Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Tag Archive: random

My Christmas not to-do list

December is a weird, expensive month for my family. Between Christmas and Hanukkah and the child’s birthday, all of our money goes away. We manage it the best we can but still. See you in January, cash, along with my sanity, organization, and clean(ish) house. 

That said, we do have some holiday traditions that, thankfully, are free or mostly free. Driving around to look at lights, decorating gingerbread houses (from a kit, usually purchased a Michael’s with a coupon. Please do not think I’m ambitious enough to make that shit from scratch), and watching The Muppets Christmas Carol. In fact, here’s our full list. It’s pretty much remained the same in the two years since I wrote it. 

But since I like balance, let’s talk about all the thing I do not do at Christmastime. 


  • Employ The Elf on the Shelf. First of all, it’s fucking creepy. Second of all, I’m way too lazy to remember to move the thing. Third, why am I going to make messes and projects that I’m going to have to clean up? 
  • Drink from Starbucks red cups. I hate Starbucks coffee. It’s disgusting. I’m not a fan of their hot chocolate either. And why am I going to pay $9 for a cup of hot tea simply because it’s in a red cup? Or spend 48 minutes in line waiting to spend $9 on tea in a red cup? I’m not. So I drink my candy cane tea from my Muppets mug instead and I don’t even have to leave my house. See also: eggnog. Why does it exist?
  • Send holiday cards. This is one of those “one day I’ll do it” things and finally I realized that no fucking way is it ever going to happen because I’m too forgetful and I lose addresses and like with the creeper Elf, lazy. I’m sorry, friends. I love you but no cards from me. 
  • Watch Love Actually. Confession: I’ve never seen it. I’m not really sure I care to. Don’t even know where to find it if I did want to watch it. See also: all the other Hallmark/Lifetime type Christmas movies. 
  • Wear holiday manicures. The closest I’ll come is some sparkly red nail polish I have. But snowmen or Santa hats or whatever the hell else ambitious people get painted on their nails? No and no.
  • Listen to Christmas music. This where it gets tricky. While I LOATHE most Christmas music, some of the nontraditional songs are pretty fun. My husband, however, enjoys all the songs so we compromise. I made a playlist mixed with both types and we listen to it on only two days: gingerbread house day and Christmas day. 
  • Attend an ugly sweater party. This implies that I’m going to attend a party and I’m 100% confident that is not going to happen. 
  • Have a cookie baking day. I make 3 ingredient microwave fudge and one type of cookie. It takes 20 minutes. That’s all I’m willing to spend. Besides, I work from home and I shouldn’t be left alone with peanut butter fudge and the husband works with 5 other people and last year, all the stuff I sent to his work got thrown away so fuck them. 
  • Encourage my child to wake up at 5AM to open presents. Mama needs her sleep. Don’t mess with that. 

I’m sure there more things that I don’t do and I’m sure I’ll think of it later. That’s pretty much the story of this time of year. 

How about you guys? Is there anything you don’t or won’t do around the holidays?


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The importance of being honest

If you’ve spent any time around these parts, you know that one trait I cannot stand is lying. I have a zero tolerance policy for it. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you’ve done something, admit it. I might be angry at the action or lack of but I’ll be even angrier if you lie to me about it. I find lying to be one of the most contemptible, reprehensible behaviors and, if you lie to me, we’re essentially done. I already have major trust issues; I don’t need them confirmed with lies (in fact, being lied to is precisely WHY I have trust issues but that’s another topic).

But I get that sometimes a lie might be necessary or not entirely mean spirited. For instance, your weight on your driver’s license (why is this even still a thing?). Telling a 6 year old that Santa is real. Or pretending you’re going to a nice dinner when it’s really a surprise party. Shit like that. I can let those types of lies pass. 

However, there’s a whole list of lies I cannot. Here’s a sample:

  • Seeing someone with food in their teeth and say no if they ask. Especially if that person is me. If I ask and I do, let me know. I don’t want to walk around like that. See also: tags sticking out of clothes, toilet paper on shoe
  • Breaking or losing something I’ve lent you and then pretending like nothing happened. Just tell me. I won’t be mad. I promise. 
  • If you’re angry with me. I cannot stand passive aggressive behavior and if I’ve done something to upset or anger you, please tell me so we can work it out. We’re adults. 
  • Telling me I look good in an outfit if I, in fact, do not. Trust when I say you can’t be harsher on me then I am on myself. 
  • Continuing to work or maintain a relationship with me when you no longer want to but instead of saying something, you just disappear or forget to get back to me or something else shady. Just own up to your feelings. I can take it. Ghosting is the ultimate insult. 
  • Making promises you don’t keep. 
  • Pretending to be something or someone you’re not. 

Even more than the things you should always be honest with me about is one key thing you need to be honest with yourself about. And that thing is being honest about what you want from, well, life in general. What are your goals? What do you see your life looking like 5, 10, 20 years from now? What’s important to you? You have to admit those things, sans fear of judgement, because it’s your life. You need to do you. And you can’t fret about upsetting or displeasing someone else, even if that person is a parent or spouse. You need to prioritize your happiness and enjoyment. 

If you’re worried it’s too late, it’s not. You can always, ALWAYS start over. 

I know because I’m right there with you.

I recently found a picture of 24 year old me. She was so full of everything–confidence and hope and promise and believed in herself and her goals. Then I look at a picture of 39 year old me and holy shit, have I let younger me down. I have not fulfilled any of the promises I made her. 

I am a liar.

I hate that about me.

I will tell you, it makes me insanely uncomfortable to admit certain things to myself (never mind out loud). It’s that whole “deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties” part of myself that I’m scared of. I’m scared to stop lying and start owning what I know is my truth. But I know that the only way anything will change is if I do that. 

Being honest is fucking scary, y’all. 

But if we’re not honest, then we’re liars. 

And liars are assholes. 

Let’s not be assholes. 


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Post-election words for my daughter

Last night, my country elected a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, socially regressive demagogue and his homophobic running mate into the 2 highest offices possible. I haven’t fully comprehended quite how it happened, although, if I’m being completely honest, I kind of do. And it makes me incredibly sad.

My daughter, the champion badass that she is, tried to stay awake as long as possible, keeping hope alive that things would turn and she would go to bed in a world where Hillary was winning. She cried when it didn’t. And now it’s my job to explain to her that even though our country is on fire, it’ll all be okay. And not simply because we live in a state that just elected our first female black representative but because we live in a country that, despite the horrific outcome of last night’s election, has this:

  • People who will stand up to the bigotry and hatred and fight for what’s right
  • A system that allows us to be outspoken and critical of our government and people screaming their discontent as loud as they can
  • A generation of kids my daughter’s age who see what’s going on and who have parents that encourage them to get involved and who will do so because they want to do better than we did
  • A Constitution that protects basic rights and, despite the way it might appear, will continue to protect those rights
  • Resilience
  • An election cycle that will hopefully undo this shitshow in 4 years

Donald Trump might be our president-elect but he can’t control what goes on in our living rooms. He can’t stop me from teaching my daughter the value and importance of compassion and tolerance. He can’t stop me from teaching her that bullying is wrong and acceptance is right. He can’t stop me from teaching her that her vote matters, even in a country that makes her feel like it doesn’t. He can’t stop me from teaching her that “NO” is a complete sentence and no one has the right to touch her anywhere he wants simply because he thinks he can. He can’t stop me from teaching her that love is love. He can’t stop me from teaching her that she needs to educate herself and not fall prey to shiny, empty promises. He can’t stop me from teaching her that name calling and mockery are not a dignified way to get what what you want. He can’t stop me from teaching her to use her voice to express her discontent. He can’t stop me from teaching her that we’ve come too far as a country to turn back now. He can’t stop me from teaching her that yes, you need to respect the office of the president, but that he is #notmypresident. 

He is not reflective of our family’s values and beliefs. He is not reflective of my vision and hope for this country’s future. He is not reflective of my vote.

So, to my daughter, I also say: I’m sorry this country let you down. I’m sorry we showed that the 2nd amendment is more important than the 19th. I’m sorry we showed that the behavior you’re learning is unacceptable was just condoned and given incredible power. I’m sorry we didn’t do enough. I hope that my deepest fears about the results never come to fruition and that it’s rage and sadness rather than logic talking now. I hope that as far as racial and social progress go, we continue moving forward rather than backward. I hope that we don’t leave you an insurmountable mess to fix when you’re my age.  

But please don’t surrender to fear and know that we, and our country, will survive this. 

It will all be okay. 

In the words of Bob Marley, Every little thing gonna be alright. 

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You have my permission

You know what I’ve noticed? And it’s something I am guilty of, too. 

I’ve noticed that women, in general, often wait for permission to do…well, just about anything. We sit and wait for someone else’s opinions or approval before we make decisions because we’re afraid of the ramifications, whatever they may be.

I think this is bullshit.


So, for all the women, even though you don’t need it, if it gives you strength and confidence, you have my permission:

To express any and all opinions you wish. Someone might disagree with you but go ahead and say them anyway. Stop worrying who you offend. People take offense to everything anyway.

To wear whatever the fuck you want. And to love your body exactly the way it is. Or want to improve it. But throw that self-loathing shit out the fucking window.

To not feel pressured or forced to explain, justify, or defend your choices and decisions. 

To have lofty goals and work like hell to achieve them.

To unapologetically say no to anything or anyone that makes you uncomfortable, unhappy, or you simply don’t want to do. It is not your obligation to people please or jeopardize your own comfort level to accommodate someone else.

To go back to work after you have a child. Or to stay home. No judgment here.

To leave a job, relationship, friendship, or any other situation that puts your health (physical and/or mental), safety, finances, and self-confidence at risk. If you’re afraid, there’s resources and support. Can’t find them? Reach out to me. I got your back.

To be outraged, regardless of political affiliation, that in 2016, we are still fighting the same battles for equal treatment we fought 100 plus years ago. No joke. It’s okay to be pissed about that.

To spend your money how you please. Travel, buy books, clothes, spoil your kids or pets, go back to school, start a business, save it all for retirement…whatever you choose. You earned it. You get to decide. 

To live with no regrets. Yes, there will be things you wish you hadn’t done or choices you had or hadn’t made but you can’t change it. You can only learn, make amends, and move on.

To be private. To keep yourself guarded and quiet and protective of yourself and your feelings and cautious of who you let in and not share everything. Social media is not a requirement. 

To do the opposite of everything in the above statement.

To watch, read, listen, or create any form of entertainment or art you want. 

To ask for help when you need it. And refuse it when you don’t.

To put yourself before your kids. Seriously. I cannot stress this enough. Yes, they require care and attention, especially if they’re young, but it is FINE AND NECESSARY to take care of you, too. In fact, sometimes, taking care of you first makes you a better parent. Breaks are crucial to reset and refocus. Doing so makes you a good parent, not a bad one (Note: this can be it’s own post).

To recognize that you are capable of accomplishing absolutely anything you set your mind to. It might take awhile and you might have setbacks but you are fierce and you got this shit.

To do whatever makes you happy. Nothing more, nothing less.


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My completely rational irrational fears

I originally posted this almost two years ago. But since I’m in San Diego this week, and many of you are new around these parts and might have missed it the first time around, I’m resharing. You can also read part 2 when you’re done!

One thing I’m more than happy to admit about myself is that I have many, many fears. Some of them are completely rational. Most of them are not. In fact, not only are they completely irrational but most of them are completely avoidable. Yet they continue to plague me, sometimes on a daily basis. 

I couldn’t even tell you WHY I fear these things. My time would be better spent living in fear of things that are real, like the black widow spiders that live in my neighborhood. Or the threat of a gas build-up in my house because the knobs on the stove like to turn on ever so slightly on their own (you know, not enough to start the burner but just enough to let the gas seep out). Or my neighbors being involved in a drug related shooting because I’m 99% sure they’re running drugs out of their garage. 

Nope. Instead, I find myself living in fear of:

  1. Horses. They’re gigantic and unpredictable and they pretend like they’re all sweet and awesome but really, I’m pretty sure they’re plotting against me and they’re secretly violent. When you’re that big and a fly can scare you, you need to stay the fuck away from me. Also, when I meet someone who also doesn’t like horses, we’re instantly BFFs. Because THEY GET IT.horses
  2. Setting my hair on fire. My favorite, and pretty much only, part of my appearance I like is my hair and I do almost nothing with fire. So of course I’m paranoid that I’m going to get involved in a Michael Jackson-like incident.
  3. Barbecues. Not the social events but rather the physical grill that you use to cook the food. I will not go near ours, not even to turn it on, because I fear singeing my eyebrows off and I won’t let my family use any of the ones in public areas because I’m convinced people pee on them. It’s useless to convince me otherwise. 
  4. Drive by shootings. I live in the sticks, across the street from a farm, and my neighborhood sits on a golf course. In other words, prime locations for a drive by. See also: being abducted.
  5. My cat being eaten by a wild animal. This one is not completely ridiculous. I have an indoor/outdoor cat and living in the country means there are all kinds of animals living outside, too. But she sleeps inside almost every night and she’s crazy fast and agile and she didn’t die during the 2 weeks she was missing. But the fear is real.
  6. Losing my teeth. I do not come from a long line of people with good teeth so genetics are not on my side. Despite how meticulous and ridiculous I am about oral hygiene, I can’t help but think that one day, all my teeth will fall out. 
  7. A car falling into my windshield. Specifically when I’m driving behind one of those trucks that hauls all kinds of different cars and all the cars look like they’re one bump away from coming loose. Can’t they secure them just a little  bit better? Like with chains instead of tape?

    My personal horror movie

  8. Tunnels. If you ever want to see my knuckles turn stark white or see me stop breathing, drive through a tunnel with me. I have an immense fear of the walls caving in and/or getting stuck in one. True story: when I drove from college to Key West with some friends for spring break (remember this one, Steph?), I had to drive through the Fort McHenry Tunnel (outside Baltimore). I wouldn’t let anyone speak for the entire duration we were in the tunnel. It makes me that crazy.Instant fear. Just add traffic and high speeds.
  9. Birds. Also bats. Not only do I fear them nesting in my hair and shitting on me, I’m confident they carry all kinds of diseases and I want no part of that. Another true story: one summer, when I was a sleepaway camp counselor, a bat got into our cabin. I hid under my blanket and let my campers fend for themselves. Because fuck them and that bat.

This is actually my nightmare:


2016 update: The bathtub crashing through the floor and landing in the kitchen, mowing off my toes, falling into my washing machine (it’s a top loader, very deep, and I am short. This is a terrible equation), and every single unidentifiable bug or spider that leaves near my house.

Now that you all know how I’m sufficiently crazy, what irrational fears do you have?

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