The Advice

A lot of people (at least one*) have asked me how I became such a successful woman.

(I think it’s very important to note that success means different things to different people. To some, it might mean: “the accomplishment of one’s goals“. To others (that own a dictionary) it might mean: “the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.” And still, to others it might mean: “a performance or achievement that is marked by success“. In the broadest terms, I think “success” means that you’ve convinced everyone that you’re a baller, and you have a hot car (Toyota Prius, or similar), and whenever you need to pay for something you pull out your Michigan bankroll).

If one person is asking how I became such a successful woman, I am sure there are literally thousands more that aren’t asking (but definitely want to ask) how I became such a successful woman, and what they can do to become similarly successful. They’re probably looking for some advice, but they don’t want to bother me because I’m so busy and so successful.

Lucky for everyone, I am quite the philanthropist/humanitarian/altruist/do-gooder… Because I am always giving, and bestowing, and bequeathing, and endowing. (People have actually said these words to** me: Gracious, kind, compassionate, forgiving, selfless, noble.)

So, here it is… Kimberly Manky’s magnanimous advice*** for becoming a success:

  1. Walk quickly.
  2. Always have a serious look on your face.
  3. Get a pair of glasses. Don’t put them on. Carry them around in your pocket until asked a question, then rest the left stem on your bottom lip with forethought.
  4. A. H. A. P. O. P. W. Y.**** (Always have a piece of paper with you. It’s good if there are lots of handwritten scrawls, like you’ve been taking lots of notes, but a printed piece of paper also works.)
  5. G. A. B. (Get a blazer.)
  6. After every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds (to prevent eye strain).
  7. Sleep with someone powerful and/or wealthy. (Once you’ve earned their trust, learn everything about them. Find out about their family and friends, and where they live. Find out their favourite foods, books, and movies. Read their texts, emails, and grocery lists. Earn their trust. Make them fall hopelessly in love with you. Then, once they are completely enamoured with you, turn the tables and threaten to reveal their dark secret to the world if they don’t do exactly what you want – i.e. cast you in a movie, fund your start-up, marry you, etc.).

You’re welcome.

 

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* Yes, they thought I was actress, producer, and former model Rene Russo. And yes, they were drunk.

** To me; not about me. 

*** If there is one thing that I’ve learned it’s that people love getting advice – especially unsolicited advice. So give it freely, whenever you have the chance, especially to new mothers. They love that.

**** I like using acronyms because it’s easier to remember.

 

 

The New Phone, Who Dis?

I just got a new phone.

It’s an iPhone 8, which (in case you didn’t know) features a retina HD display, 4.7-inch (diagonal) widescreen LCD Multi-Touch display with IPS technology, 1334-by-750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi, 1400:1 contrast ratio, true tone display, wide colour display (P3), 3D Touch, 625 cd/m2 max brightness, dual-domain pixels for wide viewing angles, fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating, support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously, display zoom, reachability, AND it’s splash-,water-, and dust-resistant!

I don’t know what any of those things are, or what they do, or why I need them… But I have them, and that’s what’s important.

Getting a new phone is pretty great. You can tell people about your new phone. You can show people your new phone. You can smile smugly (wherever you go) with the knowledge that you have a brand-spanking-new, state-of-the-art, cellular telephone!

But! The best thing about getting a new phone… The “New phone, who dis?”

I knew I needed a new phone*, but I mistakenly thought it was to make phone calls and text, and look up the location of the nearest pharmacy.

Nah… It was to make use of the “new phone, who dis?”

Now, when people call or text me, I can either:

  1. Write, “new phone, who dis?” which implies the following: “Sorry, I got a new phone and I wasn’t able to import my contacts, so I don’t know who you are. By the way, I got a brand-spanking-new, state-of-the-art cellular telephone” (BURN).
  2. Ignore them completely and then when I bump into them in person (and I’m sure they’ve seen me so I can’t run away), I just tell them I got a new phone and I wasn’t able to import my contacts, and I apologize if they’ve tried to contact me (BURN).
  3. Import my contacts so I know who is calling, and respond to texts and phone calls appropriately (BURN).

Either way, BURN!

Thank you technology!

 

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* Because I dropped the other one, and it was cracked and leaking fluid, and making my ears ring and my eyes water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The REAL Most Terrifying Thing We Have All Accepted As Okay

Okay, we really need to talk about this.

A few weeks ago I talked about restaurants being THE MOST TERRIFYING THING THAT WE HAVE ALL ACCEPTED AS OKAY, but I’m going to need to take that back.

There is something way, way worse.

No, I’m not talking about botox, escargot, or global warming. Those things are indeed terrifying, but pale in comparison to the thing we need to talk about.

Hotels.

And motels!

And hostels!

And B & B’s.

And cabins.

And chalets.

And mangers.

And ryokans.

And onsens.

And some castles.

Basically, any sleeping place where you don’t live.

(It’s INSANE when you actually think about it.)

What the actual F@#$?

You go to a strange building, let yourself in with a key, enter a room where hundreds (if not thousands of others) have been “accommodated”, remove your clothing, handle a remote control that has been touched by many others (not to mention: door handles, the telephone, light switches, blow dryer, and the in-room menu), watch some TV, and then get in a strange bed.

Here’s where it gets f-ing weird.

Other people have slept in that bed. Other people have laid their heads on that very same pillow. Other people have snuggled up in those very same blankets.

People with lice. People with halitosis. People that drool. People that leak from other body parts. People that don’t wash their undercarriage. People that have unwashed dreadlocks*. People that have weird pillow fetishes (see: Ryan Gosling pillow case). People with flaming cases of herpes.

All kinds of people… Complete and total strangers… Have all slept in that very same bed.

You know when you go into a hotel room and the sheets are tucked really tightly around the mattress, and you have to pull it loose? And sometimes you accidentally pull the sheets too hard, and you catch a glimpse of the mattress… And your humanity slaps you right in the face (I like to compare it with a near-death experience), and you realize how insignificant you are, and how we are all just a collection of atoms, and how that mattress has seen some things**. 

FYI: here is what’s living in hotel mattresses: skin cells, human hair, bodily secretions, fungi, bacteria, dust, dust mites, lint, insect parts, pollen, cosmetics… and more.

[insert barf emoji]

How do you know that these total and complete strangers haven’t licked the remote? You don’t.

How do you know that these total and complete strangers haven’t put the remote control in their bodies? You don’t.

FACTS: Bedspreads rarely get washed, and 81% of hotel surfaces have some fecal bacteria. (These are facts.)

Apparently, the first facilities offering accommodation to travelers were in ancient Greco-Roman culture and ancient Persia. Japan’s Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, established 705, was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the oldest hotel in the world. 

So this disgusting nonsense has been going on for quite some time.

How are you okay with this? It’s not, not, NOT*** okay.

I mean, IF it’s a brand new hotel, and you’re the first one staying there, and it’s 5+ stars, and you brought a blue light to check, and you know for a fact that the workers that built the hotel didn’t sneak a nap in the bed, and you know the proprietor, and the hotel has hospital-quality ventilation and purification… Then maybe.

But if not, wtf?

This person doesn’t care if you get E. coli from the remote.

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* I stand corrected on dreadlocks. Apparently they are cleaner than regular hair IF washed regularly.

** You don’t want to f%$#ing know.

** Triple negative bringing it around back to being a refutation.

The Lettuce

It started a few months ago.

I noticed that I stopped caring.

I mean, I still care about some things: babies, husbands, friends, family members, hygiene, etc.

But I don’t care about a lot more things: what people do, what people say, what people think, what people may think about me*, etc.

Maybe it’s motherhood? Maybe it’s being on the cusp of middle-age? Maybe it’s the perspective that comes from living for 40 years on this earth? Maybe it’s reading Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck? Maybe it’s Maybelline?

Whatever it is… Something made me realize that a lot of the $hit I used to care about doesn’t actually matter. And so it started mattering less and less**.

I have a limited amount of f*cks, and I need to save them for something important***.

I was shopping at Welk’s General Store the other day and a lady came in demanding to speak to the manager. She was fuming, pacing, pursed lips, hands on hips: ready for a fight. I wanted to pull her aside, give her a Sisu Stress Rescue, and tell her to calm the f*ck down. Instead, I just hovered nearby. The manager came over, and the lady said (and I quote): “I called an hour ago and I was told that you had lettuce. I rode my bike all the way over here and you don’t have any lettuce.” The manager politely apologized for their lack of lettuce, but the lady wouldn’t drop it. “I rode my bike all the way over here! Do you mean to tell me you had lettuce an hour ago, and now you have no lettuce? You sold out of lettuce in an hour? I don’t believe it. You never had lettuce!” She then stormed out of the store.

(I have a feeling it wasn’t about the lettuce.)

This woman is using up a lot of her f*cks on f*cking lettuce.

Let this story be a lesson to all of us…

 

 

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* I know me. I know my heart. I am not mean-spirited. I don’t do anything with bad intentions. I mean well. I’m just doing the best I can. If I hurt you, I didn’t mean to. If you want to get weird about it, that’s okay. If you want to let me know what I’ve done to hurt you and try to make things right, even better.

** This is a work in progress. (I am a work in progress.) But I have noticed that I care a lot less about a lot of things.

*** Things I consider important: someone I love dies, someone I love is sick, someone I love needs me, injustice, etc.

 

The Most Terrifying Thing That We Have All Accepted As Okay

Based on the title, I’m not sure what you think this blog is about.

There are many, many things that are terrifying that we have all accepted as okay… Botox, escargot, and global warming.

But this is way worse.

I can’t believe I haven’t written about this before. It’s something that haunts me; it haunts my dreams; it should haunt you. It’s haunting.

(It’s INSANE when you actually think about it.)

It’s restaurants.

What the actual F@#$?

You go to a strange building, sit on a seat that hundreds (if not thousands) of people have sat on before, touch a menu that has been touched by many, many others, and then tell a total and complete stranger what you want to eat and drink.

Here’s where it gets f-ing weird.

The total and complete stranger goes and tells another total and complete stranger what you would like to drink and eat… And then they make it for you.

You don’t know them; they don’t know you.

They make your food and beverages. With their hands. They might have a cough. Or they might need to scratch their nose. Or their bum. They might have gotten in a fight with their husband the night before. They might have just been diagnosed with a flaming case of herpes.

They are completely unknown to you, and yet you will let them put their “stuff” (the food and beverages that they have “made”) into your body, via your mouth hole.

How do you know that these total and complete strangers haven’t compromised your food and beverages? You don’t.

How do you know that these total and complete strangers are not perverts that have weird food fetishes that involve the same zucchinis and eggs you’re planning to eat? You don’t.

FACTS: There is a 90% chance that your meat has fecal matter in it, and a 65% chance that someone licked your garlic toast. (These are facts.)

Apparently, the first restaurant opened in Paris in 1765 by A. Boulanger, a soup vendor. The sign said restoratives, or restaurants, referring to the soups and broths he made. Restaurants quickly caught on… Like the plague, or Bieber fever.

And now, restaurants are literally everywhere. 

How are you okay with this? It’s not, not, NOT* okay.

I mean, IF you know the person making the food, and you can watch them make the food, and you have their entire medical history at hand, and they appear to be well, and they wear gloves, and they are not known to be a nose picker, and you’ve asked them if they’re a pervert (and they’ve said “no”), and you brought the food from your own garden to the restaurant (to ensure its quality and origin)… Then sure, eat at the restaurant.

But if not, wtf?

Botox, escargot, and global warming are one thing – but you have to draw the line somewhere.

Perverts

 

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* Triple negative bringing it around back to being a refutation.

 

 

 

 

The Stan Smith

Re-posting this blog I wrote four years ago, on Grandpa’s 90th birthday. Today he went up to heaven, where he always really belonged. He was an angel on earth, and we were so lucky to have him with us as long as we did. I was joking with my mom that if there’s a VIP section in heaven, he’s definitely there. 💛 Miss you Gramps.

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WARNING:For those of you expecting a humorous, satirical essay… look away now. This is a sappy, sentimental blog post dedicated to one of the best guys I know…

Stan Smith.

I’m not talking about these awesome sneakers.

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I’m also not talking about this tennis player from the 1970s, although I can understand why you’d think that… (because his name is also Stan Smith).

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I’m talking about this guy…

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Stan Smith.

He’s my Grandpa and he’s turning 90 this week!

He was born in 1924… before World War II, rock n’ roll, the moon landing, and the internet!

Yes, at 90 years YOUNG, he may be considered an “antique”, but he’s still sharp as a tack and has more energy than people half his age!

When people meet my Grandpa they immediately love him. Not only is he friendly, kind, compassionate, warm and incredibly wise… (this list could go on and on and on), he’s got this indescribable brightness in his eyes… I’m pretty sure he’s an angel.

After my Grandfather’s mother passed away in childbirth, his Grandmother Annie stepped in to raise him. Annie was an incredibly strong woman with a gift for poetry. My Grandfather wrote about her life in his book, The Life and Lines of a Pioneer. 

An excerpt from one of her poems, “An Angel Unawares” seems fitting:

As he sat unfolding the scriptures

And told of God’s goodness and grace,

A light of reflected glory

Shone on his dear old face

 

The theme of God’s goodness and mercy

Was the one he loved to record,

No teacher on earth has taught him

But I knew that he walked with the Lord.

Like my Great-Grandmother Annie (and me!), my Grandfather is a writer. He shared his wisdom and experience with several published books, including Coping with Life Victoriously.

I have learned (and continue to learn) so much from my Grandpa Smith. Our weekly phone call is always the highlight of my day, as he continues to be such a great source of advice, encouragement, love, and support.

One of the things I love most about my Grandpa is his laugh… it’s always genuine and generous… kind of like him.

My Grandpa has had a fascinating life… he served for almost twenty years as a pastor before becoming a probation officer. He went on to work as a prison chaplain, before eventually returning to pastoring a church. He devoted his life to others, and continues to bless others wherever he is.

He’s my mentor, my guide, my hero and my friend.

Love you Grandpa! IMG_2864

He’s also an amazing gardener… check out that pumpkin!

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Young Stan and young Elsie with even younger Linda!

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FaceTiming with Gramps!

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My mom and I hugging our special dads.

The Long Story Short

The other day my husband told me a story about his work.

It was a very long story (very long).

We were taking our son for a walk, and as we left the front door my husband began telling me the story. His story included a lot of very specific details like people’s names, locations, and direct quotes. He was very animated in the recounting of his tale. There were even some hand gestures and pauses for contemplation. About 12 minutes later, he said (and I quote), “Long story short…”

I had to stop him right there… “Long story long.”

He rolled his eyes, and reluctantly agreed that I might be right.*

Oh, I was right.

First of all, the story was NOT short…

It was 12 minutes! This was certainly not the shortened, abridged version.

Second of all, he misused the expression… Which implies that the storyteller has cut to the chase and has brought the story to a conclusion in a timely manner.

This did NOT happen.

If anything, it felt like my husband gave me the extended version… My husband is basically the Peter Jackson of storytelling.**

I should note: It wasn’t that it wasn’t a good story… IT MOST CERTAINLY WAS*** and I agree that Doug is totally incompetent and should be forced into early retirement.

It was just really long.

And as we all know, short stories are between 0-4 minutes long, and long stories are between 5-60 minutes long, and very long stories are anything over 60 minutes.

So it can either be:

Long story short.

Or, long story long.

Or, very long story very long.

Just get it right.

Key chain by @waldopancake

 

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* Why must he always be so reluctant when I am almost always right?

** NEVER ask him to tell you the plot of The Hobbit. You have been warned.

*** I have to say that my husband’s oratory skills are unequaled… And it’s not just because I haven’t been with that many other orators. And don’t even get me started on his lingual skills.

 

 

 

The Knowledge

I’m reading a book.

No, not a large magazine.

No, not a large pamphlet.

No, not the subtitles on Housewives. 

An actual book. One that consists of many, many words on many, many pages that have been glued together along one side and bound in a cover.

It’s called A Short History of Nearly Everything, and it’s OVER 543 pages long (it’s 544 pages). It was written (typed) by Bill Bryson.

Contrary to its title, it is not a short history of nearly everything*, it is a short history of a few very large things: the cosmos, the earth, etc.

I will say (type), that I have definitely learned some things.

Here are some of the things:

The human body has 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (seven billion billion) atoms in it. That’s a sh-tload of atoms! 

99% of the human body is made up of six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. We’re basically made of the same material as a tossed salad.

Our sun is one of about 200 billion stars in our galaxy. It’s also 149.6 million kilometers away from the earth. And you thought your commute was bad. 

The earth is 4.543 billion years old. In my opinion, it doesn’t look a day over 4 billion. 

Before reading this book I had never really spent much time thinking about our universe, the rise of life, cells, or atoms. Now it’s all I can think about.

And that’s a problem… Because I’m spending so much time thinking about quantum mechanics (and molecules, and neutrons, and protons, and electrons, and atoms, and subatomic particles) that I hardly have time to watch television anymore.

The other problem with having more knowledge is that it makes you realize how very little you know. The more you read, learn and think about things – the more you realize there is so f-ing much more out there to read, learn and think about. It can be overwhelming.

And maybe that’s why most of us don’t. It’s much easier not knowing what you don’t know.

If you actually spent any time thinking about our universe and the rise of life and cells and atoms, and the fact that you’re just a bunch of quarks and gluons… You might actually go insane… Or become religious. Or both.

And that’s why I watch Housewives. 

 

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* I’m 157 pages in, and so far there has been nothing about my favourite subject: 1980s sitcoms.

Just a bunch of atoms over here

 

 

 

The Adjustment

The husband and I recently became parents, which has been quite an adjustment.

We now have less time, less freedom, less money, and less “sexual congress” – which is my new favourite term for marital relations (followed closely by “carnal knowledge”).

We were married for almost twelve years before we became parents, so we had a lot of time to do whatever the hell we wanted, whenever the hell we wanted: last-minute vacations, fancy dinners out, loud rock concerts, wild parties at celebrity’s houses, late night trips to Target, and of course, highly inappropriate puppet shows.

We used to do a lot of things.

We no longer do a lot of things.

In fact, we do very few things.

I mean, we do A LOT of things…(a lot)… but they are not the kinds of things that you can get too excited about… Unless you love doing laundry, changing poopy diapers, cleaning bottles and nipples, scrubbing vomit/poo/pee out of carpet, taping books back together, and dispensing formula! (If you do, please come over.)

Remember when you could just toss a toothbrush in your purse, jump on a plane, and throw caution to the wind?* 

THAT LIFE IS NO MORE.

We are parents now.

We can no longer go to any nice restaurant (with or without carpet), we cannot attend any loud events, and ALL of our puppet shows must now be appropriate.

Not to mention (but I will mention it) that everything requires extensive, strategic planning and preparation. There is no winging it or playing it by ear.

Our life used to be free and easy… Now it’s expensive and exhausting.

And yet… It’s still the best.

Because we are parents now.

[Warning: about to get sappy up in here.]

We get to watch this amazing kid grow up! We get to be there as he learns and thinks and plays. We get cuddles and hugs and kisses and giggles and smiles and shrugs and raspberries and spitting baby food on the floor. We get to share our lives with this wonderful little human.

Yes, becoming a parent has been quite an adjustment… but the good is so good, and even the bad is good.

(I would say it’s not all shits and giggles, but a lot of it is shits and giggles.)

***

Side note: I am so impressed by parents that still go to loud rock concerts, fancy restaurants, and do whatever the hell they want, whenever the hell they want. Good for you; not for me. I’m okay with the adjustment.

 

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* I’ve never done this, or anything like this.

 

The Last of the Kimberlys

Kimberly.

It’s not a name you hear anymore.

No one is naming their baby “Kimberly.”

According to Baby Name Wizard (it’s a real thing), Kimberly is #743 in popularity for girl’s names, well behind Esmerelda (#435) and Brynlee (#242).

First of all, who would chose the name Brynlee over Kimberly? “Kimberly” is a name of English origin, meaning, “From the meadow of the royal fortress.” Brynlee” is the name of someone who steals nail polish from the drug store. There’s just no comparison.

And that* is what is wrong with the world today… People are naming their kids badly.

You want your child to grow up and steal nail polish? Go ahead and name her Brynlee. You want your child to grow up and become a doctor? Name her anything else.

The name Kimberly was most popular in 1967, so I have only ever met Kimberlys that were much, much, much older than me.

And I have never met a Kimberly that was younger than me.

Therefore, I think it is safe and 100% accurate to say I am the last of the Kimberlys.

One day Michael Mann will want to make a breathless, escapist, romantic, action-adventure movie about me (based loosely on the book!) starring Daniel Day Lewis (who will agree to come out of retirement to take the part). It will probably win an Oscar (for best sound).

 

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* Not just that… (video games, McDonalds hamburgers, mean girls, mean guys, vape pens, selfies, tweets from the toilet, guns, decaffeinated coffee, man caves, etc. etc.).