I Love Me

64-what-is-self-love-all-about[1]I know, I know, when I finished Blogging University’s Fundamentals of Blogging course I promised that Wednesdays would be Weird. Well, guess what? Promises are made to be broken.

Today is Wednesday, February 13th, and it’s time to celebrate Self-Love Day. Christine Arylo created Self-Love Day twelve years ago “to bring awareness to self-love in a way that made it real, tangible and practical to what you are facing in your life today (not fluff.) Because self-love, or lack of it, is at the root of very choice we make…but few people really know what self-love is, and how to apply it to their lives. We cannot guide and model for others what we do not embody deeply ourselves.”

I’ve spoken about the importance of self-love in the past (and no, you do not need batteries to practice self-love). IMHO, you cannot forge healthy relationships with others until you have a healthy relationship with yourself. I’ve seen it over and over with those closest to me – women who searched in vain for a “perfect partner”, finding their soulmate only AFTER they healed their soul.

It’s not just our love lives that suffer when we refuse to prioritize our needs. I’m going to say it again, for the people in back. You need to put yourself first. I know, I know, it goes against everything we’ve been taught as women. We are taught to be caregivers – to put others’ needs before our owns, to take care of all the things that Need Doing before taking time for ourselves.  I’m here to tell you that your relationships with friends/coworkers/family will improve immensely when you put yourself first. Again, for the people in the back – you need to MAKE time for yourself before you take care of anything else.

I have to admit that I’m not good at it. I have a hard time sitting down to read when Stuff Needs Doing, I dose myself on meds and caffeine so that I can take care of my two kids (the one I birthed and the one I married), and I still have a hard time with “the N-word” (not that one).

But I’m working on it. I’ve decided that 2019 is the year I stop telling The Girl to “Do what I say and not what I do” and start modeling a healthier lifestyle. She is rapidly becoming a mini-me:  carrying 17 units at school, volunteering to run lights for church, working towards her next referee badge, and becoming a Cope Health Scholar. I want her to know that it’s okay to say no. I want to show her that rest is not a four-letter word. I want to teach her the importance of self-love, because, as Christine says Self-Love is a path, a practice and a choice. It is the foundation that gives one an inner strength and connection in the heart, body, mind and soul. As a culture, we do not understand, embrace or embody it. If we did, there would be no more bullying, girls dishonoring their bodies, narcissism, abuse, negative self-talk, burnout, destruction of the planet. We are a culture obsessed with the mind, but deeply needing the heart, and scared to actually feel what’s in there.”

Long story short (too late) we need to listen to flight attendants when they tell us to  “Put on your oxygen mask first.”

Christine Arylo has provided some amazing tools to help you learn to practice self-love.

  1. You can get a self-love kit which comes with a powerful process for getting clear on your area of self-love to strengthen
  2. You can join a live class on the impact loving yourself has on your relationships
  3. You can pick up a self-love coloring book and journal

As for me, I started this year’s journey to self-love by taking a quiz to discover who my Inner Mean Girl (aka EIC) is.*

Receving-Love-MLM-Quote[1]

*They said I’m a perfectionist. Color me not surprised. 

 

Advertisements

Wednesdays are Weird

Finishing line Whoo hooo! I did it! It’s taken me more than a month but I finally finished Blogging University’s Learning the Fundamentals course! Evidently I am finally Becoming an Adult. Well, maybe not, but it looks like I’ve  finally Learned my Lesson – or one, at least. It appears that this procrastinator perfectionist has finally learned to finish what she’s started. So far I’m two for two (for those of you who missed the announcement I finally finished my 13 year WIP). If this continues, I just may finish putting away Christmas before summer vacation (don’t judge me).

I cheated, of course. I whipped through lessons 12, 13 and 14 today. It was either that, or quit for the third time. But the third time’s the charm! Made it to the last lesson – Day Fourteen: Create Your Own Feature. The powers that be instructed me to “think of the type of regular feature you can commit to – something you’ll publish weekly, biweekly, or monthly.”

I have to admit that I have a fear of commitment – it took me five years and threats from my fiancé before I agreed to walk down the aisle, and another ten years before I was willing to commit to raising a child…so today’s lesson is hard – or would be, if it weren’t Wednesday.

I know what you’re thinking. “What does Wednesday have to do with the price of tea in China?” Or maybe not – nobody says that any more. Wednesdays are the best brain day. I have completely recovered from all the activities of the previous weekend, and my brain has not yet run away to get an early start on the coming weekend. And Wednesdays start with a “W” which made it a short alliterative jump to  Weird Wacky Worldwide Stories of the Week aka Weird Wednesday.

 

BlogWednesday[1]

A  quick Google search for weird/wacky stories made me realize how popular they’ve become. I know we’re all tired of doom and gloom, but I was surprised to see just how many links I found. Reddit has a page dedicated to News of the Weird, as does NPR . There’s a Facebook group and it appears that even Fox news has jumped on the bandwagon (nobody says that any more either) with Weird News Wednesday.

fox

image courtesy of          fox13now.com/tag/weird-news-wednesday/

I skimmed through the various sites, looking for the perfect story to kick off this series. Then my daughter sent me a link to January Nelson’s post from September of last year.

The post included 50+ stories that she had “curated from funny Tumbler stories”  but it was the first one that had The Girl crying with laughter:

In my junior year of high school, this guy asked me on a date. he rented a Redox movie and made a pizza. We were watching the movie and the oven beeped so the pizza was done. He looked me dead in the eye and said, “This is the worst part.” I then watched this boy open the oven and pull the pizza out with his bare hands, rack and all, screaming at the top of his lungs. We never had a second date.

So okay, it may not be “news” , and I’m not sure it’s as weird as the story about the working usb drive that was found in frozen leopard seal poop, but it made me laugh (because I am an evil, evil person).

Poor boy. Burnt his hands AND lost the girl.

crying[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Survived the Zombie Apocalypse

th[2]We all know that time is relative (one of those asshat relatives who never behaves) – a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey thing that speeds up and slows down depending on your location (work or vacation), cycle of the moon and time of year, but when I started Blogging University’s “Learning the Fundamentals” I had no idea that it would take me this long to complete a two week course.

It’s not my fault. Well, it IS my fault, because I haven’t been writing every day, but I have an excellent excuse – I’m a victim of the zombie plague. It pisses me off, not just because I don’t have time to get sick, but because I got the flu shot and still got the flu. It’s just not fair (yes, Mom, I know that “life’s not fair”).

I blame my coworkers. Patient zero came to work “with a horrible cold”, took time off, then returned to work and relapsed. SHE SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME. When she returned to work, she infected a second employee, who “tried to stay away from everyone.” SHE SHOULD HAVE STAYED HOME. Instead she decided to come to work with the hope that “staying away” would keep her from infecting anyone.

That’s not the way the flu works.

The CDC says you should “take 3” actions” to fight the flu. Their website includes the recommendation that “Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community” as well as telling people to:

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu symptoms, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours…
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough…

I spent 4 days alternating between the false hope that I was getting better, and dealing with a headache so bad I was certain my brain was going to explode.  On the fifth day, I woke up to find my unexploded brain was missing (I wonder if zombies are actually looking for their runaway brains?). Since I wasn’t running a fever, I decided to see if I could find it at work.

That was a week ago. I’m not sure where my brain has been, but it’s finally back in my head where it belongs. Good thing, because I need to finish this course. My newly returned brain decided to whoosh through several of the tasks in an attempt to finish the two week course in fewer than two months.

Day 10’s assignment to “build a better blogroll” seemed easy enough, since I already had one. I say “seemed” because I failed in my attempt to edit my blogroll (several of “my people” are no longer writing). I’m still looking for help.

Day 11’s assignment proved challenging as well. The task to “make a prompt personal” including instructions to “visit our Daily Post site and check out today’s prompt – it’s in the dark blue box in the middle of the page.” When I clicked the link, I saw a lot of boxes, but no dark blue box. I kept hitting “back” and clicked the link repeatedly, then searched frantically on the internet, determined to find the missing blue box*. It appears that they are no longer offering a daily prompt, but suggested that I “use some of our prior prompts.”

I was going to write about how guilty I feel for not writing, then considered talking about the fact that I’m better, but still broken. But I’m broken because two selfish people chose to come to work and infect others instead of STAYING HOME like responsible humans.

The good news is that staying home gave me time to start reading Year One by Nora Roberts.

Year-One-200x300[1]

I was only able to read first two chapters (it’s hard to read when your brain is missing), but it seems to me that The Doom is very similar to Captain Tripps. I wonder if Nora Roberts is a Stephen King fan? Both books deal with an ever mutating, highly contagious virus, and both books made me think that the coming zombie apocalpyse is unavoidable. Good thing that both the CDC and youtubers have tips to help us survive.

The best news is that, by isolating myself for a week and using proper hand hygiene techniques, nobody else in my house caught the flu, even though they haven’t gotten a flu shot (somehow that doesn’t seem fair).

*I didn’t find the daily prompt’s blue box, but I did find the Tardis. I’d love to share the details of our amazing adventure, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy. The doctor promised to return me home “five minutes before we left,” but evidently she miscalculated, and I lost two weeks instead.

 

 

 

 

 

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

day9[1]My brain has been fried by stress and lack of sleep, but that’s okay, because it’s Friday (I can hear you groan from here). Fried brain resulted in lack of ideas for today’s title (full disclosure – my original post HAD NO TITLE. I’ve updated it thanks to the notification that LittleFears liked ”  “)

It’s also Blogging Fundamentals Day Nine: Get Inspired by the Neighbors. Yesterday’s lesson instructed me to “leave thoughtful comments on four different blogs.” I spent time exploring the blogosphere and discovered that I’m not the only one twisting suburbia.

Lauren Mucklow reminded me of all the weird changes that come with being pregnant – she hit most of the highs (and lows) of pregnancy, but missed one of the strangest symptoms – my sense of smell became so acute I could have gotten a job with the DEA sniffing out contrabrand (any other moms experience this, or was it just me?).

Danelle Bruder reminded me of how I became an accidental mother. Like me, she never wanted to be a mom. Like me, she “liked kids well enough I guess.  I had a niece that I adored but my own kids, that wasn’t for me. No freedom, sleepless nights, sticky hands, snotty noses? Ugh, no thanks.”  And, like me, she has grown to love motherhood. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the “Terrible Twos” are far easier than the “Terrible Teens” because teens are crazy.

6-14546-9780936197449-1344022049[1]

And Thrive Global offered excellent advice on what I should tell my insecure teen. The post included great life lessons that this not-teen should remember. including the fact that perfection doesn’t exist, that you should be careful with the words you use to describe yourself and a reminder that “teens often just want their parent to be that safe person, where they can express how they feel without having their feelings denied.”

But it was the most recent post from Must Be This Tall To Ride that resonated with me. Resonated, hell, Matt’s post shook me to the core. He wrote about the importance of actively demonstrating intentional love and patience towards those we love.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “My friend/child/spouse/family knows how I feel – they know how much I love them” – and you’re (probably) right. But, as Matt pointed out, “We grow numb to the things we feel All The Time. We grow deaf to the things we hear All the Time. We grow blind to the things we see All The Time.” We start sleepwalking through our lives, and we start to take things for granted.

I have yet another confession to make (this is the third this month – if it continues, it might behoove me to convert to Catholicism): I take my teen for granted. I take it for granted that she’s polite, that she’s a good student, that she has a generous heart, a loving soul and that she’s becoming a Responsible Adult (better her than me).

I take it for granted that she is a good person. So I don’t tell her often enough.

We had a fight the other day. She did something that we didn’t like, and we told her why we didn’t like it.  She responded by talking back, and the discussion rapidly escalated from “constructive criticism” to slamming doors and stomping feet (and that was just on my part).

teenagerpost

Fortunately we have a Talking Chair. A safe place in our house where people are allowed to voice their side without fear of repercussion. She told me that she felt like we are picking on her because we only bring up things she’s doing wrong, and that (at 18) she should have the right to voice her opinion, without sitting in the Talking Chair.

She had a valid point, but I was still mad that she no longer feels the need to do things the way I want her to do them simply “because I’m the Mommy.”

Then I read Matt’s post. He reminded me that I should “actively demonstrate intentional love and patience toward my favorite person in the world. She is my life’s greatest gift. And it’s pathetic that I get angry with her and speak to her in ways her young mind might interpret as me saying she’s not good enough, or communicate that I’m not immensely proud of her.”*

I was flooded with guilt and embarrassment. I wanted to move to another post without commenting, but I wanted him to know how much Always Something There to Remind Me meant to me, so I left a comment instead. I confessed (that’s #4, for those of you who are keeping track) that “Our daughter is 18…and we still have fights. Just the other night, we had a particularly nasty one. At one point she said “I feel like you’re always picking on me.” Your post reminded me that I need to remember to praise her successes more often than I correct her “flaws”. She’s a good kid (a great one, TBH. We’re very lucky) and I think I’ve taken it for granted.” 

I’d like to be able to say that I’ve learned my lesson – that I’ll no longer take people/things for granted, that I’ll remember to praise as well as punish. I’d like to be able to say that, but I’m aware I’m only human. Instead, I promise I’ll  try.

Yoda would be so disappointed in me.

*Matt has a son, I’ve taken the liberty of adjusting the pronouns in my post

 

 

I’m (not) the Biggest Loser

Confession[1]I have to another confession to make.

gif__i_m_a_freaking_loser_by_shackmo-d95jdg9

Literally. Not a weight loss loser like my husband (who has lost over 100 pounds in the past two years) and not in a “I can’t do anything right”/pity party table for one way* – but in an “everything I want/need/touch goes missing/is lost” way.

It’s incredibly frustrating.

I’ve had it happen before. My mother stops by to borrow her jewelry whenever there’s a party in the great beyond. She brings it back eventually, and she usually puts it back in my jewelry box. It’s her jewelry, after all, so I suppose I should let her borrow it.

18581815_10210594503636521_5233969730884670004_n[1]

I’ve also had things disappear when I’m tired/distracted. I remember reading an article on object permanence a while back (the memory is fuzzed by time and oldtimer’s syndrome, so I may be misremembering). The writer’s theory was that, when we’re distracted to the point where we forget about an object, it ceases to exist. It doesn’t really explain why those objects turn up in odd places (i.e. the freezer, the pocket of a jacket I haven’t worn in decades or under the bed). Erin Pavlina says you can find lost items using psychic abilities. Unfortunately, I’m psycho not psychic.

The things that I’ve lost have been just that – things. Things can be replaced.

Unfortunately, this past weekend I lost my mind. Dan Quayle would be so disappointed.

thz27zqke0

I didn’t realize it until yesterday, when I found that I couldn’t understand simple instructions/had a hard time completing the Blogging Fundaments task for Day 5: Love Your Theme. I was unsuccessful in my attempt(s) to “try and customize three different themes.” The task proved so frustrating, that I threw a hissy fit and decided to take my ball and go home.

This morning I discovered that my brain had come home (which is a good thing, since it’s far too little to be on its own). I spent some time playing with different themes, only to realize that yes, this is the “my” theme.

Because I’m behind in my lessons (I just received instructions for Day 13), and because my brain is back where it belongs, I decided to complete the tasks for Day Six: Make an Irresistible “About Me” page and Day Seven: Start Personalizing Your Site as well. I updated my “About” page (I even managed to add an image!) and changed the background color, font and header for my blog.

Guess I’m not a loser after all.

 

*In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit to throwing a pity party when I couldn’t find my Peets gift card and a check.

 

 

Love It or Leave It?

100-days-of-meditation-day-5a[1]

image courtesy of kylecease.com

I took a little break from Learning the Fundamentals – partly because the weekend was full of Things That Needed Doing, partly because I’m lazy, and partly because grief knocked me for a loop.

The good news is that I came back and resumed where I’d left off, even though I was tempted to skip to the “current” lesson (day 12).

The bad news is that Day 5 is “learn to love your theme.” Today I was supposed to preview, try and customize at least 3 themes. I tried. I really did. I found some themes that looked promising, but my heart just wasn’t in it.

Too many ch ch changes going on in my life, I suppose. Or maybe it’s the weird grey almost rain. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ve already found the perfect theme and changing it would be a mistake? I don’t know why today’s lesson was so difficult, but I am proud of the fact at least I tried. As a perfectionist, trying anything new is..well, it’s virtually impossible.

But I did it.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll try jogging (I just made myself laugh so hard coffee came out my nose).

thnclkcidr

image courtesy of http://behappy.me

 

 

 

 

 

On Love, Loss, and Laughter

Yesterday I found out that a long time friend is losing his battle with cancer. It has thrown me for a larger loop than one would expect. Yes, it’s heartbreaking, but it felt like more. this morning I realized that it brought back all the grief from when I lost my brother of heart. Nothing like a little PTSD on a rainy Monday morning.

Twisting Suburbia

images71V16YFPI know what you’re thinking – “Where the hell has Tracey been and what kind of writer doesn’t write?” (or, as my EIC would say, “If a writer isn’t writing, doesn’t that mean they’re not a writer?”)

In Hell. Literally (Ok, maybe not literally). A stuck writer. That’s what kind.

Grief has eaten my brain, and stolen my creativity.

I lost someone a month ago who was incredibly important to me. Well, I didn’t’ “lose” him. It’s not like he was a set of car keys, or a sock that disappeared from the dryer, or my mind.

Sorry for that. I have a habit of trying to compensate for emotional issues with sarcasm and lame attempts at humor. Let me try again.

My friend died a month ago.

Wow. There it is, in black and white. The phrase I’ve avoided. I know it’s hard to read, but trust me, it’s harder to write…

View original post 1,215 more words

To Twist or not to Twist, that is the question…

I came across this post from my first attempt to learn the fundamentals. The fact that I talked about stepford wives, minivans drink or treating and avoiding the PTSA made me laugh out loud. Evidently my reason for blogging remains the same (no, I didn’t read this BEFORE my most recent post)

Twisting Suburbia

I am several days behind on the Blogging101 “Blogging: Learning the Fundamentals” course. Ithought about hitting more than one lesson a day until I’m current.I am tired, fighting a cold and have writer’s block, so it sounds like too muchworkfor today.For now, I will work one lesson at a time. It’s nice back here. I’m so far behind I think I’m first!

Day Two: Make Sure You Love Your Title

I thought about changing my blog’s title when Irealized thatmy blog needed a reboot. I considered it for a nanosecond (not to be confused with nana second, the length of time it takes your grandmother to realize that you are Up To Something).

images7My instincts whispered that I should keep my title, and I ALWAYS listen to my instincts.*

In truth, I could have used a guide to suburbia when I first moved here. There are books about what…

View original post 240 more words

Who Are You Again?

2015-12-20 12.42.27[1] Oh goody, I’ve made it to Blogging U’s Day Four – Identify Your Audience. This is going to be a tough one, because it’s Friday and multiple cups of coffee have kicked my ADHD into high gear (Oh look! Squirrel!)

eastern-gray-squirrel[1]

I have no doubt that The Powers That Be thought they were being helpful when they suggested that I brainstorm the kind of person you hope will read your blog. What do you want to say to them?

What do I want to say? OMG There’s a storm in my brain! No wonder I have a headache!  Thunder! Lightning! Rain and hail! Hail, hail, the gangs all here (told you my ADHD was in high gear – the hamsters are RACING on their wheel).

Seriously – I’ve done this before, is it cheating if I just repost?

Sigh. FINE.

Who is my ideal audience? (ok brainstorm, work your magic)

brainstorm[1]

Gee, I don’t know. What kind of readers would I like? I mean, I’m not picky. Not really. I know there are people who prefer to surround themselves with like-minded individuals, but I’m not one of them. My family of heart includes writers and actors, stay at home moms (and dads) and CEOs, hippies and button-downed professionals, parents with two legged children and four, mischief makers and rule followers, liberals and conservatives and everything in between.

To be perfectly honest, my ideal audience member would be my mother. She’s been gone for 24 years now, so, unless they have internet access in the Great Beyond, she won’t be reading any of these posts.

10306472_10202700817139292_9117299692987768535_n[1]

Mostly I want people who “get” me (don’t we all?). People who understand sarcasm, love movies and books and music and mood swings. Errr. strike that last bit. Pretty sure nobody loves a mood swing. Wikipedia says A moodswing is an extreme or rapid change in mood. Such moodswings can play a positive part in promoting problem solving and in producing flexible forward planning. However, when moodswings are so strong that they are disruptive, they may be the main part of a bipolar disorder. Of course, Wikipedia also choose to use the drama masks when talking about mood swings and bipolar disorder. Wikipedia can suck it.

800px-p_culture.svg[1]

I want to talk to people whose minds are open, but not so far that their brains have fallen out. People who drink and swear, and those who don’t (you’ve been warned – I use a lot of four letter words). People who are willing to listen to me babble, to toast my successes, grieve my losses, and are willing to lift me up when the black dog comes for a visit. Friends who want to ride with me on this crazy rollercoaster we call life. Family of blood and heart.

Who is my ideal audience? You are.

So, who are you?

 

 

 

Still Skewed After All These Years

confession[1]I have a confession to make – I’m a procrastinator perfectionist with ADHD – which means that it takes me forever to start a project and I don’t always finish it. Evidently I am not a very good dult, but who wants to be one anyway?

This is my third attempt at “Learning the Fundamentals” from Blogging U. I believe that the third time is the charm. If nothing else, at least I’ve made it to Day Two: Take Control of Your Title and Tagline. It’s a small success, but progress is all about the baby steps.

My original Title/Tagline was Twisting Suburbia/Stories From a Skewed Soccer Mom.

When I first started blogging, I wanted to write about my life as a reluctant soccer mom. I started by confessing that I was an accidental mother who never intended to live in the suburbs and avoided the PTA like the plague. I wanted to tell stories from the skewed side of suburbia – to tell stories about women who didn’t quite fit the image of the suburban soccer mom, and provide tips on surviving the perils of parenthood with sanity (mostly) intact.

The good news is that they’re out there. The rebels and the renegades, the artists and mischief makers – the anti-Stepford wives who refuse to drive minivans and go drink-or-treating with their pack at Halloween.

The bad news is that I’m an inconsistent writer at best, and Time is a wibbly-wobbly thing. Life has wooshed by and The Girl has become a dult, despite my best efforts to keep her from growing up.

She’s too old for soccer. That’s a lie (evidently I’m a lying procrastinator perfectionist with ADHD). She still plays, but she’s outgrown the need for halftime and post-game snacks. I am no longer a suburban soccer mom, reluctant or otherwise.

Today’s task proved challenging. The Powers That Be tried to help by suggesting that for a fun, personal title, start by listing some adjectives that describe you, or play with quotes or book titles you love.

Adjectives that describe me? Procrastinator. Perfectionist. I considered changing my title to The PP Princess but was worried that it would limit me to readers who enjoy golden showers (besides, I’m not a princess, I’m a queen). I’m still twisted (as my friends and family will tell you) and I still live in suburbia (heavy sigh) so the title stayed.

The tagline needed to change. I came up with a list:

  • Twisting Suburbia – musings/life/rants from a skewed point of view
  • Looking at the world through skewed colored glasses
  • Because we can’t all be suburban soccer moms
  • View/visions from the dork side
  • Adventures/Rantings/Confessions of a reluctant soccer mom
  • The View from the skewed side
  • Scenes/Stories from the skewed side

And then one of my personalities suggested Tales From the Skewed Side. I love it, because it’s a riff on Gary Larson’s Tales from the Far Side. I love Gary Larson. As a graduate of the Mentally Gifted Minor program (a precursor to the GATE program) this one was my favorite ‘toons:

th59xbreix

It could also be considered a riff on Tales from the Crypt.

tales-from-the-crypt-comic[1]

I loved Tales From the Crypt when I was a kid (as well as the Tales From the Cryptkeeper TV series), but I’m not quite goth enough to carry that one off.

giphy

Welcome to the skewed side-the dark side may have cookies, but we have Red Solo cups.