Tag Archives: blogging

At this Moment: What Is Thrilling Me


I am thrilled today.

What I’m thrilled about is the fantastic things that happen when people are nice to each other, good, kind and sincerely thankful for their engagement.

Today is the third Fiction Friday. I wrote about Garret today, again, and the boy’s causing some problems. Or has he? The thing that I’m most gratified by in this fiction experience is that we’ve got a bunch of really fantastic writers who’ve all treated these prompts (that I don’t even know about until I roll the dice) with zeal.

I started this fiction thing on a whim bolstered by a comment left by ClearlyKristal. I had written a little fiction because I was bored with everything else. Blogging can be hard; some people do it every day and to them I tip my hat. Sure, I think about stuff to write every day, but I talk myself out of it. I barely have time to read other peoples’ blogs daily let alone write something.  (You can thank me later.)

The gals in this fiction group — they are the real deal. Most of us know each other through the Yesvember post I wrote in November about 100 words that define gratitude. I asked them again in December if they were game to do this for January and to my astonishment, they said yes!

These writers are from all walks of life. Married, divorced, unmarried, single moms, working moms, no kids, former hippie children, people with chronic pain, stay-at-homers, people with troubles and cares in their real worlds. They dedicate the time to put forth some seriously entertaining stuff: From cheating husbands to drunk drivers; from scandalized artists and writers to misguided tree huggers; from doctors who swore to “do no harm” to haphazard serial killers; from teenagers on a tear to wives who are acting out to lovers reunited amid a triangle, we have it all going on in our little fiction family.

I couldn’t be more proud of these women. I don’t personally know any of them, save for one, and yet we’ve all made fast friends: escaping the occasional mundanity of our off-the-grid lives to write about people we create, people we breathe life into and people whose stories are enticing their readers with a slow, come-hither smile while gently whispering, “Escape from your moments for a moment. This is good. Read this; you’ll enjoy it.”

I don’t know how long we will all keep at it. I have heard a couple are surprised by how much they are loving the experience and I’ve heard a couple are looking to get back to their regular shticks. Everyone can stay or go; even come back if they choose for she is part of the original team – the original 10 fearless friday fiction femme fatales.

We have created a writerly sisterhood; one of respect, honor, humor, support, and encouragement. I couldn’t be more thrilled about anything else at this very moment.

Thank you.

Here are the writers:


Looking Back: Old Lessons, New Iterations


I’ve posted a couple write-ups this week about my accomplishments this year without really taking stock of what I’ve done. Despite my big personality, I’m modest.

I’ll allow the following: I’ve written a lot. I’ve seen my kids successfully to another year, I’ve invested time in myself and my marriage. I’ve helped friends and I’ve always been candid. Oh! And I helped get that Wink-O-Matic installed near the school.

I didn’t plan to write all week, but it’s hard to still the hands when they’ve apparently got something to say.

Here’s the dealio, I have learned a lot this year:

I catch more butterflies with nectar than I do with vinegar.

Counting to 10 before I speak helps.

Not having all the answers is a gift.

Checking my place: where am I in this discussion?, What is my gain?, What is my loss? is essential to my sanity.

Too much coffee gives me the shakes.

Taking a risk, replying to a tweet and joining a writer’s blog is a great idea.

I parted ways with people this year. It was time and I no longer harbor enmity toward them. It took a while though. The feelings of wrenching regret from supposedly “wasted time” – when things like that go up in flames – can be overwhelming. It wasn’t wasted time.

I learned I have the tenacity and energy and creativity and the chops to really take a go at this writing-a-book thing. (I just don’t have the ego or the business savvy.)

I learned that cyclical, intense and familiar energy, whether good or bad, is usually unhealthy.

I also made a few new friends as well, and they’re terrific people. Some of the nicest people I’ve never met.

For someone who spent a good 30+ years time shushing her intuition, 2012 has been a year of seeking it, finding it and trusting it.

The suggestions and nudges our intuitions make will always be right, but seldom easy: they might lead us down a challenging path; or make us confront what we avoid; and work harder than we thought we could. I’ve written so much about personal growth, self-improvement, mindfulness, grace, authenticity, dysfunction… every day offers a lesson.

These lessons will continue because I will continue to put myself out there.

2013 is going to be more of the same for me in that regard: bigger steps, bolder visions and higher hopes. What do we have to lose?

Enjoy the sublime version of Auld Lange Syne below, as the Scots intended it…

Thank you. Be safe tonight.

Tuesday Morning Press #6: Music at My Funeral, Packing


I don’t have yoga this morning because of the onslaught of holiday mayhem, my instructor knows better. But I’m gonna pretend I do so that I can induce whatever possible anxiety I can into creating a fantastiche post for you.

My kids were bickering this morning, “Mom, he said ‘Every non-negative real number a has a unique non-negative square root, called the principal square root, which is denoted by \scriptstyle \sqrt{a}, where √ is called the radical sign or radix.’ and I say that peanut butter on a sneaker equals six.”

I couldn’t take it anymore. I had just finished a lecture on the current (ongoing) sadness in the Middle East and how we should think positive thoughts and send love and kindness to the region (along with a couple prayers) and then they started in on their peanut butter issue. So I turned on some music. After “Superman” by Five for Fighting, My Song, The Song of My Life, the one I would listen to before every job interview (which I always NAILED!) came on. The song I’ve never said jokingly, “This is the song I want played at the end of my funeral when everyone walks out of the Chuck E. Cheese together,” came on: “Tipitina” by Professor Longhair from The Big Easy soundtrack. I need to add this request mandate to add it to my funeral arrangements to my will. Not kidding. People need to laugh their butts off when I’m gone. I laugh my butt off a lot. That’s what I’m known for.

Indulge me:

Hearing this song, whenever it is played, is sort of like stopping for the National Anthem for me. I have to drop whatever funky bad mood I might happen to be in and get it on with my bad self on the dance floor, wherever that may happen to be. You wanna know what Longhair’a talking about? Look up the lyrics. What planet are you from? Who gives a shit if you don’t know what the what he’s saying? So I cranked it up. My kids watched me with fascination, horror, amusement and then interest and joined me in bad dancing in the kitchen this morning. We were a little later than usual, but that’s ok by me.

I realized, with no shortage of “Excelsior!” that maybe in a past life I was Cajun or from New Orleans or something, because another song I also love, a kid’s song, is this:

It’s been a good week. Uh, Mol, it’s only Tuesday. I signed up last Friday to be a consultant with The Pampered Chef. I’m pretty psyched about it. I came up with my own tag line, “Purveyors of fine pans big enough to hit your husband with and nice enough to cook in.” No? Yeah, that ending-a-sentence / phrase-in-a-preposition thing gets me every time.

Regrettably, I’m not likely going to be able to refer to some of my favorite products with the names I’ve adopted for them at shows. There is no “Bitch-n-Stir” or “Crank-n-Maul” or “Twist-n-Smash” (that tidy moniker was taken by GE for their mammogram equipment) in their product catalog. Trust me, I checked. I haven’t earned money in a while, and we all know what happened the last time I tried to get a job. I am a natural extrovert and as much as I like love writing, it’s a pretty lonely gig. Stephen King didn’t write about Jack Torrence and his psychoses issues for nothing. So I’ve determined that getting out of the house, perhaps running for my life from a deranged unknown client on occasion, might be good for me. My ultimate goal with doing this, is to save enough cash to pay for my own certification so then I can teach yoga. I’ve been practicing yoga for 14 years, so why not generate a little income, eh? We’ll see. The way I figure, the less I think about this, the better. Because once I start thinking about things, I inevitably end up not doing them.

In preparation for the deluge of mail messages I’m likely to get as a Pampered Chef consultant I cleaned out my email inbox of about 1600 mail notes. Most were from subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NY Times and Playgirl Daily OM. I am now proudly seeing above this blog window:

Cheese and rice! 55 already?! fratzikcramin grdniktobin…

>DING!< one more! Trasticbackin rastofbrika…

It was pretty amazing, going through that inbox. I relived an entire year: I saw email messages from people I don’t speak to anymore, and I rediscovered a long-lost pastime which has literally hit. the. skids. since I opened my Grass Oil fan page (link at right if you care to join) on Facebook: I used to KNIT. Not well. But I did and I found it incredibly relaxing and fun.

Speaking of Facebook, I’m really sick of it. The endless swarms of political posts this past presidential campaign drained the shit crap shit out of me and I saw divisiveness I’d never suspected. Then yesterday I had occasion to learn of a new (to me) blogger and I read her post about why she’s dialing back in a major league way on Facebook and I happen to agree with her. The entire premise / under carriage of Facebook is misogyny (if you never saw The Social Network you really need to), as it was created one night during Mark Zuckerberg’s drunken rejection from a girl. To get even, he created a network called “Facesmash” wherein he and his lonely hearts bland would compare female students’ faces with that of livestock and then people could rate them. That. Sorta. Burns. (What bums me out more than misogyny is female:female misogyny.)

So I’m thinking about it. But as I said before, the more I think about things, the more I tend not to do them. And if I truly TRULY listen to my intuition, go with my gut and my spirit, I should be off Facebook by the end of the year. It’s also for me a COMPLETE time vacuum. I am NOT well disciplined when it comes to that stuff. I don’t play any of those games on it, I just read posts and blogs and news articles and stuff. So I’m not on Facebook that much, but I am on it more than I’d like. I removed the app from my phone about two weeks ago and I don’t miss it at all. Plus my phone is super fast now.

I’ve got about 20 minutes more before I have to stop and edit. I have a date with my dog, The Murph; we are going for a trot (he trots, I run jog).

Yesterday was the deadline for my Gratitude in 100 words blog opportunity. I have six submissions. I am grateful for them all. With my submission, it will be seven and seven as you know is a lucky number. I had no expectations: I’m a little blog, I have a modest following and only a few pieces I’ve ever written have been super shared. The most recent, with 82  83(!) shares on Facebook (ok, six were mine) was the post I wrote about my personal experience with PreMenstrual Dysphoric Disorder – PMDD – don’t know what dysphoria is? It’s the opposite of euphoria, which means giddy, uncontrollably happy. So dysphoria means… mmm, yeah. Quick synopsis: if you have a uterus or someone you love does, and she acts like a she-werewolf a few days before her “moon week” as I like to call it, please read. This is real, it’s a serious condition, some women injure themselves or others, it’s unbearable and help and community is available. I wrote about it in my typical fashion, complete with photographs of vampire harpies and straight jackets. You’d expect nothing less, oui?

Another post, which was not shared at all, but was favored by 14 other bloggers here on WordPress (the most ever for me!) was my most recent post about how what we blog or say online can affect our children. I suspect people don’t like being told what to do. I suspect people don’t like that little tug at their gut when they read what I wrote. I suspect that some people don’t know how to write about themselves but want to write, so unwittingly, they put their kids in the cross hairs, of possible cyber weirdness. My motivation for writing that piece was basically out of personal guilt that I’ve done some of the same and I’ve been asked by my kids to not do it so much. Another motivation pertains to parents oversharing about their children’s problems: I think some people are just unaware of their own deep, and craven need for attention, so they write about their kids’ dilemmas and issues, not in a clinical way, but in a “woe is me, I can’t take it anymore” way to garner sympathy. I’ve seen it all over the web. This unawareness can create some pret-ty fubar dynamics between parents and their children, the least of which is codependency.

I’m reading a book (yes!), The Four Agreements, and it’s fantastic. It’s a little woo-woo at times, but the gist is that we create our own hell and heaven on Earth. The agreements themselves are elemental and simple. Adhering to the agreements is quite another proposition, but I think it will be good for me.

With Thanksgiving upon us, we are planning a jaunt out of town for a night and I asked my kids to pack. I gave a list of what to pack and I enumerated how many bed buddies and socks, etc. It was pretty cut and dried. In less than three minutes one of the team came down and said, “All done!” This morning, I double checked, as experience has taught me that I must because I don’t care who you are, but you can’t wear a Lego car and a box of Kudos bars to dinner at a nice restaurant. What I found packed did not disappoint: one shoe, four pairs of socks, a remote control Dodge Viper, fish food and a pair of nice chinos.

Who’s ready for a road trip?!

If not – check this out:

I’ve provided enough links to my own content here to occupy your time and keep you out of minor family bickering over the weekend. Here’s one more if you didn’t see it: my hilarious and cogent post on Peevish Penman about how I’m not writing for NaNoWriMo this month.

Have a wonderful wonderful holiday. The next time you hear from me will be tomorrow night for Thanksgiving when I post the entries for the Gratitude in 100, which I’m about to write and put on a scheduled publish.

Thank you.

ps – man, I’d be late for yoga if I had it today…

Super Short: How Your Blogging Can Affect Your Kids


I saw on a blog site last week an inquiry about whether to use real names of our children when we write publicly about them. I answered that I use pseudonyms for my kids: Thing 1, Thing 2 and Thing 3. I use those names because my children are still minors and I don’t think they always want me writing about them. When I started this blog, its primary objective was to show them slices of my thinking, and to perhaps paint lovely moments for them as a retrospective once I’m dead and eaten by worms.

What I didn’t say in that reply was that I also don’t use many full-on photos of them. I also don’t talk about where they go to school and talk about their teachers’ names. I give pseudonyms for their classmates like Japser and Helga or Otto. Their teachers are often referenced by names like Mr. Hoffnalagenar because there’s likely only one of those in the world. Sometimes the names represent people who don’t even exist.

In fact, I’m not an earthling. My ship, a flying Xamfrag, is coming from planet Rastrag in the Cloaticox galaxy on Dreistal 13th, two days after what you call “National Limerick Day.”

I’ve said things like this (nothing like that immediately above) before. I know many people try to protect their children, consider themselves child advocates, and warn their children about the dangers of the Internet… but what if one of the dangers of the Internet is … their parents?

We have the best of intentions. We don’t mean to harm our kids, but when we blog about their lives, report on our blogs or Twitter feeds about their travails at school with teachers or bullies, show pictures of them in the tub or when babies during their nursing bliss or tell stories about their natural moments of self-discovery, we’re sorta harming them. We’re sorta saying, “Hey Cinderella, you might be in preschool now, but sooner than I’d like because time flies so fast, you’ll discover a locker in a school hall somewhere waiting for you to be shoved into it because of this post I’m writing about your bedwetting bullying teacher hairstyle dental problem.” You know why? Bullies are everywhere.

Maybe deep inside we feel left out. We want the attention. Ever heard of Munchausen by Internet? If we weren’t blogging we wouldn’t have any attention. We wouldn’t have innocent strangers caring for us and thinking of us and praying for us… to me, that’s sorta creepy. If I blog about my kid’s stuff, I better be damned well sure that I’m not making this about me. If we weren’t putting this out there, no one would know about us… gasp! Horrors! You know what? That might not be so bad.

The thing is: the Internet is public. Smaller bloggers may not have a gazillion followers, well, you might not — me with my dynasty back on Rastrag, I’m covered. They’ve got a 45-clutink high statue of me in the Commander Dryflog Room in the Hall of Galaxies.

Back to my point: the photos can wind up anywhere. Anyone can read your blog and anyone can pick on your kids. When we think about protecting our kids, we might need to include ourselves in their list of unintentional and possible offenders. When we have anyone anywhere with access to a smart phone, not even having to buy a computer, to be able to surf and download pics and all sorts of stuff… people on house arrest, people on parole, people at the pizza joint around the corner, people on other planets… (just sayin’) we should be more careful. The world has changed TONS from even three years ago.

Here’s what I’m not: perfect, the best blogger, the safest parent and the sage of all things. But I do try to be consistent. I have friends who show pics of their kids and that’s their choice. I don’t cringe when I see the pics because I do believe that the earth, your planet, is largely populated with good people. It’s the dark dark dark woo-woo creepy 2% that has no boundaries, whose wrath knows no limits and whose predilections have no definition. On Rastrag, we have a place for those life forms, it’s very much what like you all call the ball pit at “Chuck E. Cheese” here. They can’t handle it.

I know I’m taking a little step into “Judgemental Judy” -land with this post. I just hope I’m wrong. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m totally paranoid. Who knows? I just know that when I writing something and my kid comes in and says, “Is that about me? I hope not.” I better take notice. Everything in moderation.

Thank you.

PS – if you think this post is about you and you’re mad, don’t get mad at me. You’re not mad at what you’re mad at.

UPDATE: consider this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/15/pam-van-hylckama-vlieg-attack-agent-author_n_1886696.html