A Life Worth Deserving

I feel like there is an epidemic out there of people who seem to be thankful for a life in which “they do not deserve”. I have read statements like, “Thank you for all my blessings and a life that I do not deserve”. Excuse me? I have seen you work your ass off to provide for your family. I have seen you want to make each day special, to make a difference to those around you. I have seen you pay it forward in the drive through line at Starbucks. I have seen you make bento box lunches with cookie cutter shaped sandwiches. I have seen you plan surprise family vacations to Disney, host baby showers and scour Pinterest for birthday party ideas. So, to all those humble enough to believe that you don’t deserve the blessings in your life, I would like to let you know, you do.

You deserve your life.

We need to allow ourselves to take credit for the blessings in our lives! We all deserve love, happiness and forgiveness. You deserve the life you have worked for. We all make mistakes, we falter, we make impulsive decisions with disastrous consequences, but that doesn’t mean we are undeserving of happiness or love. Yes, there are times when good things happen to awful people, but this is not the rule. Take a deep breath, you are doing just fine.

Why are we so hard on ourselves? We are human- we make mistakes, we move on and we try to learn from them. Sometimes we are successful, sometimes we aren’t, but here is the key:

It is ok.

You are ok. We are all ok! On the bell curve, we all pretty much fall in the middle. We may sway a little to the left and then swing back to the right, but for the majority- we are trying. Allow yourself to sway and allow yourself to enjoy the happiness on the upswing. When did it become necessary to stop taking credit for the awesome joys in life? I don’t think we can truly enjoy the fruits of our labor if we don’t take responsibility for their existence! They didn’t just land in our laps- we worked our fucking asses off for them.

Maybe if we were all a little more supportive, a little more kind, a little more forgiving, especially to ourselves, we would allow ourselves the opportunity to grow even more.

You deserve your life.
xoxo

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be gentle

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Not Wild about Wild

I can be a fairly voracious reader, mostly of crap books. In efforts to broaden my reading horizons (ie; read something other than smut) I have been yearning to start a book club for a least a year or two. However, anyone who knows me understands that I am more of an “idea person”, and not so much a “follow through” kind of lady. This drives my husband INSANE, as he refuses to start a project with me unless he gets a signed promise of completion in advance. It really is that bad. I lose focus, I lose energy and I usually just want a nap.

BUT last month, I STARTED A BOOK CLUB! For real. We have a name (Boozy Bookworms), members, a book and even deadlines! You gotta love Facebook. There is a button that says “Start a Group”. It could literally not get any easier. Click to add some friends, find an appropriately irreverent yet classy picture, welcome everyone, and pick a group name. Voila! Book Club started. Now, for the arduous task of picking a likeable, yet thought provoking book that not everyone has read, but that has come highly recommended…

Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

WILD, by Cheryl Strayed.

These are the actual Facebook reviews for WILD from real-life friends:

“Wild was really good. A little different because it wasn’t fiction.”

“I read Wild and it was really good. Definitely a must read!”

I am sure there were a couple more reviews, but I can’t seem to find them. Anyways, the point: The response was overwhelmingly in favor for WILD. Hell, even Oprah recommend this book.

OK! Let’s get our read on!

Yikes. A few days in and a couple BB’s have already given up, citing Cheryl as “whiney and annoying”. A couple more ladies are still reading but not entirely enjoying our first selection. At this point I have yet to read it, but to my credit, it had been downloaded onto my Nook. Don’t worry; I am not bailing on my own group. I will read the damn book, it was sort of my suggestion.

2 days until book club, I am about a quarter of the way through and decide its go time:

Man, this book is seriously all about hiking. I don’t care about hiking. If I had a mental break down, heroin and hiking would not be my solution. I don’t think I can relate at all. Wait, she legally changed her last name to Strayed? I wonder what I would change my last name to. We had considered Awesome. (Have you met the Awesomes? I still think that would have been cool) She brought a dozen condoms with her on the trail…that’s a lot of (literally) dirty sex. Oh, shit, she got rid of the condoms; they were unnecessary and weighing down her backpack. I guess there will be no love story. More hiking. Damn, if my feet hurt that bad, I think I would quit. I don’t want to lose 6 toenails. Another night with no dinner? I guess dried tuna flakes would lose their appeal pretty quickly, but I am pretty confident that I could eat ramen for a while. I would have to carry Tabasco with me in my pack. That could be heavy, I would have to omit something else…maybe a couple books? But then she burned the parts she had read and made a little fire every night. I wish they had had Nooks in the early nineties; she would have saved some serious weight. But, then she would have had to carry solar chargers and such. Oh, well, then she could have tweeted about it or Instagramed the sunsets. I wonder if there is cell reception out there? I wonder if I could have hiked 1100 miles without a cell phone? Kind of makes hikers now sound like wimps with their GPS and fancy devices. Can anyone even follow a guidebook map anymore? I don’t think I could. That damn bear would have eaten me, only if I didn’t die of fright first when hundreds of black frogs attacked me while I was sleeping by the pond. That might have done me in. Fucking frogs. She sure hitchhikes a lot. When do we get to the part where someone kidnaps her? Or assaults her? I don’t wish her harm, but she is alone in the middle of nowhere…anything can happen. She doesn’t have a gun. I am not really pro-gun, but by myself in the wilderness? I think I would reconsider my stance on firearms. Is she going to sleep with Doug? A handsome young lad hiking along the PCT? Sounds like a love affair under the stars…she saved one condom. Is it for him? No? Never? Oh, ok. I really thought that was going to happen. More hiking. More hiking. Finally has sex with some dude that she just met at a bar…after he takes her back to his tent on an organic farm that he helps at in exchange for a free place to live. Makes sense. At least he doesn’t do heroin. More hiking. Reaches destination and sums up the rest of her life in 3 sentences. Seriously?? That’s it? I get 200 pages of hiking information, and just three sentences about what happens after her 4 month spirit quest in the middle of nowhere? Alright. The end.

A friend offered to host our first Boozy Bookworms discussion group and cocktail gathering. Damn, this woman out did herself. We had wine glass shaped cookies, a charcuterie spread, and even a gorgeous aqua-blue vodka cocktail, reminiscent of the Crater Lake in the book with the crystal clear blue water. Her husband had even set out little bottles of tequila and Jack just in case we were into shots that evening. Maybe next time! That’s an interesting idea; a book club drinking game…then it would need to become a book club and sleep over.

The verdict: None of us where overwhelmed with WILD. We found it interesting, but not earth shattering. It did open up a great dialogue about what we would do or where we would go to start over- no husbands, no kids, and very little money. I said Europe. A friend said Maine, and then reconsidered the fact that she doesn’t like seafood. One woman said England, and another said a cabin in the woods somewhere. All decent ideas…but no one said “Hike the Pacific Crest Trail”. No one. That was intense.

Until next month, happy reading!

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Parental Code Words for S-E-X

Parental code words for SEX

Little ears are everywhere! God help me when they can start spelling. My husband and I will have to stay up late with the Rosetta Stone learning another language. I should invent a parent code- a top secret language to talk about super sensitive information, you know, like crap talking about the whiney neighbor kids and where you hid the chocolate. Should you find yourself in the same close quarters, I have it on good authority that these are pretty universal phrases for when mommy and daddy want a little alone time…

  1. “Do you wanna lock the door?” We all know what that means. When I was growing up I would hear my parent’s door lock in the middle of the night and now I know too much.
  2. “Are you tired?” ie: How long do I have before you completely pass out.
  3. “Do you wanna, you know, do it tonight?” Subtle, yet effective.
  4. “The kids are asleep…” It’s the hopefulness at the end of the sentence that is so endearing.
  5. “Should I put the dog outside?” My dog is thankfully not a voyeur, but I hear some of you don’t prefer a drooling, four-legged audience.
  6. “Do you have a headache?”  Honey, do you have a headache? No? Good, then you don’t have an excuse.
  7. “Is it halftime yet?” That’s my favorite kind of halftime show. I wonder how many Fantasy points I can earn…
  8. “I am feeling disconnected.” Admittedly, I say this with or without the anticipation of sex. It’s my go to phrase for needing a date night, deep conversation, cuddle time watching our shows- or some physical reconnection.
  9. “How you doin’?” Hey, it worked for Joey.
  10. “Say hello to my little friend.”  Well, I don’t know if I would want to call it little.

If all the subtle innuendo fails…

Cue up The Humpy Dance by Digital Underground. Stop what you are doing and do the humpty hump.

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Birthdays Need Beer…or a margarita machine.

My littlest love nugget turns three in November and already my birthday-centric daughter is pressuring him into a theme, colors and decoration. If she were more computer savvy, I would set her up with a Pinterest account. No doubt that girl would have three boards: Birthday, Barbies and Hairbands and at least 1000 pins each. But, as his birthday looms in the not too distant future, it’s time to start planning his 3rd birthday Ben-nanza! In the past, we have had a margarita machine and while I feel most of the adults had a pretty awesome time, there were a couple judgey looks for having alcohol at a kids party. So, listen here squares…

CHILDREN’S BIRTHDAY PARTIES ARE BORING!!!

Terribly, painfully, excruciatingly boring. I don’t care how “fun” you think that you are making your party…they are boring for adults. No amount of cutsie name plates, themed trinket goodie bags, or artfully crafted cupcakes make it worth being surrounded by 14 kids hopped up on candy and cheeseballs. The kids don’t really care (until they are older) and honestly, no one loves to ooohhh and ahhhhh over plastic kids toys that light up and make noise and are supposed to enhance a child’s learning ability. There are unruly children running to and fro, sippies are being spilled, cake icing is staining the faces of little kids on a sugar-high, snacks are being ground into the carpet…it is mass chaos.

(Side note: My rule on gift giving-  Nothing that lights up, makes noise or requires batteries. I am a good friend.)

Maybe I don’t like children enough, maybe I enjoy a party with some cocktails a bit too much, but (as Oprah says) this I know for sure: If I am going to force my friends and family to come over and celebrate a 3 year old’s birthday, I had better make it worth their while. Good music, good food, good drinks. (You’re welcome)

I guess I equate it to a wedding. You ask people to come to a party and bring presents and in return, you host a super amazing party with dancing, food and (hopefully) an open bar. It’s like saying, “thank you for your participation in an event celebrating my milestone”! Its called give and take. Sharing is caring, y’all.

I just want to make sure that people have a good time. I don’t want them leaving, saying, “wow, what a waste of my precious weekend time”. This is where the margaritas come into play, everyone likes margaritas! The cold, frosty beverage conjures images of white sand beaches, chips and salsa, vacations, Cinco de Mayo, salt and lime…good times with great friends. This is the same feeling that I want our birthday party guests to leave with- good times!

Since moving over the summer, we don’t have as many friends to invite, so, I suppose I can tone down this year’s festivities…Maybe just a keg or two and a beer pong table. Kidding. Sort of. I do have a huge covered patio in the back that would be perfect for a ping pong table.

(Another Sidenote: I also feel this way about baby showers, bridal showers, beauty products, jewelry shows, personalized bags and Pampered Chef parties.)

bennybirthday

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Liebster Award Nomination!

Check it out, I have been nominated by Emily at Vivre, a beautiful lifestyle blog with fashion, food and travel, for a Liebster Award! How exciting! The Liebster is a cyber-award that was created to discover new bloggers and is awarded to those with less than 200 followers. Once awarded you have to nominate other newbie bloggers to receive the award and link back to the blogger who nominated you. (Kind of like a techie-blogger chain letter, but more fun and without the threat of death)

leibster

Emily has written 10 questions to her nominees and my answers are…

  1. why did you start your blog? I started blogging 5 years ago, while on bed rest in the hospital pregnant with my daughter. I needed an outlet and a way to communicate with family and friends. Thus, my mom blog was born. It didn’t really take off until about a year ago when I announced my husband and I were divorcing. I began to connect with so many people and have been fortunate to be a part of such a supportive community.
  2. what is your favorite quote? “Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity…” –Gilda Radnor
  3. what does your perfect day consist of? Sleeping in and being awoken to a hot cup of coffee in bed, a leisurely champagne brunch, a bit of shopping, happy hour with friends and a night out with my love. I am not sure where the kids figure in, but maybe they can bring my coffee in the morning.
  4.  what are your pet peeves? Slurping food, writing ALOT (its 2 words people!), canceling last minute.
  5. do you have any guilty pleasures? if so, what are they? Girls night out, Sonic ice, champagne, The Vampire Diaries, romance novels.
  6. who inspires you? Everyone. I love finding out more about people, it’s the sociologist in me. I like to find out what makes people tick and usually it is much more interesting than we initially thought.
  7. what is the best book you have read recently? I will embarrass myself if I tell you the last couple books were romance novels, but I love non-fiction books that make you think. Outliers by Malcom Gladwell is one of my all-time favorites.
  8. what is your favorite childhood memory? Christmas Day, I must have been 11 or 12, I waited until the very end to open a small, super heavy package. I love the optimism and excitement of a kid waiting for something so exciting, even if it was just batteries to my new boom box. Wah wah.
  9. what is your favorite restaurant in the city where you currently live? It’s a tie! El Tiempo is my favorite restaurant near me, but if I am willing to drive 20 miles out of the city, my favorite of all time, forever and ever is El Palenque.
  10. if you could travel anywhere in the world right now where would it be and why? Spain, complete with plenty of free flowing sangria and tapas.

So, newbie bloggers out there, let me know so we can return the Liebster love!

  1. What made you start a blog?
  2. What city have you been to that felt most like home?
  3. What is your favorite curse word?
  4. What mistake have you made that you would never go back and change?
  5. If you could not fail, what dream would you go for?
  6. If you had to jump off a burning building what famous person would you want at the bottom to catch you?
  7. What is your hidden talent?
  8. What is your ultimate goal with your blog?
  9. What advice would the current you offer the younger you?
  10. Who is your guilty pleasure band?

xoxo

 

Divorce: 365 Days Later

I downloaded the Timehop app a couple months ago. It logs into your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter account and lets you know what you posted on that day a year ago, two years ago, 7 years ago…it will show your pictures, status updates, links, anything you posted in the past. I will admit it is pretty cool. I love seeing old pics of the kids or rambling updates about my day- but lately it hasn’t been as fun. In fact, some days I dread the little push notification reminding me that Timehop Abe wants to share my past with me. I especially dreaded today.

One year ago today I posted my blog: Divorce.

Yikes. 365 days ago I was tired of smiling, tired of pretending and tired of answering questions. Instead, in an act of complete insanity with a small moment of bravery- I threw my business out into the universe. I had no idea what the reception would be. I assumed there would be some criticism. I mean, who announces they are getting a divorce on Facebook? Me.

The support was overwhelming and thankfully the haters kept their criticism to themselves. I got over 100 hits in the first couple hours and by the end of the day I had almost 200. Currently I have over 320 page views for my post, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but was about 300 more than I was used to getting. I kept writing. It became my therapy; I began writing at least once a day, sometimes two or three. I had to write, I had to get it out of my brain. I needed a constructive outlet rather than the destructive path I could have so easily explored.

One year ago today I wrote: Some fairytales don’t have a happy ending.

This is still true. Fairytales take a shit ton of work and a whole lot of forgiveness and communication. We are still working on communication. I feel like we don’t speak the same language sometimes. We don’t finish each other’s…sandwiches.  It is fantastically frustrating.

So here we are, just one year, 365 days later and I wish I had some grand profound message gleaned from the past 12 months, but I don’t. I have learned some smaller lessons about myself and how I thought the world worked. I am easier on myself and certainly less judgmental of others. I used to be so sure that life is easier than we made it, but I don’t know if that is true anymore.

 Life can be hard. Life can be messy and complicated. Life can be all fucked up and leave you in a heap after being thrown around and spit out. But, thankfully, you hope to gain some perspective and grow from your situations. I know that everyone is fighting their own battles that we may never know about. I know that we need to give each other a break- we are just doing the best we can.

I guess that is my new life motto: Be good to people and start with you.

xoxo