The Importance of Being a Perspective Detective

captain fantastic{5 minute read}

It’s anger. It’s sadness. It’s confusion and frustration. When our thoughts and beliefs are questioned or receive any sort of push back we tighten up, rev up, gear up for the fight. We become uptight and ready to pounce. We will prove them wrong once and for all. We will plow through everything to declare that we are right no matter who we have to take down along the way. We do a Herculean white-knuckle grip to our beliefs as if that will give us the strength and fuel to win the case. The case that we have created out of a vain sense of existence. God forbid we gain perspective. Hell no we won’t see the other side. After all, what if we are wrong? Shit. What if they have a point? What will it take for us to understand that we can have faith in our beliefs and values and yet, still gain perspective? Still, see the world through someone else’s eyes.

Perspective and beliefs are not mutually exclusive. They are not pitted against each other unable to share the love. Because, really, that’s what it all comes down too, right? Love. Simple and true. It’s all love. What we do is all for love. Feeling we aren’t getting enough of it or that we will lose what we are receiving. That the doses will be cut off and we will wither away and die alone. That we will be seen for who we really are and not for who we really want to be. The fear of love and the love of fear. Love of fear? What? Yes. Love of fear. People do love fear. It’s an out. It’s a hall pass. It’s a way to not fully go for it. It’s fear’s fault. We hand over our rights and our privileges to fear for no other reason than we are afraid that we will be loved less if we aren’t afraid. If we really go for it. If we take the chance. If we show our true selves. If we expose our vulnerabilities. If we see their side. We can “if” ourselves to death – which is fine because at least we’ll still be loved. But at what cost?

Perspective is necessary now more than ever. Understanding other’s points of view. Looking out for someone else other than yourself. Start small. Start local. Just start. See where you can gain perspective. Look for opportunities. Work on seeing where people are coming from. How and why they see the world that way. Ask them their story. We all have stories to tell. That we’re yearning to share. The curiosity of becoming a perspective detective can create bonds you never knew were possible. It can mend riffs that have been going on for decades. It has the potential to allow you to see the world in a bolder and crystal clear way becoming more attuned than ever before. It takes practice, dedication, forgiveness and often time heartbreaks that will mend. They will. As long as you can see clearly that gaining perspective is not a cowardly act but one of the most courageous and life-changing decisions you can ever make.

The movie Captain Fantastic embraces this theme beautifully. Starring Viggo Mortensen, it is a movie about family and loss and freedom. But above all else, it’s about love. Pure and raw love. It embraces the idea that it takes the courage of a warrior to be the parent you need to be and not the one you want to be. Captain Fantastic could very well save the world. If I could magically deliver a copy into every household I would. It is that important. It is that vital. It is that necessary. It is the ultimate superhero.

Go see for yourself.


Captain Fantastic (2016, dir Matt RossIn the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.  

Rellian: If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world.

How to Stop Creating a Baby Boom of Man Babies & Start Getting a Grip on Ourselves

babyboom.jpg[6 minute read]

I slammed the cupboard door with a firm hand and it defiantly popped back open. Instinctively, I pulled my hand back with a frustrating draw and then suddenly caught myself. I stared at the shelves of innocent coffee mugs. Was I really about to duke it out with an inanimate object? This isn’t a Disney movie where a little chipped mug was going to hop down and start consoling me. Keep it together. I was on a door slamming binge and it wasn’t even 8 o’clock in the morning. When I came to, I flipped around to see my husband and kids greeting me with blank stares. Silently. Cautiously. Waiting. My Big Bad Wolf to their Three Little Pigs. Not my shining moment.

Have I really turned into this person? The one who is watched with confusion and fear? My frustration quickly melted into embarrassment as I busily warmed up my coffee, mumbled something about having to get dressed and slid out of the kitchen like a sulking teenager.

Instead of calmly and assertively voicing that I was incredibly overwhelmed and needing a little help from my husband, I chose the higher road of pouting, slamming doors and seeing if my huffing and puffing, could in fact, really blow a house down. (FYI, it can’t.)

I was left feeling shallow, gross and incredibly weak. I am always dumping on passive aggressive behavior and then – wow – yep – there I was. Instead of blowing our house down I was one slam away from blowing her up. Eh, not really any different.

What was the fear of confronting my husband? If I really admitted it, spotlighting that I didn’t have my shit completely together was the driving force here. You know, just in case slamming cupboards and stomping around like a four-year-old wasn’t clue enough.

What I need to realize is that me not asking my husband directly for help is comparable to slowly adding cyanide to our marriage until it dies out. Doing it all and expecting accolades for it is a recipe for disaster. This theme runs on a loop endlessly through every generational female circle. From circle to circle to circle. What are we doing to stop it?

Are we just creating a baby boom of man babies?

The only surge that we will see, if women keep working at doing it all, is in the number of Xanax prescriptions and high-demand divorce lawyers. Letting guys off the hook to take it easy and relax is only adding fuel to the resentment and divorce rate fire. I know that when my husband increases his drives to drop-off he’s also surging my sex drive for lift-off. Because when we’re filled with to-do lists, everyday responsibilities, appointments, and minute by minute decision making, we have no room to stick anything else in us. It’s as simple as that. Or is it?

In Baby Boom*, Diane Keaton’s character, J.C. Wiatt, is a no-nonsense businesswoman who can hold her own against the boys and really rock the 80’s power suit like a champ. Her career is on the up and up and life is groovy. That is until she is sidelined with the news that a distant relative has passed away and she has now inherited six-month-old baby, Elizabeth. She debates options and in the end, decides to raise the baby. In true Hollywood fashion, her romantic relationship and career suffer so she leaves the big city for the Vermont countryside. There she becomes the utopian version of a single mother. Although she hits her share of kinks straight out of the gate, she soon manages to create a booming baby food business and land the local stud veterinarian (played by an easily lovable Sam Shepard) as her love interest.

FADE IN: Synthesizer

But you know what I want to see? A Baby Boom that shows what life is like after the guy is in the picture. Do they push forward and teach us all how to be copacetic under one roof or do they break-up and call it quits before baby Elizabeth is even potty-trained? Who knows?

What I do know, is there’s something equally incredible and terrifying about having little eyes looking to you to be their living and breathing moral and social compass.  It’s no coincidence that James Baldwin’s quote has found its way into my life twice in one week:

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We are bombarded on a regular basis with solicited and unsolicited parenting advice. Brash judgments and calming reminders. Sideways glances and supportive smiles. However, the best advice I ever received was simple: Happy marriages = Happy Kids. Work on the marriage, the kids will follow suit. Now, this isn’t saying that kids from divorced homes can’t be happy. I’ve seen divorce that is the “happy” needed to straighten things out. Sometimes staying together is not in the cards and admitting this ends up being the best hand played.

But since I have no plans on being a divorcé anytime in the near future, I have some work to do. And so does he. That’s how it is. We both work at it and hope to meet somewhere in the middle. And if you’re completely lost, (or want some prep material) your next purchase needs to be Jancee Dunn’s “How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids”.

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She delivers laugh out loud, yet honest and real advice, she’s solidly done her homework (she interviews an FBI hostage negotiator for God’s sakes!) and is completely on the nose with both people having to step up to make it work. She even uses her own marriage as the threaded case study and peppers in her name-calling phrase of choice (“dick wad”) throughout. I mean, “dick wad”? C’mon. Sold. She’s the real deal. The book really could be called “How to Keep Loving Your Husband After Kids” but who in the hell is going to buy that? There were more times than I’d like to admit that I  was the live version of the clenched teeth emoji while reading. Since when did they start putting mirrors in books? Weird. The refreshing part is that I realized that I’m not alone. I have great girlfriends and we swap stories, for sure, but the raw truth is sometimes harder to come by. It’s easier to bitch than it is to snitch on yourself for being wrong. But sometimes calling yourself out is the best-made plan, even if you do have to headlock a cupboard door to get there.

*In honor of Baby Boom’s 30th anniversary I decided to give it a re-watch. It’s a pretty risky decision to watch movies as an adult that you loved as a kid. There’s a lot at stake here. It’s quite a brave move. What if it doesn’t live up to your nostalgic childhood memory? Then what? The suspense. The pressure. I’m happy to say that Baby Boom delivered just the same, if not more, as it did 30 years ago. Changing vantage points and watching as a mom was pretty awesome. (Almost as awesome as having a young Sam Shepard in my living room for 90 minutes.)


Baby Boom (1987, dir. Nancy Meyers) The life of super-yuppie J.C. is thrown into turmoil when she inherits a baby from a distant relative.  

Fritz Curtis: [to an executive] This is Elizabeth. J.C. is taking care of her for a while.

J.C. Wiatt: Well, Fritz, I’m actually keeping her a little longer than that.

Fritz Curtis: Oh? How long?

J.C. Wiatt: [distracted] Oh, forever!

How to Have Jealousy Fuel, Not Flatline, Your Friendships

friends_with_money_ver5_xlg.jpeg[5 minute read]

“We regret to inform you…”

Oof. Immediate punch to the gut.

Even 13 years later, I still remember that I barely finished feeling the elevator drop in my stomach when my phone buzzed.

TEXT: I GOT IN!!! I can’t believe it!

I would love to say that I immediately dropped the letter, picked up my coat and demanded that I take my friend out for a celebratory drink RIGHT NOW!

Hindsight…

Instead, I took the no-brainer route of dropping the letter, picking up a bottle of bourbon and demanding that it get me incredibly drunk RIGHT NOW!

Friends with acceptance letters.

Friends with husbands.

Friends with no husbands.

Friends with kids.

Friends with no kids.

Friends with careers.

Friends with friends.

Friends with high metabolisms.

Friends with money.

Friends with anything that we feel that we don’t have. Friends who have what we want. Friends who shine a light on what we feel we should have, dammit! We are instantly taken over by our toddler self, pouting and stomping and whining, “No fair!”

When I get jealous? Emerald green as mint jelly? It always ends up having to do with me – even if I kick and scream about it. Actually, if I’m kicking and screaming it’s a sure-fire sign that it 100% has to do with me. I say kick and scream it out! But then move on.

Jealousy, at its best, can shine a light on our values, beliefs, and potential. It helps us find our way out of the dark. It can be straight up inspiring – if we let it. Ideally, after my temporary drunken escape from graduate school rejection, I would have learned from this bout of jealousy. I would have realized that this was so ego-driven and really figured out if going to graduate school for writing was what I ultimately wanted. Instead, I flew across the country to escape from my confused depression instead of sitting with the discomfort of it all. (Spoiler alert: The confused depression hitched a ride to L.A.)

In Friends With Money, we meet Jennifer Aniston’s character, Olivia, in the thick of her own confused depression. She quits her job with no plan, goes on a gloomy search of love and money, all the while surrounded by a tight group of financially set, married friends. Although this is not close to my favorite film from director, Nicole Holofcener, (which hands down is Enough Said), it does a really incredible job of showing that no one’s life is perfect. It’s easier to point fingers at others, feel bad for yourself and pass judgments. Instead of the more intimidating route of taking a look at your own life, being grateful for what you have and then being honest with yourself about taking, the often scary step, that is needed to make your life better. Being grateful can easily trick-door us into complacency. Well, I have A, B, and C so that’s good enough or so what I am bitching about or so this is as good as it gets. We can be grateful and still realize that we need to make some hard changes in our lives for the better. In the end of the film, true friendships prevail. And still, jealousy is tricky territory.

I see the jealousy spectrum like this: On the one extreme is the Stepford Wife – tight smile, mechanical nodding, minimal to zero blinking, slightly squeaky. Alllll the way at the other end is the Evil Queen – maniacal smile, all shaky and clenched-jawed with coincidentally, also, minimal to zero blinking.  So, the goal here is not to become a sociopath. And while you’re at it, pay attention.  Aim for the middle. The middle ground is the gold. It’s the Okay, so I’m feeling a little heat right now. I’m a little jealous. Why?  It is so, so worth reflecting on the why. It will add years of depth and love to friendships or will save you from years of bitterness and liver damage. Your call.

Great friends have a tendency to make us feel like we are on top of the world. Like we are seen and heard and understood.  And then, when there is a success? What happens? Of course, you’re happy for your friends. I don’t think you’re some narcissistic vengeful brat waiting to trip her on the ice. But let’s get real. You’re a little jealous. You are. And you know what? It’s freaking normal! It is SO normal to feel a ping of jealousy. Even a straight up flood. It is. We are wired to compare ourselves to each other and when someone else succeeds, in whatever your definition of success may be, we instantly fly through our life to see where we stand in comparison.  It does not make you a bad person. It does not make you a bad friend (unless you do trip her on the ice). It makes you human. It makes you whole. It’s not as if you are mutating from a loyal and loving friend into a jar of mint jelly and then, worst case scenario, into a wild and rogue jellyfish who is out to sting anyone and anything that stands in her way. Mwahahahaha!

I don’t know you, but I’ll go out on a limb that this is far from who you are.

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Anyone who says that they were never jealous of a friend, I now know is not just jealous of a friend but is a straight-up liar who is jealous of a friend. We all do it!  The point is to acknowledge the jealousy and move on. Move. On. Let the jealousy fuel you into action and not be swallowed whole by the self-loathing serpent.

And let’s not use and abuse gratitude. She’s not a floozy. We can’t scramble to dust off and flip open a fresh page in our gratitude journal or make a mental note of all that we’re blessed with to quiet and satisfy our minty green gremlin. When we do that we are only guilting ourselves into not being grateful ENOUGH. I love myself some good, solid dance in your pants gratitude as much as the next person but using gratitude as a cover-up for jealousy is a slap in gratitude’s face. It’s insulting gratitude’s intelligence.  After all, what will happen if we keep that up? Our gratitude will become shallow and our insides will start looking like a science experiment – all frothy and bubbly and oozing with mint green jelly. Talk about sexy!

After you acknowledge your jealousy? Gratitude it up! Go for it! Have gratitude be the fuel for your fire of inspiration. Just be honest with yourself first. It’s not easy. It’s brave.

If nothing else, you’ll at least rule out being a sociopath. So, there’s that.


Friends With Money (2006, dir. Nicole Holofcener) After she quits her lucrative job, Olivia finds herself unsure about her future and her relationships with her successful and wealthy friends.

Marty: I, um, I guess I have some issues.

Olivia: You do?

Marty: You know, people sort of, problems. I have them.

 

Teaching My Kid How to Get Satisfaction, One Cheese Stick at a Time

satisfaction.jpeg

[3 minute read]

“JESUS!”

There’s nothing that snaps you back to reality faster than hearing your 3 1/2-year-old shout out your go-to phrase. When I glanced up and saw that she was in a heated tug-o-war with a cheese stick and I had to root her on ringside. Those little guys are no joke!

My first instinct was to rip the cheese stick out of her hands and relieve her of the struggling. Okay, full disclosure: my first REAL instinct was to ignore the situation entirely, high-five her with kudos for using her choice word in the right context and carry on with my day. Kids have earmuffs. Parents have blinders.

Instead? I watched.  I stood staring as her little hands kept pulling and slipping on the plastic that was now gnawed and dripping with saliva like a St. Bernard’s chew toy and I thought to myself, I can relieve you of this suckage and fuel my quick-fix to-do list “Next! “ brain but really, if you can’t help yourself open a cheese stick then what hope do you have? Some people may call this borderline neglect or completely unnecessary. To those people I once again say, if you can’t help yourself open a cheese stick then what hope do you have?!   Yes, the situation could have been easily remedied by me saving the day. The struggle for relief and satisfaction is real. For sure. It is. But if I were to swoop in and open the cheese stick, it would be about me relieving my needs. Not hers. It would have nothing to do with her. Yes, I could’ve easily relieved us both from her whining and grunting in an instant. But it would be about me fixing the problem – not her.

God knows I can completely relate to the frustration of struggling to open a container that holds your golden grub when you’ve already morphed into a hangry, vicious gremlin. So, I felt guilty – for .5 seconds and then realized that this is Problem Solving 101. This was a perfect moment to start building critical thinking skills, stick-with-it-ness, self-reliance, and even resiliency. (Never knew those little tasty suckers packed such a punch, did ya?) If figuring “it” out can’t start with a quarter foot of cheddar then with what? And, yes, if experiencing the discomfort and intense irritation of not being able to open a cheese stick is her biggest problem, then she’s really got it made. That First World problem was not lost on me. What else wasn’t lost? The fact that any moment I can teach my kids how to figure out a problem, I will do my best to be aware enough to take a breath and a backseat. Yes, of course, there are times to wave the white flag and ask for help but they have to learn how to be creative in their thinking first. That is where true satisfaction lives and breathes and gives your soul a cannonball in the lake feeling of exhilaration! This is where the seeds of self-confidence are sowed and then, what do you know, her perseverance and “try try again” attitude are what lead her to give back to First World and Third World countries.

If this little dairy queen is going to learn how to navigate her way through the inevitable bumps in the road, to ultimately reach her goals, she needs to start now. There is no better satisfaction than knowing that the hard work, sweat, and saliva in this case, that you put in, is what helped you achieve your goal – no matter the size. Knowing that you were a huge part of making it happen is so so gratifying.  This is how it builds. One day it’s opening a cheese stick and next thing you know, it’s learning how to drive stick. Or joining an all-girl band and having the built-in resilience to face and overcome all of the challenges to reach your ultimate goal of touring Europe.

All started with a cheese stick. Imagine that.

Will it take a few more minutes out of the day to make sure that these teaching moments happen on the reg? Without a doubt. But it’s either 20 minutes of brain-bending now or 20 years of therapy later. Not really a toss up.

As I watched this little red-faced and determined force of nature huff and puff,  with a grunt, an “UGGGGHHH!” and a hollered “Cheese is rice!!” ( Toddler translation of “Jesus Christ”), I felt solid pride. And then, Ta-da!! The plastic lost its battle and the cheese stick was free at last! She looked up, her wide eyes filled with equal parts delight and surprise, and took a very long overdue and well-deserved chomp. I could’ve sworn I even saw her grow a half an inch right before my eyes. And from the look of satisfaction on her face, it was the best damn cheese stick she ever had.


Satisfaction (dir Joan Freeman, 1988) A group of teenagers has a band, Mystery, with Jennie as the lead singer. They go to a bar at the coast and play during the summer. Jennie falls in love with the owner of the bar, Martin. They get an offer to play in Europe and perhaps become famous. But are they ready for it?  

Peace Out, Self-Doubt!

zombieland

[4 minute read]

Self-doubt sucks zombie balls.

It can become all consuming and paralyze you from actually doing anything that you are truly proud of doing. It’s crippling at its best and ulcer-inducing at its worst. We become so completely in our heads that life whizzes by. We are zoned out, head tilted, doing the zombie shuffle while spouting out random incomprehensible groans. All the while, our minds are like the Hostess truck “Sno Balling” full speed ahead with the wrong treats in the trunk.

Was I being a little too harsh with my kids? Am I spending enough time with my husband? Did I quote that project estimate too low or too high? Am I too strict about damn screen time?  Am I inviting family over enough for dinner? Are my kids seeing their grandparents’ enough? Should I have posted that?  Was I too judgmental? Did I sound like a jerk?

Sound familiar?

The issue isn’t self-doubt. The issue is what you do with it when you feel it?  Do you dwell in the familiarity of its prickles and clutches or do you move on? It is easily addicting and needs to be stopped in its tracks. I’m not talking about voiding our life of doubt altogether. We all need to leave a little room in our life for doubt and curiosity or we would be a society filled with self-righteous know-it-alls with zero empathy, sub-zero compassion and sub-sub-zero room for growth of any kind.

The operative word here is a little room.

I have been gripped by a self-doubt lately that easily falls off the rails. It goes something like this: Self-doubt turns into overanalyzing which then turns into more self-doubt which then just tosses me down the black hole of an overanalyzing, self-doubting, hot freaking mess. Now THAT’s the life of the party right there, folks!

For those of you who have a flutter of self-doubt and then easily overcome it, you may be thinking, “This is nuts!” You may find yourself screaming, “This is no way to live! Seriously? You think about that stuff?

For the rest of us, yes. Yes, we do.

I have always been an analytical person. When it’s working for me it has positively and consistently guided me. It helps me connect, foster existing relationships and form incredible new ones. Being analytical can be really helpful when used productively. Decision making can be clearer. Creativity can be sharpened. Problems can be solved. However, the flipside is that it can be equally dreadful when used destructively. Overanalyzing in self-doubt adds fuel to the zombie mind of fear.

The goal is to prevent a zombie mind existence. Zombie mind is toxic and tremendously tortuous to ourselves and our life span. We’re moving without a conscious, clear intention.

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Serial self-doubt is actually a way of not holding ourselves accountable. It’s fueling the fire of indecision instead of taking responsibility for our actions.

So, what’s the solution?

The middle ground.

Doubting is not always bad. Doubting keeps us curious. It can keep us wise and questioning so that we are able to see different perspectives which create more empathy and better problem-solving. It allows us to keep learning and growing.

The pros sound fantastic! Wow! Self-doubting never sounded so sexy.

But how?

By paying attention. Being aware. Noticing. No matter how you phrase it, that’s the first step to shift gears and course correct.

What I noticed was that along with my responsibilities quadrupling in the past years, so has my self-doubt. My people pleasing is at an all time high. Making everybody happy seems to be a female fix that is never attainable. What we get instead is the awful tag team of resentment and frustration which in most cases lead to more guilt.  It’s a really crappy feeling.

Ironically, self-doubt is not too different from self-righteousness. It’s self-consuming and you always think you’re right. Let’s break it down: self-doubt makes it so that you are always right. You either made the right decision and you worried for nothing or you beat yourself up about not making the right decision and your doubt ends up being rightYou end up playing an “I told you so” game with yourself.

So, in the end, the real question is: Do you want to be happy or right?

Me? I want to be happy so I decided to stop. There was not some big revelation or moment in my life. I just said, “Enough.”

I woke up and said, “Today, I am going to tell myself that every single decision I make is the right decision. No looking back.” Yes, I did say it out loud. And ya know what? It worked. I had more mental space to be present and focused and clear.

Freakin clarity! Hot damn! I thought I lost you forever.

You know how usually there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day? Well, this day? The day my go-to phrase was “Right decision,”? I had more time than ever. I slowed down, felt more space in my brain and actually felt my brain soften. Is that even possible? Well, I’m saying it is. Did I have moments where I doubted myself? Sure. The difference (big difference) is that I caught myself before I could fall down the analytical abyss never to be heard from again. I said a quick, “Right decision,” and moved on. Moved on. Action trumps thinking here. Don’t think twice, it really is alright.

Or in the wise words of Woody Harrelson’s character, Tallahassee:

Time to nut up or shut up!.png


Exercise: Wherever you fall on the spectrum of self-doubt, practice living today on the opposite side of the spectrum. If you feel like you’re in the swampy thickness of self-doubt, declare yourself right with your decision and move on.

Some short and quick phrases to help you out:
“Right decision.” “Great decision.” “Right on.” “Next.”

If you’re always sure you’re right, practice leaving even an inch of room (ok, a millimeter) of room for the chance of doubt. Call it curious if that helps you out.

It may be incredibly uncomfortable. That’s the first sign that you’re on the right track!

Make a quick go-to mantra for yourself and share your results in the comments below!


Zombieland (2009, dir Ruben Fleischer) A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the last Twinkie, and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.  

Columbus: “Oh, America. I wish I could tell you that this was still America, but I’ve come to realize that you can’t have a country without people. And there are no people here. No, my friends. This is now the United States of Zombieland.”

The Foolproof Phrase to End All Freak Outs

 

[5 minute read]

This article is rated R for adult language.oldschool

We all remember the wedding scene in Old School, right? Noooow you’re smiling. Fantastic! The wedding singer brings such a hilarious intensity to an otherwise overplayed and overly dramatic ballad. He nails urgency and light-heartedness like a champ.

We can all learn something here. Taking action can be done with determination and humor. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that they need to be the new “It” couple. The dynamic duo that makes all of our lives richer, lighter and more joyful. Dumor, anyone? No? Okay, moving on.

We’re at our wit’s end. We are officially a society whose level of consumption is so off-the-charts (according to adweek.com, we’re consuming an hour more per day of media than we did just a year ago.)  that the only place to turn is combustion or…

You guessed it! Even more consumption. We’re self-medicating, self-numbing and self-sabotaging at record speed in an attempt to counteract our consumption. Consumption to remedy consumption. Hm? How’s that goin’ for us?

Take a look at the antonyms for consumption AND combustion:

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Okay, take away “starvation” and “fasting” and you’ll see my point…

I say, instead of fueling our society’s culture of consumption to the devastating point of combustion, let’s rally against it. Let’s empty it OUT instead of taking it IN. I’m talking about a release, people! Whatever that translates to you. Whatever shape that forms for you. We’re one big constipated society.

It’s gross. It is. I’m not gonna lie.

It’s not meant to be a pretty image. It’s supposed to gross you out. It’s supposed to spur you into action to Get. It. Out.

What do you need to do?

Is it…

Let things go?

Ask for help?

Believe in yourself?

Create more … poems, stories, paintings, ideas?

Dance under the stars? (Or dance at all for that matter?)

Laugh?

Play? “Work doesn’t work without play.” – Shonda Rhimes (Shonda Rhimes’ latest TED Talk)

Cry?

Love?

Chances are, at least one of these, most likely more than one, made you feel a ping inside. Follow that ping! Don’t think about. They are all ways to let.It.Out. So, that you don’t end up freaking out!

Have the dance party. Watch this Old School clip. Play with your kids. Have a good cry. Delegate (once again, del-e-gate). Let yourself off the hook. Go for it. Do it. Yes, it’s that urgent! But for some reason, we’re not doing any of this enough. None of it. We don’t have the time. We don’t have the money. But we have plenty-o excuses.

Now. If it’s something that you’re responsible for doing that other people will see or you think they will see, well, you may be freaking out right now. You may be resisting being judged or wrong or looking like a total moron or wasting your time and theirs. How to overcome this? Hm?

Need help? Sure. I’d be glad to…Sometimes, just sometimes, the best way to deal with life is…brace yourself… with one phrase:

“Motherfucking!”

I said, brace yourself. (Especially you, Mom.)

You may be wincing. You may be smiling. You may be doing a little of both.

The phrase can be a little harsh. Okay, highly offensive to some. We all know that. Who drank all the motherfucking milk?! We’re out of motherfucking Post-its again?! You’ve got to be motherfucking kidding me! Uh, yeah, that’s harsh. It’s accusatory, aggressive and aggravated.

But there’s another way. May I?

It can also create a major celebration. Intense concentration. A pick-me-up.  It is hands down, THE quickest and best method to bring us from analysis paralysis to pure clear action.  Utter relief and release. It’s to you for you. It’s, that’s right, determination and humor mixed into one enthusiastic hoorah!  Now, it’s not about saying this phrase in a casual, breezy way. That’s a negative. It’s about saying it with a “go get ’em, tiger” attitude! With purpose.

Just like the wedding singer in Old School!

Exactly! See? You’re following.

And then you’re getting on with it.

This one phrase, when used correctly, has the power, once and for all, to transform all of the cheesy and overused plaques that deck kitchen and office walls nationwide.

For instance: Sometimes when life hands you lemons, you don’t make lemonade…you make motherfucking lemonade.

It demands your attention. It is you picking up YOU. It’s unconditional self-love at its finest. Whether you cringe at being vulnerable or flinch at being assertive – this one phrase is all you need. It’s non-discriminatory. It works anywhere. Anytime.

It’s like when the Wizard of Oz goes from black and white to color. BAM!

Don’t take my word for it. Try it on for size:

Please excuse the mess, my kids are making memories.
Please excuse the mess, my kids are making motherfucking memories!

Be the change you want to see in the world.
Be the change you want to see in the motherfucking world.

Dance like no one is watching.
Dance like no one is motherfucking watching.

Nevertheless, she persisted.
Nevertheless, she motherfucking persisted. (Too soon?)

Let’s do this!
Let’s motherfucking do this!

Is this making you uncomfortable? Little bit? Try it out. If you don’t like it, you never have to do it again. If you do get a sick liberating thrill out of it – your secret is safe with you!

If you’re someone who looks at the “F” word as “G-rated” in your vocab – then I would say…

It’s a slippery slope. You may find yourself all MF happy and use it carelessly.  Bust this puppy out in only necessary occasions, to get yourself back on track when you’re feeling self-doubt or judged or overwhelmed. You don’t want to release your credibility, just your tension.

Don’t dilute it with unintentional and flippant use. Let’s not start telling our kids to pick up their motherfucking toys. Nooooot really the best idea to calm your nerves and kick off a client meeting with “Wait until you see this motherfucking Powerpoint!” or walking into the teacher’s lounge after an unexpected day off with a welcoming, “Thank god for motherfucking snow days!” 

Check yourself before you wreck yourself and let this be a self-pep talk for your ego and soul to come together and release stress and fear so that we can get back to bringing our best selves into the world!

For me, it amps me up and calms me down. I feel capable and able. Most importantly, it kicks my butt into intention fueled action. Not just going through the motions “busy is best” action. No. I’m talking clear, definable action. Once I set a goal and make an intention to follow it through, I often get tripped up by fear. I can get frozen in the glaring, blinking cursor of a blank page with the best of them. All of a sudden my feet are drying in wet cement or worse, I feel my legs slipping into quicksand. THIS is the moment that: “Let’s motherfucking DO THIS!” is the mantra that rares me up and has me move forward with a renewed determination and solid gold “can do” attitude. (Arms shooting up into a V or brisk palm rubbing are optional, although highly, highly recommended.)

So, you gave it a go. Did it work? Comment below.

What La La Land Really Teaches Us (Besides Ryan Gosling Being Hotter Than We Thought Humanly Possible)

la_la_land_ver3.jpeg[7 minute read]

Before La La Land sweeps the Oscars this weekend*, I find it apropos to highlight its timeless theme which fills our dry well of dreams. Sounds depressing, doesn’t it?  That’s because that thought  IS depressing.  La La Land shows us that it doesn’t have to be that way. La La Land is the glorious wake-up call to all of us to reignite the heartwarming and juicy dreams that we are allowing to dry up and atrophy while they lie dormant deep within us. Not a pretty picture. La La Land is the tough love arm grab.  That call our soul is making to our heart that we mistake for an annoying butt dial and then dismiss and silence? Well, here’s how THAT goes down…

That ping of jealousy. That bristle of frustration. That ache of longing. Those are all little nudges to your dream to WAKE UP and stop hitting SNOOZE and answer the damn call! The alternative is not that it goes away. No, no, no. Instead, it manifests into a billion dollar anti-anxiety and anti-depression pharmaceutical industry.

The beauty of La La Land is that it shows rejection and frustration and grit and determination.  It’s real and honest and yes, the dance numbers keep the hope alive! The singing voices and dance moves are not off the charts incredible (although sweet and lovely) and that’s what makes the movie so endearing and charming. It’s relatable and makes it…possible! It’s a push to open your eyes to what you can do when you mix passion with perseverance. These old standbys aren’t fan favorites because:

a) Passion makes us vulnerable. And vulnerability in our culture is a sure fire way to get your “cool card” revoked faster than you can say, “Aaaaay”. (Ironically, Henry Winkler, don’t worry Millenials, I got you, aka the actor who played The Fonz in Happy Days, created this catchphrase to hide his undiagnosed dyslexia. Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think? A little too ironic and, yeah, I really do think…) Okay, back on track. Back on track.  We like seeing other people be passionate but, ask us to do it? Eh, not so much. Passion risks us looking out of control and like fools. Passion has us dancing in way too close quarters with being wrong. (This is MY dance space and this is YOUR dance space! I don’t go into yours, you don’t go into mine!)

b) Perseverance uncovers your normalcy. You’re really NOT a golden god?? Wha?? Perseverance is loved by some and feared by many. It shows your true character. Your level of resiliency. How you deal with failure…and success. What are your metrics for each? God FORBID we actually put in an effort. Oh boy! We’re really hanging out our dirty undies now, aren’t we? What if we’re found out that we’re not naturally talented at writing, baseball, public speaking, math, business, dancing or Tetris?  When did we become a society that turns our noses up at those who really shine at what they do AND put in the effort? Those who solve problems AND are ferocious readers on the subject matter? Those who seem to have it all together AND are making sacrifices to live their life on their terms? We need to show and broadcast our effort from every rooftop and mountain top possible. Let’s vow for stick-with-it-ness to stick once and for all.

Our culture of scarcity is total, for lack of a better term, ass-backward! We need more effort shown. We need more collaboration. We need more brave souls putting their dreams into the world. We need less fear and way waaaay less feelings that we’re undeserving and need proof that we’re good enough to make our dreams our reality.

“Nobody wants to show you the hours and hours of becoming. They’d rather show the highlight of what they’ve become.”
Angela Duckworth, Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success

Just for fun, let’s go down the treacherous road of no dreams. No hope. No desires. No passions. It’s cold, gray and bitter. All of the role models that you admired as a kid are non-existent. The musicians, writers, and leaders? Nope. Zilch. Done. Eleanor Roosevelt? Gilda Radner? Huh, who? Martin Luther King Jr.? Ella Fitzgerald? Benjamin Franklin?  Lucille Ball? Mel Brooks? Nelson Mandela? Nelson…Nelson. I think he dated my cousin. They’re just names. No dreams, no inspiration. That just sucks the life right out of you, doesn’t it?

Even on our darkest days, the glimmer of hope that comes from pursuing our dreams and making a little more room for them on our list of priorities is a huge step in the right direction. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture of anything. No one even needs to know…at first. Eventually, yes TELL US! Please tell us. We all need to learn from the brave at heart and gain courage from knowing others’ stories of overcoming adversity and stepping out into the sunlight even when we feel dirty, weak and dark. There are a gazillion people in the world so you have to have faith that the odds are in your favor that your initial act of courage will ignite a spark in at least a dozen. 12 people out of 7,000,000,000. That’s pretty great. Or maybe it won’t. Maybe it will just keep your spark going. Although it won’t because once you give your spark attention then it gradually turns into a flame. Then, people can’t help but notice the lightness in your being. The glow in your eyes. It’s like falling in love all over again. It’s contagious. And no, not everyone will like what you’re doing or what you have to say.

“I’m going to do my best. I don’t know if anyone will like it and it’s absolutely none of my business if they do.”

– Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

They won’t relate to it or they’ll think you’re “too” entitled or full of shit or smug or cheesy, lame, offensive or sensitive. Take your pick. We don’t have to like everything that everyone puts out. If we did? Ugh! That’s just as bad as a depressing world. Everyone likes all the same stuff? Goodbye, art. Goodbye, authenticity. Goodbye, freak flags. Adios. Catch ya on the flip side. Or not. Really. No side. We will be catching you on no side because when everyone likes all the same stuff then there is no flip side. The only flip side is the danger zone. The only flip side is the other side of the tracks where the trailblazers and creatives and cuckoo birds live in little yurts in the shadows.

We become: “The Other.”

Our main fear of not going for our dreams is that we will be outcast. Found out. Cast aside. If you really go worst case scenario on this one, I’m putting all my chips on: you’re wrong. There I said it. You’re wrong. It may not sit well but there it is just the same. Now you may be cast aside from people. For sure. As the old saying (kinda) goes: If you didn’t see darkness then how would you know when you found the light? If there was no darkness then there would be no stars. If there was no darkness then there would be no late night sweaty and unhinged Sauvignon Blanc dance parties in your kitchen.  And we all know THAT can’t happen!

We need YOU! We need YOUR humor. We need YOUR perspective. We need YOUR take on life! We need you to share what makes you laugh and cry and jump for freaking joy! Not to name call but you’re being kiiiiiindof a selfish punk if you keep this all to yourself. We are in des-per-ate need for people to share their stories in any way that speaks to them so it can speak to us. This is the united link that transcends everything to connect and bring us together instead of keeping us in this divisive state of confusion and rigidity.

The best and yes, absolute scariest, part is that once you stick your toes in showing who you are to the world, you will realize who closest to you will stick around and who will peace out. It’s like taking a sieve through all of your nearest and dearest to see who are the gems who stay close and support you and who are swept away by the current of jealousy and judgment.  It’s totally worth it!

And you know what? If they call you crazy, claim that you’ve lost it, or that you’re going off the deep-end, then print out my all time favorite lyric from La La Land’s “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” and stick it somewhere you’ll see it every damn day!

_A bit of madness is keyTo give us new colors to seeWho knows where it will lead us_And that's why they need us_So bring on the rebelsThe ripples from pebblesThe painters, and poets, and playsAnd here's to the fool-1.png


*Well, except for our stud man, Ryan, he won’t be winning a gold statue but he will be winning over our hearts as he humbly supports our glowing girl, Emma.


La La Land (2016, dir. Damian Chazelle) A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.  

Mia: Maybe I’m not good enough!

Sebastian: Yes, you are.

Mia: Maybe I’m not! It’s like a pipe dream.

Sebastian: This is the dream! It’s conflict and it’s compromise, and it’s very, very exciting!

Get Low

get_low

[6 minute read]

The other night my husband and I got into a fight over funerals. Not just any funerals. Our funerals.

That’s right. We fought over dying. Not just dying but who would pay homage the best.

It went something like this…

(Blood, Sweat, Tears’ “And When I Die” playing in the background)

Vic: I want this to play at my funeral.
Me: Got it. (pause) Wait a sec. So, you plan on dying first?
Vic: I’m just saying if I do…
Me: That totally makes sense. You need to die first.
Vic: Why??
Me: I would give you such a better funeral! It totally makes sense. (thinking) I could ask my sister to give my funeral. She would give me a WAY better funeral. But then I would have to die before her… hm??

Off Vic’s look, I was able to pause long enough to remember that our kids were at the table. (Whoops!) We quickly shifted gears to Peppa Pig or dessert or air drumming. Something other than dying.

Our culture doesn’t like to talk about dying. It’s sad and morose and dark. Most of us don’t celebrate at funerals and reminisce about the person’s life. We ache and cry and sometimes get really really pissed off. Listen, I get it – especially if it’s sudden or tragic or someone under the age of 85. And yes, even when people over 85 die, it’s sad and we often miss them immediately. However, the difference that I’ve experienced is that when someone who’s reached the golden age of dentures and walkers passes on, there’s more of a celebration and music and laughter for them. For shits and giggles let’s say that we all live a long, happy and healthy life. That’s what we all want. Of course. So, we need to start thinking about dying. Not dwell, but think about the fact that we are not immune or special, and that we will one day kick it too. Otherwise, we just groggily go through the daily motions and don’t appreciate each other and ourselves. Let’s not have a life taken to be what puts our own into perspective. Every time someone dies, the inevitable shallow promises of: “Be grateful for every day.” “Love the ones you’re with.” “Don’t be petty and trivial.” “Don’t hold grudges.” instantly fill the airwaves. It’s like New Year’s all over again with everybody making sweeping resolutions. We morph into temporary self-righteous versions of Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama until the first post or comment (digital or IRL) brings on the ol’ familiar twitch and we’re back to being pissed off or jealous or {fill in the blank} to any feeling or reaction that just minutes ago we vowed to banish. Then all gloves and bets are off.

That’s why it is so so worth putting the time into thinking about what we value and how we want to feel in this life right now. Not when someone dies. Not when we face disappointments or setbacks. But right freaking now.  When we take moments out when things are going great and we’re loving life to write down how we’re feeling or reflect on our five top core values* (yes, you read that right), or give thanks to the precious people in our lives then it’s all coming from a beautiful place. Those are the bedrock practices that anchor us all in times of distress and grief and confusion.

We need to practice strengthening our joy and laughter muscles. If we’re mad as hell, we’ll probably burn what we wrote while we scream at ourselves to suck it. Here’s the thing, if we practice and pay attention to lightening up, the situations that made us want to punch someone in the face or wallow in a self-pity puddle of tears begin to lighten too. Maybe not go away, but definitely, lighten. We all have the strength within us even on the days when we feel the all too familiar creaking and creeping of self-doubt and fear bubbling beneath the surface. Writing down the good stuff allows us to see in our own handwriting (yes, handwriting – screens down for this one!) the values and strengths that make us vibrant and resilient. It’s not reading someone else’s story line or listening to someone else’s advice. It’s you helping out you! It’s you knowing that if you experienced that incredible feeling before then there’s hope to feel it again. Now, if you’re dealing with tragedy, it’s a totally different story. What I’m talking about are the moments when we need a boost and are ready to get back up. It shows us what really matters to us and reminds us to keep doing those things and being around those people. Grief, frustration, and disappointment are inevitable but we have a choice of how we respond in these situations. Just because we lessen our extreme reactions of name calling, judging, or straight up punching walls, doesn’t mean that we’ve turned into emotionless zombies. Instead of we’ve turned in to fine-tune what we choose to care about.

In the under the radar movie, Get Low, Robert Duvall plays, Felix, a hermit who decides to plan his own funeral…and attend it… alive. He goes to the local funeral director (big ups to Bill Murray) to make it happen. Felix wants to see what people say about him and what he’s remembered for – like it or not.

Can’t we all relate? Maybe you haven’t thought up attending your funeral while you have a pulse but don’t we all want a bird’s eye view of who shows up and who doesn’t? Who speaks up and who can’t because they’re just so choked up with tears about how important we were to them. I sure do!

So here’s an exercise for the brave at heart: Take a minute to imagine who shows up at your funeral. That’s right. Take five seconds to get past the shock of doing this and then come back. You know you’ve done it before, c’mon. Ready? Okay. Close your eyes (after reading this, obvs!). So you’re standing on the balcony of the church, sitting in the last pew of the temple, popping a squat on the beach – okay, you’re there. Really get yourself there. Listen to the sounds and then visualize who’s there. Who do you expect to be there? Who do you know will be there? Who do you want to be there? Now, go through each person. See their face. Clear as day. Mentally check off your list your good standing with them. See those who bring tears of joy to your eyes, warmth to your heart, and a sweeping tingle of love. Beautiful. Now, take a look at those who tighten up your throat or your butthole, make you feel the rumble of your blood boiling or make you feel any inkling of regret. THESE are your people. These are the people who you have to either forgive, wish well, or find a way to get over. You can do it over coffee, the phone, a letter (even if they’ve passed away, write them a letter), a therapist. It doesn’t matter. Just get it out. Get out the regret, the resentment, the anger, and the sadness. We want to live our lives lighter and more joyful. We all do. Even when we’re faced with the  “do you want to be right or happy?” predicament. It begins with you. You make the choice. Only you know what that is. Do you need to take the burden off your shoulders or hold yourself more responsible? Are you blaming or shaming? Whether you’re doing it to yourself or to others there’s no good there. It’s not useful. Punishing ourselves or others through our behavior? Talk about a stressful speed trip to an early grave! We need more levity in the world right now. We need to not just lead but learn from example. From each other. We’re all we’ve got.

To review:
1. Solid solo dance party to “And When I Die” to loosen up.
2. Funeral exercise.
3. Stream Get Low 

* No one needs to know that you did this exercise. This is for you and you alone. For some reason, we’re embarrassed to admit that we take the time to help ourselves. We feel weak or vulnerable or not talented enough for it to come easy. Too much effort. Ick!
Little secret: The self-help industry is a billion dollar business so cat’s kinda outta the bag on everyone.

Comment or message me for a direct instruction on the value exercise. If you have or work with kids, it’s a really fun exercise to do with them!


“Get Low”(2009, dir. Aaron Schneider) A movie spun out of equal parts folk tale, fable and real-life legend about the mysterious, 1930s Tennessee hermit who famously threw his own rollicking funeral party… while he was still alive.

Felix Bush: Bout time for me to get low.

Rev. Gus Horton: Get what?

Felix Bush: Down to business. I need a funeral.

Rev. Gus Horton: For whom?

Felix Bush: For me.

Bad News Bears

bad-news-bears{3 minute read}

A car accident.

A plane crash.

A fire.

A death.

A fall.

A scare.

A chance.

THE chance.

Is this what it takes? Some horrific eye-opening bad news bears life experience for us to actually gather up the courage to finally do that thing.
Take that trip.
Write that book.
Start that business.
Train for that race.
Register for that class.
Quit that habit.
Hug that kid.
Say “I love you.” to that person
And “Enough” to that one.

Are we so past the point of no return that the threat of Death’s door is now trumping the threat of Mom’s judgment? C’mon! Say it ain’t so. We need Death to give us the pass? Really?

We all tend to fall into a viral complacency that masks and numbs us. It allows us to blame others for the dreams we never fulfilled and to shame those who really went for it and didn’t “make it.” The failure of others tends to strengthen our resolve in a See, I told ya so condescending mentality that only pisses us all off. What’s behind all of it is, you guessed it, fear. See, I don’t even have to tell you that. You know that. You do. So, why then are we allowing ourselves to get swept up in the current of fear that has taken over our entire society? Why are we not swimming against the current or even grabbing a visible root to take a breath? Again, yes, I know, it always comes back to fear. I wish it didn’t.  So, how to crack it. I guess the first question really is, do you want to crack it? Do you want to face the unknown with steadfast courage and whip-smart resolve? Do you want to face the known? All that you’ve been bottling up for months, years, decades. When we become too comfortable with the chronic uneasiness of resentment it’s much harder to take a solid look at ourselves. It’s way easier and ego-boosting to point fingers, and give fingers, to everybody who is holding us back.

We don’t even give ourselves the chance to mess up our dreams. We convince ourselves that everything is alright. We whip out our gratitude journals or mentally list all that we are grateful for. We tell ourselves that we have enough. That we’re being greedy. Who do we think we are to want more? The worst part? We actually end up believing ourselves and think that we’re taking the higher road.  How do ya like me now, Uncertainty and Fear? 

Thing is, if we never have a go at facing the blank page, lacing up our sneaks, booking that flight, hugging that kid, then fear wins in freaking spades! Whether it’s fear of what people think, that we’ll fail, or that we’ll actually succeed, that little nugget of desire doesn’t just miraculously melt away. It manifests and hardens into a delightful cocktail of anxiety, depression, jealousy, resentment, and regret. We don’t need any more pissed off, alcoholic, overweight, financially ruined people in the world. Speaking of…

“This quitting thing, it’s a hard habit to break once you start.” – Coach Buttermaker

Coach Buttermaker, Walter Matthau’s character in Bad News Bears nabs three of the four aforementioned traits like a champ and still manages to teach us all that it’s not about winning the game, it’s about believing in yourself, being true to yourself, and playing the game. Getting in there and getting dirty. Taking the chance. This is not just Hallmark card B.S., folks. No, fear doesn’t go away. No, the I just threw up in my mouth feeling doesn’t disappear. But it definitely diminishes. What increases are the feelings of self-worth and child-like excitement (on most days) of your commitment to follow through and show up for yourself. You show up, you grow up. Right? Yes, people may squirm a little at your newfound laser focus and unflinching determination, but, c’mon you’re actually helping them take a look at themselves. Not everybody will be thanking you for that. Not your problem. Keep your keepers close by and you’ll have a shock-proof support system.

We need more dreamers. More chance takers. More why-the-hell-not-ers. We need you! Desperately.

Today, if you dare, take just 15 minutes to do that thing that you’ve been wanting to do (or dreading – same coin sometimes). Write, paint, google Costa Rica flights, research that class, tie up those sneaks, make that call. We all deserve to live truly now. Not later. Not at 65. And hell no, not after surviving one of life’s wake-up calls. Now.


“Listen, Lupus, you didn’t come into this life just to sit around on a dugout bench, did ya? Now get your ass out there and do the best you can.” – Coach Buttermaker

Grandmas Know Best

parenthood.jpeg[5 minute read]

The grandma in Parenthood can do no wrong. She is a solid lady. Wise and idyllic in her presence and words. The roller coaster monologue is award worthy for life’s best lessons given by fictional grandmas. Seeing her makes me miss mine. Times are tough. But aren’t they always? Uncertain times undoubtedly make us yearn for times when life was simpler and the biggest concern was if we would kick the can before being tagged.   If you were lucky enough to know your own, grandmas and grandpas forever hold a special place in our hearts. So, in honor of that…

Dear Meems,

17 years. Wow. You’ve been gone that long? Really?

In an instant, I can still hear your deep throaty chuckle and see the twinkle in your eyes as they squint with laughter. I smell the kibbie baking in the oven and see your wooden “ditty” spoon sitting there just waiting for me to give it a reason for a quick whack on my butt from being too fresh.  I hear the stairs squeaking as you head to your study to really nail down this “email thing”. I sneak another fudge stripes cookie from the plastic avocado green cookie jar and throw a satisfied smile at the ditty spoon. I slide my pinkie finger perfectly through the whole of this chocolate deliciousness, slowly nibbling around it with the same amount of joy that comes from peeling dried glue off of my hand. I hear your lighter click and the smoky wave of Kent Gold 100’s makes its way to my nose.  I smile knowing that soon enough a frustrated grunt will be following in its wake and a fresh pack of cigs will be nabbed from the freezer. More power to you for attempting the computer with blue haired indignation that fed your determination. Speaking of, the last few years have brought major love and determination in our kitchen. Who would’ve thought that cooking could actually give me peace of mind? Bonus: anytime I reach for a pot or pan I am instantly transported to your driveway for our New Year’s tradition of banging them over our heads like two wild animals. The hell with the neighbors! They may have been seeing red but we were seeing nothing but the glowing stars above our heads. Even now, a simple flip up of my head and those stars give me an immediate sense of warmth and protection. They let me know that you’re okay.  Silly right? To hope that you’re okay. Of course, you are. Know how I know? When I speak to you, you listen. I hear you. Now. I see you. Now. I love you – even more. Now.  “To thine own self be true,” you would say. I believe that more and more the older I am. And yes, when you suggest that I lighten up, I do listen up. But of course, you already know that.(Wink, wink.)

Oh, Meems. Thank you for the loving strength and the sincerest curiosity you continue to deliver to me in this uncertain world.
All of my love,

Kristy
dsc_0065

(The peak of my glue peeling stage. Me (L), Meems (C), Big Sissy (R) )


Parenthood (1989, dir Ron Howard) The Buckmans are a midwestern family all dealing with their lives: estranged relatives, raising children, pressures of the job, and learning to be a good parent and spouse.  

Karen: I happen to LIKE the roller coaster, okay? As far as I’m concerned, your grandmother is brilliant.

Gil: Yeah, if she’s so brilliant, why is she sitting in our NEIGHBOR’S CAR?