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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!

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It’s Okay to Cry

I have cried, I think, once a day for the last seven days. That’s unusual for me…now. In my 20s and 30s, I am pretty sure I cried every day. I remember one of my close guy friends told me he hadn’t cried in several years, and I was befuddled. I was like, ‘HUH!? You must be so repressed! What is happening!?”

So I used to cry about big life things, such as, “I am never going to find ‘the one,'” and ‘Why can’t I figure out what I want to do with my life?” Ya know, your basic lame, white girl problems when you’re still on the dole of your Dad.

I know I’m 28, but can you send me my rent?

Now, I cry about things like when my son and I were walking the dogs last night, and he told me that my ex-husband probably married me for my looks, but “those have lowered.” Or, when I miss my long-distance boyfriend, and it hurts. Or, that I don’t always fit in.

I am not sad, really, no. I am just in-tune with my emotions, I guess?

I cried, too, this week when I saw my daughter sleeping next to me, as she does every night, and she’s so big now. She’s almost 8. I know, I know; she should sleep in her own bed. But, I’m alone, and I like to touch her ankles with my cold feet, and to hear her breathing, as I did when she was an infant and wouldn’t nap unless I lay down with her. I cried, because I remembered how tiny she was, in her zebra, zip-up, onesie, and how she smelled of powder and cornsilk on her fine hair. And how, at that time, things were so different, and I didn’t envision co-parenting and sleeping alone on Wednesdays.

The point I guess I’m trying to make is, it’s okay to cry, even if you’re happy. The tears stream down, cleanse you of those thoughts, and you can move on. People seem so concerned with appearing happy. I guess I’m just here to say, well, it’s okay to cry…

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Welcoming Unwelcome Feelings

Sometimes I wake up in this awful shame cycle and think, “I’d be better off if I just locked myself in a basement.” Does that happen to you? Like, you do something or say something and realize you are really not fit for society? Initially, I woke up today feeling that angst and did everything I could to recalibrate and combat that feeling, like go on my new elliptical machine for 45 minutes while watching reality TV, walking my dogs, and now writing. But, I think, as the poet Rumi suggested, maybe I should just welcome this feeling and sit with it, because it may bring me guidance.

Do you ever feel like this?

In his poem The Guest House, Rumi uses uses the image of a guest house as a metaphor that each day is an opportunity to experience something new in our lives, even if it’s unexpected, and each feeling should be welcomed, no matter how unpleasant. We must welcome these “guests,” or feelings of happiness and joy as well as shame and depression. In treating these visitors with equal respect and courage, no matter how unwelcome the feelings are, we can learn from them, and perhaps use them to navigate moving forward.

Okay, so I am sitting here now, welcoming these feelings…and eating pretzels #truth. That is one thing I feel gross about: I ate like 9,000 carbs yesterday, including hot pretzel nuggets with cheese and, that’s not all, it was followed by a bowl of pasta. That’s so not on the diet. However, I did run 7 miles, so maybe that’s allowed! Don’t runners maul pasta before a race? Okay, so I did it afterwards, with a glass of wine…maybe not a tip in Women’s Fitness magazine.

I also can over-share. I do this like every day. I mean, I guess being a blogger, you need to share yourself. If I didn’t write anything personal, it would not resonate with readers. I so envy those who wear their cards close to the vest: the keen listeners and observers who probably never leave a party and think, “Wait, WHY did I say that?!”

So, on the flip side, here I am criticizing myself AGAIN, adding to the shame cycle, which I should in fact be instead welcoming. What can I learn from that? I guess to shut my yapper? Become a different person? I like myself though! I just wish I could be myself, but alone in the basement. I care too much about what others think.

Who are your “house guests” today? Please leave a comment. Oh, and if you don’t know the poem, here it is:

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks