lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

The Secret of Life (Rated PG-13) July 10, 2018

Gather round and listen to my words of wisdom on how to succeed and find joy in life.

Don’t be a dick.

Really that’s what it boils down to.

People need help? Don’t be a dick, lend a hand.

Person is having a terrible day? Don’t be a dick, see if you can cheer them up.

You having a bad day? Don’t take it out on other people, that counts as being a dick.

See other people having a good time and not hurting anyone? Don’t be a dick, leave them alone.

It’s really simple: look at a situation, see which course of action makes you a dick, pick something else to do with your time.

Now, everyone is human. Believe me, I get it. We all slip up and pull a dick move at some point in our lives.

But you know what? You can do something truly non-dickish and apologize for being a dick and work really hard on not being a dick again.

It’s like magic.

Or the Golden rule.

Don’t be a dick to others, because it sucks when people are a dick to you.

So in those moments when the waitress is busy, when traffic is bad, when you feel like you should possess world domination but your place is as a lowly minion: don’t be a dick.

(We could toss in things about spreading love, working hard, and living your life so you’ll be missed when you’re gone, but let’s not get complicated here.)

Bottom line: Don’t be a dick.

 

Confusing the Driver June 29, 2018

Filed under: Tales of Travel — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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Let me start off by saying I love my husband. He is a sweet, smart, wonderful, law-abiding man.

But there are times when the letter of the law differs from the law of the land. Prime example: The rules of the road in Greece.

While we were in Greece on our grand adventure, we rented a car for a few days. There isn’t a great public transit system outside of Athens, so it was the best way to get up to Delphi and Meteora. We registered my husband as our only driver and, GPS in hand, headed north.

First weird thing about driving in Greece, the GPS warns you when there are traffic cameras coming up. It goes deep deep, don’t speed dude. You might actually get caught right here. Not literally those words, but you get the picture. How is it legal for a GPS to warn you about speed traps? Is not getting warned about speed traps just a thing in the U.S.?

So we were driving north, getting warned about traffic cameras, even though my husband was barely speeding. Like American five miles over means you’re doing okay speeding. But all the other cars were racing past us. Zooming past the alleged traffic camera without a care.

The three passengers in the car tried to convince him to follow local custom and just drive in time with the other cars on the road. The husband was worried we’d get a bill for thousands of dollars in speeding tickets and there would be a Grecian warrant issued for his arrest.

So we plodded along, getting passed by literally every car we met. (more…)

 

Post Bus Life June 26, 2018

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I’ve been off the road and back from my adventure for almost three weeks.

That’s a really long time to be sleeping in the same bed, which is a really weird thing to say. I’m getting back into the swing of life with Oz 5000 open and life moving forward on the literary front. But I have noticed a few things that are super weird since getting off the bus.

Food. Fridges are a miraculous thing! You can put so much food in them, and when you come back the next day, you still have food! It’s amazing.

Also fantastic: having a washer and dryer in your house. I can have clean underwear whenever I want! What a thrill! (more…)

 

A Mass of Mint June 19, 2018

Filed under: I Meant Well — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I’m not the most domestic person. It’s not a part of my personality or skill set.

But last summer I decided, as I was living at home for the first time in a very long time, that I wanted to grow mint.

  • By all online accounts, mint is so easy to grow it’s nearly impossible to kill. Sounds great!
  • Mint can be used in food and drink. Easy and edible, I like it.
  • They sell mint plants for super cheap at the garden store. Budget-friendly is great.

By all measures, mint and I had just become soul mates. The husband and I went out and bought one tiny mint plant. I put it in the garden, fed it organic fertilizer, and waited a few days before picking off a few leaves. The fresh mint was delicious! Tossed into an icy cold beverage, a few leaves created minty perfection.

But my plant was so small and helpless, if I kept pulling off its leaves, soon the little baby mint would be naked and die.

So I went back to the plant store and bought two more mint plants, carefully placing them next to the first and giving them plenty of that high-end, organic fertilizer. (more…)

 

The Chatty Husband May 15, 2018

I have this thing about being in public. Sometimes, strangers talk to you. It’s a real problem for me.

I’m not an introvert by any means, but I don’t want to chat with the person behind me in line who compliments the voicemail I just left my mother. I don’t really want to know why the person on the plane next to me is flying to D.C. And I really, really don’t want to know why the awkward stranger in the coffee shop really loves any song.

I’m happy watching people without interacting. I’m totally fine with chatting with patrons after a performance. But I have a strong stranger danger button.

My husband, however, really likes chatting to people. All the damn time. We get stuck in hotel lobbies, waylaid by elderly women who want to detail exactly what we should try at the continental breakfast the next day. We spend extra time in rest stops hearing about how the gas attendant has never left their home state.

I mock him for it, I grumble at him when we run late because of it. But—and I really hate to admit this—every once in a while, he meets someone really cool.

I’ll let him tell you about it.

I stood in line at a Starbucks in Chicago the other day when a gentleman in his 50s or so cut the line. (more…)

 

The Creek and the Stings May 11, 2018

Filed under: What Doesn't Kill You — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I grew up in a very old house in the country. We had three-ish acres of land, and my family left most of it wild. Trees, blackberry bushes, and tall grass all leading up to a creek.

I would run wild through the back for hours at a time. As long as I stayed within our property and didn’t go swimming on my own, my parents just let me go. My mom had this giant antique school bell, and when she rang, it was time to head back toward the house. It was a crazy amount of freedom.

One day while playing way out toward the back of the property, I stepped on a hive of ground bees. I don’t even know how many stings I got, only that my leg hurt like hell.

I did the only thing a child used to running wild would do. (more…)

 

Reading Reviews May 8, 2018

There are a lot of similarities between acting and authoring. The love of storytelling, artistic nature of the endeavor, the constant threat of rejection… and reviews.

Reviews as an actor have never really bothered me. You win some, you lose some, but at the end of the day, you have to do the show the director set to the best of your ability. Altering your performance to fit a review is horribly unprofessional, so you soldier on and keep your chin up.

It’s a little different for books. The book is out there, and there really isn’t anything you can do. Unless there are semi-colons mid-word (as was found in a big name book that will remain nameless), in which case your publisher has to scramble to send a new version out into the world, the book is the book.

But you’re working so independently on your books; you could let the review pressure trickle into your work. Declaring that you’re never going to use a love triangle again, you will avoid writing on all social issues, or banning magic from your books are easy traps to fall into.

I know a lot of authors refuse to read any reviews of their work, and I get it; avoiding psychological damage is important. (more…)