4.29.2011

Psssst! Your librarianism is showing.

You may have noticed I added an extra little guy to the sidebar.

See?------------------>

It's a little somethin' somethin' called a Creative Commons license and if you are blogging or publishing any creative content in any way on a public platform, I think you should do it too!

In an age where stealing others' ideas and/or creative content is oh-so-easy, it's important (and painless! and FREE!!!) to take steps that let everybody know a couple ground rules. Namely, that sharing is awesome but stealing is not.

A working definition for me personally means that you are welcome to share anything posted here, but please give me credit. And maybe a heads up. (The heads up is optional.)

To be fair, I intend to return the favor and give credit to others' content that appears here. If you have additional information, like Rachel did yesterday, I will be so very happy to edit as needed! :)

Anyway, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Interested? Visit here for more details. Step-by-step Blogger instructions here.

Your PSA for the day has been brought to you by the freaking weekend. Enjoy it, friends!

4.25.2011

We are family.

Lots of thoughts running through my head today, some sugary sweet, some downright snarky, to be honest.

There are lots of really mean things I would like to say to some people I have never met, and some topics that lately, if they arise in conversation, I do that smile and nod thing and sometimes even bite the inside of my cheek from exploding.

But more than that, what I really want you to know, what has superseded any and all frustration I have flowing through my jittery body this morning (latte + candy for breakfast = who's shocked?!) is this:

I am so very blessed.

I mean this in a lot of ways and this thought has been hibernating ever since we returned to the States but especially lately, it has become so very apparent to me that I am surrounded by many gifts that I have known existed for quite some time but have a new found appreciation for as of late.

And the biggest one is this: I have the best family in the world. I mean that. I don't say it to make you jealous and I don't doubt that we are all especially crafted for each other and if you feel the same about yours I will support you but silently think mine is better. Just kidding. (Kind of.)

This growing up thing changes things a bit, tweaks my lens enough to see with new clarity or to notice fragments that before have been blurry. And in a simple moment of doing laundry at Mom and Dad's this weekend, I was feeling this new twinge of...well, I guess I'll call it pride.

I'm proud of who I came from. I'm proud of the people I get to spend my life with and the ones I lean on when times get hard. I'm proud of them for making me who I am and I'm proud of who they continue to be. I'm proud of the ones that continue to teach me, to challenge me, to just show me how to make sense of the world that sometimes seems so hard, so unfair, so scary, even, and with little glances at them and blips of conversation, I wonder if they realize how much they shape me and how I hope that one day I can be more like them.

And it's funny because though we show our love in our family by doing things--Dad taking off work to fix my car, Mom never sitting down when we're over because she's always serving someone, Brian moving my fifty million boxes every freaking time I had to move without complaining--we aren't always the best at saying it.

And I guess today I just wanted to tell everyone, and them at the same time, hey, you guys, I love you.

And thank you.

(And next Easter please don't let me eat so much.)

4.21.2011

Surrounded.

By pinned up photos of familiar, favorite smiles
A few quotes to keep me inspired
Bright colors
Post It notes
Dirty coffee mugs
Scattered intentions
Distractions
Dreams that won't quit
Wishful thinking
Numbered days that keep ticking by.

WANTED: Image cred. I don't have it. If you do, please let me know!

4.19.2011

On blogging.

Recently, a friend gave me the opportunity to reflect on life as a blogger. I use this term loosely, of course, as I still consider this a little side hobby that is mainly for my own amusement and a bit of a creative outlet.

However, I surprised myself by actually having quite a bit to say on the topic and well, we live in a postmodern world so I suppose it's appropriate to be self-referential, am I right?

On a more serious note, thank you for those who read, those who comment, those who pursue their own creative outlet day after day. It is a huge blessing to me to interact with all of you and I am honored by your words. Also, if you have any feedback for me regarding how things are run around here, please share! I am all ears.

Enjoy!

* * * * *

(Note: This has been edited for both an attempt at brevity and because, well, I was talking to a friend and now I am blogging and while this may surprise you, yes, there are things I will not share here.)

1.  Do you write posts ahead of time, like in a chunk but then slowly post later? 
Sometimes. Generally I will just write it, quickly edit and post it all right there...If I am writing more of a story and/or if I am just having trouble expressing myself but really want to write about a certain topic, I will write a bit, save as a draft and come back another day to finish...The only time I've done an extended "planned posting" marathon was recently when I was in the DR.
 
2.  Do you have any kind of plan as to what topics you will post when? 
Not really...generally I write as I feel inspired which is generally why I have such a large flux between serious/silly. Sometimes I want to be more disciplined and have a plan but I keep holding off on that because I think at this point I would rather it be genuine than forced. HOWEVER I do also see writing as a craft and one I sometimes do need to push myself to develop (even with writing silly posts) so sometimes I tell myself "Okay I am going to blog today" and then come up with something.

3.  How do you decide what to post and what not to post? 
...At the beginning I was a lot more concerned with topics and so I would just basically trial and error different topics [to see what works]. Sometimes now I can start a post and think "Ehh, seemed like a good idea but not workin for me" and then decide to save for later or abandon altogether. I don't really have a focus for my blog which I sometimes dislike...but I'm not sure what my "niche" would be or if I want a "niche" to define my content so I just keep doin my thang* and hope it'll work out. 
 
4.  How do you get new readers that are not your personal friends?  Do you try to actively do this? 
I don't actively try but I am getting more and more interested in this. Lately, I have been taking the plunge and commenting on other blogs I follow (but who aren't my friends). I think this has brought a few more followers--and also more spammers, unfortunately. I generally comment on friends' blogs. ...I would actually love to write for a bigger platform and "guest post" somewhere. Just need the guts and opportunity.:)
 
5.  Do you get disappointed if your blog isn't being read by as many people as you'd like? Yes. Sometimes it's hard for me to not get caught up in that...but I feel like it's a weird desire and don't want to be consumed with that thought and become fake. Sometimes I read blogs and can totally tell they just want more readers which is annoying. And then I think, if I don't have something fresh to offer, then I can't expect more readers. And if I am just trying really hard to be "fresh" or "funny" or "relatable" then I am not being genuine...Honestly, it is a HUGE HUGE honor when I find out people read my blog, especially people who know me and tell me in person. It makes my day. And I know that the number of actual "followers" is deceiving but it is hard not to focus on that stupid little number.
 
6.  Do you have goals or general plans about how often you'd like to post?  How did you decide this and, if you don't write for a while/meet goal, how do you let that not bother you? 
Ummm yes and no. Again, keep toying with making a rigid schedule but generally just wanting to post a few times a week. I tried doing daily and it seemed a bit too forced for me but I may try to move in that direction again just for practice. For me this was all just trial and error. I want to interact with people through my posts and I feel if I don't post a few times a week, it fizzles. But I think it's different for everyone.
 
7.  Who is your audience? 
I ask myself that all the time...Usually, and the overall intent for me personally (for better or worse), is to think of it as an online journal. I'll get into why it isn't EXACTLY a journal in my #9 answer...but that really is how I approach it. Like okay, what am I thinking and feeling today, right now, that I would want to share with my friends. So yeah I guess it's like a journal that I know other people are reading...which makes it a bit more "storytime" and a bit less raw/vulnerable...but sometimes it tends to go that direction too...As a PR person I struggle with not having a neat, clean line of "this is who I am targeting" because hello, first rule of marketing: KNOW THY AUDIENCE. I guess instead I am more like "Know me and pull up a chair if you'd like" and see what comes next.  
 
8.  How do you get started, with that first post? 
I just went for it and as you can see, it is really just a timid toe dipping in the blogging waters. Like literally just saying "um, hi, so here I am" and then just going from there. The first is the hardest but really the only pressure is from yourself.
 
9.  How do you decide how much to share or not to share about yourself personally through this forum? 
This is a hard one. It's really difficult when you don't know who is reading (which of course is the nature of the beast). Like, okay...is it worth the cost of sharing [personal] information when [people I love] could potentially read that and be hurt by it or read it the wrong way? Not for me. ...But it is a personal blog so it is...well...personal. And words are tricky--sometimes in the moment I am feeling really heavy so I write about it and then feel weird later thinking "oh crap are people going to misinterpret that?" or "how do i know when too much is too much?" but also...not wanting to just be bubbly when sometimes things ARE hard and sometimes my most honest posts are the ones that seem to resonate most. However, that is judging from the comments on each post which is a slippery slope that is similar to judging from "followers"...not really accurate. So that can be hard to remember. 
 
10.  What are the best/worst parts of blogging? 
I love to write and it really is a feeling of accomplishment to get what I'm feeling out and down into words. It really is the best way for me to create. It's cool to have people say "oh yeah I read that on your blog!" and be like "really?! you read that?!" and so that's really fun. It's really hard to not get wrapped up into blog envy and turn it into this competition or something. ...Also, sometimes I think it's just plain narcissistic so that adds another element of "do I even think it's good for people to CARE what I think? shouldn't they just ask me IN PERSON?" etc.  
 
11.  What mindsets, things, etc. have changed/evolved from when you first started blogging?
 
I think in the beginning I linked to information a lot without responding to it and sometimes I still do that but then I started thinking, if I am just noise that is constantly linking to someone else, then I don't really have something to say and don't need a blog. I love writing about my experiencing. I love breaking the weirdo American idea of perfection and trying to maybe challenge people but more just bring people aside with me and live life with people. Also, lately, I have had some really passionate opinions about things and started to post them but then thought you know what?  I definitely don't want to be another snarky voice so I had to take a step back and say "why am I sharing this?" and "is this just spewing words out or is it meaningful?" I think those are important questions. [and questions many people forget to ask for some reason when communicating online]
 
12.  Your best advice?  
DO IT! And figure it out as you go. And then tell me because you'll be the expert. :)

*I'm not sure why I said "thang". But it seems dishonest to edit for being a dork.

4.14.2011

Love language.

I think these were made with me in mind.

Current household fave: this guy.

Also delicious: this.

Fave flavor in general:  mint chocolate chip

Limited edition fave award: this...yes, it's available "Light" but don't even waste your time on that one because yes, less calories but FRIEND, way less cookie, and we all know that is the best part.

Fave EVER: Mom's homemade vanilla. Nothing tops it. (Mom if you're reading, hint hint)

I really shouldn't type on an empty stomach.

Via here; image cred here.

Via here; image cred here.

4.13.2011

Invasion.

It happens without any warning.

You're just minding your own business one day, strolling through life you might say, perhaps even having the audacity to think you're actually caught up on things, tra-la-laing as you pour yourself some peach tea when BAM!

You spot one.

No, FIVE.

No, TEN.

No, SEVEN HUNDRED MILLION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Little squirming things meandering across YOUR COUNTERS like they own the place. You trace them to the doorway, squinting in disbelief, trying to withhold the scream that is moving up your throat.

They are inside, they are outside, they are on you YOU CAN JUST FEEL IT!

You shudder. You square your jaw. You run inside, grab a paper towel and SQUISH SQUISH SQUISH DIE DIE DIE GET OUT OF MY WORLD YOU UNINVITED HOUSE GUESTS! And for the love, STAY AWAY from the (mercifully unopened) EASTER CANDY!!!

You finish your feat of bravery, of domination, of INCREDIBLE ABSOLUTE DISGUST AT THESE ANTS IN YOUR KITCHEN by sending not one, but three, texts to your husband in a matter of mere minutes:

Text #1 (The Panic): Ants in the kitchen!!! A lot!!! Can you bring something home to kill them?!

Text #2 (The Brave Front): Okay. Not as bad as I thought. Still gross. But I killed most of them.

Text #3 (The Let's-Be-Honest-I-Am-Still-Wading-In-Serious-Panic): Okay, nope, they are still coming. Will you bring home some killer after all?...I am not being dramatic!

Scene ends with the triumphant entrance of said husband with said ant killer who makes you swoon with the set of a trap and the very generous spray of a chemical that makes you feel like that crazy man from the Home Alone movies laughing maniacally with a gravelly, "Keep the change, ya filthy animal(s)." 

4.11.2011

4.08.2011

One Year: Celebrate!

Off to escape with my bff-turned-husband for the weekend!

It'd be fun to write about the things we've learned and maybe I will soon, but for now all I can think about is OMG it's been a YEAR?!

And is this how fast life is going to fly by?!

And sure, it's not all rainbows and fairy tales, but it's still really freaking awesome.

A weekend full of remembering, dreaming and a whole lotta celebrating lies ahead.

Enjoy your days ahead, friends!


Ad and Sara's Wedding from Dean Behrens on Vimeo.

4.07.2011

I want to go to there.

Isn't it amazing that this even exists?!

Image cred (via).

4.06.2011

SweeTart.

I had one of those moments the other night. You know, when you feel completely crazy but try really hard to NOT feel totally crazy, but trying to avoid it makes you feel crazy-er, and thus you feel forced (and a bit justified) to totally lose it.

It really came out of nowhere. One minute, I'm standing there scrubbing yet another dirty dish (note to self: next place of residence must.have.dishwasher!!!) zoning out about who knows what--probably replaying my day or thinking about what kind of pie I should make for family dinner or how I'm pretty sure that magazine I picked up from a coworker was marketed towards retired women, etc--when BAM!

I'm in the middle of a panic attack convinced, convinced! that something terrible, awful, dreadful has happened to my husband. Because why is he not home? And he hasn't called! And OH MY GOSH I am going to get that phone call and don't even ask me what that phone call entails because I can't handle even thinking about it.

And I try to rationalize with myself: You didn't call him either! It's not even that late! You're being a TOTAL CRAZY PERSON and don't even THINK about picking up a phone!

...at least not for 10 more minutes.

...okay five.

So I force myself to keep washing dishes, trying now to forcibly distract myself. I wonder if Tina Fey's new book is any good. (where is he where is he where is he) I can't wait for a weekend getaway! (something's wrong something's wrong you're crazy something's wrong). What will I get Dad for his birthday? (PANIC)

I dry my shaking hands and pick up my phone. I put it down. I pick it up.

I call.

Voicemail.

I text.

Nothing.

I put it down and walk away. Don't be that person. Why are you jumping to horrible conclusions? ...Why is my stomach in such a knot? Is that a sign?...Don't be stupid.

Back in the kitchen I hear what sounds like keys jingling. My heart leaps. It's the neighbor.

I recall being seven and staying up all night (okay, until 10 p.m.) waiting for Mom's reassuring headlights which meant she was home from her volleyball game and that yes, indeed, I would see her again.

So, see? See? Everything is fine.

I pause in the doorway, and without thinking pick up the unopened bag of candy on our shelf.

 I wonder if those SweeTarts are any good...

I can't beLIEVE I am thinking about CANDY at a time like this!...like what if something is wrong and here I am eating sour gummy bunnies like an idiot! 

I mean I would hope if I got horrible news I would be doing something more...I don't know...dignified! Or something! Like...well...I mean...well, I guess there just isn't a good time. Ever. And sometimes life just hits with no warning.

I call again.

He answers.

(Whew.)

Everything's fine.

(Wheeeeeeeeeeeew.)

I respond nonchalantly and quickly hang up.

Feeling the whoosh of relief, the tinge of embarrassment and the unmistakable reminder that I am so, so small, in the scheme of things.

4.05.2011

Pruned?

Feeling this today, due to a dear friend's listening ear.

(Also wearing a RIDICULOUS coffee stain on my pants since um, approximately 9:14 a.m. that was only made worse by not one but TWO attempts at the Tide to Go stick. Drat. Note to self: THIS IS WHY YOU CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS! )

Image cred.

4.04.2011

Some things:

Totally not reader-friendly, nor succinct, nor necessarily all that well-thought-out:
  • I can't stop watching My So-Called Life. It was a bit before my time but watching the teen angst seep into each storyline sometimes makes me double over with laughter and other times brings me back a few years to the braces-wearing, pre-hair-gel-finding girl who nervously stepped on that bus for the first time. So funny to remember what mattered then (which skirt your wore with your cheerleading outfit; who asked who to prom; etc.), what drove me crazy (the term "family time"; the unending desire to be accepted; etc.) and what I dreamed about (first dates; a prestigious college; being known and not boxed into a stereotype that I created and also hated; etc.).
  • Still processing our trip to the Dominican Republic. I'll post some photos soon, hopefully. (Technical difficulties, including, unfortunately, a stolen camera...waah, waaah...has proved this difficult.) This has been the hardest trip to "recover" from both physically and emotionally and while mercifully I think we are finding words that speak truth into this harsh reality and begin to find, to seek, that balance again (and hope along with it)...it is still a work in progress. As it probably should be. As a good friend said, experiences such as these make you want to kick into high gear and do anything and everything because you were blind but now you see ...but also, reality is sometimes just too much and too overwhelming and not at all fitting with my idea of how things work or should work or justice or for the visual learners, it feels like my internal equilibrium just got smashed to smithereens, which makes me want to lock my door, eat a whole bag of Robin Eggs and drink Diet Dr. Pepper in my sweatpants. In a nutshell.
  • Totally and completely have dropped the ball on the fair trade issue. My apologies. I actually have exciting developments to share but just haven't taken the time to make things official and also, well, just see bullet #2. I will jump back into this soon.
  • We're about to celebrate one year of marriage! Unbelievable. And also, the best thing ever.
  • Thanks for letting me (over)share my so-called life (yuk, yuk, yuk) and still being friends with me. Blogs are so weird sometimes, you know? Like am I really sharing this information for your benefit or for my own therapy? And how strange we relate (or feel like we're relating) in digital platforms. The whole "Is this building community or breaking it?" argument. I'm not sure. But thanks for reading. Now maybe go ask someone what's going on in their life in person, you know, just to even things out. 
Happy over-contemplative Monday!

p.s. Watch this and tell me you don't love it (minus the cheesy voice):

4.01.2011

In process.

Here comes the sun
And sweet springtime--
I welcome this new season
With wide open arms.

May it be full of:

Freshness
Deep breaths
Laughter
Gathering
Road trips
Simple living
Snowcones
Long walks
Growth
And lingering.

Let it be so.

Photo cred.