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

Centerfield

Oh, put me in coach, I’m ready to play today
Put me in coach, I’m ready to play today
Look at me, I can be centerfield

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I attended a True Colors staff development session on Monday, and I can’t stop thinking about my results. If you aren’t familiar with True Colors, the program is a (from their website) “model for understanding yourself and others based on your personality temperament…Each of us has a combination of these True Colors that make up our personality spectrum, usually with one of the styles being the most dominant…Identifying your personality and the personalities of others using True Colors provides you with insights into different motivations, actions and communication approaches.True Colors works because it is based on true principles and easy to remember and use – in all kinds of circumstances – from personal relationships to professional success.” Our entire staff did the inventory, we determined our dominant personality colors, and then we partnered up with colleagues that shared our color to create a presentation for the rest of the participants that highlighted the strengths of our particular personality type. I ended up being an Orange – we Orange people tend to have these common traits: energetic, risk-takers, quick-witted, creative and innovative, natural entertainer, high need for mobility, hands-on learner, playful and charming, skilled in crisis management, competitive, likes tangible rewards and positive feedback, freedom and adventure, impulsive and spontaneous, productive in informal environments, and a natural negotiator. I laughed out loud…while I don’t know that I’m particularly charming, most of the rest of this list seemed pretty damn spot on. Read this paragraph from the True Colors book we were given: “If your brightest color is ORANGE, you tend to be action oriented with a strong desire to test the limits. You tend to become restless with routine and repetition. You prefer a hands-on approach to problem solving and desire visible outcomes. You are competitive and bounce back quickly from defeat. You are drawn to adventure and you enjoy being in the spotlight. You thrive in an environment that promotes flexibility and freedom.” Holy. Shit. If that’s not me, than I don’t know what is….crazy. I like things like this because, while I am already well aware what kind of person I am and I know pretty much what I’ve got to work with here, it’s great to have a reminder of the things that make me me, and it reminds me how I appear to others, which is a really interesting thing to consider. While I find most of my qualities to be perfectly normal and amusing, I can easily understand how I might annoy the shit out of some people – without meaning to (most of the time), of course. It was a great training – if you ever have the opportunity, check it out. It’s fun! 🙂

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The presenter at our training is someone that I’ve got to know over the past year or so, and I really admire her and her career. She was a teacher, an administrator, and is now doing staff development presentations and consulting – and she is damn good at her job. Something else that she does is life coaching – which I think is fascinating. I wish that I could afford to hire her to help me get my poop in a group, but…sadly she is way too expensive for the likes of me. However, she and I were talking about the principles behind life coaching and how very common sense that work is – I found this article that kind of supports that idea.

“I want to get out of my dead-end job.”
“I want to make more money.”
“I want to finally open up my heart to love.”
“I want to accept myself for who I am.”

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Any of these sound familiar? You’re not alone. Most of us want to experience some kick-ass changes in our lives in 2016. And here’s the best news: You can make those changes all on your own. As luxurious and awesome as it is to have one-on-one support from a life coach, it’s not always in our budget.

But with a little help from Dan Sullivan—a thought leader in the field of growth and development and coach to some of the most successful CEOs in the world—it’s possible to get clear on what you want and how to get there, without paying up for professional help.


His questions, which appeared in The Success Principles, have helped me and my clients enormously. All you need is an open mind, a notebook, and an hour alone for one amazing coaching session. One thing to keep in mind: Imagine someone you trust is asking you these questions and answer with your whole heart—don’t hold back!

4 Questions for Personal Growth – Life Coaching Questions
1. If we meet three years from today, what has to have happened during that three-year period for you to feel happy about your progress?
Picture yourself at age 27, 31, 49—however old you will be in three years. What vision makes you most satisfied? What will your life look like? Where will you be? What will you be doing this exact date three years from today?

The more specific you can be, the better. The universe responds best to passion, clarity, and intention. Write down every detail—from what your home looks like, to the total in your bank account, to the activities that will fill your day, even where you’ll vacation and with whom (this can include a spouse you are yet to meet and/or children you hope to have).

Remember: Base this on what you want—not on what you think you should want or what other people want for you.

2. What are the biggest dangers that you’ll have to face and deal with in order to achieve that progress?
Be honest with yourself. Do you drink too much or watch too much TV—anything that doesn’t let you be focused enough to start a side hustle or make an effort to meet new people? Do you shy away from taking personal development courses or going to meetups that will allow you to make connections and learn important lessons? Do you sabotage yourself with thoughts of “I’m not smart enough/confident enough/ready to leap forward?”

Of all the dangers and distractions in the world, the biggest danger is often our limiting thoughts about our potential.
Of all the dangers and distractions in the world, the biggest danger is often our limiting thoughts about our potential. The vast majority of these seem real but are not in fact true. When we consume all of the same fear-based beliefs over and over again, we live a limited life—a half-life.

3. What are the biggest opportunities that you have that you would need to focus on and capture to achieve those things?
Do you have an inspiring story you can share with the world to help other people? Do you live in a city full high-achieving professionals, a few of whom you can perhaps connect with? Do you know someone who just moved to a city or country that could hold opportunities for you? Are you WordPress-savvy (or know someone who is) and can set up a beautiful blog in no time? Are you really good at helping people with interview skills and happen to live near a college campus?

The opportunities are endless when you truly open your eyes and look. Remind yourself of what came up for you in question one and search for the breadcrumbs that surround you right now. I guarantee that they exist.

4. What strengths do you need to reinforce and maximize? What skills and resources do you need to develop that you don’t currently have in order to capture those opportunities?
This is the ultimate question as it requires action. Ain’t nothin’ that happens in life without action, my friend. Do you need to develop some online marketing skills? Take a crash course in blogging for beginners? Work on your confidence in networking or dating? Maybe you need to read up on how to ask for a raise, create a business proposal to convert your hobby into a profitable side-gig, or meditate to release anxiety.

The Takeaway

Always remember the vision you have for your future. That’s my most important tool for staying on track. When I was working in a cubicle for a boss, I realized it wasn’t for me, so I started a business in my free time. When I was growing up, the need to experience the world tugged at my heart so strongly that I made a move to Syd

 

Isn’t this great? I really REALLY love the first question – “If we meet three years from today, what has to have happened during that three-year period for you to feel happy about your progress?” This is a really powerful question for me, as I am a person who struggles to feel happy about the things that I do…and I am not entirely sure why. I think that I had a completely different vision of what I thought my life would be, and I am fighting to get over the disappointment that I feel regarding that issue. When I look at things objectively, I am not doing too badly – I have a good job, a lovely sweet Muppet child, a roof over our head that I like most of the time, a car that works, and food to put in our tummies. These things alone make me more successful than a great portion of the world’s population. However, I had always hoped that I wouldn’t have to struggle quite as much as I do, that I would have day-to-day companionship to share the journey with me, that I would have some degree of financial freedom (which, thanks to my student loans, is one hell of a long way away), that I’d get to travel more, and that life just might not be so damn hard all the time – but it is. However, the fact that I am able to get up every morning, put one foot in front of another and keep on going is a beautiful thing – and I need to remember that more often. As the hip peeps on the Internets would say….#blessed. 😉

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I also love the fourth question that asks about maximizing and reinforcing strengths. I don’t know if I will stay in the Education industry for the rest of my career – at this point in the game, I probably will…but who knows what will happen? I always figure that I am little more than one inappropriate joke away from being tossed out on my ear anyway, so…I need to work on skills for a back up plan. A dear friend of mine is approaching their own retirement this spring (lucky bugger!), and is looking to transition into another career. He has met with a corporate headhunter, and has completed a number of interest inventories and tests to see what kind of work he would be best suited for – I friggin’ LOVE this!! I want to give this a whirl – I would love, at some point, to try working in the real world. I might find that it is a terrible fit for me and walknotrun straight back to the nearest education institution; or I might find that it is the perfect place for me to make a difference and make lives better. You never really know until you try, eh? I doubt that I will be able to retire until I am in my late 60s/early 70s, which is still a LOOOONG way away from now. I would like to figure out some ways to make the next 27-30 years as painless – and productive – as possible. I don’t know how many marketable skills I have, but I need to find out. I think it would behoove me greatly to work on identifying what I have to offer, and figure out how to make the most of those skills. I’m not getting any younger, so….it’s time to do what I can to look forward, and make plans for the rest of my years.

Life can be so frightening – yet exciting, eh? 😉

xxx

 

Maybe It Was Memphis

My wee travel partner and I just returned from a quick trip to Memphis, and I cannot tell you how awesome it was – have you ever been? If not, walkdontrun straight to Memphis right now- what an outstanding city! 🙂

One of the highlights of the trip for us was the Memphis Zoo, quite possibly the loveliest zoo I have ever seen. We visited with some panda bears, which was the Wee One’s favorite – and the giraffes were straight up adorable. Love! 🙂 Here are some pictures:

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We did some great eating while there – one of the standouts was a restaurant called Kooky Canuck, highly recommended by some locals, which featured Canadian food, if you can imagine! I was thrilled! 🙂 I had some poutine (because of course I did), Montreal-style hot dogs, and great Canadian beer – it was a delicious meal! 🙂 We sampled some Memphis-style BBQ, which we loved (especially since the place that we visited on Beale Street was a rockin’ blues club with two goats in the backyard – so awesome); another standout meal was at a place called Cafe Eclectic – everything there was yummy, especially my Elvis sandwich (grilled peanut butter and banana, ordered from the kids menu – so.good.).

Such a fun place!

Such a fun place!

Behold...poutine and DIVINE hot dogs!!

Behold…poutine and DIVINE hot dogs!!

An Elvis sandwich - grilled peanut butter and banana, drizzled with local honey. YUMMY!!!

An Elvis sandwich – grilled peanut butter and banana, drizzled with local honey. YUMMY!!!

Dry rub ribs, beans, coleslaw, and a roll....those ribs were the stuff of dreams, friends! :-)

Dry rub ribs, beans, coleslaw, and a roll….those ribs were the stuff of dreams, friends! :-)

Beale Street at night

Beale Street at night

The Southern Belle cocktail - I highly recommend it! ;-)

The Southern Belle cocktail – I highly recommend it! ;-)

One of the goats!!! :-)

One of the goats!!! :-)

Statue of WC Handy :-)

Statue of the Father of Blues WC Handy :-)

Speaking of Elvis…we visited Graceland! I was surprised by how much I knew about the King, and totally taken aback by how much I LOVED it! 🙂 We did the iPad tour (narrated by the lovely John Stamos – he can whisper in my ear any time he wants), which was very cool and informative – and the tour of the mansion and grounds was really great. I loved Graceland! 🙂

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We also visited Sun Studio, where Elvis began his recording career. This wasn’t exactly the Wee One’s cup of tea, but I loved it a whole big bunch – we stood on the spot where the famous Million Dollar Quartet picture had been taken, I held the microphone Elvis sang in to, I touched the piano played by one of my musical favorites (and first concert I ever attended) Jerry Lee Lewis. The history there was magical, especially for a music lover like me – our tour guide Jane was awesome, and I loved the whole vibe of the place (did you know U2 recorded “Rattle and Hum” there? Neither did I!). Yaa! 🙂

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We went to see the Broadway musical “Pippen” at the historic Orpheum Theatre – it was fantastic!!! 🙂 That’s a show that’s not to miss – the acrobats, the sights…it was great!! 🙂 We particularly loved the sing-along number (I didn’t see that coming!) – such fun! 🙂
We visited the Peabody Hotel to witness the march of the historic Peabody ducks. This sounds silly, but let me tell you….it was fabulous! If you aren’t familiar with the story, here it is:

The Peabody Memphis Ducks

In 1933, Frank Schutt, General Manager of The Peabody, and a friend, Chip Barwick, returned from a weekend hunting trip in Arkansas. The men had a little too much Jack Daniel’s Tennessee sippin’ whiskey and thought it would be funny to place some of their live duck decoys (it was legal then for hunters to use live decoys) in the beautiful Peabody fountain.

Three small, English call ducks were selected as “guinea pigs” and the reaction was nothing short of enthusiastic. Soon, five North American Mallard ducks would replace the original ducks.

In 1940, Bellman Edward Pembroke, a former circus animal trainer, offered to help with delivering the ducks to the fountain each day and taught them the now-famous Peabody Duck March. Mr. Pembroke became the Peabody Duckmaster, serving in that capacity for 50 years until his retirement in 1991.

Nearly 90 years after the inaugural march, ducks still visit the lobby fountain at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day.

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We were only in Memphis a few days, but I can guarantee that we will be back as soon as we can – we loved it that much! Memphis is an absolute treat to see, the people are outstanding and the very best example of Southern hospitality that you could ever hope to find, and it has a warm, happy feel that will leave you a person changed for the better. I heart Memphis! 🙂

xxx

 

Any Way You Want It

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What do you want out of life? This question is much harder than it seems on the surface. I thought about it and made a list the other day – here’s a few of the things that I came up with:

-A salary increase of at least $25,000 within the next 3 years

-Shorter working hours – down to 60 hours/week instead of the current level

-More time with my little one!! 🙂

-A really pretty wardrobe (including appropriate accessories)

-Some work done on my house – I want my home to be my castle! 🙂

-A LOT of work on my yard! (you’ve no idea how badly it needs it!)

-More opportunities (and funding!) to travel

-A writing career – even if it’s only part time, I want this so badly

-A promotion at work

-A healthy, happy love relationship

-A close relationship with my friends

-Love and Attention

 

From what I understand, the first step in getting the things that you want is to clarify exactly what it is that you want. While I know that the list above is by no means exhaustive, it is certainly a start. Here’s an article that I found that explains how to program your mind to get what you want….who doesn’t want that??! 🙂

Decide What You Want
In order to get what you want, you must first decide what you want. Most people really foul up at this crucial first step because they simply can’t see how it’s possible to get what they want — so they don’t even let themselves want it. 
Don’t sabotage yourself that way! What scientists now know about how the brain works is that you must first decide WHAT you want, before your brain can figure out HOW to get it. Once you lock-in your desires, your mind and the universe can step in.

Be Willing to Dream Big Dreams
As soon as you commit to a big dream and really go after it, your subconscious creative mind will come up with big ideas to make it happen. You’ll start attracting the people, resources, and opportunities you need into your life to make your dream come true. Big dreams not only inspire you, they compel others to want to play big, too.

Set Goals That Will Stretch You
Another value in giving yourself permission to go after the big dreams is that big dreams require you to grow in order to achieve them. In fact, in the long run, that is the greatest benefit you will receive from pursuing your dreams — not so much the outer trappings of fulfilling the dream (an expensive car, impressive house, loads of money and philanthropic opportunities), but who you become in the process.
As I’ve seen many times over, the outer symbols of success, can all be easily lost. Houses burn down, companies go bankrupt, relationships end in divorce, cars get old, bodies age and fame wanes, but who you are, what you have learned and the new skills you have developed never go away. These are the true prizes of success. Motivational philosopher, Jim Rohn advises that “You should set a goal big enough that in the process of achieving it, you become someone worth becoming.”

Service to Others
Something else you’ll discover is that when your dreams include service to others — accomplishing something that contributes to others — it also accelerates the accomplishment of that goal. People want to be part of something that contributes and makes a difference.

Turn Your Dreams into Goals and Objectives
Once you are clear about what you want, you must turn each item into a measurable objective. By measurable, I mean measurable in space and time — how much and by when. For instance, if you were to tell me that you wanted more money, I might pull out a dollar and give it to you, but you would probably protest, saying “No, I meant a lot more money — like $20,000!” Well, how am I supposed to know unless you tell me? Similarly, your boss, your friends, your spouse, your brain — God, the Universe — can’t figure out what you want unless you tell them specifically what it is. What do you want — exactly — and when do you want it by?

Write Your Goals Down
Write your goals down in detail, and read your list of goals every day. This will keep your subconscious mind focused on what you want. For an even more powerful approach, close your eyes and focus on each goal and ask yourself, “What is one thing I could do today to move toward the achievement of this goal?” Write down your answers and take those actions.

To help your reticular activating system begin finding YOUR wants in unexpected places, take time now to decide what you want and start writing!

Remember, don’t hold back!

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Now – when I look back on the few things that I jotted down up top, I can see that I have a lot of finetuning to do! I need to be more specific, I need to make my list of things more manageable, and quantify how I want these things to be. I need to sit down – and here’s the hard part – and create a list of goals that I want to have happen. I need to put these goals and dreams all over the place, and surround myself with them – they need to be more visible than just a spot in my work notebook. I need to make these things a priority for me, and I need to think on them every single day, making them part of the fabric of me. I can do this….I think I can, I think I can. 🙂

 

 

xxx

Brave

I was speaking with someone recently and I asked them what was holding them back from doing the things that they wanted to do – their answer was: “Shackled by doubt, manners, ill-conceived notions of right and wrong, and mostly cowardice!” My response? “Be bold! Live bravely!!! Rawr!!!!” Not exactly my finest or most eloquent motivational speech, but…a start. I think that despite a number of obstacles, I’ve always managed to make my way through the world with some degree of boldness, even though I, too, have struggled to put my bravest foot forward every time. I have hesitated when I should have plunged in with both feet, and I have wasted many moments mentally weighing pros and cons instead of just living in those moments. Thankfully, I am getting better with this as I age – I think it’s the shocking reality of one’s own mortality that brings on these braver thoughts. You just never know when it’ll be the end of your time here, so it’s best to live life out loud, and never dull your shine.

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How do you act more brave? A quick Google search yielded this article, which I thought was pretty awesome:

Bravery isn’t only about heroic acts in unusual situations. It can also be as simple as the risk of trying something new. Here are 50 ideas to get you started.

Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling.

Let go of people who continually let you down.

Look at yourself in the mirror with kindness.

Tell someone you love him/her.

Preach what’s in your heart.

Write your own story.

Share your thoughts.

Share your opinions.

Don’t wear make up. 

Risk being wrong.

Try something for the first time.

Trust your instincts.

Set boundaries.

Put pen to paper.

Sing a song.

Dance.

Play the ukulele.

Try Roller Derby.

Tolerate discomfort.

Make a mistake.

Follow your heart.

Say, “I don’t know.”

Ask for help.

Share your vulnerabilty. 

Face your problems.

Let the past be the past.

Allow yourself to be in a photo.

Take a picture of yourself.

Trust your ideas, even the crazy ones.

Stand up for someone who is being picked on.

Leave an abusive relationship.

Say goodbye to your gremlins.

Be your own beloved. 

Stand up against any kind of prejudice.

Say no to the things you don’t want.

Say yes to the things you want.

Wear something ridiculous just because you like it.

Be the first person to reach out after a conflict.

Give a stranger a flower.

Ask someone how they are, and really listen.

Let go of your need to control everything.

Embrace your weirdness. 

Don’t react to criticism.

Give someone a hug.

Give yourself a hug.

Say kind things to yourself.

Invite feedback.

Let go of being busy all the time.

Be open to changing courses. Remember, bravery is not the absence of fear.

Begin again.

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Great list, right? There’s a lot of things there that maybe aren’t totally brave, but the thought behind them is. I know that, for me, one of the bravest things I do (and I do it every day) is walk down the halls and into the cafeteria in front of hundreds of teenagers. If you’ve spent any time around teenagers, you know that they are the harshest, most judgmental audience you could ever hope to find…so it does take a certain degree of courage to stand in front of them every day, opening yourself up to their hate and scorn. I always figure that anyone who can stand in front of a tough crowd like that without shriveling up can pretty much do anything. 🙂 I used to feel self-conscious and let those feelings bother me – now I don’t even give it a thought. A couple of years ago, I fell (while wearing 4″ heels) in the cafeteria in front of everyone. It wasn’t a delicate little ‘whoopsy daisy slip’ either, I did a full-on face plant and had my dress over my head and my arse hanging out (because I’m classy like that)….you know me, go big or go home. I figure that if I can survive that kind of a shitshow, I can survive anything. 🙂 My attitude towards gaffs such as these has evolved over the years, thankfully – there was a time when I’d have been crippled and looking to join the Witness Protection Program following something so stupid. However, my give-a-shit has broken, it seems, so I really don’t sweat much of the small stuff anymore. Woohoo!! There ARE some good things about getting older!!! 🙂

Another thing that has changed about me over the years is how I approach my interactions with others. Once upon a time, I’d have overlooked uncomfortable feelings and doubts that I had about someone and just pushed on, turning a blind eye to that which didn’t feel right – because being uncomfortable felt better than being alone. However, those days are so long gone their smell doesn’t even linger in the air anymore. When I feel that something isn’t right these days, I pause and carefully examine the situation. I don’t walk away or ignore it like I’ve always done; instead, I bend over and look really closely…I get down on my knees and study what is happening around me, taking it all in. I’m done ignoring things that don’t feel good to me – and I’m even more done being quiet about it.

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A great example of this happened this past weekend – I went and bought myself a diamond ring.  It’s a REAL diamond ring, not a little pinkie ring or a piece of costume jewelry. The main reason that I chose to treat myself was that I recently graduated from a long and grueling academic program, an accomplishment that is well worthy of a massive celebration. (NOTE: After all the blood, sweat, and tears that went in to that degree, I should perhaps refer to this ring as my own blood diamond!) As well, I believe that I deserve to have pretty things, and it’s a beautiful byproduct of how hard I work that I don’t have to wait for someone to buy them for me – I can tend to it myself (with a lovely, interest-free repayment plan to assist!). The woman at the store was really awkward, though, asking me why I was buying such a ring for myself, and was I just picking it up for my man, was I in a same sex couple, was I pretending to be engaged so that I could make someone jealous, etc etc etc. She was on my last bloody nerve with the crappy things that she was saying – however, I liked the ring and the amazing deal I was getting, so I wasn’t annoyed enough to walk away from the transaction. Rather than just being quiet and seething inside, I decided that I should let her know that I was buying it for myself to celebrate an academic accomplishment of mine, to celebrate a number of other wonderful things in my life (two years at my curent job! almost eight years in my home without moving away! Monday without work! hockey season starts next month! I didn’t tell her any of these things, btw)  – but mostly, I said, I’m buying it for myself because I’m bloody awesome and I deserve it. She just stared at me, so I seized this opportunity to lecture her on never assuming things based on what people purchase, and the importance of letting them share the circumstances of their life and shopping with her, rather than nearly breaking her neck jumping to conclusions. I know, not my place to lecture, but far be it from me to ever miss out on an opportunity to put a self-righteous snob in her place. 🙂 She looked mortified when I was finished, and tried apologizing a hundred times – I told her not to worry, that all was good. I am willing to bet when I return to pick up the ring (it’s being sized at the moment), that I find it difficult to move as her head will be right up my arse. As it should be. 🙂

 

xxx
PS: I will post a picture when I pick the ring up…it’s fabulous! Like me. 😉

UPDATE: My ring 🙂

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I Believe

This picture was waiting in my inbox this morning:

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If you can’t read the text (the picture copied weird – sorry), here’s what it says:

When I look around, what I see doesn’t represent me. I deserve more, I’m ready to share the spotlight. It’s time to see a change, to see a body like mine on a billboard and in magazines. I’m sexy, spirited and stylish with nothing to hide, worthy of being seen just as I am. It’s time to represent because my voice is one of many and I want to live in a world where we are all seen and celebrated. #PlusIsEqual It’s time for change, be part of it.

 

Isn’t that an awesome way to start a day? I thought so, too – I could not agree more. Hallelujah, sisters! 🙂 #curvyanddamnproudofit

 

Happy Tuesday! 🙂

xxx

C’est la Vie!

I went to a cooking class at Sur la Table today – French macarons!! It was absolutely delightful, and such an excellent way to spend Labor Day. I went with a colleague who is in to cooking, and it was such good fun! 🙂 If you’ve never been to a cooking class with Sur la Table before, I highly recommend it – you get to try out a new menu, in a professional kitchen (that is SOOOO gorgeous!), and somebody comes behind you and cleans up. What could possibly be better? 🙂

Our menu was Cassis Macaron with Blackberry Buttercream, and Cappuccino Macaron with Espresso Dark Chocolate Ganache. They were even better than they sound, hard as that is to believe! That blackberry buttercream is absolutely the stuff of dreams – I told the instructor that I’d roll around naked in that stuff and lick every bit of it off myself (I’m weird, sorry), and she agreed. It was THAT good. Yum. 🙂

Here are some pictures:

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I am aware that they aren’t the prettiest macarons that ever there were, but holy sheepshit were they delicious!! The purple ones???!! Wowza!!! AMAZING!!!! 🙂 I can’t wait to try making them again – while they are rather farty and time-consuming, they are fun, delicious, and I loved every second of this. My favorite part was piping the batter into little circle shapes…everybody has their thing, I suppose. 🙂 I bought one of the Silpat mats with the circles marked on it, to encourage me to make them again – can’t wait!! 🙂 There was something very soothing about methodically going through the steps to make these things – this type of activity is good for the soul. I ought to do it more often. 🙂

 

How have you spent your long weekend, my lovelies? I hope that you’ve had a wonderful, peaceful weekend full of fun and those you love. 🙂 Happy Monday, friends! 🙂

xxx

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

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For whatever reason, I never watched “Gilmore Girls” when it was on – I’m not sure if I didn’t get the channel in Canada or what, but…the entire thing went right over my head. I know that I didn’t see it on British TV when I lived in the UK, and by the time I moved to the US it was nearly over, so…totally missed the boat. Over the years (and especially as my Muppet has gotten older) many people have commented on how the Wee One and I have a relationship that’s not that different from the one between Lorelai and Rory. I hoped that this was a compliment, but was never entirely sure – until a few weeks ago. During a particularly raucous bout of cryptospiridium poisoning (which is nowhere near as fun as that flashy title sounds), I was stuck at home for days. I wasn’t chained to the pot in my bathroom, but things were pretty damn close. I did nothing but lay in bed, wishing to perish a quick and painless demise – it was vile. I passed the time by finishing all five seasons of “Alias” (another show I had missed out on – what fun! Bradley Cooper was so dreamy!!), the “Wet Hot Summer” series on Netflix (featuring the ageless Paul Rudd, that bugger), and the first few episodes of “Gilmore Girls”. And…I’m hooked. I friggin’ LOVE this show – it’s so awesome. I want to move to the town of Stars Hollow yesterday, and I could become very accustomed to having the lovely Luke make me my coffee every morning. Lorelai and Rory’s relationship is kind of similar to the Muppet antics that go on at our house…while I hope that I am slightly more mature and responsible than Lorelai, I do certainly think that my attitude towards things with the little one is not that far off from hers. I am crazy for this show – so awesome! 🙂 Even though I’ve never seen it before, there’s something so familiar about it…it reminds me of home. 🙂 (Plus, I’m mega-nostalgic for the 90s these days for some reason, so….yet another reason to binge-watch!)

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I’ve been feeling really homesick lately, and longing for small town life…words I never thought I would utter. The traffic here in San Antonio has absolutely plummeted down the shitter this summer, and it’s wearing me down. I’ve taken to planning my social life around traffic patterns, which is a practice I absolutely loathe – and something I swore I’d never do again after my years living in traffic purgatory (AKA Washington, DC/Northern Virginia). The start of the school year has not helped our already craptastic traffic patterns, as every fool (and their dog) are on the road at the same time, and nobody is getting anywhere. It’s terribly frustrating, and really cramping my style – I’m over it! I told someone the other day that I want to move to a small town, work at a school there, and have livestock be the only traffic barrier that I contend with….wouldn’t that be nice??! 🙂

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The other alternative is move to a metropolis, put the car in storage, and go public transportation all the way. While grocery shopping would take some major adjustments, I think I could SO adapt to this way of life. I love having other people drive me places (probably because it rarely happens), I like looking out the windows and watching the world go by. I love being in cities where you can walk everywhere (which never friggin’ happens here in San Antonio – things are so far apart, and since it’s hotter than the depths of hell here for half of the year, walking isn’t an option), I love sitting on benches and people watching…all of the things that I bet I could do if I moved to a bigger urban center. My beloved New York would be nice!!!! 🙂

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However, despite my longings for new beginnings and change, I guess I will have to stay here for now – wandering is tough when you’ve got a Muppet in tow. Time to pretend that San Antonio is just a slightly overgrown Stars Hollow (I wish!).  I wonder if the longing to roam and wander will ever leave my system…highly unlikely, I imagine – but I think I’m pretty okay with that. 🙂

xxx

I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing

The start of a new school year is an exciting, chaotic time….I tend to lose myself in all of the excitement of new students and new notebooks, rarely stopping to take time to smell the roses or the aroma of the binding on said new notebooks. However, I took a five minute time out today, sat under my desk (it’s my happy place 🙂 ), and thought about a few of my favorite things these days. Here you go:

1) The song ‘S.O.B’ by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats:

This song is EVERYTHING. EV-ERY-THING. Love. 🙂

If your hiney isn’t up and dancing, then you need to consult a medical expert…there’s clearly something wrong with you.

 

2) These shoes:

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I ordered these babies from Italian shoe campany Tipe e Tacchi….at least I think I did. I fell in love with them when Kat from Rock’n’Roll Bride shared a picture of them on Instagram, and I knew that I HAD to have them. The damn shopping site is only in Italian, and while I can holler ‘gelato’ and ‘manicotti’ with the best of them (think Kevin Kline in “A Fish Called Wanda”), I still remain uncertain if I did indeed order them or not. I check the post hopefully each day…because those are some seriously fab shoes that I think will be perfect on my feeties! 🙂

 

3) Speaking of awesome things, behold my new Betsey Johnson bag:

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Yep…it’s a hot pink typerwriter bag. With chain straps. It’s AMAZING!!! I love it with all my heart! Yaaa!!! It really doesn’t take a lot to have me excited, does it? 😉 (NOTE: This is the annual First Day of School picture of the Wee Muppet and I – could she be more gorgeous??! I doubt it!!)

 

4) My Bando Agenda:

This thing is everything for a planner nerd like me – I love it SO MUCH:

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I’ve always delighted in a good planner, but man alive is this one ever a life changer. I don’t know how people survive without a good planner!!

 

5) This:

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I’m a graduate again! Yaaaa me!!! 🙂

 

What are you excited about these days?

xxx

Austin

I spent some time in Austin recently…there aren’t words to express how much I love that town – it’s so awesome!! 🙂 Here are some highlights from my trip:

I stayed at the Hotel Ella, a place that was SO BEAUTIFUL I cannot recommend it enough – gorgeous! The staff were outstanding, the place was stunning, there’s incredible artwork all over the property…I could have stayed there forever. Love. 🙂

 

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Don’t you want to just sit on that veranda and drink cocktails all day long? I know…me, too! 🙂 I did some amazing eating (and drinking!) while I was gone – I visited The Salty Sow, which was really great…and The Odd Duck, which I absolutely LOVED!!! I can’t remember having a meal that I enjoyed so much! Delicious!!!! 🙂 Here are some highlights:

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Bangers – one of my absolute favorites in Austin!

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Isn’t Bangers pretty at night? :-)

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My new favorite summer drink…Crispin Apple Cider with a splash of raspberry! Yum!

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Poutine – my very, very favorite :-)

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Duck and fig sausage – heaven in casing!

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This was antelope and venison sausage…I can’t recommend it enough! So good!!!

 

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This sign makes me happy :-)

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No visit to Austin is complete without visiting the bathroom at Craft Pride! Woohoo!

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Sitting on the patio at Shady Grove

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Tamale Pancakes from Shady Grove – ridiculously delicious!

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Truffle Devilled Eggs from The Salty Sow

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Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese – SOOOO GOOD!!!! :-)

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Pork Belly – should get in my belly more often!

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Smashed new potatoes

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Bananas Foster Beignets…a highlight of the weekend!

A Moroccan dish from the Hill Country Food Truck Festival in Luckenbach

A Moroccan dish from the Hill Country Food Truck Festival in Luckenbach

Parker House Rolls stuffed with pig face - that's what the menu said, so I had to order them. You don't walk past pig face, friends.

Parker House Rolls stuffed with pig face – that’s what the menu said, so I had to order them. You don’t walk past pig face, friends.

Meet the pig face!! It was INCREDIBLE!!!!

Meet the pig face!! It was INCREDIBLE!!!!

Eggplant fritters in house-made ricotta...delicious!

Eggplant fritters in house-made ricotta…delicious!

Grilled okra - I'm not much of an okra fan, sadly.

Grilled okra – I’m not much of an okra fan, sadly.

BBQ shrimp - divine!

BBQ shrimp – divine!

Twice baked potato with cheese fondue and goat - holy crap for yummy!

Twice baked potato with cheese fondue and goat – holy crap for yummy!

This is the business - it's a pizza with jalapeno, red onion, mango, and lamb bacon on top. You read that correctly - lamb bacon. Who even knew that was a thing? It was friggin GORGEOUS - so yummy!!! :-)

This is the business – it’s a pizza with jalapeno, red onion, mango, and lamb bacon on top. You read that correctly – lamb bacon. Who even knew that was a thing? It was friggin GORGEOUS – so yummy!!! :-)

 

If you’re assuming that all I did in Austin was eat, you would be assuming correctly…the food there is magical! I am not a lover of chain restaurants and generally do all that I can to avoid them – and doing that was super-easy in Austin, as there was a wealth of great choices to pick from. I can’t recommend the above dishes enough – yummmmmy!!! 🙂

I did a few things other than eat and drink while I was there (not much, though) – I went kayaking, which I absolutely LOVED, acquired a new tattoo (woohoo!), and visited the art gallery at UT Austin. There were a few exhibits there that I was interested in, and I loved the museum a lot! 🙂

My foot!

My foot! :-)

Isn't this cool?

Art is cool :-)

LOVE :-)

LOVE :-)

 

I don’t know why I don’t go to Austin more often (probably because I whoop it up a lot when I’m there and that gets costly!)…but I need to visit more often. I love that place – and, I can’t be certain, but I think that Austin loves me, too. 🙂  What’s not to love, eh?

xxx