Saturday, July 27, 2019

Cat Dragons, Poop Bags, & Someone Likes My Face


  I have lots of fun little things to share, but we should definitely start with rainbow dresses:


The pastel necklace is by Whimsy Kei, a local resin artist, and both dresses are CowCow brand from Amazon. I love them, but they're a little smaller than my last CowCow dress - maybe because they shipped from China? So I'm tempted to re-order them in XL.

 
Wearing rainbows is fun. A++, highly recommend.

 John did some death-defying lawn work:


 A few folks thought that was a weed whacker - bahaha! - but I promise both are legitimate hedge trimmers, rented from Home Depot.

 
 I promise you, I know what I've got - and I try not to take John for granted.

 On the kitty front, Suki has taken to bringing all her toys onto our bed (including dragging the plastic sticks with toys attached), and on laundry day she claimed my sock pile as her new dragon hoard:

 
"MINE"


 Then this happened:

 Have you ever tried to contain a massive belly laugh while madly scrambling for your phone to take a picture? Because that was me.

 
 My Hope robot has seen things, y'all. Hilarious things.

(Also I just re-read my old post about Hope and I'm kinda misty again. Aww.)

Random prettiness:


This gorgeous art book by our friend Danny Haas was the birthday gift I brought for that dinner last week. (The one with the infamously bad group photo, ha.)


If you're ever up really late on a weeknight and suddenly struck with the thought: "Hey, I wonder what John and Jen are doing RIGHT NOW," then here's your answer:

 

We're in the toy aisle at Walmart being giant goofballs.

Also please note that the "Pooey Puitton" purse by the brand "Poopsie" is a thing that exists.


 You and I live in this world.

 What a time to be alive.


 On a slightly more serious/potentially helpful note:


 I know some of you won't be able to resist reading my list, so IN MY DEFENSE: 5pm is only 2pm in California. :p (My night owl schedule is also why we end up playing in the Walmart toy aisle at midnight on a Tuesday, lol.)

Here's a cute pic of John he took for Selfie Saturday a while back:

 
 I worry people won't know he likes Harry Potter.


Oh! And speaking of selfies and faces and my whole Self Hate Battle Plan thing, I got an anonymous package in the mail. This was inside:


 It lives on my desk now, right next to my computer:

 

Before you ask, the fabulous plush is a JellyCat Rainbow Ostrich from my friend Sharyn. 
Everything in that photo makes me happy.


I don't talk about it unless I screw it up somehow, but I'm still happily chugging along on Low Fodmap over here. 

These are still my favorite kinds of meals: a little of everything!

I've been able to eat at lots of restaurants pain-free (sushi rolls are the best), and ironically my worst setbacks have been home-cooked meals where John and I decided to risk "just a little" of something I know I can't have. Last week it was a few bites of pre-packaged stuffing, which had onion in it, and another few bites of cranberry sauce, which is packed with high-fructose corn syrup. Hard to believe, but that night my chest spasms from reflux were so severe I couldn't even sit down 'til 6AM the next morning. Every time I tried another spasm would hit, so I just had to pace the house all night in agony. (I was taking the appropriate drugs, but it took a quadruple dose before the Ranitidine started to work.)

Then there was this:


I can't over-emphasize the connection I'm seeing between gut pain and anxiety, you guys. The next time you're feeling panicky, do me a favor and take note of how your stomach feels. It won't be subtle: I'm not talking about a little twinge, but full on pain or nausea, constipation, cramps - ANYTHING out of the ordinary. Now that I actually feel GOOD most of the time, these connections are glaringly obvious. (That and hormonal connections, of course, but that's another ball of wax.) Before, when I just always felt kind of crummy, it was impossible to connect the dots.

Anyway, I hope by talking about it I get more people to pay attention and connect their own dots! I know gut stuff can be embarrassing to talk about, but I suffered half my life because no one did, not even my doctors. So please, speak up.


 And finally, because I have my priorities straight, MOAR SUKI:

 
 It looks like she's standing on the window, but she's really lying on her side on the window shelf! I love this shot.

Ahh, but THIS is my new favorite:


Technically that's Eva's baby blanket, but Suki matches it SO WELL. 
(Lookit her pink tummy! I die. I die of teh cute.)


Oh wait, I do have one last thing! I don't have a picture for it, but the past few weeks I've found myself pondering new ways to interact with you - new ways to reach out and make connections and maybe inspire more people to do the same. Maybe it's something in the air, or the time of year, or a shift in the Force, but I've been hearing from more hurting people lately. People who are lonely, who are scared, who don't know where to turn for a kind word or a safe space, online or off. Heck, maybe I'm even talking about you.

I want - no, I need - to do more. I don't know what exactly, or how, but I feel it in my bones. So whether you're the praying time, or the meditative type, or the type who writes lists and brainstorms and knocks at every door 'til you find what you're searching for, I hope you'll ponder this with me. How can we help bring people together not only online, but in the real world as well? How can the geek community foster more of a sense of family?

I don't know, not yet. But I'm going to keep pondering.

 Also I love you guys. Pass it on.

::MWAH::


******

If you like Epbot, then please share your favorite posts with friends! And if you looooooove Epbot, then you can also support me and John directly through Paypal. Either way, thanks for sticking around and being awesome, gang.

48 comments:

  1. I cherish your blogs. They came to me 8 years ago when I passed the first book at the library...and got dirty looks for my belly laugh.
    The Facebook FOE page brightens my day. EVERY SINGLE DAY.
    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for bringing us all together!

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  2. I'm touched that the font is orange in the "I like your face" cross stitch. Your favorite color! So sweet.

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  3. Hi Jen!! Longtime reader and fan of Epbot here - just wanted to leave a quick note to let you know that that exact Rainbow print is one I've been selling in my little online store for over five years now! It's been copied a lot of times - unfortunately it's near impossible to get Amazon to do anything about it. I was geeking out when I saw the first photos, but then realized after looking at your link that it's a copy haha. I feel sad every time I see it copied, but hey - best form of flattery, right? Gotta stay positive! :) Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that we have this print in skirts and other dress styles as well, including on Cotton fabric! As a big fan, I'd love to hook you up with one if you're interested? I don't want to include any other details in the comment since I don't want to advertise, but yeah - give me a shout if you'd like! :) I'd be so honored!

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    1. Oh gosh, I'm so sorry, had no idea! Please, link to your store here in the comments so everyone can see! (And so I can shop your stuff!)

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    2. If that's your original design you should definitely advertise! Hope you'll share your link.

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  4. That last picture is purrrfection. Just adorable. Makes me wish cats didn't make me sneeze like crazy.

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  5. PSA, if you call the power company, they'll cut the power to those lines while you do work. They want you to do that rather than be electrocuted.

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  6. Leah in WilliamsburgJuly 27, 2019 at 5:05 PM

    Do you have a source of cranberry sauce that doesn't contain HFCS? I could send you a jar of my homemade stuff when I make it at Thanksgiving, but I don't know if you'd eat stuff from random strangers on the internet. (Mine is made from fresh cranberries, brown sugar, and a small amount of apple, but I could easily skip the apple. I run it through a food mill so it's about the consistency of applesauce instead of being chunky.)

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  7. Are those cheese curds between the orange and tomatoes on your dinner plate? I got everything else, but that has me scritching my head!
    Suki's eyes remind me of Liiy's. Hope that didn't make you sad.
    My John stands in a lawn trailer while I drive the Deere lawn mower to trim the hedges in our front yard. Our old across the street neighbor useta set his lawn chair in the driveway and watch when we would trim the hedge! He thought it was so ingenious of us to do it that way. He did that until he passed away.

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    1. Those ARE cheese curds, yes! My favorite cheese ever, and we can only find them at Aldi for a few months out of the year, so we're eating them every day right now. :p

      I'd love to see video of you two trimming the hedges, that's so smart! Ha!

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  8. This whole post made me happy. Silly husbands, silky kitties, rainbows and yummy snacks.

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  9. Regarding bringing people together? What about an FOE con - pick a date & location for the 'home' con presumably Orlando - convenient for you & John. But also encourage FOE's who aren't able to go 'home' to host local 'remote' meet-ups in their area - same time & date. Maybe do a live facebook feed for everyone - esp. if you can't get to any irl meet-ups?

    Obviously this would take some planning/co-ordination but you certainly have a big enough following to get something off-the ground.

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    1. An FOE con!!! I've only been to one con in my life. A steampunk one in Cincinnati, but an FOE con would be so great! I'm also a longtime reader, since the beginning of Epbot. Jen, your posts have helped me through a lot of anxiety. One of the things I would love to do is meet you guys.

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    2. Just don't make it exclusive to FOE! Then all us conscientious objectors to Facebook couldn't join in. Otherwise, sounds like a huge project, but fun!

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    3. How about craft classes or a 24 hour craft room for geeks at this con?

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    4. I love this idea. Logistics will be the biggest hurdle, but I think this is the right direction!

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    5. I also don't do Facebook but loooove the idea of an Epbot geeky con!

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    6. So years ago before Comic Con in San Diego became SDCC!! There was a blogger named Whitney Matheson who would host a night at a local restaurant during comic con, and she had a hook up at Hasbro that would supply games like Jenga. And she'd open it up to anyone that was in the area and liked her blog. Typically about 20 or so people would show up, and she'd do raffles, and everyone would play board games and hang out and she'd typically buy a few trays of appetizers and people would order other food or drinks. But it was always a lot of fun and they grew to probably about 40 people or so (including Joss Whedon one night). Something like that may work out better logistically for you to get started than a full on con.

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  10. Personally, my little geek heart has found such happiness by volunteering at my local con. I have made my geek family by now being on the staff for that con. It gets me out of the house to go to events to promote our convention throughout the year. My entire summer is filled with these wonderful people who are not ashamed to love Harry Potter, Star Trek, Ninja Turtles, etc. It can be exhausting but it's wonderful and I truly consider them part of my family. I think volunteering at conventions is a great way to build a real-life geek community.

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    1. I love this. It also makes me miss the smaller local conventions, since most of those have gone out of business here in central Florida - swallowed up by the giant corporate-run ones. Don't get me wrong; I *LOVE* big cons, but we need more ways to get smaller groups of geeks together!

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  11. This post made me super happy. A) Kitties! B) I love that my husband and I aren't the only ones who play in toy aisles during the small hours. C) We love, love LOVE Danny Haas! We have a wall with six of his prints. D) Kitties again. E) That. Robot. Face. F) Now I'm thinking more about the relationship between what I eat and how I feel, which seems like a good thing to do. Thanks as always for this wonderful blog! <3

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  12. The checklist thing is so me!!! I have a horrible memory, and my 11 yr old geekling is very much like me. A few years ago I typed up checklists for us both and put them in dry erase pockets I found on Amazon (it was a class pack with rainbow colors). Now geekling has his before school, after school, and evening checklists, plus a weekend chores list. On summer days he has a "things to do before screen time" checklist. And I have a list of the stuff I need to remember every day, too. They're all color coded, so we're often calling out "did you check your green list?" or "how many things did you finish on the red list?" I love that I'm remembering to do things that I used to forget (like take my meds), and I'm not trying to remember things for geekling on top of the things for myself. Plus the rainbow of colors makes me happy! :)

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    1. Ohh, you've taken lists to the next level! GENIUS. Now I want to find some color-coded sleeves!

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  13. so my Dad's a Pediatric GI and I was diagnosed with IBS at a pretty young age and he's promoted low fodmap for me for ages, to him the biggest offender is the high fructose corn syrup. Another thing that he has helped me with is he read an article probably 15 years ago about how the side effects of Celexa can be that it really helps with IBS symptoms. He called my PCP at the time and they happily agreed to let me start it and it makes a huge difference with my gut symptoms. It's a bit of a chicken/egg situation with me. It does help my mood, is that why my stomach is better? who knows. But the enteric nervous system has a HUGE influence on our mental health and balance, in ways we barely understand.

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  14. I would love to be a part of the FOE community, but I don't have facebook (no judgement, just don't like it personally). So if there was another platform your followers/fans could talk to each other on, a way we could interact and safely plan meetups, that would be amazing.

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  15. I, too, have stood by with phone at the ready to call 911 when my husband inevitably fell from a tree while doing yard work. He hasn't fallen yet, but I feel your pain.

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  16. As soon as I read "JellyCat," I immediately started singing it to the tune of Phoebe Buffay's "Smelly Cat," and it made me giggle.

    I have nothing else to add. :D

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  17. Another non-Facebook user here wishing that FoE could spread outside of that platform. The people sound amazing!

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    1. The people ARE amazing! (It's the people, not the FaceBook that make it the best corner of the internet!)

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  18. Going to second the "needs somewhere other than Facebook" thing. I've been reading this blog for literally years and I still don't really feel like I'm part of this community at all, or like commenting here is going to change that.

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  19. 1. I used to think being a night owl wasn't as healthy, but then I learned that it's genetic! (As in, it depends on the length of a certain chromosome!) Anyway, I read a really interesting book called The Power of When, by Dr. Breus, and it was fascinating!

    2. Do you take probiotics? Or eat yogurt? Take care of your tummy!

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  20. Jen, I want to encourage you that FoE has already fostered an enourmous amount of community. I know that Facebook isn't accessible to everyone, for various reasons, but those of us who are in the FoE group find it an incredible place.

    It also fosters offline community - just last night four of us in Sydney Australia got together with a visiting New Zealander for dinner. It was amazing to be so comfortable together right away, and find so much shared experience and passion.

    So, it's wonderful to see you wanting to reach out even further and encourage that, but I want you to know that you've brought together a whole bunch of people in lovely ways already. Please keep being yourself and shining bright!

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  21. Honestly, if you want to make a huge difference in the geek community, consider becoming a Girl Scout leader. So many young women don't get to find the role models they needed as kids until they're adults. Geeks-in-training need to see adults they respect geeking out if they're going to feel confident letting their geek flag fly. And young girls need to see people who choose to not have children if they are to believe in their hearts that you are enough just as you are--that you will be an amazing and totally fulfilled human being with or without children and marriage and all the other nonsense children come to believe for lack of representation in their lives. You would be an amazing leader--crafty, creative, confident in your skills, and amazing in your honesty and transparency about the realities of life with anxiety and your quest to live a great life despite it. Too many of our kids are full of anxiety about so many things they feel are out of their control. You would be a great role model for finding ways to take control.

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    1. I never even thought of that, what a cool idea! I think I have some Googling to do, thanks. <3

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    2. As a former girl scout and GS leader's assistant, I second this motion.

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  22. There is a ton of evidence (I don't know if it's anecdotal or from studies published in journals) about the link between IBS and anxiety, and gut health and mental health in general!

    Apparently, not only are there serotonin receptors in the intestinal tract, but most of the body's serotonin is made and stored in the intestines!

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  23. Immediately after reading this post I happened upon some recipes on The Kitchn that are low fodmap...so I thought I'd share cause I don't know if you read them or not ;) https://www.thekitchn.com/low-fodmap-recipes-22902817

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  24. Hmm... Most utility companies will happily trim trees that surround their power lines. Granted, they'll do so in a way that means nothing within three feet of the branches, but it's worth it not to have the lines damaged...

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  25. I like your face too, but the cross-stitch isn't mine. ;) I love the rainbow dresses, and I think the belt actually improves the look.

    I HIGHLY approve of all the Suki pictures. <3 I used to catch my two cats snuggling while pretending they weren't snuggling. It was ridiculously adorable.

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  26. I love seeing the stories again in these posts. I'm also a bit shocked that you have plain white socks. Figured you'd be like me and have all the cartoon character and fun colored socks you could find.

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    1. I like looking at fun socks, but I love color-blocking and solid colors too much to ever wear them. I figure I'll keep all the fun colors in my shoes. :D

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    2. I wear fun socks hidden inside my boots! During fall and winter. My workout socks are plain white though. Love your colorful shoes Jen!

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  27. I just want to pet all that adorable floof! Thanks for sharing kitty pictures. I have terrible allergies to animals, so I can't have one of my own, and it's so fun to see your pics.

    I also want to know what on earth the 35 magic surprises were in the poop purse. I NEED TO KNOW!! :)

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    1. One is slime, so just imagine the "joy" of the OTHER 34!

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  28. So, my mom is a nurse, and my sister has multiple dogs. (Another sister is also a nurse.) Your "poop bag" is totally not what I was expecting that term to mean.

    Most people admit that stress can affect their gut. (Ex: pre-exam nausea in school, your lunch sitting like a rock in your gut because of situational anxiety.) I have long noticed that mine goes the other way. When I eat corn (oil, syrup, starch, meal, dextrose), I get depressed and anxious a day or two later. Good food = good mood. It's not just a slogan for stress eating.

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  29. So much happy in this post! On your last subject, another way to connect would be great, especially since I left facebook over its distractive and data mining ways. (Still alive, any FoEs reading this! You can email me.) I love my geek community, just need a better way to interact with it! Local cons are a great start, I'm getting ready for GenCon here in Indiana. It's kinda.... big though!

    Oh, and my ten year old daughter is disgusted by that purse, it's hilarious! We have seen it at Target. Even if you say it looks like whipped frosting, she knows the inspiration and dislikes all poop-emoji related stuff!

    Also I need to do something similar with lists, trying to be more organized and better with my time. Good idea for the 'every day' stuff printed, and write in with dry/wet erase the extra stuff. Still going to tease you about such a late lunch, but I'm an early riser (who is still up til midnight) =)

    Can't get enough of your kitties, and love seeing stuff about you and John!

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  30. On the way for more people to interact thing? Have you considered an Epbot discord server? I know you have a good facebook group but discord could be a good thing too. You could have channels for interests and needs: crafts or movies or anything at all. People could share interests and pictures and all that. And of course chat in real time.

    Furthermore: I know you've gotten into Critical Role but have you heard of The Adventure Zone? It's a D&D podcast from the McElroys - 3 brothers and their dad play together. The first arc, called Balance, finished a couple years ago and they've had a few experimental arcs since then and are now (supposedly mostly?) through their second major story called Amnesty. (I have to try and plug TAZ because Balance is what got me to finally start writing fanfic and now I've written over 250k words in just over the last year and met some neat people on TAZ discord servers.) If you decide to look into it I'll warn you: TAZ:B starts a little rough and also you will wonder if this is possibly the same podcast that one of the McElroy brothers himself described in the finale as "Thus ends the adventure zone balance, the story of four idiots that played D&D so hard that they made themselves cry." and the second warning is DO NOT SEARCH FOR ART OR ANYTHING BECAUSE THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS. The best way to experience it is just jump in at the start and take the ride. TAZ:B is 69 episodes of around 90 minutes, I think? So it's a definite time investment but - I think! - well worth it. (Also warning for crude language and humor. But I have to counterbalance that warning with: the McElroys try to be very inclusive and the cast of characters are very diverse.)

    Oh! And the first two mini arcs of TAZ Balance are now graphic novels: Here There Be Gerblins and Murder on the Rockport Limited.

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  31. Ugh, I had to take ranitidine on two separate occasions for two separate things -- GERD, and itching from eczema/allergies -- and it did absolutely *nothing* for either one. Daily Nexium is the only thing that works for my GERD. And oddly, besides avoiding products with fragrance [everything from bath and body products to laundry products] the thing that's worked the best for my itching is bathing *less* often. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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