If anything can go wrong, it will.

Me, Myself, and I

It’s Been Awhile

There has been a lot going on in my life, and in Alex‘s, since  last I wrote. Some of the reason that I haven’t written is because a fair bit of the things that have happened haven’t been the most pleasant of subjects.

I’m not sure where, exactly, to start.

My heart’s been in pieces, it feels, ever since I came back.  Naturally I miss Alex, but aside from that there’s been the issues with my mom.  Her mental state is perplexing, to put it mildly.  She is agitated, unhappy all the time.  She can’t remember anything.  There are physical issues, as well. No balance or coordination.  It’s all just so confusing, and no doctor seems able to find a reason for it.

And then there’s the other thing. The one I don’t want to talk about so much, but that comes to mind every. single. day.  The one that hurts at least as much as being separated from Alex again.

When something tragic happens to you, the people who love you usually rally around you, and try to comfort you, try to find the right things to say or do to help you through it, make you feel better.   It’s just that sometimes there is nothing that will make you feel better, except perhaps, time.

And then of course there’s also the well-meaning things that people say that are meant to be helpful and comforting, but which only hurt more and make you sadder, or even angry.  There have been more than a few well-meaning things said to me that only served to hurt and anger me in the past months.

I need time.  I guess.

14K Fridays: Week 6

  1. Being able to look back at things that annoyed you and laugh. Things like having my seat kicked by small children on every flight on the way to and from England makes me giggle now.  At the time, I was fairly sure someone was going to take note of the steam coming out of my ears. Today, I smile and remember that that’s just my kind of luck.
  2. Rainbows.
  3. How good it feels to know that you have supported a worthy cause. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t always have a lot of funds to spare, but I do love the way it feels when I do and can give a little to the charities I believe in.  And of course, even when you don’t have funds to spare, there are other ways to support your favourite charities.  I like to donate my hair to Locks of Love, for example, and your time is always a valuable commodity.
  4. Money you didn’t know you had. Reaching in to the pocket of your winter coat and finding a $20 bill that you’d forgotten about since last year, as an example.
  5. Knowing that someone loves you, no matter how irritated they might be with you in a given moment.
  6. Banana milkshakes! 
  7. Coming in from the cold.  I would honestly prefer to be a little too cold than a little too hot, but those first few moments when you come inside to a very warm house when you’re cold (and maybe wet) are lovely.
  8. The look of freshly fallen snow.  I do not like actually being out in the snow, but I think the world looks lovely covered in it.
  9. Travelling by train.  I really find this method of travel relaxing, particularly the lengthier journeys, provided the seats are comfortable.
  10. JELLY BABIES!  Being a fan of Doctor Who, I’d of course, heard of Jelly Babies, but it wasn’t until very recently that I got try them.  I love, love, love them. Especially the black ones.  Here in the States, the vast majority of candy that colour is licorice, of which I am not a fan.  I almost passed up the black Jelly Babies, until Alex told me that they’re black currant, not licorice.  His mistake.
A Rainbow Over Eden Project

A Rainbow Over Eden Project.
Two things to be happy about in one photo.

Back In The US

First, let me state for the record that I owe the poor ticket agent for the Heathrow Express an apology.  Their fares changed between the last time Alex had used their services, so he in fact, did not overcharge me. 

Second, I wish I was still in Cornwall.  Obviously it’s primarily because I wish I was still with Alex, but there’s also the beauty and charm of the place itself that I miss. It might be easier to overlook those things when it’s your every day, but I think it’s something I’ll never take for granted.

The trip back, though. Oh, let me tell you about the trip back…

Alex saw me off at the St. Erth train station, where I caught the sleeper to Paddington.  It was the hardest thing to get on that train and watch Alex waving goodbye from the platform.  Thinking about it right now even makes me cry, but I had a face full of tears and snot as the train pulled away.  Not a pretty sight, I’m sure, and people who were already on the train gave me such looks.  Sympathetic looks, to be sure, but it’s still not particularly fun to be sort of just stared at.  The trip to Paddington was largely uneventful, though, aside from my heart breaking into millions of tiny pieces.

I was disappointed to know that I didn’t have to go through customs to exit, as I desperately wanted to encounter the same grumpy early-morning agent and be slightly smug about the fact that I had  not been a drain on England’s economy in any way, having not worked a bit and only spending money, and that I was leaving as promised. Of course, it might be a bit of a blessing, though, as I was still crying by that time (you’d think a person would run out of tears) and she’d probably have just asked me what that was all about.

I boarded the plane at Heathrow on time, where we then sat for two hours because the right engine wouldn’t start.  Yes, that’s such a reassuring thing to have happen when you get on a giant tube that’s going to shoot you 36,000 feet into the air and carry you over the Atlantic.  However, it turned out – after two hours of just sitting – that the engine would in fact start just fine, as long as it was started “manually”, and we were deemed safe to fly, as long as someone filled out some paperwork about it.

My connecting flight at Chicago was meant to be caught after a layover of only nearly three hours, though, so when you factor in the time for everyone to collect their bags, get off the plane, and the time it would take to get to another gate, I knew before take-off that I wasn’t going to catch my connection.  I wasn’t a happy camper.  I left St. Erth just before 10 pm, arrived at Heathrow just before 6 am, for a flight that was due to take off at just before 9 am (but didn’t).  You can imagine by this time I was tired and cranky.

You know what, though? For all the little complaints I have about the travel time, having the back of my seat kicked over and over by small children (on every single flight), and all of it, I had the best three months of my life. All I want now is to turn around and go right back.

… oh, there’s photos.  And many  more stories. Give me time.

Dear Shannon

Hello. It’s me. Or that is to say, it’s you. An older, hopefully slightly wiser you. Me.

I want to talk to you about a few things that, from this end, are still on the horizon for you.

You’ve just had your heart broken by someone that you had put all of your time, energy, faith, and hope into. He let you down, and left you when you needed someone the most.

Be patient. It’s true what they say about good things coming to those who wait.

It’s okay that you feel heartbroken.  You’re allowed. I promise you, though, that it won’t always be that way. Soon, very soon, someone is going to come along who will help you understand why the relationship you’re lamenting the end of just didn’t work out.

It wasn’t meant to be.

There is something, someone, so much better for you about to come along. I promise.

He won’t live anywhere near you. In fact, he’ll be 4,132 miles away, and there will be times that the distance is so hard. Don’t give up.

You will get scared. You will because you will love him so much. You will worry that he won’t be able to handle the miles that separate you. You will worry that he will find someone nearby to take your place in his heart. You will lie awake at night and obsess over all the things that might happen, all the ways in which you might not be enough for him.

I wish you wouldn’t. And he will wish you wouldn’t, too.

Be brave. Be confident. When he tells you that he loves you, take him at his word, because as you will eventually see, he will never give you reason to doubt.

Don’t let jealousy or fear get the better of you. Understand that in his eyes, there is nothing and no one who could ever take your place. Nothing and no one who is “better” than you.

Take notice of how much you love him and how happy he makes you, and never take those things for granted. Never take it for granted that he knows how you think or feel about him, either. It may not seem like it, but he gets scared, too. Take the time to remind him, often, how much you love and appreciate him.

You will argue sometimes. It happens to all couples. Understand that in the same way that you still love him when you are upset and frustrated, he loves you, too. Don’t assume that he is going to give up on you because of an argument. Or two. Or ten. Don’t hold him accountable for the way you’ve been treated by others.  Don’t think that he will be just the same, because he is not.

Cherish every bit of time that you get to spend together. The time zone difference between the two of you will be hell. Six hours difference means that you will only get a few hours in any given day, particularly weekdays. Make the most of your time together.

Mostly, though, be brave. This one,  he’s The One. The one that you’re going to spend forever with. The one who is going to work just as hard as you will, right by your side, to make it work.

Remember that love is not just a thing that you feel, but something that you do. Keep falling in love with him every day. You will see, by his words and his actions, that he does the same for you.

14K Fridays: Week 5

I should be doing the laundry and at least starting to pack. Instead, I’m here expounding upon my own personal list of things to be happy about.  And waiting for Alex‘s lunch hour, because I’m really missing the sound of his voice. The laundry and the packing will wait… though not for long.

  1. The Sims You go ahead and judge me if you must, but I freaking love The Sims 3. I’ve been playing Sims forever, and TS3 is my favourite. TS4 can die in a fire, though. It’s more like The Sims 2.5 since they took away open neighbourhoods and CaSt. I refuse to move on to TS4 without CaSt, even if I could live without open neighbourhoods.
  2. Pumpkin Pie. If I would be just a little bit less lazy about it, I could have pumpkin pie all the time.  There are very few things that I know how to cook, or bake, but I can do scrumptious pumpkin pies.
  3. Halloween. I’m not that big on most holidays, to be honest, but I do enjoy Halloween. I’ve not dressed up for it in years, but I do love to see the costumes on the little trick-or-treaters who come by.  And, even though I’m  not actually much of a fan of horror films, I am looking forward to spending Halloween with Alex, and cuddling up with him to watch whatever scary stuff he chooses.  The scares are just good excuses to bury my face in his chest and snuggle up closer, right?
  4. Never completely growing up.  Of course we all have to grow up to some extent, and be responsible, productive members of society, right? But that doesn’t mean that it’s not still sometimes fun to sit on the porch steps and blow bubbles. 4 cups of water, ½ cup of dish soap, ⅓ cup of honey and a good bubble wand makes for some really awesome bubbles.
  5. Cupcakes! Aside from Alex, I don’t know very many people who don’t enjoy cake, at least now and then. Cupcakes are awesome because you get a whole cake all to yourself, without having to feel quite so much guilt as you would for eating, say, an entire sheet-cake.
  6. BLTs. Oh, how I love bacon. My mouth is watering right now, and I think I need to stop putting food on the list. I’m starving!
  7. The sound of my cat(s) purring.  Apparently I angered one of the cats, I’m not sure which, in the middle of the night last night. Kitty was apparently so ticked off that his or her yowling woke Alex.  Suffice it to say, I’m glad that both of them seem happy with me this morning.
  8. Making up after a fight.  I’m also thankful for little things like the way Alex never raises his voice at me on the rare occasions when we do argue, even when he’s asking me to please stop yelling.
  9. Little love notes written in sand.
  10. ’67 Ford Mustangs. Not the fastback.

14K Fridays: Week 4

Technically I should be farther along than week four, but I’m nothing if not inconsistent.

  1. Booking plane tickets. Being able to travel somewhere, but especially if it’s to see someone you love.
  2. Making new friends.
  3. Peach Mango Sunny D. Oh, seriously, it’s delicious.
  4. The little domestic things you do together with your significant other. Cooking. The grocery shopping. Maybe it’s because I don’t usually get to do these things with Alex that I’ve learned to really appreciate them.
  5. When someone you care for lets you know that they appreciate you.  I mentioned in a previous post that my little cousin Dylan is often in my care, and he’s had some serious injuries. The other day, when I was discussing leaving for England, Dylan told me, “I’m mad you’re going before I’m all better”.  It’s not as if he came right out and said thanks, but I still understood it to mean that he likes having me around to look after him.
  6. Red licorice. I cannot stand black licorice, though. Seriously, ew.
  7. When Alex calls me on his lunch break. I miss him very much when he’s working, and it’s nice to know that he misses me, too.
  8. Spring. As someone who is not a huge fan of snow, it’s always really nice to see it start to melt away, and the flowers start to bloom.
  9. The silly things you hear when your significant other is dreaming or talking while still only half-awake. This morning, Alex woke and mumbled to me, “Stop trying to sell my kidneys. We can afford the plane tickets, it’s fine”. I had to mute the microphone I was giggling so hard. For the record, I’d sell my own kidneys before I’d try to sell his.
  10. Receiving random compliments from strangers. Well, as long as they aren’t creepy compliments.

14K Fridays: Week 3

Having quite the busy week, so haven’t had a lot of time for blogging, sadly. Hopefully things are slowing down a bit.

I wanted to keep up with my silly little Friday post, though, so, here’s a few more things that make me really happy.

  1. Banana creme pie Blizzards from Dairy Queen. Actually, banana creme pie in general should just be on this list.
  2. Big Hero 6. I only just recently got to watch this film but it quickly shot up to near the top of my favourites list. It’s adorable.
  3. The way my cat loves to snuggle up against the small of my back. Even the way he tends to hog the bed, by continuously putting pressure there and causing me to slide over a few cm at a time.
  4. Loaded baked potatoes!
  5. Discovering new books to read.
  6. Painting and drawing. Digitally or with more traditional media.
  7. Deadpool. Ryan Reynolds revealed the costume for the upcoming film today!
  8. Scrapbooking. Shut up, spell check, it’s a word.
  9. Donating time or money to worth-while causes. I know that people often think that donating money is the thing to do, and of course, money helps. But if you can’t donate your money, your time is valuable, too.
  10. Hearing from friends you haven’t spoken with in a while.

Tales From The Porn Store

Once upon a time, I was a clerk in a porn store.

For the most part, it was a pretty fun job. I found that I had to have a sense of humour, and that I couldn’t really afford to be embarrassed by anything. You’d be surprised what people will come in and ask you. Or maybe you wouldn’t.

The best was when men would approach the counter seeking my advice on what to purchase for their partners.  “How’s the vibration on this one”?  “Does this stuff feel good”? “Would you recommend this”?  As if I’d personally sampled every product on our shelves, or that doing so was just part of my job description. There were a few things in the shop I could make an informed comment on, and if I could, I would, but for the most part, I’ve never felt a need for massive vibrators, dildos, or novelty lubes, etc.

One of the services offered at the porn store was DVD rentals. Now, just prior to being hired, there had been on-site private viewing rooms that customers could use. I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that they shut those down the week before I started. My very first day I heard such horror stories of having to clean up those rooms from the veteran staff. Ugh.

But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have horror stories of my own to tell. So many times I sent customers back home with the DVD they were due to be returning telling them “You’re going to have to clean that up before I can accept the return”. There were times I wished it was store policy to wear latex gloves before accepting rental returns. I learned to keep a small bottle of hand sanitiser on my person at all times. Thankfully, despite having had to reject returns on many occasions, it was usually a one-time event with a given customer. Usually.

Overall, though, I had little to complain about. Most week nights it was pretty quiet, and I’d stand behind the counter with whomever happened to be on shift with me and make commentary about whatever porn was playing on the TVs above our heads. The adults-only version of “Mystery Science Theater 3000”.

Sometimes, just a little bit, I miss that job. On the other hand, it’s nice not to worry about having a bottle of Purell in your pocket at any given moment.

14K Fridays: Week… 2?

Last week I wrote a post called “Fourteen Thousand“, in which I made a short list of things that make me happy. I thought that maybe, in the spirit of never taking anything for granted, I might make a short list every Friday from here on out of things that, well, make me happy.

Yes, I know I didn’t write the first list on a Friday, but, “14K Fridays” sounds nicer than “14K Wednesdays” and Fridays tend to make me happier than Wednesdays, anyway. We’re going to call this Week 2. Right, enough babbling, on with the list!

  1. Doing the laundry. Yes, you read that right, doing the laundry makes me happy. I love the way everything comes out of the dryer hot and smelling like heaven.
  2. Spring. I just love when winter comes to a close and the days get a little longer. As much as I may complain about the Midwest, spring is really lovely here. It’s not too humid yet, and there’s usually a lovely breeze (or, well, full-on wind, but hey, still nice). I love when I start to hear the birds chirping every morning, and the crickets start singing their songs at night. (The cicadas can go fuck themselves, though, thank you very much).
  3. Tulips. Without a doubt they are my favourite flower. A couple of side notes: One, I am not a huge fan of the idea of giving or receiving cut flowers. I’d rather be given seeds (or bulbs) to plant or a potted plant of some kind. I’ve never complained about receiving flowers, as the thought counts, and that would be rude, but I just like the idea of living flowers better than ones that are slowly dying in front of your face. Two, I dislike roses immensely.
  4. The way that Alex never sees my flaws as flaws. Listen, I’m not putting myself down here or anything, but, honestly we all have our imperfections. Thing is, Alex never seems to see mine as imperfections, and frequently points them out as things that he loves about me.
  5. The sense of satisfaction I get from completing a project. I’m remarkably hard on myself, so when I hit a point at which I look at something I’ve been working on and say, “That’s great. I’ve finished”, I can honestly say I’m proud of it.
  6. The cool side of the pillow. As much as I love doing (and folding) the laundry, there’s few things finer than crawling into nice crisp sheets and resting your head on the coolness of your pillowcase. Thankfully, once you’ve warmed up the one side, you can extend the pleasure by flipping your pillow over.
  7. The feel of lush green grass under my bare feet. As a little girl, I used to get into so much trouble for running around barefoot all the time. As an adult, I do what I want.
  8. My teddy bear. Yes, I just said I was an adult. I also said I do what I want, so if I want to continue to sleep with my childhood teddy bear, I will do just that. He’s kind of a large bear, and he’s great for laying my head on. He might be a little … erm … smooshed because I’ve been laying my head on his formerly fluffy teddy bear chest since… forever.
  9. Tea. Dear England, I’m totally on board with this tea thing. I love a nice hot cup of tea with milk and two sugars. Of course, being Southern by heritage, if not by current location or birth, I also love sweetened iced tea.
  10. Homemade toffee-flavoured lip balm. Yes, I make it myself.

14,000 Things To Be Happy About

Don’t panic.

I’m not actually planning on listing 14,000 things here in this post, but I did own a book entitled 14,000 Things To Be Happy About. It was a cute, fat little book that legitimately listed that many things to be happy about,. Or, I think it did. I never actually counted, and it was not a numbered list.

I used to carry it with me everywhere that I went. When something would make me smile, I’d grab a pen and scribble it down in the margins of that fat little book. Somewhere along the way, I lost that book, and so I thought that I might start a new list.

  1. AlexAlex is almost always the very first thing that comes to mind when I think of being happy.
  2. Family: Some of mine are hopelessly dysfunctional… but I love my family.
  3. Friends: “Friends are the family that you choose”. Again, some of them are dysfunctional, but if I’m honest, I’m pretty dysfunctional. I’m grateful for both the ones I have the privilege of having near me, and for the ones spread across the country, and even the world. ♥
  4. The cats: Because cats. That’s seriously all the explanation this one needs. My cats are fat, lazy balls of fluff (until 3 in the morning, when they run the Kittyanapolis 500 through the living room) and I wouldn’t have them any other way.
  5. Music. Listen to all the music! All right, maybe not all of it, but there is so much to love about so many different kinds of music. And dance. Even if you’re bad at it, dance.
  6. Books. There are few things in the world better than curling up with a good book and getting lost in a whole different world for a few hours.
  7. The way everything smells after it rains. I wish they’d bottle this so I can have it on demand.
  8. Root beer floats. I love root beer all on its own (and Alex tells me that it’s a little harder to come by where he lives, so that worries me a bit!) but it’s absolutely amazing with a big ol’ scoop of vanilla ice cream!
  9. The internet. Well, duh? Obviously the internet. Firstly, it’s an amazing communications tool, and secondly, cats. All the pictures of all the cats.
  10. Red pandas. I love red pandas second only to cats. Oh, and red pandas can also be found all over the internet.

I think that’s a good start.

NB: Thanks to The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden for the video of the red pandas playing!