SHIT HAPPENS FOR A REASON

SH1

My kids used to carpool with friends that greeted them, “Hey, how’s your poop?” This wasn’t slang for “What great shit’s going on?” – they wanted to know about their business.  Things that make us go …hmmm, not that we don’t have potty mouths sometimes ourselves, but the question crossed personal boundaries we hadn’t considered, much less with our closest friends. 

Last month, after catching up with said closest friends at various intimate events, we returned home to find out shit rolls downstairs.  Our personal boundaries had been flooded by the eau de toilette of our above neighbors the whole weekend we were gone.

Yah, we wiiged out!

WTF: Wiig the Frack out!

We left that night, returning only to complete our insurance agent’s daily to-do list preparing for extensive restoration.

Why do a job half-assed? 8 days later, after spending all weekend dragging books and other heavy mementos to my garage to help make the restoration crew’s shitty job a little better and to eliminate risk of loss or damage, the laundry room overflowed soaking everything in my garage. Bravo – job well done.

SH2

From the first whiff, I had to focus on Ps: I searched for the Positive and Purpose and stayed focused on the Present (or risk seriously losing my shit):  

  • We’d wanted to thin out the garage anyway
  • It happened when school was out
  • Now we have an extended vacation with an ocean view…


After the third flood – tears pouring from my eyes upon my late arrival to work – thanks to the 30 min. additional morning commute – I was forced to find my paddle and set a direct course up shit creek to get past this. This shit was out of hand, but I could still control certain aspects.

Finding the silver lining, the gold at the end of the rainbow...

Finding the gold at the end of the rainbow…

Ironically it took this pain in the ass, (and small threats to my kids “You don’t Mommy to cry again, do you?”), to reassess and test my realm of control.

  • I haven’t been late to work since, flushing a long record of pushing the boundaries with my arrival time.
  • We told the landlords we wanted to wash our hands of our lease (early) before having a permanent home to move to

Reward: Tonight we rented a new upstairs apartment.

SH3

PRICELESS COLLECTION!

With two children being promoted to new schools (one starting Middle School, one moving to High School) I spent the whole last semester lamenting how quickly years pass. My teenage son fans those fears stating “I’ll only be living with you for 4 more years!” He’ll already be eligible for a learner’s permit two months into his freshman year! Just. Not. Ready. Breathe! THEN my baby left the Elementary School that anchored us into our new normal when I got a divorce. Time marches on!

You ever notice just how much crap you accumulate in that time? Or is it just me? Before, during, after and in between moving I go through stuff streamlining and purging so my family will stop watching Hoarders waiting for me to star in an episode. While my collection of books extends past their bookshelves, overall I am not a huge collector because a) I get distracted easily and b) the minute I miss one, I stop since I won’t have a perfect set, plus I waver on getting 1 or 2 of everything (only to wind up at zero) so if they become valuable, neither child will feel slighted (the thrifty side of OCD).

So color me crazy, but I return with renewed energy to collecting rituals, adventures, or favorites that we can do together. “Experts agree” that we should collect experiences, not things!  The most logical argument pointed out that iThings are exciting at first until the next version comes out or you see your neighbor with the latest innovation. Then you are less excited til you get the next “best” thing. Experiences, on the other hand, grow fonder in our minds the more time passes. With time, the small issues (such as a snoring roommate you hope to leave in international waters) dissipate leaving you either able to laugh about mishaps or forgetting it overall since you were in an exotic locale when it happened.

The clock is ticking! When the kids leave I can only hope they have bags overflowing with amazing childhood adventures and the desire to return home for new ones.

Fortunately for me, social media keeps better records than my travel diaries did.

Vegas Road Trip!

So you got into the MCM program…now what?

It took me 4 years of college and another year into Grad School to figure out these tips for maximizing my mindful learning. While this was geared towards USC Annenberg’s MCM Program, these tips are easily applied to any schooling experience you’re going through in a formal program or even in a 1-day class.

So you got into the MCM program…now what?.

50 Shades of __________!

When I heard 50 Shades of Grey was Twilight-based fan fiction, I was determined to dislike the series. No millions raving about Christian Grey could lead me to betray Edward Cullen. When film trailers featured shockingly familiar dialogue, I felt it proved that Christian and Anastasia were faking it!

IMG_5021
Then, on opening weekend, I found myself out-of-town with hours to kill. With no additional Oscar-nom film haikus to watch, I said “WTF! (Watch The Film!)” Since I was the last person on Earth to get into the series, my spoilers won’t spoil it for you. This is my voyeuristic view.

To Get You Off the Couch
Stars: I had no preconceived view of who Christian (or Ana) should be so they were entirely appetizing.
Ladies Scored First: Both Ana and her valedictorian roomie were graduating from college. Ana had put literature before pillow talk and was a virgin at this point.
Throwing Her a Bone: I liked that, despite introvert tendencies, Ana held her own when drawn into conversations, even negotiations, with Christian.
Points for Grey: A good PSA when Hot Guy initiates condom use.

To Make You Come Again – multiple screenings
Fantasy-asstic: Christian’s experienced, diverse skill set. He knows when and how to play different hands …and stuff.
Billionaire Dream, Sex Machine: You, too, could be seduced by a hot billionaire! (That’s not what BDSM stands for?!)
Setting the Mood: Sultry soundtrack!

Left Me Unsatisfied
Eye-rolling, Lip Biting and Boobs: Less is more.
Open Your Mouth and What Pops Out?: When Christian said “I’m 50 Shades of messed up” I was sucked from the theatre into an MTV reality show.
Push Harder: This isn’t about Christian’s playroom toys. Granted, I don’t know much about his preferences, but if both people want to dabble – so be it. But Grey was always black and white. If Ana thought he won’t always use her in the end as another prop, she’s poorly mistaken – or just poor. While Anastasia pulled out, a sequel bets she’ll be back.

Overall, while the film was anti-climactic, I’ll admit, it was entertaining watching this Twilight/Pretty Woman mashup in-theatre, surrounded by gal pals squealing with every anticipated and unexpected moment in living color.

2015 Academy Awards Movie Haiku + Grey Bonus!

While I was on my 8-week leave from work, my kids loved to remind me that I was, essentially, on my summer break. They came home sourly asking if I’d done anything all day while they slaved away at school.

So, here’s my “What I did on my summer break!” report. With a new movie buddy en tow, I finally saw all of the Academy Awards 2015 nominated films for Best Picture – and a few more. The best part was lingering in conversation or online research afterwards to really submersed myself in each film.

Here are my thoughts after loving each film! I’d love to hear your film comments below!

2015 Best Picture Nominees Photo: TODAY.com

2015 Best Picture Nominees
Photo: TODAY.com

BEST PICTURE
American Sniper
Focused fight abroad
Fought to return home wholly
Evil was too near

Boyhood
Two hours, Twelve Years
The growth of these characters
Redefined filming

Birdman
(The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Runs too and from self
Looking for proof he mattered
Ignorance is bliss

Selma
One man led many
Learn what textbooks skimmed over
Still now, we march on

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Fail or fly, Darling!
Lobbying on own behalf
Loyalty pays off

The Imitation Game
War and Enigma
Him being one, he cracked one
Unfair cost for task

The Theory of Everything
Numbers can’t explain
Mind outgrew body’s limits
Live life, love fully

Whiplash
“Good Job!” serves no one
Each beat bore holes in his self
Bled out own rhythm

SOME FROM OTHER CATEGORIES
BEST ACTRESS
Gone Girl
Search for missing wife
Can’t clear him with muddy truth
Who’s the real victim

Still Alice
Insight to illness
She fights to stay for others
While losing herself

Wild
Hiked peaks and valleys
Faced fears, mapped wild heart alone
Load lightened each step

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Into the Woods
Forget fairy tales
Perhaps the happy ending
Lives outside the songs

BEST ANIMATED
Big Hero 6
Boy and his friend prove
Even artificial hearts
Help people soar, heal

The Boxtrolls
Misjudged trolls teach us
Life isn’t packaged neatly
Live in light, not dark

…and for fun (if you are into that stuff),
50 Shades of Grey
He is hot, she’s not
Eye-rolling sex and banter
Untie mess, sequel

Still hungry for more Grey?

PJ WILDERNESS – DESTINATION: SEOUL SEARCHING

The way I manage to end almost any “debate” with my ever-increasingly cynical and tall teen-age son is by reminding him that I’m the fairest Mom in the world and would never ask him to do something I hadn’t done before. (Yes, even the litter box).  So, in that same spirit, I’ll share my Destination brainstorming...

Committing Myself
I recently had the opportunity to take a temporary detour from my life, although with limited mobility.  I regularly indulged in many things I’d love do to if I had more time in the day.  Recognizing how fulfilling they were to me, now that I’m at the eve of returning to my life, I’m panicking about how to keep going: Reading, Writing (a book, if I was not afraid), Immobility (Meditation), and movement – walking or swimming.  Lastly, I’m looking to get in touch with my Korean culture of origin. If money was no object, I’d be on a plane immediately, but for now I’m building a reasonable plan.

SeoulTalking to Myself
WHO: Most will be solitary, but I will definitely reach out to Korean adoptee networking groups or non-profits – including the agency I was adopted through. I’ll share adventures with my kids too, though they’re only 1/4 Korean.

WHAT:  Visit Cultural Centers, museums, restaurants, networking through the non-profit.

I already visited the Korean Cultural Center (Los Angeles)

I already visited the Korean Cultural Center (Los Angeles)

WHERE:  Here in Los Angeles to start.

WHEN:  I aim to visit Korean cultural centers/exhibits 3-4 times/year, but more regularly contribute to related non-profits maybe 1 day/month.

At KCCLA, I learned the bedroom origins of a chest my parents bought me!

At KCCLA, I learned the bedroom origins of a chest my folks got me!

WHY:  What started me on a more active journey was reading: Seeds from a Silent Tree: An Anthology By Korean Adoptees.  It’s a collection of writing from adoptees that, for the first time, revealed my shared history with others.  I’m not searching for lost family, but to help others by supporting non-profits geared to assist with searches and adoptions. I want to pay the opportunity forward to other adoptees. It’s important to me to learn about Korean life from Koreans, not just the American impression of Koreans. I have supportive Korean friends, but currently prefer anonymously learning as I go.

Korean porous pots used to make Soy Sauce and Kimchi. I will use them for decoration.

Korean porous pots used to make soy sauce and Kimchi. I will use them for decoration.

My son asked me, “Why now (that I’m old)?” I answered that any time is a great time to learn more about ourselves and our history.

Korean Artist: Young-Il Ahn Umbrellas

Korean Artist: Young-Il Ahn
Umbrellas

PJ WILDERNESS: 1ST STEP – DESTINATION

The first step in our journey through the PJ Wilderness is to focus on Destination. Gilbert, Strayed, and Bryson had specific travel goals that involved stretching their boundaries and required them to remain present for the journey.

Getting back to nature helps us find a different perspective.

Find a few moments to yourself…

Commit yourself:
Take a few moments from your daily grind – go to a cafe, head outdoors or lock yourself in a bathroom – whatever it takes!  Close your eyes, three deep breaths and ask yourself “What would I do, and where, if I had a more time in the day?” “…if money was no object?” For deeper introspection, ask “What would I do if I was not afraid?”  Repeat this until you have a list of ideas to occupy your daydreams. Don’t know where to start? Start here!  Ideas still escaping you? Consider Crichton’s method of planning any adventure and figuring out your reasons or lesson later.

Consider getting a team to help you Brainstorm! You may get new perspective! Ultimately you finalize the list!

DISTRACTION: Should you involve friends or family in your brainstorming?!

Talk to yourself:
Who: Who is in on this with you? (books read, joining writer’s groups or gyms, BFFs, babysitters, going it solo)
What: Your goals (in as general or specific terms as you’re comfortable with)
Example: Goal – Read 20 books/year; 1 book/month; 10 min./day; 1 page every time you’re in the bathroom. No matter how you define it, it’s all reading and you’re doing it!
When: A good friend called me out saying “If it’s important to you, you will find time for it!” So moving YOU higher on your list of priorities and obligations, where can you steal time? Hour a week; 10 min./day; Every other weekend? Each goal will vary.
Where: Do you need to go somewhere specific or can you do it at home, or by walking out the door? Sometimes setting up a boundary by popping headphones in creates the mental boundary you need (and that others see reminding them to wait to bug you… unless they’re bleeding).
Why: Get a good mindset for why this is a priority for you.  Think beyond the obvious answers!
Example: Goal – Get outdoors daily for 15 minutes minimum. Why? Get creative juices flowing; 1 mile/day keeps the doctor away; Unplugged fun time with kids; See neighbors or cute puppy with even cuter owner!

To help me focus, I’ll work through some ideas here on the blog.  If you are already coming up with your list consider sharing one here with your “Why?”

NEXT STEP:  Asking for time off

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