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!!

Hi, my name is Teddy, and I’m a recovering villain.

It is no secret that I used to believe I was meant to be a villain. I was cruel in a way that leaves permanent scars. A lot of my reasoning stemmed from self hatred. Other from being bullied. Classic tale of damaged gay kid. You see, Reader, in the 90’s it was not cool to be LGBTQ+. It was scary and misunderstood. I often imagine how much better off I would be had I not suffered so many concussions growing up (I also wonder if my eye sight would be better if I hadn’t gotten so many black eyes).

Whether you believe in God or not, is not important to me, but I will tell you that I did encounter divine intervention often. Every time I came too close to permanent villain status, something happened to stop me. Not to mention, I should have died a dozen times by now but something always intervened.

On one particular day, villain plan in motion, the salesman at a store pulled me aside and told me the story of how he used to be a pastor, and when his daughter came out of the closet he told her it was a sin and disowned her. She left and he never heard from her again. He left the church because he resented ever turning her away; he regretted it deeply. He told me this as he cried and then said, “now every time the phone rings, every knock on the door, my heart skips a beat hoping it’s her. I don’t know if she’s dead or alive, if she needs help, or if I have grand babies.” I had just been disowned for coming out of the closet the night before. I had not shared that information with him.

Another time, in a hotel room in Los Angeles there was a weird television that turned on by itself. As I sat in the dark room with tears streaming down my face the television turned on to a movie I did not recognize. The scene was a pastor who said, “it’s okay to feel down. It’s okay to be hurt. It’s okay to let your head hang low. But never ever give up.” I was in a dark and angry state of mind at the time.

Those are just a couple of examples of times in my life when the universe stopped me from villainous behavior. The truth is, I thought I was born a villain but in retrospect I was made into one. I believed it so much for so long, that it became my natural state of being; and you’d be surprised what you are okay with doing when you can justify it in your head. I was a selfish asshole who did not give a fuck about anything or anyone. It was liberating, but also lonely as fuck.

Little did I know that I had it in me to be a good person. When my beloved Lori got sick with cancer I didn’t know I would want to be there for her. I always imagined myself a runner from serious situations. Villains don’t stick around! But Lori made me a better person. She was kind and selfless in a way that I didn’t understand. I will never forget when she said to me, “when I first met you I thought to myself, “this girl doesn’t even know how special she is.’” Lori died of cancer, and I didn’t understand how someone so sweet and caring could die; while a cruel and angry villain like myself could still be here. The guilt and loss broke my heart in a way I didn’t know possible. And I couldn’t be a villain anymore.

I have since then worked hard to make amends for my wrongs. I even reached out to those I hurt to personally apologize. It was and has been a rollercoaster. Needless to say, when I found out I had fertility issues and I would likely never get pregnant, I figured it was my punishment; I deserved it and I hated myself for it. Peanut is my miracle baby. And in a way, given me a sense of forgiveness from the universe for my previous life as a villain.

What I’m watching: I’ve been catching up on my network tv with Modern Family (which is in its final season). You can definitely feel the end of this show in every episode this season. There’s a transparent attempt to give a “happily ever after” ending to each character. Nonetheless, it had a good run with some epic episodes throughout the years. If you want some wholesome comedy, I definitely recommend a binge of this show.

I’ve also been catching up on The Conners. Now, my friends know I got into a twitter fight with Rosanne Barr a few years back resulting in her blocking me (one of my favorite life events), but I do think her crazy ass added something to the show. Instead of watching this show with its predecessor, Roseanne, in mind, look at it as it’s own show. Once you give it that fair shake you will see it’s a very clever show that we need in this political climate. It navigates through social issues within a lower class white American family in a way that feels organic.

Tech specs: I was given a Google Pixel 4 to test and play with – so far the interface has not impressed me because of my previous knowledge and love for Motorola phones which also run on a pure version of Android. What really brings the Pixel 4 above the rest is the price point below the other flagship phones combined with great hardware and an extremely impressive camera. Additional side note: I personally think this phone has by far the best haptics I’ve experienced with any handheld device. The feel of holding the phone and the touch response when typing on it is pleasantly and noticeably superior to its competition.

Random thought: I want cake and ice cream. Not sure why. Anyone having a birthday party I can crash? I just want the cake and ice cream. I’ll even bring a gift. Just can’t by a whole ass cake and ice cream for one, so I need one serving of each please.

Dog pic of the week: dog butts.

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)

Peanuts, poops, and piercings…

This week, in a very clever marketing ploy, Mr. Peanut (a mascot of 104 years) “died.” A new commercial was released by the company showing Mr. Peanut sacrificing himself in order to save his friends after a car accident. The company relied on the mix of nostalgia and social media to humanize Mr. Peanut and create a parasocial relationship where consumers no longer saw this character as a fictional two dimensional immortal character, but instead like an old friend who passed away. Quickly, there were articles discussing this marketing strategy; criticizing it or praising it. To be honest, I was rather amused by this clever marketing strategy. And as Peanut’s namesake, I cross paths with Mr. Peanut in my purchases of domains for her (such as this one), and social media handles, so naturally this crossed my path. It’s just an amusing thing to watch companies use social media to breathe life and personality into their mascots. And when one company does something like this, it gives others the opportunity to piggyback on the wave of attention and advertise their own products by engaging in the marketing strategy within social media (see images of other companies responding to Mr. Peanut’s death).

Yesterday I realized that with Peanut with me I have the power to punish people with poop – Revenge poop! I often carry not only the means to change diapers, but also a way of transporting them in a bag that locks in the odor pretty well. I do this out of curtesy to those around me – I never know when I have to wait to find the proper out-of-the-way waste basket. I’m constantly worried about inconveniencing the olfactory cortex of those around me. But yesterday, I was faced with a different challenge – how to deal with an office cunt at one of my medical appointments. This woman has been extremely unnecessarily unpleasant to me every single fucking time I see her, and yesterday, during my visit to the office this particular cunt works at, Peanut required a change that included a poopy situation. Like the considerate mother that I am, I swiftly stored the stink to save the sanity of those stuck in there with me. As I was leaving, this bitch required I get in line in order to speak with her (there was no one else in line, or even in the room, so she sent me to the door across the room to stand at the beginning of the line so that she could then call my name for me to walk back to her). As I approached her desk I noticed she had a waste basket in front of her out of her sight or reach, so I grabbed the dirty diaper out of the bag under the stroller and put it in the waste basket without her noticing so that throughout the day she could enjoy the random wafts of baby poop. Why didn’t I think of revenge poopy diapers sooner??? This is going to be my new thing! So if you’re mean to me expect to smell baby poop the rest of the day!

Speaking of poop… my little guy Vinny, the Italian greyhound chihuahua mix, has been struggling lately with anxiety attack/seizures that induce uncontrollable poopies. He had this terribly when he first moved in with me, and it seems the change of Peanut joining the family has triggered these to flare back up. Do any of you with anxious fur babies encounter a nervous tummy/body like my little dude? And what do you use/do to calm your pups down? I’m looking for new ways of helping him relax. It’s really difficult because restricting him to certain areas within the house means the other two have to be restricted as well so he’s not ostracized alone; causing him to be even more anxious. And I prefer letting them roam the house freely, but as long as there a chance of uncontrollable dog poop, I can’t risk my baby and furniture.

In my family, and a part of my culture, having your ears pierced if you are a girl (or for those of you who require gender be referenced about as part of the spectrum of a social construct and want to be a pain in the ass about it – I mean born of the female sex with female reproductive organs) is expected to be done within days of birth. Peanut turns six months soon and she still did not have her ears pierced, so among many other questions, my family members (and I have MANY) have been asking me constantly why Peanut didn’t have her ears pierced yet and when I was going to take her. My grandmother even gave me money to get it done and get her proper earrings because it was bothering her that it had not happened. So I am happy to announce that Peanut got her ears pierced this week! (And if you are against getting baby ears pierced keep it to yourself – I respect your right to live your life based on your truth, culture, norms and beliefs, so please grant me the same courtesy.)

What I’m watching: A new season of the show 60 Days In has begun. In this show, people from all walks of life volunteer to go to prison for 60 days – both for the personal experience and to give the warden an inside look of their facility and what needs improvement. There are a few things I find interesting about this show: what drives someone to voluntarily go to prison for three whole months?? How much insurance or how intense and broad are those liability waivers for the volunteers?? And do the inmates have access to the show – as in, does this potentially create a long term risk for the volunteer if an inmate is motivated enough??

Tech specs: The Ringke brand for phone accessories! This brand is my new obsession. They offer cases for ALL TYPES of smartphones. I was so surprised to find they even have cases for some of the lesser known phone brands and models. I have tested the Ringke Fusion X case (pictured) for the Google Pixel 4, Samsung A50, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max – and this case combined a thin profile with a sturdy and grippy outer bumper. Bonus (if you’re an extreme nerd like me): Ringke cases come with the slots for wrist lanyards and they sell lanyards in all colors including (the one I have) glow-in-the-dark! This brand offers quality products for a bitch in a budget (such as myself). Cases average $10 and lanyards $6. They sell other types of accessories but this is as far as I have ventured into the brand.

Random thought: what the fuck is this? (Image)… what the fuck is the deal with Gwyneth Paltrow? And why is Netflix condoning this pseudoscience foolery?

Doggy pic of the week: snuggle session – Charles, top left; Walter, middle right; and Vinny, bottom left.