Category Archives: Soap Boxin’

Please Don’t Talk to Me While I’m Huffing Uphill

Yes. It’s been a while. Too long. And I’m looking forward to posting more regularly and chronicling the most recent life-project idea in the Mozi household… we’re calling it ‘in-with-the/out-with-the’ (step 1: come up with a better name) where we’ll spend 28 day cycles cutting something out of our daily routines and introducing something else in its place. For example, December is officially ‘out with the morning snooze-slapping’ and ‘in with yoga or a.m. meditation’. Good, right? We think so. There’s something about a boozy squirrel but I can’t remember how that fits in right now. Needless to say, all signs point to awesome.

First, back to the here and now. This is a minor rant about people who feel compelled to launch into conversation when you’re clearly busy trying to better yourself by pushing your sweaty butt up a San Francisco hill. The rant is less so about the poor people-reading skills of these strangers (seriously, nothing about me when I’m running screams ‘talk to me!’), it’s more a grating annoyance at the things these people choose to say.

No… I do not find it encouraging when you look at me and say, “wow. you’re a real inspiration!” as I’m trying to catch my breath after finishing a tough post-hiatous morning run. However well intentioned, a. please don’t talk to me, b. are you calling me fat?, c. stop looking at me like I just accomplished some massively heroic feat, d. I’m pretty sure you just called me fat, and d. seriously, don’t talk to me.

Because of my only-child handicap (which causes me to see everything through a self-centered lens of sensitivity), I’m going to give this old man the benefit of the doubt and say that he could have been having one of those days where everything inspired him. Maybe I was the fourth thing he’d said that to today, right behind his favorite pair of socks, a Muni driver, and a boozy squirrel…

Either way, let’s safely assume from here on out that when I have sweat dripping off the tip of my ponytail I’m really not in the inspirational-words-of-encouragement or general chatting mood. In that moment, silence is a basic human courtesy that should be extended to every person everywhere. Always.


Department of Motivating Vanity

Oh, DMV… you are such a sneaky mistress! Day two of two and I’m no closer to obtaining a drivers license with my new married last name and updated (non-disgruntled-teen) photo than I was 12 months ago when I should have taken care of it all in the first place…

I am willing to accept some responsibility for this. In fact, the ladies at the DMV were unbelievably nice… especially after the multiple rejections caused me to want to throw myself on the floor tantrum-style and poke my eyes out with their little accordion pens. But right now I’m too exhausted from two straight days of doing my hair and using advanced makeup techniques like primer and eyeliner to really care about my roll in all of this. I want a nap. And a drivers license.

This experience has led me to self-evaluate and ask some hard hitting questions… mainly, who are these super-human women that get up every morning and put in the time to look foxy and fabulous? Seriously… who are you?! How do you do what you do? Sometimes I tell myself that you just roll out of bed looking cookie-cutter cute… but that denies you props for your outstanding commitment to consistent glam. Other times I tell myself you’re all just freaks of nature, compensating for some weird sub-level issue, like scales or an extra belly-button… but then I catch my overt jealousy showing and it makes me feel ugly.

Alas, I fall into a different category of woman… the kind who prefers creature comforts that only a cozy bed and fluffy comforter can provide, like sleep. I like to spend my mornings sleeping. On days that I have a little extra time after I’m done sleeping, I like to sleep some more.

Two days in a row now I’ve sacrificed my mornings to the hair and makeup gods… with shocking success (if I say so myself… which I do, because no one can say otherwise and there certainly isn’t photographic evidence of my engineered beauty… thanks for nothing, DMV!). I just don’t have another day in me. I’m being completely honest when I say that I’ll be rescheduling my next appointment for a minimum of two weeks out in order to give myself time to recover and muster enough courage to do it all over again.

In the interest of time (that nap is calling my name), I’ll only ask once more… who are you super-human ladies and which one of you is coming over to teach me the treasures of your trade? I can pay you in the untold benefits that my unfortunate expertise of navigating the beast known as the Department of Motor Vehicles can provide. Trust me, this is a good deal.

Let Me Help You With That, Karma Edition

As a consummate brightsider I can justify just about anything. Anything except unapologetic rudeness. This is the story of how I learned to tackle my brightsiding blind spot by twisting reality into an example of my noble character.

Earlier today I was jogging in my neighborhood when a giant Land Rover made a speedy left to cut me off in an intersection. It cut things so close (rude!) that I could see the driver’s (unapologetic) face. I got a little peeved, but was too busy huffing and puffing to stay irritated for long. I kept on trucking and forgot about it entirely. That is until fate intervened on my way home and I once again saw our friend the Land Rover.

I’ll set the scene for overly dramatic effect: I’m approaching a four-way intersection at high speed (read: snail’s pace) when I spot the Rover. He’s coming in from my right and it’s going to be a photo finish to the stop sign. Shockingly (read: not surprisingly), I’m narrowly beat by the Rover… no matter, I dart into the street anyway! Stupid? Definitely. Selfless? Absolutely. Cue brightsiding… I didn’t do this incredibly risky thing for the fleeting satisfaction of watching Mr. My-Time-Is-More-Valuable-Than-Yours’ heart momentarily stop as he slammed on his brakes; I did this to help him. Seriously-ish. Here’s what I mean…

…but first, a little math! This, our second encounter, occurred about 10 minutes after our first and in roughly the same spot. Now, if I had PB&J — crunchy, not smooth — on wheat for lunch, and I cut it on the diagonal (crucial), this tells us that the Rover had been roaming the streets looking for parking since he nearly ran me down the first time. That’s a lot of hunting time and I can be sympathetic to the suckage of an evening spent circling the same four city blocks for half an hour.

So, by running into the street like a complete idiot I gave ‘rove a second chance to do what he should have done in the first place (read: right of way, buddy!) — thereby righting the crap karma he had brought upon himself, freeing him up to find a spot, and allowing him to get home a little faster to what I can only imagine are his equally impatient wife, children, and a meal of gold plated mean-on-a-stick.

Hey, nobody says that brightsiding means I have to be nice.

My point is, I bet our little lesson-learner found parking on the very next block… and that he thanked me for it… after mentally applauding my spectacular running form… and complimenting my surprisingly fresh appearance given the difficulty of my course. Anyway, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how it happened.

That, or perhaps I shouldn’t be allowed to run unsupervised.

Finding the Time to Honor Personal Goals

You’d think this would be easy, right? The tough part, at least for me, has always been identifying and vocalizing what I want. Turns out, while I was recently able to tackle that, there is another obstacle I didn’t account for along my path to goal-actualization greatness: finding the time to make it all happen.

When I was younger I learned that if I tempered my expectations of others and wanted for nothing, the smallest action or show of affection would make me feel spoiled rotten in the most glorious and indulgent way. This was a game I played as an only child because, as most of us do, I required more attention than any normal person should ever expect to illicit from another. It may have been artificial, but I’ve never been one to turn down an off-brand hostess cupcake.

While I actually think this crafty perspective benefited me overall — I would describe my default mood as somewhere between blissfully happy and new puppy — suspending all expectation of others had the negative side effect of severely stunting my development of personal preference. The fact that anything would make me happy, regardless of type, size, motive, or any other specification, rendered this completely unnecessary.

All of this to say, I never learned how to ask and demand a thoughtful response to questions as simple as ‘what do I want?’. That’s always been my tough-spot, my uphill battle, my soufflé.

But there’s an obstacle that I always overlook when launching full-throttle into a new project (after celebrating the major accomplishment of first identifying what I want, of course!). I have the nasty habit of calling things off as a complete failure at the first sign of falter. It’s the perfect manifestation of expecting perfection 100% of the time when a. that’s literally not possible, and b. ‘good enough’ can carry you through the tough spots if you’re willing to cut yourself some slack along your journey. It’s also a bad habit that I’m ready to drop like a… don’t make me finish that bad joke.

Yes, part of this 9 a.m. self psych-eval was prompted by the fact that I haven’t posted here in a couple weeks despite my recent goal to post every day. I started this morning trying to figure out why it had been so long, what I was going to do to get back on track, how I could possibly re-enter after such a visible failure on a freshly pressed goal. I spent thirty minutes spinning myself into the false realization that I’d have to move mountains to set things straight again. Besides, I just didn’t have the time to follow-through on daily posts. What a silly goal! What bull. Do you know what I did from 8:30 to 9 a.m. this morning? I’ll tell you. I fell down the internet rabbit hole until I looked up and realized that the only thing a leftovers recipe for lamb pitas, a google search for Mali Ston, Croatia, and an article on reducing the risk of autism in children had in common was that they prove I’ve got time. And possibly some sort of attention deficit disorder.

Now, an hour or so later, I’m getting ready to push ‘Publish’ on a post that puts me right back on track. Just like that. I’m back. I guess the trick to finding the time to honor your goals is realizing that what you’re really looking for isn’t time, it’s the courage to make yourself a priority.

It’s All Relative: Sometimes Fantasy is Closer to Reality than… well, Reality

Ah, such a scintillating title… unfortunately, I’m not talking about which Olympic athlete I’d rather see slink half-naked out of a pool. No, this is fantasy is far more satisfying.

What illicits all the hallmarks you’ve come to love and expect from any good fantasy… heart-racing, palm-sweating, hair-pulling, and screaming… but is done fully clothed from the comfort of your own home or local bar? Hint: in its advanced form this fantasy involves elaborate props, such as a styrofoam cheese wedge or viking hat worn on your head.

That’s right, I’m talking fantasy football and the 2012 season is here! This is the third year of our all-girl league (don’t misread that as anything other than ruthless… and proud for that matter, my favorite team name in our league: no cup required) and I’m ready to make my move. Year one I finished third place overall, and last year… well, as my girlfriend would say, the whole season was ‘rained out’… i.e. don’t ask.

This time I’m taking my role as coach far more seriously by picking my own players. Sure, I’ll refuse to pick up the Vicks (dog abuser), Roethlisbergers (female abuser), and Bradys (no one loves him more than he does) — and some might call that putting sentiment or politics where they don’t belong — but if I wouldn’t hire them to work in my office I’m not going to put them on my field. Watch me win without them.

So yes, I’ll admit the title of this post is a tad misleading. But who am I kidding? This body is never suiting up and getting out on a football field. The closest I’ll ever get is outfitting Glitter and Gore (an homage to my home town team) to go head-to-virtual-head every Sunday… and sometimes Thursday or Monday. In this case, the fantasy involves beer, fried foods, and luxuriously sedentary competition while the reality just brings bruises and grass-rash. Sign me up for the fantasy.

Redefining Relaxation

Over the last few months I’ve been toying with what I consider ‘relaxation’ after a long day at work. For years this meant coming home and flopping down in front of the t.v. That was soon replaced with surfing shows on the web accompanied by more couch sitting. Doing nothing felt like the only thing I had energy to do. And I could always justify it by telling myself that I just needed to tune out and turn my brain off for a few hours.

The only problem with this sad sequence of laziness was that it was never quite fulfilling. Not at all, really. I often lost track of hours, finding myself dry-eyed and feeling even more drained than before… wondering what time it was (um, usually almost midnight) and slugging off to bed.

Well, no longer. Last Friday my fabulous husband built us a fire in the fireplace, we threw on some jazz, grabbed our respective books (I’m reading Intuitive Eating, he’s running through some old sailor tales), and the amazing release of tension I felt was almost indescribable. It wasn’t tuning out, it was restorative relaxation. I guess I’d never thought of relaxation as restorative before… but now that I’ve turned that corner, I can’t imagine how it took me so long to figure this tricky little secret out!

Yes, it still takes concerted effort to launch myself into post-work activity. Pulling on gym clothes for a quick jog (as much as I try to forget it, 20 minutes around the block is a great way to pay myself back for the damage caused by an 8 hour-plus desk job), turning on the radio instead of the tv or laptop, getting my butt into the kitchen to prep a tasty and healthy dinner… it’s still new enough that I feel like I’m pushing myself beyond the comfortable norm, but all of these things make me feel satisfied in a way that tuning out never did. The other week Alex and I played cards… cards!?

I have no doubt that this sort of thing comes naturally to a lot of people. But it didn’t for me and for that I’m allowing myself to count it as a real accomplishment. I finally feel like I’m living life in between my mid-week work obligations — and can’t believe I’ve cheated myself out of so much by not catching on sooner. I see my friends more, laugh with Alex more, feel better rested, healthier, happier, and more energetic. Just by forcing myself to do something, anything, in those short few hours after work. Who knew!

Tonight I went to the gym after work. It was a long day, and I could feel it all falling away with a little huff and puff and pour of sweat off my back. It’s the difference between the benefit of doing something for myself and the absence of doing. After dinner (which I cooked, btw!), I’ll probably pick up the manual for my new Canon T3i and continue teaching myself all about how to take fancy-pants pictures. All this time for me, and so much to fill it with!

Changing Directions

When I started the Dilly Daily some 1.4 trillion years ago, the goal was to get me writing again and writing often. As you can see by the number of published posts, that didn’t exactly happen.

I got caught up in the crafting, the proofing, and the ‘is this line funny enough?’. While I was busy trying to achieve what I thought I should be creating, rather than getting out there and just building, I lost sight of what was a really important and worthwhile goal. To stretch and push myself out of my normal internal dialogue, the one that can be limiting by virtue of its impossible standards, and get comfortable with enjoying the process of something. The trial, the error, the success… there can’t be success without trial and those of you in my same boat know that there are often too many boxes on the checklist to even get to the trail stage before motivation dwindles.

So this is my new direction, a promise to myself from today forward… to use the Dilly Daily for what it was intended: a space where I can take time out each day and reflect on life. Everyday. Just a little. To say that I don’t have an hour to sit quietly with a glass of coffee in the morning or wine at night and just type is an excuse that does me a disservice.

To support this change in direction, my new mantras will be:

  1. practice, not perfection
  2. wow… ok, looks like number one sums it up.

More might come as I move along in this new project, but for now I think that giving myself permission to just write what flows and not worry about syntax or perfect-pitch hilarity will be enough to get me out of the gate.

Day one: check!

A Timeless Community Contribution… Literally

It’s the waining weeks of the first month in a new year… a time when reality sets in and commitment to the most well-intentioned resolutions can be supplanted with work woes, family obligations, or any of life’s other precious little roadblocks.

So, consider it a favor to your most ideal self and take an easy route to bettering the lives of those in your community… without giving up a Saturday (just yet).

Here’s your quick and calendar-free way to give back, now:

  1. Pick a cause that’s close to home… literally. has a great search engine that allows you to insert your zip code and keyword (i.e. homeless, children, hungry, education) to target local non-profit organizations that could use your time, or, more topical, cash. If you don’t have a specific cause in mind, think outside the box and consider donating to your local public radio or television station, making a loan to entrepreneurs in your city or abroad, or, pick an organization close to a family or friend and donate in their name. The more you look for opportunities to give back, the stronger a connection you’ll feel to the community and improve your ability to pin-point a cause to lend your support.
  2. Open your wallet. If you’re not sure how much to give, call the organization and talk to a program associate about the intent behind your donation. For example, if you want to feed a family of four for a full week, ask how much it costs the organization to provide that amount of food. If you want to save yourself the annual anguish of an unfulfilled resolution, ask about monthly subscription-based donations and make a financial commitment that you can be proud of all year round.
  3. Sit back, feel fabulous, and prepare to take the next step… yes, volunteering your time. Look for a follow-up post on Dilly Daily for more details on ramping up your contribution to those who need it most. Consider your monetary donation a down-payment on future action. While you’re at it, share the news with your friends and spread the good tithings.

Ready… set… spend!

…and don’t forget to save your receipts for the tax man.

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