99th Post Celebration!

Today marks my 99th post.  It’s hard to believe that in two short months I could have come to this point.  To be fair, many of these posts were on the list of As the Pendulum Swings best hits and a few were my favorite reblogs.  Just the same, Sunny with a Chance of Armageddon has come to 99 posts in total.

I’m never one to share stats, but today I will in honor of this blog.

  • 3,376 views all-time
  • 151 views on your busiest day, October 2, 2012
  • 73 average views per day

Top Posts and Pages of all time:

 

Content

98 Posts

539 Comments

Taxonomies

126 Categories

562 Tags

Followers (includes Publicize)

97 Blog

8 Comments

62 Twitter

27 Facebook

It’s not much, but I’m very proud of it.

This is the compilation of two installations of The 99 Quirks of Lulu: I’m Going to Die in the Walmart Parking Lot and This Jewdistian Doesn’t Believe in Creationism.

  1. I can only wear found or gifted jewelry. If I wear jewelry that I bought for myself, it always either breaks or gets lost.
  2. When sitting in a public place, I try to position myself so it would be difficult for a person to come up from behind me. We’s don’t want no surprises. No, seriously though. I’m pretty paranoid.
  3. I can’t make eye contact when I’m telling a story. It’s not symptomatic of anything. I just can’t take in any visual information when I’m trying to give out verbal information.
  4. I have to have a minimal amount of background noise when I’m working on something. The more tedious and repetitive the task is, the more sound I require.
  5. I have serious claustrophobia. I hate elevators. I will walk six flights of stairs to avoid it (I’ve done it). I have nightmares about getting trapped in a tiny space. No matter how badly I want to get home, I’ll let a crowded bus pass to get on a later, less crowded one.
  6. I am obsessed with office supplies. I cannot resist a sale. I hoard them.
  7. I am so particular about my pens that I will only use specific brands, with gel ink, and only in 0.7 tip.
  8. I have been wearing the same Capricorn pendant for 10 years. C.S. bought me a Taurus pendant at a craft sale 4 years ago and I haven’t taken it off since. I’m very superstitious about it. Every time I forgot to put it back on, something bad has happened. Last time was C.S.’s car accident.
  9. I practice natal astrology. It can peg a person every time.
  10. I put my hand in front of my mouth a lot. Ethology would call me a liar. But really, I’m just trying to hide.
  11. I have a really difficult time lying. It produces an intolerable physical response, so I don’t do it unless I really have to protect myself.
  12. I’ve bitten my bottom lip since I had teeth. I have pictures to prove it.
  13. I am so particular about shoes that I only buy tennis shoes every three years. And that’s after they start taking on water. This is partially because my feet are abnormally wide, although they’re not very big. It takes a lot to find a comfortable, stylish shoe.
  14. I honestly believe I’m going to die in some ridiculous, unbelievable accident or situation. I have this scenario about how I’m going to die in the Walmart parking lot. If you want to hear about it, ask in the comment section.
  15. The numbers 1, 5, and 14 follow me everywhere. The bus number I’m on – 5157. I’m on a bus everyday that starts with 51. My birthday 1/14. My husband’s birthday 5/14. Just strange as hell. Coincidentally, no lie, this just happened to be 15!
  16. I am a camel. I can hold it for hours on end. Longest held? 16 hours. I was 13, and stuck in a car with my parents on the way to Florida who refused to stop until we got there. By Virginia, everything below my waist was numb.
  17. I have always had a problem regulating body functions. I can’t fall asleep, and then I can’t wake up. I am always thirsty, but I have difficulty knowing when I’m hungry. Sometimes, if I’m busy enough, I’ll forget to eat until I have hunger pains.
  18. I have an incredible internal clock. I always know what time it is. Or maybe I’m just very observant of the position of the sun.
  19. I yell at inanimate objects.
  20. I can get a vibe from someone and know instantly if we’re incompatible. I don’t discriminate. I can be on the phone or over the internet and know.
  21. It is in the way a person addresses me.
  22. I am the only person that does the dishes and folds the laundry. It has to be done in a certain way. My clothes have to be sorted by graphic tee’s, solid tees, and color. My jeans are assorted by thickness.
  23. I have twilight blindness. I can’t see things correctly during that time of day.
  24. I carry my person journal on my person at all times.  You never know when you’ll be inspired.  You also never know when someone wants to take a peek at your dirty little secrets.
  25. I used to make wishes.  My wishes have always come true, but in a Twilight Zone kind of way.  There was always some kind of catch that ruined it all.  Remember the episode about the man who just wanted to be left alone to read his books?  And he got his wish, but then his glasses broke and he was all alone.  It’s a lot like that.  So I don’t anymore because I know there will be consequences.
  26. I have a cat that wipes my tears away when I cry.  He paws my face without claws. (He passed away since this was written.)
  27. I think it’s ridiculous to give a kid a weird first name.  So, in case my kid want a weird name, I gave him a weird middle name.
  28. I think the most random thoughts.  For instance, my husband and I were once talking about daily activities that burn calories.  I asked him, “How many calories do you think a seizure burns?”  Today, we were talking about how we were going to manage to find a girlfriend for another friend.  He’s kind of nerdy, so I said, “Maybe I should start telling these girls he has money?  Do you think that would help?  It worked for Bill Gates!  How much money does someone have to have before they stop being a nerd?”  Honestly, I want to know these things.
  29. Flashing lights drive me nuts.  Imagine me verses a strobe light.  I have a message indicator that is driving me crazy on my voicemail right now.  But I just don’t feel like listening to it.
  30. I have to sleep with my feet outside of the covers.  My feet are my temperature control.  If they’re too hot, then I’m too hot.
  31. I am almost always barefoot when I can help it.  You see, my depth perception is terrible.  In order to not trip and fall all of the time, I use the sensations in my feet to guide me.
  32. I count stairs.  I can tell you the amount of stairs that are on every stairwell that I encounter frequently.  13 in my house.  14 in my parent’s basement and 16 to the upstairs.  And 10 each going up each floor at work, with eight leading into the building.
  33. Every clock I have that isn’t set to a satelight is set randomly ahead.  I don’t know the real time, so I have to assume that what I’m looking at is the real time.  This is how I trick myself into being early.
  34. I am an organizational freak, not a neat freak.  Everything in it’s right place.  I want to know where I can find anything on a moments notice.
  35. I am extremely scheduled.  I have to do things at certain times or else my day isn’t going to go right.
  36. I am obsessed with the weather.  Especially during hurricane season.  It is absolutely fascinating.
  37. I collect odd things from places I travel to.  In fact, I have sand from Myrtle Beach in a baby food jar with a little ceramic turtle with a little straw hat sitting on my desk.  I went to a theme park in California that was selling as many rocks as you could fit in a tiny bag with a drawstring.  I have a collection of decorative boxes from various places.
  38. Old world maps tickle my fancy.  It’s amazing to see how differently people viewed the world in those days.
  39. I believe in the power of hematite.  Hematite supposedly absorbs negative energy.  To clear the energy from the hematite, you bury it in the ground for several days to return it back to the earth.  I actually had a hematite ring shatter once.  I was going through a really bad time.
  40. I cannot spill a drink without freaking out about it.
  41. I hate the smell of raw onions.  It is intolerable.
  42. Perfume is my best friend.  I have this fear that I smell bad.  So everything I use is scented.  Lotion, bodywash, shampoo, deodorant, body spray, perfume, anything you can name.
  43. I don’t like wearing jeans.  I prefer skirts and what would be considered a house dress.  But, I live in Pennsylvania and we have two seasons here.  Winter and construction, also known as summer.  Jeans are required dress. (I wrote this before I wrote The Grey Season.)
  44. I cannot stand getting my face went unless I’m fully submerged.  That means, I hate any kind of precipitation, with the exception of a good summer downpour.  Now that’s a way to get wet!
  45. I can’t stand when my husband uses my toothbrush or razor.  So I intentionally buy pink colored items so he doesn’t use them.  It’s not manly.
  46. Everytime I dye my hair, I always have to do a trim.  So, I take a sample of the hair and I keep it in a ziplock with the date on it.  That way, I can always keep an assessment of my hair color at any period of time.
  47. I like having certain imperfections.  My hair is cut choppy and asymmetrical with a weird part for a reason.  I love the scars that I didn’t inflict upon myself.  I have stretch marks all over my body for various reasons (growth spurts, pregnancy, etc).  I love when my dark blonde roots come in against my white blonde hair.  And I especially love my eyes.  They are each split in half in color.  One part is green-gold and the other part is blue grey.  Maybe people think I look like a mess, but I think I look real.
  48. The noise of someone biting their nails is like nails on a chalkboard to me.  Ugh.
  49. I can predict the weather based on previous injuries.  When my hips and knees hurt, a serious storm is coming.  I’ve never been wrong.
  50. Pickles. There can never be enough pickles!
  51. I eat something with peanut butter in it every day.
  52. I always take note when I notice the clock says 12:34.
  53. I obsessively listen to music until I know all of the words to the song.
  54. I obsessively watch television shows and movies in the same way.
  55. I believe in toilet snakes. I always check the toilet before I sit down.
  56. I have an unnatural love of cemeteries.
  57. I always write in cursive. But it’s a severely bastardized version of cursive that combines some print.
  58. With two exceptions, I have lived on the same street my entire life.
  59. With two exceptions, I’ve worked on the same street in my life.
  60. I cannot use touch screen phones. I think I emit some kind of electrostatic charge that messes with electronics.
  61. Street lights used to constantly go out as I walked under them. Weird.
  62. I have a shower ritual. I wash top down for maximum cleanliness. I’ll keep it short and sweet so we don’t venture into the land of TMI. Shampoo, exfoliate, rinse, shampoo, rinse, conditioner, body wash, shave, rinse, rinse.
  63. I tack 15 minutes onto the estimated duration of everything I do. It takes me 10 minutes to walk to the bus stop, but I’ll allot 25 minutes.
  64. Confession alert! I fib to my Pdoc and tell him I’m taking a higher dose than I’m actually taking. Reason: I’m squirreling away medicine in case my insurance gets cancelled.
  65. I wear my socks inside out because I can’t stand the seam.
  66. I refuse to vacuum unless it’s absolutely unavoidable. I hate, hate, hate the sound.
  67. The more nervous I get, the more make-up I pile on.
  68. I compulsively scratch the plaque off of my teeth.
  69. I triple check myself before I leave the house for work. Do I have everything I could possibly need?
  70. I think it’s cute when old guys hit on me. Come on, they’re over 70 and usually married. What’s the harm?
  71. I am extremely sentimental. I keep the oddest things. I have a memory board packed with odds and ends. Coasters from great dates, ticket stubs from awesome movies, etc.
  72. Typically, I won’t answer phone calls that aren’t a 412 area code. But I’ll always answer phone calls that start with my local prefix.
  73. When I use a public restroom, I try to use the third stall in. Here’s my logic. Most people will use the first stall, if available, for convenience. People like me will know that and go for the second one or the last one. So, I use the middle one – less germy and nasty.
  74. I keep track of everything. I have a drawer for paid bills, pay stubs, insurance info, etc. I have another drawer for work to keep old lesson plans, attendance rosters, and my professional portfolio. I have calendars with notes and post it’s everywhere.
  75. I keep junk. You know, for arts and crafts. I think it’s green.
  76. Well, you all know about how I like to invent new words. I don’t consider it bastardizing the English language. I think of it as expanding it.
  77. I get very irritated with that text language people use. I can’t read it!
  78. I loathe gymnasiums. Every Tuesday, when I’m assigned to go to the gym, I literally cringe. I still have dodgeball flashbacks, I guess.
  79. I have a system of predicting outcomes. I think of the absolute worst case scenario (WCS) and the best case scenario (BCS). Then, I think of the 2nd WCS, and the 2nd BCS. Usually, it comes out 2WCS. I bank on it.
  80. Did I mention that I have unusually bad luck? Very unusually bad things happen to me. A drunk driver crashed into the front of my house. No, I don’t live on a curve or a corner and the clearances on either side of my house are about 3 feet.
  81. I believe that everyone get allotted one movie moment a year. By movie moment, I’m talking about that one moment where something good happens that defies all odds.
  82. I can sing by ear. I can pick both melodies and harmonies in songs.
  83. I’m completely paranoid that someone in my household is going to get into a life threatening accident when I’m not present.
  84. I teach my kid swear words. I mean, I’d rather my kid be in the back of the bus telling the other kids than the other way around.  Told you I shouldn’t be a role model.
  85. I am in love with suede.
  86. I still have my comfort object from when I was a child. She is a small purple rabbit and her name is Furry. She is still kind of a comfort object.
  87. I like carrying a heavy bag with me everywhere I go. I have to travel with everything but the kitchen sink to feel prepared.
  88. I still prefer cursive to print.
  89. My short-term memory is shot. Did I say that yet? Gotta love Lamictal!
  90. I wrap myself in a fleece throw when I’m feeling depressed. It’s as close as I can get to a hug.
  91. I think I lived a past life, mostly in the 60′s and 70′s. I gravitate toward culturally relevant things from that time.
  92. I am a Jewdistian.
  93. I kickbox appliances. I hope they don’t start fighting back.
  94. Horror movies don’t bother me. Disaster movies are terrifying. 2012 was the scariest movie I’ve ever seen.
  95. Ok, I’m totally getting locked up in the loony bin for this one. I believe that ancient aliens genetically modified the homonids on this planet to create homoeretus.
  96. I mouth the words to songs in public while listening to music. I’m not talking about in my car. I’m talking about doing it on the streets of Downtown Pittsburgh.
  97. When I’m feeling insecure, I sleep in a ball near the foot of my bed.
  98. I very seriously fear a zombie apocalypse.
  99. I will never eat the last of anything.
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Leep-Into-Cin – Part III

Part three and recent parts of my fight with cervical cancer

As the Pendulum Swings

Warning: The following content can be considered graphical in nature.  It may contain material that may not be appropriate for certain audiences.  Children under the age of 18, those of the male gender, and others faint of heart may want to take extra care while viewing this.  Use your own discretion.

Bringing in the Big Guns

After the experience where I was left stranded on an operating table, I had grown animosity toward that doctor that performed my surgery.  I refused to see her, and I refused to go through any more procedures.  It didn’t matter.  I had lost my insurance again and there was nothing I could possibly do.  The only other option was to return to the clinic so that they could slowly kill me with their negligence.

I did break down and go to the clinic, but only for a required Pap to receive birth control.  I…

View original post 1,311 more words

Leep-Into-Cin II – Part II

Part two of my journey with HPV and Cancer

As the Pendulum Swings

Warning: The following content can be considered graphical in nature.  It may contain material that may not be appropriate for certain audiences.  Children under the age of 18, those of the male gender, and others faint of heart may want to take extra care while viewing this.  Use your own discretion.

July 19, 2007

C.S. and I walked through the neighborhood in the early morning hours.  The air was thick and heavy like wet cotton, but a chilled wind passed every few moments, carrying with it the scent of midsummer rain.  Our discourse was just as thick, but much more warm.  It was like other evenings, but with an electric charge of an impending thunderstorm in the air.  We walked the desolate backstreets with a course for a local convenience store.  Everything was quiet, with the exception of our conversation and the light patter of rain beginning to fall.

Mid-sentence…

View original post 1,956 more words

Leep-Into-Cin II – Part I

Finding out about HPV and cervical cancer

As the Pendulum Swings

Warning: The following content can be considered graphical in nature.  It may contain material that may not be appropriate for certain audiences.  Children under the age of 18, those of the male gender, and others faint of heart may want to take extra care while viewing this.  Use your own discretion.

One Bad Apple . . .
Twelve years ago, almost to the day, the relationship with my first love started.  We had gone circles for over six months.  He eyed me, and I fancied him.  We spoke almost daily and we had become great friends.  There were many late night conversations, spilling out our hopes, dreams, fears…  But, he was forbidden fruit, the tastiest of them all.  He was my best friend’s boyfriend.  After over a month of clandestine meetings, secret phone conversations, secrets, and lies, I came clean.  And within six months after that, we were no longer…

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Nails – A Tribute : 30 Days of Truth

Day 13 : A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough days. (write a letter.)

Trent Reznor receiving an award for truly remarkable music.

Preface: In the liner notes of Pretty Hate Machine, the first studio album by Nine Inch Nails, there is a statement that says, “Nine Inch Nails is Trent Reznor.” Indeed, it is. This is why I address this letter as such, though I would like to include every person that ever had a hand in his projects. They were also important in making his music happen.

Dear Trent Reznor,

Yes, I am indeed very young to be following your career. I ask you to dismiss any immediate notions of some kid fan looking to “find a voice” or “find an image to latch on to”. Fifteen years ago, that may have appeared to be the case. However, I advised any who made the accusation that it wasn’t a phase, and in my age group, it certainly wasn’t a fad. The music spoke to me, and I took a lot of shit to pride myself as a fan in my peer group. It wasn’t about a popular song, attraction, lifestyle, or any of that bullshit nonsense. It was the lyrics and the music, not the man or the movement.

I sincerely doubt that you will ever personally read this letter. It’s not a matter of dismissal, or anything of the like. I realize the intense focus, schedule, and deadlines that must accompany such incredible success. However, I’d like to assure you this isn’t one of those stalker letters, but only a fan tribute. And, of course, an exercise of prompt response to a blog project. If it wasn’t for this prompt, I may have never written this at all. That is, despite the fact that there is much in my personal life that I can attribute to the music.

Today, I am a part-time music teacher at a local inner city youth program here in Pittsburgh, PA. I am aware that you are local to the area, which is another reason the music is personal to me. You grew up in the area, therefore you were aware of the lifestyle and culture of the region and how it affects a person. But, that wasn’t the only personal connection. In the seventh grade, though music had been a lifelong passion, I became symptomatic with a mood disorder. A deep depression was ravaging through my life, taking each passion away from me. It took one man, my band instructor Warren Sullivan, to convince me otherwise.

One day, he took the class to the Piano Graveyard, a hallway behind the auditorium where old, detuned and broken pianos went to die. He wanted us to experiment with sound, though most of us had never touched a piano in our lives. I sat at a piano bench, disinterested in just about everything, including that exercise. Others plucked at sour keys, and some just pounded the pianos in the effort to make as much noise as possible. Mr. Sullivan sat down beside me, clearly as downtrodden as I was. I looked up at him and noticed this awful look of defeat and resignation.

We didn’t speak for a few moments, just poked at keys together. And this was the first time a teacher had addressed me personally, as an equal. He said, “Have you ever had anything really bad happen to you?” I nodded. He asked, “So bad that it changed your entire life?” Again, I nodded. He told me a story, a secret as to why he would be unlikely to return the following year. I liked the guy, and it was difficult to swallow.

And he said to me, “Did you know that I knew Trent?”

It took me aback. “Really?”

“Yeah, we were in a college band together,” he replied.

“So, what happened?” I eagerly inquired.

Mr. Sullivan look uncomfortable for a moment, but continued timidly, “We had creative differences.”

I noted, “I could see that.”

We were quiet again for a moment, and he admitted, “Do you know what the last thing I ever said to Trent was?”

“What?”

“Trent Reznor, you will never amount to anything!” He paused, then continued, “I guess I was mistaken. And that’s something I live with every time I hit a bad spot in my career.”

“Wow,” I breathed. It was really powerful. But, it taught me a valuable lesson. Go with what feels right and where my heart takes me. Never try to take anyone else down to get a leg up. And, it kept me in band, even with the terror of a director that took over. I withstood her for five years and five more instruments, just so I could get as much music under my belt as possible. I was inspired to move to tenor sax, which opened up the door to all woodwinds. Today, I have an alto on my wall, only because I can’t find a reasonably priced tenor sax. Imagine me, all of 4’11″ with a tenor sax strapped to my neck. The thing went down to my knees! It was worth it.

Anyhow, returning to the music itself. I started off with the album “The Downward Spiral”, which could not have been more appropriate for the life changes I was going through.  To this day, I have owned four physical copies, because I would wear them out so badly, and one digital copy, all legal.  It was at that point in my life that I became symptomatic with Bipolar Disorder“The Downward Spiral” was my mainstay.  I knew in my bones that I was different somehow, and that the deep depressions were abnormal for a young adolescent.  But, the album in it’s entirety showed that what I was going through, particularly the self-loathing, suicidal ideation, self-injury, questions of faith and religion, disdain and disillusionment with the world, and dysfunctional relationships were not uncommon events.  I had figured that if these things were inspiration for an adult, why couldn’t they be my inspiration, with the music being my solace.

As I grew into adulthood, the music came with me.  “Pretty Hate Machine” and “Broken” lent me music that resonated with me.  In a way, these albums aided me in support of developing my identity apart from parental and societal expectations.  I realized that I wasn’t like the others, and I could never be.  Instead of fretting about it, and making futile attempts to conform, I fought for the freedom of expression.

The music and lyrics tapped at something deep inside myself.  It found the part of me that conflicted and the dissonance touched.  It found the fundamental contradictions that created so much confusion and made it flow.  I identify with the complex and unique chord structures.  They are beautiful, yet eerie, and have so much tension in them.  My ear can identify them in music I wasn’t aware that you had a hand in, not because of the musical familiarity, but because of the way it touches me.

I could go on identifying each album, with various songs that have colored my life.  But, I find it unnecessary.  The message is this.  Each album contained a number of songs that had personal meaning.  Most were very fitting for the time period of my life, whether it was touching upon symptoms of my progressing disorder, dysfunctional and abusive relationships, general discord with life, or absolute disgust with society and the people that run it.  And in those songs, I found the music and lyrics to tell me the most important thing I needed to know in my life.  I am not alone.

So, today, I share my passion for music with kids, and help them find their sound.  I do that as part of my passion, and as my day job.  As a person who suffers from mood disorder, you could probably appreciate the following.  I spend most of my time putting the same message out there through creative mediums.  If you are suffering, you are not doing it alone.  I know how you feel.  I was granted the gift of music and writing to share my story and give a certain gift of companionship to those in need.  And, I feel as if you had a hand in aiding that.

I am still a fan and a listener.  I am greatly enjoying the long rumored, “How to Destroy Angels” project.  I appreciate how the music was able to evolve with me.  Or, it’s possible that I was just able to put it into a different context.  Either way, I am grateful to have had such an inspiration and support in my life.  Many thanks for following your passion, and not letting Warren take you down.

All the Best,

Lulu Stark

Purses Anonymous

Inspired by Ruby Tuesday, who wrote Trust Me, I Know, I’d like to just bare all and show the contents of my purse.  Now, up until I saw Ruby’s everyday purse, I thought I was a serious bag lady.  I don’t know if other women have this problem where they find that each purse begins to get bigger, and bigger with age.  I started out late with purses, having my first one gifted to me as a joke in college.  Now, after a husband and a son, I started wearing ones with a strap across the front, just because my poor shoulder couldn’t handle it anymore.

Mind you, when you see the contents, I have spared you the sight of the occasional diaper, wipes, and Chris’ car keys – all of which have become my responsibility somehow in the last four years.

Pretty, huh?

Now, we spill . . .

And now, pretty scary.

I decided I’d like to make this into a contest. The first one that names all of the items correctly automatically gets first dibs on the Blog for Mental Health 2013 badge.

Not Your Usual Serving Of Canvas

As some of you might not be well aware, and you’d probably be correct at this point at any point in confusion, I am a co-founder with Ruby Tuesday and a writer for A Canvas of the Minds. The following is a post on Canvas that request every mental health bloggers help for Mental Health Awareness.

via Not Your Usual Serving Of Canvas.

Thank you for your support in advance.  I would guess that everyone who is involved with Blog for Mental Health 2012 would be interested in joining Canvas and participating with us in our time of need of your support!!!