Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Lipstick Mafia

First off, can I just pat myself on the back super hard for making this graphic ALL BY MYSELF.  I can't say I'm super talented at it, but I gets the job done.

I have a daughter.  She's 10 years old.  She rocks my world, sometimes in a fabulous way and sometimes in a cry myself to sleep at night with a bottle of wine kind of way.  She is in the second half of her fifth grade year and as her mind and body have begun to develop, she has been keen to continue her self expression.

First all, for those of you who have not met my daughter, she is a force unto herself.  She was born into the world with a strong sense of who she was and what she liked and didn't like.  She has been expressing herself loudly and passionately all her 10 years.  

So, she came to me a few weeks ago and said she wanted to wear makeup.  Okay, full disclosure, she has been coming to me for the last YEAR wanting to wear makeup.  Nope, nope, nope.  She's still more baby to me than girl, more starfish hand than elegant fingers.

I don't remember wearing makeup until I was 14, though I will admit that once the gates were opened I attempted full on goth makeup.  No, really.  Black hair, black eyeliner.  I don't have many pictures of that time period, but trying to have a pale white face and be all serious was a real stretch for me with my naturally rosy cheeks and exuberant personality.  Then I tried more of the punk scene, but I just wasn't really angry either.  I was like an alternative cheerleader who liked angry and depressing music.  Anyways.....back to my girl child.


Mom, I want to wear makeup.  Why can't I wear makeup?

Because you're too young.

Why am I too young?

Only grown ups wear makeup.


Because I want you to love your natural self first.  Because you're perfect exactly how you are.  You're flawless!

Moooooom, I do love how I look.  I just want to express myself differently.


But mom, it's just a form of self expression.

You're 10!  What the fuck?  (yes, I do drop F bombs in front of my child.  No, she's not allowed to use them in front of me.)  Self expression?  At 10?  Shouldn't you playing in a puddle or eating rocks or something?

God Mom.  (eye roll, dramatic sigh)  I'm not a baby.  And it's not like I want to wear regular makeup like to get boys or something stupid.  I just want to be able to show the world who I am.

I need to think about this.  Go away and let me think.


So, she goes off and I think about pouring myself a stiff drink.  My mind goes to all the usual places.  She shouldn't wear makeup because I don't want her sexualized at such an early age.  But then I think...wait, who's sexualizing her?  I'm not.  She's not.  Her friends aren't.  Oh, wait, the people that are sexualizing a 10 year old are the pervy people that would sexualize her if they saw her in her swimsuit!  Or her pajamas.  Or any clothes for that matter.  If you're sexualizing a 10 year old, it's NOT THE TEN YEAR OLDS FAULT.

 She shouldn't wear makeup because it's used to attract boys. Ha! Again, is that really true?  I know it's not for me. I wear makeup and it's not to attract men. Sometimes I wear makeup and I don't leave the house. Sometimes I leave the house and I don't wear makeup. 

So why SHOULD she wear makeup? It's fun to play around. It can feel like a small bit of armor , which shouldn't be inappropriately used but can feel comforting sometimes. When you're having a haggard kind of day and you throw on some lipstick and feel fancy, it's a little pick me up. It definitely can be a form of self expression.

So - we compromised.  She gets to rock the glitter lips she wanted to rock, but no other makeup.  She can occasionally use a little glitter on her face, but it can't be excessive (and I get to define excessive).  The gorgeous rainbow lips in the title are hers.  I like to think that she is teaching me her brand of feminism.  If the reason I'm making a decision is because of the patriarchy and the misogyny of men, maybe it's time I rethink my decision.

I encourage you, friends, to look at what part of your life you're making decisions just because. Just because you said so. Just because your mom did it that way.  Just because society thinks it should be that way. If you don't have a 10 year old teacher like I do, ask yourself the question Why. Again and again, until you reach the heart of the issue.  And as Martha Beck says 'you can tell it’s enlightenment because enlightenment always tastes of freedom. Not comfort. Not ease. Freedom.'

Sunday, January 15, 2017

My Aching Feet

I have another theme for 2017.  Ya know, because failure wasn't hard enough.  The theme that keeps showing up in a big way for me (god if that isn't a life coach sentence....ugh.  Before you know it I'll be using words like juicy and delicious.) is small steps.  Tiny steps.  Think Dr. Seuss Who size steps and then go smaller.  Lilliputian size steps.
Or these dudes that hang out on pasta.  Pasta that would be super dangerous for this size person since it would be like a freefall down the tube of death.  I will now always think of Penne Pasta as the Pasta of Death!
In case you don't know me, I LOVE jumping in and working like a maniac.  I'm a 14 hour a day, yelling at the top of my lungs, getting shit done kind of lady.  I'm a bullet when I have a target.  I like making lists and then crossing shit off my list.  I like to feel achy muscles after I work out.  I'm fabulous with crash diets, cleanses and boot camps.  I get all amped up even thinking about it!  Yes!  Immersion!!  Progress!  Mmmmm.  It's as good as choc...wait...nevermind.  That's getting out of hand.  Let's just say I love to make a goal and then rocket towards it.

However, the world has other plans for me right now.  I have noticed a pattern emerging as 2016 stumbled into 2017.  It's called "Quit Looking at the Mountain and Just Lace Up Your Shoes".  QLMJLUY.  No, that doesn't work.  "Future uncertain?  Captains keep manufacturing evolution."  Uh......Right.  I just wanted the acronym FUCKME because that's what this lesson feels like.  Tiny steps.  Tiny progress.  And by tiny, I mean so small you can't see it, feel it, taste it.  You don't feel like you're doing much of anything.  Which doesn't give me any of those wonderful feelings of accomplishment.  Where's my dopamine?  WHERE'S MY GODDAMN DOPAMINE?????!!!!

I was trying to find pictures of mountains and came across this.  I just put this in here because holy fuck, these are Chinese tourists and they do this for fun.  They call this a hiking trail!  No...No,no,no,no.  
So, I'll be over here Ohhhhming in the corner and taking my lists and breaking them down.  Maybe you're struggling with some monumental task in your own life and would like to join me in making the smallest of the small steps?  If you're feeling me on this - lemme give you a quick breakdown.

1.  Pick your big thing.  Let's use 'I want to get in shape' because pretty much most people I know always have this goal.

2.  Break it down into a smaller list.  What would it take to get in to shape?  It might look like this.

  • Eat Healthier
  • Work Out
  • Get More Sleep

3.  Pick ONE of these things to starts with (though you can break them ALL down into tiny goals eventually, but for the sake of not making you read three thousand pages we're gonna go with one) and break it down.  Let's take Work Out and break it down into what "Work Out" would look like in smaller chunks.
  • Take an exercise class.
  • Walk more often.

4.  Break those two down.  We'll go with "Walk More Often".
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Take a daily walk.
  • Find a friend to walk with.

5.  Hey, guess what?  Yep.  Break it down again.  We're going to break down "Take a daily walk"
  • Pick a time.
  • Figure out clothing.
  • Check the weather.

I know these seems like over doing it and maybe it's not a thing for you, but if you're like me you HATE being the wrong temperature and it's way too easy to look out the window and go "Oh, it's raining and I don't have a raincoat."  or "It's freezing and I'm wearing the wrong pants."  I'm telling you, break this shit DOWN.   You put in on the calendar to hold your lazy ass accountable.  You check the weather so you have a vague idea of what you might need.  You make sure you HAVE shoes you can walk in.  Don't have the right shoes?  BREAK IT DOWN.

I will fucking walk EVERY DAY goddammit!
It may be that your first week of Getting in Shape entails getting up fifteen minutes earlier every day but NOT walking.  THAT IS PROGRESS.  I hear you bitching at yourself and at me how that isn't diddly squat, but you're wrong.   Pick a part of Getting In Shape that you can do and start doing it.  You do not have to jump into doing a Couch to 5k with your new Fitbit and $200 running shoes, you just need to find a part of this process that you can commit to.  Because, friends (and self), 2017 is about the commitment part of things.  It's about committing to action and then following through.  The action part does not need to be monumental, it just needs to be consistent.  And through consistency, we will find progress.  Inch by inch, we will get there.  Inch by goddamn inch.

I'll be right there with you, channeling my inner sloth who seems to be doing nothing but is making slow but steady progress towards goals that are so big they scare the living bejeesus out of me.

If I could seriously be as happy as this sloth, I would have it made.  This is some serious business contentment right here.  I'm thinking Sloth may be my power animal for 2017.  I'm not super sure what a power animal for the year is, but I've made it up and now I'm owning it.  2017 - Year of the Sloth!

Friday, January 6, 2017

2017 - The Year of Failure

I don't think I posted at all in 2016.  And I pretty much accidentally deleted all the photos for earlier blogs and they didn't make a damn bit of sense without the photos, so yeah.  It's like a fresh start.  For the umpteenth time.  But guess what?  I love fresh starts.  I love starting over.

I moved every year from age 17 until age 38.  That's 19 years of moving every year.  Some years, I moved every 6 months.  Even when I didn't change companies, I usually changed jobs within the company at least once a year.  My hair color changes at least once a year, sometimes every six months.  I've been married three times.  Starting over is my jam.

Here's what's funny though, none of these feel like failures.  Moving every year never felt like I was a loser who never stayed in one place, it just felt like I wanted to move more often.  When I had to move because of rent increases, it was an adventure.  A chance to clean out my closets and re-organize my silverware drawer.  I loved the possibilities of my new places and never felt sad about leaving my old apartments.  It's not to say that every apartment was perfect.  I remember one of my favorite apartments that I moved into was across the street from an empty gravel lot.  As it turns out, that lot was only empty because it housed heavy equipment and trucks at night.  They fired up all those trucks and heavy equipment between 4 and 5am so they could get to job sites nice and early.  It was right outside my bedroom window.  Ha!

  Changing jobs?  Same thing.  I was always looking forward to the new challenge.  Sometimes it worked out, sometimes it didn't.  Changing hair colors?  I do it all the time.  And sometimes I don't get the result I wanted (red hair was a no go for me and right now I'm pondering going darker again) but it doesn't stop me from trying again.  Or doing something entirely different.

Blonde as blonde can be.

Brunette all the way!

A little bit of blonde with my brunette.

Marriages?  Well, let's just say I've found what works and I'm sticking with it.  But I will also say that I was never one to worry too much over relationships and if for some reason (not that I think it would because Dave is way too awesome) my current marriage didn't work out, well...I'd start over.  Because failure is how we learn.  And my failed marriages led to this awesome marriage.  My failed jobs led to figuring out what I wanted (and didn't want).  Every failure gets you closer to where you DO want to be.

So - this year, 2017 is going to be the year of taking this attitude into everything.  I've got some big ideas and maybe they'll work and maybe they won't, but starting over isn't a thing.  It's just a chance to see things from a new perspective, decide if the current direction is the right direction and to try lots and lots of new things.  Here's to 2017 and may we all fail often, early and without judgement of ourselves.

p.s. I may be starting up some free talks on failure with my coachy coach business soon.  If you want to get on my  mailing list when I send out information, sign up here.  

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Jumping Jack Flash...It's a Gas, Gas, Gas!

I had an emergency appendectomy last week.  I totally thought it was a gas bubble but my mom coerced me into going to the doctor.  Which led to going to the ER, which led to an ambulance rider, which led to surgery.  Mostly the story is too long to blog about because I get so damn wordy, but here's some highlights in timeline form.

Wednesday morning:  Wake up.  Feel shitty.  I feel bloated and like I have menstrual cramps, but the timing is wrong.  Finally call my mom (retired nurse practitioner) who makes me go the hospital.

Wednesday 2pm: Check in to the ER where I am immediately swarmed by a team of people.  One is asking me questions and filling out forms.   One is putting me in a hospital gown.  One is taking my blood pressure and heart rate and the other is setting up an IV drip.  It's total overkill for a goddamn stomach ache.  I mean, this is just a stupid gas bubble and I probably just need to fart...really bad.

 One the good side, when they tell me they need a urine sample I get to watch the surprise (or was it horror) on their faces as I pull out a grocery bag, duct tape sealed mason jar and hand it to them.  This is the benefit (or is it?) of having a retired nurse for a mom.  When I tried to pee before we left, she handed me a jar and said "They'll want a sample." So I now have the added embarrassment of being sure it's a gas bubble AND arriving with my own pee sample.

It's diesel fuel, but it grossed you out didn't it?  Also, I did not have THAT much pee.  This picture reminds me of this one time when I was driving back from Bend, Oregon and got stuck on a back roads highway for over an hour and no restroom in sight and just an empty 16oz Smoothie cup.  I swore to never wear skinny jeans on a roadtrip again after that.

Wednesday 4pm:  Doctor comes in, presses my stomach and orders a CT scan.  This is going to be the most expensive gas bubble I've ever had.  I'm grateful I have medical insurance and wondering if they kick you off when they find out you went to the ER because you had to fart.  So we do the CT scan and wait and wait and wait.

Wednesday 6pm:  Doctor comes back and says "Appendicitis.  We're scheduling surgery and you'll have to go the big hospital."

"Fine."  I say.  "Let me just go home and take a shower 'cause I'm gross and then my Mom will drive me over.  What time do we need to be there?"

The doctor smiles the way you smile at really stupid people when you realize they don't understand anything.

"We'll be transporting you right away.  The transporting is complimentary so don't worry about it."

Complimentary makes me think of a complimentary mint on your pillow.  It's an offering, a suggestion.  It's free.  But if you're not hungry, you don't HAVE to eat the mint.  So I say "Oh, thanks for the offer but I'm not in THAT much pain.  I'll just run home and take a shower and we'll head right there.  It will be a fast shower.  I just live across the street."

He doesn't bother with the pity smile this time, just says "The ambulance is on it's way and we're just waiting for the surgeon.  We'll keep you posted."  Then he lets the nurses take over, hooking me up with antibiotics in the IV and asking if they can get me anything.  Well, anything except a shower.  Or food.  Or water.  But I can have lemon flavored Q-tips.  Who needs steak when there's lemon flavored Q-tips?

Dinner is Served!

Wednesday 6:15 pm:  Ambulance drivers arrive and I have to wave them off of lifting me from one bed to another.   I took a selfie because I'm hoping this was my only opportunity to ever ride in an ambulance.

I actually asked the ambulance technician if he could scoot over so I could take a selfie.  He was very good humored about it.

Wednesday 7pm:  I had to wait a few hours for surgery, so I figured that was a good time to text my husband.  Not only did I text him, but I texted him while he was in China on a business trip.  Luckily, he was already at the airport getting ready to head home.  He immediately did what any freaked out Engineer does.  He googled "appendicitis" and began asking me all sorts of terrible questions.  Like "How many incisions are they going to make?  One or four?"  I asked him to stop texting me please.  Then he got on a plane.  I'm sure that was an enjoyable flight for him.

Wednesday 9pm:  Surgery was anti climactic.  I started to freak out so I asked for anti anxiety medicine.  The surgeon (who totally looked like a very hot lumberjack) said "Oh, sure." and before he could even finish that sentence, the IV meds kicked in and I was all happy.  Then I waited for the part where you count from 100 backwards.  Yeah, they don't need that anymore.  They just say "Ok" and then you're out.  And next thing you know you wake up telling the recovery nurse how much you wished you had taken a shower and not worn Hello Kitty underwear and that you would have put on more grown up underwear had you known everyone was going to see them.  And the recovery nurse somehow finds this amusing, even after the fifth re-telling.

I do not own these underwear....or this butt.

Wednesday 10pm:  This is the awesome picture that I had my Mom take right when I got out.  I thought I was smiling, but clearly my face hadn't started working yet.  Also, the recovery nurse arranged my bangs for me, which was very thoughtful of him.  It's probably because he felt sorry for me and my Hello Kitty underwear.

That's Hammy, the stuffed animal Turtle bought for me before I went in to surgery.  The doctors and nurses dressed him up for surgery and when I woke up, he was next to me all outfitted in his cap and mask.  He looks much more alert than I do.

Wednesday 10:15pm:  They gave me Percoset for my recovery.  They should rename that shit Perky-set because it kept me up all night.

Thursday  4am:  Did you know there is not much on television at 4am?  I watched re-runs of America's Funniest Home videos.

Thursday 10am:  I was discharged that morning and got home before Dave even got back from the airport.  I have been home recuperating (angrily, very angrily....I am NOT a good invalid) ever since and am now cleared to get back to regular exercise.  Which means I'm cleared to go back to thinking "Fuck, I should exercise" and having another cookie instead.

And that's the story of the gas bubble that wasn't a gas bubble at all.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hey Coach!

So, I have some news..

I also have a nice formal letter about the whole deal.  But I feel like I would terrify my blog readers if I suddenly showed up with an education.  I mean, what would happen if I used proper punctuation, grammar AND I stopped cussing?  Right.  Probably nothing.  Except that nobody would read it, they would do what I do with everything.  SKIM!  And I don't want you to miss anything.  So I'm gonna break it down short and sweet, with pictures and swearing.  So you can read EVERY WORD.

Last year, I had a good job.
This is me sitting at home, working on cool pet food projects.  Only my fingernails and toenails didn't look that good.  And I was usually wearing pajamas.

But it didn't really work for me.  I felt lonely and unfulfilled and wanted to do something more.  So I quit.

I didn't have to stand in any line, thanks to my darling husband and his steady employment.  Also, I currently can't eat donuts, coffee or soup so I would have had to go stand in the "No Wheat, No Dairy, No Garlic, No Onion, Here's Some Twigs and Grass" line.

After much thought, teeth gnashing, wine drinking and private coaching sessions, I made the decision to pursue a career in coaching.

Did you even know I played basketball?  Haa!  Not THAT kind of coaching.  Life Coaching!!  Can you believe it?  LIFE COACHING!!!!!

This is what I think about when I think about life coaching.  It's why I haven't said much about it.  I'm coming to terms with my new career.  It is a bit woo-woo, but it's also very grounded and practical.  I refuse to wear patchouli, crystals or caftans so I think I'll be okay.  

When I googled images of "Life Coach" (with license permissions) this was the first one to show up.  I believe I will probably be channeling Samuel Jackson when I coach.  I will say things like "What the FUCK did you expect would FUCKING happen if you kept talking the talk but NOT WALKING THE GODDAMN WALK MOTHERFUCKER?!"  

I was looking for 'right life' pictures and this showed up.  If you're looking for your 'right life' or a cute swimming pool with a lifeguard, a slide and no other people in it (this feels 'right' for me this summer!!!), you should contact me.

I'm currently finishing up my training and getting certified.  I'm working with an incredible team of coaches through Martha Beck Inc.  Martha Beck is the OG of Life Coaches.  Yes, I just called her the Original Gangster of Life Coaches.  This is how you can tell I'm white.  There is a picture of Aaron Eckhart because when you google for images labeled for reuse of Martha Beck life coach, he's who comes up.  I love the internet.

Martha Beck has coached Oprah Winfrey and now is a regular contributor to her magazine.  This makes her totally legit because Oprah knows everything.  Which Oprah would totally deny, but just proves my point.

So, if you're feeling like this about your life, your job, your relationship, whatever it is.....

And you want to feel like this (because who doesn't want to feel like a magical pink unicorn shooting rainbows out of it's head), you should contact me.

For a limited time, I will be offering coaching sessions for only $10 a session.  I need hours for my certification and I want to help ALL THE PEOPLE so get in touch with me right away if you want to get in on this sweet deal.  Sessions are done over the phone or Skype (we can use video or not if you don't want to shower or get dressed...please no naked Skype calls.  I'm just not that liberated yet.) so you don't even need to leave the comfort of your own home!  Awesome, right?

So that's the haps.  My contact info is coaching@monasterling.com or give me a call at 206 841 3469.  Oh fuck, I'm going to have to create an outgoing message aren't I? Sigh.  Anonymous voice mail years are coming to a close.  I'm going to go pour myself a glass of wine and do some recording.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Kids and Balls

Oh so many directions I could go with a title like this.  It could be an inspirational post about how kids, with their lack of social self talk, have bigger balls than most grown men.   Sorry for the disturbing visual.  Don't worry, it will get more disturbing from here.  This is just the warm up and your chance to quit reading.  Seriously, this may get disturbing AND personal.  But it's funny, so I'm gonna share anyway.  This is a NSFW and a not safe for family post.  Mom.  Grandma.  Stop reading.

Let's set the scene first.  Dave and I are in the front seat of the car. I need you to remember that Dave is 50 years old.  This is important for the whole  gross joke.  I won't point it out again, so if you miss it, it's your own damn fault.

Turtle is in the back seat.  She's telling us all about this game at school called Wall Ball.  First she tells us about all the different Wall Ball throws.  There's things called Roofies and Cherry Bombs. My mind immediately goes somewhere else (Duh.  I was an 80's teenager.) but Turtle explains about Roofies being when the ball hits the roof and so on.

We  are headed back from Target, where Turtle picked out a new Wall Ball ball because she got such a good report card (yeah Turtle!).

Turtle is  sitting with her ball on her lap.  At the stoplight I look back at her to give her one of those "I'm so proud of you and aren't I a good mom for buying you a present?" smiles.  She is licking her ball.

"What are you doing?"

"Licking my ball.  It's my way of marking it."


"Moooomm, all the kids lick their balls."

Dave snickers and I bite the inside of my lip.  He decides to venture in to the conversation.

"So, all the kids lick all the balls?"

Turtle huffs.  "Of course not.  We only lick our own balls."

More snickering and biting of inside cheeks ensues.  We both have a few un-shed tears that we are attempting to hold back.  Then Turtle goes on.

"We lick our balls to mark them as ours.  Nobody licks the school balls.  That's disgusting."

"Why is that disgusting?"  I ask.  Okay, I more breathe the question because I'm trying not to laugh.  Dave is pinching the bridge of his nose to keep the tears of laughter in check.

"Because,"  drawls Turtle.  "Those balls are like 50 years old and nobody wants to lick 50 year old balls.  That's just gross."

I turn to Dave and smirk.  If I could raise one eyebrow, I totally would have.

"Did you hear that Dave?  Nobody wants to lick 50 year old balls."

And then we exploded into laughter while Turtle yelled "What's so funny?  What?  What!?"

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Forced Do Over

I made some sort of technical error a while ago and lost ALL the pictures for my blog.  Lame.  I left the posts up, but now they don't make any sense.  Especially since the captions are all still up, so you're looking at blank space that says "My favorite picture of all time!".  And having the memory of a mosquito, I have no idea what my favorite picture of all time was.  So, here's what we're gonna do.

We're gonna start over, you and I.  I know, I know.  We will all miss going back and reading some of my scarier posts.  Plus, there's no more jumping tutorial post and that was a damn fine post.  But without pictures, it's a post that makes zero sense.

Rather than crying over what's already happened, we're gonna put it behind us.  I'm wiping the slate clean.  I will leave up the last two posts because they deal mostly with poop and stomachs and you know how I love that.  Plus, they kept their pictures.  Probably because they weren't even pictures of me.  I'm not so open as to post pictures of myself on the internet when it involves poop.  Boundaries, go figure.

I haven't been taking many photos recently, but here's one of Turtle and I after a particularly rough afternoon.  I gave in and called Uncle after I lost a tooth.

Here's to new beginnings, clean sheets of paper (or even just clean sheets.  GOD I LOVE CLEAN SHEETS!) and blogs with proper pictures.  May 2015 be my best year and your best year and a great year for taking goddamn pictures.