Being is Believing

Just for Fun

So… 2017. What can we say about it?

There were some definite, not-great things about the year that was that I will not be sad to see go. Like completely losing focus on anything and everything side-business-related. Then there was the hurricane that came barreling towards us in September. Or the massive breast abscess that took almost 2 months to heal only to go for a mammogram and find out I had a lump in the other breast that required a biopsy. Or that my insurance coverage barely covered 10% of all of the above.

Not fun.

But there were a lot more really awesome things that happened this year that easily overshadow the negatives.

The hurricane swerved. Thank goodness (though it still did a lot of damage elsewhere, which is still not good).

And I don’t have cancer. Halle-freaking-lujah. And I have some really good doctors here in town because of it, including a surgeon that called me, himself, between patients at the hospital, to make sure I new the lump was benign before Thanksgiving instead of making me wait until my appointment the following Monday. And since he missed me the first time he called my office, he called back later to make sure he got me.

Then there are the amazing people I’ve met this year: some in person, others online, and can count some true friends and loved ones among them. And speaking of loved ones, Todd and I reached the 10-year mark in our relationship this fall and that’s a pretty major thing! Yeah!

And lest I forget: I got a new job this year! Sure, training my replacement at the old place was stressful as all get out (I was actually training two people, plus filling in some gaps on a third recent hire, while the facility prepped for a big name visitor that was then rescheduled due to the hurricane), but the momentary stress was worth it as I now have all of a 5 minute commute to the office and what will be a fabulous, fulfilling position once the slow transition is complete sometime in the coming year.

I also did a lot of reflection and self-discovery this year, too. It’s pretty much what I did instead of business-building. Some would say that’s just as valuable or maybe even more so. I could go either way on the subject.

So what about 2018, what are my hopes for it?

A lot of the usual: get a better handle on my finances, feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of next year, yadda yadda yadda… But mostly I want to just be.

Be what? Ahh, that’s the thing, now isn’t it.

There are lots of ways to be, and sometimes just the act of being–existing–is all you can accomplish in a day. Some days are like that. I had several of them over the last 10 months or so.

But on the days where I can be more, this is what I’d like to be…

Be Okay
with whatever happens, how it happens, and even why it happens; fight less, accept more

Be Understanding
of people, events, strangers and friends alike, and of myself; don’t beat myself up for simple mistakes, or even big mistakes, they’re gonna happen but it doesn’t have to feel like the end of the world

Be Happy
appreciate what happens, the happy accidents and the unexpected adventures alike; find joy in little things and look on the bright side as much as possible

Be Brave
step out of my comfort zone a bit and try new things, or maybe retry old things that didn’t work out the first time–maybe I’ve learned something that can change the outcome this time

Be Open
to success and failure, to friendship and love, to beginnings and endings, to whatever the universe has in store; judge less, learn more

Be Unapologetic
stop apologizing for things I don’t need to be sorry for, especially those things that have to be done and aren’t wrong in the doing, but the little things, too; find better words for those other times when sorry isn’t the right thing to say but we just don’t have a better idea

Be Enough
know that I am who and what I need to be, not for anyone else but for myself, know that I don’t have to have the answers for someone else’s life, or even always for my own

Be Myself
good, bad, or indifferent I can only be who I am, I cannot keep changing myself to fit the molds and expectations of others; let people see the real me and the ones that don’t like it, I don’t need

Here’s to a happy and fulfilling 2018, whatever that ends up meaning 🙂

Beach Basset, Beach Basset, Give Me Your Paw!

Just for Fun

Thank you, again, to Oriental Trading for teaming up with us for more Halloween fun!


After Todd’s Luau-themed birthday earlier this year, it’s no surprise that we outfitted Duncan with his own pup-sized Hawaiian shirt.


And a great thing about this doggie Luau Costume is that it could totally work for pup-wear year round, if you were so inclined.

Donning your own Hawaiian shirts is the easiest way to mach your four-legged friend on Halloween, but it’s not the only way to go. There’s the usual grass skirt and coconut bra ensemble, but mermaids are very big right now and it’s possible to find all sorts of clothing to channel your inner Ariel.

Beach Couple


And if you’ve ever felt a little iffy about all the candy being passed around on Halloween, these costumes are a great excuse to pass out floral leis instead!

Our tip of the week is a simple one, and also not just for Halloween: a tired dog is a good dog. Before heading out for Trick or Treating, take Fido on a walk or a romp in the park, or throw a ball around for a while. This gets the extra wiggles out and allows them to be a bit more calm when confronted by crowds. Of course, this can backfire–if you get them too worn out, they may not be able to make the whole circuit. If your dog isn’t exactly known for his stamina, consider decking out a wagon to cart him home in, just in case. (It’s also good far carrying his away-from-home gear).

Happy Howl-aween!

Just for Fun

Big thanks to Oriental Trading for partnering with me for another fun Halloween series!

You know we’re pretty enamored with our puppy, Duncan–even if he is channeling his inner monster these days–and you know we’re big Halloween fans, too. So, naturally, we want to dress Duncan up in cute costumes! Oriental Trading was kind enough to hook us up with some pup-sized costumes and over the next few weeks we’ll be showing them off, along with some ideas for companion costumes (and non-costumes) and a few safety tips for pets this time of year.

Behold, the elusive Bumble Basset!


You can’t even imagine how many treats he got when we did these photos.


There; we go, you can see his wings and at least one antenna in this shot.

I know not everyone is down with dogs in costumes, but I figure that if it’s not aggravating them, why not have some fun, right? And since we love dressing up, too, here are some ideas for costumes to coordinate with your cute pooch!

For Disney fans, pairing a Pooh Bear and other 100 Acre Wood characters is a natural fit for a bee-costumed pet. Then there’s the classic bee keeper (Oriental Trading has a great DIY version on their site) and I think it’d be super simple to create a human-sized bee hive costume with some pool noodles cut in half, lengthwise, and banded together. Spray paint it a golden yellow and attach some foam or pompom bees and you’ve got a winner!

But if you think wrangling a costumed pet is hard enough in street clothes, maybe dressing the part without going full-on character is more your speed, a la closet cosplay. Here is a pair of outfits that would look quite fetching (so sorry, that really wasn’t intended) with your bee-bedecked pet.

Bee Couple


Now, safety is very important when it comes to pets and Halloween. Knowing your pet’s temperament is key to knowing what they can handle. But no matter what, keep the chocolate away from your furry friends to avoid ending the night at the after-hours vet! Instead, carry a bag of pup-approved treats to reward them for walking nicely on the leash and letting strangers taken with their cuteness pet them all evening.


Despite his thoroughly unimpressed expression, above, he was actually pretty chill in his Bumblebe Dog Costume. We have three more costumes to show you over the next 3 weeks, so come back and see Mr. Adorable next Friday!

The Mary Sue at the Beginning of This Series

Just for Fun

While I may mix it up from time to time, most nights my before-bed routine includes reading whatever book I’ve got going on at the moment. I generally have a few books in progress at any given time (not counting the audiobooks for the car) just because my mood changes or something looks really interesting. I also enjoy reading series because I get to spend more time in the same world, with the same characters that I enjoy.

Like, for instance, the Life After War books by Angela White.

(Note: this post contains Amazon affiliate links.)

I originally read the first few books several years ago when I stumbled upon them as free Kindle offerings. The basic premise is that the world goes ass over teakettle in 2012 when the US releases nuclear weapons on itself. The whys and wherefores are mostly inconsequential–it’s just a backdrop upon which the lives of a handful of survivors unfold, evolve, and come together. They all have secrets, flaws, and insecurities. No one is perfect, but most of them are doing what they can to survive with some sort of eye towards the future. They face both human and natural enemies as they cross the country in search of a spot to settle the growing refugee camp known as Safe Haven, and not without their fair share of setbacks.

And to say more than that would, I think, give away too much of the story in case you enjoy survivalist stories with a bit of the supernatural thrown in for good measure.

If I were to sum it up, the overall feel and vibe of the series, I’d call it a post-apocalyptic version of the Jean M Auel Earth’s Children books (you know, the Clan of the Cave Bear books?) that I read back in my teen years. Not that I feel like the author copies Auel, just that it has a similar scope. Read them both and you can tell me if you agree or not 😛

The one thing that makes me side-eye the series is that the main female character–the powerful witch that all men seem to want in one way or another and women want to be like or in her good graces? Yeah… her name is Angela White.

Self-insertion is hardly the worst thing an author could do. In fact, it’s pretty common in one form or another. Most authors will cop to feeling like part of themselves went into creating their leading men and women and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s part write what you know and part human nature. No big thing.

But when your main character bears your own name and it isn’t a memoir? Too far, in my opinion.

Now, because I read the first few books in quick succession (Kindle makes that so easy with their links at the end of each book), it wasn’t until I had to go in search of Book 4 that I realized the whole name thing. And, yes, it cast a bit of something over the story for me, at least at first, but obviously not too much of one since I just started book 6, Where We Stand, last night.

Would I still recommend this series, even with the massive self-insertion faux pas? Yes, I would. It’s a good story, the characters are engaging, there is enough action to keep the story moving but also time for character development and small moments. It’s brutal, but not gratuitous, but that makes sense for the type of story it is.

Existential Netflix Binge

Just for Fun

Binge-watching defunct shows isn’t something generally fraught with peril, and yet…

Like most of the women I know, I’m looking forward to the upcoming Gilmore Girls mini-series and a Netflix binge is totally the right build-up for such an occasion, even if we are still waiting for a release date.

Only, well, it wasn’t that simple.

You see, my mother introduced me to the Gilmore Girls to begin with. And, well, we’re not exactly Lorelai and Rory material. If anything, we’re more Emily and Lorelai, only without the family money. The thin layer of civility is there, though, in spades, and the last month or so (or, rather, the 4 weeks after the closing of our mutual employer was announced) was particularly tense.

So I kept putting off watching a show I dearly enjoy just because it brings with it so much baggage (and an increase is semi-witty sarcasm on my part).

But last week I started watching from the beginning and, man, I forgot how good this show was. Most shows have a bumpy start and take a season or two to really find their footing. Gilmore Girls did not have any sort of delay–good job, Palladinos! I was a little shocked about my feelings re: Dean vs Jess, though.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not Team Jess (he really needed that chip knocked off his shoulder like whoa!), but until this re-watch I was pretty firmly in the Deam camp (at least until he sleeps with Rory while married to someone else, that’s skeevy no matter how you put it). Now I’m seeing Dean through older eyes–10 years of perspective on the human condition and, wow, Dean was definitely not the right guy for Rory (or possibly anyone). Sure, he started off sweet, but when he starts to get clingy? Calling 14 times in one day? Showing up to wash her car when neither she nor Lorelai are home? That’s only a couple small steps away from stalker.

What hasn’t changed is my devotion to Suki, and I adore Suki and Jackson together. I identified with Suki so much back then, even though I was a couple years past my stint in hospitality and had accepted that I was a career bookkeeper by that point, but whatever.

I do cringe during some of the Emily scenes. Especially that little fake smile she shoots Lorelai at times–I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat across from a similar expression on my own mother’s face. And wow did I internalize some of the wedding episodes and have them come out of my own head when I was planning my own wedding 2 years ago.

I’m deep into Season 3 and not exactly looking forward to the Logan years still awaiting us, but I will soldier through!

In other news, I have the slowest upload in the world going for a 7 minute card video for The Craft Branch. I scheduled a live stream at 3pm and I’m now worried that the upload won’t be finished and, therefore, the live stream will lag or not go off at all. It’s taking so long it’s not even listing the estimated number of minutes left. I’ve had an upload count down from 300+ minutes, so how long is this going to take? It’s bad enough I had to restart the editing software 3 times just to be able to get the voice-over to actually sit on the timeline–maybe the live stream was a bad idea for today.

We shall see.