All Blogs Must Pass

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To every post (churn, churn, churn)
There is a season (churn, churn, churn)
And a time to every bloggy purpose, under heaven
A time to be write, a time to cry
A time to edit,  a time to die, words, die!
A time to be wracked with self-doubt, a time to heal
A time to alienate your entire family so you can waste precious time to write a post no one will ever read

Hey gang! There is still a gang out there, right? Hellllllllllloooooooooooo?

This year was my blog’s seventh anniversary. I was a spirited 39-year-old when I started She’s a Maineiac and now I’m still 39 so shut the hell up.

It’s been seven frigging years and I still, STILL! feel compelled to post crap at least once a month, much to my own chagrin. I feel like my blog has pretty much died a long slow death.  Or maybe it’s just in a coma and waiting for someone to wake it up so it will have amnesia and start over again with a new personality.  I like that idea! Hey, it worked for Sandra Bullock!
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C’mon, Darla! Wake the f*** up! Also, you look like shit.
Let’s take a groovy-graphy trip down my so-called bloggy life’s past to see how things evolved over time….

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As we all know, everything has a purpose and a season under heaven.  I think it was George Harrison who once said, all things must pass. Or maybe it was Dr. Oz talking about constipation. We all know that life is an endless cycle of life, death, rebirth, and more life and more death and you get the picture.

The cool thing about a cycle is it can start fresh again, it can be reborn! Like my snazzy graph below illustrates….

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So, it appears I’m back to writing for only me again. Yikes. My blog readers have pretty much vanished. Blogs are dead. Disco is dead. Elvis is alive and well in an underground bunker in Albuquerque. This is good and bad. Lately, it seems I have forgotten how to write. I have that thing you get when you….what’s that called again?

But I do love to write for myself. Sure, I’ve started to rehash ideas and tend to do the same post over and over again and maybe I won’t ever get the level of readership I once had years ago. And maybe the grammar police will always be lurking around every dangling particle. And yes, I have no clue what that even means. I don’t care! I’m too old to care anymore! This is my place! I get to do whatever the heck I want here, gosh darnit! If you don’t like my blog, good riddance!

 

But you’ll stick around, right?

If you’re still here, tell me in the comments below about your blogging career. Did you make oodles of money and gain boundless fame? Or just a bigger ass like me?

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Bigly News!

I’ve been coughing up posts for this blog for almost seven years now — for free and with absolutely zero chance of ever gaining any real success or exposure beyond the 200 pathetic cats that read my drivel.

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Well, that’s about to change.

I’ve just received news through my agent that Melissa McCarthy has signed on to produce a TV Land series based on my blog. Remember the failed TV show, Sh*t My Dad Says starring William Shatner that was based on some guy’s twitter feed? Yeah — this one will actually be good.

The tentative title: The Bad Blogger

The synopsis: The show will follow the life and times of WordPress blogger Marla — a middle-aged, bitter, grade-A crank who is doomed to live in a frozen tundra teeming with Maineiac assholes. She longs to make it as a successful writer, only to be served a big, fat, steaming pile of failure time and again. After much soul-searching, coffee brandy, and the occasional cigar, she finally finds her purpose by posting funny cat videos to her blog followers.

I’ve watched the above video about 152 times and laugh harder each time. What kills me is the look on the white cat’s face when she realizes she didn’t ring the bell hard enough, and the other cat is getting the food but she’s getting bupkis. That look? That’s my face. Every day of my life. Where’s my damn kibble?!

All pissed-off cats and nobody-bloggers-like-me-who-will-never-have-any-real-success-thanks-for-nothing-Melissa-McCarthy aside…I love April Fools’ Day. Two of my favorite pranks I’ve pulled over the years include:

  • Wrapping a huge spool of twine around my brother’s friend’s car, encasing it completely. Took him hours to unwind it. During a blizzard. After he  had just finished a brutal 10 hour shift at work. Hilarious.
  • Telling my boss my husband and my co-worker’s husband were both caught cheating on us — with each other. This was an elaborate prank that involved several people and we managed to keep it going all day long — and my boss believed every bit of it. Hysterical.

So, in the spirit of being mean for a cheap laugh, so far today I gave my kids a spoon in a bowl of milk and cereal…that I froze solid the night before. Later, I’m swapping out the mayonnaise for vanilla pudding.

My husband told me this morning right after I woke up that he got an email stating our health insurance premium is going up to 852 bucks a month. Then he let out a cackle and said “APRIL FOOLS!”

I didn’t think it was funny.

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What sort of devilish pranks have you pulled? Let me know so I can use them next year.

It’s the End of the World as I Know It (And I Feel Slightly Uneasy)

As some of you are well aware, there are certain undeniable signs the End Times are near:

  • Oceans turn blood red.
  • Locusts! It’s raining locusts!
  • Leggings are a thing now.
  • Leggings! It’s raining leggings!

But recently I’ve witnessed another sign that it’s time to make peace with my maker.

My mom is on Facebook.

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Just to give you some perspective — she has never used a computer, doesn’t know what the Internet is, and once had a lengthy conversation with a robocaller about her bowel issues.

It all started when my extremely misguided brother bought her a Kindle for Christmas. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he installed the Facebook app and set up her account. Then — here’s what sent chills down my spine — SHE SENT ME A FRIEND REQUEST.

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Darla? ARE YOU THERE, DARLA?! I KNOW YOU’RE THERE! Hurry up! I could die waiting for you to friend me! Do you want me to die friendless, Darla?

My 83-year-old mother. The one who talks my ear off nonstop about gluten and loves Garth Brooks but thinks his wife’s chest is “too chesty and probably full of gluten”.

Now she can see all my stuff on Facebook. (gasp) She might even notice I have a blog. And that I’ve shamelessly used her as blog fodder for a few cheap laughs. Like this post. (ahem)

OH GOOD GOD! It’s like when the two worlds of George collided on Seinfeld. I need to keep things separate, people! Separate! Jeezum crow!

My husband tried to calm me down. “She won’t go on Facebook, trust me. She doesn’t even know how to turn on the Kindle yet!”

That night the phone rang. It was my mom. She wanted me to come over right away and help her “get on that page with all the people on it.”

Later, as I sat in her kitchen looking down at her Kindle, the smell of rice cakes burning in the toaster wafting through the 85-degree air, things got tense right away.

“Oh god! This Facebook is too much for my brain! I just don’t get it! And they keep changing the pictures on me! First there was a dog wearing a tie and now there’s a stupid video on how to make cereal! And they keep showing me a friend of a friend I don’t give a rat’s ass about! I mean, who in the hell IS THIS?! I wish I could get rid of them but I don’t know how!”

Then my mom entered the room.

“Did ya get me on that face thing yet?” she asked, biting into a blackened rice cake.

So this is how it all ends. With my mom leaving messages on my wall for everyone to see.

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slide1The next day I was sitting in my car waiting for my son when it happened. A Facebook notification. My mom had “liked” a photo I put up on my wall years ago. Great — not only is my mom “liking” all my personal stuff — she’s a stalker.

Time to erase my entire blog after this post.

Bloggers Gone (Mildly) Wild

I’ve been lucky to have met several bloggers over the years. As lovely as all of them turned out to be, I admit that I had my doubts.

What if they’re really ax murderers?
What if they think I’m totally uncool?
What if I end up wearing a fake mustache, plaid earmuffs, and yellow yarn on my head in public?

Preparing to blow the hipster restaurant crowd away with our epic dorkiness.
Preparing to blow Portland away with our epic dorkiness.

Ayuh, that’s right. I met up with Jules from Go Jules Go AND Peg from
Peg-o-leg’s Ramblings! I know!! INSANE!! I was delirious from the pure excitement and adrenaline. Or maybe that was because I pounded down a Blueberry Ale in ten seconds.

The Three Amigos: Three Blondes Make Everything Right
Three Wrong Blondes Make Everything Right

The best part was we didn’t even really plan (much) for this to happen — it was like fate, destiny, or pure coincidence. Jules is from New Jersey and just happened to be up here in Maine for Labor Day weekend. Peg is from Illinois and she and her family just happened to be up here in Maine for Labor Day weekend. And it was my birthday! I’m 29 for the 18th time. What a gift it was to chill with some bloggy peeps!!!!! (extra exclamation points absolutely justified)

After bribing Peg’s visiting family with lobster rolls, they graciously allowed me to hobnob with WordPress celebs Peg and Jules (and her adorable dog) on the Portland waterfront.

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Chillin’ with Uncle Jesse.

I tell you I have never been so giddy. Peg is exactly like you’d imagine from her blog times 100. She’s beautiful, bubbly, and hilarious. I’ve already met with Jules a few times, so it goes without saying she’s gorgeous, witty and totally rocks. The three of us had lunch, gabbed about stupid blog stuff, and played with vibrating lobsters

What? The restaurant handed them out to us so we’d know when our lunch was ready! Sheesh!

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Hello, Portland Press Herald? Breaking news — Darla, a born-n-raised Mainah, actually hates lobster.

I’d love to end this post by bragging about how after lunch we jetted off to party on a rented lobster boat while we toured lighthouses and Stephen King’s estate, but that’ll have to wait until next year.

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Bonus footage: Jim Gaffigan tells you exactly why I don’t like “lobstah”

Have you ever met a blogger in real life? Did you get as nervous as I did? Did you also make a complete fool of yourself in public? (Not hard for me to do…) Do tell!

50 Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude

Dawn, who writes the blog Tales from the Motherland, invited me to join a group post about all the things we’re thankful for this year in order to spread love and joy around the holidays.

But we have to come up with 50 and only give ourselves 10 minutes to do it.

Sounds a little stressful to me.  So in preparation, I inhaled a few slices of fruitcake, chased them down with some spiked eggnog, then burped up a storm. Ah! Now I was ready to compile my glorious list of holiday cheer.

And because this is all about sharing, we’re inviting you guys to join us. I promise that you will feel truly positive and grateful after you do this exercise.

50 Things That Make Me Happy:

  1. My kids.
  2. My husband.
  3. Yeah, I love my family more than anything else in the entire universe.
  4. Did I mention my family?
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  5. Star Wars. I saw the first one in the theater with my dad when I was a kid.  It was mesmerizing and I had a huge crush on Han Solo. And I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s back with J.J. Abrams. Yeah! I just wish to god I had kept my little 1980 Princess Leia action figure. I think my brother fed her to our dog, who not coincidentally was named Princess.
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  6. Shopping for gifts online in my bathrobe.
  7. Coffee! Oh, dear sweet nectar of the gods! Sometimes I just want to dive right into my mug and go swimming.
  8. My mom. She knits like crazy and loves to listen to the Doors. Yup, she’s badass.
  9. Forgiveness. My mom and I have had a pretty rough relationship, but age has mellowed us out. We’ve forgiven each other for many things in the past.
  10. Coldplay. Shut up. I love them! When I hear their music my soul feels instantly lifted. It’s full of positivity and I need more of that in my life.
  11. This year, I actually won a contest to see David Gray (one of my faves!) in a private little concert on the pier by the ocean. We sat on a cozy couch on a deck with about 20 others and listened to him sing as ships sailed by in the harbor. It was the perfect setting.
    My future living room.
    My future living room.
    Singing "Snow in Vegas", his duet with LeAnn Rimes.
    Singing “Snow in Vegas”, his duet with LeAnn Rimes.

    And I even got to hug him afterward!
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    He had such dry humor and he was very polite. He said to my husband, “How you doin’, mate?” Mate! Oh, those charming Brits. Plus, it was his birthday so I got to eat cake. Best. Day. Ever.

  12. My microwave and crock-pot.
  13. The smell of my Christmas tree when I walk in the door.
  14. My husband for being such a loving, attentive dad. My kids worship him.
  15. Singing alone while driving.
  16. Humor. I live for the funny. I have to laugh every day or I’ll die.
  17. Late night TV when I have insomnia.
  18. Listening to my daughter play the violin.
  19. Singing Adele songs at full blast with my daughter.
  20. My son’s dimples and smile.
  21. My bed. Is it just me, but isn’t that moment when you lie down after a long day the single best thing ever? I love sleep.
  22. Blogging. It’s always been such fun and I love to do it.
  23. The Internet. I can’t live without it. I remember the very first time I was introduced to it. My brother told me to type a word to search and I typed “fart” and all these fart jokes popped up like magic. Mind blown. My life was never the same after that day.
  24. My body. It may be getting wrinkled and fluffier, but I can still go for long walks. I can hug people. I’m just happy to be alive at this point. Only took me nearly 45 years to figure this one out.
  25. Oh, my god, did I get to 50 yet?!
  26. I will never get to 50.
  27. My little tiny Prius that only costs about 12 bucks to fill up now.
  28. El Nino! It’s still balmy and almost Christmas here in Maine. After last winter, I’ll take it.
  29. Polar Express. We can’t get enough of this movie. Isn’t Tom Hanks amazing?
  30. Christmas Vacation movie with Chevy Chase.
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    Especially the scene with the squirrel in the tree. Or my favorite line from Eddie: “You know that metal plate in my head? I had to have it replaced, cause every time Catherine revved up the microwave I’d piss my pants and forget who I was for a half hour or so.”
  31. Laughing until you cry. See above movie.
  32. David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s “Little Drummer Boy.”
  33. Chocolate.
  34. The fact my daughter is more obsessed with the TV show Survivor than I am. It’s our little ritual to watch it every week together.
  35. Video games. I love to play them with my kids and I sometimes win.
  36. Pecan pie. I’m making my first one this weekend. And it reminds me of one of my favorite films, When Harry Met Sally.
  37. I work from home and get to be the one to pick up my kids after school. This is one of the major reasons I work from home. I want to be there for them as much as I can. I’m sure they won’t mind if I live in their college dorm room closet one day, right?
  38. Love. I have a lot of love in my life and I’m forever grateful for all of it.
  39. Meditation. It helps calm my racing mind.
  40. Christmas lights. I could sit out in the living room all night and just gaze at the tree. Very peaceful.
  41. Football. When I watch a game I feel like my late dad is sitting next to me. Late as in dead, not as in “late to the game” late.
  42. Dark humor.
  43. That every morning without fail my husband brings me my coffee right after I wake up. He’s been doing this for over 17 years. (I think maybe it’s because he knows how cranky I am before that first sip.)
  44. Wahoo! I’m at 44! And you’re still here? Bless you.
  45. Music. I couldn’t survive without it. It’s magical and transcends everything else. I hear a song and I’m instantly transported to another time or place. My mind is free, just busted wide open. It’s therapeutic and saves my soul.
  46. Writing. Words. Writing words. Yeah. It’s good.
  47. Books. I have about 20 new ones I need to read but don’t have the time.
  48. Gray hairs. I actually love having a little bit of gray. It makes me feel like I’m saying to the world: “Yeah, that’s right! I’m old! Don’t mess with me!”
  49. The Big Bang Theory. I have major crushes on Sheldon and Leonard.
  50. My blog readers. I truly appreciate every comment and like. (I think there are still a few of you out there, right?)

Whew, I’m done!  Now it’s your turn.

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If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.

To join the bloggers who have come together for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at the bottom of Dawn’s post HERE. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List.

Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for, will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise.

Have fun, guys! Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

So you want to be a blogger

Sometimes I receive emails from newbie bloggers asking me stuff like:

“Hey, Darla! How in the hell did your blog get to be sort-of-but-not-really popular? Why on earth do you have as many followers as Danny Bonaduce’s Twitter account*? You ain’t no big thang! Please explain.”

As I’m sure Danny “The Dooch Man” Bonaduce would tell you — it takes pure luck plus the perfect amount of narcissism mixed with self-loathing to become this mediocre.

True dat.
True dat.

If I had to pick one thing that helped skyrocket this blog into “eh-dom”, it would be the day my post about getting my hair cut was picked by a WordPress editor for Freshly Pressed back in the days of bloggy yore, circa 2010. Soon people all over this great land of ours were leaving me comments like, “Nice post” and “Please visit my blog at buttmunch.com!” It was a magical time. My stats climbed (then plummeted) and my ego exploded (then imploded). Messy.

Still I was convinced my little post was picked at random and that’s because it was. Random. It had to be because what good writer ends their sentences with the word ‘was’? Or even worse, I’m thinking a WordPress editor was in the middle of cleaning her keyboard of doughnut dust and accidently typed in the words “bad hair Darla” to find me.

Then for some odd reason WordPress put me under “recommended family”. This led many family-oriented people to my blog. Yet I had this burning desire to occasionally swear and write about broken asses. Write what you know and all that bull. I followed my bloggy dreams and never looked back. Over the years I’ve dropped hints for WP to switch me to humor but they insist I’m never funny. Fine, I’ll be a friggin “mommy blogger”. But I’ll be damned if I blog in torn yoga pants and a shirt covered in mac-n-cheese with my hair all a mess and oh yeah, right … I guess I am a mommy blogger. Damn it all to hell.

So it was a bit of luck that got this blog going. But then I took that luck and ran with it. And ran and ran and ran. Then I sat down again because I was winded and by golly, I blogged and blogged and churned out endless heaps of ridiculous posts, up to and including this one. To be honest, it does take a fair amount of blood, sweat and wine for me to crank out this shit. I don’t just sit down and spew words onto my laptop. (current post excluded)

So, you also want to be a “famous-in-your-own-mind” blogger?

Here’s what I’ve learned in my five years at WordPress:

  • Less is more. (Danny Bonaduce, I’m talking to you)
  • Wrong is right. (Danny Bonaduce, I’m not talking to you)
  • Just write. Who cares what a reader might think?
  • Always care what a reader might think.
  • If it makes you laugh or cry, it’s good enough to post.
  • People will get offended. They’ll think you’re being serious. Holding up a sign might help.

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  • Bullet point lists are the key to any good post.
  • Self-deprecating humor usually works because it sounds like “self-defecating” and who doesn’t want to see someone else shit all over themselves? Fun.
  • Find your voice.
  • Keep your voice even if you have to break all the rules. We’re not writing for The New York Times. Yet.
  • When your voice is hoarse, rest. Don’t force it. It’ll come back again.
  • Write, write, write. Edit, edit, edit. Sleep, sleep, sleep.**
  • Have fun. Play nice. Be good.
  • (Wait — that’s what I told my kids yesterday on their first day of school, sorry.)

Fellow bloggers — any other advice you’d give a newbie? Besides “you’ll never make a dime blogging so you might as well give up now?”

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*Danny actually has 25,000 followers. This means you probably shouldn’t be taking advice from a blogger with half the followers of someone who calls himself The Dooch Man.

**I really like sleeping.

Mishmash Monday

Hello there!

How the hell are you?

Just a friendly message letting you all know I can’t write anymore.

No, wait! Don’t leave me! Come back! This is serious! I got nuthin’! My bloggy well ran dry. My bloggy liquor cabinet has been emptied. My bloggy fridge has nothing but a half-drunk bottle of PBR and my bloggy pantry is full of moldy chocolate-covered raisins. No, wait…those aren’t raisins. I wish to god they were raisins.

Normally I have at least a dozen half-assed posts collecting dust in my draft folder. Today I checked and all I had was a quarter-assed post about Duck Dynasty I wrote nearly two years ago. About asses.

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Oh how I wish I really couldn’t see them.

This terrible no good winter from hell has killed my writerly soul. Yes, I said writerly. See how bad this is?

But being cooped up with cabin fever for these past six months has made me better at complaining. All winter long my husband and I played the classic married game of “Who’s More Miserable?”

Answer: It’s always me.

(Thank you, past hellish childbirth experiences.)

We’re celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary this week so this is what we do for fun now. Every night we cozy up in bed and suddenly turn into our grandmothers.

Him: “Oh god! I think my foot is going numb.”

Me: “My lower back is on fire!”

Him: “Yeah? Well, my ankle hurts!”

Me: “My knees hurt!”

Him: “My right butt cheek hurts!”

Me: “Hey, you know what hurts? That time they ripped all my insides out then put them on the table next to me! Twice!”

What’s even sadder is most times we are so exhausted from our daily lives we simply yell out body parts at each other. Sometimes to spice things up we’ll throw in a few potential diseases or ailments we think we might be developing.

“Thyroid!”

“Ovarian cancer!”

“Sleep apnea!”

“Menopause!”

What a delightful game! Other than my always being more miserable, nothing much else is going on with me.

As for my two kids? They’re flipping fantastic! Love them to pieces!

My eight-year-old daughter was looking at my high school yearbook photo last week and cringed: “Mom? Why is your hair so big? Why did you make it stick all up like that?”

I wish I knew, Miss J. I wish to god I knew.

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Laugh all you want now but at the time my Cowardly Lion mane provided a cozy home for a down-on-their-luck family of mice. (inhales) Ahhhhh! and I can still smell the burnt hair and chemicals just looking at this picture. And they warned us back then inhaling too much Aqua Net might fry your brain and lower your IQ! Pfft! Yeah, right! Whatever! hmmm…soooooooo….yeah…ahem….yep…..what was I talking about again?

Oh yes, my kids! My son is almost 13 so my knack for embarrassing the hell out of him comes with zero effort on my part.

The other day I was picking him up after track practice when I noticed a slight change in his appearance — a bit of peach fuzz on his upper lip.

“OH MY GOD! DO YOU HAVE A MUSTACHE?! IS THAT A MUSTACHE? OH! MY LITTLE BABY BOO IS BECOMING A MAN! NOOOO! WHY LORD? WHYYYYYY?”

Sure, I probably shouldn’t have yelled this revelation at the top of my lungs in the parking lot in front of his school. Or collapsed to the ground weeping. Okay, and I shouldn’t have actually picked him up. My back will pay for that one later. And maybe I shouldn’t have done all this when his friends were around. Plus that cute girl he really likes. Live and learn. Or not learn ever, in my case. I live to embarrass that boy. Let’s call it payback for colic.

I’d like to close this random post with a little movie review titled Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of What the F***?)

“Do you know what this movie means?”
“Hell no! I thought you did!”

**SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen the film yet, go away now! Go back to Twitter where you belong! Nothing to see here!**

Last week the little red Netflix envelope appeared in my mailbox and I thought, Ooh! Birdman! Cool! I like birds, I loved the movie Mr. Mom, this is going to be awesome! and settled down with my popcorn and gin to enjoy the feel-good movie of last year. I should have known a movie’s only Academy Award worthy when it makes you cringe the entire 2 hours. Ah, yes, the endless inner conflict of creativity versus fame, self-acceptance versus popularity, prop gun versus blown-off nose. Oh, Michael Keaton! I love you, man! You should have won that Oscar! But please, I’m begging you, rip off that ugly toupee and tell me what the hell the ending meant! Why were Emma Stone’s eyes so big? Why is Ed Norton so good at playing an asshole? Why was this movie the most depressing thing I’ve ever seen? Please tell me you lived happily ever after and flew away into the sunset wearing your undies! Why, Birdman? WHYYYYYY????

That’s it from here. What’s new with you? Do you know what the ending to Birdman meant? Do you also embarrass your kids? Can you give me some tips on how to improve my parenting tactics? Did I tell you my lower back’s on fire? What parts of your body are disintegrating?

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Birdman image: Rolling Stone
High School Yearbook Photo: She’s A “Gag me with a spoon” Maineiac

Blog Review 2014

Like most of us, I’m obsessed with meaningless numbers. Sadly, I tend to let them define my self-worth. I was born in 1970. I’m 140 pounds. I need to workout for 6,000 straight minutes to burn off the 3, 786 calorie doughnut I just inhaled.

Somehow I think these numbers mean something.

Yet no matter how much these numbers fluctuate (and believe me, my birth year is not set in stone) deep down I am still the same ol’ me. Numbers aren’t so important in the grand scheme of things.

For instance, I used to get excited that I have nearly 10,000 blog followers.

Until today when I realized my son also has a blog.

He’s twelve.

His blog is on Mario Kart Wii U.

He just started it yesterday.

His entire blog profile?

Hi!!! My name is C. Do you like pie? Good day.

He already has over 500 followers.

So I looked over the past year’s stats for my blog this morning (because I admit I do love numbers) and noticed a few things. When I write about blogging, I get the most views. My post Is Blogging Dead? got close to 1,500 hits. Yet oddly enough, posts like “Yes, but how high does a flea jump while farting?” get only one view. Crazy.

As for countries, I had over 26,000 hits from the US, but only one hit from someone in Madagascar. What gives? It’s a mad mad world.

Thank you all for hanging out and reading my blog, I do appreciate it. Happy New Year!

Oh — and do you like pie?

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Is Blogging Dead?

Is disco dead?

Is Elvis dead?

These are the pressing questions of our time and sadly, there are no clear answers.

We live in a social media world, where information is condensed, repackaged then regurgitated straight back into our tiny brains. We’re constantly bombarded with buttloads of useless drivel. We have twitter, youtube, GIFs, Justin Bieber. Everything is getting shorter and more obnoxious. In response our attention spans are adjusting. We crave quick blasts of information and grow tired and bored if we’re forced to focus more than two sec–holy crap, I’ve lost you already, haven’t I? What — this paragraph is too long? Not enough pictures to break up the monotony? You’re wondering where the GIF is?

FINE. Well dammit, here it is! Lap it up! Enjoy it! Get those lazy-ass neurons zapping again in that noggin of yours! God, you’re pathetic!comedy animated GIF
Ok — I admit, that’s a pretty cool GIF. Who doesn’t like a good snort of jambalaya?

Still, whatever happened to taking our time? Whatever happened to slowly digesting a good read? Whatever happened to Elvis? Is he really dead? Personally, I think he’s on an island somewhere with Steve Jobs and an iPhone 10 giggling his ass off.

But seriously. Is blogging dead? I’m asking again because I forgot what the point of this post was. The GIF above is distracting me. [jambalaya!] Does anyone really read an entire post anymore? [jambalaya!] Like say, any of my incredibly stupid and pointless posts, like this one?  [jambalaya!]

Don’t answer that.

[jambalaya!]

I like to think I’m not one to be sucked into the latest trend of super-short bite-sized social interaction.  I like to think I am above kowtowing to the masses. I’d like to know what kowtowing means.

So I looked back over my posts from over four years ago and I noticed a startling trend with my blogging (ahem) “career”:

  1. My posts got significantly shorter.
  2. My paragraphs got significantly shorter.
  3. My ass got significantly wider, and okay, shorter.

Apparently, reading anything more than 140 characters is like, so 2010. Libraries are dying. Stephen King is enraged more than usual. What does this all mean?

If blogging/writing/reading/thinking is dead, what will I do with my time now? Talk to my cat Mr. Piddles? Tough luck there. He’s got over 10 million followers on YouTube, the smug bastard. Although, for someone who spends an inordinate amount of time covering up his own feces, I am impressed.

untitled (27)

Aw, isn’t he adorbs? I could get lost in his eyes forever…sigh…huh?…..where was I? Oh yeah!

I think it’s time we take back our minds, America! We need to start reading full sentences again! Start thinking for once! Put an end to paying attention to Justin Bieber! Otherwise, our brains are doomed, people! Doomed!

So in the off chance I haven’t lost most of you readers already, here’s a post all about how social media is ruining our minds. Keep in mind, it was written three years ago and in that time I’ve no doubt most of our minds have been completely ruined beyond repair. Anyway, I actually read the article and found it fascinating. Of course, it helped there were a lot of real purty colorful graphics and short bullet point lists or I would have lost interest after the first sentence.

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Do you think reading is dead? Or Elvis?

Do you like to read long or short posts?

Do you like to read?

Do you know how to read?

Is it because you don’t have time?

Or is it because you really do have time, but you’d rather spend it watching this GIF?

stephen colbert animated GIF

Yeahhhhhh…….that’s the stuff…..

I feel so dirty now.

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.)