Category: Life Advice

Climb The Wall.

I am not good with heights, internet.

Me and heights had a breakup over a decade ago (god I’m old) when I fell off a chairlift.

Long story.

At any rate, since I was six or so, heights and I have not gotten along. Eiffel Tower? Horrifying. Mt. Hood, Oregon? No thanks. Ladders? I’ll pass.

In spite of this anxiety, I went rocking climbing a few weeks ago with my coworkers as part of a team building activity, and it was amazing. 

I’ve tried rocking climbing on several different occasions, and none of them ended prettily. I panic when I’m about three feet off the ground. Panic-panicking. Like, almost hyperventilating panicking. I have had a panic attack on a porch.

Yes, really.

However, despite breathing like a  stranded fish and sweating like a chubby kid in a sauna, I somehow made it to the ceiling.

Here is proof.


That yellow line near the bottom? That’s the ten foot mark.

Goodness, just looking at this photo gives me vertigo.

At any rate, the huge difference was having a group of people at the bottom cheering me on and telling me where to go next, because when you’re fear-clinging to a wall with your sweat-hands 35 feet off the ground, it’s really hard to figure where to put your feet. Mostly because the looking down thing is a huge no-no.

Just goes to show that a second pair of eyes, sometimes, is exactly what you need to get you places you never thought you were going to.

Night internet.

The L.A.W. – Relationship deal-breakers from men.

There’s a lot of shitty relationship advice on the web, internet.

Let’s add to the pool.

I asked some of my dude buddies and man-friends what their biggest relationship deal-breakers are. Let’s examine the results.

1. Lack of passion.

2. Low self-esteem.

3. Doesn’t read books for pleasure.

4. Passive aggressive.

A short disclaimer: I am not now and will never advocate changing your habits, lying, or settling for any person. Ever. Even if they are the most sparkly, stone-cold, drop dead gorgeous 107 vampire you’ve ever met. It’ll ultimately make both you and your partner miserable.

That being said, these are life traits and values that should be kept in consideration simply because they’ll make you a better, happier, more successful person.

Let’s talk about numbers 1 and 3. “Reading books for pleasure” is a bizarrely specific pet peeve, so I’ll extend it to include not having a hobby.

I sort of touched on this one in last week’s L.A.W. I deeply believe that everyone should have one facet of their life that gets them out of bed in the morning because they are so excited about being fantastic at that one thing. So yes, you need to be passionate. About something. It could be painting. It could be soccer. It could be accounting. Being passionate about something not only make you more vivid and interesting, but it makes you happier. 

And no, being passionate about your boyfriend or picking up your boyfriend’s hobbies to make him happy does not count. You need to make it about you. Sorry.

As far as numbers 2 and 4 go, low – and passive aggressiveness are absolutely linked, because people with high – value themselves enough to realize that their opinions should be voiced and heard. People with low self-esteem often feel like they aren’t going to be listened to, so they get frustrated, and can’t communicate why they’re frustrated.

You know what hnwcassandra’s home-brewed cure for both of those things is?



Honesty. It’s that simple. You need to value yourself and your man enough to say “Hey I don’t feel great about my belly / thighs / boobs / face because I was raped / teased / beaten / stood up.” In return, it’s his job to realize that it’s not his job to fix you, just to hold your hand on the way back to a healthy self-worth.

Ultimately, that trust will enable you to say things like, “Hey, I get annoyed when you leave your dirty socks in the freezer”, instead of putting them into his coffee.

Relationships, right?


The L.A.W. – Definition of mediocrity.

You asked for it. I delivered it. This is the first Life Advice Wednesday. Keep your pants on, people.


I was watching an episode of Mind of a Chef the other day (which  is the weirdest, most fascinatingly amazing show) and Anthony Bourdain struck up a conversation with all this really famous chefs over what their definition of mediocrity was. 

What an awesome question.

Mediocrity is something that everyone has a vague impression of. It’s what not to be. The official definition of mediocrity is “the quality or state of being mediocre”, and the definition of mediocre is “not very good”, and I think the only think we’ve just learned from that is that those definitions of mediocrity are themselves mediocre.

Some synonyms include average, uninspired, lackluster and forgettable, which gets us a little farther. Mediocrity is the quality or state of being utterly forgettable. Harsh.

Questions that logically follow the definition include:

How do you become mediocre? How do you perform mediocrity? How do you stop being mediocre? Can you even know you’re being mediocre? Is it important? Do you care? Does it matter? Does anything matter??

(Okay I got a little carried away. But you get the point).

I asked my coworker, Awesome Andy, whether or not he thought that striving to overcome mediocrity was important, and he made an excellent point that somebody could work the same job for 40 years and be seen as living a mediocre life, but that same person could be a perfectly happy individual, and perhaps happier than the ladder-climbing overachiever we’ve all supposed to emulate.

So I guess the question then becomes where happiness and mediocrity collide, and whether or not you can be happy being mediocre. I believe for a lot of people, that answer would be yes (even if they don’t know it or aren’t willing to admit it). Let’s face it, on a grand scale, the vast majority of us are and will continue to be mediocre (unless you’re Beyonce).

However, that brings me to my last point.

(Have I been making points? I think so? I’m just going to go with it, I guess).

As far as my own warped, biased, politically incorrect opinion goes, I believe people can be happy leading fairly unexceptional lives, as long as they are striving beyond mediocrity in at least one aspect. 

Mediocre job? Fine. No spectacular life achievements? Cool. Never run a marathon? With you.

But good god, do something. Maybe strive to be the best parent you could possibly be. Win a chess tournament. Collect stamps or Barbies or severed heads.

You don’t have to be the next Barack Obama or Steve Jobs or Britney Spears, but you should have goals or dreams or ambitions that make your life above average.

Isn’t that what makes getting out of bed in the morning worth it?


Fall calls.

Hey Internet. What’s good? I’m sitting out on a beautiful dock in Where-I-Live, Location, trying to figure out something to write about other than how unexpectedly beautiful it is out for a September day. Mostly I just want to lie down and take a nap, but duty calls, I suppose.



It’s rapidly becoming fall here in this town. Tourist season is winding down and there’s a brisk undertone to the air that you can smell and feel.

I’m pretty sure fall is my favorite season (although I say the same thing about summer when spring is about to end). This is my favorite part though, when it’s teetor-tottering right on the edge. There’s as much pleasantness in an unanticipated dose of sun as there is in a cool evening breeze.

Ultimately, the beginning of fall teaches us to savor and appreciate what’s left of summer in a way that we don’t think about during the thick of it. We tend to take those warm summer days for granted, because when’s 85 degrees out and the sun is high in the sky, it’s hard to imagine wearing sweaters and jeans.

So I suppose the moral of the story here is to stop doing that, sit back on grass for a damn second, breathe the beautiful fresh air, and just chill out, y’all.



My coworker, Awesome Andy (his name suggestion, not mine) said I should write about anxiety for my blog today and call it Aca-anxiety because we’ve been chilling to Pitch Perfect music all day because we’re aca-awesome. Although clearly I decided not to call it that, because SEO optimization is a thing.

And lo, with one paragraph I’ve managed to confuse and alienate half my readers.

Anxiety is a funny monster to deal with, because it strikes at the weirdest times.

The single most powerful thing I’ve ever come across that helped me tackle anxiety is the realization that anxiety and worry only concern things that haven’t happened yet. I mean, obviously.

Once you realize that worry only concerns things that haven’t happened yet, you can tackle the issue that you can’t change what’s about to happen, nor can you really predict what’s about to happen. Sure, you can sometimes make a fairly accurate guess as to what is going to occur in the near future, but do we ever really know for sure? No.

Thereafter it follows that anxiety and worry are pointless, because they don’t really change anything.

That’s my poignant advice, I guess.

Not like I’ve ever personally followed it.

Wamp wamp.

Yoga (explained by dogs).

First of all and basically more important than anything else I have to say today:

My coworker brought her dogs into work today.


photo-1 photo-2

Which pretty much my my entire life worth living.

You know what’s awesome about dogs?

Dogs have astounding personalities. They are way smarter then we give them credit for. They are always in the mood for hugs.

And of course, the best part-

They are perpetually grateful.

I’ve dogsit for enough pooches to be completely assured that they are always grateful.

For. Every. Little. Thing.

And that’s a big part of what yoga is trying to teach us – to be grateful for our bodies and minds and breaths and practices and lives.

But hey, you don’t want me to tell you about what there is to be grateful for.

You want my dogs to do it.

1. Be grateful for hugs.



2. Be grateful for food.

Even when the cat is eating it.

Even when the cat is eating it.

3. Be grateful for naps in the sun.


4. Be grateful for people who let you stick your face into theirs.


5. Be grateful for those who are happy to see you whenever you get home.


6. Be grateful for soft couches.


7. And snuggles.



8. And your family, even if you fight sometimes.

He started it.

He started it.

9. Be grateful for the opportunity to laugh at yourself.

I'm a table.

I’m a table. Get it? GET IT???

10. Mostly, just be grateful about life. Because it’s awesome. And so are you.





I almost just went to bed without writing a blog post today, internet. I almost just kiboshed 248 consecutive days of writing a blog simply by forgetting to write a blog post and going to bed instead. 

I feel like I’ve been really scatterbrained recently and things like that have been slipping through the cracks and apparently I need to get a grip or get some sleep or drop a responsibility or shift some weight around or something. I have been working a lot more recently to cover up for my car drama. I have been working on several secret projects. I have also been hanging out a lot with a certain he-who-shall-not-be-named (yes, the secret’s out, I’m a deatheater. Just kidding, obviously. But I am a Slytherin), but more on that later. Or never. Probably never.

Wow, this is turning into a super dramatic post, and I didn’t really want to write a super dramatic post. I mostly just want to go to bed.

I guess the thing is that I’m really worn out, and I don’t really know why. Some days I feel accomplished and productive and really on top of things and I’m hanging out with the people I need to hang out with and and checking things off of my to-do list and responding to emails and calling my grandparents and eating balanced meals. Other days, like today, I sit in an empty office for 2 hours with a pile of work in front of me just staring at it like it’s written in Aramaic, and then I get home and realize I’ve done nothing worthwhile and do nothing about it and forget about my blog and just basically curl up in a corner like a lump. Of nothingness. A nothinglump.

I don’t know. Is that normal? I feel like that’s probably normal, but I have nothing to go on.

My role model Ron Swanson once said:

I love you, Ron Swanson.

Sometimes (especially lately) I feel I’m not even half-assing it. I’m like, eighth assing things.

Just me?


Maybe bed will help.

Bed now.