5 writers, 1 country, 1,000 emotions – I’M GOING TO CHINA with Mandarin Journeys!


bucket list china 2

Yes, you read that correctly. I’m going to CHINA!!! (if you are imagining me yelling that in a loud Oprah-like voice, you would be absolutely correct.)

I am still stunned. Still feel heart palpitations. Still amazed that I was asked by Mandarin Journeys to be part of this unbelievable experience. To be one of five writers to travel for eight days throughout China. To write about our experiences and share a world so different from our own. To leave our families, our jobs, our responsibilities and get immersed in a culture and beauty that I’m sure will leave me in awe. I’m anticipating my mouth open in every single picture.

And it’s not one of those cookie cutter tours. This is a personalized tour of experiences off the beaten path. We’ll be part of a tour made just for us. From taking a sidecar motorcycle tour around Shanghai to learning how to cook a home style meal to seeing the Shanghai Acrobats and Yu Gardens and to getting our minds and body challenged by Tai Chi – we’ll be doing all the things on my bucket list. Which is why we are calling this #bucketlistChina if you want to follow along!

Check out some of the places we are going to see…

city view

bucketlistchina2

The trip is the end of April. We’ve been told we’ll have internet access so I’m planning to post about our adventures, as well as my feels and experiences before and after the trip.

And of course, I’ll be bringing Flat Martini along! He’s very excited to meet some new cocktails on the 14 hour flight over there….

But I don’t want to just post about the things we did. I want to post about my feelings and thoughts about this all. About leaving my family and doing something truly just for me. I am struggling a bit with that. Wondering if it’s okay for me to leave my responsibilities and indulge. It’s not a trip with my husband. It’s not a family vacation. It’s truly something just for me. It’s a strange exhilarating feeling, mixed with bouts of guilt.

But I’m doing it. I’m doing it because I need to seize these moments. Not just for myself but to show my kids that their mom is more than just a mom. To show them that it’s okay to leave. That it actually makes us better parents.

I hope you’ll follow along with me. Let’s go on this adventure together!

How can you follow along?

 

Disclaimer: Mandarin Journeys invited me to travel with them to China and are providing accommodations. All opinions are my own.

 

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Flat Martini visits California!


If you thought Flat Martini’s first trip was exciting, just wait until you check out this week’s adventure. When I got the pictures from it, I couldn’t stop hysterically laughing. And it was that kind of laugh where your kids say, “Mom, what’s so funny?” and you have to quickly shut the top of your laptop so they can’t see and ask you why there’s a laminated cocktail plastered all over your screen.

Flat Martini was a lucky guy this week. These two ladies are readers who are so awesome. They comment, they share, and they laugh at my ridiculous Facebook posts. What more can a writer possibly ask for? I loved that they are friends who wanted to show Flat Martini around together. How sweet – Flat Martini bringing people together.

I asked them to each write a few sentences about themselves. Even their bios are hilarious.

Joanna James: Joanna lives in Ladera Ranch, Calif., far too close to one of those “Real Housewives,” with her husband Richard and 10-year-old son, Travis. When not wasting time on Facebook or playing tennis, she works as an accountant, helping small businesses not go broke. She would rather be sitting on a Hawaiian beach with her toes in the sand and a tropical drink nearby than writing this.

Juliana Kelly: After moving from Connecticut to California for college, Juliana found her Prince Charming, had two more little “charmings” and woke up surprised to find herself living in Orange County after years of making fun of tan, planned communities. She is a registered nurse, a really bad elementary school tutor, a very fast driver (why are we always late?!) and a pretty chill friend. Occasionally she participates in half marathons, but currently her interests are Cadbury mini eggs and her furry Restoration Hardware blanket. Joanna claims that Juliana is Martinis and Minivans (Danielle Herzog) doppelgenger but this can only be proven by matching birthmarks.

 

So without futher ado, here’s their adventure with Flat Martini!

joanna and juliana martini

Flat Martini had an amazing time with the real housewives of Orange County, California. No, not those housewives…the REAL housewives of Orange County; the ones who have professional type jobs, who do homework with their kids, shuttle them to baseball and other activities and most definitely need some three-dimensional martinis to deal with all that shit.

Sure, those other housewives drink martinis, and sometimes even in the same places we do. But despite the way things might appear on TV, we have WAY more fun.

staples center

That includes fun in places like Los Angeles and Laguna Beach. Just like those other housewives, Flat Martini’s hosts Joanna and Juliana escape from our more inland abodes to the sand, art galleries and great restaurants/bars.

Flat Martini didn’t quite understand, though, that we usually go to the beach to cool off, not to be someplace warmer (note Juliana’s winter vest vs. bikinis on the beach, but c’mon – it was like 67 degrees at my house).

bikini lady

Either way, he was happy to enjoy the company of other martinis at Nick’s in Laguna Beach, see the lifeguard shack and be someplace warm enough where people are going shirtless. Except, ewww…maybe not that one!

topless man

Enjoying our “secret lives” at Nick’s while the kids are in school.

drinking together

Flat Martini also met the official greeter of Laguna Beach, Eiler Larsen (who Juliana thinks was another homeless guy.  Even homeless guys are famous in the OC!).  After greeting random European tourists and annoyed Tesla-driving Barbies we all sat in the sand and declared “How cute are we?!” cause we had unintentional matching pedicures.  Cheers! We match!

pedicure

Then he went shopping with us on the way back home to help us stock up for dealing with the rest of our fun-filled lives. (Organic means its good for you right?)

organic vodka Waving

Because here in Orange County, despite what the rest of the world may have seen on TV, it’s not all fun in the sun. Sometimes our lives are filled with the really craptastically amusing stuff, like fifth grade homework that usually makes someone mad and someone cry.  Ok it’s us, we are the ones crying and screaming.  But have you seen this common core shit? There’s not enough vodka in the world for this stuff to make sense.

But that’s OK…as long as you show your work, and explain your thinking, Flat Martini is an acceptable answer.

boys homework

The occasional cosmo or lemon drop are also good answers to the question, “How was baseball practice?”

cocktails

See, the baseball field is where Juliana and Joanna will be spending a big part of the next three months. Field practice, batting practice PLUS two games a week. The real fun will be when the boys’ teams play one another (#weareallwinners).

Here’s the worst thing…the signs at the park entrance say, “NO ALCOHOL.” Are you kidding me? Does the Little League not know how much money it would make if the snack bar had a frickin’ liquor license?!?   ‘Cause we are walking distance, just sayin.  They could make it like a rave or something.  We are too old to have gone to raves but we imagine that if a rave were to be at the little league snack bar it would be like this:  at 8pm a mysterious line starts up at the back of the snack bar, people jostle for position, parents are actually happier at the end of baseball even though it’s 9pm on a school night. 

(End dream sequence here.)

Flat Martini was a little unsure of what to make of baseball practice. The kids didn’t look like they were having that much fun, and that’s what this is supposed to be about. Or maybe the boys had fun at practice, they just didn’t understand why they were posing for a picture with a drawing of…well, we’d like to pretend that they don’t know what that is, but they’ve definitely seen their mommies holding a few of them.

baseball

Thanks for reading – and cheers to Flat Martini for visiting!

HA ladies! I seriously can’t stop laughing. That last picture of the boys looking so unbelievably peeved to be holding Flat Martini is awesome. So so awesome.

Thank you ladies for being such amazing hosts to my laminated cocktail of love. Can’t wait to see where he goes next week for his next adventure!

 

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Literary agent Jessica Sinsheimer answered your questions!


Since I announced signing with the amazing Jessica Sinsheimer from Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency a few months ago (you can read about that HERE), I have had many folks ask me questions about what it’s like to work with an agent and the various aspects of publishing. So instead of me answering, I thought I would go right to the source – Jessica herself.

So I put a post up on Facebook asking you to send me your questions for Jessica, and lo and behold, I received a ton of them.

I picked the questions that I felt would be most helpful to budding writers, as well as questions that would make you (and hopefully her!) smile. And then I made her participate in a video question and answer session about ridiculous things so everyone can realize that literary agents are actual human beings and not mythical creatures who only read all day long. Though, man, I would seriously choose that mythical creature over a unicorn any day of the week.

Okay Jessica, after a rough day at work, you walk into a bar and order a ___________ ?

Actually, I’m not really that hardcore. I probably wouldn’t walk into a bar to have a drink alone. (To solve that problem, years ago, I started a Google Group of supportive agents/editors that everyone could reach with one email if they’d had a bad day—I called it Emergency Drinks Group, and we even threw a launch party–complete with red martinis Photoshopped onto emergency vehicles, printed on card stock–and decorated the table with them.)

However, if I was in a bar or restaurant or lounge and ordering something to drink, it’d be the gin and tonic, for several reasons: 1) You can’t really mess it up, 2) There aren’t really any terrible gins out there—that I know of, 3) Low calorie, and 4) If you drop it on yourself, it won’t stain. (I’ve actually never dropped one—or anything—on myself for years, but I do like to think about these things, just in case. Plus, far too many people decorate with expensive white couches, and I don’t want to take any chances or flip any cushions.)

If I’m feeling extra fancy, I do like gin, elderflower liqueur, and lemonade.

How does someone become a literary agent? 

Most agents start out as interns at agencies, publishing houses, or magazines. They slowly build their knowledge and skills to a point where they can assist an agent or editor—and then start to take on a list of their own. While, theoretically, anyone could decide, “I am going to call myself an agent today!”—well, most agents start by working with experienced agencies, learning through years of osmosis.

How do we know an agent is legit?

A large part of it has to do with their agency and that agency’s reputation. There’s a site called Preditors & Editors that will list those who are, you know, scam artists—and I know we hear about those, and “schmagents,” so much—but that really isn’t the norm.

Look on Publishers Marketplace for deals in your genre. Ask if that agency follows the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR) guidelines. Ensure that they don’t charge reading fees. Ideally—and this is changing somewhat, but still, ideally—they won’t accept any payment from you except 15 percent of what your book makes.

If you could go back at any point in your career and change something, what would it be?

It’s funny, because I thought about this for a long time. I actually don’t have any regrets. There are certainly things I could have known sooner that would have made my life easier—but I had to learn those lessons; everyone does. And you learn better if you’re there and experience it, versus having someone tell you.

If I could go back and tell Baby Agent Jessica one thing, it’d be that it’s okay to be different, open, exuberant, friendly. Every agent develops his or her own style—and that’s not only okay—it’s great! Agents vary a lot. And I love that about us.

What makes or breaks a pitch for you?

Voice. It’s always voice. Of course there are a lot of things that could break it, but it’s never the stuff writers seem to worry about most. I wouldn’t auto-reject for a typo, for example. Or even (much as it annoys me) someone who says “Dear Agent” at the beginning of a pitch. Perhaps the concept won’t work for me (and there are many reasons this could be the case). But, 95 percent of the time, it really just comes down to voice, and whether I want to read more.

How can I make my book proposal stand out to a publisher? How many chapters do you include and should the book be complete?

I say between 30 and 50 sample pages. In terms of standing out—that’s going to have to do with all of the aspects of your proposal, including the concept and overview, what’s on the market now (and how your book compares and adds something new), your platform, and—of course—execution.

The book does not have to be complete if it’s nonfiction—though, in some cases (especially with memoirs), it may make sense for you to write more, so that you gain a fuller understanding of the book’s narrative arc.

There’s a book I love called The Art of the Book Proposal by Eric Maisel. He talks about how book proposals are not just this thing you have to do—they’re also a tool to help you focus your ideas.

Speaking of proposals, if a man was going to propose to you over a homemade meal, what would it be?

Homemade pasta, preferably from an old-fashioned pasta crank. If you’ve never made it, you’re missing out. You can blend just about any steamed vegetable in the blender and add it to the dough, which is great fun.

What happens after you say “yes” to a manuscript? Walk us through the process. Are you very editorial? Do you share everything a publisher says to your authors?

I’m incredibly editorial, as you know, Danielle (though you were very patient when I kept going “Wait! Let me read it just one more time! We should move that comma!”). I love that step of the process—I get to feel like I’m helping to shape something, to bring it into focus. It feels very creative.

Then—this will surprise no one—I like to obsess over which editors get what when. If I had a massive, wall-sized whiteboard for all of the projects I had out, with arrows, it’d be like The Six Degrees of Manuscripts (as awesome as Kevin Bacon). I have charts for each author, organized into editor, imprint, house, status, rounds—and all of the important dates go on my calendar. It gets really intense.

In terms of what I share with authors, that depends on the author. Most prefer to see everything, but some just want a summary.

What happens if you’ve been working with a writer for a year but you can’t find a publisher willing to work with him/her?

Most likely I’d ask, “So, what are you working on next? Great! Let’s get started.”

This is the thing: I sign people because I think they have potential. Not because of that one book, but because of that person’s creative capacity. If the first or second or even third book doesn’t work, we’ll just keep trying.

I’m really lucky in that I’ve had some delightful surprises on this front—authors I signed for one project who emailed me one day with “Hey! So I’ve been working on this new thing…” and it turns out to be incredible.

My clients are amazing. I have no idea where they get so much creative energy, but it could definitely illuminate a small city, Monsters Inc. style.

Plus, they’re lovely people—which always helps. I think everyone works best when they feel happy, safe, appreciated, and understood. And I’m lucky enough to feel that with all of my clients.

Awhh shucks. I’m blushing. Though, she could be talking about a different client. Actually, she probably is. Who am I kidding? 

Now on to the very important questions. Check out this hilarious little video interview I made Jessica suffer through, I mean, participate in…

 

And if you are a querying writer, check out Jessica’s submission guidelines here. She’s also the co-creator of Manuscript Wish List, an awesome resource that shares what editors and writers are currently looking for in submissions. Check it out here.

And thanks to Jessica for taking time out of her insane schedule to answer these questions. I’m sending a virtual gin & tonic your way girl…

 

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FLAT MARTINI – His first trip!


It’s like Christmas morning in my world today. Not because a large, bearded man snuck into my house and left crap that makes a lot of noise and requires batteries we never actually have. But because…

FLAT MARTINI is here! And he’s back from his first trip. I’m guessing the little guy is napping right now from his crazy adventure.

Alyson gets a special hats-off for being the first. She didn’t even have time to get Flat Martini in the mail because she wanted to take him on her island vacation so she printed him out herself, gave him a trim & took him on his very first trip. What a trooper!

So without further ado, I’ll pass it off to Alyson Herzig. She’s the blogger and writer behind the utterly hilarious blog called The Shitastrophy.

alyson martini

If you have had a child in school in the last two decades you have probably met Flat Stanley. Stanley is a boy who travels around to near and far locales. His adventures are documented with the help of your lovely little protégé. If you want to witness parents going deep-six on their seven year olds homework this is the pinnacle of helicopter parenting.

The time has come to kick the overdone Stanley to the curb for a new and improved adult version – Flat Martini. I am honored to be the first person to pop his olive. Martini, my son, and I (minus The Hubs – it was so risqué) headed off on a weeklong trip to the island of Dominica in the Caribbean (and no it is NOT the Dominican Republic). Just getting to our final destination required four planes and one overnight layover, but it was worth it.

Dominica Mountains

The Dominica Mountains

 

Poor Martini was desperate to get out and see the sights after being trapped in my backpack for two days. I tried to enjoy a Mojito with him, but realized in the end I am a true beer lover. He took it well, and accepted there would be no clandestine affair between us on our vacation.

He became more of a wingman, and considering it was Carnival I couldn’t have been any more in the need. Especially that one night I lost my backpack with him in it, oh and my shoes. Thank God security at our hotel found it and gave it to someone in our party – of course it would have been lovely had they called me to let me know, but then I would have had no reason to freak the fuck out at 5 am and search the hotel compound envisioning how I would explain to my husband I needed to cancel my credit card and he should probably wire me some cash.

The whole purpose of the trip to Dominica was to scuba dive in some of the most beautiful water in the world. Here is the village of Soufriere from our boat.

Soufriere Dominica

The little dude made quick friends with our dive masters. Here he is with Jim Brown, who came over from St. Thomas to join us on the trip! Jim certified my 11-year-old son and I last year, and no doubt he is still suffering from PTSD after that experience. My kid could send Mother Theresa to the bar, and no doubt Jim would be in desperate need of some Martini’s after a week of diving with us.

Jim with Martini

Since alcohol and scuba diving are a no-no, I trusted my little partier with our wonderful boat captain Mano while we headed undersea to view the amazing coral reefs and vibrant fish. I’m pretty sure Mano was wishing Martini was real when I asked him to pose for this picture.

Mano with Martini

Martini with Scuba Gear

It wasn’t all scuba diving while we were there though. The island of Dominica has much to offer the outdoor enthusiast. Our group headed up to Trafalgar Falls and enjoyed a quick hike to the beautiful waterfall, and then a much-needed soak in one of the many hot springs on the island.

I hope you all appreciate that I have included this not so flattering photo of myself sans makeup. I may have cropped the bottom of this pic out to save a little dignity, I’m sure you understand.

Me with Martini TFalls Hot Springs

On our last day we hiked into the rainforest to visit Meddleham Falls. Luckily we had Monsieur Martin, our Tour Guide, to show us the way.  Oh and to keep me from imploding when I had to listen to one person in our group whine about the hike taking more than the posted 45 minutes (psst – that’s because you kept taking breaks because you are out of shape).

As if the adult bitching was not enough I almost lost my shit on my son who insisted on wearing his crocs and then proceeded to complain when he broke his shoes half way into the hike. I would have really loved Flat Martini to be an actual martini at this point, and possibly to have reproduced into a whole bottle of alcohol.

Martin with Martini

All in all Flat Martini was a wonderful travel companion. He was my trusted wingman at Carnival, enjoyed a lovely adventure when I lost him and my backpack at the hotel, didn’t get sea sick on the boat, and even read the map – which is more than most men would do. Maybe Flat Martini is really a woman?

Martini on Meddleham Falls Pic

 

Thanks Alyson – that was awesome! Stay tuned next week to see where life takes Flat Martini. I have a feeling things are going to be getting a little crazy up in here with the folks I heard he’s visiting next week…

And stop by and visit Alyson’s blog. You can also catch her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram. Tell her Flat Martini sent ya.

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The Oscars – as seen from my couch…


oscarsLike many others, I celebrate the Oscars by putting on my best pair of sweatpants, busting out the chips I hide from the kids and popping open a cheap bottle of wine. Then I hunker down on the couch and get my tweeting fingers ready. Award shows are to tweeters what naked butt pictures are to Kim Kardashian.

But I understand that Twitter isn’t for everyone. Especially one of my neighbors who can’t stop calling it Twatter.

So I collected some of my observations I tweeted last night and posted them here.

- It’s Christmas Day for me – the ! I’ve decorated the house in Spanx & bronzer and am wearing my best sweatpants for the occasion.

– Quote from 6 yr old daughter seeing J Lo: “Oh no. There’s too many boobies in that dress.”

- Oh Melanie Griffith. I remember the days when we would be able to see if you were happy or sad.

I’m so excited that Lady Gaga is going to help do the dishes after the Oscars. What a team player.

– Oh Reese. I want to love your dress because I love you. But the truth is that I didn’t know ace bandages came in black.

– I feel bad for Lupita. There’s a plethora of inappropriate pearl necklace jokes in her foreseeable future.

– How awesome would be it be if Adam Levine was secretly wearing fake tattoo sleeves this whole time.

- Spoiler: they are going to find J Lo’s bra in the glass box with Neil Patrick Harris’ predictions.

I will love the forever if Adam Sandberg comes back on stage with a box on his junk.

Wait! Kerry Washington actually walks like that?? I thought only Olivia Pope did it when she was saving the world and drinking wine.

– I have great respect for a host that can make a balls joke on the fly. Well done Neil Patrick Harris. 

- I feel bad for Gwyneth Paltrow. It sucks when a pink shark eats your arm and just leaves a bunch of seaweed on your shoulder.

- The irony is not lost on me that my husband just muted the tv during the award for sound mixing.

- Can you consciously uncouple with a dress?

- Terrence Howard’s speech was weird. But then again, it’s hard out here for a pimp. When you’re trying to get the money for the rent.

- Naomi Watts. Sorry part of your dress was stolen. Guessing it was by some pissed moms who are ticked you look like that after kids.

- Someone wake me up when someone streaks the stage or thanks their hamster.

 

And then I fell asleep. Fingers holding my phone and all. Cause that’s how real people watch the Oscars.

What about you? Did you watch? What did you think?

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Have questions for a literary agent?


literary agent questionsI know that many of you are writers, bloggers or folks just interested in learning more about publishing and how writing works. Last year was so exciting for me because I landed a literary agent for an awesome book project that we are in the midst of as we speak! (Read post about that HERE)

Since landing the awesome Jessica Sinsheimer from Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, many folks have asked me questions about the querying and publishing world. I decided to go right to the source – Jessica herself!

But instead of just sending her a bunch of questions, we decided to have some fun with it. We are going to do a video chat next week while we sip cocktails and go through the questions you all have submitted.

Which brings me to my point. I put a post out on Facebook and Twitter with a chance to submit your questions, but now you can also submit by dropping it in the comments below.

I’ll be posting the interview on the blog after we figure out how to work the do-hickey that brings up the video-thingy that then posts it to the interface-ma-jobby.

I can’t promise we’ll get to all your questions, but we’ll definitely try. So give it a go and ask away!

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Introducing… FLAT MARTINI!!


If you have ever read the Flat Stanley books by Jeff Brown, a little boy gets flattened and then travels the world with different people. Many schools create programs where students draw a Flat Stanley then send him to friends/relatives and then those people take pictures of themselves on adventures with Flat Stanley.

So last week, I came up with my own version.

The Flat Martini.

I put the idea out on Facebook (which, I hope you follow me on because there’s some funny stuff happening over there) and I asked if readers wanted to go on an adventure with Flat Martini.

The response was INSANE! I didn’t expect to have hundreds of people wanting to spend a week with Flat Martini and document their adventures. But I did and it is seriously awesome!

So I decided to take the first 52 people that reached out to me. That’s one person/per week for the next year. I set up a schedule and sent each of those 52 people a Flat Martini. He’s being sent all over the United States, and even to a few foreign destinations abroad!

Each week, I will feature a blog post written by a reader on their adventures with Flat Martini. It will be filled with pictures and what I’m sure are hilarious escapades. I seriously can’t wait to see where everyone takes the little guy.

And speaking of the little cocktail of love, what does Flat Martini look like?

Introducing… FLAT MARTINI!

Flat Martini - To Print

So stay tuned. The first Flat Martini blog post is coming at the end of February! He’s on his way to his new homes right now and the adventures are about to begin…

 

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Do you want to build a snowman?

snowman with kids

Before they knocked the living life out of him…

When you hold your baby in your arms, you dream of a day when they’ll be a bit older and you can do fun activities together. You imagine baking cookies on a rainy afternoon or snuggling in close to watch their first movie. And for me, I couldn’t wait to build a snowman with my children.

For the past few years, we really haven’t had a great snow that allows us to build anything other than a mound of dirt-filled snow that we pretend is full of snow fairies that for some reason want to live in butt-ass freezing temperatures.

But a few days ago, all that changed. And my dream was about to come true.

I should have suspected when it took us forty minutes and three sets of time-outs to get our snow gear on that my Norman Rockwell image might soon be altered.

As I skipped into the yard, holding my children’s hands in mine, I quickly scooped up some snow and started to show them how to roll it into a ball for the base of the snowman.

“I can’t do it.”

“Mine is falling apart.”

“This is too hard.”

“Can I eat it if it doesn’t have yellow on it?”

“My gloves keep falling off.”

“My side is crooked.”

“Boogers keep coming out of my nose.”

“How about I just make snow angels instead?”

Then, I looked around and saw that my two children were now in the backyard having a snowball fight and I’m a 40 year old woman, by myself, building a snowman.

Twenty minutes later, my kids come to the front yard and say, “Wow, Mommy, great job. Can we knock it down now?”

So I put myself in time-out.

I went inside. Made a hot cup of tea that I dreamed of putting bourbon in, and watched them from the window destroy my very first snowman I made as a mother.

And of course, two minutes later, they were yelling for me to make another one.

And I did.

Because the true picture of family, the one that Norman Rockwell never painted, is the picture of children ruining your stuff. THAT’S what real family looks like.

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How to get your significant other in the mood…

If you don’t know this already, I love to use Facebook as a tool for sarcasm, absurd life observations, and also as a forum to talk to all of you – my fun and fearless readers.

So on Friday, I put a question out on Facebook. The question was:

If your significant other could do just ONE thing to get you in the mood what would it be?

The reason I posed this question is that my husband and I recently went on a date night. It was snowy and wet outside. He didn’t get me in the mood by taking me to a fancy dinner (though, that was lovely). He got me in the mood when he did the little things like warn me that there’s a puddle on my side of the car and then came around to help me. The little things. That is what I notice.

So I posed the question to you all.

And made a pie chart. Because, hell, how often in life do you have an opportunity to make a pie chart? Carpe Pie Chart.

pieChart_jpg

 

And I thought I would share a few of my favorite quotes…

“He passed out on the couch last night while I was still (STILL AFTER ALL DAY) doing stuff around the house. I woke him up so we could go to bed since he had to work. I start to pass out and he puts his hands down my pajama pants and and was all “it’s not that late, you know….” hey, douchcanoe, I was just starting to have a dream with Idris Elba and David Tennant; go ask your hand, dammit!”

“Honey, I went and had that vasectomy you’ve been wanting me to get.”

“I’ve brought George Clooney home to entertain you tonight.”

“Here, have some wine.”

 

And my personal favorite:

“Those sweatpants are so sexy on you. You should wear them every day.”

 

So what do you think? Which part of the pie chart do you fit into?

4 Comments

Surprise Guest Blogger: Pocketful of Joules


pocketful of joulesSurprise! It’s so much fun to wake up and decide to feature a fellow blogger’s post without them even knowing. And today is one of those days! And this post is hilarious. It’s written by Joules from Pocketful of Joules and I cracked up when I read it.

She’s taking on a phrase that a person entered into the search engine of Google to find her blog. And when you find out what it is, it’s hilarious.

So go read it. I’m serious – go read it now! You’ll laugh, trust me.

To read it, click HERE.

And be sure to stop by and say hi to her on Facebook and Twitter!

 

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Lean In? But what if I just want to stand still?

we can do it but do we really want to“What are your goals for the next year?”

Her supervisor was sitting across from her at her annual review, asking the question that every supervisor asks at every annual review.

But this one was different.

Because the person being asked didn’t actually have any goals. She was, dare any woman actually admit, satisfied. She was happy with what she was doing and simply wanted to continue her job as it was.

But she couldn’t say that. She couldn’t tell the manager sitting across from her that she didn’t want any more challenges at work. That her plate was full and she felt no desire to add more to it. She didn’t want to consider a promotion or the chance to supervise staff. She simply wanted to do what she was doing.

This is what happened to a friend of mine. She’s home every night before dinner, gets to be at her kids’ activities and never has to work on weekends. She gets paid well and receives positive reviews and feedback on her work.

But it seems being satisfied isn’t enough.

Over the past few years, thanks in great part to Sheryl Sandberg’s movement to “Lean In”, women are being encouraged to constantly gravitate to more. To seize every opportunity for advancement, to never give up on your dreams.

But what if you have reached your dream.

Must we always lean in? When can you just stand?

Is it a gender issue? It would seem not because men have always been taught the same thing. There always must be a “next step”.  And it doesn’t stop at the top. Because, in reality, there is no top. There is always another big idea you should be having, or another position that aims just a bit higher.

Where did this come from?

I think back to the letters my grandmother and I would write to each other when she was alive. She would tell me about life in the 1940’s and how you worked to provide for your family. You didn’t have career goals – you had needs and those needs had to be met. There’s a beauty in that. A simplicity in knowing that you don’t have to keep climbing up some goal-oriented ladder. That no one is behind you pushing you up and telling you to move faster.

I’m not ready to completely lean out at this point in my life. But I will say that I’m leaning in far less than I used to a few years ago. Or should I say, I’m leaning more towards the things that really matter. The things that might not advance my career at a rapid rate, but definitely make me appreciate the scenery of what’s around me right now.

Perhaps I should write a book to start a movement like Sheryl Sandberg did. I think I’d call it “Just Stand Still”…

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Romantic texts between my husband and I…


With all these shows like The Bachelor and The Millionaire Matchmaker, I thought I would give you a glimpse into what real marriage looks like.

Here’s a text I sent to my husband last night.

marriage texts

There you go. That’s REAL love, people.

And yes, he changed it.

And no, I didn’t rub something on his pillow.

Maybe.

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If you give a toddler a walkie talkie…


walkie talkieSo you know those books If You Give A Pig a Pancake or If You Give A Mouse a Cookie? Well, I’ve been reading those for over six years to my children. This past weekend, it became very obvious that I could write one myself. I would call it, If You Give a Toddler a Walkie Talkie

I’m not sure it’s going to hit the New York Times bestseller list or anything, but I’ll give it a shot.

If You Give A Toddler a Walkie Talkie

If You Give A Toddler a Walkie Talkie, he’s going to ask you to play with him.

When you agree to play with him, he’s not going to let you teach him how to use the thing.

When you try to teach him how to use the thing, he’s going to screech and abruptly pull his arm away.

When he pulls his arm away, he’s going to catch the end of his walkie talkie on your shirt.

When he catches the walkie talkie on your shirt, he’s going to fall down.

When he falls down, he’s going to cry.

When he cries, he’s going to let you help him up.

When he gets up, he’s going to again ask you to play walkie talkies.

When you start to show him how to talk into the walkie talkie, he’ll say, “I know, I know” and start to run upstairs.

When he runs upstairs, he won’t stop holding down the damn button and won’t be able to hear you.

When he isn’t able to hear you, he’ll start to yell.

When he starts to yell, you’ll want to teach him how to use the walkie talkie.

While you are trying to teach him how to use the walkie talkie, he’ll lie to you and say he understands.

When he once again doesn’t let go of the button, he will throw it down the stairs.

When he throws it down the stairs, he will start to cry again.

When he cries again, you’ll want to get a flask.

When you can’t get a flask, you’ll want to cry with him.

And chances are, if you both are crying, you’ll probably want to play walkie talkies to cheer you up.

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Why I have to stop watching The Bachelor…


watching bachelorI can remember watching the first episode of the very first Bachelor. It was 2002 and I watched it at a girlfriend’s house while we sipped wine and yelled inappropriate comments at the television screen.

And we watched the first few seasons together just like that every week, until something changed.

The show went from a group of women who were fun and normal to insane, desperate women who looked like characters from Single White Female.

So I stopped watching.

It’s been ten years since I’ve watched.

Then, they announced that the bachelor would be a farmer from Iowa.

Well then.

See I’m living in Nebraska so Iowa is our neighbor. And my husband’s grandfather, uncles, cousins, etc… are farmers.

So I decided to give it another go.

And after 15 minutes of watching, I realized something.

Just like ex-boyfriends should stay ex-boyfriends, The Bachelor should stay an ex-show of mine as well.

Here’s why:

1. No nickname is ever good in The Bachelor. Calling him Prince Farming just made me want to stick a pitchfork in my own eye.

2. Why, oh why, do the girls think they need a gimmick when they first meet a man? From a pig’s nose to a karaoke machine, these girls seem to have the inability to just say, “Hi, nice to meet you.” I’m hoping that their co-workers offered them buckets of money to do these gimmicks so when they are dumped by him, they’ll at least have some cash.

3. It ticks me off to see women being mean to each other over a man that they don’t actually know. Which brings me to my next point. They don’t actually know this guy. They gush over him as if they can see inside his soul yet they have no idea if he’s wearing a leather thong underneath that suit or keeps a whip in his briefcase.

4. I can’t stop laughing every time The Bachelor talks about what an “amazing person” one of the ladies are. Since he has only had one conversation with each of them, I’m assuming he is referring to their breasts and ass when he is discussing their amazing qualities.

5. Lastly, I realized something as the last rose was handed out. I don’t fault these women for looking for love. I don’t. I admire their courage to go on national television and try to find someone to spend their life with. However, I feel uncomfortable watching them. I feel as if they are searching for something with such desperation that it is actually hard to watch.

You know what I wish would happen this season of The Bachelor? I wish that all those woman would turn to him and say, “I’m worth more than to be just one of many. I deserve to have someone want to just be with me. I don’t need to compete to get someone to love me.”  And then I wish they would not choose him.

Now THAT would be a television show I would raise my glass of wine to again.

 

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My daughter’s warmth…

daughter princess

One of the many trips to the children’s museum…

I’ve spent the past two and a half weeks being Julie, the Cruise Director from The Love Boat, for my children. Because they were off from school, I planned playdates, outings, movies, and all sorts of activities. Each night, I would sip a glass of wine and shake my head at how exhausted I was.

There were holidays, parties and even family visits in there too.

Each day, I noticed my patience getting less and less and my bitchiness getting more and more.

On the last day of vacation, I was just down right punchy. And sick. I finally got the head and chest cold that had gone through the whole family. I was exhausted.

And just when I was getting ready to find out the value of my children on the black market, something happened.

My six-year-old daughter asked if I would take a nap with her.

Usually this consists of her kicking me and poking her feet into various ribs and organs of my body. However, this time was different.

As I laid wrapped in five thousand layers to combat my chills, she snuggled in close and took both of my hands in hers.

She softly kissed each one and tucked them under her body to warm them up.

I should have pulled them away so as not to infect her with my germs, but I couldn’t. They were so warm and so kind.

Together we slept on the last day of vacation, our hands locked together, and I forgot all about the insanity from the past two weeks. I didn’t even feel sick for those few minutes. I felt warm. I felt loved.

Often, at the end of the day, I think about some of the things I did wrong as a parent. However, on that day, I thought of one thing I did right.

Loving her.

And loving her is never something I could do wrong.

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