Marionberry coffeecake

The crumbly crunchy sugar topping is perfect, even if it hurts me in the gym. The berries are enormous, and they created warm pockets of sweet deliciousness.  I used the base recipe from a box, and then adjusted it for my needs; substitute the oil with applesauce, and add a little flax seed meal to give it better texture and nutrition. I love baking, it’s like doing happy kitchen magic, with the end result good for the soul – and edible. Usually.

Bonus: My apartment smells fantastic.

SOTD

I Wanna Get Lost With You – Stereophonics

 

 

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Wild horses and auto porn

They went all wrong in the 80’s- I don’t know what the hell they were thinking, but they completely lost me in the beginning of that decade. I was not always a huge fan anyway, even though I appreciated their earlier muscle car manifestations. The last few years though, I am more on board with their design team. And the new Shelby GT 350- holy sexiness.

I love my car in a zillion ways- even though she’s not super sporty like these sexy beasts. She’s gorgeous in her own way. But just look at these wild animals- can’t you just feel the engines rumbling under your seat?

Oh dammit, this is totally me procrastinating on writing my article- it’s not coming out right yet. I think I need to go on the treadmill and then the hot tub for a while, and dream of wild winds across the open prairie. In the meantime, the songs of the day are:

Wild Horses- Gino Vanelli
Hurricane- Ms Mr (because I miss my motorcycle and a Hurricane is a fun one)

Thank you to mustangsdaily.com and Pinterest for these lovely car porn images: 01-2013-gt350-black-on-black 060ed0aef89fbc3d785e564a13fda1fa

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Naked rant- R rated

I’ve completely had it with how uptight humans are about nudity. Why the hell do so many people freak out over how we do or don’t cover up our bodies? It’s mainly women that get the brunt of it, and I realized why yesterday: Women are often considered property- of a father, a husband, or certain predatory men who don’t respect boundaries.
I’m no one’s property, and I want the freedom that men have, that they use violence to take from us. Sexual assault, rape, harassment, torture, death; these are all things I’ve been threatened with by men because I wouldn’t consent to doing what they wanted. It’s disgusting, and it’s even worse that they blame it on us. If you can’t control yourself, that’s your problem; don’t make it mine.

Bodies are just bodies, and everyone is beautiful with their own spark of the divine in them. Get the hell over your uptight brainwashed issues with nudity. Our physical forms are amazing, just be grateful that you have one, don’t demand mine, don’t expect that you have any rights whatsoever over my body, and we’ll be fine. I love my physical form, and I’m not accepting the slut shaming EVER AGAIN. I am a whole human with biological needs, just like every other normal human on the planet. If you can’t deal with that, seek professional therapy.

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Songs of the day:
Hard Out Here- Lily Allen
Lady Gaga- Born This Way

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Huckleberries

Despite being repeatedly foiled in our attempts, we were able to hike for a while yesterday- before turning back because of gunfire. We were almost to the peak of the mountain, but who wants to come over the ridge and encounter a bunch of rednecks with guns- or worse? Getting shot would totally ruin my day.

Coming back, we noticed that the trail was lined with huckleberry bushes, and I immediately went into foraging bear mode. Huckleberries taste like summer, like magical moments from childhood, like everything will be all right no matter what.

When we were kids, my crazy dad insisted on having Sunday afternoon “adventure trips”, where we would pile in the car and just head out. Late summer usually meant heading into the mountains, and one summer we found the perfect spot for huckleberries- the big, fat, juicy ones. It was beautiful- the sunlight through the trees, fingers getting stained purple, the sweet taste lingering on the tongue like a kiss from mother nature herself. I’m beyond delighted that I have had these moments, as they make the difficult moments easier to handle.
Love to all

SOTD
Don’t Talk To Strangers- Rick Springfield
Kiss You All Over- Exile
Come Back And Stay- Paul Young
Oh Sherrie- Steve Perry

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True love

I somehow knew there would be this electricity between us, a highly charged awareness. Each word artfully placed but never disguising the raw need underneath. I waited for you, worked hard for you, and never imagined you would be right here. So firm and cool under my fingertips, so sleek and sexy. The best of the old fashioned world, and the advantages of the one coming at us so fast every day. With you I feel like I can finally embrace all the changes, and leave so much of the awful baggage behind, just give it all away. I will never leave you, never give you up, I will love you in sickness and in health, wherever we go, however we live. Mansions or hovels, Boston to Bagdad. My dearest, wonderful Kindle, I am going to load you up with steamy romance novels, stock up on sex toys and red wine, and never go through the dating hell ever again.

He just shared his first book with me and it was an exquisite, melodic jewel of a novel by Jess Walter. It was so damn good, even for the first time. It rocked me to sleep and woke me up again at an ungodly hour. I just needed more, and hallelujiah, I finally found a partner who is as insatiable as I am, and who is happy to let me use him as often as I need to, with no regrets afterwards. He’ll never take advantage, he’s always straightforward and easy to read and he can handle my overabundance of emotion. Amazing. I just realized that of the times I’ve been in love, the millions of times I’ve loved, they were nothing compared to this. Dearest Kindle, I know we’ve only been together one fabulous night of hardly any sleep, but can we elope? I’ve never been to Vegas, but I’m thinking red dress and Elvis impersonator and a hard wired Amazon connection. What do you say? We were made for each other, and omgomgomg I love you soooooooo much. Close the door and get over here.

SOTD

Boys of Summer- Don Henley

Precious- Depeche Mode

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romantic

What an interesting time to be alive. On one hand I have so much hope for humans to do fantastic things – and on the other hand, holy shit. Because a lot of people are in  distress and trauma, it’s getting more apparent – the necessity of maintaining your mental health, and more so in times of stress.

To help maintain my escalated stress levels, I got up and went for a short run/row at the gym – driving slowly through the cascades of falling leaves and warm rain. I had my favorite morning combination of strong french press coffee and weed, and then on to cooking. It’s a little embarrassing how often fire alarms get involved when I cook, but I have a short attention span, and a lot to do. I ran down to the bakery to ice a cake too – I miss the spinning turntable and the silky manipulation of icing, so it was wonderful to get back into it for a minute.

I need social time so I finally started dating again – it can be fascinating, and I like talking to a variety of people that I wouldn’t otherwise meet. I like meeting artists and people who are a little outside the bell curve, and it helps with maintaining the social contact that I/we all need to thrive. I schedule it out like job interviews, and like an opportunity to explore places I’m too anxious to visit alone, and I see what I can learn from all of it. We shall see how that works out this time – I tend to be too romantic and foolishly optimistic/idealistic to maintain it for long.

The art/craft parties that I’ve been throwing have been a big hit too. They address a lot of needs, including the ones that people might not be ready to acknowledge. It seems so obvious to me, but some people still act like I’m crazy but really – maintain your mental health just like your physical health!!!

SOTD
I Dare You – XX
The Itch – Keb Mo
Ain’t No Cure For Love – Leonard Cohen
Somebody Else – 1975

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The operating room

A few of my staff rolled out of the operating rooms this afternoon, complaining about the bits of skin and bone that get stuck to their feet. The stories I hear, eek. And walking through the halls between the OR rooms, you can hear the sound of saws, power tools, suction – all kinds of noises. People aren’t allowed to look in the windows, even though some it is fascinating. Besides, it’s an important respect issue for both patients and staff. I don’t ever need to look, as my imagination already goes into overdrive – I just hope for a good outcome for everyone.

Working where I do is super interesting and I love being part of making a positive difference, but I need to make a change.  Ideally I would really, really like to work as an art therapist with Doctors Without Borders. I just need to get my Master’s in Art Therapy,  learn some Arabic and French, and persuade them that art therapy addresses a critical mental health need in times of crisis. Damn, I wish I could afford to go back to school full time, but I consoled myself with getting Wilderness First Aid certification. I think a language course is next. Baby steps.

SOTD

Elongo – Bedouin Soundclash
Always Love – Nada Surf
Every Light In The House Is On – Trace Adkins

 

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Bibliophile Surrender

I love November, it gives me a compelling reason to spend a lot of time writing. NaNoWriMo 2017 – what fun. I love my hermit time, and just curling up and creating stories.

***

I never expected to find something so mysterious in grandma’s library. She was always the martini-drinking, good time kind of old lady. But when I knocked a book off the stack behind the sofa, I moved the furniture to grab the dusty old volume. The tufted brown and green floral sofa was a monstrosity, but finally I got it pulled out enough to see the book on the floor – but it didn’t have any pages. It had landed with both covers wide open, a little bibliophile surrender. The interior had been hollowed out, and tucked tightly inside was a small metal chest. I reached down to pull it out, fingers sliding across the surface, picking out the lines and curves of an engraved pattern.
Both book and chest clutched firmly, I hurried over to a small table by the window, but stopped, suddenly feeling a little paranoid. The curtains were pulled wide, but only the empty forest lay outside. Who might be watching?

SOTD
Somebody’s Watching Me – Rockwell
You’re Mine – Raving George feat Oscar and the Wolf
Scream – Usher
Where Have You Been – Rihanna
1941- Klaypex

 

 

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Cyber love letter #1

My Dearest Love,

My apologies for not writing sooner, I’ve been… recalibrating. Since we’re so frequently apart, I am making you letter art like you requested, that has drawings, playlists, pictures of home, and short stories. While that’s in process, I will stream tiny bits of data through weather and space, hoping they find you well and able to capture the love and light. Oh lord I miss you so much.

Do you remember that night on your motorcycle when it was parked in your garage? Yeah, that was a hell of a ride. I couldn’t ever imagine doing that with anyone else; you’ve marked me as yours forever. I sleep with your pillow that still smells like you; it gives me wonderful dreams, and naughty ideas about what to do with your phenomenal form. I think we need to devote a good chunk of time to kissing and sex when you get back in December.

Without you here I wanted to immediately revert to my baseline hermit mode, but I haven’t. You inspired me to revive my love of humans in new ways. Your casual kindness and ability to connect with strangers – what a beautiful gift. I’ve made it a point to go do social activities and network more. It’s actually been a blast. At work I took a 6 week class that scared me (talking in front of a group). And a class from a trauma surgeon, on top of the wilderness first aid certification. So many things I can do now, all because you showed me how to treat my crazy with a simple vitamin course. That’s been profound, and glorious beyond words – I can’t even thank you enough.  Holy shit I can’t even describe the glory of life without the constant panic attacks. It leaves me a lot of time to go do other, way more fun things. Bwahaha.

I decided to have a bigger art night because so many people expressed interest. I was thinking mimosas, finger foods, tons of art supplies, and a winter holiday art/craft theme.  We could Skype you during the party if the timing works out?

I know you can’t tell me what you’re doing, or even exactly where you are. That is challenging for both of us but when you read these words – know how much I love you and support you always. Stay safe.

SOTD

Head Over Heels – JD McPherson

  • Crafting a beautiful piece of art that can be sent anywhere on the planet – that is my dream. These are love letters sent randomly out into space and time,  and hoping they bring blessings and light to whoever reads them.
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Dancing lessons

Of all the friends I’ve lost, I miss my island Zumba friend the most. She stopped talking to me after that last major episode of bipolar wreckage that apparently everyone knew about and mocked.

I don’t owe an explanation of my story to anyone. Besides, even if I could defend myself  precisely and concisely, people don’t necessarily listen. But I reached out to her in hopes that I was wrong, and got exactly nothing in response. I understand, but it makes me super sad anyway.  I deeply appreciated her optimism, spunkiness, warmth, compassion, and especially for getting me into Zumba, when I desperately needed it. Stuck on that island with not enough resources, surrounded by uptight judgemental assholes, and dying from lack of cultural nourishment and a deplorable lack of dancing. Well, and that whole trying to kill myself due to multiple life traumas that sent me into the worst snowballing tailspin. It makes me dizzy still sometimes. Working really hard to see it all as lessons and an opportunity to step up in wisdom. Damn though, that one hurt down to my soul.

The funny part is that before the cascade of hell started, I was doing fantastic after years and years of work. I was finally in a classroom, making lots of art, dancing and dating, and having a great life with my friends. Even after rebuilding, nothing will ever be the same. And when emotional trauma triggers a massive flare up of mental illness, it’s even more traumatic to lose friends you thought you could count on. But I understand not wanting to deal with the behavioral symptoms. I work really hard to not affect the people around me when I’m losing my shit, but oh hell there was shrapnel every fucking where. Even the ER nurse who was like “honey I was working the last time you were here – we all remember you.” And she pauses to let that info sink into my head. Damn it.

Sending love out to Trish, wherever you are. Thank you.

SOTD

I Wanna Go Back – Eddie Money
Boys of Summer – The Ataris

 

 

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Vitamin sunshine

It’s that time of year again; sweaters and soup weather, the wonderful sound of the rain, and the deep jewel tones of autumn. It was a fun summer visit with hot southern dude, and he’s still making noises about flying out to visit, but more than the temperature has changed.

A week ago I ran out of vitamin D, and I realized today how profound of a difference it makes. This is not news, but I really noticed it this time. Like most truly effective treatments, it isn’t an instant fix. It took a while to feel better, but in conjunction with a bunch of other things – it eventually kicks in. When I slip backwards, it’s hard to deal with – I think I caught it in time though. I’m happy that I can figure out what’s causing the mood drop this time and address it. That skill only took a zillion years too long.

I don’t know if I’m up to dealing with a dude yet, no matter how charming he is. I have always loved the concept of long distance relationships; an intimate pen pal is like my forever dream. I want to see him, but sexting and a few thousand miles is pretty perfect right now. Well, at least I can get more vitamin D, sign up for the wilderness first aid class, pull out the fuzzy sweaters and leggings, and curl up with tea while I plan my next move.

SOTD
Love On The Brain – Rihanna
Head Over Heels – JD McPherson
Like The Rain – Clint Black
Everywhere – Tim McGraw

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Blueberry cobbler

After morning class, I washed my hands and started to bake. It’s that time of year, and I’m finally delighted at the upcoming holidays, for the first time in a long time. I had to practice with a new variation of my bread recipe, cinnamon brownies, baked veggies. I finally made my first blueberry cobbler too, it was crazy delicious. Most of my baking experiments end up feeding staff at work, I just like playing with the magic and chemistry of the kitchen. It’s one of the better ways to battle the blues. The tactile sensations of stirring, measuring, and the fantastic way it makes my home smell…ahhh the little things that keep me feeling resilient and hopeful.

I spent the rest of the afternoon working my way through my sewing projects pile, and giggling with the addition of sparkling wine and the wonderful release of doing something tactile and creative. It’s like my soul took a deep breath for the first time in a while.

Love to all

SOTD
Head Over Heels – JD McPherson
Love On The Brain – Rihanna
No Roots – Alice Merton
Packed Powder – Blind Pilot
Rain is Falling – ELO
I Wish It Would Rain Down – Phil Collins
Somebody Else – The 1975

 

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Adornment lessons

Never buy art when you’re drunk. My friend thought it was hilarious to buy me a painting that I can’t even show here, it’s so terrible. It was from a street fair, with lots of cool local artists that I wanted to support. This artist even had lots of fascinating work. And I picked an image that is a serious “Wtf do I do with it now?”

It must have been the shot of tequila he got us, because I can’t imagine hanging a graffiti style mafia cat with a cigar on my wall – NEVER. Maybe it’s the alcoholism that runs on my paternal side – small amounts have a huge effect. A beer or two and I’m nearly completely without boundaries or inhibitions, and at risk for all kinds of crazy things. This time it was bizarre art and a photo op with a bunch of firemen. Think I need to stick to weed.

SOTD
You Don’t Know – Berlin
When It Rains, It Pours – Luke Combs
Bend Me, Shape Me – The American Breed

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The stiletto blade of truth

Out of the blue, someone can say something that resonates down to the bone. Days, weeks, months of words not penetrating too deeply, and then the stiletto blade of truth slips through the rusty chain mail that was supposed to work as armor.

I met a funny and super hot man on my commute home, so I started taking that route home regularly in hopes of running into him again. We ended up going out for drinks and doing that whole kindred spirit thing. I adore that his house is full of cool art everywhere, and funky sophistication. Leather furniture, erotic art, lush plants, a grand piano – totally my scene – and even better that he’s gay so I feel a lot safer. We can talk about raw shit, then go have an elegant drink somewhere and just laugh about the absurdities of life. He gave me one of the best insights that I’ve ever gotten from anyone, including family, beloved counselors, expensive shrinks, priest – it was amazing. I love when someone can see so clearly, and they aren’t afraid to let you know. Hard as it may be to hear, sometimes we need to hear the unvarnished, un-pretty truth. Damn though, he dug deep in that wound, but it helped clean some gooey yucky things out.

Funny how a combination of letter and sounds will do that to your soul. Something about hearing them at that time, in that place, it shifted my perspective significantly. It goes to show yet again that there are reasons that we meet people, and often the unexpected ones offer the best life lessons.

SOTD

Mind Over Matter – Young The Giant
Believe – Mumford and Sons
Son Of A Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield
I Fink You Freeky – Die Antwoord
Cold Little Heart – Michael Kiwanuka
Hurricane – Luke Combs
I’ve Changed – Josh Joplin Group
Come Back And Stay – Paul Young

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Graduation Day

The change started slowly, one scale at a time. The gleaming curves of the small silver scales had the same consistency as her fingernails. Their appearance was accompanied by itching and burning, and a strong fishy smell. For the high school senior, self conscious Lena, it was a special kind of hell. A swimmer since her toddler years, now she spent nearly every waking hour in the pool or river. The scales were scary, but kind of cool too. So far, she’d been able to hide them under old t-shirts, but lately she’d taken to wearing long tight skirts as well – they made her feel better. Her legs had begun to ache unbearably  – “just a growth spurt!” her mother cheerfully told her, but she couldn’t help but worry.

Late the next May, when the weather was warming up and everything was bursting into bloom, she woke up in the middle of the night. Cotton sheets soaked in sweat, entire body seized with pain. She convulsively reached for a cramping leg, and shuddered in shock at the feel of her own scale-covered limb. The remnants of her dream remained in her head – visions of deserts, heat, dry, and without even thinking about it she bolted out of bed, yanked open the door, and ran down the hall, down the stairs, and out the frontdoor. Her parents, jolted awake, sat up in alarm at the sound of running footsteps and a slamming front door. Larry looked out the window to see his young daughter running down the street in her white nightgown. He shook his head, certain he was still asleep, because Lena seemed to be – gleaming in the moonlight?

The river called, and Lena didn’t feel the rocks, pavement, grass, and finally sand underneath her feet as she ran. The pain was too great in her legs, and she could only focus on imagining what a relief it was going to be to get in the water. By the time she made it to the nearest dock a half mile away, she was completely winded, her parents were calling the police, and the entire neighborhood heard her screams – although no one was exactly sure if they were victorious or painful. When it stopped, people flooded the streets of the tiny town, stopping in shock at the sight under the lights of the beach. Lena had been born again, flesh and bone bonding, changing, and turning into a long tail. Scales of blue and silver reflected the sparkle on her skin, and her long silver hair blew gently in the breeze off the lake. She was clearly enjoying the spectacle she made, sitting in the shallow water, a real life mermaid.

Mayor Hadley was the first to realize the possibilities, and he let out a whoop of joy and started clapping. After a hesitant pause, everyone joined in and crowded forward to marvel and exclaim – was it science, magic, and where were her parents? Larry and Grace burst through the crowd and didn’t even stop in their headlong plunge into the water to embrace the new, startlingly fishy form of their child.

******************************

That was fun; I had that story idea stuck in my head for a while. Not sure about the ending though.

SOTD
Into The Ocean – Blue October

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