Tuesday, December 16, 2014

so what do you do?

A cousin of mine posted this link yesterday - "A Better Way to Introduce Your Friends" from Storyline. I really liked it. It got me thinking. I don't believe I've ever introduced anyone as "Sam the Banker" or anything, but in the drowning discomfort of small talk, the "So, what do you do?" question is one of the first on deck. And honestly, I don't even really care. Maybe some people do. But I usually don't hang out with those people. For me, it's just something to say. Conversational protocol. But I love the point made here, that even inadvertently reducing folks to their job title can be a little disheartening.

I feel really blessed because I have this group of BAMF friends (and friends-in-law) with myriad impressive careers, but honestly, I basically have no f*cking clue what they do. I don't know. Maybe this stems from the fact that I met most of them in college when we were degenerates and couldn't get our asses out of bed before 2pm on the weekends to make the pancake breakfast at the dining hall. I didn't meet them at a corporate mixer, I met them peeing in a thorny rosebush, or passed out in a bathtub. Or maybe I'm just a bad friend. But for whatever reason, we just don't talk about it. I have one friend who does some sort of fancy finance thingy. I think I've asked her to explain it at least five times but I still haven't the slightest idea what it is she actually does. However, I could wax poetic on her party planning skills and singular ability to create a satisfying meal solely from appetizers or things you can buy at 7/11. There's a genius yoga guru, a few lawyers, some nurses and doctors (one whose excels at pulling babies out of vaginas, one who travels to various disease- and poverty-stricken third world countries and saves lives, one who published an article about emergency-cock-ring-removal in a medical journal), some Hollywood types, a farmer, a candy flavor maker, a musician, a social worker, a therapist-in-training, a personal trainer, a teacher (who educates children somewhere between the ages of 2 and 18, on one of those school-type subjects), some bio engineers who help invent shit (maybe?).

All I know is we could open up our own commune and have all of our basic health and human services covered. Which is something I think halfway seriously about doing all the time.

What I really know is who to call when I need straight talk, a pep talk, therapy, fashion advice, costume ideas, a differential diagnosis, gossip, a running partner, a backrub, a pedicure, a lazy morning, a nap, a hike, an adventure, a last minute getaway, a surprise party, a delicious home-cooked meal, a take-out smorgasbord, late night drunchies, a place to crash, new music, someone who will get crazy with a hot glue gun, someone who can convince me to do a beer bong (no easy task), someone who's down for whatever, someone who can get shit done, someone who's happy doing absolutely nothing, someone who has known me as long as I've known myself, someone who will always, always, love me, no matter what, and always, always, love my kids (and my dog), no matter what. Isn't this all that really matters, anyway?

In case you're wondering, my special skills are family photographer and historian, and maker of oreo pops and mini cupcakes. I can also volunteer a well-stocked liquor cabinet and my husband's excellent bartending skills.

On a somewhat related note, another cousin (I have many) posted this random-ass video, and I have no idea what compelled me to watch it (Tyler Perry's Madea is not normally in my wheelhouse), but I'm glad I did (thanks F!) because it's so true! Think of the people you meet as parts of a tree - the leaves, the branches, and the roots. And thank you, THANK YOU, to my roots - you are greater, deeper and stronger than any girl deserves!

Madea - Let em' Go from Joshua Davis on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

run, forrest, run

as you may know, we got a puppy a while back. for the first couple of weeks, she woke me up at o-dark-hundred and accompanied me on sunrise jogs around the neighborhood. i ran something like 12 out of 14 days, which is unheard of for present-day me. and i sort of loved it. i lost 5 pounds for the first time in forever. i even got some new shoes and running pants without holes in them. i was dangerously close to becoming one of those crazy people who willingly run on weekends, or on vacation.

i can think of worse ways to start the day
then something weird happened. feta, the puppy, decided she did not like to run anymore. or even walk. she started out a little squirrely - we live on a really busy road and i would have to carry her across the street, but once i set her down on the other side, she got going just fine. not so anymore. she loves running around on nearby trails, but i don't have time to put her in the car and drive to her desired destination every morning. and the neighborhood strolls are a total no-go.

so, we got a treadmill. ostensibly for ourselves. we've wanted one for a while because we are lazy f*cks and can't make it to the gym, like, ever.

also, it is generally frowned upon to leave your two- and four-year-olds at home alone while you run out and about with the wind in your hair. but, i figured maybe feta could benefit from the treadmill as well. my dad's dog uses one, so i know it can be done. but she's not havin' any part of that.

thus came the end of my illustrious two-week running career.

if there are any cesar Milan-type folks out there that have some pearls of wisdom to get my scaredy-dog either running out-of-doors, or on the treadmill, please do share. but that's not actually the main point of this post. my main point is that i used to be a runner. i did cross country in high school, and i ran consistently throughout college and law school. not super far or anything, but a couple of miles almost every day. i won't say i ever really loved it, but i didn't hate it, and it was a nice way to get outside, burn some calories, decompress, sort my thoughts, etc. my brief flirtation with running last month reminded me that it can be addictive, and almost fun.

meanwhile, one of my best friends has been on a boot camp/health kick lately and i keep seeing her insane/inspiring posts on facebook. (she lives far away otherwise i would enlist her help in kicking my butt in person.) anyway, she has this "Map My Run" app that seemed cool so i was like, "I'm gonna get that! Maybe that'll help motivate me even though my running partner ditched me." Well, let me tell you, it was not motivational. It was DE-motivational. My super sporty friend is already up to 5+ miles and I imagine if I could ever bring my aging bag of bones to achieve such a goal, i'd be pretty damn proud of myself. but that's not what happened. I ran, and thought to myself, "wow, that must have been like 2 or 3 miles!" and then my map looked like this:

oh well. this same friend is the one who coined the "No Shoulds" philosophy of life, so i'm not going to beat myself up too much about it. plus, it's almost time for new year's resolutions, which means at least 12 more days of exercise are in the not-too-distant future ;) back to your pumpkin pies, folks!

if you eat candy ON the treadmill, the calories don't count, right?


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

humble pie

i know a lot of people make fun of christmas cards and the humble brag letters and awkward family photos, but i have a confession to make: i LOVE them. i mean. i might make fun of you and your dog's matching sweater sets a little bit in my mind, but it's only because i love you. and really i am the queen of geek when it comes to christmas cards so i have no room to judge. i love getting cards and i love preparing them too, from the family photo sesh -- well, okay, no. that part actually sucks. i can't think of anything else, except maybe child birth, that is as painful as family photos, yet ultimately brings me such immense joy. but i love getting the proofs, choosing the cards, thinking back on the highlights of our year, and getting matching wraparound return address labels. i f*cking live for stationery, people. seriously. when i die, please cremate me and turn my ashes into some coordinating handmade note cards and gift bags from The Paper Source.

anyway, i love seeing pictures of your family, your fabulous christmas trees, your chrismakkuh displays, your kids on santa's lap under duress, your clever elf-on-the-shelf machinations (to a point. don't get all crazy on me. and for the love of god, don't make your elf be a dick. that is a phenomenon i will never understand!) (i think everyone and their grandma has read this, but if you are the one person who hasn't, please do so now: people i want to punch in the throat's post on overachieving elf on the shelf mommies.)

but i realize some people see all this as a chore.

this year, we added some new couple friends to "The List" (of holiday card recipients). one of the moms texted me when she received her card and said, "how on earth do you have time to do all this? by December 1st?! it stresses me out just thinking about Christmas cards. ugh. i guess i better get on that, stat!" this reminded me of one year when my aunt was complaining to my mom about how the Christmas photo card tradition was such a production and it was basically ruining her life. my mom replied, "then don't do them." the thought had never occurred to her. she was so bogged down in the sludge of "should" that she didn't even see it as an optional obligation.

here's the deal though. nobody really cares. okay, i mean, i might cry one glistening tear, but i get it. the holidays are supposed to be a time of love and family and gratitude, not stress and rampant consumerism. i, mackenzie ninjago cheeseman, am granting you the freedom to let it go. separate the wheat from the chaff. determine what you're doing because you WANT to do it, versus what you're doing because you feel like you SHOULD. keep the former. ditch the latter. 

i don't know about you all, but i am SO TIRED. like, "regularly ask The Google and Web MD what sort of terminal illness i have"-tired. and something occurred to me the other day. i'm sure i'm not the first person to draw this analogy, but, you know how, when you leave a million apps open on your phone, it drains your battery quadruple-y fast? well, that's life as a mom. or a dad. and, okay. i know this is sexist and perhaps not even true, but i do feel this might be a terminal illness that plagues moms at a higher rate than dads. at least that is true of DM and me. he is much better at compartmentalizing, at letting things go, whether it's work stress or life stress or the dirty dishes in the sink. which might not get us on the cover of good housekeeping magazine, but at least it'll keep us out of the nut house. priorities.

so, this holiday season, don't forget to close all those apps you aren't using. save your battery for what really matters. like google maps. so you can always find a 7/11, for emergency late night slurpees and champagne.

i could seriously look at these allllll day.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

in the spirit of thanktidude

I meant to post this on Thanksgiving, but then, I didn't.

It was gonna be a TBT + Thanksgiving Double Whammy. It's a Facebook post from Thanksgiving 5 years ago... when I was a couple weeks away from embarking on a (belated) sun-drenched, rum-infused month-long honeymoon to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Unbeknownst to me, I was actually like 2 weeks pregnant at the time, and the honeymoon would be less rum-infused and more fainting, barfing, and spending time in a Nicaraguan ER. Can't win 'em all!

Anyway, pre-beastie-babies, this is what I was thankful for:

iced coffee from 7-11, and crunchy soda fountain ice at am/pm. < shit. where's an AM/PM?! get in my mouth, crunchy ice!

tj maxx, ross, and marshalls... and holiday sales at cost plus/world market and tarszhay. < who isn't thankful for this. 

my house. < and my job, so I can pay the mortgage on said house.

my best buddy, Ole Blue, in any of her many iterations... sleeping curled up in a black furry ball, or on her back in faux-rigor-mortis, snoring like a fat old man, snuggling, spazzing, displaying inappropriate behavior towards chew toys, or tending fastidiously to a bone with her legs splayed out behind her like a frog. < awwwww :( I love our new furry baby to bits but there will only ever be one Blue!

emoji :) < and exclamation points!

it's November and its 75 degrees outside. < this.

my husband is not a douchebag. in fact, just the opposite. he is the best friend, partner, and accomplice a girl could ask for. also best bartender and mixer of powdered beverages. makes my heart hurt. in a good way.

eggnog and Christmas music.

the best group of friends, EVER. < seriously. sixteen years later and still going strong. you know those friends with whom you have a collective consciousness? them. there are memories and sayings that I honestly don't even know if I was there for, but it feels like they are in my own mind. from verdrunken no-pants parties in college to family barbecues, quarterly baby showers, and grown up cocktails, I wouldn't trade them for the world.

my new laptop that takes less than 17 minutes to accomplish any given task.

my sister, brother, pops, and of course my nephew, mister bacon bit, who i'd choose even if they weren't already family... not to mention my in-laws who are pretty awesome too.

trader joe's and sprouts and farmers markets and other places you can buy affordable, non-carcinogenic food. < don't get me wrong. there's a time and a place for carcinogenic food, e.g., Friday nights.

the Encinitas public library. < the best.

birth control. < yeah. still a big fan. but opting for more reliable methods (i.e. ones that are a little more forgiving of human error).

the sheer magnitude of calories burned in hot yoga. < I don't care if i'll gain it all back before morning, I just lost three pounds, bitches!

blockbuster nights. < remember blockbuster??? sub Netflix. or better yet, sub my bed and a good book.

cheese. bread. cheeseandbread. manhattan giant pizza and pillsbury crescent rolls. alcoholic beverages derived from grapes. cholula, tobasco, chili garlic and sweet chili sauce. ranch. garlic salt. avocados. lima beans. berries. fresh-squeezed oj. real whipped cream. crepes. < and sriracha. whenever we meet new people, one of the first things my husband likes to say is that i'm a vegetarian who hates vegetables. they inevitably look at me strangely and ask, "so, what DO you eat?" first of all, this is an exaggeration. I like at least three vegetables. second of all, in what universe is a diet of bread, dairy and condiments not okay? do you hate America or something???

the (friends of) humane society de tijuana and the amazing work they do. even the spanglish name has grown on me.

people that give the courtesy wave... let you cut in line when you only have one item in your basket... and all other random acts of kindness. < seriously! the courtesy wave. some basic human decency is all i ask. 

a $12 pedicure, even if its a little scary. < fuck that. i'm too old for that shit.

flowers and funny love notes. < I remember those. sigh.

dinners out, not to mention the fact that we can afford them. sort of. < I remember those. sigh. I appreciate them TEN TIMES MORE now!

bev-mo's 5 cent wine sales. < I appreciate them TEN TIMES MORE now!

facebook's privacy settings. < Remember when Facebook had privacy settings and wasn't in collusion with the NSA and the thought police?

working from home. < when the children are at school.

long-ass and hilarious email threads with my besties. < makes working at work bearable.

the baskin robbin's employee who asked me if i had a preference, top or bottom (for my scoops of ice cream, of course!) < does baskin robbins even exist anymore?

street fairs. and etsy - the mega street fair of the internet super highway.

funfetti cupcakes and homemade cookie dough.

i am thankful in advance for the kindle that santa is bringing me for christmas! < funny! santa is bringing me a new one this year, my ghetto five year old model finally bit the dust.

plane tickets to and from central America - we're finally taking a honeymoon, woot! < DO-OVER!

mochi balls. except the green tea flavor that tastes like an ash tray.

thanksgiving in delaware that will consist of sitting, chatting, watching football, and eating. and eating. and eating. my kind o' party! < i do love the persian thanksgiving in DE but i was also very thankful for our quiet thanksgiving and no airplane travel this year!

the fact i no longer have to buy a whole cd with 13 songs i don't like. sorry eddie veder and other itunes haters.

clean public bathrooms. < More than ever now, as my little people are guaranteed to touch at least thirteen surfaces with their bare hands/asses.

a cold rainy morning. < slightly less appreciative of these now, as it means I'm stuck inside with three stir-crazy Tasmanian devils.

live music in small venues.

obama. and michelle. < sigh. i still love michelle. and i want to give Obama a hug.

push up bras and anti-muffin-top thongs. < preach!

the fact that i don't have to use books to shepardize cases (or conduct legal research in general). < can you imagine??? what did people do before the internet?

brunch! < sigh. brunch. that glorious, sleepy sunday pastime of the childless class. now it's more like, a greased pig race and an eating contest all rolled into one. not quite the same.

the retired sheriffs volunteer patrol. < serving new grandpas daily!

and I would probably add a couple of items for 2014:

my children. as much as I want to throw them in the river for fish food, they give my life joy and meaning, blah blah blah. seriously though. they give me all of that. also gray hairs.

parents who are not assholes. and kids who are not assholes. (I haven't actually found any yet, but a girl can dream.)

my friends (and family) who still love me even though I am an asshole parent.

bounty select-a-size paper towels, honest baby wipes, and economy packs of toilet paper.

back-up cameras. particularly in the preschool parking lot.

my real, big-girl camera that is almost fast enough to catch my children moving at normal child speeds a.k.a. faster than the speed of light (except when you are trying to get out of the house on time. then? slower than molasses). 

The Google and amazon prime.

and this. the motherfucking grilled cheese cronut. you can actually cross out the 53 items above and leave just this one:

photo: huff post taste