Remember the Time…Wildcard Edition

uno wildcard
It’s nice to have this card up your sleeve.

So every week, Emily and I have been throwing out nostalgic topics for you Continue reading “Remember the Time…Wildcard Edition”

What Would My Blog Self Do?

vbiI have been thinking about my VBI lately. You know, my Visual Business Identity. Okay, so technically, I’m not a business. But this little blogging thing I do has become a job of sorts, and I find myself at the point of wondering if this whole thing is going anywhere. And if it is, where? And why? And how? And am I a “mommy blog“? A humor blog? A write-whatever-random-thoughts-come-into-my-head-blog?  An anti-Chuck E. Cheese blog? A blog where every post would be about The Monkees if I didn’t think it would drive away 98.4% of Continue reading “What Would My Blog Self Do?”

And the Award for Favorite Blog Goes To…

Golly gee. I wasn’t expecting this. I don’t have anything prepared. Well, I just have so many people to thank. Oh, I know I’m going to forget someone. Let’s see. Um. First, I have to thank my parents for all those things like love and support and stuff, and for buying me my own word processor to take to college so I didn’t have to wait for an open computer in the lab whenever the writing bug bit me…the one that made a horrifically loud screeching noise when it would print at a snail’s pace, waking up my roommates any time I would finish a paper in the wee hours of the morning. And I want to thank the big guy of course. No, not THAT big guy. MY big guy. That 6’6 husband of mine, who used to love reading my latest blog, telling me each one was better than the last, but who I think now is getting kind of tired of them. But he makes windows, so what does he know? Then there’s that other Big Guy. The G-O-D. I mean, that’s a given, right? And I want to thank my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Stehly, who was actually quite crabby and mean a good chunk of the time, but who used to march around the room chanting, “Person! Number! Gender! Case!” Consequently, my writing is usually on the correct side of grammar. And then there’s…oh no, the music already? You’re playing me off? But wait! I still need to thank Leslie at Simply Better for nominating me in the first place. Oh great, here comes Will Smith’s daughter to usher me off. Man those kids get so many gigs because of their famous parents. Geez. OH, that reminds me…wait, before you push me off stage…I just have one more thing to say… Grace and Michael, Mommy won! You can go to bed now!

Okay, I may have gone a little overboard. But I am just tickled as a pickle to have received my very first BLOGGING AWARD from a fellow blogger. Leslie at Simply Better nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. What is the Liebster Blog Award you ask? Beats me. So I looked it up, and it seems that liebster means favorite in German. Basically this is a “favorite blog award” given to up and coming bloggers. I kindly thank Leslie for naming this as one of her favorite blogs.liebster blog award

As part of the rules, I am supposed to list 11 facts about me, answer 11 questions posed by Leslie, chose 3-5 other bloggers to pass this award onto, and create 11 questions for them to answer. This is sounding a bit like a blogging chain letter, but far be it from me to break a chain letter. We already know my issues with anxiety. I don’t want to tempt fate that I will be unlucky in love for 17 years or that some little girl in Hoot Owl, Oklahoma will die of a rare disease caused by an allergic reaction to Fruity Pebbles. So here it goes…

Eleven Facts About Me:

#1 I took a direct hit of bird poop standing in the parking lot of my son’s preschool a few weeks ago. It looked a lot like creamed spinach, which was a shame…because I really like creamed spinach.  #2 I washed the exact same load of laundry three times last week because I kept forgetting to switch it to the dryer, leaving it to get all moldy smelling overnight.  #3 My dog has a long-lost lesbian lover. (Ooh, I just got an idea for another blog post!)  #4 As a freshman in high school, I won a commercial writing contest by composing a rap urging kids to stay in school. Yes, I was a white girl from suburbia writing a rap. No, I have no soul or funk. But they aired the commercial anyway. I have yet to find out if I ever convinced anyone to stay in school.

God’s gift to the rear end

#5 I volunteered to be the leader of my daughter’s girl scout troop over two years ago because of my love for sit-upons. Ironically, we have not made any sit-upons.  #6 I am working on a children’s book, but at a painstakingly slow pace. I hope it will be worth the wait. Scratch that. I just hope I finish it.  #7 I love being in old buildings steeped in history. I imagine people of different eras inhabiting them. And I secretly like the idea that they just might be haunted.  #8 I find it impressive that my husband can construct blast-proof, tornado-proof, and hurricane-proof windows. Yet at the same time, he can’t construct a decent-looking outfit.  #9 I sadly took a bit of pride in the fact that while watching an episode of the old 90′s show DinosaursI pointed out that the voice of Baby Sinclair was done by Kevin Clash, the same guy who voices Elmo. I am Mensa material.  #10 If I could marry any character from a Christmas movie, it would be Buddy the Elf, though I bet the Ghost of Christmas Present is a pretty fun guy.  #11 I am too boring to have eleven interesting facts about me.

The Answers to Leslie’s Questions for Me:

#1 What was your favorite childhood memory? Probably playing Barbies on Saturday mornings with my sister…and using reverse psychology on my little brother to convince him we didn’t want to play with his hair. And then he would let us play with his hair.

#2 Favorite memory of your teenage years? Still playing with my brother’s hair. Just kidding. He usually smelled like kid sweat by then. Um, I would say weekend hangouts with my friends, particularly if they involved Steak ‘n’ Shake, Victoria’s Ice Cream parlour, cheese balls, and/or grape soda. Oh, and drama-filled fights between at least two people. We could party, ya’ll.

#3 Do you know Jesus Christ personally? Well, He still hasn’t accepted my friend request on Facebook…sooooo…that’s a little awkward. Especially since we like totally met a gazillion times at church, had a couple of classes together, and He sat next to me when my flight from New Orleans went through a crazy big storm and I thought I was going to die. And there was that time at my First Communion when He was all like, “We’re so connected. I feel like we’re one body.” So, I guess the answer is yes. But I still wish He would accept my friend request. I know His birthday is coming up, and I have the best photo of a cat blowing out candles that I want to post on His wall.

#4 What is your favorite book series? I’m not much of a series follower. I only read the first Harry Potter book. I know. Deal with it. I do enjoy each and every Sandra Boynton book I read to my kids, if that counts. But my favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird because it reveals something new to me every time I read it. And I have read it a LOT.

#5 What song reminds you of summer time? Winter Wonderland. I know. It’s weird.

#6 Who is your hero? That’s a tough one. I mean, Superman can fly and has that crazy alien strength, but there is just something about Batman’s gruff voice that says, “You ain’t dying today, sweet thing.” So I’m going to go with Batman. And Oprah…because all women are required to say her under our female code.

#7 Who do you admire and why? This is thankfully a very long list, because it means I have encountered a lot of amazing people in my life. But topping the list would be my grandparents. All four have set real, tangible examples of ways to live my life in a way I can be proud of. See? And you thought I couldn’t be serious.

#8 Do you like to travel? Where have you been? I do, although I don’t really like flying. But I do love a good road trip. I have traveled to California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maine and all kinds of places within Missouri. I have also been to England, France, and Italy. The place I would most love to travel in the future is Ireland.

#9 What is your favorite quote or bible verse? A lot of Catholics are notorious for sucking at knowing bible verses off the top of our heads. Other Christian denominations could totally wipe the floor with us in a Bible Verse Academic Bowl. So I will just go with a regular old quote instead, albeit a very wise one about thinking before you speak and choosing your words carefully. It was said by my daughter when she was three: “Mom, I said ‘oh pickles,’ but I was thinking ‘damn it.'”

#10 How long have you been married? Is it what you thought it would be like? My husband and I have been married for ten years. I think it is more or less what I thought it would be. There are always things you can’t even imagine or expect at the beginning. But at the end of the day, I am still with my best friend. And that is what counts.

#11 Why do you blog? Because I got tired of people telling me, “you should start a blog.” Then I got started, and gosh darn if I didn’t actually enjoy it. So I will continue to do it as long as I enjoy it, or if someone starts paying me to do it. Mark my word: I will sellout.

So now it is my turn to pass the honor along. I hereby bestow the Liebster Blog Award upon:

#1 Perspectives In Writing and Editing: Blogger Maggie can not only find some really creative ways to make a point, but she also needs this push to start doing it more often. In her defense, she did just release this book I may have mentioned called Milk Diaries and spends a lot of her free time being a gifted editor. But those are pretty lame excuses if you ask me.

#2 23thorns: I don’t remember exactly when I discovered this blog, but I do remember the exact post that made me fall in love with it. “Love. And Bacon.” This guy has a razor sharp sense of humor about a lot of various topics. And he is a terrific writer on top of it. I even enjoy reading his posts about nature and wildlife, something Jack London himself couldn’t make me do. I mean, who wants to read about a guy trying to build a fire for an entire story? Not me. But a post about cleverly book-titled soaps and other products? Yes, I believe I would love to read that.

#3 Snide Reply: First, she’s a teacher. So I already like her. But then she goes and says stuff that just makes sense sometimes. Or makes me laugh about Christmas decorations. Or gets me thinking all philosophically…and stuff. It’s like a good mixed tape.

And here are my questions for these three nominated bloggers (ha! Suckers!):

#1 What is something about you that your blogging public doesn’t know?  #2 What do you find to be the most rewarding part of blogging?  #3 What do you find to be the most frustrating part of blogging?  #4 Do you have a go-to when you are in need of writing inspiration?  #5 What is the best thing that has ever happened to you?  #6 What do you hope readers get out of your blog?  #7 Who do you find to be the most overrated author?  #8 What would you do with a purple brick?  #9 If you could be any character from literature, who would you be?  #10 Team Twilight or Team I Don’t Give a Crap?  #11 Can God make a burrito so hot that even He couldn’t eat it?

Whew! So there you have it folks. This concludes the First Annual Are You Finished Yet Blogging Awards. Thanks again to Leslie at Simply Better for gracing me with this honor. You should head over to her blog for a lot of great tips on living more fully and some fun giveaways. She also has two ebooks available: Buried Treasure and Mother’s Manifesto.

I think next time I might see if Billy Crystal is available.


Are You Finished Yet?

The short answer: no, I’m not.

But let me begin with why I have started this blog in the first place. Quite a while ago, it crossed my mind that maybe I should jump on this bandwagon to, if anything, chronicle all the funny, wonderful little moments of my children as they grew. A sort of literary scrapbook. Besides, it kind of tickles me to think I can embarrass my kids in cyberspace. At the time, my daughter was 4 and my son was 1.  I was in “mom of young children” mode: the preschool scene, weekly playdates at the park, cutting grapes in half…you know the drill. Mommyhood was my life. (That’s not to say now that my children are at the ripe old ages of 6 and 3 , I’ve abandoned those things or the mindset. But recent occurrences have changed my inner world a bit, which I will explain in a minute.) However, like so many things I plan on doing, the whole blog idea became just another item on the “I’ll start it tomorrow” list. Well, my tomorrow has finally come.

What prompted me to finally get my backside off the couch in order to plop it down in my desk chair and start typing? A few things, but the most notable was a friend who is working on publishing a book on breastfeeding. She asked if I would contribute a story about my own experiences with it, and after procrastinating an embarrassingly long time, I finally started to compose a piece about my horrifying and hysterical account with a lactation consultant. As I typed, I could feel this energy being created in my body. When all was said and done, I realized how much I missed writing. Since young adulthood, I had always been putting the pen to paper. The frequency slowed once I became a teacher and focused my skills on teaching others to write. Then once I had my kids, I pretty much stopped altogether. But after all this time, I realized I still had something to say.

This reawakening was encouraged by a few more incidents that reminded me that even though my most important job right now is being a mom, the part of me that existed pre-children was still sleeping away inside of me. She is still little groggy, and I think I have caught her hitting the snooze button a few times, but I am hoping this blog will help her drag herself out of bed, have a strong cup of coffee, and regain her former glory. No doubt there will still be talk of kids and juice boxes and “my-son-just-said-this-what-do-I-do,” and maybe even a little poop, but hopefully I will prove to be a more dynamic character and write about the girl who always dreamed of being an author.

Now, back to my title. I had finally made the decision to become a “blogger” (I really hate that term…it sounds like someone throwing up), but the hard part was figuring out what to title it. I can never make things easy on myself and be content with something like “Kelly’s Blog.” Let’s face it; there is no satisfaction unless I completely agonize over something until the muscles in my neck want to strangle the life out of me just so I will stop obsessing. Anyway, I was staring at the computer this afternoon, trying to think of something so I could at least register for the damn blog. My daughter Grace had decided that since I was working, she obviously needed to play computer games right at that instant, after ignoring the other seven hours of the day it sat unattended. “Mom, are you finished YET?” I did not have the heart to tell her that had she not given me a wealth of ideas with that simple question, I most likely would have given up in frustration and let her frolic on

Are you finished yet? I hear it more than I care to, because usually it denotes that I am falling behind, taking time away from something more important that I should be doing. Like spending time with my family. I hear it from my kids when I have told them I will play with them as soon as I finish putting away some loads of laundry. I hear it from my husband when he is going to bed and I am still in the kitchen trying to mold the perfect Star Wars character out of fondant for a cake I told someone I would make. I heard it from my friends in high school when we would go out to eat and they would be ready to hit the next destination while I was still working on my french fries (earning me the nickname Poke). Whether it is a matter of too much on my plate or just being plain slow, it seems someone is always waiting for me.

So goes my story... License: CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay
So goes my story…

But as I think about it, the question means something else, something very relevant in light of my reawakening. I am not finished yet. Despite being sidetracked, I am not finished chasing my dream of being a writer, even if my greatest works only end up on a blog. I am not finished discovering where life will take me and what new talents and joys will be born. As a teacher, I always told my students that there is never truly a final draft in the world of writing. Revisions can always be made; a composition is never finished. Now get ready for my big epiphany: the same applies to life. So goes my story of being completely undone…