Top 10 things to Love/Hate

Two burgers on a rustic wooden table
Two burgers on a rustic wooden table

Like the old song says, there's a thin line between love and hate. I was thinking about this in January, and in February, and again in March when living in Chicago can feel like being trapped in a cold, gray, concrete box. Every year I try to convince my kids that the grass is greener somewhere, anywhere, else. (This year I was briefly enamored with Texas--huh?) And every year they tell me to stop being a hater.

"You'll get through this, Mom," they promise.

And I do. Summer comes and I'm in love. I love the brilliant redbud tree that blooms in my yard, the bustling sidewalk cafes, and the calm closeness of Lake Michigan.

I jump the line between love and hate like I'm skipping rope, not only with my hometown of Chicago, but with other things as well.

Here are 9 more of my completely random love/hate items:

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2. Gastro Pubs. I drove by several of these the other day, hating that I never got the memo about what is apparently a new trend in restaurants. So I looked it up and learned that gastro pubs specialize in high quality food, as opposed to places that specialize in low quality food. Judging from sample menus, a gastro pub must serve truffle oil or sweet potato fries. I hate that the word gastro makes me think of gastric acid, or a gastro-intestinal bypass (not appetizing). But I love sweet potato fries.

3. Making a Murderer. I resisted watching this Netflix documentary about the prosecution of Steven Avery because I hate violence and can't stomach anything gruesome. But a friend convinced me to tune in, and I was hooked. There are plenty of despicable elements to the story, but who doesn't love a good mystery and an underdog's pursuit of justice?

4. Yoga Pants. I LOVE my yoga pants first thing in the morning when putting them on says I'm exercising today! I'm a yogini with a flexible schedule and an active lifestyle! In those optimistic early morning moments before leaving the house, I even pick out the cute outfit I'll change into after class. But I don't change. Worse yet, I don't make it to yoga class, and 3 days later I'm wearing the same pants and hating myself. I blame the yoga studio. Don't they know that scheduling a class at noon dooms me to a day-- and life--of frumpiness?

5. Family Members. No other life experience can match the baffling mix of comfort and discomfort that comes from spending time with family. I could say more about this but I'd have to start using a pen name.

6. Alimony. Even the sound of the word is odd; it sounds like acrimony. Sure, it's often called maintenance now, but is that any better? The idea of being maintained was once part of the feminine mystique, but when it comes to the New Thought movement, it can easily mess with a gal's prosperity consciousness. Still, receiving money for devoting time to mothering is lovely and just, and is one part of the dreaded system that gets my gratitude.

7. Country Music. I like country music. There are plenty of songs I can even say I love. I just wish it weren't so hard to convince my friends to give it a chance. Just when I was extolling the virtues of country music's musicianship and storytelling to my friend Joni, this song came on the radio: "Shake it for the birds, shake it for the bees, shake it for the catfish swimming down deep in the creek....Shake it for me girl." She gave me a look and my campaign was lost. Thanks a lot Luke Bryan.

8. Happy Hour. I love the drink specials but hate the implication that I will only be happy for an hour. Even if that's not quite true, I know that if I have a drink that early, I'm guaranteed to be in bed by 9:00 pm. And that doesn't make me happy.

9. Waterproof Mascara. I cry easily, and after spending years surreptitiously mopping up my raccoon eyes, I realized that I could simply reach for the mascara marked 'waterproof.' Wow. If only all problems were so easily solved! But this introduced another problem: it wouldn't come off. I bought a special eye makeup remover that made my eyes itch terribly, and by the next morning I looked like I'd been crying all night, which brought me back full-circle to the original problem. This is what my son calls a "first-world problem." I get it, but still....

10. Flat Irons. Yes, it's another first-world problem, but now that every 11-year-old knows how to wield a flat iron like a ninja (I speak from experience), there is no excuse for going out with a less-than-sleek-and-shiny hairdo (or so says my 11-year-old). I love the look, but hate the pressure. And now I've learned that the flat iron is the key to achieving the tousled bob, and that's just confusing.

How about you? What do you have on your love/hate list?

Tammy Letherer is the author of one novel,
Hello Loved Ones, and a memoir, Real Time Wreck: A Crash Course in Betrayal and Divorce, for which she is seeking agent representation. She is a writing coach who loves to help others find their voice, whether in a blog or in a book. She has also worked as an intuitive healer and uses her gifts of listening, insight, and vision to guide clients to write--and live--their best stories. Follow her on Facebook and LinkedIn.