Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nothing but the Truth

Over the past month or so, our group of friends has been talking about telling the truth. Not "telling the truth" like avoiding overtly lying, but "truth" like how you really feel about something. Truth like, "Actually, I'm not fine," "I don't feel like going," "When you do that, it bothers me." It may be hurtful in the short term, but overall, it seems better to have it out in the open.

I'm choosing to write about this today because yesterday I got hit by a car on my longboard, and it was absolutely imperative that I tell the truth.

As the driver was apologizing and saying that she just didn't see me, I realized that the "old" me would have jumped in and said, "Oh, it's okay, don't worry about it." But it wasn't okay, and she should be worried, and she should be sorry.

So I did the "real" thing instead of the "right" thing. I admitted to being freaked out and upset, and possibly injured. I told the police officer exactly what happened, even though the lady who hit me was very nice, and I felt badly that she got a ticket. Why should I feel bad? It's time to stop being so damn nice.

Why do we say and do things that aren't in our best interests simply to preserve the feelings of others? If you are hurt you should say so. If you need something, you need speak up. It's a disservice to yourself to sit in silence. And in a way, it's a disservice to others. When you hold everything in and lead everyone to believe that you feel a certain way, then one day you suddenly tip over the edge and explode, you leave a blast-zone of bewildered people who don't understand what went wrong.

The other day I told a client that they were making a "poor choice" by picking one design over another. It felt weird to offer my opinion like that, and in such a blatant way, but I'm glad that I said it. Regardless of the outcome, I'm happy that everyone knows how I feel.

Here are the two postcard designs. I prefer #2 over #1, I feel that it is the more powerful of the two, and is more likely to leave an impression on the viewer.

So be warned. I am done agreeing simply for the sake of saying "Yes."

Lest you think this is only about being catty and evil, consider that it also applies to speaking your mind in general. When Liz and I first started talking about saying what you really think, I experimented with sharing the funny things that I think about instead of censoring myself.

For example, when I saw that the parking lot attendant at the mall had a giant bottle of wine and a sub sandwich at his desk, I said, "You really know how to bring the party." And we all had a good laugh. Good times. Now we all get to be amused instead of just me.

Another example from Liz: Liz asked the girl (Erin) who scans our cards at the gym why there were balloons in the lobby, and Erin said, "It's to show that we appreciate you today," to which Liz replied, "Shouldn't you appreciate us everyday?" And we all had a good laugh. Good times.

In both cases, we have made new aquantance-type-friends. Erin is now very happy to see us each time we go to the gym, and the parking lot attendants are equally enthused to see us. I'm sure they are thinking, "There's those funny girls, I wonder what crazy things they'll say next."

It's not going to hurt the random people you encounter to know what you're thinking. The worst thing that could happen is that they'll think you are a little odd. But honestly, you are a little odd, aren't you? Tell the truth now.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Everyday could be a Holiday-Day

As I'm thinking about preparations for the 4th annual Halloween Party, I am also looking back at past holiday events. Holidays are very important to me. I love traditions and rites-of-passage almost as much as I like shaking-up those traditions.

Making special occasions out of every-day occurrences helps me remember the good times. Moments slip through my mind faster than I can capture them. My mental shutter speed is no match for a camera. That's why I try to take lots of pictures and write about what's going on in my life. It seems that our minds sometimes block out the good memories when the going gets tough, but I have concrete evidence that I do have a good time on a regular basis. :-)
Try it! Take a picture of yourself with a big, cheesy grin and put it up somewhere you'll see it everyday. When something horrible happens and it seems impossible to find the lesson or the humor, fake it. Write down something positive about it, even if you have to lie a little, it can help shift the way you are feeling right now...and it will definitely change the way you remember it later on.

If every single day could be a party, I would be the happiest person in the universe. I love the way people interact and experience something when they know it's time to relax and let go. Also, being a visual person, I love to make invitations and create atmosphere through lights, decorations and music.

Years and years ago, before my Dad shipped out on a 6-month tour, I created a "Holiday-day" event. I set up "stations" around the living room, each one featuring a different holiday, effectively cramming 6-months worth of holidays into an hour. We walked around to each area, sang the related songs and took a picture of ourselves with the holidays' decorations. It helped me to create a memory for each holiday that included our whole family. That way, when the actual holiday rolled around, I wouldn't have to feel like anyone was missing.

It's about escapism. It's very much about forgetting that tomorrow we get on a boat and sail away from the ones we love. Whether that's an actual boat or just the obligations in our lives that pull us away from what's important, it makes no difference, the feeling is the same.

Here some invitations I've designed that remind me of fun times and make me smile:

On a separate note:

This Sunday, I tried inner-tubing for the first time. I haven't been on a small boat in about 20 years and I never imagined that I would be comfortable on the water. But you know what? It was awesome.

The speed and the sunshine and the spray from the water is incredible. It was much more intense than I thought it would be.

My arms are crazy-sore today from holding on to the mesh handles. Keeping your grip isn't easy and hitting the water is like being struck by a train. I don't remember anything after hearing Aaron yell, "OH SHIT!" Then I was coughing and laughing and soaking wet and trying to catch my breath.

"Super-Awesome, Shorty-Summer" isn't quite over yet, but it could end tomorrow and I would be more than satisfied. The yard sale, the yard-sale after party, having my socks rocked off by Modest Mouse, being seriously piggy-ish at Pig Out in the Park, making a whole new look for my kitchen for just over $100, training for the Spokane half-marathon, and myriad other things have made it incredible.

Bring on the Fall!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

So far, so good.

My money-saving kick is really paying off (ha!). I could actually see the difference in my savings account right away. Those $3 coffees for both Greg and myself every single day were draining over $2,000 from our wallets each year. Red's tiny coffee pot from school is the perfect size since we each drink two cups of coffee in our giant tumblers.

URM (cash & carry store) has tons of flavors for coffees or italian sodas. Our kitchen is now stocked like a full-service espresso stand and I couldn't be happier. No more hoping that I get the barista who makes the coffee the way I like it...because now it's always me...and I know exactly what I like!

Another success story: Super-Awesome-Shorty-Summer!
Thus far, I have accomplished the following summer/fun-related activities:
- Epic Skate Journey
- Gym like crazy - Seriously - Like. Crazy.
- Flying Irish fun running
- Rocket Bakery and neighborhood adventure - ate a yummy sandwich and ventured about
- Golfing for Nate's B-day
- Party at Erik's - dressed as a gangsta hottie in my kick-ass pin-striped hat
- Party at Aarons - trampoline! fire pit! alcohol! ...danger!
- Silly lunch with good friends - silly because the service was bad and the food was disappointing, not because lunch itself is silly, lunch is serious business
- Newman Lake for a family BBQ - still fun even though I was falling asleep in my comfy camping chair
- Marilyn Manson Concert - Greg and I rocked the mosh pit, the show was incredible
- Yard Sale! - this hasn't happened yet, but getting ready for it is eating up a lot of my time in a good way. Every box that I take out to the garage is more space in the house and more money in our pockets. If that's not good enough for ya, the yard sale will be followed by a BBQ at Cindy's, then a sure-to-be-rad Modest Mouse concert.
- Painting the kitchen and cabinets - a full makeover on the cheap that I have optimistically planned for Labor Day (before and after photos coming soon)