Tag Archives: humor

Time is….time

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image courtesy of katehilton.com

I know that I promised that I would try to write on a regular basis. I’ve been meaning to write more often, but somehow, I never quite seem to find the time. I’ll try to do better. I promise.

When I read this morning’s daily prompt my heart started racing, my palms got sweaty and I started crying.* Then again, as a woman who is in the midst of The Change, most of my mornings start that way. FYI, I’d much rather Be The Change  than go through the change. BTW, what exactly am I changing into? My husband tells me I am becoming a witch (at least I think that’s what he said), but I’m hoping that it’s something more fun, like a mermaid or a unicorn.

 

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ANYWAY, I was a little more emo than “normal” this morning  (whatever THAT means).

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Today’s prompt was yet another reminder that my daughter is going to enroll at our local college this fall. When our daughter was born, friends, family members and even complete strangers told us “She’ll be grown before you know it.” I laughed, because I could vividly remember how long it took me to reach 18 – it was an entire lifetime away!

I’m not laughing now – the crazybusy schedule that comes with senior year of high school doesn’t leave me time to breathe, much less laugh. We have pictures to take and performances to see and parties to plan and winter and prom dresses to buy and applications to file and OMG SHE’S TURNING 18 IN TWO MONTHS!! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!

It’s Time’s fault. Einstein said that time is relative. I say that Time is A relative. He’s that weird relative who always ruins the party. You know the one – the one who brings up politics and/or religion or corners your cute friend in the corner after he’s had one too many martoonies. He’s more than weird. Time is an asshole. He races at supersonic speeds through moments of joy (my wedding day was a blur) and slows to a crawl on Mondays. My most awkward and painful moments are completely frozen in time.

I suppose it’s my fault. I’ve been wasting time, and he hates that. Lewis Carroll reminds us that if we keep on good terms with him, he’ll behave.

“Alice sighed wearily. ‘I think you might do something better with the time,’ she said, `than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.’ `If you knew Time as well as I do,’ said the Hatter, `you wouldn’t talk about wasting it. It’s him.’ `I don’t know what you mean,’ said Alice. `Of course you don’t!’ the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. `I dare say you never even spoke to Time!’ `Perhaps not,’ Alice cautiously replied: `but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.’ `Ah! that accounts for it,’ said the Hatter. `He won’t stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o’clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you’d only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!”Lewis Carroll

So thanks, Daily Post, for my moment of panic. Fortunately, I was able to move past it by researching today’s word. OxnardDictionaries.com tells us that

en·roll

[inˈrōl, enˈrōl]

VERB

enrol (verb) · enrols (third person present) · enrolled (past tense) · enrolled (past participle) · enrolling (present participle) · enrolls (third person present)

    1. officially register as a member of an institution or a student on a course:

“he enrolled in drama school” ·

Well, that wasn’t helpful. Now I’m panicking about the “enrolling in college” thing again….

I did a second search and came across enroll.com – it’s a resource for parents, students and educators. You can search for schools and scholarships, look for and become an online tutor. I felt all my stress melt away when I found this one-stop shop…until I clicked the registration link and got a 404 error.

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image courtesy of blog.inkyfool.com

 I think the only way to reduce stress from a 404 error might be a 420….

I just realized that I have spent far too much time talking about time (and the lack of it). For those of you who have been following along for a while (THANK YOU!) – I owe you an apology for this third (fourth?) post about this four letter word. I promise that I’ll move on to something completely different…if I can find the time ;-D

As for the rest of you, welcome to the party, and don’t forget – tempus fugit. Whatever you do, don’t blink!

*Ok, I didn’t really cry, but I DID get all verklempt.

So tell me – do you get along with Time? What’s your secret?

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If at first you don’t succeed….

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“If at first you don’t succeed, give up” – Homer Simpson

I know I promised I’d try to write every day. I could lie, and say that I’ve been journaling, but the lie benefits nobody (well, it soothes my fragile ego, but lying to myself doesn’t help, because even I don’t believe me). Instead of spending the rest of the month in my blanket fort, beating myself up for failing to keep yet another New Year’s Resolution, I’ve decided to start over.

I realize that, at 3 weeks into the new year, I am getting a very late start to All Things New, as promised by a fresh and shiny New Year. I am #tardy* to the party. I refuse, however, to beat myself up (any more than I have already). I may be late, but at least I’ve shown up.

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image courtesy of digitalbloggers.com

Happy New Year! I am well aware that we are more than two (3) weeks into the new year, but you know what they say – better late than pregnant! How is 2018 working out for your so far?

So far 2018 has been 2017 (cont.) – not bad for our little threesome (not THAT kind of threesome, cochina!), but filled with too much heartache and loss for those I love.

IT NEEDS TO STOP. RIGHT NOW. I’M SERIOUS 2018, I’M NOT PLAYING

That’s not true. I am playing. Or I’m trying to. My daughter and I have been spending our evenings playing cards, Boggle(tm) and other games. It hit me that my daughter, who was born 2 1/2 Momyears ago, is turning 18 in March. She’s leaving the day after graduation to spend her summer in the mountains, catering to the wishes and whims of a group of tweens (she thinks she’ll be working as a camp counselor. Same difference),  We’re three weeks into the new year, and it will be June before I know it and I’m not even close to being ready for a teeny tiny taste of empty nest syndrome. I’ve only JUST gotten used to being Suburban Soccer Mom. WTF Time, slow your ass down!!

I have friends who have been preparing for high school graduation since their child(ren) started kindergarten. Others started making plans the first time their surly teen slammed a door. Oh, there have been a few holdouts. Those who waited until the first day of high school to start working on the blueprints for their new mancave/sewing room/gym. And then there’s me. The former DINK turned accidental mother. The woman who JUST REALIZED that there are less than 5 months until graduation.

I may be late, but I’m here now…and I’m going to do everything in my power to make Time slow down after work so we have time to play.

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image courtesy of likesuccess.com

*Better to be tardy than tarty

tart·y. (from Oxforddictionaries.com)

[ˈtärdē]

ADJECTIVE

BRIT.

informal

  • (of a woman) dressed in a sexually provocative manner that is considered to be in bad taste.
  • (of clothes) contributing to a sexually provocative appearance.

 

 

 

 

I’m Shocked!


th[5]Happy New Year!

I am well aware that we are more than two weeks into the new year, but you know what they say – better late than pregnant! How is 2018 working out for your so far? Most importantly, how many New Year’s Resolutions have you kept? According to the Huffington Post The first two weeks of the year are the easiest to stay committed, with 75 percent of people maintaining their resolution through the first week and 71 percent through the second. 6 months into the year, that number drops to less than half.

I’ve decided not to make any this year. It’s not because I’m afraid to make a commitment (the fact that it took me 5 years and one false start to marry A Very Good Man notwithstanding). I’ve simply reached a point in my life where I refuse to set myself up to failure. Every year I make resolutions, and every year I fall short. Even the idea of making “new daily habits” feels like an opportunity to set myself up for failure. This year, I am making vows instead. Even if I fail, it’s NBD – people break their vows ALL THE TIME.

Actually, I have one vow this year. I vow to try. I will try new things. I will try to break out of old patterns which no longer serve me, and create new ones which do. I vow to write on a daily basis, even if it’s only to say that “I have nothing to say today” or “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”.

Sigh. I can see myself breaking my vow already. Writing is hard. I have vowed to write every day before, and I haven’t succeeded yet. The past few years have been hard, but last year was one for the recordbooks – a year filled with loss and heartbreak that completely derailed my creative endeavors.

But it’s a new year, and I’m starting again. So far this year I have started 3 new pieces. I might, one day, finish them, but I doubt it. As a procrastinator and a perfectionist, finishing what I started is a hard vow to keep – which is why I am vowing to TRY.

Most importantly, I vow to use The Daily Post’s #Dailyprompt as a jumping off place. Somewhere to start a piece every day, whether or not I finish it. In fact, I vow to post something every week, even if it’s not “finished” (what? Submit something for public view that isn’t perfectly polished? How shocking!)

Today’s prompt surprised me. I thought “shock” would be an easy jumping off place for my New Year’s Resolution my year’s vow. I assumed that today’s post would be cake (mmmmmm. cake!) until I saw the definition of “shock” (courtesy of mirriam webster)

shock.

[SHäk]  

   1 : the impact or encounter of individuals or groups in combat

   2 a : a violent shake or jar : concussion

      b : an effect of such violence

   3 a (1) : a disturbance in the equilibrium or permanence of something  (2) : a sudden or violent mental     or emotional disturbance 

     b : something that causes such disturbance ·the loss came as a shock

     c : a state of being so disturbed ·were in shock after they heard the news

 4 : a state of profound depression of the vital processes associated with reduced blood volume and pressure and caused usually by severe especially crushing injuries, hemorrhage, or burns

 5 : sudden stimulation of the nerves and convulsive contraction of the muscles caused by the discharge of electricity through the animal body

The EIC started in right away –

“Oh, this is going to be hard – there are a lot of topic choices! Way too many choices! How can someone who’s having trouble getting started succeed when faced with so many choices? Which one of them is the “right” choice? You should wait until tomorrow. As Scarlett told us “Tomorrow is another day”.

The Evil Inner Critic is an asshole, whose voice gets louder if you try to ignore him. It’s best to address him/her calmly yet firmly.

“Bite me (so much for my vow to remain calm).I vowed to write every day, and I’m starting today. I’m not letting the multiple definitions stop me. I choose to think of all the possibilities they provide”.

“Good luck with that.”

“I could write about the increased number of concussions in youth sports and associated health risks”

“Been done to death” replies the EIC.

“I could write a piece about a shock of corn”

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“Yawn”

“Maybe a piece about the phrase “shock and awe” (with its own subset of trite phrase, movie and/or book”?

“Snore.”

“Or I could write about ECT (aka electroshock therapy).”

Silence (he must be sleeping).

As it so happens I am currently listening to Carrier Fisher’s audiobook Wishful Drinking*. She opens by admitting that ECT caused her to lose some of her memory. It’s just that ECT has forced me to rediscover what amounts to the sum total of my life. I find that a helluva lot of it fills me with a kind of giddy gratitude. Some of my memories will never return. They are lost—along with the crippling feeling of defeat and hopelessness. Not a tremendous price to pay when you think about it. Totally worth it!

At least she has a valid excuse – the only excuse I have for my CRS (Can’t Remember S…stuff) disease is Oldtimer’s Syndrome. I prefer Sherlock Holmes’ explanation that our memory is like a mind attic – and that we only have so much room to store stuff (time to get rid of those boxes filled with childhood games and nursery rhymes). For those of you too young to know who Sherlock Holmes is, think of the brain like a hard drive. Evidently mine needs to be defragged to free up some memory (on another note, you need to watch Sherlock immediately, if not sooner. Benedict Cumberbatch is AMAZING).

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Where was I? Oh yeah, having a whole slew of definitions makes it difficult to start a piece, and not starting makes it hard to finish – which brings me to here and now. Without a good “jumping off” place, my weasel brain flits from thought to thought, and everything is put down on paper. I usually spend most of the day editing a piece – spending so much time deleting and searching for the perfect word that I am unable to polish a piece to my satisfaction, which is why I have 3 unfinished pieces this year (for a total of 6 in my “drafts” bin).

But I vowed to publish a piece, and (seeing that we’re still in our honeymoon phase), I’m not ready to break it. So here you go. My first (completed) piece for the new year. It’s far from perfect, but I’m going to try giving myself permission to make mistakes. After all –

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*That’s not exactly true. I finished it last night.

 

 

 

 

Time is a four-letter word

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image courtesy of forevergeek.com

I was late to work this morning. It was 7:08 as I started up the onramp. When I pulled up in front of my office ten minutes later, it was 7AM. Evidently I drove through a wormhole on the freeway; either that, or my car is powered by a flux capacitor.

 

 

Sir Isaac Newton told us that time was linear, while Einstein argued that time is relative.

The doctor tells us that, “it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly…time-y wimey..stuff.”

I say tempus fugits. Yes, I am quite aware that I’m saying it wrong. For some reason (the length of time since my last English class, perhaps?) I always say “Tempus Fugits”. I’m sure it irritates people no end. I know it makes me crazy when people abuse the English language (My husband’s insistence on saying  “6am in the morning” makes me cringe every time) – but there you have it. My own personal …what? malapropism? made up word? faux pas? issue? What the heck would it be?

But I digress. I wanted to remind you that Time is an asshole. He speeds up when he should slow down, races when he should crawl and generally doesn’t do what we want him to. Time flies.  Not that we need a reminder. Or I don’t, at least. We’re halfway through November, and I still have a stack of last year’s Christmas cards waiting to be mailed.* They say that time flies when you’re having fun but I disagree. I agree with Mary Engelbreit.

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I spent last weekend with old long time friends. At one point my daughter asked us “How long have you known each other?” As it turns out, we have been friends since before any of the “forever 27” friends were born.

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I didn’t need a visit with friends to remind me that time is flying by. My daughter, who is only 8 years old in Mommy Years, is getting ready to graduate high school. It’s weird. I can clearly remember my senior year of high school (yesterday, on the other hand, is another matter). I remember dances, and high school crushes, being Done With High School (on the first day of my senior year) and fighting with my mother. I don’t know why we fought. I’m sure my friends and family members would tell you it’s because I was a Horrible Teen. I’d like to think I was a Typical Teen, but (seeing that I gave my mother grey hair and shingles) maybe they were right. Or maybe fighting with your mother is a rite of passage. My daughter and I fought last night, because we were ______.

I thought she had lost her mind, and I have no doubt that she thought I was insane. It’s entirely possible that I am, but I wasn’t crazy Before Parenthood (no comments from the peanut gallery). It’s a chicken and the egg thing – which came first, the crazy parent or the crazy-making teen?

She might want to pick up this book:

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Because I’m the mommy, Michael J. Bradley’s other book is at the top of my reading list:

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I’m the mommy. That’s weird.  I don’t think anyone expected to ever hear those words coming from me. I know I didn’t. It’s not that I dislike children, it’s just that I prefer being The Fun Aunt to the Rules and Responsibility of parenthood. Parenting is a four letter word (yes, I’m aware that “parenting” is a nine letter word, but it’s work, which IS a four letter word).  Parenting is not for the weak or faint of heart, trust me on this. And there’s no preparing for it, nobody what anyone tells you. You can read all the Parenting for Dummies books you’d like, and listen to hours of advice from well meaning friends and family members. No matter what anyone says, PARENTING IS LIKE NOTHING YOU’VE EVER EXPERIENCED.

Unless, of course, you’re a rock star:

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I have no doubt that I’ve made mistakes (evidently using sarcasm as a parenting tool is a Bad Thing), but I’ve tried to avoid making the same mistakes my mother made. Not that she was a bad mother (because she was AWESOME, as all my friends would tell you), but I decided to make new mistakes in an effort to raise my daughter to be Different Than Me and an attempt to avoid becoming my mother.

I failed. I have become my mother, despite the best of intentions. The good news is that I’m not alone and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. This paragraph from F Diane Barth LCSW’s post resonated with me:

For example, when I was young and my family teased me about being like my mother (who I did not resemble physically), I felt criticized and resentful. I wanted to be different from her, to have my own personality, separate from hers, and besides, I did not like the things they were commenting on (for example, my bossiness!). But today I am grateful to her for having passed onto me numerous characteristics, including her love of books and her interest in writing, her empathy for others, and her incredible stores of energy.

Of course, there is also plenty to be learned when you don’t become your mother. You can read an excerpt here but don’t come looking to me for tissues. My box is empty.

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I’m sad that my mother wasn’t here when my daughter was born – I have no doubt that she would have had some great parenting advice (not that I would have listened), as well as tips for my daughter on how to drive her parents crazy (not that she needs any tips). I wish she were here to watch her granddaughter/grandchildren grow into amazing young women and men. I know she’d love the fact that my Saturdays for the past three months were spent on the soccer field, volunteering wherever they have a need, and that she’d been thrilled to know that the granddaughter of one of her best friends was on my daughter’s team. If nothing else, I know she’d get a kick out of the fact that her mother’s curse  worked, and that I have a daughter just like me. I hope that one day, my daughter will be proud when someone tells her that she’s just like me.

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Mostly I am happy that my “forever an 8 year old” still tries to climb into my lap at the end of the day. She’s 4″ taller than I am, and doesn’t fit very well, but she tries.  One day, when/if she becomes a mother, I will give her the advice my mother couldn’t give me

Tempus fugits (sic) – whatever you do, don’t blink

(and not just because there are Weeping Angels)

I think Kenny Chesney says it bests.

*Note to friends and family – the printer gave me a discount on my Holiday Cards when I pointed out that they were dated 2016.

Atten-SHUN!!

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courtesy of paradisekittymodeling.BlogSpot.com

For some reason, I thought today’s prompt was “attention” (evidently I wasn’t paying attention, or perhaps today’s post just didn’t hold my interest).  I’m too broke to pay attention. I’m not sure how it happened. I used to be able to pay attention (I have a foggy memory of being a good student). Did I spend it when I was younger? Did I waste too much time paying attention to useless and trival details/watching reality tv and listening to idle gossip?

 

I could blame Starbucks – I can barely stop vibrating enough to focus on my driving, let alone my daily tasks! According to caffeineinformer.com, Starbucks has some of the highest caffeine amounts of any coffee chain (who here is brave enough to try Deathwish coffee?)

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image courtesy of thrilllist.com

I could blame video games, if I played them. Yes, I know, video games DON’T CAUSE ADD and can actually be used to treat it, but I believe that the constant barrage of images/action makes everything else dull in comparison.

I could blame Michael Bay – the quick edits he picked up directing music videos have had a huge impact on modern movie making. A negative one, IMHO.

Or I could blame menopause  and its raging hormones. I didn’t have ADD as a child, but (as my brother will testify) I’ve developed it as a

It really doesn’t matter who I blame or why I can’t pay attention – the only thing that matters that I’m not alone. We are a nation whose attention span has been reduced to 140 characters and 30 second sound bites. We have lost the ability to focus for extended periods of time as well as the patience to wait for a pot of coffee to brew (and thus, the popularity of single serve coffeemakers such as Keurig).

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I came across a great post by The Redhead Riter. She came up with a great list of reasons why we don’t pay attention:

  • Too comfortable in our surroundings and take it for granted.
  • Overconfident in our abilities.
  • Thinking too much about the big picture.
  • Fear that we will not get it all done.
  • Filling our lives with too many activities.
  • Not living in the moment.
  • Having too much clutter around us.
  • Believing that true multitasking is a reality. (Can you eat a sandwich, whistle and chew gum at the same time? No, you can’t.)
  • Not having a place for everything to reside when not in use.
  • Not putting back things into their proper place after use.
  • Boredom.
  • There’s not a lot of emotion tied in with the experience.
  • Being too tired.
  • We are not at optimal health.
  • Believing that looking and seeing are the same thing.

Again, it doesn’t matter WHY we don’t pay attention. I think we need to stop making excuses for our inattention, slow down, and focus on life as it happens. Not only because, as Mehdi Ordikhani Seyedler tells us, fantastic things happen in our brain when we do, but because we can develop the “Sherlock Holmes” intuition by paying minute attention to detail….and who doesn’t want to be Sherlock Holmes?

Besides, as Ferris Bueller said, Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

OMG! I almost forgot – which are you, Team Benedict or Team Robert-Downey Jr?

The P-word

Most-popular-e1449500390948The song Popular has been running non-stop since I saw today’s prompt . Thanks for the earworm Daily Post!

I started writing about the tree, but realized mid-post that the correct spelling is “poplar”  (scientific name populus) not “popUlar”. According to Wikipedia, populus is “a genus of 25-35 speciies of deciduous flowering plants…(which) include poplar, aspen and cottonwood.”

It’s a good thing it’s a poplar tree and NOT a popUlar tree (although it might be popular with certain dendrologists), because I don’t know anything about trees. I mean, I know that I like the sound of the wind whispering through the trees, that willow switches leave welts* and that I am too old to climb them. After all, as my daughter so kindly reminded me, “Old people fall a lot” and I’d rather not fall out of a tree.

I considered writing a review of the TV series “Popular“, but, seeing that the show ended in 2001 and I never watched it (evidently I was not part of it’s demographic, as it never hit my radar as “must see tv”) I decided against it. I turned to Miriam-Webster for help.

Popular

[pop-yuh’ler]

  1. of or relating to the general public
  2. frequently encountered or widely acceptd
  3. commonly liked or approved

Ah. Popular. My earworm has turned the volume up to 10. For those of you not familiar with Wicked (where have you been?) Glinda tells Elphaba (and the audience) that “It’s all about popular! It’s not about aptitude. It’s the way you’re viewed. So it’s very shrewd to be popular.”

We all want to be popular (or at least to fit in). Can anyone forget Sally Fields’ shriek of delight that “You like me! You really, really like me!” when she gave her acceptance speech?

I had a great group of friends in high school – a dozen or so jocks, nerds and thespians with whom I’ve remained friends to this day. I have no doubt that some of them secretly (several of them not so secretly) longed to be part of the Popular Crowd. Every school has them – the group of girls who are stylishly dressed, with perfectly applied makeup and neatly combed hair. The girls that are mocked and tormented in movies like Mean Girls and Heathers (Is it just me, or did you get the feeling that these moves were penned by someone who was snubbed by the popular clique?)

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When the teen started high school, I hoped that she would succeed where I’d failed – that her weekends would be a whirlwind of slumber parties and dances, football games and romances – and maybe, just maybe, an invitation to Homecoming or Prom. Instead, my daughter has a great BFF, and a handful of super close thespian friends. She belongs to several high school clubs, and knows kids from every “clique”.

OMG. My daughter has become me. I suppose that means it’s time for me to become my mother – a woman who never knew how popular she was in high school

The problem, IMHO, is that popularity is a matter of perspective (the most popular chess champion is unknown to the football team) and that fame is fleeting. Some people try to rely on popularity to get through life, never realizing that there are more important things than learning (as Glinda tells us) “The proper poise when you talk to boys, little ways to flirt and flounce…what shoes to wear (and) how to fix your hair.” These, then, are the people who spend their lives in the past, reliving their glory days.

I hope my daughter listens to my favorite bit of advice:

Whatever you do, be true to you.

Which is really just reinterpretation of Shakespeare:

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* Please note – No need to call CPS I was not “switched” by my parents as a child. My friends and I used to whip each other when we were pretending to be horses

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fork, yeah!

thvtmdn5vdI swear. A lot. I didn’t always have a filthy mouth, but, once I started, I swore loudly and often (my parents were so proud). My favorite word started with an f and ended in a k. It wasn’t “fork”, but that’s the word I will use in this post, because I am trying to beat my addiction. I’ve even started a 12 step program. Hello, my name is Tracey, and I’m addicted to four letter words. Like most 12 step programs, the first step is admitting you have a problem and that you’re powerless to stop. The second step is to believe that a power greater than yourself can help you stop (Yeah, right. Even the power of parenthood couldn’t stop me. My daughter’s first sentence was “Bite me jackass”). The third step is…ummm..fuck if I know. Dammit. Back to day one. Hello, my name is Tracey, and I’m addicted to four letter words….

My husband hoped that becoming an accidental mother would change me. After all, mothers are sweet and kind, loving and gentle. Evidently I didn’t get the memo, because the only thing that changed was that I went from being a wife that swore to a mother with a dirty mouth. The good news is that, when people would “slip” and swear in front of my tweenager, she would just shrug and roll her eyes when they apologized (“I’ve heard worse”).

I know, I know, women shouldn’t swear/it’s not ladylike. TBH I don’t know what the big deal is. Studies have shown that swearing is good for you and reduces pain. Just recently I posted a popular FB meme as my status. I’ll share it here, ICYMI

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image courtesy of imgarcade.com

There are issues when you’re a woman who loves to swear. Nineteen of them have been identified by the awesome Erin La Rosa from Buzzfeed. Being far from “normal” (FYI normal is just a setting on the dryer), my issue wasn’t one of them. Using the “f-word” was cathartic at first, but, like most gateway drugs, one day it stopped giving me the rush I craved. I tried using other words, but they didn’t have the punch I needed. The logical next step in my progression (regression?) was to link them together in strange and unusual ways, but”I’ll see you next Tuesday you cat-faced mother forking son of a female dog” took too damn long. In searching for a new/better four letter word (one that will express my frustration with my current situation and the increasingly dark and dismaying world climate) I found the perfect word.

HOPE

(hōp)

v. hoped, hop·ing, hopes
v.intr.

1. To wish for a particular event that one considers possible: We are hoping for more financial support.
2. Archaic To have confidence; trust.
v.tr.

To desire and consider possible: I hope that you will join us for dinner. We hope to buy a house in the spring. See Synonyms at expect.

I’ve spoken about hope before. One of my first posts talked about losing and finding hope. the other one talked about fear and the power of Hope. When I picture Hope, I see a rare and delicate flower. It’s a fragile thing, easily lost and hard to find when life gets rough. The good news is that Hope is bioluminescent, allowing you to find it even on the darkest of nights. With a little love and a lot of TLC it will blossom, bloom and grow. I believe the best way to feed Hope is by sharing and spreading love, which is how I came up with an acronym –

Help

One

Person

Every

Day**

Look, it’s getting scary out there. It’s too much. Too much anger. Too much hate. Let’s see if there’s such a thing as too much love**. Hold the door for someone, share a smile, compliment a stranger. Be kind to each other. Play nicely in the sandbox.

And on those days where life beats you down and everyone is being an asshat, swear like a sailor like a woman who loves to curse. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

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image courtesy of gurl.com

 

I have a couple of questions (take out your #2 pencils):

  1. Do you swear, and (if so) what’s your favorite four letter word?
  2. What is your favorite story of hope?
  3. How do you “pay it forward“?

*Oops, that’s “HOPED” not “HOPE”. Dammit, I was hoping that this post would be perfect 😉

**there is, and it causes chafing, but that’s a topic for a different post

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.

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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.

Hormones and Whore Moans

_20170131_080930I’m in hell (not literally, although that might explain my absence). They don’t have Wi-Fi in hell. They also don’t have ice water or chocolate. I don’t want to be here, but I’ve wound up here, despite my good intentions. It’s not that I’m evil, it’s just that lately I’ve had an overwhelming urge to reach out and touch someone – with a baseball bat.

It’s possible that my agitation is a reflection of all the hatred and anger that’s out there right now –but I don’t think that’s it. I think my violent urges can be blamed on the fact that I am a “woman of a certain age” and that I’m going through the dreaded M word. The word that-must-not-be-named (with apologies to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter). No, not marriage, although the thought of marriage can cause dread among a select (mostly masculine) portion of the populace. And not Maternity, although that can cause dread, anxiety and flat out fear (and rightfully so – children are assholes! I would know, I used to be one).

I’m talking about Menopause. My friends and I prefer the phrase “mental pause” (for good reason. Ever since it started my brain has been permanently paused). TBH, I’ve been very lucky. I’ve only had a few “personal summers” (during the summer, which seems incredibly cruel) and zero night sweats. I gained 10 pounds, but that could be due to my newfound love of Modelo Negra.

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One of my biggest issues has been hair loss*. Then there’s the newfound sleeplessness associated with shifting hormonal levels (granted, mid-life insomnia is not unique to menopausal women, but I’m including it here because it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want, so there ;-P). According to an article on WebMD, a study published in the journal Menopause in 2001 observed that “insomnia is a frequently reported complaint in menopausal women.” The reason: You may be sleeping – or wanting to sleep — but your estrogen levels are still up dancing all night long. And that continual action can interrupt healthy sleep. I’d really like to know why, when I’m too tired to stay up to watch CSI, my estrogen levels have the energy to stay up dancing all night long. Ah well, I’m using the extra free time to power through my reading list.

I consider myself fortunate in that I have friends who have battled the M word. Women with whom I’ve been able compare notes and commiserate over a glass of wine (or three). I want to take this opportunity to let them know that I’m unfriending them. They failed to properly prepare me for Menopause Mood Swings. In their defense, NOTHING can prepare you for MMP. Severe PMS? Nope, not even close. Pregnancy hormones? Close, but no cigar. As my sister-in-law Jasmine put it “These hormones are no joke – I can want to kill someone and then sob uncontrollably at my own crazy in under five seconds.” I have her beat. I can go from upbeat to homicidal in 2.3 seconds, and I’m buying Kleenex by the buttload (damn those people in advertising anyway).

There are definitely things you can do to offset “power surges”. With two hormonal females under one roof, my husband learned fairly quickly that the best thing to do when someone you love starts riding the hormonal rollercoaster is throw chocolate and hide the pointy objects.  I’ve found that a glass of wine takes the edge off (added bonus – red wine has health benefits!), and that the aforementioned chocolate releases endorphins. I’ve heard rumors that endorphins are released during exercise, but that seems like a drastic measure. Experts recommend offsetting hormone surges with visualization and breathing exercises. I’ve found that this one works well for me:

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When all is said and done, I am forced to admit that menopause can be fun (trust me – menopause puts the f-u in “fun”). If nothing else, I’ve learned brand new games I can play by myself, including “Where did I put my___?” and “Why the hell did I come in here?” It’s because hormones create something known as “brain fog”. Evidently hormones, like zombies, eat your brain. Unlike zombies, hormones do not eat other peoples’ brains and cannot be killed by an arrow to the eye or a knife through the head (well, they CAN be, but it seems like a permanent solution to a temporary situation).

I’ve been told that, as I move further “post” my “post-menopausal” stage, things will get easier. In the meantime, I’m keeping Nathanial Parizek’s quote in mind:

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*Well, that’s not exactly true. I’m losing hair from my head, but I’m growing it in fun new places. My sideburns are particularly lovely.

So, tell me – how do YOU handle your hormonal shifts? Chocolate and wine? Meditation and yoga?

P.S. for those of you who have waited patiently to know the difference between hormones and whore moans – Both can be fake, but one responds well to chocolate, and one will cost you a little extra.