Grand Re-Re-Re-Opening

I have a lot to say.

About the state of the American political system, about our future, about healthcare, etc. But writing about all of those things doesn’t make me happy. In fact, it makes me pretty damn sad. And I don’t write to be sad. See, as much as I’d like to be the voice of a generation* and get all of these important thoughts down on virtual paper, I much prefer to spend my free time pondering the ways in which the Roseanne series finale could have avoided total failure** or how Hey Arnold! is a flawless microcosm of the global economy.***

So I just quit writing. And that’s not cool – I’m not a quitter.****

Unbeknownst to you, dear reader – is anyone still left out there? – I’ve spent the last couple of weeks writing for pure enjoyment and stashing away a decent queue of posts to revitalize my little home on the internet. I do love my little corner. Nothing as thrilling as Roseanne or Hey Arnold!, but good enough.

Let’s kick this off with a little reminder about me with this questionnaire from Heroine Training. Read along while I try to be clever until it backfires and comes off as pretentiousness.

What is your name? Stephanie

What is your sun sign? I had to google to see if a sun sign was the same thing as a zodiac sign. . . I’m totes a Virgo.

What is the last film you saw in the cinema? Oh sweet Jesus. Maybe. . . Toy Story 3? No wait! I took the kidlet to see Annabelle. That can’t be right?! I haven’t been to the movies in 3 years?!

What is the most played song in your iTunes library? I don’t use iTunes anymore and Spotify doesn’t have an easy way to track how many times you have listened to something. But I think probably Click Clack by RuPaul and Send My Love by Adele over the last few months. After that, your guess is as good as mine.

What is the last picture on your camera? ::sigh:: It is a photo of a Starbucks croissant that I smashed in my purse then posted to Instagram. Not on purpose. I mean, I posted it on purpose, but didn’t smash it on purpose. I ended up eating my turkey sandwich deconstructed-style that day.

What did you do for fun as a kid? Read things. Carried out ridiculous historical fantasies in my room. Are you starting to feel the only child vibes yet?

The last conversation that lit you up was about? Ugh, don’t even go there. See the top of this post.

What is your favorite piece of clothing you’re wearing now and why? I happen to be wearing my absolute favorite shirt. It is stylishly oversized, super soft, and cheap. Just like me. Wait! Can that be my new tag line?

Last cup consumed was of? Coffee, no sugar, with vanilla creamer.

Favorite color pen? Black. I have no room in my heart for blue ink lovers.

If you could have anything for dinner it would be? Pizza. Yeah, I know it is boring. I will always pick that cheesy round pie of deliciousness though. Always. Not even a special pizza. Just a regular pepperoni with mushrooms and black olives.

Ice or no ice? Ice, ice . . .:wait for it::. . . baby.

Last new place you visited? Sea Ranch, California – we rented a house in this ocean-front community to spend a long weekend staring out at the water. It was marvelous. No commitments, no traveling, no typical vacation outings, just the waves.

Last time you broke a sweat was because? It was hot. But not sweatin’ like a sinner in church hot, just regular hot.

If you had to write a fan letter write now it would be to? Mary Roach!

What do you keep avoiding on your to do list? Unpacking the books still boxed up in my bedroom (although to be fair the husband hasn’t done it either). We’ve lived here for a year now. 365 days of boxes in a corner of the bedroom.

What’s in your pocket? I am a lady so I find pockets to be at the very least elusive and possibly even a full-blown myth. When I do discover a piece of clothing with those most-coveted little fabric cups, I prefer to just put my hands in them. As if to flaunt the pure luxury of being able to store things on my person by not, in fact, storing anything.

Most looking forward to? 5:30pm on Friday evening when I get to get in my pajamas and uncork a bottle of wine. Or that would be it, if I bought wine bottles with corks. Twist cap, all the way!

3 things around you right now? A basket of toys, a package of baby wipes, and a glass of tea. #momlife

What time is it? “For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.” C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

*::gag:: No, not really.
**In summary, I believe the audience could have swallowed Dan’s death and the last year being a fantasy – perhaps even enjoyed the bittersweet ending – if the episode didn’t also negate so many of the family dynamics we had enjoyed watching during those pre-heart attack years.
***No clue. I just made that one up on the fly.
****Not true. I quit things all of the time. In fact, I’m known to be a bit of a “oh, look at that shiny thing!” kind of person.

Don’t you hate it when I footnote my own posts?

Miss me?

Guys! I know I’ve been gone for a few weeks and totally thrown my regular blogging schedule out the window but. . . things are happening right now. Good things. Things I’m not ready to share with the world.

So for now I’ll just say that everyone is great.

You can expect filler posts to pop up for the next little while (if I’m able to throw anything together at all), but I don’t intend to abandon my little internet home.


2015: A Blog In Reivew

2016My Top 5 Favorite Posts
This is always a hard choice to make and – in general – I wasn’t really feeling my writing this year. All posts published this year and in no particular order.

This is Real Life, Ya’ll!
Confessions of a Binge-Eater
Meet Me in St. Louis (series about our summer vacation)
That Time I Bought Some Bracelets That Turned Out to be a Napkin Ring
My Anti-Bucket List

Your Top 5 Favorite Posts
The individual posts with the most views this year, not necessarily published in 2015, and not counting the home page.

Things You Should Know About Introverts. Yes, still going strong. Every so often this one makes another round on facebook and boosts my stats.
Review: Colgate Optic White Toothbrush and Whitening Pen. This review about a toothbrush has been popular since the day I wrote it. Weird.
Things You Should Know About Ambiverts
Things You Should Know About Being An Archivist. The “Things You Should Know” series usually has high stats because they are easily sharable. They get passed around quite a bit.
My Median Sternotomy and Thymectomy: Part V – Home. Yay! I’m glad to see people are finding my posts about this surgery. I really wanted to share my experiences.

Top 5 Most Popular Product Reviews
The individual review posts with the most views this year, not necessarily published in 2015.

Review: Colgate Optic White Toothbrush and Whitening Pen
Special Tacky Husband Saturday Review: Phillips hue Lights
Saturday Review: Murad Blackhead and Pore Cleansing Duo
Saturday Review: Dear by Enprani “Dreams Come True” Bounce Cheese Cream
Special Tacky Sister Saturday Review: Paula’s Choice 8% AHA Gel

Top Ten Search Terms that Led Readers to 

This does not include searches for, specific post titles, or similar.

-Introverts (lots and lots of different phrases, numerous stupid questions)
-Birchbox December 2014
-Why you should not become an archivist (want my answer? The job market sucks.)
-Fat babes
-Skinny sticks reviews
-Miraflex glasses reviews
-Murad blackhead remover review
-Eleanor Roosevelt
-Median sternotomy recovery

Top Ten Strangest Search Terms
This is the fun part. Misspellings are intentional.

-does an introvert person like watching concerts? (I don’t know. Ask them maybe?)
-lady boxe old
-hugo troll race witch cabin
-historical romance novels, 1985 g alveston couple first night.lover
-how many hours a day do inroverts like it quiet (Really? Come on people.)
-hyperbole candle
-oprah headbands
-tilda swinton weight and height
-how i carry my cash stash

Memoir of an Archivist After Death [Fiction, Part I]

Remember when I said I was writing something for an archival short story contest? Well – unsurprisingly – I didn’t finish it. Since it is 2/3 of the way done however, I’m going to share it here in three parts. And I am absolutely going to write part three. Promise.

Memoir of an Archivist After Death
by Stephanie @ PlayfullyTacky

Have you seen Beetlejuice? You know, that late-80s comedic masterpiece from Tim Burton back before he became just a caricature of himself? A modern classic, for sure. I absolutely loved that movie as a kid. I can remember many a Saturday morning pushing that tape into the VHS player and settling in with a bowl of corn flakes. Always corn flakes, my mom never bought the fun cereal.

One of my favorite scenes was when the distressed Maitlands ventured into the Hades branch of their local DHS to meet with their caseworker. How exactly did the deceased end up working in this underworld office? Could I dye my hair as pink as the receptionist? And most importantly, where did all that paperwork come from and why did no one care that it wasn’t organized in nice piles? How would they ever find what they needed?

Is that weird? Oh my God, was I a weirdo? [Hang on for a minute while I reevaluate my entire existence.] Okay, anyway . . . I like to think that my love of that movie helped land me where I am today. Although I’m not entirely sure that is a good thing so helped might not be the right word. Where exactly am I, you ask? Well, I’m in the real-life version of that underworld DHS. And I’m in charge of all that paper.

They don’t prepare you for this in library school.

Let me start by telling you a little bit about a typical day here in my post-existence [context, people!]: The alarm goes off at 6am. No, not even the dead get to sleep in. There isn’t any need to shower, exercise, or eat, but a lot of us go through the motions anyway. Personally, I like to stare at a cream cheese bagel and swirl around a cup of coffee before I leave my building. I just can’t give up that coffee. It used to be the thing that made me feel like a living, breathing human every morning. Although I can’t say it does that much for me anymore, I keep up the habit all the same. Supposedly we in-betweeners can still eat the food, but it doesn’t taste quite the same and I prefer to stick with my memories.

My commute is usually uneventful – we don’t have the kind of traffic they do in Hell – and I arrive at work around 8am to be greeted by a way-too-chipper morning person. Her name is Debbie, she works the front desk, and I’m pretty sure she was murdered by her former coworkers. No one can deal with this level of pep in the morning. After escaping from Debbie, I spend the next eight hours alone in the basement sorting through death records, haunting assignments, closed reincarnation requests, and TPS reports (usually without their cover pages).

On a particularly interesting day, I might discover an old exorcism-avoidance training manual or maybe spend an hour lost in the files of Queen Victoria, Jim Morrison, and Tutankhamen. Last week I tackled the records from one of the European plague pandemics. For official records these are pretty scant; Lord knows the orientation lines had to be longs during those years. Literally, Lord knows. The higher-ups want me to build a searchable database and try to fill in the missing information for these and other mass-mortality records, but won’t even give me an intern to help with that one. Not gonna’ happen.

Technically I should only be dealing with the closed records, i.e. those pertaining to people who have moved on to their final destination (informally labeled 9L, for nine lives). It is a misnomer really, as not everybody actually gets nine. The label comes from an old system leftover from the administration of Lytton during his short term as Death in the seventeenth century. He tried to overhaul the records retention plan and really mucked things up with extraneous ledgers and processes that did nothing for standardization and increased the backlog ten-fold. I’m still trying to right things from that misadventure.

But let’s stay away from politics. As I said, I should only be dealing with closed records. However, at least once a week I get a call from some random case-worker trying to determine proper placement for a person mistakenly nine-lived. I’m constantly reminding them not to send me active files. I’m hoping it will sink-in sometime in the next century or so. An ambitious project, I know.

Drop-everything-and-work-on-this-right-now projects aside, this is pretty much what I do every single day. Or at least, what I was doing before everything changed.

To be continued.
Check back on November 20 for part two.

Oh, the Deadlines!

I have a couple of writing deadlines approaching at the end of this week and I’m way behind.
You won’t be hearing from me again until Monday.

Next week = book week! I’ll share the great and not-so-great things I read in March.

[I’m serious. This isn’t some kind of super weak April Fools thing.]

Giveaway Alert!

Head on over to The Artcademy and check out the March Craft Madness Giveaway. You could win $500 worth of arts-and-craft-supplies-goodness. Plus, you get entries by following me on Instagram and Pinterest. Go check it out!

MMG Slideshow 1B

Here is a full list of the goodies included:
(3) Packs of Polymer Clay
20+ Sheets of Card Stock, Handmade Papers, Holiday Stock, etc.
1.4+ Lbs of Yarn (Mix of colors)
2+ Yards of Pink Poly-Satin Print Fabric
1 Yard of Pennington Wool Flannel Fabric
1/4 Yard Hand Dyed Satin
3 Surprise Me! Scrap Bags
Mannequin Bust Pin Cushion
Cupcake Crochet/Kitting Marker Cushion
Crochet Fork
Hand-painted wooden beaded purse hands (ready to attach to a bag)
1 Pink Stow and Go Canvas Craft Bag
Glitter Glue
Basnik Process
2 Spools of Ribbon
1 Quart bag of felt start, 1/4 inch thickness
2 Packs of acrylic paints
1 Reusable gold broach flower pin

Important Announcement

VintageMegaphoneOkay, not really.

No Saturday review this week or the rest of January.

I’m getting tired of doing them weekly, so I’ll be switching to every other week in February. This will work out better anyway, as I’m in a bit of a no-buy pledge and won’t be bringing new things into the house unless they are necessities. Instead, I’m strictly working through my stash.

I might have the husband contribute some more technology-related reviews too. Everyone seems to like those.

2014 Year in Review

My Top 5 Favorite Posts
This is always a hard choice to make. All posts published this year  and in no particular order.

Your Top 5 Favorite Posts
The individual posts with the most views this year, not necessarily published in 2014, and not counting the home page. [If you’ll notice, quite a few of these posts went live around the time of the introvert post. The increase of traffic meant a lot of extra eyes on them.]

Top 5 Most Popular Product Reviews
The individual review posts with the most views this year, not necessarily published in 2014.

Top Five Search Terms that Led Readers to
This does not include searches for or some variation. Similar terms have been combined into one.

  • things you should know about introverts; things to know about introverts; about introverts
  • introvert; introverts
  • fat babes
  • colgate whitening pen
  • skinny stix reviews

Top Five Search Terms, Not Including Introvert Related

  • fat babes
  • colgate whitening pen
  • skinny stix reviews
  • things you should know
  • alton brown live reviews

Top 10 Strangest Search Terms
Ten terms this time as this is more fun. Misspellings are intentional.

  • cosmpolitan magazine
  • dropping out of therapy by email
  • examples and image of gift presentable to a lovely husband and wife
  • how to hold a red wine glass
  • when did i exist to you
  • define a smidgen of shyness
  • casual tacy cloths
  • dream interpretation rotting deck
  • snooze sack for cat
  • noose nativity

And my favorite search term: “archivist does more than put stuff in boxes.” Damn straight.