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Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota

You Know You’re a Minnesotan When

November 7, 2017
You know you're a Minnesotan when

As a lifelong Minnesotan (except for those years I lived in Washington, Wisconsin, Texas and Colorado) I am always amazed at how different we are from the rest of the country. Okay, we probably aren’t that different, we just have different regional tastes and traditions. Still, as Minnesota has made it’s way into the vernacular thanks most to movies like Grumpy Old Men, Fargo and The Mighty Ducks, there are some things about us that people from other states just don’t understand.

You know you’re a Minnesotan when:

  1. Pop
  2. No matter what the temperature is outside, you don’t turn the heat on until November 1st.
  3. You know how to pronounce Wayzata, Shakopee, Edina, Owatonna, Faribault, Mahtomedi.
  4. It’s just easier to say you’re from Minneapolis than explain that St. Paul isn’t some little Podunk town.
  5. You’ve given up telling people that Fargo is not in Minnesota.
  6. 2 feet of snow is needed to close the schools.
  7. You prefer Caribou over Starbucks.
  8. Duck, Duck, Grey Duck
  9. The Polar Plunge means cutting a hole in the ice on a lake and jumping in, not just walking into an unfrozen lake in the winter.
  10. Juicy Lucy
  11. You know that Minnesota Nice is just a nice way of saying we’re passive/aggressive.
  12. You hope that summer falls on a weekend this year.
  13. You’ve had Lutefisk and even know some old guy who likes it.
  14. You’ve been to and eaten booya.
  15. The Weather Channel (or WCCO) is always on because blizzards, wind chill factor and tornadoes.
  16. Your urge to pee before putting on a winter coat is hardwired in, even if you don’t have to go.
  17. Winter boots are functional.
  18. You don’t fire up the snow blower unless there’s at least a foot of snow. The shovel is sufficient.
  19. The Zipper Merge is the scourge of at least two generations of drivers.
  20. Iowa = I Owe the World an Apology or something Prince screamed during his songs.
  21. You have a Prince story.
  22. You have a Joe Mauer story.
  23. You have a Garrison Keillor story.
  24. Target Runs originated here.
  25. While everyone else is excited about fall because of Pumpkin Spice everything you’re super excited that Lefse will be abundant in every grocery store.
  26. The friends you made in kindergarten are the friends you have now.
  27. Everyone has a cabin, and usually it’s Up North.
  28. You know how many lakes there really are.
  29. Ending sentences in prepositions is perfectly acceptable – “Where are you at?”
  30. The Vikings suck, but dammit they’re your team.
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Why I Deleted My #MeToo Status Update

October 17, 2017
#metoo

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve seen the hastag #MeToo all over social media. Legend has it Alyssa Milano started the trend on Twitter (though it appears she got the idea from a friend of a friend on Facebook so it would seem someone else who isn’t a celebrity actually started the trend…). The idea was that if all women/(people) respond to her tweet with the hashtag #metoo then everyone would know how wide spread sexual harassment and sexual assault is.

And it took off like motherfucking wildfire. 

That was Sunday night. I saw it trending on Sunday and while I rarely join in these sort of movements I decided this one was different. I copied and pasted the Facebook status update:

Me too.
If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
Please copy/paste.

I started writing all of the different ways I have been sexually harassed and assaulted in my lifetime and then deleted all of it and just posted the generic version. Even that was difficult to post. 

Not because I am ashamed to admit that I — like every other woman alive — have been harassed or assaulted, I’m not. I was for a long time, but have recently started talking about it with friends and family I felt worthy of sharing the information. It’s a difficult thing to share because it doesn’t come up in everyday conversation. You have to throw it out there when no one is expecting it and that tends to throw people off balance. They do not know how to respond and would prefer to keep it that way. So they don’t. They leave you hanging.

The response from the few family members or friends I shared it with has been less than supportive so my fear of posting the update was due to the fear of the deafening silence that comes with this kind of admission. And I get it. I really do. People do not know what to say so they say nothing. Luckily, I received plenty of support in the form of Likes and Hearts and other Facebook emojis from people I have never met before and I am thankful for their love and concern. It wasn’t the case for everyone posting #MeToo as their status update.

It might be because I am getting older or because I have just seen so much of this shit in the last few years, but these uprisings or movements or whatever the fuck you want to call them – don’t change anything. Or maybe they do, but because the change is so slow it’s difficult to notice the shift. I don’t know. 

I do know that what always seems to happen with these movements happened rather quickly in the #MeToo movement. It became a popularity contest and we turned on each other. 

Like we ALWAYS do.

Women started listing the ways they had been sexually assaulted or harassed… long lists of the way they had been treated horribly by men and even some women. Not just a passing wink or even being exposed to on the street (OMG this happens so fucking frequently I don’t even register it anymore, it’s like someone picking their nose or spitting) but reports of being raped, threatened with the loss of a job if they didn’t suck a dick or flash their breasts or whatever weird shit the Harvey Weinsteins of the world are into on that day. 

Within hours or maybe minutes the lists were scrutinized by both men and women – judging the merit of their claims.

“Oh, he cat-called you? Pfft! That’s annoying, sure, but it’s hardly assault.”

Women who had been raped by family members garnered more sympathy than those who had been raped by strangers, significant others or acquaintances. Get pregnant from the rape and choose to keep the baby? You win.

And the infighting and exclusion and unfriending began.

And then Mayim Bialik wrote a piece about how she wasn’t raped because she had a big nose and dressed modestly. That isn’t what she wrote, but like the childhood game of Telephone, that’s how it evolved. I’m not sure what the point of her OpEd was, much like I am not sure what the point of this one is. 

I guess it’s that I am pissed off. Certainly at the people who sexually harass and assault other people (and it’s not just men doing it and they are not doing it to just women), but also I’m pissed because sides get drawn so swiftly and so concretely online.

Men tried to chime in with support and they were shot down so fast my head spun. 

“It’s not their time to speak.”

Just as swiftly, men were lambasted and ridiculed for not offering support. 

Fuckin’ A they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. 

Gay men started sharing their stories of being harassed and were shut down.

“Nope…this isn’t about you, this is about the women right now.”

That’s why I deleted my #MeToo status update. I don’t want to be part of a movement that starts excluding anyone. And they always end up excluding people

The internet turns on itself so fast. What starts out as a positive turns so quickly into something that is competitive and only for the popular. We’re still acting like we did in high school and until that shit ends, the harassment and assault isn’t likely to. 

If you really want to make a difference start treating everyone as though they are worthy of respect. Everyone. 

Everyone. Even the people with whom you don’t agree or whose time it isn’t just yet. 

Treat each other with kindness and respect. It’s actually pretty easy, but if that isn’t something you are capable of doing then just don’t say anything.

If someone shares with you that they have been hurt, then listen to them and offer them support. You don’t have to fix it, in fact, you can’t fix it. But you can listen, and that can make all the difference in the world. 

Oh, and stop sexually harassing and assaulting women/people to get your rocks off. 

 

 

 

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Did You Know You Can Make Wine at Home?

September 25, 2017
You Can Make Wine at Home

Did you know you make wine at home? And for a fraction of the cost of the box wine you’ve been choking down? I’ve been sitting on this information for several months now. I’ve meant to share it with you, but damn it’s been a busy summer. 

I started making wine this summer and it’s some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I caught on bit on Kare11 back in the spring. The hook was “if you can open a bag, you can make wine”. 

I can open a bag!

Winemaking has changed a lot since my parents attempted in back in the late 70s. I really don’t know what they did, where they got the grapes or if they had to stomp them. All I know is that in the early 80s my brother and a couple of his friends found that jug of wine that had been sitting in the basement, forgotten, and proceeded to drink it. 

It was nasty, that’s all I remember. Though that didn’t stop anyone from drinking it.

You Can Make Wine at Home

Now, it’s so much easier to make decent wine and you don’t have to stomp the grapes yourself. It’s not quite as easy as opening a bag (and the bag can be a little challenging to open, I have to use a huge ass wrench to get the cap off), but it’s a pretty uncomplicated process.

I wasn’t sure how the whole process would work so I started small. My first batch of wine was only one gallon. I did this because I figured if I screwed it up I wouldn’t be out that much. It’s hard to screw it up and it’s just as easy to make 6 gallons of wine (that’s 30 bottles!) as it is to make 1 gallon (about 5 bottles). If you like wine, just take the plunge and start with 6 gallon wine kits. You’ll thank me later, I promise.

I started with Master Vintner’s Small Batch Chardonnay. I’m not a huge fan of Chardonnay, but I can’t stand Moscato and they didn’t have a small batch of Sauvignon Blanc. So Chardonnay it was. The nice thing about these wine recipe kits is that they can be completed and ready to drink in about 5 weeks.

The directions were a little complicated, but only because I hadn’t made wine before, and they included really crappy directions. I later learned this was a mistake they were aware of and had corrected, I must have gotten an older kit. No big deal, there are plenty of YouTube videos you can watch to learn how to make wine.

Before you can crack open that bag of juice and start fermenting it, you’re going to need some equipment. Master Vintner sells complete wine making kits, these are a great way to start because you have all that you need (hopefully, I had a kit that was missing a few key items but the store was happy to provide them to me free of charge). The kits contain the carboy in your choice of plastic or glass, cleaning solution, sanitizing solution, the grape juice, yeast, wine thief, hydrometer and everything else I’m forgetting. 

Glass or Plastic?

6 gallons of liquid is heavy, the glass carboy weighs about 15 pounds when it is empty. Filled, you’re looking at about 60 pounds that you’re going to have to haul around. That’s like lifting a 10 year old. If you’ve got the upper body strength, then go for it. If not, stick with the plastic. The downside of the plastic is that it can get scratched and bacteria get settle into the scratches. You’ll be replacing your plastic sooner and more frequently than glass, something to keep in mind. You won’t mind because that means you get to go to the brewery supply store.

I live in the land of craft brew and micro brews. Every male in this state over the age of 21 is making their own beer. Some with more success than others. If you’re a single woman you’ll love the brewing supply stores. I don’t know if it’s because they don’t see a lot of straight single women in these places or if they just think we’re awesome because we like to make alcohol too, but I get asked out every time I go to one of these stores. It’s better than online dating.

My first gallon of Chardonnay didn’t turn out that well. I racked it wrong and got all kinds of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. It tasted fine, and I drank it, but it looked like crap. I didn’t have an auto siphon so I got all the gunk in it. The Fermtech Auto-Siphon is a lifesaver. For $11 it’s well worth it. 

1 Gallon of 6 Gallons?

It’s just as easy to make 6 gallons of wine as it is to make one gallon of wine, so you may as well make 6, you’re going to drink it anyway. You’ll also save a lot of money. If you make one gallon your wine ends up costing about $5 per bottle (including the bottles and corks). If you make 6 gallons it’s about $2.25 per bottle (Including bottles and corks). When you’re talking about 30 bottles of wine, that’s a significant savings. How do they compare to the wine you’d buy in the liquor store? So much better. The $2.25 bottle of wine you just made will taste as good or better than a $10 – $15 bottle of wine. Let it age a few months and you’ll have an even better bottle.

 

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It’s Prime Day!!!

July 10, 2017

It’s Prime Day, that’s just like Christmas in July, or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa or having your birthday in July if you normally don’t have a birthday in July. Prime Day is an awesome way to get amazing deals on all the things you want. Amazon offers huge discounts on all the cool stuff, the kinky stuff, the toys we want for our pets, and on the stuff we need

The deal is, you have to be a Prime member to get the deals. Sign up for your Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial now!! That’s right, you can try it free for 30 days and if you don’t like it you can quit and never pay a dime!! Already have Prime but want to give it as a gift to someone else? You can Give the Gift of Amazon Prime too!

What do you get with Prime? All kinds of great things, but mostly you get the opportunity to do a little drunk online shopping without much guilt the next morning because on Prime Day, everything is discounted.

Here’s what you get with Prime – free shipping on everything you order. Not just that but usually two day free shipping. You can also get free same day shipping in eligible zip codes. Prime Now offers FREE two hour delivery for things you just have to have right now – you know like this and this. You also get Amazon Restaurants – they’ll bring the food to you!, Prime Video – unlimited streaming of movies and videos, Prime Music – unlimited streaming of millions of songs, Prime Photos – unlimited photo storage. Got a Kindle? You get stuff for that too!  And, there’s so much more! You can see all of what you get with Prime here

So what are some great things to get on Prime Day? 

If you don’t have one already get an Instant Pot. You won’t regret it, I promise. Go get one now, you’ll thank me. 

Books:

the princess saves herself in this one

Adulthood is a Myth: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

Get Your Sh*t Together: How to Stop Worrying About What You Should Do So You Can Finish What You Need to Do and Start Doing What You Want to Do (A No F*cks Given Guide)

The Big Life: Embrace the Mess, Work Your Side Hustle, Find a Monumental Relationship, and Become the Badass Babe You Were Meant to Be

The Warrior Goddess Way: Claiming the Woman You Are Destined to Be

The Secret Life of Fat: The Science Behind the Body’s Least Understood Organ and What It Means for You

Beauty:

The Lux Puff

100% Natural Arabica Coffee Scrub

Flat Top Kabuki Brush

Bath Bombs Gift Set

For the Home:

Amazon Echo – Black

Wood Grain Essential Oil Diffuser

Smart Plug Outlets

Amcrest Full-HD Video Security System

And that’s just a sample of the fun stuff you can shop for late at night after a few too many glasses of wine. I’m speaking theoretically, of course. I’ve never been so irresponsible. 

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Can’t Muster Anymore Outrage

June 5, 2017

Between all the many terrorist attacks, stupid things President Trump tweets or what stupid thing a washed up celebrity has said, I just can’t muster anymore outrage. 

I want to be upset, I do. I mean the fact that Kathy Griffin hired an attorney because she believes the Trumps are going after her and dooming her career – because she hired a photographer to take images of her holding a bloodied head of Trump – is pretty fucking amazing. That’s something to get outraged about. Not so much what she did, but that she was so insulated that she thought it wouldn’t piss people off.

Can’t Muster Anymore Outrage

Or Bill Maher, again, says something really offensive, racist, stupid, and just plain out of touch. Oh, and fucking arrogant as all get out. But he apologized so it’s all good.

I’ve used the word ‘fuck’ twice, maybe I am outraged.

What the fuck is wrong with people (three times)?

Why are we all so mean to one another? When did society come to believe that the only way to make change was to be an asshole?

Whatever happened to attracting more bees with honey instead of vinegar?

I have so many questions.

I am outraged, but not at the right things. I’m tired of people being jackasses. I’m tired of people not thinking about how their actions affect (or is effect, fuck I can never remember) other people. And I’m outraged that people don’t understand there are consequences for their behavior. 

I’m tired, getting worked up doesn’t do anyone any good. No one is listening anyway so there’s no point in trying to have a discussion. 

Everything I learned in kindergarten really was the most important stuff, because the whole fucking world is like kindergarten now. We all need to grow up. 

You know what else needs to happen?

Auto play videos on websites have to stop. These are the most annoying things ever and yet they are everywhere. 

 

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Lemonade

May 20, 2017

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Right? That’s what we’re told. And yet, turning something bad into something good inevitably pisses someone off. I’ve been working diligently on being more positive and trying really hard to not wallow in the crap. That’s a difficult thing for me to do – not wallow. I let things get to me when they shouldn’t. 

Lately my life has been a series of tsunamis. It’s been wave after wave of crap coming at me and I’m letting it all get to me. Which means I have puffy eyes and there are dust bunnies all over the house. I’ve managed to stay on top of work, but it’s taken a Herculean effort to stay focused. I’ve made all kinds of mistakes in my work because I am so distracted.

I’m not sure how to make lemonade. Each morning I wake up and try to psych myself up for the day.

“I’m not going to let all these assholes get me down!” I tell myself. 

I start pretending I’m Rocky in the first Rocky and I’m jumping rope to Eye of the Tiger.

I’ve got this, even if I am out of breath before the first chorus.

And then something else happens. Today my basement is flooded. It’s no surprise, it rained two inches last night and my basement leaks like a sieve. I was just hoping to have a dry year this year.

My plan for today was to launch a GoFundMe campaign to presell my book so I can finally get it published. I need to have it professionally edited, I need to get a cover designed and I need a kick ass marketing campaign. I have an agency who rocks, just not enough cheddah in the budget. I’ve been putting it off because I don’t want to ask for help. I hate asking for help because it makes me feel weak and vulnerable and then I start telling myself that I am not worthy of help and the next thing you know I’ve gone down that rabbit hole I’ve spent years trying to climb out of. 

That was my plan, and then the same shit that happens over and over happened again. It seems every spring the basement floods and my ex threatens to drag me to court. Inevitably the dog will pee on the couch which will send me over the edge for a few minutes. Of course the dog pees on the couch because he is afraid of the rain, and because I forgot to put his diaper on.

Every year it is the same. 

I can’t seem to get out of this rut no matter how hard I try. It was my plan to launch my GoFundMe campaign 15 days ago. It’s been ready to go, but I’ve been too afraid to launch it. Actually, turns out I did launch it, I just didn’t know it (shut up! I’ve been a little distracted). What I am afraid to do is promote it. 

Thing is, nothing will change if I don’t start taking some risks. This is scary. I can’t even begin to tell you how scary this is. What if no one wants my book? I’m trying to presell it because that seems less like begging, but if no one wants it then what am I going to do? 

I’m not going to worry about that. Just like I’m not going to keep giving those negative thoughts anymore space in my head. 

If you’d like to pre – purchase my book – Minnesota Nice – you can do so here. If you’d like to learn more continue reading….

About Minnesota Nice

I’m wrote a book about my family.

It doesn’t sound all that intriguing does it? Wait, it gets better. You see my mom had a stroke when I was four years old, leaving her severely mentally and physically handicapped.  A few years later my father revealed that he was gay. A few years after that my brother came out as a Republican. You can’t make this stuff up.

Statistics from the Straight Spouse Network assert that up to two million gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals in the United States are or have been heterosexually married. Another demographics study showed that of the 27 million American men currently married, 1.6 percent, or 436,000 men, identifies themselves as gay or bisexual. Countless children have come of age in what is commonly referred to as a “mixed-orientation marriage,” most simply try to move on, too ashamed to admit that their family was any different from the norm. Even as adults they keep their skeleton in the closet, afraid to appear anything but like the wholesome Brady Bunch. Guess what? Mr. Brady was gay.

We were different and I’m no longer ashamed to admit it.

This is not anti LGBT. While I am sure fewer mixed orientation marriages take place in 2017, they still happen. The shame of growing up in one of these families is not due to a gay parent, it is due to the deception and lying that the parent must maintain to keep the secret. 

This is not some dry memoir. It is filled with humorous stories of a family trying to figure out how they all fit together. There are heartbreaking moments as well, but all told with the love and clarity that can only come with years of distance and a few dead family members.

Minnesota Nice has been compared to Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs, The Fault in our Stars by John Green and most recently to 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher. 

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RAH’MN Review – The Ramen Place on Snelling

May 2, 2017
RAH'MN Review - The Ramen Place on Snelling

This is my RAH’MN review. This is not a sponsored post, all views are mine. All my Twin City peeps, I know you’ve been seeing these ramen places popping up all over town in the last year. You’re probably wondering is it really worth $7 for 25¢ worth of ramen? I’m here to tell you – probably not.

RAH’MN Review – The Ramen Place on Snelling

RAH’MN opened up in Saint Paul on Snelling Avenue about a month ago. It was packed the first night – crowds in line around the corner – so I figured we’d wait a bit. We’d gone to the Mac’s take out place two doors down, which had also just opened, and were disappointed. I wanted to give the new restaurant some time to get it’s sea legs since they are close and convenient and who doesn’t like ramen?

The daughter asked if we could give it a try, so I said sure. I went to look up the menu online, to get an idea of cost (because it’s ramen, for cryin’ out loud) and was frustrated that I had to place an order to see what was offered and what things cost. RAH’MN does not have a menu on their website, although it looks like they are trying to get one up quickly. That they tout their meats are gluten free had me laughing but irritated. 

The daughter is picky and she has food allergies, it’s always nice to be prepared when trying a new place. So, already I was frustrated. I asked some friends on Facebook about their experience and they said it was “solid”. I took that as a positive and headed on over.

Right away the ordering process was confusing. Or maybe that was just the way the door was positioned. No one seemed to know where the line began. The place was pretty busy and it smelled nice so I continued on. When I got to the counter I had a difficult time talking to the nice young man who was dishing up the ramen. The sneeze guard was too high, or he and I were both too short. I had to stand on my tippy toes to shout my questions at him. He responded with a smile, but I couldn’t hear a damn thing he said over the sneeze guard or the loud music and din of people talking to one another over the loud music. 

It’s a build your own ramen bowl, just like at Chipotle. Chipotle is stressful, it’s not as bad as ordering coffee, but it’s up there. I have been ordering Chipotle for at least a decade now and I always get the same thing for fear of holding up the line to avoid the kind of stress I endured last night.

I had no idea what my daughter wanted, but she likes all things Asian inspired so I started building her ramen.  I threw in some tufo, some bok choi and some tomatoes – all things she likes and figured I was safe. 

I wasn’t sure about the meat so I texted her a picture of the RAH’MN menu and one of all the add-ons, including 4 or 6 choices of broth.

RAH'MN menu

“No vegetables” was what she texted back.

Thanks, that helps, a lot. 

All the while the couple next to me is pushing me to the right, even though the friendly guy behind the sneeze guard hadn’t started on my order yet. In fact, he only had one bowl going. 

This caused a fair amount of anxiety because now the one he just put together for my daughter was going to become mine even though I am not supposed to eat tofu and tomatoes in ramen sounds disgusting to me. I didn’t really want pork either, which is what the kid wanted. 

Lawd knows, as a Minnesotan, there was no way I was going to ask them to start over again. 

I got pushed in front of the cashier and explained to him that there was another bowl that needed to be prepared – plain. Just ramen and broth. 

We stood there, awkwardly waiting for the guy to produce the bowl of $7.95 ramen and then he asked if I was paying for the people next to me. 

Um, no.

He bagged up my ramen bowls, cautioned me not to swing the bag around, and I was on my way.

I took a deep breath when I got outside and told myself I would not cry.

(probably more hormone related than ramen related)

A few minutes later I’m home with a dripping bag of $20 worth of ramen.

When I asked what the daughter though of it, if she liked it, her response was:

“Meh”

She’s 14. Everything is “meh”. She did eat most of it.

Mine on the other hand wasn’t what I wanted, but if it had been something I would have ordered I am sure it would have been ok.

It was ramen, it was way too salty and the noodles were soggy. I was disappointed, mostly because of the experience, but the cost of something that is pennies to make at home also irritated me. That’s not their fault, I walked in there willingly. I guess I figured ramen could be delicious, especially starting at $7.95 per bowl. 

It’s not.

I couldn’t finish it. The dogs like it, though I didn’t give them the broth since it was so salty.

I’d like to say we’ll give them another try, but probably not. The daughter will want to, but she’s going to have to do that on her own.

The place was clean, the staff was friendly, though not as helpful as I would have liked. The place was too loud and the food was overpriced. But other than that, it was great!

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Breaking Down my Fitbit Steps

April 26, 2017
breaking down my fitbit steps

I love my Fitbit. It motivates me to get off my ass and get out and do some walking. That’s a great thing and it’s helped me to lose a some weight I’ve been trying to shed. I can’t say enough good things about the Fitbit.

Except, it doesn’t break down my Fitbit steps.

I do, on average, 16000 steps each day. I walk each morning, usually 3 to 4 miles. If I didn’t I wouldn’t get my steps in because I sit at my desk all day. Aside from getting up to go to the bathroom, get a snack or get the laundry, I don’t get many steps. 

And yet, I still manage to get a lot of steps. 

The thing is, the Fitbit doesn’t differentiate steps. Arm movement (not typing, that doesn’t count) equals steps. I’ll take steps anyway I can get them, but the truth is I get a lot of steps from giving Ruby tummy rubs and doing other things that aren’t actually steps. Apparently, I gesticulate a lot. 

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Compliment Freely

April 25, 2017
compliment freely

Do you compliment freely? Which do you do more often – compliment or criticize? The consensus seems to be that we are in a hand basket on our way to hell. It doesn’t matter where you look, people jump on each other for saying or doing anything, even with the best of intentions. 

Here are just a few recent examples of companies and people that were taken to task for doing or saying the wrong thing:

  • Shea Moisture – For including white women in their latest ad campaign.
  • Pepsi – For suggesting that Kendall Jenner and Pepsi can end racism, among other issues.
  • Anything Sean Spicer says.
  • Everything President Trump says or does including breathing.

I’m not passing judgment on any of these examples or their respective backlash, but I do think we’d all do ourselves a huge favor if instead of jumping on the outrage bandwagon, we used our energy to compliment rather than criticize.

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

My grandmother always said – “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. She didn’t always follow her own advice, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Have you ever received a compliment from a stranger and it seemed to instantly change your mood for the better? Not only does a compliment instantly make the receiver happy, but it also greatly boosts that person’s confidence.

Imagine a child trying to learn how to play a piece on the piano and a member of the family yells at them to stop making that racket. Will the child look forward to piano practice or will they dread it and eventually give up? 

Learning anything new is difficult, in fact to master something it is suggested it takes at least 10k hours. That’s a lot of sucking at something until you “get” it.

And in those 10k hours of sucking at something, there’s an abundance of people willing to tell you how much you suck.

We Become what we Believe

When I was around 18 years old I picked up my brother from the University of Minnesota. It was late in the afternoon and I had my parents new beagle puppy in the car with me. I think I had taken the puppy to get shots. I only remember the puppy being in the car because it was then that we discovered he had motion sickness. Anyway, I rarely drove with my brother. If we were going somewhere together he was going to drive. However, it was late in the afternoon, the campus was busy and I didn’t want to park so pretty much I agreed to arrive at a specific place at a specific time and he jumped in the car while it was basically still moving. There wasn’t time to switch drivers.

As we were crossing the bridge another car swerved over, obviously I was in his blind spot, and would have hit us if I hadn’t reacted quickly and swerved out of his way. 

I executed the move flawlessly. I know this because my brother actually said I did some great driving. 

He was impressed.

It was luck. Thankfully, there was just enough room on the other side of me to swerve – there was no one in the other lane. 

I don’t mean to minimize my skills behind the wheel, but I had several accidents under my belt. It was luck combined with keeping a cool head – something I was not known for.

Because my brother, about the only person in my life who I looked up to, said I was a good driver, I believed it. In fact, since that time I have only been in two other accidents. Neither of which were my fault. 

I am confident when I drive and consider myself a very good driver. Of course, I’ve probably done 10k hours worth of driving since that moment on the bridge with the sick puppy in the back seat.  Make no mistake, there is no doubt in my mind that being told by someone I thought highly of that I was a good driver helped to make me a good driver. 

We Believe what we Become

On the other hand, my brother used to call me “Post Toasties”. To this day I don’t know why he nick named me after a breakfast cereal. I only know it wasn’t a good nick name. It was not a term of endearment. I know this because he and his friends all laughed whenever he called me “Post Toasties”. They may have been laughing because that’s what big brothers and their friends do when teasing little sisters. However, I was a child and didn’t understand that sometimes kids do things without thinking too much about why they are doing them.

In my mind it was simply another way for him to call me “fat”, without my parents finding out. I jumped to that conclusion all by myself. It fit perfectly with what I had been told my grandmother, children at school and was seeing in the teen magazines I was devouring along with the Twinkies and PopTarts. I take full responsibility for the eating disorder I cultivated during those years, and I doubt a compliment would have been enough to prevent it from taking root, but it might have given me pause if someone had given me one.

Compliment Freely

Words we choose carry so much power. We can either uplift or we can tear down. Lately it seems, all we do is tear each other down.

Instead of criticizing try to compliment. If that isn’t possible – and let’s face it, it isn’t always possible – just remember you don’t have to say anything. 

Compliment freely. You could be the difference between someone’s success or failure. A few small words can make all the difference in the world. So choose them wisely. 

Advice Blogging Dumb Shit I Do

100 Things You Can do to Make the World a Better Place

April 12, 2017
100 things you can do to make the world a better place

It’s chaotic out there. We’re all feeling overwhelmed, vulnerable and fragile. The world feels like a scary place right now, but it doesn’t have to be. These 100 Things You Can do to Make the World a Better Place can have a profound impact and they are something you can do, right now.  

Many of us feel powerless to change the world, but doing just one of these things has the power to impact someone greatly.

By doing just a few of these things – even just one, you have the power to change the world. You can make the world a better place, and it’s pretty easy to do.

Chaos Theory or Butterfly Effect  –  whatever you want to call it –  your actions can have a massive impact. So take a few moments out of your busy day to make the world a better place.

  1. Compliment each other.
  2. Hold the door open for the person in front of you or behind you.
  3. Say “Please” and “Thank you”.
  4. Breathe.
  5. Buy coffee for the person behind you.
  6. Take a day or two off from social media.
  7. Adopt a pet.
  8. Bathe regularly.
  9. Ask friends and family “How are you?”.
  10. Stop worrying about other people’s grammar.
  11. Tell a joke.
  12. Write a letter.
  13. Write a love letter.
  14. Take a walk.
  15. Listen to music.
  16. Take your nephew (or niece) to a movie.
  17. Be on time.
  18. Wear nice clothes.
  19. Use your blinker.
  20. Forgive someone.
  21. Forgive yourself.
  22. Tell someone they did a great job.
  23. Call your parents.
  24. Hug someone.
  25. Pick up after yourself.
  26. Assume everyone is doing their best.
  27. Eat more fiber.
  28. Tip well.
  29. Let people cut in front of you in traffic.
  30. Brush your teeth.
  31. Create a Bucket List.
  32. Call a friend.
  33. Eat together as a family.
  34. Take a nap.
  35. Meditate.
  36. Have a picnic.
  37. Buy new sheets.
  38. Quit smoking.
  39. Do what is right, not what’s easy.
  40. Take a risk.
  41. Read a book.
  42. Read another book.
  43. Learn a new language.
  44. Master the language you already know.
  45. Be open to new things.
  46. Try a new restaurant.
  47. Go back to school.
  48. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
  49. Stop comparing other people to other people.
  50. Practice gratitude.
  51. Dance.
  52. Get rid of the clutter in your life.
  53. Sing in the car, even if the kids complain.
  54. Accept that people are different.
  55. Write in your journal.
  56. Start a journal.
  57. Eat ice cream.
  58. Take responsibility for your life.
  59. Consider your purpose.
  60. Look at old photographs.
  61. Eat an apple.
  62. Make your bed when you wake up.
  63. Drink more water.
  64. Day dream.
  65. Make new friends.
  66. Try yoga.
  67. Sleep naked.
  68. Color in a coloring book.
  69. Pray.
  70. Have drinks with friends.
  71. Go to a drive-in movie.
  72. Get up an hour earlier.
  73. Go to be and hour earlier.
  74. Ignore petty grievances. 
  75. Plant a tree.
  76. Reconnect with old friends.
  77. Watch old movies.
  78. Plant a tree.
  79. Volunteer.
  80. Talk to a toddler.
  81. Plan a roadtrip.
  82. Catch a sunset.
  83. Go to the beach.
  84. Eat dessert first.
  85. Tell a joke.
  86. Go to the library.
  87. Get a mani/pedi.
  88. Sleep naked.
  89. Clean your space.
  90. Share more.
  91. Tell someone you love them.
  92. Tell yourself you are worthy of love.
  93. Hang out at a book store.
  94. Help your neighbor with yard work.
  95. Turn off the news.
  96. Read the paper.
  97. Watch a plane land.
  98. Walk away from an online argument.
  99. Quit the job you hate.
  100. Go after your dreams.

101. Bonus – Share this. If each person does one thing from this list, the world will be a better place.

 

Blogging Dumb Shit I Do Music politics Things I Really Like

Thanks President Trump

April 3, 2017
record albums from the 80s

Thanks President Trump. Because of you, I’ve successfully tuned out. Since 9/11 I’ve been plugged into the news. It’s either been on in the background or I’ve checked multiple sites throughout the day to see what’s going on. I read all the news sites, and spent a fair amount of time on opinion pieces. I clicked on the fake news and the click bait and I could get lost in the comments for hours at a time. 

Since Trump won the election, I’ve stopped all that nonsense.

It took me 16 years to figure out that reading, listening, learning, researching and having an opinion, didn’t make a damn bit of difference and it was causing me anxiety I wasn’t even aware I was experiencing. 

Think of that frog in the pot of boiling water.

After the election, and especially after the inauguration, I unplugged. I couldn’t listen to the vitriol, the mean spiritedness and the panic, anymore. People were freaking out. Either I was going to freak out with them or I was going to let go and let the elected people do their job. 

At first I was pissed off. I loved all the time I spent online on Facebook, Buzzfeed, and the news sites, and I was resentful that it had become such a horrible place to be. But unplugging had benefits I wasn’t expecting.

With all that free time I started socializing again. Like in person. I met up with friends – in real life – and did things like get some coffee or meet over drinks and laugh and laugh. I took a pottery class, a wood working class and best of all – I started listening to music again.

I even started listening to vinyl records again. 

I’m in heaven not only listening to great music on vinyl, but also finding it. Locating vinyl records isn’t an easy thing in 2017. You can’t go to Musicland or Sam Goody and pick up the latest album like you could in the 80s or 90s. Today, if you want vinyl, you have to go to a used record store to find your favorite new and classic artists. 

My weekends are spent hunting down albums from my youth – Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, The Cars iconic album – The Cars, Back in Black by AC/DC, and my most beloved of all -Damn the Torpedoes by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I’m still looking for Zenyatta Mondatta by The Police, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, and Van Halen’s Women and Children First, among others. I haven’t had this much fun in a long time.

I’d forgotten how wonderful albums on a turntable sound, and I’m hoping my daughter discovers some of these artists and learns the joy of breaking the seal on an album for the first time and then pouring over the sleeve for the lyrics to each song. I’m hoping she learns to listen to an album cover to cover – they way they were meant to be experienced.

So thank you President Trump for helping me let go of the things I have absolutely no control over and rediscovering music. 

Now can you do something about reviving the record store?