I Can Eat a Quart of Ice Cream Because I Ate an Apple Yesterday (and Other Excuses)

I did it again.  I woke up in the middle of the night, eyes wide open.

“Damn, I didn’t post!”

But, Tuesday hasn’t technically started for me, even though its 3:00am, so I can write now and it will still count for yesterday.  It’s still Monday night, right?  I mean, I didn’t mean to fall asleep, I had plans to write.

Then I starting thinking how late I’ll be if I woke up now and became functional, only to go back to sleep for two hours until my work alarm goes off.  So I got up, turned the TV off, lights off and hit the shower.  Better to get ahead of the game, plus I do some of my best thinking in the shower; except that I usually get on a mental “roll” in there and forget what I was going to write by the time I’m done.  I started thinking that I should keep a recorder outside of the tub in case I have any ideas that are earth shattering.  Then, because it’s 3am, I came up with a silly line about I can make a joke about those plastic flute-like recorders 4th graders get, and how that wouldn’t help my blog writing.  Sure glad I didn’t use that one.  Whew.

But really, I’m sure I’m not alone in the incessant excuse making.  I don’t think I use them when it comes to others, pretty much just for myself.  I’m a selfish excuse maker.  Here are some of the best I’ve come up with in the last week.

  • I’m not going to the gym.  Those people who never go and make a New Year’s resolution go and it gets too crowded.
  • I’ve gained a few pounds.  It’s probably because I’m stressed at work or my metabolism is starting to slow down at 28.  It can’t be because I’ve been on a cookie diet since Christmas.
  • (To my husband)  Yes, I saw the apples went bad.  Why didn’t YOU eat them?  I didn’t eat them because I didn’t want leave you without any.  (Ok, so maybe I’m not so selfish with myexcuses after all.)
  • I had to buy those boots, because they sent me a $10 coupon and then there was another sale ad for 20% off.  It would be like wasting money if I didn’t use them.
  • I know we just bought the Girl Scout cookies, but if we don’t eat them it’ll be like the tragedy of 2011, when we forgot about a box of shortbreads on top of the fridge and they got stale.  (Reference second excuse here)

At least I’m not murdering people or doing harm to others with my excuses.  They are really harmless.  Oh man, I just tried to validate my excuses.

Puggy Love

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Pugs are pretty popular. Ours has been popular since we got him eight years ago. Locally, he has following. A few years ago, girls in my brother’s high school had designed shirts with his picture on it and people constantly ask about him as if he’s our actual child. I don’t know if it’s because the dog is special, or we are…

Oscar Irwin found his way into my heart 8 years ago, at a time when pretty much any responsibility seemed like a hassle. He reminded us of George Burns, with his rawhide looking like a cigar and his old man face.  I won’t bore you with the details, but I knew I had to have him; even though the seller told me he was discounted because he was “defective”.  That’s right, she called my dog defective.  He is not a dented can of soup; he is a living and barely breathing pug. There was no way I could leave him with those people.  I have an idea, stop allowing people to interbreed their dogs.

Anyway, despite his “defective” breathing, he is a character.  I got a pug training book once and I kid you not, the first line said: “So you want to train your pug, good luck”. Still I can’t imagine our home without the sound of snorting or the click-clack of his little paws as he tap dances down the hallway.

I suspect that this may attract the same people who watch the “pug tilting head” videos on YouTube.  It’s late on a Sunday night and all I can think of is the little guy snoring next to me, this is all I got today.  Enjoy!

My Life is Like My Eyebrows

As I got ready to leave the house the other day, I did a quick check in the mirror.

“Geez, when is the last time I plucked my eyebrows?”

They’re horrendous.  There is barely even evidence that two exist.

I started thinking about how often this happens.  I realized how many correlations there are between my eyebrows and my life.  These aren’t exactly highlights of my existence, but it’s the truth none the less.

  • I neglect my eyebrows until they are so horrible, that I need to spend thirty minutes to pluck and fix them up, only to repeat the cycle all over again later; no matter how many times I promise myself that I won’t wait so long next time.  I take care of everything in my life timely and appropriately, but myself.  I neglect myself like I neglect my eyebrows, putting us both off and taking care of others until it’s so obvious that I need some personal attention that I become my own hassle to fix.  It’s painful.  For both of us.
  • My eyebrows are naturally pretty wild.  Wild doesn’t fit well in most of the environments I find myself in, so my eyebrows and I fix ourselves up to fit in.  We trim up; conform to get ourselves in shape.  Who said a unibrow isn’t sexy anyway?  I bet French women could pull it off.  Who said two was fashionable?  I kid, of course.
  • Thick.  No matter how thin I’ve ever been, no matter how much I wished for my Mom’s eyebrows instead of my Dad’s, my eyebrows and I are thick.  My Mom told me that she plucked her eyebrows when she was twelve and they stayed that way, she never had to touch them again.  I might as well have caterpillars above my eyes.  And even at 120 pounds, I was dense, just never quite light as a feather.
  • Dark.  I’m pretty positive, and I produce optimistic outlooks for almost every situation typically, but I also think there’s a dark side.  My eyebrows and I are dark.  Sure we lighten up when it’s bright and sunny, but we know that deep down, we’re a little different and sometimes I think things I shouldn’t.  Nothing illegal, but definitely embarrassing.
  • Long.  I see girls with cute little eyebrows, made up of short little feathery hairs.  We’ve already determined that my eyebrows and I are thick, but we are also long.  Long limbs, long eyebrow hairs.  Part of what makes keeping the brows and I in shape, is dealing with the awkward combination of our qualities.  Sure, trim a little here, trim a little there, and then pluck.  Sounds simple.  Not so.  Every time I pick a hair to go, I have to think, “If this hair goes, will a little bald spot be left behind?”  Being long limbed and having these long eyebrow hairs is awkward.  Nothing quite fits and the slightest wrong movement and I look like a goofy and ungroomed idiot.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the brows have good qualities, as I know I do but every now and then, who doesn’t need a critical evaluation?  If I can figure out a way to maintain consistent care, instead of “all or nothing”, we’d be a happy pair.  Yes, that’s a joke, a pair of eyebrows instead of one.  Did I tell you my eyebrows also can’t tell jokes?  Funny, neither can I.

Picture courtesy of http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/

A Doily Away From “Old Lady”

The weekend is here, and that means antique shopping; walking from place to place buying old stuff I really don’t need but really, really want. I love finding antique pieces for our house, furniture to knickknacks that give our home the kind of character that Ikea can’t. My rule is that my purchases must always have function or they can’t come home with me.  Old kitchen tools are some of my favorite, even though old ladies condescendingly ask if I know what it is that I’m buying.  Yes, I know what it is, and I guarantee I’ll use it more than somebody buying it for just kitschy wall décor.

Antique character is not for everyone. My brother for example, thinks that old furniture is creepy and reminds him of dead people.  It’s a little extreme to me, but then again I’m an old soul, whereas he’s a hip 20 year old.

That being said, in a small home like ours, it’s easy to teeter on the side of excess. As I’ve said before, the key to life is “everything in moderation”. This holds true with antiques too unfortunately.  Our house is officially full of old furniture and I’m sad to say, I think I’m out of space.

When we bought our house from an elderly man, his children were going to donate all his furniture and were kind enough to ask if we’d like any.  For one, we didn’t have any furniture to start with, except for a bed, which, sorry but an antique mattress is one of the only things that would creep me out.  Two, so much of his furniture was from the 30’s and 40’s, with beautiful veneers and sturdy wood frames.  And who doesn’t want a full size Hi-Fi? I am still giddy about having the monster piece of furniture that plays my record collection with surprisingly good sound.  My husband even fashioned a jack so I can plug my iPod into it.  In the end, we all won and it also saved the owner’s kids the hassle of having it all hauled away.

Before we got our modern couches and rug, our house was filled with just old wood furniture.  We relied on the old couches from my Dad’s basement for a while and the house didn’t quite have our special touch to it; that attempt of a perfect mix between vintage and modern.  My Dad stopped over one day and said, “Shan, you’re about a doily away from living in an old lady house.  You’re not going to start covering the furniture in plastic are you?”

I began to feel instantly insecure.  Could my love of old “stuff” go too far?  Did I pass by being hip 20-something, only to teeter on retirement?

Maybe his mockery helped point me in the right direction.  Who knows where things could have gone.  It is safe to say that the mix is fairly complete now and we more often than not, get compliments on how our house looks like something out of a magazine.  And since I’m a pretty serious recycler, I’m happy to see these old wooden monsters have a new life outside of the landfill.

Women like Audrey and Diana

Did you ever think about how the most iconic and fascinating women are usually the most insecure?  Of course this is something we learn post-mortem usually.  But looking back, the signs are usually so blatantly obvious.

As I looked through some biographies on my bookshelf, I thought about two iconic females represented there; Audrey Hepburn and Princess Diana.  Two women that I had admiration for; Audrey I discovered in my late teens after she’d already been gone for years and Princess Diana who fascinated me from childhood and most of the world from the very start.  Two generous and stylish women, who more often than not, played by their own rules.

Audrey

“If you want to get psychological, you can say my definiteness stems from underlying feelings of insecurity and inferiority.  I couldn’t conquer these feelings by acting indecisive.  I found the only way to get the better of them was by putting my foot down, by adopting a forceful and concentrated drive.”  – Audrey Hepburn

They individually gave so much to the world, through charity and hands-on efforts in previously disregarded regions that needed a spotlight from a respected figure.  Both battled eating disorders, depression and unfulfilling relationships; often waging a war with an inferiority complex and constant outside pressure.  Both finding solice in children and humanitarianism.  I wonder if it takes such a sensitive and genuine character to produce such admirable gifts, to be so altruistic.  Could an egotistical and self-assured woman be so generous?

They say so much of who we are stems from our childhood.  Both of these women came from broken homes and found in their youth, comfort in solitude.   They eventually went from unknown young ladies to instant celebrities, with constant criticism and a yearning for normalcy.  I think it takes a special kind of woman to face the world in such a public way and despite personal battles, finding happiness in the people they can trust and in the causes they can fight for.

A young Diana Spencer

“I think the biggest disease the world suffers from in this day and age is the disease of people feeling unloved. I know that I can give love for a minute, for half an hour, for a day, for a month, but I can give. I am very happy to do that, I want to do that.”    Princess Diana

 

Reference:  “How to be Lovely” by Melissa Hellstern

You lived where?

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I recently read a fellow blogger’s account of San Diego. We lived there for seven years, but relocated three years ago to the Philadelphia tri-state area. I thought of all the great experiences my husband and I had there, from Legoland to Los Angeles daytrips. I realized that all my life, I’ve lived in places that people pay good money to visit.

We heard Sea World’s fireworks every summer night from our apartment and viewed the San Diego Harbor from the top of our street. We were within minutes of the Gaslamp Quarter and the famed beaches. We enjoyed each special place lesleycarter noted in her blog but San Diego simply never felt like home to us. I guess we weren’t California people.  As beautiful as it is, it is expensive as well. We often worked so hard to live, that we actually rarely lived at all.  Sure, we hit all the main highlights over the years, but we probably have seen the beach more by visiting now, then we ever did living there.  Yes, it’s regrettable, but there is no going back now.  We will always remember what we did do instead.

There was one place missing on Lesley’s list.  Sunset Cliffs was a special place that I miss the most. The eroding cliffs stand tall over jagged rocks with, you guessed it, gorgeous sunsets as the backdrop each evening. The regulars were so varied; the occasional homeless but harmless wanderer, the rich jogger, stoned surfer and eclectic photographer. The weekends brought pale tourists and couples taking their pups for a long stroll. It was free and beautiful, while expanding just long enough to find an escape from the crowded San Diego freeways and neighborhoods.

We are now lucky enough to live within a short drive of every historical and prominent city on the East Coast.  The amount of cultural and geographical points of interest is simply astounding.  Still, there’s no doubt that when the snow starts to fall, people will ask, “You moved from San Diego?  Are you crazy?”

Now, we make an effort to incorporate ourselves in as much of the culture as we can here, without taking it for granted.  So one day, when we’ve worn out our welcome or find a new destination, we can look back and say that we really lived.

Check out the referenced blog:  Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited – #5 San Diego, United States of America. By LesleyCarter

*Sunset Cliffs photo courtesy of www.toomuchwinetoolittletime.com