Bad Mood Rising

Had I been wearing a 1970’s mood ring earlier this week, I know what color it would have been. I won’t get into the specifics, sufficed to say I didn’t have to clean the cat’s litter box one particular morning—because she opted not to use it. The ensuing treasure hunt to locate the offending nugget, the cleaning, disinfecting and subsequent banishing of the culprit (Gizmo) to the basement for the duration of the day, made my morning unpleasant, to say the least.

Not a good start.

And yet on the drive in to work, with a scowl on my face, I confronted my bad mood, arguing my day need not be ruined because the cat in the hat, shat (for the second day in a row). The passionate debate raged on, fueled by anger, countered by logic, and by the time I arrived at work, my scowl had dissipated—somewhat.

Despite the science behind thermochromism (the change of color due to temperature), the multi-colored spectrum found in a mood ring’s instruction manual, is misleading.

Mood falls into two categories.

Good or bad.

There are no shades of grey, no greens, pinks, or purples, no middle ground. You’re either in a positive mood, or a negative one.

The more I pondered the concept, the more I realized moods are configurable, a conscious choice. Good moods are simple, when you find yourself in one, stay there, ride it out, spread the love.

Conversely, when the ring darkens, pause and take inventory.

Count your blessings.

Simple also, but not quite as easy.

Bad moods dissolve in time, they always do, but when allowed to fester, they devour the present, drain joy from the moment, and spread like an airborne virus.

The trick is to recognize the ensuing darkness, pause, regroup, and change colors. Don’t let the voice of rage and ruin convince you otherwise.

Two weeks back I was editing some fiction when I inadvertently overwrote my file with an earlier version, thereby deleting two hours of work. Attempts at retrieving the lost data proved futile, Microsoft Word had no magic elixir to counteract stupidity. The changes were lost.

My metaphorical mood ring turned as black as a raven in a mortician’s hat.

But that was two weeks ago.

This week, Gizmo—the cat who shat—prompted some introspection.

She taught me to recognize that every moment counts. Being miserable, waiting for the fog to clear, is counterproductive.

So I encourage you, the next time you sense a Bad Mood Rising, don’t hunker down waiting for sunshine, embrace the earthquakes and lightning, and change your color, tout de suite.


 

About the Author

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Mike Senczyszak is a writer, blogger, procrastinator, not in that order. He’s from Southern Ontario, occasionally Cape Breton Island, and more recently, a regular at Disney World. He’s a dabbler in screenwriting, children’s books, fiction (horror). Currently, editing his first novel.

 

You can find him on his blogFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, & Google+


 

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My Terrible Morning

Today I woke up at 6:45, which may not seem like anything worth mentioning as it’s a pretty common wake up time, and has been, for the past few months, the time my alarm has gone off every single day. But this morning when I got up at that time, I was upset with myself.

This week, at least until today, I’d woken up at 5:45, an hour earlier, to get a jump on my day and get in some writing and coffee before I had to get ready for work, and for those two days I was happy in my situation. I’m the non-driven type of person who believes in the old adage of working to live rather than living to work, and doing something I enjoy before spending nine hours at my job makes me feel like I do other things besides work during the week—an important distinction for me so I don’t grow to hate and resent my job. But today, I woke up late, which was just the start of my terrible morning.

I turned on the shower and walked down the hall to get a towel out of the closet, only to find that there weren’t any in there. Another part of being someone who lacks drive to do things that don’t interest me, leads to using all of the towels before washing them—a terrible flaw that came back to bite me today. The towels were all in the washing machine, soaking wet, so I was faced with the dilemma of using a hand towel to dry off, or a t-shirt. I chose the hand towel, which absorbed all the water from my hair immediately before I had the chance to dry off any other part of me.

It was just one of those days.

Today in my clothing rotation, the white shirt with blue stripes was up, a shirt that I don’t really like all that much because it feels tighter than my others, but again my procrastination when it comes to laundry left me with little choice but to wear that one. I put it on and went into the bathroom to brush my hair, which decided to be especially uncooperative. One of my coworkers commented that it looked like I just got out of bed and came to work. It really was a pretty bad morning.

I arrived a couple minutes late to work, ready for the day to be over. Luckily my day turned around when I found my first counterfeit bill since I started working at the bank.

You gotta enjoy the little things in life.

When I got home my new water bottle had arrived, one that will keep beverages cooler for extended periods of time and hold more liquid than the tumbler I currently drink out of. All in all it turned out to be a pretty good day, despite my terrible morning. Maybe tomorrow will start off better.

 


 

About the Author

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Kendall is a fan of sports, good food, the city he lives in, and lots of things in between. He likes to think that he is funny and would appreciate a fake laugh every now and again to boost his self esteem. Thanks for taking the time to read mostly meaningless things that Kendall decides to write about each day. He really appreciates it.

You can find Kendall on his blog, Twitter, & Instagram


 

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Graceful Bad Mornings

Some mornings suck, no one’s going to argue that.

Maybe you’re sick, or depressed. Maybe it’s raining or you’ve had to get up too early too often. Maybe you’re just going through some stuff.

I had some of those mornings recently. Some personal stuff in my life has been getting me down for a little while, stressing me out. But I still have to get up and do my job. I still have to be the adult and take care of my kids, even if I’m not feeling it.

First off, I’m still a mom, even on the days I don’t want to be an adult. My kids are depending on me. Second, if I’m unproductive I’ll just sink further into depression. Even if I’m sick, I have a tendency to sink into a really bad funk because I feel like I failed, somehow. Yes, I know that’s wrong. That’s part of how depression works.

I’m not going to tell you that I have a surefire way to get through a rough morning and come out smiling. But I do have some things in place to help with the bad mornings. Here’s my tried and true list of do’s and don’ts for bad mornings.

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Don’t

Touch the snooze button.

Not even once. You’ll just feel bad about it and have less time to work with. Being rushed is not going to make your morning better. And you’re not going to get anything out of those extra ten minutes. It’s going to be just as hard to get up the second time the alarm rings, trust me.

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Treat yourself to something expensive

If you normally don’t stop for a coffee on the way to work, don’t do it today. First off, if you’re suffering from depression, it might make you feel guilty. Besides that, this sort of coping mechanism leads to an unhealthy relationship with food. It’s fine for a good cup of fancy coffee to be a treat, but it shouldn’t be a reward for doing what you have to do anyway.

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Skip your self-care routine

Don’t skip your face care, don’t skip your teeth brushing. It will just make you feel worse in the end if you don’t look put together. Besides that, these actions can help you feel better about the day. Wash your face, put on some moisturizer, whatever you normally do to care for yourself in the morning. It might not make your morning all better, but neglecting to do it will surely make it worse.

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Turn on the news

I’m the last person to tell you not to be informed about what’s going on in these dark times. If we don’t know what’s happening we can’t fight for what we believe in, and then the bad guys win.

BUT we don’t need to deal with that first thing in the morning. We’ve got our own personal world on our shoulders already, we don’t need to add the rest of the world as well. At least, not before coffee.

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Do

Plan in advance for bad mornings

They’re going to happen. Having a strong evening plan is going to help any morning, but especially a bad morning. I can’t be the only person who’s ever just sat down and cried because they didn’t have any clean jeans in the morning.

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Have something beautiful to look at.

While I think you should stay off of social media in general, I am a big supporter of Instagram. Especially if you follow topics that are inspiring. I follow several foster cat homes, a few hedgehogs, several inspirational business people, lots of people who like to take gorgeous pictures of their travels and lots of bullet journalists. I don’t follow people who post anything negative. I do follow Steve Burns (Steve from Blue’s Clues) and this person who posts videos of slime. When I’m starting my day with pictures of adorable animals, inspiring messages, fantastic makeup and funny comics, I’m a little more okay with getting up.

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Do what you can to be happy about how you look

I love my makeup, but on mornings when I’m depressed I don’t even want to look at it. However, I know that I’ll feel better with a little eyeliner and some mascara. So, I have a basic look plan. Concealer under my eyes and at problem areas. A little bit of black eyeliner. A little bit of mascara. Red lipstick. (I don’t know what it is about red lipstick, but it makes me feel fierce.)

I’m not saying you have to wear red lipstick. Maybe you need your favorite sweater or that pair of pants that makes your backside look nice. Maybe it’s something no one will even see, like cute underwear. Whatever little thing you can do to feel good about your reflection, do it.

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Eat a healthy breakfast that you feel good about

Avocado toast takes less than no time, and it’s delicious. It’s also healthy. But it’s not your only option. A bowl of cereal can also be good for you, or just some toast and jam. Yeah, I know you’re probably not hungry. But you will be before lunch, and it will make you feel worse. So eat something.

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Give yourself some grace if you’re still in a funk

If you’ve done everything on this list and you still feel down, remind yourself that it will pass. You don’t have to be happy every day. You don’t owe anyone that. So maybe just give yourself the grace to feel quiet and sensitive today. Don’t apologize for it, don’t you dare. Just let yourself feel how you feel.

A lot of times, when I’m depressed, I feel like I’m doing something wrong. It’s my fault, I’m just being a baby. If I’m not happy now, with a loving family, a good job and several published books, what the hell will ever make me happy?

When I managed a shoe store, I used to tell myself I’d never be happy if I wasn’t happy there. I thought that because I had a good job and a good relationship I owed the universe happiness. But that was a load of shit. First off, my job wasn’t good. Better than I’d had before doesn’t equal good. I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t allow myself to feel it. And if I’d listened earlier, maybe I could have left my shitty job earlier. So don’t put it on yourself to be happy all the time.

I’m going to repeat it one more time, so everyone hears me. You don’t owe happy to anyone. You owe yourself grace, good care, and patience.

Especially on the tough mornings.


About the Author

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Nicole Luttrell is a speculative fiction writer. That means she writes about dragons, ghosts and space. Sometimes about ghosts of dragons in space. She writes a fantasy series called Woven and a Science Fantasy series called Station 86. You can follow along with the insanity at PaperBeatsWorld.com

You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Want to submit your own terrible morning? Visit our submissions page to find out how.

The Literal Catcall (This Terrible Evening)

It was an average Monday evening. I was housesitting for a family friend, and I was tucked in on the couch with a pizza and an old movie. But then sun was starting to go down and one of the four cats I was in charge of had not come home yet, so I decided to pause Gregory Peck and perform a (literal) catcall. I knew I already had two inside, and the other two had come home quickly when I called on the first night, so I was sure I’d be able to find them, even if it took a little extra effort.

“Luuuuuna!” I called into the dusk.

I heard a cat meow and then saw her appear at the top of the fence. She ran to me and rubbed her head on my legs and then walked by me into the house to eat her dinner.

“Good,” I said, shutting the door behind me, “now I just need to find your brother.

A tip the family had left for me should I find that the cats weren’t coming in was to shake the container of dry food while calling out to them. It was the cat equivalent of ringing the dinner bell. So, after a few calls of “Tuffy!” went unanswered, I went back in the house, grabbed the plastic container and returned outside to make my official evolution into a temporary cat lady.

“Tufffyyyyy!”

*shake shake shake*

“Tufffyyyyy!”

*shake shake shake*

I walked around the backyard, up the side yard by the trashcans, around the front yard, then back in through the backyard for a final lap. Just when I was about to give up and start officially submitting to a panic, I heard a small, “meow.” I looked back at the door to see if Luna was looking on from behind the glass, wondering why I was shaking the food and not giving it to her, like some sort of deranged Pavlov experiment gone wrong. Was it her that meowed? I made another call to Tuffy, this time taking steps away from the back door and towards to the fence outlining the yard.

The meow got louder.

“Tuffy!”

“Meoooowww.”

I placed both hands on the wall and peered over—adding “apparent pervert” to my night’s resume—then let out a few more calls. Each “Tuffy” garnered a “meow”, but while I knew I was close, I still couldn’t see him. So, like any housesitter desperate to keep a cat alive so you don’t crush the spirit of the family, especially the 10-year-old girl who calls you her friend and has expressed more love for this cat than pretty much anything else, I called my mom.

I mostly just wanted moral support, as I was going into the thick of it now. Donned in sweats, a baggy t-shirt, still damp shower hair, and a makeup-less face, I was walking up and around the block to the house whose backyard bordered mine, and having seen the entire Taken series, I thought there was no harm in having my mom on the line, should the neighbor happened to be a crazed killer.

“Alright,” I told my mom, “I’m knocking now.”

From behind the door, I heard a voice say, “who’s there?” I considered answering, but I didn’t feel like I could give a clear picture of who I was and why I was there without using a lot of apologetic hand motions, so I waited for him to open the door.

“Hi,” I said as friendly as I could, knowing damn well I would have never answered the door if the roles were reversed. “So my friend and I are housesitting in the house, um, over there…around the block, and our backyard’s touch…yours and theirs…and I think their cat is stuck in your backyard.”

The man stood silently, his face slipping more and more into confusion, as he (most likely) awaited my explanation as to why any of this should matter to him.

“Sooooo,” I continued, “can I go into your backyard and see if the cat is back there?”

“Um, sure,” he said. I thanked him, then reported back to my mom in the receiver of the phone, explaining my EXACT location and the man’s appearance, giving her time to plan her rescue/revenge murder, should the need arise.

“Hold on!” the man said as I approached the gate to his backyard. He had already made his way outside by way of the house and was trying to get a leash on his dog so I could trespass freely. Thoughtful, I said to myself, knocking his murderer potential down to 78%.

I walked through the grass, over to the corner of the yard I’d been able to see from the other side of the wall. I called out to Tuffy and again heard the meow, this time distinctly higher than me. I let my eyes travel up a large, thin trunked tree, and there, about 30 feet up, was Tuffy, peering down at me with a look that said nothing short of, “it’s about damn time.”

I got an idea. I told the man I’d be right back, gave in to my mom’s kind offer to come help, then walked back out the side gate and around the block to my house.

Upon returning, I now had two reinforcements and the plastic container of food. But at this point the sun had made its descent below the horizon, making it hard to differentiate between Tuffy and a thick branch. So we all stood in the grass with our iPhone flashlights, calling out to this cat like it was a jumper on a ledge. My dad climbed up on top of the wall and began to shake the tree, hoping to at least jolt Tuffy up, and when that didn’t work, he started trying to lightly nudge him with a shovel.

“You’re okay,” we all said gently. Tuffy made a move to another branch and we cheered. At least he wasn’t stuck anymore. We continued to call him, but he stayed still. It was minute 40 by this point, and as our necks had just begun to acclimate to our constant looking up, we were met with something that immediately made us look down: sprinklers. Water began to shoot out in every direction, soaking my mom and I and stranding my dad on top of the wall.

“I’ll get those!” the man said, trying not to laugh.

After a few minutes, the sprinklers died down, and we all trudged across the damp lawn to look back up at the tree, where we found Tuffy, still sitting in the exact same spot.

“I think it might be time to call it,” my dad said. “He doesn’t appear to be stuck anymore and we might be scaring him more by all standing here watching. I say we head back and let him make his way down on his own time.”

Tuffy seemed to agree with this, as he began to shift almost immediately after my dad started climbing back down the wall. “Follow us!” I said as we walked out the gate, apologizing for the thousandth time to the man for essentially ruining his evening. Thankfully, he—and his wife who I met briefly when she came outside with a dog treat to try and coerce Tuffy—ended up being 0% murders and 100% great people, as they both wished us a good night.

When we made our way back around the block to our house, I could still see the couple shining flashlights up into the tree. Clearly they had become as invested as we were. I carried the plastic container of food back out to the bordering wall and shook it into the evening air like the most desperate tamobourinist ever.

Suddenly I heard an all too familiar meow, this time from behind me. I turned on my heel—which made a loud squeak, as my shoes were still soaked from the sprinklers—and found Tuffy making his triumphant march to the back door.

“YAYYY thank you!!” I shouted to a handful of parties including the neighboring couple, my parents, God and Tuffy himself. For now I would sleep easy, knowing that a) this cat was still alive b) it was no longer in a tree and c) it was (hopefully) slightly traumatized so that it wouldn’t return to the tree again (at least not while I was housesitting). My mom and I walked back into the house and I thanked her and my dad a thousand times over for coming to help. Then, as I’d been initially planning to do when I paused the movie, I went to the freezer to grab my pint of ice cream. Sure, the journey from my seat to the fridge had taken over an hour longer than I anticipated, but I’d finally made it, and now that all four cats were safely inside and 100% not dead, it made the ice cream all the more sweeter.


 

About the Author

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Kimberlee Koehn is a writer based out of Los Angeles, CA and is extremely passionate about telling stories and spreading positivity. When she’s not writing, you can often find her reading, hiking, watching sports, and most likely talking to herself.

You can find her at kimberleek.com


Want to submit your own terrible morning? Visit our submissions page to find out how. 

Chunky Smoothie Kind of Morning

Confession: I am a morning person. I keep my blinds open all night so I wake up to the sunshine instead of an alarm, and I look forward to getting up and drinking a cup (or 5) of coffee. I enjoy morning chats and I sing (badly) to old Britney Spears songs while getting ready. I’m THAT person.

On any given weekday, my morning routine looks about the same: get the coffee brewing, attempt to make myself look presentable, blend up a breakfast smoothie and hustle out the door.

THIS particular morning, everything seemed to be going fine—until it wasn’t.

The culprit behind the sudden turn of events? THE BLENDER.

Now, I’ve got a pretty badass blender, and it doesn’t usually give me any grief. Everyday I throw in a mixture of frozen fruit, almond milk, spinach, and protein powder, and out comes a delicious and healthy kickstart to my day.

Every. Day.

So I don’t know WTF the deal was on that morning. Maybe my freezer went all macho overnight and made the fruit too frozen? Maybe the sharp little dudes inside the blender decided to take the morning off? Whatever it was, MY SHIT WOULD NOT BLEND. More milk? Nope. Higher speed? Nice try. Stir with a wooden spoon between blending attempts? Adorable, but no.

Note: If you’re planning to stir your smoothie with a wooden spoon, be sure the blending has completely ceased before doing so. Otherwise the wooden spoon WILL chip and you WILL end up with unwelcome splinters inside your mouth.

After what felt like hours of struggle, I resigned to the fact that it would just have to be a chunky smoothie kind of morning. So, I dumped the contents of the blender into a mason jar and ran out the door, 10 minutes behind schedule. As I got in my car and started my hour-long trek to work, I let out a frustrated sigh and hoped the rough start to my morning was not indicative of how the rest of my day would go.

LOL. If only that were true.

I had to speed racer drive (sorry, Mom) in order to have any hope of getting to work on time, but my lane weaving and sharp turns proved too intense for my lid-less mason jar. That’s right folks, chunky green smoothie, all over my passenger seat. With colorful words spewing out of my mouth, I stopped at the next red light and searched for something to (sort of) clean up the mess. I settled on an old softball T-shirt (RIP), and begrudgingly used it to soak up my breakfast.

Note: Long work commutes make for a lot of time spent in my car, so it regularly serves the dual purpose of transportation and a second closet. This would prove useful…more than once…on this single morning alone.

Now hungry and thoroughly irritated, I reached for my sunglasses to shield my vampire eyes from the suddenly too bright sun. Spoiler alert: they weren’t in my purse.

Cue the mascara monster.

I already have severely sensitive eyes to begin with, so having to stare into direct sunlight my entire drive to work sent my non-waterproof mascara running down my face like Lauren Conrad’s tears in The Hills.

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Fueled by road rage and starvation, I arrived at work 2 minutes late looking like the very definition of a hot mess. And even after I wiped as much of the black streams of death off my face as possible, this hot mess only got messier, as I quickly realized that my sunglasses were not the only important item I left behind. Spoiler alert: I also forgot shoes.

Note: I love being barefoot, and it is not uncommon for me to drive that way (is that still against the law?) I usually set a pair of shoes next to my purse and grab them both as I’m walking out the door. Obviously, however, that did not happen on this particular day.

I laughed out loud in that frightening and completely unamused sort of way, then ravaged my car (closet) for something to put on my bare feet. My options were a pair of metal cleats or some bright red converse. I’m a diehard New York Giants fan and I was wearing blue, so I opted for the converse and pretended like I was channeling some sort of team spirit. I mean, at that point, why not make lemonade, right?

And even though I walked into the classroom of children as a brightly dressed disheveled mess, they all still smiled and greeted me with a lovely, “Good morning Miss Natalee!” and suddenly all was well again. Chunky smoothie kind of morning and all, they were happy to see me, and I was happy to see them.

At some point during the day I also spilled my coffee on my light wash jeans, but that happens on the daily so I won’t act like it made things any worse. The bright side of the morning? I totally pulled off the blue and red and even received some high fives from my fellow Giants fan coworkers. Go big blue!


 

About the Author

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Natalee Koehn is donut lover, dog worshipper and grad student pursuing a Masters Degree in Speech Language Pathology. You can often find her studying, hiking, watching football, or inquiring about tacos, all while soaking up as much sun as possible.


 

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The Morning Tangle

I walk and meditate and I’m famished.

My husband returns from swimming laps.

With synchronicity

we take our places in the kitchen.

He hoards the cutting board,

slices a peach and banana.

I prepare coffee. We pivot for a

choreographed collision at the refrigerator,

him for almond milk, me for an egg and jam.

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We exchange no words, for

we are dangerous before we eat.

I covet his bowl of cereal and fruit,

and he eyes my lightly-over egg and toast.

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Safely seated in a no-chatter zone,

we take favored newspaper sections.

Earlier I meditated on wherever I go, there I am.

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My mantra shifts: Wherever I go, there he is.


About the Author

Jeannie Greensfelder

Jeanie Greensfelder is the author of Biting the Apple (Penciled In, 2012). Her poem “First Love” appeared on Garrison Keillor’s The Writers’ Almanac, and her poem “Sixth Grade” was featured in Ted Kooser’s column, “American Life in Poetry.” Her latest book, Marriage and Other Leaps of Faith (Penciled In, 2015), reveals life during a 40-year marriage. She lives in San Luis Obispo, California.

You can find her at: http://jeaniegreensfelder.alhteam.com/


 

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