The Priory of Sion, Sons of Liberty, The Illuminati, and Other Secret Combinations

Secret societies have been around since the beginning of time.  (Didn’t you see Aronofsky’s “Noah”?)  We sort of joke about them mostly being for nefarious purposes, but let’s face it – the truth is boring when it comes to these kinds of groups.  It’s way more fun to speculate about conspiracy theories between governments and religions committing heinous sins to dupe and control the general public, or murdering someone, covering things up, all kinds of crimes to right the wrongs in the world.  It’s fascinating, right?  The reality couldn’t be more far from the truth, though.  I know, because I’m in one!!!

I belong to a secret group of elite people on the internet.  Some of them I know in real life, others are online only.  But we meet together for one purpose, and one purpose only.  To have a safe place to be completely ourselves, warts and all, no matter what and no judgement.  We give each other in copious amounts what we aren’t getting anywhere else in our lives.  Love, kindness, support, strength, building each other up, holding each other in our pain, laughter, raging against whatever (together)… It is seriously the best thing ever, and I don’t know how I got along in life before they invited me in.  Don’t get me wrong, I have some amazing, close, and very personal friends.  People I also couldn’t live without.  People that have kept me alive for so long!  But the other people?  The people in my secret group?  Things that we now know about each other we will carry to our graves.  We would rather betray everything else than tell the things we reveal in our group!  These people, we understand each other SO WELL; and knowing that I belong to this amazing, incredible, awesome group of people?  Gives me a kind of peace nothing else could.

So you see?  Not all secret combinations are bad.

And you people in my group?  I LOVE YOU FOREVER ❤

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Good Mail Is Coming For You

One of my very favorite things to do every day is get the mail. Always has been. I made friends with the mailman when I was five years old and would wait on the corner for the school bus to take me to kindergarten; and never looked back.  I used to leave the flag up on the side of the mailbox even when nothing was going out; because whenever I’d pass by the front windows of our house all I would have to do is look out and see if it was still up or not to know if the mail had been delivered yet.  Some days I would sit on the stairs inside my house staring out the window for hours, willing the mailman to come by and leave something just for me; except he hardly ever did.  I think it’s because mail travels, and I’ve always wanted to travel, too. I somehow knew the mail was coming from some exotic, far off place and I wanted a part of that.  As a teenager I even had two pen pals! One from Jamaica, and the other from Greece (another place I’ve always dreamed of going).  Who can resist a hot Greek guy? Not me.

These days I find myself with a lot of time on my hands. I can’t do much physically so I don’t really go anywhere and everyone I’d love to be spending time with us either too far away or too busy to hang out; so once in awhile I like to send off a few note cards to let people know I am still alive and thinking about them.  After all, who doesn’t enjoy getting all the mail that isn’t going to the junk pile or bills?

It is probably now that I should tell you I have a little problem. And by problem I mean full-blown addiction, to stationery.  School and office supply stores are like my crack.  My favorite place at Barnes and Noble besides the bookshelves? The stationery corner.  I love the post office, too.  They give you Priority Mail packing supplies. FOR FREE. You can just pick up some labels, boxes & envelopes, walk right on out of there, and nobody blinks!  I’m super picky about my stamps, too.  They have to be cute!  Or at least make the envelope look attractive and enticing.  I’ve even overpaid for postage just so I could get a particular book of stamps that I love but has been out of print since 2011.  I’m on my last book of them so today I spent several hours scouring ebay for what’s left.  All but one book are out of my price range, and that’s sad because they are so lovely and make my note cards look so pretty in your mailbox!  Never fear, ebay (like Pinterest) is a rabbit hole I’ll happily spend time in and I found thousands of old school stamps, you know the kind you have to lick? and as long as you put the correct amount on there the post office is happy to send your letter along its way.  Most are horrifically overpriced, but them’s the breaks when your creature habit is to send beautiful mail to your friends and acquaintances!

I also love to send themed care packages.  I wish I could send one a month, but I like to do it right and can’t afford it that often.  They go out about quarterly.  If you haven’t received one, you will!  Someday… ha ha ha.  I’ve been thinking of sending smaller packages so I can send them out more often, but that thought just came to me today so we’ll have to see what I come up with.  During random holidays I like to put stuff together to send to my plentiful nieces and handful of nephews.  And by handful, I mean two.  I mean three.  (Sorry, H!)  We live so far and have so few opportunities to get to know each other, I’m trying to buy their love by putting myself in the mail for them.  I hope it works!

Today I prepared 7 cards.  Seven pieces of former tree are on their way (ok, actually it’s six as I am still waiting for a Canadian address – you know who you are) to people who touch my life in one way or another.  Friends who have seen me at my best and worst.  Friends for life as well as friends I’ve just met, and people I only know online.  I know they feel like it’s me who is doing the great thing by writing, but it is they who give me reason to keep going forward day after day.  Our shared pasts and present moments of time, stolen from our families to reclaim our younger selves, are what keep me tethered to this earth when things get hard (as they often do); and sending a stupid little card every few weeks is the least I can do to thank them.

COFFEE RULES!!!

I read an article from The Art of Manliness that my brother posted on FB, about being caffeine-free and the health benefits that come from it.  (Caffeine is BAD, don’tcha know?)  As someone who consumes beverages with caffeine on a regular basis, this article gave me pause.  While I was reading, I could think of actual research that pointed to the opposite of what the writer was saying.  It really got me irritated for a moment, and I began to furiously Swype out a blog post on my phone in response (we upgraded to Windows 10 last weekend, and there was an… issue… that has since resolved itself, but for the duration I was unable to access the internet thru my laptop and had only my phone to get online!).  Luckily, I was passing out tired while writing so I emailed it to myself to finish this morning.  Now that I’ve had overnight to marinate about it and put some more coherent thought into it, I’ve examined my reasons for reacting the way I did.  I’ve completed my morning routine, which included (wait for it) COFFEE and some time out in naturehood, and now I’m sitting down at the kitchen table in my sunshiny kitchen ready to give a more mature response.

At first, the article felt like a personal attack.  I love me some beverages with varying amounts of caffeine in them.  Coke, diet Coke, Coke Zero, Mexican Coke, Mtn. Dew, Diet Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and last and best… COFFEE!!!!  I hadn’t experienced any of the adverse effects the “manly” article cited.  In fact, I had experienced quite the opposite!  (I would like to add at this point that I am neither pro- nor anti-caffeine; I am, however, pro- you-do-you-and-I’ll-do-me.)  It takes a lot to get a person through the day.  Millions of choices that can make your day go either way, and you never know which direction any one thing’ll go.  What works for one is an unmitigated disaster for another.  It was at this point that I dialed the interior drama down a notch and reminded myself that my brother sharing this article was not a commentary on my choices; it was not him being passive aggressive or looking down his nose saying “hey, look at how much healthier I am than you”, it was just him sharing something with people he cares about.  Something he’s done (or doing?) that makes sense/is working for him, and he wants us to know so we can benefit from this knowledge.  That’s what you do when you gain knowledge, you share it with others so you can all be smart!

(See how mature that was?  I just adulted!  I have just given you a premium example of how to adult, and well.  You are welcome.  Now go forth and do likewise.)

Now that I am inspired by my brother sharing something that works for him instead of feeling like a rejected loser; I would like to share how I feel about something that is the opposite of what works for him, but works incredibly well for me, and is about coffee (which has caffeine) instead of just straight up caffeine consumption.  In other words, my opinions do not include sodas or energy drinks; which are bad for you for numerous reasons, the least of which is the amount of caffeine in them. (Except Coke, of course.)

Here goes:

It is SO important to have things in life that give us joy! We all need a reason to wake up each day.  Something to look forward to. A raison d’etre.  One of those things, for me, is coffee.

I.  LOVE.  COFFEE!!!

I love it sooooooooo hard!! It has been recommended to me by my doctor for reasons. I jumped at this news with great joy; as I have always felt euphoric at the scent of freshly brewed coffee (at any time of day!) and coffee-flavored treats all my life.  Here are a few articles* that disprove some of the negative effects of coffee and share some of the positive benefits, of which I am a benefactor:

The Case for Drinking As Much Coffee As You Like from the Atlantic

6 Healthy Reasons to Keep Loving Coffee from Health Magazine

11 Reasons You Should Drink Coffee Every Day from the Huffington Post (my favorite being number five)

and just for funsies, an article published by the Harvard School of Public Health about how people who drink two to four cups of java each day are less likely to commit suicide than those who don’t drink coffee.

You’re all more or less familiar with how my life goes. It is HARD.  It is beyond comprehension for the average bear to know how hard it is for me to wake up every day and not want to die for one irrational reason or another.  Since I started drinking coffee, my mornings have changed dramatically.  One of my very favorite times of day is when I get home from doing the drop off at school.  I brew myself a cup or three in my French press (or more in my new Mr COFFEE!) and sit down at the table to open up my laptop and start the day; while I sip this amazingly rich and velvety smooth beverage from one of my ultra special, use-it-and-die coffee mugs.

Or same scenario, except for instead of sitting down to do internets I go outside and sit in my Adirondack chair with my sea turtle pillow on my incredibly awesome (but fake) lawn; the smallest of breezes stirring in the trees, and the birds taking attendance of who survived the night and didn’t get eaten by feral cats.  I take in a deep breath and contemplate the universe, or what I’m going to do that day… I just sit and marinate and enjoy the good feelings until my drink is gone; and then I putter inside and get to going.

The steam will be rising as I bring it in close for a sip; and as the warmth glides down my throat and into my chest, my heart feels a spark of life.  All of a sudden, I feel smitten with everything I see! This best-feeling-ever permeates my morning and colors everything I do with a rosy tint.  The corners of my mouth slowly turn into a most contented smile, and a song starts in my head about sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.

I drink coffee to feel great.  I do it because it makes me feel happy inside (as well as doctor reasons).  It gives me the courage and strength I need to face another day of living with oversensitivity in a world full of hyperactivity.  That might seem incredibly shallow or silly to you, but it works for me and that’s all that matters.  I hope with all my heart that you have something in your life that gives you this feeling because we all deserve to feel good and capable, even if it’s only for the 30 minutes it takes to drink a steaming cup of joe.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

*Note:
It’s easy to do, to find articles and blog posts that validate your point of view no matter what it is.  There is research, both real and fake, that promotes or shuns just about everything you could ever think about! EVER.  That’s just something to think about whenever you read anything written by anyone that either supports or destroys your POV on the subject.

The One Where I Tell You After It All Happened How I Almost Got Divorced

This week I was this —-><—- close to getting divorced.  We’ve been struggling for a long time.  A LONG time.  Oregon gave me a chance to see what life was like in a healthy relationship.  My cousin and her wife have a beautiful marriage.

It was not what I wanted.  I love Honey with all my heart.  But when needs go unmet for as long as they had, something’s got to give.

So on Monday I left him.

Cut him out of our room and my heart.  It was bloody, bloody surgery.

Many of us think of divorce in the abstract.  We all know someone, more than one someones I bet, who’s been divorced.  We might sometimes wonder what it would be like to have our lives change like that, but how many of us get down to planning the details?

I did.

Although we had yet to tell anyone, I had already decided that the reasons and whys of us splitting were not for public consumption.  I know that would have been difficult for many.  But believe it or not, it would have been harder to understand; and I just don’t have the energy to explain it over and over and over to each person, as much as you care about us.

I did tell a couple of friends what was happening.  I had to so I wouldn’t kill myself.  If you are not one of the people I told, please don’t take it personally.  I didn’t want to tell anybody in the first place so I tried to keep it as close to the vest as possible in case things turned around.  I carry a lot of shame living with mental illness.  I try to be open about it because I don’t want others to suffer alone, and I want those who don’t struggle to realize mental illness is as real as diabetes or cancer, and just as lethal.

On Tuesday I made a plan to go back to Oregon.  It’s the only other place I feel loved and accepted warts and all.  I knew I would be free to ugly cry my heart out there, and then given the strength and help I needed to build my new life up.

Wednesday I cried off and on all day in bed.  Thursday I went and saw Magic Mike XXL, and cried at that.

When Friday came around, a miracle happened.  Two girlfriends took me to lunch.  I decided not to drive my car into the river.  S and I saw Inside Out (where I bawled).  Last night Husband took me out, and asked me to stay.  He did not want me to go either.

Saturday is a new day.  New life has been breathed into me, and although I still fear the future I also have immense relief knowing that there is one.  There is much to be done before we will be happy again.  Marriage is a LOT of work.  I still need to take some time and think about what staying means, what staying looks like.

I know you’ll have questions.  I may or may not answer them.  I hope you can respect that.

Calgon, Take Me Away!

I ran away from home last Tuesday.  Me and 90 of my closest friends took the Amtrak from Sacramento to points north.  Many stops along the way but I got off in Eugene, Oregon, where my cousin’s wife was waiting to pick me up and ferry me to their house in Springfield.  I’ve been having a blast and am reluctant to return home tomorrow, but I guess I’m still obligated to parent the Villagers until they’re 18 or something so I’ll be on the 5:10 p.m. train for points south.

Kathy & Cheryl have been the best. hostesses. EVER!!!  Every minute of every day they’ve waited on me hand and foot.  We go to bed when we want, we wake up when we want, we do stuff when we want (or not!) and I’m pretty sure I’ll come out of this with a six pack for abs I’ve been laughing so much so hard!  Every night we sit out in the back yard with a drink and just relax while taking in the beauty of Kathy’s flower garden.  Once in awhile we’ll see the mama tree swallow leave the fence to forage for her new chicks, and we take turns slaughtering the abundance of flies that flock to the neighbor’s dog shit.

It’s been hotter than hell (I tend to bring bad weather with me wherever I go, lol) but they do a good job of keeping the house cool, considering there’s no central air.  Just keep the ice cold Cokes a comin’ and I’ll be just fine.  I was hoping to meet their famous friends tonight with a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity, but we forgot it’s a holiday and everyone’s got plans.  Oh well, I guess I will have to make a return trip for the company!  Instead we’ll continue our IT Crowd marathon (which Cheryl especially enjoys since she’s the IT queen at her job), play some cards, and relax after a fun afternoon spent at the Saturday Market in downtown Eugene.

I don’t cry very much these days, but I think when my train leaves tomorrow I’m going to be a little verklempt.  I really love my family.  ❤