inspirational

The Law of Diminishing Returns – OR – Why I Will Never Have a Pony

THE LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS

(the law of) diminishing returns
phrase of diminish

1. Used to refer to a point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested.


I talked to a man recently, a very accomplished man, who acts like he has the world by the tail. And by that I mean, he looks down on everyone who hasn’t had the good fortune of being him.

Whatever life decisions you’ve made, however you’ve invested your money, even what music you listen to is met with a pursed lip to go along with his disapproving face. (I have it on good authority that when you purchase them at the Smug Store—they come as a pair.)

That’s okay, dude. Gimme all ya got. I worked in Beverly Hills for two decades. Water off a duck’s back.

All evening long, as I listened to his risk averse, conservative, privileged and inflexible views on life, I couldn’t help but wonder, How does his poor wife put up with this shit?

Then I remembered. She does it by trotting off on one of her horses, that’s how.

Oh, dear God, how I wish I had that ability.

The ability to bend to someone else’s will. The ability to let someone else run my life. To bankroll it with every string attached. And then buy me a pony to reward my compliance.

I wish I had a price for my silence. It would have made my life SO much easier.

Because, you see, I was born with a big mouth. A big, loud, mouth that says stuff that makes guys like that shrivel in their underpants. Stuff like, “You’re not the boss of me!” And “Take your fucking pony and shove it!”

Some women trade all of the flack, disagreements, head-butting, and power struggles that happen in relationships for diamonds, vacations, fast cars and ponies.

Not me. I call that foreplay… Or Tuesday.

Unfortunately for me, (and probably for any man who has had a serious relationship with me) I have never been one of those women you could placate with bling. Biting my tongue and swallowing my opinions is much too high of a price to pay—for such little reward.

The law of diminishing returns.
Just one of the laws I have come to live by.
Along with no right turn on red, and chew before swallowing.

Carry on,
xox


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Look Up

If you’re feeling insignificant, wondering what your place is in this vast and complicated universe, take a look at this link.

https://ispot.tv/a/wNKu

I know, its a car commercial, but the images are gorgeous and the words gave me the feels.
I wish I’d written it!

Look up.

Carry on,
xox


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She’s My Hero

See this stump? It may look like your run-of-the-mill vine that has been cut-down-to-the-bone. But oh, she is so much more than that!

Let me recap. This summer we suffered through a rat infestation so virulent that it made the biblical plagues look like the work of amateurs. Once we discovered that the rats were treating the gorgeous, perpetually blooming Bougainvillea that graced our back fence like a crack house, begrudgingly, we were forced to cut it all back.

That’s when we realized that the sixty-plus year old Bougainvillea had been holding up the equally aged fence. Our first clue came when it fell down. It collapsed like the house of cards we didn’t know it was and left us no choice but to build another.

Today I herby christen last summer as the Rat Bastard Summer of Limited Choices.

Anyway, this stump, and the Bougainvillea as a whole became what my husband likes to call “collateral damage”.

I hate that term.

In my experience, what that means is: We unintentionally broke, cut, demo’d, or otherwise destroyed something you love, and you seem mad—so we tell you it couldn’t be avoided.

Once the fence had been removed I asked the gardener (not my beloved Pedro, his assistant) to cut the Bougainvillea back even further so the guys could build a new fence without being impaled.

That night when I saw their handiwork I almost cried. I’m familiar with this type of eager overreach. Throughout my life I’ve suffered at the hands of your random hairdresser, trained by Edward Scissorhands, who left me with a hatchet job of a haircut so heinous that no hat could disguise the damage.

I was convinced my self-esteem would never recover.

And I was just as convinced that this Grand Dame of bougainvillea’s recovery would be sketchy at best. She is over sixty after all and they desecrated and disrespected her, whittling her into a popsicle stick.

“She’s dead. They killed her!” I moaned, with the same level of tortured angst usually reserved for roadkill, my favorite characters who’ve been killed off in a novel…or everyone on Game of Thrones.

I was furious.

But here it is, three months later, and just like my husband said as he reassured me that hot September night, she has risen from the dead. I have to bite my lip to keep from weeping as I write this.

Reliance is her middle name (she won’t tell me her first, she doesn’t trust me anymore).

From this day forward, when I feel beaten down and defeated, cut down and undermined. And when I feel ugly as a stump. I will look outside at this beautiful old woman, the crone of my backyard, who had the will to rise above the worst take a little off the top, collateral damage in the history of the world—and know that my problems aren’t worth shit.

Carry on,
xox


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Settling For The Believable ~ A 2015 Reprise

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INTANGIBLE
in·tan·gi·ble
inˈtanjəb(ə)l/
adjective

Unable to be touched or grasped; not having physical presence.
“God seems so intangible”
synonyms:impalpable, untouchable, incorporeal, discarnate, abstract

Settling for the believable.
What?
Why?
No fucking way!

I learned this week that the TED talks want you to have documented proof and data to support your talk.

Fuck. That just makes me mad (no TED talk for me) and worse than that it makes TED a very dull boy.

What about the intangible?

I was reminded this week about certain properties of quantum physics. The fact that everything at the sub-atomic level is made up mostly of …empty space.

Including you and me. And the chair you’re sitting in while you read this.

Yet, we’ve all agreed to see things as solid.

What about the fact that particles make up atoms and yet those atoms contain properties NOT found in particles.
Then atoms gather together and make up molecules yet those molecules contain properties that are NOT present in atoms.
Molecules make up cells and…you guessed it, same thing.

So… we are made up of those cells with all of that unexplainable stuff inside.

Huh.

So far the intangible is waaaaaay more interesting to me than the easily believable. The stuff that adds up. The stuff that makes sense (yawn).

Talk to me more about the abstract, the impalpable; the divine.

“I don’t believe in things that can’t be proven,” said the little shit with the pocket protector.

Oh really Pointdexter? What about dark matter, string theory and the Higgs Boson Particle? Huh?

What about babies?
An egg and sperm collide (and that’s no easy task) and instantly cells start dividing. And somehow contained in those cells are an eyebrow, a penis and a heart that beats. Not only that, the whole thing mysteriously knows how to arrange itself. The penis does’t show up on your face and your heart at the bottom of your foot.

IT KNOWS WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO DO.
At a cellular level.

It doesn’t arrange itself in a random pattern and become a turnip.
No woman I know of has given birth to a turnip.
Neither has any ape, elephant, cat or chicken.

What plays a role in that? Something intangible?

Where does love come from?
Alaska? Italy? (well, maybe Italy).
Can you order it on Amazon?

Where does it originate?

What about a great idea?
Inspiration? Work of art or piece of music?

I know they are received by the mind, but where do they come from?

Is there a documented storehouse for that?

“Um, hello, yes, I’d like to order two great ideas and if I could get those by Friday that would be great. What? That’s extra?
Fine, put it on my Visa.”

I will not settle for the believable. And neither should you.

Remember we’re all looking for wonder and wonder isn’t even in the same zip code as the believable, the mundane or predictable.

Go ahead TED —ask for data.
You know that white board the study is written on is made up of empty space, right?

Carry on in the most intangible way,
xox

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Happy New Year ~ And We Are Enough

As another year ends, I’m tempted to resolution the shit out of 2018. Like really give it the once over and tell it who’s boss.

But what if FIRST—before leaping forward—I looked back at 2017 with something resembling…satisfaction? Is that even possible for me?

Like you, I had a parent growing up, who could not find it in himself to praise an accomplishment—no matter how big or small. I can only assume that his fear was that I would find a giant pile of laurels and rest on them comfortably…into perpetuity.

“Sure, that’s all good and well but what about…” was his tag line when dolling out any kind of praise. And by praise I mean lack of criticism.

I realize this is like speaking greek to all of the millennials out there who think they’re hot shit right out of the womb, but to the rest of us, who had the privilege or misfortune (depending how you look at things) to be born in the twentieth century, we are hardwired to always be striving for better or more.

Nothing is ever “good enough.”

And THAT, my friends, is a recipe for disaster every January 1st.

Resolutions can loom large. And they can be debilitating.

I’m at my bff, Steph and her hubby’s new house as I write this, in the gloriously dark and damp Pacific Northwest Besides being such a welcome change of scenery for this dried up, smoke saturated Los Angeleno, looking around I can see all of the improvements they’ve made in the two-ish short months they’ve lived here and I must say—I’m wildly impressed. Not just a little bit impressed—WILDLY.

But here’s the thing, I’m certain if you ask her she has a list a mile long of what still needs to be done. No laurel resting for Steph!

We all have that laundry list of things yet unaccomplished.
And that thing is ravenous, growing exponentially by the minute as it taunts us in our father’s voice late at night when we’re trying to sleep.
“Sure, that’s all good and well, but…”

What did you cross off your list this year? No matter how miniscule I want to be the first to congratulate you with a hearty “Job well done!”

Doesn’t that feel nice?

In my humble opinion, any movement forward is commendable, even if it seems more like a cha-cha than a sprint.

I grow barnacles on my body like a piece of driftwood lost at sea for decades.
Skin tags, moles and such, so finally this year I had my entire naked body checked by a young, male doctor (kill me now) for cancer and had several benign moles removed in the process. Every morning when I look in the mirror, I have a flash of satisfaction followed by many minutes of disappointment when I see the twenty or so barnacles still waiting to be scraped away.

It’s like that for me with every unfinished project, broken promises made to myself, and goals left un-met. I take no pleasure in the items that are crossed off my list—I only feel shame for the items that remain.

That’s fucked up.

So, I guess as this complicated, hard to understand year passes into the history books (and believe me, it will) I wish that all of us—each and every one of us knows that we are great!

We are not only great—we are resilient af, and filled with love, humor and most of all…

We are enough.

Pass it on. I’m telling you, so now I’d love it if you’d turn to someone you know, someone who really needs to hear this, (which in my estimation is everyone on the planet) and tell them ever so gently—you are enough.

Many blessings to you, my tribe,

Carry on,
xox


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From The 2015 Archives — There Are Actually 24 Hours In A Day—And Other Christmas Myths

* Sorry about the “test” post yesterday you guys. That was tech support. The blog is still glitchy af. Thanks for your understanding and btw—you all passed!

“I work 8 hours, I sleep 8 hours, that leaves 8 hours left for…what?”

I was listening to a podcast today and this “old saying” stopped me in my tracks.

Well, the big, juicy melted piece of gum I stepped in while I was listening and traversing the parking lot at Target actually DID stop me in my tracks. A stop so dead—I walked right out of my shoe.

I kid you not.

Seeing that we are deep into December, I had to park so far away that the actual Target store was just a speck on the horizon. I’m sure someone left their gum, like a bread crumb, to mark the trail back to their car so…I can’t really be mad, can I?
But enough about my glamourous life.

Back to the saying. You know, the myth that implies that there are more than enough hours in a day.

You work eight hours.
Stop laughing.
I know we’re smack dab in the middle of the holidays and what with shopping and wrapping and all—the Elves up at the North Pole have a shorter work day. And better benefits. And terrific catering. Nevermind.

So… you work.

Anyhow, you sleep eight hours. But seriously, who does? I’m lucky to get seven. This morning I woke up at 3 am because I thought I saw an orange glow down the hall and knew for sure the tree was on fire.
It wasn’t.

Too late, adreneline rushes don’t keep regular office hours.

Then I couldn’t remember all of the reindeer names or get that damn song out of my head.
I lay there wondering where on earth my pine nut cookie recipe went and the next thing I knew it was 4am and all I could think about was how good coffee would taste with a pine nut cookie—so I got up and made some. Coffee. Not the cookies. I’m still at a loss.

So…You sleep.

But you guys, that still leaves at least several, maybe four, hours left to do whatever you want.

My friend says those hours are reserved for worrying.
Yikes.
My hubby says traffic on the 101 freeway chews up his spare time.
Jeepers, people.

What about eating?
Sex anybody?
Holiday merriment?

I decided to paint with a broad brush.
“I work 8 hours, I sleep 8 hours, that leaves 8 hours left for… FUN!”

That sounds downright illegal, doesn’t it? Fun? Really? And for eight hours? Oh, sweet Jesus, help me!

But fun can be anything, right?

A glass of pink champagne for no reason?

Maybe it’s staying up after everybody else goes to bed to binge watch Netflix.

What about going out to lunch and catching up with an old friend?

Today, my friend Kim and I played hookie and went to see a movie—in the middle of the day!

How would you complete that sentence? Gimme some hints, I’d love to know.

Carry on,
xox


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Christmas Conundrum — A Love Story

Co·nun·drum
noun
“one of the most difficult conundrums for the experts”
synonyms: problem, difficult question, difficulty, quandary, dilemma;

“I have a real conundrum”, was how he answered my standard nightly inquiry which goes something like this:

Me: “How was your day?”
Husband: “It was (fill in the blank).”

Usually he says “good.” Other times I can tell by his face that I shouldn’t ask. More often than not there’s a story or a funny anecdote which starts a conversation that carries us through dinner.

But never, in the almost seventeen years I’ve asked the question has he answered this way.

“Wow, really? A conundrum. What happened?”

He hedged.
I don’t like hedging. Hedging makes me anxious.

“I’ll feed the dog,” he volunteered.

When it comes to eating our dog is probably a lot like yours. Since she comprehends any sentence that has the word food or feed or treat in it — the “spinning around the kitchen” phase of the evening begins as she excitedly waits for her dish to be prepared.

“Come on! Tell me what’s up!” I urged as he shoveled kibble into warm water.

When he bent down to give our whirling dervish her dinner, I spotted some residual unsteadiness left over from the bout of vertigo he’s been battling for the past couple of weeks.

Slowly, he came back to standing, leaning on the kitchen counter directly across from me.

Those corners in the kitchen, those are sacred. They are our “go to” conversation spots.
If I think about it, almost every conversation, big or small, has a least started from those corners.

We may shift back and forth while we prepare dinner but it all begins in those corners.

If things get tense, we maintain our distance, like a fighter in the ring.

But I have laughed my ass off and cried a river (often at the same time) in the corners of my kitchen.
We hug a lot there too.

I don’t know why, but kitchen corners are conducive to hugging.

Anyway, it took a while for him to explain.

“I wanted to get you a tree,” he said looking at me sheepishly.
“I wanted to surprise you…with a Christmas tree.”

“What?”

You see, Christmastime at our house is…complicated.

For me, it is the BEST time of year. You can find me Ho, Ho, Ho-ing my way through December.

For my husband—not so much. No, No, No-ing is more like it for him.

It could be due to his horrible, Jesuit boarding school, Oliver Twisted childhood—no one knows for sure.

All I DO know is that we have litigated this subject into the ground only to come away without any reasonable solution as to how we can navigate the holiday—and keep both of us happy.

If you read my last blog post you know that I’ve decided to go treeless this year. It was a compromise I’ve never been willing to make—until now—made easy by some brilliantly timed, post-holiday travel.

In an act of holiday self-care (which, no matter what that looks like for you, I highly recommend for everyone) I decorated my sister’s tree on Tuesday which was a fix for this Christmas Junkie.

So, I’m good with it. Really.

And that’s the part that confused him.

He continued, “On Monday, I finally felt up to driving to that awesome nursery where we saw those live trees,” he said.
“The ones with the silver needles you like?

He could see the bewildered expression on my face but he kept going.

“So I had it in the back of my van and I was going to set it up this morning…until I read your blog.”

I still wasn’t following so he went on.

“You said you were happy that you didn’t have a tree. That you liked the ease and simplicity…”

“Well, yeah…but…”

“So I drove back there to return it, but they don’t take back Christmas trees.” I could see a look of chagrin trying to hide behind his sexy, white beard.

I started to laugh. “What? No you didn’t!”

“Yep,” he said, starting to see the humor. “You are the proud owner of a living silver pine tree which has been driven all over hell and back the past two days and is now lurking in the back of my van trying not to feel rejected.”

“Awwwwww, come on! You did not!” My eyes filled with tears as I launched myself into his arms. I told you those corners were for hugging.

“Lemme see him!” I squealed.

“I’m sorry.” He nuzzled his face in my neck. “I just can’t seem to get it right.”

“Don’t be. Ya did good.”

Sometimes when you let something go. Like really let it go with no residual bullshit–it hunts you down and lurks in a van in your driveway.

Bible.

Carry on,
xox


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No Tree For Me

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“Christmas is a baby shower that went totally overboard.”
~ Andy Horowitz

I’m about to reveal something so subversive that you may have to look away. I’m not putting up a Christmas tree this year!

Now, let me stop you right here. Before you call me a shrink or start a Go Fund Me page—let me explain.

Since I’m leaving to go visit friends starting on December 26th, I’m pretty sure I’d lose my mind and just napalm the place if I came back to a dead tree covered in ornaments that need boxing the first week of January (and I know it would be as dried out as my lips because the humidity in California is in the single digits.)

But don’t worry about me! So as not to fall into a deep eddy of despair, I decorated the hearth within an inch of its life with garland and waaaaay too many twinkle lights-but the garland is fake—so no pine smell— which as you all know I LIVE for—so, maybe you’re right.

Send cookies. Now!

Anyhow, I’m “trying it on”.
I’m “leaning in” as they say, to a tree-less Christmas.
Right? Are you vomiting yet?

Listen, I’m not gonna lie. A large part of me loves the ease and simplicity of it all.
But…
If I dwell on any of it for more than a minute (no tree, minimal baking and carols) well, I burst into tears so I don’t.
Dwell that is.

And isn’t that what the holidays is all about?
A toxic soup of mixed emotions bubbling just under the surface ready to boil over?

So I decided to focus on the things I’m grateful for.
Because if I go down that other road…there may be sheet cake.

Things I’m grateful for:

Eyelashes growing back after the Great Eyelash Extension Allergy Debacle of 2017.

Along those lines, I’m so grateful that magnetic lashes were exposed as the con that they are. Even Rita Wilson, a woman who loves everyone and everything posted a picture in her Instagram with a snarky caption that said something like Fuck you magnetic eyelashes! You big scam! (I might be paraphrasing).

I’m grateful that we don’t live on Venus. Each day lasts 243 Earth days! Just think of it, December would last the equivalent of twenty Earth years.
Kill me now.

I’m grateful for pie. And for the diners that have a “burger with pie
special.”

I’m so incredibly grateful for all of my female friends. You inspire me every day and i love you more than pie.

I’m grateful that my house hasn’t burned to the ground despite being surrounded by fire for the past week or so. Thank you to the awesome firefighters!

I’m grateful for Spanx. Full stop. No explanation needed.

I’m grateful that my uterus has left the building.  Even though she stayed too long at the party, she served me well and was a righteous old broad.

I’m grateful for all of the exciting projects on the horizon for 2018. I have no idea what they are—but I know they always show up.

I’m grateful that I have writing as my rant receptacle, creative outlet.

I’m grateful for love and dogs and candles and love, did I say love already? And cold noses and hot coffee and selfie filters and family, diamonds and love and hugs and love and boobs and love.

What are you grateful for?

Carry on,
xox

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It’s About Time! Another Jason Silva Sunday

This is a new Shots of Awe where Jason rants on risk, creativity and failure.

Most people shy away from ranting on failure but I happen to believe, like my buddy Jason here, that it’s extremely rant worthy.

A while back I even wrote failure a love letter.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/my-love-letter-to-failure_b_8198096.html

I wrote it because I truly believe that failure has taught me SO much more than success—and sometimes late at night, after a glass of wine or four, I write love letters that are really only rants on paper.
I do.
Look for yours in the mail.

Carry on,
xox


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Jolly As Fuck

So…It’s that special time between holidays where my guard goes down, my cold, stone heart turns all soft and mushy, and I throw the entire world a ton of slack…because I’m jolly as fuck!

That being said, I still can’t find it in myself to feel sorry for the poor corporations and the super rich who I’m being told every minute of the day need our help because their tax rate is too high.

Listen, dickless, get your hands out of my wallet and off of children’s healthcare!

Besides, we all know your wealth won’t trickle down. In all the years they’ve tried to convince us it will—it never has. I may be jolly but what do you take me for, a fool?

I’m also not buying the case for doing away with net neutrality. Everybody wants cheap, fast, and impartial internet access. Period. The end. Full stop.

Dear Ajit Pai and the FCC, if you know what’s good for you—you won’t fuck with our internet!

And what’s with all the lying? It isn’t just pervasive, it’s epidemic and it insults my intelligence!

“We never talked to any Russians!”
Oh, mah, gawd! Yes, yes you guys did. A bunch of you. A gaggle. A gang. A coven of suits, you all talked to the Russians.
A lot. Like, all the time!
Then you lied to cover it up, like we all do when we’re just having legal conversations about nothing with lovely folks who aren’t criminals.

I heard a story recently that reminded me of Paul Manafort and (Don Jr.? Flynn? Pence? — fill in the blank) about two dumb-shits who killed a third dumb-shit (this is just an educated guess because of his proximity and relationship to the other two). They hit him in the head repeatedly with a hammer and then tied a cinder block to his legs and threw his corpse into a body of water.

Of course they didn’t do any of that right because his body came up to the surface within an hour—with a head full of hammer marks—and while the police were scouring the area looking for the perpetrators, our hero’s got pulled over for a traffic violation that produced a bloody hammer and a couple of matching cinder blocks — IN THE TRUNK OF THE CAR.

And even though their finger prints and his blood was EVERYWHERE — they denied any wrong doing.
There’s nuthin’ to see here!
They were indignantly innocent because they said they were.

Sound familiar?

My dog thought so.

Here’s a case for trickle down lying.

Last night, for the first time in the four years she’s been alive, our little brown dog jumped up onto the kitchen counter and ate half a pot roast.

Judging from the suspicious look on her face, the drooling, and the licking of her chops as she left the room we were in on her way to the kitchen, I suspected as much. But my husband, his faith in her good behavior stubbornly intact, gave her the benefit of the doubt until she failed to come after repeatedly being called.

Ruby! Ruby? Ruby…where are you?

He got up to check on the roast at the exact same moment she left the kitchen. They even passed each other in the living room. The fact that she could not maintain eye contact, had her tail between her legs, and was virtually commando crawling past him was the clincher for me. It was her “bloody hammer in the trunk” moment as far as I was concerned.

“Motherf*#@$ dog!” He yelled, bounding back into the den and grabbing her sorry ass in a headlock all the while dragging her back to the scene of the crime amid a firestorm of obscenities.

“You bad dog!” he hissed. “You ate half a damn roast!”

Really? Did you see me eat it? I heard her say as she was forcibly dragged from my sight.

She obviously watches too much cable news and has come to believe this new truth we’ve been subjected to, that lying about and denying something—means it didn’t happen.

The beef was gone. She was the only other person in the house —and her breath smelled of…you guessed it—roast beef. Yet, she continued to deny it and her remorse in the end was tepid at best.

A lot of things could have happened to that roast. And besides, hypothetically speaking of course, it isn’t against the law if I were the one to have eaten it. Everyone knows that eating meat in this house is NOT a criminal offense!

She barked all of that from her bed, which is located in the lower back-forty of our home (fifty feet away) where she was banished for the rest of the night.

I felt bad. Bad that I had such a roast-eating-lying-liar of a dog and even worse that I knew I’d probably choke to death in my sleep from the horrendous beef farts brought on by her impending meat sweats.

So there you have it. That special time of year. When the government tries to take away all of your deductions, the wait time for online catalogue customer service is measured in hours not minutes, and some asshat comes up with definitive proof that raw cookie dough can kill ya.

I call bullshit on December—and while I’m at it, pretty much all of 2017.

Carry on,
xox


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