Day 6 & 7- Superheros and such

Day 6. Favorite superhero and why. 

Tricky question for me. My bathroom is decorated in Marvel comics so my answer would likely come out of there. I love Iron Man but he’s kind of an ass, Thor is cool, but he’s not really an Earth superhero. Wolverine and the Hulk are fun too but I think Captain America is going to take the cake in this contest. He comes from a time that’s a lot more pure, where people love their country, and where most marriages don’t end until death. These values are shown in his character. Plus he comes from the time where pin-up started and that gives him cool points in my book.

Thank you google images

Thank you google images

Day 7. A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you. 

Easy. Definitely my parents. I don’t even think I need to explain this one. parents

We shall see what tomorrow brings!

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I Love Blogging Challenges! Day 1-5

Whenever I’m not available to blog I always find myself thinking “Hey I could turn this thought into a blog post” and then that thought goes away forever. When I actually have a free evening where I could read or write something, I can never think of a topic. This is why I love blogging challenges. I don’t have to pick the topic. So, I found a cool one that someone else found on Pinterest. I’m a little late to the game so this post will have 5 days in one!

Day 1. Recent picture and 15 interesting facts. 

I was a pin up girl for Halloween

I was a pin up girl for Halloween

Facts:
1. I have a tattoo of my Chinese and zodiac signs (dragon with a taurus symbol on the tail)
2. My eyes change colors between brown and a mix of brown and green.
3. My ideal job would be being paid to listen to music/read books/play with puppies. So I guess I should open a book/record store and bring puppies to work with me.
4. Despite what my ideal job is, I actually like my real job in medical billing and my office has two dogs in it.
5. I founded a women’s book club almost 3 years ago and now have over 300 members.
6. I’m really bad at movies. A lot of classics I’ve never seen. I also forget a lot of movies I’ve watched until I start watching them again.
7. I give my animals middle names- Fia Marie is my dog in Colorado, Raven Lee and Otis James are “my” dogs that live with my parents in South Dakota. I also name other objects- my bass is Blanca, my jeep is Jeffrey, my ipod is Mini, etc.
8. I love the pin-up fashion look, but I never feel like I can pull it off- probably because of fact 11.
9. Though I bought a bass 2 years ago, I can only play 4 songs and haven’t picked it up in probably 9 months.
10. I’m a divorce statistic.
11. I’m a terrible at being a girly girl- bad at makeup, hair, fashion. Some days this really bothers me, some days I feel like sweat pants in public is totally fine. I’m also a little bit color blind so that probably doesn’t help anything.
12. I’m not really superstitious, though I did get married on Friday the 13th, it rained, and I was allergic to my wedding ring. See fact # 10 for how well that worked.
13. I have my next two tattoos planned- one book related, one music related.
14. I think I’m addicted to chocolate.
15. I’m afraid I’m never going to be an aunt. I’ve gone back and forth on whether I want my own kids (probably?) but I would love to be an aunt and I just don’t know if it’ll happen.

Day 2. Meaning behind my blog name.

This one is pretty simple. April is my first name, Dawn is my middle name. Dawn is also a time of day and is used to describe the beginning of something. Dawn of a new era, etc. My thought was maybe this could be the beginning of a more articulate me.

Day 3. A picture of my animal(s).

My girl.

My girl.

That’s really the only one I can claim (as I mentioned in the facts section, my parents have two dogs in South Dakota that started off as mine but became my dad’s loyal companions). This is Fia Marie- my pound puppy who has been a blessing to me for nearly 4 years. I’d be lost without her.

Day 4. A habit I wish I didn’t have.

Too many. Um. First and foremost- smoking. I have gone off and on the wagon so many times. I have given myself a deadline of 12/1/15 to quit for real. I generally only smoke about 4 a day, which isn’t good but has been much worse- I’ve cut down quite a bit in the last 6 months. More bad habits: chocolate/sweets, procrastination, overthinking, and sometimes I grind my teeth and chomp when I sleep (it makes me cringe knowing this).

Day 5. A photo of somewhere I’ve been. 

I wouldn’t say I’ve been a lot of places, but I’ve seen a few pretty cool places. This past summer I went on a week long tour with some good friends in a band. I had never been West of Colorado and can now say I’ve been to Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Parts of that drive were awful (LA), parts were boring (Nevada), but some parts were beautiful. I loved the Idaho Panhandle, the Mt. Shasta area of Northern California, pieces of Montana, Oregon, and the canyon we went through somewhere around Arizona/Nevada/maybe Utah(?). Hanging out the window of the van I took a ton of pictures but this one-taken with my iPhone out the window doing 60 mph near the Mt. Shasta area was my favorite and it doesn’t do it justice. The whole band besides myself and the driver were asleep and I’m so glad I didn’t miss this. Just breathtaking.

So peaceful

So peaceful

So that’s it. We’ll see what day 6 brings and I would love to thank Hollypop for this challenge idea 🙂

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Thoughts for Thursdays- Halloween Costumes

It’s that time of year where everyone puts on a costume and for one night (or several depending how serious you are about the holiday) pretends to be something/someone else. Today my company had a Halloween party and it got me thinking what your costume might say about you.

I took a look back at my own choices over the last 5 Halloweens.
2010. I was a “Honey” bee. As in: spaghetti straps, yellow/black sequined stripes, and a frilly little skirt. It was barely two months since my divorce process started and I wanted to go out, be noticed, flirt, and feel good about myself. It worked- I walked home freezing (did I mention spaghetti straps?!) with a number for a guy I would date for about a year.

from google images

from google images

2011. Greek goddess. White dress, gold accessories, fake eyelashes and noticeable eye makeup- totally DIY. I found this costume at a thrift store with plenty to choose from but I ended up with this. Why? Maybe because the relationship with 2010 Halloween guy was ending and the guy I was starting to unintentionally crush on was of Greek heritage and I wanted to make an impression. Maybe because I wanted to feel powerful since my life situation (new city, barely employed, doomed relationship) was stressing me out.

2012. “Officer Goodbody” Cleavage-y cop uniform with frilly little skirt, sexy boots, and fuzzy handcuffs. This one is tricky. I was pretty happy in life but maybe I wanted to feel like I had the authority to keep it that way. Maybe I wanted more respect. It could be that I wanted to be a source of protection, safety, and comfort for the people who were closest to me.

from google image search

from google image search

2013. “Robyn Da Hood” (I didn’t name these) Sexy Robin Hood costume complete with major cleavage, hat, corset, fur lined boots, and you guessed it- a frilly little skirt. At this time I was suffering some pretty major self esteem issues after a hard break-up. Again, I wanted to have fun, flirt, and be noticed. I had just moved and was definitely feeling pretty poor so maybe I wanted to feel a little of that “rob from the rich” action.

google image search

google image search

2014. German Beer Maiden. Ankle length Oktoberfest inspired dress, shoes to go with the theme, and braids in my hair. I browsed some stores for ideas but ended up borrowing this costume from a friend. This was the year I actually fully developed a taste for beer. Also the year I started dating someone with a significant German heritage (seriously, what is wrong with me?!)

google image search

google image search

2015. This year is different from any other as far as picking a costume is concerned. I didn’t pick one. Instead, my lovely fella of the German heritage picked for me in a sense. By that I mean he said, “I found some sweet old looking military stuff and I was thinking since you like the pin-up style you could be my pin-up girl” Yes please! I could even look in my closet for a costume (I didn’t- I mean it’s an excuse for new clothes that I will wear more than just one night) but I literally had nothing in mind before his suggestion. And  as I’ve put on 10 pounds in the last year and as such haven’t been feeling too great about the ole bod, I didn’t really want to dress up. I probably would have ended up picking whatever was still available last minute that I could fit my boobs into. And who knows what my subconscious would have led me to.

It’s quite possible that I’m looking too much into this but for some people maybe this is the one time they get to dress in accordance to their deep, maybe even unacknowledged feelings. Think about it.

Superheros- Maybe they need saving?
Princesses- Maybe they feel neglect and want attention and spoiling?
Butterflies- Maybe they feel they need a change or recently experienced one?
Villains- Maybe they feel guilty for a wrongdoing or want to feel powerful?
Ironic/funny costumes- Could be they’re just in need of a laugh or a smile- those things are contagious ya know.
Scary/gory costumes- Maybe they’ve experienced some scary things or have fears that are alleviated by dressing it up and turning it into something fun?
“Slutty/sexy” anything- Maybe they have self confidence issues and this is the one night a year they feel like it’s OK to strut whatever stuff they have. Maybe they’re seeking attention?

I could go on, but you get the point. Like I said, maybe I wandered into a rabbit hole thinking way too hard about this. Maybe it’s just as simple as – it fit, it was cute, you just happen to like Iron Man and don’t harbor a secret desire for his ideas/money/status, or whatever. This was just a random thought I had on this particular Thursday approaching Halloween.

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The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle—Probably more of a ramble than a review

First thoughts: This book made me want to call my parents and thank them for not effing me up as much as they could have.

I organize a book club where books are chosen by member suggestions followed by voting and this was not a book I voted for. It’s likely due to me being drawn away from non-fiction, biography style novels, though whatever the actual reason, it was not one I wanted to read.

The description of the book written by Jeannette Walls from Goodreads goes like this:
The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.

The Glass Castle is truly astonishing–a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.”

The father is Rex and he’s one of those characters you feel conflicted about, as in: Do you like him? Is it ok to like him? Should you feel bad about yourself if you do/don’t like him? He does some pretty awful things and then there are times where he says/does the most perfect thing he could possibly do in that moment. He lies, drinks, steals, cheats, and abuses but he loves, encourages imagination, and at times tries to better himself for his family. I could see some of my own dad in him.

Jeannette is the author, the main character, and the viewpoint from which the story is told. She’s one of four siblings and she is smart, ingenuitive, and as realistic as can be.  It’s evident that she is her dad’s favorite because she’s often the only one who believes in the good inside him, much like my own relationship with my dad. I related to her on many levels.

Rosemary, the mother, drove me absolutely crazy. I understand she was a free spirit and didn’t really want the responsibility that comes with having kids but many times she could have done something to make things better and actively chose not to. Throughout reading, I never felt sympathy for her.

Some of the book was painfully hard to read and thankfully nothing I had to deal with growing up. The Walls family was hungry often, moved a lot, and lived without modern amenities like electricity and plumbing for periods. Luckily for me I grew up in a stable home which always had water and heat and though sometimes I got tired of mac and cheese and PBJ sandwiches, I never went hungry.

All in all, I found myself enjoying this book immensely. A tale of success and happiness after hardships and loss really makes a person count their blessings and maintain hope for the future. I’m forever grateful to my parents for making my basic needs a priority. I recommend this book to mostly anyone – anyone who had a great childhood to make them more thankful, anyone who had it rough to remind them they’re not alone and anyone in the middle who just wants to read a good book. That being said, if you are one of those people who feel no sympathy or empathy when reading, don’t bother- you’ll get nothing from this book. If you’re going to focus too heavily on character faults or you feel like every story has to have some kind of purpose or lesson, maybe find something else.

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Dear 16 year old self,

Dear 16 year old self,

It’s me/you ten years from now. October 2014 and you wouldn’t believe some of the decisions we’ve made and what your life is like now. Believe it or not, you’ve been married and divorced, live in Denver, have gone to 3 different schools for higher education, have no kids, don’t eat red meat, have a few tattoos, and you run a book club. Not exactly what you were thinking your life would be like in ten years, huh? Oh and you’re gonna get pretty fat at some point so enjoy the solid size 3 you’re at now.

I know this is a crazy time for you right now. You’re working two jobs while being a full time high school student, one of your best friends is about to have a baby, you’re starting to get into some things and involved with some people you shouldn’t be (and believe it or not weed is legal where you live now and you really don’t care). But as crazy as things already are, you’re about to have a life changing month.

First of all, I know you’re thinking about quitting your job at the restaurant. You’re saying it’s because your boss is a jerk who doesn’t pay you enough but we both know it’s because you’re tired of working weekends at night and early in the morning between the two jobs and the restaurant is the morning gig, which cuts into the partying. You shouldn’t quit- at least not yet and I’ll tell you why.

The day before you quit, and by quit I mean walk out of your shift, you’re going to get some HUGE news. It’s likely this fuels your decision but I know you’ve been thinking about it for a while. It’s hard to work two jobs and go to school and party all the time. The day after you quit, you’re going to total your car. Your pregnant best friend is going to be riding passenger- neither of you are going to be wearing seat belts. Keep in mind, had you not quit, you wouldn’t have been driving to a gas station and a large Cadillac wouldn’t have had an opportunity to run a red light and hit you. Your accident will make the front page of the paper though, so there’s that.

This is what the accident will do to your outward physical appearance

This is what the accident will do to your outward physical appearance

Don’t worry too much though, your friend’s baby (your godson) is fine and is born healthy 8 days later, same day as your school’s equivalent of a fall/winter formal- something you were looking forward to. Now, though your face has been “burned” by bouncing off the airbag and your hair/head was cut by the rearview mirror…and you don’t have a car to drive to this dance in, it’s not looking like so much fun. I know, most people are thinking it’s crazy for the woman to drive anyways but as you know, the boy situation has been a little tricky as of late so you’re going with one of your other best friends who doesn’t have a car. It’s tough to be 16.

One week after the accident and you've healed nicely

One week after the accident and you’ve healed nicely

Back to the accident- everyone is going to want you to go to the hospital to get checked out, but you don’t want to. I know why, and you’ll know soon enough too. Plus, you’re fine. In fact, after some pain killing medications you decide to go hang out with your friends for a few drinks. I wish I didn’t have to tell you that you’re going to make a mistake tonight. You’re going to take something from somebody that they won’t ever get back and three years later on Halloween, that person will perish in a car accident. I know you’ve had some experience with it already, but drunk driving is going to take a few people away from you as the years go on- one person in the yard of a house your parents will end up buying.

The rest of this month doesn’t sound so promising, huh? Sorry about that. Probably because of everything going on and knowing what I know of how much of a struggle November and December will be as well (but a big problem is solved, though it creates more for you to deal with later), you’re going to quit orchestra and I wish you wouldn’t. Music is a huge part of my/our life and we have a bass now (cool, right?!) but I wish violin hadn’t been given up.

Things get easier in 2005- there’s a bout of stupid decisions and some mild alcohol poisoning, but there are some good things too. You date someone you absolutely shouldn’t but through him you get a puppy towards the end of the year that you guys save from the would-be meth lab across the street from his trailer. Well, dad ended up with and still has that puppy and as you can imagine Cookie isn’t going to make it much longer—be prepared to see dad cry for that. Also, at the end of 2005 you start dating the neighbor boy…and you guys are going to get married, but it won’t last and there are a lot of things he’ll prevent you from doing, both good and bad.

2006 starts off pretty well, since you’ve quit smoking you’ve started to put on a little weight and I know that bugs you but you’re mostly sober…or a lot more so than you were a few months ago so that’s good. As spring and graduation approach, Cookie needs to be put down and at some point your uncle Dean comes to visit. I wish with every wish I have that you would spend more time with him while he’s there instead of your boyfriend because even though graduation is 3 weeks away and you think you’ll see Dean then, that’s actually the last time you’ll ever see him. He takes his life 5/11/06. I know. We never saw it coming. This is probably a little bit contributory to a few more pounds on your waistline.

Getting a little pudgy from where we were- but look at you graduating with honors even!

Getting a little pudgy from where we were- but look at you graduating with honors even!

 

College will be cool for you- but you end up not going where you want to go because the boyfriend won’t move that far away, so you’re still stuck in South Dakota. You meet a lot of people, but partially due to the boy, you don’t apply yourself as you should and guess what—we’re not becoming a vet. So you’ll transfer to community college and get a diploma in child development and eventually start working for the school district which is where you’ll be working when you get married in November of 2009 and where you’ll be working when you get divorced in January of 2011. Seems a little bleak, right? It starts to look up a little bit I promise.

Welcome to you on your 21st birthday... not so pretty is it-- you should keep longer hair.

Welcome to you on your 21st birthday… not so pretty is it– you should keep longer hair.

July of 2011 you’re going to finally get out of S.D. and move to Denver. Awesome, I know! Finally, some place you feel you belong and as you’re getting really established in your new surroundings, it’s time for a trip home for the holidays. Grandma gets sick while you’re home for Christmas and it’s a good thing you took two weeks of vacation. She’s admitted to the hospital Christmas Eve and its cancer. I’m heart- broken to say she doesn’t make it and will die January 10th of 2012, 6 days after you return to Colorado from your Christmas trip. You’re very lucky in the way that you have a great support system in your family and in Colorado and even someone special with a big role in your life that comes back with you to help you through it and you’ll always appreciate that.

The rest of 2012 goes well and you’re happy— and did I mention not as fat? Yeah, it pretty much melts off after moving since you’re so much happier and there’s a lot more to do. In fact, you’ve lost almost 40 pounds. Life is pretty good. Oh and 2012 will take you to Mexico for work which is amazing and fuels the desire to travel! 2013 starts with an unforgettable trip to Disney world with the same person you have been building a life with since the end of 2011 and the same one that was with you for your grandma’s passing. 2013 is also the year you’ll go back to school for medical billing and coding of all things, but I have this feeling you’re going to really enjoy it and land a pretty sweet job after your internship. Unfortunately, you’re going to go to school immediately after a very unexpected break-up and honestly this will be the most heart breaking split you’ve experienced thus far. But look at all you’ve gone through, and you’ll get through this and come out stronger and still happy…and even less fat!  You’re down almost 50 pounds now and the best you’ve looked since the beginning of your senior year. Finally, September of 2014 after living with people from craigslist for a year, you and your sweet pooch live by yourself and for really the first time in your life. While everyone else is having babies (on purpose these days) and getting married, you’re happy about your new apartment and the independence that comes with it. You’ve also started something new over the summer with someone who’s pretty great, so enjoy that and we’ll see where it takes us 🙂

You before moving to Colorado and you right before your 26th birthday.

This will be you 3 weeks before moving to Colorado and then right before your 26th birthday- sorry to say we still don’t have a butt 😦 

So, there you have it. Enjoy the time you have now and know there are some huge bumps ahead but you’ll always come out the other side eventually and a little stronger. Make sure the people you love know how you feel before it’s too late. Keep on keepin’ on and maybe we’ll catch up in another 10 years and see where we’re at.

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Day 24- It’s Tricky

25-songs-blog-challenge5

Day 24 is a song that I’ve danced to with a best friend.  The first one that came to mind is “It’s Tricky” from Run DMC. This is the particular song that I dance like a complete fool to and I don’t even care. There are countless others– I kind of like to booty shake from time but this one is the first that came to mind and one I’ve been dancing to for many years.

It looks about like this. Pretty hot, right?

It looks about like this. Pretty hot, right?

 

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Day 23- Wonderwall

25-songs-blog-challenge5

Day 23- is a song that I can’t stand to you listen to. The first one that came to mind was “Wonderwall” by Oasis.  So we’re going to go with that — sorry to any fans.

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Day 22 – Suga Suga

25-songs-blog-challenge5

Day 22 is a song that someone has sang to me. I really had to think about this one but I remember in high school taking a trip with one of my best friends and we were jamming some tunes and the CD started skipping and quit in the middle of “Suga Suga” by Baby Bash and he just looked over and kept singing it to me. Still think of him every time I hear it. 🙂

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Day 21- Snowy London

25-songs-blog-challenge5

Day 21 is my favorite song…I feel like this goes back to day 15 which is a song I love to sing along to…naturally my favorites.  However, this song I’m going to share with you has been a favorite for the last few days… like listen to on repeat during my 3o minute commute favorite.  So we’ll share it. This band is from Denver so lucky me for getting to see them often.  Enjoy!

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The Fault in Our Stars

I think I’m about to drop some “deep thoughts” on you readers… or maybe just ramble some nonsense- let’s find out. Tonight I was able to screen the movie (based on the book by John Greene) The Fault in Our Stars and if you haven’t read the book, you should- and go see the movie when it’s out for general public viewing. I’ll try not to give anything away but if you’ve heard about it, you’ve probably heard it’s about teenagers with cancer and it’s a tear-jerker. That’s true– there was one point where it was a relatively silent and serious moment and you could hear a lot of people in the theater crying. I feel like almost everyone has dealt with the ugly “C” word at some point in some capacity and likely all parties involved have wished cancer didn’t exist. The sad truth, is that it does and is all too common.

Intertwined within the sadness that is cancer, the movie has a love story. Overall, I think it’s safe to say all true love stories are the same– you meet someone, feelings grow, you can’t imagine a world without them, and you know that you don’t have enough time together- certainly not as much as you’d like to have, whether you meet at 16 or 60. You might even have the feeling of wanting to be the first one to die just so you don’t have to live in that world without the other person, yet at the same time you almost can’t bear the idea of the heartache they would feel if you did pass first. I think at their  core, everyone wants to be loved. To know you’re loved so deep that you make someone’s day better just by being alive doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, right? Love is a great and powerful  feeling. But then I got to thinking…

This movie got me thinking about this probably because they had a love that was cut pretty short by death, an all too common side effect of cancer. It’s generally in times of crisis that we find out who really cares enough to be there and in what capacity. I wondered how it would feel to be terminally sick, and not be loved like that of which I previously spoke. And then I wondered if that made me kind of an awful person. Why would I want someone who loves me and can’t imagine a world without me to watch me deteriorate and hold my hand while they try to be there for me, all for them to go through hell and heartache  after I die?

That kind of sounds miserable. Yet, so does going through something like that alone. If I found out tomorrow that I wouldn’t make it another year, I would be devastated by the news, but also devastated that there would be nobody to hold me and cry about it with me. I mean, sure, I have plenty of friends/family who would absolutely do that, but when you’re in love there’s one person who’s hug feels a little more comforting than everyone else’s.

Ideally, I’ll never get really sick, or fall in love with someone who becomes really sick. Ideally, I’ll meet a nice man who can’t get enough of my smile and turns me into a pile of goo with his and we’ll grow old together and die in our sleep all snuggled up. One thing I’ve noticed- life doesn’t work out how we “ideally” plan it. I do know that, selfish or not, I want a great love and all of the good or bad that comes with it.

 

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