And we call them weeds

Why are certain flowers, trees, and plants called weeds and others aren’t? I admire my mint and sedum spreading voraciously and without abandon in my newly-planted, otherwise cleanly-weeded flower bed…. and yet, I pull those little sunflower-looking things because I was told “Oh get rid of that! It’s a weed!”

My friend told me I needed to dig out these Elm trees that voluntarily seeded near my house. “Oh, goodness, get rid of those weeds!”

But I like the little sunflowers. And the weed trees are nearly taller than my house at this point and I don’t mind the shade. And I especially don’t mind avoiding the arduous labor that goes along with digging up a weed tree.

As I walk along the path around our neighborhood, I notice purple, and white, and yellow little buds everywhere. Some look like blueberries, some look like sunflowers, some look like foxgloves, beautiful, untamed. My 4-year-old Riley asks me to take a picture of the pretty yellow ones. He doesn’t think they’re weeds.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is famously credited with describing a weed as “a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

What a metaphor for nearly everything in life! People are weeds, animals are weeds, books are weeds and yes, Netflix Originals are weeds.

If we don’t take the time to meet, and discover, and research, and experience, everything will always be weeds. If I look at the world like Riley looks at weeds, maybe I’ll be a little more open-minded.

Except when it comes to crabgrass. Crabgrass was, is and always will be a weed.

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You’re the asshole

Someone cuts me off in traffic.
A-hole! (I don't know why I censor this word when I'm alone in my car.)

The coffee at work has a drop left and the last person didn't start a new pot.
What an a-hole!

People talking, meeting and joking behind my desk all hours of the work day.
Shut it, a-holes! I'm trying to work.

Good morning? Good morning! Stop telling me Good Morning!
A-hole.

I don't want to talk to you. I don't want a hug. I don't want a fist bump. I'm here to work!
Annoying a-holes.

"If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you're the asshole."
-Raylan Givens

This is a great reminder on perspective. That morning a-hole can impact my entire day and leave me with a horribly bad attitude. It makes me into an a-hole. If I let it roll, and move on. Those people who WANT to talk to me are no longer annoying a-holes, they are caring friends. (Sometimes caring friends need to know when to shut up, but that def doesn't make them a-holes.)

Me to Jimmy Johns employee: I'd like mayo on that slim.
Anonymous Jimmy Johns employee: It's procedure to not put sauces on these sandwiches.
Me to JJ employee: But, can you just do it? I mean, you have mayo back there, right?
Anon JJ employee: Well, no that's against our policy. I can give you mayo packets
Me to JJ employee: Policies and procedures aside, I have two hungry, messy little boys in my nice clean car and mayo packets will wreak havoc back there. They can barely open them! So I'll be opening 4-5 mayo packets while driving.
Anon JJ employee: I'm sorry ma'am that's all I can do.
Me: *pulls up to window*
Anon JJ employee: Here you go ma'am, we made sure to give you lots of mayo… Packets.

What a bunch of a-holes.

If my kids were critics…

If my kids were critics, I don’t think I’d ever be upset after a critique.

Kids are incredibly honest without prejudice. They aren’t jealous. They don’t project shame. They are NATURAL critics. They do it when you don’t even ask. Most of the time they do it without you asking.

Case in Point:

Logan (8): “Mommy, you know I love you, right?”

Me: “Yes, of course!”

Logan: “Your story wasn’t really that funny… but I still love you.”

Then we hug it out.

Notice how his critique began with a positive and ended with positive, with a little something to work on in the middle.

The best part about a kid being my critic is that I can tell him he’s wrong and then send him to his room while I retell the unfunny story to another person.

If my kids were critics…

Why don’t toads stress eat?

Logan was frustrated that a toad peed on him and asked “Why don’t toads stress eat?” It was the perfect question. Or better yet, why don’t humans pee when we’re stressed. It would definitely prevent a lot of us from gaining stress-weight. Also, I think the diaper/pad industry would be booming.

And would it be acceptable?

“What’s with Frank?”

“He wet his pants again.”

“Aw. I really hope he gets that stress under control.”

The reality is, only humans stress-eat. It’s what separates us from the beasts. Well, that and opposable thumbs and a few other things. I’m typing this as I boredom-eat a granola bar I wasn’t even hungry for. I don’t think animals do that either. Pop open the fridge and look around until something seems interesting, then mindlessly eat that cherry pie. Most animals don’t even HAVE fridges.

The point is, and there is a point, animals don’t really seem to get stressed unless they have a good reason. Like say, when my careless 8-year-old is carrying Kebby around by his leg (Kebby is the toad with incontinence issues.) 

If Kebby only gets stressed at death’s door, then maybe I can chill the eff out about my new flowers dying in this ridiculous heat, or someone hurting my feelings, or stumbling over my words in a Toastmasters meeting, or stubbing my toe. 

When it comes to stress, I’m going to be like the toad. 

(Hopefully, I’ll never pee my pants, but you know, if I’m in a scary situation like Kebby was today, it could happen.)

Contribute more than you criticize

“How might we…” is a phrase that behemoths like Google, Apple, IDEO and others swear will facilitate more open and productive brainstorming. In a group setting, it’s intimidating to throw out new ideas. It’s much easier to say no to everyone else’s ideas than to step into the arena and prepare for tomato-pelting. That’s why everyone does it. 

Except me. 

I’m an idea-giver. Ideas well up inside me until I feel like I’m going to explode, then I have to let it out. I have to say it. Embarrassing or not. I just do it. And it sets me up for all kinds of failure and tomato-pelting. But I don’t care. I do it anyway.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t criticize an equal amount. I criticize. Some might say, I’m judgmental. It’s human nature to be a little judgmental. It’s how we know to not go home with the creepy guy from a bar. It’s why we won’t let the pedophile babysit our kids. A little bit of judgment and criticism is ok. That’s not exactly the type of criticism I’m talking about. I’m talking about when we look at others’ creativity and say “That’s not good” or something else negative. 

When I hear phrases like “contribute more than you criticize” it reminds me of why I started this blog in the first place. I need to check myself regularly. Am I passing judgment and not putting myself out there to be judged? (Hides Audible review screen)

Among the 5 books I’m reading and the 3 books I’m listening to, am I writing? Am I creating? 
Am I contributing?

35 on vacation

Today, I’m 35. 

Not too long ago, 35 seemed old. In the not too distant future, 35 will seem young. Today, it’s just where I’m at.

I used to celebrate my birthday all week. Now it’s not even a day. Is this a sign of things to come? Ignoring birthdays. Not wanting any sort of attention and denying they’re even happening?

As I sit here wondering what I should do with myself today, I’m watching my boys swim. I’m worn out from a week of vacationing. No sleep in the 2 double bed room we’ve been sharing with our boys.

“Can we go to the pool?” 

“As long as I can just sit there.”

“Can we go to the Waterpark?”

“Can I just sit there and relax?”

Hell, I don’t even want to relax. I’m bored. I have no energy, no motivation, all the time in the world and no desire to do anything. Is this 35? 

Over the week, we’ve done Gatorland. We’ve done beaches. All the seafood I can stand.

The 25 people I’m sharing a vacation with are gone at the volleyball tournament. And now it’s just me and the kids again. 

The humidity is fogging up my glasses. Is that I sign I should put my contacts in and just get into the pool??

Alright, I’ll get my suit on. Vacationing is hard.

Relax don’t do it

I have time on my hands. 

I’m a busybody. I can’t sit still. Our first day of vacation, after I ate my breakfast, I sat out by the pool… for like 5 min. Then I launched into a few sets of pushups, squats and lunges around the pool. What else am I gonna do? Relax? Pssshhh.

After I was bored with that, I snagged Riley out of the water and we headed to the resort Waterpark. Three hours there, then back to the house. Then… cleaning. Yeah. I’ll clean the kitchen. The kitchen that was destroyed by 20 people that morning, in a rush to down breakfast and head off to a volleyball tournament. 

Cleaning. Cleaning. Cleaning. Hmm… It’s pretty clean. Now what?

I’ll take a shower. Yeah. I need a shower. 

Shower=check!

As soon as everyone gets back I head off to the store for supplies. I get back and most are 3 deep in Bud Light. It’s 4 pm. Vacation drinking. I get it. But… I’m bored. 

Workout? Someone wants to check out the fitness center. Let’s go! I put 2 moms through a workout. 

Then back to the house for dinner. More sitting around. More drinking. More chilling. Do I relax? Ok. I’ll relax. 10 minutes later… Walk? Someone wants to walk around the resort. I’m in! Let’s walk. 

Back at the resort. More sitting. More chilling. Ok, I guess. I’ll sit here for a bit. 

10 minutes later… Time for a book and the soft leather couch. Now. Now, I’m relaxed. 

Good night.