Monday, January 25, 2016

Guest Post: Jillian's Story Time

     Hello all! This was supposed to be up at midnight but guess who got lazy and didn't do shit yesterday? Yes, that would be me. 

     Today, I want to introduce you to one of my amazing friends, Jillian. Jillian is hilarious and kind and laughs at my horrible jokes when everyone else thinks that I'm insane. The other day, she was telling me this hilarious story and I was like, "Bitch, you have to let me put that on my blog. Holy shit. That's so funny."


     If you would like to go tell Jillian how awesome and hilarious she is, you can find her @JilliebeanT on Twitter. Remember, she is my friend so she is under my protection. 

I don't know how people will take this because it's kind of a morbid topic but at the same time when sad things happen, sometimes there are humorous events that occur during those moments. So here goes nothing. I hope I don't offend anyone and I certainly mean no disrespect to my father. My daughter was born in mid July 1997. Thankfully, my dad was able to meet her and we have a great picture of him beside our Christmas tree, with a huge smile, holding her. Almost one year after, on July 2, 1998, I got a phone call I'll never forget. My ex and I were actually in the middle of viewing the house we would eventually move into. She was checking our voicemail messages and she had this look of shock on her face and she told me that my dad's girlfriend called and advised he passed away that night. When I got home, my apartment manager advised the police were there to let us know that he had passed as well. It's a very surreal moment. We were not close but he was still my dad. We were just starting to rebuild our relationship. Such is life.
Just months before, we sat down together and wrote out his final wishes. He wanted to be sprinkled in the Fraser River which is this gross, dirty, and polluted river in Vancouver. He thought it would be easiest for my 3 siblings and me. As kids growing up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, we used to go camping in Banff National Park all the time. Not just on vacation, but on many weekends too, since it was only an hour and a half from Calgary. We would always go fishing at 2 lakes. One was Lake Minnewanka and the other was 2 Jack Lake, which was where we camped. There was a little pump house there that we fished at. As my siblings and I discussed what we should do, we decided that rather than the dirty Fraser River, sprinkling him in the pristine glacial waters of the 2 lakes we had good memories at would be what he would have preferred. It was a place he loved in life because it reminded him of his native Switzerland. He was cremated as he requested. It's actually quite shocking that a person can fit into such a small box weighing maybe 3 pounds. It was just grey ash. He sat in my closet for a few years. In 2001 or 2002 we went on the first family camping trip with my 2 sisters, their husbands, my niece, nephews, and our 2 children. My brother opted not to come. Our first dilemma was figuring out the logistics of sprinkling him. He was in this plastic bag and we had to transfer him somehow to some other vessel. We decided on pop bottles. A Rye bottle would have been far more appropriate but none of us drank Rye, let alone enough to get 2 bottles. I thought I was smart and brought a funnel. Well, amazingly, the ash was not quite as fine as I anticipated. As in life, dad had to try to be difficult in death and he got stuck. We found small twigs and tried poking him through but it wasn't working. Some pieces were too big. Damn you dad. This was already unpleasant, why do you have to make it more so? Well, we decided to make a paper funnel which was far more effective. We split him into two bottles. Our plan was to sprinkle him at the pump house where we fished and also to rent 2 boats and sprinkle him in Lake Minnewanka. The pump house sprinkle worked as planned. Nothing special happened. We said prayers and wished him well where ever he may be. His life was iffy, so we don't know. Plus he was an atheist and my understanding is God doesn't look kindly on that. lol We then went to the big lake and rented the boats. We motored out to the middle of the lake. It was windy. As much as it was a somber moment there was also a peace knowing he wasn't in pain anymore. We got to the spot we decided to sprinkle the rest of him at. My sisters and I moved to the front of the boat. We did a count as we tried to sprinkle him at the same time. Caitie, who was 4 or 5, was sitting in the back. My step son was thrilled because he got to steer the little motor boat as we moved slowly through the water. Three, two, one, and our count hit zero and we started sprinkling away. It's really was a lot like dust. We weren't 10 seconds into sprinkling him out of the bottle when my daughter started screaming at the top of her lungs.

“Grampa is in my eyes, Grampa. Is. In. My. Eyes!

The wind carried the ash backwards and right into the poor darling's eyes. We all laughed in hysterics as it totally broke what was kind of a somber moment. Of course in working out the logistics, we never considered that the wind would blow the ash to the back of the boat. In our minds it would just drop into the lake. He will forever be a part of my daughter... lol God has such a sense of humour at times.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Changes Are Coming

     Every so often, I think it's time to just stop and reintroduce myself to you all. Some of you are new readers, some of you are old readers who have been gone for a long time, and some of you have stuck by me since the beginning. But people change all the time and sometimes, it's important to just stop and reflect.

     My name is Rachel. I am currently 22 and I live in the way-too-fucking-hot state of Arizona, with my boyfriend of three and a half years, who is known on here as Wolfy (mainly because I'm extremely protective of him). We have two hamsters- Cashew the one eyed hamster and his little brother Munchies. I also recently learned that hamsters cannot be friends. If you've never heard a hamster growl, I highly suggest you look it up on YouTube. (Example 1 and Example 2 and Example 3),

      My parents divorced when I was six and my mom raised me. I don't have a lot of contact with my dad and I have absolutely no contact with his parents. Out of his family, I only communicate with his sisters and my cousins (one of them being my Godson, who is my entire world). Out of my mom's family, I have her and her mom and stepdad. Nobody likes her dad and stepmom.

     I lived in really nice neighborhoods when I was little and was thrown into the straight fucking ghetto when I was almost 13 (thanks to my mom's dad and stepmom). Considering I was already battling with emotional problems, that didn't go over so well, and I became angry and hateful and just plain mean the majority of the time.

     By the time I was 14, I realized that it wasn't just normal teenage hormones that I was feeling, but it was straight out depression. By 17, I was planning how to kill myself the last time that I saw my dad. My boyfriend (who was only my friend at the time) and another friend talked me down, multiple times, and I'm glad they did. When I was 21, I discovered that I've been dealing with anxiety too- only I've dealt with it since I was a kid. It's not normal for a 7 year old to have panic attacks.

     I was bullied through most of my school life, to the point I even dropped out when I was only in 7th grade. (I'm working on that. If you're good at algebra and geometry, hit me up!) My dad could easily be described as abusive and I've buried so many loved ones that I would literally have to stop and count. For ten years, if I walked outside, there was a high chance of being attacked or sexually harassed (actually- I live in a good neighborhood now and the latter is still a common thing). We (my mom and I) have been stalked, lied to, tricked, and generally beaten down but we've always gotten back up.

     I've had dogs, cats, birds, fish, turtles, hamsters, a Guinea pig, a rabbit, a salamander, a frog... The worst part is I'm not sure if I'm forgetting a pet and I'll feel like an asshole if I do. I've been horseback riding, four-wheeling, swimming in streams, fishing in lakes, hiking in the woods, walking in the desert. I've done modeling for an old school and been asked to write posts for huge websites. I've traveled to several states and even seen Canada from across Lake Erie at sunset. I try new food and try to learn new languages, even though I can't roll my R's. I've ridden elephants and pet alligators (though I have no idea where the picture is to prove it). I'm writing a cook book with my mom and I'm writing my autobiography on my own.

     But nothing has ever excited me more than when I got an email from somebody saying that my blog helped them and thanking me for opening up. Saying that I made a difference in his life and he's going to keep trying because he now knows he's not alone and somebody understands.

     And then it happened again on Twitter. A young girl messaged me for advice. She's barely 14, the same age I was when I was beginning to understand exactly why I was so unhappy. She's been in contact with me about 3-4 times a week since October of last year. Her message to me on New Years was so kind and heart felt, that I started crying, because I actually made an impact on her.

     Then more people started messaging me. Either thanking me or asking for advice. Sometimes both. I get 5+ messages a day sometimes. A few times, I've woken up to over 20 notifications. The crazy thing is, I only have 100 something followers on twitter.

     I am in no way an expert on anything. I mean, I don't even have a highschool diploma. I'm not qualified to give advice. But how can I turn away somebody who needs somebody to relate to or to talk to? That's just not a thing.

     If I've gone through hell and back my entire life just so I can help one other person, it's worth it. I think that's the most important thing that I've learned about myself. If I'm strong enough to survive, I know that other people are too and they just need to know that for themselves.

     Should you ever need professional advice, here is a direct link to a list of all the suicide hotlines. They can either help you themselves or put you in contact with you can, Should you ever need unprofessional advice from a middle school drop out that spends too much time taking pictures of her one-eyed hamster, then you can find me on Twitter @WhenALionSleeps or email me at (Honestly, I'll probably see Twitter first, because a lot of email goes straight to my junk folder.)

     Hi, I'm Rachel. I'm bitchy and sarcastic and have a weird sense of humor. I write about Tough Topics sometimes and sometimes I write funny things, but whatever I write, I want to help you. Whether I help you understand that you're strong enough to survive whatever battles you're fighting or I can just make you laugh for a couple minutes, I want to help you.

     I don't want to be that angry person I was when I was 13 and that angry person I was when I started blogging. If you're not up for the changes I'm making and my blog is making, that is perfectly fine, but I'm working on being happier so I want my presence in the blogging/internet world to create more happiness too.

PS Yes, I will still curse, because fuck.

PPS If you know anyone who does graphic design or can help set up a new layout for me, please let me know. I figure a new change should be marked with a new look, but techy things are not my strong suit.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Christmas From Janie

     I'm sure you've heard a lot about Accent Gem Designs from the amazing Janie Junebug (aka my blog mom). But sit your ass down so I can tell you a little bit more.

     Michele makes every piece of jewelry, by hand. When it is sent out, it is wrapped up perfectly. I'm talking like perfect family Christmas movie kind of perfect. I've never seen gift wrapping that nice and I had paid to have a present wrapped for my store's Secret Santa this year. I didn't even want to open it because the wrapping alone was fucking art.

     But I opened it anyways. Because it's Janie's Christmas present to me and fuck yeah I wanna know what it is. I want to say that the presents were custom made for me, but I'm not sure on that, so I won't say that. I do know for a fact that they were custom chosen for me, by my lovely blog mom.

     This is me modeling the first piece. You'll have to ignore the yellow-y lighting. The only place to get good lighting in my pictures is outside but it's been raining for the past week so this will have to do.

     My favorite color is purple and all of my jewelry has silver in it somewhere, so this matches perfectly with everything else that I wear. It's made out of amethyst and silver.

     Did you know that amethyst is supposed to protect you from psychic attacks, negative energy, and alleviate sadness/grief? Because I didn't. I did learn it with the printed paper Michele sent with the bracelet, telling me all about the stone. It does a shitton more than that, but you'll just have to order yourself an amethyst piece to find out.

     You'll have to ignore the identical fucking pose, because you have no idea how hard it is to model a bracelet and get a good enough picture that you can see what it is. And also the yellow-y light. Because it won't stop fucking raining.

     This bracelet is made out of turquoise and red bamboo coral.

     As gorgeous as it is, I don't own a lot of clothing in those colors, but I think it'll really pop if I wear a white top or all black. I wore dark blue and it still seemed to go nicely. Considering I wear mostly black, I can still get a lot of use out of it.

     Turquoise is supposed to be good for protection. Apparently, it's one of the oldest known protection amulets. It's said to work really well with the red bamboo coral, which is why they're so commonly paired together (meanwhile, I thought it was the lovely contrast in colors). The coral is another stone used for protection, but is also supposed to basically calm you the fuck down. Which we all know I need. It's said to be good for calming the temper and compulsive disorders.

     I actually found it fascinating to learn about the different gems and what people believe about them. Enough so, that I would like to research it more on my own. I don't know whether or not its true, but the day that I wore the amethyst one, I didn't get that creepy feeling of being watched in my store and the day I wore the turquoise/coral one, I didn't have a random outburst of anger or frustration. So who knows. Coincidence? Quite possibly. But it's nice to wonder.

     Plus, the quality of the bracelets is amazing. I'm very clumsy and I tend to hit my arms/wrists all over the place, but there wasn't a single bit of damage.

     The bracelets really aren't as big as they look in the pictures either. They're average size, they could easily fit somebody with slightly thicker wrists or somebody with average wrists. I have very thin wrists and I was still never worried that they might be too loose and fall off, which is a big reason why I rarely wore bracelets before. Besides the whole, I might break them thing.

     I've never spoken to Michele and I get absolutely nothing out of this, besides promoting a business that I believe does truly good work.

     Besides, Janie likes her, so you know she must be good!

     Before I go, I do want to thank Janie for my Christmas presents. They are absolutely gorgeous and I love them very much, just as I love you very much, blog mom!

     Please check out both Janie and Michele. They're linked in the very first paragraph. I promise that they are worth it!

Friday, January 1, 2016

My 2016 Goals

     Welcome back to the yearly tradition of where I write out my goals for the year. In 2014, I didn't do so well with accomplishing everything that I wanted to do. Here's hoping that I did better this year.

     First, I'll write out the goals I set for myself last year in this color and then I'll respond to how well I've done in this color. At the end, I'll set myself new goals for this year.

  • Highschool diploma. Seriously. I need to get that shit done.   I still have three math courses left before I graduate. With my work schedule, finding time to fit this in, when other people have free time to teach me, seems next to impossible. Fail.
  • No more concussions, please.   Win! No concussions this year, thankfully. I did come close a few times though.
  • Every other Monday will be Tough Topics, on the opposite Mondays will be a surprise style of posts once I figure that out, and then on Thursdays will be up to ya'll. What kind of posts do you want to see? (See, I do care. But you need to answer.)   Major fail. I way over estimated what I was capable of doing with everything else that I have to do. But to be fair on my end, I now know my general work load.
  • Hold at least two contests on here and give away badass prizes, because it makes me happy.   Half win. I held one contest. I way over estimated how broke I would be for the majority of the year. If you welcomed your Godson into the world, moved, and took a 9 day vacation, you would be broke too.
  • A-Z Challenge and NaBloPoMo. For real.   Half win. I did the A-Z Challenge this year. I now realize that expecting me to have time for ANYTHING during the month of November, while working a retail job, is just plain naive.
  • Try to be more positive, since we all know I'm negative and angsty. (Still not as bad as when I was 15 though.)   I'm going to call this a win. My friend Megan told me how she likes how, if/when I complain, I at least have a funny spin on it. My mom, Sissi, and Princess all told me how different and happier I seem to them.
  • Stop saying things like "I'm starving" and "Ugh I don't want to work today" because no, I have plenty to eat, and I am extremely thankful to have such a great job.   I think I've completely stopped saying "I'm starving". I may have slipped up a few times, but for sure under 5 times all year. I haven't done so well with "Ugh I don't want to work today" though. I did great at first, but towards the holiday season, exhaustion took over. I never stopped being thankful for my job; I just got very tired from all the hours. I'll call this a *** out of ***** win.
  • Start driving again, since I haven't driven since I moved here.   Fail. I need somebody to drive with me and again, with work hours, is next to impossible while it's still daylight hours. I need to get my ass in gear.
  • Get my own car. It doesn't have to be super awesome, but it needs to get me from Point A to Point B and back without issue.   Obviously fail. But I do have a savings account set up only for that and that's where my tax money will be going next year.
  • Bring my cat from Alabama because I miss that mean little thing.   This one isn't my fault. My mom gave my cat to her ex-boss' mom. And then had a massive falling out with her ex-boss. So that will never happen and if you know anything about me, you'll know how badly I took that news. Since I can't do anything about this, we'll call it a draw.
  • Start writing more. It doesn't matter what. I just need to write more.   Half win. I've written more, but I haven't kept it all or liked a lot of it. But I've been writing. I still wish I had written more though. I am proud that a fairly large portion of posts this year has been the Tough Topics series.
  • Be more patient. This may be a work in progress.   Fail. I think we all saw that coming.

     Five out of the eleven we're counting. It could have been better, but at least I got those five, right? (See, look at that borderline positivity!) ...............However, I did just lose patience because Blogger says that "positivity" is spelled wrong but wouldn't give me any suggestions to fix it. So I asked Siri, who said I'm right, so fuck you Blogger spell-check, you need to get your shit together.

     So.... Hoping that I do better in 2016, here at the goals I would like to accomplish:
  • Highschool diploma. Somebody who is good at geometry and algebra, hit me up. I'm usually off on Sundays. Let's work out a plan, yeah?
  • Write a least one blog post a week, probably on Mondays, because the whole off-most-Sundays thing. (With at least one Monday a month being for Tough Topics).
  • I would like to do at least three collab posts this year. Be it interviews, guest posts, or some other way to work together. I had a ton of fun with Megan so let's make it happen. (P.S. I did a post on her blog that I don't know if I ever told you about. See here for link.)
  • Keep Cashew the hamster alive. (For updates, you can check out the Twitter hashtag #CashewTheHamster).
  • Keep Munchies the hamster alive. (For updates, you can check out the Twitter hashtag #MunchiesTheHamster). (Yes, my boyfriend got another hamster.)
  • Make it back to Alabama to visit my mom and Princess. It's been two years. It's way past time.
  • Car. For real. I don't want to be walking to and from work in 110 degree heat again this year.
  • Publish the cook book with my mom. (Updates to come at the end of January!)
  • Go visit the Grand Canyon. It's only a few hours away and I've always wanted to see it. I need a road trip buddy.
  • Twice a month, I need to treat myself. Take myself out for a nice lunch, get my hair done, take a bath and do a home pedicure (fun fact: if anyone else touches my feet, I literally feel sick and will kick you). Just something to keep myself from getting so burned out like I did this year.
  • Show my Godson that he is my whole world. I'll need my aunt to get Skype or an iPhone so he can see me regularly from far away. I want to be a part of his life.
  • Start and make decent progress in an auto-biography. Because I'm not an important person or well known or well liked by any means, but I survived going to Hell and back, so I want to show other people that they can too.

     Happy New Years, ya'll.

     I hope 2015 was amazing for you and I hope 2016 will be even better.