Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Enough

She is a real bitch.  She doesn’t like me very much.  She tells me that I am a fake; that I am lazy and inadequate.  She makes sure I know that I am never going to be enough. 

She calls me dramatic and overly sensitive.  She criticizes the way I parent, the way I dress, the way I keep my house, and my marriage.  She tells me that I am dumb, but pretend to be smart.  She sees right through me.  She knows my weaknesses and actively uses them against me.  Being a “ditz” is something that I fear, and she makes sure I feel like a ‘ditz’ most days.  

She catches me being a lazy parent and letting them watch just one more show, sets her off.  Even though I hide from her, she always catches me eating when I am not supposed to be.  I think that she is sleeping late at night when I sneak to the kitchen and devour something sweet. But when I turn around she is right there, marching me back up the stairs and making me stand on the scale to see the damage I am doing.  She looks at the clock and tells me that I am lazy because if I just work a little harder, I could make it to the gym AND do the laundry.  But I have no discipline.  


She looks at my husband and tells me that he could never really love a woman as lazy and dependent as me.  He stays because he is a good man and would not want to hurt the kids. But any time he is away from me he is much happier.  She assures me that when he tells me that he loves me, or hugs me that he is only trying to “get some.”  She makes sure I know that when he does nice things for me it is because he wants me to do nice things for him in return.   

She lets me know that when my children are acting out or misbehaving, it is directly because of me and my lazy parenting.  When people compliment my children she makes me aware that they only act nice around other people, because they don’t like being with me.  

She makes me question everyone’s motives, constantly.  She is so toxic and debilitating.  When I am struggling with depression or anxiety she is the happiest, and makes me believe that I am damaged beyond repair.  She loves being in control but criticizes me for being a control freak. 

Every once in a while she makes me feel a little superior by pointing out other peoples’ bad behavior.  But when I try to have sympathy for those people, she calls me weak and a pushover.  

She points out my wrinkles, my saggy breasts, my stretch marks, the bags under my eyes, my hair, my face.  She makes sure I put my Spanx on every day, so no one else can see my muffin top.  

When I do get to the gym to work out, she is a little weaker but then she makes me feel guilty for focusing so much on myself and tells me I am vain and self centered.  If I need time alone or away from the kids, she is right there with me the entire time, telling me that I don’t deserve to be a mother.  

She makes me spend money telling me that that will make me feel better and then criticizes me for going into debt.  She is strong.  

But I am stronger.  She cannot make me feel ‘less-than’ anymore.  She will NOT control me.  

I am enough just as I am.  

I am enough even on my bad days.  I am not afraid of her.  She has been my companion for too long.  I will not listen to her.  It is my choice and I will make that choice.  

When I feel weak, I will listen to my real friends and loved ones, who tell me that I am enough.  

I am enough and I am powerful.  

I am enough and I am strong.  

I am enough and I am beautiful.  

I am enough and I will prosper.  

I am enough and I am love.  

I am love and light and power.  

Even as I type this she is whispering “Who the fuck do you think you are? You sound ridiculous and self centered.” 


And I am telling her, ‘NO, I am enough.’  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Momma O's Fall Update

Yamaha YAS-25 Alto Saxophone
Fall is in full blast!  It is still hot as balls out, but school started and my new job at the school has started.  

Band practice has started.

Flag football has started.  

1973–95


The Eagles season has started.  

We are all in. Balls to the wall, full steam ahead.  At least until we hit that wall, which usually happens around November.  When the wall is hit, we are wiped out and then we have to get ready for the holidays.  

I have this image in my head of how the school year will go.  I have started with a good momentum by packing lunches every day, preparing dinner, making sure the kids are clean and in bed by 8:00pm.  I am getting the kids up early enough so there is no crazy rushing around in the morning.  I am not sure how long this will last, because by February or there about, we are usually getting up with the most minimal time needed to get ready.  No lunch is packed and I am scrambling to make sure that their lunch accounts have some money in them.  And dinner consists of frozen waffles and a yogurt.  But for now I am going to bask in the glory of everything being done right and in a timely manner!  

"Your community can sponsor a school lunc...I started a new job.  I am the lunch lady at the kids’ school.  I don’t see my kids because I work in a different building, but I will get to see Little One, next year. That is, if I decide to stay and I haven’t lost all my shit by the time school is over!  As the lunch lady I am responsible for all of the first and second graders (approximately 600 munchkins). I make sure they get in line if they are ordering lunch.  I get them sitting down to eat their lunches.  Since they are relatively little guys and gals, I have to open juice boxes, yogurts, snacks and milks.  I can also foresee carpel tunnel set in for all the shoes I have to tie.  After they are done eating — and there is never enough time - I wipe down all of their tables and then take them out to recess until their teachers are done eating their lunches and come to retrieve them.  I do this four times, in a row for about 150 kids at a pop.  It is the fastest 2.5 hours of my life, every day.  

The kids are a riot.  Some of them need more discipline at home.  Some of them need more help in school.  Some of them are not happy.  Some of them are super hyper.  Some are space cadets.  And the vast majority are really great kids.  I love the kids. They make me laugh, smile, wince, roll my eyes, cry and they make me talk to myself.  This is motherhood, so I am well suited.  I am not sure if I am getting the whole “time away from my kids” thing correct.  Since now I am just spending that time with other peoples kids.  At least there is a meager paycheck in it at the end of the week.  

Then we have this crazy armed burglary/home invasion stuff going on in our neighborhood.  Yes, you read that right.  It is complete bullshit.  These desperate sonsabtches are going to houses in broad daylight, banging on the doors and then breaking in.  It is so comforting to know that they have no fear in being caught,  because most people are not home during the day, except for some of us.  I am a bit rattled.  But we have our vicious dog who will tear apart anyone who tries to get in and my double-black belt in TaiKwanJuJitSu will also help.  Mother fuckers need to step back.  Other than that, there really is nothing in this house worth more than a few bucks.  Believe me I have tried to sell most of this shit on the yard sale sites and no one wants it.   

Then we have my MiMom (94 year old grandmother) who fell and broke her hip in the nursing home…. yes, IN the nursing home.  They actually had to perform surgery and she did well.  It has been a trying summer to say the least.  I spent my birthday in the hospital with my MiMom as she went in for surgery that day.  It was not the best way to turn 42 but it could have been worse.  

I look forward to fall.  I love the change of seasons, the smells, the warm clothes that cover up hairy legs, the boots that hide the jacked up toes, the scarves and accessories.  Time to break out the crock pot and have the house smelling yummy with food only The Hub and I will eat.  


My plan is to write more, now that I have all this time on my hands….wait, what?  Time, is still a commodity that eludes me.  Until the next update. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Play Play Play all Day Day Day

The end of the summer.  The end of the sleeping-in.  Well sort of sleeping-in, more like awaking without a set schedule.  Every night, the boys and I have a routine.  I kiss them goodnight and they ask, “So, what is the plan for tomorrow?”  And I start with the same thing, “We will get up, eat breakfast, get dressed…..”  then I have to figure out what we are going to do the next day.  When they were very little and on the days Little One was not in preschool last year, I would finish with “then we will play, play, play all day, day, day.”  There were many days this summer I said that also.  

Now that school is starting and both of my boys will be in school all day, I am…I am… that is the thing, I don’t know?  This will be the first time in 11 years that I will be without a child by my side for the majority of the day.  They both will be out of my care for almost 9 hours a day.  

I have been on a mission to find a job that can accommodate my new schedule. I posted this:  
...just to make sure everyone knew!    I interviewed for a lunch lady position at the school, which will not pay much, but the hours work.  I have started submitting my writing to publications in hopes of getting paid to write.  I am not there yet, but I got my first rejection, which actually made me feel pretty good.  It made me feel like a real writer.  I have been focusing on getting a job, mostly because, being home without the boys - while it will be wonderful at first - may just drive me batty.  

Since the day I laid my eyes on First Born, I began my mission.  I became a mom.  I did not know until that moment - seeing him, holding him in my arms - that I wanted to be a mom.  The Hub and I had decided to start a family.  We both talked about being parents, and what that would mean; how we thought our lives would have to change and how we would want to raise our family.   

Although I consciously made the effort to become a mother, I did not feel that I could do it until I saw First Born’s face.  His entrance into our lives sealed in me what I was put here to do.  I was put here to be a mother.  I finally found a fit.  I found something that I could be good at.  I am still striving to be “good at it,” as it is a continual process. But I am enjoying the process.  

When Little One was born I was already a mother, however being the mother of 2 was not something I was sure about.  I adored First Born so much, that I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to devote the time and love to another one.  I was proven wrong.  The love was not divided it was multiplied. Little One and his birth process made me so much stronger and Motherhood requires strength, courage and vigilance, to name a few.  

I am here to be their mother.   They made me who I am.  It is a difficult thing to admit that I did not feel like I had anything to offer the world until they came along. I don’t mean that in a bad way.  I did not know at the time that I felt that way, until I had something to offer.  That is the thing about parenthood.  No one really knows what they are getting into.  No one has any idea how they will react to or feel about being a parent, until it is thrust in their face.  Talk about trial by fire!  I am grateful that my boys have been what my life was missing.  Not just the joy they bring me, or the beauty that they instill, but the messy, crazy, headache inducing stress of it all. 

I am all in.  All my chips rest with my ability to raise these little monkeys into productive, happy, well adjusted members of our world.  I take it seriously, but laugh at it at the same time.  I can’t take myself too seriously, because I know I am full of faults and misconceptions.  I am fully aware of my “fake it till you make it” situation.  I push myself to learn more about raising the kind of men that will impart love and compassion into the world.  And as much as I want to get it right, I know that a lot of it is just a crap shoot.    

I guess my thought is: I have devoted the past 11 years to having my boys at my side.  It was a conscious choice that we were lucky enough to be able to make. One income and the pressure that involves is not easy.  But we make it work.  It is also not easy on my ego.  I have always prided myself in being an independent woman.  I moved out and took care of myself from the age of 19.  I did not depend on anyone, (except for that year that I moved back home after a bad break up, oh yea, that sucked!)  But I always had a full time job, paid my own bills and lived on my own.  It was a source of pride and accomplishment. Even after the Hub and I got married, we split everything down the middle.  

Fast forward 13 years and his paycheck is the only thing we have to “split” between a mortgage, loans, taxes, utilities, etc. Yes,  I have had sporadic jobs watching other people’s children, for which I got paid.  I have also worked at Little One’s preschool, as a lunch lady/teachers assistant, for which I also got paid, a little.  But, I have not brought home a normal paycheck for 11 years. The pressure that puts on The Hub does not seem fair, but he assures me it is. 

My job, my mission, was taking care of my boys and raising them.  It still is my job and my mission, but now I will have less hours in the day to do it.  Where do those hours leave me?  What is my ‘job?’  I need a purpose during that time.  If I stay home, I will sit and think about too much and I don’t need all that mess.  



I will miss having a little one at home, so much.
I will miss the little hand in mine as we walk outside to play.  
I will miss the little socks that get lost in the back seat of the car on the way to the grocery store.  
I will miss my one on one time with a new, little, exploring mind. 
I will miss the belly laughter at a favorite show. 
I will miss the snuggles at nap time.  
I will miss games of hide and seek where the 'hider' is always in full view. 
I will miss teaching them their ABCs, or how to count, or their colors.  
I will miss drawing with them or leaving messages for daddy at work.  
I will miss those tight-neck-squeeze hugs. 
I will miss spaghetti box trains.
I will miss sticky peanut butter and jelly kisses after lunch.

If I am home to ponder and think about all of that, the Zolft dosage will be doubling, sooner rather than later!   I need to keep myself occupied between the times that I am actively mothering.  Ideally, I could just write all day and get paid!  That would rock.  Anyone hiring?  But until that works. I will be the lunch lady or the playground assistant, or whatever else is needed between the hours of 8:30 and 3:30.   

Then they will get off the bus and most likely ignore me. But I will be here to be ignored, make dinner, take them to practice, and turn off the radio in the car when they start to talk about their day.  (Car talks are the best.)  I will be here to help with the homework, look over test scores and hear about their teachers. I will do the laundry every day (that just made me laugh out loud, cause, who am I kidding? That laundry will be done in 10-load spurts.  You know it and I know it.)   I will make them practice guitar and saxophone and any other interest they may have.  I will make sure they are showering and First Born is putting on his deodorant.  I will get them the coolest hair cuts and buy them new shoes every 3 months as they grow out of them.  It is still continuing and someday I will miss all of these things too. 

My boys are growing up. They will be out of the house all day, every day. When I kiss  them goodnight every night and they ask,  “So what is the plan for tomorrow?”   I will tell them.  

But I will look forward to a snow day or the summer break to say,   “Play, play, play all day, day, day,” and hope that that means as much to them as it does to me. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Day in a Mom's Life... Just Sayin'

www.mommaosmusings.com
We are always thinking five steps ahead.  Whether you work in the home, or both in and out of the home, mothers everywhere are on top of their game.  If they are not they are lam blasted by anyone who has an opinion.  

I have young children and watch other people's young children.  When watching my kids or others my first priority is, well, them.  If they want to play, we play, if they want to eat, we eat, if they want to go outside, we go outside, if they want... well, you get the picture.  

I do this, all the while, planning my next 18 hours.  I am clock watching for, 
Clockmeal time, 
diaper change time,
potty time (mine and theirs),  
snack time, 
nap time, 
homework time, 
laundry time, 
reading time, 
TV time, 
bath time 
and finally bed time.

As I am clock watching I am worrying:  
Did they eat enough/too much?  
Are they eating the right things? 
Did they poop/pee?  
When was the last time they pooped/peed? 
Are they they on target developmentally?  
Am I favoring one over the other?  
Am I creating brats, who always get what they want? 
Am I too hard on them?  
Do I expect too much/too little? 
Is my messy house a problem?  
How do other moms keep everything so friggin clean and straightened up? 
How can I expect my kids to straighten up if I don't?  
When can I get some "me" time?  
Do I deserve "me" time?  
Can I sneak in a nap?  
Can I sneak in a nap and not feel guilty?  
Do I hover over the kids too much?  
Can I let them watch TV for over and hour?  
What is with this attitude?  
Is my 7 year old really rolling his eyes at me already??? 
How do I  get my children to wash their hands/say thank you/share/be kind to others/feel less anxious/pull up their zipper/tie their shoes/eat their food, etc.?

www.mommaosmusings.com
While all this is going on in my head, I am:
playing Star Wars, 
preparing meals, 

cleaning up meals, 
setting up paper and washable markers, 
cleaning up said paper and washable markers... Damn it! they really are not washable! 
Playing Play-doh, why does it smell like that? It has not changed since the 70s, is it toxic because everything in the 70s was toxic, right? 
Getting juice, no milk, no water, no "I WANT JUUUUUIIIIICCE!!!!!" 
Making appointments, 
planning vacations,  
researching pre-schools, illnesses, parenting skills, sexual predators in my area.  OMG! How scary is that!  There are just too many freaky people out there!

I have only cracked the surface.  I am sure there is more, but it is 11 o'clock at night and I have used up my blogging time.   So I hope you enjoyed my brain, or lack there of!

Oh yea, did I mention I have to maintain: 
English: Typical Sippy Cup Safari cupsa good marriage, 
a weight, 
an identity, 
my medication 
and my sanity.  


Just sayin’. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Brain Matters

Summer has been a whirlwind so far.  I cannot seem to catch my breath.  On July 1st my grandmother died.  She was 88.  Leading up to her death was a year and a half of a downward spiral.  She suffered from an evil called dementia.  It started with her anxiety and constant worry.  This was not new as she seemed to always worry, but it was much more pronounced.  It progressed into panic, violent outbursts to full blown dementia. 

Русский: Крушение поезда с царской семьей. Борки.
If you have not dealt with someone with dementia, it is difficult to explain. With dementia, it seems as if the years all stumble together.  Like a freight train that was going through life at a fast speed until it crashed.  Each car colliding into the next. Some cars overlapping and flying to the front.  All containing life events, memories and wild dreams.  And as these life events, memories and dreams tumble out of the cars the person is left trying to sort through them and put them back where they belong. But the places that they belong are irreversibly damaged.  

Also my good friends brain is not working properly.  She is a beautiful woman who graduated University with honors and received awards in her field before falling to mental illness, drugs and alcohol.  In which order, I am not sure.  For 20 years she has battled and struggled with this illness. I have learned to befriend her in a totally different way.  I love her and always will.  I also miss the person she was but cannot mourn that loss because there are still glimmers of that old person in the person she is now.  

I have another grandmother who is approaching 94 years old. Her brain has not changed but I now know she has suffered from a form of mental illness for most of her life.  She has been and is even more so now, delusional.  She makes up stories. Before, you sort of knew what to believe and what not to believe.  Now, you really cant believe much.  This has made me question how many things I have believed in the past, that may not have been reality.  I revisit some of her stories and make sure they were corroborated by my grandfather or other relatives.  It simultaneously makes me angry, sad and amused. She has a good heart.  Most of her stories were to protect someone or make things look better than they actually were. She may have done that over the years to help herself get through difficult times and finding that it worked for her, she continued.  

The thought of losing my mind is one of my biggest fears along with it being completely within reach.  I have suffered from depression and anxiety for most of my life. Although I have it under control with therapy and medication, there are times I can fully relate to how the brain just wants to let go and stop taking orders.  

When I suffered from postpartum depression, with my First Born, It was after he weened from nursing. My hormone levels changed and I would cry almost every day.  I did not recognize it as depression since I was able to function, and it did not feel like the depression I had experienced before. I was able to get in under control with therapy and Prozac.  The combo helped immensely.  

Five years later when I suffered with Postpartum Depression after Little One, it hit me in the form of severe panic attacks. While pregnant with him I spent 9 weeks in the hospital on bed rest because of placenta-previa.  When he was born 6 weeks early he spent 18 days in the NICU, I spent every day running back and forth to the hospital while forgetting to eat, and obsessively pumping breast milk.  The day after we brought him home, I suffered a kidney stone attack.  A week after that I was back in the ER with a gall bladder attack requiring surgery.  A month later I had to have half of my thyroid removed because of a benign lump. 

After all of this happened my brain failed me.  I was convinced I was going to die.  I was convinced that cancer was running through my body.  I was convinced that I would never see my children grow up. I was convinced that my children would be left without a mother. I was convinced that I was going to leave my husband widowed.

These convictions were what sent me into a tailspin of severe panic.  Panic to the point of not getting out of my bed and walling myself in a cocoon of blankets. I was awake all night with a premie newborn - pumping and feeding him my milk from a bottle because he was too tiny to latch on.  I was obsessed with making milk as it was the only thing I felt I was able to do.   I was afraid of eating and felt perpetually nauseous.  I shrunk down to 105 lbs. which I had not been for over 20 years.

While my husband was at work, my mother and my best friend took turns helping me.  They did all the things that I should have been doing.  First Born was then almost 5 years old and they parented and took care of him and Little One.  I felt immense amounts of guilt.  They tried to get me to eat and tried to help me get out of my room. But I felt paralyzed.  

On a good day, when the haze lifted slightly, I got to my doctor who prescribed Xanax, which I was afraid to take because I was nursing.  Luckily my freezer was so packed with breast milk that we could barely fit any thing else in there.  So when I finally persuaded myself to take half a pill, I could then pump and dump.  The Xanax worked which then led me to contact a therapist.  This led me to talk to my Dr. about an antidepressant that I could take while nursing.  I did not want to.  I was so afraid that it would hurt Little One.  They told me that Zoloft was the safest one to take while breast feeding. The Zoloft started to work which then led me to join a group for moms with PPD. The combo of all of these things helped me escape the demons.  

I can see why people have thought that they were possessed when suffering from mental illness.  There is a definite displacement.  A disassociation, of what is really happening, what you perceive to be happening and what you know to be true.  Everything is turned on its head.  Everything is warped.  So when my friend, whom I have known since childhood, tells me that she is hearing voices that are deceiving her-although I have not experienced that- I get it.  I get the fear and confusion.  When I would talk to my grandmother who suffered from dementia and she would tell me about the long deceased relative that she was just talking to, or how everyone around her was after her, or how she needed money so she could get herself a hotdog, I got it.  I got the panic and disorientation.  When my other grandmother starts to tell me an outlandish tale that involves her being the savior or hero, I get it.  I get the wanting of things to be so different from what they actually are and wanting that so badly that you convince yourself of it. 

The brain seems to be both extremely sensitive and immensely strong.  Its power is frightening.  We must take care of it, just as we try to take care of the rest of our body.  Summertime is supposed to be a vacationtime.  Maybe the rest of this summer, I will concentrate on giving my brain a vacation.  Letting it get some R&R.  Allowing the worry to stop and the light to shine in.  I want to preserve it, nourish it and honor it.   Stay healthy my friends.


English: diffusion MRI Tractography in the bra...



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Because I Said So.

Why?
Why? (Photo credit: wadem)
‘Why?  But WHY?’ 

Because I said so.

Because I am your mother.

Because life is not fair.

or my favorite... “Z”

There have to be better answers that I can give. I just have not figured it out yet. I have used these above, standard, time-tested answers to “Why?”  

But we need some new ones.  

My children have been asking this question since they learned the word.  It is an information gathering word.  When they were 2, 3 and 4 they were just learning about, well, everything. Just figuring things out, they had to ask ‘Why.’  This - while annoying after the 300th ‘Why’ of the day - can be endearing in little ones.  I wanted to give them the information they needed to navigate their world.  I felt a strong responsibility to impart the correct information.

As they get older the ‘Why’ is still about gathering information.  But this information gathering is more about how they can use it to argue their point.   

Why not
Why not (Photo credit: Pete Reed)
There are countless times my children are asking to do something/ have something/ go somewhere or eat something. If I say ‘No,’  the inevitable ‘Why’ follows.  Sometimes, the real reason I say no is, I just don’t have the damn time to even think about the question they are asking me. They ask when I am doing 500 things at once or am significantly distracted  i.e. picking up the phone, sitting down to eat, paying bills, starting a conversation, writing, reading, cooking, etc.  

They have learned that if they ask for something when mom and dad (but especially dad) are busy, there is a 60/40 chance that you will get an agreeable nod or a positive sounding grunt.  

Lumberjack
Lumberjack (Photo credit: ElDave)
One day, my then 5 year old was walking out of the shed with a saw.  Yes, a real, log-cutting saw.   When I asked him what he was doing, he said, “Daddy said it’s ok!”  Meanwhile my husband was in the shed wrestling to fix our ever breaking weed-whacker, while our son walked in, talked his ear off for a full 5 minutes, and then asked his dad if he could be a lumberjack.  Sometimes I believe that my boys are genius’s. Little. Evil. Genius’s.  
  
Then there are times I just don’t think that my children deserve another, blessed, fun thing for the day!  After playing with friends, swimming, ice-pops,  popcorn, impromptu baseball games and an overall fun-filled day, I may say, “Now go read for 30 mins.” If that is followed by a ‘Why,’ I want to explode.  Are they kidding me?   

My exploding brain is because, no matter what answer I give, that answer will be met with a rebuttal, counter point, followed by negotiations and pleadings.  I don’t have time for this shit!   My almost 11 year old is excellent at explaining to me why I am wrong, or why my reason is not a valid one. If he can not debate the reason he will plea and negotiate his terms for doing whatever was asked of him.  I would like to say that I do not give in.  For the most part that is true, but I must give in sometimes if they continue to use this tactic, right?  

They wear me down.  They know my weaknesses: the end of the day, their father is working late, I am hungry, I need 5 minutes alone, I Just. Want. Quiet.  

At these times I try the tactic at which - after I have asked them to do something - I ignore the ‘Why’ which is then followed by the scream..... “Maaooooommmm, are you even listening to me?!?”   

Does this get any easier?  I need to have some authority.  Remember when kids used to fear their parents?   Was it easier for them - those 70s, smoking, drinking, beat-the-shit-outta-you parents who would send the kids out at dawn and not let them back in until the streetlights came on?   It had to be easier than the negotiations.  I believe that my son could very deftly wear down any hostage situation.  He could also be the lawyer for Dracula in a murder trial and get Dracula off with time served.  

Where am I going wrong?  Please tell me I am not alone.  Let me know you experience this too.  Why?  Because life is not fair, I am your Momma O and I said so!  That’s Why!  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Momma O Got Schooled!


I attended a blogging conference this weekend.  I have never been to a blogging conference before.  In fact I have never been to any conference before.  I follow some pretty amazing bloggers, Jen, of People I Want to Punch in the Throat.  Bethany, of I Love Them Most when they are Sleeping, Stephanie, of Binkies and Briefcases, Ninja Mom, Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva..... There are just too many to mention and now - after this conference - I am following so many more!   These and many other wonderful writers converged in a vortex of awesome in Baltimore, MD, on the beautiful campus of University of Notre Dame, Maryland.  The conference consisted of a cocktail reception, a full day of classes, and a Retro Prom hosted by NickMom.

I was encouraged to go to this conference by some really great friends and a really great husband.  I did not know what to expect going in, but I wanted to learn what to do to become a better writer. I wanted to find out if I should continue to write or throw in the towel on this whole blogging thing. I also wanted to meet some of those above mentioned bloggers that I stalk admire.  

The first blogger that I started following was Jen of People I Want To Punch In The Throat.  When I read her Overachieving Elf on the Shelf, I felt like we shared the same brain.  Her words were exactly what I thought and felt.  From that moment on, I started writing increasingly.  I used the fact that so many people loved her and her thoughts that maybe they would love me and mine.  I reached out to her through email, very early on, and asked her questions about blogging to which she RESPONDED!  I was blown away. It was like getting an email from an author you really admire and having your questions answered.  Duh!  

The first night of the conference was a reception and cocktail part hosted by Full Tilt Beer.  (I would highly recommend the Raspberry Wheat.) I met some wonderful women and one man.  Let me tell you - he had balls to be the only man at this all woman conference.  His blog is awesome.  Check it out.   Then I spotted Jen of People I Want To Punch In The Throat.  I confirmed with anyone that was in earshot that it was indeed, THE Jen.  Then, I made my way over to her.   I know her, I read her, I follow her, I love her, she is the reason I started blogging.  I instantly reached out to give her a hug.... but midway in,  I realized that, 'Wait, she has no idea who the fuck I am, maybe I should not be accosting her!'  Then, I kind of pulled back as she, very graciously, was accepting of the hug.  SO it became this awkward hug, no hug, full on hug, thing.  To make matters worse, after I got informed consent for the hug, I think I held the hug too long.  (I may have smelled her hair, too.) Oh, and I probably interrupted her conversations, which left a group of wonderful ladies standing there witnessing my aggressive awkwardness.   Not sure if THE Jen remembers me, but I have to apologize publicly to her anyone else that had to witness that. I am sorry.  

Jen’s kindness and the warmth and acceptance of all the “big names” there was uplifting.  Ninja Mom writes some really funny stuff and I already loved her before meeting her.  But in person she is 10 times more hilarious. She needs her own show.  Kim Bongiorno of Let Me Start By Saying is such a wealth of information that she dispels freely and with patience.  The founder of Blog U, Stephanie from Binkies and Breifcases has to be one of the kindest souls I have ever encountered.  Not to mention my own personal idol Bethany Meyer, of I Love Them Most When They Are Sleeping. We drove to the conference together and I am forever thankful that she befriends me and gave me a second chance!  I met some people that I connected with immediately.  Teri, of Snarkfest, and Somewhat Sane Mom are, absolutely, my kind of people. Tiffany of Committedwife.com is on the mark. Keia, of Two Storied House is extremely talented, Kristi, of Finding Ninee made be cry at her open mic appearance.  Jenn, of Something Clever 2.0 , is very funny and a vision to boot. So many made their mark on me that I am sorry I can't list them all.  

I walked away with so much from the Blog U 14 conference - the classes and at the open mic nights.  I learned that I LOVE when I read my work aloud and people respond by laughing and snorting.  I learned that I am allowed to consider myself a writer.  I learned that I have to edit and walk away and edit and walk away and then edit one more time before I hit “publish.”  I learned that social media is my friend!  Who knew?  I learned that a going to a prom in your 40s is so much better than when you are in your teens. I enthusiastically recommend it.  I also learned that I can still do the running man, the roger rabbit (but not as good as my adorable roommate Jenn Rian as witnessed here!) and the cabbage patch but will pay for it in the morning and possibly a few mornings after that.  I am going to continue to write.  I am even going to try to get paid for my writing.  The BlogU 14 conference left me feeling encouraged, inspired and gave me more knowledge than I though was available. 

Us writers - wow that feels good to say - are a strange bunch.  Many of us are socially awkward. Some of us talk, nonstop.  Some of us find it hard to speak.  Some of us get too nervous around large groups.  Some of us have to decompress after too much interaction with people. Some of us LOVE being the center of attention.  Some of us dance to footloose like we were IN the movie.  Some of us like to give hugs without considering whether the recipient is game.  The thing is, we all want to be heard.  We all have a voice and we all become free and less inhibited when we start writing.  We are part of a very unique tribe.   A tribe that I am so humbled and proud to feel a part of.  






P.S.  I just have to mention a few more bloggers that I was so impressed with (in no particular order):
Keeper of The Fruit Loops 
Kissing the Frog  
Ditching the Masks 
Becoming SuperMommy 
The Mom of the Year 
Bad Parenting Moments 






Monday, May 5, 2014

Yeah Write Entry # 160

Warmth

Sun

Sand

The dull din of waves, kids playful screams and a multitude of conversations.

Then it happened.

I dropped the french fry.

They came out of no where and everywhere.

Cawing and screaming for more.  

Relentless

Fearless


Peace stealing birds.

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This is an entry into this week's Gargleblaster brought to us by Yeah Write 
The Rules:
Why do birds suddenly appear?
Give us your answer in 42 words. We know you all know the next line in the song. Let’s see if you can make us think of something different. Take it out of context of the original song and help me clear my head!
You don’t need to include the question in your 42-word response, and you should make sure your answer stands alone. What do we mean? Write down the question. Write down your response. Now cover the question with your hand and read your answer out loud. Does it still make sense when you don’t know the question? That’s what we’re looking for. Be creative, and remember: no family allowed!