Posted in Wellness, Word Therapy

Vacay

I love how you can be sitting on the beach in pure sunshine and calm waves when all of the sudden it starts to rain so fast it’s like mist when it hits the sand. Five minutes later the sun is back out. We spent a lot of time on the beach, only going up to our room to eat lunch in our condo and watch the soap opera Another World. The sweet smell of pineapple still makes me crave a fruit boat. Whenever I see St. Elmo Fire is on television I remember walking around the village of our hotel and stopping into the movie theater to watch it (Saxophone playing Rob Lowe is second only to Soda Pop Rob Lowe). I proudly wore my Puka shell necklace my parents bought me from Lahaina and the t-shirt that sported the round cat playing soccer. We ate lots of shaved ice and were greeted by beautiful exotic birds when we visited the Hyatt Regency. It was summer of 1985 and I was 10. My parents had brought us to their favorite vacation destination, the Hawaiian island of Maui. And even though it had its mishaps (lost luggage, broken down rental car, and stomach flu for me), it was still one of my favorite trips as a kid.

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My anxiety does not like vacations. I can’t sleep in hotels. It’s very hard for me to relax. I like my routines at home. When hubby and I went to Europe after college, I didn’t enjoy myself as much as I wanted to. I was overwhelmed, didn’t give a rat’s ass about all the beautiful art I was seeing, and even got sick and missed out on going to Nice, France (I’m such an idiot). When I think back on that trip I do have fond memories (I know I sound like a privileged asshole ) but wish I had appreciated it more.

These days vacations are easier. Medicine clears away all the nonsense and helps me be in the moment. Planning ahead and checklists still help. And knowing that I will be surrounded by family that I adore is the best part.

On Monday my family of four will board a plane for the first time together. We are meeting family in Seattle for the better part of a week with a one day trip to Portland. I like to joke that we are trying to hit all the cities with the hipsters (Austin was our first). We will do touristy things like the Space Needle and nerdy stuff like the Pop Culture Museum. When Curls and I visited New York in March, one of favorite places was the New York Public Library. I now want to visit the library in each of the cities we travel to and Seattle Public Library has astounding architecture. In Portland we will hit up Voodoo Donuts and Salt and Straw to satisfy the sweet tooth and the Japanese Garden to calm the mind.

I know we will return from vacation having a new city we love and can’t wait to revisit (like Austin). My wish for the future is for us to take a RV trip with stops in Zion and Yellowstone and a vacation to Tokyo.

Where do you like to go on vacation? Do you like to travel?

I hope you find passion and happiness this weekend!

Posted in California Livin', Not Today Anxiety

Summer Bucket List 2018: A Survival Guide

Raise your hand if you are a parent who misses the lazy days of summer *all hands and one foot up in the air* I love summer. I love wearing flip flops, outdoor activities become even more fun, and hello, WATERPARKS. But over the years as my kids have gotten older, the fighting and attitude is nonstop and exhausting. Red said something the other day (that I will not repeat for fear of looking like a terrible parent) that prompted me to tell him, “You are phasing out of the stage where saying something like that is cute and is venturing into getting your ass kicked territory.” I love my kids with all my heart. But it is possible to love your kids and still be terrified of being at home with them over the summer. So to try and keep my anxiety to a minimum, I am stockpiling my arsenal.  This includes a preparedness kit for myself, a summer bucket list for the kids, and sticking to a schedule that will benefit us all.

I have three hearts tattooed on the inside of my right wrist. The hearts represent my family as a reminder of why I get up in the morning and to have patience with all that I do. Reminding myself this summer to have patience and to take deep breaths will be a daily occurrence. It is easy to forget this when you have one child who won’t clean up their room even though you have asked 1,542,639,587 times and the other one other repeats everything you say. And when that doesn’t work, dark chocolate Ghiradelli squares hidden throughout the house for emergencies. I also pledge to get up one hour before the kids each weekday to enjoy peace, quiet, and get some writing done. I will go out one night a week by myself to see a movie, walk around Target with a Chai tea, or browse my favorite bookstore. While at Target I will pick up a journal to write down all the curse words I will need to write down when both kids either say, “I didn’t do it!” or “So and so just did this to me!” and also a whistle to get their attention (sorry my dear neighbors). And my last saving grace will be an “I’m Bored” jar filled with tasks (the thought of making a list of these tasks fills me with such glee).

As for the kids, I know the key to keeping the attitude and fighting level low is to keep them busy. There will be bike rides, park play time, (outdoor) arts and crafts, running in the sprinklers, the local pool, and library trips. There will be lots of reading (my goal is for the three of us to read Artemis Fowl together and to introduce Red to Roald Dahl), prep work for the upcoming grade, and writing exercises.

We are continuing our summer bucket list tradition for the sixth year in a row (this will definitely be one of my crowning achievements as a mother). Our plans for the summer include:

  • Vacation to Seattle, WA and Portland, OR with family
  • VidCon
  • Knotts Berry Farm (DUH)
  • Cousin visit
  • LA days
    • LACMA
    • California Science Center
  • OC Fair
  • Wish List: Disneyland’s California Adventure 

The biggest challenge I will face this summer will be limiting screen time, be it video games and YouTube. I know I will fail some days. I hope to show the kids that I will also be holding myself accountable for screen time and not just them. I always feel so much better when I walk away from my phone for an extended period of time (and I get so much done!).

Are you counting down the days until summer? What do you have planned?

I hope you find passion and happiness this weekend!

Posted in Not Today Anxiety

Breathe, Smile, Repeat

Focusing on the positive and what lays ahead is an exercise I use to keep out the negativity and dark voices. In the Spring my daughter Curls and I are taking a jet plane to New York City. Back in October I scored two tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway at the Lyric Theater. This will be both of ours first trip to the Big Apple. I am feeling grateful, happy, and terrified. Because with all things in my life, anxiety looks for a loophole into my psyche to trash the place. It imagines worst case scenarios:

What if you lose Curls in the crowds?

What if you get lost together?

What if we get mugged (A big thank you to the Different Strokes episode that has lingered in my brain since childhood)

What if you get to will call and your show tickets aren’t there?

What if you miss your flight home?

This is where my Type A personality kicks in. I start to plan, plan, plan (translation=control, control, control). My best friend Google and I start searching for what we shouldn’t miss, what is overrated, budget friendly food, accommodations, and what’s fun and free (Central Park and New York Public Library are already at the top of the list). I checked out City Pass to see if it is worth it (Not for this three day trip). But researching even for a short amount of time leaves me feeling overwhelmed. Am I planning too much? Is the show going to be good? Will Curls get grumpy when she gets tired (most definitely)?

Eventually the Prozac brings his Dr. Feelgood vibes and I start to take deep breaths. I tell myself prepping three months before the trip is the first step to making it great (Thank you Type A). I remind myself that I am skilled at finding deals on ANYTHING ($130 round trip total for Curls and I with the help of credit card points and travel savvy friend livyourlifeyourway). Social media is a great tool at finding places for us to go and eat (Instagram has introduced my family and I to a number of delish restaurants). And I am leaving time for us to explore and find things to do that we normally wouldn’t think of (like ice skating at Rockefeller Center in April).

Come this summer my family of four will be flying up to the Pacific Northwest. We plan on enjoying Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver. I will employ the same tactics I am using for NYC but I have an ace in the whole: my husband. No matter what happens with our trip, he is the human version of Prozac for me. He keeps me calm and ready to face anything.

Do you have any exciting trips planned for 2018? How do you plan your vacations? What do you look for in a new place? I love finding restaurants where people rave so much about it online that I just HAVE to go there-like Gourdough’s in Austin, Texas. For New York that place will be Serendipity (frozen hot chocolate, anyone?).

And because Curls and I are going to a city that is revered as much as New York, friends and family have been generous with tips and recommendations. How could this mini vacation be anything but a blast?

Knickerbocker Hotel