Tuesday, December 13, 2016

10 Days before Christmas

We’re a family of knick knacks. We mostly love notebooks, pens, and scissors. The scissors, well I just always lose my scissors and I really only like the small ones that are easily lost. But most importantly, we’re a very blessed family. There’s not a whole lot we need as gifts. Like, we’re not going to need the latest iPad. Or the latest and newest printer. We can look around each other’s belongings and say “well I’m tired of looking at those socks. I’m going to get so-and-so socks for Christmas.” Did so-and-so need socks?

No.

We don’t need anymore yarn. We don’t need any new knitted or crocheted items. We don’t need anymore tupperware. What do you give to someone who doesn’t need anything? Your love, affection, and possibly a good laugh. So I bought my sisters “fun” presents. Like the absurdist cutest knick knacks they’re not going to need or use and possibly give away with time (or displace).

But it’s funny and I get a kick out of finding these things. My so-called retail therapy, because shopping is shopping even if I’m only out buying flour. And family is very important to me right now. I have a new appreciation for coming home and doing what I’ve done my entire life: taking care of them. It’s a lot easier now, and it should have been then too, but we won’t go into that.

It’s 10 days before Christmas, are you done with your Christmas shopping yet?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

True Measure of Wealth

We’re reading the New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream by Courtney E. Martin in one of the women’s church groups at church. It’s a very post mod, almost self-help bloguesque book on new fundamentals to the American Dream. Martin presents very new-fashioned ideas of what a career is (ie multiple freelance jobs) and inventive notion that work must be fulfilling even if the pay grade is not. I despise the book.

But, some of the discussions from this book are worthwhile. For instance, in the chapter titled “The Wisdom of Enough,” really had me thinking about what monetary gains would I deem enough. Does enough mean basic necessities, all the bills, an emergency fund, and long term dividend earning savings account? Maybe add a little bit of retail therapy money and I think that’s enough.

But what are the basic necessities? A gentleman once admitted that his grandmother would say that the true measure of wealth was affording a bottle of lotion for every hand soap in the home. Lotion doesn’t run cheap. But what about functional wealth?

At one point in my life I owned so many shoes that I only wore two pairs consistently and stored the rest underneath my bed. The two I did wear were walking shoes and work shoes. Walking shoes to get to and from class. Work shoes to...no explanation necessary. But I would never want to part with my shoes. They were mine, and they were pretty. I did eventually. And now, I really only use five pairs, work, walking, indoor, to impress, and the everyday errands shoes. These shoes have a value, and they are enough.

But shoes are hardly the true measure of wealth. The true measure of wealth is finding value in myself, the people around me, and the space around us. Finding intrinsic value is what drives and motivates us to be who we are. Finding value in the people around, nurturing and loving. And having both will just make the space around grow. The true measure of wealth is in these three things. And in that regard, I truly am blessed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Dinner

I don’t remember why I don’t like holidays. And I like them less nowadays. But, maybe I just grew into them. Lately, I’ve been watching way too many food programs. And since they’re seasonal, a lot of them are showcasing big dinner recipes left and right. Lately, I’ve also discussed way too many recipes with my knitting friends.

And this television and discussions really makes me want to write down the traditional dinners we have as a family. Seeing the dishes written out as puzzle pieces is particularly pleasing. And maybe if they were written down, I’d be able to teach my sisters the recipes. Then no matter how close or spread apart we are, we could all be eating the same meals.

We tend to keep our family alive by the foods we cook together. I’ve always believed that our Thanksgiving Dinner was over the top, but it’s just right for our family. Our Thanksgiving Dinner consists of the turkey, dressing (hey I just learned that it’s only called stuffing if it’s inside the turkey), buttered corn, green beans with bacon and red onions, mashed potatoes and gravy. On the rare occasion, we would eat dinner and dessert which was a slice of apple pie and a slice of pumpkin pie.

Now, since I’m all adept at cooking now.. It feels like I’m ready to adjust our Thanksgiving dinner and include something like a light salad (regular old greens), just kidding. We’ll think of something. Definitely adding cornbread muffins. Special request from my youngest sister. Any ideas on a third veggie side dish for my Thanksgiving Dinner?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Presbyterian Disaster Assitance Visits the RGV

I spent most of today thinking of a relevant and new happening in my life that I could talk about. Torn between two very important causes, I finally decided to flip a coin. Just kidding. I want to talk about the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance refugee ministry team and their visit to the Rio Grande Valley. And in particular their visit to the refugee center and what they brought down.



Front page news Wednesday morning!
Not only did the team of nine provide pillows covered with hand crafted, human crafted, pillow cases of various colors and patterns. But, this team brought an opportunity to my church (yep, all mine). The team gave me an idea. The team sparked questions on how to serve on a future team trip. And the team brought upon demands from some of my church sisters.

The opportunity entails for a future partnership with the First Presbyterian Church of Winchester, Virginia. The partnership is really beautiful, the PDA team will leave behind some odd number of pillowcases and we will help with pillows. Oh and distribute the pillows to refugees.

The idea, now prepare yourself for this, is that if we [as Christians?] are going to give [anything] to a group of individuals. Then, shouldn’t we give the opportunity to find Christ? So then, wouldn’t it be lucrative that when passing out these pillows we could connect refugees to local [Presbyterian] church near the city they’re going to. My idea met a bit of resistance, but only because it was a half baked idea. I’m still thinking about the possibility to make this idea a reality. (But maybe I don’t have to, what do I know?)

The team sparked questions on how to serve on a future trip. There is a lot of information on the PDA website by clicking on “ACT” on the homepage. But, before you go off I want to paraphrase two things I learned today. The first concerns younger adults like myself, there’s a special volunteer team for us called the “Young Adult Volunteers,” or YAVS. I’m looking forward to read more information on that as I had began looking into the Peace Corps recently. Second, is that there is no real age limit. As long as you fit the age requirement to active teams, you’re old enough. Or young enough.

And lastly, demands. This is a combination of all that my intuition gathered today: we are in need of more information on what our denomination is doing. If I hadn’t been in a meeting on Tuesday, and if the meeting hadn’t run super late, if I hadn’t stayed afterward to discuss future meeting items, IF I was anywhere else in that moment.... I would have never met Carolyn Thalman, leader of the refugee ministry team. I wouldn’t have known Carolyn and her team were in town. And thusly, there is a need for more information. Because if I didn't know, chances are that a lot of people in my church (yep, still all mine) didn’t know either.

Hey but that right place at the right time thing worked for me. And now you know about the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. And now I have a blog post. And now you might want to help with the refugee crisis, or other causes. I don’t know, what do you think?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Greed is an injustice

It has to be something I’ve always believed. But, I definitely feel that doing things that aren’t for the good of people is absolutely pointless. For example, if I’m going to work and budget every last dollar, I’m going to budget a percentage to give to the homeless. I’m going to budget a couple to pay for someone’s bus ride.

Thing is that it’s not a fixed budget item. Helping people is an every moment mission. But sometimes I forget that. I become greedy, in my own sense. Behaviors that bother me, like going to a different store to buy cheaper garlic. Garlic bulbs at the store I always go to, run 2 for $1...while in the store is out of the way garlic is 3 for $1. That’s just so annoying, but a lot of people can say that’s economical.

But it’s just so petty. This past Friday I was supposed to sell my handmade items at an outdoor event. A stray tail of Hurricane Matthew rained us out. Which is totally normal. It’s just that I had this feeling that I wasn’t supposed to buy a booth to that event. It was like an understanding with the folds of time. But, I tried to be daring and not listen to my gut feeling. Because I didn’t want to disappoint my sisters. I had given my word that I would sell their knitted items. I was being greedy, even if no one agrees with me.

Aren’t we all greedy? Maybe not in the way I am. But, aren’t we all looking through the fine print for that credit card that gives us cash back or airline miles on purchases. Is it a terribly bad thing? Yeah it is, because sometimes it’s the symptom of the nasty thing called being unfulfilled. And that’s where it’s so wrong, so unjust. It tears us apart. Not only are we unfulfilled but we’re being torn apart, that's outrageous..

I wish I knew a solution.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Unanswered Questions

I’m so glad Youtube reminded me about the Vice Presidential Debate while I searched for videos on the magic loop in knitting. Did you know that the magic loop is a great party trick? Well, try it. It’s “fun.”

I’m definitely glad that I managed to count to four as I worked on a knitted. My ribbing looks pretty good. I’ll be posting pictures on Instagram as soon as it’s presentable for the Internet. I stopped working on my hat to intently watch the debate toward the end. The part where personal faith became involved. I felt very satisfied with the answers. But, then I quickly remembered two questions that did not receive a proper answer.

The first had to do with Candidate Trump’s theoretical policy to deport all undocumented immigrants AND their children. As, Candidate Trump would do-away with birthright citizenship. Hey, that concerns me. I’m a first generation American simply because both of my parents are Mexican immigrants. Note, immigrants, not aliens. I hate talking about immigration because I think it’s so dehumanizing to tell a group of individuals that they broke laws to enter a country and they are not welcomed.

I’ve heard the position in the past that some undocumented immigrants balk at the idea of returning to their hometowns because the United States is now their home. And now Candidate Trump’s running mate Pence exclaims that birthright citizens should also return to their parents country of origin. I’m concerned, because Mexico was never my country of origin. But, I have hope. If for whatever reason I immigrate to Mexico, I’m going to know how to speak Spanish. I’m going to get in communication with my aunts and cousins. And hopefully I’ll be able to work.

The second question dealt with homebound terrorist attacks. In particular the latest incident in Orlando, Florida was mentioned, but this really concerns to any act of terror executed by a US Citizen (If it were a birthright citizen, would they be considered a citizen?). It’s heartbreaking how neither running mate, neither Kaine or Pence, could stop their bickering about irrelevant topics to address a valid concern that is so important. But, then again that’s also a red flag, so to say, about either party. They don’t have answers. Politicians don’t have answers, because Government is not the answer.

We’re the answer. How can we prevent homebound terrorist attacks? By being more loving, more understanding, more open to the people around us. It’s a widespread belief that in order to have global change, we must concentrate on changing ourselves. Then focus on our family, our neighbors, and our communities. It can work, you know. Building relationships with our communities can build our nation to be “great again.” We just have to continue being the answers.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Everyday Christian Living

I didn’t choose the Christian life, the Christian life chose me. In fact, I chose to spend the first quarter century of my life as an Atheist. Yes, a red letter capital A type atheist. All in all, it means that I have a very colorful past. I lived, live a colorful life. And most importantly, I’m not going to be shocked as much about anything anyone does when they deviate from … let’s use the word sainthood. In fact, I shrugged off a friend because I blatantly told him that no matter what vernacular he used, or what his masturbatory patterns were, it wasn’t going to irk me. Yeah that was brutal.

Let me clue you in on what is more brutal: Sunday School. There are just too many questions and not enough time to ask. Burning questions like, why does God get to be a boy? Why does Job always have to be arguing with God? Who told us we were naked in reference to Adam and Eve? Why did Hillary Clinton call Christians deplorable because they proclaim homosexuality and even transgender people a sin? Like really, who is more deplorable Christians, Hillary Clinton who changed her opinion for votes, or homosexual or transgender Christians?

As Christians, we don’t always talk about the great things about being Christians. Such things like, we are saved by the Grace of God. Things like, we can’t really accept Christ until we have been awoken by the Holy Spirit. Hello, says the person who chose to be an Atheist for 25 years. We hardly, if ever, talk about how great people who are are caring are. How great people who are generous are. How great people who become our community are. How great people who volunteer to bring cookies to funerals are. How great people who willingly serve on committees to run an institution are.
How great it is for people who love you to think warm and positive thoughts on your behalf. Yes that’s it. Being a person who is warm and caring has always been a priority for myself. I chose to believe that I didn’t need God because I was warm and caring and always thought warm and positive thoughts for people. I always volunteered and helped people. I always cared for the wellbeing of people. And I most definitely did not care if people lived colorful pasts, led exotic sex lives, or even were transgender. Because, we’re all people.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Salon de Madame Odalys Undiscovered Anthology

Original Logo of Salon de Madame Odalys
After six years, Salon de Madame Odalys opens it’s doors again to our writers, lovers, and friends. We’re looking for your erotic, lustful, or romantic stories featuring a variety of sexual preferences, genders, and behaviors. We invite you to paint wondrous words to the essence of sexeros even for possible publication in the first ever Salon de Madame Odalys Undiscovered Anthology.

All writers across the globe regardless of gender or gender identification are welcome to submit. To make the best anthology possible, we have a couple of guidelines:

  • We only accept submissions via e-mail at sopphey+odalys@gmail.com
  • Submit original works only! Collaborations are encouraged. Previously published stories are welcome, too.
  • Submit three stories maximum.
  • Each submission must be at least 2,000 words and no longer than 5,000 words long! If your piece is shorter than 2,000 words and you really want to submit it, send it along with a persuasive paragraph promoting yourself and your piece. No works longer than 5,000 will be read or considered.
  • Submit all works as attachments.
  • Please include in your e-mail your name or pen name, a short bio no longer than 95 words, and a quick summary of your stories.
  • All characters in the stories must be 18 and over.
  • All sexual acts must be consensual.
  • “Deviant sexual” themes are encouraged. However, we do not allow themes or stories that depict or encourage incest, bestiality, pedophilia, necrophilia, and/or rape.

Deadline for Salon de Madame Odalys Undiscovered Anthology is October 31st.
Salon de Madame Odalys is a publishing project of Sarai Oviedo writing as Sopphey Vance. All writers published in the anthology will retain all rights and receive a one (1) print copy of the anthology.

If you have any questions, e-mail me at sopphey+odalys@gmail.com

Monday, August 22, 2016

Reaching an Understanding

I think I finally understand what it means for some persons to reach the conclusion of suicide. I think it becomes a way to stop the cycle of being so focused on other people and disregarding the advice:

Think of all the people you will affect with your decision.

I believe the decision is reached because the individual is finally thinking of themselves. The conclusion is reached because it really feels like it's the end of the line. That the individual feels like there's no more improvement in their situation and that they'd just rather not stick around for more of the same.

In coming to that understanding, I'm also understanding that it's a permanent solution to whatever seems to be ailing the individual. Whatever it is, for whatever the reason, the problem is too big for one person.

And that's where having a community can help. It takes a village, it really does. I'm concerned that we are focusing very little attention with each other as living people. Yes, we seem to be doing an outstanding job at looking at ourselves as persons. With all our innovations we have developed ways to cater to people's dietary, emotional, spiritual, and existential needs.

But, it will never be enough. If we look at our population as individuals instead of as a people, then we will never be able to raise an understanding of how individuals work in our world setting. If we don't bridge the stance of "being considerate for the well being of others" and "being considered for the well being of one individual" then we will continue to build a dividing world.

A world that supports certain individuals conclusion to suicide. At least that's how it makes sense right now.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Borrowed Time

It’s been 12 days since I have been able to use my hands to their fullest capacity to crochet, type, knit, and do daily things like cooking and cleaning. The origin of this hand pain is either a mixture of poor work practices or poor self care practices, both being drastic actions against the health and well being of my hands. Since I achieve the majority of my income with the use of my hands, I am undoubtedly dying right now.

I have done everything possible to relieve the pain, ranging from dull and achy to sharp and shooting, except going to the doctor. As, modern healthcare is a for-profit institution and I’m in no condition to take another pill. I’ve come full circle with my vitamin and minerals regimen where I profusely pray that I take them at the right time or suffer the consequence of vomiting them back up. Along with whatever breakfast seemed delicious that morning.

But all these symptoms have an explanation. I’m stressed out. Everything stressed me out, worrying stresses me out. I have this predisposition to always feel like I have to run at warp speed, as opposed to mortal speed, to keep living. It’s hard to explain the urgency to get life going. It feels like I’ve sped so fast through some things that now I’m chasing time bomb to the finish line.

There are things that still need to be done. There are poems I still need to finish. There are books I need to read, to write. People I need to meet and here I am worrying that I can’t be productive enough if I can’t work with my hands.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Finding a Way

I made a massive list of what I’d like to call social commitments. It’s a list of meetings and events that I’d like to commit to because they define who I am as a person at this moment. And it feels a little overwhelming to know that I can be tied up six days out of the week with friends and family. At the same time it’s quite a relief to know that I’m a young individual with various interests. It’s a great feeling to know that I have a community of people who mean the world to me. It’s a blessing to know that those people all have a special place in their heart for me. I’m very thankful.

In the process of creating my list of social commitments I made other lists. Perhaps it’s a monumental list of everything I’d like to have in my life to make myself complete. An attempt to create a plan because there are a lot of unknowns right now. But I’m so excited that they’re there. I never realized that these unknowns answers. That there is a wealth of information out there waiting to be connected.

It’s just a matter of finding a way. Which seems like a no brainer, right? It hasn’t always been that easy. Not that it has always been difficult. But that’s something I’m finding out as well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Introvert Fire Starter

It is the year 2016 and I have officially ten years of being an introvert fire starter. The kind that is involved in groups, meetings, and creates ideas for groups and meetings. I don’t know how it got to this point as I had never really been a person who liked large groups of people. I’ve never liked the idea of being in charge. In fact, I do believe that I spent the first few decades of my life shying away from people. I was content with hanging out in my room with a book.

That was the life, reading a book every two days. Not caring if I was invited to an event or not. Not having to worry if I invited the right people to an event or not. Not having to worry about RSVPs, or reserving spaces, or being on time to events. Is this it? Is this how the rest of my life is going to be? Am I really going to be pouring over logistics like if it were a critical baking recipe?

Yes. Because as much as it’s a bit overwhelming to spin all over the map, it’s quite fulfilling. I love planning things. I love strategizing the best course of action for an event. I love the frightful 30 minutes in between setting up and having guest arrive. I have come to enjoy the doubt that fills me as guests trickle in on time, on their time, and even late.

By the end of the evening I’m so glad for the whole process. I’m glad for the memories I’ve made and I can’t just wait to do it again. Wait, maybe I can. No, I can’t.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

existential crisis

I can't accept who I am and thus I'm always having an existential crisis. I can't be sure what the origin of my distrust of myself and instincts came about, but it's something that's been around since I was a child.

I've always had to stop and second guess myself before doing something. Is as if I stood at a crossroads every second of my life where one path led to a safe course while the other led to unknowns.

Perhaps that statement could explain this doubtful nature of mine. The world is full of unknowns and that throws me off. Yes, that can mean I'm a control freak, or obnoxious, or paranoid at times. But, when you spend the past 21 years of your life asking yourself:

  • Sopphey, what will be a good idea to pursue?
  • Sopphey, will you be able to roll out of bed and get everyone up for school, for work: for life?
  • Sopphey, you've done all you could do for everyone else today. What will you do for yourself?

As much as I self inspect and dream and think about who I am. I'm still full of unknowns. The answers I'm looking for are not there because they're not who I am. But life is short. Sometimes it's okay to be something else, someone safe, to continue looking for yourself.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Yarn Journey

Three and a half years ago I picked up a crochet hook and a crochet thread at Michael's, sat in the car, and slip stitched a miniature scarf. Every time I reached the end I dropped a stitch. Sometimes I forgot which direction I was going in and ended up crocheting on the wrong sides. And, as it turns out I did it backwards.

Yarn was a commodity back then. No one I knew really wore handmade knitwear. My grandmother and mother only used crochet thread. But, I tried it one summer day. I picked up some Red Heart, the people's yarn, and attempted my second slip stitched scarf. And my third.

I was fascinated. There's a huge chasm in my timeline between starting to crochet and now as Summer/Fall of 2013 ended up being difficult for me. I began going to church, I began having major complications with my PCOS. I ended up doing something I had never done before in my entire life as living as an atheist.

I asked God what he wanted me to do.

The answer was instant: FLOURISH.

The next weekend I made my first two color ruffle for Pentecost and the cycle of buying yarn, receiving donation yarn, making scarves, making crochet items to sell began. A lot has happened since I began crocheting and I still love it as much as I did that first day. I can't wait to see what I end up crocheting next.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Working Pains

I could totally sit down very still for 8 to 10 hours straight to crochet. I did do it before, for design. But that was more like 12 to 14 hours straight of design. Design was painful. No one really explains that the majority of the work is one hand running around the keyboard inputting every shortcut imaginable and the other is swiveling a mouse back and forth over the desk. Or the pen and tablet combination. Which is still taxing, yet so much easier.

With crochet...there are three ways I can hold my hook. I can technically crochet normal, backwards, upside down and wrong-side down. I can create stitches at speeds of 100 stitches per ten minutes. Roughly translates to a big scarf in four hours. Give or take a few, I’m not a ninja crocheter anyhow.

Lately though, I’ve noticed that extensive periods of crochet do create aches and pains in my wrists, the bottom of my palms, and even my fingers. On both hands. So one day someone passed around a magnesium lotion that once applied to your hands would help with joint pain. Didn’t help so I went ‘shopping’ around the store to look for other medicated ointments and lotions and I found something cool.

I found a very inexpensive tube marketed as “arthritis pain relief,” that listed mint or spearmint or something related as the ingredients in it. I didn’t buy it. I went home and applied some minty essential oils to my hands, and shoulders, and elbows...I was very refreshing that evening. The pain didn’t magically disappear, and I can’t say that the essential oil cured the ache.

But…

...revolutionary thought of the day. If I just took breaks in between crocheting and relaxed my arms and hands after being locked up in one position for so long. And maybe did some stretches and jogged my cardiovascular system a bit..hey my hands would hurt less. It wouldn’t hurt myself to smell minty either with some essential oils. I’m still on the fence about them. We’ll write more about them at another point.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

I'm going to be political

I've blogged a bit about adopting the term transgender, how it's made me uncomfortable, and mostly how I'm not ready to make that change.

So I'm going to touch on that subject one more time. I had a lot of time to think of this. I've followed many people on social networks to see how they transitioned. I reflected a lot on the possibility of transphobia and other roadblocks.

I prayed a lot.

Then I didn’t think of it too much. I put the thought away until it came back to me several weeks later. Usually when thoughts come back on their own this way, it’s because they resolved themselves.

When you break down a person and pick apart all their characteristics, behaviors, sexualities, identities, and roles… it’s a nightmare. Having so many definitions and identifications helps a lot for political reasons. For marketing purposes, school applications, job applications...they could completely polarize and close doors! That’s a hard fact to accept.

But I’m going to do it now and forever hold my peace.

I’m a Latino, genderqueer, bisexual poet who crochets and is interested in treating everyone and everything like the meaningful and valuable object, person, animal, metaphysical being that they are. I’m going to teach crochet, writing, and how to respect everyone because everyone deserves to exist.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Ends of Things

Once upon a time I went through a "Black" phase. I’ve been told it was a bit dark, and admittedly, my outlook on life and myself was a bit bleak. But my writing certainly flourished during that time. Making me a very proud writer for the past 18 years.

However, sometimes it feels like I perpetually visit the black phase. There are days when I just sit around doing my thing wishing I could just lie down and die. Calm the alarms, I said die. Some people just want to die, some people just die, some people don’t die...die die die.

It’s always surprising to see the legacy of things. When a celebrity dies, certain worlds mourn a great loss, a great creative soul has gone. We pay so much importance to what people do, to how they behaved in public settings, and to the people they affected.

But maybe we pay attention too much? Maybe we’re too opinionated. Maybe we need to stop forcing our opinions on people. Perhaps we should all adopt the policy of informing people that we have an opinion and then if they consent to listening to it we lay it down. Like this blog, for example.

I will post on my social media that I’m writing about the ends of things. Then, my friends and family can see if they want to partake in reading the ends of things. You know the end of things aren’t so glamorous. Life is a bitch. Always being on top of the game is taxing.

Knowing when and what time and how fast the next move is coming is exhausting. Restructuring your eating, napping, walking, and sleeping schedule is just obsessive. But it’s what I need to do to not end things.

I’m an adult. I don’t escape feelings or responsibilities. I crawl through them when I have to. I find things bigger than me like my crafts for humanity project. I keep going until I can because the black phase doesn’t have full reign. There are no ends, just threads that join into the next adventure.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Crafts for Humanity

Working on the prototype plarn mat for World Wide Knit in Public Day 2016.
I had the strangest time Saturday. I crocheted my way up on this plarn mat while telling people about my plarn project. And it was just so strange to me that people look at the plarn and think "oh that'd be great for a rug outside my house." Or, "that would be great for you to make bags to sell."

I guess my introduction of "I'm making mats for the homeless to use as bedding or to cover themselves," was a bit too idealist for the general public. And maybe that should piss me off. But that just almost makes me feel so stupid. And then I get over it because all those ideas are very smart.

I'm going to teach people how to make plarn for various usages be it mats for homeless, rugs, totes, or baskets. I'm going to teach them how to crochet with plarn, because it can be a little tricky. And then we will have a happy medium between a craft for humanity and a craft for profit.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Quest For Perfection

I’ve been on a diet for the past 16 years. Obviously, I’ve had many failures and many accomplishments on this so called diet. But, I’ve only just reached my high school weight this year. I’ve been overweight THAT LONG and dieting is THAT HARD for me. Hey, but I do have some accomplishments. I have successfully reduced the amount of medication I take for my diabetes. I have never been so active in my life. And I cook almost, if not all, of my meals.

And that’s great, but still I strive for perfection. I am convinced, after 16 years of dieting, that the key to my success is to eat a certain level of carbohydrates. So last year, I poured over websites, books, and calorie counters to find the perfect balance of a Sopphey Approved serving of carbohydrates. Examples of this is a third cup of rice or one smaller sized corn tortilla. Ten french fries. So I count my french fries. It’s kinda nutty. But hey if I can eat 10 french fries, that’s better than zero french fries.

But now...I need a little bit more perfection. How many french fries make a Sopphey Approved serving of fat? Seven french fries. Seven french fries is still better than zero french fries. Other items on the Sopphey Approved serving of fat include: five Ritz crackers, eight almonds, 1 tbsp of Land O Lakes light butter with canola oil, 1 tsp of olive oil, 0.17 oz of rope sausage, 0.5 oz of hot cheetos… and this list is only beginning.

Why do I have to make this so complicated? I just do and it’s going to work.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

I don’t write about tragedies

It’s been around 17 hours since I heard about the tragedy that occurred in Orlando, Florida. Wait, it could be less but I distinctly remember reading a text “THE VANCE!” and putting my phone away thinking that was important. But you know, what I was doing at the time seemed important as well and I put my phone away thinking I’d respond as soon as I got home. Sometime in the morning the same friend and I talk again and he’s in a rage against the shooter. There are 50 dead and even more wounded.

And I want to say how sad it is, how emotional it is for just one person to die. 50? Heartbreak. But I’ve really come to a point in my life that I’m just as saddened for the individual responsible for this affair. As society, we’re gonna start coming out with all kinds of ill intentions towards that individual. We’re going to berate this person; we’re going to have no remorse for his soul. We’re going to bring it upon ourselves to send all our hate toward the person, the person’s relatives, the person’s race--nationality--religious affiliation. As society, we’re going to take to the horrid belief that if one drop is tarnished the whole pot is defunct.

That’s just a huge bowl of crap served in expensive and pristine shit morals.

It is times like these where we need to gel as society and comb over our mannerisms, education, and beliefs to find and nurture victims and victimizers alike. There are some truly sinister people in this world without any reprimand, yes I know that. Society knows that as well. But there’s layers and layers of culture, of behavior, of personalities that come together to build the kind of people who harm others.

All this time we’re going to spend on criticizing people’s families, of undermining their civil rights to be people can be spent healing. Can be spent opening our hearts and our values to STOP hate, to stop future violence, to band together to help each other move forward.

I’m a very decorated member of the LGBT community and a frequent flyer at LGBT friendly clubs and would be horrified beyond all belief if I were in a club and faced the similar predicaments as my rainbow family in Orlando, Florida. But how could I ever be able to face myself as a person if I spewed hate for an individual who did so much harm?

My heart goes to all the individuals of this whole wide world. I have no faith in our justice system or the judiciary system of public opinion. But I really have faith in humanity to heal each other. And that’s why I don’t write about tragedies.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Revisiting For the Seasons

I’m going to start with disclaimers. I put together For the Seasons when I thought I was never going to talk to my inspiration, ever again. And I didn’t, for a really long time and to test my bravery I published a web version of it on my previous blog Sopphey Says.


For the Seasons cover.
Then she and I touched base again. We talked a lot at first about each other, and even went into detail about all the ugly and gritty things that hurt our relationship. Yet, The feelings we had, the memories we shared, they’re all solid. They’re older, as we are. They’re more clearer, and that’s fantastic. And lastly, they’re in a really great placethe best they’ve been in a while!

Still, it took a long while for me to tell her that I had written a whole book about us. Yeah, she knew that I had written a couple of poem here and there and I had shown them to her, but she’d never seen the whole thing. I always felt like the book marked a very troublesome time in our friendship, and even though we’re no longer dating, there’s still something there.

And finally, I showed her a link to the book. I told her that everyone who has read it loved it.

One of her first questions was, “what do people think about my character?” So I explained to her that there was no real main characters. I offered her a copy of the book, because in principle it belongs to her too. Then I sat quietly while she sped read the entire book! She loved it, and I was glad. And now she’s my number one fan! Well, she has to be.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

God Forgives

I'm a boy. I might have been born in the body of a FEMALE and have no intentions of having surgery to fix my OUTER APPEARANCE. But I know what I am, and I'm a guy.

Did that seem like an easy admission? It's not that easy. There is not a day that I don't wake up and look into the mirror to see if God had changed my "thinking" my "feelings" and "made me realize" that because I have the body of a girl that I am a girl. It just hasn't happened.

The face in the mirror.
I'm in denial. All my life I was told that I was a woman. That I had to wear dresses. That I had to fall in love. Create babies. And all my life I had a dark cloud on my shoulders. A curtain over my eyes that made me hate myself every time I looked myself in the mirror.

I was so angry at God for creating me. At times I still can't do away with the feeling that I'm a mistake. That I'm defected. That my existence takes up too much space. That I can't happily live life as a guy. And then I cry a bit. Then I remember that God forgives me. Because somehow God has to forgive me for creating me the way I am.

And I know I can't judge the world, because only God can do so. But I'm sad because of the opinions people I care about harbor. I'm sad that they want to tell people like me, transgender people, where to go to the bathroom. Not only does that add to the feeling of being defective. But it can mean that I'm not even human enough to have a right to use a public restroom. But I want to be human too.

I want to be me. I want God to forgive me.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Get Your Bags Out

It’s no secret. I can crochet upside down, backwards, forwards, through one loop, through both loops, through the front post, through the back post, in circles..and the list goes on. So a couple of years back one of my good friends sent me a link to a crochet mat that was made out of plastic bags yarn (plarn), to see if I’d give it a shot.

Homemade Plarn
Years later. Haha. I really love making plarn. It’s so easy to make and attach. It’s a bit of a challenge to crochet with it. But it’s definitely doable!

I’m going to be making the rounds in the following months to ask my local friends to recycle their bags for plarn. Then, when I get around 500 or so bags I will be able to make a mat to give to those in need. This mat can be used as a bed! I think it’s the best idea ever and it’s a great way to give back to my community.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Being Important

I'm such an impressionable person. I wouldn't say that I'm one who keeps up with appearances. But, sometimes when I visit a friend's house and they have all these matching silverware and various matching display trays for food.. I really go back home and almost want the same thing.

The I break a dish or spill my drink on the floor and I realize that an immaculate home with matching dishes and silverware is not quite my style. But I can dream.

I also sometimes dream of being important. I'd like being that person that walks into a party and has to greet everyone because they're homies. Picture the scenario with me, you hug the host who opened the door. Make your way around the room to hug 18-25 people. It's not quite the center of attention, it feels like you know someones. And those someones really cares about you.

And I do think it's important to meet a lot of people. To care about a lot of people. To treat them kindly. To be in their precious presence. And if I could be one of those people, if I could mean something to someone. If they show their friends my Facebook page and talk about all that I crochet and knit or write. Then maybe I'm someone important to them.

Maybe there's something precious about me too.

Monday, May 16, 2016

My first finished knitted project

I wouldn't call myself a knitter. I've only tried to knit every now and then. It was always really confusing. Or I would look at the project and go through the motions with the needles and not really get anywhere. It just looked weird. The needles felt strange in my hands.

My first finished knitted project.
But, I promised my friend Michelle from +The Yarnies  that I would do something for their first KAL, knit-a-long. And well here it is. I have two more projects started, don't know when I'm going to finish them. I think I'm going to marathon crochet a blanket to refresh my brain. Knitting is nifty, though, and I'm pretty excited I got this done.

I'm not super good at watching podcasts. However, The Yarnies have a new podcast. Go give it a look!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Being on the Titanic

Lately I'm using the metaphor of being on the Titanic as a way to motivate myself to finish a task. The Titanic was a very stressful and traumatic experience in history, but it works as a motivating tool. What gets to me every time is how the rescue persons did notcould notstop putting people into life boats until the very end when there was no escape from the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean.


Titanic Chocolate Cake
Titanic Chocolate Cake
The metaphor can be explained this situation: I had 40 minutes to bake and cool a cake. I whisked that cake together in super speed mode. I waited forever for the oven to preheat. I gently and carefully put the cake into the oven and I waited. I waited, ran around getting everything ready. I was not going to leave without that cake. And I was not sure how long it would take to bake. I'd been influenced by TV where contestants crank up the heat for cakes to bake. But, I wasn't brave enough to deviate from the instructions.

The cake fully baked two minutes before my deadline. I cooled it off in the freezer before serving it.. I made it.

But I'm still in the Titanic every day lately. The constant movement of waking up, keeping sane, working, writing, cooking, finding a way to keep things moving until the very last minute of the day until I fall asleep. Keep everything turning until the very last moment when the deadline falls. It's all very exhausting. But I can't stop, won't stop until the very end.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Following in the footstep of icons

Just the other day I read the months-old news that my favorite erotica writer icon closed the shutters on her erotic prose to shine her candle of spiritual writing. It’s an amazing move for her career and I totally support her for going into this new direction. It’s really a great thing. If anything, I should rejoice in knowing that erotica writers such as ourselves can and will be able to enjoy the kingdom of God and write about it without any repercussions.

Yet, I don’t feel blessed with this new knowledge. I’m burdened. It’s taxing to know that there are options that are not your path yet. Even though it’s been a little over a year since I’ve published works in erotic magazines, it’s still a big part of my writing repertoire. Even though I don’t set out to write anything particularly racy, a phrase or two will magically appear into place.

The literary genre and the manifestation of this eroticism through certain parts of my life are still a part of me that have yet to be washed away with regular attendance to church. And if I can be bold to add, that sometimes certain aspects of the Bible fuel this other side of me more than it should.

But because I’m susceptible to the impossible. I wish I could douse the flame of my erotica and open the blinds to the night sky of spiritual writing. I want to the follow in the footsteps of my icon. Even if my walking on that path felt totally empty and dull, I’d feel like I could finally be socially acceptable at the dinner table. That I wouldn’t have to hide all my achievements from certain friends. That in an impossible world they’d remain my friends.

That’s just not who I am so maybe I should stop making friends with people who I need to hide myself from. Or not, I should just hide parts of myself and be everyone’s friend. Either way, my writing is my own and not going to be the main course at every dinner table across America.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mourning the death of a celebrity

When a person dies I think of three things in the following order:

  • Am I going to attend their funeral?
  • Will we be asked to make cookies for the reception?
  • God forgives if I don’t do the previous two.

As I write this, it is quite an awful procession of thoughts to have about a person’s death. Yet, life has prepared me this way after having a year and a half of deaths in my church. Some one after another beginning the year before, a December and ending in March.

David Bowie, Jan 08, 1947 - Jan 10, 2016
So when David Bowie died. When Prince died. When...all these wonderful people that we only knew about because of their roles in literature, music, movies, or television found a way to heaven…

I did not have to attend their funeral.

I was not asked to bake cookies for the reception

God forgave me for only allowing a minute silence in their name before I continued with my day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Can an underactive thyroid be tricked?

Sometimes I want to believe that I do not have issues with my thyroid. But, the lab tests don't lie and some of the hypothyroid symptoms are real. I say some because I'm not a doctor and some of the symptoms overlap to other things. Still, some of the symptoms include fatigue, sensitivity to cold, weight gain, numbness in fingers or hands, confusion, depression, headaches, and menstrual problems.

It's a very serious disease and I've received treatment from an endocrinologist before, but it's not the case now. Since it's something that I find worrisome and really bugs me, I've looked into over the counter supplements and holistic procedures to help me. Yet, my endocrinologist was very clear with me that there is no medication out there to replace name-brand Synthroid. So I'm convinced that no no supplements or holistic treatments can completely treat my thyroid.

But hey, we're living in a modern age. Why not give it a shot anyway? We only live once and we do what we need to do to get what we need to do done.

So I found two things that won't completely interfere with my other diseases and condition. The first is something I found on the University of Maryland Medical Center site. A university website is a tad high on the reputable sources list, right?

The University of Maryland Medical Center site suggests "contrast hydrotherapy" which is the application of hot and cold to the neck where your thyroid gland is located to stimulate thyroid function. To do this, alternate three minutes with hot (I believe you can use a cloth dipped in warm water) and cold (same a cloth with cold water) for 3 minutes and 1 minute respectively. Do this in two to three sets per day.

I'm not trying that. If I can get sick with being stuck in the rain for one minute, then I'll probably lose my voice if I tried that. If I had the credentials to look at the study that procured those results I'd be wary of the number of sore throat casualties.

But this thyroid stimulation method intrigues me. Can a thyroid be tricked into activating itself? Is eating a better and balanced immune system diet going to give my body the resources for it to start working correctly? Along these lines, do essential oils help as supplement? I’m not a doctor, but as a friend says, I pretend I am. If the University of Maryland suggests “contrast hydrotherapy” then I’m going to try a holistic approach and apply essential oils to my thyroid gland.

I have a blend I’ll place in the morning topically over my thyroid gland every other day. I’m not going to claim that essential oils are the end-all approach to maintaining a healthful and balanced life. But, if they’re a supplement in a list of healthful and therapeutic habits. That’ll be fine for me.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Joy of Cooking

I can feel a rush of air if I stand in the corner of the kitchen where the sink and the counter is. To the left is the microwave, the stove, and the refrigerator. On the right I have a toaster oven, stand mixer, and an assortment of cast iron skillets and baking pans. In this vague, description it looks like my kitchen is all set for success. And it is because I bought a brand new chef knife. I can make everything now. I can bake anything now!

And I don't as often as I could. There is no real need for me to bake a batch of cookies if I'm going to only eat two. Cooking a steak or pork chop is a real chore and a guessing game of—is it done? Is it done? Is it overcooked!? Oh no it died.

But then, why do I want to cook? Why do I need to put myself through the chore of cleaning every single dish in my kitchen. Then dirtying every single dish again. I have to stand, bend, lightly move around the stove as to not get burned. And I get burned every single time.

Cooking is a process. It's an understanding of physics and chemistry in a very demanding application. High heat, low heat...combining ingredients to procure textures, flavors, it's all so intricate. But what's it worth? Is the chore of peeling and cutting potatoes for mashed potatoes worth the 1/3 cup portion at the end? Is there something I'm missing, a joy?

I once spent a good two hours making orange and grapefruit juice to my very politically and natural eating conscious friends. I cut every single orange in half, then quarters. Then I took a hand lemon squeezer and squeezed super hard to get all the juice out into a strainer. Because, why would i want to give my friends orange seeds? I did the same with the grapefruits. A total of 6 or so oranges and 3 grapefruits. I thought it was divine. It apparently lacked sugar. In hindsight I would have added the juice of a lime. I love limes.

I cook for the appreciation of cooking. That my family and friends enjoy the fruits of the process, that's a different type of joy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Decisions We Make

If I look over my life I find that I'm not always happy with the decisions I make. Sometimes these decisions are made for me. Yet, it's always up to me to take these moments and make something off of them. And even then, I don't always make the best of decisions. But that's life. Or at least that's what I've learned that life is supposed to be.

But, what I've also learned that even though these so-called 'bad decisions' are littered over my life, these bad decisions were the necessary decisions. They are the turning points that needed to occur to bring me to the place that I am. This theory is similar to the idea that all of our past experiences, good or bad, lead to this one person we become.

"So what now?" I ask myself.

I got accepted into a local culinary arts program in the fall. I'm starting a cookie venture. I'm the managing editor for Five 2 One Magazine. I'm working on my first novel of my adult life.

I'm struggling with a lot of things in life, but overall I'm living comfortably. I'm so blessed that of all the decisions I've chosen to... I'll have to think of that more.

Friday, March 11, 2016

All the advice was right

Do you remember everything you learned in high school? Yeah I don’t either (not even 75% of my classmates). But I remember some things about job hunting that really have stood the test of time.

Things like:
  • Always read a document before you fill it out
  • Dress to impress, you dirty son of a bitch
  • Have references
  • Carry your resume
  • Keep your phone on silent
  • N/A, use N/A
  • Do not lie on your resume

But what high school didn’t teach me and y’all shall really know is:
  • Don’t put your SSN on an application so readily.
  • Okay, you really need the exact dates you worked at places. Web applications need to be precise that way.
  • Your work experience is nothing if you don’t list skills
  • Your references need to be personal or professional references. People like personal ones better some times, but know the difference between boss friend and hang out friend.
  • Future employers would love to know how much you’ve made at your previous job to see if they can get away with paying you shit wages. So don’t humor them and put your past wages.

The importance of a job application is to get an interview and discuss all these wonderful things about you. The job market is so saturated right now that it’s important to be yourself and portray yourself to the fullest of your ability to land that job. How hard can it be, right?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Drawing Lines

Ever have something you want really badly that you can't help but do anything and everything in your power for it? And even then, no matter what you do some things end up being more harmful than good for you. But you can’t help doing these things. You just can’t.

That’s how it feels sometimes in regards to my body dysmorphia. It’s like, no matter how I feel about my body and no matter how I dress myself, certain things just feel really uncomfortable. And it’s not like I sit around and question every little thing I do.

But subconsciously I know it’s uncomfortable and subconsciously I do things to make myself feel better. In reality, I’m just creating bruises and future problems. But what do I do? The right answer is to not do these things but not doing so creates a panic.

Not being who I know I am physically is taxing. It’s a silent aching thorn creating the most subtle scar over me. It’s the reason why I can’t draw a line between doing things that are harmful and doing things that are not. Because thorns have no rhyme or reason.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Tunisian Crochet

Tunisian Crochet is the marriage between knitting and crochet. Among the many differences between the two forms is the fact that in knitting you use two needles to work with multiple loops while in crochet you use one hook and one loop. In tunisian crochet you use one hook to work with multiple loops.

In crochet, you have an assortment of basic stitches including the slip stitch, single crochet, double crochet, and treble crochet. While in knitting you have two basic stitches: knit and purl. In tunisian crochet you can basically do them ALL. So, hey, want to do some tunisian crochet? I highly recommend you learn some basic crochet before beginning. My all time favorite crochet person on Youtube is CrochetGeek. Check her out, get some crochet done.


The Tunisian Crochet Knit Stitch

Then venture out into tunisian crochet. She has some awesome videos but I want to recommend you look into the tunisian simple stitch, tunisian knit stitch, and tunisian purl stitch. Get really familiar with it then come back.

Now chain 25 stitches. We’re going to make a dishcloth because no home is complete without a handmade dishcloth. Your dishes are going to look so sparkly dried. Or you can be like me and use them to dust EVERYTHING.

You will be doing one row of tunisian simple stitch. Then break it up a bit, two rows of tunisian purl stitch. Five rows of tunisian knit stitch. Back to town with a row of simple. Two purl. Five knit. Keep up the pattern: 1 simple, 2 purl, 5 knit. Then stop when your dishcloth has reached a sort of rectangle appearance. By this point you’ll have one loop left on your hook. You can finish this two ways you can:

1) Chain two and cut.
2) Make a nice edging on your square. Join the edging together, chain two and cut!

You’re chaining two to really make a solid knot after you pull the tail through the loop (pull like you mean it). You don’t want this to unravel on you or anyone and you generally want to weave in your ends. I really like tunisian crochet right now, and wanted you to experience it too. Let me know if you get started.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Without Wings

Ever wonder about the expression “the weight of the world on our shoulders” or “the yoke of the Lord?” Granted, the second expression is not always as popular as the first, but they’re about the same thing: responsibility.

In the most rudimentary term of our existence, we as individuals are responsible for our well being. No one is going to make sure you wake up in time for breakfast, or catch the bus into town, get a job. Pay for your food. Really, not even your parents are responsible after a certain points. We’re individual creatures, we make our own choices.

At times we make choices that last a few hours, that slip and slide with the movement of the sun, and some last a lifetime. However, because WE ARE individuals living as a single cells in this multicellular organism that is our world and universe--our actions affect everybody. As persons, we’re asked to make better decisions for ourselves that won’t harm us because believe it or not, our choices will influence our surroundings.

That’s the responsibility of world on our shoulders. We can’t do everything we want whenever we want. Because we have to be responsible and do what we want which won’t mess with the well being of others. That adds extra pressure on our shoulder blades where we carry the weight of our responsibility.

When the burden of the world becomes too much work or too heavy I like to remember an old story. It’s a story about how when we were little angels in God’s big heaven we had wings on our shoulder blades. With the addition of wings, we were much lighter and our burdens were much easier to carry.

But we are without wings now. And some days it’s a chore to even stay awake when the sun’s rays push upon our faces like finger tips.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Naming Convention

We get out of hands sometimes. We being my friends and I (and any innocent bystander in our conversations). It’s as if in the heat of things we come up with the most exotic topics to add laughter to our conversation. Little things like show and tell become “look at this ever so lightweight wool yarn” or “I found the widest acrylic yarn ever.” “Did you know that Walgreen’s has activity trackers?”

Whatever the occasion, we’re sitting and knitting and making stuff up. And we created monikers for each other, hey maybe even the things in life we do. Example, perhaps the greatest example, is that I’m the empress of crochet. Obviously because I have a crochet empire and if I were an emperor it wouldn’t roll off as fast. EM-PE-ROR versus EM-PRESS...syllables.

There’s the ninja knitter, there’s the chicken salad and a tamales namesakes, there’s the mother of all nations, and the most dangerous: the original cutter. That’s just who we are okay? Then there’s the names we’re using for the local grocery stores. You know, because just saying the HEB on North 10th is too much of a chore.

Thus our town is now the proud owner of the GucciBee, the HEB where you can find highly refined items such as tofu and gluten free noodles and not limited to higher priced produce. Then there’s the FernieBee… it’s an older location in the central part of town. You can also find highly refined items at much more convenient prices but their produce is a total hit or miss. We also have the BusyBee, as it sits in the south part of town on the expressway. It has a wide range of wines that no other Bee has.

Lastly, our town used to have its own GhettoBee (has now been decommissioned after the creation of BusyBee). GhettoBee had great produce at poor people prices and a wide variety of random opened packages that people got into because--hey not everyone has manners!

We just have names for everything. And if we don’t we’ll make some up.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Meeting the Man of My Dreams

Sometimes I read a Nora Roberts book and envision myself to be a romantic. In those moments, as I turn the page to some hopeless romantic gesture of the hero. I really think to myself, life is such a fantasy. As the story draws to an end, I’ll pretend I have a hero out there for me. And then I close the book and laugh. Laughter is the best transition in between make belief and the reality that I’m no heroine.

I’m the guy who was born a girl and somehow can’t wrap his head around how to tell the world without having to tear limbs and cut apart organs. I’m an unlikely hero in my own perspective. Yet, there is some whimsy that qualifies me to be some sort of heroine. If guys could be heroines, then they can find the man of their dreams. I really think I found him this time.

I can’t say for certain that he’s the love of my life or the man I will be with forever. But one night, I rolled around into a peculiar dream that evolved into something more. The dream began with a restaurant with hues of reds and golds. Red tables? Golden chairs? Light wood with a tinge of gold? Not all dreams are exact in all details.

In my dream, he knows my name. I had this dream before I started calling myself Sopphey, so he knew my birth name. And no matter how the dream replayed or how I retold myself the dream. I didn’t know his name. The back story from there is that we grew up in the same neighborhood. The dream indicates that after months or years after the restaurant we find ourselves again. And the details get sketchy from there.

So hey, we were at a restaurant and we’re bubbling away over the menu. And the waiter gets everybody’s drink order and he turns to me. “And for you Sopphey?”

“I’ll have an orange creamsicle.”

“I don’t know if we have any let me check.” He goes away.

We share laughs in his absence. A friend becomes certain that he knows me from somewhere. The ever logical me, insisted that he heard her call my name. He returns. I custom order a drink. He goes away again and when he returns he stands over my right shoulder to address our table. I custom order a meal and every other time he returns to the table he stands over my right shoulder. Sometimes he leans in to speak closer into my ear.

In the end I don’t pay for any drinks. We enjoy our time and pay. We leave. When retelling this story to a friend, she asked me if he was hot. I don’t deny that he was an attractive man. And then the whole encounter replayed in my head. We had dinner at Red Robin. The tables were red and a type of champagne wood. Other details emerged, him being on the right side of my body. I didn’t know who he was, but he definitely knew me--and I was definitely supposed to leave the restaurant without finding out who he was.

If Nora Roberts wrote my life, I have finally found him after waiting for thirteen some years. In a few months or another ten years I’ll find him again and something magical will happen. While there is a slim chance of any of this being true--I’m the unlikely hero. No matter how many times I find myself remembering this, it’s all so comical.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Packing Lunch

I can’t recall the name of my first pet. It was a rather big dog, white fur. He lived outside the small trailer in the corner of the lot until he died in the hot sun. I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen what happens to dogs who die on the side of the road on a Texas sun. They lie motionless on the pavement, their bodies warm--growing warmer. All these sorts of bacteria grow inside them, making their bellies bloated and almost larger than their bodies. Then something really gross happens and they explode. I’m probably lying about the exploding part. And most likely my first pet didn’t lay in the grass until he exploded. But he died out there.

Things weren’t any easier inside our home, we lived in a larger trailer. Think long rectangle, with three bedrooms and two baths. One living room and one kitchen/dining area. If it was any warm outside, inside fared the same with our lack of air conditioning and poor ventilation. At one point we had a tall refrigerator, you know the likes. Top door, bottom door. Freezer, cool nonfreezer area. It was green like the pale greens of the 70s. Then it died.

We upgraded to a minifridge. White. The freezer didn’t really work. It sat on a table where the other refrigerator used to sit. Then the refrigerator worked less and less. And that died. So we downgraded to a blue ice chest. One bag of ice and some bologna and cheese. Maybe milk, not that we drank it because we drank the sodas from the ice chest. It sat in front of the table where the refrigerator used to sit. That was a mess.

Then there was a black minifridge. It um did well.

My Mom would cook large elaborate meals sometimes. Stuff like fajitas, rice, and the likes. We had an electric skillet with a lid and other cool electric grills. My favorite was the one burner electric stove. Probably 8x8in. But there was just something different about us. After we finished eating lunch one sunny summer day, we left the fajitas enclosed in a pan of sorts. And maybe one hour, two hours went by. It was a warm day like every other day.

So we were going to eat left overs. Or I was going to, adamant for some odd reason to eat left overs. Lifted the cover of the fajitas. Now, when my first pet died outside there was no shortage of flies and ants and all kinds of creatures to decompose a body. When you leave fajitas in non-tight-sealed covered container indoors. When you don’t have air conditioning. When you live in Texas and it’s the summer. When all of a sudden you’re faced with these factors and you open the lid of the fajitas…

you’re going to find one inch maggots instead of fajitas.

There was just something different about us and it happened often enough to change things. A refrigerator is my food’s best friend. I can’t pack a salad at eight in the morning to go out about my day and then eat that salad at three in the afternoon. It doesn’t work that way.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Bookstores

Barnes and Noble is a magical place. Not only can you go in to find coffee, notebook, greeting cards, and movies, music, and gift items...but you can find books.

Now, the selection of books isn't as wide and varied as Barnes & Noble dot com. But it's the small details that make the trip exciting.

From pouring over a tome of a comic encyclopedia for the one or two pictures of your favorite character to the hidden poetry section in the corner, finding the books you love in print on a bookshelf is amazing.

Listen, I collect Kindle books. But no Kindle book can give me the same secret joy of holding a brand new Brunch at Bobby's book with a soft imaginary smell of Sharpie because it's been signed by the Bobby Flay.

That was magical.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Fears

I have many. The one that's nagging recently is the fear of getting close to a person. I'm not talking about a relationship type close. I'm talking about acquaintances or friend close. Disclosing little things like where I go drinking with AND who I go drinking with. Why I'm so casual with certain people and calling them my dates.

It's frightening because I choose to associate with all types of people and explore different aspects of life. It just so happens that the people I care about in each circle isn't necessarily tolerable of the other circle.

It's a tragedy. I've tried to find people who are as social as I am in different circles but I just end up alone. Out of that loneliness if I find myself at a bar I call up my bar friends. If I'm in a crazed daze looking for a yarn inspiration I find myself with my yarn friends. It's lonely to say that I have friends for all occasions.

But it just so happens to be true.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Are you pregnant?

I’ve been overweight my whole life. I’ve gotten many different people asking me if I were pregnant and it usually pissed me off. Generally, it’s an offense for women who are not pregnant to be confused with women that are pregnant. More precisely, no one wants to be judged on their weight.

But I was sitting on the sidewalk next to the bus stop. A crochet hook in hand, going in rounds with double crochets--making a little hat.

"Are you making a hat for your baby?" An older gentleman on a wheelchair of asked. I stared at him. "Well, aren't you pregnant?"

No. I wasn't pregnant I responded. I'm making a hat for a mission trip in Reynosa, Mexico.

Okay.

In a way, I was shocked and so moved that the man thought I would be making my child a hat. Maybe in the future I will. But most importantly, this conversation made me realize: I love making things for people I care about.

Especially because I'm so blessed to know how to crochet. To be able to crochet little things and big things. To teach my learnings to others, even though I am self taught. Each hat, scarf, prayer gift I make is a blessing to make for ME. It's God's gift to me.

It's my kindness taking form with a string of faith and technique. It's beauty in warmth and prayers. I'm so thankful for my gift, and can't imagine the welcoming arms of the little soul who will wear my little hat.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Change

My life has totally been transformed and I’m very afraid of how it has changed. I’m not happy with the decisions I’ve made, mostly because the results were not what I was hoping for. I’m not happy with the decisions I have to make to fix those decisions because they are taking FOREVER to implement. But the important part is that I’m changing the decisions I make. I’m thinking things through. I’m making a plan.

So here’s a plan. I’m going to finally save up to visit some friends in upstate NY! I’m going to finish two new books this year, even if I don’t publish them they will be finished! Maybe I’ll lose another 50lbs this year, I don’t have a shortage of weight to lose so this task will be easiest.

Learning to create boundaries between my relationship with my mother at work and at home is the biggest change I’m afraid of. I love my mother. Yes, I can disagree with her and have been disagreeing with her for the past 15 years or so. But, she’s still my mom. She’s one of the people I wish could help me solve all my problems. Which she does by saying “Only do a what you can, even if it’s a little bit a time.” Or she’ll say something like, “put your mind onto other things.” I’m going to have to learn to only do a little bit to help her at work during these tough times by not going to work every day. I’m going to have put my mind onto other things by not worrying so much that I can do so much more to help my mother professionally.

And I have to do all this for my benefit. So that I can work on my plans and my dreams. Ultimately it should be worth it. I haven’t gained much by helping other people with their plans and dreams (even though they’ve made quite a success for themselves now!). Change is hard.