e1d57-atoz2019tenthannMy son, once again, has a low-grade fever.  He had one a little earlier this week, but we’ve all been coming off and going one various mild ailments, so I tried not to think too much about it.  But now we’re all better, I thought.  So what’s with this fever?

Oh, I don’t know.  Meningitis?  Cancer?  Internal bleeding (from when his cousin jumped on him earlier today)?  Wait, let me Google “low grade fever” and see what other horrific ailments he might have.

I don’t know how to calmly deal with my reality a lot of the time.  I don’t know how to separate or distinguish between what the most likely scenario is versus what the worst case scenario is — to me, they usually feel like one and the same, even if all logic tells me that’s not possible.

I have a headache?  It’s probably a brain tumor (this has not been helped by the fact that, six years ago, I lost a good friend to a fast moving brain tumor).

Stomach’s bothering me?  I probably have ulcers, or stomach cancer, or an intestinal blockage.

And I can’t go to the doctor.  Oh no no no no.  What if they just confirm my suspicions?  What of they tell me that something is actually wrong?  Never mind that they could help me fix the problem (if there is one).  I can’t face the possibility that they’ll confirm my fears.  I’ll just… live in a perpetual state of anxiety until the ailment goes away, or… whatever.


And lest you think it’s just health concerns that plague me, ah ha, not so, my friends.  I have been known to waste a whole weekend persevering on something a student or coworker said to me on a Friday afternoon that — from working in the setting for fifteen years and talking with other coworkers — should have been of no consequence, and yet completely dominated my thoughts for 72 hours.  I’ve lost sleep obsessing over particular student assignments, I put off calling in sick even when I’m legitimately unwell (what if the administration thinks I’m faking or taking advantage?  What if my coworkers are talking about me behind me back?), hell, I still get nervous when the store alarm beeps when I walk out (what if something fell into my pocket??  (Seriously???))

I rehearse meal orders, over and over at restaurant until it’s my turn to place mine, and I still feel my heart beat a little faster when I do.  I get sweaty palms in checkout lines.  I have to write out what I’m going to say before I make a phonecall, wear a hole in the carpet pacing when I finally place the call, and am wired for an hour afterward.  There’s a note in my PCP’s file that they should take my blood pressure twice — once at the beginning and once at the end of a visit — because I have such a bad case of White Coat Syndrome.  I stopped watching and reading the news after the last presidential election because literally everything I heard sent me into such anxiety spirals I would have full on hyperventilating, crying jags at bedtime.

There are connections between ADHD and anxiety — about 50% of people with ADHD also have an anxiety disorder — so I know I’m not alone in these thoughts, though feeling this way (especially when I can, intellectually, recognize the lack of logic/hypocrisy inherent in them) is hugely isolating and objectively makes my life worse.  My anxiety is on the books, but I haven’t sought out medication partially because my nervousness/anxiety extends to taking medication (this is not a slam regarding medicating a mental illness — I am very pro-medication, and very much believe medication is a valid option and a lifesaver for many people.  As I said, this is yet another in a long line of self-recognized irrational fears).

So, on the day-to-day, I muddle along.  Most of my nervousness is so much a part of my personality at this point that I almost don’t notice it, as weird as that sounds; it’s like white noise, always just sort of on the peripheary of my awareness.

What about you?  What are your irrational fears, concerns, worries?  How do you cope on the day-to-day?  How has your anxiety impacted your life overall?


Joys, Big and Small

e1d57-atoz2019tenthannThis has been an unusually stressful week in a job fundamentally built on stressful weeks (I love what I do, but it takes a toll).  Recovering from the stomach bug (good news!  I’m back to eating normally, and I am ravenous), plus juggling my writing challenges and the general stress and tedium of daily life has resulted in a case of pretty massive burnout.  I have one more day of work, and a ton of chores to do tomorrow, and then – blessed vacation.

Tomorrow is Friday, which is usually the day I do my “Fri-yay” posts, where I share with you consumables that have made my week brighter, but, full disclosure, the thought of having to write even one more thing on top of the three (I’m still plugging away at Camp NaNo) I’m already working on is crushing.  So, I’ve decided to be selfish and focus on me today — to take a second to breath and reflect on the things in my life that are currently bringing me joy.  I’m sorry, but I need this.

Maybe you do, too.  I would encourage all of you out there, feeling overwhelmed with whatever challenges you might be facing, to take a moment and list things — from something as significant as “I own a beautiful home” to something as inconsequential as “I have a bag of peppermint patties in the fridge that I’m gonna tuck into tonight” — that are currently a source of joy to you.

  • My family is over the stomach bug, and we all have out appetites back (Bear’s is especially epic today!)
  • We’re taking our students for bowling and pizza tomorrow
  • I’m surprisingly pleased and excited about the poems I’m writing for NaPoWriMo
  • My Camp NaNo project is such trash, but it’s also such a satisfying idfic/drawerfic that I’m going to keep working on it even if it’s likely never going to see the light of day
  • I finally found wall sconces I love to complete the focal wall in my living room
  • I made an amazing tortellini soup last night with enough leftovers for tonight (and any night I don’t have to cook, but can still eat amazing food, is a win)
  • The trees in the courtyard outside my classroom window are finally starting to bloom, and birds (we think they’re finches) are eating from our windowsill feeder
  • I recently won my first game of Scrabble against my husband!  Woo!
  • Saturday is supposed to be 70 degrees
  • Summer work has opened up and I already know I have at east one position lined up
  • I’ll have time this week to return to the gym
  • Cutting and hopefully redyeing my hair this week
  • I’ll have time to read and start some the shows I’ve been meaning to watch — hooray for new media!
  • Eddie Izzard is coming to Boston
  • I’ll probably get to see my niece and nephew at least once over my vacation
  • I recovered the password to my old LiveJournal, and have been reading some entries I haven’t laid eyes on in at least six years (that journal chronicled my whole life, from my freshman year of college through my first few years of marriage)
  • We are going to the live Worst Bestsellers in Boston next week, and I’m looking forward to it.  I don’t go into Boston enough anymore (I miss our season tickets to the theatre)
  • I have an almost untouched carton of Ben & Jerry’s Brownie Batter Ice Cream in my freezer from before the bug hit and I cannot wait to dig into it tonight
  • My son has been a gold mine of ridiculously adorable quotable lately, and he is seriously the jewel of my Facebook page
  • I’m seeing such awesome things in Dollar Tree hauls lately, ahhh, I can’t wait to go this week!
  • I really like the people in my NaNo cabin this year
  • Someone on AO3 wrote a fic in a fandom I adore, and it was sweet and wonderful and I seriously haven’t closed the tab since the fic went up and read it when I can’t fall asleep, ahhh, it’s so good
  • I started two paintings before April started, and I’m excited enough about them that I’m going to make working on them a priority this week even though I had been resigned initially to putting off visual art until May
  • I got a sweet text message from my lead teacher last night saying really lovely things about my handling of a situation, and it made me feel valued and appreciated

Take a moment and reflect on what you’ve got to be happy and grateful for.

If you’d like to share, I’d love to listen.

Fri-yay: March 29th, 2019

Happy (1)Ok, so it’s Saturday again.  At least I made a conscious decision last night (around 8:30) that I’d put off posting until today.  I’m a little regretful that I haven’t managed to make a post this week, but I’ve been busy trying to get a queue set up for #AtoZChallenge when I’ve been on, and I think I’ve got the first week basically sorted, and even some stuff for beyond that.

Anyway, this week:

I was bitten by the nostalgia bug and was hit, suddenly and without provocation, by the need to find a particular song I was obsessed with about a decade ago.  I finally found it, and along with it came a swell of nostalgia for an old Adidas marketing campaign called Adicolors, for which a series of short films was produced.  My friend Lance and I had a short but intense period of fannishness over these ads.

You can find a link to a playlist for five of the ads here.  The song I was searching for is available in full (on YouTube, which is where I listen to music) and is called “Made,” by Greg Weeks, and is used in a truncated format in the video for “Pink.”

Next, according to Simu’s Insta, Kim’s Convenience Season Three will be available to stream on Netflix on April 3rd, the day after the final episode airs on the CBC.  Which is actually pretty great because 1.) Wednesday’s are typically stressful days for me, and it’ll be nice to have something to relax and enjoy once I’m over that hump, and 2.) I really expected to have to wait a lot longer after the original air date to be able to watch it in the States, so it’s cool they’re putting it up so soon.

Oh, and, uh, you should also check out Simu’s Insta for a few other reasons.

Short one this week, because I deffo haven’t been indulging in self-care the way I should be, but hey, sometimes it be like that.

What’s been keeping you afloat this week?

“Fri-yay:” March 22nd, 2019

Happy (1)Is… is everyone out there okay?  Y’all all right?  You sure?

Guys, I don’t know what it is, but this week was friggin’ banana sandwich, I kid you not.  Friday alone was a complete circus, and, as you can see, I didn’t even manage to get this post out actually on Friday.  Hello, Sunday morning.  Better late than never, though, right?

This weekend, the plan was: chores, painting (as in art, not household touch-ups), queuing up more posts for A-to-Z Challenge, and generally chilling (because I’ve earned it, dammit).  So far I’ve stuck to that plan, though I still have a hell of a lot more chores to get through today.

This week, I’ve been using my well-earned chill time to sit back and enjoy:

My son’s recently developed obsession with Sia and her side project, LSD They’ve released a few singles – we’ve been grooving to Thunderclouds, Mountains, Audio, and my personal favorite, Genius:

I have legitimately had this song stuck in my head for three days, and I’m  not complaining.

I am also super late in the game in terms of checking out the new Queer Eye – no, not the new season, just the show itself.  I was a devout follower of the original show when I was young, and was excited to hear they were coming back with a reboot, but then just… never got around to catching it (consuming new media is hard for me… I will probably have to write about that at some point).  Guys – the, like, three of you out there who also haven’t seen it – it is so good.  It is just such a positive, happy, hopeful show.  They are all about what works, what’s good about a person, and about accentuating and highlighting what’s already there – it’s basically less about a “makeover” and more about the “glo up,” you know?

For those of you who have seen Season 3 (which is what Netflix started me with; I’ve since put S3 on pause and gone back to Season 1), maybe y’all should order a bottle of Jone’s Sisters BBQ Sauce.  That episode made me ugly cry.

Also, in what seems like the obligatory Dollar Tree entry: I’m a sucker for summer (reduced work schedule, warm weather, and both my birthday and anniversary!), margaritas, and cute glasses.  So I loved seeing that DT was carrying these cactus-themed margarita glasses.  They are adorable.  If you’re into cactuses, this is actually a great time to check out DT; my thing lately has been mermaids (see: my downstairs bathroom), but I do have a soft spot for cacti, as well.  DT has pencil holders, dish towels, and trinket trays.

I think that’s it for this week.  Man, I need to be more on the ball about getting these out of Friday.  Somehow, talking about all this on Sunday has just amplified my end-of-weekend-blues.  Sigh.  19 days until Spring Break  (15 days of actual work)?  That’s something, right?

What’s keeping you afloat this week?

Friyay!: March 8th, 2019

Happy (1) Happy Friday!  This has been quite a week; to sum up how the last few days have been, coworkers and I took time out today to look up the lunar calendar and the as-of-late phases of the moon in a last ditch effort to assign some rationale to the unending chaos of the week.

With the being said, the week is over (just over a month until my Spring Break!), and I’m hoping for some restorative sleep this weekend, a good house cleaning, and some down time to, among other things, catch a showing of Captain Marvel and do some painting.

Things that have buoyed me along this week:

First off:  Today we took the kid’s on a community trip to the library, and I was reminded of something that I’d known about and thought was awesome (but never made mention of) called The Library of Things.  I’ve known about it for a while, but it was news to several coworkers, so in case you are unaware of it, I would recommend you Google “(your local library) library of things” and see what comes up.  The Library of Things is a collection of non-traditional material and equipment available for loan at your library.  At the library in the town that I work in, for example, this includes an applique kit, binoculars, a cordless scanner, a ghost-hunting kit, a knitting kit, a keybooard (as in the musical instrument), a Playstation 4, a telescope, and a ukelele – and this is a partial list.  Google it and see what cool things you can borrow with your library card!

Secondly, several upcoming challenges have recently opened sign-ups, and I – on an ADHD fueled rampage – signed up for all of them.  I’ve gotta say, though, April feels like a good month to get creatively energized, because (at least up here near Boston) it’s the first month where the weather begins to become pleasant with fair consistency, and the days start getting longer and sunnier – it’s really the first time during the year when I feel like the general atmosphere around me radiates energy instead of drains it.  Anyway, for those interested, the three challenges I am participating in (and which are currently taking sign-ups) are Blogging A-to-Z, Camp NaNoWriMo, and National Poetry Writing Month.

Third, you all know I’m a little bit crazy for Dollar Tree, right?  Well, did you also know that (a.) my downstairs bathroom in mermaid-themed (because of course it is), and (b.) Dollar Tree is killing it in the mermaid department lately?  I’m on the lookout for a few classic products as well as some brand new stuff, like this mermaid shadowbox/plaque, ceramic mermaid tail plates, decorative mermaid tails, these mermaid wall stickers, and these mermaid tail candles.

Finally, I was a big fan of Pentatonix for a long time, but after Avi left, I sort of fell away from the group for a bit, only recently returning to listen to some of their newer stuff and man – I will always love and miss Avi, but this does not disappoint.  I’ve listened to the Pentatonix cover of “The Sound of Silence” about fifty times in the last three days.

Anyway, that’s about it for today.  What’s kept your spirits up or brightened your days this week?

Friyay!: March 1st, 2019

Happy (1)Holy hell, this has been… a week, let me tell you.  Partial derailment of my household (that I opted to let wait until I could clean tomorrow, so I can’t whine too much about that), absolute chaos at work, and what seems to be the resurgence of the cold that knocked me on my ass just before vacation.

That being said, I am positively ecstatic that it’s the weekend.

This week’s Friyays!

I don’t know why I didn’t mention this weeks ago (oh, wait, it’s because I basically abandoned this blog for like a month), but Andy and I watched Kim’s Convenience on Netflix.  While it’s not a new show on Netflix – it debuted in July 2018 – the fact that literally no fan works for it exists suggests that it’s definitely not known as widely as maybe it should be.   Since I’m notoriously long-winded, here’s the IMDB summary: The misadventures of a Korean-Canadian family running a convenience store. Kim’s Convenience tells the funny and heartfelt story of the Kim family. Mr. and Mrs. Kim are Korean Canadian convenience store owners who have worked hard to give their now-twenty-something children, Janet and Jung, a better life in Canada.  It is well-worth checking out for funny and surprisingly sweet and wholesome (but not hokey or saccharine) comedy, and there’s some nice eye candy to be had as well (Simu Liu, I’m looking at you.  Like, a lot.  Especially on Instagram).  The first two seasons are available on Netflix, with the third currently airing on CBC in Canada, and a fourth already in the works.

I am no where near Chicago, but just hearing about the existence of The Catcade makes me happy.  They are an arcade-themed cat rescue that simulates an “at home” environment, so instead of being kept in cages or crates, the cats roam free and interact with patrons.  There is a cafe and lounge, free arcade games (and Mario Kart), free Wi-Fi, and the opportunity for “cat yoga” classes!  I would be happy just chilling with the kitties, but being able to play some games and have a cup of coffee with them is pretty great.  If you get real attached to a particular kitty, they are available for adoption!

The Oatmeal is once again dipping into gaming, this time with Throw Throw Burrito, which I love mostly because of the card art (Meow Cow?  Barky Sharky?  COME ON!) and the fact that I like throwing things at people.  I feel like it’s a game that is easy to learn and that would be pretty accessible even to pretty young kids, which makes it a good Family Game Night option (I think Bear is still a little too young, but be next year, definitely).  It’s still being KickStarted, but check in out if you like Matt’s art, family-friendly games, or chucking things at people you love.

What’s keeping you cheerful this week?

(PS:  Yes, it’s Saturday.  I started this entry before I put my son to bed last night, and wound up falling asleep with him.  So, here).

The Ever Evolving Nature of the Blog

top view of creative workspace with keyboard and coffee
Photo by Kaboompics .com on

AKA:  Jess can never make up her mind/is never satisfied/(to put a positive spin on it) is constantly learning and growing.

I’m back in the proper head space to be creative and work on the blog and creative projects again!  The last half of January was kind of a blasé month for me, mentally/creatively (not in a dire way, just sort of fatigued, hence the complete dearth of blog posts), but February has been a creative high point, and I’ve been thinking about this blog again.

I finally, finally moved all my OCtPoWriMo posts over to a separate blog – Rarely Tidy Writing – which is where I will host my contributions to all future writing challenges.  It’s accessible via my Navigation Menu, and if you are someone who followed me during one of the challenge months and are only here for creative writing, it might be a good idea to go and follow that blog either instead of or in addition to this one (I’d love for you to stick around!  But I know that it’s entirely possible that you followed me under the faulty assumption that I was a “writing blog,” and if my ADHD ramblings aren’t your cuppa, I understand and encourage you to check out Rarely Tidy Writing instead).

I’ve also been thinking of a previous post I made, talking about honing the focus of this blog somewhat, and reflecting on how that’s been going for me so far.  I’m enjoying, I think, that I am still able to talk about things that are important to me and that affect me personally while still having a lense through which I can focus my writing, but it remains important to me to keep a personal presence on this blog.  Over the last week, I’ve been considering this, and decided to try out combining two things I’d been mulling over for a long time: making #weeklycoffeetalk posts, and incorporating vlogs into my blog.  Since I plan on talking about my personal life during these weekend vlogs, my Friyay! posts will become more fully centered around media and products (i.e., things that you, as readers, can seek out and consume if they sound interesting or uplifting to you) instead of personal milestones or celebrations.

Anyway, that’s what’s what.  Hope you have all been well, and I’m looking forward to new projects on the horizon!