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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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The Boomerang Theory

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The Urban dictionary defines the Boomerang Theory as significant others finding each other again after a break up and still being attracted. Blah..blah..blah…

MY definition of the boomerang theory is a little less romantic—more like Karma but without the teeth.

Case in point.

The week before Christmas my husband and I spent most of our days running errands, finishing up shopping and trying to keep our heads from exploding and our hair from bursting into flames.

One such day I went on my hike, (a must for my maintaining my sanity) did a Trader Joes run, (it’s an addiction, what can I say?) did a dry cleaning drop off and pick-up, and had just enough time to wash the Jackson Pollack of birds latest work—in shit—off my car.

I don’t know about you, but the car wash is a “time suck” for me.

I try my best to utilize the time, to catch up on phone calls which is an asinine practice given the noise level or finish the fifteen podcasts I’m in the middle of. But more times than not I get stuck in Facebook or Instagram staring at pictures of people who are much better at life than I can ever hope to be.

Since my husband loves a clean car and literally cringes every time he sees mine covered in crap, he gifts me with a stack of free car wash coupons every chance he gets to make it that much easier for me to get my car back to the blue that the dealer intended.

So that means that I have on any given day about fifty of them in my purse.

And I’ve started giving them away.

When I pull in line to get my ticket I always give the lovely woman (who recognizes me because of the frequency of my visits) one of my coupons for a free wash and another one to anonymously gift to the next person who drives up. She gets giddy—I become invisible while I sit and troll all the overachievers on social media.

So, I’m sitting there that particular day, grumbling about some bitch named Barbara on Instagram who cans all of the fruit she grows and then makes gift baskets for the holidays when I see a man walking toward me with a grin from ear to ear.

He looks a lot like my husband but there’s no way…

“Hey, how about that!” he chirps gleefully as he bends down to give me a big smack on the cheek. “There really is a Santa Claus! I just got a free carwash!”

He plopped down on the chair next to me positively giddy with holiday glee.

That can’t be the ticket I gave the woman,
I reasoned, that was close to fifteen minutes ago and there’s a line of cars who she could have gifted…

“Well, how did that happen?” I asked, dying to know.

He was distracted, busily digging through his cash for tip money, “She gave me a free wash coupon.” He nodded toward the woman in line.

I couldn’t keep from laughing. “I think she gave you MY ticket,” I said. “She knows we’re married, right?”

“Of course she does, I’m here all the time. I just gave her some cash for taking such good care of us all year.”

I shook my head laughing louder.

“What’s so funny?”

“Well, she gave YOU the free car wash I asked her to give away! So in essence You bought yourself a free car wash! Bahahahaha!”

Sure enough, he walked back to ask her and she admitted that the first person after me had a rain check and the next guy was an asshole, so…

Can I just tell you how much it tickles me that she is so careful about who she gifts the free wash coupon?

And in other breaking news: Just yesterday I won five dollars on a scratch-off lottery ticket I was given as a Thank You for some groceries I donated to a local soup kitchen.

The boomerang theory according to me. It appears that if you give what you can—just because it feels good—somehow, it finds its way back to you.

Tell me what you think.

Carry on,
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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We May Have A Reason To Hate December ~ 2014 Reprise

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“Suffering is traumatic and awful and we get angry and we shake our fists at the heavens and we vent and rage and weep. But in the process we discover a new tomorrow, one we never would have imagined otherwise.” 
– Rob Bell
 

This goes out to all of you that have been suffering as of late.

Around me there has been illness and the passing of parents, friends, children and pets.

There has also been relationship shit. Friendships ending, break ups and businesses dissolving.

December is an interesting month, a chameleon of sorts.

It can be a time of great joy, or thirty-one days of turmoil and sadness,
and it doesn’t help that it gets dark at 4:30 in the afternoon.
I remember, back in the early nineties, being in the pits of depression and anxiety this time of year and the nights were interminable.

Then it rained all day.

Everything it seemed, was conspiring to add to my misery. For a couple of years I fucking hated December—way too dark and twisty.

It feels like that sometimes, doesn’t it?

I asked my resident guru at the time about December and the energy it holds and this is what he said in a nutshell: (because I’m certain the conversation lasted four hours because I was surly and dense—and he liked to teach).

“Obviously we layer unattainable, unrealistic expectations onto December and the holidays in general. A lot of us live in disappointment for the entire season,” he said with a certain amount of dis-attachment.
THAT I understood. 

(And those were the days before Instagram, where you can view everyone else’s perfect life in a parade of pictures).

But then he went on to talk about the energy of the month.

“It’s a time of transition and many of us don’t do transition well,” he turned his gaze directly at me, boring a hole into my soul. .

“Even though energy doesn’t know that December is the last month of the year and a new one is about to start, we do – and energy facilitates our beliefs.
In other words, energetically, we are leaving the old behind and stepping into a new year, and every year brings with it its own ramped up energy.”

He explained that the bumping up of energy, left a lot of us feeling sick (it takes a toll on our bodies) which we then just chalk up to exhaustion or a bad case of the flu.

It can also be a time of exits. Souls that don’t care to make the leap into the next year… leave.

I always remember his words when I hear about sad things happening in December.

When people are vile; I blame it on the energy.
It does seem to bring all unresolved issues to a head. Consider it energetic housecleaning. You really don’t want to bring all your old baggage into the new year – trust me.

You want to create a new tomorrow, as Rob Bell says above.

It can sound trite, especially when you’re in pain, but if you’ve lived as long as I have, and been through as much shit; you KNOW it’s true, and knowing that gets you out of bed and putting one foot in front of the other.

So shake your fists at the heavens, my loves, vent and rage and weep…and then get on with it.

I’m with ya…Fucking December.
Carry on,

Xox


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There Are Christmas Miracles Out There

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It is my feeling that pairing a Mercury retrograde with December and the holidays is so far beyond the pale as to be considered cruel and unusual punishment. A least give me a working computer and functioning WiFi at three in the morning when I’m frantically swiping at Amazon like a spastic spider monkey.

Dear Universe, seriously. It’s the least you can do.

Twisty, Pissy, and Zitty are the names of the Elves on my shelf this season and it’s been all I could do to stay dressed and hydrated as I waited for the sticky, black, cotton-candy energy to clear itself up starting today, December 23rd.

As I lurked under a bridge, all twitchy and covered in raw cookie dough, trying not to scare small children, I couldn’t help but notice the rare and lucky individuals who seem oblivious to the Mercury Mind Fuck—as I like to call it—and they lifted my spirits.

I saw two little boys laugh their faces off while their dog howled a Pavarotti worthy sanata at a singing stuffed snowman. Their laughter was so contagious that everyone within a twenty-foot radius was at least smiling—and that’s saying a lot for LA!

A Hipster held the door for me at Starbucks and the barista, who was wearing flashing Christmas tree earrings and a Santa hat was so authentically cheerful that it was impossible to hate her. Trust me, I tried.

I locked my keys in the car at the market. Again. (I know, I know, there’s an MRI in my future!) Anyway… SEVERAL people, which, in case you’re wondering is more than two, offered to help me. One couple even offered to drive me all the way home to get my spare key.

I gotta say, in the current climate of “If you’re not with me you’re against me,” and “Every man for himself,” I consider common decency a Christmas miracle. Truly.

Here is another one.

May the spirit of Christmas, whatever that means to you, find a sacred place to land in your life (preferably in your heart or your kishkes and not in the corner of your eye or between your teeth). And may it bring you healing, peace, a loooong table—and pie (although not necessarily in that order) for many a day (or at least until the second of January when we all go back to work so we can pay our American Express bills).

Merry Christmas, I love you all!

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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I Want What I Want – And I Want You

For my beloved on the occasion of the seventeenth anniversary of our first (blind) date.
I went on a date and six months later-I had a husband. My life was forever changed that day in more ways than I could have ever imagined, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat
💕


I Want What I Want—And I Want You

We’re not so different, you and I.
When it rains I want a starry sky,
at the shore I dream of mountains high,
with winding roads for us to ride.

We’re not so different me and you.
Grey storm clouds or skies of blue,
both cause our wanderlust to stir,
a quiet life or a fast-paced blur.
we can’t decide which we prefer,

We’re not a complex he and she.
always coffee, never tea.
Milk connects us both you see,
no sugar, some froth and a cookie, or three.

We’re a lot the same, we are, it’s true.
It’s why I fell in love with you.
Still, you contradict most things I say,
and when I’m cross you look the other way.

Babe, after seventeen years I can’t imagine my life without having you here beside me.


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My version of life. My stories. Told in my own words.

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