THE Happy Turtle

More lessons learned from the littles in my life. I get pointed messages from my nephews and niece all the time. My teachers have gotten smaller. When I lived in Maui, I had a kumu- teacher- named Uncle Sonny, who was about 70-ish and took me under his wing. So, that one's obvious, but teachers came in all sorts of ways. They were often strangers. People at the bar stool next to me while I was waiting for my friend to get off work. Some lady next to me waiting in line. Some random person I interviewed for the paper. A hoity toity at the gallery says something that she doesn't even know is profound. Sometimes, now, it is in the form of nature, a billboard, or the radio... It's so funny who your teachers are, if you only listen, remain open, and have the ability for introspection. 

We were at Joshie's skating/hockey practice a few weeks back. He just turned 6yrs old. He was in his poofy winter down jacket, with the sewing making horizontal lines across his body, and a bike helmet as the protective shell. He was smiling and just so happy out there on the ice. He reminded me of a cartoon character, or the main character of a children's book. "He looks like a happy turtle," I told my sister. "He does!" She confirmed. Later, when they were trying to skate backwards, all the older kids were flying past him, he was barely moving. He did not care one bit and kept on smiling, excited as all get out, concentrating and laughing in intervals.

                                  THE HAPPY TURTLE

                                  THE HAPPY TURTLE

Fast forward a few weeks. I'd been having a rough time. Projecting into the future for my business, how the field was changing, I was contemplating going in a different direction with it. I called an old mentor whom I admire and received an extremely negativite outlook instead of hope for this field that I have chosen. 

Not only that, but that deep dark spiral had already set in. When I go down this road of trying to get a clear path in my head, I tend to analyze every area of my life, and at that moment it was not shaping up as I imagined it would by this point. The day job, personal endeavors, artistic endeavors, goals, aspirations, wanderlust, even relationships (which I always forget about until my extended family asks me. "Oh yeah, I have to put that on the list too"... I am still fighting that battle of yearning for freedom, adventures, my own dreams and ambitions, and the other side- intimacy, comfort, and family. This struggle gets dusted off, then sits on the shelf again, then drops in my face again, in a viscious distorted cycle. Most people know for sure one way or the other. I just wish I had about twenty more years on this bastard of a clock). It was just one of those times. They happen. I can look back on how far I have come, what I have accomplished, the crazy, amazing adventures I've had, all the wonderful people in all the chapters of my life, even old passions that I've pursued in the past that I don't currently that made me ME... Even though I can see all of this and be truly grateful, and proud, still, those days, the dark spriral, they will still happen. I know this. Sneaky bastards.

After that phone call, I leaned my head back and just thought to myself, "Why did I pick this field"? Why am I doing all of this, spending so much energy, and putting so much into all of this? Even things like just writing this blog... Images of my high school counselors warning me to go for something else popped in my head. I opened my eyes and saw the shimmering leaves above my head in my backyard, with the prettiest golden sunset backlighting them. And I thought, "because I see the beauty in the world. I see things that others don't. And I want to share that. That is all." I smiled. 

The Happy Turtle came to mind just then. Why can't I be The Happy Turtle? Who cares how slowly I'm going? At least I'm doing it. All the things. I'm still doing them... I complained to my mother once that having too many passions is a curse and I have a hard time seeing it as a blessing. There's never enough time to actually DO all of the things. You can't really excel or find "success" at any one of them when you are so spread out. What if I never get anywhere "REAL" with any of these things? "When you’re doing them, do they make you happy?" "Yeah." Point taken. Why can't that be enough? It should be enough, right?

Once you hit a goal, there will always be more. Always more striving. Where I am now in my own business- I longed for this a few years back. Mark Manson says the striving is where happiness lies. I can see that. The process is the thing, not the result. The motivation, the inspiration, the expression, the action. I also love his words on "mediocrity". Creatives put so much damn pressure on ourselves. Meaning, purpose, worldy change!, leaving your mark, helping others, making a difference...  It's all so fucking heavy. Having this conversation with a friend who is left-brained, an engineer, I asked her if she does this to herself. "No. I work to pay bills. I do that to love up on my kids and enjoy the lake on the weekends." Period. Wow. I was so jealous for that simplicity. I am a different breed, and it's inevitable to feel low when you have more and more goals than you could possibly ever achieve. (And on another level, when you have kids, BAM! You automatically have purpose, meaning; you are making a difference. So, that definitely is part of the psychological onion for me.) But Manson made me think when he talked about the idea that most people in the world are "mediocre," by our crazy ass standards, when you think about it. He asks if that means that for MOST of the people who have ever lived-- that their lives didn't matter? Huh. Is Mark Manson giving me permission to calm the fuck down? I'll take that.   

So, this post is automatically scheduled to come out on my birthday. I never work on my birthday. I will be at the beach before any evening plans take way. On my birthday, every year, I immerse myself in nature. Water, green luscious scenery, and I get lost in just being a human, grateful for the beauty. "Just be". For a short amount of time, I am no one’s daughter, sister, aunt, friend, girlfriend, coworker, boss lady... I’m just me. Feeling the wind, smelling the smells, taking in the wonder and awe of it all. I don't give a shit about accomplishments or how productive I'm being. I try to turn the creative brain off. It's tough. (Even when I take vacations, I am now thinking about how I could turn it into a travel article, with photos.. So, how is that time off, really?)

I used to do this so easily in Maui. I mean, how could you not? The simplicity of happiness. I was so relieved to find folks who also did not agree with "You are what you do". No one buys that shit there. They don't even buy that you are a "mother", "wife", "girlfriend", whatever, as your identity. Such a different, wonderful, peaceful mindset over there. I told myself that I would keep this mindset when I moved back. "Across the Universe," by The Beatles, was playing as I made this vow. "Nothing's gonna change my world"... Being back in the midwest, I can't help but feel that while my heart fully resonates with "You are NOT what you do", my ambitions are contradictory and will take on society's logic- that I don't even agree with! But, then again, I actually WANT to do all of the things. I loaded my plate because I want them all. I am the crazy hoarder at the buffet, where my eyes are bigger than my stomach, because I am a mere human. I cannot have it all. I have to choose. The Choosing, I would say, is my nemesis.

So many articles tell us to schedule time to do nothing. We get a few hours a week (if you're lucky)? We wait for vacations and are happy with a couple weeks a year? Even two days, out of seven, a week (which we have personal chores and domestic duties)..? That's some bullshit. Who made these shitty ass rules? That is just not humane. That's not going to be good enough for me this year. I don't want to have to REMIND myself to JUST BE. I don't need permission. I will not feel guilty. I give myself full permission to JUST BE, for a fair amount, every day. I already go radio silent for days at a time. No social media. No more consuming. No more information. No more classes on this, that, and the other. No more podcasts or self-improvement. Take a mental break. I started meditating on my lunch break, which to me, at the beginning stage, means shutting everything down in my brain and listening to the birds, feeling the grass, the wind...

A while back, I heard an older man talking about his walks around his neighborhood in the fall, how beautiful it was and how much he loved it. He was pondering about how many more autumns he thinks he has left. He decided it had to be around seven. Holy shit, that gave me some perspective.

I will make more time to just enjoy. That's a damn good purpose too. Not everyone can do it, either. What if that is The Meaning? And by example, you show others how to do the same? That is the difference that you can make. 

This Happy Turtle is loving life.

Keep It Simple,


INAPPROPRIATE and Ill-timed Prayer

I'm wondering if other people do this too... but before I get to it, some backstory--

So, I used to be that person that wouldn't bother God with my trivial stuff. I always felt like He had too much on his plate already. It was weird to me, in my true softball days, that some teams would pray beforehand. You know, He's got the homeless, dying kids, wars, etc., to deal with. I just didn't see it.

After hitting a pretty huge plot twist in my life a few years ago, I was reminded that God could take that load off my shoulders. "Oh yeah!" I almost FORGOT about talking to Him, aside from the usual "Please watch over my family, etc." that I do everyday. I immediately felt lighter. Holy... I don't have to do this myself. Sometimes we forget that.

Isn't it crazy? I grew up Catholic, went to Catholic private school for eight years, church... all the stuff. And I had to be reminded.  I had to be told that God wants in on EVERYTHING. Even the silly stuff. He wants to be my best friend and have that continuous conversation. And only then, when it becomes a part of you, when it's habitual, will you never "forget" again. And you will never be alone, either.

This is my issue---
I've grown accustomed to praying so much- especially in the beginning when that plot twist was too strong for me, it was like every five minutes when I felt I had no control over my thoughts. There was obsessive worry about a loved one, and I couldn't get a hold on mindfulness just yet.  Everything has calmed down since, with a lot of work, but I pray so much now- just shooting up a quick sentence here and there- that I have to remind myself not to pray when I'm on the toilet (especially #2, am I right?). It's always when I'm peeing. Potty Prayer. I don't know what it is. Is it because I have a few minutes of quiet? When I'm not multitasking a million things? My mind drifts, does it's wandering, and I catch myself shooting up a prayer over whatever it drifts to. I have to tell myself, "Do not pray when you're peeing." I apologize then. This can wait.

By the way, I still play softball. And I do pray. Not to win or anything ridiculous like that, but to not get hurt, basically. Every 300 pound man that gets up while I'm playing 3rd or 2nd-- you bet your ass I'm praying that a line drive doesn't hit a rock and hit my temple or something. (That movie Simon Birch comes to mind a lot). I'm not as fearless as I once was. I try to grow into the youth that I once was. It doesn't always work. Things are different when you get older. I have to work tomorrow. This is a beer league. So, yeah, I pray on the field now.

Better than on the toilet.

Have a Silly Monday,


Leading Lady

There is something good that comes from watching TV, no matter what people say. Here's one reason: Whenever I am going through something difficult- whether it be an embarrassing incident or a downright heartbreak- I think of the leading ladies in sitcoms and how this situation would play out in a half hour comedy. 

Mindy and Jess  are always able to shrug something off and let it go. Move on and pay it no mind. This idea kind of puts things into perspective. It helps me to, anyway. It aids in looking at any situation with humor-even something that is devastating at the present moment. They also can make fun of the situation, and of themselves, aware of their faults and defects. (I have always had the same reaction as Mindy when someone pokes fun at me for one of my faults. "Alright", being the reaction, in the tone of complete self-awareness and self-love as well. The twelve year old who made fun of me because I got scared from a really stupid horror movie. "Alright." Smile. I am well aware of that defect, but that one may never change completely.... I'm fine with it. Moving on. It is a great response showing self-acceptance, I think.)

The norm for a sitcom is misunderstanding as humor. When things get turned around and misconstrued is when it gets good. Monica, Rachel, or Phoebe never played into people not knowing the real truth- they just accepted it and moved on. I think of that episode where Rachel is trying to woo Josh and everything gets discombobulated, and she opens the door in a wedding dress, emanating the misconception in the entire episode. She just shuts the door and says, "Well, that oughta do it." She knows he thinks she's crazy and believes a situation that is entirely false, but lets it go anyway and carries on with her day.

Also, whenever I feel down on myself, am being impatient with myself, or maybe I'm completely fudging up a project or something, I always say to myself, "Come the fuck on, Bridget" (from Bridget Jone's Diary). You have to do it in a British accent. It works. It takes the anxiety and the deflation out of the problem. Makes everything lighter. Maybe that's just the accent, though.

When you really get stuck, let's not forget the dinner scene in The Holiday. "In the movies, there's a leading lady and the best friend. You are the leading lady, I can tell, but for some reason, you're behaving like the best friend." 
"You're right. You are supposed to be the leading lady of your own life for God's sake."

Putting yourself in the role of your favorite sitcom lady makes the big things a little less scary and shrinks them to a manageable size. Perspective. Sometimes circumstances are so ridiculous. Life throws you wrench after wrench, and it all seems so absurd... When you think to yourself, "Am I actually dealing with this in my life as a 37 yr old? This is preposterous." Think of Lucy, Laverne, Shirley- whoever your ladies are. Put it in a sitcom and move on.

Whatever it is, it usually makes for a good story, too.

Have a Silly Monday,


Inappropriate, But Funny

This is a short one this week. 

I was at the bank, holding the door open for someone else, when the thought occurred to me... What if, after you hold the door open for someone, you ran ahead of them to get in line in front of them? I mean, you would've been in line before them had you not been so polite. 

It would be unexpected. I think it would be funny.

Have a Silly Monday, 







#1  Do Your Research

So, my grandma just turned 94, and we had a big ass Italian party for her. We started talking about how she is so hard to buy for, which brought up one of my well known faux pas, which these people will never let me live down.

Backstory: She loves to read those trashy romance novels with the couple wrapped in desperate love on the covers, being flicked by fire or whatever. I've always teased her about it. I would share my books I was reading- memoirs, classics, award-winning novels- to broaden her horizons, and she would keep pushing me to read those "quivering-member"-romance-books. This went on for a while. A while ago, I decided to back down and be nice for her birthday and give her a romantic book that I heard was really good- made all the lists, etc.  I gave my little old cute grandma "Fifty Shades of Grey". Had no idea. Didn't do enough research on that one. I gave an S&M book to my grams. I did see the word "erotic" in the description, but her books blare "erotic" all over the covers, so I figured it would be fine. I think Oprah even said something about this book, but again, I didn't do much research. Heard some things from the family... I think one of my aunts returned it. Since then, I have stuck to religious gifts only for Grams. She can't really balk at anything religious.

This just happens to be one of my go-to stories whenever I need to break the ice or save an awkward, silent situation. I don't know if that's a good thing, but people laugh and seem to relax with whatever is going on presently. I think it's funny.

funny blogs.jpg

#2  When Pinterest Fails You

My oldest friend and her family just got a new house. They've been married for years, have two daughters, so they had everything. This was not their first house, so all the normal housewarming gifts didn't feel right. Pinterest was giving me the same old, same old, with the baskets of bread "so you will never know hunger..." and on and on. We all know that one. Snooze. So, I decided to be an asshole instead. 

I was really excited about this. I actually think this is THE BEST/WORST (at the same time) housewarming gift. I gave them a basket with Amityville Horror, eye masks, earplugs, and Kona coffee (has to be Kona coffee!), with a card saying "Congrats on the new house!"
Amityville Horror starts with the family buying a new house...

I know. I'm an ass. I would not appreciate that idea being put in my head when I bought my house.

#3 Merry Christmas

We were opening our Christmas stockings one year when my mom just started laughing uncontrollably. Hand over mouth, couldn't talk. So everyone was wondering what was happening and looking at my dad and back to my mom. We could see she was holding a Santa figurine. It was really pretty-blue/silver and sleek. She turned it around, which is the way she opened it at first, and we all saw it. A penis, exactly molded to perfect exhibition.  She must have thought for a single second that my dad had gotten her a dildo or some penile sculpture and thought it fine to wrap up and open in front of her kids and grandkids. 

So, we drudge it up from time to time and re-gift it to one of us for laughs. I would post a picture but I don't know who has The Santa Penis right now.

It would be a funny "elephant gift". Is that the one you grab something from your house and gift it at company holiday parties? Yeah. I wish we would have stocked up on those santas. Or, when you very much dislike someone and you have to buy for them for the office party, this would secretly say "You're a dick." They won't know. But you will. 

Do you have any cool stories about gift-giving? Share them in the comments!  Please share this blog if it makes you smile on Mondays. If you subscribe to receive these in your inbox, please add me to your contacts or it will go to spam or "promotions" if you have gmail...

Have a Silly Monday,