Friday, March 31, 2017

Challenge Accepted

I never step away from a challenge.



I totally step away from a challenge, especially if the choice is easily made. It’s most apparent by my lack of competitive spirit, and why I never played sports. Every gym class scenario when I was growing up:

Me: Oh, you want the ball? Here. Have it. No really, have it. It’s just a ball. Hey, fighting over this is boring. Let’s sit down and relax. Do you believe in aliens? I mean, I don’t want to because they sort of scare me, but I also don’t want to be the one who gets abducted and isn’t prepared. On the other hand, what’re you gonna do if it happens? You know? Obviously I’m talking about probing. Do you think there’s cake in space?

Gym teachers hated me.

Many times I make life changes in order to cut down on the amount of work I have to do, actively deciding to do things based on how little work is in it for me. My husband would call this efficiency. I refer to it as laziness.

It’s a wonder that I had children. Or got married. Or went to school. Or have a house. Or a car. Or friends. Or siblings and parents. For some of my life experiences, I got lucky. For others, I was fully aware and made the best choice at the time. For a few, I was duped. For a couple more, the challenge was to adapt or die.

Here’s the thing: life is full of challenges no matter if you step around a few here or there or right into the middle of every single one of them. They are pervasive and there is no escape. No matter how carefully you have organized life to be as comfortable as possible, you can be sure that a new challenge is coming soon. It may come at you from afar in the form of aliens, or it may originate from within in the form of a fatty tumor.

I don’t really have a point with this. I guess all I'm saying is that while we may not always welcome challenges, they are there anyway, so man up and get in front to handle them like it’s your business, because you know what? It totally is. Good luck with your challenges. I’ll be here, eating cake and reading up on aliens.

And how much probing I should really expect.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Did She Really Say That?

Public speaking just isn’t my thing.

Now, I know what you’re going to say – there’s a support group for that. Or – practice makes perfect, you just have to do it more in order to get better! Or – me either, I’m introverted, dadgummit! I hear your eyes rolling.

Sidebar: introversion as a special problem is over. The entire internet is for introverts. It’s not so special. Let’s find something else to discuss.

Anyway, about public speaking: I’m no stranger to it. I’ve had to present information to groups, make speeches, give instructions to a crowd, pray, teach classes, and even act in a play before, and every time it’s just a disaster. I panicked and stuttered during my own wedding vows. Sometimes I’ll even go blank in conversations when I notice that someone is really listening to what I am saying.

When speaking publicly, I sometimes feel nauseated, experience heart palpitations, sweat profusely, and have ringing in my ears, among other pleasant symptoms. Later, I’ll replay the scenario over and over and cry into my pillow because of my cringeworthy uselessness.

For many years I’d balk at speaking in public when asked, and turn people down easily and graciously. It’s just a train wreck, I’d explain ever so nicely. You don’t want me up there. My incompetence will distract from the real message. I’m not your girl.

But then after a while, I noticed that people don’t care how stupid I am in public. I am my own worst enemy; most people don’t notice that I’m ridiculous, and if they do, they're either too embarrassed for me to mention it or else I’m making them feel better about their own inflated yet unquestionably mediocre ability to kill it onstage.

And I also realized that if I speak from the heart, and don’t worry so much about how I’m perceived – even if half the room thinks I’m terrible – who cares? Most people are too polite or don't care enough to tell a person that they stunk up the room, and by the way, I’m not accepting a Nobel prize, and most of the world doesn’t hear those speeches anyway because the people who win those prizes are a bunch of nerds.


So, with that in mind, I’m totally taking public speaking offers. Yes, you heard that right. For an exorbitant fee, of course. I still get the nervous sweats, and I’m not dealing with that for free.

So if you want someone to mess up your event with a lackluster and possibly embarrassing address (because not only do I tend to freeze up, but I may also swear and/or share inappropriately), I’m your girl.

If you need someone around to fill the seat at the table for someone who says wildly inappropriate things that distract everybody from real life, so that they go home and wonder “how drunk was she?” instead of lamenting their own poor choices, I’m there.

If you need someone to stand in front of a crowd and make them feel better about every single vulnerability they own because she is up there making a nincompoop of herself by forgetting what planet she hails from, call me.


Sure, sometimes my heart says weird and improper things, blanks on common words and phrases, forgets how to pronounce my own name, and drops whole storylines and directions of conversation, but hey, it’s my heart talking. I dare you to tell me my heart is wrong.

Seriously. I’m available.


This post inspired by:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt #4: Write a blog post inspired by the word: heart.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Eight Perfect Gifts for Anyone

Let it be known that I am not gifted at gifting.

I mean, I purchase things to give at the holidays and on birthdays and other important gift-giving events, but giving and receiving gifts is not really a source of joy for me.

And truthfully, sometimes I’m not that great at giving or receiving gifts on these big gift-giving events.

Exhibit A: The time I didn’t even think about buying a gift for someone and they lavished me with perfect gifts and I felt like Super Jerk.

Exhibits B-Z: All those other times that happened.

Let’s examine some other gift-giving catastrophes, shall we?
àOnce I got a gift for someone – something that they actually asked for – and they never used it.
àOnce I received a gift that I asked for but didn’t use.
àOnce I gave a gift that was too much/too little/inappropriate/and the recipient didn’t get it. 
àOnce I received a gift like that^^
àOnce I told someone I was going to get them a very specific gift and then I bailed out on it and didn’t get them anything and I will never hear the end of it until I die. 
àOnce I got a gift that I loved for an anonymous exchange and everybody in the room made fun of it and it took everything in me not to stomp out of the room crying.

Can’t we all just buy ourselves what we want? Or only give anonymously to people we don’t know so that we don’t have to watch them open the gifts we give and stress out about their reactions?

You guys, gifting stresses me out. There are so many variables, and only one precarious set provides a small sliver of positive outcome. You know, that perfect gift for that perfect person in your life who absolutely without a doubt will love whatever it is you’ve come up with.

It doesn’t happen very often.

So I made a gift guide to help you with this problem of gifting. And when I say you I really mean me.

Perfect gift #1: Cash.

Cash is a gift, people. IT IS A GIFT. No one receives cash and goes home and says “Now what on earth am I going to do with this?”

Perfect gift #2: Gift Cards.

Gift cards are a non-cash way of giving cash as a gift for those people who think that giving cash as a gift is tacky. Some people also think that giving gift cards is tacky. I am not friends with those people.

Perfect gift #3: Something that a person sent you a link to and said “I want you to buy this for me.”

No guesswork at all is the way to go with gift-giving. This is my absolute favorite way to shop for someone if cash and gift cards are off the table, and the next type of perfect gift is a close runner-up.

Perfect gift #4: Something that someone buys for him- or herself and says “I’m buying this for myself, but you can give it to me.”

You sort of feel like a shlub for not doing any work whatsoever, but it’s worth it if they also wrap that gift up for themselves or don’t require it to be wrapped at all because they’re using it right away.

Perfect gift #5: Registered gifts.

There is something just so satisfactory about a gift list that someone has made public, so that when you shop for this person, all the things they want are right there. General gift lists are okay, but give me a printed out store registry list of specific stuff that a person wants and I’m a happy gift-buyer. Bonus if shipping is free and I don’t even have to handle the item.

Perfect gift #6: Everyday items.

This is a little more work, but I love giving and receiving basic items that everyone uses but runs out of on a regular basis.  Things like aluminum foil, sandwich bags, condiments, dried spices and even shampoo and soap are great gifts, and best of all you can throw them into your grocery cart when you stop at the store on your way out to pick up the milk.

Perfect gift #7: Time together.

I love it when you can get together with people and call it a gift. “No gifts; let’s just go out to dinner!” is music to my ears, and the person who shows up with a wrapped gift even after hearing (or ::whispers hatefully:: uttering) those words is dead to me.

Perfect gift #8: Nothing at all.

Sometimes giving gifts takes away from the real gift, which is living life together. I personally have everything I need and want, and I’d rather enjoy life than take time to open a bunch of stuff that I’m going to be paying a bill for later anyway. I know this seems a mite insincere since I will always have my hand out for jewelry and diamonds, but I’d rather enjoy my friends and family than open gifts any day of the year.

Especially if they’re handing out jewelry and diamonds.

See all those gifts in the back? So stressful.