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. 

 

I Hid A Bag of Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds – For My Sanity.

IMG_5002I am wildly uptight when it comes to cleanliness and basic household etiquette. Think Monica from ‘Friends,’ but maybe a little worse (and for another day, let’s discuss the ‘Friends’ Haters… just stop, people. Stop it. I’ve watched it so many times, forwards and backwards, and you’re wrong; it’s delightful, and perfect, period).

My mother has long referred to me as fastidious.

I suppose cleaning is my way of controlling the chaos of life. There are worse “habits” used to control the uncontrollable, like not eating, binging & purging, excessive exercise, and I’ve dabbled with them all; but honestly cleaning is the one that makes me feel the most in control amidst the chaos. It’s not just the act of cleaning, it’s that a clean environment allows me to relax. And as far as addiction and personalities go, I repeat, there are far worse things than being fastidious.

It’s not just cleaning. I have to set hard boundaries within my living environment, too. You are allowed to be yourself in my home and not conform to my standards of cleanliness and I’m okay with it, but if you start to impose upon my boundaries I freak the fuck out. Maybe you do too and maybe you don’t even know it…

I have an almost 2-year-old toddler. Guess what he does? He throws food on the floor and thinks it’s funny, so I laugh and also try to teach him that food stays on our plate or at least on the table or preferably in your mouth to consume. And I don’t freak out, because he’s a baby and I can clean it and it’s totally fine. But when my 35-year-old brother in law does it and doesn’t give two craps about who will be cleaning it and what stain it may leave or that it’s happened at all, I start to panic. I swallow down the annoyance that starts to build up inside of me. I push it deep, deep down and I breath and smile, and I stare daggers at him, but I bury the pending freak out because he’s my guest, and family to boot.

I stare at his brother (my husband) and wait for a signal that it will all be fine and that he will clean it up and then I take several deep breaths, plan a 4 mile run, skip the next two meals, and buy and squirrel away a giant bag of dark chocolate covered almonds to shame-eat secretly, without sharing, and it calms the monster brewing in my belly.

You guys! It’s not just dropping food on the floor with abandon that gets under my skin: it’s the week’s worth of toothpaste stains on my new dark wood bookcase; it’s his toenail clippings in my high pile shag rug; it’s razor blades on the floor of the shower my toddler bathes in; it’s a beer bottle cap in the small hands of my 21-month-old who desperately tries to shove the jagged edged piece of metal down his throat after scraping it along his tongue.

Daggers staring down a dead man walking.

It’s wet underwear strewn across my front porch and wet towels left on top of stuffed animals to grow unneeded mildew and create more laundry that will be left for me to do. It’s empty Starbucks cups and plastic straws littering my front lawn. It is used tea bags everywhere, except in the trash.

It is so much more. It’s interminable.

And, AND it is all so unnecessary. UNNECESSARY. There are towel hooks for wet towels; there’s a dryer for your underwear; there’s a trashcan in so many different rooms plus several outside for EVERYTHING ELSE!

My eye is twitching right now, you guys. Writing this out for you is almost like reliving the frustration.

I watched for a week as our baby gates were treated as mere decorative obstacles and left open for his 35-year-old male convenience whilst my nearly 2-year-old eyeballed the staircase with Olympic-gymnast-enthusiasm.

I tell you this not to be a tattletale, not to open myself up to criticism regarding my rigidity, not to hurt feelings, but to understand myself better because I didn’t handle it well you guys. I did not.

You see, I couldn’t stop him, I couldn’t clean fast enough. The mess was OUT OF CONTROL! Dirt, stains, odor… CHAOS!

I set boundaries and I believed that manners were/are self-evident. I believed baby-proofing, dining tables, and towel hooks should invite use. I expected our houseguest to know all of this without having to be told. My home is not a hotel; that’s the guesthouse out back (see that blog post) and for God’s sake the total strangers renting that out treat it better (and pay us) than my B-I-L treated our actual home while we lived in it with him for a week.

And then I lost it.

At him. On him.

I freaked the fuck out.

And I told him that towel hooks are for wet towels to be HUNG ON and baby gates are not for the convenience of adults to use at will, but to protect the life of a BABY, and that knives & razorblades & sharp jagged beer bottle caps are DEADLY WHEN SWALLOWED and that it is MY HOUSE and he should TREAT IT WITH RESPECT.

Silence.

Slowly he opened his mouth and without an ounce of thought he yelled back. Absurdities such as, ‘he didn’t know that it would require work to live with a baby’ and that ‘he didn’t know that toddlers cannot comprehend basic safety.’

The irony.

So I banished him to his (my son’s) room where he screamed and threatened to leave (on the eve of his flight home).

I agreed he should leave. A hotel is a much better place to treat with reckless abandon.

He said nothing.

He didn’t leave.

And after an hour of separation and a loaded dishwasher and cleaned counters later, I invited him to come back downstairs.

He picked up where he left off – sullying every square foot of surface area I had just spent a very angry hour cleaning to regain the control I had lost.

That one cleaning left me with a night’s worth of control, and I felt better long enough to wish him well on his flight, take a family picture with genuine smiles, and not resent the weekend-visit-turned-into-9-long-days.

My house is not completely back in order by my standards, but it is back in my control and I can sleep more soundly tonight.

And those dark chocolate covered almonds are now out in the open for everyone to share, by everyone I mean new visitors and Jason.

Armchair Psychologist

IMG_4982Hm.

You know what’s hard? Accepting people even though you know they’re assholes. Obnoxious assholes. Obnoxious Assholes who represent everything WRONG about other people.

What a dick thing to say. I get it, you either relate to what I’m saying or I’m the obnoxious asshole in your opinion. Valid.

Like you, I am bound by my civility to accept everyone, flaws and all… no, really.

“Love your neighbor…”

“Be the change…”

“Do unto others…”

It’s not like I can gather 700,000 protestors to march against the stupidity of one bad acquaintance, or neighbor, or peer… or can I? No, that would make me the bad person and on the wrong side of right and I need to be on the right side of right because I need to be RIGHT.

Ugh.

You see my dilemma.

It’s frustrating.

The more obtuse they become the more indignant I find myself.

I’ve begun to dissect the minutiae of conversations with the obnoxious assholes surrounding my immediate space. I maddeningly map out all their exasperating behaviors: how it transpired; in what context; what was said leading up to it; and the response immediately following.

I combine all that with the little bit of history I have learned about them. The people they’ve dated, married, divorced. Do they have pets, bought, adopted rescued, dogs, cats… rats.

After I’ve pieced together the puzzle of their personality from a million different perspectives, I then refer to Psychology Today while cross-referencing WebMD to make my best analysis of whether or not they indeed have a personality disorder (which, yeah, of course they do) and I label them in my own personal file folder: The Narcissist.

Typical.

Right?

But I cannot be satisfied with my own analyses; I need the reassurances of others. So I gossip about these obnoxious assholes. I emphatically underscore my righteousness while stressing the misgivings of the Narcissist and then I wait, smugly grinning until I am told how brilliant my assessment is, which rarely comes because everybody wants to play Devil’s Advocate these days. Everybody wants to do the work themselves’ and come to their own conclusions. No one wants to take my word for it.

Assholes.

And now I have another asshole to analyze and the cycle begins again. Part of me wonders if this is the reason I am slowly losing my mind or if I am sharper than I’ve ever been. Who is to say?

Well anybody psychoanalyzing me right now based on this blog post, for starters.

Armchair Psychologist? Maybe. Or ten years of therapy, a lifetime spent as an observational writer, and a child of Crazy, is rather how I like to define my resume, but that’s not over-qualifying me either.

Maybe I’m becoming the intolerable asshole.

Maybe.

Who Me? Change? Never.

I don’t write parenting posts because having a kid hasn’t changed me.

img_1540

Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Change, you ask? First, now I wear high-waisted jeans and think they’re the “bomb.” Kill me… no, don’t! Please don’t do that EVER! I have a baby now and I need to be right here for him forever.

Did you just read my light-hearted joke and the fact that I immediately retracted it in fear that someone would read that seriously? Like the Universe might not get that I was joking when I said, “kill me”and just might send in the Grim Reaper??? Did you just read all that? Yeah, that’s new. New panic. Death – in jest or in reality – has me very anxious now.

Also, every time I hear the word “kill” in a children’s movie or cartoon I think, “SERIOUSLY?? I DON’T WANT THAT WORD AROUND MY KID! WHY DOES HE NEED TO HEAR THE WORD “KILL” FROM A DISNEY MOVIE… OR EVER? HE DOES NOT NEED THAT WORD IN HIS LIFE!” I would rather he say the word “fuck” by mistake than the word “kill.” I mean that. But please don’t let him go around saying the word fuck either.

If I wasn’t clear, I’m trying to say I have changed and mostly for the better… (whispers) in my honest opinion.

For example, I don’t put myself down so much anymore, especially about the physical things, like my face…or my body image. Because my son is beautiful and I want him to grow up without insecurity and self-hate. I want him to see himself (and he will see a lot of his mom in him) and know he is perfect the way he is… because he is. So I try harder to feel love for myself so he’ll know how to love himself, too.

And, I don’t care as much about the things I cannot change, instead I concentrate on those things I can

I cannot change the fact that Trump was elected president, but I can be an active participant in making sure our country isn’t devastated by the actions he and his merry band of thieves try to enact.

I cannot change the way some folks see me or feel about me, but I can change the way I feel about it.

I cannot change the fact that I am an aging actress who has not yet met her big break, but I can change the way that sentence reads: I am an actor who has been so lucky to work and continue to pursue work with the same enthusiasm I’ve had from day one.

I have better insight now because I see the world through my son’s eyes, everything is new and shiny, and bright and I don’t want to take that away from him ever.

I’ve changed, yes, becoming a parent has made me a little soft (both physically and emotionally), it has made me brave, and most importantly it has made the important things far more evident than they were.

Just in case you were worried there were only good things, here is a list of the bad things that have changed since becoming a parent:

  1. I have no patience when my husband interrupts my five minutes of alone time (which is also known as Mom’s Shower Time) to brush his teeth, pee-pee, or bring in our toddler to say, “hi.”
  2. I do not have time for stupid people now. They used to be amusing, now they’re just a time-zap.
  3. I eat painfully, horribly, and without structure and it sucks, but we’ll get back there Food, we will.
  4. Dates nights are near non-existent.
  5. My clothing money goes to a constantly growing toddler.
  6. I worry a lot more. Yes, it is possible.
  7. If there’s a poopy odor, it’s usually because there’s poop… on me.
  8. Everybody wants to know when I’m going to have more babies. This is annoying. I do not need to have another child to be a good parent or fulfilled mother and if I do have another child I don’t have to be the one that carries it (I can adopt/foster/or trade) and frankly you either only have one more child than me or have no children so WTF? Step off. Thank you.

Life is good.

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.

 

Someone Stole A Towel

3332e5238659a1b6115fe907e33b69a7Someone took a towel.

We’ve all done it before. Taken a towel from a hotel. Most of us out of necessity, but someone took a towel from the AirBnBeeber.

Someone stole a towel.

Writing the word “stole,” sounds a bit savage, premeditated… aggressive even. I actually do not think that it was aggressive. No, this was not an act of malice, I’m positive. And I’m 73% certain that this was an isolated incident by whichever individual took the towel. However:

Someone did pilfer a towel.

Listen, and I’m serious now, you don’t accidentally pack a large, fluffy white bath towel in your overnight luggage from your AirBnBeeber without noticing. No, you take it, snatch it, loot-abscond-with-nab-heist-borrow-it, but you do not accidentally pack it.

Like I said, we’ve all taken a towel from a hotel before. And honestly, for the most part, hotels are big corporations, not people, and do not notice a towel missing here or there. In fact, I’m pretty sure they have it fixed in their quarterly budgets to replace overused and missing towels. Just in case this is a bigger issue for corporations than I am giving credit, for those of you working in Hotel Hospitality, no need to correct me. I’m sure your loss prevention team has made all staff very aware that towel disappearance is your major expenditure and you need to nip it in the bud. But that’s off topic, let’s get back to the little guy and why you should not steal my towels at the AirBnBeeber.

Towels are expensive. Like very. If I didn’t put nice linens, fluffy soft, clean white towels in the unit, you would leave me a low rating, a less than five star review and I would suffer bookings all on account of the fact that I didn’t provide nice towels. So you get nice towels, and I got robbed.

There have been toilet paper thieves, excessive coffee pod thieves, sugar thieves, books and game thieves, and now towel thieves. You guys, seriously, even purchased at Costco towels are EXPENSIVE. Please stop stealing towels.

I have been trying to put myself in the shoes of the abductor, like, did they get take-out and spill some dark sauce and use the towel as a rag to sop it up. Embarrassed by their mistake they took the towel to leave no evidence behind?

Did they wash their underwear in the sink and it didn’t dry before they left so they took the towel to wrap up their damp items?

Or did they decide on a last minute trip to the beach before their flight when it occurred to them that they had nothing packed for a beach stop so they took a towel, but just one to share, out of courtesy as to not steal two towels. Maybe I should thank them.

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

If you’re a towel snatcher, hotel robe abductor, extra soaps on the maid’s cart pilfer and feel you’re entitled because it’s there, here is a little sage advice – AirBnB is not for you.

And if you’re a compulsive towel snatcher may I suggest you start traveling with your own towels? Yeah, just pack one from home. Then you won’t feel the need to borrow (never to return) your host’s.

 

Sanity

The first time I questioned my sanity I was eight years old. My older sister and I were sharing the small, dark-wood paneled bedroom at the top of the stairs, to the right. The room to the right had a plastered ceiling with swirling designs that you could stare at for hours and find almost any scene imaginable, shape, and animal in if you squinted hard enough. It was the only room in the house that was this ugly. It had previously been an office to the former homeowner. The carpet was a multi-colored shag rug of maroons, pea soup green, and maize and it smelled of stale shoe prints… dusty and earthy. I know this to be true because we used to bury our face in the fraying yarn and take deep breaths, I don’t know why, but we were weird, we were kids.

That night I had woken up completely and totally wet. Soaked. It must have been very, very early, or really, really late depending on how you read time, because it was dark and everyone was still sleeping. I thought maybe I had peed the bed. But if I had peed the bed, why was the whole bed wet and my hair damp… is it possible to pee all the way up to your hair? It didn’t occur to me at this age to sniff for urine.

My heart was racing. I was afraid of the quiet and the dark and when I realized everyone was asleep but me, I also realized this was the same as being all alone… in the dark… at night… a witching hour leaving me susceptible to anything lurking in the house. I let out an inaudible squeal as I jerked my comforter over my head and begged myself to go back to sleep, but this just resulted in making me overly heated and severely sweaty, and by default more damp and the bed more unbearably wet.

I made a deal with myself: if I could rip the comforter off and I could make it to the light switch and flip it on, I’d be okay, even if it did wake up my sister, which wouldn’t be so bad because then I wouldn’t be alone in the middle of the night – even if she did get really irritated at being woken up; I mean downright angry. On the count of three (obviously) I would go. I must have counted to three a million times, because the wetness forming around me was about as deep as the kiddie pool. Finally, unable to even breathe, I worked up the courage to bolt for the light switch, all of three feet from my bed, but at that point it might as well have been a mile. I screamed all the way to the light and heaved a sigh of relief once it was on. Nothing bad happens in the light, I had convinced myself some time ago.

Since no one stirred from my screams of panic or the bright light that flooded the room, I alone began to strip my soggy sheets, then peeled off my sopping pajamas and wrapped my soaked hair into a knot on the top of my head. Then I crawled onto my naked mattress and pulled the comforter over me – light still shining brightly above – and drifted back to sleep with ease.

Before we jump to conclusions on why I was so afraid, and worried, and panicked with fear of the dark I’ll let you know that no one bad thing had happened to me, per se. No, I have anxiety; genetic, chemical imbalance, run of the mill anxiety. It’s fairly ordinary and shows up in the dark usually, which is better than a lot of folks who suffer theirs in broad daylight, in crowds of people, and all the time.

If you’re a person that didn’t witness anxiety through a parent or sibling and are the first to be diagnosed, you may feel pretty relieved to find out that you’re not crazy, and that it’s fairly common, and you shouldn’t feel stigmatized by it. Maybe you’ll take beta-blockers, or anti-anxiety meds… forever. Maybe you’ll start a blog and channel lots of those fear driven stories into the blog to connect with others.

BUT if you’re like, just the next generation to get it handed down in your DNA, your reaction tends to be less enthusiastic and sound more like, “yup, cool, thought it skipped me – not. Ugh. No, I prefer to stay unmedicated based on the many examples of over-medicated people in my life, but thanks. I’ll just keep up the cardio and magnesium rich foods, and maybe take a few more personal days than I should, and yeah, I’ll go back to therapy because I do not want another anxiety attack under the artificial daylight inside Costco.”

I still sleep with the lights on when I’m alone and the television on when I’m not (because it has a timer). And before Jason Beeber and I became lifelong roommates I booby-trapped the hell out of my bedroom to keep the night prowlers at bay. And it works for me. It mostly, really does. You don’t need to analyze it. We all know I’m projecting a lot since that night when I was eight and had the first attack I can remember. But the light soothed me then, and it still does now (minus that one time in Costco recently), so I let it be that.

AND now that I share a bed with a large, hairy man – I don’t actually know if I’m sweating out my anxiety, or he’s over-heating us both, or someone has peed the bed. It gets very weird and uncomfortable.