Therapist Me vs. Real Me

For those of you who don’t know, I have a day job as a mental health professional. One of the interesting things about this career path is that it sometimes feels like there’s a difference between the version of you that acts as a therapist, and the version of you that is just…you.

In other words, while “Therapist Me” is an educated professional who spends a great deal of time encouraging self-care and guiding clients toward healthy coping skills, “Real Me” is a human being who is just as prone to flawed coping mechanisms as everyone else.

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Sometimes, Therapist Me gets into heated arguments with Real Me. Therapist Me is compassionate and understanding with clients, but she’s a bit judgey with Real Me.

On bedtime…

Therapist Me: “You need to go to bed at a decent hour. Sleeping is important for your mental and physical health.”

Real Me: “But I wanna watch another episode of Golden Girls!”

On healthy habits…

Therapist Me: “Go to your yoga class tonight. Sometimes you think you don’t want to, but you always feel better afterward.”

Real Me: “OR………I could just eat Chinese food in my yoga pants. It’s almost the same thing.”

Therapist Me: “No. Yoga will help relax you.”

Real Me: “So will Chinese food.”

Therapist Me: “Will the Chinese food make you feel more limber?”

Real Me: “MAYBE! YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE.”

On feeling frazzled…

Therapist Me: “You seem stressed. Why don’t you use your Calm app?”

Real Me: “Nah. Chocolate.”

Therapist Me: “Amanda…”

Real Me: “What’s that, chocolate? You’re lonely in that dark drawer all by yourself? I have just the solution….”

On navigating work relationships…

Therapist Me: “You encourage clients to advocate for themselves all the time. Go to your supervisor and ask for what you need.”

Real Me: *Makes unintelligible noise of discomfort*

Therapist Me: “Stop it. You are confident and assertive and you can do this!”

Real Me: *Makes panicked face. Slithers out of the chair and onto the ground.*

As much as I’d like to say that Therapist Me usually wins out, the truth is that Therapist Me and Real Me are probably about tied. But sometimes they compromise with each other: I’ll go to my yoga class, and then pick up Chinese food on the way home.

(Or maybe that’s not compromising so much as just canceling each other out.)

Does anyone else feel like the more grownup, rational part of your brain gets into quarrels with the whiny, poor-decision-making part? Which part usually wins out? What are your favorite healthy (or unhealthy) ways to cope with stress?

ALSO – on a side note, you should definitely check out the Calm app. It has lots of soothing scenes and sounds, like waves crashing on the beach, or a crackling fire place. It also has guided meditations – even ones as short as two minutes if you don’t have much time. This thing really does help me get grounded and calm when I’m stressed or anxious. AND IT’S FREE! (except for the fancier stuff, but who needs that).

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Sandwich Personality Test

In the mental health milieu, there are about a bajillion different tests and scales that can measure everything from emotional symptoms, to substance abuse problems, to personality traits. Most of these tests involve paper and pencil (or the occasional ink blot), but I’ve recently started thinking – what if they involved sandwiches?

I’ll pause for a moment to let that sink in.

Imagine yourself walking into your kitchen, hungry for a sammich. You go to the fridge and push aside the expired yogurt in order to get to the lunchmeat. Or maybe you simply pull a jar of peanut butter out of the cabinet. You put your fillings of choice between two slices of fresh carbs, and then step back to briefly admire your handiwork.

What does that sandwich say about you? What does it reveal about your personality?

Maybe your answer is: “Nothing. It reveals nothing.”

But maybe you’re wrong.

Clearly, formal research needs to be done on this subject. I picture myself in a white lab coat, sitting behind a two-way mirror while my research subject is on the other side, perusing a table of sandwich ingredients.

I’d take careful notes while the subject assembles their sandwich. When they make a mustard smiley face on the bread, I’d nod thoughtfully and make a note on my legal pad. Just as I suspected – subject is whimsical and child-like.

Even if my research didn’t return any significant results (which is doubtful, because this idea is genius), at the end of the day, the subjects and I will be able to EAT the results. It’s really a win-win.

Although I haven’t yet performed this research, I’ve developed a few hypotheses about what personality traits might be revealed by one’s choice of sandwich ingredients. Scroll down the list to find your favorite sandwich (or the one you make most often), and see how well the personality description matches you.

Note: Please do not make any drastic relationship or career changes based on the results of this personality test. There’s a very tiny chance that I could be wrong.

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BLT – You lead a very busy life – so busy, that you don’t have enough time to say this sandwich’s full name. You’re stable and secure, but you also know how to have a little fun. BACON fun.

Turkey with nothing but a little mayo or mustard – You dislike loud music and fast cars, and enjoy reading anthropology books in your spare time. People call you by the wrong name a  lot.

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Tuna or egg-salad – The ultimate rebel: you know your food smells, but you don’t give a rat’s ass what other people think about it. You believe in living life loud and proud.

Ham & cheese – You’re trustworthy and an old soul; you have an appreciation for oldies music, and you’re considering taking up knitting.

Peanut butter & jelly – Your life is falling apart, and the only thing you have left are the comfort foods from your childhood. Keep calm and sandwich on.

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Grilled cheese – You are a people-pleaser who chooses comfort and safety over taking risks. You’re probably best friends or in a relationship with a PB&J fan.

Bologna – You’re extremely laid-back and hate anything that seems pretentious  or uppity. Like dentists. You’re PROUD to eat on-sale mystery meat.

 

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Fancy ingredients (lobster, pesto, sprouts, etc) – You have too much time and money on your hands, so you spend both on sandwich fillings. You probably don’t get along well with the bologna crowd.

Veggie only – You’re concerned about the environment and your health, though not as much as the people just eating salads. You also drive a hybrid, and you’re into yoga and meditating.

 

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Multiple meats (turkey, ham, salami, etc) – You’re insecure in your masculinity, and need a sandwich to show just how much of  man you are. When you eat, you puff up your chest and say things like,  “I didn’t kill these animals myself, but I totally could have.”

 

So, tell me – which sandwich did you pick? How well (or not well) did the descriptions match up with your personality? Be warned, I may use your results in my formal research study, which I’m totally going to do maybe.

 

How to Keep a Diary in a Non-Time-Consuming Way

Off and on for the past…ohhh, 19 years, I’ve attempted (and failed) to keep a daily diary.

The pattern has always gone the same way – I’d fall in love with a beautiful diary (which, when I was nine, was a Lisa Frank one decorated with brightly-colored puppies), I’d make grand plans to write in it every day, and then about 5 days in – I’d get bored and give up.

It’s relatively easy to think of something to write about if I’ve had a particularly good (or even particularly bad) day. I can gush about crushes and job highlights, or lament about bad news and break-ups.

But let’s face it – the majority of days are neither wonderful nor terrible – just normal, regular ol’ days. Those times don’t make for great diary-writing material, which is why I get bored rather quickly and abandon the idea all together.

Still, I’ve always liked the idea of having some kind of record of my life – something I can go back to and read years from now to get a glimpse into my past life. See what’s changed. See what hasn’t.

So, I came up with a solution. There’s a bit more work up front, but the actual diary process is much simpler. I thought I’d share my method in this post in case anyone is interested in doing something similar 🙂

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Step One – Find a journal or notebook that appeals to you. You’re going to be looking at that baby for many years, so you might as well like the way it looks!

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This one’s mine

Step Dos – Go through the journal and write out every day of every month: January 1, January 2, and so on. This one might take awhile, so you should do some hand stretches or something beforehand.

If you’re feeling fancy, write or type the dates in a pretty font and attach magazine scraps, artwork, scrapbook stickers, whatever. If you’re not, then don’t. You do you.

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Because my journal had fewer pages (300) than there are days of the year, I doubled up and put two dates per page, except for my birthday and holidays, which earned their very own pages. Just don’t forget to include Leap Day – think about how rejected it’d feel.

I also left one page blank between each month so that I could document important events that I didn’t want to include in my actual diary entries – like the births of friends’ babies, or the election of a new president. This helps me keep things more organized.

Step Trois  – Now that your diary or journal is prepped, it’s time to start writing. Make sure you turn to whatever date it currently is today – because it’d be weird to write about April stuff on a January page 😉

I write down the day of the week (indicated by one letter), the current year, and then ONE line about my day – no more, and no less. (Except for birthdays and holidays, which get a bit more.)

I’ll put down that I tried a new restaurant that day, or drove out of town to see family, or even that I had a lazy Sunday of just watching movies.

Of course, there are definitely days where nothing out of the ordinary happened – days where I had a typical day at work, came home, ate a simple dinner, and went to bed. It’s tougher to write something interesting about those days, but I’m usually able to find something.

Unlike my previous diaries, I’ve stuck to this method for over five years now, and I plan to continue forever. Or until my hands fall off.  That happens in old age, right?

What’s fun is that a few years in, you might start picking up on some accidental “themes” in your life. For example, April 28 is apparently a really good day for me to devote to reading…

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And October 3 is good for seeing my friend Haylee…

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My friendships are mostly based on food.

Do you keep a diary on a consistent basis? Or have you tried, but couldn’t keep it going? What do you think about this method?

Liebster Award, part 2

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I got nominated for another Liebster Award by my blog-twin Megs, which is just fantastic. You should hop over to her blog and check her out, because she writes some super funny things! And yes, you should literally hop.

Each time I get nominated for something, I feel like it’s the nominator’s way of giving me an Internet fist-pound and nod of approval. Or maybe even buying me an Internet drink and giving me a hearty slap on the back.

Whatever their method for showing affection, I’ll take it.

I’m going to be a bit of a rule-breaker here. Since I’ve already received the award super recently and made my nominations then, I think I’ll refrain from making another round of nominations – mostly because I’d probably nominate a lot of the same people I did before, and then there’d be a vicious, never-ending cycle of Liebster-Awarding.

And that just sounds dangerous.

I still wanted to participate in the question & answer component though, because I thought Megs asked some really great stuff. Also it’s fun! Nerdy-blogger fun, but still fun.

Meg’s Questions and My Answers:

  1. How did you come up with the name of your blog? Since I had planned for my blog to be at least partly about my ratings of queso, I wanted the name to incorporate cheese or queso in some kind of punny way. Eventually, I came up with “Just in Queso” (as in, “just in case”). According to the search terms people have used to find my blog, at least a couple people have thought that MY name is Justin – haha.
  2. Why did you start your blog? At first, my friend and I were testing and rating quesos just for the fun of it – and I kept track of the scores by scribbling on a piece of scratch paper I had in my purse. As we told friends and family about our project, a few suggested that I start a blog so that they could read our reviews. I’ve always loved writing, so I thought a cheese blog would be fun, especially if I included little stories and lifestyle posts along the way.
  3. What blog(s) do you check daily? My favorite ones to stalk: Midnight Musings with Megs, Bubbles and Beebots, and The Shameful Sheep
  4. Do you get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it? I get “stuck” quite a bit, actually. Since blogging is just a hobby for me, I try not to put pressure on myself to publish a certain number of posts a week, or on specific days. I also keep a running list of post ideas for when I need inspiration. If an idea strikes when I’m out and about, I’ll quickly type it on my phone’s “notes” section, or just jot it down on the nearest piece of paper and stuff it in my purse. I’m pretty high-tech.
  5. What is your favorite quote? I like this quote so much, I made it into an arty thing and put it on my bedroom wall: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”
  6. Aside from your blog, what is a favorite hobby? Eating. That’s a hobby, right? Okay, I also enjoy drinking. Still not good enough? Fine. I also enjoy reading, crocheting, and baking. (I’m secretly an old woman at heart.)
  7. Think of who you were 10 years ago. What advice do you have for that person? Put down the eyeliner! Back away slowly.
  8. If you’ve been at this for a while, give us a link to your favorite blog post that you’ve written. This is like choosing my favorite type of cheese – in other words, impossible. Can there be a three-way tie? Of course there can, because this is my blog and I can do what I want. MUTINY! 😀 Totally Legitimate Scientific Theory and Zero Shades of Gray and Cake It Up
  9. What book or television character do you wish were real and why? Chandler Bing from Friends – he’s incredibly funny, so he’d make me laugh, and his wonderful awkwardness would make me look much more normal in comparison.
  10. Whether you’ve been at this for days or months, what is your favorite part about blogging? The writing. I love turning my random, nonsensical thoughts into a fluid post, and then coming up with goofy bits and images to add in. I also really enjoy reading my favorite blogs and making comments. The blogging community is so fun, opinionated, supportive, and lovely.
  11. RANDOM: What’s your go-to karaoke song? Anything by Ingrid Michaelson, because I think (probably incorrectly) that my singing voice is similar to hers. I also like “Where is the Love?” by The Black-Eyed Peas, because I can do the rap parts and it makes me feel pretty street.

Although I’m not nominating any specific people this time around, any bloggers who want to participate (by answering these same questions) are welcome to! I’d love to read about why you decided to start your blogs, and which posts you’re most proud of.

 

 

 

My Chance to Kidnap a Dog: The Story of Scruffles

I very badly want a dog, and I recently wrote a post about my desire to kidnap yours. Yes, YOURS. You know Mr. Furry would love me more.

 Unfortunately, my apartment doesn’t allow pets, so I’m having to come to terms with my doglessness for now. But it’s not easy.

After work this evening, I decided to go on a casual stroll through my neighborhood. There’s a wooded area with a little creek flowing through it, and it’s perfect for decompressing after a weird day.

I’d only been there a few minutes when I wandered upon this little gal:

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I glanced around, but there were no people nearby, no one calling for a lost dog. I briefly wondered if this was a test – had the FBI read my post about kidnapping? Were they waiting in the bushes to see if I’d steal this one? Was this a decoy dog?

I decided not to snatch her up and make a run for my apartment, because I’m a selfless person. Also, I didn’t want to get arrested.

I knelt down to look at the cutie’s collar and noticed there was no name or address, just a phone number to the vet. Her fur was pretty filthy, and there were a few little stickers in it. I immediately named her “Scruffles.”

I wanted Scruffles for my very own. I pictured her living a happy life in my apartment, lying in a cashmere-lined dog bed and sharing my Tuna Tetrazzini with me.

I worked up the nerve to call the vet’s number, and gave her the tag number listed on Scruffles’ collar. There was no phone number listed in the file, but she was able to give me a home address.

Also, it turns out the dog’s name was actually Ginger. But she’ll always be “Scruffles” in my heart.

I scooped up Ginger-Scruffles and started walking, intent on getting back to my car so I could drive the pup home. But I was feeling very judgy of Ginger-Scruffles’ parents. Why did they not have a phone number listed on her tag or vet file? Why was the dog so dirty? How did she end up so far from home?

It was as though the owners wanted  me to keep little Ginger-Scruffles.

This story has a pretty anti-climactic end. On my way out of the park, I noticed a man with another shih tzu, and I thought to ask whether the scruffly baby in my arms was perhaps his. And it was.

The guy seemed shockingly uncaring that his dog had been missing, and told me that Ginger-Scruffles “has arthritis and has trouble keeping up” with him and the other dog. I don’t want to seem like a know-it-all, but maybe try walking slowly so your elderly dog can keep up. Or, better yet, PUT HER ON A LEASH!

Sorry for shouting. Those few minutes of dog ownership probably went to my head.

I just want you all to know that I totally could have kidnapped this adorable animal, and I didn’t. I deserve a high-five AND a gold star. And maybe a cookie. Don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

Lamest Police Chase Ever

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One night a few years ago, I was driving home from my best friend’s house. I lived less than a mile away, and usually took the short way home through the neighborhood, but as fate  impulsive decision-making would have it, I elected to go the long way, which involved driving down a major street.

*Ominous music plays*

As I drove down the street, headed for home, I started to hear a siren going off somewhere near. Perplexed, I glanced around outside, trying to locate the source of the sound. It grew louder as I continued to drive, and I realized it was coming from the direction of  a Skinny’s convenience store just ahead of me.

A lone car sat in the parking lot, and I decided that the obnoxious sound must be coming from its alarm.

Satisfied about solving the mystery, I continued on my drive. As I passed by the Skinny’s, I shot a quick glance at the inside of the store, which was supposed to be closed for the night.

To my surprise, I could see a shadowy form walking around inside.

Almost instantly, I realized that the alarm I was hearing was coming not from the abandoned car, but from the store itself.

My heart started pounding. Maybe I was witnessing a robbery! Why else would there be an alarm going off in a building that also happened to contain a sketchy-looking figure?

This was equal parts exciting and terrifying for someone who had always lived in a small-ish city. I’m sure people from huge cities see multiple murders and robberies on a daily basis, but this was big for my town.

Driving away from the scene of the crime, my heart still thumping, I brainstormed the various options I could take:

The answer was obvious, so I maneuvered a Batman-style U-turn and headed back toward the store. My plan was to stay in the safety of my car, but take careful notes of the thief’s actions and appearance so that I could give a detailed report to the police when they arrived.

They would thank me for my bravery and tenacity, and then later present me with an award for being the world’s best-ever witness.

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To my relief (or disappointment), two police cars were pulling into the Skinny’s parking lot as I approached it. After a moment’s hesitation, I shrugged and continued to drive past, figuring the police could handle this one without me.

Then, an even more questionable idea struck me.

Obviously, my vigilante skills were not going to be needed, but perhaps I could be useful in another way. I could return to the crime scene and observe what went down between the police and the criminal, and then share my first-hand account with the local newspaper.

The journalists would be so impressed with my investigative work, they’d offer me a job on the spot. I’d be a hero.

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Enchanted by this plan, I once again made a sloppy U-turn and drove back toward the store for the third time in mere minutes.

Unfortunately, the police had not yet entered the store. They were still sitting in their cars.

And now they were looking at me. Shit.

I made the snap decision to keep driving past the parking lot, but was horrified to look in my rearview mirror and see one of the police cars pulling out of the lot after me.

Right away, I started to panic. The police had most certainly seen me driving past the store multiple times, and were clearly wondering whether I was an integral part of this crime – the get-away driver, perhaps.

They were not going to award me for my bravery or offer me a job. They were going to pull me over and question me, and would most likely not buy my “concerned vigilante” story. I would be arrested and put in handcuffs; I would be frisked.

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I imagined myself in an orange jumpsuit, sobbing uncontrollably in the corner of a jail cell.

I tried to breathe and remain calm as I made a right turn onto a side street in my neighborhood.

The police car turned after me. But they didn’t pull me over.

Then, I made a left, and so did the police. Still nothing – no lights, no sirens, but still following close behind me. My brain bounced back and forth between trying to maintain a degree of rationality and dissolving into complete panic.

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When the police car followed me onto my street, I wanted to throw up. They were obviously planning to arrest me in my own driveway. My parents would sleepily stumble out to the yard, blinking in shock at the flashing red and blue lights. Witnessing their daughter being put in handcuffs.

They would be clutching each other and crying in disappointment. Wondering where they went wrong.

As I made the final turn into my driveway, I prepared myself for my imminent arrest, telling myself that maybe jail wouldn’t be so bad.

I parked my car and waited for the inevitable.

To my overwhelming relief, shock, confusion, and about nine other feelings, the police car did not turn in after me. It passed my house and continued on down the street.

I exhaled slowly, trying to slow my heart rate back to normal.

It seemed the police didn’t think of me as a suspect, but simply an over-curious idiot who needed to be chased away from a possible crime scene. And they weren’t wrong. Rest assured, justice was served through a healthy dose of embarrassment on my part.

(And no, I never did figure out what was going on inside that convenience store.)

Has anyone else accidentally found themselves in a pickle with police? How did you get yourself out of it?

 

Queso Critique – Billy’s on Burnet

Billy’s on Burnet – Austin, TX

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Notice the child attempting to photobomb

You know a food is delicious when you find yourself dipping other foods into that food in order to make the other foods more delicious.

If that sentence made sense to you, then you get me. Here, have an Internet high-five!

For anyone who may not know, I (along with my friend and work wife Amanda) taste-test chips & queso at different restaurants in the Austin, Texas, area. We judge the melty cheese on its consistency and flavor, and give it a score between 1 and 10.

It’s a tricky job, but somebody’s gouda do it. And you cheddar believe it.

(That’s right. Just let the cheese puns wash over you.)

Anyway, after accidentally stumbling upon Billy’s website and learning that the restaurant indeed offers queso, Amanda and I decided to make it our next destination, so we headed there on Saturday afternoon with her two kids. The restaurant had both an indoor and outdoor “scene,” but given that it was 75 and sunny out, the inside was looking pretty lonely and unused.

Poor inside. Everything just tastes better outdoors.

We ordered our drinks and snacks (including a family-sized queso and an order of fried cheese curds, because we have a problem), and found an empty picnic table on the patio.

The four of us agreed that the queso had a nice, creamy consistency – thick enough to cling to your chip, but not so thick as to be difficult to scoop. It didn’t contain any special ingredients, just straight-up cheese and chilies, but it had a mild spice to it that helped with the flavor department.

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Chips & Queso hanging out with their buddy, fried cheese curds

It was a simple, no-bells-and-whistles (but nonetheless tasty) queso. We awarded it a 6.8 (Revised Score: 2.5).

Amanda and I reached the ground-breaking conclusion that a 6.8 is a good “baseline” score.  So far, any queso that has scored below this has had something fundamentally wrong with it, whether it was too thin, or severely lacking in spice, or hardened too quickly. A 6.8 reflects a dish that has no real problems, but is also nothing fancy.

It’s just a reliable bowl of melted cheese.

A reliable bowl of melted cheese that we couldn’t seem to stop dipping other foods in – hence the first sentence of this post. We tried it with chips, fries, chicken strips, and…okay….maybe a fried cheese curd or two. I’m not even sorry.

Also, after getting our fill of salt, it was time to balance it out with some sugar from a little place across the street – a bakery aptly named Tiny Pies.

Queso Criteria

Billy’s on Burnet website

Tiny Pies website

Liebster Award

I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Erin at Bubbles and Beebots.  You should definitely go take a look at her blog, because she writes super funny stuff about her adorable children and her patronizing cats.

When Erin was writing about her Liebster Award, she said that her computer kept wanting to auto correct her to “Lobster Award” and this amused me, because my phone wanted it changed to “Lie Steer.”

Why is my phone trying to call me a lying steer? I happen to be a very honest steer. Gee thanks, phone. Way to have my back.

Anyway, the Liebster Award is an online award for bloggers to gain more support and recognition, and just to get to know the person behind the blogger. It also helps others to discover new blogs and to build a sense of community in the blogging world. Here are the rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you
  • Nominate 11 bloggers that you think are deserving of the award but more importantly help to promote newer bloggers with fewer followers.
  • Let the bloggers know you nominated them
  • Give them 11 questions of your own

My answers to Erin’s questions:

  1. How long have you been blogging?

I’ve had this blog for about 6 months now – wow! In human development terms, my blog is now sitting up and rolling over on its own, and is probably getting close to crawling.

 2. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from blogging so far?

The MOST important thing I’ve learned is that I can’t allow blogging to become one more way for me to compare myself to others. That’s already something I experience when it comes to my education, job, personal life, appearance, and a zillion other areas. Blogging started out as a fun hobby and a way for me to connect with other bloggers, and I need to keep it that way.

3. Why do you think the idea of a zombie apocalypse is so popular right now?

This question cracked me up because I have absolutely no idea how or why this stuff got so popular! Maybe it’s just a fun way for adults to use their imaginations.

Or maybe the popularity speaks to a broader statement about society’s fear of death, and our crazy attempts to prevent and prolong it. I really have no clue. Y’all have any other ideas?

4. If you could spend five years in any time period in history, what would it be and why?

I’m going to go with the late 1800s, for two reasons. One – because I loved The Little House on the Prairie as a kid and would like to experience childhood and life as Laura did. Two – because I’d like to meet and be mentored by the amazingly brave, determined, and open-minded women of that time.

Secret reason #3: the fabulous hats.

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5. If we could resurrect any extinct animal, Jurassic Park style, which one would you pick?

I’m not going to lie (see, phone? I’m honest!), I had to do a little research on this one. I didn’t want to say dinosaur, since we already know that’d end in disaster. And suggesting the saber tooth tiger (which was the only other animal I could think of) also seemed bad for the same reason.

So I googled a list of animals that have most recently gone extinct, and learned that a species of dolphin (the Baiji) has died out due to poaching and pollution. If you didn’t know, I’m obsessed with dolphins, so this knowledge pained me.

I’m secretly hoping that if I resurrect these slithery goddesses, they’ll be forever grateful, and therefore willing to take me on rides.

6.  If we could clone any dead person and bring them back to life, which one would you pick and why? Ignore the ethical issues involved in cloning people and you aren’t allowed to pick a family member.

Let’s bring back Amelia Earhart and ask her what the hell went wrong in that last flight.

7. If you could have any superpower, which one would you pick and why?

To eat as much queso and other delicious junk foods as I wanted to, without any negative health repercussions. If you don’t think that counts as a superpower, then we can’t be friends.

 8. What do you think is the most under-appreciated film?

Where the Heart Is.  It’s got everything: love, crime, superstitions, and Natalie Portman.

9. If you had to live in any film’s universe, which one would you pick?

Any kind of musical – Grease, Across the Universe, etc. The characters’ lives aren’t perfect, but at the end of the day, they can perform synchronized choreography to lyrics about their troubles. I’ll take it.

10. How do you think the world has changed in the last 20 years?

Obviously, some ugly changes have taken place, but I’m going to choose to focus on the good ones: advances in science and medicine, improved gender equality, increased access to family planning and sexual health services, increased understanding about mental health, and increased knowledge about stuff in general.

Also, the growing popularity and variety of queso has changed many lives.

11. How do you think society will change in the next 20 years?

Amazon will have figured out a way to deliver fresh margaritas and tacos to your home within 30 minutes of ordering. Oh, and hopefully, people will be nicer to each other.

My nominees for the Liebster Award:

  1. Midnight Musings with Meg
  2. Hot Mess Memoir
  3. Badge 415
  4. The Culture of Growing Up
  5. Waltzing with Whims
  6. Behind the White Coat
  7. Momsranting
  8. Date by Number
  9. Deconstructing Doctor
  10. Cool Beans
  11. Accidental Mommy Diaries

My questions for my nominees:

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. What is your all-time favorite TV show?
  3. Which would you rather eat – a seeing-eye dog, or a talking gorilla? Ignore any dietary restrictions you may have.
  4. What book can you read over and over again?
  5. What is a funny or special memory from your childhood?
  6. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you like queso? (cheese melted together with spices, peppers, and sometimes meat). Explain your answer.
  7. If you had to live in any film’s universe, which one would you pick?
  8. Would you rather watch a three-hour marathon of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, or a six-hour children’s yodeling contest? Why?
  9. Describe your surroundings as you work on these questions. Where are you sitting? What are you wearing? And are you creeped out by this question?
  10. When you were 5, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  11. Do you shower at night or in the morning? Why?

She’s My Grandma, and You Can’t Have Her

In honor of my grandmother turning 90 next week, I decided to do an entire post just about her. There are a lot of reasons why my grandma is treasured by her family and friends, but I narrowed the evidence to a few simple points.

Before you get any ideas about kidnapping her and keeping her as your own, just know that she’s mine. I found her first, and claimed her in the name of France.

Ahem. Anyway…

 Here are 6 things to admire about my grandma:

 1. Her Personality

Like many women her age, my Grandma is a refined, respectable lady. She wears hair scarves on windy days, and pantyhose under her pants. Rarely have I ever heard her curse or say an unkind word.

But my Grandma ain’t no push over, either. She damn well does what she pleases, and doesn’t really care what others say about it. She’s a ninety-pound firecracker – and all of us are just a teensy bit afraid of her wrath.

2. Her Surprisingly Progressive Views

My grandmother was born in 1926. Considering the vastly different times she grew up in, it’s understandable that she holds a few old-school views.

But she’s always encouraged my educational and career goals, and has pulled me aside more than once to suggest that *if I keep my career when I get married*, I should make sure my spouse helps out with cooking and cleaning, because it wouldn’t be fair for me to do it all.

Not too shabby, Grandma.

(* to *) denotes the presence of old-schoolishness

3. Her Pride for Her Family

Grandma tells just about everyone she meets that she has a psychologist granddaughter. It’s very sweet.

Unfortunately, it’s also inaccurate. And no matter how many times I’ve explained that a master’s degree ≠ psychologist, she chooses to believe what she wants.

4. Her Loyalty to TV Personalities  

About two years ago, I had shingles. I happened to visit my grandparents’ house while I still had it, because I was in town for a couple days and hadn’t seen them in awhile. Grandma wasn’t thrilled about my visit, because she was concerned about catching the virus from me.

…That’d be an understandable fear, if it were scientifically possible. In truth, no one “catches” shingles from another person – if you’ve had chicken pox (which she’d had), the virus is already in your body.

According to Grandma, however, Barbara Walters had said on The View that she caught it from hugging someone, and apparently, an octogenarian journalist is more believable than actual doctors.

(Grandma still let me and my shingles visit, but she wouldn’t let me touch anything, and when she suggested that I take a seat on the couch, I noticed that there was a towel spread down for me.

Yes, a towel. As though I were a mangy dog.)

 5. Her Sense of Humor

Not too long ago, my motorcycle-riding father decided that it was his life’s dream to see my tiny grandmother sit on his bike. Willing to humor my father, who’s not even her child, Grandma perched on the motorcycle while the rest of the family died laughing. And took pictures.

coolgma1
Actual photo of the motorcycle incident. Protected Grandma’s identity so no one can Grandma-nap her.

 

And the thing I (and my family) most admire about Grandma:

6. Her Black Hole of a Stomach

My itty bitty grandmother can put away a LOT of food. She regularly out-eats the larger men in my family, and could probably give your average sumo wrestler a run for his money. I’ve watched her neatly devour a plate of barbecue ribs and cornbread, and then ask for seconds. And thirds.

It’s like something out of a sci fi movie – no one’s quite sure where all the food goes once she swallows it.

But her real love, the key to her heart, is ice cream – which is how my friend and I came to nickname her “Ice Cream Grandma.” Simple, yet accurate.

 

To sum her up in a sentence, my grandmother is a polite, progressively traditional lady who could kick your ass in a hot-dog eating contest. (And then probably admonish me for the using the word “ass.”)

Anyone else have a firecracker, food-loving grandma? I’d love to hear more Grandma stories!