What’s up with that?

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I can raise either eyebrow. Left or right or both. “Look ma no hands!” Maybe it’s not that cool, but it does come in handy when I see something that makes me think, “Mmm…that seems off. What’s the deal there?” OK, the things I list below may seem normal at first, but after lots of overthinking (check) you actually start to have some reservations about the people participating in them. Until I can sort out what exactly is wrong with each offense, I will file the perpetrators under my brain’s “Watch List.”  It’s possible I’m alone on these, but for your consideration here are a few things that may be worthy of your skepticism:  Continue reading

How to win a Facebook face-off (lose friends and influence no one)

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Facebook, once a place to max out photo albums and prove just how awesome life after
high school became (remember when you had to have a college email to sign up?), is now the virtual boxing ring of public discourse. An opinion cesspool. Not too long ago Facebook tried to market itself as a friendly timeline of life events, but it was too late. We didn’t care. Controversy is king and we can’t get enough.

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 2.36.09 PMPandora’s box was opened when the status update started asking, “What’s on your mind?” Well Facebook, since you asked…Because really, who doesn’t want to engage in a virtual debate on sensitive social or political issues in front of everyone they know?

After the requisite (and shameful) 10,000 hours, I have officially reached expert level in Facebook spectating. So, allow me to present a few tips and tricks commonly used to dominate a Facebook Face-off.

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The Grief of Gifts

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Giving gifts gives me anxiety. The giving of gifts is among the most dreaded of social obligations. That and small talk in the workplace. I’m starting to resort to a greeting regimen…

Monday- “Hey! Back to the grind, eh?
Tuesday- “Crazy week!”
Wednesday- “Halfway there”
Thursday- “Almost Friday…”
Friday- “It’s Friday!”

We’re human beings in the same daily environment and our only common ground is making our way through weekdays. The real thing we have in common is the desire not to be having this conversation.

Is there ever a time we don’t have some gift looming over our to-do list? Most of the time the gift is for the same person we had to give a gift to last quarter. And we strain all over again to come up with something they would want that they don’t already have that they wouldn’t rather pick out themselves that is fun but also useful that they could probably afford but don’t want to bother with but also wouldn’t expect.

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The True Meaning of Black Friday

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It comes but once a year. A magical consumer celebration of all things capitalism,  commercialism and darwinism….the beloved American tradition of Black Friday. Fortunately many have come to recognize the wonder of Black Friday cannot be confined to a single day. Therefore it has extended into a five day celebration ending with cyber Monday and beginning on Black Friday’s Eve (also known as Thanksgiving).

Black Friday, the day we acquire what we want, lands suitably after the day we celebrate having enough. Continue reading

The Burden of Beauty

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As I recently wrote, there’s something totally liberating about giving up on disingenuous things. There’s a freedom in surrendering to the truth about ourselves. Being only one person, we can’t be a writer, scientist, adrenaline-junky, botanist, chef, broadcaster, truck driver, actor, entrepreneur and home decorator. We aren’t all thrifty, charismatic, athletic, introspective, organized, detail-oriented, funny and so on (sidenote–people who happen to be all of those things also happen to be annoying). Our differences enable each of us to focus on truer parts of ourselves, and enjoy the things we like and are good at. We discover our likes and abandon our dislikes; we realize our strengths and discard our weaknesses. Typically there is nothing tragic about this process. In fact it’s a critical, enjoyable part of creating our identities.

Andy List

Here is a sample list of things I do and do not do well/enjoy/identify with.

Unfortunately for women, there is one characteristic that we absolutely cannot dismiss from our identity, whether we actually have it or not. And that is beauty.

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Count Me Out

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Peer pressure. The struggle is real. However, I’ve decided to finally put my foot down on a few things. I’m just not doing them anymore people. I’m not. And no one can make me. I feel like a child that has suddenly discovered the word “no,” and it’s liberating as all hell. (Typically I wouldn’t say something like “as all hell” because peer pressure tells me that it sounds stupid. And that’s because it does).

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Run For Your Like

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Running is boring. Literally painfully so. In most sports the goal is to earn points, usually with a team, in order to win against an opponent. That’s why people enjoy sports. Sports are competitive, healthy and enjoyable. However, the goal in running is to simply endure it. You just keep running until it’s time to stop. That’s it. And don’t misinterpret me, anyone who can endure the monotony of running for longer than a mile or two does deserve some kind of recognition or trophy. (Then there’s the treadmill. Keep running, but go no where? Sounds like a perfect purgatory.) Unfortunately running is extremely trendy right now, despite the fact that most of us dislike it. (How did we let that happen?) Running is so bad we’ve had to add all these little extras to make it appealing:

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No credit for the end credits

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Here is a common situation: I’m sitting in a movie. Completely involved in it. So much that it feels real. The movie ends, just after an intense moment of closure. I prepare to bask in it all.

Suddenly, the credits come up and an awful, totally inappropriate pop song comes on. Wasn’t this a World War II movie? It’s the worst when it’s a movie that only featured beautifully composed, original music throughout and suddenly ends with a song from a Disney channel girl band. Continue reading

It’s not as bad as it sounds

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I have bunions.

You may cringe, but I feel no shame. Occasional pain, but no shame. I have noticed when I mention my bunions, people generally react with a “Gross. Why would you admit that to me?”But here’s the thing, bunions are only swollen bone/tissue on the joint of your big toe. It’s not the warty, stinky, disgusting, contagious fungus you might expect based on the awful name “bunion.”

So this got me thinking. What other names make something sound worse than it is? Continue reading

Fads I Don’t Get

I’m a conformist. I feel security in aligning with the majority opinion. At least with the more weighty issues of the world such as clothing trends, ways to say “cool,” and movie reviews.

Band wagons I have jumped on throughout my life: Barney, beadie critter keychains, wearing oversized hair scrunchies like a bracelet, switching from skiing to snowboarding, switching from Backstreet Boys to N’Sync, switching from Myspace to Facebook, and wanting a lifted truck (it was a hick town thing). I think it’s safe to say I’m a fad follower.

However, there are a few things I just don’t get. No matter how hard I try I just don’t get it (and seriously I really try to get it because I do not like feeling on the outside). Continue reading

Grown-up Piggies

With 33 nieces and nephews I know children can be sweet, loving, innocent, forgiving, great examples…I know that.

However, as a childless know-it-all, I am quick to perceive the many shortcoming of youth. To name a few: they have no control over their emotions, they are ungrateful, and they expect everyone else to take care of their problems (I know my husband is rolling his eyes at me). Kids can really just turn me off. Continue reading

It’s a Doggy Dog World

Watching a nature show is a lot like watching a football game. We pick our team and root for their victory. We hope the antelope escapes the crocodile, and the eagle catches the fish.  We want the mouse to escape the snake, and the cat to catch the gopher. And the car to hit the cat…oh wait..no, sorry…

It seems we tend to root for the animals we relate to, the most human-like. Is that so wrong? I prefer a furry, four-legged creature as a pet over a legless, nasty reptile. It seems natural. Until recently, I’ve noticed a concerning psychological trend taking  place. Let me give you a little background. Continue reading

It’s a Wonderful Life: Thoughts On My Christmas Favorite

There are countless reasons why I love the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. I love Jimmy Stewart’s character, George (and can do an impressive impersonation, if I do say so myself). I love all 130 minutes of his detailed life. I love Mary’s loyalty and George’s kind heart and good humor. I love the fashions, the nostalgia of what seemed a more wholesome time, and their old-fashioned vocal intonation. But this year, I felt a connection to the film beyond its exceptional character development or its traditional holiday entertainment. I related to George’s plight, and had to understand what the takeaway was. Continue reading

I’m a Seven and that’s OK

The American way is to “never settle for less,” accept “nothing but the best,” and never “sell yourself short.” The American dream is built on the idea of high expectations and hard work. It’s a beautiful concept upon which dreams have been built and visions realized. After all, “you deserve the best,” don’t you?

Unfortunately this wonderful notion transforms into venom when applied to our self-image. Cosmetic surgeries are a reasonable effort toward a worthy goal, cosmetic aisles and beauty supply shops explode with products promising a bigger (or smaller) and better you, and hundreds of fashion magazines provide the right tips to make all this perfection possible—which of course, you are entitled to. Physical perfection has become a rational expectation. Which makes sense because you wouldn’t want to be “anything less than perfect”, or would you? Continue reading

How do you do?

The other day I was introduced to an older man. Everything appeared normal, I was new, he was new, we knew someone in common, I was relaxed and at ease with the whole, natural process. That all changed as we began to shake hands. He looked me square in the eye, and boldly asked, “How do you do?” Suddenly I snapped into focus and was forced to pay attention to what was going on. Whaa?  Was that a question? What did that mean? I had a mere second to decide. Continue reading