The Second 30 (Plus 1)

In true kmah fashion, it’s been a year and I’m just now getting around to continuing…

On with my daily breakdown of 100 Happy Days… (Part 1 here.)

When I first heard about the new live-action Ghost in the Shell and then subsequently saw the trailer (on purpose! Haha), I was excited. It looked like it was going to be something I’d enjoy. I have the anime and liked it well enough. The story is different and weird but not too weird to be off-putting. I was nervous though when I heard that the general audience was not impressed with it. Not deterred though, since my opinions often tend to be the opposite of everyone else’s.

I am happy to say that I loved it! I think that the people that don’t like it just don’t get it. Not that they are dumb and don’t understand (that could be the case though :P) but this type of thing is not their preferred genre or they were expecting something different or just don’t have an appreciation for a typical Japanese sci-fi fantasy storyline. Nothing wrong with that. I got it though. Something about the story was identifiable for me. Plus, I love those future-type movies. What I wasn’t expecting was that Hubby really liked it too. That was a definite bonus. It’s always more enjoyable when you aren’t alone in your admiration and when you can share it with someone you’re close with.

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I was going to write that ‘whole essay’ on what I loved about the grass, but I thought it all out in my head and no longer felt the need to. I’ll try to sum up~

It was one of those days where I was sitting around doing not much. There wasn’t anything that was jumping out as “something to be happy about”. I was sitting at the kitchen table, like always, on the computer, occasionally staring out the window at nothing. The “view” isn’t much. My backyard is just a square of grass. We’ve lived here for almost 10 years and have done absolutely nothing to the outside. It’s enclosed by a fence and behind that are the backdoors of my neighbours. It’s plain and boring. There wasn’t much to actually focus on so I was just staring at the grass.

As I’ve shown in several previous days’ pictures, I’ve been spending a lot more time that I usually do outside. I’ve always had an appreciation for nature but mostly from a distance – or more accurately, from inside. It’s not a secret that I don’t like the sun or heat. I’m also freaked out by bugs. I’ve been trying to get over the bug thing and have been taking advantage of the weather so that the sun isn’t a problem. Apart from those issues, nature itself is one of my favourite things. I love the sky, clouds, trees, etc. In the right conditions, I find being outside soothing and peaceful.

I opened up the backdoor and stepped outside to get a closer look at the grass. And by closer, I mean right down in it. I basically put my face at ground level to stare into it like I was myself a tiny bug. I had said to Hubby just recently that I felt bad for tall people and was happy I was short. I think the world looks so much better from a lower perspective.

I can’t really explain this~ I like… the insides of things. ??? Or maybe, being enclosed/surrounded. For example, when I was little, I would sit in front of the Christmas tree and put my face really close to the branches and pretend I was a little fairy that lived in the branches. (Okay, I still do that…)

When I saw the movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, I was enthralled. It was seeing something boring like a mundane backyard from that perspective I enjoyed so much. And recently, I was watching Planet Earth 2 and they did a segment following a mouse running through a field. It was the same thing. Everything was big and somehow so comforting.

Yeah, I’m not going to try to explain that any more. It’s getting too long…

And the colour! My favourite colour is green. You might think of grass as one shade but you can see in the picture that there are a multitude of greens in each blade. Green makes me happy. It’s a visceral reaction.

Another aspect about the picture is the water droplets on the grass. It had been raining earlier. Obviously, I love rain. But it also reminded me of being a kid, walking through the grass in the early morning to catch the bus and being enchanted by the dew. (Until it made my shoes wet and I got upset. Haha.)

The last thing about the picture that makes me happy can be summed up in one word. Detail. That’s how my brain works. I don’t really see “the whole picture” most of the time. I am drawn to one aspect of whatever I’m attending to at a time and generally pick one thing (subconsciously) and focus only on that. The more intricate minute detail is, the more… squishy and warm inside I feel.

Haha. So much for summarizing. I guess I did end up writing a whole post worth. Uhhhhh…. *shrug*

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Another day off spent in my favourite spot, surrounded by my favourite things, doing my favourite hobby – nothing.

I have a long list of little projects I like doing that I bounce back and forth from during my down time. The priority is given to a few specific things lately. One, my iTunes crashed late last year and I’ve been working at re-adding and editing all the music I had accumulated since 2014 (when the last useable file had backed up from). Two, editing and posting the pictures from my last trip to Forks. (It wouldn’t be such a feat if I hadn’t taken 1500 pictures.) Three and four, writing the posts and editing pictures for my trips to Japan and Hong Kong.

In this picture, you can see all the paraphernalia related to one particular day from my last trip to Japan I was working on today. The scrap books and travel guide I made, all the pictures that are stored on the hard drive and USB, the iPad to help edit as I go, J-Pop music to keep me in the right frame of mind, the actual draft of the post… and of course, tea, to keep me caffeinated during all those consecutive hours in one spot. It’s a labour of love.

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My mom was visiting overnight during a layover on her way to England and she wanted to take Hubby and I out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary. We went to Fionn MacCool’s since we drive past it all the time but had never been there. It was less “Irish” than I was expecting it to be but the Mini Forkies I had as an appetizer were delicious.

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He’s my whole world.

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Apparently, Overnight Oats are a huge thing online. Since I’ve been eating so much oatmeal lately, I thought it would be wise to make it myself rather than the prepackaged instant ones. I made a whole Pinterest board dedicated to oatmeal recipes and bookmarked several videos. (These are my favourites – 1 2 3 4). I strongly dislike cooking, even something as easy as oatmeal, so the overnight thing is ideal for me and my lazy ways. And it turns out, it’s pretty simple to keep it healthy. My favourite version so far is the French toast oatmeal recipe. I use rolled oats, chia seeds, cinnamon, vanilla extract, maple syrup and almond milk.

I’m trying, in my slow, half-assed way, to be healthier in my choices and to lose some weight. I hope this combined with my plan to not eat after 8pm and walking more with start to pay off.

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Hubby makes chicken soup in the crock pot and it’s yummy. It’s cliché but it really is comfort food.

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Part of doing this challenge is not just noting the things that occur throughout the day that make you happy but teaching yourself to create your own happiness. There are some days when, without you taking action, nothing particular makes you happy. Yes, there are always things that I’m grateful for – the basics – but most days just blur into one another unless I actively do something to give myself little snippets of happy. You could say that’s “cheating” but I don’t see it that way. I see it as training myself to turn my own mood around when I’m not feeling great. I have a list of prompts or ideas I can try out for days when something to make me happy isn’t obvious. Some of them are specific and others are more vague concepts. I had written down “make a space that soothes all five senses”. Ideally, one day, I’ll create this place permanently somewhere in my home.

This little space turned out to be so much greater and more powerful than I ever could have predicted. This is another one I could write another essay about!

Sight – It was pretty easy to gather things I like to look at. I started with the wall colour. With the lights on, my kitchen is bright and orange. I like it but it’s so nice in the dark, like a cocoon. I knew I wanted my tree in my happy space. It was a wedding present from my friend Tara and her parents and I think it’s probably my favourite gift ever. I love to look at it. It’s similar to the thing I said before about Christmas trees. The lights in among the leaves make it magical. Then I added some candles and a lamp that I really like. The colours and the soft light and the movement of the flame are all things I like to see. I also put my little weeping Buddha in there for two reasons – it’s Buddha and he’s peaceful and symbolic of carrying away your worries and because it’s wood and I love the look of wood (along with the piece of wood some of the candles are resting on). Apart from the taste and texture aspects of the cappuccino and almonds, they are nice to look at too. I received that little mug in a gift exchange and I love it so much. It’s so pretty.
Sound – Probably the easiest sense to appeal to, I knew exactly what I wanted to use. Every night, since I was a pre-teen, I listen to what I call “bedtime music”. It started with one or two Solitudes CDs I stole from my dad and now I have over 200 albums. (I’m not exaggerating. I counted them.) I have several that are favourites that I listen to regularly but the one I chose is my number one.
Smell – Controlling what scents are in your space can be really difficult, especially if you’re sensitive like me. I chose all these candles very carefully. The three on the right are from our guest room, but the three on the left are from my bedroom and I’ve had them for almost as long as I’ve lived in this house. Originally, I was drawn to them because of the colour (It’s hard to see in the picture because of the lighting but one is a deep cranberry/burgundy, the other a dark mossy green, and the other an orangey brown.) but of course, because they are kept in my bedroom where I sleep, they had to smell good. (The red (pomegranate & mango) and green (olibanum, olive blossom & sage) in particular are perfect! Until tonight, those ones were all still wrapped in plastic and had never been lit. The smell is so strong, I can smell them still in the packaging. They are from a discontinued brand so I was afraid to waste them but that’s something I have been trying to get past lately.)
The cappuccino also smelled really good but that wasn’t even planned. I had just thought that it would be nice to have a warm drink in my pretty mug, but I sprinkled some cinnamon on top to make it even nicer to look at and every time I brought it up to my mouth to sip, I’d take a deep inhale. It was blissful, actually!
Touch – I think it probably happens to most people without them realizing it but my sense of touch is linked to my sense of vision. Texture is very important, not just with feeling something but by how it looks. Everything that had a tactile appeal was visually appealing for the same reason. The wood of the tree, the Buddha, and the slab under the candles, the texture of the mug (It’s half raw, exposed clay, and half rough glaze.), even the feel of the almonds… All lovely. I used the two blankets for both their feel and their cozy warmth. The candles also gave off a nice heat. The room itself was nice and cool. I think in these personal spaces people create, they might overlook the importance of temperature.
Taste – This was pretty simple too. I chose cappuccino over tea this time because it’s got a thicker, richer feel that gives me a particular comfort. And the almonds were my snack of choice because they are simple and natural and clean. When people are feeling low, we tend to reach for something unhealthy like ice cream, cookies or burgers or something like that. In my experience, this leaves me feeling even worse afterwards because it makes my tummy hurt and because of the inevitable guilt. Something healthier and tasty gives the same soothing feelings but without the pain and then I can feel good about the choice after.

I was taken by surprise of how such a simple thing made me feel so much better! Even as I was setting everything up and arranging things and taking pictures, before I even stopped to sit in the space and just enjoy it, I felt a huge shift in my mood. I went from sulky and blah to elated. I would definitely recommend this exercise for anyone who is having a hard one.

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I discovered that I don’t just love listening to music – I NEED music. I bring my iPod and my portable speaker to work with me every day. It helps me concentrate and regulate my mood. This was reinforced the other day when my speaker stopped working and I had to get through a shift in silence. I had a customer who, to put it mildly, was a bitch. It really rattled me and I couldn’t seem to move past it. It basically ruined my whole day, which of course made me even angrier because I couldn’t control it. I realized how I really rely on music to help me deal with life. It’s a coping mechanism to get lost in sound.

Not only was my speaker working again but I just finished fixing my iTunes after “The Big Crash”. I was finally able to sync it again for the first time since October. Now I have access to all the new music I’ve accumulated since then. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to be able to say I finished one of my projects, no matter how pointless other people might view them as.

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Not every day has to be full of excitement to qualify as a happy day. Doing the normal stuff I do all the time can evoke the same feelings. I really enjoy the days we just laze around, doing our own thing but in each other’s company.

I made us smoothies that were pretty good too! Mango, banana and avocado. (Mine also had some matcha in it.) Yum.

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Awhile ago, my friend showed me some examples of compass themed tattoo that she wanted to get and asked me to draw some variations for her. I was so honoured that she would even ask. I did some more research and played around with several different designs to come up with some elements that I think could work. It’s still a work in progress but it was a fun exercise, regardless of whether or not she actually uses any of them. I really like drawing and I’m not sure why I don’t do it more often.

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I love technology and how far it’s come throughout history. Sometimes I marvel about how momentum seems to increase as time passes. If you consider what life was like in the early 1900’s and compare that to the mid-century and then again to how far it jumped to when I was born and then further to all that has been invented within my lifetime and about all the things we take for granted now that didn’t exist even 10 years ago. It’s mind-boggling. I can’t even begin to fathom what will be dreamed up and become commonplace in the next century.

(The post from 16 years ago I mention.)

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Self-explanatory.

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Mother’s Day is a tough for me. My own relationship with my mom is not what I wish it was. That disappointment is compounded with the fact that I don’t have kids of my own.

When we grow up, with make assumptions about our futures and sometimes life doesn’t happen the way we thought it would. I always thought I’d be a mother someday.

Most days, that’s fine. I would have liked to have a baby and raise children with Hubby but it looks like that was not destined to be and I can be okay with that because I have so many other things in my life that I love. And many aspects of my life are possible because I don’t have kids.

Still, Mother’s Day is a reminder of that life that was never lived. Going on any form of social media is a terrible idea. It’s like a slap in the face. So~ I do my best to avoid it and focus on other things.

I have a lovely home. I have a husband that I adore and who loves me unconditionally. And I have freedom to do a lot of things most people can only dream about. I am blessed.

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I ended up staying up all night – a horrible bad habit of mine. Instead of berating myself for it, I decided to do something positive. I grabbed my tea to-go and headed out to the trail to enjoy the morning and a bit of nature.

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After work, I wasn’t really sure what I could do to make myself happy. Most days when I come home, I’m spent and I just want to crawl into bed. I was planning to do just that after I had a nice big comforting cup of tea. It was a nice night, weather-wise, so I decided to drink it outside. Just as I settled down, I noticed I wasn’t alone.

We get a surprising amount of visitors in our backyard, considering it’s just grass and in a fairly loud, busy neighbourhood.

I sat there on the back step for over an hour just watching this rabbit nibbling on the grass. At first, she was frozen in place but when I stayed quiet and still, she started doing her own thing and completely ignored me. Eventually it got dark and Molty hopped away and I went inside feeling much more peaceful.

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Hubby gets really excited about the rabbits in our backyard, which is pretty cute, but it was over-the-top adorable to see him peep out the window, spot Baby Bun, and jump up to get the camera.

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I have always wanted to check out the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. Not because I’m into shoes – I’m not at all – but because it’s weird. Hubby and I had the day off so we headed downtown and crossed this one off my list. It’s interesting enough to do once.

The highlight for me were the golden lotus shoes – the teeny tiny shoes worn by Chinese women who had bound feet. I knew they had a few – the professor of my East Asian Civilizations class had talked about them – and I had read about them in several different books (like Wild Swans and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan). It’s one of those things that is disturbing and fascinating. It was kind of cool to see them in person. Horrifying to think about, but a definite curiosity.

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There are days when the only thing to look forward to is going to sleep and having it over. I love sleeping and I love my bed. I pretty much came home, took a shower, and crawled into bed. After a cup of tea and a few chapters, I was out.

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Hubby golfs a lot. It’s like his second love (me being the first, of course). It’s nothing something we share. I am not an active person and don’t like sports at all. I have been trying to add more activity into my lifestyle and walking is one of the only forms of exercise I don’t loathe. So, when Hubby said he was going golfing after he picked me up from work, I suggested that I join him and walk the course while he played. He was really surprised I wanted to do that and it seemed to make him really happy.

I think it’s part of a strong relationship to be able to participate in each other’s hobbies together.

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I’ve been wearing Fresh Sugar Lychee perfume for over 10 years. I often have people comment that it smells “like me”. It’s become a signature scent. Firstly, it’s uncommon. I’ve never met another person who wears it. So when people smell it, they know it’s me. It has somehow become inextricably linked with thinking of me.

Secondly, it might seems like a strange concept for a scent to reflect a person’s personality, but I feel like this one does. At the very basic level, it’s subtle, which is important for me because of my sensory problems, but also because when I’m being my truest self, I’m not an overbearing, loud person. I blend in. I’m there, but in a quiet way. There is a comforting aspect to the scent. It’s clean and sweet, but also slightly unique and unusual.

I’ve had several ‘signature scents’ over the years. In high school, I wore White Musk from The Body Shop. After that, I wore Gap’s Blue, then Alfred Sung’s Shi. All of these, over time, were discontinued or changed so that they don’t smell the same anymore. As with most things, it takes a long ass time before I can find something I can stand on my body foremost and something I like that suits me. All of these previous smells had aspects of “me” to them, but nothing has quite suited me so well before the Lychee.

And now, of course, I’m terrified they will discontinue it soon. I used to be able to buy it easily from Sephora, but I noticed within the last year that they no longer stock the 100mL bottle at the store – only a smaller one. The only place I can get it now is online. I was so glad to actually find it. I still feel uneasy only having this bottle. This new one will probably last me for 2 years but Hubby won’t let me stock pile it like I do with my hand soap. It’s over $100 a bottle, so I can’t blame him, but I feel naked without it so I don’t know what to do! At least I’m good for now.

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It’s been so long since I saw fireworks. I can’t even remember the last time I went. Hubby and I aren’t much into celebrating holidays and being “part of the community”.  😛  Yet, this year, for some reason, I decided I needed to see some.

Growing up, when I lived in St. George, my house was just down the street from the arena where they would hold the May 2-4 and Canada Day fireworks displays so I’d always go. I really don’t think I’ve been since then. Usually, our city holds some festivities in the big park, but not this year. The closest place that was doing a Victoria Day celebration was a small town called Nobleton about half an hour from us.

I don’t know what fireworks shows are like where you live, but here, you grab a blanket – or if you’re fancy (which I never was), a lawn chair – and find a good spot to sit with a couple of friends or family and wait until it gets dark, then watch a 20-45 minute set, depending on what your town could afford. You’d bring snacks and drinks, or if you lived in a bigger town, they’d have carnival-y type stalls with food (Beaver Tails, if you’re lucky!) and maybe a few dinky rides. Then afterwards, you’d fight the hoards to get to your car and crawl back down the streets or walk back to your house, if you were fortunate to live close, like me.

The streets were already filled beyond capacity when we arrived so we had to park pretty far and walk over. There were already a ton of people sitting but we got an okay-ish spot and huddled together because it was damn cold. The fireworks themselves were mediocre – a lot of repetition of the same type over and over, but it was a nice treat after so long. We wanted to beat the traffic on the way back so we didn’t stay until the very end but had a good time anyway. We’ll probably make it a yearly thing now to see some sort of fireworks somewhere nearby.

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From the time Nephie was 4 months to 4 years old, I was his nanny. Officially, it was my job title but it was more like I was a second parent. I spent almost every day with him and many nights as well. He had his own room at my house. Since I don’t have kids of my own, this was as close as I’ll ever get to that.

During those times he’d sleep over, or sometimes if I just I’d put him to bed at his own house, we’d have long talks before he could fall asleep. He had a lot of the same fears many kids do about bedtime and going to sleep and nightmares and stuff so I tried to think of ways to make it fun for him. I thought about adapting something Hubby and I used to do when we were a long-distance couple. Since we couldn’t be together, we’d plan to have “dates” in our dreams. We’d pick a place to meet up at and agree to dream about the same thing. (Cheesy, I know.)

I started doing this with Nephie as a way to make him feel like he’d have someone he trusted there with him even when he was sleeping. We’d think up fantastical places to go and decide on amazing adventures we could take. It seemed to really work. He looked forward to coming up with our ‘dream dates’. So did I, actually.

He’s 14 now but we still do this. Every time we talk at night or especially when one of us is visiting the other. (He moved away after he turned 4 – and I was HEARTBROKEN!) Since our last visit to Winnipeg, he has been calling every night before he goes to sleep to work out our dream date plans. I know it won’t last for long but I’m enjoying it while it does.

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Today is my anniversary at the Japanese restaurant. Yes, I only work part time and it’s a super easy job, but I know myself and where I am currently – what I feel like I can manage, what I feel I can offer, and the skills that I have that are compatible with that. Someday, I hope to have a job where I actually do something that matters, where I make use of more of my skills, and where I find some fulfillment and maximize my potential – but for this moment in time, I’m pretty happy with my job. I have freedom in making my own schedule. I can work as much or as little as I want. I can take vacations when I want. I don’t have to deal with a corporation or strict policies. I don’t have to be in charge of anyone but myself. I don’t have to take my job home with me. Customers in general are pretty nice. My boss loves me. The other staff look to me as an example. And, like I said, I get to organize a lot of things and it’s actually appreciated. Someone actually pays me to do the things I used to get in trouble for doing at previous jobs – stuff I do for free and for fun elsewhere in life. It’s a pretty sweet situation.

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Existence has been a bit rough lately. Not for any specific reason. Just because sometimes my brain works against me. Days like this used to be hell. They still aren’t fun at all, but over the years, I’ve come up with a few coping strategies. Basically, be kind to yourself. Treat yo’ self!

I put on my fat pants, made a big ass cup of tea, threw Spirited Away in the PlayStation and cuddled up with Hubby on the couch, and felt a bit better.

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There are days that no matter what you do, it’s hard to extricate yourself from your own thoughts. The only thing I know to do in those instances is to replace my own thoughts with someone else’s. Bury myself in a good book or a movie. Live someone else’s life, just for awhile.

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Part of my ‘being kind to myself’ plan requires some pampering. Guilt-free. Some advice I would dispense to everyone would be never to feel bad about treating yourself well and to do it whether you feel like you deserve it or not.

I often feel guilty about being too nice to myself because I think I haven’t earned it or that I can only indulge every so often or that I need a specific reason to do it, other than “I’ve been feeling down lately”. Really though, objectively, that’s the best time to do it!

The great part is it doesn’t have to be a big thing. Everyone always says that it’s the small things that count the most.

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I have been trying to eat better. Food is a constant struggle. I’ve been looking online for ideas of snacks that are both good for me and palatable for my narrow tastes. Something I’ve been coming across quite a lot is sweet potato toast. I was curious. I figured that I’d try it out today and was pleasantly surprised. This little ‘sandwich’ I made myself was delicious. A great alternative to bread. (I actually hate bread, so I’m giving nothing up. All gain.)

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I had a really tough mental day. Some days, for absolutely no reason, I struggle with even being alive. It sucks. But no matter how shitty I feel, I’m always aware of my blessings and appreciate that I have been able to craft my lifestyle to give me a break when I need it. I slept most of the day away and then finally dragged myself out of bed, only to lounge around on a different bed in the guest room. I tried reading for awhile but gave up shortly afterwards. I was in one of those moods where I was bored but agitated and didn’t want to do anything at all. I guess nature decided to help me out a bit and treated me to a nice rainstorm with a rainbow finale. I just sat on the floor, staring out the window, for about 2 hours. I know it’s not the norm for people to be able to take that time to succumb to their emotional state. I never take that for granted.

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Poor little snails! I always wonder how they get crushed. Do people walk over them without looking? Do they get too dried out and get stuck and then get run over? How is it possible for their to be so many snail corpses in such a small area?

It was kind of surreal to see thousands of them at one time. I hope most of them made it back to safety after the rain cleared.

This is the interview I referred to. #savethesnails  (I didn’t actually do anything to help them… I’m all about non-interference. I just sent out my good wishes for them to the universe. 😛 )

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Hubby has been really helpful, supplying me with ideas for what to post each day if I can’t seem to find anything I deem worthy. When he’s at a loss as well, he just does something goofy to put a smile on my face. I put too much pressure on myself sometimes but he’s always there, being his cute, dorky self, so that I regain focus on what’s truly important.

He is definitely one-of-a-kind and I think his affection for his stuffies proves that. LOL.

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2 Responses to The Second 30 (Plus 1)

  1. One of a kind partner you have that gives you plenty of ideas to write. A colorful blog post about your life from salad to read and rabbit. I enjoyed it loads for you write awesomely well.

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