Two-Bit Musings.

Is This the Real Life?*

(Is this just fantasy?)*

. . .

This morning started in ordinary fashion: soft baby grunts, a bottle feeding, and our son happily kicking about in our bed, trying to snag Daddy’s iPad from the nightstand.

(I also snuck a bite of raw cookie dough from the fridge at about 4 AM.)

And later on, when I was washing a few dishes here and there–in between sips of coffee, text messages, and sweet toddler yelps–I surprisingly found myself in a place of peace.

It never stops.

This is the life we’ve dreamed of.

. . .

My Sweet Husband and I frequently talk about how fast time passes, and usually these discussions accompany feelings of slight panic, and almost disapproval for how much we’ve achieved.

Sometimes it helps me to organize things, by breaking my life into distinct chapters:

SnapDragon’s Life, in Cheap One-Liners:

-Elementary School: Using Bright Colors for Everything

-Middle School: Being Self-Conscious AF

-High School: Having Fun ‘Rebelling Against Society’, as My Brother Would Say

-College: Not Letting Fear Rule My Life

-Teaching: Trying to Inspire in a Broken System

-Post-Teaching: Anxiety, Depression, & Artistic Discovery

-Motherhood: (Musical Interlude)**

. . .

Anyway, what I’m getting at is that no matter how hard we are on ourselves–no matter how little it seems we’ve done–we have arrived.

In high school I wanted nothing more than to read, write, and become a teacher.

Done.

In college I wanted to travel, paint, and have the type of fun only 20-somethings can.

Done.

Throughout my life I’ve dreamed of art, passion, friendships, and family. I dreamed of a house of my own.

Done, done, and done.

I’ve had moments where I’ve wanted nothing more than to be a stay-at-home Mom, tending to the house in between caring for a couple of little humans.

And here it all is, and here I am, in perfect disarray.

. . .

So, despite how it sounds, this doesn’t mean I’m finished. Just because I’ve accomplished some major goals doesn’t mean there aren’t more on the horizon. My middle school self would be quite proud of my high school self. College SnapDragon evolved into Teacher SnapDragon.

We all keep moving the bar, because really, isn’t that what it means to be alive?

I want to relish each moment, yet continue to plan for a kick-ass future.

. . .

You have done amazing things in this life, Dear Reader. So have I.

So just because you’re in the same sweatpants for three days in a row and haven’t yet brushed your teeth today, it doesn’t mean you’re slacking.***

We’re simply doing the best with the day we’ve got.

Right?

. . .

SnapDragon is an artist who just loves traditionally-feminine things.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for irreverent musings and more.

. . .

*These are Queen lyrics, obviously. Please tell me this footnote is not necessary.

**It’s way too hard to put into words, yo.

***Oh wait. That’s me.

Two-Bit Musings.

Hidden Away.

I’m still here, yo! And doin’ just fine.

. . .

Hello, Dear Reader. And greetings from my shockingly somewhat-cleared-off dining room table, where a fresh iced coffee patiently sits within reach. I’m in fruit-punch pink sweatpants. My lips are annoyingly chapped.

(takes a deep breath)

Blogging is a funny thing: Really, it’s a strangely intimate relationship. I feel the pull to write–to check in–every single day. For real. And it truly bothers me when I don’t. Even when I was in the hospital–mindlessly eating egg salad sandwiches and trying not to freak out about another impending premature birth–SnapDragon was there, too. I viewed myself in all of my facets, the writer included.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that Snap’s still here. Even though I’m in mama-mode full force these days, the artist within still breathes. (And she’s been downing delicious cold brew coffee like it’s her job.)

So, let me back up, and clear the writer-ly cobwebs from my sleep-deprived brain. Here we go:

. . .

But First: A Word on 2021

I did sort of a shit job of posting this past year. I dropped the ball in more than one way, but I must say that not completing my Book-of-the-Month posts for the year bothers me, and more than it probably should. And so, I feel the need to declare that I did continue to read.

Here are a few books of note:

To a God Unknown by John Steinbeck

As far as Steinbeck goes, this one was just okay. I didn’t hate it, but wouldn’t be in a rush to read it again.

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

This was an intriguing read. Definitely pick it up if you get the chance. I also felt a strong connection with the hermit, when he said he wasn’t going to be ‘intellectually bullied’ into reading Ulysses. Umm, yes.

The Wangs Vs. The World by Jade Chang

I definitely enjoyed this novel. There were parts of it that were true page-turners! I’d be quite proud if my debut novel is as well done as this one.

The Best American Short Stories: 2020 edited by Heidi Pitlor and Curtis Sittenfeld

Reading the newest edition in this series has been a tradition since 2015, The Year of Our Sweet Wedding. And I must say, this one has been the best so far. It’s filled with really smart, beautiful stories.

. . .

Here are a few more thoughts on 2021. In fact, here’s what I started writing on New Year’s Day, right before I went into the hospital:

2021. (lets out an exasperated breath) Amiright?

Well, it’s over.

And while there were certainly some low moments–as there are in every year we live on this planet–I’m choosing to recap the year with some of my favorite happenings:

Home-cooked meals; children’s books on repeat; the flickering of jarred candles; RV adventures; drive-throughs*; well-designed playgrounds; eating vine-ripened tomatoes straight from our container garden; cat snuggles; intelligent cinema; exploring every winding road of our neighborhood; discovering all-but-vacant malls are perfect for toddler-running during a pandemic; moments of solitude; reuniting with vaccinated friends and family; celebrating the holidays in simplicity; modern medicine; yogurt and granola; warm hands and feet.

*Yeah, no. I’m taking a stand against the asinine Drive-Thru spelling. Somebody has to.

. . .

Ahh. Oddly enough, I feel better after airing those accumulated thoughts.

. . .

So Dear Reader, I want to take you warmly by the hand. I want to say Hello, and Happy New Year. I want to remind you that even though we’ve probably never met, you are my friend. You are human, and I am human. And we are in this thing together.

Let’s do this.

. . .

SnapDragon is a blogger who enjoys the hoppiest of IPAs.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for her sometimes messy ramblings about who-knows-what.

Two-Bit Musings.

Day 1.

‘Cuz it’s the first day of the rest of our lives, right?

. . .

Hi. (waves)

Today is my first official day of being a full-time, stay-at-home mom.

And despite the whole working remotely thing happening for months on end, it feels pretty good to be 100% done. Close the book. Wave goodbye.

It’s over.

And so begins the next chapter in The SnapDragon Tale!

First and foremost, I recognize how fortunate I am to be able to lose my salaried-with-full-benefits job, and not feel the sense of panic so many have experienced lately. I live a very comfortable life, for which I am extremely grateful. That’s not lost on me.

I’m definitely a stop-and-smell-the-roses kinda gal, and this situation is no different.

There is always something to be thankful for, Dear Reader.

. . .

So as I take a breath–during nap time, that is–I’m going to get a few kinks worked out.

  1. Clean Up, Yo. If I want this blog to take off, I’ve gotta get my shit in order. Yes it’s a fun outlet for me, but I know I can turn it into something more. I’ve got ideas. I’ve got material. I need to establish a schedule I can actually stick to.
  2. Office Space. As ridiculous as it sounds, I have trouble getting started on things. Like, a lot of trouble. I’m talking like, my laptop being closed instead of open kind of trouble. I look for any and all barriers to prevent me from my creative work. (Why I do this, I do not know.) And so, I’ve realized that I need my own space. My own desk, equipped with my (open!) laptop, easel and canvas at the ready, and a stack of delicious notebooks and pens for creative thought. It’s happening. And soon.
  3. Keep Calm and Be Kind. It’s the only thing I can control. I will never get everything done in a day. I will never arrive at some task-free life. I will never have total understanding from each and every person. But I can be kind. Always.

See you soon, friends. Be well.

. . .

SnapDragon is a human being who finds satisfaction in clipping coupons.

Follow Snippets of SnapDragon for a little of this and that, yo.

Two-Bit Musings.

The Open Window.

It Finds a Way, 2020. Pennsylvania. Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved.

Goooooooood mornin’!

I hope this finds you well, Dear Reader.

The sun is shining here in southeast Pennsylvania. Yesterday’s raindrops sparkle in the breeze. And a fresh pot of coffee is at the ready.

May is here!

And you know I’ve already flipped the crisp page on my moose calendar.

Fresh start, yo.

. . .

SnapDragon’s Three Little Goals for May:

1. No Alexa. Okay. Not really. I’m not insane. But the other day when I was writing about my top ten albums, I wanted to listen to Peter Gabriel for some inspiration. And of course my first thought was the say, “Alexa: Play the album ‘So’ by Peter Gabriel.” But I stopped. I felt sad. I missed the ritual of selecting a CD or record from the shelf, placing the delicate disc into the stereo, and committing to the moment. So this month will be filled with listening to music the good old-fashioned way. Streaming can suck it.

2. One Painting. I want to finish one painting. Just one. With two needy cats, an infant, and the occasional Zoom meeting, time to fully immerse myself in the acrylics has fallen to the wayside. But surely I can swap a little of my reading time for painting in the loft.

3. Remember Who I Am. A friend of mine once said, “You carry the weight of the world, Snap.” Alas, it is true. Like the rest, I am a human being and I make mistakes. And I always try to reflect on my actions and take responsibility. I’m not too proud to apologize. But sometimes I second guess myself. I blame myself for everyone else’s misunderstandings and childish actions. And that’s just not fair. Each of us has a role to play as our planet spins for yet another day. May we practice humility in all that we do.

Sending you love, dear friends.

. . .

SnapDragon is writer. She’s working on her first novel, a novella, and a whimsical-yet-wonky blog. She enjoys ice water, oversized clothing, and the genius of Dr. Seuss.

Follow her Two-Bit Musings and more on Snippets of SnapDragon.

Happy at Home.

Mama Earth.

Celebrate & Unite, 2020. Original Photo by SnapDragon X.
All rights reserved.
Calendar by Stephanie McMillan:
365 Daily Affirmations for Revolutionary Proletarian Militants, 2015.

Happy Earth Day, friends!

And given that almost the entirety of our populated planet is taking a break–albeit a forced break–my guess is Mama Earth is breathing just a bit easier as of late.

I promise you this isn’t a post to make you feel like a self-centered slob. I’m not going to pretend that I’m some guru of sustainability.

I am not.

We all can improve.

All of us!

So in the spirit of Earth Day, I’ve made a little list for myself.

. . .

SnapDragon’s List of Things She Can Do to Maybe Help The Planet a Little Bit:

1. Reduce.

Nobody needs all those plastic bags. Cat or dog parent? You can find biodegradable poop-scoop bags on Amazon. Yep.

Skip the straw. It seems like this is catching on! How many sad sea turtle pics do we need to see? (starts crying)

Buy a Brita. Some people may think it’s a nuisance to fill, but really. . . it’s just turning on the faucet. And you’ll reduce a shit-ton of plastic in the process.

2. Reuse.

You don’t smell. I’m an advocate for good hygiene, but do we really need to wash our clothes so much? Is your blouse really that dirty from you sitting in front of the computer all day? Think of the water, soap, energy (and time!) you’ll save.

Dishcloths are cute. Paper towels are handy. I won’t lie and say we don’t use them. But a washable, reusable dishcloth works just as well. And in the meantime it’ll save a tree, and space in our ridiculously-expanding landfills.

3. Recycle.

Just do it. There were times in my adult life when recycling either wasn’t an option or was inconvenient. I’m not proud of this. But I’m going to make more of an effort. We’ll set out our bin each week, and when we stop at Dunkin? We’ll take those iced coffee cups home to ensure their destiny into recycling center heaven.

. . .

. . .And there we have it!

Not the most prolific of lists, but an important reminder that Earth is our home. It’s also home to millions of other organisms. They want to live in beauty, too!

So on this day–and all of our days–let us respect this incredible planet.

She’s the only one we’ve got.

. . .

SnapDragon is a curly-haired reader of fiction.

Follow her Two-Bit Musings and more on Snippets of SnapDragon.

Let's Be Friends.

Let’s Be Friends.

(Unless you’re a close-minded jerk. Then I’ll take a hard pass.)

But I’m sure you’re cool, right?

SnapDragon at Work, 2018. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

Hello, Dear Reader.

Maybe you’re a follower, or maybe you’ve stumbled upon my cauldron of creative musings and are asking yourself just what this site is all about.

What’s a SnapDragon?

I am SnapDragon, friend.

Allow me to introduce myself:

(taps the mic)

-I identify as human. I identify as a radical educator. I identify as a flawed yet compassionate soul.

-I’m obsessive about punctuation. I will fight to the death believing that it makes or breaks effective writing.

-I cannot resist cute, cartoon-y school supplies. I may be the teacher, but you better believe I’m going to buy the folder with a picture of peanut butter and jelly high-fiving on the front. Why wouldn’t I?

-I get pissed when people lack passion. I may seem like an obsessive freak about my favorite things, but at least I have personality. I’d rather be weird than boring.

-I have nighttime anxiety. If a worry seems manageable during the day, it transforms into a world catastrophe by midnight. Everything’s scarier in the dark.

-I pride myself on being forgiving. Life’s short. If you offer a sincere apology, and correct the behavior, we all good. Kids are the greatest reminder of how simple it is to just forgive and forget.

-I am embarrassingly bad at math. I truly do not know how I passed. But thankfully, all of it’s done, and I ain’t lookin’ back, yo.

-I love tattoos, but will never get one. I’m an artist, and love seeing the brilliant and meaningful designs people choose to wear on their bodies, more or less for life. But the permanence overwhelms me. I like viewing my skin as a. . . clean slate of sorts.

-I pretty much want to be Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Her voice, her hair. . . she’s absolutely lovely. But I would stay under the sea, no doubt about it.

-And finally? If I could have one super power, it would be to eat and drink without repercussions. I would be the queen of macaroni n’ cheese, vegetarian burritos, avocado and cucumber sushi, Chianti, and a ridiculous list of craft beers. Oh wait. I am, and most of the time just ignore the calories. Oh well.

Oh man. I’m hungry now.

So, there we have it, friends.

It’s nice to meet you. Or, if you’re a follower, it’s nice to take our digital relationship to the next level. (But no sexts, please. Don’t make it weird.)

So… who are you, Dear Reader?

Come on. I need some friends. So comment away! Tell me about your favorite things. Tell me what makes you you.

All of my love,

Snap

Homework Time.

Homework Time.

Because sometimes it’s the only way to get shit done.

Life Goals, 2018. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

You all know I’m a teacher.

I delight in the idea of back-to-school sneakers, a new lunchbox, and untarnished notebooks ready for use.

And while I tried not to assign homework. . . well, sometimes it just had to be done, friends.

So for the month of May I’m giving myself some projects. Because life is waning fast and I’ll be damned if I let my biggest goal slip away.

Take a look:

SnapDragon’s Homework (Due June 1, 2019)

  • Complete the plot line for Francine, my first novel. I’m about halfway there, as of today. I just have to sit down and iron things out. I’m hoping a deadline will help with this. Sometimes compartmentalizing is key.
  • Blog twice a week. This shouldn’t be too hard, but I want to stick to it. It’s not only an outlet for my pent-up wacko emotions, but I’ve always wanted to be a blogger. I’m a writer. And if one day I can get paid to post my two-bit musings, I’ll be one happy little camper.
  • Read at least three books. So, when I mentioned Gretchen Rubin in my post yesterday, I decided to visit her site. She always lists what she’s read over the past month, and for April she listed eighteen books. Eighteen! Either I’m calling bullshit, or I’ve got to get my life together. I love reading. And good readers tend to make good writers. So while I refuse to rush through, I’m going to step it up. I’d like to read one novel, one anthology, and one piece of nonfiction each month.

And so, there we have it. My Official Homework, up on the interwebs as a small way of holding myself accountable.

Let’s do this, Snap.

. . .

What are some of your goals for the month, Dear Reader?

Let’s get some comments up in heeeere!