Focus Splitting


I attended a professional development meeting in February that really stuck with me. Well, no, I guess it didn’t in its entirety, but the energy/focus portion of it did. I tend to be the one on the left.

I have all these little goals, little projects, things that feel so very important that I need to do.

Really, there are only two things that I need to worry about immediately. I need to make extra money (to pay for heating during winter) and I need to take better care of myself.

Then I start overthinking. I need to meal plan. I have to calculate every calorie. I need to stop drinking soda. I need to this, I need to that.

And then when the intention was to be the arrow on the right, I’m the blob on the left again.

The reality is that these things are actually fairly simple. It’s me that over-complicates them.

I run a little business (in addition to my full-time job) where I sell hand-made cosplay items. I get lots and lots of requests, but I’m always so busy with something else that I can’t take on the extra work. What do I do to remedy this?

Stop thinking. Stop obsessing. Just do things.

I have a gym membership. Go to the gym. Do gym things. Boom.

I have time on weekends to work on items (and not play candy crush for 6 hours). Work on the things. Ship them. Boom.

It’s so easy, but my stupid brain complicates the crap out of everything.

Goal 1: Train and run a 5k on October 29.

Goal 2: Save $1000 for firewood/electricity over the winter.


Obviously I need to stop living on sugar. So stop. Done.



The Golden Pompous

Gabriel, my stepbrother (once removed…?), got a live chicken from school. They just give those out. Hey kid, want a chicken?


Our parents built a little coop for Goldie, and then we started acquiring various other chickens and ducks. As I write this, I keep backspacing. Why did we have all these farm animals? I have no explanation.

Goldie grew to be a massive cock, in every sense of the word.

As roosters go, he was a prime specimen. Nearly my height with huge breasts, golden eyes, a reddish-orange comb and long, luxurious sickle feathers. He knew he was beautiful and would strut around, asserting is dominance.


After feeding Goldie one day, Gabriel came inside rather upset. “I don’t like when Goldie knocks me down and jumps up and down on my back.” he said.


Yeah, dude. That sucks.

I was taller than Gabriel (at that point in time – didn’t last long) so Mom asked me to go round up the chickens and put them in the coop. My friend Michael came to help.


(I got sick of drawing chickens.)

I tried ushering Goldie towards the coop.


He didn’t like that.



I soon realized I had been led into a trap. There were spiky sticks and jagged rocks all around me. It was a woodland Thunderdome.


I backed away slowly, abandoning the mission my mother had assigned me. Goldie lunged at me. He was out for blood.


I could hear Michael’s raucous laughter over the sound of my fearful screams. Admittedly, I was laughing too.

I narrowly escaped certain death. Goldie went to live on a farm.

EDIT: My parents read this and said Goldie didn’t actually go live on a farm. He died heroically protecting the rest of the flock from a fox.



Tail Lights of Horror

In fall of 2000, surrounding areas were warned that a man from Bunker had killed two city workers who were on his property. The man escaped into the woods with a rifle. It was stressed that he was armed and dangerous and knew the woods of Dent County well.

I, at sixteen and living in the woods, made a joke of this. Bunker Man, as I called him, would probably hide out in our barn so he could watch us.


I  made up a song about it, sang to the tune of Gloria Estefan’s “Rhythm is Gonna Get You.” But in the back of my mind, I knew there was a very real possibility someone could show up and kill us all.

CD burners were a big deal way back in 2000. Laura and I would drive out to a friend’s house until well after the sun set to burn plenty of Nelly and NSYNC and Britney (okay and Hikaru and Sailor Moon soundtracks for me) to any blank disc we could get our hands on.

This friend thought it would be extra funny to burn LFO’s Summer Girls to a disc 19 times because he knew this song would enrage me. I drove home pretty fast that night.


As I’m grinding my teeth to the umpteenth Chinese food makes me sick, Laura notices something askew with her dad’s super old truck that doesn’t work and has been sitting in the driveway since the dawn of creation.


I had a theory.


I slammed the car into reverse and drove backwards down the driveway without even looking.


After I destroyed a fence post, Laura used her dad’s gigantic yellow cell phone to call Luke.


She warned him of the danger.


And Luke had some information for us.


Laura’s brother, Travis, and his friend, Steven, were not strangers to my Bunker Man musings. They thought it would be funny to freak us out.

I slammed on my brakes, turned us around and drove back to the house.


I didn’t see Travis and Steven that night. They didn’t open the bedroom door when I pounded on it and demanded they open it so I could stab them.

The post was never repaired. To this day, it remains… broken and bruised.


Much like my ego!

Friends Like These

I stayed with my best friend, Laura, all the time in high school. She has a little brother called Luke. Luke and I did not get along.


He was the first person to point out that my name rhymes with Calorie.

I (briefly) ran away from home when I was fourteen. My brazen travel took me less than a mile down the road to their house, where I shoved Luke away from his beloved computer so I could message my mother and tell her she’d never see me again.


We feuded almost constantly for two years, but we bonded over a love of theme songs from 80s TV shows.3

Poor Laura patiently put up with our all-night chatter. We would sit up for hours, singing and writing Sailor Moon fanfic. We were annoying. Especially to Mike, their dad.


Individually, we were fine, but together, we were a volatile combination. Their mom, Sandy, decided it was best not to take us out in public anymore. No more slumber parties with me and Laura. Mike banished him to the couch.


Our strong friendship didn’t stop me from tormenting him. Jackie and I did something we called ‘tatty grabbing/flicking.’ It was just us relentlessly grabbing his chest and flicking his nipples.


As an adult, I realize that was harassment. Had he snapped and killed us, no jury would’ve convicted.

Sandy was going to university and teaching simultaneously. Having a house full of messy teenagers did little for her blood pressure. Laura had a reasonable idea – clean the house.


We didn’t ask Luke to help very nicely, so he refused. We came up with ways to force him to help us. We decided to hide his keyboard one day. Another time, we flipped the circuit breaker and shut off all the power in the house.

He was furious.


I have no idea how I escaped the full weight of his wrath that day.

But there was another time… The time I went too far.

I took every art class available to me in high school, which meant I was perpetually working on some amazing project that required an X-ACTO knife. I had quite a collection of these pointy little devils.

Luke had his own collection – a collection of canned ravioli. He would come home from school every day, rummage around in Sandy’s room, and emerge with a can.

We coveted his ravioli. Our eyes glowed green with envy.


I didn’t just want the ravioli. I wanted to be a monster.

We ransacked Sandy’s room until we found the Chef Boyardee stash, and then put everything back exactly as it was.


It was time for my X-ACTO knives to know their true purpose.


I carefully removed the label from the ravioli can and affixed it to a can of corn. I then placed the corn masquerading as ravioli in Luke’s hiding place.

And then I waited.


It wasn’t long before I heard the telltale sound of the can opener. A few swift twists, and then came silence.

It took all I had not to laugh maniacally.


Paybacks are hell. The next several months was a series of beatings about the head with Pepsi bottles. He nailed me in the face with a mini football. He calls this a happy accident.

And then there was that time we shared a bag of Gardetto’s. He later informed me that all the pieces I was eating were the ones he licked the flavor off of and stuck back in the bag. (another happy accident)

He also blamed me for breaking his family’s extremely expensive DVD player. Fifteen years later, I maintain my innocence.

In spite of being awful to one another, Luke and I became best friends. He even made and hid an extra key for me so I would never be locked out of the house if nobody was home.


There was a lot of cleavage in that picture. Laura, Luke and me had been skunked the morning of his graduation. We smelled awful.

Luke and I still talk nearly every single day. I introduce him to people as my brother.

Also, no ravioli is as delicious as ill-gotten ravioli.