Category Archives: Random

The Pressure that is New Year’s Eve

Here I sit, just one day away from New Year’s Eve, trying to figure out what I want to do that night. Now that I am “older”, I can look back on a wide variety of New Year’s Eve experiences – the high school events where we pilfered booze from our parents or hit up older boyfriends to buy for us; college where I worked in a bar (and therefore worked EVERY New Year’s Eve for five years); grown parties where we could buy decent food, good wine and a decent night out; and, finally, as parents where we celebrate with other families with kids in the under-10 crowd. With all of these diverse experiences, there is one thing that stands out – the less expectations I put on the night, the more fun I had. The amount of time I spent agonizing over what to wear, where to go, what to eat and who to hang out with was negatively related to how I good of a time was had. (Am I the only one who has been through this?)

Have you noticed this? When you expect it to be “the best night EVER”, it rarely is. Every little letdown becomes huge somehow. So here is my advice to you. Make whatever plans sound fun to you – game night with friends, night out at a club, quiet evening at home – I don’t really care what it is, but plan it because it sounds fun as is. Don’t create this perfect fantasy full of perfect moments. You are only setting yourself up for disappointment. You evening doesn’t have to be perfect. Your outfit doesn’t have to be perfect. Your friends don’t have to be perfect. Your date doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be.

Someone may be rude. The food may be burnt. The bar will probably be too crowded. You could spill on your dress. Your friend may puke (gross). And you know what, you will have fun anyway. So, what am I going to do this New Year’s? I don’t think I have fully decided yet, but whatever it is – it will just be.

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The Danger in Making New Year’s Resolutions

I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. Typically, we set ourselves up to fail and then use this failure to beat ourselves up. “I suck.” It sounds like I speak from personal experience, right? Here is why I think they are horrible for us – somehow we have established an arbitrary date on which we are going to begin to change our lives. This unfortunately means we wait until that date has arrived to begin to make these changes. It becomes like a light switch, prior to January 1st we don’t have to change and BAM January 1st happens and now we have to change. We are not perfect people. Most of us will not be perfect in our New Year’s Resolutions either and, often, as soon as we are not perfect, we give up. Go to any gym on January 5th – it will be filled to the rafters. You will find ridiculous numbers of people lifting and running and spinning and stretching. Go visit that same gym three months later – 50% of them will be gone. Studies show that 88% of New Year’s Resolutions are broken.

The ten most commonly broken New Year’s Resolutions:

How can you survive the New Year’s Resolution trap? Don’t wait until January 1st. If you want to eat healthier, exercise more, get out of debt or spend more time with your family then there is no time like the present. This is not something you wait to start, start today. If there is a day where you are not fantastic at this new lifestyle, shake it off and start again. You can do it. Just remember these are all things you keep working on – these are long term goals, not accomplished within a day, week or month. Establish an accountability partner – someone who will help you to keep trying to meet your goals – they will meet you at the gym, talk you off the ledge when you want to do unnecessary shopping or will call you on your crap when you give up.

Choose to be Happy for the Holidays

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season – whether you celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas or Kwanza or Festivus or nothing at all. I hope whatever this season means to you and yours is wonderful. What I encourage you to do is to find something positive to focus on and put your energies there. Look, we all have things we could complain about – crowds in the stores, the materialistic nature of the holiday, greedy children, bickering family members, and financial strain – to mention just a few. You, my dears, have a choice – you can choose to focus on all of the crap or you can give your attention to the things that make you feel good (i.e., time with family, fun with the kids, awesome food, and festive atmosphere).

How you manage a situation determines how you will feel about it. You choose. Choose to smile at the other shoppers at the mall. Choose to remain calm despite parking lot gridlock. Choose to find pleasure in selecting gifts for friends and loved ones. You get to choose how you feel. Imagine the power you have – you get to determine how you will feel. Focus on crap and you will feel like crap. Focus on the happy and you will feel happy. Easy decision, right?

The Twelve Years of Christmas (An Ode to My Daughter, Charlie)

The Twelve Years of Christmas


On her one year old Christmas
my daughter gave to me:
A pail full of stinky diapers

On her two year old Christmas
my daughter gave to me:
Two temper tantrums
And a pail full of stinky diapers

On her three year old Christmas
my daughter gave to me:
Three “no” to everythings
Two temper tantrums
And a pail full of stinky diapers

On her four year old Christmas
my daughter gave to me:
Four days of nonstop chatter
Three “no” to everythings
Two temper tantrums
And a pail full of stinky diapers

On her five year old Christmas
my daughter gave to me:
Five hours playing with Barbie
Four days of nonstop chatter
Three “no” to everythings
Two temper tantrums
And a pail full of stinky diapers

On her six year old Christmas
my daughter gave to me:
Six sticky fingers
Five hours playing with Barbie
Four days of nonstop chatter
Three “no” to everythings
Two temper tantrums
And a pail full of stinky diapers

On her seven year old Christmas
my daughter gave to me:
Seven loose teeth
Six sticky fingers
Five hours playing with Barbie
Four days of nonstop chatter
Three “no” to everythings
Two temper tantrums
And a pail full of stinky diapers

On her eight year old Christmas
my daughter gave to me:
Eight best friends
Seven loose teeth
Six sticky fingers
Five hours playing with Barbie
Four days of nonstop chatter
Three “no” to everythings
Two temper tantrums
And a pail full of stinky diapers

On her nine year old Christmas
my daughter gave to me:
Nine rounds of Just Dance
Eight best friends
Seven loose teeth
Six sticky fingers
Five hours playing with Barbie
Four days of nonstop chatter
Three “no” to everythings
Two temper tantrums
And a pail full of stinky diapers

On her ten year old Christmas
my daughter gave to me:
Ten preteen meltdowns
Nine rounds of Just Dance
Eight best friends
Seven loose teeth
Six sticky fingers
Five hours playing with Barbie
Four days of nonstop chatter
Three “no” to everythings
Two temper tantrums
And a pail full of stinky diapers

On the eleventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eleven celebrity crushes
Ten preteen meltdowns
Nine rounds of Just Dance
Eight best friends
Seven loose teeth
Six sticky fingers
Five hours playing with Barbie
Four days of nonstop chatter
Three “no” to everythings
Two temper tantrums
And a pail full of stinky diapers

On her twelfth year of Christmas
my daughter gave to me:
Twelve epic eye rolls
Eleven celebrity crushes
Ten preteen meltdowns
Nine rounds of Just Dance
Eight best friends
Seven loose teeth
Six sticky fingers
Five hours playing with Barbie
Four days of nonstop chatter
Three “no” to everythings
Two temper tantrums
And a pail full of stinky diapers

The Saga of Loud Breathing Yoga Man

I went to Yoga class on Wednesday – not an unusual occurrence for me, I tend to go fairly often, but this was at a different time than normal. I walked in, took a deep breath and lay down on my mat to relax because I had 10 minutes to chill before class started. I lay there with my eyes shut, thinking about nothing in particular, just feeling kind of psyched I had been able to make it to an earlier class. I was, overall, happy to be there. I heard the instructor walk into the room, noticed her adjust the lights through my closed eyelids and began to rouse myself to join the class. That’s when I looked around and…ugh… the moaner/grunter was there.

Crap. Maybe I’ve mentioned this particular gentleman before – if you’ve taken a yoga class in the past, you may have had someone like him there. He is the guy who, rather than “breathing as a community”, waits a beat and then moans/groans – loudly. Really loudly. Every time. The studio where I take yoga is a relatively quiet place – an instructor softly speaking, people softly breathing and one loud moaner/groaner. (Can you tell I react strongly to this guy?) Here is the thing – I saw this guy and my immediate reaction was F this, I am outta here. I wanted to leave. I had gone from peaceful excitement about taking class to annoyance/avoidance in one glance. Then I had a bit of an epiphany. This guy doesn’t get to take this away from me. He wasn’t going to ruin this for me. I started to (internally) make fun of his noises and found myself being entertained by his ridiculousness. (I didn’t make fun of him overtly – I was annoyed, not rude.) I just smiled to myself and moved on.

Too often we allow people to have too much power over our lives. Have you ever gone to work and discovered you were assigned to work with a less than desirable co-worker and allowed it to ruin your day? Have you arrived at a party and noted someone you really didn’t like had been invited as well? Did it interfere with your ability to have a good time? These people don’t get to interfere with your life like this. Find a way to turn it around in your head. If they are annoying, make it funny for yourself. Focus on the people who you do enjoy.

I am not saying I will deliberately be seeking this guy out so we can take classes together in the future. I still really find him annoying and he messes with my concentration, but if I happen to walk in and he is there, he won’t chase me out.

The Truth about Santa

I have may have mentioned previously that I have a 9-year-old daughter. She is still a professed Santa-believer (though we have serious doubts she is really 100% on board vs. afraid of how things might change). My husband and I have had frequent talks about how to have “the talk” with her about Santa and when we should have that conversation. We have (maybe out of avoidance) opted to wait for her to come to us. We answer any question she may have, but are not seeking her out to burst her bubble. We’ve come close a couple of times. She has come to us in previous years and shared what a friend has told her about Santa. We’ve never “lied” exactly, but we have sugar-coated the truth, each year coming closer and closer to confessing.

The most recent conversation had to do with the Easter Bunny. We were sitting at Easter dinner at my husband’s restaurant (he had to work that year, so he wasn’t at the table – lucky Bastard to avoid this conversation). We’re eating dinner, having a wonderful afternoon. Imagine us, surrounded by families and enjoying a delicious meal when my 9-year-old looks up at me with her huge hazel eyes and asks, “It’s really you and Daddy who put out my Easter basket, right?” I nearly choked on my dinner! She’d be an amazing detective – totally blind-sided me and caught me unprepared. What does a psychologically-trained professional like me do? Once I could breathe again, I said, “Why don’t you ask your father.” Seriously? Why don’t you ask your father? I totally dropped the ball (and then punted it). As far as I know, she never asked him.

Well, this year we know we are living on borrowed time. She is 9, almost 10. She isn’t asking us, but is making end runs at other trusted adults in her life. Just two days ago, she was in a dance class with her most trusted dance teacher, the divine Miss Erin and slyly asked about Miss Erin’s Elf on the Shelf and whether she moves it for her kids or if the elf moves on its own. This amazing lady reiterated what we had always told her – something about Christmas magic – and Charlie moved on. So, I know it is coming. What am I going to do?

I have decided to be honest. There are letter suggestions out there (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/163959242659866164) and I love, love, love the sentiments of this letter and will include many of them when I finally have this conversation. I will not be writing her a letter (though this definitely appeals to my desire to avoid a potentially uncomfortable, awkward, sad conversation). It is important for me to tell her that Santa is about the spirit of Christmas and even though (spoiler alert) Moms and Dads tend to buy the Santa gifts, Santa is still about the magic of the season. I would stress the importance of allowing the spirit of Santa and Christmas to remain alive for others. (Unlike my older sister who blew the secret when I was only four – I still bear the scars of that psychological trauma). I will explain to her that, like Spiderman, with great knowledge comes great responsibility – she is responsible for allowing the joy to continue for other kids.

Now comes to million dollar question – when am I going to tell her? Well, I am defaulting to “the next time she asks”. I have a strong suspicion she already knows (or at least has a significant gut feeling), but I will allow her to address this as she is comfortable. I don’t feel it is my role to push her to believe or not believe any more. I am going to support her wherever she is and answer her questions as they are posed. The selfish part of me is hoping it isn’t for a couple more weeks – I would love to have one more Christmas with Santa intact.

Maybe it is a Little Bit You…

We’ve all heard those break-up stories – the couple sit there while one looks into the other’s eyes and explains they want to end the relationship. They try to let the other down easily and say those five little words, “It’s not you, it’s me.” What is this supposed to mean? It means the person ending the relationship is saying they aren’t able to be in the relationship despite the fact the person being dumped is fabulous and wonderful and a perfect person/partner. Do they actually mean this? Well, maybe/maybe not.

Look, harsh reality here – sometimes it really is you. Hearing this can spare you from having to hear these words again and again. I want you to pay attention to patterns even when they aren’t totally obvious. Do your relationships with boyfriends seem to end when you try to get too close too fast? This could be important information! Do you keep getting laid off from jobs as soon as they have an opportunity to downsize? Take notice! Are you struggling to connect in friendships and end up excluded with little to no explanation? Consider the role you may be playing in these relationships!

If you don’t notice these patterns, you are doomed to repeat them. Ooooh! Another saying is especially meaningful here – “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (George Santayana). If someone tells you “It’s not you, it’s me” take a moment and think it through. Maybe, just maybe, it is a little bit you. This doesn’t have to be a painful reality – it is information you can build on to make your life even more amazing. Use it. Learn from it. Make changes as necessary and leave your ex in your dust.

Chivalry is not DOA

I know many people say chivalry is dead. I disagree. It isn’t dead, it’s just… different. When Jason and I first started dating, he never let me open a door. Like, ever. It became such a joke between us, that I “don’t touch doors”. We’ve been married more than 15 years and I still don’t. (Unless he’s not there because that would just be weird – me standing there, staring at the door). There is one other thing my husband does I don’t want to give up – whenever we walk outdoors, he always positions himself on the side of traffic. This is to protect me from a runaway car or crazed kidnapper, I suppose. I am completely comfortable with Jason holding the door open for me and shielding me from abduction, but am completely skeezed out when he tries to run around and open my car door for me. I’m not sure what it is about standing there waiting for him to open my car door that makes me feel like a complete tool, but I hate it. I know it makes no sense, but it works for us.

Chivalry is not just for those with male genitalia though – the definition of chivalry: the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms. Nowhere in that definition does it say anything about the person exhibiting chivalry having a penis. I know this assumption is based on the past, knights always being dudes way back when, but come on ladies, buck up! Chivalry is something we could all manage a bit more.

  • If you are walking through a door and notice someone a few steps behind you, stop and hold the door for them. Those few seconds will not destroy your entire day and maybe you will get a smile and a “Thank you” in return. (Side note – if you are approaching a door and someone stops to hold it for you, please, please, please, say “Thank you”. Seriously, drives me crazy when people sail through with an air of entitlement, “Of course you hold the door for me, you peon!”).
  • If someone nearby sneezes even if (or especially if) you do not know them, say “Bless You” (or if you aren’t religious say. “Gesundheit” which means good health). It is nice to acknowledge someone else’s sneeze (I’m not sure why), but just do it.
  • If you see someone struggling with packages and your hands are free, offer a hand. (Unless it is a creepy guy by a van – serial killer alert). Being helpful to other people makes you both feel good.
  • If you are able bodied and are sitting in a seat and you notice someone less able bodied and there are no more seats, offer them yours. What does “less able bodied” mean? This could mean a lot of things, someone elderly or sick or pregnant or traveling with little kids or who knows. If they seem less able to stand than you for any reason – get up!

Are there others I have forgotten? Suggestions?

Life Challenge: Showing Up

I was sitting at work the other day, nearly done for the afternoon, and all I could think about was going home, putting on comfortable clothes and vegging out in front of the TV. Totally reasonable, right? Here is the challenge – I had a bag packed so I could go to yoga on the way home from work. My daughter was at dance class for several hours and my husband was at work. I was free as a bird and knew, knew, knew I should be going to yoga rather than to the couch. The couch would make me feel terrible and would likely lead to me munching on a bunch of really unhealthy things that would make me feel even worse.

I had an epiphany. Showing up at yoga would be an automatic win. It didn’t matter if I completed a single pose correctly or if I burned a single calorie – just walking in the door made it a victory. Why? Well, it kept me off the couch and out of the fridge (for at least a few hours), it increased the chances I would engage in actual exercise (I was already there) and made me feel more productive overall (yoga vs TV). There are so many areas in our lives where just showing up is the most important part. What you do after you show up matters, but not nearly as much as getting through the door.

Have you had this experience? Let me think of some examples (in case you are too lazy to think of them yourself). Say you feel kinda cruddy and don’t really want to go to work, but aren’t really sick. Walking through the door is your victory. Ever felt like bailing on friends and hiding out at home rather than going out? Show up – you win. You get the idea, right?

Here is the amazing thing about showing up – you usually are really happy you did it. Once you get through the door, you are able to power through – you are able to get a decent workout, put in a full work day and have fun with your friends. Even if it is not fabulous, at least you went and you tried. I often will tell my husband to remind me (when I don’t want to get out of bed to go for a run) that a crappy run is better than no run any day of the week. Remember this – show up. The hardest part is getting off your ass and pushing through the door. After that, it all gets easier.

In Defense of Good Enough

The concept of “good enough” is one that has (and continues to) challenge me throughout my life. I wanted to be “the best” at everything and strove for perfection. This lead to immeasurable frustration, and countless hours of banging my head against the wall. Why? Perfection is an elusive bitch and impossible to obtain. Am I the only one with this struggle? Heck no.

One of Charlie’s dance teachers and I were talking the other day about getting ready for an upcoming dance competition. She shared that she rarely sleeps during the weekend of competitions because she stays up all night adding additional stones to costumes or tweaking choreography or adjusting hairpieces. We talked about how hard it is to know when the costume, routine or anything is “good enough” and to know when to stop. This is a challenge we all face in many ways. When is our house clean enough, our children well-behaved enough, our report well-written enough? How do we know when we are clear to stop?

What does “good enough” mean? There is the dictionary definition which is something like “adequately good for the circumstances”, but this is really vague because good enough means different things to different people. Let me give an example, in college I had the opportunity to live with MANY roommates over my many years (undergrad and grad school). One thing you quickly learn living with different people, is you all have very different ideas of what constitutes clean. When is it “good enough”? I had roommates who freaked out if there was a water glass left on the counter of an immaculate kitchen. I had roommates who weren’t concerned if there were mountains of dishes piled in the sink. Each of these people had concepts of what was “good enough”. You can imagine the conflict if I had lived with these two people at the same time. (For the record, I was somewhere between these two extremes).

We each have to come to our own definition of good enough for our own lives. We then need to come to terms to others’ reactions to our idea of good enough. They may be angry (as were my roommates by each other’s level of cleanliness) or frustrated or completely agree. Create your standards and be generous to yourself. Good enough can be as much as needs to get down to achieve a satisfactory result. Returning to my daughter’s dance teacher, good enough is a successful routine with a completed costume. Anything extra (even if it takes it closer to perfection) may be a waste of time and energy.