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Friday, March 29, 2013

Things I Learned This Week 3.29.2013

I'm starting a new weekly blog feature here on Whatever called "Things I Learned This Week".  It is, as you very intelligent readers have probably already surmised, a list of things I've learned this week. I know, I know--I probably should have chosen a less obscure title.

No matter your age, you really can learn something new everyday, and I'd like to celebrate that fact.

Let's do it.

THINGS I LEARNED THIS WEEK


1.  Having a six-year old child with ADHD sleep over at your house is not a good idea.  I love this child.  He's adorable.  He's sweet.  He's generous.  He NEVER GOES TO SLEEP.  I was up until 1:30 AM trying to coax him to sleep, and then he woke up at 7.  Maybe this will be more fun for everyone when my kid can keep his eyes open past 11, but until that day, this friend will be restricted to day visits only.

2.  Going to a dermatologist who's listed in Vogue Magazine is better in theory than in practice.  I don't think this woman understands that not all of her patients are rich.  She has her own skincare line and the physician's assistant tried to sell me $100 worth of (only two) products.  Luckily, I did leave with a hydrocortisone/steroid prescription for my anxiety rash, and I'm barely itchy anymore.  Hooray!

Yes! I'm annoying ad on the FB sidebar!
3.  Facebook knows way too much about us.  Okay, I actually *did* know this, but it wasn't until I was creating a Facebook ad for my book that I really saw behind the curtain.  Let's just say that if I only wanted Baby Boomer newlywed women who live away from their families, frequent casual dining restaurants and just got a new smartphone to see my ads, Facebook can make that happen.  Creepy.

4.  You can get a kids to fight over broccoli if you offer them enough money to eat it.  Now all I need is more money.

5.  Spring Break is way less fun when you're an adult and your husband has to work long hours that week so you can't go anywhere.  Luckily (or unluckily?) The Kid enjoys staying home more than going out.  This makes for cheap entertainment, but I'm worried that I may be raising a shut-in.  Husband and I gave him our old camera this week, however, and he's started making a web series called "How to Play with Toys" as well as one dedicated to showing off his video game skills.  I'd show you all, but I'm afraid if I did then someone would want to put him on TV, and I don't want him to end up a spoiled, entitled child star.  Sorry. 

6.  If you self-publish a book, you should really make a Facebook fan page for it.  I almost forgot to do that.  Duh.  Also, regarding the book?  I have the best friends ever.  Many kind and generous souls--some completely unexpected--have bought and promoted Dear Rick, Dear Teri for me.  I am so grateful for all the loving support.

7.  This song, which always makes me happy, is by a guy named Andy Grammer.  The video is pretty cute, too: 


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Success!

Guess who found the broccoli egg!

The neighbor boy.

HOWEVER, upon pulling the broccoli out of the plastic egg, taking a nibble, and realizing that the broccoli was raw and not cooked, he deferred his duties to my kid.

 

And it only took him ten minutes to eat it.  I consider that a win.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dear Rick, Dear Teri

Guess what's finally published!

Oh, would you look at that!  I've got something in my hand.  It appears to be a book--that I WROTE!  Boom!
 After six proofs, numerous corrections, and a weird itchy rash which seems to be stress-related (and won't go away), Dear Rick, Dear Teri is finally available to buy in trade paperback and on Kindle!  Hooray!

I'm not sure if I ever really gave a good description before, so here's the back of the book:


What I've basically done is taken all the letters that Husband and I wrote to one another at the beginning of our long-distance relationship and transcribed them for the world to read, along with a prologue, an epilogue, footnotes, and lots of photos.  Considering that I was 17-18 at the time I wrote these letters, you can imagine how sappy they are.  Also, I talk about losing my virginity.  It's kind of like letting people read my diary, which is probably why I've got this itchy rash all over my chest.  So...hold on, I need to take half a Xanax.

Much better.

I know what you're thinking:  WHERE CAN I BUY THIS AWESOME BOOK???  You're in luck, because I just happen to know this information!

A sappy, lovey-dovey preview of what you can expect.
If you live in the United States, you can buy the paperback (with free super-saver shipping!) or a Kindle version (free for Amazon Prime members!) on Amazon, or direct through Create Space.

If you live in the UK, you can buy the paperback or Kindle version on Amazon.co.uk.

If you live anywhere else in the world, you can buy it now on your home country's Amazon site.  Just search for "Dear Rick, Dear Teri".  If your country doesn't have Amazon (Where do you live?  How did you find me?), it will be available through other distribution channels, and by request through any bookstore in the near future.

If anyone reading this would like to interview me about the process of self-publishing, about the content of the book, or about anything else, please email me at teri [at] teribrown.com.  If you just want to talk to me, off the record, you can email me too!  I like getting email.

So, go (all three of you readers) and buy a book from me!  It's not expensive, and there are lots of photos, so if you don't like it, you can rip them out and put me on your dartboard or put my face on a voodoo doll or whatever tickles your fancy.  I won't hold it against you

 I'll soon be giving away a signed copy of the book here on my blog, so keep an eye out.  I haven't got all the details worked out yet, but I'd like to do something interesting and different.  Think broccoli eggs
 

*unless you voodoo me into having this rash forever, and then I'll be very sad, but will forgive you eventually and try harder next time to more thoroughly entertain you.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Broccoli-Filled Easter Eggs

This weekend, our neighborhood park had an Easter Egg hunt.  Since we know very few people in this area and don't go to church here, we had our hopes set high as this being our one fun thing to do for Easter.  Unfortunately, when we got to the park, we found an obstacle course in lieu of an egg hunt for kids five and up.  There were a lot of tears in that obstacle course line, including those of The Kid.

As we walked home (without going through the scary obstacle course), we decided to host an egg hunt at our house.  Why not?  This week is Spring Break for The Kid's school, so his friends are all looking for something to do anyway.  He's having three friends over for the hunt on Tuesday evening, and today we spent a couple of hours dying boiled eggs and stuffing plastic eggs with candy & broccoli.

What?  You don't put broccoli in your Easter eggs?

Okay, I never have either.  Actually, it's only in one egg.  My idea was that we'll hide the broccoli egg along with all the other candy-filled and real eggs.  The kids who find real eggs can trade them each in for a dollar and whoever finds the broccoli egg will receive five dollars if he eats the broccoli.  If you're thinking "Teri's plan to get her kid to eat broccoli is really elaborate", then you're right.  He's afraid of all green vegetables, and I'm hoping that by making the vegetable into a fabulous cash prize, he'll be vying for the chance to eat it.

Also, it's funny.

I'll report back after Tuesday.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Anxiety and happiness

I've been a ball of nerves lately.  Ever since I decided to self-publish my book, I've been second-guessing myself.  It's not good enough.  What will my family think?  What if everybody hates it?  It makes me look stupid...and so on and so forth.

Considering that I'm the type of person who gets anxiety over which peanut butter to buy at the grocery store, it comes as no surprise that I'm having this sort of reaction to something as big as publishing my old love letters.  I keep telling myself that fear is my body's way of telling me that I'm doing something worthwhile, but it's still hard not to beat myself up over the "what-ifs".

In an effort to calm down and re-focus my energy into something positive, I've decided to make a list of...

Things that have made me happy lately:


1.  Hanging out with Minxy.  It's been a long time coming, but after seven years of online friendship, we finally got together in-person for shopping, booze, and girl talk.  I needed that.  If any of you ever have the chance, you should definitely meet her too.  She's exactly how I imagined her to be, which is to say that she's lovely and amazing (and, of course, hot).

2.  Having red hair again.  After much experimentation, I have found that having red hair makes me happier than having any other color hair. 

3.  Receiving the proof for my book.  Even though I'm anxious about releasing it, it's nice to have a tangible book which I can hold in my hand.  I've just ordered my second proof after making a few minor adjustments, so I'm hoping to have it up for sale on Amazon in the next couple of weeks or so.  I know it's not cool to let people know that you're excited about this kind of stuff, but I really, really am.  :)
4.  Shopping.  I got a jump start on my spring wardrobe and bought the perfect red lipstick on Sunday.  For some reason, I haven't really gone shopping for clothes since I moved here almost eight months ago, and it sure felt good to break that streak.

5. Microwave brownie-in-a-coffee-mug.  Actually, these made me happy the first two times I had them, but now they just make me feel guilty and slightly ill when I start to crave one.  Must.  Stop.  (click here for the recipe, but don't say I didn't warn you)

6.  Finding out that The Party is back together and recording a new album.  As some of you may remember from my old blog, I was obsessed with The Party as an adolescent.  I practically went into mourning when they broke up.  The fact that four of them are back in the studio is almost more excitement than I can handle.  I may be more excited about this than when I found out I was pregnant with The Kid.  Don't judge me.  The Party is awesome, as you will all soon find out.

7.  Spring.  Even though it doesn't feel like it, it's spring!  My favorite season!  Hooray!



8.  Visitors.  My mom is coming to visit at the beginning of April, and then a good friend is coming soon after she leaves.  Excited to go on little day trips, including one to NYC.  Fun-fun-fun!

9.  The Kid.  No matter how down on myself I get, I can always look at him and know that I'm doing one thing really well.  And that's something.



There.  I feel a little better now.  :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Paper Boy Thug

I'm really pissed off.

This is probably my PMS talking, but whatever.  Humor me.

So.  The previous tenants of this house shared our last name.  It's been a huge pain in the butt.  Don't even get me started on the postal service.  Anyway, about a month after we moved in, my doorbell rang at 9:45pm.  I was already in bed with a sick kid, Husband wasn't home, and I was afraid I was about to be the victim of a home invasion.  What I found on the other side of the door was almost as bad:  a couple of newspaper boy thugs, maybe 11 or 12-years old.  The conversation went something like this:

Me:  Can I help you boys?

Thug #1:  We're here to collect for the paper.

Thug #2:  You're three months behind!

Me:  We've only lived here for a month.

Thug #1:  Aren't you Mrs. Brown?

Me:  Yes, but--

Thug #2:  You owe us $9.75!

Me:  --the woman who lived here before me was also Mrs. Brown.

Thug #1:  You owe us $9.75.

Me:  No, I never ordered a paper.

Thug #1:  We've been delivering it here, so you have to pay.

Me:  I didn't even know it was our paper.  I've been throwing it in the neighbors' yard.

Thug #2:  You have to pay us $9.75!

Thug #1:  Yeah.

Me:  But I didn't--you know, whatever.  So this will pay me up until...

Thug #1:  We'll come back again next month and collect for this month.

Me:  Whatever.

I paid them so that I could keep receiving the paper, and I went back to bed, highly annoyed.  I didn't know that it was my paper before, but I supposed that it would be nice to get a weekly paper, even if I felt like I was being taken advantage of.

As time has gone on, the newspaper delivery has been spotty, at best.  In the last month, I have received exactly one paper.  This made me very angry, as I had begun to look forward to receiving a weekly newspaper delivery.

Tonight, the doorbell rang.  As I asked Husband to keep our dogs from eating whomever was on the other side, I opened the door to find it was one of the newspaper boys.  Thug #1.  I was hoping he'd come back soon, so I could complain to him, and I was ready to do just that.  Here's what happened:

Thug #1:  I'm here to collect for the paper.

Me:  Yeah, I'm not paying for that.  I haven't been receiving a paper.

Thug #1:  Well, we deliver it.

Me:  Well, I've gotten exactly one in the last month, and it was sitting in a puddle all soggy.

Thug #1:  Well, maybe someone is stealing it.  You still have to pay for it.

Me:  I'm not paying for something I never received.

Thug #1:  You have to pay.

Me:  No, I don't.

Thug #1:  Yes you do!  If you want to stop getting the paper, you have to contact the subscription office!

Me:  I HAVEN'T BEEN RECEIVING THE PAPER!  Also, I never ordered a subscription!  The people who lived here before us--

Thug #1:  Yeah, they had the same last name, I know.

Me:  Exactly.

Thug #1:  You have to pay!

Me:  I'm not going to.  Tell your boss to call me.

(He throws up his hands and walks away)

Husband:  Whoa, whoa whoa.  (calling after the boy)  Wait a minute!

Me:  What are you doing?

Husband:  Haven't you ever had a paper route?  He has to pay for it if we don't!  That's not fair!

I get boiling mad and leave, while Husband pays the little thug for papers we never received.

This angers me on so many levels.  First of all, uh, SOLIDARITY!  My husband is supposed to be on MY side, not the side of a rude little brat who may or may not be lying about delivering my paper.  Second of all, it's the principle of the thing.  I already paid for a bunch of papers I didn't receive (when I moved in), and I shouldn't have to pay for more of them.  Third of all, I do not let little boys push me around.

Husband said that he didn't want it getting around the neighborhood that we got into an argument and refused to pay the paper boy.  I don't know how he thinks that will happen, but even if it DID happen, it's not like I didn't have a good reason.  And his point about him having to pay for the papers if we didn't, well, that doesn't bother me either, because if he'd been doing his job correctly and throwing  them at my door instead of leaving them on the sidewalk in front of my house, they'd be less likely to get stolen (if he was delivering them at all, which I highly doubt).

Anyway, now I'm pissed off at my husband AND at the paper boy.  I know that I should choose my battles, and he was probably only going to ask me for a few bucks, but I'm big on boycotts, and as far as I'm concerned, my husband crossed the picket line.

Blah.  Whatever.  I'm going to have a bath and a drink now.

ETA:  I am no longer angry with Husband.  As I was writing this, he left an angry message at the newspaper office.  I guess he loves me after all.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Done.

I uploaded my final draft of my book to Amazon at midnight.  It's now being reviewed.  Phew!

If anybody would like a .pdf of the book to look over, please let me know.  I would love an extra pair of eyes to catch any proofreading mistakes I missed.  There's not a lot I can do about editing since I want to stay true to the original letters' transcriptions, but feedback on the prologue and epilogue would be greatly appreciated.

Email me through my G+ page if you'd like me to send you a file.

Thanks in advance!

:)

Friday, March 8, 2013

*&%#@#@$%**&^

As many of you probably don't care to remember, my book deadline is tomorrow, March 9th.  I've been hard at work putting the finishing touches on the story of my long-distance relationship with my husband, but now I'm at a standstill. 

Creative troubles, you ask?  No.  My problem is that MICROSOFT WORD IS FREAKING KILLING ME.  I seriously want to toss my laptop out this second-story window right now.  The program began freezing up on me yesterday, and the trouble continued today.  I uninstalled Office, then bought a new copy and reinstalled it, but I'm STILL HAVING THE SAME EXACT PROBLEM. 

If my file is corrupt, I'm going to choke someone.  This document is formatted down to each font size and margin.  Since I'm planning to self-publish and sell on Amazon, the parameters are pretty strict, and I followed them to a T.  Unfortunately, I can't EDIT THE FREAKING THING WITHOUT MY PROMPT OR POINTER DISAPPEARING.

Sorry about all the yelling, but I'm really angry!  WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?

I do realize that since I set this deadline for myself, I could just blow it off, but that still doesn't address the problem of my work being held hostage by Microsoft.  I'd really like to get it out of my computer and onto a printed page at some point in my life.

Anyway, sorry to complain.  I suppose I'll go back to troubleshooting now.  If anyone who reads this has any suggestions, I'll try anything.  Thanks in advance.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Note to self.

Dear Self,

For some reason, you seem to be an expert at making the same mistakes over and over again.  I would like to take this time to remind you, in a public forum, of some of these mistakes in the hopes that we can break this stupid cycle in order to simplify our life.

DO NOT COLOR YOUR HAIR VERY DARK.  I know that there are photos of you in really good lighting that make you think "I look great with dark hair!  Let's do that!"  Well, you know what?  You don't look great with dark hair, unless it's got very warm tones.  It's too harsh.  You look best with any shade of red hair.

Even your kid knows you look weird.
So much better!

 DO NOT ENGAGE IN POLITICAL OR RELIGIOUS DISCUSSIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA.  Even if it ends well and everyone is civil, the anxiety you get while awaiting a reply is just not worth it.  If you see something that makes you very angry, hide that person and move on. 

DO NOT EVER GO ON THE PILL AGAIN.  But what about that one time when I was on Yaz for a year and my skin looked so great?  Yeah, your skin looked great, but you also had to go on Zoloft to counter the crazy caused by the synthetic hormones in your body.  Remember?  Also, don't forget that the pill elevated your liver enzymes to where one doctor thought you were a binge drinker.  Healthy liver > clear skin.  See a dermatologist if your current skin care regimen isn't working, not your lady parts doctor.

DO NOT QUIT YOUR BLOG.  Why did you do that, dummy?  Oh, you felt "pressured" to post often?  It's YOUR blog, idiot!  Nobody is pressuring you but yourself!  When you declare "I quit my blog!", that's permanent.  You can't go back and say "Never mind!" without looking like an indecisive flake.  Also, no matter how much you may think you don't need a blog, you are wrong.  You need it.  It's important to your sanity to have this outlet.  You felt absolutely horrible when you stopped blogging.  If you're worried about not having anything original to say, then just take a break--or say something unoriginal.  Who cares?

Technically, these are jeggings, but the potato/po-tah-to.
DO NOT BUY SKINNY JEANS.  You look terrible in them.  The only time you look good in skinny jeans is if you wear them with heels, and it hurts your hips to wear heels, so on top of cutting off your circulation, you're not going to be able to walk without a limp for the next several days.  Stick with straight leg or boot cut denim.  Leave the skinny jeans to the skinny girls.



DO NOT SWITCH (MAKEUP) FOUNDATIONS.  Laura Mercier mineral powder foundation: that is your foundation.  Stick with it.  I don't care if another brand is cheaper, or if you think that you'd like to try out a liquid again, or if there is some new scientific breakthrough in makeup--do not switch.  Every time you stray, you wind up having to drive back to Sephora to exchange the new brand for your old standby.  NOTHING IS BETTER THAN WHAT YOU ALREADY USE.  STOP SEARCHING.

JUST SPEND THE EXTRA MONEY AND GET THE GOOD [INSERT ANYTHING HERE].  Don't be cheap, woman!  Remember those cheap running shoes you never wear?  And that cheap mascara that clumped and burned your eyes?  And that $5 tube top you bought at H&M, wore once, and then gave to Goodwill because it offered no support and fell down when you walked?  There's nothing wrong with a good bargain, but don't trade quality.  You're a grown-ass woman!  Get the good stuff!

DO NOT DRINK RED BULL AND VODKA.  Did you learn nothing from San Francisco???  One or the other. 

YOUR HAIR DOESN'T REALLY LOOK ALL THAT GREAT HIGHLIGHTED, EITHER.  I know what you're thinking (because I'm you):  but what about that summer I was highlighted to blonde?  That looked great!  Yes, there are some good pictures of you as a blonde.  It was summer, you were childless, and you spent a lot of time applying self-tanner.  Also, again with the good lighting.  However, the last time you got your hair highlighted, you hated it.  You looked weird.  Also, your hair is already not in the best shape, and highlighting doesn't do it any favors.  Red.  You look good with red hair.  RED.
Do you see what bad hair does to your kid???
You could be looking like this, you moron!


I hope that by writing, and subsequently reading, these multiple mistakes, we will drill into our brain the absurdity of them all and the cycle will be over.  Especially with the hair.  Because seriously, we have got to stop it with the hair.

If you're reading this and you are not me, and somewhere down the road you observe that I'm preparing to make one of these egregious errors in judgement, please stop me.  I'll probably argue with you, in which case I urge you to cite this open letter, because it's much more difficult to argue with myself than with you.

Thank you.

Sincerely,


Teri Lynn Brown
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