Damn you Panda Express

honey-sesame-chicken-buzzes-panda-expressIt appears, though I was convinced for a spell I would succumb to some dark death, that the honey sesame chicken assassins from Panda Express have failed in their attempt to remove me from this plane of existence.  

What I once considered a delectable treat, the aforementioned honey sesame chicken, now holds a top spot on my list of consumables that have betrayed me, right beneath, or perhaps even above peach schnapps.

The last few days have been a blur of painful stomach violations induced by some insidious poison I am certain was meant to cripple me to the point of lifelessness. It has been four days since the unwarranted attempt on my life, I’ve come through the worst of it and am now certain I will make a full recovery. Then again, I was celebrating my victory at this time yesterday when the pain resurfaced and I readied myself to bid a fond farewell to this cruel world.

But I am strong. I’ll not be felled by the contents of a styrofoam box of fast food Chinese(ish) take out.

I’ve never been the target of assassination by food before. I always thought there would be more purging of all things ingested, but my case has consisted of mostly pain. Excruciating, labor-like, and unrelenting pain. The worst of the pain has subsided for the most part now though, leaving me feeling a little more than slightly weakened and afraid to consume anything but liquids . . . damn you Panda Express.

Doodling, dawdling in the brain fog.

12239473_10206443018367807_4213700723084260240_n - EditedI like to fancy myself as a writer and generally speaking, I am more often than not quite adequately equipped to forge words into whatever I will them to be and wield them at once in whatever way I see fit, but of late – not so much.

11048746_10206443017447784_6862415908959125612_nI’ve plenty to say. I do. It’s not that my mind has lost the functionality required to form thought, it has however, seemingly lost the practical knowledge required to transform those thoughts into words that work together while simultaneously placing them one after another upon a page to form something somewhat coherent to whomever may chance upon them, including myself. That sentence alone should be enough to convince just about anyone that what I’m saying has some validity to it.

I get pissy when I cannot write. Not writing makes me pissy. I am pissy when I do not write.

Obviously – I am feeling rather pissy at this particular moment in time. That perturbs me.

It’s brain fog. Foggy brain. My brain is lost and adrift and the lighthouse which ought to be leading me back to me seems to be out-of-order. I’m floundering blindly about, feeling and stumbling my way across the vast landscape of scattered everything in my mind.

I’ll not grumble and groan of the causes, anyone with a chronic illness or those who love someone who battles the seemingly never ending crappola of 12246698_10206443018247804_900916185864178734_none, will undoubtedly know what that blasted brain fog can do a person. For those who are blessed to be bewildered by my seemingly overly dramatic angst regarding the current state of my fogged in mind – you are actually, quite literally, blessed.

By the way, this is nowhere near over dramatic, not even close to being so. A few more days of this pissy, foggy, nonsense and I will go full on drama queen. Actually, I’ll be too tired for that. Empty threats are about all I’ve the energy for.

I’ve tried to write for weeks now. Most of it was deleted immediately or left unfinished in some unnamed file I’ll find one day when I figure out how to find files on this blasted piece of glorious technology. Since my words betrayed and abandoned me, I took to doodling. It’s actually quite relaxing. Of course, my hand is cramped up and I haven’t done anything else for three days aside from going to Michael’s craft store for some pencils and fine tip pens.

Tomorrow is a new day, perhaps I will find my way to that proverbial saddle and hop back on it. We’ll see . . .




12066001_10206443017567787_1155920889306977113_n - Edited




Book Store Story or The Complete and Utter Ruination of His Life

Yesterday I felt the need for a bit of therapeutic wandering, the best, and most therapeutic, wandering – for me, is most oft largefound in the undertaking of extensive, exploratory journeys where I dawdle, gander, meander, and mosey my way through the well-lit aisles of a bookstore. Betwixt the rows and tables and displays of beautifully bound words, my wandering turns to wonder, and my woes slowly fall like gently drifting autumn leaves. I’m left with unencumbered branches, quivering in anticipation of new growth.

Basically, I was feeling restless and sweet talked my husband into an afternoon at Barnes & Noble. By sweet talk, I mean I promised we could go to Home Depot afterward. That’s sweet of me, no? I think it’s sweet.

As soon as I walked through the doors, the smell of adventure, knowledge, and freshly brewed coffee began to peel away the layers of pent-up annoyances I’d been collecting like a suit of armor throughout the week, and as I passed the magazine racks, I began to feel like Julie Andrews on a mountain top instead of Quasimodo stuck in a bell tower. The bookstore is a magical place. I refrained from singing this time, it makes people think I’m coo-coo for cocoa puffs. I’m quite misunderstood.

One of my favorite things about the bookstore, aside from the obvious – books, books, and more books, is that I almost always leave with a story of my own to tell. I love to watch almost as much as I love to read. Everything and everyone. I silently watch and listen to those around me and collect their micro-stories in my mind, sometimes I keep them until they are forgotten or replaced, sometimes I write them down. There may be a book idea in there somewhere.

It was a little boy who caught my attention yesterday. He couldn’t have been more than seven or eight, adorable little thing with dark eyes framed with eyelashes some women would gladly give an appendage for, dark hair, an impish little smile and an armful of books. He was sporting a Captain America t-shirt, perfectly cuffed Levi’s, and a pair of red Converse sneakers, he looked liked an adorable force to be reckoned with. He stood there, trying to maintain his grip on the treasures he’d found when his dad rounded the corner.


“Did you pick one yet?” Dad looked a little nervous, at first I thought this was odd. Turned out he was right to be a little apprehensive, he’d obviously been in this spot before. While son was dressed for a bookstore battle of epic proportions, Dad’s faded Bass Pro Shop tee and checkered shorts made him look like an already defeated casualty.

“One? Uh, no. I’ve got four.” This kid had a warrior’s stance, he was ready for battle before Dad even knew there was going to a skirmish. Then again, I think Dad knew exactly what awaited him when his little man walked through the doors of that bookstore, I don’t think he had much of a defense strategy planned out though.

“We talked about this already, one today.”

“I know, and this is a series, so it counts as one, Dad.”

“They’re $15 each! One!”

“That doesn’t even make sense, I’ll be done with one book by like tomorrow probably, and then we’ll just have to come back.”

“How about we get one or none?”

That precious little book hoarder showed no fear in the face of this threat. If anything, he looked more determined, if not a little more than annoyed.

He kept a firm grip on the books, and a firmer grip on his resolve.

He wasn’t going to back down. He knew he needed those books.

“Sure Dad. If the complete and utter ruination of my entire life is your end goal for today, then we’ll go with one.”

Dad looked like he’d taken a shot to the neck. This kid was good. Did I mention he couldn’t have been more than eight years old? I love kids who read, they know how to use words.

Then he fired the final shot, “Besides, Mom said I could get them, so . . .”


Dad defeated, books in hand, little-reader-man left the battlefield and made a beeline for the register before Dad could figure out what had just hit him.

My day ended with a venti iced coffee, a new Stephen King book – The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and new gutters. I keep my promises and collected another story at the Home Depot, but I’m saving that one for later.

Hi there, hello, how are you?

I still exist . . . so there’s that. I should write something, a lot of somethings actually.

I’ve been writing. Sort of.

It would be slightly more accurate to say I’ve been waltzing with words to silent melodies in my meandering mind at the very least, but that’s something, right?

I’ve done stuff too. Like, real life, living type of stuff. I went on vacation, 20 days worth of it. I read a book about tidying up and immediately went on an insane purge of all things useless and/or unused in my home, and then set about dusting and organizing what was left. I cannot at the moment describe the freedom I feel without the colossal clutter surrounding me. I didn’t realize how much of it there really was, I’ve been saving hoarding unneeded and unnecessary things, tucking them away amongst the things that really were worth saving, effectively rendering items I valued as useless and forgotten amidst the madness of all the other things.

I had a ninja hoard. Ninja because it was quiet, unseen, and unassuming. It was neatly piled and stacked and boxed. My house looked tidy enough, but if I really looked, or needed to find something, it became obvious. I’ll address the depth of it, both literally and figuratively later, because I have to, but for now, I just wanted to say hello, establish my existence, and remind myself that I do indeed remember how to create a blog post.


What did I do during my vacation?

I put my mother and my boys in superhero jackets at the local Walmart

and had a photo shoot . . . among other things.

September 11, 2001

12, 10, 9, and 4. That is how old my children were on September 11, 2001, the day everything they knew about their world changed.

When my oldest came to tell me something really bad just happened, the look on his face was something I’d never seen before, something I never hope to see again. He was scared and confused. “Something bad has happened mommy, it’s on TV and lots of people are going to be dead now.”

I followed him to the living room as he told me an airplane had an accident and hit a building. When I saw the awful scene playing out on the screen I felt a sickness in the pit of my stomach, how does an accident like this happen?

The second plane hadn’t hit yet.

When it did, I crumbled.

I remember falling to my knees right there in front of the television, still not completely comprehending what was happening, or perhaps I simply didn’t want to.

My children were crying, I don’t know if they really knew why. What they did know, was something was very wrong and very sad. Since they were babies we’ve always whispered a prayer when we hear a siren or see an ambulance or fire truck, God be there, our way of helping those in need I suppose. It’s something my mother did with me and something I have always done with them.

The buildings hadn’t begun to fall yet.

When they did, I forgot how to breathe for a moment.

Through my tears I saw my children, huddled together on the floor in front of the television, heads bowed in silence. As the footage ran and the buildings continued to fall, four little voices called out in prayer, saying “God, please be there.

Crystal R. Cook

10175065_10203489950862965_1103531540583352402_nSeptember 11, 2001

A Day of My Own To Do Whatever I want – OBP Challenge!

Untitled-drawing-31From Original Bunker Punks Welcome to the blog battle zone of the best writers fighting to be featured on the OBP. Our theme this week is to write a day in your life where there would be no boundaries and you could do anything you want. The winner of this competition will be featured on OBP and other social media in our writers spotlight  where your blog will be showcased each week to bring more traffic to your wonderful words. The post needs to be between 800-1,200 so get creative and linkup on Thurs. Sept. 10 th to Fri. Sept. 11 th from 9 am to 9 pm. I look forward to reading you there let the games begin.”

You should probably join in the fun. You should, because it’s fun.

Tomorrow is a big day for me, like BIG, as in I can do anything I want. Seriously, like whatever my heart desires, without boundary, without limit . . . it’s going to be fantastic. I should thank the badasses over at Original Bunker Punks before I start planning my ME day, the whole ‘do whatever you want day’ was their idea. Dreams come true, folks. Dreams really do come true, in this case on the page, but still . . . Thank you Punks. Thank you.

Alright, first things first, I have to figure out what I’m going to wear. Obviously, my tiara, that kind of goes without saying. Why have one if you’re not going to wear it, right? I’m trying to decide between staying in my pajamas the whole day or going full on princess. So far, I’m leaning toward my pajamas, I have the most divinely comfortable pair of baggy pajama bottoms with freakishly adorable owls adorning them, paired with my favorite worn out skull t-shirt it’s a full on comfort fest. I’ll finish off the look with a messy bun and the tiara, and BOOM, style. Oh, and a tutu. Maybe.

Damn I’m excited. I’m a fairly simple gal, I don’t ask for much. Honestly, my desires are pretty down to earth for the most part. I don’t want to travel the world or have super powers, well, maybe a few superpowers, but really, who wouldn’t? So I don’t have any truly outrageous plans, tomorrow will be filled with simple things that make me happy, simple things that are surprisingly and frustratingly difficult to make happen.

So – the first thing I’m gonna do is sleep in till I simply can’t sleep anymore.  Now, I may actually need superpowers to make this part happen, but no phones are going to ring. No kids are going to knock on the door. No dogs are going to bark. There will be silence. Sweet, perfect, blessed silence and I’m going to wake up so freaking refreshed and well rested I’ll feel like I could take on the world. Then, I’m going to adorn my crazy bed-head with that sparkling tiara and sip a never-ending cup of perfectly sweetened coffee while I watch my kids silently do chores without complaint or hesitation. I’m going to read a book without interruption while they work. Awesome. (I might need those superpowers for that part as well.)

While they scrub floors I’ll get myself ready, (I’ve decided against the tutu – I think) The next part of my day will be spent at the bookstore. I’ll get to stay as long as I want. Long enough to really peruse the selection of beautiful words, printed and bound, just waiting for me on those shelves. No quick skimming the surface tomorrow. Nope. I’m going to surround myself with stacks of stories and possibility and lose myself inside of them, and THEN, I’m going to bring them home with me. Maybe ALL of them.

Once home, I’ll be so inspired I’ll sit down to write, and the words will flow freely and without abandon, my opus will breathe into life, line by easily written line, born into reality like a new babe the world cannot wait to hold. Then, of course, I’ll need a nap. I’ve quite obviously never written an opus-esque anything, but I imagine it’s quite tiring.

Upon waking, I’ll indulge myself with another coffee and perhaps some of the freshly baked cookies my children prepared and cleaned up the mess they made afterward, that are cooling in the kitchen while I decide which of my new books to peek inside of first. My heart and tummy filled, I’ll likely take another short nap before my husband arrives home from a long day of work to begin dinner preparations. He’ll be making me a fabulous Quiche. He really does make a fabulous Quiche. He won’t even say anything about the multitude of new books scattered about the house, he’ll simply ask where I’d like the new bookshelf he’ll be building after dinner to be placed.

Wait. There needs to be a picnic in here somewhere. You know, like the TV picnics, with the checkered blanket and one of those baskets that have simply everything possibly picnic related in them? Yeah. One of those. A nice family picnic. I think we can fit that in after the bookstore, before my opus, then books and cookies and another nap and dinner and new bookshelf. Perfect.

Now then, it will be getting late and the soothing sounds of Pachelbel and Bach will fill my home as the sun begins to dip below the horizon. Calm and peace will reign. The sunset will paint me a masterpiece of softly fading pastels upon my windows, and the glorious song of a night-bird will float into my room on a gentle breeze, ushering in the eve with a sweetly warbled lullaby to lead me into tranquil repose.

I’ll swiftly drift off to visit the land of nod with thoughts of my positively, perfect day dancing through my mind . . .


I’ll just stay in bed all day, I will be in my pajamas after all.

Crystal R. Cook

Do you want to hear about autism from someone who REALLY gets it?

imageI’m thinking about starting an interactive series, two actually, here on The Qwiet Muse – I’d love to hear some feedback about the idea.

If you know me, or have read my About Me page, you know I have two amazing children with Autism, one is Bipolar as well. They are both intelligent, articulate, and more self-aware than most people I’ve come in contact with. They astound and amaze me with their insights and their desire to better help the world around them understand the developmental and mental issues they, and so many others, face on a day-to-day basis.

I truly believe in order to even begin to understand autism or bipolar, you have to learn from the very people who understand it best – the ones who live with it.

What I would like to do is invite people to ask any questions they might have, here, or through The Qwiet Muse on Facebook or Twitter, and have them answer each question personally on videos that will post on Mondays – Matthew Mondays, and on Wednesdays – Wilson Wednesdays.

Matthew can address his experiences, advice, and answer questions regarding Autism and Bipolar, and Wilson will do the same about Autism. Both boys have lived and dealt with anxiety, OCD, depression, sensory issues, Tourette’s, medications, school, social issues, and more.

You don’t have to have a loved one with Autism or any of the other issues we might cover, it’s important for everyone to develop a deeper understanding and awareness, caregivers, teachers, neighbors, and anyone who wishes to eradicate the ignorance, misinformation and misunderstandings that are so abundant when it comes to these things.

I’ve been on this journey for almost 26 years now, maybe I’ll even join in . . .

Please leave me a reply and let me know what you think or go ahead and leave a question or two to get us started.
Thank you!