Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Stolen Moments

Life is full of stolen moments. These are the precious pieces of glue that make life complete. They can be anything from the stolen kiss of secret lovers (hello Romeo and Juliette) to singing in the shower, and the amazing thing about them is that we don't even realize how profoundly important they are.

These are the moments in time when everything stops. When you live outside the constraints of hours, minutes, and seconds, and you live solely in the now. You don't worry about what you have done or what you have to do, you simply revel in the beauty of existing. And it is truly, devastatingly, beautiful.

I fear that we so often get caught up in the daily grind that we forget to steal those moments back from the world. We forget that those moments are our moments. They don't belong to the world, to work, or to the carpool. They belong to you and you alone.

When was the last time you took a moment to truly notice your lover? For that matter, when was the last time you thought about that person as a lover rather than a standard fixture in your life?

When was the last time you danced to your favorite song in your house by yourself? Or the last time you sang in the shower? Or the last time you sat perfectly still and listened to music simply to appreciate the beauty of the sound?

When was the last time you laughed with your best friend until you cried? Or the last time you hugged your best friend, simply because it feels so good to have that person close?

Life is so short, so fleeting, that we forget that living...actually living is in the stolen moments. The things people will remember about you when you die are not what you did at work, how much money you made, or what kind of car you drove.

They will remember that time you sang a duet together on a road trip. They will remember how hard you laughed when you rammed them off their bicycle. They will remember how wildly unsuccessful your attempt to hang a hammock in your first apartment was. They will remember that moment you had to say goodbye and how hard it was to let you go.  They will remember the flirtatious glances, knowing smiles, and lingering kisses you shared when no one else was looking.

Stolen moments are so rare and we so often forget to steal them, let alone appreciate them. The world will happily commandeer all your time without so much as a second thought. It's up to you to steal that time back - to make the world stand still, even if it's only for the span of a smile.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Praising or Blazing

At Jake's (yes, the Jake I rammed off his bicycle) request, I've made a little time to write another blog post.

So, I've recently been afforded the privilege to work with a company in the cannabis industry. As someone who has little [read: zero] experience with cannabis, it has given me an opportunity to learn about an entirely new culture and subject. Despite sounding like an ignorant newb (which I am), I've been learning a lot and am having a great time working with this company. There are dogs everywhere, donuts miraculously appear in the kitchen, and everyone is upbeat and charming...and no...I have not been working with a bunch of hippie pot-heads who choose patchouli over bathing.

All that being said, part of the work I have been doing for this company has involved looking up a myriad of cannabis dispensaries in the west, and I've discovered something rather peculiar...the names of dispensaries could easily pass for young-adult church groups.

I'm serious...Summit Group, 8th Wonder, Have A Heart...goodness, I feel like I'm sitting at a Young Life camp talking about the various devotional groups campers can attend.

So, today, I thought we could play a game: Praising or Blazing - I give you a name, you tell me if it's a dispensary or a church group.

1. Ablaze
2. Pure Intentions
3. Abundance
4. After Glow
5. Green Tree
6. Higher Ground
7. Backdraft
8.Tree of Wellness
9. Deeper Roots
10. Sacred Seed

Context is everything, people.

See below for the answers.

1. Trick question...both!
2. Blazing
3. Praising
4. Praising
5. Blazing
6. Trick question #2...both!
7. Praising
8. Blazing
9. Praising
10. Blazing

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Toilet Seat Wars

Picture this -

It's 3:00 AM, and you've been lying awake in bed for the last 10 minutes trying to convince yourself that you don't actually have to go to the bathroom. I have yet to figure out why we do this; it's not like if you ignore your full bladder, it's just going to go away. Nonetheless, you try to convince yourself, and eventually you come to the realization that if you just get up and go pee, you can finally get back to sleep.

So, with a sigh of groggy irritation, you thrust your covers aside and crawl out of bed. With your arms stretched out like a toddler, you stagger through your dark bedroom, possibly tripping on the underwear that you lazily did not put your hamper when you took it off.

Then it's into the hallway where you try desperately not to make too much noise on the squeaky floors. This ultimately results in you making more noise than if you had simply been walking normally. Finally, after staggering, stumbling, and fumbling, you make it to the bathroom and slip inside.

At this point, you have a critical decision to make: turn the light on or leave it off?

Opting to save your retinas, you let the door shut quietly behind you and rely on your spectacular photographic memory to find your way to the toilet. After bumping into the counter twice, stubbing your toe on the cat box, and banging your knuckles against the tank of the toilet, you arrive and sit down with a sigh of relief.

....and topple backwards, falling into the toilet and dropping your cheeks right into the fantastically appalling toilet water. You try to scramble out, but your knees are shoved into your chest,  your back is crammed into the back of the toilet, and you can't see a damn thing because someone didn't turn the lights on.

You squirm and struggle against the relentless clutches of the toilet, feeling the toilet water caress your cheeks like the cold hand of reality. Finally you find traction, and with a surge of victory, you vault out of the toilet like an Olympic gymnast.

Breathing hard, you kick off your pajamas and rush over to the light, flipping the switch and promptly blinding yourself. The water is now dripping down your butt and onto your upper thighs, and you still can't see because you've been blinded. Fumbling around, you find the faucet in the shower, and crank it on, throwing yourself inside before the water is even warm, desperate to get the toilet water off your butt.

You spend five minutes scrubbing your butt and only your butt until it's pink and you've convinced yourself that it's clean enough that you might be able to put the whole ordeal out of your mind. Slowly, you reach out and shut off the water. Your bloodshot eyes turn to the toilet to see it sitting there, victoriously mocking you with it's seat held high.

And the worst of it all? You still have to pee.

Can we all just agree to leave the lid closed? It's physically impossible to fall into a closed toilet.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Fat-Skinny Dichotomy

It's no small secret, in America we are obsessed with weight. If people don't weigh too much they weigh too little. We have magazines that butcher people from head to toe - cutting and cropping, smoothing and blurring, and even engorging when necessary (small boobs are small boobs, people, let's stop trying to make them something they're not). Yet, at the very same time, we have article after article about people battling with their weight, tricks celebrities use to stay thin, how to lose ten pounds, the easy guide to eating better, the 7 minute workout guaranteed to help you lose weight (sure, if you tack it onto the end of an hour-long session in the gym).

Magazines offer us a difficult, if not impossible, standard to live up to; however, in those very same magazines are pieces about how important it is to be proud of your body no matter what size you are, big, little, curvy...no boobs, love your body! But media, you just told me that my body isn't good enough and that I need to lose weight, and now you're telling me to be proud of it?

We have a media culture that is telling us we're too fat and that's not okay, but that we should be happy about being too fat and proud of who we are. How is that possible? At what point is it not okay to be proud that you are carrying an extra 50-100+ pounds?

Now, don't get me wrong - the self-loathing that often accompanies body image can be crippling and devastating on so many levels. Obesity has not only spread from an epidemic, but is now considered a disease, and I fully comprehend that "just lose some weight," is like saying, "just go lift up that car." And I can appreciate the movement that you should love you, and it's absolutely right. You SHOULD love you. You're great!

But loving you and being okay with being unhealthily overweight are not the same thing. Loving you enough to do something about it is where the true strength lies.

I believe that these problems run far deeper than just surface level media. Much of it starts with ignorance about what a good diet should look like, this spills over into healthy foods being drastically more expensive than unhealthy foods (seriously, go price a loaf of white Wonderbread at the store), and then the entire cake is iced with a delicious frosting of "You're too fat and need to lose weight, but hey! Don't forget to love yourself for it!"

By calling obesity a disease, we have turned it into something that can be "cured," and I think that helps provide a goal to strive for. But when the media presents us with this weird it's okay to be fat, only it's really not dichotomy, I think they not only set unrealistic expectations for what's actually attainable, but send an extremely mixed message -"You should feel bad about being fat because you don't look like Gorgeous Bombshell on our cover, but if you can find a way to feel good about it, then good for you. Have a guilt-free cookie, Chubs."

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

It's...Cough...How Much?

Beaver Creek ski resort got 2-3 feet of snow last week, and I spent the week plowing my way through it with a dog-with-it's-head-out-the-window grin. It was blissful. Beaver Creek is a stunning ski resort with great runs, friendly people, and free cookies at the end of every day. What more could a girl ask for?

Well, I'll tell you...

I could ask for food that is worth what I pay for it. At Beaver Creek, if you want to purchase 2 Gatorades, 1 cookie, and 1 muffin, you will pay ~$20.00. Sound steep? Perhaps just a cup of tea then...at ~$5.00....if it's that expensive for a beverage and a baked good, what does a meal cost? Indentured servitude?

Want to know the real kicker? The food is mediocre at best. That muffin will likely be a pitiful, sticky, but somehow dry, excuse for a pastry, and you're running 50/50 odds on the quality of the cookie (trust me, I'm a cookie connoisseur).

Now, I get it. You're at the top of the mountain; it's expensive to get food up there, but if I'm paying $5.00 for a single muffin, then it should at least be Starbucks quality. But it's not. The quality of food at ski resorts is deplorable. You could get better pizza at Costco.

I can't tell you how disappointing it is to pay $20.00 for food that doesn't taste good. People pay $150 per day to ski at Beaver Creek, and will spend around $20 a head for lunch. Is it unreasonable to expect that for that kind of money the ski hill provide decent food?

I'm not talking 5-star dining here, but, goodness, you can have my first born child for a decent slice of pizza.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cover Letters - The Bane of My Existence

The cover letter...anyone who has ever searched for a job (I guess that's everyone) has had to deal with this difficult and squirrely little thorn in the application process. 

See, here is the problem with the cover letter: everyone tells you to be original, stand out, and grab people's attention, but be short about it, and be professional, and don't be too chummy/funny/creative. Oh, and keep it to five sentences or less. 

What gives? If I was a hiring manager, and I was dragging through the doldrums of cover letter after cover letter (I have 5 years of experience. I have 10 years of experience. I worked under Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec Sun God...okay, that last one would probably get my attention.), I would be begging for something funny to come across my desk. I don't want to hire a stiff, unimaginative person who plays it safe. I would want to hire the person who takes a bit of a risk, who tries to make me laugh, who shows me that s/he has a personality. 

That being said, every single time I have shown the slightest bit of my personality in a cover letter, taken that risk, and added a little color to my application, I have had ZERO replies from employers. You have one sentence to get the employer's attention, but you can't be funny about it? That's like walking into a bar in a moo-moo and hoping that someone will notice you.

Now, don't get me wrong, I can see the point of a cover letter in some circumstances. Perhaps there is something extra special that you need to articulate about your resume (you can crank out 100 push-ups in a row? No kidding!), or maybe you were referred to the position by someone else (Joe Schmoe and I were dance partners in middle school...needless to say, I impressed him), but overall, with the number of applications that come through for each position, I have to wonder if the employer is actually even reading my cover letter.

Do they have the time to sit down and read a synopsis of what they are about to read about in the resume? Do they want to sit down and read a synopsis of the resume? I mean - you're only given so much time to walk this green earth. Do you want to spend those precious moments reading about the number of years a stranger has spent sitting behind a desk?

As we move toward a more casual working environment, where companies are striving to take care of their employees and create happy, healthy working environments (whoever started the dogs at work movement was a genius), why should we continue to keep stuffy, generic cover letters as part of our application process? Why not ask employees to be creative, to engage their audience, to prove that they are actually a human with a personality?

Perhaps give them 150 words to describe why you should hire them. Maybe ask them to write their cover letter like the synopsis on the back cover of a book. 

"Kim Melton led a fairly normal life until she met the owner of XYZ company. Things seemed simple enough at first, but after that fated trip out for coffee, everything changed. Acronyms whirled around in her head like voracious swarms of bees, board members, charming at first, proved to be underhanded and dangerous foes, technology bent and warped, changing weekly, like a slippery, slithering, snake, and taking a lunch had a tendency to leave her tired, breathless and sweaty. How did Kim fare in the wild and tenacious forest of XYZ company? Read on to find out..."

I think it's time to move away from the traditional cover letter. A simple survey could give you all the same info, and save everyone some time. You wouldn't write your profile on a dating site with the dry professionalism of a cover letter, why do we expect people to do it for a job? Isn't finding a significant other equally as impactful in the long run as getting a job?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fear - The Ugly Side of Creativity

I've been working on a book for the past two years - well, three books actually, but that's another story for another post. This post is about pouring your mind and soul into creating something, only to discover, upon its completion that the thought of sharing it with someone is terrifying.

What if it's boring?

What if they don't like it?

Worse, what if they think it's stupid?

What if they think I am stupid?

I don't want to be judged by my friends and family. I don't want to be called stupid or boring or unoriginal by strangers. I don't want to have someone tear my work apart. I don't know if I want to give anyone that much detail into the inner workings of my brain and how I think.

At the same time, if I'm too afraid to share this work with people, then why did I create it? Am I willing to take years of work, and shove it away in a drawer somewhere, never to be seen by a single soul?

No. No, I am not.

Fear can be stifling. It creates this little box of insecurities and doubt that make you question your very worth as a human being. But inside that little, suffocating box of insecurities, there is a little moth, fluttering around in one tiny little corner of open space. And you can see it, just barely - a little fuzzy around the edges, erratically smacking into the sides of the box, and certainly hard to catch, but it's there. What is it?

It's a question. It's the question. What if it's good?

What if it's not boring, stupid, or unoriginal?

What if it's amazing?

What if people everywhere will pick it up, and not put it down to the last page? What if they will crave more, and are begging for the next chapter, the next book, the next adventure?

Using fear as an excuse to not try is far worse, and will leave you with far more regrets, than trying and failing.

In other words - fate favors the bold.