Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Six, No, Seven, Men I'm Glad I Had In My Life

You know how you're driving along, and a blast from the past comes on the radio and takes you back to a good moment in your life? I get that a lot. Hearing music from certain parts of my life brings out all the ghosts of people I once knew so well, I can't believe I know nothing about them anymore.

I've had some good people come passing through my life. Though their names aren't important, the part they played to a shy, insecure girl is one I'm forever grateful for.

In no order of one being any better than the other, here is a list of The Six Seven Kinds of Men I wish every woman had the good fortune to have had run through her life, just once:

  • The Dancer. This week end favorite is as close to having a handsome BFF as you will ever get. This guy doesn't care who's watching, what his friends will say, he just wants to pull you out on the dance floor and see you smile. Bobby Z's face is the one I always see when Walking on Sunshine comes on.
  • The Holiday/Special Day Rememberer. Oh, man, this one. Not a birthday, 6 week anniversary, Sweetest Day, or Earth Day passes without a lovingly signed card slipped into your college backpack. A genuine sweetheart with a heart of gold. It's Mark R I see when the stores start announcing Time To Buy A Card!
  • The Sharp Dressed Man. Enjoy it for as long as you can stand sharing the mirror with someone almost as pretty as you are. How fun is it to know a guy that likes to shop as much as you do? And one who really cares about his answer when you ask, the blue or the grey shoes with this one? Fun times. Gary B, you still that sharp dressed man?
  • The Talker. Michael A, how you would listen and have opinions and get as upset as I was when I told you what my crap roommate was pulling. I loved it. Walking and talking and holding hands for hour long walks, when you made me feel as if you didn't want to hear any one else's stories but mine at that moment. I heard you were married, I hope you're still listening like this, to your wife. If you are, you've kept her a happy woman.
  • Oh, the allure of the World's Most Handsome Man. Whew. How great is that while it lasts? To walk into a place and have jaws drop at who has their arm draped around you. Bill K, I always made it seem like you were the one lucky to be seen with me, actually, that summer we were together I felt like Angelina herself, and I couldn't have walked prouder. Remember the carload of girls at the gas station that just about ran over the gas pump when they saw you get out to fill up?
  • The Sweetheart. Wouldn't the world be so wonderful now and then if these sweethearts were able to dole themselves out to everyone, just a few months here and there, so we'd all get some of this love and devotion? The sweetheart who calls you like he promises, rides his bike over in the rain, learns how to make homemade pizza just because you mentioned how much you think you'd like to try it.  Chris H, when I ran into you and your three little kids at the toy store 15 years ago, I could tell right away, you hadn't changed a sweet hair on your head. What a lucky wife you have.
  • The Comedian. Once again, you are here, Gary B. No one has made me laugh harder at absolutely nothing than you. It's this gift of humor that you had that meant I could never stay mad at your shenanigans. And you know just what I mean; being an hour late and showing up as if you hadn't realized it was an hour late. You knew, and you packed some jokes you could pull out in your defense as soon as you rang the doorbell. It was my admiration and love for how you made me laugh that kept us friends from the time we were 16 until we were over 30 years old. That's a long time to be friends. And then you had to move in with that jealous girl, Tammy 15 years ago. I hope you are doing well, because I think -- of everyone here --  I am most grateful for you.

There it is, the list of Must Have Men In Every Woman's Life. The memories are almost sweeter than the real thing.
Is this No. 1, No. 3, or No. 4? Or all of the above?



Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dead Sea Whaaaa?

Last Spring Break, instead of going away on vacation, we decided to stay home and hit up all the museums and other things we never seem to have time for during the year. My husband and I didn't tell our three boys the next day's agenda, and the kids would find out the day's plans on that morning. Made for some frustration, but also provided that awesome element of surprise. Surprise makes any occasion special. Every morning they'd wake up and ask with true enthusiasm, Where are we going today? Baby E would be the most excited, things are still new to him. With every disclosed plan over breakfast, he'd pump his fist in the air and shout, Yes! We'd clean up the table, pack snacks, and go.

One day during the week our plans were to see The Dead Sea Scrolls. This trip required planning, advance ticket purchase, arriving at a specified time: a real coordinated effort and I was so excited to tell them. We are going to see The Dead Sea Scrolls! I announced while waving our tickets over their corn flakes.

I had to order the tickets for the exhibit two weeks ago and the exhibit is on loan from FOUR separate museums, along with private collectors. This exhibit has taken years of international negotiations, and cost a great deal of money in terms of insurance and being on loan. Cool, huh? I caught my breath but my eyes were still on fire. My mood was contagious, and they were fascinated. Baby E seemed to ponder the information, but with a quizzical look in his eye.

This exhibit contains articles that are over 2,000 years old! I had all their eyes and ears. These articles were stored in tall clay jars. A shepherd found them when he was throwing rocks down a cave. He said that every time he threw a rock into a cave's opening, he'd hear the shattering of a clay pot.  They stared at me, waiting for my next word. All in all, they found eleven caves full of these tall clay receptacles. When they opened the jars, do you know what they found? They found some contained the Dead. Sea. Scrolls! Still no peep from Baby E, I did find it unusual that the fist pump was absent to the day's featured event. Had he become jaded by all the fantastic fun awesome mama had planned?

While in the car on our way, the chatter continued.

Mom, how did they hold the scrolls together?

Mom, how do they know they found all the scrolls?

We can ask those questions when we get there, I told the older two boys.

I glanced in the rear view mirror, trying to catch Baby E's face. He was just taking in the conversation, but looked ill at ease.

You feeling okay, Baby E?

Yes, mom. But how do you know we'll like this?

Because it's over 2,000 years old! Cool, huh?

I guess so.

We finally arrived at the museum and rushed in to pick up our special Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit tickets at the will call Box.

Ah! The tickets! Let's go!

Everyone ran ahead, but you know who dragged behind.

What is wrong, honey? I studied Baby E's eyes for a hint.

Nothing. But, are you sure every one wants to see this?

Oh, yeah, this is huge, I explained, Big stuff. Like the kind of thing you'll tell your kids about.

He walked on, not saying much, holding my hand tightly. We waited in our assigned queue for the 10:30 exhibit showing.

There's a lot of people here, aren't there? I said, in attempts to get a conversation going with him.

Yeah. I just can't believe everyone wants to see this. He sounded so skeptical.

Of course! I said, who wouldn't be interested? Just think, 2000 years old!

He quietly chewed his upper lip as we waited. Mom, is that all we're going to see? he wanted to know.

Is that all? I echoed incredulously. We'll be here an hour, reading about the discovery, and how they pieced everything together. You'll love it -- I'll tell you about everything we'll look at. We'll even get the audiophone guided tour, alright? He still didn't seem reassured.

The velvet ropes were unclasped, and it was finally our turn to enter the exhibit. The mystic music was playing in the background, there were painted sand dunes on the walls, there were the placards, the grainy photos of the initial discovery, the stories, and finally, at the end, the clay jars! With the Dead Sea Scrolls!

Baby E stood in the middle of the exhibit, hands up in the air. Well, where are they?! His exasperated voice broke the silence in the exhibit.

They're all right here, I shushed him, see them?

No. Where are they? The dead sea squirrels you said we were going to see today. The ones they found 2,000 years ago? 

I give you Exhibit A-----The DEAD Sea Squirrel as in, the amphibious creature that lives both on land AND sea, and that has been DEAD for 2,000 years.

I won't even tell you how much he didn't enjoy the laughter he brought to that entire hall that morning.



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Unattended Google Searches

The unattended google search. You read about it, you discount it, you say Naaaaaaaaah...that's something that happens to other people, it'll never happen to me and my kids.

It always happens to other families, doesn't it?

Except when it happens to yours.

My post at Aiming Low today, on what we saw when we saw the Unattended Google Search.

Aiming Low: Where mediocre parenting is the gold standard.

**In some exciting family news, our oldest son, Alexander, 16, has been chosen to attend an intensive civil education program known as the Civil Leadership Academy, in Washington, D.C. for one week. He was the only cadet chosen in the state of Wisconsin, and one of only 24 chosen nationwide. He leaves today for one week. When he completes the program, he and the other cadets will present before Capitol Hill legislators.

We are very proud. 

Thank you for allowing me to brag a little. He's a great kid.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Studio 30 Plus

There are some new badges up on my side bar.

This one:

and this one:

I bring this up not to be boastful, but to say THANK YOU to Studio 30 Plus for this amazing honor. And also to say Thank You to everyone who voted for me in the Studio 30 Plus Boomerang Awards.

Thank you so very much, to those of you who nominated and voted for me. I never want you to think I am not touched, deeply moved, or not appreciative of this acknowledgement.

Now, go on, get, visit Studio 30 Plus if you haven't yet, it's a soooper cool community blog where you can be featured as their daily blogger, take part in some unique prompts, and submit your posts for their weekend shout outs. You'll get to know some bloggers that you wouldn't meet otherwise, and have new people read your featured posts when they're up.

It's an exciting place, and all you have to be is over 30.  I can do that.

Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, to Studio 30 Plus, and to all of you. This is quite an honor.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Deemed Unsafe

When we were homeschooling a few years ago, my short husband, a/k/a youngest son, and I were on a group field trip to a huge pizza-making factory. I, and the other parents on the trip, were assigned our own child plus five to watch. I've always been lucky enough that my boy is crazy about me and sticks to me like glue, so I had no worries about whether or not he wanted to be with me. I also had absolute confidence in my abilities and zero concerns about losing any child in my care -- I've always been very responsible. However, based on who knows what criteria, there was something about me that pushed a fellow chaperoning parent to the point of her having to ask me every 20 minutes during the two and a half hour tour, So, all your kids with you?

Yesss. All six.

20 minutes later, same question, So, how many kids with you now? 

Still. Six.

I think I know what it was that weighed on her and made her twitchy: my group was having fun, lots of it; the usual faces back and forth and imitations of tossing pizza dough up in the air and missing it. I behaved on this trip and promised myself that I wouldn't get defensive with this woman, no snarky words would slip out.

You know Gloria on Modern Family? Not a Colombian exaggeration. Push us enough and you'll hear about it. But I bit my lip and kept it all inside because my son had asked me to, as all three of  my three children usually do when they set out the Rules We Must Follow On Field Trips This Means You, Mom speech given to me pre-public appearances.

This mom had her own child with her in her group, so the issue couldn't be fear of losing him via me. My son also noticed her apparition-like appearances, the Ghost of Nosiness Present. His heavy sighs were timed at the exact moments as mine in response to her questions. I saw him roll his eyes as we'd sense her approach. I saw him with the identical fake tight lipped smile skill I have come to perfect. As soon as the six in my group and I would begin with the enjoyment of an afternoon together, she'd be over in two seconds like she had heelies on.

By the end of the trip, she had me chomping my gum like a 1930's mobster to keep my mouth quiet. More than anything, I wanted to say What the heck already, lady … enough with the Amber Alert with my group. Does it bother you that much that we enjoy a few snorts and chortles here? When it came time to board the bus back home, she floated to the front of the line where we were like Casper the meddling ghost.

All your kids here before we head home? She queried.

Yup. All six. Still.

When my son and I found our seats in the middle of the bus and sat down, I looked at him and made cross eyes, slumped my shoulders, shook my head, and maturely stuck my tongue out. He covered his mouth and giggled. I know, he then whispered seriously, shaking his head and crossing his own eyes in a perfect unintentional imitation of me. I. Know, he continued, What the heck, right? Instead of keeping on asking you if you lost any kids, why didn't that lady just say I'm worried about you losing kids because you don't behave like a normal mom.

I sputtered out laughing. If the adorableness next to me at that moment was the end product of being raised by a socially suspect woman, then I don't think I have ever felt prouder of being deemed unsafe in my life. 

Hmmmm... now who'd Baby E learn that face from?

**Twilight without Edward Cullen? Please let it not be true....details on my post today at Sprocket Ink.

Monday, February 20, 2012

She Hears The Call of Duty

This is the last in my series, The Great Depression Slayers of 2010.

The seven bloggers I've highlighted in this series so far are the ones that, without exaggeration, have each helped to see me through one of the the most difficult years in my life. I  have been following their blogs for over three years, and I love these women more with every one of their posts.

It's hard to pay a very personal tribute to the very public figure I'm writing about today. I am inspired and grateful to this woman. She is fascinating, complex, and a master of the unexpected.  She writes simply, and universally, of parenthood, marriage, friendship, challenging moments, growing older, and the essence that life is.

I began following Marinka, of the extremely popular Motherhood in NYC, soon after I got online on a snowy morning in 2009.  Back then, I followed a wonderfully funny blogger, Queen of ShakeShake, who is sadly no longer writing. I would see Marinka's clever comments at Queenie's site, and decided to follow her home, hoping she had a blog. She did! The first post I read on Marinka's site was this one, and I laughed out loud. Even slapped my thigh. It felt so good to laugh to the point of tears at a time when I thought I'd forgotten how.

Soon after, she was chosen as the 2010 BlogHer Community Keynote Speaker for Humor. Humor writers are my soft spot -- to write humor is an act of hope and optimism. I see it as an affirmation of the desire of these writers to make people laugh, make them happy, to leave readers smiling as they float through a post. Marinka's writing is realistic, wise, and very funny, it's hard not to be swept off your feet on any visit to Motherhood in NYC -- every post is a good post.

Since 2009, I have turned to her site for comfort in laughter; she has become my friend and is part of my life.

My morning click over to her site has become automatic. Whether it's real life drama and the angst of our children growing up, a humorous look at growing older, or being moved by the story of her husband replacing his wedding ring after he's lost it, she is now in the fabric of my days.

I've been so very fortunate in my blogging life to have some good things happen to me, but one of the early can't-believe-this-is-my-life moments came in the way of an email from Marinka. Aside from my eyes bugging out of my head at seeing *Marinka* in my inbox, I was bowled over by an invitation from her asking me to guest post on her site. There is no way to explain the surreal feeling of being asked to post on a site of one of the world's funniest bloggers. I spent two days preparing my post for her, and I explained to my children that the honor of this woman thinking I was funny enough to feature was one worth the two nights of Special K for dinner that we were having. My guest post there is here. I was as proud as anyone can imagine, and still regret not having that zazzle.com T shirt made in celebration of that momentous occasion in my life. I may still order it. 

My life is  better because I have her to share it with. Marinka gifts us with a little levity to life and I find it so beautiful that the desire of a humorist is to bring some joy into every one's day and to act on that -- somehow funny people know just how therapeutic a good laugh can be. And wanting to make people smile, what a powerful and personal ideal.

Marinka, I love you for so many reasons, and from the bottom of my grateful heart, and all the other hearts that you have made happier with your astounding talent of writing, I say thank you. I can't put into words what knowing you has done to my days here on this planet. What I want you to find here today is an attempt to express my emotion in the joy that I know many, many others share and have found, through your site. You have brought laughter into our lives.

Thank you for the love and support you've given to so many of us during the good times, and especially the more difficult times. It's made the biggest of differences to each of us.

Marinka, Motherhood in NYC

We are friends because of the laughs we spend, and the tears we save.  -- A Poem of Friendship, Nikki Giovanni 

P.S. Why did I choose Marinka as the last featured Depression Slayer? Because all of the aforementioned bloggers in this Great Depression Slayers series stem from finding Marinka's site. They commented at Motherhood in NYC, and that's how I found them. If you want to find funny bloggers, check out the commenters on a funny blogger's site; because guess what? Funny people follow funny blogs. 

And that's why Marinka is the grand finale to this series. Thank you to all of you for listening and giving me a voice to tell my story. I love my readers.

Want to know more about Marinka? You can find her at The Mouthy Housewives (a humorous advice site that I LOVE -- they published my letter) or order her book, WANTED: CAT. I have two. 

**This blogger was one of the handful so implicit in my making it through the winters and the seasonal depression they bring, before I began my own blog in 2010 and became a part of this incredible online community. During this month, I'll be highlighting the bloggers I call "The Great Depression Slayers of 2010." To the crucial ones I clung to before I began blogging, the ones that pulled me through, I thank you.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The One Thing

There is one thing I will stop in my tracks and respond to.

There is one thing I will never stop fighting for and writing about.

The very thing that makes some hide in shame and pull their world in even closer has become the one thing that I cannot be loud enough about.

Post Partum Depression. The shame, stigma, and isolation it can cause. The suffering of all involved.

One of the best predictors of PPD recovery is social support and a network of concern.

I'm grateful to be posting at PPD to Joy, the amazing Yael's site today, on what to do if you or someone you know is trying to make it through just another day. I was that someone barely hanging on 17 years ago, and now I am a PPD survivor. I made it through to the other side, something I wish for everyone. NEVER GIVE UP.

If you know of someone, please have them stop by. If you were that someone, please let others know that reaching out is the one best thing you can do for yourself right now.

Thank you so much for reading, and thank you, Yael, for having me.

Post Partum Depression is my 'something be be passionate about.'

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

But It's Not A Gun




And my collective 17 years experience with this.

No boys? Come read what it's like.

Then send me flowers.

My post up today, at Aiming Low, How to call it a gun when mom says no guns.

Hope to see you there.


**HEY! Have you all met Lynn from AllFookedUp ? She writes a blog where there is never a dull moment. She also features funny bloggers on her Thursday series, Go Ahead, Amuse me. She invited me to guest post there, and my post is up today, where I talk about striking out with my pick up lines at the mom's meat market: the park. Stop on over and get to know Lynn, and email her your own funny post to be featured on her Go Ahead, Amuse Me Thursday series.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

And Their Legs Turn To Jelly?

The mysteries of the woman.

What turns one to jello doesn't even cause a bed of sweat in another.

Like an accent. Some women just about spontaneously combust at the sound of a trilled r.

I ask you today, at FunnynotSlutty, to 'splain to me the allure of the espanish accent.

I'd love to understand the effect that the men in my family have on the world.

Happy post Valentine's Day! 


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Don't Get Valentine's Day The Wrong Way

The roses, the diamonds, the radio and TV commercials that will run all day and night today: get that special someone in your life something that tells them what they mean to you. Chances are, that special someone doesn't need roses or diamonds.

But, the forgotten group, the lonely, the newly divorced or widowed, the empty nester, the young adult you see living alone in a new city for the first time. So many people who will be reminded all day long today that they are not 'someone special enough' for the dinner and flowers.

Don't get Valentine's Day wrong today, take the  five minutes out of your life to run into a store and grab a pack of Valentine's Day cards, and take them with you to work to put on the desks of those that wouldn't otherwise find a card waiting for them. Stick a card in the mailbox of the sweet older woman at the end of the street whose last child has left for college, taking her heart along with them.

To the single mom you see juggling work and three children on her own in the pick up line at school today, give her a smile and hand her a card saying I see all you do. You are amazing.

The retired woman who helps with playground duty who always seems to have that extra eye out for your little guy and a kind word for you, how about placing a card in her hand to say thank you for making my world brighter.

My kids and I left for school thirty minutes earlier this morning to drop off homemade cards and $4.99 tulip bunches at the homes of two dear friends we know are struggling this year. One recently divorced, one just beginning the process.

In doing this, we became the ones receiving our own Valentine's Day diamonds, the ones glistening in our friends' eyes.

*Happy Valentine's Day to all the wonderful people I've met here. You have been so good to me and I am so very lucky to know you. Thank you for your kindness.

Photopin via Pinksherbet

**Plans for tonight? Dinner and a movie? Thinking about seeing The Vow? Well, I saw it. And I had to blog about it.

My post up today at Sprocket Ink, dishing on the No. One box office draw this Valentine's Day.

Where news meets snark. daily.

Monday, February 13, 2012


TikiTiki, a community blog that I am proud to be a part of, is running my post today on "Latinaness."

I ask who, what, how, determines the definition of "being enough."

Does anyone have a right to do that? Have you ever felt excluded by a group that you identify with?

I hope you click over, and tell me your feelings on others deciding whether or not you are enough of a something to belong.

Thank you, as always, for taking the time to learn more about the woman who blogs here.

I appreciate it so very much.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Thing About The Bloggess Is This

The Bloggess.


Just having that up as the post title and I risk having my site crash.

Saying you've never heard of The Bloggess is like Paul McCartney believing Heather Mills when she turned to him and said, "The Beatles? I never heard of them."

Yeah. Suspect. Like that.

The series I've been doing this month highlighting the Great Depression Slayers of 2010 is now down to the second last living hero in my life: Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess. It took only two weeks back in 2008, when I first found out about blogs and bloggers to land at Jenny's site. Picture a woman, a quiet introspective over analytical woman who has been feeling like she fell off the face of the earth since she began staying home with her children in 1995. Feeling different and unlike the other SAHMs she's met. Hiding the truth about her depression, anxiety, and just pick a card already...they'd all apply.

Then she clicks over to a site and the post she finds there reads as if her brain has just been pulled out and transcribed. That woman would be me, mouth all agape, and spending close to 3 hours clicking on post after post at a blog called The Bloggess. Finding more and more words that make me feel like I found my tribe. The commenters there, hundreds of them, all saying the same thing: we have found our Mother Ship, and her name is Jenny.

I followed Jenny Lawson over from a passing mention on another site, it read "...like something you'd see at The Bloggess'." Lackadaisical like that, as if we should all just know The Bloggess.  After clicking over, I couldn't leave.

Because this is the thing about The Bloggess. She has this we're all in this together feeling in her writing. And it's sincere. You can't convince me otherwise. You feel her love for you, her compassion and you know if you needed her, for whatever reason, she'd do anything to get you the right words you needed to hear to make it through just one more day.

That's one thing about The Bloggess.  The other is that she makes you just want to hop on a plane to Texas and be her bestie.

To hell with your Fear of Flying.

Jenny, for the four years you've given me, and the many more years you've given everyone else who has fallen so easily in love with you, Thank You for loving on us. For taking us into your fold and whispering, shhhhh...it's ok, you'll make it -- I'm making it, look at me. Giant metal chickens named Beyonce knocking on my mofo front door and all.

I'm making it, Jenny, and you've helped me, by giving me a place where I feel I belong.

I love you, Jenny Lawson.

 Photo of The Bloggess by Karen Walrond
 **This blogger was one of the handful so implicit in my making it through the winters and the seasonal depression they bring, before I began my own blog in 2010 and became a part of this incredible online community. During this month, I'll be highlighting the bloggers I call "The Great Depression Slayers of 2010." To the crucial ones I clung to before I began blogging, the ones that pulled me through, I thank you.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Madonna

Madonna put on a show. A BIG show. The reviews are in, and split down the middle.

What's your opinion?

SprocketInk lent me their space to tell you my feelings on The Material Girl. *you know, because the world is waiting to hear*

Hope to see you there!

Where News Meets Snark...daily.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Winner of The Ruins of Us

Research Randomizer Results
1 Set of 1 Unique Numbers Per Set
Range: From 1 to 51 -- Unsorted
Job Status: Finished

Set #1:


 Out of 51 entries/comments/tweets, #26 is the winner:

#26, TWO NORMAL MOMS, please email or DM me your address, and CONGRATULATIONS. You just won a terrific read.

*This'll be interesting...which of the two normal moms gets to read it first?

Thank you all so much for entering!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Moth

Have you heard of The Moth?

The Moth is a New York City based nonprofit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling: It was founded in 1997 by poet and novelist George Dawes Green, who wanted to recreate the feeling of sultry summer evenings in his native Georgia, when moths were attracted to the light on the porch where he and his friends would gather to spin spellbinding tales.

The Moth now travels around the country hosting storytelling events in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, and other cities. I have my tickets for the show in Milwaukee on May 17. I can't wait.

The Moth offers a weekly podcast, which provides free audio of stories from all types of Moth events.

You can pitch your own true story in a minute or less right there if you'd like to take the chance at having it put up for listening at the site.

Two months ago, I recorded my pitch at The Moth, and waited. And waited some more.

I found out today that my story, 1 minute 53 seconds long, has been posted for listening and voting.

In one minute and 53 seconds, I tell you what I remember of the last day I had with my father, up until the moment he decided to take his life the day before Thanksgiving. It's told from the point of view of a 6 year old child, and what she makes of the day as it built up to be my father's last day with us.

I remember every second.

I'm going to ask you to please click over to The Moth, spend the less than 2 minutes listening to my story, then voting by clicking on the row of stars next to my name. It's called A Child's Point of View and the author is me, Alexandra R. *MOST IMPORTANTLY, if there is anyone you know that has thought of taking their life, please have them listen to this -- I hope it sends waves of insight on how far and for how long the ripples of a suicide extend.

Thank you so very much.

 Everyone's got a story

Friday, February 3, 2012

Down To The Last Three

We're down to the last three.

For the past two weeks, I've been doing a series featuring the bloggers in my life I call The Great Depression Slayers of 2010. These bloggers are the first I ever followed. There are only three left to tell you about. I call them the The Great Depression Slayers of 2010, because though they didn't know me, they were there for me. They didn't know who I was, yet each of them pulled me through a year that just about knocked me flat.

Before I tell you today about the fabulous blogger I followed home after being smitten with her from an appearance on a morning talk show (I no longer remember what show -- Kathie Lee? but I do remember her), I have to say here that these bloggers I came to know by far reflect what the majority of the blogging community is:  reachable, supportive, encouraging, truly the best of humanity.

I've been so very fortunate that my life intersected with the lives of these women I've been highlighting this month. I have relied on them for the past four years to hold me up with their humor, their honesty, their willingness to toss away false fronts. Some I love because they make me laugh out loud, others because they understand, and ones I adore because I feel accepted and understood by them.

I remember a winter morning two years ago, as I wiped off the kitchen counters from the jelly and toast my kids had just finished, I heard this woman "finslippy" being interviewed on a *mommy blogging* segment of a talk show. That was her blogging name: Finslippy.

Finslippy was being interviewed by I don't remember who anymore but oh, this *finslippy* looked as innocent as a church lady, but when she opened her mouth there was a Side B to this choir angel's Side A. Quirky and quick as lightning with her answers back to the interviewer's questions on *mommy blogging.*  Finslippy dropped her Mensa IQ bombs so fast right and left that I almost felt sorry for the interviewer when I saw the look of panic on her face at the thought of how in the world was she supposed to keep up with this guest. It was aweSOME. Verbal slight of hand so deft and velvety that the poor talk show host had to sneak a Xanax, I swear I saw it.

After the interview, the host wrapped it up with You can follow our guest today at her mommy blog, "Finslippy." And then the screen text flashed www.finslippy.com . I grabbed the closest crayon and paper towel and scribbled in green "FINSLIPPY -- funny!"

A few hours later I logged on to her site. Finslippy was Alice Bradley. I read this post here, about FEAR. Ho my god but if fear holds you back in your life, YOU MUST READ THIS. I clicked on to "previous post," even more Ho my god. She was wonderful. Self aware and popping up her hood for all to see. I fell in deep deep wordgirl love. Woman could WRITE and be the kind of funny where you slap your mouth over your hand aghast because she looks so sugar sweet but she had the balls to say whaaat? Sweet angel face lady ripping people a new one if they needed it done. My kind of human being.

I went to her contact page and emailed her. Alice, I wrote, I saw you this morning on xxx morning show. I thought you were deliciously neurotic then and I've just spent 30 minutes on your blog now and you are even more wonderful than I could have hoped for and I would cancel cable and take that money and pay you $89 a month to read your blog. You are that fantastic. Thank you so much for making me laugh to the point of side aches and tears. Thank you.

She emailed me back. I yelped out loud when I saw her name in my in box. She said, Thank you so much. But now that we have a relationship you must know that I will wonder what has become of you if a day goes by and I don't see you. Yes, it's come down to that. Love, Alice.

I still have that email.

Alice Bradley is woman whose humor can only be described as genius. It is. She is hilarious and unpredictable on twitter and her blog posts are about so much more than just making you laugh. Her writing makes me feel like it's safe and okay to be who I am: which is anxious, concerned, obsessed with non issues, and up to my neck in over dedication and borderline clinical in devotion to my children.

I was able to meet Alice at BlogHer '12, while she sat with the equally superwoman Eden Kennedy of fussy.org, as they both signed copies of their beyond hilarious book Let's Panic About Babies. I saw angelic faced Alice sitting behind the table, in the middle of stacks of her book that tell you in Chapter 5 how to have sex for the first time after giving birth (spoiler alert: get a bottle of wine and just bite the bullet), and I stood there smiling like an idiot, all glisteny eyed with emotional tears at finally meeting her. She recognized me right away -- I have no idea how she did that -- and stood up to give me a hug that no words can describe.

Alice Bradley, I don't know how you grew up to be as special as you are, or what it is inside you that makes you be so good to people, but I am here, thanking you, for being one of the Great Depression Slayers of 2010 for me. For all the sweet laughter during a very difficult winter, and for all those you have made feel *normal* by showing us through your vulnerable and authentic blogging that it's more than okay to let your freak flag fly; it frees you. I thank you.

I love you, Alice Bradley.

**This blogger was one of the handful so implicit in my making it through the winters and the seasonal depression they bring, before I began my own blog in 2010 and became a part of this incredible online community. During this month, I'll be highlighting the bloggers I call "The Great Depression Slayers of 2010." To the crucial ones I clung to before I began blogging, the ones that pulled me through, I thank you.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

That's What I Wanted

Over the past two weeks, I've been spotlighting the first blogs I ever read way back when I discovered blogging in 2008. I didn't start a blog until two years later, in 2010, but there were a handful of blogs I read in the beginning. In my first post in this series, I mentioned I never commented on the blogs I visited then because I thought you had to have a blog to comment. Shocker, huh?

What that means is that for two or so years, I followed blogs without posting any remarks and wishing I had a community of people around me to talk to; at 3 a.m. or 11 at night, like they had. What a great feeling of belonging that must bring, to have people around you, all different kinds of people, to be in your life and part of your life. I wanted that community. Instead, I'd watch with my nose pressed up against the window, wishing I could be part of all the fun and friendships I'd see.

A blogger that I followed silently, and I say followed silently not lurking because since I didn't know you could comment it can't be called lurking if you have no idea you're doing it, was Ann Imig of Annsrants.

I followed her home from a comment ( a VERY clever, smart ass-y one) at another blogger's place (that blogger will be spotlighted also).

After reading Ann for awhile, she-- knowing nothing about me since, again, the no commenting rule that I thought existed that didn't exist -- celebrated her first year of blogging, a blogging anniversary. A blogoversary, she called it. It was the first time I heard that word and I thought she came up with it herself. So dang creative.

This post on her one year from 2009 still makes me laugh. Aside from how very funny and representative of Ann's delicious humor this is, the best part of this anniversary post were the comments. I read all the bloggers commenting on her site that day in celebration of knowing her; all the love, the high fives, the (((( )))) which I didn't know WHAT THE HECK that was *I thought it was bewbs*. But, still, I could decode enough to figure out virtual hugs and sincere happiness that Ann was a blogger.

I scrolled through all the comments on her first *blogoversary* post (Ann, I thought this was your word and you were so wondrous to think of it), and I wanted that. What she had: people to share my life with. People that I would be happy to know, and that would be just as happy to know me.

Ann Imig kept me in her cozy, sweet internet world, even when she had no idea she was doing that.

I enjoyed her so-good-she-should-be-in-a-magazine humor, her sharp, quick essays, *my favorite of her posts: the middle school columnist series*. She had me smirking with her total deep shenanigan nonsense on occasion. Her skillful writing on current issues made me think about my position on things political. Ann was that someone to sit and share my morning coffee with over a lonely winter.

I finally grew tired of being too scared to start a blog, so in 2010, I began blogging. Which meant I could comment on blogs now! (shuttup)-- naturally, I began commenting at Annsrants. She had no idea I had been reading her for over a year when I did show up. 

And you know what? Even though I was a year late to the party, Ann Imig and the kind of people that follow Ann Imig, made me feel like I had been there since the beginning.

Thank you, Ann, for giving so much to so many.

As the creator of the inspiring National Listen To Your Mother Shows, you have helped us find our voices; you gave me my voice to tell my story on May 8, 2011, at the LTYM show in Madison -- a day that felt like I was in someone else's life. You've kept us warm with laughter from some of the best tweets in the twitterverse, undoubtedly why you were voted #1 funniest twitter mom by babble.com. It's happily sad that I smile on the nights when I am so beat I fall asleep with my clothes on and think just like Ann said on twitter, "Yesterday's clothes are the new pajamas."

Ann Imig: the world is a better place because you are in it. And I say that with grateful tears in my eyes.

Ann Imig: stay at home humorist and 'Sconnie Jewess

Thank you.

**This blogger was one of the handful so implicit in my making it through the winters and the seasonal depression they bring, before I began my own blog in 2010 and became a part of this incredible online community. During this month, I'll be highlighting the bloggers I call "The Great Depression Slayers of 2010." To the crucial ones I clung to before I began blogging, the ones that pulled me through, I thank you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

You Can Blame Me

My husband is a good, decent man. Vice free. Dedicated to home and family. Wears his boxers till they look like lace doilies to keep food on the table.

Such a good man.

Being married to the last boy scout in America has made me realize I must set the record straight: any veering off the straight and narrow for this man is due.to.me.

I apologize (sort of) for what my husband's life has become. Here. At Aiming Low. Where we strive for the mediocre in parenting.



Related Posts with Thumbnails