June 15, 2012

6 Things That Make Me Happy



1. The app, Draw Something.

the word was HOTSAUCE

 I amp up the fun factor for myself by guessing incorrectly on purpose. 




2. Saltwater sandals.

They're comfy & colorful & I love them. I also really enjoy this picture I took at The Big Love Fest of my sandals & some balloon shrapnel that is impersonating a joint.


3. Ruby. 

She is the greatest. She's smiley & curious & wild & funny & sweet. She loves to count things. (Thank you, Sesame Street.) One morning she climbed into bed with us & I heard her say, "Daddy, you have two nipples.  Let's count them! One nipple!  Two nipples! Daddy, you have hair on your back. One hair! Two hairs! Three hairs! Four hairs! Five hairs! Six hairs! Seven hairs! Now let's count in Spanish. Uno hair! Dos hairs! Tres hairs...!" 



4.  That time I amused myself at The Nature Center.



5. Tony Robbins.

That's something I never thought I'd say. Again, I blame Oprah. I drew his achievement diagram after watching one of his videos.

 And then I thanked him for it on Twitter. 



And then he responded. 

Sometimes I hate the "in-real-life" disconnect that social media contributes to. There's a lot of room for incorrect interpretation & miscommunication over the web. But this is one of the reasons that I love it. It allows me to interact with people that I would not normally have the opportunity to interact with. (If you're a Tony Robbins skeptic, watch his Ted Talk.) 

Sometimes, if you're lucky, the virtual strangers you talk to online become your friends. Which leads me to my next happy thing... 


6. The TypeA Parent Conference.

This will be my 4th year. I love it.

It's a gift to be surrounded by friends who inspire me to do great things.


And at the end, I always walk away with more courage. It's right on time.

April 20, 2012

Exhaling.

I started this on Monday. Being vulnerable is hard. I blame BrenĂ© & Oprah. 

*

I really don't want to write this post but I'm chanting "balls to the wall, y'all" over & over in my head (not out loud- that would be weird & Ruby might start repeating it like a crazed parrot). 

I quit smoking yesterday. 

I have been lighting up for 12 embarrassing years. It wasn't a consistent habit- just one that I would take up & put down according to how shitty I felt.  

But recently it has become a crutch. My casual 1 or 2 a day here & there turned into 3 or 4. My smoking indulgence turned into an minor addiction. 

It was hard to type that word. Addiction. It's something I've never claimed. It's not a word that I've attached myself to but I'm just not going to keep pretending like it's not real. 

I think the thing that kept me hanging on for so long (you know, besides the slight nicotine buzz) is taking a couple minutes to go outside & be alone. For someone like me whose brain rarely stops, a break from all the noise was an escape. Nicotine is comforting in the midst of anxiety. 

Also? Denial. Lots of it. I haven't been ready to be honest with myself about the damage I have been committing against my body. It's been easier to not think about it because I can't actually see my own lungs. 

And then I saw these. On facebook. (Thank you for the very strong visual, Ohia.) 


And then these words from Karen Walrond kept showing up in my thoughts. Thank you, Karen. 


And then Shane Conerty told me this romantic story (those musician types tend to be tenderhearted) of the moment he decided to quit. Instead of basking in the afterglow of a particularly wonderful evening with a woman, he found himself outside in the rain, shivering in a blanket- a slave to the stick. It made me think about all the beautiful moments that I have missed & the ones that are yet to be made. Thank you, Shane.

And then I went to visit my dear old friend Sarah... which pretty much changed everything about everything.



This is Sarah with her freaking adorable son Milo. 

Listening to her talk about living with breast cancer blew my perspective out of the water. A conversation about life & death & babies & chemo & eternity will do that to ya. She is grateful for the illuminated beauty of her life. I'm not surprised that she is handling it all with such grace & strength & hope. 

I happened to be visiting the day she received a phone call from her doctor who told her that the cancer had spread to her lung. It was heart wrenching & sobering, to say the least. And I was just a witness. 

I drove away & knew that something in me had changed. Thank you, Sarah. 

Days later, I took out my last 2 & did this. 


Then I wrote this. 


I smoked them while I cried. 

I forgave myself.  

I vowed to respect my body. 

I created a battle plan to combat the cravings. 

I soaked in some encouragement. 

I celebrated by opening a bottle of Prosecco (& instagramming it). 


I realized that was hilariously stupid because drinking just makes me want to smoke.

But I didn't. 

And I am stronger today than I was yesterday. 


*

P.S. In case you're wondering, Sarah's next step in fighting the stage 4 cancer is a clinical trial at Duke. She just started the new treatment yesterday. If you pray, please include her, Milo, & her husband Esteban in yours. She has been feeling really well recently & is tackling being sick with a healthy dose of humor & hope. I'm sure it helps to have a lively toddler around. I love you, Sarah!



March 21, 2012

Polyvore galore

Polyvore.com, y'all. Have you heard of it? It's a site that allows you to create "style collages." 

It's basically virtual window shopping. Perfect for when you want to look at pretty things but would prefer to do so while sitting un-showered on the couch in your skivvies, drinking orange juice out of the carton as you half watch "It's A Brad Brad World."

Browse through designer duds, add them to your favorite items list, & then piece outfits together to create your very own style collage. You can even give them titles. 

It's fun. I kinda love it. A lot. 

Bonus? You can pin your outfits straight to Pinterest. I have a whole board dedicated to mine. I take it very seriously. Evidence below.


"Anything you can do to draw attention to your mouth is good"
"Let's go dancing & avoid grinding on wieners"
"Courtney Love unclogs the crapper on a Wednesday night"
"A very romantic evening"

"Geriatric Kingpin"

"Hai. I'm a mom."

"Shit got fancy"
"Go get me a fuckin' Hot Pocket, Ricky" 

March 16, 2012

my superficial self


I've decided to stop wearing mascara. This is why.

1. My eyes are sensitive & they become irritated rather easily. They itch on a daily basis due to allergies. They well up when I yawn, when I cut onions, & when I go number two. (Is that weird?) Sometimes mascara will scratch my eyeball after I've absentmindedly rubbed it & the only thing that heals it is having it shut while I sleep. That gets old after awhile.

2. I'm a crier. I cry over a lot of things. Like: 
  • Photos of babies. Friends babies & strangers babies. I am an unbiased baby crier.  
  • Watching a woman win a million dollars on Wheel of Fortune. She was so happy & I was so happy for her. You could tell her thoughts were less "I GET TO BUY LOTS OF SHIT!" & more "I CAN PAY OFF MY STUDENT LOANS/DOCTOR BILLS/RELAX FOR ONCE!"
  • When listening to my friend Sarah Garcia talk candidly about feeling peace in the midst of fighting stage 4 breast cancer. (It was more a response of amazement rather than sadness. Although there is definitely some of that, too). 
  • When I stare at Zack or Ruby for too long. 
  • When I pray. 
  • When Chris Mann sang to us over lunch at Blissdom
  • When listening to BrenĂ© Brown or Patty Griffin
  • Basically when I'm in the presence of palpable love, joy, passion, vulnerability, & pain. Sometimes I get mad at myself for feeling ALL THE FEELINGS but I'm incapable of turning it off. This type of behavior is obviously not beneficial when wearing mascara unless I want to intentionally amp up the drama like Tammy Faye. Which I don't. 
3. I have blonde eyelashes. I like them. Why am I covering them up? I have gotten to a place where a lot of times I don't feel pretty unless I have makeup on. There's a lot wrong with that. Am I going to suggest to my daughter or my friends that in order to be attractive you must slap on some Cover Girl Lash Blast? Am I going to reinforce mainstream media's impression that longer!, fuller!, blacker! lashes are what you must have to be alluring? No, I'm not. 

I'm not saying that I'll never ever wear it again or that I think you should stop wearing it altogether. 

I am saying that makeup should enhance your natural features, not give you fake, unrealistic tarantula eyes. 

There is also a difference between painting on a mask & expressing yourself. The difference lies in the why. Why am I putting on makeup? Is it because I think I'm ugly without it? Or is it because wearing bright red lipstick is just fun? 

I think it's sad that, for the most part, we have carelessly trained this generation to equate artificial physical beauty with worthiness. 

It's sad that I believed the lies- that without it, I look plain or not as special. 

For me, it's a whole new way of seeing & loving myself. 

Perhaps this is another step in stripping away my bullshit. 

Speaking of, I'm ready to burn my bra. 


March 6, 2012

How I got my butt to Blissdom.


You know when you wake up & you can't stop thinking about something? That's how I woke up on Monday, February the 20th. But this time I didn't wake up wanting a Bojangle's cajun filet biscuit with extra honey mustard. This time I woke up thinking about escaping to Blissdom. Sounds like a place where a bunch of cheesy hippies congregate, doesn't it? (Nothing wrong with that, by the way. I consider myself one). 

Blissdom is a blogging conference held in Nashville. I was fortunate enough to attend last year as Anissa's pusher & I really wanted to go back. There are numerous reasons why but mostly I wanted to hit refresh on my life. (Computer joke!) That seems to be par for the course every time I go to one of these. 

It's hard to ignore the buzz of energy at a blogging conference. These are women (& some men) who are doing good things in the world & are using their blogs & social media as their platform. They are sharing their voices & stories & opinions & talents & passions. These are people who have experienced their own heartbreak & adversity & as a result, live & speak with vigor & courage.  

We meet together en masse & feed off each other's invaluable inspiration & insight. It's contagious. 

Of course I wanted to be there. I wanted to be around my internet friends who have become my real life friends. (That sounds sorta lame until it happens to you.) I wanted to soak in something new. I wanted to gain some clarity. I wanted to have a couple drinks & wear red lipstick & make fun of Joe Jonas in the back of the room. 

I knew we didn't have the extra dollah dollah bills for it. It's not a cheap trip & it seemed virtually impossible, but there was something or someone in my gut telling me not to give up so easily. 

I went on twitter & searched to see if anyone had a ticket for the sold out event. There were two. I tried to discreetly ask if they were still available, just to see. I didn't broadcast tweet it but Cecily caught wind of my desire to be there & so did Julia. Between the two of them & their unrelenting encouragement & generosity, I had a place to stay & a ticket with my name on it within 24 hours. 

Janette Novak, the kind soul with the available ticket emailed me & told me she just wanted to give it to me. No strings attached. She didn't know me. She didn't know my story. She just wanted to spread the love. I thanked her & thanked her & she replied, "No need for further thanks, I feel it in your spirit."

At this point, I was in a weepy state of humbled amazement at how quickly it all fell into place. It felt so much bigger than happenstance. It felt like God was making a way. And that scared the shit out me.



I learned a lot & took a ton of notes. It was a pivotal adventure. I hope that I can give myself enough space to get all the words out & share more. 

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