Monthly Archives: April 2010

Life Advice from a 27 Year Old

Many people think that with age comes wisdom. I disagree with that.

Wisdom comes from experiences (not years of experience), self-awareness and reflection. Sometimes we learn lessons very early in life, sometimes we don’t.

I agree with every piece of advice from The Frisky.

Here’s a few of my own pearls of wisdom:

1. Passion and drama are not the same thing. Don’t create drama to feel passionate.

2. Buy swimsuits a size too large.

3. Things are often going to be hard and scary. Don’t let those circumstances deter you from taking the tough road.

4. Emotions lie. The mind truly can be a battlefield.

5. Purchase a White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks once a year and after you have worked out for two hours. They have 470 calories.

6. Exercise. Yeah, it kind of sucks, but the cancer rates thank you for it. So does your waistline.

7. Cooking is not that hard so don’t use, “I don’t know how,” as an excuse.

8. Everyone says relationships are work. They are, but most of the relationship should be easy.

9. Eat as many fruits and veggies as you can everyday.

10. Take vacations. Every year. Take long weekends every few months.

11. Doubt means don’t. Real doubt, not the fake kind that we use as an excuse to get out of trying something new.

12. Don’t pretend to like things just because a guy does. i.e. sports.

13. Find a guy/girl that you can be yourself with. All. The. Time. You’ll find complete serenity in knowing that you have a best friend to come home to who knows your greatest faults and loves you anyway.

14. There are a few things in life that should not be skimped on. They are: vacuum cleaners, pots and pans, one really good handbag, a quality pair of black pumps, a classic jacket like a pea coat or trench, kitchen knives, tequila, and towels.

15. Find God or your spiritual answer to Him. Nurture that relationship.

16. Be kind. In the end it matters far more than deadlines, being right or how great you really are.

17. Take time to be grateful. It makes a huge difference.

18. Your parents didn’t mean to screw you up. They did the best they could. They’re still crazy though.

19. Know when it’s time to really ask for help.

20. Sometimes you should listen to music instead of watching t.v.

21. Be happy with what you’ve got. The grass is rarely ever greener on the other side.

22. Love shouldn’t hurt or make you compromise who you are.

23. Travel as much as you can.

24. Doing the right thing won’t always leave you feeling full of unicorns and butterflies. Sometimes you will feel conflicted, but you’ve got to follow your gut.

25. He should pay on the first date. Amen.

26. Strive for balance. Having it all is a myth that our feminist, hippie mothers created and bought into. Be wise enough to know that you can’t give 100% to everything in your life without something falling through the cracks.

27. Prioritize. It makes you less crazy.

28. Nurture the friendships you have with other women. They will nurture you in return.

What sage advice do you have to offer?

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The Great China Debate

I’m not talking about the country. I’m talking about dinnerware. Waaaay more important.

When we registered Travis and I had a big debate over registering for china. We went in to Bed Bath and Beyond thinking that we would not add china to our registry. After all, we are_not_the_type of people who need fancy shmancy plates. We didn’t imagine having a lot of dinner parties or entertaining a lot of family over the holidays. We are a wolf pack of two here in Reno.

But…..

Then I saw this:

Lenox - Chirp China

Lenox - Chirp China

And this:

Me love.

Suddenly, my thoughts went to dinner parties, garden parties, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, hosting family, friends, neighbors. Basically, I would invite anyone over who wants to eat off of my china. Anyone. Call me.

I don’t know what it is about the Lenox Chirp china pattern. It instantly caught my eye. I love how fresh it looks. How it’s traditional, but not.

I picture myself in an apron, preparing a Martha or Barefoot Contessa approved meal. Then I serve that delicious meal on my Chirp china.  I’m wearing pearls and my hair is in a curly bob. Fantasy? Hmmmp. I don’t even own an apron.

My sudden departure from the “China Plan” caused Travis some distress. “But we’ll never use it,” he said. “Let’s register for every single kitchen gadget and appliance instead.”

A lot of our married friends were all, “I registered for china and now I’m trying to sell it on eBay.” Or, “Oh, yeah, the china. It’s in the garage in a box somewhere.”

But, I’m a Capricorn, which means I am sentimental and love traditions. My grandmother had Lenox china that she gave to my mother. We eat off of it at Christmas and Thanksgiving. It’s an antique pink rose pattern. I aksed my Grandma Betty about it and she said that women in her generation would register for a set of 8 pieces of china. Then when they were throwing a dinner party they would borrow their friend’s china if it was in the same pattern.

See, here I go again with the traditions…sigh.

I totally get that the idea of fine china is a little outdated. People don’t really throw dinner parties the way they used to. I just can’t help myself. I love the idea of having an heirloom that I can pass on. This moment in my life will be a short, sweet one in the end. I want my grandchildren to imagine me throwing fabulous dinner parties and using this china.

Or maybe fabulous barbecues. Barbecue and fine china mix. Right?

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The Name Debate

How do you feel about changing your name after getting married? Did you change your name? Did you hyphenate? Did you keep your maiden name? If you are a man (ahem, Dad, brother – my only male readers) how do you feel about your surname?

I had never really thought about it until Travis and I got serious. My initial thought was I would hyphenate. This sparked a serious debate between Travis and I. It turns out he was passionate about me taking his name. He actually said during one of our discussions, “If you don’t change your name then what is the point of getting married.”

Huh. That got me thinking. Why did he feel so passionately one way while I felt conflicted?

It turns out that the root of the conflict for me is a kind of grieving, a sadness over leaving my last name behind. I love my last name.

It’s the name of my ancestors. The ancestors who left Ireland on a coffin ship, crossed the Atlantic, and ended up in Boston. They were Catholics who faced persecution, who worked as engineers, oyster shuckers, coal miners. They worked hard, had dozens of kids, farmed, became educated, worked so their children would be educated.  Their sacrifice and perseverance have given me the opportunities I have now. I’m eternally grateful.

To this day I have family members who still refer to us as a clan. We celebrate and mourn like only the Irish can. Whiskey, beer, bag pipes, laughter, a sense of humor that only we get. A perpetual inside joke that we famine beaters have made something out of ourselves despite our fondness of drink, our tendency towards melancholy, the ability to hold a grudge for eons (hello, British), and our fiery tempers.

I don’t care that most of the time people can’t pronounce my last name. For the record, it’s not Duman, Duran, Duncan, Durman.

So despite my strong, nostalgic feelings about my surname I had to be open to the way Travis feels. He thinks it is a real honor to him if I take his name, that it unites us more completely as a couple, a cohesive front for the family we are becoming.

I can respect that. Which is what ultimately swayed my decision to change my name after we are married. It’s not like his last name is Wiener, Farfanugen, Butts or something. I can get on board with his last name. I might even grow to like it (no offense babe, I like the way it looks on you).

The other day one of my newly married co-workers said how strange it is that his wife now has his name. He said he is still getting used to it. While we were chatting I mentioned my initial resistance to changing my name. He said, “Well, it’s kind of emasculating to a guy if your wife doesn’t change her name.”

I finally got it.

In a world where women are increasingly getting closer to complete equality it is still important to protect that male ego. Sure we may make more money, change our own oil, use power tools and drink beer with the best of them, but at the heart of it, men still want to be respected as men. As providers, protectors, as the head of the household.

And I respect that. Men need to be allowed to be men.  Women have a unique ability to provide them with that comfort. Even if we are saving the world and paying the bills at the same time.

I am a frequent reader of  The Frisky. In fact, I adore that site. I adore the content. I adore the writers. I adore the way it let’s me escape at the end of the day and take in the world’s happenings, in a unique Gen X-Y kind of way. I’m all for reading through a nice pair of pop-culture, fashion, gossip, feminist rose tinted glasses.

If you’re looking for a different perspective on the name debate check out this post in the Dear Wendy advice column from The FriskyMy Girlfriend Refuses to Take My Name If We Marry

I can’t say I agree with the response from the advice columnist. Seems kind of one-sided, but it does represent how many modern women feel.

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Gratitude

What are you grateful for?

I was stressing out the other night, letting the never ending to-do list circle through my brain. Things I need to do, things I should do, bills to be paid, animals to be taken care of, how I never seem to get enough sleep, work, work, work, PRSA. You know the kind of stuff that wakes you up at 2 a.m. and then 3:15 a.m. and then 4:30 a.m.

I was getting kind of down and then I was suddenly struck with just how lucky I am. How amazing my life is. So I stopped thinking about all the To-Do’s and started thinking about the many blessings I have in my life.

Which got me thinking.

What if I focused everyday on the good? I’ve been working on my fitness, but what have I been doing for myself mentally and spiritually? Not a lot. Not really anything.

I’ve heard about people keeping Gratitude Journals and often, since life is so funny, I was reminded of them by my boss this morning. It was just the KITP (kick in the pants) that I needed. At lunch I ran over to Target and I bought both myself and my boss a cheap little notebook that we could keep as Gratitude Journals.

Be grateful.

Let’s see how this little experiment goes, shall we?

Do you keep a Gratitude Journal? How do you look after your mental and spiritual well-being? No, really. I need to know.

A Lesson Learned – Jeremiah

Jeremiah.

I don’t know where I got the confidence that I had in eighth grade, but somehow after having my first boyfriend I really thought that I was the shit. I wish that I could have bottled that confidence. It would have come in handy around the age of 19.

Eighth grade was one those years that will go down as being one my best. Along with 17 and 25. Good times.

In eighth grade, I was in an Honors math class with a boy name Jeremiah. He was cute, funny, smart, played soccer, dressed like a preppy. I had a hard time with math and Jeremiah would try to help me.

He was so different from Dusty. I broke up with Dusty so Jeremiah and I could date. Duh – I’m not a cheater!

The last couple of months of eighth grade were really fun because Jeremiah and I were dating. There was something about that time in my life that was so magical. Here my friends and I were, on the verge of starting high school, dating boys, riding horses. Too old to play with dolls, but not old enough to stop us from playing a game of hide and seek in the hay meadows at my best friend’s ranch. It was an amazing time in my life that I remember so sweetly. Before my mom got cancer, before my dad had to start working in another state and commuting every weekend, before I had my heart broken, and before I realized that friendship isn’t always forever. Things just seemed so easy.

**SIGH**

One time Jeremiah came over to my house and we watched The Usual Suspects. It was his favorite movie and he wanted to share it with me.

I want you to sit back for a moment and let me describe how ridiculously cool my adolescent bedroom was. I had a love seat, a TV, and awesome posters and art work that only a 14 year old girl would like. Whatev. It provided an excellent environment for ahem, movie watching. Yeah, movie watching with the door open at all times. ALL TIMES. If the door closed for even a moment I had my own Chastity Police security guard, my little brother, who would quickly sound the alarm, “Mom!!!! Jenny’s door is shut!”

Thanks James. No, really. Thanks for being a little brother who wanted to protect his sister.

I got cocky and broke up with Jeremiah to date Dusty again. I can’t really give a good reason for that other than I was 14. And boy crazy. It was a really stupid thing to do. After we broke up he didn’t speak to me for two years. Not an easy feat when your class only has 120 people. I totally deserved that.

Jeremiah would have made an excellent high school boyfriend. He was sweet, smart, and kind. Alas, our lives took different paths. I joined the Cowboy crowd, started rodeoing and chasing cowboys. Jeremiah kept playing soccer, kept taking Honors math classes, and was still a smart, great guy on the day that we graduated from high school together.

Later in life Jeremiah and I went to the same college and we were both in a crazy English class. The kind of the English class where the teacher doesn’t grade you because, “Man, you grade yourselves on the way you live your life.” He was the teacher who said, “If George Bush gets elected I’m moving to Mexico.” And then he did and he did.

After this crazy English class where we would celebrate our feelings, Jeremiah and I would walk together after class and I still thought that he was a great guy. Still super smart, still super funny.

FYI, Jeremiah if you are out there you borrowed He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (my favorite French movie)  that year that we took that English class. You never gave it back. I hope you are enjoying it, but if you’re ever in Reno I would like it back. For realz.

Why it ended: Because I was stupid

What I learned: That being reckless with someone’s heart is a really stupid thing to do. I wouldn’t know that until later when my heart had been broken. I was careless with his feelings and it is definitely something I regret. We may have only been 14, but I didn’t handle the situation with kindness.

Next up in the High Fidelity Series – the first guy that made me cry.

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