Sunday Funday – Writing and Painting, and Photography, Oh My!

On top of my medical issues, I live with anxiety, depression, PTSD, OCD, and ADHD. Seriously, no joke. I’m always a bundle of nerves. There are days even I can’t stand being around me. To find my center, I keep a variety of hobbies available at all times. I set goals, and I tackle them a little each day. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Note 1: My life depends on a constant supply of Post-it notes. Seriously! They need to sponsor me.

Today I went full ADHD and worked on all three hobbies without losing my mind in the process.

Note 2: When it comes to hobbies, it’s perfectly acceptable to go full ADHD and have fun with as many as you wish, but plan your time carefully, so you don’t get overwhelmed.

What’s great about writing, painting, and photography and living with ADHD is I’m able to set the amount of time I need to finish each project. I can decide what size project I’m going to work on depending on how I feel that day.

When it takes weeks to finish something, I get bored and hate the project before it’s completed (I have no clue how I created children without getting bored. Those little humans take nine months to create!) Small projects, which can be completed in a few days, or less than a week, are fun for me and make me happy.

I’m having fun painting today, but I think the art on my hands is better than my canvas.

Paint on my hand

Photo by Amanda Blount

 

Until next time…Be safe, be kind, and take time to love one another.

Shhh Here’s a secret. There’s a “follow” button near the top right of this page. I know you want to click it. It’s okay. No one is looking. Go on. Press it. You will receive all the wine induced updates you can handle.

The legal stuff:

See copyright information referring to artwork and memes used on this site.

How to write a book; When facing doubt, just keep writing

For those who are following the progress of my book, I’m at that rewriting phase of “My gosh. Who wrote this crap? I hate this so much! I want to quit.” Seriously, why in the world am I doing this to myself?
I don’t need to write a book. I can sit back and watch America’s Got Talent everyday and then flip the channel and make fun of politics. I have no clue why I’m writing a book. I’m sure at some point I enjoyed this, right? Someone remind me that I actually enjoyed writing, because I’m at the point of chasing people around with chainsaws and getting lost in hedge mazes. 
I know I do like writing. I just need to remember rewriting can be difficult. I mean, how many times can you read a book over and over before you get sick of it? Well, that sometimes applies to your own books as well. Especially when you have to read one sentence a hundred times, then you realize that it doesn’t work in the story anyway. That can become frustrating, but it’s a perfectly normal feeling (having the urge to drink is also normal, at least for me it is). 
become-a-writer
The hard part I’m facing is, this rewrite is going to take me much longer than I expected and I will need at least one more personal rewrite before I can send it to an editor. I’m not looking forward to that last rewrite. I can see me facing tons of self doubt and it won’t be pretty. I’m pretty sure there will be tears. I don’t cry the pretty TV tears. Nope. I have the red puffy eyes, swollen face, and snot running down my nose. When I cry, it’s an ugly cry. 
It’s no secret I also suffer from occasional bouts of blues, depression, anxiety, frustration, grey hair, stinky feet, and severe doubt in my personal abilities to do anything great. To be fair, if a person survived almost 50 years of living on this rock, raised a few kids, and survived a few divorces, without gaining a few mental diagnoses they weren’t trying hard enough (I just happen to have more than a few, but that’s for a different conversation). 
Now, don’t get me wrong, most of the time I actually have a strong sense of self worth and a bigger feeling of self confidence, but there are those times when I know this is all a dream (or nightmare) and the world will fall out from under me and find out none of this was real. I wake up and I’ve been living in a mental facility the whole time. Yes, I know. That’s a pretty specific fear, but the way TV portrays mental facilities, it’s a pretty rational fear. 
The crazy part is, in both my fabulous careers, I succeeded in everything I set out to do. I’m very critical of myself and I work very hard. At every step of the way, in spite of my anxieties and fears, I won many awards and made some great memories. But I always have this little voice telling me that it could be all a mistake and I’m not really good enough. (I really hope I’m not the only one who feels this way sometimes. I would feel so much better if I knew others suffer from anxiety and self doubt. It would be really good to know I’m not the only one who is slightly off balanced.) 
Before becoming a writer, I could hide these self confidence issues. I could plaster on my smile, pull my shoulders back, grab a cup of coffee, and prepare myself to tackle the day (Hiding in the bathroom from time to time to face the fact the world out there is willing to crush me like a little bug). 
When I decided to write, I found out writers are vulnerable to the public. I didn’t want strangers judging me for my shortcomings, while they were hiding behind their keyboards. I wanted to be remain nameless and unknown.  I almost quit before I even started. 
Now, I’m writing a blog, I fight against injustice, and I’m writing a book. How? I took a look at all my anxieties and instead of avoiding them, I looked those damn anxieties in the face, grabbed them by the neck, squeezed them like a shampoo bottle the day before payday. I made them into a bubble bath and jumped my butt right in a tub full of my anxieties. I wanted to keep them close and control them. The crazy part of trying to control something, sometimes it still tries to act out. Even after years of success, in many different fields, my mind still questions my abilities. 
After writing a few chapters, I look in the mirror and wonder, “Why in the world did I ever think this writing thing was a good idea?”
 
It may be a few years before I ever write another book. I’ll need time to recover from this personal beating I’ve given myself and I’ll probably need some serious therapy after this book is published (Yes. I know I need therapy now, but that’s besides the point). 
But no matter what, I’ll keep plowing forward and so help me I will finish what I started.
That’s the most important thing. If you face even a little of what I go through, don’t quit. You are allowed to acknowledge the pain and the agony of putting yourself out to the world, but don’t let those feelings paralyze you. 
 
If you are writing a book, you have to stick with it. Don’t let doubt get you down and Writing - Self Doubtconvince you to quit. Telling a story isn’t something that happens overnight. When you want to hit delete or toss the whole thing out, take a break, get some coffee, stretch, and breath. This is a marathon, not a sprint. We need to breath and take water breaks. The time is not important but sticking it out and finishing is. When you body wants to collapse from pain, your arms are weak, and your brain tells you to quit, don’t listen. Keep going. When your brain tells you no one will judge you if you drop out right now, don’t listen. Keep going. Keep typing and keep writing. You can do this. I can do this and you can do this. We can do this. 
I promise this, if readers don’t like my book, it won’t be for lack of trying. I’m pouring my heart and soul into this book. I’m going down the rabbit hole and I’m taking the readers with me.
 
In all the craziness and pain, I will bring you stories of survival and happiness. I hope you will laugh and cry with me. This is why I will keep writing. I don’t want to tell you what I’m writing, I want you to read what I’m writing. I will continue to write, no matter how many times the black dog barks at my heels, and no matter how many times doubt enters my mind, I will keep writing. 
I want you to keep writing too. 
I know it’s hard, but no matter what, never quit. Just keep writing. 
dorymeme -- just keep writing
Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.
(and of course, when I’m done, you need to buy my book.)  

My book for my birthday. Time to “Get er dun”

The time is very near. Follow my journey into the self doubting, self abusive, mentally tiring thing we call writing.

31July2016 at midnight starts my 31 day marathon writing month. I’ll still pop in from time to time to update how I’m doing, and to take a mental break (some of my stories are super heavy), but this is my birthday present to myself.

I’m not buying myself anything “normal.” I’m paying for editors and artwork. (Unlike some people think, books don’t create themselves for free).

I’m not going out this month. I’ll be writing. The only reason I might go out is to hunt Pokemon, but only to write about them and to take those highly needed mental breaks I mentioned above.

I’m sure there will be lots of coffee, Monster drinks, and sandwiches eaten this month. When I’m done, I will celebrate with the drink of writers. I plan to purchase the best bottle of Scotch a novice writer can afford (does good Scotch come in Airplane sized bottles?) and take photos with it.

I’ve been writing and experimenting with Photography since before I can remember, so it’s time to put these passions to work.

If my phone goes to voice mail (which I don’t have set up), there are about 5 different ways people can contact me (Facebook, Twitter, text, email, blog, carrier pigeon, and my goodness, even regular mail stills delivers to my house).

I promise that I will call and email everyone back, at least every other day, twice on Sunday if I’m lucky. 🙂

For the real fans!

My first book is pretty tame compared to what I normally write about. This book is going to be about the animals in my life. It is not a children’s book at all, but real life, heart wrenching stories of love and loss, and how animals go on this journey with us. There are stories of happiness, joy, sadness, and of course, as with all animals in our lives, there are stories of tragic death. There are even a few scary stories, which include spiders and snakes.

If anyone would like to follow my writing journey and be some of the first fans know when my book will be published, feel free to join my blog and provide an email for First Look updates.

Here is the first update on my journey.

 

https://gritshugsandsweettea.com/2016/07/23/time-to-finish-my-first-book/

 

*** Seriously, you can provide a “spam” email, that’s okay with me. 🙂 I know I do when I join stuff. But I promise not to over load your email with constant updates. That’s what Facebook is for! 🙂

The reason for the email is, when my book is eventually published, the people registered for email will receive first look, discounts, and there are plans for signed postcards of animal photos I haven’t published yet, and other goodies I haven’t come up with yet.

Also, don’t fret too much. I know my grammar and spelling is sometimes horrifying, but that’s what great editors are for. They make writers, like me, look good. 🙂

Wish me luck.

 

Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.

WOO HOO! Walmart online grocery shopping is the answer to many daily problems

WOO HOO! Wal-Mart online grocery shopping is the answer to many daily problems

If you have never shared a story of mine before, this is one, which I personally request you share with all your friends. It’s the one service many of us need, if not for ourselves, then for our grandparents or a young parent in the family.

I can’t believe I’m saying this. I’m excited about shopping with Wal-Mart. Yep! Wal-Mart!

After almost a year in the news, Wal-Mart has been rolling out this service to various areas, a few at a time. Here is the link to their original story back in September 2015. I’m so glad it has finally come to Tennessee.

http://blog.walmart.com/innovation/20150929/grocery-shopping-that-works-with-your-schedule

I shop at Wal-Mart many times, but the overwhelming size of their stores, the constant noise, and all the activity, is something I survive, not something I enjoy. I try to shop at smaller corner markets or dollar stores for everyday items, but many times, these many exact items are priced higher than Wal-Mart, and I end up paying for the atmosphere, not the products. Enter online grocery shopping with grocery drive-up curb service to smaller cities.

All the savings we have come to expect from Wal-Mart, but without the fuss and the hassle of going into the store. Continue reading

I need happy colors in my life

I really need this in my life before the end of 2015. The top two are my favs!

I adore color. My life has been colorless for far too many years. I need color again. Instead of blending in, I need to stand out and shine. I need to step away from the shadows and be free to be who I am.

I have run on autopilot for so many years, I lost who I was. Please understand, I am, and I was, very happy as a Mom and a Soldier, but, there are deep sacrifices each Mom must make to do both of those very well. This is especially true for those of us who have free spirits, which need to be caged to succeed at certain things in life.

It is frightening to know I gave up so much of myself to do what I needed to do, to be a successful mom and Soldier. When I finally retired from the military and the kids were grown, I discovered I was only a shell of who I was. Now, I need to reach deep and pull the old me up from the depths of darkness and grey. I need to discover the color of her spirit and let it shine.

Medical Marijuana – Weed 3 — Living with dignity and less pain

If you have anyone in your family who is sick with any severe condition, please, watch this video.

No matter what your views are on the recreational use of marijuana, the use of medical marijuana can no longer be ignored. People, including children, are being saved daily with the use of medical marijuana. This is happening all over the world and is finally being allowed in the US.

88,000 people die every year from alcohol alone (that doesn’t include the domestic abuse injuries and deaths alcohol causes), 16,007 people died from OPIOD overdoses in 2012 alone, yet, Marijuana, when used alone, killed ZERO people, EVER. Let’s stop lying to ourselves, we were duped into believing that marijuana was worse than alcohol, or even tobacco. 

There have been cases when children have accidently ingested their parents marijuana. What happened? Nothing. They went to the ER and had a bad trip. Was it a scary situation? You bet. They need an IV for dehydration, and some serious amounts of snacks after coming down, but, all in all, they were fine. What happened when children ingested too much alcohol? There have been cases when children have actually died from too much alcohol. This includes college students and teens who have died from alcohol poisoning. Yet, alcohol is everywhere and easily accessible, and marijuana, even medical marijuana is made to look like it comes from the devil himself.

I am not saying marijuana is safe. It is not. It is a drug. Just like all drugs, it should be respected, but, if we are going to allow something as dangerous as alcohol to be made in our father’s bathtubs, or to be kept on the kitchen counter, please don’t be a hypocrite and fight against something like medical marijuana, which could actually save lives.

The FDA and the US GOV is finally studying it, but, Israel has been studying medical marijuana, and using it for their patients, for many, many years.

Medical Marijuana does help with PTSD, Severe Pain, MS, RA, Fibromyalgia, Epilepsy, Depression, Wasting Diseases, Diabetes, Cancer, and Alzheimer’s, and many more issues can be helped with medical marijuana.

For my entire life (44 years) I was against all illegal drugs. There was nothing good about anything that was illegal. In some sense I was right. In all cases, there is no reason to let any drug, alcohol, marijuana, or any other drug, to ruin your life. I still believe that. If you allow anything to stop you from becoming a productive member of society or taking care of your family, then you need to readdress what you are doing, and find a new way. You can’t break the law just because you think it is unfair. If your job does not allow medical marijuana, or even cigarettes, you either need to stop doing those things, or make the decision to move states. You need to be a truly productive member of society and care for yourself and your family first. YOu can either move for medical help or work to change the laws where you live, but, I digress.

When I was younger I was strictly against all illegal substances, and I believed everything I saw on TV. There was no medical value in illegal drugs. Then in 2011, I got hurt in Iraq and about the same time, I also became very sick. The military opened my eyes to how much control medical professionals have over pain meds and your body. You become a slave to pain meds, which means you become a slave to the medical machine and the medical machine are slaves to politicians and the random laws. I am not even referring to something as serious as addiction. I am just referring to the relationship between a patient and a doctor. If a patient does or says anything that displeases the doctor, or if the doctor has a bad day, that patient’s entire medical case can be changed at the drop of a hat. It doesn’t even stop at the doctor. The politicians, the FDA, the ADA, even KOCH brothers have their hands in everything that deals with your medications and what is prescribed or approved at any one time. Once a patients becomes sick, the hard truth is, the prescriptions which are allowed or approved by the FDA are all controlled by money. Plain and simple money.

At any time, a politician can be bought or sold by the Koch brothers, or any other big super pac backer, and very quickly my pain medications can be changed and outlawed and I have zero control in how my medicine is handled at the federal and state level. Worse, if my medical provider decides for a personal reason, not a medical reason, to stop prescribing medications, then I have to find a new doctor, or suffer withdrawals and suffer excruciating pain, which is exactly what happened to me. No warning. No help. No titrating down. One day my medical provider decided he wasn’t going to provide narcotics anymore and that was that. His patients had to suffer or find new doctors, which is never an easy process.

As a chronic pain patient, which true severe pain conditions, my entire life is controlled at the politician and medical provider level. When my own medical provider decided to select his own life over mine, I knew then I had to fight for my own well being. That is when I started researching natural pain medications. I found that medical marijuana had been used for thousands of years for joint related pain diseases, such as RA and gout, or other pain disorders. Even now, the US owns a Patent on Medical Marijuana for their own researchers to do tests on the plants. They even have their own fields where they grow only the best plants to test on (which is shown in the video) . — This leads me to believe they know it will work for the listed medical issues (again shown in the video) . I do not like my life being controlled by politicians and big money. I don’t think a patient should be a slave to big pharmaceutical companies, to politicians, and then to the whims and personal agendas of medical providers. A patient has the right to live in dignity. Now, I am a huge supporter of medical marijuana and I fight everyday to change the laws so every patient, in every state, has the same rights to live in dignity and even die with dignity, and less pain.

FUCK! Fuckaty, fuck, fuck, fuck! The fun of shopping in big box stores when you are highly sensitive to every damn thing!

There are days when I wish I could stand in the middle of one of the big box stores and just yell, “FUCK! Fuckaty, fuck, fuck, fuck!” like a million times. I mean seriously, those places were not meant for people who are over sensitive to anything!

Let’s start with entering the door. Bing, bong, bing, bang, ding, dong! I mean, geez!! Did I just walk into the worst bell concert ever?! There are bells going off everywhere!

If you actually make it through the swooshing doors and not get ran directly over by a thief (yes, that shit has happened to me no less than 3 times), then you are immediately greeted with the banging of carts being slammed together, or the screeching of the sounds of someone trying to pry those mother fuckers apart. I mean really! It seems like when the buggy boys gather all the carts together, those carts stick together like some damn bonding at the molecular level happens when no one is watching. Just minutes prior they were free ranging carts, who, with just a slight breeze, could travel the entire distance of the parking lot with the freedom of wild horses, but, the moment they touch another cart, you would think they were mating like the aforementioned horses and not letting go until they had made little baby carts.

When you finally spray cold water on those mating carts, and one finally lets go, besides completing your entire weekly workout trying to pick a cart, you now how the absolute fun of facing the inside of the actual store.

You enter the store, and the voice from above announces the special of the day, someone’s car is ready for pick up, or hey, shit head, there is a clean up in aisle 3. This is all being announced being the top 40 chart topping hits from, “hey, we have never heard of you” file. At times, your lovely shopping trip is interrupted, or should I say, shoved down your ear drum like a alien completly an anual probe on your anus, by a loud fuckign commericial about some product they are trying to get rid of this week, that no one wanted last week either. Finally, you have trained your brain to tune all that garbage out. You only want to get some damn milk, bread, and eggs. The three things most humans need in their kitchens on a weekly basis, but the damn stores have so nicely split these three things and strategically places them around the entire store (the size of three football fields) so you must pass by chocolate, cake, ice cream, and of course, those little frosted cakes you like so much. There is no way around it. To get to these 3 items, you will be tested at every level you can imagine. Finally, you have reached the bread without killing another human being today. But, right behind you, someone decides they want to ram their cart into your backside. You look around, a fight in your heart, you are ready to throw down and rumble. Come on lady, let’s make history right here in the bread aisle. You glance around, and what do you see? A little old lady, sweety grinning at you, and very nicely apologizing for running into you while going through her coupons. You calm your heart, you open your eyes, and you smile, all the while thinking, “You got lucky this time lady. But, only this time. We will meet again.” You smile nicely, and try to make it through the group of squealing little girls picking out a cake for someone’s birthday party. Childhood. You contemplate screaming at them, “you better appreciate it now, because after 30, it’s all downhill little girls,” but, sigh, you don’t have time and you haven’t saved up for bail this month. Sigh. The little things in life that help me keep my mouth shut. The public should be very happy with the complete control I show everyday I leave the house. But, no. I have the super power of being polite and sweet to others, and just like Superman, I must keep my secret to myself. No awards for keeping the world a safer place for me. Oh wait. I would be keeping the world a safer place from myself… so yea. I guess you don’t get awards for that. Well, dammit, I should.

Shit, where am I? I have been staring at this chocolate ice cream for like 15 minutes. If I get the ice cream, I will just cover it in chips or cereal and eat the whole darn gallon in less than a day. Ughhh… NO. I will not get it. So, I want my gold star in life for not buying the ice cream. YEA! Why can’t we get gold stars in life for doing the right thing? It would be like the tooth fairy, but, much less pain, and more rewarding. You do really great things in life and you wake up in the morning to gold stars on your headboard for all the great things you accomplished. The Gold Star Fairy (GSF) would get very tired, but, I guess he or she could delegate some of the work. Those who were little shit heads all day, could be serviced by mean fairies who would leave piles of doggy poo on their favorite shoes. Oh crap. These are really some really good ideas. Except, I would need to be nicer to everyone, or my shoes would get some doggy poo sometimes too. Yuck. I will revisit the GSF when I figure out how to be nice to everyone.

Sigh…. where in the hell is the milk? Crying baby!! NO! NO! NO!! Not the crying baby. I turned down the wrong aisle. There is a crying baby, woman screaming on her cell phone, and some kid hitting his sibling. OH No. My nightmares have all converged on me in one aisle!! I must turn back. I must get out. No. Someone has turned in behind me. Which means I have to keep going forward! I need to use the tactics I learned in the military when faced with an assault. GO! GO! GO! Push through!! I am pushing!! As fast as possible. I am past the screaming baby. I am past the fighting siblings, and woo hoo!! I am passing screaming, cell phone, lady! I might make it out of the aisle without having a complete nervous breakdown!! I see the light at the end of the tunnel, pushing through, almost there! NOOOOOO!!!! Electronic buggy is turning into the end of the aisle. I have no where to go. I can’t go forward. I can’t push back. It is a traffic jam! I am stuck right beside screaming, cell phone, lady!!! My nerves are shot. My heart rate is up. I might just explode! I plaster my smile as wide on my face as I can, and the words which come out of my mouth are strangers in my head. Through clenched teeth and with all the energy I have left to give to the world I say to electronic buggy dude, “is there anything on this alies I can get you to make your way easier?” He politely points to a box on the sleeve, I hold back every fiber of rage I have in my heart, I pass him the box, and he continue on his way to the next ailes. I push my way to the end of the aisle, and breathe a sigh of relief!! MLK Jr starts shouting in my head, “Free at last, free at last, Thank God almighty I am free at last!” If anyone could actually see the reaction in my brain, they would see mexican jumping beans doing some serious happy dancing. OK! Dammit. Now the mexican jumping beans are singing MLK Jr’s words, but with a very thick hispanic accent, while they are dancing a jog. That is just wrong. Very freaking funny (it’s times like this when I wish I could paint). But, it is very wrong. I shake my head to stop the singing beans and keep pushing through the crowds to make it to my goal.

I pass by someone wearing perfume so strong two people could have shared it. I am able to push on past and push this to the back of my head without throwing up. The lights, sounds, and screaming are only made worse when one more stimulus tries to push it’s way into my brain. I can’t control all the senses at once, so at this point, I am really suffering. I am sweating, my hands are shaking, and really, I would love to run out of the store screaming and never purchase milk, bread, and eggs ever again.

FOCUS! FOCUS! Now, where is the milk and eggs? I finally find the milk and eggs, and very quickly push my way down the main aisle to get back up to the register. On the way to the registers, I pass the scented trash bags (thank you asshole who decided everything in the grocery aisles needed to be scented), I pass motion detection tv monitor that scream commercials as you walk past which turn you into a better ninja then compared to walking into a spider web. Please, dear God! I really want to witness someone ripping one of those damn things off the end caps so freaking bad! Please, give me the strength and not let it be me. I look terrible in orange, and I am too pretty and too damn mental to end up in jail, but, please, let me witness someone losing their shit at those automatic commercials, and tearing them off the wall, stomping on them, pouring milk and cola on them, and throwing them to the other side of the store. Oh goodness. If Karma is really good, I have earned the right to witness this.

I finally make it to the register, again without murdering anyone or damaging property, and ding, ding, ding, my items are rung up with ease. Debit or credit? Debit. Cash? NO! Car wash? NO! Would you like to donate to the local charity today? NO! GEEZ! I just want to get my groceries and go home! Finally. My sale is final and I push my cart to the front of the door.

As I look back on the circus that is big box stores, I happily see the manager running after a thief who is much younger and in much better shape than the older manager. Oh, that poor bastard. Hey dumb-ass! Stealing sucks. Deal with the hell of shopping and paying for your shit like the rest of us! Watching the thief run out the door and almost run over a lady walking into the store, reminds me how lucky it wasn’t me this time. In a small way, I am a little melancholy about the thief not running into me. That is how many of my shopping trips start and this trip felt like something was missing. Yep. My occasional encounter with a manic running out the door had become part of my shopping experiences that I had come to expect. Oh well. At least the other shopper got her nerves revved up for her shopping experience. She will need the extra adrenaline to survive her trip in big box hell.

I make it to my car, put my cart into the cart corral (no free ranging for you today), and immediately wish I was a smoker. Damn. My nerves are shot and I am exhausted. I have never smoked, but, it’s times like this I wish I did. As I pull away from the store, the thought runs through my head that I could grow my own wheat and buy a cow and I would not have to shop. Could I do it? Yes. The answer is yes. If only I didn’t have to shop for all the items to grow those things, I might consider it. But, more shopping is not on the top of my to-do list. So, no cow for me.

45 minutes of shopping for 3 items. It’s time for a nap….. and a drink.

 

Until next time…be safe, be kind, and always be happy.