Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I Let You Go by Clare MacKintosh

I just finished reading a book that I want to recommend to anyone who likes twists.  I Let You Go by Clare MacKintosh has a great one, and you will not see it coming!
Lucy recommends I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
Because of the twist, I can't really even tell you what the book is about.  Because it twists the plot line that much.  What you think the book is about changes, about mid-way through the book.

Although I use to read a ton of books in the "Suspense/Thriller" genre, I don't read them nearly as often now.  Sometimes they just seem so disturbing.  And I realized finally, I don't want to spend my time with them so much anymore. This book doesn't necessarily fall into that category, but when I picked it up, something made me think that. It's well written with good character development and explores one theme in several different ways.  It's not just throwing in disturbing things, and plot twists for shock value.  It seems very well thought out. 

Sorry I'm being so vague and telling you so little about this one, but I don't want to spoil anything.  So just get your hands on this book and read it.  And then, we'll talk! :)  

I think this is the author's first book, but she already has a second out and guess what?  It's on hold for me at the library.  I have a few other books to read first, but I will get to it soon.  I can't wait to see how she follows up a book like this!  Such an impressive debut.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I'm Having a Sale In My Etsy Shop

I've listed one lucky dozen items that I've marked down by 50% and they are currently available in my Resparkable Vintage Etsy shop.

You can visit the shop section called "Last Chance Sale" to find all of the available items that are half off.  Usually, when a seller lists something on Etsy, the listing remains for up to 3 months.  But with these lucky dozen, they will only be available through the end of this week.  That's what I mean by last chance.  They won't be available for long, and if they don't sale in the shop, I'll do something else with them. In one week, they will be gone.  Forever. So seriously, act now if you're interested.

As usual, all of the handmade necklaces I'm offering are one of a kinds, that mix vintage jewelry parts with some modern updates.  When I bought these special vintage pieces, they needed some TLC.  I haven't destructed anything, but instead, I've done my best to salvage them, and use them in a way so they can still be worn and loved.  I appreciate the integrity of vintage jewelry, so I do NOT mess with things that are in great condition. 

Speaking of vintage jewelry in great condition...I also sell some of that in my shop.  You can find earrings, necklace, and brooches in their original condition as well- Although I always shine them up and give them a little TLC before sending them out into the world again.

Help me with my little Spring Cleaning Project over at Resparkable Vintage.  Visit the Last Chance sale, and get yourself a steal of a deal this week!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Afraid of the Dark

I used to be afraid of the dark.  Well, it wasn't actually darkness that I was afraid of, it was bad guys.  Bad guys out in the dark of night, that might be made aware of me, because I was awake and moving around, breathing and being scared.  This is obviously how bad guys find little kids to kidnap.  That's what I believed back then anyway. I know this doesn't make rational sense.  I was a little kid.  And when you're a kid it's okay to have irrational fears at night.  Up to a point.

I grew into the nightly habit of waking, in a fright, anywhere between about midnight and 4am.   If I thought I could make a mad dash quickly enough to my parents bedroom before I was caught by those bad guys, I'd make a run for it.  But the more I thought about it, the more the run from my room upstairs to their room downstairs seemed too far and far too risky.
So I began yelling from underneath the covers of my bed, "MOM!"

And once my voice got loud enough, I could hear Mom rolling her eyes as she would say, "Ok, Kerri.  I'm coming." This habit I got into was not cool with Mom.  Because like a normal person, she wanted to sleep at night.  Not only was I screaming, but now rather than me come to her, she was having to walk up the stairs to get to me.  And then she felt obligated to stay with me until I fell back asleep.

Now that I'm an adult and have dogs that occasionally need me to let them out in the middle of the night to pee, I am well aware that being awakened, even by your own sweet child, is not fun.

Eventually, when I was 7 or 8 years old, Mom had had enough of my nighttime antics and said something that I heard like this, "Ok, Kerri.  You're going to have to cut this shit out and fast.  If you don't, your dad and I will be taking you to see a psychiatrist.  This is not normal.  And you're killing me."

I don't know how or what I did, but Mom's threat somehow scared me even worse than my middle-of-the-night fears had. So I stopped yelling for her. Cold turkey. I wish I remembered childhood things like these better.  I just have fragments of the story.  How did I cope?  Did I start sleeping through the night, or did I lay awake, heart racing in fear until I finally would doze off again?

Although the screaming, and the habit of waking every single night subsided, I never really got over having a wild imagination filled with fear once darkness would fall upon me. Even to this day, when Fermin is traveling and I'm in the house with just my dogs, Lucy and Ricky, at night, I get spooked easily.  If I hear a noise, my first thought is, "Uh oh. Bad guys."

Last night, around 3am, I don't know what noise we heard (because I was asleep, so although it woke me up, I can't really remember what the noise actually was) but the fact that Lucy and Ricky also looked a little edgy did nothing to calm my nerves.  They had wide eyed looks, Lucy said some jargled words (because yes, occasionally my girl talks, but I don't know what she's saying because I don't speak Dog), and they both sat up and looked at me like, "Ok, are you going to do something?"

And that's the question, right there.  Am I going to do something? At what point is it not humiliating to call 9-1-1 and say, "Hey, me and my dogs just heard something that woke us up and now we're scared. Can you please send someone over?"

My tactic last night was what it always is in moments like that. I just thought to myself, "What are the chances that a burglar, murderer or rapist is really going to chose our house.  We're in a safe neighborhood.  We have a gate.  We lock our doors.  My dogs can sound scary and mean. Why would anyone pick our house?  Seriously, what are the chances?"  And that self talk usually calms me down.  Eventually, my heart stops beating out of my chest. At some point, I get brave enough to turn the TV on just settle down.  And finally, within an hour or two... I'm back to sleep.

I think I ended up only getting 3 or 4 hours of sleep last night.  But I got caught up on some Nightline's I had DVRed. This afternoon though, that lack of sleep was really catching up with me.  So, I went and took a little nap while getting a foot massage at one of those cheap Chinese foot massage places that I love so very much.  I am not afraid of the dark, in the daytime, while my feet are being rubbed. EVER.

Anyway, this is how my adult self handles the dark.  My fears are still with me.  But I've learned better coping skills.

Monday, April 10, 2017

What I'm Reading

This weekend, the weather was just perfect for lounging in the hammock.  It's that magical (and very brief) season here in Dallas when it's about 70-80 degrees AND the mosquitoes haven't yet taken over the place.

Fermin had a lot of golf watching to do with the Masters on, and I have zero interest in that.  So he watched tv inside, while I read for a couple hours outside both Saturday and Sunday.  And of course, I had two little friends outside to keep me company. Although Lucy and Ricky laid in the hammock with me most of the time, they'd take little play breaks to play ball together. And by "play ball" that usually means just laying around near the ball, and occasionally rolling around grunting and wrestling.
play ball!
I finished the last few chapters of a book called Guy by Jowita Bydlowska.  Wow.  What a weird protagonist. Not just weird- but a pretty disgusting person.  It was interesting though and I read the whole thing in just a few days. I recommend it only to people who enjoy reading about narcissistic misogynists.

Then, I started The Wonder by Emma Donoghue, who also wrote Room, which I loved.  I remember reading about The Wonder when it first came out, but for some reason, I didn't rush out to buy it.  I came across it at the library on Friday afternoon though and brought it home.  I started it during hammock time on Saturday.  I only just started it, but I think it's going to be interesting.

I'm also reading a couple of non-fiction books right now.  One is Dr. Wayne Dyer's Manifest Your Destiny.  My friend, Elaine, recommended it to me.  And yes!  This one is right up my alley because I love all books about manifesting!  For me, it's always so inspiring to read on this topic.  This book looks short, but it's DEEP.  I can only read a little at a time, and then I just have to think about it and let my brain chew on the words for a while before moving on.  So this one will take some time to finish.  And then I'll probably re-read it again.  I actually bought the audible version first, which I like, BUT it was just moving too fast for me.  I love that I have both versions now.  Listen a little, read a little.  I highly recommend you check into this one out if you want to create what you want in your life.  That's sorta a no-brainer, right?  Who doesn't want to create what they want?!

I'm also reading a new-ish book on writing called Wired For Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron. (Good Lord that's a long title, I just realized.  Let's just called it Wired For Story from here on out so no one gets too exhausted.)  It's pretty fascinating so far.  As this book says, biologically, our brains are wired for stories.  So it's about the brain (always fascinating to me) and about writing- two topics I can never get enough of, and I can never learn enough about.  Sort of like the Wayne Dyer book, this one is very "meaty"- so, a little at a time seems to be the best way for me to digest it.

So that's what I'm reading, and plan to be reading for a while.
The Wonder, Manifest Your Destiny, and Wire for Story

How 'bout YOU?  What are you reading?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Stage Hynosis

Sunday night, we went with some friends to a local comedy club that was having a comedian/hypnotist.   

Before the show, while we were all at dinner, we had a discussion about hypnosis- was it real, was it just a hoax, just… what?! My friend, Kathy, said that she had once been to hypnosis for weight loss and that it worked for her.  She wasn’t necessarily saying she was hypnotized, but from how I interpreted what she said, her hypnotherapist gave her guiding meditations to help her subconsciously make good decisions throughout the week in regards to food.  And it worked. It was sort of the way I see positive affirmations.  Which from time to time, I try to practice doing.  Because I do actually think it can make an impact.

If I constantly tell myself, “I am a confident person",then that’s bound to sink into my belief system, right?  Similarly if I constantly self talk, “I am a loser.  I can’t do anything right”, well… that sinks in too. 

Anyway, I was curious how this “Stage Hypnosis” would go at the comedy club.  So much so, that I really wanted to be one of the volunteers for the show. I had no idea if it would be individual hypnosis sessions, some group thing, or what. But soon after we got there, and the show started, I walk up to the stage as soon as the man asked for volunteers to come forward. 

All of the volunteers were asked to take a seat in one of the chairs lined up on the stage.  The bright stage lights made it where I couldn’t see the audience, and I have to admit, I was a little concerned about if the group of friends I went with was video-ing me or taking photos, because of my fear of “looking stupid”. I didn’t look at the people sitting on either side of me.  The man told us to focus on any area above his head and just listen to his voice, so that’s what I did.  Looking at this picture makes me wonder if I was looking a little too high. Too high for my eyeballs to ever get a chance to relax.
I'm in the army green jacket.  Looking UP.
He did a 7-ish minute relaxing meditation type of monologue for us. I am able to breathe and relax, so I did just that.  Then he asked us to get deeper and deeper in our relaxed state.  To picture ourselves in our most comfortable and safe place.  (For me: bathtub) And then all of the sudden, I was very aware that whoever was next to me was totally crowding my space.  Her arm was super mashed against mine.  Then she started slumping into me.  I tried to just ignore her weight and keep focusing and breathing. Summoning Calgon to take me away. 
The VERY beginning of me feeling crushed. Believe me, it got MUCH worse.
He then told us to raise our arms as if we were holding a balloon. I purposely raised my arm she was leaning agaists, thinking that would knock her off of me.  But instead, my raised arm just made her fall further into my lap.  I started feeling pretty uncomfortable at this point- physically and otherwise. I was thinking, “What a faker this girl is, trying to pretend she’s in a deep trance.”

But I continued to do whatever the guy asked us to do- not because I was hypnotized, but just because he was asking, and it wasn’t anything out of line.  He asked us to pretend we were playing our favorite instrument, so I air-celloed.  I felt slightly stupid, but I did it because I tend to be a rule-following-people-pleaser.  Then he put on “rock music” and asked us to get really into it and pretend we were in the band.  No.  I just could not get into it. I couldn’t even decide which instrument I wanted to be pretending to play.  But I could tell the girl next to me was the drummer.  Beyond that, my eyes were shut so I didn’t know what other people were doing.  (I’m not sure if my eyes were suppose to still be shut at this point, but I didn’t notice him ever saying to open them.) So I just sat in my chair for that part.  As the music faded, and that part was over, I opened my eyes for a second, and the hypnotist man was looking at me.  He looked away for a split second, but then looked back to me and said, “Ok, you can go back to your seat now.”  Everyone else stayed on the stage for the duration of the show, except me. 

And for that, I am so thankful.  They went on to do things that would have felt embarrassing to me.  It’s weird to say this, since I am a musician and have performed on stages, but being on stage with all eyes on me is never something I’m comfortable with.  But when I’m singing and playing my guitar, I know what I’m doing. And often, people aren’t really looking at me when I'm at a gig.  They’re eating food, drinking wine, talking to their friends, and just glance at me and listen every now and then.   But this was NOT that, and it felt very uncomfortable to me. 

Anyway, I have no idea how it was for the other participants.  I don’t know if they were sober.  I don’t know if they’re natural born performers.  I don’t know if they’re introverted or extroverted, shy or outgoing. I don’t know if they felt like they were in a trance, or if like me, they were just following directions and doing what was asked.  To me, it felt like an improv situation.  During an “off” night for me.

So I was never faking it.  I was never claiming to be asleep just because I closed my eyes and proceeded to follow the man’s directions. But I was also the one asked to leave the stage.  Clearly, I wasn’t an ideal participant.  Was it because I wasn't a good candidate for hypnosis?  Was it because he could see the weight of the person was screwing up my concentration? Whatever he read in my body language, he was right.  Believe me when I say, I was happy to get off that stage. 

I watched the rest of the show, never really seeing it that these people were under hypnosis, in a trance state. Not at all.  I just thought they were following directions, acting silly, and getting positive responses from the audience as they did it. 

It reminded me of when I was a kid and I so wanted to believe in magic.  I ordered a magic kit and was sorely disappointed to get a box full of TRICKS rather than magic.  What happened on that stage, didn’t feel like hypnosis to me.  It felt relaxing, until it wasn’t.  Then it was just uncomfortable.  Maybe I would have a totally different experience had I not been on a stage in front of a lot of onlookers. With a girl napping on top of me.

Having said all that, I did sleep better than night and actually remembered two of my dreams.  And I got to see Mom in one of them.  And honestly, that’s the best kind of magic I could have asked for.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

10 Quick Things

Ten Quick Things.

Have you ever gone a longer than normal time without talking to a friend you WANT to call, but because all that time has passed... well, there just seems so much to catch up on that it feels overwhelming. And so more time passes.  But the overwhelm only gets worse.

Well, it's not that so much has happened since I've last written a post here- and I think it's just been a couple of weeks.  Still, I don't quite know where to start.  So I'm just going to jot down ten quick things.  Because that just seems like a non-intimidating way to get back to blogging, and I don't have much time right now.  But I don't want to put it off for one more day.  Seriously.  Not one.  So here's the 10 things...

1. I just finished listening to the incredibly riveting podcast "S- Town".  Whoa.  There are only 7 episodes so it's an easy one to binge in a few days.  And I highly recommend that you do just that.

2. We cleaned out our garage today.  Gross.  But that kind of stuff sure feels good when you're (just about) finished.

3.  I've been refamiliarizing myself with tarot cards lately.  Just drawing one from my deck each day.  Man oh man is it weird how I seem to draw THE most meaningful and on point card each day.  Like they have magical powers.  For realz. Loving that.

4. My mom died a dozen years ago March 29th.  That is TWELVE years.  Time is a tricky beast.  Fast and slow, all at once.  On that anniversary day, Fermin happened to call me from work and asked me to go outside and look up at one of our trees in the front yard.  He wanted to see if this loose hanging branch had been blown down during the storm from the previous night.  As I looked up, there was a cardinal.  Of course.  Cardinals have always been the signal I think Mom is sending to me to say "Hi!"  She definitely gave me a nod.  Thanks to Fermin asking me to look up.  (And no.  The branch had not yet fallen.  But we got it down later that day so that it wouldn't end up falling and hurting someone.)

5. I said 10 quick things, but it's only going to be 5.  Sorry.  I'm not as quick as I had planned to be.  There are so many things I want to mention, but we are about to go to dinner and bowling with our friends Allyson and Kevin.  And no.  Bowling is not a regular thing for us.  It was a random idea we thought of last night after everyone had a good meal and a little wine in there stomachs.  Bowling the next night made perfect sense at the time, so we made a reservation.  And now... We're OFF!