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It’s time for me to go old school again

It’s time for me to go old school again

Ohh Emm Geee! Look who is blogging again. Yes, I realize it is NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting  Month) but no, I am not blogging because of that. And I also know it is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)  and rather than sign up for that, I may dust off something I was working on. And, yes, it is also NaNaTaMo (Natioanal Nap Taking Month) and I most definitely will be taking advantage of that particular tradition.

Anyhooooo, I realized most of the things I would’ve normally blogged here, I have  been microblogging on Facebook. However, I haven’t been on Facebook for almost a week and you know what?  No one has even noticed. Facebok tends to give you a false sence  of intimacy. Not with everyone but with many. Especially when it comes to my chronic illnesses and bad days. My high school friends don’t want to hear about that. Neither do the people I worked with on campaigns a year or two ago (or more).  However, I will add that  a couple of weeks ago when I hit a wall of pain and a very dark place and gave a shout out for help,  many, many people came forward to be there to help pick me up.  That meant everything to me. So, there are awesome exceptions. I may pop my head in now and then but it hasn’t missed me so why should I miss it? Am I right?

Focus On Your Goals!
Focus On Your Goals!

So if I am going to be here more often, I need to clean house. Basically, I have some big changes coming up for my little home here. Can  you believe I missed my Blogiversary? 12 years! 12 YEARS!! Now it’s closer to 12  and a half. Nevertheless, can you believe I have been writing here for 12 years. Granted, I have been terrible about being consistent. But I need my space here to be share my thoughts freely. If you come here, it’s your choice. Unlike Facebook when I just pop up in your newsfeed, you choose to come to my home here. I am dusting her off, washing the windows, fluffing the pillows, and lighting some candles to make it smell cozy and homey. And of course, there is always coffee ready for anyone who wants some. I hope you come here and keep coming back. I have set some tough goals for myself here.

For instance, this post was supposed to be about something totally different and more personal but I backed away.  I’ll get used to being open here soon enough. (Or as they call it “blogging naked.”) The things I post may not be what my old readers  want to read. And, yes, that scares me. But? I have to get back to being myself. I can’t be the person some people want me to be. At least not all the time. I have changed. Chronic pain and chronic illness have changed me. I’m sorry to those friends who couldn’t handle the changed in me and had to walk out. I understand and I hold no grudges. It’s rough to have someone with chronic pain and illness in your life. I get that.

But as I write this, I can’t help but wonder if personal blogging is still a “thing” or have bloggers turned to microblogging on sites where they blog in sound bites? I guess we’ll find out. Are you ready to figure this out with me? Grab my hand. Let’s close our eyes. Now… Leap!

On blogging and Facebook

On blogging and Facebook

 

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Today was one of those days that kicked my ass. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually. It brought me to a place where I thought “I want to blog about this.” But then I thought, “No, I shouldn’t. I may upset so and so.” Or “My blog has been down and I doubt anyone reads it amymore.” Or “Why do I even blog anymore. Do I still love it? Does anyone?” So I took the question to Facebook.

Oh, there was a time I never would have done that. It would be blog first always then maybe a link on Facebook but that would be a second thought. Today it was my first that and the blog didn’t come to me until after I read over 90+ responses to my question: “Does ANYONE blog *just* for the love of blogging anymore? Not worrying about stats, SEO, reviews, readership numbers, ads? Would you blog simply for the love of blogging? Or is that a relic of the past? Is that kind of blogging dead? It’s a genuine question. I want to hear your thoughts.”

I loved the variety of answers. Some blog for the love of it only. Some for money and passion. Some for work. Some only when they think about it. Some have quit. Every one that answered had a different reason for blogging. And I loved that. I really wanted to know if anyone still loved it because after more than 11 years (and many bumps, bruises, blood, sweat and tears), I wasn’t sure if I still did.

During the day (after I posted that) I noticed that I had 2 comments I had previously left on 2 pages were deleted. Maybe coincidence. And? Only one comment got me wrapped around the axle. It made me wonder…with the instantaneous ability to comment, question or debate someone on Facebook, are people more  likely to question something you write there than to come to your house (BLOG) and do it there. Say for instance if I asked that question here, first of all, I know I wouldn’t get over 90 people responding. Secondly, would people be likely to expound on their thoughts? Dig deeper than on Facebook? Maybe start a dialogue? I don’t know. It just made me wonder if people act/react differently in a community like Facebook than they would in you home like a blog.

Do you respond differently on Facebook than on a blog? I’ll be honest. There are times I do. It’s an easy knee jerk reaction when you see something scroll by to immediately respond. Good or bad. I’m open to both. I just want the dialogue. I have LOVED the conversation my question started. Absolutely loved it. Whether your answer was “Nah, don’t have time with all my work SEO etc to have the love” or “I love it so when I feel it, I write” or even “I hate this question. It makes me uncomfortable.” I love that it make you think. Or at least react. Thanks.

On looking back on the past

On looking back on the past

A few days ago an old friend posted a picture of some young band geeks. It was me and my high school friends. It was an amazing time to take a trip down memory lane. We laughed over hairstyles. Mocked the notes on the chalkboard. Checked in on where everyone was these days. Teased about how we’ve aged but not really but totally. It was exactly what I needed. It was from my favorite year in high school. Oh, the laughs we had that year. My “soul mate” friend, Harvey (*he knows who he is) was as always by my side. We were all so young, so happy, so innocent as to what life would bring our way.

I’ve always said I’d never, ever go back to high school again. But after seeing that picture and looking at each and every face, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would go back… for a while. I could share a story with you about every person in that picture. Some would be bittersweet. Some would have you rolling in laughter. And, yes, some would have you rolling your eyes calling us geeks. And I’d love each and every story.

Sometimes you don’t realize the best stories of your life are happening while they’re happening. It’s only after they are long gone and  you look back and smile that you realize, “Wow, we sure did have one hell of a good time, didn’t we?”

Band Geeks 87
Band Geeks 87
On going to bed and other misunderstandings

On going to bed and other misunderstandings

After being married to the same person for almost 25 years, you learn where your strengths and weaknesses lie.  Areas where you are strong and also where you are incompatible.  I have to confess something to you.  There is an area of incompatibility that Clint and I have suffered through for years.  Come here so I can whisper it to you.  Shhhh…it’s in the bedroom.  Oh, whatever!  Had you going there, didn’t I you gutter-minded people!  Not like “in the bedroom”, but in the room in which the bed happens to be.

You see, it all begins with 4 little words:  “I’m going to bed.” Oh, sure, on the surface they seem innocent enough, but in truth, they are words that can strain even the best of marriages.  You see, to him “I’m going to bed” means, I am going to go get in bed, turn out the light and go to sleep.  I KNOW.  Totally weird!  I don’t get it either.

For me “I’m going to bed” means:  I am going to:  go check email one last time; check on the kids; get a drink; make sure everything is turned off, locked or put away; grab a book–maybe a DVD depending on how tired I am; grab my notebook; brush my teeth etc; make sure I set my alarm; crawl in bed and then…well, I read, watch a DVD, type on the laptop or want to talk.  Honest it is most often the talking.  Love the talking.  Such a weakness, I get that.

Can you see the incompatibility here?  (Yes, I know.  HE does make things difficult!)

Here are just a few things that I have found that my beloved does NOT find amusing when we accidentally hit the bedroom at the same time.

1) Poking him after he has turned off his light because I am cracking up and then insisting he read the warning label on the bottle of sleeping pills that says May Cause Drowsiness because that is just too funny.  He really doesn’t want to read it and probably doesn’t think it is funny.  Also, the giggling about it for a minute or so will not change his mind on this.

2) Watching anything on my tablet that will make me laugh is forbidden because–if you know me, you know this– I do not have the little demure “how cute” laugh.  If something is funny, I laugh all out, balls to the wall and have even been known to snort a time or two.  Even if I retell the scene that I am laughing about, he still does not find it funny.  (Oh, and shoving the tablet into his face does not help the situation.  In fact, it usually gets the tablet taken away.  I’m just sayin’.)

3) Just because he is quiet, that certainly does not mean he is opening the door for me to explain my ENTIRE day in excruciating detail right up to the moment he joined me in the bedroom.  To him, quiet means going to sleep. Like I knew that?!  Quiet means:  “Okay, now YOU talk.” Duh!

4) Nights when I am in a silly, babble-assing mood, I really, really, reeeeaaally need to learn to dial down the crazy.  He is not impressed by  “Omigod! You are totally not going to believe this, but…” followed closely by “Today, in People magazine I read…” That will get me the glare of death or the “punch the pillow in exasperation” thing.  Both…not so good.

5) I really should only listen to calm, soothing music on my playlist when I am trying to fall asleep because he REALLY does not not not like to be awakened to the screeches of me singing KISS’s Rock and Roll All Nite.  I mean, he REALLY does not like that.  At all.  Not one bit.  I’m just sayin’.  Oh, and even if there is no singing involved, head banging, hip tapping, and bed dancing are also unacceptable.  And singing Cheap Trick’s I Want You To Want Me is NOT foreplay.  Who knew?

6) Finally, when he suggests that perhaps I go to bed a good hour earlier than he does, that does not necessarily mean that he is worried that I am not getting a good night’s sleep.  Oh, no sir, it does not.  It actually means that he is hoping against all odds that all of the insanity that occurs after I utter the words “I’m going to bed” will have died down and I just might actually be asleep or nearly there by the time he gets into bed.  Silly, silly man.  Does he not know that as soon as I hear him come in, I am more than ready to talk or sing or poke at him.

I mean, that is what marriage is all about, right?

Oh this is just perfect….he just now this very second gave me:

7) I really should NOT read my blog entry to him when he comes in, gets into bed and turns out his light.  He won’t think it is funny.  Won’t laugh.  And REALLY will not appreciate the genius that is late night writing.  In fact, as I type I am getting the glare AND the pillow hit.  Awwww, I just love this man.  But really, I am totally about to lose my laptop if I don’t go.  Now.

Besides, I have all the seasons of Gillmore Girls to rewatch on Netflix.  Which will violate #2, but I like to live on the edge.  Might even fire up the old Spotify just for fun!  (Yes, it actually IS okay to feel sorry for him.  Just don’t tell me about it.)

9/11 broke my heart. My trip to New York City stole my heart.

9/11 broke my heart. My trip to New York City stole my heart.

This is a post I shared last year but after I re-read it, I realized it still says and shares my heart’s thoughts.

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When I knew that I was going to be in New York City for a conference in August, the first thing on my mind was to go to the 9/11 memorial. One of my dear friends invited me because she was planning to go with a group the first day there. It was the perfect plan. Except that it wasn’t. First, the group was filled and didn’t have enough room for one more. (I was heartbroken but realized it was what it was and there is nothing I could do about it.) Second, you know what they say about the best laid plans. First, I missed my flight so that delayed me. When I finally reached the city it took me nearly 3 hours to reach the hotel from the airport. So, even if I had been included in the group, I’d have missed it traveling anyway. Things happen for a reason. I knew it would weigh heavy on my heart to be there but I thought I it was exactly what I wanted to do.

Now, if you were with me during most of my trip to NYC, you know it was super emotional. You see, I’ve had a mini-crush on the city from afar. I have never been there but my heart was all “NYC ERMAHGERD!” But when I was actually there? It took mere seconds for me to fall in love with the city. Things that people who live there probably don’t even give a second thought had me so smitten and emotional. It became so commonplace, my friends didn’t even give it a second thought to look over and see tears in my eyes or rolling down my cheek over something that moved me about the city. Something I dreamed of seeing or doing and was actually seeing and doing!

All of that to say, with my emotions so up front and center, maybe the 9/11 Memorial wasn’t the place for me. This year. But there was something that I was supposed to see and experience in relation.

I went to an event with one of my dearest friends, Liz, one evening in the South Village. And of course, I was enamored with just about everything in the area. (Shout out, City Winery!)  As she and I were walking around the area, I noticed a firefighter standing outside a firehouse. I peeked in and noticed a memorial wall. (cue tears) I asked if I could take a picture if it wouldn’t be too disrespectful. He smiled and told me it would be fine and not at all disrespectful. As soon as I set up the shot I started to cry. No, cry doesn’t really cover it. I began to sob. I took in every face. I looked at every name. It was a “small scale” vision of such a massively huge tragedy. And maybe that was what I needed to see more than the huge memorial. I needed to see one company. To see the impact that day had on them. To see their friends and brothers they lost.  Their names. Their faces. Eleven men. My heart broke. I did my best to capture the shot, but my hands were shaking. As we were leaving I tried to thank the firefighter but I could barely whisper “Thank you” through my sobs. With a teary look at me, he just nodded.

I have always felt the weight of 9/11 each year in my own way. I couldn’t truly imagine it. I still can’t. Unless you were there and felt it, heard it, smelled it, survived it or lost someone that day, I don’t think you can really grasp the enormity of the day. But walking the streets and falling in love with NYC and the people there, brought it a little bit closer to my heart. Standing in a firehouse that lost 11 of their finest brought it closer to my heart.

Though I truly thought I wanted and needed to see the 9/11 memorial, I realized my heart–my very soul– needed to see what that day meant in a more intimate way. One day I hope to go see the site where the twin towers stood and hope I can do it with someone who will understand my flow of tears. But this year, I am so very thankful I was with Liz who held my hand and never once questioned my emotional reaction or tried to stop it.

I’ll never forget the day that beautiful and completely amazing city came under attack. And now I will never forget that one time I stopped by a firehouse with someone I love to take a picture, thank a fireman, and sob over the loss of lives that horrible day brought.

Never.

 

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These are the heroes pictured who were lost on that horrific day.

LADDER 5

Lt. Mike Warchola
Lt. Vincent Giamonna
Lou Arena
Andy Brunn
Greg Saucedo
Paul Keating
Tommy Hannafin
John Santore

BATTALION 2

BC. William McGovern 
BC. Richard Prunty 
FF. Fautino Apostol, JR 

Engine 24/ Ladder 5/ Battalion 2
227 Ave of Americas (6th Ave)
Manhattan

I’m turning down the noise in 2013 so I can hear myself blog. Let me hear you blog, too! (Even if that should read “Let me read your blog” it doesn’t fit so go with it.)

I’m turning down the noise in 2013 so I can hear myself blog. Let me hear you blog, too! (Even if that should read “Let me read your blog” it doesn’t fit so go with it.)

Here is where you would normally find an inspirational New Year’s post all about resolutions and new beginnings. Really? When do I do normal? Instead I am going to embrace the old. To quote my friend Liz of This Full House, I am going to blog  like it’s 2003. Back in the olden days where stories were told and if you wanted to know how someone is doing, you had to go read it on their blog not check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc, etc. (Or, you know, call or email them but that is not the point of this story.) Or as Carol of Girl Gone Travel says, It’s time to take back the blog!

blogit1.jpgWhen I started blogging way back in the stone ages when we had to use stone tablets and chisel out our posts (or as some people call it 2003), it was an entirely different world. I don’t mean world in the sense of the entire world but in the blogging world. We told stories. We had a community that grew to know each other because we shared stories about life: the funny, the silly, the serious, the real. And things changed. First there was the “OMG ADS!” phase that should have been a peek into what was to come. But oh no! Then the evil “REVIEWS” came along. (SELLOUTS!) But still we wrote. We shared. We ignored the noise. But wait! Then came THE TRIPS! People were sending bloggers on PAID trips to cool places. OMG! That is so awesome/awful/great/evil/coveted/hated. And let’s not forget the BEST LISTS! On blogs it could be somewhat easy to ignore if you wanted to for a while. But then Twitter and Facebook and Instagram (Oh my!) added to the noise. And some of the blogs that had stories I loved to read began to read like one giant paid advertisement. OR the stories were replaced with a short paragraph of “must update so here you go” without thought to content or writing. THE NOISE online became really, really loud.

And none of those things are bad. I am not against any of them or anti-anything (bloggish).

But oh the NOISE.

And really? Let’s be honest. I got lost in the noise. My stories got lost, too. Sometimes because they had to so I could fulfill a commitment. Sometimes because I would update on Facebook and ignore the blog. Sometimes because “Why bother? I’m not getting the fun stuff so pffffft on you!”

But mainly, the NOISE drowned out my voice.

It sounds cheesy, but I really had to step back out of it all and re-evaluate why I blog. Why am I on Facebook? Why am I on Twitter? Instagram? Pinterest?

Because I enjoy them. I really do.

But when I felt like I had to do it all, I got lost in the NOISE.

Looking back at the amazing opportunities I received, they all came from real writing on my BLOG!

I was signed with an agent…because of my writing.

I was invited to Washington DC with Dr. Drew Pinsky to talk to members of Congress…because of my writing.

I was asked to be a long term product ambassador with brands I respect and enjoy…because of my writing.

I was a contributor in two anthologies…because of my writing.

I received a person phone call from Gloria Steinem (complete with her personal home phone number for future use)… because of my writing.

I was asked to write for two national magazine publications… because of my writing.

I interviewed some amazing celebrities… because of my writing.

I was asked to speak several times at a few conferences to share my experience… because of my writing.

I was given the opportunity to meet some amazing authors I admire… because of my writing.

I made some lifelong friends when I shared my life on my blog… because of my writing.

I can go on and on about the wonderful opportunities and jobs I was offered because of my blog writing. Not because of snarky Facebook posts. Not because of 144 characters of charm. Not because of an artsy picture. (Though using those to share my writing help!)

I used to write here for the love of the blog. Then I did it because I felt I needed to write. Then I just didn’t.

But I am turning back the clock. I’m taking back my blog and using social media in the best way I know how to dim the noise and amplify my passion for writing.

I want to write. I really do. Who is with me?

FOR LOVE OF THE BLOG!

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(Have a favorite post of yours? Share the url in the comments if you want a visit. I want to read blogs, too!)