Relentless Positivity

I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot recently.  Relentless Positivity.  What is it you ask?  Well, my definition is people who are consistently and wholeheartedly optimistic about all aspects of their lives.  They are unicorns and rainbows 24/7.

I have some problems with this.

Why?  What could be wrong with consistently having a go to attitude?  Isn’t that great?  Isn’t that how we all should be attacking life?

I fully admit that I have been monitoring, and documenting, the things that I am grateful for.  Sometimes they are as small as getting a mango ice on a hot day, or as large as my friend receiving good news from her oncologist.  I am often a little snarky about my list, but that’s just my personality- I tend to live life on the sarcastic side.

But just because I do a gratitude list doesn’t mean I’m eternally positive.

I get angry.  I rant about things.  I am sometimes not the nicest person in the world. I get sad.  I can feel hurt.  I have really crappy days where I just sit and have a good cry or a little tiny pity party. I accept this.  I allow myself to feel the full range of emotions.

Everyone should allow themselves to feel the full range of emotions.

Let me repeat that: everyone should allow themselves to feel the full range of emotions.

I have been told that I shouldn’t let anger get the best of me.  My question is why?  Why can’t I be angry?  Why can’t I be frustrated?  Isn’t it worse to bottle my feelings away, to push them deep inside?  Isn’t it better to get it out, be angry, be sad, be frustrated or whatever, and learn to deal with them?

Isn’t it better to learn how to deal with your emotions, whatever they may be?

See, that’s the trick: learning how to deal with the whole spectrum of emotions without letting one take over and dominate.  No one should be happy all the time.  No one should be angry all the time.  No one should be any one thing all the time.

2018 has been the best year of my life.  And as you know if you’ve been reading me this year, I have had set backs.  I have gotten into arguments and disagreements with people.  I have been full out pissed off.  And I have dealt with all those emotions- written about them, discussed them with friends and relations, thought about them.  I have put them into the perspective they deserve.  I have had some crap, yet it has still been the best year of my life.

Why has it been the best year?  Because I like myself more this year than last.  Just like 2017 was better than 2016.  And how 2019 will be better than this year.

I learn from my experiences, both the good and the bad.  This makes me stronger.  I have  taken advantage of the opportunities that life puts in front of me- because you never know what’s going to happen.  I have made new friends.  I have been sparked creatively.  I have been having a great time.

Life is good. But that doesn’t mean I’m all sunshine and rainbows.

Sometimes my blog exudes positivity- sometimes my happiness just shines through,  And sometimes my blog is negative, because, well, that’s just life.  Somedays it is just hard to find the gold.  And that’s OK.

Find the balance: be grateful for the good things, and learn how to handle the bad.  And don’t ever think something is wrong with you because you’re not always relentlessly positive.

 

 

 

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The Intern- The Reality

My lovely friend Anne asked if I would post an update about how my Daughter is feeling about her internship.  As she has reached the halfway point of her four week stint, I have prepared some random thoughts- If I am quoting something, it might not be the exact quote, but a reasonable representation.

Day 1: Daughter arrives home at 5:30, plops into living room chair with a grunt. (honestly I thought she was going to ask for the evening paper, a cocktail and her slippers) “Wow.  Working a job is physically exhausting.” (Cause you know she’s spending her summer in a mine hauling up coal- not in an air conditioned office a block from the subway)

Day 2: Work really is tedious.  You just do the same thing for eight hours.” (No?!? Say it isn’t so!  Tedious?)

Day 3:I don’t know if they’re properly utilizing my skills. ” (OK – first off- what skills?  You’re a rising Senior in High School.  Did you think they were going to ask calculus questions or to analyze a poem? and secondly, she was asked to work on the new website, and she’s working on a project that she will have authorship on- seriously?  I know people with bona fide jobs without that much responsibility)

Day 4: “At school they try to make learning fun and try to think of things to stimulate us.  That’s just not how it is at work.  Maybe school should give us a little reality check as to how life actually works.  Maybe we have to learn that life is not always fun.” (OK- I don’t have much to add to that)

Day 5:”Some of these kids are so smart.  The things they think about and talk about are just amazing.  The conversations are so well thought out”

Day 6: “I realize that I’m not being challenged by my peers at school.  We talk about u tube videos. These kids are crazy intelligent.  They don’t even know who Bethany Mota is, yet they know the head of every country.” (yes- my daughter goes to a public high school with a 2.6% acceptance rate and is nationally ranked- and she is a study nerd- but apparently she is lagging)

Day 7: “The first few days everyone went out of their way to dress nice.  Now we all realize no one notices what we wear. They just keep telling us to learn to code cause then we will always be employed.”

Day 8: “I realized today that not only an I being shortchanged intellectually at school, I’m also being short changed at home.  Really- you guys need to step up your game.” (Gee- this is what you say to the people about to finance your most probably expensive education? Not such a smart statement…)

Day 9: “G (head person at place where she is working) is just amazing.  I can’t believe how much she fits into a day, and how many things she has accomplished since taking leadership of X. It’s so inspiring to see someone take responsibility for what they are doing, and actively work to make things better and continue on their mission statement. And she takes time to talk and interact with the interns.  She makes us feel like what we think, say and do matter.  And she’s a good person. And you know, really really smart.  She went to “dream school” for graduate studies. 

Day 10: “A new group of interns started today.  They looked so scared.  I wonder if that’s how I looked my first day.” Because after two weeks she is a seasoned pro…

It’s funny how quickly she has assimilated into the corporate culture.  I watch her in the morning as she drinks her coffee and scans the news headlines to see what is happening in the world.  She dresses in her tailored outfits that she has cobbled together from her closet and mine, tosses a granola bar and water bottle into her messenger bag, making sure she has an umbrella and sunglasses cause NYC in the summer could go either way.  She’s broadened her horizons a little, has met some amazing students from High Schools, Colleges and Grad schools.  She has learned a little of the reality of bureaucracy, and waste and empty promises- things that you don’t learn in school. She is learning to navigate an unknown world and she is not only surviving but thriving.  She’s tired and challenged and happy.  And I’ll take that.  Challenged and happy are pretty good things to be.

 

My Secret Obsession

20180709_0934431734729047.jpgI have a tendency to take things to the extreme-I become really passionate about something, and I go all out.  This mainly manifests itself in my organizing habits, but really, it’s a pattern in everything I do.  I become crazed with trying different recipes every night, trying to read a certain amount of books every year, or watching everything nominated for an Oscar.

This is just me- it’s part of my personality- and for good or for bad, it defines who I am.  To know me is to know and appreciate my quirks. I don’t have any obsessions that are particularly harmful, just a little embarrassing.  People often look at me funny when they find out about some of these habits/routines that I have developed.  And while I don’t really care what anyone thinks about me, I do sometimes feel a little odd.

Sometimes I don’t realize something is an obsession until there is a catalyst- a moment of pure clarity.  This happened to me recently.  I read about a product in a beauty article, went to Sephora and plunked down my hard earned cash for it.  I got home, totally excited and greedily read the instructions.  Seriously, buying this thing was the second best thing to happen to me this year.  And in my moment of excitement, the cold hard truth hit me right in the face: I am obsessed with products for my eyes.

While I normally buy drug store brands for cosmetic needs, I realized that my Sephora VIB status was earned mainly by eye products.  I saw that I had all these pretty little jars and tubes, gels and creams.  And I use them all: some are at night, some are for the morning, some are for mid day.  I have an eye product for every occasion.

Now being me, I had to figure out why I was so obsessed. Did you think I wouldn’t overanalyze this?  Why did I own all these products?

Obviously, I think there is something wrong with my eyes. And no, there really isn’t anything “wrong” with my eyes They are just not the same eyes I had when I was younger.  They now came with baggage.

This was a tough realization for me.  My eyes were always a point of pride: they are big,  I have decent lashes and eye brows, and they are a funky hazel that spans all sorts of shades of green. I have very few wrinkles (genetics). My eyes are also extremely expressive- they tell a story for me better than I tell it with words.

And now they have big bags underneath them.

I am not happy about this.

So when I went to Sephora, I purchased a little vibrating wand that I’m supposed to use twice a day.  Supposedly, the vibrations help break up the loose floppy skin.

Seriously.  I spent good money on this product that vibrates my eyes.

Yes. I know.  You’re all thinking, how narcissistic is this woman? And some of you are thinking a whole lot of other things.

This woman is completely narcissistic about her eyes. And a whole lot of other things.

This bothers me.  I never thought of myself as being obsessed with my looks.  I accepted the fact that I was reasonable attractive, but I really didn’t do too much to enhance it.  I exercise and wash and moisturize.  Make up when I feel like it, because I like playing with cosmetics.  But I was never one of those women spending hours and paychecks on being beautiful.  I was happy with who I was.

And now – well, I’m still happy with myself, but….I feel like I need some help.  My eyes, and the areas around it need help. And no matter how many times my intimates tell me I’m beautiful, I still don’t always feel it.  But that’s all on me-

I still go out in public.  I have no intention of going “Phantom of the Opera”. And I will probably continue to spend money on products that will work on my eyes.  If you want to sell me snake oil, make it pink and promise that it will make my eyes beautiful…

FYI- I have not been paid by any of the products that I have pictured.  That’s just a peak in the real products that I use.

 

 

 

 

My Week in Review July 8

Well- we know I had half air conditioning till Friday…..

What I Did:

Koneko Cat Café- My daughter arranged for us to visit a cat café- which is exactly what it sounds like.  A café, where there are a bunch of cats, and you get to play with them.  So,  iced chai latte and cats.

We found this pop up (?) gallery space where we got to meet LA Ortiz, an artist who worked with Keith Haring and other artists from the eighties.  It was a cool, surreal experience to walk down the street and see this exhibit.

What I saw:

  1. Sweet Charity (1969) – Quad cinema in NYC has what I refer to as the women who kick ass film festival- I had never seen this movie, but I’m guessing there will be a post about this in the future…
  2. “Three Identical Strangers” documentary- theaters.  One of the best docs I’ve seen, both in how it was made and interesting subject.  Just great.
  3. “Love Connection” Fox TV.  Ok.  This is a total throwaway show.  But I’m loving it!!!  I mean- it defines guilty pleasure!!!
  4. Wimbledon
  5. World Cup

What I listened to:

  1. Clair De Lune- This wasn’t on my play list for this week- but Kim and I were discussing classical music, and this popped into my head and I couldn’t get it out!!
  2. Jimi Hendrix
  3. Rolling Stones

4. Fleetwood Mac

I also saw the fireworks…see last Thursday….and spent some quality time with friends, with cold drinks on rooftops!! (It was cooler than my living room!

What I read:

Mrs. Dalloway …. light Sumer fare….

Blogs!! I caught up a lot on blogs!!

Have a great week all!!

Gratitude Saturday July 7

The Compressor on my air conditioner broke.  On the hottest day of the year.  Making half of my apartment really hot.  We needed to replace the unit, which was expensive.  By the time the new unit arrived and was installed, the heat wave was over.  So, this was a really hard week to have gratitude, so bare with me…

  1. The repairmen got to my house at 10am for the initial appointment, and 9am for the installation, so my day wasn’t wasted waiting for them (seriously- lemonade…)
  2. the heat wave broke
  3. have new air conditioner in case we get another heat wave
  4. my rewrites on my book are coming along nicely, and I know what needs to be improved
  5. My friend K finished the first draft of her book
  6. My friend G sent her book out to an agent
  7. fireworks- both the literal and the figurative
  8. not having to face crowds or traffic to and from firework displays
  9. fruit- especially locally sourced
  10. other family members cleaning out the litter box
  11. frozen strawberry margaritas
  12. my daughter being able to cobble together work clothes for the first few weeks of her internship
  13. managing to get about 10 decent shots of fireworks (out of 1200)
  14. walk off grand slams
  15. Wimbledon
  16. air conditioned movie theaters
  17. philosophical discussions with my daughter
  18. iced tea with lemon

I was having a hard time getting past the air conditioner….but I try….

Summer Bucket List

No matter what the calendar, or social convention dictates, I consider Summer to be between July 4 and Labor Day.  So as it’s July 6, I decided to reveal my summer bucket list

  1. One Broadway show
  2. Two picnics
  3.  Three botanic garden visits
  4. Four states I’ve never been to
  5. Five outdoor concert
  6. Six outings with friends that include cold beverages and rooftops
  7. Seven times I’m applying some sort of bug repellent (no- that’s not a bucket list item, just a fact)
  8.  Eight movies in an air conditioned theater
  9. Nine reasons why I thought that using the numbers as the amount of time I would do something would be a great idea
  10. Ten new books to be read
  11. Eleven times I will complain about the heat
  12. Twelve times I will complain about air conditioning
  13. Thirteen times I will say “Yes- we’re having salad for dinner”
  14. Fourteen times a day I will think about my friends who are far and wide and hope they too are enjoying their summer
  15. Fifteen times I will talk about how great a summer it is

Summer is a time of hope and renewal (I know- spring is rebirth, but I’m too busy every spring to really think about it)  My goal is to just enjoy the beauty of what’s in front of me, not take anything for granted.  My goal is to try new things, meet new people and learn about their hopes and dreams and realities.  I would love to see my old friends in person, because it’s so much more fun to look someone in the eye every now and then.  Written communication is fine, but….IRL better.

So enjoy what summer (Northern Hemisphere anyway) puts in front of you!

Oh wait!

Tennis!  Play- watch- attend live.  Add that to the list. How did I forget that?!?!

What’s on your list?

 

 

 

The Party

And then…before your very eyes…the sky lights up…

 

The problem with watching fireworks live, especially with a show of this magnitude, is that you really see the smoke that obviously accompanies fireworks.  It was also a humid, somewhat hazy night,  visibility was already compromised, so with my mediocre photography skills, this is what I got…

But, at the end of the day, we saw a show.  It was pretty spectacular. So remember- find the fireworks in your life, and also realize that nothing is ever perfect.  There’s always going to be something. It doesn’t really matter though.

Just enjoy life- the good and the bad- the calm days and the exciting days- the quiet and the loud…

It’s all good

 

Independence Day

 

 

I went up to my roof last night and I took these pictures. This is the view of the East side of downtownish Manhattan.  Tonight, this will be the sight of a fireworks display. In case you didn’t know- my little piece of the world hosts a pyrotechnic display every July 4 (another holiday brought to you by the folks at Macy’s)

All was quiet last night, and all is quiet now.  But in a few hours…

So what am I trying to say?  I honestly have no idea.  But I guess, if I had to put it into words: embrace the fireworks when they happen.  Embrace the unknown and the unexpected.  Figure out how to make passion a part of your life.

Calm is wonderful- we need it.  But fireworks- well we need that too…

And always- remember the Men and Women who fight to protect our freedom and liberty.  Remember those who put their lives on the line to help others.

 

 

 

Calling Doctor …

I’ve told you about my friend J who recently had a cancer scare.  A few weeks ago I accompanied her to the day surgery unit of the hospital to have her cancerous mass removed.  Things move quickly when Doctors realize that something is malignant: she received word on a Thursday that it was cancer, and they booked her appointment for the following Tuesday. Of course, as things happen, they called Monday and rebooked her for Friday morning.  Whatever.

So she was told to report to the hospital at 7:30 for a 9 am surgery slot.  Fine.  She called me and asked if I were available, and if I could meet her at 6:45 so we could walk up.  Fine.

Friday morning rolls around and I meet her in the lobby at appointed time, and she’s in a tizzy: turns out she received a call at 6:15 asking where she was- she was apparently supposed to be their at 6am for a 730 procedure.  (First off- J is really on the ball- she called me before she booked appointment and I remember exactly what she said which was 730/9- and on another note- people call to confirm haircuts- why wouldn’t the Doctor call to confirm time of surgery?)

So we raced up to the hospital- they had asked her to get their as soon as possible.  J was flustered- she could tell her blood pressure was up.  This was not how anyone wants to go into a medical procedure.  I tried to calm her, but really- if I were her I would have been annoyed too.

So we get to the hospital, go to the 10th floor day surgery unit, and J goes to check in.  I sit in the registration waiting area, to, you know, wait for her. Out of the corner of my eye I see a figure in scrubs approach my friend.  I turn to get a better look. Ok- this isn’t just a figure- this is clearly the handsomest man I’ve ever seen.  And he’s talking to J.  He’s touching her hand and calming her down.  Turns out this creature from the heavens is the Doctor who will be assisting her Doctor.  And as he’s showing the utmost in bedside manner, I am staring at him, mouth open, in awe of his physical looks.

Seriously.  Best looking man I have ever seen.  Tall, body like a Greek God. Dark wavy hair perfectly sitting atop a face with the most sculpted cheek bones and piercing, big brown eyes .  I’ve seen famous heartthrob actors in person and not one has come close to the natural good looks of this man in front of me.

After a few reassuring moments he left J, she finished her entry paperwork, stood up to face me and simply said “Well, I’m calm now.” and then she smiled. “If I were 40 years younger…”

To which I could only say “I know…Oh my God, how cute was he!”

We were teenage girls. Giddy.

J went back to prepare for surgery, but when she was in her gown, I was allowed to go back and sit with her until it was time for her procedure.  Of course, when I got back to her curtain partitioned cubicle, Dr. Too Good Looking for Words was there.  Now, with breast cancer, or I guess any surgery being done on something that has a right or a left, every person in the hospital must initial the body part to be worked on.  S0, 2 nurses had already initialed her left breast.  When I was there, Dr. TGLFW asked her: “Can I take a peak at your left breast so I can initial it?”

Now, I had to sit on my hand because I wanted to raise it and say “You can take a peak at my left breast. Hell, you can take a peak at my right breast.  You can take a peak at anything you want.” But I didn’t.  I mean, this particular moment in time wasn’t about me.  But yes- that attractive.

So what’s the point, other than I’m attracted to a nice face?  Well, I guess that is the point: if I ever say looks don’t matter, I am so lying..

J was instantly calmed looking into his soulful eyes- and yes, I will admit his innate charm didn’t hurt either.

But his looks…

So there you go- I can be swayed by a pretty face..

But in the end it takes more than a pretty face- I need someone way smarter than me: Oh wait- he’s a surgeon in a world renowned hospital….

Good thing I’m totally in love with someone….

 

 

 

 

Remember

I know I joke about the old age/not remembering things, but I actually have a decent memory.  I have a great head for trivial facts (- I’m the teammate you want at any trivia contest- last time my friends and I were playing Tuesday night trivia at the local bar most of out team bailed- my one friend and I still finished second amongst teams of 5 or 6).  Thought I write out detailed to do lists, I have a reasonable good recall of what needs to be done (but to be fair, I am so routine and automated that Tuesday just equals “change sheets” in my mind)

Now numbers- numbers are a different thing.  I am horrible with phone numbers, and really bad with birthdays.  I remember one of my friends because it is exactly a month after mine, as I am good with any birthday that is on the 10th of a month.  I’ll let you in on a secret- I forgot my anniversary last month- I only remembered when I saw it was the birthday of my friend S, and I remembered saying Happy Birthday to her at my wedding speech. So, don’t ever ask my what my daughters cell phone number is, or what my Husbands birthday is.  I’d have to look at my calendar.

My memory was tested earlier this month though.  I use our virtual assistant Alexa when I am organizing my grocery list.  It’s easy to say “Alexa, add chick peas to shopping list” as I scan the recipe that I am making. It automatically uploads to my phone app.  I open the app at the store and magically, my grocery list appears.  It’s a beautiful thing.  Except when it’s not.

When I got to the market a few weeks ago, I clicked on the app, but it didn’t open.  Apparently there was a loading issue. After frantically pressing the “button” about a thousand times, and turning my phone off and on, off and on, the app finally opened.  But my shopping list wasn’t there.  It was empty.

So I had a full blown panic attack in the cheese section.  Luckily it was refrigerated so I didn’t break into a sweat. But I felt my inner calm crumbling like an aged bleu.  What was I going to do about dinner?  I am nothing without my grocery list.  I am a fraud without a recipe…

So I had to regroup.  I had to sit and really think about what I was making that night.  It was Monday, so I knew it would be meatless….(see the beauty of having patterns) And I thought- what was the recipe base? quinoa, rice. pasta, bread?  What veggies were in it? Oh for the love of God did it include beans???

And then an angel whispered in my ear “Chives”.  And my first thought was, yes Virginia, there are chives in my recipe.  And then I thought OK, but a dish of chopped chives is not very appetizing, so what else is in the dish? Then the devil whispered in my ear “Flaming Cheetoes” which I almost picked up, but then I thought- no- I know there are no flaming cheetoes in my dinner, even thought they are oddly delicious.

So I walked away from the snack aisle and kept saying to myself- what goes with chives, what would I add chives to?  Wait pasta- it’s papparedelle. So I ran over to the fresh pasta section and grabbed a packet. Sauce?  What was the sauce?

I went back to the veggie aisle and looked- what kind of sauce was I making?  And I saw basil- and I remembered pesto…but it wasn’t an herby pesto…what was the main ingredient?

Peas.  It was a spring pea pesto with chives and ricotta cheese and lemon.

Yay me. I had the ingredients for dinner.

But did we need any staples?  Was there anything we were out of that I needed to buy?  I played the final jeopardy theme in my head, giving myself the thirty second countdown I so needed to jostle my brain.

Coffee creamer!  Yes!  We needed creamer.

OK.  I counted the number of items in my basket. Six items.  But I think there were seven things on my list.  What was the last thing?

Thinking.

Devil kept saying flaming cheetoes…

Thinking and trying not to pick up flaming cheetoes….

And then- a voice from the heavens…

Non fat, vanilla greek yogurt.

Yes.

Non fat, vanilla, Greek yogurt.  I can eat lunch tomorrow when I mix the yogurt with the strawberries I got at the farmer’s market…

I did a little dance as I waltzed back over to dairy- not even annoyed that I went back and forth across the store a thousand times. (OK- I was a little annoyed- it’s a big store) I felt like I was in a musical.  Everything was coming up groceries….

I sauntered up to the check out line- thrilled that I had passed this pop quiz of remembering all the things I needed to buy…

And reminded myself that I can do anything that I set my mind to if I want it bad enough.  Today it was the grocery list, but who knows what tomorrow will bring…