Happy Impending Death Day!

Slide1

Our culture doesn’t do so well with death. We don’t like to talk about it or even think about it.

Except for people who were born and raised in Maine. We’re more down-to-earth types who treat death like it’s a bad dentist appointment. Yeah it’s gonna happen to you one day so you might as well suck it up, deal with it, and move on.

My 80-year-old mother cheerfully sat down with me last week to go over her old family photo albums again because, “I might not be here tomorrow.” She has told me this every single day for about 15 years.

Anytime I try to plan something with her, she gives the same response.

“Hey, Mom! Want to drive up to Bar Harbor and see the ocean this August?”

“Sure! But I might be dead by then.”

“Hey Mom! Wanna go to L.L. Bean’s with me this weekend?”

“Sure! But I might be dead by then.”

“Hey, Mom! Want to go out to dinner tonight at that Italian place?”

“Sure!”

“What — you’re not planning on dying later today?”

“Well, I’m hoping I die during the meal. Serves them right. They don’t serve Sanka. What kind of a place doesn’t have Sanka?”

So once again last week we sat down to sift through old family pictures because she might die at any second.  Her albums are full of faded sepia toned photos displaying the typically stern, emotionless faces of my relatives from the early 1900s.

I’m convinced the photographer must have yelled out the directions, “Frown! Frown harder! Look miserable! You’re sullen! No, I need more sullen! Dour! Do dour! Great! Hold that pose! Yes! You’re sad! Profoundly sad! Hold it! Hooold it! Perfect!”

Basketball is just so 'meh'. (My grandfather is the particularly ecstatic boy sitting in the front to the left)

(My grandfather is the particularly ecstatic boy sitting in the front to the left)

And most of my relatives died young of a horrible disease.  It’s a miracle I exist at all. My mother points her shaky finger to every person in the photo, tells me his or her name and how they died like she’s rattling off her grocery list.

“This is Charlie, died of tuberculosis. He was 35.”

“This is Charlotte. She died of tuberculosis. She was 15 years old.”

“Oh, and this is Sarah. Died of tuberculosis. She was four.”

“What happened to the dog?” I ask. “Please tell me he made it at least.”

Welcome to the early 20th century when even the dogs looked depressed. (My grandfather is the one holding the dog)

Welcome to the early 20th century when even the dogs looked depressed. (My grandfather is the one holding the dog)

After a few more photo albums filled with tuberculosis, my mom likes to throw in a zinger, probably to see if I’m really listening.

“Oh! And this is your great-great uncle Fred,” she smiles brightly and points to a handsome young man sporting a snappy blazer and smoking a cigarette.  “He was a pilot and flew his plane straight into the side of a mountain, killed instantly.”

“Wait — are you sure it wasn’t tuberculosis that got him?”

“Darla!” she scowls at me. Then she clears her throat. “Well, actually yes. The coughing is what made him crash the plane.”

My eyes bug out.

“I’m kidding! Kidding! Oh no, the poor man just slammed straight into a mountain! Boom! Never had a chance!” my mom yells, throws her head back and cackles.

And they say death isn’t funny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About these ads

When God’s Your Facebook Friend

Slide1

[It's early morning. I'm folding a mountain of laundry. A bolt of lightning cracks overhead and a blinding light fills the room. I drop my husband's underwear to the floor, shield my eyes and squint at the ceiling.]

Me: What the…?

God: [voice booms] IT IS I!

Me: God? Is that You?

God: [yells] YES! OF COURSE IT’S ME! [mutters] Didn’t I just say that?

Me: Wow, oh wow! You finally show up! I have so much to ask you! Let’s start with the wars and the poverty and the sick and the dying and the pain and the suffering and the–

God: I know, right?

Me: So will humans ever learn to choose love over fear, compassion over hate?

God: Tsk-tsk. Oh no. Oh no, no, no. That shirt doesn’t go with those pants, dear child.

Me: Huh?

God: And your makeup! Please! The color is all wrong! [sighs] Atrocious. Have you not seen my recent Pinterest featuring Rihanna’s latest look?

Me: But back to the pain and the suffering. Why do we have to suffer God? Haven’t we learned enough?

God: By the looks of your hairstyle, no.

Me: Tell me the future. Will humans survive? How many years do we have left? Is this planet toast? Will global warming do us in?

God: George Clooney is getting married.

Me: I…I don’t understand.

God: Yes, I was just as shocked as you.

Me: I….

God: What people don’t realize is he was actually married to actress Talia Balsam from  1989 to 1993.

Me: Huh. Good to know. So anyway, is the world going to end, God? Is it too late? Can you tell me anything about the future at all? Is there hope for the human race?

God: Beyoncé will get a new haircut.

Me: Um…

God: Three of them in the next year. She’ll go from pixie to shag to a very sassy bob.

Me: Forgive me, God, but uh….I don’t really care about that stuff.

God: Oh of course you do, dear child! It’s all you people down here talk about!

Me: You people? Well, not all of us. And if we do, you sorta created us so…

God: Create you? {scoffs] Ha! No, I’m not responsible. Nope. Nuh-uh. Can’t blame me for that one.

Me: You did. All of us. You created everyone. And you gave us all free will.

God: Ooooh. Yeah. I guess I did, didn’t I?

Me: Yep.

God: Well, this certainly is depressing.

Me: It is.

God: Hey! I know what will cheer us up! Selfie time!

Me: No–uh, I really don’t want to–

[God holds up gold iPhone, leans in close. Phone clicks.]

God: [looks down at phone] Ah! Nope, do-over. I look way too fat.

[Holds up iPhone, more clicks.]

God: [frowns] Still awful. No worries!  It’s salvageable. [taps screen] Hmm…go to Instagram…maybe change the color tone here…add some soft focus there…ooh! We look sa-weet in Orton! I’ll post it on your Facebook wall. Because peeps be jealz! Because right?

Me: Right. I guess.

God: I know, right?

Me: Right.

God: I know, right?

Me: R-right, sure whatever–look, we done here? I’ve got some folding to do.

God: [stares intently down at phone, dismisses me with a wave] Yeah, I’m good. Huzzah!  Already 5.5 million likes on our selfie!

Me: Great. So..thanks for dropping in…

God: [taps phone] Huh? Hey, no problemo. [frowns] Gah! So frustrating! Have you gotten past level 352 on Candy Crush yet? I don’t think it’s possible, I mean, seriously?[groans] So can you send me some lives? I’m outta of lives again.

Me: Sure, anything for you God.

God: Oh, and I give it 3 years max.

Me: [gasps] The world will end in 3 years?

God: What? No! George Clooney’s marriage.

[bolt of lightning flashes, God fades into a pinpoint of light and disappears]

 

 

 

Book Giveaway: The Todd Glass Situation

 

image: Simon & Schuster

image: Simon & Schuster

Growing up and trying to navigate your way through this big scary world is tough for any kid.  But what if you’re also challenged with having ADD and dyslexia? And happen to be gay? Veteran comedian Todd Glass understands what it’s like to feel different and experience the pain of hiding a true identity for years.

In his funny, honest and heartfelt memoir, The Todd Glass Situation, he details his quick rise to stand-up comedy fame and the struggle he endured for decades keeping his life as a gay man secret.

It took the recent spike of suicides among young gay people and a close brush with death to give Todd that extra push to finally be true to himself and everyone else. One night he was finishing up the closing set alongside other comedian friends including Sarah Silverman, when he suddenly felt short of breath and nauseous. Soon the medics arrived.

“Sir, I don’t want to alarm you,” the EMT says, “but you’re having a heart attack.”

I don’t want to alarm you? If he didn’t want to alarm me he should have told me I was fine. Telling someone they’re having a heart attack is very goddamn alarming. “We’re going to take you to Cedars,” he continues. “Is there anyone we should call?”

Right. If I’m dying — which is suddenly starting to feel like a real possibility — I should probably tell the person I’ve been sharing a life with for the last fourteen years. I look through the faces around me until I find Sarah’s. “Call Andrea for me, ” I say, trying to wink. At this point it looks more like an involuntary facial tic.

Sarah winks back. “Don’t worry, I’ll call…Andrea.”

We both knew that “Andrea” is actually Chris, my boyfriend. But there’s no way in hell I’m going to say his name in front of everyone.

I mean, that might make people think that I was gay or something.

Here I am, forty-five years old, possibly at death’s door, surrounded by friends–and I still can’t be honest about who I am.

How the fuck did I get here?

Todd’s book successfully explores these serious issues with keen insight and humor. He details his childhood years and how he discovered at an early age he had a knack for making people laugh.  As a teen he was already a professional stand-up, opening for musical acts such as Patti LaBelle and comedians like Jay Leno. I was intrigued to learn how he climbed the stand-up comedian ladder to success, honing his act over the years while picking up valuable advice from other comedians along the way.

Being funny requires allowing yourself to be vulnerable. You must be fearless when putting your true self out there. At its center this book is about one thing: Being yourself no matter what the bastards say.

Other Things I Learned From Todd Glass:

  • Always embrace all aspects of yourself and let them shine.
  • Screw what other people might think of you.
  • If you’re gay and someone asks you, “How did you know you were gay?” ask them how or when they knew they were straight.
  • I sincerely hope one day there will be no “closet” for anyone gay or bisexual to “come out of”. Because it’s dark and stuffy in there, and smells like mothballs and needless repression.
  • Humor is incredibly powerful and the greatest comedians, like Todd’s idol George Carlin, are truth-seekers. As Todd pointed out in the book, Oscar Wilde once said, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.”
  • If you’re having a heart attack, always make sure Sarah Silverman is in the room.
Getting Doug with High

image: Getting Doug with High

________________________________________________________________

182940_446039868823211_1482428845_nTodd Glass is a stand-up comedian who has performed on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Chelsea Lately, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and The Jimmy Kimmel Show, among many other programs. He’s also the host of The Todd Glass Show, a popular podcast on the Nerdist Network.
–Simon & Schuster

________________________________________________________________

I was given a copy of the book, The Todd Glass Situation, by Simon & Schuster in exchange for writing this review. All opinions in this post are my own and not Todd’s, Simon’s nor even Schuster’s.

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Dearest Maineiacs — YOU can win a copy of this book simply by responding with a comment below.  Yes, it’s just that easy! Did you ever feel different as a kid? Do you like humor? Do you know what a book is? Are you also good friends with Sarah Silverman? Let me know!

I will pick a winner by random.  All valid entries must reside in the US or Canada (sorry to my one reader from Uzbekistan)

*Deadline to enter is noon EST July 4th*

UPDATE: Congrats to Debbie Harbeson! She was randomly chosen to win this book. Hope you enjoy it, Debbie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unexplained Mysteries of My Universe (Part 3)

∗ Why is it that I can go on errands for the entire morning, spending hours out in public, then later that day as I’m going on my walk I suddenly think,
Holy shit — did I remember to put on my pants today?

Then I look down to check.

So for a split second it’s this insane moment of panic. Like maybe I woke up, took a shower, got dressed, put on makeup, got the kids ready for school and rushed out the door with no pants on. (I always remember my shoes, of course. Because if I didn’t that would just be crazy.)

But if in fact I actually did forget to wear pants that day, wouldn’t the draft tip me off? Or the reactions of horror from all those people at Home Depot?

I fear how senile I’ll be once I’m in my 80s.  That old lady in the power tool aisle wearing only slippers? It’s probably me. You’ve been warned.

∗ Why is the veggie drawer at the bottom of my fridge? Surely I’m not expected to expend the energy required to bend down to get my vegetables. It’s bad enough I have to remember to eat the vile things.

Not worth it.

Not worth it.

And the stuff in the crisper never stays fresh. Do they call it a ‘crisper’ because it shrivels and turns black the second I shove it in there? Let’s cut to the chase and call it “The Drawer of Decay”. I basically have to eat that entire head of arugula while I’m walking from the grocery store to my car or it’s as good as rotted.

This is why I don’t eat enough veggies.  Because I’m not quick enough. And I lack the adequate abdominal strength to bend that far down.

“Oh, really? You want me to cook some of the zucchini? Oh well, you obviously have forgotten I have no ab muscles to speak of.  Yeah, it’s just a big bag of marshmallow fluff between my ribcage and my hips. It’s useless. Hell I can barely reach over to grab that cream cheese and bacon and you expect me to do calisthenics to get to some zucchini?”

I suppose if I have to eat this crap I might as well make it more accessible. I think I’m going to rig it so when I open up the fridge stalks of broccoli instantly shoot into my face from a cannon. Then I might be willing to eat them more.

Probably not.

∗ As every parent knows, when your kids are quiet something’s up and it’s usually not good. I used to panic when it was quiet, but my kids are a bit older now and I wonder why I’m so much lazier with my panicking. I do half-assed panicking: a lot of worrying, but no action.

I think,  Are they okay? Are they still alive? Maybe not, maybe something happened. And here’s the worst part: I wait. I listen. Sometimes for a long long time to see if the silence lasts.

My kids might be in trouble and I actually choose my own selfish craving for quiet over possibly rescuing them from harm. What if they’re up on the roof? What if they took my car for a joy ride? I should be finding out, right? I shouldn’t still be lying here on this couch like a slob. Because that would be wrong.

I really should put this book down.

I really should put this book down.

So after about 20 minutes or an hour or three I get up to find out if they’re okay and always find them listening to music on their headphones in their bedrooms.

Still — I probably should have gotten up off the couch at least by the 30 minute mark. This is when the mommy guilt comes and I end up sticking my face in front of my broccoli cannon for punishment.

∗ Why is it we actually have the ability to replace our body’s entire skeleton every ten years, and renew all of our skin every 28 days, yet my cellulite never goes away?

∗ What is up with my 7-year-old daughter’s hair? It’s got a mind of its own.  I shampoo, condition, comb, brush and prune it. I pull it back in a pony tail, I braid it,  I shellac it with Spackle and various plastic polymers. Yet within seconds it’s back to looking like a big pile of tumble weeds.  And brushing out the tangles? Pure hell. Combing out her hair is like pulling thorns out of a lion’s paw.

Of course, I’ve tried letting her brush it herself and she does a great job. At brushing only the parts she sees in the mirror. So her front is perfect but the back would make a cozy nest for an entire family of rats.

When I tell her this, she shrugs and says, “But I can’t see the back!” So in her mind no one else can, either.

If only I could apply this logic to my gigantic, pantsless, bacon-fed, cellulite-riddled ass.

 

 

 

La la la la! I Can’t Hear You!

untitled (15)

Today at breakfast my 11-year-old son informed me he had good news and bad news. Not only was he finally allowed to bring his recorder home from music class but he was going to take his first puberty class at school.

I’m still trying to figure out which was the good news.

Later that afternoon after he slid into the backseat of the minivan and played a few notes of “Hot Cross Buns”, I immediately began plotting how and when his recorder would meet a tragic fate. As soon as we came to the first stop sign it was clear I wouldn’t have to wait very long for the “when” part.

“Hey Mom!” he yelled, in between rapid huffing and puffing and what sounded like a mockingbird having an asthma attack.  “Guess how puberty went today!”

There was that word again. Instantly, my mind seized up. **DANGER! DANGER! RED ALERT!** Abandon all innocence! Kiss it goodbye! It’s all over now!

I tried a distraction tactic. “Hey, how ’bout you play some more music? You take requests? Know ‘Smoke on the Water’?”

“I SAID guess how puberty went, Mom!”

“Guess how you and Bert went?”

“No! Puberty!”

“Phew, a birdie? Yes.”

“NO! PUBERTY!”

“What? I can’t hear you.”

“PUBERTY! PUBERTY! PU – BER – TY!”

Worst chant ever in the history of the world.

“Oh yeah? So how did that…uh…go?” I asked and held my breath.

“Terrifying,” he sighed from the backseat. “Absolutely terrifying.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

“Okay, ” I said. “That’s okay. It’s good we’re talking about this.  This is what I’m here for. We need to communicate because it’s healthy. Yeah. Very healthy. Sooooo very healthy….” Now it was my turn to sigh.

“So today we found out about uteruses! All girls have one,” he said.

“Riiiiiight….”

“And the uterus gets really big when the baby grows.”

“Yes, it does. Big uterus. Yep, indeedy. Big big uterus.”

Silence.

“So…” I peered into the rearview mirror. “Any other questions that you have for me? Because I would be…” I slowly dragged my hand down my face and took a deep breath. “Because I would be happy to answer any y’know…” I cringed as a few more gray hairs sprouted on my head “…any questions you may have. About where babies come from. They told you right?”

“Huh?”

“The teacher told you how the baby gets inside the uterus?”

“I don’t think so.  I must have blacked that part out. Maybe she’ll tell us tomorrow.”

“Hmm…well, tell you what. You can tell your father all about what you find out in puberty class tomorrow and he’ll answer any questions you might have, and I’ll listen to you play “Hot Cross Buns” as much as you like the rest of the day. Deal?”

“Okay,” he said and the car was once again filled with the Devil’s elevator music.

Sometimes being a mom requires making the tough choices.

Actually, this was an easy one.

I think.

Ask me again tomorrow after my first puberty class is over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting to the End is the Point

The month of June will forever spin the threads of two momentous occasions together in my mind.

Graduation and Father’s Day.

The last time I graduated college in 1993 there was no pomp but plenty of circumstance.  The day I received my degree I simply opened my mailbox, ran my fingers under the edge of the thick manila envelope and slid my diploma into my hand.

I lifted up the heavy silk cover: Bachelor of Arts it read in fancy font. I stood there in the driveway looking at it for the longest time. Finally I snapped the cover shut, walked into the house and tossed it onto the stack of papers spilling over my desk.

I was lost. Even worse, I was hurt. I didn’t care that I had missed attending my graduation ceremony held over 3,000 miles away.  What was the point now? So I barely finished college. So what?  My dad was dead. He didn’t get to see me graduate. He didn’t get to see anything I did anymore.

At a deeper level I knew that wasn’t true, but I was determined to remain angry, to continue to feel cheated and hopeless. Why should I bother chasing my dream when the world proved to be so cold? I had no motivation because my biggest cheerleader was gone forever.

So I spent the majority of my early twenties lamenting my pain, my loss that no one else could ever possibly understand. Losing my dad was my excuse for everything. Doubts took root in my mind.  I gave up. I would never succeed. I would never become the person my dad thought I could be. My world was dark so why should I waste energy trying to create sparks?

Ah, but life has a strange way of seeing things through whether you’re on board or not. Fate intervenes and things correct themselves. Lessons are eventually learned no matter how hard you try to refuse their gifts. Threads in the tapestry connect and the circle closes.

It always closes.

A few years ago as I sat in the back of my first college class I felt that old familiar fear creeping in, threatening to suffocate that tiny spark.

But this time I had my cheerleader again. He sat in the empty chair next to me. I felt him there in every classroom for the past two years whispering, You can do it, Punky. He was seeing everything I was doing after all.

And I had to do it right this time. I wanted to show my dad I could do it. That I could finish this and see it to the end. I had to close the circle I had carelessly left open and frayed over twenty years ago.

Last month as I crossed the stage in my cap and gown in front of a thousand people, the sparks inside me creating a supernova of joy exploding in my heart, I had one thought:  I did it, Dad. I actually did it.

After I walked back to my seat with my diploma in hand, I glanced up into the stands searching for some sign of my dad. Did he see me now?

Laughing and cheering, I stood up with my classmates and ceremoniously turned my tassel from the right to the left. Of course, I knew the answer.

And my circle closed.

10255917_10152019361570836_5952795304744524864_n 10363755_10152530797952873_8806740466458474020_n 17553_288664762872_2492070_n

Congratulations to all my fellow graduates.

And thanks Dad, for being there with me every step of the way.

Happy Father’s Day.

 

 

I’ll Take 30 Tiny Bags of Pretzels, Please.

boeing-airplane-widescreen-wallpaper

I was in a big metal tube about 35,000 feet above New York City last week when it dawned on me. There were not enough pretzels.

After the nice woman gave me a polite smirk that I’ve no doubt was the first thing she was taught at flight attendant school, she handed me two little bags, each one filled mostly with puffed air and pretzel dust.

Not enough. Because I wanted to cram them down my gullet so I might choke and pass out. Anything to take away from the realization that I was only a few feet of scrap metal away from a free-fall from hell.

Was I the only one on this plane thinking about the fact that at any second a bolt might come loose? That a portion of the rickety floor beneath my flip-flops might break off and I’d suddenly find myself spiraling down through the clouds still strapped into my seat and screaming until my lungs exploded, my pretzel bags clenched in my fists?

This is why they hand out bags of snacks. To distract us.

“Sure, we could all perish at any moment — but we have tiny cookies!”

Oh boy, you have Sprite, Diet Coke AND Coke? Oh, and I even get a tiny plastic cup full of ice? I’m sold! Flying is normal! People do it all day long! It’s perfectly sane!

untitled (9)

Me likey tiny snacks. Tiny snacks make it all better.

 

Certain parts of the flight freak me out more than others. The take-off. The landing. The time in-between.

After we took off from JFK airport to Orlando and the plane made a sharp bank to the left, I immediately realized this was a bad idea. My inner ears inflated like balloons, my brain slid from one side to the other and I almost asked the flight attendant if the pilot would kindly stop this ride and let me off. Surely I’d have better luck floating in the ocean with the life vest that looked like it was made of Ziploc bags and duct tape.

My husband assured me things would be better once the plane leveled at 45,000 feet because my ears would pop. Oh goody.

What he didn’t realize was that would only give the freaky Twilight Zone monster enough time to stabilize himself on the wing and pull out that last wire connected to the engine.

 

untitled (10)

More pretzels! Dear god I need more pretzels!

untitled (11)

 

It amazed me how no one else on the plane seemed to realize the constant potential danger we were in. My favorite thing the pilot says on every flight: “Ladies and gentleman, we seem to be having some mild turbulence. Please fasten your seatbelts.”

Mild turbulence? Oh you mean when the cramped tube we’re trapped inside starts to violently shake and rattle? Or when it drops suddenly, the engines sputter and it lurches back up?

“We’re going through clouds,” my husband assured me. Clouds? Clouds are making the plane almost break apart? If this is what the plane does when it encounters puffy white mist I would very much like to opt out of landing it on concrete at 300 miles an hour.

Nothing is more heart-thumping for me than the moment the landing gear drops and makes a loud grinding noise. You can never tell if the wheels cranked out all the way. Maybe they popped out only half-way. Maybe there’s only one wheel. Can a plane land on one wheel? That guy landed on the Hudson, surely this Doogie Howser pilot could pull it off, right?

No matter the outcome of the landing gear, I make sure I always have my iPhone all prepped and ready to take video of the event for CNN.

Another thing that irked me was how often I was told to enjoy this experience.

“Enjoy your flight!” the cheery flight attendants said as I boarded every plane. Enjoy my flight? Oh there will be no enjoying. A hot fudge sundae? That I enjoy. A good night’s sleep? Much enjoying going on there.

The only time I finally felt any slightest bit of enjoyment was once the plane came to a complete stop at the gate. Even the landings were filled with anxiety. One pilot slammed on the brakes so hard we all flung forward in our seats. I guess there wasn’t enough runway.

You’ve probably already figured out I did survive all four flights last week. However, I will never fly again. I will drive everywhere from now on. I realize this will make my lifelong dream of going to Italy harder to accomplish.

And I know all about the statistics stating flying is safer than driving.  But I prefer to do my dying on solid ground. It’s more stable. Not to mention less motion sickness, inner ear implosions and Twilight Zone monsters.

And the pretzels down here are bigger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I am a Woman.

untitled (7)

Newsflash: We all have feminine and masculine tendencies. Naturally, some of us might be more on one side than the other regardless of our gender.  Some of us might have an equal balance of both. These traits might be due to our childhoods or because we were born that way.

What I’m saying is — enough already. Sheesh.

Still some people automatically lump either gender into tidy little boxes. Men like sports. Women like makeup. Men burp and fart. Women like makeup. Men scratch themselves a lot. Women tell men to stop burping, farting and scratching themselves and give us their credit card already so we can go buy more makeup.

We all know it’s ridiculous to overgeneralize based on gender. I’m a good example. I grew up with five brothers. And last time I checked, I am a woman.

Here are a few facts about me:

  • I hate makeup.
  • I rarely wear makeup.
  • Once a year when I wear makeup for a special occasion, I have no idea how to apply it so I don’t end up looking like this:

mimi[1]

  • I love sports. I like to play them, I like to watch them on TV.
  • I live for Super Bowl Sunday.
  • I love to listen to bands like Alice in Chains.
  • I am strong. I’m wily. I could drop you like a sack of bricks with one swift chop to your trachea.
  • I hate washing my hair. I hate brushing my hair. I hate my hair.
  • Shoes are evil. Especially any shoe that is not a sneaker or flip-flop.
  • I hate purses. I have no idea why people spend tons of money on them. I walk into a purse store like Coach and my mind switches off. Picking out a purse is like watching my horribly-applied clown makeup dry.  I prefer to just stick my wallet into my jacket pocket and call it good.
  • If I carry a purse, (I own exactly one) I will spend the entire time flinging it around while yelling “What in the hell am I supposed to do with this stupid thing?! It’s like an anchor around my neck and I swear I will die right here in the middle of this fracking Coach store if I have to drag it around one more minute!”
  • I hate clothes shopping. I hate clothes. If I could wear the same outfit every day — say, a large potato sack with a rope belt — I’d be happy.
  • I have no idea what pants go with which shirt. Or what’s considered trendy or fashionable. Because I. Do. Not. Care. (also, I have bad taste in clothes, see above)
  • I hate shopping in general. Going to the mall is cruel and unusual punishment. While my husband will agonize over which coffee pot to buy, I’ll slink slowly to the floor in agony, crying “for the love of all that is holy JUST PICK ONE SO WE CAN GET OUT OF THIS HELLHOLE!” Then I hit him in the head with my giant ugly purse.
  • I don’t like to cook.
  • I don’t like to bake.
  • I do love to eat.
  • I don’t like to clean. I will clean of course, but I won’t like it.
  • I hate math but I’m good at it. I also excel in science and medical stuff. (that’s right, the technical term is “stuff”)
  • I love to play basketball and I’ve got a killer hook shot.
  • I love to play video games for hours, like Tomb Raider and Mario Kart.
  • I actually rather enjoyed all of the Iron Man and Avenger movies.
  • Sometimes I burp. Very long and loud burps that rattle the windows.

So is your mind blown? No? Fine. (ahem)

What about you guys? How are you unlike/like your gender’s stereotypes?

 

How Blogging Has Changed My Life. Really.

blogging-tips-for-marketers

Maybe it’s because my fourth blogaversary is coming up, but I’m getting sentimental. I’m looking back over the years and thinking about what this blog means to me.

I’ve debated for days how to write this post without coming off as sappy or narcissistic and I’ve realized it’s impossible. Those are the two things I’m good at.

I don’t know about you, but my blog has been an important part of my life. It came at the perfect time. Four years ago I was spending my days posting stupid facebook status updates about the toast I had that morning, feeling like I had no creative outlet.

I was a stay-at-home mom feeling like I had lost touch with the world. Like I had lost my identity along the way. I needed to make connections with others.  I wrote my first post, the mind-blowing “What’s a widget?” received one comment from my cousin in Florida and I was hopelessly hooked

Blogging is like opening up your house for strangers to come in and sift through your medicine cabinet and underwear drawer. It’s very scary to let people in, to be so intimate and vulnerable. What if people judge my granny panties? What if people find out about the prescription strength hemorrhoid cream? (not mine)

Life is all about pushing through those roadblocks of fear. Testing your limits, seeing what you’re made of. Hiding the hemorrhoid cream in a better place next time.

I wasn’t popular as a kid. I wasn’t outgoing. I was painfully shy. And by that I mean other kids would take turns giving me atomic wedgies on the playground.

Oh I was always observing everyone else for sure, because you can pick up a lot about human nature that way. Like figuring out how fast I had to run to avoid being put in a headlock and given a noogie. Thankfully this knack for observing others helps with my writing a little. Except for this paragraph. Oh god I hate it. Just bad bad writing overall. Oh well, too late.

So — surprise, surprise — I had huge insecurities most of my life. I’m in my forties and feel like I’m finally letting most of those go, letting them fall away. I’ve told that negative inner voice to shut the hell up already.

And you know, it feels good. More than good. It feels like I’ve given myself permission to be the true me — the good, the bad, the ugly. I feel FREE.

Here’s a sampling of my inner dialogue/conflict now:

Darla, you are such an idiot.

Shut the hell up.

Darla, your face resembles a Shar Pei. A very old, very wrinkled Shar Pei. Not the good end.

Shut the hell up.

Darla, your ass is droopy. So droopy it’s morphed with your jiggly thighs to become one giant mass of ass. Really, I can’t even tell where one body part ends or begins now.

Shut the hell up.

Darla, your writing sucks. It sucks bad.

Shut the hell up.

See? Seems easy to do, but it took me a long time to get to this point. Go on, try it — tell yourself to shut the hell up for me. You’ll feel like a weight’s been lifted.

How has blogging helped me reach this point? It all comes down to you guys. Every time you take the time out of your busy day at work playing Candy Crush Saga to leave a nice comment, it gives me a positive boost. To be honest, I still can’t believe anyone wants to read my writing at all.

But maybe you don’t want to read my blog.

Maybe you were moving a heavy bookcase by yourself, it tipped over and now you’re lying on the floor trapped underneath a mountain of books. Your smartphone flew out of your pocket and it’s just inches out of your reach. Your pet parrot Mr. Pickles unlatched his cage and swooped down to help because you had spent months teaching him how to call 911. But then he realized you had forgotten to feed him again that morning so instead he angrily pecked at your phone, inadvertently typing the URL address for this blog and now all you can do to pass the time is read this drivel from a distance as the weight of the bookcase slowly crushes your spine into dust while a squawking Mr.Pickles digs his talons deeper into your face and poops on your forehead.

If so, I’m sorry. Next time get a dog.

It’s been four years of blogging and I still don’t really know what I’m doing. But I don’t care anymore, I just go with it. What — you say you could tell by the quality of my posts? Shut up.

So you know how sometimes you feel a little trepidation the moment before you hit ‘publish’ on a post? I used to get anxious posting some things. I’m not sure why.

Now I feel a level of confidence when I write. I’ll never be completely satisfied and that’s not the point for me anymore. When I post I think, Hey, guys! Whassup? Here I am, this is me. And what about you? It’s that basic human connection, that someone out there might “get me”. This is the only reason I blog now. (I’m not sure there was ever any other reason.)

This confidence has spilled over into other areas of my life. I went back to college full time and I’ll graduate as a medical assistant next week. I made the Dean’s List every semester, high honors. Yes, I think I have permission to brag because I studied my giant mass of thigh/ass off.  I start my externship soon at an OB/GYN office and hope to train to become an ultrasound tech.  I’ve done things this year I never thought possible at this stage in my life.

Yes, this is me. Shut up.

Yes, this is me. Shut up.

Was I scared the first day of class when I realized I could be my lab partner’s mother? Hell yeah!

Was I shaking like a leaf the first time I had to draw my lab partner’s blood? Of course! But then, so was my lab partner.

I wanted to quit school so many times, to just give up. Fear was this heavy weight bearing down on me (much like your bookcase and again, I’m sorry) Every semester I wanted to run and hide underneath the covers.

Instead I made a choice to face my fears head on, to allow myself to make mistakes and to be okay with it. I know you might not believe me, but blogging has been a catalyst in this transformation.

By writing again, I’ve found the true me again. She was there all along, buried underneath choking fears and insecurities. (again, poor choice of words but I told you not to buy that large-print copy of War and Peace)

And I really like this new me. She’s all right.

Blogging has changed my life. It’s opened up a door I thought was closed forever.  My creative side is back, I’m writing again.  I’m starting to do things in my life that make me happy.

Me.

After all, I believe it was the great Shakespeare who once said, this life sure as hell ain’t gonna be lived by anyone else. You’re right, it was Oprah.

So thank you.

Thank you for reading all these years.

Thank you to all the other bloggers for constantly writing entertaining posts so I have zero time to write my own freaking posts, you big jerks.

I’ve met some amazing people in the past four years, some I’ve gotten to know online and some in real life. I feel truly lucky and blessed to have ridden this wackadoodle WordPress rollercoaster with you guys. (ridden’s a word right? ah, who cares)

I’ll be posting on my blog much less this year due to my new career sticking people with needles and all, but I’ll still be around now and then. Writing is like breathing for me, without it I’m as good as dead.

And hopefully I won’t ever write another post about writing or blogging again. You’d like that, wouldn’t you?

Okay, that’s all from here. (too much from here by the looks of my word count, damn!)

Have a great summer guys! See you around. Take care of yourselves. Stop sending me Candy Crush Saga requests on Facebook.

(And I sincerely hope Mr. Pickles finds forgiveness in his tiny heart and dials 911 for you. In the meantime, read War and Peace while you lie there waiting for my next post. I hear it’s a good story.)

 

Phone Calls

Talking to a young child on the phone is an exercise in patience. The endless grueling-marathon kind of exercise that gets you nowhere fast and ends with you repeatedly jamming your smart phone into your eye socket.

Yesterday I was out on errands and needed to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy for my husband. There was confusion about a refill so I had to call him on my cell phone immediately to clear things up.

Unfortunately, my 11-year-old son answered.

For some reason whenever he talks on the phone he morphs into a hyped-up sugar-crazed maniac who has forgotten he should adjust his voice on the phone to lower then 10,000 decibels.

Him: HELLO?

Me: Hey, is Daddy there?

Him: [shouting] HELLO!

Me: Is Daddy right there? Can you put him on the phone?

Him: HI! [giggling]

Me: Is Daddy th-

Him: HI MOM! [hysterical laughing]

Me: [looking down at cell phone] Who IS this?

Him: CANDY!

Me: Put. Daddy. On. The. Phone.

Him: CANDY!

Me: What?

Him: Are you getting us candy?

Me: What? No.

Him: CANDY!

Me: No! No candy! Will you hand the phone to Daddy now?

[handing phone over, more giggling in background]

[my seven-year-old daughter breathing heavy into phone]

Her: [yelling at the top of her lungs] I LIKE SKITTLES!

Hmm…perhaps I should take the kids on a fun little visit to the ear doctor tomorrow.

Me: Give the phone to Daddy.

Her: DID YOU GET US CANDY?

…and apparently both my kids are hopeless junkies and all that sugar has eaten away every functioning neuron in their brains.

Me: Give the phone to Daddy.

Her: You’re at the store getting us candy now, right?

What do they think I spend all my free time buying candy? That mom just lives in the pharmacy’s candy aisle? “Okay, kids! Mommy’s heading out now to camp out on that little cot next to the Snickers bars, just waiting for you to tell me what kind of candy you want!”

Me: Give the phone to Daddy. To Daddy. The phone. To Daddy. GivethephonetodaddyGivethephonetodaddyGivethephonetodaddy.

Her: [yelling] I LIKE SKITTLES!

Phone hangs up.

Well, I guess my husband will just have to do without his blood pressure pills. I’ll just replace them with Skittles, I’m sure it won’t be a problem.