Thoughts At 2:30- 3

I have worked nearly every day at one of my many bar tending jobs for the last few weeks. I have a much larger post in the works for bar etiquette and how to treat service workers in general. In the meantime, based on the past week here are a few quick tips worth noting for anyone who plans to go out:

  • I am super nice… you should be too. Just think, if we both stay on this page together, we might become best friends.
  • If you don't like anything on the menu, eat elsewhere. Seriously, there are so many options available in this big beautiful world today. Also, no our mac and cheese is not Kraft, I assume you could have just made that at home. No? WHY ARE YOU HERE?!?!
  • The kitchen closes at eleven and if you want me to jump back there and play cook now that the actual chef has gone home who will serve you drinks? Think this one fully through. Plus, I know I am amazing and talented and I appreciate that you think me to be fully capable of jumping between positions, but I am not trained to cook this menu. Do you now how to perform all of the job tasks of every different position in your field? Good for you if you can, you deserve a raise.
  • Please don't go on and on about how incredible I am and then tip me 13%. If you are going to tip crappy, fine I can't fix your insensitivity, but you are not required to compliment and then confuse me by saying one thing and then doing another.

I honestly have so much more to say on all of this, a giant rant is on the way. I was told when I first started bar tending that my overall love of people would diminish. I'm sad to say that this is true, but I still love people more than I loathe them; I'm trying to hold on to that, so please help out.

I love my job, I really do.

Thoughts At 2:30- 2

"Take care of yourself" Loved ones and friends say this as fluidly as "goodbye" or "talk to you later" but I never really heard it as something different until today. For whatever reason, this morning when it was said to me I realized I'm not taking care of myself; and I should be. Those four words had lost meaning somehow because they are said so flippantly and often times even reduced down to a simple, "take care".

I'm really trying, but I feel so much pressure to take care of other people and I'll admit I don't understand the balance yet. The fear of being labeled selfish or self-centered has paralyzed me for much of my life and I think my scale has tipped too far in the other direction. Some days lately I haven't even been getting out of bed and I know it is because if I find the time to do something for my own life, that means I technically have the time to listen to all the other demands around me. I don't know how to tell people that I have nothing left to give some days. This formula leaves me saying yes to more than I can handle.

I need to get up in the morning and clean my apartment, deal with finances, write in my blog and exercise. Those are the areas of my life that I most often neglect. How do I find the energy for those important tasks and still balance the areas I have been successful in? I have a handle on my jobs, my family relationships and my friends but all of those involve a lot of work, thought and giving. I'm not complaining, simply trying to resolve where I find reserves of fuel for the rest.

I want to take care of everyone; to be the girl that is known as loving, reliable and giving, but I need to find a way to also give parts of that girl back to myself.IMG_0564

Thoughts At 2:30 - 1

So I'm obviously behind on my  31 posts in 31 days goal, but I'm still determined to do it. So today I came up with an idea to help. Two-thirty is the time almost every day when I am free, so I will write a brief post about my thoughts for the day at 2:30 every day for the rest of the month. This is also a good plan because I find 2:30 to be the exact time each day that my brain is at it's slowest. Perhaps this will provide me with a reason to jump start those lagging cranial cells.

Today I spent the whole morning and early afternoon in a hospital waiting room with my Grandmother for a minor surgical procedure. This of course had me thinking a lot about what each individual person in the waiting area must be dealing with. Nobody is in this hospital for a routine check up, they all have something major going on for themselves or a loved one. More than that, none of these people want to be there. So for each filled seat in that sad windowless room, I felt worry, fear, grief and sadness.

It makes some of the trivial day to day stuff seem okay right? I would never want to discredit people's day to day trials and tribulations, but it's sunny and warm out today and I was in the hospital for someone else who is doing well for the most part. So at least for the rest of the day I will try to keep that in my mind for perspective. I will also send out a big burst of super Ninja Squee sunshine energy for anyone who is sitting in a hospital waiting room because I know it's tough and I hope there is good on the horizon.

This is Ninja Squee; she loves everyone.

The Beast Of Adulthood

Being an adult is hard. I feel like my responsibilities are a game of whack a mole, always hitting one while three more pop up. Feelings of tension and suspense are held throughout my body because there are so many things that people never talk about and that spring up on me like a creepy mustachioed guy in a dark alley.3-ZOO-MULLET As a little girl I knew about things like rent, groceries, car payments and pet expenses, but for some reason no parent ever sits you down and explains that car insurance is different from health insurance is different from renters insurance. Forget about flood insurance, I assume that won't be explained to me until I'm in the middle of drowning in a super storm. I should invest in some pool floaties.

I work as hard as a person can; I currently have four bar tending jobs, three freelance websites and a varied number of freelance writing gigs. I still perform comedy consistntly but let's not factor in money from that because even when I do make some it's not much (I'm in it for the glamor). I pay my bills, on time and in full. My only debt is student loans that don't add up to even a fraction of what most people have so I don't complain. I've never abused credit cards, gone on expensive vacations or gambled. So how is it possible that I feel like I can never catch up?

I have recently discovered the horror/magic that is Price Right as a way to save money.

  • Horror because:
  1. The meat and produce is questionable but undeniably cheap
  2. The whole building smells like old rice and chicken
  3. I'm almost certain the walls are closing in or the stacks of cheap product are moments away from crushing me
  4. The people there give Wal-Mart regulars good competition
  5. I may have been briefly molested in the bean/canned good aisle
  • Magic because:
  1. The questionable meat and produce is delicious when hidden in a casserole
  2. I got my whole cart-load for $43 dollars (when I normally spend $100)
  3. The people there inspire the most incredible characters for my comedy
  4. I am forced to remember my own cloth bags which helps save the planet
  5. I may have been briefly molested in the bean/canned good aisle

This stuff is never covered in high school.

On top of being responsible for bills I still have to juggle being socially, physically and emotionally healthy when the powers that be are working against me.

Socially it is harder and harder to meet people post-schooling because there aren't as many new people your age around you. I play on a kickball league, actively participate in local theatre, write and perform with a sketch/improv troupe, go to local political and social events through the magazines and network from behind the bar. Yet somehow in my efforts to find a full-time day job people say, "you have to know someone". I KNOW EVERYONE... IT ISN'T WORKING. I'm well spoken, I don't smell like warm car pork, my teeth are always brushed, my clothes are lovely and I don't speak openly about my frequent gas so what am I missing here?

Physically my body works against me more and more as I age. This is a well known fact but it doesn't make it any less depressing when it starts happening. Don't get me wrong, I have a rockin' bod (am I hip enough to use that term?) but I have been eating a lot of leafy greens and lean proteins lately to keep that true. As a kid I didn't even know the term, "lean protein" and now I probably say it once a day. Salads are awesome, but less and less so when they invade your subconscious and turn your poo odd colors (odd colors for poo is ANY color that isn't in the brown family). I still remember what it felt like to run and run all day long in my yard, feeling like I had energy to spare for the monkey bars and tree climbing. Now I have to use sad things like "couch to 5k phone app" which in the first few weeks proves that running for 60 seconds is wretched and later that running for a whole five minutes is doable but still wretched.

treadmill love 3treadmill love 2

Training smart is multitasking

Emotionally I'm a mess. My parents really did a number on me; I know this because my therapist feels I should consider two sessions a week instead of just one (he claims it is because I am making so much progress but I know I'm kooky). I also know this because everyone's parents mess them up somehow, you just don't feel the major effects until you are stressed about all the aforementioned "adult" things. Once anxiety closes in, the 1992 barbie convertible crash on the stairs becomes the reason why I have unpaid parking tickets.

The thing that scares me the most is that I'm pretty sure I'm doing all this stuff right, and I still feel lost. I constantly meet people who talk to me about the crazy drugs they do, their drinking problem, their rental eviction and I think, "okay, I sleep with a stuffed animal, but I'm alright."

I like that I am quirky and fun in a lot of the same ways I was when I was a kid and I know that I am responsible enough of the time to be a decent adult. Scratch that, I'm doing well, but in all honesty I'm not ready to just be a grown-up and I am fine if that day never comes. Maybe there is no right way, and the trick to being an adult is letting the entire concept go and living sensibly each moment that I can. In this moment I'm going to eat peanut butter off a knife for dinner with coco puffs for dessert all while on my couch watching Star Trek (Next Generation of course). I think 8-year-old me would be crazy impressed.

Year One

One year ago today I wrote about my mother's passing on day one. Looking back I see that much has changed but the missing her has not lessened. My Uncle Michael said to my Aunt, "The hole in your heart will never go away, but over time it will hurt less to touch it". I'm not there yet, but I do take some comfort in knowing that the first year is the toughest and I have conquered it with gusto. Within the past year I molded my life into something that makes me happy everyday. The constant sadness just below the surface runs through me but does not tarnish the parts of my life containing joy. The hardest part about being happy is wanting to share everything with her. I do find things slightly less satisfying without her telling me how proud she is or seeing her face in an audience.

Knowing that I have to self-affirm and hear her from within myself is sort of like having a big salad for dinner. I know it's healthy and I know I'll feel better and stronger afterwords but it's less instantly gratifying. I tire of hearing, "your mother is with you and you know what she would say". Yes, that is true and the sentiment is appreciated if only for it's good intention, but mostly I just want her. My frustration at her being always gone is tangible and it makes the air somehow harder to breathe; yet I keep breathing because I have to.

I appreciated my mother when she was around, always. She and I got an extra amount of quality time in, between my illness and hers. We got the unique opportunity to truly take care of each other for an extended period of time and every minute was just me with my very best friend. She once told me while sitting in the DMV, "You make everything so much fun. It's a talent you've always had." I felt the same way about her.

She was at almost all of my chemotherapy treatments and I was at almost all of hers. I loved them and I know she did too. How we took something so terrible and draining and turned it into days full of laughter and fun can only be explained by our magic. Last week I found myself back in a Cancer Treatment Center with my Grandmother, specifically the one where I had received my radiation treatments and I felt panicked. Sitting in that waiting room I saw all the sick people and I wanted to scream and cry and felt an overwhelming need to just get out. I thought at the time that I just couldn't take any more hospitals or doctors offices and that is part of what I was feeling. Mostly though I realize it was that I wanted to be there with her. I saw people sitting in treatment chairs and getting their blood-work and eating their lunch from the cart that goes around the room and It was all so familiar but now missing from my life. I miss those terrible sandwiches and I miss getting myself a regular V8 and my mother a low sodium V8 and then watching her add salt packets to it (the most adorable sight to behold). I miss waiting hours to see a doctor and having it feel like minutes because we could always talk indefinitely. I miss being able to make everyone else in the treatment room smile with our infectious energy. No matter if either of us were struggling through the process, we kept each other afloat. We were unstoppable.

I think that's why I believed she would never die. I got better right? I'm healthy and strong now because of her, so I believed that our love could heal anything. The reality is that my cancer was more treatable and that she fought as long as she could but she was dealt a poor hand.  I didn't face that until after she was gone. I wanted her to fight more and didn't allow myself to see how tired and weak she had become because I always saw her as the strong, capable and beautiful woman who raised me.

I see that woman even more clearly now. Her absence has given me the opportunity to re-frame and see her in a new light. Losing her thrust me into adulthood even though I thought I was already there; I look back at her now as a woman and she is forever my guide.

In this past year I have learned that chasing a career that I am passionate about is worth all my best efforts and I will never do anything else. I have learned that I am capable of a type of love and nurturing that I only ever knew in that magnitude from her. I learned that I am everything she ever said I was and knew I could be. I've learned that family is worth the extra time and that it can be found anywhere, especially in good friends. I have learned to ask for help and give myself time to be sad. I have learned that I can live without her but I am allowed to still feel like I can't.

Us at the beginning.

To my mother on the one year anniversary of her death: To think this world has seen a year without you feels unreal and impossible but I have missed you every moment. Today does not mark the time when this journey gets easier, because you are worth missing for a lifetime. Thank you for giving me passion from your life and in your passing. I love you, I love you, I love you forever.

The Night Before

One year ago right now I was home. I was getting ready for bed knowing that I might wake up in a world where my mother wasn't alive. A part of me was hoping it would happen in the night so I wouldn't have to sit in hospice watching her in a state I knew she'd have hated. If it had felt like my choice I never would have spent even a moment in that hospice room. I was told that I would regret not spending the final days with her, and that she might need me there. That was bullshit.

The person I saw when I first got there was someone in so much pain that she couldn't even recognize me. I left the room and sat in the hallway just outside the door. From inside her room I could hear her constant moaning and the nurse trying to reassure her that the medication would kick in soon. I wanted to run away. I was there because someone else had told me it was shameful that I didn't want to be. I felt guilty and angry and horrified. Mostly I felt helpless. My grandmother arrived shortly after and I warned her not to go into the room just yet, trying to spare her the scene I will have forever burned in my memory.

My mother was in that room for only a few days. My aunt and sister rushed home and we all spent hours sitting around her bed. The days were endless so we would quietly chat or work on addressing Ricca and Shane's save-the-date cards. We played Mahler, my mothers favorite composer, bouncing from symphony to symphony to convince ourselves she had something pleasurable. She slept; she had been asleep since the nurse had calmed her writhing that first day and they kept her comfortable until the end.

My aunt and step-father were dutiful. They were there first thing in the morning and I think even late into the night. I'm actually not sure how long they were there because I stayed 4 or 5 hours and could not take any more. I couldn't be the one who put lip balm on her to keep her mouth from drying. I couldn't talk to her like she could hear me or sit there for hours hoping that it was helpful in some way. That woman wasn't her anymore and I resented all of it. I am grateful that my aunt and step-father could be there. Maybe having them there did comfort her, but I know my mother well enough to hear the advice she would have given me. It took me until after she died to push out all the other voices, all telling me what I should do regarding my own mother's death; then there was just my voice and hers saying, "Go live your life."

Of course the thing I've learned is that her voice and mine are one in the same now. I think like her, talk like her, make decisions based on what I know she would do and I live my life with her spirit and gumption. I'm angry that I allowed other people to sway me to choose something that wasn't right for me. I wish I could erase the person I saw in that hospice bed or the hours I spent frozen in horror at the whole scene.

Tomorrow I will wake up and it will be just like a year ago; still living in a world where she is gone. I will have done that 365 times and somehow the repetition hasn't healed the wound yet. I will get up and go live my life and strive to remember her as alive, glowing and vibrant. That is what she would want, and now more importantly I realize that it is what I want, and that is what really matters.

My mother the constant ham

Thirty-One Posts

Last year in the month of November I committed to writing thirty blog entries in thirty days. This was admittedly a way to give myself a jump after the death of my mother in October. This year, with the anniversary of this loss looming, I'm starting the new challenge of writing thirty-one posts in a month. Day one of the month I missed the very first post. I can say that it's because I was in Vermont with no service or that I have an incredibly nasty cold, both are true, but I still could have done it. Excuses, even when they are real, are still no good.

For last years challenge I missed plenty of days and was left at the end with a lot to make up in just a few days. I had someone telling me that I should be content with having written more posts than normal and to just stop. I was told not to be so hard on myself to write so much in the final throws and I would do better next time. Well I didn't listen to that; I wrote every single post that I had promised. Three days of sitting in my pj's and facing delirium, writers block, pets who were determined to sleep on my keyboard or barf on my coffee table, and random fits of giggles didn't stop me. When I hit that goal I knew I had done right by my mother and more importantly myself.

I have been afraid to set a goal that large for a while now, but I feel ready to take on more.

I'm sure in the upcoming weeks I will have countless reasons to skip a day or put off writing, and that's okay. As long as when Halloween rolls around with that scary 31 on the calendar I finish my thirty first post by midnight. I missed day one and I will have to write multiple posts on another day to make up for that, but at least I didn't let that first hurdle stop me. I could have moved the whole thing to November and excused myself by saying that I would make it an annual event, but I won't take that road. I want the month I had first told myself I would do; the month that is longer, filled with more fun fall distractions and the month with the most emotional charge. Bring it on.

Look at that, I just finished the first post, bedridden with a cold and everything. Thirty left to go.

Grief.

My mother died. Everyone knows. I say it to people I've only known a short while because it is so a part of my reality I feel it's impossible to hold it in. I make people uncomfortable by blurting it out in a conversation about groceries or the weather or their dog. Everything makes me think of her.

I talk to her. I call out to her daily knowing she will not respond and still feel panic and grief when nothing comes back. Am I sensing that the air around me feels warm because I need her to be there or is she really there?

If I talked about my unending sadness as often as I feel it, I would wear thin the generosity of those in my life who I know would never stop listening. Some days I want to talk about it the entire day, cry and scream with someone else there. I am not sure why someone else being there would comfort me but it would. I don't know how to ask for this type of support because having to verbalize my need for it degrades its constance. Saying the words, "I need to talk about my mother" feel obvious and weighted. Nobody would ever say no, but I cannot ask.

I scream alone, I cry so hard that I emit guttural sounds that alarm even me. If someone else were there to see it, to accept it, to hold me and encourage my screaming I might feel better. When I weep in solitude it feels like an effort to connect with her, to smell her, to feel her big red hair engulfing me, to sense her presence. I feel her everywhere and nowhere all at once and it takes my breath away.

My sister got married this past weekend. Her wedding, her dress, how incredibly beautiful she looked all exceeded my expectations. She was perfect, he is perfect for her and every moment was so effortlessly "them". Their friends, the food, the venue, the ceremony, it was all this beautiful reflection of how happy they are and although I knew it would be an emotional time, I didn't know I would feel it so deeply. We all cried the whole day. We cried because we were happy and we cried because we were sad. My mother would have sobbed the entire day; nobody I have ever known cried so many tears of joy as she did. A few stray notes from a symphony or a hug from a loved one could hairline trigger her tears.

During the ceremony the officiant announced they were lighting a candle to honor my mother. I knew about it beforehand but apparently not the timing of it and I was so overcome with grief I felt I wanted to run away. Instead I cried uncontrollably in front of everyone. Seeing dozens of guests sympathy and personal sorrow while I stood on display made it more impossible to get my weeping under control. My eyes searched the scene for anything, I don't know what I was looking for but I found my sisters face and she found mine and for a moment we both reached out our hands. I have never loved a person more than I loved her in that instant.

It was knowing that she and I understood the loss in the same way and moreover, that we were in this together. That connection with each other would have made my mother weep with joy.

This week I need my mommy. The world is an intensely scary place.

I am an adult. I am an adult. I am an adult. Right? Some days I am charged by a motivating force and I can accomplish anything I tackle. I want to make my mother proud and show her that she doesn't have to worry, I am doing it. Other days I am a six-year-old lost on the beach, frantically looking for my mothers umbrella. The waterfront is long and the people on the sand are dense. All I can do it search under the dozens of umbrellas I think are my mother, feeling I will never find her. I need to find her because she is my mom, an everyday concept I never and always took for granted when I had her.

I read a book by Ann Hood called Comfort; it is about her passage through grief after losing her 5-year-old daughter. Although I couldn't relate every experience that came from her specific loss, I couldn't put the book down. I have never read a whole book in a day, until now.

In the prologue the first sentence is, "Time heals." Reading that arrangement of letters on the page I found myself wanting to trust that it was true. I read it over and over with purposeful breathing willing myself to believe it. If time heals then some day I will ache less.

On page 133 a chapter begins with, "Time doesn't heal."

I suddenly felt that Ann had betrayed me. She had lied to me and was taking it all back; I could no longer believe that someday I might be lighter again. It doesn't surprise me how quickly I let go of the original phrase from the prologue, somewhere in my mind I knew it was never true. Yet the latter sentence made me feel better; it let me know that if I miss my mother this much every single day forever, that is okay. I am allowed to feel emptiness and fear, I will even admit that I want to feel those things. The idea that I will never get over this makes her special and she was incredibly special.

I do not remember the good in my mother because she is gone, I remember it because it is all that she was; good. Even the things we used to fight about or the times when she made me cuckoo came entirely from her goodness. We would fight about a bill I had neglected or I would get mad when she gave me advice I didn't want to hear. That was just her being a mother, caring for me and guiding me through life. It made me insane that she didn't get out enough or that she held on to so many things in her house. Tiny, curled up her on the couch with a book and a pen to mark the words that moved her or write he thoughts in the margins. There are shelves of books with pages containing bits of her and her experiences with novels she read over and over. She would wrap up one bite of food to save for later if she didn't finish it so that she wouldn't waste even one morsel and tall glasses with one sip filled the fridge in her house. It's too much for that to be gone. To open the ice box at my parents home and see normal leftover portions or the lack of a phone call to yell at me about a parking ticket is a loss of so much good.

I want to write forever to tell about how extraordinary she was. If I can just make others see what the world has lost then somehow I will find her, or feel it less. How can people not feel the difference in the energy the earth is missing? I want to shake strangers and say, "Don't you sense that?! The air from the world is gone and you act like everything is the same." The best way I've ever read this sentiment came from an article in the New Yorker written by a girl with an experience so similar to mine I now reread the article regularly. She says, "A man was out on the street walking his dog. I stared at him, waiting for some sign of acknowledgement that the fundamentals of life had changed. He kept on strolling, of course. How stupid of me, to think that everyone knew."

These times occur when the normal everyday stresses of life seem so petty and cumbersome on top of my grief that it all spills over. I have to still push forward, find joy, work hard and live fully in spite of this void.  Some days I hope that "time heals" and on others I know that "time doesn't heal". I will navigate the eternal struggle and even find comfort in knowing I loved someone that much.  I am grounded and managing in the unalterable reality that strikes me time and again. My mother died.

Us.
Us.

Cured?

Sometimes life landmarks just sneak up on you. Today marks the five-year anniversary of my final cancer treatment, which is more than just a number on a calendar; this marks the day that I am no longer in remission. I am officially cured. I should feel happy right?

I do. I feel lucky and strong and healthy and accomplished, but the day is incomplete without my partner through it all. Of course I am speaking of my mother. I look back on my illness and all I can see now are the months of her by my bedside. When I was in the hospital she would spend many nights curled up in a tiny ball on the chair next to me in spite of my insisting she go home to her bed. I always meant it when I said I would be fine on my own for the evening, but when I would wake up at 2am in pain, seeing her asleep nearby, I felt relief.

On the hardest days, when I was really sick of being sick my mother would tell me to close my eyes. She would run her fingers gently along my arms and up to my hairline and she would say, "imagine it is years from now; you are healthy and happy and your life is far away from hospitals and doctors. You will look back on this time and you won't remember exactly how much it hurt or how long it lasted, it will become a blip on your radar. You will eventually struggle to remember the moments you thought were so painful you could never forget."

She was right. I remember the bone marrow biopsy that I swore hurt more than anything I had ever experienced, but now my memory isn't of the pain. What I can recall is her face through the bars of the hospital bed, her always cool tiny hands clutching mine and the expression of a love so deep that she felt my pain through it. Looking straight at her reminded me that my life was still going on and some familiar things remained. Because of her, my memory of that procedure is not a bad one, but rather a moment where we were together and connected. Someday I will love my children this deeply in part because of that five minutes where I saw her, caring, selfless and desperate to take me away from it all. She just looked me right in the eyes and squeezed; I cried and she cried and then it was over.

I never thought then that when I reached this day she wouldn't be here with me. We talked about spending the day going out to eat and laughing and not talking at all about cancer. I should have planned something for the day so that I could appreciate what a milestone it is, but without her I cannot truly celebrate the way we had expected. I am cured in the moments when I think about how lucky I was to get that time with her, I would do it all again if it meant I was near her.

Today is just one moment in time. In several hours it will be over and I begin the next chapter of my life as a healthy twenty-something without the worries of CAT scans and check ups. She and I got through it together and for that I am forever changed. When I look back it will all be a blip on the radar, but everything that she was and all the things she did for me will define my thoughts and actions always.

 

Full Time Job Hunting

Applying for full time jobs is a full time job… only horrible.

  • At a full time job I get paid money for my time and energy — applying for a full time job full time I spend money on icky things like resume paper and interview outfits.
  • At a full time job I have a place to show up everyday where people are glad to see me — applying for a full time job full time I show up at Panera to try to befriend with the teenage workers and realize I will never be cool with them (my long-term goal is to get a free asiago cheese bread hookup).
  • At a full time job I am given guidelines and tasks to be productive — applying for a full time job full time I set my own guidelines and tasks such as, "put on pants today" and "I can eat food once I've sent out 5 resumes".
  • At a full time job I make friends and collaborate on projects with like minded people — applying for a full time job full time I have built a relationship with the dog while seeking advice on cover letters and discuss peace treaties with the cats regarding their sitting on the computer keyboard.
  • At a full time job I get to go to office parties and events— applying for a full time job full time I choreograph dances to the entire Frozen Soundtrack and celebrate things like National Ravioli Day and my half-birthday.
  • At a full time job I feel a sense of accomplishment after a hard days work — applying for a full time job full time I feel like I accomplished nothing tangible after a hard days work so I solve a crossword puzzle to feel like I am winning (Monday puzzles only when trying to achieve this sense of defeat).
  • At a full time job I get health benefits that are handled by human resources — applying for a full time job full time I learn the ins and outs of the Health Source RI webpage and by that I mean: the website takes me in circles and then laughs in my face when, after four hours of filling out the same boxes it tells me the site is undergoing maintenance and will be down until after the deadline to apply (seriously, I heard it laugh).
  • At a full time job I am up for promotions and hear praise from the higher ups when I accomplish my goals  — applying for a full time job full time, upgrading my Pandora account for 99 cents is my only promotion and when I accomplish my goal to apply for at least 10 jobs a day I hear, "You are awesome and we hope you will consider applying for other positions with our company in the future but we are going in another direction this time." So that is a little bit like praise right?

I do feel a sense of pride that through all of this I push forward and continue to search for that elusive, "you're hired". I am getting to know my abilities and strengths on a whole new level and I have found there is nothing I cannot accomplish. My grandmother often says to me, "every 'no' is a step on the path to the job you were meant for".

Each "no" will make that final "yes" endlessly valuable to me.

  • What a daily work meeting looks like at my apartment

None Of Your Business Questions

In my day to day I am aware of the questions that are off limits; they sit there begging to be asked for the sake of curiosity but I pass them up because I know rude. For example, nowadays you can almost never ask a woman when her due date is. I will speak on this one from a personal trip I took to NYC a while back when on two separate occasions people older and heavier than me offered me their seat on the subway (needless to say that kick started my diet). Those passengers were just trying to be polite but intentions could not cure the sting. Most people know that weight is an off limits topic and outrage is common when I tell this story. So why is it then that other personal matters are not left ungrilled by outsiders?

One question I take real issue with is the many versions of, "when are you getting married?" I am an unmarried twenty-seven year old who has seen several serious relationships and a scattering of less serious dating.  Somehow the topic of conversation, even with complete strangers just meeting me, always leads to my "inevitable" nuptials. At the end of a recent relationship I was swarmed with people asking me what I consider to be NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS QUESTIONS:

  • "Oh, so he wasn't the one?" -- obviously not if we are breaking up... thanks for asking.
  • "He didn't want to get married?" or "You didn't want to get married?" -- it is possible that one of us did and that is why we broke up so it's awesome to talk about it now. It is also possible that neither of us did; either way this is diving into my personal relationship in a way that feels like bad touching.
  • "So do you think you will marry the next person you date?"-- umm, I don't know him yet so it's tough to say. I'll work on finding the answer to that one so when I meet him I can let him know that I have already decided we will be together forever (this is what leads to women looking like lunatics).
  • "Do you think you will ever get married?" -- this is a lose-lose for me; if I say yes I have revealed that it is something I want but haven't gotten right yet and if I say no I have to answer the very personal, "Why not?" that would follow.

Here is the problem, society has not caught up with itself yet. People are getting married later and later in life but the standards in the minds of some are still caught up in the old traditions. The habits of posing these queries are seeded deeper than the knowledge that times have changed.

It is all mindless questioning, or the classic idea that not everything that comes into the head should be slated to come out of the mouth. As an extreme instance of people who just don't know what they are doing as they blurt things out: I have a friend who lost a baby during pregnancy. She and her husband were going through one of the most painful things a couple can endure and she was handling it with more strength and grace than I ever could have imagined. She chose to talk to me about it openly, with a rawness that made me see her as the warrior she never knew was. They are trying to move forward with their grief but still must live with it daily. Now imagine what she must endure when someone who doesn't know her situation asks her if she and her husband will ever have kids.

Why is it that on some topics people know better and with others they ask so free and loose? What if for every NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS QUESTION I fired back with another more blatant NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS QUESTION? Let's play that out and see:

  • "So when do you think you'll get married?"
  • Response: "So when do you think you'll start exercising?"
  • "Do you think you'll ever have children?"
  • Response: "Do you think you'll ever have a real job?"
  • "Why hasn't he popped the question yet?"
  • Response: "Why haven't you and your spouse considered divorce?"
  • "You've been together so long, have you even had the talk?"
  • Response: "You've been overweight for as long as I can remember, have you ever even tried dieting?"
  • "Do you ever wonder if you should have married so-and-so instead of breaking up?"
  • Response: "Do you ever wonder if you should have worn a wedding dress with shoulder pads instead of something classy?"

My point is that the former questions are no more or less inappropriate than the latter but somehow these are the ones that slip past the rude radar and come flying out.

Social media has not helped the situation either; it is simpler to say anything with the protection of a computer and distance between two people. I cannot count the number of times I have seen a friend post something nice about their relationship or life and some moron will comment, "Why don't I see a ring yet? Tell him to get on it! LOL!" First of all, on a separate note: adding "LOL" to a comment online does not soften the blow of stupidity, I am still getting hit with that. Next, have those guilty of this never considered that this could be a real point of contention in the relationship and now the can of worms is open? I can guess that at least once (and that is estimating way on the low end here) one party in the relationship has shown this comment to the other to prove their point that it is time they made that move.

"Look honey, Aunt Suzie thinks an engagement is long overdue" has never resulted in two people living happily ever after. That either plays out with a huge fight about why we don't let Aunt Suzie with a "z" make our life choices or the pressure gets to be too much and someone makes the choice to get married due to outside influence rather than personal needs. I have seen an epidemic of people my age getting married to the wrong person and I think a lot of times it is a result of external expectations.

My newest paint creation...
My newest paint creation...

Yes, I am a twenty-seven year old female with no husband and no children. This is a result of choices I have made and which I stand behind. I love having the freedom to do comedy every night of the week. I love that I danced to funk music for hours on a Wednesday night and I look back fondly on my relationships but have no regrets. For the sake of disclosure I will admit I do want to get married, but to the right partner, not just at the imaginary right time. I'm in no hurry to force something, but even if I were, my timeline is mine to own and talk about when I please, not for anyone else to prod into unsolicited.

Muffins Are Deceitful

Muffins are the jerks of the breakfast world. Some things about jerks:

  • Usually we are drawn to them.
  • They are enticing and usually have some undeniable good qualities.
  • They are not good for anyone.

This all applies to muffins as well.

Let me go back in time to the beginning of my hatred for these baked tricksters. I joined weight watchers my junior year of college and was instantly enlightened about many of the foods I had been eating frequently. The first things cut from my diet were juices and sodas because those proved not to be worth my daily points, I wanted food. After that I was evaluating the points values of my day to day meals and for the most part I knew the things that had been bad for me. I wasn't shocked about Kraft Mac and Cheese or Moose Tracks Ice Cream, when I was consuming those products before my diet I knew the part they played in my weight gain. One of the only foods that blindsided me was muffins.

In the category of breakfast baked goods bagels are upfront about their carb-tasticness, croissants ooze buttery scents from ten feet away and coffee cakes have dessert in their name and donuts wear their abundance of sugar proudly. I have never heard someone say, "I have a donut for breakfast most mornings, so I know I'm eating healthy." I have heard people say this about muffins... all the time.

Don't be swayed; stay strong. They are lying to you!

WE ARE BEING DECEIVED!

Many of the muffins being offered alongside these other options are worse than some of them combined.

I did some digging and here are some fun things I learned:

  1. Eating two donuts is less points than one muffin (that is not an endorsement for eating two donuts).
  2. Drinking three small orders of Caramel Mocha Coffee with cream is equal to one reduced fat muffin.
  3. One deluxe grilled cheese with bacon is less points than a regular muffin.

Muffins are cake; I know this. If I'm going to eat cake I want to go into it knowing what the situation is all about and I want there to be frosting as an indicator. A muffin is really like an UN-frosted cupcake with fruit jammed inside. Don't misunderstand, I love jamming fruit into my meals but that alone does not a balanced meal make. Even carrot cake knows its place. It has vegetables jammed inside of it but when I eat it I have the words "cake" and "cream cheese frosting" lingering in the back of my mind as a reminder that this is a splurge.

I am as awesome as a muffin is delicious but I am upfront about my talents and flaws. If I was a muffin, for example, I might apply for a job at NASA and dress like a space engineer and let them believe that I am trained to build a space shuttle even though I can do no such thing. When the big launch day came, chaos. This may seem extreme, but keep eating muffins for breakfast and wait a few months for a big occasion and tell me it doesn't feel like a disaster when you can't zip your clothes. That muffin never deserved the job as daily breakfast choice, but it sure dresses up as healthy.

Dammit though, do I go weak in the knees for a grilled muffin. CURSE YOU AND YOUR ADDED BUTTERY GOODNESS!

This fight isn't over yet muffins, I'm passionate and I will spread the word about your lies.

My original artwork. Needless to say this is why I'm a writer and not a graphic designer.

Girl Hate

As I have moved into my late twenties I have found I am more accepting of constructive criticism and being turned down because I have learned how to grow and improve from it. I'm working nights as a comedienne in Providence and Boston and looking for full time work during the day; every audition and interview is a chance for rejection. What I have more trouble with now is not my own failings but rather the successes of some others in my line of vision. Me and my three best friends showcasing our girl love (the opposite of girl hate)

In this I am not referring to my friends. Many of my girlfriends have seen success in the past year. Among my three best friends one was accepted into a PhD program at Harvard, one got an impressive job as an Occupational Therapist in a great hospital and the third got a huge promotion in her office. Each of them inspires me to do more and I can say in all honesty that I have never once had even a twinge of jealousy.

There are also acquaintances in my life who have a lot happening for them right now who I find myself rooting for and feeling motivated by. All I am trying to say is that a majority of the time, when good things happen to others, I have positive feelings. This stops being true for the people that I "girl hate".

Girl hate is my self appointed term for the people who incite rage inside me and never know or hear about it. Their way of going about life makes me feel as though my organs are melting and oozing from my pores in the form of magical fury. Let me be clear: I KNOW THIS IS IRRATIONAL (this knowledge does nothing to help).

I should make some clarifications here:

  • A person I know well who has wronged me: dislike or just plain hate.
  • A person I know as an acquaintance who has never wronged me: girl hate.

There are rules for girl hate though, as a way of keeping order in the world. These rules are necessary for appropriate girl hate etiquette and are in place because of the irrationality of the situation.

  1. The person I girl hate does not officially know I hate them. They may suspect if they also girl hate me or if they are particularly good at reading someone. They will not know because I am never mean to them. I will be extra winkly magical nice to them to try and offset my own internal struggle while standing in their proximity.
  2. They can not have officially wronged me. Once a negative interaction occurs I now have a real issue with them that must be talked through to resolve or I transfer into actual hate and simply move on. Actual hatred from a real conflict is something I can be an adult about and say "This person no longer fits into my life, nor I into theirs so I will minimize contact and personal thoughts of them."
  3. The entire feeling is immature so naturally I have to share it with other girls I am close with and see if they also girl hate this person. When you and your friends can vent and connect through girl hate real bonding happens.
  4. When going into a conversation about someone I girl hate with a new person I must tread lightly at first to gauge where the other stands. If I sense any amount of admiration or friendship in their words I must immediately say something complementary and swallow my girl hate.
  5. Never act on girl hate; things get ugly if I do because now I am the terrible person and I have to self reflect.
  6. The victim of my girl hate has to be a bad person in some way; girl hate cannot occur because someone is wonderful in every way and you are simply jealous.
  • jealousy + neutrality = move on and don't waste your energy on them, it's unproductive and toxic.
  • jealousy + admiration = work to be friends and overcome said jealousy.
  • jealousy + distaste of character = girl hate.

I was inspired on this topic recently because my girl hate has flared up for the first time in a while. She is a beautiful, skinny 21 year old, still in school with a job lined up for when she graduates and her own magazine column... is anyone else feeling the tingling of girl hate a little bit? I'll go on. Every time I have been around her she goes on and on about all her networking and who she knows, she talks about her workplace and how fun it is and how much initiative she has been taking to get ahead. She never asks me about me or inquires about my time at THE SAME COMPANY SHE IS NOW AT. She knows I used to be in her position and yet makes no effort to connect through this but rather just show me how awesome she is at it. Her outfits are always tight, tiny and wonderful and she has a permanent smile across her face that says, "I'm amazing and I can barely get over it today!"

At two recent events when I saw her she pushed my girl hate over the edge. The first was at a fashion show we were both attending with our tickets from the magazine and she had been there a few days earlier in the front row. I know for a fact she had been told that another girl from the publication would be in the front row that evening and she would be in the second with her friend. When we arrived on the runway she sat down right next to us front row so that when the editor showed up fashionably late moments before the show started she was shuffled behind us. This wretched joy monster made no move to get up from the seat she knew was not hers and even remained seated after the first show was over until she was asked by a woman in a headset to switch seats. I'm sorry, this woman sitting behind you is your boss and editor, you don't have to love that she is sitting front row but the seat is hers so don't be sneaky about it. White people drama, am I right?

The second night was only four days later so I can admit I was already fired up in my fresh girl hate. I show up to a presentation event and where is she sitting but right behind the projector in the seat reserved for our other boss who was actually running the evening. She sat there the whole night as though getting up from the seat would result in her losing it, so she was glued. This meant my friend and former boss stood for the whole event because he is nicer than me and wasn't willing to ask her to move. It was a high top bar chair so I was at least able to visualize my walking up to her and gently bumping her shoulder resulting in her toppling backwards for a long drop to the hard floor.

Sometimes a good handful of hair is all you want.

Visualization is key in handling feelings, but remember rule number 5, no action.

The silver lining to this whole night was that she was one of the presenters for the night, which initially when they called her up I almost barfed about. Then a miracle; I got to sit there for 6 minutes and 40 seconds of her bombing and making a total fool of herself. She tripped, stopped, asked the audience what she should say and nervously laughed her way through what I can only compare to a 5-year-old asked to present on Organic Chemistry. I was also redeemed when the unknown man next to me said out of the blue, "Why on earth is this girl up there?" followed by my girlfriend seeing my reaction and backing me up. Turns out she girl hates this girl too; WHOOPIE!

Note: I checked with a mutual friend to see if there was a chance this girl read my blog and I was told she does not (why would she? It's not about how amazing she is in every way.) I also didn't use names, thus no wrongdoing and I can carry on with my girl hate.

Lucas Resolutions for 2014

I know it is a few weeks into the new year and many of us have already ditched our resolutions so I thought I might put a different spin on things. I was recently watching my semi annual marathon of Star Wars episodes IV, V and VI and reflecting on how timeless they are. The dialogue, newly created worlds, creatures and characters have been with me my whole life and I still remember my older sister getting the complete Star Wars Encyclopedia and thinking it was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

Last year I started off 2013 with Tolkien Resolutions in two parts: the first for the heroes and second for the villains. To start a new tradition I will begin 2014 with the valuable lessons learned from the mind of George Lucas in two parts.

Why hang with this guy when you know your buddies are chilling in Cloud City?!
Why hang with this guy when you know your buddies are chilling in Cloud City?!

Of course I must begin with Luke Skywalker who has taught me so many things like, if I want to get my point across I should yell, even if I am in enemy territory and there are thousands of Stormtroopers looking for me. The main goal is being heard by my peers and nothing says, "I mean business and I know I'm right" like shouting. Another large takeaway from our baby faced protagonist is that patience is crap. Why sweat with a short wrinkly know-it-all in a swampy mess when you could be vacationing in Cloud City and meeting your dad for the first time? He was studying with Yoda for a few days at least and he learned everything he needed, I know this because he yelled it and I take that very seriously. Ghost Obi-Wan and Yoda lost that back and forth because they were using their inside voices; super ineffective.

Speaking of Obi-Wan--  this great Jedi Master inspired me to take on my battles in the new year with a whole new outlook. Go into a fight knowing you aren't going to win and while you are battling you won't have to put in very much effort. In the light saber duel between Obi Wan and Darth Vader, Master Kenobi is resolved in his losing so he sort of casually flails his weapon around waiting for the inevitable. Maybe he just didn't want to hang out with Luke anymore and listen to his whining or I guess you could say he was sacrificing himself to save the others; either way he was off the hook with putting in too much strenuous fighting. I think especially if someone knows they will come back as a fully formed communicating Ghost Jedi, they can put in little to no effort in their remaining days. He did shut down the Death Star tractor beams, so he played his part. It's like some days I get up, go for a run and cook a nice breakfast, after that maybe I can sit on the couch watching Law & Order SVU because I was productive already. Plus, if I submit to the addictive crime series I am sacrificing myself for the sake of others, my being home is distracting my Sith Lord cat Pooter from attacking my dog Piper and young kitty Ninja Squee.

Princess Leia is one of the only women we see in the entire trilogy (admittedly I cannot tell male from female for certain species, but I digress) and she uses her feminine charm wisely. First lesson: if the guy you like is being a jerk, make out with your brother to play hard to get and stir up jealousy.

"Thinking a bikini made me helpless was your first mistake. Your second was using a chain you kept attached to yourself to keep me hostage."
"Thinking a bikini made me helpless was your first mistake. Your second was using a chain you kept attached to yourself to keep me hostage."

Second lesson: when strangers come to rescue you from death, yell at them (the trait must run in the family), call their plan stupid  and make demands. When these people later become your friends and they try to rescue you, be sure to treat them no better; she wouldn't want to set the bar too high for how nice she is capable of being. Third lesson: you can fight bad guys no matter what outfit you are wearing, so you might as well look super hot in a skimpy bikini. Lesson four: Ewoks are friendly but grabby. I'm not sure how this translates to a resolution on this planet, but it's a good fact to know.

Chewbacca is probably the wisest in the group. He knows he can skip shaving and if someone makes a rude comment he doesn't have to put up with it. This year, if a guy makes a remark about my looks I'm going to let out a deep rumble/gurgle/moan and flail my arms with rage. I guarantee he will think twice before talking to me again.

Oh Han, you know I melt when you look at me like that.
Oh Han, you know I melt when you look at me like that.

I've been putting off talking about Han Solo because I get all giddy thinking about that sexy space pilot. I don't know if I can create any resolutions based on his actions because he is not the most cerebral character, but he does inspire me to try and meet a feisty man with an incredible physique and fabulous hair.

Yoda is the most powerful living Jedi in the Universe but that doesn't stop him from having a laugh now and again. If some punk kid thinks he is going to fly in and rush a process which usually takes years of practice and patience why not mess with him first? Yoda has it good; he convinces guys to carry him and cook for him even after he shows them up by using the force to levitate a spacecraft. Showcasing power when someone thinks you look weak is a great way to get people to do your bidding. So I think that means I should resolve to learn to use the force...? I'm on it.

We all know the lesson to learn from C-3PO and R2-D2 is about friendship. I'll just say it, C-3PO is smart but super annoying and R2-D2 knows how to keep him in line. Sometimes it is important to stick to your mission and let your friends act crazy, they will come around. At the very least a fleet of Jawas are usually good for reuniting lost friends so it is vital that you find a way to deal with others blathering on. At the end of it all, your friends are the ones who will reassemble you when you've been dismantled so learn to love their unique brand of odd.

I need to take more walks with my friends.
I need to take more walks with my friends.

Ode To A Father

Today is my stepdad Andy's birthday and I have never seen him more clearly than I do now. I write this post having just left dinner with him to celebrate the occasion and nobody in this world makes me feel more cared for than he does. Let me share some of the wonderful qualities that make him the very best. The most telling occurance I can think of to describe Andy is the story of his patched shirt from when I was 8 or 9 years old. Our dog, Dogberry had a habit of eating odd things and one day in the woods he found the scrap of an old cloth (a delicacy amongst pups I hear). A few hours later Dogberry proceeded to barf up said fabric in our house. A few hours after that, a wash cycle and some sewing, Andy had used the scrap to patch up an old shirt of his. We made jokes about it for years and may have even embarrassed him a few times, but it truly represented everything our little family unit cared about. My mother lived by conservation, so marrying a man who reused materials that had gone through a canines digestive track and back was a perfect fit.

Andy with my Piper when she was a puppy.

Andy is quiet, humble, brilliant and kind. He is masterful in the art of origami, sitting quietly for hours in his office creating new folds and studying pages and pages from books of old ones. He gardens, spending months planning out which seeds he will need for the year and exploring new produce for the yard. He walks the dogs for hours a day and cooks fresh dog food each week from ingredients procured at the weekend Farmer's Market. He bikes to and from his job at the Brown University Special Collections Library and if asked for a tour he will talk through the dozens of hidden historical gems housed there. He loves Tolkein, the Beatles, Harry Potter and recently called me to say he had discovered my CD of Buffy The Vampire Slayer The Musical and adores it. I think Andy might actually be the original hipster, but in the most genuine, effortless and cool way possible.

Andy showing off his garden.

More than the fact that his lifestyle tastes and hobbies are awesome, Andy is pure kindness. I think I spent years seeing him as my mothers husband who I thought was great and loved, but through her somehow. Recently I have realized he is a father. Since my mothers passing he and I have engaged in more than a few long, deep talks and I have seen him quietly take care of me. In my life, most of the people who have done things to care for me have done so in a grand fashion or in a way that demanded recognition. I think I am that way too; I do a lot for other people but always need to hear that they noticed. Andy has been watching out for my well being for years without ever needing praise or attention.

He is quiet, but when he says something it is everything. A majority of the wisest and most helpful things ever uttered to me have come from him in times when I needed it most. When I was ill a few years ago and had to cut off all my long hair to keep up with how quickly it was falling out, nobody could convince me that I was still beautiful. Everyone told me all day that I pulled it off and that I had a great shaped head or that I had a face for short hair and I'm sure they meant it, but I wasn't buying. Andy came over to walk my dog for me and as he was about to leave my apartment he stopped and looked at me for a long second. He said, "you look really great with that haircut... you look like a girl from the Mickey Mouse Club that I always thought was the most beautiful girl in the world."

I just felt how much he meant it, and it made everything okay.

Pet wrangling at home

That is one instance out of an endless number of interactions that saved me in a moment. I am so blessed to finally see Andy for the parent he has been for the past 21 years. I love him for never needing credit and for always doing what was best for me even to his own peril at times. That is what being a father really is and thanks to him I feel like I have someone left in this world as my parent to teach me. He has taught me about having hobbies, nature, composting, oldies music, woodwork, patience and a million other dynamic things that have enriched my life. I no longer love him because my mother loved him, although that was a powerful reason for many years. I love him for the relationship we now have because of and in spite of the loss of my mom and even though he asks for no recognition, he deserves it more than anyone I have ever known.

Happy birthday Andy.

Our little family Thanksgiving 2007

Defining a Year

I have a policy about never wishing for time to move faster or complaining about a year and saying, "I'm ready to be done with 2013, can't 2014 just hurry up and get here?" I think each day is a chance for something great and the change of a calendar year will not bring true change by itself. What I will say about the years is that as they pass they each become remembered for the major events that happened in them. For example, 2008 was the year I got cancer; I'm sure many other things happened and that if I thought for a few moments I could even recall them, but it was defined by that singular event. Things that are negative do have a tendency to outweigh the happier times, but that does not mean that a year is never remembered for good things. I hope that 2014 will be the year my sister gets married or the year I first run a half marathon, I expect both of those will happen and I pray that nothing so terrible manages to override them.

The year of 2013 will always be the year my mother died. I still remember last New Year's Eve my mother was in the hospital and I sat with her for hours and hours. I thought about the possibility that this might be her last new year and quickly stepped away from the idea, hoping it wouldn't be true. Now I'm on the verge of this new 365 day cycle and I am so aware of her absence. I can say this now because I'm not wishing any part of the year away, but fuck 2013. I will take with me some fond memories but mostly I'm okay with saying I'm ready for 2014 if for no other reason than the chance to redefine.

My mom's goal for me in 2013 was for me to write more posts in this blog than I did in 2012. I have now done that for her and for myself and I can leave the year on a high note.

Not A Cop Out

I am now writing from my cell phone. It is an interesting process because my typing cannot keep up with my brain. Although I like that the autocorrect feature is speeding up the whole thing. I'll be keeping this short for obvious reasons but so as not to make the entire post seem like a cop out I will leave behind a creative tidbit from my brain.

Imagine if squirrels could talk how much they would know about our personal lives from looking in our windows. Now imagine a squirrel with a sombrero on, that would be awesome right? Let me google image that and see if I can make that happen right now.

Google has everything. Thank you for this Google!

A Choice of Seasoning

I am a big fan of food. I'd call myself a foodie but apparently that has become snobby or taboo to say so I will say instead that I want to eat all the things all the time. This means that I go out to eat a lot and have pretty strong opinions about two particular restaurant seasoning practices and my ability to choose. No Salt and pepper shakers- Okay chef, the food is awesome, thanks for cooking it for me, but nobody is above my right to season. Maybe Julia Child loved this beef bourguignon as is but I want it salty and peppery. Not because I'm insulting anyone's methods but because I enjoy sodium, spice and everything nice. If these shakers aren't on the table I will be asking for them and that just makes everything more uncomfortable. Now that I've asked everyone knows that I will be using them, whereas if they were given to me from the get go I could shake privately.

Tabasco Sauce- Whenever my waitstaff asks the inevitable, "can I get you anything else" I have created a reflex to always say, "hot sauce, thank you". I then gauge how I feel about a place based on what they bring me.

  • Tabasco- NO! This is not acceptable unless I am being served oysters. If my food isn't raw sea-life on the half shell, this is garbage and I will not accept it as hot sauce. It's not even that I don't like the taste, it just isn't very hot and it makes everything all cayenne-y and dumb.
  • Frank's Red Hot- This is a major improvement. I love Frank's and I will have it stocked in bulk in my kitchen as long as I live but admittedly it is not the primo best cream of the crop hot sauce. It's cheap and wonderful but we can still do better.

    A picture of the bottle with a rooster on it in case my Grandmother didn't understand the "cock sauce" reference.

  • Sriracha- Now we are talking. I don't mind that this cock sauce make everything taste like cock sauce, that is what I want. It's fiery and magnificent and I know that a restauranteur who makes the effort to stock this in their establishment knows something about spicy food and making customers feel cared for. Sriracha means love people.
  • Cholula- Oh dear god, yes. This is just my personal favorite so I feel a kinship with anyone who has it for me to douse all over my meal. If a place brings me multiple bottles of Cholula in their variety of flavors, it's all over, I have found the motherland.

    Look at that marvelous woman on the bottle. So happy to be giving me joy.

  • Any combination of the above sauces- Even if one of my choices is Tabasco, I no longer mind. Seeing that I have options and that someone else understands a girl needs to have choices gives me faith in people again.

Unresolutions

I am a huge advocate for New Year's resolutions, I think they are a great way to make people feel capable of a fresh start. Sometimes however I find myself getting frustrated with the way people go about their resolutions. This idea of being better is great, but it often doesn't stick and January One becomes a way for people to not have to make positive change any other time of year. To "resolve" something takes on a permanent meaning that has gotten lost in the Hallmark of New Year's. Losing weight; this is the big one right? As a member and advocate of the Weight Watchers program I think everyone should resolve to get their bodies to where they are happy. Everything comes together in life when you feel confident in taking care of yourself, the ripple effect is incredible. My issue with this stems not from the resolution itself but rather from the timing of it. Every year I dread my Weight Watcher meetings in January when there are lines out the door, no empty seats and people asking questions like, "what's a point mean?" I wouldn't mind it so much if not for the fact that three weeks later the seats go back to being half filled and the resolutioners who made me wait in line for an extra 10 minutes while they asked about e-tools weren't gone. It's predictable because if someone is losing weight because of the calendar date, they aren't usually really ready.

This year I lost a pound both Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks, and it's not a brag, but commitment is solidified when making good choices in the times that they aren't as easy to make. So come January first, I still encourage this resolution, but as a life change, not a crash diet. I tire of hearing all holiday season, "it's the holidays, do whatever and start being good again after the new year". If there is knowledge of poor choices why make them?

I don't want to be preachy, but I just was anyways huh? One of my resolutions will be to be less preachy; that way in three weeks I can go back to the know-it-all I am today. It's a good plan.