Natural Trace

All I can think about for the word today is this picture I came across back in my veterinary assistant days. I was outside walking the dogs, just after a good rain, when I saw this:

I won’t say I hate spiders, but that I have an interesting relationship with them. However, it’s always fascinating to see a spiderweb (when you’re not walking into them) because of a spider’s ability to trace an outline from a center of nothing. This particular web is a testament to how strong a spider’s silk is as the drew drops lining it show its survival from the previous night’s raging thunderstorm.

Misadventures in the Shower: Day 18

Let me take you back in time to 2012. I’m on the island of Maui about to start working my internship. The first day I got there I was allowed to sleep because the travel time and the time change between Ohio and Hawaii definitely screwed me up. Pro tip, if you ever take a visit to a different time zone, make sure you try to coordinate your flights so that if you leave in the morning you arrive at nighttime or vice versa. It takes a lot less toll on the body than leaving at night and arriving at night or leaving in the morning and arriving in the morning.

The first day was just a lot of sleeping. Didn’t even have the energy to shower. It was just one of those shed clothes and bed moments. I woke up and wanted to be clean so I gathered my things together to go take a shower. The shower was this tiny stall with blue tile. No tub, just a standing shower, nothing fancy. I turn the water on and let it run to the temperature I like best; hot. While its doing that, I pee, brush my teeth, wash my face; you know the small things you do before climbing in the shower. Then I climb in and its instant relief. I love showering especially when there’s no time limit on the hot water. So I’m doing my thing, sudsing up and what not and I happened to look up.

Bad idea. Very bad idea.

Instead of keeping my eyes closed and singing and being I happy, I just had to look up. There in the corner was the biggest, hairiest, OMFG, spider. It was staring at me. You know that feeling where you feel like there’s eyes on you? Well that thing probably had like 15 eyes on me! All I kept thinking was please, PLEASE don’t move. I still need to wash my hair so we’ll be in here together at least another 15 minutes! Now that I know he’s there my eyes stay trained on mister like a laser.

For at least the next 5 minutes Mr. Spider doesn’t move. Well all of sudden he decides to move. Oh no! OH NO! DO NOT CRAWL THIS WAY! Of course he starts to crawl down. Then he stops. My heart is beating a mile a minute okay. Now i’m thinking he’s gonna shoot that silk thread out of his butt and just come surfing down and land in my hair or on me in general. What if it bites me?? What if it’s a poisonous spider??? I’m trying to calm myself down because if I make any fast moves I could slip and fall and crack my skull open. Well Mr. Spider did the boot shoot and I lost it. I hauled ass out of the shower so fast! Now I’m soapy and naked and spider has the shower alone. What I did next made me feel slightly guilty later but in the moment I didn’t care. I took that shower head and aimed it at Mr. Spider as much as possible. He got a one way ticket down the drain and I was able to finish my shower in relative peace.

The day before yesterday I had a similar experience in my Ohio shower. The spider wasn’t quite so big but literally it was the same situation where I just happened to look up and there sitting in the corner was a spider. I figured this one was dead until it started moving! I was prepared this time. Yes, I’m naked and vulnerable but you see this shower nozzle is detachable and this is your passport to a watery grave buddy! At least that’s what I told it in my head. This spider was so active! He crawled across the ceiling to the air vent and disappeared. I breathed a sigh a relief that I didn’t have another episode but then when I got out of the shower he came crawling back out. It was like one of those “joke’s on you” moments! The bastard was probably laughing at me with his little spider mouth. I had the last laugh though because I got a chair this time and captured this one. I didn’t wash him down the drain but I did throw him out the window. See? I’m not always a spider murderer.

It Started on a Map: Day 17

It all started with this map. My husband and I are coming on on our 2 year marriage/10 year dating anniversary this summer. This map is a rough navigation we started for ourselves when we were planning our trip to Florence, Italy. It was our first time ever going across the ocean and visiting that side of the world. We were fortunate enough that we had saved enough to be able to pay for our wedding and this trip. I’ll explain the stars on the map and then I’ll share some of the beautiful photos we took while there.

When we were planning were planning the trip, I got it into my head that it would be a great idea if we could find a highly reviewed B&B that was in walking distance to all the sites we wanted to see. After scouring TripAdvisor and Expedia and all the other travel review sites, we ended up getting a really good deal and stayed at Locanda dei Ciompi. It was smack in the middle of everything. Breakfast was served every morning at the cafe two doors down and we had free wifi. The remaining stars on the map: Osteria de’ Peccatori, Il Latini, and Palazzo Tempi were restaurants we discovered that we ended up frequenting throughout our 6 day stay.

In case anyone is curious what kind of camera we used for the trip, we ended up buying a Sony RX100 Mark 2. It’s a really small, compact camera that took really great photos in low lighting. It also had a neat feature where you can hook up your smartphone via NFC and control the camera using the smartphone. Quite handy for those couple selfies people were begging us for back home.

Words cannot describe how beautiful Firenze is. All I can say is if you ever get a chance, you must visit this beautiful city and just soak it in. There is rich history and culture in everything you see and eat. I hope you all enjoy the photos and if you ever find yourself in Italy, definitely check out Florence. It may not be the most romantic city in the world but it was the best honeymoon we ever dreamed of.

 

 

Dense

I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 12

I’m right behind my co author today in talking about tough situations. In this politically charged world we live in, there are certain topics people just don’t want to talk about. Today I’m going to briefly touch upon one of those topics and my personal feelings. As a disclaimer, I don’t mean to make anyone upset but if I do, I’m sorry in advanced.

A mutual friend of my co-author and I is adopted. She’s a black child adopted by white parents. When we became closer she told me her story. She told me she wasn’t almost adopted because the system did not think white parents could raise a black child and that the only reason they ended up being approved is because they knew a friend of a friend in the system. It broke my heart.

Another coworker of mine, 4 years married, met her husband after getting a divorce from a physically abusive relationship. She has two children and they were the reason she wouldn’t leave the marriage. It took her child calling the cops and telling them he was afraid to come home to his dead mom one day for the divorce to finally happen. Now with her new husband, the subject of children came up. She decided she didn’t want to have children at her age because of the risks so they decided to adopt. They filled out the papers and got real excited, especially the husband. In the end, they would not approve him to adopt because he had gotten 3 divorces prior even though he was financially stable and has been taking care of his wife’s children as his own. She told me he was devastated.

My husband has been in the foster care system as a child. He was in the system for about 7 years. He’s told me good stories but he’s also told me bad stories. Ultimately he feels he didn’t have a healthy childhood and hopes that if we ever have children he can give his child what he didn’t have.

I looked up a sample adoption form to see what it entails. It seems pretty straightforward. They want to know you age, gender, schooling history, marriage history, criminal history and annual salary. One of the sad things on there is that you have to choose an ethnicity to adopt. You can’t just have no preference. It shouldn’t matter in my opinion considering the thousands of children waiting to be adopted. 

I understand why the vetting process is high for something of this nature. You don’t want to place a child in a broken home. They already think their life is meaningless because they’re biological parents didn’t want them. But for people who are willing to open their hearts and their arms for a child, how much should ethnicity or your personal divorce rate really matter? 

I want to touch on abortion. The reason I want to touch upon this subject because people who are thinking about it are often told that they should put their child up for adoption because it’s the better route to take. Now I think that’s very noble but sometimes I think how noble is it really? Not saying all adoption systems are bad because that would be an ignorant thing to say but if I was in that boat, and I wasn’t instantly adopting my child out to a relative, I would seriously question if that’s the best option. I’m sure it’s hard enough that the mother can’t or doesn’t want the child in the first place and then have to make that decision? It’s rough.

To end on a happier note, when I checked my Facebook this morning I saw an uplifting video of a man who immigrated from Libya after losing his wife who fostors terminal children. A lot of times people do not want to take on that burden of their care. He decided he didn’t care about things like that and he wanted to make sure that these children were loved to the end. Simply amazing.

Halfway There! I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 10

True story.

I was driving home from work one day a few weeks back and I usually decide between taking the back roads or the highway. I take 3 different interstates to get home; 422 to 271 to 8. On average, 422 never has traffic no matter what time of day I drive it. 8 usually has no traffic as well. Sandwiched in between the 2 is 271 that almost always has traffic in the morning and at 5pm. The only time I can expect no traffic is around holidays or if kids are out of school. All of sudden the highways are free, open roads and I can drive like a normal human (maybe speed a little, ssshh).

This particular day, I took a chance to drive the highway. Usually I like to check google maps to see if there are a bunch of red lines but I figured I’d left early enough that I’ll probably bypass it. It was a warm day, for Ohio anyway, and I had my sunroof shade open and I think I was listening to whatever was on the radio that day. I come upon the exit to 271 and instant stop. Traffic was at a standstill. So I did a little bit of maneuverability to shimmy up to the closest exit. I always keep other routes in the back of my head in case I’m trying to be somewhere fast. I’m okay with sacrificing open highway for traffic lights as long as I’m moving. Sitting in a hot car in the summer, in traffic, is the worst.

I get off the highway and onto this side road that turns into 8 eventually. This road starts as a bunch of schools, then groceries and once you cross the bridge it turns into an industrial parkway. There’s a place on the left that just has giant piles of pulverized concrete or sand with this tiny little gas station and then you have a bunch of different warehouses up an down both sides before it turns into the casino way.

I get to the point where the old Arhaus warehouse used to be and there’s stand still traffic again. At first I didn’t think anything of it. There is a stoplight ahead so I figure traffic will start moving soon as it turns green. Well the light turns green and the cars in my lane are still sitting. Then I notice cars on the other side are stopping as well. Automatic thought is car accident right? Which means I’ll be stuck a little longer. Well, the cars across the divide start moving and the cars to my right start moving as well but my lane isn’t moving at all. I begin to feel the symptoms of annoyance come forward because I just want to go home after my long day at work.

An opening appears for me to move around the line of cars that are stopped and get into the moving right lane. I take the chance and slowly crawl forward. I’m ready to continue my drive but I’m also curious to see what caused the backup. I get close to SUV that’s essentially parked and saw the most unexpected thing…

A skunk!! A very big skunk!! If I could have snapped a picture with my eyes, I would have! The skunk is basically pacing in circles. It was so unbelievable, I burst out laughing. My annoyance instantly evaporated. I quickly glanced around my surroundings wondering where the hell this huge skunk came from. This is basically an industrial wasteland. No forest or any sign of nature in the immediate distance yet here is this poor skunk. You can tell people, including myself, wanted to help somehow but at the same time not. That’s just one smell you do not want to take to work the next day. I continued my drive home thinking to myself that I hope the little (big) guy finds his way home. I also thanked Mr. Big Skunk for putting a smile on my face.

I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 8

Dear person driving in front of me,

I get it. I do. We both have places to be. I’m trying to go to work and you’re trying to go wherever. That doesn’t matter to me. What does matter is how often you are hitting your brakes. I just don’t understand. I can see the road ahead of you for miles. What are you braking for??? You have to understand. I drive manual transmission and I have to shift gears to accommodate your unbelievable driving skills. I promise it’s driving me crazy.

You know what? It’s okay. There are two lanes now. I’ll just get over in this lane and go around you. See my turn signal? I’m just going to ease to the right in the passing lane since you’re​ riding the fast lane.

What are you doing? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?! You’re swerving into my lane. Fantastic. You know my car was trying to tell your car something, right? I guess your turn signal is broken. That’s fine. I’ll just slam on my brakes just for you. Asshole. You don’t know it but right now I’m wishing I was Cyclops and could shoot laser fire out of my eyes and blow your car out of my way.

I just want to get to work with minimal headache. If you could go the speed limit that would be amazing. No? Not something you’re interested in? That’s fine. There’s an exit coming up. I’ll take a different route.

Of course you’re going this way too. I can’t get away from you! What are the fucking odds?

Oh! Your turn signal does work! Thank God. Hurry up and turn so I can continue my drive.

Yes! I’m free!!! The road is open! No one in front of me! I’ll be on time!

No! Don’t do it! Don’t you fucking turn in front of me! Fuck! Here we go again…

Sincerely,

The driver behind you having road rage inside her car

(Day 8’s email. Write a letter)

I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 7

Let’s talk about Twitter.

My inspiration for today is supposed to come from specific Twitter posts. I’ll get to that eventually but first I want to talk about how I got into Twitter.

Back in the day, MySpace was the social media option of choice. I had MySpace. I didn’t use it very often because back in those days everyone was all about chat rooms (remember AIM?!). MySpace was this awesome piece of the internet that you could make as creative as you wanted. If you wanted a glitter page there was a theme for that. If you wanted the site to change every time you refreshed, there was a theme for that too. You could even set your favorite song to play when someone visited your site! It was kind of a blog, but not really. Everybody had these super long profile biographies that went into detail about every little thing in their life. So if you were perusing to try a pick up someone, chances are their MySpace profile told you everything you needed to know. From what I remember, there wasn’t really a type of news feed or status update type of system to see other people’s stuff. You had to physically go view(creep) and individual’s page every time.

Then around my college years, Facebook came along. If I remember correctly, you had to have an invitation to join Facebook first. At first I wasn’t interested. I was content with my Myspace and it worked well enough. But then I kept hearing about how “sophisticated” and “clean” Facebook was in comparison to MySpace. Naturally, as time went on, and all my friends migrated to Facebook, so did I. I remember Facebook being a basic platform that didn’t have ads or sponsored pages and you just talked and shared with friends and family. As popularity of the platform grew, so did everything else; friends of friends, ads, messenger, etc. I still use Facebook today, mostly for family but unfortunately its a lot of browsing through the bullshit and reading everyone’s political opinions but not commenting because they’re your friends.

Enter Twitter! Oh Twitter. Just as before, I didn’t want to get into another social platform. I thought Twitter was dumb because I didn’t understand hashtags and 140 characters was not enough to say anything. My husband took the plunge first and then told me I had to join because Twitter was the best. I started to notice that a lot of my favorites tweeted a lot more than they shared statuses on Facebook. I even realized that half the things that appeared on Twitter, didn’t appear on Facebook at all so I ended up missing out great information; and by great information I mean book giveaways and live Q&As. So I took the plunge.

I now have two Twitter accounts. My personal one and the one for this blog. I absolutely love Twitter. I follow my favorite authors and a couple of them actually follow me back! I don’t have to wade through garbage to see good content. As you can see from the pictures, I follow a variety of different things that interest me. Its nice because I don’t have to worry about the negativity which is the main reason why I’ve been staying away from Facebook. I see what I want to see. Things that make me happy or encourage me to explore more. I don’t have to see the videos of angry people who are pissed about one thing or another and vandalizing properties. I don’t have to see the thousands of people dying from whatever label society has put on them to deem them dangerous. I don’t have to see the arrogance of the people who feel their opinions are superior to all. On Twitter, I just don’t get all of that. I get to see what my authors are up to, what’s going to be released on Netflix (s?) from US to Ireland and whats new in the Android world. I get to see releases for books, music, movies and TV shows. I get to see reviews from some of the best eateries and exotic locations of the world I want to add to my bucket list! Majority of my followers on Twitter aren’t people I’m related to and it’s glorious!

I don’t actually have an inspired Twitter post to start writing from and none of the ones in the email really got me thinking about writing. However, the simple act of talking about Twitter seemed to do the trick don’t you think?

I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 6

Where do you write?

….asks my inspiration email. Currently, I am writing from my sofa. The room I’m in is addition off of our little cape. When were were house hunting we didn’t want a cape but we came across this one and fell in love. All the houses on our street, and really in this whole neighborhood, look the same. Little cookie cutter houses built by WWII soldiers so they had something to do and places to live. Ours is slightly different because of the addition. The room is an ugly beige color that I want to paint over but that my husband likes (😩). It’s really neat because it has these wooden beams going across the ceiling with storm window blocks lining each side of the beams. My cats like to chase the rainbow lights and shadows that appear on the  a walls when it’s sunny out. The previous owners also installed a little, vintage wood burning stove on one side of the room.

I don’t always write from here. Majority of the time I write at work; thanks to the WordPress app making it easy. Of all the posts I’ve written so far, maybe 3 of them were in this room. The bulk of my time in this room is spent, you guessed it, reading. And my laptop sits in here as well so there’s usually background internet noise.

Now, it would be great if someone inspired me to conquer that of which I keep purposely distracting myself from doing; cleaning. This room, and the whole house really needs some straightening up. I wish I had a clone that could do all the adulting things for me so I can just sit in this room and do what I prefer to do.

I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 5

Today’s blog post is brought to you by a quote meme and written (typed? texted?) from my cellphone.

I browse social media regularly and I follow a lot of book loving sites. There’s one that posts memes on an daily (hourly) basis. So I came across this meme that says:

 

Read the books that make you happy even if they’re not classics or academic novels that won awards.

 

This got me thinking about my personal book reading preferences now in comparison to what I would read before. Romance novels used to be this taboo. It was that white elephant in the room that no one wanted to talk about. Whenever someone asked your book genre preferences it was always safe to say scif-fi or thrillers or fantasy. If you said romance people would instantly think of the Fabio covers and say you read those “trashy novels”.

Now it seems that you’re the weird one if you don’t read romance. It’s like the book reading world has suddenly embraced all things romance. Here I am thinking everybody is late to the party. I personally think that Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey can’t hold a candle to a whole host of romance novels by amazing authors. I hate how these are now the basis for a good romance story. Read a good Judith McNaught historical romance or a Sandra Brown thriller or hell a good Anne Rice paranormal to see how it should really be done.

I have my opinions, obviously, and I certainly never want to cause drama. I love that people are embracing little things like romance novels more and more and, like the quote says, aren’t ashamed to say hell yeah I love these books and you should too!

I’m not a writer, I’m a reader: Day 3

Today’s inspiration is brought to you by single word posts. The goal here is to take one word and turn it into a post. The email provided a list of words to choose from and it definitely got me thinking.

I’m going to take it back to senior year of high school. The year was pretty decent. Made a lot of good friends but they were a grade or two lower than me. I spent most of my time in the Zoology classroom taking care of the myriad of reptiles and amphibians. Now my teacher is asking me if I’m going to college. Well, for me it’s not like I had much choice. My mother made it very clear what would happen if I didn’t go to college. At the time, I was excited. I flunked the ACTs but I did pass the SATs. I didn’t want to go to the local college because that’s where the whole graduating class was going and I needed new faces. I was too chicken shit to move to a different state or even to go an hour away so I ended up being about 45 minute drive from home. Far enough that I knew my mom wouldn’t come visit me every second but close enough to visit. I worked two jobs and went to school full time, changed my major once in there and graduated.

Now I’m living the dream! I have a fancy piece of paper that tells the world I’m intelligent! I can do everything I dreamed of doing!

Wrong. You know why it was so wrong? Because everything they tell you is just not true. You see you get these job coaches that tell you about your resume and how it should look and how effective your education will be when applying into the unknown adult world of jobs. I was originally a Biology major. That pretty much narrows my job choices down to zookeeper, plant and animal behavior, animal nutrition, naturalist. So I’m like hell yeah! I’ll get to be a zookeeper! This is great! School is expensive but you know what it doesn’t matter because when I graduate I’ll be set forever! Yeah, no. You can’t imagine how hard it is to become a zookeeper. Literally the best way to get into a zoo is to know someone who knows someone higher up who can whisper into their superior’s ear about how awesome you are and to give you chance. Or, the alternative, work for free for 5 years and get a passing chance at having your application looked at. You’re telling me I struggled for 4 years of my life, spent massive amounts of money (95k if you were curious), volunteered for 2 years and I still can’t get my pinky toe in the door. What do I have to show for it now? Lots of debt. Thank you education. You are a real winner.

You know what they need in colleges now? They need that person who will be brutally honest. That coach you go to and say, “hell yeah, when I graduate I’ll be swimming with sea turtles and dolphins and caring for elephants!” And then that coach would look you in the face and just bust out laughing; gut wrenching, tears streaming, spit shooting out from their face, laughing. And then set you straight. They’ll say, “Hey! that’s great except that won’t happen. You’ll probably work fast food or retail the first few years out of college, and then you’ll find a job that you can be passionate enough about that’ll keep you afloat in this world!” Then follow up with, “Here’s what you really need to do…”

Now I’m not saying this is what happens to everyone or that you all should feel this way or that. I don’t necessarily regret going to college because I did make quite a few connections that I still keep in contact with today or have helped me better my living situation. If I had to go back, I would definitely pick a community college instead of a private college and I would pick a more logical major. In a perfect world, we could all fake it til we make it. I heard this saying from my realtor. I asked her how she was so successful at her job. She said she jumped in and learned as much as possible and came up with her own strategies along the way until she became very good at what she does. That is living the dream. You apply for a job and are considered based off your willingness to learn and then you get a fantastic teacher who teaches you everything they know. That, in my opinion, is the best way to get a real world education.

What’s your opinion about education?