changign tires

Changing car tires like a pro (women, unite!)

I am not much of a feminist, really… as much as I am an egalitarian. In that spirit, I finally learned what any woman should learn: how to change a tire!

First of, it was not out of necessity. I was not stranded on a highway waving all sexy-like to guys so they would stop and heroically help me change the flat.

No, I learned because I wanted to. My friend Susan’s car was in desperate need of tire rotation and as usual, she was going to make her husband do it. But then I stopped her: “You know what, Susan, I’ll do it. We will do it together!”

And so, with a little help from internet DIY videos, we got our hands all gross dirty. I was sweating like any mechanic would and I think I even cursed a few times. The only thing Susan’s garage needed was a calendar with sexy, chizzled guys.

Today, I proudly type this with blisters decorating the palms of my hands. I am proud I did it. It was quite a no-brainer once I rotated the first tire.

If women want equality, they should not expect of men to do “men tasks.” The only time we should, PERHAPS, intentionally ask men for help (due to their strength) is when lifting really, really heavy things. Women can be very strong, but man are just stronger. Even David, my chubby little man who never lifts things, can lift heavier things than I do (despite my lifting at the gym). So, ladies, no more excuses. When will you learn how to change a tire?

Share your comments/ thoughts with me! Comment below! :)

P.S: Thank you, beautiful reader, who bought my book on Amazon! It made my day! Leave a review, love it or hate it!

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numbers

Don’t let numbers define you.

Too often I find myself chained to numbers in my life. I rely on them and let them determine who I am. They tell me whether I am loser or a winner, a good person or a bad person, or if I am a failure in life.

How much money do I make? Why am I not making more? How many pounds do I weigh? How expensive was the holiday I went on? Was it expensive enough to impress other people? Does this dress look like an expensive dress? How many hours did I sleep? Why don’t I have a two car garage? How old am I? (and the inevitable- when did I get this old?)

It’s a scary thing, relying on numbers. They put me in a bad mood because there is always a goal that has to be reached. Sales numbers, performance reviews, even damn dieting is not successful unless the scale budges and shows less!

What would happen in my life if I started to ignore numbers? What if I became happy with what I am making? What if I realized I don’t need a two door garage and that the world won’t end because I do not drink 8 glasses a day like I was supposed to according to every health magazine? What if I was happy with the fact I only sold one book so far on Amazon– someone bought my book, isn’t that something?

What if I, instead, focused on helping others, or making someone’s day by actually having a conversation with them? Or baby-sitting someone’s kids so they can finally go on a romantic date after sleepless nights and dirty diapers?  What if I invited that chatty old neighbor for dinner after five years of knowing her?

The world becomes so much easier when the burden of number disappears- suddenly, the focus is on others, and not on you.

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Male passenger with knees against female passenger's seat on aeroplane

Reclining seats in crammed spaces

Whoever thought a reclining seat was a good thing to have in a can of sardines type environment must have been a complete halfwit- or a true optimist in regard to human spirit and selflessness.

There are many annoying things when taking a flight somewhere, but reclining seats on an airplane/bus should be banned. Forever forbidden! Never to be given to humans as an option ever again!

Most people travel in economy class which means one gets a tiny little square of space to sit on through the next X amount of hours. Seating by the window tends to be a little better, but if a seat is reclined in your face the anger is equal to that of a isle seat or the middle seat.

Jerks who recline seats in crammed spaces truly show the type of people they are. It goes without saying they are self-centered and selfish. But what is worse are the problems they cause for the person sitting behind them. Because not only do they make one feel like their presence is not worthy of any respect at all, but they put one in a bad spot.

Now, the even more uncomfortable individual must:

1) Talk to the person who reclined their seat OR

2) Recline the seat themselves

3) Justify and apologize to the person behind them who is now unsatisfied with the new seating situation

It becomes like a domino effect. First jerks reclines the seat, and then everyone else has to do it in order to feel like they are not crammed as a packed commuter train in Tokyo. Now, a third person is mad at the second person because of something the first person did. I know, many times life works this way, but come on, let’s end this madness when we are all suffering in a tiny seat.

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bread

Is life without bread worth living?

I have been trying to eat no carbs (well, let’s be honest- LESS carbs) and I truly am struggling.

In the mornings I find myself confused, puzzled and almost sad because I used to always start my day with bread. Grilled cheese sandwich, PBJ sandwich, omlette with toasted bread, toasted bread with butter and honey, garlic bread with cream cheese, baked ham and cheese rollups…. I mean the list goes on, people!

Now, I stare at the fridge and I can not possibly think of things to eat in the morning without bread! I consulted a few recipe websites, and boy oh boy, no bread breakfast requires cooking. I hate cooking! And I hate cauliflower! I do not want to eat cauliflower hash! And who in their right mind eats vegetable miso soup with chickpeas for breakfast? Have people lost their minds?

The suffering continues through lunch. Like my Grandma, I always dip my bread in soup and wipe the plate with it. Now I can’t do that anymore. And how can I turn down endless bread sticks at Olive Garden? Am I supposed to wait for other food to come out and not indulge myself in warm bread sticks? How?

As the night falls, my bread-less life proves to be a challenge. Pass on the sausage bread, Leah! Forget about the pita bread pizza, Leah! Don’t touch the pretzels, Leah! Agh, end the misery!

I love the simplicity of bread, its practicality and its deliciousness. And as I (try) to live my life without it, I ponder…. Is life without bread worth living?

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Modern Hoarders

She was frantically pacing around the room. “I don’t know why you have to throw anything out! Don’t touch those books, someone gave them to me as a gift!” She looked livid. “Then why are they in the drawer?”

We’ve been looking for a battery charger all over the house for more than an hour, and still no sight of it. “This house has so much shit it in,” she grunted. “Finally!” I thought to myself. She was finally displeased with the piles of useless material items around the house. Maybe this is the opportunity to throw out some of it and clear out the dressers, the closets and the hallway.

Ten minutes into it, she got really mad. At me. For messing with her things, for trying to get rid of things. “You are ruining the order! You are making a mess! I can’t find anything anymore.” Her face was red from screaming at me and I haven’t seen her this upset in a while. I threw all the stuff back to where I found it and left.

I got home and Googled hoarders definition. I’ve seen the shows- Hoarders, buried alive! But my Mom’s place doesn’t look like that! She doesn’t have cockroaches laying around! She can still walk around the house without stepping on things. It did not match. She’s not a hoarder by definition. But what is she then? Why would a sane person get so upset over a pile of things she did not even know they were there?

I called David to discuss what I witnessed with him. His Mom is similar to my Mom- she has expired food in the fridge but she won’t throw it out. She still has the box from David’s first PC purchase. The blender box. Clothing from 1970’s. What is going on here? If they are not hoarders by definition but have separation anxiety, what are they?

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trailer_park_boys_countdown_to_liquor_day_9

How broke are we, Americans

I cannot say how people are doing in other states these days, but in good ole Florida people are looking kind of rough, tired and miserable… and so do their cars, and their houses (please, disregard the retired folks, they are doing just fine).

I do not know how Americans are constantly broke, but we are. I mean, we really are. The banged up cars we drive on highways, the cheap clothing we wear, the trailers we live in….

Not seeing our family from up North in years because we can not afford to visit them.

We make good money in America. How is it that we are so broke? Perhaps if people knew how to save money better, they would not have to put a newspaper and some tape over the broken car window. Have you ever seen Trailer Park Boys? It seems to me like we are turning into a bunch of Ricky’s and Randy’s, walking around without our shirts on and eating cheeseburgers…. what is going on?

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Time to go

A week or so later, the plane crash tactically planned by the German co-pilot still haunts me. I mean, it has been in the media so much too that I can not look away anymore. But that’s almost beside the point.

What haunts me is the conversation I had with my friend. He’s in the military, and I know he has seen a lot of things already and he definitely has a different take on the world than I do. He is much more brave, that’s for sure. But I remember talking to him about it, and he felt bad, of course, but then he added: “maybe it was their time to go.” How was this their time to go? They did not decide upon it, but some other asshole decided it for them.

There is really something scary that so much of our lives are dictated about other people’s actions. Accidents happen every day, and those are inevitable. But mass murders like this? It is not in any way, shape or form fair to have a life ended this way. Yes, before you comment, life is unfair but there is just something so fundamentally wrong when you have to go that way. And I do not think that is your time to go. That is someone else deciding that for you- your time to go is when you die of natural cause.

What do you think- would you accept the fact if something like this happened to you? Does it even matter in the end how you go or when (since it is after the fact?)

Either way, R.I.P. innocent victims. This world can be a cruel place.

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dishes-in-store

Dinners on plastic plates

The first time I was ever almost stoned to death because I brought plastic plates for dinner was during my first dinner in France. Growing up, my mother stored all the fancy china Grandma inherited in a special cabinet, while she made all of us use plastic plates. I did not think anything of it- Mom did not have a dish washer and -therefore-logical thinking- we used plastic plates so she did not have to clean the dishes after.

And then I came to France. Study abroad and all, with people from all over the world (which btw, my book on the study abroad is available on Amazon). Anyway, we were almost like representatives from the United Nations or something, gathered behind a tiny table. Trying to be helpful, I brought plastic plates, plastic cups and plastic silverware to eat with. It was not cheap either, so I really thought I was doing everyone a favor. Well, I guessed wrong. Needless to say, most attacks came from the Germans and the nature-loving Scandinavians. I think I had to listen to “how wasteful” Americans are through the whole dinner. I never felt so judged. Is it really so wrong to use plastic plates? Isn’t using a dish washers equally wasteful? Why I am such a horrible person?

The type of treatment I received was more than brutal. Even the Canadians loved to bash my wastefulness and hatefulness for nature. But I did not care- all I kept thinking was my Mom, and how many nights those plastic plates saved her from being the dishwasher. Instead of cleaning the dishes for half hour, she was able to sit down, relax and talk to her kids. That’s worth something too, right?

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sparta

Sparta is back in style

Finally! Skinny people have to take care of their bodies too! We are going back to the Spartan times. The times of fit people sweating together and sculpting their bodies. I mean, we should politely disregard the military-style education program with hazing and fighting.. here, we are talking about the work on their bodies, their ultimate obsession to achieve the bulkiest, chizzled and god-like muscles. Men or women, they were all supposed to strive to be physically fit.

Somewhere between Sparta and Twiggy, skinny people strategically positioned themselves to be adored and admired. I don’t know how we let them get away with it, but we did. And as lucky as they were with their genetically given bodies that have metabolisms on steroids, they were laughing at us as they ate chips and didn’t gain a pound.

But now, a new revolution is happening. It is slow, but it is sure. Skinny people can’t just be skinny. Now they look weak. And jiggly. And not toned. It is great! As a person who struggled with being fat my entire life, it is nice that the trend is moving towards a “healthy lifestyle.” Because just because you are skinny, doesn’t mean you are healthy. I have tons of skinny friends who gobble down cakes and hamburgers and almost lose weight.

It’s a new trend of eating food that fuels your body. A trend of working out hard to sculpt your body. No one can get away with being lazy or having good genes. You have to work for it, and you have to discipline yourself. It’s nice. Because ultimately it is about being healthy, and that’s what matters the most.

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nutella

Letter to Nutella

Dear Nutella,

You are like a bad boyfriend. You lure me with the sweet sugar and hazelnut combo, only to make me feel like a horrible person after I finish the jar within a couple of hours. Everyone keeps telling me you are bad for me, but I don’t care most of the time. I need you.

You are like a drug. Probably worse. Because when I eat Nutella, there is no self-control. You turn me into a spoon-licking monster who always wants more.

I first indulged myself during my study abroad in France and I probably gained 10 pounds from gobbling down slices of bread drowning in Nutella each morning. And afternoon. And right before bed.

For Americans it is hard to understand the Nutella obsession. Because you, Nutella, are either loved or hated. David can’t stand you. But I will pay whatever price to get a jar. Like crack-addicts I will sell my TV if I have to just to get a taste.

But lately, I’ve been having to avoid you. It just doesn’t work, Nutella. You swoop me off my feet with your sweet flavors and trick me into eating so much I end up hating myself. I will probably never have a bikini body, and mostly, it is because of you, dear Nutella. Like a bad boyfriend, you make me feel bad about myself… so it’s best I stay away. I have to (even though I don’t want to). It is for the best.

Love,

Leah

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