Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Things I Don't Understand

  • Video game commercials
  • Earlobe spacers
  • Safety scissors
  • Tights as pants
  • Tight-ass pants
  • Cats
  • Why my parents own three generators
  • Canned cranberry sauce
  • People who wear clothes in swimming pools
  • How Jon Gruden is a color commentator
  • How Cris Collinsworth is a color commentator
  • Soccer
  • Internet commenters
  • Why Lego Friends exists
  • Reddit
  • Not having a cleaning service
  • Gender reveal parties
  • How golf is relaxing
  • My wireless plan
  • Celebrity holiday gift guides
  • Where Dora's parents are
  • Quantum physics
  • Guy Fieri
  • How that weird family's parody videos get so many views
  • Pretty much anything on A&E or TLC
  • How I could forget that I have a piece of chicken in my purse
This is in no way meant to be judgmental and I'm well-aware of serious issues in the world that I don't understand.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

30 Fun Facts About Me [November Blogathon]

My friend Kristen over at The Mrs & The Momma is doing a crazy Blogathon for November. I say crazy because she's actually blogging EVERY DAY. As much as I would love to go back to my 40 Days 40 Posts, reality is that sometimes I just don't know what to say. Which is why I'm poaching Kristen's writing prompts starting with 30 Fun Facts About Me.

  1. I collect stamps and coins.
  2. My longest streak of consecutive meals consisting of tacos is 13.
  3. When I hear the song "Head Full of Doubt" by The Avett Brothers, I burst into tears. What's your #cryingintraffic song?
  4. I'm not going to my 20-year high school reunion in a few weeks but I still think about it rather obsessively.
  5. Speaking of obsessions, Serial.
  6. It's been a long time since I've been jealous of somebody.
  7. I'm loud, witty and sarcastic. I am no longer comfortable keeping that under wraps.
  8. Twenty years ago, I started talking to a cute guy in the parking lot at Pitt. I knew the moment that I met him that he would be a part of my life. I wasn't thinking marriage initially but I'm happy that's where we ended up.
  9. Some of the most intense conversations I've ever had have been in bathrooms.
  10. My longtime karaoke jam was "Africa" by Toto. I'm changing it to "Jolene" because of this outfit.
  11. I dyed my hair red because I wanted flaming locks of auburn hair.
  12. I know a lot of people love me. But do they sequined ducky sweater love me?
  13. Some things I am just not wired to know how to do. Like playing pool, web design and cutting a straight line.
  14. Most of my arguments with strangers involve where to get the best chicken wings.
  15. My daughter is my Mini-Me in every sense, from the scabs on her legs to her giggling at farts to her loathing of vegetables.
  16. I don't lie about my age because I look pretty damn good. 
  17. I started planning my 40th birthday party this past summer because I thought it was next year. 
  18. I am wearing two unicorns today.
  19. I have a mild form of OCD but you would never know based on the condition I left my desk in at work.
  20. I never want to eat, see or smell chocolate again.
  21. I keep a friend's ashes on a shelf in my house. We should have scattered them but I feel better knowing he's nearby, keeping P-man company.
  22. I have crazy intense dreams. The weird part is I will dream about my best friend in the 7th grade more than I dream about my husband and daughter.
  23. I'm an award-winning designer and writer. I've even sold a photograph at an art show. Granted, my mom was the buyer but isn't that the case for most artists?
  24. I hate being depressed. I gain weight, I don't poop and my muscles and joints ache. It takes out my whole body.
  25. My all-time most favorite thing to do ever is absolutely nothing.
  26. I have a problem with taking Ambien and online shopping. Last week, I took one and booked a trip to Vegas including airfare and hotel.
  27. My bad habits include interrupting people, inviting myself over for dinner and constantly checking my phone.
  28. If I were to relaunch a completely different career, I would either be an investigator or a fashion designer. But only with models that look like real people.
  29. I was having popcorn and red wine for dinner waaayyyy before Olivia Pope made it mainstream.
  30. My motto is, has been and always will be "I try."

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Ugliness of it All

Sometimes life ain't pretty.
I'm not sure if I made that up or if it's something my grandma told me. She was always doling out such gems as "Don't lean against the car door or you'll fall out" and "There's no better snack than sardines with mustard."
In short, advice was not her forte.
But there is a lot of truth in how ugly things can be.
I'm not talking about the ugliness of the world where parents beat their kids to death and men lock women in their basements for torture for decades. Yes, that's extreme ugliness and it's horrible and I'm not making comparisons to that at all.
I'm talking about the every-day middle-class ugliness that can knock a person to their knees. Whether it's depression or anxiety or feeling overwhelmed or a cold that won't go away or the fact that you can't open the cap to a bottle of Robitussin... sometimes all you want to do is crumple to the floor and ugly-cry.
Sometimes you reach a point where you don't know if you can pick yourself back up.
How long can I stay here until someone finds me and tells me it's all going to be ok?
Why is it taboo to talk about this? I can't be the only one who has ever felt completely hopeless for no one reason in particular.
What can I do for myself when this happens?
If the answer is to drink tea and meditate,  I may punch you.
I climbed into bed. And I cried.
Yes, this was selfish.
Yes, I ignored my family while this happened.
Yes, I felt better once I climbed back out.
One thing I learned from hypnotherapy is that sometimes you have to do what feels right for you. And if that's slightly unhealthy-seeming but you do feel relief from it, then by all means do it.
So I went to bed.
I woke up an hour later and I felt OK. Not great.
But still better than the ugly.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Worstest Mom Ever

I'm just the WORSTEST!
Last night, L.E. threw a shit-fit in the craft store because I wouldn't buy her a toy.
Yes. I was in a craft store. Buying things. To make a Halloween costume. Yes. You read that right.
It's like I don't even know who I am anymore!
I was strolling right along, looking for female employees to offer free birth control to (yes, it was THAT craft store; everything about this story is messed up, ok, Judgey McJudgerson!!) and searching for felt-by-the-sheet, which is nowhere near felt-by-the-yard, when L.E. yelled. She erupted in a way that was far more embarrassing than the time she yelled, "I want my daddy! You're not my mom!" in Target.
From the strapped-in confines of the shopping cart, she shouted, "You're the worstest mom ever!!!"
I swear it echoed so loudly that the stoners lingering near the spray paint cans could hear it.
The walls of the scrapbooking aisles rattled.
Racks of decoupage supplies and bric-a-brac quivered.
I reacted as calmly as one who may or not recently spent a day in the hospital for chest pains could. I counted my breaths, asked the blue-vested woman nearest me where I could find replacement glue gun cartridges. I forgot to hand her a packet of Ortho-TriCyclen.
I realized there are far too many glue gun sticks – they're called sticks! – that should exist and made my way to the checkout line.
L.E. was uncontrollable at this point. She was screaming that I was horrible because I wouldn't take her down the toy aisle. "You're so mean! You never get me anything!!!"
Never mind that this is the same child who got BOTH Elsa and Anna dolls at Disney World where "no" was not uttered from an adult in five days.
Never mind that she just received her latest toy from fulfilling her chore chart.
What mattered to her was that I pushed her right past the supposed "toy" aisle and didn't get her anything. That is what made me the worstest mom ever.
We went to the register and I paid the same amount for the supplies to make an orca costume as I would have to buy the really nice one from Wishcraft. The checkout lady – who was of advanced maternal age so I didn't need to give her an IUD – asked L.E. what was wrong. She sniffed sadly and said, "My mom didn't get me a toy and I was being so good." The lady looked at me like I really was the worstest mom ever. I swiped my debit card as my blood boiled. I muttered a "thanks" and shuffled out of the store.
L.E. was still sniffling. She told me that I hurt her feelings when I don't buy her things. And that I'm mean. I did the mature thing and told her she was mean, too. Then I hugged her.
Since I need to finish hot-glueing an orca costume (yes, you read that right) I need to know what age is the right age to sit L.E. in front of the news for the deadbeat parent stories? Because the moms who left their kids in the motel on I-35 to go clubbing all night got nothing on me for not buying a DIY 3-D Mummy puzzle.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Magic of the Mouse

Her "It's All About Me" shirt sums it up.
To say we survived Disney World would make it seem like it was a traumatic experience. It wasn't; actually we had an amazing time. It was even – dare I say – magical.
The cast of characters was so: Me, L.E., Dr. T, my sister, my mom, my dad and our childhood friend.
I tried to plan the perfect Disney vacation. I made dining reservations, signed up for FastPass experiences and even mapped out our way through the park.
But here's the thing: 
I didn't need to. 
The best advice I can give you about Disney is just go with the flow. You're not going to see everything or ride everything or eat everything. Rides that are fun for a 44-year-old are not going to be fun for a 4-year-old or 64-year-old.
Don't stress yourself out about what is supposed to be a vacation. Because what happens when you have this magical vision in your head about what your magical Disney vacation is supposed to be?
It all goes to shit when the only thing your kid wants to do is ride the Monorail all day instead of the "experiences" you pre-purchased for her and you end up being bitter and resentful.
Didn't get to ride Space Mountain or Spaceship Earth? It's ok. There are better rides.
Missed the character lunch at Tusker House because some of us just aren't into buffets? It's ok; the Yak & Yeti was just fine.
Little girl doesn't want to be made into a princess? Buy her a costume off Amazon in advance and take a change of clothes. (Tinkerbell was itchy for three hours.)
Wasted a FastPass on It's a Small World? Nobody is judging you.
I was quick to discover what kind of Disney people we are.
We like to eat, drink and not wait in line.
We are not into character experiences. I got a few random snaps of Goofy and Pluto along with a high-five from Mexican Donald Duck (at Epcot) but L.E. had no desire to wait to have her photo taken with them.
And I really don't understand the whole autograph book thing.
I may be a tad cynical.
Did we even see Mickey Mouse?
We had our priorities: Dumbo ride. Actually, for L.E. that was pretty much it.
At Animal Kingdom, there's a dinosaur ride that is essentially the same as the Dumbo ride. We rode it twice.
We rode the carousel twice.
We ate Mickey pretzels and cookies that turned our mouths black.
We made friends with a bartender at the Dawa bar.
We built a zany-crazy car at the Test Track.
We ate and drank our way around the world.
We wore crappy ponchos when it rained.
We complained about Canada. (Ok, I did. Because Canada)
We spent way too much time and money on overpriced souvenirs because why not?
We enjoyed a family vacation with few tantrums, none by the four-year-old. (Apparently grandma likes fireworks more than we realized and was not happy to leave before them.)
Disney World has been around for over 40 years. They really have this whole magical experience down pat. Yes, it's expensive. But you know this and there's no reason to be surprised about it when you get there.
Just enjoy the experience for what it is: a chance to manipulate your parents and grandparents into getting anything you want because you're the only child. Plus, they're all drunk.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Morally Conflicted

Generally, I think I'm a good person. I wave to my neighbors, I recycle, I teach my daughter manners and politeness. I'll even stop on a busy street and let the person waiting to exit the gas station in front of me.
I eat free-range eggs and hormone-free chicken. I rarely eat fast food. I don't shop at Hobby Lobby.
I was never promiscuous. I may not go to church but I have faith and beliefs.
I believe women should control their bodies.
I am disgusted by what happened to Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown and horrified that this is 2014.
And don't get me started on how college campuses mishandle sexual-assault cases.
In short, I have morals.
But what do I do when something I love so dearly and means so much to me and how I was raised and how I spend time with my family has become so morally reprehensible?
I'm talking about the NFL.
I love football with every fiber of my soul. As a kid raised in Pittsburgh during the steel curtain era, it's hard to imagine a life where the Steelers were not a part of my everyday existence. As I've grown away from Pittsburgh, I still spend my Sundays on the couch watching whatever games are locally-covered while maniacally re-loading my phone to get updates on the Steelers score. I can spout statistics like I'm being paid by CBS. I know the ref calls based only on their hand-signals.
I'm one of the women that makes up the NFL's increasingly, gender-split fanbase.
But after seeing this, I don't know how much of a fan I can be anymore.
That video shows Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens punching his then-fiancee-now-wife in the head. As she slumps from the impact, her head hits a railing in the elevator and she's knocked unconscious. Instead of freaking out and begging her to wake up, what does Ray Rice do? He moves her around, tries to get her shoes on and basically acts like this is an everyday thing and he dropped a bag of groceries.
You can watch for yourself. I can't do it again.
I sat by and continued to support my team even when our starting quarterback was accused of rape – twice – and I felt sick about it then. But there was never enough evidence blah blah blah and I black&gold-washed the situation to myself, naively, so that I could keep supporting my team via my morally ambiguous high road.
I don't know if I can do that this time. Believe me, I am no fan of the Baltimore Ravens. But the fact that the NFL commissioner saw this footage and gave Rice a 2-GAME SUSPENSION is sickening. I just can't support a league that will suspend a dude for four games for partying during the Kentucky Derby yet gives a player half that for caveman-dragging his fiancee across a hotel lobby after he punched her lights out.
I don't want to have to explain to my daughter that I love this game but the players who play it beat women the same way they plow through defensive blockers on a 34-yard carry.
I shouldn't have to.
I have prided myself on being the type of wife who is NOT a football widow. I love watching football with my husband and he loves that he can go to the bathroom and I can tell him what the previous plays were. But how am I – as a mom of a little girl – to support a sport that doesn't care about women except for the amount of money they spend in the NFL for Ladies shop?
I honestly believe that the only way the NFL will take domestic abuse cases seriously is to lose revenue. Sorry family, but you won't be getting any Steelers merch for Christmas this year.
As for still tuning in, well I don't live alone. Watching football together is a family tradition and I need to weigh what is more important: the importance of family time or my moral outrage about what goes on in a league that doesn't care what I think or do anyway.

Update: A few hours after I published this post, the Baltimore Ravens cut Ray Rice and the NFL suspended him indefinitely. It's sad that it took a TMZ video being released to make that happen but it's at least a step in the right direction.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Dog Ate My Blog: All of My Excuses for Not Blogging

  • I had three jobs
  • I had two jobs
  • I had two jobs plus a new job
  • I now have just one new job
  • It's too hot
  • Swimming lessons
  • Life has been too crazy
  • Life has been too boring
  • I'd rather watch "Archer"
  • I'd rather watch "House of Cards"
  • I'd rather watch "Helmock Grove"
  • I'd rather watch "Golden Girls"
  • I'm Dorothy
  • Or am I Sophia?
  • I'm so not Blanche
  • Though I'm sometimes dumb like Rose
  • I couldn't unlock a padlock on my first day at my new job
  • Is anyone even reading this?
  • I'm tired
  • I'm hungry
  • QUESO!
  • I spilled queso on my laptop
  • It was from Torchy's
  • Or was it from Kerbey Lane?
  • My air conditioning broke
  • My wifi is out
  • I've been doing extensive research on beer
  • I've been doing extensive research on barbecue 
  • I had to wash my hair
  • Tacos!
  • Dr. T went out of town
  • Have I already said I'm tired?
  • Marketing
  • Social Media
  • BuzzFeed
  • Lack of inspiration
  • It's a hobby

Monday, July 14, 2014

Confessions of a Popsicle-Mold Hoarder

I have a very tiny kitchen. To call it a "galley kitchen" is doing a disservice to real boat galleys. But it's my kitchen and I love it. Drawer and cabinet space is a premium; we don't buy superfluous appliances due to a lack of space. So when my friend was over and discovered an entire drawer full of popsicle molds, she started to wonder about my sanity. But to her I say, "Who's crazy now with a freezer full of delicious homemade frozen fruit pops?"
Rocket Pops, muthaf**ka!

And she would probably say, "You are, because that was months ago. You need to let things go!"
I made homemade popsicles. I had a bunch of fruit that started to turn after two days because organic! and I didn't want to waste it. So I put my trove of molds to good use.
There's no set recipe, just common sense. And a hand blender. Just mash the fruit in a bowl, add some liquid for consistency, mix and pour. Super easy, right?
For Peach-Mango ones, I mixed in vanilla yogurt. Since I seem to always buy the worst-tasting yogurt, I added some honey for a little extra sweetness.
I made Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Banana ones using my secret stash of peanut butter meltaways. Melt the chocolate first and blend with the banana. You may need to add some milk if the chocolate melts too thickly.
Finally, I made Strawberry-Blueberry-Banana pops. For these, orange juice helped sweeten it since my blueberries were pretty tart.
L.E. hasn't decided whether or not she likes them but I'm OK with that. Because that means I get to eat them all! A popsicle is so much more fun than a smoothie, though you don't have the same self-righteousness that goes along with drinking a smoothie. Maybe this is my way of changing that.
"Oh, that's a smoothie you have? Well I'm eating a fresh fruit ROCKET POP!"
I may have problems.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Unsolicited Marital Advice

I look like a teen bride!
One of my friends from Reno is getting married tomorrow. I couldn't be happier for her because I've known her for a long time and lived vicariously through her as she navigated the treacherous waters of dating. I was never one to offer her advice because let's face it...I can't relate to modern relationships. When Dr. T and I first started dating, we both lived with our parents. There was no cell phones, no texting, no internet stalking...we had to call our HOME PHONES and LEAVE MESSAGES! But after almost 20 years together and 15 years of marriage, I think I'm somewhat qualified to offer some words of wisdom.

  • Like is more important than love. When you're old and feeding each other soup, you need to like the person you're spoon-feeding.
  • Lower your expectations a little. Marriage isn't the end-all be-all solution to happiness. You're going to be disappointed by your spouse. So maybe expect a little less so you're pleasantly surprised when they do things like the extra load of laundry or take your car for an oil change.
  • A hug can end any argument. Keeping this blog PG-13 ;)
  • Have your own interests. Keep up with your friends. Have a hobby that's separate from your spouse.
  • Separate. Bank. Accounts. Have a joint savings but keep the day-to-day things separate.
  • Kids really will change EVERYTHING. Be prepared because you really will see the dark side of each other. The first six months of parenthood are ridiculously hard but remember that you're in it together. And that baby can't take you both down no matter how hard she tries with her manipulative streak of refusing to put on shoes when she knows you're running late and you can't find her sock and you have to hold her down to brush her teeth while she flails...whoops, I'm losing focus.
  • You are the most important person to your spouse. Never forget that.
  • Break up the routine every few weeks. Take this as you want; in keeping it PG-13, I mean go to a different restaurant, take in a play or sporting event. Just something different than your normal routine.
  • Try at least one thing that you don't like but your spouse does. For me, it's camping. For Dr. T, it's live shows for bands he thinks are "lame."
  • Let some of the little things go.
  • Your friends and family are here for you no matter what. We all love you both to the moon and back.
I couldn't be happier for you both! Thinking of you and sending good vibes and energy your way as you start your new life together.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I Made Some Stuff

I have no idea what's wrong with me today.  For one thing, I haven't been very hungry which is weird unto itself. But what's exceptionally weird is that while scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning, I saw this:
41 Awesomely Easy No-Sew DIY Clothing Hacks
I couldn't resist clicking on it because BuzzFeed but it had some really cool ideas. So I got out my scissors and my old too-tight big t-shirts and started chopping.

First up was this:
Multi-Strand Scarf
I used a t-shirt that I never wore from the Texas Rollergirls because Dr. T was nice enough to think I am a Ladies' small shirt. Even though the tutorial had the twist and knot on one side, the seams of the shirt drove me crazy. So I did the twist on both sides. With a different shirt. I love the way it turned out even though I'm not a "statement necklace" person. I like a good scarf. When it's 90 degrees out.
Moving on...
Cute, right?
Since I'd already cut up a dark grey Texas t-shirt for the strands above, I decided to make this:
OK, I seriously want to make a million of them. I love it so much! Of course, I didn't bust out my hot-glue gun to finish like the tutorial suggests but that's because I'm lazy and I have no idea where the glue gun is or if I even have glue.

My sweet friend complimented me on it so I'm going to make one for her tonight while I'm still in my inexplicable DIY mood.

Finally, I got really crafty. I used an iron. *GASP* When Dr. T saw me taking it off the shelf, he said he never would have guessed that I even knew where it was. Har-dee-har-har.
I love a good cardigan and I seem to have a surplus of long-sleeved t-shirts. Also, I had some Stitch Witchery that I'd bought while I was still in my sewing phase.

First of all, I'd never used Stitch Witchery before. So I opened the roll and started using it per the instructions on the back of the package. The instructions that didn't say anywhere UNROLL THE PLASTIC COATING FOR TWO YARDS BEFORE YOU GET TO THE ACTUAL PRODUCT BECAUSE THE PLASTIC COATING IS NOT THE STITCH WITCHERY. Seriously, it took me an hour of ironing and thinking I had expired stuff. Fortunately, I'm not the only person who ever did this, as you can see by the Amazon reviews. Anywho, I made two new cardigans. I love the open fit and as I always say, you can't have too many black cardigans.
Purple Gap long-sleeve

Black v-neck waffle-knit
Overall, I enjoyed my little DIY fantasy day. I feel like I can actually upcycle things in a cool and unique way. Plus, people might actually like getting a cool homemade gift from me, the anti-DIY queen!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Yum Yum: Zucchini and Carrot "Pasta"

I'm not gluten-free, paleo, carb-free or anything like that. I just wanted to get L.E. to eat more vegetables. So I got a "spiralizer" a few months ago with the hopes I could fool her into thinking spiraled zucchini was actually her precious noodles.
Silly me.
Notice the separate bowl behind this one.

But it was a good purchase, nonetheless.
I love the blog Inspiralized for recipes and how-tos. If you sign up for their newsletter, they send you a handy cooking guide. She recommends a fancier spiralizer but I wasn't ready to sacrifice counter space
This isn't a set recipe and I made some mistakes but it still turned out to be a healthy and delicious dish.

This is the one I have. I "spiralized" one of my nails and a knuckle, too!
3 medium zucchinis
2 carrots
4 brown mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large red pepper, diced
A bunch of basil, chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese

Spiralize the zucchini and carrots and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and sauté a few minutes. Add the mushrooms and red pepper; cook till soft.
I love the smell of cooking mushrooms!
Add the zucchini and carrots; toss until well-coated with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. You may need to add more oil at this point but use a light hand. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Toss in the basil. Serve immediately into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Monday, June 2, 2014


The only selfie I've ever loved.

What am I more afraid of than anything? Myself.
Rather, my lack of self-esteem.
If you were to ask me what my favorite thing about myself is, it would take me a long time to answer.
I could be one of those cheeseball moms everybody loves to hate and say that it's my daughter.
That's the easy way out because I don't know how to think about myself in a positive light. I could instead name five things I hate about myself and four of them have to do with various body parts.
I try desperately to keep a positive body image in front of L.E. but at the same time, I'm always conscious about every roll my body has and how my pants are too tight. I joke about my addictions to tacos and queso but I don't know how funny it is when they really are all I think about and I feel terrible when I eat. If I go out to eat with somebody new, I claim to be one of those "I'm not going to hide who I really am" people and indulge in whatever I'm craving. And I hate myself after it.
Especially if that person ordered salad and ate less than half of it.
I convince myself that if somebody doesn't text me back that it automatically means they hate me or I said something I shouldn't have. Usually, it's because they're just like me and juggling 5-million things in their lives and don't always have time to text back. I should never think otherwise but I do.
Having no self-esteem sucks.
I've convinced myself that our new neighbors – who have become really great friends – will grow tired of me and not invite us over as much. I hope that doesn't happen because I like them. And they're putting in a pool next year.
Lack of self-love for my body is nothing new. I can cope with that or at least try to change it with all of the stupidly "motivating" posters I look at on Pinterest or by signing up to something called Abs, Buns and Guns for 30 days.
Or agreeing to run a half-marathon because I was drunk when I said I would and goddamn it I keep my drunken promises.
My self-deprecating attitude has become part of my schtick. I'd love to pretend it's just an act. But when I say to my boss, "Oh you're really going to be tired of being around me," I believe that's actually how she's going to feel.
My hypnotherapist chastises me when I say things like that. I'm glad she does. By sticking with this therapy, I'm seeing myself in a better light but steps.
I hate the way I look in photos but I don't want L.E. to wonder why I was never in pics with her. So I started doing the super-close-up selfies of us. I feel the best about myself when I'm around her and I want that to show in my Instagram feed.
After all, isn't the whole point of a social network showing off how happy you are so you can make everybody you know jealous?
If I make one person jealous by what I post, I would get a tiny bump in self-esteem because of how jealous I feel when I look at other peoples' feeds, especially when they're on vacation or rockin' a hot bikini bod or eating something smoked.
It all comes full circle.
Baby steps.
So if you were to ask me once again to name something I like about myself, I still couldn't give a solid answer. So I'd probably say my ability to rock a bright or dark lipstick.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Sound of Thunder

The rain started early. By 6:00 pm, it was coming down in sheets. We sat on the front porch watching it pour as the lightning flashed across the sky.
Thunder crashed.
"WHOA!" L.E. exclaimed. "Did you hear that, Mommy?"
I smiled as she clung to me.
Her dad was pulling into the driveway and she tore away from me to hop through the puddles to greet him. She was dripping wet when I finally got her in the house.
Later, after dinner, we were sitting in her bed reading stories when the thunder cracked loud enough that the windows rattled. L.E.'s eyes were wide as I finished up the book about dragons and tacos. "Mommy, can the thunder hurt me?"
"Of course not," I replied. "It will stop really soon, OK?" I kissed her cheek and gave her one more hug as I said good-night.
Outside, the storm raged on. I couldn't remember a time that a thunderstorm lasted over four hours but there appeared to be no sign of it abating. Every lightning surge left me on pins and needles as I waited for the inevitable roar of thunder. Deep confession here: I hate thunderstorms. I have been terrified of them since I was a little girl. With every loud thunderclap, I remembered vividly hiding under the sheets in my room at the house I grew up in. I couldn't sleep as long as the lightning flashed.
After a particularly loud thundering, I crept to L.E.'s room to see if she was asleep. Her eyes were as wide-open as they had been during story-time. "I'm really scared, Mom."
I crawled into bed with her and held her to me. I didn't want to dwell on the storm so I started talking."When you were a little baby," I began, "We were visiting G.G. in Pittsburgh. There was such a loud thunderstorm that I was terrified you were going to wake up. You had fallen asleep in my arms and I was holding you tight as I tried not to jump every time the thunder clapped. You slept through the whole storm."
L.E. was quiet. Then she asked, "Are you afraid of thunder, Mommy?"
"Yes, sweetie, I am. But I know that as long as we're together, it can't hurt us."
She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. I hugged her close as the storm surged on. I have no idea how our power stayed on but her nightlight barely even gave a flicker.
I thought about how lucky I am to have this amazing little person in my arms. As she gets older and more independent, I struggle with the notion that she'll no longer need me some day. But we're a ways off from that.
I thought about that night in Pittsburgh. I couldn't bury my head under the covers because I was a new mom at the beck and call of a little baby who didn't know where she was or who I was. I trembled in fear that I wasn't going be a good mom. How could I take care of another human being when I couldn't handle a summer storm without having a meltdown. I cried quietly as the lightning persisted long after the thunder faded away. All I wanted that night was somebody to hold me tight and tell me that there was nothing to be afraid of.
Four years later, I held my little girl in my arms. I could feel her heart beating against my chest as I watched her eyelids flutter. I kissed the top of her head and whispered, "There's nothing to be afraid of. I'm here and I'm not going to let anything happen to you."

Sunday, May 4, 2014

10 Ways "Frozen" Has Consumed Our Lives

10. "For the first time in forever, you're going to wear normal shoes instead of Crocs."
9. "Yes, I like warm hugs but not when it's 94 degrees out, you've been playing your 'run around in circles while shrieking' game and you're asking me to wipe your butt."
8. "It's not nice to call your daddy a bit of a fixer-upper."
7. "Just because it's the only place where you can find an Elsa doll doesn't mean we're going to Japan tomorrow."
6. "Why does everyone like Elsa so much better? Anna is the one risking her life to save her; I don't see Elsa caring that much about anything other than her swishy hips, spangly dress and ice palace.....oooooh, her shoes are so shiny!"
5. "Did you just call me an ugly-looking donkey?"
4. "Olaf is willing to melt for Anna. Isn't that true love?" "No, Mommy, you're ruining the ending!"
3. "Mommy does not have a frozen heart just because she said you couldn't have more jelly beans."
2. "Don't say the cold doesn't bother you anyway; you spent five minutes in Deep Eddy pool and now your lips are blue."
1. "Queen Elsa takes a bath. Every. Single. Night."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

The morning began with a stained pillowcase, thanks to my newly-dyed, too-red hair. Rather than try to get the stains out, I threw the pillowcase away. The newly-dyed hair didn't take to styling well.
I could tell it was going to be a Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.
L.E. had a dentist appointment. My worst nightmare came true: she inherited my horrible teeth. She needs to have her bottom molars capped which means she'll be under anesthesia. Go ahead and judge. It's not like she ate jelly beans and M&Ms every night. Just when she needed bribing. Besides, you can't make me feel any worse than I already do. It's a Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.
Then, work got insane. Which job, you ask? ALL OF THEM! I have awards submissions due for the architecture firm and collateral to get done within the next two weeks for the chocolate company. I can't explain how many times I've said, "It's handled!" ala Olive Pope today.
I can't get emails or phone calls returned. I can't run Photoshop and Illustrator at the same time.
It was a Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.
I have bug bites on the underside of my boobs. Underboobs?
The A/C in my car broke. The van has been 50/50 on running at all. Dr. T is crabby.
My underboobs are itchy.
My too-red hair looks bad pulled up. My new glasses seem too big. My makeup is too pink.
It was a Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.
I just wanted to come home and have a glass of wine. My insulated wine sippy cup has a leak. Yes, I have other glasses but that's beside the point.
It was a Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.
But tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow is always better.
Even in Australia.

Monday, March 24, 2014

This is 4.

Prepping her for therapy since 2010.
All weekend long, I had unexplained anxiety. I genuinely had no idea why; other than being rejected by Listen To Your Mother (which you should go see anyway because it will still be amazing even if I'm not in it), I've actually been doing really well. Work is great, I finally feel like we're hitting our Austin groove as far as having a social life and my frizzies are totally under control. Yet I was mopey and cranky all weekend.
I didn't think it had anything to do with L.E.'s birthday. But apparently birthday-eve anxiety is a totally normal thing and I was suffering from it. Surprisingly, it didn't happen to me before now. Her 4th birthday.
Why now?
When I was four, my favorite TV show was Scooby Doo. I wanted a doll house. I liked popsicles more than anything. Was this information my mom shared with me during her last visit? No. I know these things because I remember them. Now that L.E. is four, I know that she will remember way more about her life that she will carry into adulthood. So for me, that means that from now on, she can REMEMBER EVERYTHING. I don't have the safety of her toddler-hood to keep her from remembering that I smacked her on the head while adjusting her car seat. She can now throw that in my face! As well as telling her dad and her friends that I driver over the curb every day when I exit her preschool. And when we're sitting down for Christmas dinner in the year 2035, she'll resentfully bring up how I let her fingers get caught in a rubber stamp at my office when I had to bring her with me to meet the cleaning service.
Four means no more free passes. Parenting is getting real.
This is the strangest feeling. (As I typed this, my dog projectile vomited on me which is REALLY the strangest feeling...excuse me while I take a shower.)
OK, I'm back.
This is the strangest feeling because of all the anxiety and depression I've gone through over the last few years, I never had to stress about L.E. having memories of it. But now she'll know every time I screw up, every time I'm sad and every time I yell about something stupid. Though she's been parroting our mannerisms for ages, we now have a bigger responsibility to make sure she's learning the right lessons.
But all of that aside. She's 4. FOUR.
And absolutely remarkable.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Less Talking. More Writing

A rather strange thing occurred to me recently: I haven't written a blog in FOREVER. I keep reading really awesome blogs and meeting some amazing writers and feeling oh-so-inspired...but I haven't sat down to write for myself.
So instead of talking about writing, I decided to just write. I have no specific topic, more like my mind-monkey is just going to churn stuff out.
It's not going to make much sense but here is what's on my mind.

  • L.E. turns 4 this month. FOUR! 
  • I had hypnotherapy yesterday and I don't think I need to go back for a while. I'm going to actually put into practice everything I learned so that I can heal from the inside. Here's more.
  • My hair is long enough to pull into a topknot which is the official hairstyle of bloggers everywhere. Just in time for SXSW.

  • It's SXSW! Remember last year when I was unemployed and had to be a full-time stay-at-home-mom for a week? Yeah, I haven't killed that memory with booze and pills yet. 
  • This year my parents are coming to town to watch L.E. during Spring Break. Free babysitters!
  • One year ago on St. Patrick's Day, I interviewed for a blogger job that I randomly found on ProBlogger, despite having never checked that site before. Now, I'm happy to report that little blogger job has turned into me taking care of marketing and PR for a Top 10 Chocolatier in the US. It's been a crazy ride and I'm so happy to be a part of Delysia.
  • Since I'm in a reflecting mood, never would I have thought I'd be this into public relations. I feel like it's the career I should have spent the last 15 years honing instead of graphic design. 
  • I don't want to say I was a bad designer – negative self-talk is one of the things I'm abolishing through hypnotherapy – but I never felt like it was a good fit career-wise. I like my different jobs and the variety each has.
  • I'm pretty sure i've seen every episode of House Hunters ever made. It's gotten to where we can narrate what comes next during the commercial breaks. Just once, I want someone to say they're looking for small rooms, white appliances and Formica countertops, shag carpeting, being right up against the neighbors and zero natural light.
  • I mean seriously, how big does your master bedroom have to be?
  • My house smells like soup
  • Austin Moms Blog has six new contributors. How long until they realize I'm not the crazy drunk careless mom that has become my online schtick
  • Did I use that term correctly?
  • Is there a better show on right now than Parks & Recreation
  • If I'm ever forced to choose between tacos or nachos, I...can't even finish this sentence right now. Don't ever make me live in a world that will force me to make that choice.
  • My new favorite beer is wine
  • L.E. has learned how to lie and be adorable. I asked her if she brushed her teeth. She said no but had a big smile on her face. I asked her why she was smiling. She said, "Because I'm cute."
  • I haven't blogged in so long that I got fired by Google AdSense

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hypnotherapy is Awesome

This post originally appeared on Austin Moms Blog

Take a deep breath…close your eyes…and think RELAXATION…
I’ve written extensively on my battle with depression. I pride myself on being very open with my experiences because I don’t want people who are suffering from depression to think they are alone. So it goes without saying that I’m pretty willing to try anything to feel better and then tell you, our readers.
I’ve been on anti-depressants and I used to go to a therapist a few times a month. Though talk therapy is great, I still feel as though it’s putting a band-aid on the problem instead of fully exploring where it all comes from. It was time to try other options for treating my depression and anxiety. But I didn’t know where to start.
Luckily, Tamara Niemann of Mind Over Matters Clinical Hypnosis Center found me. Rather, she found my depression posts and asked if I’ve ever considered hypnotherapy. I thought it sounded crazy but then again, drive-thru liquor stores seem crazy to me…I digress. I set up an appointment at her comfy South Austin office, which happens to be inside a wellness studio.
When you think of hypnotherapy, you probably think of the Fleetwood Mac song. Or you think of a cartoon being hypnotized with a swinging pocketwatch and then tricked into doing whatever the magician tells them to do. If that were the case, Tamara says she’d be a lot richer after having swindled her clients out of their bank information. Despite common misconceptions,  you remain completely in control while undergoing hypnosis. Under a relaxed state, you are actually going into your subconscious mind and figuring out the root of undesirable behaviors. This is where your emotions, habits, and fears are based, and the hypnotist can change the emotion behind the behavior at the root, thus changing the unwanted behavior. It sounds simple but it takes a lot of work, as I soon discovered.
My first appointment with Tamara was like the must gut-wrenching, soul-searching therapy session I’d ever had. And that was before the hypnosis. I spilled everything, even things I never told my other therapists. Tamara has such a warm quality about her; you can tell her anything and her no-bull*bleep* way of helping you is refreshing, to say the least. As I sat in her big comfy chair and let her guide me to my “happy place,” I soon felt these huge metaphorical weights lift off of me. This is seriously something I never expected; after all of my previous therapy sessions, I would feel better for an hour but when I got back to “reality,” the weight came crashing down. With hypnosis, we explored where my crippling self-doubt came from and began work to heal from it.
This is where the work comes in. Tamara recorded my first hypnosis session and sent me the mp3 to listen to daily. I noticed that if I go several days without it, the self-loathing creeps back in. Since starting regular relaxation therapy, I recognize the anxious feelings as they come on and I know the little mantras I tell myself  to make them go away. I know this sounds simple yet complicated yet completely crazy but truthfully, I’ve never felt like this in my life. In a word, I’m HAPPY. And I don’t think I’ve ever been truly happy before.
I’ve tackled a number of issues in the last few months during hypnotherapy. The biggest one is learning to love myself. It’s strange to be learning something 
at 37 as an adult when I should be teaching it to my almost-4-year-old. But honestly, the best thing I can give to my daughter is a happy and healthy mommy, inside and out. Becoming more child-like is part of the process for me and it’s making me appreciate the time I spend with Lucy and Todd instead of resenting the challenges of being a parent. I’ve noticed many little things that used to drive me crazy will barely even blip on my radar now. I can sit through traffic while remaining calm, I can handle 15 deadlines all at once, and if Lucy is caught eating erasers at school, I no longer cry and wonder where I went wrong as a parent. I’m more in control of my emotions than ever before and it’s all thanks to hypnotherapy.
Tamara can work with you on a variety of different issues from stress relief to smoking cessation to weight loss to sleep disorders. You can visit her website for more information at

Monday, January 27, 2014

Just Call Me Darla

L.E. wanted a new pet. She asked for a bunny, a gerbil, a hamster, a bird and a kitten. I told her to be content with our dog. Then she asked for a fish.
OK, I thought. A fish is easy, I thought.
Never mind the multitude of guppies and goldfish from my youth that ended up with a porcelain funeral.
We went to the pet store and got a betta. L.E. named him Alex.
He had a tank and some colorful pebbles.
Nemo and Dory figurines were his friends.
Less than a week later, he was floating upside down.
We pulled the old switcheroo: got a similar-looking fish and replaced him while L.E. was at school.
She was none the wiser and never knew that Alex was actually Alex #2.
Until this morning.
R.I.P. Alex #2.
I decided not to hide it from her. I'm going to be honest and tell her that fish don't last forever. Sometimes they don't even last a week 2 weeks. Either the water was too cold or we fed him too much. He just didn't make it.
THEY just didn't make it.
I should have noticed something was up when I saw him burrowing under Dory.
Truthfully, I thought he was "mating" with her or something.
This is what happens when you buy your not-quite-four-year-old a pet without thinking it through.
How is the dog still alive?
How is L.E. still alive?
How many times will PetSmart honor their two-week return policy if your fish dies?
For you animal lovers out there who are ready to call the Fish Protective Services, know that Alex #3 will not come home until the tank is ready and we undergo some training, i.e. Googling.
I'm just glad it's not hamsters.