Blogging, Family Ties, I'm Going To Chop My Ear Off Any Day Now

What I’ve Learned from My Past Lives (yes, I did just say that)

Often when time passes, feelings fade, memories go fuzzy, and lessons learned take a backseat to everyday demands. One of the many curious things about undergoing a “past life regression” hypnosis session last month (yup, that’s totally a thing!) was finding that the very opposite occurred. The thoughts, smells, sights and sounds that I experienced during hypnosis have become hyperreal, and I’ve spent many long walks trying to squeeze every ounce of insight that I can from them.

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Wanna hear what I’ve got so far? Oh good. I knew I had a blog for a reason.

Go-Jules-Go-title-graphic_What I've Learned from My Past Lives

LESSON 1 (of 3): It’s Okay to Want Less

In many ways, the two past lives I witnessed couldn’t have been more different. In one life, I was a woman, the other, a man. In one I was wealthy, the other poor. I hated my job one time, enjoyed it the next.

None of this mattered.

As both a wealthy Victorian woman visiting her grandmother in the English countryside and a poor-as-dirt laborer in rural Maine in the mid-20th century, the only thing that mattered to me was this: Being with my family, surrounded by nature. I longed for nothing more than the sight of those rolling hills and the water – except maybe a cup of tea and some James Joyce! No part of me was vying for a 4.0 GPA or learning yoga or reading self-help books. And I felt zero guilt about it. The pursuit of peace and pleasure was enough.

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Ahhhhh, that’s better.

This was a powerful lesson. All I truly desire today is exactly the same – except now it feels devilishly indulgent. A simple life with fewer responsibilities? How dare I! This experience was a much-needed reminder to take a breath and remember that all of the accomplishments in the world are meaningless if I can’t enjoy what matters most. I don’t need to adorn this life with the trappings of success to have a successful life.

LESSON 2 (of 3): Why I REALLY Struggle with My Weight

I thought, between decades of dieting and multiple therapists, that I’d covered every possible reason I struggled with weight.

It wasn’t until I heard my “Higher Self” speak during hypnosis that a new idea took form: My weight was the physical manifestation of carrying others’ burdens. I had never allowed this theory to surface because I thought it made me sound like a self-righteous martyr.

“She tries to be like a mussel. Clean the water. It doesn’t work,” my higher self had said, speaking in third person. “She just wants everyone to be happy. She doesn’t have to be responsible for anyone [else’s happiness].”

How might I approach my relationship with food if I looked at it through this new lens? Would I speak up, set boundaries, and share more of my authentic self? The short answer? YES. It’s already happening! But I’ll confess: I haven’t changed overnight. The road ahead still looks pretty curvy (pun soooo intended). Nevertheless, I’m more optimistic than ever before that I’m dissolving a toxic pattern.

MORE VEGAN FOOD HACKS
It’s especially tough when you crush it in the kitchen like I do.

LESSON 3 (of 3): “If You’re Happy, You Will Save the World”

This is something else my higher self relayed midway through the session, and it strikes me as almost heartbreaking in its innocence. Wasn’t there some wise old (wo)man somewhere who said we can recognize the truth by its simplicity?

I’ve often heard people say that we’re on this earth to experience joy, and despite how things may appear on this blog, I often do a sh*tty job of it. Which links back perfectly to #1 on this list: It doesn’t take much to be happy (and THAT’S OKAY)!

Perhaps instead of living life like one giant checklist, I’d make a bigger, brighter impact on the planet I love so much by doing things daily that delight me (like using alliteration…check!).

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And photoshopping myself next to Darren Criss, of course.

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Do these lessons resonate with you? Do you struggle with them like I do?

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Blonde Moments, Family Ties, humor

I Put the NO in NOLA (New Orleans)

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The trip that almost…WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU.

My family arrived at Newark Liberty Airport last week with plenty of time to catch our 12:34pm flight to New Orleans. It was Spring Break for this family of (mostly) teachers, kids, and retirees, and we were eager to cash in on the opportunity to visit a city none of us had ever seen. Everyone stared at me while I pulled out my phone to retrieve our flight number, punching it into the check-in kiosk. I was skating on thin ice for not having checked us in the night before.

My parents looked around nervously, trying to catch a glimpse of the security gate. The lines were surprisingly dead for a Tuesday morning. As Babs (mom) stared at her baggage check sticker like it was written in Klingon, my sister swiftly tagged both of her kids’ bags and called, “Okay, let’s go!”

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Put the who in the what in the where now? Photo credit

All six of us made our way to the security gate, where I pulled out my wallet to grab my driver’s license.

“What’s wrong?” my sister asked. She followed my gaze.

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“Oh my god. Where’s your license?”

I slapped my hand to my forehead.

“In my coat pocket,” I moaned.

Her eyes widened. I had quickly put my license in my coat pocket that morning in order to move my car to a tow-free spot for the week. It was still snowing in New Jersey, and I was thrilled when I put the puffy gray jacket back on its hook in the landing of my apartment, because, hey! It was 80 degrees in NOLA! Woo hoo! Let’s GO!

“I was trying to be responsible [and not drive around the corner without a license]!” I cried. I had never bothered to be so responsible before, which is why I didn’t remember to put the license back in my wallet.

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And I call myself a (moderately proficient) Project Management Professional.

I looked over at my father, halfway to the TSA pre-check line, and thought, If looks could disown. My sister and I had planned this whole thing on his dime and now I was about to ruin it all.

Being a 3-month-old meditating guru, I suddenly thought: This is a test. Don’t cry. Breathe. Stay calm. There is no f^&$@$ way they’re letting me on the plane!!!!

“Okay, let’s get on line and come up with a plan,” my sister said, snapping into teacher mode.

I only had time to chug what was left in my water bottle before we faced security, all the while trying to ignore the exclamation points firing in my head. People in airport uniforms hated me. I was searched every time, convincing me I had either “dumb enough to carry someone else’s crack-lined luggage” or “mail order bride” tattooed on my forehead. Because of this track record, I always got nervous, which then made them suspicious, and well, it was just a vicious cycle that ended with someone getting to second base.

The agent smiled (smiled!) at my sister BECAUSE OF COURSE HE DID and once she explained the situation, he politely said he’d call his manager, asking me to provide any other I.D. I might have in the meantime.

Did…did this mean…could I possibly… Nooo. I yanked out every credit card, health insurance card, student I.D., $3.08 Borders gift card (hey, how did that get in there?), and business card I had in my wallet, little pieces of my identity fluttering out like it was Mardi Gras.

Five (or two or forty-seven, who can tell when you’re wondering why you also forgot to wear an adult diaper?) minutes later, I was sent on through without so much as a pat down. I reached my family, patiently waiting on the other side of the security gate.

“Time for a drink?” Babs asked after taking one look at my face.

“All of them,” I nodded.

But I didn’t cry! And I made it through! Bring on the Hurricanes! And bring them on we did…

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…until two days later. When I started feeling…funny.

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And not funny ha-ha.

After an exciting and sleepless night followed by a raging fever, we concluded I’d come down with the stomach flu, a new friend who planned to stick around, Kato-style.

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F— my liiiiiiiife. Photo credit

Now that the fever’s finally gone, I feel reborn and ready to get my license tattooed on my arm. Except that my stomach is still to me what women are to men: a total mystery.

As for the rest of New Orleans? Also a total mystery.

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But I’m told this happened.

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Any other travel mishaps you care to share? Please. Make me feel better.

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Family Ties, humor, Veganiness

What Jesus Would Definitely NOT Do

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Every other week, I meet with one of my favorite people in the world, my thesis advisor, Mary Pat (or MP, as we affectionately call her). At the start of these chats, we often find ourselves sharing humorous anecdotes before getting down to brass tacks.

Speaking of nail-like things, this past week, she shared a little story about growing up Catholic as one of seven siblings. “This wasn’t like growing up in the 80s,” she said. “I mean, we had nuns. Nun nuns.”

“On Good Friday,” MP continued, “from 12 to 3, while Jesus was on the cross, Catholics are supposed to be quiet. Our parents would put all seven of us in our tiny basement and not let us out until we oh-so-silently finished our annual arts and crafts project. Which was,” she paused dramatically, “to make a life-sized Jesus on the cross using brown paper bags, red markers, tape, and scissors.  We didn’t have to make the cross, just Jesus — which was a depressing task to say the least, especially with four brothers who loved drawing the gory parts…”

I stared at her, mouth agape. “Go on.”

“Once giant Jesus was complete, my parents hung Him on the wall where He remained for the rest of Good Friday and most of Holy Saturday. Then, Saturday night before bed, we rolled Him up and put Him in a shoebox with a rock on top, like His tomb,” she took a breath. “This isn’t even the best part.”

I pursed my lips. This was already the greatest story I’d ever heard.

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Cannot…take…it!!!!

“In the morning — on Easter — we would come downstairs to discover that the shoebox was empty, the rock removed! If we wondered where He went, we needed only tip our seven little faces toward the heavens to find Him.”

“The…ceiling?” I could barely get the words out.

“That’s right,” she confirmed. “After we went to bed, my parents would tape Him to the ceiling in the dining room. He had risen!”

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I’m guessing it didn’t look like this.

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Any other horrifying fun family memories you’d like to share?

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Family Ties

Baby Got Bac-teria

A couple of weeks ago, at an old-school Italian restaurant in northern New Jersey, my friend and I convinced my sister to sing. Because nothing goes better with pasta fagioli (pronounced fah-ZOOL) than nightly karaoke.

It was the kind of place that makes it impossible for us native Jerseyians to say, “Oh, no, The Sopranos was a gross exaggeration.” After a few glasses of questionable Sangria, my sister relented. Her pick? Baby Got Back.

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A small fan club formed and we all had a good laugh. We could never have predicted just how ominous her song of choice would turn out to be.

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…Wait for it.

One week later, during our usual exercise/excuse-to-gab routine, my sister lowered her voice and said, “There’s something on my butt.”

I looked behind her. “I don’t see anything.”

“No,” she muttered. “Like, in my butt.”

I raised one eyebrow. “Go on.”

“I don’t know what it is, but it hurts like hell.”

“Is it from cycling?” I asked. She and I are avid road cyclists, and that past week she had put in well over 100 miles on her bike.

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Sometimes we have fun, but usually it’s like this. Also I can’t actually raise one eyebrow. I’m sorry I lied about that before.

“I don’t know, but I think I’m going to have to,” she paused dramatically, “Call the doctor.”

Two days later, she was already on her second visit to the OB-GYN.

“I’m going to have to perform a rectal exam,” the doctor said, snapping on a latex glove.

“Can you use a lot of gel?” my sister wept, legs splayed and pride long gone.

In just two days, what turned out to be an abscess had grown larger than the size of an avocado pit, and was located just outside of her… ah, backdoor.

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*knock knock* Who’s th- Never mind! Never mind!!!

“I need you to get rid of it,” my sister pleaded, voice nearing hysteria. “I can’t even sleep!”

“Oh yes, we will,” a second doctor said.

“Can you do it here?”

“We need to go to the hospital.”

My sister looked at me, torn between the relief that this might be over, and the sheer terror one must feel in realizing a scalpel would soon graze their most sensitive of bits.

Yes, I was in the room the whole time.

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I got that crown during the Sister of the Year Award ceremony.

When asked how this happened, or what to do to prevent it, the doctor merely offered, “This is a total fluke. You don’t have to worry about this happening again.”

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I sure hope not, because I found the hospital magazine selection both ironic and distasteful.

Many hours later, when all was said and done drained and doped up, the doctor left my sister with a stern warning:

“I don’t want you exercising for 30 days. Don’t even sweat.”

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So I guess karaoke’s out?

Any other fun medical oddities happening out there? Don’t be shy. We have extra gel.

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Family Ties, PSAs

S.O.S.! “Some Outrageous Sh*t” you won’t believe!

Earlier this summer, my parents went on a long-awaited Alaskan cruise. It had taken my father until his retirement to convince my mom, the infamous Babs, to set foot on the next Titanic.

She readied herself with Dramamine and shock therapy and off they went. Over the coming days, she sent fun updates and spectacular pictures.

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My siblings and I were delighted to see things going so well. On the last night of their cruise, I noticed a mysterious post on Facebook:

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I chose to remain optimistic. Perhaps they’d won a “Meet the New Kids On the Block in Anchorage!” giveaway, or at the very least, had had to stay an extra week and fold towel swans to pay off their bar tab.

Then? I got this:

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Like…”severed” severed?

Because Babs was fighting for time on one of the ship’s few computers at 75 cents per minute, I didn’t get any more details. I only had time for one quick response.

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I let Babs’ boss know she might not be back in the office until the following week, and added that I’d also let him know when we could safely begin the pun-off. He immediately texted Babs,

“I hope you can still catch your flight. Would hate to see you have to thumb your way home.”

Hilarious.

Once Babs had proper access to cell towers and data, I learned that my dad had amputated his left thumb from the nail up that morning by leaving his hand in the door frame of their bathroom. The doors were made of Black Sabbath-level heavy metal and could swing shut from their sheer girth.

Now known as the guillotine.
Now known as The Guillotine.

The cruise ship medic said there was no saving the tip of his thumb, though Babs had dutifully brought it with them to the infirmary.

Hang on, Babs. You forgot the straw paper heart.
Hang on, Babs. You forgot the straw paper heart.

They eventually made it to the nearest hand surgeon in Anchorage, four hours away by bus, where doctors the doctor said my father would fare just as well coming home to New Jersey for surgery. No surprise, since their facilities were straight out of Northern Exposure.

Any John Corbett fans out there?
Any John Corbett fans out there?

I expected to see an ashen-faced version of my father, loopy on pain meds, when they finally landed back home. Instead, he was completely lucid and trying to carry his suitcase. Which is when he spotted my welcome home gift:

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Babs needed sleep the way I need bacon-flavored vodka and compliments, so I drove my dad to a nearby Urgent Care center, part of Summit Medical Group, for a proper evaluation.

Another fantastic pun courtesy of Babs' boss.
More fantastic wordplay, courtesy of Babs’ boss.

It’s been a little over two months, and Pops has made a pretty full recovery. Did you know they offer physical therapy to the digitally disabled?

And since he’s doing so well?

Bring on the puns.

Bring on the puns. You know you want to.
You know you want to.

Do you have any vacation FIASCO STORIES HAND-Y?

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Blonde Moments, Family Ties, humor

Oh F%#&. My Mom Got A Smart Phone.

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You heard correctly, Chipmunks:

My mom, Babs, got her first smart phone!

Sticking with this would have been smart.
Sticking with this would have been smart.

The adventure started when my dad gave her a Radio Shack gift certificate for Christmas, intending to let me help Babs actually purchase the phone. Because he never really loved me.

Now, I love my iPhone, but wouldn’t exactly call myself a smart phone expert. My only solid advice was, “Get the gold one, it’s pretty.”

Wow, I really need to stop biting my nails.
Wow, I really need to stop biting my nails.

Two hours at Radio Shack and the death of my soul later, Babs got her first lesson from me:

“See this blue icon with the A? That’s your app store. Click it and type in Macy’s.”

Any good teacher knows you have to speak your student's language.
Any good teacher knows you have to speak your student’s language.

While she took to the shopping apps like nobody’s business, the past few weeks have looked like this:

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And my very favorite:

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…Wait for it…

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I [just called to say I] love you, Babs. Thanks for letting me use those screen shots for the world’s amusement.

How do you/your parents fare with technology? Any gadget gift fails?

P.S. – I suck royally for not responding to recent comments. Rest assured my absence has only made my heart grow fonder, and I totally want to have 10,000 of your babies.

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