Saturday, December 2, 2017

My Fun Eighties Book is Here!

After doing a ton of chemo last year, and getting through the haze of January, I started writing this fun eighties book in February. It brightened every day of 2017 for me, up until I finished it in October of this year. It is long, it is detailed and it is a love letter to a decade I very much enjoyed.

This book is historical fiction-- meaning that the story and the characters are made up, but all of the fashion, world events, music, etc. are all accurate for each decade/chapter of the book. It took a ton of research, and believe me, there are very few places to find out exactly what people wore in 1987!  Anyway, I threw a ton of snark in it, and also lots of warm fuzzies. Check it out on Amazon, in Kindle or paperback, here =)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Summer in the 80s

Excited that summer is almost here!

I have the best memories of summer here in California. A lot of going to the beach (Zuma, in Malibu) with my family and family friends. A lot of playing in the ocean, sand being tracked home via the car and ourselves. Popsicles. Lots of ice-cream-man chasing, and fireworks on Fourth of July being set off at friends' houses— totally dangerous ones that would have blown our faces off probably, but the parents still let us handle them, as they sat back and drank beer. 

Lots of swimming because it was very often 90 degrees or higher. We swam at the local public pools, friend’s houses. A lot of BBQs where people ate burgers and hot dogs and drank cold sodas (beer for parents.) Sat around on Saturday mornings watching cartoons and eating cereal. We played in the yard all day, in the sprinklers much of the time, on the grass. We had water balloon fights with the kids on the street. Went camping: sometimes out in a tent in the backyard, just for fun. We had sleepovers with our friends.  Played with Cabbage Patch Kids, played house, crank/prank called people, rang door bells and ran (ding dong ditch.) Spent the day in a swimsuit, with the smell of chlorine and sunblock on our bodies. 

I spent many summers with my friends Erin, Tamar, Liz, Paul and Nate & Dan. We had this rush of excitement: the fact that there was no school was the greatest, and then the fact that we could possibly have sleepovers if we begged our parents hard enough? Nothing better.

Hope you all have a great summer this year!


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Bad at Small Talk? Never Fear...

I am bad at small talk. What do I say to people?

Just ask them about themselves. So where are you from originally? They tell you the city. What was that like? They tell you. Sometimes I even say So what’s been going on in your life? and when they tell you the gist of it, you think of more things to talk about. Then they might ask you something. You don’t have to get deep, and neither do they, but it makes a nice little banter. Just showing interest in people works (I am one of those weird people who are genuinely interested in every new person because I always feel like I learn something from every single person I meet, so I am constantly interviewing people and finding out interesting things.)

It is hard to do, but you have to care less. Or remind yourself that other people do not care about us as much as we think they do. If you find yourself worried that they are going to find you awkward, remind yourself that they arent even thinking of you, they most likely only care about what is going on in their own head.

I want to be social but I never go anywhere. What do I do?
You have to go in public. To be around people helps. People don’t realize that they are being hermits sometimes. Take a class, get on a team, go to parties, say yes to any invite you get, even if it is only hanging with family members. You will slowly start to be around people and get into their rhythms. The number one thing is to be genuinely interested in other people. Once you start talking to someone, show interest in their life (don’t come on too strong with this.)
Starters: “So where are you from?/How do you know_____”?/What do you think of this class?”/”Is it just me or is that really loud?”/ Laugh at their joke, engage them in any other conversation you want— talk about something that is currently in the news/trending, ask them where they got their coat, you like it; ask them how their sandwich is because it looks pretty good. If they start talking about their job, ask them how they like working there. If they have an Italy key chain ask them if they have ever been there, whats it like. People sometimes wear or show their interests, ask them about those things and learn from them. Don’t top people’s stories (even if yours is better), don’t talk over people or interrupt them and don’t be negative. Don’t stress over this stuff, remember that people are in their own bubbles and are most likely not intently thinking about how awkward you are (which I am sure you are not, but this is the thought of some people and it stops them from moving forward.)

How do I talk to an acquaintance? A Friend of a friend I don't know well?
You: “Hey, nice to meet you.”
Them: “ You too.”
You: “You live around here?/So you work with_____/So you are friends with ____? How do you two know each other?”
Them: “Yes, I live down on ________/Yes, He works upstairs from me/Yes, we grew up together…”
You: “Oh really? I have always liked that street— you have a lot of dogs being walked around there, don’t you/I have always heard that is a great place to work because they have really good coffee—/Did you? She always talks about loving her summers on the beach, did you go with her?
Them: “Oh, yeah, so many dogs. I have three!/They do have really good coffee actually, but there is an even better coffee place down on ___/I did, yes! We used to go to the beach every summer and she was always afraid of jellyfish…

BAM! Done, son.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Girls: What You Should Know By Eighteen

Question: What should a Young Woman Know at Eighteen?
Answer: She should establish credit- number one. Without credit, it is hard to do anything in life (buy a car, buy a house one day, etc. etc.) Open a small charge account at a store at the mall or even a gym membership to build credit, then you will be offered more chances to build it. You have to show credit card companies (and later banks etc) that you can be trusted to pay bills.
She should also have voted, and be in the process of either getting an education or work experience. She should gather as many skills and learn as many computer programs as possible. She should also know how to talk to and deal with as many types of people as possible. How to have a decent handshake, look people in the eye, make conversation, leave a conversation gracefully, etc. She should know how to take direction from a superior/boss without having an attitude. She should know how to accept a compliment and a gift graciously, how to write a thank you card and how to give a true apology. 
My advice is that you should breathe and not be too hard on yourself. You have plenty of time, you are just beginning. The fact that you are even thinking about these things means you are on the right path.
Family: Treat them kindly. If they are toxic, love them from afar, have minimal contact.
Relationships: Don’t date someone you wouldn’t marry. Date around and avoid total hot losers, because you might fall for them and then find it hard to get out of the relationship. Date people who are educated and have good values, and then when you are older, choose one to marry who would not only make a good husband/wife, but a good father/mother to your children. There is no rush on this.
Career: Get into a company at the lowest position, even if it doesnt pay well right now, work your way up through the company. In five years, you could be making a lot of money and get really high up because you know the company. OR: Go to college and get educated first, and then get hired at a higher salary if you are lucky. Don’t expect to know exactly what you want to do at this age, but a general direction is good.
Purpose: This will unfold throughout your life. You won’t necessarily know what it is right this second, so be okay with that. It will be revealed to you.
Living Life: Do the right thing even if no one is watching. Have integrity and do everything you can with excellence. Look people in the eye when you talk to them, be interested in others and learn good social skills. If they are toxic, again, minimize contact. Do your best, and don’t be too hard on yourself for not knowing your complete plan right this second. Have faith that it will unfold.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bullies: What to Do

Teens sometimes ask me about Bullies. What should they do? This guy has been making fun of them, they are embarrassed, they don't know if they should tell, if they should fight, if they should jump off a building.

Well, here is what I say: 
Don’t let any of his words have power.
Him: “Look at you, you are such an idiot! Look at those stupid shoes you are wearing!”
You: “Yeah bro. My shoes are sooooooo stupid.” (yawn.)
Him: “What? Are you trying to start something with me?! Let’s go!”
You: “Calm down. You must be overdoing your protein powder. no one is trying to fight you.” (calm face, bored eyes.)
Him: “Are you talking sh*t?! Look at you, you must weigh 80 pounds! I could bench more than you!”
You: “Right. 80 pounds. This is so tiring.”

You can’t really stop people, I have found. We all got teased for various things— and I am not even kidding— they will find something, even if you are the most attractive person in the world— they will say you have big ears or a weird chin or you walk funny. There is no escaping the cruelty of bullying really, you just let it fly right over you and don’t absorb it. You can always say something back. If they are making fun of you for being short and too quiet, you can say “Yep, I’m short and quiet, what about it?” and shrug like you don’t even care. It can go like this (not that you would want to do this, but an example:)
Them: “ Hey, where are you going shortie? Going to be quiet somewhere?”
You: Look them in eye and say “Yep, that’s me. The quietest, shortest guy/girl in the world” and look bored and unamused.
Them: ‘Why are you so quiet? Why don’t you talk?”
You: “Guess I don’t have much to say. Must be because I’m so short, huh?”
You basically repeat what they say back to them in a bored manner. When you parrot someone like this, it makes them look like they don’t have good material. You continue this with any and all rude remarks, and it knocks the fun out of it for them.

Another thing that happens to kids is that they are made fun of for liking something "different", which is why a lot of them hide their likes. But I think you should take the power out of that, also. 


Your rude friend: “You like____? How stupid! I can’t believe you like that!”
You: *shrug, look bored* “Yeah, I do. Call me crazy. I just like it for some reason.” *yawn*
Your friend: “But…I can’t BELIEVE YOU LIKE THAT! (laughs hysterically and points at you)
You: *still bored looking* “Just a quirk of mine I guess. So, what are we doing on Saturday?”

It makes some of us a little tougher. There are bullies everywhere, even when you get out of school. There are co-worker bullies. A boss can be a bully. And sometimes, you know how to better deal with that type of person if you have been bullied when you were younger. It gives you a thicker skin, so you don’t fall apart when it happens later in life.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

1980s Candy Wrappers: The Best

I have collected candy wrappers since I was, oh, I don't know, probably nine years old. I liked the colors, the fonts, the whole thing. Willy Wonka candies were my favorite because of their liberal use of bubble letters, a favorite of all nine-year-olds in the 80s. I was also a Bubble Yum and Bubblicious fan for the same reason, now that I think of it! Here are some of my favorites-- and credit/copyright is due to the rightful owners. I am just the giver of props:

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Parties! What to do, what to say, when to stop...

Let's talk Parties! Questions and answers are below:

I want to be invited to parties at my college, but I am scared I won't know what to do when I am there...

You have to loosen up, then it will happen. Don’t put too much weight on it. In your head, just tell yourself, “so what…this is just a gathering of drunk people, and none of them are even thinking about me, they are all in their own brains right now.” If there is a party going on, and it looks relatively public, walk in with some beer (if you can get it, hopefully you are of age in your town.) Anyone bringing food or alcohol to a party is most always welcome. Just hold it up and mouth “Where should I put this?” to whomever is in charge. Chances are, they will flag you in, and point to some ice chest somewhere. And then you will be in.

It is actually easier to be around people at a party, because they are loosened up and most likely have been drinking. You can say “any one want a beer?” and people will say “Me” and you can hand them one. That is how to start. Then just chat with whomever. Don’t be afraid of girls. In your head, tell yourself they are lucky to be talking to you. Let them do the talking. Ask them about themselves and let them talk. Then excuse yourself, and go somewhere else. They will wonder why you left. Just say “Anyone want a drink? I’m going to get one…” and either come back if they seemed interested or move on. Do this all around the party. Do not get too drunk, or, don’t even drink at all if you don,t want to. Trust me, once you see how foolish most people behave at parties, you will want to live again. You will say “Is that all there is?! I cant believe I was afraid of THAT.”

I'm a dude. How do I behave at a party?

Just go and act normal, don’t act too eager to talk to the girls, just give them a little head nod, like a “what’s up” sort of thing. You don’t really have to do anything at a party, there is no crazy rules so don’t psych yourself out too hard. In your head, tell yourself that they are lucky that you even came to this party. If you see any girls making eye contact with you, go over there and talk to them. Just chat with them , what’s your name, etc. They will ask you questions back. If it gets awkward, just say “Well I’m going to go get another drink— anyone want anything?” and then leave. If they are still looking at you or making eye contact when you come back by, they like you. If they are turned away, keep walking. As far as drama, just don’t cause any, lay low, stay in the background this time. When you go to more, you will get the hang of it.

I dont drink or do drugs. Can I still have fun at parties?

Yes, and not only that, you will 1) Not throw up in front of someone you find attractive 2) not get all sloppy and sweaty and say stupid things 3) not kill someone driving home (or get a DUI) and 4) remember who you talked to and what was said. I remember going to parties looking great, but by the time the party ended and I was done drinking, my makeup was smeared, I was stumbling, my breath was awful and I had regretted at LEAST one thing I said. All of that because I was too shy to go sober and have to deal with talking to people I didn’t know. If you can go to a party sober, it is a great skill to learn. 

When I was younger and offered drugs, I would say “I don’t want you to waste your money, no thanks”— Trust me, drugs are expensive and most people don’t want to give them away for free anyway. If you aren’t interested in them, it will be more for them. I never had anyone find that strange. If anything, they would look at me and say “That’s cool” or “Good for you,” and then do the drug themselves.

How can I make sure my party is safe?

Make sure that no one drives afterward— I sometimes post the number for taxi cabs/ Uber/car services in the restroom, so people will call it while they are in there. I also sometimes hire designated drivers to be at the party to take people home afterward, if they are all from my neighborhood.