Chasing Inspiration

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Freakin' Awesome


  1. A nicely padded emergency fund that will keep the wolves from the door.
  2. Wonderful new-to-me authors who are as friendly as their books are entertaining.
  3. The ever unconditional adoration of Velcro Dog, who makes sure I get out of bed in the mornings and get moving, especially on cold, snuggle under the comforter for just a little longer mornings. 
The last three months have been...interesting. Full of ups and downs, more bad days than good, and impatience on my part. And sometimes my husband's part. I've had to learn my new limits, and the cost of pushing past them. Sometimes you have to push past a limit in order to grow. It seems counter intuitive to healing but it's true. And often painful in the process. I've become very familiar with pain. 

In addition to learning to live within and ignore my limits in turn, I have caught up on some of my reading. Give me a moment to laugh hysterically. There is no way on God's green earth I will ever catch up with my ever increasing to-be-read (TBR) piles. Yes, piles. There are the books lurking by the bed, displayed on bookshelves, and *cough* hiding on my ereader/computer. These consist of various genres of fiction and non-fiction. I don't discriminate. 

I don't recall each and every book I've read or reread lately, but a few stand out:
Each of these book either challenged me, entertained me, or both. Or I *cough* read them more than once. Because they were that good. Honest! 

Another bright light in the last three months is Guardians of the Galaxy, both the movie and the soundtrack. Such. A. Great. Movie! And the soundtrack rocks as well. I was able to pick up Awesome Mix Vol. 1 and the actual movie score in a two disk offering. When I need some inspiration, or just need to dance around the house (much to Velcro Dog's chagrin), Awesome Mix Vol. 1 does the trick. I have the DVD on my Christmas wishlist. Which is a good thing cuz a day doesn't go by when I don't want to head back to the theater to watch the movie again. And again. 

I also did a little impulse shopping in the fandom department and purchased this t-shirt from Teespring. It is freaking awesome! 

It's the simple things, apparently. And that's alright by me. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Kind of Updates and a Book

 I am dropping in to say updates are coming. Gratitudes will be reinstated (because they work so much better than grumbling). And I think I'm going to reinstate my book/movie reviews. :)

On a book note, Shiloh Walker has a book that has been re-released. It's hot and sexy and Christmasy! And only 0.99! I read this when it was first published by Ellora's Cave and it's a fun sexy story so if sexy fun appeals to you, pick it up!

It is currently available at the following booksellers:  Amazon | iBooks | BN | Smashwords |

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Recovery and Patience


  1. After almost a week and a half with a horrible GI virus/bug of some sort, I'm finally beginning to feel like myself
  2. Streaming TV and movies - when you don't have it in you to concentrate on reading and can't go anywhere, streaming media is a lifesaver
  3. Velcro Dog, who snuggles all the blues away
Since returning from vacation I've been a hot mess. The husband wins an award for patience and caring during this time. He made sure I had what I needed to feel comfortable while he was at work, took care of the laundry, walked the dog twice a day, cooked for himself (I've been on a rice and clear liquid diet regimen, so not fun or tasty!), and did some light cleaning. 

This weekend I thought I was getting better so while he was visiting his sister and family, I stayed home and started to deep clean the kitchen. Mistake! I think I set myself back a couple of days just because I was tired of looking at my mess of a kitchen and because I was tired of needing to lay around all day. I also had brunch with a friend and maybe the food choices I made weren't the best for my ailing GI tract. 

I did learn something about myself over the past week. While I am an introvert, there comes a point in time where I need human interaction or I feel like I'm going to go crazy. Also, I can only handle so much down time before I start to itch with the need to do something. 

However, I also learned that pacing and timing are as important in life as they are in storytelling. Instead of trying to deep clean the kitchen in one day, I could have broken the surfaces into zones and tackled one zone over the course of a day. Instead of eating like I was healthy, I could have had a few bland sides and some tea and enjoyed the conversation and companionship. The food I really wanted to eat would be there for a future date. Instead of acting as though I was in tip top condition, I could have given myself the space and time I still required to heal AND still have been able to do some light cleaning and spend time with a friend. 

I'm not very patient with myself or with being in process. I'm going to have quite a bit of time in the near future to practice this patience. So much fun. 

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Of Mountains and Oceans

  1. That there are people out there who research and compile said research along with suggestions on how to apply said research, especially when it comes to health and nutrition - it cuts down on all the time I would need to spend trying to figure out my health issues on my own
  2. My husband who has been so very kind while I've been horribly busy with work these last months and feeling ill and icky on top of it all
  3. Coconut water, a magical elixir, especially when dehydrated and miserable due to a GI virus
A week ago we were in Canada visiting family and enjoying the raw and majestic landscape that is Vancouver Island. I cried a little when it was time to leave for there is nowhere else where I have felt so surrounded by the natural elements that quicken my soul. Mountainy craigs, raw and untamed. Violent and powerful bodies of water, battling and soothing an ever changing shore. It was bliss.

I knew the trip would be amazing after two things occurred: we saw both Mt. Rainer AND Mt. Baker from the plane as we landed at the SeaTac airport in Washington state; a pod of orcas decided to breach the surface and cavort alongside the ferry as we made a windy and choppy voyage from the Olympic Pennisuala to Victoria. Orcas. Breaching. If you know me you know I have a fondness for these great mammals and while I hate seeing them captive, watching them in the wild is nothing short of magical. 

For a week I drank in family, nature, and I felt connected in a way I haven't for some time. I'm taking all of this as a sign that some hard decisions will have positive and rewarding outcomes and that I'm ready a for a new phase in life to begin. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

In Which There Is Beauty

  1. Gift cards and ebook credit balances - it's the next best thing to free money for a bibliophile like me
  2. Sweet smelling hyacinths in lovely lavender and purple hues snuggled up against 
  3. My orchid, a gift from a dear friend, is growing new roots and new spikes - yay for flowers
  4. Winter appears to be FINALLY over and spring is gaining momentum!
After a long, long, long winter I am delighted that spring is taking root. Quite literally. I saw some rogue crocus spikes in the grass out front, where the rabbits promptly ate the succulent bulbs in a drunken orgy of celebration and dancing with the randy squirrels. Even the squirrels are excited and it's hard to get them excited about almost anything. 

After the dreary and oh so long winter I decided it was high time to stop and look around me. What do I surround myself with? Do those things feed my spirit? 

Let me step back a moment. My husband and I have been living amidst home renovations in some form or another for the last 9 years. And before that, the house was someone else's idea of...something. Let's put it this way, the house did not reflect who I am or who we are. It was a hodge-podge of styles and eras that was less than charming. 

I knew that someday I would have a house I would be proud to call home. Then I would display beautiful things. Then I would have flowering houseplants. Then I would hang our treasured pictures. Then. I was reminded, several times in fact, that there doesn't have to be a THEN or a LATER. It can be a NOW. And for our mental and spiritual health, beauty is important. Not what other people feel is beautiful, but what you feel is beautiful. 

I may not be able to hang our treasured pictures yet or display my mom's beautiful china tea set, but I can fill vases with flowers, nurture the orchids I have gathered to me like wayward children so they grow and bloom. I can drink my tea out of pretty tea cups. I can drink my breakfast smoothies out of crystal. I can listen to magical music. Wear rings and bracelets that make me smile. Bake cookies to fill the house with comforting scents. Burn luscious candles for the same reason. Beauty doesn't have to be expensive or invasive or difficult. 

Beauty is a wonderful thing. I wish for you beauty as you walk along your journey. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Of Birthdays and Blessings


  1. Gluten free cupcakes with lots of frosting.
  2. Spring weather, which is FINALLY here.
  3. Birthdays
Yesterday was my birthday. I habitually take my birthday off from work so I can do whatever I want on a day that is all about me. Usually, this involves food and friends, and yesterday was no exception. I had great fun with a breakfast date and went out to lunch at a new-to-me restaurant. Dinner was pizza with salted caramel ice cream for dessert.

It's not all about food, however. It's about the people I choose to spend my time with. I have been blessed to have some amazing people in my life, near and far. And spending time with them either in person or via the internet makes a special day even more special. 

Today I'm thankful to be a year older. Maybe not wise, but definitely move blessed. Thank you for being a part of my life. 

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Where Whimsy Meets Responsibility

  1. A good mani/pedi is a girl's best friend
  2. Sunshine-y warm weather after weeks of bone chilling cold
  3. Sara, our trusty CPA 
We compiled all the information for our taxes last week and phew, is it ever a relief to have everything in the hands of our CPA. It's a major milestone for the year that's done, crossed off the list, let's move on now. 

In getting our initial estimate (a refund, yo!) we decided to go through our budget for the year and see where we stood financially. Our 20th anniversary is in August and while the house is still under various stages of renovation, we both want to take the time and the money to really celebrate this other major milestone. So we reviewed, revised, shuffled, and it looks like we will have the funds to be able to get me to the Pacific Northwest to visit family this summer AND afford some sort of trip to commemorate twenty years of weddedness. 

This is huge. Not that we can afford such choices, but that we both agree that instead of funnelling all extra funds to renovations or mortgage pay down or vehicle replacement (aka the things responsible adults apparently do), we both agree to not one but two vacations and have decided to set aside the monies to accomplish this. 

If you know my husband, you know his decision making is based in logic and personal responsibility. He's not a frivolous man. He's not taken to flights of fancy and wouldn't be caught dead dancing under starlight in what he terms fits of whimsy. That's me. Or, that's more something I would do. When our ten year anniversary rolled around, we had the opportunity to take our first real vacation that didn't include camping, visiting the family cabin for a weekend, or traveling to visit family. Not that any of these things are bad. They are quite enjoyable, in fact. But we had never had a honeymoon and had instead decided to save for an anniversary trip. 

At this same time we had purchased our first home and were in the planning stages of what would become the renovation project without end. So, instead of that anniversary trip, my husband's logic kicked in and he decided it would be best to move those funds toward the renovations. 

Looking back, I can see a place of compromise in a land that is not either or. Then, however, life was different. I was different. I didn't push back. I swallowed my disappointment and after a single impassioned push for relationship over work, I slunk back and agreed and every time I take a shower, I see that anticipated vacation in our bathtub and tile surround. 

For my husband to look at the budget and suggest not just the annual 'family' vacation but also an anniversary celebration...well it's just not done. I had braced myself for a 'suggestion' that we shove that money into the renovation fund and push hard to complete all the indoor work this summer. Or for the money to make its way to a mutual fund so it could grow and become the replacement fund for our aging truck. When he said 'let's go somewhere for our anniversary' I practically fell to the floor in shock. 

We've both grown in the last ten years. Life has thrown us some curve balls and we haven't always rounded third to make it home with each inning. But we're still here and the experiences, good and not so great, have helped to make us who we are today. And as well as we know each other, there's still room to be surprised and delighted in each other.

And I'm planning on dragging that man of mine kicking and screaming into the whimsy of dancing under the stars cuz right now I believe that anything is possible. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's the Little Things

  1. A working snowblower and a husband who isn't afraid to use it
  2. Great teachers who are able to challenge my beliefs - cognitive dissonance can be a powerful learning tool.
  3. The ladies at the coffee shop I sometimes visit on my way to work - thank you for the extra, extra whip cream today. It was much appreciated. :)
I was in line at the post office this week when I overheard a couple of thirty-something ladies ahead of me compare their Valentine's Day experiences. Let's just say they were complaining about what they thought was a lack of extravagence. They wanted more than flowers and cutsie gifts from the men in their lives. They expected to be dazzled and treated like royalty and their lovers had fallen short of the mark, and these women were disappointed and angry.
I wish I could say this is not the norm, that most people I bump into are able to find joy and meaning in the little things, in the day to day guestures that friends adn family use to tell us we are loved and appreciated. That we matter. When I was a therapist I worked with couples who getting married or newly married. One of the things we discussed was how we perceive we are loved. Sadly, several of these couples stated they only felt valued and loved if there partner showed them through grand guestures.
On one hand, that's very romantic. I think we want to be swept off our feet, but when we rely on grand guestures, what was grand yesterday becomes normal and the guestures need to increase in complexity or weight in order to be considered, well, grand.
No one can sustain this. And when we focus on the grand, we miss out on the simple and the honest and the authentic.
It's the little things that over time make or break a relationship. Maybe that's where we should be spending our energies, taking care of the little things, noticing the little things, being thankful for the little things.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Of Pyjamas and Tulips

  1. My husband's willingness to do the laundry when I'm feeling overwhelmed or sick or generally don't want to
  2. That Canada is doing as well as they are so far in the 2014 Olympic games
  3. Rest
  4. Bonus gratitude - the lovely tulips my husband got me for Valentine's day.
We don't generally celebrate Valentine's Day. It's not because we're objecting to rampant consumerism (if we felt this way, we would also forgo Christmas). We like to go out and enjoy various activities together, but my husband isn't fond of crowds due to a hearing issue and he has quite a bit of introversion running through is veins. So instead of going out for Valentine's Day we usually spend an evening in with pizza and a movie on Netflix.

We also don't exchange gifts on Valentine's Day, though I have been known to slip a silly card in my husband's lunch bag now and again. Or surprise him with a dinner he particularly enjoys. And he used to be in the habit of getting me flowers on a monthly basis. Which is really more impressive than remembering to get flowers for Valentine's.

I decided I was going to take Friday off of work. I've been putting in a lot of long hours and I wanted a break. Just me, the dog. Sleeping in a little. Watching my new favorite show that is no longer on the air (Leverage), and doing some reading. I was going to take myself out for breakfast but decided spending the day in my pyjamas was more tempting. I never spend all day in my PJ's anymore!

I had this nagging feeling that I should let my husband know sooner rather than later that I would be at home and not the office on Friday. And good thing, too! He ordered the tulips for me with a Thursday or Friday delivery. Had they been delivered Friday, I would have had to go in to the office to pick them up. Something I could not do in my pyjamas.

We had our pizza and watched a DVD I purchased for Christmas while snuggled on the couch, my lovely tulips on a table near the TV, and the dog curled up into a ball on his pillow. The perfect Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

When It's Difficult

  1. Sunshine even on the coldest of days.
  2. Good friends who let me vent and gently help me to become a better version of myself
  3. Bras that fit really, really well.
My life is consumed with the day job right now. I find myself stretched in all things work/life balance, in knowledge, and in skills. I can't say I'm very comfortable right now and I'm not quite sure how I landed in this place.

I am a generalist. I'm good at a lot of things but not spectacular at many. This has served me well in that I seem to have good job security. And honestly, I enjoy learning new things. I think I need a challenge in order to maintain engagement at my place of business. The down side to being a generalist is that I get pulled into tasks and projects that don't interest me even though I have shown some proficiency with them. Or I am handed projects that,  on the surface,  look like projects I have successfully tackled, but upon closer inspection are different enough that I find myself at a loss. And feeling slow and dumb.

This is where I am right now, working a project that is similar to work I have done in the past, and done well but took me nearly forever to figure out AND this project contains elements that I am unfamiliar with or, quite frankly, suck at.

When I'm not good at something, it messes with my head. I second guess every decision I make, every action. So I'm doing something that's very difficult for me. I'm waving the white flag and asking for help and guidance because deadlines will not otherwise be met. And I may just dissolve into a pile of goo if I don't get some sort of assistance.

Waving the white flag is hard for me. I don't like to admit defeat. And I really don't like it when skills allude me. I'm a smart girl. Why is this so hard? At least I'm not waiting until I get stress induced migraines and fibro flare ups and develop an ulcer before I ask for help this time. Maybe I have grown. Maybe I've actually learned the value of asking for help. I do know I've learned my health can't sustain this amount of stress for very long. So, no matter the reason for my finally raising the white flag, I'm just glad I am.

It's good to know I can still learn and adapt. :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Wick By Any Other Name...

  1. An evening to myself where I can catch up on organizing the little things - like iTunes and my ebook collection - without snide comments from the husband.
  2. Gluten free gourmet pizza - a nice cold weather treat for a 'me' evening
  3. Pumpkin nutmeg scented candles with a crackling wooden wick
We don't have a fireplace and I've been dying for a fire ever since the weather turned mean and cold last December. With little free time I didn't hunt down a cozy pub with a roaring fireplace to become my second home. Instead I found these lovely Nature's Wick jar candles at Target. It appears that Target is the only place that sells them. I don't know how you feel about Target's current troubles, but I still shop there.

What makes these candles special, aside from some of the yummiest scents I've ever smelled, is that the wicks are made of real wood and when they burn, they crackle! While it's not as fabulous as a fireplace crackling away on a cold winter's night, they add that sense of ambiance I've been craving. Now my house smells like pumpkin pie and when I'm jonesing for a fire, I get the crackle too!

My husband does enjoy the scents, and he's fussy. Is the man ever fussy! So far the scents I've brought home are all husband approved. He likes the apple pie scent the best. Velcro Dog votes for the spruce because it reminds him of running through the woods at the cabin. Me, I honestly don't care which scent is currently lit, I just care that the candles crackle. I swear, I'm now ruined for life. I can't go back to ordinary pillar candles or votives, or even decorative candles in jars now!  There's something about the, yes, I'm going to say crackle AGAIN! There's something about that crackling sound that makes me smile and all warm and fuzzy inside. It doesn't matter how cold it is outside or how bad my day at work may have gone, I light one of these Nature's Wick candles and everything starts to turn around.

Try it! You may just like it.