I wonder where this path leads, she thought.

Back in the summer, a really good friend of mine and I took her daughter on a hiking adventure. We were in no hurry, so we let her daughter lead the way. This nine year old girl has the most amazing imagination I have ever encountered in my life. What happened on that hike, was nothing short of extraordinary for me.

We were magically transported to a far away land, where we met a caterpillar named Sean. He told us his he would be our guide and protector throughout our journey. (Sean appeared to us several times. Our only conclusion was he could transport himself to where we were.) We met butterflies (My apologies. I forget their names. I have them written down some place.) and saw ruins of castles and caught glimpses of King Edmund and Queen Lucy. And! Of course we saw a dragon.

It took us twice as long as that hike should have and it was the best hike of my life. That night, I had a dream of a young woman walking through the woods with a protector. She was on a journey that not even she was sure of. She was a bit afraid and unsure, but she knew that if she didn't make this journey, she knew all would be lost. I can still close my eyes and see the scene.

Back in the fall, I made several trips to Charlotte. For the most part, the three hour drive is pretty boring, but there is one part of the drive that is absolutely breathtaking. The view, which is from the side of a mountain, leaves me at a loss for words.

On those drives, I began to imagine that the girl from my dream is from this wonderful land. I decided to ask her. She acknowledged that yes, she is from that land. And she's has been with me since. She has been telling me little things about herself and sharing her story.

It's a fascinating tale.

I think I should write it....

...would you read it?

It may take me five thousand years to finish this, considering that I will only be writing part-time, but I think it's made of awesome. While the story I write isn't exactly like what my hiking adventure with my friends, it amazes me that all of this began with a girl on a hike, and a caterpillar named Sean.

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Does anyone know where I can find my own dragon?

I've been having a love affair with a dragon. NOT THAT KIND OF LOVE AFFAIR. Come on, people! No, I'm reading Eldest by Christopher Paolini and one of the main characters is a dragon called Saphira. Saphira's mind connected with her Dragon Rider, Eragon. (Another main character is an elf, and she's hot, too, but I love Saphira best.)

Anyway, yesterday, Eragon, Saphira and I just completed Rider training for the day and Saphira said something that, when I read it, I actually felt some sort of feeling hit my heart. I've thought and thought about what Saphira said, and now, I want to share it with you.

She said: Live in the present, remember the past, and fear not the future, for it doesn't exist and never shall. There is only now.

"Live in the present,"

I have always had a hard time with this. I can't always just enjoy the moment. I'm constantly thinking, well what about this or OMG! What if THAT happens? What ifs are sort of my thing. Some of my friends limit the number of hypothetical situations I'm allowed to ponder on with them. I have a really hard time just relaxing and enjoying the now.

In case you haven't picked up on it, "worry" is my middle name.

"remember the past,"

I got this one down pat, but what I need to work on is to not linger in the past. I still think of things that happened years and years ago, and I admit that I need to learn to let it go. I need to learn to forgive for those things that happened years and years ago. (This is going to be hard. But I'm going to try.)

"and fear not the future,"

I admit it. I'm all kinds of scared of the future. Especially right now. I like straight lines and clear paths and right now, I feel like I'm stuck deep within a dark maze with no hope of finding my right path again.

I'm afraid of ending up alone. I'm afraid of discussions that I still need to have. I'm afraid of losing more people. I'm afraid of things that could happen.

I liked to call myself brave, but I don't feel so brave right now.

But then she said, "for it doesn't exist and never shall. There is only now."

You know? She's right. (Dragons are so smart.) If I want to continue on my journey of uniting my mind, body, and soul, I need to live more by Saphira's advice. I'm going to work harder to live more like this. The future doesn't really exist. Because once the future gets here, it's the now. I can't promise to never worry or fear or ponder over things, but I can promise (myself) to work on it.

I guess, the awesome things about mazes is that there always IS a right path. I just need to find my right path once again. Find it, I will. I hope. No. I will. Right? (Hey. Rome wasn't built in a day.)

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Just like any other day. Sort of.

Not too long ago, I decided to give up my fight against sleep and take Nyquil. Twenty minutes or so later, I was out. Usually, I wake up at least once during the middle of the night. Not this night. The next thing I knew, my alarm was screaming at me to get up.

I had one of those, "I'M UP!" moments where I sprang to life and out of bed. My dogs; however, did not. My German Shepherd groaned, and my cocker spaniel just looked at me. (It's usually the opposite. They're springing up, and I'm slow to move. Something about this should have clued me in.)

They both just looked at me, so I gave them, "Come on! Let's go outside!" Reluctantly they both got up and followed me to the back door.

I made my way to the bathroom and took my morning shower. While in the shower, I felt like something was off, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I thought maybe it was Saturday or something, so I counted my days. No, I thought, it definitely is not Saturday. I concluded that my "off" feeling was because I had taken the Nyquil and slept all night long.

Usually, by the time I get out of the shower, let the girls back in, and head back to my bedroom to get ready for the day (Read: Lie back down for 15 mins and "watch" the news with my eyes shut.), I can start to see the light of day. Not that day. It was still SUPER dark out. Must be overcast, I thought. Al Roker will tell me.

I let the girls back in and my cocker spaniel gave me a look that clearly said, "What in the hell is the matter with you?" I shrugged and off to my bedroom we headed.

When we reached my room, I saw what her problem was. The clock read: 2:00. That's A.M., people.

I dreamed that my alarm had gone off, and instead of checking the time (Because my alarm had gone off! In my head.), I just got up.

Nquil's awesome like that.

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How I was ever able to get my belly button pierced, I'll never know.

When I was little and would see my mom get the nail clippers out, I would cry. I hated having my nails cut. I tensed up and cried and fought as hard as I could to try to convince my mom that cutting my nails just wasn't worth it. I lost every time.

To this day, I hate to cut my nails. It makes my hands feel weird. After cutting my nails, it's possible that I will walk around with my hands balled in fists for a long time.

I was the child that all my parents had to do was say my name a certain way and I knew I was in trouble. Promptly after hearing my name being said that way, I would start crying. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "Toughen up." or "You can't be so tender-hearted." My parents never really had to ground me. When I was in trouble, I would sit and think and think and feel guilty about what I had done wrong. I can still think about things I did YEARS ago and feel terrible about it.

Things that some people may think is no big deal can send me into a deep cave of guilt/despair/or whatever feeling comes with the situation. Sometimes emotional pain can equal physical pain for me. (I'm wondering now if the "cold" I can't seem to get rid of isn't caused some by emotional things. I've had a lot of feelings lately, eh?)

The plus side to all of this is that I'm probably the most empathetic person you'll ever meet. When someone I love hurts, I feel all of their pain.

Only recently did I discover that there is a term for this state of tender-heartedness. I am what is called a Highly Sensitive Person. My brain is hard-wired to react this way and when I factor in ghosts of my past, it amazes me that I'm still functioning.

I have to work incredibly hard to not overreact to things. When compared to say, ten years ago, I'm loads better and can "breathe" through it. However, sometimes I fail.

It's been a struggle lately for me to not think the words "worthless", disappointment", "unwanted" about myself. A few times I have failed. My head knows my heart is being ridiculous. My head knows I am beautiful and loving and sincere and sweet. Instead of my head telling my heart it's being silly, it says, "Heart, it's OK. We'll make it through, but you're going to have to let me take over most of the time." My heart has agreed.

But my heart still has its moments. Like today. I cried today. For no real reason at all. At work.

I'm not fragile; I've survived some tough shit in my life. It's just that I sometimes feel things differently than others. I know things will get better, and I thank everyone for being so understanding.

I brag that I'm half Vulcan, but what I really am is Tender Heart Bear. Do Care Bears get to wear capes?

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One Starbucks down, about one hundred to go.

Two times in the past week, I have done two things that I never thought I would do. First, I went to Panera and had lunch and read a book for an hour. Today, I headed to Starbucks for no other reason than just to write.

Today, especially, was an interesting experience for me. It took me twice as long to write because I was constantly watching people. (Is that normal?) I chose to listen to the score of Lost to silence out people's conversations. Then I found myself wondering what those people were talking about. The microwave sounded like a rocket taking off. Even through my ear buds, I could hear it blast off! and so I would jump. (And let's not even talk about how my netbook was being an asshole.)

I've struggled with understanding why people read and write in public. I can read and write at home, so why would I go into public to do these things? There are less distractions for me at home. OK. That's a lie. There are plenty of distractions at home (Read: video games and TV) but there are no other people at home, and I've never seen that as a bad thing.

But here is a contradiction of me: I say that being around no people isn't a bad thing for me, yet a lot of the time, I feel lonely.

I also struggle with the logic of going to public places to read or write because even though I'm around people, I'm still alone. I'm just alone in public. I'm not scared of being alone or doing things alone. I've lived alone for seven years now. So, alone doesn't bother me; I just don't really like being alone anymore.

I think part of my problem is that I imagine going to a coffee shop, and while working on the next best seller (guess I need to start the next best seller, huh?), I look up and see the most beautiful pair of eyes watching me from across the room. After we make eye contact, we smile, and then who knows what happens. Clearly, I watch too much TV.

I guess I need to look at it differently. I'm doing things I've never done before to help me become a more well-rounded person. (Or something.) That is a good thing. (I guess.) I do know that neither place I went to really felt like "my place". Maybe I just need to keep looking. There are plenty of Starbucks in my town, after all.

Maybe one day I will find my place. And maybe it won't always be alone.

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You see, I have this spare glass slipper

I love the story of Cinderella. It's probably my favorite fairy tale. Despite using British accents in a movie that is set in France, one of my favorite versions of this tale is the movie Ever After. I've been thinking about this scene from the movie a lot lately:

Henry: Well then how can you be certain to find them? And if you do find them, are they really the one for you or do you only think they are? And what happens if the person you're supposed to be with never appears, or, or she does, but you're too distracted to notice?

Leonardo da Vinci: You learn to pay attention.

Henry: Then let's say God puts two people on Earth and they are lucky enough to find one another. But one of them gets hit by lightning. Well then what? Is that it? Or, perchance, you meet someone new and marry all over again. Is that the lady you're supposed to be with or was it the first? And if so, when the two of them were walking side by side were they both the one for you and you just happened to meet the first one first or, was the second one supposed to be first? And is everything just chance or are some things meant to be?

This is totally how my mind works. Not just about love, but about EVERYTHING. I can't help it. Most of the time, my random string of hypotheticals somehow manage to turn into something logical, but it seems in terms of love, I'm still confused.

As soon as I think that I have love figured out, life decides to throw me a curve ball and I'm left thinking, "Well, now what?"

There was a time when I decided that I was not made for love. I was content with my decision, and I made it work for years. (Let's ignore the fact that I was afraid to face my fears and admit and accept what was in my heart, and that's why I made it work for years.) Now, I know that I was wrong. I don't want to spend my life alone. I capable of love. I think I'm good at loving. My heart is good. (And dammit, I'm a catch.)

If there is someone out there for me, then where is she?

I know I need to be patient and time, and I can be patient. (I think I can be patient.) But damn, this one has me stumped. I thought I had it figured out- or I thought it had figured me out. Whichever.

Maybe instead of wondering who/what/when, I need to start telling myself that someone IS out there, and it WILL happen one day exactly when it's meant to. The least I can do is give that line of reasoning a try, huh?

I guess now I know why I never played softball... I can't hit a curve ball.

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How Jennifer Nettles saved my life. Twice.

I was in my early twenties the first time I saw two girls kiss on TV. I wasn't sure that I liked the way my body responded to what I had just seen. Okay, no. I did like it, and that scared me, and that's what I didn't like. So, I tried to tuck it in the back of my mind and forget about it. (Except that I was totally hooked on the story of the two girls and needed to see what happened next.)

For many years, I kept that buried deep within me. Until...

In case you don't know, Jennifer Nettles is one half of the country music duo, Sugarland. One day, I set off on an internet adventure to find out more about Sugarland and I happened upon Jennifer Nettles solo site. An hour and thirty-one dollars later, one of her solo CDs what on its way to my hands.

The CD I purchased was a live acoustic concert she gave one year on New Year's Eve. What I discovered in that performance was a Jennifer Nettles that you don't normally see with Sugarland. She was amazing and I loved her solo music. I listened to it over and over and over. And over.

One night, in my dreams, I was on a tropical beach with my ipod and my sketchpad. I, of course, was listening and singing along to my Jennifer Nettles solo CD. The next thing I knew, there Jennifer Nettles was! And she liked me! One thing led to another in my dream and I woke up with a start and said, "Well, that's something new." (Except that it really wasn't, was it?)

I couldn't wait for every day to end so that I could go back to my dream where Jennifer was waiting for me. It was the best romance I had ever experienced. It was beautiful and lovely and it was the first time I felt normal in a romantic situation. However, it was just a dream, and soon I knew that what I had tried to bury for so many years needed to surface.

When I'm sad, I can't listen to music. I'm not sure why, but it's like my brain needs the silence so that everything can process. When my brain gets tired of the silence, I'll start listening to music again. A couple of days ago, I absently turned my CD player on in my car and the first song that played was Sugarland's "Little Miss". It touched me so deeply that it's the only song that I've been able to listen to.

The song repeats the words "It's alright." and "I'm okay." over and over again. And you know how they say that if you hear something long enough, you'll start to believe it? I believe it now. It's alright, and I am okay.

So, you see, Jennifer Nettles didn't really save my life, but she's helped me twice to know that I am okay. For that, I am thankful.

I'm not sure where life is going to take me now. But I know that no matter where it leads me, I am okay.

I am okay.

"Little Miss" -Sugarland

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When my brother and I reached the ages of know-it-all and smartass, my mom would so rudely interrupt the awesomeness of playing Nintendo or watching Saved by the Bell and tell one of us to "hit the shower". Either my brother or I would promptly get up without complaining, walk to the bathroom, literally smack the tiles, walk back to the living room and continue what we were doing. Were we cool or what? OK, no. I still think that's funny.

Clearly, my mom has not learned her lesson in the past 15 or 20 years...

My nephew will be three in March and he LOVES TO TALK. Like, talking is his favorite thing. (Unless, of course, he doesn't know you. Then he reminds me of the Warner Brothers frog.) When he gets super excited, he sometimes stammers. I think this can be typical in youngsters. (I hope he grows out of it. When I'm REALLY upset or nervous, I have to really work not to stammer.) Anyway, here is how a conversation between my mom and my nephew went the other day:

Clay: "Grandma?"

Mom: "Yes, Clay?"

Clay: "Grandma?"

Mom: "What, honey?"

Clay: "Can I- Can I- Can I- Can I-..."

Mom: "Spit it out."

My nephew looked at my mom sort of confused-like and then spit on the living room floor.

I admit it. I laughed.

God, I love that kid.

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Just add sprinkles to it...

Today was my mom's birthday. I wanted to bake her a cake and decorate it just like they do on TV. I spent all Christmas Day lying on my mom's couch dying of the worst cold known to man and together we watched this show on TLC about decorating cakes. (Not Cake Boss, but that other one.) And I said, "I can do that." So, I decided that for my mom's birthday, I would bake her a cake and make it look all pretty because I am awesome that way.

So, today, I took my mom to the mall so she could pick out a birthday present, then we went back to her house to bake her the most awesome cake in the world. Then the power went off. The cake had 10 mins left to bake. So, I left the cake in the oven for way longer than I was supposed to and hoped for the best.

I let the layers cool then decided I would layer the cake, piece it together (Just like they do on TV. I mean, come on, it looks easy on TV, right? Right.) and all would be well. When I put the third layer on the whole fucking thing fell apart. And so did I.

My mom knows I'm heart sick, but she doesn't know why. She's trying everything in her power to be cheerful and to help me through this, but she can't. I've opened my mouth a thousand times to say, "Mom, I fell in love with this woman. She is so special and wonderful, and it didn't work out, and I lost her." But every time I open my mouth, something happens and it doesn't feel right. Also, I'm afraid that if I tell her, I'll break all over again. I couldn't handle that right now.

It's been a week since we've talked, and the only thing I know is that my life doesn't feel good without her in it. I'm not sure what that means or if it means anything at all. I'm not sure of anything. No. I know she is still special and wonderful, and sometimes things just don't work out. But nights are long and lonely, and the only way I can escape my thoughts is by reading. So, I read a lot.

I know what every single one of you are going to say. Some of you have already said things to me. I appreciate it. I do. I'm just... Well you know.

One time I gave up dating. I found contentment with being alone. I hope I'll find contentment with alone again.

Maybe I'll dig a hatch on an Island and live in it until Elizabeth Mitchell comes to rescue me. Or Jennifer Nettles. (Lame attempt at a joke.)

My mom pieced the cake back together, by the way. It looked like crap, but we ate it anyway. Complete with the sprinkles my nephew put on top of it. Sprinkles make everything better.

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About Me

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I'm a walking contradiction. While I love to draw, paint and read, I also love all things gadgets, science and even science fiction (I know). My animals (two dogs and two birds) are my heart, and if I could figure out how to legally own a giraffe, I would. That all said, I have my BS in Mathematics. :o)


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