Unsolicited Advice

Let’s Rant.

What is it about unsolicited advice that gets me so worked up? There are multiple scenarios within reason I can admit I’m guilty of “advising” in… for example friends/people/strangers that may have just wanted an ear to vent to and there I go giving advice. I am specifically not talking about those times. Because unless you specify at the top of the conversation, “I am going to vent a lot to you right now and I do not want you to tell me what to do or give me your insight or thoughts AT ALL,” then, you’re screwed, because whatever, we (meaning me) want to express our opinion or perhaps, unsolicited advice, because it is human nature.

No, I am not talking about that brand of unsolicited advice, rather, I am talking about the advice a certain generation (Generation Baby Boomer) writes out on old receipts found in the trash or at the bottom of a salty purse for Jason and I to find brazenly atop the pillows after they’ve checked out of the AirBnBeeber.  That’s right, those crazy nuts that also go by the name Grandma and Grandpa, just cannot help themselves and need to let us know what we’ve done wrong.

For some reason the current Grandma and Grandpa generation just cannot enjoy an experience without sharing their important unsolicited advice that I have “coined” as criticism. 

For example, there was recently a note left behind, two-sided, front and back, that expressed how we could have, “made their stay nicer,” if we would have, “installed a larger refrigerator and a microwave oven.”

This was so important to the guests that they both texted and emailed us to let us know they left said note for us in case we missed it or thought it was trash, since it was written on a piece of trash.

It was hard to miss the red, bold, Sharpie pen ink.

If you are not feeling what I am emoting it is heavy silence. My face has become hard and my eyes are shooting daggers into an imaginary target.

Preposterous.

Then there was the sixty-nine year old hippie that needed, needed, us to immediately return our sink and vanity to IKEA and purchase a larger, wider and deeper unit like the ones at Crate and Barrel (this from a legit hippie) or take the overhead matching cabinet off the wall and install it two feet higher so he didn’t feel like he was going to bump his head while brushing his teeth.

He also wanted to show us how he had rearranged the room and thought it worked better with the murphy bed raised…in raising it himself without the know how he busted the mounted reading lights, broke the bed’s feet off, and could have maimed himself from his own stupidity had he not called us in to complain about our bathroom vanity.

I’m laughing. Truly, I’m laughing. What an asshole. 

Preposterous.

Then there was the lovely woman traveling alone (right-on!), that also left us a long, two-sided note of all the things we should add to the unit to make it nicer:

Lemon Tea

Chamomile Tea

Mint Tea

Herbal Tea

Lavender Tea

Chai Tea

Rose Water Tea

Jasmine Tea

Oolong Tea

Sleepy-Time Tea

Tension Tamer Tea

Green Tea

 

I’m confused, additional tea options? Could have just said that. Or gone to the market across the street and picked up the flavor you like. 

Preposterous.

And finally, for now, we will come to the one couple that left us a note regarding money. They wanted to let us know how nice our studio is, but that we are just not the best value because we’re not…wait for it… a hotel. Maybe if we added a pool or hot tub we could compete with the better hotels around Los Angeles… let’s get one thing straight we cost a fraction of what the Best Western up the way charges, so it cannot be the nightly charge, right?

So, wait, WHAT?

Preposterous.

The teenager in me wants to talk back and tell them how stupid they sound, but there’s a little fear I may be grounded and not heard. AmIRight? 

 

 

Book Excerpt – Two-Fer Tuesdays

pexels-photoIt was Tuesday, and I was sitting at my desk, which was two medium strides away from the bathroom, and my dead-end job was promising to bind me to it for eternity.

I had the unique and questionable privilege of being able to observe every person walking in and out of the bathroom. My co-workers, whom I also referred to as “Work Friends,” felt a deep sense of obligation to chat me up every time they used the loo… which was often, and in some cases (Derrick) too often, much to my chagrin.


“Please come to Happy Hour tonight. It’s Two-Fer Tuesdays; that’s two drinks for the price of one, but they give them both to you at the same time. We can split the cost of one drink, but each actually get a full drink of our own!” The Cogs in the machine, that’s what I called us and when I say ‘Us’ I mean the ones of us that dedicated our work hours to work and got paid a pittance for it. This was Elaine; a cog. She was always trying to make it OKAY for me to spend money with work people after work hours.

“What if I just want water?” That is how I treated Elaine: with obnoxious requests I knew she would accept.

“Yes! So you’ll come! Yay! Also, do you know Adeline?”

“No,” and frankly I wasn’t interested in knowing Adeline or anyone else from the company on a personal level. I didn’t want another excuse to NOT walk away from this job. I didn’t want it to become more bearable by making friends. I liked being the loner here.

“You’ll love her. She’s new, one of them, but you’ll love-love-love her, promise.” By Them Elaine was referring to the Marketing people. And I was suspicious of her promises of “love-love-love”.

The Marketing Team was the Pride of the company. The rest of us were just trying to survive out on the Serengeti of day jobs. And since your title defined your merit, it was difficult to blame them for believing they were the very best of the company.

I needed to get out of this Happy Hour.

“Shoot… I forgot, I might have something I already committed to, but I’ll let you know for sure by the end of the day.”

Elaine could see through my poor attempt at a lie, but honestly, the title “Marketing” was equivalent to Narcissist, and I just didn’t want to spend the evening biting my tongue and fighting the urge to challenge this newbie every time she wanted to dominate the conversation with her branding ideas. Or the numerous accolades awarded her in MBA school.

Gag.

As I watched Elaine walk away disappointed, I knew I was going to end up going, and maybe split the cost of a drink with her, and talk to this new Marketing woman – Adeline, and maybe make a new friend.

Gag.

WTH Is jayra joy?

Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 7.48.38 PMFor the friends and family that have been asking, what is the deal with jayra joy Designs – I am dedicating this blog post to telling you what the deal is. And for those of you that only know me from my blog and as a writer – I also have a little Etsy boutique called, jayra joy Designs where I sell clothes I design and make with my business partner.

jayra joy – the name itself comes from the combination of my partner/neighbor/friend’s name and mine: Jaime + Ruthann = jayra. The JOY just happens to be the name of the beautiful little street all the magic and fun happens on…or as we like to call it our Lab of Designs.

I just love the way clothes can make me feel. They transport me into the roles and characters I feel like playing on any given day. No, I’m not saying I have multiple personalities, but I do have a lot of fun pretending. And I do have my own little quirky style that features me at my best.

Clothes have always been out of my budget. Why does so-called “quality” mean I need to sell my kidney to afford it? And why can’t we all have access to these great, staple pieces that make us feel good, and aren’t made to fit one or two body types, and are versatile and feminine?

I found myself experimenting with some of the online styling sites that send you clothes based on your preferences, budget, and style, and it was a huge fail, but I did love putting together all the boards of my favorite pieces and styles on Pinterest for them! And I found I was just creating the same outfit over and over which happened to be the exact pieces I’d worn the hell out of already in my closet and couldn’t afford to buy new ones of on my writer’s salary or lack there of.

Right before I’d found out I was pregnant I’d started collecting clothing patterns and I had the idea that I was going to sew my own clothes. My perfect A-line skirts with folded pleats and stunning tutu’s I could wear any day or night of the week. I wanted a wrap that paired with jeans and dress slacks. I wanted shirts with flutter sleeves that highlighted my arms correctly. I wanted to make clothes my way that were unique and fit, and all with the best fabrics and that would be that.

I went downtown to the fabric district and investigated. I bought a ton of amazing fabrics. A couple heavy bags worth. And then I sat in the closet with those heavy bags of fabric and I realized I had no idea how to sew and I had no sewing machine. So I started to collect more clothing patterns and I Yelped sewing classes and I thought, I can do this.

Then I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. And I forgot about making clothes and hid those heavy bags of fabric in the dark corner of my cramped closet and I just prayed I could book enough acting gigs and finish writing my first book before the pitter patter of little feet were upon me.

Cut to 2 years later, many discussions with my neighbor who just conveniently happens to be an amazing designer and owns the Olympics of sewing machines, two women with a passion for creating, and a little part time business later – we’re making clothes! Really great clothes that we love making; it’s part business, part passion.

We all should be able to do something we have a passion for: karaoke, knitting, marathons, boxing, I just happen to love designing. I’m having fun and yes, I’m still writing full time, but having the opportunity to do another thing I enjoy and provide an extra source of income for my family is a gift and I cherish it.

For everyone that has supported us and purchased from us – multiple times – thank you from the bottom of my heart. It means so much to me. It is art, and I love creating for you.

If you’re interested in checking out our shop just head to http://www.jayrajoy.com! And just for checking us out, here’s a little treat: use code HBDJAIME2017 to get 15% off your purchase! Good thru April 30, 2017. 

 

As I Ramble On…

I’ve tried writing a blog post so many times this week. Between work, Jack, life, and family visiting it has proven to be nearly impossible. Those are excuses. I know. But it’s also a lot of truth.

A promise is a promise, though and so I shall write a post and in the spirit of multitasking I will also write my grocery list. I need help…

Grocery List:

Healthy Snacks (whatever that means, I’ll know it when I see it)

Fruit, Fruit, Fruit, but nothing that’s not in season because that just gets left for the gnats

Vegetables… what can I buy and let rot in the fridge drawer?

Protein – are we pescadorian? Are we trying for vegetarian? Are we eating meat? Absolutely no pork ever, that’s just not happening.

Milk – Whole for the baby, but are we back on Almond?

Half and Half I need the fat in my coffee, I don’t care if I’m lactose intolerant or not, just get the half & half.

Yogurt – full fat, YOLO!

Cottage Cheese? This is not a substitute for actual cheese.

Cheese – Sliced, Shredded, a wedge of goat’s milk gouda, string for snacking? Is this a lot of dairy?

Hummus – all the hummus.

Lettuce! I know the last bag went bad, but we’re working a lot. I just want to eat salads all day. Every day.

Kidney Beans for salads.

Tuna Fish – unless we have some, make sure to check before we leave (I know we won’t. This is why we have like 12 cans of tuna)

Ice Cream? No.

Cookies – Biscotti is not a cookie, it’s a compliment to my coffee

Pitafor all the hummus… or should we get veggies?

Eggs – I wish we could afford the brown ones they sound more humane

Meals for Jack – what does this mean? I’ll think of it when we’re there. Technically this means meals for all of us, but you know it’s important he eats well rounded and balanced meals.

Chips? Okay, but sweet potato chips, less sodium… and I don’t know… So, Salsa?

Pasta – lots of it. Gluten free, full gluten, stars, let’s just get all the pasta, Jack loves pasta.

**AND make sure no register impulse buys today. Dammit Trader Joes you make checking out impossible.

 

Casual F(riendship) Buddies

Jason told me I didn’t know how to be a casual friend. This after my long-winded self-indulgent diatribe, on why I feel like I’m the person that does all the planning and reaching out in my friendships and I still never get to see anybody, because everybody is too busy all the time!

Before you’re offended dearest friend that probably does try to make plans with me and I’m always busy or was always busy, trust me, I am and I was, I swear.

We’ve all felt like that at some point or another. We have. I know this to be true because I’ve read the countless status updates on Facebook regarding this exact theme.

The truth is, when I wasn’t married or a mother it was really easy to just hang out with friends. Drive anywhere to meet up, any hour of the day or night and still have time to work a job, sleep, eat, and be generally merry.

Now that everyone’s a bit older, it’s a GODDAM miracle to even plan a phone call.

When I was still going into an office it was a lot easier. I became friends with my officemates. We ate lunch together, gossiped on coffee breaks, met up outside for quick jaunts to stretch our cramped desk legs, planned post-work workout sessions, and sometimes there’d be a happy hour and then home. Don’t fool yourself, comrades, working for “The Man” can be amazing!

Now that I work from home, independently, I’m alone, but for my kid when he’s not at daycare, and my husband who’s doing the same thing I am. And while we adore each other’s company – hence we put a couple rings on it – it’s not the same as meeting up with girlfriends on the regular, and I miss that. I do.

I don’t have it anymore. People keep moving far away, growing in their professions, and meeting mates that take them away from friendships. And I’m happy that life is taking them on these paths. I am. I am happy for them. But where are they during those in-between moments and why aren’t we together?

Let’s be honest I’ve never been very good at being a girls’ girl who plans “Girls’ Night” and weekend “get-aways” for the crew. I’ve never even had a crew. I never even went away on spring break in college – I worked… as desktop support at the on-campus computer lab. So, I don’t have an awful-secret-I-know-what-you-did-last-summer blackmail to bind anyone to me in a relationship.

And my history of making and nurturing friendships is hazy. It took years of therapy and overcoming a confusing upbringing to understand why, how, and what to look for in a friendship, which boils down to two things:

1 – Stay away from people with BPD and

2 – Stop trying to fix people with BPD.

Then, once I had my baby, I found out that I really don’t have that many deep and personal friendships. Because when I could no longer be the one to reach out and continuously coddle, listen, and make my time in our friendship yours BECAUSE I have a baby that needs me and frankly with all the hormones that were driving through my body, and an ill mother, and no familial support, I needed you and you weren’t there.

That’s right, nobody called. Nobody showed up. No friends checked in, regardless of whether they’d been through it before or not. And let me be frank, you don’t notice that I’m not in your life anymore. If you did you’d call or text or try to make plans.

Then I needed someone, I needed someone very badly to come and tell me I was okay. I texted a lot of people (I called too, but you know – we push that shit to voicemail) and mostly got the same response:

“I’m so busy maybe we can meet up for a drink in the next few weeks.”

“Good to hear from you. I’m super busy right now.”

“Ohmygosh, I’m so happy to hear from you. I am SOOOOO busy right now.”

“I’m busy, but maybe like next week? I’ll let you know my schedule.”

“Do you want to go to yoga with me? Yeah? Great, I’ll let you know when I’m free.”

“Do you want to grab a drink, I’m free Thursday at 6pm.”

“I’m having drinks with people at 6, come if you can.”

“We’re having drinks, maybe 6/7ish, come if you want.”

“Drinks at 6, come by. Or don’t.”

I was a new mom, nursing and alone at 6 PM with an infant and frankly, I wasn’t ready to leave him with a babysitter. I just wanted someone to come over and be my friend.

Embarrassed, but also scared of being alone, I called my neighbor. She answered, no voicemail. And I hesitantly asked her if she could come over and hang out with me. She did, immediately, no questions asked, and she sat next to me on the couch and she told me all the gossip in her life and I laughed for the first time in what had seemed like a long time. And she held my baby and she didn’t dump a single problem on me. She was the best a friend could ever be, and incidentally, still is.

And I realized as our lives change we really do grow up and grow apart, just like couples in marriages. While there’s no divorce in friendships it sure does feel like the same alienation process, the same pain, the same dividing of mutual friend assets.

We move on and realize our needs have changed. I need my friends to be physically present in my life. I need the tangible. I need to feel your energy next to mine. I need hugs and non-verbal cues, things that can only come from being in each other’s personal space.

And I believe that some friendships, despite their current distance, physically or metaphorically, are worth the extra work and patience, because they are worth it in the long haul. But those are few and far between.

And while it often feels deeply personal, it’s not. It has nothing to do with me as a friend. It has everything to do with them and their life, and what they’re going through. I need to move on from that, them, and understand that being a casual friend is okay because in the long run my feelings will be far less hurt.

 P.S. Update: Girls’ Trip scheduled in May with my old crew.

P.P.S. Forgot I had a crew.

I Am a Compulsive Non-quitter

I am a compulsive non-quitter.

When do you walk away? When it’s too hard? Maybe for some, but I’m not a quitter. Or maybe you’d quit when the two hours a week you’re supposed to be investing becomes forty hours a week of unpaid, no benefits bullshit that affects the sanctity of your home? Yup, right then, that’s when you quit… well, right after the additional six more months just in case something changes… and then one more week for good measure, and then BOOM. DONE. Out of nowhere, you quit.

And quitting those 2 hours a week – that actually turned into a full time stress-sesh and WERE actually, when all tallied, nearly 10x more than two hours a week – feels like THE. GREATEST. ACCOMPLISHMENT. OF. YOUR. LIFE. Versus all the actual work, time, and learning that you put into being able to accomplish those 2 hours a week. This is where I am. I am at peace, and I haven’t felt this languid peace in a year… Despite my toddler teething (insert lots of screaming), his obsession with the word “NO!” and the dogs barking in unison at every bird chirp, text-message DING and car door shutting up to a mile away. I AM AT PEACE because I quit. And I don’t fucking regret quitting.

I am a compulsive non-quitter. I persevere for the sake of perseverance. I would consider this the blight of all Midwesterners and it’s not something to be proud of. Lets learn to let go of the shit that holds us back, that doesn’t add value to our lives and that creates turmoil in our relationships! Let’s all just, “Cut-it-Out,” (thank you Dave Coulier, fellow Midwesterner).

What’s the end game? That’s the new question I ask myself – What is my end game? What is the result I want from this? If it’s going to better my career and the sacrifice is worth the gain in the end, then yes, I will survive, we as a family will push/trudge/get in there and keep going. But, if it’s just that I don’t want to be a quitter well, I’m done, from now on. Done.

I had a V.P. tell me once, when I was charged with interviewing candidates for an open position, and forgive me as I paraphrase:

“You want to know how I hire people for the worst jobs, Jaime? I like to hire women. I look for the one that has trouble keeping eye contact. A woman who’s quiet and doesn’t speak up. I hire the woman that looks like she’s in an abusive relationship, because I know she’ll never quit. She doesn’t know how to leave a bad situation.” 

I hired a man and then I quit. 

But that story isn’t even why I’m writing this blog entry. I quit my hobby. My escape. My healthy retreat that turned into a contentious “work” environment. The animosity I felt was not the person I’d spent years becoming. It was the person I left in Michigan when I moved far away and spent years in therapy, meditation groups, and exerting myself fully at physical activities like Muay Thai and Parkour.

I did not want to be the person I was becoming. And the amount of time I was spending fixated on it was dominating me like an addiction.

Those two hours a week plus the entire other 166 hours I was wrapped up in it I became dogged in my need to give 110% of myself. I began nitpicking every comment, every social media post, every group text and emoji. I carefully crafted every word I wrote back in response to emails and on social media posts to appear cool, casual, and a team player. I would spend an hour writing three words, then another hour changing those three words into a full sentence, then one more hour creating a picture montage and using filters in two different apps before posting anything to the limited number of eyes it would reach. And there was no pay for any of this no it was all to build false relationships. There was no hourly wage, just constant expectation. And when I didn’t conform to the pressure of this interaction I was dismissed, forgotten about, not included in private Facebook Groups that were accessed by invitation only.

So I finally composed, in one draft, the last email I’d ever send in regards to teaching a spin class:

I quit.

Thank you,

Jaime

I am at peace.

I am back to being productive. I am happy.

I FUCKING QUIT!

For more information on quitting, keep reading! Let’s be friends, I won’t quit you, I promise. Follow me!