Reporting for Jury Duty

“Are you reporting for jury duty? Here’s some information. Please line up over there.”

I open the pamphlet I have just been handed. The first thing I read in bold letters is “to serve as a juror is an honor.”

Why don’t I feel very honored?

I’m 41 years old, and this is the first time I’ve ever been called for jury duty. I’m feeling lots of things about this experience…annoyed, nervous, mildly misanthropic. But I’m not feeling honored.

When I check in, I want to say, “You know, this really isn’t a convenient time for me. Continue reading “Reporting for Jury Duty”

How Exercise Got Personal: The Hair Tie That Changed The Game

When I first created an account on Pinterest years ago, I did what everyone else on Pinterest does. I feverishly crafted an online dream board of everything I was going to do to make myself better. The gourmet recipes I would cook. The design ideas to spruce up the house. The life hacks that would make cleaning and organization a breeze. The crafts I would do with my kids (*cough* yeah, right *cough*). And because a better version of me certainly included a svelt body, I made a board for exercise routines. But even the all-powerful state of Pinterest delusion, the one that makes us truly think we will ever come back to those pins and actually DO something with them, couldn’t work it’s voodoo on my fitness goals. Because right off the bat, I named the board, “Exercise…Let Me Get Right On That.” (Sarcasm totally intended.) Continue reading “How Exercise Got Personal: The Hair Tie That Changed The Game”

The Female Normal: A Million “Harmless” Messages

“Remember in grade school when the boys would snap your bra strap against your back?” Several of the other ladies looked at me with a knowing glance. Yes, they remembered.

Recently, a friend was talking about how excited her niece was to get her first training bra. My mind immediately transported me back to that awkward time of adolescence when I was half fired up to begin wearing the badge of womanhood and half totally embarrassed. The latter feeling mostly stemmed from the fact that the boys in my class were also noticing this milestone. And their way of letting us girls know they were clued in was to come up from behind, grab and pull back our bra straps, then swiftly let them go so they smacked against our backs as they ran away laughing.

Another friend smirked, “If they had done that to me, I would have turned around and punched them.” Continue reading “The Female Normal: A Million “Harmless” Messages”

Not Hiring: Outdated, Unmarketable, Unhirable 41 Year Olds

Creative Copywriter. Greater St. Louis Area. Two alumni from my university work there.

Normally when I get email notifications from LinkedIn, I hit delete without even opening them. But for whatever reason, as I sat in the school parking lot waiting for dismissal, I was curious to see what job picks were being suggested for me. My eyes immediately focused on the third listing for a creative copywriter.

I’m creative. I can write copy.

Fifteen minutes earlier, I had been at Home Depot purchasing supplies to make a New Orleans style lamp post for our school’s upcoming Mardi Gras themed auction. That’s pretty typical of where my head and my time have been for the last few years or so: firmly entrenched in things like PTO, school board, and squeezing every last bit of experiential juice out of our time in this elementary school community we love so much…time that seems to be moving more quickly each day. My writing, my book, my professional aspirations have been barely even percolating on the back burner, mostly by my own choice. And let’s be honest: I haven’t had what most would consider a REAL job in over thirteen years. But suddenly there I was, sitting in my minivan, still in my workout clothes from boot camp class that morning (because honestly, what do I need to dress up for?), feeling my heart balloon at the possibility of applying for a job. A real one.  Continue reading “Not Hiring: Outdated, Unmarketable, Unhirable 41 Year Olds”

To Return or Not To Return

When I saw that the calendar read December 1st this morning, I took inventory of what that meant:
 
…Don’t forget to bring the two Adopt-a-Family gifts to Bootcamp class…Make sure to throw in a few loads of laundry in preparation for our busy weekend ahead…Help set up for tomorrow’s PTO event…Which reminds me, pack after-school snacks to bring to the kids since they will be hungry while we’re setting up…Let the kids start the Advent calendar…Oh, crap. The damn elf was supposed to come today. Well that’s off to a great start…

Continue reading “To Return or Not To Return”

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Last month, I lost my maternal grandmother, less than three months after losing my paternal grandfather. Where once there were four, and then three, there is quite suddenly now only one: my paternal grandmother. I count myself so very lucky to have had all four of my grandparents into adulthood. In a way, it feels selfish to be upset about having to let them go. But the most extraordinary thing about knowing your grandparents as an adult is that you come to know them as people. They aren’t just the ones who let you eat cookies past your bedtime or think you played the recorder the best during the school performance. You are able to see their complexities of character, understand sacrifices they made, and come to appreciate them as the people everyone else around you knows them as. I was blessed to find out that not only were all my grandparents extraordinary grandmothers and grandfathers, but they were also extraordinary people. Because of this, I wanted to share the eulogy I read for my grandmother at her funeral. I’ve written about her before on this blog…about the memories that were stirred up when I had the chance to revisit her old home, and about her battle with Alzheimer’s. But she was more than that. So very much more… Continue reading “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”

I’m the Jessie Spano of Blogging

I feel like a real dweeb. I forgot a very important birthday. Last week, my first-born book, Absolute Mayhem, turned 2. And the only reason I became aware of the milestone was because my Facebook memories reminded me. Boy, I thought to myself, that sure would have been a good marketing opportunity, especially with the holidays right around the corner. As I looked through all the old posts and the excitement that surrounded the book release, I couldn’t help but feel like I have let myself and my passion down this past year.

I’ve done very little promotion or marketing. I’ve barely paid attention to my poor characters, Lulu, Milo, and Hippo. And this blog hasn’t fared much better. Eight. Up until today, I’ve written eight posts the entire year. And that number would have been practically zero had it not been for these events: Continue reading “I’m the Jessie Spano of Blogging”

Coupons from Heaven: A Eulogy

Almost every week for I don’t know how many years, an envelope would land in my mailbox, my typewritten address perfectly stamped out directly in the center. I never needed to look at the return address to know exactly who had sent it or what I would find inside. There was rarely a note…just a handful of meticulously clipped coupons from the current week’s mailer. And every time, it made me smile. I could hear my Grandpa’s voice saying, “Well, I don’t know if you can use any of these, but just throw them away if you can’t.” Continue reading “Coupons from Heaven: A Eulogy”

Fourteen Years, And Just Another Day

What does a 14th wedding anniversary look like?

It starts with a 5:30 a.m. bootcamp class. When you get home, you spend 15 minutes with your husband before he heads out to work. It’s the only 15 minutes you will see him all day, but you’re a sweaty mess from bootcamp, and he is dividing his time between talking with you and finishing up his morning routine before walking out the door. You’ll spend the rest of the day doing laundry, running errands, then heading off to spend the night with your daughter’s girl scout troop before your husband even gets home from work. You’re the troop leader, and tonight was the only night that all the girls would be in town to have their final field trip. So 15 minutes with your husband on your anniversary will have to do. Continue reading “Fourteen Years, And Just Another Day”

Good Times and Good Guys: I’m So Glad That I Got Them To Think Of

“I’m so glad that I got her to think of.”

Ten deceptively simple, monosyllabic words open the song, “She Makes Me Laugh,” the first new single by The Monkees in twenty years. It literally just walked into the internet release party by way of a Rolling Stone article. But I’ve already cornered it, told it I’ve been waiting forever for it to get here, showed it pictures of my kids, and monopolized its mingling time by asking it to start from the beginning over and over again. Someone better just go grab it a drink from the bar and tell it to get comfortable, because I have zero plans of hanging with anyone else for a while. Continue reading “Good Times and Good Guys: I’m So Glad That I Got Them To Think Of”