the-crotch-spit-on-your-neck-fantastic outcomes. I watched/listened to/read the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and took my first philosophy class with quotes about the Total Perspective Vortex on my mind — “The whole infinite Universe. The infinite sums. The infinite distances between them, and yourself. An invisible dot on an invisible dot. Infinitely small.” (x) I saw a therapist for the first time. I dated my first girlfriend, with no real idea of how dating was supposed to work.

Being able to face that you are a living being and consider what that means is one of the few dignities we have been afforded in this universe. So let yourself feel it, the pain, the fear, the wonder, and all.

“Alive,” Zen & Pi

After college I stayed with my parents for a while, and kind of went back into waiting for my life to start mode, but at least that time I knew why. I relied on OKCupid for a while to experience any kind of social interaction, because most of my friends lived well out of the area or had fallen out of touch.

2017-12-27 15.42.08
I love this goofball.

Every “date” I went on I approached like I was trying to make a friend first, and it wasn’t until I admitted to myself that I was going on a Date date that I was able to make a connection with someone. We met for the first time at the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, an hour’s drive away, though it turned out we lived about fifteen minutes away from each other. I fell head over heels.

Five years later, as I’m only about a month and a half from turning thirty, I’m still head over heels. My partner is transitioning, and by the time we get married next year we’re going to look, to the casual observer, as though we’re one of those heteronormative couples I grew up trained to expect, but we’re totally not. It makes my heart so happy to know that we are just us.

 

My First Post Revisited

Thank you for the tag on this, Jessica! It seems appropriate, since you were one of my first followers and definitely one of the most active.

The Rules for the #MyFirstPostRevisited Blog Hop

  1. No cheating. You must highlight your first post. Not your second post, not one you love… the first post only.
  2. Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of ladybugs).
  3. Cut and paste your old post into a new post or reblog your own bad self. (Either way is fine, but NO editing.)
  4. Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
  5. Tag five (5) other bloggers to take up this challenge.firstpost.jpg
  6. Notify your tags in the comment section of their blog (don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
  7. Feel free to cut and paste the badge to use in your post.

I tag…

So, What Was My First Blog Post?

My first post was in November of 2015, and was followed by radio silence until January 2016 because I wore myself out by winning NaNoWriMo for the first time ever. It was kind of a placeholder. An “I want to hold myself accountable to this project and also maybe start a blog?” Actually, looking back on it, I took to WordPress because my partner, musingtopieces, did.

Lately I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing so much, both in posts and fiction, but my first post was a beautiful blooming beginning. So much optimism. (Fun fact about my day today: I gave two weeks notice at work today. I feel lighter than I have in months. I feel… optimistic again.)

Here’s my first post.

Title Pending: National Novel Writing Month

Continue reading “My First Post Revisited”

A to Z Challenge #27 — Reflections

So I technically missed the deadline for this. Oh well. On a side note, I turned twenty-eight yesterday. Happy birthday to me!

a-to-z2breflection2b255b2016255d

Reflections on how this A to Z Challenge went

By the time April came to a close, I had indeed made a post for every letter of the alphabet. This was my first year participating and I think the biggest lesson I walked away with was that the “hold on to your butts” approach when it comes to theme only works if you have more free time than I did this April. I really my masterly grip on things was around the middle of the month, when I went to Indianapolis for a business trip and didn’t take my laptop. Some posts were scheduled in advance and some I typed on my phone, but I lost my lead.

That said, making a list of topics and brief gameplans for each day in advance was a big help. I didn’t stick to all of them because I came up with a better idea on the fly, but when that didn’t happen at least I was able to stay on track.

I also feel like I did pretty well with responding to comments. (If I’ve missed any, my apologies.) Thank you to everyone who visited, followed, liked, and commented on my posts!

My goal for next year: stay ahead of posts by at least a week.

Continue reading “A to Z Challenge #27 — Reflections”