Please Stop Telling Me I Should Do Things For A Living

The title, alone, sounds ridiculous. Please stop telling me I should do things for a living? What do I expect – to sit around and do nothing as a grown ass adult?

No. That’s not what I mean at all.

A couple weeks ago, we had a little family and friend get together for my toddler’s second birthday. It wasn’t too extravagant. About 20 people came by. We had burgers and broccoli cheese soup, a cake, and a donut display. Truth be told, he slept for 75% of it, having started his nap that day a little late.

As I always do: I made the party set up a little on the extra side. The table of desserts and foods looked Pinterest-perfect, which truth be told I always do. Not because I feel that I have to, but simply because I want to. It’s what I do to feel alive.

Yes. I want to have personalized water bottles and theme-specific drink glasses. Yes, DIY tables cape projects actually make me feel like I’m living my best life. This is just something that’s important to me as a parent, to give my kids some of these fun picturesque memories that I didn’t have as a child.

Sue me.

Just as with all parties I throw, meals I cook, or hostess gifts I bring, the comments almost immediately rolled in:

 Oh Heather, you should do this for a living! Seriously you should get into event planning, think of how much money you could make if you did this for a real job!

You are doing too much for someone that doesn’t get paid!

Imagine how nice this party would be if you were getting a paycheck to throw it!

[Insert drawn out eye roll]

I completely get that this is meant to be a compliment, and isn’t it just so late-stage millennial of me to be offended by something someone said that was meant to be nice?

But honestly: is there ever going to come a point when a woman can be a mom and have that be enough?

As in this is just what mom does – she throws parties, and those parties are extra.

Or when a woman, who is a mom, does something nice and it’s just a part of what she does as a mom – not something she should do in another sphere for a financial payoff; will that ever just be enough? That Mom did something really nice for us?

And really, when did we fall into this black hole of equating the things people do solely by how much money they bring in?

When people tell me that I should event plan or personalize shop or bake for a living, they are telling me that what I am actually doing for a living – raising and educating three human beings while running a household so my husband can pursue his dream job – is of little or no value to them. Like it’s temporary, or just something I do for fun while figuring out what I’ll do when I become a real adult.

Every time I am told that I should do something else for a living than what I am actually doing, a little piece inside of me breaks in half and turns on itself. What if what I do has no value?

Moreover: what if my children heard someone say that to me (which they have)? Will they begin to find no value in anything I do? If they want to do what I do when they grow up, will they feel as worthless as this makes me feel?

And the big one: what in the hell am I doing spending all this time with people who share values I don’t espouse, or want to raise my kids to learn?

There’s a folly to it all because it is meant to be a compliment: that I do something so well I could make money by doing it professionally. But does it really teach our children the value we want to teach them – that something is only really valuable if it brings home a paycheck? And, taking it a step further, that if someone does something for free they are either wasting their time and energy, or not contributing to some grander vision?

I’ve asked so many questions, to which I have one answer: a mother’s contribution is not defined by how much money she does or does not contribute to the household budget.

As I said, I do these parties, the Sunday dinners, the homemade gifts because I want to. The things I do that I do not get paid for as a stay at home mom go well beyond that, too. It’s the homeschooling, the Mom Therapist Mode. The extra curricular activity taxi cab driver. The scheduler-medication administrator-personal chef- laundry woman-housekeeper. It’s all of it.

Becoming a stay at home mom was the most valuable decision I ever made, and one even my husband continues to believe is not what I really want. Women have come so far, how could I ever want to define my life as just a mom? You could do so much more if you did something for a living.

Please stop telling me to do things for a living. As I see it, I am. I’m doing a lot of things for a living – not for a paycheck or a promotion. But to live.

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28 Imperative To-Dos

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So yesterday was my birthday. Did any of you people get me a fucking birthday cake? No. No you didn’t.

To be fair, I didn’t really announce that my birthday was coming up, quite like I did last year. When I turned 30, I wouldn’t shut the hell up about it for about nine months before the day. The 31st birthday isn’t quite as much of a milestone, and – frankly – I’d like to continue to believe I’m still 28 anyway. I mean I just finally referred to myself as “30 years old” a couple weeks ago – for the first time; and even that sent me screaming for the bottle of Xanax and pint of peach Schnapps. I’d like to get back to the whole 28 forever thing.

So I forgive you. I didn’t need the cake calories anyway.

You all shouldn’t feel bad, though, because even Poor Nick didn’t arrange cake for me. We had a little game night last month for my birthday, although I didn’t get a piece of that cake (that I baked). I was too busy playing hostess of game night, then he took it to work the next day. Yesterday on my actual birthday, I celebrated by buying myself a piece of low fat, flourless chocolate cake after it had become clear that no one else in my house arranged anything. It was tastier and better for me than anything they would have gotten anyway.

So in spite of all of the lackadaisical attempts to woo me with carbs and frosting, I have ushered in my 31st year with a little celebration of my own. By “celebration” I mean I made a to-do list of imperatives for the next year. You do all know how much I love my lists, and they’re “imperatives” because these are things that had better happen in the next year, or they’re never going to happen. I kept my list at my dream number. If I think “28” enough times, it will come true. Right?

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#1 Celebrate my generation.

I don’t mean “my generation” like the general group of people that make up these incredibly douchey, overworked, a-hole hipster 30-somethings. I mean celebrate the generation in which I was born. I’m talking about the motherfucking 80s, bitches.

Fortunately, all I have to do is open my closet and I’m confronted with 80s attire. I’ve loaded the Netflix que with 80s classics that can be watched on repeat. And the newest station plugged into my Pandora is “80s playlist.” Now… where’s my crimper?

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#2 On the note of my crimper…

This year’s biggest to-do is to keep up on my womanhood. Keep my hair feeling nice. Take the time I need to shave my hairy legs. Get my nails done when they need to be done, rather than when my feet begin to look like a gargoyle’s. I can’t feel like a woman if I don’t treat myself like one.

#3 Eat more pho.

#4 Drink more Italian sodas.

#5 Punch every person in the balls that I hear judging others for their weight and/or eating habits and/or relaxation activities.

Just because I like to eat salad and be active doesn’t mean I need to judge others for having different values than me. I think I will reach superhero status if I punch people in the balls that do not agree with my philosophy on this.

#6 Knit myself a bunch of shit.

Knit others nothing. All I ever do is knit things for others! It’s time to do some work for myself.

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#7 Finish my goal of reading 52 books for 2013.

I am currently on #13.

#8 Publish my next blog book.

I feel like I’m sort of cheating on this one. My Wife’s a Bitch is already slated to come out Tuesday, June 4th. Have you sent me a video for the trailer yet?

#9 Start working on my next novel.

#10 Stop worrying about blogging, writing, and reading quotas

I know, this runs contrary to #s 7 – 9.

#11 Purge even more things from our apartment than I did during spring cleaning last month.

#12 Update our wall art.

With my own paintings.

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#13 Update my wardrobe.

With clothes that actually fit, versus the ones right now that fall off me – they are just too big.

#14 Buy myself some new bras.

Seriously. I have two.

#15 Consider therapy to explore why I only wear black underpants.

#16 Acquire more jewelry.

Why was I left out on the memo that women wear jewelry? And on how good it can make you feel to wear it?

#17 Acquire more diamonds.

By giving my husband more blow jobs.

That was a joke. I don’t give my husband blow jobs to begin with, so the concept of beginning, or giving “more” is false. But I could perhaps start letting him hug me for his own “personal use” on occasion.

I’m still kidding. I typically prefer to be untouched.

#18 Acquire more animals for my apartment.

My apartment is rapidly becoming a house of murder. I just really love my ode to taxidermy.

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#19 Save money…

…to buy myself a Sleep Number bed.

#20 Move out of our shitty apartment.

Preferably somewhere that I don’t get contact high just from walking outdoors.

#21 Move to a bigger place.

Where I can have a little space from the crazy people that comprise my family.

#22 Demand a room all for me.

…at said bigger place. Right now I get hardly any space, and my writing is confined to the couch; my artwork having to be done outside.

#23 Move home, to Chicago.

#24 Have more babies.

That’s right I didn’t just say “have a baby,” I said “have more babies.” And I just contradicted my little diatribe under #17 about not allowing my husband to touch me. (I think I need to squeeze “spend all year contradicting myself” into this list somewhere.)

In any event, I’m determined to birth as many little, slime-y shitters as I can, just to get revenge on some of our family that seems to be opposed to us procreating like good Catholics.

I also think babies are cool. But I ain’t no spring chicken, and have no plans of being wheeled into my kid’s high school graduation(s) in a wheel chair on life support because I’m pushing 100. It’s now or never, Poor Nick. Now or never.

#25 Embarrass more frequently.

I have really been failing at my job as parent, when it comes to embarrassing. My parents embarrassed the everliving shit out of me when I was a kid. And it’s why I’m able to be comfortable in my own skin, and just be me now.

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#26 Do a three month set of homeschooling…

…that is entirely the way I want to do it. Just to see how it goes. (Right now I still cow-tow to traditional school standards, as well as family pressure.)

#27 Tolerate less bullshit.

…still, kids weald a lot of bullshit too. There is no reason to tolerate the tantrums, and following that up with begging and pleading to get them to stop. I’m telling you faithful blog followers – time outs and consequences aren’t just a thing of the past.

#28 Throw absolutely no more parties this year.

Well, except for a friend’s baby shower this June… but that’s it for me.

It’s time to start enjoying my time on this earth. Life’s too short to always be running yourself ragged for others, while sitting around and waiting for people to celebrate “you” only for them to do nothing. That’s why I bought my own piece of cake yesterday, and why this next year is the year of me.

Or you might call it: the year of the B(itch). It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? What are on your to-dos this year, faithful blog followers?

STFU Fridays: Party Season Is Over Just In Time For Bridal/Baby Season

So in the last six months we have celebrated: two birthdays (that I baked my eight hour cake for); an anniversary (that I baked another eight hour cake for); Halloween (homemade costumes); Thanksgiving (handcrafted party to avoid having to do much on Thanksgiving, only to be expected to do much on Thanksgiving anyway); one birthday (that extended into two parties); Christmas (three required family events, plus brunch hosted by me); another birthday (made a birthday dinner); yet another birthday (that extended into three parties); my mom’s birthday (that I didn’t plan on celebrating, but turned into me hosting 12 people for dinner when they all just showed up); and my dad’s 70th (surprise party, thrown by me). In the month of December, I contracted Influenza A (the H3 that was so nasty), and was sick for an entire month. In October my husband caused a car accident; in December he bought me a used car with the meager settlement and took my nicely running Yaris; in January I had to buy myself a rebuilt transmission for said used car after it broke down; last week I had to get a new cooling pump as well. On October 24th a very good friend of mine committed suicide (never got invited to the memorial, though); in January my husband’s uncle died (memorial was in February); and after three days of being in hospice with pneumonia, my first sweetheart – my grandpa – passed away peacefully (resulting in two weeks of funerary activities, culminated in two wakes, one burial, two memorials, a $500 trip to just south of Yosemite where he is buried, and at least five different times that I cooked a meal for a large group of family).

To say that I’m done entertaining and cooking for other people – amidst all the other common bullshit life has thrown at me –  is a gross understatement. I won’t even get started on the fact that my birthday is coming up, and my dad is having  hip replacement surgery – so either my birthday has to be celebrated next weekend when the kid’s home, or it’s not being celebrated at all. I’ll save the “I did all this for everyone else, and they didn’t do shit for me yet another year” rant for when/if it actually happens.

The annual clusterfuck party season is over in this house. I’m done making decorations. I’m done putting together costumes. I’m over baking cakes. And if one more person walks into my house with their shoes on – traipsing dirt all over my carpet – they will be receiving a visit to the throat with my five-fingered friend named Fist.

So it would appear, though, party season has ended just in time for bridal and baby season to begin. Let’s spend this Shut the Fuck Up Friday examining the evidence:

Weddings Are Being Talked About Everywhere

I have three weddings coming up this summer of close family members. Please don’t get me wrong: I am super duper excited for all of them. They are each cousins, and having been an only child, they were more like brothers and sisters growing up. They still are (to me, at least). And each of them couldn’t have found better partners in crime – I love all of them and am so happy for them.

But goddamn does wedding talk get on my nerves sometimes. For one, my wedding was the most bare-bones, low-key wedding ever. I still have mixed feelings about that, which means that sometimes when I see a Bridal Expo sign, or drive by the bridal shop down the street from my house, I cry. There was very little “what the bride wants – this is her day” at our affair. Again, I did enjoy the time with my friends and what family was there. There was a lot of specialness in it all, and yeah – it’s not about the wedding, but the marriage. But there may be a little jealousy there, because as with many things in our lives, a lot of our situation (beyond the wedding, itself) was just dysfunctional.

The other day I was talking to my aunt and mentioned that I had asked my cousin when her bridal shower/bachelorette stuff was going to be. She said “oh, she won’t know – that’s supposed to be a surprise!” I had no idea that a bridal shower or bachelorette party was supposed to be a surprise. Why don’t I know? Because no one ever threw me one. The closest thing I had to a bachelorette party was shortly after I got engaged, we went on a girl’s night out. Everyone said “this is your last night of freedom!” but it didn’t feel like it. There was no drinking. There was no dancing debauchery. There would be no tittie flashing and screaming “wooooo – bachelorette party!!” at my affair. No, we sat in a bar, awkwardly sober, while one of my friends (that I no longer speak to) dry humped a complete stranger on one side of our booth. I was home by 10:15.

We had our Catholic wedding a few weeks before my brother in law and Hello Kitty Toaster had their “Celebration of Marriage” and she was thrown a huge bridal shower by my husband’s extended family. After my girl’s night out, the closest thing I came to a bridal shower was being allowed to take notes on what gifts she had received.

Baby Belly Photos Are Showing Up In My Newsfeed

487659_10200438668384263_1494975773_nAnother set of people I am unequivocally happy for: the twenty-two good friends I have giving birth between the months of May and July (and the number keeps growing). Let’s start with a note: I didn’t even know that I had twenty-two friends. No shit. Now I do because they’re all pregnant – and again, I am so excited for them. I’m thinking about planning a day at the end of July to just go and visit every, single one of them. I already know what cute little outfits I want to get each of them. And I am super excited to throw a baby shower for one of them (the only party that I actually *want* to throw).

But dammit, ladies – cover up. I am very familiar with pregnancy. It makes me nervous. Childbirth makes me feel faint. Every time I watch those Discovery baby shows, I get short of breath. I don’t need to see naked belly photo updates. I’ll take the clothed ones – we can see your bump nicely under your Motherhood top. We don’t need the stretch marks and the belly button popped out. I further don’t need commentary on your constipation, or your milk leakage. I will celebrate your baby in all the ways you want me to – at your pretentious “gender reveal party;” at your ultrasound where eight of us are crammed in the room. I will “like” and comment on photo after photo of your many, many ultrasounds. I will even hold your leg for you, or hold ice chips to your mouth in the delivery room – I am that committed of a friend. But I can’t take the uglier side of pregnancy and childbirth. I won’t look at your vagina as it gives birth to life. I will not discuss your fire-y hemorrhoids that started as soon as the baby dropped. And I will not enjoy your gargantuan stretch mark belly pics.

Entertaining season, or party season, has officially come to a close in our house. But it looks like the party is just getting started. Do you have a party season in your house faithful blog followers? Ours this time around was particularly arduous, and I would be lying if I didn’t say that after it has all come to an end I am still left feeling that the world is completely off its axis since some very important people were lost during all of it. As bridal and baby season ramps up, we should all keep in mind that not everyone has the same experience as us. Some are better, some are worse. Being modest and happy for each other seems the best course of action.

But just know: if your pregnancy talk gets too detailed, or your wedding jargon is reminding me just how hard mine was for me, I reserve the right to tell you to shut the fuck up.

Things I Want To Do Before I’m 40

… JUST KIDDING! I’m not falling into that trap again. That whole “Things I Want To Do Before I’m 30” list I made 10 years ago this Sunday turned out to be a terribly depressing combination of things I failed at and things I never tried.

For those of you that haven’t gotten the memo I put out on the Associated Press (just kidding, again… I may be a blogger but I’m not that much of a narcissist): I’m turning 30 this Sunday. It’s a terribly depressing occasion for this bitch, and before you all start thinking I’m annoying and young and shit, just hear me out. I had this magical list of things I wanted to do before 30 and it wasn’t stuff like “swim with the dolphins” and “discover a cure for influenza,” it was a conglomerate of things I really actually thought and tried to do. Like finish graduate school. Like start a successful teaching career. Like be happily married. Like move the hell out of California.

So I have already been celebrating my birthday for a few days now. I suppose you could consider my epic travels to my sweet home, Chicago to have been something of celebration, but I am meaning in immediate terms when I say “celebrating.” Yesterday I went to lunch with my parents, which was nice (daddy got me drunk by 2 in the afternoon). I got my new Cuisinart Multicooker and a gravy boat that is shaped like a cow and pours the gravy out of its mouth. Today I am baking myself a cake (since no one else is apparently planning on doing so). And there is something else I need to do as I go into my weekend of minimal activities, and that is to light fire to my list of things I want to do before I’m 30.

Graduate school and a successful career in teaching … burn it down

I suppose I should give myself credit for the fact that I have not one, but two Bachelors of Arts degrees from an accredited, private institution. And while I began my graduate degree in Philosophy, leaving the program was a necessity to stop wracking up debt that I wasn’t going to be able to sustain as a result of having limited job opportunities locally where my husband’s job in the film industry is. I really wanted to be done with graduate school and well on my way to a successful career in teaching by now. This defined my life for the better portion of my 20s. For now at least, my graduate degree and a career in teaching is not in the cards for me. I think it’s time to get over this and move on.

In addition to that, though, after having been out of graduate school for a few years now, I can see how insane grad students are. They don’t eat. They don’t sleep. They look like shit all the time. No offense to my graduate student friends and faithful blog followers, but have any of you considered how much coffee and crap you ingest just to get through the day? I have never felt as healthy and well as I have the last few years, which owe in large part to the fact that I’m out of that grind.

Publish my first novel … up in flames

The novel was a recent goal that I added within the last three years or so since about the same time I left graduate school. It’s a lot of work to write a book, though – more work than I thought it would be. And I don’t just want to write crap, which is why after completing my first draft of the book about nine months ago, I trashed the entire thing and have begun the story concept again. Unlike most of the writers I have met in my community, I am not in it to write some quick and dirty chop shop of a piece of literature. I want to write a good book because I have ideas I think are good and I enjoy the craft of writing. That’s it. I’ll finish the book, but setting up a time table really is unfair to me and the work I’m trying to produce.

Burn up thoughts of a happy marriage

Marriage is an institution, and who in their right mind wants to be institutionalized? I’m not saying I hate my husband. I’m not saying I’m entirely unhappy with my marriage. But the wedding is probably the easiest part of getting married, and we all know how stressful weddings are. In the relatively short period of time my husband and I have been married, we’ve had to deal with a lot of bull shit – mostly in the form of family drama. Hello Kitty Toaster and the gang have made happy times a real challenge, as has the fact that my husband’s job takes up about 95% of his focus and attention. There is a reason California has the highest divorce rate (3 of 4 marriages), and my husband is a Californian to his core.

In spite of all that, fortunately I am smart enough to know that a marriage like mine will actually be the one that lasts. It’s those people that are so infatuated with how happy they are, together we shit rainbows and fly to work on unicorns and all, that when reality sets in that life sucks and there is a lot of crap to deal with every single day of it, everything falls apart. If you can still be together and have some semblance of love despite all the miserable crap around you, that means more than all the “OMG I have the best husband in the world he gets me flowers and candies and wipes my ass every day” Facebook updates.

There is a wall of flames between me and moving out of California

I still have really really really, unrealistically high hopes of moving out of California in the near future (can you guys tell?), but doing it before I turn 30 is unlikely. I mean I’d basically have to pack up all our stuff and just leave tomorrow. While I did actually consider doing that last night, just as I did the night before our vacation to Chicago came to an end a few weeks ago, it’s not happening. I will not be moving out of California before I turn 30. I’m not putting that on a 40s list, though, because I’m pretty sure if I don’t leave California well before 40, I won’t make it that far. (I just can’t stand this place that much.)

On the flip side, I have to say that living in California has given me a lot of fodder to write about, both on my blog and in my book. I consider my life in California to be something of a tragic comedy – hilarious at how absurd it is, tragic for the same exact reason. Just today I was driving in the rain and saw some hillbillies sitting outside in their trucks, two sitting in the cab and one (shirtless and smoking) standing in the truck bed with a large, shiny stick. It was a thunderstorm and as I got closer, I saw that those rednecked weirdos were actually trying to get struck by lightening. Had I not been here – where the majority of our population is made up not of glitz and glam and movie stars, but of descendants of southern hillbillies who came over for work during the Great Depression – I never would have seen that.

What does this all mean, you ask? And why should you care?

Well you shouldn’t. I mean you can and I think it’s awesome that as many people that read my blog do. (In fact, on that note, I’m feeling a little honored by how many people take the time to read and comment on my stupid little blog of bitching and complaining and snarking…)

What it means, though, is that now that I have burned up my list of things to do before I turn 30 (because 30 would have burned it for me just two days from now), I can focus on other things. Like baking myself that cake. Like trying lots of good wines. Like working on my book because I want to. Like reading my long list of books I plan on reading this year. Like finding out if my upstairs neighbors really are running a prostitution house up there (I mean, seriously .. people showering at 2 in the morning, strange men coming in and out at all hours…).

So happy birthday to me. It is my party and I will be crying as all of this stuff melts into flames, but here’s the thing about crying: it always feels so good afterwards. Only when we lament the past can we get on with the future, right?

The B(itch)’s Brain Gruel: Happy Birthday Nick, Are you on DivorceBook? and an Award with a Side of STFU

This may possibly be the most random conglomerate of things the B(itch) has to blog about, ever. But after the last few weeks that I’ve had of chaos, drama, and things just not going right, we’re lucky I can form a complete sentence – my mind really feels that mushy at this point. (Hopefully this does not portend to the way 2012 will be going…) It’s like a steaming hot bowl full of gruel, my brain right now – filled with the things I need to do, say, and get out there. So let’s just get right to it.

Happy Birthday Nick!

That’s right, it’s the life-partner’s birthday tomorrow and chances are that until he gets home, I will completely forget to wish him well. In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that my mother is coming over and asked what he wants, and that we’re making a party chip birthday cake (whose box has been set on the counter for about a week now), I may have forgotten altogether. So I’m doing it on the ol’ B(itch)log in hopes this will negate the hurt feelings when he gets to work tomorrow and sees no text (I’m usually not even awake by the time he gets to work), gets no call, and has no surprise “early” birthday gift waiting in the office for him to open. He’ll be getting none of those, actually.

And people wonder why he hates me.

So Happy Birthday Nick! Hopefully your 31st year doesn’t turn out like my dad’s did when he was your age, which can be summed up in one word he knew all too well by the time he rang in his 32nd birthday: comb-over.

Are you on DivorceBook?

Here’s something completely random that I’ve been wanting to blog about for a few weeks now, but haven’t had enough to justify writing an entire blog: DivorceBook. I’ve said before that they may as well rename Facebook the Major Life Event Announcement Site. Everyone is up on the ‘Book these days as it would seem to just post photographs of their children, announce wedding events, brag about their new job, and show off their ugly ass engagement rings. Well now that I’m getting close to 30, and a lot of my friends have been married going on five, six, some even seven years now, we’ve hit the most awkward of Major Life Event Announcements: the divorce.

What is sad about it, though, is that people are actually using that whole “So and so is now Single” as a way to let people know that they are now divorced. As if the phone no longer exists, or even a private message wouldn’t suffice. No, I’ll just tell them by letting them see and comment on my pathetic relationship status! And if someone is connected to you on Facebook, but you wouldn’t actually ever call them to tell them about the breaking of your marital vows – well, then why the hell do they need to know about it anyway? Why not just leave that shit off your page altogether? This is just another level of Facebook relationship drama, and it’s just as stupid as the couple that flops back and forth between “In a relationship” and “Single” more often than my moods do from complacent to flippantly irritated.

The real reason for this post … another Award!

Special thanks to Lolabees and MrMary… for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger award!! (And a SPECIAL thanks to MrMary… for calling me “the flyest bitch around…”) Lolabees talked about something I have thought myself in her post, whether these blogger awards are really like chain letters – but her conclusion is akin to mine: who cares, I’ll take it!

So you are supposed to first pass it along: Talinorfali (your writing is beautiful, lady, as are your recipes – and I greatly look forward to reading more in the future); Becoming Cliche (I just recently discovered this blog … but I love it and cannot tell you how much I identify with the tagline “my journey to becoming my mother” – her posts are versatile and witty to boot); Disseminated Thought (I’m pretty sure he already has received this, but I’ll nominate him again anyway … great writer, hilarious person – on all manner of things); JWo (love the posts, and each new one is always different than the last); and last but most certainly not the least, Frugalista (not only for her versatility and sheer awesomeness, but for inventing the acronym AYFKM).

Then you are supposed to tell seven more goddamned things about yourself. As if I didn’t offer up enough confessions in my 7X7 award, or in my New Years Day post. Here goes nothing:

1. I mentioned before that I love gangsta’ rap, but I have to admit my #1, all-time favorite song is and always will be: Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby.” Don’t judge.

2. I really and truly believe a lot of people to be stupider than me, and I feel awful for it. I don’t mean stupider in the sense that I know more, but stupider in the sense that they seem to think they know everything. I am a virulent Socratic – I believe truly that the only thing I really and truly know is that I know nothing. As a result, the majority of people I come across that talk so pompously as if they know everything, or are highly skilled on one thing – well I realize how truly ignorant they are. And it actually makes me sad.

3. The level to which I am a princess and a prima donna makes me a little sick to my stomach. But at the same time, I like it – I am a walking paradox.

4. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with swearing, which is why I do it so much. A word is a word; just because a group of people decide it has a bad or morally wrong connotation to it doesn’t make it less a word than it is. Words are among the most beautiful things on the planet – I have no idea how anyone could call one “bad.”

5. 9 times out of 10 that I eat Mexican food, I moan (literally) in ecstasy. Since I moved to California from a suburb of Chicago whose idea of Mexican food was the combination Taco Bell-KFC drive-thru, authentic Mexican food has been a staple part of my diet. That means that at least once every couples of weeks, I moan orgasmically – often in public – when I bite into a chip loaded with salsa.

6. Some days I wake up missing my friends and family, and my life in Chicago, so much that I feel like it’s all I can do to get up and take a shower. No matter how long I’ve been in California, it will just never be the same. How do I get over it, you ask? I read all the incessant bitching and complaining on Facebook my friends that still live there do about how hot/humid/cold/freezing/tornadoey the weather is.

7. I have an unhealthy obsession with PhotoShopping my head onto seemingly bizarre people or things. My housewife blog from a few days ago contained one I am quite proud of…

Can I get a side order of STFU with that?

As I mentioned about 900 words ago, the last two weeks have been exceptionally shitty. Everything seems to be going wrong, entire days are being wasted in fruitless efforts to get things done, the class I was going to take this semester got canceled due to low enrollment, and so it would seem 2012 has brought on the Year of the Asshole. I don’t want this year to be bad, so have decided that we should all agree we will not hesitate when staring in the face of the need to shout a resounding STFU. I don’t care if it’s your mom, your dad, your husband, or the dumb bitch in the Burger King drive-thru that can’t catch the difference between “Sprite” and “fries” – if the need for an STFU arises, do not hesitate faithful blog followers. I know that in the interest of preserving my own sanity, I won’t be hesitating one bit.

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?