Liebster Award

  
Oh. My. Word. The kindness of fellow bloggers touches my heart. Amy, from the awesome blog, Modern Mama, nominated me for an award called the Liebster Award. Thank you, Amy, for this nomination. It made my day. And hey–everyone reading this should check out her blog, because she writes some cool stuff about motherhood and teaching–two things near and dear to my heart. 

So, as a result of this nomination, it is my duty to inform you of eleven random facts about me 😳 so that you can get to know me even better than you already do. So, without further ado…

1. I am an ENFP on the Myers-Briggs.

2. I don’t really watch TV. I don’t know what you’re talking about when you ask me if I’ve seen a commercial with such and such person doing something funny. I don’t even know what a commercial looks like. And I definitely know nothing about modern television shows. 

Which leads me to…

3. I bought this brand new TV over a month ago and I haven’t even taken it out of the box. Because it looks like it may be challenging to connect and I don’t watch it anyways, so whatever. 

  
4. I dislike systems. It’s a problem I have and one of my worst traits. Like, I’ll implement some kind of system for organizational reasons, and then I suddenly remember how much I hate systems and want to tell them that they suck. 

5. I have a fear of having to pee and not finding a nearby restroom. I have been known to drop my pants outside when I couldn’t find a bathroom soon enough. 

6. I am not a morning person, but I’m still trying to be. Coffee is helping me in this endeavor. 

7. I used to make the best mixed tapes known to man in the 80s and 90s.

8. I text in a series of one lined statements. So instead of receiving a paragraph of seven sentences in one text, the recipient receives seven different one line texts. When people tell me they don’t like it, I continue to do it because I still think it’s part of my charm. 

9. I believe that food is medicine. I believe that what I put into my body makes a huge impact on both my physical and mental health. 

10. My favorite colors are purple and green. Yellow is growing on me. 

11. I want to be in nature as much as possible. 

Now…as part of this nomination, I need to answer 11 questions posed to me by Amy of Modern Mama, who nominated me. Love you, Amy! Here are her questions, followed by my answers in bold: 

1) Why do you blog?

I blog because it is a creative outlet for me. I enjoy it because it involves truth-telling and connecting with others. 

2) What is your favorite book?

Right now, it’s “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. 

3) What is your favorite quote?

Oh man. This is really hard, because I’m quote obsessed. 

This is what first comes to mind, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.” 

–Howard Thurman

4) What is at the top of your bucket list at the moment?

To travel to Alaska with my daughter. 

5) What is the one food staple that is always in your kitchen no matter what?

Almond butter and eggs.

6) What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

Making time in my day for it. This perhaps wouldn’t be such a problem if I didn’t have such a strong dislike for systems.

7) If you could have only 5 possessions what would they be?

Paper, pen, a meaningful photograph, a soft blanket, and dental floss, since I’m trying to get better about flossing. Oops, I forgot coffee. 

8) If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why? 

Portugal, because my ancestors are from there. 

9) What are a few of your blog related goals?

  • To blog more regularly
  • To be able to articulate to someone what my blog is about when asked. This is hard for me, for some reason. People tell me I need to find my “niche,” but I don’t know if I want to find it, since it may trap me into a system. 🙄

10) What do you find the most rewarding about blogging?
When I write something that touches another person–either through laughter or through sadness–that feels very rewarding. Connecting with other people in our truth telling. 

11) What makes you happy?
A hug from my daughter, healthy food, clean scents, soft blankets, sleep, sunshine, ocean, trees, mountains, and quality time spent with family and friends. ❤️

Thank you again, Amy, for the nomination! 

I now nominate Be-anxious-about-nothing and Living with RC for the Liebster award. 😊 I’ll send you the requirements and my questions within the next 24 hours! 

Thanks, everyone, for reading about my eccentricities. 😝

Grapefruit, Old Lady Perfumes, and Velvet

When I was in college, my brilliant friend, Patty, had this thing called a happiness book (at least I think that’s what it was called). It was a blank book, actually, where she asked everyone that lived on the floor of our college dorm to write down their own “happiness lists.” 

Empathy came easy to Patty. Patty is someone who, if she saw someone crying, would immediately provide comfort. Her own eyes would often well up with tears when she saw others hurting. She was just a beloved person, that Patty. Although I can’t speak for Patty in terms of specifically why she asked us to make our own happiness lists, it is no surprise to me that she cared enough about others’ wellbeing that she wanted her friends to know how to make themselves happy. 

And in college, there was a lot of heartbreak. I went through a sad breakup with a boy my first year, as did many girls on the floor. We cried together, we lifted each other up, and we made up funny games/inside jokes to make each other laugh. In that close community of Miller dorm, second floor, we helped each other grow up during our first year away from home.  

The other day, something happened which caused me to think about this happiness book. An acquaintance of mine was naming the simple pleasures in life that cause her to feel happy; meaning, the things in her physical environment or space that cause her to feel joy or peace.  She said that she loves an orange blossom scented essential oil and a specific hand cream–that these are simple things that make her happy. So when she’s having “a moment,” she smells her essential oil or rubs the hand cream onto her hands. 

At first, I was standing there thinking, “Seriously? You gotta be freaking kidding me…A hand cream? A cream makes you happy? A cream brings you peace? Like, you can just rub a cream on your hands when you’re sad and all of a sudden you’ll feel as happy as a clam?” 😐

Upon pondering this further, though, I realized this seemed so bizarre to me only because of how far removed I actually have become from simple pleasures. I’m a rather hyper, fidgety person by nature. Self-soothing does not come naturally to me. Granted, when I feel down, I do have a couple of tools I utilize to bring me up. These tools, however, involve DOING things. Because I am, by nature, A DOER OF THINGS. 

When I feel upset, for example, I typically feel a strong desire to go and exercise–like go to the gym and lift the most heavy-ass weights that I can or go for a run and run until I can’t run anymore. (And I actually really dislike running until I’m doing it.) Another thing I do is go to one of those $25 foot massage parlors in town and pay someone to rub my feet. 😳

However, sometimes I can’t exercise and I can’t just go and get a massage. Sometimes I’m at work and something stressful happens and it’s not like I can just get up and leave. Sometimes it’s time for my daughter to go to bed and she’s acting like I’m the worst mother in the world, and I can’t just leave the house and go for a run. 

And then I thought of Patty’s happiness book and I realized how genius that is. I realized that I need an actual physical toolkit or an accessible written list of things that make me feel happy, so I can go to it when I feel angry or scared or annoyed. 

So that’s what I’m trying to do right now–think upon my damn happy list. And so far I’ve only come up with three things besides exercising and foot massages: 

  • A rose water perfume/oil smell because it reminds me of my grandmother who gave the best hugs to me when I was a little girl. 
  • Velvet cloth. I don’t have a reason for this other than it might possibly remind me of my grandmother as well. She had a velvet rocker.  Can you see my obsession with my grandmother? 😱
  • Oranges and lemons and grapefruits, because I think they taste and smell fresh and juicy. 

Okay, so that just felt weird and incredibly vulnerable to me to share these things with you. But now I’m on my way to figuring out more things on my list. 

And in the meantime, I’m going to carry a grapefruit and cut off a piece of velvet from my daughter’s baby dress, and buy some old lady rose perfume to carry with me everywhere I go. Every time someone says something mean to me, I’m going to pull out that velvet cloth and touch it. I may even hold it out in front of my body, to act as a shield that protects me from the mean person. (I totally want to draw a picture of me doing this, but I’m too tired. 😂) And every time an unexpected stressor occurs, I will take my perfume out of my purse and start spraying it all over my entire body and into the air within  six feet around me. And every time I feel anxious about something, I’ll start biting into my grapefruit. I won’t even bother to peel it. (I’ll peel it with my own teeth, perhaps.) And everyone will think I’m super wacko but I don’t care, because I’m pretty sure all these things would actually make me happy. 

Cheers to our happiness lists.  

 

 So, You Think You Can Date Me? 

If I were to put out a personal ad looking for the love of my life, this is what it would say:

“38 year old, divorced, single mom seeks a man who is

  • Intelligent
  • Sincere
  • Kind, but not a pushover
  • Empathetic, yet rational
  • Flexible and Laid back, but not dead
  • Consistent
  • Ambitious 
  • Open to developing a long term relationship 
  • Open to communicating via phone and getting to know each other in person

Do you see that? ☝🏼️☝🏼☝🏼

THAT is what I want. I know that. 

However, if you were to look at the men I’ve dated in the past, you’d probably think my personal ad read like this: 

“38 year old, divorced single mom seeks a man who is

  • Either unavailable or clingy
  • Unemployed or a workaholic 
  • Not sure what he wants or is 100% sure he wants me before he has even met me
  • Inconsistent
  • Unable to communicate feelings 
  • Unable to feel feelings 
  • Unsure what a feeling is
  • Inconsistent 
  • Interested in my body but not my mind and character and the whole package
  • Inconsistent 
  • Intimidated by my ability to use big words
  • Did I say inconsistent?

I could go on. But I’ll stop for now because my parents read this. 

There are exboyfriends and men I’ve dated  who might be reading this blog. If you are one of them–this isn’t about you. It’s about the other 99 percent of men I’ve dated, so don’t take it personal. (Cue Carly Simon chorus of “You’re So Vain”) now…I kid, I kid.

But on a serious note, it actually ISN’T about you or whatever my perception is or was of you. 

IT’S ABOUT ME. It’s about me NOT making decisions that align with my values. It’s about a bullsh** story that I tell myself. 

And you know what that’s called? It’s called disequilibrium. It’s called imbalance. It’s called making yourself feel constantly unsettled yet doing nothing about it. 

When your actions don’t line up with your true feelings or values, you feel like a piece of crap. Maybe you want to leave something–a job, a relationship, a living situation, a friendship, but you continue to stay and continue to act as if everything is fine. Inside you everything is not fine, though. In fact you really feel haunted by the fact that you’re faking it. 

And then the haunting gets bigger when you don’t listen to it. And then all of a sudden you wake up in the middle of the night and seriously feel like there’s a ghost in your house the size of Kansas, whispering in my ear, “You’re in pain. Stop the BS.”

And your friends start to give you advice like this:

  • “This person has no business in your life.”
  • “It’s not about you.” 
  • “Heck this isn’t even YOU!! When have you ever said, ‘I want a boyfriend who is at a completely different stage in life and has different life goals than me.’ Hmmmm… Let me think about that–Oh wait! Never would be the answer, Emily. Because NEVER once in your life, Emily, have you EVER said you wanted that.”
  • You can’t soar with eagles, Emily, if you’re walking around with chickens.

Hmm, let me ponder that, but not for too long. 

Because on this day, Cinco de Mayo, which also happens to be Teacher Appreciation Day and Voting Day, (and was actually even the day I got engaged to my exhusband fifteen years ago)–on THIS day, I am pledging to myself to stop that bullsh*t story and to only choose men I want in my life. 

I’m gonna stop it because I’m done with being haunted and smashing an imaginary frying pan on my head. 

Never settle. Never pick that which you don’t want. 

Let your actions reflect who you are–your true nature. 

And I suddenly don’t know how to end this, but don’t really care, so I’m just going to leave you with this image.  

 

Me, smashing a real frying pan on my head.   

Why my Neighbors Think I’m Wacko

Do you know what a happiness jar is?

It’s a jar where you write down “happy moments” in your life–simple events that made you smile, funny things that made you laugh so hard you almost peed your pants, and moments that cause you to feel thankful.  My positive, forward-thinking friend gave me a happiness jar on New Years’ Day of Jan. 2014.   Throughout the year, I began to record my happy moments on little pieces of paper and put them into my pretty jar.  Every once in awhile, just glancing at the jar was enough to make me happy, because I was seeing it fill up with all the life events that had brought me joy.  It was a reminder that life is good.

However, I was bound to hit a rough patch, right?  I hit one of these so called rough patches last fall.  For one thing, I got really sick.  For another thing, I had parent/teacher conferences at school all day and all night and was really stressed while fighting this illness.  And to top off my stress, things fell apart with a guy I had been seeing, and I was just pissed off at life. 

I sat in an old rocker in my sunroom as we had the “break-up conversation” over the phone.  As we were talking, I began to realize I was rocking harder and harder to the point where I was going to knock that freaking chair right on the freaking ground if I didn’t stop.  We said our good-byes, and as I was hanging up the phone, I glanced at my happiness jar, sitting on the bookshelf in my sunroom. 

*#$% that stupid *@%#+!!!!” 😡 was pretty much what I screamed at the jar. 

Now here’s the thing: I don’t get angry very often, so I kind of just “went with it.” I hopped right on to that anger train and went for a wild ride.   I grabbed that freaking happiness jar, ran out my front door into the street, and pummeled it into the road, as if it were a bowling ball.  It wouldn’t smash at first, which made me even angrier.  It was as if those damn pieces of paper with happy thoughts written on them were screaming, “No! No! Don’t do this!  You ARE a happy girl! Don’t break us!”

But I just couldn’t stop smashing the jar into the street until it finally broke into a million pieces.  

I shouted expletives as it shattered.

“I hate this!  I #%**€ hate life!  All of it!  I just hate everything!” I screamed. 

At that moment, I felt a light shining on my back from above.  I turned and looked up, and stared right into my neighbors’ faces.  They had heard the glass smashing and me screaming curse words and had ran to the window facing the street. The window was wide open and their gazes were upon me.

“Ummmm… hi,” I mumbled, and ran into my house. 

I called my best friend.

“And to top it all off,” I blubbered through angry tears, “now my neighbors think I’m a psycho! A wacko woman who breaks crap in the street—Wait! Oh my gosh… You don’t think they can call the police on me, can they? Is that illegal to break a jar in the street? Oh my God, what if they call the police on me for disturbing the peace or littering or some other crime I unknowingly committed when I  broke this jar in the street and was screaming about how I hate my life??!!” 

Oh dear God. 

My angry streak turned into a worry streak momentarily, as I started googling “is breaking a jar in the street illegal?” (Turns out it is, actually, as you are disturbing the peace.)

The worrying was only temporary, though, as anger was my dominant emotion. I remember telling my friend, “If the police are coming for me for jar breaking, well then gosh darnit, let ’em come!! Because I hate my stupid life anyways!!! Bring it on!!!”

I felt this way off and on for a couple weeks. 

There were a few times during this two week period where I tried to medicate my anger by doing things I thought would help me to forget about how much I hated life in that moment, like going shopping with friends, getting out of the house constantly, or even calling up an ex boyfriend to look for reassurance. 

Turns out, those things didn’t work. 

They only made me feel shi##ier, and it put some of my friends in an uncomfortable position. I kept wanting them to say specific things to make me feel better, even though there really was nothing that could make me feel better.  



I remembered that the only way through anger and sadness is to just feel it. Wallow in it a bit. Break crap if you need to. I still have to remind myself that people and things can’t medicate me. The only way to get out of a disastrous funk is to walk right through the fire, while stepping haphazardly on the coals without giving a crap. 

It will burn, but it always gets better. Happiness is an inside job that only I can do. 

And here is a recipe that makes me happy, in honor of national pi day: 



From the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. Yes, I know it has shortening and shortening is a processed food. 

My Gift that my Dad Gave Me

My dad witnessed the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

He was only ten months old, a little babe, clutched in my grandpa’s arms. But my grandma used to tell the fateful story of that day when my grandpa innocently walked out of their small, simple home in Wahiawa, Hawaii, in the Schofield Barracks to go outside and show his baby son “the airplanes in the sky.” 

Grandma astutely realized this was no “air show,” and shouted at her husband to get the heck inside. She quickly crawled under a table and continued to beckon my grandpa to get in the house by screaming at the tops of her lungs.

My Grandma Whitehead was born and raised in Paia, Maui. She was the second oldest of seven children, and was the daughter of a Portuguese sailor who retired from sailing to work in the sugar cane fields. She was born in 1912 in Paia, Maui. After graduating from high school, she moved to Oahu and started working in a pineapple factory.

The pineapple factory wasn’t exactly her dream job. In fact, it sucked– long hours, low pay, and not the best working conditions. Since my grandma was clever, though, and not afraid to break some rules, she found a loop hole in the system to get more frequent “breaks.” The pineapple factory required that she wear gloves. However, if a hole formed in an employee’s gloves, the employee was required to obtain a new pair of hole-free gloves. Fortunately, the gloves were stored in a separate warehouse that was quite a walking distance from the factory. While Grandma worked, she would begin to slowly poke holes in her gloves, thereby giving herself the opportunity to go for a long walk to get new gloves, and simultaneously giving herself a break from the monotony of the pineapple factory. Pretty baller, right? 

That was her way of saying, “Take that, you freaking pineapple plutocracy!”

In her late twenties, Grandma met a man and was swept off her feet. He was smooth and charming and they got engaged.

Turns out he was an a$$hat. An alcoholic a$$hat at that. 

Grandma was smart enough to kick his butt to the curb and move on. When she was in rebound mode, she met my Grandpa Whitehead on a blind date. She lucked out on this one, and ended up marrying one of the most kind and gentle souls on earth.  But this blog isn’t about him, so back to Grandma.

Grandma and Grandpa got married and had two children–my dad, Robert Earl, and his younger brother, Rudolph Russell Roy. They affectionately called them Bobby and Roy. 

They lived on an island–a freaking paradise for crying out loud. But my Grandpa, who was originally from Indiana, landed a job working at Stellite–a factory in Kokomo, Indiana. For a man who only had an eighth grade education and was an orphan–this was a great opportunity to move up the pay scale. 

My dad claims his entire family was ecstatic to move to Indiana. It was my grandma’s first time coming to the U.S., or the mainland, as she called it. Hawaii was not yet a state.  My dad said he remembers with excitement, his mother showing him a book with pictures of the Midwest flatlands. To them, it was so different and surreal, and they couldn’t wait to start a new life in such a foreign, flat, miraculous place. 

My dad was eleven years old at the time that they boarded a boat with all of their things and embarked on a new life in the U.S. in a what turns out was a very unexotic place–Kokomo, Indiana.

And that is where the story of my family’s Hawaiian life ends. 

Except for not really. Because now that my dad is aging, he’s becoming quite sentimental. He thinks about his childhood and the everyday beauty that he experienced both with his grandparents in Maui and family and friends in Oahu. Perhaps it was one of the few times in his life where he really felt like he was in a community. Neighbors, extended family, and friends worked together to raise him. They were part of something small that really ended up being something big–because your childhood takes up this humongous part of your soul and just eats up your heart. It paves your way with sounds, smells, and scents that you connect with your entire life and long to experience even when you’re as old as the hills and you have dementia. You may not remember what day it is, but gosh darn it, every time you smell the scent of rose water, it takes you right back to your grandma’s perfume. 

That’s the kind of jacked up tricks your childhood memories play on your brain.  

My dad is now seventy-four years old. He told me a few weeks ago that he wanted–or actually that he needed–to go see Hawaii again one last time. And guess what? This time he’s taking me and Aliana with him. 

And I’m in shock because good crap like this never happens to me. You know how you go to events and people give you tickets with numbers on them, and then they call out numbers on tickets and people win sh** if the  number on their ticket gets called?

Well I’m that kid whose TICKET NEVER GOT CALLED. I’ve never won any thing in my whole damn life, but now I feel like I just won the lottery. I’ve been given this experience by my dad that I can’t even put into words. I haven’t even gotten on the plane yet, but I’m already crying. 

I’m going to get to experience his childhood memories with him.  Three generations will be together, in a place that I could not normally afford to take my child, but my dad is giving us the GIFT of reliving this part of his life with HIM AT OUR SIDE. 

I asked my dad to write down some childhood  memories for me:

“I enjoyed my time in school when I could go to school without shoes and ride down the slanted hill on my bike. I enjoyed playing in the forest area near my house that we were able to walk downhill in some type of woods and swing from tree to tree. I enjoyed visiting my grandmother and grandfather in Maui. My grandfather played cards with me.  I enjoyed going to the movies with my grandfather.  My cousins and I on both Islands had a great deal of fun together. Going to the beaches and seeing how far I could go  riding the waves.  I also enjoyed playing bingo and feeling older being in Schofield Barracks with my parents. Probably my most memorable time was when I left the islands on the boat with everyone coming down to the boat, giving us leis, and watching us leave the island in a beautiful sunset with Hawaiian  music being played.”

On March 24th, I’m taking my dad home. 



A picture of my baller Grandma (Alice Amorin) and Grandpa (Russell) Whitehead, on their wedding day 🙌

People lie.

 I remember the first “conscious” lie I told–by conscious, I mean telling a lie that I fully understood was a lie, and simultaneously knowing that it was wrong to do so.

I was upstairs in my home at around the age of four or maybe five years old. My brother was having some kind of “play date” with a kid from his bowling league, and I had been given the task of entertaining his teammate’s younger brother in our home.

There was a spare bedroom where my mom kept a lot of boxes upstairs. (Sorry, mom, I’m giving away your secrets). Anyways, on the hardwood floor of the bedroom, there was a tiny hole/crack. When you peered through the hole, you could see down into the utility room, where my mom kept the washer and other random stuff.

For some weird reason, I spent hours peering through that damn crack in the floor. I felt a sense of power, spying on my family as they would do laundry. I have no freaking idea why I did this, but I remember making up stories in my head about what really was going on in the magical utility room while I was peering through this crack in the floor.

Now that we have established I’m a stalker, the story of the lie begins here.

I showed my new friend the secret crack I had found in the floor. He also expressed sheer fascination with the hole and wanted to stay right there, peering through it, waiting for someone to walk in the utility room.

After watching him peer through it for what seemed like an eternity, I was getting bored. Here he was, hogging my hole in the ground, and I was just standing there twiddling my thumbs. I wanted to go play outside or something. It wasn’t like the hole was big enough for us to both look through. This was no fun, waiting around while he dominated my secret stalker game.

Desperate to do something more interesting, I told him, “You know that utility room is haunted and a ghost will come after you if you keep looking though that hole in the floor!”

While he was fascinated with my ghost story, he was mostly worried. He agreed to go downstairs and do a different activity.

I immediately felt the thrill of telling a lie that “worked,” while also feeling deep worry at being found out. My moment of inner conflict was cut short, though, by my new, young friend loudly declaring to my mom, “She told me about the ghost!”

I impulsively interrupted him by saying, “No, no, no, that’s not what I said!”

We battled it out, as I was determined to stick to my new lie in order to cover the previous lie I had told. The adults stood by, observing with confused looks on their faces.

I don’t really remember what happened after that, except for that I felt embarrassed. My family was very religious, and telling the truth had been instilled as the “right thing” in my brain.

Now over the years, of course, I have told lies. Sometimes I have told lies for somewhat valid reasons, such as to protect my safety or just to be polite. Other times, I have told lies for selfish reasons, such as being ashamed of a mistake I made, and not wanting to own up to it.

However, I have always believed that sincerity, trust, and integrity are the foundations of any healthy relationship–even if it means you may hurt someone’s feelings at times. The older I get, the more I value these traits in others. Even if it means I may get my feelings hurt from time to time by someone being brutally honest. Here are some examples of brutal honesty:

“I feel _________ when you _________.”

“When ________________ happened, I felt ____________.”

It’s hard to make those “I feel” statements, but sometimes necessary.

About two years ago, I met a man on Match.com, and we started chatting. He was good looking, charming, seemed attentive, a good listener, etc.

“We just have so much in common! Like, OH MY GOSH!” I gushed with my friends.

We went on a date, everything was great. Chemistry was “off the charts” in my book.

As we were planning our second date, though, I began to look more thoroughly through his FB profile. He had sent me a FB friend request, and I wanted to know more about him. (Told you I was a stalker! 😉😁) Anyways,  I discovered that another person had linked his profile to her page, and her page stated they were “in a relationship.”

I asked him about this, and the next thing you know, he had blocked me on social media.

I was so upset at the time. I called one of my male friends and told him what had happened.

“How could he have claimed we had this amazing connection, and he told me that I was everything he was looking for, and–”

“People lie,” my wise friend said.

And it’s so true that people lie–oh, the irony of the truth deeply imbedded in that statement. Almost all of my friends who have spent time dating have a story like this–a story of someone who wasn’t whom he or she professed to be, and when the pressure of maintaining the lie got to be too much–he or she vanished.

And let me tell you, there is beauty in that.

There is so much beauty in someone walking out of your life, that I can promise you to the moon and back that you will always look back on that experience with a grateful heart. Because seriously–being in a friendship or relationship with a liar is an awful thing, and the fact that you dodged it is a beautiful thing.

I’m not super religious, but I love me some T.D. Jakes, because that man tells it like it is!

When people walk away from you, let them walk. They are never tied to your destiny.

http://youtu.be/Pketb6gxR3w

 

It’s about two minutes of incredibly real talk. 

People lie. Let them walk.

🎵These are a few of my favorite memes…🎵

My friends and I have an ongoing group text conversation. Part of our ongoing group text conversation includes sending each other memes, funny e-cards, and random pictures from the Internet. I have a gajillion of them saved to my phone now, and they really come in handy. Waiting in line at the post office? No problem, I’ll just look at the memes saved on my phone and pass the time cracking myself up. Waiting for my child to put on her freaking shoes in the morning? No problem, I’ll pull out my phone and ease the tension by laughing at the memes. Waiting to use the Smith Machine at the gym for my squats? No problem, I’ll just take out my phone and start laughing and freak out the people around me enough to make them get off their machines so I can have my turn.

Saving memes (along with other funny Internet images) to your phone can come in quite handy.

Here are a few of my favorites. I give my friends the credit. They know who they are.

(Warning, language not suitable for children)

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This one is just… Man, why can’t I think of this stuff?

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Because that’s WHO Rick Astley is…

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Seriously.

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I like this kitty.

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This one is a personal fave that no one seems to like except for me:

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The struggle is real.

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A good old fashioned comic

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It’s true, and you know it.

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And since we are on the subject, here’s an informative picture…

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Tom is a bada$$.

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You’ve probably already seen this one, but…

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A little sports humor back from when the Spurs beat the Heat…

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And those silly salads…

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My favorite from last night.

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And not really, but it’s fun to think about…

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Fish Oil Problems

I heard that Omega 3 fish oil capsules might make me more focused. So I started taking them–like four of them–on a daily basis. One of my friends seemed alarmed when I told her my dosage, but I reassured her that according to this guy, it’s okay:

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That’s Dr. Andrew Weil, the poster child for homeopathic medicine. He’s the kind of doctor who does interviews while sitting in a hot tub or hot springs or whatever the heck this is:

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I like him because he likes natural stuff. And I’m all about being natural. Well, about most things–like I won’t give up shaving my legs and armpits. (Or other areas that I won’t mention. TMI? Perhaps.)

Anyways, these fish oil capsules have been helping me–LIKE BIG TIME. I feel much more focused on finishing my tasks to completion, and I don’t get so distracted by things happening around me while I’m working. A student asks me a question while I’m in the middle of teaching? No problem. I answer the question and immediately return to my train of thought without it derailing. My daughter interrupts me while I’m in the middle of reading the latest edition of “People” magazine in the line at Kroger? No problem. I can attend to my child and still remember where I left off reading about Bruce Jenner’s sex change and Kim Kardashian’s new diet.

Perhaps it’s the placebo effect, but I really don’t care. I’m just glad I haven’t been constantly saying, “Now, what was I just saying?” or “Now, why did I just come in this room again?” or “What body part was I just getting ready to shave?”

I have been actively giving thanks to The Lord Almighty for these fish oil vitamins everyday.

Except for Thursday. Thursday was a day where I felt like I was so distracted that NO amount of fish oil could have helped me. Have you ever had one of those days when you are filled with emotion brewing under the surface, and most people walking around you don’t notice, because you are acting completely normal? Until, heaven forbid, some particularly insightful person who you know cares about you makes strong eye contact with you and says, “How are you? For real?”

And then the tears just flow (if you’re me). If your go-to emotion is anger, then you may start huffing and puffing. Whatever it is that’s going on inside of you, you can’t hold it in anymore–because that person looking at you truly cares about how you’re feeling. And that thought alone–that someone cares about me and loves me and feels empathy for me–that thought, in and of itself, brings me to sobs. It’s like a mixture of love and thankfulness pouring itself out in emotion through my tears or something.

Anyways, that’s how Thursday was for me. And it’s kind of just how my life is right now in general. I’m raw. I’m sensitive. I’m grieving something that I thought I was done grieving, but life has shown me otherwise.

And no amount of Dr. Weil’s fish oil omega 3 capsules can fix that.

However, I’m very convinced that these muffins could take the edge off.

My friend, Lora, made me these muffins last weekend when I visited with her. They are deeee-lish and healthy.

Butternut Squash and Honey Muffins

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook time: 25 min
Servings: 12 muffins
INGREDIENTS:

butternut squash puree (frozen + thawed, or fresh): 1 1/4 cup
olive oil (or coconut oil): 1/2 cup
honey: 1/2 cup
eggs: 2
pure vanilla extract: 1 teaspoon
whole spelt flour (or whole wheat/ all-purpose): 2 cups
old-fashioned oats (rolled oats): 3/4 cup
baking powder: 1 teaspoon
baking soda: 1/2 teaspoon
cinnamon: 1 tablespoon
allspice: 1 teaspoon
ground cardamom: 1/2 teaspoon
ground cloves: 1/2 teaspoon
DIRECTIONS:

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin trays.

Step 2: In a large bowl whisk together butternut squash puree, olive oil, honey, eggs, and vanilla extract (if you measure the olive oil first, the honey will pour out easily). Set aside.

Step 3: In a smaller bowl, whisk flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, cloves, and salt.

Step 4: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet-ingredient bowl, and whisk until well-combined.

Step 5: Pour batter into prepared muffin trays, and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. (Optional: midway through baking, sprinkle tops with oats and sugar.) Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Recipe taken from: Momtastic http://www.momtastic.com/food/374909-butternut-squash-and-honey-muffins-recipe/#ixzz3P8HywQK3

My Habitat

I texted a friend as I was falling asleep last night to tell her that I was struggling with thoughts of fear and worry. I knew that if I named my feelings and what I was struggling with, that it would lessen the intensity of the fear and that I would be able to fall asleep.

I ended up sleeping quite well, and when I awoke this morning, I noticed I had received a reply from her. She encouraged me to “draw or write or get down in some way what your (ideal) habitat looks like. Let the metaphor flow so that when you have various images, you can think about what that represents for you.”

Isn’t my friend awesome?

This wise friend of mine introduced me a couple of years ago to the metaphor that our minds are habitats in which we grow our very lives. Now, before you start thinking we are new age hippies (or maybe we are? I don’t know. Who cares?), hear me out for a little bit. As my friend and I internalized this metaphor, we began to realize that if we chose to nourish our minds with positivity, there would be no way the weeds of negativity could thrive in our minds’ habitats.

If I care about how I feel and want to feel good—and VALUE a positive habitat, there will be no room for negativity to grow. It’s like all that positive sh** that I put into my brain just grows vines and branches and is lush and green and there is simply no room for weeds to grow.

I remember one time I was very upset about a circumstance, and I was bawling my eyes out to a friend. All of a sudden she said something funny. I can’t even remember what it was, but it may have centered around bodily functions, and I couldn’t help but laugh. Not only did I laugh, but I let out a loud guffaw that probably sounded like Fran Drescher. And suddenly I was laughing so hard that there was no way my brain could possibly simultaneously feel sadness.

Fear and sadness cannot survive when you are laughing.

According to Google, this is a definition of habitat:

hab·i·tat
ˈhabəˌtat/
noun
the natural home or environment of an animal, plant, or other organism.

I have learned that I must keep the natural home of my mind uncluttered and free of negativity as much as possible. My homeostasis needs to be peaceful–not frantic. Following the sage advice that my friend gave me this morning, I was reminded that I want the habitat of my mind to look like this:

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If I choose peace and am kind to myself, there is no way my mind can be cluttered in cobwebs. I just love this imagery above. I love it so much I want to marry it. (I said the same thing about roasted asparagus the other night.)

And I also may want to marry this spinach I made today. Omg! I love it! I feel like Popeye when I eat this spinach:

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Eat this. Grow like Popeye! Nourish your body’s habitat.

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My Personal Life in Graphs

I enjoy data collection. But even more than data collection, I enjoy analyzing data. I like to triangulate it, graph it, and utilize it to make decisions.

Over the years, I have learned how to use data effectively in my career as an educator. I have learned how to collect multiple data points, assess my students frequently, and use the data to drive my instruction.

However it is only recently that I have contemplated collecting and graphing data that is of a different nature–data centered around my personal life.

I decided to collect some data this weekend, and here are some graphs that reflect the aforementioned data. I’m hoping these graphs will help me make some decisions.

Graph number one:

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Conclusions and Next Steps:
I need to have more fun. I may need to also get tested for ADD.

Graph number two:

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Conclusions and Next Steps:
I conclude that I am thinking not-so-nice thoughts…otherwise I wouldn’t be afraid of people reading my mind. And this graph doesn’t even mention my phobia that my house is being wiretapped. I will focus on being a better person and thinking nicer thoughts.

Graph number three:

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Conclusions and Next Steps:
First of all, I screwed this graph title up, but I’m too tired to fix it. It should read, “My Intolerance for Malarky, Nonsense, and B.S.” Second of all, this is a tough one to analyze. I’ll have to get back to you.

Graph number four:

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Conclusions and Next Steps:
I will declaw my cats so they stop destroying my crap and annoying me. I will research how to be a more loving cat owner and work on not cussing them out.

Whew. That self reflection was exhausting. Now it’s time for some cake.

This recipe is for Lady Bird Johnson’s lemon bundt cake. I used to make this frequently when I was married. I don’t make it as often anymore, because if I did I would eat the whole thing.

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Lady Bird can bake.