the outsider.

El Cuco (Folklore Demond): “why were you so quick to accept my existence?”

Holly (investigator): “An outsider can always recognize another outsider.”

Last weekend was my sister’s birthday. I asked her many times what she had planned to celebrate and if we [the family] were going to do anything. She was not sure… The day came and went and I never heard from her. A few days later I learned that her boyfriend threw her a surprise birthday party. I was not invited because it was only for “close friends.”

This got me thinking about how I am an outsider. I have friends and I have family (blood relatives) but rarely am I included in life events; weddings, birthdays, holidays, game nights, etc. It’s actually one of the reasons I always wanted kids, because I figured if I wanted to be part of a tribe I had to make it. That’s not to say I don’t have friends that include me – I do. I am lucky to have some close friends who have now become my chosen family, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that even with them I sometimes feel like an outsider. And most of the time, I am fine with it. I have become accustomed to my alone time; I actually prefer and enjoy my alone time (I don’t think people appreciate alone time as much as they could or should). But sometimes, some days, I do stand outside looking in and wonder why I didn’t get to live in a world where I felt like a full fledged member of your life [you: the abstract you].

This disposition as an outsider is my biggest strength and biggest weakness. It gives me such a unique view on life but also exposes an insecurity that many have tried to exploit. Some people have succeeded and some very hard and painful lessons have been learned. Let’s just say I definitely have some scars AND some secret wisdoms to life. This is all to say, Reader, if you ever feel the way I do just know that you are not alone and, to me, you are imperfectly perfect just as you are.

Never be fooled into thinking that you aren’t unique or special just because you are an outsider, like myself. Know yourself and know that even if the whole world doesn’t understand you, it does not mean you are not worthy. I may be an outsider but I know my worth. I know my intelligence and my character. I know I’m not willing to behave unethically because I’m asked to blindly follow the decisions of a bad boss; even if everyone else does. I know I will listen to the same story over and over again just to keep an elderly woman with dementia company. I know that I will always drive with dog food in my car just in case I see a homeless person with a dog because I know that’s their furbaby [their family]. I know that I would wait in line for an hour and then drive seventeen miles to bring a friend a chicken sandwich from Popeyes, just because we share a love of Popeyes. I know that talk to my dogs too much, and I sing to my daughter probably too much too; songs I make up – including a song about playing with her toes. This is me. And for a long time I was made to feel like it was wrong; feel ashamed. But now… if who I am makes me an outsider, then I’m okay with that.

What I’m watching: Netflix cartoons (well, most adult cartoons) are my jam and I’m glad Paradise PD is back. It’s fun and a good distraction from the dramatics of the current state of things going on in the world.

Another show that I’m in love with for it’s serious yet light hearted approach is All Rise on CBS. This show revolves around the life of judge Lola Carmichael, a new judge navigating the world of the law, unique cases, friendships, and professional relationships (which sometimes clash). The cast is filled with diverse characters that provide depth to the story lines. I seriously hope this show sticks around past this first season.

Tech specs: I’m still a huge advocate for the Speck Presidio Grip Case. It’s a sturdy case that provides a low profile so it does not feel bulky while still ensuring drop protection thanks to its unique construction. But the truly best part of this case is the grip part – the lines on the back of the case provide a texture and design that truly create a grip for your hand. This is especially important since smartphones are now both big and delicate. Oh and Not to mention EXPENSIVE! This is a great investment for a secure outfit for your $1k+ smartphone. Best of all, this series of cases is available for most of the leading brand phones – not just Samsung and Apple, but also Motorola and LG, etc.

Random thought: more of a plea – please please please EDUCATE YOURSELF on the COVID-19 coronavirus BEFORE joining the many many people who have flown straight into blind panic and hysteria. I won’t give you statistics and scientific facts because I am not a doctor and therefore would come off as just another opinion, but the cases speak for themselves. People recover from this virus. Only those already compromised are at risk of fatality. You don’t need to stockpile like it’s the apocalypse, just simply WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY AND PROPERLY.

Doggy pic of the day: I’ve been working on my back yard as much as I can lately (you have to work slowly with a busted hip and ribs), and Walter and Charles have been my wonderful assistants!!

will you be my valentine?

Growing up I knew a different version of Valentine’s day; I knew it to be: el dia de amor y amistad (the day of love and friendship). Celebrating the day ranged from being with your partner, to spending the day with your family, or the family you made; your friends. It wasn’t necessarily about romance and expensive overthetop corn ball stuff, or needing to have a significant other. I’ve never liked the custom of spending the day either overpaying for dinner and flowers, or being alone crying into a tub of ice cream acting like Bridget Jones (a sad single dumpy spinster).

Needless to say, I prefer my definition of Valentine’s day, and this year I get the best Valentine of all – my baby Peanut! Also, you are all my valentines, and I want you to know that you are special and I appreciate you!

Honestly, I wish the concept of Valentine’s day would become about platonic love and friendship. I remember going out with a group of friends in Mexico, getting milkshakes at a 50’s style diner. No pressure, no sense of inadequacy, no need to impress anyone. Just a day to spend with and remember to say to the ones you care about, “I love and appreciate you. You are important to me.”

What I’m watching: The Outsider on HBO is so interesting! I was skeptical because Stephen King is involved and he tends to fuck up story lines halfway towards the end, but so far I’m really invested in figuring out the inevitable twist. Who else is watching this gem?

I’m also trying really hard to watch Shrill on Hulu. It’s one of those shows that has excellent representation of minorities in lead roles and turns societal expectations on their head, so I really want to show it some love, but I just can’t seem to get into it. Something about it falls flat for me. Do any of you watch it? Does it get better further into the first season?

Tech specs: okay, this is more of a tech complaint – what the hell happened to fingerprint readers on smartphones?? Who decided we didn’t want or need them, and how can I find them to yell at them? I am currently testing a Google Pixel 4, and I personally use an iPhone 11 pro max. Both are brand new devices and the most recent versions available, and BOTH do not have fingerprint readers!! What the fuck tech world?!? Because of this annoying “update” to smartphones (or downgrade, if you ask me), I refuse to get rid of my international Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (dual sim, lightweight, and HAS A FINGERPRINT READER).

Random thought: I want to share the same note I posted on Facebook – I say this with love: this past week I have heard a lot of “not feeling well” from friends… here’s my blanket response to anyone who is feeling even slightly off:

KEEP YOUR CHUPAKABRA BUD LIGHT CHUMBAWUMBA VIRUS AWAY FROM ME!! When your symptoms clear, let me know so I can avoid you for another 4-6 weeks. (Lol!)

But seriously, please be careful out there. There are tons of viruses going around right now that seem to be worse than before. Make sure to take the proper precautions to ensure you and your loved ones can remain healthy during cooties season.

Doggy picture of the week: snuggle session doggy pile up!

why can’t we be friends?

You may often hear me saying, “expectation is the root of heartache”; which is my mantra I repeat to myself when trying to reconcile reasons or rationale for hurtful behavior by my loved ones. I try not to expect much of you, my friends, because I love you enough to know you are flawed (as am I) and therefore just as succeptable to making a mistake as I am. As we grow attached to people, our expectations of them grow as well, based on the assumption that the growth of attachment we feel is reciprocated. If you are important to me, I must be important to you. This is where we set ourselves up for heartache, making assumptions and expectations of others. So what’s the right way to approach love and friendship?

When I was in the hospital about to deliver Peanut I was extremely scared because of the negative experience I was having, and too embarrassed to ask anyone to come be by my side. I got terribly lonely in the middle of it all. I realized that it wasn’t that I didn’t trust any of my close friends to be there, my problem was I didn’t think anyone cared about me enough to want to be there with me. Birth is intense and awkward and I didn’t want to put anyone out. I now realize that perhaps there were some people I could and should have called. It’s just hard for me to believe when someone genuinely wants to be involved in my single parenting journey.

It’s been an unexpected journey where people who I thought I would lose, stepped up their support game; and people who I genuinely thought would be interested and involved have gone almost full on ghost status. This has left me to wonder if I’m doing this all wrong. Am I adulting wrong? Friendshipping wrong? All of the above?

Reader, do you keep friends around that you have grown apart (become very different people) out of respect for the length of time you have known each other? Or is there a point where you cut your loses and say, “we no longer talk or have anything in common, and I’m tired of trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t reciprocate the interest in our friendship maintenance?”

I find myself struggling with this – and to be clear, this is not about distance or frequency of interactions. I have friends in other states, other countries even, and sometimes we talk every day, sometimes we don’t get to talk for months, and sometimes we don’t see each other for years – but the quality of each interaction is substantial and real; with depth and closeness. So my struggle is those friends you think you have, whom you’ve had that closeness with in the past, and who now feel like a stranger.

What I’m watching: The Stranger on Netflix really got me hooked. I was skeptical at first, as it took a moment to make connections within the storyline, but once it got going I just couldn’t stop watching. As the story unfolds, plot twist after plot twists comes at you and you are knee deep in it with the characters trying to figure it all out. Highly recommend it!

Tech specs: do you want something that sounds as nice as apple bluetooth earbuds without costing about as much as a car payment? Meet the Monster Clarity 101s. These are nifty little true wireless earbuds that fit extremely comfortably in your ear, sound amazing, and come in a unique twist open charging case (avoiding the easily broken hinge-open charging cases). Best of all, they are often on sale and will cost you no more than $50. I use them and I couldn’t be happier.

Random thoughts: Not so random, RIP Kobe Bryant and Gigi Bryant. Made my latest renditions of famous paintings in their memory –

Featured pet pic: sleepy Walter looks so sweet (versus his regular old cranky disposition)