Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Three Charmers & a Dud: a Review of Four Books I Found at the Public Library

I like to read. A lot. If you put words in front of my face, I will read them rather than pay attention to whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing. Reading is an important part of my life, ranked right up there with my daily espresso and my personal fitness time.

I was denied the ability to read for years when my already severely myopic eyes decided to develop difficulty with what I now know is called “reading vision” in my early 30s. My ophthalmologist ignored my request for trifocals (corrective lenses with three fields of vision: distance, mid-range [I think of this as my “people vision” as it is mostly used in socializing], and reading), stating I was too young for “cheaters” (Why the hell are reading glasses called that, “cheaters”?!? You’re not cheating by wanting words on a page not to appear like a fuzzy, blurred out, indecipherable mess!! Cheaters are losers, and I’m NOT a loser just because I want to be able to read fine print!!). For almost a decade of my life, attempting to read either gave me a massive headache or put me to sleep (#protip on aging eyes: if you love to read but it always seems to end in you going comatose, you should get yourself to an eye doctor, stat!). During that period of my life, I could barely finish 2 or 3 books a year, and I found myself having more and more difficulty managing my moods (One of the more fabulous door prizes of my autoimmune issues is unpredictable mood swings and a tendency to lean towards the depressive end of the spectrum). Fast forward to what has turned out to be the magic age of 40, and my eye doc finally granted me the prescription that my eyes had been craving for years. After a monumental adjustment period learning how to use three fields of vision in one lens (Eyes are ridiculously stubborn little boogers!), I was finally able to read at will; read for hours, read in bed, read on trips, read on rainy days, read on sunny days, read inside, read outside, read right side up, read upside down, read, read, READ! It was then I connected my ever-increasing frequency of depressive periods during that time with the inability to read. I had consciously used diet, rest and exercise to manage my moods, but apparently, I had unconsciously been using reading my whole life as a way to let my brain get a break from being me. It took losing my reading vision for me to make that connection, but now that I have it back, I’m reading once again, and reading like a crazy person.Which leads me to the topic of this post: four books that I’ve read recently:) 

Typically, I post on Instagram with @doodledblooms about books that I’m reading or have read, but I have had requests for me to put my book reviews in a place that is easier for folks to save, and I think a blog is the perfect locale for reviews. So, in future I’m going to have a special folder on Have Color Will Travel (see the menu in the right-hand sidebar), and in this little area of my blog will be reviews of all sorts because I have opinions on all kinds of pop-culture experiences, not just books, so I’m leaving myself a bit of wiggle room to breathe, creatively speaking:)

Snapchatting books has become
a thing with me. I find it's a great
way to capture an emotion or take
a note for myself or others about
what I'm reading...I know, I'm
a nerd.

Thanks to a recommendation by one of my son’s lovely friends, Juanita (a young lady who is also a proud book nerd like myself), I sought out Eleanor & Park as soon as I finished reading Rainbow Rowell’s gem Fangirl (A read I highly recommend if you enjoy YA, if you enjoy coming of age books that focus on a character’s college years, if you like strong female voices, if you like romance, if you like delightful writing, if you like books at all…I totally adored this novel :). And, even though you can see I loved Fangirl (please refer to the previous parenthetical) to bits, Eleanor & Park hit my heart even harder. The pacing of this book and the alternation between the two very distinct and tenderly written POV’s of the title characters at times had me holding my breath because I was so invested in their story. I had no idea I was doing this until I closed the cover of the book to move on to real life. 
I know I'm 43, but this is the most romantic thing I
have ever read in my entire life, seriously.
Screw roses, diamonds and fancy meals,
 give me batteries!

At its core, this book is a love story, but it delves into so much more than that as it is set in the Midwest in the mid-80s and deals with two teens from very disparate backgrounds. And, while it is advertised as a YA novel, I cannot imagine anyone who was actually young, awkward and on the outside of things in the 80s as I was (And really, don’t we all feel that way about our high school years?) who wouldn’t find themselves falling for this book. This novel is definitely the author’s ode to the awesomeness that was 80s nerd culture, as the pages are full of comic book and music references that remind a more mature reader of all that was great about growing up in that decade.

Juanita is 27 years my junior, and she loved this heart-breaking (in the best way) book just as much as I did; how many stand-alone novels can make that generational claim? Once I finished the novel, I immediately wished to create a fantasy book club meeting of readers from all generations, ages 15-95+, and just sit and discuss the parts of the book that took our breaths away, the parts that broke our hearts, the parts that made us smile, the parts that made us relive our own experiences, the parts that made us want to recommend this book to our best friends, and do all this over warm beverages and cookies. This book was that good, and I don’t think I am being hyperbolic, not in the least.

The author's intended cover for her book
is way better than the cover the
publisher went with, but you have to
read the book to find out just how
much better;)
I’m sharing about these books in the order that I read them this semester (I don’t think my life will ever NOT be tied to the academic calendar, I’m that much of a nerd.), and the turn I took after reading a book that was advertised as a teen romance was a 360 to a book of essays by the ridiculously, wonderfully and hilariously honest blogger, Jenny Lawson. I discovered this book in our local Friends of the Library book shop, so while this is the only book of these four reviewed that I paid for (and only $3.00!! A screaming deal!! You must check out the Seguin Public Library’s Friends of the Library bookshop!!), I still found this book at the library, so I’m still speaking the truth when I say that I found all 4 of these books at the public library (#LibrariesAreAwesome).

I wish I had discovered Jenny Lawson earlier in my life because she discusses issues of mental health, of anxiety, of depression, of fear, and of just being different from the norm in a way that I needed to hear ages ago (but better late than never:). And, that sentence that you just now read makes it sound like this book is a serious analysis of mental illness, but Holy Toledo, Batman, it is not! This book had me literally laughing out loud, laughing almost to tears in some chapters. But why I wish I had had it in my hands earlier is that Jenny Lawson has a way of talking about dealing with serious struggles that takes away all of the stigma of needing help. She is incredibly funny, which makes this book an entertaining read for almost anyone (Unless you have issues with profanity or taxidermied roadkill, so if those things bug you, do not touch this book! You've been warned!), but the power of this collection of essays lies in her ability to remind all of us who’ve ever struggled with darkness and fear that we are never alone and that we never have been to begin with. I feel like it might be revealing too much about the book to share that the last two chapters brought me to sloppy, ugly tears (the cleansing kind), but if you feel called to pick this book up, I really hope you read it all the way through to the end because you deserve it. And, if you are like me and a devotee to Ms. Lawson's blog, fret not about the book being a photo copy of her blog posts; it is not:)

Hello, my name is Dud;
what's yours?

The title of this blog post is Three Charmers and a Dud, so let me introduce you to the dud that is Eligible (And, writing that sentence feels like I am being really mean, but man, this book was bloody awful!).

Straight up, the only reason I checked out this book at all (because the title and cover made me gag) was because it was “A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice.” I totally heart Jane Austen! And, I am an unabashed fan of all versions of the story of Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy’s romance: the classic black and white version (Laurence Olivier & Greer Garson – swoon!), the BBC version (Omigawd, Colin Firth!), the recent version (director Joe Wright created magic!), the Bollywood version (Of course Pride and Prejudice needs musical numbers – why didn’t I think of that?!) and even the zombie-infested version (Watching the Bennett sisters slay the undead and sexism is awesome, even if the plot makes zero sense!). So, this cheesy, jump the shark modernization of my favorite love story of all time should have been perfect for me…but it was crap, and poorly written crap at that, that took well-loved and well defined characters and completely altered their core personalities in order to be shocking (It isn’t that I don’t think Lydia Bennett could be gay [all the sisters could be gay, for heaven’s sakes!], but I absolutely think that giving her the wisdom to choose the best, most loving and respectable life partner in the book is entirely against her well-known character, a plot choice that completely violates the entire story!). I only finished this novel so that I could see just how bad it could get, and even then it failed because it just didn’t get bad enough: the book just ended! If you adore Jane Austen, please ignore this book. Unless of course you have time to spare, or you’re a curious speed reader, or you just don’t believe me. But, seriously, no one treats Lizzie Bennett & company this badly and gets away with it, at least not from me. This book totally sucked. I’ve not read any other books by Curtis Sittenfeld, so I am not blowing this author off completely, but her foray into using Ms. Austen as an easy paycheck was completely misguided and offensive to this Austen fan.

And, what did I do right after I
returned this book to the library?
I checked out another book by
Rainbow Rowell of course!
Expect a review of Landline in
the near future:)

Because I loved Fangirl so much, because Eleanor & Park made me laugh, cry and sigh (gave me “all the feels” as they say), I decided to heed Juanita’s advice once again and seek out Ms. Rowell’s full sized fan-fiction novel brought to publication. Despite not being pitched this way on the dust jacket cover, Carry On really isn’t a stand-alone novel. It will be best enjoyed after digesting Fangirl, Rowell’s novel focused on the first year of college of the delightful Cath, a nerd extraordinaire and talented writer of fan fiction. The characters of Carry On are characters of Cath’s fan-fiction, and those characters are the creation of a fictional author who has created a fictional Harry Potter-esque series called the Simon Snow series. The similarities to the two magical universes (J.K. Rowling's and Rainbow Rowell's) stop at the fact that magic is real and that there is a school to go to once you've discover you have magical ability, as magic and the folks who wield it function in a wholly ingenious and fascinating way in Carry On (Not that the magic in HP isn't awesome, it is just cool to see authors take such similar concepts and do VERY different things with them:). And while we’re made to believe that this single book is a final installment in a very long series that we have not read (a series that has never actually been published), I never once felt lost in the dense story, never felt a lack of emotion for characters I had only just met, and felt like this little writing experiment that Rainbow Rowell just had to try was, on the whole, a success. The only moment that felt was less than well-thought-out was one I later forgave the book for completely; I signed on for a story about the friendships between the characters Cath had loved and re-envisioned, Simon, Baz, Penelope and Agatha, and that’s exactly what I got, in the end. What a treat it must have been for Ms. Rowell to be able to not only play around with characters created by her character but to have it published and enjoyed! How wonderfully meta (I think I am becoming a charter member of the Rainbow Rowell fan club:)!

And there you go, three charmers and a dud. I hope these reviews were helpful if you’re looking for a new book and mildly entertaining if you aren’t. I find magazine and newspaper book reviews to be unsatisfactory lately as they reveal too much of the plot, suggest too much about characters that we have yet to meet, and treat review readers like teenagers skimming through Cliff’s Notes in order to prepare for a test (that’s still a thing, right?). By the time you’ve finished reading their review, you could get 100% on a test over a book you’ve never even cracked open. Who needs that?! Don’t expect another book review post from me for a bit, though. I’m an incredibly slow if dedicated reader, and I rather liked sharing briefly about a collection of books rather than deeply about one book, so I’m totally going to share via this route again. Hopefully what I’ve written here provides just enough for you to decide whether or not a book is for you. If you’ve read any of these books, have some further reading to suggest, or have questions on my reviews, I’d love to hear about it all in the comments if you’ve got time:)

Cheers, and happy reading!

Friday, December 9, 2016

"How Does My Hair Look?" - Thoughts On Going Grey and What That Might Mean, If Anything.

by Michelle M. Johnson

I suck at compliments. It’s not that I don’t know how to share positive observations about others. In fact, I feel rather confident that I’m good at giving compliments; what is a compliment if not an expression of one’s positive opinion on someone or something, and I am nothing if not opinionated. But, all the same, I suck at compliments…receiving them that is. And, I don’t think I’m alone in this. Compliments are hard for most folks: the praise usually pops out at us from nowhere, catches us off guard, is typically focused on something we’re self-conscious about (our looks, our work, our behavior, our choices), and tends to be a bit of a conversation stopper (Cue awkward silence after a delayed, “Thank you.”). This may not be you, but it is without a doubt me. 

As fate would have it, I tend to be the recipient of compliments on a regular basis (Fate doesn’t allow us nearly enough opportunity to practice what we love or what we’re good at, does it? Where is my daily opportunity to taste new chocolate varietals or photograph rare and adorable kittens?? Fate is a real you-know-what.). And, you’d think I would get better and better at receiving compliments because they are more often than not for the same thing: my hair. Sounds awesome, right, getting weekly, sometimes daily compliments on your hair. 

“Why on earth are you writing about this?!” you might be saying, but please hear me out.

My hair has been going grey (Yes, I know the color grey is spelled with an A, but I have a thing for British spellings, and this is my blog, so #SorryNotSorry.) since I was 19 years old. It was a slow process in the beginning, a strand here and there, something mostly only noticeable by me or folks taller than myself who had no concept of personal space (you know the type…). But, once I had a child, and really after I turned 30, my body decided to hell with pigment and embraced a color spectrum spanning silvery white and maroon-y brown. I really didn’t pay it much attention as I had known many beautiful white-haired women (my grandmother and my great aunts were especially good at rocking sparkly tresses), and while I did dye my hair for a short while in my late 20s (a deep Sharpie Black to remind myself that while I may have become a mother, I still had a punk rocker’s heart), I eventually came to the realization that I would much rather spend money on new shoes and new tunes than on new hair color.
My rainbow collection of Chucks has started to expand into colorful Doc Martins...
I know I have a problem, but look how pretty!! :)
And, then came all the unsolicited advice: “You’re too young to go grey!” “You’d look younger if you dyed your hair its natural color.” (Whaat?? Grey IS its natural color!) “You’d look awesome if you accentuated those mahogany streaks!” “From a distance, those greys look platinum blonde; have you ever considered going full Marilyn?” These sentiments sometimes came from friends and family, but more often than not, these sorts of backhanded compliments came from absolute strangers. Oddly enough, the running commentary on my hair color didn’t cause me to run for the closest salon or box of Loreal Soft Black #3. It infuriated me as my partner in awesome, Steve, was also slowly going grey (and in a really interesting way, I think – his white tufts have come out in a hurricane pattern, which I love:), and not a soul had a thing to say about his decision to let his hair do its thing! I was like, “What the hell!? If George Clooney can do it, so can I!”  In fact, that became my battle cry during my early to mid-30s, and that quip was on the tip of my tongue, ready to slice and dice anyone’s suggestion that I should dye my hair to match my age.

Fast forward to my late 30s/early40s, and the comments on my hair color dramatically changed as well as became more frequent. Also, where before the devilishly polite suggestions to dye my hair came exclusively from folks hovering in and around my age, now the observations about my hair and its color came from all age ranges, folks much younger and much older than myself alongside folks in my peer group. Additionally, and without a doubt, these comments are now full-on compliments rather than creepily intrusive suggestions at self-improvement. I’ve had teenagers marvel at my long silver hair claiming to look forward to the day that they too have tresses in this color scheme. I’ve had much older men gaze at me (rather uncomfortably, if I’m to be quite honest) and exclaim “Promise me you’ll never dye your hair!” And, I’ve had women floating through all ages of maturity gently touch my hair in wonder and sigh, “I wish I could do that…” as if I had just played Chopin effortlessly on a grand piano.

These sorts of experiences happen to me regularly: while shopping for clothes or groceries, while waiting in line for the bathroom, while sitting in movie theatres, while going about my daily business, whatever that may be. And, I’m always rather stumped as I spend very little time on my hair; I wear it long as I find a ponytail the easiest and most versatile of all hairstyles, and I have my husband cut my hair because I would rather spend the money that gets dropped on a hairstylist on something I love and enjoy (Shoes! Music! Art Supplies! Chocolate! Craft Beer! Fine Wine!).

So, what I’m saying is, my hair isn’t really compliment-worthy, and yet the compliments flow regularly (especially if I blow my hair dry…how weird is that??), and, try as I might, I continue to be awkward with them. I used to try to use humor to deflect the attention folks throw at my hair, calling myself a Silver Fox or referring to my hair color as “diamond dust” rather than grey, but that only made folks wish to have hair like mine even more, leading to questions about my hairdresser, which got awkward because I’m like, “uh, my life mate; I bought him special scissors to cut my hair because I thought the grade school Fiskars ones wouldn’t be good enough.”

Recently, while I was out for my morning walk, I happened upon another such woman as myself: a young-ish face, shrouded in an analogous collection of grey, white, and silver tresses. I took it upon myself to “pay it forward” as it were, and tell this woman that I thought her hair was beautiful, that she was rocking her natural color…And, I totally scared the crap out of her (I really wasn’t thinking the situation through: we both were clearly working out, and I should have respected her personal fitness space!). But she smiled at me and thanked me all the same. We started politely chatting for a bit about the weirdness of getting compliments for having grey hair, something we put absolutely no effort into achieving, and I revealed that I simply didn’t understand what all the fuss and attention was about. She very quickly stated, “It’s because we’re brave!”
“Ha!” I blurted out (seriously, I almost guffawed!), “We’re not brave! (I really need to find this woman and apologize!) "Bravery is putting yourself in harm's way for others, bravery is doing something dangerous, bravery is doing something even though it frightens you!” She continued to smile and we both went on with our workouts, she in one direction and I in another (something I ABSOLUTELY do not blame her for!!). And, even though my gut response to her assertion that we were brave for going grey was preposterous, she got me thinking about this from a different angle: is it brave to simply allow your body to do what it does naturally?

Later, ironically on that same day last week, a video popped up in my fb feed AND was shared on my timeline by a friend (Thanks, Rachel, for sharing, and thanks, Christi, for tagging me:). It seems to have gotten many views, so perhaps you've seen it. If not, here it is for your convenience:)

The judgement this young lady received felt all too familiar, but unlike myself, the unsolicited “advice” came from an online source; she didn’t have the opportunity, as I always did, to politely smack down the well-wisher and then confidently walk away (something that actually feels as good as it sounds;). Her testimony to her grey hair touches on a point that I think I may have been overlooking as I’ve let my hair travel along its natural course: my grey hair is an acknowledgment of my mortality, an acceptance of the inevitability of my death. Oddly enough, like the young woman in this video, I, too, have auto-immune issues and have recently been told that my lifetime will more than likely not be as long as the average American female. And, while I opted to embrace my grey and signs of maturity ages ago, this health diagnosis is recent for me and is one that, quite frankly, I am in denial about. But, like this young woman in the video and the woman I rudely accosted on the track, I too, love my grey hair. If I’m honest, I take pride in it. That pride previously was in sending a personal f___ you to the mainstream media that has been sending women messages since the beginning of print and painting that we are NOT enough as we are, ever, my hair proving that I am strong enough to figure out what I love about myself on my own, that I am immune to the suggestions they send out about my worth, my body, my appearance (Aaand, this is not entirely true as I am totally pulled in by lipstick and lip gloss advertising, browsing the grocery store isles for new shades, new flavors…I’m only human, and chapped lips are the worst!). But, I think that pride that I have felt all these years may be morphing into something different, something that may in fact be bravery.

Maybe it is brave to let your hair follow its natural course as you age because it really is the first sign a healthy human being receives that the end is inevitable. My grey started ridiculously early, and who knows, it may even be connected to the fact that my immune system just isn’t what it is supposed to be. And, as morose as that sounds, I love my hair more now than I ever did when I was young: I love that the whites sparkle, that the strands that were once soft brown are now so dark they look purple in the sunlight, I love that depending upon which side I part my hair, my head looks streak white, black, silver, brown OR like I have a snowfall of pure white surrounding the left side of my face, I love that I can choose which of these collections of colors will look best with whatever I’m wearing (I love color choices!), and I love that my partner in this life thinks that my hair only continues to be more beautiful (his is ever the only opinion I really respond to:). There is much that I am critical about with my appearance (Hey, I was raised in the dance world – our bodies are never perfect enough!), but my hair makes me feel gorgeous and alive.

So, if greying hair is a sign of the inevitability of all things, maybe it is brave to embrace your grey for in doing so you embrace your mortality. And if a woman finds beauty and strength in this color that represents death, even to the point of actually appearing beautiful and strong to others, maybe, just maybe, there is some beauty in accepting our lives as finite, and that the signs of a lengthening lifespan are a marvel and something to look forward to rather than to cover and alter, to turn away from and deny.

And, maybe I am thinking too much about my hair color, about compliments and about a whole slew of ideas, but isn’t that sort of the purpose of a blog?
By the way, reader, what do you think? Do you think it is brave to go grey or is it just what it is, a color choice chosen from a whole spectrum of shades?
At the last minute it occurred to me
that perhaps I should add a pic of my
crazy hair as evidence or something,
so here ya go!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Comfort Cats, Snapchat, and Finding My Way Out of All the Small Spaces

May I recommend a comfort cat for all your times of angst and stress?
I find them to be immensely effective at reminding me to be human:)

So, I’m just going to begin this blogging adventure by pulling some words together in a sentence because if I don’t “just do it,” it will never get done. Ever. (Thanks, Nike.)

I’ve been told for years that I should be blogging...but, it wasn’t until just a few months ago on a beautiful summer afternoon here in Texas that I finally knuckled down and allowed myself to be taught how to set up a blog by my partner in awesome, Steve. And, apparently, I learned how to make my blog page pretty and have nifty buttons and links and everything, because, as you can see if you are here, it is and it does. 
However, quite frankly, I didn’t really learn a whole hell of a lot as I fought the process tooth and nail, cursed like a sailor and gnashed my teeth, among other things. I recognize this is a really unhealthy attitude to have during instruction, but it is my go-to response when I am put into a situation that makes me feel trapped. FYI - beginning a blog makes me feel like I have just been locked in a dark, airless closet that smells REALLY bad.

May I also recommend Snapchat
to diffuse destructive impulses?
Taking pithy pics & attempting
humor is pleasantly distracting to the
demonic inner critic and
harms absolutely no one:)
Full disclosure: I have pretty intense claustrophobia. We’re not talking about the “I don’t do elevators” kind of claustrophobia, although I wouldn’t be caught dead in one of those death boxes. No, my claustrophobia knows no bounds; I can experience emotional, psychological, relational, situational, and environmental claustrophobia. My physical and emotional response to all of those many shades of trapped and small-space-hell-ness is the same: I get rather mean, incredibly chatty, mildly violent and irrational (If you’re wondering, the answer is yes, I make a very entertaining travel companion.). Thankfully, Steve is more often than not incredibly patient with me in times like these, having grown to recognize the signs of my anxiety rearing its ugly head from miles away. I am very fortunate that he takes none of what I do or say personally. To the rest of the world I say you’ve been warned.

But, I am getting distracted from the task at hand, which is creating my first blog post…

Irritatingly, that is also something that happens to me when I commit to doing something that I don’t want to do because it makes me feel like I'm being buried alive: I get HIGHLY distractible. I can think of 10,000 things I have to accomplish BEFORE making my annual OBGYN appointment, and I will absolutely do those things first, even though I know that’s really unhealthy and I would never advise anyone else to allow themselves to live that way. My battle plan against myself is that I demand that my physicians force me to make annual appointments when I am actually in their office so that I can be held accountable. My dermatologist doesn’t run their office that way, and it’s been an embarrassing number of years since I’ve been for a check-up even though I have a family history of skin cancer (Yes, yes, I know, that's stupid, childish and good way to end up dead, go ahead judge me – I will make the damn appointment tomorrow!).

Focus, Michelle!

Okay, hello, for any possible readers who are new to me, my name is Michelle M. Johnson, and I am writing this blog because people have told me to. Why did they think I should do this? I’m not really sure. It could be that perhaps they think I’m funny (I am) or that they know that I like to write (Although I have never shared my writing with a wider audience until now...and I think that revelation, which I just had this very moment while I was typing this, is content for a future blog post. Hey, seems like I’m getting the hang of this! Sorry, distracted again.). Maybe they like the things I have to say about art, creativity, feminism, coloring, parenting, pop culture, social media, books, keeping mentally, emotionally, and physically fit, and music (Ooh, I think I just discovered what sort of blog this is gonna be – a blog about awesome stuff!). Or, maybe they are just tired of reading my novel length posts on Facebook and Instagram and are trying politely to let me know that my wordiness belongs on a different platform (It’s probably that one.).  Who knows why folks have suggested blogging to me because I didn’t think to ask them. I’m the sort of person who typically does all the advising in a relationship because I’ve been an educator of some sort my entire life and I don’t know how to interact with people without teaching.  Oh, and I am the eldest of three children, and I believe birth order has an effect on our personality (Oldest kids like to know stuff and tend to be informative…My sister and brother might choose the words “bossy” or “know it all” over the word informative, but that’s just semantics, really.). I have no earthly idea why people have been pushing me to write a blog because I was too stunned by the rareness of receiving advice to even think to ask them why. Plus, now I’m convinced that I am going to stumble upon the answer to that very question just through committing to the process of doing this blasted thing that obviously makes me VERY uncomfortable. And, maybe while I am learning along the way I might be of some help to someone else, which is sort of the main reason why I have ever done anything in my life, to help others not to have to struggle through the world as much as I do.

So, welcome to Have Color Will Travel, a blog with an odd name that I will absolutely explain at a later date, but this blog post is already rather long, and I really don’t want to screw up anyone’s schedule by making them spend too much time reading this, especially if you’re like me and you’re reading this when you really should be doing something else that's far more important.

Like I said, I like helping people. 

Go do your thing:)

Cheers to us all, and thanks for reading.

p.s. – Omigawd, I did it, the first post is done!!!!! And, I didn’t curse once:)
I don't typically participate in
self-congratulations, but I had extra
space on this page, I was coming
down from the rush of all the
adrenaline and cortisol from finishing
something I was dreading, and I had
new markers to test out, so, Yay Me:)
Some folks celebration-shop or celebration-drink;
I celebration-doodle.
p.s.s. – Steve just read my rough draft, and he totally laughed out loud (LOLed for those who don't enjoy long-speak). Apparently I did curse, three times in fact, and I absolutely didn't notice it. In my defense, they are the gentler curse words, so whatever, they’re staying in. And I still feel awesome – I didn’t hit anyone while creating this!!

p.p.s.s. (Is that how you type that??) Do you also have claustrophobia or an aversion to begin trapped? If it doesn't make you feel like a caged animal, I would love to hear about your struggles with needing to be free in the comments here. I've always assumed my all powerful claustrophobia was a unique superpower known only to me, but maybe there are more folks out there who live similar existences:)