Monthly Archives: Mar 2016


5 Things INTJs Wish You Knew

I find personality testing, astrology, and anything that helps explain who we are and what we do absolutely fascinating. I know it’s not exact, that there are exceptions to every rule, and that it’s not fool-proof, but it’s meaningful to me and helps me explain myself in relation to other people.

As an INTJ, I often feel downright odd. You ever just know you’re not like the people around you? Sometimes you ignore it. Sometimes you embrace it. Sometimes, when you’re an INTJ, you stare down the barrel of your apparent “oddity” and think, “I’m good with this.”

INTJs are fairly rare in the population, and when people who know more about personality studies than I do start characterizing the different personalities, INTJs are often known as the Mastermind. We’re either Benedict Cumberbatch’s “Sherlock Holmes” or we’re Voldemort. But really, we’re a mix of that and every other personality out there.

intj mastermind

As an INTJ, there are a few things, I think you should know about us:

We have emotions – we just don’t like showing them.

I’m actually a very emotional person, as long as I’m completely and totally comfortable with the person I’m with. Not comfortable with you? You might see me annoyed or even angry, but tears are going to be rare. Even my laugh changes. When I’m with people I don’t fully trust, it’s a biting laughter – harsh, cynical, sarcastic. But with the people I trust, I giggle, y’all. Just ask John, he’ll tell you.

no one knows our feelings

Our processes and analysis make us feel more secure.

Part of the reason I love working for myself (and it’s really only a small part) is that I no longer have to justify my process and system for why I do the things I do. In my last job (shout out to my Realtor peeps), I, at one point, juggled four separate positions while we were short-staffed. People said I did the impossible. Nope, I created a system for everything I did, and the system was sacrosanct. No, that’s not always a good way to operate, but in a high-stress situation my processes with data at my fingertips will keep me sane.

ill research it

We have a sense of humor.

It’s often a biting, sarcastic humor. I frequently laugh at things no one else thinks is funny – not because I have a crazy sense of humor. I probably noticed a detail no one else did. The other reason you don’t think we laugh or get silly? Our resting bitch face is on a whole different level. I’ve spent most of my life being called “intimidating” by people who don’t really know me. My friends think that’s crazy, but I just point to my resting bitch face.

resting bitch face

We can come across as arrogant but most of the time we mean well.

I’m pretty sure of myself most of the time. I don’t speak up unless I am. If I’m hanging back and not saying much, it’s because I don’t feel informed enough to do so. But woe unto you once I decide I know what I’m talking about. It can come across as arrogant, but it’s just a sureness in ourselves. (I actually work really hard to make sure I don’t sound like a know-it-all because I know it’s a pain in the ass for everyone else.) When an INTJ steps up to speak, we’ve got data and analysis (and probably several procedures and to-do lists) to back us up. We’re not always right (no one is) but we think we are – or we wouldn’t be telling you what we think.

not arguing but right

Doing something over and over again will make us crazy.

I loathe (yes, loathe) busy work. I detest doing something wrong and then having to re-do it. Taking the time to figure out a process prevents unnecessary work later and keeps us from wasting time. Make me repeat myself because you didn’t give me the time to figure out at least a good way to do something, or give me busy work to justify my own need to be there, and I may go stark raving mad. I once spent 20 minutes debating my boss on why I wanted one more day before I began a project. She was a freaking saint, y’all, for even listening to me that long. But I knew if I could figure out the best method (based on the information I had at the time) we’d only have to do the thing (whatever the hell it was) one time – the right way.

plotting the function of the universe

We’re a bit intense. We aren’t always understood, especially by our extravert brethren, but if you get to know us, we’re not as intimidating or mean or harsh as we may seem. However, we’re probably more intense than you’ll ever realize. And we’re good with that.

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Random Musings

My Dog Eats Better Than I Do

My dog eats better than I do

(This post contains affiliate links.)

I tease John that while we might not ever have babies together (this factory is closed, y’all), Saki and any other pets that come after him are definitely our furbabies.

Case in point, once we’d put our application in and met Saki at the rescue, we were pretty positive he would be ours. Our home is clean. We’re not freaks (on any official records, at least). And we – as far as we knew – were the only ones asking for him. It was just a matter of time.

But we weren’t going to jinx ourselves either.

We didn’t buy a toy, a bag of food, nothing until he was safe in our arms. But like parents of actual babies (and the furry kind), it didn’t stop us from looking. Sure, when you have a baby, you go to Babies R Us or Target. Where do you go when you’re anticipating your furbaby?

For us, it was Petco. PetSmart is a 45 minute drive away, Petco, five minutes. ‘Nuff said.

We strolled the aisles, imagining whether he’d like this toy or that (John rejected the Stars Wars toys which shocked me but admitted if they offered Doctor Who toys, he’d be all over that), considering what supplies we might need (Canine Estates gives you a huge package when you adopt – pet bed, toys, food, etc.)

When we hit the food aisle, we both started reading labels like we were CrossFit addicts looking for Paleo-friendly snacks.

For whatever reason that neither of us can explain, we hit on the idea of grain-free, all natural everything. We went to Petco at least three times before Saki came home to us. Three, y’all.

By the time he was ours, we’d decided. We’d try Merrick, all natural, whole foods, no grains, and see if he liked it.

Although Canine Estates gave us some food, we quickly made the transition to our preferred brand, and lo and behold, he loved it. Couldn’t get enough of it! Yay, parenting win! (Which, by the way, is much easier than an actual kid/parenting win.)

Sometimes I look at my dinner and I look at his and think, “The dog is eating better than I am today.”

He’s also an expensive date. One can is nearly $3 in the store. And since he’s started protesting the dry food that we mix in, I’m staring down the barrel of what buying canned food for a picky eater is going to cost (hell, he really is one of my kids). I have a feeling I’m going to be buying in bulk soon.

Oh, you thought I’d just switch to a cheaper food? Don’t be silly. This is my baby we’re talking about. He deserves only the best.

Or as my mother smirked one day, “Now you understand the joys of spoiling someone you love. I do it my grandchildren, and you’re doing it with your dog.”

And that was also the day my mom dropped the mic on me.

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Conversations With My Kids While in the Car: The P Words #sexpositive

Conversations with My Kids: The P Words

I’ve noticed a thing about parenting…

When you want something to happen with/for your kids, it will never happen when you think you’re ready, when you want it to, or when it’s the “best time.” Kids will do everything when it comes to their development on their own damn time.

Potty training.

Eating vegetables.

Feeling comfortable talking to their mom about anything. And by “anything” I mean “sex.”

Aidan is slowly starting to open up and ask questions. He’s still a little traumatized that I’m so open about things and don’t really speak in code. He prefers terms like “the s word” or “the p word.” At least, when he’s talking to me, he does. And if I happen to say “sex,” he responds with “Oh God.” Every. Time.

But he’s starting to come around. Most of our most serious conversations happen in the car on our way to or from school. It’s a good 20 to 30 minute drive, and I guess the hum of the tires and scenery zipping past gets him thinking.

The most recent conversation took a turn I didn’t foresee.

“Mom, I’ve been thinking about a word, and what it means.”

“Ok, lay it on me. I’m happy to help.”

I’m not looking at him, but I can feel him cringing. He really doesn’t want to say whatever it is.

“Come on, Aidan, you’re not going to get in trouble for using a word if you’re asking to understand it. You get in trouble for using words to hurt or in a harmful or inappropriate way.”

He looks down at his hands, and then up at me. “The ‘p’ word.”

Now I’m confused. We’ve talked about penises until all of us were blushing. What other ‘p’ word? I’m wracking my brains. Which one is it?

“Aidan, you’ll have to be more specific. Just say the word.”

“Pervert.” It came out as a strangled whisper more than anything else.

Oh my gawd. I have to explain ‘pervert’ to a 10 year old with his 6 year old brother in the car? Well, hell, here goes.

“It’s about porn, isn’t it?”

I did not see that one coming.

“My friend tried to look up “porn” on the computer at school and got in-school suspension.” I bet he did.

Big deep breath. You can do this.

“Well, first of all, porn is for grown ups. It’s not at all appropriate for kids your age. It involves [long pause, as a I prepare myself] sex.”

“Oh God.”

“Some people think watching porn makes you a pervert. I don’t. What you do about porn, how you treat other people, when you objectify them, when you do harmful things that other people don’t want done to them, then you’re a pervert. And if you watch porn and start to do those things, then porn becomes a bad thing.”

“O…kay.” Pretty sure he didn’t expect that answer.

“Porn isn’t necessarily bad by itself. It’s about sex…” “Oh God” “…and you’re way too young for that but when you’re an adult you can decide for yourself.”

Sean pipes up. “You know I can hear every word you’re saying, right?”

“I do.” Which is why I got into almost no specifics, not that I think Aidan really needed those, not yet.

After that we had to have the conversation about how its okay to ask me or John anything, that we’ll answer their questions and even giggle with them about it, but please don’t go to school and tell everyone your mom said “porn is okay” or try to explain what a “pervert” is.

“Not everyone feels the same way I do about talking to you guys about sex.”

“Oh God.”

“Some parents want it to be done in a certain way or at a specific time. So while home – and the car – are safe places to discuss this stuff, let’s not go to school and talk about it, okay?”

Because while I unashamedly will bring my boys up to be as sex positive as possible, I really don’t want to have the conversation with a teacher, parent, or principal about why my children are holding court with their peers and explaining “pervert” and “porn” at the lunch table.

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THAT Is Not Supposed to be Purple

THAT is not supposed to be purple!I easily admit to having moments when I’m not seeing the obvious, understanding what’s being said, or admitting the truth.

I’m kind of a goofball.

When something doesn’t seem right, I try to curb my goofball tendencies, not panic needlessly, and be as rational as possible.

But when you go to the bathroom and what’s being expelled from your body is purple, I think it’s okay to be a little concerned.

My poop was purple, y’all.

I thought I saw a shade of purple on the toilet tissue, but flushed before I could investigate the evidence too closely. When you think you’re pooping purple, sometimes avoidance seems like the best option.

But I noticed that it wasn’t going away. Actually, the color was deepening. It’s not like I was sitting on the toilet doing my business multiple times a day, but it happened often enough that I had to admit one thing. Yep, this is definitely dark, deep purple.

When I finally got up the courage to turn around and look before flushing away the evidence, a few thoughts immediately came to mind:

When did I eat my own hair? (My hair is the same shade.)

Did I eat a purple crayon and not know it?

Oh God, what will I see if I Google this? I’m pretty sure searching “what turns poop purple?” will tell me I’m dying.

Is it weird that I think that shade of purple is really nice?

And then it hit me. Friday night’s dinner included roasted purple beets and roasted purple potatoes. (What can I say? I really like purple.)

Bonus: now I know exactly how long it takes my meals to digest.

There’s no lesson or moral to the story, but I’m pretty damn sure it’s okay to panic just a little when your excrement turns purple.


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Maybe I’m Not the One to Ask for New Parenting Advice

Maybe I'm Not the One to Ask for New Parenting AdviceRecently someone I know told me his wife had just had a baby. He was apologizing for being “off” or not as on top of things as usual. After the obvious and enthusiastic “Congrats!” (as well as the relief that it’s someone else and not me) and all that, I couldn’t help myself:

“Screw the sleep when the baby sleeps. You’re not getting rest for at least a few years.”

Sometimes I forget that through email you can’t hear my tone. There’s no sarcasm font…yet. So I was left to wonder:

Uhh, too honest?

The advice I give to new parents – usually unsolicited and just part of a conversation where I let my sarcasm show – isn’t anything like what you’ll find in all the books you buy or websites you visit.

Buy lots of wine, beer, liquor, or your alcohol of choice. You’re going to need it. (No, I would never tell a breastfeeding woman that – but I will tell a new father to do it.) Sometimes, at the end of a long week or day…or morning, what you need is a drink of something that makes you feel like a grown-up – because the spaghetti-o’s you cleaned up off the floor sure don’t.

You don’t really think you’re going to sleep when the baby sleeps, do you? [Insert incredulous snort.] When Sean was first born, I can remember standing in the living room, rocking him back and forth (desperate to get him to stop crying and go the fuck back to sleep) as I dozed. Yep, I rocked, shushed (lovingly), and dozed while standing up.

You only need a few packs of onesies and some diapers. It’s okay if your half-naked most of the time. I swear to you, my kids only had on complete outfits when we needed to go somewhere. Until my oldest was about three, he lived in a diaper/pull-ups/Thomas the Tank Engine underpants.

You’re sure you want to make all your baby food from scratch? Call me when you’re crying because you can’t remember the last time you showered, then we’ll talk about that baby food thing. I think we all have amazing intentions when we know a baby is on the way, and when a pregnant woman goes into nesting mode, watch out. You’ll be spending a few hundred dollars on a blender – specifically for that homemade baby food.

Screw the playdates. Give your kid a box. You’ll all be happier. I’m the least social person I know. Getting together to watch two small children drool, ignore one another, and then fuss when they realized they weren’t alone – who is that other kid?? – in order to discuss all the “Mommy” things was never my style. And really, kids can entertain themselves with almost anything, including big empty boxes.

Yeah, so maybe I’m not the one who should give parenting advice. And really, if you’re looking for affirmations and guidance, I’m not the one. But if you need a margarita and a few laughs at your own expense, I’m probably your girl.

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Writer Life

Fairy Tales, Health, Inspiration, Oh My! Books I Read in February

Fairy Tales, Health, Inspiration, Oh My! Books I Read in FebruaryThe best advice ever given for writing is to read and often.

Of everything you “should” do as a writer, this is the one that comes easiest to me.

Since I was a kid, I’ve always been a voracious reader. Y’all, in kindergarten, my Show and Tell thing was to read a story to my class (my mother is still proud of that fact to this day – 30-plus years later). In 1st grade, my teacher took me to the side and handed me the entire set of Laura Ingalls Wilder books to read. I read the Chronicles of Narnia the next year.

I’m a reader.

Eventually college, then work, then kids turned reading into a luxury. It was only when I hit my 30s that I said, “Screw this shit” (or something like that) and became a regular at my local library (because really, I can’t afford my own book habit. I buy books that I can’t live without, and I borrow the rest from the library – but when you see how many I read in a month, you’ll understand).

I figured it was time I started sharing the books I read to help others find something good, too. Hell, if you’re here reading my stuff, I figure you’re a reader, too. (The links to each title are affiliate links, and yes, I make a small commission if you buy something – but no worries, you don’t pay a penny more and I’m not offended if you don’t buy a single book – I’ll meet you over at the library instead.)

What did I read in February? A little bit of everything…

And by everything, I mean O-M-G everything

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

I first read Kate Forsyth’s The Wild Girl and fell in love. She takes fairy tales that you know and love and tell you the real story behind them all while spinning a magical tale. Bitter Greens is the tale of Rapunzel, a little girl named Margherita kidnapped by an evil sorceress in Venice. But it’s also the story of a woman who longs for love and a life she can call her own, Charlotte-Rose de la Force who’s exiled from Louis XIV (also known as the Sun King) in Versailles, France in the 1600s. At the same time, it’s the story of a courtesan who fears growing older and dying and so uses dark magic to have what she wants most.

Historical fiction meets fairy tales. Kate Forsyth is brilliant, and I want her to re-tell every fairy tale with an eye for historical accuracy and magic. Because, based on the two books I’ve read by her so far, it is possible to have both.

Health, Diet, and Nutrition

I mentioned in an earlier post that I read three different books on sugar, glycemic index, and metabolism this month – all in an effort to figure out how to correct my declining health.

The G.I. Diet  by Rick Gallop
The Sugar Solution from Prevention
Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels

Ultimately, I decided to follow The Sugar Solution more closely than the other two. If you decide to read any of these, don’t be surprised if some information doesn’t sound right. For the past few years, we’ve started to learn more about artificial sweeteners and what they can do to our bodies. Both versions of The G.I. Diet and The Sugar Solution that I read (the original editions) were quick to suggest diet sodas and artificial sweeteners. While Master Your Metabolism was quick to say not to let a single chemical come near you. In my experience, the answer is usually somewhere in the middle.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’ve loved Elizabeth Gilbert since I discovered Eat Pray Love. Of course, I’m a little embarrassed to admit, I saw the movie and still haven’t read the book. But her story was life-changing for me, and inspired me to change my own life. (Of course, it helped that Julia Roberts was a great actress and the move was really good.)

When a fellow blogger mentioned Big Magic on her own blog several weeks ago, I was intrigued. The subtitle is “Creative Living Beyond Fear.” I devoured this book in one sitting and itched for a highlighter to mark every meaningful, life-changing word I was reading. Of course, I didn’t – it was a library book. So that night, I ordered my own copy from Amazon so that I could re-read it and make notes to my heart’s content.

Her ideas come from magical thinking (which she freely admits) and it fit with my own personal view of the “Universe” as some sort of entity that can help guide our lives. Elizabeth Gilbert believes that ideas are living, breathing things, and they’ll come to you and wait (sometimes patiently) for you to do something with them, but if not, they’ll find another person. Ideas want to be born into this world. I’m going to do a more in depth post on Big Magic soon – after I read it again! – because there were so many ideas that I think writers and people everywhere could use to help make a different life for ourselves.

Sexy, Erotic Reads

Okay, for those who find sexual, mature content offensive, this isn’t for you. If you find kinky sex offensive, also, not for you. While I love the library for a lot of things, I adore my Kindle for giving me the option to read steamy, hot, wonderfully inappropriate books without worrying about the kids (or anyone else) asking questions I don’t feel like answering.

This month’s sexy, erotic reads (with plenty of BDSM in both) were:

Taking the Lead by Cecilia Tan
The Gazillionaire and the Virgin by Lisabet Sarai

I’m not ashamed to admit I enjoy books heavy on sex and light on build up. What I love about these two authors is that they told a good story at the same time. Take out the kink, and you’ve got two love stories with a lot of miscommunication, angst, and personal growth.

My tastes in reading are fairly eclectic. In any given month, I’ll read historical fiction, fantasy, erotica, business, marketing, health, and more. Up for next month are a few books by Seth Godin and Sharon Kay Penman’s Sunne in Splendour (I’m halfway through and ran out of month.)

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