Sometimes, I’m So Cheap

How long has it been since I wrote a blog post? I was having a classically nonsensical conversation via Facebook Messenger with my husband, and guesstimated that it had been a solid year since I put fingers to keys for fun. Turns out it hasn’t been quite that long, but it has been a long while either way. I wish I could say that I forgot I had a blog. That my life became so whirlwind busy, that I just forgot. My life is busy, who’s isn’t, but I didn’t forget. In fact, I still occasionally checked to see the number of readers my posts were getting.

I’m sitting here now, though.

I don’t write a whole lot about work, because I talk a lot about work, and that seems like overkill. However, it feels appropriate to say that I have made a step I am proud of in my career. I accepted a promotion at work, and starting in July, I will officially be the weekend anchor at my station. This means I will be working weekends for the first time in my career, but I’m ok with that because this is the right step for me. During the other three days of my work week, I will continue to be a consumer reporter. I get the best of both worlds, and that’s pretty cool.

I could go on and on about all the exciting and serious ways this makes me feel, I could go on and on about my thoughts on where journalism is going, and how I want to steer my little ship, but what I will go on about, at least right now, is how sometimes, I’m so cheap. I’m no financial guru, but doing as much consumer reporting as I do now, has made me see how I handle my finances in a different way. However, I still eat out too much, like way too much, and to make myself feel less guilty about it, I try to save in the most ridiculous ways. For instance, I have had the same make-up brush for the last five or six years. The same brush. I wash it semi-regularly, but it is outright falling apart. It’s not even an especially nice make-up brush. It’s the kind you get for free when you buy one of those Bare Essentials foundation and bronzer packs.

I used it for foundation, and highlighter, and bronzer, and blush. I went to a MAC make-up class with friends once, and the instructor totally said that was a smart thing to do, so you can stop gasping. Anyway, the thing has been on it’s last legs for a while, and I have started breaking out a little after using it, so I finally, finally, bought two new brushes.

At nearly 32, with my newly minted title, I decided I was going to buy more than one make-up brush, and they were going to be fancy. However, after heading to the beauty store, I was astonished to see how expensive make-up brushes can be. I opted for two different NYX make-up brushes, because the cost seemed less ridiculous to me.

It’s so strange to me that, considering what I do for a living, I don’t flinch at a one-hundred-dollar bill for dinner and drinks, but a fifteen-dollars beauty buy gives me the vapors. So, now I’m about to pull those little suckers out of their cases, and get my make-up on before tonight’s newscast. I expect to look thirty-dollars prettier for the next six years.

Mireya Desk

The Winter Purge

I really like my apartment. It is equal parts industrial and cozy and has a walk in closet, but if we are looking at square footage alone, it is small. I really enjoyed having a small apartment two years ago because I had just moved back from Germany, and didn’t have a whole lot of stuff. I felt free of the trap that is stuff. However, I am very much an American, which means I like stuff. I like owning cute things, beautiful things, interesting things, things, things, and more things. Two years since moving into my cozy apartment with its industrial edge, I started to feel suffocated– overcome with the need for more bedrooms, more space, more stuff. So, I sat down to think about why that might be, considering nothing significant had changed in my life.

While scrolling through my Pinterest page full of decorating tips, furniture ideas, clothes I coveted, I realized I have way more stuff than I had two years ago. Why did I want more? Maybe it is not that I am outgrowing my apartment, but I have crammed too many things I don’t really need into a limited space. So, in an effort to explore this further, I started to pull all of my belongings out of bins and drawers and out of my closet. Some of those things I forgot I owned or haven’t worn since I moved to Oklahoma for this or that reason. It really didn’t matter why I was keeping all these things, the fact was that it was all there taking up room in my home, sitting underneath the stacks of new things I was busy looking at now.

Being surrounded by it all felt like too much to deal with while I was still busy buying Christmas presents, wrapping them, mailing them. I grabbed two fists full of clothes to start shoving everything back into a large blue storage box, and stopped myself. Self, I thought, don’t wait to do this as a spring cleaning project, instead, do a winter purge.

I’m not quite done with this project, but I have boxes full of clothes to donate, and clothes to sell. One highlight includes getting rid of an Anna Sui dress I bought in college more than a decade ago. It is a size two, and I kept telling myself I would fit into it again one day. The truth is, I didn’t look very healthy then, and I started weightlifting five years ago, so it is unlikely I will ever be that small again in a healthy way.

 

Listen, I still like owning things. In fact, I just bought three dresses for work, two for fun, and I have my eye on this fantastic pink chair, but in the middle of this unfinished project I realized that a lot of the panic I’ve had about not owning enough was unfounded. I own too much, or maybe too much of the wrong thing. That realization has made it easy to walk past the 50% off everything sales, which is a welcome feeling.

I say skip your spring cleaning, and instead do a winter purge. What aren’t you using anymore? What is holding space in your life and keeping unhealthy thoughts alive? Get rid of it. After all they are just things, and if you find that you need another pink pencil skirt two years from now, you can just buy another one.

Don’t Punch Teenagers

I hadn’t had a long weekend in a while. I love my job and the media consumption that comes with it, but after report after report on political craziness, dead people, crime, animal abuse, and statewide financial problems— I needed to unplug. Cue a four day weekend that coincided with N’s spring break. If I could do I back flip, I would have done one.

My excitement translated into social media posts counting down the hours to my mini-vacation. It is, after all, the fastest way to let the world know about my sunny mood, whether or not the world wanted to know. Every time I told someone I was headed to Lawton I was met with confusion. I’m not sure what’s in Lawton, but people’s responses didn’t do a good job of selling the place. To be more clear, I wasn’t going to Lawton, but to the Wichita Mountains near Lawton, and that seems to make all the difference.

In the car on a Saturday morning we loaded supplies, the dogs, and plugged in the address into the GPS. Ninety minutes to nature– not particularly far, but the flashing 90 minute trip estimate took me back to my time in Colorado where I lived 15 minutes away from Pikes Peak and countless trails. I was uninterested in regular hiking trips when they were easily accessible, but now I daydream about it. The whole thing makes me sound like a walking stereotype, but really it’s my dogs’ fault.

The majority of my time in Colorado I had cats. They were happy to just chase lasers indoors, and continue to be. My dog Mila is from Colorado, but I didn’t get her until a few months before we moved away. I do remember my interest in hiking picked up after getting her. Now, we have Magnus, a 100 lb ball of energy, and he only knows how to relax after a long walk or day of sprints at the dog park. I think Mila misses the mountains because she really comes alive when we get to play in Oklahoma’s version.

That Saturday was a really great day. I couldn’t get online much because the service is spotty out there, so relaxing and enjoying the moment was really my only option. The company was good, the weather was crisp, and the bathrooms in the visitor center were clean. No matter how much I’m starting to like being outside, going to the bathroom next to a tree is never my idea of a good time. That day will remain in my thoughts for some time, not just because it was peaceful, but also because it was the same day I almost punched a teenage girl.

Man, that sounded intense, didn’t it? What I mean is that I was filled with the overwhelming urge to punch a teenage girl, though I doubt I ever would. I’m more the ‘wound with words’ type. Besides, she was far too tall for me to actually reach her face, and punching people in the stomach seems like such a waste.

To be fair, at her age I was probably an insufferable jerk too. Here is what happened…

I was wearing a jammy pack. It’s basically a fanny pack with the added cool factor of allowing you to play music from your phone through a little stereo system. I did look ridiculous, but the unbelievable convenience won me over. Also, I wore it backwards because I vaguely remember that being the cool way to do it in the early 90s. Anyway, I was walking into the Visitor Center, and this six foot tall pretty girl wearing skinny jeans and ballet flats to hike looked at the jammy pack and started laughing. We make eye contact, and she walks off with her parents. You might be thinking, ‘Mireya, why would this girl’s minor outburst get in your head?’ Good question dear reader. I don’t think that’s what happened exactly. That brief experience, that was such an unimportant part of my day, remains memorable because I wasn’t sure how to react.

I have few problems with confronting people, and can clearly tell a person how what they have done has made me feel. If that exchange were with another adult I would have likely said, ‘What’s your bleeping problem,” but the person was clearly a minor, perhaps even half my age. In that split second I went with an emphatic eye-roll, and went on my way. The main take away for me is that I have no idea how to act around teenagers. I think there is no world in which I could have told this girl she was rude, and not looked petty. My husband often says teenagers, “are playing at adulthood.” Older teens like to pretend they are grown-up in the way they act and talk, but can really just be snarky jerks. Tip of the hat to those people that have to deal with teenagers regularly, and my apologies to those who had to deal with me at that age.

I find the experience, and thoughts that came after it comical, which is why I’m writing about it, but I sincerely hope that girl, and any other jerk teens, turns out to be a decent human with a good life.

In the hours that followed, I went on to see some longhorns, roadrunners, and even elk. We picked a trail, and explored. Mila and Magnus had the chance to play off leash at the top of a small mountain, and almost had a Looney Tunes moment when they caught sight of some wild animals, and seriously thought about heading off the side of a cliff to catch them.

After all of that, I had a belly full of tacos for dinner, and drove back home with the sleepiest dogs I ever did see.

 

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Take a Leap

It might be might my job, my age, or my disposition, but general holidays have lost their luster. I work every Thanksgiving, haven’t partied on the New Year since I had too much champagne at age 24, and one time I forgot it was Christmas.

It’s no wonder then, that today I forgot it was Leap Day. Luckily the internet reminded me with Facebook alerts, clever/not so clever tweets, and articles about the whole thing. I don’t think Leap Day is an actual holiday– just a calendar playing catch-up– but I was intrigued by the articles advising people on what they should do with their extra 24 hours.

Apparently, on this day, women can propose to men. I guess they might melt into a puddle of goop if they try something like that any other day of the year. You can also celebrate that one friend who insists they are six years old because they were a leap year baby. The rest I saw in passing talked about how you should take the day off to relax or maybe do some charity work. I opted for charity work– but only coincidentally.

Today– probably while you are reading this– N and I will be sitting in the Oklahoma City Humane Society taking a short course on being a safe and effective volunteer. I had this type of volunteering on my to-do list for years, but I never followed through. It wasn’t out of laziness, but fear. I thought it would be too difficult, because I would want to take all the dogs home or that I would be too sad about the ones who aren’t getting adopted. I still think I’ll feel this way, but there is now an overwhelming feeling to do some active good, and this is good.

I am lucky my dogs, Mila and Magnus, can’t talk. If they could, perhaps they would point out the irony in me leaving them for hours to spend time with other dogs. When I return, I expect the will sniff my hands, look at me as if I have betrayed them, and promptly forgive me when they are ready for dinner.

 

mila and magnus

Mila and Magnus and Mireya. Causing trouble, but in a cool way.

 

 

Adventureland…

… also known as the Oklahoma City metro area, at least in my case—but that sounds way less sexy.

I’ve been trying to be more adventurous because I turn 30 this year and I’m having a ridiculous panic attack over it. So, 29 has been the year of trying new food, new movies, new hobbies, new sports, new whatever.

Now, it seems 29 turned from the year of adventures into the year of quitting. Pessimistic? Maybe.

Here is this story about how I went longboarding, like two months ago.


I am afraid of everything, so it was surprising how much I enjoyed longboarding the first time out. I may have liked it because it only took an hour or me to stop feeling like I was making the biggest mistake of my life.

You must be so impressed.

30 seconds into renting the longboards:

One hour later:

Anyway, for the next two weeks all I could talk about was longboarding this and longboarding that. I looked up #longboarding on Instagram, so I guess you could say things felt pretty serious. After those two weeks, though, my interest subsided. It might have had a little to do with how expensive the things are, and a lot more to do with my general discomfort with anything on wheels.

I hate driving. You know, I didn’t even get my driver’s license until I was 21 or 22 years old. I was that kid in college that would whip out her state issued ID to get a drink at that cool bar on Sixth Street. Anyway, I am uncomfortable with things on wheels.

My passion and almost immediate disinterest in the new things I’m trying this year must be why parents are always so mad at their children… “I love hockey….Oh, you bought me $300.00 worth of gear…I hate hockey.”

Trying a bunch of new things this year has made me feel more adventurous, but not sticking with those things makes me feel like a quitter. I’m an adult, though, and I am not required to stick with everything I try to be good at adult-ing. Right? Right.

I still liked longboarding, and I continue to like the idea of doing it again sometime, maybe even at more respectable speeds—but I will be talking about it a lot less… after this, obviously.

Next on the list is rock climbing, well, indoor rock climbing. I’m sure I’ll love it, and promptly never do it again.

Bad Parenting

I am obsessed with my dogs. They are better looking, funnier, and smarter than anything you have in your life. There is a chance everyone feels this way about their pets, and maybe everyone isn’t right– including me. Gasp!

MilaMy dogs are Mila and Magnus, and they have taught me many things. The sappy stuff, like selfless love, patience, and the ability to clean up poop. They have also taught me some less impressive things about myself– mainly that my laziness and inability to say no to my dogs, and mean it, makes me a bad pet parent.

MagnusToday, I had one of those experiences mothers of toddlers talk about while they’re on their third glass of wine. It was an experience I didn’t see coming into my life for quite some time. A stranger was awful and judgmental about my dogs, and by extension, me. I mean, I am not saying he was wrong, but it was embarrassing.

I went home for lunch on Friday afternoon to let the dogs use the bathroom and play. I normally let them play on this large ungated patch of grass in my apartment complex on sunny afternoons because it’s calm and people aren’t coming in and out with their dogs in the middle of the day– except today.

Mila and Magnus are large dogs who are obsessed with small dogs. So, a redheaded freckle-faced man came out of the side door of a building with a white fluffy little cotton ball of a dog. We’ve encountered this dog before. It is as mean as it is cute, and it considers my dogs’ needy playfulness as aggression, so they are not friends.

Mila and Magnus saw this little fluff ball and his ginger handler, ignored all of my commands- which they only do when it’s really important they listen- and sprinted their way across a parking lot. The man picked up his dog as I ran behind mine. As I got closer, Mila and Magnus changed directions and ran into an enclosed dog area.

I sighed and said, “ok, we’ll just go to the gated area.”

I was talking to my dogs– feeling annoyed, but happy that there was no barking and no drama. Then, I heard it:

“They sure do whatever they want, don’t they?”

Ginger said it in such a neutral way, but I couldn’t help but think the dig at my dogs was really just a dig at me. I turned, made eye-contact with him, and debated what to say…

“At least my dogs are friendly.”
“Mind your own business.”
“You sure are a jerk, aren’t you?”

I settled for: “I guess they do.”

He doesn’t know N and I work with the dogs everyday. He doesn’t know Magnus is huge but still a puppy and has a hard time listening. If he knew, would he care? Probably not.

Like I said, he wasn’t wrong. My dogs embarrassed me and that man, all his freckles, and I knew that to be the case. Did he need to point it out?

Either way– Good burn, Ginger, good burn.

Most things stayed the same

It’s 2015.

I’m not sure how I feel about that. Really, this is a ‘it’s not you, it’s me,’ situation. Odd numbers are creepy, and I don’t know why. The volume is better on an even number, I like to say hello twice, and goodbye twice. My neurosis. I don’t think people notice, but now they might.

I had a wonderful dinner, and fabulous drinks this NYE. Did you know a boozy Arnold Palmer is better with a little sprig of rosemary? Well, it is.

Between researching studies and open records requests, I thought about how much I didn’t want to make any resolutions, and then I thought about how I could be happier with my life. So, I ended up making a resolution of sorts. I hope to be more deliberate with my life in 2015, and beyond.

I’ve been very ‘whatever happens, happens’ the majority of my adult life, and that has served me well when it comes to moving around for work, and not limiting where I might find good opportunities. Yet, it has been a disservice when it comes to other aspects of my life– namely, making plans and never getting around to them. Taking vacations, visiting family, visiting friends, going paddle boarding, volunteering, learning to shoot a gun, watching more plays, more live music, more ballet, doing another Crossfit competition. Most of these things aren’t expensive, I just think about doing them, and then don’t. So, this 2015 I want to do those things I’ve been too lazy to do.

In January N and I are going to watch Book of Mormon in OKC and taking an inversion workshop over the weekend. February, we are catching the ballet, visiting family in March, Hozier in April, and hopefully a, longer than I normally would, vacation in June…

I, like, wrote it down in my calendar, in pen– so, it’s a go. Maybe being more deliberate is a key to feeling increasingly fulfilled. I love my job, but I certainly want my life to be about much more than that.

Anyway, I was bad this morning, and put twice the amount of coffee grounds to make one pot of coffee at work– even though there are signs, many signs, everywhere telling me not to do that. At least the coffee is tastier than ever. You’re welcome World! New year, still me– whatever that means.

Just Laugh