cheesy cheesecake moment

i’m going to make gluten free cheesecake and nobody can stop me because even though alexander graham bell apparently said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us,” i say that if one door closes you’ve got several options: 1) get a locksmith to open the door, 2) watch a silly animal video on youtube while plopped in front of the door, 3) make a cheesecake, 4) clean the tops of your cabinets that are full of dusty stickiness and you’ll feel like you accomplished something even though nobody will ever see or appreciate the work you’ve done (you’ll know you did it and that’s all that matters), 5) remember that being alone and bored is the seedbed of creativity because you will finally remember who you really are on the inside and you’ll self actualize sooner, 6) start digging a hole to get under the door and when you’re doing that discover something amazing like that extra key to your car that you thought you had lost, 7) write your great american novel you’ve been meaning to get around to, 8) take a shower and get some more sources of inspiration that you feel compelled to post immediately to facebook for no good reason other than it’s another way of avoiding doing more annoying grading, 9) remember that when you were 9 you were at your peak so savor that and try to cultivate that sense of inner peace throughout your day and life. the end.

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Soft eyes

Sometimes I feel more love

from a grocery store clerk

than I do

from the rest of the world combined.

He looks me in the eye

softly,

unwaveringly,

steadfastly,

and cares whether I understand

that paper is better than plastic.

So I choose paper —

not to please him

but to let him know

that I’m on the same page.

He wants me to know that if I had chosen plastic,

he would have been forced to charge me 20 cents and thus

I am now even more convinced.

Before I go,

he smiles calmly

and I believe

that he cares

about me.

The Main Vein

it’s time for draining the main vein of my brain. First things first, get the shit out if you wanna play the game.

And sometimes I get embarrassed by the rhymes that at first i think i cherish, but I don’t really give a feck so light a fire under your arse and take a hike.

Because this chiquita only eats bananas that are slathered with almond butter, not hydrogenated Monsanto blather.

I’m so fucking sick and fatigued of turning on the news and listening to Trump and Kim Jong’s greed, lust for annihilation and self-aggrandizing manipulation.

I just wanna go and hide my face in a bowl of childhood innocence and grace and forget that I live in a world with which I can’t keep pace.

It’s official: I’m a Life Coach (because my business cards that arrived in the mail tell me so)

I’m just gonna say it: I don’t like selling myself, but if I’m going to get anywhere with my Life Coaching business then I have to. So, here it goes: beginning with my new business cards that just arrived.

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To answer a few questions… that nobody is asking me (haha! Well, number one, I think that laughter is key when it comes to self-help. Hopefully, you enjoy it, too, if you end up choosing me as your Life Coach.

Why did I decide to become a Life Coach?

  • Honestly? I really enjoy people, understanding people, and (if possible) helping people in whatever way I can. I have learned the hard way that change doesn’t happen overnight but if you stick with things and you’re determined and patient, then with your ‘eyes on the prize’ I believe it is possible to make helpful big and little changes to get somewhere. Maybe you make it to the goal you set for yourself, or maybe you make it somewhere else (different but good). Who knows but the point is to keep moving and trying and growing and making mistakes and learning from them and picking yourself up and going at it some more.

When did I figure out that I enjoyed all this self-actualization ‘stuff’?

  • (Haha it’s fun asking myself questions that I then answer). It really started when I read a book by Natalie Goldberg called Writing Down the Bones. It was about writing as a form of self-discovery, self-help, Buddhism, and more. I learned how writing can help you answer your own questions and move yourself down whatever path you choose. Once I started writing, I realized that I liked other thinkers who offered ways to free your mind, become happier, and let go of unhealthy patterns, etc. I found that I enjoyed growing as a person and so once I started picking up enough tools of the trade, I felt that I had something to offer others, too. I’m no expert on life, but….. I have been fascinated by what I’ve learned from life and from seeking wisdom through other scholars/philosophers/psychologists that I’ve encountered along the way.

How am I qualified to be a Life Coach?

  • I have a Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of Colorado-Boulder, I have completed a Life Course training course online via the Life Coach Training Institute, and I have read extensively on self-help, psychology, philosophy, and self-actualization.

What next?

  • If you are interested, what I can offer is a free consultation via email. If it seems like a good fit then we can make arrangements from there (e.g. skype, phone, etc.). You can email me at larastarcevich@yahoo.com. That’s it! It’s up to you if you feel like you are at a point where having a Life Coach to talk to might help you get to where you want to be. 😊

Happy list (not ‘Gratitude’ – I’m tired of that word. It’s not that I don’t appreciate you, ‘Gratitude.’ Just…take a break)

16996230_1533522530021296_9122315252869427204_nThese are some things I have right now and I am glad to have and that when I focus on them, I stop thinking that my life is anything less than grand just the way it is:

  • A nice bed with just the right assortment of blankets and pillows
  • Two dogs that like to sleep with me and keep me warm which is especially nice since my bedroom is downstairs and gets colder than the rest of the house.
  • No aches or pains really. Just a twitch in my eye occasionally but I think that is from not going to bed early enough. I’m going to work on that.
  • My love of writing and my ability to savor being alone more and more without worrying because I do feel a wide net of loving people but I also realize that if I am going to get any of the 1001 things I want to get done in my life then I need some time alone to think and create and organize and strategize.
  • A cat that likes to snuggle with me especially in the morning.
  • My dream that someday I will be a slightly sarcastic but never bombastic life coach.
  • My other dream that I will publish something that somebody somewhere pays to read. It doesn’t have to be much. It could be 10 cents but it has to be somebody who doesn’t know me (even though I am super grateful for my super supportive family and friends) but there is something magical about somebody who doesn’t even know you wanting to read words that you strung together on a whim and a cup of java. I don’t know why, but it is.
  • [At this point, I should probably say I am done with my list but I am determined to go beyond the normal threshold and push myself to seek something deeper.]
  • The morning. I used to be a morning person when I was a kid. Then I grew up and went to college and partied and got crazy and stayed up late a lot and then I had kids and that really turned me into a night owl because kids get up early and if I wanted time to myself I had to stay up late but now my kids are older and they sleep in so I am starting to have my mornings back and I like it.
  • Long sentences. I really like long sentences. I don’t know why I do other than I like the challenge of constructing a really long thought without it toppling over. It’s like building a house of cards. I like to see how high I can get before it stops making sense anymore. I can get pretty high, I would say. And not even with MaryJane.
  • I have to have it around. On YouTube videos when I need a pick-me-up in the morning. Mid-afternoon if I need to force myself to stop being a workaholic and remember that little things matter. Laughing is more important than sex (sometimes).
  • I love feeling the pain in my muscles. I need to do it more but what I’m happy about now (I’m tired of the word ‘grateful’) is that at least I know that I need and want more of it because I know it will make me happier.
  • Simple things. I read the news, I try to keep up with the latest movies and music and trends but ultimately what I know I do best is notice and savor little things. It’s like people who are porn junkies. There was a study that was done (yup, another nameless study but I promise this one was from a reputable source – some guy who has a PhD in psychology, Ariel something or other) that showed that the endless variety and novelty of porn stimulates the brain so much that it becomes numb to ordinary sex and it becomes hard (well ‘soft’) to get turned on by less-than-perfect bodies having less-than-idealized sex. I say it’s the same dealio with life. If you can never unplug and just be with the little moments, then how can you ever really be happy with your life because MY life is definitely not as perfect, exciting, endlessly changing, tantalizingly rapid-fierily witty, and sophisticated as the slick images that parade across the internet every day.

 

Here is what being a solo parent has taught me about life:

  • 20637948_1755855194454694_3782557840075500292_nDon’t feel sorry for yourself.
  • Make time for yourself because, if you don’t, you will get resentful.
  • They’re only this young and adorable for so long: savor it as much as you can.
  • Dogs are better substitute cuddling buddies than cats but cats are more fun to kiss (on the forehead people – on the forehead!!!)
  • If you listen to too many other people’s opinions about anything (e. g., parenting, relationships, love, sex, dating, career, money), you will never know what works for you (and…I guess that means you shouldn’t listen to me, either?). But if you don’t listen to anyone, you will become an arrogant prick. So find someplace in-between and go for it.
  • Get off your gadgets and talk. It is the best medicine for any/all misunderstandings.
  • If that doesn’t work, then go be alone with nature. That will heal you, too.
  • And if that still doesn’t work, then go read the newspaper and realize that the world has a lot more to deal with than you really do.
  • And if that doesn’t work, well… I don’t know but watching stand-up comedy usually helps me recalibrate my brain (before going back to parenting, or simply adulting).
  • Above all, spend enough time alone to get your priorities straight. I just sat in a car driving up and down the coast of Washington, Oregon, and California, and I learned a lot. I learned that I’ve been chasing this dream of a two-parent family for too long. I’ve learned that it’s distracted me from being a whole parent. And I’ve learned that I want to be all there for my children. Not halfway or ¾ of the way but all the way. Finding a significant other is not a waste of time but it’s a secondary deal for me now. I’d rather be there for myself and my kids first. If/when the right person comes along, ideally, they will also know how to be there for themselves first. And if/when we ever connect it will be because we enhance each other’s lives rather than fill a void. I don’t want to live in a void. Been there, done that. I’m ready to be happy just as I am.

Pomodoro? You’re ador-able!

Pomodoro-TimerI was listening to a YouTube channel: ‘Big Think,’ and this woman was talking about the Pomodoro Effect. Basically, if you remove all distractions, turn off all notifications in your life, and sequester yourself for 25 minutes you will get past the point of no return. Meaning you will have worked past your brain’s natural tendency to avoid pain and seek pleasure (meaning: the tendency to rely on distractions, procrastination, etcetera).

For the Pomodoro to work, you need a 20-minute time period apparently. Scientists don’t know why but 25 seems to be the magic number to get into the groove on whatever project you’re working on. So right now, I am writing and I’m going to do this for 25 minutes.

I’m sitting on a log on a dry hill leading down to a ravine. Old Scrub oak trees everywhere remind me of my mom again. I’m staying at KOA. Beautiful but the most overpriced 4′ by 4′ plot of dirt and a picnic table I’ve ever paid for ($58), but I don’t care. I’m not driving. I’m not staying at an overpriced Motel 6 ($120 last night in Arcata!) and I’ve learned my lesson. Get up early. Drive early. Find a place to camp early before all the spots are taken.

I miss California, having grown up here. I miss the sun. I miss the easy-going nature of most people. But I also appreciate where I live now even more. Pluses and minuses to everything. Much of California is gorgeous but so expensive and so crowded. It’s why I left. If you can find a remote, quiet place more power to ya but it’s tricky. Maybe someday I will find the right town in California. I don’t know. I like the sun though.

I like Oregon maybe even more. Less crowded. Simpler. Unspoiled for the most part. Undiscovered (well… compared to California). The coast is unreal. It’s a spiritual experience. You realize how beautiful this world is and it makes you want to protect it. (I’ve got 15 more minutes to go on this Pomodoro Effect).

I realized on this trip how much time I need to do my thang. Never enough. I like to create. You can’t create when you’ve got too much to do. I need to have less on my plate. Minimize. That’s the key. I think that’s why I know I could never live in LA. It would be very hard to live a minimal lifestyle there.

But that’s ok. I can visit and enjoy. All I know is someday I will only have a laptop, pen, paper, some money, clothes, a camper, and friends. And I will be happy. Oh, and food too. And healthcare. And a cat or dog or both.

Fig, Bruce, Oso, Toruk, and Candace: animals that you can’t help but love

20622028_1750723021634578_689788499202032443_nSo yesterday we got to visit a lot of animals… and family! Haha but some people (and maybe some animals) may not want to be written about so… I’m still going to just write about animals.

We got to visit ‘Fig,’ the very large, voluptuous and heaving purring cat. It was very hard to stop petting Fig. He sat in his room waiting for his owner and he had the biggest yellow eyes and calico fur (that almost looked yellow in patches). Very hard to put down.

And then there was Bruce. Bruce is so big! When he wants you to pet him, he drags his claws gently but heavily across your knee, thigh, shin, arm, or anything. Then, if you rub the top of his tush, he really loves it and if you stop then he starts moving his tush back and forth, pushing his butt against your leg until you keep your hand moving.

And then there was Oso.  OH SO beautiful a dog! With a permanent look of shock on his face. Oso is oh so smart. He likes to dance and play. When our friend started to dance near him, he – being a Border Collie – started to jump up and bow down on his front legs and then jump as high as he could to herd his owner into place.

And then Toruk. The most gentle, beautiful princess of a queen that ever was. So quiet and meek. She notices everything and she goes wherever she is told to go. Faster than a puma, sleek as a jaguar, and her lithe, tan little body is dipped in chocolate brown sauce on her nose and eyelids.

And Candace. Big, muscular, calico cow-colored Candace. She has a pointy snout and big eyes and is very strong. She likes to walk by you and tempt you to pick her up. It doesn’t take much to make you pick her up. Candy Candace.

a public service announcement (i’m announcing something publicly that will hopefully be of service to others in some weird, unforeseen way)

I am setting myself the following achievable tasks:

  1. each week I will post at least something on my blog.
  2. i’m going to aim for it appearing on Mondays but I can’t always promise that (i’m a mom and that’s my excuse and i’m sticking to it)
  3. i’m going to try to edit things before I post them. this doesn’t mean I care a jot about capitalization and punctuation though. I still believe in the virtue of undecorated, dressed down prose (because i’m lazy but also because it encourages other people to let their hair down and write rather than thinking everything has to be picture perfect all the time) but yes sometimes I will clean it up as well.
  4. this is my reward to myself for having done something I didn’t want to do (like grading – sorry but I just don’t – I know some people love it, but I simply detest it even though, yes, often the things I am grading are pretty dang exciting and good in their own right).
  5. i’m rewarding myself by writing and posting stuff because if left to my own devices I will only do things I want to do and never do anything that actually pays the bills. one day maybe writing will pay the bills but it’s not right now so there ya go.
  6. thanks for listening. they say that making vows or setting goals is more useful if you don’t tell anyone well… oh well! fuck it! it feels good and i’m doing it.