Brooklyn Baby

I spent Saturday evening at home with the Wee One, sprawled on my bed, reading the newest Jennifer Weiner, listening to Lana Del Rey and playing Words With Friends. It had been a day – the dog got scared by fireworks on Friday night and did a runner…and I walked the neighborhood streets from midnight to 4:15am before giving up. Thankfully he reappeared at home at around 5:30am, but by then the night was pretty much toast. I spent the day painting my front door red (see below), and watching the entire first season of the AMAZING series The Fall, from BBC Northern Ireland…if you’ve not seen this one yet, rundon’twalk to Netflix and stream it now. There’s only 5 episodes, an hour each…and it is bloody riveting. SO good. Anyway, I watched that while coats of paint were drying, I started reading the Jennifer Weiner book, and then moved on and listened to Lana’s album. Her music left me wanting to lounge around outside of some impossibly hip pub, drink in hand, contemplating life, the stars, and destiny with a hipster in horn-rimmed glasses, skinny jeans, and a cardigan. The album sounds like summer, yet had me wanting to buy shoes for school in the fall. The more I listened, the more I felt as if I was in on her secrets, that together she and I were on the outside looking in on the popular kids. Listening to that album had me feeling all the feels, which is rather odd, as I haven’t had that happen in bloody ages. Strange! What music moves you, my friends? :-)

The old door :-(

The old door :-(

Midway through the process

Midway through the process

The door!!!

The door!!!

Ta-dah!!!! :-)

Ta-dah!!!! :-)

 

Last Saturday night, the Wee One and I drove up to Austin to a graduation party for my dear friend. It had been a hellaciously long day, and I was afraid of falling asleep, so I started singing with the radio. I found out that I was kind of loud and preventing the kid from sleeping due to my volume, so I was happy when she joined in. For me, the easiest way to ensure there’s no falling asleep at the wheel is by singing – and, because I’m an equal opportunity pain in the arse, I will also sing to someone else who is driving to make sure they stay awake! I have a good friend who I know probably still has nightmares about driving home with me from Austin at 4:00am, singing along with the old country tunes on the AM band on his radio *which he’d purposely picked thinking I wouldn’t know the words to those songs – fooled him!!!* I was jet-powered by a lot of beer that night, so my singing game was really on. The things I do for those I care for!!! ;-)

I’ve heard three great albums recently – the Lana one, Sia’s album is friggin DIVINE (Google her singing Chandelier on Howard Stern…you’ll weep, I guarantee), and Sam Smith’s In The Lonely Hour is CRAZY good!!! His voice is fabulous – LOVE!!! :-) I’m so excited for great new music – it’s been awhile since I’ve been excited about something like that. Yaa!! :-)

What excites you, my pretties? :-)

Xxx

PS: If Sam Smith’s Stay With Me doesn’t rip your bloody heart out and make you want to touch someone you love as you cry into their shoulder, then you had best make your way to the nearest ER, because you’re dead or about to be. Sorry about that. :-( That song is a heartbreaker…wowza!

Simple Stuff

My boss’s daughter got married this past weekend, and I played the piano for her wedding. Fifteen years ago this would have been a minor situation, as I played the piano all the time and was accustomed to playing for people. However, I don’t get to practice nearly as often as I’d like, and my poor left wrist has deteriorated so much that I never know from day to day what feeling – if any – I will have in my fingers. FYI – playing with numb fingers is much harder and less fun than it sounds. Anyway, I’ve been practicing, and I played for the ceremony on Saturday. Clearly, this was not an engagement I wanted to bomb (boss’s daughter and all that) – and I’m happy to report that I didn’t screw it up. Was it my best performance? Nope…but it was okay. :-) I survived….and hopefully nobody noticed my wee mess-ups. :-)

I want to talk about the wedding itself for a minute….I do think it might have been the most lovely wedding I’ve ever been to! :-) There was nothing over-the-top about it – everything was simple, tasteful, and sweet. From my spot at the piano, I could see  the groom’s face as he said his vows, and I’ve never seen such sincerity or raw emotion in my life. It was really emotional, and I ended up weepy myself. It was awesome! :-) The ceremony was performed by a pair of older gentlemen who bore more than a passing resemblance to Waldorf and Statler from The Muppets – they had the witty banter, the sweet way about them….we all giggled throughout the beautiful ceremony.

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I was really struck by the romantic simplicity of this wedding – every detail had a beautiful, sweet, homemade vibe to it, and I felt like I was being embraced by love the whole time. I know that this sounds all mighty hippie-ish, but…there was something very different about this wedding. I felt the love…and that’s not something that happens often. Here’s some pictures:

This is so cute! :-)

This is so cute! :-)

The bride and groom are artistic, creative people :-)

The bride and groom are artistic, creative people :-)

They had wedding-themed Mad Libs on the tables...Wed Libs!!! Loooooved this!!! :-)

They had wedding-themed Mad Libs on the tables…Wed Libs!!! Loooooved this!!! :-)

Pretty :-)

Pretty :-)

The piano :-)

The piano :-)

Where I played my part :-)

Where I played my part :-)

All I need is love :-)

All I need is love :-)

:-)

:-)

The father of the bride made this cake - awesome or what??! :-)

The father of the bride made this cake – awesome or what??! :-)

One of my thank you gifts for taking part in the wedding - cute, eh? :-)

One of my thank you gifts for taking part in the wedding – cute, eh? :-)

My other thank you gift - yum yum yummy!!!! :-)

My other thank you gift – yum yum yummy!!!! :-)

 

 

I loved this wedding, and I wish the happy couple so much love and happiness….may he always look at her the way he did on Saturday – and may we all be lucky enough to be loved like that.  :-)

xxx

Summertime

…and the living is easy! Well, it will be once I go on vacation time and am away from work for a bit! :-) I’m really loving our summer schedule, though, as it offers more time for a real life, and there’s not many evening events. Woohoo!!! :-) Last Friday, I took the Wee One and met some dear friends for a picnic at Boerne City Lake. I had never been there before, but I had such a gorgeous time, I can’t wait to go back!!! :-)  These sweet friends of mine were kind enough to take care of all of the details – and what glorious details they were!!! They barbecued chicken on skewers, hot dogs, had wine/beer/wine cocktails/soda/water, chips, snacks, veggies…it was AMAZING!!!! :-) They also invited another friend of ours who has a little girl close in age to the Wee One – they played in the water and had a whale of a time! :-) The girls got taken out in the boat to do a wee spot of fishing, while I lounged around on shore enjoying the day and the beautiful breeze. It really was one of the very best days I can recall having in AGES, and I love and appreciate my friends so much for planning something so lovely for all of us. :-) I am so lucky! :-)  Here are some pictures:

Paradise :-)

Paradise :-)

Adorable :-)

Adorable :-)

The best hot dog EVER!!! :-)

The best hot dog EVER!!! :-)

:-)

:-)

 

This gorgeous day reminded me so much of my childhood, and the very best times I had then. My family had a tiny little cabin on the lake near our hometown in Canada, and that place, to me, was heaven. It was by no means fancy (as evidenced by the outhouse in the yard and the lack of running water and telephone inside), but truly – those things were a big part of what made it so awesome! :-)We used to go out there and stay for weekends, or a week at a time…and I loved it so much! I would spend most of the day swimming and playing in the lake, reading in the sand, wandering around and hanging out with whichever other kids happened to be down there at the time, and playing board games. My lifelong love and obsession with Clue came out of time spent at the cabin. In the evenings, we’d have a bonfire and sit around outside with whoever…and it was awesome. I never slept so well in my life as I did there…the combination of the sun, the fresh air, all of the swimming and playing, and the magic mattress on my bottom bunk were all I needed for a great sleep. :-) My memories of the cabin are so vivid – I remember everything that I did there, especially the time I put my brother’s underpants on my head and danced around in front of him and some company that he had…which resulted in him hitting me, me falling over, smashing my head into a magazine rack, and pushing my letter L earring 3/4 of the way through my ear. The doctor was down the road at his cabin, so he came to help my parents remove it. It wasn’t pretty. :-(

As I got older, my family quit going to the cabin – once I could drive, though, I went all the time. My friends and I used to love going out there, lounging around with no one to call us or bug us for anything…it was so peaceful. :-) I was heartbroken when my parents sold the cabin when I was in university, but I was is in no position in my life to maintain it, so….I understood their decision. It has since been torn down, with a new property built on that lot – I drove by a few years ago on my way to see one of my girlfriends at her family’s place. (Fun Fact: That same sweet friend of mine was there the night of the underwear and the letter L earring – I’m sure she’s still traumatized by me, my stupidity, and my howling) While driving by, I pulled off the road for a minute, stepped out of the car, and put my feet on the ground that had been such a big part of my life for so long. I marveled at all of the beautiful changes around me, and heard the sound of children laughing and playing down by the water…it sounded like the echo of me in the distance, and I swear I could smell the wieners cooking over the bonfire, and the can of Heinz pork and beans heating on the little stove. :-)

 

xxx

 

Big Girls Don’t Cry

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I just finished the Sophia Amoruso book “#GirlBoss” – and I liked it quite a lot! :-) Have you read it yet? If not, you may wish to give it a look, because Sophia’s story of building a business empire from nothing but a good idea and a whole lot of hard work is pretty great. I found it really inspiring, hoping that maybe someday I could have a great idea that could completely change the world and change my life – but then reality crashes in around my ears, and I remember that I’m not exactly the picture of bright ideas. Hard work? Yes, absolutely…I’m a hell of a worker, but I seem to lack the great big ideas that are going to make a great big difference. I loved her emphasis on the value of effort, of being willing to do even the most menial of tasks, of never thinking she was better than anyone else. She repeatedly mentioned the importance of standing up for yourself, believing in YOU, and that sometimes the simplest idea and plan is by far the best.  I love that kind of thinking…and I want to be – no, I am ready to be – a #GIRLBOSS myself!! You in? :-)

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Speaking of inspirational women, I’m sure you heard that the brilliant Maya Angelou passed away this week – this news filled my heart with sadness, as I’m sure most people felt, especially women who admired her writing and extraordinary talent. I’ve always been deeply touched by her incredible way with words – but even more than that, her dazzling ability to speak her truth, without apology for who or what she was. I admire people like that, who can live their lives right out loud, and with absolute conviction… It gives me chills. If you’ve been on social media at all this week, you’ve undoubtedly been inundated with a greatest hits list of her very best quotes – here are mine:

♥ “Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: ‘I’m with you kid. Let’s go.’”

♥ “I had a lot of clouds, but I have had so many rainbows in my clouds.”

♥ “When we decide to be happy we accept the responsibility to bring happiness to someone else.”

♥ “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

♥ “Have enough courage to love.”

♥”I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

♥”You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

♥”My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

♥“When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.”

♥”I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”

♥“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

♥”Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”

♥“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”

♥”The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind.”

♥”Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

♥”You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”

♥”Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

♥Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.

 

Rest in peace, brilliant one…and know that you’ve left this world infinitely better than you found it. :-) THAT’S a #GirlBoss. :-)

 

xxx

 

 

New Perspective

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Perspective has to be one of the most important, life-altering parts of life, don’t you think?  Interestingly enough, perspective is one of the few things in this world that we can control. Think about it – so much of how we approach the world depends upon our attitude, and our perspective. Some of us are glass half full people, while others see theirs as half empty…when all along it’s the same damn glass. I’m usually one who sees the glass as half full, but I, too, have my days where that bad boy is looking empty, and the cards are all against me. Even on those days, though, I figure that there’s still room in the glass for more vodka! ;-)

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I’ve spent quite a lot of time considering this idea, because it really matters to me for some reason. I try to see the best in people, and I try to make the best of tough situations…it just feels better to approach life that way. Sometimes I tell myself fibs in order to persuade myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other, because if I really looked at things with my reality goggles on, I would turn tail and run for the hills. I need to make myself believe that things will be okay in the end, and if they aren’t yet okay then it’s not yet the end. I make mistakes every single day, some accidentally, and some purposefully. I justify my errors in judgment by confidently telling myself that my actions are for the greater good, even if that greater good is little more than my own selfish happiness. I try to keep things in perspective as well, and frequently find myself muttering under my breath that things just aren’t that big of a deal, even when I’m SO angry in the moment that I want to scream.

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I had a major event at work this evening, and I’m happy to reveal that it kind of went okay. From the perspective of the audience, things seemed to go pretty smoothly…for which I am SO grateful. However, the reality was that the preparations and the behind-the-scenes stuff were an EPIC disaster, there were a lot of prep tasks left undone, things were ridiculously disorganized, all sorts of stuff was missing…I stepped up to the microphone to begin speaking, with pretty much no idea what I was about to say. Happily, I winged my part and enough was done , so it all went off okay. I shook a lot of hands, hugged a lot of kids, and survived the evening without basically shitting the bed on stage in front of hundreds of people. From my perspective, though, it was a disaster the likes of which I hope to NEVER have to endure again! Grr!!!

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Here’s an idea for a TV show: we open each episode (it’ll be a crime procedural) with the scene of a crime; the rest of the show will unfold by showing the events/the crime from the different perspectives of all of the people involved in the resolution of the situation- the suspects, the police, the CSI peeps….and, finally, the actual victim of the crime, which, of course, will show us whodunit through the victim’s eyes. Good idea, right? Maybe Dick Wolf or Donald P. Bellisario’s peeps could call me and we could discuss script ideas. I think I’m on to something here, folks – when you see this on NBC in about three years, please watch the credits for my name, and be sure to say you knew me when. ;-)

 

xxx

Take On Me

I did something really stupid today. I was having a conversation with someone, trying to express my feelings (which we all know I pretty much suck at), when I apologized for being needy, for saying stupid stuff, and for asking for what I needed. I didn’t realize how ridiculously self-destructive that whole shit-sentence was until I replayed it over in my head later (I do that, replay pretty much every conversation I have in my head at later times…I know how obnoxious that is, but I can’t help it. Sorry.) . Can you believe that? Apparently I’m so full of hatred for myself these days that I actually apologized for sharing my truth and expressing what I needed. Ick.  :-(

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You wanna know what I really need? To learn to accept myself as I am, and give myself a damn break. When you Google accepting yourself, there’s a ton of New Age-type, hippie stuff going on…but when you wade through the fluff, there’s some good stuff to be found, like this article :

Therapists Spill: 12 Ways to Accept Yourself
By MARGARITA TARTAKOVSKY, M.S.

For many people self-acceptance is hard to come by on a good day. It’s tenuous, a glass with tiny cracks, at best. On a bad day, when you’ve made a mistake or two, don’t like how you look or feel absolutely miserable, your self-acceptance is in shards.

Fortunately, self-acceptance is something we can nurture. Look at it as a skill that you can practice versus an innate trait that you either have or don’t.

Below, clinicians reveal 12 ways we can cultivate self-acceptance.

1. Set an intention.

“Self-acceptance begins with intention,” according to psychotherapist Jeffrey Sumber, MA. “It is vital that we set an intention for ourselves that we are willing to shift paradigms from a world of blame, doubt and shame to a world of allowance, tolerance, acceptance and trust,” he said. 

2. Celebrate your strengths.

“We are much better collectors of our shortcomings than our strengths,” according to Ryan Howes, Ph.D, a psychologist in Pasadena, California. Psychologist John Duffy, PsyD, agrees. “[Many people] fail to see their strengths and cling to antique scripts they carry about their lack of worth,” he said.

Duffy helps his clients hone in on their strengths and abilities by writing them down. If you’re having a tough time coming up with your list, name one strength each day, he said. 

Howes suggested making a similar list: “Make a list of all the hardships you’ve overcome, all the goals you’ve accomplished, all the connections you’ve made, and all the lives you’ve touched for the better. Keep it close by, review it frequently, and add to it often.”

3. Consider the people around you.

What kinds of people do you surround yourself with? Sumber suggested asking yourself these questions about the people in your life:

Who speaks negatively to me? Who reinforces negative self talk? Why do I allow such people to hurt me? Are they just doing my own dirty work because I’m not willing to choose a different reality?

4.Create a support system.

Distance yourself from people who bring you down, said Joyce Marter, LCPC, a psychotherapist and owner of Urban Balance, LLC. Instead, “Surround yourself with people who accept you and believe in you,” she said.

5. Forgive yourself.

Past regrets can prevent us from practicing self-acceptance. Forgive yourself, and move on. “Whether it’s about something you’ve done or a personality quirk that resulted in a social faux pas, it’s important to learn from the mistake, make efforts to grow, and accept that you can’t change the past,” Howes said.

When the tinges of remorse resurface, remember these words, he said: “I made the best decision with information I had at the time.” “The behavior or decision might not seem correct in hindsight, but at the time it seemed like the best choice,” Howes added.

6. Shush your inner critic.

Many people equate their inner critic with a voice of reason. They think their inner critic is simply speaking the truth. But if you wouldn’t say it to a loved one, it’s not honesty or sincerity. It’s unwarranted — and harsh — judgment.

To quiet your inner critic, Marter suggested choosing a realistic mantra. “I believe in the power of mantra and encourage clients to select a mantra that is normalizing, calming and encouraging during times when the inner critic rears its ugly head,” she said. For example, you could use: “I am only human, I am doing the best that I can and that is all I can do,” she said.

As Marter said, “Our mistakes and our imperfections are not bad or wrong or failures–they are the fingerprints of humanity and opportunities for learning, healing and growth.”

7. Grieve the loss of unrealized dreams.

“Many of our problems with self-acceptance come from our inability to reconcile who we are as compared with the idealized dreams of our youth,” Howes said. Maybe you dreamed about becoming an Olympic athlete or a multi-millionaire or staying married forever or having a big family, he said. Whatever your dreams or goals, mourn that they didn’t come to pass, he said. Then “get back to being the best you possible.”

8. Perform charitable acts.

“When you sacrificially give to others, you see how your deeds are a positive influence on other lives. It becomes more and more difficult to maintain the idea that you are no good when you see how your deeds help other people,” Howes said.

9. Realize that acceptance is not resignation.

Marter described acceptance as letting go of the past and the things we cannot control. This way, “you can focus your energy on that which you can [control], which is empowering,” she said. In fact, for some people accepting that they have a problem is the first step to making positive changes, she said.

10. Speak to your highest self.

Marter suggested readers try the following activity that includes imagining and interacting with your highest or best self.

I often ask my clients to visualize their highest and best self that lies deep within them. This process of visualizing a separation or detachment from the current [or] suffering self often helps clients tap into the wisdom that already lies within them — their highest self — to promote healing.

This exercise teaches clients how to be their own best parent and demonstrate empathy, compassion and love towards the self. I advise clients to take a few minutes to meditate and practice this visualization whenever they are in crisis [or] need some direction or some self-soothing.

11. Be kind to yourself.

Many people are hesitant to show even a shred of self-kindness because they see it as selfish or undeserved. But the key to self-compassion is “to understand that weakness and frailty are part of the human experience,” according to Deborah Serani, PsyD, a psychologist and author of Living with Depression. “Coming to accept who you are involves loving yourself because of your flaws, not in spite of them,” she said. You’ll find more on practicing self-compassion here and here.

12. Fake it ‘til you make it.

If you’re unconvinced that you’re a worthy person, keep the faith and keep at it. Keep practicing self-compassion along with the other suggestions. “Most of us do not have direct communication from our deity of choice, yet we take the leap and trust that our God is true and real. The same goes for our self-acceptance. I first must think and do before I know,” Sumber said.

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When I started reading this, I was thinking it was pretty much like every other list (and therefore useless), with nothing of value for me. But I felt compelled to keep reading…and then shit got real. Consider the people around you? Yikes. Most of the people around me only know me when they want something,…which sucks. Very few people seem to enjoy the pleasure of my company, which leaves me wondering if I’m such a miserable arse that nobody wants to be with me! I’ve noticed that I spend A LOT of time listening to the troubles of other people,  but rarely does anybody ask me about mine. I have one friend (she reads this, so she will know who she is! I love her!  ;-) ) who says that she doesn’t ask about me because she figures that if I have something to share, I will just say it. I bet that approach and philosophy works great for most peeps, but for someone like me who struggles with self-worth and rarely believes that anyone gives a shit about her, that approach is challenging. I’m not usually brave enough to share my innermost self, and I take my cues that it’s okay and safe to proceed when people ask me questions. So, if they don’t ask, I say nothing…and the cycle goes around and around.

Create a support system? How? I believe that I’ve got this one cracked at work, but….not at home. At work, I have the world’s most wonderful boss whom I love with all my heart – she treats me wonderfully, supports me, and legit wants me to do well. I’ve not had that many times in my career, so I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate her. :) My secretary is dynamite as well, she’s helpful, supportive, and would do anything with me and for me – I loooooove working with her!! She’s fab!!!!! But, at home…it’s just me. I can’t go and visit my parents without enduring my mother’s endless criticism of my appearance and everything I do, so I generally try to spare myself that misery. It’s maddening….and probably explains why things are so rough for me inside my head. I have a few people in my life who I think believe in me and are my personal cheerleaders, but the team is in dire need of some new members. How do you make that happen???

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The next three bowled me over – forgive yourself, shush your inner critic, and grieve the loss of unrealized dreams. Hmm. I can’t ever forgive myself for some of the mistakes that I’ve made, and I don’t get why. My mistakes have hurt mostly me (with a few others tossed in along the way for collateral damage), so it should be easy to forgive myself…but I don’t. I can’t. And I don’t know why. My inner critic had a bloody megaphone that she yells into at ALL TIMES, and let me tell you, that bitch’s voice is LOUD. It never ends. I’ve always marveled at my ability to manage a career that requires me to be the sage on the stage so much of the time, always enduring the scrutiny of a lot of people, when all I hear a constant stream of hateful words in my head every moment of the day. It’s bloody exhausting. :-(

Now, tell me…how do you grieve the loss of unrealized dreams? That’s what’s I need to do. There are so many things that I’ve wanted to do with my life, but they just didn’t happen – generally not due to lack of effort, but rather circumstance. There are many things that have left me feeling disappointed, but there are so many things that have gone well in my life, and I’m a very lucky girl. :-)  I have, however, had difficulties letting go of a few things that I’ve always wanted – and instead of always feeling like a failure, or like I’ve let everyone else down, I need to somehow grieve the passing of my dream, let it go, and move the hell on. I bloody love this idea, it’s brilliant – how to put it into practice??!

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Are you watching the reality series “True Tori” on Lifetime? Cameras have been following Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott following his stint in a rehab facility after he cheated on her last fall. I’m surprised that I’m watching it, actually – this is so not my usual cup of tea, but I came across the first episode in the middle of the night a few weeks ago, and have been compelled to watch ever since. I was a huge fan of Beverly Hills, 90210 – I was still wearing my Donna Martin Graduates shirt a couple of years ago, I still watch the reruns whenever I can find them on TV, and many a life decision of mine has been made by thinking What Would Kelly Taylor do? I still love the fashion of that show (and I still want to wear flowery baby doll dresses with my Doc Martens every day of my life), and the music was pretty damn great as well. Tori’s Donna wasn’t my favorite character, but her wedding to David Silver still brings me to tears. Anyway, over the years, I have kept up with Tori’s life, and while I haven’t watched them, I’ve been aware of the series of reality shows that she and Dean have made following their marriage. I’ve always felt leery about those kinds of programs, since people who go on Tv and tout how happy they are and how perfect their marriage is seem to be hollering, “Look how great our life is!! Look how much yours sucks !!” to me…and I’m uncomfortable with that. (Sidebar: I call it my Facebook theory – if you have to brag about your shit on Facebook, then your shit probably isn’t all that and probably stinks a bit!)  Anyway, I know that she and Dean have four small children, and careers that are very much intertwined -until all hell broke loose and he bonked some broad in Toronto. (There’s another quandary – why do men choose to bonk women who can’t keep their damn mouths shut and be discrete? Stupid.) Now, they have cameras on them filming them at home as they try to adjust to Dean being out of rehab, and they attempt to rebuild their family. This is where things are getting really interesting – Tori is hurting so badly and needs to express it, but every time she does, Dean falls apart. He was suicidal at one point, and she’s scared that her feelings are going to literally kill him. So, she holds it all in…until she’s an absolute mess. It’s painful to watch, truth be told…I never would want to see anyone suffering and hurting, and I can understand the pain she’s feeling. I, too, feel completely alone a lot of the time, and pissed off with the world for ignoring me – I get it. Whatever happens, I wish them well….and I remind the rest of you: don’t brag about your happy relationship – you’re only dooming yourself to misery!!! Be happy and peaceful about it..it’ll mean more that way. :-)

xxx

Another One Bites the Dust

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

Desire

This Georgia O'Keefe soothes my soul - it's lovely :-)

This Georgia O’Keeffe soothes my soul – it’s lovely :-)

What are the things that you desire most in this world? Wealth? Fame? Freedom? Love? I started thinking about this today while doing cafeteria duty (it’s mind-numbingly dull, leaving me with a lot of time to contemplate the universe and ponder life in general). While considering the idea of desire, I started mentally listing the things that I desire: good health for my daughter, financial security, independence, love, freedom to travel, a comfortable home, companionship, good health, professional fulfillment, happiness, great shoes…nothing too earth-shattering there, eh? However, after two more laps around the cafeteria, I worked on checking off the things that I have from my list…and that’s where shiznit got real. I’m a long way away from too many items on that list, which makes me so sad. I’m 40 years old now for goodness sakes (that’s so weird to type)…shouldn’t I have all of this stuff figured out by now and want for nothing? Yeah, right…nowhere close. Am I behind?

Life advice courtesy of Oprah and Starbucks :-)

Life advice courtesy of Oprah and Starbucks :-)

I’ve been reading a lot of the work of Gabrielle Bernstein lately – she touts the whole #SpiritJunkie movement, and making miracles all over your life. I love that so much, don’t you? I want this SO badly, but holy shit is it ever hard to try to adapt her way of thinking and make it work for this chaotic existence of mine. I just don’t know how to  work it out! Same thing with the magic of crystals – I keep reading about their mystical, magical powers so I got some. I felt kinda weird about it, but whatever…I’m so bummed about so many things these days, I’m willing to try anything. So, now I’ve got crystals, but no clue what to do with them. I put amethyst in my pillow the other night, and I can’t be certain, but I think I had a better sleep than usual. The half Ambien might have helped as well. ;-) I had a rose quartz shoved in my bra this morning (nobody ever accused me of being classy), hoping to improve the love that people send my way, but it appears to have fallen out. I will have to retrace my steps and find it, because it was a cute one.  Isn’t that just the way with me?  I’m a girl who needs tremendous heaps of help and sparkle in my life – I work hellaciously long hours, I don’t have much of a social life anymore, I’m severely sleep-deprived, I don’t get nearly enough time with my Muppet, and the things I try to help myself end up falling out of my bra…I need some assistance, whether it’s from crystals, magical miracles like Gabrielle’s got going on, or a kind person who just decides to shower me with goodness. Perhaps that’s where my problems lie, and why my list of desires is still so damn long – because I’m looking outside for assistance, rather than searching within. I think that’s what Gabrielle is all about, harnessing the magic inside and using it to make all your dreams come true. Now to figure it out for me!

My rose quartz crystal - I found it!!! :-)

My rose quartz crystal – I found it!!! :-)

I came across an article on finding your inner peace in ten simple steps – doesn’t that sound like the very best thing ever? Here are the steps: (source:

http://www.ineedmotivation.com/blog/2008/05/find-inner-peace-in-10-ways/. )


Accept what is
There is only so much we can affect. What we cannot change, what we cannot influence no matter what, should not be a concern to us. This is what I notice with so many people, in that we focus and linger on things which we have no control over. Why worry about something that all the worrying in the world will not change? Why care about what other people think of us when we’re not even sure what it is they are actually thinking? Once you open the blinds to this fact, and start accepting what is that you cannot change, you automatically relieve yourself of a mountain of stress and anxiety. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Taking this path is following a road towards peace.

Meditate
If you do not meditate yet, you are missing out on a very important activity that can change your life. Meditating for 20 minutes daily can have an enormous impact in all areas of your life. Take a look at this post I wrote 100 Benefits of Meditation. If that doesn’t convince you to start meditating, I don’t know what will! If you have a lot on your mind and you feel like your thoughts are driving you crazy, meditation can help you find peace. Simply close everything, sit back, close your eyes, and clear your mind of every single thought. Focus on the emptiness. You will be surprised what a mere 20 minutes of meditation can do to turn things around for you. If you have trouble meditating, I would suggest getting a professional guided meditation CD, which will help you get used to this level of peacefulness

Spend time in nature
We spend so much time confined in buildings of steel and concrete and bricks that we quickly forget where we come from. It is natural for us to be in nature, and this is why it feels so good and it is so peaceful when you take a walk in a park or bike on a trail in the forest. As I am typing this blog, I am looking out my window to this gigantic tree in front of my house. Watching its stillness, with the wind blowing through its branches calmly, it is a sight that not only inspires me, but that I find peace within it. I have blogged before about how I enjoy biking and one of the reasons is that it brings me closer to nature. It is something you just can’t experience in a car. If you feel overwhelmed, take a stroll outside where there are tons of trees and far from the city. Be there and just enjoy the sights, the sounds, and the peace.

Learn the power of a smile
Whenever you are laughing or smiling, something interesting happens. Not only does something happen on a chemical level to make you feel better, but it also stops all stress and negativity from entering your psyche. A simple smile can make such a difference. For example, the other day I mishandled a dish and it fell on the floor, breaking into pieces, creating a big mess. Now, I could have been angry with myself for being clumsy and thinking “here’s another reason why life sucks!”. But I did the opposite. I began to smile and kind of make fun of myself for not being able to hold on to that plate properly. As I cleaned up the mess, there was no bitterness or anger. As a matter of fact, I did it with a smile on my face…I did it with peace. So whenever you find yourself in a similar predicament, just think of the silver lining, and don’t be shy to poke fun at yourself. You will quickly realize that peace finds its way much more easily to you when you smile.

Think outwardly
What I mean by this is that most of the time, we are so consumed within our own problems that we can no longer see the forest from the trees. Therefore, it helps to remind ourselves how big the world is. Take a moment and read up about some other countries, cultures, and the likes. Be aware that the world does not revolve around your problems. I find that when I hear about a tsunami or an earthquake killing hundreds of thousands of people on the other side of the world, my problems aren’t really “problems”. Looking beyond ourselves is very important in finding peace and it leads me to my next point.

Care about others
You will never find peace by being self-consumed and only worrying about your own needs and wants. When you begin to genuinely care about other people, so much goodness comes right out. This only helps into solidifying your inner peace. It can be people close to you or pure strangers, but any act of kindness and goodwill eases your way towards peace. When I help other people, I stop focusing on my so-called problems and realize that my life isn’t so bad after all. This rids my entire being of all the stress and feelings of overwhelm. There is great peace and wisdom in thinking and caring about other people, which we are blind to when we are too deep within our own selfish ways.

Never lose hope
Hope is something you can never afford to lose. With hope you always have a path towards peace. Whenever we get too stressed out and overwhelmed within our own life, we forget that hope. We forget that the sun always shines after a rainy day, and that this is merely a bump in the road. I find immense peace in just knowing, deep within my heart, that everything will be ok. With hope, I know that whatever is seemingly terrible, is only temporary and that soon enough, things will be just fine. This lifts off all of that negativity from my entire being, and I feel better pretty much instantly.

Embrace your beliefs
I am not one to pick or favor one belief system over another, so whatever it is that you believe in, embrace it with your entire being. Be within your faith 100% and peace will find its way into your heart. Now, we may all disagree on each other’s beliefs but one thing we must all agree on is that having a solid, healthy faith is crucial in founding a proper conscience that helps into guiding us towards peace and wisdom. There is a reason why research has shown that people that are deeply devoted to their faith have a higher life expectancy and are less likely to have diseases such as cancer. This is because they experience more inner peace, which is important if you want to increase the quality of your life.

Keep learning
One thing that provides us with much stress in life is the fact that we always worry about not having all the answers. Just accepting that you do not know everything, and that you are open to always keep learning is a tremendous step to take towards achieving inner peace. I find great joy in learning all kinds of different things, and just being aware that I am growing as a person each and every day provides me with great feelings of peace. Accept that life is one big journey of never-ending learning and you will find yourself closer to experiencing true peace within yourself.

Live in the present moment
Most of the time, what we worry about is relating to something either in the past, or something that hasn’t happened. Living in the present moment erases all such thoughts. Why worry about something in the past that we cannot ever change? (see point #1, accept what is). Why worry about something that we are not even sure will happen or not? This is why in the present moment, you find true inner peace. In the present moment, there are no problems and no concerns. There is only stillness, and it is within that stillness that you can uncover peace. I used to be such a person that worried all the time, to the point where I had trouble sleeping. Once I learned to live in the present moment, I stopped thinking about the past and any potential future, and just worried about being ever-present in each and every moment. My life is definitely more peaceful since then!

 

 

These are great, eh?  I believe in the power of smiles,  and I have a serious commitment to lifelong learning. I care far too much about most others, and I am one of the most hopeful, optimistic people I have ever known. I can’t seem to figure out the whole meditation thing, but…perhaps I will give that a shot again. The hardest one for me is learning to live in the moment – I’m really improving on the whole ‘It is what it is’ thing…hard as it has been for me, I know that I’m not God, I can’t change anything…but learning to quit planning is going to be the death of me. I need to learn to just embrace the many beautiful moments that I have, and quit fretting about what is going to happen next. I need to stop trying to plan and schedule every detail of the world around me, and I need to just let it be. Let it be. I may have just found my next tattoo. :-)

 

What do you desire, friends? Whatever it is, I hope you get it – you deserve it, you’re awesome. :-)

 

xxx

Happy

Being happy is really important to me, which you will certainly know if you’re a regular reader. I am not a girl who revels in drama, nor do I enjoy a good pity party. I generally try to smile through my sadness, never show others any emotions apart from he good ones, and I tend to be pretty much always cheerful. That’s why when I am annoyed and not happy, it’s kinda significant because it doesn’t happen often.

I have always felt that every person is only as happy as they choose to be…and I decided long ago that I was gonna be one seriously happy mo’fo. There are plenty of things in my life (both past and present) that could depress the hell out of me and make me wallow in the throes of the dirtiest depression for all of my days…but I decided things were not going to go down that way. And they haven’t. For the most part. I am only human, and sometimes – not often – I slip up. Every day, I choose to see the glass as half full (with room for more vodka, of course), and I choose to be happy. It’s a great choice. :-)

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I read this article today on Yahoo!, and it’s pretty much changed my life – give ‘er a read:

Happiness: everyone wants it, yet relatively few seem to get enough of it, especially those in their early forties. (I’m no psychologist, but that’s probably about when many of us start thinking, “Wait; is this all there is?”)

Good news and bad news: unfortunately, approximately 50 percent of your happiness, your “happiness set-point,” is determined by personality traits that are largely hereditary. Half of how happy you feel is basically outside your control.

Bummer.

But, that means 50 percent of your level of happiness is totally within your control: relationships, health, career, etc. So even if you’re genetically disposed to be somewhat gloomy, you can still do things to make yourself a lot happier.

Like this:

1. Make good friends.

It’s easy to focus on building a professional network of partners, customers, employees, connections, etc, because there is (hopefully) a payoff.

But there’s a definite payoff to making real (not just professional or social media) friends. Increasing your number of friends correlates to higher subjective well being; doubling your number of friends is like increasing your income by 50 percent in terms of how happy you feel.

And if that’s not enough, people who don’t have strong social relationships are 50 percent less likely to survive at any given time than those who do. (That’s a scary thought for loners like me.)

Make friends outside of work. Make friends at work. Make friends everywhere.

Make real friends. You’ll live a longer, happier life.

2. Actively express thankfulness.

According to one study, couples that expressed gratitude in their interactions with each other resulted in increases in relationship connection and satisfaction the next day–both for the person expressing thankfulness and (no big surprise) for the person receiving it. (In fact, the authors of the study said gratitude was like a “booster shot” for relationships.)

Of course the same is true at work. Express gratitude for employee’s hard work and you both feel better about yourselves.

Another easy method is to write down a few things you are grateful for every night. One study showed people who wrote down 5 things they were thankful for once a week were 25 percent happier after ten weeks; in effect they dramatically increased their happiness set-point.

Happy people focus on what they have, not on what they don’t have. It’s motivating to want more in your career, relationships, bank account, etc. but thinking about what youalready have, and expressing gratitude for it, will make you a lot happier.

And will remind you that even if you still have huge dreams you have already accomplished a lot–and should feel genuinely proud.

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3. Actively pursue your goals.

Goals you don’t pursue aren’t goals, they’re dreams, and dreams only make you happy when you’re dreaming.

Pursuing goals, though, does make you happy. According to David Niven, author of 100 Simple Secrets of the Best Half of Life, “People who could identify a goal they were pursuing(my italics) were 19% more likely to feel satisfied with their lives and 26 percent more likely to feel positive about themselves.”

So be grateful for what you have… then actively try to achieve more. If you’re pursuing a huge goal, make sure that every time you take a small step closer to achieving it you pat yourself on the back.

But don’t compare where you are now to where you someday hope to be. Compare where you are now to where you were a few days ago. Then you’ll get dozens of bite-sized chunks of fulfillment–and a never-ending supply of things to be thankful for.

4. Do what you excel at as often as you can.

You know the old cliché regarding the starving yet happy artist? Turns out it’s true: artists are considerably more satisfied with their work than non-artists–even though the pay tends to be considerably lower than in other skilled fields.

Why? I’m no researcher, but clearly the more you enjoy what you do and the more fulfilled you feel by what you do the happier you will be.

In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Anchor says that when volunteers picked, “…one of their signature strengths and used it in a new way each day for a week, they became significantly happier and less depressed.”

Of course it’s unreasonable to think you can chuck it all and simply do what you love. But you can find ways to do more of what you excel at. Delegate. Outsource. Start to shift the products and services you provide into areas that allow you to bring more of your strengths to bear. If you’re a great trainer, find ways to train more people. If you’re a great salesperson, find ways to streamline your admin tasks and get in front of more customers.

Everyone has at least a few things they do incredibly well. Find ways to do those things more often. You’ll be a lot happier.

And probably a lot more successful.

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5. Give.

While giving is usually considered to be unselfish, giving can also be more beneficial for the giver than the receiver. Providing social support may be more beneficial than receiving it.

Intuitively I think we all knew that because it feels awesome to help someone who needs it. Not only is helping those in need fulfilling, it’s also a reminder of how comparatively fortunate we are–which is a nice reminder of how thankful we should be for what we already have.

Plus, receiving is something you cannot control. If you need help–or simply want help–you can’t make others help you. But you can always control whether you offer and provide help.

And that means you can always control, at least to a degree, how happy you are–because giving makes you happier.

6. Don’t single-mindedly chase “stuff.”

Money is important. Money does a lot of things. (One of the most important is to create choices.)

But after a certain point, money doesn’t make people happier. After about $75,000 a year,money doesn’t buy more (or less) happiness. “Beyond $75,000… higher income is neither the road to experience happiness nor the road to relief of unhappiness or stress,” say the authors of that study.

“Perhaps $75,000 is the threshold beyond which further increases in income no longer improve individuals’ ability to do what matters most to their emotional well-being, such as spending time with people they like, avoiding pain and disease, and enjoying leisure.”

And if you don’t buy that, here’s another take: “The materialistic drive and satisfaction with life are negatively related.” Or, in layman’s terms, “Chasing possessions tends to make you less happy.”

Think of it as the bigger house syndrome. You want a bigger house. You need a bigger house. (Not really, but it sure feels like you do.) So you buy it. Life is good… until a couple months later when your bigger house is now just your house.

New always becomes the new normal.

“Things” only provide momentary bursts of happiness. To be happier, don’t chase as many things. Chase a few experiences intead.

7. Live the life you want to live.

Bonnie Ware worked in palliative care, spending time with patients who had only a few months to live. Their most common regret was, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

What other people think–especially people you don’t even know–doesn’t matter. What other people want you to do doesn’t mater.

Your hopes, your dreams, your goals… live your life your way. Surround yourself with people who support and care not for the “you” they want you to be but for the real you.

Make choices that are right for you. Say things you really want to say to the people who most need to hear them. Express your feelings. Stop and smell a few roses. Make friends, and stay in touch with them.

And most of all, realize that happiness is a choice. 50 percent of how happy you are lies within your control, so start doing more things that will make you happier.

 

 

I love the ideas presented here, and while I do a number of these things, there’s still an awful lot more I could do….particularly with that last one, living the life you want. I love my life – but it’s not all that I want for myself, and the quicker I get over the fear and hang ups that are preventing me from moving forward, the faster I can get the life I’ve always dreamed of. I deserve happiness just as much as the next person – shame it took me so long to realize.

 

xxx

Little Moments

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Muppets!!!! :-)

It was my brother’s birthday last week, so the Wee One and I called him to sing and wish him a happy day. During our chat, I was telling him about our upcoming trip to Paris and all the things I’m excited to show the Wee One. As usual, he started making fun of me and how much I spoil her – which is kind of true, but I don’t believe that she is a brat. I try to give her every thing and opportunity that I didn’t have, and I smother that kid with love love LOVE…which isn’t a bad thing. I know that my brother is happy and excited for us – but his remarks got me thinking about the beauty of the simple things in life. :-) I’m a person who needs to stop, unplug, and reboot every so often as I seem to lose track of the simple pleasures around me – between my 12-16 hour work days, the number of nighttime duties and events that I have, my Wee One and her busy little life…it’s no wonder I sometimes lose my way a bit. Let’s make a list of the sweetest things we can think of…that’s guaranteed to make us feel better, right? :-) Here we go! :-)

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Great coffee :-)

-Drinking a good cup of coffee in bed :-)
-Sitting at the piano, placing your hands on the keys, and listening to the pretty tinkling as you start playing
-Audrey Hepburn singing “Moon River“, or Cristin Milioti singing “La Vie En Rose“…perfection :-)
-Pancakes
-Going for a walk
-The smell of oranges, vanilla, and rain :-)
-Waking up in the morning to the sound of silence, no obnoxious alarm clock in sight
-The smell of bacon cooking – yum :-)
-Holding hands
-Fresh flowers in a vase on a table
-The first sip of an icy cold beer on a hot day – bonus points if you’re drinking it in a delightfully trashy dive bar :-)
-The sound of a laughing child
-The Muppets. All of ‘em. :-)
-Falling asleep with the TV on
-Sheep…such adorable, awesome animals :-)
-Sushi!!
-Comfortable shoes
-Warm blankies on a cold night
-Spooning :-)
-A perfect cocktail with lime in it :-)
-The song “Dream A Little Dream Of Me”…in English and in French :-) Bonus for this Mama Cass version…the best ever: Dream A Little Dream Of Me

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Yummy!

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The perfect mojito :-)

I could go on and on, listing all of the silly things I love…and I will be watching my inbox if you fancy sending me what’s on your list! I know that at times (a lot of the time) I make my life wayyyyy more complicated than it needs to be. I’m not the only one who does that, I know…it seems to be a sign of the times. With all of today’s modern conveniences, we also make things exponentially more complex. Every so often it’s good to turn off, to shut down all of the noise, and just be alone with yourself and your thoughts (frightening though they may be) – luckily my warped little mind and I get along pretty well…we’re both easily amused. :-)

Xxx
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