I Still Talk To Fruit

We’ve been down this road. I previously confessed my tendency to consider the feelings of inanimate objects. There was no fallout from that disclosure, and I have no regrets for divulging what weighs on my heart.

I Still Talk To Fruit

Since that post, things haven’t necessarily escalated, but this tendency hasn’t diminished, either. Does this make me a little crazy—or just irresistibly caring? I’ll let you decide.

I won’t leave for work in the morning without opening all the shutters in the whole house. Is it because I love the morning sun pouring into the space I love? Kiiiiinda. Is it because, as we’ve discussed, I’m a morning person and the idea of a new day, with new opportunities, starts coming to life as soon as I welcome in the new day’s rays? Sorrrrta.

Is it that I feel like the house wants to see outside?

It is.

I feel the house exhale a satisfied “ahhh” as I begin opening the shutters—and I feel it escalate with every new window I open.

I sometimes think it’s a shame the A/C unit is outside the house, working its butt off for a home it can’t even see into. That’s why I love opening the laundry room shutters the most. The unit is right outside that window, and I feel like I’m giving him a peek inside the house he’s grinding it out for.

Side Note: I do not think the A/C unit says, “Mornin’ Miss Anna” every time I open those shutters—and whoever told you that (or insinuated it), is a slanderous lying liar trying to tarnish my good name. Seriously, that would be so tilted if I thought Marvin the air conditioner greeted me each day.

umm

Is it really that weird? Asking for a friend.

A lot of my angst around non-human things centers around guilt I feel about the things I choose for my day (a towel, a banana, a shirt), or for a recipe (a bunch of cilantro, a package of mushrooms), or for groceries (lemons, a roasted chicken, avocados). I never want what I choose to cause the ones not chosen any grief.

I Still Talk To Fruit

Not knowing (if things want to get picked or want to stay with their family) is what weighs on me.

Enter paper towels.

Most of you already know, we shop at Costco. One of the things we buy in bulk is paper towels, and they go up in the laundry room utility closet. Every time I go in to get a new roll, I’m momentarily paralyzed by the uncertainty of their desires. Do the rolls want me to choose them, or are their fingers crossed that they get to stay? Is getting chosen like getting OFF death row, or is it like heading TO the electric chair? Is it like being pulled up from the minor league to the big league or is it like being yanked from the big leagues and sent to coach junior high? Do they consider this closet a place to hang with their crew—and do crew things—or do they think they’re stranded on an island, where most of their days are spent waiting to get rescued?

I’ve convinced myself that, like people, they want to do what they were created to do. They want to clean up spills and get your count tops spotless. I have to believe that. For instance, if I was put on this Earth to break dance (and I’m almost positive I was), and I never got to shock and lock, then I’d never fulfill my role and my existence would feel incomplete. Yeah, hanging out with other break dancers would be cool for a while, but what I’d really want is to get out and execute a real smooth b-boy sway into a flawless windmill. Then I’d be whole.

So I tell myself that as soon as I grab a new roll, the other rolls are chanting and cheering it on. “Eddie! Get it boy! Show’em how it’s done son!” Sure, there’d be one hater not chiming in (there’s a hater in every bulk pack of Bounty—trust me on this.)

I usually just grab the roll, take his jacket plastic off and place him on the paper towel holder. I let him know we’ll be spending a couple of weeks together, doing big things. I’m more and more convinced my choosing him made him proud.

I also experience a fair amount of guilt over tossing a product before I’ve used the last bit of it. Liquid soap, bar soap, mustard,

Side Note: That’s not why I drink pickle juice from the jar before I toss it.

I Still Talk To Fruit

Can we just go ahead and agree that the last bit of any product is like, “Wait! Don’t go! No fair!” Here they are, surely knowing they’re in their twilight days, but wholly unprepared for a sudden death—not when they still had life left.

Don’t you feel bad now that I’ve shed light on this unfairness? WELCOME TO MY WORLD.

I’m consistent, if nothing else—I continue to apologize to things I run into. I can’t stop; the apology is out before I know it. And it’s a double sorry, because I’m sorry for the object—and the body part involved. My body is counting on me to execute the most basic function of protecting it. It probably knows that some things—like car wrecks, falling shelves at Kroger and spooning too-hot soup into my mouth—are accidents, with no ill-intent whatsoever. But I’d bet good money my body expects me to protect it from slamming into a door facing I’ve successfully avoided for 10 years. I bet it absolutely does not give me the benefit of the doubt when I smack the hair dryer into my head, when I’ve escaped this errant motion the last 490 days. How could I NOT apologize?

I feel bad for things that annoy me just by doing their job—like our chirping fire alarm. The ONLY other way I’d know about its dead battery could end in my own death. Also doing its job? My alarm clock. I wake up about three minutes before my alarm goes off around 90% of the time. But when it does get to obnoxiously buzz me awake, I feel aggravated and bitter—but then I feel bad because it’s doing the job I actually asked it to do.

And I’m not about to hit snooze. Snoozing holds no appeal for me. All it does is provide a new layer of annoyance. Why would I want to relive the shock of the alarm, over and over, for nine-minute bouts of semi-sleep? I liken it to snacking. I’m not a snacker because I want the real deal—a meal. And when nighttime comes, I want the real deal—sleep. That’s probably why I’m not a napper either. I want the whole shebang.

Side Note: Obviously I snack sometimes and nap on occasion. Please—I’m not THAT weird.

I Still Talk To Fruit

Maybe I’m a little weird; whatever.

As bad as I feel for all these things, you’d think personality tests results would show extremely high empathy levels, but surprisingly, they do not. I know why. It’s because those online tests are trying to discern if you are empathetic to the human race—which I’m probably not. I’d like to be, but mostly, I have too many issues with humans and their …  ways.

I do, however, have an abundance of potentially misplaced empathy for animals. Not house pets—they’ve got more than enough crazies caring for them. Sorrrrrry, I shouldn’t say things like that; I know I’m the minority and I know it’s now societally acceptable to call a dog your child, to let your hairy canine sleep in your bed, and to let his butt-licking mouth touch your pillow.

I’m talking about wilder animals. I find myself feeling kinda sad for animals who didn’t have a choice in who they’d be in our world. Take crows, for instance. The stiff ones that skulk around restaurant patios with their beaks half open, squawking loudly for a french fry. They’re not pretty, they don’t move gracefully, their voice isn’t melodic and they get a lot of dirty looks—what a crappy life.

That brings us to vultures. How would you like to come into this beautiful world … as a turkey vulture?

I Talk To Fruit

Imagine sort of looking like an eagle, but having an unattractive head that’s a little bit dinosaur’ish. Then imagine that you weren’t designed to hunt; but strictly to be nature’s sanitation service. What a fate.

– Daddy, why am I bald?
– Oh, sweetie—your fleshy head makes being in carcasses more sanitary. You don’t want those pesky intestines sticking to your pretty feathers, now do you?

– Babe, what sounds good for dinner?
– I could really go for some road kill.
– Mmm, raccoon innards—that’s what up. You plan the best dates!

– Aye Dude, what’chu you wanna do today?
– Oh I don’t know, maybe just sit on this telephone pole, look down menacingly at all these passers-by and wait for some juicy roadkill to waft up into our prehistoric nostrils?
– A’ight, cool.

– Hey Dad, I’m heading out with the crew—I’ll see ya later.
– Son, you’re not a crew, you’re a kettle. A crew works at a construction site, or is in charge of flying a plane. When you hang with your kind, you’re a kettle. Remember that.

Side Note: Vultures can sniff out a dead critter from a mile away. That’s how I feel about some of my coworkers feet. But that’s another story.

Another Side Note: Speaking of being born this way. I feel so bad for vegan vultures.
– Mom, what’s for dinner?

Probably possum.
MOTHER, I’m vegan!
Fine, rattle snake?
Mom!  
Well Heavens, can you have armadillo?
Mom! I can have leaves, sticks and dirt that’s never had an animal walk on it. That’s it.
Can you have frogs?
-<flies away really hard>

Yet Another Side Note While We’re On The Topic: Wanna know which non-human I don’t feel especially sorry for? Siri.

She’s extremely helpful, and I often wonder how I survived without her—but she also makes me shake my fist at the sky. Why is it that she always says “left” and “right” EXCEPT when I need it most—when I’m just getting started out of a parking lot. “Go northwest on Mulberry.” NORTHWEST? Sooo, up and sideways? Come ON, Siri. Are you here to help me or hurt me?

She’s also super repetitive and naggy—UNTIL I need it most. “In 2 miles, turn right on Bishop Hills Drive. In 1.5 miles, turn right on Bishop Hills Drive. In 1 mile, turn right on Bishop Hills Drive. In half a mile, turn right on Bishop Hills Drive.” Then when I’m going through the light, “Turn right on to Bishop Hills Drive.” That’s too late, Siri Michelle Gellar!

And how about her favorite non-directive, “Proceed to the route.” I’d love to … IF I KNEW THE ROUTE!

Oh well, she makes us laugh though. Recently, she kept calling Chicon Street “Chicken Street” and it got funnier every. single. time.”Continue on Chicken Street. Arrived at destination—1171 Chicken Street.”

Go home Siri, you’re drunk.

I’d like to say that this time next year, I won’t be attaching human emotions to inanimate objects, but I think we both know that’s unlikely. I, in fact, just had a little pep talk with our shy peonies. It was less of a pep talk and more of a guilt trip. We got them from my Grandma’s garden after she passed away, and although they’re further along than last year, they’re not really rep’ing her the way I’d like (and the way I know my Grandma would like!) I got down real close to the new, but flowerless growth, and used the sandwich method … told them I was excited for what they would become (then slid in how disappointed Grandma would be if they didn’t step up to the plate) then said I knew they’d come through with flying colors.

I’ll let y’all know if they respond the way the sago palms did.

I Still Talk To Fruit

Do you talk to fruit?

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I Wish I Was Better

Like most people, I fall short in many ways. I wish I was better at managing my time—at turning off my work mind, and turning on my calm mind. I wish I was better at goal-setting, and not allowing mindless iPhone scrolling to replace actually productivity.

I could document a laundry list of things I’d like to get better at; but today, in this very moment, my wishes are not that simple.

I wish I was better at knowing if someone was a good drummer. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pre-teen phenom or Travis Barker—once the solo part hits, it just sounds like a damn free-for-all. All I see are limbs flailing and sticks flying. I can’t find the rhythm in a drum solo to save my life, so I just end up feeling like an idiot. An idiot caught in a scary, chaotic storm of frenetic high hats and snares.

I wish I was better at handling the surprising news that a couple has broken up—especially if the news comes via Facebook. Not as an announcement, but as a clue. It’s so alarming to be scrolling along, then notice something is amiss.

“Oh, there’s Lauren. Seth’s wife. With a bearded guy. A bearded guy that’s not Seth. Looking a bit too chummy for my taste. With “God is good!” as her status update. Wait one cotton-pickin’ minute, Lauren. I don’t think so, you two-timing ninny. Not on my Facebook watch. Then I go to her actual page and scroll through it—noticing the last time I saw a pic of Seth was over four months ago; but that Beard has been making weekly appearances with his stupid, cheating beard.

It’s so upsetting, even though Lauren and Beard look pretty happy. Where is Seth though? Oh no! He’s not on Facebook! I can’t see if he’s happy with a pretty lady with a pixie cut. How will I know if Seth and Pixie are happy? What if I never see them on a ferris wheel saying God is good? Will I be left believing that Seth is at home, unshaven, going through old photos of Lauren, while eating expired Vanilla Wafers? Yes. Yes I will.

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I wish I was better at policing my online activity. When I know I should be writing, or making headway on a work project, or updating my passwords—but instead, I’m taking a quiz to see what my werewolf name would be, I’m left with the thought, “I am what’s wrong with the world.”

When I spend an hour scrolling through Soulja Boy’s social accounts, looking for clues that he’s finally off the sizzurp—I’m left with the thought, “I don’t deserve 24 hours in a day.”

I wish I was better at not feeling personally affronted by other people’s lack of dignity. When I roll up in the work restroom and am confronted by two co-workers having a deuce-off, I’m nearly incensed.

Side Note: A deuce-off is what sometimes happens when two people go into the restroom close to the same time—with the intent of doing private bowel things in public—only to be left waiting on the other person to start, stop or leave.

Back to the outrage. The silence, the two pair of motionless shoes, the waiting. I will not be a party to this scene. I will not provide them the outside noise they’re undoubtedly counting on. I won’t do it.

I’ll walk in, realize it’s a deuce-off and promptly leave. I’ll go to another restroom in the building (which is precisely where their shameless asses should’ve gone when they realized a number two was on the horizon.) Why wouldn’t they drop their kids off at the pool in merchandising’s wing? Why would they want to do their private biz in the same small space their CMO uses? Where is their pride?

not_amused

I wish I was better at understanding our rogue refrigerator. Some couples have to keep their voices down or spell out words so their pets don’t know they’re leaving for a trip—we have to keep our voices down and spell out words when we’re going to have company … so the fridge doesn’t stop making ice.

Can anyone tell me how it knows people are coming over? Never do we ever have ice issues until the day people are coming over. Then, like clockwork, not one cube of ice is produced. That is, until the final farewell is said—at which point the little spoiled brat promptly gets back to cranking out delicious ice. And she knows we have to take her back—or we won’t have ice. HOW DOES SHE KNOW THIS?

What sensors were added to this LG model to notify her of our plans? Go ahead and make fun of us, but we now discuss our plans for company outside the house—then come back in and try to keep our body language cool. Sometimes I even walk extra languidly, as if to say, “It’s cool. There’s no news here.” We’ve even stopped taking chances with spelling—because we’re pretty sure she knows p-a-r-t-y by now.

I wish I was better at allowing myself to pray with poor grammar and syntax. I can be knee-deep into an earnest ask, but unable to stop myself from rewording sentences that end in a preposition.

“Thank You for all Your abundant blessings I’m so unworthy of … grr … Thank You for Your abundant blessings of which I’m so undeserving … ugh, Lord, please forgive me for sounding pretentious with that proper grammar. Sooo, thank You for all the blessings I don’t deserve. Thank you for Your guidance and protection. Please watch over everyone I love, and protect Jocelyn and I as we … grr … please protect Jocelyn and me as we leave for our trip. Please guide me on if I should go a step further in my efforts to … grr … go farther in my efforts to … grr … further? Farther? Sigh, never mind, just please guide me? And please forgive me for my inability to pray with questionable grammar. I hope that’s not some sin of pride or something. If it is, please show me how to have less pride—like the hosers at work who light up the bathroom I use. Please give me their low level of pride, if that is pleasing to You. No wait, please don’t do that. Please? For real though. Actually, please deal with them. Please lead and guide them … to another restroom. Thank you, Father. I love You, Amen. Wait, do You prefer Ahh-men? Is this one of those things that annoys You—the same way it annoys me when people say a Y instead of an H in words like Houston? They say Youston. Please let me know so I don’t annoy You. For now though, I do love You—Amen.”

I wish I was better at knowing, understanding, or caring about characters or stories not based in reality. When people talk about fairy tales or cartoons, they might as well be talking about quantum physics. Aside from the way they look, I don’t know Batman from Peter Pan. I don’t know what Peter’s superpower is. I also don’t know what a zombie actually is. I truly don’t. I mean, I know they’re not real, and I know they’ve got terrible complexions. I think they might be forest people? Or forest creatures? Pictures I’ve seen of zombies look super foresty.

Because we didn’t really grow up watching cartoons, I’m not clear on different cartoon characters—and I don’t know any fairy tales. You could offer me $1,000 and I wouldn’t be able to tell you the outcome of The Three Little Bears—or the premise of that one story with the shoe, and the lady, and the prairie dogs, or whatever they were.

It’s a bit odd that I’m extremely imaginative, but wholly uninterested in anything not realistic. Even in my made-up stories or daydreams, my thoughts have to be plausible. Not necessarily likely, but plausible—or I can’t focus.

I see people in restaurants or airports and concoct great tales of why they’re there, or where they’re going (but I can assure you, in my story, they’re not on their way to another planet or going back into the forest to do zombie things.)

Side Note: I need to out myself before someone else does. I did actually read—and enjoy—the Twilight series. Although totally out-of-character, I cannot apologize for that lapse in my everything-needs-to-be-realistic personality. Jacob meant too much to me, and I will not forsake him in that way.

jacob

Team Jacob.

 

I wish I was better at troubleshooting embarrassing death situations. Like honestly, I don’t want to croak and have someone see that the last thing I was listening to was the Richard Marx version of O Holy Night—or that the last thing I googled was, “is a Trapper Keeper an age-appropriate notebook for my career?” Should that keep me listening to it or daydreaming about the day I can once again pick out and carry a Trapper Keeper? Maybe.

I also like to wear two pair of socks. I just do. I have bony, baby-soft feet, and they fancy proper cushioning. Maybe even three pair of socks on occasion. I SAID MAYBE! But, do I want to be—literally—caught dead in three pair of socks? I do not. Should I stop wearing them? Probably. Because even though my feet would be super comfy at the time of my death, and although I’d be in Heaven, and shielded from the embarrassment of it all, my family would not be.

I can hear them now, “I knew she wore two pair of socks sometimes, but three is news to us. This is something she kept hidden from us. We’ll never get over this rogue life she led.”

I wish I was better at not feeling offended by people’s lawn-mowing habits. It rubs me so wrong when people mow, but don’t edge their grass. I have to fight the urge to grab our weed-eater and finish the job for them. The only thing stopping me is Jocelyn—she says it’s not appropriate. I actually think they’d appreciate it—and be keen on me trimming their out-of-control trees while I’m there.

I feel like these non-edgers are the same people who claim their house is clean, when all they do is “pick up.” If you pick up toys and put bills in the junk drawer daily, but only bleach your bathrooms and do your floors every three months, your house is clean exactly four times a year. Stop shouting at me! I don’t make the rules—I just follow them!

I wish I was better at singing Happy Birthday. I do okay until the third “birthday”—then it’s wheels-off. “Happy birthday to you” (not bad) … “Happy birthday to you” (not bad at all) … “Happy BIIIIRTHDAY dear Delilah!” (cue the howling wolves) I’ve learned to just mouth this note … then come blazing back with “and many more!” I feel like that somehow makes up for my lip-syncing.

brit

Britney forgives my lip-syncing. Trust me.

I wish I was better at not honing in on external noises. This issue probably deserves its own blog post, but for now, I’ll just re-iterate my desire to not notice “noises.” I’m fairly certain I have a mild-to-severe case of Misophonia—and I would absolutely love to shed it if there was a way. Okay-okay, not a severe case. People with severe cases want to literally OFF an offender. I’ve wanted to OFF a chip eater, pen tapper, bad water-bottle drinker, inner smacker, loud breather, aggressive typer, bag cruncher—only a dozen times or so. Over the past week.

Seriously though, as bad as it is, and as on-edge as all these sounds make me feel, I’d never want to be medicated for it. Not at all. I’ve told y’all, I barely like taking Ibuprofen. Buuuuut, helped along with a little hypnotherapy or acupuncture? YES. That seems healthier than the physical harm I imagine unleashing on people who attack chips like it’s an MMA fight—or sound like they’re taking a bath when they drink from their water bottle.

Like I said, the issue deserves its own blog post—which brings me to my last desire.

I wish I was better at posting more often. Send money and I’ll do my best. No amount is too small. And don’t pull any of that “in lieu of” crap. Send actual cash. I wish you were better at that.

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Love Thyself

It seems very trendy lately to “love yourself.” I’ve noticed an influx of headlines, quotes and articles that tout the importance of putting yourself first, and loving who you are—seemingly above most other things. I’ve seen, “Love yourself first and everything else falls in line,” and “If you don’t love yourself, you’ll never be able to love anyone else.”

Yeah, I’m not really into this “movement” at all. First of all, as we’ve discussed, I think it would repulse our forefathers. Second of all, you—above all others—know what a jackass you can be. Even when you have the restraint to keep it to yourself, you still know you’re kind of a tool. You know the wretched things you think about people:

“Ever heard of a little thing called ‘exfoliating’? Let’s get on that.”
“Nice blinker, Turd-Waffle …” (as you speed up to see if they look as fill-in-the-blank as you expect) … “Yep, just what I thought.”
“Blech! Her breath smells like sewer and hot socks.”

Love yourself? I can barely tolerate my thoughts, much less my self sometimes. Do you understand what I’m saying here?

Why is no one saying it’s OK—actually quite normal—to hardly be able to stand yourself? Can’t you be quite selfish? Petty? Hateful? Snide? Shallow? I’ll answer for you—YES. So you’re not actually all that lovable sometimes.

You know it and I know it.

deserve

Deserve? I deserve to be slapped upside the head for the grace I don’t always extend and the hateful thoughts I sometimes have.

“Is that cat pee I’m smelling? I smell cat pee. Why do I smell cat pee? WHO IS ALLOWING CATS TO PEE ON THEM?!”

But as always, the most offensive part about this meme is the design itself. Appalling kerning, leading and spacing.

loveyourself6

It’s a project? Loving myself has been elevated to an actual project? Is it gonna take time away from loving someone else?

“Wow, I’m having so much fun—thank you for a perfect night.”
“Of course! I love spending time with you. Let’s go find dessert and coffee—maybe some bread pudding?”
“Gosh, I’d love to, but I have this project I need to work on. Rain check?”

loveyourself5

OK, maybe eventually. But we needn’t be too hasty in our forgiveness. Sometimes we need to let ourselves sit in the selfish mess we made, and take a hard look at our less-than-honorable motives.

love thy self 9

I’d much rather read an article titled, “50 Easy Ways To Get Rich That Involve Pizza.” But as it is, I did click into this piece—and promptly went on an eye-rolling marathon.

Side Note: I got online to order myself a 26.2 bumber sticker, set in the image of a rolling eye, but sadly, my search came up short.

One of the ways to supposedly love yourself more is to wear red lipstick and heels “just because.” I know I’m only 80% Girl, but that’s the best way to get me to break up with myself.

Another one was, “Put your fork down between bites.” I’m sorry, but are you trying to cause a divorce?

Another, “Buy yourself roses on Valentine’s Day.” Great, now I’m single, pathetic,  broke—and not into myself at all.

Also, “Give yourself a day off.” Well, that pretty much completes it—I was supposed to be loving myself, but have instead found myself fired and in need of couples’ counseling for all my bad choices.

love thy self 7

I’m sorry, what? What does this even mean?

love thy self 6

This meme lists seven ways to love yourself. This list also contains seven pieces of fiction.

1. Some negative thoughts should be accepted. More than likely, you really are a lazy sack—at least some of the time. It’s OK to accept this thought.
2. You should apologize for what you like from time to time. Case in point:

rawpasta
3. It’s a misnomer that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. Comparison isn’t always the “thief of joy,” as they say. If done maturely, it can be a healthy motivator.

Monkey see; monkey do. Please.

Monkey see; monkey do. Please.

4. No; try to work on them. The shape of your eyes is uniquely you—but, being a guilt-tripping gremlin or a judgmental jerk is just you being a total turd.
5. OK yes, fine—but if you reject the media’s expertise in that arena, please also reject in it in all the other super-suspect ways, too.
6. Perfection is unattainable even with acceptance.
7. Some acceptance happens even quicker than overnight. It took me approximately 30 seconds to accept that I like food and fun more than dieting and deprivation.

love thy self 5

This is abjectly false. Sometimes bad thoughts about yourself come from your subconscious—because your subconscious knows what a petty, self-serving slime you can be.

Ilove thy self 4

No. No I don’t. I think God thinks, “That a girl; way to recognize how deplorable that thought was.” I also know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God would never be so neglectful in His punctuation.

love thy self 11

Be proud of mistakes?? Accept your mistakes and learn from your mistakes—yes. But be proud of them? I’m barely proud of the actual good things I do. And now you think I should be proud of choosing my own comfort over someone else’s need? Or gossiping about someone being off her meds? Or getting into a battle of wits with an unarmed person? And what’s with the unnecessarily awkward slanty lines? I hope you’re not proud of your design skills.

love thy self 12

Eww. I’m beyond tired of this phrase anyway, but now I can’t even tolerate it.

love thy self 13

So now we need an acronym for loving ourselves? How about this one: GOYA (get over yourself already.)

love thy self 14

OK, sure. Right after I finish throwing up in my mouth. Do people do this? Do people halt—mid-thought or mid-task—to appreciate how awesome they are? If you’re sitting there nodding and thinking, “I do that,” then please make a quick mental note to stay far away from me.

love thy self 15

Michael Masser? Was that Whitney Houston’s pen name? Never mind—loving yourself isn’t the greatest or even second greatest love of all.

love thy self 16

I wish people who don’t care about punctuation would stop making memes. Regardless, is it really the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Have you ever put on your own bracelet? Refrained from replying to a Facebook post that ran counter to every belief you have? Gotten too cocky in a pepper eating contest?

love thy self 3

This isn’t even 1% true.

love thy self 2

How does one do that? I don’t know how I’m supposed to be a hero. The most heroic thing I do on any given day is bite my tongue to keep my uncensored thoughts from spilling into the world.

Side Note: I also feel pretty heroic when the coffee is over—and I don’t cry.

love thy self 1

Is now a good time to puke? Who thinks this thought and documents it in a meme? I’ve eaten by myself in public many times, but I can assure you it wasn’t a date—and I certainly didn’t stroll around a museum falling in love with myself. If anything, I was like, “I’m not sure about your taste.”

becareful

That’s not true. I don’t always listen to myself. “Eat a salad.” Not listening! “Lock down that sarcastic remark.” Not listening! “Stop wishing you could write that co-worker out of your story.” Not listening!

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I am. That’s why I give me tacos. And beer. And permission to love the Biebs.

affair

An affair? So I’m a side piece? The other woman? Is guilt associated with this affair? Do I hide it? Do I text myself under a different name, like, “Dry Cleaner?”

“Well look at you! You sure are glowing these days! What’s the what, Lady?!”
“Oh nothing” (coy and coquettish)
“Oh come on! Tell me!”
“It’s just … well, I met someone and … oh Becky, it’s going really well!”
“What?! Oh my gosh! Who who who!”
“Me.”

Gross.

gag

happiness

That’s what happiness means? Hmm, I was unaware. So you’re saying that if I just walk around smitten with myself, I’ll be happy? That seems plausible. Just knowing that even though I screwed up at work—as long as I love myself—it’s all good. What a comfort. I wonder if everyone else knows? This type of sound logic seems like good info to have very early in life.

loveyourself-beach

Whoever found themselves at a beach—and opted to write this in the sand—is a top level clown. “Guys! Come on, let’s go! Let’s get down there while it’s sunny and beautiful! I want to get profound in the sand! Come on!”

I guess I’m just looking for some balance here. Let’s try to equalize loving ourselves with also being a little disgusted. That’s more realistic, right? Otherwise we’re living pretty inauthentic lives—because we’re all flawed, and sometimes unlovable. I’m not proposing a turn towards sef-loathing—or memes filled with woe-is-me negativity. Please no!

balance

Let’s start a movement to be this person. One part awful; one part awesome. 100% real.

Let’s link up on Facebook and Twitter!

Safety Is No Accident

Some time ago, we unwrapped the many ways I felt blessed to still be alive—despite my parents’ lackluster effort on that front. Yes, they loved us and fed us and didn’t allow us to drink arsenic, but I think we can all agree there was some iffy judgment on their parts when it came to trampolines, nunchucks and furnace safety.

floorfurnace

We had a floor furnace similar to this. We three kids would sit around the firey-hot metal grates to warm up. It was so hot that if you stood on it, grate lines would melt into the soles of your shoes. So let me repeat, we’d sit around it in our non-flame retardant pajamas to get warm. Didn’t my parents ever worry that “warming up” would escalate into “catching fire?”

furnacefire

My imagination is overly vivid at times, but this is actually how I remember it.

Side Note: When the blazing fire pilot light would go out, I’d watch—in absolute horror—as my dad descended into the bowels of hell to re-ignite it. I was forever certain he would get blown up, and we’d be left with no Daddy and no heat.

As an adult, I can get around my parents “letting some things go,” but it’s harder to understand why our very schools and city parks were so negligent.

Times have changed in a major way. What use to pass muster—playgrounds, p.e. activities, safety measures—is somewhat mind-blowing.

Shall we head down that road?

Remember these scary-go-rounds?

merrygo

If not, let me tell you how these worked. A few kids would hop on, while a few other kids grabbed a led-poisoned pole, and ran in a circle until they reached top speeds. Once maximum speeds were attained, the runners could do one of two things.

They could either let go and watch the ensuing melee, or they could hoist themselves up to enjoy the ride. Unfortunately, a third option sometimes presented itself. Once in a while, a runner wouldn’t be able to let go, and he’d end up losing his footing and getting drug through gravel—and if he was extremely unlucky, a limb or two would get stuck under the death trap.

As for the gullible crew riding the giant sit-n-spin—well, their outcomes also ran the gamut. Generally, one or more kids would lose their grip and fly off (and I mean FLY.) The ones who were able to successfully battle inertia were either throwing up or getting pelted with other kids’ saliva and tears.

Thanks City.

Remember climbing ropes in p.e. class?

ropes

Well aren’t those images just adorable. A spotter? A mat? Assistance knots? A harness? Not one depiction in these lying images rings a bell in my mind.

I remember hardwood floors, a 40-foot rope and a lot of yelling. I do not remember being told what to do if I did made it to the top of the building to ring the bell. I do not remember any warnings about the ensuing rope burn caused by descending it like a fire pole. I do remember logging the memory in the category, “The moment I realized my childhood was over.”

Does this red rubber ball bring back memories? This was the kind of weapon we used in dodge ball.

dodge6

Cut to today’s cozy foam ones. You can pinch off pieces of these. The red rubber ones pinched off pieces of you.

Are you kidding me? I'd use that for a pillow.

Are you kidding me? I’d use that for a pillow.

This is how the boys looked when they took aim at you. In all fairness, it’s how I looked, too. I flat-out loved dodge ball and lived for days we got to play.

dodgeballthrowing

I’m not even sure it’s played in school anymore. If it is, I’d bet the farm the rules have changed. I’m quite certain there’s a heavy penalty for throwing today’s soft foam balls at an opponent’s face. You know what happened when you hit someone in the face when I was young?

They were out.

metalslide3

Some of you may be looking at this like it’s a photoshopped joke—saying, “I’ve never seen a slide that’s not red or yellow chunky plastic.”

When I was young, the slides did one thing all day—roasted themselves in the baking hot sun.

They were dangerously hot. They were also not regularly inspected. Some of them would have a split in the hand rails, which meant that if you were a nervous newbie—who slid down holding the sides—you could very easily end up with a laceration between your thumb and forefinger.

Yeah, too bad for you—they were painted with a color called “Tetanus Grey.”

You also had a pretty big decision to make, once at the top—and once you verified the surface temps of 150. If you pulled your knees up to your chin—to keep your calves and hammies from suffering second degree burns—you would descend at rates a 4th grader can’t successfully negotiate. Your landing would range from heroic, to one where your friends assessed your dislocated bone situation.

These teeter-totters—or see-saws, depending on where you grew up—look fairly harmless, right?

teetertotter

Well they are, if two well-intentioned, equally weighted kids play on them. Anything short of that left one or more participants nursing an injury. We used to add people to one end, if the other end had a “sturdy” occupant. I’m sure that would be grounds for juvie these days.

“She, she, she said she needed to add at least a first grader to her end so our weight would be even! She basically called me fat! Suspend her!”

Back then, evening out the ends was just basic street smarts. No harm, no foul.

We’d ride up and down forever—talking and laughing. These were good times with good teeter-totter friends. There were also some bad times, with bad teeter-totter friends-turned-foes.

About the meanest thing you could do to a partner was get to the bottom and jump off. It would send the high person crashing dramatically to the ground.

Juvie for that, too? Please. It wasn’t even worth mentioning to a parent, much less a teacher. It would be like saying, “Sara said she doesn’t like my shirt!” … “Yeah? And? Get back to your desk, you little snitch.”

scooter

Anyone remember these little gems? Was there anything better on God’s green earth than scooter-relay day?

Yes. Three things.

  1. Days when you didn’t get your baby fingers run over by Angie Brown’s scooter.
  2. Days when you didn’t get overzealous in your attempt to swim your arms faster, faster, faster—and catapult yourself chin-first into the germ-laden gym floor.
  3. Days when you didn’t get kicked in the teeth by Rodney Wheeless, who always took wide and wild left turns.

scooterracescooter2

How about tetherball? We spent countless hours on this fun, yet ill-conceived game. The chances of it going well were next to nil. You’d literally spike the ball, with all your might, directly toward your close opponent. Yes, the intent was to pass her head and wrap the ball around the pole—but more times than not, her timing had yet to develop, and she’d end up getting tattooed with the unnaturally hard tetherball.

tether_ball

Did any school officials ever consider that some little nugget might actually get the rope wrapped around his nugget head and choke to death? Doubtful.

Did you ever play on these guys? We did “cherry drops” from them.

monkeybars

We’d hang from our knees and start a swinging motion. We’d work back and forth until we were swinging high enough to let go and stick our landing. There was a 50% chance we’d land on our feet. There was a 100% chance our bars weren’t on a grassy playground—but on a concrete floor in the gym.

We were never once told to stop doing cherry drops.

grrr

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’m so thankful I grew up when I did. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Despite the “dangers” and “life-threatening situations” and “abject negligence,” I feel like one of the blessed ones.

I love that back then, we were allowed to play, explore and simply figure things out. I also love that it was permissible to nail people in the face with red rubber balls. I could use more of that.

Let’s link up on Facebook and Twitter!

 

Share If You Agree

I’m not afraid to say I’m sorry—and some of these apologies are long overdue. Facebook has done all it can do to help us declare our love, devotion and allegiances; but I feel like I’ve not only let them down, but scores of others, due to my unwillingness to share what I’m told to share. Let’s go.

brother

I have this brother, but I couldn’t—in good conscience, hit “share,”—not because I don’t have the best brother in the world, but because it’s one of the most poorly constructed memes my feed has ever seen. Since when did ellipses become two periods? Oh that’s right, just up until the 11th line. They had to warm up, I guess. Where is the apostrophe on the complicated contraction “can’t?” The worst part? It doesn’t even complete the thought it ramped up to. It started out as an if/then, and left us hanging.

It was like saying, “If you like food and love meat and adore spices and can’t wait to eat it and enjoy it and savor it and can’t be without it !!” Don’t even get me started on the space before the two exclamations. Sorry—I can’t share ill-designed memes.

dad

Again with the atrocious sentence structure—but anyway, Daddy, I didn’t post this (like I was ordered to do), even though you fit the criteria stated in the meme. I am truly sorry. I hope you weren’t on Facebook the day it made the rounds, because I’m quite sure its absence on my wall made you second-guess every parenting decision you ever made. Maybe you even looked back with regret, the day you came home from work to hear of a fight Jeni and I had—and proceeded to ask HER if I deserved a spanking. That was a pretty bad misstep—which not surprisingly led to me getting spanked, but I assure you it’s not why I didn’t post this horribly written meme.

Jesus

Jesus, I wasn’t ashamed of You; I didn’t ignore You; and I do love You. I just wasn’t too keen on the rendering of your beautiful face—the eye shadow seemed excessive, and far too much time was spent on the chisel of your already perfect cheek and jaw. The red border around the green background also threw me off, as did the out-of-character exclamation point. That’s all—that’s why I didn’t share. Because I do totally love You. I’m sorry for possibly seeming like a heathen when I didn’t share this.

lies

I almost agree. The thing is, sometimes we need to fib out of kindness. There is just no way to always tell the truth, if you have a considerate bone in your body. You don’t agree?

“Your new baby isn’t very cute. She almost is, but those thin lips and that scaly skin are super off-putting.”

“I’m gonna pass on meeting you for dinner this weekend. It’s monumentally more important to me to get this bra off and eat cereal while standing up.”

“Sometimes I wonder if you’re responsible for the low-life deviant your son has become.”

Sorry I didn’t share what was intended to be a character-proving meme, but was actually a short-sighted, inconsiderate theory.

pets

I don’t own a pet, so this wasn’t directed at me. However, even if I did have a boxer named Rookie or a bulldog named Shakes, I’d never be able to share this meme—I’m sorry. It’s in need of some punctuation and some grounding in facts. Dogs ARE pets—and that’s OK, because pets are certainly family. We needn’t split hairs here. While we’re on it, “Like” and “Share” have incorrect punctuation around them—and there are two exclamation points in a 3×3 space. Again, I’m sorry, but no.

prison

I’m sorry I didn’t share this gem. I totally should have, because if I believe anything with fervor, it’s that declaring my own personal, possibly divisive and inciting opinions on Facebook is a wonderful idea and an excellent use of time.

proud parent

I’m mostly interested in why this meme came to pass. I want the back story. And not unlike so many of these head-shaking calls to action, the punctuation and “your” usage is dreadful, so I’m gonna scroll on by without apology here.

gym

Sorry I didn’t share this riveting sentiment. I was lost, broken and lonely—and doing some lunges at the g.y.m. And now I’m s.o.r.e. And still quite lost trying to find the nearest Chipotle.

daughter

I don’t have a daughter, but it’s such a relief to know how I’d hold her in my heart for a lifetime—just by sharing this meme on my Facebook page. This mom seems to have a particularly large heart area. No need to do things with my beloved daughter when it’s so much more efficient and lasting to post about my undying love on social media. I’m sorry I don’t have a daughter so I could circumvent all the bond-building with a simple share.

daughter 2

Again, I don’t have a daughter, but you know who I just realized does? MY MOTHER. What the hell, Moma?

Heaven

I love someone in Heaven, but I couldn’t share this because I didn’t connect with the chosen image. Heaven is everything good and perfect, so I know it doesn’t have hard benches. If the designer had gone with a big leather chair from Restoration Hardware or maybe a polar fleece beanbag, I’d have hit “share” immediately. I’m sorry your choice of imagery kept me from sharing.

family

The sentiment is probably fairly accurate, but again, I couldn’t share this because of the sheer number of design and punctuation flaws. “No family is perfect we argue, we fight.” Really? Even people who hate all things composition know that’s a pitiful attempt at a sentence, right? And what happened to the poor “will” towards the end? The previous serif fonts were like, “You’re not one of us! You’re san serif, so just get away from our family, you freak!”

Pure love

Pure Love doesn’t pay the AT&T bill. Being a mother is the most important position in the world—agreed—but let’s work on our word choice here and maybe more “likes” will follow. First of all, let’s aim to be less cheesy than a crock of queso. Second of all, let’s bring home some bacon so we can feed the children. Do those two things and I’ll share with abandon.

sizes

I agree, but I didn’t share, sorry. The image chosen was too limiting for the sentiment. I’d have shared if they’d chosen four beautiful things—all varying sizes—like they purport to believe. Preferably—this lady, a Jaguar XJR, a quarter-pounder with cheese, and an itty bitty jungle frog.

lady friends

I didn’t tag my lady loves like the meme recommended because of one simple reason. I’m not seeking confirmation of their devotion. I’m not unsure of their loyalty. Except Ellen—I’m not all that confident she’d repost and tag back. Or Maya Rudolph. If history is any indicator, I’d be waiting on that validation for quite some time. Better to just go on not knowing. Ignorance is bliss when you’re forcing the hands of true friends you’ve never met. Sorry.

sister

Sorry I didn’t share this, but I had a good reason—and it wasn’t because I don’t love my sister. It was because I’d just told her I loved her in a text. It was also because I knew she saw this in her Facebook feed and didn’t share it for me. I’m the little sister, and little sisters can be kinda bratty—sorry.

children

I should’ve shared this, because I agree, but I didn’t and I’m sorry. It just seemed too remedial—like saying, “Cold beer should be sipped and enjoyed, not used to wash the dishes.” It was the captain-obviousness of it that kept me scrolling right through.

arms

Yeahhh, the day I share a fear-mongering political post like this is the day I renounce my love of guacamole. Not. Gonna. Happen. It should’ve said, “Unfollow me if you don’t agree” because that’s what I did.

I hop on Facebook to see cute babies, unlikely friendships between animals and killer sushi spreads. I also pop in to see what interesting things my friends are up to. I’ve never once thought, “I just can’t make my mind up about immigration—let me log on to Facebook and see what my high school friends think.”

Side Note: No offense, high school friends. Y’all are the best. Go Bulldogs!

creepy eyes

I’m sorry I didn’t share this, but quite frankly, I found the eyes just a wee bit crazed and creepy. I didn’t think it painted an accurate portrayal of my deep and abiding love for my mom. I’ll try to snag and share the next one I see that has kinder, more childlike eyes. I love you, Moma—which means I love you enough to not creep you out with eerie-eyed smiley faces in your Facebook feed.

stray

Happiness is feeding a stray if you want that stray to be YOUR stray. And many of you do! More power to you and God bless you (sorry, God, I’m not bossing You around—You totally don’t have to do that … only if it was in Your plans and You want to … I mean, I think it would be swell of You, but that’s Your call. Next time I’ll say, “May God bless you.”)

Maybe the meme should say, “KINDNESS is feeding a stray.” Because, like, I’m sure it makes you happy to do it—I know how happy it makes me to give homeless people food—but are you going to stay happy when you’ve got a new member in your family and your 4-year old wants to name him Tooter? Anyway, that’s why I didn’t share. I thought the word choice was suspect.

bitching

I didn’t share because I already know bitching burns calories. So does complaining and so does whining. These are facts. We wouldn’t do them so often if they didn’t help us work off french fries. #sorrynotsorry

idiot

With all of my being, I hope I don’t need to explain why I didn’t share this handmade sign. I have four reasons, but I’ll be happy if you just know the main one. Are cyber-friendship depends on it.

one eye

I’m sorry to be so picky, but I couldn’t share this since I actually have two eyes. It felt wrong to act like I only had one—like I was fishing for sympathy. I also could really use some past tense on “love” … “because I LOVED my mom.” Combine those two dilemmas and that’s one big non-share here. I also vividly recall my first thought upon opening my eye(s), and it was more along the lines of, “Feed me, Womb Lady!”

Anyway, you know how, when you check out at Target or Banana Republic, they say, “Do you want to save 15% on your purchase today? And you feel so dumb saying no? It’s that whole “Yeah, but” thing. Yeah, but I don’t want a credit card.

It’s the same with all these incriminating memes on Facebook. Do you love your mom? Yeah, but I don’t want to share something where “your” and “you’re” are treated as the same word. Do you believe that guns don’t kill people—that people living in a culture of glorified violence with unfettered access to firearms kill people—with guns? Yeah, but I don’t do politics on social media.

I can’t help but think I’m not alone, so if you want to get more likes and shares, proofread your work, put thought into your imagery, and … you know what, scrap that. Stop posting things and asking for shares and likes. It’s obnoxious and it ruins Facebook for people who want to see this:

friendship

and this:

sushi

and this:

tinyfrog

Let’s link up on Facebook and Twitter!

 

I Kid You Not

Kids fascinate me. Their cuteness; their grossness; their individuality. I love watching nature—not nurture—in all its glory.

Recently, I imagined what it would be like if little ones never outgrew their weirdo ways—namely in the work place.

Scene 1: Reese, our man-child, getting his boss’s attention.

“Lauren! … Lauren! … Lauren! … Lauren! … Lauren! … Lauren!”

“LAUREN!”

Lauren rushes to wrap up her conversation with Chad and says, “Yes, Reese?”

Reese then balances on one leg and pretends to blow a horn using his thumb.

Lauren stares at him, unamused, and walks away.

Scene 2: A human playground.

Reece runs full speed towards an unsuspecting Tina and jumps on her back—sending them both face-first onto the floor.

Scene 3: Morning needs.

Reece barges into work and declares, “I’m hungry! Lauren, I’m thirsty! Lauren! Hungry! Juice! LAURENNNNN!”

Scene 4: Who’s the boss.

Reese gallops into a meeting on a broomstick—uninvited—and unplugs the projector, disconnects the conference call, and gallops out.

suckas

Scene 5: Clothes are for punks.

Lauren calls Reese in for a meeting.

Lauren: Reese, you have to wear pants. You also have to wear underwear. You have to wear both. This is not up for discussion.
Reece: But whyyy?
Lauren: Because you have to. You can’t run around the office naked from the waist down. Do you see anyone else doing that? We’re not debating this. Clear?

Reece’s chin hits his chest and he crosses his arms as hard as he can while pushing his lips out.

Later, during an afternoon meeting, Reece seems to have complied with Lauren’s orders, though not without over-dramatized pouting. But when the meeting wraps and everyone pushes away from the conference table, Reece emerges with no pants or underwear—and a creepy grin as he runs away from Lauren.

Scene 6: Color commentating.

Reece walks around the office, seemingly normal, then assumes a snow ski stance, lets one fly and yells, “Silent but violent!”

Scene 7: Such a melodious sound.

Reece, as a means to expel energy—and generally annoy everyone—unhinges his jaw and unleashes a long, ear-splitting scream.

Lauren tells him, “NO. NO SIR.” Reece complies for just under two minutes, then does it again. Lauren tells him, in no uncertain terms, that screaming is neither appropriate nor acceptable. Reece manages to keep the next blood-curdling scream in for about 10 minutes.

britbigeyes

Scene 8: Sudden, unexplained shyness.

Reese is talking, making noises and doing anything he can to get attention, so Lauren says, “Reese? Did you want to elaborate on the new process?” Reese then dips his chin and pretends to talk, but all you see is his shifty eyes and moving lips—but absolutely no sound coming out.

Scene 9: What’s yours is mine.

While sitting at the lunch table, Reece grabs the glasses off of Alice’s face and shoves them onto Nathan’s—poking him in the eye.

Scene 10: An answer for everything.

Lauren: Reece, were you able to run that report?
Reece: Blaaaaaaaah, poop!
Lauren: What? Reece, come on. Yes or no? We need it for the 2:00 meeting. Will you please get it done so we can inform the team?
Reece: Poop! Booger poop! You eat poop boogers!

Scene 11: Reece the boomerang.

Lauren and Reece wrap up their weekly meeting and Reece leaves. He comes back into Lauren’s office 15 minutes later.

Lauren: What’s up?
Reece: I’m thirsty.
Lauren: Okay, go get a drink—but then I need you back at your desk.

Ten minutes later, Reece slinks back into Lauren’s office, with an insecure, semi-creepy walk.

Lauren: Reece. What is it?
Reece: I can’t work.
Lauren: WHY NOT.
Reece: I’m scared.
Lauren: Scared? Scared of what?
Reece: I’m scared Sara is hiding under my desk.
Lauren: Sara? Sara Lawrence? Why would she be under your desk? Why don’t you just look under and see that she’s not there?
Reece: No, you.

Lauren gets up, exasperated, and leads Reece back to his desk. She makes a big production out of looking under the desk and proclaiming, “Nope. No Sara.”

Fifteen minutes later, Reece is back in Lauren’s office. Lauren just stares, defeated.

Reece: My chair is uncomfortable. It feels funny.

not_amused

Scene 12: Working lunch.

Lauren: Thanks everyone for tolerating another lunch meeting. Hopefully these sandwiches make up for having to stay in. Let’s go ahead and get started. As you all know, we …

Cut to Reece purposefully dropping his sandwich on the floor, staring right at Lauren and saying, “Uh-oh.”

Lauren gathers her patience, hands Reece another triangle of sandwich and returns to her intro. Reece holds his hand high outside his body and drops his can of Coke, “Uh-oh.”

Scene 13: The highest form of flattery.

Lauren: Hey Reece, stop by when you get a sec.
Reece: Hey Reece, stop by when you get a sec.
Lauren: What? Really, I need another set of eyes on the graph I’m showing Will next week.
Reece: What? Really, I need another set of eyes on the graph I’m showing Will next week.

grrr

Scene 14: The heart wants what it wants.

Sara: Hi-ya, Reece. Here’s your copy of the report for the meeting.
Reece: But I wanted my copy on blue paper.
Sara: Um, blue paper? We don’t make copies on blue paper.
Reece: But I wanted it on blue!
Sara: Look, it has the information you need—that’s what’s important.
Reece: BLUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Scene 15: Adventurous palate.

Lauren: I’m so happy we could all get away from the office and celebrate an amazing quarter. Here’s to eating, drinking and being merry!
Waiter: What could I get you, Ma’am?
Sara: Hi. I’ll have the filet, medium rare, asparagus and the Dijon mashed potatoes.
Waiter: And you, Ma’am?
Lauren: I’ll have the Portobello gnocchi, and a salad with the house dressing.
Waiter: Nice. Sir, what’ll you have?
Nathan: Let me get the pork shank, risotto and the bacon jam Brussels sprouts, please.
Waiter: Great choice. And you, Sir?
Reece: Chicken strips and a large chocolate milk.

Scene 16: Say Cheese!

In every picture taken, Reece’s fake smile looks like someone told him to show all 32 teeth and look as surprised as he would if an 18-wheeler was heading directly at him.

Sweet Sam. This phase will last a full year.

Scene 17: Let’s GO.

Nathan: Say, Reece, you ready to go down to the presentation?
Reece: Yeah. I mean no. I’m a helicopter.
Nathan (5 minutes later): Reece, come on man, we need to head down or we’re gonna be late.
Reece: Yeah, ‘k. (continues being a helicopter)
Nathan: (2 minutes later): We have to go. Now. I’m leaving, so come on if you’re coming. And get your notebook.
Reece: (stands there, slumped over, with his arms hanging all the way to his feet) I’m cominggggg, ugh! (continues to stand)
Nathan: That’s it, I’m leaving. Do what you want. (walks off)
Reece: WAAAIIITTT!! NATHAN WAIT! NATHAAAAAAAAAAAAN! (runs for Nathan and lunges, throwing his arms around Nathan’s mid-stride leg)

Scene 18: Storytelling.

Lauren: Hey gang, good meeting. Before we head back to our desks, I wondered if Reece and Claire wanted to tell us about their experience at the conference this week. Guys?

Reece: Yeah, so, so, so, so when, when, when we, we like – like it was yesterday and we, we had, we went, when we went to …
Claire: Yeah, we headed into Stratton Hall and …
Reece: ME! I’m telling it! I’m telling the story!
Claire: Fine, tell it.
Reece: So like we, we, we went and when we went, we … Stop Nathan! Nathan’s making faces at me! Stop it! Stop making faces!”

Scene 19: Name calling.

Lauren: Thanks for coming in guys. I understand the two of you are having some difficulties relating to one another and I thought we’d see if we can come to an agreement today. Nathan, why don’t you tell me a little about the circumstances that led to yesterday’s confrontation.
Nathan: Sure. I approached Reece about the email he sent to …
Reece: You’re stupid. You’re a dumb stupid-head.
Nathan (hands in the air): See? This is what I’m dealing with—and he’s done this in front of clients.
Reece: Because you’re an idiot dumb-dumb poopy diaper face.

Yeah, so the next time you want to throttle a co-worker for making your work life twice as hard as it should be, just be thankful they wear pants and don’t ask you to nurse them during a meeting.

Let’s link up on Facebook and Twitter!

 

Dear Diary, I Get Around

Last week I had a conversation with a co-worker about why some people seem to have no self-awareness. We questioned why some people don’t pick up on social cues; why they can’t tell when they’ve intruded on a conversation; why they don’t read the faces of those who are negatively receiving the words they’re delivering. We puzzled over some people’s inability to read the unfavorable reactions of others.

But also not funny.

But also not funny.

We both confessed to hoping our self-awareness was on point and felt like—as a rule—it was. We ended the conversation feeling pretty darn good about our ability to read social cues and self-regulate.

My self-awareness confidence took a mighty blow later that night when—for reasons I can’t remember—I peeked into the first journal I ever owned and saw something wholly mortifying.

Unbeknownst to me, I was a first-rate floozy.

Let’s unpack these shameful years.

diary

This was my first diary, and it was given to me by my sister. Many months ago, we discussed a few of the entries in this journal, related to the rigorous crush I had on one of my middle school teachers, Coach McCahon.

That was but the tip of the iceberg.

diary1

You’ll see that this is the first of many professions of love. Apparently, I had a lot of it to give as a kid. Also, please note—I am nine. This will be an important detail as we move along.

diary2

I wonder what good things happened to me? Was it the fact that we had company? That my autograph was coming along? Time will tell.

I’m not sure what’s more shocking—that I felt Groundhog Day was worth two mentions or that I love a boy “very much” when I’m still drinking milk with my supper.

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Here we are. And because this simply cannot be said enough—I’M NINE. Okay, I kind of understand how I could think I love him; but it’s shocking to me that I’m eager to kiss him. It’s more shocking that I want it to be “for a long time.” It’s jaw-dropping that I’m going to take the bull by the horns, when I don’t even have enough years under my belt to spell lips correctly.

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Great. I’m ready for marriage. I’m simple-minded enough to think a definition of spring is warranted, yet I’m contemplating the rightness of nuptials and monogamy.

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Still hoping he pops the question. I wonder where I thought it would happen? I have vivid memories of playing inside the big tractor tires on our elementary playground with him—I bet that’s where I hoped he’d drop to one scabbed knee. Oh, and if the suspension is killing you, I did get Mrs. DeShields—so my appalling punctuation was her gift that year.

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WHAT?! What the hell is, “well, you know?!” No, I don’t know! WHERE ARE MY PARENTS?! So again, I think it’s worth pointing out—I’m ready to get serious, but I only manage to get the first and last letters right.

Side Note: I actually remember writing this. I was listening to the Top 9 at 9 on KQTY. I hate to tell you this, but it was when, back-to-back, they played Endless Love by Lionel Richie and Feels So Right by Alabama. This is not cute, y’all—it’s capital T Troubling.

diary8

Still love Billy. Still can’t spell for shit.

Side Note: This kind of enduring love shouldn’t be plausible when I’m young enough to still enjoy puppet shows.

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Hmm, wonder when this happened—a new dude. You will see that this is the beginning of my downward spiral into tramp-ville. I’m 10 now—apparently approaching womanhood—and want some skating rink lip-locking.

Side Note: I remember this entry too, and he was there. We couple-skated to Hard To Say I’m Sorry by Chicago, and the song was especially meaningful to me because, while Brandon was a “hunk and a half,” I felt like I owed him an apology for coveting his speed skates.

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More love in the air. I love God and I love a new boy, Kevin. I found my watch a week later in a pair of shoes—so I’m sure I double-loved God that day, but just didn’t get it documented.

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Still love Kevin.

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I’m going with Daxton, but I’m not sensing much love. Maybe it’s because I’m in love with a man 18 years my senior. No big deal. Oh, and I’m still struggling with basic spelling.

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I guess Coach McCahon was a gateway drug to Paul McCartney. Let’s see, I was 11 and he was, what, 70? Seems natural that I would love him and write about him in my diary, along with my grades, my Christmas gifts and an unforgivable spelling of the complicated word, “for.”

Side Note: The super clever initials are, Anna Christie BFFs … I love Paul McCartney (because one mention wasn’t enough) … I love Daxton Patterson (guess I did love him after all) … I love Scott McCahon (so, two men whose combined age was approximately 100) … I love my family … and Heaven only knows what BMOA stands for. I shutter to think.

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And we’re back. Yes, these entries are in order.

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In case anyone forgot.

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Whoa. Daxton is out of the rotation.

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Enter: Donny Griffin. Sure doesn’t seem like I’m very judicious with my love. If I spent half as much time on learning to spell as I did on acknowledging my love for anyone with a Y chromosome, we’d be in good shape.

diary18

There’s a lot going on here. Apparently I enjoyed learning about Anne Frank. I also worried a lot about our income tax return. I thought my TV debut—for something related to basketball and a telethon—would catapult me to stardom. I still loved Coach McCahon, and his body—despite his snotty behavior—but it wasn’t reciprocal. Spelling is still out of my wheelhouse.

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Spoiler alert: I still love Coach McCahon, and Christi and I did not remain best friends for all of eternity, as I predicted—but hey, my grades were on point and I spelled some words right.

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So much love to be had here. I’m still in love with a fully grown man, and Donnie (a new Donnie) is romantic. HOW? How is a 12-year old romantic? I have to know. Can someone remind me what pre-teens do to be romantic? Seems as if all that romance is fleeting, since I’m still with Donny G, but would also be down for some Donnie W, or Scott or Mike lovin’ on the side. Well, at least I also love my family and God—so some morsel of me remains honorable.

diary21

Sheesh, what’s with this income tax return? And why was I on TV again? I didn’t profess any love in this entry, but I can tell you that I wholeheartedly loved DQ. And it’s almost worrisome that I was so attached to my diary that I thought it could join me in prayer.

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A new player: Mike Hammonds. I see no mention of love, so I must be taking things slow this time around.

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Aww, poor Mike—I still don’t love him. I guess I’m just passing time until Coach McCahon and his “good body” get with the program.

diary24

I loved IZODS. I wonder if that’s why I was so obsessed with our income tax return?

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I love God. I also love Coach McCahon, Mike Hammonds (although I question my sincerity on this one), God again, my family—and as a bonus, the w/w/w (whole wide world). That’s you—you’re welcome.

diary26

No love here, but I include it to tell you that my friends and I tried out for the talent show by dancing a choreographed number to MJ’s Billie Jean. On the opening beat, our backs were to the judges—as we stood with our feet shoulder-width apart—and one by one, we spun around and pointed out across the auditorium dramatically. We wore white tennis shorts, IZODs and Gilligan hats. I can’t make this up—nor would I want to.

Side Note: We didn’t make it.

diary29

I was single? How did I survive? Oh I know—on the “total” love I had for Scott Frederic.

diary30

Really diggin’ this Scott fellow. Let’s not allow the misspelling of his name to negate the obvious depths of my love.

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But for now, Layne Moffitt will do.

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I’m now going with Steven Moore, but love Ricky Schroder. Where’d Layne go? That was fast. I can say with confidence that I was more devoted to The Ricker than Steven, as I had approximately 104 pictures of him wallpapering my bedroom.

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My love for Brad (yes, this is a new guy) is making me question my feelings for Steven.

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Annnd I’m back with Daxton. Enough time has passed that we’re now making out at dances. The first time around, we probably just played in the sandbox.

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Oh hey, Travis. When did you get here? Have you met, Ricky?

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I think kids who call people and chomp ice as their prank are totally mature enough to juggle a dozen loves in a few years.

I hope my diary was a way for me to work out all this angst and longing in a safe place—and that away from this time of reflection each night, I was out having fun and not drooling nonstop over these dudes. I have exponentially more memories of friends and laughter, than yearning and solitude, so I guess it was just an outlet I enjoyed. I must have, because I have stacks of journals from most of my life.

You should look back at your old stuff. Hopefully you’ll get some good news about your past ways, and not be confronted by the surprise news that the journal of your youth was actually a little black book housing enough names to field a pee wee football team.

The bad news? I only shared a fraction of the journal—and professions of love. The good news? Spelling is no longer my undoing.

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Say What?

I make every attempt possible to never say never. I even outlined my reasoning behind this ongoing personal goal here.

But this is different. Even though I don’t say things like, “I’ll never get a bad tattoo” or “I’ll never leave the oven on” (for fear of eating my words), I’m relatively certain you’ll never hear me say any of the following.

“No, thanks—I’m not really in the mood to hold your baby.”

At one time, I wanted to be a Rockin’ Mama so bad, I was calling around to all the hospitals, trying to get information on the process. It’s a program where hospital baby wards put you in rotation to hold babies who don’t have anyone—so the newborns can get love, warmth and human contact.

I just have an endless capacity to hold babies, and I get geeked when friends tell me they’re pregnant. I’m less geeked when they tell me we can’t actually share the baby. That’s pretty selfish; but I’ll take what I can get. Sometimes they’re all, “Oh, let’s lay him down so he doesn’t get used to being held while he sleeps” and I’m all, “Shut your dumb mouth.” The feeling of that warm little nugget on my chest is an unmatched delight for which my longing never ends.

“I’d really like to see him in a jock.”

I don’t care if you’re Roger Federer or Magic Mike, I don’t want to see you in a jock. No day is made better by seeing a man in a jock.

“No, thank you—I’m full.”

You might hear me say no to food, but it won’t be because I’m full. If it’s food I love (and not dessert), I’ve got the restraint of a pack of raccoons who’ve just found campfire leftovers. On special occasions (i.e. weekends and vacation), I like to eat until I’m full up to my collarbones. Some days—especially when traveling—my lone goal is to get hungry again after a meal. And I’m not ashamed to admit that when I’m greeted by that first hunger pang, it feels like such sweet victory—like precious hope in a dark, dark world.

“I don’t really care who wins the game.”

I have to root for someone. Even if I’m not following the teams or the series or the sport—if it’s on—I have to root for someone. I can’t be ambivalent. If nothing else, I just need a good human interest story on one of the players, and I’m set.

Me: Who are you for?
Jocelyn: Oh, no one really—I don’t really care about this one.
Me: No, come on—help. If it’s gonna be on, I need to root for someone.

The following are the types of things I’m looking for at this point—to tip me to one team or the other:

Jocelyn: Their coach is that one who made it to his 14th conference championship, but still got fired.
Jocelyn: A Utes win would help the Zags.
Jocelyn: Their running back got arrested for domestic violence.
Jocelyn: #4 has the little sister who can’t walk and he carries her everywhere.
Jocelyn: Their shooting guard wasn’t expected to ever play again after his compound fracture.

“There’s no hope for that situation.”

I believe there is hope for everything. Hope is what gives life color. Prayer—and a basic understanding that we don’t know a fraction of what we think we do—tells me that there is always hope.

“Here, take a picture of me drinking out of this straw!”

“And make sure to snap it when my eyebrows are raised mid-drink!” I just hate those posed drinking-out-of-the-straw pics. I can’t explain it. And the recent “Slurpie Day” was just an excuse for everyone to post one and dampen my day.

“Just sayin’.”

Unless you were raised by a honey badger (an animal who truly does.not.give.a.$%#@), then I challenge you to start taking steps to break this fall-back phrase habit. I understand how tempting it is to say what you want—no matter how hurtful or bossy or judgmental—and then smooth it over with a shrugging “jus’sayin’; but please stop.

It’s now so prevalent that people are ending posts and comments with “JS.”

“Well he sure is dumber than a box of hair. JS.”
“The sound of her voice alone makes me wish she’d burst into flames. Just sayin’.”
“My day would improve if she’d go play in traffic—jussayin.”

“Just sayin'” and “Bless her heart” are not get-out-of-being-a-jerk passes.

“I’m not reading anything at the moment.”

Lord-willing, you’ll never hear me say this. I read a lot and can’t imagine my life without books, stories, characters—and the joy they bring.

“Oh here, let me just throw this bloody Band-Aid down for the next person to see.”

I hope this is self-explanatory. Pretty much any awesome day can be wrecked by one sullied Band-Aid sighting.

“Nah, Mexican food just doesn’t sound that good today.”

This nonsensical statement is akin to, “I’m actually pretty ambivalent about oxygen today” or “I’ve never really bought into the wisdom of needing all 10 fingers.”

There is not a day on earth when I couldn’t get down with some tacos. Or burritos. Or chips and salsa. Or all of the above.

“Traveling is a hassle. I think I’ll just stay home.”

Nope. Hassles always arise when traveling—always. But the trade-off isn’t even in the same ballpark for me. A little airport or luggage nuisance in exchange for exploring the world and seeing new things? I’ll “endure” that any day, any time, anywhere. Almost anywhere.

“You relax—I’ll tie those balloons for you.”

I don’t want to blow them up either. I go too fast and too hard and end up hallucinating that Rue McClanahan has come back to cross stitch with me.

“I don’t care what kind of grocery carts they have.”

FALSE. Target’s new, chunkier carts have ruined me for all other carts. I’m obsessed. It feels like I’m pushing around a weightless hover craft. They make me want to sing and skip and do good deeds.

Additionally, there are no words for the sheer and utter joy those smaller half-carts bring me. They’re like little speedy athletes with the agility of a gymnast, the focus of a goalie and the eagerness of a Wimbledon ball boy.

If anyone ever combined the two carts, I’m not sure I’d make it out alive.

“You’ll never hear me refer to the universe as a living thing.”

“The universe has a way of …”, “The universe lets us know we should …”, “This is what the universe has told us …”, “This is what the universe asks of us …”

Never. Like, ever.

“Hmm, I haven’t heard from Whatsherface in a while; I think I’ll poke her on Facebook.”

“Why aren’t you breastfeeding?” or “Why are you breastfeeding?”

Why won’t you ever hear me ask this? Because it’s none of my business, and I assume a mother has a very good reason for her choices. Oh, and I’m not the breastfeeding police. Oh, and that’s right—it’s none of my business. Or did I already say that?

“I’m not a crier.”

I’ve been able to say that truthfully most of my life. But I’ve now come to accept that I can’t see a soldier’s reunion with a loved one or a marriage proposal, and not cry. I’m not a weepy, soppy mess—and I don’t cry over much else—but these two things start the waterworks. I also cry sometimes when I hear the song, O Holy Night. Not so much the David Archuleta version, as the Celine Dion one. And sometimes I cry when the food is over.

“Tush”, “Tushy” or “Bum.”

It’s butt, bottom, ass—or nothing. I remember once, a long time ago, I read a quote from Freddie Prinze, Jr., and he said someone was looking at his “tushy.” No. No, no, no. FPJ was instantly dead to me. He was a grown damn man calling his own butt a tushy. Maybe, maaaaybe if he’d been talking about his baby’s bottom, I could have let it go. But he wasn’t. And I no longer had a place for him in my life.

Do you have things you’ll never say?

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Why I Have Trust Issues

Overall, I’m not a distrusting person. I actually trust people wholeheartedly—trust that they’ll annoy, dismay and fascinate me. I rely, with confidence, on my instincts, and feel I’m a good judge of character. But I can’t deny the fact that I do I have some trust issues—and I have a pretty good idea why.

1. Shazam.

I’ve never once gotten Shazam to think I’m the artist. No matter how perfectly in key I am, how meticulously my timing is or how precisely I rap 16 bars, the app has never once popped up with the original artist and title after hearing me sing. I just find that so sketchy. How is it absolutely certain it’s not hearing an acapella version of the song?

trust issues

2. Two-faced.

Sometimes I think a person looks like an entirely different person—with different temperaments and different insecurities—if I just look directly at their left eye or right eye. Yeah, I know everyone’s eyes are slightly different, but some people have a totally different look in each of their eyes—so different that I think one eye could have committed a crime while the other was writing a sonnet. When I have the chance (if the person hasn’t busted me staring), I’ll study their two personalities until I decide which one I like best, which one I’d trust to have my back in a street fight, and which one would make the prettiest babies.

3. DVRs are spiteful.

DVRs wreck my trust, because 99 times out of 100, when I hit pause, it freezes the absolute worst look any actor or athlete could ever have. I simply cannot take that call or run to the restroom while someone’s face is frozen like a drunk monster. I just feel so bummed for them. I’ll un-pause and re-pause a dozen times if needed, to find a suitable face we can both feel good about.

4. Makeup contouring.

Every single thing about this trend has my body in a cauldron of distrustful emotions. See the image below or simply Google “face contouring makeup” if you want a full dose of this madness—or watch here if you want to unite in head-shaking shock with me.

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Unless you’re a model or actress, why on earth would you want to look so vastly different from your natural self? I’d never want to set people up to be so sorely disappointed—not with contouring, not with lip injections, not with colored contacts.

Side Note: I think the only cosmetic surgery I’d sign up for is a thus-far-undiscovered procedure to replace my least important finger with Cherry Chapstick.

5. Discontinued.

How is it that certain flavors, candy and scents have remained for decades, but all my favorite things cease to exist at fairly normal intervals? So, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are still hanging in there, but my favorite spicy dish at Pei Wei was written off about a year ago? How do spicy veggies and noodles go out of style? My favorite Sephora lotion went bye-bye recently, yet original Noxzema is still in the game. My favorite Bath & Body bath scent was discontinued last year—forcing me to re-order it from eBay while it lasts—but they still keep pumping out Juniper Breeze (or as I refer to it: instant stomach ache.) All of it makes me distrusting of my life and my disposable choices. If normal, good things can come to an end, then what else can come to an end? Sunshine during the day? MY MOTHER’S LOVE?!

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6. Good sportsmanship.

I get choked up by good sportsmanship. Players helping up opponents—even in the heat of battle—ends me. Athletes checking on their competition when they look hurt—has me reaching for Kleenex. When both teams circle around an injured player like they’re all one tribe—I can barely deal. So why does this topic feed my trust issues? Because sometimes, those jackasses won’t accept the opposition’s offered hand when they need help getting up. And when that happens, I feel the rejection all the way in my own living room.

Then there is this … which is awful … ly funny.

trust issues

trust issues

7. Comic strips:

I’ll just come right out at say it, then shield my face from your swinging fists. I don’t like comic strips. I don’t care if they’re funny or smart or even borderline genius; my brain shuts off when I see them. Even if they’re just out-of-this-world awesome, I’d never know, because I simply can’t make myself read them. I have no idea why this is so, or why they look no more appealing than a sheet of algebra to me, but I’ve finally just resigned myself to the fact that they’re not my thing. Decades of consistently adverse reactions to them have forced me to accept their non-existent place in my life.

The trust issues surface when people, who I hoped were like-minded, walk up to me and hand me one, awaiting my certain laughter. I trusted you not to put me in the awkward position of pretending to read it/get it/like it. You’ve burst our trust bubble with your thoughtless assumptions and forced me into a scene of false camaraderie. Oh, you thought I’d get a kick out of it? Well I thought you’d pick up on my disdain for tedious stories told in squares with weird illustrations—so great, now neither one of us trusts the other.

8. Google’s attitude.

Have you ever googled something like, “womens dresses”—wait, me neither—how about, “womens jackets” and Google returns a list, but the top line says, “Did you mean women’s jackets?” When did Google get so high and mighty? What’s with the punctuation police? It’s such a passive-aggressive, condescending question—did you mean WOMEN’S JACKETS, Moron? The Google I thought I knew would return endless results with the header, “Got it! Including options for womens jacket, women’s jackets and anything in the female jacket ballpark!” I always thought of Google as this cool, accepting type who didn’t judge. I mean, it does fine with disasters like this:

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… but it’s gonna get all in my face about an apostrophe? #TrustIssues

9. Pizza gone rogue.

I love good pizza. I could eat it everyday. I’m pretty picky about crust, but not all that hung up on ingredients. I try to be a good pizza eater and not insist on only my favorite toppings; so, I feel completely bamboozled when I open up a nice, hot, fresh pizza box and the pizza is cut into squares. WHAT AM I LOOKING AT HERE, PEOPLE.?! Why would any reputable pizza place opt to cut pizza into … pieces … rather than slices? If a place cuts a rectangular pizza into squares, I’ll be upset and never go there again, but if place cuts a perfectly normal, round pizza into squares, I won’t even associate with anyone who speaks of this establishment.

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Side Note: I feel the same way about waffle fries. Get out of here with that child’s play. I can just hear some of you right now, “What?! Waffle fries rule! Hello—Chick fil-A?!” Yep, I know. And those weirdo potato waffles are a big barrier between me and their supposedly good chicken.

10. My own irrational thoughts:

When I spot someone existing in oblivion—in public—I feel capable and ready to take the hit. If they’re walking around unaware of the humans around them, and I can tell they might actually run into me, my adrenaline kicks in and I relish the idea of absorbing a good blow. I’ll sometimes even change my path slightly so they run into me. I know this isn’t normal behavior, but I feel like I need to teach them a lesson—and I don’t see any of you people stepping up to the plate.

Side Note: I have especially serious trust issues (with myself) because I’ve been known to consider taking a hit on the highway. Obviously not when trucking along at high speeds; but when I’m getting tailed too closely by some douche kabob … or see a ditzy teen on her phone, swerving around, I’m not above at least letting the altruistic collision play out in my mind.

Since misery loves company, I’ll wrap up with this image. You’re welcome.

trust issues

Trust issues at an all-time high … Taylor and Bruno.

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Old School Parenting Prowess

My parents were extraordinary. They still are.

They were ahead of their time in so many ways.

Sure, we sat—or stood—anywhere in the car we wanted, but whatever, they got so many things right. They got them right without the luxury or convenience of the internet and a million how-tos at their fingertips.

1. My mom didn’t need an army of mommy bloggers to figure it out.

My mom stayed at home with all three of us—before going back to get her college degree and embark on a 25-year teaching career—without blogging about it or reading blogs about it. GASP! How did she make it through the school drop-off line or traverse the competitive world of child-rearing without the virtual company of 8 trillion mommy bloggers by her side? How did any of our milestones mean anything when they couldn’t be shared on Instagram or posted on Facebook? We’ll never know. But she did it like a B.O.S.S.

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2. They believed in lessons.

We got dropped off at the skating rink on weekend nights and picked up at midnight. One time when I was around 10 or 11, I had my brand new Nike kicks stolen from my locker. They were gone, period. End of story. Yes, my mom felt bad for me, but again they were gone. It sucked, but to my parents, the theft didn’t equate to a replacement pair, it equated to me learning to be more vigilant about prized possessions. You better believe I started double-checking the padlock after that.

Yes, my Nikes are gone, people.

Yes, Emma—MY NIKES ARE GONE.

3. My mom ROCKED nightly home-cooked meals—for well over a decade.

We also ate dinner at home every night. Yes, up until high school, the five of us ate my mom’s home-cooked meals, around the kitchen table, every night. I can’t imagine how she pulled it off—that many meals, that many years—but she did. I’m sure one thing that made it possible was that she (logically) cooked one meal, and we ate it. Up until my freshman year, I have only a few memories of dinner anywhere but our kitchen table. I also have next-to-no memories of bumming out over the meal put in front of me.

It was also really, REALLY good.

It was also really, REALLY good.

Well, there was that one night when my dad was exceptionally cranky and put down the edict that he was “the father of this family” and he’d “by-damn get the piece of fried chicken” he wanted. I believe it was a thigh, which now makes me wonder what the fuss was about. Who was putting up a fight over a thigh? It was super fine by me. We also always had a loaf of Mrs. Baird’s bread on the table—a far stretch from the artisan breads of today, but I loved it. My favorite thing (after watching my dad do this) was capping off supper with a scoop of mashed potatoes in a single folded up slice of bread—a mashed potato sandwich dessert if you will. Heaven!

Now, at restaurants, when the waiter says, “Did you save room for dessert? Maybe some flan or a sopapilla or cheesecake?” I’m just thinking, “Please say mashed potato sandwich, please say mashed potato sandwich.” I’m still waiting on that offering.

Side Note: My dad and I used to love to eat gross things, too. Pickled pigs feet, sardines in the can—we relished every moment of grossing out those around us. We still do.

Another Side Note That Deserves Its Own Post: My mom is the world’s best cook. This is not up for discussion. I’d pick one of her home-cooked meals over any food, any where. I got my love of cooking from her, and I consider it one of the greatest gifts.

And with food. Lots of food.

And with food. Lots of food.

4. They took responsibility for teaching us about God.

We didn’t really grow up in church, we sorta just had church at home. As kids of praying, steadfast believing parents, we learned all the important things that we still hold dear today.

But one awful night (I don’t remember what led to this), my parents told me—what I considered at the time—a huge lie. They said I should always put God before them, and … wait for the shocking news … love God more than I loved them. I felt like someone slapped me across my precious face. I’d never been so upset with them.

This emoji best depicts my emotion on that dark day.

This emoji best depicts my emotion on that dark day.

As a little kid whose life still revolved around her parents, this made ZERO sense to me, and I wanted NO PART of it—not because I didn’t love God (I so did), but because my parents were my world. I devised a plan to disobey them, because it was simply something I could. not. would. not. do. I knew in my heart they’d gotten it all wrong. I almost felt bad for their misinterpretation of God’s will.

ALMOST—I was too disappointed in their careless mandate to empathize with them.

I knew that the God I trusted would never want to me to love Him more than my parents, so I decided I’d go along with them outwardly, nodding like it made perfect sense, but continue loving them #1 in my heart.

Fortunately, nothing bad came from my disobedience, and no one ever tested me. In my head, my defiance looked like this: choosing teams for dodge ball and picking my mom and dad over God—and then immediately getting struck in the head with lightning and my gravestone reading, “You picked the wrong rule to break.”

Side Note: I, of course, understand all of this now—but as a very little kid, I was appalled by my blasphemous, lying parents. I even remember where we were standing when they told me the lies. I also remember throwing myself face down on my pillow to cry it out—vowing in my heart I’d never love anyone more than my parents. This was, of course, before I laid eyes on Ricky Schroder.

I’d now like to lighten the mood by telling you that on our summer vacations, they’d make us virgin Tom Collins.

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5. We had wonderful traditions.

Speaking of vacations (and life in general), my mom was, and still is, the best of the best at creating traditions for our family. Her fingerprint is on everything that is real and wonderful about my family.

One of my favorite traditions growing up was our summer vacation down to Corpus Christi. The five of us would road trip (although when I was little, that didn’t have a name—it was just how you traveled) to Corpus. We’d leave in the wee hours of the morning and the kiddos would sleep in the car—all over the car. Floorboard, back window, across our parents laps. They probably would’ve let us sleep in the trunk if we’d asked. I doubt it, but I have nothing to base that doubt on.

Here was where the swoon came in. We’d start stirring in the late morning and wake up so happy when we saw we were well on our way—and then the realization that we were hungry would kick in, and we’d all start looking for a river bank or cool area for our lunch spot. My mom would break out the cooler of cold fried chicken, cheese, bread, pickles and bottled Coke. Nothing has EVER tasted so good in my life.

Then we’d crawl back into the car and play with our handheld games.

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Side Note: I’m not gonna get on a soapbox about everything today’s kids “need” to “survive” a road trip—or the monsters we’re creating—I’m just going to say that I’m thankful beyond thankful that I grew up when I did, and learned how to entertain myself and just be happily alone in my thoughts.

We’d drive and drive, listening to The Beatles. We had a stack of 8-tracks in heavy rotation and it was pure bliss. No, I never did understand some of their lyrics (why is he a walrus? why is Lucy in the sky? Why’d Joe Joe think he was a woman?) but I never once tired of the music we grew up with.

Everything about our summer vacations to Corpus has stayed with me. The music, the stops for beef jerky and pickles, feeding the seagulls, looking for “butterfly” seashells to present to my mom as my promise of everlasting love.

I love you, Moma <3

I love you, Moma ❤

6. My dad guided us early and swiftly.

Me: Bye!
Daddy: Bye.
Me: See ya later, alligator!
Daddy: See ya later, alligator.
Me: After a while, crocodile!
Daddy: After a while crocodile.
Me: Soon, raccoon!
Daddy: No, Ma’am. I don’t want you saying that.
Me: Why?!
Daddy: Because it could be construed as racist slang and I won’t have you saying it. Alligators and crocodiles are plenty enough.

And that was that. I didn’t fully understand until he explained it further; but I knew not to ever say it again and knew why.

7. Their worth wasn’t tied to my athletic performance.

From the moment I set my eyes on the game of basketball, I was hooked. And one second after that realization, my parents found a way for it to be part of my life. They got me an outdoor hoop and they made arrangements for us to go play at a nearby community college gym.

I played all the time—every day and night, I shot baskets and played. That was all wonderful, but when they were truly ahead of their time was when I was on real teams. Never once, EVER, in a zillion games, did they ever show anger or disappointment in me. They were not those parents. This wasn’t as surprising coming from my mom—I think moms are naturally nurturing—but it was definitely more uncommon for dads to show nothing but support. And my dad was not a sugar-coating kind of guy. He was a “call it what it is” man. Yet, there he was, game after game with his arm around me—and a proud look on his face.

I have memory after memory of nothing but love and comfort after games, while nearby, I could hear snippets from disgusted, disappointed, furious parents railing on their kid. Don’t get me wrong, mine didn’t celebrate poor performances by any stretch—they just opted (way ahead of their time) to not take that route with me. Maybe it was because they knew I was extremely hard on myself and needed ZERO assistance in that department—I don’t know—but not ONCE? Not one chewing out session? Pretty impressive. I do know their worth wasn’t tied to my performance or success like seems to be the case so often these days … and that right there also puts them well ahead of their time.

No one but me can really know what their support did for me, or how it molded me—but it was a true and lasting gift. I can only imagine the damaging effect the opposite type of behavior has on kids. I’m glad I don’t know this firsthand.

nothankyou

8. They couldn’t care less about attachment parenting.

My parents gave us the perfect amount of “attachment parenting” vs. “cry-it-out.” In fact, one time I got my whole foot stuck in my bike spokes and my dad not only did NOT comfort me, but he was actually pretty mad about whatever carelessness led to my ankle being wrapped up in my wheel.

We consistently took off on our bikes, never to return until dusk—riding on hills and through terrain not cleared for children on Huffy bikes.

I have memories of taking off on foot or on the back of a bike of neighborhood friends and not seeing my parents for hours on end. Maybe whole days would pass—who knows?! I’m sure that’s wrong, but maybe my dad was OK with some suspect overnights if it meant peacefully getting the piece of chicken he wanted after a hard day at work?

9. They accepted life and its (occasional) unfair outcomes with grace.

In my preteen years, I used to compete in these “Hoop Shoot” contests. We’d basically shoot 25 free throws, within age brackets, and the winner would move on to sectionals, regionals and state. I won a lot of them and collected lots of cool trophies. People made a big deal about it because I was quite a little nugget and shot a men’s basketball (not the women’s size they have today) … and I was one of very few who actually shot it correctly, and not a granny shot.

Side Note: I was wholly unamused by the kids shooting granny shots. I cringed for them and wanted to point out how utterly embarrassing it was to be a nine-year old, still acting like a toddler. Come on—shoot the dang ball or go home and play with Barbie and Ken.

Anyway, one year I won the round that would take me to the big regional shootout—but found out a short while later, that I’d been placed in the wrong age bracket. I was disqualified. Nothing could be done. There were no do-overs or shuffling of winners.

While my parents and I were incredulous as we discussed the situation—and as it sunk in that it was just over for the year—no one threw a fit. I felt extremely disappointed, but nothing beyond that crossed my mind. My parents didn’t come unglued or “demand” anything of the sponsor. We all just kind of accepted the suckage of the situation.

They didn’t take me to Disneyland, in place of State, to soothe my disappointment. I might have gotten a Slurpee, but that was about it. What did happen was I kept practicing and I made it to State the following year. They even flew my whole family to the shootout in Austin.

suethem

10. They were the parents.

When we were growing up, directives like, “clean up your room,” “be home by dusk,” “put on your shoes” weren’t suggestions. They were orders that we obeyed, and when we didn’t, there were consequences. When we refused to do as we were told, there wasn’t some absurd discussion about it, like, “Why didn’t you mind me? Annnnnnna, didn’t I tell you to get dressed? Why didn’t you get dressed? Why are you disobeying me? Sigh, okay, go play.”

Oh. Hell. No. We didn’t engage in the bargaining and negotiating that’s so prevalent today. There was a very distinct line between the parents and kids—not the excruciatingly blurred lines of today. THANK GOODNESS.

And yes, we were spanked. With a hand, with a belt, with a ping-pong paddle and quite embarrassingly, with a flip-flop outside of Dairy Queen … for my “smart alec mouth.” So here’s the thing, we weren’t perfect kids. We absolutely disobeyed—but there were consequences for it.

If I got a lick at school, I got a lick at home. I didn’t get my mom rushing up to the school to question why I got in trouble for what I did—I just got in double trouble at home. This was a known and understood rule among pretty much all the kids we were in school with. And the truth is, I only got one lick during my school years, and it was for something quite benign … I ran from the back of the classroom to my seat in the front. But guess what? I got a lick and then got spanked at home.

And I didn’t run in class again.

True story—with each passing day, I’m more and more blown away by the job my parents did raising us. I read so many articles and blog posts about parenting and I just marvel at the fact that they did it without much help at all. I love that fact that they were ahead of their time in so many ways—and I hope, hope, hope we were fun kids to raise. I know I was pretty easy, because, as the third child, I put myself down for naps and changed my own diapers—but that’s a story for another day.

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