Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Umm...Thanks, I Guess?

Why do I always get the crazy person at the stop light next to me who gives me the cranking roll-down-your-window gesture?  And why do I always roll down the window because a stranger is gesticulating at me?  It happened again just the other day, a very cold and snowy one.   And it was a man in his 70's.

"Your tag expired in July of this year", he said pointing at my back license plate.
"Really?  Ummmmm.......ok.........thanks."  But I really didn't mean it.  What I meant was what-is-your-problem-he-who-must-have-too-much-time-on-his-hands-and-misreads-other-people's-license-plates-I-have-places-to-go-and-things-to-do-mister!

But, I vowed to double check my tag when I got to my destination just in case.  And when I went around back, indeed the old crazy guy was........RIGHT.  How could this be?  Maybe we let one of the kids put the registration sticker on and they put it on the wrong car.  Or maybe one of them lost the registration postcard that comes in the mail.  Cause it must somehow be my kids' fault.

Then, I was talking to a friend who said someone peeled the registration sticker off of her license plate a couple of years ago.  Aha!  That MUST be it.  Some malicious douchebag stole my registration sticker off my car.  What IS the world coming to anyway?  Now I'm going to have to spend a week at the DMV to clear up this horrible act of vandalism.  Where is the humanity?  WHERE?

The next morning I checked the DMV website, looking for what documentation I would need to haul in with me to plead my innocence.  I ran my license plate number through the on-line system to arm myself with even more evidence for defending myself.  And to my horror, my car was unregistered.  And there was only one person to blame.  ME.

Cause you do know I'm an unorganized mess who constantly screws things up, RIGHT? 

So I tucked my tail between my legs, got the old registration and proof of insurance and headed to stand in line at the DMV, for what I was sure was a long haul, while texting my husband, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME???"  To which he replied, "HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU HAVE?'  When I got to the counter in less than 5 minutes,  I didn't have to plead anything.  She was nice and helpful and assigned me a new sticker no questions asked.  Although when she handed it to me, I got all teary right there in the DMV in front of a stranger because I was so thankful.  And then I  had to confess the whole story.  Not that she even wanted to hear it.  

What IS wrong with me?  Why am I forgetting things and crying in the DMV?  Oh my god, I'm the crazy, old, suspicious, bitter lady who blames everyone else. because, maybe, I'm a premenopausal mess.  This is the long haul right here.  So I would just like to offer these words to my husband, family and friends both retroactively and anticipatory:  "I'm sorry!", for my inevitable screw ups and "Thank you!", for putting up with me!  


Monday, November 24, 2014

She's a Man, Baby

I have a confession to make.  I've been catfishing you, pretending I'm a girl. But, I'm really a guy.  Oh, I may not have guy parts, but my personality?  Well, I'm a dude.

I've always been a tomboy.  So I'm sure this doesn't come as a shock to anyone who knows me.  After all I had short hair, was flat chested and mistaken for a boy for much of my childhood.  And because I was so desperately shy, I wouldn't even bother to correct people.  Plus, I kinda understood boys more than girls.  Things are more straightforward.  Either that or they are completely ignored.  There's less of a gray area for interpretation and feelings.  Neither of which appeal to me very much.

Sometimes, I think my guyish ways could be interpreted by the girls in my life as being uncaring.  I'm not going to call you every week.  It's not that I'm not thinking about you, it's just that you should know I'm thinking about you without me calling.  I mean if you're girly can't you interpret and feel that?  Also, I will not wrap a gift in a beautifully glittery perfectly wrapped intricately chosen paper.  I'll probably throw it in a recycled gift bag.  Don't feel slighted.  It's just that it's practical.  And my guy brain only understands practical.

Like, I didn't want a diamond engagement ring.  Cause I hate diamonds.  I mean what IS the point?  But what kind of man would my husband be if he didn't put a diamond on my finger to stake his claim?  I get that and I wore it for 7 years.  Then I got the itch.  So, when my husband lost his wedding ring I looked at it as an opportunity.  I bought him a new one for our anniversary and got myself a plain band.  Which is what I have worn ever since then, cause it's what I wanted in the first place.  My actual wedding ring is in my jewelry box somewhere.  I think.  I'm not very sentimental about physical things like that.

Also, I don't want to have long drawn out discussions about my feelings.  Nor do I want to psychoanalyze what someone else is feeling or might have meant by that little thing they said 5 years ago.  Most times I don't even know what I'm feeling, so I can't even begin to surmise what someone else is.  I'm too busy clipping my fingernails and pushing back my cuticles.  (Ok, I only push back my cuticles like once a year.  so it's actually not that time consuming.)  Cause you know I'm not getting a mani-pedi.  Cause how ridiculous would it look to have gorgeous nails with my plain wedding band?  Then, I'd have to keep my nails nice once the nail polish started chipping off and I'd have to go back to the salon for upkeep.  Like on a regular basis.   Then I'd have to buy a Coach purse to go with my manicure and open toed expensive, uncomfortable shoes to show off my pedicure.  Who needs that pressure?  Not me.

So if you're my girlfriend and you've been wondering why I'm not calling you and don't give you beautifully wrapped gifts for like the last 5 years, don't take it personally, I'm like this with everyone. And if I've done something that's pissed you off and you give me the silent treatment, don't be offended when I don't notice.  This is just how I was made.  So basically what I'm saying is, I'm like your husband.  If you need something more than what I'm giving you, you're going to have to beat me over the head with it.

Cause I'm a man, baby!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

World Toilet Day

Let me be the first person to wish you a very Happy World Toilet Day!  Yup, it's celebrated every year on November 19th.  I don't know the significance of the date precisely, but it's probably when the weather turns brisk for those the world over that need to do their business outside in a back alley somewhere.  I'm not shitting you!

So, jump on over to Jummp and read my article I wanted to call Potty Talk, but got changed by my editor, here.

And for another poignant post on poop, an older essay I wrote,  entitled The Shit.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Buns in the Oven

I never expected this to happen.  Not at my age.  I mean I'm an intelligent woman, I know how things work.  And yet all it takes is once.  One little accident.  And then you're buying a whole new oven.

It happened when I was innocently taking a spice jar down from the disheveled and overstuffed cabinet above the stove.  That's when the crushed red pepper flakes went all rogue and maliciously toppled onto my glass cook top, leaving a huge crack and producing a never-ending fine powder of glass dust.  Not to be confused with fairy dust.

The appliance repairman who came to look at it was suspicious.  

"A spice jar did this?" He inquired.
"Well it was a glass one." I replied defensively.
"A dutch oven is usually the culprit."
"I don't even own a dutch oven,  I swear!  But, I am completely gifted at screwing things up and breaking things.  Trust me."

Then came the damage.  $550  and that's just to replace the cook top.  

Now, I hate the fact that we live in a disposable society.  I'd much rather replace the cook top than get a whole new stove. In theory anyway.  But it's a $550 price tag just for some glass.  So,  I'm not fixing it unless it comes with a personal chef who cooks the meal and cleans up afterward. Obviously, it's far more practical to spend twice that amount and get the double oven that I regretted not getting the first time around.  I'm sure the double oven will provide double luck at double the price tag.  Right?

So come tomorrow, I can put buns in the oven at two completely different temperatures.
What a doubly happy accident!
(Although I will NOT be buying a dutch oven to tempt a triple...)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The College Years

I always thought I'd go to college.  But, I was never the type of student who aspired to go to some big name university.  Or be in a sorority.  Neither interested me.  I just wanted to get in somewhere and learn some stuff. Though I was always a decent student, I wasn't valedictorian or salutatorian material.  And the secret shame I've carried with me for almost 30 years is that I bombed the SAT.  Which for a girl from the northeast, where SAT scores are in fact the word of god, it meant I was a complete moron and therefore bound and determined not to amount to anything.   Even so,  I wasn't stupid enough for this fact to elude me.

So a couple days ago, I went to a meeting at my kids' high school on preparing for college.  Oh, I didn't want to go, because it's impossible to have kids who are almost college age when you just got out of college like two years ago.  Right?  But, I went anyway because I want my kids to have the biggest spectrum of opportunities available to them.  And I don't want them to feel like they're dumb and then obsess over that idiotic notion for the next 25 years.  Because that's a really stupid thing to do.

But, when I walked in that classroom, all those insecurities came rushing back.  

I was scanning for an open seat in the back row,  just like I always did in school.  Except, a friend saved me a seat in the very visible second row.  Dammit!  When I went for my Masters degree, I had a professor in an English class tell me he knew our final grades based on where we sat the first day.  And even though I sat in the "F" zone, way in the back, I aced his class.  I always wanted to rub his face in that.   Now if that was a math class, he would've been right.  Because I'm not an analytical thinker.  Which is why I bit it on the SAT and did just fine on the ACT and GRE. Not that I was consoled by either one of those and I continued to feel like a loser.

Which is exactly how I felt when a parent asked a question about her kid's calculus 3 AP class.

So everyone is talking numbers, financing, planning, organizing and football teams.  Dude, this is all the shit I sucked at the first time around.  I'm not an analytical thinker people, I'm a creative thinker.  So, I could write you a compelling essay about how I feel about college.  Oh wait, I think I'm doing that right now.  But, I am analytic enough to realize that the overachiever mom looking for a gold star and an "A" sat in the back.  Yes, in the "F" zone.  

What an effing brown noser!

By the time I left, I was completely overwhelmed.  Because I calculated that with my 4 kids,  I have eight more years of this college prep shit.  Oh,  I did the math people!  And that may be the highest level math I'm capable of.  So I took the next steps in college planning the way any sensitive parent would.    When my oldest got home from school I made him take the Myers-Briggs personality test to help him understand himself  and his strength better so he'd be better able to choose a major that fits him best and makes him happy.  And then I asked him how he felt about it.  Turns out, he's an analytical, take charge extrovert with little regard for feelings type.  My complete opposite.  

So maybe forcing him to sign up for AP calculus is what's best for him after all. 
Just don't tell know-it-all mom I said that.

You can take the Myers-Briggs test free on-line here.  Or force your kid take it.  Whatever.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Baby Lust

I saw her at a brewery on a Thursday night and I couldn't take my eyes off of her.  She must've felt the same attraction, because she kept looking over at me, flirting and smiling.  She was gorgeous with her big blue eyes and ginger hair.  Sitting in her high chair sandwiched between her parents without a toy or food or a sibling to distract her.  She was attentive and yet so lost in the moment, happily bopping along to the live music.  And I was completely in lust with her.  Baby lust.

Maybe it's the fact that I have teenagers approaching the college years.  Or I'm being nostalgic for a simpler time when my kids were babies.  Or close to menopause and thus the cessation of procreation.  Because why would I want to go back to those years?

Years when you're completely exhausted.  Waking up at 5am every morning to a demanding little tyrant who's dependent on you 24/7.  Where being able to take a shower alone and that far off milestone of them someday being able to wipe their own ass are the things that dreams are made of.  Not to mention the thought of saving tons of money when they don't need diapers anymore.  It was just a simpler time filled with delusions of grandeur.  

Because you didn't know.
And no one could tell you.
That parenting never gets easier.

It only gets way more complex, confusing and way the hell more expensive.  And while you may not have to wipe anyone's ass anymore or buy diapers for them, I'd actually rather do that than remind my kids to flush the toilet every single time they go because they seem to have forgotten.  And while they'll respond with the same curt, sarcastic out of office reply, "I know",  all I want is for them to "I do".  Which reminds me that one day they're all going to have roommates and/or significant others who live with them.  And I'm going to have to apologize to them.  I did my best to teach them to flush the toilet every single time, I SWEAR!

So, do I really want to start all over again with a little baby?  No.  But, I would like the innocence back.  Before it got complicated, back when I fully expected myself to be the best parent ever.  Back before I had kids and made a zillion mistakes.  But that's exactly what parenting is, an exhausting, confusing, complicated, beautiful, exquisite mess.  And I'm going to guess that the real reward is one day watching your kids venture out on their own to figure this all out for themselves.  And maybe one day they'll be deluded enough to think they'd be perfect parents too and start their own family.  And I'm thinking the best way to fulfill this baby lust is by being grandparents who can spoil them and then send them home.  

Just not anytime soon of course...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Have you Seen my Mojo?

My mojo has been both bad and good.  Focused and unfocused.  Productive and playful.  Short term and long term.  International and domestic.  Lost and found.

And by mojo, I mean a magical fluidity.  
But it's not magic at all, it's man-made.
Completely synthetic.

When I have it, I see things clearer, I'm more creative and opportunities seem to present themselves to me.  But, this only happens when I believe in myself and my life is in balance.  Which is one hell of a feat to pull off in itself.  It requires dedication and commitment and a lot of other really boring, but extremely necessary fundamentals.  

And if one of those fundamentals gets off track, so does my mojo.
And then I need to work even harder to get back on track and earn my mojo back.  
Which I always manage to do.

So right now?  I'm in the zone.  My mojo's working.  Have you seen my mojo?  Cause it's spectacular.  Majestic even. But you probably haven't seen me around because I've been too busy.  So, you'll just have to trust me, it's awesome.

But anytime now, I could lose it and ask, 
"Have you seen my mojo?"

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Comfort Zone

I've been hiding in plain sight in the comfort zone for a while now.   In the beginning it had a purpose.  Post book launch I needed time to digest what I'd done.  To lament what I feel I could've done better and to celebrate the fact that I'd done it as genuinely as possible with imperfections I'd begrudgingly allowed to remain intact.  When my time came and went, I extended it like an after hours club that extends a party, but never lives up to it.  There is a timing to life.  Which, most times is the nemesis of the comfort zone.

Because, while the comfort zone is cozy, nothing much happens there.
It's a place to recover, not a destination in and of itself.

So, even though I'm aware I've overstayed my welcome like a bad guest, I'm having difficulty leaving.  And I'm making every excuse for myself that's at my disposal.  Of which there are many.  The kids have had several days off of school for this and that.  I've had travel articles to do.  And prospecting for other magazines.  And of course, continuing to blog and promote Rock the Kasbah by trying to develop new markets through social media.  But, as they say, the best way to promote your current book is with your second book.  

Which I've started, but it's going extremely slowly.  
Ok, it's crawling.
Because I'm actively avoiding it.

As you may or may not know, my next book is fiction.  And what you also may or may not know is I'm not a huge reader of fiction.  Nor do I have any experience writing fiction at all.  So because it's  unfamiliar to me it's also, uncomfortable.   It's not the writing itself that's the problem, that's been enjoyable.  It's the fear of writing it.  And the fear of something is always worse than the something.  No matter what it is.  Every single time.  

And most everything good in my life has occurred outside the comfort zone.
So it's time to stop making excuses and start getting uncomfortable again.


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