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Category Archives: Happy

Oh, my aching back!

Seems it’s taking me a bit longer to get back into the Blogging Swing than I thought it would. Or maybe I’m just enjoying doing stuff in The Real World more than usual. It’s nice. Except for the sponge growing out of my couch, life is good.

I may have lost my mind, tho. You see, my back is sore today because I spent some hypnotically vague amount of time folding my shirts last night. Sounds insane, right? But it’s all connected, as you will see.

I’ve been very unhappy about the state of Towanda’s insides for awhile now. Most especially since The Kid moved in with me. There’s just too much clutter, too much Stuff, it’s total chaos and I have reached the end of my rope. I tossed a bunch of stuff but it still wasn’t enough. I feel like my skin’s on too tight but didn’t know quite why.

A few blogs I read have been touting this book

KonMari CoverI’ve never been one to “join” any sort of organizational method with any amount of ambition, but I bought the book for my Kindle and started reading. KonMari (as she likes to be called) has developed a system whereby her clients discard and then organize their possessions. “When your house is in order, wonderful things start to happen,” is my paraphrase of her main tenet, and anyone who knows me understands that I seriously need some forward motion right now.

Step one is to sort all clothing. ALL clothing. As in, gather every stitch of clothing in your entire house, including accessories, shoes and bags, and pile them in the middle of the floor. Then sort according to her method which amounts to, “if I were to see this in a shop today, would I buy it?” If the answer is “no,” out it goes. No second chances, no take-backs, no hesitation.

I’d already done a clothing purge a couple of months ago, putting all the Winter stuff into bins under the bed but I did it again with the warm weather clothes in the wardrobe. A surprising amount of things went out in a donation bag. I even purged some shoes! And I love my shoes…

KonMari recommends using shoe boxes inside drawers to organize clothing, hanging those things “that are happier to be hung up.” Having no drawers creates a bit of a dilemma, but I am Crafty and went out and bought some old wood drawers, painted them and added shelves inside. They stack inside the wardrobe and boxes sit on their shelves. Boxes that are now full of perfectly folded shirts and underthings. It.Is.A.Marvel. I kid you not.

However, this has led to a grim dissatisfaction with the state of the rest of my wardrobe. I may have lost my mind. I’m sitting at work and all I can think about are the bins of clothes under the bed and the state of the rest of the wardrobe. How many more pairs of shoes can I donate before I start to feel like I have “the perfect number?”

Where does this end? Should I keep track of how many bags (or pounds?) of crap I toss out the door?

The next catagory to de-clutter and organize is Books, followed by Papers (“just throw all of them away” is KonMari’s advice) komono (misc. stuff) and finally things that have sentimental value.

Books will be easy – now that I have a Kindle I don’t buy them any more and those that I have can be cheaply purchased on Kindle so long as I bought them on Amazon. There are a few that I will keep, but the vast majority will go. Papers will be even easier – it’s all crap and I’m eager to get it out of my space. Komono will be the longest process as I have a lot of things that would fall into this category.

Sigh. I really have lost my mind…

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2015 in Blather, Happy, KonMari, RV Living

 

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Busy Start to November

Whew! What a busy weekend! Click on the link for details. Only five more to go before The Sweatshop Girls get a Holiday Break.

As you might have guessed by the lack of posts about it, I won’t have time to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. In fact, I still haven’t edited my entry from last year. Hanging head in shame…After vomiting my story out into the computer I put the book away and haven’t seriously looked at it over the past year. I do have plans to finish and send it out for review to anyone who is interested in reading it.

The thing is, I’ve come so far I feel like a different person. My relationship with the narc hardly seems real these days as I spend my time the way I want to spend it, with the people I want to spend it with, no conditions, restrictions or inquisitions to face afterwards and, well, I’m happy. Revisiting those dark days is depressing and makes me angry and I’ve been focused on The Happy to the exclusion of all else.

As I approach the two-year anniversary of my escape I am grateful to all of you for coming along on this journey and helping me stay on the straight and narrow towards what has become a very fulfilling and satisfying life. Thank you all!

Typical rants to continue as soon as I recover from the weekend…if there’s time before the next one πŸ™‚

 
4 Comments

Posted by on November 3, 2014 in Happy

 

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New Glasses

I’m getting old. There’s no denying it. When I came back to work at my current office I noticed that the new “normal” was to print the text itty, bitty, really, really small on the half-scale drawings. What ever happened to 1/10th of an inch? What ever happened to keeping it legible? Gaaaahhhhh!

Anyway. I couldn’t read the littlest text and it’s maddening. I found myself bringing the paper close to my face and looking under my glasses – a charming look I’m sure. Looking from under my glasses and then up to the computer screen has been an exercise in frustration for months and I finally did something about it.

New GlassesBecause my prescription is so high (-8 +) they had to send out for special lenses and it’s been two weeks of waiting. The sunglasses arrived last week and they’ve been great, but they’re too dark to wear in the office and I haven’t had a real feel for what these new progressive lenses are going to do for me.

I had bi-focals as a kid and I understand how they work. They aren’t as expensive as progressives and were my original plan. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have progressives and they all hated them, so I thought I’d go the bi-focal route. Until I sat down with the frame guy and he explained what progressives are and that it takes 30 days for your eyes to train themselves. Awana* piped up and said that she loves her progressives and I was sold. I’ve since talked to three other people who wear progressive lenses and they all love them, too, so I guess my opinion was outdated.

At this point everything is a little wonky, but I can see the itty bitty print AND the computer, without moving my head, so I think it will be a Good Thing.

* I’ve never had a Fashion Consultant help me pick frames before and this was a great experience! Awana knows what looks good and she has no trouble saying, “You can’t wear those!” likely saving me from a year’s worth of sighing every morning at my reflection in the mirror, wondering what the heck I was thinking. Many thanks, Awana!

 
13 Comments

Posted by on August 9, 2014 in Happy, I totally Rock!, right?

 

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Monday Morning Madness

My eyes snapped open before the alarm this morning. I couldn’t breathe. My heart started to race as I tried to drag in some air around a huge obstruction. Raising my hands to my throat, I encountered a mass of fur that wasn’t there when I went to sleep. It felt like a hairy snake and immediately began to purr. Seems Revy decided to sleep across my neck, sprawled out with his belly resting right on top of my windpipe.

This shouldn’t have been possible, seeing as how I’m normally a side sleeper, but obviously the new bed is comfortable enough that I turn onto my back at the same hour Revy decides to start his wake-up routine. Threat of suffocation is, evidently, the latest in a long line of tactics designed to steal my sleep and get kibble into his bowl in the least amount of time. Guess this means I better not drink before bed or maybe I won’t wake up in the morning.

Spring is in the air and it was a very busy weekend. Thursday, Friday and Saturday saw me awake at 0530. Wide awake and listening to the birds outside. Revy is beside himself with joy. Apparently, his training methods are finally paying off and breakfast is being served on time.

I sewed up a bed for the dog, low in the center with a soft, raised edge, something I thought I could use as a training tool to make her be still instead of barking and having a fit when someone approaches the trailer. You know, train her to act like a Real Dog? As you can see, it was not received as planned:

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERARevy finds it perfect – a fort to defend against canine insurgents, a bathing platform and soft bed to sprawl upon after racing around like a maniac. The dog has been exiled to whatever small space she can find:

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA The good news is that the furniture is finally arranged to my liking and the silver insulation has been removed from the windows, letting in the beautiful Spring sunshine. Of course, the brisk Spring breezes now have easier access, but one has to take the good with the not-so-good, no?

 

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2014 in Cats, Dogs, Happy, RV Living

 

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A Blast from the Past

I was searching through some CDs last night looking for pictures for a new project and came across some shots from a family vacation to New York.

Every year when I was growing up Mom watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. It was her dream to see it in person one day and in 2004 that’s what we did – Mom, Dan, Sis, Harley and I* flew to New York for Thanksgiving week to see the parade and everything else we could fit into a week. It was wonderful! Okay, I didn’t really care for the parade because of the crowds, but I was there for other reasons. I wanted to ride a horse in Central Park. Crazy, right?

This is Gillespie, one of the school horses from the (sadly gone) Claremont Riding Academy located two blocks from Central Park in Manhattan:

NYC 139The stable itself was amazing to someone who was used to horses being housed at ground level. A woman yelled down into a door for Gillespie and in a minute there was a thundering of hooves on wood and here came a lovely dappled palomino up the steep ramp, saddle and bridle on. He paused in the doorway, looked around, saw me and walked right up. This horse knew his stuff and was ready to get out of there.

Not being a total idiot, I mounted up to ride a bit in the arena and was disappointed to find Mr. G (as I called him in my mind) was rather nappy and not at all happy to be trotting circles around the other riders and the support columns spaced regularly around the very small arena.

As soon as we stepped outside, however, he perked right up and heaved a big sigh as if he’d been waiting for days to see the sunshine, and maybe he had. The picture above makes him look sleepy, but what you don’t see is the ambulance with sirens on and flashing lights that had just passed. Mr. G stood firm, not even flinching when it came roaring up and around the corner. I was terrified that he would do something stupid, but he was not at all fazed by the Big City.

NYC 141In order to get to the bridle paths in Central Park, we had to walk with the traffic (one way) two blocks and then turn two more corners (more one way traffic) and cross a very busy street into the park proper. It was quite an experience – no one batted an eye to see a horse calmly walking along, cars zipping by on one side, bikes and pedestrians on the other.

NYC 145Once we reached the park there was just enough time to circle the lake before the rental time ran out. It was a beautiful November day, partially cloudy with no wind. In fact, the weather the entire week was wonderful for November – chilly but not cold and dry most of the time, almost like Winter was holding off so we could enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

We returned to the stable and Mr. G went right back down the ramp after I gave him a couple of carrots for being such a good boy. I thought it must be a hard life for him, not being able to graze outside, but he seemed happy enough and didn’t hesitate to head back to his stall.

It was an experience I’ll never forget and I hope someday to ride in Hyde Park in London, although it’s been a few years since I last sat a horse. This post makes me miss my equine friends and think about taking lessons at one of the nearby stables…

* The narc (of course) refused to attend because his privacy could not be maintained and so he stayed home. I was instructed to call him every evening at 7:00 his time (11:00 PM in NY) to report in. We were running all day and he expected me to call him after everyone else went to bed. I resented it and lost a lot of sleep just to please him – after all, I had “abandoned” him to go gallivanting off with my family instead of staying home to take care of him. Whatever.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Family, Happy, History, Horses

 

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New Year, First Post

“They” say that on New Year’s Day you should do all of the things that you want to do more of in the New Year. If you don’t have time for all that, a symbolic effort will do. Today I:

  • Got up way too early
  • Watched Breaking Bad while drinking tea
  • Finished a quilt
  • Went thrifting
  • Went shopping for office stuff
  • Visited the dog park with Sabu
  • Took a nap

Wow. So far it’s not looking good, is it? Until I sat down at the computer to tally up my Grand Accomplishments for the day it felt like I’d run a marathon. Sigh. Well, there are 5.5 hours left of January 1. I wonder if I can:

  • Spin something
  • Knit something
  • Fix the water pump leak
  • Do some drafting for The Other Boss
  • Finish writing a sock knitting pattern
  • Fiddle
  • Vacuum
  • Do laundry

A couple of those would have been handled in the course of a usual Wednesday night but when I drove over to the yarn shop it was all closed up. Guess there’s no Knit Night tonight. Sigh. Too bad because that would also have covered “spend more time in the studio working on Stuff.”

Better get at it!

 
9 Comments

Posted by on January 1, 2014 in Digging Out, Happy, Holidays

 

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On the cusp of a New Year

Wow. 2013 went by faster than any other year I can remember! My personal New Year doesn’t start until January 21 (my first narc-free day) but since most of the Western world uses January 1 as the official day, I will too. For now.

A year ago I was still living with the narc, enduring his constant complaints about feeling “under compensated,” enduring his lectures about how I “control” every aspect of our lives, especially the dinner menu, how he’s helpless and can’t contain his emotions but he loves me very, very much. I was done making excuses, fully aware of what a monster he is and counting the days until my escape.

I’m proud to say that 2013 has been my happiest and most productive year as a fully-fledged adult person πŸ™‚ I have learned more, accomplished more, lived more this past year than any that went before.

I have bright hopes for the future and wish all of you a safe, happy and prosperous 2014.

For those of you in toxic relationships, I wish for you the strength to get out – there really is a good life here on the other side. Jump on in, the water’s fine πŸ™‚

For those of you who are recently out of toxic relationships, congratulations! The hard part is over. Really, it is. Go forward with hope and courage and good things will be yours.

Thank you all for following along on my journey back to life and for being so supportive and wise when I thought I was all alone.

Since everyone else is doing it, here’s my annual report, just for fun.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in Happy, I totally Rock!

 

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Holiday Cheer

I’ve been AWOL for the last five days, doing all that Holiday Stuff that’s so popular this time of year. Awana came over to spend a couple days with us. Here you see her spinning and trying to enjoy a piece of toast. Sabu was doing her best to get that last bite for herself, but Awana was oblivious:DSCN0477

 

Awana is one of those people who hasn’t lived with pets for some time and is either unaware or has forgotten what it’s like to eat anything with a critter in the house. She is able to leisurely have a bite of toast, set it down, drink a sip of tea, talk awhile and pick the toast back up, confident that it will be right there under her questing fingertips when she’s ready for it again.Sabu (mostly) doesn’t steal from her. Yet.

I, on the other hand, must grasp my food to my chest, balancing a tea cup on my lap (setting it on the table is an invitation for getting it knocked over,) taking quick bites and swallowing fast, before dog or cat manage to knock something free and gobble it down before I can rescue it. Revy is always at my elbow, or even trying to climb onto the plate if there’s chicken or ham involved, and Sabu is forever leaning on my knees, bumping my arm or leg with her nose to get me to hurry up and get to the last bite already! She always gets the last bite and is not at all patient about waiting for it. It can be exhausting, I tell you.

DSCN0479On Christmas day we drove up to Portland to my Sister’s house for lunch and catching up. Sadly, most of my pictures turned out awful (I truly hate my new camera and moan about the one that was stolen each time I bring out the POS) but there are a few that are fit to show.

 

DSCN0480Sis’ tree. Cool, yes? It was much prettier IRL. It disassembles and goes into a box after The Season. Easy-peasy!

DSCN0484This is Maya. She is an odd cat. Very interested to see what you’re eating, but not at all interested in having a bite. It’s like she needs to know for the sake of knowing.

The quilt was well received and we all settled down for taco soup, which was fab-u-lous! Even better heated up the next day!

A couple hours of visiting and we were off to the dog park and to take Harley home. Turns out The Boy did not have many clothes fit to wear in public (at least by Mom and Grandma standards) and so I insisted that I would be back on Friday to take him shopping. And for a haircut.

Sadly, it was unnecessary to humiliate him by forcing him to try on clothes and model them for me at the crowded store – I had five pairs of new jeans in The Stash (don’t ask) that fit him perfectly. We did venture out for some thrifting and food shopping as well as a haircut. Another trip to a dog park and Sabu and I headed home.

Awana was gone, so the beasties and I started in on another project and cleaning house. I spent a couple hours Saturday and Sunday in the Studio working on a scrappy quilt that is now ready for tying and binding. The trailer is clean, the plants are behind a new protective barrier that looks slightly less White Trash than the cardboard I was using before, and I even managed to do some cooking for lunches this week. Sabu got to go to the dog park six days in a row. Lil’ Dude got some new clothes – more about that in another post πŸ™‚

All in all, it was a very happy and productive five days off!

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Family, Friends, Happy, Holidays

 

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And the angels sang

All has not been peaceful at night here in the land of Towanda. The weather has been crazy cold and yours truly is cheap Scotch frugal enough to feel the need to conserve resources whenever possible. This means the furnace gets turned down to 60* at night, which frankly only means nothing is frozen in the trailer in the morning, not that the air is actually 60*. The damned thing still wakes me up coming on way too often. (Yes, I also use oil-filled electric space heaters.)

I’d been waking up with aching teeth, which I was terrified meant I could put off a mountain of dental work no longer, but upon reflection I decided it could be because I was sleeping cold enough to grind my teeth all night but not cold enough to wake up fully, and I piled on every blanket in the place in an effort to find some lasting warmth. Let me tell you, 50 pounds of quilts + 50 pounds of dog on top of a person does not a good night’s sleep make. Add a wool hat and a kitten who insists that 0200 is the perfect time to play King of the Mountain, and I was waking up exhausted and miserable.

I stopped at a nearby Bed Bath & Beyond on Sunday and purchased $100 worth of fancy pillows to find some relief. Monday morning found me waking with no kink in my neck for the first time in weeks. At last – a step in the right direction! I was still being crushed and sleeping in a wool hat, though.

And then I saw Vagina’s post yesterday, an ode to her dead heated blanket. A lightbulb went on!

WTF didn’t I think of that? Silly question, really – the narc didn’t believe in leaving the heat on at night and he would never have considered “wasting” all that electricity with a heated blanket just so we could sleep, fer cryin’ out loud. Whatever his other faults, the man slept like a blast furnace and I was never cold. He was a big fan of “acclimating” which is narc-speak for gritting one’s teeth and freezing all Winter because “theΒ  natives from this area didn’t even have clothes – they wore bear grease and woven reeds – and we are weak white people who need to toughen up” and other such nonsense.

I found my new best friend at the local Bi-Mart. $45 is a lot to spend on a thin blanket, but I was desperate. I have to admit the thought ran through my head that if I could just tough it out long enough to get the next quilt project finished up I would save all that money, but the desire for a full night’s sleep won out and I ponied up the cash.

Back at the Manse, I put off going to bed as long as I could in the hope that fatigue would send me over the edge into sleep more easily. I made up the bed, putting the heated blanket between two thin quilts, one to protect me, one to keep the heat in, provided the thing even worked right. I’ll admit I was skeptical, even after Vagina’s glowing endorsement of heated blankets. It all sounded too good to be true and I was prepared to be disappointed.

I optimistically set the heat dial at ‘4’ (it ranges from 1 to 10) and crawled into bed, Sons of Anarchy on the tube, waiting for the magic to start.

OMG. Magic doesn’t begin to describe it. Slowly, slowly, the heat began to build until it settled at the Perfect Temperature, just like it knew what I needed. Not too hot, but toasty warm from shoulders to (amazing!) toes. The warmth enveloped me, pulling my eyes closed as surely as if it was a drug. Dog and cat hopped onto the bed and for once did not settle against my legs, pushing me off the side of the bed, letting in cold air with every movement – they could feel the magic, too.

I fell asleep like I’d had two Margaritas and mind-blowing sex. I fell like a rock into a soothing warm abyss.

I woke in the middle of the night, not sure what was wrong. I lay there for a minute, assessing the situation. I realized the unthinkable had happened – my feet were too warm! I actually had to take my wool socks off in the middle of the night! In December! It’s unheard of. I mean, my naked feet don’t feel sheets until some time in late April or early May!

The ringing of the alarm was most unwelcome this morning. I hit snooze four times. I didn’t want to leave the comforting embrace of my wonderful blanket. Duty called, however, and I unplugged him, carefully folded him and tucked him away for tonight.

The outside temp this morning was 25*F. The driver’s side door of my car was frozen shut. The window scraper has gone missing – not really a big loss as it had some broken teeth, but still. I crawled over the passenger seat to start the car and get it heating up before work. Crawled back out to walk Sabu (she looked at me like I’d lost my mind.) Still frozen after 10 minutes of blasting heat. Crawled back in and drove to work. Crawled out at work, thankful no one was in the parking lot to see. God, I hate Winter!

All I can think about is how wonderful it will be to join my lovely warm friend in bed again tonight. He totally gets me. He knows just what I need – currents of warmth all night long, wrapping me in peaceful slumber.

He needs a name – nothing too fancy as he’s 100% polyester, after all, and a creamy-beige color. Suggestions?

 
40 Comments

Posted by on December 4, 2013 in Happy, right?, RV Living, Weather

 

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Moving In

The call finally came on Saturday just before noon – my new studio space upstairs from the yarn shop was finally move-in ready! I was over the moon. Being the sort of person to get cart before horse, the car was already loaded to the gunnels (mixing metaphors just for fun πŸ™‚ ) and Sabu and I set off.

Bridget is set up in her corner:

DSCN0398Two trips from Towanda, up 20 stairs (one by one because they’re heavy,) around two corners and the bins are installed the walk-in closet, lids open and Febreeze liberally applied to (OMG I hope!) get rid of the smell of the narc’s house:DSCN0400Whew! There’s more, but there was only time for a few pics as Awana and I were off on the next adventure (Jo-Ann’s, St. Vinnie’s and lunch) before the rain started to fall. This is a very good beginning to being set up to sew whenever inspiration strikes and being able to leave projects laying about without worry. Sigh. This makes me so very happy!

I have a fondness for vintage sewing machines – this is the first to move into the new space, a classic Elna Transforma:

DSCN0399This machine is small in size, but weighs a ton! It has a case that folds out into a “table” that looks to be impossible to use. No foot pedal with this one – the wire looking thingy in front there folds down over the edge of the table to be operated by your knee. It needs a little rubber wheel replaced (wheel and instructions are inside the case – just haven’t found the time yet) and a good cleaning & oiling and she’ll be up and running.

This particular model (if y’all are interested, and I understand if you’re not – it’s an odd love, I know) has a module that the sewist could order and have installed at their local sewing machine repair shop that enables you to make fancy stitches. This machine, alas, it the very basic straight stitch version, although if I could find the module it could be installed (I hear it’s a real PITA) if there are any OSMGs (Old Sewing Machine Guys) in town. A project for another day!

For now, I’m so happy I can breathe in Studio T at home and projects can finally move forward inside the Starting Over Designs studio πŸ™‚

 
19 Comments

Posted by on November 18, 2013 in Fiber Arts, Happy

 

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