Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Every Single Moment

Happy Tuesday, LilyOnTheLam.Com Readers!  

It's only Tuesday and this week is already kicking my arse.  Monday started at 5:30 a.m. with conference calls until 6 p.m. and then 8 p.m. - 10 p.m.  Only to turn around and start my day at 5:15 a.m. today with more calls.  Seriously people, just because there are 24 hours in a day does not mean I need to be doing conference calls every minute of every hour of said day!

However maybe it's the lack of sleep talking (OK most likely it is the lack of sleep talking), but I have felt such joy lately.  

There have been several events that could be seen as discouraging but yet each day I manage to get back up again (at an ungodly hour), stare my challenges in the face and say "Bring it!"  

In my new job it is like learning surgery in German (a metaphor I keep using over and over again) ... and here's a secret between you and me ... I absolutely, positively HATE feeling stupid.  I derive a great deal of my confidence and "perceived power" in being smart, capable and dependable.  So to be put in a situation where everything is new, strange and hard to comprehend, it is like mental warfare on the highest level.  

However I am like a rubber band, you can only hold me down so long before I snap back and jump up higher.   (Please, no one look up the symptoms for manic depression - PUH-LEASE, PUH-LEASE!)  

So I am trying to "roll with it" - to embrace my lack of knowledge and applaud the slowly more frequent moments when I am truly getting and understanding "it."

And I am trying to see the situations I am being thrown into as challenges to grab onto and opportunities to shine versus a less positive attitude of "Stop throwing work on me when I am already drowning!"

Attitude for me is like setting your on-board NAV system and pointing your car in the correct direction ... the road might be bumpy, but at least you're starting off on the right foot ... or wheel ... or rickshaw?  

When I recently saw Mary Lambert in concert, I snapped the following picture with my iPhone ...

It's a blurry picture and there's a hand in the middle of it ... but if I were going to title this picture I would name it "Joy."  

I actually think in this particular moment Mary Lambert was laughing because the offstage fan kept blowing wisps of hair into her mouth as she tried to sing; but when I look at the picture all I see is JOY.  

No self-consciousness.  No annoyance with the drunken patrons at the back of the club talking much too loudly for a concert where a woman sings about crying on Sundays.  No fear.  No living in the past.  No waiting for tomorrow.  Just a pure expression of happiness and joy in the current moment.  Present.  Focused.  Laughing.  Experiencing.


When I look at this picture, I also think of the Omar Khayyam quote: "Be happy for this moment.  This moment is your life."

I am doing some very heavy lifting in my new job - spiritually, emotionally and it's oh so physically tiring.  But it also reminds me how strong I am, how determined, how focused and how resilient.  As Eleanor Roosevelt said "A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water."

Every day I feel pressured, stressed and challenged.  But also every day, I stop and take a moment to feel grateful for the opportunities that have literally fallen at my feet like rose petals.  

I didn't ask to take this new role, but I know many people who would have killed to have had my promotion.  

I don't enjoy feeling dumb and out of the loop, but I appreciate the opportunity to learn and grow.  

I really really wish I could sleep in again as I once used to ... starting my day during "Farmers' Hours" is a hard adjustment.  

But I am proud that I keep doing it day after day, trying to stay positive and focused.

And knowing that these challenges cannot, will not, defeat me; brings me great joy and pride in myself.  Laughing at adversity and rising above it is what helps me feel true joy in every single moment.

And this moment is my life.     

Monday, July 28, 2014

Be The Best Gift Giver EVER!

Happy Monday, LilyOnTheLam.Com Readers!

Woof - another weekend just slipped right through my fingers!  Where did it go?  I swear I step in to some time acceleration portal every Friday afternoon and whisk myself immediately into Monday morning!  

Does someone have a screwdriver because I need to disassemble this machine!

Before you go about your Monday, make sure you read my blog post from yesterday about my amazing birthday cake ... it is sheer perfection and I demand that you "ooooh and aaaahhhh" over it!

OK now that you're back, let's get down to business!  

One of the questions I get repeatedly from LilyOnTheLam.com readers is:  "Lily, how can I be as fabulous as you?"

When I receive this question, I put down my make up brush on my 1940's vanity and I give the questioner a cold, hard stare.  

I then use the same tone that Bette Davis had in "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?" when she said to Joan Crawford's character "Blanche, you aren't ever gonna sell this house ... and you aren't ever gonna leave it ... either."  

I say to the questioner in mimicking tone:  "YOU AREN'T EVER GONNA BE AS FABULOUS AS ME ... AND YOU CAN'T TAKE MY CATS FOR WALKS EVER ... EITHER!" 

At some point after this conversation, some men in white lab coats come in and give me a shot of something and then everything goes hazy for awhile ... 

So you see dear reader, you can NEVER be as fabulous as me ... but YOU CAN TRY!  

To be more like LilyOnTheLam, you have to be a good gift giver.  

Now sadly if you are truly like LilyOnTheLam, you may also give gifts to people who do not deserve it ... but frankly I think that it is better to be open to the universe and occasionally get burned than to be closed off to the universe and "safe" in a cocoon.  

(Of course I don't react all uber-zen magnanimous like that when someone burns me, but I am trying!  I am trying!)

I recently found the world's most perfect gift on Etsy.com.  I wish I had some talent to create things, because I would love to sell my wares on Etsy and have the whole world barking for a piece of LilyOnTheLam and ringing up their credit cards.  MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!

But until the market for 8x10 glossies of me making duck faces opens up, I will still spend my "free time" writing my inane thoughts in this blog and waiting to win the lotto.  Which I must admit will be quite a feat to accomplish seeing that I almost never purchase lottery tickets.  

Perhaps my knight in shining armor will arrive on a white horse with a winning lotto ticket in hand.  But most likely I'll say "Wait a minute honey, I gotta see how this episode of "Hot Wives of Orlando" on Hulu.com ends" and he'll gallop off, disgusted.  Not exactly the fairy tale ending!

But back to the world's best present and me, as the world's best gift giver EVER ...  When I was a kid, I had a photographic memory.  I remember doing pop quizzes in 9th grade French class and I could see the vocabulary words from my textbook in my head.  I could even tell you the page number the vocab words were on.

Sadly, I have found that years of multi-tasking for my giant corporate behemoth of an employer who I affectionately refer to as "International House of Cheese," has robbed me of most of my memory.  Seriously, I'm lucky if I remember my own name at this rate!  My brain is Swiss cheese trying to do 900 things at once every moment of every day I work for the giant corporation.  

But yet somehow I still have a good memory for trivial details and file them away for use at a later date.

Like the minor detail (OK well not minor to her) of knowing that Ms. Kentucky LOOOOOOVES the artist known as Prince (a.k.a. Prince Rogers Nelson).  

Growing up in Minneapolis, I have a fond geographic solidarity with Mr. Purple Rain.  However Ms. Kentucky loooooooooooves loooooooooooooves looooooooooooves him.  In a deep and personal way.  And I respect this about her.  

Plus Ms. Kentucky's Prince fandom also made her a guaranteed "YES" RSVP when Morris Day and The Time came to town.  I find that in life, one needs to have a person they can count on when late 1980's rockers come to town.  Someone you can tell your deepest, darkest secrets to ... while people dance around you in spandex.  

I whispered to Ms. Kentucky that in my youth, I always wanted to be Jerome.  

(Who's Jerome, you say?  Get yourself a copy of the movie Purple Rain and a large mirror right now!  I'm not going to answer that crazy question ... some things you have to learn on your own, Grasshopper!)

When trying to emulate LilyOnTheLam, you not only have to be the world's best gift giver ... you have to be like Jerome Benton - the "original Jerome" of Morris Day and The Time too.

Ms. Kentucky and I went to dinner at Rumba Island Bar and Grill in Oldsmar, Florida.  We had an ADORABLE waiter named Tim who told us that after work he was going home, cracking open a bottle of Wild Turkey, a PBR (that's Pabst Blue Ribbon to those of you who did not grow up in the Midwest and/or are not ironic hipsters) and then he was going to watch "House of Cards."  

Be still my heart.  I am in love with Tim the Waiter.

As Tim packed up our leftovers, he wrote the date on the box.  I leaned over and said "If you're going to draw something on the to-go box, I would like a unicorn farting rainbows."  (I am a KLASSY BROAD.)

Tim first looked surprised and then had a "Challenge accepted!" look on his face as he dashed off.  He returned to the table with this ...

I don't know if the unicorn is actually farting the rainbow but I love it nevertheless.

Seriously, I am IN LOVE.  

If you work as a restaurant server, make sure you have good drawing skills because art like this gets good tips!  

A table of five people next to us were VERY ENVIOUS of my beautiful artwork.  I heard them whispering what I assumed to be plans for a grand heist of my newly acquired to-go box portraiture.  

I turned to them, shook my finger rapidly in a threatening gesture and hissed "Don't be getting any ideas!  You're not worthy of my unicorn farting rainbows!"  

It's a wonder I am allowed into any restaurants in Tampa Bay.

But again, this blog post is not about gifts that I received (call me Tim, you hot unicorn-drawing waiter!)  No ... this is about me giving the best gift ever to Prince fan, Ms. Kentucky.

(Side note:  there is also a waiter at Rumba who looks like actor/teen heartthrob Zac Efron with this thick, luscious hair that was standing like 3 feet off his head.  I told the waiter I wanted to shave his gorgeous hair and sell it on eBay.  And he didn't call the cops on me, so I am pretty sure that means he agrees to be part of the transaction.  I'm going to be RICH!)

If you are a lucky person you have probably received some very generous gifts in your life, but I doubt you have ever received anything as wonderful as what I gave to Ms. Kentucky.  

I told her this was her birthday, Christmas, Bastille Day present all rolled up into one!  If you want to be as fabulous as me, you have to become the ultimate gift giver.

And what did I give Ms. Kentucky, you ask?

I gave her this ... drumroll, please ...

The world's best gift ... EVER ...

A print of a painting of Prince ("Prince Prints!") - in Purple Rain-era clothing - riding a purple-maned unicorn with a full moon behind him.

It simply does not get any better than this, my friends.

I had had several strong cocktails that evening thanks to Tim the waiter who was selecting all my drinks for me.  (I had abdicated my rights of cocktail selection, as it were.  I like to sign over the power of attorney for this to a select group of cute waiters.  I think it is best in my declining mental state that someone else make my decisions for me ... when it comes to cocktails.)

My recollection of Ms. Kentucky's reaction to receiving this gift is a little fuzzy due to the aforementioned multitude of cocktails.  However, I am pretty sure Ms. Kentucky stood on her chair like Caesar addressing the Roman Senate.

She proclaimed to the packed restaurant, through joyous sobbing, that I was the most considerate person ever.  This then turned into a thirty-seven hour speech detailing all of my finest qualities.  

It would have lasted longer - I mean we all know thirty-seven hours barely covers the tip of the iceberg on the subject of how great I am; but Ms. Kentucky grew hoarse from talking non-stop.  

If only one of us had a menthol eucalyptus throat lozenge so she could have kept going!  Sigh ... regrets.

I do have the best picture of Ms. Kentucky EVER as she opened the "Prince Print" scroll and first viewed the magnificence that is Prince on a Purple-Maned Unicorn.  The look of joy and surprise on her face is PRICELESS.  It makes me laugh hysterically every time I see it.  

However the restraining order that I am sure Ms. Kentucky will one day file against me, is sure to prohibit me from posting pictures of her on my blog.  Perhaps I'll draw a rendition of the scene ... but as I said before, I have no talent ... so think of a stick figure with a surprised expression-- that would be my drawing!

Needless to say, once again, with my Prince Print gift I proved that I am the best gift giver EVER.  I've held that crown for 900 years and counting, people! 

(Side Note:  Ms. Kentucky says that yesterday - July 27, 2014 was the 30th anniversary of the movie "Purple Rain."  I am not sure how this is possible since I am only 22 years old [hahahhahaha] ... but I'll take her word for it.)

If you want to try to be the Best Gift Giver Ever and slowly climb the ladder to being the best LilyOnTheLam clone you can be, make sure that during the next gift-giving holiday you hand out lots of prints of Prince ("Prince Prints!") to all your friends and family members.

You may never be as wonderful as me, but you certainly are allowed to try.  

P.S.  There is a deliciously lovely St. Petersburg artist (with the most gorgeous eyes) named Robert Phelps who creates beautiful pet portraits as well as other spectacular art work.  Ms. Kentucky, her friend and I met him last month while he was working on a painting of ... drumroll, please ... Prince.  

I thought I could try to get to know him better by commissioning him to do paintings of all of my 12,374 cats.  But I would probably go bankrupt before I could effectively seduce him ... sigh.  

I should probably contain my dreams to becoming the next Jerome in Morris Day and The Time and forget about trying to seduce artists ... or waiters.  

But a girl can dream, can't she?