Learning to laugh at yourself

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I hope you will all indulge me this week.  March 7th looms and I would like to keep as many happy memories as I can at the forefront of my brain.  Since my mom can no longer comment on what I post, her ethereal embarrassment shall be something that will hopefully make us all smile a little.  Some of my best memories are of the funniest times in my life – the memories that made me laugh until I cried and that same laughter that made my mom wet herself.  This is one of the memories I love.

We have always been a family with pets.  Dogs have been a strong presence in our lives and in the early 1980’s mom and I would walk the dogs down the back road that was close to our house.  On one of our walks, our Golden Retriever, Brandy, decided to take it upon himself to walk our Lhasa Apso, Misty.  He took her extra-long leash in his mouth and proudly sauntered down the road, not looking back.   Only mom and I could see the leash wrapped around Misty’s body and, when there was no slack left in the long leash, Brandy dragged Misty down the road backwards for about half a kilometer.  That moment wasn’t just funny, it was absolutely hysterical and mom and I laughed so hard she peed her pants.

velour

Now, in the 80’s velour was all the rage.  Mom sported many matching leisure suits.  They were comfortable, they were stylish, and they were surprisingly absorbent.  But the variation in color could not hide the fact that my mom had peed her pants.  After we collected ourselves, we made our way back to the house.  We had a crowd of friends over and, knowing that, Mom was in stealth mode, maneuvering out of anyone’s peripheral to sneak in the back door and head for the laundry room in our basement.

She quickly changed her outfit and headed back up to the living room, thinking she had averted humiliation.  What she had NOT counted on, was that her traitor of a daughter had already broadcast the episode to anyone who would listen and had even thrown in some play-by-play action in slow motion.  Not only was I laughing but everyone in the room joined in, even my mom.

That day I learned one of the greatest lessons she ever taught me, even if by accident – if you can’t laugh at yourself, you will miss a great deal of enjoyment in your life.

 

 

Even crime can be organized

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“Organizing isn’t about perfection.  It’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money, and improving your overall quality of life.” ~ Christina Scalise

I am a self-professed control freak when it comes to events in my life.  I love planning, I love having lists and I love being organized.  I’m an Aries, what can I say?

The questionnaire

(photo credit – chicklitplus.com)

Routine and planning make me comfortable.  I like to know what to expect and I appreciate having my day flow in a way that can only come from planning.  I go so far as to arrange my grocery list according to the layout of the aisles so my shopping is not a haphazard trip, circling the store multiple times to find items.  It is a coordinated dance through the maelstrom of people frantically running from aisle to aisle having given no forethought to the layout of the store.

While I admit I am not a big fan of surprises, I do appreciate a little spontaneity.  It is a welcome change from the comfort of my structure but I could never be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl.  I like setting aside time for certain tasks and find that I accomplish much more when I stick to a regimented timetable.

I have mellowed over the years and am not as systematic as I used to be.  I was once accused of planning a spontaneous event and, although I thought I covered it well, I was guilty as charged.  I’ve learned to let go of the reigns as I have matured (or aged….the maturity is still in question) and enjoy the moments of the unexpected.  But I will never give up my lists.

Are you a planner or do you prefer spontaneity?

Things are not always what they seem

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As the nights began to get colder and the days grew shorter, a non-conforming sparrow decided not to fly South for the winter. The winds shifted, the snow began to fly and the mercury dropped to frigid levels.  Realizing the decision not to go South was horribly wrong, the sparrow reluctantly began its journey to a warmer climate.

The elements exploded from the winter sky and battered the poor bird.  Soon ice began to form on its tiny wings and the sparrow could no longer remain in flight.  The wind and snow volleyed the bird in mid-air and the sparrow fell to the Earth, landing in a barnyard.  Its heartbeat was weak and the sparrow faced the inevitability of freezing to death in the vast expanse of farm land.

sparrow-in-the-snow

 

(image credit)

No sooner had the bird given in to its undeniable fate, when a cow wandered dangerously close to the dying bird, lifted its tail and crapped on the sparrow.  Stunned by the irony of being shit on while it slowly died, the bird began to feel warm.  The heat from the cow patty was melting the frost and the bird began to feel its heart pounding stronger and stronger with each beat.

With growing warmth and a sudden optimism, the bird began to sing.  It celebrated its narrow escape of impending death.  It basked in the glory of being to continue its journey South and it laughed in the face of fate itself.

The sparrow’s song grew so loud that the bird did not hear the approach of the feral barn cat.  Investigating the sounds, the cat circled the bird and pounced, clearing the cow patty and carrying the now deceased bird back to its lair for a late supper.

There are lessons to be learned from every story.  Everyone who shits on you is not necessarily your enemy.  Everyone who gets you out of shit is not necessarily your friend and if you are warm and happy in a pile of shit, keep your mouth shut.

~~

This was a joke I remember hearing when I was in high school.  I embellished a bit (no surprise there) but I think the lessons are still worthy of sharing.

 

 

 

Uncovering the wrong letter in the word team

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When you work with people for a significant amount of time, you not only become a real team but, you become friends.  You get to know the nuances of each team members character and you learn to blend your strengths with theirs.  They help to balance your weakness and you do the same for them.  It becomes an unspoken rule that you have each others’ back and treat each other with the utmost respect because you have developed a real bond at your job.

But, unfortunately, teams change.  Members of the group that you have come to know and admire often move on causing the dynamic in the team to become drastically altered.  People tend to cling to the familiar faces expecting them to be their closest allies but that is not always the case.   The feeling of working together suddenly changes and it now feels like you are working for the team and not with the team.

there-is-an-i-in-team

(image credit)

When the faces of the group are substantially different, there is usually a member of the original group that will try to use that reality to their advantage.  Any allegiance that existed has been replaced by their valiant effort to get ahead and shine brighter than the other employees.  They insinuate themselves into the role of the “a-hole” and become the only “i” in the word team.

I have met many of these “i” people.  Usually the ones who had assumed this new identity shocked and disappointed me.  We had worked well together but when the opportunity of advancement presented itself they didn’t think twice about using me as a wrung on the ladder of their ultimate success.

I’m happy I was able to move beyond those people.  I didn’t dwell on their negative traits but focused solely on my positive traits and moved forward.  I chose to enjoy the hours I spend at work with a new team that appreciated my contributions.  I chose to be a part of a group where I could thrive and where my efforts would not be a stepping stone for that one person who didn’t know how to properly define or spell the word team.

 

Hearing the most important voice

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I did something yesterday that I sincerely hope I remember to never do again – I bought a fully processed and synthetic lunch because I had failed to prepare my own.  What seemed like a good idea at the time came back to haunt me a few hours later when every part of my body screamed in disgust.

Recently I have been very smart about my food choices.  With only the occasional “treat”, I have been preparing all of my own meals so I know exactly what my body is ingesting and I have really enjoyed cooking again and experimenting in the kitchen.  The only processed items that have passed my lips are the ones that I have processed myself so I know what kind of food is in my food.  My body made it abundantly clear today that it will no longer put up with my bad choices and laziness when it comes to preparing my own meals.

It is simple to adhere to a proper diet when you take a few moments to prepare in advance.  I love when I have a full day in the kitchen and am able to think ahead about what I want to use to fuel my body for the coming week.  I make all of my own soups and freeze them so I am not overwhelmed by the hidden sodium and preservatives in canned soups.  I make ‘Salad-in-a-Jar’ for each day of the week and sometimes even prepare sectioned grapefruit or ‘Refrigerator Oatmeal’ for breakfasts.  It takes the guess-work and stress out of having to prepare meals each morning for the work day ahead and it can prevent those bad choices when you are hungry and pressed for time.

salad in a jar

Salad in a jar was an amazing discovery for me.  I bought a case of Mason Jars and made a week’s worth of salads for lunch.  Each day I opened a jar onto a plate, the lettuce was still crisp and it was a quick way to have a healthy lunch.  For those of you who may have heard of these but never tried them, I urge you to buy some jars and spend and hour on the weekend making your lunches for a week.  Knowing those go-to lunches are always there during your work week will alleviate the stress of wondering what you will eat at the office and you can add any ingredients you like to your salad.

I listened to my body today and got the message loud and clear.  I’m not 25 anymore.  I can’t just eat what is available and go about my day without ever giving it a second thought.

Your body’s voice is the most important voice you will ever hear and you should heed its advice.   It will be more honest with you than any of your friends or your family and only has its best interest at heart.

 

Of Mice and Men in the attic – fiction

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attic

After hearing the word mispronounced, with the emphasis on the wrong syllable, she had an idea of what to do with the wretched people who would not allow her solace.  Fanatic – indeed they were.  They camped out in her driveway, followed her everywhere but, one by one, they became smaller in numbers.  Her “fan-attic”, mind you, was becoming rather full.  She hoped the smell would dissipate.

~~

66 Word Micro-Fiction written for the Chimera Challenge at Grammar Ghoul Press.  This week’s challenge is to write a piece using the word ‘Fanatic’ – noun – a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal.  (image credit)

chimera-badge

 

 

 

 

I chose, but then I chose to choose again

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choices

Life is about making choices.  Every day we are presented with numerous situations in which we have to decide the outcome of the situation by using our instincts to make those choices.

I am certain I have made many choices that, given the chance to go back and do again, I would change at the drop of a hat.  But making those choices has made me who I am today, warts and all.   I learned a great deal about life and especially about myself by choosing the way I did.  And I learned even more about me by giving myself permission to make the choice to choose again.

I chose to get married.  It was a bad choice for me, given the circumstances, but it was a choice I needed to make to learn a very valuable lesson.  After that lesson had a chance to penetrate my brain, I made the choice to not be married anymore.  Some frowned on my choice without having understood how much that life was not meant for me.  It was a road I needed to venture down, but it was also the path that showed me who I could be if I chose to finally put myself first.  That was probably one of the first choices I ever made with only me in mind.  I didn’t gauge how many others would be affected by my choice.  I just chose to make myself happy without putting anyone else’s needs ahead of my own.

Just because you’ve chosen, doesn’t mean you can’t choose again.  While your first choice may have seemed to be the one that was best for you, perhaps making the choice to choose again will be the choice that will make you the happiest.  Life is not predictable and giving yourself permission to choose what is best for you should always be your first choice.