Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How to Confront your Fears

Because I am an altruist, I decided to use my Self-HelpT-Shirt Blog (my other Self-Help T-Shirt blog) help you all overcome your fears. Of course, I have no idea what your fears are, so I had to start with mine. Of my three main fears, air travel, eating, and car washes, you helped me overcome all but one.  

Debihen wisely pointed out that the fear of traveling alone stems mainly from the fact that if the plane goes down, you will be forced to hold the hand of the person next to you for comfort….a person who could very well be germy and/or might scream like a girl. Plus it could be awkward later if the plane fails to actually sink to the bottom of the ocean. Luckily, Midianite Manna suggested all of this can be avoided simply by taking along a taxidermied mouse. If anyone happens to have a taxidermied mouse, let’s talk offline.
Lots of people had insight into the fear of eating alone. Gigi suggested impressing all the people staring at you by working a crossword puzzle in PEN. This is what very smart people do. Midianite Manna had an even better idea that if you fill out the crossword in Greek or Cyrillic letters, you will appear even smarter. I fully agree. I suggest you go ahead and fill one of these out in advance. That way, the pressure is off while you are at the restaurant by yourself trying to eat while everyone is staring at you.
MsDarkstar the Creatrix mentioned that she would like to one day dine at the fancy fondue place, but not as a solitary endeavor. I have never been to a fancy fondue place, but it sounds exactly like the type of thing you wouldn’t want to go to alone. She suggests finding an alcove under stairs for your dining experience, a very brilliant idea. However, if people see you lurking underneath an alcove with a fondue pot, they might find you rather strange. I’m going to locate an alcove anyway, so I can have it handy just in case.
Andreas Heinakroon brought up a theory that we feel awkward eating an elaborate savory meal alone because we are supposed to sharing it with our fellow hunter gatherers. This makes total sense to me because I don’t feel odd eating a granola bar alone. Of course, if I was at a table somewhere eating a granola bar, I would be terrified. He admits after stating the theory that it seemed a bit contrived, and I think we can all agree the concept really doesn’t fit in with fondue. I guess he figured he already had the comment all typed out, so he might as well go ahead with it.
Lahikmajoe suggested reading a book or the paper. I think this is a brilliant idea. I don’t know how many of you have actually seen a print newspaper, but they are unbelievably large. A newspaper is large enough to construct a temporary hiding place for yourself as you pretend to read the articles you will later catch up with online or through Twitter. As an added bonus, most newspapers come with a crossword puzzle. Double win for all of us. Thanks everyone for helping me work this out.

As for the car wash, it is an issue left unresolved. Apparently, I am not the only person afraid of the car wash. At least we can all take comfort in the fact we are not alone. If you ever see anyone stuck in a car wash because their car is rammed into it, take them the newspaper you bought for dinner later so they will have something to hide underneath. You don’t have to get them the entire paper. You can give them a section of it, the sports section, perhaps.
All considered, I am very pleased with the outcome of this blog post. I always say that if my blog helps only one person in the world, it is worth all the effort… especially if that person is me.

You can click here to read: How to Confront your Fears. However, I suggest you skip right to the comment section for the really useful bric-a-brac, hodge-podge, and whatnot.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Month in Review

I’ve moved my blog to WordPress ( because I like the way the comment sections are set up, but now I feel bad abandoning my old Blogger blog. (Sorry, I didn't tell you Oscar, it would have been good to mention.) Is anyone still here reading this besides Oscar? If you are here, it is not because I have abandoned you and moved on. Okay, I have moved on, but I want you to come with me. Here is summary of what you are missing over at WordPress.

Milkshakes from the Past

Ashton Kutcher was being witty with me at McDonald’s and offered me milkshakes from the past. I was too preoccupied by obtaining McGriddles to take him up on it. There is also a nice t-shirt available for those of you who would like to avoid perfect strangers offering you milkshakes.

How to Survive a Year

This is a very helpful guide for surviving an entire year. I know you probably think you have been surviving the years already, but you can survive so much more efficiently using my simple guidelines.

Ants on a Branch

This is the post where I am slightly drunk and trying to win an argument with Andreas Heinakroon of by yelling out obscure statements like “Ants on a Branch” without bothering to explain them. I think I win.

Enjoy a life of crime, or scientific achievement, whichever

On further reflection, I have been spending a lot of blog posts trying to win arguments with Andreas Heinakroon. Did you know that scientific achievement and crime are both motivated by sex? Andreas fails to agree with me on the finer points of this. He thinks I am over-simplifying the matter. What he doesn’t know that I am purposefully doing this to win an argument. If you can’t win by distorting facts, it is hardly worth the effort.

Why Girls Rule and Boys Drool

Again, this post is part of an argument with Andreas Heinakroon. This time, my argument is firmly backed by science and also @whoremonger's brilliant statement that both proves I win, and also uses the term, “not in a million years jack wagon.”

How to Win at Christmas

If you haven't already won at Christmas, it is a little late to worry about it now. Especially you, Oscar, with your "Bah F*cking Humbug" ornament. Oh wait, I gave that to you. Never mind.

One last quick thing before I go, onions could be killing you, or saving your life. Just thought you should know.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Story of Texas

The concept of Texas has come up a lot lately, much in part to Lahikmajoe’s Non-Tea Blog. I have to say that I am most impressed with @lucysfootball and her take on the Texas culture and what outsiders may think of it. Let me take a moment to say that Lucy’s Football Blog slant on this topic is actually way funnier than mine, so now is your chance to bail.

Oh... you are still here. Great.

I have chosen to take this opportunity to consider what being a Texan means to me. You see, my family is perhaps one of the last of the stereotypical Texans. Despite my sarcastic and liberal demeanor, I am a direct link to rural Texas and what it means to be a real cowboy.

I grew up spending a lot of time out in the country with my grandmother. My grandmother was a tough woman. She grew vegetables in her garden, and pickled her own beets and cucumbers. Her house had no central air or heat and the television only got about three channels and that was on a good day. The phone was a party line. You knew by the pattern of rings if the call was yours. If you picked it up and there was someone talking, you were supposed to put the handset down quietly. Sometimes I would take a minute or two to listen in, but always found the conversation excruciatingly boring.

When “Nan-Mamma,” as we called her, needed to do laundry or pick up supplies, we went to 'into town' (population 6,000) to the laundromat and the “Dixie Winn.” I don’t think that particular brand of grocery store is still around, but if it were, the proper name of it would be pronounced, “Winn Dixie.” You wouldn’t dare tell that to my grandmother. That woman had a sharp tongue and a quick hand. The best plan was always to lay low. 

My mother currently works part-time in the office of a cattle auction. The people in that office love to make fun of the city folk who come in and do silly things. This makes it extremely fun to embarrass my mother when visiting her at work. I usually have someone ask for her to come out and speak with me about “buying the cow outside with the brown eyes.” It is like our code actually.

My dad was once a farmer/rancher. The farming part grew hay for the cattle. I remember seeing the hay balers and bright green John Deere tractors and combines, sitting powerfully still under the corrugated metal roof of the shed. At the time, I was impressed at their size as I had metal drawf-sized counter parts as toys at home. As an adult, I am astounded by the scope of the mechanical what-not that had to be properly greased and maintained. My dad has a knack for keeping things working. I have a AAA card.

My dad took me with him to the auction barn on the days he sold or bought cattle. I would play quietly with whatever toys I had brought along as he made his bids or watched his cows being sold. I distinctly remember the aggressive chant of the auctioneer, the sound of the cattle, and the faint smell of manure in the background. It is the same auction my mother works at today. Nothing has changed much, expect that my adult eyes see it as smaller than I remember.

My dad always drove a white Ford truck. When one gave out he bought another one just like it… one white Ford pickup after the other. I remember riding in the back of those trucks as my dad called 'the cow out to feed.' I asked him once if I could have a cow. He gave one each to both my brother and me. Although, I suspect he picked them out at random. It is just as well as I couldn’t tell one cow from the other anyway.

My parents had a double freezer and when we needed meat, they would “take a cow to slaughter.” We had every part of cow in that freezer. My dad would scramble the brains with eggs, telling my brother and I that it would make us smarter. I don’t know how eating cow brain could make you any smarter. Even if eating the brain could somehow transfer the brain of a cow into yours, the only skill you would gain is how to lick a block of salt and chew your cud. It just doesn’t pencil out.

I remember trips to the feed store. Of course, my memory is that of a young child. I remember the earthy, malty smell of the feed, but mainly I remember the bubble gum machine. There were two sections to the machine, and each took a penny.  One section contained tiny little square pieces of candy-coated gum, while the other had small round colorful balls. It was always a dilemma because the ball section only pushed out one piece of gum. The other section, if you turned the handle just right, would push out two or three. So, according to my childhood memories, the important takeaway from this is that Texas has gum. Don’t let them tell you any different.

My dad doesn’t have a ranch anymore. My parents own their own rental apartments now, and have long since sold their land in the country. My dad still drives a truck, but instead of baling wire for hay, the truck bed is cluttered with paint cans and sections of cabinet for apartment upkeep. He wears a cowboy hat, but only outside in the sun, because hats for real cowboys are for function, not for nightclubs. He doesn’t own a pair of dress shoes or sneakers. Instead, he has two pairs of boots, one pair for everyday, and one for Sunday.

So, that is my story of Texas. And now, with great pride, I would like you all to meet a real cowboy:

Me and my Dad. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

How to Plan for a Road Trip

This blog is in transition and currently has no point to it whatsoever. If you are looking for the Self-Help T-Shirt Catalog, I moved it to WordPress. So you should click here. If someone is trying to make you leave your house to go on a road trip and you don't want to stop what you are doing, then keep reading.

This past week was Thanksgiving, and we were visiting my husband's family. It was that awkward day after Thanksgiving when the large dinner is sitting in the refrigerator, and guests are sitting around the house. We had just had breakfast, and my sister-in-law's boyfriend's mom said that they were going to drive over to her brother's or cousin's house for a visit. Somehow, like a row of dominoes crashing one into the other, this turned into the opportunity for a road trip. 

Looking back on that moment, as we were poised on the edge of a road trip to go sit in someone’s house, I realize that my family can be very difficult to move when we are not motivated. I really don’t want to go sit in someone’s house. Sitting in someone’s house is the most boring thing in the world. Especially when it is mid-morning after breakfast. There will be no food, and it is way too early for drinks. That means there will literally be nothing to do but sit. I felt incredibility unmotivated to sit but had already vowed to be pleasant during the holiday, so I gathered some things I thought my son and I would require.

Steps to ready for a road trip I don’t want to take are extremely detailed. First, there will be a long discussion about where we are driving, in what direction, and details on how long the trip will take. Then, we will have another discussion about what entertainment devices should be packed. Please be aware that all devices (iPad, iPod, NintendoDS, Kindle and laptop) will be packed regardless of the discussion outcome. Also finding all the devices scattered around the house will take longer than usual, as I will be checking Twitter or my blog comments instead of looking for them. We will need to pack a cooler of drinks to avoid possible dehydration. Once we are finally in the van, I will need to dash out of it at least twice for last minute items such as sunglasses or chargers for all the devices.

Steps to get ready for a trip we do want to take are a little simpler. After my mother-in-law announced that we did NOT have to go to shopping at the River Walk, but could instead take a trip to Natural Bridge Caverns, my son and I made it to the van in thirty seconds flat. Then, we looked at each other... wondering what was taking everyone so long. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

How to be Happy

In The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama tells a story about a guy taking a nap in a boat. Suddenly, a bump awakens him. He looks up and sees another boat. He becomes very angry with the person in this boat for deliberately waking him from his nap. When he arises to confront this jerk, he realizes the other boat is empty. When he understands it was only the current pushing the other boat into his, the anger dissolves. That is why I like to think of people as boats.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Popcorn Ceiling

First off, I should tell you that this is no longer the catalog of imaginary t-shirts. If you are looking for the shirts, go to my shiny new WordPress site: The Best Self-Help T-Shirt Catalog Ever. This is now the blog where I will go on about things that are too long for Twitter, and not really appropriate for Facebook. I have been neglecting my FaceBook page, actually. Need to think of something clever to put on there. I am drinking coffee right now. That should do. Hang on a minute...

Okay, I am back. I was thinking this morning that I need do something about the popcorn texture on our ceiling. Often, when my mother-in-law visits, she will complain about popcorn ceilings from the seventies and how awful they are. To her credit, I don't think she realizes that she is sitting in the very living room of a house from the seventies under a ceiling of popcorn that belongs to me. It is a little troubling to me all the same. So, here is my plan.

Step 1.  Win the lottery. I know you are going to tell me that it is nearly impossible for people to win the lottery, but I don't think they are trying hard enough. I should be able to do it in a week or so.

Step 2.  Pay all the decorating people and decorating books and magazines in the entire world to make popcorn ceilings come back in style again. This shouldn't be that hard. They are probably out there looking for the next new thing right now and it may as well be popcorn ceilings.

Step 3.  Pay for my mother-in-law to get a new stylish popcorn ceiling in whatever color she desires. Yes, they will be coming in colors--Bright ones.

And then.... I strike!

Step 4.  Get rid of our popcorn ceiling, go over to her house, and talk about how tacky they are.

Winning! And in ONLY four steps. I am so great today.

I know you are thinking that I should have not wasted my time bribing decorators with the popcorn ceilings. You are probably thinking I could have used all this time and money curing cancer or saving children or something. But this is MY fictional money, and I will spend it how I please. Thank you very much.

Side Note: I just realized that all I have to do is slap a picture of a t-shirt on this and it will be just like my old blog. I think the dual blog thing is giving me an identity crisis.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Galleria is Evil

The next few posts will be about things I learned on the InterBlogs, and people who deserve their own t-shirts. So, this blog is now a blog for the people who read my blog. Or read blogs that I read while I am writing my blog. Or write blogs that.... anyway, if you are still reading at this point, you must be entangled somehow, so let's get on with it.

My first InterBlog recognition and t-shirt dedication goes to Alura’s CrossWorlds Cafe for the post, “Sorry Lisa, they’re still out of monkeys… “

This clothing line is dedicated to you, Alura, for surviving the Teavana at the Galleria, and also obtaining your $50.00 pound of antioxidant tea. You will be able to fight oxidants for years to come.  At least you actually bought tea while you were there. I bought some sort of leafy substance called a Samurai Mate, which apparently, as Lahikmajoe pointed out in his post, “Don’t tell her it’s not tea,” isn’t even tea! I guess the moral of this story is that you shouldn’t go around buying things just because they have the word Samurai on them. On the other hand, what am I supposed to do a teashop, Lahikmajoe? Go around saying, “Are you SURE this is tea? What about this one? Is this one tea?” That would make me look like an idiot!

Wait. I know what you are thinking, and you are wrong. Demanding to see the Oolong monkeys does NOT make me look like an idiot. That makes me a discerning customer. Plus, they wouldn’t even bring out the monkeys! When I started getting agitated, they were like, “Oh, watch out! An oxidant!” Clever hippies.

I am just now realizing that Teavana never actually explained how to use my pounds of tea to fight the oxidants. Maybe you need lots of tea because you are supposed to be using it as ammunition in some sort of antioxidant weaponry. I should go back there. Maybe if I buy actual tea this time they will let me see the monkeys.

For a blog post that was supposed to be about someone else, this is sure starting to look like one of my typical rants. I blame Lahikmajoe. Back to the point of this whole thing…. Congratulations, Alura, on "investing in your health and well-being". Hope it didn’t set you back too much. Enjoy your t-shirts.

If this shirt actually gets you monkeys, you owe me one.
I wanted some sort of Clint Eastwood saying on this one, like: Do you feel lucky, Oxidants? Well do ya? but for all I know, Oxidants really do feel lucky and it wouldn't work.