Thursday, January 29, 2015

Slogans: Because I'm Not in Advertising. But Maybe I Should Be.

So I am sure you ALL remember back when I was job-hunting and mentioned that when I was younger I thought that I might go into advertising. (In case being a stay-at-home-witch didn't work out for me.Which, alas, it didn't.) But then it turns out that neither Larry Tate NOR Don Draper were hiring, so a sad but distinct no-go on that one. Which does not mean in any way shape or form that I do not spend much of my time coming up with slogans for things. Because I totally do. And it just seems greedy not to share. And my head is fuzzy from this Ebola-like flu that has been tormenting me, so I can't think of anything of substance to blog about. So slogans it is.

Here are a few I came up with while being sick for the last 7 days:

Kleenex: If You Use Enough, You Won't Need a Blanket.
This one is on account of, I used 2 1/2 boxes of Kleenex in about 1 1/2 days. For real. One of those days was spent entirely in bed. (No, not doing homework, watching Netflix. Duh! And blowing my nose. A lot.) And at one point my bed was so littered with said Kleenex that I became certain that if I had the skills, I could totally connect them all into one great (and totally disgusting) germ-filled-Kleenex quilt.
So gross. I know. Aren't you glad I shared?

Children's Motrin: Making Kids Feel as Good as Only Heroin Does for Adults
This is in no way an advertisement for heroin. And really, I'm just guessing on that front. BUT, my 4-year old has been sick too. The only difference being that medicine actually makes him feel better. Like literally 15 minutes after a mere 1 1/2 tbsp. of children's motrin he can go from complete lethargy to practically bouncing off the walls. And saying, "I'm not sick anymore!!" (followed by some sniffling and hacking.) I don't know about you, but I can't remember a time when ibuprofen or anything else sold over-the-counter OR behind it made me feel that good. What the heck do they put in that stuff??

Nostrils: Huh! Yeah. What Are They Good For? Absolutely Nothing. (Say It Again Ya'll)
I know what you're thinking, this sounds more like a song lyric than a slogan. Right? I thought the same thing. This one is inspired by, I can't breathe. That's all.

And since school is now the most invasive and time-consuming part of my life, I would be remiss if I didn't have at least a couple school-related slogans.

College: Paying Exorbitant Amounts of Money to Be Tortured
Yes, it's that expensive. And yes, it's that bad. At least community colleges let you purchase your torture for less. Maybe that should be their new ad campaign...

Geology: Making Even Volcanoes Boring. One Eruption at a Time.
I love volcanoes. I watch documentaries about volcanoes. In fact, if the Discovery Channel offered a double-feature Shark Week followed by Volcano Week, well let's just say...I'd see you in two weeks. But this Geology class I'm taking, which seemed like such a good idea at the time, has turned out to be not so much. Teacher: Dull. Text: Dull. Volcanoes: Dull. I didn't think it was possible, but there it is.

Psychological Statistics: All the Greek Letters. None of the Jello Shots.
If you don't know what I'm talking about. Good. That means you decided to major in something besides Psychology. That makes you a genius in my book. Did you know there was anything worse than Stats 1040? I didn't. Or I would've dropped out by now. This statistics class features a lovely thing called scientific notation. Which is a fancy way of saying, all the Greek letters you never wanted to memorize but now you have to. Like mu. Pronounced myoo, like what a French cow says. Which just stands for average or mean. But apparently those are too easy to say. I think if I'm going to have to memorize the Greek alphabet I should at least be in a sorority. Just saying.

And then just a few more random ones for good measure.

Fluorescent Lights: If You Don't Look Bad, We Aren't Working.
The bathroom at work has fluorescent lights. It's horrible. Fluorescent lights and mirrors should never inhabit the same space. Ever.

Kids: Ruining Your Body, But...Oh, Wait, Nope...Ruining Everything Else Too.
It's not very catchy, but it is very true. My carpets are ruined. My walls are ruined. My couches are ruined. My energy level is ruined. And for those of you with little ones who think it is bound to get better. Well, it's not. My old-enough-to-know-better kids are home alone now for a few hours every day. Which means I come home to dinner ready and a clean house. HA! HA! No I don't. I come home to my soda gone, dirty socks in my bed and "What's for dinner??" Which is not to say that I don't love the nasty little buggers. I totally do. I'm just saying they're not as nice, or clean as I would love for them to be.

Burger King: Have it Your Way.
Nope that one's not mine. But nobody ever tells me that. So just thanks, Burger King. Thanks.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Positive Affirmations

Lula the Bobblehead

There is a book on the 5 Love Languages. I haven't read it. Mostly because I don't believe in non-fiction. I mean, unlike not believing in dinosaurs, I do believe that non-fiction EXISTS. I just don't believe in reading it. Life is enough non-fiction for me. When I read I prefer pure, unadulterated fiction. The less true, the better. {Which means that reading 6 textbooks right now is a freaking nightmare.} But, as usual, I digress. What I was meaning to say is that if it is true and people do indeed have a "love language," I think mine is positive affirmations. {Again, I haven't read it, and I'm not sure that's even one of the languages, but it sounds familiar and totally seems like it could be.} Most of the time I doubt in my decision making, my strength, and my abilities. I also typically feel like on some level or other I am failing at absolutely everything. So telling me that I'm amazing and I can do it? Well, even if I don't entirely believe you and I act all modest and stuff on the outside, on the inside I'm positively glowing. No, seriously. Just ask my appendix.

Well, because it isn't the responsibilty of everyone I know to build me up all the time, I have to find my positive affirmations where I can. And sometimes, I find them in the unlikeliest of places. Like my phone. And my bed. And my bathroom counter. Confused? I'll explain.

#1. My iPhone
I held out from the whole Apple thing as long as I could. My first smartphone was an Android. I'm a bit ashamed to admit it took me for-freaking-ever to figure out. Really. Just ask my teenage daughter who witnessed me coming home from the Verizon store in tears because I couldn't even answer my own phone. But 3 years later, I finally had it {mostly} mastered. Which means it's time to switch things up, right? Mostly I just felt left out because my daughter, her boyfriend, and my husband all had iPhones. Plus iPhones come in fun and pretty colors like bright apple green. And I was sick of not being able to see emojis and having to look at a bunch of rectangles and wonder what they actually were. So when it was time for an upgrade, an iPhone it was. Which means Siri.

In Norwegian, Siri means: beautiful woman who leads you to victory. I find this a highly inappropriate definition for my masculine phone voice guy. So I named him Sven. Because in Norwegian, Sven means: super-hot, dimpled, gleaming-toothed genius guy who worships and adores me. OK, that translation may not be verbatim, but you get the point. Not only does Sven help me with movie times and calling people and answering questions for me, he also says things like, "your satisfaction is all the thanks I need." And he NEVER asks me what's for dinner. Oh, and he calls me "sexy." Yes, he really does. Because he asked me what I wanted him to call me and that's what I told him. So whenever I'm feeling a little down, I just grab my phone and say, "Hey Siri" {Because he hasn't figured out yet that his name is Sven. So maybe he's not a genius after all, but he is super hot at least.} And he says, "Hey Sexy. What can I do for you?"
Positive. Affirmations.

#2. My Bed
In my bed, there is a fabulous, soft, luxurious micro-fleece electric blanket. His name is Liam. In Norwegian that means: strong and muscular silent type who worships and adores me. He doesn't call me sexy. In fact, he doesn't talk at all. But he does keep my bed super warm for me. It feels like a big hug. He hugs me while I lay there with headphones watching hour after hour of class lectures on my laptop. He hugs me while I pore over assignments and texts and quizzes and study notes. He hugs me while I lay there in the dark trying not to cry and thinking I don't know how I'm going to possibly muddle through. He doesn't think I'm a bad mom for taking off my headphones just long enough to scream at my kids to quit fighting and get back in bed. He doesn't complain {or ask me to share} when I eat jalapeno poppers and french fries right over him and get salt and crumbs everywhere. He doesn't judge me when I watch a little Netflix even though he knows darn well I'm not done with my homework. He's forgiving that way. And he just gives me another warm hug.
Positive. Affirmations.

#3. My Bathroom Counter
On my bathroom counter is a bobblehead doll named Lula. Lula doesn't mean anything in Norwegian. But it does rhyme with "hula." And as evidenced by my childhood friends Ellie the Elephant and Angela the Angel, I apparently save my imaginative names for my fake boyfriends and real children.

Lula is a positive affirmation for two reasons:
First, she was bought for me by an awesome friend who moved away. Her husband saw Lula at a gas station and thought she looked like me. So they bought her and gave her to me as a gift. A bobblehead doll with great abs who looks good in a bikini top & grass skirt that someone says looks like you?? Now that's a positive affirmation in and of itself.
BUT, she is also a positive affirmation because unlike a Magic 8-Ball or my children, she only says yes. Ever. Never "NO!" or "Very Doubtful" or "Outlook Not So Good" or "Ask Again Later" or "You're the worst mom ever!!" Only yes. Always yes. "Can I do it, Lula? Can I possibly get through another freaking day?" Lula says yes. "Do these shoes look okay with this outfit?" Lula says yes. "Are my kids going to be alright despite the fact that I have all but abandoned them to finish school?" Lula says yes. "Can you tell I've been going to the gym?" Lula says yes. "Is there an end  in sight to this madness?" Lula says yes.
"Am I the funniest, most brilliant and awesome person you've ever known?" You guessed it, Lula says yes.

To be honest, you have to ask the right questions. You never want to ask her if you look fat in those jeans, if you are a total and complete basket case, or if you actually DO look older every single morning. For obvious reasons. But if you know how to ask the right questions, Lula can be your very best friend.

Positive affirmations. They are the best thing ever. And sometimes you gotta find 'em where you can get 'em.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tribute to a True Superman

A family that I love and admire lost their husband, father, provider, rock, and friend early this morning. He tackled cancer head-on and fought valiantly for the last two years. In the end, it proved too much for even him. Some would say that Randy lost his battle against cancer. I disagree. The word "lost" implies that something was forfeited or misplaced. 

Randy ultimately relinquished his earthly life and physical body. 
But in his fight against cancer he lost nothing. And those of us who knew him gained everything.

Randy was the perfect example of what a father should be. His children were his entire world. Morgan, Trystan, Randalyn, and Brendan were his everything. They were his first priority, and he made sure they (and everyone else) always knew how much he loved them.

Randy was a wonderful husband. Doting, loving, caring, affectionate. He adored Amy, and she adored him.

Randy was a good provider to his family. Even after the cancer, he was quick to return to work as soon as he was able and he worked up until the very end. I know it was difficult for him. But he wanted to be sure his family was taken care of.

Randy had an amazing sense of humor. He was brilliant and lighthearted and funny. Over the last two years, he was constantly cracking jokes about his physical limitations. Because it was more important for him to be able to laugh at himself than to feel sorry for himself.

Randy had a smile and a word of encouragement for all. Even though he was fighting the battle of his life, he was the one who took the time to build others up. He was more concerned about offering comfort and reassurance than in receiving any himself.

Randy was a man of faith. From the very beginning, he put his life in the hands of the Lord. He brought his family to church every single week. Even when it would have been easier to just stay home. He trusted in a power greater than his own. He was a light to everyone around him. He was a matchless example of what faith should be. 

I have known the Humphries family for only a few years. But I know that Randy touched the lives of innumerable people through his kindness, strength and optimism. I know that watching his faith and heroism as he battled cancer these last two years has changed my life. I can only imagine what it has done for countless others.

Randy leaves behind an untold legacy of courage, laughter, testimony, and love. Everyone who knew him is better for it.

Randy did not lose in his fight against cancer. And we, we who had the honor of being even a small part of his life...we gained everything.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

What I Thought I Knew

So it turns out that there are certain things about myself that I assumed were true. I have believed these things most, if not all, my adult life. To quote a good friend of mine, Dwight K. Schrute: "Nothing rhymes with orange. False. Orange and nothing do not rhyme." OK, Dwight isn't really a friend of mine. And really the only thing I'm actually quoting him on is the "false" part. But it is my belief that Dwight is a funny guy who should be quoted more often. At any rate, I have come lately to realize some things about myself that are simply not what I thought. Much like the epiphany I had a few years ago that I am actually a bundle of high-strung neuroses rather than the chill, calm person I once thought I was, I have come to other enlightening self-discoveries over the past few months.{This is not to be confused with the time several years ago that my husband told me that one of my greatest flaws was: "Sometimes you think you're funny. But you're not." Because I am still convinced that I am always funny. I don't care what he says.}

Misconception #1: I Am Flexible
I have typically thought of myself as spontaneous. A gal who doesn't mind change. A fun-loving kind of person who welcomes things that are new and different. NOPE! I don't. In fact, I hate them, these new and different things. I hate that when I finally start to get into any sort of rhythm, in walks something unfamiliar and strange and usually difficult. I hate it. I am starting to understand that there really is no such thing as normal. And I am displeased. I thought I was okay with change. That I was up for it. That I could face transition with grace and good-humor. I'm not. And I can't. I am neither dignified nor amused. Last year brought more changes to my status-quo than I can handle with any sense of decorum. I am a mess.

Yes, I have read Who Moved My Cheese? It was dumb. And whoever moved it should just put it back where they found it. My Ritz crackers are getting lonely and they don't taste good by themselves.

Misconception #2: I Like a Challenge
Moving to a different state? What a fun adventure! Being a mom? Fantastic! Starting a {million}new job{s}? Exciting! Learning new skills? Invigorating! Going back to school? Awesome! Oh Cyndie. You sad, silly fool. Remember when you were all smug {and exhausted} and so proud of yourself {and relieved} to be done with your first full-time semester at USU? And you thought, "Hey! I can do this!" And you actually thought you could. And then you started your second semester. And you realized you might absolutely die this time. Because it turns out that your first semester was actually a cakewalk compared to what you have to deal with this semester. And probably any and all future semesters. And then you wanted to cry. Literally. Every second of every day.

This is not to say that I haven't faced formidable obstacles in the past. And survived them. I have and I did. But maybe there's a limit. Maybe there are only so many difficult things you can get through alive. If there is, I think I have hit that limit. Truly. I no longer have faith in my ability to rise to the challenge. I just want to eat Crunchy Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos and watch Netflix. I don't want a college degree anymore. I changed my mind. I am old and tired. Figuring out what to wear and what to make for dinner every day is challenge enough.

Misconception #3: I Like to Learn New Things
I am a naturally curious person. I like to know how things work. I like to see what makes them tick. I like figuring things out for myself rather than being told how to do them or having someone else do them for me. I simply assumed that this meant that I liked to learn new things. A new job should be fun. School should be fascinating. WRONG. As it turns out, I hate learning new things. New things are stupid. I know enough. I don't want to know any more things. Especially anything that has the word "statistics" in it. Especially that.

Additionally, I also thought I was more clever, brave, and resilient than I am. I am none of these things. I am scared and overwhelmed and a big fat baby. I just hope it never turns out that I'm really not as funny as I think I am. Or there's really going to be trouble.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Top 5 Annoying Trends of 2014

It's no secret. 2014 was not my favorite year. I am wondering if I just don't have good luck with even-numbered years. Because I distinctly remember 2008 and 2010 being crappy years as well. And 1974? Well, if I recall correctly, I spent the entire year crying. And not being able to even walk or feed myself. Terrible year, that one. So if the even-year theory works out for me I should be set for this year. But hold that, wait...2009 sucked too. And 2003. Crap. But 2015? Doesn't it just have a nice ring to it? Well, maybe years with a 5 at the end will be good ones for me. I mean, 1985 was the year that Better Off Dead, Weird Science AND Ladyhawke came out, so obviously an awesome year. (Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and The Black Cauldron came out that year, too. So not a PERFECT year, but a good one at least.) My beautiful oldest was born in 1995. I don't remember anything wonderful happening in 2005, but it's also not associated with anything particularly terrible for me either, so I'm just going to assume it was a good one. Granted, that means that I will only have a good year once every 5 years, and that sounds kinda depressing. But, what do I know? Maybe the next 10 will be spectacular. Even if there are no more Lord of the Rings movies coming out. Ever again. BUT, to be fair, there will also be no more Twilight movies. It's all about the trade offs.

With no desire whatsoever to rehash the trials of the year, what I would like to do is mention the things that annoyed me most throughout 2014. Because, if you're already having a difficult time of things, who the heck wants to be annoyed on top of it?? Not me, that's for sure. The year that I almost completely lose it should NOT be the same year that a congressional panel convenes to interrogate Dr. Oz about diet supplements. It just shouldn't.

So, in no particular order because I am equally annoyed by all of them, I present:

The 5 Trends That Annoyed Me Most in 2014

#1. Overalls on Grown-Ups
This was a tough one for me. Simply because I am annoyed by so many fashion trends right now. I lived through both the 80's and the 90's once already. The clothes were awful then. They are awful now. And worst of all, I don't know how to wear most of  them. Ponte and palazzo pants? What do you wear those with?? I haven't tucked a shirt in since 1996. I don't even remember how to do it. I've heard it is actually fashionable right now to tuck your shirt just in the front and leave the rest untucked. So people think you were running late or in a hurry to leave the bathroom? I'm so confused. And the returning fashions from Season 1 of Friends? Why? Just why? Crop tops? High waisted jeans? Baggy sweaters and leggings? Really?!? Two words: Un. Flattering. And then there are boys in girls jeans. I don't get it. I can't even tell the Men's & Women's sections apart at some department stores. Completely see-through shirts? What?? Why? I don't want to wear two shirts. And the alternative? Not pretty. But overalls on adults? Well, I've thought long and hard and decided that those are simply the worst. Overalls should not be worn by any adults who aren't farmers. Ever. The only advantage they might have over regular jeans is that giant pocket in the front. But that's only an advantage until you go to the bathroom. Then it just becomes a hazard. And a mess. I don't get it. I never will. I wish they would go away forever. And never come back.

#2. The ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge
I am fairly certain that this has finally petered out of existence. And yes, it is nice to donate to a cause. And to be aware of diseases that affect various people. But can't you just do it because you want to? Why ya gotta dump a bucket of cold water on your head? For literally MONTHS out of the past year my social media sites were inundated with people pouring cold water on their heads. And nominating others to do the same. 4-year olds. 12-year-olds. 25-year olds. 50-year olds. In some places in the world people actually died doing some crazy extreme versions of the Ice Bucket Challenge (I know. Don't get me started.) I just don't get it. My 13-year old says it's because I'm lame. She's probably right. It just seems like it was mostly a way for celebrities to show off their gorgeous houses & yards and to name drop. "I nominate my BFF Beyonce and ALL of the Beatles...wait, what do you mean half of them are dead? When did THAT happen? I didn't get a tweet!" And for teenage girls to film themselves in wet t-shirts without their parents getting mad. And it makes me wonder what will be next? Coke Drinking Contest for Caffeine-Induced Anxiety Disorder Awareness? How about a Balloon Popping Contest to raise money for Globophobia research? There's just no telling what will show up in your news feed next. If you think of it first maybe you'll be famous like the guy who started the Ice-Bucket Challenge. You know, that one guy...what's his name?

#3. The Bacon Obsession
Bacon is good. Bacon is very good. On things like cheeseburgers. Or BLTs. Or potato soup. Or a plate with pancakes and eggs on it. Or...nope, that's it. Things that bacon is not good on/in? Donuts. Candy. Cookies. Air Freshener. Lip Balm. Toothpaste. Not. Good. So let's refresh. (No, not with bacon breath mints.) Bacon: Good. An As-Seen-On-TV Perfect Bacon Bowl so you can eat whatever you want out of a bowl made of bacon: Unnecessary. Bacon Soda: Downright disgusting.

#4. Keep Calm and...
Stop it. Just stop. The memes. The shirts. The mugs. The hats. The posters. Stop it. All of it. Keep Calm and Bake On. Keep Calm and Study On. Keep Calm and Eat a Cupcake. Keep Calm and Drink Tea. Keep Calm and Call a Realtor. It's like the worst thing since Got Milk. Except at least that was a question. Keep Calm is a command. Don't tell me what to do. Keep calm?? How? How am I supposed to keep calm when you WON'T STOP TELLING ME TO KEEP CALM?!??!! I won't do it. I won't keep calm. I won't carry on. You can't make me.

#5. Which _______ Are You?
A quiz shared on Facebook every now and then? Ok, fine. It's fun. It's harmless. It takes only a couple minutes of your time. But it got a little out of control in 2014. Star Wars Character. Color. Past-Life Persona. Alright. Fun. Harmless. Mildly interesting. Once. But, which state would you live in while you were which character from the Hunger Games who hooked up with which Walking Dead character while watching which incarnation of The Doctor while playing with which classic 80's toy while making dinner with which Jennifer Lawrence character?? It's too much. Nobody needs to be defined that much. And I don't care what they say. Nobody's life is like any Disney movie. Unless someone climbs up your hair, carved you out of wood, or your dad was trampled by wildebeasts. I know it may feel Cinderella-like to have to clean and cook constantly, but if no woodland creatures are sewing your clothes while you clean... Well, I hate to break it to you, but don't wait up for that Fairy Godmother. You probably won't be attending any balls anytime soon.

There they are. The 5 trends that annoyed me the most in 2014. I'm sure many more things annoyed me throughout the year, but they were probably people posting videos of their pets. (This man gives his cat a Perfect Bacon Bowl to play with and you won't believe what happens next!!) And my children. And you don't want to hear about that.

Happy New Year!