Laugh Out Loud

Day 42 of 365

I have funny friends. I mean, really hilarious friends. We are, naturally, funnier together… it’s a blessing, I know. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t eek out at least a pale representative of my obnoxious laugh.

Somewhere along the way I decided that my laugh was embarrassing. I tried on all kinds of laughs, mimicking others, stifling the uproarious explosion that was being held behind steel bars. Holding back only lead to even more embarrassing outburst of frantic laughter at inopportune times such as when people fell down stairs or make serious but completely awkward statements.

Then I met one of my favorite people, Rachel, who has, without a doubt, the best laugh ever. It’s loud. It’s fantastic. I heard it and my pent-up laugh of origin, like a suppressed accent, demanded to be released. It didn’t matter what she was laughing at, I just needed to laugh along with her in full outrageous volume.   I was working with the best team ever and we were funny together.  Oh, the good ole days 🙂

It was at the same time that I met one of my most hilarious friends. I refer to her as The Bircham but she prefers KT. Frankly, she calls me Miranda, so I’ll be calling her Bircham whether she likes it or not. She is funny but, together, we are completely unstoppable. I mean, we crack ourselves up. This girl needs her very own TV show (which she’s already named “The Flats”). Too bad the world doesn’t find us quite as amusing.

Recently, KT and I (and actually a lot of other people in our circle) have been plagued by the need to suppress said laughter for reasons of noise control, professionalism, and well, flat-out censorship. We’ve been developing various methods that I thought I ought to share with you along with a bit of the Bircham and Miranda comedy routine.

Laughter Suppression Methods:
• Hold your breath
• Inflict pain on yourself (I prefer biting down on my knuckles)
• Inflict pain on others (well, that’s KT’s suggestion… she’s such a gangster, and as she edits this blog, she corrects and says “others is plural-we like to do it to more than one person… or I do)
• Think about something that is not funny (imagine someone dying… in a not funny way)

The Great KT/Miranda Comedy Routine (that only we think is hilarious): Continue reading “Laugh Out Loud”

WANTED

It’s WANTED Wednesday and this week the thing at the top of my “Wanted” list, of course below world peace and the end to poverty, is this specimen above.  No it isn’t the bearded lad gazing off into the wild blue yonder.  The object of my affection is this most awesome Threadless Tee by Loy Valera entitled “Friday, I’m in Love.” Never before have I seen the lyrics to the same titled Cure song illustrated so effectively… come to thing of it, I’m not so sure I’ve ever seen the lyrics to “Friday, I’m in Love” illustrated.  Nonetheless, this shirt is WANTED.

See if you can figure out all the lyrics… if you need a cheat head over to LyricsFreak.com

So, I leave you with a little Cure for the road…

And don’t forget to head over to GlassGiant.com to create your own WANTED posters!

What’s it all about?

in a fog

Dear Reader,

What’s it all about?

And by all, I mean me and this blog

If you’ve been reading my blog at all, dear Reader, you’ve figured out that I am pretty much all randomness, all the time. The fact that my “About” page has been under constructions since, well, blog construction began is another clue that I haven’t quite got it all together let alone come up with a cohesive theme for this here blog.

So how do I answer “What’s it all about?” In the words of the great Tynisha Leon of Dasheen Magazine, “I am what I am and I is what I is…and I be makin’ it do what it do.” Okay, so I don’t know if this is really a direct quote but as she’s sitting across the table at the mo’ and I told her what I was having her say, I think it’s alright.

This journey started with the words of another great:

Continue reading “What’s it all about?”

Dear Dairy,

 

 Dear Dairy,

(no, I didn’t just misspell “diary”)

I’ll start out with complete honesty.  I love you, Dairy, but we are just no good together. 

 I admit that all I have to do is catch a glance of you from across the room and all those feelings come rushing back.  Though I wish it would, the honeymoon never lasts, Dairy.  You must admit that you know this is true.  I end up hurt and resent you for it.  You deserve someone who can love you fully, with no regrets.

The longer I stay away from you, the easier for me it is to deal with missing you.  There are others in my life that can fill your shoes as long as I don’t think about it too much.  I know that nothing will ever truly be as wonderful as you, but it hurts too much and I just can’t do it anymore.

Every time you knock on my door in the form of melty brie deliciousness or torturously decadent chocolate fondue or even the scant pat of butter on a dinner roll, you suck me back into your clutches.  It takes all of me to resist you.  Sometimes you sneak in, disguised and treacherously seeking me out, I end up in agony. 

Our last encounter left me bedridden, my head pounding in my hands, my stomach twisted, my throat raw… is this really what you want for me?

In the words of Boy George, “Do you really want to hurt me? Do you really want to make me cry?“

I chose to believe the best about you.  I don’t want to think that you hurt me intentionally.  I know that, deep down, you are really good and loving and nurturing.  Like I said before, we are just not meant to be together, you and I.

I’m sorry Dairy.  I never meant to lead you on or cause you pain.  Just to clear the air, I’m not ending things with you for someone else.  I’ve also ended things with Tomato, Eggs, and Corn.  There are just too many of you in my life and I need to be alone for a while.  Not even one single M&M…

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to have a relationship with you so please don’t ask me to remain friends.  It’s time we both move on.

I love you… Goodbye.

~Mariah

How about you, dear Reader?  Any love/hate relationships with food groups in your life?  I’d love to hear your stories and solutions!

Addicted to YHL

Hi. My name is Mariah… and I’m addicted to YHL.

For those not you NOT in the know, YHL stands for Young House Love. I can’t remember exactly when I got my first fix but I vaguely remember it being as a result of a shared link from a Facebook friend. I just HAD to click… didn’t I?

Anyways, I’ve been following [Read: stalking] this fine couple of bloggers for a couple months now and have been completely engrossed by their most recent DIY undertaking: the 3-in-1 office/playroom/guest room. They asked about our own multi-function spaces and it set me thinking… always a dangerous thing.

I’ve been plagued with Renter’s Syndrome. Since I moved on from my parents’ nest over 12 years ago, I have lived in at least as many places. Each move meant new views, possibilities and challenges. With each new space, the same questions came up:

  • What function does this area need to serve? (plan)
  • What do I really need? (declutter)
  • Where do I store the stuff? (organize)
  • How do I make this feel like me? (decorate!)
  • In the end, I do my best but I come up to the same wall. It’s a rental… what can I really change? So I adapt to the space and make the most out of it but things like navy blue carpet and puce green refridgerators… well, I just had to suck it up.  Luckily, I live in a house I like that is owned by awesome friends so the hideous misfortunes don’t befall me here but there have certainly been some doozies over the years.

    Wondering how my home has become so stagnant, I realized, it’s because I’ve managed to say in the same place for a couple years now. For the last year I’ve been flying solo in my 3/2 and I got used to filling up the entire empty place with, well, stuff. My old roomie’s empty echo-y room became the guest room with two picture hung oddly on nails that were already there and a forever-inflated air mattress. Not exactly the Martha Stewart welcoming but it was a place to crash. The office, well, it’s an explosion of art supplies, junk, books, games, computer, junk, exercise bike, things that need to go to other people and junk.

    YHL has inspired me to take a new look at my space and use my four questions above and I think I’ll tackle the office first. Here is my office in all its ridiculous clutter when I got home from work today:

    DSC06163

    I decided to begin the de-cluttering process while thinking through the question, “What function does this area need to serve?”

  • I need a place to work out
  • I need a place to sew and an open surface (or easy to clear area) to work on craft projects
  • I need a place for all the paperwork, office-y duties and storage
  • Above all, I need a writing space
  • So, there’s the multi-function need: office/gym/art studio/writing cave

    DSC06166

    I’m pretty organized so, believe it or not, all the junk will be gone after a quick hotspot fire drill (thanks FlyLady!).

    There is something that just has never jelled in this room though. Probably has to do with it being the dumping ground of all out of place things for the entire house. I need a clean, flowing, clutter free space where my mind can wander and not think, “Geez, I really need to file last month’s bills.”

    All décor aside, the first issue is the closet. It’s really ineffective for the type of storage I need. Some shelves (using this YHL tutorial) should do the trick.

    DSC06169

    The only other built-in storage area is this ventilated shelving slathered niche that greets you as you walk in the door.

    DSC06162

    It’s just, well, untidy and unattractive. Solutions? I’m not sure just yet. So, here are the befores… stay tuned to see what a weekend’s progress will look like!

    So here’s to the beginning of a project! John and Sherry, I love you guys! (And of course Clara and Burger too!) Hopefully I’ll have some awesome Reader Redesign pics to send your way soon! All you Readers, check out these wonderful folks and their extensive list of “How To”s HERE

    Share the love 🙂

    I’ve been robbed. I’ve become a statistic.

    I’ve been robbed a lot; three times to be specific—four if you count the time in college when my credit card was somehow used to buy soccer jerseys and ship them to Yugoslavia.

    2007 was the beginning of a crazy time for me. I suffered a major injury in May, my sister and best friend moved a million miles away in July, I witnessed a horrific car accident that left me literally holding someone’s body together in August, and in October, I was robbed at gunpoint.

    Robbed at gunpoint-Day 19 of 365

    Today my two co-workers and I were robbed at gunpoint. I knew the second he walked in that something was off. In my head I was thinking “what would I do if we were getting robbed?” Before I could finish the thought he saw me and made me come out of my office… I actually said “Dude, are you serious?” He and his Glock were very serious… He dragged my co-worker around by her hair… Yelled at me to get on the floor while another co-worker threw the little bit of cash we had at him… he got away with $68.40…

    Our robbery was the first in a string of robberies in the small downtown area where I was working. After us, they always used masks so we were the only ones who could ID them. When they were caught, we were called in to the State’s Attorney’s office for interviews but it never went to trial since they pled guilty to avoid federal charges for a different robbery. We’d seen them and they knew it… I was paranoid for months.

    The second time it was my truck in April of ‘08. Shortly after, I posted THIS to Flickr:

    STOLEN CAMERA

    My car was broken into Thursday night and my purse was stolen along with my phone, mp3 player, USB key and some Blockbuster videos yet to be returned… I know, stupid me for even leaving my purse in the truck. I promise I’ve already kicked myself! The thieves managed to wipe out my checking account, charge my company credit card as well as my personal cards before I could cancel them. Praise God for fraud insurance! All charges have been removed and all the money will be returned to my account shortly. 

    The bummer is they got my phone and I don’t know ANYONES phone numbers!!! Please help me get my people back and send me your phone numbers!

    I ask you, what is the worst thing you can do to a flickrite?

    The tragedy is that they stole my camera… like severing an appendage… I feel lost…

    As some of you know this has been a crazy year for me so although this wasn’t an attack to my face I think I’m taking it harder than necessary. Please pray for the resolution of all these complications and for God to restore my peace.

    I had everything I needed to report the lost cards and file insurance claims but I was still shaken. In a time when land lines are dwindling, without my cell phone, I was lost. Thank God for my awesome roommate and the use of her credit card and cell phone!

    I called the police and they told me to file a report online. Are you kidding me? I was freaked out! I’m a tax payer! I made them send a cop, if only for me to feel a little more secure.

    You don’t know how much you have in your bag ‘til it’s gone. Things add up fast and most car insurance covers a minimum for lost property. The three Blockbuster movies I had stashed in my bag to be returned cost me over $60 alone! Throw in a camera, MP3 player, phone and you’re over $1k… let’s just say, I was still out a lot after the insurance check was cashed.

    The third time, they crowbarred my door and burglarized my house just two months later…
    again

     

    SERIOUSLY?….

    I live in Orlando for goodness sakes! The home to the “Happiest Place on Earth”!!!! Turns out that Florida is actually rated fourth in the country for robbery according to StateMaster.com.

    I was numb…

    I was done…

    completely overwhelmed…

    Overwhelmed-Day 20 of 365

    In August I witnessed a horrible car accident on the Turnpike… I stopped to help and drove away that day covered in someone else’s blood… For weeks all I saw when I closed my eyes was rolling cars and bloody torn open bodies… Now I see guns flashing in my face, my co-workers being man-handled… I can’t stop the should have, could have, would haves… what’s done is done… the cops say we did the right thing… I just want to close my eyes and see nothing but the dark…

    To keep sane, I focused a lot on dealing with the technicalities. Getting together insurance claims can be painful and grueling, even if you have all your ducks in a row.

    A quick Google will give you lots of tips for what to do to prevent a robbery as well as things to do after a robbery has occurred. Some great basic tips can be found at CrimePrevention.org but here are a few practical things I’ve learned:

    • Trust your gut; if a person or situation seems really wrong, it probably is.
    • Know your insurance—Know what it covers, how to file a claim, your deductibles , etc. For instance, based on your plan, some things stolen from your car won’t be covered at all.
    • Know what you have—my biggest problem was that I owned a lot more than I thought I did. My stolen jewelry was estimated at over $4k for replacement but my insurance only covered $500. If I had know that, I could have purchased additional jewelry coverage.
    • Keep things to a minimum in your bag and NEVER leave it in the car.
    • Pay attention to your credit reports. You can get these free annually. DO IT. Here are the links:
         Experian
         TransUnion
         Equifax

    It’s been over two years now and aside from keeping the car empty, I’m not sure that I’ve really changed any habits. Inside is another matter; I know I’m a different person. These events as well as several others earned me an honest to goodness diagnosis of PTSD. I’d always thought that was reserved for war veterans. Six months in therapy helped, especially after all the shock wore off. I saw how quickly my life could be taken from me. I knew what it felt to be completely powerless. I learned how little I cared about material things. I found out how important it is to have a community of friends around you… without my people, well, I don’t want to think about it.  There is still some residuum I deal with but I take it a day at time… all you can do is all you can do.

    More than ever before, I had to remember to trust in God’s reasoning, His timing and His provision… and He got me through it all.

    Have you ever been robbed? Do you have any tips to share? Tell me about your experiences and how they’ve changed your day-to-day life.

    Morning Pages

     

    So I’ve given several whacks at directing this blog into some sort of focus but I think it’s time to give all that organization and direction garbage the heave-ho. I mean, it’s my blog, and frankly, no one reads it … or do they? Hmmm… Are you out there, Reader? Do you care that I have no tidy theme? I don’t think you care. And that, dear Reader, is why I like you so much! That and you are an awesome listener.

    I’m working through the book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It is self-described as “A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.” Julia is a patient teacher. She is slowly coaxing me along a path that I used to think was extremely treacherous but it turns out, it’s not so bad.

    One of her main ideas is that we have a logic brain and an artist brain. Logic brain is our everyday, survival instinct, keep it all in nice tidy boxes brain. Artist brain is the inner child, the irrational one, the one that still thinks crayons are rad and fashions twisty ties into stick people. Logic keeps Artist locked in the subconscious as much as possible. I mean, Artist just isn’t practical, she makes too much noise. Lock that girl up!

    The most essential exercise, says Julia, is the Morning Pages; three handwritten, stream of consciousness pages of brain dump every morning. This practice is supposed to help us get past the nay saying of Logic and let Artist out to play. Have you ever sat there, before the caffeine has kicked in, and try to write three pages? I know, three pages don’t sound too bad but at the end of page one, your hand begins to cramp up. In the middle of page two your handwriting goes completely. Mine starts to look like wavy lines and the last letter of most words don’t even take shape. Oh well, these pages aren’t to be reread, they aren’t meant to be good writing, they just are to be.

    I don’t know about your logic brain, but mine screams for order, for a schedule and routine. Yes, “Morning Pages” is now a recurring event on my Google Calendar. Artist is going to have to build up some serious muscles if she’s going to survive.

    Through the process, I keep meeting with little snags that I now recognize as my logic brain chiming in. I decided to rip out each page from my notebook as a write it and Logic freaked out. “How will we keep the days together?!” Artist consented to date the pages and list 1 of 3, 2 of 3 etc. I selected a typical mailing envelope to store my pages. I yearned to see that envelope big and fat… I envision a spot on a future bookshelf (it was white, I don’t have white book shelves) that held stacks of fat overflowing obnoxious orangey yellow mailing envelopes. Artist squealed with delight!

    I got this envelope and Logic was practically tapping her foot with anxiety… “You ARE going to label it aren’t you? Print a label; it’ll look nicer. Perfect and centered. You can even include little blanks for the date range of the pages within. Better yet, create a template so that every envelope you ever use will have the same label. It’ll look tidier on the shelf.”

    I forced Artist brain to embolden herself… Artist wanted to write directly on the envelope in scrolling cursive and in French “the envelope for the morning pages.” With a little help from Google Translate and a Sharpie, it was done.

     

    l’eveloppe pour les pages du matin

    French? I don’t know why. It is what it is. I decided that I’d also include in this envelope things like this. Spur of the moment rants etc. Things I wrote as workshop assignments. I want those envelopes fat and stacked!

    I’ve even given myself permission to fold this envelope so that it fits into my notebook easily. Artist leaps and chants that the envelope should be:

     used and abused…

    beat up and taped up…

    doodled on and noodles on…

    It should be showing its stripes by the time it reaches that shelf!

    Logic is freaking out about that a little. She wants to keep it pristinely flat, organizing the pages within sequentially and perfectly aligned. Just because Logic said that, Artist says, “NO! Stuff them in folded or however they end up. Heck, don’t even be careful when you tear them off the notepad so they end up with raggedy edges! You can pull them out and unfold and stack them neatly later. We’ll let Logic indulge later when we decide it’s time to read some early pages or when there’s no more room to shove in more untidy pages.”

    So I tuck the slight wad of folded pages I’ve already written into the envelope then fold the envelope itself, finally tucking it into the inner pocket of my notebook. It belongs there and I smile.

    And there it is, my newest challenge, finding a bit of balance between Logic and Artist. I’ve decided that although I feel this method is unblocking my creative spring, it may also be revealing that I suffer from multiple personality disorder.

    Swell.

    *Read all about Julie Cameron and The Artist’s Way on the official website http://www.theartistsway.com/