Holy shit, I still have a blog. And last minute advice for my kid.

Yeah, I kind of forgot. The last post I made was about the fact the substitute yoga teacher had feet that looked like ravioli, and made that bitch on “Dance Moms” sound rational. (Plus….she was LATE). I’m over that now.

But just barely.

The last 6 months, well…I guess they have been what one could call “character building”….IF one was Oprah Winfrey.

Let’s be frank. Taken as a whole, the last 6 months have alternated between white hot panic and ball sucking misery been difficult on several fronts. It is just one of those times in your life where decisions are made. And when you make a decision and actually follow through, change happens. Even good change, though, can be scary and unsettling. But that’s the thing about those Dark Night of the Soul phases…the sun eventually comes up.

On a MUCH MUCH MUCH better note…thanks to my mom, we had a wonderful, wonderful cruise in the Caribbean. It’s really hard to convince everyone that you are dealing with a relapse of major depression and generalized anxiety disorder when you have pictures like THIS on your Instagram:


Disclaimer: I lost interest and did not finish this book.




Those are stingrays. As I am not Steve Irwin or even remotely Australian, I felt pretty safe.

And plenty of THESE:


“Drink me. I make life more fun.” ~ Karen Walker

And people this THIS to hang out with:


“But why is the rum gone?!”

It was also quite an epiphany to go a whole week…yes, a WEEK…with no contact with the “real” world. That is, no Internet, no Facebook, no texts….nada. I enjoy my addictions, but not at $2/minute in international waters. Since I came back, I’ve tried, with some success and failure, to cut back and maintain some of that ignorant bliss. As it was, I slashed my “friends” list on Facebook down by half. That alone was terrifying/cathartic. It’s an attempt to focus on some more authentic interactions. Social media is a fantastic way to stay in touch and share, but when it becomes the only way things happen…well…it’s not very satisfying. (Then again, it’s a HELL of a lot more satisfying to avoid Facebook while you are stuffing your face on the Lido deck whilst looking out over the Caribbean vs. ignoring Facebook at a mind numbing desk job.)

In other fabulous news, my oldest has been accepted to OU for fall of 2013. (The flip side of that is a raging case of 18 Year Old Young Woman With Senioritis. Delaney and I are about to strangle Carleigh.) But the truth is, I just could not be prouder of that kid. She did everything…EVERYTHING…from getting the grades to researching to applying to scholarships to the financial aid…on her own. Self motivated.


9:30pm, Last Night:

Carleigh: Mom, you have to do this. Now.

Joann: What?

C: <throws paper on my bed, where I am about to fall a sleep like a normal person>

J: Are you shitting me? What the hell?

C: <insert earsplitting sound of teenage girl yelling about how busy she is and how mean I am here> It’s life or death, Mom!


So…I have to write a letter to my child, giving her advice, like Polonius did for Laertes in “Hamlet”, and place it in a sealed envelope for her to read to the class. The first time she reads it will be in class. NO PRESSURE, MOM.

So, I emailed this to her teacher this morning.

Carleigh- I understand that I am supposed to be giving you advice for how to be a successful grown-up for an assignment for your AP English class, much like Polonius did for Laertes in “Hamlet” (“To thy own self by true”, etc.) I’m sure then, I would be busted if I plagiarized and used the letter F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote to his own daughter…

”Don’t worry about mosquitoes
Don’t worry about flies
Don’t worry about insects in general
Don’t worry about parents
Don’t worry about boys….”

So perhaps the advice Navin got from his dad when he set out in the world would be better….

“Lord loves a working man.
Don’t trust whitey.
See a doctor and get rid of it.”

Honestly, honey….I don’t really know if I am the person that should be giving other people advice. In many ways, I think some of my life choices may serve you better as a dire warning rather than a good example, and I hope you’ve been paying attention. I have not exactly figured out the whole “grown-up” thing completely for myself. But that has never really stopped me from butting in with an opinion, now has it?  And here we are, and you are being forced to ASK for it? Awesome!

I MIGHT have a few good pieces of advice, maybe because I have been pretty candid in the mistakes I have made, so, I’ll start with 4 things that are a bit more serious.

1. This one is important: Do not waste time, money, or energy on material things. It’s just STUFF. STUFF breaks, gets lost, gets stolen, loses value. If you get the privilege of being old someday, you will notice that you can spend decades of your life accumulating all of the “right” STUFF, just so you can spend the last few years of your life getting rid of it all. If you die before you get rid of all your STUFF, it’s a huge headache for your loved ones to manage. STUFF can be taken away, too. The only things that are truly yours, and can never really be taken from you, are your education and your experiences. Invest in those, because if you do get to be nice and old and wrinkly, that is what you will be left with.

Because of my jobs, I got to be around a lot of people who were dying. These are some of the things I heard:

            “I wish I had traveled more…spent more time with my family…taken better care of my body….married someone else…read more books….told someone I loved them every day…told my spouse/parents how much I appreciated them…told someone I was wrong and that I was sorry….picked a different career….that I didn’t worry as much over things that seem so silly now….”

The two things I have never heard: “I wish I had kept the house cleaner”, and “I wish I had shopped more and bought more STUFF.

2. Two things will take you further in life than a college degree: Good manners and proper grammar. It does not matter if you have a stack of doctorates and the entire alphabet behind your signature. If you are rude and cannot communicate appropriately, you are limited, both personally and professionally

3. “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.”Mark Twain (It’s not just a quote on the Internet. Twain speaks the truth.)

4. No one is perfect, and forgiving people is important. Everyone needs forgiveness at some point. Even you.

Now, there is also some more practical advice. Some of it may not make sense now, but it will someday. If you need for me to elaborate, ask.

  1. Don’t get pregnant until you are completely prepared to deal with it, and with the right person.
  2. Don’t start smoking.
  3. Don’t tan. (Your 40 year old “self” told me to tell you that.)
  4. Learn a second language, preferably Spanish.
  5. Never share a cell phone contract with anyone. It’s easier to get a divorce than to get out of a cell phone contract.
  6. ALWAYS get uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
  7. Do not get pregnant (yes, it is that important).
  8. Never drink on an empty stomach. And be sure and drink a full glass of water between drinks.
  9. Avoid any male who actually states, “I am a really nice guy.” If he has to be the one to tell you that….he’s not.
  10. And finally… STOP PROCRASTINATING. Your teacher gave you this to give to me a week ago. Are you kidding me?!

    I love you very much. – Mom

I guess it was sufficient enough to avoid a complete AP English Chernobyl  for Carleigh, since I got this about 10 minutes ago:


(We both have iPhones now, so emojis are a big part of communication.)

See? Not all text communication is a bad thing. 🙂



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