When a Grump Talks about Happiness

Nikki over at A Kinder Way has invited me to participate in The Happiness Tag, a challenge to list things and songs that make me feel light and lovely. She actually tagged me a few days ago, but this somehow went unnoticed by me, so I only learned of it today.

It’s a little funny that I’m being challenged to do this activity today of all days, because I’m a bit of a Grumpy McGrump-Pants at this time. Some things are happening at work that are out of my control, and I guess my resolve is starting to wane. Normally, I’m able to complain about it to my coworkers (lucky them) and move on, but right now it’s bugging me a bit more than usual.

So when I saw the Happiness Tag, a part of me wanted to not participate. When you’re cranky, you don’t want to think about lovely, happy things.You want to cross your arms and make grouchy faces like a four-year-old. You want to knock things over for absolutely no reason, and stare down anyone who objects.

And then you want to set stuff on fire, because you’re a flippin grown-up, and that’s how grown-ups show their irritation.

grumpy-cat-titanic

Unfortunately, the annoying therapist who lives inside of me decided to make an unwelcome appearance, and encouraged me to participate as a way to (hopefully) get myself out of this charming mood. Real Me started to argue, but then Therapist Me reminded me that I say this stuff to clients, and that I’m a bit of a hypocrite if I don’t do it myself. So then Real Me was like “Whatevs! Get out of here, Annoying Inner Therapist!” And then Therapist Me was like —

You know what, I’ll stop there. Let’s just say that things got ugly.

Long story short, Therapist Me, with all her rational and positive thinking, won out. I grudgingly admit that it’s good for me to remind myself of things that make me feel calm and soothed and happy on a day when I feel none of those things.

So, with that, 5 things that make me happy:

  1. Games – board games, card games, made up games – I like them all! Well, most of them, anyway. Monopoly and Risk can go to hell.
  2. Books – I have a rather large collection that has filled up my bookshelf and is now overflowing onto the floor. The cranky four-year-old in me wants to build a cave out of them and live inside of it.
  3. Food – I have a blog that is 39% about cheese.* You should’ve seen this one coming.
  4. When my friends and family acknowledge my eccentricities in a loving way – when someone calls my car by her formal name (Ellie), when someone buys me earrings depicting my favorite beloved animal, or when someone asks me to recommend a good queso establishment – these are things that put a warm little ball of happiness in my heart. Is that a weird thing to say?
  5.  Stationery and journals with different colors and patterns and designs

* = made-up statistic

…and 5 songs that make me happy, or at least less grumpy:

  1. I Love It (Icona Pop) – The peppiness give me more energy on a happy day, and adds fuel to the fire (in a good way) when I’m angry. It’s like the most positive negative song you’ve ever heard. It’s magic.
  2. Where is The Love (Black-Eyed Peas)- I know the whole thing by heart and like to whip this out as a party trick
  3. Hold Back the River (James Bay) – just ’cause.
  4. Anything by Maroon 5 – I was in 8th grade when they came out, and I’ve loved them ever since. Any song by them puts a little smile on my face
  5. Better Together (Jack Johnson) – my best friend and I long ago proclaimed this to be “our song” and it works like a charm.

As it turns out, Therapist Me was irritatingly correct. Making myself think of these things really did make me feel a little better. Shh, don’t tell her. She’ll never let me live it down.

What sorts of things make you happy, or make you feel a little lighter on a down day? What people or items or places put a smile on your face? Let me know in the comments, or feel free to make your own post about it using The Happiness Tag. I think we could all use a little happiness floating around the blogosphere – and that’s coming from a Grouchy McGroucherson.

I’ve Returned from the Beyond

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After a week-long trip to South Carolina to visit my family, I’m finally back! I haven’t posted anything in over a week, which is the longest I’ve gone since I started this blog in October.

I was starting to experience blogging-related withdrawals. It wasn’t pretty.

I’ll have a couple of stories to post later in the week about my trip, but I wanted to go ahead and let y’all know that I’m back and I missed you so much! Every single one of you. Except for those of you who hate things like blueberry poptarts and cheese. What’s wrong with you, anyway? Why do you hate fun?

Oh, and P.S. – Last week, I entered Sometimes Stellar Storyteller’s 6-word story contest and came in 2nd place! Woo hoo! If you haven’t heard about Nicola’s blog and/or her contest, go check it out! She runs this contest each week, with a new theme/prompt posted on Saturday mornings. Everyone (even if you don’t participate in the contest) can vote on their favorites. Last week’s theme was “insult,” and this was my entry:

 “This dinner you made is…interesting.”

 I’d like to thank my friend’s well-meaning-but-super-condescending mother-in-law for the inspiration behind this entry.

P.S. #2 – I came home from vacation to discover that my Directv satellite is out. It’s going to take a week for a technician to come look at it, and I’ll apparently have to pay him $50 for the visit. I feel like this is the universe’s way of saying I should get  rid of the satellite all together and make the move to Netflix.

That’s right. The galaxies, stars, planets, and moons all aligned in such a way as to tell me that I should find a new method of digital entertainment.

So, all of you Netflix-seasoned people out there, what are your favorite shows and movies? What would you recommend for me to watch? My favorites so far (after mooching off my friend’s account) are Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, IT Crowd, and Arrested Development, but I’m open to any suggestions – comedies, dramas, documentaries, etc.

The Look I’m Going for is “Lobster”

Each week, I like to pop over to Mind and Life Matters to read all the submissions to Rashmi’s weekly limerick challenges. She presents some sort of theme (such as envy or superstition) that everyone has to follow, and it’s entertaining to read the different spins that various bloggers take on it! Some are lighthearted and silly, and others are darker and more mysterious.

I’ve never participated in the challenge before, but as soon as I saw this week’s theme (color), an idea popped in my head, so I decided to give it a try:

A girl on a trip to the shore,
Didn’t like her pale skin and she swore,
She wanted a tan,
So she lay on the sand,
Hours later, she was reddened and sore.

sunburned

Quote Challenge – Day Three

A couple of days ago, I was nominated by Mark over at Coloring Outside the Lines to participate in a three-day quote challenge. Yipee-ay-yo-kai-ay!

Here are the rules for this challenge:

  • Post one of your favorite quotes(different quote on each day) on three consecutive days. The quote can be from your favorite book, author, or your own.
  • Nominate three bloggers to challenge them.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you

The quotes I used for the previous two days were relatively serious, so I decided to go in a different direction today. My habit for being goofy and strange can only be held back for so long.

Day One’s quote about “helpers” can be found here.

Day Two’s quote about play can be found here.

And now, for the third and final quote:

“This has too much cheese on it.”

What kind of fun-hating monster would say that, you ask?

Well, NO ONE! I’ve coined this an “anti-quote” because no one in the history of the entire universe has ever said that there’s too much cheese on something. And if they did say it, they’re probably boring and sad.

And their skin is probably dull because it lacks that healthy cheese-glow.

pizza

 

Quote Challenge – Day Two

Yesterday, I was nominated by Mark over at Coloring Outside the Lines to participate in a three-day quote challenge. Woo hoo!

Here are the rules for this challenge:

  • Post one of your favorite quotes(different quote on each day) on three consecutive days. The quote can be from your favorite book, author, or your own.
  • Nominate three bloggers to challenge them.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you

My quote for Day One was uttered by the jolly Mr. Rogers himself, so it seemed fitting to follow that one with this quote:

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

Who do you think came up with this one? Barney? Big Bird? Perhaps another member of the Rogers clan?

Actually, it was Plato.

Too bad he didn’t spell his name “Playto.” Heh heh, get it? I’ll show myself out.

I chose this quote for a couple of reasons. One – it is actually one of the driving principles behind my career. I am a child and adolescent counselor, and play is a big part of my work with kids. “What a fun job,” you might be thinking, “you just get to play with toys all day!” 

Well, yes and no.

Sure, sometimes play is fun, yes. But sometimes it’s sad, and heavy, and frequently, it’s really hard work. For both the kids and me. Play is the natural way that children make sense of the world and cope with confusing, difficult things…sitting a kid down in a chair and expecting them to rattle off their thoughts and feelings is just not developmentally appropriate.

I could easily go off on a tangent about the amazingness that is play therapy, but then you’d obviously get sucked in and be here awhile, and you’d end up missing the super-fun plans you probably already have, and then you’d be like, “damn it, cheese girl! I was supposed to sing karaoke tonight!” so I’ll stop here.

Reason #2 for choosing this quote: when I think about how adults spend time with close friends and family, I can absolutely see where play comes into the picture. Now, I’m not suggesting that you invite your friend over for the evening and whip out your Barbies.  Or maybe you do, I’m not here to judge. 

But just because adults have (probably) put down the dolls and toys, doesn’t mean we don’t play! Play can mean having a couple of drinks on the back porch with your best friend. It can mean shopping and getting your nails done with your mom. It can look like laughing with your older brother about something that happened 20 years ago.

There are lots of different ways that we play, and like “Playto” said – I think you can learn a lot about someone by the things they laugh about and enjoy doing. Probably not more than what you’d learn in a year of conversation, though. I hate to criticize Plato since he’s way fancier than I’ll ever be, but come on – an hour of play being more meaningful than a year of conversation? Slight exaggeration, buddy.

play

 

Quote Challenge – Day One

I was nominated by Mark over at Coloring Outside the Lines to participate in a three-day quote challenge. Thanks, Mark! 🙂

Here are the rules for this challenge:

  • Post one of your favorite quotes(different quote on each day) on three consecutive days. The quote can be from your favorite book, author, or your own.
  • Nominate three bloggers to challenge them.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you

For the first day of this challenge, I selected a quote by Fred Rogers. Don’t recognize the name? Maybe you’ll recognize his graffiti visage:

rogers

You know you’re a big deal when someone spray paints your face on the side of a wall.

Anyway, Mr. Rogers contributed a lot to the world through his educational children’s TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, as well as through his snappy dressing. But my favorite quote of his is this:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

As I’ve described in another post, I try to stay positive – not just about my own life, but about the world at large. Some days, I have to try really, really hard. And when a true disaster occurs, I can feel myself taking on a hopeless, pessimistic worldview. But I try to remind myself of this quote, because Fred’s mom (Mrs. Rogers?) was right – amidst chaos and sadness, there are ALWAYS people who are trying to lend a hand in some way.

Some offer a comforting touch, or listening ear, and some offer a different kind of assistance, such as through donating money. And some of us help by rating the quesos at various restaurants so others don’t have to.

Three people I’ve nominated to participate in this challenge:

  1. Midnight Musings with Megs
  2. Hotmess Memoir
  3. A Kinder Way

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?