Two-Bit Musings.

Re-Snap: 90s Livin’.

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A Re-Issue from The SnapDragon Archives: Originally Posted in March of 2019

(There have also been slight revisions.)

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I came of age in the 90s.

And by ‘came of age’ I mean I survived the awkward annals of adolescence.

Anyway, while I have no desire (none. zero. zilch.) to return to my teenage years (or really, even to my 20s) lately I’ve been reminiscing about the simplicity of those times.

And I’m speaking specifically to the focus I felt.

But let me back up a step.

If I were tested for Attention Deficit Disorder back then, I’m pretty sure I’d pass without a hitch. I was a good kid–a quiet student–but instead of listening to the lesson, I’d write notes to my friends or finish reading the library book I kept hidden in the deep mouth of my elementary school desk.

What I’m getting at is that I struggled in school, until the 10th grade when I “decided” I wanted to be smart. I wanted good grades. So I fought the urge to fuck around during class and actually started to listen.

So this focus I’m talking about? It was not the focus of some whiz-kid honor student.

I’m talking about having limited options. It was a forced focus, due to the resources of the time.

No cell phone.

Certainly no iPhone.

The internet was this dial-up experience that cancelled out the ability to talk on the phone that hung on the wall.

Because, come on.

Who needs to do two things at once?

(Let that sink in a moment.)

Who needs to do two things at once?

I know every generation scoffs at how “easy” the next one has it.

“Kids these days!”

So let me be clear, that I do not begrudge our technological advances. I have all of the gadgets, and love them.

I Mapquest the shit out of any road trip.

I get the urge for Queen? Eminem? Gordon Lightfoot?

Just ask Alexa.

It’s awesome. We all know it.

But the other day, as I was experiencing a moment of reverie, I was trying to identify my triggers for anxiety.

And I realized that a major one?

Comes from the overwhelming options all around me.

I get paralyzed because I could be (should be?)…

reading, writing, painting, cleaning, exercising, traveling, visiting, texting, crocheting, sleeping, talking, watching, singing, planting, posting, photographing, researching, video-gaming, planning, shopping, resting, listening…

You get the idea.

And in 2019, if you have wifi and a credit card, you have no excuse not to do it all.

So I’ve decided to kick it old-school.

One. thing. at. a. time.

One tab open on my laptop.

Do Not Disturb activated on my iPhone.

All notifications turned off.

Because when we went on Family Vacation in the 90s?

We went on vacation.

People left a message on the answering machine, and we checked when we got back.

Everybody survived.

“Emergencies” were accurately named, and never occurred.

So who’s with me?

I’m sure I’ll slip up here and there, but I’m really going to try to slow down. To focus on the task at hand.

Because as Grandma’s embroidered pillow said, Haste makes waste.

And sometimes less really is more.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and delighted carnival-goer.

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Two-Bit Musings.

Re-Snap: Silent Joy.

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A Re-Issue from The SnapDragon Archives: Originally Posted in March of 2019

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Silent Joy, 2018.
St. Petersburg, Russia.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved.

This evening is a quiet one. I sit here in what I call The Reading Room, with the window open and a delicious breeze tickling the curtains. I can hear the faint tolling of a neighbor’s forgotten wind chime, and for a moment I care nothing for the darkness, for the unknown, for tomorrow’s anxieties.

There is only this moment.

. . .

SnapDragon is a leaf floating on a springtime breeze.

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Fresh Sheet. · Two-Bit Musings.

Re-Snap: Fresh Sheet.

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A Re-Issue from The SnapDragon Archives: Originally Posted in March of 2019

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This is my electronic equivalent of a fresh sheet of notebook paper.

I want to take a moment for a “Brain Dump”, the ever-popular strategy of writing down one’s thoughts, frustrations, outstanding tasks, or whatever else needs to be articulated before moving into a restful night’s sleep. It’s supposed to be free from judgment, and forgiven for grammatical or mechanical errors. (But let’s be serious: you know this girl is going to proofread. It’s part of my obsessive nature.)

SnapDragon’s Brain Dump:

  1. I need routine in my life. While I’m grateful to have a homemaker’s flexibility, not having any type of schedule has worn on me a bit. My sleep schedule is erratic, which often affects my eating schedule. I grew up with strict routines, and it’s hard to be a free-wheeling drifter after 30 years. So I’ll be drafting some ideas on this.
  2. Secrets suck. Authenticity means more to me than anything in this world. I want my friends, my family–and anyone I meet, really–to just be themselves. I want to be myself. It’s hard to have a relationship otherwise. This is why it eats at me day and night that my family is on the periphery, knowing nothing of my life’s philosophy or artistic vision.
  3. Flaws make me human. This is no surprise. But I struggle with mental illness, in the form of what is sometimes crippling anxiety and depression. It might not appear that bad, because my middle-class upbringing demands that I get out of bed and do something, anything. I would rather die than shirk my responsibilities, even at the cost of my own health. This is not healthy thinking. I need to work on this. 90% of the stress in my life is generated inside my own head. I worry–no, I obsess–that I said the wrong thing, offended someone, or otherwise inadvertently screwed up and that the consequences are going to be dire (like rejection and hostility on a large scale). While I am opinionated, strong-willed, and probably contradictory at times, I truly have the best of intentions toward my fellow human beings. And it pains me deeply at the possibility of being misunderstood.

And so, Dear Reader, assuming you are there, I want you to know that things will be all right.

Maybe you don’t feel the need for a written/typed/posted Brain Dump, but don’t be afraid to let out your thoughts. Talk to your husband, snuggle with your cat, text your best friend, or watch reruns of The Office until you laugh yourself to sleep.

Because life is difficult for us thinkers.

We are not alone.

We will feel better tomorrow.

Good night, love. May you have a long and dreamless sleep.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and lover of lip balm.

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Two-Bit Musings.

Re-Snap: Succulent Sunlight.

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A Re-Issue from The SnapDragon Archives: Originally Posted in March of 2019

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Savor This Moment, 2019.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved.

Hello, lovelies.

It’s time to open up your little eyelids.

Take a look around.

Realize that you are a human being; an imperfect creature; a tortoise emerging from the safety of its shell.

It’s okay.

Life goes on.

You are okay.

You are enough.

And I love you.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and easily-sunburned creature.

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Happy at Home.

Re-Snap: 10 Little Pleasures.

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A Re-Issue from The SnapDragon Archives: Originally Posted in March of 2019.

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In Bloom, 2018.
Oregon, USA.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved.

I read somewhere that making lists can be therapeutic, especially in this ridiculous age of multitasking.

It’s quick. It’s easy. It feels like a tiny yet victorious accomplishment.

So for my first post in this Like It or Love It section, I’ve decided to compile a list of ten simple things that have recently brought me joy.

(clears throat)

10 Little Pleasures  (in no particular order)

#10. Freshly Ground Coffee

Ahh, yes. This extra step in our morning grind (sorry, couldn’t resist) has been well worth the loss of counter space. It elevates a humdrum routine into a ritual. I enjoy the scent, feel the freshness on my tongue, and it reminds me that I deserve The Coffeehouse Experience here in my very own kitchen.

#9. An Empty Calendar

While I love having family and friends, there’s something satisfying about having absolutely no plans. There’s a certain freedom in not knowing where the day may go. And sometimes that quest is to the couch, curled under a blanket, watching reruns of Frasier. You know you want to.

#8. Seasonal Weather

Being a Pennsylvania native, I’ve come to depend on the predictable changing of the seasons. Sure, I commiserate with the neighbors over yet another snowfall, but the truth is that I love it all: the snow that transitions to the budding trees, to flip flop outings and the first crisp autumn day. It means that Mother Earth is alive; she’s made it through yet another year.

#7. Driving

I’ve done more than my fair share of driving over the years. Our family and friends live all over the state (as well as all over the country) and we really don’t think twice about packing up the car and hitting the highway. Yes, gas prices suck, but the open road has always called to me. I like to settle in, listen to my favorite CDs, and treat myself to a $7 rest-stop iced coffee. And gummy worms.

#6. Funky Jewelry

Who says you’re too old for elephant earrings? Not me! I love finding one-of-a-kind necklaces, pins, earrings, and bracelets. Because I say life’s too damn short to choose formal over funky.

#5. Chipped Plates

I like actually using my things. I don’t believe in packing away The Good China (is that still even a thing?) or preserving items for Special Occasions. Fuck that. Everyday is an occasion to be celebrated. So even if the wine glass cracks or your tea kettle rusts, it means you’re making memories, Dear Reader. So party on.

#4. Candlelight

Similar to the freshly ground coffee, lighting a candle can work wonders. Take the 20 seconds to trim the wick, wipe the glass, and see it transform your space. Because those little things add up, and you deserve some ambience after a long day.

#3. A Hot Shower

I promise I’m not a weirdo. I included it on this list because I believe it truly can be healing. Bathing’s a necessity, sure, but it’s also a small moment we can take for ourselves each day. I remind myself to slow down, and focus on the warmth of the water. It’s my time: to clear my head, take care of my body, and face the day feeling fresh.

#2. Will Ferrel Movies

We watch a lot of television. As I’ve mentioned, there are a ton of high-quality shows, and we take full advantage. That said, many are heady sci-fi stories or full-out dramas. So sometimes I just need a laugh, you know? So I’m vowing to watch more Will Ferrel movies. They seem to get better with every watch. There’s always a bit of dialogue I didn’t catch before, one that makes me laugh like a drunken walrus. And who doesn’t want more of that in life?

#1. Being Me

So I know I said this list was in no particular order, but after all this I felt the need to make this last one really count.

I have never met anyone quite like me before. Yes, I have common traits with family members and with my dear, sweet friends, but I’ve always felt like the outsider. This can be alienating sometimes (why don’t people get it?) but now I’m choosing to embrace this fact.

Because I’ve never wanted to be like anyone else. I love my curly hair. I love my short stature, even though I sometimes get mistaken for a high schooler, which is annoying as fuck. I love how I obsess over Paul McCartney, Willy Wonka, and my own handwriting.

I’m a bizarre creature, yo. And I’m here to stay.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and dreamer of vivid dreams.

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Two-Bit Musings.

Re-Snap: Little Cuckoos.

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A Re-Issue from The SnapDragon Archives: Originally Posted in February of 2019.

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You Know You Want One, 2019.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved.

I’ve wanted a cuckoo clock since I was a small girl.

But it’s one of those things that slipped into the recesses of my mind over the years, kicked to the corner and replaced by a million other hobbies and interests.

Yet whenever I’d see a cuckoo clock–albeit those times were rare–my heart would rejoice at its charm.

I love the old-fashioned, hand-carved artistry. I love the reliable inner workings of its gears, and the sonorous sound as I wind it each morning and night. I love the reminder twice an hour that life is moving on, displayed with a chirp and chime.

The Husband surprised me with the beauty you see above. It hangs in our kitchen by the farmhouse sink. Henry sometimes bats at the chains. I marvel at this classic treasure every single day. It’s ours.

So Dear Reader, find your cuckoo clock. Fill your home with whatever makes you happy. It doesn’t need to match, it doesn’t need to be brand-name. But those little things? The antique mugs and photo frames? They make your nest a haven.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and genuine old soul.

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Two-Bit Musings.

Re-Snap: Omg, it’s me.

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A Re-Issue from The SnapDragon Archives: Originally Posted in February of 2019.

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Today’s epiphany is a simple one, yet I know its struggle will remain for the rest of my days.

One of my favorite Tori Amos lyrics is I know the truth is in between the first and the fortieth drink. (This relates, I swear.)

Whether that means booze, cold brew, or some nine-dollar magical elixir sold at Whole Foods, I do not know. But I think she may be on to something.

Because there seems to be a sort of Goldilocks Zone of self-realization, when you feel like the rawest, truest version of yourself.

Each day consists of a unique concoction of factors: the weather; the quality of last night’s slumber; my choice of meals, music, and social interaction. Sometimes that concoction is as satisfying as homemade mac n’ cheese, and I just want to write down its recipe in my best cursive hand. And other days? I wonder what the fuck the non-existent gods were thinking.

But when I woke up this morning, I had a Goldilocks Moment.

I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and dressed. Poured myself a glass of orange juice and sipped it slowly at the kitchen table.

Today will be a good day.

Because I realized that while there are many factors of my day-to-day–many of which I have no control over–my worst moments? Yeah. They come out of my own head.

Damn, girl.

For example:

I’m overweight. I’m unemployed. I call myself a writer and have yet to publish a single sentence.

I’m a painter, but balk at the mess of it all so therefore wait another day.

I’m a daughter, and a sister, and I constantly bludgeon myself with hate for not showing my family “the real me”.

But you know what I remembered this morning, in that beautiful moment of clarity?

Not once has anyone criticized me for these things.

Not. one. time.

It’s me. (gasp!)

I constantly live in a state of self-judgment. I really am, as they say, my own worst enemy. Because what kind of prick throws out words of hate at another person? You’re fat! You’re lazy! You’re fake! I would never say that to someone, and would stop being friends with anyone who did. But when it comes to myself? Christ. I’m worse than the meanest mean girl there is.

So let me try this again.

I love my body. I really do. Sure, I could work out a little more. But I also love the way this chocolate glazed donut melts in my mouth. I’m a human being, and I think I’m pretty. Period.

I write and I paint when I feel like it. I have goals for myself, and I know I will accomplish them. But no one is standing in the doorway with a stopwatch, arms crossed and blowing a whistle for me to get moving! Why haven’t you done something yet? 

I’m the only one I have to answer to.

And finally (and probably most importantly) I always try to treat people with respect: my family, my friends, and the strangers of suburbia I will likely never meet again. I need to remember that there are different levels of intimacy to the different relationships in life. It does not mean that I am responsible for making all of the people happy, all of the fucking time.

So, Dear Reader? Love yourself. Give yourself a break. Remember that not even one of us has it all.

But you are you, and I am me, and we’re in this thing together.

And maybe that’s all we need.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and all-around happy camper.

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Two-Bit Musings.

Re-Snap: 365 Slices of Life.

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A Re-Issue from The SnapDragon Archives: Originally Posted in February of 2019.

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I’ve been unemployed for a year.


I’ve done a lot in that year. The Husband and I traveled abroad to Paris, Madrid, Stockholm, Helsinki, and St. Petersburg. We also visited the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, and Las Vegas. In between those adventures, we took advantage of our tri-state area status and visited off-the-chain breweries in New York and New Jersey, sampling the finest suds in the region.

It’s okay; you can be jealous. I’m still in awe that these incredible, tasty, and memorable moments happen to me, and so very often.

In addition to expanding my travel log, I’m proud to say I made a lot of progress in my journey as an artist this past year, both in writing and in painting. I took classes at my local Art Association. I set up a make-shift studio at home, complete with drop cloths, easels, and an array of deliciously colorful acrylics. Our house displays my work in nearly every room, as odd and imperfect as it may be.

As far as the writing goes, I sat in numerous main-stream coffee shops, typing away like a stereotypical douchebag. (Currently am, in fact!) It is cliche, but solves the problem of both Henry and Raj either sitting directly on top of the keyboard, or being so damn cute that I just can’t help but stop everything and snuggle. (Yes, that happens. It’s as sweet as it sounds.) Anyway, I have a handful of chapters that I’m proud of. They’re still little babies at this point, in need of much development, but like a parent I’m banking on the potential that lay within.

So, I promise I didn’t start this post with the intention of bragging. Instead, I wanted–needed–to reflect on another year gone by. (starts singing: Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred min-utes! How do you measure, measure a year?)

Indeed, we all have ways of measuring our lives. For us academics, the school years make this all too easy. There’s New Year’s Day, of course. Birthdays. Anniversaries.

Take your pick, but Planet Earth keeps spinning (until we fuck it up so much that it inevitably disintegrates) and it’s up to you to make those days count.

So while I’ll continue to celebrate the big things, I want to savor the small as well.

Because perhaps life is also measured by the immeasurable: those tiny, intimate specks of time that go unphotographed, but add up to a lifetime of character.

This iced coffee has never tasted better. I’m wearing my favorite bluebird earrings. I just heard an obscure Queen song being played at Starbucks. The sun is shining.

I have a shelf full of books to read. We’re rewatching Game of Thrones. My heart is still beating for another day.

My grandmother’s ring sparkles on my finger. I feel warm. I’m getting a tad bit hungry and have money in my wallet to meet this basic need.

I have a brain in my head, a skip in my step, and a smile on my face, because I’m alive, goddamit.

Here’s to another 365 slices of life.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and belly-laugher of old sitcoms.

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Two-Bit Musings.

Re-Snap: Those Gentle Beauties.

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A Re-Issue from The SnapDragon Archives: Originally Posted in February of 2019.

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Land & Sea, 2018.
Oregon, USA.
Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved.

When I meet new people it takes about 30 seconds for them to realize:

I. Love. Animals.

Like, a lot.

Yes, I’m a vegetarian. But I promise I’m not crazy. I won’t throw red paint on your new mink coat. I don’t boycott chain restaurants. I’m married to a carnivore, in fact. I’ve happily cooked Thanksgiving turkeys and taco meat. I just won’t eat it.

Also, I can pretty much guarantee that my closet is home to non-vegan shoes and handbags. I’m aware of the contradiction, yes, seeing as I love love love animals. But I have never once proclaimed to be saving the planet by my dietary choices. I just hate the thought of blood or bones in my food. (Don’t you?)

But back to my original point: Animals make me ridiculously happy.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a pet, farm animal, zoo exhibit, or children’s illustration. Seeing the innocent eyes of a creature always makes me smile. I can’t help but coo and wonder aloud if it’s comfortable and happy and enjoying every moment of its animal life.

So it’s probably no surprise that I’m cat-mom to two sweet babies, Henry and Raja.

Henry, 2017. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

This is Henry. He was rescued from an alley in Kansas by my Mother-in-Law, and arrived at our door at six-weeks old. He’s a gentle giant. In fact, he has anxiety like me. If he’s not snuggling on my chest, you can find him “chirping” and roaming about the house. He loves to chase and play with our other cat, Raja. He is the light of my life (along with my husband, of course) and I’m pretty much obsessed with ensuring his every comfort and happiness.

Raja, 2017. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

This is Raja. As you can see, she’s not like most cats. She’s a sphynx. We adopted her at four-years-old from a friendly couple who could no longer give her the attention she needs. Similar to a dog, she follows us from room to room. She loves to perch on my husband’s shoulder, like a parrot. Just like Henry, she purrs and snuggles on my chest like a rabbit. She is beautiful, and perfect, and I get insanely angry when people say she’s weird or ugly. Fuck you.

And so, I have the joy of taking care of these beauties each day. I delight in seeing them interact, curious about every cog and corner of our home. When I see the gentle nature of their lives, it gives me pause. May we all enjoy the simplicity of each day.

Because truly: Isn’t life about feeling safe, warm, and loved?

So love your pets today, and always. Respect the animals who also call our planet home.

You won’t regret it.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and happy purchaser of overpriced soaps.

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Two-Bit Musings.

Re-Snap: Get Up, Girl.

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A Re-Issue from The SnapDragon Archives: Originally Posted in February of 2019

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Get Up, Girl.

It’s just another (not-so-manic) Monday. I know our society loves to hate Mondays, but I like them. (Yes, I liked them even when I was working.) It’s the start of a new week. Businesses are open, people are scurrying to and fro, and there’s just a general feeling of being a part of a collective consciousness.

If I could delete one day, it would hands-down be Sunday. There’s a lazy, hung-over vibe that spreads an aura of depression over all five feet of me. Although Sunday is technically Day One of a new week (according to our calendars) it feels like a pile of leftover crumbs that I want to sweep up and dump in the garbage can.

Maybe it’s because I’m prone to anxiety and depression. Sigh. I grimace at how often those two words escape my lips or bleed from pen to journal page. But it would be irresponsible of me to ignore this reality. It’s a reality that requires my attention. It’s a reality I won’t let rule my life.

I know as well as you do that everybody goes through shit. Friends betray us, loved ones die, or our bodies don’t work like they’re supposed to. Watch even three minutes of the news and you’ll no doubt want to bury your head in the sheets and wish for a long and dreamless sleep. To put it simply, life fucking sucks sometimes.

I mean, right? Is it just me?

Regardless, we can’t let the shit win.

When I’m out and about I like to glance at passersby. Where are they going? What are they worried about today? Why did they choose to wear that jacket, that flourish of eye makeup, that hipster hat? The only answer I have is that those people chose to show up. They could have stayed home. They could have locked the doors, hid in bed, and refused to participate in the human experience. But here they are: alive, moving, and ready to give it another shot.

And that’s what I tell myself when those Sunday Blues show up (even on a Tuesday). Sure, everybody needs those times of respite–in fact, enjoy them often, I say–but society can’t exist without us. No matter what you offer, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, you matter.

So let’s make a pact to get out there, especially when it feels impossible. Smile at the postman. Tell your barista you like her hairstyle. Wave in the person on the road who clearly ignored the sixteen signs exclaiming the lane was about to end. Because maybe today’s been rough. Maybe they’re just about making it and can use a bit of grace, even from a stranger.

Thanks for being here.

. . .

SnapDragon is a writer, artist, and weirdo in general.

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