romantic.getaway.

Things You Want Out of a Romantic Weekend Away:

  • Fancy dinners with great food and drinks
  • Sitting close to your significant other in the back of taxis, laughing about something you may not have found as funny if you had kids with you and were in your Suburban
  • Concerts and museum visits you wouldn’t normally treat yourself to
  • Walks through the city that make you feel like you’re inside a snow globe
  • Late morning brunch
  • Long hot showers and a big comfy bed with sheets you don’t have to clean

Things You Do Not Want Out of a Romantic Weekend Away:

  • A drunk guy nearly passing out on top of your significant other as soon as you get to a concert
  • A group of four bros starting a mosh-pit directly in front of you
  • Your hotel’s fire alarm going off as soon as you get out of a long shower in the morning and you have to stand outside in 6 degree weather with wet hair
  • Going to brunch reluctantly at the café next to your hotel–with wet hair, no socks, no bra, and carrying your beloved laptop & four notebooks, because you can’t get back into your hotel until the fire department makes sure it’s safe to go back in
  • Having a taxi driver who has to open his door at every stop light to hock up a loogey and spit it onto the street
  • Walking into a snow-globe-like street where it feels as if a toddler is repeatedly throwing said snow globe up against a wall.

 

writing.stories.

writing.stories.

It’s none of their business that you have to learn how to write. Let them think you were born that way. 
~Ernest Hemingway~

 

We start learning at a very young age which sorts of stories work, and which do not. Who our intended audience should be, and what reaction we’ll likely evoke. Have you ever witnessed a toddler doing something she knew she wasn’t supposed to do? Like saying a bad word, or throwing her food at the dog? And instead of getting reprimands, the toddler is rewarded with laughter–sometimes stifled, sometimes not–so the toddler repeats it. For the laughter. The smiles. Getting away with being naughty.

Once she learns how to speak, she can figure out the lines that’ll get her out of trouble, which ones don’t work on Mom, but will work on Dad. Which tall tales get her detention, which make her Teacher’s Pet. Trial and error, over and again, seeing which stories make new friends giggle, which ones makes them cry, and if she’s lucky, she’ll discern the best time to tell each.

That’s basically what writing is like, except it takes a hell of a lot longer for feedback.

Over the weekend, I visited the American Writer’s Museum in Chicago. The Ernest Hemingway quote at the top of this page was displayed on a screen there and I stood and stared at it a long time. I’d heard many of his quotes before, but not this one. I committed it to memory. An old-school, writerly version of Fake It Until You Make It. I’m not sure why, out of all the inspirational quotes I saw at the museum, that one stabbed at me the most, but it did.

I thought about it all day, wondered if some people really were born that way and never had to fake it.

Later that same afternoon we sat in a pizzeria, listening to conversations going on around us.

Okay, fine, I was eavesdropping. You wanna know where I get my dialogue? I eavesdrop all over the damn place and there’s nothing anyone can do about it (except maybe, you know, you all could talk a bit quieter when you’re in public. Seriously, the only people who give a shit about what you’re saying are those with ulterior motives, who wish to put you in a blog or story).

Anyway, a guy was sitting at a table next to us, by himself. He was maybe in his mid to late twenties. For a long time, he was too boring to pay attention to, so I’m not sure how, exactly, the conversation started up between him and the man sitting a table over. My ears didn’t perk up until I heard him say, “My girl’s in rehab. It’s been real hard, ya know?” and the second man say, “Oh, sorry to hear that, man. That’s rough.”

At this point, my Ulterior Motive Writer’s Ears switched on. (I keep meaning to ask my husband if my face glows when this happens. I feel like something Super-Powery should signal when my ears turn on.) The first guy–we’ll call him Tattoo Steve–said, “Yeah, she was drinking too much wine.” (This is the part of the story where I became dubious. Or in denial. I don’t know, whatever). And the second guy–Gullible Bob–was nodding in sympathy, and Tattoo Steve turned it up a notch. “Yeah, we’ve got a baby on the way, too. I’m just trying to get myself together for when she gets out.” Cue Gullible Bob coming in with more sympathy, words of encouragement, general shit you say to a person you don’t know who is inexplicably baring his soul to you.

Then my husband and I had to order our food or something obnoxious like that, and part of the conversation was lost on me. (There may have been a pint of beer somewhere in there, contributing to my distraction.)

Once our waiter was gone, and we’d held some conversation of our own to make it look like we weren’t trying to listen in on anyone else’s conversation, we tuned back in to Tattoo Steve being offered some of Gullible Bob’s leftover pizza, even though Tattoo Steve had his own pizza. They were fast friends now, chumming it up, Tattoo Steve spinning all sorts of stories that were tugging at everyone’s heart-strings. The pace at which he was leaving bread crumbs of his story was impeccable, it didn’t sound rehearsed at all, not like some sob stories you hear from pan-handlers or people who are accustomed to begging. This wasn’t some regurgitated script.

That’s what I thought until it came time for Tattoo Steve to pay, and he presented his bus card. To which his waiter said, “Well, uh, hey you can’t pay with a bus card.” As if Tattoo Steve didn’t know such a thing. I grinned wide at my husband. It was all a scam, that story-telling little shit was just making it all up (that was what my grin said, for those of you who weren’t there and couldn’t see it).

I was about to kick Hubs under the table and demand we pay for his pizza–the story-telling was entertaining enough to me to be worth it–when, of course, his new buddy Gullible Bob offered.

This guy was excellent. He had perfectly picked his target and waited patiently, trusting in his story to do what it needed to do.

I thought, maybe some people really are born knowing how to tell stories. I mean, sure, you have to learn where commas and periods go (maybe), and figure out style and syntax, and maybe a few more of those other grammar rules over-and-above comma placement (perhaps), but telling stories? Maybe sometimes it can’t be taught in a classroom or workshop or on a YouTube channel. Maybe it can only be conditioned into you by years of throwing food at your dog and seeing who laughs, who screams, and who gives you more food to throw.

 

 

 

smudged.sky.

smudged.sky.

Sometimes you have to be late to dinner for reasons outside of your control. Like your kid covers herself in yogurt, or your husband can’t find his shoes, or you can’t find your car keys.

Other times you have to be late to dinner because the sky is a smudge of colors so astounding you can’t believe they’re real. And not just real as in, you can see them, but real as in they’re up there in the sky and the pictures of them are not photo-shopped or filtered at all.

So you obviously have to drive past your destination because there are too many cars and hills and buildings around for your kid, who you’ve told to take a picture of said sky, to get a good shot. You drive past your dinner destination, a little away from town, back into town up a big giant hill and pull over onto a picturesque, cobblestone road you’ve been on many times for this thing: to take a picture from above, of the sky and river and marvel at the way they meet, the way they’re never the same colors or shape.

Luckily, in the time it took you to get away from all the cars and buildings, the colors didn’t dissipate too much. They’re still there and brilliant enough to warrant such a thing as going off-course to take some pictures in six degree weather. You bail out of the car with your daughter, snap a bunch of pictures, then get back in. Drive to your grandparents’ house.

Your daughter says, “We can show these to Grandpa.” And your son says, “Yeah maybe Grandpa can paint it!” And you smile because, yeah. Maybe Grandpa can.

Then you get to your grandparents’ house and explain that you were late because you were chasing the sky. And of course that’s okay with them. They’re the ones who taught you to chase the sky in the first place.

adult.friends.

There should be a dating app for adult friendship. Like Tinder but with no inappropriate exchanging of pics. Finding friends as an adult is hard. Harder than hard. Because even if you find a person you really like and want to hang out with, they probably already have a group of awesome friends to work around. Or their kids are in a totally different developmental age than yours, or maybe they don’t even have kids so their idea of a night out is something like, going out for appetizers at 9pm and not getting home until 4am. And how many times can you do that before your husband divorces you?

I don’t want to find out really. My husband’s pretty cool.

So what if you could design an app with different categories such as:

Stay-At-Home Mom (SAHM) looking for other SAHM’s to commiserate with about how to get home-made slime out of my carpet, hair, the dog’s hair, etc. and who also won’t judge me for drinking wine at 10am.

OR:

Full-time Working Mom (FTWM) looking for other FTWM’s to make up after-work meetings with and really go to Happy Hour or Karaoke Night before heading home. Must enjoy singing in the car, fart jokes, and random movie quotes hidden in everyday conversation.

OR:

FTWM looking for crazy-ass single friend who will remind me that I haven’t always been an uptight bitch and can still hang with women a decade younger than me as long as they go out before midnight. (Disclaimer: I probably cannot actually still hang with women a decade younger than me, so this person needs to be cool with having to cart my drunk ass to her car and carrying up my front stairs and leaving me on my porch).

Or you know, other descriptions that other women can probably come up with that are more relevant to their own lives.

Remember when it was easy? Remember when you would just catch sight of someone across the playground wearing green shoes, and you’d run over to them and hit them with a rock and proclaim, “Green is my favorite color! Wanna be my best friend?” and they were just like, “Um yeah, just don’t throw another rock at me, okay?” and then you were best friends?

I miss those days. Adulting is hard. And sorta lonely. Let’s buck the system and make 2018 the friendliest year ever. Now can one of my readers make some sort of Friendship app?

hiatus.

I took a six day vacation from work to recharge myself. You know, get my house clean, get myself all rested up, finish writing a novel, catch up with friends and relatives, write letters to people.

I will give you one guess as to how many of those things were accomplished.

Well, maybe the recharging thing. That wasn’t so bad. Of course, the only thing I ended up organizing was my own little writing corner and bookshelf area (a girl’s gotta have priorities).

And so, I was feeling pretty good about going back to work this morning. Okay that’s a lie. But, I was feeling better than I thought I would.

Then I squirted makeup all over my cardigan while I was getting ready, and twenty minutes later, it was discovered that I’d forgotten to tell the babysitter to come back today instead of tomorrow.

When I finally made it to work, I was taken aside to be shown my New Filing System, which had been put into place by one of our marvelous assistants (yeah, that’s how chaotic my brain is, I have to be shown how to file. I mean, it’s not like I don’t know how to file, it’s more like, my way makes more sense to me, but apparently when I’m gone six days, no one can find a damn thing because my way only makes sense to me). So I see my new marvelous filing system, and see a hundred notes on things that I need to check on, and decide I’ll do that later after I get logged into my computer.

So, I turned on my computer, and was told in big white font on a scary black screen that: ALERT! No Hard-drive detected!

Just so you know, turning your computer off and on again about fourteen times, does not fix this problem.

After a run-down of all the little catastrophes that occurred during my absence, finally I hit enough of the right buttons in the correct sequence, that the computer rebooted itself and I was able to see my gazillion emails. At which point I was wondering, Why did I think it was a good idea to take a week off, again???

Oh right, the recharging thing.

Six days is either too many or too few days for optimal recharging to take place. That’s the moral of this story.

 

 

throwback.

So these are two old posts dug up from some ancient cesspool of a blog, but I happened upon them today and thought they were still relevant. So here you go. Enjoy. Or don’t. I really don’t care :p

Throwback #1: Beauty Pageants

Last night I watched two shows about little tiny girls in Beauty Pageants. Wow. I know what you are thinking. I watch too much TV. I really do. Especially in the winter when it is too cold to go outside and do anything productive. Anyway, I was watching these shows and two things kept going through my mind.

1) How do they get 3 and 4 year olds to DO those things? My daughter (who is 3) would be running all over the stage asking the other girls if they had any candy. Then she would probably skip to the front of the runway when they called her name, fart loudly, giggle and run away. If we were lucky we would get an *Excuse me* out of her, but it would depend on the time of day and if anyone had procured any candy for her, yet.

2) What the hell is wrong with these parents? Some of them spend thousands and thousands of dollars just on CLOTHES for these beauty contests. One mom even admitted her husband would rather she put that money into an account where it could accrue interest for her daughter’s education (gasp!) and she disagreed. Another mom stated that parent’s who thought Pageant Parents were doing something wrong had ugly kids. Are you freaking serious? And why do all of these parents have southern accents and bleach blonde hair?

I don’t pretend to understand anything about these types of settings. I can’t understand wanting my small child to dress like a prostitute and flirt with a weird man singing out-dated love songs to all the contestants who are wearing fake teeth and (sometimes) fake hair. I can’t relate to parents who think beauty pageants are a way to teach their kids about *real life.* I don’t want my daughter to think her worth to me depends on how cute she is, how well she can sing or dance, or how tan she is.

I would like her to quit farting and burping loudly in public, though. So if anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

 

Throwback #2: American Idol

I’m not gonna lie…I hate this show. I hate it. I hate American Idol. I am sorry to all of you who love it. I know you are out there. I know it is a family show many people like to watch together. I get how some people like it, I am just not one of them. However, there was absolutely. nothing. on. last. night for most of the night. So, I ended up flipping back and forth between American Idol and the shows on CBS (Gary Unmarried is SOOO Funny!)

Anyways, the first few episodes of American Idol are usually the most entertaining because they have all the nutjobs from the state they are visiting in one line, and they parade them around and put them on the air, and it is funny (sometimes. Other times it is just cruel). What I don’t get though, are the PARENTS of these nutjobs. Honestly. What the hell?

Ok, so you have little Suzie who you have been grooming for stardom since she was 2 years old. All your life you have told little Suzie how great she is at singing. From the time she learned her ABC’s you have been praising her voice and putting her up in front of friends and family and throwing crackers at her to get her to perform. You bought her cute little outfits. You got her teeth whitened. You paid to have her hair the right shade of blonde at all times. You would’ve even paid for voice lessons had they been needed 😉

Of course you didn’t do ALL the work. Little Suzie *did* get herself into the choir and she *did* try out for all those solos at school. She sang in front of everyone who would listen. She even sings in the middle of class and on the bus, and during soccer practice! So, when little Suzie heard American Idol was coming to audition people in her state, well of course she decided to go stand in line for 48 hours with her excited parents!!! After all, what could go wrong?

And you can’t really blame little Suzie for thinking this way. I mean, look at her. She *is* beautiful. Her parents and friends and family members have told her how beautifully she sings since her chubby little two year old hand could grasp a microphone by itself! She is so excited to meet Simon, *Dawg* Jackson, Crack-head Abdul, and that new judge lady I don’t know her name. She sings her little heart out. She really gets into it. She is bobbing her head, closing her eyes, doing jazz hands. She is giving it all she’s got. If you had it on mute, you might actually buy that she was good. The problem is, she isn’t good. Not even remotely. She makes sounds that mimic a cat being ripped apart by a pitbull. You check to make sure your ears aren’t bleeding. Even the judges can’t keep a straight face. They are in shock. Such high hopes for a pretty little girl, but alas she gets booed out of the audition room.

So, then the parents are out waiting in the hall. When little Suzie comes out crying, no yellow sheet in her hands, the parents erupt into hateful cries. “Those Judges are CRAZY! They have no idea what they are talking about! Ohmigosh, the HORROR!” And I just want to say to them, “What the HELL are you talking about?!?!” I want to reach into the screen and shake them. I feel bad for Little Suzie. I really do. It isn’t her fault that her parents are delusional, tone deaf nutjobs. It isn’t.

Honestly, who is worse here, the judges for being assholes, or the parents for setting their children up for failure? I mean, unless you are completely deaf, there is no way anyone can *truly* think little Suzie is a good singer. I’m not buying it. There is no way anybody who LIKES music can say that Suzie has a future in the music industry. No way, no how. What are these parents thinking? Why would anyone encourage little Suzie to go on national television and humiliate herself? Its like telling a quadrapalegic he has a real shot at the Ping Pong championship. It’s just cruel.

So I’m just wondering. Are there really that many tone deaf people in America? I think it’s doubtful. I think some people just truly believe if they say something over and over and over again, it will come true. If we all *believe* little Suzie is a good singer, other people will believe it, too! If we dress her up real pretty, and tell everyone she is going to be a star, they will have to agree with us! Yes! That is so obviously how the world works! And then we will all just sit around eating rainbows and pooping butterflies (haha that’s from Horton Hears a Who)! Someone should take these parents out to a dark alley and beat them with a pillow case full of cheese. And buy little Suzie a drink. She needs one.