Ebb and Flow

I often think about the comings and goings of people in my life…whether good or bad. Plenty of bad and plenty of good have infiltrated my little universe, with several planting themselves into my garden. How I tend that garden, whether getting rid of weeds or accidently pulling a beautiful flower, is my responsibility….and sometimes I don’t do a good enough job.

Taking the Meyer’s-Briggs personality test, whether you believe in those things or not, exposed a few things about me that I didn’t realize about myself. I’m an ENFP…the life of the party with a hatred of mundane tasks, and idea person who wants everyone to get along. The downside is that I internalize things more than others. I went over my hyper-sensitivity in a previous post – sorry Sarah McClachlan, I can’t watch your commercials.

Of particular note is the mourning of friendships. Talk about a gut punch.  Unfortunately I have a hard time letting go of people…no matter good or bad…but especially the good. I’m a friend for life person, loyal to a fault in some cases.  I think of what I could have done better or what circumstances I could have controlled for quite a long time. It’s not something that goes away, but reiterated when memories surface or when I see them.

I realize that I need to put more effort into the relationships I cherish.  Better effort.  More flowers.

My Mom Got Ran Over By Her Own Truck

So 2015 ended weird, just like the beginning. The first few months were full of hospital visits as were the last few months. I swear I’m going on vacation this year. I have to. It’s the law.

Leave it up to my mom to have the story of the year. First off, she’s fine. Walking with her gangster lean right now, but she’s going to pull through. I thought for sure we were going to have to put her down like a retired race horse.

I envisioned a biker gang shootout and bears coming out of the forest to drag my mom to safety, but no. She didn’t put her truck in park before hopping out. She fell getting out, it ran over her leg. No broken bones, thanks to our German/Dutch heritage. Probably just the German. No offense Dutch.

After a couple of days in the hospital, she was back at work to close out the books for the year. There she was, two monitors on the kitchen table, elbow deep in facts and figures, closing out 5 different companies to get year end done. Oh, those bonus checks, she did those, too. On pain meds.

You see, I’m just like my mom. I was recently off for 3 days with no plans but to watch movies/tv. By the second day, I might as well had my eyes burned out with steak irons. I can’t sit for two days of tv watching. I’d like to, but I have life to experience. Places to see, people to hear.

Moral of the story: Putting yourself in Park doesn’t keep your life interesting.

What/Where Do You Want To Be?

I can’t count how many times I’ve had this conversation with my siblings, nieces/nephews, or just any kid: What do you want to be when you grow up? I’m that person who is interested in what they foresee as their future. It’s not that I expect them to keep the idea, to not change their mind. Moreso, it’s to gauge interest, a peek into their world.  Do they even have an idea? Is it a ludacris (which btw, the spellcheck makes it capital “L” in ludacris…I didn’t realize it was a hip-hop fan) choice? Are there inclinations? Math, sports, rapping, etc. I am intrigued with the answer, no matter what it is.

When I was in second grade, I addressed this question with the answer of being a nurse. My favorite color was also yellow (really??). My grandmother and aunt were nurses at the time, so I figured I would follow in their footsteps. It wasn’t because I liked helping people or wanted to donne a white hat; I didn’t know very much about nursing at 7 years old. I wanted to emulate them. My grandmother was an OBGYN nurse. I only knew she was off all the time and had time to fish. And by “off all the time” I now know it means off work to sleep. I didn’t know, I just thought she didn’t work very much since I didn’t see her at nights.

As I got older (tween years), I dreamed bigger. A beautician. This was my calling. Back when it was called beauticians. I thought it was a creative job that allowed me to work and talk at the same time. Boy do I fancy talking. Every beautician I went to with my mom listened to the radio, drank Sun Drop, and did an “easy” job! I’m in just so I can drink on the job and jam to Richard Marx!

Then it hit me. High school. I knew I liked math. What classes were available as electives? I wanted to take them all. Shop, drama, art, drafting, etc. I knew I liked working with my hands or with ideas. I didn’t want to skate through school, I wanted to learn something “cool”.  I didn’t have time to take shop, which looking back would have been wonderful for me.  I wanted to design something. My drafting class was really neat, using T-squares and several types of pencils. The following year, I took drafting using CAD…auto shop was still not available for me. Stupid English and health classes were in the way. CAD was fun, so I put it in my tool bag of “things I like”.

Senior year, I was chosen to tour an engineering facility at a local Air Force base. I learned jack shit about engineering on that tour. No one really did or said anything cool to make me want to be one. At the end of the tour, we all received a CAD drawing of the Starship Enterprise. Great. I’m no Trekkie so this was not my cup of tea. Long story short, I became an engineer. It was the job that made the most sense to me, given my inclinations to math and design. However, I still have dreams of what I want to be when I grow up:

Rigger – I think the physical demands, working with my hands, and continuously moving would be amazing. I like building and taking apart, I like to be busy, and like to travel. Let’s be clear that I do not fancy working for a carnival just yet. Maybe when I’m older.

Universal Studios employee – I don’t care what it is, that place is my “happy” place. Something takes over me when I go there. I marvel (get it?) at the design, the creativity, and the mechanics of the place. I enjoy the work put into that environment, the thoughtfulness of the experience, along with the relevance of everything.

Beach restaurant worker – I’ve seen Sharknado and realize this probably wouldn’t be a great choice. But everyone is on vacation, so they should be in a decent mood, right? Mixed drinks and the ocean always sounded fun ever since I saw Cocktail.

I often think of retirement, mostly where do I want to be? Here, there, everywhere? Maybe one day I’ll have the ultimate answer. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll see me scanning your ticket with a huge smile on my face.

Be yourself, everyone else is taken.

I get it from my mama. She makes me laugh more than anyone else in the world. She gives zero f’s and makes sure she has fun wherever she goes. Lord forbid she and I go somewhere formal together, like say a doctor’s office, hospital, a wedding (toooo many stories here) or even funeral. She always makes the best out of horrible situations in life. She taught me to look on the brighter side, don’t take yourself seriously, and be kind to everyone. She’s a special lady with the quickest wit to boot!

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My father, on the other hand, is one to make the most insane comments at the most inappropriate times…so I guess I get it from him too!  He’s a product of my previously mentioned Halloween-enthused grandparents…so the apple doesn’t fall far in my family.

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In order to honor my family genes and to make them proud, I have made a habit of dressing up for different occasions in order to make people laugh. I don’t care how ridiculous it may be. Here is me driving to the Cinqo de Mayo celebration at my football game.

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Speaking of football, during the times I was not playing, I was the water girl/cheerlearder complete with cheerleading outfit and cheerleading run (have to keep in character).

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Sometimes I cheer for people running marathons.

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I also enjoy themed parties. Here are my takes on the 80s.

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Available for some but not all parties. I may be inappropriate for children. At Sara’s bachelorette party, my mission was to wear a swim cap. And I rocked it.

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Carson’s birthday at the Mexican restaurant…complete with fun saver cameras (that I need to get developed)

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Maybe you had a poker game going on. I will put my poker face up against Lady Gaga anytime.

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Did you want to go work out together? Vintage Donnie Wahlberg shirt included.

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Rocking my LA Gear and tights…

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I attended my brother’s wrestling match in full gear.

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I also wanted to get my photo made during a Meet N’ Greet with the wrestlers…at Kmart. Here I am meeting and greeting the championship belt outside of the men’s section.

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I also showed up at a match in my gangster attire. I’m really not sure why, but I guess it was to showcase my love for Ice Cube.

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So what’s the point of this post?  To remind everyone to be yourself…be memorable. And laughing at yourself and making others laugh can sometimes be that little nudge to making a person’s day brighter.

So when life hands you lemurs, for the love of God, do NOT make lemurade! (not my joke but I find it hilarious)

Thank You For Being A Friend

Each stage of my life thus far has been defined in girlfriends. From the cool ones in elementary school to the ones in my future, girlfriends of mine have picked me up, dusted me off, laughed and cried with me. I am loyal until I die (that’s a Leo for you ) and learn from each of them. SO…this is a dedication to my ladies.

Elementary school (kindergarten)Tabitha, sorry I gave you a black eye. However, you did question whether or not I could skip instead of run. I shouldn’t have punched you and I’m sorry. And to the principal, thank you for paddling me. I needed it. I’m the last one in the green in the second row. Tabitha is back row, third from left.

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Elementary school continuedDonna, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, and Kim…ya’ll were too cool for me. I thought it was cool to have two Elizabeths for friends. I was the weird kid on the bus and you took me in to ya’lls cool camp. Kim, I’m sorry I stole your New Kids on the Block cassingle. However, this was the catalyst to my obsession with Donnie Wahlberg. I kissed that man. My dreams came true. Kim is the first one on the second row, starting from left. I’m on the bottom row, third from right. 21876_1339487524406_2362557_n

Junior High to High SchoolShannon, Elizabeth (a different Elizabeth), Kathy, Marsha, Melissa, Beth. You all made me pretty smart. I mean, we studied and took honors classes together. If it weren’t for you, I would probably not be where I am today….striving to do my best. Those junior high years were full of sleep overs, football games, and crushes. Shannon…there are no words for how much I miss you. You are still with me and I can still hear your advice whenever I question what the hell I’m doing. I saved your thank you notes and college letters so I can read your words back when I am ready. Elizabeth…I’m proud you became a psychologist because we all were crazy back then, especially you. Melissa – Mo, you are brilliant. I’ve never heard you say anything bad about anyone…ever. Like…ever. You are one of the most positive people I have the pleasure of knowing. You are a magnificent role model for your kids and you give me hope that this world isn’t so bad. Beth, we were the only Democrats of that entire bunch and you stuck by me. You were the daydreamer who enjoyed the theatre with me. I cherish those times with you. Here is Liz, Beth, and Mo at prom.

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Michael – My first guy best friend who loved to dance, smoke, and get into trouble. You gave me some wicked dance moves and possibly emphysema. You taught me to shake what my momma did or did not give me. I couldn’t have made it through college without you. Marsha – you were so innocent and sweet. I love that even though you moved to Amsterdam, we still visit and keep in touch. You are the globe trekker and I enjoy watching you grow. You taught me to get out and travel. Michael, Marsha, Shannon and me at my house on a crazy exercise bike night.

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Kathy, my twin cousin…YOU were the one that made me feel ok about being different. We dressed alike, we obsessed over the same guys, we burst out into song complete with hand jives – we just did not care what anyone thought. I still don’t. Forever grateful.

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CollegeKatrina,you were my only roommate. You taught me how to flirt and that living with crazy people isn’t the best for me. Your dog was sweet, though. I’m glad you have your family and have become a great nurse. Your boys are going to need it with all of those scrapes and bruises. Kami – my travelling ride or die friend. We tore up Panama City with our mix cds. You taught me to say what I mean and that being nice could sometimes get me into trouble. You never sugar coated things and I needed to hear it.PCB 2001 baby

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Dana, you were my college/football travelling partner. I miss our lunches and your babies. So many babies. You taught me that anyone can fall down and get right back up. And that French wine is stronger. And you really like it. 1917236_534499477383_7880284_n

Football – Ah, my football friends. Being so close to so many women who fight in the trenches was an amazing thing. Char, Carson, and Carly, these were my rocks. Vegas, Pittsburg, Florida, heck anywhere we could go, we did. Char taught me that being an girl engineer was cool and Carly taught that a quick wit always got the laughs. We laughed so hard, some may have peed their pants. Carson came along later but continues to be one of the best friends I have. She overlaps into work and CF too! Carsy introduced me to CF and I’m forever grateful. She’s a magnificent listener, advice giver, and all around football junkie who I love! Char, me and Carly in Pittsburg

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Carsy and Brady!

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WorkSara is my NKOTB ride or die! My café eating, kickboxing, marathon running friend. Sara is one of the most thoughtful people I know. She’s up for adventures, listens to my incessant ramblings, and can cook! She taught me to live life because you aren’t promised tomorrow. She continually amazes me with her dedication and discipline to running.

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CFBurrito Feet, Kerri, DaniBurrito Feet (Marisa) is addicted to Mountain Dew and cursing. Her spirit is so free and her heart is so big, I just want mine to grow to the size of hers. That girl has a lot of love to give. I love seeing the world through her eye. Here she is helping me not die.

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Kerri, my OG, she’s the one I want to be. Patient…so patient. This is a weakness of mine and being friends with Kerri has taught me to love the wait, enjoy the moment, and to think globally.

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Dani, my little sister. I have two little sisters already but I feel Dani would fit right in with my family. I love watching her take life head on and accomplish things…like real legit things. She makes me want to set goals again, wear headbands, and get a dog. Her smile lights up a room!

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Future – Hey old ladies, I hope you lift, laugh, and love because you have some big shoes to fill.

The wise and not so wise

There is no question that I am a child of divorce. My mother is very independent, strong willed, witty, caring, thoughtful, and brave. She planted the seed, fertilized it, and watched me grow. The greatest compliment I’ve ever received is “you are your mother’s daughter”. This was when I came prepared to decorate a wedding reception armed with tape, scissors, ruler, protractor (ok maybe not), ribbons, pipe cleaners (ok that’s pushing it), and other accoutrements. My mother, who was helping as well, donned the same items on her person. That woman is wise.

Fast forward in my life to 15 years ago when my dad’s third wife entered the picture. I would say she is the opposite of my mother in some, if not all ways. At one point, she invited my mother to her own baby shower (mind you she and my father were yet to be married, so essentially she was my dad’s baby momma). My mother politely declined. There was another instant for which she asked if my mom could be a reference on a job application…again, my mother, not knowing this crazy ex-husband’s baby momma, declined. That woman is wise.

Christmas, as mentioned previously, is not my most favorite time of year because…well…of this woman. Granted, she and my father are nice enough to host Christmas at their home for my family…roughly 15 or so of us are packed in the living room, watching all the little ones open gifts. It’s not bad, except for the lead up to Christmas.

In years past, I am often told what others in the family would like for Christmas, specifically my little sister. I believe I am a good gift giver, carefully picking out items that suit each individual. It is rare of me to ask about what to get others. So unsolicited emails are abound this time of year, reminding me that she wants a gift card to her favorite store. And my third cousins, whom I see once a year, would really enjoy gift cards as well. I don’t foresee three little boys “enjoying” gift cards, but who am I. My polite response to these emails is usually a thanks for the heads up. This past Father’s Day (JUNE), she pulled me aside from speaking with my father to tell me of a book collection he would like for Christmas that was at a local book store. I politely told her it was JUNE and that I would try to keep it in mind. (For the record, I NEVER get the things she tells me for these people. No gift cards, no book collections). This past November, I had someone very close to me in the hospital for a long period of time. I received a phone call from my father’s wife talking about Thanksgiving plans. Mind you, I am exhausted from taking care of this person and family. I told her what had been going on and she felt bad. However, after passing the phone to my father, I hear her in the background telling my father about what Christmas presents to get my sister. My reaction was calm to my father. “I haven’t even thought about Christmas yet”. He understood and agreed. These are examples of what happened this year alone. Try 15 years of this.

Now the fun part. With hosting Christmas, there are several items that are doled out between me and my siblings. One year I received a phone call four days prior to our get together, asking if I would mind picking up a 6ft. long sub from Subway. We would just have that for Christmas dinner. Oh, and no onions. My Ford Focus wouldn’t be able to hold such a monstrosity! After researching said sammich ($100 or more), I politely declined and suggested other food which we ended up getting. Another year, the sides were already parsed out. Guess what I got? Mashed potatoes, dressing, corn, beans, macaroni, and any other hot side item on the menu. My brother got salad; my sister…cookies. Everyone was to bring a case of cokes. Mind you, I live the furthest away (40 miles) and was supplying ALL of the food that year sans the ham. There were 11 cases of cokes that year. Luckily, my saint of a mother made food for me in town so I could pick it up to take. That woman is wise.

The stress of dealing with crazy family members reached a head in 2010, when it was decided to leave during Thanksgiving and Christmas to go to Europe. The only regret I had that year was leaving my very, very sick step-father-like person who ultimately died the night I returned home after 5 weeks of travel. I felt very guilty not being able to stay with my mother during that difficult time.

This year, I have politely reminded my dad’s wife that I cannot foretell what I will be able to bring as I am still dealing with the family issues. My sister let me know she was on the hook for mashed potatoes and dressing, and she lives far away now. I couldn’t help but laugh.

There are numerous other stories, like inviting me to her saucy lady party where she talked about my father (YUCK), or when she decided wearing Toms in a wedding was sufficient enough to go with tea-length dresses I had purchased for the wedding party.
That woman is not wise.

My mother, however, continues to surprise me with her patience and charisma as she laughs at these stories. Tears come down our face as we laugh so. I enjoy bonding with my mom, even over these stories. She encourages me to take things with a grain of salt, and that I am to be patient. That woman is wise.

What a Crappy Place to Work

Sometimes I get tickled and excited over the most insane things. I work in a large complex, complete with multiple buildings over many miles.  Thousands of people work here…thousands. Ever so often, you hear stories that you just can’t fathom.

Two years ago, I travelled a lot for work over a three month period. My office was in a very small, intimate building. Out of the 30 some odd people who work there, there were maybe 5 or 6 women. Two bathroom stalls for us. The men…well…they got only one bathroom stall. I happened to sit next to the men’s bathroom and that place was always hopping.

However, during the peak of my travel, our ladies room had a phantom shitter (PS). On two separate occasions, PS  “decorated” the handicapped stall floor of our bathroom with her wares. I returned from travel to hear the stories much like the reverse of a Viking coming home. I was no Viking compared to PS. Although PS was unknown, in my head I saw five mugshot photos pegged to a board. I was evidently crossed out due to travel. There were two possible culprits. One was an older crazy cat lady. She seemed more frail than the others, so she was high on my list. The other was just a total biyotch. I wouldn’t put it past her to take her frustrations out on the handicapped stall. The others were just there for the carnage. Poor ladies. Soon after the crazy cat lady left, PS stopped.  Coincidence? I think not.

Fast forward to moving to a larger building. Less intimate, more people.  Prior to my group’s move into the complex, PS struck again, but this time, in the middle of the women’s bathroom floor. Did PS come out of retirement? Or shall I call her PS2? PS2 was there…in the room with the toilets…what’s the deal? These are adults.

Most recently, I have heard of another instance. A brand new building had sewer issues. Maintenance investigated the root cause of this issue. Although it seemed to be the p-trap, good ole’ maintenance decided they needed to research further. What did they discover? Not in one bathroom, but two, on separate floors, freshly soiled men’s underwear hidden in the ceiling tiles, both were of different sizes. During the all-hands meeting, this topic was brought to everyone’s attention. The solution: If you are stressed, tell someone.

Woah, woah, woah…..so many questions. Were there two active shitters? Was there a grassy knoll? Who looks at the sizes of soiled underwear to determine there are two different ones? How did he/they not get caught? Are there others? What made the maintenance men start looking beyond the ceiling tiles? Why? Who? How?

The questions may never be answered. I don’t foresee a full investigation happening, which is sad. This is probably the most exciting thing that has happened in a  while.

This sounds like a job for Scoobie-Doo-Doo.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year! Halloweenies for all!

561732_718916214763_1004163006_nMost people like Halloween. But not  many LOVE Halloween.  I guess it’s because I grew up in a hallowed, creative family. Aside from wearing my mother’s makeup, the highlight of Halloween was visiting my grandparents. You never knew how both my grandmother and especially my grandfather decorated the outside of their home. It was common to see several dummies displayed in some form or fashion. Cotton was used for webbing around the porch and hay bails completed the look. But on the night of Halloween, it transformed into Fayetteville’s own outdoor haunted arena.  People came from all over to partake in the trick-or-treating.

I wish I had pictures of the contraptions my grandfather had as I cannot do it justice in words. One year, I remember he had a fake body lying on the table with his head placed next to it, as if it was amputated. He had cut a hole and perched himself underneath. He wore white make up and dusted his hair with powder. Whenever someone came up to the porch, he would let them linger for a bit before he hit the button which was connected to the body to make it jump. He then screamed at the trick or treaters that he had lost his head. As you ran inside the home, with the fog machine going, you would see my grandmother, a nurse, dressed in her attire, stabbing a body behind a white sheet with a black light. My cousin often ran the chainsaw and the very, very loud truck horns were always being played by touching wires to a battery.

Other times, my grandfather was one of the dummies displayed outside. However, you didn’t know which was him. He would then lurch at you while you passed, scarring you for life. Our goal at the end of the trick or treating in my neighborhood was to go partake in the scene at our grandparent’s. My brother and I always, always enjoyed the trick in trick or treat.

I’m not one to purchase ready-made costumes. My mother was resourceful growing up, so we were normally “rock stars” for our early years. Check out that mallard…edit 4

As we got older, our taste grew into more gruesome. Here, I am some sort of zombie person who had a hand amputated which I carried in a shoebox to display to the naïve  (we used a lot of shoe polish for face paint back in the day).edit 5My cousin Katt and I often enjoyed dressing up together. One year, we teased our long hair, donned our white shoe polish and black eyes and pretended to be “electrocuted”. Darn if I don’t have that photo. But I do have this one, where we were a pair of die (white shoe polish, yet again). edit 7

The year my friend Shannon and I dressed as Don Juan Demarco, yes the Johnny Depp movie.

editWhile working at a restaurant, we were allowed to dress up for the night. Here I was Marilyn Monroe, however, people assumed I was Dolly Parton, even with a nametag.

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The following year might have been the last time Long John Silvers let their employees dress up. Here I am a lumberyard worker who has been impaled by spikes (I don’t think the picture does it justice). Would you like fries with that?edit 3In college, I fancied mobsters, so I became one for Halloween. My street name was “Trigger Happy”. My grandpa offered me his finest, complete with cane. Because gangsters had canes. And Robin as a friend.edit 2

Sometimes I had to wear the same thing twice (gasp) because I didn’t have anything else to wear on short notice (I keep costumes readily available at all times). Also, her cheerleading outfit was mine too!

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1917716_529080512033_5706240_nI’m lucky enough now to be able to wear my costumes to work for our annual costume contest. The first year I dressed up as my boss, complete with pie plate belt buckle, a small box used as a cell phone, and a horrible mask.

Here I am as “Farmer in the Dell”.

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The next few years, I got a little more creative. Here I am as Superman, complete with the “Kaboom” and “Bam” signs. Although some thought I was farting since the signs were rigged to be in my pants. And the sign didn’t help. It read “The chili cookoff was going well until…”.

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Then one of my favorite costumes: ZZ Top. The heads were on swivel.374791_615717096623_709622146_nAnd another favorite, the Costco Sample lady. I rigged the table where it fit around my waist and didn’t need me to hold it up. I had free samples and a hairnet to complete my look. Costco-free-samplesLast year was the first time I used lights. I was “Bun in the Oven”. I am getting better with details. This had oven knobs, a door, and lights inside. all pics 006

I usually wait until the last minute to make these elaborate costumes, but I generally have a few ideas floating as to what I’m going to do.

I always make my infamous mummy dogs, or Halloweenies. Take a can of crescent rolls, wrap around hot dogs, and bake. They are yummo. And not paleo. Because I don’t eat paleo.

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One year, while in college, I wrote a Halloween Song that I’ve shared several times. Here’s where it will remain for all eternity:

HALLOWEEN

Halloween is a spooky celebration

Of ghosts and witches and our fascination

With vampires and blood and wrecked cars

M & M’s, Nerds, and Snicker’s Bars.

I like to dress up for Halloween

To hand out candy and make kids scream

One year I went as a druggie hooker

With thigh highs and needle marks, oh what a looker.

I don’t remember when I treated last

As a kid, back in the past.

I always thought my outfit was spiffy and dandy

Always fearful of that orange and black candy.

Now I wait and wait for my trick or treaters

All dressed up in their costumes and sneakers

“Trick or Treat!” they scream and yell

“I’m not deaf!” I yell back, they’re surprised I can tell.

My grandpa would always scare his neighborhood

With his loud horns, chainsaws, and fake blood

He would sit outside with his made-up dolls

Eyes of hard-boiled eggs, wearing overalls

I love the smell of Halloween in the air,

Oh wait, I’m in class, as if I care

That I’m missing the holiday, oh poor me

All I can think is more candy for me.

Now that I actually  have a porch this year, I plan on displaying many bodies and jack-o-lanterns for the neighborhood kiddos. I want to continue the tradition of scaring and possibly scarring a few….muahahahahahaahahahahahahahaha.198456_718916968253_741090365_n

Did I ever tell you why I loathe Christmas?

I am a highly sensitive person who has panic attacks. With this combination, I could be perceived as bat-shit crazy at times. Panic attacks are different than being highly sensitive, but they are very similar in their physical response to my body: tears, shortness of breath, light-headed…just to name a few.

I remember my 7th or 8th birthday party where I cried. My mom asked me what was the matter, and I explained to her my wish was for people not to die.

I cannot watch the Discovery Channel or Animal Planet if animals are dying or are in physical pain. Shark Week is out of the picture. I cannot watch human death or suffering without the waterworks. This is fun for me since I love watching the news. The hospital is also very difficult for me as I have almost passed out a few times at the scene of a loved one in pain.

I also cry at happy scenes. Youtube videos of soldiers surprising their families, animals getting better, or tales of the human spirit tug at my heart strings.

Family discord is not good for me either. I loathe Christmas because I know how horrible it will make me feel due to the conflicts between my family.

Panic attacks began in 5th grade math. The cause: bad grades. I was a really good student, but if I received a “bad grade”, which meant C or lower, my heart fluttered and crocodile tears poured. I was embarrassed that I had this physical reaction so I kept my head down, staring at my backpack, until it passed. I’m not sure the term “panic attack” fits here but it’s the only thing I can figure out. Why was I reacting this way? I still have no answer to this.

At one point in 9th grade, I confronted my teacher over a grade she gave me versus a grade she gave my friend. I argued I deserved the higher grade because my friend didn’t really do the work she claimed. Again, my body failed, giving me shortness of breath, tears, and clammy hands. Panic. I got the grade corrected, but I’m sure my teacher wondered what the heck was wrong with me. It seemed like stage fright to some degree; however, I’ve never experienced stage fright.

Panic attacks held off for a while until I played on a co-ed softball team in 2002. After running to first base, I noticed my breathing was out of hand. My throat closed, my chest tightened, I couldn’t get enough air out…this was something new. I didn’t have many attacks until a year later, two years into my football career. The first year, I was fine; only one panic attack happened. We had to roll down the field on our side, wearing our full gear. My body wasn’t having it. The following year, on another football team, panic attacks were frequent. My doctor diagnosed me with exercise-induced asthma. But after the medication didn’t work, my lung doctor performed several tests to determine I did not have asthma. Only after research did I diagnose my own self with having panic attacks.

Panic again ensued during my kickboxing classes or with my personal trainer. This is extremely frustrating as I wanted to finish my workout without having to hold my breath or hyperventilate. My number one goal at CrossFit is to manage my breathing. Not to lose weight or get healthy. I just want to breathe! After three years, I can say that I’m able to manage the panic a lot better. I’ve had a handful of attacks this year, but I’ve been able to quickly ascertain when they are arriving. I feel I have the right tools and know my limits better than ever. Hooray!

I don’t think many people understand how being highly sensitive and having panic attacks control your life to some degree. One of these seems to be more controllable than the other. But for now, please refrain from making me watch those Sara McLaughlin commercials.