When Can No Become a Complete Sentence? (+ I’m So Not A Nature Person, So Stop Asking Me to Go Hiking)

I’m a pretty literal person + I definitely don’t read between the lines very well.

When someone remarks, “Didn’t you hear what that guy was trying to say?” I’m usually sitting there thinking so hard my brain starts to twitch, “Ummmm, nope, sure didn’t; all I literally heard was the exact words coming out of his mouth.”

It doesn’t help that my Hubs likes to tell me stories and paint me a picture of his intergalactic plans about the big-picture vision he has about how he would build something, “Does that make sense? Can you see it?”

No, I can’t see it, fool. Like, at all.

In fact, I’m now more confused about life than before this conversation.

And this is why I have such a difficult time with declining invitations.

I’m not talking just wedding invites and anniversary parties where I can RSVP with a checkmark in the no box – I mean any invite ever asked by a person.

Want to grab a coffee?

Shall we go to a movie?

Let’s do dinner!?

How does breakfast sound?

Weekend getaway sound off the charts?

As I’ve added more candles to ma’birthday cake I’m so less inclined to be social.

Call it an existential crisis, knowing myself better or just plain loving the shit out of being home – I find myself automatically wanting to say no to social stuff a lot.  

But the conundrum doesn’t fall in my desire to say no – the conundrum arrives in HOW TO SAY NO.

You see, I find it excruciatingly difficult when all I want to say is “No” or “Hell no I’m not making that” when declining an invitation or passing on an event – because I’m told there are softer + gentler ways to let people down.

(Side note: Are we really letting people down? But I digress).

My brain plays the fastest game of Scrabble® when I get an invitation –

“Hell no, I’m not going to that.”

“Ok, for just an hour or two – I’ll leave when I want.”

“Oh, forget that the new season of Grace + Frankie just dropped on Netflix.”

“Oh snap, there’s gonna be mimosa’s? Honey, can you drop me off?”

After the dust has settled and it’s time to actually make a decision whether I’m going to show up to this happening or not, 90% of the time I opt to stay home – where there’s mimosa’s AND Netflix.

So why is it not socially acceptable to just say no in declining an invite – and that be enough?

Why do we feel like we have to offer an explanation or even an apology, “Love to, but I’m so busy” “I’m richly scheduled that weekend, sorry”?

I’ve probably read a weekends worth of articles on the art of saying no + gentle ways to go about metaphorically slamming the No Door in someone’s face.  

Finding the right word choice to simultaneously not offend someone, potentially hurt their feelings yet also express what I need to express – has left me, well, a bit exhausted.

And I’m over it.

So, can we start a one-word revolution where no is a complete sentence?

I mean I tell my Little Love of a daughter that all the time, “No, is a complete sentence, honey. That goes both ways – for you and the other person.”

Why can’t I as a bloody adult just simply say, “No thanks” to an invite to go hiking (because I’d literally be dreaming of sitting on a patio drinking margarita’s the entire time [#SoNotANaturePerson #Facts])?

Now, I know I can simply say no and move on – I’m a free bird who can do whatever the hell I want.

So maybe I will.

As soon as I’m done with this margarita – because I’ll take tequila any day over dirt, rocks and the potential of being attacked by a mountain lion

Because I said no.

Love + Hell No,

Keli

In Awe of Piddle

I don’t get irritated or baffled anymore when I walk into a restroom and see pee on the floor, or heck, on the toilet seat itself.

I don’t even wonder in my head – or out loud if I’m feeling brazen – “Wow, doesn’t anybody know how to pee in the bowl anymore?”

I don’t even start to feel self-righteous because I have a vagina and not a penis.

It’s weird how my mind works these days.

I’m going to give all of this weird-thinking credit to being a caregiver to my Pop’s for ten years.

I walked into a bathroom recently – one of those single loo’s – at a coffee shop where everyone from Grandma Grace to Tiny Tyke Timmy to Newborn Betty and Average Joe goes to relieve everything that’s all up in them.

So, you really don’t know who the pissing culprit is when you walk in there and notice a little urine sprinkle here and a small trickle there.

Only now when I walk into a bathroom and notice the drizzle of tinkle water on the floor and on the toilet – I smile.

Again, like I said, it’s weird how my mind works these days.

I grin because memories of caregiving for my Pops, The Vic, come flooding back to me.

And Pops is still – even in his dementia-dosed mind – one of my favorite people.

Walking into a bathroom and seeing the display of piddle on the floor (that is one of my Pop’s favorite words, “piddle”) reminds me of the times when dementia only took his morning memories of what he had for breakfast; not the current climate of his dementia where he doesn’t even know my name.

The name of the daughter who gave up her career — and almost her marriage – to keep Pop’s quality of life stellar.

The name of the daughter who always wiped up all of Pop’s piddle on the floor when he could barely make it to the bathroom.

I don’t regret that time though; even as gut-pulling and heart-tearing those caregiving years were.

And that’s where I see the power of time have its greatest impact: giving enough space to see some clarity.

When I go to bed now my bones aren’t exhausted from the constant movement of chasing Pop’s around the house making sure he didn’t fire up the stove, turn on a burner, find a lighter to play with or decide to take a leisure stroll around the neighborhood.  

I’ve had enough distance and space to see that that time in my life was made perfectly for me and for Pops and even for my Hubs and firecracker daughter.

Even if I couldn’t see it through the blur of chaos and piss.

That piddle-laden lonely loo in a coffee shop bathroom evoked feelings I sometimes take for granted and still reconcile with now.

The oftentimes soul-hurling, yet schooled trek of caregiving + lessons embedded so deeply it takes a splash of yellow on a toilet seat to bring me right back to the devastation + dazzle of dementia.  

I mean, where else would you find gratitude in another person’s urine?

Piddles of Love,

Keli

36.

I’m officially 36-years-old.

Those two numbers swing closer to 40-years-old + I’m cool with that.

Call it luck of the parental draw, or my propensity to view most things through rose-colored glasses — I’ve been shown how to embrace + love another candle on the cake — thanks to my Pops (The Vic).

This brazen dude, The Vic, was 50-years-old when I came wailing into this world + my mama (his wife) was 22-years younger than the ole lad.

The Vic loved aging —

It was his mindset around growing older that made me feel like, “Hell yeah aging is cool!”

The Vic showed me to be grateful for being vertical and not horizontal in a grave. “How are you today?” “Well, I’m vertical and right now that’s all that matters!”

When someone asked Pops his age, I could see the spark in him as he revealed his age + laughed, “And damn proud of it, too!”

When we celebrated his birthday every year, he soaked up every second of it (when he could remember of course, before Dementia decided to crash his memory party).

I’ll never forget when he turned 77 – that was his favorite number (holy double 7’s!) – and all year long he spread the gospel of being 77, “I’m 77! Oh, I just love that number!”

So, in honor of The Vic – who really can’t recall much now but can always feel the love of family and friends – I’m going to share with you some of my favorite life lessons learned + thoughts on aging + favorite quips + some advice sprinkled in.

Cheers to breathing another day and having enough breath to blow out those candles!


Life Lessons + Favorite Quips + Advice (in no particular order!)  

  • It may have taken me 30+ years to learn, understand and truly integrate: BOUNDARIES ARE MY BEST FRIEND. (I had to learn that the hard way in my caregiving journey with The Vic).

  • Over-spiritualizing is a thing. Honor who you are, especially if you’re a planning, practical, get-shit-done, let’s-do-more-than-talk-about-it person.

  • When your life is in crisis – or like mine was when caregiving for The Vic + I had very little fucks to give – you really find out who will be there for you + who won’t. Those people who showed up for me during The Vic/caregiving years are still there for me now when my life looks hella less in crisis.

  • But don’t be jaded by friends or family that didn’t stick around or whom you expected something from – let life prune your friend garden ‘cause it sure as hell will if you allow it to.

  • Oh yeah, on that note, expectations are a set-up for resentment(s). And resentments are like walking on hot coals all day. That shit blows.

  • Experiment. It’s one of my favorite words + a lens I use to play with + see life out of. Because life really is one giant-ass experiment.  

  • My child teaches me more about myself (by being her mother) than I teach her about life.

  • 10-20 minutes of walking can do more for my body + brain than any amount of cement pounding, or crazy body contorting I think I’m into.

  • Coffee shops can revive you. After almost a decade of caregiving, working my ass off + always being ready to clean up bodily fluids + chase down my Pops – nothing was more healing to me than dropping the kid off at school, opening my laptop + letting the caffeine have its way with me.

  • I might identify as a freelancer more than an entrepreneur.

  • I can still bust a move on the dance floor. Only now I pee just a little bit when I turn into Michael Jackson, “Shamone!”

  • Time can heal wounds, but so can damn good therapy.

  • I still can’t drink liquids too close to bedtime or I’ll piss ma’self (sorry, Hubs).

  • Food shaming is not okay.

  • I reserve the right to change my mind regarding food choices. I’ve seen a pattern with my body + food preferences; it likes to change its damn mind. So now, I just go with it instead of judging it.

  • If I wasn’t married and didn’t have my little babes, I’d probably live in an RV with only ten articles of clothing. Often, I’m curious how that version of Keli turns out.

  • Your family might disappoint you.

  • Your friends might disappoint you.

  • Decide your non-negotiables + healthy boundaries with friends + family – you do have power over you.

  • Every year I become more open to digging in roots + possibly buying a home (with some major travel wings).

  • Relationships are better when you can share your truth + listen to the truth of others.

  • I’m madly, deeply, all-consuming in love with podcasts.

  • I want to start a podcast one day. (I’ve been saying that for almost five years now!)

  • I’m more aware of aging + my health now + I’m not sure how I feel about that.

  • And with each candle I add to the cake I shout, “I’m vertical, bitch!” And let each year have its wild way with me.

Love + 36 Wild + Glorious + Soul-Jerking Years On This Planet,

Keli

I Have An Obsession With Minimalism

“Can these DVD’s go? I’m pretty sure the last time we watched them Mr. Rogers was still asking me to be his neighbor.”

I make this plea + ask questions like this a lot. If you want to see me smiling from ear to ear with euphoria and shouting “hell yes!” around the house like a crazed ’80s aerobic instructor — just give me things to donate. (Ok, there might be some other things that make me shout happy expletives).

via GIPHY

The Hubs usually sneers my way, “You just can’t stop, can you?” He eventually tries to find humor in my obsession with throwing everything out that we don’t use on a regular basis.

He’s right though. It’s hard for me to stop.

But not stop tossing things into a box for donation.

It’s hard for me to stop questioning the “things” we think we need in our life.

Now, maybe – just maybe – I was born with some gene that can’t stand clutter (is there a clutter gene?).

And, maybe – just maybe – my childhood was so chaotic the only “control” I thought I had was in my own little bedroom where I plastered pictures of Jonathan Taylor Thomas and kept my room as clean as a military inspection (yeah, I’m talking hospital corners, y’all + The Vic was a marine, so there’s that).

Or, maybe – just maybe – as I grew up I saw the importance and ease that can go along with lack of clutter.

Couple that with my wanderlust weakness and a penchant to give into my Gypsy-soul on a whim – I’m usually move or travel-ready with short notice.

Let’s not get anything twisted here though – in no way am I saying that minimalism is the life for you.

Hell, some people thrive in chaos (or, so I’ve been told).

But this is where people can get minimalism all jumbled up.  

It’s not about becoming best friends with your local donation drop-off because you’re constantly giving stuff away.

It’s not about reading Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and overhauling your entire life. Or maybe it is if that’s your style.

It’s not about giving away your dead grandma’s broach because you don’t technically use it all the time.

And it’s definitely not about living in a space with only little to no furniture while one lonely book hangs out on your bare shelf.

My view of minimalism is about QUESTIONING the “things” you think you need in your life.

The areas where you couldn’t cram another thing in, but you just bought something to stuff in there. 

And that doesn’t just go for shoe boxes and your 10th black t-shirt.

That goes for emotional stuffing, too.

So, if you’re staring at a heap of clothes in your closet with tags still on them…

Or a tower full of DVD’s collecting dust…

Start questioning them.

Start questioning everything in your house and in your life.

Because questions usually lead to answers (although we might not like the answer that bubbles up).

Ready for some contemplation? Here are some simple tips to get the mental motor runnin’ + movin’:

•  If you’re a get-stuff-done-right-now type of person then start questioning everything in your house. Start when the sun comes up and don’t stop questioning every little damn thing you have until you’re done. Take action on the things that you think you don’t need anymore/aren’t serving you/don’t feel all that inspired by.

•  If you’re an easy-does-it type then start in your smallest closet and question the ever-living shit out of every towel, washcloth, and pillowcase you have in there. And work your way through your entire house over time. (Dedicate one day a week if you need to start small and not be overwhelmed by the process).

Leave nothing un-questioned.  

Just the act of questioning will kick the dust up – in your home and in your mind.

Because as Alice Hoffman drops some uncomfortable truth, “Once you know some things, you can’t unknow them. It’s a burden that can never be given away.”

And I’ll add, some of those burdens you can totally donate the hell out of!

Love + Minimalism,

Keli

PS – Here are a couple resources I LOVE for decluttering, organization and all-around minimalism lifestyle inspiration –

Marie Kondo: her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” as well as her Netflix show “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” is pure gold. And watching Marie (I’m using her first name like I actually know her) on her Netflix show will warm your heart + see how much she truly cares for a life that’s more organized + sparked with joy.

The Minimalists: these two dudes (Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus) are packin’ when it comes to all things minimalist lifestyle. From their podcast to their books there’s something in there for anyone looking to question the clutter and go super deep on this subject.