Thursday, April 28, 2011

Take Responsibility. Take Back the Power.

We've all been there. Feeling kicked and down. Like the world (or maybe just one or two people in the world) are against us. Like we are innocent victims.

We get cheated on by lovers. Betrayed by friends. Ousted by employers. Wronged by family. Chased by debt collectors. And we tell people our sad stories. We explain that things "are the way they are" right now or forever because of what happened to us.

But imagine the power we would seize if we took some responsibility for where we were in our lives.

When I got laid off in 2003, I felt like someone had slapped me in the head and thrown me in the gutter. My wails of woe were loud and constant. But at some point I realized that I had a hand in my fate. A big one. I chose to go into an industry that is rocked by change and lost clients and reorgs more often than not. I also chose to have a less than stellar attitude from 9 to 5. So although it stung like a mutha when I got let go, the good news was that because I had played a part in the whole situation, I could wield my power to cast myself into a new one.

Same thing when I got cheated on. It wasn't fun, but it also wasn't entirely his fault. I'd made a decision to be with someone I knew was probably trouble. I chose to stay with him even though the relationship was riddled with my criticisms and his retaliations.

Stepping back and asking, "What was MY role in this?" helped me see (over and over) that I had the ability to influence every place I'd landed in my life. And I think that's amazing. Victim, schmictim, right?

We're all going to have bad things happen to us. But the place we choose to go after those things happen is totally in our control. Every single day is a chance to turn things around or take a different route to get you closer to where you really want to be. You just have to start by looking at yourself and admitting that maybe you could have done a few things differently. Once you know what they are, do them.

A little responsibility goes a long way. Take it and go power yourself up!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I am a hoarder of folded papers and chicken scratch. I love lists like Lindsay loves booze and Paris loves animals that fit in her purse (Has anyone heard that she has a teacup pig? I did not know this, but now I want one).

Just about every week, I fashion a little folded piece of paper that houses my To Do list, grocery lists, birthday gift lists, lists of crafty things I want to make. You name it, I've listed it. Without my lists, I feel lost. And sometimes I write stuff down just so I can cross it off and feel like I've been extra productive.

But this week, in my freaky WhatNow newlywed phase, I started to question The Lists. Because even though Mr. W and I are desperate to lay down details about our future, we also seem to be totally mired in continual To Dos. I've been feeling like I have no time to just be. And The Lists might be the biggest culprit.

So I've been living listless for the past several days. I don't know yet if it's really having a huge impact on my "being" time. But it sort of makes me feel a little more spontaneous. And I think it may help stave off my early-onset Alzheimer's because it's forcing me to actually remember things rather than just looking at my paper scraps for a reminder.

We'll see how it goes. Although there's no way I'll be able to pack for Italy next week without my clothing matrix...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Welcome to Some Kind of Wonderful

Everything changes when you get married, doesn't it?

Well, maybe not everything. But I did decide to create a second blog now that I'm a Mrs.

Introducing the new space for tales of my life with Mr. W: 'S Wonderful

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Slight Case of the WhatNows

Mr. Wonderful and I have only been married for a month and already we're in a funk. Okay, not really a funk but a sort of hazy jumping-off point. The dress has been packed. Gifts have been stowed. Thank you cards have been sent. We finally have our freedom back (if you don't count the backyard and its continual beckoning for us to come out and dig it up).

With all this time and mental space on our hands, we've both been feeling a growing sense of What Now?

I guess this is why so many married couples scoot right on to having babies. (Don't get any ideas, I'm not on that track AT ALL.) I thought we'd get to this point, I just didn't realize it would be so soon.

Maybe it's all my Turning 35 baggage weaseling its way into our relationship. But Mr. W seems just as antsy as I am.

We want to put color to our goals. We want to define the dream details so we can start working toward them. But there are so many possibilities. And the ultimate goal we keep coming back to is at least 5, if not 10, years off. So what do we do in the meantime?

This is sort of the plaguing question.

Do we just keep plugging away in our current life situations? Do we go live somewhere foreign in a year while Mr. W works on a film? (Doesn't seem possible with our collective mortgages, but maybe...) Do we try to somehow downsize in an effort to get closer to the early retirement we both crave? Should we build that chicken coop and get a couple hens?

We sat down the other night and tried to start brainstorming a list of words to describe the kind of life we'd like to build from here. It pretty much led us to believe we need to win the lottery and move to wine country where we'll run a dozen different odd job businesses.

Mr. W tells me I need to write a bestseller. I guess my What Now should really be a Write Now. I'll get right on that, Mr. W...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

And a Happy Birthday Back Atcha

In honor of Mr. Wonderful's 37th birthday today and National Poetry Month (thanks for the reminder, Sizzle!)...

The rustling leaves of a eucalyptus;

The lingering tingle of morning kisses;

Hummingbirds bathing in a sage fountain;

Hollywood at the top of our mountain;

Bedroom darkness behind canvas drapes;

Little vines striving to deliver our grapes;

Cool wood floor warmed by the sun;

A glittering skyline when day is done;

The musk of espresso rich in the air;

Just enough couch for two cats to share;

Artichoke triplets nearly ready to eat;

The scratched tabletop where we rest our feet;

An open glass door with breeze blowing through.

Home is the space where I can be true.

More than a place.

My home is you.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Nothing Says Happy Birthday Like Telepathy and a Toilet

You know how some people start to look like their pets after they've had them awhile? Well over the last couple years, Mr. W's brain has started looking like mine. Or maybe mine looks like his. Anyway...

I think it all started when I bought him port wine glasses pre-Christmas of '09...and then a week later he bought himself port glasses—even though we never really talked about him needing a set. Then there was this incident with our trip to Napa last year. Then there was the day a few weeks ago when I watched Mr. W pick up the exact same things in the exact same order that I had just picked up at Williams-Sonoma.

But the kicker happened sometime last week.

Since the wedding, we've been working hard on sprucing up our yard—Mr. W even replaced a faulty backyard waterfall with the cool pot fountain below.

As part of our spruce spree, we've been doing a lot of browsing at different pottery/plant/pond stores, and we've come across quite a few adorable Buddha statues. I told Mr. W I thought we should get one for the backyard. Then I was at one of the local malls and wandered into a sort of ramshackle Asian store that had Buddha statues in the window. I bought a small one for Mr. W to keep on his desk and another for me to keep on mine.

When I got back to work, I IMed him to announce that I'd bought him a present. "I ordered one of your birthday presents just now," he replied.

At home, I handed over my jolly Buddha treasure and he just stared at me. "Did you buy me a Buddha statue for my birthday today?" I asked, already knowing the answer.

This little guy arrived yesterday. How cute is he, seriously?

Buddha wasn't the only special treat I got from Mr. Mental Telepathy. He also made me fantastic French toast with strawberry-mascarpone spread on Tuesday morning for my b-day.

And when I came home that evening, there were several surprises waiting for me.

But the best surprise by far came on my birthday eve, when I walked through the front door to discover this right in our entryway. Bow and all.

Because nothing says, "Happy Birthday" like a shiny new crapper.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Turning (T)Hurty-Five

Today is my last day of thirty-fourhood.

Many years back, I wrote a long list of goals for my life: places I wanted to travel, little life to-dos, and a couple of biggies with age deadlines attached. One of these was "Have a book published by 35."

As you all know, I've published a lot of blog posts. But I've yet to grasp the crispy body of an actual printed book with my name on its cover. And that makes the impending twist of tomorrow sting a little.

On the one hand, the whole "Do this by this date" kind of goal making is silly to me. Even if I'd been busting my hump writing novels and self help manuscripts every day I still may not be published by tomorrow. Fate does have a say in these things. On the other hand, maybe if I'd put a little more importance on my "By 35" due date, I would actually have a book published. Before tomorrow. Perhaps goal lists are great motivators. Particularly when you're the kind of person who has trouble motivating.

So I'm turning 35 and there's a big fat hole right there on my mental mantle. Sure there's a beautiful wedding picture up there and some truly amazing travels and lots of friends. But no book. Perhaps I'll have to scribble down "40" on the list.

Which reminds me, I'm hoping to cross at least one of my to-dos-before-40 off the list next month on my honeymoon. Yep, as mentioned in this post, I'm going to attempt to go topless on a beach. For five seconds. If I can handle it that long.

I also have some plans in the coming months that involve this blog. And a new one I plan to launch. And hopefully I'll be more disciplined about my writing projects, so maybe that published book will rear its head in this lifetime.

In the meantime, to make myself feel better, I launched an Etsy store today. There's barely anything on it—I have lots of work to do at home and lots of ideas populating this little brain. But I thought you guys would enjoy seeing the first draft:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Daughter. Sister. Aunt. Wife.

Last week, I forgot I had a husband.

I was at the dentist, chatting with the hygienist about recent events and I said, "Yeah well you know my fiancé was away for two and a half months."

"Your husband," she corrected me.

Oh, yeah.

I hadn't been in for a cleaning since I moved in the fall, so I also had to update my contact information. They gave me form to fill out. And I had to check the "Married" box in addition to writing out my new address.

It was bizarre.

After adding Mr. Wonderful to my health insurance at work, I also had to go in and change my status in our system from "Single" to "Married."

I don't feel married. I don't feel any different than I did before Mr. W and I started cohabiting in November.

I remember how weird it felt to call him my fiancé. This whole husband business is even weirder. It makes me feel like I'm 65. I was a swingin' single gal for so long. Now I'm an old married lady. You notice that people always refer to singles as "girls" but marrieds as "ladies"? I assure you, I'm no lady...

I had one of our cute wine bottle vases on my desk Friday and a coworker said, "Now how does one go about cutting the glass for that?"

I answered, "The husband built a fancy rig in the garage."

"Your husband," my cohort corrected. "Say it."

"My husband built a glass-cutting rig." It felt like a giant wad of Bazooka gum in my mouth.

I know I'll get used to this. But, right now, the strangeness of it all is sort of entertaining.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Enough to Feed a Flock of Five

If you've read this blog for awhile, you probably know that I own two cats. Some would say that makes me a cat lady (I just searched "cats" in my blog post library and came up with 33 posts...). Some would subscribe to my theory that you're only a crazy cat lady if you own 3 cats (you get one because you like pets and then another to keep the first one company, but there's no reason to ever get a third). Some of you won't make it past this first paragraph to even read what sort of feline fiascoes I'm going to describe here.

Anyway, my cats are very Laurel and Hardy in their physiques. Monty, below, weighs about 20 pounds and only reaches speeds of 0.5mph when he is waddling to his food bowl or sprinting away from the sound of the trash truck. Mr. Wonderful and I often joke that Monty could feed a family of five for at least a week if the Apocalypse hit.

Oh but he's such a handsome boy.

My other cat, Zoë, weighs about 8 pounds and is constantly spazzing out, running around the house and burning calories. I think part of the reason she weighs less is because her brain is about a quarter the size of Monty's.

But she's cute so we love her.

Due to some longstanding trauma from losing pet cats to hit-and-runs as a kid, I do not let my current kitties outside. And for the most part, they don't mind. They live in the lap of luxury—particularly now that we're in Mr. W's house with big bright windows that cast lots of warm sun spots on the floor for them.

But this weekend when Mr. W and I were outside working on our garden, I decided to let the felines loose in the yard.

They were both pretty nervous about the new surroundings. Monty seemed to be trying to walk extra gently on the grass, unfamiliar with its texture. And Zoë's tail was puffed much of the time, despite the fact that she was purring.

They'd been outside for about 5 minutes when I heard a hawk screech from the eucalyptus tree at the end of our street. I looked up and saw another hawk fly in and land next to where the first one was perched. A bit more screeching and THREE more showed up on the scene. They began to circle overhead.

"Oh my God," I said to Mr. W, "I think the hawks are after the cats!"

We quickly collected the chubby and skinny furballs (which in itself was hilarious because Mr. W holds cats pretty much like he's holding out a rotten gallon of milk) and returned them to the safety of the house.

Within seconds, the hawks were gone.

Apparently, they too, can spot a fat feline that's capable of feeding a family of five pre- or post-Apocalypse.