Double, Double Toil and Fresh Lemon Juice?

I’m a bit under the weather this morning.  I felt it coming on last night while I was at work.  Hubby’s had a cold.  Kiddo had a cold.  And now…I have a cold.

So, I did what I do.  Perfectionism at its finest!  I threw together every cliché I could think of for warding off sickness, like the cartoon version of a witch, minus the cackling.  (Cackling is hard on a dry throat.  Who knew?)

  • Chicken soup…CHECK!
  • Or was it vegetable soup…better throw that in the pot, too. CHECK!
  • And rice?  Isn’t that supposed to ease digestion?  You’re supposed to feed rice and boiled chicken to your dog if it gets in the trash, or at least that’s what the vet recommended for my in-law’s dog.  I feel trashy.  Hmm… Adding rice to the pot…CHECK!
  • STIR.  And wheeze.  And sniff.  And wipe.  And STIR!
  • Ingore the hubby’s comments that you can’t get rid of a cold in one meal.
  • And STIR.
  • Mawhaaaahaaaa!!!!  (Evil laughs are easier on the throat than cackling. Why doesn’t anyone else SHARE this helpful information?)

What else?  Time for the Internet…

  • Vitamins…Already taking them.  CHECK!
  • How about some ibuprofen for the achiness?  YUMMY!!!  Oooh!  And my knee feels better.  Bonus.
  • Tea?  Sure!!!  Depending on your geography, tea cures everything.  Right? Better put the kettle on.
  • Sift through boxes and boxes of herbal teas.  Ignore “best use by” dates. Does tea go bad?  Brain feels “froggy.”  Knock 3 boxes of tea onto the counter.
  • Stir pot of soup.
  • More evil laughter from me.
  • More unhelpful comments from hubby and some Facebook cat videos.  Aren’t cat videos supposed to be helpful?  Ummm…sure.  I think I must have read that…somewhere?  Hubby’s videos featuring adorable kittens are probably chock-full of healing properties.  And who doesn’t love kittens?  KITTENS!!!
  • Stir pot of soup.  It’s getting mushy.  Mushy soup is heathy soup.  Yes?  No? Better turn off the stove.
  • Kettle is whistling.  Did I actually pick out a tea flavor, or did I just test the gravity around the tea boxes?  I think it’s the latter.  What’s good for a cold?  I have ginger tea…possibly leftover from my maternity days, or possibly purchased more recently by my hubby.  Kiddo is in Jr High School, so I’m hoping it’s the latter.  I’m fairly sure it’s the latter…Again, can tea really go bad?  Hmm…
  • OH!!!  Hey, I’ve got camomile.  Benjamin Bunny drank camomile tea.  Or was it Peter Rabbit.  I’m a little fuzzy on my Beatrix Potter, but I’m sure I read it in one of those books.  Can you use TWO teabags at once?  If you’re a rebel, you can do all sorts of things.  Plus, the goal is to purge the sickness out of me in one sitting.
  • Garlic bread!  Garlic keeps away vampires, right?  And garlic is supposed to do something for sickness, or immunity, or maybe it just keeps everyone away.  There MIGHT be garlic in garlic bread?  I’m not sure.  It was in the freezer and only a dollar when I bought it.  So…garlicly results may vary, but it’s sure to be tasty with my soup concoction.  Into the oven it goes.!!
  • Looky there, I’ve got fresh lemons.  And kiddo said I wouldn’t use them.  HA!  I bought them in a citrus grab bag on Wednesday.  Oranges, lemons, and two types of limes, all in one bag for 99 cents.  SOLD!  I think the produce guys were just clearing out their onesies/twosies.  It’s like fate squirted lemon juice right in my eye so I’d have fresh lemon juice on hand for my tea.  Thanks Fate! You’re a peach!  (Also in the grab bag.)
  • Plus, I have Vernors in the house.  Which doesn’t go in my anything, but if you live in Michigan, you’d know we believe that Vernors isn’t JUST a carbonated ginger ale beverage.  It also has magical healing powers and tastes great with a scope of vanilla ice cream.
  • Honey.  That’s supposed to help a cold.  Like Vernors, I think it also has magical healing powers.  Do I have honey?  Yes, I inherited a small jar of honey when my parents moved out of state.  Don’t ask!
  • Honey, lemon, and two tea bags.  Do I have a mug big enough to contain it all?  I am a coffee drinker.  My coffee mugs are the stuff of legends.  Can tea cross-dress?  Wow, I’m a bad influence, even on my tea.  Cross-dressed tea it is!


*Warning, should you decide to try my cold remedy, be advised that I am NOT in the medical profession.  I did take an anatomy class in college.  Twice.  The same class because I didn’t do so hot the first around.  Woops!

**Also don’t forget to take the garlic bread out of the oven.  I didn’t set a timer.  Umm…yeah.  I didn’t burn it.  Don’t judge!  Check the stove, make sure you turned it off.  And the oven.  And the stove again.  Check like…3 times, just to be sure.  And like…wash your hands multiple times.  And remind yourself you’re not being obsessive/compulsive.  You’re just being really, REALLY careful.  Because of the “frogs.”  In your brain.  Scary!

***Also, I still have a cold.  So the self-prescribed one sitting cold remedy didn’t exactly HEAL me, but I’m sure the placebo effect isn’t hurting anything.  Yet.  Unless you can get sick from ancient tea bags.  In which case, I’m in BIG trouble.

****Oh!  And REAL cats have more healing powers than video cats, or so says the cat sitting next to me.  But DON’T try to watch cat videos, with your cat, with a laptop on your lap, while holding a giant cup of Methuselah’s tea.  Just don’t do it.  Trust me on this!

*****And wash your hands after reading this post.  Eww!!  Germs.  Gross.

Are you still breathing? Writing 101, Final Assignment


It’s the final day for Writing 101.  I’m looking ahead.  I’m looking behind.

And it hits me.

In 3 months time, the year 2015 will be over.  I will be celebrating my first year AWAY from my previous employer.  That in itself is wild, and scary, and terrifying, and exciting, and possibly worthy of a happy dance.  A happy interpretive dance with drums, a tambourine, and a mason jar filled with body glitter!  *Jazz Hands*

Back in January, I’d hoped for a better future, but I was sad.  I was depressed.  I felt like a failure.  I didn’t know what was going to happen to me.  Leaving a job is rough.  Being “released” from a job you’ve worked at for 15 years…is like losing a part of yourself.  You don’t WANT your job to define who you are, but it sneaks up on you like moldy bread at the back of the fridge.  One day you’re making a PB & J sandwich, and the next day you’re looking at green fuzz wondering, “How did that happen?”

But…I survived.  Corporate downsizing does not kill you.  It makes you take up new hobbies.

It’s taken me 9 months to get where I am today.  A fitting amount of time for a rebirth!  In that time, I took up painting.  Me.  A painter.  Who would of thunk it?  Not me!  I’m blogging again.  I’m writing again.  I’m ACTIVELY taking charge of my mental health.  I created a library space in my home.  I purged so many bags of unwanted items,  I’ve lost count.  At one point, I was donating at least one garbage bag of STUFF every week, not to mention all the clutter I threw out.  I turned my bedroom into the restful sanctuary I’ve always wanted. I learned how to professionally clean a house, from top to bottom.  I learned that I still have lots more to learn, and that’s OK.  I’ve gone to book club meetings and met authors.  I managed to keep my garden alive.  For an ENTIRE summer!   Woo hoo!!!

And the best part is, I KNOW I wouldn’t have accomplished any of this if I’d stayed on the same path I was on before.  I wouldn’t have changed because I wouldn’t have seen the need to change.  Like a good little monkey, I would have waved “hi” to the family in passing, then off to work, home, bed, and start it all over again the next day.  The same routine.  No variety.  Might as well feed me kibble, too.  Gesh!

It’s like with writing.  The BEST villains don’t KNOW they’re the villain.  They think they are the heroes of their story.  And the BEST worker bees don’t know they’re stuck in a hive mentality.  They just work, and work, and work…until you swat them with a newspaper for getting inside your house.  And sometimes you need that!  You need SOMETHING to let you know that you’re NOT doing OK.  You need someone, or something to jar you into action, to shove a mirror in your face to check if you’re still breathing.  “Hey there buddy, are you in a coma or are you stuck on autopilot?  Because I can’t see the difference.”

And the odd thing is, it’s not like I don’t have to work anymore.  Because I’m back on that hampster wheel once more.  But it’s different.  I’m different.  I’m not the same person I was this at this time last year.  I’m better.  I’m aged like wine, not aged bread.  And I’m grateful for it.  ;)

*Writing 101, Final Assignment

Getting Started

I’ve been making excuses for NOT writing a new blog post, for staying away, for allowing my perfectionism to get a foothold in my life.  AGAIN.  I don’t care what project you’re struggling with, most of the time, 99% of the problem is getting started.  Once you get started, things usually have a way of working themselves out, but getting started…AKKKK!!!!!!!!

I think we’re all capable of AMAZING things if we just get started.

Want to write a novel?

Start with one sentence, and keep adding more.

Need to organize a room?

Pick a starting point and work your way around the perimeter.

Break it down into manageable steps.  Don’t try to do EVERYTHING because you can’t.  Baby steps.  Baby steps.  BABY STEPS!

Easier said than done, right?  That’s the problem.  Deep down, we all KNOW what we need to do.  But it easier to make excuses than to take care of ourselves.  And for some screwed up reason, we like to beat ourselves up for being human, which leads to MORE procrastination, and less doing.  Oh!  And if we can’t do it the right way, we don’t want to do it at all.  Why bother writing if you’ll never be published?  Why bother getting started when that snarky voice in the back of your head is telling you, “You’re going to fail!  You fail at everything.  You never finish your projects.”

I know this voice!  I know it far too well.  What it doesn’t tell you is that it’s OK to fail.  It’s OK to give up the small battles if it means taking control of your life again.

Those unfinished craft projects?  It’s OK to donate the components, or even to throw them away.  Just because you started a project 10 years ago, doesn’t mean you’re shackled to it!  If it’s no longer resonating with you, if it’s not bringing you joy, if you’ve moved on to a different place in your life, it’s OK to start something new.  Those tangled knitting projects, random quilt blocks, and unfinished scrapbooks are THINGS, not people.  You’re not abandoning them, you’re moving forward.  And that’s OK.  Just because you were into porcelain unicorns when you were 8, doesn’t mean you have to hold onto them when you’re 80.  Oh!  And the opposite is true as well.  Just because you’re a grownup, doesn’t mean you have to give up all your toys.  You want to collect replica toy cars?  Go ahead!  That’s OK.

The point is, we’re all works in progress.  We’re never the final draft of ourselves.  We change, we grow, and periodically…we have to prune away the stuff that’s not working for us.

As I write this post, a work crew is fixing the potholes in our neighborhood.  At some point, a neighbor tried to fill the hole with bricks.  A+ for creativity, but not really effective.


I’d like to fault this person, but all of us have done this, metaphorically speaking.  We fill the holes in our lives with “stuff.”  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes it doesn’t.  And if it’s not working out the way we hoped it would, it’s not a fail.  It’s OK to try something new and to change it if things don’t work out.

Our Name Has Changed!


After much deliberating, I finally put on my big girl pants and changed the name of my site.  The Williamson Vampires are still going to be part of this blog.  Heck, Bobbi and Chloe Williamson’s fictional antics gave me the courage to start this blog.  I’m not about to forget them!!  But the thing is, my little vampire playground is only a teeny-tiny part of what I write about.

It’s hard to move forward, to admit that I’ve grown as a person and as a writer.  Changing the name…makes me feel sad.  And happy.  And confused.  But mostly happy…until I get nostalgic.  *Sniff!*

Anyhoo…I’m still here.  I’m still me.  I’m still rambling about my vampires, and fairies, and other fictional friends.  I’m also going to continue to post my pics, to yammer on about the antics at yonder Hoffman Haus, along with ALL my other ramblings.

In other words, bigger circus tent, but still the same pen-monkey.

Writing, Not Writing, And Word Counts

I could probably write about my struggles with perfectionism every single day, and never run out of content.  Except eventually, I WOULD run out of steam, and then I’d find a way to sabotage myself.  That’s what I do.  I think that’s what all perfectionists do.  We try so hard to do everything the “right” way, we manage to fulfill our own prophecies.

Wouldn’t it be AWESOME if we used our perfectionist powers for good?

World peace?

Got it!

Hole on in the ozone layer?

It’s next on my To Do list.

Instead, we tell ourselves, “You’re never going finish what you started.  You never finish anything.”  And guess what?  We’re right!!!  High five???  Anyone?  Bueller?

Okay, no one wants to high five me because it’s kind of sad, a little pathetic, and stings with righteous truth.  Ouch!  Perfectionists like to do things the “right way,” or not at all.  The concept of “good enough” makes us feel like we’re cheating.

I signed up for Writing 101, because I felt like I needed a crutch.  I’d been away from my blog.  I was burned out.  I needed a starting point, a little reboot.  Nothing wrong with that.  You injure your foot, nobody expects you to run a marathon.  You keep weight off your boo-boo until you don’t need crutches anymore.  It’s not something to feel guilty about.  But here’s the thing, as soon as I got a writing prompt that I didn’t speak to me, as soon as I got busy with other things in my life, as soon as I missed a post.  I felt GUILTY.  Because if you’re going to sign up for Writing 101, you need to do it the RIGHT way.  Follow the directions.  Color inside the lines.  Be a good little pen-monkey or don’t bother trying.

In the past, this course would have done me more harm than good.  Writing 101 isn’t the problem.  It’s a crutch, remember?  A helping tool.  It’s a good thing!  The problem is, in the past, I would have turned this tool into a sign of my shortcomings.  One more failure to add to my giant failure mountain.  You’re probably  thinking, “That’s messed up!”  And you’re right!!!  It is messed up.  In the scheme of things, what does it matter if I write one prompt or none of them?  I’m not in grade school with the threat of, “This will go on your permanent record,” looming over me.  I’m an adult.  A grown up.  I’ve got bills to pay and everything!

If I’m an adult, then why do I treat myself so badly?  Why do I set myself up for failure?  Why do I give myself unrealistic expectations?  Why can’t I forgive myself for being human?  Why do I put burdens on myself that I can’t handle?  I bully myself inside my own mind.  I expect more from myself than I’d ever ask of anyone else.  And when I can’t live up to the goals I’ve made, I feel so awful, I don’t want to do anything.  I want to run away from my life, to hide inside my work, or a book, or a television show.

So what’s the difference between the person I am now and the person I was before?  At my core, I’m still the same.  For good or bad, that part probably won’t change.  I wish I were even-keeled, but my emotions are up and down worse than the weather.  Is this normal?  I don’t know!  I hope it’s not normal, but I’m certainly nor alone in this struggle.  There’s a lot of us out there, more that most people seem to realize.

Nobody WANTS to admit to feeling guilty about stupid, meaningless stuff.  Nobody wants to scream, “I’ve got to work at being happy!  Hurrah!”  I think some people are better at hiding their I’m-screwed-up-ness than others.  I’d wager there are probably more perfectionists out there than you’d imagine.  Some are more functional than others.

Is there anything that helps?  So far, trashing the idea that I need a daily word count has liberated my writing more than anything else I’ve tried.  I have a goal of one new sentence per day in my work in progress.  That’s it.  Last night, I didn’t want to write my own name, let alone work on my novel.  But…I could muster up the strength to write ONE sentence.  Other days, I’m able to write a LOT more.  Do I reward myself for having a good writing day?  No.  One sentence per day is the goal and I don’t want to give perfectionism a foothold.  More writing is nice, but I’m taking baby steps over here, retraining my brain.

Time-outs are also helping me.  Getting out of the house.  Working on creative pursuits that aren’t writing.  I painted two watercolors this morning.  Once they’re fully dry, I’m going to try using a different medium on the same art pieces.  A little pen and ink.  Another stab at creativity.


And the writing prompts…are wonderful.  I’m glad I signed up for this course through WordPress.  But if I don’t touch on every prompt, that’s okay.  If they give me something to think about, they’ve done their job.  As my sister loves to remind me:

“It’s not just good, it’s good enough.”

And she’s absolutely right!