I Dread Birthdays

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Birthday BlissIn about a month, I’m going to be 35 whole years old. I’m so disappointed in myself. You see, 20ish years ago I had mapped out these grand plans. I was supposed to be running a creative department somewhere in the Real City by my 32nd birthday. Scratch that. By my late 20s, I realized it was time to reevaluate. I knew I was past the point of comfortably living within my means in NYC, so I decided I’d go for different fulfillment. I’d work so hard and be successful in my unexpected career path. I worked 80 hours a week convinced that if I put in the time, effort and worked three jobs at once I could pay off my condo before I turn 40. Which would require me being at a certain point financially and professionally by my 35th birthday. And here I’m not.

So life isn’t what I was expecting and in the last 10 years I’ve had the best and worst moments of my life to date. I got the best job I ever had and loved it. I had the rare, wonderful experience of working with a group of people who were smart, talented and actually worked as a team. I learned more from two managers than I could ever imagine learning in a lifetime. Then a merger took that job. I’ve got another one, and it’s not the best, but there’s been worse. I got my newest puppy and he’s awesome. I lost a puppy to juvenile lymphoma. I almost lost my condo to the bank, but I didn’t and I can pay just fine now. But I can’t sell and get away from my hideous neighbors. One of my closest friends defriended me for reasons unknown, also my concert going friend. But before she did I got to see Rob Zombie up close and personal twice and Ozzy from the front of the pit, so close I could see up his nostrils. Those were great best times. My brother moved back to my state and I get to hang out with him all the time. My mom had three types of cancer and followed up that fun year with almost not making it out of heart surgery complications last month. But she’s better now.

I was sued, cleaned out financially thanks to the lawsuit, ended relationships with people who I thought would always be my friends, had a couple car accidents, ended my only real adult relationship, my uncle died – but I’m fulfilling some lifelong goals like competing in fitness, testing for level 2 Krav Maga, weighing less than I did in high school (while superficial, super important to me), had 2 normal conversations with my dad and exactly 10 years ago I earned my M.S. degree.

So while throwing a little pity party today, I started realizing I’m not where I want to be, but maybe I’m where I need to be. It hasn’t been easy getting here, but I have the great parts to hold on to.

#FML…. Not

I am the queen of labeling things “First World Problems.” I’m sure it’s annoying to the majority of the people I interact with that I’m constantly reminding them that things in their life that they consider to be the end of the world are really just minor inconveniences.

One night recently, I was visiting with my maternal unit and she was complaining that she needed to put her fresh from the dryer sheets onto her pillow top mattress before she could go to sleep. I quickly reminded her that this was most definitely a first-world problem. In other parts of the world people cram several family members onto an animal or bug infested mattress, most likely with no sheets – that’s if they’re lucky enough to have a mattress.

Something that quite upsets me is the use of the term FML. For those of you not in the know, FML is short for F*ck My Life. To me, if you write FML after a statement you’re saying that what has just happened to you is so life altering your life is pretty much over.

Disturbed doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings when I read the following statement:
“Woke up to a flat tire, going to be late for work because I have to wait for AAA. FML”
Reasons why your life is not f*cked (all contained in the above statement):
a) you own a car
b) you have a job
c) you have AAA (and subsequently are not having to change the flat while dressed for the office)

As Lucy mentioned in her entry introducing us to you, I do a lot of volunteer work with a charitable organization, as a result many of my Facebook friends and twitter tweeps are cancer survivors. They have literally been through hell and back and have lived to tell the tail – lets just say that I never read FML on any of their entries into social media.

So I ask, before you use those three initials after a post in social media, think for a minute – “will my life end as a result of this?” or “is my life truly f*cked?”

To make this exercise a little easier I have included a list of items that most people in this world would agree are worthy of #firstworldproblems and most definitely not #FML. Please note these are just a few examples:
– my crush doesn’t know I exist
– any car trouble (excluding being stalled in the fast lane during rush hour, because that may actually result in someone’s death)
– someone told me that I look like an ugly celebrity
– I didn’t study for an exam and I failed
– running out of detergent in the middle of doing laundry (also, running out of paper towels while washing windows)
– I dropped my smartphone and cracked the screen
– the barista at Starbucks gave me 2 shots of espresso instead of 3

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Take Time to Smell the Roses

So the other day I was perusing an email from my gym trying to scope out the upcoming workout that I had signed up for. The emails that the owner/coach sends out are often filled with lots of good, inspirational stuff so I try to read it all the way through to try and readjust my attitude.

On this particular day I came across reference to this article entitled “The Day I Stopped Saying Hurry Up.”

I read the article and almost broke down in tears. I, like many women, am over scheduled. I am constantly running around, often chasing my tail. And I am dragging the roommate along with me. Granted about 90% of the running around we do is related to her activities (not only does she not pay rent but she can’t drive either). What am I doing to her? I really need to slow down and reasses.

Tonight, I took 1/3 of my brother’s offspring on a walk. Without knowing I had been thinking about hurrying less, this beautiful four year old said “can I smell the flowers?” Seriously the girl is a genius. “Absolutely,” I replied, and we stood on the front lawn of a church smelling the flowers. She also threw in this tidbit of wisdom: “We shouldn’t pick the flowers because they were planted for everyone to enjoy.”

So I leave you with this advice:

Take time to smell the roses, just be sure to leave them so someone else can enjoy them too.

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Jack of All Trades and a Master of More Than One

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Barbie_Jack_of_All_Trades_9920When I’m not busy trolling sugardaddy.com, I spend more time than I think I realize on LinkedIn. I have professional aspirations too after all. I can’t find the article, but recently I read one about being an “And.” The author was saying how he’s a photographer, freelance writer and I can’t remember the rest. Anyway, he noticed how as soon as he mentioned he was a Photographer and a… or a Writer and a… people drifted off, assuming he wasn’t good enough at one thing, so he clearly had to do more than one thing, which isn’t the case. He does all these things, and does them well.

I’ve noticed a lot of the same in my own life. I’m a Communications professional, but this does not satisfy me on any level beyond a paycheck (that still does not satisfy my bills, including the student loans I needed to land the position). I help no one but a large company with values that aren’t my own make money.

I’m a fitness instructor, nutritionist and personal trainer. I’m a freelance social media consultant. I’m a freelance graphic designer. I’m a freelance model. I’m a blogger. I’m a whole lot of “ands” and I’m pretty good at all of them. Here’s the thing. I bore easily. In my full-time job, I don’t satisfy my need to help people. Helping people get healthy and achieve goals – that does. I enjoy graphic design, but I didn’t want to get stuck in a career that was so rigidly defined. I really like getting dressed up and wandering around in professionally applied makeup – and found a way to get paid to do so. I love seeing a small business grow, and being able to give them the marketing advice to help is satisfaction for me. So I choose to be a Jack of All Trades or an “And,” however you define it. It doesn’t make me any less effective in any one area, I think the experiences make me better in every career I take on. After all, I did grow up with Barbie as a role model, and there is nothing that doll can’t do.

A Very Special (Almost) No Sex In The City

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I have found myself wishing recently that I was a Cosby. A perfectly good nuclear family in the middle of the city. A family who had to be living well – Dad a well known OBGYN, whose practice was conveniently located in the family home, allowing Mom to slay dragons and fight for the little guy in the courtroom as a partner in what we can only assume is a high profile law practice. Those kids were rarely home alone, and always had Mom or Dad checking up on their studies and social life, all while being able to lip-synch and choreograph dance routines to 1930s jazz standards to celebrate their grandparents’ wedding anniversaries.

Sure Cliff and Clair faced some parenting challenges – remember when Vanessa and her friends got hammered playing a drinking game? Or how about when they found Theo’s joint? Those are issues that I am sure many parents in the 80s dealt with, along with sex, teen pregnancy and HIV. I’m sure the 80s were scary times to be a parent.

Flash forward almost 30 years since the Huxtable family first entered our living rooms.

Kids are disappearing daily, if not hourly all over the country. Sick, twisted individuals are out there waiting to prey on our children. And now, unlike the 80s, a lot of times these individuals are closer to our kids than we think.

Last night I spent two hours at the roommate’s school listening to a mandatory presentation on Internet safety. The FBI loaned us a guy for the night who filled us in on all sorts of scary topics – sadly most of them ending up in the death of a child or teen, either by their own hand or a predator’s. I honestly couldn’t digest all the information given to me. One of the scarier statistics was that two pedophiles a month are arrested in our state by the FBI (this figure does not include state and local law enforcement arrests).

Holy shit. Seriously.

So we don’t just have to worry about the parenting problems that plagued the 80s, but now parents have to constantly troll various social networks looking to see not only what our kids are up to, but to see what they’re looking at and who their “friends” are. We have had to give lectures to them about not taking any pictures of their body parts, not accepting friend requests or follow requests from anyone they doesn’t know, what they need to do if they receive a picture of someone else’s body parts or if they are generally uncomfortable with a situation.

When I was her age (back in the aforementioned glorious 80s) I was still playing with Barbies, and watching in awe as Denise went off to Hillman, not worried about a grown man sending me a picture of his junk (I was saving that gem for my 30s apparently).

Technology has brought us so many good things (for example my ability to type this blog on my phone, treatments for cancer, etc) but at the same time it has brought the bad people closer to our children.

Unlike the Cosby Show, these problems won’t be solved in 30 minutes (or even 60 if it was to be continued…). As parents, we need to be vigilant and stay on top of things. Maybe by the time they’re 40 (I hope) we can relax and give them some of their privacy back.

Next time on (Almost) No Sex In The City…

Sugar Daddy. How Bad Could It Be?

Time for a Sugar DaddyHere’s the thing. In four years, I’ve met, dated and/or hooked up with a few men. The ones I could stand to be on a date with stopped calling or contacting me. Here’s the line up:

  1. My ex. Actually the best of the bunch, but he’s my ex for a reason or 12.
  2. A short round boy, who seemed nice, until he blew me off twice because he was more interested in sitting home and smoking pot.*
  3. The Non Boyfriend
  4. Another fluffy pot smoker who forgot me at a restaurant because like #2, he really needed to stay home and smoke instead. He was also a pretty mean SOB.*
  5. A very young, very good looking recovering alcoholic who whipped out gay porn the second time we hooked up.
  6. A good looking dude who I liked hanging out with, but hated having sex with, but hey, he was nice. He just stopped talking to me one day.
  7. A fix-up with a know it all who loved pointing out how much older I am than him (1.5 years older). His idea of sex was straight out of the hotel scene with Justin and Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher. Google it if you’ve missed the movie. And it’s hilarious and you should watch the movie anyway.
  8. Another very young, cute boy who I enjoyed dating. He also stopped talking to me.

*Side note, these catches that could only make a girl swoon were from friends’ fix ups. Thanks so much for thinking this is the kind of man I’m worthy of.

Typically, if a man hits on me at all he’s 1. Homeless. For real, I’ve got a fan club of homeless dudes that hang out near my workplace. One even shook my hand like he was meeting the president last week. 2. Older than my dad. 3. Socially incapable – this includes the man who walked up to me at a bar and licked my arm. No notice, conversation, introduction -nada, just tongue on arm. The only reason his tongue wasn’t ripped out of his throat was my friend grabbed me and walked me out immediately.

All this has led me to the thought, why not just go the sugar daddy route? Apparently, I can’t date a man I’m attracted to anyway. If there’s even a bit of attraction, the dude stops contacting. If there’s a lot of attraction, he just messes with my head. Damn Non Boyfriend. And I’m broke. Student loans, vet bills (it’s like having a human with cancer and no insurance, do the math), two mortgages. The monthly basics, I’m talking lights and food here, combined with the debt equal more than I make. I am a “middle class” person who has not been able to go to work because I could not afford to put gas in my car to get there. So why not?

I did some googling, and apparently the sugar daddy relationship is considered the equivalent of prostitution. And here’s another slap in the face, I’m about 10 years too old for the typical arrangement. Damn, when did I get so old? But considering my options for men, relationships, career and money, I may just give it a whirl.

What Women Do For Beauty…

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As women, most of us do a lot to stay healthy and in shape. I’m sure some women do not have the same beauty and health routine that I do. Some of you probably don’t have the time or patience. But since I’m a third owner of this blog, I’m going to tell you a little bit about my daily routine. I’m the type of woman who spends about an hour getting ready in the morning. Yes, I will admit it, on any given day it usually takes me about an hour to get ready for work. Sometimes 45 minutes on a good day. This, of course, is after my 15-20 minute cup of coffee which helps me to gear up for the beauty routine you are about to read. What, you ask, do I do that takes me about an hour to get ready?? Well, here is my routine in a nutshell:

First I shower and wash my hair, then I cleanse my face, apply a variety of body, face, and eye lotions, dry my hair, hot iron my hair, dry my hair again, pick out my clothes, iron my clothes, get dressed, pick out my shoes, put on my makeup and pick out my jewelry. Some may think my routine is ridiculous and may even call it vain, but I just like to look put together for the professional job that I have to head to every day. And I will also admit that I’m a lover of fashion, so I feel that I’m not just picking out clothes, but putting together an outfit. I know, some of you are rolling your eyes and thats fine.

In addition to my beauty routine, I spend a lot of time trying to stay healthy and fit. So my mornings (sometimes evenings if I can get my act together) also consist of packing my lunch and multiple snacks for the day as well as packing my gym bag. Four to five days a week you will also find me sweating through hour long gym sessions. In addition, I try to keep up on my doctors appointments which include monthly chiropractic and massage therapy sessions. Despite my hours in the gym, obsession with every piece of food that goes in my body, and general health care routine, I still have……the dreaded cellulite! I know, I know, I can probably thank my mom for this because much of it is genetic.

I’m always looking a new and improved creams, lotions, and potions to help me tone up those troubled areas of my body. Today I came across a technique that I (eventually) was a little skeptical about. Of course I ran right to my blog sisters to tell them about this new procedure I heard about and, of course, Sally had already heard about this and warned me to be skeptical. The procedure I’m going to tell you about guaranteed to help get rid of unwanted cellulite in only three, twenty minute sessions. Now, here is a girl who has spent a lot of her hard earned money on a variety of cellulite creams and countless hours scrubbing, buffing, etc.  So, of course, my initial thought was, “a massage that will get rid of my cellulite in only 20 minutes a day, where do I sign up”?? Then, I did a little more reading and digging. Warning: some of the images on google are not pretty! The procedure is known as Cupping and is a form of massage therapy. Cupping is supposedly a gentle, non-invasive way to soften areas of tension in the body. It is a way of applying deep tissue massage on your back and legs through the use of glass, plastic, or rubber cups. OK, so far so good. To create a vacuum, a cotton ball is soaked in alcohol then ignited (yikes!) and inserted into the cup, which will then evacuate some of the air. The cup is then placed on the skin and once a suction is created, the cups are moved over your back or legs until softening of the muscle is observed. Ouch this sounds kind of painful! The website goes on to say that the technique may leave a temporary mark on your skin that should go away somewhere between a couple of hours and 10 days. (hmm…so which is it? 2 hours or 10 days?).

Despite the igniting and suctioning of my skin, the temporary marks, and the not so cheap price tag, I am actually considering this as part of my beauty routine!! Am I considering this because the website has a variety of celebrities who endorse this? Or perhaps because Dr. Oz did a segment on this? Am I crazy?? So, this got me wondering what other women have tried in the name of beauty. What kinds of procedures have you subjected your body to in order to look good?

I Don’t Live Up To My Potential

So, I am the product of an all-girls Catholic high school, a college preparatory school. It’s an interesting paradox – you spend half the time focusing on being a strong woman willing to accept any challenges and leadership roles that are thrown at you, and the rest of the time focused on what your role is as a good, Catholic woman. (And we all know how highly the Catholic Church looks on women.)

While at this school, we were encouraged, if not pushed, to continue to not only a four-year college/university, but to challenge ourselves (translation: sink an ass-load of cash into our college educations). So I applied to all private schools, I would never dream of applying to a local, state-funded (read: cheaper than what my parents spent on high school) school. So if you’re following my ramblings – I have a shit-ton of debt and most of it is related to my undergraduate education and degree, as well as my failed attempts at graduate school.

Another thing my high school encouraged us to do was to aim high career wise – our career days were filled with alums who were attorneys, pediatricians, educators, scientists, etc. Honestly as an adult, reflecting on these career days has only led me to feel like a failure as the strong, professional leader they had spent four years training me to be.

I followed their advice, I am the holder of a four-year degree, yet I am not an attorney, doctor, educator, or scientist. I spend my days supporting educators. I had an epiphany today that they couldn’t do their job effectively if I didn’t do my job effectively. Yet, I am not compensated for the degree I hold, nor am I compensated appropriately for the importance of my position. (At least this is my opinion.)

So I sit, with $70k of educational loans, with income that doesn’t commensurate with my debt. All because I took the advice of my over-achieving guidance counselor. Had I not listened to her and listened to my mother (cringe) I would have little-to-no debt, and would probably have had a much different path.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with my life overall. My roommate is quite wonderful, and I know had my path been different she may not be the person she is, and consequently I wouldn’t be the person I am. My house small, but is the perfect size for the two of us (at least until she becomes full-sized). My car is nothing special, but it runs and is very safe, and paid for. My friends are absolutely amazing, and my family couldn’t be more supportive. But I wonder if I would be in a better place financially if I went to a less-expensive college, or had taken a different career-path.

Am I a failure to the almost $16k my parents dropped on my high school because I’m not living up to the potential that was expected and instilled into me? Or is it OK for me to just exist professionally and not excel?

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I Should’ve Listened to My Psychic and My Lawyer

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The Condo LifeI read an article on LinkedIn a week or so ago about how people of my generation often trust their friends’ and family members’ opinions over an expert opinion because we naturally distrust experts. I gave it some thought, and yep, I distrust the experts and seek advice from family and friends a lot. But honestly, what do they know? Most of them thought buying a home was one of the best things I could ever have done. Except my brother. I believe his comment was, “Why would you want to buy this Popsicle stand?” He’s a dumb kid, what’s he know anyway.

My psychic warned me. How’s a psychic an expert? Not all are, not many are even psychic. Judge me all you’d like, but I have been fortunate enough to have met a psychic who was gifted and good at her craft. She gave me a lot of advice and I should’ve listened more closely. I’d tell her she was right (she always said, “you know I’m right, so just do it.”), but she passed some years ago. One of the things she told me the last time I saw her was get out of your condo now. Sell it. Take a loss. It doesn’t matter, just get out.

I did have my place on the market for two years. I have a horrible commute and housing is cheaper near my work place, so I thought why not move. But then the housing market went upside down, and luckily I’m not upside down in my mortgage, but I can’t sell and break even on the amount of renovations and repairs I’ve done (again I should’ve taken the loss like a smart woman told me). There are so many foreclosed condos in my neighborhood, getting reasonable comps is close to impossible and people would rather buy a foreclosed property at less than half my asking price. My job is nothing more than a paycheck, so I changed my thinking and decided I’d just find work close to home instead. I like my part of the state better than my job anyway. But the employment market is about as awesome as the housing market.

Before my psychic gave me some not so subtle hints, I had a great lawyer at the closing of my condo. I was 22 and signing my life away on my first mortgage. He had some trouble getting the right paperwork and answers out of my condo association. The association also had a lawsuit against it. My lawyer said, maybe this wasn’t an association I’d want to deal with and asked me again, without telling me, are you sure you want to purchase this condo with this association? Of course! At my age, I’d have this condo paid off before I turned 40. Isn’t home ownership some kind of ultimate end goal?! And you should see the cabinets in the kitchen… Yeah, luckily I’m not a rocket scientist for a living, right?

So here I am, more than 10 years later. Since the purchase of my condo, I’ve went into some substantial debt fixing furnaces, roofs, hot water heaters, central AC units, plumbing – you name it, I’ve replaced it. I also didn’t have the savings built up for the two layoffs I had along the way. I have the neighbors from hell. I’ve been sued twice as a result of things that happened at my condo – the last suit only cost me about 18k to fix. A post to come on how you can’t foresee contractors hiring thieves who sue their clients. Come to think of it, a friend also recommended that contractor. But this place is all mine. Don’t get me wrong, I have a sick attachment to this place and I’m okay with the fact that I’m living a ghetto fabulous life filled with car chases, guns, delinquent children running amok and cops who don’t do a thing about any of it. This super cute dysfunctional place is very me and even if I did move, I have no idea where I’d go without a major life change way out of state. But next time I’m on the fence about a major life decision, I’ll be turning to proven experts for advice.

Things Single People Are Tired of Hearing

I came across this great article the other day. It was titled, “24 Things Single People are Tired of Hearing.” As I read through this list, I was amazed as to how many of these people have said to me. I can take no credit whatsoever for this list, but the author, Ashley Perez, nailed it. All married, or happy relationship people, please take note. I’m getting damn tired of hearing these.

1. “How are you still single? You are so great!” You actually think this makes us feel better?!?! Stop. Now.

2. “It’ll happen when you least expect it.” (Mother, if you are reading this, pay extra close attention to this one!) At this point I don’t expect it to happen and haven’t for some time. So…where is he then?

3. “Don’t you ever get lonely?” No, I love coming home to an empty house, every day, all day, all year long. Empty except for my cat. (See #14).

4. “Aren’t you worried you won’t be able to have kids?” Not really, although apparently my gynecologist was two years ago when she offered up alternative suggestions to having kids at the ripe old age of 31 (adoption, in-vitro, etc).

5. “Are you seeing anyone?” Yes, I keep him hidden in the closet so no one else can snag him!

6. “You should try online dating. My friend met their husband/wife that way.” Gee, there’s something I’ve never thought about!

7. “They don’t deserve you.” Probably not, but I still don’t want you saying this to me.

8. “You are such a catch.” Umm this I know. Please see above.

9. “Don’t worry, you’ll find someone someday.” Yes, apparently while my eggs are drying up.

10. “He’s just not ready for a serious commitment yet.” i.e. he’s just not that into you

11. “One day when you’re married, you’ll wish you were single.” Oh dear sisters take note if you are reading. “You’re so lucky you don’t have to deal with in-laws”

12. “There are plenty of fish in the sea.” Is Nemo single?

13. “You’re just too picky.” I think this one irritates me the most! Really? So what are you telling me that I need to lower my standards and accept anything that falls at my feet?

14. “Just don’t turn into some crazy cat lady.” Yeah….ok….probably too late. But one cat doesn’t necessarily equal crazy cat lady, right?!

15. “S/he probably just lost your number.” i.e. he’s just not that into you. I’m sensing a theme here.

16. At a wedding: “You better get out there, they are doing the bouquet toss.” Great, I can’t wait to be paraded in front of my family and friends with a big “Yup, she’s STILL single” sign on my forehead.

17. “You’re just too busy right now.” Feeding all of my cats.

18. “You have to love yourself before you can love someone else.” This one ties with #13 for the most irritating statement. I freakin rock so this can’t be the issue.

19. In reference to your best friend: “Have you guys ever thought of dating?” Probably the only one that has not been said to me.

20. “I can’t wait to meet your future spouse, they are going to be amazing.” Um…well yeah, he married me, so,…?

21. “We’ll all be laughing about this someday.” Really? Cause I don’t think my love life, or lack thereof, is a joke. Actually, when you think about some of the dates I’ve been on recently, it is quite comical. Insert date where boy almost crapped his pants.

22. “You should let me set you up, I know the perfect person for you.” OK, so where have you been hiding him??

23. “Don’t give up, it’ll happen.” Not according to my gynecologist…..

24. “You don’t need anyone. DAMN RIGHT!”

So, yes I type this as I sit here on a Friday night, with my cat, sipping (i.e. chugging) a glass of red wine. Do us all a favor and please refrain from using any of the above statements in our presence and we will refrain from inflicting bodily harm on you. images-3