Category Archives: Stuff I know for sure

Is she really writing another list?

I know this isn't a pointsetta, ivy or mistletoe, but it's a little photo Rob took for me while we were honeymooning in Greece last year. I look and it and remember that, with time, anything is possible. And I'm grateful for that.

Merry Christmas you wonderful people!

This time last year my life was very different. And today being such a milestone holiday – I mean, most of us can’t remember what we were doing last July, but we know where we were last Christmas –  I’d like to take a few moments to list (oh, how I love lists!) the following things that make me feel warm, tingly and loved (’tis the season!):

1. Wicked oatmeal, every day, stirred, mixed and made by Rob.

2. A sister whom I adore more each day I know her.

3. A mate who loves me, truly.

4. A space to call my own, right here.

5. Wonderful strangers who stop by my little ‘ole blog to chat. Thank you.

6. A job where I write, edit and read.

7. Yoga. You’re like riding a bike. Once you learn, you never forget.

8. Penelope the cat.

9. A dress that makes me feel pretty and reminds me, above all, that being myself is a wonderful thing.

10. Blogs and coffee. xoxo.

Chat soon lovelies.
-sandyb

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A Christmas story about work, politics and teenage romance.

The holidays can get quite political, especially if you work in an office.

Where I work there are editors and designers. I’m one of the editors. For the most part the designers hang with the designers and the editors hang with the editors, whether it’s chit chat around the water cooler (which, by the way, we actually don’t have, but it’s proverbial in this case, so let’s go with that) or apres-work drinks, there is rarely any blending of the two tribes.

And then there’s me.

I dabble in both groups because I’m social and find the people I work with each offer something unique and valuable, whether it’s insight into my work as an editor, shooting the shit about our industry or just sharing a mutual addiction to Starbucks. I make it a point to get to know everyone. I believe that, if you try, you can find something in common with anyone, so sticking to any one group is, well, ridiculous and immature. Much like high school, but with paychecks.

But apparently, as I learned yesterday, I can’t expect everyone to feel this way. At least not all the time.

I was left out of one of these groups this week (the group I’m more social outside of work with, ironically) and couldn’t seem to figure out why. I was pissed!

On the whole, this really is a non-issue because work is work and in no way, I feel, does this reflect the way my coworkers feel about me. That would be silly. I know they like and respect me. However this small (yet stinging) incident reminds me that work is a breeding ground for politics, especially over the holidays. Like it or not. Politics, after all, is simply the way we relate to each other in any given environment.

When there is an outing with the designers I’m always invited and have even been to their homes for parties, which I love. They’re a fun and creative bunch, always willing to let loose- I’m so right there with them. (Read: performed the yoga “Crow” pose last week while nursing a wine buzz at one of the designer’s apartments last. No regrets). So it surprised me yesterday when I learned that they, the designers, and one editor (who also dabbles between groups) pitched in to purchase a Christmas gift for our boss- the very boss we all mutually feel intimidated by, at the best of times.

“Gotta say, I’m a little hurt, feeling left out,” I confess to one of the designers, after I find out the purchase has gone down. “I really don’t know what to get him and would have loved to pitch in on the gift.” (I should tell you that he, our boss, got us all gifts, so I’ve been contemplating the return-gift for two days now. Ugh.)

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she replies.

“Ya, well, put yourself in my shoes” I say, firm. “Why didn’t you guys tell me?”

She squints at me a bit and is thoroughly apologetic. I believe that. But I’m still left feeling awkward and, well, a bit like the kid left out at lunchtime with nowhere to sit. Oh, and I’m holding a plate of meatloaf.

To add a little insult to injury, just before the gift purchase happened, I asked the designers and the one editor who accompanied them where they were going (It was lunchtime, and I do love a lunch outing). They said, “to buy gifts for our staff” and said nothing of their collaborative plan. My point here? They made a decision to not include me in the plan and, in the end, I have to accept that. For them, it made more sense to stick as a group (with the exception of the one editor whose professional role in our office is to bridge the gap between editorial and design anyway.)

In the end, no hard feelings. I was simply edited out of their plan.

I learned something important though, and there it is (finally the point!): Don’t take office politics to heart; don’t try to understand them; and don’t analyze them. Just be aware that they, politics, do exist. Even at Christmastime.

I’ve filed this experience under “What I Know for Sure” because it’s the best way, I think, to keep track of what I’m learning this year, as I approach 30. I want to remember this lesson. Also, I want to pass it on to anyone who stops by and so kindly reads my blog.

In fact, I liken these lessons I’m gathering to the time I dated an asshole. I was in high school. It was awful, he was a jerk. But I remember thinking to myself, ‘Well, I’ll now know a frog when I see one and I’ll also know how to spot a prince, too.’ Good lesson to have learned so young and early on in my dating life. I did spot the prince and married a wonderful man.

So… along with politics + holidays + work = teenagers with salaries and bylines (and, really, it’s not personal) I also realized that everything I ever needed to know about the workplace and romance I learned in high school.

Win.

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Hey, pay attention to me!

A picture of: Today, when I thought of you all and this post, this is what I was doing. Just because.

Stuff I Know for Sure #1

What I know: Nobody cares, so get over it
Let’s break it down real quick: This isn’t as negative as it sounds. Although I’ve blown-off my share of idiot people and comments in my short life, the truth is I DO care about what people think, sometimes to a fault. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that I’m not alone on that truth either. Right? We’re only human, after all, and come pre-packaged with flaws (Yes, even me. Crazy, I know). But I’m learning, more so since embarking on the journey that is my List, that whether it’s wearing what I want, saying what’s really on my mind, taking risks like jumping out of planes or nude beaching it or, in earnest, standing by my decision that pickles and mayo do, in fact, go together, in the end what I think is my own opinion… and really, nobody cares. You know why? Because most people have their own opinions to sort through and are probably paying less attention to my blunders than I realize. In the end, thinking that others are thinking (or judging ) my every move is just ego talking, while insecurity eggs it on- like two Frat Brothers, one who farts over a butane lighter and the other who encourages it. See, nonsense.
Here’s how I figure it: Most people care about what they’re wearing today, their own career, misadventures, problems, troubles and bad examples of “haute cuisine”. So ya, people have their own lives to pontificate. Trust me when I say that when you’re doing your thing, no one is watching, so go for it, balls to the wall. But, and I must insert this caveat: Do “your thing” with confidence, authenticity and kindness and people will notice you, which can be a very great thing, especially when the person noticing you is someone you’re noticing right back. That’s just called being inspired.
The bumper sticker worthy take home message: live, like nobody’s watching.


I have an question AND since everyone has been comments shy lately, I’m hoping you’ll come out to share your answer to this:
If you thought no one was watching, what would YOU do?

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This is what relearning what you’re made of looks like..

Whoever said that the little things add up to be big things was right.

Amidst the beautiful and fluffy pillows, surrounded by the Happiest Place on Earth, I started to cry. And my husband just looked at me and then he hugged me, hard.

“What can I do?” he asked.

To which I replied, “I don’t think there’s an easy answer. But I need to fix this on my own.”

I cried hard that afternoon, released. I cried to so hard I sobbed, and strange noises came out of my throat, from deep, deep inside.  Ya, it was one of those cries.

So what had me so up in arms? Near devastation?

Frustration.. with myself. With friendship. With dreams. With time. With indecision. Frustration with frustration. You know the feeling I’m talking about? It’s the worst, and so exhausting, and in that moment I finally collapsed. So many little things had just added up to one big thing – one very big cry. But why then? All I can think is that when you finally just give yourself a moment of pause, a second to simmer down, some things will just inevitably boil to the surface- like the way a cold hits you while you’re vacationing in the tropics or you crash early on a Friday night after a week that’s worn you out – when you least expect it, when you’re the most vulnerable, the little things will add up and you will react. Just part of being a silly human, I guess.

But this post isn’t about my sadness though, it’s about my hope for better things to come, because they always do.

I’ve learned, in the last few months especially, there is no amount of money, there is no neighborhood, no trip, no fancy job, no designer handbag and no amount of yoga that can fill the gaps you’ve allowed to separate you from your life.

I’ve learned that as charmed as life can be, as mine is, there is so much more I want to feel, to be, to understand. There really is no limit to happiness, but for some reason I thought there should be- I thought, long ago, I had reached my quota and run out of happy. “This is it! This is as good as gets and you really should stop striving for more, you silly, spoiled girl. You’ve done it all for a gal your age, so just be content already!” That little thought added up to one very big cry.

You see, for some time I’ve lived by those limits, even though I knew there was so much more I could do, could be, and that meant not always living as authentically as I am programmed to- not being fair to the things that make me tick.

During this reinvention of mine I’ve also learned that living against the grain is one thing – a good thing – but living against your own grain is not. Inevitably you will turn into someone else, someone you don’t quite recognize anymore. Someone who cries at the Happiest Place on Earth.

And so there, amidst tears, pillows and my husband’s arms, I’m gave myself permission to enjoy the things I deserve when they finally come to me, because I know, deep down, they will.

Since that cry, I’ve decided to make some changes. I’m ready to be myself again. That day I relearned what I thought I knew, but had so obviously forgotten:

I have a say in what goes on here.

I hope this post inspires you, even a little bit, to ask yourself today, “Am I being real with myself?” And “If judgment, criticism or fear were not hindrances, but fuel for my dreams, what would I do with the next year of my life? Really.”

But I must tell you, when you ask yourself this, bring tissues. And some fluffy pillows.

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I blame the Magic Kingdom for adult crying fits, over-zealous children, baby barf and the five pounds I gained in four days.

So, Florida.

It was a lot of wonderful things all at once, with one very significant sandyb-style break-down, which I’ll dish about in a momento.

For years, I’ve wanted to take Rob to Disney World. I went there twice (three times?) as a child and swore up and down that it really was The Happiest Place on Earth. The happiest? Can’t say for sure at the young ripe age of 29, but it certainly has it’s perks, including being old enough to drink AND ride the Tea Cups. Amazing.

So.

Finally my husband selling his soul to Corporate Canada (doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as “America”, but anyway) paid off in a big, fancy way: we ate well, drank much and hot-tubbed on the company tab while visiting the Sunshine State. Wow, dreams really do come true.

Things were going swimmingly, just swimmingly, when suddenly, on the hotel bed, following a day of Disneying, amidst the plethora of pillows, down comforters and 500-thread count sheets, I started to cry. And not just any cry, this was an ugly cry. The real deal.

“What’s wrong?” asked my doting husband, to which I replied among gobs of snot and tears, “Nothing.” (obviously).

But there was something very, very wrong with me. There has been something “off” for some time in fact, but it’s something that I chose not to give a lot of consideration to because I didn’t want to fuel it – I didn’t want to dignify it with a reaction. But ignore something long enough, like a tax bill, credit card statement, hang nail or screeching kid (all equally annoying to my soul), and eventually it gets so you just can’t ignore it anymore. In fact, your attempt to shrink it with a dose of neglect will inevitably only make it bigger.

So there I was, at the Happiest Place on Earth, a slobbering, blithering, sniffling mess (bibbidi, bobbidi, boo) and my poor husband without an inkling of an idea what to do with me. Worse? I didn’t know what do to with myself, although I did have an idea (OK, I’d been having whole brainstorm sessions) about why I was so beside myself, so unable to cope in that moment, so unreasonably irrational and messy…

…Phewf. Need a breather. Be right back to tell you the rest. Prom-ise.

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UPDATE: What ever happened to that script I submitted? Well, let me tell you..

So a couple of weeks ago I get this email. And I know it’s not a typical email, like from my friends or sister or mom. Those have the usual subject headings like, “yo” “hey sandy” or “hi it’s your mother you never call me anymore i love you”.

Anyway.

This email had a different subject line and was from an unrecognized email address. It was my professor’s. She’d contacted me to say that, yes, my script (you can read about it here) was received, read and judged by the committee, and that, yes, it had been short-listed. (SHORT LISTED!) But no cigar.

At first I was like, “what the balls! I suck… why do I even bother writing at all. God!” But that lasted for like, 10 seconds (who really has the time for self-deprecation anymore), because when I stepped back for a breather I realize that my script – my first go at a screenplay – made it all the way to a short list, which means that people actually liked my work, which means I’m not totally useless at the keyboard, which means that maybe I sniff a new career here, which means that it’s only a matter of time (what, six months maybe?) before HBO sends me an email (which I know will not be from my mother) asking me to write their next blockbuster series, which means it’s only a matter of time before I’m hob nobbing with the likes of Alan Ball, Diablo Cody and splitting a cigar with Speilberg. Right? …Right?

(I really need to stop drinking before I post.)

Anyway, the point is that I gave screenwriting a shot, a hit of what I had, and it came back to me with pretty good results for a first-time around, even if it didn’t win a chance to be produced, which was the “prize” all the screenwriters were chomping at the bit for.

But then…

I got another email from my professor (she is the lovely woman who first encouraged me to enter the contest). She told me that not only did I make the coveted SHORT LIST, but apparently my little number made it all the very top of at least one judge’s list. ONE WHOLE JUDGE. THE TOP OF HIS LIST.

Now that’s pimp.

So why am I sharing this news at the risk of sounding like oh, I dunno, I’m a big face, tooting my own horn, injecting my ego with a dose of pompous loser? Because giving myself credit at all is actually a big, big step for me.  I’m working hard on this during this reinvention of mine. Also, I share this news because I’m hoping you get inspired to hook yourself up with a little flattery, too.

People just don’t give themselves credit for anything anymore, do they? Not a pat on the back, not a high five, not a slap in the ass for doing a fucking awesome job. But then again, have we, as a modern society, ever done that? (Oh hell, did I just use the word “society”? Hang. Me. Now.)

But I do have a point, I swear! Read on.

Why is it so hard to throw ourselves a little well-deserved credit every now and again?

I mean, if a friend told me her first-time-ever screenplay made a short list, I’d buy her a drink! I’d tell all my other friends! I’d congratulate her until I was blue in the face and her cheeks were a rosy hue of “aw, shucks”. Why? Because that’s what you do when someone does something fucking awesome.

So there. This is my high-five, way to go, ass-slap, double-cheek kiss for having the balls to try something new, something I was afraid of, something that left me having to expose a once guarded side of myself… and then making a short list for it.

Booyah.

So, spill it. What awesome thing(s) have YOU done lately? Give yourself props in the comments box below.

(hey, and don’t be shy either.. um, I can see stats back here you know, and way more of you are reading, lurking, stalking and not commenting… spread the love now y’all)

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Filed under #3 Finish my screenplay, Reinvention Inspiration, Stuff I know for sure

You plan. God laughs.

I’m not a religious person. I even once bartered the baptism of my unborn child for the recovery of lost luggage. I had good shit in those bags worth saving. No regrets.

But this post isn’t about religion. It’s about how God has a way of fucking up your plans sometimes.

***

I planned to be a millionaire.

I planned to know what to do with my life.

I planned to have children by now.

I planned to have met, made out with, and dumped at least one celebrity. Potentially two.

I planned to been famous. Or at least recognized in the grocery store because my face is on the cover of a trashy tabloid. Dreamy.

I planned a lot of things that just didn’t work out the way I planned.

Should I be disappointed? Pissed? Discouraged? Probably.

****

It has absolutely occurred to me that my List is a plan of sorts. A way of creating a path to the things that are important to me. It has absolutely occurred to me that my plan could fail. But I happened to know that there is something more powerful, more intense, more gravitational, more deluxe, and more stupendous than a plan…

[to be continued. just because.]

Turkey bacon n' eggs. Just because.

Turkey bacon n' eggs. Just because.

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Sisters. Let’s discuss.

Mine was a request to my parents at the tender age of four. Hanging out with mom and dad was ok, but they could only pretend to enjoy tea party for so long and I, quite frankly, was beginning to tire of being handed the usual napkin and ball point pen to “doodle on” while wasting my tender youth at yet another fancy restaurant with mom, dad and company.

So.

She came to us on a cool day in April. I named her after my favorite soap opera character – the prettiest one. Naturally.

Things went smoothly for a while, but then she started to talk. Ask for things. This posed a problem since I wasn’t keen on having her do things like ask for my beloved toys or tattle when I pinched her cheeks, which was often, that’s for sure. But since that cool day in April, when she took up residence in the room next to mine, I can’t remember the last time I felt alone, which feels like a pretty good trade-off for a few Barbie dolls and the occasional grounding from mom for cheek pinching.

I’ll spare you the details of how our five-year age difference felt more like a 100-year gap at times. Hair pulling, clothes stealing, food throwing, phone-call eavesdropping, attention hoarding, and screaming matches refereed by dad. There were days I wished I was alone, like that lucky “only child” who sat next to me in French class who never worried about her sister wearing her barely-out-of-the-box shoes or newly bought baggy jeans.

I would spend the better part of my teenage life kicking my sister out of my bedroom.

Until the day I let her in.

It would be less than one year before our family split apart, waking up one day to learn that dad’s clothes weren’t on his side of the closet anymore. But don’t dwell on the sad bit, because this isn’t a story about heartbreak. It’s a story about love.

I could hear my sister crying in her bedroom, just a few feet from mine, and my heart hurt like it never had before. All these years I hadn’t noticed there was a young woman growing up next to me, sharing my history and now about to be the one person who would understand a future of Sunday mornings and holidays without dad.

It didn’t take much that day for me to open the door to my bedroom, what surely seemed like a fortress most days, and let my sister in. We sat on my bed for hours, just being sisters, drowning out the argument happening between the two people we loved the most, watching reruns of sitcoms and infomercials about sandwich machines.

That was the day I learned to love my sister.

And this is how she loves me back-

There are two things that will happen when you tell your sister you’ve fallen in love:

She will tell you how happy she is, and feel it.

She will tell you how pretty you look in love, and mean it.


There are two things your sister will do when you walk down the aisle:

She will watch every step you take, and remember it.

She will cry more than you, and hold your mom’s hand because you can’t.


There are two things that will happen when you tell your sister your life is really hard right now:

She will look you in the eye and remind you all the reasons you are loved, giving you the best advice you have ever heard.

When you ask her how she got to be so strong and learned to impart that kind of wisdom, she will tell you were the one who taught her how.


Now if you don’t have a sister this story doesn’t exclude you, because sisters are not only the women we share mothers with. They are the women who reflect love back to us; they are the ones who make us feel important; they are the ones who cry with us; they are the ones who tell you when you’re truly being ridiculous; they are the ones who understand when you feel so misunderstood.

For me, that woman just happens to be my sister. She is the best thing I ever ask for, and got, from mom and dad.

I’m so glad I let her in.

me ash

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I’m one of those assholes who texts while standing in line ordering a Venti (mild with two shots of pumpkin spice) and then doesn’t apologize.

(actual phone conversation…)

ME: I’v been meaning to call for a while now. I’m just not happy with you anymore. What you’ve given me.. it isn’t working, not like it used to.

HIM: Well, let’s see if can change that.

ME: I hope so. Otherwise I may have to walk away. This is just costing me too much, and I know there’s better out there.

HIM: Like what?

ME: More options, more fun.. my friends have told me.

HIM: Well, why don’t you start by telling me what you want.

ME: I want something new. Better.

HIM: Well, I don’t know that I can…

ME: Look, let’s just say I’ve shopped around. There are others… and I’m prepared to walk away from-

HIM: Let me see what I can do…

ME: If I can’t get what I need here, I’ll leave. It’s that simple- I’ve thought about doing this for some time.

HIM: But that will cost you…

ME: I don’t care- it’s worth it to get what I want. I just thought, after all these years, my loyalty, that you’d (long-ish pause). I’m just not satisfied.

HIM: Well, you have been loyal and you’re right, that deserves something.

ME: Exactly.

HIM: Ok, I think we can fix this. Just give me a few minutes to process this.

ME: If it means getting what I need, take all the time in the world.

And THAT is how you get your fucking cell phone company to send you a FREE iPhone in the mail.


You got any tricks?

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When opportunity strikes, you dive.

There are two things that happen when you run naked into the ocean:

1. From your towel on the sand until your naked bits are fully immersed in cold, salty water you hold your breath because somehow, even though you know better and your mother told it wasn’t true, you still hope that not breathing will somehow make you invisible.

2. As you’re nearing the water- boobs and cooch out-  you suddenly remember you’ll have to make the same trip back to your towel, making you wish you had ‘de-bushed’ with a little more effort in the shower that morning. Europe or not, being superbly manicured down there is a lot like breathing- it’s just necessary (plus, I’m pretty sure it makes you look thinner. But whatever.)

All in all, being naked on the beach went swimmingly and I’d highly recommend it to a friend.

(But for those wondering, ‘so, what’s the take-home message in all of this?’ keep reading.)

In the days leading up to my nudeness, I started to fret.

“Who the hell do I think I am?”

“Am I some closeted exhibitionist or something… something”

“Why am I being such a gaylord about all this?”

“Should I shave it off or just wax the sides?”

Decisions! Decisions!

At one point the whole damn thing just started to overwhelm me and I started to doubt my plan, my List. Everything.

Doubt. I started to DOUBT, which is bad news all around, any way you slice it.

But then, somewhere between slipping off my bottoms beach-side and strutting into the water (ok, I didn’t strut.. but I definitely sauntered) I realized this:

Sometimes you have to shed a little something to get a little something. I decided that I could keep my suit on, covering the most vulnerable parts of me, or I could strip it away, head for the ocean and dive into an opportunity to wash the stench of self-doubt off me.

So dive I did.

Other things I did in the buff included (but were not limited to):

Sun bathe

Read

Jam out with the iPod to Prince. Of course.

Swim

Things I did not do (and highly advise against):

Bend over

Chase my wind-blown hat down the beach

Yawn and/or sneeze

Dance

(All things the middle-aged man on the towel next to me did do, by the way.)

But even the darkest moments have their silver lining. Here are those take-home messages you’ve been dying for:

1. As I stood in awe of the middle-aged man pulling off these nuddie no-nos, I felt a certain ease knowing that I wasn’t the only one in the buff. When I surveyed this little stretch of beach, I saw there were others.. I was with my people. As they say, there is strength in numbers (and maybe even a little comfort) and there’s no harm in that.

2. Lately self-doubt has been creeping into all crevices of my life and when you’re naked I guess it can even get into the nooks you didn’t know you had. But that’s no reason to let doubt make you uncomfortable- like a wedgie, you’ve got to pick it out, and then move on- even if, every now and then, it means going commando.

In the end, I considered how much worse I would feel to sit here and write this post telling you how I chickened out, that I wasn’t a woman of my word. When it boils down to it, sometimes considering how you’ll feel if you don’t take the plunge is enough to tip the scales of self-confidence in your favor so you can at least try.

Once in a while you’ve got to tug on that string that’s tying you to your doubts- it’ll bind you up, hold you back and keep you down. You’ve got to find the strength to pull it loose and set yourself free…

Even if that string happens to be on the end of a bikini.

IMG_1603

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Filed under #14 Go to a nude beach (but don't touch anything or anyone or stare. Definitely don't stare.), Stuff I know for sure