Mary the Grocery Store Lady and Me, Me, Me!

Last night I went to the local grocery store and saw that Mary had dyed her hair. I was a bit surprised. Mary never struck me as the hair dying sort. The cigarette smoking, beer drinking with her family sort, yes. Mary works overnights at the local grocery store and she kind of intimidates me. She’s not like the nice, cheery ladies who work during the day. Mary doesn’t look at you and she doesn’t care if you found everything you were looking for. She wears prescription sunglasses inside, is thin as a rail and moves like a man. I always think she hates me but I’ve watched her with other people and either she hates them too or that’s just the way she is.

I always try to talk to Mary. I hate how unfriendly people are around where I live, so I make a point of talking to people when I’m out. It’s my little protest. And I just think it’s right to be friendly. However, I’m actually pretty shy and easily intimidated. So when I run into someone like Mary I have to work up the nerve just to say “hi” and ask how it’s going. I don’t always make it. I feel like she’s so fiercely determined not to look at you and keep her mouth set in a straight line because she doesn’t want anyone to talk to her. But if I don’t even try to talk to her, I’m convinced that she thinks it’s because I’m a stupid, fat cow who thinks she’s to good to talk to a person like her. Which right there is a good demonstration of why it’s not healthy to try to put yourself into the head of a stranger. You’re just making crap up. Continue reading “Mary the Grocery Store Lady and Me, Me, Me!”

Imperfectly Perfect Hospitality

Once upon a time before my life became total crap, we used to enjoy entertaining quite a bit. In fact, over the years I have had many people comment on how welcome they always felt when they came into my home. I had the knack for hospitality, they would say. Really, I just have a gift for offering people free food and drink in exchange for hanging out with me.

Now, before you get the wrong idea, I would like to point out my well documented flaws as a housekeeper and the equally well documented excess of children continually spilling things on the carpets in my home. (The other day Olivia put a wad of toilet paper on the floor next to my desk, sat on it and pee’d. True story. There’s a reason the dog walks around licking the carpets.) I mean, I have no chance of getting my 15 minutes of fame by being featured on Hoarders or anything, but suffice it to say that there’s crap on the top of my refridgerator, my carpets are stained and lawn is a mess. I’m not perfect. Continue reading “Imperfectly Perfect Hospitality”

Mindfulness and Procrastination

There’s probably nothing guaranteed to make you feel worse on a day-in-day out basis than those unfinished tasks we just keep putting off.   Unsent thankyou notes, unfolded laundry, bills, making that doctor’s appointment.  Whatever.  They just hang over our heads like big neon signs screaming “irresponsible”, “lazy”, “unorganized”.  I know that a lot of people swear by lists, but that has never worked for me.  I am completely unrealistic about what I can get done in a day, I am dissatisfied with anything less than near-perfection and the list thing just puts those two tendencies on a collision course with burn-out and discouragement.  But in my relentless quest to be both healthy and happy – at the same time – I have hit on something that works for disorderly, easily discouraged, unrealistic me.

The way things usually work is that in the back of my mind, I will know there’s something I need to get done.  Sometimes these things will pop into my head at an inopportune time.  And because it’s not done, I just have a gut level reaction to the task which is a combination of guilt and dread.  So I put it off again.  It’s waited this long, right?  Over and over.  Continue reading “Mindfulness and Procrastination”

A Recovering Political Junkie’s Advice for Campaign 2012

Donuts. . . Mmmmmm

This may come as a shock to people who thought I was a rational human, but I have a confession to make: I was a political junkie.  It’s true.  I followed every twist and turn of our democratic system at play.  Cuz a properly functioning democracy relies on a well informed electorate.  Your granddad used to read the paper front to back every day.  There were psa’s in the middle of my sitcoms telling me to “be informed” when I was growing up.  What can I say? 

For those of you who don’t get the political junkie thing, let me tell you a dirty secret: politics is pretty much just like celebrity watching – only for putatively smart people.  Who’s doing what outrageous thing now?  What’s the strategy going to be on this next vote?  How will the electorate react?  What the hell is wrong with Nebraska?  And above all, what’s your opinion and why? 

But here’s the thing: my opinion doesn’t mean squat.  Continue reading “A Recovering Political Junkie’s Advice for Campaign 2012”

Telling the difference between an excuse and a reason

I’m not one to put much stock in sterotypes, but I was raised Catholic.  And I have Catholic guilt.  Bad.  But I’ve worked really hard to get rid of it and I’ve learned some things along the way.  Like that the problem with Catholic guilt is that it relies on a very inaccurate view of how the world works.  It’s mostly sustained by the holy trio of bad ideas:

1. Somehow everything is my responsibility

2  Everything that goes wrong is my fault. 

3. What I want or think is almost certainly wrong.

Catholic guilt’s hard to get rid of because of the specter of pride lurking just over your shoulder.  If you reject the triumvrent above, it’s because you are giving into pride.  Giving into pride is giving into a delusion.  Taking the risk of being delusional requires lots of evidence and really, what have you ever done that’s so special any ways? 

One of the things which I have had to learn as part of the process of moving past feeling guilty for bothering people with my breathing is how to tell the difference between an excuse and a reason.  Continue reading “Telling the difference between an excuse and a reason”

Be Wrong . . . All the Time

I used to think that being wrong was unacceptable.  I used to always feel bad about myself.  Go figure, huh?  Here’s the thing which I had missed: I wasn’t just inevitably wrong, I was unavoidably wrong.  Which means that being wrong isn’t unacceptable – it can’t be helped.  And in keeping with my philosophy that I don’t need to feel bad about things I can’t … Continue reading Be Wrong . . . All the Time

Some Feelings Just Have to Be Felt

Ever held  a beach ball under water?  You can do it for a while, maybe even quite a while, but eventually the ball will pop back up to the surface and wildly careen off.  It’s pretty much the way our emotions work as well.  You can hold them under, but they don’t go away.  Unless you can hold them under until you die (gee, doesn’t … Continue reading Some Feelings Just Have to Be Felt