Fall Makes Me Homesick

Therefore, it needs to end now.

I got really into fall at first. I do every year. I got the pumpkins. And the goards and shit. Halloween was a big fucking fiasco of costumes and events and more events and hayrides. I’ve baked tons of pumpkin-flavored things, and will bake more. We’re even hosting a Thanksgiving-themed open house the weekend before Thanksgiving.

But it makes me super homesick too.

I miss the falling leaves that give the time of year the title “fall.” We have some in California, but those aren’t brown and golden and red. They’re green and caused by 90 degree Santa Ana winds, and I’m allergic to them.

I miss the change of the weather. People say “oh … we have a change of weather here.” You don’t say? Because next week it’s projected to be in the mid-80s again and I’ll be sitting inside in the air conditioning as Thanksgiving closes in. Change of seasons?

I miss having my family close by. I have my dad here and my husband’s family, and of course my mom’s trailer trash family; but it isn’t my family. Most of them don’t want much to do with me either. And it isn’t my aunt and uncle that helped my dad raise me after my mom left. It’s not my cousins. It isn’t my vast group of friends that I have always considered to be closer than some of my closest blood relatives. There isn’t that same sense of community I had growing up.

So fall makes me homesick. But who am I kidding? Just about every time of year, and every thing I see, makes me homesick. It goes without saying I’m ready for this experiment of living on the West Coast to come to an end.

Until it does, and as fall continues on and I continue to feel homesick around every turn of every bend, I hold fast to the things that I have here that I call home.

Pizza, Deli Sandwiches, and Pumpkin Pie

Pizza is my most staple food item when I get homesick. I don’t want to hear anybody’s crap about how bad that is for me either. A pizza with nothing but cheese (which is how I like it), or even pizza dough with other ingredients (like in the picture above), has less saturated fat and cholesterol on it than some salads. Deli-style sandwiches with nothing but a slice of cheese and loads of lettuce come in at a close second.

Pumpkin pie is also a big homesickness-reliever, which is good because as compared to apple pie, cherry pie, cheesecake, cake, candy, and other desserts, pumpkin pie without the crust is fat free. I can eat bucketfuls of that shit (and believe you me, I do) without all the guilt.

Cheesy 80s and 90s Movies

How many cheesy 80s movies are not set in the Midwest, and particularly in Chicago? From Girls Just Wanna’ Have Fun to Ferris Buehler’s Day Off; into the 90s with High Fidelity. I even watch Father of the Bride, parts I and II. The scenery, the weather, the culture I grew up with all makes me feel just a little bit better when I’m feeling homesick.

Chicago Team Gear

I have enough Chicago team gear to get me through any bout of homesickness. I have a sweatshirt from my high school, two hoodies from the Chicago Bulls, a third hoodie that just says ‘City of Chicago,’ two White Sox t-shirts, two Bears shirts, a Bulls shirt that doesn’t fit, I have a Bulls bumper sticker on my car, two Bulls lanyards I have yet to use, and my computer even has a sticker of Michael Jordan on the back of it.

And I have a story to go with all of it, which I’m sure the people in my immediate life are sick of hearing. But if they’re so sick of hearing it, or sick of hearing about how homesick I am, they can maybe stop being so stubborn and give the Midwest a shot (ahem …..).

My Fun Fall Swap

Lastly, I participated in this thing called a Fun Fall Swap. Some bloggers that were into the fall stuff (as I was initially) decided to get together, have one person send out “secret swapper” info, and then we all had one month to send out a fall-themed gift.

I got mine a week ago, and while I cannot figure out for the life of me who sent it (I’m betting it’s either “My Brain On Kids” or “Diapers Or Wine“…), it is nonetheless the best of the swap gifts I have seen so far.

UPDATE: It was Quirky Chrissy … I love her more than I love french toast. If you know me, you know that’s a big deal.

Knowing how in love I am with all-things-Midwest, my secret swapper sent me this awesome reprint of a World’s Fair Chicago poster. I know what you are saying: “how in the hell is that fall?” Well, duh … it says November. That’s more fucking fall than all the hay bail, pumpkin, and brown-colored shit out there.

My fun fall swap could not have come at a better time: when I’m homesick. Sitting on the couch in yoga pants and my Bulls sweatshirt that is beginning to smell a little bit like feet since I won’t stop wearing it; with half-eaten slices of pizza around me and pumpkin pie smeared on my face. As I continue to shovel more pumpkin pie and stare longingly at Michael Jordan on the back of my computer, with 80s movies on Netflix playing on repeat in the background. And every time Sarah Jessica Parker says in the opening scene of ‘Girls Just Wanna’ Have Fun’: “My daydream was always the same – that some day I was gonna’ get to Chicago, because that’s where they make Dance TV,” I mouth the words, bits of deli sandwich falling out of my mouth to mix with my homesick tears.

My fun fall swap arrived just in time to save me from this destitute.

Okay, it didn’t save me from shit. Framed, it now sits next to me on the couch and joins the ranks of things I stare longingly at. But it’s still a good thing. Big, big thanks to whomever my fall swapper was … your pick was perfect.

Now I would love for fall to be over. So then we’ll get through the holidays and holiday time depression can be over, then it will be a new year and who knows what the new year will bring?

Everything You Never Wanted To Know About Me

I spent some time last night scoping out new blogs. A couple things led me to do this. First we watched Hachi, and Pookie cried all over the house for an hour about how she wanted a dog. Of course, my husband was absent for the whole thing – having escaped to the bedroom to “look for jobs” – ahem, watch the Dodger’s game. Because of this I agreed to turn on another movie immediately after the crying stopped, but the one selected was some made-for-TV crap about a teenage girl that accidentally publishes her journal in the school newspaper and then goes into some book deal, or other such unrealistic jargon.

So I broke out my computer and started looking for distractions in blog form.

The first thing I do when I check out new blogs is read the About Me. Of course, I don’t want to read a blog that ends up being a total waste of my time. Someone I will not get along with. A person that speaks in grammatical errors and LOLs. Or – worst of all – will get offended if I comment and drop the F bomb.

While I read some About Me’s of the new blogs I had heard of, I thought about my own About Me. It’s pretty boring, more like a Bio. And it in no way, shape, or form represents what my blog is all about. It doesn’t talk about being a mom blogger. It doesn’t outline my truly staunch cynicism. It isn’t even snarky or funny.

To be quite blunt about it: it’s fucking boring.

So I decided I’d share with you guys another About Me. An About Me that is the true Heather. That lets out the real B(itch).

Everything You Never Wanted To Know About Me

1. I wear a 36 or 38C bra. It depends on where I buy the bra from. And no matter what, every night when I take it off I find enough food I’ve dropped in there to feed a starving third world child for a day.

2. I think it’s funny to respond to commercials, no matter where I am. As a result, yesterday when I was at the nail salon and the commercial for the attorney that is trying to hire people with urinary incontinence as a result of a faulty transvaginal mesh came on, I said out loud in front of a roomful of strangers: “can I call for urinary incontinence even if I don’t have a transvaginal mesh?”

3. For the record, I do not suffer from urinary incontinence, although I do have the bladder of a five year old that still has to wear Pull Ups overnight.

4. Oh, who am I kidding … every time I sneeze I piss myself.

5. I have a terribly unhealthy fear of elevators and getting caught in public restrooms. I think this means that I’m claustrophobic. Regardless, a few weeks ago the lock in a public bathroom got jammed and I almost shit myself right then and there before I figured out how to unjam it.

6. When I was little, I really and truly believed that the devil existed. As in a could-possess-people, living amongst us, you’d better do your daily praying devil. I don’t even know if it was my religious upbringing or what, but it wasn’t until after high school that I shook it. Then I reaffirmed that belief when I got married and attributed the title of “satan” to my husband.

7. I have enough memories of listening to New Kids On the Block when I was little that an object-association with one of their songs occurs almost every single day. That means that almost every day I have an NKOTB song stuck in my head.

8. Every time my husband takes his cell phone into the bathroom, I yell “just remember, 90% of cell phones have e coli on them because of pigs like you!” He still does it and I can’t help but feel a little pukey at the thought of him sitting on the toilet.

9.  Once he “liked” a photo on Instagram from his cell phone while in the bathroom and I was so grossed out that I deleted the photo.

10. Almost every conversation with my mother on the phone ends with the sound of the toilet flushing behind her.

11. I’m secretly looking forward to the next Paranormal Activity movie. It isn’t that I enjoy the movies; it’s that I love to watch the reactions of the audience. People screaming and calling the ladies in the film hoes is the height of entertainment for me.

12. My biggest turn on is a philosophical conversation. I don’t mean something that I like, I mean something that makes me hot. Hotter than those Greeks when they got around Socrates and his open-robe policy.

13. While I do cook and bake things from scratch the majority of the time, every once in a while I just stop at my local bakery and buy whatever I’ve promised for a party or get-together. But I can’t let my reputation be tarnished as one of those people that just buys something (I know, it is as stupid as it sounds), so I take the goods out of the store-bought container and put it in my own tupperware. Then I tell everyone I made it. Once with a cake I made a few smudges so that it really looked like I had made it.

14. I just ate french fries from McDonalds last week. This was the first time I had eaten McDonalds food in over a year; and the entire time I read the nutrition facts and reassured myself aloud that it would all be OK.

15. I’m a total hypochondriac. But I’m not your typical hypochondriac that keeps letting their fears get more and more out of control. At some point I let my reason and rationale overcome my irrational fears. And then I hit Google. But I don’t hit Google to continue my fears; I hit Google to find other people that are more irrational than me, just to feel better about myself. Like last night, when I thought our saltine crackers tasted funny. After I forced my husband to eat half a package to decide for himself, I hit Google to find people that were more paranoid with saltine cracker fears than me.

16. I cry over everything. From big things, like when my husband told me it was a fantasy to expect quality time and never taking a day for granted with our family; to little things, like the fact that the chicken I went to prepare last night was ruined by a fickle BBQ.

17. I have always had major self-confidence issues.

18. Somehow my self-confidence issues have paired me with person after person after person, from romantic relationships to casual friendships, who not only has worse self-confidence issues than me, but uses their relationships to put others down to make themselves feel better.

19. I own an old Macbook, a new Macbook Air, and an iPad, and yet I hate the iPhone with every breath in my body.

20. I’m a leaking ball of sneezing and snot. In other words, I’m allergic to everything; worst for my situation in California is my allergy to palm frond. That means I cannot go outside without sneezing. As a result, sometimes I feel like I live in a bubble of closed windows and sterile air conditioning.

21. I have no problem pulling my underwear out of my ass in public, should the occasion arise.

22. I have never worn a thong. I don’t plan on it either.

23. Every pair of underwear I own is black, with the exception of one that is striped pink-blue-and-green. I haven’t worn those in years.

24. I was planning for vacation and buying new underwear earlier this year, and forgot that I had 12 pairs in the dirty laundry, so bought a bunch more and now I own over 45 pairs of black underwear.

25. I always thought worms looked something like a penis, and therefore had no problem eating them when I was in high school and people used to dare each other to “eat worms.”

I assume many of you need to compose yourselves enough to unfollow me now.

Are Bloggers Becoming Mean Girls?

A few days ago, I saw on someone’s Facebook page a post about how much bloggers have become cliquey. It was from a relatively new blogger. I won’t give any identifying characteristics of her, besides that she is a “her,” simply because I feel bad that she got so upset about this, and I don’t want to make her feel worse. Anyway, this blogger was complaining – emphatically – that she couldn’t get into any of the “in crowds” and, therefore, she was going to stop blogging altogether. She has since deleted her blog site.

I thought about this for quite a while. In high school, I hated the cliques. Now when I think of them I think of Mean Girls with Linsay-the-trainwreck-Lohan. When you have cliques, you have backstabbing. You have cheating. You have a load of gossip. You have more drama than a daytime soap opera. And you have people being excluded for no reason other than that they aren’t “cool” enough, by whatever standards of “cool” the clique collectively determines.

I have a hard time believing that bloggers have become Mean Girls.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized this blogger was let down by her experience in the community of bloggers probably of her own doing. I, myself, have felt let down with the ebbs and flows of blogging, but I didn’t allow myself to give up as a result. Really, the blog community may have niches (politics, food, parents, humor), but on the whole, if you find yourself not being “embraced,” it has absolutely nothing to do with being excluded from a clique or some vague, ruleless popularity contest.

#1 You may not be generating

good content

It’s hard to look at our own writing objectively, so if you find yourself lacking readers it’s sometimes a good idea to ask someone you know to read a post to see what may be turning people off.

My dad is one of my most faithful blog followers, and while many of you may think he is too “close” to be objective, he thinks I’m a blazing asshole, so usually serves as a pretty good source for what’s awry in my posts. You can always tell he’s been giving me constructive criticisms (read: yelling over the phone at me) when my language tones down a little, I talk about hookers less, or I change up my themes a little bit.

Beyond good content, bloggers are writers, which means they want good grammar, excellent spelling, and – for God’s sakes – appropriate punctuation. I’ll tell you faithful blog followers right now, if someone places a space between their sentence and their exclamation point (like this !!), my brain explodes into tiny particles and I immediately put that person on the “not interested” list to avoid future damage to my noggin.

#2 You may be a liar

A couple weeks ago I saw someone post that they had made it into the Top 25 on Top Mommy Blogs – a list server where people cast their votes for the best of over 5,000 mom blogs currently out there.

I was floored because I knew this woman had only written a couple blog posts in total, and had just joined TMB. When I clicked to see where she stood (as compared to my meager standings that hover between 50 and 75), I saw she had totally made it up. She wasn’t anywhere near the Top 25. She wasn’t even near the Top 200.

The most important rule of blogging is to be honest and yourself. If bloggers find out you’re nothing but a big fibber, you’re going to have a hard time getting support.

#3 You may not be a sincere peer

The blogging community is a community of peers. That means we have equal respect for each other. It means we help each other, and often. It means we communicate with each other. And it means we approach each other with sincerity.

It does not mean we follow people on blog hops just to get follows back, then “unfollow” the next day. It does not mean we ignore people’s comments, Tweets, and otherwise communications because we think we’re “too big” for that. It means we thank people for what they’ve done for us.

If you find yourself feeling a little excluded from the blog community, it may have to do with your sincerity towards your peer bloggers, or rather your lack there of.

#4 You may be a victim of the ebbs and flows of blogging

Newsflash: we are all victims of the ebbs and flows of blogging, on many occasions through the course of our time as bloggers. Earlier this year, I was so “over” blogging because I hardly got any comments or views for a one month period, and then a few posts later I was Freshly Pressed. Over the summer I had another ebb, and was just completely disillusioned with where to go next to get out of the rut; then completely out of nowhere I got about 600 more Facebook fans in a matter of days.

The point is to not give up. You haven’t been excluded. The Mean Girls haven’t stabbed you in the back and permanently kept you on the “don’t bother” list. You are just experiencing the same thing we all do as bloggers.

So do I think that bloggers have become Mean Girls? Absolutely not. Do I feel bad for anyone that feels they have, regardless of what I just said? Absolutely. The community of bloggers is one of the most supportive, open-arms communities I can think of. We aren’t Mean Girls. We’re all just people with stuff to say.

STFU Fridays: Political Posters

I’m not sure if I’ve talked about political posters before, but we’re going to have a little elaboration today for STFU Fridays. I mean it seems only appropriate now that the conventions are officially over and the vitriolic hate-mongering from both sides of the aisle is about to begin.

Facebook Political Posters:

Shut the Fuck Up

Yeah, sure – everyone uses Facebook for a different reason. Don’t think I forgot that I just talked about that a week or two ago. But at some point, you are going to be permanently hidden from my newsfeed if you continue to post meme after meme after meme after GODDAMNED MEME about your political views, most often in the most radical way possible.

Here are a few of my most recent favorites:

(Posted by four friends)

(Posted by nine friends)

Here’s the thing, Facebook friends: I want you to stay on my newsfeed. I want to hear about when you buy your new condo. I want to know when you get engaged. I want to see the photographs from your beautiful vacation in the Barbados. I want to see all 790 Instagram photographs you post this week of your kid. I want to see all of that and be a part of your life because, after all – we are friends.

What I don’t want to see is your political nonsense being shoved down my throat every time I log onto the computer to congratulate people for their life updates and new pregnancies and amazing jobs.

Shut the fuck up.

Twitter Political Posters:

Shut the Fuck Up

So despite the fact that I hate politics, I do often watch political commentary and the news channels, and I read the Google News Aggregate daily. This political season, I may not pay too much attention because it is usually a lot of frustration for naught, but what can I say – I like to know what’s going on in the world. Typically I watch and read about it all just to find out what else is happening around the world – health, war, entertainment, and other such news.

I also have an humongous crush on Wolf Blitzer.

This is probably the case with a fair number of people that use social media (the wanting to know about what’s going on in the world part). It’s probably the case with a fair number of people that have the Internet. And it’s likely so with probably the majority of people that have televisions. And I think it’s probably safe to say with at least a few of the remaining people that do not have the Internet or do not use social media or do not have a TV, but still have a pulse and read the newspaper.

That means that when I go on Twitter, it is entirely unnecessary for people to be Tweeting the quotes that I just saw someone say on CNN or MSNBC or Fox or whatever channel I am watching over and over and over again, with no other substance in between. I watched the President give his speech this evening. Why was it necessary for me to then read the entire thing quoted on Twitter? I get it: the quote inspired you. THEN SAY THAT!

Or shut the fuck up.

Email Political Posters:

Shut the Fuck Up

I don’t get too many personal emails anymore. Now that we have social media and unlimited texting plans, it looks like email is going the way of the stamped letter.

When I do get emails, they are generally one of two kinds of emails:

(1) Some stupid shit animal or angel photos that have glitter and prayers and chain letter crap on them about how if I don’t forward it to 20 people I’ll die in the next week; or,

(2) Political diatribes.

These upset me because I feel like if you send an email to someone you know, it should be a little more personal and “how are you”/”I’m doing great!” Not a bunch of biased crap about, or in most cases against, any given political ideology. It hurts my feelings, actually. There are some people that I don’t hear from all year until it’s election time, and then they send me forty damn emails a day, my email included in the list of 200 others cc’d, with a bunch of impersonal, political crap.

Seriously, email political posters: take the time to send a sincere email to me once in a while amidst all your politico crap, or shut the fuck up.

That about concludes our Shut the Fuck Up Friday! Now that the games have officially begun, may we all bury our heads in the sand until November 6th has come and gone. I’m sure by now you are all wondering where I stand on the issues, despite my disgust for political posters. Because I’m a woman and pretty mouthy, am I a Democrat? I used to work for them. When I quit because of the local party’s corruption, did I become a Republican? They’re just as bad. I’m not really sure where I stand. Maybe on the issues, where we all should.