Ferris Bueller, you’re my hero

If you did know me when I was in middle school, you definitely knew what my favorite movie was:  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It’s no exaggeration that I could quote every line of the entire movie. That’s what happens when you see something over 100 times within a year or so. (It’s still my all time favorite. And I’d like to formally thank John Hughes).

Remember this movie?  Anyone? Anyone?  If you forgot, pause here and go watch it on Netflix.  You won’t regret it.  These were kids who figured out how to work the system. Even as a pre-teen I recognized these special gifts and I sometimes think this was the key to my happiness.  Here’s what I noticed.

1-He was kind to everyone

What advantage does this give him? Every advantage. Besides the old saying that it’s the golden rule, being kind provided him opportunities that never would have appeared if he hadn’t been friends, or at least friendly with so many people. People cared about him because he cared about them. “Ferris Bueller? You know him?” “Yeah he’s getting me outta summer school”. They exchanged favors. And although nobody knows if he really just passed out at 31 Flavors or was dying of disease, if they had known what was really happening in downtown Chicago, I’m quite certain no one would’ve ratted him out.

2-He was oblivious to challenges.

Nothing was impossible. “The question isn’t “what are we going to do,” the question is “what aren’t we going to do?” “You can never go too far”. “The bold survive”.  Why would getting Sloan out of school be a problem?  The Sausage King of Chicago doesn’t hesitate or backdown to get what he wants.  It doesn’t even occur to him that he had obstacles.  

3-He’s an amazing best friend.  

He encourages Cameron to get up and out of the house.  He helps through what is clearly depression and pushes him to stand up for himself. “Cameron: I am not going to sit on my @$& as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I’m going to take a stand. I’m going to defend it. Right or wrong, I’m going to defend it.”

4-He always looked on the bright side.

He got a computer instead of a car so what do he do? He learned how to hack.  Hacking back then was equally easier and harder than it is now.  He changed how many times he was absent…from the comfort of his own home.  And while he didn’t own a car, I’m sure he never had a problem getting rides.   

5-He believed in himself and put himself first.  

But in a good way. “Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism’s in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.”  We all should take care of ourselves first.  That way it’s actually easier to take care of others.

I love this movie.  So much.  Ferris Bueller, you’re still my hero. 

You’re still here? It’s Over. Go Home. Go.

Aura Photograph


While in New York last summer I wondered into China town and found myself in the Magic Jewelry Shop to have my aura photographed.  I had read a lot about these photographs with one blog in particular that made me curious.  And who can resist the colors?  The door was locked when I arrived and I had to wait to be buzzed in even though it was midday.  The tiny shop had two display cases filled with, of course, jewelry.

Right away I asked for the picture and a lady had me sit and place my hands to the sides of me on small black metal boxes.  She asked me to hold very still.  The photo was taken and I followed her to a display case where she did the reading.

Much to my surprise I was overwhelmed with the accuracy of the reading.  My aura colors that afternoon were bright yellows and oranges and reds.  There was darkness over my tummy, cloudiness over my heart and my body was tinted green.  The first thing she told me was that I needed to be mindful of eating breakfast every day and that not eating was the cause of the darkness in my photo.  Immediately I was impressed that she would know that I skipped breakfast the past three days.  She then told me that the orange meant I was a friendly, outgoing person.  The yellow represented that I had a major life change about two years ago and that it all was for the best, that I was growing into the person I was much more comfortable with and that it was making me truly happy.  The red was informing me that I needed to reach out to my creative side.  And the green tint picked up on my need to be compassionate.  Not surprising since I’m comfortable doing Hospice Care.  And the heart thing, cloudy, well, no surprise there.  I was given a few more details and it concluded with her telling me that the intensity moving from the bottom right to the left meant that the future was bright and I’d see amazing things in the next year.

She finished the reading while taping the photo to a card and suggesting a few pieces of jewelry to enhance the good and protect me from the bad.  I politely declined and was invited to come back again at a different time of day or the following day because our aura changes as often as our feelings.  While I didn’t get a chance during that trip, I plan to go again next time I get into the city again.

Sixth Grade Picture Day-I didn’t care

For those of you who didn’t know me when I was 12,  let me paint the picture. I’ll need to start by doing a quick rewind to when I was 11. I had knocked out my front tooth when I slipped at a water park and the dentist tried shoving the tooth back into the empty gap in my gums to see if the root would reattach. By sixth grade the tooth in question turned gray and died despite having nine root canals.  I had to have the tooth pulled. So in an attempt to avoid a bridge and keep real teeth my orthodontist decided to shift all my teeth forward with braces and then do bonding on the original teeth instead of having a bridge. By the time yearbook photos came around I was a 12-year-old without a front tooth and braces. Take a moment to envision this…

In addition to this lovely image, I had decided the evening before picture day to cut myself some bangs. My friend and I stood in front of her bathroom mirror, wet our hair and proceeded to give ourselves a trim. Did you know that if your hair is wet and you pull it down to your eyebrows, when it dries it’ll be shorter than what is considered to be okay for bangs, and then if you add curly hair into that mix-you’ve got a front fringe of hair that looks slightly like a mullet but not quite as cool?  

To top it off, oh yes, there’s more, I decided to wear a yellow V-neck sweater with a black dickie for pictures.  If you can not recall what a dickie is it’s because you were born too late to enjoy this fashion trend of the 90’s. It’s a fake turtleneck. Not to be confused with a mock, or shorter turtleneck, it’s fake in the way that it doesn’t have what would it require to have to be considered clothing.  It doesn’t have sleeves or even sides to go under your arms. It’s simply a square piece of material with a hole cut in the middle to squeeze your fuzzy newly cut bangs through.  It is only enough material to cover a bust. Go ahead and google it if you need to. It is an amusing thing to discover that they are still sold. Now I should reiterate here that I was wearing a black dickie under a yellow sweater.  You could see this anomaly of a black shadow outlining my bust clearly. 

This photo is classic. I love it. It’s so horrendous. I was the ugliest person in the history of ever that year. But I didn’t care. 

Life in sixth grade was a continuous disaster. I cut my middle finger off when it was slammed in the gym door at school. They stitched it back on with fingers crossed (pun intended) that it wouldn’t die like my tooth.  I had to learn to write left-handed and keep my middle finger, in a splint, raised above my heart for six weeks to help circulation. This gave me permission to set my elbow on my desk and flip the bird in class for 7 hours a day.  I didn’t have any classes with one of my best friends. My mother was dating a creep and eventually married him.  We had new step-siblings.  We moved ….again. My brother stole my bike for drug money. My father was basically absent and that year he sent me the exact same thing for Christmas as he did for my birthday. 

When you’re 12, these are defining moments in your life. 

Life was crazy. But I loved it. And this is the part I can’t figure out: I was confident and had no reason to be. Isn’t that the coolest? A slightly mulleted, toothless, dickey wearing, bird flipping 12 year old with family issues was generally happy.   I was lucky.  I had self-esteem.  I look back and wonder why it was possible.  Massive dorkiness combined with the outside appearance of a mutant.

So why am I writing this post?  To embarrass myself?  That hardly needs to be done in a written statement. I happily oblige to do that at any point in time. The reason is because I have spent a lot of time in my adult years with middle school girls from having my own daughters and their friends to coaching different things. I see my own girls accept the pressures that they have to be perfect from social media.  High self-esteem is something that has been taken away from the youth who now not only feel they have to compete with those they know in real life but with their social media icons.  The standard of normal jumped into hyper mode and is now an edited perfection that is impossible to reach.  The pressure is mounting that to be special you have to be someone you’re not.  To be special, girls need to know that they need to be themselves.  Average should be the new special.  

I wish I could have that kind of inner love for myself now that I did when I was in middle school and stop letting other people’s opinions of me effect my self-confidence.  I wish my kids had my 12 year old kind of self-esteem.  I wish all middle school girls could love themselves like that.  And especially all those darling girls I know from coaching.   

So why did I manage to survive middle school without suffering?  I said it before-I didn’t care.  I didn’t care about what people thought of me.  I did what I wanted, when I wanted.  I cussed a lot, had spitting contests with the boys during lunch, played bloody-Mary, ate so many cherries I was sick for days. We went toilet papering 14 days in a row (but often went back the next day to help them clean it up as this was my strategy to see the boy as often as possible.  (It worked)).  We played night games late into the night and took over entire neighborhoods.  I wore clothes that didn’t match and shoes with holes.  I made weekly long-distance prank phone calls to Tucker T. Fuddrucker.  I cut my own hair and flipped the bird for 6 solid weeks with a smile on my face.  I told my friends if they had stuff in their teeth, if they smelled bad, or if their hair looked funny.  I was blatant and direct with everybody.  (Luckily, my parents had instilled in me some sense of respect for adults because I could mind my manners when needed).  I could speak my mind or hold my tongue but the choice was mine.  In my own little world-I ruled.

I wish everyone would stop caring so much about things that don’t matter and choose the things that are important to give their time and energy.  I wish they would embrace their curly hair, love their crooked teeth, wear their favorite shoes until they fall off, join coding club if they want to even if their friends say it’s nerdy.  I wish they’d stop caring what their  friends think and instead do what they love because they love it. I wish they’d start thinking for themselves and outside of what social media tells them to think.  There’s love and freedom in being yourself.  It’s the only true way to develop your self-esteem.

My Dating Statistics 

Let’s break down my dating history into numbers.

In a period of 6 months I went through 8,000 profiles on 13 different dating sites. I had a list of 20 things that would prevent me from dating someone. A list of 4 things I needed to have. I kept a ratio of 80/20 to see if I’d be interested to go on a first date. *Prospective dates could have apparent flaws but only at a 20% ratio to 80% positive qualities. All of the profiles had to be within a 500 mile radius. Aged between (keep it together here folks) 29-45. Of the 8,000 profiles I narrowed it down to 23 men I’d like to date and became fairly aggressive to get them to ask me out. I had a second date with only 4 of them. 3 got a third date and extended dates beyond that. 1 of them moved. 1 was nice but not for me and 1 became my best friend.  6 months, 8,000 profiles, 23 dates.  That’s a small amount of time and a large amount of dates. Well, in the next 12 months I added another 40 first dates to that number so in 18 months I went on a total of 63 first dates. I met some truly amazing people. Interesting backgrounds, careers, travels, points of view and ideas were shared.  I walked out on 2 dates. Both within the first 5 minutes of sitting down. 1 date brought his girlfriend. Another 1 didn’t speak ANY English and had been communicating through google translate on the dating site. 1 talked about his ex for 2 hours. 1 left me to go help his ex with a flat tire. I dated hippies, rangers, baseball players, lawyers, executives, a race car driver, musician, NASA, surfer, pilots, surgeon, political scientist, brokers, brilliant guys, not-so-brilliant guys, a model, a producer, firefighters, fathers, republicans, democrats, and on and on and on. I had fun on nearly every date because there was always something to learn from each person.

Since those first 6 months, I slowed down but added another 6,000 or so to total looked at profiles somewhere in the range of 14,000. My list of 20 things I could never date was torn up and thrown away after I was reminded by friend how the law of attraction works.  My 4 favorite things to find in a person are still written down though. But it all comes down to the 1 trait that matters most to me-Happiness.

I had read somewhere before I had my first first date that you can find your “soulmate” after approximately 800 people that you meet. One of them is an actual soulmate.  A perfect partner. I knew I couldn’t possibly go on 800 dates in a my lifetime (although this number was to include men and women with whom you’d have met) let alone a decade. After around 75 first dates I got really comfortable dating a guy and eventually it became exclusive.  Not on purpose but he was sweet, insanely handsome and he made me feel like a 1,000,000 bucks. But long-term potential just wasn’t there and it ended with us being friends.

I will clarify that I am not dating to find someone to marry.  I can’t say for certain but I don’t see marriage in my future.  I’ll be content with a partner and an equal.

Road Trip *aka I ran away.


This past week I had a few crucial decisions to make and instead of hanging around to face the problem, I ran away from them.  This is a direct contradiction to my only 13 day old resolution to Face My Fears.  But I don’t want to call it a failure because ….running away was exactly what I needed.   My problems aren’t solved but my head is clearer and my stomach is untangled from the tight knots that were collecting there.

It was a last minute decision to go.  The thought occurred to me on Thursday morning knowing it was an unlikely scenario though.  Who leaves with no where to go?   I decided late Thursday after having dinner with friends that I’d just do it.  Friday came, work was done, it was getting dark outside and I hadn’t even packed.  I didn’t have a place to stay or a true destination for the night but I had to get away. The gnawing in my gut from decision making was cutting through me.  I knew I’d end up Saturday in the Pheonix area, it’s somewhere I’d been wanting to do for a while and cancelled going twice last year, I just didn’t have any plans to get there.  Usually I’d have mapped out a route and decided all the plans ahead of time.  Planning is one of my favorite things but this trip I found myself on the road at 7pm and nothing ahead of me.  When I got tired of driving, I got on Priceline and booked the closest hotel.  It wasn’t until Saturday afternoon when the rain was pouring and my hiking goals were squashed that my heart slowed down a bit and I just enjoyed the scenery.

I ended up Friday night in Kingman, Arizona.  Saturday morning I woke up to rain so I had to cancel my Grand Canyon viewing and instead drove up highway 66 for awhile and then turned south on the Joshua Tree National Forest Highway to go to Scottsdale.  When I got there in the mid-afternoon I explored Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesan West.  The view was stunning from there and the rain was refreshing.  Then I found a room nearby and also enjoyed a boba.  That night a good friend noticed where I was from my Instagram post and told me she was in Pheonix too.  She was running the Rock and Roll Marathon and the finish line was 6 miles from where I was staying.  I got up in the morning and met her there.  We enjoyed the finish line festivities, had lunch and I headed home feeling a 1000 times better than when I left.


My problems were not resolved.  My life still has issues I’m currently trying to figure out.  But I was reminded why the best place for me work out any troubles are outside.  And what I discovered was the fear of the unknown was much more healing than I could’ve imagined.

My biggest fear

My 2017’s list of resolutions means I get to grow and change and explore.  This is the reason most people make lists for themselves.  We all want to improve.  Two years ago the most important thing I did for myself was that I took ownership in all my feelings.  If I felt mad, I’d ask myself, “What about this actually irritated you?” or “Why does it matter, how will it affect you?”  If I felt sad, I’d ask myself, “What it was that made me feel this way and how could I change or prevent it in the future?”.  Or even questions to myself like, “Is it okay to feel like this, even briefly, to learn something?” (I know what YOU are thinking right now,  this is too deep.  BUT those questions are helpful when you’re an over-thinker).  Typically, I’m in great control of my feelings and emotions.  I get angry sometimes, but it passes quickly.  I learned at a young age that anger doesn’t serve me any valid purpose beyond what it was exactly that upset me and how I can move on.  I never liked that feeling of contention that settles in your stomach when you are angry at someone, something, or most importantly, yourself.  I never enjoyed that loss of control feeling from overexcitement, sadness, and even bliss.  I avoided it as much as possible to prevent myself from an emotional upheaval.  It’s time to change that.

Last week I had two quiet hours with my friend.  We discussed lots of things like the past and the future and our children and our hopes and our plans.  I had a small issue (and by small, the kind that brings me to tears and I never talk about because, well….. I avoid it) and needed to sort some things out in my head.  One of the only true disadvantages of being single is making every decision on your own.  I have no one to always bounce options or ideas off of and so my friend got to be my sounding board for the night.  To tease you just a little, my problem involved running away from something because it was causing emotions.  The easy way out would be to ignore and forget and remove myself from the problem.  But in reality, I was the problem.  My feelings were just too big for me to acknowledge.  Running was the easiest thing to do to avoid being hurt.  I knew that if I ran, I wouldn’t learn anything. I wouldn’t experience any growth.

I remember that urge to run right before I jumped out of the plane when I went skydiving.   I didn’t hesitate to get into the plane.  I was calm and relaxed the entire time we were gaining altitude.  But the moment the instructor asked me to step out onto the wing while my feet were still safely planted on the inside of the aircraft I lost it.  I was visibly shaking, the blood rushed from my face and I thought, “How could I have been so stupid?”  then “What is wrong with me?”  I urged myself outside anyway.  The goggles were anti-fog but not anti-tears.  I was crying against my will and the moisture slowly created a film along the edges.  It wasn’t a sobbing but the terror consumed me.  In a total of maybe 10 seconds, from stepping out to jumping off the wing, I pushed past the edge (literally and figuratively) from my biggest fear to one of the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done.  I was flying without a care in the world.  It was magical.  But if I had let the fear stop me, I couldn’t have experienced the thrill.  That’s not say that the whole jump was perfect.  I landed and vomited twice before I could stand up.  I was still shaking for a while after and I made my friend drive me home.  I suppose it was because I was so worked up with emotion and the fear was so great that my body just reacted that way.  But one thing I knew;  I had done it.

It hurts to even write this, knowing I’m declaring out loud this resolution.  My heart feels squeezed and perhaps I have a punctured lung because my breathing is short and shallow.  My friend told me during our visit, “Just let it be. If it hurts, it hurts.  If it doesn’t, it doesn’t”.  I screamed “NO” at her, but only in my head and then sat quietly for awhile.  I want to feel stuff.  I’ve lived being numb to most things.  I can testify that feelings and emotions are so much better than nothing.  The thing is, I’m scared.  Being brave.  Standing up for myself. Standing up for others.  Doing what I know is right when everyone else thinks it’s wrong.  Chasing my dreams.  Being nice when I am not treated the same.  School. Making mistakes.  Work. Free time. Love.  Being loved is paralyzing.

I’ve got a plan.  I’m going to Face My Fears this year.  I’m going to jump off the wing over and over again.  I’m going to make tons of mistakes doing it and will most likely get hurt a lot.  But for the few times it’ll work out, I know it’ll be worth it.

First Crush versus Last crush.

I remember the first time I blushed. My hands went straight to cheeks and I held them while the blood rushed in and warmed them up. Tommy Shriner had just walked into my backyard. I was four.

We spent that summer being best friends. Chasing snakes. Smelling hydrangeas. Eating popsicles. He made me blush every time I saw him. We were destined to meet. I knew this as a child. It was love at first sight. People often say you never forget your first love. I’d have to agree. Little Tommy Shriner is embedded in my head.

My siblings took to torturing me as soon as they noticed. I couldn’t hide my blushing so I stopped denying it and went all out declaring my adoration. I’d shrug when they teased and eventually I told them all that we’d end up getting married someday.  I claimed to have known him in heaven.  My sister still tells me of the lame jokes I made up with no punch line but that I had crafted his name in it and then I’d laugh hysterically.  I stumbled to speak sometimes around him and became awkwardly timid. Things that are not my natural behavior.

Apparently, not much is changed.  Not too long ago I fell again hard. I froze in place and remember holding my breath after seeing him hoping to stop time until the flushing in my cheeks went away and I cooled down again. That night I slurred my words and stumbled on invisible cracks on the floor. I laughed too loud and couldn’t make any eye contact. I never stopped being awkward for a solid two hours. I left knowing I’d never see or hear from him again.

Having awkward crushes is not cute when you’re not four years old. Meeting and dating someone new is a torture no sibling can rival. But he did call after that first date. I can not figure out why. There I was; insane and scatterbrained, not recognizing myself in this “crush” state. It deluded my judgment. It made me get lost inside my head. I learned the term “ghosting” shortly after I waited for hours for him to return text messages.  And I found myself not answering his calls even if I was doing nothing and the phone was in my hand. I switched from euphoric to feeling diseased within an instant. And then switched back again before I registered the change. It was nauseating. I had informed a few friends that he’d be trouble for me. And he was. I had to admit (at least to myself) that I had feelings. Not just good feelings, but feelings of any kind again. I had shut that kind of stuff down years ago. To stop myself from embarrassment I selected to be distant and then, of course, just run away from the whole situation. He still called. But I hesitated.

Falling for someone can be the greatest feeling. It raises all sorts of chemicals in our brain and gives a legitimate high. Love is a drug.  But like all drugs, the withdrawls can make you mental.

Bring on the mental. It’s worth the high.