Welcome to Boring …

I want to be tweet-able and retweet-able. (Okay, so I just opened my twitter account this week.)  I want to be Facebook stalked (only a little). I want to be Freshly Pressed worthy.

But I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I won’t.

Why?

I’ve finally figured it out. It’s something I already knew. It’s what I, as a creative type, fear most. Fear of being uninteresting …

Then I remembered one of the first things I wrote for the Jotter’s Joint … it was a practice run and I never posted it (till now). I hadn’t decided if it was a post or my About page. I thought it was funny.

Re-reading it makes me laugh and it makes me feel better because I was managing my own expectations. I didn’t have grand ideas of success. I set the bar low enough to accomplish my goal.

Here’s what I wrote:

Welcome to Boring …

Why read this blog? 

Because you don’t have anything better to do. You don’t have a life. You’re friendless and alone. You’re tired of the well intentioned, deliberately positive, motivational, blogs selling happy. Or maybe, you’re a recluse; suffer from paranoia, or worse. Afraid of technology but sitting here reading this with a tin foil hat on hoping I can’t read your thoughts or transmit signals to your brain.

So why not read my blog? 

It fits right in with our “random” loving culture today. In a time when we can select and self deliver the kind of news … special interest stories … celebrity drama to our phones or laptops or iPads. Where we can follow our friends’ every move from waking to sleepless nights via Facebook or Twitter feed or better yet by subscribing to their blog.

Let’s face it … this is just another opportunity in our information overloaded lives for you to examine and criticize, ponder and pontificate on the boring things that happen in someone else’s life; my life. It’s a chance to offer up your opinion on what matters in my world, from the mundane to the monotonous.

Why read a boring blog? 

I have no idea. It’s just the stuff I think about on my drive to and from work. It doesn’t get much more boring than that …

So maybe my expectations were too low here but I didn’t want to be disappointed. Then I started posting regularly and I was sucked into this belief that my blog had to be perceived as great. It didn’t matter if I thought it was great. And it stopped mattering if there were readers, even one reader, who thought it was great. I started measuring my success by the stats and not by how flexing my creativity made me feel.

I will always have pangs of wanting others to claim I’m great but I realize that ‘great’ is a relative term. Being tweet-able or Freshly Pressed aren’t my yardstick (although I would be happy if it happened).

I will remind myself often that I am measured by my enjoyment in blogging and my growth as a writer. When I forget, all I have to do is go back to my About page and read my reasons for starting the Jotter’s Joint. This is one writer’s world and you’re welcome to be a part of it.

So, today, just a reminder … manage to your own expectations!

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Speaking of Verbal Vomit …

verbal abuse

verbal abuse (Photo credit: iamsongs)

Here’s my rant. Not that you asked but I feel the need to share it anyway.

This week has been crazy. Crawl in the bed and curl up in fetal position kind of crazy. You know, the moment where you think:  “I hope no one asks me for anything because I have nothing left to give.”

Read my lips before I spew unnecessary (and possibly inappropriate) words on you:  NOTHING.

In the midst of the back-to-school process; figuring out a new routine (which have I mentioned I hate the change); attending open house and parents night; I’ve also had a sick dude. Strep throat. So, the past three days, my husband and I have been juggling schedules to make sure one of us is home to care for and comfort him.

But wait, there’s more …

My inbox keeps filling up with things that I need to do or respond to, both personally and professionally. Being out of the office doesn’t mean the world stops (although it would be nice if it did). This is one of my busy seasons. I was buried before my little guy needed the extra tender loving care.

Couple that growing work pile with an urgent and disturbing situation that I should have been outraged by but was surprisingly nonplussed. Shameful how desensitized we can be to truly poor behavior, attitudes, and opinions that are put in front of us. I wish I could share more on this topic but the details are confidential and my outrage, I think, is a slow burn.

All of these things together have eroded my patience. My mind wanders. I’m distracted. Hopefully, I’m not too mean. And I’m emotionally drained. It’s eating up all my energy.

But that’s not all …

I haven’t had any personal time to just be still. Solitude to rejuvenate. Silent time to think through it all. If I could just be separate and apart for a time, I wouldn’t be here hurling on you.

My writing has suffered too. When good ideas come I write them down in my notebook. I do my best to capture them … but I mean even finding the time to write a 500-word blog post has been difficult. Forget novel writing. My novel sits collecting dust on my mind’s bookshelf. An important part of writing, I’ve found, is time to just sit and think about writing. I need the “me time” to gather my thoughts.

“Calgon take me away.”

Do you remember this slogan? It’s sad when such a statement becomes your anthem.

Thankfully, someone took pity on me. A beautiful beacon of light. My dear friend and writing partner let me verbal vomit details all over her. She spared you the worst parts of the rant I have churning in my mind. Plus she sent me home with a cure for all that ails me … a box of tea bags and permission to have a quiet moment. Vanilla Caramel Chamomile sounds delicious but the Sleepy Time is what I am craving. I’ve reached my breaking point. I am scheduling a moment’s peace right now. Tonight I will recover.

I will lay my head on the cool tile floor of conversation, hugging the porcelain bowl of language while hoping I can just keep my mouth closed.

That is all … now my retching, I mean my rant is done.

My smile is back in place. My teeth serving as a stop-gate to any more blah blah blah blech.

Cereal? It’s What’s for Dinner!

What’s for dinner? This is the topic of conversation every night when I pick up the boys. It goes something like this:

Child:  What’s for dinner?
Parent:  Food.
Child:  What kind of food?
Parent:  The kind you eat.
Child:  You always say that.
Parent:  It’s always true.

Most nights, for me, it’s cereal. Not in the replace-2-meals-a-day sort of way. I’m not on a special or trendy diet. But rather in a my-boys-are-so-picky sort of way.

Here’s what I mean:

I have one who doesn’t like to eat meat. You name it:  chicken, beef, or pork. The other one doesn’t like anything with a carbohydrate in it. You know:  potatoes, pasta, or bread.

Neither one will eat a veggie. If it’s green (especially leafy) they aren’t touching it. No matter how you dress it up. I know the trick of putting cheese on it but wait … you’ll soon understand.

Sometimes they will eat fruit but only certain fruit and only if it’s fresh not canned. So pineapples, grapes, and apples always make the cut. Please don’t put a peach in front of them. Why? Because of the peach fuzz. Apparently:  “It freaks me out a little, Mom.”

Keep in mind it’s not just types of foods, it’s textures too. For example, they both say yes to apples but one says no to applesauce and the other enjoys it from time to time.

I have one who avoids dairy. While the other loves yogurt and creamy ice cream. I mean we can’t even order pizza because melted cheese “freaks out” the dairy hater. And that means no cheese on veggies.

You may be surprised to know that they will eat a number of beans and legumes. Not typical for kids or at least in my experience.

Now we haven’t even talked about allergies. One who can eat anything as far as we know. And one who can’t have any type of nut and had a reaction to crab legs so we’re avoiding sea food with him in general.

Do you see what I’m faced with? The easy meals that satisfied me as a child won’t fly with my kids. No Kraft Mac and Cheese (even if it’s the cheesiest). No PB&J sandwiches. You can have the J but then we have to deal with the bread issue. No fish sticks. Oh and they aren’t big on hot dogs.

Tell me, how do you create a home cooked dinner that meets the needs of these picky palates? You don’t. So I don’t. I’ve stopped trying. Instead I make them vote and negotiate amongst themselves about dinner options. This technique has its own challenges.

One says:  “I want to get something at home. I want to go straight home.” [You have to say it with a whine in your voice to get the full effect.]

The other says:  “Not me. I want to eat at a restaurant and get an order.” [You have to say it defiantly.]

But once they agree, I deliver and then come home to eat whatever flavor of cereal we have; usually Frosted Flakes but lately Coco Puffs or Lucky Charms.

Cereal? It’s what’s for dinner.

As I run into people I haven’t seen in a while they all make similar comments:  “You’ve lost a lot of weight.” And I consider it a compliment. I don’t mind hearing it. Some people even have attitude about it. Like this is a personal affront to them.

Regardless, I am not trying to lose weight. Sorry … I’m not. Dropping pounds and inches isn’t on my radar in a proactive way. That’s not why I’m eating cereal for dinner.

Even though some may say (including my husband) that I’ve given parenting control to the kids, I like to think of it as choosing my battles. They eat but they have to decide and practice negotiation. They eat things that they like so we don’t argue (as much).

And I have the added benefit of weight loss and maintenance as a result. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this method.

Maybe I am on a special diet! But if you have advice on meal options for my picky family, please let me know!

From Hair Scare to Scary Hair

I have some issues with my hair … I know what you are thinking and it’s not age related. I’m not fussed by the grey, it is “a crown of splendor”… No this is a problem I’ve had from childhood.The first time I remember it happening, at age 13, I thought it was my stylist fault. After all, it was the age of the Jheri Curl and she could have over-processed my hair. Not the case. My mother tells of me having issues as a baby.

Some may say my issue is style. And that’s fine; you have a right to your opinion. But for me it’s something worse.

Hair is important. I have a girlfriend who refers to her own hair as:  “My Precious.” You know, as in “the one ring to rule them all”. I’m almost that obsessed.

Here’s the issue …

Every few years my hair breaks off and gets thin; always in the same spot. The top of my head; the crown. It’s distressing and annoying. I have to resort to creative hair styling. A comb-over isn’t pretty on a woman. Trust me.

Halle Berry

Halle Berry (Photo credit: bigdmia)

When it happened three years ago, I made the decision to cut my hair short. Halle Berry pixie short but without the Halle Berry beauty to go with it. Two inches long.

It’s taken this whole time for it to grow out. And by grow out I mean barely an inch each year … it’s almost chin length again. Okay, to be honest, it barely covers my earlobes. Even though my hair has never been longer than shoulder length … I don’t like short hair.

Now the cycle begins, yet again, and I have to do something. So I started taking a supplement that is supposed to help with hair, skin, and nails.

And it works well. My nails don’t feel as brittle. My skin seems smoother. And I’ve noticed new hair growth. Longer, thicker, and shinier hair.

The challenge …

Alas, the hair that is coming in … the most notable hair growth … the new longer hair … is on my CHIN … as in “not by the hairs of my” … of all places. Then there’s the shinier hair on my legs and the thicker hair under my arms. But, I haven’t experienced healthier hair on top of my head. Why? Go figure. Your guess is as good as mine.

TMI? Yeah, I know but this is my dilemma. I have to believe the next success in my supplement story will be for the hair on my head.

Beauty comes at a price. The question:  Is that price worth it? There has been an increase in time spent tweezing and plucking and shaving that I’d rather not be bothered with …

I think I need a support group:

  • Bold and Bald Bureau …
  • Weave Wearers of America …
  • The Women’s Wig Association …
  • Hapless Hair Loss Club …

Sign up today and we can care for one another through our vast and varied hair situations.

40 is the New Hotness, I’m Just Saying

I turned 40 this year!!

Don’t get it twisted … I wasn’t sad. I didn’t wallow in self pity and regret. I didn’t pine for my youth because my youth wasn’t squandered.

As 40 approached I waited with anticipation because I am thankful for each year. It’s quite the milestone.

Saying goodbye to my 30s made me reflect, and maybe a little nostalgic, but in an appreciative way. I found there were some things I wanted to incorporate into who I am. Things that I wanted to change.

I don’t know why but it made me think of this scene from Fried Green Tomatoes:

  • Evelyn:  Excuse me? I was waiting for that space.
  • Girl #1:  Yeah? Tough!
  • Girl #2:  Face it lady, we’re younger and faster.
  • (Smashes into car)
  • Girl #2:  What are you doing? Are you crazy?
  • Evelyn:  Face it girls, I’m older and I have more insurance.

Getting older has to have some perks, right? And so I decided my 40 perk was going to be FREEDOM OF SPEECH. No longer would I hold my tongue. I was going to let it all hang out like the character Maxine from Hallmark’s Shoebox Greeting line:

  • “I am aging like fine wine … which is to say, I’m building up pressure and about to become uncorked.”
  • “A friend will always tell you exactly what she thinks! So I guess I’m friends with everybody.”
  • “If I’m not bitchin’ check my pulse.”

So I spent the last few months of my 30s preparing my family and friends for this change. Letting them know what was soon to be coming their way. Managing expectations if you will. As if giving them a head’s up would make what I was going to start doing alright.

My family wasn’t fazed. Their response was quite surprising. They asked, “How is that different from any other day?” Really? Am I that direct? Here I thought I clamped down on any wayward comments.

It has become the family joke now. When I make off-color remarks or statements that are just shy of rude, my husband lovingly says, “But you’re 40 so you can say that!”

How is it a good thing to verbally upchuck on people? I mean why is a perk of aging about reaching a point where you no longer have a filter of grace, tact, and diplomacy?

The more I think about it the more embarrassed I am. But, oddly enough, I am not willing to give up this freedom of speech. HA!

Maybe as we age we fear being forgotten or left behind so we do and say memorable things. Or, maybe we lose our minds. Or, we just stop caring. Who knows?

I guess when you really think about it, it’s the circle of life:  when we’re young we say lots of stuff that could be classified as rude, mean, or inconsiderate; and people label it cute or precocious. For example, when my 7 year old said of my pending milestone birthday:  “Wow Mom, you’re almost halfway to 100.”

Yeah? Cute? Precocious? Whatever!

Well than call this freedom of speech a reclaiming of my youth because I plan on saying whatever I want.

I’m reminded of one last movie clip:  Men in Black 2 when Agent J brings back Agent K and they fight about who’s going to drive.

  • Agent J:  Wait, what are you doing?
  • Agent K:  I always do the driving.
  • Agent J: Oh no … 
  • Agent K:  I remember that.
  • Agent J:  No. What you remember is that you used to drive that old busted joint. See I drive the new hotness.
  • Agent J:  [Pointing at Agent K] Old and busted.
  • Agent J:  [Pointing at himself] New hotness.
  • Agent J:  [Agent K looks at Agent J. Then Agent J hands the keys over.] Old, busted, hotness …

I’ve decided that 40 is NOT old and busted but it represents the New Hotness.

Who’s with me?