4 Quick Steps to Reduce Stress in our Turbulent Political Climate

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Sensitive people are often caught up in current events a little too deeply. I know this because I’ve been accused of being too sensitive my entire life. Maybe you have too. Things get to us. It’s a condition that can leave us either isolated or spewing venom, sometimes simultaneously. This tends to confuse our loved ones. It keeps them on edge as they try to discern the penultimate symptom before they’ll be forced to call for emotional reinforcements. White jacket/hard drugs/cake/etc.

One could surmise that a new sheriff in town is the cause of all this angst, but that doesn’t solve the problem now, does it? It’s like going to a therapist for years to learn why you act a certain way when you’re triggered by some random similar event, but it does nothing to resolve the original issue. Secretly, this is my theory for how therapists stay in business, but I digress. The real question for us sensitive folks is how to best deal with the ongoing confusion and maintain some measure of sanity. As The Dude says in “The Big Lebowski,” “I’ve got information, man, new shit has come to light.”

The New Shit

1) It’s time to bury your head in the sand, Sensitive People. Not forever, just for now. There’s nothing to be gained by getting all worked up by the fact that our country is quickly running out of allies. This isn’t your shit to solve. I got a Fitbit for Christmas and noticed last night while watching mindless television, that my heart rate was 83. IN THE FAT BURNING ZONE. This, I think, might be a sign of stress.

2) Go about your business. Whatever that means to you. Don’t stop to check the news online. Whatever you do, Sensitive People, avoid any social media that has turned into a steaming pile of phony news, political rhetoric, and mean spirited people. What happened to all the cat videos? In the most recent political clusterfuck, I lost more Facebook friends than I ever had in real life, in my entire life. “Divided we stand” is the new black. Maybe we can figure out how to embrace it. But not now.

3) Love. Listen up fellow Deep Feelers. All we can do is show a little more love to others. Hold people a little closer, make an occasional phone call instead of texting, and remember that who you are in the world is the same person you’ve always been, and you are made of love. Sensitive people must remain wrapped in love or we wither. (Like everyone else). Say it. Share it. Wear it.

4) Puppies.

Now, what does any of this have to do with my blog about having 55 jobs? You tell me, maybe this is my job. I’m waiting to hear what you have to say, and I’m always listening. Love, People.

 

 

Wrap Party

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As the end of the year approaches most of us reflect. Some digress. You decide.

Still Writing

In 2016 I completed a book length project, and have been trying to find the right literary agent for the work. A difficult prospect at best, I’ve learned a lot about Social Media involvement, which is a requirement, it seems, for publication these days. Social Media has felt like living inside an ongoing episode of The Real Housewives of (insert city here). It makes me feel anxious and aggressive much of the time. Despite this, I have continued to write and post some blog content that is similar to the way I write, but not exactly the way I write, because I’m always worried some person I’ve never met who happens upon my words will leave a comment like the mean spirited, rude shit I see all over the Internet Every. Single. Day.

Twitter Love

My very first follower on Twitter was a group that publishes the work of writers who have mental illness. I should have known this would be the case.

Facebook

Ok, I know what FB does with their data, and they are seriously naughty. I’m late to the party on this one, but I showed up (albeit) kicking and screaming. Continuing to have a Facebook page is a daily decision, and not one day passes without me saying to myself, “Why am I here again? It feels like my brain is being sucked out of my ears. Where did the time go” It makes me think I should just go outside and play.

Post office

The United States Postal Service and I continue our uneasy relationship. I love to read, and so a plethora of books came to live at my house this year. Some were used, others new. Most were damaged because of the common denominator—my asshat of a mail carrier who shoved them into my mail box like he was a participant in a psychiatric study reinforcing the diagnosis that there are just some twisted fucks who will always try to cram a square peg into a round hole.

One year later, after multiple discussions with Station Managers, Regional Vice Presidents, and even a nasty gram to the Postmaster General, I’m happy to report, my guy is putting all packages, no matter the size, on the porch. Just at the edge of the rather large porch mind you, so whenever it rains, which is often, my packages are completely soaked, but they are not bent. It’s the little things, right?

Miscellaneous Shit

I’ve traveled some this year, which always opens my mind to new things and reminds me that we humans are all the same. We all want to be loved, and we all want to find home, whatever that means for each of us. Also, I use a lot of anti-bacterial sanitizer, or as I call it, “Hand Sauce” Some people call me a germophobe, but the truth is, I catch things easily and don’t recover as quickly as I used to. This naturally means that sick people gravitate to me. I’m the person most likely to be sneezed at, or coughed on. It’s like people with cat allergies that are kitty magnets.

I was with a family member when she died this year, and for the last three weeks of her life. It was the biggest gift I received in 2016. For me, the most precious honor is to be trusted enough to witness and bear another person’s transition.

In 2016 I stood tall and strong for my family. In many ways, I took charge when others couldn’t, and it showed me, completely, the woman I am and always have been.

Wrapping Up

Lastly, 2016 is the year I decide I’m no longer combing my hair, and this time I really mean it. Many of my friends know me as a “tender headed” kind of girl, but I’m sensitive all the way around. Luckily, I have my hair cut in a way I can mostly get away with this, but I am saying this for the last time. I am done combing my hair.

Finally

I do still have unanswered question about many things. Some cannot be answered, I know. Among those, how could our country have elected Donald Trump? It seems like a dream I might wake up from any day now, but alas, I think not. More important things weigh on my mind though, like how is it possible that I’m still unable to spell occasion without spellcheck? This is a big deal for a writer. I mean, come on. English major. Seriously. Also I wonder, if asshat and clusterfuck are one word or two. This is the shit that keeps me up at night.

Very Lastly

I wish you LOVE and an extremely prosperous new year, whatever that means for you. I appreciate your attention to my words in 2016, sincerely. Robin

 

 

The Art Of The Follow

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I’d like to take a moment to recognize and thank the peeps who have followed me on this most recent journey. You know, the super-sonic road trip where I wrote a book and then tried through social media to get some people interested in my work by writing a bunch of blog posts that may or may not have been similar to the style of the alleged masterpiece I penned.

Since we’re talking, I’d also like to add that the real manuscript rocks around the freaking clock. It’s the best writing I’ve ever done, and is equal parts, inspirational, poignant, and is an ass kicking riot fest from start to finish. Sadly, you’ll probably never read it.

Here’s why: It’s apparently impossible to sell a book regardless of the quality of writing unless you happen to have the following of multitudes. I do not. Hell, I am lucky to get those closest to me to read anything I’ve written other than a personal check, or a hand written note on a birthday card—and my penmanship leaves plenty to be desired although I can pour on the sentiment like nobody’s biz.

I’m not a big fan of social media, I’m too old for it maybe, and it feels like a popularity contest I don’t quite have the chops for since my basic makeup relies on an, I don’t give a shit attitude. I’ve always kind of questioned authority that way. I’m a fighter, not a lover.

But I am also a writer. To my core I have been afflicted with this beautiful, unbearable need for expression—both a blessing and a burden—coupled with the fact that this gift most often resides only in my head or a hard drive somewhere. So this amazing and miserable calling, the thing I live to do, where there is no passage of time, no noise, nothing, but me and the words I hold sacred, is also a body bending cross to hoist each day.

And this I do for the few people who are completely unknown to me. Some contingent of folks who read my work and have not yet beat a hasty retreat. So for those of you hanging in there with me, I have only my thanks and gratitude to offer, though it’s clear I’ll find a sack full of sarcasm to tidy things up in the end and call it a sacred offering too.

Thank you for following. Get as close as you like. Nobody loves you like I do. Yes, you.

 

Going Postal

 

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Damaged books, hurrah!

The United States Postal Service and I have an uneasy association. We’re entangled in a dysfunctional relationship predicated on the idea that I’d like my mail delivered in approximately the same general structure in which it was originally sent, and they don’t give a flying fuck what I want.

Most of my friends know about my self-imposed mission to straighten out this quasi-government agency, and I’m guessing, more than a few of them have some concerns about me because of it. I complain about my experiences with mail delivery all the time. I’ve contacted the Postmaster General more than once, and I’m often seen firing off a smoking, hot email to a regional USPS Vice President from my iPhone.

I’m certain I was a mail carrier in another life and a shitty one at that. There is no other explanation for my current problems. In a previous life, I was probably one of those guys that hoarded other people’s mail, hiding it in huge stacks in my house, which was so full of crap there were paths throughout the rooms, like a paper infested rat’s maze. Instead of cheese at the end of the puzzle, there were only ads about cheese. The California Milk Advisory Board’s marketing campaign, “It’s the cheese. Real California cheese.”

Like a lot of people, I have one of those smaller mailboxes known as a “Gibraltar Box.” Go ahead and look it up, I’ll wait. It’s the kind of box that sits curbside so mail carriers can shove the mail from the comfort of their little mail trucks. Now imagine that particular box having 10-days worth of mail in it because you were on vacation. Most of us get a lot of junk in the mail in addition to bills and other items, and in an election year, well, enough said. But now imagine the contents of that box also included a plastic envelope measuring 15” x 22,” you know, the kind of mailer that clothing is often shipped in, and in this case, contained a rather expensive jacket. Now you have an idea of what the mail delivery looks like at my place. Every. Single. Day.

What is left to do after you’ve spoken nicely to the carrier, moved up the chain to the Regional Manger, then the Regional Vice President, and finally to the Postmaster General herself? To their credit, they’ve coached the poor performance,  but seem to have a rogue on their hands they don’t know how to handle.

I’m inclined to rehome a nest of birds about to fly the coop, and see what happens when the carrier opens that door. Then again, who am I to step into the Karma he’s creating for himself? I wish all good things for him in his next life. I just wish he wasn’t delivering my mail in this one.

*Disclaimer: I’ve never been a mail carrier although one year I was hired at the Christmas holidays to sort. I declined when I saw where the work took place. Nobody can function in that much government gray, which actually explains a lot.

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No front page, no problem.

The Java Jive

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Yesterday was National Coffee Day and I was more excited about it than I ever was as a kid at Christmas. Probably because I wasn’t working as a barista (job #51) and taking orders from people that left me shaking my head and simultaneously standing on it.

It’s so hard to maintain your poker face when a customer approaches the counter with a bit of side-eye, gauging whether you’re up to the challenge of their special brew. The order is delivered so slowly and articulated so clearly you wonder if the coffee snob in front of you is a former English teacher or just thinks you’re an idiot.

“I’d like an iced, half caf, grande ristretto two pump hazelnut, soy skinny latte, light ice please. Got that, Dear?” Likewise, the accompanying food order: “Bacon, egg and gouda breakfast sandwich, but no bacon and no egg, toasted lightly, last time it was burnt beyond recognition,” has the ability to leave one practically in shambles.

My short stint as an Assistant Manager/Barista broke my poker face for good. I knew it was time to leave when someone stood in front of me and started with, “I’ll take a 10-pump…” the rest of whatever he said is a blur. I remember only the words that came out of my mouth. “Are you kidding me?” It couldn’t be helped. It was an involuntary response. I gave my notice within hours.

So now I celebrate on National Coffee Day as if it were the biggest deal in the world, because for me it is. I drink coffee until just shy of the shakes and I savor every sip, made to perfection by me. Think I’d trust someone else to make my cup of perfection? Not a chance. By the way, in my world everyday is National Coffee Day. One day is simply not enough. Don’t you think so?

Granny Is A Hotrod And Why We Should All Chill Behind The Wheel

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When did driving become such a Mad Max movie? I feel like the odds of airbag deployment rise with each venture out of the garage. Let’s face it, the traffic is horrible everywhere. I used to live in Los Angeles, which is gridlock city. Now everywhere looks like L.A.

This is an excerpt from a book I wrote when I lived in the City of Angels. Let’s review these Road Rules, shall we? Surely they won’t apply to anyone reading this, but feel free to print them out, and place them gently on the windshield of the asshole who cut you off at 60mph without so much as the courtesy of a one-blink turn signal. That is, after you’ve followed him into a well-lit parking lot and seen the asshat walk away. (For both open road and city driving)

Road Rules

  1. Please do not text and drive. Other people die when you’re stare at your phone rather than pilot your 2,000-pound weapon.
  1. Leave room to pass safely. Remember the old adage/rule/law about leaving enough room to pass so that the vehicle being passed didn’t have to slow down? Pretend that person you’re preparing to pass is an EX, as in ex-girlfriend, ex-husband etc. Think Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards kind of room. Then, put on your celebrity sunglasses and fly like the wind before cutting back over.
  1. Use a turn signal. They’re not just for dangling bottle openers anymore. They were actually installed to give the poor bastard behind some clue about what you’re up to.
  1. Just drive. This isn’t the time to: Clean out your nose, read the paper, have sex, watch TV or dial up everyone you know because you’re bored. Unless of course, the traffic is completely stopped, in that case, let your conscience be your guide.
  1. Keep food items simple. While it’s true that fast food joints come out with more cup holder chow all the time, there aren’t enough Shout Wipes in the world to handle that 70-mph, In-N-Out burger that imploded on your slacks making you look like a complete slob to everyone who sees you. Just nasty.
  1. Don’t tailgate. If the driver in front of you can’t see your lights in their rearview, you’re way too close, like depending on the speed, maybe up to six car lengths too close. There’s nothing to be gained from ‘drafting.’ If you’re so worried other cars will squeeze in you’re probably too high strung to be driving anyway.
  1. The ‘California or rolling stop,’ isn’t a real thing. Stop, means stop, just like no means no. Otherwise that big, red eight-sided sign would be called a Stoptional.
  1. Try and stay in between the white lines that designate a driving lane. Drifting in and out while texting, or sleeping forces other to pay more attention. Nobody wants to do that.
  1. Don’t throw trash out the window. The planet is in enough trouble without you adding to it.
  1. If you’re still smoking, here’s a consciousness check: just because your window is down and you dangle an arm out, your car still reeks and everyone knows you smoke whether they say so or not. Smoke if you choose to, but take responsibility for it by not throwing your butts out the window.
  1. Don’t make rude gestures. The other day, a granny gave me the bird because I didn’t burn rubber off the light change. If flipping people off has become that mainstream, I’m finished with it. We rebels need some new material. Next thing you know, yuppies will be covered in tattoos. Besides, the chance someone pulls a gun and blows your head off is 1 in 6.*

*Yes, this is a statistic of my own making based on my discovery that one in every six people I meet in any city is completely crazy.

These are just a few things to brush up on before heading out among the masses. Lastly, a thought to consider: Instead of just looking out for number one, if we could all look out for one other person, the chances are, we will all get home safely.

*Disclaimer: I used to drive a taxi, (job#18) so I know about this shit. I hope you can take my word for it.

I’d like to hear your road rules…Holler.

My Disease Is Not Fatal But May Require More Than Magic To Cure

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I love learning about people who are able to turn their passion into vocation and use it to create the life of their dreams. Don’t you? These people have figured out how to find the love and apply it to every, single thing they do. It’s intoxicating, really. One could almost say, magic.

I imagine this must be the case for author Marie Kondo who wrote, “The life-changing magic of tidying up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing.” She talks about skipping recess as a child in favor of organizing shelves of books and tidying. While the other kids played, little Marie was already working on a plan that would change the lives of millions of people and her own. The jury however, is still out when it comes to me.

I recently picked up a copy of this book. I was drawn to it for two reasons, A) The title told me it was “Life changing,” and I’m all about changing my life on a regular basis, and B) The hilarity factor. Anyone who knows me very well understands that I am afflicted with a disease coined by those closest to me as, “Flat Surface Disease.”

I’ve been tormented by the sloppies all of my life. I’ve tried every known remedy. I’ve had the “In, Out, and Hold,” basket. (10 points plus a free set of hanging file folders to the person that can remind me which class taught that useless philosophy) File cabinets, boxes, labels, label makers, sharpies, binders, and a variety of other magical organizing accouterments have made their way into my life. And have become resting places for receipts, junk mail, notes, phone numbers and recipes torn from magazine pages. I have my grandmother’s calendars with her notes about the daily weather and who came to visit. She’s been dead since 1979. See a pattern?

I still have hope. A New York Times, #1 bestseller, the book sold 3 million copies according to the little circle on the cover, which is actually printed right on the book so I guess they either stop counting at 3 million or change the announcement circle in the next printing.

Maybe this will be a life-changing book that can at least help me overcome this one malady, although it seems results can vary. People have written to the author to tell her how all kinds of changes have occurred for them after reading her book, everything from weight loss to starting a new business, serious life changing stuff. Kindo practically guarantees it. “If you adopt this approach—The KonMari Method—you’ll never revert to clutter again.” We’ll see. I’ve never walked by an empty flat surface in my life without wanting to use it as a placeholder for something. I’ll let you now how it goes, as soon as I remember which pile I put the book in.