I tend to be a little whiny and, yes, it's been suggested, even a touch moody. Oh, I know what you're thinking: You? But Lisa, you're so charming, so gosh darn delightful, so sparkly, so devil-may-care, so deliciously optimistic, so—what's the adjective—petite! It just seems impossible to believe that you don't actually rise and shine every morning ready to greet the world with that plucky, daisy-fresh, can-do attitude we've all come to know and worship. That is what you were thinking, right?

The truth is, I get irritable. This was brought to my attention last summer when Johannes—known in some circles as "the boyfriend"—likened me to "Caligula with an earache." Now, in my defense, we were on an airplane with our squirmy 3-year-old at the time. And, if memory serves, I had carefully dodged the drink cart and was making my way down the aisle with the aforementioned squirmy girl when we were trapped behind a guy who suddenly decided to store his trench coat in the overhead compartment as if he were part of the color guard folding the flag at Arlington National Cemetery.

In any case, I don't want to be the mean mommy. I don't want to be the PMS-riddled girlfriend. I don't want to be the bitch in the house. So as I see it, there are three ways to achieve a little karmic retooling...

Plan A: Buck Up! Things Could Be So Much Worse

I have compiled a list of five key talking-myself-down points for those moments when it's so tremendously tempting to complain bitterly, curse fate, or just plain mope.
  • Does the word Darfur appear anywhere in my address?

  • Was my address located in the ninth ward of New Orleans?

  • Is my post-military address a gurney at Walter Reed?

  • Am I trying to support my family on a minimum wage of $5.15 an hour?

  • Did I somehow manage to get cancer without getting health insurance?
On the days I come home from the market only to realize I forgot the one item I actually went there to buy, I've decided that I will not scowl, I will not pout, I will not drop to my knees, shrieking, "Why, God, why," like when Sean Penn finds out his kid is gone in Mystic River.

No, I will simply head back to the A&P secure in the knowledge that while I may occasionally forget the milk, I'm still able to remember the important conversations I have at work. And when you think about it, that puts me way ahead of guys like Scooter Libby and Alberto Gonzales.

Plan B: Give in!


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