working, office, back porch

Posted on Friday, August 06, 2010 In: , ,

You can always tell my happiness level by the length of my hair. The shorter it gets, it seems, the happier I am. It’s pretty darn short right now. I am working a lot right now. I have started tutoring online specializing in English to non-English speakers. I have the whole Skype set up – headset and webcam. It is pretty exciting.

So, what is making me happy? What isn’t? Specifically, though, I’d have to say that I’m happy because I was able to make my own job up since no one was hiring me to teach. I love working with adults and I’m meeting a lot of people from around the world. This is a fulfilling job as well as a lot of fun.

After falling over book boxes and piles of very important papers, I finally organized the office. Yay! That means my books are on the shelves where I can see them clearly and visit with them. Yes, I visit with my books. After one month of telling John I would do it I finally dug in. I guess this not only makes my positive thinking list but my husband’s as well!

While I was organizing the office John cleaned and set up our back porch. We now have a nice place to sit outside with friends and barbeque. It will also be easier for the cats to come and go as they please. We are thinking of building a ramp over the fence for Tommycat to get in and out more easily. I’m really beginning to love our little apartment, even if I can hear every time the neighbors take a shower.

Once again, leave comments please! Let me know what is making you happy today!!

Smoothing the waters, inbred birds, walking with my love

Posted on Monday, July 19, 2010 In: , ,
One of the reasons is has been so hard to keep positive is that John has been feeling awful and that seems to color the rest of our world. He has an intestinal blockage, or at least that’s what the Dr. thinks it is. He goes for a colonoscopy on Wed. I’ve been trying to deal with all of the paperwork, but got behind and it should have been done before the wedding instead of two months later. I really don’t think it’s serious, but it’s scary nonetheless.

Here we go. Being in a relationship can be a difficult balancing act, as I’ve been learning on the job. But, you know what? I’ve never been needed like I am by John. Not in an I have to have someone need me for every little thing or my life isn’t validated. Or, even just a “Samantha, where the Hell are my socks” kind of way (although he does say that on a regular basis). He needs me like I need him, to smooth the waters and remind him that life is going really well. Being needed gives dimension to my life, it’s not just the Samantha show anymore. That’s a good thing.

I’m not sure how positive this one is, I’m just finding it humorous. We have Zebra Finches. They reproduce like bunnies, or well, Zebra Finches. Before we moved there were three babies just leaving the nest and the mom (Jina) and dad (Kitu). Then Astra-cat got into the bird room knocked over the cage and was able to eat Jina. (No, this is not the part making me happy) So, the babies were left motherless. When they became mature we gave the boy baby to my parents and planned to trade the two girls to the pet store for a new wife for Kitu. Then we moved, and we kept putting off taking the girls in. Yesterday I all of a sudden thought to go into the nest and make sure there weren’t any eggs and if there were I would throw away any daddy-daughter possible offspring. Unfortunately, I was WAY too late. There weren’t just eggs, there were three hatchlings! Why am I listing this as a happy thought? Actually, I’m not really sure. Am I marveling over the miracle of life? They are really cute? Maybe it makes me shake my head at how irresponsible John and I are that we let this happen, and I’m just happy they don’t have eyes on the back of their heads or wings on their backs.

The weather here has been gorgeous. I have actually started walking with John on the disc golf course. I don’t throw, just watch him. But, it’s a great walk through the woods and special time for the two of us. That makes me happy.

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Tommy the cat, new car, happy home

Posted on Thursday, July 15, 2010 In: , , ,
So I haven’t written in a really long time. Sorry, to my little lonely blog. We are all moved into our new apartment, it’s been an adjustment and insanely stressful. I thought organizing a wedding while finishing my degree was hard, this move for some reason was double the stress. But, good things abound! I need to remind myself of that daily and if I start writing in this blog again maybe that will be easier.

What is putting a smile on my face? My cat Tommy was refusing to stay in the new apartment. He kept going back to the old house and scaring the bejeezus out of me. I’d go back put him in the car, getting scratched in the process. Bring him back to the apartment and lock him in for a few days to a week only to have to repeat the process. Then one day, he just started coming home on his own. Now all of the happy Pankey pets can come and go out as they please. Well, Millie the dog just goes out on the patio and the birds, sadly enough must stay in the cage.

Because we saved up wedding gift money and are saving a ton because of the move, we were able to buy a new(er) car. Wow! This is actually the first time I’ve owned a car that was made in the same decade that we are presently in. Isn’t it pretty?

While there has been some getting used to living underneath people, I love our little apartment. There is less area to keep clean, a more kitchen with more space, and cupboards and closets everywhere. Now that we are settled I realize it makes me very, very happy!

I’m sorry it’s been so long, how are all of you?

Settling in, Diploma, Samantha the big topic of gossip

Posted on Monday, June 21, 2010

I know, I’ve been away from my blog for awhile. I was able to write while on my honeymoon, yet couldn’t get to it while moving? Weak excuse. But, here I am, in a new apartment ready to take up the positivity project where I left off. I wish I could say there was a lot to fill people in on. Not really. I’ve just been overwhelmed by the move and starting my “new life.”

So, why am I happy? I love my new, much smaller, home. Is it taking some getting used to? Yes! I can hear what every other person in the complex is doing, and realize they can hear me. Yet, the space feels more contained, more manageable. There is cleaning to do, but I don’t feel like crying. It feels like a job I can do. It’s a c clean slate, ready to be decorated and inhabited by a newly married couple. I like that it’s OUR project. Even though John and I lived together before the wedding, that house was not ours. It was someplace we just co-inhabited. We are even picking out new art to put on the walls together. (I knew enrolling him in the art history course would pay off. He is showing an actual interest in different artists and what we look at on a day to day basis).

I received my MA diploma in the mail on Saturday. It’s real! I have a MA degree! I’m going to scan it, have it laminated, and keep it in my wallet. When anyone questions me on any subject I plan on whipping it out and saying “do you have one of these?” OK, maybe that’s a little pretentious, but I can’t say that I care!

It’s a long story, but recently I was the topic of town gossip. Why? Because I had piled up some couches, a mattress and a washing machine in the alley. I guess people thought I was just putting the crap out there hoping it would disappear. In reality, I had called the city and had a big garbage pickup approved. So the big deal? I don’t know. All I know is that one woman told a friend of my mother’s that I was messing up the alley and mother’s friend decided that she should tell mother in case there was reason to be concerned. Huh? Anyway, not a big deal, really just fodder for bored old ladies. How does this make me happy? If this is all they have to gossip about concerning me, I’m doing pretty damn well!

I’m off to put some order to my new home. Anyone want to share their happy thoughts?

unexpected friends, a job, what do you think of the flowers?

Posted on Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Having a tough couple of days on a few fronts. When I am having a bad day, I’m mad, and I’m frustrated with life is really especially when I should be writing here. I tried to come up with even one happy thought and really couldn’t. Today I’m going to dig in and get to work at taking control of my happiness, not let situations or others have that control. I have a pretty good life; it is just bumpy right now. I’ve done bumpy before. Hell, I’ve done cratered with potholes most of the time. I can do this.

I’m happy for: Unexpected friends. One of my best friends is a man named Burt. He makes me laugh and entertains me when I need it. He is in charge of working on the car and is always there when John and I call. I love that while he comes off as sort of a “player,” he is actually kind of vulnerable and sweet when he meets a girl who he really likes. I want to maim some of the girls who have almost gone out of their way to hurt him. Ok, enough, he’s going to kill me for writing most of this.

It looks like I sort of found a job. It’s part time managing life and business of a flute player in Arcata. I’m really excited, it’s going to be a lot of fun and I didn’t expect to find something so fast. I will be working on his website and will post that address here soon.

I’m having a hard time with my third item. Well, let’s just go with the new set up of this blog. I love the template. I love the fact that I fought with it, and fought with it to make it work. I know it still needs some tweaking but I’m pretty proud that I did it all by myself.

Don’t be worried by the tone of today’s post, it’ll get better it’s just growing pains and learning about how to function in what I’m determined to be an adult relationship. Oh, and cars suck. C’mon Samantha – Happy thoughts, happy thoughts.

Taking deep breaths. Move was moved back a week, the new apartment won’t be ready until the 14th. Thank God!! Only having a week to pack and move was a ludicrous idea. My list has been whittled away at little by little. We went and got our official marriage certificate. It looks like an automobile pink slip. John asked where we put his registration stickers. Now I can change my IDs, social security, and well, every other little thing you’ve never thought of that has your name on it.

Why do shiny new things make me so damn happy? How do I let consumerism take over my entire being sometimes? I received my beautiful new coffee pot yesterday. Now, this isn’t the one I originally wanted, the one that grinds the beans itself. It’s just a fancy schmancy one that John and I decided we liked better. Boy, does it make a great cup of coffee! And, it’s so pretty. I know, I know it’s just a coffee pot. It makes me giddy!

On to more lofty thoughts. Hmmm… (Still looking at coffee pot)…as I start packing and cleaning I’m fighting a little frustration. There is still wedding debris, that beautiful coffee pot came with a pile of stupid packing peanuts that are still littering my floor (glance at coffee pot for inspiration). How is this positive? I have friends that know and empathize with this frustration. Are they messy like me? No. Yet, when it comes time for me to do a monthly bulldoze through the house someone always shows up to lend a hand. This move is no different. I have received many offers of help. How cool is that? I just wound everyone up in a day all about me, and they are still willing to lend a hand when it’s still all about me. I swear, after the move I am doing something special for each of these friends and relatives. Gee, I see a future blog subject – three special things for those you love and who love you back.

Yesterday one of the errands John and I went on was to his bank to check on the account I have no way to touch. This has now officially been designated as the “house fund” account. Yes, I Samantha Natasha Weiland Pankey may, someday, a few years from now, own a house. Mind blowing even thinking about it. I never thought I’d say the words “we are going to buy a house.” It will be tough, and there is a lot of work to do. But, I want my own home. A place where I can paint the walls whatever color I choose. I can get whatever pet I want. I even have the responsibility to fix what breaks. Here I am, miles away from the person who never thought she’d be good enough to even think about doing this, actually making plans for VA loans and First time buyer’s credits and towns we would like to live in. Thank you John for helping to make this possible.

Oh, that list I started? Honestly I’m going to try and get back to it this weekend. Please leave a little note and let me know these thoughts are reaching someone! (Comment grubbing, a new low – check out this great post about how happy comments can make a blogger:   The Naked Writer makes me happy!)

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Tutoring, weeding excess, kitchen love

Posted on Thursday, June 03, 2010 In: , , ,
We are moving! In a week! Yikes!! Our landlord offered us a mold & mildew free apartment for much less rent than we are paying now. It is much smaller and I will miss being in an actual house. But, for the coughing to stop and to be able to actually save some money so that we can buy a house, I will put up with it.

Positivity – I put my first ad up on Craigslist to tutor students over the summer. I know chances are slim that I’ll be contacted, but actually putting up the ad is where I win. I’m taking my life into my own hands and am preparing to do something with it. I am not letting myself spiral down into negativity, saying that I can’t leave the house, can’t work, and can’t contribute to the outside world. I can do these things. I will do them.

I am weeding out all of my old dishes, pots and pans, and clothes so that we have less to move and will not have to get a storage unit. This is liberating. There are pieces of Tupperware I’ve been carting around for maybe 15 years – toss it! Old mismatched plates? Give them away! Clothes I’ll never wear? Sell them! If it actually stops raining this weekend I’ll have a garage sale. The money we make from selling miscellaneous crap and some appliances that need replacing will go into the special house fund secret bank account (secret meaning I don’t know the account number nor am I able to access it).

Related to weeding out kitchen – I am such a grown up now. I have matching everyday dishes that match the drinking glasses that match the coffee mugs. All of my silverware is the same pattern. I have great, great pots and pans. I’m going to love setting up my new kitchen. Materialistic? Maybe, but damn, it makes me happy.

Mini happy thought – as I write this John is sleeping on the living room floor alongside the couch. He missed me after I woke up. Is that sickeningly too cute?

Today is the start of a new work week, the real start of my new life, and the day I get off my rear and take care of those little things that are filling my to do lists.

Speaking of my rear, did anyone know exactly how much fat and calories was in Nutella? My friend Wrye (who despite what I may be thinking right now, I love dearly and nearly cried when I saw her for the first time in six years) gave me my first actual jar of the stuff with strawberries. I was eating ladylike bites of strawberry with a little Nutella on them, then moved on to spoonfuls. Next jar was bought after the honeymoon, when I was stuck on the couch with scrapes and bruises from my various falls. I wasn’t even bothering with the spoon. Then, John looked at the serving size and content. He took it away from me. I called my sister (who loves the stuff) and she said “Sami, put down the Nutella!” That is my new rallying cry, it actually has a lot of meaning for me – “Step away from the Nutella, take a walk, clean the house, do something active!”

Let’s get to some more positive topics. I am healing from my recent bout of falling. This not only means the cuts and bruises but my self esteem and I am re-learning how to slow down my brain so I’m not so preoccupied. I’ve always been clumsy, but geez. Once I realized that I wasn’t paying attention to my outside world because I was so intent on all of the things I had to do. So, I’m clearing my head. Making one master list that will show me that there really isn’t that much to do, and just chilling out a little. Do I have to find a new place to live so I’m not coughing so hard I scare the cats? Yes. Do I need to find a job? Yes. Do I need to change my name on everything? Yes. Etc., etc… but it’s all doable. And, it doesn’t need to be finished by five PM today. Ahhh…deep breath.

While I’m in this moment of calm, I’m realizing that there are little things I haven’t been paying attention to. The sound of the cats’ purrs while they lie with us in the morning, the fact that I have a sense of smell since I quit smoking, and instead of despairing over the mess – I look around at the wedding gifts and realize that quite a few people out there really love John and I.

From small things to a big thing. I’m not alone. I have someone to worry about the bills, the rent, and my myriad of dr. appointments. On the flipside I also have someone to laugh with, listen to the cat purr with, and help me clean what he calls “wedding confetti.” You know what? I’m a lucky, lucky woman.

New apartment, job plan, my sister rocks

Posted on Saturday, May 29, 2010 In: , , , , ,
Wow, what a day yesterday. We were supposed to have a blissful last day of our honeymoon in our own home. Not quite. I fell twice within 24 hours (once in the bathtub taking shelves and the shower curtain with me, then misjudging the curb while walking the dog and eating it on the road) so was stuck on the couch nursing many bruises and scrapes. Yes, I know go get my stupid glasses. Every little thing we tried to do seemed to become a very big hassle. So, I need my happy thoughts today. I promise to also post more of my 100 things about Samantha as well.

Let’s see. We found an apartment that is run by our rental managers to move into. Not only will I be away from this mold that is slowly deteriorating my lungs but we will benefit financially, a lot. It is nowhere as nice as our home now. But it’s temporary and I’m going to have student loans to start paying back and we have a car on its last legs. The management company is letting us just transfer our deposit and move in since; well their house is making me cough so hard I throw up.

I have an actual back to work plan. I am giving myself six months to find employment. I have already applied for a tutoring job at Humboldt State University, and am going to look into homeschooling jobs with the county. I used to home school sick kids for Sacramento City Schools and actually liked it, unlike teaching pubescent sixth graders. The job market here is terrible, so if I don’t find something in that time period because there just aren’t the jobs, I’m not going to be hard on myself. The deadline is just to get me ready to go back to work and get me off my sizeable rear end and start my job search. So, this is positive.

My sister is working her, very tiny, rear end off for me. She is doing a great job putting together all of the pictures from the wedding for our album. I love her. She did a gorgeous job on the photos. Next, the trash the dress pics. I decided to do them on the beach with my mom’s dog and my nephew. I am really looking forward to these.

I must go wake John up for his first day back at work. I’m such a wife.

Yesterday, John and I left Portland (with trepidation as my grandfather had taken ill overnight) with a plan to go down Hwy 101. We were going to find a cheapish hotel halfway, then drive the rest today. Not in the cards. We stopped at an Indian Casino, I did my compulsive gambling thing while unbeknownst to me he came up with a way to say he was just ready to come home. He missed the animals (he actually reached for Tommy the cat one morning and was really upset when he realized that there was no cat in our cabin), wanted one day to get the house in order before he went back to work, and honestly, just wanted to start his life!

I am soooo happy to be home. I know some would ask how it can be that different when you had lived together for two years prior to getting married. Knowing that John and I have made vows before our friends and then took four days to just be together and make plans has helped me see our life with a little more clarity and develop a less cynical view of couple hood.

John and I made some pretty hefty decisions – we would find a new place to live (must be kinder to sinuses and lungs), I’m giving myself 6 months to figure out this getting a job thing, and we will start the foster child process in a few years from now. All great ideas and it feels great to have discussed them with my husband, not just make a decision on the fly by myself.

My maid of honor cleaned up the wedding mess in our house while we were gone. How amazingly sweet! So great to come home to a clean house rather than the remnants of the “wedding hurricane.” Love her.

Don’t worry, I will finish my list – thought I would work on it on ride home, but we were having some pretty intense conversations about the future that I just didn’t get to it.

Have a great day where you only let positivity in!

More "getting to know Samantha"

Posted on Thursday, May 27, 2010 In: , , , , , ,
I’m working on my next list of “know the real Samantha” facts. This is actually a pretty scary exercise when I get down to it. There are things I’d put on the list if other’s weren’t reading it (thus negating the whole idea) because I don’t want to hurt anyone.

11. I once bumped into another car in heavy traffic coming home from San Francisco and kept going. Even though they pulled over. Of course they ended up catching up to me and getting my license plate number, so I did end up paying for it.

12. I not only sleep with the TV on I basically leave it on a news channel all day so I have noise in the background.

13. I am inherently lazy. I can put on a good act, but I’ll put off a project until the very last minute and hope that I just get out of it.

14. I thought most of the food at my wedding, including the cake was awful. (Positivity here: the cake was gorgeous even though they used the wrong filling)

15. Even though I’m a fully fledged adult I still steal groceries from my parents.

16. When I’m in a city the traffic sounds like a barn full of turkeys. I guess growing up on a turkey ranch and working in the barns will do that to you.

17. Now that the wedding is over, I really, really want to shave my head.

18. I think one of the things I love most about John is that he puts up with what most men wouldn’t when it comes to taking care of the home.

19. I want a baby so badly it hurts, but the hysterectomy a few years ago makes that more complicated. I still have ovaries, so I’ve been looking into surrogacy. Even though we could never, never afford it.

20. I can’t have more than two drinks or I either throw up or pass out.

21. When I was in the eighth grade a friend and I were smoking on a ditch bank and we ended up setting over a mile of it on fire.

22. I have no concept of where most countries are on a map. Even (or especially) Europe kind of baffles me.

23. Watching John sleep is one of my favorite activities, until I eventually wake him up when he feels me staring at him.

24. My sister and I cheated at many of our farm chores. Tossing cow pies at each other when we should have been washing our heifers or just stomping down weeds instead of pulling them.

25. I have kept some kind of pet in almost every apartment I’ve lived in, even when they weren’t allowed.

26. I was such a picky eater when I was a kid that I would throw up when made to eat something I didn’t want to. I still gag if I eat peas, broccoli, or raw tomatoes.

27. I taught for 6 years. I hated 5 of them, and I was a horrible teacher regardless of the grade I was given (contrary to my mother’s beliefs). When I had a 6th grade I taught them the wrong formula for the area of a circle the day before I was being observed by the principal. When I figured out what happened I bribed the kids with an extra free P.E. if they would pretend I had never discussed circles with them before that day.

28. I was hoping something really insane would happen at my wedding so I could submit it to the Wedinator website. (Check some of their pics out, hilarious. There’s a link on this page, under “Blogs I follow” on the right side).

29. Even though my father and landlords would kill me, generally one of the first things I do when I move into a new house/apartment is disconnect the fire alarms.

30. When my sister and I used to go on family trips we would order tons of room service and in room movies and charge them to my parents without telling them.

How am I doing?  Any insights into my psyche?

In bed in our hotel room in Portland. We had great dinner with grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousin. Weird that my grandmother, who I am quite close to, had never met John. Now she has, and it was odd to see my tiny little grandmother next to my 6’4” husband (yes, still getting a kick out of calling him that). At dinner I had a great time talking to my aunt and uncle who I hadn’t seen in about 10 years. John and his previous military experience was a huge draw to my cousin who recently signed up with the Marines (John was in both the Navy and the Army). Little did any of my family know that the quickest way to work John up is to bring up the military or anything he can connect some conspiracy theory. Had to drag him away before he started to talk about how we never went to the moon (Yeah, that’s right – he’s one of THOSE, please never, never get him started).

On one of my new favorite blogs, The Writing Womb (, the author lists 100 things you probably don’t know about her. I think this is a great idea – dispelling myths about me (those others think they know about, those I build in my head)seems to be a positive way to get in touch with myself as well as helping others get to know me, not necessarily the me that I let everyone see. I’ll do 20 today and build on the list over the next few days.

First, obviously my positive thoughts – after hours of trying to get three days worth of one of my meds (that I didn’t pack, I was almost going to add that I was an idiot – not talking like that anymore, right?!) a few people at the Immediate Care center here in Portland bent over backwards to help me and I was given a prescription for three days worth. I disappeared for about 3 hours and John was furious (rightfully so), but I had to drive back and forth between Immediate Care and the pharmacy (3 times each, and both on opposite ends of the town). Yet, I’ve married such a gem, he forgave me pretty quickly. I got my meds, and all is well.

Prior to that michigas, we were in the car for 7 hours. We discussed the next two days (going to go back to the coast then take a semi-leisurely drive home, stopping to spend the night half way). Then we made big plans for the future. They may have been over the top plans (a you pick it apple orchard where we make our own cider) it was still great fun. This sharing a life thing is turning out to be pretty cool. OK, that’s a silly way to put it. I’ve spent almost 41 years (obviously some of those years I was a child) only thinking of plans for myself. Even when I was in a relationship I still made future plans for myself, didn’t think I had it in me to really let someone in. Realizing I can have a true partner and still be Samantha is kinda huge.

While in the cabin, and then until I got to the hotel room, I had no coughing fits or runny nose despite not using my nose spray or taking my evening Singular. Therefore, even before the allergist does her “prick test” (love that! Could have used a home version for checking out previous boyfriends) I can be pretty sure I’m allergic to the mold in my house. Fantastic (honestly!!)! This means it’s not the sea air and I can remain living on the coast. Yes, I have to find a new house. But, I’ve changed living quarters before I can do it again!

Ok – my list. Let’s see if I can do this:

1. Not a huge secret or even something most people don’t know, but it seems important to state it. I’m bipolar with horrible anxiety disorder. I haven’t been able to work for 6 years or so.

2. Because of the anxiety disorder, I rarely leave my house. This honeymoon has been a huge test. So far no hyperventilating, no fear of people, and I actually went to a supermarket I was unfamiliar with.

3. While I get my face waxed, I don’t shave my legs. Just don’t care to. I did get them waxed for the wedding so I may start doing that on a regular basis. But, I haven’t shaved even every month, in over 20 years. (am I really the aging hippie-punk I think I am?)

4. I miss having my sister as one of my best friends. I screwed things up, and want to patch up our relationship.

5. I have wrecked two cars because of psych meds – one totally my fault by taking more than I was supposed to, the other caused directly by a new night med I wasn’t used to. Both times I was in a blackout. The one due to the night med was surprising, I had never, ever gotten in my car after taking my night meds, but I remember wanting something sweet. The other actually took place at my work (I was actually working at a half-way house for those with mental illness, I know a little ironic)I guess I was in the work van to pick up a new client. I was told I hit a parked car, just got out and walked about 10 miles home. When I came to I was wearing someone else’s shoes.

6. I love chiklit. Can’t get enough. Yeah, enough said on that one.

7. I always thought I was pretty politically savvy – until I actually started watching news programs, reading political non-fiction (woman can’t live on chiklit alone), and reading a variety of papers. I know now I didn’t have a clue.

8. Getting a real job scares the crap out of me. Not only because I would have to leave the house, but because I might fail again. I don’t know if I could take that.

9. John and I broke my great-grandmother’s bed.

10. This may be my first real marriage, but not my first wedding. I did get married once when I was 19 – sort of. It was performed by a friend’s uncle who was ordained by a church he found in the back of Rolling Stone in the 70’s. We never filed paperwork, never really even lived together. Hmmm… what was that about anyway?

That’s a good start! I’ll add to the list over the next week or so. I meant to try and get 20, but ran out of speed and concentration.  The Naked Writer over at The Writing Womb really inspired me to do this. Please check her list and fantastic blog out.


Rocks, animals, and grandparents

Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 In: , , ,
News from the honeymoon: my goodness what do you want to know? It’s a honeymoon! Actually we are having a wonderful time. Today we are driving to Portland to see my grandparents (which means spending about 6 hours stuck in the car together – trial by fire!). At the same time I am praying for a quick recovery for my other grandmother who just had surgery. At 101 years old. I wish I lived closer to both grandmothers. Were we really meant to be so spread out from our extended families? Shouldn’t I know my cousins better than I do? Shouldn’t all of my grandparents have met my future husband before he became my actual one? Why am I being so philosophical while on vacation, at four in the morning?

So why am I happy this early morning? While it may have rained all day yesterday, John and I had a great time. We did spend time on the beach finding different kinds of rocks and shells. John has an extensive knowledge of geology and never ceases to shock me with what he can teach me about – well – dirt and rocks. We found a kite and tried to fly it, with no success but it was hilarious to watch John try.

I spoke to my friend (and maid of honor) Sharon who is taking care of the cats. They were so upset about having so many people in and out of the house during the wedding weekend they had been hiding. They are back out now, and while Astra is hissing at people, they are getting back to normal. I miss the animals, but they are being well taken care of. You can’t ask for better helpers than Sharon or my mother (who has the dog and the birds). I love that people wanted to babysit for us. My animals are a little temperamental, yet others love them as much as I do.

For my third happy thought I will go back to what I was originally thinking about – grandparents. I am really looking forward to seeing my grandparents (these are my mother’s parents). I haven’t seen them in over a year and I miss them. I speak to grandma about four/five times a week and I relish those conversations. Our roots are important and I think it’s important to discover what we can about them. My grandmother’s history affected how my mother developed and therefore affected me. OK, did that just sound insanely self centered? I think my point is that we don’t grow up in a vacuum. Our relatives aren’t just here to give us $5 at our birthday when we are kids. Their lives are intertwined with ours, and that should be recognized.

On with the honeymoon. To my family – I love and thank you all. Please leave comments to remind me that people are actually out there in my new cyberworld!

I'm married!!

Posted on Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Where do I start? I’m sitting on an overstuffed couch in the coziest cabin ever at 5 in the morning. This blog was started so I can remember the good things in life. Right now I can’t remember the bad. Were there some problems? Sure there were. Every event I’ve ever planned had something to complain about. I’m not going to list what went wrong today. Let’s just focus on the good!

My family was beyond wonderful. The cookhouse was decorated in an extraordinary way. This was thanks to my aunt and cousin (the gorgeous flowers), a family friend (Joy) who bought the decorations and had an amazing vision, and my maid of honor as well as her family who helped bring that vision to life.

The wedding was so “us.” It was laid back, there were things that didn’t happen that were supposed to, yet that was just fine. My sister was able to record the entire ceremony, which I can’t wait to see. It was a little surreal, and while I remember certain things I know I missed out on a lot. I especially want to hear once again the service the officiate gave. Eugene was amazing!! He had everyone in tears (the good kind).

I’m still keeping this to three happy thoughts even though I’m overflowing – John is demanding my attention and can’t believe I’m blogging on our honeymoon. The third is, of course, I’m Mrs. Pankey now. I’m so happy and proud to be this man’s wife. We’ve been joking, laughing, and loving since we got in the car to come here.

Thank you to all who helped and came to share our day. I’ll post a few pics each day.

Wedding day!

Posted on Sunday, May 23, 2010 In:

I'm keeping it short today!  I am so happy that all of our families are together, I'm marrying the man I truly love, and I only threw up once this morning!! 

I will have the computer on the honeymoon so I'll post more tomorrow or the next day.

I’m sitting on the couch trying to figure out what I’m happy about as well as composing a list of things I need to do today and both are difficult. It’s not that I’m not happy about anything, I am. I’m just getting a little stressed and I think, letting it get the best of me. I really want to just sit and play on the computer (love reading wedding chat boards, looking at help wanted ads on Craigslist, and posting on Facebook) or go and hide at my friend around the corner’s house (and play with her adorable English Bulldog).

So what is making me happy? Last night John went and cut enough Calla Lilies from the alley to cover our kitchen table. He knows I love them and want them in my bouquet. He doesn’t quite understand that my aunt and cousin already ordered some (legally rather than stealing them from some poor person’s garden, even if it was overgrown into the alley) and they will be making me a gorgeous bouquet. He has the best intentions, and it was very cute when he piled them on me while I was lying in bed.

Speaking of my aunt, she sent me the nicest email about this blog yesterday. She has been reading and enjoying getting some insight into the mind of Samantha. Made my day. Hi Aunt Jan!! That truly made me happy. I’m not writing for a blank void, or even just my own vanity.

Love that my future sister-in-law has jumped on the job of being my “day of” coordinator. I sent her a list of how I want the day of the wedding to go and she is going to make sure things will go smoothly and occur when they are supposed to. Loved that she emailed me back with her questions in red, I answered the questions back in blue. I think our minds might work in a similar way on some things – like organization. I love lists and timelines. For someone who seems fairly chaotic, I enjoy activities and items that try and organize my life.

Three days and counting. Leave calming comments please!!

When wildlife attacks

Posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I want a kangaroo at my wedding!!

Funny Wedding Photos - Always So Awkward When A Kangaroo Eats the Ring
see more

Things that aren’t making me happy – coughing fits, horrid back pain, and John asking me if I was afraid that I’m not going to fit in my wedding dress (who asks that? Really!?). Ok that’s off my chest, back to perkiness. I had great fun at my hair and makeup run through yesterday. They took pictures and should be posted eventually by Angela’s (in Eureka, Ca – Yay Rachell!) on Facebook. It’s actually nice to take time to look extra nice, every once in awhile. Yet, it looked a little weird to have wedding hair and makeup while wearing my Mama Cass tie dyed dress (my go to “I need to be comfortable” dress).

The opposite of what is not making me happy – I found an allergist who is going to get to the bottom of the coughing. I really like her. I go for a “prick test” in three weeks, which will show us what I’m allergic to. Also, my regular doctor ordered x-rays on my lower back to figure out what exactly is going on. He finally paid more attention to what I was trying to say, and the fact that my left buttock has been numb for three months. Thank goodness!

I love it when I wake up early, go back upstairs and see John sleeping diagonally on the bed. Usually both cats are lying around him. I’d post a pic but I don’t think he’d like that much. Will loving little things like this eventually wear off as the years go by? I hope not.

Happy that my cousin might come home to Portland when John and I are there to see us. Also, excited to see my grandparents and have them meet John. They can’t make it to the wedding, which makes me sad, but this will be good as well.

rehersal dinner, cleaning house, girlfriends - old and new

Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 In: , , , ,
Today feels strange. I’m in a great mood, but should be stressed out. Guess I should just be happy about that rather than question it. I’m going to have my makeup and hair trial today. It will be weird since I haven’t worn make up in about two years. I’m such an aging punk rock hippie. John gave me permission to put bright purple highlights in my hair after the wedding. Should someone who is in her early 40’s still be using Manic Panic hair color?

What’s making me smile – soon to be in laws coming together for the wedding, helping John out with rehearsal dinner. They are making sure we don’t end up at the zoo guzzling beer that night. I guess that wouldn’t be so bad, except I don’t drink beer.

While I’m at the salon today John is going to clean. I did a little last night but he said he’d finish up. Yay! I’m with someone who understands my allergy to cleaning and is willing to pick up the slack. The house isn’t so bad, but it does need some help since we are having about 15 people over on Saturday night.

Some of my new girlfriends and one of my old ones (she’s not old, has just been my friend for a long time) are going to come over on Friday night for wine and female bonding. I don’t get enough of that. This is making me happy, yet a little sad at the same time because I miss the close friends that I have drifted from in the last five years.

Are new friends really silver and the old ones gold?

I woke up early and I’m sitting here drinking my coffee catching up on the news. It’s hard to start a positive thinking type of day when one of the first things you see is Sarah Palin telling the President to “do his job.” I want a happy day and I’m starting it off by yelling at the TV. Calm, Samantha, calm. So much to do today, yesterday was a washout. I actually took some of your advice from yesterday’s comments and did nothing!

I’m happy today because – John is planting the tomato plants my mom gave him. We are actually going to have a little vegetable garden in the backyard. We will, that is if the man who is supposed to just take care of the lawn doesn’t weed whack (spelling? Even a real word?) our plants. He actually cut down half of one of our beautiful rose bushes and all of these gorgeous flowering plants called Wedding Bells. Murderer. Positive thinking Samantha, positive. Yes, John made a little raised bed that will have a ton of tomatoes (mom started them in her green house), some strawberries, and for the first time in my life – gourds, something I’ve always wanted to grow. John just came in to tell me about all of the caterpillars in the apple tree. He is enjoying this – something for him to list as his happy thought.

Today I finally go and see the allergist. I’ve been waiting for this appointment for three months. I’ve been having horrible allergies this year, with violent coughing fits. I was given prescription allergy medicine and nose spray, which took care of the coughing. But, I want to know what I’m allergic to. Is it the mold we get rid of every month on the walls (probably), the sea air, or the trees (one of the doctors I’ve seen told me I just have the “Humboldt Crud”)? I know that all sounds negative, but I’m happy to be getting to the bottom of why I’m sick.

John is doing so well in his BA program. I’m so proud of him. He is working full time, going to school, and taking such good care of me. He deserves our honeymoon and this vacation from work that he is getting. Next term he is taking an art history course (a break from business courses). I’m so excited to be starting on this adventure with him, I hope to use that class as an excuse to replace the art prints we already have hanging in the house. I chose all of those; I want to choose new ones together. Make the house “ours.” (Play Crosby, Stills, and Nash singing Our House here).

Off to start the day. Hope yours is happy.

Happy blogs, family get togethers, and the honeymoon

Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2010 In: , , , ,
For most of my adult life I’ve hated Sundays. Everything is closed, there is no mail, and basically you can’t get anything done. I don’t focus on the good things I used to do on the last day of the week. Like long walks, and leisurely brunches with mimosas (mmmm…mimosas, there’s an idea). I think I liked it if I could complain about it. I’m going to try and turn that around.

Positive vibes today – Finding great blogs about happiness and choosing to be happy. Had no idea there were so many kindred spirits out there. I’m trying to collect and share different writings I’m finding on the subject. If you are interested in reading more on positivity and happy thoughts go to my profile and sign up to follow me in Google reader. I’m finding a treasure trove of blogs about just having a happier life.

I’m supposed to hear from my cousin (who is town for other cousin’s graduation) today so that we can get together. My sister may come over to hang out with us too. That would be so cool; we hardly ever see each other outside of family functions anymore. She is busy with her son, I’m, well, I’m just now starting to “hang out” with groups of people again after a long social hiatus. I hope it happens.

Exactly one week until the wedding. This means one week until the honeymoon. This will be John’s first actual vacation. So happy to be sharing this with him. We are renting a house on the beach on the coast of Southern Oregon. I’m hoping it doesn’t rain the whole time, but have my doubts. We are also going to drive a little farther up and visit my grandparents, who can’t make it to the wedding. Glad they are going to be able to meet John, and excited about seeing them. Since they moved to Oregon from Southern California I don’t see them nearly as often. I miss them, so this is the icing on the honeymoon cake (mmm…cake, is there a honeymoon cake?).

Hope you all have a great Sunday!

I wanted to post pictures of my wedding dress, it’s so lovely. But, John reads this blog, and yes, I’m ridiculously superstitious. I’m also on the lookout for someplace for John to stay the night before the wedding, being once again ridiculously superstitious and liking the idea of him not seeing me until I walk down the aisle towards him.

Moving on, what made me happy yesterday? I saw my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin for the first time in years Friday afternoon. It was a little strange. I am the oldest of the cousins with the next one inline (after my sister) being 15 or so years younger than I am. So, my sister and I didn’t bond much with our four cousins on our mother’s side. And now he’s all grown up, and I feel like I missed it. Yet, when he came in the door and we gave each other a hello hug there was honest affection there.

I love talking to my soon-to-be sisters-in-law on the phone. I feel like I’m not only gaining a family but close girlfriends as well. How lucky can one girl be? I really can’t wait until the three of them get here for the wedding and I can spend some time getting to know them while talking to them while we are in the same room.

After my session with the p-doc on Thursday I have really begun to think about going back to work and what that means. I have been out of work (but going to school most of that time) for 6 years. I want to work; I want to be able to work. The fact that I feel that way is a positive sign the grey clouds are parting. I applied at the local bagel shop but, haven’t heard anything yet. Anyway, I have a damn Master’s degree and I’m really thinking that a job where most of the college students in town have is what I should be doing? (Whoops, slipping into negativity please stop me!) The way I was looking at it was that I’ve been away from the workforce for so long a little part time job might be just the thing. Also, in this economy (and this town) I should be grateful for whatever I can get, right? Back to the positive part of this rant – I’m ready to go back to work! Never did I honestly think I would be back to the working world. Yay me!

A quote that made me happy (sent to my email by

" 'Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.'

Ralph Waldo Emerson's words of encouragement are important because we all get a little gun-shy sometimes. Trying new things, bold things, things others might or might not accept is never easy. But life is an experiment. There is only one way to live, and that is to just live.
Go ahead and try the things you've been hesitating to try. Once the chance is gone, it's gone."

What new things do you want to try that you think will make you happy?

Wedding plans, lotto win, Millie the dog

Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2010 In: , , ,

Some days it is more difficult to come up with my three positive thoughts. I had appointment with the psych doc yesterday that went really well. He likes the idea of this project. Yet, he still had complaints about the way I phrase my explanations. Maybe, it’s actually that he doesn’t like the actual explaining. He has pointed out that I say in 20 words what I can say in 3. Actually, most I can say in one – yes or no. I always feel the need to explain an answer, to delve into my thought processes. He is trying to get me to see that this is generally unnecessary.

Making me happy today: Finalized flowers for wedding with my aunt. Very exciting (I know, only exciting for me). She agreed with everything I had envisioned, I get my hydrangeas and Calla Lilies. Yay!! Nine days until the wedding and it has become sort of free floating. All planning is now done, there is really nothing left for me to do. What is going to happen will happen. Then real life begins as does the adventure.

I won $125 on scratchers yesterday! I was able to have some beauty treatments done (I’ll leave what I had done to your imagination) with my favorite hair/face/leg girl Rachell. It was great, gossip and wax (whoops wasn’t going to go into it). We talked about my “trash the dress” pictures I’m going to do after I get back from the honeymoon. I was going to do the pictures at the beach in my wedding dress while playing with my nephew and my mom’s Labradoodle. Then I saw the picture of the woman in her dress underwater! I sooo want to do this. But, I don’t know anyone with an underwater camera. Does anyone know if they make disposable cameras that are waterproof? Or do you have tips for this kind of photography?

Final tidbit of positivity: Love watching Millie the dog curled up in her princess bed. She turns 10 in August and two of her teeth have fallen out. Sad that she’s getting old, yet John assures me that she will live to 20. We can hope, can’t we?

What are your positive thoughts at the moment?

PS: Just got this and it really made me happy - The Electric Company

Pirate chest, flowers, MA degree

Posted on Thursday, May 13, 2010 In: , , , ,

As we get closer to the date of the wedding I ponder the chances of future happiness. Can one person really bring you closer to an overall “happier” life? Will John bring me to the level of positivity I’m trying to reach? I know that you cannot depend on one person to “complete you.” I don’t expect or want to place that kind of responsibility on someone. It centers on me. I complete myself. My partner complements me. Yet, the importance placed on this one day in my life (where I pledge myself to one person) skews that view.

Anyway…what is making me smile today? My mother gave me the old “pirate chest” that we have had since I was a child. It’s a little rusty, but I love it! Anybody have hints on how to clean it up? On the subject of material possessions my family gave me my dream dishes (fiesta ware) and glasses (fire and light) for wedding gifts. Boy, do they make me smile (the stuff as well as my family). Should I let “things” regulate my happiness levels? Of course not, but I am allowed to like nice things aren’t I? Wow, was that defensive sounding?

For Mother’s Day I had everyone over for brunch. John got his hands on armfuls of tulips and we were able to pick bunches of other flowers from the garden of the empty house next door. The day went exceptionally well and I still have the flowers (albeit they are a little “wilty”). That morning we all ate my signature Spanish omelets and country potatoes and then John set up his new disc golf basket and the guys played. This included nephew Jack (who just turned 2!). My brother-in-law said he had rarely played, yet he got almost every throw into the basket. John was a little embarrassed. Jack hugged my pear tree and he and my dad agreed that “trees are our friends.” Happy day.


As of last week I am the possessor of a Master’s Degree in Liberal Arts. Whew! Five years of one class at a time. I can hardly believe I’ve done it! Because of the wedding this milestone is not being as celebrated as I had hoped, but I can only expect the world to revolve around me to a certain point. I know I did it. That is what matters.

What is making you happy today?

Happy thoughts 5/12/10

Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 In: , , , , , ,

I have always tended to focus on the bad things in life. I never realized this until I started my little exercise. As stated before I thought I was an optimist. “Little Samantha Sunshine” who always said things such as “we have to go through the bad times to enjoy the good.” Yet, I would then focus on every little thing that was wrong.

Today I am going to focus on the good. In 11 days I marry the man I love. At 40 years old I had consigned myself to spinsterhood. Then I met John. We get each other. We enjoy each other’s company. We get a kick out of each other. When I think of something funny I can’t wait to share it with him, it makes my day to get him to laugh. So, on May 23rd I walk down the aisle on my dad’s arm and start a new life. That makes me happy.

To explain the next positive thing I have to discuss some negative things. This is only for clarification. I am bipolar with a heavy dose of anxiety disorder. Through modern medicine most of my symptoms are under control. I do have a hard time in public. Yet, with John I am beating even that. Last night we went to the casino close to our home. I haven’t been able to do that in years. We didn’t win any money, but I had a great time and it was a huge milestone. I am sure that dealing with my illness will figure largely in this blog.

My third positive thing of the morning is my pets. They filled a void before John, they enrich our lives now. They consist of Tommy and Astra the cats, Millie the Shih Tzu, and the birds Kitu and Jina. The mammals were a part of my life pre-John; the birds were an addition because of him. Kitu (literally “something” in Swahili, my own inside joke) was a birthday gift for him. Jina (“word” in Swahili) came a little later to keep Kitu company. Right now there are three babies. Soon, one will go to my parents to keep their Mr. Peeps company the others will be traded at the pet store. Our office sounds like the Tiki Room at Disneyland right now. The sound makes me so happy!
Have a positive day!!

Posted on Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Ok, how to start? I have always thought of myself as an optimist. Until lately when I was paying close attention to my Facebook posts and that led to listening to my conversations. They all seemed to be lists of what was wrong. My conversations were peppered with “I’m such an idiot,” and “this would only happen to Samantha.” Definitely not “glass half full” behavior.

So, I started an exercise. Every day I posted three things that made me happy, were positive thoughts, or good things that were happening to me. No longer was I writing about falling off stools, allergies, or bad backs. The items may be silly or seem inconsequential but it began to honestly change my attitude during the day.
With this blog I hope to keep a record of all the good in the world, whether it’s my small world or the larger one.
Have a great day!


About Me

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I am an ESL Teacher on Skype. I love what I do and enjoy my students completely. I have a BA and Teaching Credential (Education degrees), as well as ESL certification and an MA in Liberal Arts. I am a newly wed who adores her new husband and loves her cats and dog.

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