Friday, October 26, 2012

When Mary Poppins Lost Her Head

If you live in the US, chances are you've seen this Liberty Mutual 'Humans' television advertisement.  It's hilarious, yes.  But since the very first time I saw it, it has always made me feel uncomfortable and I think more than anything, it's because I've always felt that one of those scenarios could easily happen to anyone...including me.  

Well, it has happened and I might as well come clean to everyone.  It's not as ridiculous as the cases shown in the commercial, but I assure you, it's nonetheless careless to say the least. 

First of all, it's been three weeks since 'the incident' and I'll explain later why it took me this long to confess.  Right now, I'll get on with it and just say what 'human' thing I managed to cross out of my 'for-once-be-stupid-bucket list'....

I drove my car one morning with my umbrella sitting on top of the trunk.  Yes, it was folded, which is why I didn't notice it, and just so you know, it's one of those big, long umbrellas with the traditional looking J-shaped handle. Anyway, I was rushing one morning to drive my son to school since he had missed the bus.  It was crazy, we were rushing, I was making sure he had his things with him, that he was buckled safely, blah, blah, blah, that it totally slipped my mind that I had left that d*mn umbrella to dry on top of the trunk the previous afternoon.  What drives me crazy is the fact that the moment I placed it on top of the car, I even thought to myself, "God forbid I forget about this and just drive out".  I should've followed my hunch that that's exactly what would happen, but no.....I had to follow it up with a lie...."Nah...I'm too smart for that to happen!"

So naturally, I lost said beloved umbrella.  I should've known that thud I heard when I drove over a bump somewhere not too far from our house was something other than just the junk inside my car.  I drove my son to school, went to the grocery, and then drove back, but it was not until that same afternoon, seven hours later to be exact, when I fully realized what stupidity I had done.

I wish I could end this story here, but believe it or not there's more.  The day after I lost my umbrella, I found this message on the Facebook page of our subdivision.  Let's just call the concerned resident "Claire" :

Claire:  "I found an umbrella in the middle of (street 1) and (street 2) this morning. It is plaid and has the name Manuel on it. Let me know if u know who it belongs to:) "

Suffice it to say that I was horrified.  I stared at the message for a good 10 minutes and debated whether or not I should respond.  I didn't want to respond and own up to my stupidity by having to explain how the hell my umbrella landed in the middle of the road like that.  However I wondered just how many other 'Manuels' there are in the subdivision, and if I could really get away with ignoring and denying it.  The answers are ZERO and NO (and yes I'm sure because this is the South and 'diversity' is not really a buzz word down here....Let's just leave it at that...).  So I felt I had no other choice but to respond with as much dignity and poise as I could.

Me:  "That would be me, Claire. Thanks for picking it up, long story. Would you let me know how I can claim it? 

That same evening, I received a response from Claire saying that I should send her a private message via Facebook since she tried it and for some reason couldn't send me one.  So I sent her a message so she could respond back and give me her address or instructions as to how I could meet up with her to claim my umbrella.

It was October 4 when I first sent Claire a private message.  I did not get a response.

Then I thought maybe life got in the way or whatever, and that I certainly shouldn't expect anyone to be as active as I am online.  So on October 16th, I sent yet another private message PLUS a posting on the FB wall in case the private message still didn't go through.  It's now October 26 and I still haven't gotten any response whatsoever.

To add (further) insult to injury, I see that Claire's posting has now been viewed by 92 residents.  Can you imagine that?!  I've sufficiently entertained  and possibly piqued the curiosity and imagination of close to a hundred people. Trust me.  There are days when I just want to wear a placard around my neck stating, 'Yes I'm the idiot who lost her umbrella, and yes I love that it's plaid!  Now can I have it back please???'

If you're wondering what I plan on doing next, the answer is 'Nothing'.  I think I've done enough, said enough, admitted enough.  If Claire or any of the other residents happen to come across this blog post, then congratulations. Now you have the whole picture and should consider this a privilege.  I really don't know what happened to Claire and to my umbrella, and I'm doing my best not to have any ill thoughts about it.  If for some reason she changed her mind and opted to keep it, I really can't blame her.  It's a good thing to have and I know I have awesome taste.  If they don't see this blog post (and I honestly hope they don't) they will all just die wondering how that adorable umbrella magically appeared in the middle of the street.  Think all you want, I really don't care.  I know I'm still pretty awesome.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Links In A Chain

I was particularly moved by this story today and felt absolutely compelled to share it.  This is a story I read on Yahoo regarding a woman who safely gave birth to her premature baby, thanks to the help of a homeless man.

There's so much going on in the world today, things that make it so easy to feel lost and just focus on what burdens us.  Often times we find ourselves enveloped in hopelessness and an overwhelming sense that we are on our own and that the only way to survive in this world is to look after our own interests.  

However sometimes, we see rays of light, glimpses into what truly makes us sacredly human.  We bear witness to simple good-ness that, in its simplicity, manages to fill our hearts to the brim with a deep sense of hope...Hope that good still exists; that simple acts of kindness can truly put things in perspective and make us see with clarity that in the end, we are all profoundly connected. - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I Never Knew I Was Bruce Banner

"Conflict breeds creativity".  Thank Dr. Gregory House for that line (or actually the writer of the show).  If it hasn't been apparent to you yet, yes I was and still am a fan of the show.  As a matter of fact, if you must know, I like waking up to it.  No, I don't have my television turned on upon waking up.  I do, however, find it cool that I wake up feeling like a genius when I use my House ringtone as my morning alarm.  It's either that or I wake up as a super hero using my Batman/Dark Knight ringtone.  Either way, I wake up like I'm about to kick some ass.  Really.  Go check out the links and see how they make you feel.  (Yes I'm a dork...a very cool dork, admit it!)

I like getting fired up like that, feeling as if I'm an angry genius doctor, out to solve the most amazing puzzles of the day, or an angry millionaire-turned-ninja with deep-seated issues taking it out on crooks and fighting for justice.  The truth is, anger can be a good thing, an inner conflict that could stir interesting emotions which could then lead you to the desire to paint those emotions using colorful words, images, or whatever suits your fancy.  The key here is to make sure that you can control your anger instead of the other way around.  Let's face it.  Anger or any other emotion never just magically evaporates.  So while it's there, why not make friends with it while maintaining control.  And how do you know you are in control?  To me, the gauge is in seeing that you are making some sort of progress.  Think of it as realizing the difference between a rant and a reflection.  

A rant focuses on expression, a spewing of whatever is eating you up from the inside.  A reflection entails an effort to go back in, dig deeper, ask questions and search for answers.  A highly-creative rant can turn into a really interesting read.  However, if all you do is rant day in and day out, essay after essay, then face it.  It gets old and tiring.  You're just stuck, plain and simple.  If you've ever known someone who, every time you meet, speaks only of the same thing, the same hurt, the same nastiness ad nauseam, you know how off-putting it is.  Without introspection and doing the dirty work of rummaging through the muck in order to find pockets of wisdom, you're bound to just keep replaying the emotion like a tired and broken record.  The initial creativity sparked is bound to stagnate and will cease to be enticing.  

Oh what I wouldn't give to have endless creativity!...(I didn't just dare the Universe to send me an endless supply of drama with that pronouncement, did I ?)  The truth is, I can handle some conflict, bear a certain level of callousness with my heart.  Hey, it's all part of life and I can certainly use some feistiness to push me on the treadmill and then have my fingers type away and hit 'publish' on here.  After all, anger, disagreements, pain and heartbreak always offer great material for any creative output.  Not only that, conflict and competition are also proven effective driving forces behind the desire to do better and prove one's capabilities (Did you see how exciting the Presidential Debate was last night?). But when the inner turmoil gets to toxic levels and just makes me want to bash the other person on the head, I find that only one thing works for me, at least temporarily, or until I don't feel the urge to strike back anymore.  I walk away, either figuratively or literally.  I ignore and put it aside.  I try to forget about it and distract myself with things that could either calm me down or make me happy (e.g. an entertaining show, enjoying great food, being with positive people, etc).  You might have other ways of coping but for me, this is what works.  This is what keeps me from biting someone's head off...literally at times.

Other than creative pursuits, how do you deal with conflict, whether internal or inter-personal?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

When Coupons Ruin Your Day

I feel like an entire virus colony decided to invade my body.  Again.  Since last night I'd been feeling as if my head would explode due to congestion among other things and frankly, the only thing that makes me think this is not the flu is because I don't have a temperature.  And don't worry, I've had my flu vaccine for this year.

No amount of phlegm or mucus, however, can keep me away from going online.  And so I did, as soon as I woke up.  I checked my email and what did I find and more importantly, what did it make me say??

"What...the.......*bleep* !!!"

I know Groupon knows I live close to Nashville.  But I wish there was a way of letting them know that just because I live in a red state doesn't mean I adore guns (or that I'm a Republican for that matter).  It's bad enough that when I drive out, I see numerous billboards advertising gun shows like it's the coolest and most worthwhile thing on earth, making me scream out like an insane person, "Oh right!  Like we still don't have enough crazy people in this country open-firing like it's just a hiccup!"  Why should I have to get 'assaulted' this way via email?  (Yes I know it isn't personal.  But I'm sick and cranky and I have a very low threshold for stupidity during these times).

So to Groupon, no thanks.  I am not a fan of guns and if you must know, I'm a Democrat who firmly believes in stricter gun control mechanisms.  How about you send me coupons for free lifetime housekeeping services next time?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Kardashianification

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Recently, one of my guilty pleasures has been to watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians (KUWTK).  I'm definitely not proud of this and I guarantee you that when my husband reads this and asks me about this, I would still deny it and claim that someone else wrote this blog post.

So why do I watch it?  Well, it satisfies my voyeuristic tendencies, as is probably the case with any of you who watch any reality show on television.  It's mindless, which is probably occasionally healthy for an over-thinker like myself.  And it also nurtures my sense of gratitude.

Say what???

Alright hear me out.  During one of my KUWTK sessions, I asked myself what it would be like if I starred in my own reality show.  Obviously, there are key elements to ensure success and I think these include the following:  (1) ample eye candy, which just means you need to have things that are nice to look at...nice looking people, nice house, nice car, nice fashion sense, etc; (2) ample drama (sufficient intrigue, some tears here and there, a lot of screaming and cussing); (3) an active social life (business deals, work projects, parties, travel, hanging out with friends in general); and last but certainly not the least because I think THIS is key---(4) some catchy techno / club music to introduce each and every scene as if you're a rap mogul about to kick some ass.

Now if I had my own show, what would it really be like?  

Scene 1: (techno music in the background)  Joy gets out of bed, does her morning routine and ends up in the kitchen to make breakfast...Sorry but there's no sexy, silky, flowing robe in this scene as she walks down the stairs....just plain pajama pants and a t-shirt.

Scene 2:  Brace yourselves for the first hint of 'drama'....Joy tries to wake her son up and screams as dramatically as possible, "You're going to be late for school if you don't get your sorry a** out of bed right this moment, young man!"  (Okay, I'm exaggerating, but I'm trying to sell this show!)

Scene 3:  More drama....Mother and son run to the bus stop.  Joy, with her 'cutesy' voice trying to imitate the Kardashian sisters, says 'I love you' to Noah as she kisses him goodbye.  She sticks around for a few minutes at the bus stop for some chit-chat with the neighborhood Moms.  (more techno, suspense music in the background just before our commercial break....cliffhanger successs!)

Scene 4:  (techno music of course)  Joy walks into a Kroger store with her fab outfit and perfectly made-up face.  She struts down the aisles, fills up her cart, lines up and then....Bam!...(dramatic music)...She cusses, "WTF! I forgot my f*ck*ng coupons!!"  (yet another exaggeration of course)

Scene 5:  Joy is home on the computer.

Scene 6:  Joy is in the laundry room.

Scene 7:  Joy is vacuuming all over the house.

Scene 8:  Joy is on the computer.  Again.

Alright you get my drift.  

I can argue that most of my days are really not this boring and that you should know about all the drama in my life.  But the truth is, my life is really not going to sell and no amount of techno music can make it appear colorful in a 'Hollywood' sense.  There's really not much screaming, crying, angry phone calls, late nights, cursing, racy outfits and definitely not enough cleavage to make my life exciting to watch.

And I'm grateful for that.  I'm grateful for this normality that I can endure.  I'm grateful for this quiet and simple life.  Doesn't this make you feel happy that your life is not worthy of being a top-rating reality show?  And if, for some reason, you think your life is reaching reality t.v. status because of all the drama you're experiencing, let me try to offer some consolation...You're not the one dating first-class jack*ss, Kanye West.  I rest my case.

*** Photo credit:  By Takkk (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons