Home Is Where Your Butt Is

“Home is where the heart is.”
“Home is wherever I’m with you.”
“There’s no place like home.”
“I need you in my house, ‘cause you’re my home.”
“Home sweet home.”
“I wish I was homeward bound.”

Home is a term that is often used without really having a consistently agreed on or recognized definition – While there is no universal definition, the concept of home is still a universal theme – the idea of ‘home’ may be different for every person, but it is always important. A home SHOULD be a safe and nurturing environment, both physically and emotionally, but it is unfortunately not always so.  Even people lucky enough to have four walls and a roof may not feel safe, secure, or nurtured there – sure safe from rain probably, but that isn’t the only thing that makes a home.  And I don’t think a home needs to be a house, necessarily, although physical safety and protection are still a contributing component.

The idea of home and one’s role there is extremely prevalent in children’s literature. I recently read Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting, a children’s picture book that is about a boy and his father who are homeless and live in an airport.  While it seems that they have a pretty nurturing and safe environment both physically (with the exception of the danger of being caught and thrown out) and emotionally (they have a good relationship, friends, a support system), they are still saving up for a ‘real’ home.  At first glance it seems like it is communicating a positive message about overcoming obstacles and making a better life, but it places value on only one definition of ‘home,’ and portrays an exclusionary perspective about the homeless.

For me, I believe that a significant factor in the concept of home is the ability to be at home with oneself, within oneself, at peace and comfortable and safe.  That is a big part of my definition or interpretation of the word home.  But everyone has their own interpretation and definition, and those are constantly changing and evolving as the associated ideas and terms grow and develop.

The term ‘relationship’ isn’t often connected to a physical place.  However, relationships with places can have a significant impact on people. People usually feel the strongest relationship with the place they call home.  The home can play an essential role in an individual’s growth and development, and it is through a safe and nurturing relationship with your home you can build safe and nurturing relationships with yourself and others.

“Just know you’re not alone 
‘Cause I’m going to make this place your home”

Totes what my home/hood is like:


What is the use of stories that aren’t even true?

What IS the use of stories that aren’t even true?

The oft-asked question in Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories is, “What is the use of stories that aren’t even true?”

While Rushdie’s book is described as an example of a more comical and light subdivision of the fantasy genre, each form of fantasy contains within it a variety of aspects that resonate within additional fantastical categories. Rushdie’s question can be applied to and answered through any genre of fantasy.

There is truth in every fictional story, and the uses of fictional stories, while dependent to some extent upon author intent and reader response, are, in fact, infinite.

If fictional stories had no use, why would anyone write fiction or fantasy? 

Storytellers may not be aware of their subtexts, attitudes, or perspectives about the purpose or benefit of their words and stories, but that does not mean they are not present.  While ideas about use may vary and differ, each author must believe that their storytelling will be put to some use or another.  These uses are often subjective, multifaceted, and numerous.  Just as an author may communicate many different ideas, meanings, and uses, readers may also interpret or superimpose many different ideas, meanings, and uses.  C.S. Lewis communicated tenants of Christian theology through many of his works, but he also reiterated the use of fantasy as a way for readers to address real-life issues, through a fantasy world to explore “emotional dilemmas (they) feel faced by in their everyday lives” (Rustin, 1987, p. 40).  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is clearly representative of the important use of fantasy as a tool to address cultural, societal, emotional, and psychological needs, understanding, and development – a prevalent perspective about fantasy’s value and use.

The primary, overarching importance of the use of children’s fantasy literature is the idea that the genre addresses and fulfills vital “psychological, cultural and aesthetic needs which are disregarded by most other forms of contemporary literature” (Oziewicz, 2008, p. 66). 

Fantasy allows the fears and worries of society to be addressed and explored, as well as providing a great deal of “potential as an emotional survival strategy” (Bharat, 2015, p. 305).  In addition, “stories can be a cohesive force in constructing a community” (Mukherjee, 1998, p. 175), a force that allows communities to overcome obstacles and experience positive growth and development.  Lloyd Alexander’s “The Grammar of Story” emphasizes this importance by detailing the ways in which words and storytelling can work magic.  Rushdie’s narrative in Haroun and the Sea of Stories provides valuable political and cultural implications about the intrinsic value and power of words and stories. This is just one narrative that articulates the importance of stories and storytelling and the ways in which they can be applied to resisting terror and oppression by conquering fears through living life instead of through grand, cosmic acts of courage.

Through the creation of a fantasy narrative such as this, an author can invent their own logic and use and incorporated it into each aspect of the story, so it has a sturdy base: “We don’t dig the foundation after the house is built” (Alexander, 1981, p. 10), and the fantasy world must have “identifiable and workable laws underpinning it” (Yolen, 1996, p. 173).  While each work of fantasy is unique, they are all bonded by their structure and interconnected in their capacity to encourage imaginative exploration and address very real concepts, dilemmas, and threats, such as the “tyranny of fear” (Bharat, 2015, p. 304).  New fears are constantly arising, and all types of fantasy literature can help to confront and explore these fears through large societal battles of terrorism and oppression as well as smaller, but no less important, battles of personal conflict, growth, and development.

Conflict is the dynamic element of any story, and the fate of the world can be affected by cosmic, mythopoeic quest and conflict as well as by the conflict-response behavior of a single person, as revealed through interactions with themselves, others, and the world around them.

While each fantasy story may be categorized according to a general consensus of its overall purpose, use, or tone, each fantasy story is an amalgam of diverse components that draw on a variety of ideas about the truth of untrue stories.  “What is the use of stories that aren’t even true?”  The use of Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories is to answer this very question, and in many ways, this is the use of every work of fantasy literature.  Storytellers create illusions, and the truth in that illusion is “how thoroughly it convinces us of its reality; how strongly it resonates in our emotions; how deeply it moves us to new feelings and new insights.” (Alexander, 1981, p. 4).

Truth is not always convincing, and a fantasy story can help a reader to recognize and understand the truth in the world around them.

‘Untrue’ fantasy stories are incredibly valuable in an infinite number of ways.  Each fantasy genre, and each fantasy story, has unique and distinctive qualities.  In mythopoeic fantasy, adventure has momentous scale and consequences. However, while lighter fantasy genres may seem to lack cosmic battles of good versus evil, the adventures and battles still have consequences that are momentous to the characters experiencing them.

While mythopoeic fantasy suggests big answers to big questions, small answers to small questions are just as substantially cosmic to those affected by them.

A child can have an adult adventure that articulates hope for all humanity by the simple act of articulating the hope of one human. 

One human is a part of humanity, and the truth is that one child can change the world.


Alexander, Lloyd. (1981). The grammar of story. In Betsy Hearne and Marilyn Kaye (Eds), Celebrating children’s books: Essays on children’s literature in honor of Zena Sutherland. (pp. 3-13). New York: Lothrop, Lee, and Shepard Books.

Bharat, Meenakshi. (2015). Creative fear in Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and Luka: The ‘safe house’ of children’s literature. In Marvels & tales. (pp. 304-323).

Lewis, C.S. (1950). The lion, the witch, and the wardrobe. New York: Harper Collins.

Mukherjee, Meenakshi. (1998). Politics and children’s literature: a Reading of Haroun and the Sea of Stories. In Ariel: a Review of international English literature. (pp. 163-177).

Oziewicz, Marek. (2008). One earth, one people: The Mythopoeic fantasy series of Ursula K. Le Guin, Lloyd Alexander, Madeline L’Engle, and Orson Scott Card. New York: Simon Pulse.

Rowling, J.K. (1999). Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic.

Rushdie, Salman. (1990). Haroun and the sea of stories. New York: Penguin.

Rustin, Margaret and Michael. (1987). Narnia: an Imaginary land as container for moral and emotional adventure. In Narratives of love and loss: Studies in modern children’s fiction. (pp. 40-58). New York: Verso.

Strimel, Courtney B. (2004). The politics of terror: Rereading Harry Potter,” In Children’s literature in education. (pp. 35-52).

Yolen, Jane. (1996). Turtles all the way down. In Sheila Egoff et al. (Eds) Only connect: Readings on children’s literature. (pp. 164-174). New York: Oxford University Press.

From Wrathroom Bathroom to Bestroom Restroom

My bathroom hath gloom NO MORE!

I gave my bathroom a makeover and I like rhymes.

Your environment has an affect on your overall mood, so if you are often in an environment you find dirty, ugly, uncomfortable or in any other way unpleasant or off-putting, then your mood will definitely be negatively affected!  You can end up feeling grim, nauseated, gross, and downright disgruntled as the yucky environmental factors slowly leech away your precious good mood. Just like in the Sims if there’s a mess everywhere, they are saaaaaad. 🙁 🙁 🙁

So I realized that I hated going in my bathroom.  With a boring shower curtain of questionable age and cleanliness, showertime was dreaded.  There wasn’t anything personal or any art on the walls (as we had removed all this when we were trying to sell the house).  There was accumulated unorganized clutter everywhere – it is a small bathroom with very limited counter space – like NONE at all.  Things were always falling everywhere.  And there was no place to keep towels, which was inconvenient and annoying. The shelf above the toilet was broken and unusable and the toilet itself was an unreliable flusher.  I was uncomfortable because there were no mats or anything on the floor, and my feet were always cold.  I often neglected personal hygiene – I didn’t want to be in there.  But, as a human being, I kind of have to use a bathroom at least some of the time.  And our other bathrooms were unavailable or inconvenient.  TIME FOR A BATHROOM MAAAAAAAKEOVER!!

awwwww… “Happiness looks gorgeous on me!!?” why thank you, dolphin of happiness!!
Self-care is not selfish

I did do some shopping, but mostly the transformation was about cleaning, de-cluttering, and rearranging.  I went to Ross dress for less and got a beautiful new shower curtain and brightly colored floor mat!  The hardware store provided new knobs for the ugly stainless steel ones.  Then I did a LOT of cleaning.  And I had a big box to get rid of full of unused products, redundancies, things I didn’t need to use every day, etc.  I took everything out and started fresh.  I put everyday use items within easy reach.  Pretty things migrated to visible places. While I took a lot of stuff out, I did add some stuff back in.  Since there wasn’t a first aid kit on the little shelf anymore, I had a place to put towels!  I moved in some candles and art and other things that I thought were pretty and brought me joy!  The shelf got fixed, the toilet got fixed, the negative environment got fixed.  And now my bathroom is a cheerful and inspiring place!  Well… about as cheerful and inspiring as a bathroom really can be…

It’s starting to get a little cluttered with use again…

I guess I should go head back in!  I need to view the loo, clean the latrine, make the crapper dapper!  In short, if you need to find me… I guess I’ll just be hanging out in my own personal wiz palace, AKA Wizzingham Manor.


It’s just soooo soft and pwetty! https://society6.com/product/really-mermaid-funky_bath-mat#s6-4073467p55a203v508

Therapy is Great!/Therapy is the Worst!

  • UGH talking to people – YUCK.

Especially about very personal things … crazy hard for a lot of people (including me.)  But, I’ve seen my counselor for many years.  Even when I didn’t feel like it was helping, it helped a little by making me feel like at least I was doing SOMETHING.  It’s very helpful to get the perspective of someone outside the immediate situation.  And explaining details about your life and experiences and feelings helps you solidify and understand yourself more. And it gets you out of the house at least once a week.

+1 to social interaction.

A Gem By Any Other Name

A Gem By Any Other Name

(Yet another writing assignment)

I didn’t know his name.  But he knew mine.  It was written in clear, bold letters on the hard, plastic nametag that adorned my green apron.

He knew my name, but he wanted to change it.

“Isn’t Emerald a boy’s name?” he asked.

I was used to strange reactions to my rare and somewhat unusual name, so I laughed.  I didn’t choose my name, but I’ve learned to love it.

“No,” I replied, with a puzzled grin, only a little uncomfortably. Did he think I was a boy? My uniform was standardized regardless of gender, and my visor concealed most of my long hair, but I didn’t think I looked like a boy. Did I? My confusion bubbled up exponentially.  Why would he ask that?  What an odd thing to ask.  I’m a girl.  My name is Emerald. Emerald is a girl’s name.

I pushed aside my uneasiness and continued to assist him with a friendly smile.

I thought that was the end of it, but then he came to his unpleasant conclusion.

He told me he would call me “Emmy” instead. He didn’t ask.  He told.

“No,” I replied, still polite, but somewhat taken aback. Only those select few people very close to me called me by a nickname.  To hear those private syllables directed to me by a complete stranger was strange and jarring.  It felt wrong. I was confused. I felt that my personal rights had been infringed upon.  Surely he understood that a nickname is a sign of familiarity, of intimacy. I had never even seen this man before and he expected to be allowed to bastardize my name?  To reduce and minimize it, and therefore me, to fit his own personal inclination.  He didn’t have that right, did he?

Brashly, he nodded. “I’m going to call you Emmy,” he reiterated, regardless of my gentle protestation.

Had he not heard me? I had said no. I didn’t want him to call me Emmy.  He was old, maybe he had bad hearing? I stayed firm.

“I would really prefer you didn’t.  My name is Emerald.” I was still smiling, albeit more hesitantly, but inside I felt violated.  Customer service policy as well as common courtesy required that I treat this man with respect and kindness, so I did.  He followed no rules, written or socially implied.  No one required that he treat me with the same respect and kindness.

The truth was that it should have been my decision. It is my decision.  He was rude and he was wrong to insist on calling me a name that I didn’t feel comfortable with. I could have insisted on calling him a name he wasn’t comfortable with. Inconsiderate jerk, maybe? Or stupidhead mcfartface? How would he have felt then? Instead, I told him, I didn’t ask him, again not to call me Emmy, finished helping him, and he complained about me to my manager. He complained because I wasn’t okay with him disregarding my feelings and making me uncomfortable.

I didn’t know his name.  But I knew him. And I know I will meet him again in some other incarnation.  But I also know that I was right.  I am right.  It isn’t okay for anyone to call you a name you are not comfortable with.  And some things are more important than following a grocery store code of conduct.

Love deez grlllz


I Suck at Meditating

But I still try to do it.

You know when I thought about the topic for this blog?


Right now, I’m primarily using this app called ‘Calm,’ which is not that bad.  The free features are perfect for a beginner like me to keep busy I mean CALM.   After a couple of weeks, I decided to actually pay(!?!?) for the whole app, and I’m surprisingly glad I did.  There are  meditations for everything.  And for each category, you can choose what length of time works best for you.

My favorite feature is the sleep stories.  They’ re just someone reading a story in a soothing voice.  Sometimes it’s super boring.  Sometimes it’s a metaphor.  Whatever.  They’re great.  There’s one non-fiction one that I have never been able to stay awake through!  And there’s one fiction one about how cats basically came from dragons! LOVED IT!

Here’s some more information about meditation!

Meditation 101:
More about meditation:
If Ron Swanson can meditate, so can I.
Ron Swanson Meditates

It’s Simpler To Be a Sim

Pretending to be a sim is a great way to assess your mood when you feel like crap, but are having a hard time figuring out why. You know those needs bars in the game the Sims?  When you get really overwhelmed, think of those and how you would deal with them in the Sims.  You evaluate where you are in each category – are you in the green?  Or is the bar red with that arrow to the left?  Identify the problem areas and fix them in order of easiest-hardest.

S – Self-scan :

Think of each need category and assess your level.  It helps to ask yourself questions more like; “When did I last eat” rather than, “Am I hungry.”  Sometimes you don’t know why you feel the way you feel, or what needs the most attention.

I – Itemize improvements:

Think of how you can fix each problem area and then organize your plans to get back in the green in a way that makes sense to you.  Usually that’s easiest to hardest, but sometimes you start with the category that is the MOST RED.  Sure, you might be in the kitchen with a snack on your way to your mouth, but if you’re about to pee your pants, do that first. (please).

M – Manage momentum:

I guess that’s a fancy way of saying just do it.

  • Bladder
    • Easiest fix. GO POTTY!
  • Hunger
    • Eat something. Too hard to decide or to make something? Fruit and string cheese are my go-tos.  Just stick it in your mouth.  It’s also handy to prepare by stocking up on super easy meals for hunger emergencies.  My emergency meal is Yakitori chicken and fried rice from Costco.  It’s yummy, hot, and takes three minutes in the microwave.
  • Hygiene
    • Take a shower – you stink! Too hard to stand up? Sit down in the shower.  No rule says you can’t.  (I call it a shather). Or take a bath.  Still too much work?  Wash your face.  Brush your teeth or hair.  Invest in those make-up removal wipes for when even that is too hard. Been wearing the same clothes for three days? Change ’em!
  •  Energy
  • Fun
    • Do something you have fun (or used to have fun doing).  See a movie, hang out with friends, play laser tag. If you’re thinking, “Ugh… FUN. What even is that?”  Just take baby steps. Youtube ‘unlikely animal friendships,’ or ‘kitten derp.’ Play your favorite cheerful song.  Just take three minutes and listen to it. Or if you feel able and spritely, move your body WHILE you listen to it! Dance parties are high energy, but you can handle it for ONE song maybe, right?  It might be helpful to make a note whenever something you do makes you even a little happy.  Then you can refer to it when your fun meter is especially low.
      • This is one that helps me:
  • Social
    • Yeah, yeah interact with someone.  (This is especially tough if you are an introvert, like I am.) You may hate the idea of it, but your hate will probably lessen if you are actually doing something with someone else.  Hang out with friends, go to an event, talk to someone for just 5 minutes.  You don’t really want to see any of your friends?  Okay, just leave the house and have a random positive interaction with someone – anyone.   The best way to do this is with someone in customer service – it is LITERALLY part of their job to try to connect and be nice to you.  Go grab a coffee and remember to smile at your barista and say hello, please, and thank you.  If that’s too long of an interaction, then try complimenting someone on something.  It doesn’t really matter what (well, don’t be offensive).  You don’t even have to particularly believe it.  As you’re passing a stranger, just pick something about them, and then say you like it.  Like, “Hey – cute shoes!” It takes three words.  Two if you leave out, “hey.” Minimal effort, you make someone else feel good, which will in turn make you feel good, and LOOK you had a social interaction! Congratulations!  Your bar is moving towards the green! If even leaving the house is unthinkable, invite someone over.  Specify that you might be in your pajamas. Can’t even bear the thought of being in the company of another human? Cuddle up to your pet or hug a stuffed animal.  Reach out to people you care about via facebook, email, chat, whatever.  Send someone a text letting them know you’re thinking about them.  Even something that small can cheer you up. Try not to neglect your important relationships.
  • Comfort
    • Here’s where naps can come in handy yet again. Find your softest blanket and warmest slippers and snuggle on the couch with some mac & cheese and your favorite book.  Pretend you’re a human burrito.  Take a hot bubble bath and use that special body wash.   Treat yo’ self to a mini-spa experience!  If you’re like me (and many other ladies), you have mysteriously accumulated a ton of miscellaneous body lotion.  Get rid of it – slather it on your body.  Paint your nails while watching a silly rom-com.  IDK… what comforts YOU? Do THAT.
      • *but be careful with eating TOO much food, or relying as food as your primary comfort tool.  This can often backfire and make you feel worse, guilty, and bloated.  After you eat some comfort food, and you find yourself wanting more, try to ask yourself, “Am I hungry?” Then wait 20 minutes before getting more.
  • Environment
    • Where are you?  Or where do you go often?  Is it pretty? Calming? Comforting? Or…is it a source of anxiety, annoyance, and distress?  Make some changes. Ok, so you can’t afford to move to a better apartment or quit your job.  But you can move furniture, clean, paint walls, and declutter! Can you spruce up your office space in any way?  Add a cheerful plant or cozy seat cushion? What can you do?  LOTS! But… Baby steps again. Think about what specifically you don’t like about your environment and start there.  Start small.  For example, my bathroom had looked the same since we moved here, and I was tired of it.  I didn’t want to go in there.  To me, it was just a boring reminder of how stupid the past was. It was uncomfortable, crowded, and boring.  I thought the shower curtain was ugly.  So I bought a new shower curtain.  I changed those cabinet knobs that I hated – from functional and boring to FUNctional and pretty! I even bought a special, very soft bath mat because I hated stepping on the cold tiles!   (It was THIS and I LOVE IT! SO SQUISHY AND BEAUTIFUL!) But you don’t have to spend money to change your environment – use what you have! I hung up art that was cheerful and fun.  I got rid of clutter and moved things I didn’t use everyday to some decorative storage bins.  I fixed the broken shelf and folded the towels.  Each small thing you do to improve an environment you’re not happy with is a step in the right direction.  Even if your environment problem seems too big to solve, try doing just one small thing that makes it a little bit better.  You wish it were sunnier in Washington?  TOO BAD – haha! But you can get a light therapy lamp, take vitamin D, plan vacations to sunnier climes, make sure you get outside every day, move heavy furniture away from your windows, get stronger lightbulbs, find things you love about the rain.  Appreciate and make the most of each blue sky!

Just beware of swimming in pools with no ladders!

Three Helpful Books

  • Unexpectedly helpful books (Non-fiction):

“The Life Purpose Playbook.” by Judy Machado-Duque

A combination workbook/planner/goal-setting tool/COLORING BOOK! Makes the difficulties of planning more fun than a chore. I had so much fun making the vision board (pictured above), that I ran out of room and just haaad to make another one (also pictured above).

And if your daily calendar page looks like this, who cares!??


“The Woman’s Comfort Book: A Self-Nurturing Guide for Restoring Balance in Your Life” by Jennifer Louden.

OMG I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. Particularly the fact that there is a helpful chart matrix in the middle where you can locate how you are feeling (i.e. lonely, ugly, nervous, exhausted, whatever) and then trace your finger over to the multiple recommended chapters for helping with that emotion.  Each short chapter includes a variety of different suggestions, so you can find one that works for you.  Great reference tool! I’ve used this book since high school.


“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo.

Not specifically about depression/anxiety, but I did find it really helpful. It gave me achievable goals that I could accomplish in stages that resulted in visual, environmental, and mental benefits.  After all, cleansing your past, saying goodbye to old, painful memories, and having an aesthetically pleasing living space are all refreshing, invigorating, and crucial to happiness and the healing process.  I have a copy if you want to borrow. 🙂

Now my closet is at least half as full, my storage is maximized, and finding/putting away clothes is so easy!