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Archive for the category “aspirational”

The Faulty Side Of Loyalty

I wrote this blog last week and planned on finishing it before something happened.  It directly correlates to this thus I am going to preface my blog on what happened.

On Wednesday I was attacked by a dog.  I was working, my dogs kept barking and I looked outside to see a large dog running up the street. Many of my neighbors are elderly so I went outside to help.  The dog saw me and began running toward me.  I was elated at first. But then I noticed something different.  He wasn’t a pup and was not coming to play.  He quickly went for my left leg and luckily bit my pants.  He then lunged and bit my right leg.  I kicked him in the jaw. He was not fazed. He continued to lunge while I kept eye contact, yelled NO and kicked while taking small steps backward.  I got to the front door of my house by the time the owner and neighbor arrived to leash him.  The owner apologized profusely. The other neighbor helping her got angry and told her, “This is the third time your dog has bitten someone. This dog needs a new home.” The dog’s owner dismissed him because she is loyal to a fault.

Back to the original blog:

I have been thinking about the idea of loyalty for the past few months.  Loyalty is an attribute everyone identifies with.  Have you ever met a person stating otherwise? Loyalty is tossed around like most adjectives- Also fun, friendly, outgoing and of course kind.

Loyalty can apply to myriad situations.  It could be in friendships or relationships. It could be family, pets, job, or a political party.  People really like touting themselves as loyal.

The reason I have been thinking so much of this lately is quietly watching others display their loyalty in various areas while not tending to others.

My Dad always spoke about being loyal to a fault.  Over the years I admired this quality and followed suit.  As an adult I found that loyal to a fault is flawed.

When we say we are loyal humans at what point are we not?  Is it when beliefs do not coincide? What happens when friends don’t want the best for us? How long do you stay when your partner continually mistreats you?  Or support a family member making poor choices? Do you stay loyal to a job or person that doesn’t value or celebrate you?  What about the animal you love that continually acts out?  Most recently, what do you do when your political party leaves you unsatisfied?

Do you stay? Do you remain loyal to a fault?

My thoughts are what loyalty really means to you.  Everyone is quick to hold on to the word and describe themselves as such.  But what if being loyal to a fault isn’t the best option?

Mike and I have had time off this past month and we have talked at length about the same questions.  Loyalty is something to be cherished in the right circumstances.  However when does a person decide, “I am not loyal to dysfunction?”

More than anything I am interested in your insight.  What makes you loyal?  When do you decide to NOT be loyal?

Best,

Marianne

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The Evolution of Friendship

In 5th grade our teacher tasked us with an in class assignment.  Whom do you admire and why?

My first thought was my Mom.  She was and still is the best mom and friend a girl could ask for.  However instead of writing an essay about my mom I looked to the girl seated next to me and asked who she was writing about.

“Madonna! Of course!” stated the popular girl wearing head to toe Esprit, oversized plastic hoops, and three layers of color coordinating socks.

Instantly I was insecure about my choice.  Perhaps Mom was the wrong role model.

I replied, “Oh cool, I’m writing about Cindi Lauper.”   Esprit girl nodded in approval and smiled at me.

The problem was I didn’t know anything about Cindi Lauper.  I knew “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and I had definitely belted out an impressive version of “Time after Time” in the shower on numerous occasions.  The front of my cassette tape indicated Cindi liked crazy hair and lots of bracelets.  She wore neon colors and her MTV videos were cool.  Other than that I knew NOTHING.

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Luckily I have always had a ferocious imagination and managed to write an entire essay expressing my devotion to a complete stranger.  I received an A.  I still remember the sick feeling in my stomach when my Mom saw the title of the essay and then the reaction of my subject.

5th grade is my first memory of choosing friends over family.

Looking back I can remember disappointing my parents with my consistent worship of school girls.  I would fight to spend time with them, sneak out at night, and put virtually all loyalty aside to be accepted.  I consistently made poor choices and changed who I was to be accepted and part of a group.

Fast forward to my early 20’s and I began flourishing at making girlfriends.  We had a BLAST.  I had lots of best friends and I loved them dearly.  I picked them for holiday getaways, nightly phone calls, and even developed an official (almost famous) group people called a Blonde Coven.   Luckily I could always dump my pesky responsibilities on my parents so I could devote more time to “my girls”.

By my mid-twenties I thought of myself as the life of the party circuit.  I had scored an amazing job working for Budweiser and they paid me to make friends and buy cocktails.  My expense allotment had no ceiling.  I could spend 10,000 dollars in one evening and would be given a pat on the back for doing a great job.  Can you imagine how many friends I made with an unlimited bar budget?  People followed me everywhere.  I always had tons of girlfriends wanting to hang out with me and everyone was so accommodating!

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During the peak of my social career I stumbled. Literally.  I was dressed as Rainbow Brite for Halloween and had found fabulous stripper height rainbow shoes.  With my entourage behind me I managed to crack the heel and fall face first into the gutter.  Luckily my “friends” picked me up and graciously offered to carry me to the cash only venue boasting the best Halloween Party of the year.  I felt so lucky to have such amazing people supporting me.   It never occurred to me the 5,000 dollars in my purse and pre-paid VIP area could have been the motivator.

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The next day my ankle was blue and I could barely walk.  I grudgingly went to the doctor who immediately told me it was broken.  I was given a cast and strict orders: Stay off your ankle for 8 weeks.

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After one week of replying to texts and phone calls with, “I broke my ankle and can’t go out” my phone fell silent.  Really silent.  Some days it never rang or pinged an incoming text.  Most of my friends disappeared.  My own roommate (who loved the perks of my job) became annoyed with me and started leaving things in the way so I couldn’t get down the stairs or in the kitchen.  It was horrible but enlightening.  I didn’t get angry with the people who left me.  I have never been good with grudges and my anger dissolves quickly.  However I did learn the lesson of true friendship.

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Shortly after my realization I met Mike.  He became my best friend and the center of my universe.  I left my job and moved on to a better position albeit less money to spend in bars.  The pseudo friends I had disappeared into the beach bar scene and probably attached themselves to the next alcohol funded wallet.  When Mike and I married my mother was my Maid of Honor.  Two of my three bridesmaids were from my childhood.   Our wedding was small, only 49 guests.  I had learned my lesson and although I had groups of friends I knew how fleeting it could be.

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I became a bit more cautious with making friends.   I had girlfriends but began focusing my energy on starting a family and spending time with my core group.

Over the past eight years my social circle has been quietly rebuilding.  I have a few small circles of friends encompassing every facet of my life.   It isn’t flashy.  I don’t talk to most of my friends daily. Some I speak with weekly-some even monthly and everyone seems fine with this.   I used to pride myself on being the leader or social chair of all of my girlfriend groups.  Now I am thrilled if someone can squeeze in a coffee date.  Priorities change.

Last Sunday I wasn’t feeling well.  I didn’t sleep most of the night and knew something was wrong but couldn’t decide if it was the flu or just a bad case of cramping.  It continued through Monday and at my mom’s urging (It might be Endometriosis! It runs in the family!) I made a doctor’s appointment for Tuesday morning.  My doctor took one look and said my abdomen was swollen and I needed to go to ER.  I thought she was crazy and drove home first.  After all I had the girls’ car seats, needed my work laptop, and should probably pack a lunch.  By the time I got to ER I was annoyed and embarrassed.  After all who shows up to ER with their laptop, a packed lunch, and Starbucks?  Granted I didn’t feel like eating or drinking but I certainly wasn’t on my death bed! After hours of waiting I was ushered into a room, given a CAT scan and told my appendix needed to come out.  Immediately.  I was in shock.  Mike was home with the girls and we both assumed I would be coming home.  I was hooked up to an IV and a few hours later was wheeled into surgery.

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Aside from Mike and my parents only two people knew.  My lovely Hannah (who is almost 9 months pregnant) and my bestie Molly who I had been chatting with earlier in the day.  Hannah wanted to come to the hospital and kept texting me.  Molly wanted to pick up my children.  I kept telling them no and they bugged me all night.  I didn’t need their help but their insistence tickled me.  I kept imagining my hugely pregnant Hannah pacing away in ER grossed out by all the nasty sick people and demanding to know what was going on.  Meanwhile Molly and her husband Scott would be wrangling our children in their fabulous penthouse apartment.  My kids would definitely be negotiating ice cream and all night snuggles with them and their doodle Sandy.

After the surgery I recouped and then Mike brought me home.  My friends heard the news either through me or a mutual friend.  My phone began ringing and my text message pinging.  Friends called to check in but also asking if they could take our girls on play dates.  Friends offered to drive them to school.  Friends wanted to know what they could do!  Dinner gift cards arrived.  Flowers.  Desserts.  I was loving the post-surgery weight loss but luckily my friends felt I needed to fatten up by sending sugar cookies, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, etc.  My FRIENDS are still checking in to see what they can do.  My group of friends range from single mid-twenties bikini models to experienced mothers of 5.  Everyone has contacted me to see what they can do.  Over the past year I have made friends with a few phenomenal women in our neighborhood.  These women immediately jumped in to help with my children and offer their support.

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What a difference.

I have never felt more blessed than the circle of people I know now.  The friends I have made over the past few years have encouraged me.  My best girlfriend Eva had always been suspicious of new girlfriends. Looking back she was probably right.  She never liked a large group and told me not to trust others.  I didn’t listen and was often burned.   She still loves me and sent me cookies thank goodness 😉 Lately she has found a group of girlfriends who cherish her.  We don’t live near one another so our journey is an individual experience.

Adult Friendships are AWESOME!!!

Holy moly this is what all knowing adults talked about!   I have friends who want to hang out with me without alcohol or my expense account.  I have friends who offer to help with my children, my health, and my mind.   For the first time I have friends who help me more than I help them!  To be honest I don’t know what to do.  I am not accustomed to people giving without any type of expectation of reciprocation.

For those of my friends who read my blog, thank you for everything you do.  I feel so blessed to have a support system in my life and know I am beyond lucky.

While writing this our two year old has been organizing plastic cups.  Every few moments she says, “LOOK MOMMA” seeking my approval.  It is adorable and I cherish the short amount of time we have while our girls care most about our opinion not their peers.   My hope is we can try to impress the importance of family and character on them during the impressionable years.   I know people will hurt them and it tears me up to know it is inevitable.  However I am filled with happiness knowing if they put forth their best there will be a day real friends will be there.

Happy Friday!  xo Mari

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Fainting Couch STAT

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I haven’t written lately because I have just been SO busy.

I work Full Time. Tend to two children. One husband. Two Dogs.  Hundreds of models. 5 States worth of event staff. Girlfriends.  Family. Charitable causes. Attempted work out regime.

My kids have been sick so I haven’t slept much.  My dog gashed open his head.  Traveling for family obligations has been stressful.  My friends are pregnant/engaged/divorcing/partying/depressed. I am exhausted and stressed and being pulled in every direction.

Do you feel sorry for me yet?

If you do. Don’t.

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I decided to write on an area of abuse I see running rampant in many places of my life (sometimes mine).  It is one of the few common personality traits that knows no ethnicity, religion or gender.  It does not exclude any age, occupation or socioeconomic class.  In fact this affliction may be the most contagious disease I have seen of late (Except for diseases once abolished. Thanks anti-vaxxers).

The “disease” goes by a few terms:

Victimhood.  Playing the Victim.  Self Victimization. Victim  Playing.  (Cousins with Martyrdom)

Definition: fabrication of victimhood for a variety of reasons such as to justify abuse of others, to manipulateothers, a coping strategy or attention seeking.

Playing the Victim is useful.  It works in most situations.  You can use it to win a fight.  Elicit sympathy.  Gain praise.

I would be lying if I said I haven’t played the victim before.  It is usually to throw someone off in a fight (I have married an attorney but my dad always assumed I would be one) or to get out of something I don’t want to do.  I think everyone should get a few free victim cards per year.

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I am not speaking of the occasional overwhelmed feeling of a person needing a moment of praise.  Heck we all need some snaps every once in a while!

IMAG4976_3(My snaps cup of praise given to me by my fabulous friends)

 This blog is geared to the perpetual victim.

The card toting year around victim who literally feeds off the attention and praise devoted to their plight.  You can find the greatest offenders of victimhood in various arenas.  These are just a few I have seen this week:

1. The Social Media Abuser – Facebook, Twitter, Victims.com (OK I made that up).  Good Lord the victims use social media as a personal soap box for their need for affirmation.  These offenders post weekly but most often daily.  They share inspirational quotes about how they are wonderful in a passive aggressive way.

They write about being stressed. Over worked. Over tired. Can’t sleep. Trying the best they can as a (insert lifestyle). The posts literally BEG you to say, “You are AMAZING”, “Keep your head up!”, “You deserve the best!”, “It will get better”, “We are in AWE of how awesome you are!”… you get the picture….

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I should preface.. the Social Media Abuser probably falls into the following categories as well….

2. The Over Achiever- We all know this person.  This victim is cloaked in a shiny coat and often not categorized as a couch fainter.  This person pushes to be the lead in everything.  The class President. Head of the Pismo Beach Disaster Fundraiser. Cheer President.  The Soccer Mom, Carpool director, Team Captain- All in one week.  The over achiever is the individual others are immediately drawn to because they appear to “have it together”.  Months or perhaps years pass before one realizes the praise of being an “overachiever” is the Heroin of choice for this person. Keep praising or this hidden victim will crumble.  This person does not take on one or two areas.  They demand to be in charge of everything.  They headbutt their way to the top then wait for the praise to flow.

3. The Public figure- UGH probably the most offensive to me.  If I read another celebrity complaining about their public comments being taken wrong…. Some celebrities love to talk about how hard it is to be rich and famous.  The horrible problems they deal with and how we should pity and celebrate them.

4. The Plight I Overcamer- “Overcamer” is not actually a word but you know who I am talking about.  The person who overcame the horrible (insert situation) and is reformed… but not really.  They remind us of their past plights constantly, passively begging for us to praise them over and over and over and… well you get the picture.  They want applause for becoming better. Unfortunately they haven’t actually overcame anything because they compulsively seek adoration. Daily.

5. The Never Follow Througher- Again… I might be making a new word but this person tells everyone constantly how they are starting (insert plan).  It never actually happens but we are supposed to praise them for their thoughts toward awesome.  The “never follow througher” is the quintessential beacon of hope wrapped in a soft victim blanket.  They are letting us know they have been through EVERYTHING but are still willing to (insert-go to school, run a marathon, build a boat, become vegan, get a medal, host a speech, break up with bad person, start a freaking revolution). Obviously they never actually complete their goal(or come close) but as a victim encourage others to say YAY!! Way to go!! We never see any results because the ego is fed until the next proclamation.

It is fine to play the victim every once in a while.  We all need a dose of confidence to remind us we are amazing. Capable. Phenomenal. Awe worthy.  However, is this your crutch? Is being a victim your go to? Do you beg for affirmation regularly?

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Maybe I am crazy but why not ask for praise when you need it? Or better yet why not count one’s own blessings?

This past weekend I was in my home town and blessed to see my oldest and most dear friend Rachel.  She is the same age as I am. She has 4 children and is divorced.  As soon as she arrived to meet me her first question was, “How are you?? You have so much going on I need to hear everything”.  I rambled for an hour.  When I inquired about her and her family she shrugged it off.  She mentioned she had been a bit frustrated getting the kids out in the morning but otherwise life was great.  She doesn’t have time for Facebook or social media.  She doesn’t complain or bitch.  She is AMAZING.  If she had a fainting couch I would buy her pillows.  But she never will.  She’s not a victim.

Yet another of my best friend’s volunteers with children.  She devotes her time (quietly) to provide positive opportunities for those in need.  The stories she has told me of visiting orphanages in Mexico and being a “big sister” to two special kids…. hopefully she will guest blog- Unicorn you know who you are…

Remember when this video went viral?

The people who have the most tend to need more.  Those who could actually BE A VICTIM choose different.  Some of the most confident individuals I have met are those with little to nothing.  More important people who actually need our support don’t publicize it.  At what point does the need for praise and affirmation become an actual addiction?

 

 

 

Don’t look back in anger

Welp, Mari and I took a bit of a blogcation.  It was quite lovely and I, for one, feel refreshed and ready to word-vomit all over this place.  So let’s get to it, shall we?

Over the past 5 years or so I’ve made a Christmas wish for humanity.  In 2014 I wished that everyone could experience empathy for people that aren’t in their own tribe.  In hindsight, that was waaaaaaaaaaaay to much to ask for.  If 2014 taught me anything it taught me people use empathy as a tool in conversations but they’re not getting what it means.  I think there are good reasons for this.  Empathy is difficult.  Empathy also leads to undesired self-reflection.  It is much easier to take the easy road of applying your beliefs to everyone and think you’re awesome and no one else “gets it”.

So a definition seems appropriate here:

The ability to sense other people’s emotions, coupled with the ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking or feeling.

Many people conflate empathy with sympathy. I choose to view it this way to avoid confusion: Sympathy is “feeling with” a person, such as compassion or commiseration; Empathy is “feeling into” someone else. It is the ability to project one’s own personality into another person to better understand that person.

Over the course of 2014, as empathy became a buzzword, I observed many people attempt to demonstrate that they are empathetic. Some people succeeded and it made my heart happy. Some people failed (I’m definitely in this group–it’s a work in progress). Some of these fails were spectacular or made me chuckle. I had someone tell me, “I’m trying to be empathetic but everything you think and say are just wrong.”. I appreciate the initial effort but this person isn’t taking things far enough, in my opinion.

I had another person, after saying he treats all races the same state, “no one cares about race but race-hustlers”. He refused to listen to racial groups alleging institutional racism because he believed “it doesn’t exist”.  When I disagreed and poked some fun (I had predicted earlier this would happen) he went completely off the rails. He listed numerous things that he does for charity, launched into a diatribe about what he perceived were my personal failings (which he had to imagine/make up), then passive-aggressively tell me that empathy is telling me that he’s sorry I’m so angry (which he again made up). That was a complete empathy failure during a purported demonstration of empathy. Good times.

I’m tempted to be disheartened about these developments.  However this year I’m choosing to be hopeful about them. I’ve known the above referenced people for a long time and even those efforts are significant for them. On a broader level empathy is injected into political campaigns, lawmaking and normal conversation at a higher rate. Empathy is aspirational. I think these are good things and I’m going to work harder to get it right. I’m hopeful because the elevation of empathy as a desirable trait will do us all well.

Unresolved Resolutions?

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Happy New Year!!

Did you make resolutions??

Making New Years Resolutions has always been a great way for me to ready myself for January.  I would write them, print … sometimes even laminate and bedazzle my goals to make me fabulous everywhere.  The bathroom mirror, sun visor in my car, the refrigerator.. you get the idea.

My après Christmas routine began the same as most years and I thought about what goals I would like to accomplish.  Although I didn’t have time to write them down I decided to focus on balance this year.  I figured this would be the year I would successfully balance healthy eating, frequent exercising, moderate drinking, increased children’s activities, more giving and of course better organization.  No big deal right??

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New Year’s Day came and I was much too hungover to think about any type of balance.  Instead I got Chick-Fil-A, put kids’ shows on repeat and took a nap.  “After all, who starts resolutions ON New Year’s? I am pretty sure they begin the following Monday,” I said to myself.

Sunday morning started strong.  We cleaned out the garage (Organization!), I made breakfast  (Healthy Eating!) and we donated children’s clothes and toys (Giving!).  I booked my Pilates classes for the week (Exercise!) and made plans for a play date at the park. (Kids Activities!) By afternoon I was exhausted keeping up with balance and poured a glass of wine  (or three).  I had unfinished phone conversations to tend to and before I knew it the sun had set, the kids were dirty and everyone was hungry.  I did what any mom would do. I zapped some hotdogs in the microwave opened a can of mandarin oranges and hastily wiped their feet with baby wipes. BOOM. Clean and fed!

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As I settled into bed I promised myself Monday was the real start of New Year’s and convinced myself I was right on track.  Just as I was dozing off my phone beckoned me and I saw the message every working mom dependent on child care dreads.  “I am so sorry but I am sick and can’t work tomorrow”. UGH. My first Monday back to work after two weeks off and I didn’t have childcare.

Monday was not the successful first day I envisioned.  Neither was Tuesday.  I have a strong feeling Wed and Thursday will not go as planned either.   In order to maintain my sanity I jotted down a REVISED list of resolutions and couldn’t help but think others might benefit from my more realistic list.

Enjoy!

REVISED New Year’s Resolutions- 2015

  1. Feed Children three times per day. Feed Husband as needed.
  2. Keep Laundry from overflowing on the floor.
  3. Integrate more fruit and vegetables into dinner to ensure healthy food options. Frozen counts!ny6
  4. Bend knees on stairs to increase glute exercises.
  5. Walk briskly at Legoland and Animal Park for Cardio.
  6. Hang out with friends who have children for increased kids’ activities
  7. Only drink wine when frustrated, overwhelmed, happy, or busy. ny8
  8. Organize one drawer per month.
  9. Try to go to Church sometimes.
  10. Feed Dogs and give them baths.

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OK, I might be exaggerating a bit but doesn’t my new list seem a bit less daunting?

Next Monday I will attempt to kick start my “balanced” resolutions but chances are my perfect plan will be derailed.  If you are anything like me give yourself a break.  Remember resolutions are merely a guide to improved behavior not an unbreakable outline of how one’s life is supposed to look.

If your first week sounds like mine pour a glass of wine give yourself a hug and eat a cookie.  Next Monday we can try again 😉

Xoxo Mari

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P.S. This image didn’t really work for my “walking through Legoland for Cardio” but it tickled me 🙂

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I’ve got something against you.

This post is purely aspirational for me because I have a very hard time doing what I’m going to propose. From what I observe, the same holds for a lot of people. So here goes: Be for things. Don’t just be against things. Sounds simple, right? Watch me go off the rails straight away……

The inspirations for this post come from a couple of online personae that I admire.

The first is Cleek’s Law.

Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.

Pretty straight-forward, no? It also reeks of the truth. It’s quite easy to sit back and lob criticism at your ideological opposition but offer no solutions. These criticisms don’t need to be true or even make sense. They could be based on perception or potential perception of an issue. They could rely on all sorts of fallacies. Slippery slopes. Straw men. The intent is to invalidate the actions of one’s opponent by making a broad assertion and then force the opposition to defend itself.

Conservatism does not offer solutions. Sure, they trot out supply-side economics (trickle-down theory) and tax cuts that will pay for themselves, but these theories have an awful empirical track record. See, Kansas, State of, for a current example. Restating an ideology that has been shown not to work in the current operating conditions isn’t offering a solution. So we’re trapped in a zero-sum game. Everything that one’s opponent does must be wrong, because it comes from your opponent.

The second is related to Cleeks law and is called Davis X. Machina’s Law.

The salient fact of American politics is that there are fifty to seventy million voters each of who will volunteer to live, with his family, in a cardboard box under an overpass, and cook sparrows on an old curtain rod, if someone would only guarantee that the black, gay, Hispanic, liberal, whatever, in the next box over doesn’t even have a curtain rod, or a sparrow to put on it.

As a note up front, I get a lot of pushback when I quote this law. The substance of the pushback hasn’t ever been that people act this way. It is always about whether sparrows can fit on curtain rods to cook them. Whenever I hear this line of objection, I know that the criticizer is giving up on the merits of the law (the actions of the people) and trying to divert attention to the trappings of the argument. Basically, they’re trying to say that since a sparrow can’t fit on a curtain rod (or more accurately, they refuse to admit that they are small in diameter curtain rods), then the conclusion must be wrong. Ummmmmmm…no.

The point is that people will act against their interests as long as it hurts the “right” people. But why is this? As discussed above, it’s easy. It’s the path of less resistance. It is much easier to “punch down” on the people one wants to be disadvantaged than it is to “punch up” against the powers that be to obtain something for one’s benefit. Personally, when I see someone acting against their own interests in order to harm others it screams to me that the primary motivator for that person is hatred. It’s not a very good look. For anyone.

So what to do then? Try to make positive arguments and bolster those with negative arguments. By this I mean be for something, not just against things. I’m not saying one should never use a negative argument. Pointing out the deficiencies of your opponent is not necessarily a bad thing. However, over-reliance on negative arguments can be and is a bad thing because it is extremely difficult to find common ground. Only negative arguments is not a persuasive technique. I sometimes find myself painted in a corner and taking pot shots at an opposing viewpoint. I may even be making valid points about the weakness of the viewpoint. But in the back of my mind I know I’m not being constructive or persuasive.

The Invisible People

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Invisible is not a word anyone would correlate with my name.  In fact, I would be described as the exact opposite.  I am outgoing, like to bedazzle everything, and wear pink.  I talk to everyone and move into party hostess role in mundane places like the grocery store.   People remember me and my social circle because we are loud and probably annoying.  We are never invisible.

Now that I am getting older my “sparkle” tends to take the back seat, focusing my attention on our little girls and celebrating that they are stars of the life show.  I don’t get dressed up or bother with makeup but my girls are always fabulously dressed, brushed and excited to flirt with the world.

A few months ago my Mom was in town and we were doing errands(i.e. going to Lunch, Target and Coldwater Creek since CC isn’t in her area).  People constantly comment on the girls and how fun they are since they smile incessantly and interact with anyone who will look at them.  My Mom loves it (OF COURSE what Grandma isn’t proud of her little ones??) and always engages in conversation with strangers.  During our lunch we were talking about their attention and my mom said something I hadn’t ever considered.  “The hardest part about getting older is becoming invisible.”  I was shocked.  I AM my mom’s mini me.  She has always been the outgoing, hostess with the mostess, girlfriend group leading, impression leaving gal.  People LOVE my mom.  How could she feel invisible???

Since then I have thought a great deal about her comment.  After my initial skepticism I started delving into the possibility and the reasons why.  Guess what I realized? She was absolutely right.  In our superficial culture age isn’t celebrated it is discouraged.  Americans go into debt to get surgery to look younger, more vibrant, thinner, more voluptuous.  Adults are terrified of looking old because the elderly are deemed irrelevant.

When I realized my mom might be right I did a very unscientific completely based on my own marketing skills study to see what I found.  Luckily I didn’t have to go far.  Our area is full of retirement communities and virtually every store or public place I go the age demographic is significantly higher than my own.

What I noticed sickened me.  The utter disdain toward the elderly is prolific.  I watched in horror last week when a couple was attempting to use a grocery cart to stabilize themselves on their way to the parking lot.  The grocery cart became caught on the floor mat and they were unable to continue.  An employee watched it, walked around them and went back to work.  They were stuck at the entrance.  At least 20 customers walked around them to get in and out of the store without so much as a glance.  I became enraged and yelled for the employee, chastising him for not helping the couple.  He looked at my like I was crazy and mumbled a half hearted excuse. I helped them out and told them to have a great day.  The two were gracious, lovely, and appreciative.

The visible eye rolling I have watched in the past month is enough to start a crusade.  For some reason our society is annoyed that the people who RAISED us, CARED for us and SACRIFICED are now old.  How dare these people age and not walk as fast, drive as well or pick out their spices in a timely manner?

My Mom was completely right.  And I am devastated.  Our culture is slimy and lame.  How dare we feel superior because we are younger?  Since the conversation I seek out anyone in my path who might need help.  I offer a smile and inquire about their day.  The response has been wonderful and encourages me to pay more attention to those outside the ‘optimum age demographic’.

If it weren’t for my mom telling me I wouldn’t have noticed.  I am not a super cool evolved human being needing snaps but I am a woman who will strive to not allow ANYONE to feel invisible.   What about you?

xoxo

Mari

Good Lord That’s a Lot Of Liquid!

JuiceCleanse

Mike and I just completed a 3 Day Juice Cleanse (Disclaimer: This cleanse was accompanied with light dinner). We were not the annoying people who post their updates to Facebook and tell everyone incessantly about it… (except for my daily voxing to Keri, Megan, Holly and Molly – oh and my mom. And my friend Shana. OK, maybe I was the annoying juice person!)

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Thing is, if you know me you know I don’t do diety stuff.  Or sporty stuff. I like my wine and my cheese and of course my bread.  In fact my favorite hobby is “wining” with friends while eating delicious appetizers!

If you think this post is about how fabulous we felt on a juice cleanse you are wrong.  If you are assuming I am going to talk about how easy it was and how I can’t wait to do it again you are incorrect.  The point of my juicing blog is to talk about something entirely different.

The night before we began our cleanse Mike got us an obscene amount of our favorite takeout. I decided I should probably drink more wine than a group of 6 would drink and I completed the night with a few Twix bites.  After all a cleanse was beginning.

The first day was gag worthy.  It could have been the hangover or possibly the chunks of radish and celery.  It certainly didn’t help that something in the juice had a sand like texture so drinking it was a bit like sanding my throat.  8 ounces every hour, 16 ounces of water every hour, fluctuating every 30 minutes from 9am to 5pm.  Then in the evening we were able to have a light dinner sans carbs, sugar, dairy, fat, alcohol… umm did I forget anything? Basically grilled chicken and plain vegetables.

By the time 5:30 came I had the table set and was waiting for Mike to finish making the chicken.  I was literally salivating at the sight of steamed veggies.  In a matter of 12 hours I had morphed from a completely rational human being to:(photo cred: happyorhungry.com):

hungry

I tore into the chicken like a dinosaur and inhaled my steamed vegetables.  And they were the most delicious morsels I can remember eating in a long time.  Just one day prior I would have considered this bland dinner the low point of the week.  However, fasting for almost 24 hours reset my thinking to be so damn thankful for any morsel I could put in my mouth.  The broccoli was so tender, the simple spices on the chicken beckoned me to lick the plate.  It was amazing.

Over the next few days we continued to drink our 64 ounces of juice and 128 ounces of water every day.  Mike and I would wait patiently for our boring chicken and vegetables and clamored about how delicious the carrots were (we did have a little hummus on day 3).  We were just so damn appreciative for the food in the evening.

Now that we are finished I have been thinking a lot about the effects. The cleanse didn’t just reset my body but also forced me to acknowledge the reset in my mind.  I had to admit I don’t like going without. I had to think about what a baby I am and how much I complain about the most trivial crap.  But the most interesting take away was how quickly we adapt to survive.  I was shocked how thankful and satiated I was with so much less and that when we “reset” our lifestyle and needs we can see past ourselves.  The things we take for granted on a day to day basis should be appreciated.

Honestly, I don’t know if I will do a juice cleanse again.  But I would recommend everyone to try it. Taking time to not grant yourself everything you want is good practice for life.  Going without your favorite vices for a bit forces you to think inward and more important think of those who are not blessed with what we take for granted.

I have done my time, and my day 4 cleanse (pic above) is calling my name 🙂

Best,

Mari

So this happened today.

Typically I don’t post/write on the weekends.  However in honor of Mother’s Day my nonfiction story needed to be told.  As with my last post on the follies of motherhood this blog applies to everyone.  Feel free to laugh, shake your head knowingly or simply cringe at the thought. Whichever emotion my blog elicits, enjoy.

Yesterday morning I got my hair highlighted and cut.  Relaxed, blonde and happy I returned home to find flowers from Mike and an adorable card from Bailey(our toddler).  While I was gone Mike and the girls had gone grocery shopping and planned breakfast and dinner for Mother’s Day. Further, Mike asked me what he could do to make Mother’s Day awesome for me.  I told him to just take the girls in the morning so I could sleep in.  Done and done.

Around 6:30 a.m. our baby awoke and was giggling in her crib.  Mike wasn’t quite awake so I jumped up to get her for snuggles and a quick diaper change.  As I went to change Michaela I sensed something was off… she was holding on to a gooey wad and it seemed to be all over her; in her hair, her onesie, even smeared on her face- what was that?? It looked familiar and smelled familiar but I just couldn’t quite place it. All of a sudden my groggy mind clicked into place and I recognized what the squishy clear balls were.  My heart sank as I quickly surmised her diaper must have been faulty.  It had emptied the contents of the absorbing gel typically sealed inside the crotch of a diaper all over her body.

For those of you lucky enough to not know what I am talking about here is a visual of what the gel beads look like:

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This is the amount in one diaper:

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Michaela was playing with it.  She was smearing it.  She was covered and playing with urine filled gel balls UGHHHHHHH. I yelled for Mike,”Babe we have a pee situation. I neeeeeed you. Quick!” Mike came stumbling down the hallway and didn’t miss a beat.  He started a bath while I attempted to peel the urine soaked onesie  and the remnants of the diaper off Mich.  Did I mention the poop? Yep. Amidst all of this she had pooped and I hadn’t noticed. Now I have a naked, gel covered, poop smeared baby.  I step backward in shock and my foot sinks into the squishy gel balls that are now all over the floor. I look down and I am covered in miniscule urine droplets.

It was 6:45 a.m.

I take all the dirty blankets downstairs and shake them in the backyard only to realize I had stepped in fresh dog pee. Sigh. I wiped my foot with the soiled blanket while our Maltese walked through the puddle and happily trotted back in the house leaving pee pee paw prints.

By 7:30am I was showered and back in bed with a clean baby, cuddly toddler and sheepish husband.  Mike kept apologizing, saying he just wanted to me to sleep in and relax.  I just laughed and snuggled in with my favorite people.  By 8 a.m. Mike had both girls playing downstairs and I sipped delivered coffee while perusing facebook.  I knew I was supposed to sleep but the sounds of a dance party and giggles downstairs were beckoning me to join. The best part about being a mom are the moments not intended to be awesome.  Listening to Mike play DJ to Bailey’s favorite songs and hearing the shrieks of laughter from both the girls and Mike is the best gift I could ever receive.  My heart was exploding just thinking of the fun happening downstairs and there was no way I could sleep through it. Just then Bailey came upstairs to find me and asked me to help her find clean “pony choanies” ( our term for my little pony themed underwear). I told her I didn’t have to because it’s Mothers day.  She looked at me and said,” But mommy who is going to make dinner??”

9ish a.m.??

Michaela was ready for her morning nap and Bailey and Mike were downstairs making me French Toast.  I took Mich to her nursery and remembered the bedding was gone. Oops. I quickly changed her crib, fed and changed her so she could sleep.  By the time I got downstairs the tired protests from a too tired baby were waning and the delicious smells of bacon and french toast were wafting through the air.

Happily I walked into the kitchen to see my phenomenal husband flipping french toast with Bailey stirring the egg mixture.  I planned to sit down and begin sending notes to my favorite mom friends and glanced at the video monitor to ensure a sleeping baby.

Instead, I saw this:

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O.M.G.  What is my 6.5 month old baby doing standing up??? When did this happen? Shocked, I yelled to Mike to look at the screen while simultaneously telling Bailey to not spill on her new dress.  At precisely this moment Bailey dumped the majority of the french toast mixture down the front of her, completely soaking her new dress. The sticky, eggy mess sunk into the hardwood floor and coated the snouts of my dogs licking it up.  Bailey lost her shit and started screaming.  Michaela was standing in her crib.  Bacon was sizzling in the oven.  The french toast smelled amazing and my dogs were thrilled with the taste of their face fur.

10 AM

Bailey was no longer crying and Michaela was sleeping soundly.  Bribed with the promise of another mini my little pony she happily ate all of her french toast.  Mike made me another cup of coffee and apologized again saying, “I tried so hard to make this morning just right for you.”  He made it more than just right.  He made it perfect.

Mother’s Day is a day to appreciate the mothers in one’s life.  It does not mean that chaos won’t ensue.  It does not mean the day will run smooth.  It just means you are loved and admired.

Happy Mothers day to our phenomenal mom readers!

 

Anxious about anxiety?

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I have spent the better portion of my life dealing with an anxiety disorder.  It is really tough and sometimes debilitating.  Other times it invigorates me and helps push me to be an overachiever.

The reason I am revealing my struggles publicly is because so many people come to me privately.  It isn’t easy to admit my weaknesses and I have the same fears of everyone that I will be judged.  There is much more I could discuss, but I am only dipping my pinkie toe in the “lets air my dirty laundry” blog series.

Today I read a really great blog called “30 things to stop doing to yourself”.

http://www.lifebuzz.com/just-stop/

I usually don’t click-through to these types of blogs on facebook, but my anxiety levels have been high and I wanted to see what someone had to say.  I have to admit, I am guilty of A LOT of the areas the authors recommend avoiding.  Granted this is the type of over general list that will apply to literally everyone.  Kind of like horoscopes… people are constantly saying, “OMG my horoscope is RIGHT ON.” Well of course it is, the generalizations are open to interpretation and as selfish creatures we can find a way to apply anything to ourselves. That being said, I saw a few gems on this list and thought I would write about it since anxiety seems to be a trending issue in many friends.

Mike has been very helpful for when I am panicking. He knows I need to talk through my anxiety, sometimes repeat myself over and over again until I can get to a calm place.  He constantly reminds me feeling anxious isn’t necessarily negative and everyone deals with anxious thoughts. He is right to an extent.  We encounter anxiety when great things happen to us, like moving or a new job or getting pregnant.  However I have found my anxiety tends to escalate when it is revolved around negativity.  Two things the author suggests to avoid are :Stop trying to explain yourself to others and stop trying to be everything to everyone.  Both areas I am very guilty of and definitely lend themselves to my troubles.  I feel an inherent need to explain everything I say or do in hopes I am always coming across in the best light possible.  I am terrified of saying the wrong thing or disappointing someone.  Often this fear keeps me up at night worrying I have upset the people I love most. I believe this goes hand in hand with wanting to be everything to everyone.  It is so hard to accept our weaknesses and stand behind them.  Conversely, it is easy to admit a failure and explain the reason why you failed. For me it is excruciating to allow a failure to be a known deficit in my character and then have the confidence to own it.

Stop worrying so much and stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen are probably the two areas I am most guilty of.  For me, I worry obsessively about what I don’t want to happen.  Doing this causes me to collide with the worst case scenario which is typically terrifying!  After all, when is the worst case scenario appealing? The problem with this behavior is the worst case scenario almost never happens but the anxiety and fear wastes minutes/hours, even days of our lives.

For those of you that struggle with anxieties, take a look at this list. I am sure there are different areas that apply to you and facing them may help reconcile the butterflies in your stomach.  After all, number 3 encourages you to stop lying to yourself.  What better way to alleviate your stress than to admit to yourself what is most debilitating to you?

I hope my honesty can help just one person realize we all deal with insecurities.  In a place where many of us work so hard to have it together its ok to just be good enough for yourself.  Trust me, others will love you.  Now if I could  only take my own advice!

Best,

Mari xo

 

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