Always Be Compassionate: Let Me Persuade You

Always Be Compassionate: Let Me Persuade You

Because I write for clients and I have a million things going on in my head at once, I typically have no problem hitting a 500 word a day limit without addressing the prompts given in my Facebook group, so I don’t always address them. But today’s prompt kept nagging me. “What would you write to persuade someone of something?” Finally, I realized why. I do in fact want to influence every single person I meet to always be compassionate.

Always Be Compassionate

The ABCs of life, right? There are so many opportunities to be kind to others, and you will find, once you try it, that it becomes infectious. It is like a drug. You want more – more opportunities to make people smile, to make people feel good about themselves.

Smile at someone. I am sure you have heard this before. It is really hard not to smile at someone who is smiling at you, especially one of those big, wide, Julia Roberts smiles. You just have to smile back. Try to be the one who initiates the smile. Go around grinning. Why the hell not?

Image: Getty Images North America

Yes, I know Americans are joked about. Why do we insist on smiling all the time? And I’ve heard the feminist argument: “stop telling women to smile!”

But so what? Just freaking smile. It is amazing the effect a smile can have on others as well as on yourself.

Don’t Forget Yourself

In fact, start with yourself. Yes, you count here. Why, why, why do we forget in all of our acts of kindness to also be kind to ourselves?Continue reading…    

The Most Important Day of My Life: I Lost Everything

The Most Important Day of My Life: I Lost Everything

I am involved in a 500 words a day challenge with a group led by a writer I admire, Jeff Goins. He recently wrote a book I am listening to called Real Artists Don’t Starve. I am a firm believer in this concept, so I bought the book, and so far, so good. So when the opportunity to join his Facebook group “500 Words a Day” came up, I jumped. Yesterday, I was supposed to write about the most important day of my life.

No Brainer

I thought I had it all figured out. Duh, the day I ran away from home.

I was all set to write about it, until I was talking with my mother this morning.

“I’m at rock bottom.” She sobbed into the phone. “Rock bottom.”

Now, let me say, my mother tends toward the dramatic. She is most certainly not at rock bottom. She is actually at one of the greatest moments of her life. But my mother’s blessing and curse is that she is very childlike. She lives in the moment, like an innocent child does.

This is a truly beautiful thing in many ways.

She gulps down happiness in great waves. She reaches highs like few people I’ve seen.

The downside to this is that the slightest thing can send her spiraling downward.

“Good.” I said calmly into the phone. “Good.”Continue reading…    

What the Health? The Emotional Labor of Motherhood

What the Health? The Emotional Labor of Motherhood

A writer friend of mine has been talking a lot on social media about the emotional labor of motherhood. Recently, she added an essay to her website as a culmination of her ideas and how she plans to tackle this heavy burden. I mostly agree with her points, and on a few points I disagree.

Amanda makes an excellent case: motherhood is mentally demanding. We mothers are in charge of not only a clearly uneven amount of household chores, many of us also work outside the home in various forms, and then we carry the mental load of worrying, planning, prepping, and just knowing.

Just Knowing

I know when my daughters’ checkups are; I know when they need to have their teeth cleaned; I know what we’re out of in the kitchen; I know what we need to cook each week; I know what needs to be bought both food wise and supply wise; I know what bills need to be paid and when; and so on and so on ad nauseum.

My husband knows to do what I tell him.

No joke.Continue reading…    

Halfway Through Crazy: Stop to Rest

Halfway Through Crazy: Stop to Rest

I have taken on this 25 days of writing challenge called “blogmas.” I am now halfway through crazy (Trust me. Crazy.) So I took a day to stop and rest.

Blogmas

One of the Facebook blogging groups I am in introduced me to this idea of blogging every day in December, ideally with a Christmas theme. The organizer of the group was all pumped up in the end of November: “Let’s do this!”

And hundreds of us in the group responded: “Yea! Let’s do it!” (Picture our fists in the air.)

I had already utterly failed at my November challenge with National Novel Writing Month. I wrote not one single word. Not one. I didn’t even outline an idea.

So when blogmas came up, I was determined to do it. I could write one essay a day. I didn’t have to organize a whole book. I could seek inspiration through my various channels and experiences, and I have.Continue reading…    

Gastric Bypass: Rebeccas’s Story Part Two

Gastric Bypass: Rebeccas’s Story Part Two

*This is a continuation of Part One of Rebecca’s weight loss journey through gastric bypass.

Part Two

The first time I met with Rebecca we met at Zocalo Coffee Shop a few exits from where I live. I love meeting friends and collaborators there because the place just oozes art and creativity, and as an added bonus, my kids can tag along. A side effect of being an attachment parent is that my children are quite attached to me, and Celaya especially is relentless about coming along whenever possible. I don’t mind so much because there’s a nice little play area that keeps both Celaya and Matilda entertained while I talk shop or visit.

The second time I visited Rebecca at her house, so my kids stayed home. I certainly did not expect a woman who had recently undergone surgery and had been in and out of the hospital ever since to hop on down to the local cafe and catch me up on her status while my children tugged on my skirt.

In reality, I likely could have asked Rebecca to meet me. The woman is a nonstop energy machine. She had the surgery August 22, 2017, and since that time barely two months ago she has been packing up the house she lives in, which is in her mother’s estate and now being sold. She’s packed moving boxes, gone camping!, and made it out to her teenage son’s baseball games on weekends.

Leave it to a woman, a mother especially, to not know how to just sit the hell down and recuperate.

Rebecca’s House

I had been to Rebecca’s house years before, and it was exactly as I remembered it, tucked away in the hills, with winding concrete steps surrounded by wild plants. I hope she is able to find another place that suits her so well once this house sells. Rebecca told me once that she had dabbled a bit in Wicca before she became a buddhist, and when you walk up those steps, you do indeed expect to see herb pots with eye of newt and tongue of dog.Continue reading…    

Pancakes From Scratch! Because It’s Just Too Easy

Pancakes From Scratch! Because It’s Just Too Easy

“Maybe we should have pancakes.” My daughter says, when I ask what we should have for breakfast that sunny Saturday morning.

“Hm. Yea, we could. But I don’t have any mix.” I respond, bottom lip between my teeth.

I am a huge fan, HUGE, of making food from scratch. Unless it is just way to much work, I will do it myself from all raw ingredients. I make my own chicken stock; I make macaroni and cheese from scratch; I make cheeseburger macaroni from scratch. Cheeseburger freaking macaroni, as in the Hamburger Helper dish we all ate when we were kids.

Too Much Work

For some reason, though, I have always been convinced that pancakes were going to be super complicated.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a lover of pancakes. Every time we go out to breakfast at a diner I get a side pancake. One pancake on the side. It’s my dessert after breakfast. I’ll order corned beef hash, potatoes, toast, eggs. And a pancake on the side. I only end up eating like a quarter of my breakfast because I want that damn pancake, smothered in butter and syrup.

At home, however, it is an entirely different story.Continue reading…    

Love the City of Hayward: Yogurt Hill

Love the City of Hayward: Yogurt Hill

Never Leaving the City of Hayward

I live just above the downtown area of the city of Hayward on the top floor of an apartment building overlooking the city and looking out to the hills. My husband and brother have been trying to convince me to move for years. “We could get a house,” they say. “The kids could have a yard,” they say.

“Find me something similar to what I have now, for a similar price, and I will move.” I always respond in the same way.

Especially now that I have children, location is incredibly important to me.

My daughter and I have been walking to our city library (We have a new library going up now, and we cannot wait to get in there!) since she could walk. It is less than a mile away. The hubby and I walk to the movie theater, which is seldom overcrowded, for date nights.  The theater is even closer than the library. I live in a secure building. My apartment has windows on three sides (I get to gaze at the horizon from my desk while I write), a balcony on the backside and a patio on the front, and we enjoy two thousand square feet of space.

No, I’m not leaving until I buy my dream house. (I have been getting more anxious for that recently. More on that later.)

But, I didn’t always live in this big place; we needed the space when my brother moved in after my daughter was born, and we lucked out when the only three bedroom apartment in my building became available. When I was 19, I moved into this building, into a one bedroom apartment on the fourth floor. Years later I moved into a two bedroom. Now we are here.

The Good with the Bad

The building is nothing to brag about. People throw trash in the elevator, vomit in the stairwells, and pee in the hallway. It can be pretty gross sometimes. Plus, our fabulous pool just happens to be located next to the dumpster. So, yea, that’s luxury living at its finest right there. But I understand also that I live just down the hill from my alma mater, California State University of East Bay (Hayward, really), and that college kids and their friends can be idiots. Also, some people never learned the “don’t poop where you eat” rule. Go figure.

But we have a great group of people here who wave to each other as we head out for the day. We make conversation in the elevator (over the vomit), and we ask after each other’s family. We also commiserate over the pee and the trash.

I am not going to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as they say, and I’ll tell you why.Continue reading…    

Rebecca’s Story: Gastric Bypass Surgery Part 1

Rebecca’s Story: Gastric Bypass Surgery Part 1

When I walked into Zocalo in San Leandro, CA, to meet with my friend Rebecca to discuss her gastric bypass surgery, I didn’t recognize her. I walked right past her, even though, really, you couldn’t miss her.

She had on a bright, hot pink top, with little ruffles around the collar, she had on cute pink earrings to match. Her hair is a light, bright yellow with adorable curls all around her face. She was wearing pink lipstick, and beautifully applied and eye shadow that had clearly been carefully chosen. She was well into three hundred pound territory and sitting at a table right inside the door, facing the door.

She should have been the first person I noticed. But I walked right past her, because I was looking for my friend Rebecca, not this cute, very overweight woman. Continue reading…    

Stay Safe: From a Woman Who Runs Alone at Night

Stay Safe: From a Woman Who Runs Alone at Night

My brilliant plan to run at night entered crash and burn phase almost immediately. I headed out after work, 10:30 PM, down a very wide, well lit sidewalk. I had only one headphone in my ear, the other one tucked neatly into my shirt. I run with my head up and my music low. I only feel comfortable running at night because both neighborhoods where I work are well populated and safe. As a woman, I have had to think about safety first my whole life. Walking at night? Not down a dark alley. Headed out with some friends? Not with all boys. The chances of anything happening are pretty slim, but, again, I’m a woman. And staying safe, as a woman who runs alone at night, is a primary concern for me.

On my third night out running, I entered the part of the neighborhood that gets really quiet when cars aren’t driving by. But I’m on this new kick to be unafraid, so I’m cool. No fear.

“Scurry scurry.” I hear something in the bushes next to me. Instinct pushes me out further on the sidewalk. I’m running on the edge of the sidewalk now, almost in the streets. “Scurry scurry.”Continue reading…    

French Toast For When You’re Feeling Fancy

French Toast For When You’re Feeling Fancy

“What’s for breakfast tomorrow?” My brother asks this question every Friday and Saturday. During the week it’s “what’s for dinner?”

For a grown man who is more into fitness and health than anyone I have ever personally known, he sure is food obsessed.

“French toast.” I respond, offhand, because I can always throw together some french toast.

The problem is that I only had the honey wheat bread that I buy from Costco in the kitchen. And I just do not like French toast made with regular bread. It works. You can do it. But why? If you’re going to make French toast, make French toast.Continue reading…