Friday, April 26, 2013


About an hour or so before math class this past Wednesday, my throat began to feel a bit scratchy. It wasn't red, only a little irritated. So, I took a couple of ibuprofen and headed off to take a test. All through class, I could feel it steadily getting worse. By the time I left for work the next morning, the irritation was magnified, and a scarlet hue was crawling up to my sinuses. I popped a couple more pills, then went in to work, as usual. Once I got to work, I realized it wouldn't be "as usual," and planned only to stay until noon. That is just what I did, as Thursdays are one of the days my barn help is there to do barn chores while I work on various projects. Most of my plans accomplished, I left for home. On the way, I stopped to grab throat lozenges and "cough syrup." There was no cough, but I bought it just the same for the irritation. I decided on an all natural product, and finally turned to home. I dosed myself, snuggled onto my sofa (as much as one can snuggle into an antique sofa), and did some more research for my paper.

Not yet late enough for bed, I began writing my final paper. Around 8pm, I took some NyQuil and headed to bed to watch Being Human until I fell asleep. Needless to say, I dreamed of being trapped in Sally's room, on some sort of odd balcony, while she was in zombie mode. Not so scarey that I was shaken from my medicated slumber. I woke groggily refreshed, and hopped back in to my paper.

8 pages in, referring to my outline all the while, I have cut out a few items to make room for the stunning revelations I've had. Now, a mere two pages from the end, I have been hit with a stuffy wave of exhaustion, and could not possibly finish my work tonight. It's alright, though. Volunteer hours on Sunday may have to be skipped this week, due to illness. I can finish it then, and study for my next math test.

In other news, this blasted cold is keeping me from attending a lecture tonight on shore bird migration. I was truly looking forward to it, but, alas! It shall not be. I did correctly identify an Eastern Phoebe and an Eastern Towhee this week, though! Very proud of myself, I must say.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I wants it, Precious!

Before I venture forth into the world of faerie tales and their meanings for my first college "final paper" in English, I feel compelled to share the glorious items I hope to purchase for my trip in October.
I do believe that I have yet to mention said trip! Heavens to Betsy! I shall have to reveal the grand plan, now! While mindlessly hopping from "historical recreation link" to "historical recreation link" late one evening a couple of months ago, I came across an annual weekend event organized by INSITE on Mackinac Island. First, you should know that INSITE stands for the International Network of Somewhere In Time Enthusiasts. Somewhere In Time was a film starring Christopher Reeves, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer, shot on site at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. It was released in theaters in 1980 during the actors' strike, so did not receive much publicity or acclaim; though fans will tell you it would have been a great hit had the timing been better. Nevertheless, it has become a classic among its fans, and, every year since 1990, the Grand Hotel has been invaded by Victorian and Edwardian costumed enthusiasts to celebrate the message, the magic, the hope, and the grace of the film.
Darlings, this year, the event weekend falls square on my birthday! As many of you know, I plan a weekend day nearest my birthday every year to visit King Richard's Faire (our local fantasy/Renaissance festival), to see friends and ignore common, modern ways. However, that is usually the extent of my excitement, as most of my friends and family are far too busy with their own lives to spend all day with me. I have had beautiful and memorable parties, teas, and brunches, but, as I am about to turn 30, I believe it is time to do something a bit more "me."
The plan, since the majority of my family still resides in Michigan, is to head out the day before the event and meet up with my mother. We'll attend the SIT weekend together and stay on the Island from Thursday through Monday morning. (Something else you should know: Mackinac Island does not allow automobiles! Transportation is all by horse, buggy, coach, bike, or foot!) Following that, we will spend some time with family, that I may catch up and reminisce, then spend a day at Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad. You guessed it! I'll be in costume for the Village, too! The trip will end that Tuesday, however, as I am not keen on missing too many of my classes.
So, without further ado, here are a few articles I hope to acquire before too long (aside from the few evening dresses I've commissioned from my seamstress sister!)

Lovely Blouse #1
Lovely Blouse #2
Lovely Blouse #3
Lovely Blouse #4
Lovely Blouse #5 I simply adore this one! It may not be particularly time appropriate, but doesn't it just shout my name? I can see myself wearing it throughout the year!

This skirt is too perfect to pass up!

As much as I would love a new corset, and this beauty would certainly do the trick, I will have to make use of my Moresca bodice for the time being. Mark my words, though; as I sell off my faire garb for a demure, Victorian/Edwardian wardrobe, the faire bodice will be out with a more accurate, Victorian corset fixed in its place in my costume collection.

Foregoing the new underpinnings, I will have that little bit of extra cash to purchase a proper pair of Victorian boots. Luckily, I've already a pair of leather soled, Edwardian dance shoes for evening wear. They need a fair bit of cleaning, but they will do.
Hats, I am thinking, are of little consequence, as I am growing out my hair for the Gibson Girl look, and other, gorgeous Edwardian up-dos. (Though I may try my hand at embellishing just a little on a fascinator or two.)

Alas! Here I am daydreaming of my trip, while the day is flying by! One more thought, my lovelies, before I go. I would that I could use a proper steamer trunk for my travels (the kind with wheels on one end, but open upright with a side for hanging items, and the other with small drawers and a tiny "vanity"), yet I have yet to find a modern, more manageable reproduction. If any of you have any ideas where I might find such a beast, please, do tell! This is the closest I've come to what I am searching for. Not quite it, but it would do if it must. Ideas?

Enjoy the Spring, dearies!

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Weird things are happening everywhere. Weather's gone mad, city streets have become warzones, and we are still awaiting the Supreme Court's decision on whether human genes can be patented. (Oh? You missed that last one? Because the appropriate cacophony of outrage at the incident at the Boston Marathon has filled all news and airwaves since it occurred. Here's the most recent link to the gene story I have found.)
So, while I do not have the time, or the mental capacity (reading, reading, reading faerie tales and books and books and books about them for my final paper) to write a full blog post, I thought I'd share this little gem. Apropos, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Obstacle On the Road to Happiness: There Can Be Only One

Although one’s joy may be achieved by avoiding two seemingly simple mistakes, the heart of the matter is very personal. It has been said that everyone is his or her own worst enemy. In an effort to fit in, one defaults to society’s definition of happiness: material gain. When that does not work, some may shun the norm and try their hand at completely ignoring negativity. In either case, one must accept that the heart is swayed by the mind. Therein lies the answer; each person is their own handicap.

Often, in the pursuit of happiness, one’s ideals can be skewed by what one thinks society begs of them. This impression places them in a position to follow all steps laid before them by others that may seem content. Thus, society has subversively tricked individuals into chasing its ideals. In fact, concentration on one’s career in the pursuit of material gain under the guise of happiness, as this is often society’s goal when addressing the workforce, has proven to have the adverse effect. As senior researcher, Alan Thein Durning of the Worldwatch Institute wrote,
Yet far outpacing growth of the consumer class itself-the 20 percent of the world’s people who earn 64 percent of world income is the spread of its underlying cultural orientation, consumerism. That term, writes British economist Paul Ekins, refers to the belief that "the possession and use of an increasing number and variety of goods and services is the principal cultural aspiration and the surest perceived route to personal happiness, social status and national success." But even as, over a few short generations, more than a billion of the world's people have become car drivers, television watchers, mall shoppers, and throwaway buyers, social scientists have found striking evidence that high consumption societies have not achieved satisfaction. . . .[T]he real sources of personal happiness are elsewhere. (Durning 1)

In a survey taking place over 25 years, involving over 60,000 participants, Bruce Headey of the University of Melbourne found that those whose greatest attention switched to their families and communities enjoyed heightened happiness. However, participants who continued to place higher regard on society’s consumerist mentality were steadily drained of joy (Hamzelou 1). In concentrating on the constant need to spend money, one needs to make money. It follows that the members of the survey that fell prey to this way of thinking set a high priority on their careers, as well (Hamzelou 1).

Of course, keeping an eye on the prize can also cloud one’s surroundings, thus greatly limiting the ability to achieve happiness. If a person cannot find joy in the everyday happenings around them due to a set of mental blinders, their true happiness may never become evident. Likewise, they miss opportunities to improve themselves. Take, for instance, the female freestyle skier, Jennifer Heil, who took silver in the women’s moguls competition during the 2012 Olympics (Atwan 83). Her goal was first place, but in concentrating only on her failure to attain the gold medal, she lost the opportunity to enjoy second (rather than third.) In fact, she did not even acknowledge that she placed at all. In her frustration, she passed on the chance to learn from the experience; to possibly gain the gold medal in future games. Her determination made every other small joy along the way mute. Meanwhile, Shannon Bahrke, who won the bronze, was simply glad to have placed at all (Atwan 83). She did not let her mental blinders affect her glee.

While acknowledgment of achievement is an excellent step toward finding true happiness, a complete refusal to accept any negative stimuli can adversely affect one’s bliss. Although this can be an effective way to find cheer in the moment, it is not everlasting. By suppressing anger or sadness in a bid to avoid becoming pessimistic or disagreeable, one may very likely concentrate more on the negative than they realize. Daniel Wegner, PhD conducted a study resulting in the “rebound effect of thought suppression” (Salters-Pedneault 1). This study draws a parallel to loss of control. If one cannot successfully suppress thoughts or emotions, then control over the negativity may reverse, putting the negativity and thoughts thereof in control of the host.

If one were able to successfully suppress their emotions, what good could come of it? Ignoring the balance that negativity brings to positivity will surely dull the joy one experiences each day. While psychologists’ opinions differ, the article “Eyes on the Prize” by Lauren F. Friedman for Psychology Today has a two-to-one vote against avoiding negativity for the sake of happiness. In the article, psychologist Todd Kashdan is quoted, “Trying to make happiness your objective in life is problematic. Your mood can be thrown off by the weather, circadian rhythms, and other external factors, but you can pursue your passion, for example, which gives you the power to boost your long-term well-being” (Friedman 1). Similarly, psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky claims, “It’s fine to want to be happy - as long as it doesn’t slide into an obsession” (Friedman 1). Alternatively, Yuna Ferguson says that happiness as a goal can make the transition to happiness smoother. Simply deciding to be happy, says Yuna, can be the push one needs to gain that elusive happiness (Friedman 1).

When all is said and done, it is clear that outward forces may have some bearing on one’s grasp of joyful well-being, but each individual takes those forces and does what they must with them to create their own happiness. In the end, we are the makers of our own ecstasy or downfall.

Works Cited

Atwan, Robert. America Now: Short Readings from Recent Periodicals. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. Print.

Durning, Alan Thein. "Long On Things, Short On Time." Sierra 78.1 (1993): 60. Science Reference Center. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.

Friedman, Lauren F. "Eyes On The Prize." Psychology Today 46.1 (2013): 9. Science Reference Center. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.

Hamzelou, Jessica. "Happiness Is Yours For The Taking." New Scientist 208.2781 (2010): 01. Science Reference Center. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.

Salters-Pedneault, PhD, Kristalyn. “Suppressing Emotions: Why Suppressing Emotions Doesn’t Work.” N.p. 30 Apr. 2010. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.

~The preceding article was my first, graded, college English Composition paper. I hope you enjoyed reading it! What did you think?

Monday, March 11, 2013

I Give You...

I promise you many things, dear readers. I would like to think that most of the time, I deliver. So, after quite a long time, I have here some pictures of a little, light "renovation" to Witch Cottage. This afternoon, I finally began painting the walls of the living room. So, please excuse the mess. Without further ado, in progress pictures of Operation: Witch Cottage Face-Lift.

Here, we have some furniture put back for the time being.

The white left from the floor going four feet up the walls, will be crisp, white beadboarding. Of course, this is the only painting I did today, as I got a bit of a late start. But tomorrow, I will finish painting the rest of the room and post photos.

The lower part of the far, back wall (behind the blanket chest) will be a low bench/storage box built off of the wall below the window. I also plan to build bookshelves into that. Looking at the photos, the far left corner will have corner shelves for my dvds, cds and any books that don't fit into the bench shelving unit. I am very excited about all of this!

Also, I can tell you that I plan to post my first English Composition paper sometime, probably this week. I received a 93, and my professor asked me why I am taking the class! Love it! Who knew? (Well, most of you knew, actually.) Have a great night, all! I'll do my best to post more progress pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Whoa! School, again?!

Wow! MY blog has totally taken a depressing downturn! Although I realized last night that I yet to write a blog about my recently deceased (very beloved) Great-Grandmother, I think it's time for some happiness and bright cheerfulness. Don't you think? Grandma's post will happen, but she lived for 101 years. She was never the kind of person to mope and be glum. In honor of that, I give you:





Yeah, that last one... Not many people embrace and get excited over change. I didn't used to, either. But, you know? How can we learn and grow if we aren't constantly changing?

News: I have one more week before I have my first ever college Spring Break! That's right, lovely readers. I went back to school! Since I have to leave for work in a few minutes, I'll make this short, and expand on the info later. But, as I went back into past posts to look for one in particular, I re-read one I wrote years ago about considering taking classes. Some of you were very excited and supportive. I thought you might like to know that after nearly five years, it's happening. Like I said, I'll give you more details later. For now, this will have to do. I've got to get ready for work.

Thanks for hanging out with me, this morning! See you later!!! *^_^*

Friday, January 18, 2013

From One Year to the Next

Going through my 2012 calendar to update birthdays and such in my 2013 planner. While in the process, I found March 28th circled in blue pen with a chicken-scratch note: "See Dad w/Dan." Dan is my brother, and that is the day I started talking to my dad again after a year of silence on my part. 14 days later, he died. I firmly believe that we must do everything we need to do to keep our self respect and sanity. But, when it comes down to it, don't let pride and stubbornness keep you from growing as a human being. I'm glad I did what I did for myself, but I am also glad I did what I did for my dad. He wasn't much of a father, by any means. In fact, he was a total asshole most of the time, but he suffered from PTSD as a result of all of the scouting trips he was head of in Vietnam. Not an excuse, but no one deserves to die as lonely as he did. No one. Sorry. Just had to get that off my chest.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Wow! Yet again, I've been gone for a while. I promise you, though, today's post is not a result of the new year's birth. That's just a simple coincidence. No, my reason for posting today is the fact that my life, regardless of the date, is about to change drastically. For, dear readers, at the end of this month, I will embark on a journey similar to one I had ended nearly eleven years ago.
The two will have similarities and differences, like all great stories with like plot-lines. Roughly eleven years ago, on a dreary Summer morning cum humidly sticky day, I graduated sixth in my high school class of ninety-eight. The class had started out together as one-hundred, twenty, but was whittled down from 1997 to 2002 by deaths, drop-outs and under-achievers. I was moderately proud of myself, but big dreams of a college education at that point had fallen by the wayside. I would not be interested in perpetual homework, in the hopes of maybe, someday finding a job that may or may not pay off school loans. Mark my words, friends, there would be loans. I would find no help from my parents, who spent every penny my mother earned (while my father went from job to job, if he felt like pitching in), then sunk themselves into deep, deep debt. No, thanks! So, full steam ahead into the workforce I went.
Now, more than a decade later, I feel that I have actually found my calling. Having left the worlds of retail and food service behind, I have been a barn manager and animal caretaker for five years. My heart beats for the animals. I have always nurtured a quiet fascination with my avian brothers and sisters. Now, I look forward to once again becoming a student on January 29. Having no previous college experience or credit, I will begin at the beginning. My entrance exam scores told the tale of my keen understanding of the English language, as well as my deep misunderstanding of maths. I was given the option to "CLEP" out of English Composition 101, and to retake the math portions. However, as I have not written a paper in such a great length of time, and I feel that my math scores could only be worse, I registered for Eng Comp 101 and Elem Algebra. Yes, I will be taking a non-credit, remedial math course. However, should I do well in class, and pass another exam (should I so choose), I may place into college math next semester. In English, I have no doubt, I will shine brightly. This, I hope will allow me to skip over Eng Comp 102, and get on with the courses I really want and need to take to achieve my Associate in Arts degree.
I spent the last three hours of 2012 pouring over webpages and webpages of the "best schools for Wildlife Biology." Where will I go once my I have my Associate degree in hand? I'm not certain, but I am certain of one thing: This is going to be one hell of a year! By the start of 2020, I will be a learned soul, on the path to making the world a better place for our animal and avian brethren. I am ecstatic and terrified in anticipation.
By the way, any of you have any suggestions for universities? So far, I've thought about Unity, ME; University of Michigan; Framingham State, MA; University of Alaska, Fairbanks; Utah; Kansas and Illinois. I'm not interested in Marine Biology, but Wildlife Care and Conservation with a specialization in Ornithology. Becoming a Wildlife Biologist makes the most sense for those careers. Guide me, Wise Friends!

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