Fabulously Fabulous

Hello awesome people,

Sorry for the big time break between postings! Life just gets wonderfully busy sometimes. Here’s the big updates:

– I got a new job! I am now an elementary school science teacher! 😀 This is like a dream come true for me, and I am just so very grateful that I get to spend my time on science and working with kids.

– Charming just keeps getting more amazing! Is that even possible? It is… and I feel so very special, loved, and lucky. He’s very sweet, I don’t know if I can explain it properly, hmm… for example, just the other day we were grocery shopping together and he pulled me in close and slow danced with me in the aisle, just because he’s wonderful like that. ❤

– Hobbies are still in the mix, but I just haven’t had as much time for them lately. I’m still doing my woodcarving and Argentine tango. I’m working on carving an Olaf snowman, and Charming took me to a Milonga for my birthday. 🙂 I also have some recipes to share sometime soon!

Life is good! The weather in California has been pretty lovely. Charming is taking me on a vacation to the snow tomorrow! I’m just really, REALLY grateful, and happy, and it’s just a beautiful, lovely life. 🙂

I hope to write to you again soon!

Remember to go find your adventure!

Cheers,

Rachie

Imaginary Shopping On Vintage Main Street – First Edition

Hey folks,

It’s an absolutely beautiful day!

I found it to be an extra beautiful day because I liked what I saw when I stepped on the scale this morning. 😀

Nothing like feeling healthier and building confidence!

This means it’s time for an imaginary shopping trip! Every time I want a little extra motivation to keep losing weight I start day-dreaming about the future wardrobe I plan to have. Sure, I could start buying these dresses now, but I’m not down to my “goal size” yet. The plan is to get down to my goal size and reward myself with a fabulous wardrobe!

I adore vintage style dresses. They’re so classy and elegant! For me, retro style is the pinnacle of sexiness. It can range from conservatively elegant to sassy pin-up, but it’s always classy. Today I’m going to take you for an imaginary shopping trip on Vintage Main Street through some of my very favorite classic clothing stores.

First stop, ModCloth!

Roof Garden Guru Dress by Myrtlewood on ModCloth

It’s feminine, fun, and just a little bit flirty!

ModCloth has such a fabulous variety of lovely vintage dresses and clothing – I highly recommend setting aside time for browsing their website, there’s so many gorgeous pieces to look through.

~

Next up, VooDoo Vixen!

Finley Dress by VooDoo Vixen

Uber flirty and fabulous! Look at that runched waist and pleasantly plumping peasant top!

VooDoo Vixen’s clothing line is the perfect blend of sassy and elegant with a dash of rockabilly.

~

Alright, get out your favorite peep-toe pumps, ladies! It’s time to head over to Pinup Girl Clothing!

Jenny Dress in Orange Border Print by Pinup Couture on Pinup Girl Clothing

Super fun, vibrant, and sexy! I love the bright colors!

You can always count on Pinup Girl Clothing to have classic styles that ooze of curve-a-licious vibrancy.

Let’s face it, even when I get down to my goal weight I’m still going to be a curvy girl. I fully intend to rock that hour glass!

On a side note: Since I’ve been losing weight I was able to wear an extra flirty skirt and tank top set that hasn’t fit me for several years. When Charming opened the door for me I was given the compliment “you’re looking extra voluptuous this evening” – because he’s just that smooth, and yes, I want to brag just a bit.

~

Time to go a little less Pinup and a little more pearls and lace.

We’re heading on down to Light In The Box!

Cut Out Embroidered Swing Dress from Light In The Box

Lovely, lady-like and ultra feminine!

Light In The Box is like an online Costco warehouse of fashionable dresses. Always cute and reasonably priced.

~

Time for a little Western Europe romance as we head down to the Miss Windy Shop!

Alika Circle Dress in Black by Bettie Page at the Miss Windy Shop

Grace, poise, and all that jazz. The gloves just really bring the whole outfit together.

The Miss Windy Shop is full of absolutely stunning vintage dresses – it’s chicken soup for the fashionista’s soul.

~

Get ready for the cutest slice of rockabilly apple pie as we head over to Bernie Dexter!

Rose Pin Up Dress In Sorbet Cabbage Rose Print by Bernie Dexter

The sweetest dose of sexy ya ever did see!

I think Bernie Dexter was Bettie Page in a previous life. Her clothing line can be summed up in simply one word – “classic”.

On a side note: I would totally accessorize this with oven mitts and a peach cobbler. I have a weird desire to be just a little bit “Mrs. Cleaver”. Yes, I know, the lost Stepford wives are rolling over in their fictional graves. I’m sorry, I am just a little bit Stepford.

~

Alright, put your power shopping shoes on! We’re going to a store where the clothes will make you have to say Stop Staring! 

Radiant Metallic Champagne Wiggle Dress

Glamorous, luscious, and delightfully diva!

Stop Staring! is a walloping dose of old Hollywood glam.

On a side note: I was imaginary shopping the other day and left a bunch of tabs open on my computer. Charming asked me what a wiggle dress is, and I jokingly answered that it’s a dress that has a skirt cut so you have to wiggle to be able to walk anywhere. It turns out that I was exactly right!

Wiggle Dress (noun) – A dress whose hem is narrower than the hips, causing the wearer to walk in short strides with legs close together, producing a sway or wiggle of the hips.

~

Last, but certainly not least, time to take our shopping shoes over to Heart of Haute!

Constellations Roxie Dress by Heart of Haute

Retro, fabulous, and nerdy chic!

This dress GLOWS-IN-THE-DARK and has me geeking out (Ursa) major!

Heart of Haute is stylish and trendy with vintage va-voom! They make it hip to be mod! 😉

~

I’m thinking of making “imaginary shopping” a regular thing around here. Please hit the “like” button if you think I should plan to share more virtual shopping trips.

🙂

Cheers,

Rachie

Let’s Talk Tango – An Overview Of Argentine Tango For Beginners

Hello Lovelies,

Let’s talk tango!

I really wanted to give you a good introduction to and overview of the Argentine tango so this will be a bit of a long post. It’s organized into sections  as follows:

– My First Tango Experience & Fears
– Dance Shoes
– Cabeceo
– How To Embrace
– Etiquette
– The Tango Love Letter ~  Basic 8 Count Steps
– Argentine Tango Vs. American Ballroom Tango
– Physicality
– Personal Challenges
– Tango With Prince Charming

My First Tango Experience & Fears:

When I first started taking tango I was a little apprehensive about what I was getting myself into. My previous experience with partnered dance classes was very slim. I had all sorts of questions fly through my mind before I went to my first class.

“Isn’t it kind of a sexy dance?”

TangoLegWrap2

Ooh la la! Sexy stuff!

“What if no one wants to dance with me?”

“Can I even physically handle this?”

“What if I’m expected to fly through the air like the Dancing With The Stars athletes???”

“What if I trip and fall on my face…. or what if I get stabbed in the eye with rose thorns… or I try to put a rose in my mouth and it slices me and I end up bleeding all over… and what if I try to do one of those fancy leg dealies, and my dress splits, and I end up mooning everyone…??? What then, huh?”

frazzled_lady12331163571

This Could End Very Badly!

Yes, I have a very vivid and active imagination that scampers off into absurdity at times. 😛

I told myself that I would go to at least one class, and just watch from the sidelines if it turned out to not be something I wanted to pursue. Then I could say that I got to go watch tango dancers that evening, and that would have been my grand adventure for the night.

I went to my first class, and I danced, and I fell in love with tango!

Dance Shoes:

The first class was very small, so I got a lot of extra help from the teacher and other students. I hadn’t made the best choice on shoes for the evening, but I danced through the pain. 😛 Man, I tell ya, dance shoes were a Godsend! I still have rough spots on my feet from wearing the wrong kind of shoes to tango class for the first couple of months – my feet looked like I’d dragged them through shards of broken glass. If you’re going to take Argentine tango classes on a regular basis then invest in a pair of comfortable leather-soled shoes. I recommend browsing the company website for Capezio brand dance shoes, but you can also find Capezio shoes on Amazon.

Let me tell you, they might not look like anything terribly special, but these are my magic shoes.

^ Please read the last part of that sentence in the voice of Forest Gump.

TangoShoes

My Magic Shoes

I step into these shoes and I feel like I get to release my inner Bond-Girl.

Sultry.

Classy.

Elegant.

Powerful.

Woman.

Seriously, Xena Warrior-Tango-Princess suddenly arrives on the scene when I put on my tango shoes. I get a whole new sense of confidence and sass, a whopping dose of femininity, and as if by magic, I’m also gifted with grace.

Xena, Warrior Princess – In Need Of Tango Shoes

Alright, so tango DOES sound interesting, you say? Maybe you’ve just GOT to get yourself into a pair of those shoes, but perhaps you find yourself still asking the same questions I did? Then let me ease your fears!

Tango can be a pretty sexy dance, but it’s classy-sexy not raunchy-sexy. There are strict rules and etiquette that go with tango that illustrate that it’s about elegance, chivalry, and beauty. If you’ve taken some classes you might feel comfortable taking your moves to a tango party. A tango party is called a Milonga (this is a word that is also used to describe a style of tango dance), and a person who dances tango at these social events is called a Milonguero.

Cabeceo:

Once you’re at a Milonga you’ll notice that there is a special silent code to ask a woman to dance, this is called “Cabeceo” (pronounced Cah-beh-say-oh) or “The Look“.

TangoCabeceo

Cabeceo or “The Look” – Eye Contact, A Head Nod and/or Raised Eyebrows are used to ask a lady to dance

First of all, women do not typically ask the men to dance. If you’re with your best friend/boyfriend/husband then it would be acceptable to ask, but women must otherwise wait for one of the men to ask them to dance. Men will not walk up to a woman and ask “would you like to dance”? They must use “Cabeceo” and this is done simply with eye contact. Ladies, if you want a guy to ask you to dance at a Milonga you’re going to need to have your head up! If you’re staring at your shoes or have your face in your cell phone they can’t even try to ask you to dance (although these are good avoidance tactics if you don’t feel like dancing). While looking for a dance partner a man will be looking around the room before a set. The man will make eye contact with a woman and nod his head slightly to the side as an invitation. If the woman wants to dance with him she will return eye contact and move toward him. If the woman does not want to dance she will break eye contact and look away.

How To Embrace:

Depending on how comfortable you are with your partner you will either step into an “open” or “close” embrace. An open embrace should keep space between you and your partner, while a close embrace should let you dance cheek-to-cheek.

To step into an embrace the man should extend his left hand, open and palm up so that the woman may place her right hand in his. The woman should then place her left hand on the man’s right shoulder (upper arm, shoulder, or back of shoulder – whatever is comfortable for your height), so that the man can slide his right hand under her arm and place it onto the woman’s left shoulder blade. All this should be done slowly and with confidence – it should look classy, not sloppy or wishy-washy. Getting this sequence down might seem a little confusing at first, but it looks ever so lovely when done right. 🙂 Keep your chin up, folks! Literally, keep your head held high and stand with good posture – it’s time to get your “fancy” groove on.

Argentine Tango Dancers – Embrace

Etiquette:

Once you’re out on the dance floor it is customary to dance to three songs with your partner, this is called a “set“. You may find yourself at a more informal Milonga and you’ll see people talking briefly in between songs, but you may also find that people won’t be talking with each other. They’re not being unfriendly, they’re being respectful of their partner and somewhat more formal. Don’t worry about making small talk.

Smile. 😀

That’s all you need to do. Do not say “thank you” to your partner until you are done dancing with them! Saying “thank you” expresses appreciation, but also that you are done dancing with your partner. For the men, sorry bros, you picked your partner, you’re stuck with her until the end of the set (three songs). For the women, if you said yes to dancing with some guy that’s stepping on your feet, or has horrifying halitosis, or anything else unsavory, you can smile and say “thank you” after the first song then return to your seat. Otherwise, give your partner your time and the courtesy of the full three songs (one whole set). Once the set is over you can express your gratitude for the dance by saying “thank you”.

There is an atmosphere of chivalry in tango. A lady will not be left all alone by herself at a Milonga, someone (and probably several someones) will approach her to dance. Do not feel self conscious about your age, height, weight, or any of the usual hang-ups that we all deal with. You will be seen as a lady, someone to respect, someone take care of, and someone to show off on the dance floor. Dress yourself up nice and pretty, do your hair, maybe add a little make-up, and make sure you stock up on breath mints (you’ll be very close to people – I always feel more confident with a mint), you will get asked to dance. If you feel confident enough to take your skills to a Milonga to begin with then there should be no reason to not spend your evening dancing the night away. Dismiss all worries of ending up as a wallflower.

The Tango Love Letter ~ Basic 8 Count Steps:

Dancing the Argentine tango is like writing a love letter with your body. It might be a smoldering passionate love letter filled with desire, or it might be a joyful playful love letter filled with appreciation. Either way, you are expressing yourselves as you dance together. You can dance tango without any flirtation – it can be a fun and beautiful way to dance with new friends and acquaintances.

Tango For Fun

One of the first things you’ll learn in a beginners tango class is the “basic 8” count steps.

The basic 8 count steps are the beginning and end of your love letter.

Steps 1-5 are called “salida” (which seems a bit odd since this means “exit”) and this is how you will usually begin your letter.

Dear Milonguero (1-5), 

You’ll notice that step 5 is a “cross” for the ladies – the ankles will be crossed and from here the gentleman can lead his partner into all sorts of fancy techniques. These improvised techniques are the body of the love letter. While the man will be leading the techniques, the lady can still feel free to embellish as is appropriate as much as she wishes.

Eventually your love letter must come to an end. Steps 6-8 are called “resolución” (meaning resolution) and these will close your love letter.

Sincerely, 

              Rachie (6-8)

Each love letter doesn’t need to last for a whole song. You might find yourself writing several love letters with your partner before a song is over. Take your time and learn the opening and closing for starters. There are so many different techniques which are the “words” or “language” of your tango love letter to fill the body with; but first begin with the basic 8, learn how to “write” your opening and closing lines.

Argentine Tango Vs. American Ballroom Tango:

It used to be that when I heard the word “tango” it conjured images of two people pressed close together with their arms out to one side and rose stems clenched in their teeth. This is a completely different kind of tango than Argentine tango. That type of dance style is usually associated with American ballroom tango.

A_Cow_with_a_Red_Rose_In_Her_Mouth_Doing_the_Tango_with_a_Bull_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_100321-012915-226053

Stock Photo Illustrating American Ballroom Style Tango (Thorns Not Pictured)

If you were actually concerned about rose thorns, then you can dismiss those fears too.

Physicality:

The Dancing With The Stars dancers are amazing athletes. They are obviously very skilled and educated in their field so that they can give us very entertaining TV performances; however, you will not see the same kind of “wow-factor” techniques used at real Argentine tango competitions. If you have concerns about physically handling tango then dismiss those as well. Tango is a very fancy walk – if you can walk then you can tango. Some techniques require a bit of athleticism and might be considered strenuous for some people, but these techniques aren’t necessary to the dance or to have a good time.

Here’s an example of professional Argentine tango dancers:

Check out the spins at ~1:55 and ~ 2:27. That’s some pretty fancy footwork, and that’s the kind of “wow-factor” techniques you’ll be more likely to see.

Personal Challenges:

The hardest thing for me to learn was to be a good “follower” on the dance floor. Argentine tango doesn’t subscribe to a specific set of dance moves like regular ballroom dances; tango is creative, and the “leader” can move the couple to the feel of the music. When I felt awkward I would want to lead so that I would have more control – at the beginning I had some serious fears about tripping or knocking over my partners. Eventually I learned to simply take things slow. Tango is my big chance to feel very feminine on a regular basis. Ladies, your job in tango is to show off how amazing you are; guys, your job in tango is protect, guide, and show off the lady. If anyone has any gripes about women being the “followers” and men being the “leaders” then let me correct you – this dance is all about the guys being incredibly wonderful gentlemen, adoring their dance partner, showing her off, protecting and guiding her through the dance. When the leader leads it is not a command, it’s not “do this because I want you to”; the really good dance partners, the excellent leaders, they lead with suggestions, it’s “do this because I know you look especially gorgeous showing off in this way”.  A good leader will give you space and support to take their suggestion, and that’s when the dance gets really fun.

Tango With Prince Charming:

Argentine Tango Dancers – Volcada

I am lucky enough that my boyfriend, Charming, dances tango with me. He’s an amazing gentleman and really smooth on the dance floor. Lucky girl, I know! One of the best things about dancing tango with him is that I am so comfortable with him. We can dance together in a “close embrace”, and I feel at ease being sexy as he shows me off. Switching from “open embrace” to “close embrace” has been a whole new ball game for me. It’s more intimate and I feel like it really brings the dance to life. Yes, I also enjoy dancing tango with friends, but it’s about passion and flirtation when I dance with Charming. I feel like it takes the dance to a whole new level to have the freedom to dance with that level of intimacy and comfort. I recommend that this is something to keep in mind if you’re in a relationship – ask your loved one to dance with you.

Some of the more advanced tango techniques require quite a bit of trust between partners. Volcada (shown above) is a very controlled fall or lean followed by a pivot, and Charming is the first man I’ve trusted to try this technique with. The fact of the matter is that it’s a very intimate technique so I had not done this before I started dancing with him – just a personal comfort choice. It’s been awkward for me to get used to my body in that pose and I often end up giggling. 😛  Ultimately it can be very sweet to feel supported falling into the arms of the person you love. It is also a reassuring reminder of his strength. Trust is a funny thing, ain’t it? While I might feel unsure and awkward with myself while doing this technique it has only cultivated my trust in him. Trust is important because you run the risk of hurting your partner if you don’t trust them – Swayze was totally on point during the lift scene in Dirty Dancing!

Another comfortability aspect about dancing with Charming is his height. I believe I’ve shared with y’all before that I’m a bit of an Amazon in the height department. I’m 6′ tall without shoes, and my tango shoes with low heels bring me up to 6′ 2″; thankfully, Charming is still quite a bit taller than me even in my tango shoes. It’s been entirely doable to dance with shorter friends, but his height advantage allows us to more easily pull off some of the fancier techniques when we dance together. If you are also of the Amazon tribe and you want to really get into Argentine tango then I highly recommend taking height into consideration when choosing a dance partner.

Well folks, I hope I’ve turned you on to tango! If you’re ever presented with the opportunity to give it a try please go for it, and don’t forget to come back and tell me about it later. 😀 Better yet, don’t wait around for an opportunity to present itself, go look for dance classes in your community or a local social Milonga. Above all, give yourself the chance to feel elegant on a regular basis. Maybe dancing isn’t your thing, that’s okay, just give yourself an outlet to get your glam on. Hold yourself up and let yourself feel classy. It really is a beautiful thing to have that kind of grace and confidence. If you take nothing else away from this post take this, classy is about how you carry yourself and how you treat other people. There is no brand name, piece of jewelry, car, cocktail, or fashion statement that can magically give you elegance and class. Move with purpose, own every step you take, and give others your appreciation and respect. That’s classy.

Until next time folks…

Cheers,

Rachie

Long Time, No See!

Hey Folks! 😀

Gosh, it’s been a long time – almost a whole year! 

I apologize for disappearing for awhile. You know the saying “when life hands you lemons“? I had felt like I was being pelted with lemons machine-gun-style for awhile. Yikes! I’m not terribly good at sitting around feeling sorry for myself for very long; so of course I took those lemons and I made lemon meringue pie! Err… actually a few other varieties of pie, but there WAS meringue involved. 😉 

So, I had taken a bit of a sabbatical from blogging, but NOW I have so many really happy things to share! 😀 

Here’s the basics: 

– Halloween 2013 was a blast! I plan on posting a few Halloween craft ideas as we get closer to October. 

– I’ve been playing wilderness explorer! 😀 “Caw caw! The wilderness must be explored!” You can expect some awesome nature adventures to be shared, with more to be had in the future. 🙂 

– I’m still cookin’! I have a variety of really tasty treats that I’d like to share recipes for with y’all. I caught the “layer cake bug“! Once I figured out a few little tricks layer cakes became this really easy way to make nice looking desserts. 🙂 Stay tuned, there will be chocolate! 

– I’ve added woodcarving lessons to my artsy-crafty fun time! I never realized how much effort is put into carving, and the results have been very satisfying. 🙂 Oh, and I joined the local art club – it’s been steadily feeding my inner creativity junkie for awhile now – I’ve got lots of artsy-craftiness to share. 🙂  

– I started dancing the Argentine tango! Seriously, I cannot even express how excited I am to share my love of tango with you guys! It’s so beautiful, so classy, and so much fun! <— See the repeated use of exclamation points? That’s because that’s really how excited I am about tango! 😀 If you ever want to feel like a hyper-feminine, sultry warrior princess with elegance oozing out of your pores then GO DANCE TANGO

– Life has just been pretty fantastic lately. I’m building some lovely friendships, and adding some extra volunteer time to my schedule. I’ve been making sure to give myself time with all the things I love, singing, science, and silliness included. 🙂 

Alright, are you ready for the grand finale? 

The BIG news! 

I am in a relationship with THE real, live, honest-to-goodness Prince Charming! 

I had thought that Prince Charming was simply a fictional character. Nope! He’s real AND he’s my boyfriend! 

This man is really amazing, and I am so very glad I get to enjoy his company. He’s smart, and funny, and handsome, and… can you say smooth? He dances tango with me! I get to feel this awesome combination of comfort, excitement, and happiness when I’m around him. 

There’s all these wonderful things he does that make me feel very loved. Like, the other day he tells me that he noticed that I like peaches so he got some peaches for me. He noticed that. I didn’t make a big deal out of peaches or anything, he just pays enough attention to realize that I like peaches. Maybe that seems like a small thing, but that’s a pretty big deal to me, to have someone just decide to pay attention. 

I woke up to a little love letter next to my pillow the other morning, and it made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. ❤ Also, the man can cook! He fixed me a salmon dinner the other night. 😀 He’s really the best kind of gentleman a girl could ask for, he opens doors for me, he brought me sunflowers (my favorite flower), and he seems to have a knack for saying exactly what I need to hear.

Sunflowers

I can have intelligent conversations with him. He talks nerdy to me and THAT is a huge turn on! Did I mention he’s a scientist? Oh, and he’s so handsome! He makes me smile a lot, and he makes me laugh these great giggle fits. He’s my person where I know that there will never be a dull moment. We are grand masters at killing time together. He says that we “kill time with machetes” because we’re so good at it when in each other’s presence. Psshh… time never stood a chance with us! 

Don’t even get me started on the cuteness factor! The cuteness… the sweetness… the all around adorableness… 

*Happy Sigh* 

He is pretty amazing. 🙂 I promise not to be too “lovestruck teenage girlish” when I talk about him; but just for the record, in case you didn’t figure it out already, I am pretty head over heels for him. 😛 I think I’ll keep him. 😉 

I hope to be on WordPress on a semi-regular basis again. 🙂 Life has been getting pretty busy, but I do miss blogging and the blogging community. So, see y’all again soon! 

Cheers, 

Rachie 

Forgiveness

AwesomeFactOfLife-EveryoneHasFlaws

I am constantly trying to work on my own personal growth. I take a good close look at my own flaws so that I can learn from them and hopefully change them or gain a new perspective. Recently, I’ve come to the realization that not all “flaws” are bad. We’ve all become who we are for a reason. Sometimes we obtain coping mechanisms that aren’t necessarily the best tools to use, and each person’s personality is going to evolve at its own pace.

Where am I going with all this?

I titled this blog “forgiveness” because it is intimately connected with my own flaws. I’m not very good at forgiving other people, and I feel this is probably connected to not being very good at forgiving myself. I can hold the smallest mistake over my own head for years. It will often be something tiny that was completely unintentional, and I will go back and apologize for things that other people don’t even remember.

Let me pause here for a moment:

I have a very good long-term memory. Past health issues have turned my brain into Swiss cheese on a few occasions, but for the most part I have an unusually good memory. I have memories back to the day I was born. Memories of things that are never shown in family photos or written anywhere, and that my family can confirm. This came in really handy when I was in school because I hardly ever had to study. I don’t get to pick and choose what to remember. I remember a lot of really wonderful things, but also remember not-so-pleasant life experiences in vivid detail. Needless to say it makes things a bit complicated.

Unpause.

Often times others will have already forgiven me for something that I have continued to beat myself up over. What I’ve found is that I can give myself permission to forgive myself if I learn from my shortcomings. Trust me, learning from my own mistakes is easier said than done. Has anyone else ever had the experience of making the same mistake over and over before you realized it was a mistake? This is why it is important for me to look at my own flaws. I can’t improve or fix things if I don’t acknowledge what’s broken.

This is how the cycle of forgiveness works for my own flaws.

I purposefully and consciously choose to look at my own flaws OBJECTIVELY. I must look at my faults objectively so that I don’t get caught up in negative self talk.

I decide to figure out why I have a particular flaw and if it might actually be useful for anything in my day to day life. Is it a defense mechanism or a coping mechanism?

If it serves a purpose I aim to use my “flaw” more constructively so that it may become a strength. If I feel that it is not healthy for me I will work on completely changing my perspective. More often than not I find that my “flaws” serve a purpose and wind up trying to find a better use for them.

One of my biggest flaws is that I have trouble with forgiveness, and it’s not healthy for me.

I believe that my habit of over-trusting people in the first place is part of this circumstance.

I want to walk into every relationship with the people in my life believing that their intentions and motivations are completely pure of heart. I want to believe that everyone is genuine and trustworthy. Along with this belief I end up over-extending myself in my personal interactions and will sometimes wind up disappointed with people. I will overlook glaring flaws in others in hopes of their good qualities shining through. I want to make it clear that I do not believe this optimistic attitude is a flaw. There have been plenty of times that I’ve been thankful for this perspective and it has been beneficial to my life. Being optimistic is not a flaw, over-extending myself and over-involving myself with people is my flaw. A new acquaintance may very well be pure of heart, and they may very well be genuine and trustworthy; but, this does not mean that I am obligated to extend anything more than common courtesy until I have better experience with them. It is my belief that everyone deserves common courtesy – people deserve respectful manners right away.

Let me also make it clear that I do not regret going over and above common courtesy for people even when they end up disappointing me.

“Over-trusting” people is an instance where I must carefully examine my perspective and learn to use this character trait more constructively.

I’ve found that I like giving of myself. I like doing wonderful things for other people. It makes me happy to make others happy, but I’ve learned that you can’t count on people to be appreciative or to show appreciation. It seems like some people have a sense of entitlement and they take people for granted very easily. I’ve learned that give-and-take can find a happy balance in most relationships, but that I must give purely to give, and without expectation of receiving even common courtesy in return. It is so pleasant when people take the time and energy to show they care, but this isn’t something I can simply expect from people.

All relationships are a two way road – whether it’s someone you bumped into on the train or a soulmate that you’ve been with for decades and anyone in between. Your interactions and feelings about that relationship are a combination of both of your words and actions – theirs AND yours. I must remind myself of this because I know I have a tendency to place the entirety of blame in a bad situation on either the other person or squarely on myself. I must remember that it IS a two way road, and we are both responsible for our own parts of things.

I have found that I have two methods for forgiving people.

It may simply be a toxic relationship. In those cases I must remove myself from the relationship to be able to view the other person objectively. This is often one of the hardest choices to make. I have to take that step away from people so I can simply see them as another person struggling with their own flaws. I know myself enough to know I have trouble coming to that level of peace if their choices continue to negatively effect my life. I don’t need to ask them to change. I don’t need to hate them, and I don’t need to hate their flaws. I take that big step away and they can’t hurt me anymore. Then I can see them as simply another human struggling with their own pain, and that is so much easier for me to forgive. This type of forgiveness is reserved for extremely toxic relationships, and not my preferred method.

Most of the time a decent relationship will go through toxic circumstances. Everyone handles stress differently, and everyone handles life’s “downs” differently. Relationships go through ups and downs just like individuals. I’m talking about all relationships: lovers, friends, siblings, parents, children, and acquaintances. Someone will eventually have a bad day, you will eventually disagree on something, and your priorities will fluctuate over time. I’ve found that some friendships will grow apart, and grow back together, and grow apart again. I do not have to remove people from my life if we simply don’t have the same priorities at any given time, but for my own health I choose to surround myself with people that share my priorities, aspirations, and dreams. Sometimes a disagreement will hurt my feelings, or someone else’s bad mood will rub off some bad-vibes-ick into my life. Sometimes I will unintentionally hurt other people’s feelings, or my bad mood will rub off some bad-vibes-ick into someone else’s life. Forgiveness for these types of circumstances is based on mutual respect and a desire to mend things. It requires communication, and sometimes even negotiation, but will eventually come to a reasonable solution. A reasonable solution may be as simple as an apology, or more complicated like taking steps toward major life changes. If I value a relationship I will step up to the plate and be completely willing to do my part.

I realize that I am young, and I hope that I will continue to evolve and develop my opinions on forgiveness. This is just what works for me at this point in my life. I am fairly outgoing, I have a large family, I’ve made many good friends, and hundreds of acquaintances over my life. I’ve only encountered around a dozen toxic relationships with people that I simply must let go from my life. I have many people in my life that I respect with differing priorities than my own – we interact every once in awhile, and I can see wonderful things happening in their lives. Then I have a decent size group of people that I interact with regularly. I care a lot about these people, and these are the established healthy relationships that are completely worth going through the ups and downs together.

My biggest challenge with forgiveness is acknowledging those toxic relationships and removing myself from them. I often feel like a toxic relationship is a failure on my part, and I attempt to mend things that aren’t in a position to be fixable. Things get really complicated when there’s a group of people or a lot of mutual friends. Sometimes a few of the people are a toxic relationship, and others simply get caught up in the toxic circumstances. Unfortunately I haven’t found a magic wand that simplifies these complexities. I simply try to continue to show my appreciation for those I care for, and do my best to avoid those that aren’t good for me. Life isn’t black and white or cut and dry. The problem with this is that it leaves an opportunity for those people to continue to negatively effect my life. I will often be able to remove myself from a toxic relationship, and through mutual relationships still find myself negatively effected by a person’s actions. This makes it very hard for me to view people objectively and completely forgive. I’m still working on this. Someday I hope to experience a better way to learn forgiveness, but this is how I am growing for now. I do my best to allow myself to be angry when it’s appropriate to be angry and try not to carry that anger around. Ultimately, I think I will feel pleased with myself if I can learn to forgive more easily, and not allow myself to be negatively effected in the first place. Until that day I will continue to do my best to view myself and others as just people going through life and doing the best they can with their own challenges and struggles – I will continue to learn forgiveness.

The Invitation

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming
from the book The Invitation

^ I recently saw this on a Facebook status update from the “Wild Woman Sisterhood” and I thought it was just beautiful!

Here’s a link to their page: https://www.facebook.com/WildWomanSisterhood

The drawing is a sketch I did a few weeks ago. I think a lot of the plants around my house would make adorable skirts. Her tutu is an upside down seed pod from the plant “Nigella” or “Love Is In The Mist”.

Hope to catch up with the blogging community soon.

Ciao ciao,
Rachie

Mystery Photo Revealed & A Favorite Memory

Mystery Photo Revealed & A Favorite Memory

Okay, I got really hung up with life lately. Sorry! I’m very late with this post!

It’s fluorite!

Yes indeedie, it is!

Fluorite “fluoresces” like a boss under a black (UV) light.

Other fluorescent rocks and minerals include: agate, amber, calcite, gypsum, opal, quartz, ruby, and talc.

Fluorescent materials actually absorb light and re-emit it for us to enjoy.

This is different than bioluminescence in which a living organism actually produces light. Most people recall memories of fireflies when you talk about bioluminescence. I have had some lovely firefly experiences, but that isn’t the first thing I think of when I think of bioluminescence.

The first thing I think of is plankton!

Not Spongebob’s nemesis, but the little bitty flora and fauna spanning the surface waters of our oceans.

My family and I were sailing at night off the coast of California when I had my first experience with bioluminescent plankton. My dad was on night watch, and Mom and I had tucked into our rooms for some rest. I’d woken up in the middle of the night, left all the lights off in the bathroom, went “tinkle”, and flushed the toilet with sea water. When you’re out on the ocean you don’t want to waste fresh water on things like flushing the toilet.

Imagine my half-dazed-midnight-potty-run shock when I saw a bunch of glow-in-the-dark specks swirling down the toilet!

My first thought was that there might have been some kind of chemical leak in the pipelines. Hey, I was tired, and I didn’t know that much about these kinds of things at the time.

I climbed up to the cockpit to tell Dad about the “glowy stuff” in the toilet when I saw the same “glowy stuff” blanketing the water near our boat. It was so amazingly gorgeous! Dad had been paying more attention to steering than the water near the boat and hadn’t noticed it – when I pointed it out we made the connection about flushing with sea water.

So, imagine this: out in the pitch dark on the Pacific Ocean with only the steaming lights on the sailboat. The sky is lit up with billions of stars, a brilliant moon, and an arm of our Milky Way streaking across the sky. The water is smooth with small gentle waves without any crests – not only is it reflecting that gorgeous sky but it’s filled with billions of tiny plankton all swirling in the water and glowing on their own.

Now, that’s enough to take a person’s breath away by itself, but then I noticed the dolphins. Yes, the dolphins came up and swam alongside either side of the boat. This is a fairly common behavior for dolphins in the area, but it just made the whole thing a completely stunning experience.

I hurried below deck, woke my mom up, and we all sat in the cockpit watching the dolphins for awhile.

Fireflies are lovely, but my opinion is that it’s all about the plankton.

Alright folks – hopefully I will be back with more posts in the near future. Until then, have a cookie for me, and laugh about something ridiculous.

Mystery Photo & Halloween Prep

Mystery Photo & Halloween Prep

Time For A Nerd-Out

“I’m all over the world, but not a traveler. I often find myself wrapped up in laboratory equipment, but I’m not a scientist. I dress myself in many colors, but I often wear blue in the dark. What am I?”

Let me just clarify that “in the dark” means under UV light – and yes, yes I did sit around in the dark with my camera and a UV light trying to get a good shot – not as easy as I thought it would be.

I have comments and stuff I need to attend to – I’ve been in and out of a bit of a brain fog lately – I will get to them soon. I’ve been puttering around in between projects and napping fending off a Summer flu bug. I’m getting better! Hooray! Although, I feel more naps are necessary.

Have I mentioned that I’m a Halloween fangirl? Halloween is my favorite holiday, then comes Christmas, and Thanksgiving, and St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter. I can’t say I’ve ever had an especially wonderful V-Day so it sits kind of low on the “favorite holidays” list. However, Halloween should be twice a year – we need more excuses to play dress-up in mass besides comic con.

So, I’ve got the lay-out of decorations for the front yard drawn out, and I’ve been gathering supplies. The good news is I have most of what I need and my shopping trip will be short.

By the way, if you have a “Target” store near you, I’ll just give you the heads up that their “dollar spot” has had canisters of glow sticks around Halloween time the past few years. Yes, you read that right, “canisters” – 10 glow sticks for a dollar. I highly suggest using these to pass out to trick-or-treaters. They come in a variety of colors with connector snaps so you can make bracelets out of them. There’s something about a lot of little kids running around in the dark that feels like an accident waiting to happen. I choose to combat that feeling by handing out light-up awesomeness so the kids are at least a little bit more visible to their parents and street traffic. I’ve had parents tell me what a great idea the glow sticks are and thank me for passing them out. Plus, they’re a big hit with the kids – everybody always loves the “glow stick” house. Make a mental note: Target – trick-or-treater prizes – 10 glow sticks for a dollar.

I’ll be sharing my Halloween arts and crafts on here as I put everything together. My theme this year is “Mad Scientist’s Laboratory” to go with my costume.

I’m not going to be your stereotypical mad scientist – where’s the fun in that? My outfit is going to have a bit of a steampunk spin to it – and you are promised some big time costume make-up and/or face paint. I started making the skirt today. A twin size flat sheet, some safety pins, a ball of twine, and 30 minutes later I had an antique-y, steampunky ruffled skirt! I have to take it apart and re-do it with stitching, but I’ll post a tutorial on how to put it together.

So, get ready for this hypothetical Halloween world I’m about to give you a preview of – we’re going to pretend that this laboratory is capable of taking chromosomes from men and implanting them in genetically absent host eggs to make babies.

Now, imagine if Phileas Fogg and Mr. Hyde made a classy, brilliant, and slightly disturbed baby. Then Victor Frankenstein and Dr. Who made a troubled alien monstrosity. Then those slightly disturbed and monstrous products got together and made an elegantly crazed super genius… An elegantly crazed super genius with a conscience from those underlying Fogg, Dr. Jekyll, and Gallifreyan genes. That’s what I’m going to be for Halloween – an elegantly crazed super genius with a conscience.

Or at least that’s what I’m shooting for…

I like to go with creepy costumes, but I try to tone down just how scary they come across. It feels really bad when you’re smiling and handing a 3-year-old dressed like Batman a piece of candy and they’re crying in fear. Since handing out trick-or-treat candy is my favorite part of Halloween I’ve decided to stick with creepy, but not “too creepy”.

Alright, this is the end of my 3 AM sleep deprived blog post.

Wherever you are in the world I hope you’re having a fantastic day!

You can leave any guesses about the mystery photo in the comments and I’ll post a follow-up blog with the answer in approximately 1 week.

Nerdy, Geeky, and Dorky! Oh my!

Part of building my own self esteem back up is taking a good look at what I like about myself. I’m settling in to a certain sense of comfort with my own weirdness. I’m happy to say that I have multi-faceted weirdness, and it suits me. First of all, let me get my personal definitions out on the table.

nerd:

(noun)

– a person with a wealth of practical knowledge about a variety of subjects

– an innovator and life-long learner

– a person with a wealth of knowledge of a particular practical subject (e.g. a computer nerd, a physics nerd, etc)

“Frank teaches himself astronomy on the weekends, knows about the history of the Mayans, and is building a Tesla coil in his garage; Frank is such a nerd.”

“George is the computer wiz around here. If you need help with your computer go see the computer nerd.”

See also:

nerdy (adjective)

nerding out (verb) – engaging in nerd activities

geek:

(noun)

– a person with a wealth of trivia knowledge (e.g. a “Star Wars Geek”, a “Lord Of The Rings Geek”, etc)

– a fan of a specific genre

“Sally just designed a new set of elf ears for her cosplay outfit, she is such an awesome geek.”

“The sci-fi convention is going to be crawling with geeks.”

See also:

geeky (adjective)

geeking out (verb) – engaging in geek activities

dork:

(noun)

– a person of a silly nature – they are often awkward, but completely comfortable in their awkwardness

– a person who purposefully goofs off just for giggles

“Jack and Jill went merrily skipping through the streets together wearing top hats, what a cute pair of dorks.”

“Dorky is the new sexy.”

See also:

dorky (adjective)

dorking (verb) – engaging in the action of oddly poking or noogie-ing another person’s tummy, often a Pillsbury-Doughboy-esque tummy poke that has been perfectly executed if the other person says “hoo hoo”!

I’ve been getting better acquainted with and defining my own style of nerdy, geeky and dorky lately. Someday I hope to be crowned “Queen Nerd-Geek-Dork”, and to be given an epic poof stick as my royal scepter.

poof stick:

(noun)

– any stick used in a wand-like manner along with the words “POOF! You’re…”

“Rachie tapped the little garden gnome with her poof stick and yelled: ‘Poof! You’re awesome!’ At which point the little garden gnome came to life, danced a jig, and learned to bake cookies.”

On a side note: I’ve been looking at all these recipes for fudge lately, and it occurred to me that there should be some kind of amazing annual event centered around this delicacy called “Oh Fudge!” – Wouldn’t that be awesome? If there is such an event already I must find it and plan a pilgrimage in that direction.

The word “nerd” is used as a broad umbrella term in the following Weird Al video. Let me just say that I find this video not only hilarious, but heart-warming in that it makes me want to do the epic hippity hoppity groove that Donny Osmond is getting on in the background.

If you share my love of awesome awkwardness I highly suggest the buddy pair “Rhett and Link” on YouTube. I hope they get a Comedy Central show someday, or maybe we’ll get a whole “buddy movie” out of them. Here’s a little song that tells the story of how these two best friends met – it’s called “Profanity and Unicorns” (there’s no profanity in the video).

They also gave the musical drive-thru phenomena a new spin with the “Taco Bell Folk Song”.

Last, but certainly not least, they also gave us this compilation of the best road trip songs.

That’s it for now because I have to go frolicking through the flowers.

Cheers,

Rachie