Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Six Word Sentences: Harder Than Hell

Have you tried to write six-word sentences? After being called wordy- lovingly, might I add- I was challenged to write less, tell more.

A few years ago I would have said, "I have a bachelor's degree in English Literature. I don't do that."

Today I say, "I work in marketing. Short sentences? No problem."

Bras & Pants: Boob jail and no-fun island.

Internet: Clever cat memes behind every corner.

Sex Dolls: No bro, that's latex, not love.

Doctor Who: Stephen Moffat, stop fucking everything up.

My Facebook Timeline: Did everyone get knocked up purposely?

Watching WWE documentaries on Netflix: So many garbage cans under ring?

Monday Morning: Stronger than coffee, weaker than cocaine.

Self Check Out Shopping: Ain't no item in bagging area.

Drinks: vodka club soda, lots of lime.

Cats: Pretty balls of fur and destruction.

Sleep: I will cut you, snooze alarm.

Capricorn: Most stubborn man ever, sexy though.

Pizza: I'll start my diet on Monday.

Halloween: Not a whore, wearing her uniform.

Obama: Makes you pay check, raises taxes.

U2: Trifling, Apple stock owning tiny Irishman.

False Eyelashes: I'm going to figure you out.

Target: Need one thing, buy all things.

Bible: Why no kangaroos, All-Knowing Creator?

Ann Coulter: Stumble into battery acid and perish.

Haute Couture: We have curves, design for them.

Truman Capote: You owe Harper Lee a coke.*

Not too bad for my first time!

*I can't not be wordy. Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird) did a tremendous amount of research and word on Capote's most famous novel, In Cold Blood. He was well-known before it, but that book made him a pioneer of the Literary Non-fiction genre. It's a fantastic book and Harper gathered much of its content, while working with Capote as he was sent to Kansas to gather the story's information. Capote owned a lot to her and I don't think he was honest about his practices, and that she deserved much credit for the book's stellar account of true events. Pro-Harper.

Night night,


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Funny Ones

I never participated in the Wordless Wednesday blogging trend because I thought it was lazy. I mean, we're writers and you just want us to submit a photo and be done with it? I guess it's still a little lazy.

But, why not submit a few pictures--funny ones-- that will hopefully make someone smile; I could support that:

naperville ghost tours, ghost hunting
Ghosting hunting tour for mom's birthday October 2012. No ghosts were able to make it.

dita von teese, peaches, beautiful woman

shakespeare, shakepeare in the park, funny, festival

gen y, funny, jenny, sarcastic

penis, bachelorette, penis purse, party, girls night out
Penis Purse

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hark! Sexy Billboards: Party at Sex Pool Suites

The city of Chicago has seen an influx of what I can only call "sexytime" billboards strewn across the highways. Some are for sex toy shops such as Lovers' Lane, others are for an incredibly vague sounding Adult Expo Complex (read: prostitution) and increasing number of sex pool suites that like to compete with my childhood favorite, Sybaris Pool Suites.

lovers lane, Halloween, sex, billboards

To honor the sex pool company that first caught my eye as a child, I'm rebooting my "Childhood Birthday Party at Sybaris Pool Suites" article:

When I was six-years-old, I wanted to have my birthday at the Sybaris Pool Suites. The Sybaris Pool Suites is a hotel chain with elaborate suites that include pools, water slides, steam rooms and hot tubs... for romantic getaways. (read: sex)
I wanted to bring 30-40 kids there to party.

sybaris pool suites, get away, sex

When I saw the commercial, I completely ignored the naked couple fornicating under the water and yelled, "Oh my god. It's a water slide! And a pool. I want my birthday there. MOM!"

Author's Note: It may surprise you that after
punching the boy in my class that showed me his penis, my popularity had taken a plunge. I needed to do something drastic.

My parents, for reasons unbeknownst to me, were not in love with the idea. They gave each other awkward glances and suggested Kiddie Land instead. I was unmoved.
"Why the hell do you want me to go to Kiddie Land? There’s no pool I can swim in all night. Or water slides. Kiddie Land closes at 8pm. I'm in this for the long haul."

"Where did you learn that? No. You are not having a party there. It's not right, Duckie." My mom avoided eye contact.

Dad was just as vague. "You can't bring your friends there. Maybe when you're older. Wait, no. Never. You are never going there. Jean Marie, promise me you will never go there."

I threw a tantrum. We didn't have a pool and it wasn't fair. I love swimming. I cried so hard I gave myself a headache. My tears spilled onto my My Little Pony t-shirt.  I was told to my go to my room. Shit.

I was sequestered to my room at 6pm. I was so bored. Also, I was supposed to be asleep, so I had to keep the lights off. Have you ever tried to play Barbie Castle with the lights off? It's sad and a little creepy.

After hearing a noise from my closet I jumped into my bed and remained under the blankets. I was determined to scheme a way I could reserve a party without my parents knowing. I would call tomorrow. I was determined.

These were the days before Googling, so I called 411. I tapped my Minnie Mouse shoes against the kitchen floor as I waited for someone to answer.

"Hello. You've reached Sybaris, how may I help you?"

I squealed. "I want a room! With a pool! My name is Jean!"

The reservation taker sounded confused."Ok, Jean. When did you want join us? How many people are in your party?"
"Next Friday. Maybe, 30-40 people? And the balloon lady. She's so good."

The reservation taker hung up. I was crushed. How could I be denied? I wanted a pool party so much, but I was too scared to call again. I knew the dream was over.

That weekend at grandma's house, I mentioned my dream party to my older cousin. What followed was not pretty. I cannot quote what was said next as I believe post traumatic stress has blocked it out, but I unfortunately learned what semen, an orgy and Spanish Fly is. That may have been the day I learned what sex was. I was horrified.
sybaris, sex, getaway, pool sex
Trade those rose petals for candy and I would have been in heaven

I gave up my dream. I knew the pools weren't for honest, good-fun swimming. They were sex pools and not for the likes of me and my class of seven-year-olds. Things made sense now. The world seemed different.

Oh, my 7th birthday it was Kiddie Land.



Friday, September 26, 2014

The Few Perks of a Dead Parent

I apologize for the crass title, but I couldn't think of any other way to write it. This is not a pity post, I have much happiness in my life. But I do have a deceased parent and have had one for most of my adulthood. The fact being my father died when I was 22. I am very grateful I had both parents and supportive additional family members as a child. That makes me lucky.

Regardless of when your parent dies, if it's not at a time that feels natural I think there are some bittersweet perks that come along and shape you as a stronger person:

1. You learn to accept and let go of changing plans: When you watch a loved one die, you are faced with the reality that life isn't a fairytale. And that's good, in a way. Because it drives home the point that life is not a destination and the collective memories are what really matter. How someone dies is not an indication of their life--so thinking you are always leading up to some great reward vanishes--you must find joy every day, because that's what life is. And accept that what you planned may not happen, but that doesn't mean you won't have a great time.

2. You understand that people can really mean what they say, even if it doesn't come to fruition: People are ever-changing beings and thinking that a person will stagnantly remain the exact same, towards you and towards themselves, is a little harmful in my opinion. And selfish. I am not talking about abuse, but more so an individual's needs and priorities.

Don't get me wrong: People who never mean what they say aren't to be trusted.

But if someone loves you, loved you, and then for whatever reason the feelings changed doesn't make them a liar. Or if you two never made it to Paris together. It doesn't mean the sentiment wasn't real when the plans were made. Life changes, people often mean well. Let go of the little things and live. Appreciate the good you have now, even if it's not eternal.

3.You learn to avoid what you do not care for, not retaliate. I hate Father's Day advertisements. Of course. But I cannot run a muck attacking companies that run Father's Day promotions or blame them in the name of my "trigger warning." So, you learn the important task of ignoring and walking away from something instead of retaliating against the premise. Others may look forward to the holiday and I have no intention of robbing them of that enthusiasm with a rant or a sarcastic comment to mask my pain. I simply change the channel, or don't participate in the conversation. This quality is applicable to many things in life, as not all we dislike is harmful, so we shouldn't shit on things other people like just because we can't.

4. You gain an odd sense of emotional detachment when dealing with important, or legal matters. When my father died, I had to contact the German Consulate, as he was born in Germany, and many legal, insurance and financial documents required birth records and well as death. Not even his Naturalization papers were enough for matters regarding stock and 401K issues. I did that, had them faxed, talked to a woman in Berlin numerous times, emailed, paid, all of that. It had to be done and I didn't have time to have an emotional reaction.

Another unfortunate incident happened regarding credit cards. In America, it's not enough to tell someone your spouse has died and you will be closing their line of credit. They need to hear it from another witness and my mother needed that to be me. I remember hearing the representative ask me very apologetically, "Can you confirm that [your parent] is deceased?" I said yes, waited for them to confirm, and walked away.

It also happens with the court system, as my dad managed to get called for Jury Duty three months after he died. The woman I spoke to about the matter was unfeeling, a complete bitch, and demanded that I send a copy of his birth and death certificate to the Illinois court system. That call pissed me off and in that moment I wanted nothing more than to attack that woman. But she had already hung up the phone on me. There was nothing left for me to do or say that wouldn't hurt me in process -- so I had to let it go. Deal with what had to be done, take a few deep breaths and move on. Because I was still alive and I was grateful for that and would not be broken by corporate protocol or other people's callousness.

Unfortunately, I've had this conversation with other people who had parents who died too soon and the experience is very similar--it's hard, but when put in this position you find the strength to just do it, because you have to. Time is often of the essence and you do it, deattach emotion from your tasks, and breath a deep sigh of relief when you're done. It doesn't make you a super hero or cold, it just means you chose to not let this be the situation in life that broke you or define you. Perhaps talking to a credit card company on the phone doesn't seem like a big deal, but when you know what question is coming and you don't want to say the answer out loud--because then it becomes real and you can't avoid it--it feels huge.  And once you do it, you know you can get through the rest of what comes at you. You can and will get shit done.

5. You become kinder. This is not universal, but I think many people experience an empathy and kindness that wasn't present before. You appreciate a person's enthusiasm for a hobby. You notice when someone is sincere and thoughtful and are able to give sincere and thoughtful comments back, because you believe making another person feel worthwhile is important. You might grow more patient when you see someone is having a tough time but they are trying their hardest. For me, it's almost like I am able to slow down and analyze people's intentions more than their words and actions. I didn't possess this before. Part of it might be maturity of age, but I genuinely think some of it has to do with a desire to believe there's good and beauty in the world that I was to find, rather than disregard. Disregarding is always the easy option--try and look for the good. It'll make you feel better every time.

Well, those are the five I thought of-- I did say few. This is a hard topic for me to write. But as I turned 30 this year, it's something that has been on my mind. I've come out of this ok and I am a genuinely happy person, who is excited about my future. The bad things that happen to use, such as a deceased parent will often shape us-- I never forget my father is dead--but it's taught me that life is to be lived with passion. It's not a race to a finish line with a great reward, it's a journey with adventures and lessons to be experience each and every day. Do not put your life on hold for a grand scheme, find good in your days every day.

Sorry if this was one a downer, but I do believe there's positive in everything. Things do not happen for a reason. That's a horrible sentence I wish we could erase from the English language. They happen and it's up to us what we do next--that's what defines us--not our circumstances. Sometimes we have no choice but to look hard for the positive, but that's the challenge and beauty of life.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Disagree or agree, the discussion is worthwhile.

Be well,


Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Fault In Our Failures | Finding Success

We've all had those times when social media seems to remind us of how well everyone else is doing -- their new jobs, great hair days and beautiful significant others show up in our Facebook timelines. And if you are lacking in any of these areas, the feeling of inadequacy hurts.

But that's just one piece of the puzzle. As a cognitive bias known as Self-Enhancing Transmission Bias dictates, it's human nature to share our successes and keep our failures quiet. Put your best foot forward.

motivation, follow your dreams, sarcastic inspirational quotes

What we don't think about it is the sharing of our failures, the showing of vulnerability, is what connects us to one another on an emotional level. It can also be the push someone needs to try again, because they know they aren't alone and most people don't get it right on the first time.

I think failures are important.They serve as real examples of job tips and tricks. And I also think success is largely an accumulation of failures with the strength to keep and the wisdom to know how to do better.  

In the spirit of starting a honest dialogue of sharing failures that lead us to success, I asked a few friends to share some of their greatest failures that lead to success.

1. I Got Kicked Out of College: I was aimless. I was wandering through school, not knowing what I wanted to major in and taking as many Gen-Ed classes as I could. Lack of motivation and depression lead me to not showing up to classes, missing assignments and eventually failing an entire semester and wasting my own money. Overcrowding at a public university stopped me from being able to get into many of the classes I needed to move on. I felt so stuck.

When the letter came in the mail that I was "dismissed" from the University, I felt fear. I knew I was better than that and I was going to figure out how to finish school somewhere else, because this school obviously wasn't for me. But for the first time in a long time, I felt motivation.

So, I went to community college and got straight A's in Summer school and for a semester until I earned enough credits to attempt to transfer to a better university. I wrote a letter explaining my previous bad behavior, obtained letters of recommendations of professors I had done well in their classes, and was attempted to a private university, paying for it by student loans.

Two years later I graduated with honors. While I'm not proud of fucking around and wasting my own money, I got myself out of a dead-end situation and ended on a positive note. That failure was worth it, I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't gotten kicked out and moving on was the only option.

2. I Got Fired: I got fired from a job I hated and thought was beneath me: Working as a personal assistant. I was so sick of getting coffee and running stupid errands I thought I was invisible because a monkey could do my job. Turns out not a monkey, but a college student could and DID take my job for less money.

The main complaint my previous employer had? My poor attitude. And she was right -- I was miserable doing menial tasks and making shit money that I walked around like a pretentious zombie. I wasn't strong enough to just quit, so I stuck around until I got fired. The woman I thought couldn't function with me decided I was replaceable. That was a large slice of humble pie.

But I tallied up all the skills I learned, emailed some networking contacts I had met, and started interviewing for jobs I actually went to school to do: Communications. Now I work in an office with people I respect and enjoy and am grateful for my job, even on the bad days. Getting fired was the best thing that happened to me. Keep going.

3. I Was Honest About My Miscarriage: I became pregnant when I was 19 years old. It would have been my ex-boyfriend's baby, who was my ex-boyfriend at the time of conception. When I found out I was pregnant I was very scared and felt ashamed of myself, sleeping with someone who had broken up with me and having sex with him as part of a ploy to keep him in my life.

Whether it was stress, or just not meant to be, I had a miscarriage. I had been pretty sure I was going to get an abortion because it didn't feel like the right time to become a mother, especially to a father who wasn't a man I wanted around. But the truth was I hadn't had the initial consultation yet. I was very scared.

I was sad about the miscarriage, but I was honest with myself: an abortion had been an option, this was an incredibly sad moment in my life, but for whatever reason this wasn't the time I was going to become a mother. It felt odd to think about the baby that might have grown up, but I think even if I had, had the abortion it would be natural to wonder what might have been. So I didn't dismiss thoughts when my mind began to wonder about a potential baby. I gave myself a time to mourn, but knew moving on to make better, healthier choices for myself in all walks of life would be the lesson learned.

I wasn't a monster for considering my options. I was a scared girl and I owed it to myself to be more mature and healthy from this point on. I took myself and life more seriously, not living by "YOLO" and thought my actions through. Also, I stopped thinking sex equaled love, and only chose to do it when I wanted to, for the reasons of pleasure, not hoping to rope someone back into a relationship.

4. I Gained Weight: I was never a thin person, but I was relatively healthy and always felt attractive for my size. But somewhere around 22 I gained about 60 pounds. It crept up on me from poor diet choices as I had always been a person that went to the gym, but I never knew what I was doing once there. Gaining weight completely changed my outlook on the world, as I no longer felt attractive and didn't care about the clothes I wore or the way I looked. I lost my sense of self and looking at pictures made me cringe. I had failed big time.

So, one day I decided enough was enough. I started eating vegetables. I started paying attention to the exercises I did at the gym. After the first month I had lost 25 pounds and felt remarkable. I found a way to lose weight after seeing the number on the scale stay the same for so long.

A year later I have lost 70 pounds. I still have more to go, but now I know I can do it. Lately I have regressed a little, given in to eating more sugar, but summer has motivated me to get back to eating well. You can always find success if you don't give up. Wake up and start new. If I had never failed, I wouldn't know I could pull myself out of a dark place. While I didn't enjoy being fat, I like knowing I have it in me to make it better.

Wow. Ok, those are deep failures that lead to success stories. I don't know about you, but I feel motivated. Right now I could use it as I just turned 30 and am reflecting on what I accomplished in my 20's. Big transition for me.

Even though there isn't any humor in this post (which is my normal sentiment), I think it's important to take a step back and self reflect. While I understand why we want to highlight our strengths and good times, I think there's something beautiful in admitting the times we struggled and found out way out.

Feel free to share your failures (and successes!) in the comments. I'd love to hear them.

Hugs and Kisses,

Copyright © 2014 Lady J
All rights reserved
Copyright © 2014 Lady J
All rights reserved