Gremlins

I cannot believe that this is happening again, but…gremlins have got hold of Pretty Thing, and are messing with things something wicked. As well, I’m not having much luck with getting assistance from the hosting peeps, so…I guess it’s time to move on! For the time being, we are going to shuffle over to New Pretty Things – and I’m going to experiment with a new look, a new mood, just a whole new feel. Some bits of life have been smelling mighty stale lately, so…perhaps a change would do some good. 🙂 Please be sure to update your bookmarks and come on down….to New Pretty Things! 🙂

In the spirit of Come on down…take a look at this! 🙂

 

 

Thanks for your patience, friends – can’t wait to see you on the new site!!! 🙂

xxx

 

Cream

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I was so sad to hear the news of Prince’s passing on Thursday – I loved his music, and I can think of so many times that key life events happened to me with his music going on in the background. He’s a big contributor to the soundtrack of my life – what a hole his loss will leave in the music world.

My favorite song of his was “Cream” – I remember my BFF in high school giving me that tape for Christmas, and her and I driving around listening to it…such happy memories. Here you go – give it a watch, and I dare you to not start dancing and jiggling your goodies:

 

Sweet dreams, sweet Prince.

xxx

 

PS: Over the weekend, I walked through the main lobby area of San Antonio’s lovely Hotel Emma (I REALLY want to go and stay there a night or two…but I had best win a lotto first) – they have the most gorgeous library, and look at the book that I found inside:

One of my favorite books of all time :-)

One of my favorite books of all time :-)

I Should Be So Lucky

“I’m not easy, and maybe this is the best I can hope for.” – Jessica Knoll, Luckiest Girl Alive

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I just finished reading this book, and I LOVED it. It’s so well-written, the story is an absolute page-turner, and I couldn’t put it down. Loved it. Some of the descriptions in the book are shockingly vivid, but the details bring so much truth to the tale of sexual assault, rape, and violence. This is a book that will stay with me a long time – clearly it was written from a place of experience and truth, as writer Jessica Knoll has recently revealed. However, the character that she created, whether semi-autobiographical or not, will remind you of someone that you know, regardless of who you are. She has a bit of all of us in her, which is part of why this book is such a compelling read.

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There are a lot of things in this book that got me thinking, but the line that I quoted up top is the real kicker – this is how I feel most of the time. I know that I’m not an easy person to be with or to love – if I was, I wouldn’t be alone. As well, I have often figured that shit things happen to me because that is what I deserve…which sounds stupid to me as I type it, but it is how I feel. I am a terrible advocate for myself for the very same reason that’s quoted in the image above – I don’t want to be a burden, so I never ask for what I want…and, as we all know, if you don’t ask for what you want, you won’t get it, so it’s just a vicious cycle of stupidity and misery. It’s dumb, I know. Why I care about burdening people is beyond me, but I do. I care a lot. I wish that I knew why.

I love this picture :-)

 

Here’s an article that was just delivered to my Inbox right now, which is eerily appropriate – behold 11 Signs That Insecurity Is Ruining Your Life + How To Change The Pattern :
Do you sometimes just hate yourself? Are you uncomfortable in your own body and unhappy with how you interact with the world around you? A lack of self-love is often a result of growing up in a family where love was served with hurtfulness and dysfunction. It could also be the cost of spending time in a relationship where you didn’t feel valued.

When you don’t show yourself love, you will continuously (usually subconsciously) take self-sabotaging actions that keep you from the love and happiness you deserve. You won’t just hurt yourself. You’ll hurt those around you as well.

Self-hatred has a way of spilling out into every area of your life—your career, your relationships, and your health.

Here are 11 signs you might not love yourself—and how to turn the self-hatred into acceptance:

1. You love to please others.

When you’re not rooted in your own worth, you go out of the way to make others happy. A lack of inner love translates into a need for constant approval and appreciation by others. You couldn’t imagine someone disapproving of you or being unhappy with you in any way.

To do:

Take note of the times you go against your own will and do something you don’t want to do. Start to become aware of this behavior. The first step to ending the people-pleasing game is to acknowledge that you’re playing it. Once you acknowledge it, you can stand up and speak for yourself.

2. You have a difficult time saying no.

Not only do you want others to be happy, but you also want to be agreeable. You show up to help, go out of your way to be there for someone, and are enthusiastically present for the people you care about. Unfortunately, your life is governed by other people’s priorities and needs.

To do:

Practice saying “no” to small, inconsequential things. Practice saying no to requests from acquaintances and work colleagues. Work your way up to saying “no” to people you love and care about.

3. You don’t believe you’re enough.

You feel a void inside. You feel unworthy. You spend your days trying to get attention, stand out, and be noticed. You spend your days trying to please and be liked by others. Your feelings are quickly hurt by the slightest offense. Every perceived and real slight against you is overblown. You are lacking in all aspects of your life. You don’t believe you deserve a good career, to be paid what you’re worth, or to be loved by others.

To do:

As cliché as it may sound, the only way to change your beliefs about yourself is to change the thoughts you allow yourself to have. Capturing your thoughts via a journal, sharing your thoughts with a professional, and being more mindful of your thinking are ways to change the pattern. Once you recognize these thoughts, you can substitute negative messages to yourself with more-positive ones.

Work on healing your heart and building up your self-worth. Find activities that help you feel good about yourself. Take part in sports or other activities that build up your self-image. Practice opening your heart to accepting gifts, compliments, love, and compassion.

4. You compare yourself to others every chance you get.

Even if the conversation isn’t about you, your thoughts will immediately compare someone else with yourself. You’ll go out of your way to look for people who are smarter, kinder, better-looking, healthier, nicer, friendlier, etc.

To do:

Remove yourself from situations where you feel like you’re comparing yourself. Spend less time on social media and unfollow people who make you feel worse about yourself. Spend less time with people who intentionally or subconsciously make you feel less than.

5. You think your life is a mistake.

You ask yourself why you were even born and what good you are for the world.

To do:

Stop asking. If these questions persist, talk to a counselor. Remind yourself regularly of the value and love you bring to the world. Reaffirm to yourself all the positive ways you’ve contributed.

6. You don’t believe you can do anything right.

You focus on your mistakes, faults, and inadequacies. You imagine the worst-case scenario in every situation and expect that you’ll screw it up.

To do:

Reflect on all of your wins, both big and small. Think about all the times you got it right, solved the problem, and met the challenge at hand. Acknowledge that you’ve succeeded far more often than you’ve failed.

7. You hate your body.

You don’t want to be seen by people and are afraid of what they’ll think about your body. You can’t look at yourself in the mirror.

To do:

Ask yourself if this is really about what you think of your body or if it’s more about what you’re afraid others will think of your body. If it’s about you, ask yourself what is causing the self-hatred. Past thoughts, experiences, or negativity? Do you hate your body or do you hate it compared to others?

Take the focus off of what others think and focus on yourself. If you’re not happy with your body and feel like you need to work on it, focus on the work. Get into the shape that makes you feel good about yourself. Do it for you, not for anyone else.

8. You feel ashamed of yourself.

You are embarrassed and don’t think much of yourself. You have regular feelings of hiding yourself or disappearing from the scene.

To do:

Create an image in your mind of your most empowered, positive self. Ask yourself what it’s going to take to get to that place. Take action to embrace your vulnerabilities, let go of your negative feelings, and affirm your worth. Employ all the tools available to you—from mindfulness and journaling to exercise and therapy—to help you embrace your self-worth.

9. You don’t believe people like you.

Your default thought is that others don’t care for you.

To do:

Don’t make these assumptions based on your skewed view of the world. If your default assumption is that people don’t like you, explore it. Pursue those relationships. Look at the actions of others objectively and try to understand their intentions without bias. Spend more time with people who care for you and cut ties with people who don’t.

Not everyone in the world is going to like us; pick your friends and keep the haters far away.

10. You’re drawn to others who don’t love themselves.

You choose relationships where your partner is also self-sabotaging and takes their pain out on you.

To do:

If you’re in a relationship like this, look for an exit door. If you’re drawn to relationships like this, become aware of the pattern of attraction to partners who are self-sabotaging. Look for clues of self-hating behaviors and be on the lookout for people who don’t love themselves. If someone can’t love themselves, they’re not going to be able to love you.

11. You treat others poorly.

Your negativity spills out to others and you treat them poorly, even though you feel bad about it later.

To do:

Treat yourself gently. Repeat positive affirmations to yourself. Read uplifting books and surround yourself with encouraging people. Treat yourself the way you would treat someone you care about. Exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep. Once you treat yourself with love, respect, and kindness, you’ll start treating others the same.

 

Not all of these fit me, but man alive some sure do! I never treat those around me poorly (even when they bloody well deserve it!), but I’m the ultimate people pleaser who is loathe to ever say no. I feel that I’m never good enough (to the point where I want to get the Latin phrase “Satis sum” tattooed on my body somewhere – it means ‘I am enough’, and I think I need the reminder), and I spend entirely too much time comparing myself to others and falling short. That is the one thing that I would REALLY like to quit doing, actually…I drive myself nuts. 🙁 Someone wise once said that comparison is the thief of joy – they sure weren’t kidding.

Thankfully, I don’t think that my life is a mistake – on the contrary, I think that my life is pretty great, even if I have made MANY mistakes. I don’t hate my body, although I’m fairly certain that I probably should. There are days when I catch sight of myself in my birthday suit (imagine) and think that I am a real smoke-show…and then there are other days that I think I need a kick in the arse and a pass to a gym stat. All depends on the day. I feel that if I think smoke-show more than I think gym then I am winning. Yaa me! :-). I don’t feel ashamed of myself – that’s one of my more interesting character traits – I don’t have a lot of shame about any of the things that I’ve done. I know that my friends talk about me and my string of failed relationships and life mistakes all the time (some are even brave enough to make fun of me about it to my face!), and that’s fine…at least I’ve lived. I’m cool with that. As well, I think – hope – that people generally like me. I guess if they don’t there’s not a lot I can do about it – remember: what others think of me is none of my business.  Finally, the last one says that I am drawn to people who don’t love themselves – I have a hard time determining where I stand on this one. I certainly seem to find more than my share of strays and lost souls who treat me shabbily, but I don’t think I know too many people who hate themselves – at least I hope not. I know some really great people – and I hope that they all love themselves a whole big bunch. 🙂

 

If you have some time, give “Luckiest Girl Alive” a read – I would love to know what you think! 🙂 Happy Tuesday, friends! 🙂

xxx

Repost: Another One Bites the Dust

Repost from 2014…

I was recently reminded of the douchebaggery of people (something I’m reminded of far more frequently than I would like to be) when listening to a friend discuss the asshat behavior of men. She was irritated because the new man in her life was doing dumb things, making her feel self-conscious and ridiculously insecure. This dear friend of mine is a serious number one stunna and has no business whatsoever to doubt herself even a smidge. Girlfriend has it going on – the dude in question needs to get his poop in a group and smarten up!!

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Once upon a time, I was asked out for drinks and food by a member of the male persuasion. I didn’t usually accept such invitations, but I knew this fellow a bit and figured it wouldn’t be too bad, so I gave it a whirl, and said yes. We went, and had a lovely time – everything went very well, including the good night kiss at my door. The next day, he asked me for a movie date a few days later – again, I went, and things were awesome: laughs were had, hands were held, I was on my best behavior (witty, charming, not breaking wind or burping)….I thought it was great. Oddly , there was no good night kissy-face at the end of this date, but…I didn’t give it much thought. Over the next few days, we messaged back and forth, but something felt palpably different. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was off. I asked a few times about making tentative plans, that kind of thing, and there was always a reason, an excuse of why he couldn’t get together. It was weird. One night, he invited me over to his house to watch a hockey game, which I thought was code for something else – it wasn’t. Hockey was watched, cheeks were chastely kissed, and I went home. Huh.

Me being me, I couldn’t take it anymore. I asked if there was something up – this was the conversation:

Me – Is everything ok?

Him – No. I can’t see you anymore. I never should have asked you out in the first place.

Me – Ok. My apologies if I’ve done or said something to offend you. I’m confused!

Him – You didn’t do anything wrong, haha, you are very cool.  I never should have asked you out in the first place.

Me – Gee, thanks. Never mind, it’s all good.

Him – By doing that, I broke a very long-standing personal rule and I owe you an explanation. Or an apology.

Me – No apology needed.

Him – It’s hard to adequately explain without you taking this the wrong way, but this is completely on me. I stay out of relationships because I’m really really really bad at them. I hurt people emotionally, even nice people. I’m not going to go through that again. And you especially don’t need that either.

Me – Oh, okay. I understand.

Him – I doubt that. It’s just me. I’m stuck in a behavioral pattern that I recognize but can’t break.  For what it’s worth, you’re the first woman in over five years to make me forget my rule.

Me – Um, thanks.

Him – I tend to be a much better friend…just ask my ex’s!!

Me – Haha.

Him – You are by far the most interesting person I’ve met in years. Plus you are actually a decent human being. And maybe even the Least Crazy Female I’ve Ever Met???!

Me – Gee thanks.

The conversation continued with more insanity, so imagine my shock when the next day, he texted to ask if I wanted to make plans for a few days later. I said okay, assuming we were having a ‘friend’ outing, and made a bunch of suggestions.  We made plans for the evening – to go out somewhere. Here’s what transpired next:

Him – Are you still coming over tonight?

Me – Oh, I thought we were going out!

Him – I don’t know.

Me – Okay, would you fancy a trip to see a movie? That’d be fun!!

 

About an hour passes.

 

Him – I don’t know. I just got out of the hot tub. But yeah, by the time I shower and get dressed and all it’s probably late to head uptown for a movie.

 

FYI – this text came in at 5:45pm.

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Baffling behavior, yes? Frustrating? Indeed. Why do people who pee standing up act this way? Lest you think me a psychotic stalker who saves messages, I wrote this all down in a journal. Ages ago. And I kept the notebook. You know why? So that I could pull it out from time to time to remind myself of just how shitty some people are, and just how far I’ve come. There was a day when a conversation like this would have crushed me, leaving me crippled and feeling like there was something wrong with me. Now it makes me think that he’s a freaking idiot with issues far beyond the scope of any crap I’m interested in dealing with.  Gross.

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Why are relationships so hard? Why is it so difficult for people to be straightforward? Why can’t we as people say what we mean and mean what we say? I find that the older I get, the more blunt I am  – God help us when I’m 70….yikes!!! I am not mean (or I try not to be), but I sure don’t endure stupid crap like I used to!! I would never have done what the idiot from the above story did….because, even though I’m really blunt and stuff, I’m not hurtful. I try not to toy with people’s emotions, I try not to be hurtful or unkind…and I try really hard to be the kind of person I want to be around. In her book “Miracles Now”, Gabrielle Bernstein writes that peace begins with you. So does happiness. Being happy depends on how happy you are with yourself. If you’re a miserable sod who loathes their own company, nobody else is going to want to be near you, either. So, to the guy who told me the crap above – thank you for reminding me of the things that are important in life…and, sadly for you,you weren’t one of them. I wish you well still – just as long as it’s nowhere near me. To my dear friend who questions her own desirability – love you, friend…you deserve the moon and the stars, and any man worth having will give you all that – and more. 🙂

 

xxx

P.S. This is Austin

I decided I needed a change of pace this past weekend – so I did no housework, and devoted myself to fun. Woohoo!!  I kicked off the weekend with some Strawberry Vodka Lemonade made from scratch – here’s the recipe:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 pint fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 8 lemons)
4-6 cups cold water
1 cup vodka
INSTRUCTIONS:
Make a simple syrup by combining 1 cup sugar with 1 cup of water in a saucepan.
Place over medium heat until the sugar in completely dissolved; swirl the pan occasionally. Let cool.
Once the simple syrup has cooled, puree strawberries in a food processor or blender with ½ cup water.
In a large pitcher, combine ice, strawberry puree, simple syrup and lemon juice – this is where you add the vodka! 🙂
Add 4-6 cups of cold water. The amount of water you use will depend on your tastes, so add as little or as much as you want to achieve desired sweet/tart balance.
Rim your glasses with sugar before pouring, then garnish with fresh strawberries or lemon slices.

 

 

On Saturday, I treated myself to a mani/pedi, which was wonderfully relaxing (I go to a new place – Palace Nails – near to mi casa…and the staff there are AMAZING!!! I so highly recommend them!! Yaa!!! 🙂 ), and headed to San Marcos for a spot of outlet shopping. From there, I went on to Austin….and man alive, do I love me some Austin! First stop was my beloved Bangers, where I had my very favorite thing ever: Poutine!! Woohoo!! It was delicious, as always! The beet and goat cheese sausage that I had with it was surprisingly delightful – I highly recommend that! 🙂 From there, I walked down Rainey Street to check out the other establishments – and ended up stopping at Clive’s for a bit. I’ve not been there before, but I would definitely go back – it was great! The weather was absolutely glorious, and sitting outside was fantastic – the air smelled fresh and clean, full of promise…and everywhere I went, the music was GREAT: lots of late ’80s and classic country (I had no idea that I had ever listened to so much country music that I could sing along to pretty much every song), classic pop…great stuff.

Poutine - AKA the food of the northern gods :-)

Poutine – AKA the food of the northern gods :-)

Yaa! It's Bangers!

Yaa! It’s Bangers!

Next stop was a stroll over to Sixth Street – where things were happening, as they usually do on a weekend night. I returned to one of my favorites – The Jackalope – and had my picture taken (again), mounted on the signature ride of the place. It was great! From there, I strolled down the street, marveling at the sights, the sounds, the smells….Austin is such a great town. I made a stop at Voodoo Donut for an “Oh Captain, My Captain” donut…it was not awful at all, friends, let me tell you. I think I’m more of a fan of Gourdough’s Donuts than Voodoo, but all donuts are good donuts, so….everybody wins!!

The Jackelope!

The Jackelope!

A light inside The Jackelope - I friggin' love beautiful light fixtures!

A light inside The Jackelope – I friggin’ love beautiful light fixtures!

Oh Captain, My Captain - a Captain Crunch donut. Yummmmmm....

Oh Captain, My Captain – a Captain Crunch donut. Yummmmmm….

Heehee!

Heehee!

I stopped in at Friends Bar on Sixth, and heard a band that I REALLLLLLLY liked a whole lot – The Chris Castaneda Project. I am going to have to keep checking on these guys online to see where they are playing next….I thought they were fab. 🙂 The next stop from there was the Chuggin’ Monkey club, to hear a bit of music courtesy of Tish and the Mizzbehavin’ Band — this lady could sang, friends…she was great! I would have LOVED to hear their set from beginning to end, as I think they probably put on one hell of a show. Fantastic!!!

By this time, it was getting pretty late, and I decided to head back to my fair berg (the dog needed to be let out). After a quick pit stop at Home Slice pizza (holy shit for good, btws), it was a quick and easy drive back to SA. I LOVE Austin, I love the atmosphere, the eating and drinking, the music (good God do I love the music), the dancing (even if my dance partner did look up to the sky and ask in the sweetest, most exasperated voice, “Please, God, get her some grace” as I busted my moves beside him). I like the anonymity of Austin – everywhere I go in San Antonio I run in to people I know (which is great most of the time)…but sometimes it’s nice to just be a face in the crowd, to not have anybody asking you to do stuff for them, and to just relax. It’s good for the soul.  🙂

xxx

Can’t Help Falling in Love With You

 

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Today is April Fool’s Day, and it’s always been a favorite of mine. I love a good prank, I’m an accomplished jackass, and a frequent practitioner of tomfoolery and hijinks. This morning, the adult website Pornhub changed their site to Cornhub, and is featuring some pretty steamy corn videos (which are HILARIOUS) – be sure to check them out quickly before they disappear! Here’s a complete list of websites doing silly things today (including the realtor that is selling birdhouses): http://aprilfoolsdayontheweb.com . Fun stuff!! I did see a press release this morning that the Kardashians are fixing to retire. I was overjoyed, ecstatic that they were FINALLY going to disappear back into the hole from which they crawled out, but….no luck. Methinks it’s an April Fool’s Day hoax. Boo. Hiss. My fingers will remain loosely crossed, just in case.

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What are you a fool for? I get giddy and foolish over a lot of things: my Wee One, puppies, kittens, baby lambs, pretty shoes, travel, watching movies, hugs, going for long walks, cuddles, cocktails…the list goes on and on. I’ve also done A LOT of foolish things in the name of love – and, truthfully, I am pretty much okay with that. I sometimes feel badly when I put myself out there and it doesn’t go well, but the good news is that I bounce back and get over it. Yaa me! I am also a person who frequently makes a fool of themselves by going all in when I do things – I believe that being all in is critical to a life well led. I struggle to understand those that hang back, that hedge their bets, that exercise restraint rather than jumping in with reckless abandon…and I’m pretty sure that they struggle to understand me as well. I’m such a believer in living life loudly, being unafraid to take chances and risks, and putting yourself out there (wherever ‘there’ is) – and it’s becoming apparent to me that those aren’t always the most desirable of qualities to a lot of people. But who really cares about those people, anyway? 😉

What does it really mean to be “all in”? For me, it means that I approach things with a 110% commitment, to try my best, to really give things a shot, and just be present with my very best effort. When I go to work every day, I am all in – I try my best pretty much all of the time, and I am actively engaged in what I’m doing (even when I’m hiding under my desk, which I do all the time,  I am doing it with passion and a whole lotta verve). I approach most personal relationships the exact same way. If I decide I am going to give something a whirl with someone, I am ALL there; I wouldn’t know how to half-ass it if I tried. I like the feelings that I get when I do this, as if I am standing on the edge of a cliff, toes curled around the ledge, and I spread my wings and just leap. I am such a fan of the leap, launching yourself into the great unknown, trusting the collective powers of the world (and the people in it) to put up their hands and catch you, holding you up. Perhaps this is why I’ve had such struggles with relationships – I jump in, trusting someone to be there with me, to catch me and fly through the air with me…except that I usually jump towards people with no arms. It’s a problem. 😉

The kicker is, though, that I wouldn’t want it any other way. Even when I fall, at least I can say that I tried…which has to count for something/everything. I don’t want to be a person who is afraid to try – I’d rather be the one that went down in spectacular flames. Blaze of glory, baby….blaze of glory. 😉

xxx

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Freedom

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Did you happen to see “Girls” on HBO on Sunday night? It was a Marnie-centric episode, which would normally find me rolling my eyes A LOT and checking the time to see if it was over – not this one. The episode began with Marnie and Desi, the human douchecanoe that she married, in their apartment in yet another argument. She leaves for the day…and runs in to Charlie, her first love, the man she used to date who cast her aside when he realized what an opportunistic shrew she was being. Marnie and Charlie end up spending time together, they go to a fancy party briefly (where Charlie is selling drugs apparently and Marnie gets mistaken for a prostitute – a mistake that earns her $600…man how these characters have changed), they steal a boat and go for a paddle in Central Park, they end up making out, then getting robbed, then bonking at his apartment, then deciding to run away together. It’s an action-filled episode, let me tell you! However, it ends when Marnie discovers that Charlie has IV drug paraphernalia on him…and she leaves. She reappears at her apartment, has a confrontation with Desi, and tells him – very plainly – that she doesn’t want to be married to him. Just like that. The things that she says to him are so brilliant – in this week’s episode, she was the very best Marnie that she’s ever been…and I don’t generally say shit like that. She told him that she never should have married him in the first place, but that she “didn’t want to give up on yet another dream”. Isn’t that just the most truthful thing ever? I can certainly relate…I keep doing all sorts of shit that I DO NOT WANT TO DO, simply because I don’t want to give up the dream, the possibility of having my own happily-ever-after. I’m beginning to think that these dreams are highly overrated. She talked about needing time to find herself and figure things out – she told Desi that she didn’t know who she was anymore, that she was just a ghost of herself. That was so profound to me, as I think that I feel that very same way a lot of the time, a shadow of the girl that I used to be. I guess I’m like Marnie (a sentence I never thought I’d type, as I generally think that Marnie is pretty much the worst) – I need to figure out who I am, because I sometimes don’t know who that is anymore. When Marnie was at Charlie’s, she met a woman who was griping about a scrap she’d had with her girlfriend, and she said, “Why is everybody such a f*#&ing disappointment? I can’t have one more fantasy busted open….I swear to God, I can’t take it”. This. Is. Me. I frequently feel disappointed by the people around me, as if they come nowhere near to acting the way that I expect (wish/hope) them to…and I just don’t know how to deal with having one more failure, and one more failed personal relationship in my life. I guess the mistake that I am making is that I expect too much of people – I need to adopt the idea that if you expect nothing, then you will never be disappointed and everything that comes your way will be a gift….but I haven’t a clue how to get my mindset there.  I sometimes think that I am Teflon…nothing (and nobody) seems to stick with(to) me. But, oh, how I wish that it/they would.

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See that picture right there? Me, too, Marnie….me, too.

xxx

 

PS: Just as an aside…I love that “Girls” flirted with the idea of the magical first love, and what that person will always mean to you. I remember my first love with such fondness (it’s his birthday today, actually), and I smile every time I think of him. That’s a good memory to have. 🙂

Life on Mars

I’m a pretty regular listener of Howard Stern’s radio show on Sirius – I don’t listen to every segment (I just don’t care a whole lot about the Wack Pack, I have to be honest), but I think his celebrity interviews are outstanding. He had Chris Martin from Coldplay on last week – what an absolutely lovely and charming man he is…I wonder how he endured Gwyneth all those years? 😉 Anyway…during his interview, Chris did a short bit from David Bowie’s “Life on Mars”, and it was glorious – give it a listen:

So beautiful, eh? I love that song anyway, even if I’m not always sure what it’s about….I think it’s beautiful. This is an idea that has been popping up a whole lot recently – how to make sense and be okay with things that don’t seem to make sense. I find myself in all sorts of situations that don’t make sense to me – let me explain what I mean by that. I am remarkably analytical for a person who is as creative and bonkers a thinker as I am…I like to have plans, I like to organize most things (except my fridge – that thing is a straight up shit hole that I need to do something about and pronto), I like to know where I stand with people, and I like to put labels on things. Classification and categorization are very important to me – and I have no idea why. So, when I find myself in situations with people that I can’t classify, that don’t fall neatly into a single category, I find it difficult to handle. I get mildly panicky, and probably behave like a jerk, trying to figure the whole thing out – instead of just leaning into it and enjoying the moment. I guess that’s really what the problem is, you know – I fear that I don’t really know how to enjoy a moment, as I’m always looking towards the next one that’s coming. That makes me sad….I need to stop that (or slow it down, at least), and really learn to live in the moments that are around me. But how?

Let’s give this article from MindBodyGreen a read, shall we?

Connection is one of the most important aspects of life. It’s important to remember that it all starts from within. We strive to feel connected and to belong. When this isn’t the case, feelings of isolation and separation come into play, and we’re immediately disconnected.

So here are 10 ways to deepen your connection to the present moment, whatever it may be:

1. Call a friend.

Just hearing the voice of another person has the ability to get us connected. We can practice empathy and compassion. We are taken out of ourselves and are able to truly listen and be there for another person. By doing this, we can get ourselves out of a place of feeling alone and isolated and deepen the connection within.

2. Listen to music.

Music is a great way to connect. It has the ability to get into our souls and bring about a sense of happiness and aliveness. This connects us with appreciation and brings about a sense of wholeness.

3. Breathe.

It’s just as simple as this: breathe. Take a deep inhale and a deep exhale. Ground yourself and enjoy the natural connection you have to life. Allow for the breath to connect you to how you’re really feeling. Maybe you are feeling sad, lonely, anxious, or joyful. Breathing allows you to connect to yourself and your emotions.

4. Notice and reflect on something in nature.

Do you ever stop and look at the trees? The flowers? The sky? By taking a moment to stop and reflect on the natural beauty that is so present in our lives, we can feel the gratitude, the happiness, and the sense of connection to our internal and external realities.

5. Step outside your current surroundings.

It can be easy to feel trapped and suffocated, especially at home or at the office. We can go to a place of frustration and judgment. Sometimes it just requires our stepping outside to change the perception to one of appreciation rather than one of disturbance and disconnection.

6. Journal.

This is a staple for a deeper connection. By writing out how you’re feeling, clarity and alertness are immediately present. You’re able to dig within and understand how you are truly feeling and what is coming up for you. This gets you more in touch with your intuition and your truth.

7. Make eye contact.

Eye contact is a source of connection. Our eyes are windows to our souls, and when we feel more connected, we look into the eyes of another. Practice this today and notice how it brings about a sense of peace and serenity. We see ourselves in others, and others in ourselves.

8. Look at yourself in the mirror.

You are whole and complete just as you are. You are enough. You are beautiful. Notice this in yourself. Practice these affirmations in the mirror and connect with yourself!

9. Take a shower.

Showers are wonderful and soothing. Feel the water touching your skin. Notice the intensity of its contact on you. Feel the water temperature and get a sense of how your body reacts to it. How does it make you feel? What are you thinking about? Showers allow for us to be present.

10. Write a gratitude list.

When we’re in a place of disconnection, it can be easy to forget about all we have to be grateful for. Gratitude brings us back to the present moment so take a few minutes today and write down what you’re grateful for.

 

These are really good, simple ideas…things that we all should be able to do really easily – and if they make a difference, and help you to feel better, what’s the harm in trying, eh? Personally, I have been writing a gratitude list of sorts every day since last summer – I keep a paper calendar/agenda as well as the one I have on my phone/iPad (I can’t see myself ever giving up the paper agenda…the process of writing in it is thrilling to me), and each day I jot down three things that I am grateful for. Some days it’s pretty basic: sunshine, chai tea lattes, fuzzy slippers…other days, it’s more profound: compassion of caring friends, my health, the teachers that care for and love my daughter. Regardless of what it is, I make the time to write three things that I am glad that I have in my life – there are definitely days when I can barely find one thing I care about let alone three, but I persevere, and I believe that this simple activity has made a difference in my mind set. So much of how our life goes depends upon mind set, which is why it’s super important to have one that is positive. Gandhi said, “A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.” Who wants to bog themselves down with crappy ideas? Not this girl!  I’ve been working on this for ages – years, in fact – and here are the things that I am trying to apply: I try not to think destructive thoughts, but if I slip up and do, I just quit thinking about it and move on; constantly remind myself that I have zero interest in being a miserable cow so I have to get over things and be happy; I try to spend time with people who are positive – and, with the exception of family that I can’t get rid of, I only spend my days with those that I find to be positive and uplifting; I try to walk away from conversations that are negative – in a polite way, of course…nothing positive will ever come from that kind of talk; I’m learning to let go of the things that gnaw at me – this one will be a lifelong struggle as I can hold a grudge like it was my damn job, but….I’m trying!!!; I try to approach most things that I do with my heart and passion first – I lead with my heart, as I believe that is the best that I have to offer the world; and, finally, I work hard – I rarely rarely sit around doing nothing ever…my life is a series of mostly deliberate actions, and I move from one to the next – just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Someone last week told me that they just wanted me to be happy. I responded that of course I was, but the look of skepticism indicated that they didn’t believe that even a little bit…which had me wondering. I think that I am a pretty happy person most of the time, but am I not projecting that image to the world? Does it matter if I project it? I think I need to spend some time this weekend chewing over this idea, and trying to figure out what I need to really feel truly happy, and hope that it will show on my face. There are few things as great in this world as a happy face. 🙂

xxx

 

To Make You Feel My Love

My very favorite food is mussels, specifically Moules Marinières, and I would happily eat them every single day of my life if I could. I love them THAT much. I learned how to make this amazing dish in the summer of 1996, at a restaurant in Brussels, Belgium. I went to eat at a lovely, quaint restaurant not far from my hotel. I ordered the Moules, and was absolutely DAZZLED by the amazing, simple meal that I was served. They were extraordinary, and I was sure to let my server know just how very, very much I had loved my dinner. He and I chatted at length before he ran back to tell his chef how much I had enjoyed my happy little Moules. The server came running back a moment later to let me know that the chef wanted to invite me back to his kitchen to teach me how to make his recipe. I was ecstatic, and put on the apron they provided lickity-split…and worked in the kitchen with him for the next three hours. He demonstrated his technique, and then was kind enough to let me practice by preparing dishes for the many guests that passed through the restaurant. It was one of the most fun – and delicious! – nights of my life!! I loved it so much – and I have made that same recipe over and over again, hundreds of times over the years…and they turn out perfectly every single time. Gorgeous. 🙂

I loved that trip to Brussels, and have been back 5 times since (it’s a great city full of wonderful people), which is why what happened there this week has hurt my heart terribly. My thoughts are with the people of Brussels – I will never understand people who claim to do things like this in the name of whatever God they believe in – no God that I know would support such horrible actions. And no God that I know would celebrate people who carry out these devastating events. They are not martyr heroes, they are stupid, selfish, hateful beings who need to direct their anger and upset inwards, towards themselves…and leave the rest of this beautiful world alone. I don’t need to tell them to go to hell – I’m pretty sure that God (or whoever it is running things upstairs) will have already taken care of that.

Adele sang a song for the people of Brussels last night at her show in London – it’s pretty, check it out:

 

Send some love to the people of Brussels – we can’t let hatred win.

xxx

Les Poissons

Before we begin, let’s pause to enjoy this “Little Mermaid” classic for a moment, shall we?

Now…on to today’s topic: paella! I attended the 7th annual Corona Paella Challenge at the Pearl Brewery here in San Antonio last Sunday, and I had a fabulous time!! The food was amazing, the pink lemonade sangria was the stuff of dreams…and the smells in the air made me swoon. I had students competing in the high school division (they came in 2nd – woohoo!!! So proud!!!), and I did a great job of tasting the different professional chefs stuff as well. Yummy!! Here are some pictures:

From the peeps at Boudro's....amazing!!

From the peeps at Boudro’s….amazing!!

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Look at that gorgeous paella!

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A beautiful day to be outside 🙂 to

This dish - from local restaurant Hearsay - came in 1st in the Modern Classical Category. The scallop in that sucker was the best scallop I've ever had. WOW!!!!

This dish – from local restaurant Hearsay – came in 1st in the Modern Classical Category. The scallop in that sucker was the best scallop I’ve ever had. WOW!!!!

I hope that this stuff flows like water when I make it to heaven :-)

I hope that this stuff flows like water when I make it to heaven :-)

Look at the presentation - gorgeous!

Look at the presentation – gorgeous!

The area at the Pearl is so pretty :-)

The area at the Pearl is so pretty :-)

 

I had never been to this event before, but I certainly hope that I will make it back again. It’s a beautiful way to spend a Sunday —- and an excellent way to sample some great food! Yaa! 🙂

xxx