Category Archives: Hmmm…

Married People Conversations

Some of the best and strangest conversations I have ever had have been with my husband. We often find ourselves initially discussing relatively mundane topics that somehow morph through a series of crazy twists, turns and strange lateral leaps of thought, into something much more bizarre. I love it when that happens, and it happened again today.

We were driving back from eating dim sum with friends when my tummy started to rumble. Now, we love dim sum. In fact, we often crave it. But there are two dim sum meal aftereffects that we can always bank on—a trip to the potty exactly 1 hour later followed by a food coma shortly thereafter. This is why we never make definitive plans with anyone for several hours after eating dim sum. (We learned this lesson the hard way.)

This of course lead to an entire discussion around (you guessed it), poop. My husband said that pooping is the great equalizer. I agreed, but said that only works if you can visualize the person “in the act”. There are some people who I just couldn’t imagine on the throne and some that I very easily could. (Which was a little weird even to me.)

We ran through a few names to test this theory and to see if we could determine why we could picture some people on the potty and why other people we couldn’t. Here was our short analysis:

People we can picture on the can:
George Clooney – He’s a jokester and very accessible. Easy to envision. He probably also owned a fart machine or whoopee cushion at some point.

Prince – He always looks a little dirty and unkempt to me so picturing him on the commode isn’t that difficult. Note: Hubby couldn’t (or wouldn’t) picture this one.

Any U.S. President after President Theodore Roosevelt with the exception of Presidents John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. These two great men are icons, and icons do not potty in my mind.

The Presidents that served after Theodore Roosevelt are easy to picture in the bathroom, probably because it is one of the few places they could actually be alone. The exception would be President Lyndon Johnson who rather than interrupt himself mid-speech, would notoriously leave the door open when he went to the toilet so that cabinet members could watch him as he sat “doing his business”, issuing orders and so forth. (Seriously, you can google it.)

Any heavy metal rock singer – Too easy.

Anyone we know personally – Past bosses, friends, grocery store clerks, baristas…we don’t discriminate, we can visualize you all. (Sorry.)

Albert Einstein – He seems like a fun, down to earth genius that had a sense of humor. I bet he wrote formulas down on toilet paper the way some people jot ideas on restaurant napkins.

 

People we can NOT picture on the can:
Ryan Gosling– Did you see him in Crazy, Stupid, Love or The Notebook? I don’t even want to try. Envisioning him on the “john” would require demoting him from the pedestal he stands on in my mind. No way.

Gwyneth Paltrow – She seems so lady-like, squeaky clean and thin. I better she never eats and therefore never poops. (Although, she has published a cookbook, so I may be wrong.)

Any U.S. President before President Theodore Roosevelt. I think I just can’t picture any of our country’s forefathers in an out house or worse yet using a chamber pot. Too unpresidential for me to wrap my head around.

Any religious figure – Cleanliness is next to Godliness. Picturing religious figures having such a biological human experience is off-limits. (And may even be considered sacrilegious, so I’m not going there.)

So, our conclusion is that it’s “mostly” a great equalizer with some very important exceptions. We also determined that there are some discussions that we can only have with each other. (And everyone in the blogosphere.)

Photo Credit: Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

Photo Credit: Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Last week I found a photo on Facebook of the nun that taught (and terrorized) my grammar school. For years my husband had heard the legendary tales of Sr. Mary Margaret (name changed) and her ruler that had whacked my legs on more than one occasion for crossing my feet at the ankles while I was sitting in my desk in 6th grade.

To say she was “old school“ would be an understatement. I remember at the start of every nine weeks her ritual of rearranging the seating chart according to each child’s grade point average, which she announced to the entire class. Apparently, she felt that public humiliation was a good motivator. It worked on me. I had the highest GPA in the class, and I was perpetually terrified of her.

I did my best to please her. I volunteered to do the liturgical readings and bring up the offerings during Mass. I got to school early to say the Rosary with her and the rest of my petrified classmates seeking brownie points. And when she announced at the end of the school year that she would be leaving for Chile to become a missionary and hopefully a Martyr for Christ, I wished her good luck and much success! (My mom was mortified.)

But, I did learn a lot in her class. And in retrospect, I truly believe she was well-intentioned.

On the Facebook posting under her photo, were over 200 comments from former students ranting about the mental and physical horrors they survived under Sr. Mary Margaret. At first the comments were funny lighthearted jabs at a person who in her time (and even more so now) was almost a caricature of herself—an exaggerated distortion of the truth built over years of childhood fears and stories passed down from one grammar school class to the next.

Then, the comments turned ugly. Cringe-worthy ugly. And I thought, “Wow. Is this cyber-bullying? Cyber-bullying by middle-aged adults? Or is this more like a group online therapy session with people venting and commiserating? Or is this the equivalent to giving a retired teacher an extremely bad Yelp review? And if it is, why now? What’s the point?”

This lead me to rethink my feelings toward Facebook and social media in general. Here is my breakdown of the pros and cons of this particular form of social media:

Pro: Facebook is great for keeping in touch with old friends that would have otherwise fallen off your radar never to be heard from again.

Con: Facebook can become a trap from keeping you from moving forward in your life. Continually reliving the “glory days” from the past stops you from fully living in the present.

Pro: It’s an online record documenting the best parts of your life in photos and words.

Con: It’s not real. Most people only show the very best moments of their life online—overseas trips, fancy mansions and cars purchased, the gourmet meal they cooked from scratch, their perfect children’s brilliant achievements, etc. This skewed view of other’s lives can lead to a very depressing (and inaccurate) lifestyle comparison. “Do they have it better than me? Are they happier? Healthier? Having more fun?“

Pro: It can be a huge support system when needed. I’ve seen many prayer requests go out during difficult times and friends quickly rally to show their support.

Con: Facebook posts can be wielded as an abusive tool to cut down and humiliate others. And the reach is enormous. Fortunately, you can “de-friend” people who haven’t learned how to play nice with others.

I guess in the end, it all comes down to the individual.

As for “Sr. Mary Margaret”, while I still disagree that french kissing is a “Mortal Sin”, I whole-heartedly agree with the following Facebook post that came to your defense:

“She did have a message, not always perfectly delivered, but who among us is perfect. She was committed, and devoted, and carried a lot of lasting important ideas and approaches to living.“

Thank you for being my teacher. I wish you well.

It’s Getting Hot in Here

Sometimes doing the right thing can be a bit of a challenge.

I have a peanut allergy, so I have to carry around an Epi-Pen in my purse at all times in case someone tries to knock me off by slipping me a peanut. I’ve told my friends and family all about my peanut allergy and how the slightest bit ingested could land me in the hospital or worse. Even with this knowledge, you would be surprised at how many times my loving friends and family (even my mom!) have forgotten and offered me mixed nuts or a chocolate-peanut butter-fudge dessert. That’s why I carry the Epi-Pen with me at all times. It’s a syringe containing epinephrine that is big enough to administer through jeans and into my thigh to help treat anaphylaxis. Thankfully, I have never had to use it.

My Epi-Pen expired last week, so when I went to the pharmacy to pick up a new one I asked them if they could please dispose of the old one for me. They said no, and that I would have to go to the Police Department for proper disposal. So, being a good steward of the community I drove over to the Police Department. It was after five, but the Police Department never closes, right? Wrong.

The doors were locked, but there was a sign next to a phone telling me to pick up the receiver and dispatch would be at the other end. Sure enough, they were and they told me they would send someone down to meet me. Ten minutes later as I was pulling out of the parking lot a police officer appeared. I turned back around and explained that I was trying to properly dispose of my medicine. He told me that I would have to come back during business hours and fill out paperwork in order to turn my medicine in. He couldn’t take it from me. Really? At this point my desire to be a good citizen was seriously waning.

Today I drove over to the Police Department determined once again to safely dispose of my Epi-Pen. The little old lady speaking to me, through the second glass window that I was directed to, informs me that they can accept medicine but not syringes. She asked me if I could separate the two and I explained that I couldn’t—the medicine is loaded into the syringe. She told me that only the Fire Department can accept syringes and asked me if I needed directions.

After a two-minute rant by me on how the city makes it incredibly difficult to dispose of old medicine properly, and having the old woman belly laugh at my tirade, I slumped back into my car. An inner Good vs. Evil battle over whether or not I was going to drive the few blocks to the Fire Department ensued.

When I got to the Fire Department, I found another old lady behind a glass window eating her lunch. I explained the situation and she promptly came out from her glass enclosure and took my medicine. No forms. No fuss. Plus, as an added bonus, a super cute fireman worthy of a calendar spread was standing by the door smiling at me and ready to assist if needed. Eye candy in exchange for my old meds. An even trade indeed. Plus, I got the satisfaction of knowing I did the right thing. A small victory, but I’ll take it.

This experience got me to thinking. This isn’t the first time the universe has made it challenging for me to do the right thing. It seems that every time I try to make some lifestyle improvements the universe decides to throw a barrage of obstacles in my way. Whether it’s fulfilling the dream of writing and publishing children’s books, eating a “clean and low salt” diet, or developing a daily exercise practice, something always seems to discourage me from succeeding.

My husband says that it’s the universe testing our convictions. The theory is that if we want something badly enough, nothing will stop us. Once the universe sees that you are serious, it will help you achieve your dreams by sending helpful people and resources your way.

And sometimes you even get a really hot fireman as a bonus. That’s encouragement enough for me to keep trying.

Photo Credit: alanjohnson.deviantart.com

Photo Credit: Hunky Fireman by alanjohnson.deviantart.com

The Most Interesting Woman in the World

Yesterday my husband and I went to the The Mellow Mushroom for pizza. It was an off hour, so we were able to sit in a rather secluded table away from the noisy families with kids and the groups of flirting high school students. During the course of conversation, my husband brings up Jonathan Goldsmith, the actor that plays the “The Most Interesting Man in the World“ in the popular Dos Equis commercials. He had read on Adweek.com that when Mr. Goldsmith auditioned for the role of The Most Interesting Man in the World, he did so barefoot.

“Out of the hundreds of actors who auditioned in cities countrywide to make a case for why they should play The Most Interesting Man in the World, only one took off a shoe and sock to audition barefoot. Why? He wanted to leave a lasting impression. That actor was 73-year-old Jonathan Goldsmith, who, in casting, had mentioned he lived on a boat in Beverly Hills (an impossible feat).“

This started a wonderful conversation about our own personal trivia list. If IMDb asked us for a personal list of trivia would we have anything interesting to tell them? It turns out we both had some pretty interesting line items. Here’s my top 15 in no particular order:

1. I once embalmed a body.

2. I’ve ridden a mechanical bull.

3. I was standing behind Oliver Stone when he was filming Al Pacino’s locker room speech in Any Given Sunday.

4. I wrote a complaint letter to President Jimmy Carter when I was little, asking him not to interrupt my favorite shows which at the time were Scooby Doo, The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. (Several weeks later, I got a package from The White House that included a nice note from the President’s secretary stating, “the President really enjoyed your letter“. As an adult, I have no doubt that he actually read that letter and found it amusing.)

5. I knew Humphrey Bogart’s mistress.

6. I once intentionally ate a bug.

7. I can’t whistle.

8. When I was about 10 years old and out to dinner with my parents, two NBC executives at a nearby table, overheard me saying that I thought Tom Brokaw was cute. They sent me a free dessert with a business card asking for my address so they could send me an autographed photo of him.

9. I’ve done the Can Can on stage.

10. I’m a certified canoeing instructor.

11. As a lifeguard, I once rescued a toddler that had fallen in the pool face down.

12. Halloween is my favorite holiday and Fall is my favorite season.

13. I was a Girl Scout leader.

14. My dog is named after Richard Dreyfuss‘ character in Jaws, Hooper.

15. I’m a horror movie buff.

My goal now is to have more and more interesting experiences so that I can grow my personal trivia list. Maybe one day I will become “The Most Interesting Woman in the World”. LOL

Where’s My Freakin’ Bonbons?

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The toilet has been running for months. I’m sure our water bill would be 50% less if it was fixed. Not to mention the scare it gives me when it starts to “run“ while I am sitting on it! I’m sure I levitate at least three inches off the seat each time. My urgency to get this fixed has just not seemed to register with my husband, and I know why—neither one of us is very “handy” when it comes to home repairs.

Last night I hit the breaking point. I was sick and tired of the new “toilet flush assembly” (a.k.a. the damn toilet do-dad) sitting on my kitchen counter and mocking me. I mean seriously, it hadn’t even made it to the bathroom and we bought it weeks ago! Rather than wait any longer for my husband to fix it, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I put on an old tee-shirt and grabbed all of the tools required to do the job and headed to the bathroom. After all, the Home Depot man said this was an “easy” plumbing job. I can do this! (Maybe.)

Step 1: Turn off water and flush toilet. Check.

Step 2: Sponge out any remaining water from the back of the tank. Check.

Step 3: Remove old toilet flush assembly parts. (Hmmm…everything? Okay, yank, yank, yank!) Check.

Step 4: Get husband—now! (Where is this water coming from? Oh, crap!)

I admit that my timing wasn’t the best. My husband was watching the last few minutes of the NCAA Tournament, when I trotted into the living room and announced that he had better come help me if he didn’t want the house to flood. He didn’t move. He just looked at me in wide-eyed disbelief. Then he went back to hooting and hollering at the TV and texting his buddies.

I tried again, using more colorful language. “Ummm, I have 4 large bath towels sopping up the water on the bathroom floor. I don’t know where the water is coming from and I can’t get it to stop. Maybe you should hit pause and come help me before the house floods!“

All I got in response was an angry look and a furrowed brow.

And then I said the absolute worst thing I could have possibly said and it hung in the air for what seemed to be an eternity, “This is more important than any stupid basketball game!”

Well, that got a reaction! And I think I may have actually seen a blood vessel burst in his forehead. The good news is that after a lot of expletives being thrown about the bathroom, the toilet finally got fixed. Turns out I just hadn’t turned the water off completely—nothing major. My husband is still speaking to me even though the repairs took several hours to complete and I giggled and smirked during “One Shining Moment”. (That’s just a really cheesy song. I couldn’t help myself.)

The whole incident also brought up some questions about gender roles in modern society. In my parent’s day, the husband was in charge of earning the sole income to provide for the family, doing home and car repairs, cutting the grass, and managing financial investments. The wife was in charge of decorating and running the household, taking care of the kids during the day, cooking the meals (except grilling on the BBQ pit) and planning the social calendar.

Today we have a lot of lifestyle options, which is fantastic, but can also be a bit confusing. The roles and responsibilities within a marriage/partnership aren’t as clearly defined as they were 50 years ago.  In my home, planning social engagements, vacations and doctor visits is my job because it’s easy for me to keep track of such things. I also do all of the grocery shopping and cooking because I don’t mind it and I have the time to do it. My husband is currently the only one working a full-time job, so that’s his big contribution. He also gets to lug heavy items into the attic for storage because he’s stronger, and I’m afraid of ladders.

We are fortunate enough to be able to hire people to cut the grass, fix the car and advise us on our financial investments.

But fixing toilets, clogged drains, and broken garbage disposals—well, that’s definitely a team effort. And nobody is getting to sit on the sofa and eat bonbons until it’s done!

“I Spy…”

“I spy…something red.” – Parent

“Is it the apple?” – Child

“No.” – Parent

“Is it the lady’s shirt?” – Child

“No, but you’re close.” – Parent

“Is it the Exit sign?” – Child

“Yes! You got it! Good for you!” – Parent

I think we’ve all played the “I Spy” game at one time or another. It’s a parental favorite, right up there with “The Quiet Game”, which much to my mom’s chagrin, I never won. I did however, excel at “I Spy”. I’ve always been very observant and I enjoy a good puzzle.

Lately, I’ve felt like the universe has been playing a game of “I Spy” with me. I keep finding clues everywhere, except I don’t have someone to tell me if I’m getting close to the right answer.

I’ve been trying my hand at writing lately—the blog, children’s stories and the occasional freelance job. My husband and I have been tossing around the idea of designing, marketing, and hopefully selling our own line of products and books—perhaps even starting our own publishing house! I‘ve been thinking a lot about this possibility lately.

The other day, while flipping through the TV channels, I happened upon the second half of the movie, “Wanderlust”. In this movie, starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd, a couple in their 40s loses their corporate jobs and finds themselves in search of employment and a new place to live. (Hmmm…strikingly similar to my situation sans the new place to live part.) Along the way, they meet a very interesting and comical cast of characters, find themselves in some absurd situations, and eventually end up OPENING A PUBLISHING HOUSE. (Whoa.) Also, the wife writes a children’s book, which they self-publish. (Is this a sign that I’m on the right career track?)

But the “coincidences” don’t stop there. They are popping up everywhere, and about everything I am thinking, considering or pondering at the moment. Thinking about my dog, Hooper, I see an ad with his name in big bold letters in the headline. Considering going back to school to become an Art Therapist—I randomly meet two different therapists that week. Up all night with an aching back and thinking about making a chiropractor appointment the next day and—POOF!—I run into an old friend that I haven’t seen in months, and he now works at a chiropractor’s office!

Now, I do believe in fate—sort of. I believe we have certain “check point destinations“ that we are supposed to reach in life, but how we get there is up to us. We are graced with certain talents to help guide us on our way and helpful people and “signs” appear as needed to steer us toward our destiny or confirm that we are “on the right track”. Case in point, I was driving and listening to Oprah radio and the topic was “following in the path of grace”. Just then, I realized that I was driving behind a giant white truck with the word GRACE written across the back. I was literally following in the path of GRACE! (GRACE is a non-profit relief agency which provides food, clothing, financial assistance, and other vital necessities to people who are struggling with a limited income or recent emergency.) 

I love the movies, “Serendipity” and “Jeff Who Lives at Home” which both deal with the topics of fate and synchronicity. In “Jeff Who Lives at Home”, Jeff, at 30, lives in his mom’s basement, unemployed, and looking for signs about what to do with his life. He answers a wrong-number call for “Kevin”. Later, on a bus, he sees someone wearing a jersey with “Kevin” on the back. He keeps searching for and following the signs that the universe is providing until his destiny or “special purpose” is ultimately revealed.

It all works itself out in the end, but he runs into quite a few problems when he greatly misinterprets some of the “signs”.

I would very much like to learn to reduce the amount of signs I misinterpret in my own life. I can definitely spot the signs, I just need the universe to say, “Yes! You got it! Good for you!”

(Photo Credit: www.redbeacon.com)

(Photo Credit: http://www.redbeacon.com)