Thursday, May 28, 2015

10 Things I Hate About Summer

I love summer,  I really do.  I love that my kids are off school.  I love camping, warm weather, hiking, grilling and tubing.   But, as my kids' last day of school approaches, I find myself dwelling on the things I hate about summer.


While summer vacation means I don't have to fight with the kids about doing their homework, it also means they have endless amounts of downtime to fight with each other.  And they are very, very good at it.


Because the kids are home all day, it means more of their stuff will be strewn all over the house.  And even though they "know" to pick it up, they won't without me repeatedly nagging them.  I don't get it, it's like they love to hear me nag them or something.


How is it possible that the kitchen is a disaster when "there's nothing to eat" in the fridge?  Where does all this food go then?  Why are there dirty plates everywhere?  And how do I account for this Costco sized food bill?


The kids see summer as free time.  So, they are reluctant to schedule and commit to anything before June.  But I know within a week they'll be bored with nothing to do.  But, they still haven't picked up that mess that I've nagged them about 100x now.  Because that's something, not nothing.


Because they're bored and whiny, I will institute mandatory fun and force them to do horrible inhumane things like go to the pool.  Or *gasp* the library.  They'll exact their revenge by whining.  Which makes mandatory fun not very much fun at all.


Even though my kids are teens and not toddlers, they still can't seem to remember to sunscreen themselves.  Or do it by themselves.  When do they learn sunscreen self sufficiency?  Is it a college course?


While they can't remember the most basic of things,  they can do very adult things like drive a car.  Well, not all of them.  Which means I'm in limbo between chauffeuring and sharing the car with a teenage driver who doesn't put gas in it and readjusts all the mirrors.   Which I forget until I go to change lanes. Every.  Single.  Time.


My kids are on teenager time.  They like to go to bed late and then sleep in.  My husband and I are on geriatric time.  We can't sleep after the sun comes up and we fade when the sun goes down.  Which makes it near impossible to make sure the kids aren't sneaking out at night.


If you don't spread out the towel, it won't dry.  But it will create a stink that is best referred to as stank.  It doesn't matter if that towel is in the bathroom or the pool bag.  Every towel needs to be properly aerated.  Every.  Single.  Time.

10.  IT'S OVER:

And this is by far the worst one.  Because then it's back to school.  And hounding them about school work and hoping someday they'll get into college.  And worrying about how to pay for college.  Then reminiscing about all the summers gone by.  Maybe summer is just too short...

Monday, May 25, 2015

Living Small

Some people aspire to live large.  With dreams of a huge lottery win.  Purchasing an enormous house.  Throwing gigantic parties.  Brimming with big names.   But not me.  I like to live small.  With dreams of having enough to send my kids to college.  And buying windows that keep the cold winter air out and the heat in, someday.  Occasionally hosting petite get-togethers with an undisclosed guest list.   Small simply suits me best.

With the sizable & notable exception of small minds.   

I'm not suggesting that we live in a one size fits all world.  Or that you shouldn't dream big.  That is the American gold standard after all, the default setting of our extroverted culture.  Therefore  it's always been the yardstick I measured my own accomplishments by.  And I just never measured up.   And I was never going to.  Not because anything is wrong with me.  But because I was using the wrong yardstick the whole time.     

Because I'm metric in a non-metric country.
(Seriously, how come we haven't gone metric yet?) 

But since I am an American, I get to think outside the box and make shit up.  This is what we do best after all.  Which includes defining my own success.  And when I think about it, I already have everything I've ever wanted.  Family, friends, travel and the freedom to write what I want when I want to.  Because those are my true priorities.  As balance is.   Turns out I like my success the way I like everything else...

...on a small scale.
Preferably metric. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

My Bad Attitude

I've been spinning my wheels for a while now.  Feeling like failure, but also feeling like I have the individual components of what it takes to be successful.  I have talent, I work hard and I'm authentic with good intentions.  So what's holding me back?  My bad attitude.

Not to brag or anything, but I'm really successful at failing.  

See what I mean?  This is my self defeatist mindset.  I'm also ridiculously cynical.  So a while ago, I was nominated for some kind of blog award thing by an anonymous person.  Instead of being flattered,  I just assumed it was some kind of scam.  Because why wouldn't it be?  So I did what any true self loathing skeptic would do, I ignored it, deleted the notification and went on with my life as if it never happened.  But, what if it was real?  

Don't try to give me a compliment or do me any favors,  because I'll reject them.   

I don't mean to be an ungrateful bitch, I swear!  It's not that I think that I'm better than anyone else, in fact,  I'm positive I'm not.  It's just how can I rightfully accept something I don't deserve?   But now that I'm putting it into writing and see it in print on my screen,  I can see how it would turn people off.  To give a gift, only to receive a slap in the face in the return.  Which is absolutely not my intention at all.   

If I'm ever going to succeed, I need to fix my bad attitude.
But what if I have a fear of failure and a fear of success?
What do I do then?

Monday, May 18, 2015


I always liked school and tests.  In fact, I could live quite happily as a perpetual student.  With a syllabus as my road map and my thirst for knowledge driving me to excel.  Not to mention my perfectionism that catapults my drive, bordering on obsession.  So imagine my surprise when I took an evaluation to see how much of a perfectionist I am and I didn't achieve a perfect score.

Translation:  I'm a failure.

Oh, I know being a perfectionist isn't a good thing.  Because all you can do is fail at it.  Setting up unreasonable expectations and then falling short all the time.  Because I cycle through it all the time.  Nothing I do is ever good enough for me because it can always be better.  I have difficulty seeing things I do well because I dwell, ruminate, fixate and obsess on the myriad of things I'm not good at.  

My inner critic is a condescending perfectionistic bitch.

So, no matter what I do, I'm never good enough for me.  But, here is where I failed being a perfect perfectionist on the test, I don't judge others by my impossible standards.   I double checked with my husband just to make sure I was right on that.  Because while perfectionists can be rigid and 
unforgiving, we're also prone to indecision.   Turns out I was right.  Yay!

Being right is like winning.  
I don't know what I'm winning, but does it matter?  
(Perfectionists may also be extremely competitive.)

Then, I felt kinda validated not getting an "A" in perfectionism because if I did it would be even harder on my friends and family to live with me.  Really, when you think about it, I should have scored better because I'm sparing people around me from my harsh criticism and judgement.  So if you take that into consideration and scored on a curve, I would actually have an "A".   Although that "A" would never be enough to satisfy me.  

Because it's never enough.  
I'm insatiable.

Recommending Reading

  Better than Perfect:  7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life you Love

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Acting Normal

My real life naturally 100% weird phone case.
  I didn't think I was good at much of anything, until I realized I'm a fantastic actress.  Pretending to be something I'm not day after day.  Acting like I'm okay, when I'm really unsure and more than a little insecure.  But, yet I seem to pull off acting normal on an almost daily basis.

It's the most popular illusion of our society.  

What the hell is normal anyhow?  It's extroverted and friendly.  But not too friendly because that's called creepy.  Normal has a nice light earthy scent.  Kinda like fresh cut grass.  But not overtly funky like b.o. or garlic breath.  It also votes, recycles, exercises, bakes fabulous cupcakes, not to mention scones, makes thoughtful handmade gifts and volunteers a lot.  Normal is annoyingly perfect.  

Which is why I'm not normal. 

And neither is anyone else.  And who would even want to be normal anyhow with all that pressure and those expectations?  Plus, then everyone is acting like the same person.  How boring is that?  So screw socially acceptable.  Embrace your inner awkward freak.  Unless you're a close talker.  Because no one likes a close talker.  Trust me on this and take a step back and say it, don't spray it already.  

And just remember:   
Stay weird.    

Monday, May 11, 2015

Black Sheep

I grew up in a serious, conservative, large Catholic family.  I realized at a fairly early age I was absolutely none of those things.  I always felt different.  And back then, I didn't think of being different as anything favorable.  In fact,  because I was a sensitive child, I found it isolating and sensed I was misunderstood.

 I was the black sheep of my family.  

So when I became a mom, my priority was to have a funny, liberal, large almost Buddhist family.  But the kids didn't have to be any of those things.  And I didn't expect them to make their beds either. Because I found it a huge waste of time and I didn't want to waste energy nagging them when there were far more important things on the nagging scale, like homework.

I encouraged my kids to be different.

And one of them is particularly different.  Just not in a way that I ever expected.  I anticipated a whole spectrum of contrasting views about a huge array of issues.  I was so mentally prepared to welcome them all with open arms.  Discussing them all over a nice dinner of healthy, organic, sustainable, fair trade lentil loaf.  I WAS THERE I TELL YOU.  Until I discovered, one of my kids is  *gasp* conservative.   Whaaaaaaaaaaattttttt?  Where did this come from?

Maybe it's mandatory that every family have a black sheep.  
To challenge everything you thought about yourself and everything else.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Third Time's a Charm

I got pink eye three times in a row.  I'm positive I'm done now because the third time is always the charm, right?  Because there's something about three that magically cuts your karmic losses. It is the magic number after all, so says School House Rock.  Or maybe the third time is just the time you decide enough is enough already.  And take things into your own thoroughly washed and perfectly disinfected hands.

A couple of months ago I told you we bought a 1972 Indian Winnebago sight unseen off the internet. In Montana.  From a woman who wasn't forthright about the condition it was in.  Or that it was inundated with cigarette smoke.  And we got taken for a ride.  Which included three trips out to Montana to bring it home.  All of which had to be aborted.  But only after it drained a lot of time, energy and money.

Sometimes the power of three is just knowing when to cut your losses.  
I'm pretty sure Tony Robbins said that.
 (I might have made that up.) 

 I've learned three things from pink eye:

1.  I'm now able to give myself eye drops like a grown ass adult.  (The adult part is a lie.)
2.  I'm ridiculously stubborn.
3.  I'm prone to idiocy.

Ok, so I already knew 2 & 3.  But, while I washed the sheets, towels, my hands, threw out my make-up (twice)  I pondered where o' where I could have possibly gotten pink eye from three times.  Until I finally narrowed it down to one thing, which was the only thing left.  The new oil I started using to moisturize around my eyes.  Which I did sporadically, you know, when I remembered. I mean,  it DID leave them moisturized, in a very weepy, crusty infected way.  Because the oil wasn't intended to be used near the eye area.  Of course, I only read that after round #3 of pink eye.  (Please read #2 & #3 of things I've learned from pink eye over again.)  

Maybe three is just the number you stop believing things are a coincidence.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Delusions of Grandeur

This photo is an illusion,  the way most photos on social media are these days.  First of all, I took it to commemorate the best hair day I've had in like a decade.  I was wearing make-up, which is part of my daily routine.  But, cute earrings and a tunic are not.  I happened to be dressed up to go out with a friend.  And then after I took this picture, in really good lighting by the way, I filtered the hell out of it,  just for this post.  My skin looks flawless doesn't it?  It isn't, nor has it ever been.

It's nothing short of a delusion of grandeur.  

It used to be that you had a camera and you had no idea what the image you captured looked like until you got it developed.  And with prehistoric Kodak instamatic camera,  chances are, it probably looked terribly unflattering.  (Especially with your mullet.)  But, everyone's photos did, so no one really knew how bad they were.  We were all on a level playing field.  And if the photo was particularly hideous, you ripped it up and it simply ceased to exist.  

And then things went digital. 

Which is when everything changed.  The most important of those being, that photo will live FOREVER.  And if you post it on social media, it can be seen by EVERYONE.  The entire world can see you in an instant.  (Especially your mullet.)  So, no pressure or anything, but you probably want to look pretty damn good.  Your best even.  Even if it's a bit fictionalized. Because everyone else on Instagram does.  It just levels the playing field.

I admit I'm as guilty as anyone else.

But, I get extremely frustrated with the lack of realism.  Sure, it's great to take a great picture and feel good about yourself.  But, it's also important to portray reality.  And how we all fall short of that unattainable ideal.  So, when I woke up with pink eye 2 weeks ago, I immediately took a photo and posted it to Twitter and Instagram, unedited and unfiltered.  And it instabombed and twitterflopped.  I left them up for a week, before I impulsively deleted them.  Which I'm ashamed to admit.  I did mention photos on the internet last forever right?  So, I've posted it again here for round 2, to redeem myself.  Forever.

Luckily, I got a second round of pink eye, so I was able to post a second photo my funky eye sans makeup & filter on Instagram.   Because I really want to keep things real.  And yes, those are my real under eye circles and blotchy skin.  So what?  The only person you're deluding is yourself.  Further  perpetuating the myth that you're not enough just the way you are.  Which is the greatest delusion of grandeur of all.


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