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“Was I Better Today Than Yesterday?”

“Was I better today than yesterday?” This is something to ask yourself. And, if you answer “no” today, then you will most likely answer “yes” tomorrow. Or, so this what I heard on an Oprah podcast on Fulfillment. I am not so sure that I can always answer “yes” the next day, though. The idea behind this notion is that we, as people, don’t repeat negative behaviors twice, and we work on making our situations better, not worse. We move forward, not back.

I don’t know about you, but I repeat my mistakes all the time. It’s like I’m sometimes this albino rat in a science experiment, who is missing a receptor firing and can’t learn well. I’m the broken rat in the Skinner Box experiment, who fails to learn that if you press the lever, you may get a food pellet.

Did I just liken myself to a rat? I did. Actually, I feel like that was in my subconscious, because someone once called me an “old rat.” I will leave that story for another day…. but, yes, it hurt my feelings.

I think, tomorrow, I’ll just do the same sh*t

Anyway, so, I am going to try to be better today than yesterday. I mean, it’s already 5:00 p.m., so I don’t have too many hours left before the day is over. I am going to grill some chicken on my new broiler, since my grill outside is still broken. Cooking a meal? That’s better than the ordering I did yesterday. Then, I’m going to try to get some writing done. Ha! That is so not happening. I’ll probably just have time to help my kids with their homework, play American Girl dolls, and zone out with some TV show. I mean, honestly? That’s kind of better than my day was yesterday, in the end. Oh, wait, but was I better…hm…that’s another question.

Tomorrow, I have HUGE plans to be better! I am going to work! Yay! Oh, but the morning will be better, because today I put my travel mug of coffee in my purse, and when I bent over to get the bags in the backseat, the coffee top flew off and spilled coffee all over my brand new car, my clothes, and the bags. I legit started to tear up in the parking lot, and a very nice, compassionate woman asked if she could make me another coffee. I told her, “no, thank you,” but she did bring me a new bag to put my stuff in, which was not covered with coffee. My faith in humanity is restored.

This was me in the parking lot, but covered in java

I’m going to work on being better today now. Tell me about your day!

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The Grind. How Can We Escape it and Simplify Life?

I grind my teeth. And, I clench my jaw. I was reminded of this at the dentist last week. But how do I stop from clenching when I feel overwhelmed? I feel overwhelmed this week…and often. As my editor just remarked, “You’re doing too much. Try to take a break from the book, because you’re rushing it.” I was trying to wrap up writing my book, but it isn’t ready to wrap up. That’s the thing about writing a book: it evolves, changes, and you, yourself, can’t predict the turns it takes and even how it ends. It’s not ready, and I can’t force it, even though I need a break. I wanted to check off the box: book complete. Check. Done. But I can’t. I can’t check off many things. The to-do list just continues to grow, or one thing is added as another is completed. I’ve got to stop clenching my teeth about this before I have none left!

These are nice teeth, and not my lips. But I wish I had sugar lips!

So what are things we can take away from our to-do list to simplify? Here are some constants in my life that will never be “done:”

  1. Take care of the kids. I do this six nights a week alone one week, and four nights a week alone the other. There is no getting around it, as they are still in elementary school. I could work on letting them be more independent. For example, I still cut their food and give them baths. Shh, I know. Don’t chastise me! But, I sort of like that they need me. I bring them snacks, clean their rooms, play with them all the time. In short, I create some of this “stress” there. Maybe I can work on that.
  2. Go to work. I can’t change this. We all need a paycheck. And I like my job. But, yeah, it takes up a lot of time and headspace. I think about it when I’m not there, and I check my emails at all hours. I can work on that too.
  3. Walk my dogs: I could hire a dog walker, but why even have the dogs? I LIKE walking them, but it also stresses me out when I haven’t, or when I’m rushing to work, and getting the kids out the door, and they are imploring me to take them on some long walk with their sad, little eyes! I guess I could get up earlier. Oy.
  4. Writing: I want to finish my book. I have 300 pages. I need to finish it. I want to continue to write my blog. I love writing it, and I love reading blogs. I need to make the time, or the quality suffers.

Well, okay. OMG, you know what I left off that constant list? Take care of MYSELF! I just realized that! Self-care. This is something we often forget, right? It takes a back seat, and then I go to the dentist and find my teeth are worn down. Or I cry for no reason when I listen to Piano Lounge music on Spotify while driving. I’m like bawling to some Kate Bush song and thinking, “Wait, why am I crying right now??” This happened yesterday. Then, I realized I think I’m just to freaking busy and overwhelmed.

Sorry to vent. I know we all have a lot of must-dos and should-dos.

I also need to stop apologizing.

But, first, I’ll work on grinding my teeth.

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Pandemic Pod Panic: Is Your Social Life Causing Angst?

Have you spent more time worrying about your–and your child’s–social life since the pandemic hit? If so, you could be suffering from Pandemic Pod Panic, aka “P3” (I just made this up). I read this interesting piece in the Boston Globe that detailed how many of us have been gripping about how we and our families are left out of social activities during this time of social distancing and isolation. Is this you? I have been guilty of it, I must admit.

First off, let me define a Pandemic Pod, for those of you not in-the-know. It’s essentially a small cohort of families who have stayed together and played together throughout the pandemic. The Pod subscribes to the same level of concern about COVID and, for the most part, interacts socially with an equal level of discretion and safety. Some pods may have more stringent policies when it comes to traveling by airplane, riding the school bus, or dining indoors. Others may be a little less rigid and feel those activities are okay. Typically, what one pod member believes, so does the other. This is why there is not much cross-pollination of pods! And there can be apparent judgment of pods that do not think–and most importantly ACT-alike. This is sounding like a cult..

Let me be clear: I am not judging anyone here. And no one’s beliefs are wrong. Unless they are not mine. Wait, joking! No, I mean, be safe, people. Obviously.

Anyway, back to the topic at-hand: Pandemic Pod Panic. I have noticed that I don’t see or talk to some of the friends that I used to since last March, the onset of COVID. This has caused me to wonder if it’s because of something I’ve done, or how I choose to live during Covid, or if it’s just something about them wanting to isolate. Some of it, too, is because we don’t run into each other at soccer, for example, or during school activities.

I don’t really know. I think we can only assume that it’s that, but who knows!? This reminds me of my recent blog post, Too Many Friends = Too Much Drama, and the feeling of being back in high school. And then, when you find out that friend you don’t see or talk to is actually hanging in her own pod? Then you panic: is it me? Why am I not in that pod? Are we no longer friends?

COVID is killing more than our spirits–it’s killing friendships! (insert scary music)…

Um, that’s a little drastic.

Now, aside from myself, I sometimes wonder about my kids. My son, for example, isn’t as social as my daughter. He basically has lived like a sand mole in the basement and on video games for a year now. Well, that’s not entirely in isolation, though, because he’s on a headset laughing his head off with friends. I’ve wondered if he should go outside and play with our neighbors, but he really has no interest, and I get concerned. Like, is he antisocial? Is he going to have friends when this is all over? We can’t really invite people over who he hasn’t seen or been “podding” with, and hence the P3 begins (Pandemic Pod Panic)

I have been fortunate to have a nice group of friends in my neighborhood, and we have been kind of like our own Pandemic Pod. Our children are the same ages and have played since the pandemic hit. Similarly, we adults have met around the firepit and had some wine and been able to socialize while social distancing. But I have heard others lament that they don’t have those opportunities and feel left out. This sense of isolation is magnified when they see it posted on social media–revelry around a firepit with friends. In the Boston Globe piece, they recommended not posting those types of photos to social media so others don’t feel left out.

Wait. But I only post so others feel less-than, right???? (Insert Mean Girls voice). Just joking.

Anyway, what are your thoughts and experiences with this? Have you felt left out, or judged, or worried about social nonsense during the pandemic? Maybe we are just bored! Perhaps this is self-manufactured stress.

🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🥴🥴

Parenting

Thanks for Listening: A Rant from Me xo

I want to start this by saying: I just can’t anymore! I have been running around like a maniac, probably accruing the much-desired 10,000 steps in the last hour, because I can’t get a break! Long weekends are a lot…a lot…for a parent with young children at home, especially if you’re a single parent, and it’s a pandemic, and they can’t play with others. Not to mention, my car overheated and basically was on fire on Friday, and my grill caught fire and no longer works. Oh, and the loaner car I got from Subaru for my on-fire car? I returned it, and I left the case for my air pods in it, so there’s that. And I can’t find my Chrome book, just the plug.

Guys! I am losing my mind!!!

See? I have all the good intentions of having a calm day, and then this crap happens.

So here’s my day:

  1. Get woken up early by Tigger (a.k.a., my daughter), even though it’s a holiday, and I wanted to get some quality rack.
  2. Play Old Maid with both kids and discuss our “ideal” agendas for the day, so we can come to a compromise: my son wants to sit around and play video games, and then have me drive him to Chic-Fil-A, even though it’s 40 minutes away, and I’m in a loaner car from Subaru, so we can’t *really* eat in it. My daughter wants me to play Barbies, walk the dogs, and then play more. Me? I suggested raking the leaves, cleaning the house, and walking the dogs. Seriously? That’s my “ideal” day? It was. Come get me. Someone.
  3. We go to the skate park, which was fun. Kids skateboarded, and I walked dogs. Then, we hit up McDonald’s in lieu of Chick-fil-A. Oh, and she needed a Coolata, so we had to hit up Dunkin Donuts also. Gross? Yes. But, whatevs. Then, I find out it’s going to cost more to repair my car from a decade ago than to get rid of it. So there’s that.
  4. I come home, make some steak in the broiler, because the grill is broken, and no one but the dogs enjoy it. Then, I cut my children’s hair, as if I’m licensed at Pro Cuts, they yell at me, and then I lose everything known to me. I flat iron her hair so it looks longer.
  5. I’m still cleaning.
  6. I decide I have to pour wine and exclaim, “Mommy needs a time out,” even though I had every intention not to drink on a Monday.

So this was my day “off” from work.

I don’t know. Just complaining to y’all. We all have it hard, and Covid blows, and no one’s life is easy, and I have NO business complaining. Yet, I just wanted to vent. So, thank you for reading and listening. Feel free to vent to me in the comments!

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I Need (More) Answers… Befuddling Questions

Ever wonder why when you want there to be a red light, so you can send a text, or dig through your monstrous bag looking for something, it’s always green? I have a number of these questions, which I’d like answers to. Here are others:

  1. Why does a “regular” coffee at Dunkin’ mean three creams and two sugars? Honestly, that’s irregular to me. #creambomb
  2. When I have the most garbage ever, and it’s spilling out of the cans, why do I forget to put it out on the street or it’s always a holiday and the schedule is all messed up?
  3. Why do I lose all of my nice sunglasses and hair ties, but I have that one scrunchie from 20 years ago and the Dollar Tree Store sunglasses from 2010?
  4. Why do I never learn my lesson that my children can’t eat in my bed, and then when there is a slick of ice cream on my clean sheets, I’m not only grossed out but also surprised?
  5. Why do I always wonder if the alarm will go off when I have my phone on silent?
  6. Why every time when I go to the dry cleaner is it closed? Also, does dry cleaning actually clean things? Seems a little dicey to me.
  7. Why do we open our mouths when we put on mascara?

Here is the first list of questions, if you’re interested!

What are some of your questions? Let me know in the comments. 🙂