Thursday, July 16, 2015

Why I won't vote for Chris Christie

Ok...I will admit at the top that this is probably a stupid reason not to vote for someone.  But, here goes.  I won't vote for Chris Christie for president because of this:



That's right...I won't vote for Chris Christie because he's a Cowboys fan.

This is particularly disappointing for me as, 4 years ago, I was convinced Christie would be my candidate.  I loved his politics, I loved the way he stood up to special interests (especially the Teachers' Union), and I just generally liked his way of dealing with the stupidity that is often the American political system.

Bridgegate came up and I didn't care!  Was he involved?  Maybe.  But, so what. Minor in the grand scheme of things. 

But, this Cowboys thing.  I can't get past this. 

If he were from Dallas, that would be one thing.  If it were another team besides the Cowboys, that would be another.  You see, you can support your childhood team if you grew up away from home.  I still think it's bad taste for a governor when you have 2 teams playing in your own state, but whatever.  I could forgive it.

Or...if it wasn't the Cowboys...say it was the Dolphins or the Bengals. Then, it's harder to call bandwagon.

But, the Cowboys.  They are the biggest bandwagon team in football.  Just like the Redsox or Yankees in baseball.  Just like the Lakers in basketball.  He jumped on the "America's Team" bandwagon. 

Should he get props for staying on when they sucked?  No.  Because they were still the bandwagon team, even when they sucked.

And then, he became governor!  His state hosted a Superbowl, for crying out loud!  One of his local team has won 2 Superbowls!!!!  He has been given every reason to join his people in support of the local team and he hasn't done so because he chooses to remain on the bandwagon.

How can I trust a politician who has no loyalty to his home?  How do I know that he won't be cheering for Team North Korea at some point?  How do I know that he won't be hugging Putin when Team Russia makes it to the playoffs.

Nope...not me.  Chris Christie does NOT get my vote. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Where did this brat come from????

My kid is a huge negative nelly, recently.  Like, HUGE!  He complains about everything. 

Ever since summer started, he's seemed to get more and more bratty.  We had a great trip to Hawaii.  At one point, he was so super sweet, he was even talking about how much he loved the beauty of the islands.  What 6 year old talks about the beauty of the islands? 

Then, we get back and he gets to spend a week with Grandma.  No parents to say No to McDonalds or a new lego set.  Just Grandma doing what she does best...giving him every thing he wants.

Followed by another vacation!  10 days with mom touring beautiful nature spots like Yellowstone, Crater Lake and the Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota.  Actually, I think that one was closed when they got there.

Hiking, swimming, smiling!  He came back with a  ton of stories.

Then, he gets back home and BOOM!  Capitan Crabby Pants.

This weekend, he wanted to make "Smoothie Ice Cream Cones," a snack he learned from school.  Unfortunately, due to circumstances of the day, our day didn't end until 9 PM.  I offered to make them with him in the morning.  He proceeds to stomp to his room, slam the door and barricade it with every item from both his bed and hamper.  Refuses to come out. 

Then, today, even worse.  We had a landscaper come and clean up our yard (long story here as yard maintenance is supposed to be covered by the rent, but the dude hasn't shown up in forever).  Desmond has a place in the yard he calls his "special place."  It was full of weeds.  They cleared out the weeds!  Desmond is super pissed, now.  Complaining about how they "Killed Planty!" and ruined his special place. And, I'm not talking about simple complaints.  I am talking about stomping, scowling, snotty tone, folded arms, ignoring, everything that I hate rolled into one not-quite-tantrum.

He's getting on everyone's nerves!  What the heck is going on here???

Anyone want a kid?

Island Wedding Memories RULES!!! Yelp SUCKS!!!

Getting hitched in Maui isn't easy when you live in Seattle.  Therefore, having a wedding coordinator on site is pretty essential. 

The coordinator Kim found, Leah Robb from Island Wedding Memories, was rad!  Here is the review I posted on Yelp:

I just got hitched in Maui last month.  The day was simply perfect.  In every way.

The main reason for the perfection was Leah Robb.

Obviously, planning a wedding from across an ocean is difficult, so we knew pretty early that we needed a coordinator.  My (now) wife found Leah through a referral.  Where we had previously been doing a ton of our own research and were going into a destination wedding knowing very little, Leah was quick to identify our needs and guide us through our process.

Her first, and easily her best, recommendation was the wedding site.  Had it not been for Leah, we would have never found our site.  And, it was amazing.  So amazing, that my wife barred me from posting pictures before the ceremony because she wanted a breathtaking experience for our guests when they arrived the day of.

Next, we gave her our budget and she gave us suggestions.  Instead of constant negotiating and adding/subtracting various different costs, she put together suggestions for catering, photography, decorations, floral, etc, all within the budget we gave her.  We simply had to pick our favorites.  And, again...all services on the day of were spot on.

We even had some quirky requests.  We didn't want cake.  So, she rented us a shave ice truck!  This was SUPER popular with the guests.  We wanted to have yard games for the kids.  Done!  Some of our guests had dietary restrictions.  Handled!!  Perfect, I tell you.  Perfect!

Leah was professional and fun. Seriously.  She made us laugh and she made the day 100% stress free.  Arriving in Maui was more stressful than the actual wedding day.  Guests arrived at 3 and there were still people hanging on until the last shuttle (arranged by Leah) left at 10.

Perfect!


____________________________

Now, for the complaining part.

Yelp sucks.  Like, really really sucks.

I never used it before now.  I would read reviews, but I wouldn't post.  I have been hearing a lot about how they may or may not play favorites with certain posts, but I didn't really care that much. 

Until now.  You see, Leah Robb was an amazing coordinator.  Like, super fantastic.  Our wedding day went off without a hitch.  It was as perfect as it possibly could have been.  If there were hiccups, we didn't see them.  In fact, the only thing I noticed that wasn't 100% on point was that the Shave Ice truck (yes, we had shave ice instead of cake!) parked in the wrong place.  But, the only reason I noticed was because, 2 days before during our walkthrough, Leah told us the truck would park somewhere else.  I can pretty much guarantee that nobody else noticed.

Let me back up a little.

Kim found Leah through a recommendation.  As with most of Kim's decisions with the wedding, my input was, "That sounds great, honey!"  Such was the case with Leah.

One day while I was bored, I decided to do a Yelp search on Leah.  I found that she was indeed listed.  And, she was ranked with only 1 star.  ONE STAR!  In case you're not familiar with Yelp, that means she sucks.  This made me nervous.  Did we just hire a crappy coordinator to run this important day?  I brought it up to Kim and she basically said, "Oh...well, we already gave her a deposit."  So...there we are.

Fast forward.  As I mentioned, the day was amazing!  We could not have been happier!  I was so happy, in fact, that I was inspired to create a Yelp account and post a review for Leah!  It was not fair that she was represented on Yelp by these 2 crappy reviews.  Especially when you read the review.  Seriously...one person was mad because the wedding party wasn't paired up properly.  Um...hey wedding party.  Maybe you could have pointed that out to her.  Regardless, not a reason to review someone with one star.

Kim and I both wrote 5 star reviews!  It boosted Leah's average to 3 stars.  Still not as good as she deserves, but whatever.  It's better than 1 star.

I popped back onto Yelp today, about 3 days after I posted.  Leah's score is once again 1 star.  Both my review as well as Kim's had disappeared.  What the hell?

It was then that I noticed a little drop down category called "Other reviews that aren't recommended."  You have to click to see these reviews and they don't factor into the final score.  Both of our reviews are in this category.  So, neither of our glowing reviews made it in to impact Leah. 

We are there with 9 other reviews that aren't "recommended."  Many of them Great reviews!  In fact, if these reviews are counted, Leah's average would be 4 STARS!!!

What the hell, Yelp?  This basically makes me conclude that your service is bullshit.  And, while I have watched your little video and understand the supposed logic, it is clearly proving to be bullshit in this circumstance.  Your algorithm is crap. I currently have zero trust in you as a referral service based on this. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Pardon my anxiety...please pass the Xanex.

So...I've been living with anxiety for a few years now.  Honestly, it all started during my divorce and has never really gone away.  I stress about everything. 

After a few very uncomfortable and unwelcome panic attacks, I finally went to the doctor for some meds.  I don't like brain meds.  Never have.  But, when you break out into a cold, dripping sweat giving a presentation you have given 10x before to a room of college students, you know it's time to do something. 

Kim came onto the scene after the anxiety started but before I was on the meds.  So, she's gotten to see all sides of it.  In fact, it was being with her that made me realize something was wrong.  It wasn't natural that I couldn't sleep at night because she was friends on Facebook with an ex.  Or because she said something that was completely normal but that something in the back of my mind meant she didn't actually love me and was only settling for me because she couldn't find something better. 

Anywhoo...it's mostly under control now, occasional panic attack over something stupid like finding a parking spot aside. 

Really, why I am writing this isn't because I have anxiety.  It's because my friend Maegan recently sent me this blog post and I needed to share because it is pretty spot on!

From a blog called Sober Chrystal, I give you the following:

10 Things You Should Know About People With Anxiety

Anxiety makes daily life a real pain in the ass for everyone involved. We all feel anxious from time to time, but people with anxiety disorders have a hard time controlling it. There are at least 40 million American adults living with an anxiety disorder (source: National Institute of Mental Health). It might be helpful to know a few things about us anxious folks, since we are everywhere. My assumption is that you want to help someone you love if you are reading this – if you’ve never experienced it, you will probably never understand anxiety and that’s okay. You can still be helpful through the unfolding of it. Keep in mind that no experience is the same. I’m not speaking for everyone with anxiety, just doing my part to increase awareness. If I scare the shit out of you, you’re welcome.

1. It has nothing to do with you

Our anxiety has nothing to do with you, however directed at you it may seem. Anxiety is a constant mental battle that manifests physically, or does it start in our bodies? Either way, being miserable in our own skin makes it hard to be pleasant sometimes – and we might not even realize what’s happening. Irritability is a near constant in my world, so while it’s possible I’m annoyed with YOU, don’t take it too personally. Hopefully I don’t seem like a complete asshole, but if I do, just be happy you’re not me.
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2. We know we’re irrational

The epitome of anxiety is this: Knowing, as you’re freaking out, that there’s no reason to be freaked out, but you can’t shut it down. Some of the emotions we entertain are like the fruit flies currently invading my kitchen – they’re tiny, annoying, and useless, yet we can’t seem to take our focus off of them until they’re all dead and gone. Sometimes a worry can start being legit, but we take it to an epic and destructive level.

3. Anxiety hurts

Physically

The physical toll anxiety takes on my body is the most frustrating aspect of anxiety for me. Anxiety is really physically uncomfortable – it doesn’t hurt the same way for everyone.
  • Hot and cold flashes – When I was working in customer service, I ran into my favorite teacher from 3rd grade! Rather than act like a normal person, my body flushed over in a cold wave of terror and then I was instantly a hot mess of dripping, beastly sweat, a stuttering fool with horrific red blotches on my chest. Awkward. That was bullshit – I experience similar moments regularly.
  • Racing heartbeat, palpitations – Heart palpitations feel like having a goldfish flopping around in my chest. I even visualize the scaly thing in there and start to wig out even more. There have been several times when I’ve been close to dialing 911, but instead I sit in paranoid silence, waiting it out, realizing I’m not ready to die.
  • Feeling restless or on edge – If you see me in the same spot for more than 20 minutes and I don’t look like I’m in agony, consider it a small miracle.
  • Easily tired – I’m always spent. There are multiple reasons for this, but anxiety is one of them. Fighting anxiety is like being in a constant state of fight or flight and takes its toll daily. I rarely get to take naps with two small kids all up in my grill, but when the opportunity knocks, I indulge and it feels so luxurious.
  • Muscle tension and pain – My jaw is so buff from clenching my teeth, I’d put a pit bull to shame. My chest, shoulders, and neck are always tense. Massages can be helpful, but I’m so paranoid about letting one fly, I don’t get very relaxed.
  • Intestinal shit – Speaking of letting one fly, I can be  a gassy gal. 1 part genes, 1 part anxiety. I probably have IBS. This is a overshare, but my husband can tell when I am constipated. Isn’t that nice? Sometimes, if I’m a bit unruly, he’ll ask, “Have you pooped lately?” At least he pays attention.
  • Knots and stomach butterflies – I eat to cover them up and then I don’t shit them out. Good stuff.
  • Dizzy, light-headed – Makes me feel incapable at times.
  • Numb or tingly – Usually my arms or legs get pins and needles and that’s when I recognize I need to sit down for a few minutes and chill.

Mental

Many thoughts, emotions, and behaviors revolve around anxiety. I’m too exhausted from listing the physical symptoms to delve into these much, but here are some common symptoms:
  • Obsessive thinking
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Difficulty concentrating – I don’t play cards or board games because I just can’t focus.
  • Memory problems – Sometimes I have a hard time forming thoughts because my brain and body are so concentrated on the sustained anxiety. This is why I can’t tell a story to save my life, turn into an inarticulate moron during job interviews, and repeatedly ask if anyone has seen my phone. I go blank during any type of confrontation and could never EVER be in a debate club, no matter how passionate I am.
  • Irritable

4. Social situations can be torture

I'm leaving early!
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Although avoidance can lessen anxiety in the short-term, it doesn’t work for actually living life.  I’d probably be a hermit most of the time if I could. I’d just sit in my house, back out of plans, and be happy as a clam doing so. Back in my drinking days I’d “pre-funk” before every type of social event so I was loose, less self-conscious, and more outgoing. Now that I’m sober, my pre-funks consist of mostly internal freak-out sessions over shit that will never happen. I secretly hope shit gets cancelled all the time and would even welcome a hearty cold if it meant I could stay home.
Because interacting with people can be so anxiety-inducing, we are picky about who we let close. We put up walls for those who don’t make the cut to keep ourselves safe.

5. Don’t try to talk us out of it

panic attack
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The worst feeling in the world is when someone tells me to “get over it” or “just relax.” These statements make me feel like I’m broken and alone, and show a blatant misunderstanding of the nature of anxiety. Believe me, if it was that simple, I would have done it already. More often than not, there is no logical reason for my anxiety, it just is. There’s a fine line between talking me out of it and helping me. “Let’s get down to the bottom of this, why are you anxious?” That’s what my well-intentioned husband says, trying to get me to put it into words so he can help. It has helped a few times, but most often my mind goes blank, my body gets tighter, and I feel even more like a freak, especially since I was trying to hide my anxiety in the first place and got called out on it.

6. Panic attacks are real

I remember when I thought that people who had panic attacks were legitimately crazy. How can you be so whacked-out that you lose bodily control in a terrorized panic over nothing?! This is where there’s a huge disconnect – it can make sufferers and their loved ones really frustrated. It’s really hard to understand and even harder to describe. A panic attack can come out of nowhere or it can be fear-induced. You can maybe feel it coming or suddenly it’s happening, taking your breath away. Either way, once you’ve experienced one of these bad boys, it’s like a mission in life to never ever have another. Panic attacks are so scary! To me, it feels like my body is completely out of control – sweating, fuzzy headed, pounding heart, blurred vision, shaking, gonna shit myself – sheer terror. I had my first panic attack at a grocery store in my early 20s and it was so unexpected and terrifying, I felt like I’d lost a bit of my sanity, never to be found again.

7. We have moments of brilliance

When we are aware of our anxiety and working on it, we experience glowing moments of perfection. These moments come and go and sometimes we shock the hell out of ourselves with our amazingness. I’m not always a total freak. Especially since I’m getting older and caring a little less about what people think of me. I’ve managed to reduce the frequency of some of my more useless agonies, like the torture of walking through the cafeteria at work to get some damn food. Sometimes I can actually get in and out of there without feeling a thousand eyes upon me, waiting for me to trip or shoot a boogie out of my nose… I consider these moments huge successes for me. Don’t always assume we are having anxiety. The last thing we want is for you to approach us like wigged-out weaklings, plus it could totally deter a brilliant moment or just piss us off. If we have shared some triggers with you, then it’s cool to be mindful of them, otherwise, let us be. And don’t push us to get better. We are handling it and always trying to be better.

8. We are grateful people

We are grateful for our moments of brilliance  – for every time we overcome a situation – we experience intense relief and these moments accumulate. We are also grateful for those people in our lives who try to understand and work with us. I never take for granted those who are there for me and are genuinely interested in my well-being and happiness. My circle may be tiny, but it’s solid. I’m most grateful for my mom’s unwavering support and for my husband’s patience and commitment to me.

9. We know living with us is hard

My anxiety is our anxiety, sorry
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As long as you know that we know, and we’re working on it constantly, you need to allow the process. We know how much of a burden our anxiety is, and we do not need a reminder. I know the consequences of my anxiety are annoying, frustrating, and sometimes hurtful. Try being me. There may never come a day when I’m fully composed or uninhibited – that ship sunk when I got sober. I consider myself a positive person, but anxiety breeds negativity – it just does. Again, take a step back and be grateful you aren’t me. Your patience and compassion are appreciated. Remember we are always working on it and we are worth it.

10. We want you to learn more

Whatever you can do to learn more about what anxiety looks and feels like in someone’s everyday life, the better. You don’t have to be able to relate to us, in fact I’d rather not subject you to that – a general understanding will do. Compassion goes a long way.


Here are some ways you could potentially help someone with anxiety:
  • Be mindful – Knowing some of their triggers may be helpful. When we’re dining at a restaurant, my husband takes the seat that’s facing the crowd, so I can either look at a wall or fewer people. It makes me nervous seeing people and eating in front of them, so he shuts it down every time. I appreciate it every time.
  • Be proactive – Take steps to help mitigate the anxiety or lighten the load. My husband does a lot of the talking in social situations and helps me out when I’m fumbling for words (except for when Roger Goodell asked me how I liked the NFL and I froze like a fool, LIKE A FOOL! – I’ll agonize about that until the day I die!). Actually, he talks more than anyone I’ve ever known and rarely shuts up – I’m almost always grateful for it.
  • Find compassion – If you can’t find compassion, keep your thoughts to yourself. I don’t like to hear negative shit about people who struggle with this shit like I do. When people like us hear you judging so-and-so for not wanting to hang out or for being weird or socially retarded, we’re subconsciously understanding that it’s not okay that we’re that way. So, no matter how whacked someone may seem, maybe if you just let it go and move on with your life, we’ll all be a little lighter. It’s sometimes second nature to make fun of shit we don’t understand, just consider your audience. If we do it, it’s okay though.
  • Compromise – We aren’t as social as my husband would like to be and he doesn’t complain about it – having said that, he’s a social freak and that shit needs to get locked down anyway. I need my down time and he knows that’s important to me. I can’t always be “up”. It’s not in my nature and doesn’t serve me.
  • Touch us – My husband often rubs my hand while we are driving around in the car, knowing the extreme effect it has on my well-being. Ahhhh. It can change who I am in a moment. Touch is powerful. Touch is survival. I need more of it.
  • Remind us to breathe – “Take a deep breath” – My mom is so good at reminding me to do this. One deep breath can completely turn a moment around. I need this reminder more often.
  • Laughter is the best medicine –  We are always winning when we’re laughing! I find it soothing to watch mindless comedy on TV. Being gassy comes in handy, too. Sometimes I act a fool, like a giggling, immature school girl…you might not get it, but I do, so let me have it! Sit down with your anxious friend and watch some good ‘ol Tommy Boy or I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Light moments are fun.
There are no cures for anxiety disorders, but there are many ways to find some relief. No one disorder or management of it looks the same as another. I hope you learned something new about people with anxiety, I know I did by putting it into words for the first time. If you struggle, I hope you find the help you’re looking for. If you suffer from knowing one of us, don’t be a dick and try harder to understand. If you question something, ask me. I’ll tell you what I know after I’ve obsessed about it and rehearsed my answer for a few months, then spell-checked it and re-rehearsed and then contemplated if it was too late to answer.
Thanks for reading,
Chrystal

Monday, July 6, 2015

Why I won't vote for Rick Perry

I started this back when Rick Perry announced he was running for President.  Kinda late now, but whatever.

I will never vote for Rick Perry for anything.  There are multiple reasons, but all I need is one.  And that one is this video:


 

Why, you may ask?  Simple. 

"You don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."

Ummmm...our kids can openly celebrate Christmas AND pray in school. However, religious celebrations can't be mandated by the school so as to not alienate the non-Christians or the non-praying students.  But, that's not the real issue.

But, that's not the real issue.

The issue isn't even that he's basically coming out against gays.  People do that all the time.  I don't like it, but, depending on their other stands on the issues, by itself it's not a deal breaker for me.

My issue...this video to me basically says that gays can't love the country enough to serve in the military AND alludes to the fact that they can't love God or be loved by God because they're gay.  He does this by (somehow) comparing gays serving in the military to prayer in school.  What does one have to do with the other?  Unless you think they are basically the same topic.  Kinda like I am in one small department of Human Resources, gays in the military is another small department of God Hates Fags. 

You can say I'm stretching, but I don't think it's really that much of a stretch.

I am also not ashamed to admit that I am a Christian.  But, I am also not afraid to say that I will NOT vote for Rick Perry.  Ever. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Oh hey...I'm married

Got married, recently.  But, you probably knew that.  I suppose you would like to see pictures.  Well, you'll have to wait.  Right now, my new wife is making me clean the garage.  Who does she think she is? 

Here's one to tide you over.  More forthcoming in the near future.  Patience!