100 Followers! Thank You!


Today I hit my first goal of 100 followers! I know it isn’t much but it’s more than I thought I would get so I am proud, and happy, and also very grateful. I appreciate everyone of you coming to my blog and taking the time to read and comment. I haven’t been able to return the favor for each of you but I will take the time this week to check out all of your blogs as well.

Reaching 100 followers has also made me think more about what I plan to do with this blog. I went ahead and purchased the domain zenandpi.com and I plan to do my best to post everyday. I still don’t have much of a focus except to learn to write better. I want to write about everything and as time goes on I might find I like to write about some things more than others and the focus will narrow. Everything I have read has told me to choose a niche but I can’t choose one when I don’t know much about writing at all. So I guess I will be pretty random for awhile, I hope that’s ok.

Thank you all again for choosing to follow me, I hope I don’t disappoint. As always I welcome your comments and critiques. I love hearing from you all, even if it’s just to say hi.


If We Were Having Coffee #2


If we were having coffee I would tell you that today, I feel good. Me and Chardonnay have had a great weekend. Friday we started watching last season of True Blood, we also had margaritas. Saturday we went to brunch with Chardonnay’s parents. We tried out a new place we’ve been wanting to go to called Punch Bowl Social. We were actually thinking about having our wedding reception there and this was a good excuse to go look at the place. We liked it a lot. The food was good and the place looked nice. It’s got the industrial look we love and with the arcade games and bowling lanes would make it perfect. After brunch we went shopping. We were already off of Broadway which means I had to go to my favorite store, Ironwood. We checked out a couple of other stores and bought us each new shirts.

Then we went home and got lazy. We watched more True Blood and I took a nap. I got up and around 7 started getting ready. We went to new a new movie theater that I had heard so many great things about, the Alamo Drafthouse. We watched an old vampire movie called Near Death and we liked it. They gave us free fangs and gooey blood candy and we ordered cocktails and loaded fries and hot wings. It really was a lot of fun. So much so that I think we will make brunch and shopping and movies at the Alamo Drafthouse a monthly thing.

If we were having coffee I would also tell you that I haven’t seen my father for his birthday yet and I feel bad about it. His birthday was on the 15th of August and I told him we would get together but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I have done other things but seeing him I have to admit is not yet a priority for me. I want it to be but doing the work is more than I guess I am willing to do. I feel bad about that but I am just being honest.

I would also tell you that I am enjoying blogging but I have found I have less time for it than I thought I did. I am trying my best to make the time. I even signed up for NaBloPoMo AKA National Blog Posting Month for the month of September. I hope to do it again in November too! This month’s theme is healing and I think I need that. I have a feeling this blog is going to turn out to be a lot more personal than I originally thought and I think healing is a good place to start.

I am taking social media a lot more seriously too now. Twitter is now the first place I go to find out whats going on in the world. The events going on in Ferguson have affected me deeply and Twitter is the only place to get up to the minute news on what is happening there. I wish I could have been there to protest with those brave people. I hope the nation doesn’t forget.

The events in Ferguson have also brought up a lot of complicated feeling I have about race and racism. I am biracial and in my family everything has to do with the fact that I am mixed. I am always too white or too black. I don’t fit in anywhere, accept for with my siblings, all of whom are mixed too. Both on the internet and in the real world though I feel excluded from talks about race. I am told that because I am light-skinned I have privilege and I don’t understand what it is like to be black. I admit in a way they are right, but they are also wrong. Maybe I will write about it some other time, about how my whole life has revolved around being biracial.

If we were having coffee I would also tell you that I am still feeling a little bit down. I would tell you not to worry about me though. I would tell you that I am going to be ok, I just get down sometimes. Depression is just a part of who I am and I fear it always will be but I have learned to cope with it. I know that I have so much to be grateful for and I am luckier than most. I know that I have people who care about me and love me and that is something to keep fighting for. I won’t give up or give in. I will keep pushing toward living a happier and healthier life, and I hope that you are doing the same.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Really Want To Read But Don’t Own Yet

I had never heard of the The Broke and the Bookish before but this morning I read a post over on Part Time Monster titled “TOP TEN TUESDAY: 10 Books I Want to Read but Don’t Yet Own”. I thought it was a neat idea and wanted to come up with a list of my own.

Apparently The Broke and the Bookish do a weekly feature called Top Ten Tuesday. They post a new top 10 list and everyone is invited to join and create their own. All the top 10 lists are centered around books and since I LOVE BOOKS I think I might even try to make this a weekly thing.

It is very hard for me to just choose 10 books I want to read but don’t own! Over on Goodreads I have a “to-read” list of over 200 books! I will try my best to narrow it down though. So here are my top 10 books I want to read but don’t yet own (because I’m poor):

1. Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon


Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side. In the follow-up to Steal Like An Artist, Show Your Work, he shows how to take that critical next step on a creative journey—getting known.

I’ve heard a lot of good things about these to books from artists in the blogging world. I used to draw a lot and even tried, and failed miserably, at doing a little drawing everyday. I think these books would help me become a better artist and getting my work out there.

2. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
by Robert M. Pirsig


A powerful, moving, and penetrating examination of how we live . . . and a breathtaking meditation on how to live better.

I’m new to the world of Zen and philosophy and in any search I do on books I should read this one pops up. I have heard that the story presents some complicated ideas but in such a way that any reader can understand. It’s also supposed to be very well written. I would love to read it for myself.

3. Why Is The Penis Shaped Like That? And Other Reflections on Being Human by Jesse Bering


Why do testicles hang the way they do? Is there an adaptive function to the female orgasm? What does it feel like to want to kill yourself? Does “free will” really exist? And why is the penis shaped like that anyway?

Funny, yet thought-provoking, science book about weird questions and sex stuff. Why wouldn’t I want to read this???

4. Facts Are Subversive: Political Writing from a Decade Without a Name by Timothy Garton Ash


This collection of Ash’s essays from the last decade reveals his knack for ferreting out exceptional insights into a troubled world, often on the basis of firsthand experience. Includes essays on Islam and freedom, Orwell as an informer, the Lives of Others and Gunter Grass in the Waffen-SS.

I’ve heard every good things about this book!

5. Factotum by Charles Bukowski


Deferred from military service, Chinaski travels from city to city, moving listlessly from one odd job to another, always needing money but never badly enough to keep a job. His day-to-day existence spirals into an endless litany of pathetic whores, sordid rooms, dreary embraces, and drunken brawls, as he makes his bitter, brilliant way from one drink to the next.

I saw the movie awhile back and I found it weird but in a good way. Going off of the assumption that “the book is always better” I’ve add this to my list of must-reads!

6. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides


“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974. . . My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver’s license…records my first name simply as Cal.”

I picked this up off a Barnes and Noble “recommended” shelf awhile back and the synopsis intrigued me. I was there to buy other books so I didn’t get it that day but is has been on my mind ever since. Maybe the next time I’m out book shopping I will pick it up.

7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott


In picturesque nineteenth-century New England, tomboyish Jo, beautiful Meg, fragile Beth, and romantic Amy come of age while their father is off to war.

Little Women has always been one of my very favorite movies. One of the very few “chick flicks” I enjoy watching. I’ve wanted to read the book ever since I was a teenager but just never got around to it. I see it in stores all the time being sold for $7 or less but I just never buy it. I have to get this next time too!

8. A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

A Scanner Darkly cover

Bob Arctor is a junkie and a drug dealer, both using and selling the mind-altering Substance D. Fred is a law enforcement agent, tasked with bringing Bob down. It sounds like a standard case. The only problem is that Bob and Fred are the same person.

Another one of my favorite movies! This was twisted and kept me on the edge of my seat. The book has got to be amazing too!

9. Y The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan


This is the saga of Yorick Brown—the only human survivor of a planet-wide plague that instantly kills every mammal possessing a Y chromosome. Accompanied by a mysterious government agent, a brilliant young geneticist and his pet monkey, Ampersand, Yorick travels the world in search of his lost love and the answer to why he’s the last man on earth.

I actually own a few books from this graphic novel series and so far it has been an amazing read. I added it because I really, really want to buy the rest of the series but money.

10. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman


Gaiman himself has summarized the plot of the series (in the foreword to Endless Nights) as “The Lord of Dreams learns that one must change or die, and makes his decision.”

Another graphic novel series of which I own just the first few books but would love to buy the rest. I started reading it because it got such rave reviews EVERYWHERE. I have to admit I felt a bit let down at first, it’s good but not as good as I thought it would be. I like it enough to buy the rest of the books though and I hope it gets better as the story moves along.

So there you have it, my list of books I wish I could buy but I can’t because I’m broke. Writing this has been a bit depressing but I think some book shopping is in order this weekend to cheer me up! :)

If We Were Having Coffee


If we were having coffee I would tell you that this week has been long and I am tired. I would tell you that things aren’t going so well for me at work. Nothing seems to be going right and I am feeling a bit burned out on it all. I didn’t get the driver I wanted, I didn’t get the route I wanted, the route I did get has changed for the worst. I am working long hours, much longer than I am getting paid for. I am bored and sad a lot of the time and now that Chardonnay is busy all day I have been feeling a bit alone. I would tell you that I hate that I feel like that.

I think I am making her feel bad about her new position. I don’t mean to and I never thought I would be one of those women who makes their partner feel bad for working hard. She is stressed and she misses me as much as I miss her and making her feel bad about it doesn’t fix anything. We need to make sure the time we are spending together is quality time. We need more communication and we both have to be patient and understanding of the other. We are having a rough time right now but nothing we can’t handle. We just need to get used to a new schedule and a bit less time spent together.

I would tell you that there is a bit of a silver lining to all of this. With Chardonnay busy all the time and me in no mood to interact with people around me I have found a lot of time to get other things done. I am reading more and teaching myself math and science. I missed so much in school and it has been both very exciting and very frustrating to teach myself all the things I missed out on. The stuff I have finished so far are things I already knew, or once knew and forgot. This week I move on to learn things I was never taught.

I would probably refill my coffee at this point, lots of sugar, lots of creamer. I would tell you I am also trying to find some philosophy lectures to watch. I am pushing myself to learn more and more about as many subjects as I can. I’m not sure exactly what the end game is. I’m not why I am doing all this but I just have this drive to learn everything I can. I want to have a basic (or better) knowledge of all subjects. I think this way I can find out what my passion really is and I can start thinking about what kind of career I want. I am unhappy at my current job and I want to leave but I won’t unless I find a job I love and I think that means going back to school and getting a degree.

I would tell you that for the most part I am doing ok. I am worried about getting depressed but I am holding on. I would ask you for advice but I bet you wouldn’t have any to give. This is something I have to figure out for myself. I have to learn how to be alone and how to cope with my feelings again without Chardonnay around to help me. I have to figure out how to be happy on my own and I have to move forward. I have to find my own happiness too. I would say all of this and still not know what to do though. That is the hard part, we all know what we should do but we don’t know exactly how to do it.

I would ask you how you were doing. I would say I hope everything is going well and that if things weren’t I am here to listen to you too. I would ask you if you needed anything, if there was any way I could help and I would hope you would tell me if there was. I would drink the last of my coffee, the sugary part that collects art the bottom. I would thank you for the coffee and tell you this was nice. I would tell you to have a good day and a good rest of the week. I would say we should get together like this more often. I would walk you out and wish you good luck.

Thank you to Gene’O for the inspiration, and for making this a community thing. I really enjoyed writing it. :)

Bedside Plants and the Morning Sun

I am no photographer. I don’t own a camera. I take all my pictures from my Galaxy S4 and they are all pretty crappy. the pictures have always been just for me and here and there get added to my Instagram account. I want to start sharing images form my life here. I want everyone to see what I see. I admit there is not much interestingness around me but it is my life and I love it so I’m going to share it anyway.

I am late on it but I took this photo to go with last weeks Photo Challenge. The challenge was to “experiment with light and capture a silhouette”. I tried all week to think of an interesting way to capture a silhouette but I am no photographer and I couldn’t think of anything.

Then this morning I rolled over to see the sun lighting up the curtains behind my orchid and aloe plants. Well, it’s not really a curtain, it’s just an old sheet we cut up that does the job just fine. The plants are sitting on an old ironing thingy with cloth bags underneath for laundry we keep next to the bed. It has a towel on it because the old iron board cover is ruined and so now we iron on the towel. The cat likes to sit up there sometimes too, to sunbathe, and the towel is often covered in gray fur.

The orchid Chardonnay bought me for my birthday. The flower spike was very big, about half my height! And some of the flowers were almost as big as my hand. It flowered for a long time and I took care not to over water it and I fertilized it too. I did sunburn it on accident once when I forgot it outside. It has recovered but the leaves don’t look so good. I cut the spike a few weeks ago after all the flowers had shriveled up and fallen off. I am hoping it is healthy enough to flower again.

The aloe plant is the second aloe plant I’ve owned. The first one, bought a year ago, died and horrible death. I think I used the wrong potting mix and the pot didn’t drain either. Chardonnay bought me this one a couple months ago and I am trying my best to keep it alive. It doesn’t look like its dying yet but it isn’t growing either, and looking at it yesterday I think one of the leaves is turning a bit brown. I hope it lives.

I like the way the photo looks. The sheet lets a soft light into the room which is nice. After I am done writing here I’m going to go tie it up though, to let the full morning sun in on my plants, and the cat, and on Chardonnay, who is still in bed. It’s time for everyone to wake up :)

12 Years and Counting!

12 years ago today I realized I wanted no one but her. Her name is Chardonnay and she is absolutely amazing.

When we met I was a mess. I had no job, I had dropped out of school, and I was practically homeless. I had emotional problems and I was severely depressed. She loved me anyway though and for that I am eternally grateful. She takes care of me and supports me more than is probably healthy and definitely more than I deserve. I can never repay her for all she has done for me but I try everyday. I try to be a better person for her and I try to be there for her the way she has for me all this time. I love her more than anything.

People ask me all the time how we made it this far, and the truth is, staying together is both the easiest and the hardest thing to do. The trick is to keep trying NO MATTER WHAT. There will be misunderstandings and hurt feelings from time to time. You will take things out on each other and say things you don’t mean. You will change and make mistakes and even sometimes take each other for granted. At the end of the day, at the end of every single day, you have to just come together and work it out. Let the anger and the pride go and just TALK. See things from the other’s point of view, say you’re sorry, and try not to do it again. There isn’t much else to it, just remember to love each other and the rest just falls into place.

A Manifesto for Self-Love

I will talk to myself like I would someone I love. I will remember that I am a human being, and as such I will make mistakes. I will remember that making mistakes does not mean I am a bad person or unworthy of love. I will remember to take time to recover from my mistakes and forgive myself.

I will not compare myself to others. I am unique and have many strengths. I will take pride in my accomplishments and character, they stand on their own without the need for comparison. I will stay positive and grateful for everything I have, everything I am, and everything I and have done. Failing to do so will only lead to bitterness and suffering and I love myself to much to do that to myself.

“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.”

― C. JoyBell C.

I will love my mind. I will strive to always grow and learn. I am intelligent and that will not waste or take for granted. I will try new things and meet new people because that is the only way to grow and learn about the world around me. I will be my own cheerleader. I will encourage and push myself because I know I can be great.

I will accept myself for who I am. I will be authentic in everything I say and do. I will stay true to myself and remember that I am made up of many parts, all of which are to be loved and accepted. I will allow myself to feel my full range of emotion and never deny nor belittle any part of myself.

“As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.

― Charles Chaplin

I will love my body even when society tells me I should hate it. I will never engage in negative self-talk about my body just because it is “what women do”. I will remember that this is the only body I will ever own, and I will honor and respect it. I will remember that the images I see on TV and in magazines are not true representations of what women should or do look like. I will not push myself to look like the women I see on TV and in magazines. I will remember that trying do so is unrealistic and sets me up for shame and failure.

I will love my body enough to take care of it. I will strive to be healthy and only put good, natural things into my body so that it can function and heal itself. I will remember that my health directly affects my mood and energy levels throughout the day. I will remember that my body cannot go on forever and I must maintain it in order to live a long, happy, and healthy life.

“The human body is the best work of art.”

― Jess C. Scott

I will surround myself with people who love me too. I will surround myself with people who are positive and encouraging. I will voice my feelings and needs to those around me so that they have a chance to make things right when our relationship has suffered. I will also be open to listening to other people’s feelings and needs so that I make efforts to preserve the relationships that I value.

I will not allow toxic people into my life. I will not allow others to put me down or put negative thoughts into my head. I will remember the saying “misery loves company” and I will not engage with people who’s only goal is to bring me down.

“Protect your space and circle. Invest in people who you know will feed you just as much goodness as you do them.”

― Alexandra Elle

Above all else I will remember that self love is always a work in progress. I know I will make mistakes and fall back into old habits. I know self-love requires constant effort and vigilance. I know that the way I feel about myself directly affect my relationship, my work, and my mental and physical self. I know that the way to find true happiness is through acceptance and love for myself. I will be present and ever aware of my thoughts and actions. Every morning when I wake up, I will look myself in the mirror and I will tell myself I am beautiful and perfect, even in my imperfection. I will then conduct myself accordingly throughout the day.

Weekly Writing Challenge – Manifesto