Monday, August 18, 2014

25 Happy Things

The last couple months have been fairly rough going. I haven't been overly negative despite everything though I feel like I haven't put enough focus on things that make me happy and the majority of my most recent blogs have been about sad and/or unpleasant things. So, it's always good to remind yourself of things that make you happy and I haven't done this post in a while so it's definitely overdue.

25 Happy Things


1.) Laying in bed listening to a thunderstorm and watching the rain and lightning through the balcony doors.
2.) Raspberry lemonade green tea.
3.) Dallas Stars hockey isn't too far away.
4.) The Alzheimer's Walk is only 19 days away. 
5.) Supportive friends.
6.) Loud music.
7.) S'mores.
8.) A boyfriend that can always make you laugh, even when you don't think you have any laughter left in you.
9.) Books. Stacks of them, just waiting to be read.
10.) Playing with your best friend's puppy.
11.) Fingerpainting.
12.) Dancing around the apartment.
13.) Guardians of the Galaxy. 
14.) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mugs.
15.) New pillows that are so comfy you don't know how you ever functioned without them.
16.) Swimming.
17.) Creating new dishes in the kitchen.
18.) Ice cream.
19.) Board game nights.
20.) Playing baseball in the park.
21.) Nature photography walks.
22.) Sleeping in late, even if "late" is only 7 AM.
23.) New Batman socks.
24.) Sketch books and colored pencils.
25.) Shiny new kitchen tools.

That's 25 things that make me happy. What are some of your happy things? I'm happy it didn't take too long to come up with the list. Which is great because I have to leave for work in two minutes. ;) 

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cartoons don't make you gay, Alzheimer's, water balloons, Rainbow Dash & more.

Co-worker: "Does it make me gay that I like watching that Powerpuff Girls cartoon?"

Me: "Are you gay?"

Co-worker: "Nope."

Me: "Then no because the only thing that makes you gay is fucking being gay. Not a cartoon. Not a band. Not a style of dress. Not the way you might want to do your hair. Not something you saw on tv. Not a love for musicals. Not any other stereotypical thing you can think of. Not even a gay man giving you a high five and passing it on. Nothing will turn you gay."

This lead to a rather short debate followed by my co-worker stomping off calling me a "fucking poophead" because he's 26 and that's just the way an adult should behave.

Also, the whole thinking that if a masculine human likes something perceived as being girlie that makes them some degree of gay? Drives me insane but that's another rant for another day.
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Just because I don't want children doesn't mean I hate children. I don't think you should ship yours off to Siberia. I won't stop hanging out with you if you have kids. I'm not judging you negatively for having children and I'd never go off on a rant to a parent about the benefits of not having children. So why so many people with kids feel a need to get defensive and tell me why my decision and feelings on the subject are all wrong just because they don't agree or understand, I will never fully comprehend. It's nothing personal against you or your kids so cool it.

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I told one person at work that I dig My Little Pony. Anyone that knows me really shouldn't be too surprised by that honestly. So for my birthday (one month ago today) several of my co-workers got me various MLP toys. Which didn't suck because most of it was Rainbow Dash and of course, that's my favorite little pony. Brave, bold, loyal, tomboyish, goofy and kind hearted with a pet tortoise and badass rainbow mane? Heck yeah.

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I love going to festivals but why must there be so many in July and August that I want to go to? Festivals are more fun when it's not 103 degrees or more and humid on top of it. It's a scientific fact. Well, not really. It's more like common sense that you'll have more fun at an outdoor event if you're not worried about dying or melting or heat stroke or walking around in a puddle of sweat. Damn you, Texas. (Love you anyway.)

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I'm doing the Walk To End Alzheimer's again this year. If you feel so inclined and would like to support me in the walk with a donation, my page is here. Even $5 helps and the money goes toward Alzheimer's care, support and research.

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I'm having a water balloon fight on Saturday in the park with some friends. We're going to play baseball first then have the water balloon fight. Another friend not involved with this said he felt like my life mantra must be, "growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional." I don't have this "life mantra" that he speaks of but if I ever did, that one seems pretty fitting. Or that was his passive aggressive way of calling me immature. I'm fine with it either way. ;)

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

I just need to get this out.

Sometimes you find yourself in a bad place without realizing immediately how you got there. Which seems like a weird thing for a moderately self-aware person. Shouldn't you realize that you're on a decline? That you're slipping further away from the people and things that make your life a bearable and better place? Maybe it should be easier to see but that's not the way it always is. Sometimes people are really good at hiding it. Sometimes people don't even realize it's happening until they're at the bottom looking up, perplexed at how they didn't notice they were sliding downward before then. 

Three weeks ago, my friend Amanda was involved in a murder/suicide. In light of that, I learned a month prior she had tried to commit suicide. I knew she was struggling and I knew she wasn't in a good place. I didn't know how bad it was. I didn't know the depth of the negative emotions she was feeling. As someone who has been in a bad place more than a couple times, I never hesitate to ask if someone is okay when I notice something is amiss. You can't do more than ask and offer support. You can't push someone to let you help them when they just smile and tell you they'll be fine, they're just stressed from XYZ. That life isn't great but they're okay. They promise they're okay. They'll promise if they really need someone, they'll reach out to you. It's an incredibly frustrating feeling to watch someone you care about be in pain, physically or emotionally, and not be able to help them through it. All you can do is trust that when they say they'll reach out if they truly need it, that they will. And you can hope they mean it and feel a little better as they smile at you and thank you and promise you they won't suffer in silence. You can let a little of the uneasiness go as they put an arm around your shoulder or hug you and you can feel a little more secure that everything is going to be okay.

I'll never know why my friend did what she did and I'll never know why her ex did the things he did. I've refused to speculate about any of the "maybes" and "what ifs" because I wasn't there and couldn't possibly know what happened. The only thing I know for certain is what the ultimate outcome was and that's that two people died senselessly and needlessly leaving behind a lot of confusion, sorrow, anger and pain for their loved ones to deal with. 

I could barely get through that first week without crying every time I thought of her. I couldn't avoid learning some of the specific details of it so I had nightmares of my friend laying in a pool of her own blood with her big eyes staring lifelessly into nothing several times. I cried for the two young kids she left behind. I cried for her family for the raw agony they displayed. I cried until my body hurt because it hurt and because I was confused and angry. 

My boyfriend and I had a joint birthday party the week after she died. We went to her funeral the morning of the party and I was a wreck. She was supposed to attend the party that night and yet there I was, sitting in a church, looking at pictures of her cycle through on a wall. Pictures of her and her kids. Pictures of her looking so happy. Doing things she loved doing. Being the kind-hearted person she was. Being the girl I met at a mutual friend's party years and got along with immediately. The first time I met her we spent the rest of the time there hanging out, laughing and joking like we'd seen each other many times before. I don't often connect with people like that and it didn't matter how much time went by between times of seeing each other, it was always like we'd just seen each other last week. I remember sitting there watching pictures and notes scroll by on the wall and wanting to cry because I was supposed to see her later that night, not see pictures of her and mourn her death. 

The first hour or so of the party that night, I felt like I was just going through motions and not really in it at all. One of my friends came in, came into the kitchen and hugged me so tightly for much longer than he normally does and I almost lost it then. He said, "I know this sucks and I know you're sad but everyone here is happy to see you and happy to be spending time with you and would do anything to stop you from hurting if they could. That's got to make you feel a little better." He was right and then I did cry a little because him saying that brought the warmest feeling I'd felt all week. I decided then not to let my pain and grief run things but there were a few times where I'd look around the apartment full of talking, smiling, laughing people and I wished so hard that she'd walk in and I'd realize it was all just a bad dream. Of course, that's completely unrealistic and I knew that even as I was thinking it but it's hard not to wish things like that when you're dealing with the death of someone you cared about.

I know better than to feel guilt and blame myself in situations like this. I had a good friend commit suicide years ago when I lived in California. I felt a lot of guilt over that at first but I realized placing blame on myself for someone else's actions was just bad for me. It didn't bring them back and it only added to all the negative feelings I already felt. I've learned that you can't blame the things you didn't do or blame yourself in any way in situations like this. A friend of a mutual friend went on a tirade about how we were all the blame for her death because none of us did enough. He didn't share my feelings on blame and that made me sad for him. It's easy to look at something after the fact and find ways where you could have done more but who's to say that one more time would have been the time that made the difference? You have no way of knowing one way or another. You're only hurting yourself even more during a time where you're already hurting enough without rubbing salt in your own wounds.

I wish she would have said more. I wish I had known she had tried to kill herself a month prior to the murder/suicide happening. I understand why her family kept that private and understand why she wouldn't have told anyone about it. I wish she wouldn't have stayed in an abusive relationship for so long before finally deciding to leave. I wish she would have asked me or anyone else for help. I wish she could have found the peace she was always searching for. I wish a lot of things had been different because then maybe my friend and her ex would both still be alive but I don't blame myself in any way.

You can offer to help someone all you want but that doesn't mean they'll ever take it. You can care and worry until it hurts, until it wears on you physically and mentally, you can do everything in your power but you can't make a person let you in or accept that they can't do it on their own. Sometimes, they will. Sometimes, you'll offer and they'll let down their defenses. They'll open up and let you see that raw vulnerability and you'll be there as they travel back up. It'll be hard and it'll hurt but they'll get there.

Sometimes, they won't ever do anything they say they will because even when it's being offered, sometimes it's just too hard to accept the help people are offering. It's such a silly notion because on paper it seems so easy. You're struggling and slipping further into a darkness that's stealing away the light from your life. People notice and offer you the help you need because you're losing the fight on your own and having another person or two or four to help you through it would make things easier. So you ask for help and those people do what they can to offer their support and do whatever they need for you. It's different than people who suffer on in silence without no one noticing and not being able to say anything on your own. You've got people noticing and you've admitted things suck a little and you're not dealing with it well. On paper, it's easy. On paper, it's so black and white and simple that it makes no sense for this to fail.

Mental illness isn't just black and white and simple. It's not neat and easy. It's one thing to know people are there for you but to be able to reach out and admit that you're really not okay and don't think you can make it back up on your own? It's hard. So hard. There are so many reasons why someone might not reach out when help is being offered to them. It's easy for people to say, "here, just tell me what's wrong and we'll fix it!" when they're not the person sitting there trying to figure out what's wrong and feeling like there's something deeply wrong with them for feeling the way they do. It's hard to ask for help when you feel so broken and wrong that you feel like nothing anyone could possibly say or do would ever make you feel any better. It's hard to see that things could get better when they're bad. Especially if it's been bad for so long. Sometimes you think you should be able to fix your own problems and assume that if you can't even figure out how to fix yourself, no one else will either. Sometimes you don't want to admit to anyone else how bad you really feel. It's tough to open yourself up that way and to be that vulnerable to other people. What if they react poorly? Maybe they'll judge or laugh? Maybe they'll brush it off because maybe it's really not as bad as it seems? What if they treat me differently? What if they think I'm lying? Maybe they'll be indifferent? What if they don't care as much as I thought they would? What if they can't help me? Maybe they'll think I'm just crazy?

So many things keep people from reaching out. It's hard to see that there's any light left when you're so far down. No matter how many people tell you they're there for you, it's not always easy to believe them and not always easy to let go and ask for help. You know that even if you can't open yourself up to friends and family members, there are hotlines and professionals you can reach out to for help.Sometimes even reaching out to a stranger is terrifying. Admitting there's something wrong and admitting you might need help to yourself is one of the hardest things to do. Reaching out to get that help no matter who you're thinking about reaching out to is tough and scary as hell. A lot of people don't realize how much strength and courage it takes for a lot of people to speak up, to say something is wrong, to admit to themselves and others that they need help.

There's still such a stigma deeply rooted here and that alone makes it even harder for so many to seek out help. If I could, I'd help everyone see that it's never too late for them. It sounds so cliche but it's true. As long as you're living and breathing, it's not too late to say something. It's not too late to get help and get back to a better place. It might take a while and it will be hard and it will hurt and it will suck for a while more but it can get better. It will get better.

 I miss her and it still hurts. I wish she would've felt like she had another option. That things could have gotten better. That it wasn't too late. It doesn't always work that way, unfortunately. Sometimes, mental illness wins out and it's crushing. I know she'll never see this but I'm not really writing it for her. I talked to the boyfriend a little about how I was feeling but I didn't talk much. Talking about the way I'm feeling isn't easy for me. Writing my feelings has always been a hundred times easier than speaking them, even if it's someone I trust and love, it's hard to verbalize my emotions and the way I'm feeling. I've written some in a pen and paper journal but I wanted to blog about mental illness again and this all just kind of spilled out in the process. I thought about deleting a lot of this but I figure, if it spilled out, I needed to get it out, so I'll leave it as is. I'll always miss her and it'll probably always hurt a little bit in that aching kind of way that hits you when you think of someone you've lost but that's just a part of living life.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Death and the ugly side of curiosity.

On June 15th, long after I got home from celebrating my birthday and Father's Day with my family, I was laying in bed thinking about what time I needed to be up in the morning. My boyfriend walked in with his phone clutched in his hands and it was one of those moments you just knew something wasn't right. I asked what was wrong and he just handed me his phone and laid down next to me wrapping an arm around me. I read the words on the screen but I couldn't make sense of them. So I read them again. And then a third time. Then I read the names three more times because I was in shock. My friend and her ex had been found dead in what had been the home they shared together up until a few weeks ago when she had begun moving out.

I sat there staring at the words on the screen trying to make sense of it. It was Sunday night. She had been fine Friday. We were having a party on the 21st that she was coming to and was excited about. Instead, my Saturday started by going to her memorial service. That wasn't the way I was supposed to see her that day but that's how it worked out.

Her death made the local news. I went into work the morning after I found out and told my boss what happened so he would understand the mood I was in. He offered to let me go back home and have the morning off. I declined. I needed the distraction and needed to keep focused on something else. Anything else. My co-workers there that day found out from my boss and were supportive and respectful.

As the days passed and a few more details emerged, some of my co-workers and acquaintances decided to start speculating about what may have happened. The death was a murder-suicide so there are so many things left unanswered and unknown. I know people like to talk and speculate about things like this so I avoided news stories and tons of things posted on Facebook and Twitter. I asked my co-workers not to talk about it in front of me.

I learned a new lesson about death. One of the worst things about a friend's death getting media coverage is so many people want to talk to you about it. They'll give you space at first but then they'll get curious and they'll want to talk to you. Because you knew them and maybe you know something that's not mentioned. They'll offer their opinion on what they think happened, an opinion that's based on nothing. Or worse they'll try to pry details out of you like you're just a vault of secrets. Most don't even care that you're hurting, that you're grieving. Their own curiosity is more important than how you're feeling. Some will even get annoyed when you refuse to discuss it. How dare you put your pain ahead of their curiosity! The story was on the news and in the paper so how could I not want to discuss every tantalizing detail?

To them, it's a news story and they're emotionally detached from it. It's something to solve and try to figure out. It's interesting despite the circumstances being unpleasant. So they ask questions and offer scenarios and opinions and want to discuss the whole ordeal with you because you have a better grasp of things and more knowledge of what's going on. It's not because they care, it's just human nature to be curious. Discussing the details and listening to speculation is really the last thing I want to do. To me, I'm sad. I'm angry. I'm confused. I feel lost. I'm aching to understand, to make some form of sense of why this happened not because I'm curious but because if I could just understand, I could cope better. I'll never know more than I know now. I'll never know how things played out and I'll never know why this happened. It's crushing in a way that sudden deaths usually are. I don't find the mystery of all the unknowns interesting; I find them heartbreaking and feel them like heavy rocks weighing me down.

I've had countless people attempt to pry for more details after I've said I don't want to discuss what was on the news. I've had many more offer opinions that I didn't ask for despite me saying I didn't want to discuss it. I've had people try to tell me how I'm supposed to feel and think about my friend because they saw the story.

I understand curiosity, I really do. I'm a very curious person myself. However, I also understand being a decent, respectful human being and understand putting a person's feelings ahead of my own. I've been on the other side of a situation similar to this. Prying and offering speculation to a person directly affected never even crossed my mind. Support was all that I offered because I wanted to help, not do something to make things worse or make them feel worse than they already did. Explaining that concept to people has been exhausting. And it's mostly co-workers, acquaintances and friends of friends. It baffles me that someone would be annoyed or angered by a grieving person not wanting to discuss or speculate about the death of someone they cared about. It's confusing and enraging that a few have even acted like I owe it to them to discuss it.

Unexpected death is hard enough to deal with without having to deal with people you know and others you hardly know pushing you for details and/or offering their opinions on the situation because they saw this here and read that there and that lead them to this conclusion because. I appreciate everyone that's offered their support and respected my wishes to not discuss things. I appreciate that so much more now than I did a week ago because so many people just don't understand or don't care enough not to pry and push.

It's not hard to be decent and respectful. It's not hard to think of how someone else is feeling in a situation where they've lost someone they cared for unexpectedly. Especially when they're telling you how they're feeling and telling you that you're overstepping. It's not difficult to be kind and put their pain ahead of your own desire to feed your curiosity, your desire to know. At least it shouldn't be.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Death Of A Loved One.

“That was the thing. You never got used to it, the idea of someone being gone. Just when you think it's reconciled, accepted, someone points it out to you, and it just hits you all over again, that shocking.” -Sarah Dessen

Today marks the third year since my grandfather passed away. I didn't think I'd cry today because the days leading up to it, I was fine, unlike the previous two years. I thought that meant I must finally be okay with it. I know I'll always miss him but I thought maybe I was finally to a point where I wouldn't cry over it anymore. I woke up this morning and I heard thunder and pouring rain. That seemed fitting and comforting because the sound of a storm always comforts me. I laid in bed and thought of thunderstorms that happened while at my grandparents house and how sometimes, they'd let us go out and play in the rain if it wasn't a dangerous storm. I smiled and got up to start my day. I felt the familiar dull ache I always feel in my chest when I think of him being gone but still, I didn't think I'd cry. 

I hate to cry and I rarely do it. It's not that it makes me feel weak or silly or anything like that and I don't actively try to prevent it from happening. It just takes a lot to bring me to tears. I used to feel bad about that because I felt like something was wrong with me. I've moved passed that. If it happens, I let it happen. I just dislike feeling that vulnerable, that open, even if I'm by myself. I also never feel better after I cry. I know so many people that talk about how cathartic crying is but I don't feel that. I always feel worse and I'm not sure why. 

So today when I heard a song that's about a man singing about his pain and grief over losing the man he loved and respected and trying to cope with that, I didn't try to stop the tears that spilled from my eyes and streamed down my face. I was happy I was in line at the bank drive-thru at the time and not back at the shop because crying in front of people is awkward. I didn't try to stop myself from crying again when I was putting my groceries in my car after work and I happened to look up and oddly see an older gentleman who looked a lot like my grandfather. As much as I hate crying and even though it doesn't really ever make me feel better, holding it in is much worse.

I think too many people get caught up in trying to move on and file away their sad feelings into a place where they can't bother them anymore. Maybe that works for them. That's all you can do, be honest with yourself and find what works for you and do it. Myself, I can't always focus on the good things and sometimes, I need to be sad about something. It's okay to get sad once in a while over losing someone you love, no matter how many years have passed. You can't let that grief and sadness consume you because it will act like a wildfire in dry brush, it was spread quickly and overwhelm you. It will swallow you whole and won't think twice about it. There's a balance and sometimes it's a very delicate line. 

People always say that time will heal all wounds. That time passing is all that really helps you move on from losing someone you love. In part, that's true. It doesn't happen over night. It never happens as quickly as we like it to. It took me a year before I could change the phone contacts in my cell phone from "grandma and grandpa" to just "grandma." It took me even long to stop referring to it as "grandma and grandpa's" house when I'd say that's where I was going. He died June 9th (which unfortunately also happens to be one of my brother's birthdays) and Father's Day in 2011 happened 10 days later. That year, seeing all the "grandfather" cards out for Father's Day felt like a harsh kick to the gut and I ended up leaving Target a sobbing mess because it hurt to much to think about him being gone. A year later, it was a weird realization that I wouldn't need a Father's Day card for him because holy damn it had been a whole year already. I read some anyway and remember getting sad because I'd never need another card for him again. I'd never get another hug after he read whatever sweet but cheesy thing that card said. Sometimes, it's weird things that set you off. Time does make it easier because those things that felt gut wrenching the first few months on up to the first year didn't sting as sharply. You don't cry as easily. You still miss them but the mass that's made up of all the pain and grief is smaller, duller, not as bright, not as sharp.

It's good to focus on the happy things and the good memories you have of someone and I'm lucky to have a lot of good memories and things to laugh and smile about. Sharing stories and memories helps. It brings you closer to the other people who loved the one you loved. You bond in a way that you don't bond with anyone else because you're sharing thoughts and feelings that they truly understand. It's good to remember the positives but it doesn't fully take away the pain of losing them, doesn't help the ache you feel inside when you miss them and doesn't fix the piece of you that feels like it's gone now. I've come to realize that just because the wound of losing a loved one is healed doesn't mean it never hurts you anymore. You just get better at living with it.

“It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.” -Lemony Snicket

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Life can be annoying but don't let that get you down...

There are some things in life that are simple little mistakes I'll probably always make and little life annoyances that will always occur from time to time. 


Or trying to open the front door to my apartment with the mail key or better yet, the bulky key to my car on a day where I'm tired, quite stressed or just distracted.

My face or scalp starting to itch just as soon as I get a fresh coat of paint applied to my fingernails.

Or as I'm not so patiently sitting in the floor or on the couch, forgetting my nails are still not completely dry  and grabbing my phone when a notification goes off. This will undoubtedly smudge my polish leaving me to decide whether to leave it or start over on that nail and fix it. (Unless it's really noticeable to the point that it will bother me, I leave it, because I don't care that much.)

Putting away groceries and then BOOM, I remember that other thing I definitely needed to forget but forgot.

Sometimes, I forget to put the juice back in the refrigerator and don't realize it until I'm back home from work much later that day.

I've put my keys somewhere other than where they usually go when I've got a lot of things in my hands when I come in and now I just don't know if I'll EVER SEE THEM AGAIN.

Forgetting to stop by the store for some item I want or need on the way home from work.

I set my alarm for 5 PM instead of 5 AM and wake up after 6 AM in a panic with very little time to get ready. (On these days, I'm especially thankful I live 5 miles from my job.)


These are just a few examples of little mistakes and small annoyances that occur in life. These things can be quite inconvenient and downright annoying. I could get angry or let myself become filled with annoyance and become grouchy for a short amount of time. (Or a long one if a lot of them happen in a short span of time.) However, I don't focus on things like that and let them have that kind of power over me. I don't see a reason why a little annoyance should ruin my mood or wreck my day. This is definitely easier said than done, at first. It's like anything else though; once you make it a habit, it's no problem at all. 

"Shit happens" is something I've heard adults say since I was a little kid. I didn't understand it then but I get it now. Sometimes, shit happens. 

I think a lot of people get too caught up in the little things when it comes to what they let get under their skin. Sometimes, if you've had a bad day and a lot of things have gone wrong, it's hard not to let the little things just get to you. They're the annoying little ants trying to take away the little crumbs of happiness and peace you have left after a trying day and it's hard not to blow up and want to smash them with a hammer as if they're these large, terrible things coming at you. For me, I've learned to just breathe and try to keep things in perspective. I've made a habit of stopping, taking some deep breaths, really thinking about what the annoying this is and then deciding how I'm going to react and handle it. Usually, it's just something to laugh off and let go of. These things are like papers being stuffed into a binder. If you hold on to them, seething and remembering them and holding on letting them continue to be a part of you, you're going to get to full and then everything is going to come spilling out in a big mess or in short spurts of little explosions. 

So, as trite as it sounds, I don't sweat the small annoying stuff or minor errors I make because they don't really matter in the long run. You can't control everything that happens to you and you can't even always stop yourself from doing something stupid or doing something annoying. You can control how you react and how you let it bother you, though. Letting something so trivial steal any bit of happiness isn't worth it. So when I do something that doesn't really hurt anything or cause any real issues, I just laugh it off because I'm not going to remember tomorrow anyway so I'm not going to let it bother me now.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Toys for Tots Fundraiser #5, Final Post.

I have done this fundraiser in 2009, 2010, 20112012 and again last year in 2013 making it the 5th year in a row. I almost didn't do the fundraiser last year because I didn't have a computer at the time and was working so much I rarely had any free time at all. Then I decided pretty last minute that I didn't want to skip doing it. That even if I only managed to raise $50, it would be something to add to what I was going to buy on my own anyway. So I threw a post up on the blog using my phone (which is quite a bit more tricky than it sounds since the blogger app for my android was a giant pain in the ass many updates ago) and decided to see what I could get. 

In just two weeks, I raised a total of $720 to go shopping with. This of course included my own donation and a very awesome $100 gift card to buy toys off Amazon from a very wonderful lady overseas. I was a bit overwhelmed because given the lack of notice, I didn't expect much but you wonderful people as well as a couple coworkers and some of my amazing friends and family members came through spectacularly, as always.

If you want to see final results of the fundraiser from years passed, you can check all of those out here:

The final results from 2009: Here
The final results from 2010: Here
The final results from 2011: Here 
The final results from 2012: Here


Now, on to some pictures from 2013. As I said, I didn't have a computer to use in December and haven't had one until this month when my boyfriend finally got ours fixed and running again. So I do apologize for the delay in getting this post done. Although I did e-mail pictures to those who request I do so as well as posted a few to Twitter and to my blog's facebook page so there aren't many people that donated that haven't seen the pictures yet but still, posting this is necessary. Right? Right.

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If you want to see the full album (22 pictures) then just click here to take a look at the Toys for Tots 2013 Flickr page to view the rest of them. 

I want to say thank you to those of you who donated. Whether it was $2, $10, $25, $50 or more; it doesn't matter. I appreciate it and I know the families that benefit from Toys for Tots doing what they do appreciate it, too. I have so much fun being able to do this. I've donated to Toys for Tots since I was a little kid and my mom let us each buy a couple toys of our choosing to give to them and kept doing so for as long as I can remember.  So blame her for getting me started into this one. ;) Doing it on such a large scale the last few years has been so awesome. I couldn't do it without all of your help so thank you. I also want to say thank you to everyone who posted on their blogs, tweeted links and otherwise badgered told their friends and readers alike about what I had going on in hopes of getting more donations. To everyone who donated or helped in some way... thanks so much! You're wonderful and I heart you. :) Until next time!