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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Thursday, January 13, 2022
7:47pm

Today was still client app day. The launch crashed yesterday. And it’s basically still smoldering on the ground.

Things that worked before aren’t working now. And of course since this is the first time that anyone is actually using the app for real, all the things that nobody noticed before are suddenly becoming things.

In other news, Tiff’s Treats had two dozen cookies for $23 yesterday but I did not want to be fat.

Tiff’s Treats, if you don’t know, is a store that bakes fresh cookies and delivers them hot to your door when you want them. Like, whenever you want them. This is both incredibly delightful and incredibly problematic. They have amazing chocolate chip peanut butter cookies, among others, not to mention various seasonal cookies that have never disappointed. At Christmas, they had peppermint chocolate chip. This month is red velvet.

I cannot overstate the delight of opening up an app, tapping on a cookie, and having it show up fresh and hot on your doorstep a half hour later.

Today I got an email that was a “mystery deal” and you had to get all the way to checkout to reveal what it was. From 20-50%. So I said to myself that if I got the 50% discount I would buy the cookies today. I made it to the almost end of the week without cookies, and it’s been A WEEK.

So I put all the cookies in my cart and got to the end… 35%.

JERKS!

No cookies.

I could have bought the cookies. I really could have. But I made a deal with myself, and what’s the point of doing that if I’m not even going to honor it? Next time I’ll just shut up and not say anything and then I can decide if I want to use the discount or not. But today I made a deal with myself and Tiff’s didn’t come through.

On the plus side, I won’t be eating a billion calories that I don’t need or spending money I don’t need to spend.

Besides, I found my favorite homemade cookie recipe (Alton Brown, yes please and thank you) and I also have all the ingredients I need to make them.

So if the universe allows me the time and desire at some point, I can make my own.

I’m not even mad about it. The thing is, if I make up my mind then I make up my mind. It’s when I’m indecisive that I get mad. Not even at myself, but at the entire universe and everything in it.

If I had waited to see what the discount was and then had to sit there and decide whether or not to buy the cookies, I would have been mad that I didn’t get 50% and I would have been mad that I shouldn’t be eating cookies and I would have been mad that I wanted them and I would have been mad that I had to work because otherwise I wouldn’t even be obsessing about the stupid cookies in the first place.

Probably I would.

But I can blame work for making me do it.

Anyway, the point is that once I made the decision I didn’t care about the outcome. I was prepared to deal with it either way.

50%, buy cookies.

Not 50%, don’t buy cookies.

Super simple.

That’s why I also like to plan things out the night before a day actually happens. Because there are just too many damn decisions to be made in a day. Should I get up now? Should I sleep some more? Should I do my yoga or wait for later? Which client blog should I write?

If I’m stuck deciding all that on the fly it makes me super cranky. But if I make up my mind that I’m going to get up at 5AM and do my yoga, then I’ll just do it.

I may not LIKE it, but that does not enter into the arrangement.

Which leads me to today’s word.

I woke up REALLY cranky today.

I needed a nap, I needed a cookie, I needed a mommy to make my breakfast appear in front of me.

Like they did on most days this week, the words irritable and annoyed popped into my head.

And I am NOT NOT NOT making that my focus. I mean, sure, I could consider how irritable I am ALL. THE. TIME. And reflect on why that is and what to do instead.

But I already know. I’ve been with myself my whole life. I come from a family of easily irritated people and I’ve worked pretty hard through my adult life to not be that person who complains about EEEEEEverything.

Some might say I have a ways to go, but hey. We’re all a work in progress, right?

That, and sometimes all the billion little annoyances of life add up until one day you try to unscrew your thermos and the lid is too tight and you get mad enough to throw it on the counter.

Sigh.

Things that irritated me today:

The endless. ceaseless. nonstop. absurd amount of noise coming from the leaf blower outside. I mean, could they possibly hire more than ONE GUY with a leaf blower to maintain an entire apartment complex, so the rest of us don’t have to listen to wzzhHHEEE wzzhHHEEE wzzhHHEEE for the entire day?

The lid on the thermos.

The fact that I couldn’t even get 20 minutes of exercise in this morning without my texts going nuts from people who needed stuff.

My trackpad that decided to take six extra seconds to wake up.

Standing right in front of my computer and getting a message that my watch was too far away to unlock it.

You know, important things.

Anyway, I know how stupid I’m being when I get like that. The solution is usually one of two things:

Throw something hard enough to break it so that I feel guilty and stop.

Cry and realize how ridiculous I’m being and stop.

Today I actually stopped before either of those things happened, because I thought of my word.

Also because Ralph asked me about nine times if I was ok and I said, with increasing levels of agitation, yes, YES, YESS I’M FINE!!!!!!

Which you know is a bad thing because clearly he is noticing something, and if I keep it up it will inevitably lead to us fighting and then I’ll really have something to be irritable about.

Then again, we’ve been married nearly 25 years and never had a fight.

Except maybe that one time.

Anyway, my word today was positivity.

That’s right, positivity.

It’s the word that slammed into my head as I slammed the thermos on the counter and knew I had to do something about this whole cranky business.

Positivity.

Not anything as profound as gratitude, but a little bit of “shut up with your irritable self and find some good things.”

Sometimes the best way to combat a thing is with its exact opposite.

All these unnecessarily negative thoughts spinning up in my head? I’d kill them with positive ones.

And so I did.

Or, at least I tried.

Except for once later in the morning, when I tried to put on my jacket but my watch got caught on the sleeve and refused to pull loose, so then I had to get in a war with an inanimate object because it’s SUPPOSED to just go ON my arm, not fight me every single time stupid STUPID SLEEVE.

Anyway.

I ate a few animal crackers and felt better.

Did I mention tomorrow is weigh day?

I check in with the scale every Friday, then add my weight to a pretty graph that either goes up or down depending on how many sleeves and thermoses fought me that week. I don’t get mad when it goes up. I do get mad when it goes up three weeks in a row. Then I usually have to comfort myself with a pizza and then do an extra ten miles on the Peloton.

Where was I?

Right, positivity.

And I was using it to avoid negativity. Not avoid, so much as smash dead with a hammer so it would leave me alone. Sometimes I’m tired of being annoyed.

I focused on positivity a bunch of times today.

Like when the cookies were not 50% off. One might have found that irritating. I found it quite positive. Or, I made myself find it positive, because I didn’t NEED the cookies. I certainly didn’t need the calories, and tomorrow being weigh day I certainly didn’t need to add whatever that would have added to my fat cells the day before.

I looked at it like this: the cookies aren’t going away forever. I will get to eat them again at some point. It didn’t have to be today. The end result is I had a healthier day and an extra thirty bucks in my bank account.

Other positive news: the app is moving along. And looking pretty actually good. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we’re playing a massive game of whackamole with one thing or another blowing up, but they’re more like puffs of smoke than full-on explosions.

I’m actually, in fact, starting to see a light at the end of this tunnel, and that is so incredibly positive, especially since I have not felt this way since… ever, at least not on this project.

This is also a tremendous relief to Ralph, who has the pleasure of programming away the puffs of smoke and is covered in stress hives because of it. True.

The hives are starting to ease up finally. One more for the positive column.

The universe has a way of being synchronous, because randomly today a friend of ours texted to say hello and, I quote, “I just wanted to send some positivity your way”.

I mean, what are the odds? I’ve been sent love. Good wishes. Hugs. Smiles. Happy thoughts.

I won’t say “never” positivity, but if you had asked me yesterday to name the top ten things people have virtually sent, positivity would not have made the list.

Yet today, with that word on the tip of my brain, there it was in my text.

See, you really can combat a thing with its opposite.

The universe is starting to learn.

What else happened today…

I ate a positively good grilled cheese for lunch?

Sure, why not.

I also spent a minute trying to decide what to make for dinner. I had a menu planned, parmesan chicken with arugula. But by going-on-5-pm and no end to the mole-bugs in sight, I rethought that plan.

Truthfully the only reason I planned on making the chicken arugula is because I bought the arugula and it’s sitting in my fridge being wilty.

Is it hard to make? No.

It’s messy, though. I have to get the breadcrumbs and then the parm and the eggs and the seasoning and all the plates to lay it all out in so I can dip and dip and dip. Then I have to mix the dressing and fry the chicken. And I’ll need a side so I have to make that, too.

I talked myself out of chicken arugula. Decided I’d rather eat the arugula as a salad than go through the effort.

New plan. Ralph got a sandwich and some potatoes like he did last night. He absolutely does not care. In fact, last night as he was eating his turkey and cheese sandwich on toast, he gave me a huge thumbs up and told me it was really good. Not even ironically.

Which, I mean, if he loves a cold sandwich that I made in four minutes that much, why on earth would I spend an hour in a parmesan-covered kitchen?

Decision made.

A positive win. Arugula gets eaten, kitchen gets saved. I get a break.

I thought about making chocolate chip cookies. That would negate the calories I didn’t have earlier, but they would be mine, and actually not as many calories. For some reason bakery stuff always has about 600x more butter and sugar than things you make at home. I have never seen a cookie with as many calories as are in the ones I get from Tiff’s.

Either way I can make them if I want to. Sometimes having the option is enough.

So I made a sandwich for Ralph, and some Hello Kitty shaped pasta for me (note to anyone who does not know this, which are probably not a a lot of people at this point: I love Hello Kitty, and as a result, my parents will go to lengths to find and buy just about anything Hello Kitty for me. The pasta came in my Christmas box.)

I made no cookies. I got on the Peloton for 20 minutes instead.

I feel like it’s important to clarify my thoughts on positivity. It’s not gratitude. Gratitude is about being thankful. I’m not being thankful, I’m just changing the narrative.

There’s some saying somewhere about how we become what we focus on.

Maybe for me that means one day I will turn into a giant dictionary or a very long scroll of the Jack Kerouac variety.

But in the meantime hopefully by being a little less about the negative, I’m teaching my brain, one cell at a time, to tell a more positive story.

Not an easy one or a good one or a happily ever after one, but one that involves less wanting to throw things and binge eat.

It’s also not about looking on the bright side. That’s too Pollyannaish for me and too lame to be real. It’s just you lying to yourself trying to make things all better when sometimes you just have to sit with the things that aren’t better, and let them be that way.

It’s not even about manifesting positive things. I don’t believe in that whole “think positive” self-help feel good nonsense. Wanting something to be a certain way doesn’t make it so.

I do believe that we see what we expect to see. So if we expect things to be awful then they probably will be, not because we manifested awfulness but because we are teaching ourselves how to experience something before we even experience it.

We’re going to believe the stories we tell ourselves, so we might as well tell halfway decent ones.

Like with the app that doesn’t want to be an app but an albatross that drags us into a swamp.

That one.

Positivity isn’t telling ourselves it will all work out in the end. It’s not looking on the bright side and counting the things we’ve accomplished. It’s not about being grateful that we have work. It’s not about visualizing the outcome and then through paroxysms of supernatural beings suddenly finding that happening.

It’s about knowing there are some good things and some bad things and choosing not to focus on the bad ones. At least for five minutes.

It’s about maintaining a sense of humor when the lid won’t come off the thermos, and even about your desire to throw it across the room.

It’s about saying something nice to the person who texts you in the midst of it instead of griping about your day.

A little piece of it today was reminding myself that the jacket sleeve was not trying to ruin my day. It was just a jacket that happened to get caught on a watch band.

I have a little longer to be positive, which is easier with my Olema candle and my little lights in the colorful jars next to me. I have a cup of tea. And I know at least two people who will read this whose lives I have a positive effect on (I know you know who you are.)

And tomorrow is Friday which is impendingly positive. Considering where I started this morning and where I ended up tonight, I’d say this was a positively successful word. And one of the two people who will read this even gave me my word for tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to a brand new challenge.

One that does not include apps.

Photo: a box of Tiff’s treats, peanut butter chocolate chip and double chocolate with Reese’s Pieces.

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