Furiously Happy – The Theme Song — House Show Junkies

Some of you may or may not be familiar with Jennifer Lawson (The Bloggess) – if you are, you know that she is one amazing lady with two New York Times Best-Belling books to her credit (Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy) and an amazingly hilarious blog that shares a lot of her struggles with […]

via Furiously Happy – The Theme Song — House Show Junkies

Local Music Friday – Sassyland Edition – Beth Whitney

Many of you know how much music means to me. I’ve shared my experiences here in this blog several times. I thought I’d share with you a video of a lady that has one of the sweetest voices. This is Beth Whitney. Words are hard to come by when I try to explain what Beth’s voice does for me. She just touches my soul. She brings me comfort and is so pure and lovely in every way.

Fever – Covered by Beth Whitney

Suffering For Your Art

I have many, many people in my life that are musicians. Some I love as much as I love my own family. Being a musician is surely something only few can be prosperous at. And there are different levels of success. Some are completely happy to do it on the side while pursuing a regular job/career. Some dive in full force into it and hope that their hard work pays off. I’ve found people who work tirelessly at their craft and are completely content giving their music away and performing two or three times a year and others that put tours together that travel 20 states in 50 days doing 45 shows. What I’m getting at here is “success” means something different to all of these folks.

A few months ago, on Facebook, one of my friends that I met through music (he’s a very amazing pianist, himself, and an all around excellent human) shared a video of a gentleman that was clearly busking on the street. His voice was wavering, but he clearly knew his way around a guitar fretboard. He played with passion and in the video, he was unkept and appeared to be homeless. None of this bothers me at all – because hey, I don’t know his story and at least he’s out there doing what he can to get tips and he’s sharing his heart through music. I get it. I sooooo fucking get it. After seeing this video, something in my head clicked, but I didn’t know that it had clicked until about a month and a half later when we went to a pizza/beer joint with our kids and got up to leave.

As we were leaving the table and getting our coats on, my husband said, “Hey! There’s a guy out there busking!” This isn’t something you see every day in our town, so when it happens, you notice. I squinted my eyes and tried to focus through the misty, fogged up windows and, sure enough, it was Stan. To which I exclaimed, “Hey! That’s Stan!!!!!!!!!!!!” My husband was a little taken aback that I knew who this guy was, so I explained about the video that was shared. I immediately scrounged through my purse and found my only $5 and my husband looked through his wallet and found only a few ones. Our kids got in the car because it was raining pretty hard and breezy out and my husband and I walked across the street under a rooftop of a closed, vacant business where Stan was playing. He was in mid-song, but I totally (and probably rudely) blurted out, “HI! Are you Stan?! I have seen video’s of you on Facebook!” I told him my name, we introduced with hugs and we listened to him sing a song of his choosing to us that fit the situation we were experiencing. I hadn’t heard it before and just wanted to appreciate his gift in the rain on a cold November night. We told him thank you and that we enjoyed his playing and gave him our contributions and hoped that it would give him gas money or a warm meal.

It’s been a few months since that meeting with Stan. One three occasions we have been able to contribute to Stan, who we learned has lost most of everyone in his family. His Father’s last wish was that Stan pursue music. Stan took that to mean that he needs to do that and nothing else and he is suffering for his art. My friend that posted the video and I have chatted on a few occasions regarding Stan. Before getting too involved, I wanted to know how much he knew about him, which wasn’t much, other than he is living in his van and plays music on the street – I was told he seemed like a very intelligent guy and he was not into drugs or boozing his way through life, which made me feel pretty comfortable about trying to help him more than that one encounter on the street after the pizza.

I’ve had several conversations with Stan and have seen him a few times over these last few months. We stumbled into him while meeting someone at a coffee shop one time – we exchanged hugs, we made sure he had a large hot coffee to keep him warm. Chatting with my friend that originally shared the video he told us that his most requested need, the thing that helps him get through really rough nights are hand warmers. The ones that fit inside of gloves or socks? Anyway, we bought him a whole case of those, wrapped them up for Christmas and drove around town trying to find him to give them to him along with a pair of fingerless gloves. Another time, someone had gifted him a portable propane heater and he asked on Facebook if anyone had any propane cylinders. We hadn’t been camping in FOREVER so I rummaged through our camping equipment and found 3 of them and met him at a coffee shop so that he could have them – the weather was bitter then, around 20 degrees and living in a van that you barely had money to pay for gas with all of his busking money – my daughter and I bought him a gigantic cup of coffee to get his insides warm and we sat and chatted for awhile. He’s very present and intelligent. Not out of it in any way. He seems genuine and caring and – yes, if you’ve been on the street for awhile, I’d guess that you figure out pretty quickly what people respond positively to, but I didn’t get the feeling that what he was showing us was an act. I think he sees beauty in the world, has fallen on rough times with losing his family and relocated to Washington State from New York to escape the frigid winters there. He told us about the farm he lived on where the snow drifts would get 8 feet tall and the old farm house they lived in. How he worked side-by-side with his grandpa. Sometimes, it’s nice to not pass these people by and to actually invest a little time.

He’s chosen a path that not many would choose. Stan told me that he is a very talented vehicle technician. He’s worked on import cars. Yet, he chooses to suffer for his art and not seek work outside of playing on the streets .

His latest rant on Facebook had something to do with me. I posted “Those that say money can’t buy happiness, clearly haven’t purchased a plane ticket to Hawaii.” We are planning our 25th anniversary trip to Maui this summer. So, naturally, I’m looking at airfares almost daily. ANYWAY – he saw this post on Facebook and he clicked the “like” button. His response was his own status message shortly afterwards:

Those that say money cant buy happiness are assholes who have NEVER had to choose between eating and fuel. With as much kindness as i can manage i say: go screw yourself.

To which I apologized (after he liked my status message) if I pissed him off in any way with my post. I have tons of Facebook friends and he took offense, which was not my intent. Sometimes we forget when we are making snide, cheeky comments that others aren’t as fortunate as we are. Does that mean I’m not going to share my life with those on Facebook? Fuck no. I’ll still share vacation pictures and all the other things that I get to experience because of my hard work and determination to make a good life for myself and my family. Unfortunately, Stan has made his choice to suffer for his art. Or maybe it’s not unfortunate at all. Maybe he wants to live life having a pity party – which seems harsh to say, but after seeing more comments that he posted , it’s exactly what he’s asking for.

He complains about working 18 hours a day, playing his music until his fingers bleed. Cinching his belt tighter and tighter. Making $1.75/day. To me, that is insanity. He’s clearly able to live better. He truly is. Yet, he chooses to suffer for his art. He doesn’t have gas money to keep his van on the road. I’ve invited him to house shows, so that he can get out of the cold, get some food – because GOD KNOWS – we have so much, it’s embarrassing. But, I cannot be the one that supports him fully. I just can’t. Sure, we go out to dinner a lot. We go on vacations. We have insurance and jobs and own our home and have two cars and can get gas whenever we need it, but I cannot adjust my life and the way I share things on social media because Stan can’t handle other peoples happiness or good fortune. But…

HE CAN HAVE THAT TOO.

And it upsets me deeply that I can’t do more. It really does. You have no idea how many times I have kept myself awake at night thinking of ways to talk to him and try to get him placed at a job. Or even if I could somehow get his van in the back yard so he can be safe, instead of who knows where he goes at night. But, I need to take a step back and realize that maybe he just needs to live like this. I have enough respect for how other people live their lives to not butt in and try to solve all their problems outwardly – no matter how much I want to and dream of doing it internally.

My husband described it as “victim mentality”. But I’m not so sure about that. I may never know. He may never make it out of here finding the success that makes him happy. Or maybe he will. And that is how I’m going to have to look at it. Maybe he will.

I suspect I’m not the only person that he will affect in his life by his story.

 

Ranty Times in Sassyland

I have co-workers that seem to be getting away with a whole helluva lot of stuff lately and the culmination of their gettingawaywithit’s (shut-up spellcheck…) is just really starting to make me super bitter and pissy. It probably doesn’t help that my BFF is somewhat of a manager figure in their lives and uses me as a sounding board – but to be honest, I may have to ask her to stop, but my fear of her not telling ME these things, is that she will tell someone else that will not be as discreet as I am/have been – so I’d rather be the one that she comes to, but it’s wearing me out because at this point, I feel like I couldn’t do ANYTHING to get my ass fired that would be as bad as the bullshit I’m hearing about…not only that, but I’d never even test that theory because I’m awesome like that and I get paid a decent wage to do my job and don’t feel the need to test any of the powers-that-be.

There are other things too – like my relationship feels strained on my end with my BFF because of the way I see how she is or isn’t managing these people. I’m feeling really judgey – not in a catty way or in a way that I don’t want to see her succeed – it’s more of a disappointment, I guess, that she is allowing to be taken advantage of and allowing certain staff members to get away with certain behaviors that, in the real world, would get their asses pink-slipped.

I attempt to give her solid professional advice which I feel falls on deaf ears, which makes me just want to shut my fucking mouth and not say a word, but I want her to succeed and my feeling is that if she continues to be taken advantage of, at some point, someone who matters will catch wind of it and then it will reflect poorly on HER that she didn’t take a stand when these behaviors started showing their ugly heads.

I’m in a pickle here. I’m a very honest person. If I feel that I need to have a hard conversation with her about how she is being perceived, I have no issue with having that conversation. I can be very diplomatic and lady-like, if forced when I need to be. And how she is being perceived is not really up for debate – if these people saw her as an authority figure, they would not be testing the waters like this. Testing the waters is something one does when they want to see how far they can push a person. If these people had any respect for her position as their immediate supervisor, they would be courteous and do things like call her when they take a sick day, or not take a sick day every Monday or Friday, or do something as simple as listen to their voicemails so that when they call in sick and she has to cover their office while they are out, she doesn’t have 40-50 voicemails that need to be listened to and/or responded to.

Here’s a GREAT example:

Yesterday, one of the units in an apartment complex that my BFF supervises, caught on fire. A very sad and heartbreaking thing to happen – a woman lost her life and a little 5 year old boy was in critical condition with burns all over his body. No one else was hurt. Apparently, the manager of that complex, one of these co-workers I’m bitching about, had stayed home sick yesterday. So, my BFF got a call that there was a fire from one of the maintenance staff, so she dropped what she was doing and took off for the complex to do whatever she could at the property, since the manager was gone, apparently – because she hadn’t gotten that call in the morning to let her know that she was home sick. (See? I mean…) After things had settled down a bit she took a moment to text the manager to let her know what happened.

No response.

Like, if something like that had happened to the property I manage, my ass would have 1.) Called to let my boss know I was sick and couldn’t make it in – IN THE DAMN FIRST PLACE. 2.) Had I gotten notified that an emergency of this magnitude had occurred, I would have jumped out of bed, gotten dressed and went down there!!!!!!!!! I just would. And I bet if you thought about that for even 2 seconds, that would be your reaction as well.

So, more time passed throughout the day and my BFF texted again to let her know that someone had passed from the fire and a boy was burned badly and after awhile she got this message back:

Is the fire out?

FOUR WORDS. She never showed up to see if she could help…

In defense of this person, she is a very caring individual. I think some things are happening in her personal life that are causing her to not make some very good decisions. BUT IF NO ONE CALLS HER ON IT, SHE WILL CONTINUE DOING THIS BULLSHIT.

Bye-guys

Anyway, I’m feeling burdened by all of this. It’s hard for me to take her seriously at all. Like…at. all.  SEE?!?!?!?! I’m getting PISSY NOW! Gah! There’s more, but I need to keep that to myself and just end this rant here because it’s already too long and I’m sure I’ve bored you with this subject enough.

Thanks for listening, y’all.

 

 

 

Powerball madness, y’all.

Did you get your tickets yet? Do you live somewhere that doesn’t HAVE Powerball? Sucks to be you, eh? I mean…It’s $1.5 BBBBBBBBillion Dollaires. That’s BILLION. WITH A “B”!

I just had this conversation with my husband via The Facebook Messenger:

9:49am

Hubs: I have the vertigo this morning!
Me: uh-oh.
Me: hydrate.
Hubs: yep
Hubs: I did eat an orange
Me: Maybe we’re gonna have an earthquake.
Much like dogs can sense earthquakes and no one knows why – or maybe they do and I just don’t remember the reason…
Hubs: Maybe it’s Powerball fever
Me: Maybe! I should get a couple tickets.
Hubs: Won’t work.
The fuck?!
Hubs: Spadafore has the winning ticket
“Spadafore” is a buddy of his at work…
Hubs: and he’s not sharing the numbers
Stingy bastard, that Spadafore…
Me: He’s lying.
Me: Everyone says that.
Hubs: huh
Hubs: When it went from 1.3 to 1.5, he said I could have the $200 million
Me: I’d rather be the one to give HIM the 200 Mil.
It’s simple math, really…I mean…duh.
Me: So…
Me: nice try.
Hubs: okay
Me: And…uh…if he DOES have the winning numbers, then…the deal is STILL ON.
I amaze even myself, you guys…I’m fucking brilliant.
Me: Sneaky, right?
Hubs: very
I don’t like his tone.
P.S. This is probably the first thing I’d buy with my winnings:
dollar-signs-bling-ring

I’m pretty sure it says somewhere in the fine print on the back of the tickets that you are 100% obligated to buy one of these rings when you win the lottery.

Misophonia – It’s a “thing”, y’all. Look it up.

It happens against my will. It’s almost as if I get possessed. One minute I’m fine…the next I’m shooting daggers out of my eyes.

Usually, the first thing that I notice is people chewing their food noisily. At first, I’m able to control my twitchy eye. Breathing exercises work great. After that fails, though…all bets are off.

I drop little hints to those around me starting with that stare with the squinky eye. (Dear spellcheck…squinky IS a word…because I just made it up.) The offender usually senses this look…stops chewing for a moment, then says something like, “What?” to which I respond, “Oh…nothing…” hoping they get the hint. When that fails I go a little bit more passive-aggressive-aggressive.

Do those Funyuns taste good?!

I’m usually met with, “They sure do, want some?” I respectfully decline.

It will typically escalate from there. Here are ways that I will attempt to drown out or get them to stop:

  1. Turn on my music at my desk or turn on the TV.
  2. When that doesn’t work, I’ll turn up the volume so that I drown out that god-forsaken sound from my head.
  3. I remind myself that I love the person making this goddamned noise and sometimes that works…most of the time it does not.
  4. Slamming of dishes ensues.
  5. I will literally throw a fork onto my plate causing a scene making everyone nervous and occasionally they will leave the room.
  6. Heavy sighs work the best, I’ve found. And if you accompany the squinky eye and the stare-down, the offender knows you mean business.
  7. The final straw comes when I have had enough. Usually directed at my poor sweet husband or my BFF who both love me unconditionally and are the worst offenders. These two people love me DISPITE my shortcomings and weird quirks. I typically lose it completely.

The conversation will begin with the look. And my reactions exponentially get ballsy-er from there:

  • Blank stare while simultaneously freezing in place causing a silence in my general direction that is immediately noticed and the sense of being watched rather intensely is completely palpable.
  • They look in my direction, usually freezing in mid-chew. Let’s not forget, these people know me. They know exactly what this look means.
  • They say, “What?” – I say, “I’m literally going to stab you and to go prison if you don’t figure out how to chew more softly.” They say, “I’m just eating.” – I say, “Fine! YOU EAT AND I’LL GO LOOK FOR A KNIFE!”
  • They say, “You need to calm down.” – I say, “What would you like on your headstone? ‘Here lies Mr. Sassy, his wife murdered him because he wouldn’t chew softly and she fucking had had enough, already.'”*

In the end, I make my point. And a few days later, I feel really bad that I went so nutso about it – but SERIOUSLY.

* Don’t you fucking love it when you get to use “had had” in a sentence?! I do. Especially if it ends up on a head stone.

 

Anxiety in Sassyland

Have you ever read something and realized as you were reading it, that it is explaining exactly how you feel in certain situations? Well, that happened to me last night. The funny thing is, I never really realized what I have experienced had a name or that other people felt it and if I did, I never ever in a million years would have thought that it was something that described ME in any way. I mean…I’m not an idiot.

Thank you, Jennifer Lawson. “Furiously Happy” has opened my eyes to this feeling that takes over my life on certain occasions, and because of this, I feel slightly less strange, weird, psycho, closed-off, odd, scared and even a little alone. In this book of “essays” as it is described, lies a whole lot of truth. A whole lot of real-life hysterically terrifying ways that Jenny has dealt with her mental illness adventures. I say “adventures” because almost each chapter is a story in itself. She is refreshingly honest with her writing and makes the reader feel as though they are there with her ducked under a table or hidden in a bathroom stall or – beside her on the floor of her bedroom with “dead arms” trying to keep the cat from attacking her phone as she dictates the moment she woke up from her nap and the lack of circulation to her arms had caused her to be armless for what seems like an eternity and how she instinctively knew the moments leading up to that moment that morning had to be documented because it was literary GOLD. It’s no wonder that her book as been on the NY Times Bestseller list for 4 straight weeks. There is a desperate need for her voice in this world.

You see, I have a very bubbly personality – more so when I was younger, but at the ripe old age of 44, I’m finding that I still have, for the most part, my bubbliness in tact. I’m social. I like to hang out with my friends and do things and experience things…but sometimes…I’m the exact opposite. Sometimes, I don’t want to be around people or be in a crowd or mingle with people I don’t know. Sometimes the thought of meeting someone new just overwhelms the holy living shit out of me. It’s called “Anxiety”. And an even better term for what I’m self-diagnosing would be “Social Anxiety”.

I was once sent to a networking/marketing class – to learn to network for and market my parents business. What I didn’t realize, until after I got there, was that I was in a room full of artificial people that were all talking to each other, but they weren’t listening to each other. It was as if they were there for show, wanted something out of me – business, word of mouth exposure, me to think they were the most incredible person I had ever met – and there I was…just watching, from the corner. Sweaty. Feeling overwhelmed. Breathing heavily. Avoiding eye contact. Wanting to get the hell out of there as fast as humanly possible. But. I. Couldn’t. I was somewhat petrified. Frozen. Trapped. In this sweaty, hyperventilating state. Plus – I was with someone – a co-worker- who ate this shit up for breakfast. It was probably the longest day of my life. I hate networking.

I. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE. IT.

Another time when anxiety got the best of me was when I returned to my job after vacation and my boss had decided to change my job title without discussing it with me first – no real reason, but I went from an office job to working in a warehouse – apparently the person that they had take over for me while I was on vacation had rainbows flying out of her butt and her mother was a higher up and blammo – Sassy got kicked to the curb. There goes Sassy’s job. Meh – hindsight being what it is – it was for the best. BUT – when it was happening?! Holy shitballs, you guys…I thought I was losing my mind. I really went off the deep end. I walked out of the office to a corner of this huge 50,000 square foot warehouse, all by myself and just bawled my fucking eyes out, called my mom so that she could calm me down. The physical things that happened to me were something I had never experienced before as an adult. My hands started shaking, breathing was erratic, I felt really clammy but hot at the same time. I remember my hearing sort of turned off and there was a slight ringing in my ears. I knew that I was in a full panic attack – even though I hadn’t ever remembered having one before.

There have been other instances – mostly surrounding groups of people that are just really beautiful and thin and have their shit together – where I’ve just retreated to a place where no one else was, usually I was with my husband and just sort of disappeared to a corner or to a table far away from anyone else – typically this happens when I’m with my husbands co-workers at an event or something. I just don’t belong in a room with those people. It’s come to a point where I just really try not to be placed in those situations. If I’m going to hang out with those people, it’s gonna be on my turf, man.

We are throwing a Halloween party this Friday. At our house. My turf. I can totally handle this. You know why? BECAUSE IT’S MY DAMN HOUSE and I CAN GO TO MY ROOM AND SHUT THE DOOR AND HIDE WITH A COCKTAIL! But I won’t because I’m waaaaaaaaaay more comfortable in a controlled environment than I am on neutral ground. Plus, chances are, some asshole isn’t going to show up to my party unless they really want to spend time with me and on the flip-side of that, I don’t invite people I don’t want to spend time with so it’s really a perfect storm.

So, other than my abandonment issues (someday I’ll get into that) and my need for everyone to like me (although age has gotten me to a point where I realize that I really am not that much of a people pleaser anymore and hey, if you like me, awesome. If you don’t, meh…I’ll get over it – I have lots of friends that I love very deeply and who love me in return, so I’m cool, bro.), I’m pretty sure that this anxiety stuff is my only real issue. It doesn’t consume my entire life…but it has made things interesting at times. I’ve missed out on some things I may have otherwise enjoyed, but was crippled by my fear of being put into situations that I couldn’t just remove myself from if I felt the need to leave.