All I Owe

While getting ready to drive my Wee One to school this morning, a story came on the news about a nurse on the East Coast who had been exposed to the Ebola virus through her work, but was balking at the 21 day quarantine, because she wasn’t showing symptoms and had so far tested negative. I don’t know all the details of the story, so I asked my mom a few questions (she’s got way more time to keep up with stuff like this than I do). She sent me the following news story:

Maine health officials said Tuesday that they are prepared to go to court to force nurse Kaci Hickox to comply with the state’s “voluntary” 21-day quarantine period for health care workers who have treated Ebola patients, as the nurse vows to defy the state.

Hickox, on Wednesday, told NBC’s “Today” that she doesn’t “plan on sticking to the guidelines” and is “appalled” by the home quarantine policies “forced” on her.

“I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public,” she said, saying she’s in “perfectly good health.”

Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew earlier declined during a news conference to comment specifically on Hickox, who was confined against her will at a New Jersey hospital before traveling home to Maine. But Mayhew said her department and the attorney general’s office were prepared to take legal steps to enforce a quarantine if someone declines to cooperate.

“We do not want to have to legally enforce in-home quarantine,” she said. “We’re confident that selfless health workers who were brave enough to care for Ebola patients in a foreign country will be willing to take reasonable steps to protect residents of their own country. However we are willing to pursue legal authority if necessary to ensure risk is minimized for Mainers.”

Hickox’s lawyer insisted Tuesday that she was not under quarantine and said she was seeking time to decompress at an undistclosed location in Maine.

Hickox, who volunteered in Africa with Doctors Without Borders, was the first person forced into New Jersey’s mandatory quarantine for people arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport from three West African countries.

Hickox, who spent the weekend in a quarantine tent, said she never had Ebola symptoms and tested negative in a preliminary evaluation, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo were sharply criticized for ordering mandatory quarantines.

In Maine, a quarantine comes into play only when people have had contact with Ebola patients; others who’ve been to the three countries will be monitored, officials said.

On Monday, Hickox traveled from New Jersey to Maine, where her boyfriend is a senior nursing student at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. Her boyfriend opted to leave Fort Kent to spend time with her during the quarantine period, officials said Tuesday.

If Hickox were to show Ebola symptoms, then her boyfriend and any others who had contact with her also would be subject to quarantine, Mayhew said.

The news of Hickox’s return to Maine swept across the town of Fort Kent and the university campus, which has 1,400 students.

Faith Morneault, a 19-year-old behavioral science student, said news that Hickox may be headed to Fort Kent had caused “a lot of panic” among students. But she said she understands her desire to go home.

“You can’t freak out in this situation. You have to understand it,” she said.

Another student, 20-year-old behavioral science major Kayla Michaud, said students also are worried because of the potential presence of Hickox’s boyfriend in the school community.

“If she’s in quarantine, is he going to be quarantined, because we don’t all want to be contaminated with the Ebola virus,” she said.

Not everyone was alarmed, however.

Paul Berube, who works at a local credit union, said he thinks some residents are “overreacting.”

“Listen, we don’t live in a Third World country. We have some of the best medical hospitals here. We’re prepared for it. We can’t stop living. We need to live one day at a time and just be happy,” said Berube, 58.

 

I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t she just voluntarily do the quarantine? What’s the big deal about three weeks if it means ensuring safety for yourself and the people around you? It’s 21 days!! (I would love love LOVE the idea of 21 days of peace, quiet, and solitude myself) I don’t get this sense of entitlement that seems to exist in society these days…and I probably never will. I’m not just speaking about this particular situation (I choose to believe that there are mitigating circumstances in this situation that the media and I aren’t privy to), but I’ve grown really fatigued with the general sense of entitlement that’s becoming more and more prevalent these days. If I hear one more person telling me that they DESERVE something (anything), I am going to scream or punch them in the face (likely both)…most of us need to learn that we don’t deserve a whole lot in life, and be a little bit more grateful for the things that do come our way. I wish I was just speaking about the teenagers that I see in a day, but I’m not…the adults walking amongst us are just as bad.

I will never tell someone that I deserve their respect – unless I’ve earned it. I won’t demand loyalty from those I work with – without first earning their trust and respect. I am not entitled to anything – and I’m bloody grateful when something good does come my way. Sometimes people at work will offer to do things for me because they figure that I’m entitled to it since I’m in administration – I’m always tremendously grateful, and I make sure to repay the favor tenfold…but I never embrace the idea that I am entitled to anything. It makes life better that way, you know that? When you are consistently expecting nothing, you are grateful for anything and everything that comes your way….and you are NEVER disappointed. Imagine being never disappointed? It’s kind of great. We all ought to try it more often. :)

I came across this article, and it is AMAZING!!! Entitled “Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy“, it breaks down this whole current sense of entitlement thing perfectly. Let’s give it a look, shall we? :) (be sure to enjoy the pictures :) )

Say hi to Lucy.

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Lucy is part of Generation Y, the generation born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s. She’s also part of a yuppie culture that makes up a large portion of Gen Y.

I have a term for yuppies in the Gen Y age group — I call them Gen Y Protagonists & Special Yuppies, or GYPSYs. A GYPSY is a unique brand of yuppie, one who thinks they are the main character of a very special story.

So Lucy’s enjoying her GYPSY life, and she’s very pleased to be Lucy. Only issue is this one thing:

Lucy’s kind of unhappy.

To get to the bottom of why, we need to define what makes someone happy or unhappy in the first place. It comes down to a simple formula:

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It’s pretty straightforward — when the reality of someone’s life is better than they had expected, they’re happy. When reality turns out to be worse than the expectations, they’re unhappy.

To provide some context, let’s start by bringing Lucy’s parents into the discussion:

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Lucy’s parents were born in the ’50s — they’re Baby Boomers. They were raised by Lucy’s grandparents, members of the G.I. Generation, or “the Greatest Generation,” who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II, and were most definitely not GYPSYs.

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Lucy’s Depression Era grandparents were obsessed with economic security and raised her parents to build practical, secure careers. They wanted her parents’ careers to have greener grass than their own, and Lucy’s parents were brought up to envision a prosperous and stable career for themselves. Something like this:

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They were taught that there was nothing stopping them from getting to that lush, green lawn of a career, but that they’d need to put in years of hard work to make it happen.

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After graduating from being insufferable hippies, Lucy’s parents embarked on their careers. As the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s rolled along, the world entered a time of unprecedented economic prosperity. Lucy’s parents did even better than they expected to. This left them feeling gratified and optimistic.

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With a smoother, more positive life experience than that of their own parents, Lucy’s parents raised Lucy with a sense of optimism and unbounded possibility. And they weren’t alone. Baby Boomers all around the country and world told their Gen Y kids that they could be whatever they wanted to be, instilling the special protagonist identity deep within their psyches.

This left GYPSYs feeling tremendously hopeful about their careers, to the point where their parents’ goals of a green lawn of secure prosperity didn’t really do it for them. A GYPSY-worthy lawn has flowers.

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This leads to our first fact about GYPSYs:

GYPSYs Are Wildly Ambitious

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The GYPSY needs a lot more from a career than a nice green lawn of prosperity and security. The fact is, a green lawn isn’t quite exceptional or unique enough for a GYPSY. Where the Baby Boomers wanted to live The American Dream, GYPSYs want to live Their Own Personal Dream.

Cal Newport points out that “follow your passion” is a catchphrase that has only gotten going in the last 20 years, according to Google’s Ngram viewer, a tool that shows how prominently a given phrase appears in English print over any period of time. The same Ngram viewer shows that the phrase “a secure career” has gone out of style, just as the phrase “a fulfilling career” has gotten hot.

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To be clear, GYPSYs want economic prosperity just like their parents did — they just also want to be fulfilled by their career in a way their parents didn’t think about as much.

But something else is happening too. While the career goals of Gen Y as a whole have become much more particular and ambitious, Lucy has been given a second message throughout her childhood as well:

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This would probably be a good time to bring in our second fact about GYPSYs:

GYPSYs Are Delusional

“Sure,” Lucy has been taught, “everyone will go and get themselves some fulfilling career, but I am unusually wonderful and as such, my career and life path will stand out amongst the crowd.” So on top of the generation as a whole having the bold goal of a flowery career lawn, each individual GYPSY thinks that he or she is destined for something even better –

A shiny unicorn on top of the flowery lawn.

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So why is this delusional? Because this is what all GYPSYs think, which defies the definition of special:

spe-cial | ‘speSHel |
adjective
better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.

According to this definition, most people are not special — otherwise “special” wouldn’t mean anything.

Even right now, the GYPSYs reading this are thinking, “Good point… but I actually am one of the few special ones” — and this is the problem.

A second GYPSY delusion comes into play once the GYPSY enters the job market. While Lucy’s parents’ expectation was that many years of hard work would eventually lead to a great career, Lucy considers a great career an obvious given for someone as exceptional as she, and for her it’s just a matter of time and choosing which way to go. Her pre-workforce expectations look something like this:

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Unfortunately, the funny thing about the world is that it turns out to not be that easy of a place, and the weird thing about careers is that they’re actually quite hard. Great careers take years of blood, sweat and tears to build — even the ones with no flowers or unicorns on them — and even the most successful people are rarely doing anything that great in their early or mid-20s.

But GYPSYs aren’t about to just accept that.

Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor and GYPSY expert, has researched this, finding that Gen Y has “unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback,” and “an inflated view of oneself.” He says that “a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren’t in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.”

For those hiring members of Gen Y, Harvey suggests asking the interview question, “Do you feel you are generally superior to your coworkers/classmates/etc., and if so, why?” He says that “if the candidate answers yes to the first part but struggles with the ‘why,’ there may be an entitlement issue. This is because entitlement perceptions are often based on an unfounded sense of superiority and deservingness. They’ve been led to believe, perhaps through overzealous self-esteem building exercises in their youth, that they are somehow special but often lack any real justification for this belief.”

And since the real world has the nerve to consider merit a factor, a few years out of college Lucy finds herself here:

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Lucy’s extreme ambition, coupled with the arrogance that comes along with being a bit deluded about one’s own self-worth, has left her with huge expectations for even the early years out of college. And her reality pales in comparison to those expectations, leaving her “reality – expectations” happy score coming out at a negative.

And it gets even worse. On top of all this, GYPSYs have an extra problem that applies to their whole generation:

GYPSYs Are Taunted

Sure, some people from Lucy’s parents’ high school or college classes ended up more successful than her parents did. And while they may have heard about some of it from time to time through the grapevine, for the most part they didn’t really know what was going on in too many other peoples’ careers.

Lucy, on the other hand, finds herself constantly taunted by a modern phenomenon: Facebook Image Crafting.

Social media creates a world for Lucy where A) what everyone else is doing is very out in the open, B) most people present an inflated version of their own existence, and C) the people who chime in the most about their careers are usually those whose careers (or relationships) are going the best, while struggling people tend not to broadcast their situation. This leaves Lucy feeling, incorrectly, like everyone else is doing really well, only adding to her misery:

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So that’s why Lucy is unhappy, or at the least, feeling a bit frustrated and inadequate. In fact, she’s probably started off her career perfectly well, but to her, it feels very disappointing.

Here’s my advice for Lucy:

1) Stay wildly ambitious. The current world is bubbling with opportunity for an ambitious person to find flowery, fulfilling success. The specific direction may be unclear, but it’ll work itself out — just dive in somewhere.

2) Stop thinking that you’re special. The fact is, right now, you’re not special. You’re another completely inexperienced young person who doesn’t have all that much to offer yet. You can become special by working really hard for a long time.

3) Ignore everyone else. Other people’s grass seeming greener is no new concept, but in today’s image crafting world, other people’s grass looks like a glorious meadow. The truth is that everyone else is just as indecisive, self-doubting, and frustrated as you are, and if you just do your thing, you’ll never have any reason to envy others.

 

 

That equation up there really says it all….happiness = reality – expectations. I think that this is something that I (like most people, I imagine) have battled for years. I always thought that some parts of my life would turn out so differently than they have – and the disappointment of that has been quite crushing. On the other hand, some things have so wildly exceeded my expectations that I find delirious joy in them (I’m talking to you, my little Muppet child!! :) My job is pretty damn amazing, too! :)  )…it’s all about the reality/expectations thing. I love what the author wrote about the bullshit that is the Facebook phenomenon…people, for the love of all that is holy, STOP BRAGGING ABOUT YOUR DAMN LIFE ON FACEBOOK, AND GET OUT THERE AND LIVE IT!!!!!!!!!!! ARRGGHH!! Okay. Rant over. Sorry.

The three pieces of advice for Lucy are great, and would serve all of us well: dream big, impossible dreams…those are the ones that end up changing the world; realize that while you may indeed be a special butterfly, that you live in a whole world FULL of butterflies, each one more special than the next…so be good to your fellow man (or woman), and realize that they are just as special as you are; and finally, ignore the goings-on of everyone around you. You do you — that’s more than enough. :)

xxx

 

PS: And stop acting like you’re entitled to anything. Be grateful, dammit!!! ;)

Unpretty

I am not a fan of my appearance….probably never will be. My colleague across the hall walks in to our office at least once a week and announces that he cannot believe how very good looking he is – he’s not joking. Needless to say, words like that will never come out of my mouth – partly because I will never feel that way about myself, but mostly because I don’t want to sound like an arrogant prick. I’m not saying that all people with confidence in their appearance are arrogant pricks, but my neighbor sure is. Surely there must be a happy medium? :-)

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You’d really think that looking like this would give me heaps of confidence, wouldn’t you?

I spent the last few days laid up with a terrible spasm in my neck…it’s been rotten. I’ve watched entirely too much TV, laid around in whatever awkward position managed to bring me a bit of comfort and relief, and have basically been bored out of my skull. I couldn’t really fix my hair as it hurt too much, so I’ve been walking around resembling the arse end of a badger since last Thursday – that is not nearly as attractive as it sounds, friends. I’ve not been feeling terribly great about myself lately anyway, so this  little spell has done nothing for the already fragile ego. On Friday night, a former student and friend of mine posted the following on Instagram:

Take a moment to realize you’ve never seen your face in person, just reflections and pictures. Some scientists believe that if you saw a clone of yourself you wouldn’t recognize it as you, because our idea of what we look like is so different from what we actually look like.

Isn’t that brilliant? I know – mind. blown. I spent the better part of the weekend thinking about that, and was telling someone about it on Sunday. This sweet soul directed me to a Dove beauty campaign video that I had never seen before – where people describe their appearance to a police sketch artist, and then somebody else describes that same person…and the differences in the images are SHOCKING. Here’s the video:

Click on the picture to see the video :)

Click on the picture to see the video :)

I was almost crying when I finished this video, partially for the beautiful women featured in the clip, and partially for the way I treat myself. I don’t know when the self-loathing started, but I do know that I desperately wish it would end. I don’t ever want to spend another second of life apologizing to someone else for the way that I look – that’s insane. I never want to miss out on another outing because I look a hot mess and am afraid to subject anyone to the sight of me. I don’t want to purposely avoid looking in mirrors and try to free hand my makeup so that I don’t have to see myself…because the crooked, wobbly look that results does nothing for my appearance. I’m tired of thinking about the way I look. Tired of it all. I wish that I knew a solution to build a damn bridge over the entire subject of appearance, and get the hell over it. If you have this problem worked out and licked, give me a call and share the deets, ok?  I’ll be waiting.

How would you describe yourself to a sketch artist? :)

 

xxx

A Simple Kind Of Life

I’ve had some humdinger days at work recently…it appears that the whole world has lost its damn mind. Collectively. I’m not sure what’s in the air, but I hope it blows on. One of the issues that I’ve been dealing with lately is bullying. I HATE a bully like you would not believe, and it takes a lot of restraint for me to keep it together and not go off on the bullies and rip them a new one. Having to be the adult and the professional sometimes really sucks. Please promise me that you’ll never be a bully, ok? Meanies suck. :-(

My own attitude this week hasn’t been the best, either…and I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve been feeling like I’m a nuisance to everyone around me again, feeling like I’m in the way, that I constantly screw up…all of that old stuff. I forgot to do something at work this week – I remembered before it was too late and got it taken care of, but…I’m still disappointed in myself for forgetting. Which is dumb, because I’m only human, right? Grr. I’m a frustrating individual. :-(

I love this :)

I love this :)

I was at work late last evening at an event, and while I was driving home, I became so full of sadness (and my eyes so full of tears) that I ended up just pulling over and taking a minute. I was annoyed at the rest of the world who seem to have life come so easily to them, while I must struggle every single day. I was frustrated at how really, really hard I work and try at everything I do…my job, my family, relationships – and yet I still feel like I fail. I got angry at myself for feeling this way – I do have a lot of great things going on around me, but for whatever reason I am still feeling blue. Perhaps it’s my shoes for today? ;-)

Smurf Sabahs - the BEST shoes ever!!!! :)

Smurf Sabahs – the BEST shoes ever!!!! :)

 

I believe I need a kick in the arse….any takers? I found this article today about getting yourself out of a funk – it’s good! :-)

 

10 Ways to Get Yourself Out of a Funk

1. Check out your biological balance. Take an inventory: Are you going to bed at a decent hour? How is your sleep? Are you eating well and keeping your blood sugars stable? Could you be Vitamin D deficient? Are you stressing your liver with too much alcohol and processed foods? Are you dieting or not eating enough calories? Our bodies work hard to keep a chemical equilibrium at all times– but sometimes we need to consciously work on helping with that process. A chemical imbalance can (and will) absolutely affect our moods. So good sleep, nutrition and self care are not a panacea– they are critical in helping us regain emotional balance.

2. Do time with the issues. As much as we would like to be able to simply transcend our worst mental and emotional struggles, we need to acknowledge them and take a look. Ignoring them is completely useless– our issues will continue to grow and upset us until they have our full attention. Acknowledging negative emotions is not the same as indulging them. Our feelings are there to help us understand and explore the situation better. Don’t let them run you over; allow them to guide you. It is helpful to write them down. Start with a feeling: “I feel disappointed.” and then go further– “I feel disappointed about….” Go deeper again. Whatever the feeling, it is completely worth the time and energy to spend a little longer defining it more specifically. Remember that specifics are more manageable than vague feelings. Do not be afraid to identify whatever it is that you are angry, sad, scared, or frustrated about. These feelings are valid and need to be acknowledged before they can then be released.

3. Write about it. Journaling is not just for sentimental types! Writing down your thoughts can be extremely helpful in crystallizing your thoughts and feelings. One practice I especially recommend is writing “morning pages,” as described by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. The idea is that you write freehand first thing in the morning, filling three pages every day. It doesn’t matter at all what you write about– just put down whatever comes to your mind. This has an incredibly clarifying and freeing effect. At the beginning of the day, you get to notice and release all of the things that are clouding your mind as you begin. This process is very helpful for me whenever I feel stuck creatively or overwhelmed with my work or parenting, or any other kind of funk.

4. Create something. Using the artistic/ intuitive parts of your brain can help you bring understanding to the parts of your life that you cannot logically comprehend. Likewise, there are things that you cannot express through words– so use your creative side, engage your senses, or move your body through dance as a way of expressing yourself. This could also come in the form of learning a new skill– which helps get us out of our heads and more into our bodies.

5. Channel your energy in a positive way. When I am feeling upset about something, my house usually looks cleaner than usual. Anger really gets me cleaning, as does trying to problem-solve. If you are feeling stuck, consider your surroundings– are things piling up around you? What is your living space doing for your mood? Clearing out clutter and improving your environment can really help you shift your own energy, and focusing on a task like this can also give you space to think and work some things out.

6. Get Bodywork. Have you ever heard the saying, “We carry our issues in our tissues?” It’s true. I am a bodyworker myself, and it’s amazing how our emotions and life experiences find their way into our muscles and other tissues, and stay there, producing pain, limitation and even disease. Getting massage or energy work, or acupuncture from a talented practitioner can be extremely helpful as you navigate life changes and difficult situations. Releasing tensions in your body helps in also letting go of tensions and anxieties in your mind. I have witnessed powerful personal transformations as a result of effective bodywork treatments.

7. Give in to it, for a time. Make an appointment with yourself to be in your funk, and to explore those feelings. In the past, making a mixed tape (or CD) of songs that I felt embodied my emotional state, helped me. I listened to that music, and felt those feelings until they eased. This is the opposite of the advice most of us get– “If you’re feeling sad, put on some peppy music! Dance it out!” This can work sometimes, but I feel this approach is more of a band-aid than a healing process.

8. Give to others. Kindness can heal, and gratitude does, also. When you begin to feel sorry for yourself, make a point of doing something kind for someone else. Or reaching out and thanking someone for the joy or nourishment they have brought into your life. This will take your mind off of your own issues and open the world up to you just a bit. And guess what? Kindness and good deeds are proven mood-lifters! Even making a donation to a charity helps.

9. Go outside and move your body. Taking a walk in nature is helpful in many ways. Invite a friend to walk with you if you want, and then you get three-for-one therapy: community, exercise, and talk therapy. I like to walk alone and think– it can be very clarifying. For me, there is no bad mood that can’t be dispelled by a walk in nature. Sometimes when I get there I am very skeptical about whether or not it will work, because I’m feeling so bad. But it always does, every time!

10. Play! Playing or having fun may feel like the last thing you want to do. But it can be so helpful. Laughter is an incredible stress reliever, and going out and doing something frivolous or silly helps put life back into perspective. This is also a great way to bring your family into your life when you have been brooding. Watch funny movies, look for good stand-up comics, play silly games with your kids. Do cartwheels if you know how– being upside down once in a while is good for you, too! Whatever it is that makes you smile, laugh, or forget about all the things that are on your mind– do more of that, and make it a priority.

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There are things on this list that are really good…I love the idea of doing time with the issues – I never do this. I rarely permit myself the time and energy to sit down and just feel all the feels. I’m too busy running around and doing stuff for everybody else, and I almost never take the time to truly acknowledge what is going on inside of me. Perhaps if I paid more attention to that, it’d make things easier overall. I know that my lack of sleep helps nobody, but I am working all the time at addressing that…I think it’s getting better. I wish that I had time for walks outside, and massages, but they’ve never been a high priority item on my list, so…they get pushed aside. Sadly, I have not one but two gift cards for massages sitting in my damn purse, but I’ve never used either of them. Part of the problem is giving the time to myself, but the other is a fear of the massage process/naked thing/relaxing so much that the ol’ caboose makes a breezy sound (not mine, silly…I don’t do that – the massage therapist)…I drive myself insane with my fretting. I need therapy.  ;)

I love the idea of writing my bad thoughts away – that’s what I do with you guys here, so…thanks. :) I’m a huge fan of the suggestion to do creative things – we all know that I’m not your average bear, and thinking outside the box happens to be my specialty, so…I’m always down with that. :) I’m a huge fan of giving to others…nothing makes me happier. I made dinner last weekend (on Sunday – pretty much the only day of the week that I have time to do some cooking), and delivered plates to a few people. It was kind of them to eat my food, but it made me even happier thinking that I could do something for them and make their day just a smidge easier. :) Yaaa! :)

Finally…I’m right down with the idea of taking time to play. I’ve been working REALLY hard this year at work to get home earlier, not spend quite so much time at events or in my office…and just do stuff for me. I’ve seen a few movies recently (woohoo!), and I’ve gone out for some truly lovely meals. :) I’ve taken time at home to just sprawl on the couch and watch TV (if you haven’t seen the first episode of Dave Grohl’s documentary series Foo Fighters: Sonic Highway yet, rundon’twalk to the nearest idiot box and hit that bad boy up – the series is going to be AMAZING! Fo’shizzle! ;) ), and I even left work early one day this week to pick my Muppet up from school. :) I’m trying to focus more on doing stuff for my own enjoyment…and it’s starting to work. I just need to sustain it, and work at chasing the demon voices in my head away. Like the picture up there says – I need to run my day, or it’ll run me. ;)

 

xxx

O Canada

What happened in Ottawa yesterday broke my heart…I hate senseless acts of violence anywhere (who doesn’t?), but I really really hate it when it happens in the homeland. I watched news coverage online, and marveled at the brilliant way the Canadians dealt with it – calmly, gracefully, and with class. The CBC coverage anchored by veteran newsman (and longtime awesome possum) Peter Mansbridge is basically a how-to for journalists on handling a crisis. He was – as always – right dipped in awesome sauce. :-) Check this out: Canada’s Coverage of the Ottawa Shootings Put American Cable News to Shame.

 

The dude. :)

The dude. :)

 

Three cheers to the good people in the Pittburgh Penguins organization for singing O Canada prior to last nights game against the Philadelphia Flyers. These folks are classy. :-) Here’s video:

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Click on the picture to see the video :)

 

Think good thoughts for the people up north…Canadians are globally quiet people who don’t tend to make a lot of noise and fuss…but they are people who can always be counted on in moments of tragedy, no matter where in the world a helping hand is needed. Send them your love and support.

 

xxx

Strong Enough

I have 6 tattoos. When I write that, it seems like a shockingly high number and that I’m some sort of deviant….but it isn’t, and I’m not. I promise. ;-) My tattoos (or pictures, as the Wee One lovingly refers to them) are cute, small, and in safe places. I do not resemble this guy:   My mother asked me how many I had the other day, and when I answered her, the unimpressed look was clearly etched on her face. I’m well accustomed to that look having received it for most of my life, so it was no big whoop. I did let her know that I’m not done yet…that I have (at least) one more tattoo to get. Not to fret, my pets, it’s not the same as that one above (heh heh); instead, I want the phrase Satis Sum, tattooed to the inside of my wrist. Satis Sum is Latin for I am enough…perhaps my hardest struggle in life. I never, ever feel anywhere close to good enough. For anything. Ever. It’s hard.:-(

One of my newest pictures :)

One of my newest pictures :)

I happened across this article the other day entirely by accident (I was Googling kitten pictures. Again. I’ve no idea how this article came up – we’re going to go with divine intervention.)…and it couldn’t be more appropriate for me. I kept it open on my iPad for three days, reading parts of it over and over again, hoping like hell that some of the words would seep into my extraordinarily thick skull. It bugged me, taunting me every time I opened a window to do some online shopping (which happens far too much) or read Jezebel. Behold 20 Things To Remember When You Think You’re Not Good Enough:

Truth be told, you can’t berate yourself into a better version of yourself.  And even though I know this, I sometimes still fall victim to my own negative thinking.  Sometimes I’m downright rude to myself.  I make a mistake, or fall short of my own expectations, and instead of treating it as a learning opportunity, I beat myself up about it. I’m sure you can relate.  We’ve all been there.  We all have bad days and moments of self-doubt. Sometimes the pressure coming from peers, family, work, and society in general is enough to make us feel completely broken inside.  If we don’t have the “right” job, relationship, lifestyle, and so forth, by a certain age or timeframe, we assume we’re just “not good enough.” 

So what can we do about it?   Here’s how I handle it: Every time I catch myself thinking I’m not good enough, I immediately write down an opposing thought that debunks my negativity. I’ve been doing this for the past several years and it’s made a tremendous difference in my life. I challenge you to do the same. If you need a little extra inspiration, here are some things I’ve come up with – 20 good reminders when you’re feeling “not good enough”:

Nobody is doing better than you because nobody can do better than you. – YOU are walking your own path. Sometimes the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes circumstances with everyone else’s public highlight reel. Forget what everyone else is doing and achieving. Your life is about breaking your own limits and outgrowing yourself to live YOUR best life.

Where you are right now is a necessary step. – Sometimes we avoid experiencing exactly where we are because we have developed a belief, based on our ideals, that it is not where we should be or want to be. But the truth is, where you are right now is exactly where you need to be to get to where you want to go tomorrow.

Everything is coming together… maybe not immediately, but gradually. – When times are tough, remind yourself that no pain comes without a purpose. Move on from what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you. Pain is part of growing. Remember that there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you. When you roll with life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help you grow.

It is your resistance to “what is” that causes your suffering. – Remember, happiness is allowing yourself to be perfectly OK with “what is,” rather than wishing for and worrying about “what is not.” “What is” is what’s supposed to be, or it would not be. The rest is just you, arguing with life. Think about that for a minute. This means your suffering only ever occurs when you resist how things are.

You cannot control everything that happens to you; you can only control the way you respond to what happens. In your response is your power.

Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace. – Choose to be miserable and you’ll find plenty of reasons to be miserable. Choose to be peaceful and you’ll find plenty of reasons to be at peace. Think about it. Are you skilled at making yourself miserable? With those same skills you can make yourself motivated, effective and fulfilled. Do so.

You are always good enough to try, and that’s what’s important in the end. – Everything you achieve comes from something you attempt. Make the attempt. Trust me, twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do. Give yourself a chance.

There’s always something small you can do. – There is absolutely nothing about your present situation that prevents you from moving forward, one tiny step at a time. Remember, vision without action is just a daydream; vision must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, you must step up the stairs. And all you have to do is take one step at a time. Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take that step.

Failures are really just lessons that need to be learned. – No day is ever wasted when you live it with purpose and presence. Value and enjoy the journey, even when there are detours along the way.

Yesterday’s impossibilities may be possible today. – Experience is the hardest kind of teacher; it gives you the test first and the lesson afterward. But this is really a blessing. It means you’re growing stronger and more capable with every passing day. So don’t you dare give up on today because of the way things looked yesterday. Don’t even think about it. What “might happen” can only stop you if you let it. – Rather than worrying about what might happen, move forward and use your energy and intelligence to deal with what does actually happen.

The quality of your vision drives the quality of your life. – It’s up to you how you visualize things and what you focus on. Forget what you don’t like. Focus on what excites you. If you see a possibility, explore it. If you have a dream, live it. Those who are passionate and excited about what they’re doing have an advantage that is nearly impossible to conquer. Be one of these people. 

You don’t need to get everyone’s approval first. – Stop listening to what the world says you should want. Start listening to who you are. Truth be told, there are only a few people in this world who will stay 100% true to you, and YOU should be one of them.

What you’re capable of achieving is greatly based on how much you want it. – When it means enough to you, then you can do it. When you are willing and committed and persistent, you will get yourself there, every time. Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural outcome of consistently applying your focused effort to what you want. The fatigue might be there sometimes, but you must understand that putting it aside is the single most important factor in succeeding.

Your best bet is to give yourself no other choice. – It’s amazing what you can do when you have no other choice. In fact, achievement consists mostly of giving yourself no other choice. You are more than good enough; you just have to own it – you have to own everything you are and everything you’re up against. If you believe your troubles are too powerful, then you’ll never allow yourself to rise above them. Stop fretting. Quit worrying. Don’t complain. You know what you must do. So do it.

You have to work hard on yourself too. – Self-respect, self-love, self-worth… there’s a reason they all start with “self.” You can’t receive them from anyone else. Earn the respect of others by having the audacity to respect yourself. Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with pots of gold at both ends. It’s your responsibility, above all, to see your own value. And this responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and deciding for you; it means learning to use your own brains and intuition to make things happen – hence, grappling with hard work.

You are stronger than whatever is troubling you. – Use each setback, each disappointment as a cue to push on ahead with more determination than ever before. When something bad happens, you can either let it define you, let it destroy you or let it strengthen you. The choice is yours. So pump yourself up! You are a lot stronger than you think you are. You may not be where you want to be yet, but look how far you’ve come. Celebrate the fact that you’re not where you used to be.

For everything you’ve lost, you’ve gained something else. – Appreciate what you have today. Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. No regrets, just lessons. No worries, just acceptance. No expectations, just gratitude. Life is too short. The story of your life has many chapters. One bad chapter doesn’t mean it’s the end. So stop re-reading the bad one already, and turn the page.

You have made the best of some tough situations. – Smiling doesn’t always mean you’re happy with everything. Sometimes it just means you’re strong and smart enough to accept it and make the best of it.

Your scars are symbols of your strength. – Don’t ever be ashamed of the scars life has left you with. A scar means the hurt is over and the wound is closed. It means you conquered the pain, learned a lesson, grew stronger, and moved forward. A scar is the tattoo of a triumph. So don’t allow your scars to hold you hostage. Don’t allow them to make you live your life in fear. You can’t make the scars in your life disappear, but you can change the way you see them. You can start seeing your scars as a sign of strength and not pain.

You are still here trying. – If you have no other testimony right now, you have this one: “I’m still here trying.” Be positive, patient and persistent. The more you feel like quitting, the more there is to be gained by continuing to do all three. Because the strongest people aren’t the people who always win, but the people who don’t give up when they lose.

Afterthoughts The wisest, most loving, and well rounded people you have ever met are likely those who have known misery, known defeat, known the heartbreak of losing something or someone they loved, and have found their way out of the depths of their own despair. These people have experienced many ups and downs, and have gained an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, understanding and a deep loving wisdom. People like this aren’t born; they develop slowly over the course of time. And you’re getting there.

 

Good, right? There are so many things here that hit home with me so hard I felt the wallop on my head.  The second point the author made about the place you are right now being necessary was SO powerful to me, a compulsive planner who sometimes (frequently) has a hard time enjoying the present because I’ve got my eye on the next step and a better future. What’s so bad about relaxing into the moment and just enjoying it? Nothing, I tell you. I need to smarten up.

The idea of always being good enough to try is a beautiful one…I love that, don’t you? :) They also wrote about not needing the approval of others – again, a wretched struggle for a people-pleaser like me. I’m always trying to make everyone else happy, a Pollyanna constantly seeking the approving nod of everyone she meets – how ridiculous is that???! Who cares if other people approve of what I do??? It’s something I need to work on, that’s for sure. My need for constant reassurance and positive affirmation is annoying as hell to me…how does anyone else put up with me?!?!??! Grr!!!

I love the point the author made about working hard on yourself, and how important that is. It’s no secret that I am probably my own harshest critic – you’ll rarely hear me say anything terribly nice about myself…and I don’t really know why, since I’m not that bad, am I? (Except for today – I’m a hot mess today. I got to work, was here for a good 45 minutes before I looked in the mirror…and realized that I had forgotten to put makeup on! Yikes! I didn’t have time to go home, so I started digging through my purse – I found an eyeliner, bits of last week’s bagel, mascara, and plum-colored lipstick. I proceeded to throw out the bagel – how gross am I? – and put the lipstick on as eye shadow, doing what I could – see Exhibit A) At least I’m trying, right? ;)

Exhibit A - plum lipstick eye shadow. :)

Exhibit A – plum lipstick eye shadow. :)

 

Do you ever feel like you aren’t good enough for something/someone/everything/everyone? How do you deal with it? I’d love to hear from you – and, if it’s any consolation to you, my darlings…you’re ALWAYS more than good enough for me. :)  Je vous aime. :)

xxx

Yummy Yummy Yummy

I had an AMAZING meal recently….can’t wait to tell you all about it! (Disclaimer: This is a common theme with me, I know….I eat lots of good meals, which explains my caboose. Oh well. ) I visited the restaurant Cured at the Pearl Brewery here in San Antonio. First – let’s talk about the Pearl….what a great, great place. There’s so much to see and do there, everything is really beautiful, and it’s such a great area to be in. I frequently dream of selling the house and buying a condo down there, just to be in the thick of the action (but the commute to work would be a bitch). Love it. :-)

Anyway…Cured! The building is looooovely (built in 1904, it was originally the administration building for the brewery), as was the menu. This charcuterie-themed place is certainly not for vegans (she says in the understatement of the year!), and if you are a meat and potatoes traditionalist, you might be in trouble. However, if you have a slightly adventurous palate and a LOVE of amazing food…then you are in for a treat!! :-) Here’s what I ate:

 

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Welcome to Cured :-)

Some sort of marrow thing...I can't recall the details, but as long as I live, I will NEVER forget the amazing taste of this on the end of my tongue. Divine.

Some sort of marrow thing…I can’t recall the details, but as long as I live, I will NEVER forget the amazing taste of this on the end of my tongue. Divine.

Behold the charcuterie plate...there was whipped pork butter, duck ham, chicken liver mousse, pork belly, rillettes...I could go on. So. Bloody. Good. Yum. :-)

Behold the charcuterie plate…there was whipped pork butter, duck ham, chicken liver mousse, pork belly, rillettes…I could go on. So. Bloody. Good. Yum. :-)

This is their version of poutine....pork cheek poutine, cheese, mildly pickled cauliflower on top (random but freaking AWESOME). I just can't even tell you how fabulous this was...yummy!!! :-)

This is their version of poutine….pork cheek poutine, cheese, mildly pickled cauliflower on top (random but freaking AWESOME). I just can’t even tell you how fabulous this was…yummy!!! :-)

Charcuterie goodness from another angle - my attempts at arty photography ;-)

Charcuterie goodness from another angle – my attempts at arty photography ;-)

Sweetbreads. Google them....delicious. :-)

Sweetbreads. Google them….delicious. :-)

 

Doesn’t everything look AMAZING???? It absolutely was!!! The service was excellent (attentive, but not up my keister) – the manager came to chat and invited me back for Happy Hour sometime (you should see me do Happy Hour….I’m pretty good at it!!;-) ), regaling me with tales of drink specials and a burger that’s 20% bacon and 80% beef (if just the thought of that doesn’t get your mouth watering, then there’s something wrong with you and you ought to see a specialist ASAP)…the whole experience was top notch. :-)

 

I can’t wait to go back!!! :-)

xxx

Arabian Nights

It is not much of a secret that I love food – I’m always writing about restaurants or recipes or bowls of Lucky Charms that I scarfed (which happens a lot – no judgment). I love trying new places and types of food, and there’s pretty much nothing I won’t try (eating a delicious dish of sheep brain in Greece pretty much cured me of being precious about what I ate!) ….I love food. I’ve never eaten Moroccan food before, so I was pretty pumped to recently visit San Antonio eatery Moroccan Bites to sample their tasty morsels…however, I must admit to being somewhat nervous, having never partaken in the glories of Moroccan food before. Do you remember that scene in the movie “Along Came Polly” where Ben Stiller eats Moroccan for the first time on a date with Jennifer Anniston, proceeds to basically explode out his arse in the bathroom of her apartment, resulting in tons of shame and the need to use a loofah to try to unplug the pot? I did not want to have that happen to me. :-(

Good news, folks….my meal was a success!!! (And no loofahs were harmed in the course of the evening) Here’s what I had:

 

 

My dinner - Kefta Tagine....HEAVENLY!! I love some good balls! ;)

My dinner – Kefta Tagine….HEAVENLY!! I love some good balls! ;)

 

An appetizer of olives and cauliflower and yumminess! :)

An appetizer of olives and cauliflower and yumminess! :)

 

Mint tea...it's my jam. I'm almost embarrassed that I just said that in a sentence. Oh well. ;)

Mint tea…it’s my jam. I’m almost embarrassed that I just said that in a sentence. Oh well. ;)

 

The restaurant was really cool, and I’m right in love with Moroccan decor. (Fun Fact: I desperately want to redo my bedroom into a Moroccan-themed, hot Arabian nights kind of boudoir…sounds fun, eh? :-) ) Here are a couple pictures:

These lights belong in my bedroom!

These lights belong in my bedroom!

 

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Pretty, eh? :)

 

I've got a fondness for beautiful knockers ;)

I’ve got a fondness for beautiful knockers ;)

I can’t wait to go back here…the pastries are insane they are so delicious, the mint tea is friggin’ divine….and the food. Yum. The food. :-) Check it out, friends! You won’t be disappointed. :-)

xxx

Reblog: I’m Old Fashioned

Reprinting this from June of 2013…because you can never talk too much about the art of the woo! ;)

 

I’m old-fashioned. That’s a mighty strange statement for someone like me to make – but it is so true. Even though I’m a girl who lives and breathes by technology, feels like I’m coming down with hives if I don’t keep up-to-date on the latest pop culture news from my Twitter feed, and can’t fathom going a whole day without the Internet/my Kindle/Instagram/Jezebel and XO Jane, I am still, at heart, a very old-fashioned, traditional girl. Let my tattooed, multiply pierced self explain. ;)

quote-Jason-Sudeikis-being-polite-and-grateful-will-make-people-228510

I believe in manners. I am always polite – even when I’m cross with someone and I’m snippy, I’m still polite. I abhor rudeness in others, and I find the lack of manners frequently on display in the world these days to be deplorable. I don’t understand people who clearly know better  behaving badly – there’s simply no excuse. People need to be kind to everyone they encounter in their day, whether they know them or not, it’s as simple as that. I find it embarrassing when others behave badly, and I have to admit that it completely and utterly turns me off those people…which probably makes me shallow, but…c’est la vie. Life is too short to spend with people who believe that treating others poorly is a viable option in life. It’s just vile.

I believe that men should always open the door for women, and that if you are the first at the door, regardless of whether you pee standing up or sitting down, you hold the door open for everyone coming and going. I believe that men should open car doors for ladies, whether they are someone they are shagging or not. I believe that looking people in the eyes is critical when you speak to them – people who don’t make me mighty nervous indeed.

I think that inviting someone to spend time with you at the last minute is kind of rude – I know that sometimes last minute things pop up, and that’s cool…but generally, if you want the pleasure of someone’s company, PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL AND ASK THEM. Don’t just text – call. If you know that you have a weekend evening free and you want to have dinner with Bobby and Sue, call them as early as possible and invite them to join you for dinner – expecting someone to be free at the last minute is bloody tacky and just plain rude, if you ask me.

How it ought to be...LOVE this! :)

How it ought to be…LOVE this! :)

“The vampire could woo any woman with his charisma and his charm, but he only wishes to romance her.. for eternity.” 

- Mr. Depravity

I was talking with someone the other day about the art of ‘woo’ing – something which I think is sorely (and sadly) missing from society today. People today don’t woo each other nearly enough – and yes, while wooing is traditionally something that men are meant to do for the women they are sweet on (see what I mean? even the expressions that I use are old-fashioned), ladies can do some wooing, too. A lot of people think that wooing means showering a lady with expensive gifts and trips and dinners at the finest restaurants in town – and, while all of those things sound ever-so-lovely, they absolutely aren’t necessary parts of the woo. The woo can be made up of simple things like writing your Sweet a wee poem and sending it to them to brighten their day – your words cost you nothing, and if you aren’t much of a poet, Google rhyming words and you’ll get through it just fine. How about calling them up early in the week and asking them on a proper date? Fun, right?? Even if it’s a generally assumed thing that you two will be spending time together over the weekend, still pick up that phone and call and ask – that feeling is just plain awesome. :) Give your girl a flower sometime – notice that I didn’t say flowers, because I know that the cost of those things can add up! Give her one beautiful stem of something that you know that she loves – it will win you a ton of wooing points! :) A final word on wooing, and this is directed at ladies and gentlemen alike: don’t ever ever stop wooing your love, whether you’ve been together for three months, three years, or three decades. Don’t ever let the woo stop – keep that shit going FOREVER! It will absolutely do wonders for your relationship, and it feels good – for both of you. I promise. :)

Hahaha :)

Hahaha :)

I read an article online entitled “How to Make a Woman Fall in Love With You” – here are the easy steps to follow! (and ladies, I imagine they can be adapted to fit a man as well) Try not to laugh….
ATTENTION ALL ROMEOS: For the following article to be of any use to you whatsoever, it is mandatory that you and your love interest meet at least once in person (and NOT in your dreams). This article is based on actual love, and not virtual love. Upon meeting her, it is vital that you know the right questions to ask the girl, in order to get to know her, only after which can you entertain any possible hopes of her falling in love with you.

Those of you who have skipped reading the above disclaimer and have directly landed on this line of text, stop right here. The future of your love life has been decided right here, right now. You will remain SINGLE all your life. Stop wasting time thinking about how to make her fall in love with you. No amount of dating tips will ever be of any help to you whatsoever. You, my friend, will forever remain an Adam sans a madam. You wanna know why? Because you weren’t attentive enough, you missed reading the first paragraph, and in doing so, you violated rule number one!

The Ultimate Guide to Make a Woman Fall for You

Rule #1: You CANNOT win the heart of any woman on this planet unless you remain alert and pay attention to detail. You HAVE to be on full systems alert when with a woman – watch every movement of hers and listen to each and every word she says (And I do sympathize with you because I am yet to meet a woman who is not a chatterbox!). No matter where or at what time of the day (or night) the two of you meet; no matter how tired, sleepy or hungry you may be, you instantly need to power on your love battery and be on full alert. Look at her, listen to her and show an interest in what she is saying. Women do not like men who talk, talk, talk and never listen. Chances of love and romance are directly proportional to your ethical listening abilities. (Ethical listening is nothing but focusing your ears on her vocals and your eyes above her neck). If and when you get a chance to say a few words, choose those which will showcase your intelligence, rather than those which will expose the lack of it.

Rule #2: Please be yourself. This is the universal dating tip for men all over the world. You don’t have to be a Brad Pitt in order to woo your woman. If you’re not exactly tall, dark and handsome, that’s fine. Win her over with your heart, not with your looks. Remember, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. You’ll fall flat on your face and your love story will instantly become history.

Rule #3: Become indispensable to her. PLEASE NOTE: Follow Rule #1 and read the rest of this rule, or else you may end up becoming her best friend to whom she comes crying after fighting with her boyfriend or fiance. By becoming indispensable, I mean becoming her friend and much more. That ‘much more’ is the difference between being relegated to just a friend and becoming the special one that she loves. There is no universal definition for that ‘much more’, it is something that you need to figure out for yourself. If you can’t, fine. All the best in being her best brotherly friend for life!

Rule #4: Be romantic in an innovative way. There are plenty of ways (both successful and otherwise) of wooing a woman. Many of them involve doing the same age-old things such as gifting mixed tapes, presenting heart-shaped pendants, writing cheesy poems, etc. Some of them do work, whereas most are perceived to be extremely stereotyped and clichéd by women of the 21st century. So if your girl happens to be a rebel or a fiercely independent woman who is in tune with modern times and thoughts, then writing a silly sonnet on a pink paper sprayed with some run-of-the-mill chloroform-type cologne will only guarantee you a few more months of bachelorhood. Find out what your woman’s interests are, what are her likes, her dislikes and act accordingly. Don’t take a lady who loves opera to an Avril Lavigne concert! If your Juliet happens to be a typical girl-next-door who has a fancy for all that is pink and mushy, then be a Romeo of the highest order! Gift your princess a couple of Mills & Boon’s and be her knight in shining armor. Shower her with a few lovey-dovey romantic gifts. Make Shakespeare look down from the heavens and weep a tear or two. Show your romantic side in a way that is both creative and equally appealing to your lady love.

Rule #5: Last but definitely not the least, show that you care for her. This is a very important piece of relationship advice. Show her that you are a genuine fellow who is here to stay and that you are not a fair weather friend. Be there for her when she needs help. Support your woman through thick and thin. Once again, do NOT go overboard with this. Calling her every ten minutes to check on her will only ensure that you end up spending New Year’s Eve with Steve, instead of Eve.

These five rules are the fundamentals of sowing the seed of love in the heart of your darling dove. Following them religiously (and sensibly!) may make your woman see you in a different light… the light of love, adoration and romantic companionship. That is the secret to make a girl fall in love with you. It may take some time. But you shouldn’t lose hope. After all, if Rome wasn’t built in a day, how can it be any different for romance?

While I think this author did make a few good points, there is some straight-up lunacy in here. Let’s break it down, shall we? Rule #1 is correct – listen to us, dammit! There are few things as irritating as sitting across the table from a person who doesn’t so much talk as they do lecture, thinking that they are all-knowing and wise about every topic under the sun, and trying not to fall asleep as they pontificate yet again on every subject that gets brought up. I find it particularly delightful when I hear people who have never worked in the Education industry attempt to lecture ME on the problems with teachers and education today. Squeeze me??! Baking powder??! WTF, people??! It’s plain obnoxious and rude – and is certainly not a way to endear yourself, friends. I don’t agree with the writer that men should never talk – that would get mighty boring mighty quickly, but…shouldn’t it be a 50-50 kind of thing? :)

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Rule #2 is accurate – be yourself. This goes for men and women equally – the pressure and effort of pretending to be someone else is freaking exhausting, so…why bother? Rule #3 is also good – it is always nice to have someone around that you know that you can rely on. Personally, I find it hard to get that way with people (probably stems from a lifetime of folks letting me down, and a lifetime of me allowing them to let me down) – but, when it happens that I feel that I can count on someone, rely on them for anything and everything, and really feel that they’ve got my back, well…that’s just about the best thing EVER. :)

I love Rule #4 – be romantic in an innovative way! This is the woo, folks! :) I love this!! :) I may not agree with everything that is written up there about this, but oh lordy am I a fan of innovative romance. I think things like fun, unconventional dates are terrific, as are silly little happies designed solely to bring a smile to your face – those can’t be beat! For example, let’s say your Sweet rolls up one day with a Coconut Water for you while loudly declaring that they are NUTS about you (get it? Nuts – coconut??! :) ), simply because they know that you LOOOOOOVE that stuff and that hydration is important – it’s not a big deal, but it lets you know that they thought about you and they care. Awesome, right?! :) I know!! :) I personally love mix tapes (or playlists, whatever the kids are calling them these days), Chocolate-Covered Cherry Jelly Bellys, assorted other sweet treats, movie recommendations, poems, pretty much anything that lets me know that someone is thinking of me. :) I LOVE that! :) Every girl on this earth will, too – come to think of it, so will most every man! :)

Rule #5 is a no-brainer – we should always always show those around us that we care, every single day. You never know when your number will be up and wouldn’t it be awful to shuffle off this mortal coil without letting those that around you know how precious they are to you? Exactly. Be supportive, be respectful, and be there. Pretty simple advice, oui? :)


what-make-people-fall-in-love

 

Now, go on….get out there and woo. :) Let me know how it goes. :)

xxx

 

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Mama

In her lovely and brilliant book Bossypants , the magnificent Tina Fey pens this prayer for her daughter – let’s read it together, shall we? :-)

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The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither the Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie- the- Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller- coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For Childhood is short— a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day— And Adulthood is long and Dry- Humping in Cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, That I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M ., all- at- once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.”

And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Amen

 

Isn’t that just the very best? I know. I love it, too. :-) My Wee One has been going through a few growing pains lately and giving me (her old, beloved mother) some major heartburn….so thinking of wisdom like this does much to make me feel better.

Parenting. NOT for the weak of heart. ;-)

Xxx

 

PS: My Wee One is only allowed to have tattoos when she’s an adult, if she chooses what she wants carefully and thinks it over for a full year prior to getting it (my Dad’s rule, and it’s a good one), if the pictures are small enough so as not to hinder her career choices – and if she lets me go with her. :-)

PS: I am so in love with this line – May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers. Heehee!!!! :-)

 

 

Unicorns

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In the millions of people that exist in this world, it is so hard to stand out, to be yourself, to forge your own path…to truly be unique. There is so much pressure on us to conform and to look and be just like everyone else, which is bloody tragic. We should celebrate the unicorns among us, applauding their independent, pioneering spirit instead of making fun of them for being special butterflies, don’t you think? :-)

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Poindexter – My Spirit Animal

 

 

I work in a high school, so I spend my days around teenagers, and I see their angst up close and personal. I thought that being a teen girl was rough on me in the late ’80s, but every day I say a silent prayer that I’m not coming of age these days….I don’t know how I’d survive. Seriously. There were no cell phones to take video of me wearing gross outfits from Au Coton Canada (see Exhibit A), no footage of me drinking entirely too much at a fancy wedding/flirting with bartenders twice my age/dancing and barfing into a potted plant (I was 15, and driving the hot mess express that night) and no Internet coverage of a botched haircut that had me bear more than a passing resemblance to Poindexter from ‘Revenge of the Nerds’. I’m so grateful that I came into myself without having to fret about cyber bullying and other assorted stupidity shown by young people today. Kids can be so cruel…and holy hell are girls MEAN. Times back then were rough enough, especially for an odd bird like me who NEVER fit in.

Exhibit A. I wish I was still this thin, and I'm happy to report that I still have these friggin awesome pink sunglasses at my house...but that outfit. Those paper bag shorts. Thanks, Au Coton.

Exhibit A. I wish I was still this thin, and I’m happy to report that I still have these friggin awesome pink sunglasses at my house…but that outfit. Those paper bag shorts. Thanks, Au Coton.

 

When I was young, I alternated between wanting desperately to be like everybody else, but still wanting/needing to jig to the tune of my own fiddler.  I would try to do things like everyone else (apart from wearing those classic 1980s Asics Tigers volleyball shoes -everyone wore those except for me…they made my feet look like skis, for real), but most of my attempts were failures because the stuff others did just didn’t work on me.  I always dressed differently (one girl from my class wore sweats to school ALL THE TIME like it was her bloody job – and she was popular. How? She was also the biggest bitch in the known universe as well, but….that’s another story for another day) – I didn’t wear most of the things that the popular peeps wore (still don’t). I didn’t listen to the same music as most others (as evidenced by the fact that I wore out not one but two copies of my Crash Vegas cassette tape that I’m pretty sure nobody owned but the band, their family, and me – I still listen to their song “Smoke” and cry. Every time.) I am very much my own person, and I’m not easily influenced by others (if you’d like to confirm this, let me know…I can give you a list of names of people who’ve tried to change me and failed miserably). A very sweet person recently said about me “How the hell are you so entertaining?” and followed that with “there is something indefinable about you'”. Isn’t that bloody awesome? I’ve never wanted anything more than to be entertaining and different from everyone else. WOOHOO!!! I love it when people get me. :-)
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While researching the idea of embracing your uniqueness (AKA trying to find research that justifies my inclination towards unusual behavior), I came across this little gem – ‘Being Unique Matters’. Give it a read:

Why do you care? Really take a moment to reflect on this: why do you concern yourself with what others think about you? You are a unique, gifted, and special individual. That is a fact. Now let that be your starting point and your living point. Here are a few thoughts on why you should dare to be different, celebrate the special uniqueness that is you, and not worry about what others think.

Your Uniqueness and Life Have Taken You Places

Every human being that has ever lived, or ever will live, is unique. You are truly one of a kind. We all know that we, as humans, share the usual bits and pieces that most of us have in common, such as certain essential body parts — a head, a heart, a brain, and so on. But the similarity ends there.

Your life experiences thus far have made you the person you are today. The way you were brought up by your parents and the things that you learned in your childhood have come together to make you different from everyone else. You may have learned some things in a similar way to other children, such as having respect for your fellow man, the need to “clean up your room!”, or to brush your teeth twice a day, and so on. Yet you will have also learned many things that other children did not, such as how to care for a rabbit, or play a musical instrument, or build a fort in the woods, or solve complicated math equations.

It is the combination of everything that you have learned and the various things that you have done that make you truly different from everyone else on this planet. Others may share some of your talents and abilities, but there is no one who is identical to you. It is rather like an artist painting a picture; even if another artist were to copy the picture as closely as possible it would never be identical. Different brush strokes or combinations of paint would have been used, and each masterpiece is its own.

So since you are unique, why not celebrate that fact? Dare to be your own person and disregard what others may think.

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.
~ Cecil Beaton

Don’t Conform to the Norm

We are brought up in our schools to conform; to be the same as everyone else. It has gotten to the point now where some of our teachers are not allowing children to win prizes for coming in first place on school sports day, because those who lagged behind would feel different and “left out”. Some schools have discontinued having a sports day altogether, so that little Corey won’t get upset that little Johnny won a prize.

This is insane. The fact is that little Johnny is a faster runner than Corey. However, it is also the case that Corey is far better at math than Johnny. We need to celebrate and accentuate these uniquenesses. It is because of the very fact that we are different that makes all of us so wonderful and special.

Being Different Leads to Innovation and Critical Thinking

This attitude that everyone should be the same is stifling inventiveness and individual thinking. How far would we have gotten if Albert Einstein had been obliged to conform to the same mores as his peers? He dared to think differently. One might even say that he dared to think. The contribution of just this one man has made the world a far better place than it was. There are and have been, of course, many others, but if some of the teachers of today have their way these individuals will become a rarity.

So celebrate the fact that you are unique and that you have a contribution to make to this world. When you pass on you will have inevitably made an impact on it. Others will have been affected by your life and your presence here, whether you realize it or not. Those that you loved and who loved you will have been changed in a way that could not have happened had you never lived.

What Follows? What’s Next?

It follows from all this that you should feel free to live your life in the best manner as you can. But in that pursuit, be a true, authentic, and real individual. Don’t hide behind the shadows of fakery and deception. If you wish to dress differently from others, then do so. If you want to climb a mountain, or explore a desert, do it! Don’t worry what others think.

You only have one life. Provided that the way you live it doesn’t harm anyone, you have the opportunity – one might even say the duty – to live it the way you see fit.

 

Good, eh? I love the concept of being daring…for so much of what we do and who we are depends upon how bold and brave we can be.  Have you heard Brené Brown’s TedTalk on The Power of Vulnerability? If not, then you really need to…life-changing. So awesome. :-) She shares this Teddy Roosevelt quote from 1910:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

 

So, go forth and conquer, my sweet friends…be who you are, don’t mind anyone else’s opinion. Be a unicorn, dare greatly – I know you are destined for amazing things! :-)

 

xxx