I don't proofread my posts before I publish them... cause I keep my thoughts au naturale.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The things I'm gonna do...

A couple therapy sessions ago, I was talking about how I used to be passionate about so many things and I used to ENJOY doing so many things.  Then last week (or so) a memory popped up on Facebook that said I had just finished a 10 mile bike ride with no breaks.  It brought up the therapy session again.

My therapist suggested that I should try something that I used to like doing and force myself to do it five times before I give up.  The sad part is that these are things I used to do because I loved doing them!  But she's right, and here are the three things that are most prevalent on this list:

1) Read books.  Growing up and all through my K-12 life, I loved to read and read thousands of books.  I'd read different genres, both fiction and non-fiction.  I continued to read off and on as I started college, but as the years progressed, I found that having so much to read for school made reading for fun seem a bit off-putting.  I got through the first four Harry Potter books, made it through all the Twilight books, started the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, read a James Patterson novel here and there, got about 14 books deep on the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum novels... then crickets.  I told myself that as soon as I finished my Masters that I would read a book for fun.  So, I picked up a suspense novel from the shelf at Goodwill and I read it.  I liked it.  I fell in love with Gone Girl, so I read a couple Gillian Flynn books.  I liked them.  But then I stopped again.

2) Ride my bike.  In the summer of 2010, I started riding my bike at least four days a week.  It was peaceful.  I would leave the kids at home with their dad, put my headphones in and just enjoy the ride.  I got to the point where I was regularly riding 6 miles at a time.  It felt good and definitely did NOT feel like a chore.  After moving in January 2011, I stopped riding and have never been able to get back into the stride.  And boy is my waistline angry!

3) Create.  I am simply saying "create" because there are several creative outlets I used to have, whether it was crafting, drawing, writing, blogging, etc.  I just need to let my mind kick back and do something to work on my focus and inspiration.

Of course, just like a list of NYE Resolutions, I'm not getting my hopes up.  When it comes to the bike riding, I don't like humidity, so that is slightly weather-permitting right now.  I perused the clearance bookshelves at a local thrift store yesterday and found about 3 books that I liked that didn't seem like they would be part of a series- I can't commit to that right now.

So wish me some silent luck in any way that you can.  I have no idea what my motivation would be, but I do know that joy is something that is severely lacking in my life and has been for years.  I figure that if I can get to the point where I ENJOY something, that counts as joy, and I will take what I can get!

What is something that you have lost your passion or drive for?  Let me know in a comment or as always, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

I might have conquered Walmart

I'm sure everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) who shops at Walmart has run into this problem before: you go in to buy one thing and end up coming out having spent $100.  It happens to the best of us.  And if you're like the other 99% of the country, you're not rich, so that $100 would probably have been better spent elsewhere.  Dang Walmart for having so much stuff that we think we need, but we actually want (don't we always need neon colored socks)!

Well, I have found myself a solution, and perhaps it will work for you as well.  Every pay day, I make a list of the necessities I have that are cheapest from Walmart.  This could be things like laundry detergent, baby wipes, diapers, dish washing detergent, etc.  Then there might be things I wanted to look for at Walmart, but can get online from them, such as my son's birthday is coming up and I wanted to see what Monsters University things they had, so I ended up ordering him a blanket.  By ordering these things online, I avoid going in the actual store.  I save time, don't have to encounter the dreaded "people of Walmart," and avoid being tempted by the non-essentials on the end caps that always seem to catch my eye.  (Sure, a bottle of soap refill for $2.88 sounds like something I should buy today!)

And I know you have some questions.  What about the cost of shipping?  Oh, ho ho, My Friend.  If I spend over $50, the shipping is free.  And many of those necessities come in bigger sizes online.  For instance, I can buy bigger boxes of diaper than what they sell in the store, which means they are less cents per diaper and last me longer.  And spending over $50 on those things would have happened anyway, but now I have stocked up until the next paycheck (and much longer on some items.)

Of course, there are some things here and there that aren't available online, but I can usually get just as cheap, if not cheaper at the grocery store a block from my house.  Generally pet food and litter are cheaper at chain grocery stores anyway.

Oh, another good point for me is that I don't have a Walmart in my town, but there is one where my ex and my parents live, so I am usually there every two weeks anyway.

And for those who are afraid to put their credit cards on Walmart's website, I pay with Paypal, which to me adds another layer of security as I'm not putting any info directly on Walmart's website and Paypal has a lot of security.

Well, there you have it!  Try it and see if it helps you.  But if you're one of those few people who can actually go to Walmart with a list and no temptation, congratulations!  I don't have that kind of willpower. 


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Too many Boos: A Pet Name Rumination

I was thinking today... because it's a nice pastime. 

I don't know if I'm the only one in the world who has these thoughts... the ONLY ONE... but I like feeling special.  I like feeling unique, one of a kind, perhaps... the cat's pajamas.  So, I don't want to think of myself as being someone who gets to have a recycled pet name.  I know there are cliches like Boo, Hon, Sweetie, Dear, Mama, Baby, Lovie Wuvvie Schnoodle Bug... but if that's what you called your ex, count me out!  I don't wanna be any of those things!

I'm not saying this anecdote is about me... let's say it's about my friend.  Her name is... ShmansterMitten.  We'll call her Sammy for short.  Well, one day Sammy's boyfriend was having his wisdom teeth pulled and he was doped to the gills.  While Sammy was caring for him, his phone kept blowing up and as Sammy was a snoopy little B, she checked.  Previously Sammy's boyfriend had been referring to her as "Hon", which although not unique, was something she hadn't been called before and it felt nice.  Well, on this occasion, Sammy looked at her boyfriend's phone and saw that his ex and he had been exchanging texts about how he was doing and in one he had called her "Hon."  Well, add that to the fact that he had claimed to have deleted her number and had in fact just put it in under a guy's name, and Sammy went into a blind rage.  (Which reminds me, my next blog post should be about me being a hypocrite.)  Long story short, Sammy is now endearingly referred to as "babe."  (Feminists calm down- she's okay with it.)  This is not a recent occurrence, just the only example I had in this scenario that wasn't an obvious reference to those who know me and lurk.

Anywho, so am I wrong in believing that recycling a pet name from a previous relationship is a no-no?  If you called your last boyfriend "Boo," perhaps call this one "Shoe" (they are both equally ridiculous).  If you called your last boyfriend "Daddy," how about calling this one "Sugar t*ts?"  I mean, if you like the pet name so much, maybe you shoulda stayed with the previous pet, just saying.                                     


Thursday, May 4, 2017

I wore my bathing suit in public... and no one pointed and laughed!

How many of us are 100% happy with our bodies?  Don't all raise your hands at once... anyone... anyone... Bueller... Bueller...?

Last year I don't think I got in a swimming pool one time.  I can't remember, but I don't think I did.  The summer before, I went to the public pool in our small town a couple times, but grudgingly.  I only went so that my kids could go and enjoy it.  Oh how I wished I could be one of those parents who swam with their kids, jumped off the diving boards, went down slides... when I was younger I LOVED that kind of stuff and I was willing to wear a two-piece-- with no cover-up!  I just feel so much body shame that I only feel comfortable in a swimsuit around my kids- and that's only because they think I'm pretty no matter what (they're young.)

Anyway, two summers ago when I was at our small town public pool, a woman in her late 20s was there with at least one child.  She was having fun, jumping in the water, enjoying the beautiful day.  This is what I saw: she was wearing a two piece, she had that mommy apron that we all hate, stretch marks on her stomach and was very pale.  She was not very heavy-looking, it was just the stomach region that surprised me that she would be comfortable wearing a two-piece in public.  My first thought was, "I can't believe someone would wear a two-piece when their stomach looks like that!"  Then immediately my thought turned to how I wish I could be more like that woman!  She clearly did not worry about what she was wearing or what other people might think- she was there to have fun and enjoy herself, time with her kids, get a good tan... so why should she feel bad about that?  Why should she care that there are judgmental people (like I was initially being) who know nothing about her, but will think poorly of her because she chooses to accept her body for the way it is?  We should be using her as a role model!

So yesterday was a huge step for me.  My daughter earned a trip to the pool for having a great report card, and I couldn't back out on her.  So to avoid a hassle with the younger two (and some nasty sunburns,) my husband decided he would stay home with the younger two and I would take the older two.  So I reluctantly put on my swimsuit that I don't believe had been worn yet.  It was a tankini, but the bottoms were a skirt.  The top was made in a way that the midsection didn't cling an there was plenty of coverage up to my armpits.  I tossed a dress over the top and out the door we went.

The whole drive to the pool I argued with myself in my head.  We now live in the second biggest city in our state, and it is one of the better pools in the city, so I knew it would be packed.  This made me feel really nervous that so many people would be seeing me in a swimsuit, but I wanted to lay out and work on a tan while the kids played in the pool.  The place WAS packed.  As we walked out of the changing rooms into the pool area, I began seeing people of all sizes, ethnicities, heights, weights, builds, complexions, you name it!  Sure there were skinny women in bikinis, but there were heavier women in bikinis too.  And most of them weren't wearing skirted bottoms that attempted to hide cellulite like I was.

My kids begged me to go with them down the slide the first time because they were shy and a bit nervous.  I decided to suck it up, took the dress off and walked up the steps to the slide area, where I took my turn and went down a big, twisting blue slide- and it was FUN.  I tried not to think about what the young lifeguards thought as I approached in my bathing suit.  I instead tried to think about how excited my kids were that I went down the slide.

After getting out of the pool, I found a chair to lay out on, put my towel on it, put my headphones in, laid back, made sure my swimsuit was all in place, then just enjoyed the peace.  Was I feeling self-conscious?  Of course.  Was I letting it ruin my time there?  Not at all!  My psychiatrist once told me that if I'm afraid to be out in public for fear that people are judging me, that I should realize that 99% of those people "don't give a shit" about me.  I can tell you that at the pool yesterday, I did not know ONE person besides my kids.  So why should I care if one of them thinks that I'm chubby, that I have cellulite, that I've got a floppy mommy apron for a tummy... whatevs.  There were so many people that were heavier and didn't seem to care AT ALL.  They were enjoying themselves.

These lovely ladies have no body shame- color me jealous!

I feel like it was a huge obstacle to overcome and I'm nowhere near as confident as the woman in my old town in the bikini, but I just hope one day to get to the point where I can have fun enough in my full coverage swimsuit and not be worrying about what other people are thinking.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Best friends and boyfriends? Let's check the high school vernacular.

"Best friend" and "boyfriend" are two labels that as an adult, throw me off.  I have found that since high school, the connotation of these words have changed.  And to be honest, as an adult, their meanings are a bit confusing to me.

Boyfriend: Remember in high school when a guy would say, "you wanna be my girlfriend" or "wanna go out with me?"  Cause, you know... everyone was "going out."  And for you older folks, the phrase "going steady."  Or for the even older folks, "let me invent the wheel, then we will go to my cave and cook up this saber tooth tiger I hunted.

Then there was the wearing of the class ring or the letterman jacket (which predated me, I believe) or wearing his away jersey to a football game.  Or if you didn't date a football player (congrats), I think it might have just been the class ring.  Or if you were like this uber-skank I went to high school with, your boyfriend would make the first letter of his name out in hickies on you.

No seriously... are you?
So how do we KNOW that someone is our boyfriend in 2017?  No really, how?  In high school, it was "cool" to have a boyfriend.  When I was single after separating from my husband, I can 100% say I did NOT want whatever a "boyfriend" was.  Ain't nobody got time for that!  Now, I believe the actual definition of boyfriend means the same now as it has for decades, possibly centuries (again, ain't nobody got time to look the history of the word up).  It means a guy who you are "exclusive" with. That's it.  Boyfriends provide different things to different people.  Some provide comfort when sad, some provide a seat filler next to you at the movies, some buy you food, some annoy you to no end and you can't figure out why you're with them, some are just arm candy, and some are a good standby until Gerard Butler comes to his senses and hunts you down.

But as adults, how do we KNOW someone is our boyfriend?  I recently had someone in her early 30s tell me that the guy she was seeing straight up asked her to be his girlfriend.  Well, that made it easy.  But that seems to be an exception among adults, right?  Then there's the obvious: Facebook tells you that it is so.  We always say that nothing is real until it becomes "Facebook Official."  You're not really engaged, single, married or in a relationship until your status has been changed on Facebook.  But we're still not there yet, Folks.  How do you KNOW to put it on Facebook?  Inevitably, the assumption of exclusivity will fall apart.  Either someone will want some realistic form of commitment or someone will find out that the exclusivity was one-sided.  So... how do you KNOW??

Best friend: In high school, determining who your best friend(s) was/were was as easy as reading the bottom of their note to you that said, "BFF, Nicole"  or "LYLAS, Melissa."  You could have a slew of best friends and no one batted an eyelash.  And you could have that one frenemy named Erin like I did.  (Shhh, don't tell... but she knows.)  But as an adult, for some reason "best friend" has a very very heavy connotation that I often fear using.  This is mostly for fear of being shunned.  What if I think someone is my best friend, but they wouldn't use that label on me?  I'd feel like such a loser.  So what does it take to call someone a best friend?  Does it require years of knowing someone, a special chemistry that isn't determined by time?  Or just someone that knows too much, so you want to make sure you think they are special so that they don't divulge all your secrets?  When it comes to friends, I often find myself using this terminology:

Facebook Friend: someone I've never met in person, but due to mutual interests, we have become Facebook friends.  We enjoy witty banter or the liking of each other's statuses or pictures, but there is no expectation of physically meeting them.

"Friend": someone you know in person, but you could live without them.  Often this is someone who I know I will see in public at some point and am afraid to unfriend them on Facebook for fear of an awkward meet-up.  They are people who I might grab lunch with if they asked, but I'd rather not put forth that kind of effort.  These tend to be the people who get upset if you unfriend them, but won't lift a finger if you are in need.  Air quotes are always necessary when referring to these people as "friends."

Friend: someone you look forward to spending time with and that you have their phone number and actually use it sometimes (for texting of course- my friends know better than to call me.  Again, ain't nobody got time for that!)  Someone who would hopefully help you out if you were in need, or otherwise come up with an excuse why they can't other than just ignoring your plight.

To anyone who claims me.
Best Friend:  someone you are so willing to spend time with that you would even spend time with them when there were children involved!  Someone who would give you all the money in their savings if you were in need.  Someone who tells you their deep dark secrets and knows that they would be murdered if they told people yours.  Someone who gets your sarcasm and twisted humor and thinks it's funny.  I don't think that "best friend" can be correlated with time.  It's okay to let go of someone who once was your best friend now that you no longer share any common interests and make no attempts to spend time together.  Let it go, let it go... (were you singing the Frozen song there with me?)  Just like it's okay to have new best friends.

Wow, this was long.  Anyone want to add to my definitions?  Anyone want to help me?  Why is it that these terms are so complicated when they are just basic English?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My Movie Reviews: Manchester by the Sea

I have started a very relaxing habit of going to a movie by myself a couple times a month.  It is very therapeutic and I LOVE it.  I've had some Facebook friends say that they appreciate my reviews on my own page, so I figured I would share them here as well. I'm not giving a summary on here cause you can find that on IMDB.  If you want more details of the movie, go to IMDB.  I will let you know the rating I gave it. 

Manchester by the Sea
My IMDB rating: 6/10  Overall IMDB rating: 8.4/10
 So I was in Chili's taking my daughter and "daughter" to eat before we went to see Moana (which I gave an 8/10).  While we were waiting for a table, there was a group of women that I'm guessing were over 60, that were standing in front of me.  They were discussing the movie they had just seen and other ones they may go to next.  They had seen Manchester by the Sea, which I planned to go to.  I asked what they thought of it.  They said they couldn't recommend it because it was too depressing.  I chalked it up to the women being too fragile.

Nope, they were right.  It was SO FACKING DEPRESSING.  It was a good movie, very well-written, actors did amazing jobs, but man... I don't know how to erase the sad stuff from my mind.  I know it's just a movie, but damn...

The reason I gave it a 6/10 may seem foolish, but I feel like the story could have easily been told without this specific event.  A different tragic event could have replaced it, but this one was horrid.

If you want any spoilers, send me a message.


Mom Blogs Have Become Obsolete

(Originally posted 10.14.15)

If you're a mom blogger and you're reading this, you may be in denial.  If you are just someone happening by reading this, you're probably nodding in agreement.

Back in 2008 when I started my blog and social media presence, Mom Blogging was huge!  Companies scrambled to get their name and products out to moms with blogs in order to get brand recognition.  Search engine optimization was a newer concept and everyone wanted their name to come up high on the search engine sites.  Moms were blogging... more moms were blogging... and eventually moms that shouldn't be blogging were blogging.

That's when it started to become ridiculous.  Although I think the idea of blogging in general is a dying art, there are a few great ones out there that still get mass readers- and hooray for them!  They have found their niche in a dying art.  Generally those bloggers who rose to greatness have found themselves published in some format that has gained them more notoriety.  However, the vast majority were mom blogs that were inundated with reviews.  And to make things worse, they were flowery reviews on products that shouldn't even be given the time of day.  It started to make the reviews lose their authenticity and people were no longer looking to mom blogs to determine whether to make a purchase or not.

Here we are today: the mom blog is dead... and bad bloggers killed it.  Okay, and blogs in general are being read less and less.  People just don't have the time (or make the time for them.)  We need our attention to be caught in 140 characters or less... be in Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram.  If a headline or a picture catches our eye, we click.  Otherwise, most people don't spend time bookmarking or seeking out the blogs that they once read.

And companies have started to realize this too.  Less product samples are being made available.  And the PR firms representing these brands are not all keeping up with these trends.  For instance, many of the old mom blogging experts that were big names in representing brands and passing along product or review opportunities are still hung up on the idea of UVMs- unique monthly visitors.  How many people are clicking on links to your blog?  How many people just stumble upon your blog?  How many searches are coming up with your blog near the top?  Brands want people to click on links that lead them to their product page or a place to buy it.  They don't care if people go by way of your blog first.

So, I guess what I'm saying is not so much good-bye... I'm sure I will throw out a blog post here or there, but I hate being told what to blog about.  That makes it crap... you know, cause it's forced.  I am fairly active on my Twitter and Facebook accounts and mildly active on Instagram , Google+ and Pinterest.  I encourage you to follow me on those as I feel like I do contribute at least one piece of interest each day, but I make no promises.

I am only human and I do enjoy reviewing products, so you may see RARE posts on my social media sites from time to time that highlight a product, but don't worry, I've scaled so far back that I'm almost invisible.  I'll see you on the other sites!