Painted To Perfection

Sorry this is a day late, Wonderlings.  This post was supposed to publish yesterday, but silly me, I scheduled it for July 29 instead of June.  That’s what I get for trying to rush a post before a vacation.

I’ve never considered myself very artistic.  Sure, my grandmother used to teach me to paint sculptures and watercolors.  I learned lots of crafty things from her, but I could never come up with something on my own.  Navigate me through a project and I’ll get it; hand me a brush and an empty canvas and I’m completely lost.  I struggle with creating something from nothing and it’s hard to get my brain’s right hemisphere to work sometimes.

But I sure do love a challenge.

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A Balanced Whirlwind

Each Day

Life has been a bit of a whirlwind lately.  Between work, volunteering, progressing toward goals, and my social life, I have been pulled in so many different directions that I often can’t tell if up is down or right is left.  Days fly by in the blink of an eye and I wonder when I might catch a moment to take a deep breath and sit back to enjoy the fruits of my labor.  Alas, that time has not come yet and as soon as one project is completed, three more get added to the ever-growing to-do list.

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Put To The Test

During our primitive school years, we get used to taking tests.  Whether they involve using a #2 pencil to fill in little bubbles or getting each letter correct on a spelling exam, we learn quickly that we must pass in order to succeed.  We can’t get our driver’s licenses without both a written and in-car examination.  We can’t get through college without passing midterms and finals.  And we get used to the act of taking tests.

Tests

As adults, the tests become about so much more than academia.  We struggle through tests of willpower when coworkers bring in donuts and we are trying desperately to fit into that special occasion outfit.  We are forced to hold our tongues when people test our nerves.  Our patience is tested as we wait for good or bad news and when children push our buttons.  Heck, we even test our own limits by jumping out of planes and taking professional and personal risks.

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The Past That Haunts Us

Past Quote

There are hundreds of inspirational quotes and people who all say the same thing: live in the moment.  You can find thousands of messages all telling you that the only thing that matters is the here and now.  The past is over and the future isn’t here yet, so let’s all be present and enjoy every moment that comes our way.  It’s a quality I find admirable and one I struggle with every day of my life.  The problem with living in the moment is that it’s so hard to forget about the history that came before it.

The past.

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Sometimes It’s The Hardest Thing To Say

Kid Says No

When we were young, particularly during those Terrible Twos, we learned to stand our ground and not yield to every request that came our way.  We turned our noses at anything green on our plates.  We ran the other way when it was bedtime, bath time, or homework time.  We refused to make our bed and put our toys away.

We said no.

As we got older, something happened and we began to accept things that our toddler selves would never have tolerated.  We tried new foods and learned that maybe we were wrong about what we originally rejected.  We stuck to the daily routine of sleep, bathing, and work schedules, whether we liked them or not.  We washed dishes, dusted furniture, and vacuumed, even if we hated every minute.

We stopped saying no.

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Unromantically Yours

Last night, I met up with a friend for what is becoming our quarterly check-in into the other’s life.  With busy schedules, meeting up for drinks a few times a year is about all we have time for and sometimes we even have a hard time penciling that in.  Tucking into one of our favorite local bars, we ordered pints and settled into a table for two with house-made potato chips and the delightful charm and camaraderie that only an Irish pub can offer.

As it turns out, the past few months have been great for the both of us.  We happily chatted about our jobs, our hobbies, and then got down to the exceptionally good stuff: our relationships.  Toasting to our good fortune and thrilled that karma seems to have finally found us, we began to gush about our significant others in ways that seemed very adult for two people who quite recently had been wondering why we seemed to be the only two singles left on the planet.  We talked about how we journeyed into coupledom and where we saw things going.  Then he said something that completely took me by surprise.

“I think she could be The One.  I really do.”

The One.

Other Half

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Black Friday: Dream Or Nightmare?

Friday is expected to be the start of the holiday shopping season.  People will line up in the wee hours of the morning to try to score the best deals on electronics, toys, and everything else consumers can get their hands on.  It’s essentially the biggest shopping day of the year for bargain hunters and retail chains.

And it gets ugly.

Last year, there were numerous accounts of Black Friday brutality including the story of a woman who pepper sprayed her fellow bargain-hunters, determined to get her paws on an Xbox.  Or there was the story of the man who collapsed at a major discount store and later died in the hospital from a prior heart condition.  Witnesses were said to have ignored him on the ground and continued with their shopping.

Having worked in retail on the dreaded Black Friday, I have seen what people become and it isn’t pretty.

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Hold Your Judgment

Greetings from the Hall of Justice!

Yes Wonderlings, I am currently serving—what is becoming an annual tradition—jury duty.  I know, some of you may loathe getting that dreaded summons in the mail, but I look forward to it.  Don’t get me wrong… I am not a fan of sitting around all day long waiting for someone to call on me so I can get asked questions and then either be selected as a juror or sent back on my merry way to the pit of potential selectees, but I love getting a free paid day out of work.  It’s like a grown-up field trip.  I even arrived a half hour earlier than I needed to because I was so thrilled I didn’t have to go into the office.  Might need to rethink this whole work situation…

But enough about that, today’s post is about judgment.

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Let Your Freak Flag Fly!

I’m sure many of you out there have heard the term “freak flag” and wondered about what the heck it could possibly mean.  Is it an insult?  Is it a compliment?  It is anything special?  Is it worthy of a blog post?

The short answer is yes.

Urban Dictionary defines freak flag—its Urban Word of the Day on March 21, 2008—as “a characteristic, mannerism, or appearance of a person, either subtle or overt, which implies unique, eccentric, creative, adventurous or unconventional thinking.”

Ok, so what does that mean?

Is flying your freak flag horrible? Absolutely not!

In simplest terms, a freak flag is something that sets you apart from everyone else.  Now, I’m not saying that it involves a person swinging from a chandelier or down on all fours, barking like a dog in the middle of a staff meeting.  In the right context, that might work, but for the most part, those types of behaviors might land you a trip to a padded room with a jacket you can’t get out of.  Rather, waving one’s freak flag might be a gesture learned from your father or an accent that you only use with your best friend.  What sets these quirky acts apart is that they would not be defined as freaky if performed in private.  However, once you let loose in front of other people, consider your freak flag flown.

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