Portion Control

Something happened when I turned 35.
The 5 pounds that could come and go as they pleased…came. And stayed.
The tricks I used like lowering my calories for a few days and drinking tons of water made no difference. Suddenly, I was stuck with the extra 5 pounds. And beyond diet pills (which I am NOT willing to try), I had no idea what to do toget rid of the poundage.

I joined a HIIT gym last year and started working out 4 or 5 days a week. I did begin to lose some weight and change my body shape, which was AWESOME, but there were parts of me that wouldn’t budge. (PARTS THAT ALWAYS BUDGED BEFORE.) So after I turned 36, my girlfriend suggested I pay closer attention to my diet.
I’d almost prefer be fat or take diet pills than pay closer attention to my diet.
I hate turning down cake or a martini, or a cake martini. I hate saying no to potato chips; it feels rude. I hate walking past the halloween candy over and over and over again like it’s NOT EVEN THERE. But I agreed that instead of my typical, “I’ll cut out carbs,” or “I’ll cut out fat,” or, “I’ll cut out eating,” diet plans, I would begin to spread my meals out over the course of the day and be more focused on portion control.

God I wince just TYPING “portion control.” It’s like the saddest two words in the universe when you put them together.

I started yesterday morning with an eating schedule and a list of foods that fit into the portions I planned to eat – a protein, a vegetable, a carb, and a fat. Breakfast was at 8:30 with oatmeal, almond milk, a small side of spinach, and a scoop of protein powder. (BTW, did you know that you can order protein powder in a 5lb container? You can. It is the size of my coffee pot. I will be Hee Man by the end of the week. And if you don’t get that joke, then you don’t yet understand what I’m talking about when I say I turned 35 and things changed because you think I should just do a “cleanse.”)
Being an effective woman, I decided to put the protein powder into my oatmeal. It’s flavorless protein powder. What could possibly go wrong?
Glue. Glue is what could go wrong. My oatmeal turned to glue and was completely inedible. I tried covering it in Abe’s applesauce just so I could get it down, but no. It was awful. I went to the gym after breakfast with only about half my required calories for breakfast.

After the gym came my Shakeology shake, which I drink religiously and with fervor. It was the only part of my day that went right.

Lunch. I had to eat another meal, similar to breakfast. I opted for leftover steak, broccoli, and a little bit of macaroni. It’s cute to say you love broccoli and all that. Look, broc is great with butter and salt or cheese or hollandaise sauce. But straight broccoli is not your first choice and you know it. So I went ahead and added some salt.
Except that I added ALL of the salt.

All the salt.

My girlfriend told me portion control is not always like this.

I was starving by the time dinner rolled around, so I dove into an episode of Lazy Recipes Live and then scarfed down my food, Halloween candy just staring me in the face. Dinner? More leftover steak, butternut squash, rice, and salad.

Today is day 2 of portion control. This morning was much better with eggs and oatmeal instead of glue. But then when I got home from the gym in time to make my protein smoothie, I suddenly remembered why it was so imperative I go to the grocery store YESTERDAY – I’m out of spinach. Not such a big deal? Except that it meant I had to add raw broccoli slaw to my smoothie for the vegetable serving which, as you might guess, is not as easy to hide in a smoothie as spinach is.
Don’t do it. It’s awful.

If this portion control thing doesn’t work, I’m writing a very long blog about how this portion control thing doesn’t work.

 

Dance Like Someone is Definitely Watching

I am not one thing.
I shop at Whole Foods for some of my groceries. But I also drink pints of beer and eat hamburgers.
I love a good party with lots of food and alcohol. I also want to be left alone on the weekends in sweat pants on the couch.
I can’t stand going to the movies. I love live plays.
I sit down and talk to my kids about how they’re feeling and why they’re acting the way they’re acting. And I also bite their heads off when they leave their shoes in the kitchen.
I remember to take out the garbage every Wednesday night. And I also forget to drag the cans from the curb back to the house until early Saturday.
Some days I make to-do lists. Some days it’s all in my head.
I’m a careful, slow driver. But if my fave new jam comes on the radio, suddenly I’m speed racer.

“Dance like no one is watching?” You’ve heard that old cliche, right?

In the last 5 years, everyone is watching.
Everything.
If they’re not watching live, they’re watching a recording, a hidden camera, a camera phone. You can’t do anything without someone knowing about it…and judging it.
Hell, they’ll judge it before they even ask any questions about it.
Employers now Google potential employee’s names before they take an interview. I was warned at my writers’ conference to Google my own name before I attempt to get published, just in case! Which got me thinking…
I’ve done some crappy shit in my life. Stuff that would surprise you. Stuff that you would say, “No! Not sweet sweet Erin!” (Ok maybe not that last one.) But that’s because I’m not any one thing. And I’ll tell ya, I’d hate to be judged solely by some of those crappy choices.

Think about the worst thing you’ve done. The thing you wouldn’t ever tell ANYBODY except for MAYBE your best friend. And then think about it being documented and available for everyone who Googled to read…

As much as I want to tell my kids to dance like no one is watching, I feel like I should actually tell them to dance like EVERYONE is watching: their parents, grand parents, teachers, future children… Because you will very quickly be posted to SnapChat/Facebook/Instagram/Etc. Even though you shop at Whole Foods and take your kids to weekly music classes for their cognitive development, you’ll be judged on that one clip by a majority of people as being “who you are.”
And you’re not one thing, either.
Nobody is.

We’re all these multidimensional people who get held to one single aspect, one dimension, and we’re expected to stay there! When we change or grow or show a different side, what do people say? “Oh, she’s changed.” Damn right, she changed! Good thing, too. Staying one thing all the time sucks.

So while you read a headline or watch a clip and make a judgement, think about a headline of the worst thing YOU’VE ever done, or even the second worst. Think about what strangers might think of you. And then consider whether or not you want to go on with your opinionated rants.
Yes. Some people are just shitty people. Consistently shitty. But most people have good parts and bad parts, including me, and I’d like to know that the people who matter are focused on my good parts and helping with my bad parts. And if they don’t matter, then the opinions don’t matter.

 

Those Neighbors

If you followed along with me on FB, you know I was lucky enough to buy a beautiful home in 2015 AND to meet our incredible neighbors up and down our cul-de-sac street within days of moving in.
You also know that our next door neighbors are…Those Neighbors. Everyone has those neighbors. The ones who do weird stuff like leave desks on the front lawn for weeks at a time or never mow their lawns in lieu of leaving desks on the front lawn for weeks at a time…
These particular Those Neighbors failed to removed a giant, 60′ oak tree prior to the hurricane season here in Florida and when Hurricane Irma came barreling through, she took out the tree and all the power lines as well. Those Neighbors did NOTHING to help the entire neighborhood cut apart and remove the tree (which we did over the course of 3 hours the day after Irma hit) except take pictures. THEY TOOK PICTURES. The massive, gnarly tree stump with shards of tree still attached remains angrily perched in the ground to this day, just as it did over a month ago. Because they’ve done nothing to remove it.

Anyway. Bear was out of town for a job Monday night. He’s out of town a lot, so I did my normal evening routine of locking doors and windows and pushing chairs in front of doors and leaving legos on the floors in front of the windows. (You do this too, right?)
Now, I don’t like to brag, but I typically go to bed at 9:30. While many people function on 6 hours of sleep, I typically function best at 10 hours of sleep, though I usually end up getting around 9 hours.
So at 9:30 I got into bed and turned on a podcast and began to drift off into dreamland, both dogs on the bed with me in the surrogate-husband position. Suddenly I heard…

BOOM.

It sounded as if someone had slammed one of the house doors shut REALLY HARD and the entire house shook.
Charlie, my big old Boxer, barked. Bella, my little old Boxer, whined.

And I turned into a single man Swat Team without ANY of the gear.

I jumped out of bed and immediately begin flipping all the lights on, one room at a time. I check the motion-sensor lights outside on my way to Abe’s room; none of them were on. Abe was asleep and safe. I moved more chairs and legos in front of his window before moving on to the other rooms and doors.
I checked every room, door, and window. I didn’t see anything unusual, but at this point my blood pressure was dangerously high so I double-checked everything. Our house was glowing like it was full of radiation. I searched the house twice more and look out every window 100 times. I even honked my car alarm a few times from the key fob just to let the murderer know I can hear him/her.

I walked back into my room to find that both “guard dogs” were snoring. I texted Bear and told him what was going on. He stayed vigil, reminding me to check the outdoor motion detector lights to see if they’d been tripped (little did he know, I’d checked them 74 times already). I kept my phone right next to me just in case I needed to text him that I was actively being attacked in our bedroom while our dogs slept…
I got out a book and left all the lights in the house on and settled in to never sleep again.

About 5 minutes later…

BOOM.

I fly out of bed and stand in the middle of the room, frozen, arms out, in the “if I suspend all of my other senses I will be able to figure out where this sound is coming from” position.

Boom. The house shakes again.

The dogs looked up at me as if to ask me to stop shaking the house while they try to sleep.

Boom. The house shakes again.

I finally decided to peer our the window one last time to make sure it wasn’t The Hulk, and what do I see glimmering in the moonlight?

AN AXE.

At 10:30 at night, Those Neighbors decided it would be a good time to begin chopping away at what was left of the fallen tree with a full-size axe. With every chop, another giant chunk of the tree fell to the ground and rattled the house.

Mystery solved. I texted Bear and fell asleep within 5 minutes.

MOVE

About a year and a half ago, I endured one of the most difficult time periods of my life. The week Bear and I got married, he was laid off. He also decided he wanted to start his own business in the construction field (a field he’d worked in for 18 years).
His business began in our living room over the summer. While both boys were home, and I struggled to make the mortgage and ALL the other expenses using just the money I made and our savings, he sat on the couch for 3 months with a laptop we paid for with a credit card. He wrote emails, bid jobs, create and built relationships, and set up lunch meetings with suppliers. On the days that he left the house, I’d stare at the coffee table covered in notepads and pens and pencils and cry.
Why?
Well, because when one loses a loved one or gets divorced, people show up. They bring food and comfort and love to you and cuddle you up in all their kindness to help you feel seen and understood.
When one sits on the edge of losing everything…well, there’s not really a protocol for that. They don’t send checks. They don’t bring cash over. They don’t cuddle you up in their savings accounts. They can’t, and even if they could, it would feel very strange both offering and accepting wire transfers from friends with notes like, “Good luck on the business, hope you don’t lose your house!!”

And so, we sat in what felt like a horrible, lonely, broke bubble for months while he got his business up and running, with no guarantee that it would ever make money.

Except that Bear always guarenteed that it would.
In fact, he never second-guessed his choice to go into business for himself.

It was during this time that I started focusing on prayer and manifestation. I had this idea that if I prayed and I focused and I visualized enough, our woes would come to an end, our bills would be paid, and our life would be comfortable again. Of course, we did not miss a meal and we were never late on a single payment, so it’s possible to say that my little manifestation project worked.

Except that while I was busy manifesting, Bear was busy on that grind.

His very first job started three months after he opened the business and on that faithful Monday morning it was over 100 degrees outside…and Bear woke up with the flu. Being that he was his only employee, he had no choice but to get out there and snot his way through it. He completed the job over the course of three, awful days (luckily the job was at a drug store so he could just walk inside and buy more medicine) and about 45 days later we received our first check. The first slice of income.
But during those 45 days, Bear landed his second, third, and fourth jobs…

And as the jobs rolled in, he rolled out. Everyday. Building. Working. Talking. Shmoozing. In the field. On the laptop. On the phone. He never stopped grinding.

It has come to my attention in the past few weeks that my manifestation project is lovely, but utterly worthless without a grind. You have to have both, faith and movement. One foot in front of the other does nothing without an ultimate goal, and a beautiful vision board is meaningless if you sit at home staring at it while you sip tea and wait on Oprah to call. (That last part may not apply you, but I definitely want Oprah to call.) So I’m taking steps with all those beautiful dreams in mind. And soon, I’ll be able to make some kinda stinking awesome announcements about where my steps are leading me. The Universe and I are singing an amazing duet of “When I move you move (just like that?).” It’s so amazing what happens when you focus, get clear on your dream, and then MOVE.

By the way, Bear’s business is successful beyond even what HE imagined it would be. He’s still grinding every single day, out there, and he’s still dreaming about how much bigger it can be…

The Worst Book Report Ever

I started writing a book 5 years ago. My dear friend was my editor (she’s an actual editor, not like, “I dunno but I did real good in English class.”). I was planning to self-publish it.
As we finished the first draft, I got separated, divorced, and my life blew up.

It seems that now, 4 years later, life has put me back on the writing path. And I’m ready to finish the damn book.

As some top authors said in my writer’s workshop over the weekend, “Writing a book is fun, publishing it is not.” I had such a wonderful time writing this book, and going back through the pages and pages of what felt like old friends this week has been soooo very wonderful. And while I do need to focus on finishing the book…
…I actually have to focus on getting it published first.

You see, in order for a book to be published by a traditional publishing house, you don’t actually need to write the book.
You need to write the book proposal.
That book proposal either goes to a whole bunch of literary agents, one of whom you pray agrees to represent you and submit it on your behalf. OR. You send your book proposal straight to the publishing house if they accept unsolicited titles (most don’t). Once the proposal is accepted, the publishing house can assist in the actual writing of the book. It’s part of the “book deal.”
HOWEVER.
After attending the writer’s workshop this past weekend, I’m eligible to enter a contest. The winner of the contest wins a traditional publishing contract. That means I can send my book proposal WITHOUT a literary agent straight to a publisher who guarantees they’ll read it.

This is a once in a lifetime.

So. What is a book proposal?
It is essentially the single most boring book report you’ve ever written in your entire life. It contains information like your target market, comparable books, and a summary of the topic. It averages about 50 pages of OH MY GOD THIS IS SO BORING. I asked the CEO of the publishing house there at the writer’s workshop, “Are all book proposals this dry and boring?” Without saying yes, he essentially explained that they already have an idea of what kinds of books would fill the gaps within their library, and they’re looking for those books. If they were forced to READ every book that came across their desks, they’d never have time to publish one. When he asked me who my target market was, I answered, “Women who forget to put on a bra before carpool.”
He said, “So, in other words, women with children aged 5-15.”
Oh. Well, yeah. I guess that’s one way to say it. The most boringest way possible. 

While I could probably finish my book in about 3 weeks, and have another full round of editing done by the end of the year, I feel like it’s going to take 6 months to slog through a book proposal. It’s SOOOO not my kind of writing. I had the bright idea that perhaps I could call a professional book editor to see if they would write my book proposal for me! I did some research (googling) and ended up on the phone with an adorable woman named Aloha (name changed to protect the innocent) who is about my age and edits the hell out of everything like a total boss. I explained my project and that I’d really like to hand my book proposal over to a professional.
Guess what?
I CAN!!
For a mere $4,000.
<le sigh>

While I could take the leap and hire her today with a credit card, I’d like to give the Universe a second to organize itself into a path that might offer a better opportunity than credit card debt. I’m trusting that the money will make itself available to me so that I have the BEST possible chance of continuing to pursue this dream and GET PUBLISHED!!!

Either way, though? I’m going to do this. I’m going to submit and if this publishing house doesn’t choose me, I’ll continue submitting elsewhere. I’m 36 years old and I will NOT look back in 10 years and wish I would have started 10 years ago. It will not be for nothing. I might not become a published author, but it will lead me somewhere. I can’t wait to find out where.

Also, if you know a professional editor who loves writing book proposals for fun and for free, hook a girl up.

The Field Trip or Bugs in Squares

I get my son about 50% of the time. That means one week I have him, the next week he’s with his father. So when there is a volunteering opportunity at school, I’m the first to sign up because it means more time with him.

A few weeks ago his first grade teacher emailed me and asked if I wanted to volunteer for the local University’s Nature Trail field trip. I immediately moved my schedule around and said YES!

YES YES YES! NATURE!

Would I prefer a field trip to Target so I can show them where they hide the pictures frames that are on sale? Yes. Yes, I would. But here we are.

This morning I helped Abe’s teacher wrangle 36 kids onto a big yellow school bus at 9am. Luckily the ride was only about 10 minutes and despite the fact that children inexplicably feel the need to scream words at each other on a bus, it was smooth sailing.

We arrived at the Nature Trail and immediately headed into a big, wooden yurt where some college students and a ranger gave the kids warnings like, “Don’t touch anything,” and “Don’t yell,” and, “Try not to be 7.”
All the children agreed to these rules and then immediately ran screaming into the woods to climb trees.

Our first stop was the picnic tables where we would explore different “nature stations.” With 8 tables and 36 kids, we could fit about 4-5 kids at each table and then rotate. The teacher assigned me a group of 4 students, and let me tell you…I lucked out. My students were quiet and studious and lovely. I think the teacher knew I would call kids out if they started acting like idiots, and she didn’t want to have to hold me back.
Our first station revealed 7 bugs frozen in some kind of resin square. Bugs in squares is what we were looking at. There were actual live bugs crawling on our table, but we were looking at bugs in squares. It took me the entirety of our time at the first station to realize there was a little script on the table I was supposed to be reading out loud to teach the kids about the bugs. So my group just looked at bugs in squares with no explanation for 10 minutes and then we moved on. Star performance.

Our second station required we write down the answer to some questions about the food chain. Eight pictures on the table showed us things like a bird, a bug, a fish, some grass, and the sun. The students quickly put the pictures in order and then began answering the questions on the mini-quizzes provided at the table. Until the last question… “What bug eats animals?”
Ummmmm.
“Ms. Salem? Can you help us with this? Which bug eats animals?”
“Oh, um…What?”
They all stared at me. I pulled out my phone and started to Google.
Google gave me results like “animals that eat bugs” and “how to cook bugs”, but nothing telling me which bug eats animals.
“Do you guys wanna know how to make marinara sauce? I can teach you that…”
Eventually a ranger came over and explained that the Giant Water Bug eats fish.
Because who doesn’t know that.
Our third station consisted of fake bugs that we had to measure with rulers. It was dumb. The fake ant was bigger than the fake scorpion, which left all the kids asking me if ants really grew bigger than scorpions. (I Googled that, too, just to be sure they didn’t…)
Station four had Giant Water Bugs in a bucket of water. Learning about the Giant Water Bugs at station four before going to station two would have been awesome for my personal level of self-esteem.Station five had leaves. We looked at leaves. We counted holes in them. We smelled them. We talked a lot more than I ever have about leaves.
I don’t even remember stations six through eight. It was a lot of looking at things I usually step on.

THEN we got to go on the NATURE TRAIL!!! YES NATURE! The Ranger handed out small clip boards with a piece of paper full of questions to each child. He told them they were to read the questions as we go because he was going to answer them during our walk. I considered raising my hand and telling him that was going to result in 10-15 children walking directly into trees and possibly the lake, but I decided it was a good chance for a show so I stayed quiet and let it happen. (And it did happen.)The Ranger guided us along the path and showed us wild blueberry plants and as the path neared the lake’s edge, he pointed at the turtles and the lilly pads. It was very pretty.
Then, the Ranger stopped. “Guys! Quiet! Look!”
And there he was. A long, black snake hanging out at the base of a tree. You guys, it was really exciting. He stuck his tongue out at us and nodded like, “Yep. Hey guyth. Yep I’m a sthnake. Jutht thitting under this tree here.” I liked him. He had pizzaz. He had style. He was waaaaay more interesting than bugs in squares.
The children, of course, all heeded the Ranger’s warning and ran screaming past the snake.

When the nature walk ended, we landed back at the picnic tables for bagged lunches. I sat next to Abe and his friends, which was cool because he talks to his friends now. It’s not like before when they just burped and laughed and showed each other the food in their mouths. They say stuff like, “My gummie fruit is similar to yours,” and, “One time my dad ate liver.”

The best, most amazing part of the entire field trip, though, came in the last 5 minutes. We boarded the bus, and Abe sat in our seat closest to the window. Slowly, he began to lean on me. Then, he slinked down a little. A little further. A little more. And then…boom.
My baby 7-year-old fell asleep in my lap.
The entire trip was totally worth those moments. Giant Water Bugs and food chains be damned.
My kid still wants to sleep in my lap after the field trip.

Friend-Stuff

When ya get divorced, you lose stuff.
It ain’t all stuff-stuff, either. A lot of it is people-stuff. Job stuff. Memory-stuff. Feeling-stuff.

But the very worst of it is friend-stuff.

I lost a LOT of friends throughout my divorce. Some of them were my decision. Some theirs. And a few just sort of drifted off into nothingness with no one really taking the oars to row in a certain direction.
This past weekend at my writers’ conference, I made a few commitments to myself.

  1. I will take this process seriously and invest in it.
  2. I will give myself a timeline that’s realistic but also pushes me.
  3. I will call an old friend who helped me tremendously in the writing of my first book and ask her if she will be my friend again because I realized I miss her.

Yesterday, Monday, I made a consultation appointment with a professional editor who costs big bucks. I started writing out a calendar timeline for myself, too.
Oh, and I sent my old friend an email and asked her if she would be my friend again. Just that way. I sent her a message that said, “I’d like to know if we could be friends again.”

She hasn’t answered yet.

Now, it doesn’t mean she won’t answer. She might. She might not. It was a risk. Love, even friendship love, is a risk. But I’m not dwelling the way I would have a few years ago…

I recognize who’s here now, and I’m grateful for them. I have really good friends. Friends who do life with me, not just take selfies. And I have a husband who literally forced me to attend a writers’ workshop and forced me to stand in the lines to speak directly to the authors and forced me to take full advantage of every minute because he loves me that much.

Friends who love you and force you to do the things that scare you are the best kind of friends.

 

 

After every speaker, at every bathroom break, lunch break, and headline lesson of the day,
the doors opened to the breezeway outside the convention center conference room, and there was my husband. It didn’t matter if it was a quick kiss. He was there, making the weekend all about me. So many people said to me, “Wow, it’s so amazing to have a partner who supports you that much.”

It is.

At the end of the day if she doesn’t want to be my friend, it’s not that I won’t be sad. I will. I’ll think about her and the cool friendship we could have had just like I think about all the other important friendships that have come and gone. I’ll be missing her and hoping someday she changes her mind. It just so happens I might also feel grateful that I have more friend-stuff now. I’m really lucky for that.

 

 

How to Make a Good First Impression

Four years ago, my life exploded. The fall weather gives me anxiety because it FEELS the way it did when my life exploded. The air was crisp and the grass was brown and the heat came on at night in the house.

When I found out that Hay House Publishing Company (the publishing company of my DREAMS) was hosting a writer’s workshop near my home, I was OVERYJOYED and dead-set on going.
When I found out it was in October, I immediately felt sick in my stomach.

Four years ago I lost my first marriage and my friends and my job (with a publishing company, for added irony) all in the course of 3 months. Perhaps worst of all, I lost my motivation to write. And every time I tried to pick it back up, I felt that sick feeling in my stomach like it was October all over again.
So, of course, the Universe offered me the opportunity of a lifetime during the hardest time of year for me.

I didn’t prepare the way I should have, I didn’t practice my elevator pitch or bring writing samples. I did nothing but panic that I would be at a writers’ workshop in October until the day came for me to actually go.
Obviously I felt super prepared.

I got up way too early on morning 1. I showered and put on a cute dress and brushed my hair and put on MAKE UP. Ok?! MAKE UP. My husband literally gave me a pep talk before I walked to the convention center meeting room.
The line was already 10-deep and I arrived an hour early. Within a minute, though, I realized there were two lines: 1 for people WITH their tickets, and 1 for people who still needed their tickets PRINTED.
I didn’t know I could print my ticket because I didn’t check for that option. I checked to make sure I had my laptop and a fresh notebook and a cute dress and comfortable but fancy shoes. Oh and a snack and gum and lip gloss.
I didn’t check about the whole ticket thing…
As soon as I realized the line for people who needed their tickets printed was twice as long as the people with tickets, I started sweating. I whipped out my phone and scrolled through my emails to find the one with my purchase information. I couldn’t scroll and hold my water bottle (Chugs) and my backpack and my coffee, so I set Chugs on the ground in front of me and gently nudge him with my foot as the line slowly inched forward. The email wasn’t there but I remembered my login for their website, so I switched to my browser screen to search there. Inching forward. Pushing Chugs.
Finally, I exhaled when I found my ticket on their website a snagged a screen shot of it just in time to check in. I was awarded my name badge for all my effort, leaned down to pick up Chugs, and proceeded to pour the contents of my coffee onto my left boob.
Sweating began again.
My back was glistening and my cheeks were flushed. I set everything down and ran towards the table near the water dispensers, hoping there would be napkins there.

And then I physically ran into the CEO of Hay House Publishing, Reid Tracey.

Side note: Reid Tracey is 400 feet tall.

I looked up and said, “Excuse me,” refocused, and then realized who it was.
“OH HI,” I shouted with no natural tone at all, in a volume that far exceeded what the situation required.
Winning.
“Hello,” he smiled.
“I just spilled coffee onto my boob…” Stop talking, stop talking, stop talking.
“Are you writing a book?” he asked me.
“What? Oh yes! Yes! I am here for the book. For writing a book!” What are you even saying.
“Great! What’s your book about?”
“Oh it’s, well, there’s one that’s about the, um, so one is my story about pregnancy or, well, not pregnancy but about trying to get pregnant. Well, not TRYING to get pregnant like the actual trying, but then the other one is about being great.” What are you even saying.
“Ok sounds great.”

He walked away. As he should have.

I smashed some napkins I found on the water table into my boob and then realized how ridiculous that looked but I kept doing it. Then, I shit you not, a woman asked me, “Oh, are you lactating?”
“No, no. Just spilled coffee on my boob.”

She walked away, too.

I was off to the BEST start.

I walked back over to my backpack and Chugs and took a deep breath. Ok. So you spilled coffee on your boob and walked into Reid Tracey as if he were a telephone poll and you were blind and you’re for sure not lactating and everything is going to be fine. You’re going to put on your big girl panties and you’re going to make an impression. You’re going to go after what you want. You can do this. Go in there.
I picked up my stuff and walked into the convention center room. I walked straight to the second row and staked my claim. And then, I turned right around and marched back over to Reid Tracey.
“Can I please have a picture with you?” I asked.
“Sure!” he said.

And I did it. I started my weekend off at the Hay House Writers’ Workshop in Orlando by snagging a picture with Hay House CEO Reid Tracey with a coffee stain on my boob.

Luckily it only got better from there…

Rude

I had 37 minutes to get to the post office, through Winn Dixie, and to carpool this afternoon. By the time I got out of the post office I realized there was a pretty good chance I was going to be late for carpool, but I still wanted to make it through the grocery store. So I went for it. (This is my version of “risky behavior.”)
I grabbed the four items (two of which were on sale, thank you!) I needed and rushed up to the front of the store. Three lines were open. One had two people. The next had two people with FULL carts. And the third had one woman, medium amount of stuff. Third line it is.
She had about 15 cans of cat food and 12 cans of tuna fish. The cashier made it 3/4 of the way through the cans when the woman, tall and blonde and kind of annoyed, suddenly said, “Oh! I forgot dry cat food!”
Now how are you going to remember 15 cans of cat food and 12 cans of tuna fish and forget the dry cat food? Whatever. It’s fine. I’ll probably still make it to carpool in time.
She ran back to the counter. “Remind me where the cat food is again?”
The cashier stared at her, probably thinking the same thing that you’re thinking.
“Nevermind! I think I know.” She ran off again.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Finally she runs back up with her dry cat food bag and hands it to the cashier.
The cashier finishes ringing her up and the total pops up on the screen.
The tall blonde woman scowled at the cashier. “That’s not correct. Those are 2 for $5. I just bought them yesterday.”

HOW MANY CATS DOES THIS WOMAN HAVE?!?

“Ok, I’ll need to get a manager,” the cashier said. I began scanning the other two lines again. They were both full. I was hedging my bets by staying, but remaining aware in case a better opportunity opened up.
Then…she started…
The woman standing in front of me, waiting for the manager to determine just how much her cat food cost, started the blame game:
“You know, you’re holding up all these people because you don’t know how much your products cost. All these people are having to wait.”
The cashier looked at me. “I’m sorry you’re waiting.”
“Don’t apologize for a thing,” I said.
“You’re understaffed. I don’t see how you can only have three lines open making all these people wait. The management of this place is awful.” She was really on a roll. “It’s just ridiculous. We all have places to be. I don’t have time for this. None of us do.”
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. And my mouth started talking. “Actually, I’ve got all the time in the world.”
No, I didn’t really. But in all honesty, I had enough time to be kind to the people who were serving me. And I didn’t want to participate in her blame game.
“Oh, you do?” She put her hand on her hip. “Well, I don’t. I don’t have time.”
Probably shouldn’t say what you’re thinking, probably shouldn’t say what you’re thinking, probably shouldn’t say what you’re thinking…
“You might have more time if you spent less of it complaining…”
Probably shouldn’t have said that. Probably shouldn’t have said that.
Probably shouldn’t have said that…
Yeah. That popped out of my mouth. It wasn’t my finest moment as I picked up my four items and walked to another line that happened to open up at that exact moment because God is good and knew He needed to move me immediately.

It seriously made me realize that yes, my time is important, but not as important as being kind to the people I come into contact with. I probably didn’t improve the life of the woman I snapped at, so there is obviously some room for growth on my end. But I couldn’t imagine blaming and complaining and bitching at people who are all doing their jobs and attempting to help. That was the only way I could think of to not participate in this woman’s attempt at blaming someone else for an experience that wasn’t REALLY that big of a deal.
I once heard Oprah say, “You’re either helping people or you’re hurting them.” Ever since I heard her say that nearly 10 years ago, I decided I always wanted to be helping. I’m not 100% successful, but I’d say about 85% of the time I am helping people more than I am hurting them. I let people in in traffic because I always imagine someone is in a rush to the hospital or to a job interview. I try to enjoy conversations the strangers in Walmart start with me. I like to look cashiers in the eye and make a special point to say thank you to the people who bag my groceries. I ENJOY being that kind of a person. (I know that my kindness and willingness to help annoys some people, but I guess that just proves you can’t make everybody happy.)
Who would you have been in the grocery store situation today? Would you have complained? Snapped a little at the complainer? Stood silent? Texted someone?
And who would you have wanted to be?

BTW I pulled out of the parking lot before that lady even left the store and I made it to carpool on time. <snap snap>

I Don’t Need Glasses

Last night, Bear held up his phone to my face to show me a funny text.
I slowly pushed his hand away from my face until my eyes could focus on the words.
“Can you not see that?” he asked.
“Yes, I can see it.”
“Why’d you push it back?”
“Because I can’t see it up close like that.”
“You need to get your eyes checked, babe.”
“I DO NOT.”
“I’m just saying, you’ve said you’ve been squinting and straining lately. Probably time.”
“I DON’T NEED GLASSES.”

I got home from carpool this morning and scheduled an appointment at a local eye clinic for an exam. Bear called me a few minutes later.
“Whatcha doing?”
“I just made an eye exam appointment.”
“You want me to come with you?”
“NO. I’m not SCARED because I DON’T NEED GLASSES.”
“Ok. What time’s your appointment?”
“11am.”
“You want me to pick you up or meet you there?”
“Pick me up if you can…”

We arrived at the eye clinic and the receptionist asked me about my eye health history.
“Astigmatism?”
“No.”
“Glaucoma?”
“No.”
“Glasses or contacts?”
“Neither. I don’t wear glasses.”
“Oh! Ok…”
“I just need an eye exam.”
“Ok, not a problem! Just fill out this paperwork and I’ll meet you in that little room.”

Bear and I went to the little room and I began filling out the paperwork. “Can you read that?” Bear asked me.
“Shut up, yes. I can read it.”
Bear held up two fingers. “How many fingers?”
“Shut up.”
“Ms. Salem? Hi there. I’m going to get you started.” A lovely, young eye technician with shiny green eyes and deep brown skin took her seat across from me. I liked her. She seemed nice.

Bear documented.

Photorapdadon.

We started with the regular eye chart. I could read all the letters, no problem. She then used a little machine to puff air into my eyeballs. I don’t know why. All of this seemed really silly. I don’t need glasses, so it was all sort of a waste of time.
She informed me I was to wait for the eye doctor to meet me in the room with the giant machine called a phoropter. I prefer to call it a photorapdadon. Because it looks like a metal dinosaur with lots of eyes.
I was going to miss her.
The doctor, a petite Asian man in a petite-sized suit, walked in and introduced briefly. Then he placed an eye chart in front of me and pulled the photorapdadon in front of my face. I looked through the photorapdadon’s different eye holes and read off the letters on the eye chart. Easily.
See? I don’t need glasses.
Then, the doctor started flipping these little lenses back and forth inside the photorapdadon eyes asking which looked clearer. He’d say, “Lens 1. Lens 2. Which is clearer?”
The trouble was that they were all really similar for me. 1 and 2 were such a close call that I couldn’t tell which one was clearer. And he kept prodding, “1 or 2. 1 or 2,” flipping the lenses back and forth.
“I…I don’t know…”
“1? 2. 1. 2.” <flip flip>
“I’m not sure.”
“1 or 2.” <flip flip>
“1, I guess?”
“1 or 2.” <flip flip>
“1. 1. I’ll go with 1…”
He flipped the photorapdadon around again and flipped more lenses, asking which looked blurry or clear, all while telling me not to squint or strain or try to hard to see…which was like, impossible. How are you supposed to take an eye test without trying to see? I felt so much pressure.
Then he told me to lean my head back for eye drops. “These will burn,” he said, which didn’t really feel like enough of a warning. They burned a lot. “That’ll take about 10 minutes. Go pick out a pair of frames, pay, and I’ll take one last look and we’ll be done.”
“Wait. Pick frames?”
“Yes. From the far wall.”
“For who?” The little doctor left. “Frames for WHO?”

This was the quite unceremonious way I found out I need glasses today.

What the doctor didn’t explain was that he’d just dilated my pupils. Having never had my pupils dilated before, I didn’t realize that “that’ll take 10 minutes” meant I would basically be blind within 10 minutes. Which makes it seem like a very silly time to be choosing eyeglass frames…

I literally couldn’t see Bear while he took this picture of me.

Bear helped me choose two pair we both liked and then led me back to a chair because I COULDN’T SEE ANYTHING. Another employee wrote up my order and billed me for the exam. I tried to pay but I literally couldn’t see the credit card machine. “I can’t see ANYTHING.”
“That’ll go away in an hour or so,” the employee said.
“Is this how people who can’t see feel? I mean, this must be terrible. I can’t see anything.”
“Yeah. It’ll get better in a while.”
“I can’t see ANYTHING on my phone.”
“Yeah.”
“I’m a little dramatic.”
“I hadn’t noticed…”

Finally, the little doctor called me back in for my final round of torture. If you thought the pressure of the photorapdadon was bad, wait until you sit in a chair with your pupils the size of your whole eyeball while a tiny doctor shines light DIRECTLY INTO THEM.
“OW!” I said.
“Yes, I know.”
Like…that doesn’t help me. The fact that you know actually makes it worse. You should have said something if you KNEW this was going to be an OW.
He used a sideways microscope-looking machine along with his flashlight from hell to examine the INSIDE of my eyeball for THREE HOURS. (Yes, it was about 4 minutes, Bear, I know.) Then, he whisked all the eyeball equipment away and I tried to focus on him while he read me the results:
“You have a very slight need for prescription. You probably wouldn’t notice it if you didn’t use computers all day. This prescription will get worse in the coming years and by the time you’re about 42 or 43, you’ll need bifocals. For now, just wear glasses while you’re in front of the computer or reading. Here is your prescription. Have a great day.”

So there ya have it folks. I walked into the eye clinic able to see without a need for glasses and walked out completely blind holding my new glasses prescription. It feels a liiiiiitle like a conspiracy to me.
I guess….yay new accessories?
(I still don’t think I need glasses.”

1 2 3 4 72