Friday, March 30, 2012

Closet Meltdown Syndrome

We celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary last Sunday.  12 difficult and glorious and awesome years together.  One day I will write a really fantastic post about my husband and me.  It's an epic story still in progress.

This, however, is not that post.

This is about Closet Meltdown Syndrome.  Unless you are Giselle or some other beautifully gifted person, you are familiar with Closet Meltdown Syndrome.

My latest CM happened the day of our anniversary.  We had plans to go to a nice dinner.  It's officially spring/summer here in central Texas - warm weather and sunny skies.

That means no more sweaters, jackets, and boots.

That means short-sleeves, tank tops, skirts, shorts and basically stuff that shows more skin.

That means a guaranteed CM.

A CM episode usually goes like this:

  • enter the closet to search for that perfect outfit for <insert name of event>
  • *perfect outfit means the one that makes you look 20 pounds thinner and 10 years younger
  • sigh deeply as you sort through the closet full of unacceptable clothes
  • try on outfits with great skepticism that it will work
  • throw unacceptable clothes in a pile
  • stomp and sulk and whine about whatever imperfection you think you have, but probably don't
  • swear that you are starting a new diet/exercise plan the very next day
And that is Closet Meltdown Syndrome.  

Stay Away From My Cupcakes!

For the past few weeks, we've been trying to teach Scarlett about sharing.  I say 'we' but really mean our daycare lady.  Scarlett is a little over a year old and is our only baby in the house.  (I have a 15 year-old stepdaughter who lives with her mom a few hours away).  

When she's at home, everything is hers.  There's no need to share her toys because there's no one to share them with.  At daycare, however, she still thinks all the toys are hers and she tries to take whatever she wants from someone else and doesn't want to share what she's playing with.  

At home we've started working on trading different toys with her and being firm when she tries to take something from one of us (like a cell phone, her favorite).  It's a work in progress and certainly a developmental stage that everyone goes through and I have no doubt that she will master the art of sharing.  She's only 1 for goodness sakes.

But I have to say...even as a grown-up, I totally get not wanting to share.  

I'm not talking about sharing wealth and knowledge and friendship and blah blah blah.

Oh no.  I'm much more petty than that.

I'm talking about cupcakes.

Cupcakes are individual cakes.  They are meant for one person.  They are not meant to be shared.  They are individuals with their own taste, texture and decoration.  It's not a sheet cake to be cut up and passed around to everyone.

I kinda feel that way about some other things in my life.  Some things are just mine.  My thoughts, my ideas, my creative's mine and I don't really want to share it with someone who wants to borrow or imitate them.  To me, that's a bit stalker-ish (is that word?)

So word to the wise...stay away from my cupcakes!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dark & Twisty

My friend gently reminded me that it's been over a week since I've blogged. I just haven't had much to share lately.

I've been in a little bit of a funk. "Dark and twisty" is what I like to call it. Lots of stress at work, trying to get through school work, not feeling especially great and a few bouts of low self-esteem have piled up on me lately.

So yesterday, after a particularly low moment, I felt like I've just had enough of feeling like a sluggish, flabby downer. I haven't been eating well and I've really slacked off in the exercise department.

And it shows. Not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and so on. Those closest to me know that I am much easier to tolerate when I have a regular exercise and rest plan. Without it, let's just say I can be a bit unpleasant.

I am on My Fitness Pal now, and plan on tracking every sip and crumb that passes my lips, as well as my exercise. I even have a buddy there to go through this with me. My first goal is to lose at least 7 pounds by May 1st.

For the next few weeks, I'll share my progress and my meltdowns (I had an epic one yesterday).

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Tonight my daughter turned her sippy cup upside down and poured milk all over her head and face.

And I was simply too tired to do anything about it. I just sat quietly staring at her, thinking about the spa where they charge $150 for basically the same thing and call it a facial or something. Here she was doing it for the cost of a disposable sippy cup and a few ounces of milk and dare I say, much happier than I would be after parting with $150 for an alleged relaxing experience.

I am tired. Bone tired. Mentally exhausted. Physically feeling 'meh'. And maybe a touch grumpy. Maybe.

And then...the sweet angel doesn't want to go to sleep. She wants to play crib gymnastics where she pops up like a little jack-in-the box and giggles. I truly felt myself channeling my own mom while saying, "Lay down and go to sleep. It's night-night time.". I totally expected to hear, "I mean it! Right now!" come out of my mouth.

Eventually, she stopped her pop up routine and went off to dreamland. I'm hoping to do the same and recharge my batteries.

Night-night. I mean it!

Sunday, March 18, 2012


St. Patrick's Day is one of my favorite holidays.  What other holiday do you get to celebrate with music and parades and Guinness without the stress of buying someone a gift?

This weekend I got to celebrate the day of green with some friends in downtown Austin...with about 30,000 other people.  SXSW is going strong, as is the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo.  It was crowded, but not in that dangerous mob riot kind of way.

Naturally, I did not take any pictures.  I always forget to take pictures.  Downtown was a sea of various shades of green and people were spilling into the streets from Fado, Dog & Duck, Gingerman and B.D. Riley's.  Irish bands, U2 cover bands, Irish dancers and pipes and drums were everywhere too.

Over our Guinness we all compared our Irish heritage.  All of us claimed to be some part Irish.  We talked about wishing to go visit Dublin and Dingle and Galway.  And we talked about where to celebrate St. Patrick's Day next year, and that's when I added something to my bucket list.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, New York City.

It is the largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in the world.  Add it to my list of things I want to see and do.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

No really, I'm fine

Have you ever had one of those days when you just had to paste on a smile and power through it?  How about a week?  A month?

I'm having one of those weeks.  Bear with me while I indulge in some whining here.

It's spring break.  Yay, right?  Not so much.

My husband went to a conference.  I have a 20 page midterm assignment I received on Monday of spring break.  It's due in a week.  There are some really important (and stressful) decisions I have to make at work.  My allergies are making my head feel like it weighs a thousand pounds.

On their own, these are not big things.  But they all happened at the same time, and some of these things are huge.  It becomes a challenge to balance it all and maintain my sanity.  I am trying to divide my attention between my family, my work and my studies.  Somewhere in there I need to pay attention to myself too.

And how am I doing?  Well...I'm managing (insert smiley face here).  I'm not eating great, but I'm not burying my stress in a dozen cupcakes or a bottle of wine.  I'm not sleeping very well.  And I've only exercised twice this week.

BUT...I haven't had any meltdowns.  I've enjoyed my time with Scarlett.  I have some preliminary plans for the decisions to be made.  I've placed my school work at the bottom of the priority list because quite frankly, it just doesn't matter as much as the other things.

AND...some really cool things happened.  My husband came home early from the conference.  My colleagues at work have been extremely supportive.  I managed to carve out a few hours to work on my midterm and vent a little through writing.  (Welcome to my venting).  The Zyrtec seems to be working.

AND parents are coming this weekend to see Scarlett.  That means Bill and I can sneak away to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with friends.

By next Monday, my family will be back on a regular schedule.  At least some of the work stuff will be done.  The school assignment will be over.

The lesson this week has been one I seem to have over and over.  When things get tough, it takes some work but it can be managed.  These were some of my lessons

  • Prioritize who and what is important. 
  • Celebrate even the really little good things.  
  • Accept the bad/challenging things for what they are but don't wallow in them or let them define you.  
  • Don't beat yourself up for not being perfect (missing exercise, sleep, diet)
  • Never stop working towards a solution, but take a break no matter how brief it is.  
  • Appreciate the support from your friends and family.  
  • Realize that these are all temporary conditions and there are things to look forward to.
  • Zyrtec works better than Claritin for me
  • NEVER lose your sense of humor

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Super Powers

The following conversation may or may not have taken place.

Me: "I need a super power."

Bill: "Why do you need a super power?"

Me: "So I can get things done."

Bill: "Is there a 'get things done' super power?"

Me: "Maybe. I'm not sure if it's catalogued in the League of Super Heroes. But if it is, I want it."

Bill: "Uh huh."

Me: "It would be awesome if I could just stare at someone or something and stuff would happen...or stop happening. It depends on what I need."


Me: "You know, like staring at someone until they bring me coffee. Or staring at the annoying loud talker until they are quiet. Or staring at Scarlett so she will put whatever pointy-sharp-thing-she-shouldn't-have down."

Bill: "I see. Does this super power come with a costume?"

Me: "I don't know. For sure it comes with really cool glasses. So you can give a really good stare-down over the rim."

Bill: "Interesting."

Me: "You know what other super power I want?"

Bill: "I have no idea."

Me: "The power of sleep."

Bill: "That sounds like a boring super power."

Me: "Not really. I would be able to make you go to sleep whenever I wanted. More importantly, I would be able to go the sleep whenever I wanted. Especially on those insomnia nights. And Scarlett would never wake up before 7."

Bill: "Right."

Me: "You don't seem really supportive of my super powers."

Bill: "Well you're not exactly talking about Wonder Twin powers. Maybe you should just go to sleep and get your own stuff done."


Bill: "Why are you staring at me?"

Me: "I'm practicing."

I have a pretty hellacious few weeks coming straight at me. Bill is out of town, I've got midterms, and major projects at work. There are days when it would be handy to have a super power or two in my pocket. Like the power of cooperation, the power of being two places at once, the power of making laundry disappear.

Unfortunately, I have none of these super powers, so it's going to be all up to this mortal to get it done.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


This month I will celebrate the 6 month anniversary of my 40th birthday.  Hey, I don't get out much so just work with me here.  The actual event of turning 40 was mostly anti-climactic.  Nothing really extraordinary.  But since then, I've noticed a few weird things about being 40.

I have a 1-year old baby girl.  To be honest, I never thought I would have kids at all.  And when I was a child, I'm pretty sure I never considered how old I would be when I would become a mom, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't 40.  But that's not the weird part.  It turns out that there are a lot more women like me - working moms in their late 30s/early 40s with babies.  I read an article recently that said that the number of moms to newborns who were 35  and older increased by 5% between 1990 and 2008.  Weird but awesome.  It's a relief to have someone I can relate to and know that I won't be the 'old lady' at the soccer game.

I have no idea what I'm supposed to wear.  I grew up in a conservative family and was raised with this idea of 'age appropriate' clothing.  I don't have a clue what that means anymore!  I'm fairly confident that I shouldn't wear anything that has gigantic letters printed across my rear-end, but I'm not ready for polyester elastic-waist pants either.  (My grandmother had a fantastic collection of these in her 70s though.  Very impressive.)  I feel caught between what's fashionable and what doesn't make me look like I'm trying too hard.  So Banana Republic works, Hollister not so much.

I'm much more interested in sun screen.  That's something I should have been interested in 20 years ago instead of being tan.  But now that I'm more interested in not looking like a piece of luggage in 10 years, I've invested a lot more in sunscreen.

I'm in school again.  I really anticipated being done with formal education by now, but for some reason I feel compelled to finish a masters degree.  The kicker is that it won't necessarily provide any benefits to my career.  But I am an advocate for education and in a weird way I enjoy being a student.

I'm halfway through a career.  I spent my 20s and 30s working towards achievement and accomplishment.  In terms of the career ladder, there's not much higher I can go (at least that I'm interested in right now).  In 10 years I can retire and I spend a lot of time thinking about how I want to spend that 10 (maybe a few more) years of my career.  And the best part is that if I'm ready in 10 years, I will retire when Scarlett is 11.  I will have had the opportunity to complete a career, spend more time at home with her, and still bring home a paycheck.  I don't think I would have been able to do that if I had kids earlier.  That 10 years may seem like a really long time, but think about where you were 10 years ago and where you are now.  It goes so fast.

I'm feeling pretty good about myself.  Whew...that was hard.  You would think that by writing a personal blog I wouldn't have many hang-ups about being open about personal stuff.  I keep a lot of my feelings private and don't discuss them with many people at all, but this is a weird/nice place to be.  After 39 years of insecurities and trying to prove myself, I'm feeling pretty good.  Do I still feel insecure about some things?  Absolutely.  Have I accomplished everything I set out to do?  Not at all.  But I think I'm at a place where I feel good about what I've accomplished so far, appreciate that I at least tried when I failed and recognized that there are just days I won't feel as great about 'me' as other days.  Weird...I know (especially if you know me).

Turns out 40 is not that big a deal.  It's just...weird.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Simple But Good

Yesterday I posted a link to a TED talk about rewiring your brain to be more positive and more productive. Today I discovered 1000 Awesome Things.

It's a blog simply about the little everyday things that are awesome. Some of my favorites from the Top 1000:

#267 Car dancing
#369 Finally getting something free from that loyalty card
#405 When someone pronounces your name right on the first try.
#536 When you're being chased by zombies and suddenly find a hidden stash of guns and ammo.

There are so many good ones here. Others I would add:

When every piece of laundry is done and put away.
That moment right before you fall asleep when you're really tired.
Finding change in your desk drawer when you really want something from the vending machine.
When people make room for you at the table when you walk in.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Think Positive

I'm sort of addicted to  I've seen some pretty fascinating and inspiring stories from some of the talks there.  Today I watched one from Shawn Achor that challenged the idea that success creates happiness.  I think many of us understand at some level that being successful doesn't create happiness.  That's not a new concept, although we behave differently by always trying to achieve something to be satisfied.  Achor says that his research shows that people are more productive, more creative and learn better when positive than when stressed or negative.  Sales increase over 30%.  Doctors are 19% more efficient and accurate.

What I found most interesting were his recommendations for how to train your brain to become more positive.  He identifies 5 different things you can do for 21 consecutive days that can rewire your brain to be more positive, and therefore make you more productive, a better learner and less stressed.

  • 3 Gratitudes - write down 3 different things you are thankful for every day
  • Journaling - write about at least one positive thing that happened to you every day
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Random Acts of Kindness

Could you do any of these for 21 consecutive days?  Would it be worth it just to be more positive in your view of the world?  Do you think it would stick?

If you've got 12 minutes, here's the link to his talk...

Saturday, March 3, 2012


I have profiles on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google+, and now Pinterest.  I use Facebook almost exclusively (not many of my friends are on Twitter).

I don't get Pinterest!  As best as I can tell, you basically roam the internet, see something shiny that makes you say, "ooohhh I like that" and you click on the picture to save it for yourself...and about 10 million other people.  It reminds me of getting the store catalogs when I was little and cutting out pictures of the stuff I wanted for Christmas.

Pinterest, however, is becoming the hot new social networking site.  There are 10.4 million users and that number is rapidly growing.  And 80% are women.  And the top interests are crafts, gifts, interior design and fashion.  Wait.  I'm starting to see why I don't get Pinterest.  Anyway...

I need a Pinterest for Dummies book.  (I'm only kidding...please don't order me the book from Amazon.  Yes, there really is one.)  I don't see how a bazillion random pictures is social networking.  There is status update, no Tweet...just pictures.

And then there are other things that annoy me about Pinterest.  I had to be 'invited' to set up an account, giving this impression of some sort of exclusive club.  But then there is no privacy, so any random person of the gazillion people on Pinterest can 'follow' your business.  Great.  One more place where stalkers can find me.

But because Pinterest is the hot new thing, and because 80% of my kind are into it, and because everyone in the world will be using it, I will plod along and try to embrace pinning.  If you are following me there, I apologize.  I have no idea what I am doing.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lost & Found

"Where are my keys?"

I ask this question...a lot.  Usually while I am roaming room to room, looking under chairs, cushions, mail, whatever, trying to remember when and where I last saw them.  Know where I found them last time?

On the key hook.

How on earth did they wind up there?  Because I know I didn't put them there!

I am a neat-freak's worst nightmare.  I am a 'leave it where I land' person.  So my keys are often found on the kitchen table, on the kitchen counter, on my dresser, on the bathroom counter, on the coffee table, on my nightstand...wherever I stopped with them in my hand.  (Once I threw them in the trash...ok more than once).  And then, when it's time for me to go and I can't find them, I roam aimlessly shouting, "where are my keys?"

My husband, ever so helpful, bought one of those handy little things with hooks on it to hang in the hallway.  Presumably for my keys.  But I don't use it.  Ever.

He's the one who put them on the hook.  Apparently he thought I would look for them there when I started my "where are my keys?" song and dance.  Not so much.

I'm a right-brained person, which is really just a fancy excuse for why I leave my keys in random places, why I am absent-minded, and why I prefer Dave Grohl over Brad Paisley.

So next time, just leave my keys in that random place, dear, because I'm meant to search for them every day.