The Rantings of a Tortured Mind

Valerie Rayne Rants


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New Year’s Resolutions… Already?!?!?


I’ve been thinking a lot about resolutions this year. Every year since I started having kids, I’ve always said that I’m going to make New Year’s Resolutions and every year, I end up not doing it until after the new year. The end of this year, although very tumultuous and crazy for me, has really been a great one. There’s been a lot of positives to this year end, the top of my list right now is that The Boyfriend got the promotion he was hoping for at work, I haven’t missed a rent payment in a few months, we have credits on all our bills, and both The Boyfriend and I finally got cellphones – which has been on our list of things to get for a really long time!

I figure if this year end is being so good to us, then there’s a very good chance that it will continue into the new year. I’m not counting any chickens before they hatch, but I just get this feeling that it’s going to be a wicked year. Albeit, I said 2011 was going to be a really great year, and that’s only been right over the last few months. I didn’t do anything that I had set out to do in 2011. But I plan for this year to be different. WAY different!

Now I do plan on posting a resolutions list, but that’s going to be happening closer to the new year. My biggest resolution this year is to begin blogging more often. I’ve been missing it more than you can imagine lately. I’m not sure where I lost that spark, or where it went to for that while there. I am determined to get it back. My goal is to blog everyday for January and if that works out, I really want to continue it. It’ll be made even easier by the fact that I can now blog from my phone while I’m at work (bored out of my skull!).

I’ve got tons of blogging-related goals and only a few real-time goals… Kind of odd 😉

In other news…

The kids have been major pains in the butts lately. Between Kaeidyn and Kenzie’s outrageous attitudes and Keirnan and Carter’s never-ending energy, there have been many days where I am just about ready to throw in the towel. Kaeidyn’s biggest issue right now is believing that the whole world is against her and everything is unfair. It’s unfair that she only gets to spend one night a week at Grandma’s, while the boys get to go there everyday to be babysat. It’s unfair that she doesn’t get her hair curled or make-up put on before school. It’s unfair that she has to wear pants when it’s cold outside because she would really rather wear a skirt. Every day it seems like we have an argument about whether or not the world is being fair to her.

Kenzie’s been talking back in the worst way possible. I have tried just about every disciplinary technique that I know of, and nothing seems to be quelching that fire. Today was probably one of the worst days in his talking back history. The boys had made a mess of the couch and I said, “Look what you’re doing?!?” and he got right up in my face and in this snobby voice replied, “Look, look!”, like some cocky teenager. I was taken aback by it, to say the least. I need to figure something out there, but most of the time, I’m just so shocked that my response time is a little weak.

I’ve been working really hard on getting certain areas of the house clean, but it seems like no matter how much work I do, by the next day it’s right back to where it was. The housework is just getting out of my hands now and most of the day I spend very frustrated by the overwhelming stress of this mess. I want to start from scratch so bad!

I can’t wait for Christmas this year! We actually got the kids some really amazing gifts and for the first time in years, we’re having a family Christmas dinner at my Mom’s. My sister and her kids and my brother will all be there. It’ll be just like the old days, in a way and I think it’ll be very nice. *crosses fingers*

Well, I think I’m done for the night. It was really great writing again. Have a great night to you all and Happy Holidays from my family to yours!

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My Day Zero Project – Someday: Take a Belly Dancing Class


I’ve always been a little obsessed with belly dance. It’s such a highly sensual form of dancing. I go through bursts with my obsession with belly dance. There was a while there, where all I was doing was watching belly dancing videos and researching it. I even started doing what I called Bathroom Belly Dance.

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My Day Zero Project – To Do: Make a List of 20 Things I Like About Myself – Part 1


I’m going to check this one off my list right now! On my Day Zero Project, I’ve vowed to write 20 things that I like about myself. Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not… But here goes it:

  1. I like the color of my hair
    I enjoy that it’s brown and have always been very proud of that for some reason. I like that in the summer time, my hair begins getting all sorts of colors in it. Dark brown, light brown, streaks of red and sometimes, this interesting purple color gets thrown in there. I like that I suit a lot of different hairstyles and I like how my hair feels for the most part.
  2. I like my feet
    I never really was a big fan of my feet, though always thought it was cool that I had the smallest feet out of everyone I knew. As I’ve grown a little older, I tend to like my feet a whole heck of a lot more. I’ve come to think of them as sexy and very nicely shaped. I’ve come to really enjoy the shape of my toes and with a little help from a few foot enthusiasts, I’ve become really confident about showing my feet off.
  3. I like that I’m open minded
    There aren’t many things that I will shoot down right away. I also don’t form opinions very quickly anymore. I’ve learnt that it’s not wise. I let myself be open to influences and thoughts and run with the ones that make sense to me.
  4. I like that I can play music
    I don’t know many people who have taught themselves how to play guitar and who played as many instruments as I did in high school band. Three official instruments in band and the guitar! Woo! Not only could I play the instruments, but I could sing to go a long with it and I can read sheet music and tabs. If I weren’t such a slacker, I could be a rockstar!
  5. I like the struggles I’ve overcome
    I would never say that my life was easy, and if I did, someone’s nose would be growing a few inches. It’s been a tough one and I’ve overcome a lot of hardship in my time. Let me count the ways…- I had my first kid when I was 17
    – I’ve been in two abusive relationships
    – I’ve been homeless, having to live in a hotel
    – I’ve attempted suicide twice
    – I’ve been put in a mental institution twice
    – I’ve watched my family members attempt suicide
    – I have alcoholic parents
    – I’ve had to prove I was a good parent, even before I actually had kids
  6. I like that I write
    I started my first journal when I was about 11 years old and began writing my own songs around then too. I started writing erotica when I was 14. I like that I don’t think I’m horrible at writing either, I actually think when I really focus on something, I can create some pretty awesome stuff.
  7. I like that I know HTML
    I spent countless hours learning how to write HTML. I took a few websites, read through them and taught myself how to write HTML. I know that now, that’s not really impressive and CSS is totally where it’s at, but I was 14 and didn’t know any better…
  8. I like how tall I am
    I’m not that tall. Five feet, seven inches. Yet somehow I manage to tower over just about every girl my age and most girls are only taller than me if they’re wearing heels. I’m not sure how it happens, but I’ve always liked it. I liked being the tallest one in the class and now I like that I’m about the same height as The Boyfriend.
  9. I like that I drink coffee
    Growing up, I always had a vision of myself as someone who was successful and always had a cup of coffee in their hand. Don’t ask me why success and coffee went hand-in-hand for me, but it did. If it weren’t for The Boyfriend and his insistence on getting me to drink coffee, I probably would’ve never done it. But thanks to him, I now start having minor withdrawals after one day without it!
  10. I like that I’ve learnt to control some of my more irrational emotions
    In the past, the littlest things upset me and would make me incredibly angry or sad. I was a very jealous person and was in constant need of validation. Over a very long period of time and a lot of soul searching and a few heartbreaks, I’ve learnt how I can better control the emotions that do me no good. Jealousy got me nowhere but alone, so I’ve learnt to tame my green beast and pick and choose the battles that really matter to me.
So, I’m half way done this task. Be sure to stay tuned for Part 2 (I’ll add the link when it’s done) where I’m finishing this list off. Maybe when I’m feeling down about my life, this list will help me remember all the things that I’m capable of, that I did and that I can do again!


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My Day Zero Project – Someday: Back to BC


Ever since moving to Red Deer almost eight years ago (holy man, I can’t believe it’s been that long), I have desperately longed to go back to BC, where I was born and mostly raised.

In my life, I’ve lived in many different places, many different towns and cities and two different provinces. My favorite places were always the ones in BC. The weather is nicer, the grass is greener and the mountains are bigger. The water is less murky, the summer lasts longer and the winter’s are shorter. It’s where I long to call home.

I’m very realistic though and believe that there’s a good chance that Red Deer is where we’ll stay living for the rest of our lives and I’m okay with that. Both The Boyfriend and Alfie were born here in Red Deer and spent the better majority of their lives here. We’ve even been to see all the places The Boyfriend has lived his entire life…

While we did live in Red Deer when I was kid, it was for a year or two tops and I don’t have any super fond memories of Red Deer from when I was kid, except for taking my doll Jasmine to Value Village and playing on the old witch’s hat at Rotary Park – which doesn’t even exist anymore!

I want to take The Boyfriend through Prince George and show him where I went to my first punk show and where I lost my virginity. I want to take the kids to Herald’s Park and Margaret Falls in the Shuswap area.  I want us all to go to Canoe Beach and I want to remember what it was like when I was a kid. I want to make The Boyfriend drive the windy roads up to Williams Lake.

I also want to experience some of the things in BC that I never got to experience. Like visiting Vancouver and going to Stanley Park, or going to Penticton for the Peach Festival – not that I’m particularly fond of peaches, but I’ve only ever heard great things about it.

I want to see people that live in BC that I knew when I was a kid. My ex-boyfriends, my family that still lives there, friends I went to school with. I’d love to see my Grade 7 teacher again and see all my sister’s friends from BC. I want to see what’s changed and what is still the same. And I want to take my family a long with me!

Of course, these are someday things. Not things that I’m going to be working towards any time soon. But one day, someday, I’d like to show The Boyfriend and the kids where I grew up. The places that shaped me. Check out the rest of my Day Zero Project.


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My Day Zero Project – To Do: Clean the Kitchen


Another one of those things that has been on my to do list for WAY too long. While I make small strides towards this goal every week, it never gets anywhere closer to getting done. I’d like to change that.

I would really love to pull all the appliances out and clean behind them. I want to scrub the walls behind the stove and scour the floor beneath the fridge. Then I want to clean inside the appliances. I see this being a total gong show!

My oven is going to be the worst. That thing is so disgusting, and I’ve never had the opportunity to clean it out in my 3+ years of living here. It desperately longs to have a good clean. I want that oven to shine as if my old oven were new.

I want to pull all of the dishes and crap out of all the drawers and cupboards and completely clean those up and out. All the junk and stuff we don’t use at all (like martini ice strainers?!?) can be given away or thrown out. I’d like to pare down to what we actually use and then start saving up to buy myself things that I really really want, like a stand up mixer or a waffle iron.

I’d like to get all of the dishes completely cleaned and done. While I do dishes almost every night, there are always some left over in the sink or one that we didn’t know about out in the living room or some other thing like that. I’d like to have every single dish in my house completely cleaned and preferably put away.

I’d love to scrub all the walls down and get the table and chairs so clean that they shine. I’d like to get all the worst stains off the kitchen floor and I’d love to get this black shelf thing that we have out there, either thrown out or cleaned up so that we can use it for something.

Then, I’d like to keep the kitchen cleaned and organized. Make it a welcoming place for me to cook our family meals in, instead of a hostile environment that I tend to avoid like the plague. I’d like to get it set up enough that if one day I felt like baking with the kids, we could without having to dedicate 2 or 3 hours to cleaning up beforehand…

Ah, to have a clean kitchen. That’ll be the day! You can check out my clean and organize the kitchen task here and see the rest of my Day Zero Project tasks here.


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My Day Zero Project – To Do: Eyebrow Shaping


So today, I was reintroduced to the Day Zero Project. If you’ve ever wanted to make a bucket list or just a things-I-want-to-do list, the Day Zero Project will let you define 101 tasks to complete in 1001 days. You can even make a list for someday tasks, things you’d like to do some day, just not right now. I thought it would be fun to share some of the things on my list and how I plan to achieve them and I’ll update you when I do. (We’ll try to do one of these posts a day… *cross your fingers*)

Get my Eyebrows Shaped

I haven’t yet decided how I want to go about doing this, but it’s been on my list of things to do for as long as I’ve known that women can shape their eyebrows.

When I was about 14 and was taking modeling classes, we had an entire class on how to pluck your eyebrows in a way that was flattering to your face shape. They gave us each our own little orange sticks and we all got tweezers. I, however, had absolutely no interest in doing anything to my eyebrows at the time, especially if it was going to hurt, so instead sat there pretending to be reading the papers they gave us and got out of having to do anything mean to my eyebrows.

I’ve also seen some pretty wicked eyebrow shaping disasters in my time. From the over-plucked and uneven eyebrows to the “Oops, I waxed a bigger chunk off than I intended” eyebrows to the eyebrow shaping’s where the person looks like they’re constantly questioning everything you say!

I also don’t generally tend to think too much about my eyebrows unless I’m wearing makeup or have somebody take a picture of me where my eyebrows are almost completely invisible. Both things that don’t happen all too often. But when they do….

Barely There...

Now it’s just a matter of deciding how I want to have these babies shaped and where I want to go to have it done. Also have to take into account how much I want to pay for it. For a long time I had only considered plucking and waxing as options, though have recently begun to entertain the idea of threading.

I would really like to maintain whatever shape I end up getting with my eyebrows, assuming I like it and I would like to learn how to more accurately use an eyebrow pencil, because I think my eyebrows would look awesome. Maybe maintained eyebrows is exactly what I need to start looking like the woman I want to look like.

And don’t ask me what the woman I want to look like, looks like. Because I’m not 100% sure, it seems to always be evolving. The biggest thing is that she looks well put together, which I certainly do not on most days.

So ladies, have you ever got your eyebrows shaped? What was it like and how did you do it? Have you ever tried multiple methods? If yes, which one was most preferable? Any advice you’d give to someone considering shaping their eyebrows would be amazing!


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Trying Not to Feel At All Defeated…


Sometimes, all my online work seems to be such a waste of time. I hate to be kind of a party pooper here, but I feel like I’m working so hard on all this stuff sometimes for nobody’s benefit but mine. And while that would be fine if my blogging goals were the same as they were a year ago or four years ago, times and goals have changed. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be whining right now.

I’d still be going on about, “I’m writing for me!”, instead of creating social networks in the hopes of making some sort of epic connection with another great adult blogger… Yes, you guessed it, this is 100% about Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous, which I’ve been working so hard at, that I have two little perfect circles on my lap from where my laptop gets really hot when I leave it on for 12 hours straight!!

There are 17 members on the site right now, and only 1 of those members actually participated on the site and that’s because she’s my sister (not an adult blogger) and because I practically begged her! To try to keep member participation up, I decided to create Community Guidelines that made where after 3 months of inactivity, members could have their sites deactivated…

Scary statistic: 65% of members have NOT been active in the last 3 months. So, I sent out notices to those members saying that their accounts were at risk of being terminated. This was mostly for practicality purposes, being that currently I’m using the free version of Spruz, which only allows me to have 50 members.

But then I sort of chickened out. I don’t want to be mean to these potential members, even if they’re not participating. It feels good to be able to say that, including myself, there are 17 members on a social network I maintain. I’m happy that something lured 16 people into joining Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous… Needless to say, I’m reconsidering…

I’ve just been working so much harder than I had ever intended for a website. I’ve been stepping out of my networking comfort levels like crazy, because I really want this site to be something to someone other than me. I’m normally the type of person who won’t go out of my way to talk to people in real life, let alone get up the nerve to speak out online.

I’ve been doing so much of what some of my blogging idols tell you to do (ie., Problogger and Mashable), and it all seems to fall short. I’ve been commenting on people’s blogs (though I’m peeved that I can’t figure out how to comment on Ask Dan and Jennifer, because some of their stuff just grinds on my nerves), I’ve been posting other people’s links on Twitter and even mentioning people more and more (on the Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous Twitter). I’ve been seeking out new blogs like a mad man and mostly, I’ve been crazy hard at work on content for Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous.

And no one seems to be participating. I got one mention on Twitter from the blogger of a blog that I tweeted out, and that was really exciting and I went off about it for awhile. But I wouldn’t say it’s participation… Here’s the tweet:

http://twitter.com/#!/LearningDD/status/98984709773733888

I’ve been adding stuff to the Facebook Fan page at least once a day, and none of the 4 fans have commented, I’ve had a couple of votes on questions after I posted them on my personal wall, but no new “likes” in months and not very much commenting or sharing, outside of me.

While I have had 3 members join Lifestyle Bloggers Anonymous in the last month, I was disappointed today when I discovered that the bounce rate on the site is at about 85%, which isn’t good and definitely doesn’t meet my goals. Oh, now you want to know what my goals are? Well, that’s a little bit harder to explain, because I’m still trying to define what’s realistic…

I read a few blogs about blogging. Mostly from bloggers who do not need to work outside of the home, because they make enough money just blogging. Normally bloggers who have views on their blogs that are 10 times what I have on any of my blogs. A lot of them who promote their stuff and people eat it up like it’s steak, potatoes and gravy! I’m unsure if those types of things are even possible for adult bloggers, unless they do porn on the side…

So far I know that:

  • I want to have an average of 10 visitors each day, 2 of those being returning visitors
  • I want the average time on the site to be at least 10 minutes
  • I’d like a bounce rate under 50%
  • I’d like people to visit an average of 3 pages when they visit
  • I’d like 3 members, outside of my sister, to be truly active on the site
  • I’d like all the members to change their profile photos
  • I’d like to get some interaction going on both Facebook and Twitter
  • I’d like to make at least one connection with one other blogger that I find to be meaningful in some way…
Now, I need to figure out what it is exactly that I’m not doing right to be able to achieve these goals and that’s being so hard for me. When I’m getting no real response to all the hard work that I’m doing, it’s very hard to get motivated enough to go and add discussions to a speechless forum, or create a group that nobody will join, or write a blog post that no one cares enough about to share or comment on or visit more than once..
Don’t worry though, this is just a rant and I’m still working. I’ve come to realize that this kind of thing is a struggle for every blogger, just more so for some than others. It’s a hump and I’ll get over it eventually. It’s not like I’ve been doing all these things for a SUPER long time, so I’ll give it some more time. Just cross your fingers for me that it gets better…
Love,
Just another struggling blogger