Sunday, July 16, 2017

Small Town Auras



I was born and raised in a large town. They say it's large anyway.  At 15-16 years old, 23 square miles starts to feel pretty small. After college when Facebook went live to the public, 23 square miles started to feel like a fish bowl. 

It was important to my parents that we were allowed to build roots and grow up with a sense of community. I graduated high school with many of the people I started kindergarten with. I know where everything in town is.  I remember when we were a one Wal-Mart town.

Miranda Lambert once sang:

 "Every last one, route one, rural heart's got a story to tell
Every grandma, in law, ex girlfriend
Maybe knows you just a little too well
Whether you're late for church or you're stuck in jail
Hey words gonna get around".  

Even in a town of 52,000, this seems to be true. There isn't much I don't know about my old friends, or my ex-boyfriends, and what they've done with their lives. Sometimes, that sense of community can be a heavy thing to bear. I've been struggling with the weight of a particular small-town problem lately: the class bully. 

Middle school was hard for me. High school was easier, but I was also struggling with grief a child of 15 shouldn't know so early, I was too busy just trying to survive myself to be too bothered by bullies. That doesn't mean it didn't happen and I know it happened to other people. My school had Mean Girls, complete with a few incarnations of Regina George. I watched them victimize people for everything, it seemed nothing was off limits. They coordinated their schedules as much as possible. If you found yourself a target of the entire clique in one class, there was a good chance you'd be forced to endure the abuse of one or more members in at least two other classes during the day.  

We've all grown up now, allegedly. Some of us went to college. Some of us got jobs. Some of us started families. Some of us decided to open a small business right here in our quaint little town. 

I've always tried to support local businesses and small business owners. After leaving my last corporate job where I was unappreciated, underpaid and feeling chewed up by the corporate machine, I fell in love with working for a small business.  My experience working for a small business inspired me to  patronize small businesses whenever possible.

What do you do when the Regina George of your high school grows up and becomes a successful business owner in town?  Ever worse, what do you do when it is a profession you not only have a lot of respect for, but in an industry that requires compassion, respect, courtesy, confidentiality and dignity?

Unfortunately, I was no Cady Heron in high school. I never took a stand against any of our Regina Georges.  None of them got hit by a bus and became better people. My Regina George went to school and now works in a personal care industry.  I live and work in a community with someone who works with peoples' bodies after watching her tease and abuse people about their bodies - weight, acne, body hair, facial features - for years.  

I see people recommending her and I want to scream every time. I feel a twinge of bitterness that this person is making a living taking care of people after seeing her tear down so many. I am fearful that she doesn't treat her profession with the respect it deserves and she disparages her clients behind closed doors.  My heart hurts and I feel sick at the idea that she looks at her clients - people with imperfect bodies - the same way she looked at her classmates so many years ago and can hide her distaste so well that she can profit from it. Maybe she became a better person.  Maybe the teasing and the taunting and the systematic bullying was a sign of low self-esteem and she's dealt with herself. Maybe everything I know about this person is wrong or somehow no longer valid. 

I doubt it, but I hope I'm wrong every time I see her name. Somehow, I can't get past the idea that her aura is still as brown as her fake tan. She was so awful and cruel to people that it's hard to believe much has changed.  On the outside, things look great but you know what they say.... you can roll of piece of shit in powdered sugar, but that doesn't make it a jelly donut.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Feats & Fails


Happy Friday!!! 

Welcome to Friday Feats and Fails!  You can find "The Rules" of how to participate down below!  On to my week!

FAILS:  

- I haven't done Feats & Fails in like 3 weeks.  This is a fail because I'm supposed to and also because literally no one noticed.  In the meantime, I've made a shit-ton of feats and fails!

- Finally back from CONvergence.  I had a great time.  I haven't unpacked really, but I've pulled out what I needed and left the rest.

- There was a beauty fail.  I haven't been happy with the magenta color I put in, it was looking pretty red instead of bright magenta.  I decided I was lusting after Pravana Violet Dye.  After watching a shit ton of Vloggers put Vitamin C in their hair to fade their fantasy color, I decided to try it. Pretty sure that started the problem because I was uncomfortable and rinsed it early.  It didn't work to remove my red/magenta hair.  It didn't even fade it. So I proceeded with the bleach.  The color is actually kind of cute and I'm tempted to keep it.  My hair is lightly fried but not as bad as I thought it would be.  The real hurt?  My scalp.  I'm disappointed in myself because I totally know better.

https://www.instagram.com/morecheesebeer/
My brother says I have hair the color of a peach ring.

So, after giving myself a nice chemical burn.  I gave my poor scalp a few days to recover before dying my hair violet.  It looks blue in the dark and under florescent lights.  In the daylight?  Bright, brilliant purple.  

Please excuse the mess, we were traveling.
It is beautiful and I love it.  What I don't love, however, is the BLEEDING.  This color bleeds everywhere like nothing I've ever seen before.  I took extra pillowcases and head coverings to CONvergence to avoid staining the white sheets. I love the color so much though that I'm going to try their XL color which advertises no bleeding, and I'll probably try a color sealing gloss over it. 

- CONvergence came and went.  It's been awhile since I had any kind of real time off that didn't involve illness or a funeral.  In the past two years, I've used my PTO periodically to take days off here and there.  I didn't use them and lost a bunch this last year and I'm still salty about it.  But I had a good time.  Next year I hope to socialize more. 

- I'm having car problems.  I had them before I left town.  Now I'm home and broke and still having them. 

- I quit eating Keto for the week.  I haven't gotten back on track.  My week has been full of so many carbs. 

- Remember last week's Sunday Confession when I said I was going to do more fresh things?  I've missed like 4 days now. 




FEATS:

+  I got a new pair of Vans for $28 from Amazon and they're super cute.  I'd like a collection of Vans some day, but these are good for now.

 http://amzn.to/2ut6PxN 
 +  Before I quit Keto for a week, I was going well. 6 lbs down.  Also, I discovered Keto desserts are amazing. Will share soon!

+  I recently share a photo of my color-coded planner.  It's been over a month and I'm still writing things in AND color coding them.  I got a set of Sharpie Highlighters with like eight colors and that's helped tremendously. 

+ I have more interests than I have time right now.  This is both good and bad.

+  I took this awesome photo this week. I'm going to get this macro thing down yet!




The "Rules"

Write a blog post with the Feats and the Fails from your week, or comment them below

Feats: something you did, accomplished, conquered or triumphed over or something that made you want to brag or celebrate.  It can be as simple or complex as you want.

Fails: something you said or did that wasn't so awesome, something that happened that wasn't so great, a low point in the week, or just something you wish had gone better...share, commiserate, and then LET IT GO because it is Friday for goodness' sake!

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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Fresh Challenge


There's something about the word Fresh that makes you feel good, isn't there?

Fresh paint.

Fresh socks.

Fresh cut grass.  

Fresh hair cut. 

Fresh laundry. 

Fresh produce.

My life has felt a little stagnant lately.  Like I keep finding myself in too many of the same places doing the same things. I'm not a thrill seeker.  I'm not trendy.  I'm not financially able to buy the latest and greatest whatever. I have ridiculous social anxiety. I struggle with change. 

I value new people, experiences, flavors, sights, knowledge and perspectives... my life needs a fresh breeze of all these things. 

So, starting today I'm challenging myself to experience something Fresh every day for the month of July.  I know it's already the 2nd, but... I'm going to try anyway and I'm going to take photos and share them on Instagram.   I hope you'll join me!

What's fresh?  Fresh food. Fresh laundry. Fresh sights.  Fresh produce.  Fresh experiences.  Show me something you've never made before, tasted before, seen before, done before.  Share something you did with fresh ingredients.  Share your fresh haircut or hair color or new makeup.  Show me a fresh manicure.  Let's freshen things up!

If you decide to join me, tag me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @MoreCheeseBeer and use the hashtag #fresh30challenge




Horoscopes by Hot Ash - July 2017


Have you ever noticed that Horoscopes are always overwhelmingly and unbelievably positive? It's hard to take something seriously when the people interpreting the cosmos keeping putting out these Horoscopes that say everything is rosy.  Life is bittersweet and your horoscope should be too.  

There's just one problem: I'm a writer, not an astrologist. So, I give you "Horoscopes by Hot Ash".  My translation of real horoscopes for people who live in the real world.  And if I'm wrong, well... just keep in mind that these horoscopes are for Entertainment purposes only and you should take advice from some random woman on the Internet with a grain of salt (with tequila and a lime too, if you have it).

June was fun, wasn't it?  Guess what?  July is going to have people acting all kinds of wacky because we have an eclipse coming.  I bet you're thrilled.  Here's your slightly snarky Horoscope for July. 


ARIES March 21–April 19
Remember last month when I said self-care was going to be your best friend?  It might not be your best friend this month, but you should definitely stay close.  The beginning of July is going to start rough and you're going to need to decide if you can take the heat and stay in the kitchen or if you want to take the opportunity to get out.  Don't bottle up things you should be communicating with your partner or things are going to suck at the end of the month between you.  At the same time, you should also take care to make sure you're tackling the actual issues you're going to encounter this month and not picking fights to satisfy your ego.



TAURUS April 20–May 20
There's an old hurt or old feelings about something or someone you haven't let go of and those things are festering.  Let it go, Elsa - so it can't hold you back anymore. The best thing to do in the beginning of this month is to get present and make sure you're the LEAD ROLE and not just a supporting actor in your own life right now.  Be the catalyst for change.   You're going to have an active summer, this would be a good time to invest in some good active wear.




GEMINI May 21–June 21
Old habits die hard.  You might find yourself turning to some old, unhealthy coping mechanisms this month. Pay attention to what is going on that is causing you to react so you can fix it. Avoid the Internet around the Full Moon on the 8th... DON'T FEED THE TROLLS.  If you're going to fight for something, donate your time and money towards a cause and not just noise - from your mouth or your keyboard.  Expect conflict towards the end of the month.  Conduct yourself in a way that reflects your values and so that you don't have regrets.



CANCER June 22–July 22
Conflict is in the stars for you.  Some things that have been on the back burner are going to start bubbling and demanding your immediate attention.  Whether you're the one with a bone to pick or someone is coming at you with one, watch your words.  Say what you mean and mean what you say, but make sure you have a point to the argument and don't just fight to fight.  People can disagree with you without lessening the value or weight of your own opinion.  Practice learning how to live and let live.



LEO July 23–August 22 
Expect some crazy dreams this month.  You're dealing with something on a deeper level and it's going to manifest itself through dreams and feelings - which sounds annoying as hell, so make sure you schedule some nap time for yourself.  Keep reinforcing those boundaries we talked about last month, and be consistent with your feelings towards the people you love.  Keeping working on your path of redefining what you stand for and believe.





VIRGO August 23–September 22
Don't fuck your ex this month.  I'm supposed to tell you to beware of people from your past this month, but let's be honest... it's almost always an ex. That fact of the matter is, all of the things that happened before that you don't want to remember are still there.  You might find yourself feigning for some ex sex, but it's really not going to be worth it in the end.  You're going to be feeling all kinds of passionate, take that energy and do something constructive with it.  Paint something.  Clean something.  Do something creative.  Just don't do your ex.



LIBRA September 23–October 22
Some of last month's horoscope are still going to ring true this month. Truth can be subjective and you need to focus on your true and your experiences and not everyone else's.  You don't need to rely on other's opinions to validate yourself and you'll screw your authentic self over if you try. Some necessary conflict is going to happen mid-month and you're going to have to deal with some things.  Be kind with your words and actions because they will cause a ripple effect that will cause waves that will be felt for awhile.




SCORPIO October 23–November 21
 Scorpios tend to seem like they don't give a fuck, but the reality is just the opposite.  You need to do your best to tone down the intensity of your reactions towards people when things happen because shutting down or blowing up are off-putting towards others.  Choose your interactions wisely, avoid spending too much time with people who bring out your anxiety or anger.  Sometimes, it's ok to let things go and not rise to the occasion every time there is a conflict.




SAGITTARIUS November 22–December 21
Did you get swept away last month?  The new relationships and the new people you met last month are creating a whirlwind of activity for you.  You need to get your shit together.  With everything you've got going on, it a good time to straighten out your inbox, make sure your calendar is updated and make sure you're not spreading yourself too thin.  It's important to make sure you know where you're supposed to be and not flaking on people, even if it's a mistake because no one likes being stood up.  Make sure you show up when you say you will, don't be afraid to tell people no if you need to make time for yourself.



CAPRICORN December 22–January 19 
You've got a busy month ahead.  You need to mind your P's and Q's this month and I don't just mean your manners.  Don't let your ego carry you away into situations you don't really want to be in.  Treat others the way you would like to be treated.  The Full Moon is going to stir the shit pot for you emotionally so expect some repressed and well-fermented drama to arise.  The best thing you can do this month is just try to find some balance.




AQUARIUS January 20–February 18
Hmm... looks like you're going to meet someone new in the coming month or two.  It isn't a certainty, but if you do it's going to be intense and it's going to be a person who leaves an impact.  Don't take that as "You're going to meet THE ONE".  Take it as you're going to meet someone you're going to learn from.  The end of the month is going to leave you hella cranky so find something to do with yourself that will burn up some of the aggression you're going to feel.  This might be a good time to try spinning or hot yoga.




PISCES February 19–March 20
Creativity is a great way to express yourself, unless you let it drive you crazy.  Oddly enough, the same things can be said about sex and love.  Other people's reliance on your this month is going to learn you feeling overwhelmed or you're going to find yourself obsessed.  It's time to drawn some boundaries and be very specific with people about the things you want and need.  This applies both in the bedroom and out.  You don't get your cookies, metaphoric or otherwise, if you don't tell people that you want them and what you like.  Things might get messy, but it's time to be honest.  Things get easier towards the end of the month, take care of yourself and do a little pampering when the intensity breaks.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Affliction

It seemed to happen almost overnight. Everyone went to bed the evening of July 5th. in their respective corners of the world, and the reports began rolling in from hospitals in Greenwich, London the next day starting at six a.m. in the morning. No one was awake. No one saw it coming. It crept in during the wee hours of the morning when the sky is the darkest, when the night creatures have retreated to hiding spaces and the birds are still in the deepest of slumbers.

The first reports from London were that a high number of people had contacted hospitals regarding a rash, varying in severity. The mildest cases were red and itchy and seemed to resemble simple Contact Dermatitis. The worst cases were painful, red, inflamed patches of fluid-filled blisters.

It later came out that cab drivers, 24-Hour convenience store clerks and hospital staff report were unable to account for their time between the hours of two and four in the morning. The people who were supposed to be awake in those early, silent hours assumed they must have been unusually tired and fallen asleep. Upon waking they had proceeded with their shifts as if nothing had happened, saying nothing out of embarrassment or fear that they would be reprimanded.  All of them wondering what could have happened to explain the rash they woke up with.

Once the news spread that the rash was afflicting people not only in different time zones, but different countries there was a mass panic. Major news sources reported that the President been taken to an undisclosed location. Later, leaks from the White House surfaced that the President was covered in painful, seeping blisters. For the first time in his Presidency, Donald Trump's Twitter remained silent other than a simple statement that he would find the parties responsible for the heinous acts committed against the United States.

People wore hospital masks everywhere, as if those would protect them. Hospitals were overrun. Grocery stores were ransacked. The news alternated between reports on the rash and clips of security cameras showing the violence that had taken place in store aisles across the country. Like a Black Friday Sale from hell, people were assaulting and killing each other in Walmarts over bottled water and canned goods. The United States prepared for war. People swarmed to gun stores, purchasing guns and ammunition. After the guns stores, people flocked to the home improvement stores, raiding the camping supplies, anything that could be used as a weapon, and purchasing everything they possibly could to board up and secure their homes. Pharmacies sold out of First Aid supplies, antihistamines and Calamine lotion as everyone attempted to sooth the itching, burning rash.

Then the World waited. After a few days, it was discovered that no country had been spared. Every country, every major world power, including those most likely to have released a Biological Weapon, was afflicted by the mysterious rash.

Medical professionals looked under microscopes and ran tests, but were unable to find the cause. No one could determine the cause of the rash or why it was severe in some and mild in others. People bought lotions and creams to try and soothe the rash when steroid creams and antihistamines failed; Nothing changed the rash or made it better or worse. No one could determine how it was transmitted or even if it was transferable. In most people, the rash appeared and stayed and the people whose rash got better or worse had no idea what they did that would have made things better or caused a flare-up.

After weeks of being holed up in their homes, cowering in fear, people began to resume their normal activities and life seemed to begin to start rebuilding itself. Slowly at first, people continued to go to work, and children returned to school. It wasn't unusual to see people covered in the rash doing the grocery shopping, buying gas, taking the kids to daycare.

The Centers for Disease Control continued to study and look for the cause. In the fear and confusion, when the medical community couldn't find a cause or a treatment, people began blaming witchcraft. Desperate for answers, the churches were flooded with people who believed the rash was a plague from God. Most people found that while incidences of the rash were less in the church populations, the people who afflicted were some of the most severe cases. Voodoo practitioners were overrun with requests to undo curses. Snake oil salesmen went door to door with bottles of concoctions.

Small children were unaffected. While some children displayed small, light rashes it was more prevalent in older children. Strangely enough, however, the few children that were afflicted were the ones the neighbors weren't fond of because they were the ones most likely to break windows, damage property and torture the stray cats from the neighborhood.

Hijab sales soared. Women who once taunted and abused their Muslim neighbors now sought them out for advice on how to wear Hijab and headscarves as an attractive means to cover their heads after the rash caused them to lose their hair. The most vain women, when forced to leave their homes, wore burqas. The worst of the afflicted, people who refused to leave their homes, were tended to by those who were less affected or unaffected by the illness. Volunteers would make house visits to the homes of the individuals who were identified as suffering the most, assisting them with baths and helping them around the home. Somehow, the volunteers managed to lovingly tend to people who were angry and scared and unwilling to leave their homes because of the rash.

After months of being unable to determine the source of the rash, people began to attempt to move on with their lives. People began to embrace the good and the beautiful things in life and it was easier than ever before. Crime became non-existent. Somehow, the people who had suffered the most severe rashes were often the most unpleasant people. The neighborhood busy body that prided herself on her figure and well-tended garden who handed out squares of Ex-Lax to children on Halloween stopped leaving her house except at night when she would weed her flowerbeds by lantern light in a burqa. Online business and food delivery thrived because people who were rude to waitstaff and Customer Service stopped leaving their homes for fear of being seen; They still didn't tip, but it was an improvement over the verbal abuse and tears they'd leave in their wake before The Rash.

The world was being rebuilt by people without the rash. They were building better schools. They were feeding people. They were caring for the most severely impacted by the rash. And somehow, the world seemed like it was going to somehow be a nicer place in the end.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Comforted By Food



Everyone has their own brand of comfort food whether it's a recipe their Grandma used to make or something that brings back memories or a time when things weren't stressful or crazy.

I love the idea of comfort food.  That something like chicken soup or mashed potatoes can be soothing to your soul and make things right again... I love that.

The problem is.... I struggle with a Binge Eating Disorder.

I want to say that I'm comforted by all food, but that really isn't the case.  It's more like I'm comforted by a lot of food and it doesn't really even matter if it's good.

Stressed about money?  Fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are cheap and easy - have three. Large amounts of spaghetti with butter with just a splash of sauce so the jar lasts a week work great!

Bad day at work?  Eat something crunchy so I can "chew away" those feelings of wanting to chew someone out.   I highly recommend an entire Family Size bag of potato chips.

Hungover?  Eat at least two plates of less-than mediocre, greasy-ass Chinese food.

Fight with boyfriend?  Lay in bed watching reality t.v. or some other thing that he would hate eating something he doesn't like or can't eat.

Upset with my family over a holiday?  Eat as much of your favorite holiday food through tears.  I got into a fight with my sister once on my birthday.... I didn't even get a slice of my own birthday cake.  I cried the whole way home, but still managed to stop and buy myself a cheesecake.  I ate half of it in bed that night.

In a relationship that doesn't leave you feeling emotionally or sexually fulfilled?  That's easy... ice cream or chocolate.  Hell, if it's really been awhile or if you didn't get your "cookies" the last time you had sex, have chocolate AND ice cream because your lack of an orgasm earned it.  Maybe even throw cookies in there too because metaphors.

I've used food to comfort myself through jobs I hated, stressful life changes, bad days, even relationships I was unhappy in.  The truth is... I'm not getting any comfort from it.  What I'm doing is shoving down the things I want to say with food.  It's hard for your feelings to come out of your mouth and confront the people who hurt you when they have to get past $18 worth of Taco Bell softshells, refried beans and "meat product".

It isn't that I'm not trying to change my relationship with food.  I am.  Every day.

Sometimes though, I get tired.

Having a problem with food isn't like having a problem with a drug like crack.

If you have a problem with crack, you can quit.  You can go to rehab.  You can avoid places where crack is sold.  You can avoid other people who have problems with crack.  If you decide you want to stop having a crack problem, you can quit crack cold turkey.  You don't have to see it at every store, every social function, and everyone you know doesn't do crack three times a day.  You can quit crack, never look at it again, and live better for it.

But food?

You have to eat to live. You have to change your mindset from "live to eat" to "eat to live" every time you walk into a store.  Three times a day you have to look your drug of choice in the face and choose to have "just enough".  You can't quit cold turkey and be better for it.  You have to try and convince people who want to go out and socialize around food that you can do other things.  You have to be the odd man out at social functions when everyone is raving about the cookies.  You have to tell your family members who show their love for you through food that you can't eat the cookies they made just for you.

To me, comfort food is like Santa, the Tooth Fairy, or the Easter Bunny.  Maybe that isn't right, maybe I should say comfort food to me is like my Moby Dick.  Except in this story I'm a big white whale chasing a comfort food that I can have just one serving of and feel loved and nostalgic and comforted.


Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Feats & Fails


Let's get to the Feats & the Fails!  I've got a shit ton this week!


FAILS:

- I've done literally nothing to clean up after myself this week.  I'm a gross, gross human being.

- You know what someone goes away and you don't hear from them for awhile, and instead of absence making the heart grow fonder you mostly feel relieved?  That happened. And now I have to figure out what I'm going to do about it.

- I spent too much money on a shampoo that is supposed to make my fantasy hair brighter and last longer.  I'm not entirely sure it's working. I think I have to bleach again.  I hate bleaching.

- I was supposed to do better with my eating this week.  I haven't.



RIPT Apparel


FEATS:

+ THE BIRDS HAVE LEFT THE NEST IN MY DRYER.  I am able to do laundry again if I so choose,.

+  Great week at work this week.  Sales are UP.

+ I got to spend some time with my nephew and nieces this week, which always makes me a happier person.

+  Friday is FINALLY here. 




Sunday, June 11, 2017

Overthinking


I overthink things.

When I was younger, my mom once told me that my problem with doing things is that I'm a perfectionist and if I can't do it perfectly, I don't do it at all. 

She's right.   

She also says that when I decide I want to do something, I always want to do it RIGHT NOW. 

An impulsive overthinker.  

I'm not even entirely sure how that works.  

I've been doing things impulsively lately. 

I read something online the other day that said the first thing we think is what we're conditioned to think.  The second is what defines us. 

It's funny, but what I've learned lately is that by ignoring my first thought and impulsively doing the second, I'm much happier.   In the past few weeks, I've made the decision to get rid of quite a few things in my life that have been making me unhappy. 

Instead of doing the first thing, the thing I've been doing my entire life, I've chosen to do the second and it's working out pretty well.  I've been getting rid of things that I don't need instead of saving it.  I've been getting rid of people who say or do things I don't want to be a part of, that hurt my feelings or insult me, or that I just don't want to be associated with...instead of hiding the offensive posts, ignoring it, being the one to make peace or just smoothing things over. 

Maybe impulsively throwing things and slamming doors on people isn't the best way to go about things, but it works right now. 

An InLinkz Link-up

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Plus One

 I have a problem with ex sex.  

There's no real polite way to say it.  You just have to kind of do it quick, like ripping off a bandaid and accept the personal shame you feel after it. 

Just to clarify though... it isn't every ex.  It isn't like you see in the movies; We don't break up, run into each other a few months later, decide to have coffee and things end with a "bang".  It isn't a situation where one drunk dials the other.  It isn't a situation where one ex keeps calling the still-emotionally-invested-ex to do the Humpty Dance. 

It's one ex.  

I don't know if that makes it better or worse.  He was my first love.  He broke my heart.  He isn't someone I want to be in a relationship with and hasn't been since I was nineteen. He's like a relationship shark and can sense even a drop of break-up in the air. Any time I've even considered ending my current relationship, he contacts me out of the blue as if he is being summoned.  Obviously, I've misunderstood that whole "to get over someone, you have to get under someone new" thing. 

 My significant other and I were having a discussion about people who seem to can't be alone the other day.  People who can't be single for even a few months.  People who date awful people and put up with terrible things for years.  People who complain about how miserable they are in their relationship, but put on a heavy layer of "Everything is Perfect!" posts on Facebook complete with photos of everything they do, eat, or buy with the person they're miserable with.  People who literally can't live alone because they can't support themselves.  People who pretend they live alone, but have people staying with them or stay with someone else all the time. 

Do I sound judgemental?  I don't mean to.  I struggle to understand it though.  There have been periods of time where I've been single for years.  I've never stayed in a bad relationship because I didn't think I couldn't or wouldn't find someone else. I've never relied on another person to pay even their half of the bills, much less mine. The only person in the world I've ever been fully dependent on is my mom.  Towards the end of my relationship with my narcissistic abuser, I realized that I would rather be alone and lonely than with someone who made me miserable and lonely. 

The discussion, however, made me think of my ex: my once first love, now 30-something fuck-boy.  It's been years since we were "together", but he was the reason someone once accused me of not being able to be alone.  I was a mess after my relationship with my narcissistic abusive ex ended.  I felt safer in my tiny, one-bedroom apartment with the deadbolt locked than I did out in public.  After months and months of sitting in my house alone every night, I started going out again.  Eventually, I took comfort in the familiarity of someone I'd spent years of my life with, someone I once thought I was going to marry.  

It was during this time that one of the few friends who had survived my relationship with a narcissistic abuser with me told me that she didn't think I could be alone.  We'd known each other since we were fifteen, but we hadn't ever been close.  We'd gotten closer during my relationship with my ex, but she had nothing to base her statement on and she was wrong. 

The truth is... I don't have a problem being alone.  Just the opposite, in fact.   

I'm good at being alone.  Single.  One.  It's being a Plus One that I struggle with. 

I have no idea how to be in a relationship.  I don't know how things are supposed to progress, change and grow.  I'm clueless.  The longest relationship I was ever in was with a narcissistic abuser.  I guess you could say I know how to let someone treat me like dirt for an extended period of time, but that isn't a relationship.  



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Horoscopes by Hot Ash - June 2017


Have you ever noticed that Horoscopes are always overwhelmingly and unbelievably positive? It's hard to take something seriously when the people interpreting the cosmos keeping putting out these Horoscopes that say everything is rosy.  Life is bittersweet and your horoscope should be too.  

There's just one problem: I'm a writer, not an astrologist. So, I give you "Horoscopes by Hot Ash".  My translation of real horoscopes for people who live in the real world.  And if I'm wrong, well... just keep in mind that these horoscopes are for Entertainment purposes only and you should take advice from some random woman on the Internet with a grain of salt (with tequila and a lime too, if you have it).

April Showers bring May Flowers, but with June comes June Bugs.  Gross.  The truth is, June is going to be a little bit buggy too.  Emotions and energies are going to be flying around and irritating everyone this month - I wish I was kidding.  Here's your slightly snarky Horoscope for June. 


ARIES March 21–April 19
You're going to be needy and impulsive this month. That means if you're single or attached with residual feelings for your ex, consider losing their number. This is also not the time to get a pet. Self-care is going to be your best friend this month because demanding the love and attention you want from others never works out the way you hope. Don't rely on other people for your happiness or you'll never be satisfied.  Practice self-love literally by treating yourself like the Prince/Princess you are and consider having a menage a moi.



TAURUS April 20–May 20
Right now you need to be like your friends' underwear: always near them. Being around is important not only for you but for the health of your friendships so go out for dinner, get drinks or reinforce/create your ass groove on their couch.  Practice your active listening skills instead of "listening" to your friends while playing Candy Crush. And remember that you don't have to agree with your friends to support them. Speaking of underwear, buy some new undies this month.



GEMINI May 21–June 21
You need to handle your shit and not neglect your relationships, personal hygiene or responsibilities because you want to Netflix binge and indulge in your enjoyable but otherwise useless hobbies (I'm only saying they're useless because they don't pay the bills).  I know it's going to be hard because Orange is the New Black starts June 9th, but get your shit together and don't procrastinate or things are going to fall apart between the 12th and the 20th.  If you don't, you'll be busting your ass to fix shit at the end of the month.



CANCER June 22–July 22
Life changes should just come with wine and snacks, but they don't so you should pick some up to have on hand.  June is going to be a time of introspection and to make the most of it you're going to need to quit bullshitting yourself because the only time you're wasting is your own. Be honest and figure out what is and isn't working for you in your life. There is going to be some drama, but don't make things worse by taking your frustration out on everyone. It's time to put your big girl panties on and deal with the energy vampires in your life this month.



LEO July 23–August 22 
Standing up for yourself when someone doesn't do right by you is easy, it's another thing to learn to enforce personal boundaries with the people you care about. You don't need to play games or beat around the bush, just be honest and direct about what you need. Being a good person doesn't mean you have to be a doormat or put up with other people's crap all the time. Pay attention to when people respond like assholes to the boundaries you set - they're telling you something.  Keep working on being the best version of yourself.



VIRGO August 23–September 22
It's a fine line between intuition and paranoia and in the days leading up to this month's full moon you're going to have quite a bit of both. Ick. The trick to surviving the whirlwind is to focus on staying calm enough to look at things rationally (so maybe lay off the caffeine a little).  You should reach out to the people you love most for perspective. Family, whether its the kind you're born to or the kind you choose, will be crucial in helping you pull your head out of your ass if you get lost in your own thoughts.



LIBRA September 23–October 22
Truth can be subjective.  Remember that this month or you're going drive yourself bat-shit crazy trying to get everyone to see it your way. You have a right to your own experiences and feelings, but you aren't going to get anywhere by trying to force people into agreeing with you for validation. It's also a huge waste of your time.  Be willing to compromise with your friends.  Anxiety is going to be a bitch this month, so try to challenge yourself to do at least one thing outside of your comfort zone. 



SCORPIO October 23–November 21
The other signs are dealing with some intense stuff right now, but what is coming up for you isn't anything you haven't dealt with before. Keep letting go of people and things that don't contribute to your best life.  What other people are or aren't doing is none of your business; Focus on your own shit because you need to stay down like four flat tires and keep handling your life the way you have been. Own your feelings. You're going to have to make some decisions this month you aren't going to like, but you're smart and strong enough to make the right choices even if they aren't ideal.



SAGITTARIUS November 22–December 21
Make yourself available because you're going to meet some new people this month that are going to be important in the future. New relationships and new people can be intimidating, but you can't win if you don't play.  I'm not saying you should give people from Craigslist your home address, but if you meet someone new and awesome you should give them a chance to make an impression.  Singles might find themselves catching the feels, don't be afraid to open your heart up.  If you're a part of a couple, you might meet new people to have game night with- a real game night, not the kind where everyone throws their keys in a fishbowl.



CAPRICORN December 22–January 19 
Your sign isn't normally selfish, but you need to be a little selfish this month. Taking care of yourself, your issues and your well-being needs to come first right now and it's really important that you don't forget to do things for yourself the way you do them for other people.  If you don't take time to take care of yourself and work on your personal issues, it's going to be like putting makeup on a zit: the problem will still be waiting for you when you look in the mirror after you take a shower.



AQUARIUS January 20–February 18
"The things we dislike most in others are the characteristics we like leave in ourselves"; People are going to drive you crazy this month because what they do and how they do it is going to be very grating, you should try to have patience and learn about yourself from your irritation.  It's going to be a real shitty time to go on a first date, so maybe turn off your online dating profile but be open to the idea of meeting someone randomly. Perfect is boring, look for imperfections and try to find the beauty in them... if you struggle with this, try making homemade cupcakes. 



PISCES February 19–March 20
You know when you go to a buffet and you see someone balancing a huge plate of food and they keep pouring and piling shit on top of it instead of grabbing another plate or making a second trip?  That's you right now.  Everything might feel like it's really important, but you need to find a way to prioritize.  Don't pull away from the people you love.,  If you need help right now... tell people what you need, accept what people offer you, be grateful and receptive for the things that the people who care about you want to give you.






plus size valentine's day lingerie

Sunday, May 28, 2017

There's a Certain Slant of Light

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My first semester of college, I took a course titled "Women In Literature". In hindsight, I was expecting a some kind of angry, militant feminist sharing the undervalued works of women long dead served with a side of "fight the patriarchy" and garnished with just a sprinkle of misandry. I was wrong. My Professor came in and the first words out of her mouth were an invitation to leave for anyone who took the course wanting that instead of a course studying the works of women in Literature. One girl left. Over the next semester, I would learn about literature written by women in a way I never had before. It isn't that they weren't acknowledged, but if my memory serves me well the ratio of female authors to male on the public school English curriculum, especially in the Midwest, is hardly equal. My professor astounded me and I learned a lot from her. Poetry has always been a mystery to me until that course. At some point, I came to believe that poetry was all metaphors and allusions. I read things with the ever present feeling that it was about something more, but I wasn't smart enough to understand the imagery or never knew enough about the author to know what was being alluded to. Then we read Emily Dickinson. There's a certain Slant of light, Winter Afternoons – That oppresses, like the Heft Of Cathedral Tunes – Heavenly Hurt, it gives us – We can find no scar, But internal difference – Where the Meanings, are – None may teach it – Any – 'Tis the seal Despair – An imperial affliction Sent us of the Air – When it comes, the Landscape listens – Shadows – hold their breath – When it goes, 'tis like the Distance On the look of Death – We read it outloud. Then she asked us what we thought the poem was about. The answers ranged from "her father" to "death". She let the class give their answers before saying... "It's about a slant of light". I read and reread it, for all of the things the poem talks about later it is really about a slant of light. That course shifted how I look at poetry and my comprehension of it. The first line of that poem has stayed with me throughout the years. I think about that certain slant of light when something I had not been able to see or notice under normal conditions is illuminated. Sometimes it seems you can know someone for years, and one day the planets align and a certain slant of light highlights something in their character. It is in these moments that the perception you have of who that person is shifts. Sometimes people shine in the light. Other times, the revelation changes your perception and shifts a person right off of the pedestal you had placed them on. Sometimes the shift is indiscernible until you catch yourself looking for signs or red flags that what you saw in the light was always there, just perhaps well camouflaged. Sometimes, that certain slant of light changes things and it is hard to pretend you didn't see something and go back to a time when you didn't see it.





Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Feats & Fails


There's something about the Friday before a three-day weekend! Let's talk about the Feats and Fails from the week!


FAILS:

- I forgot to mail an RSVP to a family wedding.  Oops.

- Last week, I shared that I haven't folded laundry in two weeks.  Make it three.

- I had a little bit of anxiety when my boyfriend, Nerdycakes, left to attend a training seminar this week.  I had planned on doing so many things while he was gone.  I ended up sleeping, eating in bed and leaving dishes everywhere.

- I'm not supposed to be spending money right now.  I'm saving to have spending money for Convergence 2017.  I bought two things I absolutely do not need: magenta hair dye and lipstick.

- I discovered that someone gave out the password to one of my streaming accounts. I'm livid about it, but instead of throwing a proper fit I opted to make a passive aggressive post about it.


FEATS:

+ I might not have folded the laundry, but I washed two loads.  That totally counts for something.

+ I might have had anxiety when Nerdycakes left for his convention.  The positive thing that came out of it was that I was able to write about it. Read it here: Please, Don't Leave Me

+ We had one of the busiest sales months in the history of the business at work (outside of holiday sales months). After landing four very large orders this month, I'm totally giving myself credit (I work with a team, I just like to give myself kudos sometimes). 

+ I found a new comic I'm into!  I also updated my About Me section AND I added a new page to the blog called What I'm Reading.

+ After years of not dyeing my hair and trying to grow it out, I've decided to dye it magenta and cut it all off.  The dye has been ordered.  The appointment has been made. It's just about doing it and going at this point.  I also decided I'm going to wear blue lipstick.  This is who I want to be right now and I feel good about it.

+ I still have insurance!  Simply put, there was a mix-up regarding my insurance and I received a letter saying I didn't have coverage.  A week later, I got a bill for my premiums.  Confused yet?   Me too.  I called and it turns out... I still have insurance.  For now anyway. Yay me!

+ I was approved as an affiliate for another website that I really love (hint: see advert below). I'll be writing a post soon about my decision to feature ads.  But right now, I'm just excited.

+ I'm writing again. I haven't been blogging at all and it feels good to be back.  I've posted this week.  I'm looking forward to writing another Sunday Confession (this week's topic is Shift).  I'm feeling really good about doing the things I love again.

What I'm Reading - May 26th, 2017

What I'm currently reading:


Four months after the explosion at the Garden, a place where young women known as the Butterflies were kept captive, FBI agents Brandon Eddison, Victor Hanoverian, and Mercedes Ramirez are still entrenched in the aftermath, helping survivors in the process of adjusting to life on the outside. With winter coming to an end, the Butterflies have longer, warmer days of healing ahead. But for the agents, the impending thaw means one gruesome thing: a chilling guarantee that somewhere in the country, another young woman will turn up dead in a church with her throat slit and her body surrounded by flowers.

Priya Sravasti’s sister fell victim to the killer years ago. Now she and her mother move every few months, hoping for a new beginning. But when she ends up in the madman’s crosshairs, the hunt takes on new urgency. Only with Priya’s help can the killer be found—but will her desperate hope for closure compel her to put her very life on the line?

Dot Hutchison appears to have done it again.  I loved the first book of the Trilogy, The Butterfly Garden. Well-written, unpredictable and it kept me on my toes.  One of the best books I've read in years.  I'm very exciting to read this next part of the Trilogy.  I'm less than 200 pages into Roses and it looks promising!  This is the first book:

 

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…


What I read last:

Collects Ms. Marvel (2014) #1-5, All-New Marvel Now! Point One (Ms. Marvel story).

Marvel Comics presents the all-new Ms. Marvel, the groundbreaking heroine that has become an international sensation! Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City - until she is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the all-new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! As Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to handle? Kamala has no idea either. But she's comin' for you, New York!


I got this volume free with the purchase of the latest volume of Saga.  I enjoyed it.  I love that the heroine is a Muslim Teen from New York. I'm very excited to read the following volumes. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Please, Don't Leave Me

Thirteen months.

That is how long Nerdycakes and I have been dating. We met for the first time at a funeral. He asked me to dinner a few months later. He prefers to think of our first date as when we met instead of an introduction and small talk over funeral sandwiches and church-lady potatoes. I love the idea of meeting over cheesy potato bake made by old Norwegian women; it is Midwestern "meet cute" at it's finest. What I love even more is the surprised look people give me when they ask where I met him and I tell them, "at a funeral".

We had been dating a little over a month when I lost a family member to suicide. He was with me the night I got the message. He took the phone when I squawked out his name. He replied to the message. He stayed with me that night, and the next night. He went with me to the funeral and didn't judge me when I spent the following work day in my pajamas with his laptop, writing and crying.

We went to see KISS in concert the week before his birthday.  He wanted a chocolate cherry bundt cake for his birthday. I had never made a bundt cake before, but that is what he wanted and that is what he got.

He went with when we took my sister's kids to Trick-Or-Treat this year. They were a year and a half old. They went almost a full mile. He carried a baby for almost half of it.

My family caught the flu the week before Thanksgiving. Everyone was feeling up to eating and spending time together so we still had family dinner on Thursday. That Saturday, he got the flu and lived on my sofa bed for three days.


I finally watched all the Star Wars movies and in December we went to see Rogue One on opening night in the theater.

He bought me the most delicious cake for my birthday. I got sick the next week. March ended up being the most humbling month of illness I have ever had in my entire life. I would tell you about it, but I am still not ready to talk about what happened.

These are some of the highs and the lows from the last thirteen months. It has not been perfect, but it has been pretty damn good. So good, in fact, that I did not realize what has been missing from our relationship until this weekend.

I woke up at two a.m. on Sunday morning with a migraine. I took ibuprofen, drank a glass of water and went back to bed. I woke up again and struggled to write my Sunday Confession before taking more pills, this time I turned to prescriptions. We went out for breakfast and did some light shopping. Then we headed home for a quiet afternoon. It was a relaxing Sunday at home until I started walking around the house in circles because I felt like I was forgetting something.

Nerdycakes had a few days of work training he needed to leave town for so he was leaving that evening to head home and pack for his drive the next day. I have known about this trip for weeks, months even. We bought him extra shirts to take with. We ordered extra power cords and travel cases for some of his devices. He is self-sufficient and does not need my help. I didn't do anything except tell him what color shirt I liked and ordered stuff online for him. The nagging feeling like I was forgetting something persisted, so I named everything we bought and he wanted to take with him out loud. I did this while pacing the house. I do not know if it was the medicine I had taken, the caffeine I had been sipping or a combination of both, but before I knew it I was teary.

Thirteen months.

Nerdycakes has seen me struggle with my anxiety. He notices that it takes me three hours to leave the house to come stay at his place for the weekend sometimes, he shrugs and asks me to tell him when I am leaving. He is patient with me when I ask him to pull over in the middle of our night drive through the country so I can call my sister and make sure everyone is OK. He notices when I hesitate. I think he gets it, but I never bring it up and we don't talk about it.

When I know he's taking the convertible out for a night drive, I check my phone every fifteen minutes to make sure the volume up. I worry when when he's sick, because we all need someone to bring us stuff and do things for us when we don't feel good and make sure we're OK. Sometimes I worry, but it is actual worry not unfounded anxiety and imagined fears. I don't start to panic and envision the horrific things that could have happened to him when he is running late. I never have dreams that something awful happened to him or that I am at his funeral. I don't call him in the middle of the night to check on him because I had a "bad feeling". I don't cry and beg him to stay because something of unknown origin is bothering me.

That is what our relationship has been missing for thirteen months!

It was so nice not having that anxiety in at least one area of my life that I did not even realize it was missing. I am left feeling ashamed and angry. I'm ashamed that I did not realize or appreciate how anxiety free my life has been and ashamed that it came back. I am ashamed because there were tears and I am angry because I could not hide them. I am angry that I caused him to worry because I seemed upset enough for him to suggest that I go to my mom's for a bit.

At the end of the day, I was able to talk him into some extra snuggles before he left which is exactly what I needed. Once he was out the door, the readjustment to the silence that falls over the house when I am alone was swift and I was fine. I immediately remembered how much I enjoy my own company and proceeded to lay spread eagle on the bed and eat ice cream while watching reality TV.

I'm left wondering though, what do I do if this happens again? Can I learn to apply the lack of anxiety to other areas of my life?  What do you do to deal with your anxiety?


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Front and Center

If there is anything that yoga has taught me (in spite of not going for months) it is that anyone who is paying attention to me isn't paying attention to their own practice and working on improving themselves; If I'm more concerned about others then I am not spending time working on my own issues, and I'm the one who loses out.  I have a terrible problem with concerning myself with other's issues to avoid working on my own.  I'm self-aware enough to know this.

It is all too easy to ignore the changes and developments you need to be making within your own core to build someone up and be supportive towards someone else when they want work on their center.  It means you don't have to place yourself front and center under your own introspection to figure out what needs fixing.

Except I've reached a point where there are certain things I can't tolerate about myself anymore.

I am reaching a point where I am unable to be a supportive role in the one woman show that is my life.  How does one act in a supportive role in a one woman show?  I'm not sure, but I feel as though I've been doing it.  I don't feel like I've been the LEAD ACTRESS in my own damn movie lately.

I haven't been making myself the center of my own universe and I've been letting things that are crucial to that balance fall to the wayside.  It's time I find balance again.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Feats & Fails

We've come to the end of the week.  I don't know about you but it has been a little bit of a long one.  So let's talk about the Feats and Fails from the week!

FAILS:

-  There are people in my life who are struggling with things in their lives right now. I try really hard to be supportive in ways both physical and by just trying to "be there" when people need to vent or want my perspective. That being said, it can be really hurtful when people reject your kindness. It is hurtful when people abuse or are ungrateful for your generosity. It can be draining when you're dealing with people who have emotional issues. I have a lot of people in my life that I love and care about and want to support, but I'm overwhelmed.  I need people to tell me what they need from me or how I can help them and be reasonable about it. I don't have the energy to play guessing games, chase people down so they can tell me how I can help them, or deal with people who are upset because I'm not meeting needs that were not communicated to me. 

-  I haven't folded laundry in weeks.  A fact my boyfriend pointed out to me like twice in the past two days (Thanks Hun!).

-  On Wednesday, my boyfriend was helping me install one of the window air conditioners (HUGE FAIL.  I miss my Central Air but the landlord refuses to have it repaired) and a bookshelf holding cookbooks and all of my craft supplies came crashing down less than two feet from where I was standing!  I'm ok.  I only lost some beads so far.  But the mess has been a bit much to deal with.

-  I had a fight with Amazon.  They're not shipping things with 2nd Day Air the way they are supposed to (I'm a prime member) and they messed up my orders this week.  

-  My damn demon cat keeps clawing the carpet.  I've pretty much reached the point where I have to pay for damages. 

- THE BIGGEST FAIL OF THIS WEEK:  I work for a small business.  A few months ago, we were contacted about producing a product as a prop for a popular streaming show.  In the episode where the product is featured, they refer to it as being made by a competitor.  I'm so angry.  We were super proud to have been able to create a product for the show and we wont get any kind of recognition or attention for it which would have been nice because we're a small business.


FEATS:

+  My boyfriend texted me this morning to tell me he did dishes.  He's also installed the window air conditioner, and fixed the bathroom drain this week.  We're going to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants with my mom tonight.

+  I finally finished my bean bag for my camera!  I have been trying to learn macro photography. I was having a hard time with the idea of setting my new camera on the ground when I take photos so I made a Star Wars bean bag!  I love it. Super excited to use it!

Image may contain: camera


+  I tried a great new foot product this week. 

+  As some of you may have realized... the website is starting to feature a little more advertising.  I'm really proud of it.  All of the advertisements and affiliate links featured on the site are for products and websites that I personally use and enjoy.  In the past, I've featured reviews for products and services that I enjoyed, but I was not receiving anything in return for giving these companies what equates to free advertising.  As an affiliate, I'm able to share things that I love AND receive a small commission.  I'm not selling things on the site.  I'm not becoming a salesperson. I'm NOT getting paid for everything on the site and I'm still going to be doing honest, unbiased reviews.  I will always disclose what products I have purchased and what has been provided for me.  But I'm very excited to be able to offset some of the costs of the blog by advertising.  How it works: if you purchase any item from one of these online retailers by clicking to their site through an advertisement or affiliate link I feature on my site, the cost will be the same to you but I will receive a small commission.  It's that simple. Your purchase helps support this site and is very much appreciated!

This is a FEAT this week because I get very excited every time I am able to become an affiliate for a company I really like.  

+  I'm writing again.  I haven't been blogging at all and it feels good to be back.  I tried a new link-up this week that went well.  You can find it here: http://www.morethancheeseandbeer.com/2017/05/hey-its-ok.html

+  I'm bringing back Sunday Confessions this week.  It's been too long and it's time.