Today I Am 33. Or 133, Who’s Counting?

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Today is my birthday. I am, at my core, a Tax Baby. I’m not just saying that I was born on American Tax Day; I’m saying I’m high maintenance.

Kidding. (Not really kidding.)

There was a time when my birthday was a day-long party. Either I had a party, like when I was little with clowns and friends and Pizza Hut and bowling and sleepovers. Or the day was an entire celebration of me, like that one time my husband took me wine tasting and it had been a while since I’d had wine, so I got blitzed just a few tastes in and ended up joining a bunch of wineries I had no actual interest in.

(That was last year.)

Now that I’ve fully embraced my mom-ed-ness, and have accepted that I’m over the age of 15, my birthday seems to be just another day. Don’t get me wrong, we still had a cake (which I baked) and a nice dinner over the weekend; I still got presents and I was flabbergasted by the Facebooks, emails, and text messages I had received wishing me the happiest of days.

But in all seriousness, it was just another day. Mom’s got too much shit to do to take a day off.

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6:45 AM

Woke up to my husband breathing in my face. Annoyed beyond belief (I’ve got some pretty terrifying PMS right now).

“What the hell are you doing?” I quipped.

“Getting ready for work.”

“In my face? GAH!”

7:00 AM

Woke everyone in the house after my husband left for work screaming: “Arise everyone! Today is the day of my becoming!!”

No one arose without the typical mom bullshit of having to pull the covers off, threaten to take away the electronics, and so on. I even had to do this to my 72 year old father.

7:10 – 8:25 AM

Showered, dressed, had breakfast, hustled. Decided that I’d have to wear make up today, since I had a doctor’s appointment; but fuck him if he thinks I’m wearing anything but yoga pants on my birthday. Enough is enough.

Referred to it as “putting on my face.” Realized I am now old-slash-ghetto-slash-motherly enough to refer to putting on make up as “putting on my face.”

8:45 AM

Morning private tennis lessons. Which means I sat in the car reading my book, sneezing because I’m allergic to everything and made the mistake of opening the windows.

10:00 AM

Dropped the dog off at the groomer. Mentioned casually that today was my birthday in hopes this would garner me a discount.

Received no discount.

10:15 AM

Received my mother’s first annual birthday text, where she turns my birthday into being all about her. She does this by giving me a yearly play-by-play of what was going on around the time she was texting me.

10:15’s text message read: “I had lost my mucous plug and back labor pains had begun.”

10:30 – 11:30 AM

Made homemade, Hungarian goulash for lunch while helping with homeschool worksheets. On my birthday. As in I cooked for an hour, slaving over a hot stove on my birthday.

No one ate my homemade, Hungarian goulash. Instead, they complained that my meals are too fancy.

11:30 AM

Left for my doctor’s appointment.

11:40 AM

Picked up the dog on the way, reminded that I wasn’t given a birthday discount.

12:30 PM

Learned that the old man who manned the parking lot at the doctor’s office that dressed like a quaint, African American Santa Claus every year at Christmas time got fired last week for bringing his dog to work. Ducked my dog’s head down as I drove in. The man was replaced by a kid who looked to be about 15 years old, covered in acne, and so skinny I could break him in half with my pinky finger.

1:00 PM

Found out I have a sinus infection.

(Wasn’t surprised that I have a sinus infection.)

1:30 PM

Waited for the kid to get her allergy shot.

1:40 PM

While waiting, a woman walked into the waiting room carrying a can of beer. Briefly considered she may be there to celebrate my birthday, in spite of the fact that I had never met her. Resolved to quietly wonder how someone lives life literally giving not a single shit.

2:00 PM

Drove home with a large bag of antibiotics and other miscellaneous sinus drugs. The perfect cocktail for the evening of my birthday.

3:00 PM

Text from Mom: “contractions coming closer together now, began asking for and being denied a c-section.”

3:15 PM

Everyone in my family was, at this point, starving. Remember? They refused to eat my “fancy” Hungarian goulash.

So we went to Lazy Dog Cafe down the street from my house. Finding nothing certifiably gluten free on the menu, I ordered edamame. My dad ate half of it.

4:45 PM

Seated behind me right before we left, a group of people quite obviously a decade or so younger than me were seated. One of the women in the group was also a Tax Baby, and she ordered a strawberry margarita to celebrate her birthday, proclaiming loudly “I’m celebrating tonight woooooooooo!!!!!”

Decided to do my own celebrating tonight. In my pajamas. On my couch. With my Netflix and whatever remains of the wine from those wineries I joined last year but never intended on sticking with.

6:00 PM

Text from Mom: “your head had begun descending down the birth canal as the urge to bear down increased.”

And then, I was done.

Today I turned 33. Or 133, who’s counting? I’m too old for clowns, too young to give absolutely no fucks. I’ve embraced the concept of “putting on my face” and would much rather celebrate pretty much everything in my pajamas on my couch.

Tomorrow will be another day, just like the rest. And in truth, I regret nothing about these last 33 years.

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Dirty Thirty, Dirty Thirty

You all recall I’ll be turning the big three-OH in less than six months; on April 15th to be precise.  Thirty is a huge deal to me, although it remains to be seen exactly why.

For years I had a huge and overtly unrealistic list of things I wanted to do by the time I turned thirty, of which not one thing on the list was completed.  Not a one.  So for my 100th blog post, I went ahead and recreated my list with some things I thought were a little more realistic.  To review, that list in short was:

1) Finish 40 books for the calendar year 2011 and get a good start on 40 for 2012

2) Go on a date with Wolf Blitzer

3) Prove to myself once and for all that I am going to stop letting what other people say influence me so much

4) Buy a plane ticket to take a trip home in 2012

5) Take a road trip to northern California to visit the John Steinbeck museum

6) Eat sushi

In hindsight, though, faithful blog followers, short of #2 inspiring me to Photoshop a picture of myself with Wolf Blitzer, that list was pretty lame.  There were no typical-Heather crazy times on there.  There was nothing too terribly difficult or lofty.  (I mean, seriously … eat sushi?)  In the end, I think I was just trying to cop out so that I could hit thirty and say that I had actually done the things I wanted to do before turning thirty.  Well, I’m still months out and have accomplished almost all of those things already.  I’ve almost finished my forty books for the calendar year and have stacked up my pile for next year.  I had happy times in Photoshop Land with Wolf.  Recently I decided to ignore the majority of the comments made by a group of writers I previously allowed influence my writing to the last period, thus proving to myself that I actually can overcome uninhibited influence of others.  I ate sushi (albeit just a taste) and I have planned a trip to the Steinbeck museum as well as booked my trip home (in fact, that very trip is happening a few weeks before the dirty thirty hits).

So it’s time for a revision.  Here’s my new list of things to do before I turn thirty on April 15th … this time, please tell me if it’s lame:

Meet an author that actually inspires me

I’m not talking about the people that write that glitter puke crap like Twilight or Harry Potter; I’m talking about a real author.  Someone that has made me cry when I read their poetics, or that has given me the hope and courage to move forward with my own writing.  In graduate school, I always wished I had been in a situation to had the opportunity to meet the likes of Bertrand Russell or Plato; Nietzsche, Sartre, or Simone de Beauvoir.  Now that I spend hours and hours a day reading, I salivate at what it would have been like to meet some of the American greats – many of whom I missed by only a few decades.  So goal #1 is to meet an author alive today that actually inspires me.

Finish my manuscript, once and for all

A few months ago, I finished the manuscript of my first book only to turn myself around a few weeks later and start the entire thing over from pieces of the original.  Since then, I have thrown away more writing than I have ever thrown away – in all of my years writing professionally as well as academically.  I have learned so much about myself during this time, mainly that I have self-confidence issues when it comes to my writing, that I let myself get caught up in what others want rather than what I know is good, quality writing, and that I lack the focus to stay on track sometimes.  So you see, in meeting this goal by dirty thirty I will have done a lot of other personal growth in the process.

Go for a full week without dropping the f bomb

… or the s bomb, the d bomb, the GD bomb … you get the point.  I swear a lot.  I know, I know, faithful blog followers – perhaps I’m being too hard on myself.  But seriously, I curse worse than some of the sailors I know.  I am sure I can go for a day or two without dropping any of the bombs mentioned above, but a whole week?  That is quite a challenge.  This isn’t to say that after the week is over I will swear less, just that it would be nice (I’m sure) for the people around me to not have to hear my potty mouth for a week.

Finally get up the courage to delete dysfunctional family from Facebook

We all have at least a couple dysfunctional family members – many of us have more than a few.  The difference between you and me, though, is that I can admit that they are dysfunctional and I also know that no line of blood, nor obligations of “contributing to my existence,” require me to associate with them when they’re that messed up.  The first step to mentally freeing myself from the psychological discord that accompanies every family holiday?  Deleting those psychos from my Facebook friends list.  I’ve hemmed and hawed over this one for months, it’s time to give them the ax.

Begin turning my cell phone off for three hours every day, and stick with it

I feel overly connected.  Everyone can reach me at all times – be it over email, cell phone, Facebook, Twitter, you name it.  It’s frustrating because with such accessibility it seems that people now expect to get a response immediately.  This really hit home for me last week when a woman I met at a conference called me to ask a question about Facebook, then called me three more times and emailed me twice upset because I had not returned her phone call right away.  Effective immediately, my phone is going off from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm PST.  Let’s see how long it lasts…

Start a new trend like owling, planking, or tebowing, only with some sort of a purpose or message.  You know planking was so stupid and had no message.  Then owling and tebowing – both stupid.  But there’s also something to be said for the impact of an Internet sensation and the potential to actually carry a message.  So I want to start a new Internet trend with a purpose.  Sure, probably five people will participate … but five is better than none.

So, faithful blog followers – do you think I can do it all?


Magic Number 100, or things I want to do before I turn 30

Yippy!  This is my 100th blog post!  Excitement abound at the Schmidt Ranch, and of course by excitement I mean me (in pajamas) skipping around the house and sipping an extra large bottle of bubbly, Canada Dry ginger ale.

For me, faithful blog followers, this is an exciting day.  That I have had enough things to bitch and complain about to constitute one hundred entire blog postings is, in itself, something exciting.  But it also may not be surprising – I have a whole cadre of things filed away in my head, just waiting to get out.  The topics have been varied, although it is obvious what my pet peeves are:  stupid people, hipsters, hillbillies, poor use of the English language, things that put me either in danger or at an inconvenience, and … well, basically the rest of humanity.

So for my 100th post, though, I wanted to do something different.  While it is the B(itch)log, I thought it would be nice if I didn’t bitch for once.  Instead, I thought I would talk about something more positive:  My Revised List of Things I Want To Do Before I Turn 30.  I decided to do this for my 100th blog post, mainly because hitting 100 posts was one of those things I recently added to the list of things I want to do before I turn 30; also, because I am just a few, short days away from 6 months out from the big 3-0.  For years (actually over a decade), I had this extensive list that I wanted to achieve, all of which I have failed to do.  So recently, I started scaling back and accepting that I probably won’t publish that book or finish that Ph.D. in the next six months.  That doesn’t mean I can’t do some things, though.  So here we go, and I am counting on you, faithful blog followers, in keeping me on task:

My Revised List of Things I Want To Do Before I Turn 30

1.  Finish 40 books for the calendar year 2011 and get a good start on 40 for 2012.  At the beginning of this year, I decided I was going to keep track of the books I read and try to read as many quality books as I could before December 31st.  Now that we are nearing the end of the year, I am within site of 40 and think I can do it.  I have just finished numbers 30 and 31 … just a few more to go.  For my completed list, click here!

2.  Go on a date with Wolf Blitzer.  I know, sounds psychotic, right?  A week or so ago, I blogged about my hatred of Chicago news-weatherman Tom Skilling and in it mentioned that I have a secret love of Wolf Blitzer.  After that blog went out, people emailed me, Facebooked me, and even asked me in person what it was that gave me the hots for Wolf.  In truth, I can’t explain it.  But as I grasped for any reason to give people, I realized that I really do have an infatuation with most news anchors that are as hard-hitting as Blitzer is.  Since my chances of even coming in contact with Wolf Blitzer, let alone going on a date with him without finding myself in divorce court shortly thereafter, though, are slim and none … not to mention I would probably pee my pants if Wolf, Chris Matthews, or any of the other dream-teamers were actually in the same room as me … see photoshop below.  Mission accomplished?  I think so!

3.  Prove to myself once and for all that I am going to stop letting what other people say influence me so much.  A few weeks ago, I realized that I spend more time writing as an author based on what other people suggest and what other people are going to want, rather than what I want to write and what I know is good.  This is something that, unfortunately, is in almost every aspect of my life:  I let myself get pushed around by the wishes of others rather than either a compromise or what I know is right.  Before I turn 30, I want to prove it to myself that I am working to get over this (sometimes crippling) fault:  be it in my writing, my blog, or some other arbitrary aspect of my life.

4.  Buy a plane ticket to take a trip home sometime in 2012.  This is a big psychological problem for me, mainly because I know that flying home to sweet home Chicago will make it very difficult for me to get on the return plane home.  I am that homesick that often.  But I have missed so much in the last decade of my absence that to continue to forestall a trip back is just plain assholish of me to do.  It’s time for me to put on my big girl pants and buy myself a trip home.  While I know it won’t be the same as it was a decade ago (when I was last there), I also know that there is so much there I need to see and do before I turn the page to the next chapter (so to speak).

5.  On the note of trips … take a road trip to northern California to visit the John Steinbeck museum.  I really have few other interests in northern California besides that, but it is something I have wanted to do for years and yet never done.

6.  Eat sushi.  I have never eaten sushi – real sushi, that is – and yet every time we go out for Japanese food (which is frequently), I pine after it.  I have no idea what my fear of it is – probably the fact that I don’t really like fish all that much, as well as the fear that I would develop deadly tomaine poisoning – but I want to get over it and try it, just once.

That’s six things, as compared to my prior list of twenty-five (which you do not even want to read, it is that sad).  If you count my 100th blog post, which I am now about to hit “publish” on, that is seven; I think manageable given the time frame and my idiosyncrasies.  Let’s knock another one off that list … right ….. now …. this was on our way out for a nice, celebratory dinner in honor of my 100th blog post (in my head, that is) …………. the only thing needed is an audio file you faithful blog followers could play over and over of me going “Oh Wolf!”

Happy 100 Blog Followers!!  Thanks for reading!