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Everyone on the internet always seems to be doing an awful lot of talking. Always. We talk about ourselves a lot. It seems we spend a lot of time thinking (talking, blogging) about ourselves, our businesses, our children, our issues… Anyway, there’s just a lot of talking.

Maybe not enough doing (?)

And not just doing so that we can talk about what we did on our blogs.

Just doing.

I get scolded a lot for not blogging frequently enough. I feel really flattered that anyone cares to read what I write. But lately, I feel like doing things more than I feel like talking about doing things, or talking about the things I did.

I think that’s ok. I think it’s ok for you to let your blog go dark for awhile so you can go do things.

To be honest, there are quite a few people that might benefit from taking the time to get out of their own heads for a while. To take it a bit further, there are others that would benefit from taking the time to take their heads out of their asses for awhile too. but I’m not going to talk about that today.

I’ve got some doing to do.

And I’m probably not going to report back about any of it. At least not for awhile. 😉

Later Gators.

This post is for the Twitter folks that wanted to see what my creepy hotel room looked like.

The following pictures were taken in my hotel room in the Wyoming dessert, during an ominous January storm.

I’m fairly certain that not everyone who has entered this room has lived to tell the tale.

During my stay, I woke in the middle of the night to unidentifiable sounds, only to have an inexplicable wave of fear wash over me. It occurred to me, more than once, that this is the sort of room that one might go to consider shooting oneself in the face. I stayed in this room for three nights. On the third night, I found an old, bloody bandage underneath my bed. Kinda made the Luminol jokes on day one seem slightly less funny.

 

There was no 1408 at this lodge. I got the next best room number.

Creepy misty pool.

Luminol, anyone?

I did not open any of these drawers the entire time.

This light fixture swung for no reason.

Ghost chair.

Creepy hotel bathtubface.

My kids aren’t perfect. My kids brew beer. *drops mic*

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WARNING: This post contains a high level of sarcasm, thinly veiled (or not at all) discontent, and swear words. Even my patience wears thin. While I realize that I am very fortunate, and remain a grateful patient… Well, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t give you guys the low down of the most recent hospital shenanigans. Good god it sucked. I high-tailed it out of there as soon as I could. Read at your own risk. Or don’t. Whatever. It’s cool.

Musings from the Neuro Floor…

  • Let’s play “How many times do we have to stick Sara with the 18 gauge needle before we can start an IV?” Go! *face palm*
  • That’s right, genius. I’m still awake. Better ratchet up that anesthesia cocktail, it takes a lot to put this old girl down. (Sucka.)
  • I heart TED stockings. I heart them so very much.
  • Immediately after recovery, I am wheeled to my room. Our room. Me and my roommate. My “roomie”. I have a roommate. I was not aware that I would have to share a room, or for-the-love-of-jebus, a toilet, in a hospital, can this even be legal anymore?¹ *sobs*  She likes to watch crap daytime TV while talking on the phone. She also has a husband. He likes to smile and wave at me. All I have is the mother of all headaches. I request to be moved to the nearest supply closet.
  • I, for one, really enjoy the 4:00 am blood draws. I like to pretend it’s my pre-dawn acupuncture. Really, don’t just draw the blood and leave. Flip on the lights! Stay! Tell me about some random shit your husband did at the bar and how you are raising your grandkid. It’s all really interesting and awesome. And also, I like your homemade tattoos between your thumb and forefinger. Looking good. Looking real, real good. *finger guns*
  • Ladies, nurses, CNA’s, have you ever had a spinal headache?  These are hospital beds, not bumper cars, please make a note of it.
  • Dear Roommate-That-I-Hate-For-No-Reason-Other-Than-You-Happen-To-Be-There, I am happy that you are ambulatory. Yes, I see you have a walker there. If you bang it into my bed one more time, I will have someone hide it…very very far away from this room.
  • O HAI morphine! (We bring you Loooooooooove.)
  • Did I mention that I had a roommate?
  • It’s really no problem, I carry large bags of my own urine with me on a regular basis.
  • Let’s try repetition-for-learning. Repeat after me: “I will not forget Mrs. Santiago’s morning meds. I will not forget Mrs. Santiago’s morning meds. I will not…”
  • Go ahead, trip on that foley catheter one more time, just one…more…fucking…time.
  • No, no, it’s fiiiiiiine, just the other day I was saying that I should really look into one of those bladder infections. I mean, who really secures foley catheters properly these days anyway? Pfft!
  • There is a difference between refusing to eat and refusing to eat THAT shit.
  • NOBODY EVER SAID A GOTDAMN THING ABOUT A ROOMMATE. (Fucking shoot me.)
  • Thank you, transport person, for comparing the pain from your liposuction two weeks ago to my recent craniotomy-cerebral tonsillectomy-laminectomy-duraplasty and subsequent laminectomy (that’s right, another one) and spinal cord detethering procedures. Yes, yes, your boobs and belly look great.  Oh and hey, that was awesome, in the elevator, when you started digging through my hair with your press-ons, asking what all the red stuff was and “what the hell did they do?” to me. You are one terrific asshole, and I will miss you most of all.

Later Gators.

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Footnotes:

¹Predictably, someone is going to get all riled up because I’m bitching about sharing a toilet when others “don’t have access to healthcare” at the level that I do. Listen up, Jack, because I’m going to share something with you. I have paid a shit-ton of money this year in medical expenses. We have had to prioritize our household expenses and give up certain things so that we could afford this. Based on what I have already shelled out, not only should I get my own fucking toilet, but it should be made of gold, feel like silk, and wipe my ass for me when I’m done.

On June 19, 2010 Augie and I will celebrate 11 years of marriage.

We have been trying to think of something fun to do to mark another year of our totally kick-ass union. Then, it hit us. The Great Milwaukee Race! A totally kick-ass race to fully celebrate our kick-assedness! This is so totally kick ass you guys!

#thatsenoughsara

Ok, ok. I’m done. 🙂 We are so excited to have such a fun event scheduled on our wedding anniversary! We are all registered and ready to DO THIS THING! It’s 6 to 8 miles throughout the streets of our fair city, looking for specified locations, solving trivia, performing challenges, all kinds of wacky stuff, yo.

And, pay attention, because this is important.

Be ready for LIVE TWEETS from #teamsantiago throughout the race. I have a feeling this is going to be nuts.



Join us all at the Milwaukee Ale House to celebrate after the race!


A little more about The Great Milwaukee Race:

The Great Milwaukee Race is an adventure for everyone. Teams of 2-4 people will get clues to seek locations throughout the city. They will travel on foot and perform fun tasks at each location then move on to the next. The expected finish time is 2-3 hours. The winning team members will receive a free pair of shoes from InStep while the 2nd and 3rd place team members will get InStep gift certificates. Sponsors are InStep and Fit Milwaukee.

The race will begin at 10 a.m. in the parking lot to the east of InStep Running & Walking Centers, 403 E. Buffalo St. The lot is near the corner of Buffalo and Jefferson.

Winners will be the first team to cross the finish line at the Milwaukee Ale House after successfully locating all checkpoints and completing required challenges to receive all stamps for your passport.

This is a team race that is part foot race, part trivia and part challenges. Teams of 2-4 players must solve clues to find checkpoints throughout the downtown area. Once the checkpoints are reached, the teams must complete the challenge before moving on. Each team must determine their own route to the checkpoints. Depending on the route chosen, the total course mileage should be 6-8 miles.

Use of wireless devices (cell, texting, GPS, Blackberry, etc.) is allowed. Teams may call friends for help solving clues.

Teams may run, walk or use Milwaukee County Bus or Trolleys to travel to checkpoints. No other forms of travel are allowed (no cars, taxis, bikes, etc).

Challenges are mental or physical and range from deciphering codes, word searches, three-legged race, wheel barrow race, etc. Teams must get their passport stamped for successful completion of challenges.

At the end of the race the team captain must be able to show the team’s completed passport to receive an official finish time.

In my attempt to be honest about things that grind-my-gears on Twitter, I’m really getting under people’s skin. While I’m not SO much of a jack-ass (although I fully admit to being one) to say things just to get people riled up, I put my opinion out there to get other people thinking. I figure, this is what I think. I do not expect everyone to agree. I do not assume I am an authority on, well, anything. I am merely expressing an opinion, right or wrong. If everything I said was agreeable to every person, I’d be a total fraud. It’s not possible to make everyone happy or to make everyone see your point of view. I’m totally ok with that.

You may not always like what you get, but you know you’ll always get me.

Recently, I expressed my opinion on Twitter about whining (and keeping the small things in perspective). I had no individual person in mind. It was more of a thinking out loud type of rant. Twitter is, among other things, a place where people like to complain. A lot. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s thought provoking, and sometimes it just gets on my damn nerves. I used SEASONAL allergy symptoms as an example in my rant. I can’t even count how many times a day people tweet about their terrible runny nose, how itchy and puffy their eyes are, how very very miserable they are. I get it. It sucks. But, my point is…that’s LIFE. And if you live a life where what you have to complain about is a runny nose, your life is pretty damned easy. Really, the point is not about allergies or any one thing in particular at all. It is about PERSPECTIVE.

I have watched too many people suffer seriously debilitating illness, injury and loss, and do so with such grace and dignity, NOT to realize how precious this life is. And to be grateful for what I DO have, even if it’s not perfect. I mean, good lord, we ALL have stuff wrong with us. Some people have it harder than others, I’m not dismissing that. I’m just saying that each of has a choice to make. You can live your life as a victim, complaining about everything wrong in your life, or you can adjust your attitude, grab a dose of perspective and say, “Hey, maybe this sucks, but I’m grateful for this life. How can I work to improve this situation?”

Be your own hero. Don’t live your life as a victim. If you are lacking perspective, just open your eyes. The world is full of true suffering: genocide, crimes against humanity, poverty, famine, incurable and vicious diseases, the list goes on. If you feel your “First World problems” are too much to bear, volunteer to help someone out who has it worse than you do. Maybe that will help you get off the complain-train and live your life with gratitude and generosity.

And before anyone jumps down my throat about how I don’t understand, blah blah blah… Stop for a moment and think before you type. Just because someone chooses not to complain about their own life, doesn’t mean they haven’t been in your shoes, or worse.

Perspective.

I love Twitter. I really do. But if you tweet on the regular, you cannot escape the gigantic amount of bullshit floating around the twitter-webs. There are many kinds. Luckily, I have found a number of tweeps that are pretty down-to-Earth, no bullshit kind of people. I like them. A lot.

So why are some people so bullshitty? They are afraid of losing friends, losing potential business, losing *GASP* followers. Every single social media expert on the planet has warned them about “damaging their personal brand”. So, they are told to keep it nice, and polite, and well, kind of boring. I’m guilty of it too. I routinely ignore things that I might otherwise respond to because I hesitate for a second and think, “Is that going to be hurtful? Will they read too much into it? Will they be terribly offended?” Then I usually just leave it be.

Even “THAT GUY”. You all known him (or her). Yeah, I have even ignored THAT GUY when what I really wanted to say was, “You irritate every single person on Twitter. Are you okay with that, or do you want to dial it back some?” We all have a THAT GUY in our streams.

NOTE:

If you don’t have a THAT GUY in your stream, it may be you. You’re welcome.

*sigh*

Twitter is one of the very first places I go for feedback, recommendations, fast, real, information. If everyone is just being nice, where does that get me? I will love you MORE for being real! Be funny! Be angry! Be YOU! (Just don’t be douche-y.)

So, in honor of the real, genuine, AWESOME conversations happening all over the interwebs, I will be taking a shotgun to my personal brand once a week.

For one night a week, Monday night to be exact, I will provide honest, uncensored “no bullshit” feedback on a particular topic. Maybe I’ll pick it. Maybe I’ll let someone else pick it. I don’t know. Whatever I feel like. I get to make the rules.

This isn’t to say that I won’t offer up my opinions, unsolicited or otherwise, during the week. This will be more direct question/answer forum.

So there it is, no bullshit.

Oh, and thanks to @TheGlenn and @TeeCycleTim. This is 100% all your fault. 😉

On the recommendation of a fellow Milwaukee beer snob, I recently read Andrew Wagner’s post, My beef with “beer snobs”, on onmilwaukee.com. The following is my response.

Whoa, brah. Dial it back a second. Don’t confuse the term “beer snob” with the term “douche bag”.

As many of my 13 readers know, I am somewhat of an authority on douchebaggery. After all, my mission in life is to stamp out douche-y behavior whenever I encounter it. What Wagner describes in his post is clearly super-douche behavior.

And I totally agree with him.

Why does anyone care what kind of beverage anyone else drinks anyway? How totally weird is that? (Very.) When someone walks into a bar and acts like a know-it-all asshat, it’s clearly done in an attempt to look special, or wicked-awesome, or… something. Sadly, it’s pretty lame and douche-y. THAT is not a beer snob. THAT is just a plain old douche bag. (Related: It’s totally ok to want to kick those people in the nards. I’m not encouraging you to do that. I’m just saying, it’s ok to feel like you want to. We all do.)

I am a self-proclaimed beer snob. I enjoy craft beer. I enjoy the amazing aromas and flavors that have been created by people who imagined a new combination of malts, hops, yeasts and spices and just said, “Fuck it, let’s give it a go then…” I enjoy beer in the same way I enjoy great food. Most real beer snobs do. We bear the title with a lot of love for delicious brew and a little bit of humor. We don’t really take ourselves that seriously, we just like beer.

That being said, anyone who knows me knows that I am a champion of the Pabst Blue Ribbon Tall Boy. *genuflects* I like it. In fact, I can dig the original recipe Schlitz too. I don’t enjoy Budweiser or Miller Lite, however, I do find a shorty High Life acceptable (meh) as a bloody mary chaser. (It is the champagne of beers, after all.)

So Andrew, I’d like to buy you a Schlitz. I’d like to have a few laughs over a few brews and show you what real beer snobs are like. I think you’ll like us when you get to know us, and there are advantages to having beer snobs for friends — we’ve always got cold beer in the fridge. 😉

A simple formula for living a good life. Are you ready for it? Here it is:

Try not to be a douchebag.

It’s simple. But apparently, it’s hard for some people to put into practice. I would like to offer some help.

So I got to thinking. I’m not a giant douche. My siblings aren’t douchey. Maybe my parents did something right. I’ve got kids. I’d like them to grow up to be decent human beings, and it’s a total bonus if they don’t spend their childhood as tiny little jerks. I started thinking about some of the things my parents did to help prepare my brothers, sisters, and me for this big bad world, and to help us navigate our way through life without being complete d-bags. The following is a partial list of some of Paul and Shirley’s best exercises in anti-douchbaggery conditioning. Enjoy.

The Yellow Notebook.

At the age of 12, each of my father’s children was given a page in The Yellow Notebook. Need a loan? Car needs fixing? Your prom dress costs what?! No problem kid. We will loan you the money and create a new entry in The Yellow Notebook. My Dad kept a 4X6, yellow, side spiral bound, Mead notebook as a ledger of all six accounts at The Bank of My Father. He kept meticulous records, and payment terms were carefully negotiated. I am happy to say that all six children have paid off their Yellow Book loans. A number of lessons learned: live within your means–life is easier that way, some types of debt are worth it, others aren’t (it hurts more to pay back a loan for something later deemed “stupid” or “lame” or “should of thought about that before I willingly surrendered my next 5 paychecks”), and maybe the best lesson of all… appreciate the interest free loan program while you can.

The Consequences, Double Spaced.

If you screwed up in my house, your punishment came in three steps. Step One: My mother offered a verbal lashing worthy of an Olympic category. Step Two: You will wait. You will be stripped of all rights and privileges for several days while your consequences are determined. There is nothing in our family tree about right to a speedy trial. Step Three: Your consequences are presented to you, in Dad’s office. You will be handed a typed, double-spaced copy of your consequences to read along and keep for your reference, so there will be no confusion moving forward. If your behavior moving forward is contrary to the expectations outlined in the consequences, you will apply the said consequences to a period of time no less than one academic quarter. SOOOOO, what did we learn here, boys and girls?

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS. CONSEQUENCES ARE REAL, USUALLY IMMEDIATE, AND IF YOU CONTINUE TO BE A DOUCHEY KID, YOUR LIFE’S JUST GONNA STAY SHITTY LONGER.

Saturday Morning Chores – First Come, First Served.

Simple. Every Saturday morning the weekly chores (different from the daily chores) were posted on the kitchen board. First one up-and-at-em picks first, and so on down the line. Laziest kid gets crappiest chore. No one leaves the house on Saturday until your assigned chore is completed and approved by mom. Lesson learned: Responsibilities come before play time AND if you get your ass out of bed at a reasonable hour, you can vacuum the carpets instead of cleaning the toilets.

So, You’re Too Sick For School, Huh?

An absence during any school week means you clearly need to rest in the house for the weekend. If you are really sick, then obviously, it’s the best and healthiest decision for you. If you are a big fat faker and want to cut class, your weekend is hosed. What’s it worth to you?

This Is Not A Democracy.

I don’t think I need to explain this one.

Let Me Take You Down a Notch. (a little humility is good for you)

We teased a lot in my house, all in fun, never nasty or bullyish, always from a place of love. If any one of the eight of us started acting a little too big for our britches, the rest of our clan was there to make sure no one took it so far as to forget that humility, and open mind and heart are an important part of your character, and that being hot shit and thinking you’re hot shit are two different things. That being said, we were also incredibly supportive of each other’s true accomplishments. Bragging rights, when deserved, were respected.

Family Dinner

Crucial. Nothing in life is more important than our family. No matter how busy we get, we always have time to sit and eat a meal together. It is a regular thread that re-connects us every day. We will eat together, we will pray together, and that’s a tie that binds. Family dinner is a tradition in each of my siblings’ households today.

Does all that sound totally wacky and scary? It wasn’t. Here’s the secret. (Come closer.) In addition to the anti-douchebaggery conditioning, or collecting our paper route paychecks, my parents provided a loving, hilarious, generous, supportive and amazing family environment. All friends and neighbors were welcome in my parent’s home, and they loved coming back again and again. My parents sacrificed a lot to make sure that we had a remarkable childhood, and would grow into adults fully equipped with the tools we needed to achieve our goals — with a wicked sense of humor firmly in place.

My siblings are my best friends, I have my parents to thank for that, I think. My parents were strict, but I never, ever wondered if they loved me. My parents always believed in me. My parents sacrificed for me. My parents are a huge part of who I am today. I’m far from perfect. I’ve been known to dish out my share of jackassery. I’m trying not to screw up my own kids. I’m always afraid that I will. I’m lucky that I still have them around to help me raise their grandkids.

I love my mom and dad. I owe them everything. It is a debt I cannot pay. It’s not something that can fit in a yellow notebook.

Paul & Shirley Engagement Photo

Paul & Shirley Engagement Photo

Paul & Shirley Today

Paul & Shirley Today

I enjoy a good mustache. I know I’m not alone in this. You all know it. A really bad ‘stache is really, really funny. If a particular mustachioed gentleman is a giant douche, I blame it on the mustache. If a circus ringmaster has no mustache, he loses all cred. A hard-ass, Harley riding, roadhouse regular m’erf’er without a mustache? Harder to spot than a purple unicorn. Femme-stache, nuff said. The mustache is more than facial hair preference. It’s a way of life. And it’s funny.

Okay, so recently, I have found myself in a mustache dilemma that isn’t so funny. For many ladies, especially us dark haired girls, taking care of our unwanted facial hair is a right of passage. At some point, usually in our teens, we realize that our eyebrows are a little unruly, or that dainty peach fuzz above our lip is looking more like a 15 year old boy’s than a 17 year old girl’s. We begin the life long ritual of waxing, plucking, or (good gawd) laser removal. It’s life, no biggie. I have two girls, I thought I’d be ready for the day that one of them came to me with concerns about their little Latina ‘staches and Brooke Shields brows. I just always figured this was a Jr. High kind of conversation.

Grace is six years old. Last week she complained that she has, “A little mustache.” She looked oh-so-forlorn and continued, “ …and I really don’t like it.” So. Yeah. Wasn’t ready for the Kindergartener to lay that one on me. (And believe me, what this kid’s got is nothing! Sheeesh!) So, where did this come from? How is she so self-aware at age 6? I was a complete idiot at 6. My mother had to remind me to comb my hair before running out the door to catch the morning bus. I couldn’t have cared less about matching clothes or wearing glasses. I was a happy 6 year old idiot, and life was good.

Now, the concerns I began having at 15 are troubling my kid at 6. What do I do? Do I let her foray into this grown up world of vanity and excessive grooming? Hell no. For a few reasons:

  1. Dealing with your own physical uniqueness is part of growing up. This is how we are made. All little 6 year old Latina beauties should have tiny baby ‘staches and wicked-awesome eyebrows. It’s beautiful.
  2. If we teach our kids at an early age that if they don’t like something about themselves they should hurry up and change it, what kind of message are we sending? (Hint: A crappy one.)
  3. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today if my mother hadn’t taught me to settle for the Shopko clearance plastic glasses, (it’s what we could afford and it served it’s purpose – I could see the chalkboard), home perms at the kitchen table, and last year’s hand-me-downs. I wasn’t a cool kid. I wasn’t a pretty, best dressed, most popular kid. BUT. I was a decent kid, a good friend, and an honor student. I learned early that there is more to a person than the way they look. My best friends from age 12 are my best friends today. Score one for the mustache.
  4. Today, more than ever, I want my girls to love themselves, love the bodies God gave them, and be proud of their uniqueness. I want them to have a strong sense of self worth, a strong sense of heritage, and the confidence to become whatever the heck they want.

I’m here today say that the mustache might help my save my kids’ childhood. I’m learning new respect for the mustache. And this is my plan:

In a show of solidarity to my mamitas lindas, I am going to put my facial hair grooming regimen on an indefinite hiatus. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am going to take this opportunity to show my girls that you can be beautiful and different, and, well, hairy — all at the same time.

Frida KahloSo, if you run into me in the coming months and I am rockin’ a wicked peach fuzz, or you happen to notice that my unibrow seems to be creeping into my hairline…give me some props, make sure my kids hear you. Show us some hairy-ass love.

And if you think I’m nuts, and judge me for my new, au naturel look, don’t worry, I’ll chalk it up to mustache envy.

Later Gators.