Husband and I went to a wedding in San Francisco this past weekend. Since it was the first trip away we’ve had together in five years, we added a few days on the front end and spent some time in our old neighborhood visiting with friends and family. We even managed to swing a day wandering around Carmel Valley. It was a lovely few days filled with fun and family and friends and sun, and – who am I kidding. It was wicked stressful, traffic was nuts and there were people everywhere... but it was lovely.
I think this picture of our shower in our Monterey hotel sums up the whole experience.
A perfectly placed hole in the glass shower wall so that you can reach in and turn on the water without soaking yourself.
Fabulous in theory, sure. But in practice, you step into the shower and the perfectly heated water hits your body, sprays out the hole, onto the floor and soaks the toilet. Which leaves you with a wet floor, wet toilet and perfectly soggy, utterly useless toilet paper.
Much like our trip. Lovely in theory; spend four days in the California sun seeing friends and family. The reality; we ran about, exhausted ourselves, had little time with any particular person and now we're perfectly soggy, utterly useless, well... toilet paper.
The dogs on the other hand had a marvelous time at their very fancy dog spa hotel.
So much so, I think they’re unhappy we came home.
Sucks to be them. We’re unhappy too.
I’ve not been officially graded for ages. Once you’re out of school, that grading of stuff mainly falls on yourself. Sure, most jobs give you some sort of evaluation but in life, typically you’re judging yourself. I’ve come to realize lately that I grade myself way too hard. I’m constantly putting myself in time-out because of things I’ve said or done, sending myself to the principal’s office because I suck, hard. This year, I’m trying to ease up and give myself a “Whoop whoop!” or a “Girl, do better.” If you will, a pass/fail on all interactions, choices and outcomes.
For example, this post was supposed to drop last Wednesday but didn’t. There are lots of reasons why but they don’t matter. I was supposed to. I didn’t so… Fail. BUT, I was doing other things, other writings, other creative things and this blurt not posting isn’t the end of the world so… Pass.
Here are last week’s ‘grades’ such as they are:
I dog wrangled while Husband had several recording sessions. This was complicated because the sessions required the piano, which is upstairs and demands no ambient dog noises so we’re all quarantined in the back office. TTD is on several meds for a bacterial kidney thing and an anti seizure thing for a possible who the hell knows what. This means when her regular routine of “I must pee now” is interrupted, she freaks the heck out. Which means the other dogs freak the heck out. Which means I’m trying to play dog whisperer to three nut jobs while trying to be quiet and not disturb the epic Grammy winning recording session. Perhaps next time, I should video myself trying to do this. It’s tragic in the moment and hysterical on playback.
GRADE: Dogs are still alive and the recordings were not disturbed by a dog kerfuffle. And, bonus, nobody got bit… I give myself a Pass.
On Monday, I counseled a friend in a bad place. Points for me. Yelled at said friend because they weren’t listening, were going bats**t crazy, justifying it all with a “they all suck” argument that does not help anyone at all, least of all them and were spiraling into a panic attack. Points taken away – and then given back because, damnit, I spoke up for myself, pointed out their irrational behavior, encouraged them to correct it and put myself out for a timeout because the whole thing was stressing me out. When my heart rate went down to only slightly crazy, I sent them a well-crafted email, (I thought) explaining myself and encouraging them to get help from someone who doesn’t have my particular WebMD degree in psychiatry. They have not responded. Sigh. BUT, another point for me for recognizing that this whole thing is not my issue. This is their issue, their problem. We’re not in high school, I don’t need to call them up and make sure they’re not mad at me.
GRADE: Even though they may never speak to me again, I am counting this as a win. Spoke my piece, held my own, and I am still breathing… PASS
On Tuesday, I had coffee with the ladies group I’m in. (Yup, moved to the south and joined a ladies group. Just call me Ms. ej and pass the fan.) During coffee, while I was inside chatting away, telling inappropriate stories, my poor Smart Car was ticketed. Ugh! I accept the blame for this as I chose to interpret the ‘No parking from here to the corner’ sign as not technically applying to me, it was it was pointing sideways, ya’ll. That doesn’t count. Right?
GRADE: Even though I feel should only get half a ticket for my half a car, this was a … Fail.
On Wednesday, I spent the $25 gift card to Target someone gave me on cookies and chips. I came home and hid said cookies and chips in various places in the house where Husband couldn’t find them. I then proceeded to spend the next few days eating all of the cookies and chips. By. Myself.
GRADE: Honestly not sure if this is a Pass or a Fail, the scale says one thing, my soul says another so I’ll grade on a curve (pun intended) and give myself a… Pass.
Thursday I was propositioned to join a polyamorus relationship. Or Husband was. Or neither of us was. It’s hard to know from a text message. We’re both still not sure if that person was ‘asking for a friend.’ Or just asking, (nudge, nudge wink, wink) and neither of us are inclined to learn more. The answer, by the way, is NO. NO, he’d not be okay and NO, I’d not be okay. Making one person happy is hard enough. Why would we add someone new to the mix? That’s just asking for trouble. We’re over here alternating between giggling, because we’re twelve, and freaking out because, well, because sexy time with more than one person!?!
GRADE: Yeah, not grading this one. It’s flattering (ish) if they were asking, embarrassing if they weren’t and just a good story over all. Calling it even.
So that was last week. Overall, not bad, didn’t spend too much time in the principal’s office or relieving things I said or did at 3am. This counts as a win for me. This week, so far, I’ve over-shared in a public place, made a bunch of stuff and played lovely assistant to Husband as he tiled the bathroom. So far so… eh, who am I kidding. I’m going back to grading myself hard. Who am I without angst and over-evaluation and middle of the night conversation do-overs? This Pass/Fail stuff is not for me. It’s too ambiguous, too wishy-washy. I need hard, cold letters to let me know where I stand in life.
Giving this post a D.
Whelp, 2017 was a rough year, filled with icky, stupid people making horrible, hideous choices that have and continue to affect us all… but I don’t want to focus on that. Today is my birthday so focusing on good things that happened to me this year. Sadly, I’m a hacking, sniffing, coughing mess so stopping at six(ish) good(ish) things and then heading back to bed. Age ain’t nothing but a number until you can’t breathe without coughing, swallow without pain and your nose is as red as Rudolph’s….
1. I started the year walking. Considering the boxer broke my ankle in three places and I have a plate and eight screws, I think this is a major achievement. Now I can tell when the weather is below 70degrees and sometimes walk like a drunken pirate but I am walking. Apparently, my right side is now a hair shorter than the left but that adds to the pirate-like aesthetic. I’m still considering getting tattoos on the scars. No idea what kind of art I’d get, the scars are pretty nasty… But since my last one had to be done twice and – and this is a thing – the screws in my ankle might WORK THEIR WAY OUT (!!!) - I might wait on the tattoo.
2. I’m still married. YAY!!! Considering we’ve been without a master bathroom and closet since the end of September, this is a big deal. Sharing a bathroom with someone who doesn’t share the same views about toothpaste in the sink is hard! Somehow, how he chooses to use the toothpaste or leave the toothpaste is not as tragic when there’s a second bathroom to escape too. Not to mention trying to find your clothes in the mess that is a pile on the guestroom bed can be a challenge. It’s a good thing he’s funny. It’s also a good thing he’s talented with a saw and paint. If it weren’t for his abilities, we’d still be in the 1960’s pink moldy bathroom, fighting over the sink. If it weren’t for his abilities, we’d still be in California and not in Nashville. Pretty much everything is his fault – good and bad.
3. We still have three dogs. This is a major thing (see above) because I’m pretty sure they keep trying to kill me. Joseph, the boxer – again – pulled me over and bounced my face off the sidewalk, Pepper constantly stands behind me and tries to trip me up and Tigger the Dog is actively trying to push me down the stairs. So far they have not been successful but they are ever hopeful. Joking aside, it astonishes me how many folks have asked if we’ve gotten rid of Joe. I never know how to respond to that. He’s a pain, has caused me pain, has covered the house in drool but he’s ours. Our dog. Our family. If your child is annoying or wrecks the car or gets bad grades, do you give them away? It’s nutty to think that people would think we’d do that. Broken ankle and face aside, he’s a good dog.
4. I quit social media. First I limited my time sucking each day, found that wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped so I quit. Cold.
And lasted twelve days. Twelve days without Facebook or Instagram or Twitter.... I wish I could tell you I spent my time in a much better way than scrolling through folk’s pages, judging them or judging myself but, nope. Most of those twelve days, when I wasn’t reading trashy books with happy endings, were spent loudly proclaiming to all who stood near me how awesome I was that I wasn’t on social media. The rest of the time was trying to figure out how to get information for folks who were on social media so that I could stalk their lives.
5. I lost 14 pounds. I’m hoping this lose is more permanent than my social media vacation. I’m pretty sure the weight loss started because I spent the first few days of the year lying on the bathroom floor since our 2016 New Year’s Eve was a lot more liquid than it should be for our age. My doctor was very proud of my weight loss. My cardiologist though, was only slightly impressed. I was just sad that he wasn’t as cute as I thought he was two years ago. Apparently my standards for heart health have changed. I’d like the guy feeling me up to be good looking enough to affect my heart rate. I realize that this is counterintuitive but it must be that I’m lightheaded from the lack of sugar in my diet.
6. Finally, I am still creating trees, albeit slowly and only when the mood strikes me. I am still writing, albeit slowly and only when the mood strikes me. I am still trying to manage my social media addiction albeit slowly and only when the mood strikes me. And I am still working on seeing the silver lining in every dark corner…
As the Lakota medicine man I met last Thursday told me, the year has been full of lessons. I hope I am able to take these lessons and grow forward. Heck, I hope we all are able to grow forward - especially the stupid icky people.
Be well. Be happy. Be healthy. Be joy.
I was meant to post this on New Years Day. But I made some seriously bad choices on New Years Eve and lost two days to recovery and self name-calling. Then the rest of my good intentions got in the way and here I am - Day 6 - still eating badly, still making bad choices but finally posting this blurt. I did say that do-overs are part of life, right? Well, here are a few final things we learned in 2016:
• A really good waitress - one that is attentive, anticipates your every need - is a great thing.
• A really good waitress - one that is attentive, anticipates your every need - is a great thing… UNLESS it’s New Years Eve and you’re in a bar and started drinking at 4:30pm so you can toast the British New Year at 6pm. Because every time you finish your vodka and cranberry, that good waitress pops up right next to you and asks if you’d like another. And, since the last one hasn’t hit the “You’ve had enough, ej. The world is starting to looking less shiny and more blurry” mark yet, you keep saying yes. And when you keep saying “Why yes, I’ll have another…” you end up on the floor of the bathroom at 3am regretting a whole lot of things - especially the invention of vodka and who’s every dumb idea it was to toast every county’s New Year.
Yeah, that really good kind of waitress is the kind of waitress you don’t want.
• It is imperative that Husband and I are not drunk at the same time, because the dogs cannot take care of themselves.
• And speaking of those dogs, they sure as heck are incapable of taking care of us while we’re lying on the floor in separate bathrooms, dying. I should have remembered that part from Broken Ankle when I was lying on the driveway and they brought me a Frisbee and a shoe. I did not. When you have drunk most of the bar, a soggy, headless Lamb Chop will not make the puking all better but thanks for shoving that squelchy wet thing in my face, Tigger the Dog. Husband said he kept calling for help and Joseph would just at paw at his arm and drool on his face. Useless.
• Apparently no matter how old I get, a hangover sucks. And the older I get, the suckier they get and longer to get over they take. And no matter how old I am, I forget that key bit of information when the nice waitress offers me a millionth vodka and cranberry.
• You know you’ve had WAY too much to drink if you get home and can’t remember if you’ve a) paid the bill and b) tipped the waitress. It’s been years since I’ve done the Walk of Shame but I’ve never done the Walk of Shame INTO the bar FOUR days later to ask if we paid and/or tipped. Mortified. In my defense, we’d left the house with $100 and came home with $2 so we thought we were good. Until I found $60 in a pocket and had to concede that nope, we had likely not paid OR tipped. Not the best start to the New Year.
On the other hand, I have yet to die of embarrassment, so there’s that…
• Husband and I know a bunch of interesting and entertaining people. When we get them all together in the same place, magic can happen. We forgot that last year - the bringing together part. We resolve to do better this year. But sober.
So far, this year has been interesting, challenging, and hysterical and no day has been the same. Hangover aside, that’s a good start, right? Fifty-one weeks to go!
A random assortment of lessons from the roller coaster that has been 2016:
When a 64lb dog is running at you at 30mph, stand still. Do not shift to the right thinking he’ll run past you, leaving your body intact. He will not.
Friendship at my age is exactly the same as friendship when I was first in school.
Some ‘friends’ will only play with you if you play the game exactly the way they want you to. Those people are not friends you can rely on. They never were, they never will be.
People can and will always surprise you. Not always in a good way.
I - a light skinned, mixed race female, raised in one of the wealthiest areas in the USA - am some people’s only ‘black’ friend.
Regardless of my age, I will always need my mom. And even though I’ve prepped myself for her eventual end, I will be shattered.
Everyone wears a mask. It is rare and lucky to find people who will show you their real self. Treasure them.
Eggplant emojis are not just about eggplants. Taco emojis are not just about tacos. And Eggplant Fridays is a thing that can make me, a person who’s seen everything, blush. I’d put links but I’m scared to.
I will put this link to things people have put in their bodies because I find it fascinating. Especially those who tell the doctors and nurses that they “fell” onto them with a straight face.
Sometimes, sitting on the couch is the best medicine for the blues. Sometimes it’s the worst. No matter how old I get, I don’t make the right choice.
No one couple’s marriage is like yours. No ones. So when people share advice, or get divorced or their partners do something crazy good – like fly you to Kenya for a safari for your birthday - or crazy bad – like dump you over the phone - it is not your marriage. Don’t treat it as if it were.
I don’t like strawberries. I have never liked strawberries. But for most of my life, I’ve eaten the strawberries because someone gave them to me or they’re in the damn fruit cup and I know I should eat fruit. But am old now. I am big enough and ugly enough to not eat the stupid strawberries.
A Gnome on someone’s front lawn is apparently a symbol that Swingers live there. Yup. Don’t ask me how I know. I’m not ready to talk about it yet.
I bet your grandparent’s love of gnomes taking on new meaning?
Some people keep score. If you forget an event or say the wrong thing or don't answer a flipping text message, they will put you on the 'dead to me' list. Forever.
If someone is a scorekeeper, they will always keep score. Always.
You cannot win against scorekeeper. Ever. So don’t even try.
No matter how healthy I try to be, a bag of potato chips can tempt me into that dark place where I don’t breathe between mouthfuls and will bite the fingers off anyone who tries to take one.
A bad day can be warmed up with a giggle and three dogs can irritate anyone into a giggle.
No matter how intelligent Husband might be, he cannot load the dishwasher in the most logical way. In fact, not one of my very intelligent family members – by marriage or by blood – can load the sucker in the most commonsense way. And if you want the damn dishes to be stacked in the cupboard in color order, load the dishwasher in that color order. Especially since that someone isn’t the one to UN-load the dishwasher.
Sometimes dishwashers mean more than just dishes. Sometimes, not.
If someone tells you they are not judgmental. They are.
If someone tells you they aren’t sexist. They are.
If someone tells you they’re not racist. They are.
Life is full of do-overs. The clock is the same time twice a day, every day. A diet can start whenever - or in my case, after almost every meal. I can decide on a plan, change my mind and then change it back. That’s what makes me me. Life is not an absolute so I need to do my best to keep on moving forward and not getting stuck in the mess that is my past, appreciate the present and not eat the effing strawberries.
Bring it on 2017. I am ready for whatever lessons you have to teach me - though I would prefer to ace the year so be gentle and make it an easy one, please. Not all of me is held together with Titanium.
This spectacular art - which expresses my brain/heart/soul - is by Ingo Maurer. This is a great article about him/it here and the product page should you wish to go shopping, here.
No idea who took the photo - I snagged it off Facebook - but love the light and imperfections of the shot. Wabi Sabi, people!
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me