Category Archives: all about me

Like a Virgin

th[3]Please note – This following post is meant as entertainment only. I am not a mental health practitioner, nor do I play one on TV. If you or someone you love is battling perfectionism, depression or any other serious condition, please seek help or contact the suicide prevention hotline

I’m a virgin (stop laughing! It’s true!). No, wait – I am THE virgin (no, not that one). My birthday is August 27th, which makes me Virgo the Virgin (If you keep rolling your eyes like that, they’re going to fall out of your head).

I don’t know about you, but I take Horoscopes with a grain of salt. Then again, I take a lot of things with a grain of salt (and a shot of tequila). I subscribed to Tarot.com for grins and giggles (it beats the heck out of the doom and gloom that’s been pouring into my newsfeed lately). Yesterday’s horoscope included a message that resonated with me. Dr. Harriet Braiker wrote “Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.”

There it was – the P word. The word that has plagued me all my adult life. How do I know I’m a perfectionist? I failed the online test, but recognized the signs listed on wholelifechallenge.com

  • You feel like things should always be done a certain way
  • You beat yourself up for making mistakes
  • You believe if it’s not perfect, it’s a complete failure
  • You procrastinate until circumstances are just right
  • You worry others will see a flaw and judge you
  • You think asking for help is a sign of weakness
  • You feel the need to be in control
  • You’re afraid of starting something new in case you’re not the best
  • You attach self-worth to achievements, i.e. “I failed therefore I’m a failure”
  • You think you should be doing things better, and rarely give yourself credit
  • You tend to abandon goals if you make a mistake or fall off the wagon

The Whole Life Challenge also listed these uplifting responses to “What is your life really like?”

  • “If I’m not the best, then I’m a failure.”
  • “I can’t ask for help, people will think I’m not good enough.”
  • “I’m exhausted but I can’t relax — I always have to stay one step ahead.”
  • “I never feel satisfied and nothing I do is enough.”
  • “If I make a mistake it proves I’m worthless.”
  • “I feel hollow, like I can never be happy.”

Virgos are known for being perfectionists, so I could blame my Sun Sign. Evidently Virgo traits include perfectionism, cleanliness and highly analytical behavior.

Then again, according to The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Are first born children have a strong streak of perfectionism, so I could blame the P word on being the first-born.

Of course, per the National Association for Gifted Children “It’s not uncommon for high-ability children to also be perfectionists” – so maybe I should blame my big brain (yes, I iz a smartie pants).

But I blame this woman.

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No, not Julie Andrews. Mary Poppins. I loooooved the movie when I was growing up (still do). Mary Poppins was beautiful, never had a hair out of place, was extremely well dressed, sang birds out of the trees, and could ride carousel horses off the carousel. 

(bonus – she rescued the poor little fox). While other girls dreamed of being Wonder Woman or Batgirl (completely off topic – why wasn’t she Batwoman?) I dreamt of flying through the air with my talking umbrella and magic bag. I had no doubt that when I grew up I would be just like my idol – practically perfect in every way.

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I’m older now, and closer to being Peter Pan than Mary Poppins (I may grow older, but I refuse to grow up!) – but my Mary Poppins Syndrome (MPS) remains. It has proven to be more of a curse than a blessing. It stops me from trying new things (what if I fail/can’t do it perfectly?) and from finishing things I’ve started (my bathroom cabinets, which refused to strip perfectly, remain door-less, and I’ve been working on a book since my 17-year-old was a toddler).

I know that I’m not alone in my battle with the dreaded P word. Googling “The Perils of Perfectionism”* brings up dozens of articles. Knowing that I’m not alone isn’t comforting. If anything, it makes me feel worse.

A quick glance at The Alarming New Research on Perfectionism from nymag.com let me know that I may be at risk for suicide. “But real perfectionism can be devastatingly destructive, leading to crippling anxiety or depression, and it may even be an overlooked risk factor for suicide, argues a new paper in Review of General Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association.” It also advised me that I’ve probably cursed my daughter with the syndrome. “If you’re a perfectionist who also happens to be a parent, it’s even more important to get your inner Tracy Flick under control, because research suggests that perfectionism is a trait that you can pass down to your kids.” Not the Mother’s curse I was looking for.

Hey, that’s great.

But there’s always hope. I found several articles promising to help me cure perfectionism “In Six (or 5, or 11) easy steps.” Unfortunately, every article lists “don’t be afraid to make mistakes or ask for help” as one of the steps…and help is a four letter word.

I think I’ll start a 12 step program.

Hello, my name is Tracey and I have MPS.

*The Perils of Perfectionism isn’t anywhere close to being as much fun as the Perils of Penelope Pitstop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Mother, My Hero

18581815_10210594503636521_5233969730884670004_n[1]I’ve been working on this piece for a while. I meant to post this yesterday, because it was  the 43rd anniversary of my mom’s 36th birthday*, but Life had other plans

A while ago  I talked about how I always wanted to be a superhero.

My aunt responded with this:

You are a superhero … Doing the right thing is not easy sometimes. You’re so like your mother. I wish Mom or Dad was here to tell me the specifics of this story because I was a kid and can’t remember the details.  Anyway It involved your Mom and race relations in the 50’s.  The local newspaper was interviewing students to get their opinions and they interviewed Karen.  I remember Mom and Dad being so proud of her, but concerned for her safety.  So you see…you’re a chip off the old block.  I’m enjoying your writing. Keep it up!

Love, Aunt Sally

I remember that story very well, but I’m not sure where I heard it. My mom was not one to brag. I probably heard it from my grandfather, who loved sharing family stories (I wish I’d been willing to listen). Or maybe mom told me the story when we had one of our many discussions about racism (I would say that I was raised to be colorblind, but evidently colorblindness is the new racism). I couldn’t understand why we were still struggling with racial inequality in the 70’s. It pissed me off, and I frequently came home, ranting and raving about something I’d seen/heard/read. My mother, who grew up in the Deep South in the 50’s and 60’s, would laugh.

This is the way she told the story –

I went to school at the height of the fight for integration. My father  (who was superintendent for the Oklahoma City school district) met with President Kennedy regarding the issue (I wish I had that picture/newspaper clipping, because it was REALLY cool), but I can’t say for certain that that’s why they chose to interview me. They asked me “What do you think of busing/integration?”. I told them “People should be allowed to attend whatever school they’d like to. They should be allowed to come here or stay at their old school, if that’s what they prefer.”

Needless to say, the newspaper quote did not go over well with some (most) of her neighbors in Tecumseh. My mom never knew about the backlash. My grandmother and grandfather handled the calls calmly, responding to suggestions that they “beat some sense into (her)” with “Thank you. We’re taking care of it.” I love this example of “creative truth telling”. They didn’t LIE, exactly. They just never said how they were “taking care of it”.

This, then, was the woman who raised me. My mother. My hero. Don’t get me wrong – my mother wasn’t perfect. She battled inner demons, she smoked and drank too much, she talked too loudly and snorted when she laughed. She didn’t fit in with the Perfect PTA Parents and Suburban Soccer Moms**.  She may not have been perfect, but she taught me many things. My mother taught me:

  • to be kind to everyone you meet.  (well, she tried to, at least. There are some days when the best I can manage is “not hateful”).
  • that there is no such thing as a stranger. She believed that strangers are just friends you haven’t yet met.
  • the importance of family, and showed me that “family” includes both family by blood and family of heart.
  • the value of shared grief (I used to mock her for crying when a friend suffered a loss because I was a lousy know-it-all teen, but I get it now).
  • and the value of shared joy.
  • the importance of keeping a secret
  • and the destructive power of gossip
  • when to speak up when necessary
  • and when to keep quiet
  • to respect others – that I didn’t have to agree with them, but that everyone is entitled to their own opinion (and that yes, opinions are like assholes)

Most importantly, she taught me that (almost) everything about anyone else is “Noneya”. Race, religious belief, sexual orientation – it really is “noneya business” – as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else (An it harm none. I never realized that my mom was a Wiccan).

In a world that’s becoming increasingly divisive, with hate crimes on the rise and people attacking each other for differing opinions, we need more people like her. She may have been “just” a housewife, but she was as much a superhero as any caped crusader.

*While most women remain 27, my mother was eternally 36. “I can’t be 37 yet, because I swore I would get my ears pierced when I turned 37.”

**Holy crap. I AM my mother’s daughter. <shrug> There are worse things I could be.

My other hero was my grandfather, who always reminded me of Atticus Finch

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I’m curious – who is YOUR hero?

On the Pleasures of Self Love

dayOMG, not like THAT. Put that away, this is a family blog*.

I’ve spoken about the importance of self love before.  It’s February 13th, which means that you only have 1/2 a shopping day left to go buy buy buy the one you love enough chocolate, flowers and sparkles to prove you’ll love them from here to eternity (1/2 a shopping day? What are you doing here! You don’t have time to read – go shop!. No, wait. Finish reading my post first). It also means that today is Self Love Day

I want to ask you a question:

self-love

I mean, really, really love yourself? If your answer is “I did, until my batteries died”, you are a sick and twisted puppy.  If your answer is “Hell if I know”, join the club. You can take the quiz and find out now (don’t forget to bring your #2 pencil).

If your answer is “Some days I do, and some days I don’t”, you might need a reminder.  You’re lucky, because you can Share & Wear the Love with this awesome socks (get a pair for yourself & one for a friend, plus they will donate a pair to a child who needs some TLC).

socks

If your answer is “How could I love me?” well, you need to be surrounded by surrounded by women who will lift you in a FREE virtual circle of  love and strength. Come join us tonight (5:30 pm PT/8:30 ET)

femine-power

If you answer is “Of COURSE I love me, I am an awesome being filled with love and light and my destiny is to remind everyone that they deserve to be lifted in love”, then you should be a Love Ambassador too. Come walk the path.

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*a twisted, cynical, sarcastic, slightly dysfunctional family, that is

p.s. If you have any questions, reach out to Stacey at Stacey@Arylo.com.

 

What are you afraid of?

fear2When I was little, I was afraid of the dark. No, not the creatures that lived in the dark closet or the monsters who hid in the darkness under the bed – I was afraid of the lack of light itself. It hung in the corners at bedtime, waiting for my parents to kiss me goodnight and leave my room. As they crossed the threshold, it slid down the walls and crept across the floor until slowly, oh so slowly,  it reached the foot of my bed. I would huddle in a ball by the head of the bed, eyes opened so widely I feared they would fall out, lips pinched tight against screams and tears, until finally the darkness reached out to touch a toe, and I’d let loose with a shriek that “it’s coming to get me!”

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image credit to waxycamera.wordpress.com

I’m not quite sure why it scared me so. Maybe it was because I thought the darkness was a monster – a dark, oily blanket that swallowed everything it touched. Maybe it was because my overactive imagine could hear it whispering (it was just my imagination, wasn’t it?). Whatever the reason, I slept with the hall light on until I left for college (Just kidding. Maybe).

As an adult* I’m proud to say that I’ve outgrown my fear of the dark. What? No, that’s not a nightlight in my room. I mean, it IS a nightlight, but it’s not because I’m afraid – it’s because I’m clumsy. I need a light to help me avoid corners and legos and other little bits of clutter that reach to trip me on my way to the bathroom.

As a mother, I’m no longer afraid of the dark – there are scarier things than monsters that live in the closet or under the bed. Things like dangerous playgrounds filled with too tall ladders, slippery slides and swings without seatbelts and germ-laden ball pits and suburban soccer moms and snack duty and PTA meetings and awards ceremonies and school plays (as the mother to a child who was in a continuous growth spurt, school plays were always accompanied by a muttered prayer please don’t let her fall off the stage, please don’t let her fall of the stage…).

But there’s nothing, in all my years of phobias and fears (rational and irrational), that has scared me more than two little words. Two words that can bring me to my knees, eyes shut and heart pounding. You laugh, but trust me, these two words can send a grown man screaming from the room. I don’t like to speak for other people (I can hear you laughing – stop it!), but I’m pretty sure I can speak for parents everywhere, when I say there’s nothing scarier than these two little words:

“I’m bored”.

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image courtesy of pictures88.com

Every parent responds differently to “I’m bored”. I’ve heard everything from “You have a whole room of toys, how can you be bored?” to “When I was your age, I didn’t have time to be bored”. Evidently some adults have forgotten their childhood – how the days stretched on for hours, and summer seemed endless. On the first day of vacation, my friends and I would race outside after breakfast,  to play tag or ball or hopscotch or ride bikes until the streetlights turned on– and eventually, the newness of summer would morph into endless repetition and we’d be…bored. Please note, I’m referring  to the definition of bored as “To make weary by being dull, repetitive, or tedious“– I don’t want to suggest that, in an attempt to relieve our boredom, we’d bore holes into each other (if only because our dads locked their tools in the garage).

I know what you’re thinking. We’re a month past winter break and summer is a lifetime away – so why was I reminded of the chill of these two little words?

Because

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As a kid, I was too busy to be bored. As a college student, there weren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, so boredom was out of the question. As “someone’s wife” I was a hyphenated woman (wife/masseuse/biller/coder/actor/comedian/cook/housekeeper) and much too busy following Cosmo magazine’s challenge to “do it all and do it all well” to be bored. As a pregnant woman (and then new mother), I was too sleep deprived to be anything but tired (which rapidly evolved into being too busy to be bored). Now that I’m the parent of a not-quite 17 year old, my life is becoming my own once again, and I’m bored, bored. B-o-r-e-d.

quotesgram-com

 

Boredom is dangerous, because she usually brings along her friends apathy and despair.  The three friends like to grab you by the hair and drag you down the grey-bricked road to depression.

Because I’m a Virgo, I immediately researched the symptoms to and remedies for boredom. The internet provided a whole slew of images and ideas.

 

This one made me laugh:

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but only because I would follow Boredom all the way down the grey-bricked road to  limbo before doing chores to break her.

And then I got an email from DailyOm.com** telling me that The sense of feeling bored in life can be an indicator that we need to be proactive in creating change” (I love it when the universe/God/the Goddess/the force dumps an answer in my lap). So it looks as though I am looking to change, which is not as easy as looking FOR change. I hate change. It’s hard, but I suppose it’s not as hard as being dragged down a brick road by your hair.

The bad news is that I’m not sure I know who I am, now that I’m not just “someone’s wife” or “someone’s mother”. The good news is that I’m returning to the things I did BM (Before Motherhood) and I still love them. The best news is that I may be bored, but at least nobody’s drilling holes into my abdomen – or my brain.

So tell me – what do you do to combat boredom? And how do you being to change, when your inner child is kicking, screaming and going limp at the very idea?

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*I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again – what is a dult and why would anyone want to be one?

**The DailyOM is amazing. Really and truly. If you’re not following them, you should be.

Hippo Gnu Deer

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Image courtesy of Sandra Boynton

Happy New year and welcome to a brand new me!

I know what you’re thinking – really I do. Not because I’m psychic, or because (thanks to Miss Sally’s magic mirror) I can see you*. It’s not even because I’m a mom and moms know EVERYTHING.

I know what you’re thinking, because every year, when people would say “Whooooo hooo! New year – it’s a fresh start!” I would roll my eyes so hard that I was afraid they’d fall out.

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And then 2016 happened. It was an extreme rollercoaster of a year,  filled with highs, lows, marriages, births and near death experiences.

To be honest, 2016 wasn’t terrible for me. It wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t horrible. We (“we” meaning my family – I haven’t started using the royal “we” – yet)  made it through with sanity and sense of humor mostly intact, which is more than can be said of some. Again, it wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great. We survived.

After five years riding Life’s rollercoaster, I’ve decided that survival is not enough. Surely I can do something more than just survive another year. Yesterday I started listening to “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes. She opened with one of my favorite quotes:

If you want crappy tings to stop happening to you, then stop accepting crap and demand something more.” – Christina Yang, Grey’s Anatomy

It occurred to me that in order to make some changes in my life, I might need to actually make some changes in my life. No, you didn’t read that wrong. For the past few years I’ve tried to make changes in my life by wishing and hoping, praying and swearing. Some things worked better than others (swearing always makes me feel better, especially when I’ve cracked my toe on the corner of the sofa), but they’ve only brought me so far.

Maya Angelou says it better:

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

I’ve decided that this year, instead of setting myself up for failure by making impossible resolutions (“I will cut out sugar, alcohol and caffeine, walk every day at lunch and have more patience for stupidity.”)I will try making small changes**.

I’m not quite sure what changes I’m going to make yet. The fact that I’ve recognized that I need to make changes feels like a big enough step for today. I’m with Bob. Baby steps to a new me.

*Romper Room was one of my favorite shows. For some reason, no matter how close I saw to the TV, or how loudly I screamed, Miss Sally couldn’t see me.

**I hate change. Change is hard. But I’m willing to try.

So tell me – are you making any new year’s resolutions? Have you broken them already?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmachanukwanstice!

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I know, I know, I’ve been remiss – I’m way behind in my biweekly posts (and have been for a while). Trust me, I feel really guilty (hey, I’m 1/2 Jewish – guilt is my specialty!) I’ve been crazy busy (or, at the very least, crazy). This week’s excuses are all holiday related – I’ve been tangled up in holiday lights, last minute shopping ,  holiday parties/plays/parades (not all at once). Wow. that was a lot of asides. Next year I’m finding a different way to express the voices in my head (I promise).

I’ve also been busy writing and mailing my generic Christmas letters. I know, you hate them. Most people do, but I just can’t stop myself (is there a 12 step program out there?). I started writing generic Christmas card letters when I was in college (too little free time, too many people who wanted to know that college hadn’t killed me). That was a few several more years ago than I am willing to admit to. It’s been so long ago that I’m pretty sure I started the trend (please don’t hate me). Here, for those of you who are interested, is my latest version (for those of you who aren’t interested, try learning how to adult instead).

thuukvo8ys

Happy Holidays! – To borrow from adequateman (you really need to read his hater’s guide to the Williams-Sonoma catalog) – “2016 has sucked – all the good guys died”. I beg to differ – we’re still here, and that’s what’s important. It has been, with few exceptions, a less than pleasant year – but it’s almost over, and we’re not dead yet, so here’s to not getting on the cart!

It’s been a busy year for our family – my husband continues to heal from his near death experience(s). He is 97% of normal, which is closer to normal than I am, by at least 62% (you do the math). At this point, we are just waiting for the lawyers, and then he’ll be ready to get out and GET TO WORK. It’s been nice having him home (dinner on the table when I walk through the door? Yes please!), but we’ve spent more time together these past two years than we have in the previous 29 😉

Our daughter is enjoying her junior year of high school (with the exception of all the acronyms – PSAT, ACT, SAT AAAGHHH). This year (thanks to summer school) she was able to load her schedule with electives – ASB, choir, dance and Drama2 (as if she needs help Being Dramatic). She’s also finishing her 2nd semester of ASL. She and her fellow thespians are looking forward to getting fluent enough in sign language to produce a “deaf-west” style performance (with performers both speaking and signing). She wanted to raise a steer this year for the fair, but she’s decided to wait until her senior year (if it is anything like raising a pig, I’ll be eating a lot of chicken next year).

As for me, well, I’ve been staying out of trouble (mostly). It’s taken a year, but (one year post-op, as promised) my knee is finally feeling good enough that I can run (Let me be clear. I can run. I choose not to). This year I fulfilled my dream of performing at the Hollywood Fringe festival. I played Gertrude/seamstress in a 30 minute production of A Little Hamlet. I had so much fun that I’ve actually started reading audition notices again. I’ve also returned to writing/blogging –  I actually submitted pieces to two writing contests this year (I’ll get my winning notification in January) and I’m hoping to complete my WIP before I retire die. I’m also looking forward to returning to stand up next year. In short (too late) now that my daughter is 16 and no longer needs me is getting a life of her own, I’m free to return to my BM* life.

WE spent another Halloween volunteering at the best “haunted maze” in Ventura county. If you haven’t been to Deadzone805, you’ve been missing out. But you don’t need to, because NOW THEY’RE OPEN ALL YEAR! (They are running escape mazes for private parties/celebrations). We’ve also been volunteering at the ventura county animal shelter – she walks the dogs, and I schmooze the people. I keep trying to pimp out the pitbulls, but most people refuse to believe that their reputation is just bad press.

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vicious pitbull

 

2016 has been…challenging**…for most of us. I’m hoping that in 2017 we can get off the rollercoaster and board the cruise ship – it’s time for some smooth sailing (just remember – don’t get on the boat marked “3 hour tour”).

Thank you all for you love, support and prayers – and for helping me to find my sanity when I lost it. I made a huge dent in my New Year’s resolution to spend more time with family and friends, but I want to spend more time with YOU (you know who you are). Let’s set a date!

*Before Motherhood

**F-d

May your holiday season be filled with L’s and F’s***

(Love, Laughter & Light and Friends, Food & Family)

***Or chocolate and adult beverages – whichever works best for you

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Happy Holly Daze

th99omay8cSo here it is, the first day of the last month of the year. I would have posted earlier, but I just woke up from my Thanksgiving food coma.

 I don’t know about you, but the year flew by. Not that I’m complaining – it’s easier to deal with all the sh…stuff when it hits you quickly and runs away. Or maybe that’s what you’re supposed to do when you fight – hit quickly and run away. I get confused.

In any case, 2016 has not been my favorite year for a whole slew of reasons. Like the last or least favorite child, I’m not sad to see it leave. Not that I have a least favorite child. I only have one, so I suppose she’s my favorite. Then again, she IS a teen, so some days she’s my favorite, and some days not so much.

Where was I? (told you I’m easily confused). Ah. First day of the last month. I don’t have much to say, but I wanted to take a moment to thank you for following me, and to wish you a safe and sane holiday season. Do me a favor – don’t let the holiday season make you crazy. Yes, there are a ton of things that Need Doing – cards to address and mail, presents to buy, wrap and mail, decorations that need to be put up (Here’s a tip – leave them up and tell your friends/family that you like to celebrate the spirit of the season all year long). OMG there’s so much that needs to get done, why am I wasting time writing? Trust me, it’s just not worth playing demolition derby with your car just because someone took your spot.

 

Be nice to each other, and have a happy holiday season

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Giving Thanks

thks6zppwwTomorrow is Thanksgiving – or, as we call it in my family, Black Friday eve 🙂

Like many who celebrate the holiday, our little threesome (no, not THAT kind of threesome) will gather together to eat too much,  drink too much, and watch too much football (as if there’s such a thing).

Every year, before diving into our loaded plates, each family member is invited to state one thing for which they’re grateful. Because I am a cynical/sarcastic sort, I usually pipe up with something along the lines of “I’m glad I’m not a turkey….”

This year will be different. This year, when it’s my turn to speak, I will raise my glass and tell my family that I am thankful for “almost”. No, you didn’t read that wrong.

al·most

 (ôl′mōst′, ôl-mōst′)

adv.

Slightly short of; not quite; nearly: almost time to go; was almost asleep; had almost finished.

Those of you who know me well (and those of you who don’t, but have been following my blog*) know that this year has been a rough one. TBH the past 2-3 years have been “less than pleasant”. In the past several years, I almost lost my daughter, almost lost my husband (twice), almost lost my house and almost lost my mind (which is bad, because it’s much too small to be wandering around lost and alone).

BUT

As they say, “Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades“. My family has  experienced so many blessings these last few years – we have received so much love and support from friends, family and even casual acquaintances , that I can’t help but be grateful.

They also say “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” – and it’s true. We have emerged from this year even stronger.

BUT

Thank you Life, for my lessons. I’m strong enough now.

I have two questions for you, my loyal listeners (I was going to say “readers”, but it doesn’t flow) – Who are “they” and what are you grateful for?

*Thank you for following me! You are one of the many things for which I am very, very grateful

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image courtesy of 28 days of gratitude

 

 

 

 

 

How to Adult

14322559_10208457641376300_3302490184261649212_n1 I don’t know what a dult is, or why anyone would want to be one, but welcome to lesson#1 of an occasional series

My coworker just insulted me. She called me a four letter word, and it pissed me off, but I’m pretty sure the HR director would laugh if I filed a complaint.

She said I was “nice”. If that’s not an insult, I don’t know what is.

I am not a nice girl. For one, at (mumbles quickly) years of age, I am no longer a “girl”, no matter how bad your vision or how low the lighting. And as far as “nice” goes, I am many things (smart, funny, sarcastic, cynical, bitchy and brutally honest*) but I am not nice, no matter what people say.

All of my life people have said “you’re so NICE”.  I’m usually quick to respond with “No, not really”.  What I am is polite. My mother was from the south, and it appears that her southern manners have rubbed off on me. She taught me how to behave in public – to be kind to strangers as well as friends, to say “please” and “thank you”, to hold doors open, and to respect my elders (yeah, that last one didn’t stick). I may know how to behave, but I have always been more Disney Villain than Disney Princess.

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image credit to Hayden Williams

I know what you’re thinking (I do. It’s because I’m psychic. Or psychotic. I always get those two confused) – what’s wrong with being nice? Let’s start by looking at the definition, from Miriam Webster:

adjective \ˈnīs\

Popularity: Top 40% of words

Simple Definition of nice

  1. giving pleasure or joy : good and enjoyable
  2. : attractive or of good quality
  1. : kind, polite, and friendly

adjective po·lite \pə-ˈlīt\

There are, obviously, worse things to be called (I’ve been called those things too, usually by people who have issues with strong, independent, opinionated women). I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with being “nice”. What bothers me is the fact that being kind and polite has become so rare that people assume that someone exhibiting those qualities is a nice person**. I am not one of them. I’ve met some genuinely nice people – their kindness is not tinged with any sarcasm or cynicism. It’s weird.

Over the past week (hell, over the past year) it’s become apparent that we need to be kind. We need to treat each other with, at the very least, respect and dignity. We need to stop focusing on our differences and find some commonalities. We need to be less angry and more forgiving. We need to be nice to each other.

Yeah. I said it.

We need to be nice. Especially with Black Friday coming up next week. Trust me, there are worse things you could be.

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*Seeing that I’ve made more than one person cry when I was “just being honest”, I’ve come to the conclusion that honesty is NOT always the best policy

** There’s also this:

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And now I miss my mom, and my Okie relatives:

Hello World!

 

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I’m participating in the Blogging101 “Learning the Fundamentals” course. This post is in response to “Day 1 – Welcome to your first day of blogging!” prompt.

I have a confession to make – I’m not a new blogger.

I have a second confession to make – I’ve taken (well, started) this course before. I didn’t finish it last time. I think I stopped just after I introduced myself.

So why am I taking the “Learning the Fundamentals” course? First, because (until last week) I haven’t blogged in months, and my skills are dusty and rusty. Second, because I’m lazy. I love writing, but only when my muse delivers a perfect piece. My blogging, like my other writing ventures (fiction/journaling/correspondence to friends and family) has been a series of starts, stops and missteps.  I am cautiously hopeful that taking the Blogging 101 course will give me the tools I need to write more consistently. Last but not least, in reviewing my posts, I realize that my posts have taken a turn for the dark side.

When I began blogging, I planned on following in the footsteps of my heroes – Erma Bombeck, Tracy Beckerman, Glennon Doyle Melton and the like. Women who juggle work, parenting, marriage and everything else that comes with being an adult* with sense of humor (mostly) intact. I wanted to write about surviving the wilds of suburbia and perils of parenting without losing myself in the process.

That was my plan. Of course, you know what Robert Burns said about the best laid plans of mice and men…I made plans, and the universe laughed. As I struggled to deal with the things that life threw my way, my posts became darker and a little depressing (even though I always tried to put a positive spin at the end). My blog needed a reboot.

So I have decided to take a mulligan. I may not be a brand new blogger, but this is a brand new blog.**

Hello, my name is Tracey, and I’ll be your tour guide to surviving suburbia with sanity somewhat intact. The suburbs can be scary, but we can get through them together. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight, a compass and a red solo cup – it’s going to get twisted in here.

So tell me – who are you and why are we here?

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* What is a dult, and WHY would anyone want to be one?

**Well, newish