Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolution #5: The Family That Weighs Together, Stays Together

I started hitting the gym regularly about eight or nine years ago. Every year, I would dread going to the gym in January because of that particular group of people that I call “The Resolutioners”. 

Losing weight always tops the statistics chart as the number one New Year’s Resolution that people make for themselves. The first two weeks of January at every gym are the worst - group exercise classes are uncomfortably packed, you have to wait to use exercise equipment and it takes four or five trips through the parking lot to find a space. 

I cursed the resolutioners. This year, I’m one of them. 

Resolution #5: Take Care of My Mind, Body and Spirit 

My family has always struggled with our weight. As they are getting older, my parents struggle with other health issues as well. Most specifically, diabetes in my Dad’s case. They are both finding that the older they get, the more difficult it is for them to stay focused and motivated on keeping their health in check. Add to that the fact that the weight doesn’t come off as easy as it used to and they have both found themselves in a position where weight loss has to be a priority. 

My brother was quite lean and active growing up. However, a few years ago, after turning 30, getting married and having a baby, he stepped on the scale and was surprised to have found that he weighed more than he ever had before. Even continuing to play sports and live a fairly active lifestyle, he finds himself not being able to eat the same foods he used to and stay thin or burn calories as quickly. He knows he needs to make a change. 

Tim loved the idea of being part of our family weight loss goals. He knew he had gained some weight in the last year and thought it wouldn’t be bad to get back in shape. Last week, he also stepped on the scale for the first time in a long time and was shocked to see how much weight he had actually put on. He was immediately motivated to take whatever steps were necessary to put his weight and health under control. 

When they still lived in Washington, my parents had a lot of success losing weight through a program called Healthy Weigh. They were responsible for weighing in three times a week with coaches and other participants around. It added a different level of drive that they didn’t have before when they were trying to do it on their own. With good meal planning and an exercise regimen, they dropped over one hundred combined pounds in six months. 

I’m also a fan of that show, The Biggest Loser, because of the competitive element to it. Players are accountable to each other and are encouraged to challenge and support each other for the betterment of their teams. Together, they learn humility AND confidence, sacrifice AND reward, struggle AND success. I believe it’s a wonderful way to help people find their inner power and change their lives. 

Sooo... with all of this information, I decided to come up with something we could all do together, as a family, and really attack our goals with a clear intention. I call it... The Family Fit Club. 

We’ve been working on it the last couple of weeks. Mom, Dad and I built the materials and bought the accessories to keep things fun and exciting. We have an inspiration board, a chart for documenting weight loss, weekly challenges and photographic results. We’ve come up with a really interesting way to work together in achieving our goals, both physically and mentally. As I said before, 2012 for me is all about being healthy. Having a great body for swimsuit season is only part of this. 

While we have an entire printout of our “rules”, these are the basics: 

  • Every Saturday we meet at Mom and Dad’s to weigh in together 
  • Once a month, we take pictures to track our progress visually 
  • Each week, there is a new challenge that must be completed (exercise goal, personal achievement, personal sacrifice and a couples retreat) 
  • Weight gained or weekly challenge not completed? Monetary accountability 

Basically, I used the Green Bay Packers Wide Receiver challenge: every time one of them drops a catchable pass, they must buy a one hundred dollar gift card for the other four receivers. 

So each time one of us gains weight or doesn’t complete the weekly challenge, we must pay all other participants $5.00. My dad even built little boxes for our money. Obviously, we hope that these will remain empty throughout the entire six months that we will be doing our challenge. But having to answer financially for not completing a goal adds an extra edge that I hope will encourage us all to push a little harder as we get closer to our weigh in. 

I’m pretty excited about the whole process. I’ve gained and lost weight many times, but it would be nice to have a different mentality about the whole thing so it will become a lifelong success story and not just “another diet”. Plus, it means a lot to see my parents, brother and boyfriend healthy and happy. And we have always liked games so I have a feeling this will be a great thing for all of us. 

The first Saturday of every month is Picture Day. It's also when I will update my blog with  my progress

The  beginning of our "Inspiration Board" for positive/funny pictures, quotes, etc.

The picture on the left has our starting weight on the board - the one on the right is our goal weight.

We weight in at 9:00am every Saturday at Mom and Dad's for accuracy and accountability

Mom can't wait to fit back into her John Elway jersey
Week One's challenge is underway!

2012: The year of health. I’m definitely ready for something different and I’m very excited about all of my resolutions. 

Life is already good. I can’t wait for it to get even better. 

Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Resolution #4 - I Make HOW Much Each Month? No Way!!

I really wanted my fourth resolution to be something like “I’m going to focus more on my art” or “I’m going to get serious about my writing”. However, both of those things seem like they are chores and I don’t really feel very passionate about either one. I’ve made resolutions about them before and they end up just feeling like weights that I’m carrying around. 

The resolutions I am making this year are specifically designed to get me excited and motivated. The truth is, drawing is just something I like to do when I feel like it - and I don’t always feel like it. And I’ve said this many times before - the only kind of writing I am interested in doing is this blog. Therefore, I have decided to take on something a little more personal. 


Ugh... I love to gamble. I love how exciting it is when I win. I love the calming monotony of pressing those buttons as I’m winding down from a long day at work. I love the free drinks. 

I don’t love how rarely I actually win. I don’t love how drunk I get from those “free” drinks (weird how we think they are free after spending $100 on Video Poker. “Yes, can I get another $20 Bud Light, please?). I don’t love that I say I’m going to the bathroom and then sneak away to the ATM. I don’t love waking up the next morning feeling bad, once again, about how much I’ve spent. I don’t love realizing that I can’t go grocery shopping until I work again because all of my tip money now belongs to Big Dog’s Brewing Company or Sante Fe Station. I don’t love that it has so much control over me. 

I would love to say I’m not going to gamble for the entire year. But that’s not what I want either. I want to be able to learn to tell myself “that’s enough”. I admire that very much about Tim. When he gets paid, he allows himself a certain amount to gamble and then he stops. 

Wait.. you stop? Even if you haven’t won anything? Unbelievable!!! 

There are a LOT of things I want to accomplish this year and many of them revolve around having enough money. I make good money - I just don’t know it because I spend it so frivolously in those damn slot machines. “Just another $20” never seems like that big of deal at the time. Five of those statements later, and I have to pick up another shift just to make rent. 


On the other hand, one of the really neat things about Las Vegas is the fact that one lucky hit (like a few bucks into his twenty, Tim hits a six spot and his half of the rent is covered - only in Vegas) can make a real difference. Plus, I’m not making these resolutions in order to be miserable. And did I mention how much I love gambling? 

Resolution #4: Know when to say when 


This will be my monthly gambling budget. I know, I know... doesn’t sound like I’m sacrificing, right? Well if I am making my budget $100, you can probably imagine how much I’m currently throwing away... ugh, my stomach literally just turned... 

Like Tim just told me - wouldn’t it be nice to know at the end of each month that I only spent $100 instead of... um, yeah... let’s just leave it at that. 

Why yes it would. It’s also nice to know how much more I could have if I wasn’t blowing it all on that Bonus Crack - err... I mean Bonus Poker. 

Like a house. Or a new wardrobe. Or a stationary Spin cycle. Or a dog. Or a vacation. Or a new couch. Or a football game. Or a nice dinner. Or a new car. 

I could go on and on... and this is a MUCH more entertaining way to be monotonous. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Resolution #3: "It Has Been Two Whole Years Since I've Moved..."

When I walked in tonight, Tim knew something was wrong. It wasn’t really that big of a deal, but it had irritated me to the point where my energy showed it. 

We live in a gated community. However, it’s not one of those hot shot gated communities with a security guard checking IDs at the entrance. No, all you have to do here is swipe a card or wait for the car in front of you to do the same and you are let in. I do think it’s kind of silly, actually. I mean, I suppose it makes people feel safer, but since anyone can get in anyway, I don’t really see the point. 

Anyhow, the gate was broken last week. This week it was fixed, but my name is no longer in the directory so I can’t call my cell phone to let myself in (Tim uses the key card). Unfortunately, at midnight, there aren’t a lot of people coming into the complex to follow in. I decided to settle in and camp out for a while and reminded myself to call the office first thing in the morning to get this straightened out. 

Suddenly, I saw a car coming from the inside of the complex and thought to myself “well shit, I don’t want to be here all night - I’ll just drive around and enter in the exit gate”. I positioned my car to make the tight turn into the exit gate when the car that has just come out actually stops, blocking me from the gate and allowing the gate to close behind them. 


I roll down my window to explain to them that I am a resident (and show them my rear view window residence tag) and to let them know that I’m having trouble with my gate code. Of course, they didn’t roll down their window; they simply gave me a look of disapproval and condescendingly pointed at the machine where I’m supposed to put the entry code in. I honked out of frustration and shouted out the window “I live here! This thing is broken! It’s been broken for a few days!” 

They patiently wait until the gate comes to a complete close behind them and they leave. 

Less than five seconds later, another car comes to exit as well. They drive through quickly and I drive in. 

I can only hope car #1 saw this take place. 

Look, I get what was going on... but come on! Be realistic! If you don’t let me in, someone else is going to as soon as you leave. And if it really bothers you to the point where you feel the need to play God at the gate, it’s time to move to Anthem! (For those of you who don’t live in Las Vegas, see “pretentious gated and secured housing community”.) 

This is not the reason for my third resolution... but it definitely compelled me to write about it tonight. 

Resolution #3: Our House... Is A Very, Very, Very Fine House 

I’m definitely not looking to buy a house... not yet. However, my one bedroom apartment has certainly gotten smaller over the last few months and the idea of renting a larger place has been on my mind a lot lately. 

Then, a few weeks ago, Tim and I went to PetSmart to get some things for Bailey and they were having an adoption day. I can say with complete certainty that if we had a place with a backyard, one of those dogs would have gone home with us that day. 

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about getting a house since then. And it wasn’t until this morning that I decided to make it my third resolution. And when King Shithead of Apartment Manor wouldn’t let me into my own complex, I knew it was the right decision. 

Tim and I have talked about it and we both know it’s going to be a major financial commitment to rent a house versus an apartment. A two-bedroom, two bathroom will not only cost more in rent, but it will cost more to furnish. And a dog isn’t going to be cheap either. 

However, it’s something that has become really important to me. My mom was thrilled when I told her and is already keeping her eyes out for rentals in their neighborhood. I never thought I would be excited about living so close to my family... but I really, really am. I would love to be able to see my nephew more often (my brother and sister in law live in the same neighborhood) and it’s in a terrific location. 

Tomorrow morning, I am going to call my manager for two reasons: get my name back on the gate code machine and find out when my lease is up. 

Anyone know where I can get a LOT of boxes? I already have the eggs I need for my neighbor....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Resolution #2: "I've Got Big Teeth And I Cannot Lie"

On our very first date, Jeremy asked me what was wrong with my teeth. It made me uncomfortable, but I blew it off since everything else was going so well that night. I didn’t really think about it again until we were in Lake Tahoe and he asked me what I would do about them if I were ever to become a famous writer and have to be in the public eye. 

Not a day has gone by since then that I haven’t been self conscious about my smile. 

I don’t really hold it against Jeremy. In fact, one of the things I liked so much about him was his honest approach to everything. I’m still not completely convinced that it’s the kind of conversation you should have with your new girlfriend, but then again, I have made some odd decisions in my past relationships as well. So who am I to judge or feel offended? Ahem... 

In all seriousness, though... I have always felt a little uneasy about my teeth and my smile. I always thought it was the one thing about myself that I disliked but could fix. In my late teens and early twenties, my wisdom teeth started pushing through and after ignoring what was going on for so long, eventually my front teeth had moved together and forward in a position that I consider... less than desirable. I never thought it was that big of a deal until just recently. And now, it’s something I can’t stop thinking about. 

I’m embarrassed about the idea of wearing braces. A few people have told me about the Invisilign thing, but I think the most efficient and economic choice for me is going to be good old metal mouth. I know that, these days, braces don’t have to be worn for so long, and I’m probably only looking at a couple of years... but as a 31 year old woman, the idea of getting braces makes me feel pretty strange. 

However, then I start thinking about being uncomfortable every time someones says something funny. Or whenever I need to have my picture taken. I wonder what would be worse - spending a couple of years feeling sheepish and insecure or spending the rest of my life feeling like I can’t laugh the way I want to or flash my pearlies for all the world to see. 

Resolution #2: 2012 Looks Like A Great Year For A Healthy Smile 

I haven’t yet decided how I want to go about it. My hairdresser swears by the college of orthodontics but my benefits are decent and the new Modern Dentistry that opened right by my house sounds good too. I’m probably looking at thousands of dollars in dental work to get the smile I want... but I am finally ready to take care of my teeth and set myself up for a future of happy dentist appointments. 

Oh my God. A happy dentist appointment? It almost seems impossible. Then again, so does the day that I laugh out loud at something funny without having to cover my mouth. 

Thanks, Jeremy. Oh shit... did that sound sarcastic? I really didn’t mean it... I truly mean thanks. 

Thanks a lot. 


Resolution #1 - "How Can I Better Serve You Today?"

I’m standing in what we call the “accountability room” at work where we drop our money and complete our paperwork for our shift. At every other restaurant I’ve worked, this process was actually done with a manager. Not having to do that anymore is one of the things I really enjoy about my new job. 

As I finish preparing my paperwork next to a few other servers, one of the kitchen chefs squeezes by to get something out of the room. A line cook pops his head in and asks the chef to get him an apron. 

“What do you need an apron for? You are done cooking for the night.” 

“We are cleaning, Chef.” 

“We clean with towels, not aprons” 

The line cook laughs uncomfortably, not sure how to take the comment. The chef tosses him an apron and the cook walks away. 

To no one in particular, the chef says “I need to promote that guy to a server. He works really hard at hardly working.” 

Comments like this are one of the things I dislike about my job. 

I know that a lot of my frustration with my new job is the fact that I got to spend six months without one. Working at Roadrunner with my friend Beau was a nice way to ease myself back into employment because I was in a welcoming environment with friendly people. Unfortunately, it didn’t pay the bills. 

I am genuinely grateful for my new job. My paychecks are good, I make consistent tips and with the exception of dealing with naive and idiotic comments like the one above, if I don’t make any mistakes at my tables, I can go an entire shift without having to interact with any managers. This pleases me. 

My schedule has been troublesome as I am new and, therefore, it has been difficult to get something ideal. I absolutely hate working Sundays... but it’s the most requested day off in my industry and as a newbie, I have to be available this day. I also had to work Thanksgiving, Christmas and have an 11:45pm shift on New Year’s Eve. Awesome. I’ve never had a job where I had to work all three holidays. Something tells me if I stay with the Grand Lux, this is something I’ll just have to anticipate each year. 

My point is, I’ve been complaining a lot about my job lately. And honestly, it’s not that bad. So what if I don’t like some of the people I work with/for? So what if I have to work on holidays? So what if one of my chefs is a douchebag? When did I start spending so much time focusing on the negative things in life? 

Resolution #1: It’s time to be grateful for my good fortune. 

During a time where unemployment is at an all time high (at least in my lifetime), and being able to find a job is no longer a simple process, I have been fortunate enough to get and keep jobs that pay well and fit my personality. Focusing on the annoyances of my job do nothing but make me more aggravated. I find this unproductive. 

My schedule will come around. Being new always has it’s disadvantages. However, every time I ask for a day off, I get it. 

Assholes are everywhere. The only reason I notice it so much more at this job compared to others I’ve had is because I work with a lot more people than I’m used to. There are also some really awesome people at my work and I definitely get to focus on their energy moving forward. 

I was a restaurant manager for six months. And I was miserable. For those managers that can’t seem to say anything productive or positive, all I have to say is - I get it. And I’ll make more of an effort to be empathetic to their own frustrations. I’ll also be sure to avoid them as much as possible. 

I’m still going to have bad days, of course. But it’s time to stop resisting the fact that I’m back to work and start embracing the fact that I have a good serving job on the strip in Las Vegas, Nevada - where the service industry is the heart of the city. I make good money not having to work a ton of hours. And the health benefits are excellent. 

I talk down about my profession a lot because I think anyone can be a server, which makes me feel ordinary. But then I get double sat with a party of eight and a party of six, followed up immediately by another double seating of a party of four and a party of two and after running around non-stop for over an hour and a half, I had no issues, no manager was needed, all food came out perfectly, tips were good and I was told by a table that I was the best, friendliest and most attentive server they ever had. And somehow, that makes me feel special. 

So yeah, lucky me. And in the new year, this is a sentiment that I will continue to remind myself of whenever I start to feel a bit frustrated. There are many people who would like to have the job I have. My fortune is not to be taken lightly. 

With all that said, thank goodness I have tomorrow off. Christmas sure brings out the ugly in customers. 

And chefs, apparently. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Most Important Gift This Year Will Be The One I Give Myself

“You work on Christmas?” He asked me as we waiting for our tables to get sat. 


“You have family in town?” 

“Yes. Kinda bummed but what are you gonna do?” 

“I don’t care about working on Christmas. I can’t even remember the last time I got a Christmas gift so it doesn’t matter to me.” 

Then I watched him walk away. He seemed really nonchalant about his response, but I was sad for him anyway. 

Wednesday was my last day off before Christmas. I spent the day running around, getting last minute gifts and enjoying a “wrapping party” with my mom to get everything squared away. I had so much fun spending the rest of what I could afford out of my savings preparing Christmas gifts for my family and friends. 

Last year, when I had all kinds of money, I went a little overboard on gifts. I bought something for just about everyone that I had held a conversation with in the few months leading up to the holidays. I remember afterwards feeling very unfulfilled... I think only your real, true friends appreciate the effort that goes into thinking about someone else. Or maybe I was just bitter because the feelings weren’t reciprocated. 

Not that the holiday is all about the gifts we receive. Of course not. But there is something incredibly satisfying about the fact that someone thought of you. Warm and fuzzy and all that junk... 

This year, I told myself I would only buy for my immediate family and Tim. It started out that way but then my mom started making these awesome sports team ornaments and I began thinking about a few people at my work and in my life that would genuinely appreciate something so cool. Fifteen ornaments later and I’m glad I made that decision. People really liked them. And I don’t particularly care for most of the people I work with, but there are a select few that have really made my transition to this new environment less miserable than it could have been. So it was nice to let them know that I appreciated that. 

I also had a lot of fun shopping for Tim. Unfortunately, we’ve spent a good part of this past week not getting along that well and it has caused some concern about whether or not I am going down the same path in this relationship that I have before. The ups and downs of shopping for thoughtful gifts and then spending that same night on the couch in tears has taken a toll on my energy. I have yo-yo’d between feeling generous and caring to feeling bad about myself and my selfish behavior. I can’t decide if I’m a really good person who keeps making bad decisions or a really bad person who is trying to cover it up with presents. 

I don’t remember exactly how old we were... I think maybe I was ten or eleven... anyhow, my parents were working one day and my brother had discovered the box where all of our Christmas gifts were beautifully wrapped and waiting to be placed under the tree after we fell asleep on Christmas Eve. Mom and Dad were always so good about that... they would put a few gifts under the tree throughout the month and then BAM! Christmas morning, we would gasp at all the new presents that had appeared overnight. It was awesome. 

However, this particular year, we decided to be rotten. We got a chair from the kitchen and got the big box off the shelf. We proceed to carefully unwrap the edges of all of our gifts - just enough to peek in and see what they were. We would put them back together, good as new, and move on to the next one. I was so excited to see all the great gifts my parents had gotten for us. 

After we successfully opened and rewrapped everything, we placed all the gifts back in the box, climbed up on the chair and returned it to the shelf where we had found it. Good as new. 

Except we left the chair. 

When my parents got home, my mom asked immediately why the chair was where it was. I’ve never been a great liar and between the both of us, we broke down and told them what we had done. The look on their faces was enough to tear my heart right out from my chest. I couldn’t believe that I had been so bad. Why did I take away the one gift that meant the most to my mom and dad every year? Why did I replace the look of love and excitement on their face when we opened each of our wonderful gifts in front of them with this horrible look of sadness and grief? What the hell was I thinking? 

We were sent to our rooms, of course, and my reaction to how shameful I felt was... memorable. I took everything in my room - every toy, every poster, all my clothes, etc. - and I threw it all in the closet. Then I took the blanket from my bed and covered it all. I felt like I didn’t deserve anything I had. I laid on my bed and sobbed. There are a few others times in my life I can remember feeling so horrible, but none quite as vivid as knowing that I had ruined Christmas for my parents. 

Christmas morning that year was awful. We sat quietly and opened our gifts while Mom held back tears and Dad looked at the floor. It is one of the worst memories of my life. 

To this day, I don’t even shake a gift to see if I can guess what it is. 

I wish I knew why I do some of the things I do. On Wednesday, I wanted to go see a few of my friends and give them their Christmas gifts after bowling. I knew Tim had an early morning the next day and assured him that we wouldn’t be out all night. But the time came to go and I still want to gamble, drink, and hang out. When we finally left and went home, we fought about my selfishness and bratty behavior to the point where voices were raised and doors were slammed. How come I can only do some things right? Why do I have to ruin my good deeds with thoughtless acts? 

On Sunday, after football, I wanted to go to a local bar by the house to have some drinks and play some Keno during the night game. Tim agreed and then changed his mind. I flipped out, once again acting like a selfish child who didn’t get the toy she wanted. We went home, fought about it and, out of frustration for having been down this road with him so many times, I slammed the dresser drawers in my closet hard enough to make him upset and he left the house for then night. Angry about this as well, I kicked the dresser, breaking one of the drawers completely in half. 

When did I lose my zen? 

We hardly spoke yesterday. When we did, it was mostly just “I’m sorry.” And we are. We are always sorry the next day. But when are we going to be able to have a morning where we wake up and not feel like we need to apologize to one another? 

I guess I’m just so tired of feeling bad for the things I do. But I don’t know how to change who I am. I am the one who always says that everything is a choice and that in order to have something different, we just need to choose something different. Sounds so easy when I’m saying it to someone else. 

I’m not quite ready to give up on this relationship. This alone is new for me. But things definitely need to change. And since I always seem to get a huge burst of momentum for the new year, I’m using the next week to really think about the things in my life that I want to see change. A resolution list, if you will, but something that I hope will not only improve my bank account and my waist line, but hopefully it will help put my relationship with Tim back on the right track. 

For now, I am going to do my best to make money at work this weekend (to avoid feeling sorry for myself for not being able to spend the whole weekend with my family), and beginning Monday and going through Friday, I am going to post a new blog every day about the things I plan on changing in the new year. Five things that I know I need to make happen in order to bring balance back into my life. It’s time to reconnect with what I truly want and recommit to making it happen. It’s time to do the right thing. 

Because my closet is way too small to fit all my shit now.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It's a Lot More Difficult Being Right Than You Would Think

I’ll be honest, there was a lot about that Leadership program I was in that is a bit of a blur now. I was learning so much and losing a big part of what I believed to be my truth and the definition of who I was as a person. There was so much of it that made sense and so much that I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand. Then, of course, there were the things that happened and actions that were taken that I didn’t believe in; things that seemed contradictory to what I was learning. I left the program confused and frustrated, but still hanging on, white-knuckled, to this newfound discovery of what I thought it meant to live a life of responsibility. 

This is what I choose to write about the most because it is what has shaped my adult life more than any other experience. More so than moving to Los Angeles at 18, more than my relationships with men and even more so than the marijuana that I coveted and worshipped as my guidance for so many years. When it finally clicked that hoping and wishing for things to change were not that same as actually BEING the hope and the change that I wanted, my life began to look quite differently. My roadblock continues to be not being able to visualize what I actually want to do with my life. Building a successful career, having a family and buying my own home are three things that mean very little to me and always have. I know that I want to be happy and content with who I am and what I have, but the analytical part of me seems to think there are steps to take to become this person. In all that I have learned, the only real change I need to make is shifting my mind from WANTING to be happy to simply CHOOSING happiness. Easy, right? 

One of the most influential people in my training was a woman by the name of Martha Diane. When she spoke, I heard her. I never wanted her to quit talking because it seemed like she was the only person saying things in a way where I understood them so clearly. She told a story one time that I told myself I would never forget because it opened in me a kind of awareness that I didn’t know existed. 

It’s been a little while since I thought about this story and I may get a few of the details wrong, but this is how I remember it and the overall point remains the same... 

She was at home one day with her fiance. She had had a bit of an exhausting and frustrating day as I recall, and became annoyed with the fact that her fiance was sitting in the living room either playing video games or watching television or something... an activity that she found to be irrelevant. Especially given his unbelievable talent as a musician, I believe (My brain is trying to decide if it was musician or carpenter.. but I think the carpenter thing is just because I recently read an article about Jesus). 

She was upset about the fact that he was wasting his time doing something that had no purpose when he could be out writing the world’s next best song and sharing his gift with others. She began to nag at him and soon created some conflict. Being a leader in the world of Universal Law, specifically in the Law of Responsibility she quickly caught herself and realized what she was doing. 

She told us that she stopped her incessant nagging and instead starting asking herself questions such as “when am I going to sit down and write that book I’ve always wanted to?” and “what am I doing for my life that makes me feel fulfilled and satisfied?” 

Martha Diane believed that not only would taking action on these issues immediately shift the focus to her and her responsibilities in life, she believed that by putting her energy into making her world what she wanted, this would create a ripple effect in her household and before she knew it, her fiance would be creating the kind of music he always wanted to. She believed strongly in living a life of responsibility and that the results of living this way could be incredible mind-blowing. 

I don’t know how or why, but hearing her tell this story made everything I was learning come together and finally make sense. It’s not so much a “worry about yourself and let everyone else worry about themselves” kind of theory as much as it is a “be the change you want to see and watch your world change around you”. 

The problem with this is that it is not unlike learning a second language. If you stop practicing daily or stop being around those who speak that language regularly, what you have already learned becomes more difficult to remember and harder to put into play in your daily life. 

Tim has been going through some DMV issues. A few years ago, he got a few tickets for speeding, no proof of insurance, etc. and at the time, didn’t make it a priority to show up for his court appearances. So, while they were minor offenses, not handling them properly caused him to lose his license and owe a heavy chunk of money in order to get it back. It became overwhelming for him and it wasn’t until just recently that he decided to take on his burden and get things handled. 

Of course, this is a lot easier said than done. “Handling it” required going in front of a judge who issued him a laundry list of things to do in order to get his license back and get his fees reduced. Some of these things included traffic school, researching who he had insurance with at the time of one of the tickets, coming back to court within a certain time frame and dealing with the collections agency that was now handling the financial aspects of his case. Needless to say, he has been feeling quite overwhelmed again. 

To make matters worse, he failed his written drive test at the DMV the first time he took it. He went back the next day and passed, but then had to wait two weeks to take his drive test. He has to get back to court to show his license soon so time is of the essence. 

Finally the morning came where he was supposed to take his drive test. He told me that when he got back, we would go celebrate him having his license again. While he was gone, I decided I would sleep a little more and then get in the shower so I’d be ready to go when he came back home. 

When I emerged from the shower, he was home. He was sitting on the couch and his energy was low. I became worried that he had failed his drive test and asked him what was wrong. As it turned out, his car had a brake light that was out so they told him he would need to fix it before they could do the drive test. Frustrated, he drove to Walmart, bought a replacement, fixed it in the parking lot and then went back to the DMV. When he checked back in to take the test, the woman behind the counter with the stereotypical DMV attitude told him he had missed his appointment time and would need to go on standby and see if there was another appointment available. Overly annoyed with the debacle, he decided to just reschedule his drive test for another two weeks from that day. 

As he was telling me the story, I immediately began to get angry. Part of me was angry just because he was, but I was also frustrated that he had given up so easily. I was frustrated that he didn’t just stay on standby since he had the day off anyway. I was upset that he didn’t want to do whatever it took to just get it handled already. I knew time was ticking and that this was an important step in him moving forward. Before I knew it, I was grinding my teeth. 

Then he asked me what was wrong. 

I forgot all about Martha Diane in that moment. 

I let him have it. I told him how disappointed I was that he got so defeated and gave up so easily. I asked him what else he had to do that day and why not wait it out? I told him my frustrations one at a time until I had laid out at least five or six of them and then added one more just for good measure. 

When I finished unloading, I looked him in the face. He looked as if someone had just told him there would be no Christmas this year. He was hurt, ashamed and sadder than I had ever seen him. He offered no rebuttal, just waited a few minutes, grabbed his keys and said he was going for a walk. 

But I was helping, right? I mean, someone has to keep his eye on the prize, right? Sometimes it just takes a little push to get going, right? 

Hmm.. so why did I feel like such a piece of poop?

I went to work that night and tried to forget about how mean I was. I tried telling myself I was doing the right thing. After all, he doesn’t need an enabler, he needs someone to keep him motivated, to follow through, to help him understand how much better he is going to feel when all of this is behind him. He doesn’t need someone else giving up on him. 

It wasn’t working. I still felt bad. But, I stuck to my guns and when I got home that night, I acted normal and told him that I was sorry that I made him feel bad but made sure he understood that I didn’t regret what I said, only how I said it. Funny how that didn’t make him feel better, huh? 

Sure is a good thing I don’t have any of my own demons that I need to face and deal with! Good thing I’m perfect! 

(See how out of practice I am?) 

The next day, we decided to just have a nice day off together. I had taken the day off of work to watch the Oklahoma/Oklahoma State game so we went bowling together in the morning and then headed out to have some lunch and a few beers at a local bar. 

I wasn’t planning on gambling. My nest egg is dwindling and I can no longer spend money like I have $20,000 burning a hole in my pocket (too soon?)

So, I agreed that I would spend $60 and that was it. So I spent $60. Then I snuck off to the ATM and pulled out $60 more. I spent that too. So I asked Tim if he would loan me another $20 and he said no. 

It could have been the beer. It could have been the frustration of losing $120 that I needed for Christmas. However, I knew it was none of those things. I exploded in an adult size temper tantrum because deep down, I was unhappy with my lack of discipline with my finances, my frustration with where I am in life and after spending the entire football game that night on the couch with Tim in the bedroom, I realized that I wasn’t practicing the one thing that made the most sense to me all those years ago. 

The Law of Responsibility. 

I wasn’t mad that Tim didn’t stick around all day at the DMV to take his drive test. I wasn’t mad that he gave up so quickly. I wasn’t mad that he came home so defeated. 

I was mad that I’ve given up on the things I want to do. I’m mad that having no direction with my writing has made me feel defeated. I’m mad that I moved my drawing table into my room and have decided not to set it up, even though I have an unbelievable talent. I’m mad that I’ve allowed myself to gain weight out of sheer laziness. I’m mad that I’m completely content being a server and I’m letting it define me as a person. I’m mad that I don’t want to be more than what I am. 

Remember that blog? Well it was just the tip of the iceberg. 

Tim emerged from the bedroom that night and sat next to me on the couch. I immediately burst into tears and woefully apologized for all that I had said and done to make him feel like he was less than the amazing man he is. I acknowledged my own shortcomings and how I was deflecting my frustrations with myself onto him and his challenges. I purged and purged, blew my nose and purged some more. 

How can taking responsibility be so hard and so cathartic at the same time? 

Because he’s the most incredible person I know, he forgave me. A few days later, in a text message exchange, he told me that he would “not go quietly into the night in our relationship.” The tears that text brought to my eyes were much better than the ones from the other night. 

I’m super hard on myself - harder than anyone I know. And when I get tired of being hard on myself, I become hard on others. I’m the coach that always needs to win, the parent whose daughter must become head cheerleader and the Orange County housewife with the most expensive Christmas decorations. I’m the person that I can’t stand. 

Having this most recent meltdown, however, was good for me. It takes me further away from that type of person and closer to... well, Martha Diane. 

I must be doing something right. My family is amazing, my boyfriend is incredible and my football team is winning. I definitely get to acknowledge myself for the things I am that are wonderful instead of always getting down on myself for not being... more. 

The New Year is upon us as is my new list of resolutions. I have a feeling they are going to be a lot different than last year. I made a declaration last year about 2011 being the year to love. I found a whole new different kind of love for my family, I attracted a person who loves everything about me and that is so easy for me to love and I watched many of my friends fall in love and fill their homes with little bundles of love. So my declaration was a good one. 

2012 is going to be the year of health. I’m not sure exactly what this looks like yet, but I know that it is going to be in both the mental and physical sense. 

But 2011 isn’t over yet and there is still one more element of love that I need to handle. I need to love me. All of me... for everything I’ve been, everything I am and everything I will be. 

I think if Martha Diane read this, she’d be proud. 

Either that or she would correct my grammar.

Friday, December 2, 2011

OMG Will You Totally Be My BFF?? No? Hmmm.. SMH...

I’m very much looking forward to Christmas this year. Although it’s likely that I’ll have to work, I am anxious to spend time with the family again. We had a really great Thanksgiving and it’s been super sweet to see my nephew become more and more familiar with me. Pretty soon, he may even acknowledge me with a hug and a kiss. That will be nice. 

The last few years have been really rocky with the family which makes it that much nicer to spend time with them now. I really feel like my brother and I are genuinely getting along and, even more so, enjoying each other’s company. My mom and I are connecting on a level that I don’t think we ever have before and my dad is making some big changes in his life that is allowing his energy to be more relaxed and comfortable. It seems like after so long, the four of us finally have things figured out. This pleases me immensely. 

Having this revitalized relationship with my family has had me thinking of my other relationships lately. In the past, being so disconnected from my family, I found myself spending many holidays with my friends. Just last year, I spent a little over a week driving all over Southern California visiting my friends right before Thanksgiving and spent the holiday itself with a bunch of my old friends from Chili’s. Christmas wasn’t exactly... uncomfortable with my family... but after the presents were opened and the gifts were unwrapped, I excused myself to spend the night hanging out with my friend James, singing karaoke and drinking Guinness into the wee hours of the morning. 

My friends really helped me out during those times. It was so great to feel like I still belonged somewhere even when I felt like an outsider with my family. It was wonderful to feel like I wasn’t completely alone. 

Now, though, I reflect on my friendships that I had in the past and the ones I have now and can’t help but wish I was as satisfied with them as I once was. I’ve never really been the kind of person that needs to be surrounded by hundreds of friends in order to feel fulfilled; I’ve always just kind of wanted that one. One best friend. The BFF, if you will. This is something that I truly don’t feel like I’ve ever had. 

I remember having “best friends” in school. Kristy and Jennifer come to mind. And while the time we spent together was fun and we had our moments of being inseparable, in the end, Kristy made out with my ex-boyfriend of four years just days after we broke up and Jennifer always had other friends and hobbies to turn to when she got bored with me. Superficial best-friendshipism at it’s best (yeah, that’s right). 

I guess in my mind, I always had high expectations for the BFF title. As an adult, the closest thing I’ve had to what I consider a “best friend” is my friend, Nancy. However, it never felt all the way complete as I have definitely always felt like I took more from her than she ever needed from me. Somehow, I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to work. 

I’m no victim here. I know that I am the reason why I haven’t had the kind of solid, unbreakable, Sex In The City type of camaraderie with my female counterparts. I haven’t exactly figured out why, though. The “lack of willingness to be vulnerable” explanation is usually my go to. But I dunno... sure feels like I’ve been vulnerable with my friends in the past to no avail. 

Men, however. Men are easy to be friends with. In fact, there was a period of time where pretty much all of my friends were either ex-boyfriends or male friends that I worked with, slept with or smoked with. I even remember thinking about my future wedding and that instead of four or five beautiful bridesmaids standing next to me, I would have four or five handsome men in off-white suits as part of my “bridal party”. 

I have historically connected easier with men, but only because I think, for me, it’s a LOT easier to connect through sexual chemistry and flirtation. Even now, at my new job, there are a few girls that I have become friendly with, but it’s a handful of guys there that I genuinely look forward to seeing because of their warm welcome, easy attitudes and willingness to help out. 

I used to inform my boyfriends about my relationships and more or less “warn” them that I spent a lot of time with my ex boyfriends and other male friends. I was very adamant about it not being a problem. And it never was. And honestly, in retrospect, I’m not sure that was a good thing. Especially in the case of Jeremy, I needed to spend time with my ex-boyfriends and male friends to get the time, attention and affection that I wasn’t getting in my relationship with him. It almost seems like a completely different kind of infidelity now that I reflect on it. 

Things are different now. Tim showers me with love, affection, attention, gratitude and is completely devoted to the success of our relationship. He puts me first and makes my happiness a priority. These are things that I think are imperative in a partnership with a loved one. These are the things I’ve always looked for in past relationships. Not having these things are the reason I left so many times. 

It’s strange though... I guess part of me felt that when I found the person that gave me all the things I wanted in a union, I would automatically feel like I not only gained a boyfriend, fiance, husband, etc., but that just like that, BAM! I’d have a best friend too. As it turns out, this is not exactly the case. 

I’ve noticed that when Tim and I have disagreements or miscommunications (sounds so much more pleasant than “fighting”, doesn’t it?) it’s almost always because one simply doesn’t understand where the other one is coming from. Different parenting, different childhoods, different schooling and even different drugs made us very different people. More so than anyone I’ve ever been in love with, I find it challenging to find our way back when we’ve gotten really off track about something. However, when we do find our way (and we always do), we bring along with us a stronger bond and larger respect for one another. I am confident that is why we both continue to do what it takes to build the relationship we see possible with each other. 

On December 17th, my parents will have been married for 34 years. I’m pretty sure they consider themselves to be each other’s best friend. I think maybe my brother and sister-in-law feel the same way about each other, although I’m really not sure. Is it required in order for a relationship to work? If I haven’t been able to form the kind of tight friendship bond with people in my past, will I ever be able to form one with Tim? Will being in love and wanting to share the future with each other be enough for us? Do I need to re-learn the ancient art of the friendship bracelet? 

Facebook has always been comforting to me... it makes me feel like I have lots of friends. But even lately, Facebook has been letting me down. What used to be cute, funny and random status updates and YouTube links has turned into endless pictures of “Look at how cute my baby is when he’s sleeping”, “Oh, she’s so adorable when she spits up everywhere” and “Look! He blinked! So precious!” 

It’s so frustrating... now that I finally feel connected with my family, I have discovered a disconnect with everyone else. Do I just need to find new friends? Should I just stop worrying about it? Isn’t it much easier to just be happy with what I have?

Should I just have a baby already? 

(Kidding, jeez!)

In the end, I suppose I just want to be understood and that’s what I think a best friend represents. A best friend is someone who “gets you”. The older I get, the less possible I think that is for me. 

All is not lost, though. Because I am loved. Very much so, in fact. 

Maybe it’s time to let that be enough.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"I Feel Much Better Now... Much Clearer." Does Anyone Even Remember Terminator 2?

I found my last blog to be quite cathartic. Sometimes, I don’t need answers, I just need to put out to the Universe what my frustrations are. I felt so much better afterwards. 

After he read it, my dad suggested that I write a blog in a similar fashion, but instead, outlining all of the things that I am grateful for. Given the nature of this week and the overwhelming thankfulness that I do feel, I thought I would take his suggestion. After all, just like being mad, being grateful doesn’t always require explanations. 

I am grateful. 

I am grateful to be so close to my family. 

I am grateful that my brother has found happiness. 

I am grateful that my nephew is so smart and beautiful. 

I am grateful to have health insurance again. 

I am grateful to have a significant other who is crazy about me. 

I am grateful that the NFL is not the NBA. 

I am grateful for my apartment that officially feels like “home”. 

I am grateful for a job that allows me to enjoy other activities and still pays the bills. 

I am grateful for the handful of employees at my new job that make me smile. 

I am grateful for my brain. 

I am grateful for my ability to communicate. 

I am grateful to Jeremy for giving me that money. 

I am grateful for my new iPhone and my new friend, Siri. 

I am grateful that the Broncos already have a better win record than last year. 

I am grateful that so many of my friends have had or are having healthy babies. 

I am grateful for having enough food to eat. 

I am grateful for having a reliable car. 

I am grateful for my Satellite radio. 

I am grateful for those that I consider my true friends. 

I am grateful for those that I consider my superficial friends. 

I am grateful for good music. 

I am grateful for my healthy lungs. 

I am grateful for my loving and incredibly strong parents. 

I am grateful for my DVR. 

I am grateful for my bowling team, The X-Factor. 

I am grateful for all the time I get to spend with my family. 

I am grateful for the woman I’ve been, the one I am and the one I will become. 

I am grateful that I have today. 

I appreciate this time of year so much. Halloween reminds me of how much fun we can still have as adults, Thanksgiving reminds me of how much I have, Christmas reminds me of how important family is and, my favorite, New Year’s Day is a reminder of what I am capable of. 

Last year, I wrote a Thanksgiving blog as well. However you choose to do it, I do hope you’ll take some time to reflect on all that you are grateful for. It’s very easy to get lost in the messiness of life. I get lost there quite often... but when the trees clear and the clouds break, I see my family, my home, my job and my wonderful man and know that I am luckier and more rich than I ever thought possible. 

Thanks, Dad.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Warning; This is NOT a Positive Post

I’m mad. 

I’m mad that I’ve lost the motivation to work out. 

I’m mad that my cat requires so much attention. 

I’m mad that my Fantasy Football team can’t win. 

I’m mad that I can’t find the right way to show Tim how much I appreciate him. 

I’m mad that Kim Kardashian doesn’t take marriage seriously. 

I'm mad that I don’t get invited to weddings. 

I’m mad that my friend Nancy moved to Boston. 

I’m mad that the Facebook format changed and now my blog is harder to expose. 

I’m mad that Jeremy gave me that money. 

I’m mad that I wasn’t able to do anything substantial with it. 

I’m mad that my bowling team has lost three weeks in a row. 

I’m mad that I’ve gotten my period twice in less than four weeks. 

I’m mad that I have lingering health problems because of my irresponsible behavior. 

I’m mad that my nephew doesn’t like when I try and hold him. 

I’m mad that the Duggars are having another baby. 

I’m mad that adoption efforts seem to be nonexistent outside of the celebrity world. 

I’m mad that I have to pay people to get my shifts picked up at work. 

I’m mad that I have to work so many lunch shifts. 

I’m mad that I can’t find gratitude for my job. 

I’m mad that I can’t find gratitude for all that I have. 

I’m mad that my life is dictated by what I can afford to do. 

I’m mad that I’ve allowed myself to gain so much weight back. 

I’m mad that my dad has diabetes. 

I’m mad that I drink too much and don’t want to do anything about it. 

I’m mad that I am jealous of some of my friends. 

I’m mad that I don’t want to be anything. 

I’m mad that I’m a narcissist. 

I’m mad that Mayweather won’t fight Pacquiao. 

I’m mad that the Broncos are so awful. 

I’m mad that I don’t get enough quality time with Tim. 

I’m mad that when I do get time, I ruin it by drinking too much and getting emotional. 

I’m mad that I’ve forgotten how to have a good time. 

I’m mad that so many of my circles of friends end up being a disappointment. 

I'm mad that the ones that aren't, I rarely see anymore. 

I’m mad that I rely on Facebook and my blog for most of my social interaction. 

I’m mad that I am being a victim.... but I’m mad at living in responsibility too. 

I’m mad that time goes too fast. 

I'm mad that I can't have it all. 

I’m mad that I have to get ready for work. 

I’m mad that this post will make some people happy. 

I’m mad that I can’t figure this shit out. 

Today, I’m mad. And if all we have is today, what the hell am I supposed to do now? 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

“You Can't Depend On Your Judgment When Your Imagination is Out of Focus” - Mark Twain

It was Saturday. I was wrapping things up in the back hallways of work and getting all of my paperwork in order to submit and bounce for the day. It hadn’t been an awful seven hours; I had been scheduled a food running shift (which I actually enjoy as it is a nice break from the hustle and bustle of waiting on demanding tables and less than friendly business travelers. Plus it’s a tipped position at my job) however they ended up moving me on to the floor to cover a serving shift for the afternoon. I was pleased that I made as much money as I did and was getting ready to enjoy a day off with the family. 

As I was finishing up, one of the other servers and I were chatting about the day and she was expressing how excited she was to have received her first hundred dollar tip that she didn’t have to share with anyone else. I think her table wasn’t more than four or five people and I can’t remember the total of their bill, but apparently the woman paying was a dancer and was friends with someone else at the restaurant. As a result, she was very generous and appreciative of the good service she received and happily left her server the elusive “fat tip” that we all hunger for. After all, we have to balance out all those other people who either don’t find our services worthy of monetary thanks or simply don’t understand how percentages work. 

Either way, on a slow day in our restaurant, this woman made that server’s day. 

I was really pleased to hear about it and couldn’t help think to myself how nice it would be when I finally got my “fat tip”. I’m always okay with 18% and above, but who doesn’t like a little overcompensation every now and then? I remember getting a fifty dollar tip on a fifty dollar check at Chili’s one time, but it’s been a while since something like that has happened. 

I’ve finally settled into working full time again. I think that on top of the fact that I walked into a restaurant with a thousand employees (only a small exaggeration) with a thousand different personalities, the transition for me was so difficult this time around because I was really resistant to having to go back to work full time to begin with. Acceptance is a funny thing... and it does seem to have changed things quite a bit for me at work in a positive way. 

Plus, I’ve met a few really nice people who work there that I look forward to seeing and the management seems to be making a bigger effort - with me at least - to be helpful. I’m still overtipping the bartenders in an attempt for less attitude and am making a little headway there as well. I consider it an investment in my work environment. 

As far as the clientele, they aren’t bad either. I mean yes, some of them are... but that’s part of the business. It’s helpful that I’m no longer in a restaurant that serves a bottomless soup and salad special or a three course meal for two people for twenty bucks. The kind of clientele that those deals bring in are borderline intolerable. 

Unless you are in the industry yourself, you may not quite understand how, as servers, we can look at a table that sits in our section and profile the shit out of them. And most of the time, we’re right. Remember, there are stereotypes for a reason. 

So yesterday, when three very large black women dressed to party were seated at one of my tables, I couldn’t help but brush it off as a ten percent-er. It was cool... I was in a good mood. As long as they didn’t complain about every aspect of their meal, I could handle the bad tip. 

Here’s the thing with me, though... while I, like almost every server I’ve ever met, judge a table purely based on appearance, I am still compassionate to the fact that my job is to provide good service and to create an experience for someone. Maybe it’s because I’ve only been a server for five or six years total, but I take this responsibility very seriously. 

Tim and I go out to eat or drink all the time. Lucky for us, we tend to exude a very strong positive energy when we are together and, therefore, we seem to almost always attract the same in a server, bartender or sushi chef. However, when we do get bad service, it really puts a damper on the experience. Since I’m a server myself, I still leave the twenty percent (good karma and all), but they could’ve gotten thirty and possibly a new regular guest.... who always tips them thirty. 

Plus, you never know what kind of day someone had. Sometimes, that bad tip has absolutely nothing to do with you. It can’t be taken personally. Also, many people I wait on aren’t from America. Even if they understand that the standard is twenty percent, they don’t understand why and, therefore, they won’t leave it. 

Generally speaking, we are a country that is greedy, gluttonous and we like our money to come effortlessly. So when someone leaves us ten bucks on a hundred dollar check, we are furious. Even though we probably didn’t work any harder for that table than the one that only spent twenty and left us a five. It’s a strange mentality and I truly think the most compassionate people are the ones that make the best living in this industry. 

Okay, so back to my ladies. 

I approached the table with a smile and greeted them warmly. I noticed that one of the women had a slot machine ticket out on the table with $158.00 on it. Once again, you can never assume anything in Vegas. She may have pumped a thousand bucks into that machine before finally giving up and cashing out before it was all gone. Then again, she could’ve put a buck in to get a free drink and hit something right away. We are free to judge, but shouldn’t base our behavior on this initial judgment. 

We discussed martinis. I gave some suggestions of a few of my favorites and one of the women took my recommendation and ordered our Tahitian Pineapple martini. The other two decided on our equally delicious Asian Pear martini. Even though all three women looked well over twenty one, I asked for IDs as I don’t feel like job searching again and while they didn’t “happily” oblige, they did hand them over. 

Oakland. Awesome. The judgment continues. Then again, so does the smile. 

I bring them their martinis and they start taking pictures of themselves holding them. I offer to take a picture of the three of them. They are pleased with this and pose happily for me, toasting their frosty glasses. 

I give them a few minutes to decide on food and check in with my other three tables. When I go back, they have a few questions on the menu and want to make some modifications to their meal. Well, of course they do... I saw that coming. And of course they can. After all, it’s only one or two more buttons I have to press on the computer. What do I care? 

So they order their meals, changing up all the side dishes on them, but overall, nothing too complicated. I’m happy with what they ordered because I think there is very little room for them to be disappointed. Barbecue chicken and ribs for one, chicken parmesan for another and fish and chips for the third. 

Hmm... why does that not surprise me... 

I acknowledge them on their choices, take their menus and ring in their food. I go back to check a few times on their drinks. They are happy, pleasant and seem to be having a very good time. Perfect. Especially since the miserable woman at my other table who scarfed down her chicken caesar salad and then left me no tip was finally gone. I’ll take a happy table who aren’t going to tip me that much ANY day over a miserable woman that I thought would at least leave me a buck or two. 

The food comes out for the ladies and it looks great. One item missing - no problem. I run to the kitchen and grab the side of coleslaw. Easy fix. 

When I get back to the table, the lady that ordered the fish and chips said that last time she was in, the server had brought her a couple of dark dipping sauces that she loved, but couldn’t remember what they were. As a restaurant with twenty different sauces, all I had to go by was “dark” and “sort of a tempura for one and teriyaki for the other.” 


I go to the kitchen, confer with my General Manager and then make up a dish of four sauces that she might be talking about. When I drop them at the table and name them off to her, she immediately recognizes two of them being the right one but is pleased to be able to try two more. While I’m there, I notice one of the other ladies had finished her martini. I offer her another one and she declines, laughing that one was plenty. I make a joke about it being no problem, I just hate to see an empty glass anywhere in Vegas. They all laugh and as I’m walking away, I hear one of the women say to the other “she’s great!”. 

Aww... shucks. 

Their meal starts to wrap up and I clear the plates. As I do, one woman apologizes for not telling me sooner, but they need split checks. Once again, no problem. Unlike other restaurants I’ve worked at, I can do this without a manager so it really is no problem. 

I bring them the split checks and let them know that I will be their cashier whenever they are ready. I tend to my other tables and give the women a few minutes to get their bills in order. When I go back, all three checks are neatly stacked on the edge of the table. I politely tell them I will be right back with their change and they all tell me that it is not necessary. I thank them, tell them to enjoy the rest of their vacation and invite them to return. They thank me as well and the interaction is complete. 

When I get to the register and open up my the check presenters, the first thing I notice are two handwritten notes on the checks from the ladies. The notes give me genuine pleasure as I show them to my co-worker. 

What makes me happier is that each woman appears to have left me a nice tip. I collect the money in each check presenter and as I get to the last one, I take the two twenties, the five and the one (this was on the check that was $41.02), and my mouth drops as I discover the final bill behind the first four is a one hundred dollar bill. My head immediately shoots to the table but the ladies have already left. 

I close my eyes and smile to myself. 

We judge people every day. And I’m not writing this to say how we shouldn’t do that or how it is wrong as a society or blah, blah, blah. Look, we judge. It’s what we do. Shit, it’s practically involuntary. What I AM writing to say is that even though the judgment may always be there, you just never know. And everyone deserves to get treated with respect and compassion. We only know our own troubles and successes. We only know what it’s like to walk that mile in OUR shoes. Judge all you want... but in the end, we are all still humans. 

Tim had some unexpected health expenses this month. He didn’t ask if he could pay the rest of the rent when he got paid this week. But I knew he was hurting for cash and that his next paycheck was going to come before rent was due. The extra money in his savings account that he set aside for rent would ease his troubles until payday. So I told him to give the rest to me Thursday so he would have money all week. No problem for me. 

I unfriended someone on Facebook with incredibly negative energy who never really had anything nice to say in either his status updates or comments on other people’s posts. And try to talk football smack? Forget it... it just turns mean and righteous. After I unfriended him, he told me “good riddance”. Funny... if you wanted to be rid of me so bad, you have the same “unfriend” option, you know... 

I think it’s important to make decisions like these. I think it’s important to have the courage to do what we know in our heart is the right thing to do. It’s not always easy and it’s not always pretty, but at the end of the day, the Universe says “nice work, that was what I was hoping you would do”. 

I don’t know if it’s either of these acts or purely my attitude at work that day, but I believe that I was rewarded for doing things differently than someone else would. I believe that I was rewarded for making a shift and for creating a space where something positive can come out of something potentially negative. For being compassionate... for both myself and others. 

Although, there is a very good chance it’s because of that damn Tahitian Pineapple...