Tag Archives: Studio30 Plus

You Get What You Give

I’ve been given a lot of advice over my 30 years on this planet, and there’s no way I could ever single out what I would consider to be the “best” sentiment.

From my grandma’s endless wisdom and constant reminders not to park next to a white van with no windows to the nurse who told me to do one thing every day that scares me, I would say it’s all been valuable (and taken with a grain of salt—wise advice in and of itself.)

But I am always brought back to:

“You get what you give.”

And while most of the time it has nothing to do with materialistic things but rather a giving of yourself to the universe, the giving of gifts is brought to the front as the holiday season rolls around.

The gift of pets being terrorized by holiday garb.

Along with my aversion to gluttony when it comes to the food—I checked, and green bean casserole is still not on the endangered species list since my post—I have an even greater aversion to the gluttony of consumerism that happens each holiday season, a time often filled with overspending and underestimation of what kind of gift would matter the most.

Before you apply the Scrooge label on my, let me explain.

My line of thinking is that something from the heart trumps superficial items that no one really needs and/or no one really wants but receives out of obligation and convenience.

In other words, you won’t find me camped out at Best Buy for three days to buy some video game/phone that will be available for sale a week later, going into debt at the mall to show someone how much I care or knocking down old women in Walmart on Black Friday.

To each their own, but the obsession with things bothers me.

Unless those things are cats in hats. (Old picture, RIP Wendell.)

My family agrees, so we pick and choose a few special things to get each other and try and do something nice for those who can’t afford the “needs”—usually the local Humane Society—instead of buying things we want. It’s much more satisfying.

But with that said, I love finding a few special things for someone.

I love the second I see or decide to make it, and because I’m me, I want to give it to them that second. I have never been given the gift of patience, and when I have something special up my sleeve, it’s hard not to pull it out like the fabric softener sheets I usually find up there halfway through the day.

And when I get a gift like that, it isn’t the present itself, but the fact that someone randomly thought of me and took the time to let me know. I want to give that feeling out to someone else, and even though it might feel like a waste at times—does anyone even care?—I have to believe that they do.

After all, if frustration stopped everyone from giving a piece of themselves, then no one would get to enjoy the simple, thoughtful gestures that make the holidays—and every day—a little bit brighter.

You get what you give.

Although I consider this my one and only rambling holiday consumerism rant of the year,  this post was also in response to the Studio30 Plus prompt:

The Best Advice

P.S.  I truly am horrible at holding on to things I could give away—another reason I will never have kids—so I have to say that there will be something you can both get and give on this blog in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned.

Carry on.

A Thanksgiving PSA

Now that we’re into November, there are a few things you can expect.


The first is a rant from me about what you can expect: 

Thankful Lists

You will be inundated with blog posts, stories and articles about what people are thankful for. Those are fine and dandy, but this will not be one of those posts. If it were, I would say I’m thankful for most of my family, friends, baseball and pesto. Unless you’re a real ass, I will assume you are also thankful for the good things in your life.

I say practice an “attitude of gratitude” on a daily basis, not just when people gather around a bird carcass stuffed with stale bread.


People will make a big deal out of “Surviving the Holidays” in reference to meals like it’s the apocalypse. Apparently the appearance of extra food is something that requires careful planning and strategies to navigate, as eating reasonably sized portions of traditional foods is a foreign concept to people once the leaves start to fall.

The last time I checked, turkeys were not an endangered species as of yet and green bean casserole and pie can actually be recreated in months that don’t end in “er.” In addition, there is nothing more annoying than listening to people complain about all the food they ate.

Remember the attitude of gratitude? Be glad you have the option and scoop a little perspective and moderation on top of those taters.

Family (Dys)function

People will also make a big deal out of “Surviving the Holidays” like it’s the apocalypse when it comes to family, and on this note, I can’t deny the fact that stuffing the bird with Prozac shouldn’t be discounted.

As Johnny Carson famously said, “Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often.”

While my situation no longer includes large family gatherings—something I kind of miss—forcing a bunch of people to “be merry and bright” on a specific day at a specific time without any dysfunction is asking a lot.

There will be one or two people doing most of the work while the others linger around and ask when the food will be done. Kids will be screaming, but that will be marginally less annoying than the cousin telling you what you’re doing wrong with the yams and with your life.

The highlight will be when your crazy uncle inserts one too many jokes about “being a breast/leg man” or “tying the legs together to keep things moist”and eventually lands on the the magic phrase that sends your aunt storming out of the dining room to sit in her car.


While I would like to keep this centered on Thanksgiving—Christmas/consumerism rants to follow—I have to add in decorations, as this is about that time of year when a) people start complaining about the early appearance of Christmas items in stores and b) others are busy hanging old socks from the fireplace mantle and sprigs of dead plants from doorways in hopes of a kiss.

Soon displaying bright blinking lights and inflatable characters in your front yard will not warrant a neighbor watch meeting you are conveniently not invited to to discuss the “trashing down” of the neighborhood. And while I agree that it’s best to get those outdoor decorations up before the snow flies, when it comes to the inside décor, let’s keep the reindeer hidden until the turkey trots away.

PSA Conclusion

I suppose my unsolicited advice is to not freak out about “surviving the season,” as that places unnecessary stress on a situation that usually brings enough stress of its own. Plus, it’s annoying. Be thankful for what you have and remember that once Thanksgiving is over, you get to do it all again with the same group of crazy bastards a month later for Christmas.

For that, I am most thankful for Vodka.

Oh! And for Studio 30 Plus, as this post is in response to this week’s prompt:

Being Thankful

You can blame them.

The Starfish

For some reason, this story has been running through my head a lot lately:

“An old man was walking along the beach and saw in the distance a young boy who appeared to be dancing and gyrating at the ocean’s edge. As the man got closer, he realized that the boy was not dancing at all. The tide had gone out, beaching thousands and thousands of starfish. The boy was throwing starfish one after the other back into the ocean so that they might survive. starfish-beach

“Son, you can’t possibly throw all of those starfish back,” the old man said. “How can what you are doing possibly matter?”

As the boy threw yet another starfish back into the safety of the ocean, he replied, “It mattered to that one.”’

This isn’t a new story by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s always stuck with me, and as I said, it’s been running through my head lately. I’m not sure why, but I think it has something to do with the fact that in today’s modern society of hyper-connectedness there is often a lack of the basic things that truly bring people together—a smile, a kind word, a simple gesture.

I’m in no way tooting my own horn, but there are a lot of times I’ve felt frustrated . While I know I don’t do these things for acknowledgement or attention, the lack of response can cause me to ask, “How can what I’m doing possibly matter?” 

And there are times I know I’m on the other end, when I’m stuck in my head and blind to the simple things that could help pull me out, or at the very least, make me smile.

But while there is a lot of evidence to the contrary, I would like to think that at their core, most people are good. For whatever reason—be it a fear of rejection, simple selfishness, a lack of confidence—I think many people just keep a lot of that “good” inside instead of letting others know.

Which is really too bad, as people often underestimate the impact of a few kind words. That doesn’t mean everyone will care or that you have to go around farting rainbows and glitter, but it’s unfortunate when you stop trying, as those are probably the times when a little kindness is needed the most.

So the moral of the story is that every time you read a blog post you like and don’t comment, a starfish dies.

No, that’s not true. I’m kidding.

These things I know—you get what you give. It can be hard at times to remember, but there is a lot of good.

I remember the starfish.

I remember that to that one person, it could matter.

I remember that it matters to me.

This post is in response to the Studio30 Plus prompt:

“These things I know…”

What is one thing you “know?” It doesn’t have to be serious, as I’m in the mood to learn something new…

Coming Out On Top

I know that “National Coming Out Day” was last week, but I didn’t think about writing this post until now, so better late than never.


First of all, no, I’m not gay.

But a few of my friends—not my “gay” or “straight” friends, just my friends—posted this last week on their Facebook pages, and I loved it. While I’ve never had to come out about my sexuality, I do have experience “coming out” about certain things, and it’s been about a year since I’ve done so on the blog.

Keeping It In

To try and summarize for those of you just joining us today, my name is Abby. I am a smart-ass with a lot to say, most of it funny and sarcastic, and I love that I can share my neurotic view of the world and myself with others through my tiny little piece of the Internet.

But I am also the face of depression/OCD and there is absolutely nothing funny and sarcastic about the days I feel like getting out of bed are tantamount to climbing a mountain with the weight of the world on my bony shoulders.

It’s real, it sucks, I’ll spare you the details.

So up until last year, I kept my blog to myself and strangers on the Internet, with people in “real life” completely oblivious to the fact that I had a blog at all. I wrote much more about those issues and focused on my struggles, something I wanted to keep out of my daily interactions with people.

Coming Out

But then last year I was approached by Deb to be a part of something amazing, a calendar to raise money for cancer research in memory of her father, a man who loved his daughter’s blog friends and the very world he lived in. It was such an honor—and such a personal cause to all involved—that I felt selfish keeping it from my own friends and family.

So I came out.

I linked a blog post up to my Facebook page, sent my mom a link and the rest is history.

Part of me thought it would suck, as exposing what others might perceive as a weakness or flaw to the whole World Wide Web can be daunting, but exposing what others might perceive as a weakness or flaw to the people you see on a daily basis can be even scarier.

Most people don’t understand the issues that me (and millions of other people) deal with, and I would never expect them to. Some equate being depressed or having OCD to being sad or wanting to wash your hands, which is about the rational equivalent of complaining to someone with no legs that you haven’t had a pedicure.

There is no comparison.

And while I’m not comparing coming out about one’s sexuality to my issues, for me, coming out was the start of living a more authentic version of myself.  It gave me a chance to find a voice I forgot I had, or hadn’t let develop. It opened me up to relationships and a world outside my often crazy head.

It also opened me up to the realization that people might view me differently, that instead of being just Abby, I might be “disordered” or “depressed” Abby. While I don’t feel the need to explain myself for my decisions, I sometimes want people to see me as “just Abby” without a skewed perception.

So even though there are posts that are a personal, I try and keep it lighter here (I promise my next post won’t be this serious.) I like to laugh, not stew, and even though I don’t censor myself at all—that will never, ever happen—I’m more selective about what I share with the world now than I was a year ago.

Blogging’s an escape, but that doesn’t mean those issues go away. 

I have equal days of good and days of struggling to tread water without drowning, of wondering why I can’t be “normal” on some relative scale.

But I’ve found a better way of thinking about it is not as a struggle to regain a level of health that the rest of the population never needs to work to achieve, but rather as hard work that results in a self-awareness and stability that most of the population are never forced to make the effort to achieve.

I’m stronger for my issues and for “coming out,” and realize now that the fear of doing so was much more about accepting myself than it was a fear of not being accepted by others.

So I tell you that I am the face/voice of depression/OCD/eating disorders, and I hope that you won’t see me as my issues—see poster above—but just as me. I am a smart-ass with a lot to say who takes things—the good and the bad—day by day.  

I have issues.

So do you.

The don’t define us, but rather make us who we are today.


They can be an unexpected gift.

This post was also in response to the Studio30 Plus prompt:

The Unexpected Gift

Bus 315

Sun tan accentuated by pastel dress, white socks, charm bracelet and mullet?


Polo shirt, navy corduroys and R2D3/C3PO backpack?



Two nervous moms seeing their whirling dervishes off to the bus stop for the first day of kindergarten, secretly glad to have them out of their hair after a summer of knock-down drag-out kickball games, Barbie mutilations and Double Dare in the front yard?


 My best friend and I were off, but school wasn’t the first thing on our minds as we made our way down the sidewalk. What we were really looking forward to, what we had heard so much about from the older kids, was the bus stop and the ride to school.

All the fun happened at the bus stop down the road, which was actually the driveway of two neighborhood kids who assigned themselves entirely too much importance based on that fact.

At the bus stop, backpacks full of Trapper Keepers, sack lunches and permission slips were thrown to the side so the fun could begin. A dozen of us would play Mother May I?, Red Light, Green Light or dodge ball, often getting our clothes dirty before we even set foot on the bus.

When the bus did finally show up—bus 315—Mrs. Hooper would greet us with a smile, something she did every morning of my elementary school career. She was intimidating that first day—a large older woman with crazy gray hair and sunglasses the size of her head—but she gave us candy.

It wasn’t a tough sell.

That first day we learned that the bus was more than just a way to get us to school, but rather a way to build character. There were really no rules on the bus, at least any they could really enforce. Since Mrs. Hooper had to watch the road, she could yell all she wanted, but short of stopping that bus and turning it around, couldn’t actually stop anything that went on in the back.

And all the good stuff went on in the back. 

Oh yes, the back seating arrangement was a symbol of status where seats were saved and secrets, snacks and homework answers were shared. You learned about drinking or smoking as heard from someone’s older brother’s friend, gross inside jokes were created and seats were vandalized with markers and colored gel pens.

Stuck up front in those green vinyl seats, we longed to inch our way to the back.

But for those first couple of years, we just went along for the seatbelt-less ride. Even on that first day, it was evident that riding the bus made you tough. You had to get up earlier, stand out in the cold and deal with bus stop bullies. The bus is where the best flavored Lip Smackers were traded and playground strategies were discussed.

If weather or a dentist appointment caused you to be picked up and dropped off one day by your parents, you couldn’t help but wonder what you missed that day on the bus, who sat in your seat or racked up the Red Rover points.

But on that first day of school we knew none of those things, we only knew school had begun.

Well, and that we looked like total bad-asses. 

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Dear Abby: Quit It

Dear Abby,

I know (you think) you’re busy, but it’s time we had a talk. No, not “the talk,” although you could probably use a refresher course on the actual mechanics of that as well.

We need to have a talk because although you are good at quite a few things, there are some things you just need to quit. Sometimes you forget, which is why I’m here to remind you of a few things:

  • Blogging isn’t your job, so quit putting stress on yourself. When creatively blocked, anything written sounds forced. You get panicked, completely sure you won’t be able to come up with anything before that imaginary deadline appears. There is no deadline. There is no pressure. If there is no post, there is no problem. The best post ideas simply pop in your head, so chill the freak out from now on.
  • Quit yelling at inanimate objects before making sure they’re plugged in. Said objects and anyone in the vicinity will appreciate that gesture.
  • Quit trying to keep up. If it’s depth you want, you won’t find it in the quantity of people you’re involved in, but rather in the quality of people you’re involved with—online and off. There are too many things that suck way too much time. Choose wisely, have fun and move on. There are no rules.
  • That body you have? Quit taking it for granted. Yes, you eat healthy and exercise, but you know what I mean. You’ve been relatively lucky so far, but don’t push your luck.
  • Quit looking for answers outside of yourself. You will find your niche eventually—personally and professionally—but the answer won’t be found on the path that somebody else took. Live your life, not in comparison to any virtual stranger or things that you’ve done in the past, but in accordance to what you want now (TBD, I know, I know. We can talk about this later.) 
  • You live alone, so quit expecting the shower to clean itself. Not going to happen.
  • Quit saying “no” when perhaps you should say “yes.” There are routines and then there are ruts. I know you like things the way they are, but life begins outside your comfort zone.
  • And quit rolling your eyes after reading that.
  • Sometimes you lose focus and get jealous of things that other people do or get, even if they are things that you wouldn’t exactly want for yourself. Quit trying to squeeze yourself into a mold that’s entirely wrong. That never works. You get cranky. Surround yourself with things/people that make you feel good and avoid all the others that don’t.
  • Quit pretending you don’t know what I’m talking about.
  • Insisting that people address you as the Polish Princess every other Friday of the month? Quit that. It’s a bit excessive. Scale it down to once a month and call it good.
  • I know with constant streams of information everywhere, you struggle with the speed at which your words can be forgotten. Quit letting that stop you from writing. Write for you. Make words vulnerable to the possibility of being skimmed over and forgotten because the alternative is not putting them out there at all.
  • On a related note, sometimes you act insecure. That’s annoying. Quit it. You’re really not that bad.
  • Finally, quit worrying about the fact that I put this post up, that it isn’t funny and that you have nothing waiting in the wings (see my first point, as I’m sure you’ve already forgotten.) Knowing you, you’ll get attacked by a woodchuck or be part of a flash mob in the grocery store. When this happens, you will blog about it.


The Voice of Reason

P.S. Quit doing that thing where you spray perfume/air freshener and then proceed to walk straight into it with your mouth open. Sigh…one of these days you will learn.

This post is in response to the Studio30 Plus prompt:

Write About Something You Quit

Why I Don’t Have a Cooking Show

This was the temperature in my air conditionless living room this week, which meant there was no way the oven was going on.


Well, let’s be honest.

The oven doesn’t go on the often anyway. If something requires more than five ingredients, I’ll usually pass and default to my usual rotation of several different plant-based meals and snacks.  

My criteria? It has to be easy and healthy(ish.)

Fittingly, the Studio 30 Plus prompt this week was “A Taste of Summer,” so even though I can’t take good pictures, I figured I would share a few of the things I whip up when it’s warm—and even when it’s not.*


When it’s too hot for a warm bowl of oatmeal, take it to the fridge/freezer and your problem is solved. This also makes an easy take-along breakfast for those of us who eat at work.



Simply use the same ratio of oats and liquid (water, milk, Vodka—I won’t judge) that you would use for stovetops oats and combine them in a container. Stick it in the fridge for a couple hours or the freezer for 10 minutes. When you’re ready to eat them, add in your fat (tahini, nut butters, etc.) and whatever else you prefer—fruit, spices, etc. and you’re good to go.

I did not post a picture of these because a) you know what a bowl of oatmeal looks like and b) mine are never pretty. 


If you’ve read this blog for more than a week or skimmed over my “About” page, you know that a majority of my favorite foods are green. This quick lunch combines a couple of them and requires only two or three ingredients as a base, but feel free to improvise and pile on the goodies.


All I do is take a whole avocado and smash it up, toast two pieces of bread, add the avocado and some spinach to the bread and put it all together. Because of the magnitude of this sandwich, I usually cut it in half and then eat it open-faced with a fork and knife (because I’m fancy.)

Great additions include a mild cheese, hummus and various spices.


Rice is a staple for me and I always have a batch in my fridge to use throughout the week.

This little number comes together by sautéing vegetables in a pan until softened, adding chickpeas until slightly toasted and then adding in the rice and spices. Once it all comes together, I dump it in a bowl, add in butter and proceed to inhale it with digestive delight.

I put this under “dinner,” but I take variations of this one to work for my lunch just about every day. You could sub in tofu or meat for the chickpeas, swap the rice for pasta or even throw it all into a big salad.

Unlike my culinary creativity and preferences, the possibilities are endless.

Banana Soft Serve

This isn’t ice cream, but it is a healthy frozen treat that can hit the spot when you’re too lazy or cheap to actually go to Dairy Queen.


Take 2-3 frozen bananas and toss them into a food processor. Let it process for about five minutes, stopping every so often to scrape down the sides. As each minute passes, the bananas will get light, fluffy and take on a creamy texture–sort of like soft serve ice cream.

I pimp it out with Sunbutter or a few Newman’s Own Oreo-like cookies, but you can throw anything into the mix. After all, it’s bananas—healthy fruit!—so that completely negates any candy you might add.  

If anyone questions this logic, that just means more for you.

*This list is not conclusive by any stretch of the imagination—even mine. While the items below are nothing new or revolutionary and can be found anywhere on the Interwebs—or in your pantry/fridge—they are easy and healthy and make me happy.


What are your favorite easy tastes of summer?

Summer Rhyme Time

Today’s post is the result of what happens when it’s 96 degrees outside and I don’t have air conditioning. It is also a combined effort of a prompt from Studio 30 Plus—Summer Days—and the Red Dress Club—something you memorized or remember from childhood.

Mine involves a hook man and a pot selling ice cream truck. Go figure.

Anyway, it’s a two-for-one prompt special today. Next time I will try and compose something more coherent and less heat-stroke induced. Now without further ado (ahem–clearing throat here,) begin!

Long gone are the mornings spent scraping off snow,

wearing our hats and gloves each place we go.

Flip-flops (or no shoes) replace our big boots,

and out come the T-shirts and bright bathing suits.

But when I was a kid summer meant a bit more,

you never quite new what fun could be in store.

No school to attend and no homework to do,

or boring assemblies left to sit through. 

Instead I would sit on my bike or the swings,

falling in rosebushes, icing bruised things.

Wiffle ball games were held back in the grass,

so that it would hurt less to slide on your ass.

The arguments came with about every play,

as someone who sucked at the game would then say:

“I so wasn’t out, you can all go to hell,

get off of my property before I tell.”

Running through sprinklers and stepping on bees,

Skateboarding fearlessly, skinning our knees.

The trampoline served as a real launching point,

as we “popcorned” each other right out of the joint.

Over the fence they would fly with great height,

setting new records for seconds in flight.

Slip and splash basically served as a way

to quickly maim someone through innocent play.


A water-slicked tarp leading straight down a hill?

A highway to taking one hell of a spill.

Trucks all pimped out with some music and lights,

would sell us kids all kinds of frozen delights.

(Looking back now I think most of those rides

were really a front to sell pot on the side.)

At any rate, we ate treats in a cone,

and our parents bought brownies and left us alone.

We always would find that one friend with a pool,

(the one that we never hung out with at school.)

Camping’s been talked about here once before,

but it’s simply a summer thing I can’t ignore.

For I still remember the fear and the fright,

when told of the Hook Man each hot summer night.


Thanks to the moron who told me that bit,

I was waiting for serial killers to hit.

(Another reason I don’t like camping.)

Anyway, now that I’m older and work every day,

this “job” that I speak of just gets in the way.

Work on my tan is replaced with real stuff,

like deadlines and editing drafts that are rough.

But things balance things out with the sunshine and heat,

flowers in bloom and the market with treats.

My skin glows with color and freckles appear,

that normally hide for the rest of the year.

The smell of a charcoal grill still can’t be beat,

even though I’m not into consumption of meat.

Things can get steamy, uncomfortably so,

but at least I’m not shoveling three feet of snow.

So while things are different for whatever reason,

summer is still quite a wonderful season.

I might not get weeks off but with any luck,

I soon will cross paths with that great ice cream truck,

(For ice cream, of course.)

Humor me—summer memories from childhood?

Tip Your Hand

This is written for the Studio30 Plus prompt this week– "Las Vegas.

*I have been a cocktail server and I have been to Vegas once, but I have never been a cocktail server in Vegas.

Just thought I would throw that out there.

Let’s get the cards on the table.


First of all, I am not a prostitute.

If anything, I am a goodwill ambassador—a cheerleader for those of you who roll the dice and play the odds. My job is to bring you drinks. It is not to be your therapist when money’s pissed away, and I sure as hell don’t work this hard for IOUs and winks.

Time is money.

While the uniform is not my choice, I actually quite like it. There are women who sometimes look at me with disgust and ask how any self-respecting person could work in Vegas, serving (gasp) liquor nonetheless. To that I say, “I am working in Vegas, serving drinks and making money. You are in Vegas, drinking those drinks and spending money."

If you’re not, your husband/boyfriend is. Trust me.

I would rather be me.

Now a couple tips.

Drinks while you’re gambling are meant to keep you playing. They’re just little perks to give you something to celebrate with when you’re winning and they’re supposed to make you a little happier while you’re losing. That’s all. It’s not supposed to be a stressful ordeal, so don’t think too hard about it.

As a side note, do not ask me if I have a drink menu or if we have a specific wine you drank once back in 1996. You’re at a slot machine, not a fine dining Parisian bistro. Know what you want and appreciate the fact that it’s free.

Remember, time is money.

Speaking of that, a minimum dollar a drink tip is standard. If you “don’t have change,” “your girlfriend will be back with the tip” or “you just lost all your money”— in other words, you’re planning on stiffing me — don’t beat around the bush. Every time I bring a drink I’m trying to make money. If you’re not going to give me a tip, I’m not going to stand there and waste more time. 

On the flip side, if you have my tip waiting for me when I bring your drink, you will get special treatment. Not only do I know that you’re expecting me to return and are ready to compensate me for my efforts, but it also lets you keep playing without stopping to dig for money. This shows me you are at least mildly knowledgeable of the environment and less likely waste my time.

Finally, I have no “house” secrets that will bring you untold riches with a roll of the dice or a pull of a lever.

What I do have is a uniform that smells like spilled drinks, a head that often hurts from the constant lights and the noise and a mortgage to pay of my own. I’m not a dealer, a psychic or a concierge.

If anything, I am a goodwill ambassador—a cheerleader for those of you who roll the dice and play the odds.

My job is to bring you drinks.

Time is money.

Well, that was fun.

Now let’s pretend you’re in Las Vegas and not at work reading blogs when you should be doing “ASAP"  things for other important people who have no idea how to do them on their own.

What would you order for your first free drink?