AHHHHH the unexpected party…
For someone who just wanted to eat his dinner in peace, Bilbo sure got more than he could ever bargain for when he opened the door at the first bell ring.
C-C-Can you not do that? You’ll blunt them!
Oooh, you hear that lads? He says we’ll blunt the knives…
Blunt the knives, bend the forks
Smash the bottles and burn the corks
Chip the glasses and crack the plates
That’s what Bilbo Baggins hates!
Cut the cloth, tread on the fat
Leave the bones on the bedroom mat
Pour the milk on the pantry floor
Splash the wine on every door!
Dump the crocks in a boiling bowl
Pound them up with a thumping pole
When you’re finished if they are whole
Send them down the hall to roll!
I remember watching each of the dwarves come in to Bag End and getting increasingly nervous…I don’t blame Bilbo for being so uptight! I mean, I LOVE spending time with people but having 13 strangers come in and literally make themselves at home is more than a little unsettling.
We know they sing and poke fun at Bilbo but in the end they clean up after themselves and then all gather round the table and get to the business at hand.
It got me thinking about tables…and gatherings…
When I stop and think of all the tables I’ve found myself seated at lately, it brings a great smile to my face.
At the holidays, my family gathers around, now multiple tables, to laugh and share a meal.
Every few months, my good friends invite me over and the three of us play the new tabletop game they’ve purchased.
I’ve sat across from my niece and nephews as they color me a picture for my fridge.
Twice, I’ve gotten to lend my voice to a podcast.
I’ve shared early morning coffee chats and LATE evening chats
Dreams were dreamt, space was held, and lives were made just a little better and brighter…all by having a seat.
So, whether your company gets as rowdy as 13 dwarves, or it’s just one person, keep welcoming people to your table and accepting invitations to sit at others’. Relationships happen all over Middle Earth and you never know when one could lead you on your next GREAT ADVENTURE!!!
Greetings my lovlies!!!
and now let’s take a big>>>SIGH<<< together.
If you had told me that when I sat down to write this that it would have been 2 months since I last wrote, I would have gotten really defensive…BUT I’d be wrong.
Plans, OHHHHHHHHH, the plans I had (have), which if I am honest, feel like excuses sometimes…BUT transparency is one of the names of my game here, so, listen up!
I have been working two jobs this FALL season to prepare myself for a SET schedule in 2020 and that INCLUDES writing! There have been many a Sunday (currently my only day off) where I’ve wondered how smart my idea is BUT the horizon is so close, it doesn’t matter anyways 😀
I knew that outside of journaling, October wouldn’t have much writing in it because I set it aside to join a movie challenge from Epic Film Guys and the sketching challenge Inktober with the idea that I am going to have to “DO” more, in order to write about more. There will be posts on both of those things, soon! I am sorry they didn’t happen on Oct. 31st as originally intended but I promise that I will post them anyway!
November, ahhhhhhh, November…this month was suppose to be a CELEBRATION of the blogs 1 year Anniversary and the fact that it’s now the 16th and this is the first post, is completely my fault. The biggest lesson my anxiety has taught me this month is that you can be excited to the point of procrastination, and, whew, have I been.
In addition to catching up on neglected corners of this space, I also planned to read a book(s) on the craft of writing this month with hopes to alternate the fiction and craft readings so that I can, hopefully become a better and more diligent writer. There are only a couple of weeks left in the month but I do plan to read the, highly, recommended book On Writing by Stephen King before the month is over.
December is going to be crazy with my second trip to Ireland coming up AND the Holidays of course BUT I have so much content coming, all the chaos will be worth it.
Thanks for sticking with me! I really look forward to re-familiarizing myself with every room here and making it a cozy place to be!
We’ll chat again soon!
What can I do, right now, in this extremely contemplative moment (besides still be drinking coffee at noon)!?
WRITE…ok, cool, I know a place 😉
Five days in to year 37, on one of the MOST heavy/light weeks of the year and lessons are already pouring in…it was bound to happen, right!?
I started the week, and this journal, on Monday, my birthday and was SUPER excited to do it. Not only was my BIG goal for the year to recognize and appreciate love in all of it’s forms BUT one of my daily goals was to make sure I say “I Love You” and I was READY. Ready to feel it and to say and I thought it was going to be easy…I was wrong.
Monday was incredible…I literally floated ALL day, basking in the reciprocal flow of LOVE as so many reached out to celebrate my life and remind me why it matters. That day, it was very easy to start my journal and fill the page with all the ways love showed up.
Tuesday was easy too. It was World Suicide Prevention Day, a day that has come to mean a great deal to me and though has the potential to be crippling, through my incredible community of fellow light chasers and hope seekers, I was able to find love around every corner I turned.
Wednesday met me with a moody scene and brick wall. Being a part of the mental health community often means that good news/unpleasant news travel in the same caravan, even though we hope, wish and fight for it not to be true. The heavy news of another death by suicide was all I could read. I did not know the person but in this community, the impact is no less because of that fact and I am grateful I can FEEL right alongside my tribe on this…That day, I did not trip and fall over love…I had to read the words of my friends and let the love I have for them and the love they have for their friends well up in me and move me. I also had to get out of the space I do my best thinking in (home) and search for signs of love showing up, outside and off the internet. It worked, if only for a few hours…I sat and watched friends interact with each other, a husband playing for the crowd but singing directly to his wife, a tiny dog wanting nothing more than to sit in the lap of her person and even a few hugs from people who recognized me. I was able to write by the end of that night and I was grateful!
Thursday, in spite of my best efforts, felt like what I imagine climbing a very high mountain would be…the kind of feeling where you can’t take a full inhale because the oxygen just isn’t there. I started the day off in gratitude and with prayer but could not find that feeling I was looking for…Worry was heavy on my mind. The more familiar or (in tune) I get, the more I feel and most of the time that isn’t a bad thing but on days when I can’t get my own head above the water, I know I am going to re-learn how to tread that water. In my efforts, I found a few smiles, a few laughs and a few hugs, all which had the warmth of love but it didn’t feel real enough to put in the journal. I felt utterly spent, at day 4…what the hell am I going to do with this journal now?
Friday. As guilt ridden as I get with taking a day off (especially, when a trip isn’t involved), I knew I needed it today. When I am not asleep, I am thinking…and thinking…and thinking. It’s so hard for me to wrap my head around such a, seemingly, easy thing to do BEING so difficult sometimes. I met my daily goal of saying “I Love You” BUT my quest to witness how it shows up is DIRECTLY connected to where my head/heartspace is. If I am feeling disconnected, things like friendship/kinship/love feel very far away. I can’t feel/see what I am not open to. How in this world can a lover like me, continuously shut herself out/down!?
This is my headspace, even as I type now…and I don’t have an answer but the reminder that I don’t have to is refreshing. There will be days when non of us get it right (or wrong) and there are days when there isn’t a right/wrong…there is just, IS. I am known for saying “I am here for it all” because I know that even in the “???” moments, there is room to grow and I AM here for it.
Showing up is what it is all about…
We’ll get outside for sunsets, for exercise, for hobbies, and friends. We’ll come back inside to rest, because we’ve learned we need to rest.
We’ll keep showing up. We’ll keep checking in. We’ll keep saying, “I love you.” We’ll keep being honest. We’ll keep asking questions. We’ll keep listening. We’ll keep learning. We’ll keep seeing people. We’ll keep reminding people they are priceless. We’ll keep reminding people that life is worth living.
We’ll believe the air in our lungs might also be a gift. We’ll live as long as we possibly can, finding and sharing every good thing. We’ll be surprised along the way, by love and joy and wonder, by people, and by things that feel true.
We’ll make today better.
You make today better.
My friend (and one of my all time favorite, vulnerable voices and hope chasers), Jamie Tworkowski knows all about those headspace moments and somehow found the words I needed.
Check the full blog out here…
Let’s promise to keep saying “I Love You” and to keep showing up for each other AND ourselves!!
Depending on when you are reading this, I am either on the edge of 37 or, in fact, 37 years old.
Blogs aren’t the place for writing books so I can’t fully describe here, all that 36 was filled with, however, I can tell you that everything it brought me put me in a very reflective headspace earlier in the week and has led to what you are about to read.
I typically leave brainstorming and goal setting in the pages of long forgotten (or possibly even tossed) journals BUT in 2018 I wrote down a few things that come the end of the year, did in one form or another become things that happened. It was mind blowing.
So, when I found myself in that same state, I went with it. What it ended up looking like is 5 BIG goals for year 37, then the same with daily/weekly/monthly ideas and I am going to share them with you!!
When I started this post, I had NO idea it would take almost 2,000 words BUT I couldn’t be more thankful that it has. Writing needs to become second nature if I want to be published, as do 2,000 word nights!
It’s been SO much fun to share this with you all and I thank you from the bottom of my heart of caring about this little space enough to keep coming back to it! You all matter VERY much to me and I am so grateful for my readers ❤
It’s time for my yearly fundraising campaign!! Although, I wish I felt the enthusiasm of the exclamation points right now.
I didn’t have one until two years ago, when I made a commitment to being more involved with the charity I support the most
The first year was very successful for me. I felt led to share part of my story in Facebook Live updates and it was so well received. I still remember every conversation that was brought to me via that vulnerability.
Last year didn’t see as much money raised and that bummed me out in a major way but I stuck with it and am so grateful for the people who donated.
When this year’s campaign was launched, I set up a donation page on team Heart Camp without even hesitating. Then, a heaviness beyond words fell over me and I have been sitting on an empty donation page for almost two weeks… shared only once, the day I made it.
I have had to check in with my heart multiple times since committing to fund raise and will fully admit that I asked it questions that I was surprised by.
It’s SO easy to pride myself in being a LOVER, too easy. I genuinely think about the people I care about ALL the time and let I Care and I Love You flow very freely from my lips. But what about the people I don’t know yet? Do I REALLY care? Can I say “I love you” even though I don’t “know” them? Do I really feel like they make today better? DO I make today better?
Heavy, right!? I don’t even know what will flow out of my fingers as I type the rest of this but here goes…
The sidelines are an easy place to be. From there you can witness the action without being a part of it and you can get up and leave if you don’t like what you are seeing. The sidelines are THE easy place to be.
Statistics are designed to provide valuable information to the masses and, hopefully, inspire change (if needed). What happens when the masses become desensitized or just plain overwhelmed by the numbers? Nothing happens…nothing…
I could put the World’s suicide statistics here, in black and white, but they are already on the donation page that I will share at the end of this post, so, here, I am going to get a bit personal…
Suicide. We all know what it means by now but have we all felt the weight of the word? I have seen it used, abused, shamed and offered as an option so many times, it physically makes me ill.
I have sat in a room full of, mostly, smiling faces and heard the quivering but BRAVE voices of people who couldn’t see themselves facing the next day. I’ve never been more sobered in my life. You want to turn around, hug them and beg them to STAY (and maybe you do) but you don’t even know the half of what they are going through. What happens when you aren’t in the same room anymore? What happens when they go home? What happens when you go home?
This is WHY I support TWLOHA and why, as small and insignificant as I can feel sometimes, I WANT THEM TO STAY…I WANT YOU TO STAY…I WANT TO STAY…
I want to offer HOPE and to know that people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts have access to the CARE that they need, to the community they need and to the LIFE that needs them. These resources need funding so that the message can grow.
World Suicide Prevention Month is here. The word World can be pretty intimidating and I have been intimidated more than once BUT I have also seen (and met) lives saved by the messages that TWLOHA brands by and by the resources it points to.
Each one of us can make a difference, we just have to get off the sidelines first. It’s uncomfortable and messy sometimes BUT in the action we are feeling this life while we are living it…and isn’t that the point?
You Make Today Better
I Make Today Better
We Make Today Better
…and I can’t wait until tomorrow 🙂
I was at a semi-local convention recently and was going to sing the above mentioned song…but I didn’t have to because someone else did…ok, I was singing too, from the crowd.
I had to sing to ease the urge to cry…not tears of a negative emotion mind you, tears of being completely seen and loved, exactly as I am.
Now, you may be thinking to yourselves, “doesn’t that happen all the time in life?” but I challenge you to really think about the people in your life that do see you and love you for exactly who you are…If that is everyone around you then I rejoice with you…but for me, that’s come on a little more the long way around, and if I am honest, completely honest, it still isn’t there in all areas…and maybe I’m just paranoid but it doesn’t “feel” like it anyways…
This is a post about a group of people I KNOW, without a doubt, see me, love me and inspire me, exactly as I am.
Four years ago, my friend Giovanna and I, fresh off a year and some change of starting a geek related blog, set our sites on something a little closer to home and attended our first ConCarolinas
We met SO many people that year that I will never forget it! In addition to Gio, I have people continuously in my life because of that event.
It wasn’t even something I noticed at first. Sure, you have the new Facebook friendships and occasional meet ups (I say occasional because I can be absolute shit at showing up sometimes)…but, a little over a month ago, it came in like the biggest, most beautiful Care Bear stare imaginable.
Contrary to every other year I’ve attended ConCarolinas, this year, I attended as a fan only…in truth, I didn’t even know if I was going to show up, much less as press and/or a guest. I didn’t even know that I knew what imposter syndrome was until I realized that my entire creative life was riddled with it. I was spent, creatively…an absolute disaster…but then I thought of all the people I would miss seeing if I didn’t go. So I went.
I don’t know if you know what it feels like to feel “home” at a place that isn’t where you lay your head at night but that’s what this convention has become to me. I don’t wander around, aimlessly looking for the place I fit…I float toward every single person that lights me up…and thankfully, it’s a good many people now…starting with Gio…
WeGeekGirls has been the single best thing for this side of my life in a decade. The friendship that started it has been founded, grown, stretched and strengthened through years of continuing to try and create an authentic and supportive life for ourselves. That has not been easy BUT has born MUCH fruit.
I didn’t have a goal at ConCarolinas this year…I just knew I wanted to see the people who have become like home to me…and that may seem like a small thing but let me tell you that it isn’t. Within this group of people are the ones who see in me what I can’t (or just won’t) see in myself, the people who push me because they KNOW there is greatness in there somewhere and people who don’t except my wallflower behavior because they know that I am more.
For the past 4 years, even in this group, I considered myself an outsider, praying for the day that the door opened for me and I sat at the table with the cool kids…this past weekend, at a entirely different convention, I found out loud and clear that there has always been a seat for me there, I just needed to sit in it.
Con Fam, you have NO idea how much you all mean to me and how much it means to be a part of your (our) family…to know that no matter how I show up, the place is already set and I am welcome.
It SETS ME FREE and I love you for it.
This isn’t everyone but this is what I have from ConCarolinas 2019
To: Gio, A.W, Jessica, Joey, Matt, Wanda, Gail, Larry, Theresa, Darin, John Hartness, the Boris sisters, Traci, Nicole, Ben, Nicole, Jim, Nancy, Sherman, Darryl, Matthew, Jim, Erin, Carol, Tiffany, Jason, Melissa, Drija, Levon, Misty, Todd, Patrick, Carrie, Christine, Bill, John Hairston Jr., Herc, Bernie, Marshall…to anyone I may have missed, I believe you already know who you are ❤
Thank YOU for seeing me, accepting me, loving me, inspiring me and reminding me who I am when I forget. I value each and every one of you and know that whatever success my creative endeavors have, you are a part of it.
I love you all!
If you follow me on Instagram (@onwanderwoodlane) you will already know the subject of the post because I @ her A LOT!!!
We became friends YEARS ago via our various, mutual fandoms and haven’t looked back since! I admire so much about her and her story that I had to pop on here and introduce her. She’s my fellow 80’s lover, part of my Girl Power Gang, the one tied with me for Chris Evan’s affection, and the Jerrica to my Kimber…SHE’S LIZZIE
Several months ago Lizzie left the grind of the 9-5 work day and went back to one of her first loves, fashion…only this time she took everything she learned about it, got real about it, turned it on it’s side and started her own, pretty spectacular, web based store
You can read all about Lizzie’s passion for fashion by checking out the website and/or following it @thethriftyduckling
I just received my 4 (or was it 5th) purchase from the shop and honestly adore supplying my closet this way!
For years I have had kind of a mundane wardrobe…not to say I didn’t like my clothing, it just wasn’t anything that truly gave me joy. Shopping has always been a bit of a chore for me. Knowing that I wouldn’t ever be head over heels for something made spending a lot of money on it a source of anxiety for me.
Lizzie (and a few other friends like her) helped me start to look at shopping differently and earlier this year, I began to look into thrift and second hand shops more than larger stores. I can now tell you that 75% of my wardrobe is second hand and most of what I wear daily is also.
Anxiety is a strange thing and I never knew brand new clothes gave it to me until I started shopping off of a different kind of rack. I began to find gently worn, really nice clothing that spoke to me, that helped me breathe again and I liked it!
The Thrifty Duckling has only added to my joy as Lizzie is someone I trust. From the moment the first purchase arrived, I knew that I was in good hands with her at the helm. Not only does she find unique fandom pieces, she finds various shapes and sizes and has a great sense of how something will fit! I have been able to wear everything I have ordered and she lives hundreds of miles away from me. It gives me such a sense of relief to order from her that I generally do it every time I get a shipment.
Here’s a look at my haul so far…
Thanks to another lesson learned while on this thrifting adventure, I make myself set aside a donation item every time I bring something home. What I am finding is that there can be joy in the giving and in the receiving.
For so long it felt a little weird to think about someone owning something before me but looking around my predominately secondhand hobbit hole (which brings me nothing but joy), I have realized, the things that bring us joy are the only things we should have around us, and thankfully that now includes most of my wardrobe!
SO, thanks for making me a #thriftyduckling Lizzie! Browsing your shop is one of the joys of my life!
And three cheers for my latest shipment…the rescue that prompted this post!!!
Add some joy to your life and wardrobe…Shop Thrift!!!
I had about 350 words written and then decided to chuck them…
There is something I wanted to say but when I read it back to myself, it felt best left for a journal entry…so here’s this instead.
A few weeks ago, I talked about crushes. They have held the largest place in my romantic life because I’ve been historically bad (for lack of a better word) at it. In truth there are a few reasons why I’ve, more years than not, chosen singlehood.
The years of therapy I have been through are not a secret and with them came a lot of healing…healing that needed to happen to make me the kind of whole that can care and be cared for. It hasn’t been easy but has been necessary.
Dreaming is something I have done all my life. Through therapy I have learned that my dreams are representations of things that I am continuing to heal from and let go of.
Last night I dreamt of an old flame, one who returns to me often, and in that dream I was uneasy because NEW was on the horizon and I didn’t want to mess it up. When I woke up, I realized I didn’t need to dream about the old flame anymore and somewhere deep down, I knew I wouldn’t.
One of my goals for this year was to simply feel worthy enough to say “yes” to a date and I have done that, which I am SO proud of…even in the silence and uncertainty that sometimes follows.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that when something doesn’t go the way we thought we wanted (especially in love), it is failure…but what if it’s so much more!?
For the past 5 years, I have been fighting really hard for myself, though all too often TOO hard on myself…There are SO many areas where I am bold/confident and unshakable…but not in love…
However, ALSO, in past 5 years, I have become increasingly fascinated by uniqueness, mine in particular. It’s something I have, almost, come to see as a badge of honor.
Imagine my surprise to just discover, recently, that, that uniqueness will without a doubt translate into dating. Why I thought every area in my life had it’s own drum beat but love, seriously, blows my mind…I am audibly laughing right now…the guilt I have put myself through for feeling like I need “idiot’s guide to dating” could form a mountain.
Saying “yes” to a date started a GIANT mental/emotional domino affect that is just now making sense but was ABSOLUTELY necessary AND I am oh SO grateful for it.
I am not “bad” at dating, I am just “ME” at dating…and it’s looked like a desert waste land for so long, because, friends, I was on journey…a journey I required…and now a journey that’s ready for an oasis or two 😉
And guess what, it can look as unique as it wants to because I wasn’t meant for a societal love story…and as of right now, I no longer expect it 🙂
As amazing as my post yesterday made me feel about my writing frequency, I kept the blog tab open and was hit with a little guilt that there isn’t enough balance flowing through this space.
I remember feeling so cleaver when I came up with the title of the tab that would house my tea drinking obsession and I set out on a rather ambitious goal of regularly posting about the tea I drink.
Nowhere in my mind did I think that would be a problem because I really do drink it all the time…and I did…
Last year, at the end of the summer, I visited some friends in Chicago and they introduced me to David’s Tea. I was instantly hooked and have been very blessed that those same friends have kept me well supplied in the months that followed.
In fact, it’s about the only tea I drank for the months of December-Feb and I kept track of all of it…I saved tea bags, tried my best to give honest feedback…it was great, until it wasn’t.
My goal is to drink and enjoy tea, not critique it. So, when I sat down to start planning blog posts about it, nothing interested me about posting my reviews…and ultimately, not only did I stop taking notes about my experiences, the drinking of it slowed also…
And then May happened…
Drinking a good cup of tea is part of who I am, part of my self care and I gradually forgot that along the way.
Maybe it was the pressure to track every sip that crossed my lips or maybe guilt that I spent so much time with one brand but whatever the reason, I shut the door on this room and I am here to bring it back to life.
The above photo was taken at a dear friends house. It’s an herbal blend from, you guessed it, David’s Tea. In my search for the literal dozens of tea sachet wrappers to share, I found this and thought to myself, this is what I want to share instead.
A cup of tea is comforting and soothing to me…like a friend or a good hug. Sharing tea with people amplifies that experience for me and I think, ultimately, that’s what I wanted to do here…share a cup a tea, with a friend…
So, welcome again to this corner of Wanderwood Lane.
That being said, as much as I enjoy big brands like David’s Tea, Tiesta, Yogi, etc., I’d like to focus on smaller brands, perhaps home blenders, that would potentially benefit from the exposure. If you have a small tea company in mind you think that I should try, please leave a comment!
***For those curious, David’s Tea remains one of my favorite brands of tea. I think I tried over 25 blends since discovering them and there isn’t a single one that I couldn’t finish. By all means, Check them out!!!***
Almost 2 months away seems really bizarre…
The truth is I have been writing. I’ve written letters to pen pals, two poems, a chapter in my book and LOTS of letters that I’ll never send. The lesson I learn time and time again is that I process exactly how I need to, in my own time and in my own way…and I am kinda diggin’ that right about now!
I am excited about today’s post because I have promised to be apart of this for months and haven’t followed through, yet. My friend Ashton has a great website called Eight Hundred Words and I found their writing prompt today the perfect opportunity to participate.
The Prompt: Tell the story of a crush you never actually spoke to (or did and it ruined the crush).
Now, my romantic life may only be a comedy to me but this is a chance that I can’t pass up…so, here goes.
It was evident from the beginning that I would be unable to pinpoint just one encounter because, well, I kinda do the same thing, EVERY, SINGLE, TIME.
For a decade I’ve been telling myself “I want to be a writer”, while the millions of sheets of paper left in my wake scream “what, exactly, would you call this?”.
As silly as it might sound, more than half of those sheets of paper have served to witness me, pouring my heart and soul out. Writing with pen on paper, even though my handwriting is plain awful most of the time, helps me process and I hand write often, to this day.
I’ll start with a story over a decade ago.
I was helping a friend work her handmade candle booth at a craft fair one fall when I noticed a guy helping his grandmother in the booth 2 down from ours. We made eye contact often but my feet wouldn’t make the trek over to say hello. SO, I wrote a short note of hello and my number on a piece of paper and made my booth partner take it over. The first thing he did after he received it is call me out for not bringing it over myself. Crush, Crushed…
Befriending people comes really easy to me, guys especially. I like to think it’s because I grew up with two brothers and can relate a little better because of it. Probably also why I all too often put myself in the proverbial “friend zone”.
In my late 20’s/early 30’s I happened to have several great guy friends. We had dinner together, played video games (especially Rock Band and/or Guitar Hero), had long phone conversations and hung out weekly. It was amazing to be forming such incredible friendships but unfortunately my hopelessly romantic heart wouldn’t let me leave it there.
To the one…I went over to his house the day before he was about to be out of the country for a month to tell him (vocally) how I felt and a new roommate was moving in, so I lost my nerve and ended up writing an email a book long. His response was “he never saw me that way”.
To the other…I played the true friend for years, watching the ending, beginning, ending of his relationships until he hit a seemingly solo run. We chatted and had dinner often and I just knew we were working up to something. Losing my nerve became my middle name around this time and as lame as I feel, I ended up telling him how I felt in a very vague text that was never addressed.
It took a while but eventually, both of those crushes were crushed too.
Within the past 6 years…
The reason this prompt was so perfect is because the one of the things I want to do the most in the world (convey thoughts and feeling via written word) isn’t really hard for me…at all…I do it all the time without even realizing it…I guess it just takes the right prompts to remind myself I do!
Maybe I’ll get better at the crush game, maybe I won’t but at least I know I’ll always have something to write about!
Thanks Eight Hundred Words! This was fun!