Not giving a damn: a prime list

It’s been quite serious around here of late, not that I’ve ever made a habit of not discussing uncomfortable or real situations, but even so, sometimes it’s time for a list.

And because I’m generally crabby and cynical of late, this list will be all the things that I just do not give a damn about:

      1. College football. Okay, all football. And all other Sportsball.
      2. Pumpkin spice.
      3. 99% of TV shows.
      4. Pennies. Completely useless. (Although I no longer throw them away, I now put them in a separate change jar, far away from the rest of my change.)
      5. Award shows. I’m already bored.

        I just don’t give a damn.

      6. Lip gloss, lip stick, lip stain. Can’t do it.
      7. Voicemail. Upgraded my phone last November, haven’t set up my voicemail yet, which is an improvement from my previous phone where I’d just go months and months not listening to the messages. At least now people are aware they couldn’t leave a message.
      8. Trying to figure out Instagram stories…I just…meh. Not interested.
      9. Other people’s opinions on my taste in music or books or the 1% of TV shows that I enjoy. (A note: I don’t have “cool” or “trendy” or even “popular” taste in any of those areas. And I don’t care.)
      10. Celebrities…I cannot keep up with the gossip/romance/weight loss/whatever.

        Yep, don’t give a damn.

      11. Lately, Facebook. I go through phases, the last few months I’ve been on the outs with Facebook and have not noticed any significant decrease in my online happiness.
      12. Boutique hotels. Honestly, 9 out of 10 times I’d rather just book something I know will be clean and reliable, and if that’s a chain, great. I do not need hipster sheets on my vacation.
      13. Flossing. I’ve tried to care, I have, but I just don’t. Sorry, Dentist.
      14. Video games. I literally have never even played a Mario game. Ever.
      15. “Tradition.” I’m not a monster, I like upholding and creating new family traditions or self-care traditions or what-have-you. But I refuse to do something stupid or ridiculous for the sake of *cue Tevye arms* TRADITION!Don’t give a damn.

        Yep. Fiddler on the Roof reference, right there. Told you I don’t have cool taste in music.

        Still don’t give a damn.

      16. The brand of my yoga/workout pants, only requirement is they be black.
      17. My eyebrows.
      18. Star Wars. Star Trek. The enormity of the difference between the two.
      19. The fact that diet soda will probably kill me, I’m drinking it anyway.

        I just don’t give a damn.

For some reason, I feel it necessary to mention that “I don’t give a damn” was the 7th iteration of this sentence. Various other swears and combination swears-some quite funny–were typed in, and deleted. Honestly, “damn” was the least funny and least crass….but ultimately, the things I don’t give a flying fuck about are a lot more antagonistic than this fairly banal list. For example: I don’t give a flying fuck about bigots, perverts, Trumpists, racists, misogynists, dickwads, rape apologists, zealots, and anti-feminists. But, I am a lot more adamantly opposed to those things than I am to, say, the Emmy’s, or Star Wars, which hardly register on my consciousness.

Confession: it took many minutes to decide that a) it’s time to go to bed instead of come up with one more thing about which I am apathetic; b) 19 is a perfectly acceptable number of things in a list, because 19 is a prime number. And while there are 19 things I don’t give a damn about, the prime-ness of the number of items on that list is something about which I am deeply concerned.

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Love and Hate: Volume 2

Love: After living mostly separate lives for our entire marriage, more often than not in separate states, it is still a giddy-excited thrill to spend a weeknight with Mr. Blue Eyes. 
Hate:
Our default activity is Netflix and chill. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with that, but we are both looking to find something we can do together. Any suggestions? (For now, it’s gonna have to be an indoor activity, it’s just too hot to spend hours and hours outside in the blazing sun.)

Love: My recent weight loss has opened up a whole new section of my closet!
Hate: Working from home means the vast majority of those clothes are not going to be worn anyway.
Hate: The other half are not weather appropriate for hotter-than-hell Arizona weather.

Love: So far this year I have managed to keep up my reading habit (59 books and counting), as well as my writing habit (an average of 3 posts per week here since January, a huge accomplishment for me!)
Hate: Writer’s block. I get anxious about something–anything–and the rest of my emoting brain clams up. I get stressed about work and I can’t write, or paint, or do anything creative for WEEKS. I then get stressed and anxious about my self-imposed writing goals, which adds another layer of anxiety about writing. Come on, brain! Can’t you just calm down!

Love: Audiobooks. I finally figured out the Overdrive app (I know), specifically for listening to audiobooks while I work out. I love love love that I can turn them to 1.5 or double speed, which keeps my pacing at a very nice clip and keeps my mind from wandering too much. Music or–horrors–nothing in my earbuds means then I get bored with the gym and start to hate it after about 4 minutes, but it’s 300 degrees outside, so, no. If I’m to exercise, I need to not hate the gym.
Hate:
Books that wrap up too neatly in the last 30 pages. I mean, I understand that after 300 pages you, the author, may be tired of this story, but the cop-out ending REALLY bothers me. Stop it.

Love: Eating lunch at home during the week. I get a step-up from tupperware’d leftovers, but very rarely have to spend more than a few minutes cooking or preparing anything. 
Hate:
Eating lunch by myself every single day. Sigh.

Love: 
Diet Dr. Pepper, my preferred combo is a 12 oz can of soda and the juice of a whole lime. I limit myself (most of the time) to one can of soda per day with my lunch, it’s my favorite little indulgence.
Hate: That despite 12 oz/day being a huge step for me in the Limit Soda!! direction, my doctor still raises her eye brows at me when I confessed my DDP habit. Lay off me, will ya!? A few months ago I was drinking 44 oz or MORE every day! THIS IS PROGRESS! IT’S NOT LIKE I’M INJECTING HEROIN WITH DIRTY NEEDLES!

Love: Cyber-stalking friends and strangers via social media.
Hate: How much hate and fear and coverage of said hate and fear is spread via social media. I have to clean up my friends/those I follow on the regular…but then I also don’t want to be actively avoiding “real life stuff” just because it makes me uncomfortable.
Hate: That this back-and-forth gives me anxiety no matter which back or forth I’m leaning towards at any given moment.

Love: Fresh pineapple; roasted, salted, PRE-SHELLED pistachios; carrot sticks–not the baby carrots, but full-size carrots chopped down to a manageable size, they taste SO DIFFERENT and SO MUCH BETTER than those slimey baby carrots, which I can never buy again.
Hate: Green smoothies. I tried, and just, no. I’d rather eat a salad followed by a milkshake. Thank you.

Love: Having a dishwasher! After more than a decade without one, I am still permanently dazzled about this magic machine that will clean my dishes for me. Ditto washer/dryer.
Hate: When flatware ends up fork-tine or knife-blade UP in the dishwasher. I flay my cuticles open every single time, and I can’t imagine the forks get any cleaner; the sprayer for the forks is on the BOTTOM of the bottom rack, not underneath the top rack which has zero sprayers…plus, I don’t usually wash my hands before putting away the dishes, but now my (bleeding) dirty hands have to touch the fork tines and knives that will touch food…fork-tine up is an all-around terrible idea.

Love: Traveling and adventuring and discovering new places. It’s like a drug for me.
Hate: I have zero adventures on the horizon. Well, at least zero traveling adventures. There are lots of legit reasons for that, but it still makes me sad.

Love: Political coverage and commentary on the Presidential election.
Hate: Political coverage and commentary on the Presidential election.

I 100% cannot take credit for this format, “Love and Hate Friday” is the brainchild of the lovely Janet from many years ago, resurrected for this, your Wednesday pleasure. What do you love and hate lately!?

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Summer Bucket List: 2016

I don’t know about you, but where I live summer is in full force. We’ve got summer vegetables available at farm stands, summer activities on weekends, kids in and out of the pool, and (COMPLETELY INSANE) summer temperatures. It was 103 last Wednesday and I still haven’t quite gotten over it. And this isn’t even the worst heat of the summer. It’s gonna be 118 before I know it. Summer in Arizona is going to be very different from my summer’s in the relatively mild Salt Lake City. I can’t just hop in my car and escape to the mountains for some mid-70’s temperatures and plenty of leafy shade. I mean, saguaro cactus give just enough shade for a really skinny person to stand in. My Summer Bucket List for this year (and all subsequent years) will look very different than previous lists, heading outside is more of an Arizona “winter” activity, not something that is at all enjoyable from May – October.

I have been firming up some work scheduling things and personal vacation-y things, the calendar was looking kind of…full. So I did the math: for a six-week long stretch I will only be at home in my own bed for six nights. Total. On average, one night per week for six weeks. Now, that sounds ridiculously overwhelming, but the good news is that every single one of the places I will be visiting (for work and for fun) are cooler than the Valley of the Surface of the Sun. So, despite knowing that kind of travel will be exhausting, I am looking forward to a little respite from the face-melting heat.

Summer Bucket List: 2016

      1. No sunburns, no tan lines, and religious sunscreen application!
      2. Finish up the landscaping in the backyard (the hardest part is already done, just some concrete work, finishing off some planter boxes, and laying the sod).
      3. Schedule a personal day off from work: go to a spa, get a massage, a pedicure, take myself out to a nice lunch, and maybe a movie, just because I can. (This should happen immediately after the 6 weeks of travel hell.)
      4. Go camping! Preferably somewhere higher in elevation, cooler, and leafier.
      5. Keep my backyard garden boxes alive! I need to rig up some shade to protect the baby veggies from 10 hours of the blasting Arizona sun.
      6. Eat at least one full meal harvested entirely from the backyard garden.
      7. Make homemade ice cream happen.
      8. Visit four new National Parks.
      9. Go to a rodeo!
      10. Tackle and manage a joint budget with Mr. Blue Eyes.
      11. Continue my current health and exercise regimen. (The good news is that the gym is heavily air conditioned, so while outdoor hiking may be a November and January activity, treadmill and exercises classes will be perfect when the temperatures soar.)
      12. Read a LOT of books. Inside. With the AC blowing directly on me.
      13. Finish the last bit of painting inside our house: 2 rooms and a closet.

I have had medium-levels of success with posting and then sticking to a summer bucket list in previous years, we’ll see how I do this year. Minus the “keep the backyard vegetables from burning up!” goal, these seem fairly manageable, even with six weeks away. Wish me luck!

What’s on your summer bucket list?

Summer Bucket Lists from previous years: 2015, 2014

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Essentials

We all have parts of our regular life that are essential to us, and I think most of us differ on what, exactly, makes up those essentials. For some it’s a killer pair of jeans, or a specific workout, or maybe a particular app on their phone. Looking at this list I see a lot of contradictions, although needing both sides of the bell curve, avoiding extremes, and trying to find balance seems like a healthy way to move forward, not a contradiction. Right? (RIGHT?!) Lawsy, I hope so. Otherwise I’m a walking contradiction fueled by Diet Dr. Pepper…not that there is anything wrong with that.

My Life Essentials:

Putzing: This is my quirky way of unwinding; I pad around the house, imagining updates and new paint colors, sketching out blueprints and planning renovations in my head. Or I’ll wander around the produce section of the grocery store touching the fruit and veggies. I wander around my own head, touching old memories and looking at old ideas, testing them to see if they still work. I make lists just to cross things off, I imagine fantastical things. Putzing is my alone time, my detox time. I can putz for hours.

Adventure: As a definitive counter-point to putzing, I also crave adventure like, woah. I love exploring new places and trying new things, that could be a city across the country or it could be a new restaurant with some kind of exotic fusion menu. I am an interesting mix of homebody (see above) and adventure seeker, and it can sometimes be hard to figure out which will solve feelings of restlessness or anxiety. But, I need both. I desperately need both.

Books: I remember the first book I ever bought with my own money. I was working two jobs, saving up for my first semester of college and decided to buy The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series and re-read them before the first movie came out in theaters (what up, 2001). I bought the cheapest version the bookstore had—a $4.99 half-sized paperback—one at a time over a few weeks. In the last 15 years I have amassed a considerable book collection and a bonafide library in my office (and the living room). Sitting in front of those shelves, running my fingers over the spines, reorganizing my “To Read First” shelf (yes, shelf) and reliving the stories and memories associated with previously read titles is one of the most calming things I can do at home. (See: putzing) Does this make me materialistic? Maybe. Do I care? No. I’m a paper-and-ink book person and I’m not willing to fight it.

Inspiring and Interesting: My walls are covered in art and my shelves are crammed with books; I’m kind of a bad minimalist that way. But I cannot explain how much joy I get from art on my walls and books on my shelves. I love learning. I love learning about new things, new people, new words, new ideas. I love learning old things for the first time, random facts, chronology of world events, social or geographic history or myth of far-flung places and interesting factoids close to home. I am also trying to have at least one piece of original art in every room of our home, and so far that plan has worked out splendidly (yes, even the laundry room, it’s a tiny watercolor of lavender fields that is just lovely on the lavender walls). (Yes, my laundry room walls are intentionally lavender.) (Stop judging me, they are perfection.)

Razor sharp kitchen knives: I love to cook and I find mincing vegetables therapeutic, but only if my knife is crazy-sharp. I found a gentleman pretty close to me who has a knife sharpening hobby out of his spare room, he is my favorite Arizona discovery so far. For $3-$5 per knife he does his honing magic and I continue to mince.

Chapstick: I’m not talking about lipgloss, or lipstick (neither of which I have worn for years). I’m not talking about Chapstick brand stuff that is pink with a waxy flavor. I will wear Bert’s Bees in a ruby grapefruit color, but I prefer Natural Ice, although it is next to impossible to find in grocery stores, gas stations, big box stores, or boutique stores. Sometimes I’ll find it at REI and stock up. Last fall I finally got the brilliant idea to order a dozen tubes of Natural Ice from Amazon. They are now nicely lined up in my dresser waiting to rescue my chapped and dry lips.

Diet Dr. Pepper: My caffeine source of choice, preferably with a tremendous dose of fresh-squeezed lime, and a straw. I know, I know, “Soda is so bad for you!” and “Aspartame will kill you!” but I can’t help it! The heart wants what the heart wants! To my credit, I have drastically reduced my DDP intake, I now have a 12-ounce can (and a whole lime) at lunch, and drink water the rest of the time. Well, except for weekends, more soda on the weekends. And on road trips. And when I’m stressed or sad…ok, so I might have a DDP consumption problem….

Sunshine: I am one of those people who will never go tanning, I wear sunscreen always. However, just a few minutes of sunshine will lift my mood in amazing ways. I do some of my best putzing sitting in a sunny spot. Seattle weather would probably be better for my skin (and save me thousands on tubes of sunscreen), but

Sparkly Unicorns and Pegasus Ponies: I am (mostly) kidding on this one. (Or am I?)  Hmm…actually? Not really kidding at all, but I should probably define this need as “whimsical sarcasm” instead. A generous dose of whimsical sarcasm is a pretty good explanation of why I send hundreds of funny, snarky, sometimes dirty, and generally giggle-inducing photos and texts in any given week. Yes, hundreds. I guess this is the reason Tumblr was invented, but there is just something about getting a laugh-cry inducing text from a friend that subscribing to a social media feed cannot provide.

 

My Favorite Non-Essentials:

High Thread Count Sheets: Several years ago my older brother found 1,000 count Egyptian cotton sheets on Amazon for something crazy like $100 dollars. He ordered them immediately. I ordered them immediately. Several other family members ordered them. They are heaven. I don’t care if 1,000 count sheets don’t come in cute polka-dots, or fancy stripes, or chevrons, or mod floral graphic print. I have a hard time sleeping in scratchy sheets and silky sheets are right out. I need 1,000 count Egyptian cotton, preferably white because I’m high maintenance like that.

Office Supplies: I have an unhealthy obsession with office supplies. Stacks of college-ruled paper, packages of Sharpie’s in a rainbow of colors, boxes of unsharpened pencils waiting to be ground to a point and fill a notebook with ideas. I love office supplies.

Fresh Flowers and/or Live Plants: I love having fresh flowers on my dining room table. I have very rarely had anything fancier than a small bouquet from the grocery store, but even $6 dollars worth of tulips will keep me smiling for two weeks. About a year ago I tried my gray-ish-green thumb at houesplants, and except for a few tragedies, I have managed to keep a couple of them alive for quite a while, move to ARizona be damned! We’ll see how long that lasts.

 

Things I Could Easily Live Without:

Smart Phones: I know, it sounds nuts, but I am becoming more and more anti-smart phone. It’s not that I don’t like the convenience of having a mini computer-communicator-television-navigational system-word processor-camera the size of a credit card, it’s just that after sitting at a computer for 9 hours a day with the expectation to respond to email promptly and answer the phone by the second ring I kind of relish the idea of walking away from technology for a couple of hours. I don’t know, maybe I’m not using my phone the right way, but I very much prefer a larger screen for most of my online needs (actually, my dual-screen set-up has spoiled me forever for even a laptop screen, maybe that means I’m getting old and short-sighted, but a 2×4″ screen just cannot compare to TWO large monitors and task lighting. Sigh. I’m old, aren’t I.

Voice mail: I hate voicemail, hate it. Remember when voicemail used to be an add-on? My cell phone is now also my work phone and I have to retrieve messages, but it is one of my most loathed tasks.

Popcorn: I haven’t had popcorn since I was in junior high, and I don’t miss it. I like the smell well enough, I won’t gag at the movies or anything, but I have absolutely no desire to try it. None.

 

What are your life essentials? What can you life without? It just occured to me that I haven’t listed people anywhere on here, and maybe there is some deeper psychological flaw that I should be concerned about, but for now I’m just going to disclaim* that Some People are essential, Others are hit or miss, and A Few I could easily do without. (*Disclaim is a verb, right?)

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Format for this post inspired (okay, blatantly heisted) from Stacy at The Cat’s Meow.

Love and Hate Tuesday: Volume 1

Alright, friends, it’s time for a little Love & Hate Tuesday where I counteract the things I currently loathe with something positive on sort-of the same subject. Seems like a good exercise for a cranky pants like me, no? I can’t take all the credit, however, “Love and Hate Friday” is the brainchild of the lovely Janet from any moons ago. Today it just seemed fitting to resurrect her idea. But, it’s Tuesday, not Friday, so…well, you understand.

Love: Happy spring flowers, flowering trees, tulips, daffodils, all those hallmarks of spring.
Love: All the images on Twitter and Instagram of gorgeous blossoms!
Hate: Um, there isn’t really a proper spring here in Arizona, and my neighborhood has very few flowers, a few flowering cacti and one Jacaranda tree, and that’s about it.

Love: NCIS starring the delightful Leroy Jethro Gibbs, DiNozzo, and forensic genius Abby. I’ve spent the last few months re-watching all TWELVE seasons of it on Netflix. Also? I don’t care how long Bishop is on that show, my heart will forever wish she was Ziva David.
Hate: Now I have to find a new show to love. Twelve seasons is a long time to commit to one set of characters, but I’m super invested now and I’m worried any new show just won’t live up to my (probably unrealistic) expectations from a TV cast.
Hate: Watching shows like that make me seriously question my life choices. Once upon a time I had a full ride scholarship to Air Force Academy and was ready to start training to be a fighter pilot and then, perhaps, move towards a career in the FBI or CIA or something, or maybe a military attorney. Watching people stop the bad guys always makes me wonder, a bit, what would have happened to me in that life trajectory.

Love: Having enough money to buy everything we need and survive without too much financial anxiety
Hate: Still feeling like an extra $100 dollars would make my life immeasurably more satisfying. Sigh. I’m working on it.

Love: Remembering how to write again consistently. Yes, I just watched a crap-ton of NCIS (12 seasons, 24 episodes per season), but I have also been a lot better about spending  a little time every day to write in a personal journal (what?!) and have been writing more consistently for this site as well.
Hate: There are days and weeks when I feel so paralyzed by anxiety and doubt and panic that it makes it hard to create anything, I struggle with sentences and allowing myself an imaginative/creative thought (“But what if that’s wrong!?”), let alone trying to write 600 words about any given topic. Ugh. Anxiety sucks.

Love: Being able to work in fuzzy slippers any given day, working from home full time definitely has it’s benefits.
Hate: How sedentary my life has become. I can sit at my desk for hours at a time without even realizing it and my only real movement is walking 300 steps to the mail box. I need a pretty significant change in my exercise and activity levels to counteract this lifestyle change or I will be busting out of my stretchy pants really really soon.

Love: Looking for cute workout clothes online, I’m not super vain, but I am so much more likely to get my sweat on in something I enjoy wearing that has moisture-wicking abilities and is in a fun, bright color.
Hate: That online shopping doesn’t burn more calories. Get it together, science!

Love: That I have space for a few vegetables in the backyard. Blue Eyes built me some garden boxes and they are filled up with hopes and seedlings. I bought the tomatoes, peppers, yellow squash, and herbs as little plants, the rest I planted as seeds and am SO ANXIOUS about them coming up and growing strong.
Hate: Studying a plot of brown dirt day-after-day, waiting for little green leaves to come to the surface. Oh my goodness, I did not realize gardening was such an angst-inducing sport! So far I have 3 zucchini sprouts (out of 12-14), and 3 bean plants (out of a whole packet of seeds), zero watermelon, zero butternut squash, and two sunflowers (out of 2 packets of seeds). WHERE ARE MY LITTLE PLANTS! COME UP, LITTLE PLANTS!!

What about you? What do you love and hate today?

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