Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What to Do

On Thanksgiving, it came to light that it was necessary for me to remove myself from a specific relationship because it is toxic.  On the surface, the event itself could be seen as an argument, but when you look more closely at it, it was, as I characterized it in a previous post, an unprovoked attack.  To reinforce my thinking, everyone who was present was not only blindsided by the attack, but were also attacked one after another, although I was the first and did not witness the others. I just heard about them later.

Suffice to say that things were said by this person that were not "heat of the moment", "said in a moment of anger" kinds of things - they were age-old accusations and recriminations held over the course of a lifetime, many of which don't actually have anything to do with me but are damaging and hurtful nonetheless.

So, a few days after Thanksgiving, the person sent me a brief and awkward apology via Facebook. I struggled to reply and decided that I had no reply. It was not my intention to make the person squirm, but not only do I not believe their apology, I am not prepared to forgive them or accept the apology. Ultimately, I did not respond to them as I felt I was not ready to do so.

Tonight, another missive came via Facebook. I am torn because I do not have any interest in continuing a relationship with this person. At all. We were not close before, so I'm not passing on something that I will regret for the rest of my life.  In fact, I have felt a sense of peace that I do not have to deal with the person at all and have looked forward to the absence of this tension in my life. On the other hand, I know that to continue in this manner hurts other people.  Originally, I submitted to superficial movements and approaches because I felt it was the right thing to do for other family members. It has been a challenge and Thanksgiving was just the final straw for me.  Now, I don't really know what to do. I know what I want to do, but I don't know if that is the right thing to do. It is right for me, but not everyone involved.

I want to be a better person, but I'm not sure I can.  I'm not going to put any time-pressure on myself to make this decision, but it has been on my mind tonight since I got the other note.  Am I looking to be right or to be happy?  Are they the same thing in this instance?  Who would I hurt if I decide to sever ties? Who would I hurt if I decide to reestablish some kind of superficial relationship with strong boundaries? Maybe I'm overthinking it. Maybe not. What to do...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Traditions - Revamp

For a variety of reasons, this year is a bit of a slimmed down Christmas. It feels weird, but good.  I went out for a little last minute wrap-up gifts and found that I really have most everything I need.  I brought it all home, wrapped it all up and am ready to go.  This is momentous as I have NEVER in my adult life been done wrapping on Christmas Eve proper. I usually stay up well into the night after scrambling all day long to get all my errands done.

My office is open on most holidays, so on more family-oriented holidays, I like to bring some food and treats to the folks who are working. This year, we were supposed to be closed on Thanksgiving, but at the last minute, some folks wanted to work and we needed them. Unfortunately, I had already made plans for the day and I didn't do my usual treat-bringing. No one said anything until today (there were only 2 people there that day), but it was noticed.  I have felt twinge-y since then, so I knew I would want to bring something for today and tomorrow.  Since I live a ways away, that always takes up a couple of hours, plus the last minute shopping, etc.

One year, Roby and I stayed up all night wrapping gifts in extra heavy duty tinfoil.  Roby thought it would "look cool". It did - very chrome-like.  The downside was that all the foil kept ripping on the edges. Imagine wrapping a giant Cuisinart box in tinfoil.  Ahem. We only did that once. And we were young...

Anyway, I'm at loose ends now that I'm not frantically wrapping gifts or running around trying to deliver stuff. It feels weird and good at the same time, like I said.

Now comes the part where I start thinking about how I want to open up the new year and the things I want to do and the ways I want to document the year.  I have already signed up for the second part of Brene Brown's eCourse - "The Gifts of Imperfection". Check it out if you are so inclined.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

2014 - Recovering My Voice

I guess I just needed some time to cocoon this year, but I'm looking forward to 2014. I feel like something has shifted in me - something good.  I am feeling hopeful and ready to do some things to infuse joy into life. It isn't that there hasn't been joy this year - just that it has just happened rather than purposeful joy.  I like making it happen. I like thinking about making it happen.

Art will be an important part of recovering my voice. I started caring what everyone was going to think instead of appreciating the process. It isn't really about the product ultimately - it is about the process - creating, exploring, discovering. I used to find that with words, but right now, colors and images are calling to me.

This is good.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

An Odd Thought about Christmas

I was reading this blog tonight, as I do on Sunday evenings.  When I came across several photos of kids with Christmas trees, I realized something.  When people ask me what my favorite Christmas gift was from childhood, I can't really say.  I have this montage of Christmases that go through my head, but I don't have really any one toy or item that I remember in that way.  Maybe the stereo I got when I was about 14?

We don't have endless photos of us in Christmas finery or going to buy Christmas trees...I don't know how many real trees we had. I remember where I lived, I remember the Christmas we drove from Pennsylvania to Dallas, Texas with all of our unopened Christmas gifts on the roof of our Ford Pinto.  I was 9 years old. I remember crossing the mighty Mississippi River and asking my dad if he was sure he had tied down the box that held our gifts. I never liked to tell people this story because I felt like I shouldn't have been worried about those presents. I was. We had just moved back to the States from Germany and everything we owned in the world was on some ship somewhere on its way to Florida to sit in storage. The only hope of fun or comfort was tied to the roof of the car.  As the wind blew across the top of the car, I could feel it sway and I had images of the box opening and everything - all the wrapped gifts with their ribbons and bows flying out and floating down the river. I didn't say anything more about it because I didn't want them to know that I was afraid of losing it all.  The only gift I remember from that year, specifically, is a set of word search books.  I worked my way through every single one of those books eventually.

We never did anything on Christmas Eve - it was all about Christmas morning and then playing all day and trying not to irritate my father. He sat silently in his chair most years - observing but not participating. Not even to take pictures.

I fall somewhere in between now. I like the music, I like the decorations, I like people trying to be nice to each other. I don't like the social pressure, I don't like hypocrisy ("Let's hang out together for hours and hours and spend lots of money on each other, giving gifts that are completely meaningless because they aren't heartfelt"), I don't like feeling like I HAVE to be cheerful all the time. I wish I could enjoy it more. I do.

This year, I have been listening to more Christmas music and I have most of my shopping done. That has to count for something...right?

Saturday, November 30, 2013


After years of dancing on the line, swaying in indecision, the liberation began on 11/28/13 after an unprovoked attack. I will hereby no longer participate in events where imagined wrongs of the past loom large and where people feel the need to project their feelings of inadequacy and disempowerment onto me. I have allowed myself to enter situations for too long where I knew that slings and arrows meant for others would be flung at me by a disappointed, fearful, and downright mean person in my family.

No more.

Thanksgiving is a memory for me. I do not have to "celebrate" it any longer.  This *in no way* means that I'm not grateful for my life or the people I choose to be in my life. It does not mean that I don't find a quiet peace in thinking about all that I have and in expressing that gratitude. It means I don't have to be part of the dysfunctional and hypocritical posturing any more.  If we can't stand each other the rest of the year, I'm not sure why it is so important to spend forced hours together in a small space to pretend otherwise.

I feel liberated.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pentatonix Christmas Music - Outstanding

Breaking a Taboo

Thanksgiving is one of my least favorite holidays.  It is such a cultural taboo to admit that you don't like Thanksgiving in America - regardless of your reason.  My reasoning isn't as grand as thinking about the genocide of the Native American population, although it is something we should consider.  It isn't because I'm not grateful for my life or my family, friends, the goodness I have experienced.  To be honest, it should be my favorite holiday, in some ways, because we often celebrated Roby's birthday on Thanksgiving.  That part is good to me...

I'm not a big fan of most Thanksgiving food, so I spend a day smelling smells that aren't appealing, waiting for some food that we have to eat at a time when I'm not hungry. I'm in the mid-generation - the generation who doesn't have a place in the kitchen yet because the Moms are doing it. I'm the entertainment. But often, I am left to be victim to the more dysfunctional in the group. Or free child care.  I don't watch football and there is only so much televised parade watching a person can do.

I don't have a big family, so it had never been a holiday where people came from far and wide to visit and talk about old times. My father watched football, my mother cooked and my sister and I were left to our own devices for the most part.

I guess from this, it isn't easy to understand why Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday, but it is.  I really hate it. I can't wait for it to be done. Every year I dread it.

So, into the fray I go. Wish me luck. Or Godspeed. Or survival. Just unscathed survival would be nice.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mr. Starns

Roby would have been 47 years old today. I find it so bizarre to think about that, since he didn't even see the age of 30.  He would be amazed by technology and social media, ipods and tablets. He would love Survivor and Glee and all the music competition programs.

It's hard to imagine that he has been gone longer than I knew him. I miss him, still. It's like an ache in an arthritic limb or the ghost sensation that people talk about after a limb has been amputated - ever present, but manageable.

His worst fear was being forgotten. He is far from forgotten.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Good Music Introduction

A friend of mine played this video for me today and I really liked it, so I thought I would post it here for our enjoyment.  These folks are really good - I'd be surprised if we never heard from them again.

Boom Boom - covering "Gone gone gone"

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Well, Hello there, Little Blog!

My, what a hiatus this has been!  It would be easy to explain why I've been gone or make promises about being here regularly or daily, but I'm not going to do that to you or myself.

So, instead, I say HELLO!  I hope anyone who visits here is doing well. I certainly miss the exchanges and the good vibes you have sent me over the years.

I'm getting ready to take a class online with Marianne Williamson in the next couple of weeks, have a trip to the beach planned and an art course I'm doing.  All building the life outside of work that I periodically forget to do.  I'm looking forward to the classes and to possibly feeling like I have more to offer to the world here and in live conversation.  Either way, it's all good, right?

Namaste, friends.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

On Birthdays and Art

First of all, I understand that there is much in the world that is not worth celebrating - the Zimmerman verdict, the death of Cory Monteith (Finn from "Glee"), world upheaval...
and yet, these things also make me think that I should be grateful for my life, for my family and friends, relative health, and all other gifts - large and small.

Today is my 46th birthday. Birthdays are not all parties and cakes and celebration - they can be thoughtful, reflective and transformative. I'm not saying this one is all that - just that I have realized that the world doesn't just stop and celebrate the fact that I'm alive. I get it.


At the same time, in a parallel universe, I am enjoying the litany of well-wishes from my friends on FB, from my co-workers (one of them made me a handbound art journal with water color paper and a PINK cover!!), from my family and live friends.  It is good to wrap the love and good thoughts around you sometimes.

And on the art front, I took decided to take an online art class with the Art Journal artist that first got me into actually working in an art journal - Teesha Moore, and one of her artist friends, Jane Davenport.  The class was called The Mermaid Circus and I have been having a good time.  I used to draw some, but I was too much of a perfectionist and my sister was an amazing artist. I decided to use my writing skills instead. This class has lead me back to some drawing and I have enjoyed it.  I'm not done with the class and I don't want to give away too many of their secrets, but I thought I would post some of the work I've done so far.

A collaged Mermaid tail. I haven't done much here...afraid of "ruining it". Ugh. I have to get over that.

Teesha Style journal. She has YouTube videos showing you how to make them.

Inside the journal. Juicy color. Not exactly ocean shades, but who cares. It's my book.

More juicy color.

Teesha Journal #2.

Inside journal #2.

Second attempt at a Jane Davenport style face.

Fifth attempt at a Jane Davenport style mermaid face. I didn't love this one, but I wanted to post it anyway.

A few days later. I wanted to see if I could make faces that didn't all look like the same person. My original attempts all looked like the same mermaid. I think this was a pretty good exercise. Plus, hair experimentation. :)

Blown up version of one of the small faces

Another detail size of one of the smaller faces

Detail of a smaller drawing

Upturned Jane Davenport face. Not great, but first attempt.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Exorcising Mini-Demons

Prioritizing and letting go of physical things create some of my greatest anxiety and I don't like to discuss these issues, but I have been thinking lately that I should just say something and maybe the anxiety will decrease or change.

I consider myself a smart person, a resourceful person, but I get overwhelmed easily sometimes, so even in trying to find the answers to questions I have, I sometimes give up because I can't figure something out easily or quickly or to my own satisfaction. 

I know that it probably stems from when I was a kid and we moved around on the military's dime.  My parents were always worried about the weight of all of our belongings and many beloved toys and books and memories were sacrificed on that altar.  The decision-making process never made any sense to me and I think, because I wasn't really a part of that, something in my mind missed some of the finer points of letting go of things.  I think, too, that people were quite transient in our lives, so sometimes, the things that made it held more power than they should have because if people weren't familiar, at least the things they had touched were.  I also think that there is something about being a visual-spatial thinker (although I have a strong auditory memory, too) that is impactful. If I move things around too much, I will get completely disoriented and I won't be able to remember or find things. It is quite frustrating, to tell the truth.

So here are the ones that have been bothering me lately:

I have plastic bag recycling anxiety - what are we supposed to do with all those "single use" plastic bags?  I recycle them and try not to collect more. I reuse them for my lunches and I carry stuff in them and look like an idiot. I have a little cabinet where I crumble them up in a ball and save them for the reuse day.  I use them until they are dirty or until they fall apart. And I have hundreds of them.

I have RX pill bottle recycling anxiety.  I know that you can recycle them, but then I read something about soaking off the labels so people can't get any information off of them.  I haven't done it, so I have a single use plastic bag full of RX pill bottles.

I have a battery recycling anxiety.  I worry about people putting batteries in the landfill and I try to gather my batteries up and take them to the recycling center, but sometimes it takes me a while and...guess what?  I have a huge single use plastic bag full of batteries that I need to recycle.  I have tried to stop buying things that require batteries of those types - now with an iPod and some of the other USB powered devices, you don't need as many batteries. 

I know this sounds ridiculous. As I am typing it, it sounds ludicrous that these issues could create anxiety. Unfortunately, so much of the world creates anxiety for me - these are minor but daily things I think about. I try to tamp down many of the anxieties and I move through the world fairly smoothly, most of the time.   These just bubble up sometimes. I have been thinking about it and decided to take their power away.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Taking it on the Nose - Literally

I kept thinking that I should have something to say in my return to the blog. I needed to get away from myself for a while - I just started to feel like I wasn't contributing anything, just sinking into navel-gazing and not in a good way.

So, I don't have anything brilliant to say, but I wanted to come back to the blog and I have a stupid little story to tell, so I thought this was as good a time as any.

I was putting clothes in the top loading washing machine. I had to reach in to move a big clump of clothes around to even them out in the drum.  Somehow, I hit the lid and it came crashing down onto the bridge of my nose.  I literally saw stars for a minute and I thought maybe I had broken my nose.  After a few minutes, it was clear that I had not done any permanent damage - I have a minor cut and a headache and some swelling, but it isn't broken, no black eyes or anything. I just feel cotton-headed now.

So, nothing brilliant to say, but I'm back, bumps and all.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mermaids and Time Off

Well, I'm behind in my art class, but I'm doing it!  I am working through the lessons - I will hopefully have something to share, photo-wise, soon.  I'm proud of myself for not beating myself up but also for doing it.

One of the things I have been avoiding for a long time was drawing...my sister has always been seen as the artist in the family, so I gave it up and focused on writing.  I have felt that I needed some tangible way to express myself - something without words, so this delving into art has been really challenging but good for me.  I actually drew 5 faces today from the tutorial in my class. It was really interesting to see how similar each one was but also unique.  I'm trying to figure out my own style, which takes a long time, I'm sure.

Anyway, pretty exciting!

In other news - I'm on vacation for a few days. Some staycation time and some beach/friend time.  I have really been needing it - had a meltdown on the phone with my boss a week or so ago and I realized I really needed to get away from things for a little while.

The lesson in all this: Take care of yourselves, do something fun, learn and stretch.  I'm definitely working on all of those things.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Back to Art

So, I finally took the dive into another online art class. I'm nervous about it because I can't seem to commit myself to completing them in a timely fashion (if at all).  This class is sort of special because one of the instructors is Teesha Moore - the inspiration behind doing art journals for me in the first place. I couldn't resist taking a class from her!

The good news is that I have started making a journal, but I haven't been brave enough to make the mermaid journal as the ones you see in the photos if you click on the link to the class.  I will get there...I'm just behind. That's all. :)

I will post some pictures soon. This was the think I needed, I think. Getting back to creating something and taking photos. Some art and color in life are good things.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lost My Voice

I'm not sure why I have lost my voice here...I guess some if it is that I am feeling pretty good, making some things happen (i.e. putting my money where my mouth is) and I guess that is taking up my energy.  I don't know where I lost my motivation/voice along the way, but it makes me sad. I lost my camera, too. I'm not sure how that happened. I'm sure it is here somewhere...I just have to make a concerted effort to find it.

I think all this is related somewhat to not doing art, too. I haven't done any art journaling in a long time and I miss it - I feel the loss of it, but I don't have it in me right now.  I guess that ebbs and flows, too.

Again, I'm trying to be gentle with myself about this - not beat myself up. I do that enough anyway, so I don't really need to do it about the blog.

Anyway, if you are stopping by to visit, I haven't forgotten the blog. I'm just on hiatus.  Working my way back.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Paying Attention

I don't know why, after all this time, I still ignore my gut on a regular basis.  Obviously, there are times when I am paying attention and I follow my instinct. Still, there are these other instances when I have a reaction and I convince myself that I am making up reasons for ignoring my internal compass.

I did it about a month or so ago - my reaction was a loud, emphatic NO!  and I talked myself out of it. Luckily, it isn't a high stakes situation, but I am irritated with myself about it now that the situation is coming closer to me. I convinced myself that I was making things up in my head and I TOTALLY WASN'T.

For some reason, I feel like I have to give second, third, seventieth chances. Sometimes, it is a kindness to know how something is going to turn out and just circumvent the inevitable path.

I need to start paying attention to these things again. I got out of practice for a little while, but my eyes are back on the ball.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

New Graces

Well, what started with a bang this year petered out quickly - my newfound commitment back to the blog.  I have decided not to flog myself out of guilt. Instead, I will carry on, forgive that I have some barriers standing between me and what I am wanting to do and say. I am working through them, but it takes time. Treating myself with less compassion than I would give to another seems senseless and hypocritical.

This year, I am trying out some of the advice I have dispensed to others. "Physician, heal thyself." Right?  I'm working on it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Seventeen Years Ago

I know that people often misunderstand my need/desire/insistance to remember Roby every year on the day that he died. I still remember that fateful morning in such detail - I can tell you where we were seated, the blanket that I held, the quilt that the people brought from the mortuary. I can remember the sounds, the sights, what we said, what we did, the wrenching sobs I couldn't hold back.

But that really isn't what this day is about for me anymore. It was about that for a few years, when the wounds were still too fresh and raw and burning. Now, I have scars that sometimes bother me or feel tight.

On this day each year, I remember that life can change in an instant. That a person can be here one day and be gone the next and we still have to get up and walk around as if we didn't just lose a part of ourselves. On this day, I remember Roby Starns. So many times, he said to me, "Don't forget me. I'm afraid no one will remember me."

Although I am far from the only person who remembers him, it is my duty, in friendship, to be the most loyal rememberer, the most dedicated. I have not forgotten. I will not forget. Ever. I do not beat my chest in agony any longer. There is just an ache, almost like my heartbeat, always there, sometimes loud, sometimes so quiet I have to stop breathing for a second to hear it.
I remember Roby Starns.

Monday, January 7, 2013

WildRumpusing Turns Five Today!

What a journey! Five years ago, I was going through a hard year missing Roby and had just hired someone at work who talked to me about her blog. I didn't really even know what I was doing, but I started WildRumpusing as a place to vent, to remember and to find myself. I have done a lot of exploring here and I hope to do some more. Things have evolved over time and this year is no different. I hope to jump back into my art explorations and take some more photos. We'll see where this leads me Thank you to all who come here and support me in this endeavor. I am eternally grateful to you! Love and cheers!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Blogoversary Tomorrow!

Somehow, with the changes in Daylight Savings Time and Time Zone issues, the Blogoversary counter says that today is the day. It is really January 7. This is year 5 of WildRumpusing! I faltered a little bit in 2012 and I didn't make the 365 posts for the year, but I decided that I wasn't going to get down on myself about it or apologize up and down for not writing. I have been happy with my engagement here, for the most part, over the last 5 years and apparently, I needed a break for a little while. It feels good to be back and I think I have more to explore and share here this year. Thanks to all for sticking with me and supporting me over the past few years. I look forward to another year of epiphanies, explorations and exclamations!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Loving Musicals Now

I wanted to share this lovely version of "Will Someone Ever Look at Me That Way" from "Yentl".  This is Audra Macdonald's version - stunning.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Back to the Journal?

I have a jillion things to do.  My reward for doing a few of the major things on my list is that I will do something creative - maybe do some art journaling again.  I have been missing that connection with my thoughts, with creating something unique and tangible.  The play of color and visual imagery and thoughts.  It has been too long.

My hands are itching to get glue and paint on them again!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ahhh, Done

I have been working on "Book of Mormon" recently and the show was tonight.  It went very well, it was very crowded and I was pushed WAY outside of my comfort zone with some of the content.  Interpreting is such a challenge sometimes, but the beauty is that I am conveying story and words and concepts that are NOT MINE.

My biggest treat now that I'm done?  I get to go and see "Les Miserables" again without feeling any anxiety or guilt!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Back to the Norm

After 11 days off, I went back to work today. It was really hard to get my brain moving at the right pace, in the right space.  The funny thing is that I really do enjoy working - I like interacting with people, I like the challenges, problem-solving, etc.  I miss interpreting every day, but I'm not confident enough to interpret in the environment I'm in - out of my comfort zone.

At the same time, I realized yesterday (again) that there is such disincentive to take time off in chunks that are larger than a day or two.  First there is the whole getting-used-to-having-time-off thing.  Then there is the catching up part.  Sometimes, after returning to work, I feel like the first day erased the whole thing.  It doesn't really - but it definitely puts a dent in it.  The good part is that my reactions are more relaxed when I come back from time off.

I thought about my word (HEART) today and how to infuse that in my work, my life. Didn't do much about it as I am working on a show.  I think a sub-word is ENGAGE.  I'm trying to find ways to re-engage and engage more deeply.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Starting the New Year Off

I love this song and video by Phillip Phillips (I'm not sure I'm spelling his name right...). It has a nostalgic feel to it - something I can't quite define for myself...but I love it. Enjoy - "Home"

2013 - Year of Heart

I am giving myself permission to change my mind later...but I have been ruminating about the word I would select to focus on for 2013. I have chosen HEART. I don't think you can really go wrong with a word like that, although I almost always doubt myself on activities like this. This year, I am starting small - I am going to be doing Ali Edwards "One Little Word" course. It feels do-able - more so than some of the daily projects I attempted this year. I still have those on the radar, but I have to move through some other activities first, it seems. Anyway, Happy New Year to all. I hope you had a safe and joyous celebration to bring in the new year. May you all have a year full of heart.


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