When life gets tough, I react by closing ranks, cleaning house, and learning skills.

Life got really tough. Really, really, really tough.

So, I quit almost all social media, cleaned the heck out of the house, donated carloads of stuff, and looked around for things to learn.

I don’t know how to make pretty cakes, I realized. I should learn how to make pretty cakes.

They aren’t the prettiest things in the world (please don’t alert Cake Wrecks), but these are my four first attempts at playing with fondant. Who knew fondant was fun? Also, that I would ever buy marshmallows in bulk?

This is research, because after a dragon-themed Easter, pH decided she wanted a Welsh dragon themed birthday. Okay, I said. I found a cute dragon silicone mold via Etsy and the fun began.

Kind of.

Helpful tip: buy more than one mold if you plan on making a lot of dragons. This was this evening’s output.

The fondant (red) dragons are easy. After the fifth chocolate dragon, I used my phone to order four more molds from the UK. Since I still have a bit of time, with luck they’ll arrive before the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway. (Everyone has a birthday with some major WWII significance in my family; pH got Midway, among others.)


I’ll admit the baking thing is fun. If anyone had suggested to me that I’d be trimming bits of fondant around dragon tails while watching MST3K I would have wondered what they’d been drinking.

Then when I was busy with the cleaning and organizing, I found my Beretta.

Of course! I must learn how to shoot properly!

I took a class via BABS (highly recommended; the other ladies in the class were so great we decided to get together to take the 102 version of the class together, too) and shot the Beretta with the giant grip and somehow managed to hit the target a couple of times. Probably by accident. (Nothing really terrifies me more than learning that I now qualify to have a concealed carry permit in the state of Oregon. Not that I plan on it, but who knows? I may believe the Second Amendment is a collective and not an individual right, but the case law is not on my side–if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em?)


Nothing else, at least I stopped closing my eyes when I was pulling the trigger.

What else?

I also learned the NATO alphabet (I used to forget Mike, Sierra, and Uniform), how to tie a half-dozen knots, and how to make jewelry–mostly charms and found items. We are completely prepared for the zombie apocalypse.

So I needed some more hobbies. In May, I started making sure we ate at home a lot more, that I practiced the piano a lot more, and that I do at least a few pushups every day. I got religious about my bullet journal (kind of; it’s more a glorified annotated to do list that tracks the things I’m trying to do). Every day something goes out of the house. On a good day, something that isn’t mine leaves the house, too. I’m at level 22 in German and level 20 in Welsh on Duo. I’m about 20 books ahead of my Goodreads goal for the year.

I’m in the midst of an appellate brief.

When people ask me how life is going, well, life is roses. Fabulous. Couldn’t be better. No, no–how are you doing? (I’m not sure what’s more annoying–complaining about something or the offering of false comfort from someone else.)

No one wants to hear:

My back pain level hovers around 3-7, no matter how much PT I do, how many hikes I take, how many pushups I do…there is no relationship between moving and not moving. It’s just screwed.

I had 18 migraines in the month of April. I also managed to meditate 18 days, but generally not the same days. Piano was 16 days, but no correlation there, either. (May so far has 19 piano days, and I broke out the Rachmaninoff.)

And my child is careening towards puberty at an alarming rate, complete with all the drama that entails. And oh, there is drama. So much “You don’t understand me!” and stomping that you’d think she invented it.

There’s more, but don’t even want to list it. Except….

–And, sorry, it’s embarrassing–

Tuesday I thought to myself, “I don’t know how much more of this I can take.”

I am a fucking IDIOT. Why did I think that? I might as well have said, “UNIVERSE. PUT A FORK IN ME. I’M DONE.”

And then?

Thursday we found out that kH’s work contract was ending. Next week he’ll get the last paycheck on this project.

Deep breath. And another. Wait…

I feel my coping mechanism coming on.

I think pH’s birthday cake should be tiered. I’ve never done a tiered cake. What do you think? I could put her red Schleich dragon on top….