And because this blog has been too damn serious as of late…

I present you with this, from the oatmeal:

pterodactyl_video

You are welcome!

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I am lucky

I’ve had a rough week at work, hell a rough month.  I started out the day grumpy, sleep-deprived and a general horror to be around.  But I finished my workday in a timely fashion, hours earlier than anyone else in the office and had a wonderful afternoon with the kids at my son’s camp luau.

It was there that I was told I was lucky for the third time this week.  It was about something small.  Last night, I was supposed to do online groups at home, until midnight, but my power went out, so I did a mad rush to a hotel to make it all happen, which was beyond stressful.  But everything turned out great and my husband even came and stayed over, all on the company dime (hence my luck).  So it was a successful evening with some fun and I now have a good story to tell.

My life and my job are rarely boring.  So this afternoon, I started to really focus on all the ways I was lucky.  When we came home from the luau, the kids and I did my standard I am tired dinner and carpet picnic and we did a lot of cuddling.  I realized I had been smiling all afternoon – a stark contrast to my fire breathing mood, mere hours earlier.  After I tucked the kids in, I was coming downstairs to write a post all about how lucky I was feeling to be me today.

That is the precise moment I got a phone call that saddened me deeply, not because the news I received is going to impact my life in any tangible way, but because of who I am as a person and because of the impact it will have on the lives of others, people I care about.  I am not going to say anything more about this, because it’s not my news, not my tragedy.  But through my sadness, I realized again, I am lucky, and what better time to focus on what is good in the world than now.

So my blog post shall go on as planned, even if it is now largely to cheer myself up.

The main reason I think I am lucky is that my life has two wonderful sides.  I get to go to my kid’s luaus and soccer games and cuddle and watch movies while I work, and I get to have this career that I find fulfilling and endlessly interesting, all at the same time.

Yesterday, I was talking to neurologists and sailing enthusiasts all in one day!  Last week, I was in Mexico talking about french fries.  Next week, I get to go to San Diego (one of my favorite cities) to talk about a website and hopefully have some free time to finish up my book.  And more often than not, I get to work with some really great people.  Even though I often find my job exhausting and sometimes overwhelming, I do truly love it and how many people can say that?  Not very many.

I had lots more good stuff to share, but I am tired and don’t remember much more about it, so I shall post this and sign off.  I am going to sniff my new Kate Spade purse (Happy Birthday!), check in on my sleeping angels and curl up in bed with Hell’s Kitchen.

And I going to try to continue to appreciate all that I have and all the people I love.

It’s 12pm and I know where my sanity is….at least roughly

And today, I feel lucky to be able to say that, because clearly not everyone can.  I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as a bad person.  In my mind, all people are inherently good and act on what they perceive to be the best intentions.  Today, that is a harder sentiment to accept, but I believe it anyway.  (Mind you, I recognize that if I had known one of the victims, I might be saying something else right now).

But right now, yes, I believe all people have good intentions, but you know what they say about the road to hell.  There are people walking around among us, perhaps living in our neighborhoods or even our homes who are damaged – who for one reason or another do not have proper judgment when it comes to what is right and what is wrong.  And they need help.  But first the people who love them need to not only recognize the warning signs but act upon them, or this problem is only going to get worse.

In my lifetime, there have now been 9 mass shooting incidents, and who knows how many other tragedies caused by mentally ill people that are not as newsworthy.  Even a single suicide has far-reaching effects within the person’s family, their friends and society as a whole.  It doesn’t make the news, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make an impact.

And I think what it comes down to, is that there is too much societal stigma surrounding mental illness.  I am not going to pretend to know what James Holmes’ mother was thinking or feeling, when she said “You have the right person,” but to me, that sounds like a woman who saw some signs.  I don’t know what signs she saw or if/how she acted upon them, but I think it points to something important – We as a society need to stop being embarrassed or ashamed by our collective mental illnesses.

I think we all know someone who suffers from some kind of addiction and/or mental illness, whether it be mild depression or something more serious like schizophrenia.  We need to stop burying these issues and put them in the forefront.  We need to watch out for “the signs” in ourselves and other people and tell other people to watch out for us, when we can’t do it ourselves.  We need to accept the help we need and get others the help they need, whether they recognize it or not, even if it’s hard, even if it might be an overreaction, even if it’s not a popular choice.

I know it’s easier said than done, but I think if we all work together, we can build a society, where people will feel comfortable admitting they have a problem, that they need help and a society where people can readily get help without judgment.

I think it’s the only hope and it starts on an individual level.  So all of you who know me, if you think I have honestly lost my sanity, I beg of you, help me find it, and I will do the same.

(Or at minimum, shoot me – a little inside joke there that 3 of you might get.)

Another home away from home

As you know, I travel a lot and there are a number of cities that have begun to feel like home.  These cities tend to fall into two different groups.

Cities I go to A LOT, like Dallas, Los Angeles, Boston.  In these cities:

  • I know the airport like the back of my hand.
  • The hotel employees recognize me.  I know the different room layouts, have preferences and feel comfortable there.  I don’t have the “I am not sleeping in my own bed” feeling that keeps me from sleeping.
  • I have a routine there, that is just for that place, and I schedule my work around that routine.  In Dallas, I set aside time to go to the mall.  It is my favorite mall in the whole country.  In Los Angeles, I make sure I have time to eat breakfast outside at the W Westwood restaurant (assuming they will let me – I get strange looks when it is 40 degrees) and I go for a walk around Westwood at some point.
  • I even have a food routine.  I have at least one Starbucks location I frequent in each of these cities.  In Boston, I have to get the seafood risotto.  In Dallas, I must get Five Guys, and will even ask the hotel to get it for me, if my flight is running late.  In Los Angeles, I must get Diddy Reise, In n Out Burger and often some Jamba Juice.

And cities that have a definite feel/personality that fit my personality, like Boston, San Diego and now Austin.  These cities:

  • Know who they are and shout about it, especially Austin and San Diego.  Boston has a quieter feel, but it’s a Northeast vibe that I enjoy.
  • Have cool stores, boutiques, etc., especially with a homemade/artsy feel.
  • Are walkable
  • Have a history
  • Value food in all its forms, from cheap to fancy.

I am very happy to have just added Austin to this list.  I am currently on the flight home from my first trip there.  Within moments of getting off the plane, I knew what Austin would be like and it made me smile.  I only spent a few hours exploring the city, but I definitely fell in love with the culture, the food (best margarita and best fish taco I have ever had at Guero’s) and the people.  Next time I come and there will be a next time, possibly even with the family, I shall be touring all the food trucks, especially the one with the Electric Cock sign, because how could I not?

And I will be capping off the month with a trip to San Diego, with tons of downtime, so Yay!