Personal Wandering

Time To Write Or Get Off The Pot

Image Credit ~ Unknown

How the fuck is it past mid-April already!? Arrrgh. So much for a whiz-bang start to the year. I was hoping that 2017 would be less stressful than 2016, but so far, it’s been about the same. Yeah…

I’m hoping beyond hope right now that we’re on an upswing though.. that some fucking stars or planets (or shit, I’ll take some black holes at this rate) will align in my favor any minute now and life will just calm her shit down so I can get shit done.

However, as I keep getting older, I have come to realize there will be no better time than now. Funny how that works out. I cannot keep pushing my writing, my desires, my goals to the background of my day to day life. If I had a “real job”, I wouldn’t be doing that. I’d be sucking it up… the aches, the pains, the fatigue, the stress, the other stupid life shit that pops up from time to time, and I would just deal with it as I do my job.

I was once a young woman in her early 30s who dealt with a heart-wrenching breakup, a move to a new place back on her own again, more work responsibilities, an emotionally draining relationship with a mother two hours away who had broken her hip and needed assistance, AND a new romantic relationship all within a span of about three months. I look back on that time now and shake my head in amazement. Did I take speed and not remember? How did I have the energy and stamina for all that? Both my brain and my body must have been thriving on pure adrenaline and endorphins.

So, why the fuck am I treating my writing for this website as well as my dreams of finishing a novel as if it’s just some inconsequential hobby? It’s important to me. I have never wanted anything else so much as to be able to say to myself: “You did it. It took you a long-ass time, but you did it. You wrote a novel. Fuck yeah, bitch.”

And after that moment of self-congratulatory goodness, I high five myself but miss and in the process knock my artsy, cat-eye frames off my smug face. And like a baby giraffe taking its first steps, my legs get entangled with each other and begin to buckle as my glasses evade my grasp. I then stumble for a few more steps, miraculously regain my balance, and feel a brief second of triumph for not falling on my ass before hearing the inevitable crunch that makes every nerd cringe with despair. Broken glass and shards of hipster plastic lay beneath my feet.

Because being a klutz and accidentally hurting myself or breaking something is all I know, people. It’s all I know.

Anyway, so yeah… where was I?

Oh yeah, this thing called writing that I’m supposedly doing. Yeah, I gotta start doing it. Like for reals. It’s now or never. And ya know what, now is as good as time as any.

It’s time for me to shit – er… write or get off the pot.

Actually, I may have to shit now too. The husband and I are currently torturing ourselves with a slightly modified Whole30 bullshit diet. (We’re only eliminating wheat, dairy, sugar, and alcohol – fuck the system for saying no to legumes and a limited amount of healthy grains.) We just thought our stressful lives could be made more fun without cheese, beer, and a fucking cupcake sundae for a whole month. Hahahahahahaha.

In reality, a new doctor recommended I try Whole30 to give my tummy a rest and a chance to heal as well as to see if it helps with any of my ailments. But I tell ya, if I eat any more goddamned eggs, I’m either gonna hurl or be sittin’ on the toilet for a long, long time.

And with that, I leave you.

xo~ Frani

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We Are All Different. We Are All The Same.

“Go back to where you came from.”

Such a vile statement.

Such a statement that I thought would maybe be phased out of our dialogue.

Such a statement that has sadly made a resurgence lately.

Let me first say my intention is not to pit whites against minorities here. If you have never had this phrase spat upon you, you have no way of understanding. I think we can all agree on that.

My intention is to explain how a lot of us are feeling after this election and even more so after the inauguration of a man I currently view as one of the worst human beings in the world. To truly understand racism or prejudice, you need to experience it firsthand. Continue reading

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Hello, 2017. Let’s Do This.

Man, I did real bad with blogging last year. Seven published posts. Seven. Seven’s a good number and all. One of my favorite numbers, in fact. It’s the best number. There is no better number. (Sorry not sorry… I couldn’t resist.)

But, seven posts is not nearly enough writing for one whole year.

What can I say?

I have no excuses really, except that it was a lazy, sort of sickly, and very stressful sort of year. I’m hoping beyond hope that 2017 will be “my year”, that my health will improve, that we will figure out what ails me, and that I will accomplish something meaningful in this life.

Or die trying.

To create and to contribute something to the world around me is all I have ever wanted. I have fought that desire for so long because I thought creativity was not a suitable pursuit. But after 40 years, I now know what I want to do when I grow up! Sort of. ;)

I did not make any resolutions this year. In all honesty, I kind of forgot. And let’s just be real here, I rarely keep them. But, a promise I make to myself this year is to write.

Write for this blog that I still dearly love.

Write that damn book I’ve been meaning to finish for the past couple years.

Write for any of the other book ideas I have jotted down and in my head when I stall out on that first book.

Write whatever comes into my head.

Write it all down.

I feel this year if not the coming four years are going to be crucial. Free speech and freedom of the press, and consequently, art are going to be in danger of censorship. Not to mention any of our other numerous rights such as healthcare, clean water, etc., etc.

It’s easy to feel despondent. I get it. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to what’s going on around you in this country and the world, especially if you’re a white male and maybe even if you’re a white female. And when you have your own problems with your health, your family, your job, whatever, it’s hard to care about other people. You think it’s going to be OK or that it won’t be that bad. I’m pretty sure that’s what a lot of people thought when Hitler gained momentum. Just sayin’.

Some people are just plain narcissists and don’t have even one bone of compassion in their bodies. Those people are the worst. Don’t be like them.

But for those who want to do something to move our country forward and not way the fuck backwards, make your voices heard. If you enjoy your rights and your privileges, speak up. Don’t sit this one out on the sidelines. Fuck that. And yeah, it won’t be easy. But nothing worth fighting for ever is. 

xo~ Frani

 

*Image snapped on a snowy day in Seattle

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5 Reasons For Americans To Travel Their Own Country

larabee-state-park

While some people envy those hopping around Europe, touring Asia, or soaking up the sun on the exotice beaches of Bali, I sort of envy the complete opposite vibe of all that. Granted, I want to visit more outside the United States in the future, and a luxurious Mediterranean cruise sounds lovely once in a while. However, those destinations are not that pressing because even though I’ve traveled to a good portion of the United States, there is still so much to this big ol’ country I have yet to explore. And really, I have always thought it silly to visit all the other countries (unless an inexpensive or rare opportunity presents itself) before first getting to know your own country.

The hubs and I have a few surrounding areas we want to visit while living in the Pacific Northwest, and we are slowly knocking those off our list. And lately, my dream vacation has just been a good old fashioned road trip. Specifically, there’s something to be said for a classic American cross country road trip. Even though we basically did that on our move out to Seattle from Columbus, Ohio, I am excited to do a different route on our move to the New England area in the near future.

So, what are the advantages for us Americans to travel around our own backyard?
Continue reading

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Hi again! Let’s recap this bitch.

Summer Cruise Ship on the Puget Sound

Hey y’all, what’s happening?

OK, I am not sure what I’m doing here with this little ol’ website of mine. Obviously, I haven’t written much the past year. I was planning on getting back into photography and at least blogging photographs and such, but then as with the past two or three years always in the month of January, I have fallen ill. This year, though, it wasn’t just a cold or bronchitis. This year, I felt like I was hit by truck. And then, that truck backed up and goddamn hit me again.

Motherfuckin’ trucks, man. They’re bitches.

So, I have decisions to make about the direction of this website.

But first, let’s have a quick-ish recap of 2016 to date.

Uh, I’ve been sick. I have been writing my novel. Not doing too shabby on that point considering how I have been feeling. And uh… have I mentioned I was sick?

2016: banner year thus far, people!

I have seen various doctors at various locations. Yes, I like to have my bases covered and spend wads of money on medical bills. So ya know, I decided to visit Urgent Care, the ER, my primary doc three times as well as take a little jaunt to have my belly scanned. It’s been fun times being poked, prodded, and looking into a doctor’s eyes to hopefully see an “Aha! I know what’s causing this!” moment. But alas, all I have seen are looks of puzzlement and a shrug of the shoulders along with “medical” guesses.

*Sidenote: I’d hate to be a doctor dealing with a patient such as myself. Much props to you guys.

I have had various diagnoses throughout this time from costrochondritis for the odd chest burning sensations I had for a while (um… OK sure, I was working out more) to gastroenteritis (what you commoners call the stomach flu that really isn’t the flu, but sure, I felt super crappy for a week) to a possible ulcer (highly likely given my history and family history of ulcers) to possible gallstones (sure, why not?) to increased lactose intolerance (I’m 1/2 Asian – no surprise there and high lactose foods were and still are causing more ummm… discomfort).

I worried and waited for a week while my insurance wanted “more information” to grant me prior authorization for a CT scan. FYI, I would have happily paid the total $250 for that scan. My insurance made it seem like it was a gazillion dollars. “Let’s make sure you need this…” *groan*

Anyway, it was approved through insurance. In preparation for the scan, I drank two huge bottles of an awful mocha cappuccino flavored barium drink that exited my body just as pleasantly as I gagged it down. They were out of vanilla. Would that have been more tasty as the receptionist suggested (“good choice”) before telling me they were out? I will never know.

After my delicious drink, I went in for the scan. I walked the hallway wearing nothing but my underwear and a hospital gown while rocking a pair of brown, slightly combat-ish boots. The lovely lady who prepped and performed my scan escorted me to the room while checking that I wasn’t flashing my backside to the construction workers roaming the hallways. Meh, what do I care? Modesty wasn’t out the window at this point. I would have walked around naked if it meant we found out what was going on with my stomach.

By the way, the intravenous dye makes you feel all warm and tingly for like two minutes before dissipating. It’s the oddest sensation. But if you ever need to do this, hopefully your scan technician, as mine did, also warns you that you will feel as if you pissed yourself. And indeed, you do.

The scan was over in a jiff. I then worried and waited a few more days for the results while my brain conjured up all the worst case scenarios that would bring forth my imminent demise.

I stressed myself out big time.

I stressed out my husband.

I stressed out my puppies.

CT scan came back normal.

Whaaa? Yay! SUPER yay! But whaaa? I was thankful it came back fine, but that also meant I still did not have an answer. My GP forewarned me that if it was an ulcer, it most likely wouldn’t be visible on the CT scan.

So, off to the gastroenterologist I went. During the two week wait for that visit, I experimented with my diet. I cut back on dairy. I did a blood test to determine if my body was making antibodies to gluten. That came back negative. Diet changes seemed to help but not by a significant amount (except for maybe some dairy), invalidating my theory that it could be a food thing. I was stumped. Maybe it was an ulcer, I thought. It just felt different than I remember… sort of. But when I was diagnosed with an ulcer the first time, I was 20 years old. Annnd, that was 20 years ago.

After talking with the gastro doc and yet another blood test, it was discovered that my body was indeed making antibodies! To Helicobacter pylori! Which doing the research that I do for every little thing, I was already aware of this corkscrew of a bacteria. It is a nasty little bugger that is said from various sources to infect 1/2 to 2/3 of the world’s population. In most people, it causes no apparent problems, but it has been found to be the cause of 80-90% of ulcers and slightly increases the risk of gastric cancer. Yippee.

The GI doc didn’t deem it necessary to do an endoscopy or anything of that nature. Based on mild symptoms that were abating at the time of my visit and the presence of the H. Pylori, it was deduced that I had an ulcer or gastritis of some sort. More likely, it was/is an ulcer, and the bacteria has probably been messing with my gut for quite some time. It was definitely a lightbulb moment as I thought about the past couple years of increasing stomach issues and such.

As of this morning, I have finished 14 days of an awesome *sarcasm* cocktail of two different antibiotics and an acid reducer that at times made me feel worse than before I started. Normally I would prefer to not take antibiotics, but after much research, I discovered that antibiotics seem to be more effective at eradicating H. Pylori than natural alternatives. So, I opted for that route because I Want. It. Gone.

So, fingers crossed it is in fact gone and was the cause of all my issues. And hopefully in a few more weeks, that gnawing, spasming pain in my belly goes away for good. It can take anywhere from four to eight weeks for an ulcer to completely heal. And, all of this could very well be the cause of my seemingly increased lactose intolerance.

Ugh. When can I trade in some of my body parts for more efficient mechanical counterparts and declare myself a badass cyborg? Come at me, brah. My stomach can digest anything. That is what I’d say if I had a biomechatronic stomach.

So enough medical talk. I’m annoying myself with my health issues. Let’s talk about where the hubs and I are, how we’re doing, and what’s going on with our relationship with the Emerald City.

Seattle. Oh, Seattle. She’s a predictable little bitch of a city. The husband and I have just endured our second winter of the predictable gloom, ‘gray, cloudy, rainy, always 53°’ that the natives always crave after another summer of ‘sunny, sunny, way hotter than normal, sunny, sunny’. Seattle basically has two seasons with a touch of Spring and a touch of Autumn. As I’ve mentioned before, I miss proper seasons.

The East coast, maybe Boston and especially Portland Maine, is still calling us… at times, the yearning is strong, then wanes, and then becomes stronger. We’re about eight months in on our lease in Fremont (where does the time go!?), and we recently talked about what we wanted to do when this lease comes to an end. On one hand, we kind of just want to live where we want to live and do it now. The flip side is that despite our feelings about Seattle, we find Washington and the Northwest in general to be one of the most beautiful areas we have witnessed in this country. And, we have several more areas (Alaska!) we want too see before taking off for the other coast.

Autumn Colors & Clouds on Artist Point

Also, it remains to be seen if a certain terrible human wins the presidency. I have never been one to say “I’m moving to another country if so-and-so becomes president.” buuut the prospect does sound appealing if that large oompa loompa becomes our next president. *shudder*

So with that, we have decided to remain at least another year after our lease is up to explore more of the west coast. The only decision that will be pressing upon us sooner rather than later is whether we want to keep residing in our current place or move to a different place and/or area of the city. Currently, we have way too much space we do not use, and the husband’s commute really sucks. But then again, we have only one adjoining neighbor and packing/moving shit yet again is not much fun. But, we could take the opportunity to experience a different neighborhood or maybe move back downtown to the hubbub we kind of miss. Decisions, decisions.

At any rate, rest assured I will hopefully have more stories and more images of Seattle and the western United States to share with y’all. And with that, I bid you adieu for now and wish you all good health!

xo~ Frani 

 

*Images: Seattle waterfront & Puget Sound (1st image) and Artist Point (2nd image)

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New Year, New… Well, You Just Do You

Space Needle Fireworks 2016

Happy 2016, everyone!

I sincerely hope everyone had a great holiday season and are ready to take on the new year!

I used to make resolutions every damn year, and I have to admit I still make goals of some sort even though I know I am probably setting myself up for something other than stellar succes. This year, it’s a ‘must do’ list. I must eat more healthy food than non-healthy food. I must learn something new. I must write something every day. I must not give up on living a creative life.

I am hoping that with the ‘must’ in there, that it will mean something more to me and hence, I will actually do these things. So far, so good!

BUT… more often than not, I fail at some point in the year. But at the beginning of every year or every season, I still make goals. It’s more about my love of lists, I think.

I know it’s so easy to groan and roll your eyes when your friends, family, coworkers, and 3rd cousins once removed or whatnot start posting about their salads and whole foods, gluten-free, sugar-free, taste-free meals on Facebook. Because you know in a few weeks, you’re gonna see them checking in at the neighborhood hot dog stand at 2am and groaning about how they ate a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s on yet another lonely, boring Saturday night.

I get it. It’s annoying to see the same things happen over and over again. My advice? Get the fuck off Facebook. Make that YOUR goal this year: less social media, more real life interactions. AND, cut your friends some slack. They truly want to better themselves. Yes, maybe they’re going about it the wrong way with the wrong attitude. After all, it shouldn’t matter when you start a goal or resolution. Start them at any ol’ time of the year. But for those of us little fat kids at heart, it’s hard to not eat a goddamn piece of pie (or several pies) during the holidays. So, either help a sister out with her weight loss/get healthy goals or shut the fuck up.

And for those of you who are starting a new healthy habit or a “new you” goal, hang in there. If you fumble, get up, brush those cake crumbs off your lap, and try again. Perseverance is what will get you through this mess you got yourself into… no matter the naysayers. You’re gonna have to want it and want it bad. If you don’t, then you’re better off moving on to something else.

You got this. Happy New Year!

xo~ Frani

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Doing Life

Springtime at Snoqualmie Falls

Stagnation. Despair. Hope.

Those are the three words that essentially describe how I had been feeling. And yes, that’s a contradictory mess that made up my headspace. It was very much a yo-yo spectrum of emotions cycling through me. The causes were wide and varied, and I will not go into much detail about that. But, I just thought I would share what has been helping and not helping me get through that little life slump of feeling hopeless and lost. Continue reading

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One Crazy August

Sound Sailboats

It’s been so long since I’ve written a single word not in an email that I ask you to please forgive me if this post just turns out to be one convoluted mess of a read.

As of August 15th, we have officially been living in Seattle for a year. And let me tell ya, folks… I don’t know if time moves along much faster here in the Pacific Northwest or if age is catching up to me, but it has flown by! It seems like yesterday we drove into Seattle exhausted, anxious, and excited with two equally tired and stressed out pups ready to begin a new chapter in our lives.

It took a bit of adaptation and adjustment, but life in downtown Seattle quickly became routine for us. We learned the best walking route for the pups. We came to know the regular homeless people setting up “shop” around Pike Place Market. We had our favorite produce guy at Frank’s and our favorite lunchtime hideaway from the crowds at Uli’s. We had a pretty stellar view of the Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, crazy fog, beautiful skies, and gorgeous sunsets. Continue reading

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The New 40

Broken Web

The weeks leading up to me turning 40 years of age have been a big ol’ mixed bag of emotions. On one hand, I’m cool with it and even looking forward to it. On the other hand, I’m more aware of my mortality and all that that little concept entails. Impending old age and death can be peaceful yet terrifying.

It is surreal to think I’m I’ll be 40 years old in a few days. I sometimes still feel like a dumb 20 year old girl navigating my way through life just like every other young’un. And then I think… “Holy shit, I’m old enough to be the mother of a 20 year old!”

And then, I almost faint. ;)

So, the past few weeks have been retrospective, introspective, and every other ‘spective, I’m sure.

As I have withdrawn and retreated into an explosion of reflective thoughts, I have come to realize I’m really tired of the cookie cutter societal rules dictating where I should be in life at the age of 40.

Sure, there are some 40 year old women who “have it all”. They have successful careers. They are supermoms. They’re queen of a 4 bedroom house in the most picturesque of suburbs. They may have spawned some adorable, perfect little geniuses who turned into ambitious teenagers or naive, over-confident 20 year olds.

A lot of women my age have all those things. More often than not, most women are at the very least either Supermom or Ms. Career-Woman.

And ya know what? That’s cool.

I, however, possess none of those things or any of those abilities.

I am a happily married and happily childfree struggling writer, a wannabe novelist, a housewife, and a dog mama who just a year ago moved across the country with her lovely little family to rent a tiny-ass condo in downtown Seattle.

That’s my life. And yes, it’s not all rainbows and ice cream.

Well, sometimes there are rainbows. More often than not, there is ice cream!

Sometimes, there is doubt though. I admit I occasionally struggle with not living up to the expectations of society or the expectations of my inner insecure 20 year old who thinks I should have gone with Door #1 that led to the land of the stepford wives supermom suburbia.

But to be perfectly honest, I’m insanely joyful that Door #1 barely budged.

There was a Door #2 where I walked through and took a look around for a while. It led to a decent and probably easily accessible and driven career path. It may have paid well. It may have been somewhat enjoyable. It may have been lonely. It definitely would have been stressful. However, it definitely did not possess my heart. So, I made my peace with the decision to walk back out of Door #2.

There was a window. We’ll call it Window 2.5 because why not? This is my story. If you don’t like it, stop reading.

As you can most likely discern, Window 2.5 was an amalgamation of Door #1 and Door #2. As I have probably mentioned before, I love food. I love sweets. I’ve put on a little bit weight in the past 20 years. Luckily, I had the foreknowledge to know that if I went through Window 2.5 and decided I wanted to leave at any point, that it would be pretty damn difficult to squeeze my cheesecake-lovin’ ass back out that window.

(Is this post getting weird!?)

I most definitely would have realized certain things too late and maybe made some slightly regrettable mistakes. This path had the potential to be a robotic day to day existence. A supermom career woman I am not. To those of you who do it and do it happily, I applaud your existence.

Well then, welcome to Door #3!

Door #3 led to a very much open-ended path with no particular destination. Door #3 led to a very personal and emotional space. It was scary. It was eye-opening. It involved more soul-searching, more introspection, and more learning. It involved more trial and error… more experimentation. You could say it even involved more emotional anxiety, more heartache.. but also more love, more feeling, more depth.

On the surface, Door #3 sounds like a terrible door to choose, doesn’t it? But unlike the other doors/window, it is an ever-evolving journey. It is rarely stagnant. It is rarely boring. The journey waited until I was ready to fully appreciate the greatest components of life before it bestowed upon me the experiences of love, peace, and clarification.

And even with all its unfamiliarity and occasional inner turmoil, it is a door that I am happy to have chosen. I could probably leave at any moment if I so desired, but I’ve been sucked in by the allure of the unknown. And for that, I am thankful. Besides, puppies came with this door option. ;)

xo~ Frani

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Celebrating Summer By Cycling Nude… Why Not?

Fremont Solstice

Sometimes, the city of Seattle makes me truly like her…

If I could only pick one nice thing to say about this city, it’s that the freedom of expression here is insurmountable… which is a good thing. Especially at a time when it seems like our country is going backwards in its views and actions… that we haven’t really evolved as much as we previously thought.

Granted, Seattle has its problems as do so many other cities in the United States. But, with so much hate that runs rampant throughout our great country, it’s refreshing to see Seattleites bare it all, so to speak, and join together in a celebration of not only the beginning of summer but of love, fun, and freedom… to be who we are and to be who we want to be. Continue reading

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