Monday, December 27, 2010

...and Reality Is Better than Expectation

Whew!  The holidays were much better than expected.

Aside from one of my husband's uncles telling me that my A-line haircut looks "butch," (something I'm fixating on since he actually said, "You used to be so good-looking when your hair was long.") everything else went surprisingly well.  Guess I'll need to wear a wig next year to avoid the scrutiny.

On to the new year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

...and Enjoying the Holiday Is Better than Giving in to Bullies

Ahem.  By bullies, I mean family.  I know this makes me the Bad Guy.  Ahhhh, the holiday season.  If my life were a movie, there would be a series of comical mishaps that would end with everyone hugging, realizing that life on this planet is short.  I already know how it will end, though, and it won't be Hollywood-style.  It will be awkward and uncomfortable, full of resentment.

The usual.

I love the idea that the holiday season can make families come together and reconnect, but I have yet to see that.  What I see is manipulation.  My little family is supposed to bend at the will of others to make the tug-of-war favor one side over the other.  I can't do it.  I want to spend Christmas Eve with my husband's grandparents, who are in their mid-eighties and might not have a lot of Christmas Eves left.

Losing Sheldon this year was a slap in the face by Mortality and it still stings.

My choosing this arrangement means that I am slighting people who share my last name - people who will see me the very next day.  AND I didn't know they weren't going to this particular event when I agreed to attend.  I've come to hate the holidays when I used to be so excited.  I have to fake it so that my daughter can have a nice season and that is so depressing.  I would love it if everyone could get past the crappy issues and have a nice night, but I can't even bring myself to do it, so I can't expect it of others.

Yesterday I actually tried to convince my husband that we should move to Costa Rica before next Christmas.  He said no.


Monday, November 1, 2010

...and Deciding for Yourself Is Better than Trusting Sound Bytes

Read.  Trust your gut.  Go vote.
(Don't forget your i.d.)


Friday, October 15, 2010

...and Finishing Last Is Better than NOT Finishing


It took me seven hours, too. 

Two days later my chiropractor manipulated something in my foot/ankle region back to the spot it was supposed to be.  Yeah, it hurt - I wanted him dead for a few seconds and then...ahhhh...instant relief.  Where were you at mile 20, Dr. Schuler?  I could have cut my time down to six hours and 54 minutes or something.

Did I mention that I finished, though?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

...and Your Mattress Is Better than Your Bank

I was told this morning that another friend is losing her house to foreclosure.  The auction is next week.

What would happen if the banks changed their policies and said yes to every short sale offer that was within $10,000 of the asking price?  I know, I know.  Everyone would offer $10,000 less, but SO WHAT?  Didn't they get bailed out? 

Of course, I take this personally - I lost my house last year.  Not an easy sentence to write for me.  Pride is a Clyburn trait, which is funny considering...well, never mind that.  We're also stubborn, so it took me a long time to just give up on keeping the money pit. Every repair was twice the mortgage payment.  Duct tape held that place together like bumper stickers keep the miracle van in one piece.  We got two offers that were turned down by the bank.  After the foreclosure, they sold it for $7500 less than the highest offer...

I get it. I do.  They make money.  Got it.  Fuckers.

I bought Pooka three goldfish last night and ended up talking with the petstore worker about the state of the union.  It was like he was a bartender, standing on the other side of that aquarium, listening to me talk about my week.  Then he started talking.  He was articulate, well-read, and wearing a Petco apron.  I shook his hand, and he walked us to the cash register to collect our 28 cents. 

We talked more about the legacy we're leaving our kids - how we're trying to make sure they end up closer to that 1% than to the place we're at today - what I call "upper lower-class."  The conversation was brief, but it reassured me that I'm in good company.

Why is it that the smartest people are doling out goldfish for a living?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

...and Shuffling Is Better than Sleeping

So I finally did my 18-mile run Monday night.  OW!  I had my daughter without drugs and didn't hurt as much as I did those last five miles.

This morning I went out for my first run since.  The legs still hurt like they've never hurt before and I was tempted to bag it and just sleep a little longer.  I had good excuses:  today is Rhiannon's first day of kindergarten & she wanted to dress up - which could have taken a while, my legs are angry, my back hurts, the sun wasn't up, yada, yada, yada.

I laced up the shoes and went out.  I shuffled around the block (1.73 miles) in almost 26 excruciating minutes.

But I did it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

...and Not Making It Is Better than Not Attempting It

Didn't finish my 18-mile run last night.  At 10:30, my friend and I decided to call it a day.  We did 11.1 miles.  It's discouraging and has me feeling down, but I know it'll pass as soon as I make up the run. 

There is no way I'm not completing this marathon. Not finishing last night gave me this odd feeling in the pit of my stomach that I don't want to feel again. 

It could be that ulcer my mom always promised me, I guess...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

...and Contemplating the Coolness of Your Parents Is Better than Dreading Their Visits

I've got the weirdest parents on the planet.

Before you formulate your arguments about why you feel YOUR parents are the weirdest, let me have my chance to explain. I promise to keep it simple.


  • grew up impoverished in Ash Creek, California, a tiny town close to the Oregon border.
  • was in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.
  • drove truck for decades.
  • is obsessed with guns, has owned God-knows-how-many, has designed his own, is a card-carrying member of the NRA and would pay for my contact lenses by creating custom rifle butts from rough cut wood. It's a fascinating process to watch and he is an artist.
  • is literally an artist. When I was seven, I found beautifully sketched nudes of my mother in the trash. She was offended and had thrown them out. Even at seven, I knew they were gorgeous. He can draw someone's face accurately within minutes and it looks like da Vinci threw it down...Generally, he sketches guns and bullets, though.
  • can whistle like no one else and is offended by poor whistling skills in others. He can also sing and would entertain me by singing into the c.b. radio while I traveled in his truck with him. He yodels quite well, too.
  • can blow the alto sax with the best of them. He might be a country boy, but the man has the soul of a black man from the Mississippi delta when he has a saxophone in his hands. I was always in awe as a kid and practiced every day hoping to make the instrument sound like he did. My grandmother knew he had talent and managed to get him a sax, though it was a hardship (there's a story of a sold cow...and a pissed off grandfather).
  • cooks like no one else. Maybe it was growing up poor - he learned to make do - or maybe it was bunking with a chef from New Orleans during Vietnam. I grew up knowing the hotness of Cajun food. My dad and I would have Sunday brunch together (while my mom and brother slept) and he would show off. We would also have pepper-eating contests in the back garden, but that's another post.
  • has the greenest thumb on the planet and was organic before it was a buzzword.
  • taught me to read when I was three years old. He hates the education system, doesn't believe school is necessary, pulled me out of kindergarten because "it was useless," and taught me early algebra skills in third grade. I laughed watching Good Will Hunting, because my dad always said, "All you need is a library card and you'll know everything you need to know."
  • comes across sort of simple when you first meet him. He wears suspenders and a short pompadour and talks like the backwoods boy that he is. Lingering underneath all of that is a genius.


  • grew up impoverished in the Philippines - until her mother inherited a bunch of money and property. Then she lived the rest of her young days with servants, going to private Catholic schools, and having clothes designed just for her based on pictures she ripped out of American magazines. She still owns beachfront property there.
  • is a terrible cook, but doesn't know it. Seriously, I thought Filipino food sucked until high school when one of her friends came to visit and insisted on cooking. My mom cooks all meat until it looks like a bowl. An earthenware bowl...
  • loves pop music and sings karaoke four to five times a week with her friends. She has a very expensive Japanese karaoke system that she'll bring to Boise once-in-a-while, just so she can make me sing. [Note: With my mom and daughter, I can really rock the mike.]
  • was an incredible dancer and will shake it with my daughter when she comes to visit. Okay, I shake it, too...
  • has O.C.D. that has never been treated. While growing up, my brother and I brushed and flossed before leaving the house - before EACH TIME we left the house. She carried a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol for our hands and the doors of public restrooms. My brother and I were always sick, since we weren't allowed an immune system.
  • told me I could start wearing makeup when I was nine. I answered by saying,"I'm NINE!" She also always bought me mini skirts and tight dresses. (sigh) She loves all things girly and is delighted that Rhiannon is such a girly-girl, since I wasn't interested in clothes and all that until the fifth grade. [Note: I made up for that later.]
  • has a college education and once thought she'd teach high school. She knows four languages and many Filipino dialects. She's a whiz at math - I think that's part of the O.C.D. - and never needs a calculator to add a bunch of prices together quickly and accurately, decimals included.
  • got her first job in the States the summer before I started fifth grade so that she could buy me all the latest styles, pay for me to start having my hair professionally done and for dance and cheer. She was high society in the Philippines, but she worked as a motel maid here, because her education meant nothing. She worked a menial job so that I could fit in, and I appreciate her every day for that. She taught me that looks do matter and, instead of being angry about it and getting political, one should just embrace it and have fun. Get crazy with fashion, make it theatre, and you'll mock the mockers. She allowed me to be brave that way. Every season, she bought me new clothes. Every season means FOUR TIMES A YEAR, by the way.
  • was never all that impressed by my academic prowess, but bragged to her friends about cheer and dance. She just sort of took it for granted I'd do well in school, so what was the big deal? She came to every game and every performance...and decorates her house with pictures of me in uniforms and costumes from all of it.
  • drives me crazy most days and I have to bite my tongue a lot with her, but she always supported the artist in me and welcomed my friends with pizza and movies. She's flirty and odd and dyes her hair shades of red & orange that should never be on someone olive-complected, but she's also hilarious and fun and enjoys her grand-daughter in a way no one else can.

So, yeah, they're weird. They also think I can do no wrong most days. I used to always say I could go on a killing spree and they would just tell reporters, "She must've had her reasons." They never treated me like a child, even when I was one. I always had a say and my opinion still matters to them.

Who could ask for more than that?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

...and Getting the Job Done Is Better than Bitching About It

Have I mentioned how small my house is? It's wee. Seriously, it's approximately 750 usable square feet.

And I might be into minimalism, but my husband and five-year-old daughter are not. My husband would argue that since I constantly buy books & magazines and art supplies I am not a true minimalist. Whatever.
The point is that this crowded messy house causes me to groan every time I enter it (the husband would trade out "groan" for "nag" or "bitch"). Today I finally realized the answer is not to hate my husband for not caring (why would he do something about it if he's fine with it?), the answer is to forgo writing my papers for school and get to organizing.

I worked for three hours and felt like I barely made a dent, BUT it's a start and I already like my spouse a little more for helping me move some furniture without making any "suggestions."

Monday, August 16, 2010

...and Focusing Is Better than Letting Life Just Happen

Just got back from my 20th high school reunion and figured something out - I need to whittle my interests down and FOCUS!

So many of my high school buddies went on to do EXACTLY what they said they were going to do at our graduation. Me? I, uh, did a few things - not following through with anything to a huge success.

It's true, I had some lofty ideas that don't really come to fruition for a lot of people, but come on!! As I sat there pondering (well, I was dancing and drinking domestic beer, actually, but I was pondering while I did it) on the success of my friends, I realized I dabble too much. I'm like my daughter in the toy aisle - "Oooh, this looks fun! But this looks better....hmmmm....what about this?" I'm not going to do this anymore and you are my witnesses! Remind me when I get off track that I need to focus, please.

(Also, my rental car was a Ford Focus, so maybe something subliminal was going on, as well. Maybe the Universe is trying to tell me something.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

...and Knowing Your Dark Side Is Better than Ignoring You have One

I wish I could go into this in more detail for you, so you would know where I'm coming from, but I can't really. People would be hurt & astonished and the planets would misalign causing scientific laws to be broken, and I couldn't live with that.

Basically, though, I covet, and I need to knock it the fuck off because it won't get me anywhere but (more) miserable fast.

Sheesh, I haven't felt this Catholic since 1982 - the year I told my mother, "I'm not Catholic. I just don't feel it. I might be Buddhist or Hindu or something." I was ten.
Thank you for listening to my vague confession. I'll go say the Hail Mary now.

(Where did I put that rosary...?)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

...and Longing for Something Is Better than Forgetting that You Ever Wanted It

Let me explain.

Remember back, a long time ago, when you had a grand plan for your life? Remember what that plan was?

Yeah, me neither...

No, actually, I do (see last post). I feel like there are a lot of things I have yet to do. Maybe training for this marathon is helping me realize those things can still happen for me. Well, maybe not the part about winning a Tony, but I still write frequently and paint when I can.

There are other areas of my life that I long to change...I suppose I need to start small though. I'll run these 26.2 miles, contribute to cancer research, find studio space for art and writing (my house is waaaaay too small for creating - everything I make seems more chaotic than I intended, including the words I write) and then maybe those other longings will fade.

Or maybe they won't and I'll be inspired to make some changes.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

...and One Out of Four Is Better than Three Out of Four

I had lofty dreams.

I wanted to see my name in lights, to press my hands into cement as cameras flashed around me, to protest the paparazzi. I wanted to be a star. I wanted the kind of fame that would reduce my memory to cardboard cutouts fading in thrift store windows. I wanted to be a legend. I wanted every actor in Hollywood to woo me, to beg me to act with them. I wanted to be on the cover of every magazine. I wanted a Tony. I wanted an Oscar.

I dreamt of writing a novel so fantastic both literary critics and the masses would wait in line at midnight to get a first edition. I dreamt of my name with "Pulitzer" next to it for eternity. I dreamt that every word I typed would be studied for its near perfection. I dreamt of The New York Times best sellers lists - both the fiction and non-fiction sides - so often that I was surprised that my name wasn't really printed there. I dreamt I was a household name, like Hemingway or Shakespeare.

I pictured myself living up to my "Most Creative" title from high school. I pictured a New York loft, paint-splattered, smelling of coffee and candles. I pictured my work in The New Yorker. I pictured myself paying for meals with a napkin sketch. I pictured fingernails so stained, people mistook me for a mechanic. I pictured stretched canvas, jars of brushes, tubes of paint, a cot in the corner for napping. I pictured my "g" being as well known as Van Gogh's "Vincent."

I imagined my life being very different than what it is today.

I did get one of my wishes, though, and I have a feeling that all the other dreams coming true couldn't compare.

Friday, June 25, 2010

...and 8 Miles on a Saturday Morning Is Better than Sleeping In

No, really!

My running partners got to hear me burst into song on Boise's Greenbelt Saturday morning. Maybe it was that runner's high I keep hearing about...Nah, probably not. I think it had more to do with the company I had, the sun being out, and knowing that every step has meaning in it.

I wanted to share this:

Every 4 minutes one person is diagnosed with a blood cancer.

Leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma will cause the deaths of an estimated 53,240 people in the United States this year.

Every ten minutes, someone dies from a blood cancer. This statistic represents nearly 146 people each day, or more than six people every hour. Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults under the age of 20.

In general, the likelihood of dying from most types of leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma decreased from 1996 to 2005 (the most recent data available).

*Facts and statistics from Leukemia, Lymphoma, Myeloma Facts 2009-2010, June 2009.

I like knowing that the time I spend hoofing around Boise with these amazing people means every year less people die from blood cancer. The shin splints, arch problems, leg cramps and blood sugar issues are pretty minor compared to the reason why we're all out there.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

...and a Bad Run Is Better than No Run

...or so I'm trying to tell myself. This morning sucked. Tying my laces took a lot of effort, which should have been a clue.

After the first mile, my blood sugar crashed.

For those of you lucky enough to never have experienced hypoglycemia, it goes like this: your energy reserves evaporate, you start to shake & sweat (always lovely), nausea takes over, all hope is lost and you sometimes pass out.

If you don't faint, you want to punch people.

Now, I probably should've sat down on the curb at that point and called my husband...but I did just tell you about the urge to punch people, right? I knew that he was still in bed and would not hear his phone, which would piss me off, so I just walked on. I even tried to jog a bit. I had Bitch-brain waging a war with Deepok-brain (who was being all New Agey and positive and shit). I drank water and tried not to focus on how my Team in Training shirt was so slick that my hydration belt was moving all over the place. [For you new people, I can get obsessive-compulsive when tired or blood-sugary - everything bugs me.]
It took a lot of effort not to lay down on the pavement and let some Good Samaritan take over, but I made it home.

Two miles have never been so long.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

...and Being Yourself Is Better than Working Hard to Please Everyone


Okay. I have spent almost forty years trying to make sure everyone else is happy and it's exhausting. I'm too busy and tired to do it anymore. My heavy-duty personal filter probably needs replaced, because it's allowing people to find out too much about me. [I blame Facebook.]

My poor running team never stood a chance.

After a few miles, there's no way I'm editing - I'm too busy trying not to fall, hit my head, or be distracted by any asymmetry in my shoes (or by the way my hydration belt is sitting on my hips or how my zipper pull is dangling or whether my socks are where they need to be, etc...I can get very compulsive when I'm tired). Sweat apparently makes the holes of my filter much bigger. Anyone running with me is certainly getting the "Real GiGi." My apologies to Jayme, Macey, Tricia, and Debbie. [Fawn already knew the real me. She's seen me after mojitos.]

Usually, I am pretty good about keeping the F-word in my head and away from my mouth. Not lately, though, unless you're under the age of ten and over the age of seventy (and that's been a struggle, lemme tell ya). Sorry. I'm the daughter of a trucker, and I've worked with too many engineers and hairstylists to go back now.

The sarcasm used to be reserved for a select few, but it's beginning to seep out into my everyday conversations. Sorry to those of you who thought I was Pollyanna. [Did any of you really think that?]

What's been such a surprise is that people still seem to like me. [Huh...]

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

...and This Being Hard for Me Is Better than It Coming Easily

I've had an epiphany. It came this morning while the woman in the bloody knee brace lapped me: I will never be a great runner. I will never win a race. In fact, I could possibly come in dead last in every event I attempt.

And that's okay.

Whew! It feels good to get that out! I am not athletic. I AM NOT ATHLETIC!!! Wow, that's empowering! Those of you who know me probably think I'm being sarcastic right now (sarcasm being one of my strengths), but I'm not. I will never be a gifted athlete. A more-than-decent dancer, yes. A better-than-good artist, of course. I'm a fantastic mom, an above-average wife and daughter, a popular stylist (among my clients), a great friend...but not a runner by nature.

That's when it hit me that running this marathon for Sheldon means more because it isn't easy for me. If it were easy, wouldn't that take away from it? What would be the point? This is supposed to be something extraordinary! In my whole life, almost four decades (this time around), I've only been able to run five straight miles without walking. It always took me slightly over an hour to run them, too. I'm not joking when I say that I can walk faster than I "run" - I have a long stride when I'm walking. When I'm running, not so much.

The other hard thing is asking for money in a down economy - even for a great cause like this. If you could donate even a small amount, though, please do. Every little bit helps me reach my goal - a cure for cancer.

My Fundraising Page

(Stay tuned. I'm sure I'll need one of you to remind me of this post in the near future...)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good-bye, Sheldon

In the eight years I knew you:

  • I laughed because you always had a twinkle in your eye.
  • You never once told me my beliefs were bullshit. Even when we sat together watching the presidential election with very different views on who should win, you never once raised your voice. Thank you for the validation and the thoughtful questions.
  • You wanted all of us to be happy and you listened.
  • Many friends passed through your door. You liked people and they loved you. I'm glad my daughter got to spend time with you.
  • It was a comfort to know you were right next door, waiting with a glass of wine. Or a bottle, as was sometimes the case.

You are already missed...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

...and Small Is Better than Big least when it comes to houses - I'll stay out of that other argument.

There are a lot of challenges to living in a small house. My 3-member family started in a 1300 sq.ft. space with a double-car garage and a 900 sq. ft. basement. We didn't really worry about space. Now we live in a 2-story cottage that has (maybe) 750 sq. ft. of useable space. Even after selling a lot of our belongings on Craigslist, we still have too much for this house.

It's a mess. And, yet...

I love it.

When I was eight, my parents bought two acres in the middle of nowhere in Northern California. While we waited to break ground on my parents' dream home (something that, sadly, never happened), the four of us lived in a tiny little 16' travel trailer.

I remember learning long division and some rudimentary algebra in that trailer. I read "Where the Red Fern Grows" over and over and learned the lines for my first starring role. We didn't have a television, so we played board games and read every night at the little table that folded into a bed for my mom. My brother and I slept on the top bunk, just above her, and my dad had the sofa bed near the back of the trailer.

I lived in another travel trailer, an even smaller one, when I first went to college in the early 90s. It was cheap and there was a pool at the R.V. park. I would hang out at the clubhouse with the retirees, putting together puzzles and playing checkers. I had a small t.v., but the only thing I remember watching was Conan O'Brien.

Our little house definitely needs organized and could use a deep clean, but some of my best memories are from the smallest places - small houses, small salons, even small towns...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

...and Saying Good-bye Is Better than Wishing You Had

I talked with Sheldon last week. He told me he was spending time with his family and then saying good-bye. I promised I'd always be there for Abby. He squeezed my hand and thanked me.

It's a powerful thing to have time to say what needs to be said. The saddest part is knowing that we do have the time and often don't use it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

...and Cash Is Better than Credit

...although you wouldn't know it from the credit industry's assessment.

I heard a story today about a man who didn't believe in using credit cards. A man who bought his siblings' shares of a house they had inherited and paid cash. Whenever he wanted a new car, he would save for it.

Then there came a day when he needed a loan. He went to the bank, they looked at his credit score and turned him away. He got a couple of cards, hoping to build some credit. He bought his groceries and put some gas in his car.

And paid off the bills every month. Oops!

The bank told him he still didn't have the credit score he needed. He needed to start carrying a balance on those cards in order to get credit.

I know this is almost common knowledge anymore, but who really believes this is a good practice?

Once a week, I still cut hair. I don't take plastic and, until last year, no one had ever written a bad check to me. I'm hoping I've seen the end of bounced checks, but who knows?

To me, cash is king. Unfortunately, there are times when people need to borrow. You got accepted into a great college, but your parents can't help pay? Fill out your FAFSA. You want to buy a house? Either you'll need to have saved $100,000+ or you'll be applying for a mortgage. Cars...well, the two I own cost me a total of $360, so I'm kind of over financing something on wheels. I really hate car payments. But most people want to drive a car with a/c and a warranty, so most people finance their cars.

I know credit history is the only thing banks have to base their decisions, but we need a better system.

Any ideas?

Monday, April 5, 2010

...and 38 Is Better than 18

Dear 18-year-old Self on our birthday,

Don't worry about dropping our cake after the dance recital and forgetting our keys in Mom's car - it all works out. Aaron drives you forty miles out of his way and tells you he loves you for the first time. It's worth the embarrassment.

In the twenty years since I was you, a lot has happened. Let it. If I tell you that our parents are SOOOO wrong and that student loan debt is NOT like other debt, you will go off to a great university on the east coast and a certain curly-headed girl might not exist. Every bad thing will have been worth it once you meet her, I promise - so disregard that stuff about our parents being fallible.

I also promise that the bad things aren't as bad once time passes.

I can't say that you'll become famous or rich by the time you're 38, because I can't lie to you - even though I have in the past. I'm sorry for that, too. I'll try to be better to our Future Self, okay?

I can tell you this:
  • You're tougher than you think. You're tougher than anyone thinks.
  • Practice makes you better. Actually, practice makes you excellent. Now it's up to me to be braver so that excellence gets noticed - another thing I will do for our Future Self.
  • Aaron is not the great love of your life. I know you don't believe me and that's fine. You'll know what to do when the time is right.
  • Devanie really is one of your "best friends forever." Have fun getting ready for the Ball with her. You'll end up redoing her hair after some hair stylist makes her look fifty-four. It turns out great (foreshadowing...). If you can get her to not spend her money on it, do it. I don't think she'll listen, though. Michael is not the great love of her life. Don't bother telling her that - I think she already knows.
  • You still have great skin and your hair isn't grey (in fact, it's darker).

Go and enjoy our birthday.
p.s. Mom lied. A lot.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

...and Breaking Up in Person Is Better than Leaving While Your Girlfriend's at Work

Neil Sedaka was right - breaking up is hard to do. Often it involves yelling and dividing up cds that haven't been played in a decade. Sometimes it involves one person being completely surprised. It always involves at least one person crying.

Why make it worse by being the ass who leaves without even saying it's over? If you're unsure what to say, try the old standby, "This isn't working" or even the cliched, "It's not you; it's me" - just say SOMETHING so the other person isn't left staring into a half-empty closet at 5:18 p.m. one Thursday.

A version of this is happening to one of my closest friends right now. She's not even sure if they've really broken up, things were so abrupt. One day she was helping her boyfriend's kids with their homework and the next - *poof* - he's gone.

This, of course, has me thinking about the big breakups of my own life: the ex-husband who answered, "Fine," when I told him we needed to divorce, the ex-boyfriend who managed to leave three nasty messages on my machine during my fifteen-minute commute from dropping off his things, and even the time my husband and I almost got divorced eight years ago (the roughest of all and we stayed together). Those events were tough, and I get why a person would want to avoid them, but come on! If you've ever loved a person at all, you owe them that final scene, however hard it may be.

Do not text and do not run in to let her know it's over while your new girl waits outside in a running car (which happened to a client of mine). Have the balls to say good-bye the right way. Expect tears, anger, yelling, resignation - expect it all. If you can, tell her something concrete, "I have feelings for someone else" or "I need someone who'll buy Charmin without bitching about the price." Be kind, too. You're the one leaving; you can afford to do it nicely. Say you're sorry, you wish things were different, but they're not, etc...

And if you decide five days later that breaking up was a mistake, be prepared to kiss some serious ass.

Monday, March 22, 2010

...and PDA Is Better than TMI

The other day I saw a couple of teenagers basically chewing on each others faces. My reaction was more of the "enjoy it while it lasts, kids" variety than repulsion. Seriously, who doesn't miss being so into your significant other that you can't wait for privacy?

My reaction to the woman in the coffee line that said "I'm all itchy from my Brazilian" was not so blase. She wasn't quiet and she talked about it for a few more minutes to her mildly embarrassed friend. I got the impression that the monologue was for the benefit of the cute male barista who, hopefully, couldn't hear her while steaming together my breve.

It doesn't bother me that she'd had a Brazilian (and I'm hoping she was talking about a wax job, not a foreign exchange student) - I've been in the salon industry for fifteen years and could care less about hair removal - but the way she was using it for shock value really got to me...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

...and Books Are Better than Movies

The Time Traveler's Wife

I love movies, but - let's face it - most that are created from books are a letdown. I think Silence of the Lambs is the only film that did its book version justice.

The Time Traveler's Wife has been one of my favorite novels for the last four years. I've read it eight times, and I was worried about the film interpretation. The actors? Great. The screenplay? Off. Everything happens too quickly. The pacing is strange. The story isn't as full as the book's.

Obviously, a novelist can give the reader so much more on paper than a director can on celluloid, and a book as complex as this one loses a lot in translation. Henry loses his edginess; Clare her brightness.

I think the people who see the movie first and then read the book will be happy, but any fan of the book will ultimately be disappointed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

...and Running for Cancer Research Is Better than Waiting

If you've had your hair cut by me in the last eight years, you've probably met my good friend Sheldon. He owns the building and lives next door. He's always good for a laugh and a shoulder.

I have some great Sheldon stories.

One night, while Abby and I were toiling away, the music next door became so loud that I had to go tell them to turn it down (oh, did I mention Sheldon's old enough to be my grandpa?). A strange man opened the door and Bobby Darin blasted me in the face.

"Sheldon! The entertainment's here!"

"Leave those girls alone!"

I left with a glass of wine for Abby and a tumbler of something that was supposed to be "the good stuff" for me that turned out to be tequila on the rocks...

Next time you see me, ask about the time Sheldon had the hot tub put in. Or ask Mark Barker, if you know him.

A few weeks ago, Sheldon was diagnosed with leukemia. He and Abby have a very special friendship and, while it's hard for me to watch and wait, it's been very difficult for her. He shaved his head last week for her pet charity - the St. Baldrick's Foundation - and I was proud of the smile she kept on her face.

So now it's my turn. I'm not brave enough to shave my head, but I'm training to run a marathon for Sheldon and for Abby, who loves him. My goal is the City of Trees Marathon here in Boise, October 10. I have friends that are already rooting me on, but I know I will follow through if I publish my goal - embarrassment is something I don't handle well.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

...and Breve Lattes Are Better than Skinny Mochas

Which is just another reason to take up running. (There are 546 calories in a 16 oz. breve...but it is low in carbs.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

...and Spirituality Is Better than Religion

Now, before you get all worked up, let me tell you how I define these words.

To me, spirituality is something inherent - something a person lives, while religion is a label that can - but doesn't always - box in your beliefs.

Some of the most spiritual people I know call themselves religious. That's fine. They subscribe to something specific and I respect that immensely.

However, a lot of people I know, that don't consider themselves religious, have a sense of the divine that passes on to everyone they encounter. That is how I define spirituality. It's beyond regular faith at that point.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

...and Getting Enough Sleep Is Better than Getting Everything Done

It has taken me a long time to realize this.

When I get enough sleep, I am a MUCH happier person. Usually, I think of a hundred things that need done (like baseboards or some stupid thing) and stay up trying to get it all done. Not anymore.

Sleep also means the next day I won't be crazy.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

...and Having a Daughter Who Can Think for Herself is Better than Having a Daughter who Blindly Obeys

I can't remember a time when my parents didn't ask my opinion on matters. They still do. When I was a kid, this was sometimes a burden. I knew they took to heart whatever I said, but it taught me to think things through carefully.

Now that I have a daughter, I want her to know her voice matters. I also want her to know sometimes mine has to override hers.

It's not always easy, raising a daughter who has strong self-worth, but I think it's the most important thing I'll do this time around.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

...and Mints Are Better than Gum

Okay, I'm biased because I have jaw issues (just ask my massage therapist, Maire Scott-Jones - yes, that was a plug and, yes, I have her number and can get it to you), but I really like mints better. When I was a kid, though, I was all about the gum, so I'm thinking this could be one of those weird things that changes as one gets older. Like, how I used to love Cocoa Puffs as a kid, but cannot eat them as an adult. Seriously, they rough up the roof of my mouth. My daughter, however, loves them.

(So does my husband...hmmm...I think that's an entirely different post.)

Being the Google-lover that I am, I searched "mints versus gum" and noticed gum seemed to be in the lead, with mints being the popular answer for people who kiss.

Of course, these carefully researched answers did come from questionable resources...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

...and Encouragers Are Better than Naysayers

Saw a very inspiring speaker (live via the web) yesterday and now I have to share what I got out of it, of course.

Kevin Carroll believes that the world can be changed through sport and play, because his own world was. You can read his blog or his books and understand how and why. His presentation was sad and funny and very thought-provoking. He insists that we cannot marginalize play. Coming from a background of abandonment and dispair, this man eventually learned many languages, worked for the NBA and Nike, and published multiple books - and he credits his amazing life to one red ball.

I have a five year old daughter - the great love of my life - and it always amazes me that wherever we go she can make people laugh and smile. Like most children, she will instantly make friends with other kids on the playground, never worrying about their jobs or their financial situations (she doesn't even worry about asking names!).
Kevin wants us, the grownups, to remember that optimism and use it again. He has seven simple steps he teaches:

  1. Commit to it - what are you willing to do?
  2. Seek out encouragers - success needs a team!
  3. Work out your creative muscle - do something new everyday.
  4. Prepare to shine - you must work at the process, invest in the outcome.
  5. Speak up - let people know what you want & need
  6. Expect the unexpected - look for it, be open to it.
  7. Maximize the day - there are 86, 400 seconds available every day, what are you doing with them?

I just decided to use some of my seconds to encourage you to be better today. Go play. Go create.
To quote Lewis Pugh: "Ordinary won't change the world."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

...and Struggling in a Difficult Class Is Better than Hanging with the Dumb Kids

I don't want to offend with this statement, but I was talking with a friend about high school math class as a life metaphor. When she was a freshman, they gave her a choice: take "easy" math - the class they said suited her - or work really hard to be in algebra.

She chose to work really hard because - and this is a quote from her teenage self - she "didn't want to hang with the dumb kids."

I don't know if she was thinking it at the time, but she basically created her life path with that one decision. She never has taken the easy way, choosing instead to be the creator of her destiny.

And I like her all the more for it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

...and Walking Is Better than Taking a Cab

...unless, of course, you're only wearing socks.

Those of you who know me well, know that I seldom go out. There was a time when I could party with the best of them (Allyson Crane, I know you're out there), but I'm pretty mellow now. Partying is usually getting together at a house full of kids and toys. Woohoo!

Every now and then, though, a girl is coerced into going out.

Maybe one of your best friends turns 30, so you put on an outfit that your husband finds mildly ridiculous (because you're getting dressed to please other women...and gay men) and you venture downtown.

And, maybe, you decide after half a drink, that you will not be driving home, and so you make plans to catch a cab with your friend, because you are a grown-up for f*ck's sake.

And, let's say, a few hours later you're still not drunk enough to have changed your mind about driving (thank goodness), but you are drunk enough that walking three miles home at 2 a.m. sounds good, but only after stopping at the local Winco to buy some cheap socks (because the mildly ridiculous kitten heels you are wearing are no longer, um, comfortable).

Yes, this happened to me last Friday. Yes, I am a grown-up (I'll be thirty-eight in April). Yes, I threw the socks away as soon as I got home.

And, yes, I would do it again, because it was great to hang out with you, Karli.

Happy Birthday and welcome to the Decade of Excellence!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

...and Talking Is Better than Texting least today. My thumbs need a vacation! Or at least a nap. Today, instead of texting, call me. I'll even meet you at a coffee shop so we can talk face-to-face. It sounds novel, doesn't it?

You, me, over a black and white film.