robyn-avitable-birthday

You Didn’t Hear It From Me, But My Mom Turns Sixty Today

“Now that you’re getting divorced, can I tell you what I really think about her?”
-Robyn L. Avitable, December 31, 2009

“What does NASA stand for? Need Another Seven Astronauts. Just don’t tell anyone at school I said that.”
-Robyn L. Avitable, January 29, 1986

Robyn Avitable being silly

Those two quotes sum my mother up perfectly. In the former, I see the massive love and support she provided even while knowing throughout my entire relationship that was she was right all along and I should have listened in the first place. The latter is demonstrable evidence of her morbidly razor sharp sense of humor and her total knowledge that at nine years old, I was ready to hear a joke about the Challenger explosion that had occurred less than 24 hours prior.

Robyn and Jim Avitable in front of Mount Rushmore

That’s my mother. Robyn Leah-Ann Smith Avitable, born July 12th, 1954. The only girl out of four children, she stayed ahead of her brothers by being the smartest, the most twisted, and the most independent. My mother reached a pinnacle in her career without once using her gender as a crutch, as a tool, or even acknowledging it at all. She never let the parameters of her job in healthcare keep her from accomplishing as much as she wanted, and I have always been impressed by the total respect that she commanded from those who were not only below her or on her level, but by those who outranked her.

Robyn Avitable at age 59

My mother has always been a leader. She didn’t have role models because she made her own path and became the person who inspired others. Throughout my childhood and even to this day, my mother was and remains the person that you go to when you have a problem. Any problem. She might not be able to solve it, but she’ll know where to start. And she’ll almost always be right.

Robyn Avitable hates pictures

Her confidence is unparalleled, and I have only seen a handful of times when that security was shaken. She knows what she wants, she has a plan to get it, and I have never seen her at a loss (though she does hate having her picture taken). Throughout my divorce, my father’s struggle with epilepsy, my grandmother’s descent into Alzheimer’s, and myriad family upheavals and drama, she’s been the anchor. I can’t think of a time when we didn’t look to my mother to tell us what to do next.

Now, she’s retired. She and my father (who took all of the recent photos in this post and posted them on his entertaining blog at http://jimandrob.tumblr.com/) are currently splitting their time between the house in Ormond Beach, where I grew up, and their place in Utah. I don’t see retirement lasting forever, though. My mother, a voracious reader with an appetite that rivals mine, will get bored with the relaxation and reading after time, and I’m sure she’ll set her sights on something new. Will she write a book that talks about her adventures at Mass General Hospital leading to her career at Memorial Hospital in Florida? Will she volunteer to care for those who can’t care for themselves? Or will she wait for one of us to have children of our own so she can just be a kick-ass grandmother? Time will tell.

Jimmy, Robyn, and Adam Avitable

Mom, I didn’t get you a gift card to Amazon – there’s no thought in that. I didn’t send you flowers, because you hate flowers. I didn’t get you anything tangible other than a birthday card because you buy what you want when you want to, and you have almost everything you want in life. The best gift I can give you is my skill with words (other than a grandchild – I know!), so this post is your birthday present. I would say that I hope you like it, but I know you will.

As I grow older, I recognize how similar we are. We may have different viewpoints, and we may not agree on some fundamental issues, but there’s nobody I would rather be like. When my friends come to me to be their problem solver, therapist, life preserver, motivator, comedian, and walking encyclopedia, I know my ability to fill those roles, pursue my own goals, and follow my own path is thanks in large part to you.

Mom, thank you for being the best role model and mentor that any son could ever ask for, and happy birthday. I love you.

Morality is subjective

A Comprehensive Gallery of Crying Fans After Brazil’s Loss to Germany in the 2014 World Cup

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Adam Avitable's wedding ceremony

I Wish That I Had Never Met You

“I’ll be honest, I can’t tell you how much I wish that I had never met you, you narcissistic asshole.”

Her email ended as abruptly as it had appeared in my inbox – the first communication in over a year. We finalized our divorce a little over four years ago, but there was still the occasional conversation, through email, text, or even the phone. I wasn’t surprised by the radio silence over the last year, though – while I am happy to be there as a friend, I knew that her resentment hadn’t dissipated.

I know that getting her to listen to anything I have to say would require nigh-Herculean efforts. She’s made up her mind. So, this isn’t for her. This is for me.

I’m sorry that I let you down.
I’m sorry that we ended our life together.
I’m sorry that I betrayed your trust and love.
I’m sorry that things turned out how they did.

I’ll never be sorry that we met.

We are the sum of our experiences. We are our past. I am who I am, in large part, because of our time with each other.  And I like who I am. It’s taken years of work. It took a failed marriage. It cost friendships. It resulted in indulgences of every appetite.

By reflecting on negative experiences  and focusing on eliminating my own negative attitudes and actions, I’ve become a better person. Yeah, I’m still a narcissist and an exhibitionist and a boundary-pushing twisted attention-mongerer. But it’s what I do with that and how I use that to apply to the world that matters.

Our lives traveled an amazing path when we were together, and if it hadn’t been for that, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I hope someday that you’re able to like who you are enough to feel the same way.

 

hobby-lobby-featured

Employee Memo from Hobby Lobby CEO David Green Revealed!

In light of the new ruling by the Supreme Court about corporations having a religious right to deny insurance coverage to their female employees in a completely arbitrary and capricious manner, a new memo has circulated by Hobby Lobby CEO David Green that was issued to his employees. I’ve attached an image of the memo and the text below.

Letter from Hobby Lobby CEO to employees

Dear employee:

As you have no doubt heard, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in our favor, allowing us to strike a blow against women everywhere who want equal insurance coverage for their own personal decisions regarding their personal lives. In celebration of this momentous decision, I have decided to institute a few new rules for employees who want to enjoy the religiously intolerant environment and seriously limited benefits of working for Hobby Lobby. From now on, all employees must obey the following rules, taken directly from the Hobby Lobby Employee Manual and the Holy Bible:

Whether at home or at the office, employees are forbidden from consuming any shellfish, pork products, rabbits, or birds of prey. However, Hobby Lobby is happy to provide locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers for a crunchy, protein-filled snack.

No personal grooming is allowed. Any type of activity that could be considered “rounding the corners of your heads”, such as shaving, cutting your hair, styling your hair, trimming eyebrows, nosehairs, ear hairs, or more, will be met with termination.

Any female employee who is experiencing the distasteful, unclean act of menstruation that is biologically imperative will be required to stay home from work for no less than seven days, and will not be paid for the time off. In addition, any woman caught taking birth control to regulate this disgusting monthly habit will be terminated.

No profanity is permitted. This includes fuck, shit, cunt, hell, damn, ass, fart, cock, booty, darn, heck, gosh, goddamn, shucks, shnikies, gee willikers, holy cow, and any iteration of these words.

We will be closed every Sunday. In addition, no employee is permitted to participate in any unholy activity at home on Sundays. That includes watching television, answering the phone, dancing, drinking alcohol, smoking, playing sports, or fornicating.

Gossip is also prohibited. All employees who communicate with each other about non-work topics may only discuss the weather, the Bible, the meal they ate the night before, the Bible, how much they hate that Muslim in the White House, or words that rhyme with Bible.

Finally, anyone with tattoos, anyone who has a garden that mingles seed, or anyone who doesn’t cover his or her heads or wears torn clothing of any type will be stoned to death, per your Employee Manual.

Respectfully, yours in Christ (but not the Christ who feeds homeless, loves everyone, and judges none);

David Green, CEO

Shark Tank on CNBC

My failed audition for Shark Tank, plus win a free sample box!

A bunch of erryday ‘Murricans pitch new, innovative products to cutthroat venture capitalists on CNBC every Tuesday. Some of these products get the investment they need to experience commercial success. Most of the products get laughed all the way out the door. But the good shit? Those products get made! And the people at Shark Tank CNBC put together a kick-ass sample box, and sent one to me. Shark Tank sample box Do you want one? Follow the rules below and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a sample box of your very own! There are a few caveats, though. Some of these products should have disclaimers but they weren’t included, so I added ones of my own:

Now, before I let you enter the contest, I have to admit something. I submitted an application for a product to Shark Tank, and it was rejected. I don’t think it should have been. I think the VCs should have invested in my product, and you could have been buying it in stores everywhere that awesome fucking products are sold. But it’s their loss, and I’m proud to offer this product to each of you.

Get out your credit cards and call today.

Operators are standing by.

Get ready . . .

to purchase your very own . . .

Avitapillow!

The Avitapillow is the body pillow for the single or lonely woman. Or, just comment below for an entry to win a free Shark Tank sample box, plus do any of the other options for additional chances to win! a Rafflecopter giveaway