Category Archives: Inspiration

Kiss: my Guiding mantronym

I’m such a weirdo. I like to think the other weirdos out here in the blogosphere have received that memo by now. I like to think I’m in good company.

But just in case, let me tell you about my guiding acronym mantronym (because it’s not just a mere acronym, it’s also my mantra). The one that has been stuck in my head probably since I started blogging. The one that suits me best. The one that speaks to me. The one that repeats itself in my head as I write like an earworm.  

That mantronym is KISS.

Traditionally, it stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. But for me, it stands for Keep It Simple Sister. Because no good can come from me calling myself stupid. I believed the lie that I was stupid for far too long and now I’m 52 and the fucks I gave in the past are (mostly) history.  I’ve evolved.

Keep it Simple Sister is a kind yet firm way to remind myself to not be verbose when I’m writing. Because while I am a bonafide spaz, I don’t think my readers need to be pounded in the head with it when they read my posts. You all have lives, right? Responsibilities. Schedules. Important shit to do. Me getting to the fucking point already in my blog posts is essentially my way of recognizing and respecting that.

But very possibly the best thing about my beloved acronym of KISS is how darn versatile it is.  While  “Keep It Simple Sister” will forever be the guiding principle as I write my blog posts (and live my life), there’s often alternate versions of this mantronym at play within them.

For instance, “Keep It Specific Sister”. This one came to me while I was using my wicked crafting skills  creative energy to put together my  vision board. I firmly believe that having a physical picture of what specific things or experiences you want in your life increases the chances of it becoming reality. For instance, instead of affixing a picture of, say, a wine bottle or grapes to my vision board,  I affixed a picture of Napa Valley because that is a place I very much wish to visit with Hubs, asap. Seeing it every day keeps it fresh in my mind, which is good because, I am 52.

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Then there’s “Keep It Sincere Sister”. Bottom line-I’m just going to be me. I will continue to write (and breathe) with my heart in the right place. Which happens to be on my sleeve.

I also enjoy the “Keep It Sassy Sister” version of KISS.  Because. THIS.

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A highly important version of my beloved KISS is “Keep It Surprising Sister”, because that is what I’m aiming for. I want to surprise you, dear readers, as well as myself. But in an interesting and smart way of course. In a brave and new way. A meaningful way.

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A more recent version of KISS that I seek to inject into each blog post is “Keep It Sincere, Seeker”. Because while what I write comes from my heart, I’m also very much a seeker. A student who’s learning and growing as a blogger and a human. I’m eager to continue that, with the knowledge that I don’t know what I don’t know. I read lots of other blogs for tips and tricks as well as for inspiration. It keeps me engaged in the whole process. And I know that by continuing this practice, I am likely to keep improving as a blogger.

Any of you other fellow weirdos have a mantronym? Or a mantra? Or a guiding acronym? Or does “KISS” resonate with you? Perhaps you have other suggestions for what “KISS” could stand for? I’d love to read any commentary you have about this 🙂

How this WIP is Rolling Right Now

Right now, life is very good for me and mine. I love my life here with Hubs and Radar in Colorado. I love my job. I’m excited about the opportunities it presents to me.

I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I want to these past couple of weeks, however (though I did manage to finally re-vamp my About page).  I’ve been busy “doing” instead of writing; taking care of business rather than simply “being”. This is on account of me being left to my own devices with Hubs having to be out of town for work more often and my compulsion to stay on top of all the social planning that comes with the looming Thanksmissween holidays.

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Speaking of which, Halloween is coming up next. Just 15 more days. I’ve been consumed with figuring out costumes for the two of us and Radar. And planning a Halloween potluck costume contest extravaganza for work. I’ve got a freaking awesome costume figured out for myself, btw. If it turns out the way I envision, I will surely post a pic or two in an upcoming blog post. 

Radar is the best boy ever. We have totally bonded with him. He is so very smart. Two Sundays ago, this dog that started as a raving lunatic in beginner obedience training at PetSmart graduated from “Intermediate” obedience training, as a matter of fact. We plan to move on to “Advanced” obedience training in 2020. I’ve been tempted to write more posts about him, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the best path for me right now. So instead, I’ll share  recent pics of him to get it out of my system:

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20190922_162302 Top Pic, aka Before: Radar donning his brand new Minnesota Vikings bandana  Bottom Pic, aka After: Donning his partially chewed up Minnesota Vikings bandana

While Hubs was off doing his work stuff in another state, I did take a little “me” time and watched an amazing movie on Netflix: “Bathtubs Over Broadway”. I seriously could write a whole post about each and every detail I adored about this movie, but instead I’ll just give you a quick summary:

It’s a documentary by Steve Young, a former writer for “The Late Show with David Letterman”. He happens upon industrial show tune albums, created between the late 50’s and 80’s for big company’s sales conventions, which were used for bits on the show. He uncovers this totally unknown-to-the-general public genre of music and essentially becomes obsessed with it. He becomes a rabid collector of these albums, making friends with other collectors along the way. He meets and has lovely interviews with some of the composers, writers, producers, and performers of these industrial show tune albums.

Here’s a a prime example of these wonderfully odd show tunes.

Steve’s story inspired me on several levels. Here he is, pushing 50 and about to enter a new phase of his life, as this was at the end of the run of “The Late Show with David Letterman”. He pursues this very specific, odd genre of musical entertainment out of a sense of sheer wonder and curiosity, like a dog with a Kong toy. In the end, he proudly displays his “freak flag” with this pursuit and shares the all the wonderfulness of it with the world through this documentary.

 

I think I ought to add this song to my “Soul Song” playlist ASAP!

So tell me, friends, how are you rocking and rolling right now?

Pitches and Badass Bitches

I’ve been re-thinking my “About” page these days (yes, again).  I read somewhere on the blogosphere not long ago that readers check out the “About” pages on blogs more than one would think, and their impression of them may either turn them on or turn them off. I for one, do peruse the “About” pages after reading a post or two I like on another blogger’s site.  Suffice it to say, I think it’s time to give my “About” page a makeover.

At the very least, it needs some flair. 37 might be over the top when it comes to my blog though.

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I do not have a salesperson personality. I do not want to come across as a salesperson on this blog. Yuck. Just yuck. In fact, I freaking detest being approached by salespeople in a clothing store, or whatever store (or any other setting for that matter). It seriously turns me off. I want to make my own, informed, personal decision when I’m considering a purchase. I don’t tolerate it well when I’m being bombarded with information I didn’t ask for just so I can earn someone a sale. Or a follow.

That being said, I also accept and understand the role of the “pitch”. In my job, I’ve been put in the position of having to attend “speed networking” meetings. These meetings are typically held in assisted living facilities and all attendees are professionals who work for companies and non-profits that serve our aging population. A good chunk of the attendees are marketing folks. So I have learned how to “market” my organization in the span of 3 minutes at a time, because I’ve had to.

So that’s how I’m going to approach making over my “About” page. It’s a pitch, right? I’ve got a lot of overthinking pondering to do on this. Stay tuned.

That brings me to the “Badass Bitch” part of this post. Because truthfully, I’m striving to be one. With my blog of course-but I will not limit my pursuit of personal badassiness to just that.

But enough about me.

Let me tell you about the women I find to be particularly badass, and I strongly encourage you to share yours.

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First, there’s Lizzo: You’ve certainly heard of her at least, right? She’s the hip-hop, rap, music-maker of funky/catchy tunes who I am certain will be winning Grammys left and right before long. My favorite badass artist turned me on to her (that would be Spawn #2).

Interesting facts/what makes Lizzo seriously badass:

She was mentored by Prince. If you are a Prince fan, you will hear his influences in her songs.

She is a flutist. She actually planned on being a professional flutist in fact.  When she pulls that flute out, it’s unexpected and truly magical.

She’s an actress! Triple threat, right there. She will soon be seen in the movie “Hustlers” (she pulls out the flute in one of two short scenes she is in), and provided her voice talent to the movie “Ugly Dolls” (which I totally need to see ASAP).

I thoroughly enjoyed Lizzo’s “tiny desk” concert on NPR. I think you will too. She is charasmatic, funny, and just so stinkin’ talented. Check it out!

Another badass bitch you likely have never heard of is this lady, California Congresswoman Katie Porter.

Interesting facts/what makes Katie a badass:

She turned Orange County California from red to blue as the first Democrat to be elected in her district. 

She is a single mother of 3, after having gone through domestic violence in her marriage.

She has a wicked sense of humor (see below clip).

She grew up in Iowa which has given her an understanding and appreciation of farmers and other Americans who break their backs to earn a meager living.

Watch her go toe-to-toe here with Bill Maher. I am so paying attention to where she goes politically. I like to think she’ll reside in the White House some day.

 

 

The HighWomen. They are a new “supergroup” of badass country/Americana singer/songwriters comprised of Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby. Their song “Redesigning Women” has been a constant earworm for me as of late. To me, it’s the modern day woman’s version of  Dolly Parton’s  “9 to 5”. Like if they ever did a remake of that movie, this would need to be the theme song. I can really relate to the lyrics, as I imagine any American middle aged woman would.

I love, love, love, this video!!!

Greta Thunberg is the youngest badass that I’d like to feature. If you haven’t heard of her, she’s a teenager from Sweden who is determined to do all she can to turn the tide on climate change. She fell into depression when she learned about climate change in school a few years back. Once the depression lifted, she became hyper-focused (she is on the Autism spectrum and embraces it, as one should) on doing every single thing she can to ensure world leaders start acting now to combat climate change. She started by doing a school strike and now she’s traveling the world (by train and not air, as to not compound the problem) to protest and bear witness to this crisis for her generation.

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I think we need more Greta Thunberg’s in this world, don’t you?

What’s your theme song today?

Seems I haven’t written a music-themed post in quite a little while. As I’m knee-deep into another WIP for this blog right now, which is not going to be ready for public consumption for at least another week, it feels like a good time to talk about the music that is currently inspiring me.

I like the idea of having a “theme” song. Not just one, however. We humans are not one-dimensional after all. It’s how ever many speak to you. A song based on what’s going on in your life in the moment. A song that expresses how you are feeling about what’s going on in your life in the moment. A song that speaks to your spirit; your soul.

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you probably understand that I’m a total geek when it comes to making Google playlists. I’ve got numerous playlists, all filled with songs under a specific theme. From my “CFO” (Chill the Fuck Out) playlist, to me and Hubs’ “Road Trip” playlist, to my “Soul Song” playlist (which I talk about here and highly recommend you do, if you find music inspiring at all-if you don’t, you might want to get that checked. Just saying!).

But this post is not about my Google playlists. It’s about songs that come into my mind in particular moments. The ones that sometimes define my days.

Like:

“Bitch” by Meredith Brooks: I’m feeling pretty fierce when this is my theme song. Confident, like I’m embracing all that I am as a woman in today’s world. With gusto.

“The Climb” by Miley Cyrus: I know this may seem like a cheesy choice, this song that was written and performed by a child 10 years ago. But bear with me here. It is a very well written song and the lyrics resonate with me as a blogger with big writing dreams. And yes, it is on my “Soul Song” playlist, thankyouverymuch.

“Anticipation” by Carly Simon: This song speaks to me in the moments when it dawns on me that I’ve allowed myself to perseverate on future plans. It brings me back to earth; the present, the now. It reminds me that right here and right now, living a great life with Hubs in Colorado, that “these are the good old days”.

“With a Little Luck” by Paul McCartney and Wings: This is the song I sing to myself when I’m stressed about our Spawn and what their futures might look like. When I feel like Hubs and I have done all we can to support and guide them but still feel anxious. It’s a little reminder to myself that Hubs and I have gone through myriad ups and downs, with our children, our careers, our personal selves and extended family through these last almost 30 years, and we’ve always figured things out, made it through. And with a little luck, we’ll keep on keepin’ on. It gives me a sweet little boost.

Do tell me, my music-loving, lyric-loving, self-loving readers: what are your theme songs?

 

 

 

 

 

Woo hoo!

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Mona at  https://www.waywardsparkles.com/ nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger award. Yay!! I would be doing cartwheels but I’ve never had the physical coordination or strength to do such a thing.

Instead, I’m going to follow the rules.

And once I’ve followed the rules below, those bloggers who accept my nomination are to follow the rules as well.

Here they are:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Respond to the questions (see below)
  • Nominate new blogs to receive the award themselves and ask them to share 5-10 random facts about themselves (I’m sharing 5 myself-again, see below)
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award icon (so many to choose from!) in your post and/or on your blog.
  • Notify the nominees by commenting on their blog post.

First off, a big thank you to Mona! We both recently discovered each other’s blogs and I am very surprised and honored that she thought well enough of my blog to nominate me! I look forward to being amused and inspired by Mona and her blog for a long time to come.

Now here’s the part where I nominate 5 other bloggers for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

CJ @ https://feedingonfolly.com/. This woman has quite the way with words. She is insightful, clever, funny, and kind. I look forward to reading her posts every week. 

Alice @ https://lutheranliar.com/. I came upon her in a Facebook bloggers group (Blogging and a Beverage) and she never fails to crack me up with her true life stories for which she always punctuates her blog posts with the best (often nostalgic, which I totally dig) pictures. 

Annie @ https://givememeatloaf.com/. Like Alice, Annie also includes awesome pictures in her blog posts. Usually they are of delicious food she has eaten, some during her travels and some made by her and/or her adorable husband in her own kitchen. Her posts are fun to read and often inspire my foodie and travel tendencies. 

Then there’s Katie @ https://fattymccupcakes.net/. This lady is freaking hilarious! She tells tales of her struggles with weight and of  her travel adventures. Katie also is a master of sharing her comedic take on real life observations and annoyances. 

And finally, there’s Nicole @ https://entertainingmess.wordpress.com/. Her posts are thoughtful and well-written. Very sweet and authentic.  She often writes about her journey as a mom to two young kiddos and she sometimes shares recipes with us. 

I have great hopes that the above nominees will play along here and include 5 random facts about themselves. I say this because I think they are all awesome!

********5 Random Facts About Me**********

  1. I played the clarinet from middle school through high school. While I hated having to wear the odd-looking, heavy and hot Q-Tip shaped helmet while marching I absolutely loved the whole experience. However, I am certain if you gave me a clarinet right now there’s no way I’d be able to play a recognizable tune on it. It’s not like riding a bike for me. Not like I can ride a bike anymore either, folks, but that’s another story for another day.

  2. I have a brother who is 10 years older than me. I didn’t know until I was 14 that we didn’t have the same father. While completely shocked, it didn’t really matter; it didn’t change how I felt about him at all. But again–shocking.

  3. I say this with cautious optimism (knowing there’s a million different reasons, some I haven’t yet imagined but probably will because I’m an overthinker,  that this won’t come to fruition): I have recently been tapped to write a weekly blog for the non-profit I work for. Yikes! I’m nervous but excited. Wish me luck!

  4. I have never been to Europe. Of course, I want to go there (who doesn’t right?!). I actually have peeps who live there and it would tickle me so to visit them in their natural habitat. Hubs and I are shooting for a trip to Europe in 2020.

  5. I find the concept of having a “spirit animal” quite fascinating. Without a doubt, mine is the body of a turtle and the head and tail of a squirrel. Because as a blogger (and a 52 year old slightly out of shape white American female), I am physically a bit of a slow mover. But I suspect I have a tad bit of ADD as during my waking hours, my brain is swirling with plans and ideas. I really need to have an artist I know and love draw me a portrait of this mystical creature. Spawn #2, I’m looking at you.

Mona included the John Denver song “Sunshine on My Shoulders” in her “Sunshine Blogger Award” nomination post, which I love. I am following suit. Yes, I am being a copy-cat.

Caveat: While I am a humongous Beatles fan, I decided to do something different and use this funky, creative version instead of the original.  Aren’t these kiddos so cute?!

Thanks again, Mona!

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk characters

When you think about it, all of our lives are filled with characters. Humans with personalities, opinions, and quirks. These characters can energize us, amuse us, and teach us things we otherwise would never have learned. 

To me, the best kind of entertainment, whether it be on the stage, the big screen in a dark movie theater, on the good old boob tube, or within the pages of a novel, incorporates interesting characters. Characters that intrigue us, make us laugh,  and make us wish they were real people in our own very real lives. 

As I ponder publishing the little bit of fiction I began a few months ago, I find it unavoidable to not consider characters I love or have loved, both in real life and in the media.

Those characters that speak to my heart and compel me to write about them. I just can’t imagine coming up with completely original fictional characters without infusing them with at least some pieces of the non-fictional characters I have known.

So let me tell you about a few characters I’ve known. Those who are long gone from this earth who impacted my life in ways they likely never knew.

For instance, the man who taught me how to swim. He was full of life and always had a good joke (some of them quite inappropriate) to tell us. He loved my mom’s cooking and I believe that is one of the main things that endeared him to her. I remember him leading a pack of kids (his grandkids, my nephews) in the “Macarena” dance at my parent’s cabin in the early 90’s. He was a husband, father, teacher, swim coach, and an artist. I have a beautiful piece of his artwork hanging in my guest bedroom in fact. In his spare time, which it doesn’t seem he could possibly had too much of, he did some clowning around with the Shriners. He lived for those times when he could don his wacky rainbow wig and cherry colored nose and delight the children (young and old) in small town parades in the summertime. His funeral was epic, as was the party for his closest family and friends that was held afterwards. He was my godfather.

Then there’s the woman who always had yellow cake, from a box, with chocolate frosting on top sitting in her pantry, waiting for us to devour it when we came to visit. She was terribly hard of hearing and once called Hubs “Cobb” because she thought he was my old boyfriend “Todd”. She loved playing cards and always had the latest National Enquirers and TV guide magazines sitting in racks next to her plastic covered “davenport”. She was a massive fan of wigs, as she found it fun to be able to change her look whenever she damn well pleased. She kept these wigs perched on styrofoam heads on the top shelves of her walk in closet. As a kid, that always scared the shit out of me. She enjoyed herself a cocktail or two and as a result, my cousins christened with the nickname “Pearl Pearl the Party Girl”. She was my grandma.

And finally, there was woman who always had a wonderful rapport with the children she loved, but for reasons only known to her always believed she would not make a good mother, so she remained childless. She had a silly sense of humor as well as a way with the wisecracks. She always said she would have made an excellent boy scout, which everyone who knew her agreed with. She was always prepared, often anticipating the needs of others. She made an awesome Pillsbury dough-boy costume she wore for Halloween. She was a take-charge-but-in-a-kind and loving way sort of person. She paid attention to people and had the very biggest heart. Some of her favorite songs were “Werewolves in London” by Warren Zevon and “Fancy” by Reba McIntire. Every time I hear either of those songs the corners of my mouth do an automatic upturn. She was my (non-biological) sister, my guardian angel, and my best friend.

Tell me, big-hearted readers, who are the characters in your life that have shaped you and informed you as a writer?

 

 

 

It can’t always be ABOUT ME

Clearly, I flat out suck at coming up with titles for my blog posts. Any suggestions you may have to address this particular shortcoming of mine are appreciated.

Though the title I chose is better than the original : “To all the Blogs I’ve loved before”. That might have sounded just a tad creepy, right?

My objective in this particular post is to lift up those blogs and bloggers that I have been following ever since I started my own blog (and a couple of these I discovered prior to starting this blog).

I’ve been very fortunate to have discovered each of these blogs and I think if you haven’t yet discovered them yourself, you’d be doing yourself a favor by checking them out now.

You see, these are the blogs that I feel I actually get something out of. Whether that be inspiration for my next blog post, a kick ass recipe, a new way of thinking about something, or a few hearty belly laughs, these are my “go-to’s”.

Elly @ http://ellylonon.com/:

I find Elly and her blog to be creative, talented, inspirational, hilarious, smart, and entertaining. And she plays a mean ukulele! If I had an opportunity to write with her, I’d take it in a hot second. Elly also wrote a hilarious book, complete with awesome illustrations, thanks to her cohort Joan Reilly, about a middle aged, liberal, educated, cat owning but not child owning (not like one owns their children of course), married couple traipsing across the country in an RV in an effort to make sense of what has become of our country in the wake of the Trump era.

She started her book as a regular feature in McSweeney’s. It’s titled “Amongst the Liberal Elite” and of course you can buy it on Amazon, like I did, or find it in your local bookstore.

CJ @ https://feedingonfolly.com/: She is a fantastic storyteller. A giver of wonderful recipes. She is smart, funny, and kind. She’s inspired and encouraged me throughout my blogging journey.

Because I am a giver too, here’s a post she penned that includes an awesome recipe that I have actually made: https://feedingonfolly.com/2018/09/19/on-apple-trees-cake-and-planning-ahead-for-panic-attacks/

Lorna @ https://ginlemonade.com/ Lorna is a very talented writer. Her tone is straightforward and her writing, through the lens of a mom/wife/American living in Scotland who gets around on wheels due to CP, is insightful. She is very hardworking and sincere in her writing. She also runs a great blogging group on Facebook which has been a pleasure for me to be a part of.

Then there’s Christine @ https://imsickandsoareyou.com/. She is the blogger who recommended Lorna’s blogging group on Facebook. She blogs from the viewpoint of a woman who was very sick for a good long time, due to a desmoid tumor, who has fairly recently regained her health. She is terribly witty, thoughtful, raw, and honest with her writing. She is imaginative and alternates between being laugh-out-loud funny with her writing and deeply personal and thoughtful.

Annie at https://givememeatloaf.com/ is a blogger I’ve been following I believe since before I started my own blog. She writes primarily about food and travel. She is a “living doll” as my mom used to say. She’s cute as a button and has a way of drawing you in with her beautiful pictures of delectable food (some she makes herself and some from dining out) and travel destinations. There is a sense of fun and adventure in all of her posts. And I owe her a thank you in advance for a recent post on her trip to Puerto Rico with her husband (aka Sir Dave). It helped me to talk Hubs into taking me to Puerto Rico for our next tropical vacation (ha ha! as if this is really a thing for us). But alas, we shall go there! Our 30th wedding anniversary is coming up in 2020, after all.

Now, there are of course several other blogs I regularly follow that I ought to mention. Because I respect your time, I will keep it simple-ish and drop links to a few of those.

https://butismileanyway.com/: Ritu writes, among other things, a regular feature “Chai and a Chat” in which she expresses her sweet, positive, effervescent personality. It’s a delight. Reading this always makes me wish I was sitting across from her, gabbing the day away in person.

Fatty McCupcakes (you’ll have to google it as I’m not much of a techie and couldn’t get the link to copy here) : Just trust me when I say that Katie is a great comedic writer. She tells the funniest stories and is very relatable.

https://debs-world.com/: Deb is inspirational. She is a world traveler who has lots of great stories to tell.

https://broadsideblog.wordpress.com/: Caitlin is a professional writer/journalist/photog who leads a fascinating life. Her posts are always interesting, thought provoking, and smart.

https://lutheranliar.com/: Alice is fiercely funny. She has the best pictures to illustrate her hilarious stories.

I hope you, smart and creative readers, will have an opportunity to check out these blogs that I dig so much.

Please share your favorite blogs in the comments too! Sharing is caring people 🙂