Monday, February 19, 2018 21:15

despite all my rage

May 13th, 2017

As we prepare to move across half the country, it’s a good opportunity to let go of things we don’t need or want. Some things go to Goodwill, others get listed online to find a new home.

Today, I sold Billy Corgan‘s cage. She’s been gone almost two years. I know I’m a one rat kind of lady. I think they’re cute. I think they’re good pets. But Billy was special, and magical, and I’ll never again find such a perfect rat lady.

Yet, it took two years to give up her cage and accessories. At first, it was because I was mourning her. After a while, I scrubbed her cage and decided I was going to sell it. Yet, I always had reasons to procrastinate. When my sister collapsed the cage to take up less space, that prevented me from taking photos to sell it. I couldn’t find the instructions. It did get reassembled, but was all dusty. So on. So forth.

Moving gave me a bit more motivation. Yet, I was dragging my feet. I finally took a deep breath, cleaned up everything, and took photos. It was hard. It was just like all the times I cleaned the cage for her. As I assembled her carrier, I remembered when we bought it because she’d figured out how to open the first one we had. I remembered the final time I put her in, when she let me know she was ready to move on. Bringing it home, empty. I set the food dish on one platform to show how it fit in place and recalled her “remodeling.” She liked to rearrange her home, usually at night. Sometimes, this meant picking up her dish and moving it to a different platform. She was so talented, she rarely spilled her precious nuggets. I checked the fleece scraps, pulled from my fabric stash to make blankets. I unfurled a scarf-like strip of dinosaur patterned  fleece, one end thoroughly marked by her teeth. I chuckled quietly, thinking of how I found the strip in her cage. It had been neatly folded on the shelf of her supplies. Somehow, she managed to grab an end of it, and pull it through the narrow bars of her cage. It was pretty impressive.

She was smart, and feisty. She would snuggle with me on the sofa, but let me know when she was ready for alone time. She had beautiful, delicate fingers. When given a treat, it was like watching any refined lady enjoy a meal. I realized the true source of my procrastination. I still missed her. But, I was ready for someone else to enjoy her things.

Once listed, I quickly had to file an appeal to Facebook. Despite being posted in the “pet supplies” category, their algorithm thought I was selling a pet and flagged it. Once resolved, emails and messages trickled in. Folks wanted me to split the lot of items or make low-ball offers. I turned them down. One guy got me to agree to knock a few bucks off, so long as he came that evening, then I didn’t hear from him again. Then, I received a polite message from a woman with an offer. She was looking for a new cage for her ratties, and mine looked ideal. I asked when she could pick up, she said in the morning. I had a good feeling in my gut about her. I accepted her offer, and made arrangements.

This morning, as I wheeled the cage to the elevator, still more memories of Billy came back. As I exchanged the cage for dollars, I pointed out some good things to know about it. I wanted to tell them about how she loved to climb. How the few dings on the finish were from when she felt anxious, and would slide her teeth on the bars. About her remodeling adventures. Instead I told them that I hoped her rats would enjoy the cage, and the extras. 

It was far more bittersweet than I expected. I can only hope that she and her pets make even half of the wonderful memories Billy made for me.


oh yes it’s caucus night

February 3rd, 2015

Yup. I’m totally singing that in the style of Kool and the Gang because I’m that cool. Or uncool. Whichever.

Moving on to the important part! If you live in my area, tonight is the time to caucus! I know, if my Facebook feed is any indication, that lots of you have ideas for making your city, state, country, even world, a better place. You may feel like the government isn’t representing you, or that you can’t relate to either party. Going to your precinct caucus is a great way to make change happen, and get your party reflecting your values! Because they’re broken down by precinct, odds are you won’t have to go far. Plus it’s a great way to meet your neighbors, meet candidates, and if you already support a candidate, chat with the people that would be able to get him or her into office! They typically don’t take too long, you can set your DVR to record your stories, have dinner, caucus, and get home in time to unwind and still hit the hay at a reasonable hour.

How much you participate is up to you! You can bring resolutions you want your party to adopt, or just vote on others’ presented resolutions. You can run to be a delegate, if the mood strikes. It’s all up to you!

The Pioneer Press offers some information and links to get you started. If you aren’t local, I recommend taking a moment to google if your city or town has caucuses and how to get involved. (I would post links, but the US is pretty large, and I’m sure I would miss information, I’m sure you understand!)

So, go forth and caucus!!


clean slate

January 7th, 2015

I think I got through the cobwebs, the branches that broke through the roof, and shooed away the nest of raccoons. I let this blog become a shambles! I didn’t intend to let it happen but, much like every person ever featured on Hoarders, I had the best of intentions and let time and expectations and anxiety and all sorts of mind junk get in the way and the next thing I knew, months had passed and ideas were stacking up like a newspaper maze. I would have things I wanted to share, or stuff that happened that I wanted to write about, or general feelings* but I would remember that it’s been months, and then figure I should write some explanation. However, I couldn’t bring myself to write the explanation, and felt like I couldn’t ignore the fact that I hadn’t posted in roughly a billionty years, then I would doze off, or do some WoW quests, or think about all the things on my to do list that weren’t getting done and the next thing you know it’s 2015.

Which, does anyone know how that happened? I know I must have missed some parts of 2014, a lot of 2013, and if I’m being honest, I’m not really sure every year of the double-aughtsactually happened. So, if anyone wants to fill me in on what’s happened to the last decade or so of my life, that would be super-fantastic. Thanks.

Moving on.

If I’m being honest, among the things I want to be when I grow up** is an internet sensation. I don’t really need to be a sensation, per se, but at least some level of internet famous. Enough to pay my bills, at least, so I can fulfill my real dream of being a performer-taxidermist-fashion designer-artist. We live in a world where there are lots of folks doing just that. The internet famous part, not so much the performer-taxidermist-fashion designer-artist part. Bloggers, vloggers, cosplayers, photographers, comic artists, and a bunch of other stuff that would make a list that’s days long. I’ve had this blog for roughly a decade, and an online journal thinger before that. It was mostly because I was just doing it because I liked doing it. It’s been a good way for me to keep the writing skills I acquired during high school and college reasonably honed. I like reading blogs of all stripes, as well. Over the years, I couldn’t help but notice the popularity of some of those blogs. Many were just random people practicing hobbies, or people who were looking for something to fill 40-some hours a week while unemployed when they started. Then, they would get deals for articles, books, invites to New York fashion week, Europe, guests spots on televisions shows. They would quit their day jobs, or not get new day jobs. I kind of like that idea.

But, I’m all sorts of crazy. I would question what I wanted to post. I would over analyze every photo I took. I would come up with reasons why people weren’t reading. So, I looked at the successful bloggers et al for things I should do to make my blog better. I read posts, and tips, and articles. I’ve got bookmarks up the wazoo. The biggest thing I tried was putting together a schedule. Based on what all the cool kids were saying, it would make blogging easier. I could plan things ahead, not have to overthink them. It kicked my ass. Just finding a squirrel to post once a week, and keep all the links straight that I wanted to share one other day consumed way more time, energy, and effort than I ever thought. While I had subjects I wanted to tackle on the remaining days, I struggled to come up with anything more than the two days I had covered. I managed to get some things up here and there beyond the other two, but overall there were five days of crickets. Then, I fell behind on those two days. I stopped reading at least 75% of anything I would have before.

I started freaking out. According to all these bloggers I perceived as successful, I needed to fill a need. I needed to look at what I had to offer, what people wanted from my blog. I was winding up with a big fat list of items I needed to check off if I wanted to gain an audience. I already have anxiety, OCD, narcolepsy, and am a bit of a bipolar bear. Instead of making things easier and blogging my way to the top, that list gave me a big fat list of things to obsess over. If I did manage to put something together, I would just rip it apart mentally before I even allowed anyone else to have a chance at it. The more time that passed, the worse it became.

It didn’t help that when I switched platforms for my blog, I chose a generic template to tide me over until a custom one could be created. The plan I had for a custom page fell through. So, I had one more item on my list to use against myself. Being an artsy person, I was sure that everyone who looked at my page just couldn’t take it seriously.

Granted, the blog wasn’t the only thing aggravating my health issues. However, when one’s mental health is already not in peak condition, a big fat list of epic failures*** does not help.

Recently, I discovered a couple of new blogs by chance. From one of them, I discovered a site mainly dedicated to blogs people “hate read” or are annoyed by. Talk about a weird thing to kick me in the ass. I discovered a local blog that I once read, but lost interest in, had one of the largest threads in the forum. I discovered that there were scads of people articulating why I stopped reading this blog, but hadn’t put my finger on. I started thinking about why I like the blogs I read, why I stopped reading so many, and what I sought from them.

Most of the blogs I stopped reading, I quit because I became bored. They regurgitated a lot of the same posts, either by linking directly to them, copying all the text directly, or tweaking the text and hoping no one would notice it was a repeat. Instead of sharing true insights into their life, they began doing things specifically so they could post about it. Instead of sharing something they thought was cool, they had to present themselves as experts whether they were or not. Yet, many of them would have disclaimers saying they weren’t actually experts, legal mumbo jumbo, yada, yada, yada. Instead of regular people being featured in a post, it would have to be a model, or expert, or famous something-or-other that we weren’t necessarily supposed to know was somebody so it still seemed organic, or that we were totally supposed to know and OMG-FANGIRL (or BOY) all over ourselves.

I realized that I didn’t start reading these blogs because I expected them to know all the answers or change my life. I read them because they seemed like cool people. People I could see hanging out with. People I related to. People who were totally cooler than I but by reading their blog, I could feel like I was a cool kid too. People that had something that I aspired to or that inspired me. Not because they were trying to inspire anyone or because they knew they were better/stronger/faster/smarter. Just because they were brave enough to share insight into their lives. Because they maybe started their blog because of friends or families being far away, and by reading it, I felt like I was a friend, too.

All reasons that I started my blog. I have that I adore that are far away. I like to let them know what I’m up to. While I’ve managed to convince a lot of people otherwise, I am actually an introvert. I get exhausted when I’m around a lot of people or I feel like I have to be “on.” But on my blog, I can share away, and not feel like I need to lock myself down in my PJs for roughly a decade to recover. I can share something, and maybe someone will read it and relate and not feel so alone. They can roll their eyes at what a nerd I am. They can do whatever they want with it. I can boast about a challenge I completed that made me feel awesome, or one that was a fail and just get it out of my system. I can share whatever super-cool-to-me thing I am excited about, and maybe someone who wouldn’t have heard of it will now know about it, or maybe they totally heard about it like three years ago and are totally over it. But, if I don’t worry about any of that part, I can just be genuine, and me, and if people like it, that’s awesome. But it’s totally the opposite of the point if I’m just doing this because I am planning on a very specific reaction and perception, and planning my whole life to revolve around this one thing.

I mean, even a day job doesn’t require that, and why wouldn’t I just aspire to a day job that I could punch a clock in that case?


So, in this (almost brand) new year, in addition to my usual resolution of being more fabulous, I resolve to blog like I did in years gone by. To put myself out there, and give zero fucks as the kids say on the internet. To not worry about whether this thing makes me internet famous, but let things happen the way they are meant to. The way I live the rest of my life.

If you’ve already been with me through all of this, thank you for sticking this out with me. If you are a newcomer, just pretend you didn’t read any of that, and be prepared to be OMG dazzled by my mad blogging skillz. Or not. I guess that part’s up to you.


*I almost wrote “feels” but I just can’t. My fingers will not type it. Or my keyboard won’t let it appear. Either way, I chalk it up to a guardian angel making sure I don’t do something totally stupid I’ll regret later.

**If I’m being really honest, I’m not growing up. I’m older. I’m old enough to do just about anything I want to outside of join AARP, and too old for some things, yet I am most definitely not a grown up. I’m totally fine with this, but would like to eventually be one of the things I aspire to as a grown up.

***Yeah, I know they aren’t true epic failures, but my brain is not fully convinced.

squirrely sunday: happy father’s day!

June 15th, 2014

It’s father’s day! I got pretty lucky in the father department, which is good since I totally take after him. We look alike (though I am a *bit* more girly), we act alike, and he taught me a lot of what I know. I also had pretty amazing grandfathers. My dad’s father passed away when I was pretty young after a struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. While a lot of my time that was spent with him was in nursing homes and hospitals, I do have several happy memories of him. My mom’s dad lived a long life, making it pretty close to 100 years on earth! He saw so many things, and shared so many wonderful things with me. I also have a very sweet father-in-law, and two brothers-in-law that are both fathers and probably a lot like what regular brothers would be like.

The hubs and me with my dad and "Detroit Grampy."

My dad’s father was born in Minnesota to two Belgian immigrants. My sister set the tone for what we called our grandparents, so our grandfathers were each “Grampy.” Since my father’s parents lived across the street (well, dirt road) from us, he was across-the-street Grampy to clarify which grandfather we were talking about. He was a farmer, and had his own farm in Michigan. By the time I was born, there was little left of the farm as he was retired. The chicken/rabbit coop was still there, and I have memories of walking down the path with him, surrounded by tall grass to feed the animals there. I remember sitting in the cab of his old green Ford pick-up. Like most lower peninsula Michiganders, he worked for one of the big three. In his case, Ford Motor Company. When I was wee, he would bounce me on his knee singing in Flemish. In the hindsight department, I wish I could or would have learned those rhymes. I was still pretty young when the Alzheimer’s set in. At first, he was able to stay in his home, and we hired nurses to spend the days with him while my parents worked. When I wasn’t at school, I was there with him and one of the nurses (there were a few, three I think, and they each worked a few days a week). I really enjoyed being there. He lived in this cool old farmhouse, a far cry from my folk’s modern ranch style home. I was always finding cool, old objects to play with and admire. For instance, the set of metal measuring cups that looked like tiny pots and pans. Just perfect for me to make pretend soup in. (Said soup consisted of hot water from the tap and an assortment of herbs and spices.) I would chat with the nurses, some of whom became close friends with my family. The disease progressed, and we had to move him to a nursing home. After they were out of work and I was out of school for the day, I would go to visit with my parents. I made friends with many of the elderly people who also lived there. I would watch MTV in between volunteering to help feed the folks that needed assistance with dinner. I would practice my baton twirling and dance routines to entertain the masses.

As time went on and he deteriorated with the disease, more time was spent in hospitals and a more skilled care nursing home. Admittedly, those are more painful memories. However, I am so happy to have some happy memories. He passed away when I was in the fourth grade. It was sad, but also kind of a blessing because it meant he didn’t have to suffer anymore. I feel a strong connection to that chunk of the family, that came from Belgium. I’ve visited his hometown, and am planning to visit the city his parents came from. I can solidly thank Across-the-street Grampy for my love of all things vintage, and my search for just the right vintage furniture for my home.

My other grandfather’s family came from France, to Canada, to Massachusetts, and eventually to Detroit. He was Detroit Grampy to us. He had a really great bungalow on the East side of Detroit where my mother and her brother were raised. Like my other grandparents’ home, I have some great memories of the house. The visible chimes for the doorbell, the cut glass doorknobs, and the cool attic room with dormers. I so wished for an attic bedroom with dormers, so it was a chance to have them, albeit temporarily. There was an adorable den/office with a French door to the backyard. My cousins and I would bang on his old manual typewriter in that room, playing office. I remember finding the old rotary mower in his garage and pushing it around the yard. Thanks to an old Donald Duck cartoon, I longed for one of those. My dad had a tractor to mow our large yard, which I couldn’t use, so it was a special treat to mow the lawn, even a small part of it. Yeah, I was a weird kid. When G and I got married, we even registered for a rotary mower which I loved using, and even had neighbors inquire about it and purchase their own. Sadly, he had to leave that cool house in the city. After some break-ins, his car being stolen, and getting car-jacked in his driveway (before it was even called “car-jacking”), it was decided it would be safer for him to move to the suburbs, so he got an apartment in a town between the ones that my mom and my uncle lived in. We still made some great memories in that apartment, but it wasn’t quite the same as the amazing bungalow.

Detroit Grampy was born in 1910, and was the second youngest in a large family. He remembered prohibition and his father making wine to drink with dinner. He went to the University of Michigan for a year, but left when the depression hit. He became a draftsman for Chrysler. Yup, I am from a mixed Big Three family! Ford and Chrysler! (Now you know why I think GM is the devil. Besides that they are the devil.) Friday, my department at work went to the Minneapolis Institute of Art to see an exhibit on Finnish design. (We are the design department for a Scandinavian company so it was totally relevant.) After the exhibit, we were encouraged to tool around the museum and get inspired. One of my coworkers, who is also a pretty great friend, and I set off to explore. I had a flood of memories just walking around. When I was a kid, my grandfather would take me to Detroit to go to the Detroit Institute of Arts. The DIA spoiled me for all other museums. It’s huge, and has some of the most renowned pieces of art in the world. Van Gogh’s self portrait, a Diego Rivera mural which was painted right in the room, and one of the original castings of “The Thinker.” My grandfather favored traditional art styles, and would grumble at some of the modern pieces saying, “That’s not art.” As a kid, I wanted to be like the adults I admired, so I would agree. As I learned more about art, I was able to appreciate everything, even the things he would not consider art. At the MIA, there was a wee room set up like a vintage office, to highlight all the design elements of the 1920s-1940s. The desk, chair, and typewriter were just like Grampy’s. My friend and I marveled over all the details. She pointed out the ashtrays, and I said that those weren’t part of this grandfather’s lifestyle. (My other grandfather, however, was quite a smoker. One of the fortunate effects of Alzheimer’s is that he forgot that he smoked.) We walked through a photography exhibit, that had lots of cool pieces. Like any Detroiter, I really appreciated pieces that were from or of the city. I came across one that was a shot of many draftsmen working for one of the Big Three. It didn’t say which one of the companies, but it reminded me of a shot of my grandfather. He’s in his crisp white shirt and narrow tie, standing at his drafting table. The men in the photograph at the museum looked just like that. I carefully studied the photo just in case my grandfather was in the shot. He wasn’t, but so many memories came back. I told my friend about them. About the DIA, about his life. About how we would eat together at Big Boy on our way home from the DIA. How distinctly I remember going to the Main branch of the Detroit Public Library. It was so, so cool to me. I was usually only able to go to our small town library, so it was amazing to get to go to a real city library like I read about in books. I was especially excited to see the little ballpoint pen vending machines. Again, something I previously encountered only in books. My grandfather gave me the necessary coins to purchase one. I was so thrilled!

We always played Chinese checkers and Scrabble together. He was very supportive of my love of creating. He would always load me up with art supplies on birthdays and at Christmas. He would say that while he would normally not advocate it, I was born to be on the stage. It meant a lot that he believed in my and my performing and art, since he was a pretty conservative guy, including his view of traditional gender roles.

Amanda & Al

My dad is a pretty cool guy. If you ever wonder where any of my personality traits came from, he’s the answer. My sense of humor, my weird habit of singing songs about random things in odd voices, and my trickstery tendencies. I love hearing the stories of his antics in high school and at work. He was such a character! Well, he is still such a character! Because of how alike we are, we would often butt heads. Neither of us would be willing to back down, even in my youngest days. We would do lots of great things together. We would go to KMart together, where he would often let me pick out one thing to get, usually a Matchbox car. On the way out, he would treat me to a frozen Coke, usually in a plastic collector’s cup. When my grandfather was in better health, we would pile into his work van to go get Christmas trees (one for our family, one for my grandpa). His van was orange, and came with only a driver’s seat, so he added one passenger seat. Thus, one seat was black and one white, and I would ride in the empty back. Probably wouldn’t get to do that nowadays!

My dad worked in construction for many years. He did commercial and industrial HVAC systems, working with sheet metal. He was able to point out buildings he worked on all over Southeastern Michigan, including the Renaissance Center and The Detroit Opera House. He is full of stories about all of his jobs. Helicopter lifts, accidents, pranks, you name it. He was fortunate to be in a union, which was probably the start of my political leanings. Thanks to the union, our family was okay even during some rough economic times. In my early school days, my dad was the one who would get me ready and get me to school. In the Reagan years, construction jobs were lean, so he was at home with me while my mom was at work. He taught me how to properly brush my hair, and explained why I should part my hair on the side instead of the center. In the spring, I helped him plant the vegetable garden and flowers in the front of our house. He taught me all about how to plant things and take care of them, and when the right time to plant was. He taught me how to do things around the house, use tools, repair things, especially how to figure out making parts or making things work when there aren’t ready-made solutions available. When I moved out on my own, he put together a five-gallon bucket full of all the tools I would need, put together from his tool collection. A cordless drill motor, screwdrivers, hammers, a hacksaw. He showed me how to use steel wool and car wax to polish the chrome trim around my bathroom mirror in my apartment. He gave me suggestions for upgrading some of the furniture I picked up from alleys and next to the dumpster.

As I grew up, he taught me about why I should work and pay for my own things. Why I should only buy things I can pay cash for and when I had to use a credit card, that I should pay it in full every month. That no matter what else I have to sacrifice, I should never, ever, ever go without health insurance. That it was okay to like what I liked, whether it was a Tonka dump truck or a Cabbage Patch doll. He built the swingset I grew up playing on, and the sandbox I played in as a kid. He salvaged a metal playground slide for me, got it into shape, and made it so I could play on it off of our deck. When I realized I wanted to go to school for theater and design, he, um, encouraged me to explore all my options first. However, when I insisted that it was theater all the way, he was super supportive. Whenever we talk on the phone, he tells me what’s going on back home in the film and theater world, or what cool thing he saw about costuming or fashion design. When I got married, the week before was pretty crazy. I had to make my niece’s dress, because she was not sized like the patterns or anything I needed to have her there to fit the dress, and needed help with last minute things. One night, when my sister fell asleep instead of making the pew bows, my dad asked me what they should look like and set to work making them on my ironing board. It was a small thing, but it made my wedding extra special to have this great story.

Recently, I was on the phone with my dad, and he told me about how he was watching the Ellen Degeneres show. Lady Gaga was the guest, and he told me all about the interview, because he knows how much I like her. He detailed her outfit, and how eloquent she is. He told me about how she said that she would never buy a house, because that would mean she was “grown-up,” and she would never grow up. He didn’t say the words, but I got the impression that he appreciated that because it was just like me.

I often take it for granted all the things my dad and grandfathers taught me. Not that I take it for granted for myself, but that I assume that everyone got such a great education from their fathers and grandfathers. I am always surprised when a fellow adult doesn’t know how to use a drill, or install something around the house. That they weren’t sent off with a tool kit to start their adult life. When kids are encouraged to only play with things or act like their gender. It makes me realize how lucky I am to have had these really great people in my life to both shape who I am, and to support all my life decisions, no matter how wacky. So, thanks to my dad, and to my grandfathers for being especially awesome. Happy father’s day to them, and to all the fathers in my life, and those who take on fatherly roles, whether they be men or women. Also, happy father’s day to the hubs, the best kitty daddy, and ratter daddy, and hamster daddy there ever was.

Now, for the squirrel! No, I’m not trying to tell you something with this baby tee. However, it is super cute, and while it’s too late to get it for this father’s day, maybe an idea for next?

Nuts About Daddy

Click the photo to visit the Etsy shop.

As always, Happy Sunday Friends!! xoxox

squirrely sunday: baby zoo

June 8th, 2014

My friends are pretty supportive of my quirky loves and hobbies. They tend to find pretty great things for me that I love, but either wouldn’t find on my own, or wouldn’t feel like I should splurge on. In this case, a friend who has a sweet bento box collection and makes fancy lunches, got me this adorable and hilarious bento box that combines my love of squirrels with my love of odd, quirky things. I’m still working up to making myself fancy lunches (especially when freezer space is consumed with taxidermy projects!), but at least when I do I have the perfect box for them!

Today is a memorial day

What do you love that you might not splurge on for yourself? Noodle on it, and let me know in the comments!

Happy Sunday, Friends!!

linked: dealbreaker!

June 2nd, 2014

Happy Monday! I don’t know how I racked up so many links for today! I even had some that I wound up setting aside for later, so you wouldn’t go into overload. Plus, it was taking me long enough to put this together, so I figured I should just get this out there, so you have something to finish off your Monday with!! Hope you have a great week, friends! xoxox

So, I read this Onion AV Club article, and it reminded me of the bit on 30 Rock, where Liz had a talk show based on her “Dealbreaker!” catch phrase. While I don’t know that I have any cultural dealbreakers for friends, there are definitely some that if my spouse were into, he wouldn’t be my spouse. Do you have any pop culture dealbreakers?

Having just spent some time at Walt Disney World, and planning some Disneyland time later this year, the original proposal documents for Disneyland were especially fascinating! I’m really hoping that somehow the originals wind up in the hands of Disney so they can be properly shared with the world.

I maybe have an above average obsession with macabre history. The hairpin is helping satiate that obsession with their new series on female killers. The first installment goes way back, with the first known female serial killer!

Plagued by a haunting? Here’s a guide to the ghost zodiac, which might provide some insight to why things go bump in the night.

As a performer and artist, I often wrestle with the problem of wanting to pursue my dreams as careers, but they are dreams that people don’t want to compensate for as careers. Most folks assume that if someone has any level of celebrity, they must be loaded. By any level of celebrity, I mean anything from actors who have a pilot that got picked up for a few episodes to a professional sports team’s cheerleaders. I think this piece on being seen is a great breakdown of why settling for minimum compensation isn’t always wise.

Even before we downsized by about 300 or so square feet, I was trying to lighten our load of belongings. I still seek to pare down, and while I’m not at a truly minimalist mindset, I find there is plenty to learn from minimalists. This list of highlights is an excellent guide.

Speaking of paring down, have you ever wondered why you just haven’t been able to find the perfect pair of boots? Or just the right blazer that you’ve pictured in your mind’s eye? It could be your closet clutter blocking your fashion chakras.

One of my fashion quests is to find a bike helmet that will protect my noggin while still rockin’ some serious style. These helmets styled to look like hats might fill the bill.

Having a mastectomy is a pretty complicated situation. One is already going through a lot with cancer or risk of cancer, and a woman’s breasts are often closely tied to one’s sense of femininity and sexuality. Some Finnish designers looked to create swimwear for women who have had mastectomies. The results are stunning! (I wouldn’t call them NSFW, but I can see how some workplaces might raise eyebrows.)

As the mercury rises, tips for getting your body ready for summer populate magazine covers and e-mail newsletters. I think these tips for getting yourself caftan-ready are the only tips you’ll need.

Bodies come in all types, and some of them even have ribs. Many are seeing LaPerla removing mannequins that have ribs as a victory, but as someone whose ribs show no matter how much weight I’ve gained I think the mannequins should stay. Bodies are all different, why is it okay to shame some of them?

I’ve been waiting for these two crazy kids to make a go of it for about 20 years! I’m crossing my fingers it works out for them!

While we’re thinking of 20 years ago, I had fun looking through this collection of people magazine covers from the ’90s. I owned several of them, and it was a fun walk down memory lane.

Looking for a little inspiration for a decorating project or art piece? This site offers a color palette-a-day!

I’m guessing you’ve seen one or more of those maps highlighting what your state might be known for. I was quite delighted by this map highlighting the deep, dark secrets of each state.

Finally, last week saw the mid-season finale of Mad Men. I thought it was lovely, and can only hope the final finale is half as delightful. This interview with Robert Morse was just as lovely as the finale, though if you aren’t caught up, there be spoilers in that link!!

linked: vacation time

May 26th, 2014

I thought I was going to do so well with my vacation. I had grand plans of prepping posts and getting them out and those all fell apart. My brain is on work overload, and our vacation was jam packed with action, so those plans fell by the wayside. Hopefully all these goodies help make up for lost time!

First up, some rejection letters to famous people. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel a little better knowing that I’m not the only one who doesn’t make it on the first try. Gives much more hope for all that future success!

This infographic on what happens to you when you don’t get enough sleep…both after one night and after many nights makes me glad I’m working on the narcolepsy thing, but also a little worried. Eep.

I love this list of now gone Victorian words. I think we need to bring these back!

This one is from April, but I still had to share. Victoria Beckham shared some snaps from her 40th birthday celebration. It looks like she had quite the time! I hope that my 40th is even half that fab!

I only read Ladies Home Journal in waiting rooms, but I am sad to see it go. I am always sad to see a magazine go out of print, as it signals a disturbing trend away from print media. I did enjoy this slide show looking back at the magazine, though.

The buzz about the upcoming Jem and the Holograms movie has me all aflutter. While I dreamed of rocking out like Jem, I never knew that the costumes on the animated show were designed by an actual fashion designer! Vanity Fair takes a look at the glam looks from the show, and wonders if the designs in the flick will live up.

The recent Met Gala was dedicated to designer Charles James. Vogue took a look at the heaviest of his gowns, and put it in terms of adorable puppies for the non-couture crowd. I would still be glad to wear one of gowns.

Speaking of adorable puppies, what is it about photos of painfully cute animals that makes us want to squeeze them? Here’s a look at why we feel that way.

‘Tis the season for superhero movies. Here’s a slideshow of your favorite action heroes, before and after their superhero training.

If you’re anything like me, all those clickbait headlines in your newsfeeds drive you crazy. Yet, the do somewhat pique your curiosity. I mean, there is this tiny part of us that wonders what is so dramatic on the other side of those headlines. Personally, I blocked all the clickbait sites from my feed to keep me from the temptation. Thus, I appreciated this look into the grammar of clickbait headlines.

Growing up, I read and re-read all of the tales of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her frontier life. This letter from her daughter, giving her notes on her work was a fascinating look into her books.

Here’s another look at the past. I vote we bring back the trend of “horsemanning!”

Finally, since we are without an episode of Game of Thrones this week due to the holiday. Here’s an alternate look at the series. I admit, I kind of want to see this version!

Have a lovely holiday, friends! xoxox

squirrely sunday: and we’re back!

May 25th, 2014

I had the best of intentions to post whilst on vacation, but the brief respite from work and responsibilities took over and I lapsed into a state of internet withdrawal. But, I’m back, and even brought some squirrels. Or at least found some.

big-nuts squirrel

This guy always makes me laugh. Hopefully, he brings you a laugh, as well!
Happy Sunday, friends!!

squirrely sunday: happy mother’s day

May 11th, 2014

It may be hard to believe, but even narcoleptic squirrels have mothers! My mom is pretty great. She still wanted to bring me home from the hospital, even though I came out too early and looked like a creepy, Roswell-type, alien. She dealt with all my antics through the years, even those crazy teenage years! Here we are amidst all that, sometime after my creepy alien phase, when I looked like a little boy with orangutan hair, when my mom looked like the church lady. (Boy, is she gonna be thrilled I shared that!)

manda n mom

Plus, to keep things squirrely, here is a lovely vintage listing from Etsy! You know you want an adorable ceramic mama squirrel with all her babies. They’re even on a wee leash, much in the way my mother may or may not have had to wrangle me back in the day!

ceramic squirrel family

Happy mother’s day to all the moms out there, whether your kids have two legs, four legs, or no legs, whether they have hair, or fur, or scales. I hope it’s a lovely day! xoxox

squirrely sunday: may the fourth

May 4th, 2014

Full disclosure, this one’s a repeat. I thought for sure I hadn’t used it before, but it wasn’t in my pending folder. However, I think today is far more appropriate for this pic, so let’s pretend to know nothing about the other post.

star wars squirrels

May the fourth be with you, friends!