Tuesday, December 3, 2013

But do you REALLY like it?

 Does it annoy anybody else when someone inappropriately "likes" a Facebook status?

Take, for example, my little sister's recent status update about being sick with the flu:

How rude!

Or this one of my own:

Admittedly, she was in on the joke since we'd spoken about this issue at length.

In an effort to help all of you socially awkward (or Facebook etiquette ignorant) people out there from embarrassing yourselves, I created this handy chart:

Click to enlarge.

Feel free to print it out and keep a copy of it in your wallet or next to your computer for reference, but when in doubt, don't click the "like" button.  People will like you more.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Diary of a Female Shoe Beautician

I used to be a shoe beautician.  For those not in-the-know, that's a fancy way of saying that I shined shoes for a living.  I loved it.

Back in 2002, Husband and I had moved back to Sacramento after failing miserably at becoming mega-stars in L.A.  My first venture, based on an obsession with the film American Beauty, was a stint as a Realtor.  I found a broker to work for, passed the test, got business cards made, and then gave up after three months.  To be completely honest, it just wasn't for me.  I loved the idea of being a Realtor (for those of you who don't know, the word "Realtor" is trademarked, hence the capitalization), but since I was new in town (again) it wasn't a great fit for me.  Helpful hint:  if you want to become a real estate agent, you should know your area very well and have a lot of friends who you aren't shy about networking through.

During this time, I started writing and recording music after answering an ad in a local free paper.  So, basically, after I left L.A., I found my niche in entertainment.  Not the best timing, but what are you gonna do?

Making music was great but I still needed a way to make money.  Husband was bartending and serving in restaurants, but we needed two incomes to make ends meet.  He knew someone who knew someone and I somehow ended up meeting with a wonderful, eccentric guy named Greg who built and owned the shoe shining stand in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency hotel, across from the California State Capitol in Sacramento.

Greg sounded like a California surfer dude, and he looked like Santa's cooler, younger, slimmer brother.  He had white hair, a white beard, glasses, and a warm smile.  He was a laid-back kind of guy who was very passionate about shoes and was looking for a new shoe shine girl.  The job paid cash and the hours were flexible, so soon he was training me on how to pop a rag while making good conversation.

This was the best job ever.  I would basically come in sometime in the morning on my assigned days and sit next to the stand reading a newspaper or a book until someone wanted their shoes shined.  My stand was located right next to the gift shop, and the ladies who worked in there were just as bored as I was, so we often made conversation and sometimes had lunch together.  When business would slow down, usually sometime after lunch, I'd leave for the day.

I charged $5 per shine, but I rarely made less than $7 after tips.  If I made at least fifty bucks during my shift, I'd set aside ten for Greg.  If I made $100 or more, I'd give him $20.  This is how he paid for supplies, and I'm pretty sure he didn't turn much of a profit from it.  He'd do overnight shoe repairs and leather work for clients as well, and I think that's how he stayed afloat.  He didn't seem like the kind of guy who needed much, though.  Greg was always loaning me books about the music business, pushing me to write more songs and get them heard.  He was truly of the most generous, positive people I've ever met.

I've been in a lot of airports and hotels, and I've never seen another female shoe beautician.  Every night, I'd leave with black wax caked under my nails and smudged up and down my arms, so maybe the gender preference in this particular line of work is due to conditions.  My back would ache after a few customers in a row, because of the angle at which I had to hold my torso while bending over to attend to the shoes, so it was very physical work.

Speaking of bending over, I'm sure that the customers' view had a bit to do with my tips.  I usually wore a white button-down shirt, but if we were particularly hurting for money, I'd wear a v-neck, which guaranteed larger tips (hey, I was 22).

Speaking of inappropriate conduct, I remember this one guy who was in from San Diego.  He was nice enough at first, making small-talk.  He said he had a boat.  I said that was nice.  He asked me if I wanted to go down to San Diego and see the boat.  I said I was married.  He said my husband didn't have to know about it.  I finished that shine in two coats of polish, rather than the regular three.  When he got down out of the chair, he reached into his briefcase and gave me a can of cordovan-colored polish that he'd had in there, along with a $20 bill.  "Keep the change," he said, along with a smirk.  I remember thinking, if he has a can of shoe polish, why is he paying me to do it?  I was kind of naive back then.

Another time, there was a GOP convention being held in the hotel.  In those three days, I made over $600.  Politicians really enjoy having shiny shoes--especially Republicans.

There were regulars, of course.  One guy named Val would come see me once a week.  I looked forward to talking with him as I worked on his shoes--he was very nice.  He reminded me a bit of Kevin Spacey--soft-spoken, friendly.  He had teenaged daughters and cordovan loafers with tassels on them.  Tassels were a pain in the butt to shine over, but I didn't mind with Val.

Cordovan shoe polish
I've mentioned cordovan twice, but it occurs to me that some of you probably have no idea what that word means--I know that I didn't before I began shining shoes.  In my kit, I had four basic colors of shoe polish:  black, cordovan, brown, and tan, from darkest to lightest.  Now, it turns out that cordovan is actually a material and not a color, but the polish in the can is a reddish brown color and goes on shoes that are sort of burgandy.  They go with black pants and they go with brown pants, and if I were a man, I'd only buy cordovan shoes, because really, how much more versatile do shoes get?  I never see cordovan shoes for women.  It's kind of weird.

On the subject of shoe color, that was one of the few tricky aspects to this job.  Sometimes, a person would come in with shoes that were right in-between colors, and you couldn't quite tell which polish to use on them.  The darker polishes made for shiner shoes, but if you chose too dark a polish, it was really obvious and the shoes were ruined.  Of course, I always had leather conditioner or clear polish to fall back on, but neither of those would produce quite as much shine as I'd grown to desire.  A few times, I chose the wrong color polish, resulting in disaster.  A man would come in with dark tan shoes, and leave with streaky brown shoes.  I'd try and talk a lot and act extra friendly as I was doing my job, but I could barely contain my embarrassment as I showed him the finished product.  Those instances didn't usually result in a good tip, but nobody ever yelled at me, probably because I was a young girl.  After a few mistakes, I learned to hold up the polish to let the client choose what color to use if there was any doubt.  From then on, it was their fault if their shoes got ruined.

Another regular was Jim.  He was a cab driver, and he was at least 80 years old.  His wife had died a year or two prior, and he was lonely.  He came into the hotel often, waiting for fares, and I'd give him free shoe shines while we'd talk about politics or world affairs.  Jim loved pie.  I took him out to lunch for his birthday at Marie Callenders's.

He invited me and my husband over to his home one night for dinner.  He lived in a double-wide trailer which had been decorated by his late wife and was situated in a trailer park.  He lived there alone with his shih-tzu whom he loved and adored.  I took home all of his dress shoes that night and had them waiting for him the next day, shiny as new pennies.  He had many ailments, including skin cancer and emphysema, and one day another cab driver came in and told me that Jim had died.  I went to his funeral and cried a lot--I framed this photo I took of him and gave it to his daughter, who placed it on top of his casket.

Sometimes, famous people would come into the hotel.  Arnold Schwarzenegger was new in office, and he walked by and said "hi" once.  He was short.  I shined pro-wrestler Rick Flair's shoes.  I didn't know who he was at the time, and he was very nice and happy to talk about wrestling with me.  Gwyneth Paltrow was staying at the hotel once, and I spoke to her as she walked out to the pool.  "It's so hot!" she said to me, as she strolled by in her cover-up.  She seemed really sweet and friendly, and I've liked her ever since.

One time, I was shining a man's shoes and it turned out that he was the uncle of one of my childhood friends.  Keep in mind that I am from a town of 2,000 people in rural Missouri and we were in Sacramento, California.  Also, he had changed his last name to be different from that of my friend.  The only way we discovered our connection was that he asked where I was from--a very common question when middle-aged men are trying to make small-talk with a 22-year-old woman who will be touching their feet for the next five minutes, it turns out.

The thing I miss most about being a shoe beautician is the physical act of shining the shoes.  There is something incredibly satisfying about taking a dull, scuffed-up pair of loafers and buffing them to a mirror-gloss.  It's a beautiful thing.  I do my husband's shoes sometimes, but not having a shine stand with a place to keep them from moving makes it less fun and more difficult.

I had one competitor who worked inside the capitol building.  I never met the man, but I'd heard about him second-hand from many customers who would come to me when he wasn't at his post, which was often.  It turned out that he'd had lung cancer.  After hearing that, I never looked at the shoe polish I sneezed out at the end of my shift the same way again.

I quit my job at the Hyatt when Husband and I decided to move back to the Midwest.  We'd been priced out of the home market in Sacramento and we wanted to start a family soon.  Husband had gotten an entry-level job with a food service company and had moved up the management chain to where he'd qualified for a promotion in Kansas City within the company.  I was sad to tell Greg that I was leaving, and if I remember correctly, he shut the chair down after I left.  He wasn't making enough out of it, and it wasn't worth it to him to keep it staffed.  That made me sad.

I was supposed to meet Greg before I left town to give him back his shoeshine kit, but time got away from me and the kit made the move too.  I still have it, and I feel terrible about having inadvertently stolen it from him.  As I was writing this, I stopped to Google Greg and see if I could get in touch with him to send the kit back...and I stumbled upon his obituary.  He died in January of this year.  No cause of death was given, but he was only in his mid-60s.

Greg, if you can see this where you are, thank you so much for giving me a job when I needed one.  I loved you for it, and I loved shining shoes.  This shine's for you:

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Beef Pot Pie Casserole Recipe

I am, against all odds, still sick.  HOWEVER, last week I met with a new doctor whom I adore, and I think she's got me on the road to recovery.  At least, it kind of feels like it.  I mean, we'll see.  I'm optimistic.

Anyway, do you guys like comfort food?

It's a chilly Autumn day and I finally remembered to thaw out the stew meat I had in the freezer, so I'm making one of my specialties.  It's a recipe I came up with last winter when I was trying to think of something new to make that The Kid would eat.  I wanted to make beef stew but since he's a little picky (but loves crust), I decided to make it into a giant pot pie instead.  I call it a casserole since it's in a casserole dish.

This recipe is easy to follow and is often unattended, but it definitely takes a long time to cook--about five hours from start to finish, ideally.  If you begin after lunch, you should be all set for dinner, but I find that it's best to prepare it on a day where you don't have much else to do, like a lazy Sunday or Saturday.


Ingredients for stew:
About 1 lb. stew meat (beef)
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper
1/2 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-32 oz. carton of good beef broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 TB dried parsley
3 medium-sized potatoes, cubed (peeling optional)
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

...or maybe just one and half carrots.
Heat a two-quart sauce pan over medium heat.  Coat the stew meat in a mixture of the flour and salt & pepper to taste (probably about 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp pepper).  I like to use a ziploc bag, but you could do it on a plate. Pour a tablespoon or so of oil into the hot pan, then add the stew meat along with any leftover flour mixture.  Brown the meat on all sides, then remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add a little more oil if needed and throw in the onions.  Cook them until they're translucent, then throw in the garlic for a couple of minutes.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape any meat remnants from the bottom of the pan while the onions and garlic cook.

Put the beef back in the pan along with the beef broth and all the spices.  Turn the heat way down and simmer for three hours with the lid on, stirring every so often.  You can cook it for less time, but the longer you simmer, the better it will taste.

Ingredients for pie crust:
2 1/2 c flour
1 c cold butter, cut into small cubes (or 1/2 c butter, 1/2 c shortening if you prefer a flakier crust and don't mind partially hydrogenated oils)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
ice water

While your stew is simmering, you can prepare the crust.  Combine all ingredients with a pastry blender until the consistency is that of a coarse meal (tiny lumps throughout).  A tablespoon at a time, add ice water, mixing with the pastry cutter and then your hands until the dough sticks together and can form a ball.

On a large piece of saran wrap, press the dough out flat with your hands once (this is what makes the finished product flaky) and then form it into a ball. Wrap it up in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

After your stew has simmered for a few hours, cube the potatoes and cut up the carrots (or use baby carrots, if you like) and add them to the pot.  Simmer for an additional hour, or until you can stick a fork through the carrots but they're still quite firm.

Remove the bay leaf.

If your stew is still thin, you can mix up cornstarch and cold water and add a tiny bit at a time, until it's the consistency of the inside of a pot pie.  It should look more like gravy than soup.

Season with salt and pepper (or Lawry's Seasoned Salt, which I prefer) to taste and remove from heat.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Get out a 2 qt casserole pan (mine is glass and 8 x 11").  Lightly flour a large clean surface and roll  your dough out to larger than the top of the pan with a rolling pin or wine bottle. If it sticks, use a little more flour, but try not to add too much.

Turn the pan over on top of the dough. With a butter knife, cut about an inch away from and around the pan.
Like this.

Remove the pan and place it on a baking sheet (Do not skip this step.  Putting the dish on a baking sheet will make it 10x easier to put in and take out of the oven, and will catch any mess if it bubbles over), then fill it with the stew mixture.

Fold your crust four or five times so you can pick it up and carefully transfer it to the top of the pan, unfolding once it's there.  Pinch a crust around the sides, onto the pan.  You'll need to work quickly because the hot stew will be melting your crust.

Stars. Because it's too early for Christmas trees and I didn't have any turkeys.
If you didn't tear any holes in the top during the transfer (it happens) cut several slits in the crust with a very sharp knife.  You can lightly flour and roll the leftover dough out again and cut it into shapes to put on top of the crust.  (I like to do this because the crust is my family's favorite part.)

Bake, uncovered, at 425F for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  Serve in bowls.  Feeds however many people can eat a whole casserole dish full of food (six or less).

Get in my belly!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Sound of the City

I love this:

This excerpt is from the story "Oh Joseph, I'm So Tired" in the book Liars In Love, a collection of short stories by Richard Yates. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Let's see if I can finish this post before my Motrin PM starts working.

I'm still sick.  This puts me in a predicament, because being sick is pretty much the only thing going on in my life right now, but I feel bad talking or complaining about it on social media.  I know that's probably a stupid thing to feel bad about, but I can't help it.  Every time I post anything about being sick anywhere, I usually will start to feel guilty about half an hour later and delete it.  I'm not sure what triggers this instinct, but I suspect it has to do with the fact that there are so many people who have it worse than I do with my lingering chronic bronchitis (or whatever the heck it is), so I don't think I have any room to complain.  Like, I don't have lung cancer, for example.  At least, not that I know of.  They can see lung cancer in chest x-rays, right?  Hm.  I hope so.

Anyway, my point in saying all of this is to give some excuse for not blogging.  I will blog again as soon as I can think of something to blog about other than illness.  Thank you for your patience.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Brain Dump

I miss the olden days (a few years ago), when everyone blogged and we all commented on everyone's blogs and we had intelligent conversations in more than 140 characters.  What happened?

Recently, I went to the eye doctor.  He told me that I shouldn't be wearing contacts.  I've been wearing contacts for 20 years, so this came as a bit of a surprise.  He told me that I can see well and that I should only be wearing glasses to movies and other places where I need to see things very far away.  Since he wouldn't fit me with any contacts and I was nearly out of my supply, I had no choice but to take his advice and stop wearing them.  It was hard at first, but I got used to it, and now I don't have to put anything in my eyes in the morning, so I guess I should thank the old doctor after all.  He actually knew what he was talking about.  I also got these new glasses, which make me look very smart:

This government shutdown is crazy.  Several of my family members work for the government, and while they have been instructed to report to work and cancel all planned vacations, none of them know when to expect their next paycheck.  I don't get it.  If the government is shut down and they aren't getting paid, then why are they being forced to attend to their job?  It seems to me that this isn't so much a "shut down" as it is a forced enslavement of a bunch of government workers.  Except for the Congressmen and women who initiated the whole thing--THEY are getting paid, of course.  I hate politics.

I've been sick.  It started with a head cold, moved south to my chest, and morphed into bronchitis.  I'm tired but unable to sleep, mostly because the coughing keeps me up because it mostly happens when I lie down.  Also, I've got a painful clogged tear duct.  Oh, and menstrual cramps.  I figure that my body is getting all its pain for the next several months out of the way so that I can live a happy and carefree life from Halloween to New Year's, at least.  I'm not complaining, though, because it could always be worse.

I found a four-leaf clover this week.  It reminded me of when I was a kid, and how my best friend and I would sit for hours and scour the clover patches, looking for as many four-leaf clovers as we could find.  We had a whole collection, which we preserved in wax paper in my mom's dictionary.  I wonder if they're still in there?  I should check that out next time I visit her.

Speaking of which, since my car is going kaput and my mom has a spare one sitting around, I may be flying out there to buy it from her.  If that happens, I will be driving it back, possibly alone.  I don't really mind driving for 15 hours alone, but I'd rather do it with someone else so I don't have to stop to sleep.  I envisioned a When Harry Met Sally scenario, until I realized that I probably don't have any friends-of-friends who need to drive to Philadelphia from Illinois, and anyway men and women can't be friends.  So, my older sister may come with me instead.  Hopefully.  If I go at all.  This is still to be determined.
I stopped shampooing my hair.  This sounds gross, but so far I like it.  Apparently, this is a whole thing that many clean people with difficult hair have been doing for years (like a secret club) but I never knew about it.  The first I heard of it was from Una LaMarche when she was shilling some shampoo on her blog, then she referenced it again in her book FIVE SUMMERS.  I really hate washing my hair because it takes so much work to get it styled again, so taking out one step seemed like a good deal to me.  I just use a lot of (very cheap) conditioner instead, and now my hair is shinier and way less frizzy and not at all greasy or gross.  Weird, right?  Who'd have thought?  Google it if you have questions, because I'm no expert.

I really want to have a near death experience.  I mean, I don't want to die PERMANENTLY, but it would be nice to catch of glimpse of what I have to look forward to.  I've been reading a lot of books about people who have died and come back, and I'm very jealous.  Can someone please come and knock me out for a bit?  But please don't make it hurt too much.  Or leave any marks.  And don't scare my kid.  ...This may prove to be more difficult than I anticipated.

I have an Instagram account now, in case you have one too: I know, I know:  I said that I thought filters were stupid.  I still kind of think that they are (mostly because it takes me several minutes to decide on one with every photo), but if you can't beat 'em, join 'em and all that.

I made this:

Wreaths and home decorations aren't usually really my thing, but then I decided that they looked kind of fun to make and thought why not? So here it is.  Then I decided that if other people can sell wreaths on Etsy for a hundred bucks, then I can sell one for $75.  So, I opened an Etsy shop of my own and put this one on there and waited for the orders to start coming in, but that never happened, so now I have an Etsy shop with one wreath in it (and some vintage earrings I don't wear anymore) and no customers.  But at least my door looks pretty now, so all is not lost.

And that is what has been going on with me.  How have you all been?

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Today, I...

Inadvertently eavesdropped on a woman who has way too much disposable income:

 Bought five big containers of salt water taffy, for less than $.20 each:

But honestly, how could I NOT buy it?

Came across this super-sexy eye patch:

"Arr!  How YOU doin', landlubber?"

Experienced Christmas shopping in September:

Seriously Costco?  No.

...and realized that I may have done all this with my boobs visible to passersby:

 ...because a bra really doesn't go with this top.  :-/

 How was your Thursday?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On Being a Stay At Home Mom.

Every time I sit down to blog...

I have  huge folder full of...

The thing is...

I can't even figure out how to start this post of properly.  That's how muddled my brain has been lately.  I know it's a phase, but when one is in a phase such as this one, it feels as though one will never emerge from it.

The incongruity of my situation is that right now I have loads of time to write.  My child has just gone back to school, and is now there for seven and a half hours a day.  I should be writing novels! and screenplays! and songs! and short stories! and blog posts! but I haven't been able to wade through the mud in my brain in order to dig out the words.  It's a problem.

This is not to say that I haven't been writing.  I wrote a short script yesterday which had been floating around in my brain for weeks and I've sat down daily to write blog posts.  It's just that none of it is very...good. 

Many writers and writer gurus say that if you're having a hard time coming up with words, the remedy is just to sit down and write.  So that's what I do.  I sit and I write and I'm very happy to do that, only I have had little to nothing to show for it at the end of the day.  If I had to pinpoint the root of my fog, I'd have to say that it's pressure.  Pressure to succeed.  Pressure to earn money.  Pressure to do this while also still maintaining my role as a wife and mother.  It's a lot.

"It's the toughest job in the world" has become a cliche, but after being a stay at home mom for more than six years, I can attest to the validity of that statement.  I do all the things that you would expect me to do--including being responsible for keeping a WHOLE PERSON ALIVE, which everyone seems to overlook--but the hardest part of this job is something that is rarely talked about.  Staying at home with my kid is mentally draining. 

First, there's the guilt.  I could write an entire post dedicated to the guilt of being a stay at home mom, but here's a small sample of things which cause me to feel guilty on a regular basis: not earning an income, wanting time to myself, feeding my kid food with corn syrup in it, not being a perfect housekeeper, wanting to take a nap, drinking alcohol in front of my kid, not having him enrolled in sports, the fact that he can't swim yet, getting the regular fruits and vegetables and not all organic ones, not being able to get my kid to eat anything green, spending money on myself, being addicted to caffeine, not scheduling regular dentist appointments for my family, forgetting to schedule oil change appointments for my car, reading a book or watching a movie, or basically doing anything which does not involve my family. 

Then, similar to guilt, but a different monster altogether is the worry.  Here's a sample of things I worry about on a regular basis:  that my kid watches too much TV, that he'll miss the bus, that I won't wake him up in time for school, that we're not reading enough, that we're not practicing his writing enough, that I've gotten him addicted to sugar, that he'll get a terminal illness, that he'll get his feelings hurt by someone at school, that he'll stop wanting to be seen in public with me soon, that I won't be able to get a real job by the time I'm able to because I've spent all this time at home with him and employers don't like big time gaps in resum├ęs, that he'll drown, that he'll fall in a sand hole and suffocate, that he'll be molested if I send him into the men's bathroom alone, that I'm not doing a good job as a mom, that I'm spoiling my kid, that I will forget to pay a bill, that my kid will never eat a vegetable I don't force down his throat and that he'll get a vitamin deficiency from it and cease to grow, that my car will break down because it's making a weird noise but I haven't figured out how to juggle our finances and bring it in to get looked at yet, that my kid will be addicted to technology, that my husband will lose his job and we'll be income-less, that I'm not spending enough time writing, that I'm not spending enough time cleaning, that I'm not spending enough quality time with my kid, and I could go on, but I'm pretty sure you stopped reading about halfway through this list anyway.

So, you've got your guilt and you've got your worry--either of which would be enough to warrant a hefty anti-anxiety medication prescription--but then you've got the outside world to deal with.  The condescending looks from strangers when you tell them that you're a stay at home mom.  The "so what do you do all day?" questions from well-meaning people, which carry the inadvertent implication that you live a life of leisure while they slave away all day at a 9-5 job.  The expectation from everyone around you that you will get a "regular job" now that your child is in school for a good portion of the day--not one of them taking into account the fact that kids get sick, schools have many holiday breaks, and that you would have to quit or hire a full-time caregiver (which is the entire thing you were trying to avoid BY being a stay at home mom) once summer vacation hits. 

My husband's job is not 9-5, it's often 8-6 (not counting the often hour-long commute each way) and sometimes it's even 9-3.  Yes, that's 9AM to 3AM the next morning.  On weekends.  I'm not complaining about it, but that's because I'm a stay at home mom.  That means that whenever he works crazy hours, I'm here as soon as he does come home and we can spend time together as a family.

Of course, I'm also a writer.  I've managed to write over 400 blog posts, three feature-length screenplays, a few songs, and a book all in stolen moments over the last six years.  In spite of all that, when people ask me what I do for a living I usually say that I'm a stay at home mom--because that's the job that takes up the majority of my time and mental capacity.  It's also the most important job to me right now.

If it seems like I'm defending myself, I guess that's because I feel like I always have to defend myself.  It's silly.  In how many other lines of work do people have to do this?  "Yes, I'm an accountant, but the building I work in is very tall and the benefits are great."  "Sure, I'm a mechanic, but the hours are flexible and the grease is actually pretty good for your skin."

I know that I shouldn't care what other people think, and I don't, really.  Contrary to what I've presented here, I'm actually quite happy with my role as a stay at home mom.  I know that I'm lucky to be able to do it and that many parents wish they were in my position, anxiety and all.  I just wish that people would let me do my job and experience my anxiety in peace.

Well, would you look at that!  I guess I did have something to say after all. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Imperfectly Beautiful Youth

My niece was complaining on Twitter not long ago that she got the short end of the stick, genetically speaking, comparing herself to all the beautiful women in her family.  This, of course, caused me to tweet back in a supportive fashion, telling her that she's beautiful and much prettier than I was at her age.  To illustrate my point, I showed her this photo:

She didn't agree with my assessment, which brings me to my point:  nobody is ever as ugly as they think they are when they're a teenager.

This was something of a revelation for me after, several months ago, examining what few photos I have of myself from that time in my life. .  I mean, I had convinced myself that I was REALLY ugly in those formative years.  I thought that I was repulsive troll.  I was not a troll.  My husband has been telling me this for years, but I've always thought he just had weird taste in women.

I remember being tortured by my looks as a kid.  I was the skinny, frizzy-haired, middle child, sandwiched between an older sister who had curves and shiny, straight hair and a younger one who was blonde, bubbly, and equally gorgeous.  Every summer, we'd all three sit at the same pool for hours, in the same sun, and they'd leave with golden tans while I came home with a blistering sunburn and a few hundred new freckles on the side.

Looking different, my shyness, combination skin, a sister who (as sisters do) teased me relentlessly, and the disinterest of almost every single boy I'd ever had a crush on worked together to form my crippling insecurity.  However, when I look at pictures of myself from those tormented years, I don't see a hideous, awkward girl with Bert eyebrows (okay, the eyebrows were a little too big).  I see a girl who stood out, even though she was obviously trying her best to hide behind all that hair.  And, actually, I'm going to say it:  she was pretty. 

I want to reach into this picture and shake some sense into her.

Adolescence is torturous in many ways, so I know that asking my lovely 13-year-old niece to see her own beauty probably sounds like an impossible feat from her point of view.  Heck, I just turned 34 years old and I'm only now able to do it.  However, I hope that she and all the other young girls out there reading this will at least give it a try.

Girls, listen up:  stop the self-loathing.  Those "imperfections" which you are magnifying in your brain are likely invisible to, or possibly even admired by, the people around you.  Embrace them.  One day, you'll look back on this time in your life and you'll regret that you were too busy dwelling on your flaws to have recognized the beauty of your youth.

Mark my words.


A former (non-)troll.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Plants vs. Zombies, out of context

Eavesdropping on Husband and The Kid playing Plants Vs. Zombies:

Husband:  What the heck?  That bird just took my potato?

Kid:  No, it took your WALNUT.

H:  It took my walnut?!?  Ahhhh!  Stupid bird!

K:  What did it do?

H:  Took away my potato.

K:  The walnut or the potato?

H:  The potato.  Or, the walnut. Ahhhh, it's getting ready to take my dragon.

K:  They killed him.

H:  Ahhh!

K:  Die!  Eat.  my.  dust.

H:  Oh, no!  Now they're eating my bomb.

K:  They're still eating the potato.

H:  Good.  Oh, theeeere we go baby.

K:  Feel free to use that superpower on the bomb.

H:  Oh no.

K:  Hey, you can get rid of that.

H:  I'm gonna be in TROUBLE!!!!

K:  Dad, all your lawnmowers are there.  Even if they get past, you're still fine.

H:  Oh, I'm used to playing the special levels, where you can't let anyone get to your lawnmower.

K:  Those zombies are tough. And smart. Even though they don't have brains, they're still smart. What is that?

H:  I don't know..."bounces zombies back into nearby water"  Oooo!

K:  So it's basically a beam that bounces them.  Do you want to be the first to try that out?

H:  Thanks, buddy.

K:  Would you die already?  Birds, could you give me a favor and die?  Thank you!

H:  Oh yeah.

K:  Bam.  Water is their worst enemy!

H:  Ooo, a six-combo.  I haven't done a six combo yet.

K:  I have done a seven combo.

H:  Six combo again.

K:  Oh, I'm getting six combos now.

H:  Oooh, a seven combo!  Another seven combo!  Nice.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Crazy Watermelon Lady

I've somehow become the crazy watermelon lady.

This title seemed unlikely to be awarded to me because a) I don't really eat all that much watermelon, and b) there doesn't need to be a b.  I've never heard of a crazy watermelon lady before.

It all started a couple of days ago when I went to the grocery store.  As I was perusing the fruit section, I came across a box full of watermelons being sold at an exorbitant price, so I took a picture and uploaded it to social media with the caption, "Seriously??":

Look at that "everyday value"!

Everyone who understood the value of a watermelon in the United States was as appalled as I was, and shared in my outrage.  Who does this grocery store think they are, charging nine bucks for a watermelon when five is the norm???

This began a chain reaction of other people talking about watermelon prices in their area, and some snapping a photo of their own market's display.  For example, my cousin tagged me in this one:

That's more like it!

And my friend, Steve, sent me this one:

What?  They're practically giving 'em away!
Then, a friend of mine who lives in Japan informed me that they cost between $20-30 USD each there, so then I felt bad for complaining.

I thought the whole conversation was over, until I went back to the same grocery store today and noticed that the same exact melons which started the whole frenzy were on "sale":

Someone must have rearranged them, because I doubt anybody's bought one.

...and that they were still way too expensive for watermelons.  It was after I posted this photo that I realized I'd become the crazy watermelon lady, and that from here on out, all of my Facebook friends would think of me whenever they saw a watermelon. 

Oh well.  I suppose it's nice to be thought of, even if it is in relation to my miserly attitude towards large, seasonal fruits.  I'll take it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Songs That Get Me Right There

Some songs just hurt.

I have a whole Spotify playlist called "songs that get me right there".  It's filled with songs that punch me in the gut.  Some just have especially beautiful melodies or lyrics, some of them are linked to certain people or events in my life, but all of them could make me cry if I'm listening in a heightened emotional state.

I'd love to explain the exact quality a piece of music must possess in order to do this to me--a specific chord progression, for example--but it's not an exact science.  It's the auditory equivalent of charisma:  undefinable, but I know it when I see it.  I wish I could define it, because then I'd be able to write an entire album full of emotionally-packed songs, but I've only ever almost gotten there once or twice in my own songs.

Then again, the music which breaks one's heart varies from person to person, and thank God for that.  Isn't it wonderful that we each hear a song through our own filter of personal tastes and life experiences?  Music may be the universal language, but I guarantee you that no two people hear a song in exactly the same way.  It's a beautiful thing.

Here are a few of examples from my "gets me right there" playlist.  What would be on yours?

Keane, "Everybody's Changing"

Crosby, Stills, & Nash, "Wasted on the Way"

The Killers, "For Reasons Unknown"

Monday, August 12, 2013

Talking to my niece and feeling old

My niece, Kaytlin, left last Wednesday.  She was here for three weeks, so you'd think I'd have gotten sick of her, but not so much.  I miss her. 

Since I only see Kaytlin once a year now (and she looks much older than she is), I kept forgetting that she's only 13-years-old.  However, she was more than happy to remind me of this fact on many occasions, most of which left me feeling totally out of touch with "kids these days".


  • "Papa Don't Preach" came on the radio.  As I was singing along, she asked, "Who sings this?"

  • Listening to her sing every word to every single new pop song on the radio, many of which I'd never heard before her arrival (and most of which had incredibly inappropriate lyrics).

  • Waiter at a restaurant in the West Village:  "We have a great happy hour, would you and your daughter like a cocktail to start?"  (Do I seriously look old enough to have a 21+-year-old daughter??)


  • Her:  "That guy in the planetarium movie said--"
          Me:  "Wait, that wasn't a guy narrating--that was Whoopi Goldberg."

          Her:  "Who's Whoopi Goldberg?"


  • Having to explain to her who Rosie the Riveter is so that I could have her pose for this photo:

  • Me:  "When I was a kid, I had to go to the library to look up facts and research for school papers."
          Her:  "That sounds so hard."


  • Watching her shop in Hot Topic.  (Seriously, though--five bucks for a rubber band bracelet??)

  •  Her:  "Who's Dustin Hoffman?"


I'm not really complaining--seeing her reaction to the twist at the end of The Sixth Sense was pretty entertaining.  In fact, I'd go so far as to suggest that everyone in their thirties should house a teenager if the opportunity should arise; it's fun to see yourself from a new perspective.  I'm kind of an old soul anyway (does anyone under the age of 40 understand the reference in my post title ^, for instance?), so it's kind of refreshing to have my old fogey side validated. 

I think I could use more punctuation in that last paragraph.  It didn't even have an ellipses...or an exclamation point!  But, I digress.  Obviously, I've just made my point about being old.  How many young'uns would even use a semicolon...or the word "young'uns"?  Let them listen to their inappropriate music and buy their silly rubber bracelets.  Better them than me...or than I?  Off to Google.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

THE VOICE Audition Recap and Tips

I'm back from The Voice's open call!

Well, I mean, technically I was back on Saturday evening, but I'm just now getting around to blogging about it.  Neither my friend Jeni nor I made it through to the next round, but as we left the Javits Center in Manhattan and wandered around Chelsea looking for a place to eat lunch, we both had some interesting reflections on the morning which we thought ought to be shared.
When I was preparing for the audition, I found a lot of blog posts discussing what the process was like (long wait, ten to an audition room, etc.), but I didn't find much advice.  Here are my thoughts on the process, in quick list form for those of you who just googled "tips on auditioning for The Voice" or something similar:

1.  Warm up your voice before you get there.  Our audition time was at 7 AM.  We woke up around 5:30, and since we were staying with friends and took the subway to the Javits, neither of us warmed up our voices.  We both kind of just assumed that since it was a voice audition, everyone would be singing and we would have plenty of vocal exercise before we got in front of the judges.  WRONG.  It was eerily quiet in the convention center for the majority of our 5-hour wait.  We never got an opportunity to warm up at all, and therefore I started my song in too-low a key.  Oops.

2.  You will have a better chance at getting through to the next round if you surprise the producer with your voice.  This kind of makes sense, since it mimics what you see in the blind auditions on television.  These people are looking not only for an excellent voice, but for good television.  In our group of ten (they take you in front of a producer in groups of ten to audition), there were four people who I would have judged to have excellent voices:  my friend Jeni, two young black girls, and one large white girl.  Only the large white girl made it through.  My theory on why she got through and the others didn't is because her voice didn't match her look; in other words, you wouldn't have expected that voice to come out of that person.  Now, there may be absolutely nothing you can do about this, but one thing you could try is dressing against your type.  For example, if you have the voice of a rockstar, dress conservative, or if you're a country singer, dress like a heavy metal rocker.  It can't hurt.

3.  Try not to take it too seriously.  This is an open call.  Thousands of people will be there, and many of them will sing as well as or better than you do.  If you don't make it through, it's not because you're not a great singer, it's just because you aren't what the producers are looking for, in terms of a character for their show.  Jeni overheard one girl say, "I hope that I get a callback, because that will mean that I'm a good singer!".  We saw a lot of tears and a lot of angry people as we left.  Do not place your self-worth on whether or not you make it onto some tv show.

4.  Have two or three songs ready.  I've seen other people post this tip, but it is REALLY important.  The girl who got chosen in our group was asked to sing a second song.  She knocked it out of the park, because she'd obviously prepared.  Another girl in our group--one of the last to sing--got flustered and blew it because she was singing the same song as the first girl in our group.  Always have a backup plan, and make sure you can start each song at your strongest verse & chorus, because that's all they'll ask you to sing.

5.  Bring a sweater.  Even though it's summer, it was really cold in our building, and a lot of people were freezing, which is bad for your voice.  It never hurts to be prepared.

6.  Bring a water bottle.  I drank two giant bottles of water in the five hours we were there.  Hydration is important, and concessions were really expensive.  There was a water fountain, but who wants to keep leaving the line to get a drink?  Bring a bottle.

7.  Sing something that makes sense for you.  I obsessed over song choice, and in the end I decided to go with one of my older originals (which you can listen to here) since I knew all the words and it obviously suited my voice.  Even though I didn't get through (and I sang it too low), I felt good about my choice because it was who I am as an artist.  One guy in our group sang a Britney Spears song from 2000 and when it was over, he asked the producer for some tips on what he could do better next time.  His advice?  "Sing something that makes more sense for you."  Now, I'm not saying that you can't sing a song by someone of the opposite sex--two girls sang Michael Jackson songs exceptionally well--but be sure that it matches up with who you would be as an artist, should you record an entire album.

8.  Wear comfortable shoes.  As I said, we were there for about five hours, and even though part of the wait is done in chairs, many girls had to hold their shoes in their hands by the time we made our way to the judging room.  Just find an outfit that can accommodate a sensible shoe choice so that you have one less thing to worry about.

9.  Don't wink at the producer during your audition.  Yeah, I did that.  I wink a lot (most often at babies), and when he looked up at me as I was singing to him, I did it right to his face.  I think he thought I was hitting on him.  Oops.  Oh well.

Aside from all those bullet points, don't forget to have fun!  Auditioning for a reality show is practically a rite of passage in this day and age.  I'm glad that I got to check that off my list, but I'm actually really relieved that I didn't make it through to callbacks.  Sure, I love to sing--and I guess it would be nice to make a living doing it--but I really don't want to be famous.  In all honesty, I probably wouldn't have gone at all if it hadn't been for Jeni, but I'm glad I did go.  We had a great day and half in NYC together and came back with some fun memories.  And that's more than enough for me.  :)

Monday, July 22, 2013


I've had a lot of family out visiting lately, which is one reason I've been absent from the blogging community.  First, my brother and nephew flew out from Missouri, then when they left, my 13-year-old niece, Kaytlin, took their place in the guest room.

I don't know how you people with more than one kid do this.  I will admit, since Kaytlin arrived, it's been easier, but when I had two elementary school-aged kids in this house, I was pulling my hair out.  What is up with all the fighting?  Anyway, it's calmer now, because Kaytlin just reads and cries a lot.

Oh, is that weird?

Let me explain.  When I discovered that Taylor Swift was playing a concert here in Philadelphia on her RED tour, we arranged her visit to coincide with the show.  About a week before she arrived, we were talking on the phone and looking up details when we discovered that Ed Sheeran was one of the opening acts.

"Are you serious???  It says Ed Sheeran???" she asked, breathlessly.

"Uh, yeah.  Why?"

"OH MY GOD!!!!!"

I thought she was going to drop the phone.

Although I didn't know it at the time, Kaytlin has been obsessed with Ed Sheeran and his music for well over two years now.  She knows the words to every one of his songs and dreams about marrying him and having his red-headed babies.  Seeing Taylor Swift perform was now just an added bonus to seeing the one she was really there for:  Ed.

To make a long story short, we went to the concert on Saturday night and it was the best night of Kaytlin's life.  She met Ed Sheeran.  I won't go into the details of how it happened, but I would like to say that this guy, apart from being unbelievably talented, is also incredibly nice.

 He gladly took photos with us, signed Kaytlin's t-shirt (not the one she was wearing, the one with his own name on it which she had in a bag), and gifted her the guitar pick he used in his performance with Taylor Swift.  He apologized profusely for being so sweaty, but we were all sweaty since it was about 90 degrees outside and anyway I know for a fact that Kaytlin appreciated him sweating all over her since she vowed to never wash that shirt again.


After we parted ways, she began crying.  And shaking.  And hyperventilating.  It was hilarious and awesome, and I have never seen anyone so happy or excited in my life--so, of course I took pictures.

She cries a little here and there now, whenever she sees the pictures and remembers that what happened wasn't a dream.  All of her friends are really jealous and Husband and I are now *officially* the best uncle and aunt of all-time.

If you don't know who Ed Sheeran is, I will post this video here for you to enjoy.  I officially love him now, too, though probably in a different way than Kaytlin does.  I hope that he waits five years for her so that he can one day become my nephew--not because he's rich and famous, but because he really is a lovely and talented young man.  :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Typical Evening Conversation.

 INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT                                         
          Husband and I are sitting on the couch, watching a cheesy        
          Hallmark Channel movie starring Bradley Cooper and Jason         
          Priestly.  The Kid is in bed.                                    
                              THE KID                                      
                         (Shouting, from upstairs)                         
                              THE KID                                      
                    Dad forgot to give me my medicine!                     
          I look at Husband incredulously.                                 
                    Seriously?  You forgot to give him                     
                    his medicine?                                          
                    Oh, yeah.  I guess I did.                              
                    I even reminded you right before                       
                    you took him up to bed!                                
                    You did?                                               
                    Yes.  I said "don’t forget to take                     
                    your medicine!" to The Kid.  I said                    
                    it really loud so that you would                       
                    hear it, because I knew that if I                      
                    said it to you that you’d say, "you                    
                    don’t have to remind me!  I give                       
                    him his medicine every single                          
                    night!" and you’d be all annoyed                       
                    and insulted that I thought I had                      
                    to remind you to do it.                                
                    Huh.  That is exactly how that                         
                    conversation would have gone.                          
                         (throws hands up in                               
            FADE OUT.

Monday, June 10, 2013

I watch a lot of movies.

I don't know how many movies you guys watch, but it recently occurred to me that my viewing habits *might* be considered excessive in some circles.  I thought it could be interesting to write down all the film titles I watch for a week straight and analyze the data here on this blog.

Here we go:

N = Netflix
D = DVD or Blu-ray disc
C = Cable television

Monday 6/3 (arrived home from vacation)
Meet the Parents  N

started Revolutionary Road  D

Tuesday 6/4
finished Revolutionary Road  D

Fried Green Tomatoes  C
It's Complicated  D

Wednesday 6/5
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure  C
The Wedding Singer  D
The Full Monty (last half only)  C
Fool's Gold  D

Thursday 6/6   (out of the house all day and most of the evening)

Hitch  C

Friday 6/7
Where the Heart is  D
Barefoot in the Park  D
Thelma and Louise  D
The Secret  N

Saturday 6/8
Practical Magic  C
Last Night  N
On A Clear Day  N

Sunday 6/9
Love Wrecked  C
Doc Hollywood  D

Conclusion:  I watch a lot of freakin' movies. 

18 different titles in seven days, none of which were new to me.  Of course, I didn't give every one my full attention, but that's still a lot of hours spent watching a screen.  Keep in mind that a large portion of my time is spent with an almost-six-year-old, so that influences my choices as well (though, obviously, much of my movie viewing is done away from his sponge-like brain).

It's interesting to me that the majority of the films were romantic comedies this week, but I guess that goes with the season.  Summer always makes me want to watch lighthearted movies.  Huh.

What do you guys think?  Is 2.5 movies a day an acceptable number to be watching?  Do you watch more or less than I do (please say more and make me feel like less of a loser)?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Selling Skinny.

It's no secret that I've always been interested in diet and weight issues.  I wrote about those things often on my old blog, and the issue still fascinates me.

This morning, this showed up on my Facebook timeline, as a sponsored post:

I don't know how I got targeted for this particular ad, but they're barking up the wrong tree.  Yes, this girl is attractive.  Sure, I guess I wouldn't mind having that body if I'd been born with similar proportions--but they may as well have been advertising "how to change your ethnicity in 7 days!" because my body will never resemble that one.

And I'm okay with that.

I found this interesting timeline showing what was considered the "perfect" female body at different points in history.  Whether you're an hourglass, pear, or apple shape, whether you have huge breasts or none at all, whether your hips are bigger than your chest or vice versa--at some point in time, I guarantee you that your body was considered the epitome of beauty in one society or another.  So why are we so bothered by trying to fit into what's fashionable now?  It's so silly.

I'm not going to lie and say that I don't have any body issues.  As a woman living in the year 2013, it's hard to accept my body 100% when I'm constantly being told (by ads like the one above) that I don't look "right".  However, as I've gotten older, I've come to realize that there is absolutely no way to win at this game.  Being in my 30s, I've seen a lot of trends come and go, so I can say with complete confidence that what's considered sexy right now is highly unlikely to be considered sexy in 10 or 15 years (Pamela Anderson, anyone?).

I just took a break from writing this post and discovered an article about a new surgery in which a doctor SEWS PLASTIC ONTO YOUR TONGUE IN ORDER TO KEEP YOU FROM EATING.  People are doing this to lose weight.  I am not joking.

Look, if you need to lose weight because you aren't healthy or whatever, go ahead.  In fact, if you want to lose weight to look better, it's your right to do that too.  Do what you want.  All I'm saying is that you probably look just fine.  No matter how skinny you get, your life won't magically be better because of it.  Gwyneth Paltrow doesn't have a perfect life because she's thin.  She has a perfect life because she's Gwyneth freakin' Paltrow--and you will never be Gwyneth Paltrow.

Ugh, I hate sounding preachy.  I'm so sorry.  This subject just makes me so sad.  I hate that young women feel all this pressure to fit into a mold which has nothing to do with them.  If you're one of those girls and you're reading this, I hope that you'll ignore ads like the one above and take this advice to heart:  Stop trying to fit yourself into someone else's body and just become the best you you can be.  You'll be a lot happier.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Internet fatigue.

Is it just my imagination, or is Blogger dying?

I haven't been checking in on Blogger much since I haven't really been in the mood to post anything myself, but I feel like every time I do log in, there are fewer and fewer new posts to read in my subscription feed.  Has everyone moved on to other platforms, or is the art of blogging becoming obsolete?

Maybe it's just the weather.  I've been blogging for nearly four years now, and every time warmer weather rolls around, people start posting less.  I suppose only time will tell.

That said, I'm kind of getting tired of the internet altogether.  It's just so exhausting, having all these different accounts to check in on.  Last night, I opened up Twitter before I went to bed and thought to myself, this is so pointless.  Half the tweets on my timeline were retweets promoting one thing or another and a quarter of them were inside jokes.  The remaining tweets did nothing to enrich my life, but served only to keep me awake later than I would have liked. I signed out last night and will probably stay away for a few days--or at least until I don't feel like I'm reaching for my phone every ten minutes to check Twitter (there's definitely a detox period). 

I read a survey recently that said teenagers are shying away from Facebook in favor of other social networking platforms.  Maybe this is the beginning of the end.  Maybe we're all just tired of sharing every detail of our lives with the world--I know I am.  Less of my life is documented now than was documented two years ago.  I take fewer photos, but I also enjoy myself more than I did when I was seeing everything through a camera lens. 

This weekend, I'm going with my family to the beach.  There was a time when I would have brought my phone so that I could take pictures and tweet from the shore.  But, do you know what?  It's not worth it.  I don't want to miss going into the water with Husband and The Kid just so that I can make sure nobody steals my phone, which will have to be in a protective ziploc bag to protect the screen from being scratched by sand and kept on ice so that the 90 degree weather doesn't overheat the battery.  How much fun is that?  Zero.  All I want to worry about when I'm lying on the beach is applying sunscreen and keeping my kid from drowning. 

I sound like such a grouch, but I'm really just apathetic about the whole thing.  I'm not giving up on taking photos.  I'm not canceling any of my social networking accounts or my blog.  I'm just tired of trying to keep up--for now.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll feel completely differently next week. For now, I'm going to bed. 


Monday, May 13, 2013

Stupid smart phone.

Let's many unpublished drafts have I started and not finished now?


See?  I've been blogging, I just haven't been publishing what I write.*

Part of the reason for my absence has been that I got a new phone.  I hate it.  If you're confused as to how a phone can monopolize all your time, you clearly do not have an Android or an iPhone.  I made the mistake of putting the game Candy Crush on it right away and I lost an entire week.  Where did that week go?  Your guess is as good as mine.  After uninstalling the game, however, I seem to have a lot more time on my hands, hence this update.

"Oh, look at this old-timey photo--JUST KIDDING!  I took it yesterday!" 
Yes, this phone has a much better camera than my BlackBerry had, but when taking photos of people (namely, myself), I've decided that there is definitely such a thing as too many megapixels.  I am 100% certain that my pores don't look as big to the naked eye as they look to the camera lens on my phone.  As a result, I feel like I have to filter everything, AND I HATE FILTERS.

Filters have always seemed really silly to me.  Why make a photo look old and damaged when you can have a vivid, true-to-life image?

Well, now I know why.  Because the megapixel people couldn't stop at well enough and decided that the more detailed the photograph, the better.  You know what?  THAT IS WRONG.  If we were meant to see everyone's faces in such great detail, we would stand much closer to one another when speaking face-to-face.

So, now I understand why everyone is so in love with filters nowadays: they're a necessary evil.  I'm using them often.  My stupid new phone has made me a hypocrite.

Me...after two filters. Because, pores.

But it does take nice photos of dogs...

...and plants.

Another problem with this stupid new phone is that the internet is way too fast on it.  Before, on my BlackBerry, whenever I wanted to read an article or look at an Instagram photo from Twitter, I'd have to *really* want to do it since it took minutes and minutes to load webpages.  Now, everything loads in seconds, so I click willy-nilly and waste loads of time reading uninteresting articles and looking at pictures of food and airplane wings on Instagram.  I don't even have an Instagram account (and I refuse to download it onto my phone for fear that it will cause me to lose another week or more of my life), but that doesn't keep me from clicking on almost every one I see linked on Twitter.

Did I mention that I REALLY HATE typing on this new phone?  One of the reasons I put off switching over from BlackBerry for so long was that I loved my tiny little keyboard so much.  It was extremely easy to type on and it rarely made me look dumb.  This new touchscreen keyboard, however?  It makes me look dumb all the time.  If this phone is so smart, then why can't it tell when I'm trying to to type "you're" instead of "your"?  And why doesn't it know the word groundhog?  THAT IS A WORD, PHONE.  

So, yeah.  I've been having some issues.  I've also been doing other things, like making new friends, taking impromptu trips to New York with said new friends, taking care of a new goldfish, performing PTO duties, going out to movies and nice restaurants, painting things, helping The Kid prepare for two Tooth Fairy visits, and running a promotion for a free paperback copy of Dear Rick, Dear Teri on the book's Facebook fan page

Oh, I probably should have led with that.  If you haven't already, please go over to Facebook and "like" my book's fan page!  If you share my photo of the back of the book (and let me know about it) before Thursday, your name will be put into a drawing to win one of two signed paperback copies. 

So, I'll try to manage my time better from here out, and I'll work on being a more responsible Blogger.  I may even finish writing one of the posts I began weeks ago--right after I finish my two turns in Words With Friends.

* Yes, I realize that this doesn't actually constitute blogging, but let's not split hairs, okay?
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