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Self-Help, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Working It Out…the “Write” Way

Wow, we are back to remote learning because of the COVID surge. Heeeeeeeeelp! Okay, I have a lot on my plate–and nothing at the same time–because I’m trying to reach some New Year’s goals, like dropping some lbs. and cutting back on my vices (need not be named: trust me, there are a couple). But, now this? OY! How can I work on myself when I have to work at home and with my kids?

Triggers. What are they? I was trying to think of this, when I was wondering how I can achieve my goals. Like, what gets in my way and makes me stressed? Oh, how about HOMESCHOOL!??! Okay, so that’s one. Then, I was like, “Okay, what’s next? What can make me stressed?” Work and kids. Responsibilities. Er, well, those can’t really be removed. Ever. So there you have it.

My entire existence is a trigger.

Remember when we just could be selfish, when we were younger, and worry about what we were going to wear out at night? Or, like, take all day to get ready for a date: workout, eat right, shave off all body hair, use Crest white strips, blow your hair out? Those were good times. Hah! I am kind of laughing. Those, actually, the getting ready for a date days? Those were inherently stressful, particularly if it was a first date. They kind of sucked, in fact. I guess I’m just thinking about when we lay around and had nothing to think about but our own selfish baby issues. Good times.

Honestly, though? I think I was worse off then. Yes, I’m feeling better already as I write this. When I had too much selfish baby time to ruminate, I would spiral and drive myself nuts. I’d snowball everything into a disaster and end up in the bookstore self-help section.

Too much time = a trigger.

So, now that I have zero time, I’m better off. Right?

Yes, I figured it out. I am, INDEED better off now!

See how I worked this all out by writing it down? I think this is a good exercise for all of us, particularly writers. And now I know why people say to journal every day. Okay, so try this for yourselves at home…see how well you do. Let me know.

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Forgiveness: Why and What’s Forgivable? I Want to Know.

Everyone is talking about forgiveness and self-love today as we enter a new year. I hate when people say, “I heard this on NPR,” but I did, in fact, hear it on NPR– a conversation about forgiveness this morning. Essentially, two of the guests agreed that we have to forgive, even is no apology is made or elicited, to stop the stress cycle and allow us to heal and progress. There was a reference to looking forward and living with “forwardness.” I did always like that quote about if you live in the rearview mirror, you’ll soon be going that way. Don’t ask me who said it, because it was actually a fortune cookie message I received and have since pasted to my refrigerator to remind myself to live in the present.

I often have to remind myself of this. In fact, I wear this ring. See the inscription? “Live in the Here and Now.” My niece got it for me. I am terrible at doing this.

So back to forgiveness… By forgiving, you’re embracing peace, love and joy. You are helping your body to de-stress and stop producing cortisol (this was the scientific reasoning for forgiveness). And, you’re giving your mind a break, a chance to rest.

I do think I’m forgiving, but like what is not forgivable, I wonder? I mean, I think murder would be one. I couldn’t get over that. I could probs forgive cheating and lying, if it came with some level of contrition. What else? Um…I’d forgive stealing and hurting my feelings occasionally (not all the time). I’d be super bummed if you lit my house on fire.

I can’t really think of other things right now. Currently, I have forgiven most everyone I know for any wrongs I perceived or experienced. It feels good. Sometimes, I look backwards and feel those pangs of hurt and resentment, because, well, I’m human. And I get angry. And then swallow that anger, and it just manifests itself in heinous ways, like anxiety. YAY!

Forgiveness gives you your power back. Don’t be a victim. Try to empathize with the offender. When someone is mean to my children, I tell them, “Well, maybe feel sorry for him/her, because they are obviously hurting and sad inside to treat you this way.”

“Hurt people hurt people.”
That’s a good quote.

How do you know if someone is hurt when you meet them though? How many chances do you give them?

That’s a whole other question. What do you think?

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Top 3 Things That Made Me Laugh Today

BWAHAHA! That’s all I have to say about my day! (Well, really, about life in general, but we will just focus on then funnies of today for time’s sake). So, the day started out with a trip to Michael’s to get some crafts for the kids, so they are not up my grill. We buy some clay, a scrapbook, cool markers, and baking supplies. We’re good, yes? Well, not exactly. When we get home, we first decide to delve into the “YOU*NIVERSE Crystal Growing Unicorn” craft, in which you “Grow a Crystal Sculpture!”

Seems easy, yes? Um, no! First off, they don’t mention that not only do you need to wait two hours for the crystal liquid to settle in a bowl once you mix it (this is SO not a kids thing–anything requiring patience), but then you have to let the unicorn sit OVERNIGHT in the crystals before painting them. This sucks! Like, who wants to wait till the next day? It should have a warning on it that reads: “This is 24-hour craft! Beware that Children will Be Bored and You Will Be Responsible!” It’s like when you buy them a hamster, and then you’re the one caring for it after day 3 (#truestory). But, at this point in the crystal unicorn, I am legit involved and want to see this through.

So I go to clean up the mess and leave this nasty fish tank of crystals to sit overnight, and I can’t find the paper towels. Oh, wait, guess where they were, these coveted paper towels, of which I am allowed to buy just ONE at the store because of restrictions!? In the living room…#chewtoy

Onto the next craft, my daughter decided to be innovative and philosophical. Thinking about Santa, and how one should be rewarded for being good and punished for being bad, she devised a list of good behaviors that merit rewards (or points) and bad behaviors that force you to pay. Some good behaviors, such as not complaining, brushing teeth, and setting the table (ha! AS IF!), are compensated with points and rewards, such as “stay up an extra 20 minutes.” Bad behaviors, on the other hand, like hitting and punching, result in chores.

I realized, after looking at this extensive list, that the consequences and payments on the bad list are essentially MY LIFE. Yes, that’s true. Cleaning, raking leaves, shoveling snow, matching socks, folding laundry, garbage, recycling, and “making my bed for a whole month” are basically what I do on a daily basis.


Makes me wonder…

I mean, I am GOOD! Very good! In fact, I found $80 in cash on Friday outside this person’s Jeep, who was parked next to me. I could have legit pocketed that and gone holiday shopping. But, no, because I am good person, who believes in Karma (Um….when’s it coming?), I put the cash in an envelope, and I wrote, “Looks like you dropped this” and put it on their car.

But, I’m the one living the punitive chores list! Seems off, no?

SHEESH!!

Happy Holidays! Wish me luck with the crystal painting tomorrow!!

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Kids, This is What You Can Get Me for X-Mas #giftguide

I’ve been reading all these gift giving guides, and I decided I’d write one of my own for my children to reference. Here you go, Kids:

1. A REFRAIN FROM ASKING “Where is a clean mask?” when we are harried and rushing out the door on the way to school in the morning. I am sweating, frazzled, clomping around in my work heels, and basically hating life when you do that. We have a name for this person I become: the angry chicken, because I am squawking with my beak. Don’t make me the chicken.

2. A DUMPSTER FOR ANY SMALL TOYS, including Hatchimals (these are crazy, tiny animals that you peel out of a gross plastic egg like they are “hatching.”) These toys are not only killer weapons when I step on them in the middle of the night in the dark, but they are also dog chokers. Not to mention, Hatchimals are fun for like one minute, when you see what they look like after they hatch, and then they’re not so fun. Kind of like giving birth and seeing the baby, and then it’s just “meh.” KIDDING!

Hatchimals

3. A WEEK AWAY TO A RETREAT: I just want to be sent someplace where I can journal, sleep, get daily therapy, go on walks, and do nothing. I might enjoy something cult-like, where I sit by a fire with some freaks, and we bond while making S’mores and someone with a man bun (maybe the cult leader) is playing guitar.

4. “MOMMY MAKEOVER” PLASTIC SURGERY: Hey, I won’t be offended if you guys pay for it. Just get me the gift card, and I will go for that Mommy Makeover. I will never spend my mortgage or cable money on it, guys, so dump your piggy banks and get Mommy the help she needs. This is, after all, your fault I look like this.

5. A YEAR OF PACKED LUNCHES (can be frozen): I hate packing lunches, because now that peanut butter is not allowed (#nutallergies), I have no sandwiches to make. PB&J was my go-to sammie, and really the only one you guys eat. Not to mention, a jar of Skippy can last for like 20 lunches: basic economics. Now, I have to rifle around the snack drawers, find cutlery for the yogurts, add in a freezer pack to keep it cold (and you often leave it in your backpack overnight, so I have to dive in the freezer and find a new one), and feel bad that you went to school with six bags of chips for lunch.

6. A NEW REMOTE CONTROL: The one in the basement, the one I use on the elliptical, is covered in sticky ice cream and God knows what. No matter how much I sanitize it, it’s sticky and maybe more foul than the ones in hotel rooms that I put a Ziploc bag over before I touch them. I want a back-up…one you do not touch.

7. GIVE ME MY BED BACK: I love you in my bed (sometimes), but the fact that my bed is now called “our bed” is an issue. And, I found a sour patch candy in the sheets the other night, and your old blankie kinda smells, so I can only face one way in the bed–away from it. I might like to sleep alone, so I can read, stretch out, and feel okay sleeping on my right AND my left side.

Her side of “our” bed

Well, that should be a good start, kids. And it doesn’t require a lot of shopping! So, make like Santa, and get to it. I’ve been “Good” this year…

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My Favorite Things (today)…What do We Have in Common?

You know that song, My Favorite Things that Julie Andrews sang? (I sang it at my first audition in fifth grade…I thought I was good but only got the nonspeaking role of “Peablossom” in Midsummer Night’s Dream...guess I sucked it). Anyway, I decided I’d like to share some of my favorite things these days, maybe to inspire you to try them!

1. SHIZZLES. I can’t think of one thing!

I think I’m depressed. Well, no, it’s like a post-war malaise or something where this surge in COVID is legit taking an emo and physical toll. Physically, because I just wolfed down a Twix ice cream bar (so not in the diet–oh wait, I’m not on one); and mentally, because I feel sort of dulled. I tried to sharpen up and read a book on my Kindle, and I did some Words With Friends. This is also why I have not written my blog, or worked on my novel, in like a month! I am dead inside!!!

Well, that’s not true.

BUT, okay, so here are some of my favorite things lately:

1. TV. Yeah, I’m sorry for all y’all that extol the virtues of not owning a TV and not paying for cable (even though we know you stream…be honest!), because it’s legit fun to binge watch shows on Netflix, like The Fall (watching now,) or on HBO (The Undoing). I also still enjoy Housewives of NYC and Salt Lake City and OC. It’s like these people are my friends now that I don’t see other friends as often. #bravotv #netflix #cable #HBO

2. “Yasou” Greek salad dressing. I make a lot of salads. And I’m Greek. To my dismay, I think this salad dressing is the most I do with my Grecian heritage. I thought to join the Greek church here, and I went with good intentions, but I can’t speak Greek! I can, however, say “Yasou!” which means, “Hello!” in Greek. Maybe I can bring the dressing with me to church. #yasou #greek

3. Spotify. I basically crank music daily and the best part is that you can purchase a subscription and play whatever song you want whenever. It’s like having your own jukebox. I love me a good jukebox. My fave songs to play are Sweet Thing, by Van Morrison, One, by U2, and She Wouldn’t Be Gone, by Blake Shelton. #Spotify

4. Work. Yeah, I know that sounds basically cray, but at least it’s something to DO besides focus on myself, my kids and ruminating about things we can’t plan! “Make a plan, and God will change it for you,” is a quote I just heard on Real Housewives, actually. LOL Honestly? That fact that I am quoting from Bravo, instead of like Darwin or Plato, is kinda rotten–well, and funny at the same time. But, it’s good to have a sense of purpose and to get a paycheck after my summer off and my dwindling bank account. Oh, and RIP to my “Preferred” banking status at Bank of America. Apparently, I am officially too poor to maintain that privilege, since I kept withdrawing and not depositing for months. Whatevs. I never ASKED to join that club, m’kay, BOA? Ya’ shut it!

me at work

5. Coffee and Wine. Not together, but like as bookends to my days. Maybe I should mix them together and see if the day is all a hot mess and turned upside down! Or, maybe that is just another word for —“a problem.”

Well, what are your favorite things???? Please share!