Thursday, June 29, 2017

Where Do We Go From Here

I'm struggling a lot lately with what I want this blog to be.  When I began it, almost two (two?!) years ago, its purpose was mainly to make sure I was writing weekly and to help me work through a whole world of issues and anger and frustration following my terrible first marriage and subsequent divorce.  It was a place for me to be open and honest about what had happened, to talk about the many and various changes in my life, and to talk about the things that still infuriated me.  I wanted to help others by sharing my story, but I also wanted to help myself.

I don't have those problems anymore.

I mean, I do still get angry.  But it's not like before.  I've moved on as much as I think I'm able to.  I'll probably always be a little bit pissed off over what happened, but I think that's the way it should be.

But I got married again (almost three months ago).  We bought a house.  I'm a stepmother.  I'm (still) ridiculously in love with this man that I've known for fourteen years. I have great friends who (I hope) still love me even though I'm not around very much these days.  I have a wonderful job and am, generally, having a fantastic time.  I'm busy and tired and very much in need of introverting most of the time, but I can't think of very much I'd change.

So that leaves me at a bit of a loss as to what to blog about weekly, now that wedding stress has ended.  General happiness and/or being an introvert isn't that exciting, really.  I don't have a current life goal to keep tabs on (though I probably should).  I have Instagram and Facebook for my daily selfies (and general photo-and-meme sharing).  I don't travel (much).

So what do I do?

I read.

I collect vintage and novelty clothing/accessories (and take selfies).

I knit or crochet or cross-stitch.

I bake and cook (when I can).

I step-parent.

I'm a wannabe 60s housewife.

I'm super nerdy, introverted, and not shy about any of it.

And I know there are blogs about (literally) all of these things.  But it seems impossible to narrow this random little blog into one defined category.  It also seems impractical to blog about everything I enjoy or do.

So I'm at a bit of an impasse.  I don't want to stop blogging, even though each week finds me less and less inspired as to what to write about.  Two years might be the longest amount of time I've managed to actively maintain a blog, after all.  I don't want to break my streak now!  But something needs to change.  I just don't know what.

What would you like to see more of from me?  Less of?  What are you interested in reading about?  What topics and formats do you find most appealing?  I'm clearly at a loss here, so I'm very open to ideas and feedback as to how to keep this blog going and at least fairly interesting.

P.S. Please don't say less selfies.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Powerful Places

I feel like I've been on the go constantly.  So much so that I was literally in the middle of blogging about being busy last week when I had to leave to go somewhere, and never even finished the blog!

We just got back on Sunday from our "honeymoon," which was really just a whirlwind weekend away to Wisconsin Dells and House on the Rock.  A "mini-moon," if you will.  (Which also either sounds like something entirely inappropriate, or a slightly momentous lunar event.)

I've wanted to take Mark there ever since I went with Jessica, Sandi, and Kim several years ago.  I thought it was the most magical place I'd ever been to, and still generally speak of it in a wistful, awed tone of voice.

Plus, we're watching American Gods (omg it's so good) right now, so it only seemed fitting to go (even if they didn't actually get to House on the Rock this season).  We also wanted to go somewhere we haven't been together, and somewhere we didn't know anyone.  Wisconsin fit the bill pretty well.

The thing about us is that was really suck at vacations.

We do.  We actually kindof dread going.  We're overbooked introverts, after all.  We pounce on things like "free time" and "staying home."  So the idea of taking that precious free time, getting in a car, and paying to stay somewhere that's not home?  It's not the most appealing, to be honest.

But, we pry ourselves away from our couch and our comfort zone anyway.  Because, well, adventure is out there, right?

In American Gods, Thursday explains to Shadow that tourist traps are "places of power."  They draw people in, without reason or explanation.  And that's exactly what House on the Rock is.  It's unexplainable, indefinable. My mom has asked me for years what House on the Rock is, and I still don't have a good answer for her. 

It's somewhere between a waking dream and a nightmare.  It's a hallucination.  It's a curated obsession.  It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. 

And, best of all, it doesn't try to.  There's nothing else in the world like it.  And that's why people go.  That's why we went.  It's why I've been twice, and why I would go again.

It was, in spite of our general trepidation about vacations, a very good trip.  We stayed in a kitschy motel in the Wisconsin Dells complete with a hot tub (and a shower that was probably from the 70s).  We ate at touristy places and did touristy things like take pictures and buy cheese and souvenirs and take an "old-timey" photo.

We spent the whole weekend alone together (which was a huge step up from my first honeymoon that we basically spent with friends) and did exactly as we pleased.

And we returned exhausted and with plans to go back in the future, Kaylee in tow.

Maybe vacations aren't so bad, particularly if you're with the right person.

Just don't expect us to go on another one anytime soon.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Angry Vintage Girl (Again)

I've gotten spoiled.  I really have.

Because I know that terrible male behavior exists.

I've experienced it, after all.

But I haven't experienced it much lately.

I blame my amazing group of friends (which includes countless awesome and feminist men).

I blame my introverted nature (which has led me into more and more fully being a homebody).

I blame my husband (who I actually love enough to want to spend my time with, therefore not being out on my own as much).

I blame my job and being a stepmom and our new life as homeowners (which means that we always have something to do and I don't go out as much).

Because it's all combined to make me a little oblivious to the world outside the pleasant and safe bubble I so often live in.

And I admit it, I can be a little oblivious all on my own.  Mark usually has to tell me that I've just been checked out, because I'm so often lost in my own little world.

So you know the situation has to be pretty drastic when I notice male attention directed towards me.

It can be the drunk guy at a wedding who told me I "didn't have to break his heart" when I turned him down for a dance (because, well, I was working the damn wedding, not to mention that I wouldn't want to dance with him anyway).

It can be the slightly too aggressive "compliment" from a stranger.

Or it can be walking through Walmart last Saturday night.

You guys.  It was bad.  I could actually feel the looks.  My skin crawled with them.  I could literally see the male gaze blatantly following me as I walked by.  And I did my best to ignore the guys who kept trying to catch my eye and talk to me when all I wanted to do was to be left alone to do my god damn shopping and get the hell back home.

It was more than annoying.  It was infuriating, so much so that I practically exploded when I got home and Mark asked me what was wrong.  (Kaylee told me I should have gone to Aldi, and the kid probably isn't wrong.)

I love dressing the way I do.  I love wearing vintage clothes.  I love wearing heels.  I love having bright red hair and looking different than most people.

But God, if I don't sometimes wish that I wanted to blend in.

No.  That's not true.

I don't want to blend in.

What I want, what I wish, is that all men could be like my friends, or like my husband.  I wish that all men could pay a compliment without a complementary leer.  I wish I didn't feel like I needed a male escort just to walk through a store without being harassed.  I wish that I didn't feel the need to carry around a TigerLady defense tool just in case I get followed to my car one day, or worse.  I wish that I didn't feel like the way I dress invites the wrong kind of attention.

Because the way I dress is nobody's business but my own.  If I want to wear heels through Walmart, that shouldn't mean that I should expect and accept the intruding stares.  If I want to wear a dress most days, then so what?

I don't know what the solution is, besides playing the long game of hoping that future generations of men will be better, will want to be better.

Because guys.  This is pathetic.

I know it's possible.  I've seen whole communities filled with men who can both enjoy and respect women.  I know that better is possible.

But I also know that worse is out there.

I'm holding out hope for better.  It's the only thing I know how to do.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

No Way Out

It's our two-month anniversary today, or, as Mark says, "Day 61 of the hostage situation."

People have asked me how married life is, and, really?


It's great.

I mean, come on.  I've got a mostly-willing hostage!  What could be wrong with that?

But, in all honesty, I love being married to my best friend.  I love it even on the days where everything feels off, or we have fights, or I cry, or everything goes wrong.  Married life is still, overall, really really great.  But our relationship and our life together was already great before we were married, so that helps.

Little known, shocking fact: marriage doesn't fix a relationship.  I should know.  It didn't fix my first relationship.

And, another shocking fact?  Marriage is work.  Really fucking hard work.  It's not all breakfasts in bed and making out in the kitchen and dinner on the table when you get home from work.

And it's even not the same as dating, even if you were already mostly living together.

Marriage requires daily maintenance.  It requires talking (which I'm not always very good at), and trust, and more vulnerability than you knew was possible.  It means someone is almost always there, for the bad days when you hate the world and everything in it, along with the good days.  You have to consider them, and you want to consider them (even when they tell you not to).

Marriage means you're going to get your feelings hurt, and you're going to find out that you unknowingly hurt theirs.

It means there is someone to willingly do the dishes for you, and someone you willingly rotate laundry for.

For me, it means waking up to coffee.  It means a partner-in-crime.  It means playing just one more game of Minion Trouble (or Chutes and Ladders, or Sorry) with Kaylee so that he can have a few minutes of down time.  It means he gives Kaylee a bath so that I can have a few minutes of down time.  It means someone who knows me better than anyone else possibly could.

It means planning a last-minute birthday party for Kaylee, joint-cleaning the whole house, and cooking dinner for 9 people.

It means eating Fazoli's and Imos on a fairly regular basis, even though I hate both.

It means we go see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie, because I have an endless love for Johnny Depp.


Two months into our marriage. (Plus fourteen years total of knowing each other.)  At this point of my first marriage, I'm pretty sure I already knew it was not going to be a good one.  He'd already "stopped trying" (key words for failure if there ever were any).  We were both depressed.  I couldn't see a way out, even though I desperately wanted to find one.

I don't want a way out this time.  I want a way to make it last forever.

And I'm doing my best to make sure that it does.