Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Introvert Level: Expert (Halloween Edition)

Exciting things have been happening.

Namely that I actually got to go to a party.  On a Saturday night.

And, even more exciting, that I actually went to the party, instead of sitting at home in a onesie and dog slippers.

But I was really, really excited about my Halloween costume.

I don't think it's any surprise that I like dressing up, or that I welcome any excuse to wear a costume.  If there's one cheesy thing I really love, it's a theme.  And for this party, there was the added challenge of keeping the costume under $20 to qualify for the costume contest.

With that in mind, Mark and I descended on area Goodwills and craft stores.

I wanted to be Ariel, from The Little Mermaid.  But not the mermaid version, or the blue-bowed speechless girl being squired about by the clueless Prince Eric.  I wanted to be Ariel fresh out of the sea and clothed only in a sail and some rope.

That was easy enough.  The first Goodwill we went to had rope for 99 cents and a white sheet for 2 dollars.  So far, so good.  I also wanted to have a starfish clip for my hair, so with money to spare we hit up Michaels and got a starfish ($4 with a 40% off coupon) and hair clips, and I made my own clip.

And so some curls, makeup, and creative sheet-draping later, and I was ready to be part of your world.

You want thing-a-ma-bobs? I've got twenty.
I suppose we could have stopped there.  But I wanted a definite cue that I was Ariel and not some Greek goddess carrying around a dinglehopper fork for some strange reason.  I wanted a stuffed Sebastian.

The problem was I couldn't find one.  There was a little plastic toy at Toys R Us, but I wasn't sold.

Then Mark suggested that we make one.

So we did.

One pillowcase, a printed picture of Sebastian (looking properly horrified), some paint, and a borrowed sewing machine later, I had a Sebastian pillow.  I seriously love it so much.  Plus, it's the first thing I've ever sewed.  So that's pretty great.

And I made these oyster cookies.  (And brought Barefoot wine, because well, did I mention I love a theme?)

But honestly? The best part of my costume was that I stayed "in character" and didn't talk the whole night (in spite of my friend Sandi being determined to get me drunk enough to just start talking).  I still hung out and participated in conversation.  There was lots of gesturing, pointing, nodding, and meaningful glances (and my designated translator, Sam).  But no talking.  I got to spend time with my friends but avoid small talk.  I didn't have to contribute verbally to a conversation.  I could just hang out, drift from group to group, drink, and be comfortably myself.  It was entirely awesome.

And I actually think it helped me not feel so wiped out by socializing.  Even I stayed out til almost 2 am, which is extremely rare, I didn't feel crashed out and emotionally drained the next day.

There's another party this Saturday (two weekend parties in a row, who even am I?), and I'm definitely dressing up as Ariel again.  I'm fairly certain it's my favorite costume ever since I dressed up as a Dalmatian when I was a kid.

Not surprisingly, another costume where I wouldn't have to talk.

Not to say I haven't had a lot to choose from...

But as a redheaded introvert who grew up on Disney movies, I'm not sure I can beat this year's Halloween costume.

You might point out the irony that Ariel sings about how she wants to be "where the people are," and say that that's a bit out-of-character for me.  But not always.  I do want to be around my friends and the people I love.  It's just sometimes easier to stay home with my dog and my books.

But every now and then, when the stars align and the timing is right, you might just be able to find me where the people are, walking around on those... what's that word again?

Oh yeah.  Feet.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Procrastination Game: A Step-By-Step Guide

What do you do when you don't want to blog (or preferred activity of avoidance)?

Step 1: Complain about it.  Be sure to mention the fact that you can't even write about all the things you would potentially write about (if you wanted to), such as your super-secret Halloween costume projecting/thrifting adventures.

Step 2: Check Facebook, in case someone posted a cool meme.

Step 3: List the reasons you probably shouldn't even bother.  Example: I'm really busy.  I don't feel good.  No one reads this blog anymore anyway.

Step 4: Recruit others to support your decision.  Be sure to point out all the aforementioned reasons to them so that they can clearly agree with your obviously rational thought process and reasoning.  Try to get this in writing if at all possible.  You'll need the supporting documentation to make your case properly.

Step 5: Revel in your moral high ground.  Feels good.

Step 6: Ignore the nagging guilt.  Check Facebook again.  Maybe try a few Snapchat filters.

My current favorite.
Step 7: Reassure yourself that you're doing the right thing.  Remind yourself that you are very busy and important, not to mention the fact that you've already been writing every day in October.  One missed blog is no big deal.

Step 8: Remember those excuses!

Step 9: Fuck it.  Write the damn blog (or do the damn thing).

Real talk: I don't feel good today.  I didn't get enough sleep last night and my stomach has been bothering me for a few days.  So yeah.  I don't want to write this.  I still have to write for my daily challenge today, I'm getting my hair done, and I'm working on my Halloween costume for Saturday.  Not to mention all the other projects I'm in the middle of, keeping up on life, working, and maintaining various relationships with friends and family.

But my excuses really aren't that great, regardless of how readily Mark agreed with me.  He's tired and not feeling well either, so our judgement isn't exactly the best.

Mainly, I need to remind myself that I'm not writing this blog for the popularity (or lack thereof).  I'm not writing it because it's fun and exciting and easy.  I'm writing it to be writing, to process what goes on in my life, and for the off chance that I have something to say that means something to someone who happens to read it.  I'm writing for the same reason that I'm (trying) to write every day for an October writing challenge: because I'm a writer, and because it's what I should be doing, even on the days when it's the last thing I want to do.

Especially on those days.

Oh, and I almost forgot.

Step 10: Post the blog.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tis The Season, Sort-of

I'm not going to lie, I've been super boring this week.

It's been, oh, what's the word?

That's right.  Awesome.

It's been awesome.

The main excitement (besides driving to DuQuoin for work and discovering where all the Trump signs are being posted) was going to the St Louis Renaissance Faire (I refuse to call it a festival) for the third time this year.

To be fair, it was only the second time this season.  The first trip was during preview weekend last spring.

This past weekend, though, we did Ren Faire big.  We got parasols, corndogs, and a Hanging Sky Chair.

And now I know what I'm doing for the rest of fall/winter.

No, really.  I'm set for fall.  I have new dog slippers (complete with bows and tails).  I have more books than I know what to do with (and the ever-present desire for more).  I have knitting/cross-stitch projects galore.  I have daily writing to do, at least through the end of October.  And I have a new-found love of my bread machine, so there will be no shortage of carbs to fatten myself up with while I lounge around in my hanging chair.

Oh, and I have a shark onesie.

I'm not sure I've ever been more ready for fall.  Other girls might have their Uggs and their PSLs, but I have other loves that rear their cozy heads around this time of year.  I have leggings and crock pot recipes and soup and the smell of bread baking.  I have scarves that I knit, a snuggly dog, and a fiancĂ© who lets me leech off his body warmth without much complaining.

I know, I know, the temperamental St. Louis weather has been bouncing around between the 50s to the 80s, but never you mind.  Fall is coming.  The leaves are starting to turn, Halloween decorations abound, and there's a nip in the air that has me beginning to shy away from my beloved summer dresses.

Honestly, I'm not sure why I'm so into the thought of fall this year.  It's a bit out of character for me.  While I always enjoy the cooler temperatures, fall is in actuality merely the herald to the oncoming and disgusting slog of winter.  My wardrobe is mainly fixated around a world that is perpetually 80 degrees, so declining temperatures leave me scrambling for cute outfits to wear, and most of my shoes are non-functional for getting around in the snow.

Maybe it's the fact that I'm waist-deep in the busy season at work with no end in sight.  The introvert in me (okay, the introvert that I am almost completely comprised of) longs to go into full-hibernation mode, to set up camp in that sky chair with coffee and books and only move to get another piece of bread or snuggle my loves.

That's obviously not possible, but it doesn't change the fact that it's what I want right now.  I want to be home, cooking and reading and eating and wondering why we ever go out to eat.  I want to knit and snuggle and work on my writing while Mark works on his art.  I want to ignore the craziness of the world around me and focus on what makes me happy.

So if I'm a little too excited about fall, please excuse me. It's just the introvert in me, looking for any and all excuses to stay inside.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Morning Coffee in Stars Hollow

I grew up with Rory Gilmore.

Not literally, of course.  She is, obviously, a fictional character and all I could do was watch Gilmore Girls on television, not live it.  But, in a way, I felt like she was a possible classmate and might have been a friend if I was very lucky indeed.  We were just about the same age and went through high school and college together, as far as timelines were concerned.  She may have lived in quirky and idyllic Stars Hallow while I lived in less-than-exciting Collinsville, IL, but she was still, as they say, my spirit animal.  We were both studious, mostly-unpopular bookworms who always brought along a back-up book and who were completely devastated by a bad grade.  I modeled my own 16th birthday party on hers, complete with pink boas.

Of course, she had far better hair than I ever have managed to have, her boyfriends were all remarkably attractive (if all generally rather terrible ideas... like many of mine), and she seemed to subsist on a diet entirely comprised of coffee and junk food, all while maintaining a perfect figure and flawless skin.

Some people blame their unrealistic life expectations on Disney princesses.  I rather think I can chalk mine up to Rory Gilmore.

I watched the show religiously all through its seven seasons, have re-watched it twice since, and am ridiculously excited about the mini-series coming up later this year! (Though, if Luke and Lorelei don't get married, it might be over.)

All this is just leading up to explaining why exactly I spent an hour and a half this morning standing in line for a free cup of coffee.

The short answer?  Because it had a Luke's Diner sleeve around it, that's why.

The long answer? Let's back up a moment.

Today is the 16th anniversary of the show's premiere (ohmyGodI'msoold), and so Netflix sponsored around 200 coffee shops around the country to turn into pop-up Luke's Diners for the day.  Clearly, I had to go.

And clearly, I had to be a complete nerd about it.

Guys, I cosplayed Rory Gilmore.

I dug out my old "Reading is Sexy" shirt, which she wore in a college episode, and my Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath, which she is also seen reading in an episode, and I headed out the door to meet Jake (appropriately dressed in flannel and a backwards hat, a la Luke).

I also was unknowingly headed out to meet half of St. Louis.  That's a slight exaggeration, but only slight.  The line to get in to Luke's Diner/Shameless Grounds was half a block long.

I had expected a bit of a crowd.  Gilmore Girls had a large following, after all, particularly among my age group.  But the announcement of the pop-ups had only gone out yesterday, and surely most people would have jobs to go to on a Wednesday morning, wouldn't they?

Apparently not.

But, I had company, I had a book, and I was surrounded by other apparently just-as-rabid fans who were equally as willing to waste over an hour of their lives to get a few photo ops and a free coffee.

At last, we reached the counter and achieved our goal.  I appropriately geeked out, took selfies, got my coffee, and headed in to work.

Was it worth the wait?  Hard to say.  It's not like I couldn't get basically free coffee at home.  Or at work, for that matter (and in much less time).

But it was the experience.  That's the part that I couldn't get at home, or at work.  Like Mark told me, it was like standing in line to buy Harry Potter at midnight, or camping out for a midnight showing of the new Star Wars movie (all things that I've done).  It was all about the experience, about being there, not necessarily about the end result.  It's about being surrounded by like-minded weirdos who get excited about the same nerdy things you do.  It's about reliving the days when I'd sit down with my mom, or my roommate, to watch a new episode of Gilmore Girls.  It's about taking time to do something just because, and to indulge in the silly and pointless side of life that says, "why not?" instead of "why?"

It's about getting the chance to be in Stars Hollow, even if just for a cup of coffee.