Things That are Bad for You

Last week I had my writers’ group over to my house. I was speaking to my uncle before my friends came over and he said I had to wear the present that he and my aunt gave me for my birthday. They gave me an apron. And while that doesn’t really seem like something one would wear to a writers group, because I am a good niece, I did.

Wine-how-classy-people-get-wasted
So nice to know I’m classy!

You may wonder what one does at a writers’ group, so I will tell you. We drink a lot of wine and talk too much about things that have nothing to do with writing. (So it turns out wearing the apron was a good fit after all.)

Actually we do have an agenda. We chit-chat for about 30 minutes as people are showing up, we have a writing prompt and spend 10 minutes writing whatever that prompt brings to mind, we all read our prompts aloud, then we each have ten minutes to discuss our goals for the next month. We can also send over a piece we’ve been working on before the meeting for feedback. If we were orderly this would all take about two hours. It usually takes four. (Mostly due to the drinking and talking too much about non-writerly things.)

I was in charge of the prompt (which can be a word or a phrase or even a question) and I chose “things that are bad for you.” The great thing about writing prompts is the varied responses from everyone. I love to hear my clever and creative friends read their prompts aloud.

Kim did not like my prompt. She started to write a story that was very similar the piece she’d emailed earlier in the day for feedback, but she felt that story had already been told, so she crossed it out and just made a list. I thought her list was fantastic as it wasn’t really a list of things that are bad for “you,” (as in everyone), but rather things that were bad for her.

And with 2014 officially half over, on this 19th day of my 49th year, the year I am trying to make productive, trying to make count, trying to make matter, it inspired me to make a list of my own. Because I want to stop doing things that are bad for me. And I have always found that things are so much easier to achieve when I have a list.

 

Things that are bad for me

  • Staying up late
  • Time-sucking activities (Candy Crush I’m talking to you!)
  • Procrastinating
  • Being late
  • A third glass of wine. (Not that I ever have that!)
  • A second cup of coffee
  • Forgetting what the words “portion control” mean (What do they mean again?)
  • Not writing
  • Not working out
  • Not stretching
  • Not making lists
  • Chandler being gone for 5 1/2 weeks (though this is very good for Chandler)
  • Being forgetful
  • Being unorganized
  • Jealousy
  • Self-doubt
  • Lack of motivation
  • Being lazy (especially when my laziness becomes blazy, which is a term my writer’s group came up with that means being blasé about your laziness. We’d campaign to get the word into next year’s Merriam Webster, but that would take way too much effort, thus being the exact opposite of blazy.)
  • Excuses (see above)

I could probably go on and think of 20 things that are bad for me instead of only 19, but I’m blazy remember?. Besides, I feel myself bordering on negativity. And that’s not my style. Perhaps I will counteract this post with a post listing things that are good for me. (Like Bradley Cooper obviously.)

Bradley-Cooper-shirtless
Yeah, I chose a picture of Bradley Cooper shirtless. You’re welcome.

 

Oh, and my kids, of course.

But as I said, another post.

I’d love to know… what are some things that are bad for you?

 

 

The First Day of my 49th Year

On the first day of my 49th year I woke up early like I always do. But I did not write. I was not productive. Sometimes I wonder why I get up before the sun only to be lazy. But because it was my birthday I allowed myself the indulgence of Facebook and Pinterest without guilt.

At seven o’clock I went for a three mile run. It’s been a while since I’ve run that far. I never stopped to walk, but it was hard. Really hard. The last minute was especially brutal. I end my run on an uphill. I felt dizzy. Like I was going to vomit. I’m pretty sure that’s not what they mean by the term “runner’s high” but if it is then I want no part of it.

You might wonder why I chose to run on my birthday if I hate it so much.  I had friends coming over that night for appetizers and wine and knew I’d be eating a lot of cheese. A lot of cheese. Call it preventative maintenance.

I treated myself to a pedicure -after a shower of course- and then drove to The George Michael Salon in Beverly Hills. (No relation to 80’s pop star/90’s park bathroom lurker.) I’d won a long hair treatment worth $195 from a #Fabchat session on Twitter and my birthday was the perfect day to treat myself to such a luxury as my hair was definitely in desperate need of a little TLC.

Hair before George Michael Hair treatment
This hair is in some desperate need of a little TLC. (BTW – can you tell I’m not very good at selfies?)

 

Salon owner, Jessie Martinez, definitely gave me that. She washed my hair and put on an intense moisturizing treatment and then sat me on a comfy couch for an hour with a heating cap on my head. I sat and read my new book for an hour. (Talk about indulgent!)

Afterwards she washed my hair and set it in big rollers and I sat under a hairdryer that looked like it came out of the Jetson’s for another 45 minutes and read some more. Oh yes, it was a very good day indeed.

hair dryer
It looks like something Jane Jetson would wear doesn’t it?

 

The result was smooth, gorgeous hair without the harmful chemicals of some other hair treatments (ahem, I’m talking to you Brazilian) or the drying and damaging effects of a blowout.

I left the George Michael hair salon looking like this:

Hair-after-george-michael-hair-treatment
Please ignore my lack of make-up and focus on my gorgeous hair!

Jessie Martinez might just be my new best friend.

I stopped by Costco on my way home and battled the Father’s Day shoppers to pick up my favorite cheap wine -only the best for my friends- and returned home to  a clean house (best birthday present ever) and our Happy Birthday sign on the wall. (We have a Happy Birthday sign that I hang for everyone’s birthday every year, but mentioned last year that it never gets hung for me.) I’m not sure what made my heart sing more – the freshly vacuumed carpet or the sign, but the combination made me so happy that I didn’t even get crabby when I saw the dust rag carelessly left in the corner on the living room. (Isn’t that what you do when you’re done dusting – just drop the dust rag at the bottom of the last thing dusted?)

I made fried olives, a recipe that I found here, and have been wanting to try for a year. They did not disappoint. I set up for the party, put on a dress that I haven’t been able to fit into for years, and welcomed my closest friends into my home.

Fired-olives
Mmmm fried olives – delish!

The men went into one room and the women went into another. We drank wine. We laughed. We ate a lot of cheese. My friend Arlyne baked me a carrot cake from scratch. It was heavenly.

As birthdays go, it wasn’t anything grand, but it was quite wonderful.

Every day should be filled with recognizing the joy of simple pleasures…

Shirking off early-morning productivity to “catch up” on Facebook.

Feeling strong (albeit vomity) after a hard workout.

Taking the time to pamper oneself.

Reveling in the serene beauty of a clean house.

Enjoying time spent with close friends.

Indulging (okay, over-indulging) in wine and cheese.

The first day of my 49th year? No, it may not have been grand, but it was a damn fine day indeed.