Saturday, January 31, 2015

Snow-pacalypse & a Saturday off

Years ago I heard in a marketing class that Hostess products are the #1 selling item during inclement weather. Game ON Hostess! 
If you were in the continental United Stated this week, you were witness to one of the most over- exaggerated weather forecasts in the past 2 years. Anything East of Cleveland was ordered to bat up their hatches and head inside. All over the east coast stores sold out of bottled water, bread, and butter. Because apparently,, everyone makes cold sandwiches when it snows. I make soup. And tea, and hot chocolate. Call me Crazy! But if forecasting snowstorms that never successfully settle is a paid position?? I may consider a career change. Totally kidding. #cameraadds10lbs.
 
So the storm came and went, and everyone woke up wondering, "where is it?". One of the absolute funniest headlines I have ever read Actually played out this week. "New Jersey men promise 8-12 inches, and deliver 3-4!!! I never said This was a kids blog!
 
One of my favorite all time snow memories happened just a few years ago. I lived out west and snow after August was a regular thing. One night, after bar close, we were all walking home as the flakes were falling. They were bigger than I'd ever seen and thick and heavy. It was so unbelievable quiet and beautiful, I left my room mates at the door and continued down the street. The flakes were as big as my hands, and I knew in that moment, I'd never see snow like that again. Still haven't.
 
So this Saturday, the boys in their sharkskin suits are calling for snow again. Somewhere between 8-12 inches are expected to fall, and people around here are hitting those hatches. There isn't a shovel or a scraper in sight to sell. Suddenly everyone that's perfectly content leaving their Subaru outside, is steering them inside their garage. We made a visit to our local grocer to pick up just a few "essentials". No butter or bread, just some ice cream and coffee creamer. And yes, the aisles were filled with aggressive adults, stocking up on everything for the big snowfall.
 
So tomorrow morning, this gal is hoping for the "big one". Bring on the 8-12 inches! I will happily shovel the walkway around our house, and steer that big 4 wheel drive gas guzzler around. I moved away from a place with even more snow, and I choose to live here. The last thing I'm going to do is complain about a climate I choose to live in.
Just as long as I don't wake up wondering, "Where is it?"

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Creative Process

It's a shameful topic for me.
One that I quite possibly could annunciate better fueled by alcohol. But seeing that it's 10am and I just had French toast, I feel like whiskey could make my morning even more un-productive. You see today is my day "Off" and in my head, it's time to make the magic happen. And also in My head, if I don't make something magical happen, the day is at a loss. P will come home and simply ask, "What did you do today?"- a seemingly innocent question. And my reaction to that is, If I haven't built a stadium, sold the tickets, and have a soup on hand already made for dinner, What good am I. I literally cannot believe I just typed that for you all to read.
 
There are weeks that this gal is literally on fire. Not enough hours in the day, paper to scribble ideas onto, or paint to re- finish what ever piece I've dragged home. I will go into the wee hours of the night with the sewing machine buzzing. You see, P may see just a bunch of junk clogging up his garage and taking up his parking space. But I see coffee cabinets, and bar carts, and headboards. I see old doors becoming trellis' on either sides of the walkway to our front door. I see furniture that will be going into our next house. And yes,, I too see it all sitting there. And sometimes, the pressure of making it all marvelous is too much, and this gal spends the day doing nothing instead. I am not an easy person to live with. I get that.
 
And What gets in the way?
The self doubt. The why am I doing this, this is never going to work, what was I thinking? The not finding just the right paint or fabric. And then once you think you do have the right thing, the 1st brush stroke, or the first cut of fabric makes the doubt creep in again. Maybe even the fact that most of what I haul home is heavy, and I muscle to move it myself. This is usually when I text my best friend a photo of what I'm working on to get some perspective and see if I'm Really bat shit crazy and should stop what I'm doing. Remember Vincent Van Gogh cut his ear off? I wanna believe it may have been due in part of not wanting to hear the heinous things in his own head.
 
Daily life gets in the way too. Even as I type this, I had to force myself to clean the kitchen, make the bed and tidy things before I could "reward" myself by perching over to type this. There's laundry to fold, a workout to wrench out, and all I want to do is go get the green chairs that I gasped over yesterday at Goodwill. Last night I attempted to get P's approval of the apple green wing chairs. And again the glorious garage came up. Not the fact that these chairs were an Exact match, and are going to look like a million bucks after I upholster them and put a massive monogram on them. "Keep them outta my garage" was all I heard, and suddenly their greatness was gone away.
 
P's Dad is an accomplished painter. We luckily have more than a few pieces that take up permanent residence in our rooms. He could easily hawk his landscapes in several places. But he doesn't. He chooses not to, and I totally get it. Many people will ask why he doesn't paint more regularly, and I totally get it. I see his supplies and his dry brushes and I totally get it. The creative monster has many personalities, and the inspiring and feeding of said monster has to happen methodically.
 
See, plenty of people are happy buying stuff from well- lit stores, from heavily commissioned salespeople. The people that want you to believe your buying a quality piece by turning it over. Only to leave out that said piece has bricks attached to said frame to make the piece "seem" more sturdy and reliable. Yes. This actually happens. All the time. The micro suede covering said pieces, will only attract millions of micro-organisms, in 2.0 days in your home. Beechhh. I don't want pieces that propagate on someone else's property. I want the story, and the sweat equity, and the stamp of approval that I saw it for what it was , and what it could be.
 
So take heed.
The next time you react negatively to someone's next project, remember that your not only negating the need for Another piece of furniture. But your also Dashing someone's discipline to keep the creative monster calm.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Green Heart Sweater & the Green Eyed Monster

I have never Really liked the color Green.
It's actually next to brown on the list of colors this gal doesn't actually wear much. I don't think it has much to do with middle school, but I vaguely remember some kids making questioning judgments about someone sexual preference, due in fact to them wearing Green. God, I hate people. 
 
When your a kid, I believe your green- eyed monster comes out frequently, for some maybe even daily. I'm speaking of the green- eyed monster of Jealousy. Becca's got the new Barbi, or Tammy gets to take tennis lessons, then it morphs into Sarah's gets to wear the 1st bra..I know,, Right? I remember a time thinking, everyone else Has Something I want. And being in a household of 3 girls, and 6 years between my closest sibling and I, meant the hand- me downs, were down and OUT by the time they reached my closet. The aftermath of which can be seen daily on this little blog with the Plethora of clothes I own now,,,kidding,, Well not Really,, moving along now..
 
So this topic rears it's head due in part to an assumption someone made of me a few weeks ago. I was sitting in a large gathering watching a "very important football game". A commercial comes on with a particular spokes model hawking the show, series? game? Who knows,,Well, I must have made some audible comments, or had an unsuspecting eye- roll, because someone across the room instigated that I was jealous of said spokes model. Yes, P has an infatuation with Kate Upton. Me: Am I jealous? Nope. And the more I tried to explain why I wasn't, the accuser wasn't listening. You see, Kate to Me, looks like a D- grade Dorito eating, couch surfing, somewhat overweight sloth. Yes, I'm Clearly made aware my body image goals are Much different than yours and Sports Illustrated made her a cover model for 2 Years!!! Hello, This is a Man's magazine. And unless your under a rock, men would take such rock if it had boobs and hair. And speaking of Rocks, I cannot even imagine carrying around those jugs. It hurts my back just thinking about it. I'll take my little pebbles Any day! 
 
 I can't remember exactly when I started to get some perspective and realize, there was more to the story. The bra and the Barbi's came at a price, and that wasn't a check I was willing to cash. Sarah got to wear the 1st bra because she was overweight and over developed for a 4th grade girl. You see, for my own Green Eyed Monster to come out now, means, That person, or That situation has got to be extremely tidy. It has to be the entire package. It can't Just be One thing that I want.
For example: Someone has an amazing house they've just spent millions on, however, Mr. & Mrs. sleep in separate beds? Nope, I'll take my 100 year old farmhouse with the defunct kitchen cabinets.
Say someone you know is in amazing shape and always looks great but has the conversation skills of a sock? Nope, I'll go barefoot in my flip- flops.
Or how bout the ever present perfect family with 1 boy and one girl. It looks good from the outside, but say said husband travels every week and spends the kids college fund at strip clubs? Yeah,, I'll keep my 2 doggie household for now.
 
I don't want your life and you shouldn't want mine.
This is My life with Coffee, even if that means I have to re- heat 3-4 times in the middle of it.
If I want something that someone else has, don't assume I'm jealous, just know I'll likely have it, if I  want it. And if I, or you don't get it? That's okay too.
We're only meant to have what we work our hardest for.
Hope is just a 4 letter word that comforts us when the timing isn't clear.
And speaking of time, maybe it's taken me This long to realize, My eyes are Hazel, not Green anyway.
 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Skating on Thin Ice

If you would have told me 15 years ago, maybe even 20, the conversations I'd have, I wouldn't have believed you. If you would have told me that I would be mostly the one to facilitate those conversations, I'd done call you crazy. 
The worst one? A god awful talk about personal hygiene, with someone that was the supervisor to 16 others. The easiest? The one where I said, 'I'm leaving, and you're Not coming with me"
You see, I grew up extremely shy. Every report card, my teachers would comment that "Dianah needs to speak up within the group, Dianah needs to assert herself as an individual"...You just read that,, right?! And now there's this little Bloggity.
 
I had to have a conversation this week, that I had been somewhat dreading. It got me to thinking, about the hardest conversations I've had. What did I to prepare for them, and how did we both move on afterwards. Even though it can make someone particularly nervous, I have found that it can be best to ask someone 1st for their time. So they know, that I not only value their time, but that I value my time and want them to be able to listen, un-interrupted. Gosh, that sounded mature,, Who am I??
 
In preparation for these conversations, I have found that there's usually 1 of 3 ways people prepare.
 
1. The Rug Sweeper: P jokes that my Mom's coffee table is at a 45 degree angle because of everything under her rug. She prefers to push everything un-savory out of her way until it's absolutely necessary to handle something. By moving something out of sight, out of mind, there's the hope that it will disappear. What she doesn't realize is all the un-peasantries, are Seemingly worse, than they actually Are, if you just deal with them initially. I have been guilty of this.
 
2.The Fester-er: This person will be smiling on the outside and boiling on the inside. Most often they continue to put up with behavior, or results that are lack luster, due in part to wanting to smooth things over. Eventually the Fester-er soup will boil over and lead to #3. I have been guilty of being the Fester-er.
3. The Direct Hit: The Direct Hit is just That. Perhaps as a product of #1, and #2, the Direct Hit takes matters into her own hands and just goes for it. The Direct Hit sometimes goes into the situation with the best of intentions, get it over with quickly, for both parties. But what the Direct Hit lacks, is the real consideration for others, and the ability to read someones emotional response to the situation. Because there always is an emotional response, weather or not you see it. I have delivered more than a few of the Direct Hits.
 
And where did it get me? Skating on thin ice.
Perhaps it's a product of progressively getting older, but I've found that the hardest conversations I've had to have, happened under the most calm circumstances. 
Because I asked for the time, let that person know the topic was important for both of us to discuss and didn't come off with any direct hits, I kept the ice antics to the Olympians.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Traveling Pants

The Sister Hood of the Traveling Pants. Never read it, never saw it.
But in the world of travel, there's no Sisterhood, and I don't think any Brotherhood either. Before we continue, let me be more specific, I'm talking travel for work versus leisure(but that's not That great either- nother' blog post)
 
For the better half of 12 years I traveled for work(I think we covered this before?)
It started out with a position that required 10-25% travel- there is No such thing.
That 25% will flip to 52% before you can unload your carry-on. Because if you're willing to go to Dubuque, then can you go to Cedar Rapids? Then you may as well go to Davenport, then move to Moline, and before you know it your in Des Moines, and you've got an 8 hour drive home on a Friday afternoon. Well then its Sunday and those Sons of B*tches want you to do it all over again and head out on "your weekend". There's nothing that makes you feel more like your doing hard time, than leaving on a Sunday. Add a sunny Sunday afternoon in summer to that? Super sucky.  Was it right for that time in my life? Sure. Would I do it again? Hells No. Add another dollar or digit on that pay scale, and this girl will remain stoic. If you've ever packed a suitcase in succession, week after week, you'd know: Traveling Sucks.
 
People have this version of travel in their head that's very unreal.
Allow me to present: A day in the Life of the Traveling Pants
 
3:30am wake up, dress for work and drive to the airport.
Park car, shuttle bus to terminal and wait to take off. Delay. People watch. Wait. Fly. Land. Rent car. load bags. Consult map and drive to destination. Arrive at destination. Your starving, but your "just getting to work" so you press on. Did I mention, you already have an 8 hour day In?
7:00pm Leave work and head to hotel. Stop for the least offensive food available. Check into hotel. These clothes have been on my body 19 hours now.  Work out. Channel surf at least till midnight. Try to Sleep. No one sleeps in a hotel. We're all zombies breathing in the dry air. And we all look like we're about to crack at the coffee bar in the morning.
 
Apparently I missed the private jet, the catered lunch and the tarmac pick up.
Most of my meals were picked up from places with names like Kwik Trip, and Kum N' Go(who was That marketing genius??) sarc. I became quite the queen of eating the best of the worst from these places, and steered clear of anything on a rotisserie rack.
Then there were the hotels. I had a routine and a few more refined ones that I would regularly stay at. Second floor only, and never a King size bed. And speaking of beds, every night, I would say a silent prayer, and hoped they switched the sheets where I was going to inhabit the next 4 nights at The Hampton Inn.
 
P has also traveled for work.
He has been gone days, and been gone weeks.
He has spent the summer doing sweaty drives, only to pass out at home by 7'o-clock.
We've both turned down work, that involved being gone every night.
Because at the end of the day, it's just money. And when I made more money? I spent more money.
Stupid money. Funny how that happens.
So at the end of the day, if your not home to spend your money with your honey, send someone else to Travel in those Pants.
 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Follow your Heart, and Forget the Others

If your like me, you've dated the wrong One.
Err..let's use the word "dated" a bit loosely.
Can we instead insert the words, "been enticed by?' 
For the record, I cannot stand the word Insert. Obvi.
 I recently had a conversation with a guy friend that had ended a "relationship" with the "wrong one".
 He was in Deep. In deep with a woman that was in deep with someone else. As in Marriage Deep. He was seeking advice. Advice as to weather or not I had ever been in that situation. Well, not that situation exactly. But so into someone, that he pondered if he could ever forget.
I get it, I really get it. To Really connect with someone and to have a spark of not only interest but infatuation? It has come rarely and seldom, at least for me.
 
Yes, I'd been there. Twice in fact. Maybe even a third. And both times it ended?
I called the shot. Once by choice and force, then once by function. The function of, it was so dysfunctional, in the lifetime of the relationship, that I couldn't see it functioning favorably.
The first one took a few years to forget. It was someone that I never wanted to end up with, and someone I never should have been with. But unfortunately, sometimes the sun, the time of day, or the anticipation of the phone buzzing would set me back for days. I got a new phone and haven't seen him since. I'm thankful for it now, and am embarrassed it even happened.
  
The second one?
Well, I can say that maybe my memory isn't completely wiped, but I know it will too pass.
I assured my friend that everything happens for a reason and threw in some more cliché phrases in attempt to make him feel better. He's young an it still stings, but I told him, I swore he would look back, after he Followed his Heart and be a part of something better. 
If you follow me on Pinterest, hint* hint*, you'll know that I have an overfilling board entitled, "I Hate Quotes", because I really do. But this one has gotten me through several sleepness nights: 
 
"If you love two people at the same time, choose the 2nd one. Because if you Really loved the first one, you wouldn't have fallen for the second."

Friday, January 9, 2015

"C'mon Over "

"C'mon Over"
"Come on in. Pull up a seat- take a load off your feet" 
Ohh Shania Twain, if only it were That easy.
 
Well now that were done with the holiday folks we can get back to talking about the things That really go on. And these Things go on more during the holidays than any other time. We get a few quiet weeks after New Years Eve, then piggy backing on the big day is playoff seasons for multiple sporting events.
 
I'm talking about invites into people's homes. Or more specifically, The Off-putting Invite. The second thought, just maybe mention, not an actual invite offer, but I'll mention it so the person doesn't feel totally left out. 
 
You have these people in your life. please tell me you have these people.
The people that Always have to have the party. Or the big event. Or just a bunch of people over. The build up is massive. The kind of event that you Really don't Want to go to, but you may feel like you'll be missing out if you choose to stay in your little nest and not venture out for an evening. And it's Always , Always at their house, Because these people could not possibly go out themselves and grace the rest of the population with their presence. These people cannot be expected to travel to anyone else's house. Ever.
 
So you decide to go, and did I mention, it really isn't worth flying the coop?
When you get there, no one usually answers the door because the television is at such an audible level, you could hear it perhaps at your own home? And when you do walk in, no one Really seems to notice, at least not enough to peel themselves away from that ridiculous raucous on the screen. Apparently, your invite was absently- mindedly forgotten. There are a few bowls of dip laying around, and maybe a saucer with sweaty cheese nearby. The fridge, that you awkwardly attempt to go into may have a Corona or 3 in it, and one may or may not have been partially opened the night before(true story) Don't even expect these people to maintain their mixers either. Party rule #1: You need to offer diet and Non- diet soda to people, And, Have your bar Set- Up. Or be prepared to play Host. 
 
There are 2 men in Me and P's life that Put On the Dog.
That means, these two Know how to host a hoe down! They can shake the sh*t outta anyone else's shindig, and you'd be honored to go to one of their fabulous festivities. They may only happen once a year, but it's these glorious gatherings I look forward to most. They will mostly often oppose you bring anything, because they have Everything you can think of and more! It's one of my favorite  exchanges to see in action. One will play host and the other bartender. And the food... Ohh my , I don't even Really like food, and everything is divine! We spent a warm wonderful Christmas Eve, in their exceptional home. It was one of the best parts of my party season and I'm secretly hoping this becomes happenstance.
 
I have worn this hostess hat before. For just about 10 years I lived about an hour out- of-town.
It wasn't on the way to anywhere, and wasn't convenient for a casual car-ride. But that's exactly how we planned it. Every time I would invite a friend over they'd quickly decline, determining the drive would be far too long. The apology was immediately followed up by an invite back down to their town. That's when I liked to point out that the drive for me to them, was exactly the same as the drive from them to me. Strange. Eh??
So we planned some annual get- togethers far enough in advance, that people could save some money for gas, or the gumption to get out of town. Spring saw the Easter egg Hunt. In fall we held the Halloween barn party that always lasted into the wee hours, and had many making beds overnight. Then in December, we drove out to the nearest tree farm and cut everyones Christmas Tree. These little gatherings put me back some green. Everyone always got a take home gift, Throats were never Thirsty, and there was fabulous food everywhere. But that's just how we do it round' here.
 
So if you're considering catching up with some friends and have a festivus in your own home, do some planning. Discuss with your divas, who's bringing the dip. Take inventory of your invites, and maybe actually answer the door when they pay homage and come into your home. And finally, clean out that fridge, keep your Corona's un- cracked, and pour some more creative Cocktails.
Cheers!