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)

Art, Aches, and Apple juice

Lately I’ve been really into designing my own renditions of some famous paintings. I was a graphic designer for over ten years and am still keeping up on my skills in my free time. This latest interest started with my long time desire to make my own rendition of the last supper. Being one of my all time favorite art pieces (I originally studied art in university), I’ve been interested in starting a series of different versions of it. I had already hand drawn it on a white erase board out of pure memory at work, but then lost steam – thanks to my incredibly volatile work environment. So I decided for the holiday season to create my own version as possible Christmas card art, but has since inspired me to recreate a variety of famous artworks instead of just the one.

Madonna and Child
The Last Supper
Nighthawks

Recently I have had a lot more rib cage aches. The horrible thing about having ribs damaged is there’s no quick fix, so instead I will have to do physical therapy for quite a while. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind physical therapy but the 30 minute drive there and back in winter with a baby is really tough and stressful. Just the other day, my most recently scheduled appointment, I rushed there in traffic on a rainy day. I took Peanut out of the car in the freezing cold, got her in the stroller and rushed to the physical therapy clinic. Now, the rule is that you cannot be more than 15 minutes late – I was 17 minutes late to a one hour appointment (meaning we could have still worked on me for 40 minutes). I walked in wet and with a baby in a stroller and explained that I was stuck in terrible traffic in the rain for 45 minutes. The receptionist told me there was no way they could see me. I pleaded my case but she would not budge, she wouldn’t even ask the physical therapist if she would take me. I went back to my car and emailed from my car my disappointment, then drove home another 30 minutes in traffic. Of course later the physical therapist called me to apologize and say that had I called they would have let me see her – so basically it was my fault for not calling them while sitting in traffic in the rain with my baby in the car. I was livid. I cried. I drank apple juice.

Tech Specs: today I am not giving a recommendation, but instead have a tech complaint – what’s the deal with e-readers? I wanted to find one to relieve the strain on my eyes when reading at night, but I am not satisfied with what is out there! The Barnes and Nobles Nook seems to have not so favorable reviews, the Kindles don’t have an expandable memory option on top of the whole ad bullshit – I have to PAY for them to NOT include their bloat/spam/ads?! Wtf… And lots other less known products are just very expensive. Where can I find a decent e-reader with lighting that I can download kids books to read to Peanut??

What I am watching: Recently my anxiety has been a little elevated and the shows that always brighten my mood are Bobs Burgers and Superstore. Bobs Burgers is an adult animated series about a burger restaurant and the family that runs it. The parents’ dynamic is very similar to my parents, so I really get a kick out of watching them. The kids are so hilarious, smart, and unique in their own qualities and quirks that they make you feel like you aren’t the only weirdo in the world. Later I plan on writing an all Bobs Burgers blog – an homage to my love for this show.

Superstore stars America Ferrera who plays Amy, the manager of a Walmart-like store. It sounded like a boring concept at first but the cast of crazy characters creates a comedic gem. I highly recommend it – you will fall in love with each of this quirky employees.

Random: this week I got the opportunity to help a friend’s work serve dinner at a women’s shelter. I truly enjoyed the experience – the women and children were so polite and lovely. It warmed my heart how sweet they were and grateful they were. It was a really wonderful evening. And although I am very grateful every day for my life with baby Peanut, this was a another reminder about how lucky I am. But also, we are all just one mistake, one bad circumstance away from being in a similar situation, so we should all be grateful, helpful, and not judge those down on their luck.