Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What I learned in 22 Days Facebook Free

So if you've been paying attention you know that I ended my Lenten fast of Facebook early. I made it to the half-way point but that's as far as I could go. Still, I consider the project a success and I wanted to check in and share what I learned and why I quit and why I won't choose Facebook as a Lenten sacrifice again in the future.

The short version of why I quit is that it was too doggone hard to accomplish things I needed to accomplish when so much of my community does its planning and promoting and connecting via social media and specifically via Facebook. Bravo Mr. Zuckerburg on the monster you have created. The longer version is of course a bit more complex.

I realized that I was missing out on things important to me. Big things. Friends getting engaged. Friends having babies. Friends having birthdays. Friends having car accidents. Friends losing parents. Friends dying. It isn't worth it to me to continue to miss that information and the opportunity to at least speak a word of support or celebration just to say I made it 40 Days.

I was also missing out on marketing my business, my projects, my causes.  At a time when I need to be generating income if at all possible continuing to actively avoid my largest social media contact pool seemed less than smart. I have a convention coming up this weekend where I am going to be talking about my work as a costumer. I'd like to generate a few new contacts if possible for my embroidery business and my contract work. I can't do that and avoid social media. I found myself creating more and more loopholes just to be able to do what I needed to do and still say I had made it 40 Days.

Most frustratingly I missed being able to share my life in the ways I was used to and most enjoy. Something cool would happen and I couldn't share it. Working on Anne Frank was so fantastic. There was so much I wanted to brag on those kids about and I let this fast get in the way of that. That's not ok with me. Teenagers get such a bad rap, when they're doing something good, something important, they need to have that spread all over social media too. The photos that I posted a few days ago don't tell a third of the story of that process. Kevin Rogers and Carrie Paulo and Chris Steele are doing great things out in Bartlett.

It eventually got to the point it just seemed hypocritical. So I quit.

By the measure of "making it 40 Days" this whole thing was a dismal failure.

That isn't the measure that counts to me though. You see they say that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. I made it 22. I went the distance long enough to achieve a big part of what I wanted to accomplish by taking this journey.

On day one I said this:

The reason(s) I chose Facebook instead of chocolate or caffeine or cursing or any of a hundred other things that I could have picked this year (has) to do with being more intentional. I need to be more intentionally aware of how I'm spending my time. I need to be more intentionally aware of where I am investing my focus. I need to create space in my life for things more personally and spiritually productive and my biggest time suck is represented by that blue and white icon...
That is and was the truth. By going the distance as long as I did I accomplished that goal. Facebook is back in a reasonable consumption intentional choice place in my life. It's not my "drug of choice" to avoid dealing with boredom or depression or whatever I don't want to deal with in that moment anymore. Its a tool. I still wake up in the middle of the night but I reach for my kindle now rather than my phone and Facebook to read myself back to sleep. I don't get up in the morning and grab my laptop anymore. I actually fix and eat food. I have a coke (my version of a cup of coffee). I look at my calendar and see what we have that I need to plan for. In the last 4 weeks I've costumed the Diary of Anne Frank, I've created the sashes for Pageant the Musical, I've cooked at home 80% of the time. I've remembered what life was before I let Facebook consume so much of it.

This week I'm catching up on watching the films I'm behind on for Outflix. I'm going to be marching in a parade on Thursday. I'm working on getting ready for Mid-South Con and the costume panels that I'm on. I'm dealing with still not having hot water after two weeks and two calls to our home warranty people. Today I'm waiting on repair guys and talking to creditors that need to be dealt with and I'm not numbing any of  that out with mindless use of social media.

Will I be on later? You betcha. I've got to sit around and wait for Jessi to get out of rehearsal tonight and that's a perfect time to indulge. Or maybe not. Maybe I'll use that time to memorize my monologue for the Maundy Thursday drama I will be doing next week. Maybe I'll use it to re-do my theater resume that was lost in a computer crash around Christmas so that I can audition for a job doing mystery theater. Maybe I'll take my kindle with me instead and finish reading that mystery I started at 3 AM. It's my choice. My intentional choice.

22 Days was enough to make me mindful.

Mindfulness was a large part of the goal.

I may not have made it 40 Days but I'm ok with that. I did what I needed to do.

I call that a success.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Ooooh I'm Halfway There...Ooooh Living on a Prayer

Since I have already given you the earworm, here's the video to go with it.

Today is the halfway point. Halfway from Mardi Gras to Easter I'm at the midpoint on my Lenten Journey. I'm really glad so many of you have chosen to come along with me thus far. 

I really didn't pick today's title just to indulge my love of '80's Hair bands. It's where I am. It's where I am in this lent thing, It's where I am in my life. 

Six years ago we got flooded, along with a ton of other folks in our city and in our state. They called it a 1000 year flood. But we've seen that those models don't work anymore. Debate it as you will, whether we humans have caused it or if we even have the ability to cause it, but denying climate change is no longer a viable option. Not for those who value intellectual honesty and scientific observation. We are seeing bigger storms and more damage than the past. We're seeing global shifts in temperature and severe melts to the ice caps. I don't claim to know what all this means for the world but what it means for me is that I walk the floor when it rains, especially if there is any kind of flood watch or warning. 

We made a decision six years ago. We made the decision to take out a disaster loan to rehabilitate our flood damaged house. At the time it was a no brainer decision. We'd just paid off my car and the payment on that THIRD mortgage wasn't as much as our car note had been so we evaluated our situation and took on the loan. Two years ago this month my husband was let go from his job of 13 years. We were fortunate, he found work fairly quickly, it was even in his field. The academic world had changed though. Faculty positions now were adjunct and held no job security from semester to semester and the pay was a third less than what we had been accustomed to. We had savings. We supplemented our income for the last two years by draining our emergency funds and then our retirement accounts. The estimates we were given when cashing those out didn't actually end up meeting the tax burden and so we added the IRS to the list of people we pay monthly. Our neighborhood has never been the best but now our aging neighbors are dying off and houses around us sit boarded up and empty. Our property values have tanked. We're stuck. We're stuck geographically because we're stuck financially. We are learning what it means to not be here by choice. We have left the ranks of the upwardly mobile. Even with no debt beyond what we owe to the government and the mortgage companies we are nearly to the point of joining the ranks of the broke. We are living on a prayer. 

I don't share this for sympathy. I share it to let you know what's going on with me. I share it because I know that some of you see me show as active on Facebook even as I blog about NOT being on Facebook. Many of those times are my pop ons to post this and the others are often where my messenger remains connected via my phone. Some of those times are when I hear something that makes me evaluate my other values against the principle of keeping my lenten discipline and that other thing wins.  Many of those though are when I'm looking for work, offering my skills and my products to help keep us treading water.  

I went back to work a few months ago. I liked my job. I loved the patrons. I was good at it. It didn't pay enough to cover the costs of my leaving home. The day I had to choose between risking our only family vehicle in bad weather in order to go in and work a two hour shift that wouldn't cover the cost of the gas there and back or quitting. I quit. I've never left a job with no notice before. It's not who I am. I simply didn't have any other viable option.  

I'm looking for full time work. I'm busting my tail seeking out opportunities to market the skills and abilities that I have in the meanwhile. But I'm not the person that is starting out from below the poverty line. We've still got a long way to go before we get there. I have resources at my disposal. Things we own from before our life took this detour that enable me to offer my services without having to invest money up front. Things out of our excess that I can offer for trade or sale. And it's hard. Even from this height above the mythical playing field it's hard. I am only beginning to understand how hard it is from the actual line where others are expected to start.

I'm not sure what my point is. Maybe just to challenge how our current crop of candidates like to paint a picture of a nation of lazy entitled layabouts looking for a handout. I'm here to testify that this is a false picture. If I, as a privileged, educated, cisgender, white person can't afford to work at a full dollar above the federal minimum wage how on earth do we expect people who lack my advantages to do it?

I stand in solidarity with the working poor. 

Until tomorrow. Peace. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Rough Day

Missing costume pieces. Broken dishes. Lost friends. 

Until tomorrow. Peace. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Super Tuesday Y'all!

Today, perhaps more than any other so far, its a giant challenge to stay the course and stay off my Facebook. It's the "Super Tuesday" primaries and I am a political animal cut off from my favorite watering hole. So of course I'm going to blog about it.

Because my state does stupid stuff like this: 

As I am typing this my congressional representatives are voting on a bill that would make it legal for counselors to refuse to treat people (read LGBTQIAA people).

"No counselor or therapist providing counseling or therapy services shall be required to counsel or serve a client as to goals, outcomes, or behaviors that conflict with a sincerely held religious belief of the counselor or therapist; provided, that the counselor or therapist coordinates a referral of the client to another counselor or therapist who will provide the counseling or therapy. (WREG.COM)

In a couple of hours they'll also be voting to on a bill,

that would require public school students to use the bathroom assigned to the sex shown on their birth certificate. (WATE.COM)
I don't even want to begin to THINK how they're planning to police and enforce that one. 

Tomorrow they're planning to defund the diversity department at one of our largest state funded colleges and use that money to put "In God We Trust" on state and local police vehicles.  I kid you not.

SB 1912
Tennessee Senate Bill
Budget Procedures - As introduced, prohibits state funds from being expended in support of the office for diversity and inclusion at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; diverts such funding to a program for placing decals of the national motto on local and state law enforcement vehicles. - Amends TCA Title 9 and Title 49 (Openstates.org)
Wrapping up the week they're going to engage in a useless and expensive effort to turn back marriage equality in defiance of the ruling of SCOTUS from last June. 

THIS is why voting matters. Whether you believe that these are horrible ideas (and I do) or wonderful ones your primary means of influencing the outcome is in your right to vote. I was raised to believe that voting was both a sacred right and a civic duty. People fought and bled and died for you and me to have that right and its a sin and a shame that less than half of us exercise it in any given election. The only way a representative democracy like ours works is if all of us who are given the right to vote exercise the responsibility to actually do so. 

I was at Sam's club this morning after we went to the polls as a family and the guy in the tire center who had replaced my flat tire commented on the "I Voted Today" sticker I was wearing. He opined that what really mattered was not voting but voting for the right person. I didn't ask who he thought that was or offer who I did. I simply told him that I disagree. What matters is that you vote. 

I don't care if you are so disgusted with your options that you write in the Man in the Moon. You're exercising your rights and shouldering your civic responsibilities and by doing so you're letting your voice be a part of the conversation. If you tell me you don't vote, I really don't want to hear your opinion. If you can't be bothered to take the time out of your day that you're entitled by law to take and go and vote then you lose your right to complain about the outcome of the elections that you didn't participate in. 

And when I'm making those phone calls or sending those e-mails to my legislators on matters that matter to me you better believe that I remind them that I have a very long memory and I vote. 

So get out there and do it. We Did!

Until tomorrow, Peace. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Absurd Luxury of Hot Water

For several weeks now we've had a shower leak. It started as a drip, progressed to a trickle, became a stream and then the hot water ran full blast even if the faucet was turned totally off. With the emergency funds gone since Harold has been underemployed these last two years and my foray into trying to get a part time job having only put us further behind we have simply not had the funds to contact a plumber so we managed the problem by turning the hot water on and off at the valve at the water heater. Inconvenient to be sure but still not unmanageable. Until yesterday. When that valve also started to leak.

At that point I printed out our contract with American Home Shield and discovered that all this time we have had plumbing coverage and didn't know it. So today the plumber is here. He just went back outside to turn on the water and test the first fix as we speak. If all goes as planned, I will have hot water that doesn't require a trip to the garage by the end of this visit. Hopefully I will not also have a chunk of my shower that needs to be retiled.

Still, this whole mess has made me acutely aware of the incredible luxury that is hot water and how much we take such things for granted.

I find myself thinking today of my friends Hugh Hollowell and Peter Gathje who run Love Wins Ministries in Raleigh, NC and Manna House Memphis respectively and also of my friend Bec Cranford-Smith who serves as the Director of Community Relations and Volunteer Services at the Gateway Center in Atlanta. These three folks are doing good work among our neighbors who live outdoors AKA "the homeless". One of the things that both Manna House and the Gateway Center (and I imagine Love Wins may as well) provide to our neighbors who sleep outdoors is a place to come and shower and do laundry. A couple of things I also take for granted.


Sadly I am still without the ability to have hot water conveniently. The valve on the water heater is fixed but the valve in the shower/tub is FUBAR. AHS will not cover it as apparently it isn't due to normal wear and tear AND in order to actually replace the valve we have to remove a section of my six year old kitchen cabinets. I could cry. $400 for the plumbing part of the fix and still contacting contractors for estimates to get us access to DO said fix. Accepting recommendations.

Still. First World Problems.

Until tomorrow. Peace.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Loophole Revisited

One of the things I promised myself throughout this process was to be intentional and aware. I really felt strongly that taking the Sunday loophole wasn't something I wanted to do, but 17 days in I realize that with all I have going on in March that is being coordinated and organized via Facebook checking in weekly is something I need to do. Sundays are available and traditionally approved so Sundays it is.

I'm currently working on two shows that both open the same weekend in March. I also have MidSouth Con coming up and a home business that I'm trying to relaunch. I need to be able to use social media for those things. My daughter is also in a show and goes into a heavy rehearsal schedule before Lent ends so there is going to be coordination of schedules that needs to happen. Facebook makes that easier.

So yeah, I'm here today. I'm still setting some rules around Sunday though. I have to be here, physically present at the desk in front of the home computer. No using the phone, kindle or laptop. I am actually considering making that a permanent policy. I think that alone will help cut down on the invasive nature of the Facebook beast.

Messenger will remain open all the time as it has been so that I can be reached if needed during the week. Comments to the blog are also a way to reach me.

So I'm here. Until tomorrow. Peace.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Fabrication Friday

I finally gave up and bought a new rotary cutter. The TWO others I have hiding somewhere in this house will now likely immediately turn up in the most obvious of places as if I have not spent the last week searching for them in precisely that spot. I'm going to be doing a lot of sewing and prop work this weekend so it became imperative that I have the tools I needed rather than needing the tools I know I have.

On the agenda:

  • Completing the sashes for Pageant at POTS
  • Finding pants for the guys in Anne Frank (AF)
  • Soft sculpturing a couple of dozen potatoes (AF)
  • Distressing and aging the satchel we found including removing the cell phone pocket (AF)
  • Finalizing the costume plot as we go into tech on Monday (AF)
  • Uploading listings and getting my Etsy live 
  • Organizing the pattern drawers and seeing what McCalls on sale I may need
  • Buying two large cutting mats with my birthday money while they are on sale
For reference here is some of my past prop work:

Audrey II puppet - Best of Broadway Dinner Theater - Kroc Memphis (now Stagedoor Productions)

Audrey II in use during "Feed Me"

Ham prop - MacBeth Banquet Scene

In use in Threepenny Theater Company's MacBeth

I've also done break away plates for "Spitfire Grill" at BHS Panther Playhouse so making Anne some potatoes should be fun. 

And just for fun some of my costume stuff: 

I got started in costuming when we got involved with a local pirate cosplay group. These are some of the first pieces I ever made. 
$2.99 Twin Bed Skirt from Goodwill
Becomes not one 

but TWO pirate skirts

A $2.69 orange plastic  pirate pistol

Transformed with some paint work
add a few purchased pieces and stack the skirts one atop the other
Captain Betty Mallard of the Rubber Ducky

A couple of years later Bella DuBalle came into my life. I've been around Bella since she was "born" as the guy she shares a body with is one of my dearest friends. We worked a small drag show together in late 2013 and for Evil Disney night she wanted to be Maleficent. I set out to build the iconic cloak using a variation on a Pinterest pin for an Elizabethan collar made from a lampshade. It has been through several variations and improvement over the years and is a piece I'm still proud of. When she took this look to Miss Gay America 2015 I also created the dress for her Aurora. Next time I'd use better quality satin but you live and you learn. I'll be talking about these costumes and the theater costuming work I do at MidSouthCon 34 in the Sunday afternoon "Costuming for Theater and Film" panel at 1:00. The staff prop is a closet rod topped with a christmas ornament and an LED ball with copious amounts of gold spray paint and glitter.

Bella's Maleficent Cloak and Staff  - 1st variation

It has appeared on stage at Dragnificent (Photo Kevin Reed) and various other venues

The most recent variation appeared on stage at Miss Gay America 2015 (Photo Barb McKrickerd)

Along with this Princess Aurora costume

 The first show I costumed or acted in after high school was "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" it was the first show in the new Kroc Center theater (now Stagedoor Productions) and I was both an actor and the costumer. 
In Terazin in the school room scene

Dinner scene, that's me in the middle with my arm around my on stage daughter 
This Astrid costume is one of the ones I'll be talking about in the "Costuming on a Budget" panel at Mid-South Con. March 18th at 5:00. It's a joint project with my daughter who caught the costuming bug as well and is currently helping me greatly with the Anne Frank project.

Astrid costume for How to Train Your Dragon group cosplay - created for under $20
Speaking of which. Time to head out thrifting to finish getting those Anne Frank boys some clothes. Until tomorrow, Peace. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Week Two in Review

Missed posting yesterday. I was a bit under the weather. Nothing I can put my finger on other than perhaps the storm front moving through but I woke up with a horrible headache and nothing would do but sleep.

Had a lovely birthday. According to my notifications nearly 300 of my Facebook friends sent wishes. I'm looking forward to seeing them at the end of Lent. Spent the evening with my friends playing Cards Against Humanity, eating dressed up tater tots and gluten free pineapple upside down cake and having lovely cocktails and wine. In another bit of serendipity it ended up that we were also celebrating a new job so yay for that. I'm not sharing details until the job holder makes it Facebook official. LOL!

Things I learned during week two:

What I miss most about Facebook is conversation. 

Even though there is a comment option here only one person has used it. Often times I post things to Facebook strictly to start dialogue. Yes, I know. Sometimes that dialogue devolves into debate and people get ugly but even those conversations serve a purpose. If nothing else they help me refine my friends list. I have a circle of friends that do the same kind of posting and I feel woefully left out since I'm missing out on six weeks of those conversations in the middle of the election cycle. Whatever will I do on Super Tuesday?

What it bothers me most to be missing is personal stuff. Births, deaths, prayer requests, life changes.

Some of it Jessica is catching and passing along to me and some of it I'm catching in the 10 minutes here or there when these things post but I know I'm missing things that are important. When someone is motivated to share something real with the entire internet world it's important. Yeah there's a lot of pointless garbage posted to Facebook but it has its useful points as well and in choosing to give that up I feel badly about places where I'd normally offer a word of support and I'm not there to know that is needed.

What I'm accomplishing that I otherwise wouldn't be is eating at home. 

That's been a goal for some months and it became critical these last two weeks due to a fairly massive banking error on our part. Since I am off Facebook and on the Lenten Pantry Challenge I am actually doing it for a change. When I get bored, without Facebook to fill the void, I find myself on Pinterest searching for pantry challenge recipes and actually getting up and cooking the things that I find. The instant oatmeal cups are pretty handy and the recipe for frittata is using up odds and ends left overs in a delicious way.

What is feeding my spirit is being outside.

I suffer from depression and it gets worse seasonally. Usually February is one of my worst months. Being away from Facebook makes it far less appealing to hibernate and hide so I find myself getting outside for at least a little bit of time most days, particularly when it is pretty outside. Noticing that my wild and messy backyard photographed remarkably well when the boys got married has me thinking of what I could do with it if I can clean it up a bit. It got seriously back to nature last summer and I still need to find a way (humanely if possible) to get rid of the doggone moles but I think being out there more this spring and summer is a goal of mine.

What I'm into creatively is costuming. All the costuming. 

I haven't been to BHS this week because I'm up against a deadline for Pageant. Sashes are embroidered and waiting to be assembled and embellished.  Never fear though, work is going on or Anne Frank as well even though I'm not in house. I have the costume plot nearly done (what they should be wearing when) and I know what needs to be sourced this weekend from Goodwill to finish out the wardrobe for the boys. I need to shoot a message to Doc and remind him that I need that dental jacket asap. Monday I need to go to Stagedoor and borrow the shoes for the guys and to Playhouse and rent the Nazi uniforms. In addition to that I have Mid-South Con coming up the final weekend before Easter and I have my panel assignments for that to prepare for so my creative life is lots of fabric, pins, and needles right now.

So there are the top 5 things going on with me this week as a result of the great Lenten Facebook fast of 2016. Until tomorrow, Peace.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

48 - Happy Birthday to Me!

So when you're missing Facebook and all the "Happy Birthday" posts because you gave up Facebook for Lent and you had the misfortune to be born right in the middle of it, it's kinda nice to open up Google and discover that there's a special doodle because it's your birthday.

Yep, today's my birthday. I'm 48. I think as a woman and particularly a Southern woman I'm not supposed to say that out loud but I really don't give a rip. I've embraced the fact that I'm aging. We all do if we're fortunate. I am thinking of a young friend today whose older brother isn't going to get that chance and I ache for him. I ache for his mother, his dad, his extended family. 21 is too young. I can't begin to imagine. Sweet Oakley I don't know if you'll see this but you and yours are in my thoughts and prayers today. 

So forgive me if I choose to be grateful to be alive. Pardon me if acknowledging my age is breaking some social bullshit taboo. Honestly of the decades I have lived thus far on this earth my 40's have been my favorite. For me, forty something has been about finding my voice and not being afraid to use it. I've written more, spoken more, advocated for myself and others more in my 40's than in any decade before. Things that I was always passionate about but didn't feel like I had sufficient wisdom to be taken seriously about I can now begin speaking to. I know who I am and most importantly I LIKE who I am and those who don't like me are welcome to vacate my circles. 

40 has been the decade of detox. Shedding toxic people. Leaving toxic organizations. Becoming a vegetarian for heaven sakes! Yeah nobody would have predicted THAT one in my 20s or 30s. I have another blog here. It's private for a myriad of reasons. I've had it for over a decade. Late last night I was reading posts from the last few years and it was quite eye opening. The whole reason for journaling I think is the ability to look back and see the changes that happen without one being aware of them as they are happening. A common theme over the last at least 10 years has been one of seeking health and wholeness. I live with a chronic illness, that hasn't changed, but I do believe in some equally or perhaps even more important ways I've made progress in that direction. 

I grew up in rural middle Tennessee. I lived in a subdivision in a time when kids were free range. We left as soon as the sun was up and we were up and we weren't required to be back until the street lights came on. We biked and walked and in my case often roller skated all over the place. My grandparents on both sides of the family lived on acreage that was a combination of fields and woods. Us kids spent hours in those spaces. We were in 4-H and FFA and FHA and Scouts. I was bookish and artsy but my reading nooks and studio spaces were just as likely to be in the crook of a tree or atop a boulder as within a building. Living here I have to remember to make the effort to reconnect to that side of me. 

I'm lucky. To be an urban environment Memphis has a ton of green spaces. I joke about living in the hood...and to a degree I do...but I live in the hood in a house with a decent sized back yard where I can grow things and stand barefooted in my labyrinth and ground myself. A yard with a great sprawling wild thing of a cherry tree that will be bursting forth in pink profusion before Lent ends. I remember being dumbstruck my first year here when on a visit to the zoo I made my way through a crowd of kids to see what exotic beast had them so fascinated only to discover a Holstein cow. Now I have friends with urban chickens and I'm daydreaming of someday owning a pygmy goat. 

I have found a path that is working for me spiritually and emotionally. That's not a terrible place to be on the backside of 40 staring at 50 in the not so far distance. No, we're not where we thought we'd be financially at this stage in the game and no I didn't expect to still be here in the hood 22 years after we bought our "starter home" but in the ways that matter life is good. 

Even being off Facebook for my birthday is good. I've got time to blog. I've got plans tonight with good friends. I just pulled a gorgeous pineapple upside down cake out of the oven. Potatoes are in baking to have with a salad for a late lunch. Austin has an interview in a couple of hours that I am sending positive thoughts out to the universe about. I might even have a nap. It is good. 

And if you want to send me birthday comments, just hit that button down there or shoot me a message. 

Until tomorrow, Peace. 

Monday, February 22, 2016


Serendipity - a "fortunate happenstance" or "pleasant surprise"

Saturday I wrote about the ballet. Yesterday I had my "to do list" meltdown. Last night I went to Connie's to work on the pageant sashes and so that Harold could see if our friend Jeremy might want to buy a laptop he had refurbished. These three things are seemingly completely unrelated.

However, Jeremy is one of a group of insanely creative out of the box folks doing really cool things who I met back in 2010 at an event Connie organized called the "Outlaw Preachers (re)Union."  (OP10) Among those really cool people are creatives, preachers, folks that run and work with non-profits and others who are part of this crazy thing happening around us that the late Phyllis Tickle called "The Great Emergence."

That I became a part of the Outlaws at all was a bit of Serendipity to begin with. I was 10 months out from being invited to leave the church where I had been serving for the last 10 years when I ran into Connie one day at Sam's.  Connie's family of five is obviously larger than my family of three but the amount of stuff she was buying that day was enough for a small army. It was the day before OP10 and she was buying the things she would need for the communal meals and to stock the snack room. We talked a bit and she invited me to come. I'd been hearing about this OP10 thing from a few folks I read online [Adele Sakler (who I'd been following for a year over at the now defunct queermergent) for one] but despite having read THIS

I had no idea that it was Connie's baby. I was excited and I decided that since I didn't have anything else to do that I'd take her up on it and join the (re)Union. She called it that because even though these folks had relationships online, built through a twitter hashtag, for many if not most of us it was the first time we'd ever come together in one physical place. It was a family reunion for a family that had not yet met. So I went. And I met Adele and Jeremy and Jay and John Harrison and Bec Cranford and Bud Wilson and Tim Kurek and a whole bunch more other people that I now count among my friends.

The following year at OP11 I shared a suite with this awesome crew from North Carolina including Hugh Hollowell and his wife Renee. Hugh runs this amazing hospitality house called Love Wins and a year ago he started a weekly letter he calls The Hughsletter where he shares 5 things he has found during the week in his relentless pursuit of beauty. Today one of them was about Ballet, Misty Copeland and Degas which ties back to my posting from Saturday.


One. Two. Three. Connie. Jeremy. Hugh. Serendipity.

Also the embroidery on the sashes got done, I did enough batch cooking to have the basis for three meals at least and I am on track for making my deadlines.

Until tomorrow, my birthday, Peace.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Stuff to Get Done Sunday

I have stuff to get done today.

Pageant goes into tech in the next week or so and I have to finish these sashes.
Anne Frank's girls are costumed but the boys still need clothes.
Mid-South Con is rapidly approaching and there are panels to be prepped and costumes to be made.
Food needs to come together for the week ahead.

All I want to do is sleep.

I slept horribly last night, waking every hour and flipping about like a fish trying to find a position that was comfortable.

Consequently I missed church.

I've been awake about two hours and while I should be doing things toward those 4 projects listed above what I want to do is take some more tylenol and go back to bed.

I think I'll take that tylenol.

And then cook.

And maybe then a nap.

So much stuff to get done. No energy to do it.

Until tomorrow. Peace.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet

I didn't grow up dreaming of being a ballerina. That wasn't even in the realm of possibilities in the small rural Tennessee town where I grew up. Not when I was growing up anyway. I was probably in my late teens before I saw a live ballet performance. In fact it may have been Ballet Memphis annual performance of the Nutcracker. I grew up wanting to be a gymnast, like Nadia Comaneci. An equally impossible prospect by the way. Although when I was 10 or 11 a couple moved to town that taught gymnastics and I was able to take lessons and feel the narrow width of a balance beam beneath my feet. I can still do a decent cartwheel, although at nearly 48 it takes a toll on my body such that I choose not to do it often.

Still PBS brought culture into my home and through that I fell in love with Mikhail Baryshnikov when I was a kid. This was probably as much because of his daring defection from the Soviet Union and his stunning good looks as his talents as a dancer. I loved White Nights, which probably makes the folks I'm reviewing films with doubt my judgement, although it did really well at the box office. Actually I've always been more drawn to the male dancers, perhaps knowing that no matter if I did weigh 90 pounds (not since grade school) I would never have the requisite body type to be a ballerina myself. Baryshnikov, Hines, that guy from Riverdance...Michael Flatley...I love watching these guys do what they do. The combination of grace and strength is mesmerizing.

So when Melissa Luck offered three free tickets to Ballet Memphis' Places for Saturday night I couldn't wait to go. By the time I will get a round to posting this it will be too late for those of you who haven't already to go and see it and that is a sad thing. Three new works representing a place in time; Future, Present and Past each separated by a short intermission, Places was wonderful. I don't know enough about dance to claim to know what was actually going on but I will tell you the way things connected and touched me. What I received out of what was being transmitted.

The first piece, "Elapse" reminded me of the Kabuki dancers I saw at the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville. All angles and with a very strong feel of the Japaneses Kabuki and the Thai Khon style style of dance. The costuming, by Christine Darch, evoked three of the four elements, the only one not obviously present being "Fire". Three large sand glasses served as props markers of the passage of time. There was a very mechanical feel, almost as if the dancers were all part of a machine, at times. It was intriguing.

"Glory", the second work, was a hip-hop ballet fusion piece with a strongly tribal element to it. Bruce Bui's amazing costumes evoked tribal tattoos or body paint and provided a strong graphic element to a piece that used media as a part of the story being told as well as the dramatically strong dance elements. The racial diversity and pairings of the dancers seemed to speak to what is going on presently with #Blacklivesmatter and the things being unmasked in our community and our nation that perhaps we thought had already been dealt with. It was challenging.

The final piece, the nostalgic "Sweet Boy Slide" seemed to be the crowd favorite. With its Stax music and joyful choreography it was a welcome respite from the "heavier" pieces it followed. I wanted every one of the beautifully done dresses Bruce Bui put his ballerinas in for this "sock hop" feeling piece. It was really fun to finally get to see my friend Elizabeth Mensah do that thing she does.

For those of you that missed it I'm sorry. It was a beautiful show.

Until Tomorrow, Peace.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Withdrawals Again

So yesterday I broke my Facebook fast because my best friends got married in my backyard and I had wedding photos to send and congratulations to extend and it was totally the best reason ever. Today I'm dealing with the aftermath.

Like I said a couple of posts ago the happy news things on Facebook are the things I really miss and yesterday was kind of the ultimate happy news fix and now I'm going through the whole Facebook withdrawal process all over again.

Also while I was on I happened to see that one of my friend's son's cancer treatment isn't going well and they're seeking a second opinion from St. Jude. Another friend posted asking for support e-mails to be sent to the parole board because her mother's murderer is coming up for parole again soon. I catch myself wondering if this fast is beneficial or not when it is causing me to miss things like that.

At the same time I caught a glimpse (a big one) of the usual BS Facebook drama. Post after post that reminded me why I chose this as my Lenten discipline in the first place sends me swinging back to the knowledge that yes, this is the right decision. That doesn't mean it's an easy decision. I suppose if it were easy it wouldn't be a sacrifice though would it?

I'm caught up on my film reviews except for the one telling me the password is incorrect. I've watched documentaries all day today. Next week I need to space them out better.

I've got two kinds of potatoes and a tray of carrots roasting in the oven.

I'm avoiding my phone. That is the one connection that I can't seem to avoid consistently. I lose too many notifications that way.

In some ways I feel like I'm right back at square one. Heck, even one of the films I was reviewing had constant references to Facebook. It's everywhere.

This has strengthened my resolve not to take Sundays. The little bit makes it harder the next day. Still I have no regrets about taking yesterday to celebrate. Love is always worth celebrating.

Until tomorrow, Peace.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The One Where I Marry my Best Friends

Somedays an average Thursday turns out to be something quite magical.

My best friends have been engaged just a bit over two years. When they got engaged it wasn't legal for them to get married. That changed just a bit less than 8 months ago. We have been wondering when they were going to set a date ever since.

Today the wondering ended.

This afternoon I was having a lazy day, reading a novel on my kindle and cuddled up with the dog when the daughter came bounding downstairs holding out her cell phone. "Austin wants to talk to you."

Austin never calls. We text. We facebook message. He never calls. "What's wrong?"

"I don't think anything is wrong but he wants to talk to you."

"Hello love!"

"Hey, so we just left the county clerks office and we need someone to sign our marriage license and I know you can do that so can we come over and have you sign this for us?"

I stared at the phone and the disaster area that is my house and panicked for a hot second and then said the only thing that I would ever have said. "Yeah. The house is a hot mess but come on. Where are you?"

After figuring out that there was absolutely zero possibility of being able to get the house company ready in time I noticed that it was a stunningly beautiful day outside. So I went outside. Pulled some overly tall weeds out of my labyrinth, re-arranged the lawn furniture a bit and was sitting at the bistro table on my front porch when they pulled into the driveway about 20 minutes later.

We talked quickly over what they wanted, I signed all the legal stuff and after grabbing a few things I needed we headed to the center of the labyrinth. The ceremony was short and sweet and very them and it was my honor to be the one to pronounce them husband and husband.

Slade and Austin's Wedding Day

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Week One in Review

Seven days ago I began my Lenten journey. Forty days Facebook free. So what have I learned/observed so far?

Facebook is EVERYWHERE!!!! 

For the majority of the first three days every time I logged in to a new device I had to log out of Facebook on that device. I was connected everywhere I turned. Even on my husband and daughter's devices. It's been actually impossible to completely be rid of it since it is linked to my Pinterest and to this account as well. Even if I don't see Facebook; Facebook sees me. Case in point, a friend at church commented to me Sunday about a recipe I shared and the pantry challenge. It took me a moment to realize that he was seeing it via his Facebook notifications even though I hadn't been on Facebook in days. My mother sent her usual valentine greeting via my Facebook timeline, not having seen the post that I was giving up Facebook for Lent, and I had to call her to see what it was that she said. I'm still not sure what my cousin Alanna tagged me about on Day One of this adventure and every time I open the browser on my phone I have to be careful not to click "back" or Facebook automatically pops open. No wonder it's been such a time suck; short of deactivation it's darn near inescapable! 

The number one reason I use Facebook is to avoid boredom. 

The times I really struggle with not having access is when I'm bored. I could be bored because I'm waiting for something, or because I'm warm and comfy and actually doing something productive or creative takes more effort than I'd like to spend. When I'm bored I want my easy fix. I want my Facebook. Consequently I'm getting more done right now than I do in a typical day. I'm reading real books instead of memes and clickbait. I'm writing this blog every day, something that not three years of resolutions has been able to motivate. I'm creating small pockets of organization amidst my chaos that I have reason to hope might spread enough to merge into actually organized spaces by the end of this process. I'm creating period. I'm ahead of schedule on multiple projects and launching a couple of new things largely because I don't have my boredom pacifier to rely on. 

Pinterest is a lousy substitute for Facebook but an amazing resource on this journey.

I was really concerned that Pinterest would just become Facebook 2.0 for me. Thankfully that hasn't been the case. Instead it has been an excellent resource for recipes to try, organization methods to use and costume research to save me time and money at the thrift store. There is the ability to be social on Pinterest but it is secondary to the sort and store aspect of it and virtually no one I know uses it. My daughter, mother and I occasionally send one another pins we think would be useful or interesting but we don't linger there like I do on Facebook. 

Absence REALLY DOES make the heart grow fonder. 

The past few years I have happily been a virtual hermit. Yeah I'm an introvert and yeah people can be exhausting and blah, blah, blah. Facebook made that super convenient. I didn't HAVE TO engage people in real life if I didn't want to. I could still "keep in touch" via Facebook. Being off Facebook means I actually have to physically see people if I want to keep in touch. I can't remember when I've had more fun on a Saturday night at Dru's than I did this week. It was enjoyable to see people and to be seen. I think that I underestimate the effect that being connected to so many people via Facebook has on my ability to cope with dealing with real people in real life. Rather than protecting my introverted need for solitude I think it may actually be a bigger drain on my energy than interacting with people in real life. Something tells me there is a massive pruning of the "friends list" coming at the end of this. If you told me I had to spend a significant amount of time in a room with 1600+ people making small talk, I'd panic. Yet by and large that's all that goes on on Facebook. I'm thinking that may not work for me as well as I thought it was. In some ways it reminds me of the "Longest Party Ever Held" from the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and that's not good. 

Planning Anything is harder than it should be.

So many events are planned, publicized and organized via Facebook now that it is just crazy. I had to install my kid as my secretary in more than one "event page" in order to keep up with information important to projects and events already in the pipeline that will happen before Lent ends. I have a birthday coming up in less than a week and it's beyond tempting to take advantage of the Sunday loophole to create a Facebook event and invite people to join me on my birthday for conversation and drinks. No one actually plans parties anymore, we just post on Facebook that we're celebrating so and so at such and such place and time and select what friends to send it to and we call it done. I have three or four events that I would normally be posting about weekly in order to generate publicity and even though most of the folks that would see it will still likely see it posted by mutual friends, I feel like a slacker because I'm not hitting that send button. I'm re-launching my Etsy this weekend and I feel like a spammer posting about it here but its the only way I can advertize it right now. 

And now I see the clock and notice that I need to get offline and go pick up the kiddo from class and head to BHS to work more on Anne Frank. So until tomorrow, Peace. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Contemplating Creativity

I am blessed to have grown up in a family filled with creative people. We may make our living in seemingly mundane jobs such as banking, electrical work, appliance sales and service and so on but our lives, the things we do for the joy of it, reveal the creativity within us.

My great grandmother, Lizzie Hale Milligan, was a somewhat regionally well known painter and quilter.

A great uncle on my dad's side was folk artist sculptor Carlton Garrett.

We come by it honestly.

 My mother sewed for me all the way through high school prom formals and then took up heirloom sewing when my daughter was born. She's branched into quilting, banner making and embroidery among other things. 

Currently my thing is theater. I'm a cosplayer turned costumer/prop/set designer and I love the things I get to do. I'm also Bella DuBalle's "Fairy Drag Mama" and I do everything from making props, costumes and jewelry to driving/dressing/photographing/videoing her at events to running follow spots at Miss Gay America. 

My daughter is an actor, a cosplayer and an accomplished stage manager. My husband can make a computer do anything. My dad is multi-talented and can create just about anything he sets his mind to. Currently he's into weaving. Past endeavors have included hand embroidery, jewelry making, puppets and puppetry and the ability to create anything out of cardboard and duct tape. My cousins are into the arts of all kinds, from drawing and painting to web design to blacksmithing to jewelry to photography and on and on. 

One of my goals for this season is to spend more time in creative endeavors. That's why you're seeing so much Pinterest activity filling up my Facebook feed. I'm currently costuming my second show for Bartlett High School Panther Playhouse, getting ready for our first meeting/read tonight for Dragnificent and I'm working on my thoughts and ideas for the costume panels I have coming up at Mid-South Con next month so the creative in me is at the forefront right now.  

Since we are also currently trying to bring in extra money I'm about to start working on stocking my Etsy store. If you need an easter gift for a special someone or something monogrammed for those spring and summer weddings check me out after February 19th at TeribearsDen. If you need help planning those spring and summer weddings or with any other event hit me up via email - terriweaver@gmail.com. We are in the early stages of launching Team Weaver Event Support and we love to work for people we know and like, which if you're reading this blog via my Facebook feed probably includes you.  

Speaking of stocking that Etsy store...I need to go take some photos.

Until tomorrow, Peace. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Pantry Challenge Begins

Today is prep day. On the agenda, veg prep and all things oatmeal. 

Broccoli and Cauliflower bought whole is cheaper than in the convenient bags that I usually rely on but bulkier to store in the refrigerator so those need to be broken down and bagged. Mushrooms need to be cleaned and sliced. Carrots and parsnips need to be scraped and prepped for roasting, snacking, salads and so forth. Peppers need to be cut into strips for snacking and diced for recipes. Onions need to be diced for a black bean salsa and other things. Fresh dill needs to meet with lemon juice and olive oil for dill pesto. 

Also on the agenda is oatmeal. Dried fruit needs to be combined with quick oats, dry milk powder, spices and sweetener and packaged to take the place of that pricey Quaker stuff. Steel cut needs to meet eggs and baking powder and peanut butter for peanut butter baked oatmeal. 

I'm also headed out to goodwill to see if I can find those taco bowl molds again. I have two of the ones for the big flour tortillas but because I'm gluten free I can only use the smaller corn tortillas and I need the smaller molds for those if I can find them. 

Since I know I'm headed to goodwill anyway I will be grabbing some things to drop off as well. 40 bags task for today accomplished. Yay two birds/one stone! 

On the Facebook front...

I miss birthday messages. I try to send those out every day because I enjoy so much receiving them (and my birthday is a week from tomorrow which means I'll miss those too) and I know that 12 of my Facebook friends had birthdays yesterday alone so no telling how many I'll miss in six weeks. I did post one yesterday. My annual remembrance post for Jeff. Forever 28. He should have been 49 yesterday. Lost in the mid-90's to the HIV epidemic. I will never get over missing him. Memory Eternal my darling, wonderful friend. 

I miss comments. So if you're one of the dozen or so folks my stats tell me are reading these ramblings of mine, please use that comment box down below and talk to me! 

I miss seeing happy news. Yeah a lot of what clutters my newsfeed every day is negative and nasty but not seeing that doesn't make up for missing pregnancy announcements, offers on new homes, engagement announcements, photos from special events, photos of rapidly growing babies and kiddos. Facebook makes all that easy. Instant. 

I miss my friends that live in my computer. I went out Saturday night with my girlfriends and we saw a lot of my local Facebook cohort so that was fantastic but my friends that aren't local, the ones that "live in my computer", those I miss a lot. My fellow "wife of Harold", AdrienneQW and her Harold. My friend Jema who is a progressive at heart but works in a fundamentalist denomination. My brave "Sea-horsie". Our little group of GCM refugees that have been together for a decade or more without ever having met IRL. My grown up church kids: Kate and Katie in New York State, Katherine and Margaret Frisby and their athletic adventures, Jeremy and Mary and the kids. My MGA friends that are scattered all over the place. Charity Case and Jimmy, Kelly Ray Shelton, Tommie Gardner and Lindsay, the incredible Blair Williams, Arnold Myint/Suzy Wong, Chad and Chuck and Larry and Terry and Jerry and Joe and on and on it goes. I did get to see Eden Alive on Saturday at the show though. 

I am shocked at how dependent my family is on Facebook as primary communication. I talked to my mom yesterday after my notifications showed me that she'd posted something on my timeline. She didn't know I had given up Facebook for Lent. I mentioned that my cousin had tagged me in something the day I signed off but I had no idea what. The sad thing is I don't even have a phone number for my cousins to call and find out. I've got to fix that. I have phone numbers for my aunts and uncles but not for my cousins. We all communicate via Facebook. All of us in that middle generation. Who knows what our kids will use. 

I don't miss drama. I don't miss hateful meme wars or political posturing or finding out that people I thought were otherwise sane and lovely support people I cannot fathom ever supporting in any way. I don't miss any of that. 

Over all though I'm still convinced that this was a good choice for me. 

Until tomorrow, Peace. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

To Facebook or Not To Facebook? That is the Question.

So Lent has loopholes and the biggest one of those is Sunday. Sunday is a "feast day" and as such fasting is not required. Now clearly this is a throw back to when Lent was a time of literally abstaining from foods but it opens up a loophole for the modern practitioner that one then has to choose whether or not to use. I don't have a dogmatic opinion on the matter as I have done it both ways over the years since I began to observe the church calendar and the season of Lent. So today I have the option, should I choose to, to re-engage on Facebook for the day.

Honestly I'm torn. I feel like I should check in at least weekly given how many events and groups I belong to that use Facebook for scheduling and so forth BUT I'm also trying to break a habit so is it better to continue abstaining for that reason? I'm still finding places where I click a page that I forget is linked to my Facebook and I still get notifications via e-mail so it's not like I have fully managed to disconnect yet anyway. Which tilts the scale in favor of continuing to abstain as best I can, at least for the moment. I think.

So, I did have a look, which turned into half an hour without me being aware, which means that I absolutely won't be using the loophole after tonight. It's counterproductive to my goals

Tomorrow I begin the pantry challenge in earnest. Already it's cut my typical grocery expenditure in half for this shop. Tonight I'll be making menu plans for the week, for dinner we are having an asparagus frittata with dill, lemon and mozzarella cheese. We'll have enough left for breakfasts and/or lunches for later in the week. Harold, not being vegetarian, made bacon to go along with his.

Two more bags went out in the 40 bags challenge.

And I got a Valentine lunch date with my hubby. Not a bad day.

Until tomorrow, Peace.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The First Real Challenge

To be honest the first couple of days of this whole thing have been surprisingly easy. The days long headaches from the years where a gave up caffeine and/or chocolate were far worse in the first 72 hours than this has been. Until last night.

Last night. When for the first time in her 18 years and 5 months on this planet a boy called my daughter and asked her if she wanted to go somewhere with him for the evening.

In my day we called this a date. I'm not sure how that process works these days and THAT was where the challenge came in. Had he called on Tuesday I'd have immediately hit up my network on Facebook and figured that out before I had to decide if I was okay with dropping her off at a pool hall at 9 pm to meet this boy and his friends or not. But I couldn't DO that last night. Last night we had to make a decision while walking around the aisles of Sprouts.

Fortunately this is a boy I have known since he was 5 or 6, a kid we did homeschool co-ops and dozens of field trips and evenings at their house with over the years. I think she actually slept over once when I threw a kidney stone at his aunt's wedding but I'm not sure. We may have picked her up on the way home from the ER. I was pretty drugged up at the time. Unfortunately all that contact had stopped as the kids hit middle school and our little homeschool collective sort of fell apart. They ended up in the same GED prep class at Southwest this spring though and he's called a couple of times this week with questions about their homework, which is what she thought he was calling about last night, until he wasn't.

So this, this date or maybe not date thing, was new territory. Really new territory since most families with boys her age in the homeschool circles we frequented in her preteen, not old enough to date anyway so we don't have to think about this stuff years; were into Joshua Harris and "Kiss(ing) Dating Goodbye."

YIKES! Does that mean I have to consider that whole thing too? No. Nope. Not going there. This is a simple invitation to go hang out with friends. Right? This is not the prelude to promise rings and courtship out of the fundamentalist purity culture we started out in, right?

GAH! Where are my people when I need them? Oh yeah, On FACEBOOK! That four hours between her deciding to go and when we picked her back up was the most tempted I've been to plug back in. Instead I had to do things a bit differently.

I texted his mom. "Your son just called my daughter and asked her to go play pool"
She sent back, "Really. Wow. Are they going?"
I replied, "Yeah, she's going. Weird right?"
She sent back, "Yes. But kind of cool."

Her dad asked our cousin the cop to find out if the place we were taking her was somewhere safe.

She texted her friends for additional advice and support.

Her dad and I dropped her off but stayed in the area having coffee and window shopping in case she needed a quick escape.

I let it go.

I texted with Aubree about plans for tonight and with Jason about plans for next week but I didn't obsessively check my Facebook to see if they were posting selfies or anything like that. I didn't over-analyze for the ENTIRE time she was out. I would have if I'd had access to Facebook.

At the end of the evening we're still not sure if it was a date or not. That's pretty irrelevant since whatever it was she had a really good time.

Dating is weird now. Although I remember my mom saying the same thing when I came home wearing some little boy's jacket and announcing that we were "going together"even though we were in Middle School and not actually GOING anywhere. By the time I was navigating actually going out somewhere with someone I was pretty independent and my mom wasn't the kind of mom that called her girlfriends about such things as far as I know. I'd have killed her if she'd physically tried to keep the kind of eye on me that Facebook makes so tempting and so easy in the virtual world. I'm still bitter about not being allowed to go to Nashville to see R.E.O. Speedwagon with my boyfriend, Tom, when I was 15. Just kidding mom, I totally get it now.

I do find myself wondering though if this constant connectivity is good for us.

I grew up without cell phones as a kid. I was in college when I got my first one and I've had a love/hate relationship with the electronic leashes ever since. I've always thought it was because I got it as a result of an abusive relationship with a boy who has stalked me off and on for years. (Yes still, the last contact was just a couple of years ago. Via, you guessed it, FACEBOOK.) Now I think maybe its because being constantly available is unnatural and maybe not even healthy.

I first noticed it a decade ago when I was teaching a bunch of digital natives in Sunday School. School day conflicts didn't end when the school day did. I watched arguments rage on for hours and hours via text messages and social media. We have a term for it now, cyber-bullying, and I shudder to think how horrible it must be to never get a break from your abuser. Even as a kid who was occasionally bullied, when we left school and got to go home there was a break from it. It was this delicate dance between being built up at home and torn down at school.  Most of us who claim, "I was bullied and I survived it okay. It made me a stronger person." were fortunate enough to have the balance tilted toward the voices who built us up rather than those that tore us down. Now though, now it's invisible and relentless and it's nearly impossible to tilt the scales the right way when there is no respite, no time when we disconnect.

We weren't created for constant contact. We were designed to need time to refresh. To need Sabbath. To need times with people and times away. As an introvert I need that more than most folks do but Facebook allows me to have the illusion of being "alone" while preventing that from ever actually being the case. Yesterday I said that I was lonely. Today I'm thinking that being disconnected from the world of Facebook isn't such a bad thing. As I sit here typing this, I am actually physically alone. It is quiet. My husband is off at the Archery shop and my daughter is still sleeping. The only sound is the clickety-clack of the keyboard. It's peaceful. I've answered a couple of text messages from Aubree solidifying our plans for tonight but that's as connected as I want to be right now.

When I picked the title of this blog I did so in the context of what I was giving up. Like being gluten-free. Now though I'm thinking that before this is all over it may have taken on a totally different meaning. More like being freed from something rather than giving up something. We shall see.

Until tomorrow, Peace.

P.S. See that comment button down there. If you have thoughts, use it. :)
P.P.S. Daughter read and approved this post.

Friday, February 12, 2016

The First 48

GOOD GRIEF! Not only am I logged in on every device I own, last night I discovered that I am logged in on my daughter's smart phone and my husband's as well. I'm still logging out every place I find as I find them but WOW this is kinda crazy.

After I posted yesterday I decided that I need to reorganize the pantry, which is rapidly becoming reorganizing the whole kitchen. Last night I emptied the bottom section of the pantry, below the shelves, which has never really "worked" and repurposed the plastic drawers that I cleaned my patterns out of on Monday to create usable storage space down there. Now the pasta has a place to live and the space between the top of the drawer unit and the bottom shelf is the perfect space for the coconut milk and the dry milk powder to be. This morning on my way home from taking Harold to work I swung by Dollar Tree and Family Dollar and bought some items my Pinterest searches and closet measurements tell me should work to help corral some of the other problem items.

I guess since I've been on an organizing kick as part of this process I'll go ahead and add THIS:
join the decluttering revolution! Challenge yourself to declutter 40 bags of items in 40 days. #40bagsin40days
to what I'm doing during Lent. I've sent at least 4 bags out already. 

True to my anything worth doing is worth OVER-doing personality, let's throw THIS:
into the mix as well. Because frankly money is beyond tight and eating out/wasting groceries is one of our biggest budget busters. So today we inventory the contents of the pantry, fridge and both freezers and see how little we can spend on groceries in the remaining days of Lent. 

While I was at Dollar Tree I grabbed a couple of the large white candles in glass containers that you often see in churches. I printed off a couple of images that speak to me and I am coloring those creating my own devotional candles. When you honor a saint very few people follow sometimes you have to get creative. 

I'm on the screening panel for a local film festival this year so I have been watching a couple of documentary films every day for that. I have to watch and review 5 a week. Next week I'll be better prepared so I can watch one a day rather than trying to binge my way through them 48 hours before the deadline. 

I find that I am a bit lonely. Facebook made it easy to feel "connected" without the effort of going out and actually dealing with people. As an introvert that really worked for me. Well, at least it felt like it worked for me. I'm not sure it actually did or not. I guess that is one of the things this season will prove. 

My goal for next week is to have coffee or drinks or a meal with at least one person I am missing from my local Facebook contacts. Maybe lunch on Monday since some of us have it off for President's Day and I know my family plans to be out and about that day already so it won't be an extra meal out occasion for the budget. 

If I get super brave I'll post before/after photos of the pantry project. Don't hold your breath though. 

Until tomorrow, Peace. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The First 24 Hours

It seemed like all I did yesterday was continually log out of Facebook. Every device I own had it on and most all were logged in automatically. I THINK I have them all logged out now but even now I'm not sure. It was eye opening how thoroughly connected I am. I have left messenger on on my smartphone for two reasons 1) its too doggone difficult to take it off and 2) if anyone on Facebook actually NEEDS to reach me and doesn't know any other method they can reach me that way. Also, my chat is highly filtered and only people who I actually interact with in my offline life are able to see whether or not I am available for chat so it serves as texting for those who may not have my cell number or who find it easier to text from a computer.

The hardest times for me so far are waiting times and insomnia times. I grew very accustomed to checking my Facebook while waiting to pick-up my husband from work or my daughter from her GED prep class. When waiting anywhere really. Pinterest requires too much focus surprisingly. Apparently Facebook functions like visual white noise. I can scroll and stave off boredom but I don't have to actually pay attention. If something grabs my attention then I'm off like Alice down the rabbit hole but I don't have to search Facebook with intent. Pinterest requires intent. I have to at least have a vague idea what I am searching for in order to generate pins and then I have to follow the pin to the page in order to see what is there. It may turn into as big a time suck as Facebook as these weeks progress but for now it serves a different purpose entirely. So far I've used it mostly to work on projects that I am working on out here in the real world. Research for costumes for Diary of Anne Frank, ideas for meals, organizational tips for the sewing/costume/prop studio.

I've moved all my patterns upstairs and put them into the drawers of the antique dresser in the studio. I still need to organize them and to continue to bring others up as I find them but as a first step on the studio project that's a really big one. It would be really nice if at the end of these 40 something days the studio was up and functioning.

I've done more sketches and work on Anne Frank. I hope to have the costumes pulled, altered and ready by the time the cast goes into tech in two weeks. The girls are well on their way. The boys I need to work on more. All have their overcoats for Act I Scene I though and most of the girls have at least a couple of complete costumes. I have gone through my inventory here again and have a few more things to take this afternoon for them to try.

Spiritually I spent a good deal of time at my altar yesterday. I wasn't able to work the schedule to attend an Ash Wednesday service so I used the ashes from a recent incense burnt and did it myself. I burned green candles for a friend who had a job interview.  I played the flute. I read some spiritual literature.

Speaking of reading. I read two mysteries on my Kindle yesterday and in the wee waking hours last night. I also scanned a couple of other books and decided they weren't really worth the read and deleted those. I may share my reading list here at the end of this journey.

For devotional reading I'm using this resource 

from Reconciling Ministries Network.

I'm also working my way through:


which I started before Christmas. I have a variety of other books on religion and spirituality on deck that I'll be sharing insights from as I go along. My spiritual path these days is a mix of Celtic-Christopagan/Progressive Liturgical Baptist. An odd pairing to be certain but its working for me at the moment. If you were expecting a conventional Lenten journey you shouldn't be anymore.

During Advent I started writing a resource for a Celtic-Christopagan celebration of Advent. I was three chapters in when a catastrophic hard drive failure destroyed all my work. Perhaps this blog will eventually become the basis of such a resource for Lent. Who knows. I do know this, not being on Facebook is freeing up huge amounts of time to play with such ideas and projects. So far so good.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

It Begins

Today is the beginning of Lent 2016.

Facebook is what I have chosen to give up for Lent.

A friend of mine (Hi Cindy!) on seeing my announcement suggested that I should journal my experiences during this season away from my main social media forum. So, I decided to blog about it. Ironically, this blog will be posting to Facebook every time I publish so the folks on my friends list are going to have a ringside seat to watch this whole crazy thing unfold.

I signed off Facebook at 10 this morning. I picked the time somewhat at random since I certainly wasn't going to go dark at midnight last night and waiting until receiving the imposition of ashes seemed a bit like cheating since I don't know if or where I might be attending Ash Wednesday services today due to my crazy schedule.

So what's the point? Well I'm not sure yet, here at the very beginning of the journey, but the reasons I chose Facebook instead of chocolate or caffeine or cursing or any of a hundred other things that I could have picked this year have to do with being more intentional. I need to be more intentionally aware of how I am spending my time. I need to be more intentionally aware of where I am investing my focus. I need to create space in my life for things more personally and spiritually productive and my biggest time suck is represented by that blue and white icon up there. I click that silly icon first thing in the morning, before I even get out of bed. I click it during the night when I awaken for any reason. If you're one of my insomniac friends or one of my friends that works overnight chances are we've chatted at 3 or 4 in the morning. It's been just over an hour and I have already had to remove it from my phone's home screen because the habit of clicking it as soon as I unlock my phone is so deeply ingrained.

As I am typing this I get a notification that my cousin Alanna has mentioned me in a comment. I pick up my phone and hit clear. I have to trust that if it is important someone in the family with access will let me know. My daughter is acting as my secretary in groups where events I am working during lent are using Facebook as their primary means of communication. I am suddenly very aware of how annoying this has the potential to be. I know from past experience that it will be several days before I am not constantly resisting the automatic habit of checking my newsfeed. Fortunately each of those moments of decision will be an opportunity to practice my intention. I suppose I could have just deactivated my account until March 26th but where is the need for discipline in doing that? No, I need to leave the option open if this is going to be any kind of productive experience at all.

Lent is a season of redirecting my focus. My goals and hopes include creating some kind of order in my house so that I can have people over and interact with people in the real world, spending time being creative, spending time in my personal spiritual practices and bringing some sense of balance back into my life. Welcome along on my journey.