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Getting Real and Getting Uncluttered, day 3

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Getting Real and Getting Uncluttered, day 3

So……day 3 is actually happening on day 4. But you know what? That’s ok. This week is supposed to be about getting real on the Internet, and real is that life happened yesterday. Then I realized there were technical difficulties with day 2’s post which needed is now fixed, so I didn’t get my spot done til today. It’s as done as I can get it for now, but completion will require shopping! Yay shopping! A trip to IKEA may even be in order……oh, the excitement.  Here’s my clean and uncluttered, if not attractive, entryway:

Entry way after

Ready to see yet another photo that will make you feel FABULOUS about your house? Whoo, boy, my next spot to tackle is a doozy! This shelf SHOULD be beautifully decorated, really, because it is very centrally located on our open plan main floor, between the dining area and the living room, and it’s even visible somewhat from the front door. This spot, I’m ashamed to say, looked like this straight through Christmas. (On a side note, I think I have realized why I love decorating for Christmas – it seems so much more achievable than decorating my house without a festive theme and fun sparkly things. Perhaps I need more “regular” fun sparkly things to motivate me, and LESS un-fun clutter that overwhelms me. Hmmmmm…..)

Now, remember, this is about getting real, so try not to judge? Because this has clearly become a sad, sad testament to my addiction to magazines.

The Magazine Pile

I know, it’s out of control. But it’s largely my mother’s fault (and possibly the Mafia). First, my mom has always had a ton of magazine subscriptions, so I was exposed and then addicted at an early age. Second, about 6 months ago my parents started receiving about 15 MORE magazine subscriptions to their exact address, including apartment number, but addressed to “Sheepshead Bay Primary Care Clinic.”

As far as I can Google, such a clinic does not currently exist. There was such a clinic in Brooklyn, NY which was slated to close in 2009. I don’t know if the clinic and the magazine orders are some complicated Mafia money laundering scheme, the result of a rift in the time-space continuum, or just a boring error by a 3rd party supplier of magazine subscription packages to doctor’s offices. Either way, my sweet mother here in Oregon has tried to cancel each magazine individually and the magazines tell her they don’t have records of the order. Whattya gonna do? Fuh-geddabout-it!

It would be WASTEFUL not to try and read the magazines, right? I mean, it’s not like we read the baby magazines, that would be silly. (Because MY baby turns 8 this weekend. WHO LET THAT HAPPEN?) (Apparently, baby magazines are delivered in bulk to doctors, so it caused quite a stir the first few months my folks received 25 copies of the current issue delivered to their senior living community.) But there are some primo magazines too, and I can’t let them go unread. Add in all of the magazines I already get, and it’s out of control. Not sure the fix, but tomorrow I vow ACTION.

That’s right, even if I have to read magazines straight through the weekend, I will persevere!

Here are the links to day 1 and day 2 if you missed them!

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Getting Real and Getting Uncluttered, day 2

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Today’s post is the second installment of my “Getting Real on the Internet Week”, which isn’t really a thing except according to Real Simple magazine, which made it up. But I’ve adopted hijacked it for my purposes. Instead of overly shiny “fakebooking”, or posting inauthentic but pretty things online, I’m forcing myself to go to my awesome blog readers for some down and dirty accountability in helping me Get It Together, Already. Today is going to be short and sweet:

Awwww, pretty!

Awwww, pretty!

I did it! Look how pretty my “launching pad” looks now! The one remaining item out of place is the rolled-up print in the back corner. I am embarrassed to say that according to the receipt still attached, I had it printed – gulp – three years ago. I don’t think it’s been here the whole time, but seriously, how hard is it to go buy a 16×20 frame and hang the thing? Pretty hard, apparently. But this week?

IT SHALL BE FRAMED. Watch, I won’t even like the picture anymore.

I promised to post before and after pics every day this week, so here’s the next one. This spot should be pretty easy, but tomorrow is a pretty booked day and I’m being realistic.

Entry Way Before

This is actually the corner next to my front door. This (?!) is the part of my house I WANT to say “Hi, welcome to our home and our family, come in and let’s have a peaceful fun visit.” But instead, right now, it says “What’s this? Look at me! Why is that plastic box there? Why would they leave broken hanging hooks on those mirrors? Why has that bottle of spray paint been there since before Christmas? Why is that weird cat toy staring at me?” (Let’s pretend you can’t see me in my jammies, ok?) 

I am finding that the problem is once I leave clutter – or allow someone else’s clutter – in a spot for very long, it gains magical properties of invisibility, and we stop seeing it. It’s still there, looking awful, subconsciously making me feel uncomfortable, but I don’t really see it anymore.

Parallel to real life, anyone? Anyone? I am definitely feeling like it is time to move things out of my life which aren’t helping me, or are passively making me unhappy. Anyone else feel that way?

I have also realized that I need to establish my own personal office space, stat. Much of my clutter comes from truly not having a spot designated for my stuff – comedy stuff, the book project, speaking engagements, etc. So that is a bigger issue, but one I am committing to tackle starting this weekend.

Stay tuned tomorrow to see what I’ve done here, and where I go next!

Did you miss Day One? Find it here.

Getting Real on the Internet

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If we are friends on Facebook, I owe you an apology of sorts. A few weeks ago, the night of Christmas Eve, I posted the following on Facebook. Accept my apology now, I’ll make my excuses in a bit. So along with this picture of my three boys dressed in matching blue Oxford shirts and suit jackets, all smiling adorably in front of the tree, this is what I posted:

3 Boys Xmas

“We’ve had our Christmas miracle! Managed to get the boys to do a video to mail Grandma in Arizona that included trumpet, violin and harmonica solos, the first EVER recording of the Rolstad boys SINGING, and they even got dressed up! Alleluia!”

It was probably three days before I reflected on that post and realized how COMPLETELY over-the-top nauseating it may have read to some. Trumpet solos? Seriously? It could easily be interpreted as just another polished-for-the-interwebs overly shiny and somewhat fake post that we find ourselves hating when done by others.

Social media posts like that can make us feel bad about ourselves, make us hate our lame vacations to the Sock Museum, hate our spouses for not buying us diamond-encrusted cars for Christmas, and even tempt us into embellishing our own posts to compete with the virtual Jones’.

But here’s the deal. We also need to remember to give each other grace, because I truly didn’t realize how overly precious that post could sound when I wrote it because here’s what my Facebook friends didn’t know:

1. on the other side of the camera? I was getting over the flu, generally cranky and phlegmy. I was gross.

2. My boys had been wearing their footie pajamas until I made them do this video. Even though it was like 3 in the afternoon. OK, it was later than that.

3. They were all wearing jeans with those suit jackets. Two of them were wearing visibly dirty jeans.

4. They were all barefoot.

5. None of them were initially too excited about being pulled away from TV shows and computer games. (I had the flu, ok? Mama has to do what mama has to do when mama has the flu and there are three of you.* We had a very electronically intensive Christmas break. Oh, well.) The oldest visibly pouted through much of the video.

6. All of those instrumental solos? Well. Said eldest somehow managed to look grumpy while playing his trumpet, the violin solo was a simple scale, and the harmonica solos were two songs completely made up by the 7-year-old, who does not know how to play the harmonica. (They did sound the same every time he played his “songs”, amazingly.)

7. Video of them singing was a big deal. I have not had the glorious experiences of friends who put their precious wee ones in the church kids’ choir, and beamed with pride as they performed for their church family. My youngest two flatly refused to participate after absorbing the misery caused to their oldest brother. He wouldn’t sing in choir practices because he “didn’t know the songs” (hey, perfectionist introvert child I do not get – hello? that’s how you LEARN the song???) He finished one of his only performances sitting on the floor in silent protest, as everyone around him stood and sang. He had begun the performance with a full minute of shooting death rays at my head from his eyes and making violent chopping motions at me with his hands. In front of everyone. He was 5. The three have not ever sang together, really, until this Christmas Eve afternoon.

See? It really was a miracle. A messy, imperfect, disorganized miracle. But in my virally induced state, I didn’t think to make the context clear, so it could have been perceived like a pretentious braggy mama post. Well, anyone who knows my family very well probably assumed at least 4 of the 7  points above, so they knew, but if you didn’t know me well…..I wouldn’t blame you for rolling your eyes.

So while I don’t normally jump on a bandwagon created by a corporate entity, I thought it was perfect timing to do this post today. One of my favorite magazines, Real Simple, has declared this week to be Get Real on the Internet Week. It’s all about “down with fakebooking”, and up with sharing more of who we really, authentically are with each other. Those who want to sign up get fun challenges all week, including today’s challenge: “Meals can’t always be gourmet. Show off your botched dinner, junk food, or sad sandwich.”

I’m taking a different tack, however. Partly as penance for my potentially pretentious post (nothing more fun than some good ol’ alliteration), and partly because I need to GET ON TOP OF THE CLUTTER ALREADY, I’m going to post one “before” photo of a different horrible and horribly true spot in my house every day this week. The following day I will have hopefully cleaned it up and can show you the “after” picture. Before and after pictures are fun, right? Hopefully, the public pressure of sharing my mess will help motivate me to clean it up, one trouble spot at a time.

If not, it will at least give you the chance to feel better about yourself, looking at what a bad housekeeper I am. (Warning – if you are a true neatnik, you should probably avert your eyes. My disorganized mess may give you hives or something.)

Ready for picture one? In the interest of  getting real, being authentic and motivating myself, here it comes………………I call this:

The Dumping Spot Next to the Sink

Why does this spot ALWAYS look like this? Such a small spot, SO MUCH crap.

Why does this spot ALWAYS look like this? Such a small spot, SO MUCH crap.

OK, Interwebs, we’re getting real. Tomorrow, the “after” version of this spot, and a new spot to make you shake your  head and wonder how I can be such a mess. See you tomorrow!

Oh, and want to join me in my quest? Go for it! Share your spots in the comments, or tell me how you’re being real on the Internet!

*Ha! I wrote a funny poem! If I was artsy, I would design a cute word graphic out of this and post it on Facebook, or maybe needlepoint it onto a pillow and then Pin it on Pinterest…..oh, wait.

Sick Day in the Introvert/Extrovert Marital Dynamic

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I wanted to title this post “Introverts are Mean to Sick People.”
I acknowledge, however, that such a potentially inflammatory title may owe more to my currently fevered, coughing and sleepless state than it does to pesky reality. So instead I offer you a peek into the marital dynamic of a marriage between an extrovert and an introvert, both on the far ends of their respective spectrum.

When my introverted husband is sick, he goes to bed. He leaves the family, turns his phone off, quietly slips away, and lies down. He is sick and he needs sleep to heal. Logical. There are no consultations necessary, or issues to negotiate, there are only pajamas to don, and all of the blankets in the house to gather and pile on top of himself for as long as he deems necessary.

sleeping introvert

Shh….the introvert is healing……
Image Credit: Seriously? Clearly so awful it’s mine.

When I’m sick, it’s a bit more complicated. First I push on, cause I’m not a giant weenie a mom and I’ve got stuff to do, small people to feed, homework with which to assist, milk to buy, etc. Plus, I’m probably not that sick. So I forge ahead, and whine, and complain. I also helpfully keep others updated on my symptoms with a running commentary.

Going to bed would require being alone. That’s not healing, that’s torture, and is only considered in dire emergencies.

When I'm sick, I want people around me, all the people!

When I’m sick, I want people around me, all the people!

As an extrovert, when I’m sick I want all the people. #allthepeople! I want them in my room or taking turns in my room, quietly if I’m asleep, talking with me if I’m not, petting my hair, bringing me snacks, certainly not leaving me ALONE. I’m sick, don’t send me away, hug me! Then let’s have a long chat. About whatever. Staring deeply into each others eyes, sharing our hopes and fears and dreams, and then sharing that chat with others to get their input, pausing only for the occasional coughing spasm. (If you are feeling nervous, nauseous, or are breaking out in a rash at this point, you might be an introvert….)

Where are all the people? I need the people…….

This behavior leaves the Cute-But-Occasionally-Robotic-Introvert-Husband (as I call him in my more bitter moments) confused.

He concludes I’m faking. Surely if I was really sick, I would go to bed. To sleep. If I am continuing to “help” with dinner from bed, or demand company, or call for hugs, or make excuses to talk, I’m clearly not sick. In which case, I should immediately return to my regularly scheduled activities.

Of course, we’ve each learned a little in twenty plus years of marriage. So even though every logical indicator of my behavior may tell him I’m not sick to his way of thinking, he also pays attention to other potential clues now, and struggles to make them fit his logic puzzle. Being social = not sick, but being social + hacking up large lung bits + a bright feverish glow, that might = sick.

However, if I am SICK, he reasons, I’m not doing it right, and I need to be corrected. So I hear “go to bed, go to sleep, stop talking, go to bed!”

And I can’t imagine what I’ve done to be punished.

Thus, introverts are mean to sick people.

PS – this is all in good fun, as said robot introvert is out right now getting me cough syrup, a movie and Ritz crackers. He’s really pretty awesome.

Thus Begins the Bookwriting

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I actually have little butterflies in my stomach, little flutterings of nerves and excitement. I’d started writing and planning before our Kickstarter funded last week, but it didn’t feel real yet.

It just got really real.

Well, really, it got real last week when many of you blog readers and others helped us raise more than $4200 to tell our stories and the stories of several other amazing comics transformed through writing and performing stand-up comedy about mental illness, either of a family member or their own.

After a brief message of thanks last week to Facebook and the backers who invested in our project, I’ve been quiet. I’ve felt like I “should” have been blogging about my excitement, and thanking everyone who invested, who shared or e-mailed our link, everyone who said a prayer or shared a word of encouragement. But I couldn’t, I was uncharacteristically quiet and……sort of heavy. Took me until today to figure out the heavy, and to piece together my thoughts.

This afternoon, as I sit in an Oregon coffee shop preparing to write (drinking tea because I am such a rebel), I’ve figured it out. I needed that time to accept the weight, the significance of the gift given to me and to my co-author, Dave Mowry. The gift of faith in our intentions, in our abilities, and in our passion to share our stories. (Don’t worry, I know a few of you supported us just because you love us. I’m good with that too.) Whatever the motivation of those who made it happen, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and a compelling sense of responsibility to do this well.

Today feels like the official first day of being An Author, A Writer. Better yet, An Author about Being A Stand-Up Comic.

So far I know I am going to need to leave the house to write, at least for now. My extreme lack of interest in the finer points of housecleaning is in direct conflict with my fondness for an peaceful, uncluttered environment, so until I get a handle on that I will be sampling various coffee shops that sell tea and quiet library corners.

If you don’t mind, when I’m not musing about the one rock we ground up and eat; or ridiculous ways I’ve hurt myself, I’m going to blog this bookwriting journey. I hope you’ll stick around.

I Wonder What Molybdenum Tastes Like?

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Salt is weird.

Really, have you thought about it? I mean, it’s a mineral we grind up and put on our food. We don’t grind up other rocks to put on our food.

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some salt. Without salt, many foods are pointless: popcorn, hash-browns (this evening’s muse), french fries, eggs. No salt, no point.

But what inspired early man – or let’s face it, woman, since she was likely responsible for the culinary innovations of the time like cooking with fire, not eating potatoes raw, and always garnishing your kill with a sprig of mint – what inspired her to grind up salt crystals and shake them on dinner?

Did Early Chef go around licking other rocks and grinding them up to try and enhance the flavor profiles of mammoth, sabre tooth tiger, or (in the case of our cannibalistic ancestors) Earl, her annoying neighbor? (Earl had it coming, always playing his rock music so loud in the cave next door. ‘Course, rocks were the only available instrument at the time…..Get it? Rock music???? I’m sorry, I’ll stop.)

So, I’m wondering, what does molybdenum taste like?

Molybdenum - pretty, but does it taste good? photo by  Alchemist-hp

Molybdenum – pretty, but does it taste good?
photo by Alchemist-hp

I think this area of science may be ripe for development. For instance, according to the US Geologic Survey, “The versatility of molybdenum in enhancing a variety of alloy properties has ensured it a significant role in contemporary industrial technology, which increasingly requires materials that are serviceable under high stress, expanded temperature ranges, and highly corrosive environments.”

See? Boring, and not a word about molybdenum’s potential ability to improve hash-browns. Or mushrooms! Now THAT would be a significant role! A rock that could make fungus not taste like dirt would be worth a lot of money! Wikipedia makes clear, however, that molybdenum has the sixth-highest melting point of any mineral, so its nacho-topping utility is probably limited at best.

Actually, the magical oracle which is Wikipedia can’t even seem to agree how many minerals there ARE (at least after an exhaustive 3.25 minutes of searching), and seems conflicted as to whether it is molybdenum or molybdenite. With such uncertainty existing in the field, I think there is clearly work to do.

We must determine if any minerals taste like salted dark chocolate or a really good margarita.

Science, people. It’s important.

Dear Ice Cream

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(Before today’s sad saga, a wee reminder. I’m writing a book, and I need your support! In case you missed the last post, go check it out! We are 40% of the way to our funding goal, and we have started writing. Help us bring hope to folks through funny. Make a donation and get cool perks, and share our Kickstarter campaign with your friends! Then I’ll stop using exclamation points!)

Dear Ice Cream,

I’ll cut to the chase. We’ve had a rocky relationship, you and I. (Not a rocky road, this is too serious for that.) But it’s over. I’m breaking up with you.  You make me sick, literally, and I deserve better. I’ve gone back to you before, but I recognize an abusive relationship now, and you’re not good for me.

Photo credit: madlyinlovewithlife / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Stop looking at me like that, it won’t change anything.
Photo credit: madlyinlovewithlife / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

This isn’t going to be easy, not at all. We had some good times, way back when. It started with heaping bowls full every night in childhood. (Weight Watchers, you’re welcome.) All shopping trips into the Big Town, Anchorage, involved a final stop at Baskin Robbins for a little Mint Chocolate Chip, or Daiquiri Ice, or Chocolate Fudge before we headed for home.

Things got a little rough between us in high school, when I worked for that ice cream shop. I got fired, because I couldn’t reach the bottom of the cartons to scoop unless I leaned into the carton so my feet came off the floor, and the other scooperistas (not a word but should be) got mad and said I was too slow. And because I kept forgetting not to stick long metal spoons in the blender when I was making shakes, and blender blades were apparently expensive. Then I cried so hard when I got fired that the manager immediately hired me back, which actually made me feel worse in the long run. Nobody wants to be a pity rehire.

Things got better later, when I was in college and then starting out as a young adult, with disposable income and time on my hands. We saw each other regularly,  and our relationship had a balance and a sweetness to it. We continued on together, you and I, and until several months ago, things have been ok.

But now, you make me sick. It’s painful, inconvenient, and you never check with me to see how I feel about what’s going on. I enjoy our time together, but then in just a short while I’m regretting it, and the pain and the digestive ….. disturbance starts all over. It doesn’t matter if you’re in your everyday, grocery store brand, or like last night, dressed up in your “best of Portland” Salt and Straw finery (and you were FINE……), it always ends the same.

So I’m going to be strong. We’re done. This relationship is over. And I’m not going to lie, I’ve been seeing someone on the side, and we’ve got something pretty special going, me and the tart frozen yogurt.  I think that will ease my grief. I just hope I’m strong enough not to give in to even the occasional hookup with you. I know now it wouldn’t end well.

Goodbye,

Tara

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