Friendship in the time of the internet

Sprog has really been struggling with friends, or rather the lack there of, his high school years and especially this past year. We’ve had many, many conversations about this topic and my heart breaks for him. I annoy him with my unfailing conviction that it’s not him* but something else. He thinks back on the early years when he had to go to someone’s house to ask if they could play or hang out. When they actually did play or hang out. When things were simpler…easier. He’s sad. He’s lonely. He’s not alone. It’s so hard to be strong for him when I am going through the same thing at the same time but I try to point out how easy it is to get lost in the social media shuffle. So many people have amassed great numbers of “friends” online that maybe it’s just easy to not see people anymore. Comments get missed. Right? Or at least that’s what I tell him and frankly tell myself, because when you are the type of person to notice things? It’s hard not to see. It’s hard not to see that you weren’t invited to things when multiple pictures are posted and people are tagged so that it shows up all over your news feeds or your Instagram feeds and then those included people comment or post pictures so it just keeps showing up? Or people post that they are “so bored” and yet not so bored as to contact you to hang out? “Because I’m SO AWFUL that you’d rather be bored than hang out with me?” How do I answer that? With a resounding, “Babe, of course you aren’t awful”. But, obvs it keeps happening, so he’s not really listening to me anymore.

So I push him to maybe contact them. I ask him what he’s doing to reach out to people. I ask him what they talk about, what he texts about when he texts them. I ask him what he’s doing in this dynamic. I give suggestions. So he tries. He tries so hard. He feels that he’s making all these efforts and then people just use him for a ride in his car or to hang out at our house where the mom bakes brownies or fills the pantry with snacks when the friends come over. He feels like he has to bribe people to want to hang out with him. He’s always there for them in times of crisis. He’ll drop anything to be there for someone but has anyone ever done that for him? No. His friends made a big deal about his birthday and then disappeared. So that confused him further. It was like a tease. Why even do that if it wasn’t real? Was it out of guilt for being assholes? Was it like some squaring of a debt they feel they owe him? He feels so burned and gunshy and LONELY. All the time. So lonely. Gah. It hurts to see him so sad. And I don’t know what to tell him because I am not some shining example of friends as an adult. It’s not like this hasn’t happened/isn’t currently happening to me either.

He actually brought that up to me and what do I say to that? I tried the tack that life is busy. Adults have jobs and kids and those kids have activities and scheduling conflicts and so on. He responded that if people have found the time to do things with others and chosen not to include you, that isn’t about the kids and the scheduling conflicts (damn smart child, talking to him is like a trap a lot of the time). So he’s deleted his FB again because it was too hard to see his friends interacting with others and not him. It’s hard to have people tell him they want to do something with him, like go to a specific movie then he hears nothing from him and yet there they are on FB checking into that movie with different friends. It made things too easy to see in black and white and he’s threatened to get rid of his phone for the same reason. Unfortunately for him, he’s driving so I require that he have a cell phone.

He’s really scared of college and trying again to make friends even though we’ve tried to assure him that he’s going to have the chance to meet all new types of people and surely people that have things in common with him. He really doesn’t believe us. He’s convinced he’s never going to get another girlfriend. He’s never going to have good friends or any. That he’s going to be a man and his dog forever.

He’s such a great guy. I don’t know why this is happening to him.

I’m hoping that our trip to Europe is going to get his mind off things for a bit. We joked about him picking up an English girl because he’s American with long hair and he just rolled his eyes at us but at least it made him laugh some.

*not him entirely but I have suggested that maybe the type of person he has chosen to hang out with isn’t serious friend material but more jokester type and perhaps that’s why they just aren’t around much, serious friend isn’t really the class clown style.

in defense of “Perfect”

There has been a lot of conversation in my corner of the internet about people only showing the “perfect” sides of their lives on the internet. How people clean before taking pictures of their spaces. How they aren’t taking pictures of themselves sans make-up or without their hair done. How they aren’t snapping pics of their kids while they are tantruming over there on the floor. Which…hey, valid points but I’d like to present a different side of that coin, the perpetually sick side.

It gets really fucking old being sick all the time. When you are struggling with daily sinus/migraine/whatever else bullshit you get TIRED of your own life. You get fed up with hearing your own complaints. You feel ANNOYING and PATHETIC and if you are tired of yourself, how in the hell would you expect anyone else to want to be involved in your life? And that’s not even talking about the life you wish you were living. How you wish you were getting to be more active, how you wish you were doing all the things you love to do without being afraid of the pain or the pressure or wanting to crawl into a dark room and hide.

It’s exhausting and in a year or five years when I hopefully don’t feel like this anymore? I DON’T WANT TO REMEMBER IT. I DON’T WANT IT DOCUMENTED. I DON’T WANT THIS LIFE, YOU KNOW? I feel like this life is the lie. This feeling like crap all the time is the facade because this? THIS is not how people live. This is not how I should feel after spending $3000 for surgery, taking meds every day of my life, spraying crap up my nose every day, trying hippie solutions, buying large-scale equipment for my bedroom, etc.

So yes, I will be showing less of these pictures

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where my face is so swollen that my top lip is disappearing, trying to put make-up on hurt and I cried in my hotel room trying to pack and get out for the day and more of these

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where I went to some crazy replica of Stonehenge with my husband that same day.

or these where I saw my first field of bluebonnets in the 20 years I’ve lived in Tx
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I want to remember that I lived my life, regardless of my stupid illnesses and I will have my “perfect” pictures that prove it.

the mutant

If you follow me on twitter, you may have already read, but I recently had some bloodwork done at the behest of my new GYN. I’m not sure she’s permanently going to be my GYN (GAWD I miss my Dr. that situation sucks ass) as her office staff SUCKS and getting blood drawn somehow required 12 vials and two visits to complete as well as them utterly fucking up my estrogen script. Oh and I still haven’t received any word back on my pap. But anyway…the results of my bloodwork were of high interest in this house because my younger husband (by 4 years at the present on my birthday, Monday, it goes back to 5) has an issue with his triglycerides and he was SURE that I would too, since we live together and all. Not sure how he thought that my being a vegetarian and him not wouldn’t have ANY effect whatsoever but apparently, those facts, not so much a concern for him.

Y’all will probably be completely un-shocked to find that my triglycerides are not the same as my husband’s, in fact, mine are much lower and my cholesterol numbers overall are really good, which is happy making since I have been such a total slug about exercise. Maybe someday when I can breathe again, I’ll be able to exercise consistently again. Maybe. At any rate, the numbers I expected to be good were good, the numbers I expected to be bad were bad (my testosterone level is terrible, thanks endometriosis!) and the number the Dr expected to be shit was complete shit. Namely, my vitamin D. In describing my migraines/headaches, her first assumption was that I would be vitamin D deficient and lo, I am so deficient I don’t even register. Obviously, I am now taking mass amounts of vitamin D supplements to try and sort that situation out but thankfully, my calcium levels are still good which bodes well for bones (even though I already have some osteoarthritis in my neck) and also apparently for my cardiovascular health (a nurse friend mentioned that because of this next part). So even though a deficiency is bad (ironically low vitamin D means you catch the flu easier. APPARENTLY SO SINCE I JUST HAD THE FLU FROM HELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH) it could be worse.

And then, then I found out that I have a genetic mutation I wasn’t aware of. It’s the MTHFR gene and essentially my body doesn’t process folic acid and vitamin B12. Which explains why I am so nearsighted (seriously? genes are weird) but also means that I have an excess of homocysteine in my blood stream and obviously a deficiency of B12 (and other B vitamins). High homocysteine levels can lead to heart disease so hey, that’s a bad thing. I’m not going to freak about it because my other markers are all good (low blood pressure, good cholesterol, good calcium) but it is a new weird thing about me to be sure. I am tying to learn as much as I can about it and how to best handle the situation, ie when to take supplements for best chance at absorption, what foods are naturally high in B vitamins to add to my diet, things of that nature.

More pills, more abnormalities, more illness…2013, we aren’t getting off on the right foot here.

the traditional family pics: outtake edition

Y’all know by now that no family session goes perfectly. Since it’s me doing the photos via remote and tripod…I don’t have someone physically standing in front of our crazy ass dogs getting and maybe keeping their attention. This results in MANY outtakes.

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Half of Maddie cut off in front, her refusing to sit.

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Mom has the brilliant idea to try treats

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Treats are distracting

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WHERE DID YOU HIDE THE TREATS?

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No dogs, Mom is distracted by teenager talking about his hat.

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Final shot.

Compare if you please to last year’s
With the DOGS OF CRAZY

and pay particular attention to the GIANT looming in the background. My son is a man and it’s FREAKING ME OUT.

let’s change the beat

I’m tired of talking about all the various badness that is going wrong around here. TIRED. It’s still going wrong…I’m just OVER IT.

So let’s talk about something else that is consuming me at the moment, okay?

Namely photography. I kinda mentioned it here and I have freaked out about it to various people recently as well as dumped 1001 questions on some other folks that have been kind enough to help me (Natalie, Emily and Maryann to name a few) but back in March I was actually hired by my childhood BFF for a photography job. Initially it was going to be a family portrait shoot but due to weather and scheduling it turned into me following their son/family photo-journalistic style and covering his 2nd birthday for them.

I flew home for the weekend and became fast friends with their little guy and he did an excellent job of tolerating a camera in his face nearly every time he turned around.

My friend, having known me for as long as she has, had sent me some local photographer websites complete with pricing before I went there to go ahead and cut me off before I could balk at being paid AND to stop me from charging some ridiculously low number (AS I WOULD HAVE, I HAVE KNOWN HER FOR 28 YEARS, SHE SHOULD BE FREE!) but it went above and beyond even that when they sat me down to have a very serious talk with me about what they feel about my talent and how I should be doing something with it.

You should know, I don’t do well with these sorts of discussions and this was no exception. In fact I would say that I totally shut down and may have freaked out quite a lot. Even though they are completely amazing and having that level of support and belief in you is beyond, just BEYOND, it was overwhelming (is overwhelming).

I also am not the best with money discussions so when they demanded that they pay me FAR AND ABOVE what had previously been mentioned…well, yeah with the freaking out. Of course, they had expectations with the fee and I have been steadily working on producing a photo book for them. They loved my initial draft so much that they wanted it expanded and as of last week all the edits are agreed on and everything is done and in production. I will also be providing them with a DVD of their images and am having the photobook shipped to me so I can ship it all to them as one cohesive package. (I can also verify the book looks as expected before they see it since I am working with a company I haven’t used before)

Doesn’t that all sound very business-like? Almost as if I am intending on DOING something with this idea?

And, I think we’ve decided that I am.

Willy and I have been talking about how best to set up my website and I have been researching getting my DBA vs LLC.

I have been asked for a while, by various people, if I do family shoots and kid shoots and I have already been at a couple of births and do all of the photos for our nephews/birthdays/christmas/maternity shoot for the SIL/band gigs etc.

So…I’m REALLY NERVOUS and excited and even typing this out to make the initial stages public is making me stressy but you never know where something is going to go unless you try, right?

what it means to “look like” a mother

I promise to post about my birthday tomorrow. In fact, I’ll go ahead and write it today and schedule it for tomorrow just to ensure that it gets posted but I wanted to post about this while I was thinking about it. Monday Sprog was off of school and couldn’t find any of his friends to go to the mall with, much to his annoyance, so he had to be content with running me around on my errands. One of my errands was a search (in vain) for some Kate Spade jewelry at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s after seeing R’s score on twitter.

At Marshall’s he spotted a girl he knew and proceeded to text her about them both being shopping with their moms…and she was shocked as per usual. She was under the impression that I was his sister. This weekend I turned 37.

I took this picture

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and then later this one of my outfit

Birthday outfit

by means of comparison I’d like to show you my biological mother and me in our horrible glamor shots (one of the last pictures I have of us together, actually)

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I’m 19 in this picture and my mother is 46 so a 9 year difference in age between her then and me now. (this was the same year I got pregnant with Sprog HOLY CRAP)

I’m sure a lot can and will change about my appearance in 9 years but I’m hoping that not so much will change, honestly. I’m investing in a lot of high dollar sunscreens and fancy face creams so that not a lot will change, honestly. I eat a vegetarian diet and I take a multi vitamin. I don’t smoke and I don’t spend a lot of time in the sun. I hardly drink but I do drink a lot of water.

The thing is, I also worry about it. I worry about it being wrong that I do look like I could be my child’s sister instead of it being obvious that I am his mother. I worry about it being uncomfortable for him that when we go out to eat now, we ALWAYS get asked if the checks are separate, like we are friends or siblings instead of parent and child. He laughs about it every time and he says it doesn’t bother him but my mother dressed like a teenager even though she totally wasn’t and it DROVE ME NUTS, so I worry. My mother shopped in the juniors section well into the time that I stopped talking to her which was into her 50’s and when she was also a grandmother, fyi. My mother showed up at my school in her tennis skirts and bloomers because “I have good legs, why not show them?” and OMG, no.

I’m sure that it’s different for girls but I worry that it’s not really that different, that even though he says it’s funny and he says he’s okay with it, he’s just doing that because he’s generally the kid that tries to please. I have no idea how to “dress like a mom” but I usually buy longer skirts and dresses that aren’t skin tight. I also know that he gives me crap because all of my skirts are long. He says they are so long they should be called dresses not skirts and of course my husband would prefer that I show some skin from time to time and so against the judgement of Stacey and Clinton I bought a mini-ish skirt with my Christmas money…the trick is getting me to actually wear it.

the vanity resolution

So, it’s the time of year where everyone is all focused on New Year’s Resolutions. I have already posted a super long list of things I would like to get done this year. My husband spent last night rearranging the desks in our office so one of my items is already starting (but has a long road to the finish line still, this place is in shambles) but there is another that I started on the 1st, have stuck with every day since and am hoping to continue with for the majority of the year.

I want to get dressed any time I leave the house. I want to put thought in what I am wearing. I want to go through my closet, cull what I don’t need, keep what I do, alter what needs it and fix what needs fixing. I want to only purchase things I really want and not things that are just on mega sale. I want to feel good about myself and not like a giant SAHM schlumpadinka all the time. I’m reading and bookmarking posts like this one from Friday Playdate, I am trolling fashion bloggers I connect with like Kendi Everyday and I am looking to celebrities and tv personalities for my style icon inspiration. I’ve invested my Christmas cash in my face with some uber pricey (for me) face stuff, some new make-up (Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer) and take the time to moisturize my feet and elbows every night before bed now.

I am photographing my looks even if it’s just with an IPhone and posting them to flickr or twitter or both.
Jan 1
Shopping on Jan 1

Jan 2
Running errands on Jan 2

IPhone Day!
Getting my new IPhone yesterday

Today is going to be a bit of a pain because 1) it’s crap weather outside 2) I am babysitting my nephew, which is cause for lazy clothes and 3) I went to bed with and woke up with the same damn headache but I won’t be deterred too badly, I hope.

I am really looking forward to having a closet and wardrobe that works for me and feeling good in my skin.

take this stuff and shelve it

I might have a small addiction to Costco. Like, I treat it as if it’s a regular grocery store, small addiction. In my defense, I am raising a growing teenage boy that has shot up 6 inches over the past however long and is still growing, so food is very important in our house. We recently were gifted a chest freezer which has helped immensely in my Costco shopping excursions, it’s freaking hard to fit bulk sized freezer items into a side by side freezer space but the other problem is the pantry.

When we bought this house I sacrificed A LOT in terms of space. I had a HUGE walk in pantry in my rent house, a pantry of dreams. A pantry I could tear up about, I miss it that much. In this house, I have barely a coat closet sized pantry, it’s pathetic, it’s also not conducive to bulk shopping or frankly shopping at the Indi-pak (Indian Pakistani market where I get all my spices and such for the huge amount of Indian cooking I have started doing). So the back half of my kitchen, also known as the breakfast nook, has turned into cluttered horrible looking storage. It’s been a nightmare and it’s been driving me nutso. Having a cluttered house has a none so good effect on my person but we haven’t had the funds to get what I really want to put along the back wall for storage so it’s just been a compounding problem. Over the weekend we just decided to suck it up and buy an interim solution, a rack shelving system, it’s not pretty but at least it would be functional, or so we thought.

We bought it at Target it, with its 350 lbs of support claims and it’s black powder coated finish to mimic the cabinets that are opposite so at least it wouldn’t be as heinous. Putting it together was a disaster, none of the support cups are straight, I am pretty sure none of the poles are straight so you can imagine they wouldn’t slide together properly which meant that “gentle tapping with a mallet” didn’t get the shelves to settle, proper tapping with a mallet meant bending…so much for that 350lbs. Instead of returning the cursed thing we opted to muscle through and just deal with the bends, the chips and the craptasticness of it all so we would at least have something to get the shit up off the floor and out of our way and then when we can afford something nicer, that piece of shit is going out to the curb. We have a similar system out in the garage but it’s a proper heavy duty system from a restaurant supply and there really is no substitute.

For now, I am ignoring all the flaws, the fact that it looks very college dorm-esque and reveling in my free from clutter floors, my open traffic path, my ORGANIZATION. OH HAPPY DAY.

it’s my body and i’ll cry if want to

I don’t think I’ve met a woman that doesn’t have an issue with her body, from a size 0 to a size 22+, it doesn’t seem to matter much, there always seems to be something that could be tweaked, swapped or improved upon (regardless of what other people think, skinny people have issues too). For some women, it’s a minor thought, something in the back of their consciousness, something that they might like to be different but nothing that really affects them in their daily life. For others, it’s a constant biting critique, an ugly voice that assaults them from inside any time they confront a mirror, a shopping trip or a stressful occasion.

I vacillate between the two. On a good day, I am fine, I have accepted who I am and how I am built and go about looking cute without much a thought of things. Dressing and make-up can be almost mechanical, a bunch of motions that I have been doing since puberty, things I don’t really have to think much about anymore. On a bad day? It’s really hell. It’s a collection of voices that have been putting me down my entire life. It’s the stretch marks on my upper hips and thighs that I got picked on for when I was 14 and had swimming in PE, the reason I have never (until this past trip to Mexico) gone without board shorts to the beach. It’s the rib cage that sticks out so far as to garner me attention for having 4 boobs during that same time-frame. It’s the break-outs I still have even though I am closer to 40 than I am my teens. It’s the fact that one of my breasts is so much smaller than the other that it’s called the runt and that isn’t an exaggeration. It’s the cellulite I have even though everyone gives me crap for being too skinny.

Beyond that and believe me that should be enough…it’s the fact that in my body I see my parents. I figure most people look at themselves and identify which features they got from which parent, it’s a pretty natural thing to do. I do it with my son, all the time. But when you don’t like your parents? I mean truly don’t like your parents, been scarred by them and haven’t had any sort of relationship with them for many years, you don’t want to identify with them. You don’t want to see them in you. Especially not when the majority of your torment came from them. When all your skin sensitivity issues came from a mother that would point out your zits in front of the cute waiters, loudly, at whatever restaurant you happened to be at or would critique you on your lack of make-up, clothes or hair in front of the staff at your job. I’m not even going to go into how messed up I was because of what my father did to me, suffice it to say…the damage runs deep.

For the most part I don’t look enough like my parents, in the face, for it to bother me. I mean yes I have thin lips like my mother but hers are much thinner than mine so I can remove the association. I probably have my father’s nose but his had a moustache attached for my whole life so it’s not as if it looks the same, you know? Anyway. The thing is, I have my mother’s stomach. Like EXACTLY. Every time I look down at it, it creeps! If I am having a bad day? It’s seriously upsetting to me. I have my father’s shoulders. They are so squared off, I may as well be a hanger and they even freckle the same way. UGH.

I don’t want it to get to me for the rest of my life. I don’t want them to get to me for the rest of my life. I have, for the most part, been able to deal with everything else they have done to me….I would really like to get past this last bit and move on already. So the other day I posted a picture of myself on flickr in a bikini. It was a big step for me. It was seriously freaky, even though it was locked down to only people that are in my contacts list but I am glad I did it, just like I am glad I am writing this post and glad I was on the beach without my board shorts. One more thing put behind me, one step closer to free.

not my strong suit

I love when ideas appear on other blogs, I can gank, that get me through the week :) but I am finally getting around to that list of things I can’t do/don’t do well.

-Parallel Park- I have never done this in my 20 years of driving, not once. I even made sure that the DMV I took my test at didn’t require it (there were two in my vicinity, one required it and the other did the Y or 3 point turn, I went there).

-Play Guitar Hero- I have horrible carpal tunnel and it KILLS me to play the stupid toy guitar at rapid speeds. I couldn’t even make it through one song. I tried multiple times to no avail.

-Jump Well On A Platforming Game- Dudes, I totally suck at this. I still play them, but I have horrible timing on the jumps and usually end up dying more than a few times.

-General Grace And Non-Klutziness- Running into walls, doorjams, tables, other inanimate objects that have been in the same place forever? CHECK.

-Not Quoting Movies- It’s like a sickness! There are times when I didn’t even realize I was doing it until after when I realize what I just said made the person look at me funny and then I retrace it and it’s a movie quote, it’s not even my own words getting me the stink eye.

-Strategy Games- Yeah they make my head hurt.

-Drive Between Concrete Berms And Semis- I can’t begin to tell you the amount of stress this gives me. I can do it but it’s white knuckle the whole way.

-Park In Reverse- I have like negative depth perception. I am getting better about pulling into my own driving in reverse but into a parking space with cars on either side? FORGET IT!

-Sticking To The List- I love food. I love ingredients. I am totally distractable in a grocery store. ‘Nuff said.

-Not Overpacking- I am much better about this, now that we only fly standby and don’t check luggage, but I still always have at least 2 extra outfits.

-Not Giving Advice- I am seriously trying to just shut my yap and let people do what they are going to do…but um…yeah…not good at this.

-Being More Confident- I really don’t need to elaborate on this one.

-Saying No To Dessert- YEAH RIGHT.
On that note, check out my post http://www.stylelushblog.com/2010/07/crave-cupcakes-houston-.html about my fave cupcake shop in Houston.