Late Night Thoughts

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A Journey Begins

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Back Story

I have a complicated relationship with religion. I always have. I’ve said this here before, I’m sure. My parents were never religious, although my mom had her “deep thought” moments. If we went to church as children it was an infrequent occurrence, and I don’t remember my parents being there. So religion was not something part of our upbringing, nor was it something outwardly encouraged.

I grew to question more than believe. There were a lot of things in my life that led me to this, mostly inconsequential to anyone but myself. I question more and more as I get older.

I also don’t hate, judge, or question others in their beliefs. In fact I’m a little bit jealous of their faithfulness and dedication. Unless you’re the faithful for appearance’s sake, but not in your heart.

But I can without a doubt admit that there have been a handful of times I have prayed to God or thrown a thought or hope into the universe and even (lard people don’t come for me) prayed to my mom.

Tonight

Here in good old temperamental Kentucky (the earth lately tbh) it’s been raining cats and dogs and cows and ducks for days now, resulting in dangerous flash flooding and water in the roads.

I drive a little old (literally old) 2007 Chevy Cobalt. Me and that old girl have been through some schtuff, so I ain’t trying to throw hate. But she be light and if you’re not careful and you hit a centimeter of water in the road the wrong way she will fly off into outer space.

“We’ve been through some schtuff .” A thing we’ve been through.

Tonight on the way home from work, the pouring rain reduced visibility to darn near nil, and there was a conservative estimate of an inch or so of water in the road a lot of the way (I might have caused a tidal wave to hit Japan in some places). Needless to say, I was SKURT. It didn’t help that my ARCH NEMISIS THE BIG SANDY RIVER was to my right for 75% of my drive (that’s another blog post).

The point I’m so wordily trying to make here is that I may or may not have verbally dictated a request for leniency in the matter of life or death unto an entity that may or may not be God and/or my mom.

The basis of said request entailed my desire to live for the love of my life: my daughter. Also included was a not-promise-but-an-acknowledgment of my own responsibility in keeping myself alive. I’ve made promises of “I’ll be a better person” or “I’ll pray more” or “I’ll dance naked under the pale moonlight” before and I’m no good at keeping promises. Or dancing. Or nudity. Gross.

But on that long, slow, mentally taxing drive home I kept telling myself and who/whatever was listening that I just wanted to see her face. I mean my husband is cool and all but he knows she’s number one. “Please let me see her face. I need to be alive for her” was my goal.

Now, I know normal people wouldn’t have been afraid for their lives, but I’m not normal, clearly. I also have anxieties and fears that are irrational and I accept them and we’ve bonded. Not really they just won’t leave me alone.


“As I’m writing this it’s still pouring rain AND THERE ARE WEIRD SOUNDS OUTSIDE so, anxiety, clearly here to stay.”

Me, suffering silently 2020-?

As I was saying, I have irrational fears, not excluding the fear of dying in some way related to my car. I said we’ve been through a lot and there’s still more to come.

So I drive home, slowly, and tightly gripping the steering wheel, wanting nothing more to make it home alive to my sweet child. I cannot help but “tell” myself and this mystery audience that I suppose only my heart knows is there, “if you help me make it home safely, I will try to keep my end of the bargain, and continue to live.”

That doesn’t mean I wanted to die, nay. I fear death, heavily. I just wasn’t trying really hard to not die.

I Did Live

Unless I’m writing this in limbo, I clearly made it home to my daughter, whose first words upon seeing me were, “did you bring me something.” I did baby. I did.

Sample image of the thing I brought her.

When I pulled into the driveway and put the Old ‘Balt (that’s a thing I call my car sometimes) in park. I took a deep breath as I waited for the rain to lighten up before I got out. It didn’t.

little wet

By now, hours later, the rain has indeed lightened up, I can barely hear it now, and my tiredness is getting to me. I’ve not stayed up this late in a very long time. But I need to get this all off my chest before I go to sleep. I need to document what happened today, so there’s a least some written record of it.

I WILL Live. Period

I won’t be afraid of my heart exploding, or a heart attack, because I will try in earnest to stop drinking caffeine, my only drug of choice. And I will be able to climb stairs without feeling like death (except for that fear or stairs-you guessed it, another post). I will lose weight, even if I don’t want the flappy skin side affect.

And I will be happier, because I will either find a better job or get back into teaching.

Oh and I will also try to document my “journey” right here. So, y’all get to deal with my bonkers self ALL. OVER. AGAIN. Maybe WEEKLY even!

MWHAHHAHAH!


Thanks for reading!

-c


My kid asked me to tell her about her brain and heart before going to sleep tonight. And she said something about “the little thing in my brain and what it does.” Has she been chipped and is self-aware?

“In the Closet”

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I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to take a trip down memory lane. I found a few things I forgot I’d written. Pretty sure I’ve never posted this. Im not sure if it’s finished but I think I like it the way it is.

Writing Prompt Wednesday (1)

“In The Closet”

As children, some of us are very curious. Some of us, when told not to do something, we say “Okay” and walk away disappointed. Some of us say, “Okay,” but then wonder, “Why?”

When Jane was a child, she was often told to stay out of her mom’s bedroom. She listened, most of the time. But when she got older, her imagination always got the best of her, and she’d sneak her way into her mother’s room, just to peak in drawers or look under the bed. She always got caught though.

Her mother would scold her, “What did I tell you?!” Then she’d point demandingly toward the doorway, and watch as her marched her butt out of the room.

Jane often imagined her mother was hiding piles of stolen money, stolen in a daring bank robbery committed before she had children. Or perhaps the family’s Crown Jewels were hidden somewhere in the closet, and they must be kept secret, lest evil henchmen of the dictator who ran the rightful rulers out of the exotic land discover their whereabouts and kidnap and murder them. Jane was a very imaginative child.

But she soon grew older. School and friends and life became more important than discovering her mother’s “secrets”, and the fun little game she played with her mother—against her mother’s will—was forgotten.

One day, when Jane was not quite an adult but no longer a child, her mom got sick. The  toughest woman she’d ever known got sick, and never really got better. Jane watched in distress and fear as her mother slowly deteriorated, the vibrant light she once carried ebbing away.

The day her mother died, Jane had spent the day by her side. They’d been told there wasn’t much time left, and Jane wanted to spend the last moments they had together not worrying about trivial things. She just wanted to be there for her mother, to let her know she wasn’t alone.

While her mother was in and out of lucidity—she spent more time in that heartbreaking haze of “here but not”—Jane still wanted her mom to know she was there. She’d talk about her day, her friends, sing a song, read aloud. She did not expect her mom to respond, she just knew that if the tables were turned, her mother wouldn’t leave her side.

They’d spent the day this way, keeping each other company, though it was a one sided task. During a quite moment, Jane had just finished a passage from her book, when she glanced up at her mother who hadn’t moved much on her own in days. Jane was shocked to see her mother reaching out to her.

She stood up quickly, grasped her mother’s hand, and leaned in close. “I’m here, mom. I’m here.” For the first time in a very long time, she turned to Jane, looked her in the eyes, and smiled. Tears very suddenly burst from Jane’s eyes. With great heaving sobs, all the stress and pain and loss burst forth and she couldn’t hold back anymore.

But though Jane sobbed, her mother smiled. She reached up to her daughter’s face, and rested a cool hand on her cheek. Jane pressed her hand against her mother’s wanting to remember that feeling. She began to calm as her mother smiled up at her, and soon both were smiling.

When Jane had calmed, she began telling her mother how much she loved her, and her mother just nodded in response as if saying, “I know, Jane.”

Very soon, though, the light began to fade, and her mother felt it too. She lifted her hand once more, this time in a familiar way. She raised her hand and pointed her finger, and Jane flashed back to her childhood of sneaking into that very room to “investigate”. Now, instead of pointing to the bedroom door, she pointed to the closet. “Not now mom,” Jane whispered, taking hold of the hand that pointed and squeezed gently. Then her mother seemed to muster her last bit of strength and whispered, “In the closet…”

A few days later, her mother was laid to rest precisely where she’d have wanted, next to her husband, and the flowers had already begun to wilt in the summer heat. Jane was resting at home, her mother’s home. Though she tried not to think of that day, her thoughts kept wandering back to her mother’s very last living moments on the earth. The brightest smile, the touch of her hand on her cheek. And that barely audible whisper, “In the closet.”

She stood up, and despite being a grown woman whose mother had recently passed, she still felt like a naughty sneaky little girl, whose mother was about to catch her tiptoeing into her bedroom. But now, instead of pulling on drawers and looking under the bed, she made a bee line for the closet door. She half expected it to be locked, but the knob turned and opened with no resistance.

For a moment she stood there, just looking at her mother’s clothes. There were items in there she’d had for years, here the dress she’d worn to her daughter’s graduation, there the slacks she’d worn when they visited college campuses. In the floor were shoes she’d not seen her mother wear in years. “I might still need them one day,” she could hear her mother say.

She looked up at the shelf above the hanging clothes. Folded neatly there were old bedspreads and quilts, tucked away until cooler nights made them necessary. But in the corner, pushed against the wall, and tucked under a stack of sheets was an old fashioned hat box Jane had never seen before.

Careful not to pull the sheets down on top of her, she slid the box out slowly, surprised at the weight of it. She carried it over to the bed and plopped it onto the foot. For a moment she just stood there, wondering what was in it, and allowing her childhood imagination to wonder.

Finally she took a deep breath and opened the lid.

One Year

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Starts Now

In 2007 I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Besides being a writer (which is either hilarious or depressing at this point) it’s the only career I could ever see myself in.

I love education. I have never held a teaching position.

I got married almost a year later and ended up getting a job at my current employer. I told myself, “Six months. I’ll be here six months and I’ll get a teaching job.”

But I got comfortable (which is either hilarious or depressing at this point). I’ve been with <REDACTED> for eleven years, six months, and sixteen days (whose counting, amirite? FACEPALM).

Cha-cha-changes.

In my extended tenure at <REDACTED> I’ve been a victim of “Structural Changes” two and a half times (the half is complicated). Now it’s three and a half. I’m losing my position once again. I’m coming to terms with the loss. Slowly. But not the reasons. Maybe not the reason why I’m not good enough for a promotion, either.

But the benefit to it is that I do get something called “pay protection” for one year. Which means I get to continue to be paid for the position I lost instead of the one I’ve been chosen (forced) to do. After one year, if I haven’t been promoted to a position with comparable or better pay, I will lose my pay to a more “appropriate” rate suited to my position.

A Year for What, Exactly?

Remember that education stuff I mentioned?

Well, it’s been 12 years since I graduated. My statement of eligibility (like a learner’s permit for teaching in my state) expired after five years. Poor fella died of starvation. In order to get that renewed I have to take two tests or start on my Master’s Degree.

The tests are cheaper. At least for ya girl.

So I’m giving myself one year to take and pass these tests. I’ve been back and forth on this process for nearly a decade. I tell myself, “I’m gonna do it this time, I’ll get them done.” But I falter. I’ve not even come close to taking them yet!

But What Happens If I Fail?

If I don’t make it to take and pass the tests in a year, I deserve my lot in life and I’m as worthless as I’ve been made to feel by more than one person at <REDACTED>.

Cha-Cha-Challenges

The simple fact is that I’ve been in this field for so long that quitting and starting all over would be absolutely bonkers. I have no other bankable skills. So I’m stuck at <REDACTED>.

Problem number Dos is that the field of education has changed so much in the decade plus that I’ve been away that I basically need an entire new degree to catch up. I may, in fact, be bonkers.

I would love a mentor of some type in my state, with my knowledge of my state’s educational policies and such, to guide me on what I need to learn, or relearn. I can study and pass a test or two (hopefully). But can I hold my own in a classroom.

One of the many steps I should take this year is renewing my substitute certification. I think it only costs $15. Last I check (been a WHILE). I could sub and learn a little. And make some connections.

I’m literally working some of this out as I write this post.

I might do great. I might end up in a mental institution. Hopefully it’s one of those like Passages Malibu where famous people go because of “stress”.

Thanks for Reading.

-c

The Legacy Challenge 2020

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I’ve posted about my love for the Sims 4 here before. So, since I don’t have a huge amount of people who are as interested in it as I am, I’m going to bombard you, my fine and lovely readers, with my new endeavor! The Legacy Challenge.

What is a Legacy Challenge?

In the Sims 4, the legacy challenge is simply, starting out with a sim, and a certain amount of money ($1600) I believe.

That’s the gist of it. Literally all I found. Unless you’re doing an extreme challenge, which is not me.

Who is Felicia Unicorn?

Felicia Unicorn is Uncomfortable

My child chose the name of my Legacy Sim. When your five year old scoots up and says, “Can we play Sims?” As you are creating a sim, you let her help. Not only did she name her, I asked her to pick numbers to choose her traits and aspirations.

This is going to be a wild one.

The Goal

I’m assuming the goal is to create a family with many generations, starting with very little. I’ve never done this before, but so far it’s been fairly easy. Unless I’m doing it wrong.

Felicia has a job (which she hates apparently), in engineering, a tiny house with one room and a bathroom. A garden, which most of her income comes from. My child chose “outdoor enthusiast” as the aspiration, so that helps her enjoy gardening. Sometimes

She’s also a squeamish, outgoing, self-assured collector?

Also every possible mate has been married. And I’m not about that home wrecker life. So I made her one.

He’s a lumberjack.

To be continued…

-c

It Sounds Worse Than It Is

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“GMO Mosquitos” Edition

“Scientists to Release Genetically Modified Mosquitos to in Florida to Combat Denge, Zika.”

Read the Article

Reasons why you might be upset:

  • “Just what we need from 2020: MORE MOSQUITOES”
  • “GMO is bad enough for you, now we have mutated bugs?!”
  • Another reason to hibernate in a hole for the remainder of the year.
  • Mosquitos carry diseases! Why release them if they can spread the diseases?!

Reasons why it’s not that bad:

  • The “mutated” “GMO” bugs are male versions of the breed of skeeter that carry dangerous Zika and Dengue viruses (among other things).
  • Only the female of the species bite, (biting makes babies, gross) and the males are the ones being released.
  • these male “frakensquitos” have been engineered to produce only MALE offspring.
  • this is merely a small scale study. In Florida. So, don’t go to Florida?

Thanks for reading.

-c

“You Don’t Need…”

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… to be a Christian to be a good person.

You just need to BE. A. GOOD. PERSON.

Life lessons from someone who tried to be a teacher.

“You’re really nice. You must be a Christian.”

Some lady I was nice to at work once.

Your Image Isn’t JUST What You Show People

Someone the other day shared this image on Facebook. I commented with: “And sometimes very good people are covered in tattoos and go to church.
Every body is different every person is different and every heart is different.”

Your appearance does not define you. Your religion does not define you. Someone who had been baptized or saved can still do bad things.

It is your words, and how you say them, your actions, and how you take them. And your heart and how you use it.

If it’s not already obvious, I am legitimately NOT a Christian. I’m not an unbeliever either. I’m a not sure what to believer 🤷‍♀️. I’ve struggled with what to believe for many years and especially so after my mother’s passing.

Good People Aren’t Just Christians.

My mom was a good person. One of the best people I’ve ever met. I’m not just being partial. She was kind to everyone she met, she loved when she didn’t receive love in return. She helped raise half a county. She raised her own four children to be loving dependable and responsible.

She was not a “Christian”. Though she was never saved and didn’t attend church, she still had her own beliefs. One of the big ones was “treat others the way you want to be treated.” Also: “be good to your mom” 😉.

At her funeral, the preacher, a man who’d known my mother since he was little, did nothing but preach that she would want you to go to church and be saved. He said nothing about her going to a better place. She was a good person. But she wouldn’t be going to heaven.

I have not given my soul to Jesus. But I like to think I’m a good person. And I know people who identify as Christian who aren’t good people.

But Christians Can Be Good People

While I know some Christians who are “bad” people, I do know some who are good people, kind people. I’m not being judgmental or characterizing all Christians as bad people. Being Christian doesn’t make you good or bad.

I’ve always thought that a person who had faith as strong and unshakable as I’ve seen some people have must be strong and determined. It is admirable, giving yourself so fully to something such as faith.

How to Be a Good Person

  • Do good things: volunteer, donate to charity, feed the needy or homeless.
  • Be kind: use a positive attitude with others, let people know when you appreciate them.
  • Avoid: violence, hate, judgement.
  • And, you know, don’t MURDER people 🤷‍♀️

Basically, treat others the way you’d want to be treated, do not judge others by their outward appearance, but by their character and heart. Let others know you care for or respect them. Do good things with yourself and for others. The list goes on. But a person doesn’t have to be a Christian (or believe in God) to be a good person.

In Conclusion

You don’t have to be a Christian to be a good person. You just have to be a good person! But if having faith gives you wings, then fly, friend.


Thanks for Reading

-c

The Sims

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I know this is a strange topic for a blog post on a blog for a writer. But The Sims has been a big part of my life, for a long time. I started playing years ago when I was in college (maybe before?) when my roommate copied The Sims 1–without expansions (naughty I know). I spent most of my summer playing. I remember sitting in a chain in the living room while my mother slept (we didn’t have internet upstairs) downloading stuff for the game. There was a program where you could make your own clothes, make pictures for them to paint, etc.

I got a little girl I helped raise (she just recently got married, love you sera!) into it and it was a bonding/she stole my computer for hours experience I bought The Sims 2 for her for my house. There are still a few “Cullens” (yes of Twilight fans) families. My niece even played. I wanted to take them all out epically by drowning them all but 🤷‍♀️.

On The Sims 2, on my laptop, there’s a “town” I created and named after the town I grew up in. In that town I recreated my immediate family. Parents and siblings. I don’t know if I could log back in and play it, because I created my mom there, and she’s gone now. Although it might help that old sluggish laptop to get rid of the game. But that’s history.

Since becoming an adult, having a job and a kid, I lost touch with the game. That old laptop barely chugs along. I haven’t even booted it up in years. I bought a new computer a few years ago and when I bought it I purchased The Sims 4. I now have almost all expansion packs, many game packs and a few stuff packs. I’m obsessed. If only EA would give them too me, honestly.

On that game I had several heavily played families. The first, named after yours truly. Of course sim me didn’t marry my sim hubby. We’ll get into that another time. Sim me was basically living off her writing (now that’s #goals) had a teen daughter, a little girl, a toddler girl and a baby boy. I might have looked up some helpful hints in order to finally have a boy. 🤦‍♀️

There’s also a family I was trying to make a master gardener. She had crazy eyes, no family, and sold her fruits, veggies, and flowers in a retail store. She was so close to getting the cow plant (without cheating) when she aged up into elder. I didn’t want to lose the farm so-to-speak, so I adopted her a kid. Someone she could teach the art. But I was afraid she’d die and the kid would disappear (google what happens when the parents die and the kids aren’t teens in The Sims 4). So I created another sim to be her guardian. Idiot me made her a criminal. But I haven’t moved her in yet.

I had another family where the sister and brother (a teen) lived together. The sister was a veterinarian with a growing business and the bother was dating my legacy son’s daughter. These two also have blue hair.

I also had two sims in the science career. One was a pink haired lady—science ladies are cool—and the other a green haired dude. Of course I wanted them to get married and have little nerdy babies. But my MAIN goal? GET SIM DUDE ABDUCTED BY ALIENS AND IMPREGNATED. Which is a lot harder in The Sims 4. I managed to make it happen, after hours of gameplay, and he now has a blonde haired little girl who is really a bald headed blue alien kid.

The problem was, after an update (or cloud drive and it’s random deleting—I haven’t figured it out yet) I LOST ALL OF THESE AWESOME FAMILIES. All that hard work. Down the pooper.

Or so I thought.

It had been months since I played them. Since I lost them. I’d had a whole two other glitches. One had about six or seven families that I made with my 5 year old (she’s an interesting simmer). I cried this last time, deeply heartbroken and saddened.

It’s beside the point that I’d downloaded a mod to murder unwanted sims anyway—again plans (a graveyard/park). I planed on saving all those households to the gallery and making them and the families she made public. The world needs to see the chaos.

But tonight I not only discovered that I saved all those families… I SAVED MY ORIGINAL SAVE FILE.

Like, some of these save files were NOT showing up before!

My glee and excitement is only outweighed my by desire to stay up all night catching up with these families. But alas, I am in fact still an adult. And I have to be up at 6am.

But I get off work early… guess we all know what I’m doing tomorrow 👍🏻

Thanks for reading

-c

On Writing: A New Approach

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I’ve not written anything worthwhile—much less finished it—in a very long time.

But I’ve recently gotten an idea. It started as a glimmer and it’s blossoming into something with real potential. I’m jinxing it but with my track record 🤷‍♀️

Anyway, I’ve decided that I’m going to change up my approach to this particular idea, in a number of ways.

1. I am NOT going to share it with the world until I know it’s taken root and has solid ground. I usually post the stories and share them here or on my Facebook for the world to see (ie What the Heart Wants), page by page or chapter by chapter. I haven’t finished one and my readers (all five) have been left hanging. And it makes me angry.

2. I’m not going to think about it when I’m not actively working on it. With one of my stories, which was really popular with a few people (like, three), I wrote a massive amount of it and thought about it constantly. I had the ending figured out in my head before it was on paper. At that point I was burned out and couldn’t come back to it.

(I am actually considering a massive overhaul on that story, eventually. I was very proud of Her and hopes were high. I hate the idea of abandoning her).

3. I will not write an outline of what happens. With the story mentioned before, I got burned out and thought it would inspire me to write an “outline”—it was actually a short form of the whole shebang—as a guide to finish. That outline is gathering dust in a jump drive, with the rest of the story.

4. I AM going to flesh out the characters a little. Before and during writing, I plan on fleshing out my characters. With other stories, I had them all in my head and they developed personalities as the stories progressed. I want to have them fleshed out and described before I get too into writing. I don’t think I’ve ever spent much time in describing features of characters in stories. I want to help my readers see what I see.

I really think this one has potential, even if I only self publish. I don’t want to get my hopes up, but I want to finish it before I go anywhere with it. Wish me luck.

Thanks for reading.

-c