Category: Pondering

I Need My Phone

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So this last weekend I had a struggle!

On Saturday I lost my phone to some great divide where no one will ever find it. We looked EVERYWHERE. Not only did I look everywhere but my Brother Sam and Mother looked a second and third time. It was gone and we could not find it.

This meant going to the Sprint store and ordering a replacement phone. Luckily I have insurance so I was able to get it the replacement without too much damage. The hard part was waiting the 4 days for me to get the new phone.

I know what you baby boomers are thinking ‘what’s the big deal?’ ‘People survived without phones for hundreds of years. I can even hear you groan about how tied to electronics millennials are and what a sad state the world is…

And you would be right BUT nevertheless I have to admit I NEED MY PHONE! The last few days have not been pleasant. Not having my phone increased my anxiety and decreased my overall happiness, so it is not something I would do again for any reason.

I know not having a phone is supposed to be a therapeutic experience to separate from technology and commune with the earth or whatever but this is not my experience. Not only is my whole life on my phone but the organizational framework for my life is built on using my phone.

I currently basically have 3 jobs with my part-time marketing work, my freelance work as a critic and my labor intensive work with my podcasts. With my phone I can easily balance all 3 of these commitments and make sure I am executing them to the best of my ability.

I can quickly check my many calendars, social media accounts, emails and more seamlessly and basically at the same time. If I’m reliant upon my laptop than I have to be sedentary and be flipping back and forth between the various webpages instead of having them all connected.

I even had to go out and buy an alarm clock because I rely on my phone to wake me up when I have morning interviews and meetings. Not having my phone not only reduced my productivity but it increased my anxiety that I was forgetting stuff and not responding to comments/questions/tweets like I need to for my career.

Like I said, I know many will lament how tied I am to my phone but there it is. Not having it was not a stress-reliever in any way and I hope I never have to go without it for a long period again!

What do you think? Are you a person who relies on your phone or are you a free spirit who isn’t tied to one? Or maybe you don’t even have one? I can’t even imagine that!

As for me I am a proud entrepreneur who needs my phone!

PS. Sorry I have been missing from this blog. I’ve been so busy the last few months but I would like to do more. If you have ideas for essays from me let me know!

Memories of My Grandma

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Today I am writing to you from a hotel room in Folsom, California. I am here to bid goodbye to and remember my dear Grandma Judy Wagner. There are few people on this planet that I love more than my Grandma and as one might expect my emotions at the moment are quite tender and overflowing, but I thought I might take a second to explain why I loved her so much.

It’s interesting because we all have those people in our lives who are complicated to love. That are difficult, demanding, frustrating, even cruel but they are a part of our lives so we learn to love them. This was not the case with my Grandma. I can’t remember a time where I didn’t adore her. Sure we had a few mild tiffs but they were always resolved by mealtime and quickly forgotten. She was just so darn lovable.

There are a lot of reasons I loved my Grandma but one of the biggest is that she got a lot of joy out of life and out of introducing her loved ones to what she loved. It’s always been strange to me that she enjoyed morose books like Ethan Frome because whether it was a new place for muffins or a Broadway show her love of what she loved was contagious. When I was 9 or 10 she took me to see Phantom of the Opera in San Francisco, and we both sat mouth agape when the chandelier came crashing towards the audience. It was a magical moment!

When I was 10 I saw Home Alone with her and it is my earliest memory of laughing uproariously at a film. I will always be sad that I never got to go to Hawaii with her because we both shared a love of the ocean and those beautiful islands. I remember many times her coming to visit us in Maryland and since it was the old days when calling long distance was expensive I enjoyed writing her letters for many years as a child.

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My Grandma loved Christmas, Easter, the Rockettes, yummy platters of simple food, theme parties, New York City, Hawaii, tap dancing, Gone with the Wind, cozy detective novels, and getting her hair and nails done each week.

One of the last real conversations I had with her before her heart troubles made communication more challenging I had sent her a cheesy bracelet for Christmas with the saying ‘God couldn’t be everywhere so he gave us Grandmothers’. After she received it she called to thank me, and we chatted for an hour so. We talked about the family, my various activities, and we both said our I love yous. I remember the conversation because I had to step out of a church activity to take her call. Boy am I glad I did! Life is funny like that. It gives you moments of connection that are so easy to miss! I’m going to try and grab them from now on.

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My Grandma loved pomp and ceremony. She loved attending graduations, weddings and celebrating the accomplishments of her family. I am sure more than one of us grandkids have gone through the processional of graduation more because we knew how much Grandma would love it than it was our true desire to so. I think she was just really proud of us and loved being a part of our lives. We loved her right back for it.

When my Grandma first had her heart problems my sister lived nearby. I remember calling her and saying ‘make sure to let me know if I need to fly home because Grandma and I have an extra special bond’ and Megan saying  ‘you’re like the 10th cousin who has called saying that today’ and it was the truth. Everyone felt like they were the most special of all grandkids and the most loved. That’s such a gift. I hope I can love people in that way.

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One of my happiest memories with my Grandma occurred in December 2000. My cousin Lisa and I developed a scheme where we would promise to go to see the Rockettes if my Grandma would go with us to New York. Of course in reality we loved the Rockettes so it was a win-win situation. The 3 of us spent 4 or 5 days in New York City eating pizza, going to shows (Beauty and the Beast, The Music Man and the Rockettes Spectacular) and enjoying Christmas in New York City. Little did we know that Lisa would pass away the next April. Now they are both gone, and I’m so grateful for that sacred time we had together.

Other memories…I remember her calling to cheer me up when I was depressed at work each Wednesday at lunch. I remember swimming at her very unique pool that had a huge shallow end. I remember hearing of her trips and the yummy things they had and looking through her stamp collection (or her collection of Mickeys, Santas, watches etc). I always loved the way her home smelled like a new car and the way you could run through the hallways with glee (to the point once I ran my hand through her stained glass window and had to go to the hospital). I remember going to a family reunion with her brother’s family and how much that meant to her (we had whole lobsters!).

I remember when she was babysitting us, and we brought home a nest of quail a neighbor had ‘given’ us. I remember watching Christmas Vacation and her laughing so hard she could barely breathe when the aunt offers the pledge of allegiance as grace or when the squirrel comes out of the tree. I remember watching Gone with the Wind with her and looking at her beautiful Scarlet O’hara inspired doll collection.

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When I was 8 or 9 she got me my first doll but only did so after I swore I would take care of it. I was a messy kid (and messy adult), and she didn’t believe I was ready for such a special doll. After that, it was most prized, and I’m proud I still have it to this day, box and all! When my little cousin destroyed one of my dolls she had given me I was furious not because of my heirloom but because it was a betrayal of a promise I had made to my Grandma. A betrayal not of my own doing! How dare she!

I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t want to be like my Grandma. She was simply the best, and I will miss her dearly. I hope she is enjoying catching up with Lisa up in the Spirit World and that she knows how much I love her.

As for me down here on Earth I will cry a lot today and recommit myself to be more like her. Thanks Grandma for all the memories. I love you!

Almost 40…

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So this week I turned 38. That means I’m almost 40. Wow! At least I’m not actually 40 but it’s coming! I can feel it!

I am not one to moan and groan about my age but it does kind of shock me that almost 40 has come so fast. Where did the time go? 2018 marked 20 years since I finished high school. That makes sense because that feels like another millennia ago. But other stuff like the end of my mission in 2005 seems like it just happened. Even something like moving into my home has somehow ballooned into 6 years! Mind blown.

Luckily I can’t feel to badly about turning 38 because I’ve had such an amazing year. Currently I am busy covering the Sundance Film Festival and you can find my reviews on rottentomatoes.com! My podcasts/channels are both doing well and I’m super proud of them and things are going well with my job. So life is great. I am very blessed.

So I’m not really sad about turning almost 40 but it is a little sobering. I certainly thought I would be married and have a family at this point but it just hasn’t been in the cards for me. (If you know anyone who might be interested please let me know 😉 ). It makes me a little sad to think about that but there’s nothing I can do about it so oh well.

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The other day I was thinking about the people in my life who didn’t get to be almost 40 (my cousins Lisa, Riley, Raquel RIP). A family and spouse may not happen (I’m aware it could happen but it might not) but think about the many experiences I do get to have which they did not? It reminds me to be grateful for the gift of life and another year on this planet. Even in the bad times I am growing and changing into the person God wants me to be. He is behind all the lessons of my life, and I’m confident He has something special in store for the almost 40 version of me.

If January is any test 2019 is shaping up to be a very memorable year and I’m ready for it! I’m a little overwhelmed and wish I had more time but I’m as ready as I can be. Fortunately, I have tons of support both in real life and online for which I am truly grateful.

So to almost 40: Bring it on!

Today I Bought Dandelion Crayons

Last week if you had asked me what a dandelion crayon was I might have looked at you like you were nuts. Yet today I bought two 24 packs of Crayola crayons for dandelion crayons. Why this sudden attachment? Well, Crayola announced a few days ago they are discontinuing the dandelion crayon. This actually makes a lot of sense for them since they already have yellow, apricot, white and red orange, which would all work for coloring dandelions. I mean how often do you really need a mustard yellow crayon? So, why did this news make me a little sad and send me out to buy crayon boxes? I’m honestly not exactly sure.

I think part of it is a resistance to change. Sometimes it feels like everything is changing all around me. Of course, we have important stuff happening in politics but then stupid stuff like Batman killing in movies and Superman getting murdered. Why does everything have to change? I just saw Beauty and the Beast remade and changed and a million other remakes are coming. Now they are taking away the dandelion crayon.

I suppose there was a side of me that wanted to hold on to something that is still the way it was when I was little. The 24 pack had dandelion crayons when I was drawing as a little girl and now it wouldn’t. When I was 8 or 9 there was a special photograph you could have taken by these big giant crayons. I wanted my picture by them so badly! There I am smiling and happy and what am I next to? Why it’s a dandelion crayon.

In a few weeks that will be gone. I’m getting more towards 40 every day but I suppose sometimes I miss that smiling girl who didn’t have to worry about all these hard things. I just wanted to get my photo taken by a dandelion crayon.

So yes today I bought dandelion crayons and some coloring books. I plan on coloring to my little hearts content and using as much dandelion as I can.

My Brother’s Ted Talk

So my brother spoke at TedxPortland.  If you aren’t familiar with Ted Talks they are a series of talks by experts on a variety of topics.  A lot of them have a motivational speaker type of feel but not all of them.  In my brother’s case he was asked because he is the founder of Poler LLC which is a popular clothing and outdoors brand based in Portland.

He speaks about using technology to expand your life not minimize it, to help you get out into nature instead of isolating yourself.  It is a good reminder to me as someone who does spend a lot of time with media of different kinds to get outside and share that adventure with others.  I particularly like how he used the example of water as swimming in lakes and rivers is such a powerful experience for me.

This weekend I am going to Bear Lake for a race and since I haven’t been feeling that well I was wondering if it was going to be worth it.  My race is probably not going to be the greatest but listening to my brothers words made me glad I am spending some time in the beautiful water. Who cares about the race!

What do you guys think about what he has to say?  Do you find yourself phrozen to your mobile devices? What do you like to do to get connected with nature?

Why I Am Jealous of Introverts

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Any reader to this blog knows I am an extrovert. I think anyone who shares their life online is pretty extroverted but in some ways I am jealous of my introverted friends and family (who occasionally make me crazy with their introverted ways!).

1. I’m jealous of introverts following, not leading

It would be so nice not be expected to lead all the time.  Extroverts are often turned to for leadership and most of the time it is ok because we are the most outspoken about how we want things done. But sometimes it can be exhausting and I just want to be a follower.

Perfect example is in my new Midsingles committee.  There are a 11 stakes involved and who ended up leading discussions- me.  I was up front trying to corral everyone’s thoughts and write them on the board, trying to make the meeting run as smoothly as possible and we only went over by 10 minutes.

There was a side of me that was exhausted but a little exhilarated after because it was a challenge leading the meeting.  There was another side who wished I could have just sat in a corner and written down what I had to do and be done with it.  But then who would lead the meeting?

In this case I don’t know if there was anyone who could have led the meeting and I was happy to do it but I do envy how little introverts have to lead others. It’s hard being in charge!

introvertextrovert-by-boris-pramatarov2. I also envy introverts lack of a need for social interactions.

If I am not actively meeting new people,  making friends, spending time with friends, I get depressed.  My introverted friends can have an evening out with the hubby or a friend once a month and be fine. The older I get the harder it is to get together with friends and sometimes I wish I could turn the part of my brain which needs it off and be happy regardless.

That said, I do a great many things alone and am comfortable with it but it is never my preference; whereas, introverts may often prefer to be alone.

3. I envy how much work people must do to get to know an introvert

On the same breath I think sometimes introverts have different relationships than extroverts.  Because they are usually quiet and more reserved it takes more effort to get to know them; thereby, making the friendships they do achieve very meaningful and important.

My friends mean everything to me but as an extrovert I am extremely easy to get to know.  I literally have no secrets with the world and I think that is a good thing; however, it can lead to me investing more in friendships than others and being disappointed when people flake or aren’t as serious about the friendship as I am.

Introverts-or-Extroverts34. I’m envious of the way introverts learn and study.

There are all kinds of stereotypes which go along with being an introvert or extrovert, but one of the most prevailing is that introverts are more academic and smarter than extroverts.  There is probably some truth to this notion because introverts are more likely to read and do other solitary academic activities.

The challenge can be as an extrovert I need to express my thoughts on subjects in order for me to finish out my thinking.  This can be seen as combative or challenging to introverts who don’t want to debate topics especially in a group.  Groups can be frustrating because I am always asked to lead but it is the best way for me to actually learn most topics.  I can read something by myself 4 or 5 times and not get it but then have a discussion with a friend and pick up right away.  I guess I’m envious of the brain which doesn’t need the social component to learn if that makes sense.

I mean how many brilliant people have been extroverts? Not many…

5. I am envious of an introverts ability to listen

Because introverts are typically more soft-spoken and quiet (at least in groups) they tend to be good listeners.  Sometimes I can get frustrated at them not expressing their opinions or sharing their thoughts with me.  It can feel closed off, even dishonest, when they are probably listening, pondering and formulating opinions by themselves.

While I may be formulating my opinion while they are talking, waiting to express it, introverts are usually listening to what I am saying and then communicating carefully what they feel and think.  There’s something great about that which I have worked on over the years but will never be my top attribute.

Listening takes focus for me and I have learned to bite my tongue and let everyone share.  But it’s hard for me so I envy those who just want to listen.

chickenextravert6. I envy an introverts peacemaking skills.

Jesus said ‘the meek shall inherit the earth”. Why does He speak so highly of the meek introverts? I think it is their peacekeeping skills that help calm down us extroverts.  I get passionate and excited about a variety of topics and it is my introverted friends who pull me down from the ledge and get me to see both sides, even when I really don’t want too.

Sometimes introverts can frustrate me because they seem to not have opinions on anything.  It’s so hard to know what they like or dislike, or where they stand on key issues.  However, often it is the introverts who see the middle ground, the compromise, and I am able to let go of my pride and concede at least a few points.

In the end we are who we are and we can’t change that.  We can work with it and tweak it but our core personality is always with us.  We all have different gifts and can learn from each other. All of these introverted traits I try to apply as much as I can in my life without it stifling who I am. And I am sure introverts have a list of reasons they are jealous of extroverts.

Thankfully we can all learn from each other, be patient and get along no matter what ‘vert’ we are.

My Top 10 Favorite People

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Just kidding…

I wanted to start this post off with a crazy title because I want to talk about our societies seemingly insatiable need to quantify and rank everything.  Why do we do that? Why can’t we just enjoy something for what it is instead of wondering if it is better than something else?

If you don’t think it is a problem check out watchmojo.com.  They have lists for everything and when I say everything I mean everything.  Like here is their list of the Top 10 Ruthless Dictators (this is wrong on so many levels).

They also have a Top 10 Infamous Mass Shootings and a Top 10 Worst Humans of All Time. Why? Why does such a thing need to exist and what does it say about human nature that it does? I think we feel an innate need to make order out of chaos and somehow ranking everything makes us make sense of what we don’t understand.  But I think just because it is a natural impulse does not necessarily mean it is good.

Why would we never rank the people we love? Why do most people refuse to admit they have a favorite kid? Well because we love them all in different ways.  The things I love about my Dad are so different than my Mom that ranking one above another is completely impossible.

The more I’ve thought about it I think that is the case with almost all rankings (or hate them all equally depending on the list!). I always want to have about 10 ties because I like things the same or I appreciate different things in different ways.

I first thought about this when I was ranking the Disney Canon for my Disney blog. I’m happy with my list.  It is fairly accurate of my feelings but I am also a little frustrated with it.  A lot of people were upset with me having The Lion King at 13 and I was upset too because I love that movie. Same with Aladdin which got pushed down to 19!

My rationale was Lion King humor is a little annoying and a few of the songs are a little corny but it’s great.  I love it.  It has a fantastic villain, amazing artistry and a story that pulls at my heartstrings.  Aladdin was 20 simply because I think the 18 other films are more artistically special but I love Aladdin so it’s very frustrating.

In a way it is kind of silly to compare the movies.  I mean there isn’t much in common between Fantasia and Aladdin aside from being animated movies and yet there I was comparing them.  Why? Because I felt I had to make a list after watching all 54 films. I felt my readers wanted it and I felt a need to do it myself as a conclusion of the project.

I’ve also seen this list making tendencies in my Survivor forum that I’m a part of.  People are constantly wanting to rank Survivor winners, contestants, and seasons. The great thing about Survivor is no two winners are the same (except for Sandra who won twice!).  Meaning each one has used a different strategy and won in a different way, so ranking them becomes kind of futile.

I guarantee you if I were to make a ranking of winners there would be people who would be upset with me for putting so and so too high, and so and so too low.  People would debate it for hours and not the pleasant kind of debate (at least IMO).  The kind of debate that is exhausting.

Just like I was left frustrated at Aladdin at 19 I am sure I would be frustrated with a winner I love not being high enough on my own list!

I prefer lists that are in no particular order and just a bunch of things I like but even those can be frustrating because I invariably forget to include something. Like the other day I made a list of my favorite Disney sidekicks and going into it was going to put Sgt Tibbs from 101 Dalmatians and I completely forgot about him!

What do you think about this tendency of our society to quantify, list and rank everything?  Do you like it or are you sick of it like I am? I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section.  Thanks!